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Full text of "All The King S Ladies Actresses Of The Restoration"

125 174 

Ml the King's Ladies 

*A lithe Kings Ladies 



John Zffarold Wilson 


Library of Congress Catalog Number: $-11962 

Cambridge University Press, London, N.W. i, England 
The University of Toronto Press, Toronto 5, Canada 

1958 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved. Pub- 
lished 1958. Composed and printed by THE UNIVERSITY OF 
CHICAGO PRESS, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.4. 



Soon after the Restoration of King Charles II, two enterpris- 
ing courtiers, Thomas Killigrew and Sir William Davenant, 
acquired patents to organize acting companies and produce 
plays. At first, hungry for theatrical entertainment after 
eighteen years of famine, the aristocratic Restoration coterie 
supported the new enterprises with enthusiasm. Fine theatres 
were built, embodying the latest developments in scenes and 
machines brought over from France. A new generation of 
playwrights, amateur and professional, provided the theatres 
with plays to augment their stock supply of old dramas. 
Plays were presented by skilled actors, some of them trained 
in the old acting traditions before the closing of the theatres 
in 1642. New actors were developed, and women replaced 
boys in female roles. The theatres became fashionable; all 
the signs pointed to a long period of prosperity, a new golden 
age of the theatre. 

There is no need to do more here than summarize the often 
told subsequent history of the Restoration stage: how the 
audiences gradually diminished until there were not enough 
playgoers to support two theatres; how the King's Company 
succumbed to waste and mismanagement and in 1682 was 
swallowed up by the Duke's Company; how in 1695 Thomas 
Betterton and a group of dissidents seceded from the United 
Company to form a new company; and how the rivalry be- 
tween two companies struggling to survive led to quarrels, 
reprisals, and amalgamation again*in the theatrically turbu- 


lent early years of the eighteenth century. All these matters 
have been discussed in detail in a number of excellent studies. 
The history of the drama, too, has been well and fully writ- 
ten, and the works of numerous playwrights have been re- 
printed, edited, and criticized. Elaborate studies of stage- 
craft, stage business, curtains, disguises, songs, scenes, and 
machines have thrown light into every dusty corner of the 
Restoration theatre, and the male actors have received a good 
deal of attention from compilers and biographers. 

For some reason the women of the stage, whose appear- 
ance for the first time in English theatrical history strongly 
affected the development of Restoration drama, have been 
neglected or have been dealt with only cursorily in other con- 
nections. It is the purpose of this study to gather all available 
information about the actresses who began their stage careers 
between 1660 and 1689, to consider what kind of women they 
were, the conditions under which they lived and worked, 
their behavior on stage and off, and, finally, the effect they 
had on late seventeenth-century drama. 

I am indebted to the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial 
Foundation for the funds which enabled me to do the re- 
search for this book. For constant help and encouragement 
I am grateful to Richard D. Altick, William Charvat, Claude 
M. Simpson, Jr., and, as always, Louise Walker Wilson. 

J. H. W. 


Table of Contents 

1 I. Enter the Actress 

22 II. Behind the Scenes 

43 III. On Stage 

67 IV. In Petticoats and Breeches 

87 V. The Actress and the Play 

109 Appendix A. The Actresses, 1660-89 

193 Appendix B. Records Frequently Cited 

195 References 

197 Index 


I. Enter the *Ac tress 

At noon on January 3, 1661, Mr. Samuel Pepys dined on a 
leg of roast pork at Will's Tavern, near the Exchequer in 
Old Palace Yard. Afterward he set out for the new theatre 
in Vere Street, near Lincoln's Inn Fields. There was no 
hurry; the play would not begin until half-past three, and 
it was a fair day, hardly wintry at all. The sun shone, the 
ways were dusty, and even the rose bushes still held their 
autumn leaves. Mr. Pepys sauntered up King Street to Char- 
ing Cross, eastward along the Strand, and thence up through 
a maze of narrow streets toward Lincoln's Inn Fields. He 
quickened his pace in Clare Market, turned into a passage- 
way, and pulled up before the playhouse, a large, barnlike 
structure with a steeply pitched roof and a row of windows 
high in the wall. At the door he paid a half-crown admission 
fee and entered. The shadowy theatre was already half-filled 
with men, with a few ladies in the side boxes and here and 
there in the pit a gaily dressed trollop flaunting a vizard, the 
sign of her trade. 

Although to Mr. Pepys's wondering eyes it was "the finest 
playhouse that ever was in England," it was only Gibbon's 
old tennis court hastily turned into a theatre by Tom Killi- 
grew, Master of the King's Company of Comedians, who had 

All the King's Ladies ttg 

recently brought his troupe thither from the old Red Bull, 
an open air theatre in St. Johns Street, Clerkenwell. Here 
for three long years the players were to work in cramped, 
inadequate quarters while Killigrew was building a fine new 
theatre in Bridges Street, near Drury Lane. 1 

Gibbon's tennis court the first Theatre Royal had a 
level pit with rows of backless benches, galleries running 
around three sides, and a platform stage hung with rusty 
tapestries. There were no scenes and very few machines. The 
wooden seats were far from friendly. The light, especially on 
a dark day, was poor, even with the help of candles in sconces 
about the walls and in chandeliers over the stage; and, of 
course, there was no heat. The spectators sat with their 
cloaks wrapped tightly about them until the animal warmth 
of the noisy, restless audience tempered the chill a trifle. At 
the same time the animal effluvia, overlaid with the odors 
of musky foreign perfumes (handy substitutes for soap and 
water), produced an atmosphere thick enough to shovel. 
There were no toilet facilities, no bars, and no refreshments 
except the China oranges and seasonal fruits sold by the 
orange girls, who stood in the pit with their backs to the 
stage and cried their wares between the acts. To Mr. Pepys 
all this was splendor. He settled down on a bench and pre- 
pared to enjoy his half-holiday. 

There was music, a prologue, and the play began Fletch- 
er's sunny, romantic comedy, The Beggars Bush. Pepys lost 
himself in the action, savoring the play to the fullest. From 
earlier visits to the theatre he had become acquainted with 
the names and abilities of a few of the leading actors in the 
King's Company: Nicholas Burt, excellent as Othello; Major 
Michael Mohun, "said to be the best actor in the world"; 
and Edward Kynaston, "a boy" who acted women's parts 
and made a very lovely lady. When a woman shortly ap- 
peared on the stage, Pepys had to look twice to make sure 
it was not Kynaston in disguise. But there was no doubt 
about it; it was truly a woman, a lusty young wench, very 
handsome in flowing gown and laced petticoats, with her 

1 Pepys, November 20, 1660, January 3, 22, 1661, July 2, 1661; Hotson, 
chaps, i, v, vi. (Full citations are given in "References," pp. 195-96.) 

Enter the Actress 

bosom and shoulders gleaming in the candlelight. One by 
one three more women appeared. The roles they played were 
small, and they were far from being polished performers, but 
they were women and their physical allure was undeniable. 
That night Pepys wrote in his diary that January 3, 1661, 
was "the first time that ever I saw women come upon the 
stage." 2 

This was Mr. Pepys's first glimpse into a brave new world. 
As a lover of beauty, and especially of beautiful women, he 
found thenceforth a double joy in playgoing. Except in his 
periods of self-discipline, when he bound himself by strict 
oaths to attend to his business and avoid all forms of pleas- 
ure, he was lured to the theatres by an almost compulsive 
ardor, delighting in music and spectacle, costume and dance 
and the opportunity to rub elbows with the great. Every- 
thing about the theatre interested him, especially the tiring 
rooms. In time he came to know some of the players inti- 
mately, and one pretty actress, Mary Knep, became, if not 
his mistress, at least his bonne amie y refusing him only the 
ultimate favor. 

But January 3, 1661, was not the date of women's first ap- 
pearance on the stage. Pepys had been too busy with his 
duties as Clerk of the Acts of the Navy to attend the theatre 
regularly; he was more than a little behind the times. We can 
be sure that women had been appearing sporadically at either 
the Theatre Royal or the Duke's Theatre in Salisbury Court 
for at least a month, and probably much longer. On Decem- 
ber 15, 1660, a courtier, Andrew Newport, had written to a 
friend in the country, "Upon our stages we have women 
actors, as beyond seas." 3 His phrasing suggests that while 
the situation was new, it was not immediately so, and that 
women had been on the boards for some time. 

Now there were theatres in operation as early as June, 1660 
almost immediately after the return of King Charles II 
and during that summer there were probably three independ- 
ent companies actijig in London. Rhodes's "young" actors 
were playing at the Cockpit in Drury Lane; Mohun's "old" 

8 Pepys, August 18, October 11, November 20, 1660, January 3, 1661. 

*HMC, Fifth Report, p. 158. 

All the King's Ladies 

actors at the Red Bull in St. Johns Street; and perhaps a mis- 
cellaneous troupe at Beeston's Salisbury Court Theatre. In 
this period of theatrical anarchy, Thomas Killigrew and Sir 
William Davenant, backed by the King's warrant for a 
monopoly, fought to gain control over all the players in Lon- 
don. There was a brief period in October when the two cour- 
tiers managed jointly a single company, made up of the best 
players from all the troupes. Then, early in November, two 
permanent companies were formed: the King's (the "old" 
actors who had played before the Civil War) under Killi- 
grew and the Duke's (the "young" actors) under Davenant. 

In the months from June to December, 1660, any one of 
these shifting groups could have been the first to employ 
women. The King's warrant to Davenant and Killigrew 
(dated August 21, 1660) ordered that thenceforth only wom- 
en should play women's parts, to the end that plays might 
be "esteemed not only harmless delights but useful and in- 
structive representations of human life." 4 

These were brave words indeed. The employment of ac- 
tresses was an innovation long overdue; the time was ripe; 
and there was the King's order. It would seem that women 
should have almost immediately blossomed forth upon the 
stage. But the problem was not so simple. The women had 
to be found, introduced to theatrical ways and customs, and 
given at least some slight training. Moreover, as with all 
theatrical novelties, there was the question of audience re- 
sponse. The managers moved with caution. 

Probably we shall never know for certain the name of that 
bold adventuress, the first English actress. We cannot even 
be certain which company did the pioneering. In a "Prologue 
to the Tempest" (ca. 1674), the Duke's Company, sneering 
at their rivals, the King's Company, took the credit for all 
stage improvements, including the introduction of actresses, 

Without the good old Playes we did advance, 
And all ye Stages ornament enhance: 
To splendid things they follow us, but late: 
They ne're invent, but they can imitate: 
Had we not, for yr pleasure found new wayes, 

4 Hotson, pp. 197-218; Nicoll, pp. 70-71. 

Enter the Actress 

We still had rusty Arras had, & thredbare playes; 

Nor scenes, nor weomen, had they had their will, 

But some, with grizl'd Beards, had acted Weomen still. 5 

But this is a prejudiced claim, a wild shot in the never-ending 
war of the theatres. In fact, when we consider that the Duke's 
Company of young actors started out with half a dozen 
youthful female impersonators, including Angel, Mosely, 
Floid, James Nokes, William Betterton, and Edward Kynas- 
ton (who later transferred to the opposition company), while 
the old actors of the King's Company had no young imper- 
sonators at all and therefore badly needed women, the claim 
sounds like impudent effrontery. 6 

The chances are that the King's Company made the first 
experiment. In Thomas Jordan's A Royal Arbour of Loyal 
Poesie (1664) appears "A Prologue, to introduce the first 
Woman that came to act on the Stage, in the tragedy called 
The Moor of Venice." Jordan was closely associated with the 
Red Bull company of "old" actors, and it is very likely that 
he wrote the prologue for that troupe after it became the 
King's Company in the autumn of 1660. 7 The prologue 

I come, unknown to any of the rest 

To tell you news, I saw the lady drest; 

The woman playes today, mistake me not, 

No man in gown, or page in petticoat; 

A woman to my knowledge; yet I cann't, 

(If I should dye) make affidavit on't. 

Do you not twitter, gentlemen ? I know 

You will be censuring, do't fairly though; 

'Tis possible a vertuous woman may 

Abhor all sorts of looseness, and yet play; 

Play on the stage, where all eyes are upon her, 

Shall we count that a crime France counts an honour? 

* British Museum, Egerton MS. 2623, p. 54. 
1 Dowries, p. 18. 

7 See Jordan's references to the Red Bull, pp. 18 and 22. Herbert 
lists Othello among the "Red Bull Plays" and mentions a performance 
of the play by the King's Company (ex-Red Bull players) on "Saterday 
the 8. Dec.," 1660 (Dramatic Records of Sir Henry Herbert, ed. J. Q. 
Adams [1917], pp. 82, 117). 

All the King's Ladies 

After this appeal to gallantry, Jordan offered a very prac- 
tical reason why "the woman" should be received with favor: 
the boys who had been trained as female impersonators had 
all grown up, and the company, in sheer desperation, had 
been forced to "civilize the stage," 

Our women are defective, and so siz'd, 

You'd think they were some of the guard disguis'd; 

For to speak truth, men act that are between 

Forty and Fifty, wenches of fifteen; 

With bone so large and nerve so incompliant, 

When you call Desdemona, enter Giant. 

Mr. Jordan was quite properly apologetic and anxious. 
There was always the chance that the audience particularly 
the ladies, steeped in conventional morality might be 
shocked. In the epilogue to the play Jordan addressed him- 
self earnestly to the feminine members of the audience: 

But Ladies what think you, for if you tax 
Her freedom with dishonour to your Sex, 
She means to act no more, and this shall be 
No other Play but her own tragedy; 
She will submit to none but your Commands, 
And take Commission onely from your hands. 

We can only hope that the chief character in this noble 
experiment was received with courtesy and approval. She 
should have been. Many of the twittering gentry in the pit 
had seen plays in France with women in their proper roles. 
A few of the older men could remember, before the bitter 
Civil War, French troupes acting in London with women 
players. Some had seen private theatricals at Court, with 
titled ladies acting, much to the wrath of that old Puritan, 
William Prynne. Some had only recently seen Mrs. Coleman 
as lanthe in Davenant's "opera," The Siege of Rhodes (1656) 
no actress, but a forerunner singing in the wilderness. Cer- 
tainly the male playgoers were ready enough for the change, 
and no doubt they welcomed it with delight. 

The probability is, then, that the first English actress 
played Desdemona in Othello for the King's Company in 
November or December, 1660. Who was she? Anne Marshall, 

Enter the Actress 

Mary Saunderson, Margaret Hughes, and Mrs. Norton have 
all been nominated for the honor, and the first two are dis- 
tinct possibilities. 8 But we have one actress who claimed to 
be the first, and her pretense deserves consideration, 

On March 11, 1689, in a "humble petition" to the Lord 
Chamberlain, Mrs. Catherine Corey said of herself that "she 
was the first and is the last of all the actresses that were con- 
stituted by King Charles the Second at His Restauration." 
She said further that she had served the Killigrew family 
(Thomas and his successor, Charles) faithfully for twenty- 
seven years. This, of course, is probably an approximate 
figure, but if she counted the years carefully and made al- 
lowance for the theatrical interruption caused by the Plague 
and Fire (June 5, 1665, to November 29, 1666) she must 
have started serving the Killigrews about November, 1660, 
shortly after Thomas Killigrew got control of the original 
Red Bull Company. 9 

At first thought one is tempted to reject Mrs. Corey as a 
most unlikely Desdemona. She was best known as a comedi- 
enne; Pepys, who called her "Doll Common" because of her 
excellence in Jonson's The Alchemist, rejoiced in her perform- 
ances. In her maturity she was a large woman ("robust" and 
a "strapper" 10 ) and most successful in secondary roles: gov- 
ernesses, nurses, mothers, maidservants, and bawds. Yet she 
was versatile enough to play equally well in comedy and 
tragedy, and during her thirty-two years on the stage she 
was often assigned to major roles, among them Octavia in 
Dryden's All for Love. Probably as a young girl she was slen- 
der enough and attractive with the charm of youth. At any 
rate, here is a lady who claims to be the first actress, and if 
we cannot dispute her claim we may gallantly accept it. 

Of course Mrs. Corey may merely have meant that she was 

'Malone, Part II, p. 110; Downes, pp. 93-95. The argument that 
Margaret Hughes was the die first actress is disproved by the facts 
of her career. See J. H. Wilson, "Pepys and Peg Hughes/' Notes and 
Aeries, N.S. Ill (October, 1956), 428-29. 

9 A. S. Borgman, "The Killigrews and Mrs. Corey," Times Literary 
Supplement^ December 27, 1934. 

10 Wycherley, The Country Wife, Act III, scene 2. 


All the King's Ladies 

the first of a group of women sworn in as His Majesty's serv- 
ants. In that case her priority over her fellows was only a 
matter of minutes, and any one of the group could still be 
the proto-actress. We can never be certain of the names of all 
the other early actresses at the two theatres, but we can be 
sure of a few. In 1708 John Downes, prompter at the Duke's 
Theatre from June, 1662, to October, 1706, published his 
Roscius Anglicanus; or> An Historical Review of the Stage. He 
himself was responsible for the account of the Duke's Com- 
pany, and, although his memory often betrayed him, on the 
whole his information is extremely valuable. For the King's 
Company he depended on the more erratic memory of "Mr. 
Charles Booth sometimes Book-keeper [i.e., librarian] there." 
From Downes's records, corrected by other sources of in- 
formation, we can be reasonably sure that among the earliest 
actresses at the King's Theatre were Katherine Corey, Anne 
Marshall (later Mrs. Quin), Elizabeth Farley (alias Mrs. 
Weaver), Margaret Rutter, and perhaps Mrs. Eastland. At 
the Duke's Theatre they were Hester Davenport, Mary 
Saunderson (later Mrs. Betterton), Jane Long, Anne Gibbs 
(later Mrs. Shadwell), Mrs. Jennings, and Mrs. Norris. Of 
all these women, Katherine Corey, Mary Betterton, and 
Anne Shadwell had the most distinguished careers. None 
was ever a truly great actress, but Mrs. Corey was long 
popular in "old women'* roles; Mrs. Shadwell was always 
competent in supporting parts; and Mrs. Betterton, eminent 
in Shakespearean roles, was a successful leading lady for 
nearly twenty-five years. 

How did the managers find these pioneer actresses, and 
where did they come from ? Again no precise answers are pos- 
sible. Perhaps they came from such schools as that at Chelsea 
where Mrs. Pepys's maid, Mary Ashwell, once acted in a 
masque. 11 Perhaps they came from dancing schools and sing- 
ing schools, or were recommended by musicians, choir mas- 
ters, dancing masters, and actors. In the beginning the candi- 
dates can hardly have been numerous, although the require- 
ments were modest: some measure of good looks, the ability 
to read and memorize lines, some small skill at singing and 

11 Pepys, February 26, April 26, 1663. 


Enter the Actress 

dancing, and the simple willingness to venture forth in an 
untried profession. 

Most of the early actresses hid their family origins behind 
the stage curtain. We cannot even be sure that they all used 
their real names. Commonly married or single they were 
listed in dramatis personae only as "Mrs." (pronounced 
"Mistress") Marshall, or Barry, or Corbett, without a 
Christian name. Many Christian names can be recovered 
from contemporary records, diaries, and fugitive lampoons, 
but some may be lost forever. Mrs. Clough, Mrs. Knapper, 
Mrs. Norton, and Mrs. Price, to name only a few, stand in 
the dramatis personae of printed plays only as names, empty 
of personality. We do not know who they were, where they 
came from, or, after they had strutted their hour upon the 
stage, whither they went. 

No "lady," of course, could consider a career on the stage; 
her kinfolk would rather see her starve than degrade a gen- 
teel or noble name. 12 On the other hand, the barmaid-and- 
brothel class lacked all education and refinement; such a 
natural actress as illiterate Nell Gwyn was truly a sport. 
There was left only a narrow middle stratum from which 
actresses could be drawn: the daughters of an out-of-place 
preacher, like the Marshall sisters, or of a notary, like Anne 
Gibbs (Mrs. Shadwell), or of a "decayed knight," like Char- 
lotte Butler, or of a widowed shopkeeper, like Sarah Cooke; 
or an orphan like Elizabeth Barry, said to have been brought 
up by Lady Davenant in the odor of grease paint; or a 
gentleman's bastard like Moll Davis, said to have been 
the daughter of Colonel Thomas Howard; or the wife of 
such an off-color character as Mary Knep's husband, an 
"ill, melancholy, jealous-looking fellow ... a kind of jock- 
ey"; 18 or the wives and daughters of actors, who were 
themselves halfway between yeomen and gentlemen and 

13 Gibber (I, 75) complained that "A Lady, with a real Tide, whose 
female Indiscretions had occasion'd her Family to abandon her," desired 
to be admitted as an actress, but had to be refused because of strong 
objections by her family. Her endeavor to "get Bread from the Stage 
was look'd upon as an Addition of new Scandal to her former Dishonour!" 

"Pepys, December 8, 1665, December 11, 1668. 


All the King's Ladies 

certainly impecunious enough. The Restoration world had 
little but domestic service to offer the dowerless daughters 
of the genteel poor. At least an actress was better paid 
than a waiting woman. 

For example, there was Winifred Gosnell Pepys's pretty 
little "Marmotte" the younger of two sisters whose mother 
seems to have been a widow left badly off but with genteel 
family connections. Although not of gentle birth, the sisters 
were "gentlewomen" by courtesy. Both had been well edu- 
cated; that is, they could read, write, sing, dance, and perhaps 
speak a little French. In December, 1662, Winifred Gosnell, 
hoping for advancement, became Mrs. Pepys's personal 
maid. Almost immediately she learned that Mrs. Pepys 
was not one of those ladies who haunted the Court and 
the playhouse daily and that she herself could not have 
full "liberty of going abroad" as often as she pleased. Four 
days later she resigned with a flimsy excuse she had to 
see her uncle, the improbable Justice Jiggins, on business 
for her mother thrice a week. Winifred was an ambitious 
girl with a very small talent and some flighty ideas. There 
was no future in domestic service; she would look further. 

Five months later Pepys was surprised to see her as 
a "super" in Hamlet at the Duke's Theatre. Probably she 
got started on the stage in the obvious way, by applying 
to Sir William Davenant, who, at that time, must have 
been willing to try out any likely looking wench who came 
along. But Mrs. Gosnell was never a good actress. According 
to Pepys she played a few roles of little consequence. Her 
name appears in the pages of a play only once, as the singer 
of a song in Davenant's The Playhouse To Be Let (1663). 
Better players and singers appeared, and she was relegated 
to the role of understudy and occasional singer. Yet she 
clung stubbornly to the company for twenty-seven years 
or more before she was finally discharged. Then she disap- 
peared into the obscurity of failure. 14 

Mrs. Gosnell was a fairly typical candidate for the stage 

"Pepys, December 5, 8, 9, 1662, May 28, 1663, September 10, 1664, 
July 28, 1668, June 21, 1669. See Sybil Rosenfdd, "Unpublished Stage 
Documents," Theatre Notebook, II, No. 3 (April-June, 1957), 


Enter the Actress 

in the early days of the Restoration. Probably there were 
many ambitious young women who, like her, chose the 
stage in preference to domestic service. The need for actresses 
was great, and the standards were low. Names which never 
appear in the dramatis personae of printed plays pop up in 
theatrical records: Jane Russell, Mary Man, Mrs. Dal ton, 
Anne Child, and Jane Davenport, for example, all at the 
King's Theatre. Many women lasted only a few months and 
then sank into the obscurity of permanent supernumeraries 
or quietly drifted away. 

But, after the first few years, places on the stage came 
to be more highly prized than in the early dawn of the 
Restoration theatre and were sought by women of somewhat 
different talents. We cannot say that stage-struck girls 
flocked to the companies hoping for wealth, stardom, and 
popular acclaim. Even for a successful actress the pay 
was miserable; there was no star system; and social recogni- 
tion was far in the future. But young women without dowries 
had discovered the possibility of a theatrical career as a 
springboard to matrimony or "keeping." Husbands were 
scarce, but "keepers" swarmed. There were hundreds of 
lecherous gentlemen eager to seduce an actress as cheaply 
as possible. The foolish virgins succumbed to their blandish- 
ments and paid the usual penalty of folly. The wise ones 
teased their admirers into some kind of a settlement, hoping 
to live in clover for the rest of their lives. By her less fortunate 
fellows the successful Cyprian was admired rather than 
blamed. Chastity, after all, was a luxury that only the 
well-to-do could afford. 

Not the most famous but probably the first successful 
actress-mistress was Hester Davenport of the Duke's com- 
pany, an example of wisdom to all the frail ladies of the 
stage. Hester was the kind of woman whose beauty (said 
dour Anthony Wood) made men "take ill courses." She 
was twenty years old and already famous as Roxalana 
in Davenant's The Siege of Rhodes, Part Two (1661), when 
Aubrey de Vere, twentieth Earl of Oxford, saw her on the 
stage and fell headlong in love. Oxford was forty-four, hand- 
some in a long-chinned way, a childless widower, wealthy, 


All the King's Ladies 

stubborn, and exceedingly proud. He made ardent love 
to the young actress, beseeching her to become his mistress 
not, of course, his wife. For an earl to marry an actress was 
as unthinkable as for a king to marry a commoner. It 
was not that the word "actress" had as yet acquired the 
unsavory connotation it was soon to take on; the trouble 
with Mrs. Davenport was that she worked for a living. There- 
fore the Earl pleaded for her love, without benefit of clergy. 
But Mrs. Davenport, with remarkable resolution, held out 
for a wedding ring. She was either very clever or rigidly 

We have two accounts of Lord Oxford's courtship and its 
outcome, one written by Baroness d'Aulnoy in 1694-95, 
the other told by the Count de Grammont in 1713. Although 
it is quite clear that the two stories were set down inde- 
pendently, they agree in essentials: that after months of 
frustration the lovesick Earl gave the actress a signed 
promise of marriage; that a ceremony was performed with 
either Oxford's trumpeter or his groom of the chamber 
posing as a parson; that when the deception was discovered, 
the actress, insisting that "the marriage was valid," appealed 
to the King for justice; and that Oxford was ordered to 
pay her a sizable pension. 

Baroness d'Aulnoy, a professional writer of fairy tales, 
embroidered this story with some pleasant fantasies. She 
declared that the courtship covered a period of eight months 
or so, during which Oxford nearly went mad. He even 
contemplated abducting Mrs. Davenport and ravishing her, 
declaring brutally, "All I care for is to satisfy myself, 
and when I have done that I shall not trouble myself any 

further about this actress." Finally he pretended 

to agree to marriage. A contract was drawn up, the marriage 
performed and consummated. The next morning the wicked 
Earl kicked the actress out of bed, snarling, "Wake up, 
Roxalana, it is time for you to go." Then the story of 
the tricked marriage came out. Hester screajmed, raged, 
tried to kill her seducer, and managed to wound herself 
with his sword. Thereafter she persisted in maintaining 
that the marriage was valid and appealed to the King and 


Enter the Actress 

Parliament. Said Mme d'Aulnoy, "Parliament contented 
itself with condemning him not to marry, unless he had 
her consent, and also to endow her with a considerable 
pension. Further he was also compelled to recognize as his 
a son that was born" presumably of one night of love. 

Behind these chroniques scandaleuses may lie some measure 
of truth. Certainly the contemporary tradition of a marriage 
was strong. Anthony Wood, for example, referred to Hester 
as "Roxalana, married to the earl of Oxon," and the author 
of a lampoon, "Men of Honour, 1687," scolded Oxford 
for "spending his estate, marrying his whore." Hester herself 
maintained the fiction; to the end of her days she called 
herself proudly "Countess of Oxford/* The chances are 
that Oxford and his coy mistress joined hands in some 
kind of an irregular marriage which, in the confused state 
of seventeenth-century canon law, might have been proved 
valid had Hester cared to press her claim. For some reason 
she never did so, perhaps because she was aware of the 
odds against success, perhaps because she was satisfied 
with what she had achieved. 

But it is highly unlikely that there were trickery, screams, 
and murderous assaults with consequent open scandal. Ac- 
cording to Pepys, on May 20, 1662, Roxalana was "owned 
by my Lord of Oxford," that is, openly acknowledged as 
his mistress, a formality which gave her some social and 
economic standing. On January 1, 1663, Pepys saw the 
ex-actress at the Duke's Theatre, "in the chief box, in a velvet 
gown, as the fashion is, and very handsome" seemingly 
content with her new role as permanent mistress and brevet 
wife. As far as we know she remained content and faithful 
to her keeper. Her son by Oxford was born April 17, 1664 
(more than two years after the so-called seduction), lived 
a totally undistinguished life, died at the age of forty-four, 
and was buried as "Aubrey de Vere, Earl of Oxford." He 
had, of course, no right to the title. 

For twelve years after his success with Roxalana, the true 
Earl of Oxford, apparently satisfied with his morganatic 
arrangement, showed no interest in marrying a more eligible 
bride, even though he had no legitimate heir for his tide 


All the King's Ladies 

and estates. Finally, on April 12, 1673, in obedience to 
the King's command, he married a shopworn court lady, 
Diana Kirke. Oxford died in 1703, still without a son to 
carry on the proudest tide in the peerage. Four months 
after his death, Hester then sixty-two! married one Peter 
Hoett, describing herself for the marriage register as "Dame 
Hester, Countess Dowager of Oxford." She survived Hoett, 
dying in 1717. In her will she called herself "Dame Hester, 
Countess of Oxford, late widow of Peter Hoett, Esq." and 
signed herself firmly "Hester Oxford," like one to the manner 
born. By the time of her death, of course, she had long 
been forgotten by the theatrical world. 15 

Hester Davenport was only the first of a long line of 
young women whose beauty, wit, and merit brought them 
preferment and hard cash. Ten years or so after the Restora- 
tion the young actress who yearned to become a rich man's 
darling had, besides Mrs. Davenport, a whole galaxy of 
stars to admire and emulate: Jane Long, mistress of a 
courtier, George Porter; Susannah Uphill, mistress of wealthy- 
Sir Robert Howard; Betty Hall, mistress of Sir Philip 
Howard; Mrs. Johnson, mistress of Henry, Earl of Peter- 
borough; Elizabeth Barry, mistress of John, Earl of Roch- 
ester; Peg Hughes, mistress of Prince Rupert; and those 
two famous luminaries, Moll Davis and Nell Gwyn, kept 
by His Majesty, the King. 

By the 1670's, then, largely because of the exciting extra- 
professional opportunities open to a pretty actress, a young 
woman seeking a place on the stage had to use the aid 
of patrons and recommenders, and sometimes had to bribe 
an actor or manager with her virtue. In the tight circles of 
the Town the eager aspirant was such a well-known figure 
that she became a subject for dramatic commentary. For 
example, in Payne's The Morning Ramble (1672), a young 
woman taken by the watch excuses her late rambling thus: 
"Sir, I have a great mind to be a player, and have offered 
myself to both Houses, and truly most of the sharers have 

u See Appendix A: Davenport, Hester; D'Aulnoy, Memoirs of the 
Court of England in 1675, trans. Mrs. W. H. Arthur (1913), pp. 269-78; 
Wood, 1, 406; British Museum, Harleian MS. 7317, p. ISO; HMC> Portland 
, V, 153. 


Enter the Actress 

had me severally at their chambers to try me, and they 
all say I do very well; but 'tis the envy of the women already 
there, that fearing I should out-do 'em, keeps me out, as 
I was told by two or three of the hired men of the Duke's 
House, with whom I have been tonight and spent all my 
money. But I do not doubt to find friends to bring it about, 
for there are two or three persons of quality have undertaken 
it. ... Alas, I desire little or nothing for my pains; I would 
only show myself on the stage, and then, perhaps, I may 
get a good husband, or at least some fool that will keep me." 

As usual in such cases, the would-be actress had grandiose 
notions about the wages of sin. Lucy, in Wycherley's Love 
in a Wood (1671), was fond of her lover, Dapperwit, because, 
she said (Act III, scene 1), he "taught me to rehearse, too, 
would have brought me into the playhouse, where I might 
have had as good luck as others: I might have had good 
clothes, plate, jewels, and things so well about me, that 
my neighbours, the little gentlemen's wives of fifteen hundred 
or two thousand pounds a year, should have retired into 
the country, sick with envy of my prosperity and greatness." 
Of course, Lucy was naive very few actresses had such 
good luck but probably she reflected accurately the hopes 
of many an aspirant for the stage. At any rate, the keeping 
of stage doxies became so common as to justify the envious 
complaint of Wycherley's Mrs. Squeamish (The Country Wife 
[1675], Act II, scene 1): "That men of parts, great acquaint- 
ance, and quality, should take up with and spend themselves 
and fortunes in keeping little playhouse creatures foh!" 

The little playhouse creature who was not kept was 
something of a rarity and an object of pity to her more 
fortunate sisters. In the prologue to Porter's The French 
Conjurer (1677), the woman speaker addressed the libertines 
in the audience thus: 

And, Gallants, though you are but seldom good, 
Yet to us women most of all you shou*d. 
No sooner comes a Beauty here in play, 
But strait your Coach and six takes her away, 
And you who cull the Flock should be so kinde 
To comfort the forlorn you leave behind. 

All the King's Ladies 

To the companies the practice of culling the choicest 
lambs from the flock became a serious matter. In the epilogue 
to Lee's The Rival Queens (1677), the actors protested to 
the sons of Belial in the audience: 

. . . our Women who adorn each Play, 
Bred at our cost, become at length your prey: 
While green and sour, like Trees we bear 'em all, 
But when they're mellow straight to you they fall: 
You watch 'em bare and squab, and let 'em rest; 
But with the first young down, you snatch the Nest. 
Pray leave these poaching tricks, if you are wise, 
E're we take out our letters of Reprise. 
For we have vow'd to find a sort of Toys 
Known to black Fryars, a Tribe of chooping Boys . . . 
The panting Breasts, white Hands and little Feet 
No more shall your pall'd thoughts with pleasure meet. 
The Woman in Boys Cloaths all Boy shall be, 
And never raise your thoughts above the Knee. 

In spite of this plaintive appeal and vain threat, the 
poaching continued, and the desirability of the stage as 
a showcase for feminine wares increased steadily. In 1685 
Robert Gould wrote: 

An actress now so fine a thing is thought, 
A place at Court less eagerly is sought. 
When once in this society inrolled, 
Straight by some reverend bawd you'l hear 'em told 
"Now is the time you may your fortune raise, 
And sparke it like a lady all your days." 
But the true meaning this now is the time 
Now in your heat of youth & beauties prime, 
With open blandishment & secret art, 
To glide into some keeping cullies hart, 
Who neither sence nor manhood understands 
And jilt him of his patrimonial lands: 
Others this way have grown both great & rich, 
Preferment you can't miss & be a bitch. 

The poaching tricks continued unabated to the end of 
the century and beyond, in spite of the boasted fin de sticle 
reformation of morals and manners. In 1696 young Maria 
Allison, speaking the epilogue to Gildon's The Roman Bride's 


Enter the Actress 

Revenge, set forth without shame the ambition of the young 

I, who must make my Fortune o' the Stage, 
Will ne'er expose the Vices of the Age: 
Which I expect to find my chief Support; 
And thrive by them, as Flatterers do at Court. 
Tis not for me to ridicule a Beau; 
I may get Good of him, for aught I know. 
Why should I call that Damme Spark a Bully, 
Or the good natur'd keeping Fool a Cully? 
When I as well as others, soon may hope 
To be maintain'd by some conceited Fop. 

There were some honorable and virtuous women on the 
stage, but by the 1680's the tradition that every actress 
was at least a part time "lady of pleasure," leading a rich 
and glamorous life, had become firmly established. Of course 
the budding actress eager to sell her virginity to the highest 
bidder failed to realize that the kept woman's tenure de- 
pended upon the whim of the keeper: she drew no lesson 
from the common enough case of the damsel who, taken 
from the stage in the early summer, returned, usually in 
sad condition, before the snow flew and had to endure the 
jeers of her sisters. And if the young actress remembered, 
she took no warning from the complete failures, the actresses 
who, deserted by their keepers and burdened by debt or 
riddled with disease, turned "punks/* "nightwalkers," or 
"fire ships," and ended their lives in the bawdyhouses of 
Lewkenor's Lane, Whetstone's Park, or Moorfidds. The 
story of Elizabeth Farley, one of the earliest actresses of 
the King's Company, might have served as such a warning. 

Elizabeth was evidently young, fresh, and beautiful when 
she first appeared on the stage in the winter of 1660-61. 
Initially her luck was amazing: the eyes of insatiable King 
Charles fell upon her, and she traveled the dark road 
that led up the Thames to Whitehall Privy Stairs, thence 
up the back stairs, and so into the royal bedchamber. 
But her dreams of glory were brief; King Charles demanded 
more than beauty of his permanent mistresses, and Elizabeth 
failed to hold his interest. Although the King "first spoiled" 

All the King's Ladies 

her (as Pepys put it), to him she was only one of the many 
casual doxies who went through the hands of the Chiffinches, 
Pages of the Back Stairs, and Pimps in Ordinary. 

Once started, Elizabeth found engagements as a lady 
of pleasure fairly profitable, especially when they did not 
interfere with her acting. In 1661 she was living blissfully 
in sin with one James Weaver of Gray's Inn, gent. In 
January, 1662, her amiable keeper not only cast her off 
but demanded the return of 30 that he had given her and 
for which he had cannily taken her bond. To add to her 
troubles, she had been passing herself off as Weaver's wife 
and had run up bills on the strength of his credit. When the 
truth came out, various indignant tradesmen clamored for 
their money and sought the Lord Chamberlain's permission 
to sue her. Moreover, she was pregnant, and although 
the loose-bodied gowns and full petticoats then in vogue 
allowed her to continue acting much longer than was safe 
or proper, eventually, in the autumn of 1662, she had 
to turn in her parts and leave the King's Company. 

Now she found herself in even worse trouble: as one of 
His Majesty's servants she was reasonably immune to arrest 
for debt, but she was no longer in the royal service. Trades- 
men prepared their writs, and the debtors' prison yawned 
for her. Desperately continuing to represent herself as a 
"Comoedian," she appealed to the King for reinstatement 
in the company, completely misrepresenting the circum- 
stances of her departure. As a result (or because King 
Charles dimly remembered her and felt he owed her a 
kindness), Sir Henry Bennet, Secretary of State, wrote 
to Killigrew ordering her reinstatement. 

In Killigrew's absence Sir Robert Howard (a leading 
shareholder) replied, protesting that the information given 
His Majesty was "exactly false," that Mrs. Weaver (as 
Elizabeth called herself) had brought in all her parts three 
weeks earlier and "warn'd the Company that after such 
a day which is expir'd shee woud act noe more/' Since 
that time, he said, Mrs. Weaver had appeared "big with 
Child," and now, since the discovery that she was not 
married to Weaver, "shamefully soe." There had been an 


Enter the Actress 

open scandal. "Many women of quality," wrote Howard, 
"have protested they will never come to thee house to 
see a woman actynge all parts of vertue in such a shameful 
condition." Pity the poor shareholders, who saw their best 
customers affronted! It was not morality that made Howard 
protest, "Truly, S r ! wee are willinge to bringe the stage 
to be a place of some Creditt, and not an infamous place 
for all persons of honour to avoid." 

By one trick or another Elizabeth managed to fend off 
her creditors. In October (at a guess) she gave birth to 
her illegitimate child, and not long afterward she was back 
on the stage. But the damage was done. Her reputation 
might have recovered, but not her purse; she could never 
hope to pay off her debts out of her small salary, and her 
market value otherwise was sadly reduced. Getting deeper 
and deeper in debt, she continued playing until June, 1665, 
when the theatres were closed by the Great Plague. There- 
after, no doubt to avoid her creditors, she disappeared into 
the vast underworld of London, a memento mori for all 
young actresses. 16 

We have no way of knowing how many of Mrs. Weaver's 
successors (if they ever heard of her) took warning from 
her fate. Unfortunately our information about the private 
lives of the Restoration actresses is painfully scanty. In 
the hierarchy of society they were commoners of low degree, 
too insignificant for contemporary historians to notice except 
when one of them a Nell Gwyn or a Moll Davis was 
thrust into the limelight as a royal mistress. Their public 
lives are recorded in the dramatis personae of some, but 
not all, printed plays and in the cold records of the Lord 
Chamberlain's office. For their private lives we have to 
depend on rare items in contemporary diaries, letters, and 
memoirs, or on the scandal-mongering of coffeehouse poets, 
the gossip columnists of the Court and Town. Happy was 
the actress who had no history. 

On the basis of evidence drawn from a variety of sources 
we can reasonably conclude that of the eighty or so young 
women whose names are recorded in the annals of the 

16 See Appendix A: Farley, Elizabeth, 


All the King's Ladies 

theatre between 1660 and 1689, at least twelve, as Downes 
put it, "by force of Love were Erept the Stage," i.e., left 
the theatre to become kept mistresses or prostitutes. Of 
the rest, another dozen or so among them such famous 
actresses as Elizabeth Barry, Elizabeth Boutell, Charlotte 
Butler, Elizabeth Cox, Elizabeth James, and Rebecca Mar- 
shall while maintaining their theatrical connections, en- 
joyed (and probably deserved) considerable reputations as 
occasional doxies. At least thirty young women were on the 
stage only briefly, played in one or two minor parts, and 
then disappeared. Perhaps they married, or died, or were 
dismissed for incompetence. However, to judge by the fre- 
quency of such complaints as Gibber's about the "many 
frail fair ones , . . who, before they could arrive to their 
Theatrical Maturity, were feloniously stolen from the tree," 17 
it seems much more likely that most of this group, too, joined 
the oldest profession. And we can be sure that there were 
many others, eager young girls who appeared only briefly 
as supernumeraries and were snatched from the stage before 
their names could be recorded. 

We are left with not more than two dozen actresses who, 
as far as we know, lived respectable lives. Most of these 
were married, and nearly half of them among them such 
important actresses as Mary Betterton, Mary Lee, Elinor 
Leigh, and Susanna Mountfort (afterward Verbruggen) 
were married to players. Perhaps there was something to 
be said for Abb Hedelin's proposal that, to insure modesty 
on the stage, "no single Woman shall act, if they have 
not their Father or Mother in the Company, and that 
all Widdows shall be oblig'd to marry within six months 
after their year is out for mourning, and in that year shall 
not act except they be married again." 18 

Even matrimony, however, could not save an actress 
from detraction. To judge from all the information about 
her, Anne Shadwell, wife of the poet Thomas Shadwell, 
lived an exemplary life. Yet the anonymous author of 
a verse lampoon, "A Satyr on the Players" (ca. 1684), 

ir Downes, p. 35; Gibber, II, 222. 

The Whole Art of the Stage (1657; trans. 1684), p. 173. 


Enter the Actress 

insisted that her chastity was enforced by old age and 
ugliness and that "in her Youth, none was a greater Whore." 
Similarly, twice-married Mary Lee (Lady Slingsby) seems 
to have lived quietly and decently. Yet the same anonymous 
poetaster accused her of an affair with "a dull Whiggish poet" 
perhaps Elkanah Settle. As for unmarried Anne Brace- 
girdle, the "Romantick Virgin" who all her life made a 
fetish of chastity, there was no lack of libelers to assert 
that she had "yielded her Charms" to the dramatist William 
Congreve and after him to Robert Leake, Earl of Scarsdale. 19 
Perhaps all these accusations were true; at this distance 
it is impossible to prove or disprove them. But the Restora- 
tion playgoer and reader of verse lampoons needed no 
proof. Since so many of the early actresses lived abandoned 
lives, it was the general conviction that all actresses were 
"made of Play house flesh and bloud," unable to withstand 
the charms of a "powerfull Guinnee" in short, "actress" 
and "whore" were effectively synonymous. From this con- 
viction the reputation of the actress was to suffer for the 
following two hundred years. 

19 For details on the actresses mentioned see Appendix A. 


II. behind the Scenes 

Like a new Eve, the first English actress came into a world 
made for men. Since its earliest times the stage had presented 
plays written and played by men and designed primarily for 
masculine entertainment. But, although the Restoration 
theatre had its serpents, it was no Eden. Merely to survive 
in it, a woman needed a rugged constitution and a fighting 
heart. To preserve her virtue intact she needed a squad of 
guardian angels. 

Consider Killigrew's second Theatre Royal, which opened 
its doors for the first time on May 7, 1663. It was located in 
Bridges Street, just off Drury Lane in the Covent Garden 
neighborhood a district of slums, alehouses, bawdyhouses, 
shops, and noblemen's mansions, lying cheek by jowl to- 
gether. Around the corner in Russell Street was the famous 
Rose Tavern, a haunt for players and poets. Once, when 
Mr. Pepys dropped in for a drink, he found "Dryden the poet 
(I knew at Cambridge), and all the wits of the town, and 
Harris, the player, and Mr. Hoole of our college." There was 
much "witty and pleasant discourse." 1 

Visiting the new Theatre Royal the day after it opened, 
Pepys decided that it was "made with extraordinary good 
contrivance," and so it was for the playgoer. In modern 
times it would seem very small, being not more than 112 feet 
long by about 58 feet wide. The pit was reasonably spacious, 

1 Pepys, February 3, 1664. 


Behind the Scenes ttg 

and the backless benches were covered with matting. The 
boxes and the middle and upper galleries were comfortable 
enough, as comfort was thought of then, and the lighting was 
good. The stage was the latest word: a wide apron in front of 
a gaudy proscenium arch, behind which painted flats slid in 
grooves to form the scenes. There were a few faults: the rear 
boxes were too far from the stage; the passageways to the pit 
were too narrow; the "musique," being "below" almost 
under the stage was muted; and in stormy weather rain or 
hail beat in through the cupola over the pit. Nevertheless it 
was a fine theatre, much better than the first Theatre Royal. 2 

But Killigrew had given little thought to the comfort or 
convenience of the players. In the area behind the stage 
(which anyone could enter at will) was the cluttered scene 
room, where flats and properties were stored and where the 
actors rested or waited for their cues. Above was the space 
for the tiring rooms, divided into the "women's shift" and the 
men's, with small private rooms for the leading actors and 
actresses. The furnishings were simple necessities: chairs, 
tables, small mirrors, candlesticks, and chamber pots and 
close stools (commodes). Possibly coal fires took some of the 
chill from the bare, untidy tiring rooms, and at least a few 
of the private rooms had fireplaces. On May 4, 1667, the 
Lord Chamberlain ordered that Anne Quin, a leading lady, 
be given "a dressing roome with a chymney in it to be only 
for her use and whom she should admitt." 8 It was very 
pleasant for a leading lady to return from the draughty stage 
to the warmth of her private sea-coal fire. The lesser ac- 
tresses, shivering bare-shouldered in their flimsy finery, 
shared the common misery of the tiring room. On the other 
hand, they had company, gallants by the score. 

On March 19, 1666, while the Theatre Royal was under- 
going alterations, Pepys dropped in "to see the inside of the 
stage and all the tiring rooms and machines." He was moved 
to laughter at the "mixture of things" in the tiring rooms: 
"here a wooden-leg, there a ruff, here a hobbyhorse, there a 
crown." He inspected the dressing rooms of two of the lead- 

a Pepys, May 8, 1663; Nicoll, p. 296. 

LC5, 138, p. 376. 


All the King's Ladies 

ing actors, Lacy and Shatterel, and found their wardrobes 
contemptible. But he was struck by a sobering reflection: 
"to think how fine they show on the stage by candle-light, 
and how poor things they are to look now too near at hand, 
is not pleasant at all." 

Had Pepys been an imaginative man he might have seen 
the empty tiring rooms peopled with actors preparing for 
the play: 

Above the rest the Prince with mighty Stalks, 

Magnificent in Purple Buskins walks: 

The Royal Robe his Haughty Shoulders grace, 

Profuse of Spangles and of Copper-Lace: 

Officious Rascals to his mighty Thigh, 

Guiltless of Blood, th'unpointed Weapon tye; 

Then the Gay Glittering Diadem put on, 

Ponderous with Brass, and starr'd with Bristol-Stone. 

Impatiently he waits for his cue, while in her dressing 
room the leading lady makes up her face: 

His Royal Consort next consults her Glass, 
And out of Twenty Boxes culls a Face. 
The Whit'ning first her Ghastly Looks besmears, 
All Pale and Wan th'unfinish'd Form appears; 
Till on her Cheeks the blushing Purple glows, 
And a false Virgin Modesty bestows; 
Her ruddy Lips the Deep Vermilion dyes; 
Length to her Brows the Pencil's Touch supplies, 
And with black bending Arches shades her Eyes. 
Well pleas'd, at length the Picture she beholds, 
And spots it o'er with Artificial Molds. 4 

It was just as well for Mr. Pepys that he was not imaginative. 
He preferred to see his "Copper-Lace" under the stage 
candles, where it looked like gold. 

But he continued to go behind the scenes. One day, a year 
and a half later, Mary Knep took Pepys and his wife and 
maid "up into the tireing-rooms; and to the women's shift, 
where Nell [Gwyn] was dressing herself, and was all unready, 

* "The Play-House: A Satyr" (ca. 1698), Poems on Affairs of State 
(1705), p. 486. 


Behind the Scenes 

and is very pretty, prettier than I thought." It was not in the 
least unusual for men to come into the women's shift while 
the actresses were undressed to their smocks. "And so walked 
all up and down the house above, and then below into the 
scene-room, and there sat down, and she [Mrs. Knep] gave 
us fruit; and here I read the questions to Knepp, which she 
answered me, through all her part of 'Flora's Figarys' which 
was acted today. But, Lord! to see how they were both 
painted would make a man mad, and did make me loath 
them; and what base company of men comes among them, 
and how lewdly they talk! and how poor the men [the actors] 
are in clothes, and yet what a shew they make on the stage 
by candlelight, is very observable." From the tiring room one 
could see into the auditorium; Pepys was surprised "to see 
how Nell cursed, for having so few people in the pit." Of 
course, a small audience meant a new play for the next day, 
and a morning spent in rehearsal. 

At a still later date Pepys went backstage to fetch Mrs. 
Knep just as Beck Marshall, looking "mighty fine, and 
pretty, and noble," came off the stage at the end of Th& 
Virgin Martyr, in which Beck, dressed in white robes and a 
crown, had played the martyred Dorothea and Nell had 
played a guardian angel. Pepys was shocked by the contrast 
between the roles played by the two women and their off- 
stage behavior. "But, Lord!" he wrote, "their confidence! 
And how many men do hover about them as soon as they 
come off the stage, and how confident [impudent] they are in 
their talk!" 6 

Impudence was worth more than virtue as a defense 
against the blowflies of the tiring rooms, the libertines with 
their lewd talk, their ogling and leering and chinking the 
gold in their pockets. If we may judge by the epilogue to 
D'Urfey's Massaniello, Part II (1699), their approach was 
brutally direct. The speaker, a girl, tells us in detail how, 
when she came off the stage, "A Gay Town-Spark" hovered 

6 Pepys, October 5, 1667, May 7, 1668; J. H. Wflson, "Nell Gwyn 
as an Angel," Notes and Aeries, CXCIII (February 21, 1948). 

All the King's Ladies 

about her with compliments on her acting. When he begged 
to kiss her hand, she was properly coy: 

Nay, Pish, Cry'd I, and put him by just so: 
Yet thank' d him, that he lik'd my Part to day. 
Burn me, says he, I like you; Damn the Play. 
Then mutter'd something softly in my Ear, 
Something of Hundreds setting by the Year. 
I coloured like a Rose, and trembled too; 
For Heaven knows for 'em what I was to do! 

The theatre was a dangerous place for any pretty girl, 
whatever her function. Mrs. Knep (said Pepys) had a 
"wonderful pretty maid of her own, that come to undress 
her, and one so pretty that she says she intends not to keep 
her, for fear of her being undone in her service, by coming to 
the playhouse." Truly, as Tom Brown wrote, it was "as 
hard a matter for a pretty Woman to keep her self honest 
in a Theatre, as 'tis for an Apothecary to keep his Treacle 
from the Flies in hot Weather; for every Libertine in the 
Audience will be buzzing about her Honey-pot, and her 
Virtue must defend itself by abundance of fly-flaps, or those 
Flesh-loving Insects will soon blow upon her Honour, and 
when once she has a Maggot in her Tail, all the Pepper and 
Salt in the Kingdom will scarce keep her Reputation from 
Stinking/' 6 

Since their victims were of low degree, the libertines who 
infested the tiring rooms considered them fair game. Woe 
to the actress who resented a gentleman's lewd talk or in- 
decent behavior. She could, of course, complain to the Lord 
Chamberlain or the King, but Whitehall was some distance 
from Drury Lane, and easy King Charles had a short memory 
and no police. In 1665, Beck Marshall, of the Theatre Royal, 
appealed to His Majesty for protection against one Mark 
Trevor, a gentleman who "assaulted her violently in a Coach 
and after many horrid Oathes and Threats that he would be 
revenged of her for complaining to my Lord Chamberlain 
formerly of him, pursu'd her with his Sword in his hand. And 

Pepys, April 7, 1668; Brown, II, 303. 


Behind the Scenes 

when by flight she had secured herself in a house he continued 
his abusive language and he broke the windows of the ad- 
joining house." There is no indication that Mr. Trevor was 
punished for his eccentric rowdyism. 7 

On a later occasion a courtier, Sir Hugh Middleton, pub- 
licly made some scurrilous remarks about the women of the 
King's Company. On Saturday, February 5, 1667, Sir Hugh 
ambled into the women's shift at the Theatre Royal. Plucky 
Beck Marshall "taxed him" with the "ill language" he had 
used and "added that she wondered he would come amongst 
them." At first Sir Hugh defended himself, but as Beck con- 
tinued to scold he lost his temper "and told her she lyed, and 
concluded the injury by calling her jade, and threatning he 
would kick her and that his footman should kick her." 

On the following Monday, understandably frightened, 
Mrs. Marshall went to Whitehall and complained to the 
King, begging his protection. It was immediately pledged; 
King Charles was always quick with the ready currency of 
promises. The grateful actress returned to the playhouse and 
made the mistake of bragging in the tiring rooms about the 
"gracious promise from his Ma* 7 that shee should not be 
injured." She boasted too soon. 

Late on Tuesday afternoon, as Beck was leaving the 
theatre after the play, she saw Sir Hugh standing "in the 
great Entrie going out of the Playhouse into Drurie Lane," 
She told "Mr. Quin who led her home" probably her 
brother-in-law "of her Apprehension that he lay in wait to 
doe her some mischief or affront." But Middleton was there 
only to point her out to the scoundrel hired for the actual 
assault. Rebecca went on her homeward way. "Some few 
doores from the Playhouse a RufEan pressed hard upon her, 
insomuch that she complained first of his rudeness, and after 
turned about and said I thinke the fellow would rob mee, or 
pick my pocket. Upon wch he turned his face and seemed to 
slink away." Rebecca was almost home when the ruffian, 
who had been sliding along in the shadows, suddenly ran up 
behind her, picked up some excrement from the street, 

7 "The Humble Petition of Rebecca Marshall," SP 29, 142, p. 160. 


All the King's Ladies 

smeared it over her face and hair, "and fled away in a 
Trice." 8 

No doubt Mr. Quin, an actor, wore a sword, but he was 
either too slow or too timid to draw it. Few actors were 
fighters. They claimed gentility and the right to bear weap- 
ons, but most of them confined their swordplay to the stage. 
As corporate bodies the actors did what little they could to 
protect the women of the theatre, just as they tried to protect 
their properties from lawless men. But they were powerless 
against tie Middletons and Trevors, the typical wild gallants 
of a brutal and unruly age. Even the King's proclamations 
against backstage abuses and "disorders in the attiring 
rooms" were persistently ignored by the gentlemen rakes. 
One proclamation, for example (February 25, 1664), ordered 
that "no person of what quality soever do presume to enter 
at the door of the attiring house, but such as do belong to the 
company and are employed by them." Another (January 18, 
1677) ordered that "noe person whosoever presume to come 
between the scenes at the Royall Theatre during the tyme of 
Acting but only the Comoedians and such of them only as 
Act that day," while no one was to "sitt upon the Stage or 
stand there dureing the tyme of acting but the Comoedians 
only." In spite of repeated proclamations the abuses con- 
tinued, and no actor dared to raise his voice in protest. 9 

The fact is that the actors were dSclassS too, and just as 
fair game as the actresses for any titled rascal or his hired 
bullies. Usually they had to swallow insults and blows with 
a grin; resentment or retaliation could bring physical punish- 
ment or the loss of their acting rights. Only once did an actor 
get the better of a titled bully. As the story is told, hot- 
headed Jack Verbruggen struck "an illegitimate son of 
Charles II, behind the scenes of Drury-Lane" and called him 
what he was. Verbruggen was warned that unless he publicly 
apologized to the nobleman he could never again act in Lon- 
don. The next day the actor came on stage, dressed for the 
part of Oroonoko in the play by that name, and, "having 

8 'The Deposition of Mrs. Rebecca Marshall against S* Hugh Middle- 
ton. 8 Feb. 1666(7]," SP 29, 191, p. 31. 

