Thursday 1 January 1662/63

Lay with my wife at my Lord’s lodgings, where I have been these two nights, till 10 o’clock with great pleasure talking, then I rose and to White Hall, where I spent a little time walking among the courtiers, which I perceive I shall be able to do with great confidence, being now beginning to be pretty well known among them. Then to my wife again, and found Mrs. Sarah with us in the chamber we lay in. Among other discourse, Mrs. Sarah tells us how the King sups at least four or [five] times every week with my Lady Castlemaine; and most often stays till the morning with her, and goes home through the garden all alone privately, and that so as the very centrys take notice of it and speak of it. She tells me, that about a month ago she [Lady Castlemaine] quickened at my Lord Gerard’s at dinner, and cried out that she was undone; and all the lords and men were fain to quit the room, and women called to help her. In fine, I find that there is nothing almost but bawdry at Court from top to bottom, as, if it were fit, I could instance, but it is not necessary; only they say my Lord Chesterfield, groom of the stole to the Queen, is either gone or put away from the Court upon the score of his lady’s having smitten the Duke of York, so as that he is watched by the Duchess of York, and his lady is retired into the country upon it. How much of this is true, God knows, but it is common talk. After dinner I did reckon with Mrs. Sarah for what we have eat and drank here, and gave her a crown, and so took coach, and to the Duke’s House, where we saw “The Villaine” again; and the more I see it, the more I am offended at my first undervaluing the play, it being very good and pleasant, and yet a true and allowable tragedy. The house was full of citizens, and so the less pleasant, but that I was willing to make an end of my gaddings, and to set to my business for all the year again tomorrow. Here we saw the old Roxalana in the chief box, in a velvet gown, as the fashion is, and very handsome, at which I was glad. Hence by coach home, where I find all well, only Sir W. Pen they say ill again. So to my office to set down these two or three days’ journall, and to close the last year therein, and so that being done, home to supper, and to bed, with great pleasure talking and discoursing with my wife of our late observations abroad.

19 Annotations

Terry F  •  Link

Mrs. Sarah's knowledge of the King & my Lady Castlemaine

L&M note that Lady Castlemaine's house was next door to Sandwich's.

Bradford  •  Link

"In fine, for the good condition of . . . the public state of the nation, so quiett as it is, the Lord God be praised!"
"In fine, I find that there is nothing almost but bawdry at Court from top to bottom."
What a difference a day (or a night) makes. Or: compare and contrast the state of the Nation and the state of the Court.

"[Lady Castlemaine] quickened at my Lord Gerard’s at dinner, and cried out that she was undone": as you might intuit, "quicken" means to "reach stage of pregnancy at which child shows signs of life" (Companion, Large Glossary).

Australian Susan  •  Link

"in a velvet gown"
Sam has noticed another velvet gown - how long before Elizabeth gets one, I wonder?

Australian Susan  •  Link

"is not necessary"
Is bawdry *ever* "necessary" ??

Sam seems to view the Court and its doings much as society today takes interest in celebrities and their activities, but has shame in his acknowledged fascination: much as I read the tabloids (but wouldn't buy one) whilst waiting in the supermarket queue, but feel this is something I should not be doing!

Terry F  •  Link

"we saw 'The Villaine' again; and the more I see it, the more I am offended at my first undervaluing the play"

Sam applies the experimental method to his judgment, and revises it accordingly - a worthy virtue.


"The house was full of citizens, and so the less pleasant, but that I was willing to make an end of my gaddings, and to set to my business for all the year again tomorrow."

Today more than ever he is feeling his status as a gentleman! He is not one of hoi polloi; so his willingness to follow his oath and abstain from the theatre has more than one payoff.

This is a bit more morally ambiguous, surely for some of us in the 21c who have approved of the common touch he has shown in the past and commended in himself -- but perhaps his distancing himself from mere "citizens" is situational, applying at the theatre, and other places to see and be seen.

Jesse  •  Link

"if it were fit, I could instance, but it is not necessary"

Perhaps there is some leeway given (or even expected?) for bawdry behavior at Court. Recall, "It's good to be the king".

Terry F  •  Link

"In fine, I find that there is nothing almost but bawdry at Court from top to bottom, as, if it were fit, I could instance, but it is not necessary"

I found myself puzzled by a Diarist's discussing with himself whether it were suitable for him to provide examples of debauchery in his Diary (deciding it isn't, he then notes a common conjecture about one!)
Jesse, methinks you may be right.

JWB  •  Link

"Lay with my wife...with great pleasure talking..."

"For although God in the first ordaining of marriage, taught us to what end he did it, in words expresly implying the apt and cheerfull conversation of man with woman..." Milton, "The Doctrine & Discipline of Divorce"

May we all have our "cheerfull conversations" in 2006 leading to a full & happy new year.

