Wednesday 25 September 1661

By coach with Sir W. Pen to Covent Garden. By the way, upon my desire, he told me that I need not fear any reflection upon my Lord for their ill success at Argier, for more could not be done than was done. I went to my cozen, Thos. Pepys, there, and talked with him a good while about our country business, who is troubled at my uncle Thomas his folly, and so we parted; and then meeting Sir R. Slingsby in St. Martin’s Lane, he and I in his coach through the Mewes, which is the way that now all coaches are forced to go, because of a stop at Charing Cross, by reason of a drain there to clear the streets. To Whitehall, and there to Mr. Coventry, and talked with him, and thence to my Lord Crew’s and dined with him, where I was used with all imaginable kindness both from him and her. And I see that he is afraid that my Lord’s reputacon will a little suffer in common talk by this late success; but there is no help for it now. The Queen of England (as she is now owned and called) I hear doth keep open Court, and distinct at Lisbon. Hence, much against my nature and will, yet such is the power of the Devil over me I could not refuse it, to the Theatre, and saw “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” ill done. And that ended, with Sir W. Pen and Sir G. More to the tavern, and so home with him by coach, and after supper to prayers and to bed. In full quiet of mind as to thought, though full of business, blessed be God.

21 Annotations

Pedro.   Link to this

"I hear doth keep open Court, and distinct at Lisbon"

Could this be interpreted as meaning that Catherine enjoys the limelight, and revels in her new-found identity? Maybe the start of many misconceptions.

Pedro.   Link to this

"Hence, much against my nature and will, yet such is the power of the Devil over me I could not refuse it"

One can imagine the battle of Sam's will against the Devil, not to go to the theatre, but when the Devil starts on Sam's nature he has no chance!

Leo Starrenburg   Link to this

"In full quiet of mind as to thought, though full of business, blessed be God."

A perfect state of mind to end the day with, all is well and it will be better tomorrow.

Louis   Link to this

If memory serves, Pepys hasn't seen a Shakespeare play yet that he has cared for, though if we saw the versions he did the anomaly might be explained.

daniel   Link to this

indeed, sam does not seem fond of the Bard.

Also, theaters have just be opened and the companies probably still need to work though stagecraft and artistic problems for this new demanding audience. Sam could be noticing technical errors or uninspired direction from green-horn or out-of-shape players.

Pauline   Link to this

"Hence, much against my nature and will, yet such is the power of the Devil over me I could not refuse it, to the Theatre....and to bed. In full quiet of mind as to thought...blessed be God."

Do you suppose he is smiling as he writes this "against my nature" part? He sure shows no remorse as he tucks himself in. At times he does seem genuinely repentant about drinking etc., but here I wonder if he isn't revelling in the deviltry of the theatre. "The devil made me do it" kind of humor, with reference to all those years when theatre was banned. I think he merrily accepts his personal interest in the theatre. And he may be playing on the "guilt" of going, once again, without Elizabeth, who has made an issue of being included.

daniel   Link to this

"devil made me do it"

hmm, i am not so sure. since Sam mentions his comflicts of conscience so often (and more and more, if i remember correctly) i would suspect that the remorse is genuine.

GrahamT   Link to this

"Devil made me do it":
As Oscar Wilde was to say some years later: "I can resist everything except temptation."

Grahamt   Link to this

Forced to divert because of road works at Charing Cross.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.

E   Link to this

Interesting what he does when he returns from a few days away -- a round of talking to people to catch up with the news, and to impart some to Cousin Thomas.

Xjy   Link to this

"devil made me do it"
I’m with Daniel here. The great thing about Sam is that he is so naive about/indifferent to his deeper motivations. He’s got such a pious, subordinate NCO-like veneration for his betters (all those posh officers) that he thinks all he has to do is to be good and keep his nose clean and all will be well. The main chance is there to be taken, and the only problem is that there are so many others out to take it besides Sam. However, as should be obvious to those accustomed to the mindset and worldview of the mass of Telegraph readers, the world doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to… One little slip, and you plummet into the open cesspool of the News of the World… The upper ether is out of bounds ;-) (I mean, who actually reads Le Monde Diplomatique??)
Sam is our Eyes-Wide-Shut reporter from Restoration England…

Harry   Link to this

he told me that I need not fear any reflection upon my Lord for their ill success at Argier, for more could not be done than was done.

