Annotations and comments

David G has posted 66 annotations/comments since 22 January 2016.

The most recent first…


Second Reading

About Friday 30 April 1669

David G  •  Link

After reading about the many errands that Sam completed today and the large sums we know he spent (the belt) or we can assume he spent (the coach work), it occurred to me that it feels like it has been years since he has said anything about the money coming in the door, in contrast to the first half of the diary when we heard about every shilling he received. Sam must be very comfortably off by now.

About Thursday 19 November 1668

David G  •  Link

I may be a bit slow on the uptake -- especially after nearly nine years of reading the diary and annotations every day -- but is the explanation for today's confrontation, and Bess's anger at Sam over the past weeks, that she has learned to read Sam's shorthand and is looking at his entries in the diary when he's out, so she "knows all," as they say?

Bess must know that Sam writes in his diary most days, and after more than 3,000 diary entries, there has to have been at least a few occasions when she saw him writing and leaned over his shoulder to ask what he's doing and why the letters look so odd. As the Diary Encyclopedia's entry on shorthand reflects, Sam was using a fairly common shorthand to write the diary and Bess could easily have purchased one of Thomas Shelton's guides to tachygraphy or perhaps Sam even kept a copy of a shorthand guide in the bookcase and she took a look at it.

About Sunday 21 June 1668

David G  •  Link

Any idea when Sam had supper? It must have been late if he went straight to bed afterwards, as the entry implies.

About Tuesday 9 June 1668

David G  •  Link

Many years ago, I lived in the residence hall overlooking the Botanical Garden (aka the Physic Garden). I suspect that the garden that Sam saw would have had at least some features in common with the garden that I looked out on. Plus it’s nice to think that strawberries in June were an Oxford treat in 1668 just as they were 300+ years later.

About Monday 23 March 1667/68

David G  •  Link

On the subject of Jews in London during Pepys's time, The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish, published a few years ago, is an excellent novel about a Jewish woman set in London, mostly in the mid-1660s.

About Tuesday 10 March 1667/68

David G  •  Link

By saying that William Joyce left around 10 pm, is Sam suggesting that this was a late night or an early one? It's unusual for him to mention the time in a context like this.

About Saturday 18 January 1667/68

David G  •  Link

As an aside, and others may know a lot more about this than I, but I believe that Professor Robert Matthews, the co-editor of the L&M edition, was at UCLA and the University of California Press published the modern version of the diary. I recall visiting UCLA on an open house day when I was about ten, so that would have been in the early sixties. A professor cornered me to tell me about the University's plans to publish a definitive version of Dryden's work (not an author I knew much about when I was ten), which I understand in fact was published by the University of California Press in the mid-to-late 1960s. So it's interesting to find Sam talking about "Mr. Dryden," as if they know each other, if but very casually, which means that their paths crossed in London in the 1660s and in Los Angeles in the 1960s.

About Tuesday 14 January 1667/68

David G  •  Link

While we are asking questions, any idea what took Sam five hours (and still not finished) in "setting" his books? Was he cutting the pages so he could read them? Arranging them on the shelf?

About Friday 29 November 1667

David G  •  Link

Interesting that the future president of the Royal Society thinks his house might be haunted. Definitely a world in transition.

About Friday 20 September 1667

David G  •  Link

The Wikipedia entry on James Howard, the playwright (who was only around 27 when he wrote The Mad Couple, and died shortly after, in 1669), says that the production starred Nell Gwynn.

About Monday 2 September 1667

David G  •  Link

We'll never know the truth, but from what I have read about Charles II, it's quite possible that he was wearing his wig and outer clothes when he was weighed before the tennis match and without them when he was weighed afterwards -- everything else he did in life was done to excess, so why not cheat in "losing" weight?

On a separate topic, I had never previously run into the use of "joy" as a verb standing alone, but the OED lists a number of examples, including this diary entry.

About Thursday 1 August 1667

David G  •  Link

So Sam complains, with justification, that the pasty was rotten but he then complains further that the meal — for just six people — had “only” a leg of mutton and a couple of chickens on top of the pasty. It’s pretty likely that there were also side dishes and, since they were “very merry,” much to drink. How much food did a more generous host than the Penns serve? Today, people attending a dinner for six would never eat enough to finish a leg of lamb (to say nothing of a leg of mutton, which is larger), let alone think that someone is a poor host to serve a couple of chickens and a pasty on top of the leg of mutton.

About Friday 19 July 1667

David G  •  Link

Nice that Sam is sufficiently healed from what was a nasty sprained ankle that he now is able to go for a short walk.

About Saturday 6 July 1667

David G  •  Link

I wouldn't call Mr. Rolt's nose bleed a coincidence, as Bradford suggested a decade ago. It's probably a result of high blood pressure/stress, relating to Rolt's decision to join the cavalry where it's likely the mortality rate for junior officers, even 350 years ago, was fairly high.

About Tuesday 25 June 1667

David G  •  Link

The Duke of York’s son died a week ago and today he is merry (at least some of the time)? No wonder he didn’t become a popular king, his religious beliefs aside.

About Sunday 2 December 1666

David G  •  Link

Responding to the comments from a decade ago, the party was in an unlit coach rattling down unlit streets long after dark. It's not likely that Bess would have been able to see what Sam was up to with Betty.

About Thursday 15 November 1666

David G  •  Link

Note Sam’s comment that after he went up to the balcony (presumably along with the other ordinary people), “with much trouble,” he could “see very well.” Since Sam was quite short even for the 1660s, I suspect that he first tried to stand on tip-toes but couldn’t see over the people in front of him and he eventually pushed his way to the front. He didn’t mention standing with Bess, so it’s possible that men and women stood in different places.

About Tuesday 13 November 1666

David G  •  Link

I wonder whether Lord Hitchingbroke was really under the weather or just making up an excuse to avoid dining with the Pepys household. Given Sam’s reaction, probably the latter and neither was looking forward to the meal.

About Saturday 15 September 1666

David G  •  Link

In October 1991, my neighborhood in Northern California had a major fire that destroyed more than 4,000 houses and stopped only 17 houses from mine. I was at my house at the worst of the fire and saw flames at the bottom of my street. Like Sam, I dreamed of fires and falling houses for months afterwards and so I have a pretty good idea of how he was feeling when he wrote today’s diary entry. Definitely PTSD.