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iflPrjL- T r* 



tor- 




4 

*: 
i 




/ 



F5"5" 



THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. 



Yv. W 



.V 



'f> 




DAVID CARRICK AND HIS WIFE, EVA .MARIA V10LETTE GARRICK 

(THE '■ VIOLE1TE "). 

(From tht pieturt by Hogarth, p. 302.) 



THE 

LIFE 

of T ' c '- 3>iS 



DAVID GARRICK. 



i 

FROM ORIGINAL FAMILY PAPERS, 

AND 
NUMEROUS PUBLISHED AND UNPUBLISHED SOURCES. 



NEW and REVISED EDITION, 



CONTAINING 



ADDITIONAL IMPORTANT MATTER. 



44 An abridgment of all that was pleasant In man." — Goldsmith. 

By PERCY FITZGERALD, M.A., F.S.A. 

A — 



LONDON : 

SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, HAMILTON, KENT, & CO., Ltd. 



1899. 
[Aft Rights reserved.] 



F5"5* 



LONDON : 
SWEETING AND CO., PRINTERS, DYKRft BUTLDINOft, HOI.BORN. 



.3nscribe6 



TO 



THE RIGHT HON. LORD LYTTON. 



(1868.) 



CONTENTS. 



INTRODUCTION 
PEDIGREE 



PAOR 

xi 
xvii 



BOOK THE FIRST. 
LICHFIELD. 

CHAPTER 

I. — THE HUGUENOT EXILE — SCHOOL DAYS (1685 — 

1730) 1 

II. — THE CAPTAIN ON FOREIGN SERVICE — DAVID'S 

LETTERS (1731—1733) . . ' . . . 8 

III. — EDIAL — THE CAPTAIN^ RETURN AND DEATH — 

JOURNEY TO LONDON (1734 — 1737) . . 17 



BOOK THE SECOND. 
GOODMAN'S FIELDS AND DUBLIN. 

I. — STAY AT ROCHESTER — THE WINE MERCHANTS — 

LIFE ON TOWN — WOFFINGTON (1737 — 1741) . 23 

THE STATE OF THE STAGE (1741) ... 32 

FIRST APPEARANCE (1741 — 1742) ... 37 

FIRST DUBLIN SEASON (1742) .... 59 
REVOLT AGAINST FLEETWOOD — QUARREL WITH 

macklin (1742—1743) .... 64 

SHERIDAN — QUARREL WITH WOFFINGTON (1743 

—1745) 74 

VII. — SECOND DUBLIN SEASON (1745 — 1746) 86 

VIII. — THE VIOLETTE (1746 — 1747) .... 96 
IX. — QUIN AND GARRICK, THE NEW MANAGERS OF 

DRURY LANE (1746—1747) .... 103 



II. 

III. 

IV. 

V. 

VI. — 



Vlll 



CONTENTS. 



BOOK THE THIRD. 
DRURY LANK 

CHAPTER PAliB 

• I. — THE OPENING SEASON (1747 — 1748) . 113 

II. — MARRIAGE (1748 — 1749) 119 

III. — HOGARTH — FOOTE — THE RIVAL ROMEOS (1749 — 

1750) 127 

IV. — PANTOMIME — FOREIGN TRAVEL — MOSSOP (1750 — 

1752) 138 

V. — THE BEDFORD (1752) 147 

VI. — THE CHINESE FESTIVAL — WOFFINGTON'S RETIRE- 
MENT (1755—1757) 160 



BOOK THE FOURTH. 
THE MANAGER. 

I. — TATE WILKINSON — THE COUNTRY TOWN THEATRE 
— THE MIMICS (1757 — 1758) . 

II. — ARTHUR MURPHY (1759) .... 
III. — THE PLAYWRIGHTS (1759) .... 
IV. — HAMPTON AND ITS CIRCLE (1759) 

V. — FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES (1759) 
VI. — A MODEL FARCE — SHERIDAN RIVALRY — COLMAN 

(1759—1761) 

VII. — "THE ROSCIAD" — DR. BOWER (1761 — 1762) 
VIII. — STAGE REFORM (1762) .... 



167 

180 
185 
196 
209 

222 
229 
237 



BOOK THE FIFTH. 
ACTOR AND TRAVELLER. 

I.— A ROUND OF CHARACTERS (1763) 



248 



BOOK THE SIXTH. 

I. — ON THE GRAND TOUR (SEPTEMBER, 1763) 
II. — PARIS (1764 — 1765) .... 



282 
292 



CONTENTS. 



IX 



BOOK THE SEVENTH. 
THE MAN OF SOCIETY. 



CHAPTKR 
I. 



69) 



-RE-APPEARANCE — "THE CLANDESTINE MARRIAGE" 

(1765—1766) 

II. — COLMAN AND COVENT GARDEN (1766 — 1768) 
III. — DRURY LANE — GARRICK IN SOCIETY (1768 — 

1769) 

IV. — THE SHAKSPEARE JUBILEE (1769) 
V. — SAMUEL FOOTE AND SAMUEL JOHNSON (17< 
VI. — THE ADELPHI — COUNTY VISITS (1770) 
VII. — THE GREAT ACTORS (1772) 
VIII. — IN THE GREEN-ROOM (1772) 
IX. — MOSSOP'S END — GOLDSMITH — HENDERSON 

—1775) 

X. — THE LAST SEASON (1775 — 1776) 
XI. — THE LAST ACT (1776) 
XII. — THE GARRICK CIRCLE — CHARACTER (1776) 
XIII. — ILLNESS AND DEATH (1778 — 1779) . 



(1772 



PAOB 

302 
312 

319 
328 
339 
357 
371 
386 

401 
417 
426 
432 
451 



APPENDIX. 
number of nights that garrick acted . 

Index 



469 
473 



INTRODUCTION. 



It has been often said, that great as was David Gar- 
rick's fame as an actor, the story of his career as an 
English gentleman, in private life, would be no less re- 
markable. The result of a careful examination of his 
eventful life will be found, I trust, to establish this view in 
the most extraordinary degree, bringing out the portrait 
of a singularly noble, generous, and well-trainea mind, 
with a complete reversal of the popular judgment, which 
supposed that " little Davy " was knowing, shrewd, avari- 
cious, and self-interested. The kindly reader, who will 
follow me through this narrative, will, I think, be in- 
duced to accept this view to a degree for which he was 
scarcely prepared, and to own that, to use the words of 
the strange Percival Stockdale, the actor was " as great 
in Garrick, as in Lear" Apart from these two points of 
view, a third interest will arise, in the simple study of 
human character under conditions rarely to oe met with 
— under conditions, too, of the most curious sort. A 
mind that directed a great theatre, at a time when it 
was an institution of the country — a manager who was 
in command, not of actors merely, but of a whole corps, 
all great captains and officers — who was wealthy, and 
thus attracted, the needy — who had great influence, and 
drew the ambitious — who had great power, and thus 
surrounded himself with those who wished to share in 
it; a mind which came in contact with every sort and 
shape of humanity, with hosts of playwrights, authors, 
poets, men of wit, men of learning and of genius ; who was 
sought by lords and commoners ; beset with hacks and 
Grub Street scribblers ; threatened, slandered, courted 



Xll INTRODUCTION. 

obsequiously and even slavishly, patronised and despised, 
laughed at, praised as man was never praised ; harassed 
and comforted alternately — a mind that, under such 
trial, remained calm, equable, gentle, generous, just, 
neither raised too high nor cast down too low, may 
surely furnish a rare and useful lesson for study and 
interest, and help us to a liberal education. 

Within a very short period after the death of David 
Garrick, there appeared two accounts of his life and 
career. These were written by persons who could 
scarcely claim to be capable or impartial witnesses, for 
both had been inferior players at his theatre, and both 
entertained a special grudge and hostility towards him. 
But in the respective treatment of these Memoirs there 
is a yet more curious feature. From Arthur Murphy, 
the clever, lively Irishman — the jovial barrister and 
companion of wits — the man of all professions, so scorn- 
fully described by Churchill as — 

"Auditor, author, manager, and squire." 

— the dramatist, whose comedies are full of a pleasant 
vivacity, of spirit if not of wit — from this Protean spirit 
came a dull, turgid, heavy performance, astray in nearly 
every fact or date, ludicrous in its pomposity, and 
almost supporting the hint of the bitter satirist, that 

?>rudent dulness had " marked him for a mayor;" while 
rom " Tom Davies," the other biographer — a tenth- 
rate actor, third-rate bookseller, and sober Scotch- 
man — came an agreeable narrative, written in clear, 
pleasant English, interspersed with shrewd remarks, and 
lightened with many an anecdote, picked up from every 
quarter, but principally in the back parlour of his shop, 
where every little story, that seemed at all hostile to the 
actor, was duly retailed. He, too, is inaccurate as to 
dates, and, like Murphy, strangely incomplete. Neither 
were on terms with the family, and were not privileged 
to consult the vast stores of papers and letters which 
Garrick left behind him ; so that the knowledge of both 
on many matters was pure speculation. Above all, the 
eyes of both seemed to have settled on that one side of 
Garrick's life — the theatrical portion, quite ignoring that 



INTRODUCTION. Xlll 

other remarkable, and no less interesting, view of his 
own personal character. 

Long after, came Boaden, with a little memoir pre- 
fixed to the two great quartos of Garrick's letters. This 
gentleman was acquainted with Mrs. Garrick, and heard 
from her a few interesting matters. A few more short 
memoirs exhaust the list of what has been officially 
written about the life of Garrick. 

I have now been induced to attempt what has been 
thus so often attempted before — led to the task by the 
real fascination of the subject, and being in possession of 
special advantages, in materials, which may atone for many 
snortcomings in the execution. The bulk of Garrick's 

Srivate papers — a vast collection of letters that passed 
etween him and the leading men of his time — were in 
the possession of my friend, the late Mr. John Forster. 
They are of the highest interest, not only for the life of 
Garrick, but bear on every subject of Ins time. They 
fill some thirty volumes, and comprise those curious 
early letters of the boy David to nis father, Captain 
Garrick, at Gibraltar, of which Mr. Forster has given 
some specimens, in his enlarged Life of Goldsmith. These 
have been, in the kindest way, placed at my disposal ; 
and the reader will see how mucn the following Memoir 
has been enriched by such valuable materials. At the 
same time, the collection and the details are so numerous 
that I could do little more than select what seemed 
most striking, leaving behind a vast mass of what seemed 
equally attractive. 

One great difficulty met me at the threshold: that 
many of the dramatis personce were already so familiar. 
The many figures which move round Garrick, and the 
stories associated with them, are well known to every 
reader, through Boswell, Johnson, and many such writers. 
Mr. Forster's enlarged edition of his " Goldsmith " — that 
model biography— nad told everything ; had told a good 
deal about Garrick himself; and indicated much more, 
where it passed by. If what familiar was omitted, the 
story would be incomplete ; if given, it might become 
tedious, and one too often told. Whenever I had occa- 
sion, therefore, to go over old ground, and turn these 



XIV INTRODUCTION. 

well-known faces to the reader, I have, as far as possible, 
tried to introduce them under new conditions, and have 
taken care that the details shall be tolerably new. Thus, 
in sketching the great actors of Garrick's time, whose 
history Dr. Doran has so recently told,* I have carefully 
presented them from the recollection of those nearest 
our own time, passing by the familiar stories from the 
memoirs, and searching little out-of-the-way corners for 
short touchings and descriptions. On this account I 
hope the chapter which deals with these great artists 
will be found one of the most interesting in the bo6k. 
So with characters like Foote, Boswell, Johnson, and 
many more — what is given will be found new to nearly 
all, if not to alL The account of Woffington has never 
been presented before. Indeed, it may be said that the 
same principle has been the guide through every chap- 
ter. Thus, with an abundance of original MS. material, 
and a no less abundance of curious printed detail, 
hitherto buried in scarce books — and books, too, not 
likely to come in the general reader's way — it may be 
hoped that a certain air of freshness has been attained. 

As to execution, some indulgence should be extended 
to the writer of the history of a theatre or of an actor. 
The actor's calling, like that of the painter, is made up of 
details for the most part professional. An actor's life is 
made up of performance after performance of character ; 
a manager's, as Garrick's was, of the production of play 
after play. In such a record there is the danger of 
tediousness and monotony, and of the story falling into 
the shape of a mere catalogue. On the other hand, if 
such details are cut down or suppressed, the book loses 
value as a work of reference. After much deliberation, 
the plan was adopted of throwing the various incidents 
of Garrick's life, as it were, into groups. In one depart- 
ment was to be brought out specially the management 
of his theatre, in full detail ; in another will be found 
considered a miaute_agg ount of hisjii strionic^gifts, in all 
h is ch aracters ; m affiird, his social life ; i n a fourth , 
hir%eH3i; h^enggSSTEg^t^: -TE5-se departments 

# Written in 1868. 



INTRODUCTION. XV 

have been made to fall in with the advancing course of 
his life, and are each presented at the period when its 
subject might be considered best developed. This plan, 
it is hoped, will remove that chief difficulty, and was 
adopted with the advice of the kind friend before men- 
tioned, who has assisted me so substantially with 
materials, and whose eye has watched every sheet as 
it went to press. 

Mr. and Mrs. Hill, of Richmond — Mrs. Hill descend- 
ing from Garrick's nephew — I have to thank for many 
curious family papers and traditions, and for much 
kind assistance. Mr. Bullock, of Sevenoaks, who 
has collected much about Garrick and his actors — 
original letters and tracts, newspapers, &c. — I have to 
thank for placing them at my service, and for much 
trouble taken in transcribing. The Reverend John 
Graham, of Lichfield, has procured me all kinds of local 
information and traditions, with a zeal and good-nature 
for which I most heartily thank him. One of the plea- 
santest features in explorations of this nature is this 
genial and earnest co-operation and sympathy on the 

Eart of those who may be strangers to the explorer, but 
ave sympathy with his subject. I have also to make 
my acknowledgments to Mrs. Protheroe, a lady of the 
Garrick family, for some curious letters. 

Such was the preface to the original edition. Since then 
the kind and trusty friend, owing to whose substantial 
aid the book was produced, has passed away. In that 
introduction I was not at liberty to mention the full 
incidents of his extraordinary act of kindness in handing 
over his valuable papers to another. He was himself an 
admirable dramatic critic, with a wonderfully cultured 
taste for the stage. As is well known, he was an ex- 
cellent actor. For writing a life of Garrick he was 
specially fitted, and for this purpose he had long been 
collecting, at considerable cost, all the necessary books, 
letters, &c; yet, with a generosity and cordiality that 
can never be forgotten by me, he one day announced 
to me that he would give up his plans, and hand over 
all his materials to me. All through he gave me his 



found nowhere else. The whole has been 
vised, all errors that have been pointed out 
and others have been corrected, redund 
have been pruned down, and any new an 
information has been worked in. The diffici 
to make a selection of what is really esser 
mass of Garrick letters and papers is literal 
I hope, therefore, that, in its new shape, the 
found acceptable. 

Athenceum Club, 1899. 



Pedigree, from the Heard Coll., College of Arm 

revised by 



DE LA G 



David Garric 
of Bordeaux, 
mar. Apr. 1682 ; 
ob. Oct. 1694. 



Jane, 

ob. 1094, 

buried at St. 

Bartholomew's, 

near Royal 

Exchange. 



Peter Garric, 

ob. 4th August, 

1696. 



Magdalene, 

died unmarri< 

May, 1701. 



Garric. = 



Peter Garric, 
Captain, born 
1685; ob. 1736-7. 



Arabella Clough, 
ob. circa 1737*. 



I 

Jane, 

born Sept. 1686 ; 

married Louis 

La Conde, 



Stephen Garric, 
born Sept. 1687 ; 
ob. April, 1689. 



David Garri 

born Jan. 26, 1 

ob. cir. 1731 



\ 



I 
Peter, born 
Juno 24th, 
1710; died un- 
married, 1779. 



David Carriole, 

born at Here- 
ford, Feb. 29th, 
1716; ob. Jan. 
20, 1779. 



: Eva Maria Vio- 
lette, born at 
Vienna, Feb. 

29th, 1721 ; ob. 

Oct. 16th, 1822. 



v William, 

Captain in the 
/ army, 1736, died 
' unmarried. 



1st Wife, 

Elisabeth Car- 

ringtou. 



boi 
17 



Carrington, 

ob. May 
13th, 1787. 



Christopher 

Philip, born 

1784. 



Elizabeth Arabella, = Col. Frederick David, 

Batti*combe. ob. 1819. I Brydges ob. 1795, 

Schaw. iet. 41. 



Frederick 



crick. William. John. 



I 



William. Edward. Frederick. Garrick. Arabella. 



Emma Hart, 

m. 1778. 
born 1759. 



Evs 
Prothf 
alive: 



Louisa Wylde, 
married 1809. 



I 
Emma, died at 
Hampton. 



married, 1819, 

to William 

Garrick Bridges 

Schaw. 



1. Carrington, 2. David, Christopher David, Elizabeth: 

born 4th July, born 7th Philip, born 1819; Louisa, 

1811 ; ob. 11th Aug.ISM; born 1817; ob. 1821. born 28rd 

Oct. 1811. ob. 18th ob. 1843. Mar. 1810. 
Apr. 1816. 



: Canon 
Trevor. 



I 
Albinia, : 
10th Oct. 
1812. 



Henry 
Hill. 



a 

i 
j 

b 



Tudor. Frederick. Herbert 



— Also from the Beltz and Pulman Coll., ibid. ; 
h*> Family. 



LRRIGUE. 



= Peter ,Fermignac. 



I 
.= Niece to David 
Garric, married 
Peter Nouat. 



»; 



Stephen Garric, 
born Aug. 26, 1690 ; 
ob. Jan. 18, 1691. 



Mary Magdalene, 
Sept 21, 1691. 



Stephen Garric, 

born 1692 ; 
ob. July 4, 1693. 



deorge, 
i Aug. 22nd, 
S ; ob. Feb. 
«rd, 1779. 



2nd Wife, 
Elizabeth Tetley. 



I 
Magdalene, 

b: Apr. 29th, 

1715. 



I 
Jane, 
b. Apr. 1st, 
1718. 



Eli rat Merrial, 

b. Dec. 19th, 

1724. 



I 

Merrial = James Stisanna 
Patton. 



Patton, = 
daughter of 
Winalbe. 



Thomas 
Dockaey. 



*-<«*.= .. J 



=Dodaon. 



i Nathan, 

•e, ob.Jun. 
19. 1788. 



Martha, da. 

of Sir Eger- 

ton Leigh, 

living 

1822. 



Catherine, = Payne, 
mar. 1781. 



George, == Sarah Jane, 
b. June, 
1775. 



■*an Egerton, : 
»»rn 1781. 



Emma Vaughan 
Blunt, 
married 1808. 



George Alexan- 
der David. 



Sarah Jane 
Amelia. 



Elizabeth 
Sidney. 



I 



*»ne, 
«*»7th 
"- 1820. 



Dr. Henaley. Eva, 

born 1*23 ; 
ob. 1855. 



bhs 



Nathan George, Percival, David, Caroline, 

David, Sept. July, Dec. 1812. 

b. June, 1810. 1813. 1814. 
1809. 



Charlea, 



David. Caroline. Jessy. 



ft*th 



nr. Harry. George. Gertrude. Blanche. 



THE 



LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK, 



boos: the ifissi?. 
LICHFIELD. 



CHAPTER L 

THE HUGUENOT EXILE — SCHOOL DAYS. — 1685-1730. 

Early in the year seventeen hundred and sixteen, a lieu- 
tenant in command of a party belonging to Colonel James 
Tyrrell regiment of Dragoons, came to Hereford on recruiting 
service. He put up at the Angel Inn, an old timber-framed 
house, in Widemarsh Street, close to the Leominster road. The 
lieutenant's lady was near her confinement, and on the 19th of 
February brought into the world their third child, afterwards 
to be celebrated as the famous actor, David Garrick, whose 
history we are about to pursue.* 

The recruiting officer was Lieutenant Peter Garrick, son of 
a French gentleman, having been brought to England from 
that country when a mere infant. In his memory might have 
lingered indistinct pictures of a hurried flight, of fierce 
soldiers 1 faces, and miserable tossing on the sea. His father 
and mother had been forced to fly their country, almost the 
first victims of the Revocation which banished the French 
Huguenots from France. The family was a noble one — De la 
Garrigvt — connected with the Houses of Perigord and De la 
Rochefoucauld. They were established near Saintonge, and 
were flourishing down to the Revolution, signing a contract of 
marriage in company with some of the most distinguished 
names in the district of Saintonge. 

* The Angel Inn was burned down over a hundred yean ago ; though 
visitors to Hereford used to be shown a jeweller's shop, and an oak room, 
as the place where the actor was born. 

B 



2 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1685 — 

• 

David " Game " was living at Bordeaux, most likely in the 
wine trade, when the storm broke, and by the end of August, 
1685, with difficulty got to St Malo, where he embarked, 
having to leave wife, child, and property. He reached Guern- 
sey, where he remained for a month, and finally got to 
London in safety on the 5th of October. Being thus safely 
arrived in London, they had to wait nearly a year and a half, 
for the son they had left But happily on the 22nd of 
May, 1687, "Little Peter arrived in London, by the grace of 
God, in the ship of John White, with a servant, Mary Moug- 
nier, and paid for their passage twenty-two guineas." 

In London he found friends and kinsmen, countrymen and 
exiles, like himself. These were the families of Sarrazins and 
Perins, the Fermignacs — one of whom his sister had married 
— the Mouats, Soulards, Cazalis, and Pigous, names still found 
over the kingdom. Meanwhile children came — Jane, Stephen, 
David, and Mary Magdalen ; their baptisms, godfathers, and 
even hour of birth and death being set out with a minute 
and devotional exactness. Thus: "The 26th September, 
1692, at 10 o'clock at night, God was so good as to deliver my 
wife from her lying-in of a boy, who was baptized the Wednes- 
day following, being the 30th, at the Walloon Church, by Mr. 
Basset, minister. Godfather, our cousin Stephen Soulard, who 
gave him the name of Stephen, whom God bless and preserve 
for many years for the glory of God, and his own eternal 
happiness." This prayer was not to be answered. For : "The 
4th July, 1693, God took to himself the little Stephen, who 
died at 10 o'clock in the morning, and the 5th buried at night 
at 5 o'clock, at Wandsworth, in the new churchyard — the whole 
cost 34s." There is a certain simplicity and pathos in this 
entry. " The little Stephen " was the third of his children so 
named, but who were all carried off in succession.* 

But more trials were to come. "God hath afflicted me," he 
writes, " and taken from me my poor wife the 2nd December, 
1694, Sunday, at 10 o'clock at night, and given her to me in 
April, 1682. Buried in Bartholomew Lane, behind the Koyal 
Exchange." Two years later, a brother and sister, Peter and 

* The charge of funeral for the second little Stephen in thus set down — 

Coffin 10 shillings. 

Gloves 3 „ 

Coach 8 „ 

Three bottles . . . . 4 „ 

Minister 17 *, 

Sexton • . . . . 10 „ 

62 shillings. 



1730.] THE HUGUENOT EXILE. 3 

Magdalen Garrick, came over to the widower from Rotterdam.* 
The brother died only the month following after his arrival, t 
And in May, 1701, his sister Magdalen followed, and left the old 
exile with his three children — Peter, David, and Jane. He 
soon provided for them. David went into the wine trade, 
and found his way to Portugal, where he prospered. Jane 
married another exile, bearing the illustrious name of Louis 
La Cond6, and Peter, now about twenty years old, was put into 
the army. J Presently his regiment was ordered away to Lich- 
field, where the Huguenot's son was to be quartered a long 
time, to become known and esteemed in the society of the 
place. He was considered an amiable gentleman, of quiet and 
agreeable manners ; one that was good company, and could tell 
a pleasant story. 

In the cathedral choir was a certain Rev. Mr. Clough, who 
had a daughter called Arabella. It will be seen later what 
virtues she possessed; how sweet was her disposition, and 
how almost passionate was the attachment she bore her hus- 
band. She fascinated the young ensign, and on Novem- 
ber 13th, 1707, a little more than a year after he had entered 
the army, this rather imprudent marriage took place. 

A year and a half later came promotion, and the newly- 
married officer found himself a lieutenant.^ Not, however, 
until June 24th, 1710, was their first child, Peter, born. The 
vicar choral's wife was an Irish lady, so that in the future 
actor's veins was to flow a rather mercurial stream, compounded 
of French, English, and Irish blood, — perhaps not the worst 
mixture for dramatic talent The vicar was then living in a 
house, which, about thirty years ago, was still standing, and 
where the officer's son Peter was to live all his life, and die 
nearly a century later. || Five years after arrived a daughter, 

* The old merchant thus writes to Lord Hatton, 1694: — "My Lord — I 
have received your letter of the 12th curant with the enclosed letter fr Paris, 
which I forward last post, and recommend unto my brother at Rotterdam. 
M. Isaac Cazalis is my good friend at Amsterdam. I know vere well Mr. 
Oeraais of that City, Frenchman, and my good friend. If you desire 
remit to the Lady your sister any Bills of Exchange, I may remit unto 
her, ye Exchange is now very eigh, at 55J per crowne. — I am yr obedint 
and hmble servnt, "D. Garrick. "—{MS. Brit. Mua.) 

t "Having suffered," writes David, "like a martyr with a retention. 
God preserve us from the like distemper. Amen." 
* X The Commission is dated April 12, 1706. 

