Thursday 28 July 1664

At the office all the morning, dined, after ‘Change, at home, and then abroad, and seeing “The Bondman” upon the posts, I consulted my oaths and find I may go safely this time without breaking it; I went thither, notwithstanding my great desire to have gone to Fleet Alley, God forgive me, again. There I saw it acted. It is true, for want of practice, they had many of them forgot their parts a little; but Betterton and my poor Ianthe outdo all the world. There is nothing more taking in the world with me than that play. Thence to Westminster to my barber’s, and strange to think how when I find that Jervas himself did intend to bring home my periwigg, and not Jane his maid, I did desire not to have it at all, for I had a mind to have her bring it home. I also went to Mr. Blagrave’s about speaking to him for his kinswoman to come live with my wife, but they are not come to town, and so I home by coach and to my office, and then to supper and to bed. My present posture is thus: my wife in the country and my mayde Besse with her and all quiett there. I am endeavouring to find a woman for her to my mind, and above all one that understands musique, especially singing. I am the willinger to keepe one because I am in good hopes to get 2 or 300l. per annum extraordinary by the business of the victualling of Tangier, and yet Mr. Alsopp, my chief hopes, is dead since my looking after it, and now Mr. Lanyon, I fear, is, falling sicke too. I am pretty well in health, only subject to wind upon any cold, and then immediate and great pains. All our discourse is of a Dutch warr and I find it is likely to come to it, for they are very high and desire not to compliment us at all, as far as I hear, but to send a good fleete to Guinny to oppose us there. My Lord Sandwich newly gone to sea, and I, I think, fallen into his very good opinion again, at least he did before his going, and by his letter since, show me all manner of respect and confidence. I am over-joyed in hopes that upon this month’s account I shall find myself worth 1000l., besides the rich present of two silver and gilt flaggons which Mr. Gauden did give me the other day. I do now live very prettily at home, being most seriously, quietly, and neatly served by my two mayds Jane and the girle Su, with both of whom I am mightily well pleased. My greatest trouble is the settling of Brampton Estate, that I may know what to expect, and how to be able to leave it when I die, so as to be just to my promise to my uncle Thomas and his son. The next thing is this cursed trouble my brother Tom is likely to put us to by his death, forcing us to law with his creditors, among others Dr. Tom Pepys, and that with some shame as trouble, and the last how to know in what manner as to saving or spending my father lives, lest they should run me in debt as one of my uncle’s executors, and I never the wiser nor better for it. But in all this I hope shortly to be at leisure to consider and inform myself well.

23 Annotations

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...yet Mr. Alsopp, my chief hopes, is dead since my looking after it, and now Mr. Lanyon, I fear, is, falling sicke too."

Pepys? Can there be any better sign of the Lord's displeasure with this sordid affair? Take heed, Samuel.

Or perhaps Povy is not the fool you take him for...

"I think, Gauden..." exquisitely suave smile... "You will find as of tomorrow the little firm of Alsop and Lanyon and a certain silent partner is no longer in contention for the Tangier contract."

"If not, I'll never trust 'medicine', Thomas." equally suave smile.

Terry F  •  Link

"seeing 'The Bondman' upon the posts, I consulted my oaths and find I may go safely this time without breaking it"

What a strange enterprise. It sounds as though Pepys keeps his oaths in a ledger he uses to track their violations and the resultant fines.

"seeing Fat Betty in her place at the 'Change, I consulted my oaths and find I may go safely this time without breaking it"...?

Terry F  •  Link

The lesser of evils

"The Bondman" or "Fleet Alley, God forgive me, again."

Yes, Pilgrim, there are temptations all around.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...the last how to know in what manner as to saving or spending my father lives..."

"More hundred year old claret, Bess?"

"Why, yes, father-in-law. My, are these authentic Venetian glass goblets?"

"But of course...Ah, and here is my imported Chinese silk for Meg's and Pall's new gowns. Here, boy, charge it 'Brampton Estate'."

"But, father-in-law...Can the lands bear such heavy charge? Samuel was saying the other day..."

"Bess...Let the future take of itself, my girl. Oh, boy. Make that enough silk for three gowns."

"Oh, father-in-law..."

"Tis only money, my girl."

