Monday, 22 June 2015

Two points...

Point the first.

Do you know, only this morning, while sitting in the bath, I was having a conversation in my mind's palace about two hundred years ago with a young man I met in Turin. I imagine it to have been about 1770 because the Revolution in France hadn't yet put an end to the Grand Tour and the city was still French. Anyway, the young man (let's call him Dr Fell) and I were discussing, among other less noble things, the degradation of Oxford and Cambridge, the opera, what we'd seen in the Italian states, and Christian society. He initially professed a nominally Christian morality but as time went on this started to crumble as, living up to his macaroni coiffure (almost two foot high!), in grandiloquent style and affectation he disclaimed that he thought little of marriage and seemed to suggest that mos Graeciae was good for the soul. I wondered if he'd met Monsieur de Sade? I should explain that this conversation took place in an area of my mind where there are mostly images and smells rather than books of lore, lyrics to musick and other sounds so I cannot produce particulars, I'm afraid. If it seems an anachronism then that's because I thought of Dr Fell as a 1920's Anglo-Catholic throwback to the 18th century. The only thing that I can clearly remember saying to him was, "have a care, then, lest you do the will of the Devil in your pride and remember that you are of the Church." I then remembered that my own imagination was not quite as fecund or articulate as all that, and that my admonition was itself a paraphrased Tolkienism. I was inspired by Fr Hunwicke to relate this...daydream, I suppose. These are the things that go around my head in the bath. I ought to have been born in 1731.

Point the second.

Without in any way wishing to denigrate the Word of God expounded so beautifully here but tangential to the point of "lover and beloved," even the paederasts of the antient world understood this and made this application to their romantic attachments. Lover, beloved; top, bottom, with the distinction (by all means a moral one) being so sharp that any blurring or reversal of these rĂ´les would be an unspeakable sin. You might argue, with Scripture as your Witness, that this was nature turned in on itself but at least, unlike the modern Gay Equality rubbish, there was no illusion of normality. Not that I'd know but I suppose it's like bloody buggering public school boys who grow up and get married. I think it was only Nero, who was clearly insane, who thought up "gay marriage."


  1. Imagine what plumbing and, more particularly, bathrooms and lavatories were like in 1731. No thank you, I will stick with the present.

  2. It would all depend on your social class. In the 18th century no one washed. Baths were only ever for medicinal purposes. Apparently Louis XIV stank even by the standards of his time.

    This is interesting:

    I would agree that perhaps we have gone to the opposite extreme these days, myself included with daily showering, hair once a week. It's a good idea now and again to go camping or boating / sleeping aboard to get some perspective. It's amazing to see the uses to which a plastic bucket is put to other than bailing water out of the boat!

    1. That wasn't just an 18th century thing. James VI and I stank to high heaven and used to "spray" people with his saliva when he talked.

      We don't have a proper shower here. We have a shower nozzle but it's attached to the bath taps and there is no curtain. In any case I don't bathe everyday. I do it every other day because I'm lazy and find that bathing, like getting one's hair cut, is such a chore. Having said that, I do have a rather rigorous facial routine.

      It's interesting, this shift in personal hygiene. Years ago, when people shared bath water, people were more honest and upheld Christian morals. We all knew the LORD's Prayer. I used to work with a woman who brushed her teeth at every break after drinking tea or coffee, or eating something. This same woman is not the sort you'd want to take home to your mother, to put it mildly. So it's interesting that people have become more personally hygienic but at the same time morally lapsed. Rather like what Christ said about the Pharisees about washing the outside of the cup, yet within...

    2. "like getting one's hair cut..." - You know my position on that one.

  3. Just another thought. You can always crap behind a tree. I would be more concerned about medicine and surgery in those days.

  4. You don't even have to imagine what plumbing was in those days. If you will remember your Samuel Pepys, he spoke of a time when, in order to change the alleged plumbing of his house, they removed thousands of 'turds' from the outhouse which was built into the basement of his house.

    Patrick, you silly speccy git, if you lived in those days, you would long have been dead of cholera, of dysentery, or of measles. Even vaccination only became available in 1801, let alone proper sanitation, which was available after Pasteur in the late 19th century, or antibiotics, which last was a 20th century phenomenon. Please do get real.

    Again, Patrick, I am sorry that your life currently sucks, to use the Yank vernacular. Mine does too. The difference between us is that you still have your mother's and your father's love, and a place to stay. My first wife died, horribly, in my arms, twenty two years ago. I'm still recovering emotionally from that. My second wife is dying now. When she dies, I will be homeless, as her income from disability ends at that point.

    Sorry to be so crass. I just put my wife to bed now. I don't know how many days she will be there so that I can do that. It breaks my heart to know that.