Thursday 2 October 1662

Up and to the office, where we sat till noon, and then to dinner, and Mr. Moore came and dined with me, and after dinner to look over my Brampton papers, which was a most necessary work, though it is not so much to my content as I could wish. I fear that it must be as it can, and not as I would. He being gone I to my workmen again, and at night by coach towards Whitehall took up Mr. Moore and set him at my Lord’s, and myself, hearing that there was a play at the Cockpit (and my Lord Sandwich, who came to town last night, at it), I do go thither, and by very great fortune did follow four or five gentlemen who were carried to a little private door in a wall, and so crept through a narrow place and come into one of the boxes next the King’s, but so as I could not see the King or Queene, but many of the fine ladies, who yet are really not so handsome generally as I used to take them to be, but that they are finely dressed. Here we saw “The Cardinall,” a tragedy I had never seen before, nor is there any great matter in it. The company that came in with me into the box, were all Frenchmen that could speak no English, but Lord! what sport they made to ask a pretty lady that they got among them that understood both French and English to make her tell them what the actors said. Thence to my Lord’s, and saw him, and staid with him half an hour in his chamber talking about some of mine and his own business, and so up to bed with Mr. Moore in the chamber over my Lord’s.

28 Annotations

First Reading

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"but Lord!what sport they made"
The audience being quite in the Theater is a more or less recent phenomena;Wagner, at least in Opera, had something to do with it.

A. De Araujo  •  Link


Jon-o  •  Link

See… for an interesting book on the subject of audience attitudes. It's specifically about opera audiences in Paris, 1750-1850, but it's really quite a fascinating and entertaining read.

daniel  •  Link

What a fine looking book, Jon-O! I will buy it!

Australian Susan  •  Link

Audiences tended not to be quiet during concerts either until the 19th century. But then performances tended to be often not as well-rehearsed as we expect nowadays and sometimes they would stop and start again to get a passage right. And instruments could sometimes not keep in tune: Mozart disliked the flute because of this. In his day, the technology did not allow regularity so a collection of flutes could sound pretty awful together. I read somewhere that M only wrote for the flute if forced to (money, powerful patron etc).

Australian Susan  •  Link

I think Sam would have liked to have been included in this group in what sounds like an atmosphere charged with sexual inneunendo.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

" very great fortune did follow four or five gentlemen who were carried to a little private door in a wall, and so crept through a narrow place and come into one of the boxes next the King's…”



“Password.” the tall, heavy-set man eyes a Pepys who had innocently followed several gentlemen through the “special” entrance. Hand now on sword…Large sword, Pepys notes.

Sam thinks fast, noting the Frenchmen about the box…

“Ah, non. Pardonnez-moi, Monsieur. Je ne parle pas anglais. Bonsoir, mes amis!”

Happy wave to the general group, general drunken good-hearted greeting.

And once again, our eminent diarist is spared for Posterity…

Robert Gertz  •  Link

One does wonder how a playhouse in Whitehall Palace, where Sam would not be surprised to see the Queen in attendance, got the name "Cockpit".

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Wait a minute? Aren't the sacred oaths back in force till Xmas?


Cumgranissalis  •  Link

Euphuism not needed [affected, artificial elegance of language] then.

Roy Feldman  •  Link

Pepys and Moore...

...seem to be sharing sleeping accomodations lately. I gather that Moore stayed over at Pepys's lodgings the night of Sept. 29th, given that the next day's entry begins with "We rose, and he about his business". (Those words took me aback when I first read them on the 30th -- "Who's this 'he'?" I wondered.)

I figure that the reason Moore stayed over was because he and Pepys talked (and maybe even drank?) long into the night, and so it made sense for him to sleep on the 17th-century equivalent of a futon rather than try to find his way home at that hour. (Perhaps the darkness of London streets in that era made it too impractical?)

Now yet again we find Pepys and Moore sleeping in the same house, and this one appears to be "my Lord's". I guess, yet again, the two of them stayed up talking far too long, and so ended up staying the night where they were. Only they happened to be at a house that belonged to neither of them, but rather to their mutual employer, which is kind of odd to modern sensibilities; but then, in Pepys's case, he was at least a relative.

Anyway, I have to admit, the renovations at Axe Yard have been very confusing, if only because it's hard to keep track of where, exactly, at any given time, Pepys is sleeping, his wife is sleeping, Will is sleeping, his maidservant's aunt's pet cat is sleeping, etc.

OzStu  •  Link

RE: One does wonder how a playhouse in Whitehall Palace, where Sam would not be surprised to see the Queen in attendance, got the name 'Cockpit'.

I assumed that the name “cockpit” derives from the enclosed pit that would have been used for cock-fighting at some earlier time. This would have required a reasonable area of ground for the pit and for the crowd of observers, that could have later become the site for a playhouse. Total guess though.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Sam's career started as part of "My Lord's" household. That gave him feeding rights and accomodation rights and even now, he takes advantage of this "perk" if it suits him.This was a common practice. He was still often at the back of call of Sandwich and engaged in Sandwich's business. He was a poor relation originally, but Sandwich recognised ability and his trust in Sam was well rewarded: Sam worked diligently on Sandwich's behalf and was loyal.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Sorry, I meant "beck and call".