John M  •  Link

'Chaldrons of coal' - yesterday's entry.

A chaldron in the Newcastle coal fields was a wooden wagon which ran on wooden rails, pushed by men or pulled by ponies, from the pit head down to the coal staithes on the Tyne.

Here is a link to a picture of what I think is a 19th Century chaldron.

Maybe the 17th century chaldrons were smaller.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Ah, Hewer."

"Mr. Coventry, sir."

"Where is Pepys? I was hoping to discuss some important matters regarding the fleet's preparation."

"He...Uh...Well...Sir. He's at Fleet...Uh..."

"Of course. I should have known the man would already be tending to affairs. You've a fine example set before you, boy. Well, tell him to carry on when he returns."

"Yes, Mr. Coventry, sir."

cape henry  •  Link

Based on the information in these pages yesterday and today, I believe we could put together a soap and call it All My Chaldrons.

cape henry  •  Link

This is one of those posts that pop up from time to time which reveal in a few words a great deal about where he thinks he stands in a variety of ancillary aspects of his life. In some ways, I find these posts more informative about the person 'Pepys' than many of the more day-to-day entries.

Jesse  •  Link

Why the "present posture" summary today?

I thought these came at the end of certain periods (e.g. the month which isn't quite at end). Maybe it's been awhile and he'd been letting it slip?

Terry F  •  Link

Jesse, my guess is it's near the end of the month, SP is a bit at wits end, and methinks today's entry's theme is events that call for reckonings of standing.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...I consulted my oaths..."

Sam: "Oaths? You know how strenuously I have endeavored to live up to you."

Oaths: "Indeed." "Capitol fellow." "A gallant effort, Pepys." "No man could have done better." "Hear-hear."

Sam: "And you know how...Tempted...I have been in my loneliness."

Oaths: "And we have suffered with you." "Aye." "Oh, yes." "Bess, where art thou?" "That FA babe was truly hot, Sam."

Sam, solemnly: "And yet I have dodged temptation."

Oaths: "Hum. Well." "More or less." "I can still taste Betty's kiss." "Come, now Pepys." "A matter of perception, old fellow." "Lord, that FA babe was hot."

Sam, apologetically: "Forgot about Betty."

Oaths, in unison: "Pepyssss..."

Sam, contritely: "Ashamed I am... And yet mortal man, oaths, mortal man. And I avoid the greater evil."

Oaths, forbearingly: "True." "Twas the lesser." "I would have prefered that FA babe and be done with it."

Sam, coyly: "And having avoided the greater sin..."

Oaths, frowning: "Here it comes..."

Sam, winningly: "A minor boom to indulge a most forlorn and lonely man...To strengthen his resolve to avoid true sin."

Oaths, slightly contemptuously: "Amen."

Sam, sad and resigned: "I see there is no mercy in you."

Oaths, sympathetically: "The man has done his best." "Let us hear his request." (forlornly, one: "So it's no go on the FA babe?") "Speak, Pepys, old man, we shall hear you out."

Sam, waving to posted notice: "Just one play...'The Bondman'? A chance to view a few unattainable beauties and hear a bit of grand acting and music...To be transported for a brief instant from my cares. And my deep loneliness..."

Oaths, repressing eagerness: "Well... 'The Bondman', you say?" (forlorn, one: "I was hoping for 'Adventure of Five Hours' again.") "I think we can indulge so modest a whim." "Tis for our Bess' sake." "To preserve our serenity, certainly." "Lets go!"

Sam, dutifully: "I am in your debt."

Oaths, respectfully: "Not at all, sir." "Lets go!!"


Michael Robinson  •  Link

nothing more taking in the world with me than that play.

Since Jan 1660 Pepys had seen the Bondman, with Betterton, seven times, in whole or part (per L&M note), five in 1660 alone. Each time he sees it the remarks are superlatives, e.g. "I never liked it better than to-day," April 2nd 1662.

Bryant, Ollard, and Tomalin make no reference to the play that I can find quickly through indexes. I have read the synopsis - the theme of revolt and liberty fits the atmosphere of 1660 - but why the intensity of the attachment, any thoughts?

