Monday 31 August 1668

Up, and to my office, there to set my journal for all the last week, and so by water to Westminster to the Exchequer, and thence to the Swan, and there drank and did baiser la fille there, and so to the New Exchange and paid for some things, and so to Hercules Pillars, and there dined all alone, while I sent my shoe to have the heel fastened at Wotton’s, and thence to White Hall to the Treasury chamber, where did a little business, and thence to the Duke of York’s playhouse and there met my wife and Deb. and Mary Mercer and Batelier, where also W. Hewer was, and saw “Hamlet,” which we have not seen this year before, or more; and mightily pleased with it; but, above all, with Betterton, the best part I believe, that ever man acted. Thence to the Fayre, and saw “Polichinelle,” and so home, and after a little supper to bed. This night lay the first night in Deb.’s chamber, which is now hung with that that hung our great chamber, and is now a very handsome room. This day Mrs. Batelier did give my wife a mighty pretty Spaniel bitch [Flora], which she values mightily, and is pretty; but as a new comer, I cannot be fond of her.

7 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"saw "Hamlet," ...and mightily pleased with it; but, above all, with Betterton, the best part I believe, that ever man acted. "

"When an Actor becomes and naturally Looks the Character he stands in, I have often observ'd it to have had as fortunate an Effect, and as much recommended him to the Approbation of the common Auditors, as the most correct or judicious Utterance of the Sentiments: This was strongly visible in the favourable Reception Wilks met with in Hamlet, where I own the Half of what he spoke was as painful to my Ear as every Line that came from Betterton was charming; and yet it is not impossible, could they have come to a Poll, but Wilks might have had a Majority of Admirers: However, such a Division had been no Proof that the Preeminence had not still remain'd in Betterton; and if I should add that Booth, too, was behind Betterton in Othello, it would be saying no more than Booth himself had Judgment and Candour enough to know and confess. And if both he and Wilks are allow'd, in the two above-mention'd Characters, a second Place to so great a Master as Betterton, it will be a Rank of Praise that the best Actors since my Time might have been proud of. "

*An apology for the life of Mr. Colley Cibber, Comedian and Late Patentee of the Theatre-Royal with an Historical View of the Stage during His Own Time, Written by Himself. Third ed., 1750, p. 245 (H/T L&M)

cgs  •  Link

Yesterday a filtch apple ( scrumping)
Today a filtch basos.

Peter Last  •  Link

Robert Gerz,

I am deeply saddened to hear of your great loss and to discover the resource contributing to your perennial wit, in which I have rejoiced again and again. My prayers are with you, and I hope that you may continue as a form of therapy.

Peter Last

AnnieC  •  Link

"a mighty pretty Spaniel bitch...but as a new comer, I cannot be fond of her."
Sam is no longer the centre of attention at home.

Mary  •  Link

"set my journal for all of last week"

Sam is referring to a series of fairly long entries, so perhaps those paper tubes are significantly helping his eyesight.

LKvM  •  Link

You may be right that Sam is in a pout because he is no longer the center of attention at home, but I believe his animus toward Flora has more to do with his loyalty to Elizabeth's previous little black bitch, which was given to her by Balty back when they were still living in Axe Yard. (I believe that at one point Sam may have referred to her as "Fancy," but I can't find that passage now.)
We don't know what happened to her, but this spaniel Flora -- the newcomer -- may be intended to be a replacement for her, and if so, Sam's not having any of it. According to L&M, "cannot be fond" was originally "do not like": i.e., "as [she is] a new comer I do not like her." She can't replace Fancy in his heart.

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