27 Nov 2013

A Pepys Farewell.

Dear diary, Upon my return from Northern

27 Nov 2013

Female stage beauty 088Dear diary, Upon my return from Northern Ireland, I again to Cardiff and to reside at Miss Knight’s lodging house and laundry, together with Mr Tobin of Liverpool (a comic turn, as I have had occasion to mention). And on Saturday night we three, viz, Miss Knight, Mr Tobin and me, did make a comfortable evening with the drinking of a fizzy wine and the eating of a dinner brought from China and being eaten out of boxes of sundry sizes; and mighty good it was, and pleasant. And we did watch an entertainment wherein actors and other sorts did dance and make frolic for the purpose of being judged by a panel of four: an woman with a wide mouth and mighty strange vowels, a loud Italian, an aged cockney, and a bitter man. And this masque or mummery was hosted to us the audience by a very strange old man, he being an hundred year old at least, in periwig and false chin, and his name be Mr Forsythe. And he be very strange to behold and stranger yet to listen to, for he did speak with starts unbecoming and the much producing of spittle.

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And then it being Sunday, Mr Tobin accompanies me to the city and we to eating German sausage at the Market, and very good it be, and to the drinking of mulled wine and we to feeling the first stirrings of the Christmas Spirit. And full of pork and sweet wine, we to Marks and Spencer and do make for much shopping of viz, small pastries and pies, and very sundry dishes and sweets. And I to thinking later that it be not a good idea to go to a food hall when full of wine and good spirit. By and by we home and set to cooking a fine repast and we do prepare a goodly supper for Miss Knight and for Mr Nichols and his fine lady who do join us. And so we to supping well and to the making of conversation etc, until Miss Knight do exclaim, “‘Faith, and this be the finest night I did ever have”, and we all to agreeing.

Monday did see us in Blue Flash and upon the road to Nottingham and we arriving there at four of the clock to find the others there already two hours. And we play our show to a good crowd and afterwards we to our lodging, being called a Travelodge, but I do bethink me it be more of a knocking- shoppe or a bawdy-house for there be pretty girls aplenty in their shifts and I do converse with two who be heading out at midnight to make merry. And they be dressed only in flimsy lawn, I so i do tell them to wear a coat. But they do simply smile and leave. And I do feel monstrous old.

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And Tuesday it be Mrs Seymour’s 35th birthday again. And she mighty pleased with the gifts and sweetmeats she do receive. I give her an book on knitting which pleaseth her good. And we set to playing of our play twice that day: i’the afternoon we show it to a select group of older fans and i’the evening we show it again to a large house that be very vocal and laugh long. And we all very pleased with our time in Nottingham, it being a good city and having a fine theatre.

And it then being Wednesday, and back in Cardiff, I with Mr Tobin to see a play from the company belonging to Mr Bulgo. And a fine show it was. And good to see others do the hard work for an change. And the day following, I to meet my parents in the town and we to dine together and I very happy to see them. By and by comes Mr Tobin and we both to meeting with Mrs Morgan, the actress, who do join us for supper. And she now recovered of the shingle and the humours being rebalanced, she to buying an “cat suit” viz a garment cut in one piece and mighty snug. And I think she will look very handsome in’t.

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On Friday, I to London and I leave Wales for the final time this tour. And by and by come I to Canterbury where we play two nights. And I to make pilgrimage to the shrine of St Thomas a Becket and do find it mighty atmospheric and so I, at one with my God, come away full of virtue and holy spirit. But that be broken when I get to the theatre and set to swearing and cursing as actors are want to do and I in the making of ribald talk with Mr Self, Mrs Seymour, Mr Tobin, Mr Downing etc etc as we be want to do. And we play two very fine shows to very good houses and there be much cheering and shouts of Bravo etc. And on Sunday night, Lord’s Day, we do play our last show and I very sad of it, yet relieved. And we all to saying our farewells and making lamentable sobs at our sundry partings. And it being Monday, I to London town in the company of Mr Tobin, and there we part, and we both sad at the doing, he to Liverpool and I to Edinburgh. But I think I do come out the better in that! And we two agreeing to write a play – a tragedy in five scenes- about our adventures over these last months.

And I set to thinking upon the three months in doing of this show and of the time rehearsals did begin in September, and I reflect upon it and I confess me mighty happy with my producing of it and even more content with the work and dedication of the fellow actors and stagehands I have been lucky to work with. Yea, and for that, God be praised. Miss Knight and her team did an excellent job of having the settings in place and the musik made to play and the lamps being lit. Miss Knight and Mr James must be thanked for the effort of keeping the actors – who be like beasts – in good order. Mr Downing was a fine Duke and a happy member of our group, he being witty and smart and a killer at a crossword puzzle. Mrs Filpatrick has been a lust Lady M and a jolly member of our band, always frothy and fun. Miss Philips is a sweet girl, and yet a ribald lass; a fine actress with a handsome bosom and I do think she will have a happy future upon the stage. Mr Self, as ever, is a gentle soul and as witty a man as I have ever met. And a fine actor he be to boot. And I loveth him. Mrs Seymour impresseth me still with her performances and with her wit, which be as sharp and as keen as she be beautiful and good. Mr Nichols has been a wondrous good fellow, and a hearty King Charles. I have enjoyed his good company and I am grateful for the sharing of it. Mr Pandolfo, who has appeared in travesty, has been joyous good company. I’faith, I know of no better actor and I have marvelled at his talent. God give me grace to work alongside him again one day. Mrs Tudno-Jones is rich in spirit and rich in love. Pretty witty Nell brought her Charlie great joy; my pretty witty Mali brings me joy unconfined! And then there be Mr Tobin. I have never met human being, nay nor beast either, who do make me laugh as hard as Mr Tobin do. Couple that with his great talent and, ‘Swounds, I am happy to be his dear friend.Female stage beauty 145

“The Compleat Female Stage Beauty” being done, and I up and to depart early tomorrow, I bury my cheese in the garden for good keeping, and close my diary with a final fond farewell.

And so, to bed.


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