Saturday 19 December 1668

Up, and to the office, where all the morning, and at noon, eating very little dinner, my wife and I by hackney to the King’s playhouse, and there, the pit being full, sat in a box above, and saw “Catiline’s Conspiracy,” yesterday being the first day: a play of much good sense and words to read, but that do appear the worst upon the stage, I mean, the least diverting, that ever I saw any, though most fine in clothes; and a fine scene of the Senate, and of a fight, that ever I saw in my life. But the play is only to be read, and therefore home, with no pleasure at all, but only in sitting next to Betty Hall, that did belong to this house, and was Sir Philip Howard’s mistress; a mighty pretty wench, though my wife will not think so; and I dare neither commend, nor be seen to look upon her, or any other now, for fear of offending her. So, our own coach coming for us, home, and to end letters, and so home, my wife to read to me out of “The Siege of Rhodes,” and so to supper, and to bed.

7 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Cataline, His Conspracy" hasn't the "variety" -- the songs and the dancing -- Pepys loves so well in a play. E.g. "'The Tempest,' which we have often seen, but yet I was pleased again, and shall be again to see it, it is so full of variety, and particularly this day I took pleasure to learn the tune of the seaman’s dance, which I have much desired to be perfect in, and have made myself so." Spectacle! Methinks SP would have loved musical theatre with a plot. "South Pacific"? Discuss.

martinb  •  Link

"a mighty pretty wench, though my wife will [i.e. would?] not think so"

It's hard not to laugh out loud on reading this. Here is the new Samuel Pepys, deprived of the freedom even to comment on the prettiness of the women around him.

Mark S  •  Link

Just a note on the title "Catiline His Conspiracy".

"His" in this case is the genitive form corresponding to 's

In Ben Jonson's time it would have sounded more formal and learned than "Catiline's Conspiracy".

Robert Gertz  •  Link

When the new media epic proves a disappointment, one eagerly returns to the reliable old blockbuster.

"When will they do 'Siege III-Vienna'?" Sam sighs.

"I'm sure it won't come up to RhodesI and II." Bess notes. "The quality always starts to fall off after the first sequel."

JWB  •  Link

TF, how's this for spectacle!

From this AM's paper read that next year's London Olympics will debut women boxing, that sweet science. Pepys should be living at this hour. He is fellow of Royal Soc. after all.

languagehat  •  Link

"“His” in this case is the genitive form corresponding to ‘s ... In Ben Jonson’s time it would have sounded more formal and learned than “Catiline’s Conspiracy”."

Just to be clear, it is not an actual genitive (i.e., English has never at any point made a genitive with a suffixed pronoun), it was a briefly popular way of rendering the actual genitive ("Catiline’s") in print. When I was young and ran across this usage I thought it was the source of the genitive -s, an easy mistake to make.

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