Monday 29 September 1662

(Michaelmas day). This day my oaths for drinking of wine and going to plays are out, and so I do resolve to take a liberty to-day, and then to fall to them again. Up and by coach to White Hall, in my way taking up Mr. Moore, and walked with him, talking a good while about business, in St. James’s Park, and there left him, and to Mr. Coventry’s, and so with him and Sir W. Pen up to the Duke, where the King came also and staid till the Duke was ready. It being Collarday, we had no time to talk with him about any business. They went out together. So we parted, and in the park Mr. Cooke by appointment met me, to whom I did give my thoughts concerning Tom’s match and their journey tomorrow, and did carry him by water to Tom’s, and there taking up my wife, maid, dog, and him, did carry them home, where my wife is much pleased with my house, and so am I fully. I sent for some dinner and there dined, Mrs. Margaret Pen being by, to whom I had spoke to go along with us to a play this afternoon, and then to the King’s Theatre, where we saw “Midsummer’s Night’s Dream,” which I had never seen before, nor shall ever again, for it is the most insipid ridiculous play that ever I saw in my life. I saw, I confess, some good dancing and some handsome women, which was all my pleasure.

Thence set my wife down at Madam Turner’s, and so by coach home, and having delivered Pegg Pen to her father safe, went home, where I find Mr. Deane, of Woolwich, hath sent me the modell he had promised me; but it so far exceeds my expectations, that I am sorry almost he should make such a present to no greater a person; but I am exceeding glad of it, and shall study to do him a courtesy for it.

So to my office and wrote a letter to Tom’s mistress’s mother to send by Cooke to-morrow. Then came Mr. Moore thinking to have looked over the business of my Brampton papers against the Court, but my mind was so full of other matters (as it is my nature when I have been a good while from a business, that I have almost forgot it, I am loth to come to it again) that I could not set upon it, and so he and I past the evening away in discourse, and to my lodgings and to bed.

28 Annotations

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Oaths up and Bess home in time to be able to enjoy the benefits of liberty...Time to enjoy that new house and...Party on, Sam!

Within appropriate moderation of course...As Coventry passes by.

Ah, the Midsummer's Night critique...After hearing Brannaugh read this bit in the audio diary I was on the floor.

So Bess felt like a chat with Jane Turner...Hmmn... The cousin who knows and loves Sam best... Hard to tell if he left Elisabeth there alone or no, it seems like it yet he makes no mention of her coming home later.

daniel  •  Link

"Ah, the Midsummer's Night critique”

I can only presume that this was a “Restoration” era adaptation of the Shakespeare original. I can’t say that I am a big fan of Restoration drama either, Sam.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Here is yet another instance when Sam and others turn up for their Monday meeting with the Duke only for it not to happen. I am puzzled about why today being a collar day (a regular one it being Michaelmas, not a special one commanded by the Sovreign)should preclude business: those entitled to wear knightly collars do not seem to do anything special on those days, except wear them! The Garter Knights had a day of festivity on St George's Day (April 23rd). There is an order of Knights decicated to St Michael,who would have a feast day today, but they were founded by George IV, when Prince Regent in 1818.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Poor Sam, anticipating his theatre trip after so much abstemiousness, only to dislike it so much! He doesn't like Shakespeare much at all, but maybe he did see mainly adaptations. Good of him to take the 12 year old Margaret to the theatre - let's hope she enjoyed it and Elizabeth's company.

Terry F  •  Link

"This day" is different from others; Why is that?

Robert. it seems his "oaths for drinking of wine and going to plays are *out*," not "expired," if "Laissez les bons temps rouler" is what you meant by "off," since he says that "I do resolve to take a liberty to-day, and then to fall to them again."

Does the calendar of feast days provide a clue? Grasping at straws, since I have found this very strange: we have not heard before this that the oaths were conditional....

A. Hamilton  •  Link

"This day" is different from others; Why is that?

It appears that Sam’s oath to foreswear wine and plays dates back to the beginning of Lent on Ash Wedensday March 5 1662 (he records an oath on March 3) and was intended to last until Michaelmas ( a feast day). Sam gives evidence of taking advantage of religious feast days to have a glass (and there was the episode of his trip to Portsmouth just after Easter).