9 Fitzgerald, I, 96; LC 5, 141, p. 521; LC 7, 1, p. 6. 


Behind the Scenes 

first acknowledged that he had called the Duke of St. 

Aflbans] a son of a w e," he concluded, "it is true, and 

I am sorry for it." 10 

Properly, no gentleman would ever soil his hands on an 
actor. On April 19, 1667, when John Lacy told the Honorable 
Edward Howard, a playwright, that he was "more a fool 
than a poet," Howard slapped the actor in the face with his 
glove, Lacy retaliated with his stick, and Howard ran to the 
King to complain. Of course Howard struck the first blow, 
but no matter; Lacy was arrested and confined to the Porter's 
Lodge at Whitehall for a few days. Even more important was 
the fact that the King's Company, of which Lacy was a lead- 
ing member, was temporarily "silenced." Thus an entire 
company was punished for the misdeed of one player. When 
the gentry of the Town heard of Lacy's impertinence, they 
were surprised "that Howard did not run him through, he 
being too mean a fellow to fight with." 11 

Witty Sir Charles Sedley refused to touch an actor even 
with a glove. When Edward Kynaston, who closely resembled 
Sir Charles ("a handsome plump middle sized man") had the 
effirontery not only to get "some laced cloathes made exactly 
after a suit Sir Charles wore" but to appear so dressed on the 
stage, Sedley was annoyed and promptly hired "two or three" 
bullies to chastise the player. The bravos accosted Kynaston 
in St. James's Park, "pretending to take him for Sir Charles," 
picked a quarrel with him, and beat him so savagely that he 
was forced to take to his bed. When some moderate gentle- 
men, feeling sorry for Kynaston, reproached Sir Charles, "he 
told them they misplaced their pity, and that 'twas he they 
should bestow it on, that Kynaston's bones could not suffer 
so much as his reputation, for all the town believed it was he 
that was thresh'd and suffered such a public disgrace." 12 

Certainly a good many of the theatres' customers, the 
libertines and rogues who swaggered backstage and talked 
lewdly in the tiring rooms, were a bad lot. But it must be 
admitted that most of the actors, who were, perforce, the 

10 Ryan, II, 122. 

11 Pepys, April 20, 1667; LC 5, 186, pp. 144, 146. 

12 Oldys, p. 485; Pepys, February 1, 1669. 


All the King's Ladies 

women's close associates, were no better. Of course there were 
some honorable and decent actors Thomas Betterton, Will 
Mountfort, Michael Mohun, Charles Hart, and a few more 
but most of the players did their best to deserve Robert 
Gould's description of them as 

A pack of idle, pimping, spunging slaves, 
A miscdlaney of Rogues, fools & knaves, 
A nest of leachers worse then Sodom bore, 
And justly merit to be punisht more. 
Diseas'd, in debt, & every moment dun'd, 
By all good Xtians loath'd & their own kin- 
dred shun'd. 

This was not mere abuse. From Pepys we learn, for ex- 
ample, that Walter Clun, of the King's Company, murdered 
by footpads on his way home one night, had spent the eve- 
ning "drinking with his whore"; that William Smith, of the 
Duke's Company, "killed a man upon a quarrel in play"; 
that when John Lacy, of the King's Company, lay supposed- 
ly "a-dying of the pox," he kept "his whore by him, whom 
he will have to look upon, he says, though he can do no 
more: nor would receive any ghostly advice from a Bishop, 
an old acquaintance of his that went to see him"; and that 
Thomas Killigrew, Master of the King's Company, by his 
own admission was "fain to keep a woman on purpose at 20s 
a week to satisfy 8 or 10 of the young men of his house, 
whom till he did so he could never keep to their business." 18 

The great Thomas Betterton complained that the actors 
were often given up to "undisguised Debauchery and Drunk- 
enness, coming on the very Stage, in Contempt of the 
Audience, when they were scarce able to speak a word." 
In his Preface to The Relapse (1696), Vanbrugh remarked 
that George Powell, who played Worthy (the gentleman 
who tries to seduce the heroine, Amanda), had spent the day 
drinking Nantes brandy, and by the time "he waddled on 
upon the stage in the evening had toasted himself up to such 
a pitch of vigour, I confess I once gave Amanda for gone." 
One is reminded of the famous story of Henry Higden's The 

"Pepys, August 4, 1664, December 7, 1666, July 13, 1667, January 
24, 1669. 


Behind the Semes 

Wary Widdow (1693), in which there were so many drinking 
scenes that "the actors were completely drunk before the end 
of the third act, and being therefore unable to proceed with 
this 'Pleasant Comedy/ they very properly dismissed the 
audience." Obviously the players were not restricted to cold 
tea. 14 

As one might expect, the players, both men and women, 
were often disorderly and given to scurrilous speech and 
violent behavior. Since they were all the King's servants, 
they were usually disciplined by the Lord Chamberlain or the 
Knight Marshal for their "several misdemeanors" not al- 
ways specified. For example, on April 23, 1668, Mrs. Mary 
Knep, "one of ye Comoedians at ye Royall Theatre," was 
arrested "for misdemeanors there." On November 5, 1669, 
Mary Meggs, fruit woman at the Theatre Royal, was ar- 
rested "for abuseing Mrs. Rebecca Marshall one of his 
Ma uei Comoedians to ye disturbance of his Ma 1 "* Actors and 
comitting other misdemeanours." On December 9, 1669, 
Samuel Sandford and Matthew Medbourne of the Duke's 
Company were arrested for being "refractory and disorderly" 
no doubt while in their cups. John Ferine of the Duke's 
Company was arrested on September 19, 1671, "for several 
misdemeanors and abusing my Lady Davenant"; and on 
November 4, 1675, Joseph Haines was suspended from acting 
with the King's Company because he had abused the Knight 
Marshal "with ill & scandalous language & insolent car- 
riage." The list of arrests is endless. Usually the culprits were 
suspended from acting for a week or two, or forced to cool 
their heels for a few days in the Marshalsea or the Porter's 
Lodge at Whitehall. 16 

The actors were not criminals; Restoration records list 
only two who were detected in crime. In 1681 Cardell 
("Scum") Goodman, tired of living on a player's pittance, 
took to the King's highway and was caught red-handed in a 
robbery. The favor of someone in high place probably his 
mistress, the Duchess of Cleveland saved his neck. On 
April 18, 1681, a pardon was granted to Goodman for "all 

" Gildon, p. 20; Ryan, I, 114. 

15 LC 5, 187, pp. 218, 175, 187; LC 5, 14, p. 77; LC 5, 141, p. 287. 


All the King's Ladies 

Felonies, Robberies upon the Highway or elsewhere, Bur- 
glaries, Assaults, Batteries and Woundings whatsoever by 
him committed before the 16th day of this instant April." 
The second offender was less fortunate. In September, 1693, 
Thomas Percival was charged with clipping coins, convicted, 
and sentenced to death. By the intercession of his daughter, 
Susanna Mountfort, the penalty was changed to transporta- 
tion, but he died in prison before the sentence could be 
carried out. Another actor who died in prison was in no sense 
a criminal. On March 19, 1679, Matthew Medbourne, a 
Roman Catholic, succumbed to the cold and filth of Newgate, 
a victim of the Popish Plot terror. 16 

In jail or out, most of the players even some of the more 
respectable were constantly in debt. The members of the 
two companies, both men and women, were sworn in either 
as the King's or as the Duke of York's servants; thus in ef- 
fect they were all the King's servants in ordinary, without 
fee. As such they came under the protection of the Lord 
Chamberlain of the Household and could not be arrested or 
sued for debt without his permission. Consequently the 
Lord Chamberlain's books are filled with petitions from 
creditors seeking permission to sue for sums ranging from 
2 15s. to 250, owed for "goods," clothing, rent, wine, 
"meate & drink," medical fees, and money lent. To judge by 
the number of entries, the members of the King's Company 
were much more improvident (or less often paid) than those 
of the Duke's. Of the King's Company, from 1660 to 1682, 
the actors John Lacy, Robert Shatterel, Walter Clun, 
Richard Wiltshire, Thomas Loveday, Joseph Haines, William 
Hughes, William Beeston, Nicholas Burt, Edward Eastland, 
John Coysh, Martin Powell, Cardell Goodman, Henry 
Hailes, Philip Griffin, and Thomas Clark, and the actresses 
Elizabeth Weaver, Rebecca Marshall, Elizabeth James, 
Margaret Rutter, Anne Reeves, and Elizabeth Youckney 
were all petitioned against for personal debts, some of them 
many times. The most consistent offender was Joseph Haines. 
In March, 1669, he was ordered to pay William Matthews 5s. 

16 British Museum, Add. MS. 27,277, p. 126; Boigman, p. 172; Downes, 
p. 170. 

Behind the Scenes 

weekly until an unspecified debt was paid. In August of the 
same year he was ordered to pay Edward Sanger 10s. weekly 
until Michaelmas next, and then 15^. weekly until a debt of 
18 was paid; plus 5s. weekly to John May until Michaelmas 
next, and then 10s. weekly until a debt of 9 was paid. 
Finally, in October he was required to pay John Curll 5^. 
weekly, beginning October 17, until a debt of 5 was paid! 
One wonders what he had left to live on. 17 

Of the Duke's Company during the years from 1660 to 
1682, Henry Harris, John Young, Robert Turner, Samuel 
Sandford, James Nokes, Cave Underhill, Theophilus West- 
wood, Henry Norris, and Henry Wright were petitioned 
against for debt. All the actresses seem to have been solvent. 
None of the Duke's players could match the splendid record 
of Joseph Haines. The worst offender was Henry Harris, 
whose obstinate refusal to pay for the maintenance of his 
estranged wife, Anne, caused him a good deal of trouble. 18 

With some exceptions, then, the actors were indeed a 
drinking, quarreling, swaggering, wenching crew, living 
hand-to-mouth and avoiding the debtors' prison only by 
virtue of their royal master's protection. The young actress 
was thrown into daily contact with this raffish lot. The solid, 
substantial men of both companies had homes of their own 
sometimes as far off as Chelsea or Hampstead and families 
to whose pleasant circles they retired after the day's work 
was done. The lesser fry lived in lodgings near the theatres 
and spent their nights sometimes with the women of the 
stage drinking and gaming in the taverns and dives of 
Covent Garden or in little blind alehouses or bawdyhouses 
in Moorfields, Whetstone's Park, or the dark alleys opening 
off the Strand, houses kept by such notorious ladies as 
Mother Temple, Mesdames Cresswell, Gilford, Moseley, and 
Stratford, and that famous bawd, Betty Buley. Like the 
libertines and rakes who swarmed in the tiring rooms, the 
players knew intimately the dank sewers of the London 

17 For Haines see LC 5, 187, pp. 74, 157, 158, 174. 

"For Harris see LC 5, 189, p. 92; LC 5, 190, pp. 134, 174, 182; LC 
5, 191, p. 51. 


All the King's Ladies 

underworld, into which, from time to time, some careless or 
foolish young actress disappeared. 

The married actresses, too, had homes and families to pre- 
serve them from temptation. The unmarried women lived in 
lodgings as close as possible to the theatre. By day or by 
night the streets of London were unsafe for a young woman 
without escort. Chiefly for their protection, Davenant 
boarded four of his principal ladies, Mrs. Davenport, Mrs. 
Saunderson, Mrs. Long, and Mrs. Davis, in his apartments 
adjoining the first Duke's Theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields. 
The other women of his company lived in that neighborhood, 
or, after the second Duke's Theatre was built in Dorset Gar- 
dens, they had lodgings off Fleet Street, in the City. The 
women of the King's Company found rooms in the Covent 
Garden-Drury Lane area. One May Day Pepys saw Nell 
Gwyn standing in the doorway of her lodgings in Drury Lane 
(just a step from the Theatre Royal), "in her smock sleeves 
and bodice, looking upon one." Fondly Pepys added, "she 
seemed a mighty pretty creature." It was still early morning, 
and Nell was enjoying a holiday. 19 

When the players worked, they labored hard for small 
wages. Unfortunately for their thin purses there were too 
many times when, for one reason or another, the theatres 
were closed and all incomes stopped. Probably no actor had 
work for more than thirty to thirty-five weeks out of a year. 
We know from Pepys that the theatres were closed for the 
week before Easter and that there were no plays on Fridays 
in Lent except when the "young men and women" (the 
hirelings) were given permission to act for their own benefit. 
In the summer the King and his Court went to Windsor or 
Newmarket; the gentry fled to the bucolic delights of their 
country estates, and attendance at the theatres fell off to the 
point where it was hardly worthwhile opening the doors. In 
addition, the theatres were closed when a member of the 
royal family died; when the King or a nobleman was of- 
fended by a prologue, a play, or a player; when the actors 
quarreled with each other (a frequent occurrence at the 
Theatre Royal); when there was a disturbance in a play- 

Dowries, p. 20; Pepys, May 1, 1667. 


Behind the Scenes 

house no matter who was to blame; or when such calamities 
as fire or epidemic struck London. The longest period of 
closure was caused by the Great Plague and the following 
Great Fire from June 5, 1665, to November 29, 1666. For 
nearly eighteen months the players were thrown entirely on 
their own meager resources. 20 

Sunday was always a day of rest. For six days the players 
labored mightily, rehearsing nearly every morning, playing 
every afternoon, and sometimes performing in the Court 
Theatre at Whitehall at night. In their spare time they 
studied their parts. Since revived plays were seldom kept on 
the boards for more than two or three days, and even a 
successful new play was lucky to have a run of three to six 
days, the rehearsals and constant study were highly im- 
portant. (The twelve successive days' run of ShadwelTs The 
Sullen Lovers [1668] was truly "a wonderful Success-") Once 
a part was given to a player he was expected to be ready with 
it at every subsequent revival, no matter how long the inter- 
val between performances. It became, in effect, his property. 
But memories grew rusty in time; moreover there were al- 
ways some changes to be made or some new players to be led 
through their parts. At the Theatre Royal, a "hired man or 
woeman" who neglected a rehearsal could be fined a week's 
wages. 21 

In a normal year most of the plays presented were drawn 
from the companies' stocks of tried and trusted old plays 
the best of Shakespeare, Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, 
Brome, Massinger, Shirley, and the few moderns whose work 
continued to please. New plays were infrequent, averaging 
(for each house) not more than four or five a year. It seems 
to have been the custom for an entire company to assemble 

10 Malone, I, 198; Nicoll, p. 383; Hotson (p. 232) estimates an average 
of two hundred acting days per year; Pepys, March 24, 1662, March 
21, 1667; for an order closing the theatres because of the Duchess of 
York's death see LC 5, 12, p. 302; for an order suspending the players 
because of an affront to a peer see LC 5, 150, p. 340 (December 16, 1691); 
for a disturbance in the playhouse see True News: or Mercurius Anglicus^ 
February 4-7, 1680; for the order closing the playhouses because of 
the Plague see LC 5, 138, p. 417. 

21 Downes, p. 29; Nicoll, p. 324. 


All the King's Ladies 

while someone usually the author himself read a new play 
aloud. Once Colley Gibber heard Dryden read his Amphitryon 
to the actors. "He delivered the plain Sense of every Period," 
said Gibber, "yet the whole was in so cold, so flat and unaf- 
fecting a manner, that I am afraid of not being believ'd when 
I affirm it." On the other hand, Nathaniel Lee was "so 
pathetic a Reader of his own Scenes" that once, when Lee 
was reading to the actor Mohun at an early rehearsal, 
"Mohun, in the Warmth of his Admiration, threw down his 
Part and said, Unless I were able to play it as well as you 
read it, to what purpose should I undertake it.?" 22 

After the play had been read, the actor-managers, in con- 
sultation with the author, cast it and started rehearsals. 
Sensibly, they type-cast as much as possible. Leading roles 
went to leading players; lesser roles to those with less ex- 
perience; and bit parts servants, guards, soldiers, attend- 
ants, and the like either to hirelings of some experience but 
small ability or to apprentices. Occasionally there was no 
role at all for a player, and he took an enforced holiday. Only 
the leading players had the privilege of refusing a role, a 
privilege that had to be exercised with care. In 1668, when 
the Theatre Royal was preparing a splendid production of 
Jonson's Catiline, Charles Hart ordered the comedian Joe 
Haines to play the inappropriate role of a senator. Haines 
was vexed. The next day, wearing a ridiculous outfit, "a 
Scaramouche dress, a large full Ruff . . . Whiskers from Ear 
to Ear ... a long Merry Andrews Cap, and a short Pipe in 
his mouth," he followed Hart on stage. As Hart declaimed 
the prologue, Joe sat down behind him on a three-legged 
stool, smoked, made faces, and pointed derisively at Hart, 
while the audience laughed. At last Hart turned, saw Haines, 
and went off the stage, swearing. Haines was fired, of course 
no new experience for the irrepressible comedian. 28 

A new play could not be rehearsed to the exclusion of all 
other work. There was always the play to be given that after- 
noon, and, if that failed to "take," another had to be hastily 


The Life of the Late Famous Comedian, Jo. Hayncs (1701), pp. 23-24. 


Behind the Scenes 

revived and refurbished for the next day. No wonder the 
authors often complained that the players were "out" in 
their parts. (One poet, James Drake, expressed his indigna- 
tion by printing on the tide page of his play, The Sham- 
Lawyer [1697], "As it was Damnably Acted at the Theatre- 
Royal in Drury-Lane.") The actors tried hard, but sometimes 
the task was too much for their overstrained memories, and 
they had to fall back upon ad libbing or, worse, "loud prompt- 
ing, to the eternal Disgust of the audience." Like all profes- 
sions, acting is largely drudgery. 24 

By comparison with modern standards, the Restoration 
players were very poorly paid. The leading actors, who were 
also shareholders, did so well at first that there were some 
complaints about their growing "very proud and rich." But 
as the years passed, theatrical costs increased, audiences 
diminished, and waste and bad management took their toll. 
It has been estimated that "the celebrated tragedian" 
Charles Hart gained from salary and profits about 146 a 
year or, in terms of modern purchasing power, roughly 
553,000. In 1691, when Thomas Betterton gave up his shares 
to the patentees, he agreed to act for 5 a week and an 
annual present of 50 guineas to help him through the sum- 
mer. His wife was getting SQs. a week, and he was paid other 
sums for various duties, besides living rent free over the 
theatre. In 1692 the Bettertons' total income for each acting 
week was estimated at 16, or (assuming thirty acting weeks 
to the year) 480 a year roughly equal to $10,000 today. 
Certainly the great Bettertons were not overpaid. 25 

The hirelings, paid much less, were practically in a state of 
peonage. Since they were forbidden to move from one 
theatre to another without the Lord Chamberlain's permis- 
sion, they could not sell their services to a higher bidder; any- 
way, for a good many years there was only one theatre in 
London. Occasionally, disgusted with his low pay, an actor 
fled to the Dublin Theatre. There was, for example, an un- 
known hireling who, "being denied the Augmentation of his 

M Gildon, p. 38. 

"Pepys, February 23, 1661; Malone, 1, 198; Nicoll, pp. 369-79. 


All the King's Ladies 

Wages, grew angry, and said, 'If you wont, you shall see me 
in Ireland within two days.' ' 726 

Sometimes a hireling spent months as an apprentice with- 
out any pay at all. Gibber is said to have wasted three 
quarters of a year before getting a part. One day 

he obtained the honour of carrying a message on the stage, in some 
play, to Betterton. Whatever was the cause, Master Colley was so 
terrified that the scene was disconcerted by him. Betterton asked, 
in some anger, who the young fellow was that had committed the 
blunder. Downes replied, "Master Colley." "Master Colley! then 
forfeit him." "Why, sir," said the prompter, "he has no salary." 
"No!" said the old man, "why then put him down ten shillings a 
week, and forfeit him 5j." 27 

A good, experienced actor was usually paid about SOs. a 
week. Generally women were paid less than men. If a young 
actress made good, she was put on the payroll at 10s. to 15s. 
a week very little more than ten to fifteen dollars today. An 
experienced actress could command 30s. a week or more if 
she could bring sufficient pressure to bear on the patentees. 
As late as 1694 the popular Katherine Corey, after many 
years in the theatre, was getting only 30s. a week. At about 
the same time Elinor Leigh, after the death of her husband, 
the comedian Anthony Leigh, was raised from 20s. a week to 
30s. ; Mrs. Verbruggen (formerly Mountfort) was considered 
overpaid at SOs. a week; and even the great Elizabeth Barry 
had only 50s. a week plus a guaranteed 70 a year from a 
benefit performance. There is no reason to believe that 
salaries were higher in the early days of the Restoration. 28 

The underpaid players did not, however, have to provide 
all the clothing they wore on the stage. The theatres owned 
large stocks of clothes, ranging from "French gowns i-la- 
mode" to "garments like Romans very well." Some of these 
were purchased for one play and used over and over again for 
later plays, with no concern for historical accuracy, until they 
wore out. Some costumes were the castoflf suits or dresses of 
ladies and gentlemen too proud to wear the same outfit more 

26 Richard Head, Nugae Penales (1686), p. 207. 

27 Davies, III, 417. * Nicoll, pp. 369-79. 


Behind the Scenes 

than once. Most other properties were furnished by the play- 
houses, and the player had to provide only personal items: 
hats, periwigs, cravats, shoes, stockings, and the like. At 
the King's Theatre, Hart, Mohun, and Kynaston made a 
special arrangement on March 6, 1672, by which they were 
furnished free of cost: 

Two perrywiggs to begin with, for the first year 

One perrywigg yearly afterwards, to begin a year hence 

Two Cravatts yearly 

One Lace or point Band in two years the first band to be 

now provided 

three paire of silk stockings yearely 
three hatts yearely 
Two plumes of ffeathers yearely 
Three shirts with Cuffs to them yearely 

There is nothing to show that any of the actresses ever had 
such a pleasant arrangement. Presumably they were supplied 
only with gowns, mantles, and special articles of costume re- 
quired for a play. They seem to have provided their own 
petticoats (often very expensive), shoes, stockings, gloves, 
and scarves. Probably some of these garments were the gifts 
of admirers. 29 

A durable young actress could find many compensations 
for the rigors of backstage life, the hard work, poor pay, and 
shabby associations. There was always the bustle and stir of 
the theatre, the excitement of acting, the joy in applause. A 
truly stage-struck girl, then as now, would work for nothing, 
if she could afford to, and take out her pay in handclaps and 
praise. Then there was the prestige of being one of "His 
Majesty's Servants," and the advantage to be gained by 
running up bills with tradesmen, happily trusting to find 
someone to pay them before the day of reckoning with the 
Lord Chamberlain. There was always the chance of slipping 
out after the play wearing one of the company's "French 
gowns i4a-mode" or some other finery. The companies 
frowned on this practice, complaining* that their clothes were 
"Tarnished and Imperelled by frequent weareing them out 
of the Playhouse," and fined the culprit a week's pay if they 
, pp. 50, 300, 365; LC 5, 140, p. 5. 


All the King's Ladies 

caught her in the act. There was even some advantage (for 
the ladies of the King's Company, at least) in the regular 
gifts of materials'for liveries: "foure yards of bastard scarlet 
cloath" for a cloak, plus "one quarter of a yard of [crimson] 
velvett" for the cape. Perhaps the liveries could be worn only 
on state occasions, but they were nice to have, and in a pinch 
they could always be sold. 80 

Once a month or so there was the fun of a command per- 
formance at night in the intimate little theatre at Whitehall. 
What a change that was from Drury Lane, Dorset Gardens, 
or Lincoln's Inn Fields the great, rambling old palace 
twinkling with lights, the halls ornate with brocades and 
paintings, the brilliant audience of courtiers and ladies in 
blue and green and silver, with the dark, cynical King seated 
on a dais in their midst under a crimson velvet canopy all 
mellowed by the light of the wax candles! Sometimes a young 
actress caught the fancy of a ruttish lord; sometimes a young 
actor appealed to a lecherous lady. And then there was al- 
ways the King, an insatiable keeper. 

If nothing else, there was luxury and plenty to eat and 
drink at Court. The Lord Chamberlain's records are full of 
warrants calling for equipment and supplies for the tiring 
room of the Court Theatre, listing such items as one hundred 
and ten yards of green baize for wall hangings; "two peices of 
hangings and great Curtayne rodes to make partitions be- 
tween the Men and Woemen;" two pairs of andirons, two 
pairs of tongs, and two fire shovels (evidently for fireplaces at 
each end of the tiring room); twenty chairs and stools, three 
tables, two stands, ten candlesticks, "one Looking glasse of 
twenty-seven Inches for the Woemen Comoedians," and, in- 
evitably, "two close stools and six chamber pots for the use 
of ye players." Warrants for food and drink were sumptuous; 
for example: "Twelve Quarts of Sack, twelve Quarts of 
Clarett, twenty foure Torches, sizes [half-ounce candles] 
three Bunches, Eight Gallons of Beere, four Basketts of 
Coales, six dishes of Meate, twelve loaves of white Bread, 

Loaves of Brown Bread, Tallow candles foure pounds, 

twelve white dishes to drink in, and two Bumbards [leather 

80 Nicoll, pp. 297, 324; LC 3, 38, p. 7. 


Behind the Scenes 

jugs] to fetch Beere" all this for some twenty-four people. 
There was good cheer at the Court of merry King Charles* 81 

Sometimes in midwinter the players were called upon to 
perform at the Inner Temple before a riotous and apprecia- 
tive audience of law students. Sometimes in midsummer one 
of the companies went down to Oxford (a full day's journey) 
for the academic "Act," set up their stage in a tavern or 
tennis court, and played a week or two before townspeople 
and scholars. The Oxford historian, Anthony Wood, com- 
plained that the beauty of the actresses "made the scholars 
mad, run after them," and "take ill c[o]urses." Once, in July, 
1674, the actors of the King's Company ran mad at Oxford, 
"going about the town in the night breakeing of windows, 
and committing many other unpardonable rudenesses." 82 

In London there were innocent off-stage recreations for 
the young actress, alone or with a companion of either sex. 
When her services were not needed in the play for the day, 
she could go to the competing theatre on a busman's holiday. 
So one day at the Duke's Theatre Pepys was mightily pleased 
that "pretty witty Nell, at the King's House, and the younger 
Marshall [Rebecca] sat next us." On Sunday mornings, aton- 
ing for their sins of the week, nearly everyone went to church 
to hear noble music and purple oratory. On Sunday after- 
noons, in fine weather, there were Hyde Park, the Spring 
Garden, Vauxhall, or boating on the Thames. Of an evening 
after a play there were suppers and little parties with friends. 
Only a few of the players were received "among People of 
condition with Favour," but there were many small bourgeois 
like Pepys who sought them out. 88 

With' her excellent singing and her madcap ways, Mary 
Knep of the King's Company brought a great deal of happi- 
ness into Pepys' life until Mrs. Pepys grew jealous. On a 
typical evening Pepys walked to the house of Dr. James 
Pierce in Covent Garden, where he found "much good com- 

M LC 5, 137, p. 177; LC 5, 138, pp. 45, 353; Eleanore Boswell, The 
Restoration Court Stage (1932), p. 89. 

"Nicoll, pp. 305-7; Wood, I, 322; Letters of Humpfay Prideaux, cd. 
E. M. Thompson (1825), p. 5. 

M Pepys, April 3, 1665; Gibber, I, 83. 

All the King's Ladies 

pany, that is to say, Mrs. Pierce, my wife, Mrs. Worshipp 
and her daughter, and Harris the player [from the Duke's 
Company], and Knipp, and Mercer, and Mrs, Barbary Shel- 
don . . . and here with musique we danced, and sung and 
supped, and then to sing and dance till past one in the morn- 
ing." Pepys was always very free with Mrs. Knep, even in 
the early days of their friendship: "I got into the coach 
where Mrs. Knipp was, and got her upon my knee (the coach 
being full) and played with her breasts and sung, and at last 
set her at her house and so good night." On another occasion, 
after a late party, Mrs. Knep stayed all night in the Pepyses' 
home. Pepys saw most of his guests to the door and went up- 
stairs very late with Mrs. Pierce to find Mrs. Knep in bed 
asleep: "and we waked her, and there I handled her breasts 
and did baiser la, and sing a song, lying by her on the bed." 
Such intimacies were allowed by the easygoing morals of the 
day, and were harmless enough when set to music. 84 

On the whole, in spite of many difficulties, the life of an 
actress was by no means unbearable. At least it was exciting, 
full of change and movement, and surely better than the drab 
existence of a shopkeeper, a barmaid, or a domestic servant, 
the only other occupations open to a girl of low degree and 
no dowry. Although many young women displayed them- 
selves on the boards only long enough to catch a husband or a 
keeper, there were others who made acting a lifetime career. 
For example, twice-married Susanna Percival had been an 
actress for twenty-two years when death cut short her career. 
Elizabeth Boutell had played for some twenty-six years 
when, "Besides what she saved by playing, the Generosity of 
some happy Lovers enabled her to quit the Stage before she 
grew old." Katherine Corey played steadily for thirty- two 
years, untouched by the breath of scandal. Elizabeth Barry 
spent thirty-five years on the stage and then retired, en- 
riched more by her extraprofessional activities than by her 
playing. Frances Maria Knight was the most durable of all, 
with forty-three years of acting to her credit. She must have 
had a rugged constitution and a fighting heart. 86 

w Pepys, March 14, 1666, January 2, 1666, January 24, 1667. 
w Curll, p. 21; Brow*, II, 243-45. 


III. On Stage 

If at times the backstage seemed more like a bawdyhouse 
than a workshop, the forestage and the auditorium were no 
better. The ladies and gentlemen of the Court and Town 
the small coterie which alone made theatrical entertainment 
possible considered the playhouses their private property, 
in which they could behave as they pleased. Rugged indi- 
vidualists, proud, quick to take offense, often vulgar and 
boorish, they had not the faintest notion of audience de- 
corum, sometimes misbehaving even in the presence of the 

No doubt there were refined and sensible people in a 
typical audience, but they were outnumbered by the coarse, 
gross, and ill-mannered. In The Young Gallanfs Academy 
(1674), Samuel Vincent gave some ironical advice to a would- 
be beau or wit on how to behave in a playhouse: 

Let our Gallant (having paid his half Crown, and given the 
Doorkeeper his Ticket) presently advance himself into the middle 
of the Pit, where, having made his Honor to the rest of the Com- 
pany, but especially to the Vizard-Masks, let him pull out his 
Comb, and manage his flaxen Wig with all the Grace he can. Hav- 
ing so done, the next step is to give a hum to the China-Orange- 
wench, and give her her own rate for her Oranges (for 'tis below a 
Gentleman to stand haggling like a Citizen's wife) and then to 
present the fairest to the next Vizard-Mask. 


All the King's Ladies ttfi 

. . . [After the play has begun] It shall Crown you with rich 
Commendations, to laugh aloud in the midst of the most serious 
and sudden Scene of the terriblest Tragedy, and to let the Clapper 
(your Tongue) be tossed so high that all the House may ring of it: 
for by talking and laughing you heap Pelion upon Ossa, Glory 
upon Glory: as first, all the eyes in the Galleries will leave walking 
after the Players, and only follow you: the most Pedantick Person 
in the House snatches up your name; and when he meets you in the 
Street, he'l say, He is such a Gallant; and the people admire you. 

Collectively the young Restoration gallants behaved like 
untamed savages. In the prologue to Behn's The Debauchee 
(1677) the rufflers of the pit are scolded thus: 

But you come bawling in with broken French, 
Roaring out Oaths aloud, from Bench to Bench, 
And bellowing Bawdy to the Orange-wench, 
Quarrel with Masques, and to be brisk and free, 
You sell 'em Bargains for a Repartee, 
And then cry Damn 'em Whores, who ere they be. 

Even mature playgoers talked at will, indifferent to the 
rights of others. Pepys was once vexed by "two talking ladies 
and Sir Charles Sedley," who chattered so that he "lost the 
pleasure of the play wholly." Sometimes talk grew into a duel 
or a riot. We learn from a newsletter of August 30, 1675: 

On Saturday last, at the Duke's playhouse, Sir Tho. Armstrong 
killed Mr. Scrope. . . . Their quarrel is said to be about Mrs. Up- 
hill, the player [of the King's Company], who came into the house 
maskt, and Scrope would have entertained discourse with her, 
which Sir. T. Armstrong would not suffer, so a ring was made 
wherein they fought. 1 

Or we have a newspaper account of an affair on February 4, 

On Munday night last happened a great disorder in the Duke's 
Play-house, some Gentlemen in their Cupps entring into the Pitt, 
flinging Links [torches] at the Actors, and using several reproachful 
speeches against the Dutchess of Portsmouth] and other persons of 
Honour, which has occasioned a Prohibition from farther Acting, 
till his Majesties farther pleasure. 

1 Pepys, February 18, 1667; HMC, Seventh Report, p. 465. 


On Stage 

Apparendy the only way to discipline the audience was to 
close the playhouse. 2 

Commonly playgoers showed their disapproval of a play, 
a player, or an author, not by sitting on their hands, but by 
interruptions, hisses, catcalls, and tumult. When Lucidor, in 
Boyle's Altamira (1664) whined, 

This scratch, which you call wound, you much miscall, 
Tis my great trouble that it is soe small, 

it is said that the Duke of Buckingham stood up in the pit 
and bellowed back, 

Then greater 'twere if it were none at all. 8 

Because of a backstage quarrel with a gentleman (who 
was "grosly in the wrong"), the actor William Smith incurred 
the displeasure of the prejudiced playgoers. When Smith next 
appeared on the stage "he was received with a Chorus of 
Cat-calls, that soon convinced him he should not be suffer'd 
to proceed in his Part; upon which, without the least Dis- 
composure, he order'd the Curtain to be dropp'd" and re- 
tired permanently from the theatre. 4 Whenever a faction of 
half-wits agreed to cry down a play they followed a well- 
tried procedure: 

They spread themselves in parties all over the House; some in 
the Pit, some in the Boxes, others in the Galleries, but principally 
on the Stage; they cough, Sneeze, talk loud, and break silly Jests; 
sometimes Laughing, sometimes Singing, sometimes Whistling, till 
the House is in an uproar; some Laugh and clap; some Hiss and are 
Angry; Swords are drawn, the Actors interrupted, the Scene broken 
off, and so the Play's sent to the Devil. 6 

Although the typical audience was mostly male, especially 
in the early years of the period, many ladies went to the 
theatre, hiding their blushes behind their fans. Both men and 
women often visited the theatres only to be in fashion to 

2 True News; or Mercurius Anglicus, February 4r-7, 1680. 

See The Theatrical Jester, 1795, p. 15. As reported the line was "My 
wound is great, because it is so small" and attributed to Dryden. No 
such passage appears in any of Dryden's plays, but the passage I have 
quoted fits the context. 

Gibber, 1, 79. 

1 Granville, The She-Gallants (1695), Act III, scene 1. 


All the King's Ladies 

be seen, not to see and hear. Wits combed their blonde peri- 
wigs and chattered in Fop Corner near the stage, ignoring 
the play; courtiers standing in the pit leaned their elbows on 
the side-box railings and entertained the ladies seated in the 
boxes; footmen guffawed in the upper gallery; and the orange 
girls cried their wares. At its best the theatre was noisy; at its 
worst it was a bear garden. 

Since "the drama's laws the drama's patrons give," the 
plays most popular on the stage reflected admirably the taste 
of a typical audience. Today the plays usually chosen as 
representative of Restoration drama give a false picture of a 
stage dominated by soaring rhetoric and crackling wit. The 
common, day-to-day fare of the theatregoer new plays or 
revivals was bloody, erotic, low tragedy, and rough, bawdy 
farce. What Steele said of the theatre in 1710 applied as well 
to that of 1670: "We act murders, to show our intrepidity; 
and adulteries, to show our gallantry: both of them are fre- 
quent in our most taking plays, with this difference only, 
that the former are done in the sight of the audience, and the 
latter wrought up to such an height upon the stage, that they 
are almost put in execution before the actors can get behind 
the scenes." 6 

Tragedy dealt largely in rape, incest, torture, and murder. 
It created a remote world in which the wicked were incredibly 
evil and the impossibly good existed only to suffer. Comedy 
was outspokenly lubricous: a favorite theme was the attempt 
of a young gallant to cuckold an old citizen, an undertaking 
which usually succeeded, much to the gratitude of the citi- 
zen's young wife. In bedroom scenes an actress could appear 
in every variety of dress and undress, while an actor often 
came on stage "unbraced" or "unbuttoned" after a bedding, 
or (like Blunt in Behn's The Rover [1677]) stimulated the 
audience's libido by undressing in his mistress's bedroom 
and stealing, "in his Shirt and Drawers," toward the bed 
where she lay asleep. Speeches and gestures were designedly 
inflammatory. In Ravenscroft's Scaramouche (1677), old 
Spitzaferro slavers over young Aurelia, anticipating their 

6 The TaAer, No. 134, February 16, 1710. 


On Stage 

I shall then be your right owner, and master of you all over, of 
your pretty waggish Eyes, of that pretty little Roguish nose, of 
those Cherry-Cherry lips, of those little, little fritter Ears, of those 
pretty blub-cheeks, of that dimpl'd, dimpl'd Chin, of those round, 
hard, panting Bubbles, of your soft, white Skin, of your Euh 

Vulgarity is always relative to the taste of an age, and 
many of the comic situations which today seem vulgar and 
dull provoked hearty laughter in the Restoration theatre. 
Pepys, who was "not troubled at it at all" when a pretty lady 
in the pit of the theatre "spit backward" upon him by mis- 
take, could only have been amused at the sight of Olivia, in 
Wydherley's The Plain Dealer (1676), spitting on the stage 
at every mention of "filthy china." It is unlikely that an 
urban audience would behave like the country bumpkin, 
Clay, in Belon's The Mock-Duellist (1675), who visits a city 
lady, "comes up to the Lady, makes a leg, then falls back 
again, spits and coughs, blows his Nose on the ground, then 
wipes it on his sleeve." Nevertheless they evidently found 
Clay's behavior not too much of a contrast to their own, and 
therefore amusing rather than revolting. The audiences 
seem, indeed, to have been amused by anything vulgar, 
scatological, or abnormal: physical deformities, beatings, 
"eating of sack possets and slabbering themselves," 7 pic- 
turesque profanity, bawdy talk, close stools, brothel scenes, 
topical references to famous bawds, homosexuality, flagella- 
tion, impotence, and venereal disease. 

Only the rarest of playgoers was ever upset by stage 
vulgarity. In 1665 a courtier, Henry Savile, wrote after seeing 
an alleged comedy, "I will only say that one part of it is the 
humour of a man that has great need to go to the close stool, 
where there are such indecent postures as would never be 
suffered upon any stage but ours, which has quite turn'd the 
stomach of so squeamish a man as I ajm." 8 Savile was squeam- 

7 Pepys, January 28, 1667, March 26, 1668. 

8 Savile Correspondence (Camden Society, 1858), p. 4. Savile wrote 
that he had witnessed a play by Lord Orrery, The Widow; evidently he 
was mistaken. See W. S. Clark, The Dramatic Works of Roger Boyle, 
Earl of Orrery (1937), I, 40. 


All the King's Ladies 

ish indeed. Two years later the Theatre Royal was playing 
James Howard's popular All Mistaken^ in which the in- 
decent postures and speeches of Pinguister, a fat man who is 
purging to reduce, had the strong-stomached Restoration 
audience rolling in the aisles. 

The players' task was to entertain the many-headed 
monster of the pit with plays which ran the gamut from 
absolute balderdash to Shakespeare usually cut, altered, or 
"improved" with music and spectacle. It speaks well for 
their acting skills that they succeeded at all. Of course, 
under the circumstances, so-called natural acting would have 
been hopeless. Only by overplaying their parts could the 
actors hope to catch and hold the audience's attention. Es- 
sentially, then, the art that the young player had to learn 
was that of accentuation by tone and gesture. This was not 
a matter of aesthetics; acting was not considered one of the 
fine arts. In part it was the effect of tradition, in part of 
simple necessity. 

At the beginning of the Restoration, the older actors (the 
shareholders) trained the hirelings, instructing them in the 
stage practices that they had learned before the Civil War. 
A few of the older men combined coaching with acting 
throughout their stage careers. In the 1690's, for example, 
Thomas Betterton was earning 50 guineas a year "for ye Care 
he took as Principall Actor in ye Nature of a Monitor in a 
Schole to looke after rehearsals." In addition, from 1667 to 
at least 1682 there were "nurseries" for young actors, main- 
tained by one or both companies at various ancient theatres 
in London. In 1682 Dryden described the Nursery in the 
Barbican as a place, 

Where Queens are formed, and future Heroes bied; 
Where unfledged Actors learn to laugh and cry, 
Where infant Punks their tender voices try, 
And little Maximins the Gods defy. 9 

We do not know how many future queens and infant 
punks (prostitutes) were promoted from the nurseries to the 
professional theatres. On March 7, 1668, Pepys praised the 

Nicoll, p. 377; Dryden, MacFlecknoe (1682). 


072 Stage 

dancing of the new comedian, Joe Haines, at the King's 
Theatre, "only lately come thither from the Nursery" in 
Hatton Garden, but this is his only reference to the nurseries. 
Of course a young woman with powerful sponsors could 
readily bypass the training school and leap directly to the 
stage, and apparently most of the better-known actresses did 
so. But they still had to put in a period of apprenticeship, 
working (if the letter of the law was adhered to) "three 
Moneths without Sallary by Way of Approbation" before 
becoming regular members of the company. 10 

The amount the young actress had to learn depended, of 
course, on the skills with which she was equipped before she 
entered the company. To read well was the prime necessity, 
and to write after a fashion was sometimes useful (although 
the orthography even of ladies of high rank was often marvel- 
ous to behold). Thanks to dame schools, boarding schools, 
patient parents, or the local vicar, most novitiates could read 
well enough, but it is likely that such a child of the slums as 
Nell Gwyn had to learn her letters after she entered the 
theatre. To the end of her life her signature was a painfully 
traced "E. G." 

Both companies kept in regular employment "Musick 
Masters" and "Dancing Masters" (as well as "Scene men, 
Barbers, Wardrobe keepers, Dore keepers and Soldiers") as 
much to train young players as to prepare musical numbers 
and dances for plays. Most of the senior actors were capable 
singers and dancers, and John Lacy, of the King's Company, 
had been a dancing master in his youth. In the early days of 
the Restoration theatre nearly every actress was expected to 
sing a ditty or dance a jig on demand, and all the players had 
to be able to maneuver gracefully through the country 
dances "by the whole company" with which many a comedy 
closed. Outstanding among early singers and dancers were 
Nell Gwyn and Mary Knep, of the King's Company, and 
Moll Davis and Charlotte Butler, of the Duke's. In 1667 Tom 
Killigrew got the notion of hiring Italian singers and English 
specialists like Mrs. Yates, "who," he said, "is come to sing 
the Italian manner as well as ever he heard any." Toward 

"Nicoll, p. 324. 


All the King's Ladies 

the end of the century, with the steadily increasing emphasis 
on sound and spectacle, most of the singing and dancing was 
done by expensive imported specialists. 11 

The fundamentals of acting were speaking, singing, danc- 
ing, and walking. In the highly stratified society of the seven- 
teenth century, "behave like a lady" was much more than 
a warning against naughtiness. In dress, bearing, manner, 
and speech, a lady differed markedly from a country woman 
or a citizen's wife. Satiric comedy is full of bumpkins, hoy- 
dens, silly wenches, and gossipy housewives designed to be 
laughed at for their inability to conform to the patterns of 
mannered society. A stage lady was distinguished by the 
exaggeration of her ladylike qualities. Now most of the 
actresses came from the non-mannered classes and therefore 
had to be taught to behave likte stage ladies: to stand erect 
with chest forward and hips back, to walk with narrow, 
mincing steps (the "theatrical strut," as it was later called), 
to curtsy gracefully, salute, take leave, and come and go like 
one to the manner born. A few actresses came by their man- 
ners naturally. Charlotte Butler, for instance, said to be the 
daughter of a "decayed knight," evidently grew up before the 
family decay progressed too far; at least she was said to have 
a "naturally genteel Air and sensible pronunciation." Eliza^ 
beth Barry, allegedly the daughter of a barrister, was said 
to have been reared by Lady Davenant, who introduced her 
to polite society, so that "by frequent conversing with Ladies 
of the first Rank and best Sense" she soon became "Mistress 
of that Behaviour which sets off the well-bred Gentle- 
woman." The famous stroller Tony Aston insisted ill- 
naturedly that Mrs. Barry was "Woman to Lady Shelton of 
Norfolk . . . when Lord Rochester took her on the Stage." 
No matter; she could have observed "Ladies of the first 
Rank" just as well from the back stairs. 12 

Whatever the truth about her antecedents, it seems likely 
that Mrs. Barry had one great advantage over her fellows: 

11 Hotson, p. 369; Pepys, September 9, 1667; Dowries, p. 46. 

12 John Hill, The Actor (1750), p. 314; Curll, p. 14; Gibber, I, 121, 163; 
II, 303. 


On Stage 

the benefit of instruction by the famous poet, profligate, and 
universal genius, John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester. As the 
story has come down to us, Elizabeth was about sixteen 
when she was introduced to the theatre by her patroness, 
Lady Davenant. At first she was a complete failure; she had 
"a very bad Ear" and tended to "run into a Tone [i.e., a 
monotone], the fault of most young players." The actors of 
the Duke's Company found her so difficult to teach that they 
gave up in despair. 

Three times she was rejected; and three times, by the Interest of 
her Lady, they were prevailed on to try her, but with so little 
Success, that several Persons of Wit and Quality being at the Play, 
and observing how ill she performed, positively gave their Opinion 
she never would be capable of any Part of Acting. But the Earl of 
Rochester, to shew them he had a Judgment superior, entered into 
a Wager, that by proper Instruction, in less than six months he 
would engage she should be the finest Player on the Stage. 

Probably the Restoration Pygmalion had already fallen in 
love with his Galatea, who very soon became his mistress; 
"and it was thought that he never loved any Person so 
sincerely as he did Mrs. Barry." 18 

The whole story may be apocryphal, but at least it gives 
us some notion of the kind of practice needed for the making 
of a player about the year 1675. Rochester is supposed to 
have trained Mrs. Barry for the role of Isabella, the Hun- 
garian Queen, in Boyle's often revived tragedy, Mustapha. 
He made her "enter into the nature of each sentiment; per- 
fectly changing herself, as it were, into the Person, not 
merely by the proper Stress or Sounding of the Voice, but 
feeling really, and being in the Humour, the Person she 
represented, was supposed to be in." Then he made her 

Rehearse near 30 times on the Stage, and about 12 in the Dress 
she was to Act it in. He took such extraordinary Pains with her, as 
not to omit the least Look or Motion, Nay, I have been assured 
from those who were present, that her Page was taught to manage 
her Train, in such a Manner, so as to give each Movement a 
peculiar Grace. 1 * 

" Curll, pp. 14-16. "Ibid. 

All the King's Ladies 

As one might expect, the result was a complete triumph on 
the stage, and Mrs. Barry went on to become the greatest 
actress of her generation. 

This kind of training was all very well for Elizabeth 
Barry, who, despite her early failures, must have had a true 
genius for acting. But Rochester's coaching would have 
been and was wasted on a less gifted pupil. On an earlier 
occasion Rochester carried down to the country with him 
another of his mistresses, a girl known to us only as Sarah, 
and "exerted all his endeavours to cultivate" in her "some 
disposition which she had for the stage." Eventually he 
recommended her to the King's Company, "and the public 
was obliged to him for the prettiest, but at the same time, 
the worst actress in the kingdom." 15 The teacher could not 
supply the student with talent or intelligence; he could only 
equip her with the stylized acting devices then in vogue. 

From contemporary essays and prefaces, from the stage 
directions in plays, and from a collection of rules attributed 
to Thomas Betterton, we can learn what some of those 
devices were. Most of them apply only to tragic acting. 
Among players it was "a standing and incontrovertible Prin- 
ciple, that a Tragedian always takes Place of a Comedian; 
and 'tis very well known the Merry Drolls who make us laugh 
are always placed at the lower end of the Table, and in every 
Entertainment give way to the Dignity of the Buskin." 16 
Wearers of the sock were considered lesser craftsmen; they 
had only to aim for briskness and verisimilitude or to exhibit 
their personal eccentricities. The tragedian's was an acquired 
skill, depending on a completely artificial set of tones and 

"The warm and passionate Parts of a Tragedy," said 
Addison, "are always the most taking with the audience; for 
which Reason we often see the Players pronouncing, in all 
the Violence of Action, several Parts of the Tragedy which 
the Author writ with great Temper, and designed that they 
should have been so acted." Such speeches were "commonly 

15 Grammont, II, 73. 

16 Addison, The Spectator, No. 529, November 9, 1712. 


On Stage 

known by the Name of Rants." They demanded the full 
power of the speaker's voice and his most musical delivery. 
The result, often called "heroic tone/' was a kind of cadenced 
recitative. 17 

The musical effect of the tragedian's delivery was frequent- 
ly stressed. In 1680 the playwright Elkanah Settle, deploring 
the downfall of the King's Company, wrote, "Tis true the 
Theatre Royal was once all Harmony, the Heroic Muses 
sung so sweetly, and with Voices so perfectly musical, as few 
or no Ears could escape Enchantment." And again, "he must 
be a very ignorant Player, who knows not there is a Musical 
Cadence in speaking; and that a Man may as well speak out 
of Tune, as sing out of Tune." Betterton, whose own voice 
was "low and grumbling," pointed out that the normal varia^ 
tion of the human voice extended to five or six "Tones," and 
that the actor could form "out of these five or six Notes a just 
and delightful Harmony." Such musical declamations must 
have had strong emotional effects. Mrs. Barry said that she 
could never speak the line, "Ah, poor Castalio!" (from Ot- 
way's The Orphan) without weeping. By themselves the 
words would not make a turtle weep; musically intoned they 
might do wonders. 18 

The tones appropriate to specific emotions were fixed by 
traditions that had the effect of rules. Artificial though they 
are, it appears that the young player had to learn these 
precepts by heart and that his excellence on the stage was 
judged, not by his individual interpretation of a character, 
but by his ability to remember and apply the rules. The 
actor, said Betterton, will 

express Love by a gay, soft and charming Voice, his Hate, by a 
sharp, sullen and severe one; his Joy, by a full flowing and brisk 
Voice; his Grief, by a sad, dull and languishing Tone; not without 
sometimes interrupting the Continuity of the Sound with a Sigh 
or Groan, drawn from the very inmost of the Bosom. A tremulous 
and stammering Voice will best express his Fear, inclining to Un- 

17 Ibid., No. 40, April 16, 1711; J. H. Wilson, "Rant, Cant, and Tone 
on the Restoration Stage," Studies in Philology, LII (October, 1955), 

"Settle, prefaces to Fatal Love (1680) and The Fairy-fyteen (1692); 
Gildon, pp. 40, 109. 


All the King's Ladies 

certainty and Apprehension. A loud and strong voice, on the con- 
trary, will most naturally show his Confidence, always supported 
with a decent boldness, and daring Constancy. Nor can his Auditors 
be more justly struck with a sense of his Anger, than by a Voice or 
Tone, that is sharp, violent and impetuous, interrupted with a fre- 
quent taking of the Breath, and short Speaking. 

To these rules Betterton added certain other precepts, 
among them: "To move Compassion, the Speaker must ex- 
press himself with a soft, submissive and pitiful Voice." 
"When you address your Speech to any Man or thing by way 
of Apostrophe you must raise your Voice above the ordinary 
and Common Tone, as to one deaf, or who want their perfect 
Hearing; as, 'Oh! sacred Thirst of Gold!' or To thee, O Jove! 
I make my last appeal!' " "In the Opposition or Antithesis, 
the Contraries must be distinguished by giving one a louder 
Tone, then the other; as, Truth breeds us Enemies, Flattery 
Friends/ " 19 

These were the instructions of a veteran actor deeply con- 
cerned about decorum and decency. But every audience loved 
rants. As John Crowne said in the dedication to his Henry 
the Sixth (1681), "when an Actor talks Sense, the Audience 
begins to sleep, but when an unnatural passion sets him 
a-grimacing and howling as if he were in a fit of the Stone, 
they immediately waken, listen, and stare." In his Preface 
to Troilus and Cressida (1679), Dryden denounced the bad 
taste of the audience with equal vigor: "The roar of passion, 
indeed, may please an audience, three parts of which are 
ignorant enough to think all is moving which is noise, and it 
may stretch the lungs of an ambitious actor, who will die 
upon the spot for a thundering clap; but it will move no 
other passion than indignation and contempt from judicious 
men." Unfortunately there were all too few judicious men 
either in the audience or on the stage. In his old age Betterton 
remembered with approval the acting of Cardell Goodman in 
a famous rant, Alexander's mad scene in Lee's The Rival 
<$ueens: "Mr. Goodman always went through it with all the 
Force the Part requir'd, and yet made not half the Noise, as 
some who succeeded him; who were sure to bellow it out in 

"Gildon, pp. 43, 113-14, 118, 129, 132. 


On Stage 

such a manner, that their Voice would fail them before the 
End." 20 

The tragic actress, too, had to learn how to express emo- 
tion in the prescribed tones and how to deliver a rant without 
losing her voice. Toward the end of the century female char- 
acters in tragedy became of constantly greater importance. 
The strain on the leading lady's lungs increased correspond- 
ingly. The following passage from Gildon's Phaeton; or. The 
Fatal Divorce (1698) is a good example of a female rant. The 
speaker is Queen Althea (played by Frances Maria Knight), 
wife to Phaeton, who is a son of Phoebus Apollo. Althea's 
two small sons have just been torn to bits off stage, and she 
has stabbed herself with a poisoned dagger. In her dying 
delirium she imagines that she can pick up the pieces of her 
son's bodies and 

carry 'em to the Gods 

To solder them together the Gods can do it. 
Ha! th' unequal Gods deny the Boon! 
Again disperse and scatter the dear Reliques, 
I with such Pain and Hazard have collected. 
Tis Guile, not Innocence is now their Care, 
And grows familiar with the partial Gods. 

(Pauses and looks upward.} 

[She fancies she sees her husband, Phaeton, in the skies, taking 
over Apollo's chariot.] 

Ha! now he's leapt into his Father's Seat! 
He h's seiz'd the fiery Chariot of the Sun. 
But see the Steeds despise his feeble Rein, 
And swiftly whirl him o're the Azure Plain. 

(Pauses, looking fiddly upward?) 

The Chariot burns! th' Heav'ns blaze, th' Earth's on Fire! 
See Athos, Ida, Taurus, Octa Flame! 
Hills and Valleys burn! Fountains and Streams dry up! 
Stars, Earth, and Air are swallow'd up in Fire 
Ambition falls, see how he tumbles down! 
The Precipice of Heav'n ! Oh! shield us Jove! 
For now he comes directly on our Heads. 

(Breaks from them that endeavour to hold her, tears of her 
Head-Cloaths, &c, and her hair tumbles about 

her Shoulders.) 
//., p. 84. 


All the King's Ladies 

Tear, tear, tear off these Flaming Tresses, 
These burning Garments, this catching Fuel! 
Haste, haste into the Flood, or we consume! 

(Throws herself down.) 

So so, hark! hark! that Thunderclap has sav'd us! 
See he's fain, he's motionless, he's dead! 
Ha! how freezing cold he's grown already! 
I've caught the shudd'ring Fit, it chills my Heart! 


This is intolerable fustian, and it seems impossible that 
the arts of a player could save it from the damnation it de- 
served. Yet Gildon wrote in his Preface, "I'm sensible, and 
must own it to the World, that Mrs. Knight's admirable 
Action was no small advantage to me; who in playing Althea, 
has evidently shew'd her self one of the foremost Actresses 
of the Age." It was probably of such wild tragedies as this 
that Betterton was thinking when he said that Elizabeth 
Barry, a greater actress than Mrs. Knight, "has so often 
exerted her self in an indifferent part, that her Acting has 
given Succes to such Plays, as to read would turn a Man's 
Stomach." 21 

If the tones of a tragedian were flamboyantly artificial, his 
motions were even more so. He walked, posed, and gestured 
according to rigid conventions, acceptable on the stage but 
ridiculous in the context of ordinary life. We are told that in 
1663, when Lord Digby spoke in Parliament against Chan- 
cellor Clarendon, everyone laughed because he pointed "like 
a stage-player" to various parts of his own anatomy. 22 Yet 
on the stage such dramatic gesturing was commonplace; the 
hands, arms, and body were almost constantly in motion. 

