Annotations and comments

Bryan has posted 59 annotations/comments since 1 April 2013.


Second Reading

About Thursday 25 August 1664

Bryan  •  Link

Something that does not appear to have been noticed by earlier annotators.
Jacke Noble claims the child was conceived on Guy Fawkes night (with 3 handy witnesses to Tom's confession) but SP recorded her birth on 6 April, only 5 months later. It casts some doubt on Tom's paternity. Tom died on 15 March.

About Wednesday 13 April 1664

Bryan  •  Link

"and so I rang up my people"

Remember the convenient new bell: Saturday 3 October 1663
"At noon I home to dinner, and then abroad to buy a bell to hang by our chamber door to call the mayds. ... We then to set up our bell with a smith very well, and then I late at the office. "

About Sunday 24 January 1663/64

Bryan  •  Link

Sarah, The Salty One kept many annotators guessing (and amused) the first time round. He could verge on cryptic at times.
The carpenter's son he was referring to was the inventor of the marine chronometer, John Harrison. Harrison was self-educated, so unlike SP, he did not get formal qualifications from either of the two English universities, CAMbridge or OXford, i.e. he was not camoxed.

About Friday 30 October 1663

Bryan  •  Link

Regarding shorthand and names, this passage from the 'About the text' page clarifies all:

'Pepys wrote the bulk of his diary in a shorthand devised by Thomas Shelton, with only a few words, such as names of people and places, written longhand; shorthand was more widely used by scholars in Pepys’ time than it is today ...'

For example this is the first page of the diary, where the names of several people can be seen:…

About Thursday 6 August 1663

Bryan  •  Link

There is no evidence so far that SP used "black" as a synonym for "ugly". On the contrary, apart from today's instance which is ambiguous, SP has used term six times, of which two are neutral and four are positive. Even the detested Pembleton is mentioned positively in this regard.

21 January 1659/60 - where poor Mr. Cook, a black man, that is like to be put out of his clerk’s place
9 October 1660 - one Damford, that, being a black man, did scald his beard with mince-pie
13 January 1660/61 - his wife’s daughter is a very comely black woman
30 April 1661 - very pretty modest black woman
6 October 1661 - There was also my pretty black girl, Mrs. Dekins
15 May 1663 - (The dancing master) who is a pretty neat black man

About Saturday 2 May 1663

Bryan  •  Link

Why would "pricklouse" be a term of contempt for a tailor? Here's a suggestion.
Skilled tailors, presumably like SP's father, made clothes from clean, new cloth. However the poorest, least skilled tailors repaired worn out, lice-infested clothes and would literally prick a louse or two while sewing. So the insult comes not from being called a tailor but an incompetent tailor good for nothing more than repairing used clothing.

About Thursday 2 April 1663

Bryan  •  Link

"It's a pity Sam wasn't able to nip it in the bud here ... he certainly seems to be trying."

I somehow think that Capt. Holmes wasn't the type of guy who would allow his bud to be nipped. The title of Richard Ollard's biography of Holmes was "Man of War". Here's an excerpt from the back cover: "Adventurous, energetic, combative and unscrupulous, Robert Holmes first attracted the attention of Prince Rupert as a young cavalry officer in the Civil War. As a Royalist exile, he accompanied the Prince first into the French service and then, in one of the strangest and most romantic episodes in naval history, on a cruise that carried the Royalist colors -- no longer flying in England -- to Portugal, the Mediterranean, West Africa and the West Indies."

About Sunday 22 March 1662/63

Bryan  •  Link

" ... my wife and I and her woman by coach to Westminster, ..."

It's a safe assumption that "her woman" refers to Ms Ashwell, for example from two weeks previous on March 15 "Up and with my wife and her woman Ashwell the first time to church, ..."

SP indicated his state of mind during the day: "This day though I was merry enough ...". SP regularly records things not going quite to plan without any indication of annoyance. Today for example, too early for the christening, so a quick coach ride to Chelsea to get some fresh air. It was probably just an accepted part of life.

About Thursday 19 March 1662/63

Bryan  •  Link

From the Online Etymology Dictionary
betimes (adv.)
"at an early period," early 14c., from betime (c. 1300, from be- + time) + adverbial genitive -s.


word-forming element with a wide range of meaning: "thoroughly, completely; ...
Be- can also be privative (as in behead), causative, or have just about any sense required. The prefix was productive 16c.-17c. in forming useful words, many of which have not survived, such as bethwack "to thrash soundly" (1550s), betongue "to assail in speech, to scold" (1630s).

I wonder, did Sam ever rise betimes to betongue and bethwack his errant boy?

About Tuesday 3 March 1662/63

Bryan  •  Link

"And here Mrs. The. shewed me my name upon her breast as her Valentine, which will cost me 20s."

Yes, the precocious daughter is definitely Theophila (The).
Why the expense? St Valentine's day often involved the exchange of small gifts, sometimes gloves. And sometimes (for a favorite coz) lots of gloves.
I think it's safe to assume that SP was referring to the front of The's dress rather than part of her anatomy.

About Wednesday 31 December 1662

Bryan  •  Link

A small correction above: " William, my clerk" links to William Howe. It should link to Will Hewer.

A very happy new year to Phil and all annotators and lurkers.

About Wednesday 3 December 1662

Bryan  •  Link

"He may be, by comparison, or is he just blowing his own horn?"
Louise, surely history has given us a clear answer to that question.

About Saturday 2 November 1661

Bryan  •  Link

"and a match carelessly with it, thinking that it was out"

Slow matches were used in Europe to fire matchlock firearms up to the early 1700s. From Wikipedia: "Slow matches were most suitable for use around black-powder weapons because a slow match could be roughly handled without going out, and only presented a small glowing tip instead of a large flame that risked igniting nearby gunpowder." No mention of the risk with gunpowder in pockets.

About Thursday 11 April 1661

Bryan  •  Link

"[The] Youngmans careless Wooing" is contained in Pepys' own collection of broadside ballads. I see now that Pepys started this collection is the 1680s but it is still much closer in time and place to "today's" entry than the 1719 collection found by Brian Barr.

A facsimile of the printed ballad can be found here:

The University of California Santa Barbara has a archive of 17th Century ballads including the entire Pepys collection here:

The site has quite a bit of background information on the Pepys collection of ballads that might be of interest to annotators.