Saturday 26 October 1661

This morning Sir W. Pen and I should have gone out of town with my Lady Batten, to have met Sir William coming back from Portsmouth; at Kingston, but could not, by reason that my Lord of Peterborough (who is to go Governor of Tangier) came this morning, with Sir G. Carteret, to advise with us about completing of the affairs and preparacions for that place. So at the office all the morning, and in the afternoon Sir W. Pen, my wife and I to the Theatre, and there saw “The Country Captain,” the first time it hath been acted this twenty-five years, a play of my Lord Newcastle’s, but so silly a play as in all my life I never saw, and the first that ever I was weary of in my life. So home again, and in the evening news was brought that Sir R. Slingsby, our Comptroller (who hath this day been sick a week), is dead; which put me into so great a trouble of mind, that all the night I could not sleep, he being a man that loved me, and had many qualitys that made me to love him above all the officers and commissioners in the Navy. Coming home we called at Dan Rawlinson’s; and there drank good sack, and so home.

24 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Farewell, good Sir Bob...

I presume Sam's multiple homecomings were the result of his failing to note he'd gone with Sir W. P. and/or others to pay respects at Sir Robert's.

Nix  •  Link

"An Entrancing Ego: Samuel Pepys" -

A wonderful profile of Samuel and appreciation of the diary and Tomalin's biography, in the Hudson Review:…

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"and in the evening news was brought that"
It sounds strange for the XVII century!!!

Mene Tekel  •  Link

The Country Captain musta really sucked.

dirk  •  Link

It sounds strange for the XVII century!!!


A. De Araujo  •  Link

Well I think of TV,CNN,Fox News and so on

Bradford  •  Link

As Sam's dissed plenty of plays he's seen before, this one really must be rank. "William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle (1592 - December 25, 1676) was an English soldier, politician and writer," says this biographical sketch (once you fight off the cookies and pop-ups), and much more:…

dirk  •  Link

"The Country Captain"

"The Country Captain" (or "Captain Underwit") is given as a work of Cavendish and Shirley, dated 1639-1640, by…

and as "a domestic comedy of Shirley's [no mention of Cavendish!], written in close imitation of Ben Jonson" by A.H. Bullen (ed.), in "A Collection of Old English Plays" vol.II, 1882-89…
(who also notes that "it must be owned that there are few plays of Shirley's written with such freedom, not to say grossness")
You'll also find the full text here.

A small text sample (which must have sounded familiar to Sam):

_Richard_. What? is he readie?

_Dorothy_. Alas, hee's almost dead.

_Richard_. How? dead?

_Dorothy_. He has been troubled with a fitt o'th stone, Sir, all this night. Sweet gentleman he groanes, And sweates, and cannot--

_Richard_. What?

_Dorothy_. Make urine, Sir.

Judy B  •  Link

In Pepys's time of no telephones or email, all communication not in person was by letter or messenger.

This is one of the causes of his constant visiting people and places to find out what is happening. Today, he has had to change his plans because he received in-person news at the last minute.

What seems to us modern folks as excessive socializing is often really another phrase of his "work."

I do find it humorous that in spite of his guilt of recent days and vows not to attend so many plays, he is back to his old afternoon habits.

vicente  •  Link

"and in the evening[,] news was brought that" oh! wot difference comma doth make. [by a non macadamean].
" excessive socializing " then or would it be the lack of being social now? The dreaded cell, that I see so often, a family group promenading, each with their mars attenna, yacking away to a voice stuck in the ear, about which Flickers they will be attending.{thats today}. Imagine what Sam would have missed, by having such a device,no mud, never seeing how ropes were hawled up the rope lanes. Strange really, eyeball to eyeball meeting still needed for the final contract to be executed.

Nix  •  Link

"He has been troubled with a fitt o'th stone” —

Surely that made Samuel squirm in his seat. Small wonder he didn’t care for the play.

Clement  •  Link

Newcastle and Sam share the distinction of each having their writing still in print. Newcastle's "A General System of Horsemanship" (written during the Interregnum) was printed at least as late as 2000.

JWB  •  Link

Sam's ego
"...he being a man that loved me, and had many qualitys that made me to love him above all the officers and commissioners..." Note the order.

Mary K McIntyre  •  Link

vicente -- the cel is everywhere, even on marathons! i've run 2 and both times, there were idiots strolling along, "yeah, I'm mostly walking now... just past mile 12..." gah!

it's amazing how some things in Sam's diary seem startlingly fast -- like the mail delivery -- and others so slow -- having to physically go and see if so&so is dead yet... has the ship come in... is Sir X at home...

I still haven't figured out if Sam *felt* as busy as your average 21st century salaryman. Perhaps the 19th century had the best combination of cheap servants to run your messages, and mod cons like telegraph and phone.

Now the conveniences run us, and anyone who can afford a nanny or cleaning woman is absolutely terrified of them...

David A. Smith  •  Link

"in the evening news was brought"
News traveled throughout London as it has ere done in cities; by grapevine. By Sam's time there were two principal reasons for putting up with cities:
* Commerce (especially trading)
* Information (decisions, news, speculation)
As Judy B notes, given Sam's position, he has to be on top of both. So he would spend a large part of his day swapping news with others, paying and receiving in information, one of the many lifebloods of politics and administration.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"all the night I could not sleep, he being a man that loved me"
A true measure of grief.

"Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected 'havior of the visage,
Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief,
That can denote me truly: these indeed seem,
For they are actions that a man might play:
But I have that within which passeth show;
These but the trappings and the suits of woe."

Kevin Peter  •  Link

I found the death of Sir Robert Slingsby, whom Sam has had mentioned so much in his diary, rather saddening. I really look a liking to him.

Even though he's been dead for over 300 years, I'm really going to miss Slingsby.

Patricia  •  Link

Sir. R's death shocked me; this is real people we're talking about, and this is the first person we knew well to die during the course of Sam's diary-keeping. Spoiler: wait until 1665!

Second Reading

Edith Lank  •  Link

Nix -- when I clicked on the web address I got the Hudson Review but I couldn't get to the article. Is the problem on my end? -- I don't understand these things too well.

Bill  •  Link

Edith, no problem on your end. The Hudson Review, like most publications, does not offer free access to archival material.

Bill  •  Link

But try your local academic, or even public, library. They should have databases available (that they've paid for) that will provide access.

Bill  •  Link

And, of course, they may even have an old-fashioned paper copy! The complete citation is:

An Entrancing Ego: Samuel Pepys. Clara Claiborne Park. The Hudson Review. Vol. 57, No. 2 (Summer, 2004), pp. 234-248.

Ruslan  •  Link

"I got the Hudson Review but I couldn't get to the article"
The link is dead (i.e. the article was taken down). You can however find a copy of the original article on the wayback machine:…

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