May 31st, 1669 was the last day that the most famous of diarists, Samuel Pepys made an entry in his journal. Pepys’ eyesight was failing, but he lived another 34 years. Scott’s last entry was made much closer to his own end (April 16th, 1832), within a couple of months.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
‘30th May, 1648. There was a rising now in Kent, my
Lord of Norwich being at the head of them. Their first
rendezvous was in Broome-field, next my house at Sayes
Court, whence they went to Maidstone, and so to Col-
chester, where was that memorable siege. ‘
The passage above is from John Evelyn’s diary. The Royalist rising in Kent is referred to by Walter Scott in “Woodstock”, with Lord Holland involved.
‘…"Not without some danger, though," muttered Louis, thinking of his
encounter with Bevis on the preceding evening.
"No, not without danger, indeed," echoed the knight; "but, as old Will
'There's such divinity doth hedge a king,
That treason dares not peep at what it would.'
"No, no--thank God, that's cared for; our Hope and Fortune is escaped,
so all news affirm, escaped from Bristol--if I thought otherwise,
Albert, I should be as sad as you are. For the rest of it, I have lurked
a month in this house when discovery would have been death, and that is
no longer since than after Lord Holland and the Duke of Buckingham's
rising at Kingston; and hang me, if I thought once of twisting my brow
into such a tragic fold as yours, but cocked my hat at misfortune as a
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
“I took up my politics,” said Sir Walter Scott of his school-days, “as King Charles II did his religion, from an idea that the Cavalier creed was the more gentlemanlike persuasion of the two.”
This quote of Walter Scott’s is found on the Bartleby.com website. May 29th was a significant date for Charles II, for more than one reason. It was his birthday, and his restoration day. Diarist John Evelyn records the restoration:
‘29th May, 1660. This day, his Majesty, Charles II
came to London, after a sad and long exile and calami-
tous suffering both of the King and Church, being seven-
teen years. This was also his birthday, and with a
triumph of above 20,000 horse and foot, brandishing their
swords, and shouting with inexpressible joy; the ways
strewn with flowers, the bells ringing, the streets hung
with tapestry, fountains running with wine; the Mayor,
Aldermen, and all the companies, in their liveries, chains
of gold, and banners ; Lords and Nobles, clad in cloth of
silver, gold, and velvet; the windows and balconies, all
set with ladies; trumpets, music, and myriads of people
flocking, even so far as from Rochester, so as they were
seven hours in passing the city, even from two in the
afternoon till nine at night.
I stood in the Strand and beheld it, and blessed God.
And all this was done without one drop of blood shed,
and by that very army which rebelled against him : but it
was the Lord's doing, for such a restoration was never
mentioned in any history, ancient or modem, since the
return of the Jews from their Babylonish captivity; nor
so joyful a day and so bright ever seen in this nation,
this happening when to expect or effect it was past all
Monday, May 28, 2012
Sunday, May 27, 2012
‘…Notwithstanding the personal friendship betwixt the emperors Alexander and Napoleon – notwithstanding their engagements entered at Tilsit, and so recently revived at Erfurt, it seems to have been impossible to engage Russia heartily as an ally of Napoleon, in a war which had the destruction or absolute humiliation of Austria. The court of St. Petersburg had, it is true, lost no time in securing the advantages which had been stipulated for Russia in the conference alluded to…’
Quoting again today, from Scott’s “Life of Napoleon”. St. Petersburg was founded this day, May 27th, in 1703, by Tsar Peter the Great.