For example, the actor pointed to his head to certify 
thought; to his heart to emphasize emotion; toward the 
skies, "looking fix'dly upward," to address heaven or the 
gods; and toward the earth to couple hell. "Live," said 
Mariamme to her lover in Settle's The Empress of Morocco 
(1673), "Live, and inhabit any Seat but This. (Points to her 
Breast)" Later she insists that she will never forget him: 

* Bid., p. 16. Pepys, July 2, 1663. 


On Stage 

"He to your Image dedicate this shrine. (Points to her 
Breast)'' In Mrs. Boothby's Marcelia (1669) the heroine, 
torn between love and honor, cries: 

Add, add no more least reason quit this place, 

(Points to her head.} 
And after that, then this be left by Grace. 

(Her heart.) 

When a player took an oath or invoked a deity, he usually 
raised both hands to heaven, like Arius in Lee's Constantine 
(1683) who vows: 

If ere I set my hand to such a Treason, 

May these rot off, which thus I hold to Heaven. 

Surprise called for even more elaborate gesturing. Betterton 
described his reaction as Hamlet to the appearance of the 
ghost in Hamlet's scene with his mother. Of the lines, 

Save me, and hover o'er me with your wings, 
You heavenly guards! 

"This," Betterton said, "is spoke with arms and Hands ex- 
tended, and expressing his Concern, as well as his Eyes, and 
whole Face." 28 Stage directions in other plays confirm this 
practice: the Pedagogue in Boyle's Mr. Anthony (1672) cries, 
"You amaze me, I profess. (Lifting up his hands)" and Bull, 
in Dennis' A Plot and No Plot (1697), marches about the 
stage in amazement, "holding up his hands and his Eyes." 

We see the typical actor posing gracefully, pointing here, 
there, and everywhere, thumping his breast, raising his arms 
in amazement, spreading them wide in welcome, stretching 
them forward in supplication, and dropping them to his sides 
in resignation all while intoning his lines. Could there be too 
much gesturing, too much motion of arms and body? No, said 
Betterton, "For indeed Action is the Business of the Stage, 
and an Error is more pardonable on the right, than the wrong 
side." Better to overplay than to underplay. The inattentive 
audience wanted no subleties from its tragedians. It recog- 
nized heroes because they were dressed in rich clothes, with 
high-heeled shoes and plumed caps to make them look taller. 

Gildon, p. 74. 


All the King's Ladies 

"The ordinary Method of making a Hero/' said Addison, "is 
to clap a huge Plume of Feathers upon his Head, which rises 
so very high, that there is often a greater Length from his 
Chin to the Top of his Head, than to the Sole of his Foot." 24 
Similarly, the audience recognized villains because they 
wore black periwigs and had their faces darkened with burnt 
cork. "Pray," said King Charles, "what is the Meaning that 
we never see a Rogue in a Play, but, Godsfish! they always 
clap him on a black Perriwig, when it is well known one of 
the greatest Rogues in England [Shaftesbury] always wears 
a fair one?" Heroes stalked the stage, "Magnificent in Purple 
Buskins." Villains sneaked across the stage, like Mandricard 
in Saunders' Tamerlane (1681), whose appearance provoked 
the heroine to say, 

Did you not mark his black disordered Look? 
Between his gnashing Teeth what silent Curses 
He muttered forth, and threatned us with Frowns. 

Heroines, too, wore plumes, and villainefcses wore, if not black 
periwigs, certainly "black disordered Looks." These, said 
Betterton, were the "Contraction of the Lips and the scant 
Look of the Eyes" which indicated "a deriding and malicious 
Person," while "Shewing the Teeth and streightening the 
Lips on them," showed "Indignation and Anger." 26 

All this was conventional acting, designed to create a 
plausible illusion of reality. Incredible as it seems, it must 
have been successful in its time simply because playgoers 
were accustomed to it. To non-playgoers it would have 
seemed madness. Once, we are told, three highwaymen com- 
ing across the fields near London early on a summer morn- 
ing saw a man "walking all alone, making all the Gestures 
imaginable of Passion, Discontent, and Fury, a-casting up his 
Eyes to the Sky, displaying his arms abroad, and wringing 
them together again." It was the famous player Jack Ver- 

pp. 74, 78; The Spectator, No. 42, April 18, 1711. 

* 6 Gibber, I, 133; Gildon, p. 45; for the appearance of villains see 
Addison, The Toiler, No. 42, July 16, 1709: "Inventory: The Complexion 
of a murderer in a band box; consisting of a large piece of burnt cork, 
and a coal-black peruke/ " 


On Stage 

bmggen, rehearsing his role as the despairing Varanes in 
Lee's Theodosius. The simple highwaymen, unacquainted 
with stage customs and thinking they had a madman to deal 
with, seized him and begged him not to kill himself. Said 
Verbruggen, "What a Plague is all this for? I arn't going to 
Hang, Stab, nor Drown my self for Love; I arn't in Love; 
I'm a Player only getting my part." Properly incensed at the 
cheat, the gentlemen of the pad fell upon the actor, tied his 
hands and feet, and relieved him of ten shillings and a silver- 
hiked sword. 26 

Not only were there patterns for the demonstration of 
violent emotion; the softer passions, too, were conventionally 
expressed. Love, "the noblest frailty of the mind," as Dryden 
called it, dominated serious drama, and acting was stereo- 
typed to show its effects. Smitten by the sight of beauty, the 
hero stood fixed, his world centered in his eyes. So, in Dry- 
den's Conquest of Granada (1670), when Almanzor first sees 
the beautiful Almahide he is paralyzed, able only to stammer, 

I'm numbed and fixed, and scarce my eyeballs move; 
I fear it is the lethargy of love. 

When Cupid pierced two hearts at once male and female 
both victims stared in a lethargy of love. In Otway's Don 
Carlos (1676) the Queen of Spain and Carlos twist eye-beams 
in the very presence of the lady's husband, King Philip, who 
suspects that something is wrong because Don Carlos stands 
in so "fixed" a posture. 

As love grew stronger it demanded even more obvious 
demonstration with downcast looks, sighs, groans, and folded 
arms. So, in Boyle's Tryphon (1668), Demetrius "fixes his 
Eyes on Stratonice, folds his arms the one within the other, 
sighs, and goes out, still gazing on her." In Behn's The False 
Count (1681), Carlos coaches Guiliom in the bilious behavior 
of a romantic lover: "That's she [Isabella] in the middle; 
stand looking on her languishingly, your head a little on 
one side, so, fold your arms, good, now and then 
Heave your breast with a sigh, most excellent. (He groans.}" 
The lover who suffered from unrequited passion was a miser- 

88 Capt. Alexander Smith, Lives of the Highwaymen (1714), I, 89. 


All the King's Ladies 

able looking object. According to Sir Positive At-all, in Shad- 
well's The Sullen Lovers (1668), "The posture of hanging" 
was exactly that of "a Pensive dejected Lover with his hands 
before him, and his head aside thus" as if pulled to the 
right by the hangman's knot. Otherwise the dejected lover 
might, like Aurelian in Dryden's The Assignation (1672), 
wander about looking "melancholy, with Hat pulTd down, 
and the Hand on the Region of the Heart." This posture, or 
the simple "Demission or hanging down of the Head," served 
also to express any kind of grief or disappointment. 27 Two un- 
happy lovers, separated by force (or honor) always insisted 
on a "parting look," described facetiously to Celadon by 
Florimel in Gibber's The Comical Lovers (1707): 

So have I seen in Tragick Scenes a Lover, 
With dying Eyes his parting Pains discover, 
While the soft Nymph looks back to view him far, 
And speaks her Anguish with her Handkercher: 
Again they turn, still ogling as before, 
Till each gets backward to the distant Door, 
Then, when the last, last Look their Grief betrays, 
The Act is ended, and the Musick plays. 

(Exeunt, mimicking this.) 

If a lady wished to captivate a gentleman, she made "the 
doux yeux" at him. This glance is defined in John Dryden, 
Jr.'s The Husband His Own Cuckold (1696) as "the hanging 
of the lip, and the languishing cast of an Eye half asleep" 
much like the expression one sees on the faces of Lely's 
court beauties, described by Pope as "The sleepy look that 
speaks the melting soul/' 28 Smitten in her turn, the lady 
showed her emotion by modest sighs. In Settle's Cambyses 
(1671), Prexaspes, observing Mandana, says aside, 

Her alter'd Visage wears a Mystery. 

A broken sigh, joyn'd with a fainting look! 

Just so my love its sudden birth first took. 

27 Gildon, p. 43; see also Thomas Wilkes, A General View of the Stage 
(1759), p. 132: "Disappointment is expressed by desponding down-cast 
looks, a gloomy eye, and the hand striking the breast." 

"Pope, "Imitations of Horace: To Augustus" (1735). 


072 Stage 

But there were occasions when the noblest frailty of the mind 
had to be sternly repressed. In Ravenscroft's King Edgar 
and Alfreda (1677), Princess Matilda, whose lover has just 
left the stage, struggles with her love in a brief soliloquy: 

Heart, hold thy seat in spite of all his charms, 
The liberty thou strugPst for is Bondage, 
His conquest will enslave thee but my eyes 
Are too much thy friends, with the enemy 
They hold Intelligence, but Tie break it off. So 

(Turns away her head laying her right hand on her Eyes. 

(Then starts and claps the other on her breast, then both.) 
My heart is once more seated on its throne, 
But had he stai'd the field he must have won. 

Along with bombastic speech and formalized looks and 
gestures went a deal of conventional stage business. In large 
part this was inherited and traditional; it is quite likely that 
most of the business of the Restoration stage came directly 
from the Renaissance theatre. 

Since the Restoration audience, like its predecessors, loved 
battles, murder, and horrors, no tragedy was complete with- 
out its quota of violence. Blood was spilled by the bucketful. 
The aim of the tragic poet was to kill as many people as pos- 
sible by swords, daggers, axes, hooks, racks, and impaling 
on stakes. Hanging, strangling, and "bowls" (goblets) of 
poison were also popular devices for poetic murder. Victims 
of the blade were shown with faces, breasts, arms, and cloth- 
ing "bloody," and the losing fighter in a duel suddenly be- 
came spotted with blood in full view of the audience. 

Of course the swords and daggers used were blunted, but 
even so they could be dangerous. In 1673 the actor Philip 
Cademan, dueling on the stage with Henry Harris, "received 
a Wound . . . with a foyle under the right Eye, wch touched 
his Brain by means whereof he lost his memory his speech 
and the use of his right side." Once when Mrs. Barry was 
playing Roxana to Mrs. BouteTs Statira in a revival of Lee's 
The Rival Queens, the two ladies quarreled over the ownership 
of a scarf just before the play began. On stage, when it came 
time for Roxana to stab Statira, the angry Mrs. Barry struck 
with such force that "tho' the Point of the Dagger was 


All the King's Ladies 

blunted, it made way through Mrs. BouteTs stays, and 
entered about a Quarter of an Inch in the Flesh." When 
Dryden and Lee's Oedipus was revived in October, 1692, the 
property man gave Sandford (the villain) a real dagger 
"instead of a weapon, the blade of which run up, when the 
point was pressed, into the handle." Powell (the victim) sur- 
vived a stab some three inches deep. 29 

Ordinarily only animal blood was used for stage effects. 
How the blood was applied is shown by two sample stage 
directions. In Killigrew's TAomaso (1665), Don Mathias and 
Edwardo "cuff and struggle upon the floore, and are both 
bloody, occasion'd by little spunges ty'd of purpose to their 
middle fingers on the palmes of their hands." In Dryden's 
King Arthur (1691) the King and Oswald fight a duel: "They 
fight with Spunges in their Hands dipt in Blood; after some 
equal Passes and closeing, they appear both Wounded/' Ap- 
parently women too could carry bloody sponges in their 
hands and appear covered with self-applied gore, to the 
detriment, one might think, of their finery. 80 Sometimes the 
injury was inflicted off stage, and the actress appeared with 
"her Bosom all bloody" or with "her arm wrapped in a bloody 
Handkercher." If she had suffered rape (a popular subject for 
tragedy), she appeared in a horrid condition, with "her Hair 
disheveTd, and mouth Bloody, as Ravish'd." 81 The loss of her 
virginity led inevitably to her death by steel or poison. 

Tragic distress was shown by loud lamentations, breast- 
beatings, and tears the l#st suggested by the ostentatious 
use of a handkerchief. "For the moving of Pity," said Addi- 

"Nicoll, p. 367; Curll, p. 21; John Doran, Their Majesties Servants 
(1888), I, 349. 

80 Perhaps the following song from Duffett's The Mock-Tempest (1674) 
explains how the actresses cleaned their garments: 

Her Tie obey whose breath's so strong, one blast 
Sent from her Lungs would lay my Castle wast; 
Come down my furies, lash no more, 

But gently poure in 

Salt and Urine 
To cleanse their Crimson Lace from Gore. 

81 Gildon, The Roman Bride's Revenge (1696), Act V, scene 2; Porter, 
The French Conjurer (1677), Act IV, scene 1; D'Urfey, Massaniello (1699), 
Act V, scene 2. 


On Stage 

son, "our principal Machine is the Handkerchief; and indeed 
in our common Tragedies, we should not know very often 
that the Persons are in Distress by any thing they say, if they 
did not from time to time apply their Handkerchiefs to their 
Eyes. Far be it from me to think of banishing this Instrument 
of Sorrow from the Stage; I know a Tragedy could not sub- 
sist without it." 82 

The pangs of imminent death were shown by frightful 
grimaces and halting speech, the latter often indicated in the 
text of a play by dashes. In Stapylton's The Step-Mother 
(1663), Gracchus, pretending to die, "falls, and mak'st a 
strange Grimas like a dead man." In Boyle's Herod (1694), 
the last words of Antipater are given thus: 

These double Blessings in my Fate I meet, 

To kill her Murtherer then die at her feet. 

(Antipater dies.} 

No doubt there was an art to dying gracefully, without 
ludicrous sprawling on the stage or "in a chair," and without 
damage to expensive garments. No doubt, too, a player 
remembered to die, whenever possible, behind the pro- 
scenium arch, so that when the scenes closed he could get up 
and walk off under his own steam. If he died on the forestage, 
bearers had to lug him off under the eyes of the audience. 
Sometimes when a dead man was to lie in state a servant 
substituted for the actor. Once George Powell's dresser, 
Warren, took the actor's place on a stage bier in the last act of 
Rowe's The Fair Penitent. From his dressing room the for- 
getful Powell called for Warren, who replied from the bier, 
"Here, sir!" "Come here this moment, you Son of a Whore," 
roared Powell, "or I'll break all the Bones in your Skin!" 
Warren jumped off the bier, tripped over the draperies tied 
to its handles, knocked down Calista (Mrs. Barry), and 
"overwhelmed her with the Table, Lamp, Book, Bones, to- 
gether with all the Lumber of the Charnel-house. 88 

Although there were innumerable rules for the guidance of 
the tragedian, there seem to have been almost none for the 

88 The Spectator, No. 44, April 20, 1711. 
Chetwood, p. 253. 


All the King's Ladies 

comedian. "The Comedians, I fear/' said Betterton, "may 
take it amiss that I have had little or no Regard to them in 
these Rules. But ... as some have observed that Comedy is 
less difficult in the Writing; so I am apt to believe, it is much 
easier in the Acting." 84 

Dryden remarked that repartee was one of the "chiefest 
graces*' of comedy: "the greatest pleasure of the audience is 
a chace of wit, kept up on both sides, and swiftly managed." 85 
Obviously the comedian had to be skilled in rapid speech and 
careful timing; otherwise he was free to speak and gesture as 
he chose. An actor or actress with a gay, airy, ingratiating 
manner and a graceful person, clever at repartee and at 
putting the proper stress on a double-entendre, could often 
make a poor comedy sound extremely witty. 

To present the low comedy characters with which plays 
were liberally sprinkled, a player had to be in Downes's 
quaint phrase "Aspectabund," adept at making faces. Low 
comedians were individualists and often famous as much for 
their oddities of face, figure, and gait as for their creative 
skill. Cave Underbill, for example, a mediocre actor, was 
successful as a comedian because he was tall, corpulent, and 
broad-faced; "his nose was flattish and short, and his Upper 
Lip very long and thick, with a wide Mouth and short Chin, 
a churlish Voice, and awkward Action, leaping often up with 
both Legs at a Time, when he conceived any Thing Waggish. 
and afterwards hugging himself at the Thought." On the 
other hand, James Nokes, famous for low comedy creations, 
was a very ordinary-looking fellow in private life, but on the 
stage he "had a shuffling Shamble in his Gait, with so con- 
tented an Ignorance in his Aspect and an awkward Absurdity 
in his Gesture, that had you not known him, you could not 
have believ'd that naturally he could have a Grain of com- 
mon Sense." 86 

Some comediennes, too, were individualists and were 
famous for their specialties: Katherine Corey for such can- 

M Curll, pp. 105-6. 

K Dryden, "Essay of Dramatic Poesie" (1668). 

M Aston, II, 307-8; Gibber, I, 145. 


On Stage 

tankerous old women as the Widow Blackacre in Wycherley's 
The Plain Dealer (1676) ; Elinor Leigh, who "had a very droll 
way of dressing the pretty Foibles of superannuated Beau- 
ties"; and Susanna Mountfort, who "was so fond of Hu- 
mour, in what low part soever to be found, that she made no 
scruple of defacing her fair Form to come Heartily into it." 
As Mary the Buxom in D'Urfey's Don Quixote (1694), Mrs. 
Mountfort made herself up as "a young Todpole Dowdy, as 
freckled as a Ravens Egg, with matted Hair, snotty Nose, 
and a pair of Hands as black as the Skin of a Tortois, with 
Nails as long as Kites Tallons upon every Finger/' 87 

Yet this dowdy could also be a fine lady with all kinds of 
airs and affectations. Gibber describes her behavior as Me- 
lantha in revivals of Dryden's Marriage A-la-Mode as she 
receives Palamede, who bears a letter of recommendation 
from her father: 

She reads the Letter . . . with a careless, dropping Lip and an 
erected Brow, humming it hastily over as if she were impatient to 
outgo her Father's Commands by making a compleat Conquest of 
him [Palamede] at once; and that the Letter might not embarrass 
her Attack, crack! she crumbles it at once into her Palm and pours 
upon him her whole Artillery of Airs, Eyes, and Motion; down 
goes her dainty, diving Body to the Ground, as if she were sinking 
under the conscious Load of her own Attractions; then launches 
into a Flood of fine Language and Compliment, still playing her 
Chest forward in fifty Falls and Risings, like a Swan upon waving 
Water; and, to complete her Impertinence, she is so rapidly fond 
of her own Wit that she will not give her Lover Leave to praise it: 
Silent assenting Bows and vain Endeavours to speak are all the 
share of the Conversation he is admitted to, which at last he is re- 
lieved from by her Engagement to half a Score Visits, which she 
swims from him to make, with a Promise to return in a Twinkling. 38 

Of course, no collection of rules, anecdotes, and descrip- 
tions can ever re-create the ways of long dead actors. Their 
art is ephemeral, vanishing at the very moment of creation. 
As the conventions of the theatre and the styles of acting 
change, that which could exalt or move an audience of a 

8T Gibber, 1, 162, 166; dramatis personae of DTTrfey's Don 
M Gibber, 1, 168-69. 


All the King's Ladies 

past age merely stirs the later playgoer to laughter. We can 
only sympathize with the nostalgic old gentleman who in 
1745 urged a contemporary actress to play Melantha as 
Dryden created her: 

Take, take from Dryden's hand Melantha's part, 
The gaudy effort of luxuriant art, 
In all imagination's glitter drest: 
What Bowtell, under the author's eye, exprest, 
What from her lips fantastic Montfort caught, 
And almost mov'd the thing, ye Poet thought. 
. . . Gibber will smile applause: and think again 
Of Hart, of Mohun, and all the female train, 
Coxe, Marshall, Dryden's Reeve, 
Bet. Slade, and Charles's reign. 39 

89 The Gentleman's Magazine, XV (February, 1745), 98. 


IV In Petticoats and ^Breeches 

When women replaced female impersonators on the stage, 
they brought to the theatre a new dimension in sex. Bawdry, 
obscenity, and vulgarity there had always been, but even 
the most imaginative pre-Restoration playgoer must have 
been constantly aware that the woman he saw in an erotic 
stage situation was really a boy in petticoats. To the lusty 
male who wanted more than gowns, wigs, make-up, and 
mockery, the substitution of women for boys brought a new 
satisfaction. Pepys had often seen Beaumont and Fletcher's 
spicy comedy The Scornful Lady with a boy playing the 
Lady. On February 12, 1661, he saw it again, but "now done 
by a woman," he said, "which makes the play appear better 
than ever it did to me." 

After 1660 the playgoer could leave his imagination at 
home. Something had been added to dramatic entertainment, 
and the poets, quick to sense an audience reaction, took ad- 
vantage of it. Restoration drama, and comedy in particular, 
gave the actress every opportunity to display her physical 
charms. The aim, however, was suggestiveness, not stark 
nudity. In 1711 Steele summarized the practices of the stage 


All the King's Ladies 

I, who know nothing of Women but from seeing Plays, can give 
great guesses at the whole Structure of the fair Sex, by being inno- 
cently placed in the Pit, and insulted by the Petticoats of their 
Dancers; the Advantages of whose pretty Persons are a great help 
to a dull Play. When a Poet flags in writing Lusciously, a pretty 
Girl can move Lasciviously, and have the same good Consequences 
for the Author. 1 

Feminine fashions in the late seventeenth century were 
designed to reveal, if not "the whole Structure of the fair 
Sex," at least provocative sections thereof. On stage in her 
proper costume the actress displayed her shoulders and much 
of her bosom (I take a frequent stage direction, "loosely 
dressed," to refer to such decolletage). Masquerading in male 
attire, she submitted her legs for public inspection. When 
she danced in petticoats, she tantalized the male spectators 
with glimpses of legs and thighs. As the prologue to Wright's 
Thyestes (1674) complains: 

She that Dances jilts the very eyes, 

Allowing only these Discoveries, 

A neat silk Leg, and pair of Holland Thighs. 

To the modern playgoer all this is commonplace; to the 
Restoration gentleman it was fresh and exciting. 

When an actress arose in the morning, the chances are that 
she was already wearing her chief foundation garment for the 
day: a loose smock (or shift or chemise) of Holland linen 
reaching well below her knees, with short balloon sleeves and 
a low-cut, lace-edged neck, adjustable with a drawstring for 
any desired degree of decolletage. Only the well-to-do could 
afford nightwear; the poor slept in their undergarments and 
rarely washed them. Linen was usually heavily perfumed. 

After washing her face in cold water (no bath, of course), 
an actress put on a bodice, or corset, stiffened with wood or 
whalebone stays and laced either front or back. If she was 
a dancer, she probably donned a pair of Holland linen 
drawers, undergarments not commonly worn at this time, 
even by ladies of fashion. 2 Next came knit thread or silk 

1 The Spectator, No. 51, April 28, 1711. 

2 See C. W. Cunnington and P. Cunnington, The History of Under- 
clothes (1951), pp. 62-66. 


In Petticoats and Breeches 

stockings, gartered both above and below the knee; high- 
heeled shoes with bright buckles; two or three full-flowing 
petticoats decorated with Colbertine or Flanders lace and 
reaching almost to the ground; and finally a short-sleeved 
gown made of silk or farandine (silk mixed with cheaper 
fibers), closed-fitted in the bodice and separated below the 
waist to display the petticoats. 

She would spend some time on her hair, which, if done in 
the style favored about 1670, would be curled in long ringlets 
descending to her shoulders. (Twenty years later she would 
spend hours laboriously building up a towering "commode.") 
Then, after a liberal application of Spanish red to lips and 
cheeks and a splash of orange-flower water for her handker- 
chief, she would draw on perfumed gloves, pick up her purse, 
and be ready to sally forth. 

According to the custom of the day, she would leave un- 
covered a considerable territory between waist and chin. A 
standard jest runs thus: "A Gallant once meeting in Covent- 
Garden with a handsome, and as it seems, smart Lass, with 
her Naked Breasts appearing very largely; says he, I pray, 
Mistress, is that Flesh to be sold? No, says she, no Money 
shall buy it. Well, says he, then let me advise you, if you will 
not sell, you should shut up your shop." 8 

Such obvious nudity was no uncommon sight, even on the 
streets. There were always Puritans who declaimed against 
the sin "of Naked Necks and Shoulders," but they preju- 
diced their case by overstatement. There was, for example, 
the writer who held up for emulation modest Lady Margaret, 
daughter of the Duke of Burgundy, "who by a fall from her 
horse having broken her Thigh, chose rather to dye than to 
expose herself to the inspection of the Chirurgeons." 4 But, 
as cynical Bernard Mandeville pointed out, morality was 
largely a matter of custom: 

To be modest, we ought in the first place to avoid all unfashion- 
able Denudations. A Woman is not to be found fault with forgoing 
with her Neck bare, if the Custom of the Country allows it; and 

8 Coffee-House Jests (1677), p. 31. 

* England's Vanity ', "By a Compassionate Conformist" (1683), p. 102. 


All the King's Ladies 

when the Mode orders the Stays to be cut very low, a blooming 
Virgin may, without Fear of rational Censure, shew all the World; 
How firm her pouting Breasts, that white as Snow, 
On th'ample Chest at mighty distance grow. 
But to suffer her ancle to be seen, where it is the Fashion for 
Women to hide their very Feet, is a Breach of Modesty. 6 

Out-of-doors women often wore "berthas," "whisks," or 
large handerchiefs pinned over their shoulders and conceal- 
ing their breasts. On stage an actress commonly bared her 
bosom and sometimes had to endure the lecherous laying-on 
of hands. If she wore a bertha or whisk, the chances were 
that it would be rumpled or torn in the course of the "tum- 
bling/* "towsing," "mousing," or "ruffling" to which she was 
often subjected. All these terms meant essentially the same 
thing: the vigorous use of exploratory hands, chiefly above 
the waist. 

Stage business of this kind should not be taken as evidence 
of moral decadence. Perhaps Restoration tragedy, dominated 
as it was by violent and unnatural loves often culminating 
in incest or rape, may be called decadent. Its appeal was to 
the fervid imagination of the spectator, and its effect was 
erotic overstimulation. But comedy, based on the concept 
that the sole function of the female was to satisfy the male 
animal, was frankly naturalistic. The physical manifestations 
of lechery on the stage were little removed from the actuali- 
ties of life. The actor who tumbled or towsed an actress was 
merely imitating on the stage an erotic game which anyone 
could see played daily in taverns and alehouses. 

Mr. Pepys, for example, regularly towsed and tumbled his 
numerous easy loves, sometimes recording his exploits in a 
curious mixture of tongues. Of one lady he wrote, after an 
episode in a tavern, that he did, "touse her and feel her all 
over, making her believe how fair and good a skin she has." 
Weary at last, he gave over, and "somebody, having seen 
some of our dalliance, called aloud in the street, 'Sir! why 
do you kiss the gentlewoman so?' and flung a stone at the 
window." Of another woman Pepys wrote that he had had her 

s The Fable of the Bees (1714), ed. F. B. Kaye (2 vols.; 1924), Remark 


In Petticoats and Breeches 

"all sola a my closet, and there did baiser and toucher ses 
mamelles. . . ." And again, "I did in the morning go to the 
Swan, and there tumbling la little fille, son uncle did trouver 
her cum su neck cloth off, which I was ashamed of, but made 
no great matter of it." 6 

No great matter was made of it on the stage, either. In 
Behn's The Town-Fop]) (1676), Bellmour, alone with a pros- 
titute, Flaunt, declares, "Oh I can towse and ruffle, like any 
Leviathan, when I begin come, prove my Vigor. (Towses 
her)." "Oh, Lord, Sir!" cries Flaunt, "you tumble all my 
Garniture." In Behn's The Round Heads (1681), Lady 
Desbro's denudation is too much for Ananias Gogle. "Who 
in the sight of so much Beauty," he cries, "can think of any 
Business but the Bus'ness ah! hide those tempting Breasts, 
alack, how smooth and warm they are (Feeling 'em, and 
sneering}. 99 A moment later, overcome by lechery, he "Takes 
and ruffles her." In Lacy's The Dumb Lady (1669), a farrier 
posing as a doctor meets a nurse and her husband, Jarvis. 
The mock doctor heads for the pretty nurse: 

DOCT.: By'r lady, a pretty piece of household stuff, and a fine 
ornament for a couch. I do salute you, nurse, and I would I were 
that happy suckling that shall draw down the milk of your favour 
and affection, nurse. 

JAR.: Her pulse beats not thereabouts, sir! Hands off, for she's 
my wife, sir! 

DOCT.: I cry you mercy, sir. I congratulate you for having so 
handsome a wife, and your wife for having so worthy a husband. 
Your breasts, sweet nurse 

JAR.: Pray you, hold, sir! Half this courtesy would serve. 

DOCT. : Worthy sir, I cannot declare enough how much I'm your 
servant! Delicate breasts, nurse. (His hands upon her breasts still.} 

NUR.: At your service! 

Sometimes provocative description added spice to reality. 
In Ravenscroft's The Canterbury Guests (1694), Mr. Lovell 
is showing off his sister Arabella (Mrs. Knight) to Captain 
Durzo as the pattern of a handsome woman. Facing the audi- 
ence, Arabella poses quietly (perhaps simpering?) between 
the two men as Lovell describes her: "A Forehead high and 

Pepys, June 29, 1663, February 18, May 20, 1667. 


All the King's Ladies 

fair Eyes black and sparkling cheeks plump, not by Art, 
but Nature painted a Mouth little, red Lips and white 
Teeth; a Pearly Portcullis to a Ruby Gate ... a chin 
dimpled ... a Neck smooth, fat, white, and soft as the down 
on Swans . , . Breasts hard and round, their motions pant 
beholders Hearts into an exstasy ; they rise and fall like Waves 
blown up by gentle Winds Do but lay your hand here, Cap- 
tain. (Durzo touches Arabella 's Breasts.) 99 

These are typical samples of everyday business on the 
Restoration stage. Obviously the audience, like old Sir Jolly 
Jumble in Otway's The Souldiers Fortune (1680), loved "to 
see a pretty Wench and a young Fellow Towze and Rowze 
and Frouze and Mowze." If the actresses objected to such 
public manhandling, their protests have not been recorded. 

To the godly (who rarely attended the theatre) all this 
was wickedness rampant. But to the godly, play acting itself 
was evil, and the mere appearance of women upon the stage, 
however dressed, was an abomination. Denied the right to 
employ women, the pre-Restoration players had dressed boys 
in women's garments, thereby placing themselves in a sinfiil 
dilemma. In 1633 puritanical William Prynne had argued, 
"If any now object, that it is farre better, farre more com- 
endable for Boyes to act in womans attire, then to bring 
women-Actors on the Stage to personate female parts ... I 
answer first, that the very ground of this objection is false, 
unlesse the objectors can manifest it to bee a greater abomi- 
nation, a more detestable damning sinne, for a woman to 
act a females part upon the Stage, then for a Boy to put on 
womans apparell, person, and behaviour, to act a feminine 
part: which the Scripture expressly prohibits, as an abomi- 
nation to the Lord our God." 7 

Damned if they employed women and damned if they 
used boys "to personate female parts," the frustrated players 
had continued to use the second alternative until King 
Charles came into his own again and all restraints were 
removed. Then the pendulum swung to the other extreme. 
The Restoration players not only employed women; from 
time to time they dressed men in women's garments (for 

7 Histrio-Mastix (1633), p. 214. 


In Petticoats and Breeches 

comic purposes only) and women in men's garments, a prac- 
tice wicked enough to make Mr. Prynne's cropped ears 
vibrate with horror. "Dare then any Christian women be so 
more than whorishly impudent," he had written (at the cost 
of his ears), "as to act, to speak publikely on a Stage, (per- 
chance in mans apparell, and cut haire, here proved sinfull 
and abominable) in the presence of sundry men and women? 
O let such presidents of impudency, of impiety be never 
heard of or suffred among Christians!" 8 

Yet, in spite of Prynne and all his tribe, of the some three 
hundred and seventy-five plays first produced in the London 
public theatres between 1660 and 1700 new plays and al- 
terations of pre-Restoration plays eighty-nine contained 
one or more roles for actresses "in Boy's Clothes," or "in 
Man's Clothes." (The two terms seem to have meant almost 
the same thing.) In at least fourteen more plays we know 
that women were assigned to don breeches and play parts 
originally written for men, not for female impersonators. At 
least three plays were "acted all by women," who took both 
the male and female roles. In addition there were many re- 
vivals of older plays with breeches parts originally played 
by boys. Almost every actress appeared at one time or an- 
other "dressed like a man" as a youth, a page, a gentleman, 
a soldier, a shepherd, or what you will and some became 
famous for their elegant appearance in breeches or pantfc- 
loons. Among those more honored in breeches than in petti- 
coats were Nell Gwyn, Moll Davis, Pepys's friend Mary 
Knep, Prince Rupert's mistress Peg Hughes, Elizabeth 
Barry, Anne Bracegirdle, Beck Marshall, beautiful Mary 
Lee, Sue Percival (Mountfort), Charlotte Butler, blonde 
Betty Boutel, and many more. Even Katherine Corey, spe- 
cialist in "old women" roles, appeared in Joyner's The Roman 
Empress (1670) "disguis'd like a Eunuch," in doublet, 
breeches, and periwig. The wheel had come full circle: the 
boys who impersonated women in Shakespeare's time were 
replaced in the Restoration wonderland by raffish hoydens, 
breeched and periwigged, with swords at their sides and mas- 
culine oaths on their lips. 

8 Ibid., Table, ''Women-actors." 


All the King's Ladies 

Immodest display was only one of several reasons for the 
common practice of dressing actresses in men's clothing. No 
doubt it was made easy at first by the oddities of fashion. In 
1665 Anthony Wood commented that it was indeed 

A strange effeminate age when men strive to imitate women in 
their apparell, viz. long periwigs, patches in their faces, painting, 
short wide breeches like petticotes, muffs, and their clothes highly 
scented, bedecked with ribbons of all colours. ... On the other 
side, women would strive to be like men, viz., when they rode on 
horseback or in coaches weare plush caps like monteros, either full 
of ribbons or feathers, long periwigs which men use to weare, and 
riding coats of a red colour all bedaubed with lace which they call 

At about this time also a courtier wrote to a friend in the 

For news from Court I shall tell you that one cannot possibly 
know a woman from a man, unlesse one hath the eyes of a linx who 
can see through a wall, for by the face and garbe they are like men. 
They do not weare any hood but only men's perwich [periwigs] 
hatts and coats. 9 

These Mad Hatter fashions were not limited to Court 
circles. Short petticoat breeches (also called Rhinegraves or 
pantaloons) were quite generally worn between 1660 and 
1670. These were so wide that one of Pepys's friends careless- 
ly "put both his legs through one of his knees of his breeches, 
and went so all day." Male attire was effeminate, colorful, 
and lavishly decorated with laces and ribbons envied, no 
doubt, by the women, especially by those of the middle 
classes, whose normal garb was sober and durable. At a hilari- 
ous party in 1666, when all Pepys's guests were "mighty 
merry," the host and two other men dressed like women, 
and Mrs. Pepys's maid, Mary Mercer, "put on a suit of 
Tom's like a boy, and mighty mirth we had, and Mercer 
danced a jigg; and Nan Wright and my wife and Pegg Pen 
put on perriwigs." 10 

Wood, I, 509; HMC y Portland MS, III, 293. 
10 April 6, 1661, August 14, 1666. 


In Petticoats and Breeches 

Again we see morality determined by custom. Said 

If a Woman at a merry-making dresses in Man's Clothes, it is 
reckon'd a Frolick amongst Friends, and he that finds too much 
Fault with it is counted censorious: Upon the Stage it is done with- 
out Reproach, and the most Virtuous Ladies will dispense with it 
in an Actress, tho' every Body has a full View of her Legs and 
Thighs; but if the same Woman, as soon as she has Petticoats on 
again, should show her Leg to a Man as high as her Knee, it would 
be a very immodest Action, and every Body will call her impudent 
for it. 11 

The immediate reason for epicene dress on the stage was 
the fact that at the Restoration the two patent companies 
inherited a number of older plays with romantic or comic 
plots involving a girl disguised as a boy. The role of the girl 
was originally designed, of course, to be played by a boy; 
now, with the substitution of women for boys in breeches 
parts, the hackneyed old plots took on new life. Actresses 
discovered a new freedom of movement, an additional oppor- 
tunity for coquetry; dramatists found that the disguise for- 
mula, upon which they thought all the changes had been 
rung, now had a new appeal; and the male playgoer dis- 
covered that women had legs. Whether an actress wore the 
short jackanapes doublet and Rhinegraves of the early Res- 
toration, or the vest, long coat, and knee breeches of a later 
period, or a fantastic Roman toga, "wide-sleev'd, and loosely 
flowing to the knees/' 12 or the Elizabethan doublet and trunk 
hose which remained the stock costume of a page she 
showed her legs. To the Restoration gentleman, accustomed 
to seeing ladies in petticoats and skirts which brushed the 
floor, and only occasionally tantalized by the sight of an 
"ande," or a dancer's "neat silk Leg, and pair of Holland 
Thighs," this was a treat indeed. 

Obviously a successful actress had to have shapely legs. 
As William Mountfort said in the prologue to D'Urfey's The 
Marriage-Hater MatcKd (1692) when his companion, Anne 

u Kaye (ed.), op. '/., Remark P. 

u See the Preface to Flecknoe's Erminia (1661). 


All the King's Ladies 

Bracegirdle, pretended to be ashamed of her appearance in 
boy's clothes, 

That's very strange, faith, since thy Legs are straight; 

For if thou hadst a thousand Lovers here, 

That very Garb, as thou dost now appear, 

Takes more than any Manto we can buy, 

Or wir'd Comode, tho' Cocked Three Stories high. 

Mountfort's judgment is confirmed by Anthony Aston, who 
asserted that modest Anne was "finely shap'd, and had very 
handsome Legs and Feet; and her Gait, or Walk, was free, 
man-like, and modest, when in Breeches." 18 To play breeches 
parts, then, an actress had to have youth (or the appearance 
thereof), a good shape, "handsome Legs and Feet," and the 
ability to walk with a "free, manlike, and modest" gait. A 
good stock of impudence was a help, too. 

From the point of view of the playgoer, we have two com- 
ments on legs by Pepys. On October 28, 1661, he saw a re- 
vival of Glapthorne's Argalus and Parthenia at the Theatre 
Royal, "where a woman acted Parthenia and came afterward 
on the stage in mens clothes, and had the best legs that ever 
I saw, and I was very well pleased with it." Again, at the 
Duke's Theatre on February 23, 1663, he was much taken 
with Moll Davis' appearance "in boy's apparel, she having 
very fine legs, only bends in the hams [knock-kneed?], as I 
perceive all women do" a grudging compliment. 

The players themselves were properly complacent about 
the limbs of their actresses. In the epilogue to Corye's The 
Generous Enemies (1671), Elizabeth Boutel, showing off her 
handsome legs in a page's costume, is made to say, 

As Woman let me with the men prevail, 
And with the Ladies as I look like Male. 
'Tis worth your Money that such legs appear; 
These are not to be seen so cheap elsewhere: 
In short, commend this play, or by this light, 
We will not sup with one of you tonight. 

Since Mrs. Boutel created at least twelve breeches parts 
and no doubt inherited a goodly number as well, we may 



In Petticoats and Breeches 

take it that the legs were very fine indeed and continued to 
be worth the money during her entire stage career, roughly 
1668 to 1695. Another notable male impersonator was Sue 
Mountfort, who, said Gibber, 

While her Shape permitted . . . was a more adroit pretty Fellow 
than is usually seen upon the Stage. . . . People were so fond of see- 
ing her a Man, that when the Part of Bays in The Rehearsal had 
for some time lain dormant, she was desired to take it up, which I 
have seen her act with all the true coxcombly Spirit and Humour 
that the Sufficiency of the Character required. 

Alas, as Mrs. Mountfort grew older she had to give up 
breeches parts because she developed "thick Legs and 
Thighs, corpulent and large Posteriours." 14 It may well be 
that Mary Betterton and Anne Shadwell, both popular in 
breeches parts in their younger days, had to give them up 
because of middle-aged spread. 

No great histrionic ability was needed to play the simplest 
breeches role, that of a love-lorn maiden in disguise. This 
stock character had a lengthy dramatic pedigree, but the 
immediate model seems to have been Bellario in Beaumont 
and Fletcher's ever popular romance, Philaster. Usually the 
romantic girl put on the costume of a page to pursue or serve 
the man with whom she was in love, or to whom she was 
contracted, or by whom she had been seduced or hoped to 
be seduced. Her male disguise could get her into some very 
embarrassing situations: she could be accused of the unlikely 
feats of seduction or rape, for instance; or, as a "pretty boy," 
she could find herself pursued by a lecherous lady or by an 
even more lecherous gentleman of unnatural tastes. Never- 
theless, her responses were always so feminine that some- 
times her girlish face or behavior revealed her sex to others 
in the play (of course the audience knew who she was all 
along). She always got her hero, or, failing him, a handsome 
and handy second lead. 

Any wide-eyed young actress with good legs could play 
this simple role, but it was the forte of "chestnut-man'd" 
Betty Boutel, who was "low of Stature, had very agreeable 

Gibber, I, 167; Aston, II, 313. 


All the King's Ladies 

Features, a good Complexion, but a Childish Look." 15 It is 
very likely that Wycherley tailored his Fidelia in The Plain 
Dealer (1676) to her specifications. Timid, long-suffering 
Fidelia, serving as page to the blustering plain dealer, Cap- 
tain Manley, is forced to act as his procuress with his ex-mis- 
tress Olivia, narrowly escapes the lecherous attentions of 
both Olivia and her husband Vernish (who discovers Fidelia's 
ex), and eventually gets Manley for a husband. The role of 
jrouth and innocence in what was, in effect, a brothel could 
be played only by an actress who looked the first and could 
pretend the second. Others who had this gift were Jane Long, 
Anne Marshall, Charlotte Butler, and Anne Bracegirdle. 

The heroic, or tragic, version of the lovelorn damsel usually 
required an actress of more force. In tragedy the woman in 
breeches was often a sinner who came to a bad end. Her 
love was an all-consuming passion that, frustrated, could 
turn to fiendish fury. The actress had to know how to deliver 
a rant, to handle a sword with some skill, and generally to 
personate a swashbuckling male. Mary Lee (Lady Slingsby), 
particularly effective in such tragic roles, must have been 
anything but an innocent-looking beauty, if we can believe 
a description of her as Bellamira in Lee's Caesar Borgia 

Oh such a skin full of alluring flesh! 
Ah, such a ruddy, moist, and pouting lip; 
Such Dimples, and such Eyes, such melting Eyes, 
Blacker than Sloes, and yet they sparkTd fire. 

One of Mrs. Lee's best breeches parts was Tarpeia in 
Romulus andHersilia (Anon., 1682). For the love of a Sabine 
general, Curtius, Tarpeia betrays a Roman fort to the 
Sabines. Then, when Curtius refuses to marry her, she comes 
to him "in Mans apparel," wounds him with his own sword, 
is wounded in turn by his guards, and escapes to aid the 
Romans in the recapture of the fort. When her treason is 
finally disclosed and her father dooms her to spend the rest 
of her life as a vestal, Tarpeia, overcome by remorse and 
horror, falls on her sword and dies. A character of this kind 



In Petticoats and Breeches 

called for considerable acting skill, strong lungs, and an 
active body, as well as good-looking legs. Mrs. Lee's only 
serious rival in such tragic roles was Elizabeth Barry. 

The most popular, and in some ways the most difficult, 
variety of breeches part was that played by a comedienne. 
In comedy the intention seems to have been, at least in part, 
to poke fun at the extremes of male dress and behavior, so 
that the appeal of the pretty girl in breeches was both sensu- 
ous and comic. When Pepys saw Nell Gwyn in breeches as 
Florimel in Dryden's Secret Love (1667), he wrote ecstatically 
that she had "the motions and carriage of a spark the most 
that ever I saw any man have." Her part, he decided, was 
"the most comicall that ever was made for woman." 16 Dry- 
den's intention is suggested by Florimel's soliloquy as she 
admires herself in a pocket mirror: "Save you, Monsieur 
Florimel! Faith, methinks you are a very jaunty fellow, 
poudrS et adjust^ as well as the best of 'em. I can manage the 
little comb, set my hat, shake my garniture, toss about my 
empty noddle, walk with a courant slur, and at every step 
peck down my head. If I should be mistaken for some cour- 
tier now, pray where's the difference?" Mistaken for a cour- 
tier she is, as she swaggers about the stage mimicking the 
airs of a beau, makes impudent love to Olinda and Sabina, 
and completely fools her lover, Celadon. 

Florimel was the prototype of the mad girl in breeches, a 
comic character which was, in the main, a Restoration inven- 
tion. As succeeding dramatists developed the type, the mad 
girl became increasingly a female rakehell, swaggering, bully- 
ing, fighting, invading taverns and brothels, and making vio- 
lent love to her sisters in petticoats. The ultimate character 
of this kind is Lucia in Southerne's Sir Anthony Love (1690), 
a part written especially for Sue Mountfort. Lucia, an ad- 
venturess, dresses "in Man's attire," sets up as a rich young 
gallant, attracts all the girls within a ten-mile radius, goes 
through a mock marriage with one of them, fights off a homo- 
sexual abb6 who thinks her a "pretty boy," changes to her 
real form long enough to spend a night with a favored lover, 
invades a nunnery to get a wife for said lover, engages in a 

"March 21, May 25, 1667. 


All the King's Ladies 

pitched battie with a band of braves and wins, tricks a fool 
into marrying her, and then bullies him into giving her a 
separate maintenance. Lucia is the complete female libertine. 
In his dedication to the play Southerne wrote: 

I am pleased, by way of thanks, to do [Mrs. Mountfort] that 
public justice in print, which some of the best judges of these per- 
formances, have, in her praise, already done her, in public places; 
that they never saw any part more masterly played: and as I made 
every line for her, she has mended every word for me; and by a 
gaiety and air, particular to her action, turned everything into the 
genius of the character. 

Of course Mrs. Mountfort was unique; in the opinion of con- 
temporaries she was "a Miracle." 17 The other actresses not- 
able for comic breeches parts Betty Boutel, Charlotte 
Butler 3 Betty Currer, and Anne Bracegirdle were all her 

Women in breeches appealed so strongly to the males in an 
audience that many epicene roles were forced into plays, 
sometimes with rhyme but rarely with reason. With an eye 
to profits, the managers dressed their women as men on the 
slightest pretext, employing them for a miscellany of pur- 
poses: to do an after-play dance, to speak a prologue or epi- 
logue, to play a role written originally for a man, or to play 
the part of a boy. As Pepys wrote cynically after seeing Moll 
Davis dance a jig and announce the next day's play at the 
close of Caryl's The English Princess (March 7, 1667), "it 
come in by force only to please the company to see her dance 
in boy's clothes." 

The reason for appointing a woman in breeches to deliver 
a prologue or epilogue was not merely to give everyone a 
"full View of her Legs and Thighs"; the costume provided 
the writer with a subject for risque wit. When Charlotte 
Butler spoke the epilogue to Harris' The Mistakes (1690) "in 
mans cloaths," she was evidently wearing some sort of uni- 
form. She began: 

As Malefactors brought to Execution, 

Have leave t'Harrangue before their Dissolution: 

17 Wells, p. 106. 


In Petticoats and Breeches 

Such favour your poor Criminall beseeches, 
Something to say to justify her Breeches. 
To strut with Feather, Tilter, Lace and Blue, 
I have as good pretence as most of you. 
'Twas time to take this War like Dress in Vogue; 
To guard my Dang'rous Post of Epilogue; 
Where lurching Wits like Rapperees appear: 
And Coward Critique still attacks our Rear. 
I stand your Shot To storm this little Fort, 
Let's see who dares Fve that shall find you sport. 
Damn your French way of shooting on the Stretch, 
Give me the Man bears up and mounts the Breach. 
Entrench'd i* th' Pit you sit securely Rageing, 
You know who'l have the odds in close Engaging. 

The chief reason for casting women in leading roles written 
for men was, of course, to capitalize upon their effectiveness 
in breeches parts. Thus Jane Long played Prince Osiris in 
Settle's Cambyses (1671), Mary Knep and Elizabeth Corbet 
were the mock-heroic Prince Nicholas and King Andrew in 
Duffett's Psyche 'DebaucKd (1675), Mary Lee and Elizabeth 
Barry acted the shepherds Astatius and Philicides in The 
Constant Nymph (Anon., 1677), Sue Verbruggen (Mountfort) 
played Achmet, a eunuch, in Fix's Ibrahim (1696), and Mary 
Kent played Young Fashion in Vanbrugh's The Relapse 
(1696). The practice of casting women in leading male roles 
continued well into the next century. Peg Woffington, an 
actress noted for her promiscuity, was very popular as Sir 
Harry Wildair in Farquhar's comedy by that name: "Once, 
after playing the role, she came into the Green-room and said 
pleasantly, 'In my Conscience! I believe Half the Men in 
the House take me for one of their own Sex/ Another Actress 
reply 'd, 'It may be so, but in my Conscience! the other Half 
can convince them to the contrary/ " 18 

Occasionally, perhaps on the principle that one can't have 
too much of a good thing, a Restoration company produced 
a play with women playing every part. These productions 
seem to have been provocative and therefore popular. On 
October 11, 1664, Pepys heard "what a bawdy loose play" 

18 Chetwood, p. 252. 


All the King's Ladies 

Killigrew's The Parson's Wedding was, as "acted by nothing 
but women at the King's House," and confessed his pleasure 
at the news. In 1672, after the Theatre Royal burned down, 
the King's Company turned for a time to presenting older 
plays "acted by nothing but women/' as a sure means of 
attracting playgoers to their makeshift theatre in Lincoln's 
Inn Fields. At least three plays were so presented: Killi- 
grew's The Parson's Wedding^ Dryden's Secret Love, and 
Beaumont and Fletcher's Philaster. The prologues and epi- 
logues to these, written for the occasion and spoken by Betty 
Boutel, Beck Marshall, and Anne Reeves, all "in Mans 
Cloathes," testify to the provocative intention. There are 
apologies to the ladies in the audience for presenting "Youth 
and Beauty" lacking in virility ("You'd find the cheat in the 
empty Pantaloon"); appeals to the gentlemen to note that 
the actresses' "Legs are no ill sight"; and promises that, 
unlike the boys who played women's roles in the last age, the 
actresses "can hold out women to our Lodgings too." 19 

Not to be completely outdone, the Duke's Company tried 
this device at least once, with a very poor anonymous trage- 
dy, Piso's Conspiracy (1675) perhaps reasoning that only 
novelty and legs could save the play from damnation. An- 
nouncing that the men of the company were tired of heroic 
roles, the speaker of the prologue, a woman in breeches, ad- 
vised her hearers that women were to play the male roles, 
and warned them to 

Expect grave Strut, bag Looks, and thund'ring Speeches, 
From Hero, made up by the Force of Breeches. 
Aye, and a good Shift too; For, under the Rose, 
Whilst we look big by Virtue of our Cloathes, 
And, Hero like, talk what We cannot do, 
We're much such Blusterers as some of you. 

Finally, it seems to have been a fairly common practice to 
assign young actresses to play certain minor roles pages, 
attendants, and the like which ordinarily would have been 

19 Thorn-Drury, pp. 1-5, 19-20, 113, 129. Early in the following century 
Congreve's Love for Love was "acted all by women" at the Haymarket 
Theatre, January 9, 1706, and Settle's Pastor Fido was similarly produced 
at the Dorset Garden Theatre, October 30, 1706 (Genest, II, 347, 355). 


In Petticoats and Breeches 

played by youths. Usually, since these roles were played 
without stage discovery, our only evidence of the casting is 
the appearance of a woman's name after a male part in the 
dramatis personae of a play. Thus, disguised in doublet and 
trunk hose, Anne Reeves played Ascanio, a page, in Dryden's 
The Assignation (1672); Anne Gibbs played Garcia, a page, 
in Otway's Don Carlos (1676); and Betty Allison, in coat, 
vest, and breeches, played "A very young Beau" in Dennis* 
A Plot and No Plot (1697). Perhaps this practice resulted 
more from a chronic shortage of young males than from a 
desire to show off girls' legs. Even so, the actors were often 
suspiciously quick to call attention to the epicene disguise 
and make a virtue of necessity. For example, the role of 
young Hippolito in the Davenant-Dryden version of The 
Tempest (1667) was played by a girl (probably Moll Davis 
or Jane Long). The prologue begged the audience to pity the 
poor players, 

Who by our dearth of Youths are forc'd t'employ 

One of our Women to present a Boy. 

And that's a transformation you will say 

Exceeding all the Magick in the Play. 

Let none expect in the last Act to find, 

Her Sex transform'd from man to Woman-kind. 

What e're she was before the Play began, 

All you shall see of her is perfect man. 

Or if your fancy will be farther led, 

To find her Woman, it must be abed. 

Almost invariably, when an actress dressed in man's 
clothing performed an important plot function, some kind 
of revelation was necessary toward the end of the play. The 
audience, of course, had been aware of her sex all along, but 
the other players, an incredibly stupid lot, had taken her to 
be a page, a youth, or a young gentleman. Eventually in a 
kind of obligatory scene, the actress pulled off her hat and 
periwig at a climactic moment or lost both in a struggle or a 
duel. As she stood there blushing, with her hair about her 
ears, the astounded players raised their hands heavenward 
and called her name or chorused, "A Woman!" 


All the King's Ladies 

The origin of this device is, of course, Elizabethan; for 
example, in Jonson's Epiccene; or The Silent Woman Dau- 
phine "takes off Epicoene's peruke and other disguises" at 
the climax of the comedy. But the Restoration periwig was 
vastly different from the woman's wig worn by a boy actress 
in Jonson's time. Almost universally worn by gentlemen 
after 1660, the periwig was a huge mass of hair, usually 
blonde, closely framing the face and falling in heavy curls on 
the shoulders. Beneath it the wearer kept his head shaved, 
partly for coolness and partly as a protection against lice 
and nits. The actress who donned a periwig for disguise could 
have her own long hair arranged under it for a spectacular 
disclosure. Thus, in Boyle's Guzman (1669), a marriage is 
performed by a woman disguised as a priest. The imposture 
is discovered when "Francisco pulls off her Perruque, and 
her Woman's Hair falls about her ears." Or we have at the 
conclusion of Granville's The She-Gallants (1695) the dis- 
guised girl, Constantia, dragged upon the stage, "her Per- 
ruque off, and her Hair about her Ears." 

Although de-wigging was the commonest discovery device, 
the poets rang the changes on the trick and tried whenever 
possible to remind the audience that, even in breeches, 
actresses were mammals. Discovery could be achieved simply 
by demonstrating this fact. For example, in Behn's The 
Younger Brother (1696), Olivia (Sue Verbruggen) has been 
serving Mirtilla as a page. When she is accused by Prince 
Frederick of having designs on her mistress, Mirtilla "Opens 
Olivia's Bosom, shews her Breasts/' "Ha!" cries the Prince, 
"By Heav'n, a Woman!" Again, in Shadwell's Bury Fair 
(1689), when Philadelphia (Charlotte Butler), who has been 
serving Lord Bellamy as a page, "Swoons and falls down 
upon a chair," Gertrude cries, "Your page is in a swoon, 
Help, help! Open his breast. Oh Heaven! this is a woman!" 
Idiotically, Bellamy and his friend Wildish chorus, "A 

The two discovery devices could be combined into one, as 
in Wycherley's The Plain Dealer (1676), when poor Fidelia, 
captured by Vernish in Olivia's lodgings, confesses that she 


In Petticoats and Breeches 

is a woman. "How!" says Vernish, "a very handsome woman, 
I'm sure then: here are witnesses of it too, I confess (Pulls 
off her peruke and feels her breasts) ." In the search for variants 
upon these two devices, some poets achieved memorable 
results. Noteworthy is the discovery scene in Hopkins* 
Friendship Improvd (1699), in which Princess Locris (Anne 
Bracegirdle), dressed as a man in a helmet and tunic, after 
refusing to duel with Maherbal, the man she secretly loves, 
discloses her sex: 

LOCRIS: Here's my bare Breast, now if thou dar'st, strike here. 
(She loosens her robe a little, her Helmet drops of, and her Hair 

MAHERBAL: O all ye Gods! what Wonders do I see! 

