Tuesday 30 October 1660

Within all the morning and dined at home, my mind being so troubled that I could not mind nor do anything till I spoke with the Comptroller to whom the lodgings belong. In the afternoon, to ease my mind, I went to the Cockpit all alone, and there saw a very fine play called “The Tamer Tamed;” very well acted.

That being done, I went to Mr. Crew’s, where I had left my boy, and so with him and Mr. Moore (who would go a little way with me home, as he will always do) to the Hercules Pillars to drink, where we did read over the King’s declaration in matters of religion, which is come out to-day, which is very well penned, I think to the satisfaction of most people.

So home, where I am told Mr. Davis’s people have broken open the bolt of my chamber door that goes upon the leads, which I went up to see and did find it so, which did still trouble me more and more. And so I sent for Griffith, and got him to search their house to see what the meaning of it might be, but can learn nothing to-night. But I am a little pleased that I have found this out.

I hear nothing yet of my Lord, whether he be gone for the Queen from the Downs or no; but I believe he is, and that he is now upon coming back again.

28 Annotations

First Reading

Paul Brewster  •  Link

'The Tamer tamed'
L&M: “Designed as a sequel to Shakespeare’s ‘The taming of the shrew’, John Fletcher’s comedy, ‘The woman’s prize, or The tamer tamed’, was first acted about 1606 and published in 1647.”
On-line Text: http://emsah.uq.edu.au/drama/flet…

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Longish plot synopsis
The direct link to The Taming of the Shrew is immediately recognizable not only from the title but from the joint presence in both works of three characters: Petruchio, Tranio, and Bianca. ... As the play opens, we learn that Kate has died, probably in childbirth, although the reason is not given, and that Petruchio has just remarried. His new wife Maria resolves not to submit to Petruchio's tyranny which, as we learn, continued long after the supposed happy ending of The Taming of the Shrew. In our play she joins a group of forthright advocates of a feminist creed, including Bianca (Kate's sister) and her own sister Livia.

The women fortify themselves inside their house and hurl chamber pots at Petruchio and his friends when the men gather for the celebration that accompanies the first night of an Elizabethan marriage. Maria defies her husband and warns him that she will tame Petruchio, just as he had tamed her cousin Kate. Soon Maria and her friends are reinforced by a large contingent of "City Wives and Country Wives."

In the second act Petruchio and his male comrades plan an assault on the women's fortress but are held at bay by the women and reduced to trading invective with them across the barricades. At last a peace treaty is reached, its terms including many of the advances in financial and personal independence women would need another four hundred years to win in real life.

In Act Three Maria settles in to pursue a career of scholarship and horsemanship at Petruchio's country estate, but the peace is again broken when Maria once more refuses to perform her conjugal duties and imposes further demands on her husband. Petruchio resolves to play ill in an attempt to awaken his wife's pity. His ruse fails totally when Maria catches on: in an extremely effective and humorous scene has Petruchio walled up in his house on the pretext that he has caught the plague.

Petruchio finally fights his way out, but in Act Four he discovers that his wife has "gone mad"-she has begun to dress like a common whore (in a perfect counterpart to Petruchio’s entrance in fantastic attire in the earlier play) and is busy flirting with his friends. When Petruchio announces that he has had enough of marriage and is abandoning Maria for foreign travel, she encourages him to depart on the pretext that his journeys may broaden his vision and turn him into a better human being.

Almost totally defeated as Act Five opens, Petruchio tries one final stratagem in an attempt to awaken some spark of compassion in Maria. He decides to play dead, and in one of the Elizabethan theater’s celebrated scenes he is borne onstage in a coffin before his wife and friends. Maria is indeed moved to tears, but they are inspired, as she tells us in a famous speech, not by his person but by his “unmanly, wretched, foolish life……how far below a man, how far from reason” Petruchio has remained.

