Tuesday 6 November 1666

Up, and to the office, where all the morning sitting. At noon home to dinner, and after dinner down alone by water to Deptford, reading “Duchesse of Malfy,” the play, which is pretty good, and there did some business, and so up again, and all the evening at the office. At night home, and there find Mr. Batelier, who supped with us, and good company he is, and so after supper to bed.

8 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

It is pretty good, Sam. I like the evil Cardinal brother with the poisoned bible.

Deptford and no visit to Bagwell?

Eric Walla  •  Link

Maybe "so up again" is new code for a dalliance ...?

CGS  •  Link

how true
"Here comes Bosola,
The only court-gall; yet I observe his railing
Is not for simple love of piety:
Indeed he rails at those things which he wants;
Would be as lecherous, covetous, or proud,
Bloody, or envious, as any man,
If he had means to be so."
. 1. a. The secretion of the liver, bile. Now applied only (exc. in Comb.) to that of the lower animals, esp. to ox gall (see OX) as used in the arts. (From the earliest period often used, like L. fel, F. fiel, etc., as the type of an intensely bitter substance.)
1. Originally, a painful swelling, pustule, or blister, esp. in a horse (cf. WINDGALL). In later use (? influenced by GALL v.), a sore or wound produced by rubbing or chafing.
1. An excrescence produced on trees, especially the oak, by the action of insects, chiefly of the genus Cynips. Oak-galls are largely used in the manufacture of ink and tannin, as well as in dyeing and in medicine.

Australian Susan  •  Link

I recall an excellent production of the D of M in the '70s at Stratford with Michael Williams (cast against type, but v.g.) as Bosola - there was much clever use of atmospheric lighting and Bosola had spurs which clinked - this sound accreted layers of suspense as the play progressed.

Second Reading

Sarah Drew  •  Link

"the play, which is pretty good"
Is this the first recorded instance of "pretty" as a modifier? The phrase sounds very modern.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

An interesting thought, Sarah. I did a search for "pretty" and learned it must have been one of Pepys' favorite words.

Many times it's hard to tell if it is a modifier or an opinion. For example: " … had a great deal of pretty discourse of the ceremoniousness of the …"

Was it clever discourse or silly discourse? My impression is that Pepys is telling us it wasn't particularly thoughtful discourse.

And sometimes he's making judgments on thing beyond my comprehension:

"Tuesday 3 October 1665
… young Scotch lady, pretty handsome and plain."

In short, it seems to have been a word as ambiguous then as now. He may be modifying; he may be complimenting.

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