All this indelicate capitalizing on breasts and limbs seems 
to have disturbed no one, either the reformers who attacked 
the stage so bitterly toward the end of the century, or the 
audience, or the actresses so exploited. In fact there is a 
surprising dearth of comment on practices which, to a moral- 
ist, must have seemed outrageous. Probably the reformers 
never committed the mistake of going to the theatre and con- 
tented themselves with reading selected plays and culling 
out choice specimens of verbal obscenity. No doubt most of 
the male playgoers were earthy enough to enjoy the show, 
and the more delicate minded were so inured to it by custom 
as to see no immorality in it. The ladies, of course, rivaled 
the actresses in their display of bosoms and shoulders. As 
for their attitude toward epicene garb, we Jtave Mande- 
ville's word for it that "the most Virtuous Ladies will dis- 
pense with it in an Actress." 

One would hardly expect the actresses themselves to com- 
plain about having to appear in breeches, or in petticoats 
"undrest . . . loosely to the Winds." 20 Most of them were 
made of playhouse flesh and blood, and they were encour- 
aged by managers and spectators alike to display themselves 
provocatively. Even the great Doctor Samuel Johnson was 
not immune to their attractions. In 1750, while his Irene was 
in rehearsal, Johnson frequented the Green Room and en- 

M Behn, The Rover, Part I (1677), Act V, scene 1. 


All the King's Ladies 

joyed chatting with the players. But at last he "denied him- 
self this amusement, from considerations of rigid virtue," 
saying to Garrick, "I'll come no more behind your scenes, 
David; for the silk stockings and white bosoms of your 
actresses excite my amorous propensities." 21 

* Boswell's Life of Johnson (Oxford, 1904), 1, 135. 


V. The ^Actress a nd the "Play 

In the course of a discussion of stage improvements at the 
time of the Restoration, William Archer remarked, almost 
casually, "But the great step in advance lay, of course, in 
the assignment of female parts to women instead of boys. 
I need not enlarge upon the immense significance of this 
reform/' 1 Too many stage historians have been content to 
make similar airy statements, apparently assuming that the 
substitution of women for boys was a benefit to the theatre 
and a boon to Restoration drama. Only the first of these 
assumptions is correct 

In 1739 Colley Gibber insisted that the early Restoration 
actors had two "critical Advantages" over all other players 
in theatrical history: the first that they spread a feast of 
drama before audiences made hungry by the "so long Inter- 
diction of Plays during the Civil War and the Anarchy that 
followed it," and the second that women replaced boys in 
female roles. 

The Characters of Women on Former Theatres were performed 
by Boys or young Men of the most effeminate Aspect. And what 
Grace or Master-strokes of Action can we conceive such ungain 
Hoydens to have been capable of? ... The additional objects then, 

1 The Old Drama and the New (1923), p. 144. 

All the King's Ladies 

of real, beautiful Women could not but draw a Proportion of new 
Admirers to the Theatre. 2 

The assumption that many male playgoers came to admire 
the women rather than the plays and continued to come to 
gaze hungrily on beauty is supported by Restoration evi- 
dence. In 1671, for example, Edward Howard wrote in the 
Preface to his The Six Days Adventure, "Scenes, Habits, 
Dancing, or perhaps an actress, Take more with Spectators, 
than the best Dramatick Wit." In the epilogue to Shadwell's 
The Libertine (1675), certain promises are made to the gal- 
lants of the pit, among them: 

Item, you shall appear behind our Scenes, 

And there make love with the sweet chink of Guinnies, 

The unresisted Eloquence of Ninnies. 

Some of our Women shall be kind to you, 

And promise free ingress and egress too. 

But if the Faces which we have w'on't do, 

We will find out some of Sixteen for you. 

We will be civil when nought else will win ye; 

We will new bait our Trap, and that will bring ye. 

Again, the prologue to a lost play called Fools Have Fortune 
(ca. 1680) introduced a new actress, Charlotte Butler, with 
these lines: 

'Tis seldom a new play with you prevails, 
But a new woman almost never fails. 
New did I say? Nay though the town before 
Had rumpled, read, & thumb'd her oer & oer, 
But on the stage no sooner she appears, 
But presently the sparks prick up their ears, 
And all in clusters round the scenes betake, 
Like boys about a bush to catch a snake. 8 

And in 1681, at a revival of Lee's Mithridates, Cardell Good- 
man spoke a new epilogue in which, after crying, "Pox on 
this Play-house, 'tis an old tir'd Jade,'* he debated how best 
to please the audience, decided at last that a woman was 
needed, and went off to 

. . . secure the Scene-room and Engage 
Some Toy within to save the falling Stage. 

1 II, 222. 'Collier, p. 202. 

The Actress and the Play 

He returned with beautiful Elizabeth Cox, who had just re- 
joined the King's Company after a long absence and was 
ready with some neatly suggestive verses to save the day, 
the play, and the stage all at once. 

Further evidence of the drawing power of the new women 
is the large number of prologues and epilogues written for 
them to deliver. Sometimes the speaker of one of these 
dramatic appendages is named; sometimes we are told only 
that the speaker was "A Woman"; but even without tags it 
is easy to identify the recitations intended for women by 
their substance and tone. 4 Usually delivered by popular 
actresses (often "in mans cloaths"), they were designed to 
give full scope for coquetry and suggestiveness, so that a 
clever young woman could coax an audience into a good hu- 
mor. Sometimes a poet gave a new actress a chance to call 
attention to her fresh attractions and to the fact that she 
was available for extraprofessional engagements. Sometimes 
a writer built a prologue or epilogue so closely about the 
known personality of the speaker (including the use of her 
name in the lines) that it could not be spoken by anyone else 
without drastic revision. For example, the epilogue to Dry- 
den's Tyrannic Love (1669), spoken by Nell Gwyn, contains 
the following highly personal lines: 

I come, kind gentlemen, strange news to tell ye: 
I am the ghost of poor departed Nelly. . . . 
To tell you true, I walk because I die 
Out of my calling, in a tragedy. 
poet, damned dull poet, who could prove 
So senseless to make Nelly die for love! . . . 
As for my epitaph when I am gone, 
I'll trust no poet, but will write my own: 
"Here Nelly lies, who, though she lived a slattern, 
Yet died a princess, acting in Saint Cattern." 

Of the women who became actresses before 1689, at least 
twenty-six were intrusted with one or more prologues and 
epilogues. Of these Anne Bracegirdle was easily the cham- 
pion, with at least nine prologues and twenty-two epilogues 

4 See Autrey Nell Wiley, "Female Prologues and Epilogues," Publica- 
tions of the Modem Language Association^ XLVIII (1933), 1060-79. 

All the King's Ladies 

to her credit. (Mrs. Barry was runner-up with six prologues 
and twenty-one epilogues.) Of course Anne was not only 
beautiful; as "the Roman tick Virgin" she was a perennial 

From the box-office point of view there can be no doubt 
that the substitution of women for boys was a master stroke. 
Even after the first novelty had worn off, the women con- 
tinued to attract spectators by their acting skills, by their 
beauty, by the often daring display of their persons, and espe- 
cially by their demireputations. Constantly, allusions in pro- 
logues and epilogues reminded the sparks and wits in the pit 
that the women of the theatre were ripe for the picking. For ex- 
ample, in the epilogue to The Conquest of Jerusalem (Part I, 
1677), John Crowne felt constrained to apologize for the 
ostentatious virtue of his heroines, Clarona and Berenice: 

And last, to take away all sad Complaints, 
These Plays debauch our Women into Saints, 
Forgive it in the Plays, and we'll engage 
They shall be Saints no where but on the Stage. 

Since the women who played the two roles were Elizabeth 
Boutel and Rebecca Marshall, both noted Cyprians, this 
was a safe enough promise. 

As creators of character there can be little doubt that the 
new actresses were superior to their juvenile predecessors. Of 
course it was unfair of Gibber to damn so thoroughly the 
boy-actresses of the previous age; he knew nothing about the 
original creators of Shakespeare's great women characters. 
Moreover, he should have remembered young Kynaston, 
who was no "ungain Hoyden," and who, in women's clothes, 
"was clearly," said Pepys, "the prettiest woman in the whole 
house/' 5 Nevertheless, it is inconceivable that a boy, no mat- 
ter how talented, could compete with such gifted mature 
women as the great Mary Betterton, the famous Elizabeth 
Barry, or the accomplished Anne Bracegirdle. The stage life 
of the female impersonator was usually short, and his inter- 
pretation of a character could never be more than super- 
ficially correct. Allardyce Nicoll suggests that the actresses 

January 7, 1661. 


The Actress md the Play 

made possible "a more charming presentation of Shake- 
spearean tragedy and comedy, shedding a fresh light upon 
the Desdemonas and Ophelias of the past." 6 No doubt he is 
right although there is no assurance that the light shed was 
always pure and clear. Certainly the players themselves were 
convinced that the women were more effective than boys. 
In the prologue to Settle's The Conquest of China (1675), 
Mary Lee ("in male attire") is made to say, 

Did not the Boys Act Women's Parts last Age? 

Till we in pitty to the Barren Stage 

Came to Reform your Eyes that went astray, 

And taught you Passion the true English Way. 

Have not the Women of the Stage done this? 

Nay, took all Shapes, and used most means to Please. 

In the main, then, we must agree with Gibber that the 
substitution of women for boys not only made the theatre 
more attractive (at least for a certain kind of playgoer), but 
also made possible "Master-strokes of Action" in the inter- 
pretation of female characters. The advent of actresses was 
indeed a benefit to the theatre. 

But what of dramatic literature? Did the new actresses in- 
fluence the playwrights of the new era, and, if so, was the in- 
fluence good or bad? Did the imagination of the Restoration 
poet body forth the forms of girls unknown, or did he use as 
his models the women of the Court and Town? Or did his 
creative eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, steady at last upon some 
stage Nell, or Anne, or Betty? 

Without information from the Elysian fields it is difficult 
to answer these questions precisely. The advent of women 
on the stage was only one of many factors influencing the 
development of Restoration drama; in addition there were 
Elizabethan, French, and classical influences, the changed 
climate of morality, the new stagecraft, and the tastes of the 
small coterie that dominated the theatres. Nevertheless, the 
introduction of women was a factor of considerable impor- 
tance, and there is reason to believe that the new actresses 
influenced the poets to a greater degree than has been recog- 

F. 71. 


All the King's Ladies 

nized. Regrettably, we must add, their influence was not 
always good, morally or dramatically. 

Before considering the relations of poet and player, we 
must remember that the Restoration poet, like his predeces- 
sors, wrote for stock companies. For twenty-two years after 
the return of Charles II there were two companies in London, 
the King's and the Duke's. Each kept in regular employment 
some eight actresses. For thirteen years, from 1682 to 1695, 
only the United Company, with eight to ten regular ac- 
tresses, presented plays. From 1695 to 1708 two companies 
competed again for the favor of the Town. 

A play submitted for production was read by the actor- 
managers of a company with an eye, first, for profits. Since 
the actresses were stellar attractions, it is obvious that the 
dramatist had to provide roles for as many women as feasible 
and opportunities for those women to exercise their provoca- 
tive arts and display their persons. This constant dwelling 
upon the impurely physical, so apparent in most Restoration 
plays, did not develop immediately after the Restoration. 
The women's roles in plays written in the first three or four 
years could just as well have been played by boys. Probably 
Dryden's The Rival Ladies (1664), with its emphasis on fe- 
male anatomy, led the way to the new era of open impudicity. 

Although an amateur playwright could free-lance and 
offer his play to the theatre of his choice (when there were 
two companies), most of the professionals wrote specifically 
for one company or another, shaping their characters and 
plots to suit the abilities of the chosen players. Some profes- 
sionals were under contract to write for one company only, 
and such contracts were usually enforced. In 1671 Elkanah 
Settle, who had engagements with the Duke's Company, 
thought to better himself by offering his new play, The 
Empress of Morocco, to the King's Company, at that time a 
very able troupe "in the height of Mr. Hart's Health and 
Excellence." But the Duke's players protested, authority 
intervened, and the play went to the contract company. 7 
Did Settle have to revise it to fit it to the actors of the Duke's 

7 4 Narrative Written by E. Settle (1683). 


The Actress and the Play 

Company? Very likely. Gibber informs us that Congreve had 
his Love for Love (1695) all ready for the United Company 
when the Betterton-Barry-Bracegirdle group seceded and 
set up their own theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields. After some 
hesitation the author decided to let his play "take its Fortune 
with those Actors [the seceders]" for whom he had first in- 
tended the parts. 8 Gibber himself had to rewrite his Woman's 
Wit (1697). In his Preface he apologized for certain incon- 
sistencies in the comedy. The reason for these, he said, was 
that while he was writing the first half of the play he was 
engaged (as an actor) by the Lincoln's Inn Fields Company, 
and therefore prepared his characters "to the Taste of those 
Actors." Before he completed the play he returned to the 
Drury Lane Company, "and was then forc'd," he said, "to 
confine the business of my persons to the Capacity of differ- 
ent People." 

Since the famous low comedian Thomas Dogget was then 
a member of the Drury Lane Company, Gibber, "not to miss 
the advantages of Mr. Dogget's excellent Action," wrote a 
part especially for him, which, said the poet, "I knew from 
him cou'd not fail of diverting." Evidently it was a common 
practice to create characters designed to make the most of 
some player's "excellent Action," especially when the player 
had become typed. The famous stage villain Samuel Sand- 
ford initially played villains because he was "Round-shoul- 
der'd, Meagre-fac'd, Spindle-shank'd, Splay-footed, with a 
sour Countenance, and long lean Arms." In the course of 
time he became so completely typed that once when he was 
cast as an honest man and remained virtuous throughout 
the action the audience fairly damned the play, "as if the 
Author had impos'd upon them the most frontless or in- 
credible Absurdity." 9 We can be sure that the playwrights 
took care to fit their creations to the known abilities of 
heroes like Hart and Betterton, heroines like Mrs. Marshall 
and Mrs. Barry, villains like Sandford, and comedians like 
Nokes, Underbill, Leigh, Dogget, Mrs. Leigh, and Mrs. 
Mountfort. Occasionally, if we may judge from one example, 
they even consulted with the player in advance. On May 9, 

8 1, 197. Aston, II, 306; Gibber, I, 133. 


All the Kings Ladies 

1693, Dryden wrote to his friend Walsh describing the play 
he was then preparing for the United Company, Love Tri- 
umphant. "This morning," he concluded, "I had their chief 
Comedian whom they call Solon [Dogget] with me; to con- 
sult with him concerning his own Character: and truly I think 
he has the best Understanding of any man in the Play- 
house/' 10 

All our information leads to the conclusion that playwright 
and player were very closely associated. The poet who had 
had a play produced was given thereafter the freedom of the 
house and entered at any time without paying. One impor- 
tant professional writer, Thomas Shadwell, was married to 
an actress and numbered the chief players of the Duke's 
Company among his friends. A few poets, notably the Earl 
of Rochester, Sir Charles Sedley, John Dryden, and William 
Congreve, chose mistresses from among the actresses. The 
masters of the two original companies, Davenant and Killi- 
grew, were playwrights, as was Sir Robert Howard, a chief 
shareholder in the King's Company. In addition we have a 
long list of playwrights who were also successful actors: 
Betterton, Gibber, Dogget, Haines, Harris, Horden, Jevon, 
Lacy, Medbourne, Mountfort, and Powell (both Otway and 
Lee failed as actors). All these men, of course, knew the 
theatres and the players intimately. 

Poets were not only consulted about the casting of their 
plays; they had what amounted to veto power, even for 
revivals. In her Preface to The Dutch Lover (1673), Aphra 
Behn complained about the ad-libbing of Angel, who played 
the low comedy role of Haunce. Admitting that she had 
known he customarily spoke "a great deal of idle stuff," she 
concluded, "I gave him yet the Part, because I knew him so 
acceptable to most o' th' lighter Periwigs about the Town." 
In the summer of 1684, when the United Company was plan- 
ning revivals of All for Love and The Conquest of Granada, 
Betterton and Dryden discussed the casts for each. The final 
lists were sent to Dryden in the country. He gave his approv- 
al with provisos: "Only Octavia was to be Mrs. Buttler, in 

1 C. E. Ward (ci), The Letters of John *Dryden (1942), p. 54. 


The Actress and the Play 

case Mrs. Cooke were not on the Stage. And I know not 
whether Mrs. Percivall who is a Comedian will do so well for 
Benzayda." 11 

Occasionally we have complaints that the cast was not that 
planned by the author, or that an actor for whom a part was 
designed failed to play it. Mrs. Behn's literary executor as- 
serted in the Preface to her posthumous The Widow Ranter 
(1685) that the play failed because many of the parts were 
"false cast, and given to those whose Tallants and Genius's 
suited not our Author's Intention." In his Preface to 
Cuckolds-Haven (1685), Tate complained that Nokes, for 
whom he had designed the leading role, had been unable to 
play it. To make sure that the reader understood his inten- 
tions, Tate inserted this line in the dramatis personae of the 
printed play: "Alderman Touchstone, intended for Mr. 
Nokes Mr. Percivall." 

On the other hand, we often find prefatory praise for a 
leading actor or actress, sometimes accompanied by the 
smug suggestion that the poet planned the play to give the 
player his big chance. So (to deal only with women) William 
Joyner, in his Preface to The Roman Empress (1670), said 
modestly of the leading character, Fulvia, "If my art has 
fail'd in the writing of it, it was highly recompenc'd in the 
scenical presentation; for it was incomparably acted" by 
Rebecca Marshall. In his dedication to Sir Anthony Love 
(1690), Thomas Southerne gave high praise to Mrs. Mount- 
fort as "the original Sir Anthony," concluding with a double 
boast, "and as I made every line for her, she has mended 
every word for me; and by a gaiety and air, particular to her 
action, turned everything into the genius of the character." 
He was almost as kind to Mrs. Barry when she played Isa- 
bella in The Fatal Marriage (1694): "I made the play for her 
part, and her part has made the play for me." 

The intimate, day-by-day association of poets and ac- 
tresses resulted inevitably in some liaisons. It is not easy to 
determine what effect theatrical love affairs may have had 
on plays, but it is clear that some playwrights wrote parts 
for their favorites. The tradition that pretty Anne Reeves 

"Ibid., p. 24. 


All the King's Ladies 

owed her roles in Dryden's plays to her intimacy with the 
poet is underscored by a passage in Buckingham's The Re- 
hearsal (1672), in which Bayes (Dryden) is made to say of 
Amaryllis (Anne Reeves), "Ay, 'tis a pretty little rogue; I 
knew her face would set off armour extremely; and, to tell 
you true, I writ that part only for her. You must know she 
is my mistress." 

We are on surer ground with two other poets, Thomas 
Otway and William Congreve. It is generally believed that 
Otway, hopelessly besotted with Elizabeth Barry, created 
for her two of the finest characters in Restoration tragedy, 
Monimia in The Orphan (1680) and Belvidera in Venice Pre- 
served (1682), modeling them not so much on the real Mrs. 
Barry as on his passionate idealization of that mercenary 
lady. His loving labors went unrewarded; William Oldys 
commented indignantly that Mrs. Barry "could get bastards 
with other men, though she would hardly condescend to 
grant Otway a kiss, who was as amiable in person and address 
as the best of them." 12 If we can believe the gossips, Congreve 
had better fortune with his inamorata, Anne Bracegirdle, for 
whom he wrote the parts of Cynthia in The Double-Dealer 
(1693), Angelica in Love for Love (1695), Almeria in The 
Mourning Bride (1697), and Millamant in The Way of the 
World (1700), roles that made all possible capital of Mrs. 
Bracegirdle's presumed character and known abilities. 18 

To these examples of playwrights associated with ac- 
tresses we may add Betterton, Mountfort, and Shadwell, all 
married to leading actresses. Conjugal fidelity if not conjugal 
love required these gentlemen to write good parts for their 
respective spouses, and some of the best roles the three 
ladies played were written by their husbands. 

But a poet could write roles for an actress without the 
inspiration of either connubial pride or a tender passion. 
Every major actress had her forte. In the early years of the 
period the audiences enjoyed the impudence of Nell Gwyn, 
the tragic intensity of Rebecca Marshall, the sweet dignity 

U P. 397; R. G. Ham, Otway and Lee (1931), pp. 82-94. 
John C. Hodges, William Congrne, the Man (1941), pp. 43-45, 49-50. 


The Actress and the Play 

of Mary Betterton, the romantic charm of Elizabeth Boutel, 
the whimsical drolleries of Elinor Leigh, and so on. It was 
simply practical good sense for a playwright to exploit the 
known abilities of an actress. Although the stock female 
characters repeated again and again in Restoration drama 
owe their existence to a number of components, certainly not 
the least of those was the actress herself. 

In the King's Company, for example, after the theatres 
reopened in November, 1666, tall, dark, queenly Rebecca 
Marshall became the recognized leading lady. In a sizable 
body of plays, Dryden, Lee, Wycherley, and others made 
capital of her fire and passion. Usually playing opposite her 
was the romantic ingenue, blonde Betty Boutel, who repre- 
sented goodness and chastity in opposition to Mrs. Mar- 
shall's pictures of evil and lechery. Little Betty Boutel, 
"celebrated for the gentler parts in tragedy," 14 usually played 
supporting roles in major productions. Notable paired roles 
for Marshall and Boutel were wicked Lyndaraxa versus 
faithful Benzayda in Dryden's The Conquest of Granada 
(1670-71), lustful Poppea versus chaste Cyara in Lee's Nero 
(1674), lecherous, hypocritical Olivia versus pure, simple 
Fidelia in Wycherley 's The Plain Dealer (1676), and passion- 
ate, cruel Roxana versus soft, mild Statira in Lee's The Rival 
Queens (1677). Marshall and Boutel were typed, and their 
successors (especially Barry and Bracegirdle) conformed in 
the main to the molds created by the two originals. 

Here, then, is a mass of evidence to show that most of the 
Restoration dramatists knew and associated (often intimate- 
ly) with the players, tried in general to fit their plays to the 
capacities of an acting company, chose or helped choose the 
casts for their own plays, sometimes consulted with actors 
during the writing of a play, and wrote parts for actors and 
actresses who were popular, personally favored, or typed. 
Under such conditions, it was almost inevitable that the 
player should influence the playwright. 

The actual process of creation remains, of course, a mys- 
tery, open to conjecture. No dramatist has told us precisely 
how he went about his job. In the writing of heroic or tragic 

1 *Davies,II,404. 


All the King's Ladies 

plays, imagination was highly valued, especially for plays 
dealing with the past. In his dedication prefixed to Lucius 
Junius Brutus (1680) Lee wrote, "When Greece or old Rome 
come in play . . . the Poet must elevate his Fancy with the 
mightiest Imagination, he must run back so many hundred 
Years, [and] take a just Prospect of the Spirit of those Times 
without the least thought of ours." The tragic poet drew a 
character from history or fiction, distilled it in the alembic of 
his imagination, blended the distillate with his knowledge 
of comparable characters in older drama, and modified it by 
his awareness of the player for whom he designed the role. 
The result was a fantastically heightened character, remote 
from reality but theatrically effective. 

The comic poet, on the other hand, prided himself on his 
reportorial accuracy. As Southerne informed his audience in 
the epilogue to The Disappointment (1684), 

In Comedy your little Selves you meet, 
Tis Covent-Garden drawn in Bridges-Street. 

But such statements should be taken with a large grain of 
salt. Restoration comedy was not truly realistic, even 
though at times it caricatured fcpiown personalities. As Al- 
lardyce Nicoll points out, the comic dramatist created real 
characters and situations "freely, always subserving a the- 
atrical purpose." 15 His characters were a blend of journalistic 
observation and his knowledge of comparable characters in 
older plays modified by his awareness of the player for whom 
he was writing. The result was not realism; the mirror held 
up to nature was always distorted by the poet's precon- 

In these creative processes the actress was the new modi- 
fier. The actor merely carried on a consistent tradition of 
conventional acting. The poets of the sixties, watching Hart 
or Mohun at work in the revival of an old play, saw charac- 
ters reproduced much as they had been in the days of Lowin 

"P. 281. 

The Actress and the Play 

and Taylor before the Civil War. 16 But the actresses went 
beyond the roles written for boys and set their own tradition 
of acting. The new playwrights, watching Rebecca Marshall 
or Nell Gwyn in a revived play, saw something new and 
strove to embody it in their own creations. 

Some support for this theory may be found in the history 
of two important stock characters, "the pair of lovers, witty, 
gay, anti-moral and sprightly," 17 who came to dominate 
Restoration comedy. In his Preface to The Sullen Lovers 
(1668), Shadwell describes this pair as "a Swearing, Drink- 
ing, Whoring Ruffian for a Lover, and an impudent, ill-bred 
tomrig for a mistress." No doubt this couple somewhat re- 
sembled people in real life, although attempts to find their 
exact counterparts at the court of Charles II are usually 
pointless. (The argument, for example, that King Charles 
and his famous mistress, Lady Castlemaine, were models for 
the "ruffian" and the "tomrig" is patently ridiculous.) 18 
More important is the fact that the ancestors of the gay 
couple appear in earlier plays; the lines of descent are clear, 
and the fumbling attempts of early Restoration poets to 
bring new life to them are easily discernible. 19 

In large measure the Restoration gay couple owe their 
existence to Charles Hart and Nell Gwyn. Hart, a handsome, 
debonair actor of long experience, played the wild gallant to 
perfection. Nell, who was in her own person "an impudent, 
ill-bred tomrig," was a first-rate comedienne during those 
formative years when the new poets were searching for the 
right vein in comedy. Of the two players it was Nell who 
brought novelty to roles in revived plays. Hart had only to 
play his parts much as he had seen them played when he was 
a boy at the Blackfriars Theatre. Nell, with no acting models 

u See James Wright's "Historia Histrionica" (1699; reprinted in Gibber, 
I, xxiv-xxv). According to Downes (p. 21), Betterton was taught how 
to play Hamlet by Sir William Davenant, who remembered how Taylor 
had played the part at the Blackfriars. 

17 Nicoll, p. 194. Ibid., p. 228. 

"See J. H. Smith, The Gay Couple in Restoration Comedy (1948), 
pp. 3-58. 


All the King's Ladies 

to limit her, could, and evidently did, create new stage 

Hating serious parts, Nell did them very badly, but as a 
comedienne she was supreme. Pepys was constantly aston- 
ished "to think how ill she do any serious part . . . just like 
a fool or changeling; and, in a mad [i.e., comic] part, do be- 
yond all imitation almost." 20 Even as a beginner playing 
small roles she must have made an impression. On April 3, 
1665, Pepys (who had seen her on the stage but not yet met 
and talked with her) called her "pretty, witty Nell." Surely 
by "witty" he meant her gay, inventive style of acting. 

But John Dryden, the most enterprising of the new play- 
wrights, perfected the gay couple. Well-read in drama, fic- 
tion, and history, fully aware of the life about him, intimately 
acquainted with the players of the King's Company, and 
with the team of Hart and Nelly before his eyes as sophisti- 
cated lovers in revived plays and in one or two moderately 
successful new plays, Dryden created the first true pair of 
witty, antimoral lovers in Restoration comedy: Celadon and 
Florimel in Secret Love (February, 1667). For Hart, Celadon 
was, in the main, merely a familiar role; for Nell, Florimel 
was a creation and a triumph. "So great performance of a 
comical part," wrote Pepys on March 2, 1667, "was never, I 
believe, in the world before as Nell do this." That Dryden 
wrote the part especially for Nell is clearly shown by Cela- 
don's description of the masked Florimel, a description that 
agrees precisely with Mrs. Gwyn's authentic portraits: "an 
Oval Face, clear Skin, hazel Eyes, thick brown Eye-brows 
and Hair ... a turned up Nose ... a fiill neather Lip, an 
out-mouth . . . the bottom of your cheeks a little blub, and 
two dimples when you smile; for your stature 'tis well 
[enough], and for your wit 'twas given you by one that knew 
it had been thrown away upon an ill face." The one who gave 
the wit was not God but John Dryden. 

In subsequent comedies Hart and Nelly continued to 
shine as the model gay couple: as Philidor and Mirida in 
James Howard's All Mistaken (ca. September, 1667); proba- 
bly as Wildish and Olivia in Sedley's The Mulberry Garden 

December 27, 1667. 


The Actress and the Play 

(May, 1668); and certainly as Wildblood and Jacintha in 
Dryden's An Evening's Love (June, 1668). By 1669, when 
Nell left the stage to become the King's mistress, the pattern 
of the gay couple was firmly established. Had it not been 
for Ndl Gwyn, it might have been something very different. 

For further evidence that the new actresses strongly af- 
fected the work of the playwrights we may glance briefly at 
the Restoration practice of altering and adapting Elizabe- 
than plays. Stage historians have concluded that older plays 
were altered to make them conform to the classical unities 
or to the vogue for heroic love, to fit them to the new stage- 
craft and make room for scenes, machines, and songs, or, 
sometimes, to modernize and simplify old-fashioned speech. 21 

No one has examined in detail the possibility that at least 
some changes were made to fit an old play to the demands 
of the new actresses. For example, when Davenant altered 
Macbeth (ca. 1664), he greatly increased Lady MacdufFs role. 
Hazdton Spencer has argued that his purpose was to set up 
Lady Macduff as a good woman "a most sanctified dame" 
in opposition to wicked Lady Macbeth. 22 Allardyce Nicoll 
suggests on the contrary that "Lady MacdufPs part is enor- 
mously lengthened, purely for the sake, apparently, of giv- 
ing opportunity to some rising actress [Jane Long] of the 
Duke's Theatre. " 2S But might not both reasons be equally 

Whenever possible, in almost every major alteration of an 
old play, the adapter either added new roles for women or 
heightened and lengthened the existing ones. Ordinarily, 
male roles were enlarged significantly only when the adapter 
was himself an actor and sought to fatten the part he intend- 
ed to play. (See, for example, John Lacy's alteration of The 
Taming of the Shew as Sauny the Scot [1667], in which Lacy, 
an excellent comedian, played Sauny, and Gibber's alteration 
of Richard III [1699], in which the actor-poet played 
Richard.) But usually there were only three or four roles for 
women in older plays, and of these one or two were often only 

* See A. C. Sprague, Beaumont and Fletcher on the Restoration Stage 
(1926); and Hazelton Spencer, Shakespeare Improved (1927). 

Spencer, p. 195. P. 176. 


All the King's Ladies 

bit parts. Moreover the roles written to be played by boy- 
actresses were frequently inadequate for popular leading 
ladies or unsuited to women who had become typed in stock 
roles. These were matters which any good theatrical crafts- 
man had to bear in mind when he set about adapting an old 
play for the Restoration stage. He was writing for a company 
employing eight or more rather temperamental women ; theat- 
rical economy demanded that he keep them busy; and there 
was always the ticket seller to remind him that many specta- 
tors paid admission as much to look on beauty bare as to see 
a play. 

Examining a few altered plays from this theatrical point of 
view, we may be able to offer some additional explanations 
for certain changes. For instance, it is no doubt true, as 
Spencer argues, that Shadwell's addition of a love story to 
Shakespeare's Timon (1687) "adds greatly to our interest in 
the central figure" and "exercises throughout the play a uni- 
fying force," 24 but it is also true that it adds two important 
female characters, Evandra (Mrs. Betterton) and Melissa 
(Mrs. Shadwell), plus a maid, Chloe (Mrs. Gibbs). The 
original play had only two bit roles for women; the alteration 
has five roles, two of them major. Similarly, D'Urfey's addi- 
tion of three new women to the original five Amazons in his 
alteration of Fletcher's The Sea Voyage as A Commonwealth 
of Women (1685) was surely motivated by the fact that at 
die time the United Company was rich in talented and beau- 
tiful actresses. Eight handsome women, "all drest in Ama- 
zonian Habits" (probably helmets and knee-length tunics), 
grouped before "a Rosy Bower, placed in the midst of a 
pleasant Country," must have been a sight to behold. Again, 
the only reason Davenant could have for adding a new char- 
acter, the "very young" Viola, to his amalgam of 'Measure for 
Measure and Much Ado about Nothing as The Law against 
Lovers (1662) was that he wanted to introduce little Miss 
Davis, a talented singer and dancer. Pepys saw the play on 
February 18, 1662, and thought it "a good play and well 
performed, especially the little girl's (whom I never saw act 
before) dancing and singing." Finally, when Crowne intro- 

"Qp. f//.,p.286. 


The Actress and the Play 

duced into The Misery of Civil War (1680), a blend of // 
Henry VI and /// Henry VI \ a new character, Lady Elianor 
Butler, he seems to have done so only to create a breeches 
part for Betty Currer, who had very handsome legs. Lady 
Elianor's sole function is to wander about in male attire be- 
moaning the loss of her lover, Edward. 

These are only a few examples of additional roles made 
necessary or desirable by theatrical conditions. In addition 
we have some roles that were obviously altered or enlarged 
for the benefit of a popular actress or for one typed in comic 
or heroic parts. To illustrate, in 1679, when Otway altered 
Romeo and Juliet into a political play, The History and Fall 
of Caius MariuSy he made very considerable changes in the 
plot and reduced the love story to a subplot. The character 
of Romeo (Marius, Jr., played by Smith) was changed very 
little, but Juliet (Lavinia, played by Mrs. Barry) was no 
longer a naive, straightforward child who had "not seen the 
change of fourteen years." She was now sixteen (a mature 
woman by seventeenth-century standards), capable of heroic 
action and given to noble sentiments and ranting speeches 
the kind of speeches for which Mrs. Barry was already 
famous. Here, for example, is Juliet's poignant reaction to 
the death of Romeo in the Capulet tomb: 

What's here? a cup, closed in my true love's hand? 

Poison, I see, hath been his timeless end. 

O churl! drunk all, and left no friendly drop 

To help me after? I will kiss thy lips; 

Haply some poison yet doth hang on them, 

To make me die with a restorative. (Kisses Aim.) 

Thy lips are warm! 

This was too quiet and simple for the extravagant, declama- 
tory style of Mrs. Barry. Here is Lavinia in the same 

He's gone; he's dead; breathless: alas! my Marius. 
A Vial too: here, here has bin his Bane 
Oh Churl! drink all? not leave one friendly Drop 
For poor Lavinia? Yet I'll drain thy Lips. 
Perhaps some welcom Poison may hang there, 
To help me to o'retake thee on thy Journy. 


All the King's Ladies 

Clammy and damp as Earth. Hah! stains of Bloud? 
And a man murther'd? Tis th'unhappy Flamen. 
Who fix their Joys on any thing that's Mortall, 
Let 'em behold my Portion, and despair. 
What shall I doe? how will the Gods dispose me? 
Oh! I could rend these Walls with Lamentation, 
Tear up the Dead from their corrupted Graves, 
And dawb the face of Earth with her own Bowels. 

It is hard to imagine unhappy Juliet entertaining such a 
gruesome notion at that moment. 

By a comparable process, the Duke of Buckingham, in his 
alteration of Fletcher's The Chances (1667), enlarged the role 
of the Second Constantia, a whore, to give scope for the 
audacities of impudent Nell Gwyn in a scene with Charles 
Hart as Don John. Nahum Tate's reason for introducing a 
love affair between Cordelia and Edgar into his alteration of 
King Lear (1681) may have been only (as he said in his Pref- 
ace) "to rectifie what was wanting in the Regularity and 
Probability of the Tale," but the effect, of course, was to 
enlarge Cordelia's part. Tate does not explain why he 
heightened Regan's villainy and gave her a luscious love 
scene with Edmund. No doubt the facts that Mary Lee, long 
the leading tragedienne and villainess of the Duke's Com- 
pany, played Regan, while her ambitious young rival, Eliza- 
beth Barry, played Cordelia, had something to do with the 
terms of the alteration. Again, when the Earl of Rochester 
revised Beaumont and Fletcher's Valentinian in 1676 or 
1677, he increased the lines of Lucina, the victim of Valen- 
tinian's lusts, by one-fourth and so heightened the emotional 
tone of her speeches as to give full play for the passionate 
style of Rebecca Marshall, for whom he designed the part. 
When the play was finally produced in 1685, the part of 
Lucina was played by Mrs. Barry, who inherited Mrs. 
Marshall's roles. 25 These are only samples. A complete re- 
examination of Restoration adaptations of plays by Shake- 

w See the dramatis personae in the manuscript version, British Museum, 
Add. MS. 2869. Montague Summers (The Playhouse of Pepys [1935], 
pp. 290-91) argues that the alteration was first produced at the Theatre 
Royal in 1677-78. There is no proof of this. Rebecca Marshall left the 
Bang's Company in the spring of 1677. 


The Actress md the Play 

speare, Beaumont and Fletcher, Marston, Massinger, 
Brome, and other older dramatists would reveal still more 
female roles heightened or enlarged to fit the needs and 
tastes of the new actresses. 

One more point remains to be considered: was the influence 
of the actress good or bad? Regretfully we must admit that 
it was as good or as bad as the private character of the 
actress. The fact is that, in the small, intimate theatrical 
world, it was difficult for an audience to separate the stage 
character of an actress from her real character. As Elizabeth 
Farley discovered in 1662, there were always some Tartufes 
to protest against an actress playing "all parts of virtue" 
while in a "shameful condition." Ordinary playgoers might 
not protest, but they were certainly aware of the moral char- 
acter of an actress, her past misdeeds and present liaisons, 
and they were quick to see any incongruity between the 
reality and the stage make-believe. As Colley Gibber de- 

The private Character of an Actor will always more or less 
affect his Publick Performance. I have seen the most tender Senti- 
ment of Love in Tragedy create Laughter, instead of Compassion, 
when it has been applicable to the real Engagements of the Person 
that utter'd it. I have known good Parts thrown up, from a humble 
Consciousness that something in them might put an Audience in 
mind of what was rather wish'd might be forgotten: Those re- 
markable Words of Evadne, in The Maid's Tragedy A maiden- 
head, Amintor, at my Years? have sometimes been a much 
stronger Jest for being a true one. 26 

William Chetwood, for many years a prompter, told an anec- 
dote that illustrates Gibber's point: 

I remember a virtuous Actress, or one reputed so [Mrs. Brace- 
girdle], repeating two Lines in King Lear, at her Exit in the Third 

Arm'd in my Virgin Innocence I'll fly, 

My Royal Father to relieve, or die, 

receive a Plaudit from the Audience, more as a reward for her 
reputable Character, than, perhaps, her Acting claim'd; where a 
different Actress [Mrs. Barry] in the same Part, more fam'd for her 



All the King's Ladies 

Stage Performance than the other, at the words Virgin Innocence, 
has created a Horse-laugh (no Reflection on the Audience, since a 
Theatrical Term), and the Scene of generous Pity and Compassion 
at the Close turn'd to Ridicule. 27 

Such audience reactions, while human, were obviously 
unfair. In 1698, when the stage was under fire from a battery 
of reformers, an anonymous writer pointed out that the argu- 
ment that "the actors are generally debauch'd and of lewd 
Conversation" had nothing to do with the merits or demerits 
of the playhouse, because on the stage "they are confined to 
the Poet's language." Therefore (he continued), "If we 
shou'd see Mr. Powel acting a Brave, Generous and Honest 
Part; or Mrs. Knight, a very Modest and Chaste one, it 
ought not to give us Offence; because we are not to consider 
what they are off the Stage, but whom they represent: We 
are to do by them as in Religion we do by the Priest, mind 
what they say, and not what they do." 28 This was all very 
reasonable, but apparently, like most logic, completely 

Now if an audience could not forget that George Powell 
was a profane rip and Frances Maria Knight a harlot, how 
could the playwright? He had to depend upon the players to 
interpret his dramatic creations; he dared ignore their private 
characters no more than their dramatic skills. Perhaps in a 
tragedy, in which the poet's creations were so remote from 
reality as to be completely incredible, it made little difference 
whether the players were saints or sinners, so long as the 
writer avoided those unfortunate lines which could suddenly 
expose the incongruity between stage character and actor 
character and arouse a "Horse-laugh." In so-called realistic 
comedy there was usually no problem : the real character of 
George Powell differed very little from that of the swearing, 
wenching, drinking "fine gentleman" of Restoration comedy, 
and Mrs. Knight, the sinner, was extremely like the sinful 
and would-be sinful heroines. But no dramatist in his right 
mind would have dreamed of writing the realistic character 

27 P. 28. 

** A Letter to A. H. Esq: Concerning the Stage (1698) (Augustan Reprint 
No. 3 [1946], p. 12). 


The Actress and the Play 

of "a Brave, Generous and Honest" man for Powell, or that 
of a "Modest and Chaste" woman for Mrs. Knight. Their 
off-stage personalities were too well known. 

It follows, then, that the lives and characters of the players 
affected the free choice of the playwright. Since most Resto- 
ration actresses were "generally debauch'd, and of lewd Con- 
versation," the female roles available to the playwright were 
distinctly limited. When we remember also that many 
actresses were trivial-minded women, interested in acting 
not as a career but only as a means of displaying their wares 
to prospective buyers, we can only conclude that their chief 
effect on dramatic literature was to push it steadily in the 
direction of sex and sensuality. This is not to blame the 
ladies alone for the general atmosphere of immorality that 
pervades Restoration drama. Their shoulders are too frail 
for that heavy burden. The greater share of the blame must 
be laid upon those forces usually cited: the reaction against 
Puritan morality and restriction, the libertine spirit of Court 
and King, and the general cynicism of an aristocratic coterie 
audience. The actresses afforded the poet models for "impu- 
dent tomrigs," demimondaines, and harlots and by their pro- 
vocative acting underscored his suggestive lines. In short, 
they helped the dramatist to "heap the steaming ordure of 
the stage." 

In summary, then, all available evidence indicates that 
Restoration dramatists, writing for stock companies, created 
characters at least partly designed to capitalize on the draw- 
ing power of attractive women, wrote parts for favored or 
popular women or women typed as stock characters, and 
altered old plays to suit the needs or abilities of stage prima 
donnas. If these statements are true, perhaps we have a par- 
tial explanation for the fact that the Restoration play- 
wrights produced so few female characters comparable with 
the great women's portraits in the Elizabethan gallery. 
Shakespeare's women were the creations of a teeming imagi- 
nation; his poetic pen gave to airy nothing a local habitation 
and a name, and its only limitation was the number of compe- 
tent, well-trained boys available at a given time. His inter- 
preters of female roles were ephemeral and impersonal, and 


All the King's Ladies 

the word was more important than the speaker. But the 
Restoration playwright, working in an age when the speaker 
had become more important than the word, confined by the 
necessity of writing not just for actresses but for a specific 
Nell, Anne, or Betty, and influenced during the creative 
process by the acting styles of those women, had to suit his 
roles to their abilities, their types, and, worst of all, to their 
personal reputations. 


^Appendix *A: The *Ac tresses 

Unless otherwise noted, the information on roles played 
comes from the earliest quarto of each play cited. All dates 
are New Style and are based on Nicoll's "Hand-List of Res- 
toration Plays" (pp. 386-447). 

ARIELL, MRS. (Duke's Company, 1676P-80?). When 
"Little Mrs. Ariell" spoke the epilogue to Behn's AbdeJazar, 
ca. September, 1677, her opening line was, "With late Suc- 
cess being blest, I'm come agen." Her "late Success" must 
have been at least a year earlier, for she concluded: 

Since then I'm grown at least an Inch in height, 
And shall e'er long be full-blown for Delight. 

The epilogue of Otway's Don Carlos, ca. June, 1676, was 
"spoken by a Girl" who may have been Mrs. Ariell, since 
much is made of her extreme youth. No doubt she was only 
nine or ten years old on her first appearance. It is possible 
that Mrs. Ariell played "Fanny, a child of seven Years old," 
in Behn's Sir Patient Fancy, January, 1678. She may also 
have been "the little Girl" who played Cordelio, a page, in 
Otway's The Orphan, ca. March, 1680. Curll (p. 26) assigns 
this part to Anne Bracegirdle, but he is very unreliable. 


All the King's Ladies 

BAKER, FRANCES and KATHERINE (King's Company, 
1677-78). The identities of the two Bakers are so confused 
that it seems best to deal with them together. Since they 
twice appeared together and one was called "Mrs. Baker, 
Jun.," it is likely that they were mother and daughter. The 
Mrs. Baker who played young Parisatis in Lee's The Rival 
Queens, March, 1677, was probably Katherine, the daughter. 
Probably it was Katherine, too, who played Margaret, a 
young girl, in Leanerd's The Country Innocence, ca. March, 
1677. Both Bakers appeared in Chamberlayne's Wits Led by 
the Nose, ca. July, 1677, "Mrs. Baker" (the mother?) playing 
Amazia, a role for a mature woman, and "Mrs. Baker, Jun." 
playing Heroina, a juvenile. "Mrs. Frances Baker," presuma- 
bly the elder, played the mature Alfreda in Ravenscroft's 
King Edgar and Alfreda, ca. October, 1677. In the same play 
"Mrs. Katherine Baker" played young Hilaria. In all likeli- 
hood it was Katherine who played Jocalin, a juvenile lead, 
and delivered the epilogue in E. Howard's The Man of New- 
market, ca. March, 1678. 

In Ravenscroft's Dame Dobson, June, 1683, the role of 
Mrs. Frances, an old servant, was played by "Mr. Baker." 
This could be an error for Mrs. Baker, probably Frances. The 
Mr. Francis Baker named in the list of actors constituted by 
King James in 1688 (Nicoll, p. 332) seems to have been in 
Ireland at this time. On the London stage he is first listed 
in the dramatis personae of a revival of Rollo, ca. 1685. 

BARRY, ELIZABETH (Duke's, United, Lincoln's Inn 
Fields, and Second United companies, 1674-1709). Mrs. 
Barry, undoubtedy the greatest Restoration actress, was 
born in 1658. According to Curll (pp. 13-17) she was the 
daughter of one Robert Barry, a barrister, who ruined his 
estate fighting for King Charles I. Lady Davenant, a friend 
of the family, took her in, gave her a genteel education, and, 
about 1674, put her on the stage (Downes, p. 35). This, we 
may presume, was Mrs. Barry's own version of her parentage 
and background. Anthony Aston (II, 303) wrote, "She was 
woman to Lady Shelton of Norfolk (my Godmother) when 
Lord Rochester took her on the Stage; where for some Time, 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

they could make nothing of her. She could neither sing nor 
dance, no, not in a Country-Dance." According to Gibber 
(I, 159) she was so unsuccessful that she was discharged at 
the end of the first year. Curll insists that she was rejected 
three times and did not succeed until her lover, the Earl of 
Rochester, gave her private lessons for about six months. 

Her first recorded performance was in the small part of 
Draxilla in Otway's Akibiades, September, 1675. If she ever 
had a period of training with Rochester, it may have been in 
the autumn and winter of 1675-76. Downes (p. 36) asserts 
that she played the major role of Mrs. Loveit in Etherege's 
The Man of Mode, March, 1676, but it is more likely that the 
role was created by Mary Lee and inherited by Mrs. Barry 
after Mrs. Lee's retirement in 1685. Mrs. Barry played 
Theodocia in Rawlins' Tom Essence ', ca. August, 1676; Elvira 
in Ravenscroft's The Wrangling Lovers, ca. September, 1676; 
Constantia in D'Urfey's Madam Fickle, November, 1676; 
Phoenice in Otway's Titus and Berenice and Lucia in the 
accompanying farce, The Cheats of Scapin, ca. December, 
1676; Clorinia in Porter's The French Conjurer, ca. March, 
1677; Hellena, a breeches part, in Behn's The Rover, March, 
1677; Emilia in D'Urfey's A Fond Husband, May, 1677; 
Philisides, a breeches part, in The Constant Nymph (Anon.), 
ca. July, 1677; and Leonora in Behn's Abdelazar, ca. Septem- 
ber, 1677. In December, 1677, she took time out to give birth 
to a daughter, fathered by the Earl of Rochester. She seems 
to have been at the time a prot6ge of Nell Gwyn (Rochester- 
Sarnie Letters, ed. J. H. Wilson [1941], p. 52). 

She returned in the following year to play Mrs. Goodvile 
and the epilogue in Otway's Friendship in Fashion, April, 
1678; Clara, a breeches part, and the epilogue, in Leanerd's 
The Counterfeits, May, 1678; Sophia in D'Urfey's Squire Old- 
sapp, ca. June, 1678; Polyxena, the heroine, in Banks's The 
Destruction of Troy, November, 1678; Cornelia in Behn's The 
Feign' d Curtezans, ca. March, 1679; the epilogue to Behn's 
The Young King, ca. September, 1679; Olivia, a breeches 
part, and the prologue with Nokes and Leigh in D'Urfey's 
The Virtuous Wife, ca. September, 1679; Lavinia and the 
epilogue in Otway's Caius Marius, September, 1679; Mrs. 


All the King's Ladies 

Gripe, a breeches part, and the epilogue in ShadwelTs The 
Woman Captain, September, 1679; Monimia (one of her 
most famous roles) in Otway's The Orphan, March, 1680; 
Lady Dunce in Otway's The Souldiers Fortune, March, 1680; 
Leonora, Queen of Arragon, in Dryden's The Spanish Friar, 
March, 1680; Camilla, a breeches part, and the epilogue 
(Wiley, p. 329) in MaidwelTs The Loving Enemies, ca. March, 
1680; Corina, "the whore," in Behn's The Revenge, ca. June, 
1680; Athenais in Lee's Theodosius, ca. September, 1680; 
Teraminta and the epilogue in Lee's Lucius Junius Brutus, 
December, 1680; Cordelia and the epilogue in Tate's King 
Lear, ca. March, 1681; La Nuche, a courtesan, and the epi- 
logue in Behn's The Rover, Part II, ca. April, 1681; the epi- 
logue with Leigh to ShadwelTs The Lancashire Witches, ca. 
September, 1681 ; The Princess of Cleve in Lee's The Princess 
of Cleve, ca. September, 1681; the epilogue to Behn's The 
False Count, November, 1681; Arabella, the prologue, and 
the epilogue (with others) in Ravenscroft's The London 
Cuckolds, November, 1681; Belvidera (another famous role) 
in Otway's Venice Preserved, February, 1682; Lady Galliard 
and the prologue in Behn's The City Heiress, March, 1682; 
Anna Sullen in Banks's Vertue Betray'd, April, 1682; Mar- 
moutier in Dryden and Lee's The Duke of Guise, November, 

By this time, as Downes (p. 38) says, she had earned the 
name of "Famous Mrs. Barry, both at Court and City." The 
virtual retirement of Mrs. Betterton, and Mrs. Barry's supe- 
riority over Mary Lee (Lady Slingsby) made her the undis- 
puted leading lady of the new United Company. She con- 
tinued to play indefatigably, creating the roles of Porcia, a 
rich widow, in Otway's The Atheist, ca. July, 1683; Fausta in 
Lee's Constantine the Great, November, 1683; Lucina in 
Rochester's Falentinian, February, 1684 (Downes, p. 40); 
Mrs. Fitchow in Brome's The Northern Lass, ca. 1684; Leono- 
ra in Crowne's Sir Courtly Nice, May, 1685 (Downes, p. 40) ; 
Laura in D'Urfey's The Banditti, February, 1686; Lady Ful- 
bank in Behn's The Lucky Chance, ca. December, 1687; Prin- 
cess Oryala in Mountfort's The Injured Lovers, ca. March, 
1688; Barzana and the epilogue in Crowne's Darius, April, 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

1688; Almeyda in Dryden's Don Sebastian, November, 1689; 
Princess Marguerite in Lee's The Massacre of Paris, Novem- 
ber, 1689; Alcmena in Dryden's Amphitryon, October, 1690; 
Orundana in Settle's Distressed Innocence, November, 1690; 
Eugenia in Shadwell's The Scowrers, ca. December, 1690; 
Isabella, the Queen Mother, in Mountfort's King Edward 
III, ca. December, 1690; Dorinda in Mountfort's Greenwich 
Park, April, 1691; Mrs. Friendall and the epilogue in 
Sou theme's The Wives Excuse, December, 1691; Cassandra 
in Dryden's Cleomenes, April, 1692; Lady Subtle in D'Urfey's 
The Marriage Hater Match* d, June, 1692; Fulvia in Crowne's 
Regulus, June, 1692; Queen Eleanor in Bancroft's Henry the 
Second, September, 1692; Lady Malapert and the prologue 
in Southerne's The Maid's Last Prayer, January, 1693; 
Sophronia, a female plain dealer, in D'Urfey's The Richmond 
Heiress, ca. February, 1693; Laetitia and the epilogue in 
Congreve's The Old Bachelor, March, 1693; Lady Touch- 
wood in Congreve's The Double -Dealer, October, 1693; Isa- 
bella in Southerne's The Fatal Marriage, February, 1694; 
Princess Victoria in Dryden's Love Triumphant, March, 1694; 
and Celestina, the villainess, in Settle's The Ambitious Slave, 
March, 1694. 

In 1695 Mrs. Barry was one of the leaders of the group of 
players who revolted against the patentees and organized a 
new company at Lincoln's Inn Fields. She continued to play 
leading roles which called for a mature woman, turning over 
the juvenile leads to Mrs. Bracegirdle. She played Mrs. Frail 
in Congreve's Love for Love, April, 1695; Panthea in Banks's 
Cyrus the Great, ca. December, 1695; Lady Dorimen, a fading, 
lewd woman, in Granville's The She-Gallants, ca. December, 
1695; Lady Testie and the prologue in Dogget's The Country- 
Wake, ca. April, 1696; Princess Homais, the villainess, in 
Manley's The Royal Mischief, ca. April, 1696; Lady Single 
in Motteux's Love's a Jest, June, 1696; Urania, a secondary 
role, in "Ariadne's" She Ventures and He Wins, ca. Septem- 
ber, 1696; the prologue "to Her Royal Highness" for Ravens- 
croft's The Anatomist, ca. November, 1696; Lady Grumble 
in Dilke's The City Lady, January, 1697; Zara, a captive 
queen, in Congreve's The Mourning Bride, February, 1697; 

All the King's Ladies 

Mme de Vandosme and the epilogue in D'Urfey's The In- 
trigues at Versailles, ca. February, 1697; Lady Brute and the 
epilogue with Mrs. Bracegirdle in Vanbrugh's The Provoked 
Wife, May, 1697; Elvira in "The Unfortunate Couple," Act 
IV of Motteux's The Novelty, June, 1697; Bellinda in Fix's 
The Innocent Mistress, ca. June, 1697; Boadicea in Hopkins' 
Boadicea, ca. November, 1697; Chruseis in Granville's 
Heroic Love, ca. December, 1697; Olivia in Fix's The Deceiver 
Deceived, ca. December, 1697; Laura in Motteux's Beauty in 
Distress, ca. April, 1698; Lamira and the epilogue in Trot- 
ter's Fatal Friendship, ca. May, 1698; Queen Catherine in 
Fix's O^ueen Catherine, ca. June, 1698; Armida in Dennis' 
Rinaldo and Armida, ca. November, 1698; Tamira in Gib- 
ber's Xerxes, February, 1699; Adellaida in Fix's The False 
Friend, ca. May, 1699; Semanthe, a mother role, in Hopkins' 
Friendship Improved, November, 1699; Queen of the Scyth- 
ians in Dennis* Iphigenia, December, 1699; Julia in Smith's 
The Princess of Parma, 1699; Mrs. Marwood in Congreve's 
The Way of the World, March, 1700; Favonia and the epi- 
logue in Southerne's The Fate of Capua, ca. March, 1700; 
Artemisa in Rowe's The Ambitious Step-Mother, ca. Decem- 
ber, 1700; Lady Lovetoy iti Burnaby's The Ladies Visiting- 
Lay, ca. January, 1701; Zarrianna in Fix's The Czar of 
Muscovy, ca. March, 1701; Queen of Bayonne in Gildon's 
Love's Victim, ca. April, 1701 ; Princess Leamira in Fix's The 
Double Distress, ca. May, 1701 ; Altemira in Charles Boyle's 
Altemira, ca. December, 1701 ; and Arpasia in Rowe's Tamer- 
lane, ca. December, 1701. 

