Thursday 26 December 1667

Up and to Westminster, and there to the Swan, and by chance met Mr. Spicer and another ’Chequer clerk, and there made them drink, and there talked of the credit the ’Chequer is now come to and will in a little time, and so away homeward, and called at my bookseller’s, and there bought Mr. Harrington’s works, “Oceana,” &c., and two other books, which cost me 4l., and so home, and there eat a bit, and then with my wife to the King’s playhouse, and there saw “The Surprizall;” which did not please me to-day, the actors not pleasing me; and especially Nell’s acting of a serious part, which she spoils. Here met with Sir W. Pen, and sat by him, and home by coach with him, and there to my office a while, and then home to supper and to bed. I hear this day that Mrs. Stewart do at this day keep a great court at Somerset House, with her husband the Duke of Richmond, she being visited for her beauty’s sake by people, as the Queen is, at nights; and they say also that she is likely to go to Court again, and there put my Lady Castlemayne’s nose out of joynt. God knows that would make a great turn. This day I was invited to have gone to my cozen Mary Pepys’ burial, my uncle Thomas’ daughter, but could not.


13 Annotations

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Addison De Witt Pepys torpedo's Neil Gwyn's dramatic career.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Charlie..."

"Yes, love..."

"Do you love your Neil?"

"Now, Nelly..."

"Do you?"

"I have said so..."

"Mmmn...They say you 'say so' to us all."

"All?...And how many would that be?"

"Me arithmetic's no better than me spellin', Charlie. Anyways, I want you to do somethin' for your Neil, Charlie..."

"What, now?" sigh...

"You know, I was dreadful abused by one of your people from the Navy the other day. A Mr. Peeps..."

"Pepys? Samuel Pepys? Abused you?"

"In the worst possible way, Charlie."

"Pepys...? That little fellow? Surely you could take him with one hand..."

"I mean in a professional sense, Charlie...Inhibitin' to me career. He made fun, Charlie. Of me actin'."

"Really. And how could he possibly do that?"

"He was sayin' I was no good in the dramatic line. And here I was treatin' him and his little wife nice and all...Let him backstage one evenin' I did."

"But no other...Abuse...?"

"I could handle the likes of that, sure." grin. Frown resumed... "But this has to do with me profession, Charlie. Mr. Killigrew heard and told me I'd best stick to comedy."

"And is that so very...?"

"I want to be taken as a serious actress, Charlie. I've worked hard at it, you know. Mr. Hart, my co-star says I'm limitin' meself in comedy. That he thinks I have the gift, Charlie. That I could be the greatest dramatic actress since...Well...The greatest..."

"Hart? Hart wants to get into your drawers, girl."

"Why? He's been there often enough."

"What?"

"Charlie...Can't you have him spoken to?"

"Spoken to? As in, 'See here, Pepys, my personal actress and ladyfriend Neil would like to you to cease and desist in your criticism?'?"

"Well...I'd be a little firmer in my line."

"Neil...I'm King of England."

"Well, do it the subtle way. A word to the wise...A good thrashing...Maybe have 'em knock out an eye or two. Mr. Hart says..."

Horace Dripple  •  Link

This marks the third time (also in 1662 and '63) the Diary records Sam wondering if the attention paid to a rival of Lady Castlemayne might put that Lady's nose out of joynt. No other character to date has been the beneficiary of that felicitous phrase.

Australian Susan  •  Link

."....and then with my wife to the King’s playhouse, and there saw “The Surprizall;” ..."

Not yet the time to go to a Boxing Day panto, but at least a festive outing. Wouldn't Sam have loved a good panto?

Oh no, he wouldn't!

Oh yes, he would!

Happy Christmas, everyone! No pantomimes down here (which I miss).

John in Newcastle  •  Link

Nothing in today's entry (a morning draught in The Swan, a visit to the bookseller, a trip to the theatre) explains why Sam couldn't go to cousin Mary's burial.

No pantomimes down under!! Does the Australian batting and bowling at the MCG not count.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Dear John,

The Australian in my nomenclature refers to my location, not my nationality. I regret to say that there have been scenes of great (but strictly private) rejoicings during the recent cricket matches, which is not really polite. The team you cheer for in cricket is supposed to be the defining characteristic of national identity for both England and Australia. I think Sam would have been deeply confused.

Kevin Peter  •  Link

"...and by chance met Mr. Spicer and another ‘Chequer clerk, and there made them drink..."

What an interesting choice of words. It seems to imply he would not take any refusal to his invitation to buy drinks for them.

I get a vision in my head of Sam having struggling Mr Spicer pinned to the ground pouring a drink down Mr Spicer's throat with the aid of a funnel. "Please Mr Spicer, stop struggling. I must insist that you drink."

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"with my wife to the King’s playhouse, and there saw “The Surprizall;” which did not please me to-day, the actors not pleasing me; and especially Nell’s acting of a serious part, which she spoils."

L&M: Nell Gwyn played Samira in this comedy by Sir Robert Howard. It is generally agreed that she was much better in comic than in tragic roles.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... and by chance met Mr. Spicer and another ‘Chequer clerk, and there made them drink ..."
What an interesting choice of words. It implies he would not take any refusal to his invitation to buy drinks for them.

I agree, Kevin. Perhaps Spicer and the other Clerk didn't want to talk shop with the CoA -- speculating how new arrangements are going to work with someone affected by those changes might easily backfire.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Nothing in today's entry (a morning draught in The Swan, a visit to the bookseller, a trip to the theatre) explains why Sam couldn't go to cousin Mary's burial."

No it doesn't. But Pepys doesn't tell us why he got up and went to Whitehall to start with. Did he anticipate a meeting that didn't happen, and he kept himself available all day just in case? Was he anxious not to be at the office with Mennes who may have heard of Pepys' efforts to replace him?
Would Pepys have been expected to take Elizabeth to the funeral, and she is still socially on the injured list?
The Encyclopedia says Uncle Thomas ended up being poor: Maybe Pepys didn't want to be petitioned for money from anyone else in the family?
I believe not attending would be considered rude by the family (remember Lady Batten?), so this entry is curious in many ways.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

How interesting that, with most of the book printers out of business, Henry Herringman was able to get away with printing and selling such a Nonconformist -- and anti-Royalist -- book as "The Commonwealth of Oceana". Another sign that Parliament might pass all the laws they like, but implementation was a big problem.

Also interesting that Pepys wants to read about ideas he will recognize from his visits to the Rota Club. He must be preparing his mind for radical change ... like the end of the monarchy, or the end of Anglican rule.

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