JohnT  •  Link

Security in Whitehall Offices is now very tight and ( largely privatised or contracted out) security people ensure only those with legitimate business enter. But Sam then seems to wander in and around. He is now confident to do so because courtiers are beginning to recognise him. But presumably it was not entirely Liberty Hall with free access for every passing citizen. Who decided if your face fit ? And what sanctions did they have ?

Glyn  •  Link

I think he means that it isn't necessary for him to list any examples bawdiness, because it would be stating what is very obvious. He isn't saying that bawdiness is ever necessary.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

"Security in Whitehall Offices" In this time zone, there was THE priviledge of rank, part of being someone. The Constable [on patrol] or other keepers of keeping out riff raff from where they be not wanted, was rather a tricky occupation. If thee read the the House of Commons pieces, Many a custodian of peace be jailed for challenging a Titled one or a Member of Parliament. Even in Modern Times, If thy looked like thee belonged, then thee were free to procede.
So In summery S.P. in his fine togs and with dangling saber, could enjoy the environment of the matted wormwoods and other rushes. If He be challenged. He would in fine voice say" my good man, do yee not know who I be, Out of my way". Answer be a nice " yea me Laud"
Sam, Himself got into a pickle barrel when he had a man of priviledge incarcerated.

jeannine  •  Link

"at my Lord Gerard’s at dinner,"... I am not sure if this is a spoiler or not, but Lady Gerard will share some of these tidbits of gossip with the Queen herself and Charles will be none too pleased. The results will be that Lady G. is cut off from her access to the Queen (although her husband will not be part of this reprimand). Although Charles will openly father children and "everyone" will know about it, he still remains sensitive to anyone telling his wife directly about the things that they "shouldn't speak of".
Sam's references above to the bawdy court life, Castlemaine, Lord & Lady Chesterfield, etc. (story behind that described on ) are only the tip of the iceberg of the antics and anecdotes starting to come from the court. Between Dr. Pierce, Captain Ferrers and now Mrs. Sarah, Sam seems to be getting an earful of juicy gossip coming his way. He must feel somewhat mixed with disgust at a moral level and the delight of hearing such "tabloid-type" tidbits on another level. Seeing this type of activity become the norm must be disheartening.

Bradford  •  Link

---Especially (to pick up on Jeannine's last sentence) when you are exerting your not inconsiderable ingenuity---indeed, your whole professional life---to preserving and protecting a nation headed by a court such as this one is becoming.

Pauline  •  Link

'But Sam then seems to wander in and around. '
Povey provided Sam with escort and entry into the ball yesterday. It appears that Sam is taking a step to be familiar and welcome to come and go at Whitehall. In the past weeks he has spent time walking the galleries, and now has shown his face at the Duke and Duchesses dinner before the ball, and at the ball. Note that he seems to have stood and watched, not participated. It will be interesting to see how this "entry" developes--I thought his connection with court was at one remove: he knew the people who had the inside story. But yesterday he seems to have taken a step to get on the inside.

Dave Bell  •  Link

Just to point up one element not mentioned here: Sam's "Whitehall" is not the modern set of government offices. It's the Royal palace. His old address, which is roughly where Downing Street is now, was part of that tangled maze, and it's full of people living and working, from stable-lads to the King.

As a well-dressed, well-behaved, gnetleman, known to various important people, he's now one of the people attending religious services and other events of the Royal day. If somebody were making a movie of this day, he'd still be played by an extra, but the camera may linger long enough on his face that the director will want him back for continuity.

How long will it be before Sam's role in the movie of King Charles's life becomes a speaking part?

Pauline  •  Link

Nice, David.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

The town crier be shouting "Warsaw has the plague, read al abou it:"
The Plague has increased in Cracow, and has spread itself to Warsaw, whence the inhabitants have so largely fled, that there is hope of checking its further progress.
Advices, political and miscellaneous. Sent to the Duke of Ormond.
Written from: Paris
Date: 13 January 1663
Thanks to Dirk.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"... a true and allowable tragedy."

L&M remind us Pepys had been called on to define an allowable tragedy 1 September 1660 when he "dined at the Bullhead upon the best venison pasty that ever I eat of in my life, ....[and there] rose in discourse at table a dispute between Mr. Moore and Dr. Clerke, the former affirming that it was essential to a tragedy to have the argument of it true, which the Doctor denied, and left it to me to be judge, and the cause to be determined next Tuesday morning at the same place, upon the eating of the remains of the pasty, and the loser to spend 10s."

And on Tuesday the 4th, "so to the Bullhead, where we had the remains of our pasty, where I did give my verdict against Mr. Moore upon last Saturday’s wager, where Dr. Fuller coming in do confirm me in my verdict."

Log in to post an annotation.

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