The Mayden Queene is in Jacobean and Restoration Plays.
Samuel Pepys' Diary 02 March 1667. 02 Mar 1667. Up, and to the office, where sitting all the morning, and among other things did agree upon a distribution of £30,000 and odd, which is the only sum we hear of like to come out of all the Poll Bill for the use of this office for buying of goods. I did herein some few courtesies for particular friends I wished well to, and for the King's service also, and was therefore well pleased with what was done.
Sir W. Pen (45) this day did bring an order from the Duke of York (33) for our receiving from him a small vessel for a fireship, and taking away a better of the King's for it, it being expressed for his great service to the King (36). This I am glad of, not for his sake, but that it will give me a better ground, I believe, to ask something for myself of this kind, which I was fearful to begin. This do make Sir W. Pen (45) the most kind to me that can be. I suppose it is this, lest it should find any opposition from me, but I will not oppose, but promote it.
After dinner, with my wife, to the King's house to see "The Mayden Queene", a new play of Dryden's (35), mightily commended for the regularity of it, and the strain and wit; and, the truth is, there is a comical part done by Nell (17)1, which is Florimell, that I never can hope ever to see the like done again, by man or woman. The King (36) and Duke of York (33) were at the play. But so great performance of a comical part was never, I believe, in the world before as Nell (17) do this, both as a mad girle, then most and best of all when she comes in like a young gallant; and hath the notions and carriage of a spark the most that ever I saw any man have. It makes me, I confess, admire her.
Thence home and to the office, where busy a while, and then home to read the lives of Henry 5th and 6th, very fine, in Speede, and to bed. This day I did pay a bill of £50 from my father, being so much out of my own purse gone to pay my uncle Robert's legacy to my aunt Perkins's child.
Note 1. "Her skill increasing with her years, other poets sought to obtain recommendations of her wit and beauty to the success of their writings. I have said that Dryden (35) was one of the principal supporters of the King's house, and ere long in one of his new plays a principal character was set apart for the popular comedian. The drama was a tragi-comedy called 'Secret Love, or the Maiden Queen,' and an additional interest was attached to its production from the King (36) having suggested the plot to its author, and calling it 'his play.'"—Cunningham's Story of Nell Gwyn (17), ed: 1892, pp. 38,39.
Samuel Pepys' Diary 25 March 1667. 25 Mar 1667. Ladyday. Up, and with Sir W. Batten (66) and Sir W. Pen (45) by coach to Exeter House to our lawyers to have consulted about our trial to-morrow, but missed them, so parted, and Sir W. Pen (45) and I to Mr. Povy's (53) about a little business of Sir W. Pen's (45), where we went over Mr. Povy's (53) house, which lies in the same good condition as ever, which is most extraordinary fine, and he was now at work with a cabinet-maker, making of a new inlaid table. Having seen his house, we away, having in our way thither called at Mr. Lilly's (48), who was working; and indeed his pictures are without doubt much beyond Mr. Hales's (67), I think I may say I am convinced: but a mighty proud man he is, and full of state.
So home, and to the office, and by and by to dinner, a poor dinner, my wife and I, at Sir W. Pen's (45), and then he and I before to Exeter House, where I do not stay, but to the King's playhouse; and by and by comes Mr. Lowther (26) and his wife (16) and mine, and into a box, forsooth, neither of them being dressed, which I was almost ashamed of. Sir W. Pen (45) and I in the pit, and here saw "The Mayden Queene" again; which indeed the more I see the more I like, and is an excellent play, and so done by Nell (17), her merry part, as cannot be better done in nature, I think.
Thence home, and there I find letters from my brother, which tell me that yesterday when he wrote my mother did rattle in the throat so as they did expect every moment her death, which though I have a good while expected did much surprise me, yet was obliged to sup at Sir W. Pen's (45) and my wife, and there counterfeited some little mirth, but my heart was sad, and so home after supper and to bed, and much troubled in my sleep of my being crying by my mother's bedside, laying my head over hers and crying, she almost dead and dying, and so waked, but what is strange, methought she had hair over her face, and not the same kind of face as my mother really hath, but yet did not consider that, but did weep over her as my mother, whose soul God have mercy of.
Samuel Pepys' Diary 24 May 1667. 24 May 1667. Up, and to the office, where, by and by, by appointment, we met upon Sir W. Warren's accounts, wherein I do appear in every thing as much as I can his enemy, though not so far but upon good conditions from him I may return to be his friend, but I do think it necessary to do what I do at present. We broke off at noon without doing much, and then home, where my wife not well, but yet engaged by invitation to go with Sir W. Pen (46). I got her to go with him by coach to Islington to the old house, where his lady (43) and Madam Lowther (16), with her exceeding fine coach and mean horses, and her mother-in-law, did meet us, and two of Mr. Lowther's (26) brothers, and here dined upon nothing but pigeon-pyes, which was such a thing for him to invite all the company to, that I was ashamed of it. But after dinner was all our sport, when there come in a juggler, who, indeed, did shew us so good tricks as I have never seen in my life, I think, of legerdemaine, and such as my wife hath since seriously said that she would not believe but that he did them by the help of the devil. Here, after a bad dinner, and but ordinary company, saving that I discern good parts in one of the sons, who, methought, did take me up very prettily in one or two things that I said, and I was so sensible of it as to be a caution to me hereafter how I do venture to speak more than is necessary in any company, though, as I did now, I do think them incapable to censure me. We broke up, they back to Walthamstow, and only my wife and I and Sir W. Pen (46) to the King's playhouse, and there saw "The Mayden Queene" which, though I have often seen, yet pleases me infinitely, it being impossible, I think, ever to have the Queen's (28) part, which is very good and passionate, and Florimel's part, which is the most comicall that ever was made for woman, ever done better than they two are by young Marshall and Nelly (17).
