Jan. 10th, 2012

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After, in our last instalment, resolving to end his dickery and signing the NO-DICK TREATY OF 1668 with his wife, Pepys has quickly moved on to judging other people:

We sat in an upper box, and the jade Nell come and sat in the next box; a bold merry slut, who lay laughing there upon people; and with a comrade of hers of the Duke’s house, that come in to see the play.

Gwyn, if she'd read it, might have riposted with "I know you are, but what am I?" Seriously. Nell is an established royal mistress at this point, but the great thing about her is that she didn't leave the stage; she continued acting until she had her second child by the King in 1671. She was at the play not with royalty, but with one of her theatrical colleagues from the Duke's Playhouse.

And for this she gets "jade" and "slut" from Pepys, who has damaged far more people with his promiscuity than she has with hers. A far cry from his reaction when he first met her two years ago:

[...] and Knipp took us all in, and brought to us Nelly; a most pretty woman, who acted the great part of Coelia to-day very fine, and did it pretty well: I kissed her, and so did my wife; and a mighty pretty soul she is. [...] Knipp made us stay in a box and see the dancing preparatory to to-morrow for “The Goblins,” a play of Suckling’s, not acted these twenty-five years; which was pretty; and so away thence, pleased with this sight also, and specially kissing of Nell.

FANBOY. If further evidence were needed, Pepys had this engraving of Gwyn as Cupid hanging over his desk in his office at the Admiralty:


Nell Gwyn: prettier, wittier, more talented and more successful than Samuel Pepys, who will never get over it, because he is a dick.


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