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August 6, 1677

A Funeral (of all things)

Sean is trying my patience. Allow me to rephrase that: After trying my patience for almost a year now, Sean has finally succeeded in breaking it irreparably. His latest notion, which he will not leave off, is that we must hold a funeral for the late Patrick, who was lost at sea. What would be the value of such an event, I do not know, but he has become increasingly maudlin about it, clasping my arm and blubbering about "paying our respects," though why I should pay my respects to a man in death who never commanded my respect in life, I am at a loss to explain. It has always been my firm policy not to pay anything that I do not have to, and I do not know why this should be an exception.

But, as I say, he will not leave off. Though I told him last night, flat out, that I will not even countenance the idea, he burst into my chambers this morning with a list that he had written of preparations for the event and pressed it into my hand. He had obviously been up all night, and though I pray that it was but an hallucination from having been awoken so suddenly, I could almost swear that he had been weeping. I have posted Sean's list below. I do not feel that it requires any further comment.

Plans for Dear Patrick's Funeral

Item 1: Refreshments for 100 guests (we must invite the Royal Society)

Item 2: A pine coffin from Mr. Morland's

Item 3: A full choir – I will ask at St. John's if we can have them fitted with angel wings

Item 4: 15 white swans (do you think they can be trained to form into the shape of a heart?)

Item 5: Mr. Pachelbel (the German composer) has written some lovely elegies. Might he be commissioned to do a requiem?

Item 6: We will need someone to give a eulogy. I was thinking the Earl of Shaftesbury (he has a way with words), or else that chap Newton that everyone's going on about (nice to have a fellow scientist?), or myself of course.

Item 7: Would it be considered poor form to invite the ladies from the Crimson Unicorn? 

Item 8: I have a notion of releasing a thousand butterflies into the air at the moment that his coffin (I suppose we shall have to find something to fill it with, as his body is at the bottom of the ocean somewhere) is consigned to the ground. Or is that overdoing it?

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