Customer Review

February 7, 2010
A day in the good life in the 1660s goes something like this.

"Up by 4 o'clock in the morning, and read Cicero's Second Oration against Catiline, which pleased me exceedingly; and more I discern therein than ever I thought was to be found in him." (p. 6)

After this we set out to "walk as far as the Temple, doing some business in my way at my bookseller's and elsewhere" (p. 37). One does not return without "having first discoursed with Mr. Hooke a little, whom we met in the streete, about the nature of sounds, and he did make me understand the nature of musicall sounds made by strings, mighty prettily; and told me that having come to a certain number of vibrations proper to making any tone, he is able to tell how many strokes a fly makes with her wings (those flies that hum in their flying) by the note that it answers to in musique" (p. 37).

In the afternoon, a visit to the Royal Society for some experiments. Perhaps we try to kill some animals with the vacuum pump---as the poet put it: "Out of the glasse the Ayre being screwed \\ Pusse dyed and ne're so much as mewed" (p. 117)---except that "we could not quite kill her, with such a way" for "the air being in upon her revives her immediately" (p. 65). Or perhaps we try "that notable experiment of opening a dog, and laying bare his lungs, and blowing into him with bellows, keeping him thus alive as long as we pleased" (p. 66). Or---if we don't want to overthink it---we could just give a dog some opium: "the effects whereof became manifest ... for he immediately began to nod and reel as he walk'd; whereupon ... I order'd him to be kept awake by whipping" (p. 69). All in the name of science, of course.

"In the evening comes Mr. Reeves, with a twelve-foote glasse" to observe the moon and the planets "till one in the morning", after which it is off "to bed mighty sleepy, but with much pleasure" (p. 23).

A bad day, on the other hand, goes like this: "Much against my will staid out the whole church ... but I did entertain myself with my perspective glass up and down the church, by which I had the great pleasure of seeing and gazing at a great many very fine women; and with that, and sleeping, I passed away the time till sermon was done." (pp. 22-23)
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