Terry F  •  Link

A. Hamilton, thanks for explaining why this day differs!

On another note: yesterday Brian McMullen rightly wondered when Elizabeth saw this house, as I had assumed: Today we find out, and her review of the remodel is indeed positive.

Pauline  •  Link

" wife is much pleased with my house, and so am I fully."
Perhaps the "fully" means his satisfaction is topped off by her approval.

Joe  •  Link

"as it is my nature when I have been a good while from a business, that I have almost forgot it, I am loth to come to it again"

This parenthetical explanation for avoiding dreary matters is quite interesting, especially since Pepys had already conducted quite a lot of business before relaxing into this day of "liberty." Most of us would be content to say "oh, I just didn't feel like dealing with it," but Pepys takes this opportunity to note one of his habits of mind, his "nature."

Pedro  •  Link

The State of the nation. (The King is going missing, as well as the Duke!)

Davidson in her biography of Catherine gives this letter from Clarendon to Ormonde, written on the 29th September 1662. (I am not sure she has the date right, but no spoilers, just maybe of interest).

"All things are bad with reference to Lady Castlemaine, but I think not quite as bad as you hear. Everybody takes her to be of the bedchamber, for she is always there, and goes abroad in the coach. But the Queen tells me that the King promised her, on condition she would use her as she does others, that she should never live in Court, yet lodgings I think she hath. I hear of no back stairs. The worst is the King is discomposed as ever, and looks as little after business, which breaks my heart. He seeks satisfaction in other company, who do not love him as well as you and I do.

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

- such a present to no greater a person -
an unexpected bout of modesty on Sam's part. But others, among them Mr. Deane, are estimating him higher than he does himself.

Jeannine  •  Link

"we saw 'Midsummer's Night's Dream,' which I had never seen before, nor shall ever again, for it is the most insipid ridiculous play that ever I saw in my life”
Considering other choices of plays to take a 12 year old girl to, this one is probably a much better choice than much of the Restoration theater, some of which was pretty explicit. At least in today’s world we have “ratings” that give an idea in advance as to what age level is generally appropriate for films, etc. I wonder if Sam ever pondered this or would have thought of it prior to the event. This is one place where the experience of parenting may have offered a different range of thoughts that one may have considered, but, I’m not sure if in those time this would be a concern to anyone or not?? I can’t see how it would be the best idea to pull the daughter of an Admiral to see some of the more provocative works to come out of the Restoration period.
The only tidbit of thought regarding theater appropriateness that I have come across is unrelated to Sam, but to come. In 1674, in order to glorify and celebrate himself, the King will have a large gala which will include the princesses (Mary and Anne, James’ 2 girls) in a play. The play, based on Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” will have Calista raped by Jove (who is disguised as a goddess). John Crownee, the playwrite had the task of taking that storyline and creating it in a delicate manner appropriate for girls age 14 or so to participate in, which was far from an easy task. Of course, the irony here is having Charles II and James ( 2 libertines extraordinaire), worried about any young ladies’ virtues.

Stolzi  •  Link

"I sent for some dinner"

Take-out food makes an appearance in Restoration London!

David A. Smith  •  Link

"the most insipid ridiculous play that ever I saw in my life"
Daniel notwithstanding, I doubt there was any particular adaptation or abridgement of Shakespeare. MND is objectively ridiculous (and it is full of Shakespeare's vinegary approach to gender relations and marriage as a kind of death of happiness). You either like it or you don't.

language hat  •  Link

"an unexpected bout of modesty on Sam's part”

Not modesty, just realism. Back then, nobody cared about your inner greatness; if you were a beggar you were a beggar, if you were a lord you were a lord. Pepys is ambitious and hopes to rise on the social ladder, but right now he’s just a GS-10, as it were (in US gov’t terms), and he knows exactly what perks and gifts he can expect at such a level.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Sam in the pecking order.

Inasmuch as a GS-10 is an entry-level professional job ranking, and Sam is taking muster of Naval shipyards, I see him as somewhat further up the career ladder than that. What he is not is a titled grandee or patron. But Deane sees Sam as a valuable ally in advancing his own career beyond journeyman status in the shipyards, and perhaps as a kindred "new broom" spirit for improving the Navy. I guess he has given Sam something more like a presentation model than a shipyard working model, in recognition of the power Sam is accumulating. Is Sam concerned that this model might incite envy among his co-workers?

