The Diarists: This week in history


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The Independent Culture

18 August 1667

Samuel Pepys diarist: "Being wearied, I turned into St Dunstan's church, where I heard an able sermon of the minister of the place, and stood by a pretty modest maid, whom I did labour to take by the hand, but she would not, but got further and further from me; at last, I could perceive her take pins out of her pocket to prick me if I should touch her again – which seeing, I did forebear, and was glad I did spy her design. And then I fell to gaze upon another pretty maid, in a pew close by, and she on me; and I did go about to take her by the hand, which she suffered a little, and then withdrew. So the sermon ended and the church broke up, and my amours ended also."

18 August 1995

Brian Eno musician: "All out to the lovely big Atlantic beach, where we stayed all afternoon. Seeing the variety of humankind (undisguised by their clothes) gives you a warm, sympathetic feeling for people. One of the tremendous shocks of going to a nudist colony must be meeting people nude and then seeing them put on their clothes and become what they choose to project themselves as."

21 August 1813

Lady Charlotte Byng on Princess Caroline of Brunswick, estranged wife of the Prince Regent: "I wonder why the Princess treats the Dean of Windsor with such marked dislike, for he has always been respectful and attentive to her and her mother… It is vexatious to those who take an interest in her Royal Highness' welfare, to observe how she slights persons to whom it is of consequence for her to show civility, and how she mistakes in the choice of those on whom she lavishes her favour. She cannot endure a dull person; she has often said to me, 'I can forgive any fault but that'; the anathema she frequently pronounces upon such persons is – 'Mein Gott! Dat is de dullest person Gott Almighty ever did born!'"