Tuesday 23 July 1661

Put on my mourning. Made visits to Sir W. Pen and Batten. Then to Westminster, and at the Hall staid talking with Mrs. Michell a good while, and in the afternoon, finding myself unfit for business, I went to the Theatre, and saw “Brenoralt,” I never saw before. It seemed a good play, but ill acted; only I sat before Mrs. Palmer, the King’s mistress, and filled my eyes with her, which much pleased me. Then to my father’s, where by my desire I met my uncle Thomas, and discoursed of my uncle’s will to him, and did satisfy [him] as well as I could. So to my uncle Wight’s, but found him out of doors, but my aunt I saw and staid a while, and so home and to bed. Troubled to hear how proud and idle Pall is grown, that I am resolved not to keep her.

25 Annotations

First Reading

Pedro.  •  Link

"Mrs. Palmer, the King's mistress, and filled my eyes with her, which much pleased me.”

Bishop Gilbert Burnet (1643-1715) say of her..

Married to one Palmer, a Papist, soon after made Earl of Castlemaine; and she when separated from him, was advanced to the Duchess of Cleveland. A woman of great beauty, but enormously vicious and ravenous, foolish but imperious, very uneasy to the King, always carrying on intrigues with other men, even while she pretended to be jealous of him. His passion for her, and her strange behaviour to him, disordered him so that he was oftentimes neither master of himself nor capable of business…

daniel  •  Link

"not fit for business"

i wonder why. Is he too grieved, or just out of sorts?

Sjoerd  •  Link

Brennoralt, by Sir John Suckling
Apparently Pepys liked the play well enough to see it two more times over the coming years.

"Although The Goblins is Suckling's most satisfactory performance, the tragedy Brennoralt is a work of more promise and a more striking evidence of his poetic capacity. It did not appear till 1646; but it had been printed in a shorter form in 1640 as The Discontented Colonell. The interest of Brennoralt lies mainly in our seeming to detect in the hero something of the inner self of the author, and to find that self better and sounder than the shallow prodigal who caught the public eye. The gloomy colonel, in spite of his strict loyalty, is clearly aware of defects in his king. The rebel Lithuanians are meant for Scots, of about the year 1639. The rebels having been informed that the king cannot be unjust to them "Where there's so little to be had," their leader Almerine replies, "Where there is least, there's liberty." Suckling's style perceptibly strengthens in the play.”


dirk  •  Link

"not fit for business"

Mental exhaustion, I suppose.
All this business - his uncle's death as well as the business of the will - must have been very trying. Even nowadays under similar circumstances most people would prefer to take a day off before going back to work.

Sjoerd  •  Link

Quote of the day:

"She is pretty to walk with,
And witty to talk with,
And pleasant, too, to think on.
Brennoralt. Act ii. "

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"Trouble to hear how prowd and idle Pall is grown" aren't they in the same household? why "hear" then?

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"Mrs Palmer" seems like she had a very bad press; one has to remember that History is written by the winners; Sam for instance so far has not said anything "bad" about her.

daniel  •  Link

lady castlemain

if I recall correctly, Sam grows quite fond of this notorious gal in the ensuing years.

vicente  •  Link

Oh! my soaring "... finding myself unfit for business, I went to the Theatre, ..." It is good thing that one can stand around a look for a site for sore eyes.
Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross
To see a fine lady upon a white horse
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes
She shall have music wherever she goes
To make thirty miles a day, the cavalry alternate with the walk and trot, making about five to six miles an hour

poor nags ?

vicente  •  Link

"...Troubled to hear how proud and idle Pall is grown, that I am resolved not to keep her...." to hear=A tattle tale or the Mistress. You can hear Mistress Liza saying " That halfwit sister of yours, is too big for her britches, who does she think she is? The delivery boys just hang around all day , wasting my time"???

Mary  •  Link

"not fit for business"

A combination of mental and physical weariness, I should imagine. Yesterday he had a long day in the saddle and got uncomfortably chilled during the early part of his ride. Although Sam does far more walking most days than many of his modern readers, he only takes to horse very occasionally, so he could be feeling weary, quite saddle-sore and full of twinges today. He manages to make a few calls in the morning, but suffers an afternoon 'dip' in energy and slopes off to the theatre for some R&R.

