Monday 3 April 1665

Up and to the Duke of Albemarle and White Hall, where much business. Thence home and to dinner, and then with Creed, my wife, and Mercer to a play at the Duke’s, of my Lord Orrery’s, called “Mustapha,” which being not good, made Betterton’s part and Ianthe’s but ordinary too, so that we were not contented with it at all. Thence home and to the office a while, and then home to supper and to bed. All the pleasure of the play was, the King and my Lady Castlemayne were there; and pretty witty Nell, —[Nell Gwynne]— at the King’s house, and the younger Marshall sat next us; which pleased me mightily.

11 Annotations

First Reading

jeannine  •  Link

"and pretty witty Nell"

Spoiler. Probably the most endearing of Charles' mistresses (although Frances Stuart would never hurt a fly either), although I'm not sure if they are actually together yet. Her wit and humor kept her in his good graces for most of the King's life (even if they did have a few falling outs in years to come, they always 'made up'). Although quite poor and lacking social graces she held her own among the arrogant, self-centered snobs like Castlemaine, and later Louise de Queroelle (mistress to come), whom she tormented and sparred with on a regular basis. Although Charles kept a 'harem' of lovelies throughout his life, he probably would have had a lot more peace if he'd just remained faithful to Catherine as the bickering, tantrums, outbursts, threats and antics of the likes of Castelmaine and de Queroelle were no doubt hard to deal with. Most likely Nell, with her simple ways and comical antics was the 'comic relief' he needed from time to time so she remained in ‘the harem’ no matter how hard the others tried to sabotage her and get rid of her.

Mary  •  Link

Louise de Queroelle

Louise de Kerouaille, perhaps? Later Duchess of Portsmouth? Returned to France after Charles's death and seems to have lost most of her (considerable) pensions etc. during James's reign.

jeannine  •  Link


The same, although I've seen multiple spelling of her name. Louise is the one that Nell LOVED to torment. She would look at Louise in all of her elegance and arrogance and say things to her along the lines of, 'what makes you think you're any better than I am, after all we're both prostitutes, but I don't pretend to be anything different'. Both of their biographies are full of little details of their ongoing battles with each other, many of which I am sure Charles heard about in minute detail.

And on Louise's death (age 85), back in France, after all of her greedy glory days had passed, her confessor would note that she died 'very old, very poor and very penitent'. Apparently the role of mistress to Charles II didn't offer retirement benefits!

Phil  •  Link

"..and the younger Marshall sat next us; which pleased me mightily."

Fanned Feathers...I am not sure if all males experience this, or if women do as well, but there is something about an attractive woman that has a male (involutarily I might add) suck in that gut and search for that witty line to use should she come your way. Like a peacock fanning his feathers, if I am in a situation like Sam, I too feel younger, slimmer and witty. Often, in these situations, I hear my wife say "I feel the breeze from those fanned feathers." Little does my wife realize how many hurricanes she causes in the world.

Martin  •  Link

I'm confused, where was the play, where was the King, and where was Sam? He says they go to see "Mustapha" at the Duke's House, which is on Lincoln's Inn Fields. But then he says the King and company are at the King's House, Drury Lane, which is a few blocks away. Did they go to two plays? Or was the royal party just a celebrity sighting in the street on the way to or from the Duke's House? Or is either "Duke's" or "King's" a misstatement by Sam, bedazzled by the proximity of Ms. Marshall?

Martin  •  Link

Beck Marshall

According to "Pretty Witty Nell" by Clifford Bax: Rebecca Marshall (called "Beck") and her sister Ann were members of Nell Gwynne's acting troupe and entourage. Sister Ann was on stage possibly as early as 1660.
From a playbill of the Sinodun Players: "REBECCA MARSHALL was on the stage from 1667 to 1677 and was much admired by Samuel Pepys, an avid playgoer. She played parts in many plays by John Dryden. One play which is still performed this day, is The Plain Dealer by William Wycherley in which she created the part of Olivia, a villainess."

Mary  •  Link

"at the King's house"

I had taken this as a parenthetic phrase meaning that Nell was employed at the King's house (i.e. theatre) at this time; not that she (and Pepys's company) were watching a play at the King's house that afternoon.

cgs  •  Link

She [Nell of course] be aged between thirteen and fifteen, perfect age to attract the meaner set [wolves].

Martin  •  Link

Mary, that makes sense to me. "Of the King's House" in other words.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Considering Sam would not hesitate to pounce if he felt she deserved it, Neil seems to have won universal favor.

Perhaps the secret of how Charlie will survive to die in his own bed and not like Dad...Enraged with him as they might be, no one wants to hurt their beloved Neil.

Actually not all that crazy...A Byzantine emperor benefited enormously from the popularity of his mistress, a very witty, charming lady who was deeply concerned with the poor and always treated the official Empress with respect.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Qu and K

In the Roman alphabet usage, Qu was almost always used for those hard sounds we now use a K for. K was only occasionally used for some foreign words like Karthage. K was introduced into England with Norman French and Old English words such as Cyning, came to be spelt King.K was also used to fortify the 'c' sound as in neck and flick. Q, accompanied by u (or v as it was written by the Romans) could be substituted for K or Kw and at this time in the 17thc, spelling and usage was still fluid.
Information from "A is for Ox: a short history of the alphabet" by Lyn Davies.

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.