Friday 19 April 1667

Up, and to the office all the morning, doing a great deal of business. At noon to dinner betimes, and then my wife and I by coach to the Duke’s house, calling at Lovett’s, where I find my Lady Castlemayne’s picture not yet done, which has lain so many months there, which vexes me, but I mean not to trouble them more after this is done. So to the playhouse, not much company come, which I impute to the heat of the weather, it being very hot. Here we saw “Macbeth,”1 which, though I have seen it often, yet is it one of the best plays for a stage, and variety of dancing and musique, that ever I saw. So being very much pleased, thence home by coach with young Goodyer and his own sister, who offered us to go in their coach. A good-natured youth I believe he is, but I fear will mind his pleasures too much. She is pretty, and a modest, brown girle. Set us down, so my wife and I into the garden, a fine moonshine evening, and there talking, and among other things she tells me that she finds by W. Hewer that my people do observe my minding my pleasure more than usual, which I confess, and am ashamed of, and so from this day take upon me to leave it till Whit-Sunday. While we were sitting in the garden comes Mrs. Turner to advise about her son, the Captain, when I did give her the best advice I could, to look out for some land employment for him, a peace being at hand, when few ships will be employed and very many, and these old Captains, to be provided for. Then to other talk, and among the rest about Sir W. Pen’s being to buy Wansted House of Sir Robert Brookes, but has put him off again, and left him the other day to pay for a dinner at a tavern, which she says our parishioner, Mrs. Hollworthy, talks of; and I dare be hanged if ever he could mean to buy that great house, that knows not how to furnish one that is not the tenth part so big. Thence I to my chamber to write a little, and then to bed, having got a mighty cold in my right eare and side of my throat, and in much trouble with it almost all the night.

  1. See November 5th, 1664. Downes wrote: “The Tragedy of Macbeth, alter’d by Sir William Davenant; being drest in all it’s finery, as new cloaths, new scenes, machines as flyings for the Witches; with all the singing and dancing in it. The first compos’d by Mr. Lock, the other by Mr. Channell and Mr. Joseph Preist; it being all excellently perform’d, being in the nature of an opera, it recompenc’d double the expence; it proves still a lasting play.”

14 Annotations

Australian Susan   Link to this

...in much trouble with it almost all the night......" Poor Bess.

Si William Penn is a landowner in ireland, but that is a long way away. Sam is cross at the idea of Sir WP having a large house under his nose as it were. (Essex). Suddenly all that plate looks tawdry: no household goods can count against a big country house. The house is now demolished (contents sold to pay the gambling debts of the owner), but here's some information about it: http://www.architecture.com/LibraryDrawingsAndP...

It's terribly grand when you compare it with Sam's much more modest country house:
http://www.heritage.co.uk/apavilions/pepys.html
No wonder he's miffed.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Wanstead was a grand house indeed! -- even sans the "end pavilions" in that never-executed plan!

Here is another view of Wanstead House featuring the grounds: http://www.wansteadwildlife.org.uk/index.php?op...

An excerpt from the commentary: "In 1673-4 the manor was purchased by Sir Josiah Child, Governor of the East India Company [from Sir Robert Brooke]. He spent much time and money in developing the estate in the elaborate fashion of the time. When John Evelyn, the diarist and author of "Sylva, or a Discourse of Forest Trees" (1664), visited Wanstead in March, 1683 he wrote: "I went to see Sir Josiah Child's prodigious cost in planting walnut trees about his seate, and making fish ponds many miles in circuit in Epping Forest, in a barren place.""

It does 'umble Pepys's Brampton hut.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

Wansted House

Though not the house shown in Australian Susan's illustration, the house in SP's day was still a substantial former royal hunting lodge:

"When bought by (Sir) Josiah Child in 1673–4 the house, with 40 hearths, was one of the largest in Essex. At that period it was a quadrangular two-storey building with many gables. The symmetrical west (entrance) front of nine bays was approached across a forecourt flanked on each side by a three-storey gatehouse. The irregular east front was probably the oldest part of the building. Pepys thought the house 'a fine seat, but old-fashioned'. Child made no important alterations to the building, but spent much money on laying out the grounds."

