Annotations and comments

MartinVT has posted 174 annotations/comments since 10 January 2016.

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Third Reading

About Saturday 20 April 1661

MartinVT  •  Link

"in his night habitt he is very plain man"

To continue the comparisons:

"Even the President of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked" — Bob Dylan (It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding))

"The emperor has no clothes" — Hans Christian Andersen (The Emperor's New Clothes)

"Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus" — Francis P. Church (Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus)

About Thursday 18 April 1661

MartinVT  •  Link

Still "up with my workmen" this morning. How long does it take to build a new "pair of stairs?" Is he adding little side projects to the main job as they go along?

About Tuesday 9 April 1661

MartinVT  •  Link

"it was a great pleasure all the time I staid here to see how I am respected and honoured by all people. I find that I begin to know now how to receive so much reverence, which at the beginning I could not tell how to do."

Another iteration of how much respect he perceives he is getting. As a further symbol of status, note that on this trip he has not hade to "lie with" anyone but got his own private room, that of old Edgeborrow, no less. Don't let it go to your head, Sam.

About Friday 29 March 1661

MartinVT  •  Link

"he was, I think, at this time quite dark, and so had been for some years"

To me this means that he appeared, in Evelyn's perception, to be somber, unjoyful, serious — but not necessarily negative. Just not cracking any smiles. Despite improvements in their environment and doing productive work as Heylyn was doing, some people just get that way for reasons that are not publicly apparent.

Regarding Canticle v. 25, there appear to have been multiple different collections of canticles based on biblical texts, as you note. For example this one (not certain of the date):…, which has a number 25 on a different subject. The collection referenced by Heylyn may have had 1 Corinthians 13 as v.25, including the line ""And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." But I'm not finding a specific collection either that includes that text as part of a canticle, let alone canticle #25.

About Wednesday 27 March 1661

MartinVT  •  Link

Thank you Sarah. That was a casual comment, my main point was that it WAS a long time to be partying, and that he was partying all that time without apparent concern for Liz's condition or the activities of his workmen, who he usually watches like a hawk. (But maybe they were only there in the morning today.) I appreciate all of the historical context you provide, but I (and others) also find it interesting to add observations that, despite two previous readings twenty years, have not previously been made. And yes, I check Recent Activity regularly.

About Wednesday 27 March 1661

MartinVT  •  Link

From midday dinnertime until 11 p.m. is quite a stretch to be partying, especially during Lent. Sam doesn't mention his "akeing" head as he did the other day, so maybe he paced himself today. The party seems to have had more pull for him than either Liz's indisposition, about which he shows no concern, or the workmen in his parlour which he generally likes to "look after" for hours at a time.

About Monday 25 March 1661

MartinVT  •  Link

I have to ask why Sam needs this "pair of stairs." There must have been a previous set of stairs. Is he upscaling his quarters such that the servants will use the old stairs, maybe out of the kitchen up to servants' rooms, and Sam and Liz will use these fancy new ones? Or do these stairs simply replace the old ones?

Some answers (and partial spoilers) can be found in the excellent article on this site by Sue Nicholson called at home with Mr and Mrs Pepys —… (For Yanks and other reading that, remember that "ground floor" is just that, first floor is one flight up, second floor is two flights up, in British usage.)

About Sunday 17 March 1660/61

MartinVT  •  Link

"a stranger preached a good honest and painfull sermon"

A rare thing. More often than not, Sam deems the sermons of strange preachers to be dull, poor, tedious, or long.

About Monday 11 March 1660/61

MartinVT  •  Link

"a poor dinner, my wife being abroad"

I read this as an indication that Liz is very much involved in the cookery, but that since today she is out gallivanting and having her pearlies whitened, her special touch is lacking and the meal doesn't measure up to Sam's standard. A few weeks ago (Feb 18…) he wrote, "a very good dinner, only my wife and I, which is not yet very usual" an indication of her cooking skills improving; this further suggests that's the case.

About Sunday 10 March 1660/61

MartinVT  •  Link


Someone mentioned them above but they were definitely not part of this poor Lenten dish. Sam never mentions a single potato in the entire diary. They were not widely introduced in Europe from the New World until the 18th C. For a starch, Sam's dish might have had carrots or parsnips, along with kale or cabbage. Like the Irish dish cited, this can make a fine repast, or a poor one.

About Friday 8 March 1660/61

MartinVT  •  Link

"so he carried Sir William Batten and I home again"

Prescriptivist teachers would blue-pencil that and insist on "me" rather than "I". But Sam (who made it into the OED many times, after all, inlcluding for today's "dowdy"), shows us that "me" is perfectly fine.

About Tuesday 5 March 1660/61

MartinVT  •  Link

"barrel of oysters"

This is the 22nd time Sam has mentioned oysters in the diary, in a period of about 14 months. Most of the time this is in the context of eating them. Most of the time it is a "barrel" but once or twice it's a "peck." We have an oysters background page here:…

These were pretty small barrels. When they are sent to the Pepys house, as happens occasionally, they must still be in the shell. But at a pub, I imagine that they would order "a barrel of oysters", but be served a (small) barrel's worth of shucked oysters without shells, on a plate or in a bowl. No oystercracking at the table.

About Friday 1 March 1660/61

MartinVT  •  Link

The Coronation takes place on 23 April, in case anyone is wondering. Presumably that schedule is already known. So Sam has some time to plan for it.

About Tuesday 26 February 1660/61

MartinVT  •  Link

Mary K, 2021: I don't think we can conclude hands were not involved. "Pleasing oneself" in this context generally means masturbating. And even if he is able to bring himself to climax using just his imagination, it's still masturbating.

Anyway, this reminds me of a certain episode in Joyce's Ulysses, which was one of the passages that got the book banned in the US for quite a while. Probably without frequently censoring Sam, Wheatley would not have been able to publish his transcription of the diary in the US, either, 17 years before Ulysses.

About Monday 25 February 1660/61

MartinVT  •  Link

Glyn 2004 wrote: "I imagine she partly conned herself, by thinking that she was getting something for nothing (i.e. medical advice for free)."

All cons involve conning oneself. To be conned, the person being conned needs to establish confidence. or trust, in the person doing the conning.

About Thursday 21 February 1660/61

MartinVT  •  Link

"caps that I have a making there"

What kind of caps? For whom? This doesn't seem to be part of any Valentine's gifts. Perhaps they are for Liz?

About Monday 18 February 1660/61

MartinVT  •  Link

"a very good dinner, only my wife and I, which is not yet very usual"

Just Sam and Liz dining alone is not very usual these days, and perhaps that's all he means. But here he inserts "not yet", which makes me think that it's the "very good dinner" that's not very usual. Yet. With her limited cooking experience, at this point she's not that good at it. But he expects she'll get better. Maybe Pall is teaching her a few things.

About Tuesday 12 February 1660/61

MartinVT  •  Link

"where strange Pickering’s impertinences"

First of all, kudos to Sam for packing so much into a short phrase, which reflects how little he thinks of Pickering. It would be great to know what Pickering's impertinences were, but several times previously Sam has described him with disdain: May 27, 1660: "who had staid long enough to make all the world see him to be a fool"; May 15, 1660: "This evening came Mr. John Pickering on board, like an ass, with his feathers and new suit that he had made at the Hague"; April 16, 1660: "after that some musique, where Mr. Pickering beginning to play a bass part upon the viall did it so like a fool that I was ashamed of him." And on April 18, 1660, Sam bested him at ninepins.

Pickering was a distant cousin of Pepys, hence the shame. Other than these mentions, his few appearances in the diary are only incidental.