§ Commission dated 23rd November, 1708. 

D The house was pulled down in 1855, to make room for the new Pro- 
bate offices. Many traditions of the Garrick family have been obtained 
from Lichfield ; and there is extant a sort of house-book, kept by a great- 
grand-niece of the actor, who had long lived with David Garnet's sister, 

B 2 



4 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1685 — 

Magdalen, known to her family as Lennie, or Nellie ; and a 
year later, the recruiting party arrived at Hereford, and the 
birth of David took place, as we have seen, on February 19th.* 
The officer, as we have seen, was at Hereford when David was 
born; but he lived at Lichfield. t When his father was on 
foreign service, little David copied out of the family Bible the 
exact dates of all their births, &c, and sent it away to him at 

Gibraltar.J 

The lieutenant's alliance with the vicar-choral's daughter 
had brought him new connections and friends. One of her 
sisters was Mrs. Kynaston; another married one of the Days 
— a name hereafter to be always associated with Lichfield. 
Here also was Mr. Hector, the physician who attended Mrs. 
Garrick and her children, with L)r. James — then an obscure 
country-town doctor, who had not introduced his famous 
powders. At the street corner, opposite St. Mary's Church 
and its ancient clock, was the shop of that remarkable book- 
seller, Mr. Michael Johnson — an old framed house hanging 
heavily over the pathway, supported by two clumpy pillars. 
When the lieutenant's son, David, was a mere infant, the book- 
seller's famous son was just entering the Lichfield Grammar 
School, and had already attracted the notice of one of the most 
influential persons of the place — Mr. Gilbert Walmesley, the 
bishop's registrar — an elderly and wealthy bachelor, and good 
scholar. The bookseller's son, considered a remarkable and 
promising boy, was much encouraged by the Herveys, the 
Levetts, the Swinfens, and by Lieutenant Garrick himself. 
There was about seven years between his age and that of 

in which has been carefully collected every floating tradition about the 
family. 

* He was baptized eight days later in the church of All Saints, as appears 
from the following note, extracted November 8th, 1866 : — " David, son of 
Mr. Peter and Arabella Garrick. Baptized February the 28th, 1716. " 
Davies makes the 20th of February the day both of his birth and baptism, 
whereas the birth was on the 19th, and the baptism on the 28th. Boaden, 
pointing out Murphy's mistake, falls into mistake himself, and gives the 
20th ; and Murphy gives both a wrong date and place, changing the church 
into that of All Souls. 

t " This is a curious town," said the elder Mathews to the waiter, when 
staying at the inn." " Altogether, Mr. Garrick ought to have been born 
here." " To be sure he ought, sir," was the reply. " I am glad to hear you 
say that. It was too bad of his father to go to Hereford, when his wife waa 
so near her time ; but we claim him for all that" 

t From a letter of David's to his father, I take the following list : — Peter, 
born June 24, 1710; Magdalen, born Apr. 29, 1715; David, born Feb. 19, 
1716; Jane, born Apr. 1, 1718; William, born Mar. 8, 1720; George, born 
Aug. 22, 1723; Merriall, born Dec. 19, 1724; Daniel, Arabella, Anna- 
Maria, died in infancy. 



■WW 



1730.] SCHOOL DAYS. 5 

David, so that it could hardly have been until Johnson had 
come back from Stourbridge school, and was " lounging about " 
Lichfield, uncertain and purposeless, that any serious intimacy 
could have commenced. One was a youth of seventeen, the 
other a boy of ten years old. One had passed through the 
Lichfield Grammar School, and was dreaming of Oxford; the 
other was just about being put to the grammar school which 
Samuel had left David was already known as a gay and 
sprightly lad, who could put an odd question in company, and 
make a smart answer, that almost amounted to a repartee. 
Mr. Walmesley, in particular, was often amused by listening to 
his sallies, and encouraged the mimicries and other antics, 
which were part of the boy's little accomplishments. It was 
time now to think of some schooling; and like another lieu- 
tenant's son, Laurence Sterne, he was sent to the free school of 
the town where he was living. 

That school — a low, long building with four gables — was 
then directed by a Mr. Hunter, who had been young Johnson's 
master also. This man was of the line of old cruel school- 
masters, who were savage and eccentric, and thought the birch- 
rod the grand agent of education. In after life, Johnson spoke 
of him almost with horror. "He was a brutal fellow, he 
said. He would scourge his boys on the old unreasoning 
principles, beating a lad for not knowing the Latin for candle- 
stick, a word which might not be in the day's lesson. He did 
not distinguish between mere want of knowledge and neglect 
of knowledge. When the birching was going on, the unhappy 
lad had rung in his ear such comfort as " This I do to save you 
from the gallows." He was very fond of shooting, and any 
truant pleading, in arrest of judgment, that he could point out a 
covey of partridges, was certain to be reprieved. Under the 
care of this half-savage, David did not apply himself to his 
books with much studiousness, but his " sprightliness " and 
vivacious quickness must have taken him out of the category of 
mere dull and idle boys. His remissness was not to be placed 
to the attraction of games or the seductiveness of school sports. 
His idleness, it was remarked, was occasioned by the charms of 
the lively jest, the pleasant story, and odd dialogue. But the 
classical knowledge and refined tastes he was to exhibit all 
through life show that, even under such discipline, a sound 
foundation had been laid. 

One of his schoolfellows here was son to a wealthy gentle- 
man named Simpson, near Lichfield. He afterwards grew up 
— turned out a scapegrace and mauvais sujd — married against 
his father's* consent, lived a dissipated life, and, as of course, 



6 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1685 — 

fell into difficulties. He thought — perhaps for the first time 
— of his schoolmate, now a wealthy manager and actor, and to 
him he wrote a piteous letter, asking his influence for recon- 
ciliation with the father, and also for a gift of a hundred pounds 
— for what the spendthrift calls a loan, is in truth always a 
gift. His old schoolfellow, who was then styled a shrewd, 
money-scraping, "stingy," miserly creature, at once sent off the 
money, wrote down to Lichfield a charming appeal to the 
offended father, but received back a gruff, surly answer. The 
actor, not to bo rebuffed, wrote again with admirable tem- 
per, and actually had the satisfaction of softening the angry 
father, and reconciling him to the son, and his own old school- 
fellow. 

He was always ready to divert his companions by a burst of 
spirits, or by " taking off" some oddity.* The talent, of which 
this was a rude symptom, was to be stimulated by other causes. 
There was in Lichfield a sort of taste for the drama, and 
some young ladies had proposed getting up " The Distressed 
Mother " at a private house, for which young Johnson had sent 
them an Epilogue. But there was a more seductive allurement 
still. The strolling players sometimes called at Lichfield, 
playing "Alexander" and the established round of dramas, 
pouring out the usual stilted declamation and "paviour's sighs," 
which were then the mode. The bookseller's son, then unde- 
cided as to what course of life he should adopt, was still loiter- 
ing about Lichfield, and with his young companion, used to 
attend these performances. He was delighted with these 
efforts, without regard to their degree or quality. Once, when 
a very ordinary player was Tanting Sir Harry WUdair y and 
tearing the part to tatters, Johnson was charmed, and grew 
rapturous in his praises. " There is a courtly vivacity aoout 
the fellow," he said. But even then, the nicer instinct of the 
schoolboy could see that there must be a higher standard than 
this noise and fustian, and he felt that the artist his friend so 
much admired was " the most vulgar ruffian that ever trod the 
boards." Long after, when the old moralist, now close upon 
seventy, found his way back to his native city, these recollec- 
tions poured back on him, and he made a confession to his 
faithful henchman and admirer. " Forty years ago, sir, I was 
in love with an actress here, Mrs. Emmet, who acted Flora in 
' Hob in the Well/ " And it may have been on a night when 

* In Mr. Upcott's collection was a school book of David's in which is 
this inscription : " I, David Garrick, lend George this book, and desire him 
not to abuse it : if he does, I'll fag him. David Garrick, ejus liber. Anno- 
Domini, 1729." 



1730.] SCHOOL DAYS. 7 

his favourite was playing, that a characteristic scuffle took 
place. He and David were both present, and Johnson had a 
chair on the stage. Going out between the acts, he, on his 
return, found his seat in possession of a stranger. This fellow 
declined to give it up, though Johnson explained the matter 
very civilly. On which he took up the chair and its occupant, 
and flung both into the pit. Mr. Walmesley, however, inter- 
fered and composed matters.* 

It was natural that the presence of these players should 
kindle in the schoolboy's mind an eagerness to appear on some 
shape of stage. Full of spirit and gaiety, he was presently to 

g*ve a hint of what was to be the guiding passion of his life, 
e set on foot a little scheme for the diversion of his friends, 
enrolled all his companions in a company, drilled them care- 
fully, and put Farquhar's " Recruiting Officer " in rehearsal. 
The young manager, only eleven years old, took Sergeant Kite 
for himself, a part of fine fresh humour, and gave the Chamber- 
maid to one of his sisters. Johnson, not yet gone to Oxford, 
was applied to for a Prologue for the little performance, but 
for some reason is said to have refused — though he had volun- 
teered one for another occasion. The little piece went off ad- 
mirably, and the spirit, vivacity, and perfect ease of the young 
player were long remembered in Lichfield. Captain and Mrs. 
Garrick, the pleased father and proud mother, sitting among 
the audience in "the large room," little dreamed that they 
were unconsciously contributing to their son's fatal adoption of 
that " degrading " profession. For such was then considered, 
indeed, the calling of the unhappy vagabonds who played in 
the Lichfield barns, and who only escaped the stocks by the 
tolerance of the magistrate. This childish performance, there- 
fore, may be considered David's first appearance on the stage, 
and has been placed about the year 1727. 

To the children these pastimes were welcome enough, but 
the " captain-lieutenant " must have been carrying on a weary 
struggle. Only a few months before, on the day after Christ- 
mas-day, 1726, he had exchanged from the Dragoons into a 
inarching regiment, a step that seems dictated by a prudent 
economy. This new corps was Colonel Kirk's, afterwards to 
be known as the 2nd Foot. It was time, too, to think seriously 
of providing for the children, now fast growing up about him. 
Peter, the eldest, was put into the navy and sent away to sea. 
And presently arrived from Portugal a most opportune pro- 

* Garrick told this story to Mrs. Thrale ; when she retold it to Johnson, 
•the sage complacently owned that his friend had not spoiled it in the telling 
and M that it was very near true, to be sure." 



8 THE LIFE OP DAVID GARRICK. [1731 — 

posal from uncle David, now a flourishing wine merchant at 
Lisbon, that his nephew and namesake, David, should be sent 
to him, and established in the house out there. This offer, 
equivalent to a provision for life, was at once accepted, and 
David, then but eleven years old, despatched on this distant 
'expedition. Even in this step we see a certain character and 
sense ; as it was not every lad of his years could be sent off in 
those days of difficult travel on so long a voyage. 

He remained a very short time. Such a course of life — the 
dry routine of a counting-house — could not suit his vivacious 
temper. Davies hints that he was dismissed as too volatile for 
the business. The English merchants delighted in his company, 
and would put him up on the table after dinner, to declaim whole 
scenes and speeches from plays. Noble Portuguese youths patro- 
nized him ; and he was often heard to tell how he had been in 
the company of that unfortunate Duke d'Aveiro, who, just as the 
actor was meditating his first appearance at Goodman's Fields, 
was put to death for a conspiracy. This glimpse of foreign life — 
the change from the tranquil stagnation of a country town to the 
coloured scenes and manners of a new country — the novel shapes 
of character and humour, must have given an almost dramatic 
tone to his mind, and furnished him with an early glimpse of 
the world more valuable, and more official, than any training. 
That this step was taken calmly, and without displeasure on 
the side of his uncle, is plain from the fact, that on the latter's 
return to England the nephew was well received by him, and 
handsomely provided for in his will. 

On his return he was once more sent to Mr. Hunter, whose 
stern discipline was to repair his deficiencies, which, with inter- 
ruption and idleness, now began to look serious. His father 
had gone on half-pay, a step he may have taken to avoid the 
expense of travelling about with the regiment ; but there was 
presently to come an important change. 



CHAPTER IL 

THE CAPTAIN ON FOREIGN SERVICE — DAVID'S LETTERS. — 

1731-1733. 

It was now the year 1730, when it was determined to re- 
fortify and strongly garrison Gibraltar, after its defence of 1727, 
in which that other marching lieutenant, Sterne's father, took 
part ; and news came down to Lichfield that Captain Garrick's 
old regiment had already embarked. Perhaps his heart went 



1733.] THE CAPTAIN ON FOREIGN SERVICE. 9 

with them. An officer at Gibraltar wrote over to propose that 
Captain Garrick should come out on full-pay and take his 
place. This was not to be resisted — perhaps, too, he was not 
sorry to be free of the Lichfield tradesmen, to whom he was 
now sadly in debt ; or was not disinclined to taste camp life 
once more, which, to the retired soldier, looks charming in the 
distance. In July, 1731, he was on full-pay again, and had 
presently gone up to London with Mrs. Garrick, to embark. 
After that parting, her tender heart was cruelly wrung, and she 
fell into miserable fits of despondency and illness. The child- 
ren were left in Lichfield, and she had to remain long in town 
with friends, until she grew better. But the captain left be- 
hind him a useful comforter, a boy of surprising sense and 
spirit — the most zealous and affectionate of children — who 
seemed now to take the whole responsibility of the family on 
his childish shoulders, with a tact and ardour surprising in 
one who was barely sixteen. 

With every mail the exiled soldier's eyes were gladdened 
with long, long letters from the affectionate David, full of gay, 
amusing Lichfield news ; full of genuine love and filial warmth; 
and showing, too, not the unconscious selfishness of the school- 
boy, who cannot help writing of himself and his concerns, but 
a careful selection of such matters only as would please and 
interest the dear father he was addressing. Even the gayer 
portions seem inspired by the gaiety of a man, and everything 
was chosen with almost a laborious anxiety and the nicest tact, 
to cheer and amuse the lonely officer, who, he knew, would 
have to wait months for the next mail. The father took care 
to put by this remarkable series, well worthy indeed of being 
preserved; for they gave certain promise of a ripe wisdom, a 
true affection that would, later, attach friends, of a wit and 
gaiety that was sure to win success in any profession.* It is 
hard to give an idea of these engaging letters, which are as wise 
as they are affectionate, and have a shrewdness far removed 
from the almost pedantic wisdom of common schoolboys, show- 
ing also a quaintness that might be looked for in the letters of 
grown-up people. It was curious, certainly, that all these gifts 
should have centred in David, and that the six others of the 
captain's family should have had dispositions of a more homely 
and home-spun description. 

The captain had embarked in due course for Gibraltar; and it 

* Mr. Forster, in the second edition of his " Goldsmith," gave a few ex- 
tracts from these early letters. By his kindness I am now allowed to 
present some fresh and highly characteristic extracts, hitherto unpub- 
lished. 



10 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1731 — 

would seem that nearly a year passed away before his first 
letter, announcing his safe arrival, reached Lichfield. It was 
answered with affectionate enthusiasm. The boy's letter, 
written in all the delight at the arrival of this news, is very 
characteristic, and overflows with affection. It is dated 
January 21, 1731-2: "It is not to be expressed," he writes, 
" the joy the family was in at the roceipt of dear papa's letter. 
Mama was in very good spirits two or three days after she received 
your letter, hut now begins to grow moloncholy, and has little ugly faint- 
ing fits ."* "My mama," he goes on, "received the 30/. you 
was so good as to send. She paid 101. to Mr. Eider, one year's 
rent, and 10/. toy* baker; and if you can spare a little more, or 
tell her you will, she is in hopes of paying all y° debt, tlwi you may 
have nothing to fret you when you come home. My mama staid 
six weeks in London after you left her there, for she was 
very much out of order. Mr. Adair there was prodigiously 
obliging and civil — and begged her to send him some ale. Mr. and 
Mrs. Hervey came to see my mama as soon as she came to 
town, which she deigns to do very soon. She is a very fine 
lady, and has returned very few of her visits" There is a naivetd 
about all this very charming. But later, in a very short time, his 
faculties open, and he takes a more manly tone. There were 
indeed the little local topics, which would be welcome to one 
whose heart was with his family; and the attentions of the 
Herveysf and other great people when down at Lichfield, were 
what the boy knew would gratify the absent husband. 

* In Mr. Law's sale of autographs was a letter addressed to Captain 
Garrick by his five children, in which the third son complains of the con- 
duct of his sister, which he says is now " all hony, now the reverse." In 
the first edition of this work, I only gave some specimens of these engaging 
letters. I now give nearly the whole, which have never been published. 

+ " We have but little news. Doctor Hector is married to Miss Pop 
Smith ; and Mr. Laurence, who is at London, is married to ye lady who 
you saw at Captain Goddard's, a very pretty woman, only she squints a 
little (as Captain Brazen in y* Recruiting Officer). Captain Weldon has 
parted with his commission, and has half-pay as lieutenant of a man-of- 
war. Everybody loves and likes Mrs. Weldon, but he has quarrelled with 
most of the people in this place, which gives the poor woman a great deal 
of uneasyness. And they are both highly civil to our family. I am a 
great favorite of both of them (Mr. and Mrs. Hervey), and am with them 
every day. Mr. Walmesley has had a very great quarrel with Captain 
Malone, who, I think, considering his being always so civil to the officers, 
used him very ill But at present all is over, but they don't visit one another. 
I have been to Mr. Otley's, who sent a man and horse for me, with Mr. and 
Mrs. Hervey and Mr. Walmesley, were I got acquainted with his two sons, 
who are fine young gentlemen. Mr. Walmesley gave me slyly half -a- crown 
for y" butler, and then for the groom and for myself, which made mc look 
very grand. All your friends are very welL We had a letter from my 



1733.] DAVID'S LETTERS. 11 

While the captain's lady was in town, David was left in 
charge of the family. They were all depressed and very 
"moloncholy," writes the boy — scarcely with credit to the 
Lichfield Grammar School ; and the sick lady returning home 
had to face dons and difficulties, and economise in sore straits. 
Their clothes were in sad condition : she found their " accoutre- 
ments," as he pleasantly called them, "more like those of beggars 
than gentlemen soldiers," and there was a "great deal of mend- 
ing and patching " to be done. So, when Johnson said that 
his friend had learnt his thrift in small things, from being bred 
in a half-pay officer's family, where " the study was to make 
fourpence do as much as others made fourpence-halfpenny do," 
he was nearly right ; only the captain's lady had to strive and 
make her little fourpence stretch as far as another's eightpence. 
By-and-by the young fellow writes that "my mamma has 
cleared all the debts," except that of the most important of all 
creditors — the butcher. He had, however, accepted something 
on account, and would wait for the rest. The opinions of 
"Kent the butcher" and of "Webb the baker" are often 
reported. These little shifts and struggles he tells to his 
father in a pleasant vein of humour, and in a very hopeful 
tone; so that the captain should know what their struggles 
were, and at the same time be cheered by hearing of their 
success. For himself, he has to inform his "dear pappa," that 
he is now quite turned a philosopher ; but yet, to show that 
he is not vain of it, protests he would gladly get shut of the 
philosophical character — especially as he has had lately a pair 
of silver breeches-buckles presented to him. The only way 
would be for the captain to send him some handsome materials 
for a vest and breeches. " They tell me," says his son, slyly, 
"velvet is very cheap at Gibraltar. Amen, and So be it!" 
But it is not likely that the captain — a careless and easy-going 
officer — attended to this modest commission. Three mails 
would come in, each with a letter from the faithful son, before 
an answer would be sent back to Lichfield : and we can hardly 
accept David's affectionate excuse for this failure of acknow- 
ledgment ; viz. " that the winds and waves seem more favour- 
able to the captain's letters than to his." The mails brought 

uncle Day, who says that Mr. Lowe preacht a sermon which was thought 
by everybody one of the best they had heard for a long time. My grand- 
mother sends her blessing, and would fain live to see you once more. My 
brother and sister send their duty, and Ann in a particular manner. — Your 
ever dutiful son, D. G." Another letter ran : — " Dear Sir — If you could 
possibly send Mr. Walme&ley a little wine, lam sure he would take it as a 
particular favour." 



12 THE LIFE OP DAVID GARRICK. [1731 — 

the absent father some charming tributes of affection from 
both wife and son — which must have dimmed his eye, as he 
read, and made the paper tremble in his fingers. That of the 
lady — ill, shattered in health and spirits, has a sweet earnest- 
ness and almost passion, which recalls Steele's tenderness. 
The paper has a little break in the middle — from the seal being 
torn away ; but only a word or two is lost " I must tell 
my dear life and soul," she writes, nearly two years after his 
departure, " that I am not able to live easy longer without him; 
for I grow very jealous. But in the midst of all this, I do not 
blame my dear. I have very sad dreams for you .... but 
I have the pleasure when I am up, to think were I with you, 
how tender .... my dear soul would be to me ; nay, was, 
when I was with you last ! that I had you in my arms. 
I would tell my dear life how much I am his ! — A. G." 

About this is a ring of quaint and ancient pathos — the yearn- 
ing of a "sweet wife," and all the bloom of new affection, 
though after some five-and-twenty years of married life. Her 
son testifies to this longing. His own fondness breaks out de- 
lightfully ; he turns off suddenly into praise of " one piece of 
Le Grout " — a miniature painter of the day — which he valued 
above all the pieces of Zeuxds. He would sooner have one 
glance at it than look a whole day at the finest picture in the 
world ! Nay, it had this effect upon him, that when he looked at 
it, he fancied himself far away at Gibraltar, and saw the 
Spaniards, and sometimes mounted guard. The portrait was 
then in his hand, yet he could not satisfactorily describe it 
" It is the figure of a gentleman, and I suppose mititary by his 
dress. I think Le Grout told me his name was one Captain Peter 
Garrick : perhaps, as you are in the army, you may Know him. 
He is pretty jolly, and, I believe, not very tall." A charming 
little picture, and described with admirable justice as " a bit of 
comedy itself — a piece of character and feeling such as Far- 
quhar might have written." But there is yet another touch to 
complete the domestic scene. " My poor mamma sighs when- 
ever she passes the picture. My mamma sends her most tender 
affections .... She says your presence would do her more 
good than all the physicians in Europe." 

Mr. Gilbert Walmesley was living in the Bishop's Palace, 
where Mr. Seward, the Prebendary, was to live later. Lichfield 
at this time was gay : soldiers were quartered there, and there 
was lively society enough, to which David contributed his 
share. Gay as they were, the Lichfield people did not come up 
to the extraordinary panegyric of Johnson, uttered in all the 
effusion of one revisiting his native place. " They were the 



1733.] DAVID'S LETTERS. 13 

most sober decent people in England/' he said ; " the most or- 
thodox, the genteelest, in proportion to their wealth, and spoke 
the purest English." Their orthodoxy may have been merely 
the dull, stolid orthodoxy of a provincial town, and the " pure 
English " that of Johnson himself, who pronounced " fair " like 
the word fear, and " once " like tuoonse. Long after it became 
one of Garnet's pleasantries to exhibit his friend squeezing a 
lemon with strange contortions into a bowl, and calling out 
" Who's for poonsh ?" Yet Garrick himself was often, remarked 
for saying " shupreme " and " shuperior." 

" I was near recruiting myself," the boy writes ; for Mr. Her- 
vey, who was cornet in Lord Mark Kerr's regiment, had pro- 
mised, if his brother-in-law, Sir John Aston, should die, to give 
him the vacant cornet's commission.* His regiment was quar- 
tered in Lichfield ; but he had a house in London where John- 
son was made welcome, and met genteel company. Where, too, 
Captain Garrick's son, when he came to town, we may be cer- 
tain, was also introduced. 

Happily for the English stage, the officer recovered. Later 
on, no less than three colonels were each offering him a pair of 
colours, and his friend Captain Pyott swore that if he took 
orders, he should at least be chaplain to his regiment. With 
such inducement and such pressure, it seems wonderful that 
the boy had not been dazzled by the gold and scarlet, and 
had not marched away out of the place, after the drum. Some 
of the recruiting officers interfered a little with young David's 
successes — bright, gay, and gallant as he was — and he writes 
to his dear " pappa " a comic account of one coxcomb, who had 
sent verses to a lady, who had of course shown them to him. 
The officer had led off by saying he was not like common 
soldiers, but " a lover of the Muses." David is very sarcastic on 
this pretender. " By y* lover of y* Muses, he means himself : 
which is one of the vainest things 1 ever read. Indeed, I doubt 
not but he loves y* Mouses," adds he in his scorn, slipping into 
a little careless spelling, " but I doubt much whether he is be- 
loved by them." Then he tells of a mysterious " answer " in 
verse, that was sent to the coxcomb, ,and which he takes the 
trouble of copying out to the length of some fifty lines ; a most 
cutting and withering exposure, as he thinks it. The author- 
ship of which his father will guess: — 

" So half-filled butts of new-brewed beer, 
Top-full of something oft appear ; 
When vent is given, soon you'll find 
The great production — froth and wind." 

* This was to Mr. Hervey, of whose kindness Johnson spoke with % for- 
cible warmth — " If you call,a dog Hervey, I shall love him." 



I « ll llljl 



14 THE LITE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1730 — 

Which was rather hard hitting ; as was his description of the 
same hero : " Some squires hunted all the morning, and drank 
all night ; but this officer drank all the morning, and hunted all 
the night." 

