18 Nov 2013

Pepys’ Titanic tour

This past seven days, being now into

18 Nov 2013

This past seven days, being now into November, do find us well and much refreshed for the taking of a holiday for a week, and the resting of our voices and our body parts etc. And I to Edinburgh in Scotland to see family and to catch up with correspondences long overdue. And a goodly time I did have there with the taking of whisky and the eating of haggis, a small mammal shot with lead, stuffed and served hot. I to the playing with my spaniel Cesar-Phoebus and a fine time of rough and tumble we did have. And after ten days of such goodly sport and home comfort, I set to travel to Ireland and to the city of Belfast which be a fine city and a mighty. And crossing the sea I arrive in the port of the city and to be met by Mr Digby who set me in a carriage and I and he to drive post haste through the country until we did meet Mr Tobin of Liverpool and we three merry as we did set upon a fine sausage supper and Mr Digby to an triffle of custards and fruits of enormous size such as I did never see in my life, and I all to amazement.Female stage beauty 252

By and by come along Miss Tudno-Jones who do tell us that the company do now be assembled and are set towards a good drinking house within Belfast city, so we three to following Miss T-J until we come to an old pub full of charm. And all glad to see one another, Mr Self, Mrs Seymour, Miss Philips, Mr Downing, Mr Thatcher, Mr Nicholls, Mr Pandolfo, Miss Knight, etc etc – there being much kissing and slapping of the backs, and the exclaiming of “Hello Luv!” – as actors are want to do. And I note how the local drinkers look upon us and delight in our displays of warmth. And some do question from whence we hail. And we do say “From Wales”, and we given mighty warm welcome, but all wanting to talk of politiks and of, viz, troubled times, and we not wanting this, being afeared of offending. And so we set upon to the drinking and Mrs Kilpatrick mighty merry upon the wine so that she do sway and slur. And all until 2 of the clock caterwauling and jesting, we glad to be in the company of each other again. Next day, it being Wednesday, we set about making the show with the ordering of the settings and the costumes and we make a splendid show of it in Newtown Abbey, being without of the city of Belfast by but a few miles and the theatre there being well appointed and spacious. And we to playing of the scenes to a select audience and the next night we to playing there again, but this night the audience be lusty and ribald and full-voiced. And on this night we were joined in the audience by Mr Reid and Mr Holmes of Edinburgh – goodly friends of mine who did cross to Belfast to see the show. And we mighty grateful. And at Newton Abbey we to meeting with a young lady named Rose who did see the play twice and do set upon writing of her critic of the play for her school ma’am; and we very pleased to welcome her twice. In Belfast we all, having some hours of leisure, to see a mighty fine museum full of wondrous objects sad and lamentable about the sinking of a great ship built in Belfast dock which was lost at sea crossing to the Americas. And we feeling very humble for the story being very tragic and the loss of life being so very great. And we all, actors and stage hands alike, did raise a glass to the memory of those lost on the ship Titanic. And it being Friday, we move apace inland to the town of Omagh, a goodly market town and full of merry people, who did talk with wondrous warmth. And I to enjoying their company greatly, but aware of a most deep sadness in the town due to tragic events that do haunt the place. And I now set to thinking long about Northern Ireland and its story and the tragedies and triumphs of this place, which I do find wondrous fine and whose people I do find kind and thoughtful, yet passionate – for good and bad. And the Northern Irish accent I do find very fine, and so full of goodly sounds that I do go weak at the knees at the hearing of it. I am a foil for the local tongue, there is no doubting it. Our show in Omagh not well attended, but every person who saw it rose to his or her feet and did applaud with such gusto and good-spirit that we each very moved – and the actors to applauding them back! And so, with the image of the people of Omagh giving us happy welcome in a land which has known much unhappiness, I – with a smile – to bed.

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