Tuesday 4 October 1664

Up and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and this morning Sir W. Pen went to Chatham to look: after the ships now going out thence, and particularly that wherein the Duke and himself go. He took Sir G. Ascue with: him, whom, I believe, he hath brought into play. At noon to the ‘Change and thence home, where I found my aunt James and the two she joyces. They dined and were merry with us. Thence after dinner to a play, to see “The Generall;” which is so dull and so ill-acted, that I think it is the worst. I ever saw or heard in all my days. I happened to sit near; to Sir Charles Sidly; who I find a very witty man, and he did at every line take notice of the dullness of the poet and badness of the action, that most pertinently; which I was mightily taken with; and among others where by Altemire’s command Clarimont, the Generall, is commanded to rescue his Rivall, whom she loved, Lucidor, he, after a great deal of demurre, broke out; “Well, I’le save my Rivall and make her confess, that I deserve, while he do but possesse.” “Why, what, pox,” says Sir Charles Sydly, “would he have him have more, or what is there more to be had of a woman than the possessing her?” Thence-setting all them at home, I home with my wife and Mercer, vexed at my losing my time and above 20s. in money, and neglecting my business to see so bad a play. To-morrow they told us should be acted, or the day after, a new play, called “The Parson’s Dreame,” acted all by women. So to my office, and there did business; and so home to supper and to bed.

25 Annotations

Terry F  •  Link

William Coventry to Sandwich
Written from: [St James's]

Date: 4 October 1664

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 75, fol(s). 228
Document type: Holograph

News has come that the Dutch fleet for Guinea has embarked its soldiers, & is but waiting for a wind. The Dutch are said to be building 24 new and great ships, Zealand, being esteemed free of the Plague, has obtained permission for the entry of its ships into French ports, a privilege denied to Holland.


Australian Susan  •  Link

"...Sir Charles Sidly; who I find a very witty man, and he did at every line take notice of the dullness of the poet and badness of the action, that most pertinently;..."

I've sat by his descendant in theatres.

And Poor Sam! To miss a play with that enticing title and with an all female ensemble. Time for a boys' night out?

Ascue is another old Parliamentarian sea captain - does Sam's turn of phrase "brought into play" mean that Penn is maneuvering for a place for his crony whereby to get money, prizes, esteem? Sam's financial antennae are obviously all aquiver. Ascue once blockaded Prince Rupert - now they are to fight alongside each other maybe. Irony!

Terry F  •  Link

"Why, what, pox," says Sir Charles Sydly, "would he have him have more, or what is there more to be had of a woman than the possessing her?"

Sam evidently approves of this? And does Bess hear and see what he does?

Martin  •  Link

"To-morrow they told us should be acted, or the day after, a new play, called "The Parson's Dreame," acted all by women."

Skip it, Sam.

cape henry  •  Link

"...what is there more to be had of a woman than the possessing her?" This, I would say, was the prevailing attitude of the era and answers much by way of Pepys own behavior.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

""...what is there more to be had of a woman than the possessing her?" This, I would say, was the prevailing attitude of the era and answers much by way of Pepys own behavior."

Yeah...And yet there is more. For all his wandering about, he is happier with Bess than without, at his best wants to please her and enjoys her companionship, and seems aware that he functions poorly without her around.

As for Sir Charles, one need not wonder why he had no one better than Sam to talk to at the play.

Jesse  •  Link

"while he do but possesse"

I confess I had to read this twice as I initially read but = however (e.g see Johnson) rather than but = 'no more than' (Johnson again). Sir Sedley turns this on the fly. I'm inclined to side w/Pepys who probably is amused by the juxtaposition of the two meanings, rather than tut-tut 'the prevailing attitude of the era'.

Mary  •  Link

"The Generall" vs. "The Parson's Dream."

Now, could Sam possibly be calculating that today's play was so very, very bad that it scarcely counts as part of his self-imposed theatre ration, and that therefore he might be allowed to go and see the new play without breaking the rules? He has jumped through more complicated moral hoops in the past.

andy  •  Link

A strange moving starr be seen in the heavens tonight, they do say it is a "Sputnike" from Russia.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"The Parson's Dream"...

"...acted all by women" According to Terry F's source, "...a comedy of almost unexampled coarseness..."

Hmmn...I think I can guess where in the video store this one would be located if remade. I picture a Bob Hoskinsish theater attendant assuring Sam he'd "...really enjoy this one, sir. Uh, you might consider not bringing the missus, though."

Interesting "parson" and, no doubt, interesting "dream".

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Let us hope poor Ralph Josselin does not choose to make a visit to London just at this time with family...

"Ah, a play about a good parson's dream. And me thought such places offered only lewdness."

On the other hand he'd have a chance to meet Sam...