Now in her forties but still vigorous, Mrs. Barry refused 
to step aside in favor of younger women. She continued to 
play in numerous revivals and created many new characters: 
Lucasia, the heroine, in Centlivre's The Stolen Heiress, De- 
cember, 1702; Leodice in Wiseman's Antiochus the Great, 
1702; Clorinda in The Fickle Shepherdess (Anon.), ca. March, 
1703; Villaretta and the epilogue in Burnaby's Love Betray* d, 
March, 1703; Eugenia in Boyle's As You Find It, April, 1703; 
Calista in Rowe's The Fair Penitent, ca. May, 1703; Issame- 
nea in Oldmixon's The Governour of Cyprus, 1703; Sakia, a 
romantic Huron, in Dennis' Liberty Asserted, February, 1704; 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

Mrs. Clever in Rowe's The Biter, December, 1704; Lady 
Wealthy in Centlivre's The Gamester, ca. January, 1705; 
Clarissa and the epilogue in Vanbrugh's The Confederacy, 
October, 1705; Penelope in Rowe's Ulysses, November, 1705; 
Zelmane, the heroine, in Zelmane (Anon.), 1705. Constantia 
in Trotter's The Revolution of Sweden, February, 1706; Ar- 
canon, an enchantress, in Granville's The British Enchanters, 
February, 1706; Clarinda in Fix's The Adventures in Madrid, 
ca. June, 1706; Almyna in Manley's Almyna, December, 
1706; Phaedra in Smith's Phaedra and Hippolitus, April, 
1707; Princess Rhodogune in Rowe's The Royal Convert, 
November, 1707; Lady Wronglove in Gibber's The Lady's 
Last Stake, December, 1707; and Sultana Valide in Goring's 
Irene, February, 1708. 

The uniting of the two companies in January, 1708, seems 
to have contributed to Mrs. Barry's decision to retire. How- 
ever, she had been off the stage less than a year when she 
was called back to play (and speak the epilogue) in a revival 
of Congreve's Love for Love (April 7, 1709) for Betterton's 
benefit. She played thereafter in various revivals in the sea- 
son of 1709-10. Her final appearance was as Lady Easy in a 
revival of Gibber's The Careless Husband, June 13, 1710 
(Genest, II, 454). She died at Acton on November 7, 1713, 
aged 55. 

According to Anthony Aston (II, 302), "Mrs. Barry was 
middle-siz'd, and had darkish Hair, light Eyes, dark Eye- 
brows, and was indifferently plump." Although Aston insist- 
ed that she was not handsome, "her mouth opening most on 
the Right side, which she strove to draw t'other Way/' the 
gossips all agreed that she was irresistibly attractive to 
men and that her lovers were beyond numbering. They as- 
serted also that she was hard, miserly, mercenary, and 
vicious. Said Tom Brown (III, 39), "Should you lie with her 
all night she would not know you next morning, unless you 
had another five pounds at her service." 

Such evidence must be taken with a grain of salt, and some 
of the statements made about her are demonstrably untrue. 
For instance, Oldys (p. 186) asserted that Mrs. Barry had a 
daughter by Sir George Etherege, who "settled 6 or 7000 


All the King's Ladies 

pounds on her." Probably Etherege never had that much 
money in all his life, and the only child known to be born 
of Mrs. Barry was her daughter by the Earl of Rochester. 

The mixed view of Mrs. Barry is expressed in the following 
passage from Wells, p. 13: 

SULLEN: What think you of the renowned Cleopatra? 

CRITIC: By that Nickname, so unfortunate to poor Anthony, as 
the other has been to many an honest Country Gentleman, I 
shou'd guess whom you mean. 

SULLEN: You take me right. 

CRITIC: In her time she has been the very Spirit of Action every 
way; Nature made her for the delight of Mankind; and till Nature 
began to decay in her, all the Town shar'd her Bounty. 

RAMBLE: I do think that Person the finest Woman in the World 
upon the Stage, and the ugliest Woman off on't. 

SULLEN: Age and Intemperance are the fatal Enemies of Beauty; 
she's guilty of both, she has been a Riotter in her time, but the 
edge of her Appetite is long ago taken off, she still charms (as you 
say) upon the Stage, and even off I don't think so rudely of her as 
you do: Tis true, Time has turn'd up some of her Furrows, but not 
to such a degree. 

The lampoons of the Restoration often touched upon Mrs. 
Barry's private life, sometimes in the foulest possible terms. 
When her daughter died in 1689, the author of "To the most 
Virtuous and most devoted Overkind, Notorious Mad m 
Barry" ("Choyce Collection," p. 303) offered ironical con- 
solation and suggested: 

Retyre thou Miser from thy Shop the Stage 
Retirement will befit thy Sins and Age: 
The Vitious Treasure thy base ways have gain'd, 
Which for thy Daughters sake was still obtain'd, 
Give to some Pious Use, or thou'lt be damn'd. 

Whatever she may have been in private life, there can be 
no doubt that Mrs. Barry was the greatest actress of her age. 
Gibber (1, 160) admired her extravagantly: 

Mrs. Barry, in Characters of Greatness, had a Presence of ele- 
vated Dignity, her Mien and Motion superb and gracefully 
majestick; her Voice full, dear, and strong, so that no Violence of 
Passion could be too much for her: And when Distress or Tender- 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

ness possessed her, she subsided into the most affecting Melody and 
Softness. In the Art of exciting Pity she had a Power beyond all 
the Actresses I have yet seen, or what your Imagination can 

BATES, MRS. (King's Company, 1678) Mrs. Bates's name 
appears only in the dramatis personae of Leanerd's The 
Rambling Justice ', March, 1678; she had the small part of 
Emilia, daughter of Sir Arthur Twilight. She was probably a 
beginner; to judge by the rest of the cast and the date, this 
was a Lenten play performed by the "young" actors. 

United companies, 1660-94). Evidently one of the first 
women to join Davenant's company, Mary Saunderson may 
have been the first regular English actress. However, her first 
known role was as lanthe in Davenant's The Siege oj 'Rhodes, 
Parts I and II, June, 1661. Downes (pp. 21, 22) lists her in 
revivals in 1661 as Ophelia in Hamlet and Juliet in Romeo and 
Juliet. She played also Mrs. Aurelia in Cowley's Cutter of 
Coleman Street, December, 1661 (Downes, p. 25); The 
Duchess in The Duchess ofMalfi (Downes, p. 25; Pepys, Sep- 
tember 30, 1662); and Bellmont in Porter's The Villain, Oc- 
tober, 1662 (Downes, p. 23). 

On December 24, 1662, Thomas Betterton, "of Westmin- 
ster, gent., bachelor, about 30," took out a license to marry 
Mary Sanderson, "of St. Giles, Cripplegate, spinster, about 
25, with the consent of her widowed mother" (London Mar- 
riage Licences, ed. Joseph Foster [1887], col. 123). 

Mrs. Betterton continued playing, creating the roles of 
Porcia in Tuke's The Adventures of Five Hours, January, 1663 
(Downes, p. 22); Pyramena in Stapylton's The Slighted 
Maid, February, 1663; Cesarina in Stapylton's The Step- 
Mother, ca. November, 1663; Queen Catherine in Henry the 
Eighth, December, 1663 (Downes, p. 24); Graciana in 
Etherege's The Comical Revenge, March, 1664 (Downes, p. 
25); Princess Katherine in Boyle's Henry the Fifth, August, 
1664; probably Heraclia in Davenant's The Rivals (Pepys, 
December 2, 1664); and Roxalana in Boyle's Mustapha, 


All the King's Ladies 

April, 1665. No doubt Downes (p. 26) was in error when he 
said that she succeeded Mrs. Davenport in this last role. 

After the Plague and the Fire, Mrs. Betterton played Vir- 
ginia in Betterton's Appius and Virginia, May, 1669 
(Downes, p. 30); Julia in Caryll's Sir Solomon, ca. 1669 
(Downes, p. 30); Queen Parisatis in E. Howard's The Worn- 
ens Conquest, ca. November, 1670; Erminia in Behn's The 
For id Marriage, ca. December, 1670; Lady Lay cock in Bet- 
terton's The Amorous Widow, ca. 1670 (Downes, p. 30); 
Princess Mandana in Settle's Cambyses, ca. January, 1671; 
Serina in E. Howard's The Six Days Adventure, ca. March, 
1671; Empress Laula in Settle's The Empress of Morocco, 
July, 1671; Princess Juliana, a breeches part, and the epi- 
logue (shared) in Crowne's Juliana, August, 1671; Duchess 
Isabella in Crowne's History of Charles the Eighth, November, 
1671; Isabella in Boyle's Mr. Anthony, ca. March, 1672; 
Lucia in Ravenscroft's The Citizen Turn'd Gentleman, July, 
1672; Eugenia in Payne's The Fatal Jealousy, August, 1672; 
Jilt in Shadwell's Epsom Wells, December, 1672 (Downes, 
p. 33); Lady Macbeth in Davenant's Macbeth, February, 
1673; Juliana in Arrowsmith's The Reformation, September, 
1673; Aphelia in Settle's Love and Revenge, November, 1674; 
Orunda, Princess of China, in Settle's The Conquest of China, 
May, 1675; Timandra in Otway's Akibiades, September, 
1675; Lady Faddle in Crowne's The Country Wit, January, 
1676; Isabella in Settle's Ibrahim, March, 1676; Bellinda in 
Etherege's The Man of Mode, March, 1676 (Downes, p. 36); 
Amaryllis in Settle's Pastor Fido, ca. December, 1676; Oc- 
tavia in Sedley's Antony and Cleopatra, February, 1677; 
Florinda in Behn's The Rover, March, 1677; Iphigenia, 
Priestess of Diana, in C. Davenant's Circe, May, 1677; Al- 
veria in The Constant Nymph (Anon.), ca. July, 1677; Statira 
and the epilogue in Pordage's The Siege of Babylon, ca. Sep- 
tember, 1677; Florella in Behn's Abdelazar, ca. September, 
1677; Isabella in Behn's Sir Patient Fancy, January, 1678; 
Evandra, the heroine, in Shadwell's Timon of Athens, ca. 
January, 1678; Jocasta in Dryden and Lee's Oedipus, ca. 
November, 1678; Andromache in Banks's The Destruction of 
Troy, November, 1678; Andromache in Dryden's Troilus and 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

Cressida, ca. April, 1679; Lady Grey in Crowne's Misery of 
Civil War,, ca. March, 1680; Elvira in Dryden's The Spanish 
Friar, March, 1680; Pulcheria in Lee's Theodosius, ca. Sep- 
tember, 1680; Lucretia in Lee's Lucius Junius Brutus, De- 
cember, 1680; Eleanor of Glocester in Crowne's Henry the 
Sixth, September, 1681; Elianor, a cheating wife, in Lee's 
The Princess of Cleve, ca. September, 1681; and Camilla in 
D'Urfey's The Royalist, January, 1682. 

After the union of the two companies, Mrs. Betterton 
created only a few new roles and played less frequently in 
her usual romantic roles. At forty-five she had lost much of 
her attractiveness. She played the Queen Mother in Lee's 
The Massacre of Paris, November, 1689; Amalazontha, a 
queen mother, in Brady's The Rape, February, 1692; Crate- 
siclea, a mother part, in Dryden's Cleomenes, April, 1692; 
Wishwell, a bawd, in Southerne's The Maid's Last Prayer, 
January, 1693; and Queen Ximena, a mother part, in Dry- 
den's Love Triumphant, March, 1694. 

In December, 1694, the patentees complained that al- 
though Mrs. Betterton's salary was 50s. a week, "constantly 
pd her in Complem* to M r Betterton," she was almost a dead 
loss to the company, not appearing "in any pts to y e satis- 
faction of y e Audience" (Nicoll, p. 378). She seems to have 
left the stage for good when Better-ton seceded from the 
United Company in 1695. 

Betterton died in April, 1710. Davies (III, 397) remarked 
that Mrs. Betterton, a woman "of a thoughtful and melan- 
choly temper, . . . was so strongly affected with [Betterton's] 
death that she ran distracted, though she appeared rather a 
prudent and constant than a fond and passionate wife. 
They had no children." According to Gibber (1, 162) Queen 
Anne gave Mrs. Betterton a pension. She survived her hus- 
band nearly two years and on April 13, 1712, was buried be- 
side him in Westminster Abbey. 

In her heyday Mrs. Betterton must have been a very 
attractive woman. Dryden described her as Elvira in The 
Spanish Friar (Act I, scene 2) : "She is of a middle stature, 
dark-coloured hair, the most bewitching leer with her eyes, 
the most roguish cast! her cheeks are dimpled when she 


All the King's Ladies 

smiles, and her smiles would tempt a hermit." All contempo- 
raries agree that she was an honorable and generous woman, 
and even the most licentious libelers have nothing to say 
against her. Appropriately, she usually played the roles of 
good women. 

Gibber (I, 162) said of Mrs. Betterton: 

She was, to the last, the Admiration of all true Judges of Nature 
and Lovers of Shakespeare, in whose Plays she chiefly excell'd, and 
without a Rival. When she quitted the Stage several good Actresses 
were the better for her Instruction. She was a Woman of an un- 
blemish'd and sober life, and had the Honour to teach Queen Anne, 
when Princess, the Part of Semandra in [Lee's] Mithridates, which 
she acted at Court in King Charles's time. 

BOUTELL, ELIZABETH (King's, United, and Lincoln's 
Inn Fields companies, 1670-96). Although Downes lists 
"Mrs. BouteT as one of those who "came into the Company 
some few Years after" 1660, and casts her (in presumably 
early revivals) as Estifania in Beaumont and Fletcher's Rule 
a Wife and Have a Wife, Aspatia in their The Maid's Tragedy, 
and Lilia Bianca in Fletcher's The Elder Brother, there are 
no records of her membership in the company until about 
1670. It is very likely that she played the roles cited by 
Downes in later revivals and that he (or Charles Booth) 
remembered her better than her predecessors. 

Probably Mrs. Boutell replaced Mrs. Hughes, who left the 
company in 1669-70. Downes (p. 12) gives Mrs. Hughes the 
role of Theodosia in Dryden's An Evening's Love, June, 1668, 
but the quarto of 1671 has "Mrs. Bowtell" in the part. On 
the other hand Downes (p. 10) gives Mrs. Boutell the role 
of St. Catherine in Dryden's Tyrannic Love, June, 1669, but 
the quarto of 1670 has Mrs. Hughes. No doubt Mrs. Hughes 
created both roles. 

According to Curll (p. 21), "Mrs. Boutel was ... a very 
considerable Actress; she was low of Stature, had very agree- 
able Features, a good Complexion, but a Childish look. Her 
Voice was weak, tho' very mellow; she generally acted the 
young, innocent Lady whom all the Heroes are mad in Love 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

with; she was a Favorite of the Town." She was particularly 
popular in breeches parts. 

Mrs. Boutell played Aurelia, a breeches part, in Joyner's 
The Roman Empress, August, 1670; Benzayda, a breeches 
part, in Dryden's Conquest of Granada, December, 1670- 
January, 1671 ; Christina in Wycherley's Love in a Wood, ca. 
March, 1671; Semina, a breeches part, and the epilogue in 
Corye's The Generous Enemies ', ca. July, 1671; the prologue, 
in breeches, to a revival of Dryden's Secret Love, played 
by women only, spring, 1672 (Thorn-Drury, p. 1); Melan- 
tha, a breeches part, in Dryden's Marriage A-la-Mode, 
April, 1672; Laura in Dryden's The Assignation, ca. Nov- 
ember, 1672; Alcinda and the prologue in Duffett's The 
Spanish Rogue, ca. March, 1673; Clara, a breeches part, in 
Duffett's The Amorous Old Woman, March, 1674; Princess 
Cyara, a breeches part, in Lee's Nero, May, 1674; an epi- 
logue at Oxford, July, 1674; Mrs. Pinchwife, a breeches part, 
in Wycherley's The Country Wife, January, 1675; Rosa- 
linda, a breeches part, in Lee's Sophonisba, April, 1675; Bel- 
linganna in Fane's Love in the Dark, May, 1675; Fidelia, a 
breeches part, in Wycherley's The Plain Dealer, December, 
1676; Clarona in Crowne's The Destruction of Jerusalem, 
January, 1677 (Downes, p. 18); Statira in Lee's The Rival 
Queens, March, 1677; Princess Glorianda in Chamberlayne's 
Wits Led by the Nose, ca. July, 1677; Matilda in Ravenscroft's 
King Edgar and Alfreda, ca. October, 1677; Cleopatra in 
Dryden's All for Love, December, 1677; Semandra in Lee's 
Mithridates, February, 1678; and Cellida in D'Urfey's Trick 
for Trick, ca. March, 1678. 

Although Downes (p. 39) says that Mrs. Boutell was one 
of the "Remnant" of the King's Company taken into the 
United Company, there is no record of her appearance be- 
tween 1678 and 1688. On May 5, 1688, Lord Granville wrote 
to Sir William Leveson that "Mrs. Boute[ll] ... is again 
come upon the stage, where she appears with great applause" 
(HMC, Fifth Report, p. 197). She played Aurelia in D'Urfey's 
A Fool's Preferment, ca. April, 1688; Mrs. Termagant, a 
breeches part, in ShadwelTs The Squire of Alsatia, May, 
1688; Mrs. Fantast in Shadwell's Bury Fair, April, 1689; 


8*3 All the King's Ladies 

Queen Semanthe in Powell's The Treacherous Brothers, Feb- 
ruary, 1690; and Lady Credulous in Crowne's The English 
Frier, March, 1690. 

It is possible that Mrs. Boutell retired from the stage in 
1690; at least her name appears in no more dramatis personae 
until the winter of 1695, when she joined her friends at the 
new theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields. There she played Queen 
Thomyris in Banks's Cyrus the Great, ca. December, 1695; 
Constantia, a breeches part, in Granville's The She-Gallants, 
ca. December, 1695; Francelia in Motteux's Love's a Jest, 
June, 1696; Clara in Harris' The City Bride, ca. March, 
1696; Dowdy, a comic role, in She Ventures and He Wins 
(Anon.), ca. September, 1696; and Estifania in Fletcher's 
Rule a Wife and Have a Wife, ca. 1696 (Genest, II, 122). 
After this she retired permanently. Wrote Curll, "Besides 
what she saved by Playing, the Generosity of some happy 
Lovers enabled her to quit the stage before she grew old." 
Probably she was in her early forties when she retired. 

Perhaps, as Summers suggests (Downes, p. 98), Mrs. 
Boutell was the wife of "Boutell, one of the French musicians 
attached to the Court between 1661-1675." She is referred 
to as a widow in "Lampoons" : 

Betty Bowtall is true to whom she pretends 
Then happy is hee whom she Chuses for freind 
Shee faine would hang out Widdows peak for a signe 
But ther's noe need of Bush where there is so good wine. 

The implications of this are reinforced in later satires. "The 
Session of Ladyes: 1688" (p. 148) dismissed her abruptly as 

"Chesnut-man'd Boutel, whom all the Town F ks." In 

"Satyr on Bent g &c. 1688/9" ("A Choyce Collection," 

p. 301) she is labeled a "Whore" who 

Poor Armstrong's Life betray'd, 
And past upon Maccarty for a Maid. 

BRACEGIRDLE, ANNE (United and Lincoln's Inn Fields 
companies, 1688?-! 707). If the Funeral Book of Westminster 
Abbey is correct, Mrs. Bracegirdle was eighty-five when she 
died on September 12, 1748 (J. L. Chester, Westminster 
Abbey Registers [1869]). If so, she was born in 1663. Because 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

her father, Richard Bracegirdle of Wolverhampton, Stafford- 
shire, was blessed with a large brood of children, he was 
happy to have her brought up in the family of Thomas Bet- 
terton, "whose Tenderness," says Curll (p. 26), "she always 
acknowledges to have been Paternal." Curll adds that "she 
performed the Page in The Orphan [March, 1680] . . . before 
she was six Years old." The "six" could be Curll's slip for 
sixteen, or he could be right about her age. If Anne was at 
least sixteen in March, 1680, we may well wonder that she 
did not embark fully upon her stage career at that time. 
However, she is not listed among the women of any company 
until January 12, 1688 (Nicoll, p. 332). When Gibber joined 
the United Company in 1690, Mrs. Bracegirdle, he said 
(I, 170), "was now but just blooming to her Maturity; her 
Reputation as an Actress gradually rising with that of her 
person." The implication is that in 1690 she was still quite 

Anne's first recorded performance was as young Antelina 
in Mountfort's The Injured Lovers, ca. March, 1688. There- 
after she played a number of ingenue roles. She was Lucia, 
a young girl, in ShadwelTs The Squire of Alsatia, May, 1688; 
the Indian Queen, a breeches part, in Behn's The Widow 
Ranter, ca. November, 1689; Biancha and the prologue in 
Mountfort's The Successful Strangers, ca. December, 1689; 
Marcelia in Powell's The Treacherous Brothers, February, 
1690; Julia in Crowne's The English Frier, March, 1690; 
Rosania and the epilogue in ShadwelTs The Amorous Bigotte, 
spring, 1690; the prologue to Dry den's Amphitryon, October, 
1690; Cleomira in Settle's Distressed Innocence, November, 
1690; Urania in Powell's Alphonso King of Naples, December, 
1690; Charlotte and the prologue in Southerne's Sir Anthony 
Love, December, 1690; Clara in ShadwelTs The Scowrers, ca. 
December, 1690; Maria and the epilogue in Mountfort's 
King Edward III, ca. December, 1690; and Miranda in 
Harris' The Mistakes, ca. December, 1690. 

Apparently Anne inherited Mrs. BoutdTs roles in 1690, 
among them Statira in Lee's The Rival Queens, a part in 
which she became famous. In D'Urfey's The Richmond 
Heiress (Act I, scene 1), ca. February, 1693, Sir Quible says: 


All the King's Ladies 

And Mrs. Bracegirdle, prithee where is she now? . . . Well, I'll 
say she acts Statira curiously. 

From every Pore of him a Perfume falls. 
He kisses softer than a Southern Wind: 
Curls like a Vine, and touches like a God. 

(Speaks this affectedly.) 

Mrs. Bracegirdle's further creations were Mirtilla in 
D'Urfey's Love for Money, ca. December, 1690; Tamira in 
D'Urfey's Bussy D'Ambois, ca. March, 1691; Emmeline and 
the epilogue in Dry den's King Arthur,, May, 1691; Mrs. 
Sightly in Southerne's The Wives Excuse, December, 1691; 
Eurione and the epilogue in Brady's The Rape, February, 
1692; Cleora and the epilogue in Dry den's Cleomenes, April, 
1692; Amidea in Rivers' The Tray for, May, 1692; Phoebe, a 
breeches part, and the prologue with Mountfort in D'Urfey's 
The Marriage Hater Match* d, June, 1692; Rosamond and the 
epilogue in Bancroft's Henry the Second, September, 1692; 
Clara and the prologue in Shadwell's The Volunteers, ca. 
November, 1692; Lady Trickitt and the epilogue in South- 
erne's The Maid's Last Prayer, January, 1693; Fulvia and the 
epilogue in D'Urfey's The Richmond Heiress, ca. February, 
1693; Araminta and the prologue in Congreve's The Old 
Bachelor, March, 1693; Mariana in Wright's The Female 
Vertuosos, ca. April, 1693; Cynthia and the prologue in Con- 
greve's The Double-Dealer, October, 1693; Victoria and the 
prologue in Southerne's The Fatal Marriage, February, 1694; 
Celidea in Dryden's Love Triumphant, March, 1694; Princess 
Clarismunde in Settle's The Ambitious Slave, March, 1694; 
and Marcella in D'Urfey's Don Quixote, ca. August, 1694. 

In the following year Mrs. Bracegirdle was one of the 
players who founded a theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields. In 
Congreve's Love for Love, with which the new company 
opened on April 30, 1695, she played Angelica, the lead, and 
gave the epilogue. Thereafter she played Lausaria in Banks's 
Cyrus the Great, ca. December, 1695; Angelica, a breeches 
part, and the epilogue in Granville's The She-Gallants, ca. 
December, 1695; Mrs. Purslew in Dilke's The Lovers Luck, 
December, 1695; the epilogue to J. Dryden, Jr.'s, The Hus- 
band His Own Cuckold, ca. February, 1696; Flora in Dogget's 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

The Country-Wake, ca. April, 1696; Princess Bassima in 
Manley's The Royal Mischief, ca. April, 1696; Christina in 
Motteux's Love's a Jest, June, 1696; Chariot, a breeches part, 
in "Ariadne's" She Ventures and He Wins, ca. September, 
1696; Princess Almeria and the epilogue in Congreve's The 
Mourning Bride, February, 1697; Duchess de Sanserre in 
D'Urfey's The Intrigues at Versailles, ca. February, 1697; 
Venus in Motteux's The Loves of Mars and Venus, ca. March, 
1697; Bellinda, the prologue, and the epilogue with Mrs. 
Barry in Vanbrugh's The Provok'd Wife, May, 1697; Mrs. 
Beauclair, a breeches part, in Fix's The Innocent Mistress, ca. 
June, 1697; Camilla in Hopkins' Boadicea, ca. November, 
1697; Briseis in Granville's Heroic Love, ca. December, 1697; 
Ariana in Fix's The Deceiver Deceived, ca. December, 1697; 
Placentia and the epilogue in Motteux's Beauty in Distress, 
ca. April, 1698; Felicia in Trotter's Fatal Friendship, ca. 
May, 1698; Isabella in Fix's Queen Catherine, ca. June, 1698; 
Louisa in Fix's The False Friend, ca. May, 1699; Locris, a 
breeches part, in Hopkins* Friendship Improved, November, 
1699; Iphigenia in Dennis' Iphigenia, December, 1699; Al- 
mira and the epilogue in Smith's The Princess of Parma, 
1699; Isabella in Gildon's Measure for Measure, ca. February, 
1700; Mrs. Millamant and the epilogue in Congreve's The 
Way of the World, March, 1700; Amestris and the epilogue 
in Howe's The Ambitious Step-Mother, ca. December, 1700; 
Fulvia, a breeches part, in Burnaby's The Ladies Visiting- 
Day, ca. January, 1701; Guinoenda in Gildon's Love's Vic- 
tim, ca. April, 1701 ; Cytheria in Fix's The Double Distress, 
ca. May, 1701; Portia in Granville's The Jew of Venice, ca. 
May, 1701; Selima and the epilogue in Rowe's Tamerlane, 
ca. December, 1701; Amintas, a breeches part, in The Fickle 
Shepherdess (Anon.), "Play'd all by Women," ca. March, 
1703; Caesario, a breeches part, in Burnaby's Love Betray 9 d, 
March, 1703; Orinda in Boyle's As You Find It, April, 1703; 
Lavinia and the epilogue in Rowe's The Fair Penitent, ca. 
May, 1703; Abra-Mul6 and the epilogue in Trapp's Abra- 
MuU, January, 1704; Irene in Dennis' Liberty Asserted, Feb- 
ruary, 1704; Mariana and the epilogue in Rowe's The Biter, 
December, 1704; Julia and the epilogue in Squire Trelooby, 


All the King's Ladies 

1704; Angelica, a breeches part, in Centlivre's The Gamester, 
ca. January, 1705; Flippante in Vanbrugh's The Confederacy, 
October, 1705; Seman the and the epilogue in Rowe's Ulysses, 
November, 1705; Oriana in Granville's The British En- 
chanters, February, 1706; Phillis in Motteux's The Temple of 
Love, March, 1706; Mrs. Ford in The Merry Wives of Wind- 
sor, April, 1706 (Downes, p. 47); Laura, a breeches part, in 
Fix's The Adventures in Madrid, ca. June, 1706; Lucinda in 
Centlivre's The Platonick Lady, November, 1706; Zoradia in 
Manley's Almyna, December, 1706; Melantha, a breeches 
part, in Gibber's The Comical Lovers; and the Countess of 
Rutland in a revival of Banks's The Unhappy Favourite, 
February 20, 1707 (Genest, II, 365). According to Gibber (I, 
173), "She retir'd from the Stage in the Height of her Favour 
from the Publick, when most of her Cotemporaries whom she 
had been bred up with were declining." She returned to the 
stage only once after The Unhappy Favourite, on April 7, 
1709, when she appeared in Love for Love for Betterton's 
benefit. She died September 12, 1748, and was buried in 
Westminster Abbey. 

Testimonies to Mrs. Bracegirdle's success as an actress 
are legion. She usually played "good" woman roles and was 
notably successful in Shakespearean revivals, especially as 
Desdemona and Ophelia (Hazelton Spencer, Shakespeare 
Improved [1927], pp. 26, 69). She was also an excellent singer. 
According to Downes (p. 45), Crowne's unprinted Justice 
Busy, 1699, was a failure. "However Mrs. Bracegirdle, by a 
Potent and Magnetick Charm in Performing a Song in't; 
caus'd The Stones of the Streets to fly in the Men's Faces.' " 

Aston (II, 305) described her thus: "She was of a lovely 
Height, with dark-brown Hair and Eye-brows, black sparkling 
Eyes, and a fresh blushy Complexion; and, whenever she 
exerted herself, had an involuntary Flushing in her Breast, 
Neck and Face, having continually a chearful Aspect, and a 
fine set of even white Teeth; never making an Exit, but that 
she left the Audience in an Imitation of her pleasant Coun- 


She was much sought after by would-be "keepers," one 
of whom was the vicious Captain Hill who murdered the ac- 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

tor Mountfort in 1692 (Bergman). Presumably successful 
lovers were William Congreve and, after him, Robert Leke, 
third Earl of Scarsdale, who bequeathed her 1,000 in 1708 
(Westminster Abbey Registers). In spite of her popular repu- 
tation for chastity, she was attacked in a number of contem- 
porary lampoons. The attitude of the skeptics is summarized 
in the following passage from Wells (p. 106) : 

RAMBLE: And Mrs. Bracegirdle . . . 

CRITIC: Is a haughty conceited Woman, that has got more 
Money by dissembling her Lewdness, than others by professing it. 

SULLEN: But does that Romantick Virgin still keep up her great 

CRITIC: D'ye mean her Reputation for Acting? 

SULLEN: I mean her Reputation for not acting; you understand 
me . 

CRITIC: I do; but if I were to be sav'd for believing that single 
Article, I cou'd not do it; Tis all, all a Juggle, 'tis Legerdemain; the 
best on't is, she falls into good Hands, and the secrecy of the 
Intrigue secures her, but as to her Innocence, I believe no more on't 
than I believe of John Mandevil. 

BROWN, MRS. (Duke's Company, 1662). Mrs. Brown is 
listed for the role of Dorothea in Parkhurst's translation of 
Ruggles' Ignoramus, November, 1662 (Hotson, p. 214). Her 
name does not appear elsewhere. 

BURROUGHS, MRS. (Duke's Company, 1672-73). Mrs. 
Burroughs played Marina, the second lead, in Ravenscroft's 
The Citizen Turn'd Gentleman, July, 1672. Marina was de- 
scribed as short but "well shaped," with black eyes, "a wide 
mouth," and dimples. Mrs. Burroughs' only other known 
role was as Jacinta, a lead, in Ravenscroft's The Careless 
Lovers, March, 1673. 

BUTLER, CHARLOTTE (Duke's and United companies, 
1680-92). According to Gibber (I, 163), Mrs. Butler, "who 
had her Christian name of Charlotte given her by King 
Charles, was the Daughter of a decay'd Knight, and had the 
Honour of that Prince's Recommendation to the Theatre." 
She sang and danced "to perfection," and in such dramatic 


All the King's Ladies 

operas as Better-ton's The Prophetess, ca. June, 1690, and 
Dryden's King Arthur, April, 1691 (in which she played 
Philidel), "she was a capital and admired performer." She 
had a "sweet-ton'd Voice," and a "naturally genteel Air and 
Sensible Pronunciation." 

The date of her joining the Duke's Company is uncertain. 
Downes (p. 35) listed her with a group who joined about 
1673-74. A "Mrs. Butler" who doubled the roles of Plenty 
and an African woman in Crowne's Calisto, February, 1675, 
is identified as Charlotte by Eleanor Boswell (The Restora- 
tion Court Stage [1932], p. 198). Collier (p. 202) claims that 
Mrs. Butler made her debut in a lost comedy called "Fools 
have Fortune, or Luck's All," ca. 1680, and quotes from the 
prologue, in which her name was marginally inserted (see 
also Downes, p. 221). Unlike most of Collier's quotations, 
this one rings true. 

Mrs. Butler's first recorded appearance at the Duke's 
Theatre was as Serina and the epilogue in Otway's The 
Orphan, March, 1680. Thereafter she played Marinda in 
Behn's The Revenge, ca. June, 1680; Chariot and the epilogue 
in Behn's The City Heiress, March, 1682; the prologue to 
Behn's lost play "Like Father, like Son," 1682 (Wiley, p. 
97); the prologue and possibly Feliciana in Romulus and 
Hersilia (Anon.), August, 1682; Mrs. Clerimont in Ravens- 
croft's Dame Dobson, June, 1683; Lucretia, a breeches part, 
in Otway's The Atheist, ca. July, 1683; and Constance and 
the epilogue in a revival of Brome's The Northern Lass, 1684. 

At about this time she seems to have left the stage to try 
her fortune as a singer. The author of "A Satyr on the 
Players" (p. 292) wrote: 

Fam'd Butlers Wiles are now so common grown 
That by each Feather'd Cully, she is known 
So that at last to save her Tott'ring Fame 
At Music Club she strives to get a Name 
But Mony is the Syren's chiefest Aym. 

She returned to the United Company, playing Sophia in 
Carlile's The Fortune-Hunters, March, 1689; Philadelphia, a 
breeches part, in Shadwell's Bury Fair, ca. April, 1689; 
Statilia, a breeches part, and the epilogue in Powell's The 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

Treacherous Brothers, February, 1690; Airy, a courtesan, in 
Crowne's The English Frier, March, 1690; Levia, a courtesan, 
a breeches part, and the prologue in ShadwelTs The Amorous 
Bigotte, spring, 1690; "Night" in Dryden's Amphitryon, Oc- 
tober, 1690; Floriante, a breeches part, and the epilogue in 
Sou theme's Sir Anthony Love, December, 1690; Astella, a 
breeches part, and the epilogue in Harris* The Mistakes, ca. 
December, 1690; Betty Jiltall and the epilogue with Mount- 
fort in D'Urfey's Love for Money, ca. December, 1690; the 
epilogue in Smith's Win Her and Take Her, 1691; Prince 
Agilmond, a breeches part, in Brady's The Rape, February, 
1692; and La Pupsey and the epilogue in D'Urfey's The Mar- 
riage-Hater Match* d, June, 1692. At this time, according to 
Gibber (I, 165), Mrs. Butler was getting only 40j. a week. 
When her request for 10j. more was refused she went to the 
Dublin Theatre, never to return. 

Mrs. Butler was a handsome, black-eyed brunette (see the 
frequent references to her black eyes in D'Urfey's Love for 
Money). Usually she played only secondary roles, especially 
those calling for singing and dancing. She was often cast as 
a courtesan. In "Satyr on both Whigs and Toryes: 1683" 
(p. 242) we are told that 

Whorwood, whom Butler clapt & made a Chiaux, 
To save his Stake, marry'd, & clapt his Spouse, 

and the author of "The Wedding," ca. 1689 (Harvard MS 
Eng. 633), asks: 

But Butler oh thou Strumpet Termagant 
Durst thou pretend to husband or gallant 
Ev'n to thy owne Profession a disgrace 
To sett up for a Whore with such a face 
Who but an Irish Fool would make this Choice? 

CHILD, ANNE (King's Company, 1666). Mrs. Child's 
name appears only in the Lord Chamberlain's livery warrant 
for June 30, 1666. 

CLOUGH, MRS. (Duke's Company, 1670-73). Mrs. 
dough's first known part was the small role of Isillia in 
Behn's The Forc'd Marriage, ca. December, 1670. She ap- 


All the King's Ladies 

peared also as the Second Lady in E. Howard's The Six Days 
Adventure, ca. March, 1671, and as Hillaria, a breeches part, 
in Ravenscroft's The Careless Lovers, March, 1673. Probably 
she was the "Mrs. Caff" who played Mariana in Arrow- 
smith's The Reformation, September, 1673. 

A passage in "Lampoons" (p. 276) offers a possible clue 
to her career after she left the stage: 

Clough and Jackson yee Whores debaucht by fine Cloathes 

Have a care of returning to packthred in Shoos 

Silly Jackson is poor and has gott a Clapp 

Bloody Clough makes Tarse ware a Cardinalls Capp. 

COOKE, SARAH (King's and United companies, 1677-88). 
Mrs. Cooke seems to have been of humble origin, if we can 
believe the author of "Satyr on the Players" (p. 291) : 

Impudent Sarah thinks she's prais'd by all, 
Mistaken Drab, back to thy Mothers Stall 
And sell there Savin, which thou'st prov'd so well. 

Her first part was the small role of Gillian in Leanerd's 
The Country Innocence, ca. March, 1677. In September of 
that year she was listed among the younger actors with whom 
Charles Killigrew made a new agreement (Hotson, p. 261). 
Thereafter she played a variety of roles: Flora and the pro- 
logue in Leanerd's The Rambling Justice, March, 1678; the 
epilogue to Tate's Richard the Second, December, 1680; Livia 
in D'Urfey's Sir Barnaby Whigg, ca. September, 1681; the 
Countess of Rutland in Banks's The Unhappy Favorite, ca. 
September, 1681; and Semanthe, the heroine, and the epi- 
logue in Southerne's The Loyal Brother, February, 1682. 

For the United Company she played Estiphania in Fletch- 
er's Rule a Wife and Have a Wife, 1682 (Downes, p. 39); the 
epilogue to Dryden and Lee's The 'Duke of Guise, November, 
1682; Serena and the epilogue in Lee's Constantine, Novem- 
ber, 1683; the first and second days' prologues to Rochester's 
Valentinian, February, 1684; Erminia in Southerne's The 
Disappointment, April, 1684; Portia in Julius Caesar, ca. 
1684; Aminta, the lead, in D'Urfey's A Commonwealth of 
Women, ca. August, 1685; Edith in Rollo, ca, 1685; Donna 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

Elvira in D'Urfey's The Banditti, February, 1686; Lady 
Lovemore in Jevon's The Devil of a Wife, March, 1686; 
Elaria and the epilogue in Behn's The Emperor of the Moon, 
ca. March, 1687; Quisaria in Tate's The Island Princess, 
April, 1687; and Leticia in Behn's The Lucky Chance, ca. 
December, 1687. She died in April or May, 1688 (HMC, 
Fifth Report, p. 197). 

Mrs. Cooke was highly regarded as a player, especially for 
romantic or tragic roles. In August or September, 1684, Dry- 
den, writing about the casts for two of his plays to be revived 
in the winter, remarked that in All for Love "Octavia was to 
be Mrs. Buttler, in case Mrs. Cooke were not on the stage," 
a comment that indicates that he thought Mrs. Cooke supe- 
rior to Mrs. Butler for the role (The Letters of John Dry den, 
ed. C. E. Ward [1942], p. 23). On February 27 / March 8, 
1688, evidently after hearing of Mrs. Cooke's illness and 
approaching death, Etherege (p. 337) paid her a backhanded 
compliment when he wrote to a friend, "Sarah Cooke was 
always fitter for a player than for a Mrs., and it is properer 
her lungs should be wasted on the stage than that she should 
die of a disease too gallant for her." Presumably she died of 
a veneral disease. 

CORBETT, MRS. (King's Company, 1675-81). Very little 
is known about Mrs. Corbett; she was unimportant both as 
a player and as a subject for gossip. Downes (p. 8) was prob- 
ably confusing a late with an early cast when he listed her 
as Portia in Julius Caesar, ca. 1669-70. More probably she 
appeared in a revival of that play in December, 1676 (4to, 
1684; Nicoll, p. 346). Her first assured role was Mrs. Dainty 
Fidget in Wycherley's The Country Wife, January, 1675. 
Thereafter she played King Andrew, a breeches part, in Duf- 
fett's Psyche Debauch* d, May, 1675; Melesinda in Dry den's 
Aurenge-Zebe, November, 1675; Narcissa in Lee's Gloriana, 
January, 1676; Monimia in Lee's Mithridates, February, 
1678; Clevly in J. Howard's The Man of Newmarket, ca. 
March, 1678; Sabina in D'Urfey's Trick for Trick, ca. March, 
1678; Gratiana in D'Urfey's Sir Barnaby Whigg, ca. Septem- 
ber, 1681; and the Countess of Nottingham in Banks's The 

All the King's Ladies 

Unhappy Favourite, ca. September, 1681. These were all 
supporting roles. 

It is barely possible that the Mrs. Corbett who was a cous- 
in of Mrs. James Pierce and whom Pepys first met on No- 
vember 9, 1666, later joined the King's Company and became 
Mrs. Corbett the actress. Mrs. Pierce seems to have had a 
wide acquaintance in theatrical circles. 

COREY, KATHERINE (King's and United companies, 
1660-92). In "The humble petition of Katherine Corey," 
March 11, 1689, Mrs. Corey said of herself that "she was 
the first and is the last of all the actresses that were consti- 
tuted by King Charles the Second at His Restauration" 
(A. S. Borgman, "The Killigrews and Mrs. Corey," Times 
Literary Supplement, December 27, 1934). She claimed, fur- 
ther, to have served the Killigrew family faithfully for twen- 
ty-seven years. If she made due allowance for the eighteen- 
month theatrical interregnum, June, 1665, to November, 
1666, this figure agrees well enough with a beginning date 
in the autumn of 1660. 

Although Downes, too, lists her first among Killigrew's 
seven original actresses, her name does not appear either in 
the cast of Flecknoe's Erminia, 1661, or in the Lord Cham- 
berlain's list of comedians for the autumn of 1663. Her name 
("Mrs. Corey") is attached to the role of Mrs. Whitebroth 
in the MS of Wilson's The Cheats, ca. March, 1663, but it may 
have been added some time after the production of that play 
(see Nahm, p. 62). The first reliable contemporary reference 
to her is the appearance of her name ("Core") as Anna, a 
bawd, in the MS of Thomas Killigrew's Thomaso, ca. Novem- 
ber, 1664 (Van Lennep, p. 805). It is possible that Katherine 
Corey was originally tie Katherine Mitchell who was cast 
as Althea, a waiting woman, in Flecknoe's Erminia and was 
listed in the Lord Chamberlain's troupe of comedians for the 
autumn of 1663. Nothing is heard of Mrs. Mitchell after that 

Mrs. Corey was a big woman with a gift for comedy. She 
was popular in a variety of roles, but especially in old women 
parts: scolding wives, mothers, governesses, waiting women, 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

and bawds. Downes (pp. 4r-6) listed her in early revivals of 
old plays as Lady Would-be in Jonson's Volpone, Mrs. Otter 
in Jonson's Epicoene; or The Silent Woman, Arane, the queen 
mother, in Beaumont and Fletcher's A King and No King, 
Abigail in Beaumont and Fletcher's The Scornful Lady, 
Duchess Sophia in Fletcher's Rollo, and Doll Common in 
Jonson's The Alchemist. Her great admirer, Pepys, called her 
only "Doll Common" (December 27, 1666). 

After the reopening of the theatres in November, 1666, 
Mrs. Corey played a large number of roles: Melissa in Dry- 
den's Secret Love, late February, 1667; Cleorin in Boyle's The 
Black Prince, October, 1667; Quisania in The Island Princess, 
November, 1668; Sempronia in Catiline, January, 1669 (im- 
prisoned for imitating Mrs. Harvey; see Pepys, January 15, 
1669); Sophonia in Joyner's The Roman Empress, August, 
1670; Mrs. Joyner, a bawd, in Wycherley's Love in a Wood, 
ca. March, 1671; Julia in Corye's The Generous Enemies, ca. 
July, 1671; Teresa in Duffett's The Spanish Rogue, ca. 
March, 1673; an English Woman in Dryden's Amboyna, ca. 
May, 1673; Strega, the lead, in Duffett's The Amorous Old 
Woman, March, 1674; Agrippina in Lee's Nero, May, 1674; 
Lucy, the maid, in Wycherley's The Country Wife, January, 
1675; Cumana, a priestess, in Lee's Sophonisba, April, 1675; 
Redstreak in Duffett's Psyche Debauch 9 d, ca. May, 1675; 
Widow Blackacre and the epilogue in Wycherley's The Plain 
Dealer, December, 1676; Arane, the queen mother, in Beau- 
mont and Fletcher's A King and No King, ca. 1676; Sysi- 
gambis in Lee's The Rival Queens, March, 1677; a school-mis- 
tress in Ravenscroft's Scaramouche, May, 1677; Octavia in 
Dryden's All for Love, December, 1677; Quickthrift in E. 
Howard's The Man of Newmarket, ca. March, 1678; Begona 
in Southerne's The Loyal Brother, February, 1682; Dame 
Dobson in Ravenscroft's Dame Dobson, June, 1683; Mrs. 
Trainwell in Brome's The Northern Lass, ca. 1683; the Moth- 
er in Southerne's The Disappointment, April, 1684; Mrs. 
Touchstone in Tate's Cuckolds-Haven, ca. June, 1685; Rosel- 
ia, chief of the Amazons, in D'Urfey's A Commonwealth of 
Women, ca. August, 1685; Eugenia in D'Urfey's The Banditti, 
February, 1686; Mopsophil in Behn's The Emperor of the 


All the King's Ladies 

Moon, ca. March, 1687; and Ruth, a governess, in Shadwell's 
The Squire of Alsatia, May, 1688. 

In the early spring of 1689, Mrs. Corey seems to have been 
one of a group of players who planned to form a new com- 
pany under Henry Killigrew. When the project failed, Mrs. 
Corey was refused readmission to the United Company 
(under Charles Killigrew) and was forced to petition the 
Lord Chamberlain, who ordered her reinstated (Nicoll, pp. 
333-34). Thereafter she played Lady Fantast in Shadwell's 
Bury-Fair, April, 1689; Mrs. Flirt in Behn's The Widow 
Ranter, ca. November, 1689; Farmosa in Mountfort's The 
Successful Strangers, ca. December, 1689; Belliza, the bigot, 
in Shadwell's The Amorous Bigotte, spring, 1690; Bromia in 
Dryden's Amphitryon, October, 1690; Doranthe in Settle's 
Distressed Innocence, November, 1690; Priscilla in Shadwell's 
The Scowrers, December, 1690; Crowstich in D'Urfey's Love 
for Money, December, 1690; Teresia, a governess, in D'Ur- 
fey's Bussy UAmbois, ca. March, 1691; Aunt to Dorinda in 
Mountfort's Greenwich Park, April, 1691; Mrs. Teazall in 
Southerne's The Wives' Excuse, December, 1691; Mrs. Bum- 
fiddle in D'Urfey's The Marriage Hater Matched, June, 1692; 
Mother Morossa in Rivers' The Tray tor, May, 1692; and the 
Abbess of Charlton in The Merry Devil of Edmonton, 1692 
(Genest, II, 15). 

In spite of her popularity and long service, to the end of 
her career Mrs. Corey never received more than 30j. a week 
salary (Nicoll, p. 379). The gossips found nothing at all to 
say about her private life. 

COX, ELIZABETH (King's Company, 1671-82). The first 
known part created by Betty Cox was Lydia in Wycherley's 
Love in a Wood, ca. March, 1671. She played thereafter ro- 
mantic parts, which slowly increased in importance: Palmyra 
in Dryden's Marriage A-la-Mode, ca. April, 1672; Violetta in 
Dryden's The Assignation, ca. November, 1672; Constantia 
in Duffett's The Amorous Old Woman, March, 1674; Octavia 
in Lee's Nero, May, 1674; Desdemona in a revival of Othello, 
ca. 1674 (4to, 1687); Sophonisba in Lee's Sophonisba, April, 
1675, and the epilogue at Oxford (Wiley, p. 333); Indamora 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

in Dryden's Aurenge-Zebe, November, 1675; and Panthea in 
a revival of Beamont and Fletcher's A King and No King, 
1676 (4to, 1676). 

She seems to have deserted the theatre some time in 1676. 
Although she was cast for the role of Claudia in the MS 
version of Rochester's Valentinian, ca. 1676 (British Muse- 
um, Additional MS, 2869), there is no evidence that the play 
was performed before February, 1684. At a revival of Lee's 
Mithridates in the autumn of 1681 Mrs. Cox spoke a new 
epilogue (with Goodman), making much of the fact that she 
had just returned to the stage after a protracted absence 
(Wiley, p. 45). However, she created only one new role, 
Artemira in Settle's The Heir ofMorocco y March, 1682, before 
the union of the two companies, and none thereafter. 

There can be little doubt about her off-stage occupation. 
Among those seeking the favor of Apollo in "The Session of 
the Ladies. 1688" was "Lord Lumley's cast player the fam'd 
Mrs. Cox." In "Satire to Julian. 1683" ("A Choyce Collec- 
tion," p. 134) she was said to be the mistress of Cardell 

CROFTS, MRS. (Duke's Company, 1679-81). Mrs. Crofts 
created two waiting woman roles, Teresa in Dryden's The 
Spanish Friar, March, 1680; and Aurelia in Behn's The Rover, 
Part II, ca. April, 1681. 

CURRER, ELIZABETH (Duke's and United companies, 
1675-89). Although Downes (p. 35) listed Mrs. Currer with 
those who joined the Duke's Company ca. 1673-74, her first 
recorded performance was as Alcinda, a small part, in 
Settle's The Conquest of China, May, 1675. Thereafter she 
played Betty Frisque in Crowne's The Country Wit, January, 
1676; and Asteria in Settle's Ibrahim, March, 1676. 

On May 25, 1676, for an unknown reason, the Lord Cham- 
berlain issued a warrant for the arrest of "Mrs. Elisabeth 
Currer, Comoedian at His Royall Highnesses Theatre" (LC 
5, 190, p. 150). She continued playing steadily: Mrs. Had- 
land, a breeches part, and the prologue in Behn's The Coun- 
terfeit Bridegroom, ca. September, 1677; Lady Fancy in 


All the King's Ladies 

Behn's Sir Patient Fancy, January, 1678; Madam Trickle ve 
and the epilogue in D'Urfey's Squire Oldsapp, ca. June, 1678; 
Marcella and the prologue in Behn's The Feign'd Curtezans, 
ca. March, 1679; Jenny Wheadle, a whore, in D'Urfey's The 
Virtuous Wife,, ca. September, 1679; the Queen and the epi- 
logue in Tate's The Loyal General, ca. December, 1679; Lady 
Elianor Butler, a breeches part, in Crowne's Misery of Civil 
War, ca. March, 1680; Ariadne, a breeches part, in Behn's 
The False Count, November, 1681 ; Eugenia and the epilogue 
(with others) in Ravenscroft's The London Cuckolds > Novem- 
ber, 1681; Lady Medler in Mr. Turbulent (Anon.), January, 
1682; Aquilina in Otway's Venice Preserved, February, 1682; 
Diana in Behn's The City Heiress, March, 1682; an un- 
named role in Behn's lost play, "Like Father, like Son," ca. 
1682 (Wiley, p. 98); Mrs. Testy and the prologue in Ravens- 
croft's Dame Dobson, June, 1683; Sylvia in Otway's The 
Atheist^ ca. July, 1683; and Duchess Isabella in Tate's A 
Duke and No Duke, November, 1684. 

It is likely that in 1684 Mrs. Currer joined the Dublin 
company for a time. The author of "A Satyr on the Players," 

Currer ^s time thou wert to Ireland gone 
Thy utmost Rate is here but half a Crown 
Ask Turner if thou art not ftdsom grown. 

She was off the London stage for about five years. She 
returned to play the Widow Ranter, a breeches part, in 
Behn's The Widow Ranter > ca. November, 1689. Apparently 
she then had a quarrel with the management of the United 
Company. The Lord Chamberlain set March 8, 1690, for the 
hearing of a "difference betweene M r Killigrew & M Cur- 
rer" (LC 5, 150, p. 366). Thereafter nothing more is heard 
of her. 

Mrs. Currer's most famous role was Aquilina in Otway's 
Venice Preserved. According to Davies (III, 215), "When 
Leigh and Mrs. Currer performed the parts of doting cully 
and rampant courtezan, the applause was as loud as the tri- 
umphant Tories, for so they were at that time, could 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

DALTON, MRS. (King's Company, 1666). Mrs. Dalton's 
name appears only in the Lord Chamberlain's livery warrant 
for June 30, 1666. 

DAVENPORT, ELIZABETH (King's Company, 1667-69). 
Mrs. Davenport's full name appears in the livery warrants 
for July 22, 1667, and February 8, 1668, and probably she 
was the "Mrs. Davenport" listed in the warrant for October 
2, 1669. She created two small roles: Sabina (a "little, inno- 
cent" girl) in Dryden's Secret Love, February, 1667; and a 
lady in Boyle's The Black Prince, October, 1667. She may 
have been the sister of Frances and Jane Davenport (q.v.). 

DAVENPORT, FRANCES (King's Company, 1664^68). 
Frances Davenport may have been the oldest of three sisters, 
Frances, Elizabeth, and Jane, all of the King's Company. It 
is unlikely that she was related to Hester Davenport, the 
famous "Roxalana" of the Duke's Company. Frances was 
first mentioned by Thomas Killigrew, in November, 1664, 
as "Franki" in the MS cast of his Thomaso, ca. 1665 (Van 
Lennep, p. 805). Her full name is given in three livery war- 
rants. She played the small parts of Flavia, a maid of honor, 
in Dryden's Secret Love, February, 1667, and Valeria, a 
breeches part, in Boyle's The Black Prince, October, 1667. 
On April 8, 1668, Pepys wrote, "The eldest Davenport is, it 
seems, gone from the [King's] house to be kept by somebody; 
which I am glad of, she being a very bad actor." 

It is possible that Mrs. Davenport was the "Fr. Damport" 
(a common spelling of Davenport) who, with her mother, 
also "Fr. Damport," was involved in some complicated in- 
trigues with the Duke of Buckingham and others in the sum- 
mer of 1667 (see J. H. Wilson, A Rake and His Times [1954], 
pp. 83-85). 

DAVENPORT, HESTER (Duke's Company, 1660-62). 
Mrs. Davenport was listed by Downes as one of Dave- 
nant's original actresses. Her birth date is variously given as 
March 2, 1641 (British Museum, Sloane MS. 1684, p. 6) and 
March 23, 1642 (Bodleian Library, Ashmole MS. 243, p. 
194). According to Downes (pp. 20-22) in 1661 she played 


All the King's Ladies 

Roxalana in the second part of Davenant's The Siege of 
Rhodes; Lady Ample in Davenant's The Wits; the Queen in 
Hamlet; and Evandra in Davenant's Love and Honour, 
Pepys (April 2, 1662) implies that she also played Cleora in 
Massinger's The Bondman. From July 3 to July 13, 1661, 
she was with the Duke's players at Oxford, acting at The 
King's Arms (Wood, I, 406). 

Sometime in 1661 or 1662 she went through a form of mar- 
riage with Aubrey de Vere, Earl of Oxford, a widower (Gram- 
mont, II, 54). According to Evelyn her last appearance be- 
fore she left the stage was as Roxalana on January 9, 1662. 
On February 18 and April 12, 1662, Pepys spoke with regret 
of her loss, and on May 19 he wrote that she was "now owned 
by my Lord of Oxford." On January 1, 1663, Pepys was glad 
to see "the old Roxalana" in the chief box at the Duke's 
Theatre, "in a velvet gown, as the fashion is, and very hand- 
some." There is no reliable evidence that she ever returned 
to the stage, although Downes (pp. 22, 26) states that she 
appeared as Camilla in Tuke's The Adventures of Five Hours, 
January, 1663, and as Roxalana in Boyle's Mustapha, April, 

Mrs. Davenport's son by the Earl of Oxford was born 
April 17, 1664 (Bodleian Library, Ashmole MS 243, p. 194) 
and christened May 15 as Aubrey de Vere (Complete Peerage, 
ed. Doubleday et al. [1945], s.v. Oxford). Mrs. Davenport 
seems to have lived obscurely after leaving the stage, but 
perhaps, since Oxford lost most of his money gambling, not 
very well. Although Oxford was scolded in a satire called 
"Men of Honour. 1687" (British Museum, Harleian MS. 
7317, page 158) for 

His spending his estate, marrying his whore, 
Suffering his son to perish at the door, 

the son lived forty-four years. He was buried June 4, 1708, 
as "Aubrey de Vere, Earl of Oxford, from Grays Inn." The 
true Earl of Oxford, his father, died on March 12, 1703. Four 
months later, on July 25, 1703, the marriage of "Dame Hes- 
ter, Countess Dowager of Oxford" to Peter Hoet, of Gray's 
Inn, was recorded. Hoet was buried May 8, 1717, at St. 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

Dionis Backchurch, and "Hester, called Countess of Oxford," 
was buried November 20, 1717, at St. Anne's, Soho. Cf. 
J. H. Wilson, "Lord Oxford's 'Roxalana,' " Theatre Note- 
book, XII (Autumn, 1957), 14-16. 