But with all the gaiety and light trifling they did not lose 
sight of what was the grand object of the faithful family exist- 
ence. Some years now had gone by, and everything was being 
turned to the one central purpose of getting leave for the cap- 
tain to come home. They were unwearied in this pious office, 
and there was no end to the variety of their affectionate little 
plots. Mr. Walmesley was to go up to town and there get 
leave; but the same hope of Mr. Walmesley "going up to 
town to get leave," was repeated in nearly every letter. But 
as it appears from Walmesley's letter to his friend Colson, he 
never did leave Lichfield ; so the chequered topics of this 
wonderful series of letters pour out, and we assist at all the 
secret and eager hopes, fears, joys, and sorrows, of the trusting 
Lichfield family, whose eyes were ever fixed wistfully on 
Gibraltar : — 

"Mar 18, 1733. 

" Hon'd Sir — We had the pleasure of receiving two of your 
letters. I can't but tell my dear pappa that one part of his 
letter put a damp upon my pleasure, in which you thought I 
was neglectful of writing. I ought to be esteemed the worst of 
wretches did I neglect what I thought would give you the least 
pleasure and satisfaction to one of the best of fathers. If those 

rjrsons who have not received what tenderness and affection 
have, from their parents, are /iccounted reprobates ; if they 
omitt to pay all regard and obedience to them, what can be 
said for him who in every instance of life has had ye greatest 
indulgence from a most kind father. In my poor opinion, nature 
seems to have done her endeavour to have planted in him all the 
contraries to obedience, virtue, morality, gratitude, and what is 
most commendable in any young person, though he had but 
the least share of what fatherly love and goodness I enjoy." 
After describing the festivities for the Prince of Orange's mar- 
riages, he tells how "Mr. Walmesley treated the ladies and 
gentlemen at the assembly with rack punch, and presented the 
gentlemen with cockades, and the ladies with favors ; his house 
illuminated from top to bottom. All ye town came up to see. 
Most of ye gentlemen met at ye Swan. Poor Mrs. Lowndes is 
almost constantly rowling about with the cholik, or has her head 
tyed about with a napkin — for the headach — like one that is a 
victim for a sacrifice." Most amusing are the little bits qf Lich- 
field gossip with which he affectionately tries to entertain the 



1733. J david's letters. 15 

absent officer. " Mr. Perkins is cited into the court for drun- 
keness and swearing, by Mr. Rider ; and Mr. Shapless has lost 
a tankard of twelve pounds, which was stole from him ; and 
here is a dragoon in goal upon suspicion. Mr. Hervey had 
lately come from London, and has brought me two pairs of large 
silver buckles, and Mr. Walmesley a fine snuff box." — 1733. 

He explains one contrivance for getting his father leave, 
which many joined in, that he should return to vote. " Mr. 
Plummer has promised to use his interest to get you leave to 
come for England to vote for him, and Mr. Walmesley has got you 
in the list of voters, and has made over a burgess to qualify you 
for voting." Mr. Christopher Lowe has brought news of Peter. 
Sir Chalone Ogle wrote that " he was vastly fond of him, and 
that he admires him for his sobriety, modesty, and good humour; 
so we hope in a little time to hear of his being made a lieutenant 
(Cousin Cazalett). You was pleased to write, when should I 
be fit for the University ? I fancy in about two years. I should 
have been ready now, only my going to Lisbon slackened me 

a great deal. — Aunt Kinaston, Cousin Bailey, Mrs. , one 

night got tipsy here by drinking ' To all our Friends by Land 
and by Sea/ " 

Feb., 1734. 

" My mamma is much better, but very weak, attended with 
a lowness of spirit, which compels her to drink wine, which 
gives a good deal of uneasiness upon two accounts, as it goes 
against her inclination and pockett." Then, as to the great 
business of leave, Mr. Walmesley was going to London, and 
did not doubt but he would put the finishing touch to it. 

" My sister Lenny and my sister Jenny send their duty to 
you, and being in great want for some lace for their heads, 
and my mamma being very low in ye purse by reason of her 
illness, could not afford them so much money. They, with the 
greatest duty and obedience, request a small matter to purchase 
their head ornaments. Great necessity compels them to give 
you this trouble, for they have never wore anything else but 
plain head cloths, which hardly distinguished them from the 
vulgar madams." He then encloses a piece of wit — an impu- 
dent thing which he apologises for sending — a speech delivered 
at a Masquerade by a Harlequin, and to the King himself, 
probably. 

Various letters having miscarried or being delayed, David 
writes in this affectionate strain : — 

1735. 

" The great pleasure we have at the receipt of any of dear 
papa's letters is so well known that I need not enlarge upon 



! 



16 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1734 — 

that point. If any sorrow should appear amidst such transports 
of joy, the miscarriage of my letter must occasion it. If the 
sea was as sure to carry as I am to write, you would have no 
reason to complain of my neglect The wind and waves seem 
to be more favourable to us tnan to you." 

Captain Pyott having given an entertainment, two or three 
days later "came this piece of wit from the Post House, 
directed to Lady Biddulph." This wa& ^description of a horse- 
race, in which the ladies and gentlemen are described by horses' 
and mares' names, and probably David's own. 

At times he himself went to town — some of his friends 
were glad to give him that treat — and he visited the playhouses, 
a true pleasure for the country lad. He found the new Covent 
Garden Theatre and Drury Lane open, with Rich and Fleetwood 
reigning, and even Goodman's Fields — where he little dreamed 
he himself would be playing in a very few years. He would 
have noted an actor set down in the bills as Mechlin, and who 
was to be his inseparable friend later. Pinkethman and Bullock, 
who had played in the last century, and must have been full of 
stage traditions about Shakspeare, still lingered oil Mrs. Clive 
and Mrs. Cibber were the popular Polly and Lucy. Quin — 
sawing and grinding his words, pumping and "paving" as it 
was called, according to the old iron principles then considered 
the perfection of acting — little thought there was in the pit a 
countrified youth who was measuring him with growing repug- 
nance, whose fine eyes opened as he wondered, were the audience 
in earnest in their rounds of applause, or were they merely 
accepting this poor conventional stuff because there was nothing 
better to be offered to them ? Though he might go to plays and 
coffee-houses in London, and hear the chimes at midnight again 
and again, a curious little piece which I have found among 
his papers, and which is dated January 31, 1733, shows that 
his talk and subjects of discussion at such places were of an 
intellectual sort. He and two friends had had a philosophical 
discussion, and one of them wrote to him next day, with a sort 
of half satirical rteumt of tne heads of their argument The 
parties were, — "Dr. Bergmosch, an unbeliever; Dr. Llaroon, 
a believer; and Dr. Kircrag (Garrick), a moderate man." 
Kircrag is a sort of anagram for Garrick; Bergmosch was 
Schomberg, afterwards Captain; and Llaroon a strange and 
wild soldier, who had fought in the Flanders wars, a clever 
artist, and an uproarious boon companion. This was a curious 
coterie. David always loved gaiety and pleasure, but always 
tempered his pleasures with refinement, and made them serve 
the business of life by promoting friendship. 



1734.] KDIAL. 17 



CHAPTER IIL 

EDIAL — THE CAPTAIN'S RETURN AND DEATH — JOURNEY TO 

London.— 1734-1737. 

Now, when Captain Garrick has been some two or three 
years away, reappears David's friend and companion, Johnson, 
who has been at the University, and tried many schemes and 
places, since he has had the usher's " hod " upon his shoulders. 
At this crisis Mr. Walmesley — the influential registrar, the 
wealthy bachelor and patron — proposes a scheme, which may 
benefit his two protdgds. He points out to Johnson, that close 
to Lichfield, at Edial (or Edjal, as it was popularly pronounced), 
was lying vacant an old square-built house, with a high roof, 
cupola, and gallery on the top, and suggested that Johnson 
should take and open it as an academy. It was his suggestion 
too, that Garrick, then about eighteen, should try and complete 
his education in French and Latin, under so competent and so 
friendly a master. His advice was taken, and David and his 
brother George became the first pupils. A few neighbours, no 
doubt out of deference to the high influence of the bishop's 
registrar, sent him their sons ; among which was Mr. Offley, 
a young gentleman of condition, and Hawkesworth, afterwards 
the laborious voyage compiler. But at no time did the pupils 
exceed seven or eight David must indeed have been well 
grounded there, for he told a friend he once was able to repeat 
all the Greek roots by heart ; and that on leaving Lichfield,, 
his friend Walmesley gave him a copy of the "Racines 
Grecques," exacting a promise that he would learn a portion 
every day by heart 

The principal of the academy had married, and had now some 
one to direct his household — that grotesque figure of a wife, who 
was much older than the principal himself — the well-known 
" Tetty," with cheeks flaming with daubs of rouge and the use 
of cordials ; so round, stout, and fantastic, and gaudy in her 
dress. She was an infinite source of entertainment to the two 
pupils, and Garrick long after used to divert his friends with a 
mimicry of the oddities and affectations of this strange lady. 
The uncouth fondness of her husband was no less diverting. 
One of Garrick's happiest pictures, with which he used to make 
his friends roar, was that of their master's going to bed, which 
the mischievous youth observed through the keyhole. The 
master was then actively engaged on his stilted, \mt\ieata\ral 

o 



18 THE LITE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1734 — 

play of "Irene," and perhaps little thought that the pupil, who 
he fancied was fast asleep below, would one day gratefully bring 
it out for him at the greatest of the London theatres, or lend 
it the assistance of his own admirable acting. Every one in 
Lichfield knew the grand scheme Mr. Johnson was busy with. 
Peter Garrick, the midshipman, then at home, was applied to 
for his copy of " The Turkish History," to supply colour and 
"properties." The work was brought to the bishop's palace 
and read to Mr. Walmesley, who made a natural objection, 
that when the heroine, even at that imperfect stage, was in such 
extremity of distress, how was he to contrive to plunge her into 
deeper calamity ? The author had a pleasant answer ready : 
" Sir," he said, slyly, " I can put her into the spiritual court ;" 
Mr. Walmesley's own court. His liveliest scholar was, even 
then, busy working for the stage, and instead of the exercise 
which the master expected, would produce some scenes of a 
comedy. This, he said, had been his third attempt at writing; 
and with a tragedy and a comedy thus in their hands at 
the same time, it is not likely that much attention could be 
given to the more solemn duties of education. Still the master 
did not allow the old familiarity to interfere with what he felt 
to be his duty, and would enforce his teachings vigorously. 
Long after, when he had been facing audiences for thirty 
years, he told Dr. Monsey, he never could shake off a certain 
j awe in Johnson's presence, which he traced back to a feeling 
that the Doctor had been his schoolmaster in these old Edial 
days. 

Still the academy did not prosper. Perhaps it was too am- 
bitious in name or pretension. David had now left ; indeed, 
brought home by the joyful return of the wished-for father. 
The never-wearying intercession, the affectionate scheming of 
his wife and children, had at last prevailed, and now, by the 
beginning of the year 1736, he was back once more at Lichfield. 
Some forty years later, as Stockdale relates, the son recalled the 
raptures of that return, and reproached himself for a light 
speech, for which his joy and good spirits only were account- 
able. "I dare say, sir," he said, slyly, "I have now a good 
W"Uiy brothers and sisters at Gibraltar;" a piece of raillery, in 
the prevailing key of the day, which brought fresh tears to 
Mrs. Garrick's gentle eyes. But there were other reasons be- 
side those of affection, which brought the captain home. His 
health, shattered by travel and climate, was beginning to fail 
him, and it became therefore his first concern to establish David 
(now close upon twenty), and start him suitably in life. The 
captain's means were still scanty enough, and he was busy ne- 



1737.] THE captain's return and death. 19 

gotiating some means of disposing of bis commission, for the 
benefit of bis wife and children. Their neighbour, Mr. Wal- 
mesley, was once more called into council, to advise on Davy's 
prospects and choice of a profession. And this seemed all that 
the Garrick family might now reasonably look for from their 
old friend and patron, as he had only a few months before 
married the sister of that "Molly Aston" on whose charms 
Johnson used to dwell with almost senile raptures. This was 
a really heavy blow : for the family had not unnaturally looked 
to his making a provision for the youth he esteemed so 
highly. 

Various plans were proposed. A university education was 
put aside as too costly. The Bar was at last finally decided 
upon ; though there was a difficulty in the way as to how the 
necessary preparation was to be secured, without attendance at 
a university. Here Mr. Walmesley good-naturedly came to 
their aid. There happened to be living in Rochester a very old 
friend and fellow-townsman of his, the Rev. Mr. Colson, a 
mathematician of reputation, whose contributions to the scien- 
tific journals of the day were well known. To him (in Feb- 
ruary, 1736) Mr. Walmesley wrote the "strongest" and 
warmest letter, asking him as a favour to take David, and teach 
him "mathematics, philosophy, and humane learning," and 
giving his proUgS the very highest character. " My neighbour, 
Captain Garrick (who is a honest, valuable man), has a son, a very 
sensible young fellow," says Mr. Walmesley, giving a little sketch 
of his friend, "a good scholar, ... of sober and good disposition, 
and is as ingenious and promising a young man as ever I knew 
in my life." He adds that he will trespass very little on Mr. 
Colson's instructions, and will be found a pleasant companion 
at recreation. " This young gentleman, you must know," goes 
on Mr. Walmesley, " has been very much with me, ever since 
he was a child, — almost every day. I have taken a pleasure 
often in instructing him, and have a great affection and esteem 
for him." The captain, he said, could not hope to send him to 
the Temple, for some two or three years as yet Any reason- 
able sum would be paid, " and I shall think myself very much 
obliged to you into the bargain." 

But this arrangement, for some reason, was not at once com- 
pleted. It would be hard for the needy captain to get together 
funds enough for so serious an expedition. Meanwhile David 
might have continued attending his friend's instruction, who 
had now appealed for pupils, in the well-known advertisement 
which appeared in " The Gentleman's Magazine": — " At Edial, 
near Lichfield, in Staffordshire, young gentlemen are boarded, 

C 2 



20 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1734 



and taught the Latin and Greek languages, by Samuel John- 



son." 



It was at last determined that David should be sent to the 
Eochester clergyman, who accepted the charge. By this 
time, Johnson's Edial House business had quite languished out, 
he saw here an opportunity for going to try his fortune, and 
on the morning of March the 2nd, 1737, the two friends set out 
together for London. Mr. Walmesley commended Johnson also 
to Mr. Colson's kind offices as " a poet," and likely to turn 
out " a fine tragedy writer." This was only the old pattern of 
adventure — every one with " parts " as it was called — every 
provincial light — posting up to the great market with a heavy 
poem or play in his pocket Long after, they looked back to 
this pleasant adventure, and often talked over its incidents. 
Johnson, whose little weakness was a perpetual discontent that 
" a mere player " should have been more successful in the world 
than a grand moralist, was not sorry to hint at their little 
shifts on this occasion. In a large company, the quick ear of 
Garrick would hear the Doctor fixing a date by a something 
beginning : " That was the year when I came to London with 
twopence-halfpenny in my pocket — " when, not without 
surprise at such a statement, Garrick would repeat, "With 
twopence-halfpenny in your pocket?" "Why, yes," roars 
the Doctor, "with twopence-halfpenny; and thou, Davy, with 
three-halfpence in thine ! " Garrick's good humour could make 
him accept so disagreeable a fiction without remonstrance. 
They made their journey, however, economically. " We rode 
and tied," said Garrick, later, alluding to a thrifty mode by 
which two people could contrive to have the benefit of ono 
horse between them, for their travelling. But, as Boswell 
says, this was a mere complacent embellishment Thus they 
got on to London. They stayed together in town a short time, 
presently found their slender stock of money all but ex- 
hausted. In this extremity, young Garrick recollected a 
bookseller named Wilcox, of whom he knew a very little; and 
both going to him, and telling their story, simply and naturally, 
he was induced to advance them five pounds on their joint 
note, which in a very short time they punctually took up and 
satisfied.* 

David, however, contrived to save the three or four pounds 
necessary for his fees, and lost no time in entering as a student 
of the " Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn." On the 9th of 

* The story of the loan ifl told by Sir John Hawkins, who says he had it 
from " an eye-witness." 



1737.] JOURNEY TO LONDON. 21 

March his name was enrolled.* The " vivacity " and " gaiety " 
which made the young man such a welcome companion, hint to 
us a little unsteadiness and taste for pleasure, which, in one of his 
" sprightly parts," exposed to the seductions of the capital, was 
almost pardonable. Bright, good-looking, full of intelligence 
and witj of " a neat figure " we are told, though short, he found 
himself thrown away on the dull society of the country town, 
where they must have owned, in their uncouth dialect, that he 
was far "shuperior" to them. The early difficulties — the 
bookseller's loan — show that he had been sent up to town, not so 
much to benefit by Mr. Colson's training, as to look about, and 
see what might turn up, or what his relations would be in- 
clined to do for' him. t But in this short round of trifling, he was 
to be startled by a fatal piece of news — which interrupted all 
these plans. 

In the January of that year the captain had found his way 
to London, where he was seized with his last illness, and had 
taken the opportunity of executing his will. He had full sense 
of his failing health, and the immediate business of his visit 
was, no doubt, to try and negotiate the sale of his captaincy, 
from which he hoped to make provision for his children. He 
seems to have nearly succeeded in concluding, for a sum of 
eleven hundred pounds, but was not able to complete the con- 
tract J And it almost seems as though he was reckoning on 
this sum when, on the first day of the new year, 1737, he sat 
down to dispose of his property. To his three elder children 
he gave five hundred pounds each : to one son four hundred ; 
and to the two youngest children, three hundred each. Last 
of all came this bequest — " To my son David, One Shilling" 
This might well startle us who have been following the charm- 
ing and filial letters the boy was writing to his absent father. 
This severity might be accounted for satisfactorily. The Portu- 
guese-wine uncle had now come over, full of years and wealth, 
had seen his nephew, and had taken, in the best part, an off-hand 

* The following is a copy of the entry : — " David Garrick, gentleman, 
second son of Captain Peter Garrick, is admitted into the society of this 
Inn, the 9th day of March, in the tenth year of the reign of our Sovereign 
Lord, George II., by the grace of God, King of Great Britain and Ireland, 
▲.D. 1736, and hath paid to the use of this society the sum of three pounds, 
three shillings, and fourpence." 

t Davies seems to have heard eomething to this effect ; for he says that 
" when Garrick arrived in town, he found that his finances would not 
enable him to put himself under the care of Mr. Colson." 

X From a letter written to the editor of " The Gentleman's Magazine " 
by one of the Garrick family, and signed E. G. — see " Gentleman's Maga- 
zine," 1779. 



22 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1734 



appeal that he was surely under some obligation to do some- 
thing for David, after the fruitless Lisbon expedition, under- 
taken at his wish. He therefore, as Davies tells us, revised 
his will, and leaving his Lichfield nephews and nieces five 
hundred pounds each, increased David's portion to one thou- 
sand pounds. Thus, when the captain came to prepare his^ 
own will, he may have thought that there was no need to take 
care of David, already handsomely provided for, who was, 
besides, furnished more than the rest with vivacity and gifts 
sure to help him forward in the world. On the other hand, I 
am afraid he was displeased with his favourite son's wayward- 
ness and want of steadiness in following a sober course of life. 

The captain's campaigns were now at last to end. He had 
returned home to Lichfield — was taken ill, and died, and was 
there buried. This event took place scarcely a month after his 
son David's departure — about the end of March.* "An 
honest, valuable man," must have been the hearty and grieving 
verdict of his friends. His almost confident hope, expressed 
to his friend Walmesley, of being able " in two or three years " 
to equip David for the Temple, was not to be fulfilled. To the 
affectionate, loving wife, who had felt in their temporary 
separation all the bitterness of death, it may be conceived what 
a blow it was. Seven children were left to her care ; and 
though she might rest with confidence in the good sense and 
affection of her second son — the eldest was away at sea — still 
as yet that "vivacity" and gaiety had produced a certain un- 
steadiness, which it would take some time to temper. 

About this time, also, we may place the date of his uncle, 
the wine merchant's death, by which he " came in " for his 
welcome legacy. His biographers say that now he was enabled 
to purchase for himself the benefit of the Rochester clergyman's 
instruction, and fit himself for some profession. What that 
profession was to be, had he been left to his own choice and 
inclination, there would have been no hesitation. Already he 
was being drawn to the Stage — the two charming, irresistible 
Muses were inviting him towards them, half coaxingly,half im- 
periously, just as he was to be painted later in the most character- 

* I find that his will was duly proved on the 7th of April following. 
"Appeared personally, Wm. Morgan, of the Par. of St. Paul, Covent 
Garden, Co. Middx., apothecary, and Thomas Goddard, of the Parish of St 
James, Westminster, said Co., Esquire, to swear to the above, being the 
last will, &c, of Peter Qarrick, late of Lichfield, Stafford, and Captain in 
a regiment of foot, under the command of the Honourable Major-General 
Kirk, deceased. Proved 7 April, 1737, by Arabella Garrick, widow, relict 
df deceased." Mr. Garrick and Mr. La Conde* were the Executors." — From 
Doctor*' Commons. 



1737.] STAY AT ROCHESTER. 23 

istic of pictures. But there was a reason, which, to his infinite 
credit, withheld him — to the widowed lady down at Lichfield, 
it would have been a fresh and most painful trial : and he 
could not bring himself to wring — or grieve even — that affec- 
tionate heart. He sacrificed what he felt was his true strength 
and success to this pious motive, and set himself seriously to 
embrace what was distasteful, and likely to be a failure. 
Long after, he told his friends that he had found his account, 
and worldly reward, in this act of filial duty; for had he gone 
on the stage then, with his powers immature, and nothing to 
support him but mere ardour and good will, he would certainly 
have failed ; and the reader will see that almost every step of 
" our hero's " life is thus marked by some gracious act, sure to 
draw to him the kindliest sympathies of all — as I hope it will 
those of the reader. 



BOOK THE SECOUD. 

GOODMAN'S FIELDS AND DUBLIN. 

CHAPTER I. 

STAY AT ROCHESTER — THE WINE MERCHANTS — LIFE ON TOWN 

— WOFFINGTON. — 1737-1741. 

To this day Rochester is a quaint old town ; a long, serpent- 
like street, with timber-framed houses, and patches of good 
old, cheerful, rubicund brick; a great carved and gilt clock 
projecting over the path, the almshouse still standing 
where the Six Poor Travellers are taken in every night. It 
is little changed since the year when young David Garrick 
came to live there with Mr. Colson. That clergyman seems 
to have been a dreamy scholar, very absent, and had become 
almost indifferent to his family concerns, from delight in his 
scientific studies. His neglect Johnson seems to have resented 
not a little, long after making his character point a moral for 
the readers of "The Rambler. "* There Gelidusf is found 
neglecting " the endearments of his wife to count the drops of 

• In No. 24. 

t That Gelid us is the portrait of Garrick's third master, Mr. Colson, is 
so stated by Mrs. Thrale, whose testimony there is no reason to reject 
Mr. Croker, in his " Boswell," dismisses the notion with " This is a mis- 



24 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1737 — 

rain, note the changes of the wind, and calculate the eclipses 
of the moons of Jupiter." This philosopher lived entirely in 
an upper room of his house, where none of his family dared 
to intrude. When he came down, he seemed to be walking 
about like a total stranger. Such a character would have been 
a subject for the gay mimicry of his pupil, and who may have 
described it to his friend. 

We have no accounts of his progress under what Murphy 
oddly calls " Mr. Colson's patronage," though Davies a little 
mysteriously announces that " in the company of so rational 
a philosopher, he was imperceptibly and gradually improved 
in the talent of thinking and reasoning " — a description which 
seems vague enough to be mere speculation. Such a preceptor 
was not likely to be a serious restraint, and accordingly we 
presently find the young man organizing private theatricals in 
the quaint little town; and the local chronicle records with 
pride that there were many alive who recollected these " early 
dawnings" of his lyrical genius. In the Colson family his 
" vivacity " was often fondly recalled.* With this professor 
he would seem to have remained some months, possibly a year. 
Then it became time to settle on something decisive. He 
took leave of his tutor, who in a couple of years later was 
appointed the Lucas Professor at Cambridge, and early in 
1738 returned to Lichfield. It was prudently determined 
that David should put to profit not only the scanty knowledge 
he had acquired at Rochester and Edial, but such gleanings of 
wine knowledge as he had picked up during the flying visit to 
Lisbon. Peter, his brother, had abandoned the navy; an t d 
now both set their little capital together, and started as wine 
merchants. One of the partners was to live in Lichfield, the 
other in London, and extend connection, and thus it was hoped 
a profitable business could be carried on. Young David repre- 
sented the firm in town. 

The Lichfield partner was in face very like his brother 
David; but the large face and heavy features, common to 
both, were not lit up by such wonderful lamps, or kindled by 
so eternal a vivacity. Johnson always affected to believe that 

take. It does Dot appear that Johnson ever saw Colson." This is not at 
all conclusive. He would surely have waited on the person to whom he 
was so strongly recommended. Then Johnson, Mr. Croker insists, became 
acquainted with another Colson after the " Rambler " was written. Mrs. 
Thrale gives a whole catalogue of these " Rambler " characters, with the 
names of their originals told to her — as it would seem, this one of Gclidut 
was — by Johnson himself. 
* By Mrs. Newling, who may have been Colson's daughter. 



