Saturday 23 February 1660/61

This my birthday, 28 years.

This morning Sir W. Batten, Pen, and I did some business, and then I by water to Whitehall, having met Mr. Hartlibb by the way at Alderman Backwell’s. So he did give me a glass of Rhenish wine at the Steeleyard, and so to Whitehall by water. He continues of the same bold impertinent humour that he was always of and will ever be. He told me how my Lord Chancellor had lately got the Duke of York and Duchess, and her woman, my Lord Ossory’s and a Doctor, to make oath before most of the judges of the kingdom, concerning all the circumstances of their marriage. And in fine, it is confessed that they were not fully married till about a month or two before she was brought to bed; but that they were contracted long before, and time enough for the child to be legitimate.1 But I do not hear that it was put to the judges to determine whether it was so or no.

To my Lord and there spoke to him about his opinion of the Light, the sea-mark that Captain Murford is about, and do offer me an eighth part to concern myself with it, and my Lord do give me some encouragement in it, and I shall go on. I dined herewith Mr. Shepley and Howe. After dinner to Whitehall Chappell with Mr. Child, and there did hear Captain Cooke and his boy make a trial of an Anthem against tomorrow, which was brave musique.

Then by water to Whitefriars to the Play-house, and there saw “The Changeling,” the first time it hath been acted these twenty years, and it takes exceedingly. Besides, I see the gallants do begin to be tyred with the vanity and pride of the theatre actors who are indeed grown very proud and rich.

Then by link home, and there to my book awhile and to bed.

I met to-day with Mr. Townsend, who tells me that the old man is yet alive in whose place in the Wardrobe he hopes to get my father, which I do resolve to put for.

I also met with the Comptroller, who told me how it was easy for us all, the principal officers, and proper for us, to labour to get into the next Parliament; and would have me to ask the Duke’s letter, but I shall not endeavour it because it will spend much money, though I am sure I could well obtain it. This is now 28 years that I am born. And blessed be God, in a state of full content, and great hopes to be a happy man in all respects, both to myself and friends.


45 Annotations

Glyn  •  Link

"Birthday" has its own link under Holidays and Events at http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/410/

Pepys seems very matter-of-fact about his birthday, and he was last year as well:

http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1660/02/23/anno...

". To my Lord and there spoke to him about his opinion of the Light, the sea-mark that Captain Murford is about".

Sea-mark was "Any elevated object on land which serves as a guide to mariners; a beacon; a landmark visible from the sea, as a hill, a tree, a steeple, or the like." So it wasn't necessarily a lighthouse, but did the same task.

,

Nix  •  Link

"it takes exceedingly" --

There are so many different usages of the verb "take" that it is unclear which sense Samuel means. One possibility (from OED):

"e. absol. or intr. To assume authority or importance; sometimes in good sense, to behave bravely or valiantly (quot. c 1470), to put oneself forward, assert oneself (quot. 1720); usually in bad sense, = to take too much upon one, to behave presumptuously or haughtily, assume airs. Obs."

(The citations under this meaning include one from the diary, but much later.)

The Bishop  •  Link

The Changeling is on-line here.

http://www.tech.org/~cleary/change.html

This was actually one of the best Jacobean plays, far better than most of the non-Shakespearean plays he has seen so far.

Bradford  •  Link

"it takes exceedingly" =
"it is being very well-received," i.e., it's a hit.

Josh  •  Link

Much talk of late pro and con about Pepys's behavior in matters of manners or mores. Given shorter lifespans then, maybe 28 should have been older and wiser than it would be now---but recall some of the things you did (or are doing, or expect to be doing) at 28, mea culpa. And a thriving young fellow who puts being "a happy man" ahead of being rich, top of his tree, envy of others, etcet, has his head on pretty straight in any era.

daniel  •  Link

"captain cook and his boy make a trial...brave musique"

this is a charming review from a discerning listener. My impression is that Sam finds this worthy piece of music but taxingly performed.

vincent  •  Link

Steeleyard - long history :"...So he did give me a glass of Rhenish wine at the Steeleyard..." Wine should be the best from Germany:
"...Steelyard, Merchants of the, German hanse, or merchants guild, residing at the Steelyard on the Thames near the present Ironbridge Wharf at London, England.........and in 1598 the Steelyard was closed....'
Home from home for Mr Hartlybb he being from the hanseatic area
http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/history/A0846602....
Steelyard (The) -A place on the Thames extending north to Upper Thames Street lying between Dowgate west and All Hallows Lane east in Dowgate Ward (O. and M, 1677), occupied for many centuries by the merchants of the Hanseatic League.
First mention : " Le Steelyerde," 8 Rich. II. (Cal. I. p.m. (77)). Other forms : " Stilehof " or " stileyerd," 1475 (Cal. P.R. Ed. IV. 1467-77, p.509). "Styleyard," 1484 (Jupp's History of the Carpenters' Co., p.142). " Stiliarde," 1555 (Ct. H.W. II. 659). " Still Yard " (O. and M. 1677). " The Stylliard," 1720 (Strype).
http://www.motco.com/Harben/5119.htm
Steelyard scales introduced to Britain by Romans.
http://www.herbertgroup.com/corporate-weighhist...
Steeleyard,
http://ina.tamu.edu/TL-Roman.htm

Pauline  •  Link

'did hear Captain Cooke and his boy make a trial of an Anthem against tomorrow, which was brave musique"
Daniel, I read "trial against tomorrow" as a rehearsal for tomorrow's service.

