Annotations and comments

MartinVT has posted 182 annotations/comments since 10 January 2016.


Third Reading

About Tuesday 27 March 1660

MartinVT  •  Link

Some more scuttlebutt:

Re: Chris Squire's post with OED definition of scuttlebutt, above: "Scuttle-butt, or cask, is a cask having a square piece sawn out of its bilge and lashed upon the deck. It is used to contain the fresh water for daily use" (1801)

We landlubbers may have been imagining an upright barrel with a hole cut into the top, but this quote reveals one more detail about the scuttlebutt, namely, that the scuttle, or opening, is cut into its side — the bilge being the widest part of the cask. In wine barrels, it is where the bung-hole is found. So this scuttlebutt, provided for drinking water purposes, is laid on its side, presumably into a special cradle. Probably this is a more secure position on a deck that is rolling and pitching at sea than setting it upright, a position in which it is harder to stabilize. Here is a picture of a scuttlebutt on the USS Constitution, which can probably be relied on as authoritative:…

About Saturday 24 March 1659/60

MartinVT  •  Link

I hope this is OK with Phil — he keeps this opportunity well hidden, but it is now possible to support his continuing efforts and expenses to keep this site functioning and moderated, by sending a contribution his way. It is quick and easy. The details are here:…

About Thursday 22 March 1659/60

MartinVT  •  Link

"Strange how these people do now promise me anything; one a rapier, the other a vessel of wine or a gun, and one offered me his silver hatband to do him a courtesy. I pray God to keep me from being proud or too much lifted up hereby."

"Too much" is the key here. Sam and his company have just had "a great deal of wine, and they paid all" — free rounds at the tavern are all right, but rapiers, guns and silver hatbands perhaps are "too much." One the other hand, last week (18th), he was not too proud to accept a piece of gold and 20s. in silver from Captain Williamson as compensation for getting him "him his commission to be Captain of the Harp." A fine balancing act. (As well, there is a moral component to "being proud" or "lifted up". Even when Sam begins, later on, to take much satisfaction each month in tallying his growing net worth, it is always accompanied by an expression of thanks to God.)

About Saturday 10 March 1659/60

MartinVT  •  Link

Technical side note to third readers: If you are using Chrome, and leave a logged-in tab open from day to day, you may have trouble posting. My experience is that I get a "page not working" message when I hit the preview button. The solution to this (for me) is to refresh the page and then post. This seems to reset the connection and avoids generating the error message.

About Friday 9 March 1659/60

MartinVT  •  Link

Not previously noted: Sam was hanging out at Harper's with Mr. Butler, AKA Mons. l’Impertinent, about whom not much is known — he seems to be a good drinking buddy, but they also go to church together at times. They don't have a business relationship, so this evening's drinking bout was probably more for companionship and to celebrate Sam's advancement than anything else.

About Tuesday 28 February 1659/60

MartinVT  •  Link

red herring

Some research published in 2008, a few years after the first reading of this passage makes the case that the phrase "red herring" with the figurative meaning of something that distracts from the question at hand dates only from 1807 (Wikipedia:…). (And the whole idea that red (smoked) herrings were used to fool the hounds was disproved by Mythbusters in 2010.)

So Sam's "by the same token" (which DID have the same meaning back in 1659 as today) does not seem to be connected to the red herring. More likely, it's just an inelegant usage by Sam expressing the contradiction that his boot was mended but not mended.

About Monday 27 February 1659/60

MartinVT  •  Link

RE" oliver, 2003: "I'm struck by the fact that both Pepys and Evelyn seem so matter of fact about touring the entirety of this great house and the grounds." -- And ensuing discussion indicating this was no uncommon...

Also, not mentioned previously, this particular visit was facilitated by the White Hart's innkeeper ("master of the house," "our landlord," who also shewed them the almshouse) who presumably did this regularly and probably got a good tip from Sam.

