Monday 18 May 1668

Up, and to my office, where most of the morning doing business and seeing my window-frames new painted, and then I out by coach to my Lord Bellasses, at his new house by my late Lord Treasurer’s, and there met him and Mr. Sherwin, Auditor Beale, and Creed, about my Lord’s accounts, and here my Lord shewed me his new house, which, indeed, is mighty noble, and good pictures — indeed, not one bad one in it. Thence to my tailor’s, and there did find Mercer come with Mrs. Horsfield and Gayet according to my desire, and there I took them up, it being almost twelve o’clock, or a little more, and carried them to the King’s playhouse, where the doors were not then open; but presently they did open; and we in, and find many people already come in, by private ways, into the pit, it being the first day of Sir Charles Sidly’s new play, so long expected, “The Mullberry Guarden,” of whom, being so reputed a wit, all the world do expect great matters. I having sat here awhile, and eat nothing to-day, did slip out, getting a boy to keep my place; and to the Rose Tavern, and there got half a breast of mutton, off of the spit, and dined all alone. And so to the play again, where the King and Queen, by and by, come, and all the Court; and the house infinitely full. But the play, when it come, though there was, here and there, a pretty saying, and that not very many neither, yet the whole of the play had nothing extraordinary in it, at all, neither of language nor design; insomuch that the King I did not see laugh, nor pleased the whole play from the beginning to the end, nor the company; insomuch that I have not been less pleased at a new play in my life, I think. And which made it the worse was, that there never was worse musick played — that is, worse things composed, which made me and Captain Rolt, who happened to sit near me, mad. So away thence, very little satisfied with the play, but pleased with my company. I carried them to Kensington, to the Grotto, and there we sang, to my great content, only vexed, in going in, to see a son of Sir Heneage Finch’s beating of a poor little dog to death, letting it lie in so much pain that made me mad to see it, till, by and by, the servants of the house chiding of their young master, one of them come with a thong, and killed the dog outright presently. Thence to Westminster palace, and there took boat and to Fox Hall, where we walked, and eat, and drank, and sang, and very merry. But I find Mrs. Horsfield one of the veriest citizen’s wives in the world, so full of little silly talk, and now and then a little sillily bawdy, that I believe if you had her sola a man might hazer all with her. So back by water to Westminster Palace, and there got a coach which carried us as far as the Minorys, and there some thing of the traces broke, and we forced to ‘light, and walked to Mrs. Horsfield’s house, it being a long and bad way, and dark, and having there put her in a doors, her husband being in bed, we left her and so back to our coach, where the coachman had put it in order, but could not find his whip in the dark a great while, which made us stay long. At last getting a neighbour to hold a candle out of their window Mercer found it, and so away we home at almost 12 at night, and setting them both at their homes, I home and to bed.

11 Annotations

Bryan M  •  Link

a son of Sir Heneage Finch

According to Wikipedia, this would be William aged 14+ (born before 1654), Heneage aged 11 or Thomas aged 10. Charming lads.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

And another remarkably tolerant husband appears on the scene...Mr. Horsfield, in bed. So far the only man to show any jealousy of a wife in the Diary besides Sam seems to have been Chris Knepp and possibly but only recently, young Mitchell.

Interesting the relationship between Sam and Mercer...In a quiet way she seems to have tamed him a bit and he seems quite content with moving into a warm friendship with her over music and playgoing, a non-threat stand-in for her other friend, Bess. Of course, for all we know, he's groping her every possible moment and it's simply become too commonplace to merit Diary mention any more but I think he'd note it if it were so.

Carl in Boston  •  Link

to the Rose Tavern, and there got half a breast of mutton, off of the spit
Lamb that falls from the bone with a smoky flavor. Now there's good eating.

Nate  •  Link

Would he have referred to lamb as mutton? It is spring, though.

JKM  •  Link

Had to laugh at Pepys, who was hoping, as usual, that this would be the best play that he ever saw in his life, and instead had to use his favorite superlative to describe his disappointment: "I have not been less pleased at a new play in my life, I think."

There is a good old tune called The Mulberry Garden: despite Pepys' execration of the music, I wonder if it has any connection with this play?

Terry Foreman  •  Link

JKM, is this it?

Song from The Mulberry Garden

AH, Chloris, that I now could sit
As unconcerned as when
Your infant beauty could beget
No pleasure, nor no pain.

When I the dawn used to admire,
And praised the coming day,
I little thought the growing fire
Must take my rest away.

Your charms in harmless childhood lay
Like metals in the mine:
Age from no face took more away
Than youth concealed in thine.

But as your charms insensibly
To your perfection pressed,
Fond Love, as unperceived, did fly,
And in my bosom rest.

My passion with your beauty grew,
And Cupid at my heart,
Still as his mother favored you,
Threw a new flaming dart.

Each gloried in their wanton part:
To make a lover, he
Employed the utmost of his art;
To make a beauty, she.

Though now I slowly bend to love,
Uncertain of my fate,
If your fair self my chains approve,
I shall my freedom hate.

Lovers, like dying men, may well
At first disordered be,
Since none alive can truly tell
What fortune they must see.

Sir Charles Sedley

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The Mulberry-Garden in London

"The original Mulberry-Garden, to which the title refers, was a four acre orchard, planted by James I in 1609, on the site of the present (north-west corner of) Buckingham Palace. King James had been hoping to kickstart English silkworm production, but unfortunately chose the wrong sort of bush. Clement Walker in ‘Anarchia Anglicana’ (1649) refers to “new-erected sodoms and spintries at the Mulberry Garden at S. James’s”; which suggests it may at that date have been a place of debauchery."

Mary  •  Link

Is mutton lamb?

In the days before concentrate feeds and selective breeding were developed for the rapid fattening of lamb, I suspect that mutton was mutton and the preferred commodity. Lamb (the immature and lighter beast) would have been a luxury item.

JKM  •  Link

Terry, those words fit the "Mulberry Garden" tune that I know!

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Instead of [a silkworm] industry, the Mulberry Garden at Buckingham became a fashionable place to go and to be seen; a pleasure garden, particularly in the time of Charles I and Charles II. It is this same plantation that became the Mulberry Garden referred to by period dramatists, and is probably the subject of Playford's title. Sir Charles Sedley, for example, wrote his play The Mulberry Garden in 1668, just prior to Playford's publication of the tune. The site of the garden is on the private grounds of Buckingham Palace, and one lone tree yet exists from James's planting so long ago [1].

John Evelyn described it as "the best place about the towne for persons of the best quality to be exceedingly cheated at;" and diarist Samuel Pepys jotted that it was "a silly place, with a wilderness somewhat pretty." The garden was said to have been a favorite resort of John Dryden, where he used to eat mulberry tarts. The dramatist was said to hie there with his favorite actress, Mrs. Reeve. "I remember," writes a correspondent of the Gentleman's Magazine for 1745, "plain John Dryden, before he paid his court with success to the great, in one uniform clothing of Norwich drugget. I have ate tarts with him and Madame Reeve at the Mulberry Garden, when our author advanced to a sword and a Chadreux wig."…

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