And "brave music" as well done by them, or complex and well done in the execution, or the music complex and moving in and of itself.

vincent  •  Link

Investment time. All those half crowns[etc.,] lying around not earning their keep. "...To my Lord and there spoke to him about his opinion of the Light, the sea-mark that Captain Murford is about, and do offer me an eighth part to concern myself with it, and my Lord do give me some encouragement in it, and I shall go on...."

vincent  •  Link

Josh: you are so right, even Syrus, in his maxims doth agree:
Pecuniae imperare oportet, non servire.
Don't be a slave to the gold or as he put it Money should be mastered, not served .
nummus rex

vincent  •  Link

We even use to-day "bravo...." for a great piece of work well rendered.

Alistair Clayton  •  Link

Pepys' birthday. Glyn, I don't read it a Pepys being matter-of-fact about his birthday - I think it is significant for him. He may not celebrate his birthday with others as far as we can tell, but he is thinking about his birthday in both his opening and closing sentences.

He looks back and takes stock - thankful he is alive and well, content in himself and with his friendships.

What would be the life expectancy of someone of Pepys' status?

Jackie  •  Link

It seems that actors being exceedingly proud and rich isn't exactly new then.

A couple of Centuries earlier, they'd have been barely considered better than vagabonds.

andy  •  Link

Happy birthday,Sam! and yes, a time of reflection indeed:
"Besides, I see the gallants do begin to be tyred with the vanity and pride of the theatre actors who are indeed grown very proud and rich."

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"do offer me an eighth part to concern myself with it"
I don't understand why Sam would value part ownership of a lighthouse (or its equivalent). I can't imagine a business model that would make it profitable, in any century. Necessary, of course, but how would you get anyone to pay for using it? Anyone have any theories?

Kevin Sheerstone  •  Link

"...an eighth part to concern myself with it..."

Paul, I think Sam has decided that there is some money to be made. The Corporation of Trinity House had been responsible for such navigation aids since the late 16th. century, but it was not a monopoly - see:

http://www.history.ac.uk/gh/thouse.htm

At this point Sam is not a member ('brother') of Trinity House, but he will soon become one. It will be interesting to see if he comments on what might appear, in this day and age, to be a conflict of interest.

Pedro.  •  Link

This is now 28 years that I am born. And blessed be God, in a state of full content, and great hopes to be a happy man in all respects, both to myself and friends.
We have seen that Sam goes to Church on Sundays, he sometimes says prayers before going to bed and he prays to thank God for his good fortune. Have we every heard that he prays for someone other than himself?

Emilio  •  Link

"the theatre actors who are indeed grown very proud and rich"

Sam overstates here. "At this time Charles Hart, the leading actor of the King's company, was receiving 3l. per week; after their marriage in 1662 Betterton and his wife, the leading players in the Duke of York's Company, jointly received 5l. per week." In a good week, Sam receives more than this in 'acknowledgments' alone.

Interestingly, Hart was a grand-nephew of Shakespeare, and is reputed to have been Nell Gwyn's lover before Charles.
See http://39.1911encyclopedia.org/H/HA/HART_CHARLE... and
http://www.bbc.co.uk/herefordandworcester/cultu...

For his part, Betterton was known for his voice, esp. his dramatic intonation:
http://www.geocities.com/scriblerus_uk/Betterto...

Emilio  •  Link

"This my Birth day, 28 yeeres."

As a matter of curiosity, this is one of the large headings that Pepys sometimes put in his diary, and that have come up in discussion occasionally.

L&M have it in a larger typeface above the rest of the entry, with 'This my' in regular font and the rest in italics. As best I can guess this means that 'This my' is in shorthand and 'Birth day, 28 yeeres' written out in longhand. This is the first of these larger headings that I can remember seeing in L&M up to this point.

The quote in the last anno, btw, was an L&M footnote of course.

Emilio  •  Link

Money to be made from lighthouses

Here's an answer to your question, Paul. A few years from now Batten will get a patent for building lighthouses, and L&M provide this additional info:

"[The patent] secured the revenue to him and his assigns for 61 years. The tolls levied were to be 1/2 d. per ton on English ships, and 1d. a ton on foreign. His will (1665) shows these revenues as forming a large part of his assets."