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

Why doth Sam not enjoy would the opening line spoil his pleasure.
Now faire Hippolita, our nuptiall houre
5: Drawes on apace: foure happy daies bring in
6: Another Moon: but oh, me thinkes, how slow
7: This old Moon wanes; She lingers my desires
8: Like to a Step-dame, or a Dowager,
9: Long withering out a yong mans reuennew.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

An interesting line: "I'll put a girdle about the earth
in forty minutes."
'tis worth a gander, "as wild geese...." to read, is to enjoy ... methought I was enamour'd of an ...
RE: prev. heading. The miss ing comma, after enjoy.

stolzi  •  Link


Best spelling of "revenue" I've seen in a month of Sundays!

Australian Susan  •  Link

Sam and oaths
Michaelmas is a quarter day (See ) so a natural day to review an oath on.
Sam and Elizabeth make much use of "cook shops" as they were known when they were living in rooms, before they got the house in Axe Yard. Even in Elizabethan London, you could get a cooked meal in a basin to take home. There's nothing new under the sun! Can't think Sam would have much of a fan of KFC, but he would probably have liked kebabs or Indian.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Restoration Drama
The plays we tradationally associate with typical bawdy Restoratian Drama were not yet written. Their heyday was the next decade, so Sam did not get to see the really naughty stuff till outside the diary period. Some of these plays were completely suppressed in the Victorian era, only coming to the fore again in the 1960s and '70s in a more open society. See for information on William Wycherley, probably the most famous of these dramatists.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"The most ridiculous insipid play that ever I saw in my life"
If he could hear Mendelsohn in the background or if the leading actors were Mickey Rooney( still with us,ravaged by age and alimony payments)and Spencer Tracy,he would think differently!

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

'u' versus 'v' this be the period of transition double 'u', 'i', 'y' 'f'/'s' etc.
revenio I give back [return of investment]
reuennew be fructus in Latin,[fruit of labor]
reditus ppp -reddo give back

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Must've been some model...

"All right, ye scurvy French...Ye Dutch rogues who would claim the seas." Sam pushes the little ship cannon to the gun ports of his new model. Lord Sandwich's "Royal James" standing in to the other side of his closet desk as the villainous enemy vessel.

"Let 'em have a broadside, boys!"

Wooo...Paper as cannon shot strikes the James.

"Not enough, Mr. Pepys, taker in to point-blank range! Oh, but Capt. Pepys, that'll be too close...The enemy'll rake us for sure! I said, taker it, damn you!" Pushes new ship closer... "Fire!"

Woo...More paper, the James is knocked to the side.

"Sam'l?" Bess peers in... "What are you doing?"

"Reviewing ship design with Deane's model against the James, dear..."

Hmmn...Bess eyes the James on its side, the paper balls scattered round the desk and floor.

"You know, I was wondering if you'd like to try out our new metal bathing tub...Jane just filled it. I'd bet they'd float." she grins. "They look like seaworthy craft."

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

I don't think Shakespeare was as highly thought-of a dramatist in Sam's day as he is now - certainly there wouldn't be the automatic respect that his name gets these days.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

How could he be highly thought of, [the Bard, that is] he not be an Oxonian, his olde Pa was mayor but signed his moniker with an X to mark the spot,not good genes.
Education to rear [up] should have been educere [draw forth on] but the linguists say no [it be educare, to train].

Steven Pounders  •  Link

There is an error here. When you wave your cursor over "the King's Theatre", the popup annotation reads "King's House (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane)".

However, the theatre at Drury Lane did not open until May 7, 1663. Prior to that, Killigrew's Kings Men performed primarily at the theatre constructed from Gibbon's Tennis Court, on Vere Street. It was referred to as the "Theatre Royal, Vere Street" or the "Vere Street Theatre". When Pepys describes the "King's Theatre" prior to May of 1663, he is referring to the Vere Street Theatre.

Phil Gyford  •  Link

The theatre link has belatedly been corrected.

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