"My God, sir! Pray excuse the blasphemy, sir. What awful wickedness is this?! I'd never thought...The title..."

"Dreadful, sir. Dreadful...I too was deceived in coming..." Sam leans to the side to view the stage past Mr. Josselin's arm. Say...Is that Gosnell sitting on the "parson's" lap? Why yes it is...Returns wave cautiously.

"Are you writing a letter about this, sir? A report to the Court against such monstrous..." Josselin, noting Sam's loose journal.

"Hmmn?...Ah, yes. Yes. A report to the Duke himself, yes. Such evil must be suppressed at once. Well, sir, much as it is against my soul's desire, I must return to my seat to fully document this sordid business."

"May you succeed in opening the Duke's eyes to this evil, sir. Josselin, Ralph Josselin, sir."

"Ah. Ummn. John Creed, sir. Very pleased, sir." Sam accepts hand for quick shake.

jeannine  •  Link

From Sam to Sandwich (from "Further Correspondence of Samuel Pepys" edited by Tanner)

4 October, 1664

The business now grows very hot between the Dutch and us. We are commanded to fit, man, and victual the enclosed list with all dispatch, and his Royal Highness did declare to us yesterday his resolution of going forward himself, and his choice of the Royal James for his ship and Sir William Penn for his commander,,,,This night the Prince [Rupert] takes leave of the Court for the Hope.....It is determined that the Prince shall carry the flag of union only, and not that, the King or his Royal Highness being on board.

H[appy] Returns

JWB  •  Link

"...enclosed list..."

Mary, Ruby, Sorlings...don't exactily ring with martial spirit. Ships are a sailor's home as well as their Weapon of war. This schism has lead to a tentativeness (USS Pueblo comes to mind) in naval warfare through the ages, which calls for names like Swiftsure, Triumph & Adventure to constantly remind crew of their reason for being.

Bradford  •  Link

When one thinks of the coarseness visible on all sides at the date of Pepys' writing, one heartily wishes for more details about a work which must have issued, as I once heard it put, from a veritable "den of pit and vice." [Sic.]

Cum grano salis  •  Link

Names maybe? give a clue to who owns them, not who runs them, ships of the line {battle} versus ships of vitals and ships that have been impressed by up gunning for Royal duty .

jeannine  •  Link

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

4th. Tuesday. My Lord Culpeper went into the Island and Capt Herbert and Sydney with him. I took a vomit of oximel squills.

(Let's hope that your day goes a little bit better than My Lord's!)

Pedro  •  Link

"I took vomit of oximel squills."

(Oxymel of squills)

[oxym' scillit; oximis of squills]

In the Pharmacopoeia this was known in Latin as 'Oxymel scilliticum'. It consisted of clarified HONEY boiled in VINEGAR OF SQUILLS [Pemberton (1746)].
OED earliest date of use: 1684 From: 'Ouchain tea - Oxymel of squills', Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820 (2007). URL:


Ding  •  Link

"...where I found my aunt James and the two she joyces."
I'm new here, can anyone enlighten me regarding the two she joyces?

Nix  •  Link

Ding -- The two she-Joyces are Samuel's cousins, Mary and Kate Fenner, who married the brothers Anthony and William Joyce. If you go to the "people" link along the right side of the page, you can get to links about annotations about them. And welcome!

Ding  •  Link

Thanks for the help and the hint, and the greeting!

Harvey  •  Link

'Oxymel Squill' is still used, it is one of the three equal volume components of the traditional cough mixture known as 'Gee's Linctus'.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"..the two she joyces..."
Is Sam being rude here? (it sounds very off hand to refer to relatives like this - even ones by marriage) Or would this have been a common 17thc usage?

GrahamT  •  Link

Squill is a bulbous plant of the lily family. Oxymel squill is used as both an expectorant in cough mixtures, and as an emetic ("a vomit"?)

Terry Foreman  •  Link


Squill is a common name for several lily-like plants and may refer to:

- Drimia maritima, a historically important medicinal plant, native to the Mediterranean, formerly classified as Scilla maritima
- Scilla, a genus of plants which formerly included Drimia maritima, and which are cultivated for their ornamental flowers, native to Europe and Asia

John York  •  Link

The better link in Wikipedia is to
Which tells us that:
"This species has been used as a medicinal plant since ancient times. It is noted in the Ebers Papyrus of the 16th century BC, one of the oldest medical texts of ancient Egypt. Pythagoras wrote about it in the 6th century BC. Hippocrates used it to treat jaundice, convulsions, and asthma. Theophrastus was also familiar with it. Its primary medicinal use was as a treatment for edema, then called dropsy, because of the diuretic properties of the cardiac glycosides. A solution of sea squill and vinegar was a common remedy for centuries. The plant is also used as a laxative and an expectorant."
as well as showing illustrations of the plant and listing its uses as a poison.

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