1741.] THE WINE MERCHANTS. 25 

if Peter had had opportunities, or had applied himself to so- 
ciety, he might have made a social reputation. He had " se- 
date and placid manners," it seemed to Boswell ; and he talked 
about fishing with enthusiasm.' 11. He succeeded in impressing 
his guest as quite a " London narrator, "t To the end, how- 
ever, he seems to have had that sort of spurious " good com- 
mon-sense, " which does not go beyond outward solemnity and 
gravity, and that foolish prudence which has been happily 
called a " rash caution." To the end, too, he held to his wine 
business, and, after his more famous brother had " come out " 
at Drury Lane, entered into new partnership — became " Gar- 
rick and Bailey, Wine Merchants " — made a little money, was 
left a great deal more by his brother, and died imbecile. No 
doubt it was some such impression of his solemn sense and 
his " long head," as it is called, that made Johnson, who had 
now laboured out the last act of the tragedy, take him to the 
Fountain Tavern; and read over to him the whole piece, now 
quite finished, and about to be sent to Fleetwood, of Drury 
Lane ; by whom this dull but conscientious work, the fruit of 
much hodman's labour, was to be rejected. 

The young wine merchants set up their business in Durham 
Yard, where they had vaults and offices, at the bottom of one 
of the little streets leading out of the Strand. Later, the 
brothers Adam swept Durham Yard away, and raised what 
was then considered a stupendous architectural monument, the 
Adelphi arches, with the streets and buildings reared upon 
them. It was not a little curious, that many years later the 
wealthy actor should have been living in one of these pre- 
tentious mansions, over the spot where his vaults had once 
been. 

It was said that they contrived to form a sort of theatrical 
connection, most of the coffee-houses about the theatres giving 
them their custom. Mr. Cooke once saw a business receipt of 
the firm's, to a Mr. Robinson of the Strand close by, who had 
given an order for two dozen of red port, at eighteen shillings 

a dozen, and signed : 

"For Self & Co., 
October, 1739. 

" D. Garrick." 

If ever there was to be a reminder of these wine-selling days 

* Piozad MS., quoted by Croker. 

t Boswell, in 1776. He gives us, at the same time, his own idea of a 
town wit, which was " telling a variety of anecdotes with that earnestneu 
and attempt at mimicry which we usually find in all the wits of the me* 
Lropolis." 



26 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1737 — 

wanted, there was one quarter whence it was certain to come. 
When the actor was rich and flourishing, Foote was fond of 
whispering " that he remembered Garrick, in Durham Yard, 
with three quarts of vinegar in the cellar, calling himself a 
wine merchant." When a man has raised himself by honour- 
able exertion, there is sure to be some one to recall the Dur- 
ham Yard, and the three quarts of vinegar. 

* Stillia partnership was not likely to prosper where one of the 
partners was a gay, elegant, spirited youth, who did not scruple 
to stand up on the tables of the clubs and coffee-houses where 
his wine was drunk, and give a series of diverting mimicries. 
"-He produced intense delight and applause, and it was almost a 
matter of course that judges and critics should tell the clever 
young fellow that he was made for a higher and more splendid 
career than retailing wine. The stage, it was said, wholly 
possessed him. Under such conditions business did not thrive. 
One who knew him about this time describes him happily 
"a very sprightly young man, neatly made, of an expressive 
countenance, and most agreeable and entertaining manners;" 
and the portraits of him have all that air of " neat make/' with 
a youthful brightness in the face. At the convivial meetings he 
was "the idol," and easily took the lead. He would relate 
stories of his Portuguese/oso?; excelled in humorous pictures of 
travelling life, and of characters met on the road. One of his 
enemies, who had often listened to him, and who was himself a 
humorist, declared that he had scarcely ever heard anything to 
compare with the rich fun and gaiety of these sketches. It was 
noticed that the stage was his darling subject, and that his most 
favourite mimicries were those of actors. Such a course of life 
for one so young — he was then but twenty-three — would have 
shipwrecked any of the youths of the day. But these were 
sallies of pure enjoyment and honest good spirits; and in every 
stage of David Garrick's life, we find the correcting restraint of 
calm good sense, which others with less command of themselves, 
chose to translate into selfishness — "nearness" — "knowing- 
ness " — and such unpleasant qualities. 

It was noticed that he had a companion from whom he was 
almost inseparable. This was an actor belonging to Drury 
Lane — a strange character — an Irishman of rough humour and 
ability, a good fives player, and a very promising actor. His 
appearance was very remarkable; a coarse face, marked not 
with " lines," but what a brother actor with rude wit had called 
"cordage." He was struggling hard to get free of a very 
" pronounced " brogue ; and having come to the stage with what 
was to English ears an uncouth name, and to English mouths an 



1741.] THE WINE MERCHANTS. 27 

almost unpronounceable one, had changed it from McLaughlin 
into Mechlin, and later Macklin. In his company young Gar- 
rick found great delight; for his remarks were shrewd, his know- 
ledge of the profession very deep. He had also seen a good 
deal of the rough and dirty places of life, had undergone the 
useful discipline of a stroller's life, and met strange adventures. 
He was quarrelsome, overbearing, even savage : always in 
either revolt or conflict, full of genius, and a spirit that carried 
him through a hundred misfortunes. " His mind," said one who 
served under him, Thomas Holcroft, " was as rough and durable 
as his body. His aspect and address confounded his inferiors; 
and his delight in making others fear and admire him, gave 
him an aversion for the society of those who were his superiors. " 
The writer of this graphic sketch adds, " that he never heard 
him allow the superiority of any man; and that he was so 
irritable that the slightest opposition was taken as an insult" 
That Garrick should have lived for so long on intimate terms 
with such a man, shows his forbearance and sweetness of 
temper; and when later a quarrel did come, Macklin's in- 
temperateness became almost a foil for Garrick's moderation 
and liberality. 

But this curious intimacy could be accounted for by a reason 
which the public did not suspect. > Both saw the decay of the 
stage which had set in, and the genius of both knew how it 
must be reformed. Macklin had discovered, what Garrick was 
then discovering, that the best way of representing nature on 
the stage was by imitating nature ; and both he and his friend 
saw with impatience the false principles then in fashion^ The 
pair were almost inseparable, and for some five or six years 
were scarcely a day out of each other's company. They almost 
lived in Covent Garden — under whose piazzas the actors were 
always seen walking. 

In such associations the wine business could scarcely flourish. 
While one member of the firm was down at a country town, 
and the other behind the scenes, or writing verses to Chloes 
and actresses, it is only wonderful that after three or four 
years' trading the loss should have been so little. In truth, 
David was chafing and fretting against the dull restraints of 
dockets and invoices. In little more than a year from his 
father's death came another blow. His mother, literally from 
grief, followed the husband she so loved to the grave in Lich- 
field, where she was laid near him. 

His friend, Johnson — now working out a miserable "per 
sheetage " from the very humblest hack work, and almost de- 
pending for his crust on some little article that he could now 



28 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1737— 

and again get into " The Gentleman's Magazine," — was at this 
time intimate with Mr. Cave, of St. John's Gate, the publisher 
of that journal. Johnson mentioned his companion, and, speak- 
ing of his gay, dramatic talents, inspired this plain and practical 
bookseller with some curiosity, and it was agreed that an 
amateur performance should take place in a room over the 
archway, with Mr. Garrick in a leading comic character. It 
was duly arranged : the piece fixed on was Fielding's " Mock 
Doctor." Several of the printers were called in, parts were given 
to them to read; and there is an epilogue to the "Mock Doctor," 
by Garrick, which, as it was inserted shortly afterwards in 
" The Gentleman's Magazine," Hawkins tells us, would seem to 
have been spoken on this occasion. The performance gave 
great amusement, and satisfied the sober Cave ; and presently, 
perhaps as a mark of the publisher's satisfaction, some of Mr. 
Garrick's short love verses were admitted into the poetical de- 
partment of the magazine. He took part in another amateur 
performance — where he was assisted by a more remarkable 
actor. 

Hogarth at this time was on terms of warm friendship with 
him, and also Hoadly, who was passionately devoted to any 
shape of theatricals. Once they arranged a burlesque of 
" Julius Caesar " for private representation ; but their difficulty 
was Hogarth, who, full of excellent humour, found his memory 
utterly fail him. A device was at last thought of, which was 
to write his part in pretty large characters upon the paper 
covering of the lantern which he was carrying, and which was 
illuminated from within. A humorous play-bill of the per- 
formance was illustrated by the painter. 

Now visiting every theatre, seeing every player, liking a 
few, but abhorring the stilted plain chaunt, the stiff motions 
then in fashion, David took up his pen and dashed off criti- 
cisms. It was remembered that these were acute and uncon- 
ventional, but above all were distinguished by a kindly and 
liberal spirit, very different from the "slashing" style of the 
common " hack " critics. But his connection with Drurv Lane 
had already begun. In November, 1740, the whole city was 
thrown into a tumult of joy at Admiral Vernon's victory over 
the Spanish. Young Mr. Garrick recollected a sea song which 
his friend Gilbert Walmesley had written ; and having himself 
added an apropos stanza, it was sung on the stage by Mr. 
Lowe : — 

" Hark ! the roaring cannon thunders — 
See, my lads, six ships appear ; 
Every Briton, acting wonders, 
Strikes the southern world with fear. 



1741.] WOFFINGTON. 29 

" Porto Bello, fam'd in story, 

Now at last submits to fate ; . 
Vernon's courage gives us glory, 
And his mercy proves us great.*' 

The pleasant social qualities of the young man had also 
found him friends among the professional actors, and given 
him the entree to the coulisses at Drury Lane, then managed by 
Fleetwood. Here he had the delight of seeing a dramatic 
trifle of his own brought out — perhaps what he had written at 
Edial House — a kind of mythological sketch called " Lethe," 
which turned upon the meeting of various types of character 
on the other side of the Styx. It was produced on April 1, 
1740. It was a mere sketch, that left a great deal to the 
actor, but was always a favourite with the author ; for he was 
ever touching on it, adding now a new character for Wood- 
ward, another for Mrs. Clive. Later still he put in a gouty 
old Lord Chalkstone, who was afterwards developed into a 
round and really finely-coloured figure in the five-act comedy 
of " The Clandestine Marriage." But yet another attraction 
was to draw him behind the scenes; and a new actress, hand- 
some, vivacious, and playing very much in the style which he 
himself approved, was now to fascinate him. His excuse 
might be the true genius and brilliancy of the syren; but he 
could then have scarcely dreamed of the snare that was spread 
for him, nnd of the dangers he was so happily to escape. 
Margaret Woffington, a young girl only twenty-two years old, 
had come to London in 1740, had been engaged by Rich at 
Drury Lane, and caused a genuine furore. Though there were 
some, like Mr. Conway, who found her merely " an impudent, 
Irish-faced girl," others perceived she was a real actress, and 
that her " impudence " was not mere stage pertness, but true 
and genuine " spirit," which carried her triumphantly through 
all her characters, and supplied a thousand defects. Even 
Walpole, while denying she had merit, said " she had life." 
Her story has been often told in memoir and romance — even 
on the stage itself. Her curious life was itself a play — her being 
picked out of the streets at Fownes Court, her playing Macheath 
as an infant prodigy in Madame Violante's Lilliputian Company, 
at the booth off Dame-street, and her bewitching the gentlemen 
of Dublin with her dashing sketch of Sir Harry Wildair. 

The lively Garrick, then delighting in actors' society, and free 
of every green-room, was charmed with the new heroine. He 
became one of the many admirers of her gifts, but he had the 
good taste to object to her playing such a part as Sir Harry, 
on sound stage principles. No woman, he justly urged, could 



30 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1737 — 

ever so overcome the physical difficulties of voice, and figure, as 
to identify herself with a man's part It was a great attempt 
for a woman, he said, but still was not Sir Harry fVUdair. So 
just and correct was even then his idea of dramatic propriety. 
He presently became deeply in love, and the actress seemed no 
less taken with him. Under the follies and failings, which he 
fancied were those of the hour, he saw the generous nature, the 
honest purpose — the warm impulse, and the sense of loyalty 
and duty to her profession, which might in time be earnest for 
her sense of duty to herself. 

Margaret Woffington, it must be remembered, had many 

fifts and accomplishments that were of an intellectual sort, 
he was indeed a captivating creature. Her male characters 
were her smallest attraction. She could play parts like MUla- 
mant and Lady Towtily, which required all the wit and graces 
of comedy. She could speak French admirably, and dance 
with infinite grace. She had a taste for reading, and above all 
possessed a kind, generous heart, that could do a good-natured 
thing. The charity so well painted in Mr. Keade's romance 
and drama is scarcely overdrawn. Her mother, whom she 
always decently supported, was long seen in Dublin — a respect- 
able old lady in a velvet cloak, with a deep fringe, a diamond 
ring and agate snuff box, — going from one Catholic chapel to 
another, and gossiping a good deal with her neighbours. 
Murphy, who knew the actress well, and had many conversa- 
tions with her, pays her the warmest tribute. " Forgive her," 
he said, " one female error, and it might fairly be said of her 
'that she was adorned with every virtue; honour, truth, 
benevolence, and charity were her distinguishing qualities.' 
Her conversation was in a style always pleasing and often 
instructive. She abounded in wit" The wit must have been 
only the readiness of a bold woman ; but there was present also 
an incurable unsteadiness, and a fatal taste for the pleasures of 
the hour, which it became hopeless to think of overcoming. 

When the new actress came out in Sylvia in " The Recruiting 
Officer," Garrick took the usual fashionable mode of celebrating 
her charms in rhyme. The tone of these verses is very refined; 
and the hint that she should not regard mere light admirers, 
but one who really loved her, showed that his attachment had, 
at least, begun on pure principles. 

11 TO SYLVIA. 

" If truth can fix thy wavering heart, 
Let Damon urge his claim ; 
He feels the passion void of art, 
The pure, the constant flame. 



1741.] WOFFINGTON. 31 

" Though sighing swains their torments tell, 
Their sensual love contemn ; 
They only prize the beauteous shell, 
But slight the inward gem. 
* ♦ * * 

" By age your beauty will decay, 
Your mind improve with years ; 
As when the blossoms fade away 
The ripening fruit appears. 

" May heaven and Sylvia grant my suit 
And bless the future hour, 
That Damon who can taste the fruit, 
May gather every flow'r." 

A copy of verses was going round the town, which was then, 

and has always since been, attributed to the ingenious Mr. 

Garrick. It was addressed to the actress, set to music, sung 

in drawing-rooms, and deservedly admired for its gaiety and 

spirit. " Lovely Peggy " was highly relished, and often called 

for. 

" Once more I'll tune the vocal shell, 
To hills and dales my passion tell, 
A flame, which time can never quell, 
That burns for thee, my Peggy 1 

" Yet greater bards the lyre shall hit, 
Or pay what subject is more fit, 
Than to record the sparkling wit 
And bloom of lovely Peggy. 

" The sun first rising in the mora, 
That paints the dew-bespangled lawn, 
Does not so much the day adorn 
As does my lovely Peggy. 

" And when in Thetis' lap to mt 
He streaks with gold the ruddy west, 
She's not so beauteous as undrest 
Appears my lovely Peggy."* 

But these lines are from another hand, and the work of a rival 
admirer, — Sir Charles Hanbury Williams. Garrick seems to 
have been preferred — for a time at least ; and when he was 
seriously yet tenderly warning Sylvia, his rival was about the 



* This pleasant song was found among Sir C. Hanbury Williams' 
papers, and is printed in his works. More decisive proof of their author- 
ship is, that it is not to be found in the large, carefully written collection 
which Garrick himself had collected and carefully prepared for the press, 
with all his early verses to " Sylvia," and nearly every scrap he had 
written. 



32 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1741, 

same time complaining, in burlesque lamentation, how little 
progress he had made : — 

° Should you reject my ardent prayer, 
Yet send not back the am'rous paper ; 
My pangs may help to curl your hair, 
My passion fringe the glowing taper. 

" No more the theatre I'll seek 

But when I'm promised there to find you. 
All Horton's merits now grow weak, 
And Clive remains far, far behind you." 

The same reason, too, that drew him to Macklin, drew him 
also to the new actress. Part of the secret of her success was 
owing to her free and unconventional vivacity, though in 
tragedy she seems to have adhered to the still existing fashion. 
Garrick and Macklin were only waiting for their opportunity. 
For Macklin at last came the opening ; and about ten months, 
before Garrick's own turn came, he astonished the town by 
playing Shylock, not as a comic Jew, whose distresses convulsed 
the house, as it had been defaced by Lord Lansdowne, but 
with the passionate and pathetic reading of the original This 
was the first step; so to Macklin, not to Garrick, must be given 
the credit of having attempted a reform. 



CHAPTER IL 

THE STATE OF THE STAGE. — 1741. 

Four or five years before, a pretty little theatre had been 
opened in Goodman's Fields, the scheme for which had been 
organized by a clever manager and actor, Henry Giffard. 
This gentleman was of good extraction, like his new friend, Mr. 
Garrick. He had been put into the South-Sea House, and, 
like Powell later, had run away from his desk to take to the 
stage. He had joined some strollers, and finally enlisted under 
a player called Odell, at Goodman's Fields. 

It stood a little behind where the Minories now are. In Ayliffe 
Street, Goodman's Fields, was a sort of industrial quarter, 
where weavers and silk-throwsters congregated. In the year 
1728, Odell, afterwards made the first Licenser, took a throw- 
ster's shop in the street, collected a strolling company, con- 
verted it into a sort of temporary theatre, and opened it for 
plays. 

The adventure would, no doubt, have flourished, but for an. 



1741.] THE STATE OP THE STAGE. 33 

inflammatory sermon ; on which, it is said, the manager lost 
heart, and finally disposed of his house to Giffard, who stood 
in less awe of the Church. He purchased the throwsters' house, 
and opened a subscription in twenty-three shares of a hundred 
pounds each, for building a regular theatre. This project was 
taken up eagerly. Everything was done in the handsomest 
manner. A " new beautiful convenient theatre," — to use Chet- 
wood's quaint words, — rose where the old altered shop had 
stood. Shepherd, an architect of repute, and the architect of 
Covent Garden Theatre, furnished the design. The interior 
was handsomely decorated; and, on the 2nd of October, 1732, 
the new theatre — the one in which Garrick was to play nine 
years later — was opened with "King Henry the Fourth." It 
was conducted with great spirit and propriety ; still, as Sir J. 
Hawkins tells us, the magistrates had for some time "been 
watching for such information as would bring the actors at Good- 
man's Fields within the reach of the vagrant laws. 19 

Great crowds flocked to the new theatre. It drew chidfly 
apprentices and young students, who all became bitten with a 
stage passion ; superadded to which was a desire for playing 
themselves. This produced fresh combinations and fresh com- 
panies. A new house of entertainment was opened in York 
buildings; another was talked of at St. Martin's-le-Grand. "A 
fellow called Potter " opened another in the Haymarket. In 
short, it did almost seem that some sort of legislation, not for 
the suppression, but for the regulation, of such places, was 
called for. Unless some legal steps were taken, a lugubrious 
opponent prophesied that "the whole nation would degenerate 
into a set of stage players." As for Goodman's Fields, by this 
time it had become encircled, according to Sir John Hawkins's 
extraordinary expression, "by a halo of bagnios." 

Alarmed at this competition, the legitimate managers ven- 
tured on arresting one of the actors, Harper, as " a vagrant " 
for playing at one of the unlicensed houses. 

Though the actor was discharged, the prosecutor had the 
sympathies of those in authority with him. The growing evil 
was narrowly watched, and it is said that an order was sent to 
Goodman's Fields stopping the performance, to which, however, 
no attention was paid. But it was now to attract the atten- 
tion of Parliament Fielding had been giving his pen license 
at the Haymarket, in his amusing farce of " Pasquin " — from 
which " The Critic " was to be later stolen — and it was no 
doubt this dangerous freedom that made the Government bring 
forward a Bill which should deal with actors, as well as with 
the plays they performed. In 1737 this severe measure was 

D 



34 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1741. 

brought in, and passed successfully — a most degrading one for 
the player. By one section in this Act, any one without a settle- 
ment in the parish, or with no patent, was to be dealt with 
criminally as a rogue and vagabond ; and if he had a settle- 
ment, and neither patent nor licence, he was to be fined at the 
suit of any informer. By another section, every piece was to 
be sent to the Chamberlain fourteen ., days before representa- 
tion. It was opposed in the Upper House by Lord Chester- 
field — who, in an eloquent and masterly speech, showed the 
illogical and arbitrary character of the measure. But his 
reasoning was of no avail — and the clumsy, ill-drawn, vexatious 
Licensing Act, the plague of lawyers, magistrates, and judges, 
and to this day the oppression of humble followers of the pro- 
fession, was passed by a large majority. 

This victory put the enemies of the stage in great heart. On 
Giffard — who had recently completed his "elegant new" 
theatre — the blow fell with great severity. He petitioned both 
Houses on the special hardship of his case — the large sums he 
had expended on the purchase, the rebuilding, the clothes, 
property, &c. ; but the petition of " a mere player " was not 
likely to receive much attention. He had no resource, then, 
but to continue playing — trusting that no one would like to 
incur the odium of such a persecution. He is said to have re- 
ceived an order requiring him to close, but with some courage 
paid no attention to it. Indeed, it was not difficult to " pick 
a hole " in this Act. After the failure in Harper's case, no 
one could hope to put in force the clause in reference to an 
actor having no settlement.* Mere strollers, who ranged 
from theatre to theatre, fell easily under the Act ; but the 
more respectable comedians found out a trick of renting a 
house at £10 per annum, and " paying scot and lot," which 
was discovered to answer. It was not so easy to get over the 
next clause, which applied to acting without a licence. Still, 
here, the manager of Goodman's Fields found a successful de- 
vice. He advertised a concert — which there was no question 
could not be brought within the Act; and, after the concert^ 
entertained his audience with a play gratis. This was a mere 
illusory pretence; but the very stringency and intolerance of 
the law was his protection, and he was allowed to continue the 
practice for two or three years. Such was a ha;)py toleration, 
for to it was owing the undisturbed first appearance of the 
most famous actor on the English stage. 

* The law had mended its hand here, and had pronounced acting with- 
out a " settlement " vagrancy ; whereas, before, it was a matter of con- 
struction under Anne's Act, whether acting was vagrancy. 



1741.] THE STATE OF THE STAGE. 35 

Notwithstanding this oppression Goodman's Fields continued 
to flourish. There Mr. Walker declaimed, and Miss Hippis- 
ley danced and sang; while Yates was the "general utility" 
actor. It closed about the month of March, 1741; but before 
the end of the season was brought out a pantomime, called 
" Harlequin Student; or, the Fate of Pantomime, with a 
representation of Shakspcare's Monument, lately erected." 
Yates played the Harlequin — a character requiring more re- 
spectable ability than it does at present, and approaching the 
Italian type. One night, however, the Harlequin was indis- 
posed just as the piece was beginning, and the gay and sprightly 
young wine merchant secretly agreed with the manager that 
he should take his place — then putting oh the dress and mask, 
went through the two or three scenes of the part. No one 
knew of it then. So that, not at Ipswich, but at Goodman's 
Fields, was Garrick's " first appearance " on any stage. 

Giffard would willingly have offered him the opening he 
wished for on the boards of his handsome and well-conducted 
little theatre; but gave him the sensible advice to first try his 
strength and powers on a provincial audience. Here was an op- 
portunity: Giffard and Dunstall were going with a troupe down 
to Ipswich. This was not a " strolling " party, but they in- 
tended to have a little season there. Among the players was 
Yates, an excellent comedian — one of Garrick's own school of 
natural actors, and whose rule was, on receiving a new part, 
to fix on some living person who was a little like it, study him 
attentively, and thus gain vitality for it* 

* The old Ipswich Theatre was in Tankard- street, and was a rather rude, 
warehouse- looking structure. A picture of it, supplied by Wilkinson in 
the "Londina Illustrata," shows it as it appeared fifty years ago. It 
was built into the tavern next door. In an old Ipswich newspaper we 
find a regular record of his performances, which, however, were under an 
assumed name. The first of these thus set down was on June 10, 1741, 
Lord boppington, followed by Orestes. On the 11th he played Ventre- 
Bleu and Rakeit in his own farce, " Lethe." Also Dr. Cains on the 23rd, 
Sir H. Wildair on the 24th, C/tamont on the 26th ; but to these charac- 
ters no performers' names are attached. But on Tuesday, July 21st, a 
full bill of the company is given, which will be found interesting : — 

For the Benefit of Mr. Marr and Miss Hippisley. 
By a Compauy of Comedians from the Theatres in London. 

At the PLAYHOUSE in TANKARD STREET, on TUESDAY, the 
21st ot JULY, will be performed a Comedy called 

THE INCONSTANT ; or, THE WAY TO WIN HIM. 
Young Mirabel by Mr. Giffard ; Captain Duretdte by Mr. Lyddall ; 
Bisarre by Miss Hippisley. 
i At the end of the Second Act a Pantomime Dance, called the DRUNKEN 
PEASANT. Peasant by Mr. Yates ; Clown by Mr. Yaughan. 

D 2 



36 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1741. 