This last salvo of abuse brings Petruchio back from the dead: he sits up in his coffin, prompting in Maria a state of final bafflement if not total respect. The two pledge that they will start life anew together amidst the richly comic and ironic mood that ends the play. In a sub-plot, Maria’s sister Livia proves equally successful at outwitting her father’s plan to have her wed a wealthy but impotent graybeard and is finally united with her own beloved.

from http://language.home.sprynet.com/…

Paul Brewster  •  Link

the King's declaration in matters of religion
L&M: “‘His Majestie’s declaration to all his loving subjects … concerning ecclesiastical affairs’; issued on 25 October; … probably written by Hyde, but based, to a remakable extent on draft proposals made by the Presbyterians; generally known as the Worcester House Declaration. It promised a limited episcopacy and referred disputed points of liturgy and ceremonial to a synod. There is no doubt that it pleased all moderate Presbyterians; …. But it came to nothing when the Commons rejected a bill confirming it in the following November.”

Paul Brewster  •  Link

which is come out to-day. Which is very well penned I think; to the Satisfaccion of most people.
which is come out to-day, which is very well penned, I think to the satisfaction of most people.

For some reason L&M punctuate the sentence differently. I usually ignore such differences but this change does seem to alter the sense of the SP's statement.

vincent  •  Link

Our Man very upset {"...my mind being so troubled....}comptroller, gets the gatekeeper: finds the the bolt broken... suspected what?{"...but can learn nothing to-night. But I am a little pleased that I have found this out...."} The Whole day spoilt.
at least now we have some more information. But I do find it conflicting : He cannot get to the leads from his door [yesterday]but the bolt is broken?
" lodgings " not his home now that it has been violated?

David Quidnunc  •  Link

Ah, the Hercules Pillars ...
... A veritable Rock of Gibraltar for those in need of strong drink to ease their passage through the troubled waters of dire straits!

Mary  •  Link

.. to whom the lodgings belong....

I read the word 'lodgings' as having a dual burden. The whole property belongs to the Navy Office and so, in that sense, it represents a lodging for all the appointees who live there. Since this is so, the Comptroller has the final say over the way in which the property is treated (i.e. the terms of lodging, the lodgings) by all the 'tenants'.

Anyone who has ever lived in company housing, council housing etc. will recognise the way in which 'my house' can become some other body's house in an instant, depending on the context.

Mary  •  Link

The Tamer Tamed

A couple of weeks ago we were wondering why Pepys had decided not to go to the Cockpit Theatre when he found that the play being presented was 'Wit Without Money', another work by Fletcher. Today's entry shows that it is not Fletcher's work as a whole that Pepys dislikes; there must have been something about the earlier play itself that irritated or bored him.

Is the Cockpit presenting a Fletcher Season, I wonder?

steve h  •  Link

Fletcher season?

Fletcher was and remained the most popular playwright of the Retsoration, especially before there were a large number of contemporary (Dryden, Etherege, Wycherly, etc.) plays. While Shakespeare and Jonson were frequently performed, too, those playwrights' language mst have come across as pretty archaic and convoluted to the post-1660's audience. Fletcher's plays still read much more like modern English, with clear and unambiguous dialogue, no attempt at being poetic. Shakespeare was in time thoroughly rewritten and adapted for Retsoration taste; Fletcher needed little updating. He wrote over 30 plays, comedies, tragedies and tragicomedies, and over 20 of them seem to have been, at one time or another, in the repertory, right up to 1750. Fletcher (usually identied as Beaumont & Fltehcer from his collaborator on half a dozen plays) has long been considered a bit of a hack, but his plays, while they pale next to the Bard's (whose wouldn't?), have strong plots and some nice roles for actors.

Mary  •  Link

Fletcher's popularity

I take Steve's point about Fletcher's enduring popularity with Restoration and later audiences. In the case of 'The Tamer Tamed', however, the play would presumably have lost a least some of its point were the audience not already acquainted with 'The Taming of the Shrew'.

Glyn  •  Link

Perhaps he didn't go to the earlier play, not because he disliked it but because he had perhaps already seen it?


It being Halloween, I'd like to remark that BBC radio today discussed noted ghosts and said that in 1957 a woman went into a police station and made an official statement that she had been frightened by seeing the ghost of Samuel Pepys in Buckingham Street, Charing Cross - I don't know what she expected them to do about it. However, his ghost has not been seen since. The streets in that area are Still lit by gaslight and the blue light from them and the smell of the gas are quite atmospheric.

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

In case non-locals don't know the layout, Charing Cross is in what is now called The Strand, and would be a logical route for Sam to walk from Westminster and Whitehall to the City.

