Wednesday 3 March 1668/69

Up, after a very good night’s rest, and was called upon by Sir H. Cholmly, who was with me an hour, and though acquainted did not stay to talk with my company I had in the house, but away, and then I to my guests, and got them to breakfast, and then parted by coaches; and I did, in mine, carry my she-cozen Pepys and her daughters home, and there left them, and so to White Hall, where W. Hewer met me; and he and I took a turn in St. James’s Park, and in the Mall did meet Sir W. Coventry and Sir J. Duncomb, and did speak with them about some business before the Lords of the Treasury; but I did find them more than usually busy, though I knew not then the reason of it, though I guess it by what followed to-morrow. Thence to Dancre’s, the painter’s, and there saw my picture of Greenwich, finished to my very good content, though this manner of distemper do make the figures not so pleasing as in oyle. So to Unthanke’s, and there took up my wife, and carried her to the Duke of York’s playhouse, and there saw an old play, the first time acted these forty years, called “The Lady’s Tryall,” acted only by the young people of the house; but the house very full. But it is but a sorry play, and the worse by how much my head is out of humour by being a little sleepy and my legs weary since last night. So after the play we to the New Exchange, and so called at my cozen Turner’s; and there, meeting Mr. Bellwood, did hear how my Lord Mayor, being invited this day to dinner at the Reader’s at the Temple, and endeavouring to carry his sword up, the students did pull it down, and forced him to go and stay all the day in a private Councillor’s chamber, until the Reader himself could get the young gentlemen to dinner; and then my Lord Mayor did retreat out of the Temple by stealth, with his sword up. This do make great heat among the students; and my Lord Mayor did send to the King, and also I hear that Sir Richard Browne did cause the drums to beat for the Train-bands, but all is over, only I hear that the students do resolve to try the Charter of the City. So we home, and betimes to bed, and slept well all night.

8 Annotations

Chris Squire  •  Link

‘reader n. . . 4. b. In the Inns of Court and formerly in the Inns of Chancery: a lecturer in law. Readers in the Inns of Court were appointed to deliver long explanatory dissertations on statutes, to which both students and dignitaries were invited. Such ‘readings’ were considered authoritative, and could be cited in legal and legislative rulings . .
1665 S. Pepys Diary 3 Mar. (1972) VI. 49 Mrs. Turner‥takes it mightily ill I did not come to dine with the Reader, her husband.
1695 R. Atkyns Enq. Jurisdict. Chancery sig. Aiii, His Great Grandfather living in the time of King Henry VII. and they all have, in their several turns, undergone the Charge and Labour of Readers of Lincolns-Inn . .
1881 Encycl. Brit. XIII. 88/2 The function of ‘reader’ involved the holder in very weighty expenses, chiefly by reason of the profuse hospitality dispensed,—a constant and splendid table being kept during the three weeks and three days over which the readings extended . . ‘ [OED]

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The still-unresolved jurisdictional dispute in the Inner Temple Pepys reports

"The feast in March, 1669, was distinguished by a very different procedure. The Lent reader, Sir Christopher Goodfellow, having invited the lord mayor to it, that dignitary thought proper to assert his authority, by entering with his (the civic) sword up. The students, jealous of the rights of their precincts, pulled it down, and forced him to go and stay all the day in a private chamber, until the reader could get the young gentlemen to dinner, when his lordship retreated out of the Temple by stealth, "with his sword up." Pepys, who tells the story (iv. 113), says that this made great heat among the students, who resolved to try the charter of the City; a threat which was executed, not by the students, but the king, thirteen years after. Complaints being made to his majesty by the lord mayor, the case was heard before the council, and the ringleaders appearing and arguing the matter, the king, on consultation, thought fit to suspend the declaration of his pleasure thereon, till the right and privilege of bearing up the lord mayor's sword within the Temple should be determined by law.1 But no settlement of the question is recorded. The only other reader's feast which is noted is that of Sir Francis Pemberton in 1674, who, Mr. Serjeant Chauncy says, kept a "noble table.""…

Mary  •  Link

"though I knew not then the reason of it, though I guess it by what followed to-morrow."

An original spoiler delivered by the diarist himself? Not quite, but a specific pointer to his practice of writing up two or more days' entries at a time.

pepfie  •  Link

" she-cozen Pepys and her daughters" would have been Esther Pepys b. Dickenson and her stepdaughters Barbara and Betty, I presume, and not Jane Turner b. Pepys with daughters The. and Betty as Phil's mouse-over suggests. The latter is consistently called cousin Turner (v.s. line 19/20).

"...I guess it by what followed to-morrow."
As we all know since Niels Bohr's København conference at the latest it is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future, so Mary's analysis of a diary update some days later is preferable to a rare case of clairvoyance.

"...but a sorry play, and the worse by ... my legs weary since last night."
Who would have thought sore muscles could be detrimental to the quality of a play?

Phil Gyford  •  Link

Well caught pepfie - I was momentarily confused there. I've corrected the links now.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Today the younger people in London were not only spoilers at the Temple

"“The Lady’s Tryall” [was] acted only by the young people of the house;"

I.e. by the junior members of the company (L&M note) who were generally less experienced and paid less.

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