Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
Robert Harneis has posted 1 annotation/comment since 7 November 2013.
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About Tuesday 6 November 1660
"for the sale of two ships by an inch of candle (the first time that ever I saw any of this kind), where I observed how they do invite one another, and at last how they all do cry, and we have much to do to tell who did cry last."
I have attended a property auction by a French notaire using a set of three candles like birthday cake candles that burn for about a minute each and the auction ends when two are burnt without a bid. It is stil quite common practice. There is an explanation in French on Wiki and a footnote from a learned 19th Century tome explaining all about it. The simplest way to make sure the candle goes out after a minute is to cut the wick at the appropriate place. The Pepys version sounds a lot more dodgy and open to 'interpretation' in favour of one or another bidder.