Annotations and comments

has posted 64 annotations/comments since 22 January 2016.

Comments

About Saturday 9 June 1666

David G  •  Link

I picture Sam knocking back a glass of "strong water" and chocking, having learned the important lesson that one does not drink spirits the way one drinks wine. Are there any other instances in the diary in which he drinks spirits (rather than wine or beer)? I haven't done a word search, but none come to mind.

About Friday 25 May 1666

David G  •  Link

Responding to Nick’s helpful comment, it would make sense that Sam and family went to the edge of the borough of Hackney (assuming it was a borough back then), roughly two and a half miles each way. To get to central Hackney, Google Maps shows a journey of 5-6 miles each way by modern highway (well, modern-ish), hence the guess of 15 miles to and from Hackney via 17th century roads. But even a five mile walk — an hour and a half at least — makes me think that “taking the ayre” was different 350 years ago.

About Friday 25 May 1666

David G  •  Link

Sam and family go out “to take the ayre a little” and they travel to Hackney and back, which is a journey of roughly 15 miles in total, hardly taking the ayre a little — that’s a four or five hour walk — unless they used a coach, in which case they aren’t really taking the ayre.

About Friday 4 May 1666

David G  •  Link

"had a great fray with my wife again about Browne’s coming to teach her to paynt, and sitting with me at table, which I will not yield to. I do thoroughly believe she means no hurte in it; but very angry we were, and I resolved all into my having my will done, without disputing, be the reason what it will; and so I will have it."

Of the commentators a decade ago, I think Terry read this passage correctly: Sam did not think it appropriate to have a mere art instructor sit at the table in his house for a meal and was surprised that Bess did not understand this, and Sam put his foot down.

About Wednesday 11 April 1666

David G  •  Link

There is an extended discussion of leads in the link in today’s entry but nothing about rails. Were the rails added to the leads so people standing on the roof would have something to hold onto?

About Sunday 8 April 1666

David G  •  Link

Some of the best parts of the diary are the domestic problems that still ring true today, like Sam’s problems with the painters when he renovated his house a few years before or today’s entry when it was raining and he couldn’t find a coach (or cab or Uber).

About Sunday 25 February 1665/66

David G  •  Link

The image of the young gentlemen flinging cushions and engaged in "other mad sports" (one wonders what they were!) could have come right out of a scene at the Drone's Club in a PG Wodehouse story.

About Sunday 4 February 1665/66

David G  •  Link

As someone who has had kidney stones, I doubt that Aunt James had a misdiagnosis, as one of the commentators from ten years ago suggested. The symptoms of a kidney stone that is trying to pass are quite different from the symptoms of other serious medical other conditions (cancer does not, for example, typically cause severe cramping), and to die of a kidney stone would be a truly unpleasant way to go.

About Thursday 1 February 1665/66

David G  •  Link

The diary is full of days like this where Sam goes off with friends and has dinner elsewhere. I don't recall a diary entry in which he mentions that he left a note for his wife to let her know that he's going to be out and won't be back until late. Is there one?

About Sunday 28 January 1665/66

David G  •  Link

It’s hard to believe that Sam slept soundly even though his mind was in great delirium — I would have been far too full of the day’s events to fall right asleep.

About Friday 27 October 1665

David G  •  Link

Was the conversation with the Duke of Albemarle where the formal job offer was made and accepted?

About Sunday 6 August 1665

David G  •  Link

Not likely that the maid was combing for lice since Sam shaved his head when he started wearing a wig. Maybe she was arranging the wig?

About Monday 10 July 1665

David G  •  Link

A “nest of puppies”: It appears that this expression was rarely used between Pepys’ era and the current decade but suddenly has become common once again.

About Friday 7 July 1665

David G  •  Link

Like William Wright, I had never heard of Tent as a type of wine. I googled “vessel of tent” and every hit but one — an article in an Australian newspaper from 1884 — was to the diary. My guess is that Tent was in favor briefly and British taste in wine then moved on to claret, hock, sherry and port.

About Tuesday 30 May 1665

David G  •  Link

In response to Tony Eldridge's question from ten years ago, back in the seventeenth century, insurance served two functions. First, it could transfer the risk of loss from the owner of property to a third party (now, an insurance company; then, a wealthy person willing to risk capital in exchange for a profit if no claims were presented). Second, it was a form of gambling. That is, one could purchase insurance on property owned by someone else and if that person suffers a loss, the policyholder could present a claim to the insurer. This latter type of insurance presented a moral hazard, that is, it tempted policyholders to commit crimes in order to collect on an insurance policy, e.g., someone might buy insurance on a ship owned by a third party and then hire a pirate to capture the ship. To eliminate the moral hazard, Parliament enacted laws in the 1720s requiring a policyholder to have an "insurable interest" in any property that the insurance policy covers, that is, the policyholder must have a very good reason for avoiding a claim such as owning or leasing the property that the insurance policy covers. Similarly, I can purchase a life insurance policy that covers my spouse but cannot buy life insurance on a neighbor who lives across the street.

In this instance, Sam and Sir George Carteret are discussing the first type of insurance -- the type we still have today -- because they were talking about buying insurance for "our goods." There was no rule then, and there really is no rule now, preventing someone from buying insurance on a cargo after the ship has sailed and before anything has happened to the cargo. As it turned out, however, the Dutch captured the ships carrying the Hamburg cargo before Sam and Sir George got around to buying insurance. All in all, the Dutch war does not seem to have been well managed.

About Wednesday 12 April 1665

David G  •  Link

One wonders how incompetent the government really was -- how can it have been a surprise to Southampton that the Dutch war was going to be very expensive and that the Treasury would need to raise vast amounts of money to keep the navy at sea? But apparently it was a surprise.

It is a treat for the modern reader when Pepys quotes someone as extensively as he does in this entry. To think that this is what someone actually said (or close to it) more than 350 years ago.

About Saturday 4 February 1664/65

David G  •  Link

Going back to the posts ten years ago, I assume that Jane was paid quarterly, that she was either one or two months into the current quarter (one would think that the quarter began on the first of January, so we’re a month in, though the text suggests that we’re two months in), and that Sam is paying her for the full quarter, to Bess’s great annoyance (in part because Sam was expressing dissatisfaction with her decision to discharge Jane and possibly in part because the money came out of the housekeeping budget).