21 Annotations

First Reading

daniel  •  Link

at playford's

he may have found nothing of interest thus mentioned nothing but I would love to know what Sam perused at Playford's music shop-having collected a number of his publications myself over the years.

Australian Susan  •  Link

I wonder if Sam was looking at music for dancing? But deciding against such frivolity.

john lauer  •  Link

Sam frequently sees a piece of a play in the afternoon,
with no apparent regrets; and may go to the same play again, soon after; and frequently alone.

Admission, if any, must have been inexpensive; and apparently neither audience nor the actors considered such comings-and-goings impolite. Have we had any previous discussion of such customs? How formal was the seating? How quiet, "well-behaved", was the audience?

George  •  Link

From Pauline's link we see that Sam bought a hat last year for thirty bob, Suppose this was the one that got dunked on the way to Pompey and needs replacing.

Rex Gordon  •  Link

Theatre Behavior ...
From Peter Ackroyd's "London: The Biography": (T)he more "cockney" Londoners did also manage to attend the new (Restoration)plays; they were not necessarily welcomed in the boxes or the pit with the more prosperous citizens, but they took over the gallery from where they could shout insults or pelt fruit upon both stage and respectable audience. Cockney theatre-goers were only one aspect, however, of the generally partisan and inflammatory aspect of the urban audience. "Claques" would attend in order to cry up, or drown out, the latest production; fights would break out among the gentlemen "of quality," while there were often riots which effecively concluded all theatrical proceedings. Indeed the riots themselves were somewhat theatrical in appearance. When in the mid-eighteenth century David Garrick proposed to abolish "half-price" seats for those who entered after the third of five acts (perhaps Sam was taking advantage of this custom when he saw his "piece" of The Silent Woman) ... as soon as the play commenced there was a "general outcry" with "fisty-cuffs and cudgels" which led to further violence when the audience "tore up the benches of the pit and galleries and demolished the boxes." ... In his London Journal, Boswell (1/19/1763)remarks that "we sallied into the house, planted ourselves in the middle of the pit, and with oaken cudgels in our hands and shrill-sounding cat calls in our pockets, sat ready prepared." Such behavior in the capital's theatres continued well into the nineteenth century. (pp 161-62)

Also, food and drink were hawked through the audience by vendors, and actors competed for attention with them and with the audience's varied conversations. (Remember when Sam was briefly upset because a woman spat on him, but lost his anger when he saw that she was a pretty lady of "quality"?)

So ... a long tradition of loud and unruly theatre audiences indeed! It must have been rather like Question Time for the PM ;-)

Rex Gordon  •  Link

Pauline -

Ah yes ... I just read your link!

Glyn  •  Link

The Bondman is is one of the plays that Sam liked best, for instance he saw it at least twice in March (on the 1st and again on the 19th):


as well as on other occasions.

vicente  •  Link

read it yourself at: I just the character names.

DRAMATIS PERSONAE: MOROSE, a Gentleman that loves no noise. SIR DAUPHINE EUGENIE, a Knight, his Nephew. NED CLERIMONT, a Gentleman, his Friend. TRUEWIT, another Friend. SIR JOHN DAW, a Knight. SIR AMOROUS LA-FOOLE, a Knight also. THOMAS OTTER, a Land and Sea Captain. CUTBEARD, a Barber. MUTE, one of MOROSE's Servants. PARSON. Page to CLERIMONT. EPICOENE, supposed the Silent Woman. LADY HAUGHTY, LADY CENTAURE, MISTRESS DOL MAVIS, Ladies Collegiates. MISTRESS OTTER, the Captain's Wife, MISTRESS TRUSTY, LADY HAUGHTY'S Woman, Pretenders. Pages, Servants, etc. SCENE -- LONDON. PROLOGUE
Truth says, of old the art of making plays Was to content the people; and their praise Was to the poet money, wine, and bays. But in this age, a sect of writers are, That, only, for particular likings care, And will taste nothing that is popular. With such we mingle neither brains nor breasts; Our wishes, like to those make public feasts, Are not to please the cook's taste, but the guests'.

vicente  •  Link

Strange, he made two references before he made this statement ?

Glyn  •  Link

Re Vincent's references:

The first 2 times he describes someone else (not himself) going to the play, but he and his wife finally see it on one occasion.

I think that what especially pleased him here was "the piece" of the play, i.e. that particular piece of acting rather than the whole play itself, which we already know he likes.

By the way, as the days are getting longer, I imagine the plays will be able to be staged later and later in the day.

john lauer  •  Link

Theat[er] Behavior
Thanks, Pauline and Rex. We don't have the tradition of Question Time over here. That must explain my puzzlement in the mores of the times. To comment further would necessarily get political, and off-topic...

Second Reading

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

What's interesting to me is that Pepys says hearth AND range. I wonder what a restoration kitchen range might have been like? Perhaps a less elaborate version of the one in this picture from Fairfax House, apparently dating from a century later?


The inglenook fireplace in my own cottage is over 300 years old, and it is clear that there was an oven at one side of it once, but the evidence of anything else is gone.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"at Playford's"

L&M: The music shop near the Inner Temple.

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