March 25, 2006
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Mallon on Diaries

A passage from my commonplace book: from A Book of One's Own: people and their diaries by Thomas Mallon.

Of Samuel Pepys: "Along with a great job, he's got a swell wife. She's prettier than Princess Henriette, so pretty that he's jealous of first her dancing master and then her painting instructor. The Pepyses argue over the accounts and they bite and scratch and belt each other, but they always call a truce and end up "pretty good friends." .... Goodness knows Elizabeth Pepys has her hands full, mostly because her husband's always are -- of the pliant flesh of servant girls and married ladies about town.

....When you're twelve and someone offers to show you a dirty postcard, you're interested. But when you're told it's a dirty French postcard, then, boy, you're really interested. In matters of the flesh, Pepys was permanently twelve.