Emilio  •  Link

"the old man is yet alive in whose place in the Wardrobe he hopes to get my father"

This is the place of yeoman tailor, currently held by John Young, Sr., according to L&M. Apparently he's young at heart as well as in name, because he will live until 1667. Sam does not get the position for his father at that point, though; he has other things to think about I guess.

Kim  •  Link

Happy Birthday Sam. What a joy you have been to me these past two years!

Jesse  •  Link

"the theatre actors who are indeed grown very proud and rich"

I wouldn’t be surprised if the actors also received some sum of "acknowledgments" of one sort or another. Perhaps from wealthy patrons?

Lawrence  •  Link

To my Lord and there spoke to him about his opinion of the light, the sea-mark that Captain Murford is about. This is probably the scheme for the erection of a lighthouse at the mouth of the Humber.
L.M.

Lawrence  •  Link

Captain cooke and his boy make a trial of an Anthem against tomorrow, which was brave musique. L&M have the word rare instead of brave, but I reckon it has the very same meaning when used in this context.

Alan Bedford  •  Link

According to Emilio's note above, Charles Hall is earning L.3 per week as the star of the King's company. If he's working the full year, that's L.150, three times what Sam was earning a year ago. In comparison, a building craftsman would have been making about 18p a day, or 9 shillings per week http://privatewww.essex.ac.uk/~alan/family/N-Mo...

In those days, 150 a year was probably more than reasonable money (plus Nell Gwyn on the side!)

vincent  •  Link

Rewards for effort.'Tis like those asst. profs getting L18K against top profs. getting in excess L100,000 a year. One counts his change, the other enjoys the benefits without thought. 'Tis life.

Glyn  •  Link

a glass of Rhenish wine at the Steelyard

It was probably in this place:

http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/527/

Obviously the Rhenish wine house in the Stilliyard lasted longer than the above link thought.

The Bishop  •  Link

Pepys doesn't mean the actors have become wealthy. He means that they have started dressing richly on the stage.

"Besides, I see the gallants do begin to be tyred with the vanity and pride of the theatre actors who are indeed grown very proud and rich."

'Tyred' here means 'attired'. In other words, young men who attend plays have begun to copy the lavish fashions used on the stage.

Those fashions would probably be derived from French stage conventions.

vincent  •  Link

To The Bishop, thanks, 1 denarius/10 asses did drop.

Alan Bedford  •  Link

Bishop - I understand; you interpret that as "rich" in the sense of extravagant, lavish or sumptuous. It makes sense. I doubt that most actors earned star wages any more than they do today.

Emilio  •  Link

'brave'/'rare'

A month ago the word 'rare' in Pepys's journal also showed up as 'brave' in Wheatley: http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1661/01/30/

This slip may well be from the transcript HW was using. Since we know the transcribing was done more or less by a poorly paid grad student figuring out the shorthand from scratch, he could easily have decided that that particular symbol equalled 'brave' and stuck with it. And with guides to Shelton's shorthand sitting just a few shelves over, too . . . poor guy.

Glyn  •  Link

But it would make more sense if the audiences were getting tired of the airs and graces of the actors, who are probably playing to sell-out houses every night and feeling pretty good about themselves.

In one of the links to the theatre there was the story about the leading actor Kynnaston who once held up the start of some Play even though Charles II was in the audience. When told he was delaying the King, he said that the "King" would just have to wait until the "Queen" was shaved. Charles took the jest in good part, but if you make your audiences wait, you may get a reputation for arrogance.

Pauline  •  Link

"...it takes exceedingly. Besides, I see the gallants do begin to be tyred with the vanity and pride of the theatre actors..."
Might it be that Sam is saying this play stands out above the others seen recently, that going to plays has lost the excitement of being newly allowed and has become an exercise in watching strutting actors; that such plays of greater merit will be needed to hold future audiences--or at least serious audiences.

Mike Barnas  •  Link

A couple of Centuries back they'd have been considered little better than vagabonds.

Actually, the transformation is little more than a century old. The attention paid to actors by the Court and especially by Elizabeth seems to have carried the process farther and faster in England than elsewhere. Shakespeare was able to buy a title for his father, making himself a hereditary noble. Moliere, roughly contemporaneous with Ben Jonson, played at the French Court, but he was denied burial in consecrated ground and had a huge quantity of his autograph writings burned by a scandalized provincial cleric after his death.

Part of the difference was the number of pemanent theaters in London under Elizabeth and James I. Much of the prejudice against actors came from their being on the road almost constantly, carrying disease and newfangled notions, and well aware that if they blow town in time they can escape the wrath of local worthies time and again.

dirk  •  Link

Life expectancy

re Alistair

From the same Dutch site as previous graph on height:
http://www.worldorder.nl/Demaximalegemiddeldele...