The manager of the company had long before married an 
Irish Miss Lyddal, daughter of an actor and actress, both on 
the Dublin boards. This name would have thus readily offered 
itself; or he might have wished to pass as a connection of 
Giffard's. It has been always repeated that Aboan in " Oro- 
nooko " was his first attempt; and it may have been, but there 
is no record of it. Davies says that he had been determined 
in the choice of his character by the disguise of a blackened 
face, which would protect him in case of failure. He was 
received very warmly in Sir Harry Wildair, and made a 
" hit," though it was after considered one of his failures ; and 
not merely the townsfolk but even the county squires came 
flocking in to see him. Then he gave Captain Brazen in the 
" Recruiting Officer," a more important part than the Sergeant 
Kite he had played with the Lichfield children years before. 
One of the Giffards, alive in the present century, related 
how the great Garrick had once played Osric to his Hamlet 
Yates, long after, used to tell his friends of this remarkable 
little expedition, and no doubt was mortally jealous of the 
success of the new actor. Yet what he may have thought was 
" taking the bread out of his mouth " turned out fortunately for 
him; for when Garrick came to the command of a theatre, 
the very first thing he did was to engage Yates.* 

No wonder after such successes he returned to town utterly 
unsettled. 

Flushed with this success he applied for an engagement to 
the managers of the two greater houses — to Rich and to Fleet- 
wood, but his offers were declined. The town managers might 
smile a little scornfully at mere Ipswich credentials. A small, 
well-made young man, of genteel appearance, seemed scarcely 
of the stuff for a tragedian of the first class. A greater trial to his 
candid, open nature, was the having to counterfeit an interest 

To which will be added a new Dramatic Satire (as it was performed last 
winter at the theatre at Goodman's Fields with great applause); called 

LETHE ; or, ^ESOP IN THE SHADES. 

JSsop by Mr. Oiffard ; Ventre- Bleu by Mr. Lyddall ; Sir Willing Rattle 

by Mr. Marr ; Macboggio by Mr. Yates ; Scrape, the Attorney, Mr. Paget ; 

Morning, Mrs. Deinstall; Charon, Mr. Deinstall ; Lady Rakeit, Mrs. Yates ; 

Mr. Thomas, Mr. Crofts ; Miss Lucy, Miss Hippisley. 

The Scene being a sequel to " The Virgin Unmasked," with an Epilogue 

by Miss Hippisley. 
To begin exactly at seven o'clock. 
Tickets to be had, and places to be taken at Mr. Rook's, opposite the 

Theatre. 
* John Taylor often heard him tell of the Ipswich party. In fact, 
Yates was the authority for all details in the matter, and must have told. 
Davies and Murphy all they have given. 



1741.] FIRST APPEARANCE. 37 

in their business, when Peter arrived in town on a visit from 
Lichfield. He knew how shocked the decent brother would be, 
and the little coterie of canons, soldiers, doctors, who made up 
"genteel" society there, at such a piece of news. But he 
had made up his mind for good. It was perhaps the best 
course he could take; and as failure and bankruptcy were 
sure to come presently, from this state of indecision, it was 
wiser to make the experiment — to win or fail, and thus settle 
matters finally one way or the other. The necessity for con- 
cealment in presence of his solemn brother — the serious 
responsibility and struggle — threw him into the utmost 
dejection of spirits, and brought on a severe illness. Peter 
returned home to Lichfield without a suspicion of the cause. 

Thus time passed by. Suddenly on a certain morning in 
October, 1741, Mr. Peter Garrick received two letters — one 
from Dr. Swinf en, a family friend and physician, who knew and 
attended the Johnson and Garrick families, — the other from 
his brother. Both were to the same effect ; and both contained 
the fatal piece of news, broken to the shocked Peter, with every 
art of excuse and appeal to brotherly affection and personal 
interest. The step had been taken, "the Rubicon crossed:" 
on the night before, Mr. David Garrick had appeared before a 
London audience at Goodman's Fields Theatre with the most 
astounding success J 



/ 



CHAPTER HL 

FIRST APPEARANCE. — 1741-1742. 

The two letters must have spread dismay and grief through 
the Garrick household ; as, indeed, every line of them seemed 
to anticipate. Mr. Swinfen wrote with the sense of age and 
experience, but evidently approached tin subject with trepida- 
tion. " Many of his country friends, who have been most used 
t6 theatrical performances in Town Halls, &c, by strolers, will be 
apt to imagine the highest pitch a man can arrive at on the 
stage is about that exalted degree of heroism as the Herberts 
and the Hallams have formally made us laugh and cry with. 
There were 1 many," he went on, "who because their fathers 
were called gentlemen, or perhaps themselves the first, will 
think it a disgrace and a scandal that a child of theirs should 
attempt to earn an honest livelihood, and not be content to 
live all his life in a scanty manner because his father was a 
gentleman." This was clearly the Lichfield theory. But he 



►88 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1741 — 

knew very well that his friend, " Mr. Peter Garwick " — so he 
spells it — will not be guided by these prejudices. " I think I 
know you well enough to be convinced that you have not the 
same sentiments, and I hope there are some others of his friends 
who will not alter their opinion or regard for him, till they 
find the stage corrupts his morals and make him less deserving, 
which I do not take by any means to be a necessary conse- 
quence, or likely to happen to my honest friend David." But as 
he does not doubt but that Mr. Peter would soon hear the news 
" that my good friend David Garwick performed last night at 
Goodman's Fields Theatre, for fear he should hear a false or 
malicious account, I will give you the truth, which much 
pleased "me. For I was tliere" goes on this good friend, " and 
was witness to the most general applause he gained in the 
character of King Richard y* Third. For I believe there was 
not one in the house that was not in raptures, and I heard 
several men of judgment declare it their opinion that nobody 
ever excelled him in the part ; and that they were surprised that, 
With so peculiar a genius, how it was possible for him to keep 
tcT the stage sol long." This was all friendly and rational ; but 
to one that believed the step itself was degradation, the news 
at best was but that of success in that degradation. 

The same post brought David's letter ; and it is now curious 
to look at the faded coffee-coloured writing, and think how the 
fingers that penned that writing were almost trembling with 
the excitement of the night before. "Dear Peter," it began ; 
and with an affectation of carelessness, goes on to tell him " how 
the shirt came down safe." He has now to announce to him 
what, he supposes, he has already heard — though it is proper 
to preface some things which will make him appear less culpable 
in his brother's opinion. One was the state of their business, 
into which he had gone carefully, and discovered heavy and 
steady losses. Some way must be discovered to redeem them. 
" My mind (as you must know) has always been inclined to 
y e stage ; nay, so strongly, that all my late illness and loss of 
spirits was owing to the struggle. Finding that both my in- 
clination and my interest required some new way of life, I have 
chosen y* one most agreeable to myself ; and though I fear you 
rwill be much displeased at me, yet I hope when you find that I 
have if genius of an actor, without the vices, yon will think less severe 
of me, and not be ashamed to own me for a brotliei'." As for the wine 
Business, he will send him his share in money, or settle it in 
any way that he likes. "Last night," he goes on, plunging 
desperately into the dreadful revelation, "I played KingRieliard 
the Third, to the surprise of everybody;" and, as an appeal to 



1742.] FIRST APPEARANCE. 39 

Peter's business views, " I shall make very nearly £300 per 
annum by it, and as it is what I doat upon, I am resolved to 
pursue it." Now, the news being out, he stops Peter's protest 
by business again. "I believe I shall have Bowers's money, and 
which shall go towards my part of the wine you have at Lich- 
field. Pray write me an answer immediately." In a sort of 
postscript, he goes back to the stage. " I have a farce (' Y* Lying 
Valet ') coming out at Drury Lane." His mind was indeed in 
a whirl. The splendid success of the night — the blazing foot- 
lights — were before his eyes — the roar of applause was in his 
ears. 

That first night was well remembered. There were many 
who, long after, told how they sat in the boxes or pit and had 
seen the " great Garrick " play his first play. Among these 
was Macklin, 'with whom had been debated the choice of a play 
for the ddbut, and who had approved of the young player's 
motive for the selection of Richard — namely, its suiting his 
figure so much better than any other. Even this showed a 
prudence and care not to lose a single point ; though on the 
next morning no one thought of his stature, and he was free to 
choose what part he would. In truth, he might have reflected 
that the opening was singularly favourable. The theatres were 
all in disorder. Quin and Delano were the only actors of note. 
Quin's stiff, drill-sergeant style of gesture and declamation had 
grown to be tedious. Macklin's Shylock had been but the sensa- 
tion of a night. Quin's Richard, Lear, and Macbeth, were all 
inferior. If the new actor had "the stuff" in him, now the 
opportunity favoured him. 

The company with whom he was to play was unpretending. 
Miss Hippisley, "the leading lady," who sang fairly in little 
ballad operas; Peter Bardin, an Irish general "utility" actor; 
the two Giffards, and Blakes,* were the most conspicuous. It 
is evidence of the social state of the unhappy players, that 
they dared not call their house a theatre, but " the late theatre." 
Tickets were to be taken for this momentous night at " The 
Fleece," a tavern close by, and the best box places were three 
shillings. As the audience read the bills, the}' saw that the 
leading part was to be taken by " a gentleman who had never 

* One of these Goodman's Fields actors who played with Garrick was 
called " Dagger Marr," whom Mr. Taylor had seen in his boyhood. He 
used to play murderer's parts, and long after forced the present of a turkey 
on Garrick, which the latter accepted, not to mortify him, though he had 
plenty of turkeys at Hampton. Marr was asked did Garrick take the 
present? "Take it!" said the actor, with characteristic meanness, "he 
would have taken it had U been a roll and treacle." 



40 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1741 — 

appeared on any stage;"* and it is certain that the news of the 
coming ddbut had been known at all the coffee-houses, and drew 
a strong muster of his private friends. Otherwise the house 
was not crowded. Indeed, there had been so many first 
appearances of incapable amateurs who had failed outrageously, 
that this announcement was more likely to repel than attract. 
The playhouse itself presented a handsome show. In an oval 
over the stage was a sort of apotheosis of the King, attended 
by Peace, Liberty, and Justice, and " trampling Oppression " 
under foot — the popular attitude for "peaceful" monarchy. 
Bound the ceiling were four medallions of Shakspeare, Dryden, 
Congreve, with Betterton, alone selected to be put in company 
with the famous dramatists. The " plafond " was gaily painted 
with scenes from famous plays — Cato, on the left, pointing to 
the body of his dead son, Marcius ; in the centre, " Caesar 
stabbed in the Senate-house." On the right was the parting of 
Mark Antony and Octavia ; and on " the sounding board over 
the stage " — a part of the decoration that comes on us with 
surprise — was seen Apollo and the Nine Muses. Such was the 
interior of the theatre, which we are told was looked on as "a 
neat and elegant piece of workmanship;" "well-warmed," and 
to this plafond must the fine eyes of Garrick have often wan- 
dered. 

On that Monday night the performance began at six o'clock, 

* A fiction allowed in his profession. No copy of this famous bill has 
been preserved. Fifty years ago it was reprinted ; but it is not clear 
whether from a bill or the newspaper announcement. I possess a copy of 
this rare reprint: — 
;, October 19, 1741. 

At the Theatre in Goodman's Fields, this day will be performed, 
A Concert of Vocal and Instrumental Music, divided into two parts. 

Tickets at three, two, and one shilling. 

Places for the Boxes to be taken at the Fleece Tavern, near the Theatre. 

N.B. Between the two Parts of the Concert will be presented an His- 
torical Play called the 

LIFE AND DEATH OF 

KING RICHARD THE THIRD. 

Containing the distresses of K. Henry 6th. 

The artful acquisition of the Crown by Ring Richard. 

The Murder of Young King Edward 5th, and his Brother in the Tower. 

The landing of the Earl of Richmond. 
And the Death of King Richard in the memorable Battle of Bob worth 
Field, being the last that was fought between the Houses of York and 
Lancaster ; with many other true Historical Passages. 

The Part of King Richard by a Gentleman 
(who never appeared on any Stage). 
King Henry, by Mr. Gififard ; Richmond, Mr. Marshall ; Prince Edward, 
by Miss Hippiuley ; Duke of York, Miss Naylor ; Duke of Buckingham, 



1742.] FIRST APPEARANCE. 41 

with a few pieces of music. Then the curtain rose on " The 
Life and Death of King Richard the Third;" and after the 
first scene, at that nervous moment, the new actor came from 
the wing.* 

Macklin always talked fondly of this glorious night — the de- 
light he felt, the amazing surprise and wonder at the daring 
novelty of the whole, and yet, at the same time, the universal 
conviction of the audience that it was right. 

It was recollected, however, that when the new actor 
came upon the scene and saw the crowded house, he was dis- 
concerted, and remained a few seconds without being able to 
go on. But he recovered himself. No wonder it surprised 
that audience. It was so new — and was all new. The sur- 
prising novelty was remarked, "that he seemed to identify 
himself with the part." They were amazed at his wonderful 
power of feature. The stupendous passions of Richard were 
seen in his face before he spoke, and outstripped his words. 
There was a perpetual change and vivacity. One effect 
at last overbore all hesitation, and the delighted audience 
found relief for their emotions in rapturous shouts of ap- 
plause. It was when he flung away the Prayer Book, after 
dismissing the deputation — a simple and most natural action, 
yet marked with originality, — and then the audience first 
seemed to discover this was true genius that was before them. 

Mr. Paterson ; Duke of Norfolk, Mr. Blake* ; Lord Stanley, Mr. Pagett ; 
Oxford, Mr. Vaughan ; Tressell, Mr. W. Giffard ; Catesby, Mr. Marr ; 
Ratcliff, Mrs. Crofts ; Blount, Mr. Naylor ; Tyrrel, Mr. Puttenham ; Lord 
Mayor, Mr. Dunstall ; the Queen, Mr*. Steel ; Duchess of York, Mrs. 
Yates ; and the part of Lady Anne, by Mrs. Giffard. 

WITH 

Entertainments of Dancing, 
By Mons. Fromet, Madame Duvalt, and the Two Masters and 

Miss Granier. 

To which will be added a Ballad Opera of One Act, 

called 

THE VIRGIN UNMASFD. 

The Part of Lucy by Miss Hippialey. 

Both of which will be performed Gratis by 

Persons for this Diversion. 

The Concert will commence exactly at six o'clock. 
* In 1822, a Mr. Field possessed a large collection of checks and tickets of 
all the theatres. There were some even of the Theatre Royal, in 1671. Some 
of these were in shape of copper coins, and are engraved in the curious 
" Londonia Illustrata." The one of Goodman's Fields has a sketch of 
the theatre — church-like in shape — a central block, with a gable, and two 
wings. 



42 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1741 — 

When ho came to the later defiant and martial phase of the 
character, he took the audience with him in a tempest of 
enthusiasm. 

" What do they in the North"— 

was given with such electric enthusiasm and savageness, as to 
cause a thrill to flutter round the hearers ; and when he came 
to the effective clap-trap, "off with his head," his "visible 
enjoyment of the incident " was so marked, that the audience 
burst into loud shouts of delight and approbation. What a 
night of delight to look back to ! Yet upon reaching this point 
of the play, his vigour and animation had been so excessive 
that his voice began to fail him at the most critical part. He 
felt himself growing hoarser every moment, and would have 
been overpowered but for the seasonable relief of a Seville 
orange. Mr. Dryden Leach, the printer, used often to boast how 
he had thus indirectly contributed to the success of " the great 
Garrick." 

There were no official " critiques " in the daily papers which 
set out elaborately the details of the acting. Journals were 
too small, and all space was economised strictly for news ; yet, 
under such conditions, the meagre notice to be read next morn- 
ing in the "Daily Post" becomes very significant. For its 
extent is almost enthusiastic. "Last night," said the "Daily 
Post," " was performed gratis the tragedy of ' King Eichard 
the Third' at the late theatre in Goodman's Fields, when 
the character of Richard was performed by a gentleman who 
never appeared before, whose reception was the most extraor- 
dinary and great that was ever known on such an occasion. We 
hear he obliges the town this evening with the same per- 
formance." 

Another criticism, which is a little later in date, speaks of him 
as he appeared at this time. It remarked his nice proportions, 
and that his voice was clear and piercing, perfectly sweet and 
harmonious, without monotony, drawling, or affectation : it was 
" neither whining, bellowing, nor grumbling, but perfectly easy 
in its transitions, natural in its* cadence, and beautiful in its 
elocution. He is not less happy in his mien and gait, in which 
he is neither strutting nor mincing, neither stiff nor slouching. 
When three or four are on the stage with him, he is attentive 
to whatever is spoke, and never drops his character when he Jias 
finisJied a speech, by either looking contemptuously on an inferior 
performer, unnecessary spitting, or suffering his eyes to icander through 
tJie whole circle of spectators. His action is never superfluous, 
awkward, or too frequently repeated, but graceful, decent, and 



1742.] FIRST APPEARANCE. 4$ 

becoming."* This is worth quoting, even as showing the state 
in which the new actor found the stage. 

The cloak of mystery as to the name was kept up for some 
time. For the next three nights the play was repeated; the 
part of Richard by a " gentleman who had never appeared but 
twice or thrice. " On the twenty-third he played his Ipswich 
part of Aboan with Yates, and with the same success. For these 
nrst seven nights the success was more with the audience than 
with the town, and the receipts were but an average of thirty 
pounds a night. But then the theatre was but a tiny one. 
He was receiving but a guinea a night. Curiosity was only 
just beginning to be aroused, and the procession of carriages 
had not yet set out from the West End. 

On the 28th, " Love Makes a Man " was given with " JJon 
Dismailo;" by the gentleman who performed King Richard. 
" Mr. Garrick " was not yet announced. On the 2nd of November 
he went back to Richard, and on that night, just as he was 
getting ready to go on, word came that Mr. Pope — then sickly 
and fast failing — was in the house. He felt his heart palpi- 
tating, yet it only inspired him with confidence. As he came 
from the wing with the usual 

" Now is the winter of our discontent," &c, 

he could see a little figure in black, seated in a side-box, whose 
eyes seemed to shoot through him like lightning. For a mo- 
ment he was disturbed — he hesitated a little; but anxiety gave * 
place to joy and triumph. The poet, he could see, was regard- 
ing him with a serious earnestness. Timidity wore off; the 
house was presently in a roar of delight, and he saw the great 
poet applauding heartily. This was indeed an honour ; for 
rope had given up theatres, but was persuaded to come up by 
his friend Lord Orrery. He was charmed, and with the old 
natural prejudice in favour of Betterton, whom he thought un- 
approachable, he turned to his friend and said, " That young 
man never had his equal, and never will have a rival." This 
was reported to Garrick ; as was also the poet's apprehension 
lest " the young man should become vain, and be ruined by 
applause." But nothing was more unlikely. In every step of 
his life — from the opening to the end — there was no lightness 
or rashness, but a careful restraint, and making good his ground 
as he went along, t 
The poet came to see the new actor no less than three times, 

* This critique from " The Champion," is perhaps unique. It is in Mr, 
Bullock's curious collection of cuttings, MSS., on Garrick's playing, 
t Garrick described the whole scene himself to Stockdale. 



44 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1741 — 

We may suspect that one visit was on the night of November 
the 26th, " when a great number of persons of quality and dis- 
tinction were at Goodman's Fields, to see ' King Richard,' who 
all expressed the highest satisfaction at the whole performance. 
Several hundred persons were obliged to return for want of 
room, the house being full soon after five o'clock." The follow- 
ing night came his own farce of " Lethe," while Miss Hippisley 
gave a song called "The Life of a Belle." Then followed the 
"Orphan," with "the gentleman who played Richard" in 
" Chamont ; " then a long interval during which " Pamela," in 
which he played Jack Smatter, had a sort of run. 

Now that the worst was over, and the terrible news broken 
to Lichfield, it is curious to note the under-current of exultation 
in his future letters. Peter " Garwick," now that the step was 
irretrievable, had found his account in a sort of aggrieved and 
touchy tone, which his brother, by the most gentle and earnest 
appeals, strove to adoucir. Yet with what impatience must he 
have received Brother Peter's jeremiad from Lichfield. They 
were all dreadfully shocked. They were overwhelmed, and the 
two sisters who lived with Peter still took it seriously to heart. 
He was not to be brought over. David, in the flush of his 
triumph, has once more to take up his pen and patiently go 
over the old ground. On the morning after that first night of 
triumph, he had also to sit down and break the news to other 
relations, through the medium of Mr. Peter Fermignac. He 
had not courage to approach them directly. These were the 
La Cond6s, who lived at Carshalton, merchants of importance, 
and people, no doubt, of the " strictest " principles ; and on 
that very day Mr. Fermignac addresses himself very ruefully 
to the dreadful business. " Dear Madam," writes that gentle- 
man, on Tuesday, October 20th, "enclosed is a copy of a 
letter sent me from David Garric, who played CrooJc'dback 
Richard, and does it again to-night at Goodman's Fields." No- 
thing could be more blunt or significant — and then he goes on 
with " The Letter" which is very much a repetition of the one 
sent to Peter Garrick — the excuse of no profit coming in from 
the wine business, and " the terrible prospect of all his fortune 
running out" Had he been the most prosperous merchant in 
town, we may suspect thoughts and wishes would have been 
turning to the same darling purpose. What gave him true 
concern was, lest his friends — especially the chief of them — 
those at Carslmlton, should be very cool upon him. " But 
what can I do ? " he pleads. He was wholly bent on the 
thing. He was sure to make £300 a-year. He designed to 
give up the wine business — and would Mr. Fermignac break 



1742.] FIRST APPEARANCE. 45 

the matter to his uncle? The stage-door would be always 
open to him — indeed, any part of the house — a privilege which 
Mr. Fermignac thought poorly of ; for he says, in the same 
dismal way, " This is his letter, which I leave you to consider 
of, and am very sorry for the contents, but thought it best to 
communicate them to you, and am your dutiful, &c. 

On receipt of which, this important uncle wrote down 
angrily to Lichfield, blaming Peter for concealing the state of 
this affair from him. In this way he was accountable for the 
fatal disgrace that had been brought on them all ! As for the 
stage, he said, it was a degrading place, and players a low 
race, contemned by all. All of which Peter reports, and duly 
inflamed. 

Again, in reply, David appeals to his brother patiently and 
argumentatively. Resignedly he accepts the notice of oppo- 
sition ; goes again over what he had argued before. As for 
this uncle's displeasure, it was no fault of Peter's, but all his, 
David's, wilfulness — as they had no very great failures in 
trade, and the wine business was certainly succeeding a little. 
But run out he was, and let him live ever so warily, must run 
out still more. And, indeed, let Peter reflect on this a little 
seriously. Could he, David, ever hope to make enough to 
maintain himself and a servant handsomely ? "As for the 
stage, I know, in the general, it deserves your censure ; " but 
he should consider how handsomely some players have lived. 
Look at Wilks, Booth, and Cibber, who were admitted into 
and admired by the best company — and as to his genius in 
that way (" by y° best judges thought wonderful ! "), there 
was not merely his own inclination, but even friends, who 
were averse before, now thought it impossible for him to keep 
off the stage. Then he tries to dazzle Peter with an array of 
gentility — the attentions, favours, and praises that are heaped 
upon him. He has enjoyed more civilities from " the Best in 
Tx>wn " since his playing, than he ever received before in the 
whole of his life. In short, it would be too vain to repeat all 
he had heard, even to a brother. " I am sorry my sisters are 
under such uneasiness, and as I really love both them and 
you, will ever make it my study to appear your affectionate 
brother." But, secure in his position of being "aggrieved," 
the other is still obdurate. These gentle remonstrances are 
only homage to his influence and judgment. He writes back 
to protest, warn, discourage. He knew whose doing it was. 
That Giffard, the player, had entrapped him, had got money 
out of him. He, Peter, would never agree. Some remon- 
strance — nay, some solemn warning — was indeed a duty in a 



46 THE LIFK OF DAVTD GARRICK. [1741 — 

relation on what might have been a fatal step ; but he must, 
indeed, have been a dull fellow not to have seen that the young 
man's purpose — for all his pleading for permission — was 
utterly unchangeable.* 

Weeks go by, and Peter, down at Lichfield, remains discon- 
tented, and his brother, with the sweetness and patience 
which such triumphant success would soon have dispelled in 
another, still soothes and reasons with him. As to Giffard, 
thirty pounds was all he had ever lent that actor, and that 
had been repaid long since. His benefit was now coming on, 
for which he had been offered one hundred and twenty 
guineas on mere speculation", on which occasion "pit and 
boxes would be put together " — a piece of playhouse language 
which would have jarred on them at Lichfield — and be 
charged the same price. All his friends would rally round 
him — friends who continue so — though his dear brother is not 
to be brought over. If Peter would only come up for that 

•eat night, lie would take care of him at his own lodgings. 

Iverything was going on happily; he has even reason to 
know that the important uncle will be reconciled to him ; "for 
£ven the mercliants say I will be an honour to him." Peter writes 
back, a little softened, that though he never can approve of 
the stage, he is still David's affectionate brother — a handsome 
and gracious concession, very gratefully received by the other. 
But he was still aggrieved. David's step must hurt him in 
his business — though, as we have seen, that business was 
" hurt " sufficiently before the step was taken. That retort, 
however, was not to come from David. "If you want 
money," he said, " you shall have all I have ; " and, indeed, by 
playing and writing, he thought he was more likely to help 
his brother in that way. He has money now, and will be 
able to buy two hundred pounds' worth of the wine stock ; 
and if Peter wants more than his proper share, he can send 
him supplies. Giffard had given him twenty guineas for a 
single ticket (there was something to dazzle the heavy soul of 
Peter !). At their little theatre they were doing finer business 
than even at the two great houses of Drury Lane and Covent 
Garden. Fleetwood had come to him with great offers ; so, 
after all this, may he venture to tell his brother that he is very 
nearly quite resolved to be a player? Peter had nothing to 
urge in reply — "grumbling," as well as argument, had been 
exhausted. But there was one dreadful matter that should be 
cleared up. An awful rumour had got down to Lichfield. 

