Saturday 2 January 1663/64

Up and to the office, and there sitting all the morning, and at noon to the ’Change, in my going met with Luellin and told him how I had received a letter and bill for 50l. from Mr. Deering, and delivered it to him, which he told me he would receive for me. To which I consented, though professed not to desire it if he do not consider himself sufficiently able by the service I have done, and that it is rather my desire to have nothing till he be further sensible of my service. From the ’Change I brought him home and dined with us, and after dinner I took my wife out, for I do find that I am not able to conquer myself as to going to plays till I come to some new vowe concerning it, and that I am now come, that is to say, that I will not see above one in a month at any of the publique theatres till the sum of 50s. be spent, and then none before New Year’s Day next, unless that I do become worth 1000l. sooner than then, and then am free to come to some other terms, and so leaving him in Lombard Street I took her to the King’s house, and there met Mr. Nicholson, my old colleague, and saw “The Usurper,” which is no good play, though better than what I saw yesterday. However, we rose unsatisfied, and took coach and home, and I to the office late writing letters, and so to supper and to bed.

13 Annotations

First Reading

Glyn  •  Link

"Beginning at the end of this holiday season (January 6) I do hereby promise to go to only one commercial play (private dramatisations at the Court or elsewhere being specifically excluded from this vow) in each calendar month until I have reached a total expenditure of the sum of 50 shillings IN WHICH CASE I shall see no more until next New Year's Day UNLESS by that date I have accumulated 1,000 pounds in wealth (currently 800 pounds and rising) IN WHICH CASE this vow may be renegotiated."

It's vows like that that really keep the Almighty on His toes - He won't be able to punish Pepys with a plague of boils for vow-breaking until He's checked and double-checked the small print. I think that I'm beginning to see how Pepys drew up his contracts with naval suppliers.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

I took her to the King's house ..."

"Killigrew beat Davenant to a debut, at Gibbon's Tennis Court in Clare Market, with the new King's Company. Its original members were Michael Mohun, William Wintershall, Robert Shatterall, William Cartwright, Walter Clun, Charles Hart and Nicholas Burt. They played for a time at the old Red Bull Theatre, but in 1663 the company moved to the new Theatre Royal in Drury Lane. (Unfortunately, Killigrew gained a reputation as an incompetent manager; he was constantly in disputes with his actors and had to bribe his stars to keep working for him.) Killigrew staged plays by Aphra Behn, John Dryden, William Wycherley...and Thomas Killigrew, as well as revivals of Beaumont and Fletcher. Having inherited the rights and repertory of the old King's Men, the King's Company performed many of Shakespeare's works, in the rewritten forms that were so popular at the time and so disparaged later (like King Lear with a happy ending). Two Killigrew productions of his own Parson's Wedding, in 1664 and 1672-3, were cast entirely with women."……

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Marquee at the King's House-

"Killigrew presents:

Girls, Girls, Girls!!

Would His Majesty Have It Any Other Way?!"

"Ah, ha, ha...That Killigrew..." Sam and Charles nervously eye their respective frowning spouses as they enter the theater.

Michael L  •  Link

Why does Pepys take vows against play-going? I thought it was a lingering Puritanism against their immorality -- so why should it become OK just because he has money? They can't have been breaking him financially, so what is it anyway?

Mary  •  Link

Why vows against play-going?

Part of the answer lies in that final proviso; "unless I do become worth £1000 sooner.." Sam is a man on the make, but knows that his weakness for play-going needs to be controlled if he is to keep his nose to the grindstone. A solemn vow is harder to break than a general statement of intention.

Dan Jenkins  •  Link

Tis to prevent his dissipating his energies and wealth in such frivolities, when he could be increasing his wealth by attention to business.

In earlier days, he did cavort, so now, through his vows, he forces himself to comport. Thus to increase his social and business standing and, concomittently, his wealth, which is to yield his independence from want and from others' compulsions.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

That Killigrew ...

