Up very early and to my office, there preparing letters to my father of great import in the settling of our affairs, and putting him upon a way [of] good husbandry, I promising to make out of my own purse him up to 50l. per annum, till either by my uncle Thomas’s death or the fall of the Wardrobe place he be otherwise provided.
That done I by water to the Strand, and there viewed the Queen-Mother’s works at Somersett House, and thence to the new playhouse, but could not get in to see it. So to visit my Lady Jemimah, who is grown much since I saw her; but lacks mightily to be brought into the fashion of the court to set her off.
Thence to the Temple, and there sat till one o’clock reading at Playford’s in Dr. Usher’s ‘Body of Divinity’ his discourse of the Scripture, which is as much, I believe, as is anywhere said by any man, but yet there is room to cavill, if a man would use no faith to the tradition of the Church in which he is born, which I think to be as good an argument as most is brought for many things, and it may be for that among others.
Thence to my brother’s, and there took up my wife and Ashwell to the Theatre Royall, being the second day of its being opened. The house is made with extraordinary good contrivance, and yet hath some faults, as the narrowness of the passages in and out of the Pitt, and the distance from the stage to the boxes, which I am confident cannot hear; but for all other things it is well, only, above all, the musique being below, and most of it sounding under the very stage, there is no hearing of the bases at all, nor very well of the trebles, which sure must be mended.
The play was “The Humerous Lieutenant,” a play that hath little good in it, nor much in the very part which, by the King’s command, Lacy now acts instead of Clun. In the dance, the tall devil’s actions was very pretty.
The play being done, we home by water, having been a little shamed that my wife and woman were in such a pickle, all the ladies being finer and better dressed in the pitt than they used, I think, to be.
To my office to set down this day’s passage, and, though my oath against going to plays do not oblige me against this house, because it was not then in being, yet believing that at the time my meaning was against all publique houses, I am resolved to deny myself the liberty of two plays at Court, which are in arreare to me for the months of March and April, which will more than countervail this excess, so that this month of May is the first that I must claim a liberty of going to a Court play according to my oath.
So home to supper, and at supper comes Pembleton, and afterwards we all up to dancing till late, and so broke up and to bed, and they say that I am like to make a dancer.
I make my death grow
into a room for others
in a narrow pit
there is no play
I must claim liberty
like a dancer
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 8 May 1663.