Sunday 9 February 1667/68

(Lord’s day). Up, and at my chamber all the morning and the office doing business, and also reading a little of “L’escholle des filles,” which is a mighty lewd book, but yet not amiss for a sober man once to read over to inform himself in the villainy of the world. At noon home to dinner, where by appointment Mr. Pelling come and with him three friends, Wallington, that sings the good base, and one Rogers, and a gentleman, a young man, his name Tempest, who sings very well indeed, and understands anything in the world at first sight. After dinner we into our dining-room, and there to singing all the afternoon. (By the way, I must remember that Pegg Pen was brought to bed yesterday of a girl; and, among other things, if I have not already set it down, that hardly ever was remembered such a season for the smallpox as these last two months have been, people being seen all up and down the streets, newly come out after the smallpox.) But though they sang fine things, yet I must confess that I did take no pleasure in it, or very little, because I understood not the words, and with the rests that the words are set, there is no sense nor understanding in them though they be English, which makes me weary of singing in that manner, it being but a worse sort of instrumental musick. We sang until almost night, and drank mighty good store of wine, and then they parted, and I to my chamber, where I did read through “L’escholle des filles,” a lewd book, but what do no wrong once to read for information sake … And after I had done it I burned it, that it might not be among my books to my shame, and so at night to supper and to bed.

14 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

What the ellipsis suppressed

"...I did read through L'escholle des filles; a lewd book, but what doth me no wrong to read for information sake (but it did hazer my prick para stand all the while, and una vez to decharger); and after I had done it, I burned it, that it might not be among my books to my shame; and so at night to supper and to bed."

L&M text.

Carl in Boston   Link to this

“L’escholle des filles,” a lewd book, but what do no wrong once to read for information sake … And after I had done it I burned it,
That's the way to do it, that's the way to do it. Really works. Samuel leading the way again.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...also reading a little of “L’escholle des filles,” which is a mighty lewd book, but yet not amiss for a sober man once to read over to inform himself in the villainy of the world."

Yes, absolutely...One reads these things for the articles to inform oneself in the villainy of the world. In fact, clearly it is our sacred duty to do so and thus prepare ourselves to recognize and confront such villainy...(Sam, do hold that lengthwise a moment, thanks)...And thus protect all the sacred values those of us who have such indomitable courage hold so dear.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"Sam'l? What's the matter? Are you ill? You keep groaning?"

"One minute, Bess..." burn, you stupid...Burn...

"Sam'l? I smell paper burning...Are you burning anything?"

"Just some old papers, dear heart! One moment!"

Goddamn, you stupid thing...Burn already! Oh, Jesu Christ...Stamps on burning papers on floor... "Swounds!! Ow! Ow! OWW!!"

"Sam'l?! What's wrong?!! I'm coming in...!"

"No, no, Bessie! Everything's just...OW! Damnit!!!" Desperate flailing as more books catch fire.

"Oh, my Journal!!" hasty stamp saves Diary for Feb 1668.

Bang...Crash...Door flies open... "My God! Sam'l?! What the devil?!!"

"Just get water and some soaked blankets, quick!!!"

"What's this..." frown. Sour look... "'Girls'School'?"

"It's an educational pamphlet on the raising up of women through...Education. Bess, will you get Jane to bring that water?! Now?!!"

"Uh-huh. You know, Balty was quite a devotee of such causes. It was inspiring to see him so engrossed in womens' enhancement."

"Bess, my study...A thousand plus pounds in books...Our house..."

"Right...Humiliation can wait. Jane!!!!" turns and heads out.

"Jane!!! Fetch water...Mr. Pepys nearly burned the house down trying to read a dirty French book!!"

Michael Robinson   Link to this

"a lewd book, but what do no wrong once to read for information sake … And after I had done it I burned it, that it might not be among my books to my shame"

SP did have a good idea of exactly what he was going to encounter, but managed to keep the curiosity at bay for near a month:

" ...stopped at Martin’s, my bookseller, where I saw the French book which I did think to have had for my wife to translate, called “L’escholle des filles,” but when I come to look in it, it is the most bawdy, lewd book that ever I saw, rather worse than “Putana errante,” so that I was ashamed of reading in it, ..."
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1668/01/13/

Michael Robinson   Link to this

"And after I had done it I burned it, ..."

Spoiler - The earliest surviving English text is a translation published anonymously, with illustrations, as 'The School of Venus' in 1680, there is a unique surviving copy in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich - Edmund Curll reprinted the text in 1739 (seven copies noted as surviving, five of which are in the US).

There is a modern edition of this text, with the plates from both editions, in "When Flesh Becomes Word. An Anthology of Early Eighteenth-Century Libertine Literature" Edited by Bradford K. Mudge Oxford: OUP 2004 -- for those who can not wait Amazon offers a Kindle edition http://www.amazon.com/When-Flesh-Becomes-Eighte... -- but at an outrageous $40 for instant gratification, new in paper its only $17.99!

Australian Susan   Link to this

The first sentence of today's entry literally made me laugh out loud! Sam is wonderful.

And thank you to MR for letting us all know, purely in the interests of research, where we can all get a copy.....

Christopher Squire   Link to this

re: ‘ . . the rests that the words are set . .’

'rest n. . . 6.a. Music. An interval of silence of a specified duration; the character or sign denoting such an interval . .
. . 1658    J. Playford Breif Introd. Skill Musick 21   Pauses or Rests are silent Characters, or an Artificial omission of the Voyce, proportionated to the Certain Measure of Time.' [OED] is the nearest I can get.

martinb   Link to this

It doesn't take him long to inform himself in the villainy of the world. Bought one day, burned the next.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Ah, martinb, apparently the villainy of the world is compassed in a very few pages.

martinb   Link to this

Yes, there's certainly a limit to what can be done, although it looks like SP hasn't realised this yet.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

And it may have been in the Bible all the while, but who reads that on the sly?!
http://www.newsweek.com/2011/02/06/what-the-bib...

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Heaven...

"Oh, these people are having entirely too much fun with my...Bess?"

"'Sociological research'...?" eye roll...

"Right, exactly. My 'sociological research'...Ummn...Why the devil do I keep feeling like I'm saying that in quotes?"

"Probably the answer's similar to why the devil I decided to recommend you for early release from Purgatory."

Spin2Win   Link to this

I'd get the e-book, but then I'd have to burn my Kindle.

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