Saturday 19 October 1667

At the office all the morning, where very busy, and at noon home to a short dinner, being full of my desire of seeing my Lord Orrery’s new play this afternoon at the King’s house, “The Black Prince,” the first time it is acted; where, though we come by two o’clock, yet there was no room in the pit, but we were forced to go into one of the upper boxes, at 4s. a piece, which is the first time I ever sat in a box in my life. And in the same box come, by and by, behind me, my Lord Barkeley [of Stratton] and his lady; but I did not turn my face to them to be known, so that I was excused from giving them my seat; and this pleasure I had, that from this place the scenes do appear very fine indeed, and much better than in the pit. The house infinite full, and the King and Duke of York was there. By and by the play begun, and in it nothing particular but a very fine dance for variety of figures, but a little too long. But, as to the contrivance, and all that was witty (which, indeed, was much, and very witty), was almost the same that had been in his two former plays of “Henry the 5th” and “Mustapha,” and the same points and turns of wit in both, and in this very same play often repeated, but in excellent language, and were so excellent that the whole house was mightily pleased with it all along till towards the end he comes to discover the chief of the plot of the play by the reading of along letter, which was so long and some things (the people being set already to think too long) so unnecessary that they frequently begun to laugh, and to hiss twenty times, that, had it not been for the King’s being there, they had certainly hissed it off the stage. But I must confess that, as my Lord Barkeley says behind me, the having of that long letter was a thing so absurd, that he could not imagine how a man of his parts could possibly fall into it; or, if he did, if he had but let any friend read it, the friend would have told him of it; and, I must confess, it is one of the most remarkable instances that ever I did or expect to meet with in my life of a wise man’s not being wise at all times, and in all things, for nothing could be more ridiculous than this, though the letter of itself at another time would be thought an excellent letter, and indeed an excellent Romance, but at the end of the play, when every body was weary of sitting, and were already possessed with the effect of the whole letter; to trouble them with a letter a quarter of an hour long, was a most absurd thing. After the play done, and nothing pleasing them from the time of the letter to the end of the play, people being put into a bad humour of disliking (which is another thing worth the noting), I home by coach, and could not forbear laughing almost all the way home, and all the evening to my going to bed, at the ridiculousness of the letter, and the more because my wife was angry with me, and the world, for laughing, because the King was there, though she cannot defend the length of the letter. So after having done business at the office, I home to supper and to bed.

14 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Arlington to Ormond
Written from: Whitehall
Date: 19 October 1667

Mr Barker has placed in the writer's hands a Petition to his Majesty, asking "the gift of those lands to him, that he had so long pleaded for". ...

Upon consulting my Lord Keeper about his Majesty's issuing a Commission for the trial of Dr Loftus, his Lordship dissuades the giving of any such advice to the King. ...

Encloses:

Lord Keeper Bridgman to Arlington
Date: [October] 1667

Returns herewith the papers from Ireland, touching Dudley Loftus. Cannot advise the sending of such a Commission as is desired into Ireland. Such Commissions are not allowed in England; and the office of Chancellor to a Bishop is a lay-office, though exercisable in matters ecclesiastical. ...
_____

Ossory to Ormond
Written from: [London]
Date: 19 October 1667

Mentions "the last effort" made in Barker's case [ http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1667/09/03/#c30... ], against the Duke. [ Lord Chesterfield ] has been very free in a speech, made this morning [in the House of Lords], "desiring that all Ministers of State should give account of their behaviour; and that it may be enquired who have been the evil counsellors that have brought the Kingdom into so much misery."

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

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Ah, at last a new insight into Bess and the Pepys as couple...She gets upset when Sam takes things too lightly in public, yet she grudingly admits he's right while Sam enjoys teasing her about it.

Heaven...

"And he might have said, Sam says little enough about such things 'cause he's fixated on his own doings." Bess frowns.

"He might...But he didn't." grin.

Ow!!... "Bess...You know, sometimes I find it very hard to believe this really is Heaven."

"Maybe it's the Other Place...Like in that television program the other decade." grin.

"Nah...You're here."

"Oh, shut up."

Nate   Link to this

I immediately imagined something like this:

Sam, kind of off hand: "Yesterday? Oh yes, we saw the "Black Prince" with the King yesterday at Kings House".

Jesse   Link to this

"could not forbear laughing"

Okay, I'll start. Several years ago wife and daughters convinced me to see 'Phantom of the Opera' with them. Not once but twice the dramatic scenes came off, to me, quite silly and it was all I could do to keep it in check. The daughters were a little embarrassed and annoyed at the time, but afterwards had to agree it was a little over the top :)

Paul Chapin   Link to this

A classic case of ignoring the universal dramatic admonition "Show, don't tell." Like a voice-over narration in a bad movie filling in the gaps in the plot. Maybe Orrery was under deadline pressure to finish the play before he was really ready to.

Sam conveys the scene so vividly I felt like I had been there.

Spin2Win   Link to this

"...we were forced to go into one of the upper boxes, at 4s. a piece, which is the first time I ever sat in a box in my life...and this pleasure I had, that from this place the scenes do appear very fine indeed, and much better than in the pit."

The Sam we know & love.

Glad to see him enjoying his riches, but I still get the feeling that he'll be back in the pit next time.

Ruben   Link to this

"And in the same box come, by and by, behind me, my Lord Barkeley [of Stratton] and his lady; but I did not turn my face to them to be known, so that I was excused from giving them my seat".
I am happy I was born to another time and place...

Mary   Link to this

"much better than in the pit"

Indeed, and remember how tawdry the costumes looked at really close quarters when you visited Mrs. Knipp and Nell backstage, Sam.

cum salis grano   Link to this

Ah! The Pit, 'twould be like getting on a crowded autobus, fun for the male but........

I remember the "God's", standing for a shilling whilst the new sitting pit, the stalls be a guinea at one time, with Nell bringing around tea and biscuits/ crumpets, looking into the boxes to see whom be of import, mostly unknown by us riffraff recognized the cravat but not the face..

arby   Link to this

I like the "house infinite full."

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"...which is the first time I ever sat in a box in my life."

L&M note 2 October 1662: "there was a play at the Cockpit (and my Lord Sandwich, who came to town last night, at it), I do go thither, and by very great fortune did follow four or five gentlemen who were carried to a little private door in a wall, and so crept through a narrow place and come into one of the boxes next the King’s, but so as I could not see the King or Queene, but many of the fine ladies, who yet are really not so handsome generally as I used to take them to be, but that they are finely dressed." http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1662/10/02/

Some court theatre on display, all the world being but a stage.

cum salis grano   Link to this

memory lapse, happens to one and all.

nix   Link to this

Samuel the drama critic --

As a long-ago reviewer of plays and movies, I feel a new kinship. A poorly structured, too-wordy play can be quite painful.

But as the father of an actor, I wince at the twenty hisses.

cum salis grano   Link to this

,"... I wince at the twenty hisses...."
AH! the instant bio feedback, to keep one 'onest, The are always a minimum of three view points, The Actor, the audience and the playwright.

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