Annotations and comments

James Morgan has posted 66 annotations/comments since 21 October 2015.

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About Saturday 10 August 1667

James Morgan  •  Link

Does anyone know the story of Mennes going to Boulogne to eat a pig? The poem by Denham reads like encoded political satire. I didn't find anything in the entries under Mennes or Denham to explain the poem.

About Sunday 21 July 1667

James Morgan  •  Link

What a lovely picture of a moonlight excursion. It almost sounds Japanese in it's appreciation of nature.
It's also interesting that he could discuss the Ship Tavern beauty with Mercer. There have been other instances of him discussing these beauties with Elizabeth. It seems his admiration for beauty in women was an shared interest, though he does keep his assignations clandestine.

About Monday 8 July 1667

James Morgan  •  Link

I was interested in Evelyn's new fuel.
"8th July, 1667. My Lord Brereton and others dined at my house, where I showed them proof of my new fuel, which was very glowing, and without smoke or ill smell."
The link to his diary seems to be broken, but I found the Bray edition in Project Gutenberg, and on 7/2/67 he talks of the new fuel: "to be made at Maestricht, with a mixture of charcoal dust and loam, and which was tried with success at Gresham College"

John Evelyn. The Diary of John Evelyn (Volume 2 of 2) (Kindle Locations 671-672).

About Thursday 13 June 1667

James Morgan  •  Link

I'm just wondering, is this the only invasion of the British Isles by a foreign power since 1066?
There are various royal succession battles, such as the Glorious Revolution and the two Stuart rebellions, but I don't think that any of them had a significant number of foreign troops. Did any of the French intrigues in Ireland ever have them landing any significant number of troops? The Spanish Armada famously didn't make it. And while the Germans certainly bombed heavily in WW II they didn't manage an invasion.

About Monday 29 April 1667

James Morgan  •  Link

It is interesting that the news of Sandwich's son marriage negotiations follows so quickly after Pepys hearing of the financial disarray of his family on April 27th, and Pepys turning a deaf ear to suggestion that he might lend 1900l.
"This afternoon I spent some time walking with Mr. Moore, in the garden, among other things discoursing of my Lord Sandwich’s family, which he tells me is in a very bad condition, for want of money and management, my Lord’s charging them with bills, and nobody, nor any thing provided to answer them. He did discourse of his hopes of being supplied with 1900l. against a present bill from me, but I took no notice of it, nor will do it. It seems Mr. Sheply doubts his accounts are ill kept, and every thing else in the family out of order, which I am grieved to hear of."

About Wednesday 24 April 1667

James Morgan  •  Link

"He told me to my face that I was a very good clerk, and did understand the business and do it very well, and that he would never desire a better." I took this to be a hig compliment, rather than "faint praise", given the lack of competent officials in the era. He might indeed be one of the "four good men".

About Friday 15 March 1666/67

James Morgan  •  Link

I didn't get the sense that Sam and his contemporaries thought death from the plague was acceptable. They seemed downright terrified at the prospect. As are we, having to relearn the practice of quarantine. Fortunately modern sanitation is some help.

About Thursday 14 February 1666/67

James Morgan  •  Link

It seems Sam is slowing down or perhaps more busy; in early years he was out early to make sure he was the first to be someone's Valentine.

About Saturday 9 February 1666/67

James Morgan  •  Link

I wonder if Elizabeth had any practical use for a watch? At a time when few people had them I don't imagine she'd be telling a friend to meet her at 2pm, for example. Perhaps one could us it for timing a recipe, e.g. "bake for 2 hours". Or checking activities "Hmm, 9 p.m. and Sam's not home yet. I wonder what he's up to." But mostly I would imagine it's and expensive piece of jewelry.

About Monday 28 January 1666/67

James Morgan  •  Link

Their impeachment procedures at least seem open to discussion between the two houses, though the Lords seem to have prevailed. In the US it seems the Senate decides how to judge an impeachment. It would have been interesting to see President Trump sitting before the bar with head uncovered.

About Friday 4 January 1666/67

James Morgan  •  Link

Mr Isaac the dancing master seems to have been active from 1675-1715 when he retired according to the text cited above. So if the ballad text is from 1661 it seems it is not the same Mr. Isaac.
I also think that the practice of dancing masters hosting balls developed in the 18th century as they developed schools for teaching dance. In Pepys era they seem to be hired to teach or lead dances in private homes or the court.
So I think "Isaac's balls" refer to something other than dance balls.
English Country dancers today still dance Mr. Isaac's Maggot that is from Playford's 1695 edition of the English Dancing Master. (A "maggot" is slang of those times for a brainwave or a strikingly different idea and employed in a number of dance titles of the era. The idea was that this odd and different and possibly brilliant idea came from having an actual maggot gnawing at the brain.

About Sunday 23 December 1666

James Morgan  •  Link

In the wake of Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump and the me-too movement just in the last few years, it doesn't seem like our modern mores are very different from those of Pepys times. A few days ago the diary mentioned Parliament reprimanding an MP who raped the daughter of his Parliamentary opponent. So exposure had some limited effect then as now.

About Thursday 20 December 1666

James Morgan  •  Link

Thanks Michael for the lovely description of the maypole. These were indeed grand monuments, and should not be confused with the smaller beribboned Victorian ones. Those had to be much shorter to make the ribbons practical. The earlier generations danced around them without ribbons and the maypole was a center village or town marker left up all the year.

About Monday 17 December 1666

James Morgan  •  Link

I think in some place earlier he indicates Mercer is homely though with very fine breasts, so less temptation and more proximity to Mrs Pepys, plus apparently plenty of other attractions available. It is nice that Elizabeth and Mercer have mended their differences. Perhaps the mercurial Elizabeth can be charming when she wants to be.

About Thursday 6 December 1666

James Morgan  •  Link

Thinking of Mr. Gunning's comment "It is strange to think Sam needed duress considering how people always feel so much better after having a hot bath or at least a good 'clean' with warm water.", I think this might just be something we learn to like. Little children and pets clearly don't take naturally to bathing, and some people are just as happy roughing it as they are bathing.
I imagine Sam is quite in keeping with the practices of his day, and has obviously not been subjected to modern advertising campaigns for perfumed soap.