Pauline  •  Link

Waiting for a report from any locals who went to The Strand this evening to meet the ghost, especially if you went with a laptop. The House on the Strand does allow cross-century travel, and a word or two from Sam in our century for "his website" would be super.

But does he type?

vincent  •  Link

sypher only

Grahamt  •  Link

As I stood upon the leads this night...
watching the witches fly their besoms around the moon, the shade of Samuel came to me and said he had tried to join the conversation, but his quill smeared ink all over his pen-computer.

Pauline  •  Link

...the shade of Samuel came to me and said he had tried to join the conversation....
Of this I am sure, because he is the conversation.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"the King’s declaration in matters of religion"

See my annotation on October 25, 1660 for a section of this declaration.

Edith Lank  •  Link

Posting this at 2:17 p m October 31 in Rochester NY. I realize that by the time I read your comments over here, it's usually too late to join the conversation -- but can someone tell me how come I'm seeing comments today bearing datelines for the second and even third week in November? Have I missed something?

Bill  •  Link

Edith, this the second time around (the second decade) for this diary. Note the year! But that's ok, post your bit and join in! There's a new group of us to engage.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the King’s declaration in matters of religion" --the whole text

“His Majesty's DEcLARATIon to all his loving subjects of his kingdom of England and dominion of Wales, concerning Ecclesiastical Affairs. Given at our Court at Whitehall, October 25, 1660, in the twelfth year of our reign. «

Documentary Annals of the Reformed Church of England: V.2 1834 pp. 234 ff.


Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

“... to whom the lodgings belong ...”

Yes, Pepys, it's not 'her house' or 'my house', or 'our house' as you have been saying ... it's Charles II's house. Robert Slingsby is your landlord, and he appears not to be in the office today, so Pepys does a diplomatic thing; he stays out of the way. There are 5 commissioners and they have 2 clerks each. Plus the doorman and runners, totalling 17 people in a contained space.

Not content with locking the door to the leads, someone has now broken the door (hard to imagine that; have you seen how sturdy Tudor/Stuart doors were?) -- but Pepys believes one of the Davis' family has now broken into his house.

To make his outrage crystal clear, Pepys gets a third party, the houseman William Griffith, to search the Davis' house to see if they had stolen anything (how would he recognize any of Pepys' belongings?).

Now the cat is really amongst the pigeons. Can you imagine the dialogue between "Lady" Davis and Griffith when he went to their front door and asked to look around?

Breaking the roof door must have made a lot of noise. Presumably Elizabeth and Jane were out shopping; imagine her concern coming home, going up stairs and finding the splintered mess!

Let's hope Slingsby is in tomorrow. There will be words.
And that it doesn't rain tonight and ruin all this new paint and plaster work.
Pepys won't sleep well, as he prowls the house, armed with a cudgel.
Who pays for the new door?

Eric the Bish  •  Link

I assume the Davis' family are not yet in residence for a search such as Pepys describes to take place. It sounds to me as though he’s trying to work out what is going on, rather than looking for missing belongings. What works are taking place to the house next door?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"What works are taking place to the house next door?"

From the Navy accounting entry posted about a while back, it sounded as if all the houses had upgrades and new paint. Perhaps the Davis family was luckier than the Pepys, and had somewhere else to live while this happened. In which case, why would Mrs. Davis be making the fuss now? It's winter, and the weather will keep Pepys indoors for the next 6 months.

It's a very odd story.

RLB  •  Link

There is again, but not still, a pub in London (itself) called The Hercules Pillars. The modern one is nearby, also in Holborn, but not on Fleet Street. Also, from the looks of its website isn't very old at all. So not the one Sam visited.

However, there are still some famous pubs on Fleet Street which date back, if not to 1660, to the later 17th century. Ye Olde Cock has been relocated, but is the same venture. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese was rebuilt after the Fire of London. Sam may well have frequented the originals.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"What works are taking place to the house next door?"

I found the citation that sort of answers this question:

L&M: "William Brewer's bills ... for 'divers painted workes' at the Navy Office and at several lodgings there including Pepys', ... amount to over £50. Pepys’ house was clear of the painters by Christmas Day.”

Log in to post an annotation.

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