Annotations and comments

Elyse has posted four annotations/comments since 24 September 2016.

The most recent first…


Second Reading

About Robert Hooke

Elyse  •  Link

Claire Tomalin says (in the context of Pepys's relationship with female servants): "The scientist and architect Robert Hooke, secretary to the Royal Society and well known to Pepys, kept a diary in the 1670s, much briefer but in some respects as frank as Pepys's, which revealed that he regarded the young female inmates of his house as his natural prey; he expected to, and did, have sexual relations with several of his maids, and later also with his niece, who came to him as a schoolgirl and progressed to be his housekeeper. Hooke was a man with poor health and an unpleasing physical appearance, but that hardly explains away his domestic habits."

Interesting review of a Hooke biography here:…

About Saturday 22 March 1661/62

Elyse  •  Link

Claire Tomalin's interpretation: "The impression given by the Diary is that he [as opposed to Elizabeth] was the one to brood [over his childlessness]. In January 1662 he was 'considering the possibility there is of my having no child.' A few weeks later, at a shipboard dinner, where men's tongues were loosened, he had to accept being linked with another man who could give his wife no children, both called 'fumblers.'"

In the endnotes she says "fumbler" in this context means "impotent."

About Saturday 16 January 1663/64

Elyse  •  Link

Claire Tomalin's interpretation of the coded section is that Pepys is uncomfortable with female sexual pleasure: "he describes an athletic performance under a tavern chair, and how he was disconcerted by her showing her own enjoyment." I hope the tavern floor was clean.

About Monday 4 June 1666

Elyse  •  Link

From Janet Clarkson's Food History Almanac:

"Cock-ale was a favorite restorative in the time of Samuel Pepys. It was supposedly given to fighting cocks, to make them stronger and more aggressive, and this supposed therapeutic effect was assumed to also benefit humans. Pepys enjoyed it regularly. Here is a recipe for it from The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelm Digby Opened, (1669):

"To [M]ake Cock-Ale Take eight gallons of Ale, take a Cock and boil him well; then take four pounds of Raisins of the Sun well stoned, two or three Nutmegs, three or four flakes of Mace, half a pound of Dates; beat these all in a Mortar, and put to them two quarts of the best Sack: and when the Ale hath done working, put these in, and stop it close six or seven days, and then bottle it, and a month after you may drink it."