The Silent Woman is in Jacobean and Restoration Plays.
Samuel Pepys' Diary 25 May 1661. 25 May 1661. All the morning at home about business. At noon to the Temple, where I staid and looked over a book or two at Playford's (38), and then to the Theatre, where I saw a piece of "The Silent Woman", which pleased me.
So homewards, and in my way bought "The Bondman" in Paul's Churchyard, and so home, where I found all clean, and the hearth and range, as it is now enlarged, set up, which pleases me very much.
Samuel Pepys' Diary 01 June 1664. 01 Jun 1664. Up, having lain long, going to bed very late after the ending of my accounts. Being up Mr. Hollyard (55) came to me, and to my great sorrow, after his great assuring me that I could not possibly have the stone again, he tells me that he do verily fear that I have it again, and has brought me something to dissolve it, which do make me very much troubled, and pray to God to ease me.
He gone, I down by water to Woolwich and Deptford to look after the dispatch of the ships, all the way reading Mr. Spencer's Book of Prodigys, which is most ingeniously writ, both for matter and style.
Home at noon, and my little girl got me my dinner, and I presently out by water and landed at Somerset stairs, and thence through Covent Garden, where I met with Mr. Southwell (Sir W. Pen's (43) friend), who tells me the very sad newes of my Lord Tiviott's and nineteen more commission officers being killed at Tangier by the Moores, by an ambush of the enemy upon them, while they were surveying their lines; which is very sad, and, he says, afflicts the King (34) much.
Thence to W. Joyce's, where by appointment I met my wife (but neither of them at home), and she and I to the King's house, and saw "The Silent Woman"; but methought not so well done or so good a play as I formerly thought it to be, or else I am nowadays out of humour. Before the play was done, it fell such a storm of hayle, that we in the middle of the pit were fain to rise1 and all the house in a disorder, and so my wife and I out and got into a little alehouse, and staid there an hour after the play was done before we could get a coach, which at last we did (and by chance took up Joyce Norton and Mrs. Bowles, and set them at home), and so home ourselves, and I, after a little to my office, so home to supper and to bed.
Note 1. The stage was covered in by a tiled roof, but the pit was open to the sky. "The pit lay open to the weather for sake of light, but was subsequently covered in with a glazed cupola, which, however, only imperfectly protected the audience, so that in stormy weather the house was thrown into disorder, and the people in the pit were fain to rise" (Cunningham's "Story of Nell Gwyn", ed. 1893, p. 33).
Samuel Pepys' Diary 16 April 1667. 16 Apr 1667. Up, and to the office, where sat all the morning, at noon home to dinner, and thence in haste to carry my wife to see the new play I saw yesterday, she not knowing it. But there, contrary to expectation, find "The Silent Woman". However, in; and there Knipp come into the pit. I took her by me, and here we met with Mrs. Horsley, the pretty woman—an acquaintance of Mercer's, whose house is burnt. Knipp tells me the King (36) was so angry at the liberty taken by Lacy's (52), part to abuse him to his face, that he commanded they should act no more, till Moone went and got leave for them to act again, but not this play. The King (36) mighty angry; and it was bitter indeed, but very true and witty. I never was more taken with a play than I am with this "Silent Woman", as old as it is, and as often as I have seen it. There is more wit in it than goes to ten new plays.
Thence with my wife and Knipp to Mrs. Pierce's, and saw her closet again, and liked her picture.
Thence took them all to the Cake-house, in Southampton Market-place, where Pierce told us the story how, in good earnest, [the King (36)] is offended with the Duke of Richmond's (28) marrying, and Mrs. Stewart's (19) sending the King (36) his jewels again. As she tells it, it is the noblest romance and example of a brave lady that ever I read in my life. Pretty to hear them talk of yesterday's play, and I durst not own to my wife to have seen it.
Thence home and to Sir W. Batten's (66), where we have made a bargain for the ending of some of the trouble about some of our prizes for £1400.
So home to look on my new books that I have lately bought, and then to supper and to bed.