Saturday 2 May 1668

Up, and at the office all the morning. At noon with Lord Brouncker in his coach as far as the Temple, and there ’light and to Hercules Pillars, and there dined, and thence to the Duke of York’s playhouse, at a little past twelve, to get a good place in the pit, against the new play, and there setting a poor man to keep my place, I out, and spent an hour at Martin’s, my bookseller’s, and so back again, where I find the house quite full. But I had my place, and by and by the King comes and the Duke of York; and then the play begins, called “The Sullen Lovers; or, The Impertinents,” having many good humours in it, but the play tedious, and no design at all in it. But a little boy, for a farce, do dance Polichinelli, the best that ever anything was done in the world, by all men’s report: most pleased with that, beyond anything in the world, and much beyond all the play. Thence to the King’s house to see Knepp, but the play done; and so I took a hackney alone, and to the park, and there spent the evening, and to the lodge, and drank new milk. And so home to the Office, ended my letters, and, to spare my eyes, home, and played on my pipes, and so to bed.

11 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Arlington to Ormond
Written from: London
Date: 2 May 1668

The enclosed paper [not now appended] came to Mr Comptroller
[… ] from Mr Edward Seymour
[… ], "who having had the reputation of your first enemy, hath kept others from pretending to the place, who perhaps would have been more effectually so; but I hope that all these matters will sleep for the present. And the Money-Bill being passed this evening, all the rest of our time is like to be taken up by a dispute of privilege betwixt the two Houses. I can be very well content not to see your Grace, till by our adjournment it be ended."…

Michael L  •  Link

This is the second time recently that Pepys has mentioned drinking milk. Why would this be so notable that he would even mention it?

Margaret  •  Link

"...and there setting a poor man to keep my place...."

How long was it before the theatres started selling tickets for particular seats?
I believe that in Pepys' time, the theatres would sell as many tickets as possible, often more than there were seats.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"a farce"

L&M say this is a short comic playlet presented after the main play.

Mary  •  Link


This was, generally speaking and with some justification, thought to be unsafe to drink - especially in towns and cities, no doubt. The point about the milk served in the park was that it came, very fresh, from the herd of cows that was kept there precisely for that retail purpose. Thus it was deemed both safe (and probably delicious) and also fashionable to drink.

The other safe way to obtain fresh milk was to have a milch cow (or an ass) brought to the door of the house and thus get the liquid as clear of contamination by third parties as possible. In this form milk was deemed useful for infants and those with digestive disorders.

john  •  Link

"but the play tedious, and no design at all in it." Art imitates life.

Safe milk? Fresh from the cow is not a guarantee.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"And so home to the Office, ended my letters..."

"Hel, better nown as Brampton, April 29, yr of Our Lrd 1668,

Deerest Husband,

My Suffrings heer are not to be Endured, Deerest One. Your Father Continues a Most Wickd Tyranical and OpprethXX Oppresseth Me in all I Do. Pall is Insuff'rable in Her Lording over All as a Bride. John is Harmless but is for Ever Watching me at Your Father's order. Only deer Lady Gemina is of Kind Hart to Me. Would I culd stay with Her at Hinchinbroke and Escap this Terrible Place. Pall was Delited with our Gifts but Shows me little Respct for all Things Else. Willet is no Fit Companion, Oft Silent and Crying. She Oft says She wuld speke with Me about Mr. Pepys then is Silent and Will Talk no Mor. ???

Capt Ferris is a Visiter and Most Attent. Lord Hinchinbroke also Comes by but your Father is most Rude on these occasions and will not let Us Speke Alone. This is Most Tirsome and Unfair. I wish Libration..." (What?!! Sam, trembling at sight of the word in hasty glance over letter ) "...From this Hel Place. Did Unthanke get the new Fabricks in? And Why Does Deb Cry so at the Ment. of your Name???

I Wish to Come Home, deer.

Your Loving Bess"

Hmmn...Blah, blah...Pall got gifts...Hmmn? Something about Deb.

"Dear Bess,

Glad to hear all's going so well at Brampton and Pall likes the presents. As to Deb...You know young girls and their odd complaints at that age. Hope you enjoy your stay, feel free to extend it.


Samuel Pepys, Esq.
Clerk of the Acts
From the Office of His Most Royal Majesty's Navy
Seething Lane
London, England

Please countersign on receipt of communication and retain for later filing. All correspondence should be filed under either "urgent-official", "official" or "private" categories, "official" to attn: W.Hewer; "urgent-official" to attn: Samuel Pepys, Esq, Clerk of the Acts, Urgent Communicatin, "private" to attn: Samuel Pepys, Esq., Clerk of the Acts, Private and Personal.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"all the rest of our time is like to be taken up by a dispute of privilege betwixt the two Houses." [Arlington to Ormond.]

"The case was this: Skinner, the Plaintiff, was a considerable Merchant of London; the Defendants were the East India Company, and, in their right, Sir Samuel Barnardist[o]n [… ], as their Governor. The matter of complaint was, That the said Company had seized a ship and cargo of Skinner's and assaulted his person. Skinner, instead of commencing his suit in Westminster-ball, his reccurse at once to the House of Lords, who give him a Hearing, and ailot him 5000l. damages. Sir Samuel and the Company, on the other hand, knowing no balance for the power of one House, but that of the other, appeal to the Commons, who vote Skinner's Complaint, and the Lords proceedings thereon, illegal. The Lords did the same by the Company's appeal. The Commons order Skinner into the custody of the Serjeant at Arms; and the Lords did the same by Sir Samuel, as likewise Sir Andrew Riccard, Mr Rowland Gwynn, and Mr Christopher Booke. Ralph." Grey's Debates…

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"and then the play begins, called “The Sullen Lovers; or, The Impertinents,”"

L&M: A comedy by Thomas Shadwell, now first acted, and published in 1668. The cast listed by Downes (p. 29) includes Harris as Sir Positive At-all, Nokes as Ninny, Smith as Stanford, and Mrs Shadwell as Emelia. Performances usually began at 3:30 p.m.

Roscius Anglicanus, or, An historical review of the stage from 1660 to 1706
by Downes, John, fl. 1661-1719;…

Third Reading

Trevor M Randall  •  Link

Pre Louis Pasteur there were only a few ways to mitigate against manky milk: the closer one was to the cow the fresher the milk; and the more hygienic the milking process the safer the milk.
If the fresh milk fad continues maybe Sam could develop his coach stable plans to include room for a cow…better still he could have a cow drawn coach!

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