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May you live in interesting times

I am loving pepysdiary. Who knew a life that apparently dull could be so entertaining.

Note to self: prepare an autobiography.

Meanwhile, “Up by five o’clock, and while my man Will was getting himself ready to come up to me I took and played upon my lute a little. So to dress myself,” because *that’s* interesting. And also: dude, a lute? “and to my office to prepare things against we meet this morning.” T.S. Eliot, nearly three hundred years later, would write an echo of this in ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Profrock’, of course, “time To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet”. But to continue, “We sat long to-day, and had a great private business before us about contracting with Sir W. Rider, Mr. Cutler, and Captain Cocke, for 500 ton of hemp, which we went through, and I am to draw up the conditions. Home to dinner, where I found Mr. Moore,” why does one’s mind instantly leap to ‘without his britches’? Alas! “and he and I cast up our accounts together and evened them, and then with the last chest of crusados to Alderman Backwell’s, by the same token his lady going to take coach stood in the shop, and having a gilded glassfull of perfumed comfits given her by Don Duarte de Silva, the Portugall merchant, that is come over with the Queen, I did offer at a taste, and so she poured some out into my hand, and, though good, yet pleased me the better coming from a pretty lady.” By this time, I realised my mind had wandered. And then suddenly it was re-woken by the simple and yet somehow lewd phrase ‘pretty lady’. ‘Whoar,’ went my brain, not, I think, unfairly. For Pepys, from his diaries, appears to be a lascivious man — though of course all of his wantonness is implied rather than explicit. Admittedly, some might prefer I used the phrase ‘supposed’ (as in, “his wantonness is supposed”), while others would contend ‘entirely fabricated, deb’ would be a better description of said assertion. Nevertheless, “So home and at the office preparing papers and things, and indeed my head has not been so full of business a great while, and with so much pleasure, for I begin to see the pleasure it gives. God give me health. So to bed.” Wedged between the mention of pleasure and bed, the appeal to God appears a convenience, veritably modern in its offhand sensibilities, as if it is the news story directly after the weather report and right before the good-byes. And, of course, the juxtaposition of sex & death (pleasure & God) is, as usual for Pepys’ style, subversively raunchy.

And so. To bed!