Mary  •  Link

The subject of theatres

For those who can receive UK channel 4 TV, at 8pm BST on Monday 26th July there will be shown a programme about Charles II's Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: "Put on my mourning."

Did I miss something? What/whom is he mourning? Or is there another meaning to this that I'm forgetting?

Jim  •  Link

Regarding "Put on my mourning" -- Sam is mourning his uncle. In modern times mourning may be something to be shrugged off on the way home from the funeral, but in the past the period of mourning was quite extended. I seem to recall reading that in the Victorian era the appropriate period of mourning for the very closest relatives -- child and spouse -- was considered to be a year. (Yes, yes, those Victorians carried things to excess.) I'm not sure what the exact standards and societal expectations were in Sam's time, but it would seem from this entry that he was still in the expected period of mourning.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Trouble to hear how prowd and idle Pall is grown"
aren't they in the same household? why "hear" then? ”

He’s been away from home…

Ms. Beth Pepys was pretty young still, though seems to be anxious to assert her authority at home and no doubt Pall, though unable to buck her something of an sob of a brother, is giving her some trouble. Natural enough that she’d resent being made a servant and being ordered around by this half-French kid whom her dad and mum probably denounce (that sluty, useless, probable Papist with a poor family and no dowry who stole our boy) at home when dear Sam’s not visiting…

Or maybe it’s just that Pall caught Sam fiddling around with another maid on his return…

JWB  •  Link

"...finding myself unfit for business,"
Apparently the ride home has jostled some organs about in his head. "I sat before Mrs. Palmer, the King's mistress, and filled my eyes with her…”

Mary  •  Link

"put on my mourning"

We didn't hear Pepys mention mourning dress at all whilst he was at Brampton. Must we assume that the adoption of 'official' mourning dress-code was more important in Town than it was in the country.

(Regarding extremes of Victorian habits, mentioned above, a widow might be expected to wear black for two years, then purple and finally grey towards the end of a five-year period of mourning. It was definitely considered 'fast' for her to re-marry within a period of five years).

vicente  •  Link

then Poems by J. D.. London: Printed by M. F. for John Marriot, 1633. Revised and enlarged edition, 1635. Contains "Batter my heart," "Death, be not proud," "The Flea," "Song," and
"A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning."
AS virtuous men passe mildly away,
And whisper to their soules, to goe,
Whilst some of their sad friends doe say,
The breath goes now, and some say, no:


previous talk of the subject:


vicente  •  Link

"....Lucy Hutchinson wrote of the condition and treatment of mourning widows:
commonly all objects are removed out of their view, which may with other remembrance renew the grief; and in time these remedies succeed, when oblivion's curtain is by degrees drawn over the dead face, and things less lovely are liked, while they are not viewed together with that which was most excellent. But I that am under a command not to grieve at the common rate of desolate women. ……”
half way down:

dirk  •  Link

mourning superstitions

Have a look at the following (it's from a Victorian site, but I suspect most if not all of these superstions are far older):

Maurie Beck  •  Link

"finding myself unfit for business,"
Of course he was unfit for business. He rode 70 miles the previous day.

dirk  •  Link

Rev. Josselin's diary for Tuesday 23 July 1661

I was raising my back building at my house on the green, which was done this week, with safety to all persons employed therein.

Second Reading

Tim  •  Link

I suppose Mrs Palmer was used to the rude and libidinous twisting around in their seats to goggle at her...

ciudadmarron  •  Link

Tim, my thoughts exactly, seing as Pepys says he sat "before" her.

Seething Phoenix  •  Link

One of the few institutions that still recognises formal mourning is The Royal Household - members of The Royal Family and courtiers must wear sombre colours for a set period after a death in the family. Interestingly, it would be frowned upon for those in mourning to attend social functions, such as sports matches or indeed the theatre - so I find it curious that Sam does exactly that, although I recognise mourning was likely observed differently to today’s standards.

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