Apparently these figures have been calculated on the basis of huge numbers of data. Still, they should be handled with some care: rich people were in a far better position to take care of their health - and would live longer - than poor people. The figures give are population averages, so somewhere in between, and closer to poor people's life expectancy (as there were more poor people than rich).

vincent  •  Link

Life expectancy, averages tell only one story, good for the insurance companies. Going thru the familly tree I was struck by a no of survivors that made the no. 84.[thru 400 + yrs] just because the average goes up it, will not mean many, if any WILL live to 200 yrs. The course run is the same distance, yer just have cleared more of the hurdles that are put in the way . It means more will collect the queens telegram then fade away, until we cure the following.
"... All the worlds a stage and all the the men and women merely players.......
sans teeth,sans eyes,sans taste, sans everything...."
As you [might] like it, act 2, sc 7.

StewartMcI  •  Link

Averages versus expectation...

Any "average" life expectancy is indeed wildly misleading. The average was dragged down by infantile mortality, childhood diseases, and for women, the very real risks of childbirth. Sam having reached male adulthood has already beaten the odds and despite many dangers can reasonably look forward a decade or three, ot four.

ray  •  Link

Even in Antiquity, living into your 80s was not considered extraordinary enough to warrant comment. And the bible considered the normal span of a man's life "three score and ten".

dirk  •  Link

Life expectancy

Still, the facts (and figures) remain
1990: 65 yrs
1780: 37.6 yrs
(averages from the tables mentioned above).

Even though these figures by themselves are not very meaningful (I agree with Vincent and Stewart) the comparison has some value: 37.6 is merely 58 % of 65 !!!

Linda Camidge  •  Link

Doesn't "happy in all respects" mean fortunate - so material comfort and security (ie at that date naked wealth) would be a large factor? We're still 150 years away from the Romantic notion of the poor but contented peasant/artisan

Bill  •  Link

"To my Lord and there spoke to him about his opinion of the Light, the sea-mark that Captain Murford is about, and do offer me an eighth part to concern myself with it, and my Lord do give me some encouragement in it, and I shall go on."

If these sea-marks can be privatized, who then pays for them? Like turnpikes, it seems to be the ships who use them and Trinity House grants the license to build:

"The master, wardens, assistants, and elder brethren, are by charter invested with the following powers:
...
3. The settling the several rates of pilotage, and erecting light-houses, and other sea-marks upon the several coasts of the kingdom, for the security of navigation; to which light-houses all ships pay one halfpenny a ton."
---The Complete Dictionary of Arts and Sciences. T.H. Crocker, 1765.

Trinity House, Deptford: http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/939/

william wright  •  Link

RE HANSA.
My home town of King's Lynn mentioned by SP a short while ago has the only
remaining Hansa building in the whole of the UK. It stands on the South quay
on the river Gt Ouse.

Gillian Bagwell  •  Link

Regarding the comment, "Given shorter lifespans then" and the following discussion--there's often confusion between life expectancy and what was considered old in centuries past. If a baby dies and an 80-year-old dies, the average age at death was forty years, but that doesn't mean someone was old or considered old at forty.

Infant mortality was very high and a higher percentage of children died than we're used to. Women died in childbirth. People died from injuries and diseases that today wouldn't be fatal. So the average age may have been lower, but that's different than the age at which someone was considered old.

About the status of actors, there were no professional actors before the second half of the sixteenth century, and that's counting the companies patronized by noblemen. By the end of sixteenth century, the queen patronized a company. By the time Cromwell shut down the playhouses, acting was a profession, with a regular apprentice system. He put a lot of people out of work who were then in truly desperate straits, and he wouldn't permit them to go abroad where they could have made a living.

Still, actors weren't considered anything close to equal to upper-class people then or in Pepys's time. The women were regarded as fair game with no consequences, and King Charles threw actors in jail more than once for impertinence (Katherine Corey, for lampooning Lady Harvey, and John Lacy for what the king considered mocking him and the court in "The Change of Crowns).

I think that Sam's comment that the gallants (upper-class young men) were "grown tyred" of the actors for their pride and vanity does mean that they resented the actors for what they considered getting above themselves. The actors weren't rich by any standard (especially the women, who earned less than men), though the leading actors had shares in the playhouse. \

The gallants certainly wouldn't have copied what the actors wore onstage, which was frequently cast-offs from real nobles and royalty. (Charles let them the playhouse use his coronation robes for "Henry V.")

There was more than one instance of violence against theatre people who their "betters" thought needed taking down a peg or two. The actor Ned Kynaston was badly beaten, and the rumor was that it was arranged by Sir Charles Sedley. The playwright John Dryden was beaten in Rose Alley, possibly by a gang hired by Lord Rochester.

Actors might be fun to watch and bed, but they weren't supposed to think themselves equal with gentlemen!

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