DAVENPORT, JANE (King's Company, 1667-68). Jane 
was probably the youngest sister of Frances Davenport 
(q.v.). Although her name appears in the livery warrants for 
July 22, 1667, and February 8, 1668, there are no other 
records of her. 

DAVIS or VA7IES, KATHERINE (Duke's and United 
companies, 1681-91). Mrs. Davis' first recorded appearance 
was as Julia, a leading role, in Behn's The False Count, No- 
vember, 1681. Presumably Julia's lover, Don Carlos, was de- 
scribing Mrs. Davis when he said to Julia, "What Eyes you 
have like Heaven blue and charming, a pretty Mouth, neck 
round and white as polisht Alabaster, and a Complexion 
beauteous as an Angel." This beauteous creature seems to 
have played very rarely. Presumably she was the Katherine 
Davies whose name is listed with the band of royal comedians 
constituted by James II on January 12, 1688 (Nicoll, p. 332). 
Her only other known role was as the hoyden Molly in D'Ur- 
fey's Love for Money, ca. December, 1690. 

DAVIS, MARY, or "MOLL" (Duke's Company, 1662-68). 
Mrs. Davis was said to be an illegitimate daughter of Colonel 
Thomas Howard, who became third Earl of Berkshire 
(Pepys, January 14, 1668). It is supposed that she was a 
native of Charlton, near Malmesbury, where the Berkshire 
family had a country seat. Although Downes listed Moll as 
one of Davenant's four "Principal Actresses" in 1660, Pepys, 
who for some time called her simply "the little girl," wrote 
on February 18, 1662, after seeing her as Viola in Davenant's 
The Law against Lovers, that he had never seen her before 
that date. On February 23, 1663, he was pleased to see "the 
little girl dance in boy's apparel" in Stapylton's The Slighted 
Maid. On March 8, 1664, he saw a translation of Corneille's 
Htraclius and commented, "The little girl is come to act very 
prettily, and spoke the epilogue most admirably." Probably 


All the King's Ladies 

Pepys did not learn her name until 1666. On April 17 of that 
year he wrote, "This day I am told that Moll Davis, the 
pretty girl, that sang and danced so well at the Duke's 
House, is dead." The report proved false. 

Mrs. Davis must have been a child when she joined the 
company; as late as March 7, 1667, Pepys was still calling 
her "Miss," a term then applied properly to a child or an 
adolescent girl. She played Violinda in Stapylton's The Step- 
Mother, ca. November, 1663; Aurelia in Etherege's Love in a 
Tub, March, 1664 (Downes, p. 25); Princess Anne in Boyle's 
Henry the Fifth, August, 1664; and the Queen of Hungary in 
Boyle's Mustapha, April, 1665 (Downes, p. 26). She danced 
a jig at the close of Caryll's The English Princess, March, 
1667 (Pepys, March 7, 1667); danced "in a shepherd's 
clothes" in a revival of Shirley's Love Tricks (Pepys, August 
5, 1667); played Mrs. Millisent in Dryden's Sir Martin 
Mar-all, August, 1667 (Downes, p. 28) ; and may have played 
Ariel in the Davenant-Dryden version of The Tempest, 
November, 1667. 

In 1667 Moll played Celania in a revival of Davenant's 
The Rivals and sang "My Lodging It Is on the Cold Ground" 
so charmingly that, as Downes said (p. 24), "notidng after, 
it Rais'd her from her Bed on the Cold Ground, to a Bed 
Royal." On January 11, 1668, Pepys heard that Moll had 
become mistress to King Charles, who had given her a ring 
worth 600 and was furnishing a house for her in Suffolk 
Street. She was still an actress: on February 6, 1668, she 
played Gatty in Etherege's She Won* d If She Cou'd (Downes, 
p. 29). By May 31 Pepys learned that she had left the stage 
and that Mrs. Gosndl had come back "in her room." On 
December 21, 1668, Pepys saw her in a box at the theatre ex- 
changing amorous glances with the King. She returned to the 
boards only once, to sing as "The River Thames" in Crowne's 
Calisto, at court, February, 1675. 

Her daughter, Lady Mary Tudor, was born October 16, 
1673, and was married on August 18, 1687, to Edward, Vis- 
count Radcliffe, later second Earl of Derwentwater. Lady 
Mary was married three times, lived a scandalous life, and 
died at Paris on November 5, 1726. 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

On December 4, 1686, James Paisible, "of St. James, 
Westm r , Gent, Bach r , abt 30, & Mrs. Mary Davis of the 
same, Sp r , abt 25" took out a marriage license (Marriage 
Allegations, Wear-General, ed. G. T. Armytage [1890]). Al- 
though Moll must have falsified her age (she was surely in 
her early thirties), there can be no doubt of her identity. Her 
husband-to-be, James Paisible, French flutist and composer 
(1636-1722) came to England about 1674 (W. J. Lawrence, 
The Musical Antiquary [1910], II, 58). The news of the mar- 
riage was received with mockery by the court wits and 
libders. On May 12/22, 1687, Etherege (p. 206) wrote from 
Ratisbon, "Let me know how Mrs. Hughes has disposed of 
herself; Mrs. Davis has given a proof of the great passion 
she always had for music, and Monsieur Feasible has another 
(guess) bass to thrum than that he played so well upon." 
In "The Session of the Ladies. 1688," Moll, the "natural 
Mother" of Lady Mary Tudor, is refused Apollo's favor be- 
cause "she an old Frenchman had got by the back." In 

"Satyr on Bent g &c. 1688/9" ("A Choyce Collection," 

p. 301), we are told: 

Davis was looking out too for a Hero, 
Weary already of her Pypeing Lero. 
O Peaceable! thy own sad Farewell set, 
And make words to it of thy want of Wit: 
A Fidlers Name alone is Vile We know, 
Must thou then be a Pimp, & Cuckold too ? 

Nevertheless, there is no evidence that the marriage was un- 
happy. The Paisibles seem to have made several trips to 
France, and on January 31, 1698, a license to remain in 
England was granted to "James Paisible and Mary his Wife" 
(CSPD, 1698), presumably necessary because they had 
taken a trip to France since the Act of 1697 "to prevent cor- 
respondence with the late King James" (HMC, House of 
Lords MSS, V, 203-6). Paisible died in April or May, 1722. 

DIXON, MRS. (Duke's Company, 1670-71). Genest (I, 111) 
conjectures that Mrs. Dixon was the daughter of James 
Dixon, a member of the original Duke's Company, and that 
she married Anthony Leigh, the comedian. This is no more 


All the Kings Ladies 

than a double guess. Possibly the notion that she became 
Elinor Leigh is based on the fact that Mrs. Dixon disap- 
peared from the stage just as Mrs. Leigh appeared. Mrs. 
Dixon played Melvissa, a dominating wife, in E. Howard's 
The W omens Conquest, ca. November, 1670; Orinda, a second 
lead, in Settle's Cambyses, ca. January, 1671; Petilla (Mrs. 
Foppering) in E. Howard's The Six Days Adventure, ca. 
March, 1671; Betty, a small role, in Revet's The Town- 
Ships, March, 1671; and Julia, a second lead, in Crowne's 
The History of Charles the Eighth, November, 1671. 

EASTLAND, MRS. (King's Company, 1663-70). Although 
Downes give Mrs. Eastland as one of Killigrew's seven origi- 
nal actresses and her name appears on the Lord Chamber- 
lain's list of "Women Comoedians" for autumn, 1663, it 
appears in no dramatis personae until 1669 and is missing 
from the four livery warrants (1666-69). She may have been 
an occasional player rather than a regular hireling. She 
played the small parts of Cydnon, an attendant, in Dryden's 
Tyrannick Love, June, 1669, and Halyma, a slave, in Dry- 
den's Conquest of Granada, December, 1670-January, 1671. 
"Edward Eastland, Comoedian," who may have been her 
husband, seems to have joined the King's Company about 
1672. On March 14, 1673, Thomas Humphryes petitioned 
against him for a debt of "8 or thereabouts" (LC 5, 189, 
p. 152). He played the small part of Garbato in Duffett's The 
Amorous Old Woman, March, 1674. On January 5, 1678, 
Daniel Meades petitioned against him for a debt of 9 10.T. 
(LC 5, 191, p. 7). 

EVANS, MRS. (Duke's Company, 1678). So far as we know, 
Mrs. Evans played only the very small role of Manto in 
Dryden and Lee's Oedipus, ca. November, 1678. 

FARLEY, ELIZABETH (King's Company, 1660-65). Mrs. 
Farley was usually called Mrs. Weaver and was so listed by 
Downes with Killigrew's seven original actresses and by 
Flecknoe for the role of Erminia in his Erminia, 1661. Pre- 
sumably she was briefly a mistress to King Charles II, ca. 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

1660 (Pepys, January 11, 1668). Thereafter she formed a 
liaison with one James Weaver, of Gray's Inn, which soon 
ended; on January 14, 1662, Weaver petitioned for leave 
to sue her on a bond for 30 (LC 5, 184, p. 41), although she 
was then passing as his wife. In the autumn of 1662 a rather 
confused situation arose. Evidently Secretary Henry Bennet 
had written a letter to Killigrew in Mrs. Weaver's behalf. 
In Killigrew's absence Sir Robert Howard replied, asserting 
that the King and Bennet had been misinformed, that some 
three weeks earlier Mrs. Weaver had "brought in all her 
parts," declaring her intention of leaving the stage. Since 
then she had been discovered to be "shamefully" with child, 
i.e., the marriage with Weaver had been proved false (CSPD, 

A petition against her by Henry Dobson (undated but by 
its position in the Entry Book ca. October, 1662) states that 
"one Eliz: Farley hath gone by the name of Eliz: Weaver 
wife to a gent of Grayes Inne to defraud her creditors and 
now being discovered that she is none of his wife altho she 
hath had a child by him and having no other shift for the 
defrauding of her said creditors but merely being sworne one 
of his Ma ties servants" she persisted in refusing to pay her 
just debts. The petitioner begged leave to "take his course 
at law" for a debt of 11 11 j. 6d. (LC 5, 184, p. 77). 

Evidently she left the stage only briefly. 'On her return she 
continued to call herself Mrs. Weaver. On June 3, 1663, Rob- 
ert Kerby petitioned against her (LC 5, 185, p. 39). On 
August 24, 1663, Robert Toplady was ordered under arrest 
for attaching the goods of "Eliz: Weaver one of His Ma ties 
Comedians" (LC 5, 185, p. 68). Her name, as Farley, appears 
in the Lord Chamberlain's list of players for the autumn of 
1663. David Little and Miles Lovett petitioned against her 
on March 1 and 3, 1664 (LC 5, 185, pp. 135-36). In Novem- 
ber, 1664, Thomas Killigrew cast her ("Wevar") for the role 
of Serulina in his Thomaso (Van Lennep, p. 805). On Febru- 
ary 28, 1665, George Langford and Henry Rook filed sepa- 
rate petitions against her (LC 5, 186, pp. 54, 56). About this 
time she was cast as Silvania in William Killigrew's The 
Seege of Urbin (Bodleian Library, Rawlinson MS. Poet. 29). 


All the King's Ladies 

In April, 1665, she had an important part (probably Alibech) 
in Dryden's The Indian Emperour (Pepys, January 15, 1667). 
On May 19, 1665, Francis Poyntz petitioned against her for 
a debt of 20, and on May 24 Mrs. Anne Hame was granted 
leave to sue her for an unspecified amount (LC 5, 186, pp. 
68, 70). Mrs. Weaver was listed in the livery warrant for 
June 30, 1666, but in none thereafter. 

It is possible that Mrs. Farley returned to the stage from 
time to time under her proper name. A "Mrs. Farlowe" 
played Martha in Wycherley's Love in a Wood, ca. March, 
1671; a "Mrs. F." played Theocrine in Chamberlayne's Wits 
Led by the Nose, ca. July, 1677; "Mrs. Farlee" played Eudoria 
in Leanerd's The Rambling Justice, March, 1678, and a whore 
in D'Urfey's Trick for Trick, March, 1678; and "Mrs. Farlo" 
played Luce in E. Howard's The Man of Newmarket, ca. 
March, 1678. Of course, this could be a different woman, as 
could the "Mrs. Farley" referred to in a verse epistle, "The 
First Letter from B. to Mr. E." ca. 1670 (Rochester's Poems 
on Several Occasions, ed. James Thorpe [1950], p. 77). If the 
subject of these verses was the original Mrs. Farley, the first 
line, "Dreaming last night on Mrs. Farley" (with erotic re- 
sults) suggests that after leaving the stage she became a 
professional fille dejoie. 

FORD, MRS. (Duke's Company, 1671). Mrs. Ford seems to 
have played only the small part of the First Lady in E. 
Howard's The Six Days Adventure, ca. March, 167L 

FRIER, PEG (Duke's Company, 1661). According to Ryan 
(I, 77-78) Mrs. Frier (later Mrs. Vandervelt) had Ibeen "a 
celebrated actress in the reign of Charles II." In a three-act 
farce, Molloy's The Half-Pay Officer, January 11, 1720, a 
compilation from several old plays, she played a role that 
she was supposed to have first played more than fifty years 
earlier, an Old Widow in Davenant's Love and Honour, re- 
vived in October, 1661. Although in 1720 she was eighty-five 
years old, she danced a jig at the end of the play "with the 
nimbleness and vivacity of five-and-twenty, laughing at the 
surprise of the audience, and receiving unbounded ap- 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

plause." According to Genest (III, 42) she acted also Mrs. 
Amlet in a revival of Vanbrugh's The Confederacy on March 
28, 1720, her final appearance on the stage. 

It is likely that Mrs. Frier was the "Pegg" who played 
Nell, a waiting maid in Parkhurst's translation of Ruggles' 
Ignoramus, at court, November 1, 1662 (Hotson, p. 214). 

GIBBS, MRS. (Duke's Company, 1676-78). Mrs. Gibbs, 
possibly a younger sister of Anne Shadwell, played a succes- 
sion of minor roles : Henrietta in Otway's Don Carlos, June, 
1676; Mrs. Essence and the epilogue in Rawlins' Tom Es- 
sence, ca. August, 1676; Beatrice, a maid servant, in Ravens- 
croft's The Wrangling Lovers, ca. September, 1676; Arbella, 
the second lead, in D'Urfey's Madam Fickle, November, 
1676; Clara in Otway's The Cheats of Scapin, ca. December, 
1676; Iras, an attendant, in Sedley's Antony and Cleopatra, 
February, 1677; Clarina in Behn's The Counterfeit Bride- 
groom, ca. September, 1677; Maundy, a waiting woman, in 
Behn's Sir Patient Fancy, January, 1678; Chloe, a maid 
servant, in ShadwelTs Timon of Athens, ca. January, 1678; 
Victoria, the second lead, in Otway's Friendship in Fashion, 
April, 1678; and Flora, a waiting woman, in Leanerd's The 
Counterfeits, May, 1678. 

GILLO, MRS. (Duke's Company, 1675-77). Mrs. Gillo was 
an undistinguished player of small parts: Ardella, a maid, in 
Otway's Alcibiades, September, 1675; Garcia, a page, a 
breeches part, in Otway's Don Carlos, June, 1676; Jacinta, a 
maid, in Ravenscroft's The Wrangling Lovers, ca. September, 
1676; Lucetta, a jilting wench, in Behn's The Rover, March, 
1677; and Cleone, a confidante, in Pordage's The Siege of 
Babylon, ca. September, 1677. Probably Mrs. Gillo was the 
wife of an obscure actor, Thomas Gillo, who was with the 
Duke's Company from 1674 to 1687. 

GOSNELL, WINIFRED (?) (Duke's Company, 1663-?). 
Mrs. Gosnell was the younger of two impoverished but well 
connected sisters who were trained to sing and dance. She 
was Mrs. Pepys's personal maid from December 5 to 9, 1662. 

All the King's Ladies 

On May 28, 1663, Pepys was surprised to see her in Hamlet 
at the Duke's Theatre, probably as an attendant lady. She 
"neither spoke, danced, nor sung," but she looked very 
pretty. The next day Pepys saw her as Pyramena in Stapyl- 
ton's The Slighted Maid, a role created by Mrs. Betterton. 
According to Pepys she "did it very well." She sang a song, 
"Ah, love is a delicate ting" (sic) in Act II of Davenant's 
The Playhouse to be Let, ca. August, 1663 (the only appear- 
ance of her name in the quartos). On September 10, 1664, 
Pepys saw her in Davenant's The Rivals, probably as Cela- 
nia, a role later played by Moll Davis. We hear no more of 
Mrs. Gosnell until July 28, 1668, when Pepys saw her in 
Stapylton's The Slighted Maid and remarked that she "is 
become very homely, and sings meanly, I think, to what I 
thought she did." On June 21, 1669, he saw her in a revival 
of The Tempest and wrote, "but it is ill done by Gosnell, in 
lieu of Moll Davis," who had just left the stage. Thereafter 
Pepys closed his diary, and Mrs. Gosnell disappeared. 

It is quite possible that she remained for years with the 
Duke's Company as an occasional singer and understudy. 
Sybil Rosenfeld has discovered a petition to the Lord Cham- 
berlain, written between 1689 and 1697, in which "Winifred 
Gosnold" stated that she had "belonged to their Ma ts 
Playe[ours] ever since it was a Company, and spent her 
youth in their service by Acting there . . . now they have 
hired other singers and Discharged her." ("Unpublished 
Stage Documents," Theatre Notebook, Vol. II [April-June, 

GWYN, ELLEN (King's Company, 1664-71). Born Febru- 
ary 2, 1650, Nell Gwyn was "brought up in a bawdy-house 
to fill strong waters to the guests" (Pepys, October 26, 1667). 
In her early adolescence she was an orange girl in the 
Theatre Royal and presumably mistress of Charles Hart, 
leading actor of the company. She became an actress at the 
age of fourteen. In November, 1664, Thomas Killigrew cast 
"Ndle" for the small part of Paulina, a courtesan, in his 
Thomaso, ca. 1665 (Van Lennep, p. 805). "Mrs. Nell" was 
later cast for the role of a maid servant, Melina, a breeches 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

part, in Sir William Killigrew's The Seege of Urbin, ca. 1665 
(Bodleian Library, Rawl. MS. Poet. 29). According to 
Downes (p. 5) "Madam Gwin" played Panthea, the heroine, 
in an early revival of Beaumont and Fletcher's A King and 
No King, but it seems more likely that she appeared in a 
later revival, between 1667 and 1670. Downes says also that 
"Mrs. Ellen Gwin" played Cydaria in Dryden's The Indian 
Emperour, ca. April, 1665. This is possible, yet when Pepys 
saw her in that role on August 22, 1667, he implied that she 
had only recently been "put to act the Emperour's daugh- 
ter." The chances are that she played no important roles be- 
fore the closing of the theatres in May, 1665. 

Nell's name appears in all the livery warrants for the 
women of the King's Company. After the reopening of the 
theatres she played Lady Wealthy in a revival of J. Howard's 
The English Monsieur (Pepys, December 8, 1666); Celia in 
Fletcher's The Humorous Lieutenant (Pepys, January 23, 
1667); probably the Second Constantia in Buckingham's The 
Chances, February, 1667; Florimel, a breeches part, and the 
epilogue in Dryden's Secret Love, February, 1667; the epi- 
logue to a revival of Beaumont and Fletcher's The Knight of 
the Burning Pestle, ca. March, 1667 (Thorn-Drury, p. 78): 
probably Samira in a revival of Sir Robert Howard's The 
Surprisal (Pepys, April 8, August 26, 1667); and Mirida in 
J. Howard's All Mistaken, ca. May, 1667 (Pepys, December 
28, 1667). 

During part of the summer of 1667 Nell was temporarily 
off the stage while she was mistress of Charles, Lord Buck- 
hurst; she returned late in August when her lover deserted 
her. She played Flora in a revival of Rhodes' Flora's Vagaries, 
October, 1667 (Pepys, October 5, 1667); Bellario, a breeches 
part, in a revival of Beaumont and Fletcher's Philaster, ca. 
November, 1667 (Nicoll, p. 344; Settle's prologue to Philas- 
ter, 1695); Maria, the prologue (with Mrs. Knep), and the 
epilogue in Sir Robert Howard's The Duke of Lerma, Febru- 
ary, 1668; Angelo, the good angel, in Massinger and Dekker's 
The Virgin Martyr, February, 1668 (J. H. Wilson, "Nell 
Gwyn as an Angel," Notes and Queries, CXCIII [February 
21, 1948], 71-72); possibly Olivia in Sedley's The Mulberry 


All the King's Ladies 

Garden, May, 1668; Jacintha in Dryden's An Evening's Love, 
June, 1668. She was cast as Lysette, a waiting woman, in 
Flecknoe's The Damoiselles a la Mode, September, 1668 (4to, 
1667); spoke the prologue and epilogue to Jonson's Catiline, 
December, 1668; danced in farces with Lacy between the 
acts of Phillips' Horace, January, 1669 (Evelyn, p. 734) 
probably played Pulcheria, a breeches part, in a revival of 
Shirley's The Sisters, ca. April, 1669 (Summers, Essays in 
Petto [1928], pp. 105-10); and played Valeria and the epi- 
logue in Dryden's Tyrannic Love, June, 1669. 

Some time after this Nell left the stage to become the mis- 
tress of King Charles II. Her first son by him, Charles, was 
born in May, 1670. She returned to the stage to play Al- 
mahide and speak the prologue to Dryden's Conquest of 
Granada, December, 1670-January, 1671. Thereafter she 
left the stage for good. For the details of her later life see 
Peter Cunningham, The Story of Nell Gwyn (1852); A. I. 
Dasent, Nell Gwynne (1924); and J. H. Wilson, Nell Gwyn, 
Royal Mistress (1952). 

HALL, ELIZABETH (King's Company, 1664-67). Proba- 
bly Mrs. Hall joined the company some time in 1664. In 
November, 1664, a "Bette" was cast for the role of Kecka, 
a servant, in Thomas Killigrew's Thomaso (Van Lennep, p. 
805); and somewhat later a "Mrs. Bettie" was cast for the 
role of Clara, a maid, in William Killigrew's The Seege of 
Urbin, 1665 (Bodleian Library, Rawl. MS. Poet. 29), al- 
though the role was later cut out of the play. On January 23, 
1667, after Pepys had been behind the scenes at the Theatre 
Royal, he wrote, "We also saw Mrs. Hall, which is my little 
Roman-nose black girl [i.e., brunette] that is mighty pretty: 
she is usually called Betty." 

Mrs. HaQ's full name appeared in the livery warrant for 
June 30, 1666. On March 30, 1667, at the Duke's Theatre, 
Pepys saw "Knipp and Betty [Hall] of the King's house" in 
the audience. On December 19, 1668, at the Theatre Royal, 
Pepys sat next to "Betty Hall, that did belong to the house, 
and was Sir Philip Howard's mistress; a mighty pretty 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

wench." "Did belong" is to be taken to mean "used to 

In "Satyr on Both Whigs and Toryes. 1683" (p. 243), a 
reference to the various "Baggages" who were kept by the 
numerous Howard brothers includes "Phil's Player." Pre- 
sumably this was Betty Hall. 

HOLDEN, MRS. (Duke's Company, 1661-?). Listed by 
Downes as one of Davenant's original actresses, Mrs. Holden 
either left the stage very soon or was of so little consequence 
that she played no important roles. Summers (Downes, p. 
175) asserts that she was the daughter of John Holden, "the 
friend and publisher of Sir William Davenant." Her only 
claim to fame is the fact that, according to Downes (p. 22) 
she played "Count Paris's Wife" (Lady Montague?) in a 
revival of Romeo and Juliet, ca. 1662, and 

There being a Fight and Scuffle in this Play, between the House 
of Capulet, and House of Paris; Mrs. Holden Acting his Wife, 
enter'd in a Hurry, Crying, O my Dear Count! She Inadvertently 
left out, O, in the pronuntiation of the Word Count! giving it a 
Vehement Accent, put the House into such a Laughter, that 
London Bridge at low-water was silence to it. 

A stage direction in D'Urfey's The Injured Princess, ca. 
March, 1682, "Act II. Enter behind Cymbeline, Queen, a 
Purse, Pisano, Doctor and Guards, Mrs. Holten, Sue," 
troubles Summers (Downes, p. 176) because the play was 
presented by the King's Company, while "Mrs. Holten" 
and "Sue" (Percival), he asserts, were members of the Duke's 
Company. Of course there is no certainty that this was the 
original Mrs. Holden. Susanna Percival started her theatrical 
career at the Theatre Royal, appearing there first as Welsh 
Winifred in D'Urfey's Sir Barnaby Whigg, ca. September, 

HUGHES, MARGARET (King's Company, 1668-69; 
Duke's Company, 1676-77). Although Downes listed Mrs. 
Hughes as one of Killigrew's first actresses, there is no trace 
of her in dramatic records until 1668. At the King's Theatre, 


All the Kings Ladies 

on May 7, 1668, Pepys "did kiss the pretty woman newly 
come, called Pegg, that was Sir Charles Sidley's mistress." 
This was assuredly Mrs. Hughes (see J. H, Wilson, "Pepys 
and Peg Hughes," Notes and Queries, N.S. Ill [October, 
1956], 428-29). 

Probably Mrs. Hughes played Theodocia in Dryden's An 
Evening's Love, June, 1668 (Downes, p. 8); and certainly 
Panura in Fletcher's The Island Princess, November, 1668; 
probably Angellina in Shirley's The Sisters, 1669 (Summers, 
Essays in Petto [1928], pp. 103-10), and Desdemona in the 
version of Othello seen by Pepys on February 6, 1669 
(Downes, p. 7); and certainly St. Catherine in Dryden's 
Tyrannic Love, June, 1669. "Mrs. Hues" was listed in the 
livery warrant for October 2, 1669. In 1669 or early 1670 
she left the stage to become Prince Rupert's mistress (date 
erroneously given as 1666 by Grammont [II, 101]). 

In June, 1671, "Mr. Hues, Peg Hues' brother," was killed 
by one of the King's servants "upon a dispute whether Mrs. 
Nelly [Gwyn] or she was the handsomer now att Windsor" 
(HMC, Rutland Papers, II, 7). William Hughes was a minor 
member of the King's Company in 1669-70 (LC 5, 62, p. 
107); on January 13, 1670, one Mary Hunt petitioned for 
leave to sue "Wm Hughes Comoedian" for a debt of 80 
(LC 5, 188, p. 199). 

Mrs. Hughes gave birth to a daughter, Ruperta, in 1673. 
Three years later she joined the Duke's Company and played 
Mirva in Settle's Ibrahim, March, 1676; Mrs. Monylove, a 
breeches part, in Rawlins' Tom Essence, ca. August, 1676; 
Octavia in Ravenscroft's The Wrangling Lovers, ca. Septem- 
ber, 1676; Gerana in Settle's Pastor Fido, ca. December, 
1676; Charmion in Sedley's Antony and Cleopatra, February, 
1677; Valeria in Behn's The Rover, ca. March, 1677; Leonora 
in Porter's The French Conjurer, ca. March, 1677; and Cor- 
delia in D'Urfey's A Fond Husband, May, 1677. Thereafter 
she left the stage for good. At his death in 1682 Prince 
Rupert left Margaret and Ruperta about 6,000 apiece 
(Eliot Warburton, Prince Rupert and the Cavaliers [1849], III, 
560). He is said to have bought for Margaret the house of 
Sir Nicholas Crispe, near Hammersmith, worth some 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

25,000 (James Granger, Biographical History of Englana 
[1779], IV, 190). 

Mrs. Hughes, a pretty, round-faced woman, had black 
hair and eyes. She was versatile and attractive, but never a 
major actress. She is referred to slightingly in a number of 
contemporary lampoons. According to Tom Brown (II, 241- 
45) she gambled away the estate left by her lover. Presumably 
she spent her old age dependent upon her daughter, who 
married Emmanuel Scroope Howe (Suffolk Correspondence, 
ed. J. W. Croker [1824] I, 39-40). She died on October 1, 
1719, and on October 15 was buried at Lee, in Kent. 

JAMES, ELIZABETH (King's Company, 1669-76). Listed 
by Downes as one who "came into the Company some few 
Years after" 1660, she did not actually join the company 
until about 1669. Her first role was a minor singing part, as 
Damilcar in Dryden's Tyrannic Love, June, 1669 (Downes, 
p. 10). Thereafter she played Isabella in Dryden's Conquest 
of Granada, December, 1670-January, 1671; Isabella, await- 
ing woman, in Wycherley's Love in a Wood, ca. March, 1671 ; 
and Alleria in Corye's The Generous Enemies, ca. July, 1671. 
On August 7, 1671, one Mrs. Corney was given leave to sue 
"Mrs. James Comoedian" (later "Mrs. Elizabeth James") 
for debt; on August 25 the permission was withdrawn (LC 5, 
14, pp. 57, 60). 

Mrs. James continued to play secondary roles: Amalthea 
in Dryden's Marriage A-la-Mode, ca. April, 1672; Sophronia 
in Dryden's The Assignation, ca. November, 1672; Julia in 
Dryden's Amboyna, ca. May, 1673; Bianca in a revival of 
Othello, 1674 (4to, 1687); Arabella in Duffett's The Amorous 
Old Woman, March, 1674; Alithea in Wycherley's The Coun- 
try Wife, January, 1675; Aurania in Fane's Love in the Dark, 
May, 1675; and finally Julia in Lee's Gloriana, January, 

Alleria in Corye's The Generous Enemies (Act I, scene 2) 
was described as "Young, Fair, witty, modest, tall, slender, 
and a thousand other things." Presumably Mrs. James fitted 
this description in 1671. The author of "Lampoons" (ca. 
1678) took a coarser view of her: 

All the King's Ladies 

Pride that ill natur'd distemper of the minde 
Keeps Rich women honest, but makes poore ones kind 
Like a damn'd daub'd Picture upon the Ale house Wall 
So James is ill painted, and Expos'd to all 
A Virgin as shee'l vow and sweare 
Poore Girl she forgetts the Couch at the Beare. 

(In Shadwell's The Miser, 1672 [Act I, scene 1]), Hazard 
remarks that Mrs. Cheatly, a bawd, has promised to bring 
a young lady "to a Ball at the Bear at Charing-Cross, where 
you know there is a very convenient Couch.") 

In his "The Playhouse. A Satyr," 1685, Robert Gould, 
speaking of an actress* ability to "glide into some Keeping 
Coxcomb's Heart" and "Jilt Him of his Patrimonial lands," 
offered as a case in point, "Think of Ned Bush then think 
of Mistress James." Her mercenary quality is further sug- 
gested by Tom Brown (II, 243-45) when he represents Peg 
Hughes defending herself against Nell Gwyn's accusation of 

folly by asserting that she had not, like "Madam Ja es, 

or Mrs. Kn ght of Drury Lane," yielded her favors for 


JENNINGS, MRS. (Duke's Company, 1661-72). Downes 
listed Mrs. Jennings among Davenant's original eight ac- 
tresses. She achieved no fame, and her name is attached to 
only a few roles. She played Rosabella in Parkhurst's trans- 
lation of Ruggles' Ignoramtis, November, 1662 (Hotson, p. 
214) ; Ariana in Etherege's She Wou'd If She Cou'd, February, 
1668; Princess Galatea in Behn's The Forc'd Marriage, ca. 
December, 1670; Phedima in Settle's Cambyses, ca. January, 
1671; and Philadelphia in Boyle's Mr. Anthony, ca. March, 
1672. Shortly thereafter she was one of three actresses who, 
wrote Downes (p. 35), "by force of Love were Erept the 

JOHNSON, MRS. (Duke's Company, 1669-73). According 
to Downes (p. 31) Mrs. Johnson, famous for her dancing, was 
one of several who joined the company "About the Year 
1670." Her first known role was as Betty, a naive young 
girl, in CarylTs Sir Salomon, ca. 1669. Thereafter she played 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

Statyra, a Persian Princess, in E. Howard's The Women's 
Conquest, ca. November, 1670; probably Theodosia in Shad- 
well's The Humorists, ca. December, 1670 (in his Preface 
Shadwell said the play was sustained "by her kindness . . . 
who for four days together, beautified it with the most ex- 
cellent Dancing that ever has been seen upon the Stage"); 
Morena in Settle's The Empress of Morocco, July, 1671; 
Honour Muchland, a breeches part, in Payne's The Morning 
Ramble, November, 1672; and Carolina in ShadwelTs Epsom 
Wells, December, 1672. In a note to this play Downes (p. 33) 
wrote, "Mrs. Johnson in this Comedy, Dancing a Jigg so 
Charming well, Loves power in a little time after Coerc'd her 
to dance more Charming, elsewhere." However, she created 
one more role, Ismena in Arrowsmith's The Reformation, 
September, 1673, before dancing to the tunes of love. 

On December 11, 1677, it was reported that the Earl of 
Peterborough had sent challenges to Lord Deincourt and 
Sir George Hewett "for having broken the windowes of 
one Mrs. Johnson, a lady of pleasure under his Lordship's 
protection, but his Majesty being informed of it made all 
friends" (HMC, Rutland Papers, II, 42; HMC Seventh Re- 
port, p. 469). According to the author of "Lampoons," the 
actress passed through the hands of more than one keeper: 

From Duke and from Lord pritty Johnson is fled 
Thus kindly embraceing her Godfery she said, 
If plenty of money my dearest had more 
I should not be Counted so Arrant a Whore 
If thou would'st maintaine me I'de not goe astray 
Nor ever receive more rings from Tho: Gray. 

At least she left pleasant memories with her patrons. On 
February 16/26, 1688, Etherege (p. 328) wrote to the Earl 
of Middleton, "Not to affect to be le chevalier i bonne for- 
tune the best adventure I have had here has been with a 
comedian no less handsome and no less kind in Dutchland 
than Mrs. Johnson was in England." 

JORDAN, MRS. (United Company, 1688-90). Mrs. Jordan, 
whose name appears also as Jordain, Jordon, Jorden, and 
Jourden, made her first known appearance in the small role 


All the King's Ladies 

of Celia in D'Urfey's A Fool's Preferment, ca. April, 1688. She 
then played Mrs. Chrisante in Behn's The Widow Ranter, ca. 
November, 1689; Antramont in Lee's The Massacre of Paris, 
November, 1689; Armena, an attendant, in Powell's The 
Treacherous Brothers, February, 1690; Laura, a coquette, in 
Crowne's The English Frier, March, 1690; and Elvira, the 
juvenile lead, in Shadwell's The Amorous Bigotte, spring, 

KNAPPER, MRS. (Duke's Company, 1676-77). Although 
Downes (p. 35) says that Mrs. Knapper (otherwise Napper 
or Napier) joined the company about 1674, her first known 
role was as Betty, a maid servant, a breeches part, in Raw- 
lins' Tom Essence, ca. August, 1676. She seems to have 
played only small parts: Sylvia, an attendant, in D'Urfey's 
Madam Fickle, November, 1676; Celia, a confidante, in 
Settle's Pastor Fido, ca. December, 1676; and Betty, a maid 
servant, in D'Urfey's A Fond Husband, May, 1677. She was 
mildly successful as a singer. 

KNEP, MARY (King's Company, 1664r-78). Listed by 
Downes as one of Killigrew's original actresses, Mrs. Knep 
was not named in the Lord Chamberlain's list for autumn, 
1663, unless she was then Mary Man and was later married 
to Mr. Knep, an "ill, melancholy, jealous-looking fellow . . . 
a kind of jockey" (Pepys, December 8, 1665; December 11, 
1668). In November, 1664, she was cast by Thomas Killigrew 
as Lucetta ("Knep") in his Thomaso, ca. 1665 (Van Lennep, 
p. 805). Her name appears in all four livery warrants, 

Primarily a singer and dancer, Mrs. Knep developed into 
a first-rate actress. She played the Widow in Beaumont and 
Fletcher's The Scornful Lady (Pepys, December 27, 1666); 
Guiomar in Fletcher's The Custom of the Country (Pepys, 
January 2, 1667) ; Alibech in a revival of Dryden's The Indian 
Emperour (Pepys, January 15, 1667); sang in Fletcher's The 
Humorous Lieutenant (Pepys, January 23, 1667); danced in 
Suckling's The Goblins (Pepys, January 24, 1667); sang in 
Buckingham's The Chances (Pepys, February 5, 1667); 
played Asteria in Dryden's Secret Love, February, 1667; 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

danced and sang in Heywood's The Troubles of Queen Eliza- 
beth (Pepys, August 17, 1667); played in an unknown drama, 
The Northern Castle (Pepys, September, 14, 1667); played 
Otrante in a revival of Rhodes's Fiords Vagaries (Pepys, Oc- 
tober 5, 1667; 4to, 1670); and Sevina in Boyle's The Black 
Prince, October, 1667. 

Although Mrs. Knep was arrested on February 12 and 
again on April 23, 1668, for "misdemeanors" at the Theatre 
Royal (LC 5, 186, pp. 200, 218), her offenses and punish- 
ments must have been slight. With Nell Gwyn she spoke 
the prologue to Sir Robert Howard's Duke of Lerma, Febru- 
ary, 1668. She played Aminta in Fletcher's The Sea Voyage 
(Pepys, March 25, 1668); possibly Elspeth in a revival of 
J. Howard's The English Monsieur (Pepys, April 7, 1668); 
sang, and possibly played Emilia, in a revival of Sir Robert 
Howard's The Surprisal (Pepys, April 17, 1668); played in 
a revival of Massinger's The Virgin Martyr (Pepys, May 7, 
1668); played Beatrice, a waiting maid, in Dryden's An 
Evenings Love, June, 1668; was Epicoene in Epicosne; or. 
The Silent Woman (Pepys, September 19, 1668; Downes, p. 
4) ; doubled in the roles of Nakar and Felicia in Dryden's 
Tyrannic Love, June, 1669 (Downes, p. 10; 4to, 1670); and 
perhaps played Paulina in a revival of Shirley's The Sisters 
ca. 1669 (Summers, Essays in Petto [1928], pp. 103-10). 

After Pepys closes his diary, our information about Mrs. 
Knep is less detailed. She played Antonio in Joyner's The 
Roman Empress, August, 1670; Lady Flippant in Wycher- 
ley's Love in a Wood, ca. March, 1671 ; Hippolita in Dryden's 
The Assignation, ca. November, 1672; Leonella and the epi- 
logue in Duffett's The Spanish Rogue, ca. March, 1673; 
Aglave, a priestess, in Lee's Sophonisba, April, 1675; Lady 
Fidget and the epilogue in Wycherley's The Country Wife, 
January, 1675; Prince Nicholas, a breeches part, in Duffett's 
Psyche Debauched, May, 1675; Eliza in Wycherley's The 
Plain Dealer, December, 1676; Barbara and the epilogue in 
Leanerd's The Country Innocence, ca. March, 1677; and 
Dorothy in D'Urfey's Trick for Trick, ca. March, 1678. 

Although Mrs. Knep allowed Pepys a great many liber- 
ties, there is no evidence that she was ever his mistress. He 


All the King's Ladies 

had several opportunities "to be bold" with her, and once 
found her alone at Mrs. Pierce's house, "on a pallet in the 
dark." Apparently she rebuffed him; when he next saw her 
(May 30, 1668) he wrote, "Here I was freed from a fear that 
Knepp was angry or might take advantage to declare the 
essay that je did the other day, quand je was con her." 

KNIGHT, FRANCES MARIA (King's, United, Drury 
Lane, second United, and New Lincoln's Inn Fields com- 
panies, 1676-1719). Mrs. Knight, the actress, has sometimes 
been confused with Mary Knight, the singer and former 
mistress of Charles II (Wiley, p. 337; Nicoll, Index and p. 
359). Surprisingly little is known about Frances Maria 
Knight, yet she had a long and successful, if not distin- 
guished, stage career. If she was at least fourteen when she 
made her debut with the King's Company as Lettice, a maid 
servant, in Wycherley's The Plain Dealer, December, 1676 
(Genest, I, 161), she must have been born not later than 

After her second recorded role, the small part of Queen 
Leonora in Ravenscroft's King Edgar and Alfreda, ca. Octo- 
ber, 1677, Mrs. Knight disappeared from the theatre for 
seven years. Presumably the Mrs. Knight who played An- 
geline, a virtuous young girl, in Southerne's The Disappoint- 
ment, April, 1684, is the same actress. In the list of the royal 
comedians constituted by James II on January 12, 1688, her 
name appears as "Francis Mariaknight" (Nicoll, p. 332). 

For some years after her reappearance Mrs. Knight played 
mainly supporting roles, overshadowed, no doubt, by more 
experienced actresses. She created the roles of Aglaura, an 
Amazon, in D'Urfey's A Commonwealth of Women, ca. 
August, 1685; Teresia in ShadwelTs The Squire of Alsatia, 
May, 1688; Mrs. Spruce, a cheating wife, in Carlile's The 
Fortune-Hunters, March, 1689; the Queen of Navarre in 
Lee's The Massacre of Paris, November, 1689; Madam Sure- 
love in Behn's The Widow Ranter, ca. November, 1689; 
Dorothea, the lead, in Mountfort's The Successful Strangers, 
ca. December, 1689; the prologue to Powell's The Treacherous 
Brothers, February, 1690; the epilogue to Settle's Distress 9 d 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

Innocence, November, 1690; the epilogue to Powell's Al- 
phonso, December, 1690; Volante in Southerne's Sir Anthony 
Love, December, 1690; Miss Jenny, a hoyden, in D'Urfey's 
Love for Money, ca. December, 1690; Mrs. Raison, a breeches 
part, in Mountfort's Greenwich Park, April, 1691; Teresia, a 
foolish girl, in ShadwelTs The Volunteers, December, 1692; 
Mrs. Squeamish in D'Urfey's The Richmond Heiress, ca. 
February, 1693; Widow Lacy and the epilogue in Powell's A 
Very Good Wife, March, 1693; Lovewitt in Wright's The 
Female Vertuosos, April, 1693; Julia, a virtuous wife, in 
Southerne's The Fatal Marriage, February, 1694; Hermione, 
an Indian Princess, and the prologue in Settle's The Ambi- 
tious Slave, March, 1694; Dorothea in D'Urfey's Don Quix- 
ote, Part I, and the Duchess, Part II, ca. May, 1694; and 
Arabella, a breeches part, in Ravenscroft's The Canterbury 
Guests, September, 1694. 

In 1695 the defection of Mrs. Leigh, Mrs. Barry, and Mrs. 
Bracegirdle to Betterton's new company left Mrs. Verbrug- 
gen (Mountfort) as the chief comic actress of the Drury Lane 
Company and Mrs. Knight as the chief tragic actress. Mrs 
Knight seems to have been particularly successful in vil- 
lainess roles. She played Catalina, the villainess, in Gould's 
The Rival Sisters, ca. October, 1695; Widow Lackitt in 
Southerne's Oroonoko, November, 1695; Elvira, the villain- 
ess, in Trotter's Agnes de Castro, November, 1695; Queen 
Thermusa, the villainess, in Horden's Neglected Virtue, ca. 
December, 1695; Princess Arethusa, the heroine, in Settle's 
Philaster, ca. December, 1695; Belira, a passionate mistress, 
in Manley's The Lost Lover, ca. March, 1696; Pandora, the 
villainess, in Norton's Pausanias, ca. April, 1696; Bonduca 
in Powell's Bonduca, ca. May, 1696; Sheker Para, the vil- 
lainess, in Fix's Ibrahim, ca. June, 1696; possibly Elenor in 
Fix's The Spanish Wives, ca. September, 1696 (Genest, II, 
82) ; Lady Barter and the epilogue in Scott's The Mock-Mar- 
riage, October, 1696; Leonora in Gibber's Woman's Wit, ca. 
December, 1696; wicked Mirtilla in Behn's The Younger 
Brother, ca. December, 1696; Olympia in Drake's The Sham- 
Lawyer, May, 1697; wicked Lady JLoveaU in W. M.'s The 
Female Wits, 1697; Berengaria, a tragic mother, in The Fatal 


All the King's Ladies 

Discovery (Anon.), ca. February, 1698, Althea, the heroine, 
in Gildon's Phaeton, March, 1698; Cesonia in Crowne's Ca- 
ligula, ca. March, 1698; Angelica, the heroine, in D'Urfey's 
The Campaigners, ca. June, 1698; Clytemnestra in Boyer's 
Achilles, ca. December, 1699; Queen Elizabeth in Gibber's 
King Richard III, February, 1700; Astrea in Burnaby's The 
Reform' d Wife, ca. March, 1700; Lesbia, the lead, and the 
epilogue in Trotter's Love at a Loss, November, 1700; Elvira 
in Gibber's Love Makes a Man, December, 1700; and Lydia 
in D'Urfey's The Bath, ca. July, 1701. 

By this time younger women, particularly Jane Rogers 
and Anne Oldfield, were challenging Mrs. Knight's suprema- 
cy. She continued to play leads in revivals, but, as time went 
on, created fewer and fewer major roles. She created Vileta, 
a waiting woman, in Gibber's She Wou'd and She Wou'd Not 
November, 1702; Probleme, a nurse, in D'Urfey's The Old 
Mode and the New, March, 1703; Florinda in Estcourt's The 
Fair Example, April, 1703; Mrs. Haughty, a passionate mis- 
tress, in Wilkinson's Vice Reclaimed, June, 1703; the Princess 
Dowager, a villainess, in G. B.'s Love the Leveller, January, 
1704; Queen Elizabeth in Banks's The Albion Queens, March, 
1704; Abenede in Taverner's The Faithful Bride of Granada, 
ca. May, 1704; and Lady Easy in Gibber's The Careless Hus- 
band, December, 1704. 

Although Mrs. Knight was still on the stage in 1705 and 
1706 (she had a benefit on March 27, 1706), she created no 
new roles and may have temporarily retired after the season 
of 1705-6. If so, she returned after only a year to play Ger- 
trude in a revival of Hamlet, the first play by the new United 
Company, January 15, 1708 (Genest, II, 395). Thereafter 
she played with some consistency in a number of revivals, 
stepping into several of the roles vacated when Mrs. Barry 
retired. She created Lady Fancy in Taverner's The Maid the 
Mistress, June, 1708; Cornelia in Dennis' Appius and Vir- 
ginia, February, 1709; Ordelia in Hill's Elfrid, January, 
1710; Lady Megro in Centlivre's A Bickerstaffs Burying, 
March, 1710; Lady Outside in Injured Love (Anon.), April, 
1711; the Common-Council-Man's Wife in Settle's The City 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

Ramble, August, 1711; Cephisa, a confidante, in Philips' The 
Distresf Mother, March, 1712; Mrs. Bloodmore, a mother 
part, in C. Shadwell's The Humours of the Army, January, 
1713; Empress Livia in Cinna's Conspiracy (Anon.), Febru- 
ary, 1713; and Clytemnestra in Johnson's The Victim, 
January, 1714. 

In December, 1714, Mrs. Knight was one of the "desert- 
ers" who joined Rich's company at the New Theatre in 
Lincoln's Inn Fields (Fitzgerald, I, 388). There she created 
Lady Thinwit in Molloy's The Perplex* d Couple, February, 
1715; Lady Upstart in Taverner's The Artful Husband, Feb- 
ruary, 1717; Miranda in Sir Thomas Moore's The Faithful 
Couple, December, 1717; and Mrs. Wishit, a rich widow, in 
Taverner's TIJ Well if It Takes, February, 1719. After this 
her name appears no more. 

Mrs. Knight's personal reputation was unsavory. The 
anonymous author of A Letter to A. H. Esq.: Concerning the 
Stage (1698) (Augustan Reprint No. 3 [1946], p. 12), protest- 
ing against the usual practice of condemning the stage be- 
cause of the private characters of the players, said, "if we 
should see Mr. Powel acting a Brave, Generous and Honest 
Part; or Mrs. Knight, a very Modest and Chaste one, it 
ought not to give us Offence; because we are not to consider 
what they are off the Stage, but whom they represent." Tom 
Brown (II, 243-45) represented Peg Hughes as insisting that 
she had never sold her favors for gain, like "Madam 
Ja es, or Mrs. Kn ght of Drury Lane." 

(Duke's Company, 1670-85). Because the spelling of the 
names was frequently interchanged, Mary Lee is often con- 
fused with the comic actress Elinor Leigh. The two joined 
the company at about the same time, in 1670 or 1671 
(Downes, p. 31). Mary Lee was originally Mrs. Aldridge, but 
she almost immediately became Mrs. Lee, probably, as Sum- 
mers suggests (Downes, p. 204), by marrying an insignificant 
actor named John Lee, who disappeared from the stage after 
1677 and probably died about that time. Mrs. Lee's second 


All the King's Ladies 

husband may have been Sir Charles Slingsby, Bart., of 
Bifrons in Patrixbourne, near Canterbury (G. E'. Cokayne, 
Complete Baronetage, 1900-1906, s.v. Slingsby). 

Mrs. Lee's strength was in romantic and tragic roles. She 
was very popular in breeches. Her first known appearance 
was as Doranthe in E. Howard's The Womens Conquest, ca. 
November, 1670, which was followed by another small part, 
Olinda, in Behn's The Fore d Marriage, ca. December, 1670. 
She played thereafter Eugenia, the second lead, in E. 
Howard's The Six Days Adventure, ca. March, 1671; Leticia, 
the lead, in Revet's The Town-Shifts, March, 1671; Princess 
Mariamne in Settle's The Empress of Morocco, July, 1671; 
Emilia in Arrowsmith's The Reformation, September, 1673; 
Nigrello (Chlotilda), a breeches part, and the epilogue in 
Settle's Love and Revenge, November, 1674; Amavanga, a 
warrior, a breeches part, and a joint epilogue with Smith in 
Settle's The Conquest of China, May, 1675; Queen Deidamia 
and the epilogue in Otway's Alcibiades, September, 1675, 
Christina, the lead, in Crowne's The Country Wit, January; 
1676; Roxalana in Settle's Ibrahim, March, 1676; the Queen 
of Spain in Otway's Don Carlos, June, 1676; Madam Fickle, 
a breeches part, and the epilogue in D'Urfey's Madam 
Fickle, November, 1676; Corsica, a wicked shepherdess, in 
Settle's Pastor Fido, ca. December, 1676; Queen Berenice in 
Otway's Titus and Berenice, December, 1676, and the epi- 
logue to the afterpiece, The Cheats of Scapin; Cleopatra in 
Sedley's Antony and Cleopatra, February, 1677; Circe in C. 
Davenant's Circe, May, 1677; Astatius, a breeches part, and 
the prologue in The Constant Nymph (Anon.), ca. July, 1677; 
Roxana in Pordage's The Siege of Babylon, ca. September, 
1677; Queen Isabella, the villainess, in Behn's Abdelazar, ca. 
September, 1677; Elvira, a breeches part, in Leanerd's The 
Counterfeits, May, 1678; Eurydice in Dryden and Lee's 
Oedipus, ca. November, 1678; Cassandra in Banks's The 
Destruction of Troy, November, 1678; Laura Lucretia, the 
lead, in Behn's The Feign 9 d Curtezans, ca. March, 1679; 
Cressida in Dry den's Troilus and Cressida, ca. April, 1679; 
Bellamira, the lead, in Lee's Caesar Borgia, September, 1679; 
Princess Arviola in Tate's The Loyal General, ca. December, 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

1679; Queen Margaret in Crowne's The Misery of Civil War, 
ca. March, 1680; and Julia, a breeches part, in Maidwell's 
The Loving Enemies, ca. March, 1680. 

As Lady Slingsby she played Sempronia in Lee's Lucius 
Junius Brutus, December, 1680; Regan in Tate's King Lear, 
ca. March, 1681; Marguerite in Lee's The Princess of Cleve, 
ca. September, 1681; Lucia Well-bred and the prologue in 
Mr. Turbulent (Anon.), January, 1682; Tarpeia, a breeches 
part, and the epilogue in Romulus and Hersilia (Anon.), 
August, 1682; the Queen Mother in Dryden and Lee's The 
Duke of Guise, November, 1682; Lady Noble in Ravens- 
croft's Dame Dobson, June, 1683; Calpurnia in Julius Caesar, 
ca. 1684; and Clarinda in D'Urfey's A Commonwealth of 
Women, ca. August, 1685. According to Davies (III, 116) she 
also played Gertrude in Hamlet, probably succeeding Mrs. 
Shadwell in that role. 

It is possible that Lady Slingsby left the stage because she 
was losing a bitter competition with the younger and more 
capable actress, Elizabeth Barry. She survived nearly ten 
years in retirement and was buried March 1, 1694, at St. 
Pancras, Middlesex (G. E. Cokayne, Complete Baronetage, 
1900-1906, s.v. Slingsby). Making due allowance for the 
extravagant language of dramatic description, she must have 
been very attractive. In the role of Bellamira in Lee's 
Caesar Borgia (Act I, scene 1), she is described as having 

. . . such a skin full of alluring flesh! 
Ah, such a ruddy, moist, and pouting lip; 
Such Dimples, and such Eyes, such melting Eyes, 
Blacker than Sloes, and yet they sparkTd fire. 

Lady Slingsby seems to have paid her debts and lived re- 
spectably. Her only brush with authority came in August, 
1682. Because it was thought that the epilogue to Romulus 
and Hersilia "spoken by the Lady Slingsby and written by 
Mrs. Behn . . . reflected on the D. of Monmouth," the Lord 
Chamberlain ordered both into custody "to answer that 
affront for the same" (Curtis 's Protestant Mercury, August 
12-16, 1682; LC 5, 191, p. 100). We may presume the two 
ladies were released after a scolding. 

The libelers found little to charge against Lady Slingsby 


All the King's Ladies 

In "Satyr on both Whigs and Toryes. 1683" (p. 244) we are 
told that Sir Gilbert Gerrard "Made love to Slingsby, when 
she plaid the Queen.'* This is neither defamatory nor specific, 
considering the large number of queenly roles she played. The 
scurrilous author of "Satyr on the Players" (p. 290) was al- 
most as vague when he wrote, 

Imprimis, Slingsby has ye fatall Curse, 
To have a Lady's Honour, with a Players purse 
Tho' now she is so plaguy haughty grown, 
Yet Gad my Lady, I a time have known 
When a dull Whiggish Poet wou'd go down. 

LEGR^iNDE, MRS. (Duke's Company, 1677-78). Mrs. 
Legrande is known to have played three very small roles: 
Eugenia in Behn's The Counterfeit Bridegroom, ca. Septem- 
ber, 1677; Hesione in Pordage's The Siege of Babylon, ca. 
September, 1677; Phrinias, a whore, in ShadweU's Timon of 
Athens, ca. January, 1678. 

LEIGH, ELINOR (Duke's, United, Lincoln's Inn Fields 
companies, 1672-1709). According to Downes (p. 31), 
"About the Year 1670, Mrs. Aldridge, after Mrs. Lee, also 
Mrs. Leigh Wife of Mr. Antony Leigh, Mr. Crosby, Mrs. 
Johnson, were entertained at the Duke's House." Genest 
(I, 111) conjectures that Mrs. Leigh might have been origi- 
nally Mrs. Dixon (q.v.), daughter of James Dixon, an early 
member of the Duke's Company. Mrs. Dixon appeared about 
1670 and her last recorded performance was in November, 
1671. Mrs. Leigh's first recorded performance was as Betty 
Trickmore in Ravenscroft's The Citizen Turn'd Gentleman, 
July, 1672. Her husband, the comedian Anthony Leigh, first 
appeared with the Duke's Company as Pacheco in Arrow- 
smith's The Reformation, September, 1673. He had been a 
free-lance actor for some time; on December 27, 1671, he was 
ordered arrested with four other men for acting "stage playes 
in & about the Citty of London without Lycence from M r 
Killegrew or ye Lady Davenant" (LC 5, 14, p. 96). 