Home, where I spent the evening with my father and wife, and late at night some flagillette with my wife, and then to supper and to bed.
Samuel Pepys' Diary 23 August 1667. 23 Aug 1667. Up, and Greeting comes, who brings me a tune for two flageolets, which we played, and is a tune played at the King's playhouse, which goes so well, that I will have more of them, and it will be a mighty pleasure for me to have my wife able to play a part with me, which she will easily, I find, do.
Then abroad to White Hall in a Hackney-coach with Sir W. Pen (46): and in our way, in the narrow street near Paul's, going the backway by Tower Street, and the coach being forced to put back, he was turning himself into a cellar1, which made people cry out to us, and so we were forced to leap out—he out of one, and I out of the other boote2 Query, whether a glass-coach would have permitted us to have made the escape?3 neither of us getting any hurt; nor could the coach have got much hurt had we been in it; but, however, there was cause enough for us to do what we could to save ourselves.
So being all dusty, we put into the Castle tavern, by the Savoy, and there brushed ourselves, and then to White Hall with our fellows to attend the Council, by order upon some proposition of my Lord Anglesey (53), we were called in.
The King (37) there: and it was about considering how the fleete might be discharged at their coming in shortly (the peace being now ratified, and it takes place on Monday next, which Sir W. Coventry (39) said would make some clashing between some of us twenty to one, for want of more warning, but the wind has kept the boats from coming over), whether by money or tickets, and cries out against tickets, but the matter was referred for us to provide an answer to, which we must do in a few days.
So we parted, and I to Westminster to the Exchequer, to see what sums of money other people lend upon the Act; and find of all sizes from £1000 to £100 nay, to £50, nay, to £20, nay, to £5: for I find that one Dr. Reade, Doctor of Law, gives no more, and others of them £20; which is a poor thing, methinks, that we should stoop so low as to borrow such sums. Upon the whole, I do think to lend, since I must lend, £300, though, God knows! it is much against my will to lend any, unless things were in better condition, and likely to continue so.
Thence home and there to dinner, and after dinner by coach out again, setting my wife down at Unthanke's, and I to the Treasury-chamber, where I waited, talking with Sir G. Downing (42), till the Lords met. He tells me how he will make all the Exchequer officers, of one side and t'other, to lend the King (37) money upon the Act; and that the least clerk shall lend money, and he believes the least will £100: but this I do not believe. He made me almost ashamed that we of the Navy had not in all this time lent any; so that I find it necessary I should, and so will speedily do it, before any of my fellows begin, and lead me to a bigger sum.
By and by the Lords come; and I perceive Sir W. Coventry (39) is the man, and nothing done till he comes. Among other things, I hear him observe, looking over a paper, that Sir John Shaw is a miracle of a man, for he thinks he executes more places than any man in England; for there he finds him a Surveyor of some of the King's woods, and so reckoned up many other places, the most inconsistent in the world. Their business with me was to consider how to assigne such of our commanders as will take assignements upon the Act for their wages; and the consideration thereof was referred to me to give them an answer the next sitting: which is a horrid poor thing: but they scruple at nothing of honour in the case. So away hence, and called my wife, and to the King's house, and saw "The Mayden Queene", which pleases us mightily; and then away, and took up Mrs. Turner (44) at her door, and so to Mile End, and there drank, and so back to her house, it being a fine evening, and there supped. The first time I ever was there since they lived there; and she hath all things so neat and well done, that I am mightily pleased with her, and all she do. So here very merry, and then home and to bed, my eyes being very bad. I find most people pleased with their being at ease, and safe of a peace, that they may know no more charge or hazard of an ill-managed war: but nobody speaking of the peace with any content or pleasure, but are silent in it, as of a thing they are ashamed of; no, not at Court, much less in the City.
Note 1. So much of London was yet in ruins.—B.
Note 2. The "boot" was originally a projection on each side of the coach, where the passengers sat with their backs to the carriage. Such a "boot" is seen in the carriage [on th every right] containing the attendants of Queen Elizabeth, in Hoefnagel's well-known picture of Nonsuch Palace, dated 1582. Taylor, the Water Poet, the inveterate opponent of the introduction of coaches, thus satirizes the one in which he was forced to take his place as a passenger: "It wears two boots and no spurs, sometimes having two pairs of legs in one boot; and oftentimes against nature most preposterously it makes fair ladies wear the boot. Moreover, it makes people imitate sea-crabs, in being drawn sideways, as they are when they sit in the boot of the coach". In course of time these projections were abolished, and the coach then consisted of three parts, viz., the body, the boot (on the top of which the coachman sat), and the baskets at the back.
Note 3. See note on introduction of glass coaches, September 23rd, 1667.