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How Samuel Pepys really dealt with the plague

Pepys wrestled with some of the same questions confronting us today, but approached daily life in a pandemic rather differently

By John Phipps  

John Hayls

One of the more curious effects of this pandemic has been the sudden return to cultural relevance of the 17-century naval administrator and diarist Samuel Pepys. In the week before lockdown, as the public was urged to stay indoors and the newspapers printed disbelieving photographs of rammed parks and high streets, a quote began circulating on Twitter that felt like a warning from history:

On hearing ill rumour that Londoners may soon be urged into their lodgings by Her Majesty’s men, I looked…

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