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December 30, 1677

Happy New Year!

Patrick read out his “Top Ten Momentous Events of 1676” to Sean and me this evening, and I enjoyed it very much. He really can be an amusing fellow when he desires it. In answer to Patrick’s list, and in anticipation of the Year of Grace 1677, I have taken the liberty of composing a list of my own, which enumerates those ideas which have fallen out of fashion this year and those which I believe will gain prominence in the New Year. Quite a novel idea, I think, and one that I am very pleased with indeed:

Out: Nathaniel Bacon. Dysentery, poor chap.

In: Francis Bacon. I had always been content frying up a rasher or two with a liberal dose of butter, but Patrick tells me that the alchemists are all abuzz with talk of a new “Baconian method,” so I will cede to his judgment in this matter.

Out: Pope Clement X. Like all popes, this one spoke a nasty foreign language and lived an unnaturally long time. Good riddance to him.

In: Pope Innocent XI. Cut off a head and another one grows in its place. New face, same silly hat.

Out: Catholic Terrorists. Attempting to blow up Parliament, burn down an entire city, and take control of the monarchy is all in a decade’s work for a dedicated papist, but some of us are beginning to tire of the whole business.

In: Terrorizing Catholics. It will start, no doubt, with just being occasionally cruel to them, but I’m hoping for public hangings by the end of 1677.

Out: Monogamy. A man who still holds it valuable to remain faithful to his wife may get himself to sleep at night by counting up the king’s mistresses, from Nell Gwynne to Lucy Walter. The rest of us have other ways to occupy ourselves at night.

In: Nell Gwynne. If she’s good enough for the king, she’s good enough for any man in England. That seems to be her philosophy anyway.

Out: George Etherege. Man of Mode was doubtless the comic highlight of the year, but I sense that the nation is growing weary with the Comedy of Manners. Indeed, with the way the Whigs are carrying on in Parliament, it seems that some of us are ready to abandon manners altogether.

In: Aphra Behn. The notion of a woman writing plays is as humorous as anything even George Etherege could come up with. I expect we have not seen the last of this monstrosity.

Out: Pepys' Diary. For a daily dose of toadying and affectation with a sprinkling of privy humour, Samuel Pepys is your man. But for a modern reader with more refined tastes …

In: Peep This Diary. The blogosphere just isn’t big enough for the both of us.


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