• ForsterMSS. 



1742.] FIRST APPEARANCE. 47 

Had his brother been really playing Harlequin, before he came out 
at Goodman's Fields ? This dreadful charge he thus meets : — 
" Yates last season was taken very ill, and was not able to 
begin the entertainment ; so I put on the dress and did two 
or three scenes for him ; but no one knew it but Giffard. I 
know it has been said I played Harlequin at Covent Garden ; 
but 'tis quite false." He had determined firmly to wind up 
the trade partnership. " / received my shirt safe, and am now 
to tell you what I suppose you may have heard of before this ; 
but before I let you into the affairs, 'tis proper to premise 
some things that I may appear less culpable in your opinion. 
I have made an exact estimate of my stock of wine, and what 
money I have out at interest, and find that since I have been 
a wine merchant I have run out near £400. Trade not in- 
creasing, I was very sensible some way must be thought of to 
redeem it. My mind (as you must know) has been always 
inclined to the stage ; nay, so strongly, that all my illness and 
lowness of spirits was owing to my want of resolution to tell you 
my thoughts when here. Finding at last both my inclination 
and interest required some new way of life, I have chose the 
most agreeable. I am willing to agree to anything you may 
propose about the wine. I will take a thorough survey of the 
vaults, and, making what you have at Lichfield part of stock, 
will either send you your share, or any other way you shall 
propose." 

It was now Christmas. The farce by the new actor had 
come out at Goodman's Fields — not at Drury Lane, as was 
originally proposed. This was " The Lying Valet," with Gar- 
rick himself in the part of Sharp. It was thought, said its 
author, the most diverting farce ever performed. A general 
roar from beginning to end ! He has "now got courage to send 
it down to Lichfield. 

His industry and versatility were no less remarkable. They 
were as yet not able to determine, he told his brother, whether 
he was best in tragedy or comedy. In settling this point he 
certainly fell into mistakes ; for he imperilled his reputation 
by taking up such flimsy parts as Jack Smatter in " Pamela," 
and Clody in the " Fop's Fortune." Very soon he took friends' 
advice, and gave up the practice. But he was privately 
studying Othello and Bayes, from which Giffard had great 
hopes. 

On December 2nd, the night of his benefit, the veil was at 
last raised, and it was announced that " the gentleman who 
played King llkhard" was Mr. Garrick, who would now 
appear in " The Fair Penitent," to be given gratis. Tickets 



48 THE LIFE Off DAVID GARRICK. [1741— 

were to be had at the Bedford Coffee-house, Toms' in Cornhill, 
Cary's in the Minories, at the Fleece, and at Mr. Garrick's 
lodgings in Mansfield-street, Goodman's Fields. "The stage 
will be built as after the manner of an amphitheatre, where 
servants will be allowed to keep places, and tikcwise in 
the front boxes, but not in the pit. A seat in either pit 
or box was f our shillings, equal to about seven in our time ;* 
and the gallery was one and sixpence. The servants were 
required to be there by three o'clock ! 

Already he had fast friends, who revelled and triumphed in 
his triumph. Among these was one who was proud to call 
himself "his friend, countryman, and servant" — Newton, 
the future bishop — and who was now tutor in Lord Car- 
penter's family. This clergyman was charmed even to en- 
thusiasm with his friend's genius. He encouraged him, and 
bade him make no excuses for adopting such a profession ; for 
long before, he had always believed " he was a born actor, if 
ever man was so." And he confidently made a prophecy, 
which came true in a more remarkable degree than he could 
have anticipated, that this taking to the stage would not hurt 
his character, but would make his fortune. And to the young 
man, a little nervous lest his aristocratic friends should think 
meanly of him for taking such a step, this friendly clergy- 
man gave — a little awkwardly perhaps — some kindly comf ort> 
assuring him "that an excellent actor, if he is at the same 
time an honest, worthy man, is a fit companion for anybody." 
The clergyman went again and again to see him, and made the 
dining-room at Grosvenor-square ring again with praises and 
raptures over his friend, and made Mr. Garrick secure 
places for them — at one time the stage-box — " where we may 
see your looks in the scene with Lady Anne, and as you lie on 
the couch; that is, that we may sit, with the stage on our 
right hand and the pit on our left" So particular and eager 
was the clergyman. The lord and his family only smiled at 
their tutor's extravagance ; but when they went, became fully 
as rapturous, declaring they had never seen the like before, 
and that it passed all expectation. Presently they were 
making up distinguished parties to go from Grosvenor-square 
to Goodman's Fields. But a yet more marked compliment 
was the great Mrs. Porter, the retired actress, coming up to 
town specially, and fixing to go with them. She was charmed. 
She said the youth was a born actor, and knew more at his 
first appearance than others after twenty years' training. 

* They had raised the prices a shilling. 



1742.] FIRST APPEARANCE. 49 

" Good God ! " added she, as they were talking over it at the 
Carpenters', " what will he be in time ? " Some one then said 
that he thought his Lord Foppington was inferior; on which 
the old actress quickly took him up, saying it was impossible 
for young Garrick to do anything ill, and that he might excel 
less in that ; but excel he must in everything. All this was 
most encouraging and delightful.* 

Towards Christmas, Newton sent him eager news that Mr. 
Pulteney was anxious to hear him in "The Orphan," and 
" The Lying Valet," and had begged that some night might be 
fixed. The clergyman seemed a little awe-struck at th s 
honour. There should be " a front box," specially secured, z s 
being most commodious. But the young actor was careless, or 
perhaps did not hold the matter to be of such importance as 
did Lord Carpenter's tutor. It came to the end of January, 
and the "Orphan" had not been played. Now Parliament 
was meeting, and there was an election petition to be heard at 
the bar; and it was impossible for Mr. Pulteney to come on 
the next night. So the box need not be kept. A lady of 
consequence, too, had disappointed. It was, in fact, most 
probable that Mr. Pulteney might not be able to come at all. 
" It would certainly have been a great honour to you, if of no 
other advantage, for such a person as Mr. Pulteney to come so 
far to be one of your audience; and if I had been in your 
capacity I should have thought it worth while to have 
strained a point, or done almost anything rather than have 
disappointed him. I would have acted that night, if I had 
spared myself all the rest for it." Lord Bath was to be, later, 
one of the warmest friends of Mrs. Garrick, and some of the 
most charming letters that an old gallant could write were 
addressed by him to her. The tutor was naturally anxious 
about a patron, whose interest was later to make him a bishop. 

In a few weeks later, Mr. Pulteney was heard asking 
Mrs. Deanes, one of the Carpenter family, " when were we to 
go to Goodman's Fields ? " and the party was actually made 
up, and appointed for the third night of "Lear," which, as 
will be seen, was properly its first night. It was a long 
journey from Grosvenor-square, nearly four miles. They 
went in " Mrs. Deanes' coach," and Lord Carpenter's footman 
was sent on early to keep places. All this, more than a 
hundred years ago, reads like making up a party to go to the 

* Dr. Young, of the " Night Thoughts," who was bonr in 1681, had 
teen Betterton, and pronounced Garrick, contemptuously, " only a boy to 
him." Lord Cobham, however, who had also seen the great actor, 
thought Garrick not inferior. 

E 



50 THE LIFE OF DAVID GAKRICK. [1741 — 

play during the present week. Yet, from all omission of Mr. 
rulteney's opinion and approbation, in a letter written after 
the performance, it may be doubted if the statesman did go 
after all.* 

The new actor, indeed, must have been overwhelmed with 
the brilliancy of his own success. He would have been more 
than mortal could he have withdrawn himself from the splen- 
did homage that was paid to his talents. Mr. Glover, of 
Leonidas fame, was to be seen in the boxes every night, and 
protested there had not been such acting " for ten years " — a 

Eariod he might have put further back very safely. Mr. 
yttleton, the Prince's favourite, was his friend, and held out 
hopes of the Prince himself coming. Others joined in these 
compliments. "Mr. Pit" said he was the only actor in 
England. Presently the elegant Murray, whose leading of 
the dusty ranks of the Bar did not interfere with elegant amuse- 
ments, was to have him at supper at Lincoln's Inn Fields. He 
was presently to sup with Mr. Pope, on Mr. Murray's intro- 
duction. He was soon to dine with Lord Halifax, then with 
Lord Sandwich, and again with Lord Halifax, to meet Lord 
Chesterfield. "In short," he writes to Brother Peter, "no 
being, I believe (as an actor), was ever more caressed, and 
my character, as a private man, makes them more desirous of 
my company (all this entre rums, as one brother to another)." 

Mr. Hawkins Brown, who wrote the pleasant burlesque of 
" The Pipe of Tobacco," was also his friend, t These "civilities" 
were wonderful ; but he was all the while reaping more 
substantial benefits than dinners with lords, or suppers with 
wits. The modest three hundred a-year to which he looked 
forward was already expanding; Giffard had now associated 
him with himself in the management of the house, and was 
sharing the profits with him. It was scarcely unreasonable 
that he should wish to have his pittance of a guinea a night 
raised. J But the "rush" had not as yet come. Presently 

* Mrs. Deanes was a remarkable person in her way, being the widow of 
the poet Rowe. 

t Garrick used to tell how, at this triumphant season, when his com- 
pany was sought by all the town, he had been brought by a friend to the 
house of old Speaker Onslow, whom his friend was most anxious should 
hear him. The Speaker 4id not care much for plays, and when told that 
the young actor had been induced to stand up and favour the company 
with his great dagger scene in " Macbeth," he bowed assent But at the 
pause — one of the grand "points" which preceded the speech — the old 
man's voice was heard, "Pray, sir, was you at the turnpike meeting at 
Epsom on Thursday ? " — Cradock. 

$ Giffard's son used to tell how, at the end of this first great week, he 



1742.] FIRST APPEARANCE. 51 

word went forth at the other side of town that the new actor 
was to be "the fashion." Ladies of quality were presently to 
pronounce his name, and the spell began to work. Not yet, 
however, were " the dozen dukes " to be seen in the boxes, 
one of whom, the Duke of Argyle, was to declare him 
superior to Betterton. The town was growing "horn mad 
after him ; " though it was certainly strange that two men 
of the caste and gifts of Walpole and Gray should affect to 
" see nothing " in him. That such a surprising success should 
have raised up enemies was only natural. One report was 
diligently sent about that he had appeared at the mas- 
querades in some unbecoming character; which he took the 
trouble to contradict by a card in the " London Daily Post" He 
begged to assure the ladies and gentlemen " who were offended 
with him without a cause " that he was not at either of the 
masquerades that season, as could be proved. If any person 
had a wish to be further satisfied, he was quite willing to do 
so in person, and in the fullest way. 

Old Cibber, a waif and stray of the past, much discon- 
tented, looked on sourly. His own son— afterwards to be a 
bitter enemy of the new actor — was on the stage, and in 
possession of a good many of Garrick's parts. Though Cibber 
had true contempt for his son's ability, he affected to consider 
him superior in Bayes. Every one was coming to the old man 
to sound the new actor's praises, and ask his opinion. No 
doubt he was told of Pope's admiration. It was not to be 
expected that one who had seen and known the old school, 
and was committed by long criticism and years of writing to 
that school, should very heartily welcome a revolution in prin- 
ciples. He would lose his temper on this subject, and depre- 
ciate the actor by shrugs and " pishes," and bitter remarks. 
Even at Toms' Coffee-house, where he was playing cards one 
night with an old general, the subject was introduced, and put 
him out so much, that he revoked. " Have you no diamonds, 

had entered the room, and found Giffard and Garrick in friendly dispute 
about six guineas, the salary for the first week, and which Garrick gene- 
rously refused to accept The money fell on the floor, and there lay ; and 
he carried it off without their perceiving it — Lee Lewes, " Not that I 
expect," wrote Macklin, a year or two later, in his violent appeal against 
Garrick, " you will discover any puncture or throb at your heart except for 
the further advancement of your own wages ; these are indeed a sort of 
qualms with which the manager will find you continually troubled. Tou 
were excessively subject to them whilst you acted with Mr. Giffard at 
Goodman's Fields, where you were strangely uneasy in your mind, and had 
odd fits of longing, till at last you had usurped one-half of the whole 
theatre from this generous manager." 

£ 2 



i 



62 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1741 — 

Mr. Cibber P "Yes, a million, by G— <!," said the other, 
who swore terribly. "And why not play them, then ? M he 
was asked, pettishly. One of the good-natured bystanders 
called out maliciously, "Because Garrick would not let him! " 

Another night, when Garrick had been playing Fribble^ they 
were still harping on the same strain. " You should see him," 
said Cibber to a certain lord ; " he is the completest little doll 
of a figure — the prettiest little creature." " But in other cha- 
racters," said the lord, " has he not great merit t " He did 
not answer for a moment Then suddenly, " What an admir- 
able Fribble — such mimicking, ambling, fidgeting ! Well, he 
must be a clever fellow to write up to his own character so excel- 
lently as he has done in this part"* 

Once Mrs. Woffington gave him and Arthur Murphy a little 
dinner, where, as usual, he spoke with great contempt of Gar- 
rick. " Come, Colley," said she, " you must confess he is a 
very clever young man." He owned he was fair enough in 
Frtbble, thus always carefully avoiding any praise of his really 
great parts. Again, he said, his son was much superior in 
Bayes. Murphy then struck in and joined Mrs. Woffington in 
these praises, and at last got the old critic to admit that Gar- 
rick was " a very extraordinary young man."t 

Later again, when Fleetwood asked in the green-room when 
they were to have another comedy from him — " From me ! " 
cried the old man; "but who would take the characters t " 
" Why, sir," was the answer, " there's Garrick, Macklin, Clive, 
Pritchard — " " yes," said Cibber, " I know the list very 
well ; but then, my dear fellow," he said, taking a pinch of 
snuff very deliberately, " where the devil are your actors f "{ 

Quin's position, long the established tragedian, and in com- 
mand of the town, was cruelly affected by the new actor's suc- 
cess. He was at once thrust down and deposed. There was. 
fatal truth in the hypothesis he threw out in his first burst of 

* Nothing is more curious than the linking of distant eras by a genera* 
tion or two. Hi* era had stretched back to the days of William the 
Third, and yet the mother of a gentleman who died not many years since, 
recollected this veteran perfectly, standing at the parlour window of hia 
house in Berkeley-square at the corner of Bruton-street, " drumming with 
bis fingers on the frame." He seemed to her a calm, grave, and reverend 
old gentleman. — Taylor. 

t Davies makes Mm Bracegirdle the actress in this story, and describe* 
Cibber taking snuff, and saying, " Faith, Bracey," Ac. 

t Davies tells the story better, making it Garrick who puts the ques- 
tion. But the old man, some time after, in a mixed company, gave him a 
very happy thrust Garrick said the old style would not go down now. 
" How do you know !" replied Cibber ; "you never tried it" 



1742.] FIRST APPEARANCE, 53 

disgust : " If this young fellow be right, then we have been all 
wrong." He secretly believed that they were right, and there- 
fore the " young fellow " was wrong. But, alas ! the public 
were deciding the question rapidly, and without any question 
of delicacy. Such dethronements have been always carried 
out with the rudeness of a cawp d'ttat. So sudden and morti- 
fying a desertion is always incident to the actor's lot ; this was 
the third time he had experienced this rude shock. On 
Booth's death he had reigned supreme ; when suddenly arose 
Delane, and Quin found himself deserted. Again, Macklin's 
success had brought a fresh abandonment. Yet there was a 
bluff honesty about Quin — and even a dignity — in the way 
in which he set himself to do battle for his throne ; when he 
found himself fairly beaten, he gave up the struggle, and, for 
a time at least, retired. He had no animosity to his con- 
queror, and could later become his warm friend. He had his 
jests and satirical remarks, the best of which was his calling 
Garrick "the Whitfidd of the stage" With wit and truth, 
Quin added that the sectary was followed foi a time, but they 
would soon all be coming back to church again. Garrick was 
told of his speech, and retorted in smart rhyme — 

" Thou great Infallible, forbear to roar, 
Thy bulls and errors are revered no more ; 
When doctrines meet with general reprobation, 
It is not heresy, but Reformation."* 

Garrick's Bayes, which old Cibber so depreciated, was the 
most important of these successes; but it was scarcely so 
legitimate a triumph as some of his others. The entire 
attraction lay in the admirable burlesque imitation of the 
mannerisms of the ordinary actors of the time. Leading 
actors are always " mannered," but never were players so dis- 
mally monotonous and even regimental in their delivery, 
through the stiff, inflexible chaunt they were compelled to 
adopt. As a revolutionist, he felt he must act on the 
offensive, and his best engine certainly appeared to be ridicule. 
It was given in February, and the success was unbounded. 
There he had a field literally illimitable, oh which he could 
revel in versatility, and wit, and humour. From this true 
comedy had Fielding taken his "Pasquin," while later was to 

* Quin's jests, " among the most masterly in the language/' are well 
known. Not so familiar are a number that will be found in Mr. Taylor's 
amusing Memoirs. Cradock gives his sketch of Warburton. " Why," said 
he, " when he gets to heaven, he will be seen mounted on the tallest hone 
there, and calling out to Paul, ' Hold my stirrup/ and to Peter. ' Bring my 
whip.'" 



\ 



54 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1741 — 

come Sheridan with his "Critic," who, with posterity, will 
have all the honour. Yet Garrick's conception and treatment 
of the great character was highly shrewd and original, for he 
saw that he was alone, and comparatively weak. It must be 
owned that this was scarcely a dignified proceeding, and he 
afterwards regretted it. But the new style of acting he had 
introduced brought him enemies. The old actors affected to 
think he was taking away their bread. Quin, as we have 
seen, was angry. It was indeed natural they should feel, as 
the old conservatives of a profession will do to young re- 
formers. Garrick therefore, alone and unsupported, required 
to defend himself by every means, and in his Bayes gave 
imitations of some of the pedantic school. The same acute 
critic of "The Champion" defended him very judiciously. 
" I cannot omit taking notice that some have been offended 
at his mimicking the players, on which I shall beg leave to ob- 
serve that it was first done at Goodman's Fields to excite 
curiosity and serve the proprietor" ... He then adds, that 
Theo. Cibber and "young Green," of Drury Lane, were 
greatly applauded for the same thing ; and, he adds, " I think 
it his least excellence . . . for the best and only model is 
nature, of which Mr. Garrick is as fine a copy as he is of the players 
he imitates" Certainly as elegant a compliment as it is an 
ingenious defence. 

He gave Delane, Ryan, and Bridgewater, actors of the old 
school, who croaked, and mouthed, and " sang " in the true 
established style. Hale came one night to enjoy the ridicule 
of his brethren, but was infinitely mortified and humiliated at 
the exhibition given of himself. On Delane's reputation the 
effect was serious. The ridicule indeed "killed; and it be- 
came impossible to listen again with gravity to the frantic 
and lusty " ranting " of his Alexander. It was given out that 
this mortification so preyed on Delane's spirits that he " took 
to the bottle," and died of excess. This absurd story is not 
true, for he lived many years after. Garrick, who deeply 
regretted having given pain to his brother player, tried to 
make it up to him in every way, and became his friend, almost 
ostentatiously, which the other repaid by an unhandsome piece 
of deceit which Garrick could not forget 

One of the green-room stories runs that Garrick had told 
Giffard that he must just glance at him, to support a show of 
impartiality. The other assented, but was so enraged by the 
ridiculous portrait given of him, even at rehearsal, that he sent 
his friend a challenge. They met the following morning, and 
it is said that Garrick received a slight wound, which caused 



1742.] FIRST APPEARANCE. 55 

the play to be put off a fortnight, " owing to the indisposition 
of a principal performer."* It is infinitely to Garrick's honour 
that when some time later the actors came and remonstrated 
with him on the injury he was doing to their reputation and 
prospects, he at once gave up his imitations, and never resumed 
them, though he must have known he was sacrificing the chief 
attraction of the piece, f 

On one of these nights, his friend Johnson, with another 
Idchfieldian, Dr. Taylor, were among the audience, and after- 
wards adjourned to a tavern with Garrick, and Giffard the 
manager, to talk the play over. Johnson, perhaps not in the 
best of humours, and never very tolerant of his friend's success, 
began to find fault with his emphasis in various lines, and then 
said, " The players, sir, have got a kind of rant with which 
they run on, without any regard either to accent or emphasis." 
Giffard and Garrick, a little offended at this ungraciousness, 
tried hard to confute him. Johnson offered to give them a 
test, and asked them to repeat the Commandment, "Thou 
shalt not bear false witness," &c. Both were said to have put 
the emphasis wrong ; and Johnson with infinite glee set them 
right, and showed himself superior to the players. 

Taking the advice of his friend, Newton — he was always 
grateful for useful advice, and took it always — he was now 
gradually falling out of the more undignified round of charac- 
ters, such as Jack Smatter, Clodio, in " The Fop of Fortune," 
and even the Ghost in " Hamlet," which was scarcely of import- / 
ance enough for his powers. He was secretly thinking of a 
grander character, later to prove perhaps his finest tragic con- 
ception. He was privately studying King Lear. Wise beyond 

* Cooke is the only authority for this story, and it would seem to he 
refuted by the appearance of Gar-rick's name in the bills nearly every 
night of the fortnight, during which the play was put off. He was 
not, therefore, the " principal performer " alluded to. Still, we should 
be almost inclined to accept it as true, in its broad outline. Cooke, 
who reports it, was a theatrical critic, knew all the chief theatres, 
and most of his stories have some foundation. Garrick and Giffard were 
both sons of gentlemen, and would not be reluctant to resort to the 
popular arbitration of their caste. They had already had a coolness, as to 
the profits of the theatre. And, finally, the play having certainly been 
put off, it may have been Giffard that was wounded. The mimicries that 
offended did not take place at rehearsal, but must have occurred at the 
performance, for the play was played once or twice before it was sus- 
pended. Cooke speaks very confidently of the duel, " which none but 
the parties and their seconds knew, at the time, and very few ever lince." 

f " For once in his life did a generous action," said the ungrateful Tate 
Wilkinson ; who, with a stupidity equal to his ingratitude, chronicles 
innumerable instances of Mr. Garrick's kindness and generosity to him. 



56 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1741 — 

his years, he took no serious step without consideration. 
Macklin and the jovial physician, Barrowby, were taken into 
council. There were many discussions at the Bedford, and 
the advice they offered was that he should consult his own 
powers, and, if he felt confident in the matter, should by all 
means attempt it. 

On the 11th of March, 1742, he came forward in this cha- 
racter. The two friends were in the pit> charged to criticise 
jealously ; but though it was well received by the audience, 
they were not at all satisfied. They told him frankly that he 
had scarcely caught the spirit of old age, and was too young ; 
he did not show enough infirmity. He seemed to want dignity 
in the prison scene, though as far as dress went he looked the 
part excellently. In the famous curse, where he afterwards 
made such a " point," he began too low, and ended too high. 
Macklin later described this scene — the young actor sitting 
pencil in hand, and carefully noting those remarks ; at the 
end he thanked them, and said he would not play the character 
again until he had thoroughly reconsidered and studied it. 
The play, however, had been already announced for the next 
week. He performed it again, and Macklin said not nearly so 
well as on the first occasion. It was played half a dozen times, 
then laid aside for nearly three weeks. 

He would not allow his two critical friends to see his next 
rehearsal, as he said their objections only constrained him in 
the playing. It was played again towards the end of ApriL 
Newton, his fellow-townsman, was present at this revised per- 
formance, and was enraptured. A master of Westminster 
School and a chief clerk in the Treasury — good judges — who 
had seen Betterton and Booth, placed him far above the latter, 
and almost equal to the former. It was remarked that he was 
now completely the old man, and represented the infirmities 
of one who had passed four-score years. It must have been a 
fine performance, quite new to the audience ; full of tides of 
passion, grief, despair, rage, and fury, and a pathetic hopeless- 
ness and abandonment. What struck the clergyman was the 
complete change from the power and fury of Richard. He had 
now seen the young actor in four parts — Bidiard, Chumani, 
Bayes, and Lear — and he earnestly declared nothing could be 
conceived more distinct than each. They were four different 
persons. For here was the mistake in the old actors. In 
passion there was a sort of heroic standard, carried out in all 
characters, just as the Greeks put on their tragic mask, or as 
the English actors donned the tall plume of feathers for all 
staid and solemn characters. Cibber's fFolsey, Newton said, 



1742.] FIRST APPEARANCE. 57 

and his Iago, all smelt strong of his Lord Foppington; and 
Booth's rage of Hotspur was the same as that of his Lear, It 
was truly wonderful how a youth of five-and-twenty should 
have such force, such a weight of manly passion, and affecting 
pathos. The alternations from fierce, wild anger and despair 
to the most heartrending grief, kept the audience in a tumult 
of continuous passions. At times the performance was inter- 
rupted by open sobs and weeping.* "In short, sir," said 
Macklin, when he had become his bitter enemy, " the little dog 
made a chef-d'oeuvre of it; 7 ' and a chef-dfceuvre it continued to 
the end of his life. 