"Charles ii, who hated business as much as he loved pleasure, would often disappoint the council in vouchsafing his royal presence when they were met, by which their business was necessarily delay'd and many of the council much offended by the disrespect thrown on them: It happened one day while the council were met, and had sat some time in expectation of his majesty, that the duke of Lauderdale, who was a furious ungovernable man, quitted the room in a passion, and accidentally met with Killegrew, to whom he expressed himself irreverently of the king: Killegrew bid his grace be calm, for he would lay a wager of a hundred pounds, that he would make his majesty come to council in less than half an hour. Lauderdale being a little heated, and under the influence of surprize, took him at his word;--­Killegrew went to the king, and without ceremony told him what had happened, and added, "I know that your majesty hates Lauderdale, tho' the necessity of your affairs obliges you to behave civilly to him; now if you would get rid of a man you hate, come to the council, for Lauderdale is a man so boundlessly avaricious, that rather than pay the hundred pounds lost in this wager, he will hang himself, and never plague you more." The king was pleased with the archness of this observation, and answered, 'then Killegrew I'll positively go,' which he did.

--­It is likewise related, that upon the king's suffering his mistresses to gain so great an ascendant over him as to sacrifice for them the interest of the state, and neglect the most important affairs, while, like another Sardanapalus, he wasted his hours in the apartments of those enchantresses: Killegrew went one day into his apartment dress'd like a pilgrim, bent upon a long journey. The king being surprized at this extraordinary frolic, asked him the meaning of it, and to what distant country he was going, to which Killegrew bluntly answered, the country I seek, may it please your majesty, is hell; and what to do there? replies the king? to bring up Oliver Cromwel from thence, returned the wag, to take care of the English affairs, for his successor takes none.--"

Cibber, Theophilus The Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and Ireland (1753)Vol. III…

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I believe Killigrew also was/will be father of a famous, rather adult quote by Sam later [1666, spoiler]. "There is a good, honest, able man, that I could name, that if your Majesty would employ, and command to see all things well executed, all things would soon be mended; and this is one Charles Stuart, who now spends his time in employing his lips and prick about the Court, and hath no other employment; but if you would give him this employment, he were the fittest man in the world to perform it."

jeannine  •  Link

Pepys Biography
Time is running out-don't forget Bradford's great find this past week!
"Pepys is the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography subject for 1 January 2007. This 15-page essay by C. S. Knighton will remain freely available for a week. Go to this page and click on the Hayls portrait:…

The Print function is at upper left."

jeannine  •  Link

Vows against play going
Michael -Mary and Dan have stated the case against play going quite well. In the book "A Record of Samuel Pepys' Financial Accounts, 1660-1669" are listed the monies he spent or received during the Diary years. As I started perusing it I was really surprised to see how many "hits" for the theater that were listed in the early years. It seemed that Sam would drop a £ here and there, probably with little thought to it. As with anyone who had ever set up a budget, it's often the little things that you can cut out that add up to a lot of savings over time. Sam is lucky to have figured this out at a young age, especially when you read about all of the people in debt today!

Martha Rosen  •  Link

An online bookseller (…) describes Howard's "Usurper" thus:

"This drama was advertised as a political play, with its wicked usurper and restored monarch of Sicily at least vaguely suggestive of Cromwell and Charles II, who had returned from exile to the British throne eight years previously. (In his famous diary, Samuel Pepys, an ardent theater fan, had no trouble making the connections.) Although The Usurper is termed a tragedy, only the evil-doers die, while good king Cleander is rewarded with the throne and the hand of Queen Timandra. Edward Howard (b. 1624) and his brothers Robert and James were of high degree, their father being Earl of Berkshire and their maternal grandfather being William Cecil, Lord Burghley, the famous counsellor of Queen Elizabeth, and all three brothers took to writing tragedies for the London stage."

I'm not sure what the basis is for the statement that Sam had no trouble making the connection between the play and recent history.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Cibber, Theophilus The Lives of the Poets

A footnote to Michael Robinson's citation of this work: Theophilus was son of Colley Cibber, actor-manager, playwright and, incredibly, appointed poet laureate in 1730. It was Cibber, I think, who produced a happy ending to King Lear. Both father and son are targets of Alexander Pope's Dunciad, Cibber pere becoming King of Dullness in the 1743 edition.

Paul Brightwell  •  Link

Martha, it's probably not on the basis of this entry but of one five years later. In December 1668 Sam saw The Usurper again and described it as "a pretty good play in all but what is designed to resemble Cromwell and Hugh Peters, which is mighty silly." Given that your online bookseller also refers to the Restoration as having taken place eight years previously they must be thinking of the later production, rather than the play's debut (which was at the Theatre Royal, Bridges Street) referred to in today's entry.

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