Sunday, August 09, 2015

Indignities of a Visiting Monarch

Well! At last I find myself in the happy position of being able to begin this history book that Lee Durkee loaned me about a scandalous murder plot in the court of James I. (I am very sorry to tell you that on page one of the introduction we are informed that the murder weapon may have been "an enema of mercury sublimate." I told you I was sorry!) When I picked it up just now, the book happened to fall open to page 53, upon which Lee had scribbled some marginalia. To be precise, the sole and resonant phrase that Lee had inscribed in the margin was "codpiece fiddling." Ha ha! I emailed him at once to make sure I could transcribe this marginalia onto my "blog" - one can't be too scrupulous in such matters! Lee replied: "Sure, codpiece fiddling can go public. There's a great passage somewhere in that book about a masque of virtues in which all the participants get drunk and attempt to fondle some visiting king, which might be the codpiece fiddling you mentioned." No, as a matter of fact, that is not the same instance of codpiece fiddling which appears on page 53, so there is apparently a rich abundance of codpiece fiddling ahead of me. Of us!