Now the family, giving over opposition, begin to find some 
profit in their relative's success. Peter has a sum to make out 
for the stock of wine, and David generously bids him draw on 
him : he will take it up when due, and Peter shall repay it at 
his convenience. Peter, too, could so far recognise the stage 
as to complain, in the name of a Mrs. Brown, who had taken 
places at Goodman's Fields, and been refused admission. But, 
as David takes the trouble to show him, her servant had taken 
the places in a Mrs. Dalton's name, and hence the confusion. 
" Blunders of footmen," he adds, taking a lofty tone, " make 
the unthinking part of the world angry, when they should 
not."t Now, too, of a sudden, Peter is aggrieved once more 
at not hearing enough of David's affairs. David replies that 
" he is pained to see him warm upon trifles, and suspicious 
without foundation." Already the family were looking to 
him to provide for them suitably out of the profession they so 
despised; and brother George, now about nineteen, was 
sent up from Lichfield, and by his brother's influence estab- 
lished in an office — Mr. Patterson, a solicitor, being persuaded 
to dismiss a clerk in order to make room for him. Through 
his whole life, indeed, this pair, with George's " long " family 
of children, were to be an everlasting charge on him. For 
George himself he had to find places and pay off debts ; for 
Peter he had to weary noble friends for offices and " berths." 

At last, by the end of May, Goodman's Fields season ended. 
Never had there been so industrious a performer. From his 
first appearance in October to the closing of the theatre, he 
had played nearly every night — certainly five nights in the 
week. The season had lasted from Monday, October 19, 
1741, to Monday, May 23, 1742. It was, indeed, a laborious 
time. We can count up a hundred and fifty-nine perform- 
ances, and what was more laborious still, he studied and acted 

* Davies. + Forster MSS. 



58 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1741 — 

over nineteen characters. There were Bichard, Lear, Pierre, 
Chamont, Aboan, and the Ghost in " Hamlet"; Bayes, Lord Fop- 
pington, JVitvxmld, FondUwife, Jack Smatter, Clodio, Lothario, 
Duretite, Captain Brazen, Sharp, and Master Johnny, the School- 
boy. He also played in his own farce of " Lethe," taking no 
less than three characters. Here was a varied round of pas- 
sions, feelings, wit, gaiety, broad humour, eccentricity, fun, 
light comedy, and the deepest tragedy.* 

On the 24th the playhouse had been obliged to close its 
doors, not without some pressure of the old persecution. It 
was only natural, indeed, that the managers of Drury Lane 
and Covent Garden, finding their houses growing " thinner " 
every day, and the gaudy stream of the nobility's chairs and 
carriages struggling through the narrow streets of the city, 
should think of any instruments of suppression furnished them 
by Act of Parliament. Sir John Barnard, the old enemy of 
the players, was ready to aid. Lawyers had by this time dis- 
covered a check for the trick of playing a tragedy gratis, and 
taking admission-money for hearing a few tunes played before 
it. Against such odds it became evident that the little theatre 
could not maintain a struggle. Fleetwood, embarrassed as he 
was, could dictate his own terms. It was agreed that Garrick 
should engage at Drury Lane for the new season at £560 a- 
year.f This was the highest sum ever previously given to an 
% actor, though Quin had nominally been receiving £500 from 
Fleetwood. With that loyalty to his friends, which was always 
his characteristic, he made it a stipulation that his friend 
Giffard should be engaged by Fleetwood. But the manager 
broke his engagement. He now came to Drury Lane for three 
nights, playing Bayes, Lear, and Bichard to crowded houses. 
This Fleetwood had also stipulated, to whom it was a welcome 
assistance. Such a cruel oppression of Giffard, who now, after 

* The whole season included 169 nights. Brazen he played but once, 
and he thus seems to have tried nearly every character in that play ; Kite 
when he was a boy, and Plume later, in Dublin. Foppington he gave but 
three times ; Aboan twice ; Witwould four times ; Duret&U twice. Richard 
he played eighteen times ; Sharp twenty-four ; Jack Smatter eighteen ; 
Lothario, Clodio, and Chamont, twelve ; Bayes sixteen ; King Lear eleven ; 
Pierre four times. Thus his attraction in the great tragedy and the great 
comedy were very nearly balanced. His next most popular part was in his 
" Valet " part, Sharp, which he repeated — often after a heavy tragedy — no 
less than sixteen times. Such parts sb Jack Smatter and Master Johnny 
were unworthy of him ; but they were popular, as was also Fondiewift and 
Clodio. Of this series, Bayes seems to have "drawn " the best ; for though 
it was played almost as often as Bichard, something must be taken off to 
allow for the curiosity and " rage " to see the new player. 

t " The Gentleman's Magazine. " Murphy says £500. 



1742.] FIRST DUBLIN SEASON. 59 

this brilliant opening, was only beginning to reap the profits 
of his spirited outlay. He had given infinite satisfaction by 
the regularity and perfect propriety of his management, the 
almost classical choice of his pieces,* and the elegant care with 
which they were mounted.! 

So ended this famous season, which gave to the English 
players a name, without which their order would be in a poor 
way indeed. But even after that seven months' hard work, 
he would not allow himself to rest. He had received a press- 
ing invitation to appear in the Irish capital on most favourable 
terms, and this he accepted.} He was to have no holiday. 
He had hardly a week to make his preparations ; and in the 
first week in June was in his chaise with Margaret Woflington, 
and Signora Barberini — a dancer — posting down to Park Gate. 
The journey to Ireland was then tedious, uncertain, and even 
dangerous, and would take nearly a week His success had 
gone on before him, and he was certain of a brilliant welcome. 



CHAPTER IV. 

FIRST DUBLIN SEASON. — 1742. 

Dublin, at the time when young Garrick arrived, was 
a city of many fascinations. As we now look back to its 
court and courtiers, its lords and ladies, who lived then 
in fine houses, where are now the meanest slums of the city — 
to its music, its dancing and revels, it seems to resemble some 
of those small German courts where an Elector or a Grand 
Duke reigned. Wealthy English dukes and earls, holding 
court at the Castle, with ministers, privy councillors, chap- 
lains, body guards, pages, musicians, and nearly all the 
incidents of royalty, were glad to ask over their titled friends 
and connections, whose presence added to the attraction. No 
wonder that under such encouragement that surprising Irish 
stage should have flourished, ana have furnished the British 
drama with a roll of names unsurpassed in any age or country. 

* Curll. Garrick actually played on Chriitmas day! 

t He reopened the Lincoln's Inn Fielda Theatre after the season of 
1747-8, but failed. He retired to Bath, having made enough money to 
purchase the estate on which part of Coventry Court, in the Haymarket, 
now stands. A lady who was living at Bath in 1823 recollected him and 
his wife. 

X Da vies says " a deputation was sent from Ireland," which ib only his 
loose way of expressing that Duval, the manager's agent, had waited on 
him. 



60 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1742. 

The roll is indeed splendid. It can count as its own, Wilks, 
the chief comedian of the day; Doggett, whose badge is still 
rowed for by the London watermen; Delane and Ryan — 
Quin, Mossop, Barry, Sheridan, Macklin, Henderson, and 
Farren — a marvellous galaxy of genius. Smaller names, to 
carry on the succession, are Moody, Sparks, and O'Brien; 
and coming near our own time, Cooke and Macready. It has 
also Clive, Woffington, and Bellamy; and the succession is kept 
up by Farren, Walstein, Glover, Forde, Mrs. Fitzhenry, Mrs. 
Jordan, and Miss O'Neil. There were writers to furnish 
these great players with dramas, not less remarkable — Far- 
quhar, Southerne, Brooke, Macklin, Goldsmith, Sheridan, Kane 
O'Hara, Sheridan Knowles, O'Keeffe, and Bickerstaff — with 
the half-Irish Steele and Congreve. 

In Aungier-street, not very far behind the Castle, was the 
Theatre Royal, where the charming Mrs. Cibber had drawn 
audiences and admirers, received such tokens as made her 
write afterwards to Garrick that " her love to Ireland was as 
great as his could be, and she always thought with respect 
and gratitude of the favours she received there;" and 
there was the " new Theatre in Smock-alley " (a racy name), 
built but half-a-dozen years before — the manager of which, 
Du Val, had engaged Garrick. Smock-alley was a miserable 
little lane, close to the river, and wide enough for only one 
carriage to pass. A fragment of the old theatre can still 
be seen, forming part of the wall of a Catholic chapel ; there 
are plenty of ancient houses lining the alley, old as the old 
theatre, as may be seen from the stone "jams" of the 
windows — whose tenants were then kept awake by the block 
and entanglement of carriages getting away through the 
"Blind Key," and by the shouts of the "footmen with flam 
beaux," calling up chairs. 

Just half a street away was another theatre — Fishamble- 
street — in which, up to a few months ago (1868), plays were 
still acted. It is certainly the oldest House in the kingdom, 
was of good proportions, and still shows its old crush saloon, 
with faded painting, where the audience gathered, and waited 
for their chairs and coaches.* 

On Saturday, the 12th, a paragraph was to be read in the 
papers that Mr. Garrick was " hourly expected from England." 
The news of the English furore had travelled on long before 
him, and everyone was eager for some notion of the Good- 
man's Fields' triumphs. The party did not arrive on Satur- 

* It has since been turned into a warehouse. 



1742.] FIRST DUBLIN SEASON. 61 

day; but on Sunday morning Mr. Garrick, Miss Woffington, 
and Barberini, the dancing lady, landed, having come from 
Park Gate, Chester, by the packet. Two days after Garrick, 
arrived Delane, "the celebrated actor," who was to play at the 
rival theatre. 

A Signora Avoglio had been announcing her last " concert of 
vocal and instrumental music," at the Music Hall, Fishamble- 
street, for the Wednesday following, but she had to announce 
— "N.B. — The above concert is put off on account of the players? 
arrival from England, who perform that night, and have given 
up the Wednesday following to Signora Avoglio for her per- 
formance." Mrs. Cibber seems to have waited in Dublin 
until his engagement was over, and it was here that a 
part alliance was formed between her and Garrick. It was a 
pity, indeed, that the Dublin audience could not have seen 
them together ; but Mrs. Woffington was in possession of the 
leading parts. Woffington was an old favourite, and had been 
the delight of the town. Now, fresh from her London triumphs, 
she was " to open " the season on the Wednesday in her famous 
and popular character, while Garrick was kept over until 
Friday, in his great part of Richard. 

The tradition of Garrick's success on that night has been 
handed down by historians of the Irish stage. Unhappily no 
details have been preserved. The papers were not in the habit 
of giving criticisms or notices of performances at the theatres ; 
but it is mentioned that many more were turned away than were 
admitted. The theatre was not unworthy of the young actor. 
It was built on the best principles then known ; was spacious, 
and remarkable for the excellent opportunities it afforded for 
seeing and hearing. It was the largest theatre in Dublin ; but 
the stage was cramped and small, being sacrificed to the rest of 
the house.* Only the year before all the improvements in 
moving the scenes and flies, had been introduced. The new 
Dublin theatres, too, boasted of a modern luxury which the 
London houses did not at that time enjoy — a spacious crush- 
room or saloon, "richly ornamented," where the company 
waited after the play was over, chatting and seeing each other, 
until their carriages came up. The Lord Lieutenant — the 
Duke of Devonshire — and his Duchess, were unluckily absent 
in England at this time, so that the actor enjoyed no court 
attentions. 

On the Monday following he made his second appearance in 
"The Orphan," with Mrs. Furnival as Monimia; while on the 

* Chetwood. 



62 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1742. 

Tuesday, at the rival house, with something like desperation, 
Delane came on with his reading of " Richard." Even here the 
" old school " found it was to have no rest. Every day the new 
actor's reputation increased, and there was a growing eagerness 
to see him in new characters. The poorer classes were at this 
time suffering great distress, and the heats during the month 
of June were more than unusually oppressive. A sort of epi- 
demic which arose from both these causes was fancifully set 
down to the overcrowded houses, and was long recollected as 
the Garrick fever. Young men of fashion began to use a cant 
phrase : " That's your Garrick \ n "As gay as Garrick ! " 

His benefit was fixed for Thursday, the 24th, when he first 
astonished a Dublin audience by his favourite combination of 
deeply tragic and broadly humorous characters on the same 
night. " rting Lear " was chosen at the particular desire of 
several persons of distinction, with " The Lying Valet," also 
by desire, after it. Margaret Woffington played Cordelia. He 
went through all his round of London characters, playing also 
in the " Busy Body," " The Fair Penitent," and " Love makes 
a Man," taking the character of Don Dismallo Thick-Skullo de 
Half-Witto, a claptrap name for Clodto in "The Fop's Fortune" 
—and in "The Rehearsal," and "Old Bachelor." The Lords 
Justices, the Primate, Lord Chancellor, and Speaker, went in 
great state to see " The Busy Body." His second benefit was 
on the 8th of July, with " Richard." On the second of August 
" The Constant Couple " and " Lying Valet " were announced 
for the last time. He himself was to have another and final 
benefit, for which it was said he had selected " The Fair Peni- 
tent ; " but he changed it, as there was natural curiosity to see 
him in a far more popular play. No audience had yet witnessed 
his personation of the Danish prince, and he now resolved to 
try Hamlet for the first time, and before the Dublin public. 
He issued on the Saturday morning a curious personal announce- 
ment : — " Mr. Garrick thinks it proper to acquaint the town 
that he did not take ' The Fair Penitent ' (as was given out) 
for his benefit, that play being dissaproved of by several ladies and 
gentlemen, but by particular desire, deferred it till ' Hamlet 1 
could be ready, which will be played on Thursday next — the 
part of Hamlet by Mr. Garrick, Ophelia by Mrs. Wofnnton." 

Mr. Garrick's last benefit with so familiar a play was sure to 
have drawn an overflowing house. He was carried through the 
part by frantic and enthusiastic applause. It was much criticised, 
and some of his readings were objected to. It was considered, 
however, a wonderful performance, full of beauties, especially 
the scenes between Hamlet and Ophelia, and Hamlet and the 



1742.] FIRST DUBLIN SEASON. 63 

Queen. In short, an able critic who wrote to him anonymously 
two days after the performance, prophesied he would be " the 
best and most extraordinary player that ever these kingdoms 
saw." It was noted, too, that he came on without being 
" attended by music," which was always an accompaniment of 
the traditional "Hamlet;" and further, what was remarkable 
and almost courageous behaviour in the year 1742, that he left 
out every word that could shock a modest ear. 

As there was a general desire that he would play Hamlet 
again, he performelit once more. Walker, the original Jf«- 
heath, had now arrived from Covent Garden, and his aid en- 
abled them to bring forward " The Recruiting Officer," with a 
"strong cast" Kitely was taken by Walker, Silvia by Wel- 
lington, and Plume by Garrick. This was on the Thursday 
after the " Hamlet " Thursday, and to the notices was appended 
a significant " N.B. — This is the last time of Mr. Garrick, Mrs. 
Woffington, and Signora Barberini's performing, during their 
stay in this kingdom." Finally, on the Monday following 
(Aug. 23), a sort of dramatic travelling party — Garrick, Delane, 
Dr. Arne (Mrs. Cibber's brother, who had come over to give 
concerts), and Mrs. Cibber — set off together from Dunleary 
Harbour and embarked for England. Woffington it would 
appear, remained behind. Thus ended the first Garrick visit, 
which had now lasted a few days over two months, and it was 
long remembered. After his departure came a perfect theatrical 
languor and prostration. 

In Dublin the name of Boscius was first given to him,* and 
the papers teemed with verses in his honour. Behind he left 
a kindly and grateful feeling. For a sick actor, attached to 
the theatre, he interested himself with Dr. Barry, then the 
fashionable physician of the city, whom he got to attend on him 
during his illness.! He, indeed, took away with him the most 
generous and grateful sentiments of the people of the place; 
and when later, what he called " a most cruel and false report " 
was set on foot, that he had spoken disrespectfully of the 
" gentlemen of Ireland," he thought it necessary " solemnly to 
avow that he had never even thought with indifference" of 
Ireland. 

* As Murphy says, in some lines beginning 

" Roscius, Paris of the stage, 
Born to please a learned age." 
t Cbetwood. 



64 THK LTFK OF DAVID GARRTOK. [1742 



CHAPTER V. 

REVOLT AGAINST FLEETWOOD — QUARREL WITH MACKLIN. 

1742-1743. 

Now returned to London, he was again to have but a short 
respite. Only a week or two after he arrived, Drury Lane 
season had begun, and though his first appearance did not take 
place for a fortnight, the interval could have been no mere 
holiday. Fleetwood opened on the eleventh of September 
with a strong company ; and with Macklin, Mrs. Clive, Mrs. 
Pritchard, Woffington, and Garrick, prepared to meet Mrs. 
Cibber, Quin, Ryan, Bridgewater, and the rest of the old 
school, at Covent Garden. But the strength was unequal 
Even the coming to Drury Lane was a fresh point scored for 
Garrick, whose " fine " patrons of the West-end were thus saved 
the long journey to the Minories. In vain might Quin declaim 
and " pave," and Ryan " whistle " from the old wound in his 
cheek. The game of the old school was played out Garrick, 
with conscientious industry, had many new characters ready. 
Scrub, Hastings, Plume, with his Dublin characters, Hamlet 
and Drugger, were new to London. These were as various and 
successful as his older parts, Mrs. Woffington, on her benefit 
night, yielded to him her part of Sir Harry, which he tried 
again on the following night, and then wisely abandoned. It 
was a complete failure. The round of plays was admirably 
chosen, and selected with an infinite variety and contrast, which 
must have made the theatre then an entertainment delightful to 
playgoers. Every taste was suited, and Shakspeare, Steele, 
Congreve, Beaumont and Fletcher, Cibber, with the best 
pieces, succeeded each other. The new actor was overworked 
and hurried, and when the first night of Fielding's new comedy, 
" The Wedding Day," came round, it was scarcely surprising 
that he should have broken down. He was to have spoken the 
Prologue, but to the surprise of the audience Macklin came 
forward with a free and easy apology. This familiarity 
began: — 

" Gentlemen and ladies — we must, by your indulgence, humbly hope 

you'll not be offended, 
But an accident that has happened to-night, not in the least intended, 
I assure you — if you please, your money shall be returned — but Mr. 

Garrick to-day, 
Who performs a principal character in the Play, 






1743.] REVOLT AGAINST FLEETWOOD. 65 

Unfortunately has sent word 'twill be impossible, having so long a part, 
To apeak the Prologue — he hasn't had time to get it by heart."* 

And this freedom almost seemed to show there was something 
wrong in the direction of the theatre. 

Qiun, meanwhile, was fighting a desperate and laborious 
battle at Covent Garden, acting almost every night, and in all 
the most weighty and varied characters. If Garrick was to 
appear in Richard on the thirteenth of October, Quin had also 
the same play on the thirteenth, and mouthed and "paved" in 
fiery and boisterous rivalry. Falstaff and Julius Ccesar were in 
vain attempted. Ryan and Hale and Bridgewater did their 
best, in these last assaults of the Old Guard. But their best 
auxiliary was to be the confusion that was obtaining behind 
the scenes at Drury Lane. 

Mr. Charles Fleetwood, the manager, had been a gentleman 
of good fortune, having once, it was said, enjoyed six thousand 
a-year, and had been tempted, like so many more, by the fatal 
seduction of theatrical management. " His person was genteel, 
and his manner elegant," which, says Victor, quaintly, " was 
the last and only remaining quality he kept with him to his 
death." It was not the difficulties of the theatre, nor a run of 
ill-fortune, that led him into embarrassment, but his own ex- 
travagant and expensive tastes. He was fond of high society, 
and of the costly habits of high society ; and he had an extra- 
ordinary fascination of manner, and a winning grace, that ex- 
cited interest, not only in his " high " friends, but in the 
crowd of creditors who were always pressing him.t By 
these dissipated courses he soon ruined his fortunes ; but in 
1734 had purchased the Drury Lane patent, and partially re- 
stored them. That theatre was destined to prove disastrous 
to a whole series of managers. 

Macklin, then a sort of Bohemian, had been his friend and 
companion. Both frequented White's, where they gambled 
heavily, and both were equally unlucky. From this friend, 
after a successful benefit, or a run of good fortune at the 
gaming table, he would borrow small sums, " with a man- 
ner of sensitive distress which could soften the hardest cre- 
ditor;" and at one crisis, when he was on the point of 

* He did not appear until October 6th. Davies says he relinquished 
Foppington and Clodio this season, but the bills show that he acted both. 

+ His mother was daughter to Lord Oerrard ; and the Duchess of Nor- 
folk once told of a strange scene that took place in a Belgian town, in her 
presence, when Mrs. Fleetwood went on her knees to implore pardon of a 
young lady, whose life, she owned, she had wrecked by hindering a marriage 
between her and her son Fleetwood. — Duke of Norfolk's " Thoughts and 
," 1668. 

V 



66 THE LITE OP DAVID GARRICK. [1742 — 

being arrested, he obtained from Macklin's easiness, security 
for a bond of some two or three thousand pounds. Macklin's 
sense, however, was of excellent service. So long as he held 
his office of " deputy manager," matters went on tolerably, and 
were tided over for a few seasons. But every hour the impro- 
vident Fleetwood was sinking deeper and deeper, though he 
was adroit enough to stave off the final crash for a time. 

Garrick's intimacy with Mrs. Woffington still continued, and 
the Irish Tour had only drawn the admirer more closely to the 
actress. Macklin had been one of her warm friends ; and the 
three being now so intimate, it was agreed that they should 
" keep house " together, and put all earnings into one com- 
mon stock. They lodged at a house, No. 6, Bow-street 
It was eventually proposed to found a sort of academy, for 
teaching acting — a scheme which Macklin later carried out, on 
his own account. This arrangement went on for a short time; 
but, like most such arrangements, required a greater delicacy 
and forbearance than the party could muster. Woflington's 
" month " — for they took the housekeeping " month about" — 
was conspicuous for a certain prodigality, and a greater run of 
good company. Mr. Garrick's month was said to be very 
economically conducted. Mr. Johnson, then a young hack 
writer, came often, and told, as a proof of his host's stingi- 
ness, that Garrick had one night said, " The tea, ma'am, is as 
red as blood ! " This was only the beginning of the favourite 
stock-charges of " meanness," " stinginess, ' and the like, 
which it was the delight of every little histrionic cur — to 
whom he might have once refused a crust — to yelp out noisily 
all over the town. Macklin, after their quarrel, was inde- 
fatigable in propagating these stories ; as was Foote, the most 
selfish of convivialists. To the spendthrift, the economy of a 
friend is a standing reproach. Even when grown an old 
man, and he long since graciously condoned all quarrels 
by accepting engagements from Mr. Garrick, taking benefits, 
and having plays brought out — Macklin could " mumble out/' 
"Yes, sir, in talk he was a very generous man; a humane 
man, and all that ; but, by G — d, sir, the very first ghost of a 
farthing he met with," &c. He would tell how they used to 
ride together on the Richmond road, and halt at various 
houses ; and when the bill was brought, or they came to a 
turnpike, Mr. Garrick found "he haa changed his breeches 
that morning," or would pull out a thirty-six shilling piece, 
which coula not be changed. This accommodation was 
usually forgotten ; until one day, Macklin asked him to pay 
his debt, and then pulled out a slip of paper, in which all the 



1743.] REVOLT AGAINST FLEETWOOD. 67 

little obligations were entered according to the time and 
place. "All which, sir," said Macklin, telling the story, 
" amounted to between thirty and forty shillings." Garrick 
was a little disconcerted, and thought it a joke ; but the other 
insisted seriously on his claim, and was duly paid. Well 
might he be disconcerted at this elaborate "book-keeping" 
for such a trifle. But if there be truth in this story — that is, 
no exaggeration — he compensated for such carelessness by a 
thousand instances of substantial liberality. 

On another occasion Garrick had given a large dinner-party 
to Mrs. Cibber, Fielding, Macklin himself, and some more. 
When the company was gone, Garrick's Welsh servant went 
over his vails with great glee : "There is half-a-crown from Mrs. 
Cibber, Got pless her ! and here is something more from the 
poet, Got pless his merry heart ! " This was Fielding's dona- 
tion, which was done up in paper, and found to be a penny. 
Garrick, next day, with perfect good taste and good sense, re- 
proached Fielding with choosing a servant for the subject 
of such a jest. The other offensively replied that it was no 
jest ob the servant, but a benefit; for, if he had given him 
half-a-crown, his master would have taken it ; whereas he now 
had a chance of keeping it really for himself ! Fielding told 
this about as an excellent piece of humour; and Macklin 
retold it to Mr. Cooke, who gave it as an illustration of Gar- 
rick's avarice. It will be seen that it neither " illustrates " 
nor proves anything but the bad taste and ill-nature of the 
guests, and of Mr. Garrick's friends. 

The household arrangement was soon broken up. Indeed, 
it could scarcely have been a profitable concern for Garrick, 
whose income was so much larger than that of the others. It 
is said that the partnership had to be dissolved in consequence 
of heavy liabilities, owing to extravagant management or to 
the lady's inconstancy. No actress indeed had so many 
admirers. At this time, however, she had not become the 
Woffington of later years — quarrelsome, dissolute, and scur- 
rilous; nor had she given her tongue that loose and ready 
freedom, which Mrs. Bellamy called " blackguarding," or be- 
gun to pull caps with rivals in the green-room. There was a 
certain restraint, and even refinement, which was still to hold 
her admirer enchained. 