About Sunday 26 February 1659/60

MartinVT  •  Link

Paul Chapin, 2003: "the 3-legged stool (tri-pos) on which the Tripos sat"

Reminds me that today, aspiring humorists performing in comedy clubs still use a stool (more often four-legged) as their single and essential piece of stage furniture.

More, from the university library, on the origins and evolution of the word term tripos and the role of the Tripos on the stool:…

About Friday 24 February 1659/60

MartinVT  •  Link

Quite a discussion 20 years ago for a short diary entry, regarding the question of whether the appreciation of the beauty of nature and rural landscapes is a culturally constructed dating from a later point in time, and not prevalent in Sam's day.

For a historically and geographically sweeping treatise on this question (phrased as: "When we see landscape, do we see nature or culture?"), I commend Simon Schama's 1995 book, Landscape and Memory.

About Thursday 23 February 1659/60

MartinVT  •  Link

"I met with Mr. Crew, who told me that my Lord was chosen by 73 voices, to be one of the Council of State. Mr. Pierpoint had the most, 101, and himself the next, too."

(a) As noted previously, "too" should be "100." (b) Crew is doing the telling, here, so "himself" refers to Crew, elected with 100 votes.

About Monday 20 February 1659/60

MartinVT  •  Link

"the Club broke up very poorly, and I do not think they will meet any more." And according to Terry Foreman's post above, this was the Rota Club and did indeed cease meeting after Feb. 1660.

But just last month, on Jan. 9 (per Keith Wright, above), Sam "went with Muddiman to the Coffee-House, and gave 18d. to be entered of the Club." So it looks like he is out the price of admission?

About Wednesday 8 February 1659/60

MartinVT  •  Link

To continue the digression, above, from 2003 regarding the Palmetto Pigeon Plant — it is STILL there, in Sumter, South Carolina, and its website (…) is worth a visit if only (a) for its vintage circa 2003 design, and (b) for the flying squab that will accompany your cursor all over your screen on the site's homepage (on a computer, not on mobile). They sell live pigeons for research purposes, along with squab, Cornish hens, and poussin (small chickens).

About Saturday 4 February 1659/60

MartinVT  •  Link

I agree, we've got at least 3 dead turkeys today. And note the emphasis he places on Jane's refusal to do the deed: "could not get her m’d Jane by no means at any time to kill anything."
-- could not
-- by no means
-- at any time
-- anything

About Saturday 4 February 1659/60

MartinVT  •  Link

About those turkeys. I can't find anything previously about Mr. Sheply's bringing them to Mrs. Pepys. There is mention, however, on Jan. 19, that Pepys, Sheply, and Moore dined upon a turkey that day with Mrs. Jem. So maybe that one came from the same flock. In any event, the killing of multiple turkeys will yield a great quantity of meat — what's Mrs. P. planning to do with all that, in the absence of a freezer? Inquiring minds want to know.

About Friday 20 January 1659/60

MartinVT  •  Link

Could "scholar" refer to the scullery sink? The scullery of the place would have been located out back, perhaps over or adjacent to the outhouse. So Sam (inelegantly) is saying he felt like pissing into the scullery sink.

About Sunday 15 January 1659/60

MartinVT  •  Link

Ed in 2003 wrote:
"My only comment is that it seems as if Pepys didn't have a terribly stressful life. He sure had an abundance of time to eat, socialize,read and listen to recitals. I'm sure this isn't the whole picture, but it seems to be the one he presents in his journal."

Don't worry, Ed. Sam is just warming up here. Things will get more stressful from time to time.

Second Reading

About Friday 28 October 1664

MartinVT  •  Link

"mighty neat"
Certainly Pepys is not using "neat" in the sense of the "1970's affectation" meaning "cool." More likely he means the suit is orderly, well-made, elegant. He uses the word in this sense elsewhere in the diary, not only in relation to clothing but he also mentions a neat sermon, a neat dinner, a "neat coach, etc.