Can anyone throw more light on this comment? What was he trying to achieve and in what manner did he fail to do so?

Ruben   Link to this

"he told me that I need not fear any reflection upon my Lord for their ill success at Argier, for more could not be done than was done."
Pepys anxiety is: if "my Lord" falls out of favor with the King because of a mediocre campaign in Algiers, then Pepys is finished.
Sir W. Pen reassured him that there is no purge in the near future.

helena murphy   Link to this

To add a contemporary touch,Sandwich was also trying to achieve the release of British hostages captured by Algerian pirates who had the full support of the local rulers for their maritime activities. Hostage taking was a lucrative source of income for Algeria and Libya, satellites of the Ottoman empire ,right throughout the 17th century and into the 18th century.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

One wonders how conqueror of Jamaica, Admiral Sir William Penn felt about being left on land during the Algiers campaign. He seems quite content in his conversation to Sam, perhaps knowing the odds against a major success and for a disappointment were high...

Much better to be in London attending "Merry Wives..." (which I assume he did as he seems to like theater as much as Sam) and to the tavern...

JWB   Link to this

Tangier, Montagu instead of Penn
Montagu was familiar with Tangier having scouted the place for Cromwell with intent to establish base at entrance of Med.

David Ross McIrvine   Link to this

JOYCE TIME

"As for fay Elizabeth, otherwise carrotty Bess, the gross virgin who inspired the Merry Wives of Windsor, let some meinherr from Almany grope his life long for deephid meanings in the depths of the buckbasket."

*Ulysses*

Sam never liked this play and neither it seems did Stephen.

andy   Link to this

By coach with Sir W. Pen to Covent Garden

wasn't this the chap who was the subject of Sam's tomfoolery? See 1 September:

Here we were very merry with Sir W. Pen about the loss of his tankard, though all be but a cheat, and he do not yet understand it;

I bet that was an interesting journey...!

And yes, roadworks at Charing Cross, again...

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"By coach with Sir W. Pen to Covent Garden...wasn't this the chap who was the subject of Sam's tomfoolery?”

Sir Will P continues to show an almost amazing tolerance for young Pepys the landlubber… But then, dealing with his own son Will the Quaker had probably caused him to learn a degree of patience.

Pedro.   Link to this

"I need not fear any reflection upon my Lord for their ill success at Argier, for more could not be done than was done."

As Ruben says, Sam is uneasy, the Letters may reflect the beginning of the realisation that Tangier is not all that that it's cracked up to be. Charles called it a jewel of immense value in the royal diadem, but the Portuguese were glad to get rid of it, being continually attacked by the Moors. Montagu had been sent to take possession until the arrival of the garrison (January 1662) and on arrival Montagu found the Portuguese under pressure and put 300 men ashore. At this point in the Diary we do not know happens, but the old sea dog Pen may know more than Sam, and does not seem very worried.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

the Mewes ~ stables

There are Mews of various sorts north and northwest of Charing Cross
http://www.motco.com/map/81002/SeriesSearchPlat...

The first set of stables to be referred to as a mews was at Charing Cross at the western end of The Strand. The royal hawks were kept at this site from 1377 and the name derives from the fact that they were confined there at moulting (or “mew”) time. / The building was destroyed by fire in 1534 and rebuilt as a stables, keeping its former name when it acquired this new function. ... / This building was usually known as the King's Mews, but was also sometimes referred to as the Royal Mews, the Royal Stables, or as the Queen's Mews when there was a woman on the throne. It was rebuilt again in 1732 to the designs of William Kent.... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Mews

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.