Australian Susan  •  Link

Theatre names
In Elizabethan times, when theatres as purpose-built buildings began, they had (after the first one, which was just The Theatre) names like inns, with signs to match, so the illiterate would know where they were headed. Examples are Rose and Globe. So, Cockpit might be the same kind of thing - or, as suggested above, on the site of a cockpit.
Cock-fighting, dog fighting along with bull, bear and badger baiting, goose pulling and sundry other animal-cruelty "sports" [sic] were, alas, very popular in the 17th century (and some of them on into the 20th century. Cock-fighting and dog-fighting still go on here.

Jeannine  •  Link

"were all Frenchmen that could speak no English, but Lord! what sport they made to ask a pretty lady that they got among them that understood both French and English to make her tell them what the actors said."
Hmmm, maybe this is the idea --I'll do an experiment for the group--I'll start to read the entries surrounded by "pretty male translators" and see if this works.... of course I'll need one for the daily entries, oh look Robert Gertz used a foreign phrase in his play today, so that would make 2 translators, Cumgranissalis' entries may need a team to translate not only his name but his entries, Australian Susan in on another continent so I'll throw in another, Pedro has that English humor, which definitely requires assistance.........

J A Gioia  •  Link

Lord! what sport they made...

no indication at all that sam revealed himself to them as fluent in french. methinks our man was, as his wont, keeping his ears open and bouche ferme.

A.Hamilton  •  Link

sacred oaths

are indeed in force. Twas the stress of the business at Brampton that made him want an escape back to the good old carefree days.

As for The Anatomy of Wit (Euphues), it is true that Shirley knew how to stretch a phrase ("day is not more conspicuous than this cunning" for "clear as day,"e.g.).But Sam is plainspoken except when he has to resort to French.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Footnote to the above:
Euphues by John Lyly, gave rise to the term Euphuism cited by CGS.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

'need a team to translate' 'Then you should say what you mean,' the March Hare went on.

'I do,' Alice hastily replied; 'at least--at least I mean what I say--that's the same thing, you know.'

'Not the same thing a bit!' said the Hatter. 'You might just as well say that "I see what I eat" is the same thing as "I eat what I see"!'

'You might just as well say,' added the March Hare, 'that "I like what I get" is the same thing as "I get what I like"!'

'You might just as well say,' added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking in his sleep, 'that "I breathe when I sleep" is the same thing as "I sleep when I breathe"!'

'It is the same thing with you,' said the Hatter, and here the conversation dropped

Terry F.  •  Link

"M[ozart] only wrote for the flute if forced to" or if expounding Masonic rituals and symbols of which the prime example is "Die Zauberflöte” (“The Magic Flute”)…

Terry F.  •  Link

Which is to say that I doubt them who say "M only wrote for the flute if forced to," since he certainly wasn’t “forced” to write "The Magic Flute"; though it is true that that instrument is not an ensenble.

A.Hamilton  •  Link

need a team to translate

(not if you have language hat)

`When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

`The question is,' said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

`The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master - - that's all.'

Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. `They've a temper, some of them -- particularly verbs, they're the proudest -- adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs -- however, I can manage the whole of them! Impenetrability! That's what I say!'

`Would you tell me, please,' said Alice `what that means?`

`Now you talk like a reasonable child,' said Humpty Dumpty, looking very much pleased. `I meant by "impenetrability" that we've had enough of that subject, and it would be just as well if you'd mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don't mean to stop here all the rest of your life.'

`That's a great deal to make one word mean,' Alice said in a thoughtful tone.

`When I make a word do a lot of work like that,' said Humpty Dumpty, `I always pay it extra.'

Pedro  •  Link

Theatre/Inn names.

Another example of the naming of Inns that may be of interest, comes from Antonia Fraser's King Charles II
THE BLACK BOY Charles II had a dark complexion and hence the nickname would be used and still commemorated in the English Inn sign. Also, at the time of the Popish Plots, a neat combination of two prejudices, against Scots and Catholics, led to him being called that 'black b*****d'.

GrahamT  •  Link

Re: Theatre/Inn names.
An old local pub with the name of the Black Boy has had its sign changed from a picture of a black boy, to a picture of two young chimney sweeps. A young King Charles II would have been better, if it had to be changed

Australian Susan  •  Link

Black Boy
At this time (and into the 18th century) it became fashionable for wealthy women to have a small black boy as a page: it was thought the contrast of black skin with theirs made their complexions look better. When these "pets" grew up, they became footmen or some were able to set up in business for themselves. See… The black presence: A documentary history of the Negro in England, 1555-1860 by James Walvin.

Kevin Peter  •  Link

I notice that Sam isn't upset with himself for attending the play, which he no doubt would be if he were breaking his oath.

I think it's most likely that he considers this visit to be at least partially business, since it appears that he was only there because Sandwich was in attendance.

Second Reading

Ivan  •  Link

"I do go thither; and by very great fortune did fallow four or five gentlemen who were carried to a little private door in a wall, and so crept through a narrow place and came into one of the boxes next to the King's;"

What struck me very forcefully about this episode was the amazing lack of security. It would seem that neither the King nor Queen were present but what if Mr.Pepys had been an assassin, armed with a poniard/dagger and bearing a grudge, instead of being a lover of "sport" and plays and with an eye for the ladies.

When Charles visited play houses and walked and flirted amongst the populace would he have been accompanied by any courtiers bearing arms or having the capability of using their swords to protect him? Surely the "merry monarch" did not think popularity alone would protect him from all his enemies.

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