Thursday 5 September 1667

Up, and all the morning at the office, where we sat till noon, and then I home to dinner, where Mary Batelier and her brother dined with us, who grows troublesome in his talking so much of his going to Marseilles, and what commissions he hath to execute as a factor, and a deal of do of which I am weary. After dinner, with Sir W. Pen, my wife, and Mary Batelier to the Duke of York’s house, and there saw “Heraclius,” which is a good play; but they did so spoil it with their laughing, and being all of them out, and with the noise they made within the theatre, that I was ashamed of it, and resolve not to come thither again a good while, believing that this negligence, which I never observed before, proceeds only from their want of company in the pit, that they have no care how they act. My wife was ill, and so I was forced to go out of the house with her to Lincoln’s Inn walks, and there in a corner she did her business, and was by and by well, and so into the house again, but sick of their ill acting.1 So home and to the office, where busy late, then home to supper and to bed. This morning was told by Sir W. Batten, that he do hear from Mr. Grey, who hath good intelligence, that our Queen is to go into a nunnery, there to spend her days; and that my Lady Castlemayne is going into France, and is to have a pension of 4000l. a-year. This latter I do more believe than the other, it being very wise in her to do it, and save all she hath, besides easing the King and kingdom of a burden and reproach.

  1. Obviously there were no “Rest Rooms” in the theatres of the 17th century. D.W.

6 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Arlington to Sandwich
Written from: Whitehall
Date: 5 September 1667

Informs Lord Sandwich of the transfer of the Seals from Clarendon to Bridgeman, with, he adds, "a great deal of satisfaction to the World and to his Majesty". Communicates the King's desire for the continuance of Lord Sandwich's endeavours towards a stricter union with the Crown of Spain, and for putting it upon the Spaniards to propose the terms.

"In these jealous times", it will be better, he thinks, that Lord Sandwich should avoid joining with the Pope's Ambassador, on any occasion. It would cause prejudice in England.

http://www.rsl.ox.ac.uk/dept/scwmss/projects/ca...

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"but they did so spoil it with their laughing"
Still quite common these days,particularly with old operas;the directors seem to think that modern audiences will not go for it so they transform them into comedies.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"but they did so spoil it with their laughing”

I took it that Pepys was compainibg about the actors.

Mary   Link to this

spoil it with their laughing.

Yes, I'm sure that Pepys is complaining about the actors and their lack of professionalism. The odd instance of corpsing can amuse an audience, but once the actors really lose control of themselves then the audience has every right to feel offended. Why should the paying public take the performance seriously ("being all of them out" = not having learnt their parts properly) if the actors are not prepared to do so?

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Poor Heraclius...Really was a tragedy, his reign. From savior of Byzantium from the Persians to watching the new Arab power grab half the Empire. Easy to see Sam would find professional actors behaving badly and clearly not having their lines down irritating in such a play.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"This morning was told by Sir W. Batten, that he do hear from Mr. Grey, who hath good intelligence, that our Queen is to go into a nunnery, there to spend her days; and that my Lady Castlemayne is going into France, and is to have a pension of 4000l. a-year."

I see Mr. Grey is about as reliable as most tabloids. But he forgot to mention how space aliens actually led the Dutch to victory on the Medway and that the King gets his advice from a head of Shakespeare on Mars.

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