The image Australian Susan is showing is of the house as rebuilt between 1715-22 by Colen Campbell ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colen_Campbell ) for Sir Richard Child - it was the prototype for the grandest of the Whig Palladian revival 'country palaces' of later in the century.

'Wanstead: Manors', A History of the County of Essex: Volume 6 (1973), pp. 322-327. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?co... Date accessed: 20 April 2010.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Methinks in time Sir W. Penn will make better use of what he's owed by the King than "planting walnut trees about his seate, and making fish ponds many miles in circuit in Epping Forest, in a barren place” -- and John Evelyn might even agree, not for the Quaker politics of Sir William's son (the heir of that debt when paid), but for the vast forest-land in the New World that will be named after Sir William.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

" ... to look out for some land employment for him, a peace being at hand, when few ships will be employed ... and these old Captains, to be provided for."

L&M note there was no 'half-pay' as yet.

Spoilers. “An alternate method of retaining unemployed officers was half pay, first granted in 1668 to admirals who has served in the Second Dutch War. In 1674 it was extended to former captains of First and Second Rates, and in 1675 to former masters of the same ships, and to former commodores. From the beginning it was unclear whether this was a reward for past or a retainer for future service. Superannuation, introduced for warrant officers in 1672 , was clearly intended as a comfort in retirement, but it was entirely discretionary, and the Navy had to wait for nearly two centuries for standard retirement pensions. In practice few officers benefited from either scheme. … Far more unemployed officers simply served in merchant ships in peacetime. This was normal for warrant officers and common for lieutenants and captains. Even Rear-Admiral Sir John Wetwang accepted a command from the East India Company in 1682. Some commissioned officers reverted to warrant rank for the sake of permanent employment on board ship sin reserve, and one impoverished captain became a dockyard shipwright.

An alternative livelihood for gentleman officers was the army, especially as it expanded under James II, and specifically the Marine regiment, which in spite of its naval connection belonged to the army and was in most respects organized as a conventional foot regiment. It was easy to get leave from army regiments, so officers could push their naval careers when they had the chance without abandoning the security and status of an army commission. …”

N. A. M Rodger “Command …” 2004/5 pp. 119-20

Claire   Link to this

"...she finds by W. Hewer that my people do observe my minding my pleasure more than usual, which I confess, and am ashamed of, and so from this day take upon me to leave it till Whit-Sunday."

Very good, Sam. I did take note and wondered at the remarkably frequent play-going.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...where I find my Lady Castlemayne’s picture not yet done, which has lain so many months there, which vexes me, but I mean not to trouble them more after this is done." Lovett must be an exceptionally tolerant fellow.
***

Bess getting nervous about her playboy. Our girl knows her boy, even if he has been careful recently to include her in most of the playgoing. Amusing that it's Will Hewer who's doing the frowning on Sam's fun.

Australian Susan   Link to this

Sorry I got the wrong Wanstead House! I should not post in haste when I should be working......

Mary   Link to this

"I mean not to trouble them more after this is done"

Do I detect a note of irony here? Unusual for Sam, if so.

FJA   Link to this

"I mean not to trouble them more after this is done."

I understand Sam to be saying that once he gets the precious portrait in his hands, Sam will not be bringing anymore custom to Lovett's establishment since the work habits there are not up to Sam's expectations.

martinb   Link to this

"Macbeth... one of the best plays for a stage, and variety of dancing and musique"

Yes, I think most of us would agree that one of the best things about Macbeth is that it has so much dancing and music...

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Davenant's version of the "Scottish Play" -- first the West End, then Broadway!

Australian Susan   Link to this

Hark! What's that noise? Oh, it's the sound of Shakespeare spinning in his grave.....

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"machines as flying for the Witches"
A good idea although all the Macbeths I've seen they are around a cauldron.

Log in to post an annotation.

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