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MartinVT has posted 183 annotations/comments since 10 January 2016.

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Third Reading

About Sunday 26 May 1661

MartinVT  •  Link

"a good sermon at our own church, where I have not been a great many weeks"

I had noticed that on Sundays Sam has tended to be elsewhere for quite a while; now in his home church (where he shared the expenses of a special pew) twice in one day! And as ever, the stranger preached a dull sermon in the p.m.

About Saturday 25 May 1661

MartinVT  •  Link

It sounds like, at last the workmen are done, everything is cleaned up, and besides a new set of stairs as originally planned, the Pepyses now have a brand new kitchen "hearth and range" as well; maybe more. Here's another illustration of what the range might have looked like:…, the hearth would have been a large fireplace with spit for roasting, and perhaps a bread oven in the wall.

About Wednesday 15 May 1661

MartinVT  •  Link

"Home and found all my joyner’s work now done,"

Sam the optimist. All my joyner's work is done! Except for one small job! Actually, except for two small jobs! And except for sweeping up all the shavings! And then some work left for the painters or stainers! But the project is basically done!

About Monday 13 May 1661

MartinVT  •  Link

John & A. Hamilton: As I've mentioned previously, given the length of time the workers have been at it already, and not quite finished, the work at Sam's house must entail more than just a new stairway — perhaps more wainscoting, cabinetry, new flooring, etc., all made from scratch with hand tools. When it is all done, we may find out more about the scope of work.

About Saturday 11 May 1661

MartinVT  •  Link


As a resolution to this conundrum, I offer the following:
(a) As John Wheater showed, above, by quoting Chris Gutteridge's page which includes nine uses by Sam of "fallow" to mean "follow", but:
(b) Mary (2004) et al, above, show that the OED offers no 17thC citations for "fallow" to mean "follow", therefore:
(c) "Fallow" in place of "follow" in this instance and others in the diary is just an occasional misspelling unique to Sam and therefore not picked up by the OED, but correctly used by L&M since they aim to reflect the exact text of the diary, warts, misspellings and all.

That said, Sam does know how to spell "follow" correctly, because he does so 220 times in the entire diary. So his misspelling here is really just a glitch in his shorthand, which has its imperfections on a regular basis. Or alternatively, "fallow" is just an occasional glitch in L&M's rendition of the shorthand, since there is apparently some ambiguity in how vowel marks are to be interpreted.

About Wednesday 8 May 1661

MartinVT  •  Link

1. Until antibiotics came along in C20, having a tooth pulled could absolutely be fatal in a non-trivial percentage of cases, due to infection in the wound. Sam may know that "the greatest of dirt" in his house is not the best place to convalesce, hence being first "troubled" and later on "angry" about her return.

2. But speaking of "I am now in the greatest of all my dirt," we still want to know the scope of work in these renovations, clearly more than just putting in a pair of stairs. But looking back to March 25 (… ), Sam told us then: "This morning came workmen to begin the making of me a new pair of stairs up out of my parler, which, with other work that I have to do, I doubt [believe] will keep me this two months and so long I shall be all in dirt; but the work do please me very well." I missed, in commenting earlier, that there was "other work" besides the stairs, and that at the start he estimated completion in two months — so it is pretty major work; right now about six weeks in and still it's a filthy mess. I'm going to guess the workers won't finish before the end of May.

About Saturday 4 May 1661

MartinVT  •  Link

Yesterday they slept in a room lately occupied by the queen, today in one where the king slept a while back. More brags for Sam to bring back to London! (Surely there was a surcharge by the innkeeper for both of these rooms!)

About Tuesday 30 April 1661

MartinVT  •  Link

To further protract the "black" discussion: My grandmother's family was from province Zeeland in the Netherlands where family tradition and some genealogical evidence had it that they had Huguenot roots, and that those Huguenot ancestors were responsible for their generally dark hair and eyes. Allegedly, this streak of "blackness" came from Moorish roots of some Huguenots, something that was also part of the oral tradition in my family.

About Wednesday 24 April 1661

MartinVT  •  Link

"advised with my wife about ordering things in my house"

OK, he says "my house" rather than "our house", but he does, apparently, consult with her, and perhaps turns over some purchasing responsibility to her. This project of having "a pair of stairs" built has obviously expanded to included further renovations and furnishings for the house, whoever's it is.

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.