After appearing as Beatrice, a comic maid, in Ravens- 
croft's The Careless Lovers, March, 1673, Mrs. Leigh deserted 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

the theatre for three years, probably because of the birth of 
her son Michael, who made his first appearance on the stage 
seventeen years later as "Young Leigh" in Shadwell's The 
Amorous Bigotte, spring, 1690. Mrs. Leigh reappeared as Isa- 
bella, a witty maid, in Crowne's The Country Wit, January, 
1676. Thereafter she played Lady Wood vile in Etherege's 
The Man of Mode, March, 1676 (Downes, p. 36); Moretta in 
Behn's The Rover, March, 1677; and Scintilla in Porter's The 
French Conjurer, ca. March, 1677. Another three years' ab- 
sence may be accounted for by the birth of Rachel (whom I 
take to be Mrs. Leigh's daughter) who appeared briefly on 
the stage as Judy in Southerne's The Maid's Last Prayer, 
January, 1693, and possibly as Vesuvia, a courtesan, in 
Dilke's The Lovers' Luck, December, 1695. 

Mrs. Leigh returned to the stage in 1680 and played 
Paulina, a rich widow, in Maidwell's The Loving Enemies, 
ca. March, 1680; Mrs. Dashit in Behn's The Revenge, ca. 
June, 1680; Tournon, a bawd, in Lee's The Princess of Cleve, 
ca. September, 1681; Engine, a maid servant, and the epi- 
logue with others in Ravenscroft's The London Cuckolds, 
November, 1681; Mrs. Closet in Behn's The City Heiress, 
March, 1682; Mrs. Prudence, a maid servant, in Ravens- 
croft's Dame Dobson, June, 1683; Clara, a maid servant, in 
Southerne's The Disappointment, April, 1684; and the Aunt 
in Crowne's Sir Courtly Nice, May, 1685. Another long ab- 
sence may be accounted for by the birth of Francis Leigh, 
who became an actor about 1702 (Genest, II, 647). 

Mrs. Leigh returned again to play Lady Sly in Carlile's 
The Fortune Hunters, March, 1689; Johayma in Dryden's 
Don Sebastian, November, 1689; Lady Pinch-gut in Crowne's 
The English Frier, March, 1690; Lady Maggot in Shadwell's 
The Scowrers, ca. December, 1690; Oyley in D'Urfey's Love 
for Money, ca. December, 1690; Queen Rhadegonda in 
Brady's The Rape, February, 1692; Mrs. Hackwell in Shad- 
well's The Volunteers, ca. November, 1692; and Lady Clare 
in The Merry Devil of Edmonton, 1692 (Genest, II, 15). 

Anthony Leigh died in December, 1692. Mrs. Leigh con- 
tinued on the stage, with her previous salary of 20j. a week 
raised to 30s. (Nicoll, p. 378). She played Mrs. Siam in 


All the King's Ladies 

Southerne's The Maid's Last Prayer, January, 1693; Mar- 
malette, an old waiting woman, in D'Urfey's The Richmond 
Heiress, ca. February, 1693; Mrs. Sneaksby in Powell's A 
Very Good Wife, March, 1693; Lucy, a maid servant, in 
Congreve's The Old Bachelor, March, 1693; Lady Meanwell 
in Wright's The Female Fertuosos, April, 1693; Lady Plyant 
in Congreve's The Double Dealer, October, 1693; the Nurse 
in Southerners The Fatal Marriage, February, 1694; Rosalin 
in Settle's The Ambitious Slave, March, 1694; and Teresa 
Pancha (with "a long lean wither 'd Wallnut coloured Face") 
in D'Urfey's Don Quixote, Parts I and II, ca. May, 1694. 

The next year Mrs. Leigh joined the group of players 
under Betterton who set up a new company in Lincoln's Inn 
Fields. In their first play, Congreve's Love for Love, April, 
1695, she played the Nurse. Thereafter she played Plackett, 
a waiting woman, in Granville's The She-Gallants, ca. Decem- 
ber, 1695; Betty in Dogget's The Country-Wake, ca. April, 
1696; Beldam in "Ariadne's" She Ventures and He Wins, ca. 
September, 1696; the Doctor's Wife in Ravenscroft's The 
Anatomist, November, 1696; Secreta, an essence seller, in 
Dilke's The City Lady, January, 1697; Grossiere, a waiting 
woman, in D'Urfey's Intrigues at Versailles, ca. February, 
1697; Lady Beaudair in Fix's The Innocent Mistress, ca. 
June, 1697; Lady Temptyouth in Pix's The Deceiver De- 
ceived, ca. December, 1697; Sweetny, a boarding-house 
keeper, in Dilke's The Pretenders, ca. March, 1698; Phenissa, 
an attendant, in Dennis' Rinaldo anddrmida, ca. November, 
1698; Lady Wishfort in Congreve's The Way of the World, 
March, 1700; the Hostess in Betterton's Henry IV, ca. April, 
1700; Lady Autumn in Burnaby's The Ladies Visiting-Day, 
ca. January, 1701 ; Sophia, the Empress, in Pix's The Czar of 
Muscovy, ca. March, 1701; Lady Rakelove, "an Amorous 
Old Woman," in Charles Johnson's The Gentleman-Cully, 
ca. December, 1701; Adrastus, High Priest, in The Fickle 
Shepherdess (Anon.), "Play'd all by Women," ca. March, 
1703; Dromia in Burnaby's Love Betray 9 d, March, 1703; 
Chloris in Boyle's As You Find It, April, 1703; Widow Bell- 
mont, a country gentlewoman, in Pix's The Dijferent Widows, 
ca. November, 1703; Marama, an "antiquated Beauty," in 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

Trapp's Abra-MuU> January, 1704; Lady Stale, an amorous 
old widow, in Rowe's The Biter, December, 1704; and 
Peeper, a waiting woman, in Centlivre's The Platonick Lady, 
November, 1706. 

Probably Mrs. Leigh retired some time in 1707. The fact 
that a petition signed by a number of actors in 1709 contains 
the name of "Eli Leigh" (Fitzgerald, I, 273) suggests that 
she may have been a member of the second United Company. 
On the other hand this may have been her daughter-in-law 
(perhaps Elizabeth), the wife of Francis Leigh (Genest, II, 
382). Mrs. Leigh usually spelled her first name "Ellenor" 
(Montague Summers, Shadwell [1927], I, ccxxxv). She has 
been confused with the Elizabeth Leigh who in April, 1687, 
sued Elkanah Settle for payment for the scenario of a play 
(Hotson, pp. 274-76). This Mrs. Leigh seems to have been 
an actress of drolls, performing in the booth of her mother, 
Mrs. Mynn, at Bartholomew and Southwark fairs. 

According to Gibber, Elinor Leigh 

had a very droll way of dressing the pretty Foibles of super- 
annuated Beauties. She had in her self a good deal of Humour, and 
knew how to infuse it into the affected Mothers, Aunts, and modest 
stale Maids that had miss'd their Market; of this sort were the 
Modish Mother in the Chances, affecting to be politely commode 
for her own Daughter; the Coquette Prude of an Aunt in Sir 
Courtly Nice, who prides herself in being chaste and cruel at Fifty; 
and the languishing Lady Wishfort in The Way of the World: In all 
these, with many others, she was extremely entertaining, and 
painted in a lively manner the blind Side of Nature. 

Her private life was irreproachable. 

LILBORNE, MRS. (Duke's Company, 1670). Mrs. Lilborne 
is known to have played only one very small role, that of 
Cydane, an Amazon ambassadress, in E. Howard's The 
W omens Conquest, ca. November, 1670. 

LONG, JANE (Duke's Company, 1661-73). According to 
Downes, Mrs. Long was one of Davenant's original actresses. 
She played small roles at first: Jane, a maid servant, in 
Cowley's Cutter of Coleman Street, December, 1661; Flora in 


All the King's Ladies 

Tuke's The Adventures of Five Hours, January, 1663 (Downes, 
p. 23); Diacelia in Stapyl ton's The Slighted Maid, February, 
1663; Brianella, a lady in waiting, in Stapyl ton's The Step- 
Mother, ca. November, 1663; The Widow and the epilogue 
in Etherege's The Comical Revenge, March, 1664 (Downes, 
p. 25); Leucippe, a maid servant, in Davenant's The Rivals , 
spring, 1664; the Queen of France in Boyle's Henry the Fifth, 
August, 1664 (Downes [p. 24] assigns this role to Mrs. Better- 
ton, who probably played it after Mrs. Long retired) ; and 
Zarma, a waiting woman, in Boyle's Mustapha, April, 1665. 

After the reopening of the theatres in November, 1666, 
Mrs. Long played more important parts. As Dulcino in 
Shirley's The Grateful Servant, ca. 1667, "the first time she 
appear'd in Man's Habit" (Downes, p. 27), she was a success. 
Probably she played Hippolito, a breeches part, in Davenant 
and Dryden's The Tempest, November, 1667. In a lost play 
by Betterton, The Woman Made a Justice, she acted "the 
Justice . . . charmingly" (Downes, p. 30); and as Mrs. 
Brittle, in Betterton's The Amorous Widow, ca. 1670, "She 
Perform'd ... so well that none Equall'd her but Mrs. 
Bracegirdle" (Downes, p. 30). 

Her other known roles were Mandana, the Amazon Queen, 
and the epilogue in E. Howard's The Womens Conquest, ca. 
November, 1670; Prince Osiris, a breeches part, in Settle's 
Cambyses, ca. January, 1671; Crispina in E. Howard's The 
Six Days Adventure, ca. March, 1671; Fickle in Revet's The 
Town-shifts, March, 1671; Princess Pauline, a breeches part, 
and the epilogue (with Angel) in Crowne's Juliana, August, 
1671; Betty in Boyle's Mr. Anthony, ca. March, 1672; Betty 
Rash in Payne's The Morning Ramble, November, 1672; and 
Lady Macduff in Davenant's operatic Macbeth, ca. February, 

Sometime in 1673 she left the stage to become the mis- 
tress of George Porter, a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber 
to the Queen. Baroness d'Aulnoy (Memoirs of the Court of 
England in 1675, trans. Mrs. W. H. Arthur [1913]), presents 
her as a character in her semifictitious narrative (pp. 233- 
40). A reproduction of her portrait by Lely (facing p. 234) 
shows a small, slender, dark woman with a long face no 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

beauty. Porter is represented as saying that she was "sweet 
and amiable." The liaison lasted some years. On December 
17, 1677, Henry Savile wrote to the Earl of Rochester that 
George Porter "surfeits of everything hee sees but Mrs. Long 
and his sonn Nobbs which he can never have enough on" 
(The Rochester-Savile Letters, ed. J. H. Wilson [1941], p. 52). 
In a "Dialogue by Ld Rochester," ca. 1676 (British Mu- 
seum, Harleian MS. 6914, p. 4) King Charles is made to say: 

When on Portsmouths lap I lay my head 
And Knight dos sing her bawdy song 
I envy not George Porters bedd 
Nor the delights of Madam Long. 

The author of "Lampoons" dismisses her with a vicious 

Malicious Witch Long have a damn'd stinking breath 
Which to Bastard in Wombe does give sudden death. 

MACKAREL, BETTY (King's Company, 1674). Mrs. 
Mackarel, "Orange Betty," a regular orange girl in the 
Theatre Royal, was so famed for her impudence and promis- 
cuity that her name became a byword. Robert Gould pic- 
tures the wits in the pit as 

. . . hot at repartee with Orange Betty, 

Who tho not blest with halfe a grain of sense, 

To leaven her whole lump of impudence, 

Aided with that she allways is too hard 

For the vain things & beats them from their guard. 

And from the prologue to D'Urfey's A Commonwealth of 
Women, ca. August, 1685, we learn that "The Censuring 
Spark . . . whispers Politicks with Orange Betty." 

Montague Summers (Shakespearean Adaptations [1922], 
p. 261) points out two allusions to her in John Phillips' His- 
tory of Don Quixote (1687 [pp. 184, 412]), one to her impu- 
dence, the other to her height ("the gyantess Betty-Maka- 
rela"). Her promiscuity is vouched for in "To Mr. Julian" 
(Poems on Affairs of State [1704], III, 143), by the passage 
"May Betty Mackrel cease to be a whore," and in "The 
Session of the Ladies. 1688," where she is called "Betty 


All the King's Ladies 

Mackrell a favourite to the blind God," and marginally 
identified as "Tom [Sir Thomas] Armstrongs mistress." She 
must have been a statuesque beauty. On September 9/19, 
1686, Etherege (p. 103), in a letter to a friend, described a 
German lady of distinction as "very like, and full as hand- 
some as, Mrs. Betty Mackerel." 

Her only known appearance on the stage was in Duffett's 
The Mock-Tempest, November, 1674, a burlesque of Shad- 
well's operatic version of The Tempest. The towering Mrs, 
Mackarel played the role of Ariel, a breeches part, and spoke 
the introduction with Haines. 

MAN, MARY (King's Company, 1663). Mrs. Man's name 
appears only in the list of "Women's Comoedians" for the 
autumn of 1663. 

MARSHALL, ANNE, afterward $UIN (King's and Duke's 
companies, 1661-82). The two Marshall sisters, Anne and 
Rebecca, were said to be the daughters of a Presbyter (Pepys, 
October 26, 1667) or at least "educated by godly parents" 
(Fane, p. 352). Downes lists Anne among the earliest mem- 
bers of the King's Company. Although in his casts of early 
revivals of old plays (ca. 1661), Downes (p. 3) lists "Mrs. 
Anne Marshall" only for the role of Margarita in Rule a Wife 
and Have a Wife, he gives (pp. 3-6) "Mrs. Marshall" 
assuredly Anne the roles of the Lady in Beaumont and 
Fletcher's The Scornful Lady, Edith in Fletcher's Rollo, 
Celia in Fletcher's The Humorous Lieutenant, Evadne in 
Beaumont and Fletcher's The Maid's Tragedy, and Celia in 
Jonson's Volpone. Flecknoe cast her as Cyrena ("Win Mar- 
shall"), a breeches part, in his then unacted Erminia, 4to, 
1661. She played Mrs. Double-Diligence in Wilson's The 
Cheats, ca. March, 1663 (Nahm, p. 62). Both Anne and Re- 
becca appear in the Lord Chamberlain's list of "Actors or 
Comoedians," autumn, 1663. Anne played a leading role, 
probably Zempoalla, in Dryden and Howard's The Indian 
Ojtueen, January, 1664 (Pepys, February 1, 1664), and was 
cast for the role of Angelica Bianca in Thomas Killigrew's 
Thomaso, November, 1664 (Van Lennep, p. 805). She was 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

cast also as Cdestina ("Mrs. Anne Martiall"), a breeches 
part, in William Killigrew's The Seege of Urbin, ca. 1665 
(Bodleian Library, Rawl. MS. Poet. 29), and no doubt 
played Almeria in Dryden's The Indian Emperour, ca. April, 
1665 (Downes, p. 9). 

Probably Anne married some time after the threatres were 
closed by the Plague in June, 1665. Her husband may have 
been the Peter Gwyn or Quyn who was ordered arrested for 
acting without a warrant, January 28, 1668 (LC 5, 186, p. 
193), and was no doubt the same "Mr. Quin" who was 
leading Rebecca Marshall (q.v.) home from the theatre on 
February 5, 1667, when she was assaulted by a ruffian 
(SP 29, 191, p. 31). Although we know from Pepys (October 
26, 1667, and June 27, 1668) that Anne returned to the stage 
after playing was resumed in late November, 1666, her full 
name, as Anne Marshall, never appears after 1665, and only 
one Mrs. Marshall, evidently Rebecca, is listed in the Lord 
Chamberlain's records and in the dramatis personae of plays 
(See J. H. Wilson, "The Marshall Sisters and Anne Quin," 
Notes and Queries, N.S. IV [March, 1957], 104-6). 

Early in 1667 Anne returned to the stage as Mrs. Quin 
and played the secondary role of Candiope in Dryden's 
Secret Love, late February, 1667. Finding herself treated as 
a newcomer, she quarreled with the management and ap- 
pealed to the Lord Chamberlain, who, on May 4, 1667, or- 
dered her private dressing room and all her old parts restored 
to her (LC 5, 138, p. 376). She and Rebecca were cast for the 
leads ("The Two Marshalls") by Flecknoe in his then un- 
acted The Damoiselles a la Mode, 4to, May, 1667. She was 
listed as Mrs. Quin in the livery warrants for July 22, 1667, 
and February 8, 1668. As Mrs. Quin she played Alizia Pierce 
in Boyle's The Black Prince, October, 1667, and Aurelia in 
Dryden's An Evenings Love, June, 1668. She left the stage 
some time in 1668. 

In 1677 Anne Quin joined the Duke's Company, playing 
Angelica Bianca in Behn's The Rover, March, 1677 (an altera- 
tion of Killigrew's Thomaso in which she had played the same 
character) ; Astrea ("Mrs. Wynn") in The Constant Nymph 
(Anon.), ca. July, 1677; Thalestris in Pordage's The Siege of 


All the King's Ladies 

Babylon, ca. September, 1677; Lady Knowell and the epi- 
logue in Behn's Sir Patient Fancy, January, 1678; Lady 
Squeamish in Otway's Friendship in Fashion, April, 1678; 
the epilogue to Banks's The Destruction of Troy, November, 
1678; Queen Elizabeth in Banks's The Unhappy Favorite, 
ca. September, 1681; and Sunamira in Sou theme's The Loyal 
Brother, February, 1682. 

A miniature of Anne Quin was reproduced by Montague 
Summers in The Restoration Theatre (1934), p. 88, and an 
engraving of her speaking the epilogue to Sir Patient Fancy 
(miscalled by the engraver "Mrs. Ellen Guyn") is in his edi- 
tion of Aphra Behn's Works (1915), IV, 115. Anne seems to 
have been a handsome woman with an oval face, dark hair 
and eyes, and a small mouth. 

MARSHALL, REBECCA (King's Company, 1663-77; 
Duke's Company, 1677). Rebecca, younger sister of Anne 
Marshall (q.v.), joined the King's Company about 1663. Her 
name appears in the Lord Chamberlain's list of "Women 
Comoedians," autumn, 1663, but there is no evidence that 
she played any important roles until after November, 1666. 
She was certainly on the stage before that. Early in 1665 she 
petitioned the King for protection from one Mark Trevor, 
who had affronted her "as well upon the Stage as of[f]" 
(SP 29, 142, p. 160), and on April 3, 1665, Pepys, in the pit 
of the Duke's Theatre, was pleased that "pretty witty Nell 
[Gwyn], at the King's House, and the younger Marshall sat 

next us." 

Only one Mrs. Marshall, presumably Rebecca, appears in 
the livery warrants for 1666-69. On December 7, 1666, 
Pepys saw part of The Maifs Tragedy and singled out for 
praise "the younger Marshall, who is become a pretty good 
actor" probably in the role of Evadne, formerly played by 
her sister. On February 8, 1667, Rebecca petitioned the King 
against Sir Hugh Middleton, who had hired a ruffian to 
assault her (SP 29, 191, p. 21). From the evidence in her 
petition she must have played in Buckingham's The Chances 
possibly the First Constantia on February 5. On May 
24, 1667, and again on January 24, 1668, Pepys praised 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

Rebecca as the Queen in Dryden's Secret Love, February, 
1667. On August 24, 1667, Pepys was pleased "with Beck 
Marshall" in a revival of Shirley's The Cardinal. At the 
Duke's Theatre, on September 11, 1667, he sat beside "Beck 
Marshall, who is very handsome near at hand." On October 
26, 1667, Pepys heard of a quarrel in which Nell Gwyn 
accused Rebecca variously of being "a whore to three or 
four, though a Presbyter's praying daughter," and of being 
"kept by [Henry] Guy an excise man" (Fane, p. 352). Pepys' 
belief that the Marshall sisters were daughters of Stephen 
Marshall, a famous divine, has since been proved erroneous 
(J. L. Chester, Registers of Westminster Abbey [1869], p. 149). 

In May, 1667, Flecknoe cast "The Two Marshalls" for 
the leading roles in his then unacted The Damoiselles h la 
Mode y 4to, 1668. Rebecca played Plantagenet in Boyle's 
The Black Prince, October, 1667; Dorothea in Massinger's 
The Virgin Martyr (Pepys, February 27, 1668); and suc- 
ceeded her sister as Aurelia in Dryden's An Evenings Love, 
June, 1668, after Anne left the stage. 

Rebecca's other known roles were: Quisara in Fletcher's 
The Island Princess, November, 1668; Berenice in Dryden's 
Tyrannic Love, June, 1669; Empress Fulvia in Joyner's The 
Roman Empress, August, 1670; Calpurnia in Julius Caesar, 
ca. 1670; Lyndaraxa in Dryden's Conquest of Granada, De- 
cember, 1670-January, 1671; Jaccinta in Corye's The Gen- 
erous Enemies, ca. July, 1671; Doralice, a breeches part, and 
the epilogue in Dryden's Marriage A-la-Mode, ca. April, 
1672; the prologue, in breeches, to Killigrew's The' Parson's 
Wedding, and the prologue and epilogue to Beaumont and 
Fletcher's Philaster, both played "all by women," spring, 
1672 (Thorn-Drury, pp. 3, 18, 19); Lucretia in Dryden's The 
Assignation, ca. November, 1672; Ysabinda in Dryden's 
Amboyna, ca. May, 1673; Poppea in Lee's Nero, May, 1674; 
Nourmahal in Dryden's Aurenge-Zebe, November, 1675; 
Gloriana in Lee's Gloriana, January, 1676; Spaconia in Beau- 
mont and Fletcher's A King and No King, 1676 (4to, 1676); 
Queen Berenice in Crowne's The Destruction of Jerusalem, 
January, 1677, plus the epilogue to Part II; Roxana in Lee's 
The Rival Queens, March, 1677; and Lady Lovely in 


All the King's Ladies 

Leanerd's 7!&<? Country Innocence, ca. March, 1677. After 
that play she joined her sister at the Duke's Theatre, created 
the role of Maria in D'Urfey's A Fond Husband, May, 1677, 
and then retired. 

On January 16, 1668, Hannah Johnson petitioned against 
Rebecca, probably for debt (LC 5, 186, p. 192). On April 7, 
1668, Pepys heard of an affair between Hart and the Count- 
ess of Castlemaine, with Beck Marshall acting as go-between. 
On November 5, 1669, Mary Meggs, fruit woman at the 
Theatre Royal, was arrested for "abuseing" Rebecca (LC 5, 
187, p. 175); and on May 18, 1672, Richard Uttings peti- 
tioned against her for a debt of 7 9s. 6d. (LC 5, 189, p. 27). 

A liaison between Rebecca and the famous fop, Sir George 
Hewett, is suggested by a passage in "Satyr on both Whigs 
and Toryes. 1683," in which Hewett is represented as a fool 

With whom as much our Satyr strives in Vain 

As Love, to wound his heart, since Marshal's Reign. 

For the possibility that Rebecca had a daughter see "Lam- 

Proud Curtizan Marshall tis time to give o're 
Since now your Daughter, shee is turn'd whore 
But be not discourag'd it was in Cambridge shee fell 
And her London Maidenhead you have still to sell. 

Rebecca must have been above average height, well quali- 
fied to play queenly roles. Probably she had black hair and 
eyes. In Dryden's Secret Love (Act V, scene 1) we are told to 

Behold how night sits lovely on her Eye-brows 
While day breaks from her Eyes! 

and in Lee's Nero (Act I, scene 2) we learn that "Her quick 
black eye does wander with desire," while in the chase, "Her 
long black locks, on her fair shoulders flow." 

MERCHANT, MRS. (King's Company, 1678). Mrs. Mer- 
chant played Lucilla, a waiting maid, in D'Urfey's Trick for 
Trick, ca. March, 1678, and Petulant Easy, a leading role, 
in Leanerd's The Rambling Justice, March, 1678 (a "young" 
actors production). 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

MILES, MRS. (United Company, 1689). Mrs. Miles > name 
is listed in only one minor role, "A Niece to Don Pedro," in 
Mountfort's The Successful Strangers, ca. December, 1689. 

MITCHELL, KATHERINE (King's Company, 1661-63). 
Listed as a member of the Bang's Company in the autumn of 
1663, Mrs. Mitchell was probably on the stage in 1660 or 
1661. When Flecknoe printed his then unacted Erminia 
(1661) he cast "Mrs. Michel" as Althea, a waiting woman. 
There is no evidence that she ever played the role, but she 
must have been on the stage at the time. Nothing is heard of 
her after 1663, unless she became Katherine Corey (q.v.). 

MOUNTFORT, MRS. See Percival, Susanna. 

MOYLE, MRS. (King's Company, 1681-82). Mrs. Moyle 
played the supporting role of Millicent in D'Urfey's Sir Bar- 
naby Whigg, ca. September, 1681. Probably she also spoke the 
epilogue "By a New Actress." On July 18, 1682, she delivered 
an epilogue at Oxford (Wiley, p. 122). 

NANNY, MISS (United Company, 1685). We know this 
young lady only by her nickname. She played Clita in D'Ur- 
fey's A Commonwealth of Women^ ca. August, 1685, and 
spoke an epilogue beginning, 

How silly 'tis for one, not yet Thirteen, 

To hope her first Essay should please you Men. 

Possibly it was Miss Nanny who played Pipeau, a youth, in 
a revival of Fletcher's Rollo in 1685 (4to, late 1685). The 
name in the dramatis personae is "Miss Cockye, the little 
girl." "Cocky" is a term of endearment rather than a nick- 

NAPIER or NAPPER, MRS. See Knapper, Mrs. 
NEPP, MRS. See Knep, Mary. 

NORRIS, MRS. (Duke's Company, 1661-83). Listed by 
Downes as one of Davenant's eight original actresses, Mrs. 
Norris was probably the wife of Henry Norris, a minor actor 


All the King's Ladies 

with the Duke's Company. According to Chetwood (p. 197), 
she was the mother of Henry Norris (born 1665), known as 
"Jubilee Dickey" because of his performance in Farquhar's 
The Constant Couple, 1699. 

Mrs. Norris was a useful actress, good at "humours" char- 
acters: old ladies, mothers, nurses, and the like. She played 
Polla, a shrew, in Parkhurst's translation of Ruggles' Ignora- 
mus, November, 1662 (Hotson, p. 214); the Countess of La 
Marr in Boyle's Henry the Fifth, August, 1664; Mitza, a 
servant, in Boyle's Mustapha, April, 1665; Lady Dupe in 
Dry den's Sir Martin Mar-all, August, 1667; Goody Fells, a 
landlady, in Revet's The Town-Shifts, March, 1671; Goody 
Winifred in Boyle's Mr. Anthony, ca. March, 1672; the 
Witch in Payne's The Fatal Jealousy, August, 1672; Breed- 
well, a whore, in Ravenscroft's The Careless Lovers, March, 
1673; the Nurse in Arrowsmith's The Reformation, Septem- 
ber, 1673; Cariola in a revival of Webster's The Duchess of 
Malfi, ca. 1673 (4to, 1678); Goody Rash in Crowne's The 
Country Wit, January, 1676; Callis, a governess, in Behn's 
The Rover, March, 1677; Sabina, a servant, in Porter's The 
French Conjurer, ca. March, 1677; the governess in D'Urfey's 
A Fond Husband, May, 1677; Lilla, the mother, in The Con- 
stant Nymph (Anon.), ca. July, 1677; old Lady Santloe in 
Behn's The Counterfeit Bridegroom, ca. September, 1677; 
Comet in D'Urfey's Squire Oldsapp, ca. June, 1678; Philip- 
pa, a servant, in Behn's The Feign* d Curtezans, ca. March, 
1679; Tissick in D'Urfey's The Virtuous Wife, ca. September, 
1679; Nuarcha in Maidwell's The Loving Enemies, ca. 
March, 1680; Mrs. Dunwell, a bawd, in Behn's The Revenge, 
ca. June, 1680; Petronella Eleanora, a bawd, in Behn's The 
Rover, Part II, ca. April, 1681. 

In April, 1681, Mrs. Norris was dismissed from the com- 
pany for quarreling with one of her colleagues. She appealed 
to the Lord Chamberlain, who, on May 7, wrote to Better- 

I did yesterday signifie unto you that Mrs. Norris should be 
received into yo r Company againe And this is to Explayne that 
Order That it is His Ma ties pleasure she reconcile herselfe unto her 
adversary and submitt herselfe to ye rules and Government of ye 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

Company & upon this condicon she is to be admitted as formerly 
[LC 5, 144, p. 114]. 

Readmitted, Mrs. Morris played the Aunt in Ravens- 
croft's The London Cuckolds, November, 1681; Mrs. Turbu- 
lent in Mr. Turbulent (Anon.), January, 1682; Mrs. Clacket 
in Behn's The City Heiress, March, 1682; and Chloris, a 
servant, in Otway's The Atheist, ca. July, 1683. After this 
her name disappears from dramatic records. 

Two Mrs. Norrises are listed in the dramatis personae of 
Behn's The Rover, Part II, ca. April, 1681. Probably the one 
who played Lucia, "a Girl," a breeches part, was Mrs. Norris' 
daughter. She appeared only once. In "Satyr on the Players" 
(p. 294) is this passage: 

Then Norris & her Daughter, pleasant are, 
One's very Young, ye other desperate fair 
A very equal well-proportion'd Pair. 
The Girl's of Use, faith as ye matter goes, 
For she must F k to get her Father Cloths. 

In a variant of this in British Museum, Harleian MS. 7317, 
page 101, the fifth line reads, "Yet Mall's of use, faith as the 
matter goes." Possibly the daughter's name was Mary. 

If the father in question was indeed Henry Norris the 
actor, there may have been some truth in the obscene charge. 
Henry Norris was a hireling with a very small list of minor 
parts to his credit. Some notion of his economic situation may 
be gleaned from the fact that on September 15, 1671, "John 
Beard, Butcher," was forced to petition against him for the 
small debt of 3 18s. (LC 5, 14, p. 69). 

NORTON, MRS. (Duke's Company, 1662-70). Mrs. Norton 
is not mentioned by Downes, yet according to Pepys (Decem- 
ber 27, 1662) she was the "fine wench" who replaced Mrs. 
Davenport as Roxalana in The Siege of Rhodes and played 
the role "rather better in all respects for person, voice and 
judgment than the first Roxalana." Since Mrs. Davenport 
left the stage in January, 1662, and Pepys first saw Mrs. 
Norton on December 1, 1662, she must have joined the com- 
pany at some time between those two dates. 

All the King's Ladies 

Her name appears in no dramatis personae, yet she re- 
mained a member of the company for eight years. On July 2, 
1666, Pepys met her at Peg Pen's house and described her 
as "a fine woman, indifferent handsome, good body and 
hand, and good mien, and pretends to sing, but do it not 
excellently/' In 1670 she left the company under unpleasant 
circumstances. On December 5, 1670, the Lord Chamberlain 
issued a warrant to "take into Custody the body of M rB 
Norton late one of his Ma ties Comoedians & to bring her 
before mee to answer unto such things as shall be then & 
there objected agt her" (LC 5, 188, p. 61). 

OSBORN, MARGARET (Duke's and United companies, 
1672-91). Mrs. Osborn, an undistinguished player of small 
parts, seems to have begun her career at the Duke's Theatre 
as Flora, a waiting woman, in Payne's The Fatal Jealousy, 
August, 1672. Thereafter she played Lady Turnup in Payne's 
The Morning Ramble, November, 1672; Mrs. Clappam, a 
whore, in Ravenscroft's The Careless Lovers, March, 1673; 
Lelia, a confidante, in Arrowsmith's The Reformation, Sep- 
tember, 1673; an Old Lady in a revival of The Duchess of 
Malfi, ca. 1673 (4to, 1678); the Queen in Settle's Love and 
Revenge, November, 1674; Luce, a rich widow, in Rawlins' 
Tom Essence, ca. August, 1676; Widow Landwell in Behn's 
The Counterfeit Bridegroom, ca. September, 1677; and Elvira, 
a waiting woman, in Behn's Abdelazar, ca. September, 1677. 

Late in 1677 Mrs. Osborn journeyed to Ireland where she 
spent two years or so at the Dublin Theatre (W. S. Clark, 
The Early Irish Stage [1955], p. 82). On her return to the 
Duke's Company she played Florella, a waiting woman, in 
Otway's The Orphan, ca. March, 1680; Jacinta in Behn's 
The False Count, November, 1681; Jane, a waiting woman, 
in Ravenscroft's The London Cuckolds, November, 1681; 
Mrs. Sly, an Anabaptist, in Mr. Turbulent (Anon.), January, 
1682; Hellen, a waiting woman, in Ravenscroft's Dame Dob- 
son, June, 1683; Mrs. Furnish in Otway's The Atheist, ca. 
July, 1683; and Ariadne, an Amazon, in D'Urfey's A Com- 
monwealth of Women, ca. August, 1685. 

Mrs. Osborn's name ("Margrett Osborne") was included 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

in a list of comedians constituted by James II in 1688 
(Nicoll, p. 332). She created the roles of Grycia, an old gov- 
erness, in ShadwelTs The Amorous Bigotte, spring, 1690; Abi- 
gail, a housekeeper, in Shadwell's The Scowrers, ca. Decem- 
ber, 1690; Tearshift in D'Urfey's Love for Money, ca. Decem- 
ber. 1690; and Lady Hazard in Mountfort's Greenwich Park, 
April, 1691. 

The author of "Satyr on the Players" dismissed Mrs. 
Osborn with contempt: 

But Osborn moves in a Religious Strain 
She'l F k and Pray, and Pray, and F k again 

Sure now her F king. Praying Dayes are o're 

Who'd have an Ugly, Old, yet Zealous Whore? 

ward FERBRUGGEN (King's, United, and Drury Lane 
companies, 1681-1703). If she gave her correct age at the 
time of her first marriage, Mrs. Percival was born in 1667. 
Although her father, Thomas Percival, was a minor actor 
with the Duke's Company (ca. 1675-93), Susanna enlisted 
first with the King's Company, perhaps because at that time 
there was more opportunity for a young actress in the 
Theatre Royal. Her first appearance, at the age of fourteen, 
was in the small role of Welsh Winifred in D'Urfey's Sir 
Barnaby Whigg, ca. September, 1681. She played also an 
attendant in D'Urfey's The Injured Princess, ca. March, 

With the United Company she played a double role, Mrs. 
Jenkins, a breeches part, and Mrs. Susan, a country girl, in 
Ravenscroft's Dame Dobson, June, 1683; Phillis, a maid, in 
Otway's The Atheist, ca. July, 1683; Juliana, a cast mistress, 
in Southerne's The Disappointment, April, 1684; Prudentia 
in Tate's A Duke and No Duke, November, 1684; Constance 
Holdup in a revival of Brome's The Northern Lass, ca. 1684; 
Gertrude in Tate's Cuckolds-Haven, ca. June, 1685; Julietta, 
an Amazon, in D'Urfey's A Commonwealth of Women, ca. 
August, 1685; Matilda in Fletcher's Rollo, 1685; Lucia in 
D'Urfey's The Banditti, February, 1686; and Nell, the lead, 


All the King's Ladies 

and the epilogue with Jevon in Jevon's The Devil of a Wife, 
March, 1686. 

On July 2, 1686, she married William Mountfort, a rising 
young actor (Borgman, p. 24). The young couple played 
together often thereafter, and both were highly successful as 
comedians. Mrs. Mountfort played Bellamante in Behn's 
The Emperor in the Moon, ca. March, 1687; Panura in Tate's 
The Island Princess, April, 1687; Diana in Behn's The 
Lucky Chance, ca. December, 1687; Isabella and the epilogue 
in Shadwell's The Squire of Alsatia, May, 1688; and Maria 
in Carlile's The Fortune Hunters, March, 1689. It is likely 
that Mrs. Mountfort's first daughter, also named Susanna, 
was born some time in 1688. 

Mrs. Mountfort continued to grow in stature as a comic 
actress, playing madcap Gertrude and the epilogue in Shad- 
well's Bury Fair, ca. April, 1689; Morayma and the epilogue 
with Mountfort in Dryden's Don Sebastian, November, 
1689; Feliciana in Mountfort's The Successful Strangers, ca. 
December, 1689; Phaedra and the epilogue in Dryden's 
Amphitryon, October, 1690; Lucia, a breeches part, in 
Southerne's Sir Anthony Love, December, 1690; Florella, a 
breeches part, and the epilogue in Mountfort's Greenwich 
Park, April, 1691: and Mrs. Witwoud in Southerne's The 
Wives Excuse, December, 1691. Her career was interrupted 
on March 22, 1692, by the birth of a second daughter, who 
died eight days later (Borgman, p. 171). Some months later 
Mrs. Mountfort returned to the stage, playing Eugenia in 
Shadwell's The Volunteers, ca. November, 1692. 

On December 10, 1692, William Mountfort died as the 
result of a wound inflicted the night before by Captain 
Richard Hill, abetted by Lord Mohun. Captain Hill, insanely 
in love with Anne Bracegirdle and jealous of Mountfort, 
ran the actor through in the street before Mountfort could 
draw his sword. Left a widow with one child and another 
coming, Mrs. Mountfort continued on the stage, playing 
Lady Susan Malepert, an old woman, in Southerne's The 
Maid's Last Prayer, January, 1693; Belinda in Congreve's 
The Old Bachelor, March, 1693; Annabella, a breeches part, 
in Powell's A Very Good Wife, March, 1693; and Catchat 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

and the epilogue in Wright's The Female Vertuosos, April, 
1693. Her third daughter, Mary, was baptized April 27, 1693. 

Mrs. Mountfort's troubles were not ended. On September 
10, 1693, her father was arrested for clipping coins; on Octo- 
ber 17 he was condemned to death. Mrs. Mountfort's peti- 
tion to the Queen for mercy was granted, possibly as a reward 
for withdrawing her petition against Lord Mohun, who had 
been exonerated of complicity in her husband's murder (Nar- 
cissus Luttrell, A Brief Relation of State Affairs [6 vols., 
1857], III, 207, October 19, 1693). Percival's sentence was 
commuted to transportation. He died in Portsmouth on his 
way to the convict ship. 

Apparently Mrs. Mountfort played on steadily, her last 
performance for 1693 being Lady Froth and the epilogue in 
Congreve's The Double-Dealer, October, 1693. She was still 
young (only twenty-six) and handsome; on January 31, 1694, 
she married another rising young actor, John Verbruggen 
(Borgman, p. 173). Thereafter she appeared with her usual 
success, delivering the epilogue to Southerne's The Fatal 
Marriage, February, 1694, and playing Dalinda and the epi- 
logue in Dryden's Love Triumphant, March, 1694; Mary the 
Buxom, the epilogue to Part II with Underbill, and the epi- 
logue to Part III, in D'Urfey's Don Quixote, May, 1694, and 
November, 1695; and Hillaria, a breeches part, in Ravens- 
croft's The Canterbury Guests, September, 1694. 

Although the Verbruggens seem to have planned to join 
Betterton's seceding troupe, which started playing at Lin- 
coln's Inn Fields in April, 1695, the Lord Chamberlain or- 
dered them to remain with the Drury Lane Company 
(Nicoll, pp. 338-39). Verbruggen was allowed to join the new 
company in January, 1697; Mrs. Verbruggen continued with 
the Drury Lane Company. Gibber (1, 200), submits that the 
Betterton company refused to give her a full share. Her 
known roles at Drury Lane were Ansilva, a wicked maid, in 
Gould's The Rival Sisters, ca. October, 1695; Charlotte Well- 
don, a breeches part, and the epilogue in Southerne's Oroono- 
ko, November, 1695; the epilogue "in Men's Cloaths" to 
Trotter's Agnes de Castro, November, 1695; Narcissa in 
Gibber's Love's Last Shift, January, 1696; Olivia in Manley's 


All the King's Ladies 

The Lost Lover, ca. March, 1696; Demetria and the epilogue 
in Norton's Pausanias, ca. April, 1696; Achmet, the chief 
eunuch, a breeches part, in Fix's Ibrahim, ca. June, 1696; 
the Governor's Lady and the epilogue in Fix's The Spanish 
Wives, ca. September, 1696; Clarinda, a breeches part, in 
Scott's The Mock-Marriage, October, 1696; Berinthia and the 
prologue for the third day in Vanbrugh's The Relapse, De- 
cember, 1696; Olivia, a breeches part, in Behn's The Younger 
Brother, ca. December, 1696; the Nurse in Vanbrugh's Aesop, 
ca. December, 1696; Jacintha in Settle's The World in the 
Moon, June, 1697; Marsilia (a caricature of Mrs. Manley) in 
W. M.'s The Female Wits, 1697; Celia in a revival of The 
Humourous Lieutenant, 1697 (Genest, II, 112); Margaretta 
in The Fatal Discovery (Anon.), ca. February, 1698; Mme la 
Marquise in D'Urfey's The Campaigners, ca. June, 1698; 
Margaret, the shrew, in a revival of Lacy's Sauny the Scot, 
ca. 1698 (Genest, II, 139); Letitia in Pinkethman's Love 
without Interest, ca. April, 1699; Lady Lurewell in Farquhar's 
The Constant Couple, November, 1699; Lucia in Baker's The 
Humour of the Age, ca. February, 1700; Lady Dainty in 
Burnaby's The Reformed Wife, ca. March, 1700; Louisa in 
Gibber's Love Makes a Man, December, 1700; Lady Lure- 
well again in Farquhar's Sir Harry Wildair, ca. April, 1701 ; 
Miranda, "a Gay Coquet," in Trotter's Love at a Loss, ca. 
April, 1701; Gilian Homebred in D'Urfey's The Bath, ca. 
July, 1701 ; Lady Brumpton in Steele's The Funeral, ca. De- 
cember, 1701; Lady Cringe in Burnaby's The Modish Hus- 
band, ca. January, 1702; whimsical Bisarre in Farquhar's 
The Inconstant, ca. February, 1702; Hypolita in Gibber's She 
Wou'd and She Woud Not, November, 1702; Hillaria in 
Baker's Tunbridge-Walks, January, 1703; and Mrs. Whim- 
sey in Estcourt's The Fair Example, April, 1703. 

According to Gibber (I, 306), the Drury Lane Company 
acted at Bath in the summer of 1703, and Mrs. Verbruggen, 
"by reason of her last Sickness (of which she some few 
Months after dy'd) was left in London." Davies (III, 395) 
reports that "This admirable comic actress died in child-bed, 
1703." The two statements are not irreconcilable. Genest 
(II, 401) lists a performance on April 26, 1708, "for the bt 

1 80 

The Actresses, 1660-89 

of a young orphan child of the late Mr. & Mrs. Verbruggen." 
Verbruggen died in 1707. Mrs. Verbruggen's older daughter, 
Susanna Mountfort, was on the stage from about 1703 to 
1718, apparently successful as a comic actress. After some 
unhappy love affairs, including one with Barton Booth, she 
went insane and died. 

Anthony Aston (II, 313) describes Mrs. Verbruggen as "a 
fine, fair Woman, plump, full-featur'd; her face of a fine, 
smooth Oval, full of beautiful, well-dispos'd Moles on it, and 
on her Neck and Breast/* Testimonies to her excellence as 
a comedienne are numerous. Gibber (I, 165) wrote that she 
was "Mistress of more variety of Humour than I ever knew 
in any one Woman Actress," and devoted some of his most 
eloquent pages to an analysis of her performance as Melantha 
in Dryden's Marriage A4ar-Mode. In his Preface to The Fe- 
male Wits (4to, 1704), the anonymous author wrote sorrow- 
fully of Mrs. Verbruggen as one "whose Loss we must ever 
regret, as the Chief Actress in her Kind, who never had any- 
one that exceeded her." In A Comparison between the Two 
Stages, 1702 (Wells, p. 106), she is called "a Miracle" in con- 
trast to Mrs. Rogers and Mrs. Oldfield, who were "meer 
Rubbish that ought to be swept off the Stage with the Filth 
and Dust." 

Although the author of "A Satyr on the Players" insists 
that in her youth Susanna was so debauched that she grew "in 
Lewdness faster than in Age," she seems to have been a vir- 
tuous wife. On March 8/18, 1688, Etherege (p. 337) wrote 
consolingly to his friend Jephson, who had evidently at- 
tempted the actress's virtue: "Mrs. Percivall had only her 
youth and a maidenhead to recommend her, wch makes me 
thinke you do not take it to heart that Mrs. Mumford 
[Mountfbrt] is so discreet." 

PETTY, MRS. (Duke's and United companies, 1676-83). 
According to John Aubrey (Brief Lives, ed. Andrew Clark 
[2 vols., 1898], II, 143), Mrs. Petty was the illegitimate 
daughter of the famous virtuoso, Sir William Petty: "He 
has a naturall daughter that much resembles him, no legiti- 
mate child so much, that acts at the Duke's play-house, who 


All the King's Ladies 

hath had a child by about 1679. She is [1680] about 

21." If Mrs. Petty was born in 1659, she would have been 
seventeen when she played her first known role, Dorinda, a 
young nymph, in Settle's Pas for Fido, ca. December, 1676. 
Probably she was much younger. Settle confessed in his 
Epistle Dedicatory that the character of Dorinda "was made 
up new to fit it for the person design'd to Act it," and the 
play has several references to Dorinda's extreme youth. Six 
years later, in the epilogue to Behn's Like Father, like Son, 
March, 1682, the comedian Jevon says: 

Here Mistris Petty, Hah! she's grown a very Woman, 
Thou'st got me Child, better me than no Man. 

After her first appearance Mrs. Petty seems to have left the 
stage for five years, perhaps being kept by the unknown by 
whom she had a child in 1679. She returned to the Duke's 
Theatre to play Clara in Behn's The False Count, November, 
1681; Peggy, a young wife, and the epilogue with others in 
Ravenscroft's The London Cuckolds, November, 1681; Phi- 
lipa, a breeches part, in D'Urfey's The Royalist, January, 
1682; Lady Diana Talbot in Banks's Vertue Betray'd, April, 
1682; and Lady Rich (described as "a great Beauty, a deli- 
cate Brown") in Ravenscroft's Dame Dobson, June, 1683. 

The author of "A Satyr on the Players," complained: 

What is't, a Pox makes Petty seem to be 
Of so demure, pretended Modesty 
When 'tis apparent she'l in private prove 
As Impudent, as any Punk of Love? 
Strangers she fears, so cares not much to roam 
While she can have a Sharers pr k at home. 

PRATT, MRS. (King's Company, 1671). Mrs. Pratt played 
the role of Sophia, a mother, in Corye's The Generous Ene- 
mies, ca. July, 1671. 

PRICE, MRS. (Duke's and United Companies^ 1678-86). 
Mrs. Price played only minor or secondary roles: Lucretia in 
Behn's Sir Patient Fancy, January, 1678; Camilla in Otway's 
Friendship in Fashion, April, 1678; Violante in Leanerd's 
The Counterfeits, May, 1678; Christina, the second lead, in 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

D'Urfey's Squire Oldsapp, ca. June, 1678; Helena in Banks's 
The Destruction of Troy, November, 1678; Adorna, the sec- 
ond lead, in Lee's Caesar Borgia, September, 1679; Edraste, 
a breeches part, in Tate's The Loyal General, ca. December, 
1679; Sylvia in Otway's The Souldiers Fortune, March, 1680; 
Diana, the second lead, in Behn's The Revenge, ca. June, 
1680; and Pricilla in Mr. Turbulent (Anon.), January, 1682. 

With the union of the two companies Mrs. Price disap- 
peared for a time, returning to play even smaller parts: Wini- 
fred in Tate's Cuckolds-Haven, ca. June, 1685; Hippolita, 
an Amazon, in D'Urfey's A Commonwealth of Women, ca. 
August, 1685; and Jane, a maid servant, in Jevon's The 
Devil of a Wife, March, 1686. 

As Sylvia in Otway's The Souldiers Fortune, Mrs. Price 
was particularly described by Sir Jolly (Act IV, scene 1): 
"Light Brown Hair, her face oval and Roman, quick spar- 
kling Eyes, plump pregnant ruby lips, with a Mole on her 
Breast, and the perfect likeness of a Heart-Cherry on her 
left Knee." 

$UIN, MRS. See Marshall, Anne. 

REEVES, ANNE. (King's Company, 1670-72). Although 
Downes says that Mrs. Reeves was one of those who joined 
the King's Company "some few Years after" 1660, her first 
known role was the tiny part of Esperanza in Dryden's Con- 
quest of Granada, December, 1670-January, 1671, and there 
is no record of her on the stage before that date. Not long 
after her first appearance contemporary gossip identified her 
as Dryden's mistress, and his favor is supposed to have 
helped her to the few small roles she played. In Buckingham's 
The Rehearsal, December, 1671, there is a coarse allusion to 
the liaison of Bayes (Dryden) and Amaryllis (Mrs. Reeves) 
(see Buckingham's Works [1705], I, p. 2). If Mrs. Reeves was 
indeed Dryden's mistress, he does not seem to have been 
overly generous. On January 9, 1672, Elizabeth Bracy peti- 
tioned against "M w Anne Reeves Comoedian" for a debt of 
4 10j. for clothes (LC 5, 14, p. 132). 
Dressed in man's clothes, Mrs. Reeves spoke the epilogue 


All the King's Ladies 

to a revival of Dryden's Secret Love, "acted all by women/ 1 
in the spring of 1672 (Thorn-Drury, p. 2). She played Philotis, 
a witty waiting woman, in Dryden's Marriage A-la-Mode, 
ca. April, 1672, and Ascanio, a page, a breeches part, in 
Dryden's The Assignation, ca. November, 1672. Thereafter 
she disappeared. According to the gossips she entered a for- 
eign nunnery (see Rochester's A Session of the Poets, ca. 
1676; the prologue to Everyman Out of his Humour [July, 
1675], in Duffett's New Poems [1676], p. 73; and the epilogue 
to Otway's Don Carlos, June, 1676). 

Writing in The Gentleman 9 s Magazine in February, 1745 
(XV, 99), a garrulous old gentleman asserted, "I remember 
plain John Dryden (before he paid his court with success to 
the great) in one uniform cloathing of Noiwich drugget. I 
have eat tarts with him and Madam Reeve at the Mulberry- 
Garden, when our author advanced to a sword, and chadreux 
wig. ..." Mr. Clifford Leech believes the writer of this let- 
ter to have been Dryden's friend, the dramatist Thomas 
Southerne (Notes and Queries, CLXIV [June 10, 1933], 

The "Mr. Reeve" mentioned by Downes (p. 2) as one of 
four who were "Bred up from Boys" in the King's Company 
and who later played a role in a' revival of Jonson's Catiline, 
December, 1668, may have been Anne's brother. 

ROCH, MRS. (King's Company, 1676). The prologue to 
Lee's Gloriana, January, 1676, was spoken by "Mrs. Roch"; 
she seems to have been impressed into service for this occa- 
sion only. Probably this was "Madam Le Roch" (or La 
Roche-Guilhen), a French singer and composer attached to 
the King's Company (Nicoll, p. 355). 

RUSSELL, JANE (King's Company, 1663). Mrs. Russell's 
name appears only in the list of "Women Comoedians" for 
the autumn of 1663. 

RUTTER, MARGARET (King's Company, 1661-77). Al- 
though Downes asserts that Mrs. Rutter was one of those 
who "came into the Company some few Years after" 1660, 
she was cast by Flecknoe as the Duchess of Missena in his 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

then unacted Erminia (8vo, 1661); therefore she must have 
been one of the earliest members of the company. In early 
revivals of old plays (ca. 1661) she is listed by Downes for the 
roles of Dame Plyant in Jonson's The Alchemist, Martha in 
Beaumont and Fletcher's The Scornful Lady, the Lady in 
Fletcher's The Elder Brother, and Emilia in Othello. Probably 
she was the "Mrs. Marg*" who played Mrs. Mopus in Wil- 
son's The Cheats, March, 1663 (Nahm, p. 62). Her name 
appears in the Lord Chamberlain's list of actors, autumn, 
1663. She was named also in all four of the Lord Chamber- 
lain's livery warrants, 1666-69. 

Mrs. Rutter played Olinda ("tall, and fair, and bonny") in 
Dryden's Secret Love, February, 1667. On December 4, 1667, 
John Humphreyes petitioned against her for a debt of 9 
(LC 5, 186, p. 186). Flecknoe cast her as "Isabella, a Witty 
Damoiselle" in his then unacted The Damoiselles h la Mode, 
September, 1668 (4to, 1667). She played Mrs. Crossbite in 
Wycherley's Love in a Wood, ca. March, 1671. On July 1, 
1671, Humphrey Weld petitioned against her for a debt of 
200 (LC 5, 14, p. 30). She played Emilia in a revival of 
Othello, 1674 (4to, 1687); Old Lady Squeamish in Wycher- 
ley's The Country Wife, January, 1675; Princess Wou'hamore 
in Duffett's Psyche Debauch* d, ca. May, 1675; Lady Malory 
in Leanerd's The Country Innocence, ca. March, 1677; and 
Alicia in Ravenscroft's King Edgar andAlfreda, ca. October, 

A quatrain in "The Session of the Poets. To the Tune of 
Cook-Lawrel" (ca. 1665, Dryden's Miscellany Poems [1716], 
Part II, p. 91) suggests that Mrs. Rutter's morals were not 
above reproach: 

Humorous Weeden came in a pet, 
And for the Laurel began to splutter; 

But Apollo chid him, and bid him first get 
A Muse not so common as Mrs. Rutter. 

SAUNDERSON, MARY. See Betterton, Mary. 

SEYMOUR, MRS. (Duke's Company, 1677-79). Mrs. Sey- 
mour played several very minor roles: Parisatis in Pordage's 
The Siege of Babylon, ca. September, 1677; Thais, a whore, 


All the King's Ladies 

in Shadwell's Timon of Athens, ca. January, 1678; Lettice, a 
maid servant, in Otway's Friendship in Fashion, April, 1678; 
Lucinda in D'Urfey's Squire Oldsapp, ca. June, 1678; Sabina, 
a confidante, in Behn's The Feign 'd Curtezans, ca. March, 
1679; and Lidia in D'Urfey's The Virtuous Wife, ca. Septem- 
ber, 1679. 

SHADWELL, ANNE, nee GIBBS (Duke's Company, 1661- 
81). According to Downes "Mrs. Ann Gibbs" was one of 
Davenant's original actresses. She was the daughter of 
Thomas Gibbs, Norwich proctor and public notary. Between 
1663 and 1667 she married the dramatist, Thomas Shadwell 
(see A. S. Borgman, Thomas Shadwell [1928]). 

As Mrs. Gibbs she played Olivia in Twelfth Night, 1661 
(Downes, p. 23); Mrs. Lucia in Cowley's Cutter of Coleman 
Street, December, 1661 (Downes, p. 25); Gertrude in Hamlet, 
ca. 1662, probably succeeding Hester Davenport (Downes, 
p. 21; 4to, 1683); and Decio (Ericina), a breeches part, and 
the epilogue in Stapylton's The Slighted Maid, February, 

As Mrs. Shadwell she played Heraclia (succeeding Mrs. 
Betterton) in Davenant's The Rivals, ca. 1664 (4to, 1668); 
Cleora, an attendant, in Boyle's Mustapha, April, 1665 (4to., 
1668); Lady Cockwood in Etherege's She Wou'dlfShe Cou'd, 
February, 1668 (Downes, p. 29); Emilia in Shadwell's The 
Sullen Lovers, May, 1668 (Downes, p. 29) ; Clarina ("a pretty, 
black-ey'd rogue") in E. Howard's The Womens Conquest, 
ca. November, 1670; Celinda, a second lead, in E. Howard's 
The Six Days Adventure, ca. March, 1671 ; Joanna, a breeches 
part, in Crowne's Juliana, August, 1671; Irene in Crowne's 
History of Charles the Eighth, November, 1671; Caelia, the 
lead, in Payne's The Fatal Jealousy ^ August, 1672; Rose, a 
breeches part, in Payne's The Morning Ramble, November, 
1672; Lucia in Shadwell's Epsom Wells, December, 1672 
("Mrs. Gibbs" [Downes, p. 23]); and Julia in a revival of 
The Duchess of Malfi, ca. 1673 (4to, 1678). 

Mrs. Shadwell seems to have left the stage for two or three 
years at about this time. Her next roles were: the Duchess 
of Eboli in Otway's Don Carlos, June, 1676; Melissa, a 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

coquette, in ShadwelTs Timon of Athens, ca. January, 1678; 
Lucinda in MaidwelTs The Loving Enemies, ca. March, 1680; 
and Goneril in Tate's King Lear, ca. March, 1681. 

