Thursday 3 January 1660/61

Early in the morning to the Exchequer, where I told over what money I had of my Lord’s and my own there, which I found to be 970l.. Thence to Will’s, where Spicer and I eat our dinner of a roasted leg of pork which Will did give us, and after that to the Theatre, where was acted “Beggars’ Bush,” it being very well done; and here the first time that ever I saw women come upon the stage.1 From thence to my father’s, where I found my mother gone by Bird, the carrier, to Brampton, upon my uncle’s great desire, my aunt being now in despair of life. So home.

  1. Downes does not give the cast of this play. After the Restoration the acting of female characters by women became common. The first English professional actress was Mrs. Coleman, who acted Ianthe in Davenant’s “Siege of Rhodes,” at Rutland House in 1656.

11 Annotations

Paul Miller   Link to this

"to the Theatre, where was acted "Beggars' Bush," it being very well done”

Beggar’s Bush (1622)
a comedy by Fletcher & Massinger

Set in and around Bruges (Belgium). Florenz is heir to Flanders but does not know it; he is living as a rich merchant in Bruges. He loves Bertha; she is heiress of Brabant but does not know it; she has been stolen away and placed with the mayor of Bruges. Florenz’s father, Gerrard, the earl of Flanders, has been driven from his lands by Wolfort and is living as the leader of a band of beggars near Bruges, while he watches over Florenz. Wolfort wants to marry Bertha in order to gain Brabant. He sends a nobleman, Hubert, to get Bertha for him; Hubert loves Jacqueline, Gerrard’s daughter, who is living with her father among the beggars. He joins the beggars, helps Gerrard capture Wolfort, and all is well. Florenz and Bertha marry.

Pauline   Link to this

The Beggars Bush (?1622); John Fletcher, Beaumont (?), Philip Massinger

" is worth reading for its “version of pastoral,” which genially persuades the audience that it is better to be a country beggar than a tyrannical king."

http://search.eb.com/shakespeare/micro/211/91.html

The geniality noted seems to have brought the title down through the ages as a name for houses/estates and suburban neighborhoods.

Emilio   Link to this

"here the first time that ever I saw women come upon the stage"

We hit a major turning point in Sam's theatre-going career. L&M have a lengthy footnote on the introduction of women to the English stage, which I've posted here:

http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/289/

Today isn't the first appearance of a woman on the English stage, but it certainly hasn't happened many times before now.

vincent   Link to this

Nix did annot :Tuesday 20 November 1660: our Man did see it then :
"...where the play of "Beggar's Bush" was newly begun; and so we went in and saw it, it was well acted: and here I saw the first time one Moone, who is said to be the best actor in the world, lately come over with the King, and indeed it is the finest play-house, I believe, that ever was in England….”

Mary   Link to this

Bird the carrier.

According to L&M Companion, Bird/Beard arrived at his London terminus, an inn in Cripplegate, every Wednesday and returned to Huntingdon the following morning. During the period of the diary there were between 200 and 300 carrier services operating to and from London. Mostly they carried goods and letters, but also took passengers when need arose. Probably not a very comfortable journey for Mrs. Pepys Senior.

Lawrence   Link to this

Where I found my mother gone by bird, the carrier, to Brampton, "I suppose she made these arrangements at the last minute?" so would that mean she was lucky to make the journey with Bird?, I mean it is towards a university town, so presumably others would be to-ing and fro-ing there all the time, and you could rely on him not to get you lost.

Mary   Link to this

Last minute arrangements.

Bird would probably have made room for Mrs. Pepys Sr. even if hers was a last-minute request. He gets quite a lot of business from both Pepys and Sandwich, carrying goods and mail between London and Huntingdon on their behalf, and would certainly have tried to oblige Sam's mother if at all possible.

Gar Foyer   Link to this

It's amusing to see contemporary annotators think of this partcular theatre-going milestone moment of Pepys's as a sign of the slowness of progress...when his diary commences Sam is dizzy with the heady perfume of newfound cultural freedom whereas months before plays had been still officially banned although the ban had not been generally enforced since the apogee of Puritan rule.

Mere months from now the debauchery of the Stuart court will help populate English theatres with actresses whose very attraction is their reputation for lasciviousness and bawdy behaviour:

Think of a a name still synonmous with the actress-mistress duality--Nell Gwyn..."'pretty, witty Nell', as Pepys called her, charmed not only the King but his subjects - who cordially disliked most of his other mistresses, in particular the Catholic Frenchwoman Louise de Keroualle. When crowds booed Nell's carriage, thinking she was Louise, she leaned out of the window and called 'I am the Protestant whore!' "

Lawrence   Link to this

Thanks Mary, I see nothing changes with time, Most small business' would certainly accommodate Mrs Pepys snr, with that amount of business in mind.

vincent   Link to this

The waggon left wednesday [and this being a thurs day? ] and saturday for Huntington, from Co. Red Lion, Aldersgatestreet, w. s. Wag. ditto, m.
http://www.londonancestor.com/stow/stow-coaches...

Mary   Link to this

Coaching timetable

Nice site, Vincent; though it does show the arrangements for 1722, rather than 1660, so perhaps not an exact guide to what Pepys could count on.

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