Annotations and comments

Tonyel has posted 260 annotations/comments since 11 March 2013.


About Tuesday 23 February 1663/64

Tonyel  •  Link


Much sooner than that, his patron, protector and relative Sandwich will slip down the greasy pole leaving Sam to feel exposed and looking for new alliances. No job security in those days.

About Wednesday 17 February 1663/64

Tonyel  •  Link

Even today, in Long Acre, you can nip into a tiny alley between the large buildings and find yourself in a warren. I imagine Elizabeth's folks were living in one of the alley tenements, not on the main street.

About Friday 12 February 1663/64

Tonyel  •  Link

"Says he after all, well, says he......."
This suddenly brings the conversation to life, accompanied no doubt by a wagging finger.

About Thursday 11 February 1663/64

Tonyel  •  Link

"my wife and I hand to fist to a very fine pig."

Can it be that, in addition to modernising the King's navy, our hero invented pulled pork?

About Thursday 14 January 1663/64

Tonyel  •  Link

Sarah, the Comptroller was Minnes who, in Sam's view, was incompetent but would not allow anyone else to take on his duties (often a sign of incompetence in my experience).
Batten was corrupt like many others but appears to have been clumsily corrupt which was more of a sin in those days.

About Saturday 9 January 1663/64

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"calling for Walsingham’s Manuals at my bookseller’s to read but not to buy"

Is this an early form of library system or did he just stand in the shop reading the book to the irritation of the shopkeeper? Of course he is a regular customer, so perhaps that would be acceptable behaviour.

Re Robert Gertz's query: I believe the jury is still out on Marlowe's death but, in any case, this is a different Walsingham.

About Saturday 26 December 1663

Tonyel  •  Link

" I did still within me resolve to make the King one way or other pay for them, though I saved it to him another way, "

I remember the justification well: I've saved my employers several hundred pounds by my efficiency - they (and God) could hardly object to my spending ten on a little treat for myself.

About Monday 21 December 1663

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" but the common rule is, that though a cock neither runs nor dies, yet if any man will bet 10l. to a crowne, and nobody take the bet, the game is given over, and not sooner."
10l. to a crown is odds of 40 to 1 - a suspiciously confident bet on a 'two-horse' race. Do I read this right or am I missing something?

About Wednesday 16 December 1663

Tonyel  •  Link

"Keeping double books can be so confusing"

Reminds me of one of my favourite Doonesbury cartoons around the time of Enron:
"You want me to do a triple-cross?"
"That a problem?"
"No, no, but the paper work's appalling."

About Friday 11 December 1663

Tonyel  •  Link

"Among other things Captain Taylor came to me about his bill for freight, and besides that I found him contented that I have the 30l. I got, he do offer me to give me 6l. to take the getting of the bill paid upon me, which I am ready to do, but I am loath to have it said that I ever did it. However, I will do him the service to get it paid if I can and stand to his courtesy what he will give me."

Plus ca change, etc: When I was a buyer, many years ago, suppliers would often arrive at Christmas with a bottle of Scotch. The smarter ones would also bring boxes of chocolate for the accounts ladies to speed the payment of their bills in the coming year. Cash, of course, would have been frowned upon - the difference between a 'gift' and a bribe.

About Friday 6 November 1663

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"In Herefordshire, and other parts, they do put a cold iron bar upon their barrels, to preserve their beer from being soured by thunder"
My aunt, also in Herefordshire, always put a cloth over the milk jug when thunder was threatened for the same reason - and that was in the 1940's.

About Thursday 1 October 1663

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Not so long ago you could still buy live eels at the market, maybe still can?
So no urgency to eat them, they would keep for a while although they are slippery customers.

About Wednesday 23 September 1663

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" by and by came my brother John, who is to go to Cambridge to-morrow, and I did give him a most severe reprimand for his bad account he gives me of his studies."
I'm ashamed to admit that I have only just looked at Sam's family tree but I think it contains a clue to his frustration with John:
Seven of Sam's siblings died as children, leaving Pall and Tom who both had their own problems. With no children of his own, Sam must have placed high hopes on the remaining John carrying on the family honour and his increasing disappointment is clear.

About Saturday 19 September 1663

Tonyel  •  Link

How splendid that Paul Reiter should home in on this site with his definitive information. Now I need someone to identify what it is that sneaks up my legs when walking through corn stubble at this time of year - its bites are plentiful and itchy but, hopefully, don't carry the ague.

About Sunday 6 September 1663

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"God good to us in manifold mercies, ........ fears of famine ride in plenty(,) corn falling much again.

Rev. Josselin reminds me of my childhood vicar who would gabble through the service at high speed, making the words meaningless. He obviously sees nothing odd about two wildly contrasting statements in the same sentence.

About Saturday 15 August 1663

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"10. spec. a. Of a person: To be suspended on or upon a cross, gibbet, gallows, etc.; to suffer death in this way; esp. as a form of punishment. "

esp. as opposed to what? entertainment?

About Friday 24 July 1663

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"speaking well and commending me in some company..."
I get the impression that this is not the usual randy Sam - more Sam the man of some importance who is patronising (in both senses) the ladies.

About Wednesday 8 July 1663

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"Mr Urbanite, Sam"
Surely, Sam would have had a professional interest in the corn harvest. The Navy must have bought huge amounts of flour, bread and hard tack biscuits and the price, as always, would fluctuate with the success of that year's crop.