Monday 16 December 1661

Up by five o’clock this morning by candlelight (which I have not done for many a day), being called upon by one Mr. Bollen by appointment, who has business to be done with my Lord Privy Seal this morning, and so by coach, calling Mr. Moore at the Wardrobe, to Chelsy, and there did get my Lord to seal it. And so back again to Westminster Hall, and thence to my Lord Sandwich’s lodging, where I met my wife (who had been to see Mrs. Hunt who was brought to bed the other day of a boy), and got a joint of meat thither from the Cook’s, and she and I and Sarah dined together, and after dinner to the Opera, where there was a new play (“Cutter of Coleman Street”), made in the year 1658, with reflections much upon the late times; and it being the first time, the pay was doubled, and so to save money, my wife and I went up into the gallery, and there sat and saw very well; and a very good play it is. It seems of Cowly’s making. From thence by coach home, and to bed.

20 Annotations

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"up by 5 o'clock this morning"
At what time does the sun come up in London this time of the year?

Alan Bedford  •  Link

"...where there was a new play ('Cutter of Coleman Street'), made in the year 1658, with reflections much upon the late times…”

This would appear to be a satire on Puritans vs cavaliers, and the self-serving on either side.

From The Cambridge History of English and American Literature located at

“A better written comedy (than Robert Howard’s The Committee), though it was less successful in its day, is Cowley's Cutter of Coleman Street, brought out by D'Avenant among his earliest ventures. While such characters as 'merry, sharking' Cutter, who turns puritan for his worldly welfare and has visions of the downfall of Babylon, are amusing, and the dialogue abounds in clever thrusts at the cant and weaknesses of fallen puritanism, Cowley's comedy cannot be pronounced a dramatic success. Nevertheless, the truthfulness of his portraiture of colonel Jolly, the drunken cavalier, reeling on the edge of dishonesty, and driven in his need to composition with 'the saints,' brought down on the poet's head the displeasure of some who know no vices excepting those that flourish among their enemies.”

Bradford  •  Link

"it being the first time, the pay was doubled, and so to save money, my wife and I went up into the gallery, and there sat and saw very well."

Ah, because of its novelty, the ticket price was twice the norm? But if you waited, and the play failed, there might not be a later discount matinee. So to speak.

daniel  •  Link

"the pay was doubled, and so to save money, "

this is a touching reminder of how close Sam's world and ours is. I still recall going to film matinees as a child and hoping to stay for a second showing unnoticed by ushers, as it was a economical way of spending a rainy afternoon.

JWB  •  Link

Sandwiches at the pied-a-terre? No, the pied-a-terre is Sandwich's.

Bullus Hutton  •  Link

"it being the first time, the pay was doubled ..but if you waited, and the play failed, there might not be a later discount "
Bradford, was it GBS or Wilde who said "Here are two tickets to my opening night. Bring a friend..if you have one"
And the response was: "Busy that night. Will attend your second night.. if you have one"

A. De Araujo  •  Link

Thanks Overgaauw, no wonder they have been staying in bed until late,lately

Stolzi  •  Link

"Cutter, an old word for a rough swaggerer"

Good heavens, could we have a survival here of a seventeenth-century word? My mother, fifty years ago in the South, would shake her head and say of a really unconventional, perhaps "fast," type, "She's a cutter!"

More of women than men, as I recall.

vicenzo  •  Link

'cut' or 'cutter' appears NOT to have been derived directly from any Latin origin, but the English word did provide so many offspring even for a simple dictionary. I'm sure I will read a cutting remark, as I cut a swash thru a bunch of cut throats wearing my cutty sark [?beeing a X dresser?],before cutting my jib.

language hat  •  Link

cutter (OED):
3. a. One over-ready to resort to weapons; a bully, bravo; also, a cutthroat, highway-robber. Obs.

1568 GRAFTON Chron. II. 85 He.. gathered together a companye of Roysters and Cutters, and practised robberyes. 1581 G. PETTIE Guazzo's Civ. Conv. III. 135b, Like these cutters, and hackers, who will take the wall of men, and picke quarrells. 1607 R. C. tr. H. Stephen's World of Wonders 95 A theefe, or rather a cutter by the high way. 1734 NORTH Lives II. 57 His infirmities were passion, in which he would swear like a cutter [etc.]. 1826 SCOTT Woodst. xxvii, I see, sir, you understand cutter's law -- when one tall fellow has coin, another must not be thirsty.

dirk  •  Link

"up by 5 oclock this morning”
That will be about 8.05 o'clock.
re - Adri Overgaauw

As far as I know, in the 17th c the time system with hours of equal length, starting at midnight was commonly used (and the first clocks and watches with two hands were being made to measure time with a high degree of accuracy). I can’t find any reference to the contrary on the site mentioned in Adri’s annotation. Further info on the subject?

Michael Wright  •  Link

"up by 5 o'clock"

I think "o'clock" means what it says, "by the clock" -- that is, equal hours.

Grahamt  •  Link

I think 8:05 was the answer to:
"At what time does the sun come up in London this time of the year?"

Adri Overgaauw  •  Link

Indeed, 8:05 was answer to:
"At what time does the sun come up in London this time of the year?"

vicenzo  •  Link

Five o'clock = five on the clock. When whats said is standard repartois then the least no. of syllables the better. The hour glass be turned every half hour, therefore, there be the unmentioned geezer turning it and ringing the poor old bell at the appropiate times. The Lodgings, I be sure had a man on duty to keep Watch on the street and the glass but like most of the lessers, their important but not noteworthy job be totally unnoticed till he fails in his task. All of the better types of residences have a faceless unknown, who if they had kept a diary, it would be worth a reading on how the betters do live. Now the faceless ones cost too much to have around , so we install cameras and hi tech screeners to filter out the raff riff.

pat Stewart Cavalier  •  Link

vicenzo : cutty sark = short shift (as in petticoat) (see Tam o'shanter by Robert Burns)

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Modern Technology is wonderful: Seething Lane is 51°30'(51.5°)N, 0°04'W. Adding 10 days, today is 26th December in the Gregorian Calendar: therefore the Sun rises about 8:05 and sets around 15:56 by GMT, which would have been close enough to the local time used in Pepys' day. Of course, the Greenwich Meridian had not been though of yet: the first one being set up by Edmond Halley in 1721.

I guess that by "Lord Sandwich’s lodging", Pepys means the 'Grace and favour' apartment which Sandwich had in Whitehall. It seems that he was still maintaining this, despite Lady S moving in at the Wardrobe.

Bill  •  Link

Technology is indeed great, but calculating the sunrise time was, of course, possible in Sam's era. Time zones are a new innovation though, so setting clocks was a task for each locality. William Andrew's ephemeris for 1712 ("Great News From the Stars") lists sunrise time for December 10 as 8:19 and for December 20 as 8:17.

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