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Samuel Pepys is amazed

Quite a long diary entry from yesterday, but I particularly loved these two bits which appealed in different ways to my appreciation of the history of science:
at noon to Sir Philip Warwicke's to dinner, where abundance of company come in unexpectedly; and here I saw one pretty piece of household stuff, as the company increaseth, to put a larger leaf upon an oval table.
A table that can be extended! What a nifty idea! And how amazing to think that this was the first time he had seen one!

Even more so with the other thing that caught his interest:
Thence home and to see my Lady Pen, where my wife and I were shown a fine rarity: of fishes kept in a glass of water, that will live so for ever; and finely marked they are, being foreign.
Amazing! Fish! In a glass container filled with water! I bet you could look at them all day!

Sometimes he seems very contemporary and then there are these little flashes revealing that his world contains elements of ours that are only just coming into being for him. Also we have an earl kidnapping a society beauty in broad daylight to have his way with her.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 29th, 2008 09:44 am (UTC)
If you can, catch the BBC programme "Supersizers go Restoration", broadcast on BBC2 on Tuesday.

Not only did they demonstrate the operation to remove a bladder stone, but they also re-created one of Pepys' Operation Anniversary Dinners. Interesting and very funny.
(Deleted comment)
May. 29th, 2008 10:29 am (UTC)
The earl got arrested immediately and was clapped in the Tower of London; the society beauty forgave him and married him two years later. People, eh?
(Deleted comment)
May. 29th, 2008 01:18 pm (UTC)
Sorry to have caused any offence. For me the point was the contrast between on the one hand, the breaking-news comfortable modernity of expandable dining tables and goldfish in a bowl, and on the other, the medieval barbarity of the earl kidnapping women who caught his eye (though as I clarified, he didn't get away with it, so it was not quite as medieval as first seems).
May. 29th, 2008 11:46 am (UTC)
Not just any Earl - Johnny Depp
May. 31st, 2008 10:27 am (UTC)
Oh, nice catch - he does seem to like being friends with the early adapters. Lady Pen has the Fish Channel!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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