Shadwell died November 19, 1692. His widow was still 
living in 1709 (Fitzgerald, I, 271). She seems to have been a 
competent actress and an exemplary wife and mother. The 
only mention of her in contemporary lampoons is an ill- 
natured slur at possible youthful follies in "A Satyr on the 

. . . antiquated Shadwell swears in Rage, 

She knows not what's the Lewdness of ye Stage: 

And I believe her, now her days are past, 

Who'd tempt a Wretch, that on meer force is Chast? 

Yet in her Youth, none was a greater Whore 

Her Lumpish Husband Og can tell you more. 

SLADE, ELIZABETH (King's Company, 1668-75). Mrs. 
Slade has been given undue eminence by an often quoted 
reminiscent poem in The Gentleman 9 s Magazine (XV [Febru- 
ary, 1745], 99) which ended with the lines: 

. . . and think again 

Of Hart, of Mohun, and all the female train, 

Coxe, Marshall, Dryden's Reeve, 

Bet. Slade, and Charles's reign. 

To this the editor added notes on the ladies mentioned, de- 
scribing Betty Slade as "The sly servant-maid actress of 
those days," as if she had been famous. 

As a matter of fact, Mrs. Slade played few roles and none 
of importance. She played Camilla, a waiting woman, in 
Dryden's An Evening's Love, June, 1668; Lucy, Dapperwit's 
wench, in Wycherley's Love in a Wood, ca. March, 1671; 
Beliza, a singing waiting woman, in Dryden's Marriage A-Ia- 
Mode, ca. April, 1672; and Melinda, a supporting role, in 
Fane's Love in the Dark, May, 1675. 

On November 25, 1675, for an unknown reason, the Lord 
Chamberlain sent Killigrew the following order: "These are 
to require you not to suffer Elizabeth Slade to Act at His 


All the King's Ladies 

Ma ties Theatre or to receive any allowances or proffitts 
thence untill you receive further order from mee" (LC 5, 141, 
p. 294). No further order is recorded. 

SLAUGHTER, MRS. (Duke's Company, 1671). According 
to Downes (p. 35) Mrs. Slaughter was one of those who joined 
the Duke's Company about 1673. However, she has only one 
role to her credit, that of Cornelia, the exiled Queen of Cy- 
prus, in Crowne's History of Charles the Eighth, November, 
1671. Summers (Downes, p. 222) agrees with Genest that in 
all probability she became Mrs. Osborn (q.v.) by marriage. 
If so, it is surprising indeed that Downes would have remem- 
bered her only by her maiden name. 

SUNGSBY, LADY. See Lee, Mary. 

SPENCER, MRS. (Duke's Company, 1673-75). Mrs. Spencer 
spoke the epilogue to Pordage's Herod and Mariamne, Octo- 
ber, 1673, and created the role of Vangona, a breeches part, 
in Settle's The Conquest of China, May, 1675. 

TWYFOKD, MRS. (Duke's and United companies, 1676- 
86). Downes (p. 35) lists Mrs. Twyford (or Twiford) among 
those who joined the Duke's Company around 1673. Her 
first known role was Emilia in Etherege's The Man of Mode, 
March, 1676 (Downes, p. 36). She played, next, Princess 
Osmida in C. Davenant's Circe, May, 1677 (Downes, p. 36). 
After this she seems to have left the stage for some years. 
She joined the United Company to play Aurelia in D'Urfey's 
The Royalist, January, 1682; Beatrice, a servant, in Ravens- 
croft's Dame Dobson, June, 1683; Flametta in Tate's A Duke 
and No Duke, November, 1684; Mildred in Tate's Cuckolds- 
Haven, ca. June, 1685; Menalippe, an Amazon, in D'Urfey's 
A Commonwealth of Women, ca. August, 1685; Christina in 
D'Urfey's The Banditti, February, 1686; and Lettice, a maid, 
in Jevon's The Devil of a Wife, March, 1686. 

Mrs. Twyford was an undistinguished performer of sec- 
ondary roles. She attracted the attention of the author of 
"A Satyr on the Players," who wrote: 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

Once Twyford had som modesty but she 
Her Husband being close in Custody 
Wou'd be unkind to let him famish there 
So F ks for Guineas, to provide him Fare. 

Collier quotes (as he put it) three stanzas from "a ballad in 
my possession thus entitled 'A new ballad, shewing how 
one Tim Twyford, a player of the King's Company was car- 
ried to the Marshalsea for money he owed to his laundress, 
and what he did there.' 1674": 

Beware, ye players all, beware 

Of poor Tim Twyford's fate, 
And learn to live upon your share, 

Although it be not great. 

For players, too, must pay their debts, 

Or in cold prison lie, 
At which each proud stage-strutter frets, 

And some do almost cry. 

No longer can they strut and huff, 

Though once they could do so, 
And smooth or rough, they get enough 

To pay the debt they owe. 

Collier's forgeries are so numerous that one hesitates to 
accept this ballad as genuine. Moreover there are no records 
of a Timothy Twyford on the Restoration stage. On the 
other hand, Collier seems never to have seen "A Satyr on 
the Players" and knew of Mrs. Twyford only as an actress 
with the Duke's Company. The dates, too, fit well enough. 
If Twyford had been a very minor actor imprisoned for debt 
in 1673 or 1674, his wife, deprived of his support, might well 
have chosen a theatrical career right after her husband went 
to prison. That she would still be contributing to his main- 
tenance ten years later is surprising but not unlikely. 

Coincidentally, we must point out that a Timothy Twy- 
ford was a rather unsuccessful publisher with a shop "within 
the Inner-Temple-Gate" in the early years of the Restora- 
tion. He published Stapylton's The Step-Mother in 1664. 

UPHILL, SUSANNA (King's Company, 1669-75). Al- 
though Downes listed her as one of Killigrew's original ac- 


All the King's Ladies 

tresses, there is no record of Mrs. Uphill as a player until 
1669, when she played the very small role of Erotion, an 
attendant, in Dryden's Tyrannick Love, June, 1669. The fact 
that her name does not appear in the livery warrant for 
October 2, 1669, suggests that she may have been still on 
probation. Her next role was the small part of Livia, a wait- 
ing woman, in Corye's The Generous Enemies, ca. July, 1671. 
Thereafter she played Artemis in Dryden's Marriage A-la- 
Mode, ca. April, 1672; Rosella in Duffett's The Spanish 
Rogue, March, 1673; Syllana ("Mrs. Uptiel") in Lee's Nero, 
May, 1674; Parhelia in Fane's Love in the Dark, May, 1675; 
and Zayda in Dryden's Aurenge-Zebe, November, 1675. Of 
these only Rosella and Parhelia were major roles. 

Mrs. Uphill seems to have been both popular and promis- 
cuous. Fane (p. 362) repeats a contemporary quip: "S r Oliver 
Butler sade to S r Tho: Stiles betweene you and I neighbour 
M w Uphil is with child." According to a newsletter dated 
August 30, 1675 (HMC, Seventh Report, p. 465), "Mrs. Up- 
hill, the player" had come into the Duke's Theatre, masked. 
One Mr. Scrope (younger brother of Sir Carr Scrope, or 
Scroope) "would have entertained discourse with her, which 
Sir T[homas] Armstrong would not suffer, so a ring was made 
wherin they fought." Scrope was killed. This may be the 
event referred to by Robert Gould. Discussing the arts of 
the actress backstage, he wrote: 

But talking of their shifts I morn my freind, 
I mourn thy sad, unjust, disastrous end. 
Here 'twas thou didst resign thy worthy breath, 
And fell the victim of a suddain death; 
The shame the guilt the horrour & disgrace, 
Light on the Punk, the murdrer & the place. 

Mrs. Uphill seems to have left the stage to become Sir 
Robert Howard's mistress. In A Seasonable Argument To 
Persuade All the Grand Juries in England To Petition for a 
New Parliament (1677), we are told that Sir Robert has had 

"many great Places and Boons . . . but his W Uphill 

spends all and now refuses to marry him," and in a discussion 
of the Howard brothers and their mistresses in "Satyr on 
both Whigs and Toryes. 1683," the phrase, "S r Pos's comon 


The Actresses, 1660-89 

Jade," seems to refer to Mrs. Uphill. Sir Robert was the 
original of ShadwelTs Sir Positive At-all in The Sullen 
Lovers, 1668. 

Sir Robert Howard, who had been a widower since Sep- 
tember, 1676, probably married, as his third wife, Mary 
Uphill, who may have been a kinswoman of the actress. For 

discussions of this and the identity of "his W Uphill" 

see Notes and Queries, CLXXXVII (December, 1944), 281; 
Notes and Queries, CLXXXVIII (November, 1945), 61; and 
Notes and Queries, CXCII (July and October, 1947), 314, 

VERBRUGGEN, MRS. See Percival, Susanna. 

VERJUICE, MRS. (King's Company). Although men- 
tioned by Downes as one of those who joined the King's 
Company some few years after its organization, Mrs. Ver- 
juice has left no record of her existence. 

VINCENT, MRS. (King's Company, 1677). Mrs. Vincent 
seems to have played only Aurelia, the lead, in Ravenscroft's 
farce, Scaramouche, May, 1677. 

WEAVER, Mrs. See Farley, Elizabeth. 

WILLIAMS, MRS. (Duke's Company, 1663). Mrs. Wil- 
liams, evidently one of Davenant's earliest actresses, played 
the supporting roles of Leandra in Stapylton's The Slighted 
Maid, February, 1663, and Pontia, the stepmother, in 
Stapylton's The Step-Mother, ca. November, 1663. 

WISEMAN, MRS. (Duke's Company). According to 
Downes (p. 26) the part of Roxalana in Boyle's Mustapha, 
April, 1665, was originally played by Mrs. Davenport, later 
by Mrs. Betterton, "and tfien [perhaps after Mrs. Betterton's 
retirement] by one Mrs. Wiseman." Nothing else is known 
about this lady. Genest (II, 258) suggests that she might 
have been Jane Wiseman, author ofAntiochus the Great. 1702. 

WRIGHT, MRS. (Duke's Company, 1670). Mrs. Wright 
was only briefly on the stage, playing the tiny part of Renone, 


All the King's Ladies ttg 

an Amazon ambassadress in E. Howard's The Womens Con- 
quest l , ca. November, 1670, and the supporting role of Aminta 
in Behn's The Forc'd Marriage , ca. December, 1670. It is 
likely that she was the Mrs. Wright referred to by Etherege 
(p. 117) when he wrote on November 11/21, 1686, of a 
comedienne in a troupe newly arrived at Ratisbon as being 
"as handsome at least as the Fair Maid of the West which 
you have seen at Newmarket and makes as much noise in 
this little town, and gives as much jealousies to the ladies 
as ever Mrs. Wright or Mrs. Johnson did in London." 

The "Henry Wright Comoedian" who was petitioned 
against on February 25, 1678, for a debt of 4 by Eliz. Col- 
belt may have been Mrs. Wright's husband (LC 5, 191, 
p. 10). 

WYATT y MRS. (King's Company, 1675). Mrs. Wyatt's 
name is attached to only one role, Mrs. Squeamish in Wych- 
erley's The Country Wife, January, 1675. 

WYN y MRS. See Marshall, Anne. 

YATES, MRS. (King's Company, 1666-67). On September 
9, 1667, Killigrew told Pepys that he now had "the best 
musick in England . . . that is two Italians and Mrs. Yates," 
who "is come to sing the Italian manner as well as ever he 
heard any." Mrs. Yates is listed in the livery warrant for 
June 30, 1666, but in no dramatis personae. Probably she 
was a singer only. 

YOUCKNEY, ELIZABETH (King's Company, 1669^ 
70). "Mrs. Yackley" is listed in the livery warrant for Octo- 
ber 2, 1669. "Mrs. Yockney" played a small part (perhaps 
Francescina) in a revival of Shirley's The Sisters in 1669 
(Montague Summers, Essays in Petto [1928], pp. 103-10). 
On November 3, 1670, Henry New petitioned against "Mrs. 
Elisabeth Youckney Comoedian" for a debt of 30 (LC 5, 
188, p. 45). Nothing more is known about this undistin- 
guished actress. One William Youckney or Yockney seems 
to have been a Court Musician in Ordinary from about 1662 
to 1672 (LC 5, 137, p. 277; LC 5, 140, p. 78). 


^Appendix S. T(ecords 

L John Downes, Roscius Anglicanus (1708), ed. Montague Sum- 
mers (1928). 

A. Pp. 2-3: "His Majesty's Company of Comedians" (ca. 
October, 1660-April, 1663): 


Mrs. Corey Note, these following 

Mrs. Ann Marshall came into the Company 

Mrs. Easdand some few Years after. 

Mrs. Weaver Mrs. Boutd 

Mrs. Uphill Mrs. Ellin Gwyn 

Mrs. Knep Mrs. James 

Mrs. Hughs Mrs. Rebecca Marshall 

Mrs. Rutter 
Mrs. Verjuice 
Mrs. Reeves 

The Company being thus Compleat, they open'd the New 
Theatre in Drury-Lane, on Thursday in Easter Week, 
being the 8th, Day of April 1663, with the Humorous 

B. P. 20: The Company formed "to serve his Royal Highness 
the Duke of York" (ca. October, 1660-spring, 1662): 

Sir William Davenant's Women Actresses were, 

Note, These Four being his Principal Actresses, he Boarded 
them at his own House. 


All the King's Ladies 

Mrs. Davenport Mrs. Davies 

Mrs. Saunderson Mrs. Long 

Mrs. Ann Gibbs Mrs. Holden 

Mrs. Norris Mrs. Jennings 

II. E. S. De Beer, "A List of the Department of the Lord Cham- 
berlain of the Household, Autumn, 1663," Bulletin of the In- 
stitute of Historical Research, XIX (November 1941), 13-24. 
A. P. 24: "Actors or Comoedians": 

WOMEN COMOEDIANS [King's Company] 
Mrs. Jane Russell Mrs. Mary Man 

Mrs. Anne Marshall Mrs. Katherine Mitchell 

Mrs. Rebecka Marshall Mrs. Margaret Rutter 
Mrs. Eliz: Farley Mrs. Eastland 

III. Livery warrants in the Lord Chamberlain's Records, Public 
Record Office, London. 

A. June 30, 1666: 

A warrant to provide and deliver to Mrs. Weaver Mrs. Mar- 
shall Mrs. Rutter Mrs. Yates Mrs. Nepp Mrs. Dalton Ellen 
Gwyn Eliz: Hall ffrantis Davenport and Anne Child Women 
Comoedians in his Ma* 1 * Theatre Royall unto each of them foure 
yards of bastard scarlet cloath and one quarter of a yard of vel- 
vett for their liveryes for this present yeare 1666. [LC 5, 138, 
P- 71]. 

B. July 22, 1667: Similar warrant to 

Mrs. Quin Mrs. Marshall Mrs. Corey Mrs. Rutter Mrs. Gwyn 
Mrs. Nepe Mrs. Francis Davenport Mrs. Elizabeth Davenport 
Mrs. Jaine Davenport [LC 5, 62, p. 1]. 

C. February 8, 667/8 July 22 crossed out): Similar war- 
rant to 

Mrs. Quinn Mrs. Cory 

MM. Wcavcg Mrs. Marshall Mrs. Rutter Mrs. Yatea Mrs. Nep 
~ - ~**ke Ellen Gwyn Elisabeth Hall ffrancis Davenport [in 

margin "Elizabeth & Jane"] & Anno Child [LC 5, 138, p. 271]. 

D. October 2, 1669: Similar warrant to 

Mrs. Marshall Mrs. Cory Mrs. Ellen Guynn Mrs. Kneepe 
Mrs. Rutter Mrs. Hues Mrs. Davenport and Mrs. Yackley [LC 
5, 62, p. 107]. 



ASTON, ANTHONY. "A Brief Supplement," in Colley Gibber's Apolo- 
gy for the Life of Mr. Colley Gibber, ed. R. W. LOWE, II, 297-318. 


BORGMAN, A. S. The Life and Death of William Mountfort. 1935. 
BROWN, THOMAS. The Works of Mr. Thomas Brown. 4 vols. 1720. 
CHETWOOD, W. R. A General History of the Stage. 1749. 
"Choyce Collection, A." Manuscript in the Ohio State University 

Library, Columbus, Ohio. 
GIBBER, COLLEY. An Apology for the Life of Mr. Colley Gibber *, ed. 

R. W. LOWE. 2 vols. 1889. 
COLLIER, JOHN PAYNE. "History of the British Stage." Manuscript 

in the Harvard College Library, Cambridge, Mass. 
CSPD. Calendars of State Papers Domestic. 
CURLL, EDMUND. Betterton's History of the English Stage. 1741. 
DAVIES, THOMAS. Dramatic Miscellanies. 3 vols. 1784. 
DOWNES, JOHN. Roscius Anglicantis; or. An Historical Review of 

the Stage (1708), ed. MONTAGUE SUMMERS. 1928. 
ETHEREGE, SIR GEORGE. The Letterbook of Sir George Etherege, ed. 

EVELYN, JOHN. The Diary and Correspondence of John Evelyn, ed. 

FANE, SIR FRANCIS. "Commonplace Book." Manuscript in the 

Shakespeare Memorial Library, Stratford-on-Avon. 
FITZGERALD, PERCY. A New History of the English Stage. 2 vols. 

GENEST, JOHN. Some Account of the English Stage. 10 vols. 1832. 

All the King's Ladies 

GILDON, CHARLES. The Life of Mr. Thomas Betterton. 1710. 

GOULD, ROBERT. "The Playhouse. A Satyr." British Museum Ad- 
ditional MS. 30, 492. 

GRAMMONT. Memoirs of Count Grammont, by ANTHONY HAMILTON, 
ed. GORDON GOODWIN. 2 vols. 1903. 

HMC. Appendices to the Reports of the Royal Commission on 
Historical Manuscripts. 

HOTSON, LESLIE. The Commonwealth and Restoration Stage. 1928. 

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LC. Lord Chamberlain's Records, Public Record Office, London. 

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NAHM, H, C. (ed.). John Wilson's "The Cheats." 1935. 

NICOLL, ALLARDYCE. A History of Restoration Drama: 1660-1700. 
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OLDYS, WILLIAM. Manuscript notes to Gerard Langbaine, An 
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PEPYS, SAMUEL. The Diary of Samuel Pepys, ed. HENRY B. WHEAT- 
LEY. 6 vols. 1893. 

RYAN, RICHARD. Dramatic Table Talk. 3 vols. 1825. 

"Satyr on both Whigs and Toryes. 1683." British Museum, Harlei- 
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"Satyr on the Players, A." Ca. 1684. British Museum, Harleian 
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"Session of the Ladies, The. 1688." British Museum, Harleian MS. 

SP. State Papers. Public Record Office, London. 

THORN-DRURY, G. (ed.). Covent Garden Drollery (1672). 1929. 

VAN LENNEP, WILLIAM. "Thomas Killigrew Prepares His Plays 
for Production," in Joseph Quincy Adams: Memorial Studies, ed. 
JAMES G. MCMANAWAY et a/., pp. 803-8. 1948. 

WELLS, STARING B. (ed.). A Comparison between the Two Stages. 

WILEY, AUTREY NELL. Rare Prologues and Epilogues: 1642-1700. 

WOOD, ANTHONY. The Life and Times of Anthony Woody ed. AN- 
DREW H. CLARK, 5 vols. 1891-1900. 



Addison, Joseph, 52, 58, 62 

Aldridge, Mary, 159 

Allison, Elizabeth, 83 

Allison, Marie, 16 

Angel, Mr., 5 

Anne, Queen, 119, 120 

Ariell, Mrs., 109 

Armstrong, Sir Thomas, 44, 122, 168, 


Ashwell, Mary, 8 
Aston, Anthony, 50, 76, 115, 126 
Aulnoy, Baroness <T, 12, 13 

Baker, Frances, 110 

Baker, Francis, 110 

Baker, Katherine, 110 

Barry, Elizabeth: income, 38; brought 
up well, 50; trained by Rochester, 
51-52; weeps over lines, 53; improves 
bad parts, 56; wounds Mrs. Boutel, 
61; knocked down by dresser, 65; in 
breeches, 73; prologues, 90; and Ot- 
way, 96; as Lavinia, 103; as Cordelia, 
104; life, 110-17; mentioned, 9, 14, 
20, 79, 81, 93, 95, 97, 157, 158, 161 

Barry, Robert, 110 

Bates, Mrs., 117 

Beard, John, 175 

Beeston, William, 4, 32 

Behn, Aphra, 94, 95 

Bennet, Sir Henry, 18, 143 

Betterton, Mary, 7, 8, 20, 34, 37, 77, 
90, 96, 102, 112; life, 117-20, 146, 
186, 191, 194 

Betterton, Thomas, 30, 37, 38, 52, 93, 
94, 96, 115, 117, 119, 157, 164, 174 

Betterton, William, 5 

Booth, Barton, 181 

Booth, Charles, 8, 120 

Boutel, Elizabeth: retires, 42; wounded 
by Mrs. Barry, 61; in breeches, 73, 
76; description, 77-78; as ingnue, 
97; life, 120-22; mentioned, 20, 80, 
82, 90, 97, 193 

Bracegirdle, Anne: in breeches, 73, 75, 
78; in armor, 85; prologues, 89; and 
Congreve, 96; life, 122-27; mentioned, 
21, 80, 90, 97, 105, 109, 113, 157, 178 

Bracy, Elizabeth, 183 

Brown, Mrs., 127 

Brown, Thomas, 26, 115 

Buckhurst, Charles, Lord, 147 

Buckingham, George Villiers, Duke of, 

Buley, Betty, 33 

Burroughs, Mrs., 127 

Burt, Nicholas, 2, 32 

Bush, Edward, 152 

Butler, Charlotte: as a singer, 49; well- 
born, 50; in breeches, 73, 78; as a 
page, 84; introduced, 88; life, 127-29; 
mentioned, 9, 20, 80, 94, 131 

Butier, Sir Oliver, 190 

Cademan, Philip, 61 
Caff, Mrs.; see Clough, Mrs. 
Charles II: and Mrs. Weaver, 17-18; 
on villains, 58; and Moll Davis, 140; 

I 9 7 

All the King's Ladies 

and Nell Gwyn, 148; mentioned, 3, 
7, 26, 99 

Chetwood, William, 105 

Chiffinch, Thomas and William, 18 

Child, Anne, 11, 129, 194 

Gibber, Colley, 20, 36, 38, 65, 66, 77, 
87, 93, 94, 101, 105, 116, 123, 126 

Clarendon, Edward Hyde, Earl of, 56 

Clark, Thomas, 32 

Cleveland, Barbara, Countess of Castle- 
maine and Duchess of, 31, 99, 172 

dough, Mrs., 9, 129 

Clun, Walter, 30, 32 

Colbelt, Elizabeth, 192 

Congreve, William, 21, 93, 94, 96, 127 

Cooke, Sarah, 95, 130-31 

Corbett, Mrs., 9, 131-32 

Corey, Katherine: first actress, 7-8; in- 
come, 38; in comedy, 65; in breeches, 
73; life, 132-34; mentioned, 42, 173, 
193, 194 

Corney, Mrs., 151 

Cox, Elizabeth, 20, 66, 89; life, 134-35, 

Coysh, John, 32 

Cresswell, Mrs., 33 

Crispe, Sir Nicholas, 150 

Crofts, Mrs., 135 

Crosby, Mr., 162 

Crowne, John, 54, 90, 102 


Currer, Elizabeth, 80, 103; life, 135-36 

Dalton, Mrs., 11, 136, 194 

Davenant, Lady Mary, 9, 31, 50, 51, 
110, 162 

Davenant, Sir William, vii, 4, 6, 10, 
34, 94, 101, 102, 139, 149 

Davenport, Elizabeth, 137, 194 

Davenport, Frances, 137, 139, 194 

Davenport, Hester, 8, 11-14, 34, 118; 
life, 137-39, 191, 194 

Davenport, Jane, 11, 137, 139, 194 

Davis, Katherine, 139 

Davis, Mary: in breeches, 73; dances, 
80; introduced, 102; life, 139-41; men- 
tioned, 14, 19, 34, 49, 146, 194 

Deincourt, Lord, 153 

Digby, Lord, 56 

Dixon, James, 141, 162 

Dixon, Mrs., 141, 162 

Dobson, Henry, 143 

Dogget, Thomas, 93, 94 

Downes, John, 8 

Drake, James, 37 

Dryden, John: reads to actors, 36; on 

bad taste, 54; on repartee, 64; consults 
actors, 94; and Mrs. Reeves, 96; cre- 
ates witty couple, 100; mentioned, 
22, 48, 59, 97, 183, 184, 187 
D'Urfey, Thomas, 102 

Eastland, Edward, 32, 142 
Eastland, Mrs., 8, 142, 193, 194 
Etherege, Sir George, 115-16, 131, 141, 

168, 181, 192 
Evans, Mrs., 142 

Farley, Elizabeth, 8, 17-19, 32, 105; 

life, 142-44, 193, 194 
Ford, Mrs., 144 
Frier, Peg, 144-45 

Garrick, David, 86 

Gerrard, Sir Gilbert, 162 

Gibbs, Anne(?), 83, 102, 145 

Gibbs, Anne; see Shadwell, Anne 

Gibbs, Thomas, 186 

Gifford, Mrs., 33 

Gildon, Charles, 56 

Gillo, Mrs., 145 

Goodman, Cardell, 31, 32, 54, 88, 135 

GosneU, Winifred, 10, 140, 145-46 

Gould, Robert, 16, 30, 152 

Grammont, Count de, 12 

Granville, George, Lord, 121 

Gray, Thomas, 153 

Griffin, Philip, 32 

Guy, Henry, 171 

Gwyn, Eleanor: dressing, 24; curses, 25; 
at her lodgings, 34; illiteracy, 49; in 
breeches, 73, 79; a prologue, 89; cre- 
ativity, 99-100; description, 100; life, 
146-48; mentioned, 9, 14, 19, 41, 96, 
99, 104, 150, 152, 155, 170, 171, 193, 

Hailes, Henry, 32 


Hall, Elizabeth, 14, 148-49, 194 

Hame, Anne, 144 

Harris, Anne, 33 

Harris, Henry, 22, 33, 42, 61 

Harris, Joseph, 94 

Hart, Charles, 30, 36, 37, 39, 66, 92, 

93, 98, 99, 100, 104, 146, 172, 187 
Haunce, Mr., 94 
Hewett, Sir George, 153, 172 
Hill, Captain Richard, 126, 178 
Hoet, Peter, 14, 138 
Holden, John, 149 
Holden, Mrs., 149, 194 



Hoole, Mr., 22 
Horden, Hildebrand, 94 
Howard, Edward, 29, 88 
Howard, Sir Philip, 14, 148 
Howard, Sir Robert, 14, 18, 94, 143, 191 
Howard, Colonel Thomas, 9, 139 
Howe, Emmanuel Scrope, 151 
Hughes, Margaret, 7, 14, 73, 120, 141; 

life, 149-51, 152, 159, 193, 194 
Hughes, Ruperta, 150 
Hughes, William, 32, 150 
Humphreyes, John, 185 
Humphryes, Thomas, 142 

Jackson, Mrs., 130 

James, Elizabeth, 20, 32; life, 151-52, 

159, 193 

Jennings, Mrs., 8, 152, 194 
Jephson, Mr., 181 
Jevon, Thomas, 94, 178, 182 
Johnson, Hannah, 172 
Johnson, Mrs., 14, 152-53, 162, 192 
Johnson, Dr. Samuel, 85 
Jordan, Mrs., 153-54 
Jordan, Thomas, 5, 6 
Joyner, William, 95 

Kent, Mary, 81 

Kerby, Robert, 143 

Killigrew, Charles, 7, 134, 136 

KiUigrew, Henry, 134 

Killigrew, Thomas, vii, 1, 2, 4, 7, 23, 

30, 49, 94, 137, 143, 162 
Kirke, Diana, Countess of Oxford, 14 
Knapper, Mrs., 9, 154r-55 
Knep, Mary: her husband, 9; takes 

Pepys behind scenes, 24; her pretty 

maid, 26; arrested, 31; and Mr. Pepys, 

41-42; in breeches, 73; life, 154-56; 

mentioned, 3, 49, 147, 148, 193, 194 
Knight, Frances Maria: good at rants, 

55; description, 71; reputation, 106; 

life, 156-59; mentioned, 42 
Knight, Mary, 156, 167 
Kynaston, Edward, 2, 5, 29, 39, 90 

Lacy, John: strikes Howard, 29; dying, 
30; sued for debt, 32; adancing master, 
49; a playwright, 94; mentioned, 24, 
101, 148 

Langford, George, 143 

Lee, John, 159 

Lee, Mary: in breeches, 73, 81; descrip- 
tion, 78; a prologue, 91; as Regan, 
104; life, 159-62; mentioned, 20, 21, 
111, 112 

Lee, Nathaniel, 36, 94, 97, 98 

Legrande, Mrs., 162 

Leigh, Anthony, 38, 93, 136, 141, 162, 

Leigh, Elinor: income, 38; comedy, 65; 
life, 162-65; children (Francis, Mi- 
chael, Rachel), 163; mentioned, 20, 
93, 96, 142, 157, 159 

Leigh, Elizabeth, 165 

Leveson, Sir William, 121 

Lilborne, Mrs., 165 

Little, David, 143 

Long, Jane: in breeches, 78, 81; as Lady 
Macduff, 101 ; life, 165-67; mentioned, 
8, 14, 34, 83, 194 

Loveday, Thomas, 32 

Lovett, Miles, 143 

Lumley, Lord, 135 

Maccarty, Mr., 122 

Mackarel, Betty, 167 

Man, Mary, 11, 168, 194 

Mandeville, Bernard, 69, 75 

Marshall, Anne, 6, 8, 23, 78; life, 168-70; 
mentioned, 193, 194 

Marshall, Rebecca: in The Vir&n- 
Martyr, 25; assaulted by Trevor, 26; 
assaulted by Middleton, 27; abused 
by Mary Meggs, 31; sued for debts, 
32; in breeches, 73, 82; a leading lady, 
97; as Lucina, 104; life, 170-72; men- 
tioned, 20, 41, 66, 90, 93, 96, 99, 
169, 187, 193, 194 

Matthews, William, 32 

May, John, 33 

Medbourne, Matthew, 31, 32, 94 

Meggs, Mary, 31, 172 

Mercer, Mary, 42, 74 

Merchant, Mrs., 172 

Middleton, Sir Hugh, 27, 170 

Miles, Mrs., 173 

Mitchell, Katherine, 132, 173, 194 

Mohun, Lord, 178, 179 

Mohun, Michael, 2, 3, 36, 39, 66, 98, 187 

Mosely, Mrs., 5, 33 

Mountfort, Mrs.; see Perceival, Susanna 

Mountfort, Susanna, 178, 181 

Mountfort, William, 30, 75, 76, 94, 96, 

Moyle, Mrs., 173 

Mynn, Mrs., 165 

Nanny, Miss, 173 

Napier or Napper, Mrs.; see Knapper, 

Nepp, Mrs.; see Knep, Mary 

I 99 

All the King's Ladies 

New, Henry, 192 

Newport, Andrew, 3 

Nokes, James, 5, 33, 64, 93, 95 

Norris, Henry, 33, 173, 175 

Norris, "Jubilee Dickey," 174 

Norris, Mrs., 8; life, 173-75, 194 

Norton, Mrs., 7, 9; life, 175-76 

Oldfield, Anne, 158, 181 

Oldys, William, 96, 115 

Osborn, Margaret, 176, 188 

Otway, Thomas, 94, 96, 103 

Oxford, Aubrey de Vere, Earl of, 11, 138 

Paisible, James, 140 

Pen, Margaret, 74, 176 

Pepys, Elizabeth, 41, 145 

Pepys, Samuel: goes to the play, 1; 
approves of Mrs. Corey, 7; at the 
Rose Tavern, 22; visits Theatre Roy- 
al, 22; and the players, 41; vexed 
by talkers, 44; pleased by women, 
67; towses and tumbles, 70; mirthful 
parties, 74; comments on legs, 76; 
admires Nell Gwyn, 79; mentioned, 
8, 10, 13, 34, 47, 48, 80, 81, 90, 
102, 137, 138, 139, 146, 155, 170, 175 

Percival, Susanna: income, 38; long 
service, 42; comic action, 65; in 
breeches, 73, 77, 79, 81; as a page, 
84; life, 176-81; mentioned, 20, 32, 
66, 93, 95, 149, 157 

Percival, Thomas, 32, 95, 177, 179 

Perine, John, 31 

Peterborough, Henry Mordaunt, Earl 
of, 14, 153 

Petty, Mrs., 181-82 

Petty, Sir William, 182 

Pierce, Dr. James, 41 

Pierce, Mrs., 42, 132, 156 


Abdelazar, 109, 111, 118, 160, 176 
Abra-Mul, 125, 165 
Achilles, 158 
Adventures of Five Hours, The, 117, 

138, 166 

Adventures in Madrid, The, 115, 126 
Aesop, 180 

Agnes de Castro, 157, 179 
Albion Queens, The, 158 
Alchemist, The, 7, 133, 185 
Akibiades, 111, 118, 145, 160 
All for Love, 7, 94, 121, 131, 133 
All Mistaken, 48, 100, 147 
Almyna, 115, 126 
Alphonso, 123, 157 

Altamira, 45, 114 

Ambitious Slave, The, 113, 124, 157, 


Ambitious Step-Mother, The, 114, 125 
Amboyna, 133, 151, 171 
Amorous Bigotte, The, 123, 129, 134, 

154, 163, 177 
Amorous Old Woman, The, 121, 133, 

134, 142, 151 

Amorous Widow, The, 118, 166 
Amphitryon, 36, 113, 123, 129, 134, 


Anatomist, The, 113, 164 
Antiochus the Great, 114, 191 
Antony and Cleopatra (Sedley), 118, 

145, 150, 160 

Appius and Virginia, 118, 158 
Argalus and Parthenia, 76 
Artful Husband, The, 159 
As You Find It, 114, 125, 164 
Assignation, The, 60, 83, 121, 134, 

151, 155, 171, 184 
Atheist, The, 112, 128, 136, 175, 176, 


Aurenge-Zebe, 131, 135, 171, 190 
Banditti, The, 112, 131, 133, 177, 188 
Bath, The, 158, 180 
Beauty in Distress, 114, 125 
Beggars Bush, The, 2 
Bickerstafs Burying, A, 158 
Biter, The, 115, 125, 165 
Black Prince, The, 133, 137, 155, 169, 


Boadicea, 114, 125 
Bondman, The, 138 
Bonduca (Powell), 157 
British Enchanters, The, 115, 126 
Bury Fair, 121, 128, 134, 178 
Bussy VAmbois (D'Urfey), 124, 134 
Caesar Borgia, 78, 160, 161, 183 
Caius Manus, 111 
Caligula, 158 
Cahsto, 128, 140 

Cambyses, 60, 81, 118, 142, 152, 166 
Campaigners, The, 158, 180 
Canterbury Guests, The, 71, 157, 179 
Cardinal, The, 171 
Careless Husband, The, 115, 158 
Careless Lovers, The, 127, 130, 162, 

174, 176 

Catiline, 36, 133, 148 
Chances, The (Buckingham), 104, 147, 

154, 165, 170 
Cheats, The, 132, 168, 185 
Cheats qf Scapin, The, 111, 145, 160 
Cinna's Conspiracy, 159 



Circe, 118, 160, 188 

Citizen Turn'd Gentleman, The, 118, 

127, 162 

City Bride, The, 122 
City Heiress, The, 112, 128, 136, 163, 

City Lady, The, 113, 164 
City Ramble, The, 158 
Cleomenes, 113, 119, 124 
Comical Lovers, The, 60, 126 
Comical Revenge, The, 117, 140, 166 
Commonwealth of Women, A, 102, 130, 

133, 156, 161, 167, 173, 176, 177, 

183, 188 

Confederacy, The, 115, 126, 145 
Conquest of China, The, 91, 118, 135, 

160, 188 
Conquest of Granada, 59, 94, 97, 121, 

142, 148, 151, 171, 183 
Conquest of Jerusalem, The, 90 
Constant Couple, The, 174, 180 
Constant Nymph, The, 81, 111, 118, 

160, 169, 174 

Constantine the Great, 57, 112, 130 
Counterfeit Bridegroom, The, 135, 145, 

162. 174, 176 

Counterfeits, The, 111, 145, 160, 182 
Country Innocence, 110, 130, 155, 172, 


Country-Wake, The, 113, 125, 164 
Country Wife, The, 15, 121, 131, 133, 

151, 155, 185, 192 
Country Wit, The, 118, 135, 160, 163, 


Cuckolds-Haven, 95, 133, 177, 183, 188 
Custom of the Country, The, 154 
Cutter of Coleman Street, 117, 165, 186 
Cyrus the Great, 113, 122, 124 
Czar of Muscovy, The, 114, 164 
Dame Dolson, 110, 128, 133, 136, 161, 

163, 176, 177, 182, 188 
Damoiselles a la Mode, The, 148, 169, 

171, 185 
Darius, 112 
Defauchte, The, 44 
Deceiver Deceived, The, 114, 125, 164 
Destruction of Jerusalem, The, 118, 

121, 171 
Destruction of Troy, The, 111, 160, 

170, 183 

Devil of a Wife, The, 131, 178, 183, 188 
Different Widows, The, 164 
Disappointment, The, 98, 130, 133, 

156. 163, 177 

Distress'd Innocence, 113, 123, 134, 

Distrtst Mother, The, 159 

Don Carlos, 59, 83, 109, 145 (2), 160, 

184, 186 

Don Quixote, 66, 124, 157, 164, 179 
Don Sebastian, 113, 163, 178 
Double-Dealer, The, 96, 113, 124, 164, 


Douile Distress, The, 114, 125 
Duchess ofMalfi, The, 117, 174, 176, 


Duke of Guise, The, 112, 130, 161 
Duke ofLerma, The, 147, 155 
Duke and No Duke, A, 136, 177, 188 
Dumb Lady, The, 71 
Dutch Lover, The, 94 
Elder Brother, The, 120, 185 
Elfrid, 158 
Emperor of the Moon, The, 131, 133, 

Empress of Morocco, The, 56, 92, 118, 

153, 160 
English Frier, The, 122, 123, 129, 154, 


English Monsieur, The, 147, 155 
English Princess, The, 80, 140 
Epicoene, 84, 133, 155 
Epsom Wells, 118, 153, 186 
Ermima, 75 n., 132, 142, 168, 173, 185 
Evening's Love, An, 101, 120, 148, 

150, 155, 169, 171, 187 
Everyman Out of His Humour, 184 
Fair Example, The, 158, 180 
Fair Penitent, The, 63, 114, 125 
Fairy-Queen, The, 53 
Faithful Bride of Granada, The, 158 
Faithful Couple, The, 159 
False Count, The, 59, 112, 136, 139, 

176, 182 

False Friend, The, 114, 125 
Fatal Discovery, The, 157, 180 
Fatal Friendship, 114, 125 
Fatal Jealousy, The, 118, 174, 176, 186 
Fatal Love, 53 
Fatal Marriage, The, 95, 113, 124, 

157, 164, 179 
Fate of Capua, The, 114 
Feign' d Curtezans, The, 111, 136, 160, 

174, 186 
Female Vertuosos, The, 124, 157, 164, 


Female Wits, The, 157, 180, 181 
Fickle Shepherdess, The, 114, 125, 164 
Flora's Vagaries, 147, 155 
Fond Husband, A, 111, 150, 154, 172, 

Fools Have Fortune, 88, 128 


All the King's Ladies 

Fool's Preferment, A, 121, 154 
Forc'd Marriage, The, 118, 129, 152, 

160, 192 

Fortune-Hunters, The, 128, 156, 163, 

French Conjurer, The, 15, 62 n., Ill, 

150, 163, 174 
Friendship in Fashion, 111, 145, 170, 

182, 186 

Friendship Improved, 85, 114, 125 
Funeral, The, 180 
Gamester, The, 115, 126 
Generous Enemies, The, 16, 121, 133, 

151 (2), 171, 182, 190 
Gentleman-Cully, The, 164 
Gloriana, 131, 151, 171, 184 
Goblins, The, 154 
Govcmour of Cyprus, The, 114 
Grateful Servant, The, 166 
Greenwich Park, 113, 134, 157, 177, 


Guzman, 84 

Half-Pay Officer, The, 144 
Hamlet, 10, 57, 117, 138, 146, 158, 

161, 186 

Heir of Morocco, The, 135 
Henry the Second, 113, 124 
Henry IV (Betterton), 164 
Henry the Fifth (Boyle), 117, 140, 

166, 174 

Henry the Sixth (Crowne), 54, 103, 119 
Henry the Eighth, 117 
Heraclius, 139 
Herod, 63 

Herod and Mariamne, 188 
Heroic Love, 114, IIS 
History of Cains Marius, 103 
History of Charles the Eighth, 118, 

142, 186, 188 
Horace (Philips), 148 
Humorists, The, 153 
Humorous Lieutenant, The, 147, 154, 

168, 180 

Humour of the Age, The, 180 
Humours of the Army, The, 159 
Husband His Own Cuckold, The, 60, 


Ibrahim (Pir), 135, 157, 180 
Ibrahim (Settle), 81, 118, 150, 160 
Ignoramus, 127, 145, 152, 174 
Inconstant, The, 180 
Indian Emperour, The, 144, 147, 154, 


Indian Queen, The, 168 
Injured Love, IS* 

Injur'd Lovers, The, 112, 123 

Injured Princess, The, 149 

Innocent Mistress, The, 114, 125, 164 

Intrigues at Versailles, 114, 125, 164 

Iphigema, 114, 125 

Irene (Goring), 115 

Irene (Johnson), 85 

Island Princess, The, 133, 150, 171 

Island Princess, The (Tate), 131, 178 

Jew of Venice, The, 125 

Juliana, 118, 166, 186 

Julius Caesar, 130, 131, 161, 171 

Justice Busy, 126 

King Arthur, 62, 124, 128 

King Edgar andAlfreda, 61, 110, 121, 

156, 185 

King Edward III, 113, 123 
King Lear (Tate), 104, 112, 161, 187 
King and No King, A, 133 (2), 135, 

147, 171 

Knight of the Burning Pestle, The, 147 
Ladies Visiting Day, The, 114, 125, 


Lady's Last Stake, The, 115 
Lancashire Witches, The, 112 
Law against Lovers, The, 102, 139 
Libertine, The, 88 
Liberty Asserted, 114, 125 
Like Father, like Son, 136, 182 
London Cuckolds, The, 112, 136, 163, 

175, 176, 182 
Lost Lover, The, 157, 178 
Love Betray'd, 114, 125, 164 
Love in the Dark, 121, 151, 187, 190 
Love and Honour, 138, 144 
Love without Interest, 180 
Love the Leveller, 158 
Love at a Loss, 158,180 
Love for Love, 82 n., 93, 96, 113, 115, 

124, 126, 164 

Love Makes a Man, 158, 180 
Love for Money, 124, 129, 134, 139, 

157, 163, 177 

Love and Revenge, 118, 160, 176 
Love Tricks, 140 
Love Triumphant, 94, 113, 119, 124, 

Love in a Wood, 15, 121, 133, 134, 

144, 151, 155, 185, 187 
Lovers' Luck, The, 124, 163 
Love's a Jest, 113, 122, 125 
Love's Last Shift, 179 
Loves of Mars and Venus, The, 125 
Love's Victim, 114, 125 



Loving Enemies, The, 112, 161, 163. 

174, 187 

Loyal Brother, The, 130, 133, 170 
Loyal General, The, 136, 160, 183 
Lucius Junius Brutus, 98, 112, 119, 


Lucky Chance, The, 112, 131, 178 
Macbeth (Davenant), 118, 166 
Madam Fickle, 111, 145, 154, 160 
Maid the Mistress, The, 158 
Maid's Last Prayer, The, 113, 119, 

124, 163, 164, 178 
Maid's Tragedy, The, 105, 120, 168, 


Man of Mode, The, 111, 118, 163, 188 
ManqfNewmarket,The,m, 131, 133, 


Marcelia, 56 
Marriage A-laMode, 65, 121, 134, 

151, 171, 181, 184, 187, 190 
Marriage-Mater Matched, The, 75, 113, 

124, 129, 134 
Massacre of Paris, The, 112, 119, 154, 


Massaniello, Part II, 25, 62 n. 
Measure for Measure, 102, 125 
Merry Devil of Edmonton, The, 134, 


Merry Wives of Windsor, The, 126 
Miser, The, 152 
Misery of Civil War, The, 103, 119, 

136, 161 

Mistakes, The, 80, 123, 129 
Mithridates, 88, 120, 121, 131, 135 
Mock-Duellist, The, 47 
Mock-Marriage, The, 157, 180 
Mock-Tempest, The, 168 
Modish Husband, The, 180 
Morning Ramble, The, 14, 153, 166, 

176, 186 

Mourning Bride, The, 96, 113, 125 
Mr. Anthony, 57, 118, 152, 166, 174 
Mr. Turbulent, 136, 161, 175, 176, 183 
Much Ado about Nothing, 102 
Mulberry Garden, The, 100, 147 
Mustapha, 51, 117, 138, 140, 166, 174, 

186, 191 

Neglected Virtue, 157 
Nero, 97, 121, 133, 171, 172, 190 
Northern Castle, The, 155, 177 
Northern Lass, The, 112, 128, 133 
Novelty, The, 114 
Oedipus, 62, 118, 142, 160 
Old Bachelor, The, 113, 124, 164, 178 
Old Mode and the New, The, 158 

Oroonoko, 157, 179 

Orphan, The, 53, 96, 109, 112, 123, 

128, 176 

Othello, 5 n., 6, 134, 150, 151, 185 (2) 
Parson's Wedding, The, 82, 171 
Pastor Fido, 82 n., 118, 150, 154, 160, 


Pausanias, 157, 180 
Perplex'd Couple, The, 159 
Phaedra andHippolitus, 115 
Phaeton, 55, 158 
Philaster, 77, 82, 147, 171 
Philaster (Settle), 147, 157 
Piso's Conspiracy, 82 
Plain Dealer, The, 47, 65, 78, 84, 

97, 121, 133, 155, 156 
Platonick Lady, The, 126, 165 
Playhouse to Be Let, The, 10, 146 
Plot and No Plot, A, 57, 83 
Pretenders, The, 164 
Princess of Cleve, The, 112, 119, 161, 


Princess of Parma, The, 114, 125 
Prophetess, The (Betterton), 128 
Provoked Wife, The, 114, 125 
Psyche Debauch 9 *, 81, 131, 133, 155, 


Queen Catherine, 114, 125 
Rambling Justice, The, 117, 113, 144, 


Rape, The, 119, 124, 129, 163 
Reformation, The, 118, 130, 153, 160, 

162, 174, 176 

Reform'* Wife, The, 158, 180 
Regulus, 113 
Rehearsal, The, 96, 183 
Relapse, The, 30, 81, 180 
Revenge, The, 112, 128, 163, 174, 183 
Revolution of Sweden, The, 115 
Richard the Second (Tate), 130 
Richard III (Gibber), 101, 158 
Richmond Heiress, The, 123, 124, 157, 


Rinaldo and Armida, 114, 164 
Rival Ladies, The, 92 
Rival Queens, The, 16, 54, 61, 97, 

110, 121, 123, 133, 171 
Rival Sisters, The, 157, 179 
Rivals, The (Davenant), 117, 140, 146, 

166, 186 

Rollo, 110, 130, 133, 177 
Roman Bride's Revenge, The, 16, 62 n. 
Roman Empress, The, 73, 95, 121, 

133, 155, 171 
Romeo and Juliet, 103, 117, 149 


All the King's Ladies 

Romulus andHersilia, 78, 128, 161 (2) 

Round Heads, The, 71 

Rover, The, 46, 111, 118, 145, 150, 

163, 169, 174 

Rover, The, Part II, 112, 135, 174, 175 
Royal Convert, The, 115 
Royal Mischief , The, 113, 125 
Royalist, The, 119, 182, 188 
Rule a Wife and Have a Wife, 120, 

122, 130, 168 
Sauny the Scot, 101, 180 
Scaramouche, 46, 133, 191 
Scornful Lady, The, 67, 133, 154, 168, 


Scourers, The, 113, 123, 134, 163, 177 
Sea Voyage, The, 102, 155 
Secret Love, 79, 82, 100, 121, 133, 

137, 147, 154, 169, 171, 172, 184, 185 
Seege of Urbin, The, 143, 147, 184, 169 
Sham-Lawyer, The, 37, 157 
She-Gallants, The, 45 n., 84, 113, 122, 

124, 164 
She Ventures and He Wins, 113, 122, 

125, 164 

She Wou'dlfShc Cou'd, 140, 152, 186 
She JTou'd and She JVou'd Not, 158, 

Siege of Babylon, The, 118, 145, 160, 

162, 169, 185 
Swff of Rhodes, The, 6, 11, 117, 138, 

Sir Anthony Love, 79, 95, 123, 129, 

157, 178 
Sir Barnaby Whig, 130, 131, 149, 

173, 177 

Sir Courtly Nice, 112, 163, 165 
Sir Harry Wildair, 81, 180 
Sir Martin Mar-all, 140, 174 
Sir Patient Fancy, 109, 118, 136, 145, 

170(2), 182 
Sir Salomon, 118, 152 
Sisters, The, 148, 150, 155, 192 
Six Lays Adventure, The, 88, 118, 

130, 142, 144, 160, 166, 186 
Slighted Maid, The, 117, 139, 146 (2), 

166, 186, 191 

Sophonisba, 121, 133, 134, 155 
Souldier's Fortune, The, 72, 112, 

183 (2) 

Spanish Friar, The, 112, 119 (2), 135 
Spanish Rogue, The, 121, 133, 155, 190 
Spanish Wives, The, 157, 180 
Squire of Alsatia, The, 121, 123, 134, 

156, 178 

Squire Oldsapp, 111, 136, 174, 183, 


Squire Trelooby, 125 
Step Mother, The, 63, 117, 140, 166, 

188, 191 

Stalin Heiress, The, 114 
Successful Strangers, The, 123, 134, 

156, 173, 178 

Sullen Lovers, The, 35, 60, 99, 186, 191 
Surprisal, The, 147, 155 
Tamerlane, 58, 114, 125 
Tempest, The (Davenant), 83, 140, 

146, 166 

Tempest, The (Shadwell), 168 
Temple of Love, The, 126 
Theodosius, 59, 112, 119 
Thomaso, 62, 132, 143, 146, 148, 154, 

168, 169 
Thyestes, 68 
Timon, 102 
Timon of Athens (Shadwell), 118, 145, 

162, 186, 187 
'Tis Well if It Takes, 159 
Titus and Berenice, 111, 160 
Tom Essence, 111, 145, 150, 154, 176 
Town-Fopp, The, 71 
Town-Shifts, The, 142, 160, 166, 174 
Traytor, The, 124, 134 
Treacherous Brothers, The, 122, 123, 

129, 154, 156 

Trick for Trick, 121, 131, 144, 155, 172 
Troilus and Cressida (Dryden), 54, 

118, 160 

Troubles of Queen Elizabeth, The, 155 
Tryphon, 59 
Tunbridge-Walks, 180 
Twelfth Night, 186 
Tyrannic Love, 89, 120, 142, 148, 150, 

151, 155, 171, 190 
Ulysses, 115, 126 
Unhappy Favorite, The, 126, 130, 132, 

Valentinian (Rochester), 104, 112, 

130, 135 

Venice Preserved, 96, 112, 136 
Vertue Bertray'd, 112, 182 
Very Good Wife, A, 157, 164, 178 
Vice Reclaim'*, 158 
Victim, The, 159 
Villain, The, 117 

Virgin Martyr, The, 25, 147, 155, 171 
Virtuous Wife, The, 111, 136, 174, 186 
Volpone, 133, 168 

Volunteers, The, 124, 157, 163, 178 
Wary Widdw, The, 30 



Way of the World, The, 96, 114, 125, 
164, 165 

Widow, The, 47 n. 

Widow Ranter, The, 95, 123, 134, 136, 
154, 156 

Wtn Her and Take Her, 129 

Wits, The, 138 

Wits Led by the Nose, 110, 121, 144 

Wives Excuse, The, 113, 124, 134, 178 

Woman Captain, The, 111 

Woman Made a Justice, The, 166 

Woman's Wit, 93, 157 

Womens Conquest, The, 118, 142, 153, 
160, 165, 166, 186, 192 

World in the Moon, The, 180 

Wrangling Lovers, The, 111, 145(2), 

Xerxes, 114 

Young King, The,\\\ 

Younger Brother, The, 84, 157, 180 

Zelmane, 115 
Porter, George, 14, 166 
Portsmouth, Louise, Duchess of, 44, 167 
Powell, George, 30, 62, 63, 94, 106, 159 
Powell, Martin, 32 
Poyntz, Francis, 144 
Pratt, Mrs., 182 
Price, Mrs., 9, 182-83 
Prynne, William, 6, 72, 73 

Quin, Anne; see Marshall, Anne 
Quin, Peter, 27-28, 169 

Radcliffe, Edward, Viscount, 140 

Reeve, Mr., 184 

Reeves, Anne, 32, 66, 82, 83, 95; life, 

183-84, 187, 193 
Rhodes, John, 3 

Roch (Roche-Guilhen), Mrs., 184 
Rochester, John Wilmot, Earl of, 14, 

50-52, 94, 104, 110, 111, 116, 167 
Rogers, Jane, 158, 181 
Rook, Henry, 143 
Rupert, Prince, 14, 150 
Russell, Jane, 11, 184, 194 
Rutter, Margaret, 8, 32; life, 184-85, 

193, 194 

St. Albans, Charles Beauclerc, Duke 

of, 28-29, 148 

Sandford, Samuel, 31, 33, 62, 93 
Sanger, Edward, 33 

Saunderson, Mary; see Betterton, Mary 
Savile, Henry, 47, 167 
Scarsdale, Robert Leake, Earl of, 21, 127 

Scrope, Sir Carr, 190 


Sedley, Sir Charles, 29, 44, 94, 150 

Settle, Elkanah, 21, 53, 92, 182 

Seymour, Mrs., 185 

Shadwell, Anne, 8, 9, 20, 77, 102, 145, 

161; life, 186-87, 194 
Shadwell, Thomas, 20, 94, 96, 99, 102, 


Shatterel, William, 24, 32 
Shelton, Lady, 50, 110 
Slade, Elizabth, 66, 187 
Slaughter, Mrs., 188 
Slingsby, Sir Charles, 160 
Slingsby, Lady; see Lee, Mary 
Smith, William, 30, 45, 103 
Southerne, Thomas, 80, 95, 98 
Spencer, Mrs., 188 
Steele, Richard, 46, 67 
Stiles, Sir Thomas, 190 
Stratford, Mrs., 33 

Tate, Nahum, 95, 104 
Temple, "Mother," 33 
Toplady, Robert, 143 
Trevor, Mark, 26, 170 
Tudor, Lady Mary, 140 
Turner, Robert, 33 
Twyford, Mrs., 188 
Twyford, Timothy, 189 

Underbill, Cave, 33, 64, 93 

Uphill, Mary, 191 

Uphill, Susannah, 14, 44; life, 189-91, 

Uttings, Richard, 172 

Vanbrugh, Sir George, 30 
Verbruggen, John, 28-29, 59, 179, 181 
Verbruggen, Mrs.; see Percival, Su- 

Vere, Aubrey de, 13, 138 
Verjuice, Mrs., 191, 193 
Vincent, Mrs., 191 
Vincent, Samuel, 43 

Walsh, William, 94 
Warren, Mr., 63 
Weaver, James, 18, 143 
Weaver, Mrs.; see Farley, Elizabeth 
Weld, Humphrey, 185 
Westwood, Theophilus, 33 
Whorwood, Mr., 129 
Williams, Mrs., 191 


All the King's Ladies 

Wiltshire, Richard, 32 Wyatt, Mrs., 192 

Wiseman, Mrs., 191 Wycherley, William, 97 

Woffington, Peg, 81 Wyn, Mrs.; see Marshall, Anne 
Wood, Anthony, 13, 41, 74 

Worshipp, Mrs., 42 Yates, Mrs., 49, 192, 194 

Wright, Anne, 74 Youckney, Elizabeth, 32, 192, 194 

Wright, Henry, 33, 192 Youckney, William, 192 

Wright, Mrs., 191 Young, John, 33