24 April 2007

The One where I Find Stuff

It was Wednesday. Another gloriously sunny day here in Belgium, and I was getting a little cranky at having to stay cooped up in an archives in the middle of a remarkably-unattractive neighborhood in Brussels. I was sweeping quickly through a rekening (a ledger), looking at the income and expenses of a Confraternity at Saint-Gudula in Brussels. I was looking to see if the con had ever purchased music similar to that written by Peter Philips for their devotional services. And, low and behold, this is what I found:

A rough translation: Peter Philips was actually a member of this confraternity! And not only was he a member, but he was such a prestigious member that he could afford to establish an annual mass given in his name. And see that little word in front of the one in front of his name? Wylen. It means "recently deceased." I already knew that he had died in this particular year (1628), but now we may have a good idea of where he is buried. (Shall I grab a shovel?) This little bit of information basically unlocks a whole new part of his life that no one has ever explored. Until now. Feeling that Mr. Burns urge again: "Ah, Smithers . . . "

Though it would have been better if I had found this last fall, for now this could not be a more timely find. Earlier that day I was getting so discouraged that the only thing that lifted my spirits was this. But I warn you, only look at it if you dare: it's a rather R-rated entry!

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