Bradford  •  Link

Perhaps the sheer variety of incident and emotion crammed into what reads like a fairly lengthy play is what drew Pepys to "The Bondsman." One technical difficulty for Massinger would be how to incorporate names such as Leosthenes and Timagoras into blank verse without them taking up undue space in the line, not to mention Statilia and Cleora. The vow of the last-named remain blindfold and mute until her man's return from war to disprove his suspicions of her virtue---just like Sam's vow to stay away from the Playhouse till his vows say he's earned some license! (Insert here cyber-sign for "joke.")

"strange to think how when I find that Jervas himself did intend to bring home my periwigg, and not Jane his maid, I did desire not to have it at all."
Strange to whom?

JWB  •  Link

"...upon the posts,"

Any specifics about these posts? Any links to/about 17th C. London ad hoardings, parish bulletin boards or official posts-ephemera or the physical posts/boards themselves?

Michael Robinson  •  Link

specifics about these posts

Printed ephemera has an extremely low survival rate, in particular items that were pasted or posted, however:-

Yesterday's News: Seventeenth-Century English Broadsides and Newsbooks

The Pepys library contains a superlative collection of ballad broadsides:-
UCSB Makes a Rare Collection of English Ballads Available Online

Carl in Boston  •  Link

The Bondman, yea, forthooth. Ith impothible, ith prepothterouth.
I followed the guideposts of this Pepys collection, going through several gates and passing several quaint and interesting sites, arriving at Wikipedia and a plot synopsis of The Bondman. I can see why Pepys would be intrigued by The Bondman, a most excellent play, and verily there be much good in it. It is a successful venture into political economics by a playwright, and would be a fun play to see, if upon calculation, my oaths will permit. Names such as Leosthenes rip trippingly off the tongue, if you say them right.
In meditating upon Samuel Pepys and the aristocrats and the Royals too, I swing round to the American view that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, and now repair to reading The Federalist Papers once again. I am at a loss why Pepys doesn't think that much of Shakespeare.

jeannine  •  Link

"Journal of the Earl of Sandwich" edited by R.C. Anderson.

28th. I dined aboard Vice Admiral Allen. The loyal Merchant and Royal Katherine arrived in the Downs about 5 oclock P.M. from the East Indies. Brought news Poleroon either was or would certainly be delivered to the English. Bombay kept from us only by the Jesuits' interest (who are proprietors of it). The other Portugueses, much aggrieved we have it not for the hounour of our Queen and their King, hate the Jesuits and the Governor for delaying it. These ships touched at St Helena only in their passage which was of 6 months.
I signed orders to the Kent and Hector to go convoy the African ships into the Soundings.

[Note from Anderson: Poleroon is the western most of the Banda Islands in the East Indies. It was occupied by the English is 1616m seized by the Dutch in 1619. It's return to England was one of the conditions of Peace in 1654 but the local Dutch authorities had refused to comply.]

Terry F  •  Link

Were playbills posted?

Van Lennep, William (ed.) (1965). The London Stage 1660-1800: A Calendar of Plays, Entertainments & Afterpieces Together with Casts, Box-Receipts and Contemporary Comment Compiled From the Playbills, Newspapers and Theatrical Diaries of the Period, Part 1: 1660-1700. Carbondale, Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Were playbills posted?

Certainly some were in the last third of the C18th., and later - where they are frequently shown in the background of street scenes in political and personal caricatures by Gilray et al. and are in some of the backgrounds to Cruickshank's illustrations to "Tom & Jerry;" Pierce Egan, 'Life in London, or The Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn Esq. and his Elegant Friend Corinthian Tom,' 1821. - apparently in Garrick's time, mid C 18th., printing such was no small part of the Drury Lane budget with a new press run required for each day's production, I believe his are some of the very few early theatrical account books extant.

For examples of Garrick's day see:-

JWB  •  Link

Thanks TF &MR. Just reading Nigel Cliff's "Shakespeare Riots" and came across mention of a turpentine lit theater sign in early 19th C New York that peaked my interest when I read todays entry about "posts".

pepf  •  Link

“strange to think how when I find that Jervas himself did intend to bring home my periwigg, and not Jane his maid, I did desire not to have it at all.”

Honi soit qui mal y pense, Bradford. He was looking for some knowledge only which eluded him ten days ago.

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