Monday 6 January 1667/68

Up, leaving my wife to get her ready, and the maids to get a supper ready against night for our company; and I by coach to White Hall, and there up and down the house, and among others met with Mr. Pierce, by whom I find, as I was afeard from the folly of my wife, that he understood that he and his wife was to dine at my house to-day, whereas it was to sup; and therefore I, having done my business at court, did go home to dinner, and there find Mr. Harris, by the like mistake, come to dine with me. However, we did get a pretty dinner ready for him; and there he and I to discourse of many things, and I do find him a very excellent person, such as in my whole [acquaintances] I do not know another better qualified for converse, whether in things of his own trade, or of other kinds, a man of great understanding and observation, and very agreeable in the manner of his discourse, and civil as far as is possible. I was mightily pleased with his company; and after dinner did take coach with him, and my wife and girl, to go to a play, and to carry him thither to his own house. But I ‘light by the way to return home, thinking to have spoke with Mrs. Bagwell, who I did see to-day in our entry, come from Harwich, whom I have not seen these twelve months, I think, and more, and voudrai avoir hazer alcun with her, sed she was gone, and so I took coach and away to my wife at the Duke of York’s house, in the pit, and so left her; and to Mrs. Pierce, and took her and her cozen Corbet, Knepp and little James, and brought them to the Duke’s house; and, the house being full, was forced to carry them to a box, which did cost me 20s., besides oranges, which troubled me, though their company did please me. Thence, after the play, stayed till Harris was undressed, there being acted “The Tempest,” and so he withall, all by coach, home, where we find my house with good fires and candles ready, and our Office the like, and the two Mercers, and Betty Turner, Pendleton, and W. Batelier. And so with much pleasure we into the house, and there fell to dancing, having extraordinary Musick, two viollins, and a base viollin, and theorbo, four hands, the Duke of Buckingham’s musique, the best in towne, sent me by Greeting, and there we set in to dancing. By and by to my house, to a very good supper, and mighty merry, and good musick playing; and after supper to dancing and singing till about twelve at night; and then we had a good sack posset for them, and an excellent cake, cost me near 20s., of our Jane’s making, which was cut into twenty pieces, there being by this time so many of our company, by the coming in of young Goodyer and some others of our neighbours, young men that could dance, hearing of our dancing; and anon comes in Mrs. Turner, the mother, and brings with her Mrs. Hollworthy, which pleased me mightily. And so to dancing again, and singing, with extraordinary great pleasure, till about two in the morning, and then broke up; and Mrs. Pierce and her family, and Harris and Knepp by coach home, as late as it was. And they gone, I took Mrs. Turner and Hollworthy home to my house, and there gave wine and sweetmeats; but I find Mrs. Hollworthy but a mean woman, I think, for understanding, only a little conceited, and proud, and talking, but nothing extraordinary in person, or discourse, or understanding. However, I was mightily pleased with her being there, I having long longed for to know her, and they being gone, I paid the fiddlers 3l. among the four, and so away to bed, weary and mightily pleased, and have the happiness to reflect upon it as I do sometimes on other things, as going to a play or the like, to be the greatest real comfort that I am to expect in the world, and that it is that that we do really labour in the hopes of; and so I do really enjoy myself, and understand that if I do not do it now I shall not hereafter, it may be, be able to pay for it, or have health to take pleasure in it, and so fill myself with vain expectation of pleasure and go without it.

9 Annotations

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...by whom I find, as I was afeard from the folly of my wife, that he understood that he and his wife was to dine at my house to-day..."

Folly, eh? Perhaps she just preferred a seated to a dancing Betty Pierce.

***
"...where we find my house with good fires and candles ready, and our Office the like..."

Good ole Jane...

Quite a nice time...

"...and so away to bed, weary and mightily pleased, and have the happiness to reflect upon it as I do sometimes on other things, as going to a play or the like, to be the greatest real comfort that I am to expect in the world, and that it is that that we do really labour in the hopes of; and so I do really enjoy myself, and understand that if I do not do it now I shall not hereafter, it may be, be able to pay for it, or have health to take pleasure in it, and so fill myself with vain expectation of pleasure and go without it."

Wise and life-affirming words from our boy.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"an excellent cake"

L&M note this is a Twelfth-Night cake.

7 January 1660, the first such party recorded in Pepys's Journall, they noted that the cake served at supper on such occasions usually contained a bean and a pea, the recipients of which were King and Queen of the celebration, respectively.

Paul Chapin   Link to this

"with much pleasure we into the house"
"By and by to my house"
"I took Mrs. Turner and Hollworthy home to my house"

As I read this passage, after the play Sam went into his house three times without ever leaving it. Clearly he was happy to be there.

Spin2Win   Link to this

Great party! Great description! Too bad we no longer have a Twelfth Night.

And trust Sam to note the price of everything.

Ruben   Link to this

"Sam went into his house three times"

"all by coach, home, where we find my house with good fires and candles ready, and OUR OFFICE THE LIKE":
So the celebration was all over the place not just at Samuel's residence, probably including the garden in between.

Tony Eldridge   Link to this

so I took coach and away to my wife at the Duke of York’s house, in the pit, and so left her; and to Mrs. Pierce, and took her and her cozen Corbet, Knepp and little James, and brought them to the Duke’s house; and, the house being full, was forced to carry them to a box, which did cost me 20s., besides oranges, which troubled me,
Do I read this right? Sam has already made a hasty excuse to leave the coach in the hope of groping Mrs Bagwell. Then he catches up with Bess in the pit but leaves her, only to reappear in an expensive box with the women she is jealous of. He really is playing with fire.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Sam, master of efficiency, felt there was no reason not to make full use of his trip to take Harris home by combining it with a brief rendezvous with his mistress.

As for Pierce and co, apparently the play rendezvous was planned but Bess must have fumed at being left, especially after learning he got the guests a box. Betty as usual brought anti-Sam protection in the form of Jamie Jr, though Knipp's presence must have raised Bess' hackles. I can't help feeling Betty must regard Sam and his manuevers with considerable amusement, though poor Knipp seems desperate for anything to allow her to escape her marriage for a few hours.

nix   Link to this

Note the absence of disparaging comments on La Belle Pierce painting her face -- was there a no-makeup-on-Twelfthnight rule, or is she forgiven (at least for the season)?

Either way, wassail and carpe diem, Samuel!

Fern   Link to this

A wonderfully entertaining entry. An action-packed day in prospect, with business to be done in the morning, then the dash home to dinner in case a guest arrives due to Bess's "folly" (no opportunity for an argument as to whose folly it was), then the chance of a quickie with Mrs Bagwell to be hastily slotted in amongst all the other comings and goings to and from the theatre. And then, at nightfall, the partying begins. What a lovely, lively bunch of people.

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