But the warm friendship between Macklin and Garrick had 
not yet been interrupted. At the beginning of the season they 
had engaged to stand by each other, and decline any separate 
engagement. They saw the manager's embarrassments were in- 
creasing, and that it was necessary they should be prepared to 

F 2 



68 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1742 — 

look for a new arrangement. This alliance gave them a com- 
mon strength ; but even then Garrick believed that Macklin 
was in league with Fleetwood. He had some " starts of sus- 
picion," and insisted on an explicit contradiction from the lat- 
ter. This did not promise well. Fleetwood had been always 
dissipated; had been addicted to cards and dice, but he 
now sank to the company of boxers and horse-chaunters. 
He was to be seen with Broughton, the famous pugilist; 
frequented Hockley-in-the-Hole, where the humane pastime of 
baiting went on; and what was lower still, in theatrical mat- 
ters affected the society of rope-dancers and dancing-monkey 
proprietors. Under such leadership, the interests of the 
theatre, always precarious, were utterly neglected, and it soon 
began to go to ruin. Though there was a fine company, and 
good audiences, money began to fail The receipts were 
farmed away, and presently bailiffs began to appear behind 
the scenes.* This state of things could not go on long. The 
salaries of the actors were falling into arrear. Such are 
always the first victims of theatrical ruin — the manager is 
perhaps the last. 

Garrick was the heaviest sufferer by this failure. His salary 
was now over £600 in arrear ; and as often as he had applied 
the manager had assured him of payment with every in- 
genious variety of assurance, and even oaths. At last the 
actor's patience was worn out, and he came to the resolution 
of suing his creditor at law. With this view he invited him- 
self, one Sunday morning, to breakfast, determining to tell the 
manager what he had resolved on. So agreeable and " be- 
witching " was Fleetwood's conversation on every matter but 
the one which it was his interest to avoid, that he completely 
won over the actor, who went away without having the heart 
to enter on the matter. His subsequent behaviour proves 
that he was not a harsh creditor. At last his patience gave 
way, and at the beginning of May, 1743, he positively refused 
to act, and for three weeks was absent from the theatre. A 
more decisive step was presently taken, under his leadership, 
he being then but twenty-seven years old. He invited all his 
confreres to meet him at his house at Covent Garden — "Mr. 
West's, cabinetmaker" — and there submitted a plan of com- 
bination for their adoption. There were present the two 

* Garrick'a rich cap, which he wore in Richard, amass of gaudy feathers, 
tinsel, and stage jewels, once attracted their greedy eyes ; but it was Bared 
by Garrick'a faithful Welsh servant, "You must not take that," he said to 
them, " for it belongs to the king." They were said to have been awe-struck 
at this notion, and reluctantly resigned their prey. 



1743.] REVOLT AGAINST FLEETWOOD. 69 

Mills', Leigh, Havard, the Pritchards, Berry, and Woodburn. 
Blakes, Yates, Giffard, and a few more, seem to have kept 
aloof. Garrick then stated the nature of their situation, and 
invited them to sign an agreement binding them to stand by 
each other. He had determined that they should all apply to 
the Duke of Grafton, then Chamberlain, for a licence to open a 
new theatre at the Opera House or elsewhere; and was certain, 
when that nobleman had heard of the way they were treated, 
he would not hesitate to grant what they asked. In fact, they 
had a lucky precedent in an old combination of the same kind, 
in the days of Rich, when Bethell and Thomas Barry had gone 
to the Earl of Dorset, and had been assisted by him.* 

This proposal was received with acclamation. Macklin 
alone opposed the plan, and suggested going to the manager at 
once, and telling him what they intended doing. Garrick 
calmly showed the folly of such a course. He knew what 
manner of man Fleetwood was ; and if they should " show 
him their hand," he would be certain to circumvent them in 
some fashion. A paper was signed, and Macklin overruled 
" Thus," says the latter's biographer, " were his best intentions 
frustrated, and a set of men cajoled into the designs of this 
ambitious person, who had for his object not merely the redress 
of the wrongs of a few players, but the interested view of 
aggrandizing himself." This was written almost under the 
dictation — at least under the inspiration — of Macklin himself. 
Yet it was suspicious that just before this meeting Macklin 
had been with the manager, who had been making him hand- 
some offers. Fleetwood himself owns that he raised his 
salary £3 a week to get him to use his influence over the 
disaffected actors, t Thus it does seem more than probable he 
had been trying a separate accommodation with the manager, 
and that his opposition at the actors' meeting was prompted 
by this very bribe. 

They drew up their application, which they sent in to the 
Chamberlain; then waited on him, but were very coldly 
received. It was said that he turned to Garrick, and asked 
him what income he was making by his acting. The answer 
was about £500 a year. " And do you think that too little," 
said the Duke, with true contempt for a mere player, " when 
I have a son who has to venture his life for his country for 

* This account is made up from the statement* and counter-atatementa 
published by both Macklin and Garrick. 

t Macklin himself boasted, as a proof of his fidelity to this agreement^ 
that he had been offered £200 a year more to remain with Fleetwood 
This offer, however, was made just before the actors' meeting. 



70 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1742 — 

half that sum?" He was right, certainly, in declining the 
application; the miserably demoralized state of the existing 
houses did not encourage the creation of a new one. 

This was a serious check. Garrick, whom all the nobility 
had crowded to see, evidently declined in popular favour. 
Fleetwood enjoyed his triumph ; cast about him ; got together 
a fresh troupe, and at the new season opened his doors boldly, 
without the seceders. But he was furious with Macklin, who 
had cast his lot with the others, and whom he had laid under 
obligations of the most serious and delicate kind.* Garrick 
then thought of joining with Quin, and of taking Lincoln's Inn 
Theatre, and overtures were made to Rich, through Macklin ; 
but this scheme fell through, owing, Garrick says, to a " cartel" 
proposed by Macklin, which would have restricted the privi- 
leges they were struggling for.f Macklin, having now fairly 
broken with Fleetwood, became a little concerned for himself ; 
but was assured by Garrick that he would not desert him — 
that they were all in the " same boat," and " could," repeated 
Macklin, artfully, " at the worst, set off for Ireland, and make 
money together there. This" he added, " was to be Hie dernier 
ressort." 

Time was wearing on, the regular season was now ap- 
proaching. The condition of the inferior players " on strike," 
with whom everything had failed, was growing pitiable. There 
was nothing open to them; and their only resource — a 
humiliating one — was submission to the enemy. They ap- 
plied to him. He was master of the situation. Some he pro- 
mised to take back, others he did not want. He made the 
handsomest offers to Garrick, but positively declined on any 
terms to have anything to do with Macklin. Hence arose a 
public difference between the two great actors — a notorious 
scandal — and it will at once seem intelligible how such a dif- 
ference should arise. For Macklin, finding himself so pointedly 
tabooed, and exempted from the indemnity, would be anxious 
that " the strike " should continue in some shape, for his be- 
nefit. 

The conclusion, I think, will be that Garrick acted with 
honour and good sense, though perhaps without a punctilious 
and Quixotic adherence to the mere letter of an agreement. He 
at first positively declined any overtures that did not include 
Macklin. He even offered, under a penalty of £100, to answer 

* Macklin had been tried for murder, and Fleetwood had " stood by him 
all through his difficulties." 

t On the other hand, Macklin says it was Garrick that would only take 
it for a year. 



1743.] REVOLT AGAINST FLEETWOOD. 71 

for his behaviour. When this failed, he proposed, if Mr. 
Macklin went to Ireland, to provide for Mrs. Macklin in 
London, with a weekly salary — to guarantee Macklin himself 
in his Irish engagement, and make up any deficiency. But 
Macklin was furious and clamorous, said a solemn engage- 
ment had been violated, and that he had been sacrificed. Yet 
it was mere special pleading, thus to suppose his interests 
were to be supported at the sacrifice of the majority. And 
though certainly, in a common working man's strike, it seems 
hard to desert a leader whom the employer had proscribed, the 
true equity is for the fellow-workmen to indemnify him, and 
gain the advantage of their own submission. Such engage- 
ments are not to be construed with all the technicality of a 
bond ; otherwise Garrick might have been bound for his whole 
life, or so long as the irregular behaviour of his companion 
lasted. The fact was, Macklin saw that he was to be made a 
scapegoat by the manager. Various meetings were held to 
arrange the matter, but without any issue. Meanwhile, the 
unfortunate actors were in a state of suspense and destitution. 
Some, it has been mentioned, had been taken back; and Gar- 
rick, greatly pressed by the manager, at last yielded; but 
made it a condition that the rest should be taken back also. 
This was agreed to; so that if Macklin now gave his consent, 
all would be accommodated. The Players then addressed a 
remonstrance to him — in a letter couched in almost piteous 
terms, saying that "this punctilio of honour" was ruining 
them ; that they feared Mr. Garrick was going to Ireland, so 
as to stand by his agreement, in which case the manager would 
have nothing to do with them — almost imploring him to come 
to some terms ; and again appealing to Garrick, who made 
fresh exertions to compromise the matter. He proposed to 
take a hundred guineas less salary from Fleetwood, and en- 
gaged in the most solemn manner to work unremittingly to 
smooth away all obstacles to Macklin's re-engagement; but 
nothing would be accepted, save the selfish alternative that 
Garrick and all the other actors should "stand out, "and sacri- 
fice themselves, because his own behaviour had precluded him 
from all hope of reconciliation. Garrick could hesitate no 
longer, and prepared to close with Fleetwood. He held him- 
self discharged from all community with so impracticable a 
partner. 

During the course of these pourparlers, the new season be- 
gan on September 13th, Fleetwood having now some of his 
old corps at the old salaries, and others at the half their pre- 
vious wages, which they were glad to get. Mrs. Woflhigton 



72 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1742 — 

was at her post, but does not seem to have joined in the 
tmeute. Nearly three months had passed by, and still Garrick 
did not appear. Strange reports had been going round the 
town as to the reason of this extraordinary suspense, and 
these were not favourable to him. On the eve of concluding 
his engagement he appealed to the town in a letter to the 
public journals, in which he shortly explained the true reason 
— a very modest and judicious letter. He was sensible, he 
said, that his affairs were too inconsiderable to be laid before 
the public ; but as he was their servant, and had been treated 
with such indulgence, he thought it was his duty to show that 
it was not " obstinacy or exorbitancy " that kept him from 
their service, but a wish to bring about a reconciliation with 
the manager, which was now almost accomplished. In a few 
days it was known that all was accommodated, and Mr. Gar- 
rick was announced in his great part of Bayes, in " The Ke- 
hearsal." 

This news caused a commotion. Macklin had a number of 
Bohemian allies — Dr. Barrowby (the physician), Corby n Mor- 
ris, and others — who met at the Horns Tavern in Fleet-street, 
and debated the wrongs of their friend, and what Macklin's 
biographer absurdly called " the imperishable infamy of Gar- 
rick's apostasy." It was determined to take action in more 
ways than one. On December the 5th Garrick was an- 
nounced; and on that day a "Case," hastily got up, and 
written by Macklin, was launched upon the town.* A hand- 
bill was presently circulated about the town and the theatre, 
signed by the great actor, in which he humbly begged the 
public to suspend their judgment for a day or two, until an 
answer to that appeal had been prepared. When the curtain 
rose on Tuesday, the following night, the pit was found to be 
filled with Macklin's friends, led by the party from the Horns 
Tavern. When Garrick appeared, the uproar burst out He 
was saluted with yells of "Off! off!" He bowed low, and, 
with extraordinary submission and humility, entreated to be 
heard. But no hearing would be vouchsafed him. Then eggs 
and apples and peas came showering on the stage, while the 
great actor was seen calmly standing high up at the wing to 
escape the attack. The play was not allowed to go on, and 
the curtain had to be let down. 

On the next day, Garrick having secured an ally in Guthrie, 

* Macklin's biographer, Kirkman, gives Corbyn Morris as the author; 
but Daviea " has authority for saying " that it was by Macklin himself. 
The truth may be between, such productions being then the common 
work of the author and his friends. 



1743.] QUARREL WITH MACKLIN. 73 

a Scotch "hack-writer," rapidly drew up a reply. But for 
the next night he took counsel with his friends. Some of 
them, with Colonel Wyndham, of Norfolk, a man of note, re- 
paired to the theatre in force.* Fleetwood's low tastes for 
once brought him profit. A crowd of his pugilist friends, 
headed by Broughton and Taylor, were privately admitted 
into the pit, before the doors were opened. Just before the 
curtain rose, the leader of this formidable band stopped the 
music, and standing up, said, in a loud, rough voice, " Gentle- 
men, I am told some persons have come here with an inten- 
tion of interrupting the play. Now, / have come to hear it, 
and have paid my money, and advise those who have come 
with such a view to go away, and not hinder my diversion." 
This plain and sensible speech raised a terrific uproar. The 
bruisers drew together, began the fray, and very soon cleared 
the pit of the Macklinites. Then the piece began. Mr. Gar- 
rick appeared with many respectful bows, and went through 
his part amid the acclamations of his friends. This was his 
first theatrical battle. 

On the next day his answer appeared. There was one 
passage which had a certain warmth, and which, when read in 
Ireland, must have won him many friends — namely, his kindly 
declaration of affection for the people of that country, and 
grateful acknowledgment of their kindness. 

In this struggle Macklin was worsted, and the victory was 
with his rival, of whom he became the bitter enemy. From 
that time his tongue never ceased its busy slanders, ringing 
the changes on Garrick's "meanness," though in course of 
time he could bring himself to ask favours from the man he 
had so treated. The whole episode proves his rough, ill- 
conditioned, and violent character; his "Case" is full of 
phrases as "your treachery" — "you have no notion of 
honour " — " your mean disposition," and such language. 
Even then he was glad to have the opportunity of repeating 
his favourite charge — " not only treacherous, but also an 
avaricious disposition ; be so good as to tell whose picture it 
is ; for you very well know, and are a fond admirer of the 
original." Mrs. Clive had shown her spirit ; during the first 
stages of the quarrel she adhered to the manager, but joined 
the malcontents later, f Had Macklin been temperate and 

* Colonel Wyndham was one of the men of fashion of the day. He 
had served Maria Teresa ; was a handsome man, an accomplished swords- 
man, and father to the better-known William Windham. 

t See a particular account of her straightforward behaviour in "The 
Life of Mrs. Catherine Clive " (1888), by the author of this work. 



74 • THE LITE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1743— 

loyal, his proscription would have been an eternal claim, 
which Garrick would never have ignored ; and he would cer- 
tainly have shared in the latter's great good fortune. Pro- 
scribed by all parties, the unlucky actor seemed to be shut 
out of every house, and was driven to open that strange his- 
trionic academy at the Haymarket, where he brought out 
Mr. Foote and Dr. HilL 



CHAPTER VI. 

SHERIDAN— QUARREL WITH WOFFINGTON. — 1743-1745. 

After this inauspicious opening, the season proceeded. 
Garrick's popularity had not been impaired,* and he added 
the new characters of Macbeth "as written by Shakspeare," 
Biron, Lord Towrdy, Zaphna, and Regulus, to his stock. Tho 
two latter were bald, conventional figures, mere sketches, 
poor lath and plaster constructions, without nature, blood, or 
feeling, and mere vehicles for frothy declamation. Yet they 
were the beginning of a long line ; and it is inconceivable that 
Garrick should, even in the way of business, have associated 
himself with such parts. It must have been a real treat 
to have seen him and Mrs. Wofhngton in Lard and Lady 
Townly — a true exhibition of pleasant comedy, done with 
infinite spirit. During the season, old Cibber played his own 
parts of Fondlewife and Sir John Brute, while his son, after- 
wards to be one of Garrick's most scurrilous enemies, was also 
of the company, and played Abel Drugger a few nights after 
Garrick had played it. He could even challenge his enemy 
in Baycs. Well might a friend of Garrick's ask "what 
demon possessed him thus to exhibit himself?" It was 
thought he never performed it so ill — leaving out half his 
grimaces and buffoonery — it was supposed because he saw 
Garrick among the audience. Another feature of the season 
was the engagement of a gentleman, from Macklin's curious 
show in the Haymarket^ who appeared in Othello and Fop- 
pington. The name of this actor was not given; but he 
was already well known to Garrick, and perhaps already 
feared by him. For his voice was heard loud enough at the 
coffee-houses, supporting claims to be the exponent of the true 

* At his benefit, five rows of the pit were railed into boxes, and the 
ladies were desired to tend their servants three hours before the doors 
opened. The Dublin Theatre was the only one in the kingdom where 
ladies were not admitted to the pit 



1745.] SHERIDAN. 75 

school of natural acting, allowing that Garrick was natural 
and easy, but not natural and easy enough; and that "he 
wanted the due amount of spirit and courage to take tragedy 
completely off its stilts."* He was of course on Macklin's 
side in the Fleetwood quarrel, and this intimacy, beginning on 
a footing half war, half peace, was to continue in the same 
curious tone for nearly forty years. Foote was the name 
of the young player, then only three-and-twenty, even then 
"a most incompressible fellow," of ready wit and tongue; 
dreadful in exposing what he thought "humbug," or any 
false assumption of decorum, and destined to the end to 
be the sharpest of the many thorns in Garrick's side. 

At the other house Quin and Ryan, reinforced by Mrs. 
Clive — who in the late quarrel had contrived to offend both 
Fleetwood and Garrick — kept up the struggle. They chose 
nearly the same round of plays. The town had an oppor- 
tunity of comparing two Macbeihs, and the contrast must have 
been extraordinary. Garrick himself was among Quin's 
audience, and described that most singular conception of 
the part, which shows how absurd and mistaken were some 
of the principles that regulated the old school, In the 
famous scene he clutched at the dagger not once, but several 
times, first with one hand, then with the other, at the same 
time ludicrously striving, as it were, to keep on the ground, 
much as a drowning man plunges and strikes out wildly. In 
the ghost scene he drew his sword, and kept making passes at 
the spectre until he had driven him quite off the stage. But 
Garrick owned his great merit, which triumphed over these 
absurdities, "his slow, manly, folding-up of his faculties, his 
body gradually gathering up at the vision, his mind keeping 
the same time, denoting by the eye its strong workings. He did 
not dash the goblet to the ground, but let it gently fall from 
him, as if unconscious of having such a vehicle in his hand." 
Quin, only a few months later, had set off for Dublin, where 
he had always been a favourite, and was sure to find his reign 
undisputed there. But his gradual fall seemed to be marked 
with a series of mortifications, and on his arrival he was told he 
could not even have a night, as the town was running " horn 
mad " after a new local actor of the most wonderful powers. 

When Mr. Garrick was in Dublin he had met a young 
student of Trinity College, son to a well-known clergyman of 
the city — Doctor Sheridan, Swift's friend. This young gentle- 
man — at that time well stage-struck — unable to resist the 

* Forster's essay on Foote, p. 350. 



76 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1743— 

spell, had only a few months later himself gone on the stage, 
to the consternation of his friends, who were shocked at the 
disgrace. He succeeded, and became the rage of the hour. 
Garrick took infinite interest in his career, and with that 
kindness for beginners which was always his characteristic, 
wrote over to invite him to stay the whole summer with him, 
and proposed that they should play together at Drury Lane, 
offering to give him up any of his own characters. In the 
young man's answer to this handsome offer, though put with 
affected diffidence — " a well cut pebble/' he said, " may pass 
for a diamond till a fine brilliant is placed near it" — can 
be seen traces of the arrogance and temper which later made 
him so impracticable a character to deal with. His head was 
already turned. As to playing at one house, it was im- 
possible ; they would " clash too much " in regard to cha- 
racters. He then hinted a rather conceited proposal of their 
playing alternately in London and Dublin, "dividing the 
kingdoms " between them, for he was convinced that Dublin 
was as well able to pay one actor for a winter as London was. 
They were to be like the two buckets in a welL But this 
was the vanity of supposing that both buckets were of equal 
strength and weight; and the difference Sheridan was to 
discover later, by the sure test of thin houses and empty 
boxes. It was pleasure, not business, he said, that was 
taking him to town for "a jaunt of three weeks." He had 
hardly time to do anything, having had "to study and 
act three new characters within a fortnight," one of which was 
Othello I This lightness contrasted ill with Garrick's thought- 
ful and diligent preparation. When he did come to town he 
was engaged, not at Drury Lane, but at Covent Garden. 

That new season of 1744-5 was to have troubles of its own. The 
Drury Lane company was strengthened with the tender Cibber 
— a valuable auxiliary for Garrick in such plaintive parts £s 
Monimia, Belvidera, and Andromache, and by Sheridan, who had 
come to join his friend. Garrick made his first appearance on 
the 19th of October, Sheridan on the following night. Garrick 
was therefore sincere in his protestation of friendship, for a 
word from him could have prevented the engagement of a rival. 
He indeed was virtually directing the theatre. The same 
toleration allowed the return of Macklin, who was restored to 
his old place, and made his submission in a humiliating pro- 
logue: 

" From scheming, fretting, fuming, and despair, 
Behold to grace restored an exiled player. 
Your sanction yet his fortune must complete, 
And give him privilege to laugh and — eat." 



1745.] SHERIDAN. 77 

But he was not 'to be reconciled, though he admitted there 
were in the green-room " longer heads " than his, to whom ho 
would in future leave the conduct of affairs. He was presently 
to see the manager made the object of just such a scene of 
violence as he himself had organised against Garrick, and which 
it is not improbable was got up by the same party. 

Among other attractions, the manager had brought out a 
costly pantomime called " The Fortune-tellers," and to reim- 
burse himself for the increased 'charges, new engagements, 
scenery, &c, found it necessary to make some advance in the 
price of admission. This was received with deep dissatisfaction, 
for the raising of prices had only been tolerated in the case of 
an entirely new entertainment. On the night of Saturday, the 
7th of November, the audience took their favourite method of 
showing their displeasure by a riot. The performance was in- 
terrupted. There was an affectation of being disgusted with 
pantomimes, and that class of entertainment, and a handbill 
was actually circulated proposing that the " advance money " 
should be returned to those who did not choose to wait and be 
" tortured with entertainments." This was a mere pretence. 
The manager was called for tumultuously, but with some spirit 
declined to appear before them, pleading exemption, as not 
being an actor ; but said he would be willing to receive a depu- 
tation in his room. Some delegates were accordingly sent from 
the pit, and the audience waited their return patiently. On the 
Monday night a concession was announced. Any persons who 
did not choose to stay for a new piece, pantomime, &c, might 
ask for a special check at the door, on presenting which, they 
might have the advanced price returned to them. It was to be 
the second appearance of Garrick, in his excellent character of 
Sir John Brute ; but that famous piece of acting had no spell 
The riot broke out again with fury. The moment the doors 
were opened, the rioters burst in, and swept the door-keepers 
from their places, the theatre was given to sack and confusion, 
the benches torn up, the sconces pulled down and flung on the 
stage — a favourite and traditional fashion with a dissatisfied 
audience, of showing their displeasure. When they were about 
invading the stage to tear down the scenery, a number of con- 
stables, " carpenters, and scene-men " came from behind, and 
stood to its defence. " A country gentleman," conspicuous as 
a ringleader, was dragged from the boxes, and brought before 
a magistrate, a proceeding which the mob affected to think an 
outrage on their dignity, though he was later released. The 
manager wLose property was thus outrageously dealt with, was 
put on his defence, as it were, and exculpated himself humbly in 



78 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1743— 

a pamphlet, urging that he was merely protecting his property. 
Such indeed has been the rather exceptional tone in all English 
theatrical disturbances, audiences having always claimed the 
outrageous privilege of setting themselves right, by sacking 
their enemy's theatre. After wreaking their fury in this fashion, 
the manager was allowed to repair his House, and further 
concession was not insisted upon.* 

Macklin must have had some satisfaction in witnessing what 
was scarcely a failure, but what some were eager to consider a 
failure ; for, on March the 7th, Garrick attempted " Othello," 
for the first time. Then it was that old Quin, turning to Hoadly, 
made the smart and not unfair criticism, " Here's r ompey, but 
where 's the tea-kettle and lamp " — an association that became 
almost irresistible to any one thinking of the short figure, the 
blacked face, and the bright scarlet officer's coat in which he 
absurdly dressed himself. Otherwise he played it well, as we 
know from the testimony of two friends ;t and, indeed, the 
character, full of fitful gusts of passion, must have suited him 
excellently. But no splendour of acting could have triumphed 
over the likeness to Hogarth's " black page." 

Sheridan, meanwhile, was growing in favour by aid of strong 
lungs, and " words enforced with weight" He seems to have 
had all the coldness of a professional elocutionist ; and an old 
playgoer, J who saw him in decay, was struck with his stiff 
features and inharmonious voice. He was given every advan- 
tage. With a surprising superiority to that petty jealousy 
which has been at the bottom of half the scandals of the pro- 
fession, Garrick allowed his friend to appear in Bichard y Hamlet, 
Piene, Othello — parts that belonged to him. Yet very soon 
there was a party formed who affected to think the Irish actor 
was kept back, and who affected to consider him superior 
to the established favourite. Under such conditions came 
jealousy, with a coldness, and later an open quarrel Indeed 
it was always Garrick's fate to be harassed by the sensitiveness 
and pretensions of the rising actors, for whom his very indul- 
gence and encouragement was but a foundation for grievances 
and exorbitant demands. 

Thomson, the author of the " Seasons," had now ready his 
" Tancrcd and Sigismunda," a romantic and pathetic piece, and 
perhaps, after Hughes's " Siege of Damascus," the best of what 
Johnson so happily called " the Tig and Tiry " school : alluding 

* One of the advertisements ran : " The company cannot play till to* 
morrow evening, as the damages have not been repaired." 
t Victor and Aston. This jest has been also attributed to Foote, 
t Boaden. 



1745.] SHERIDAN. 79 

to the names in an Eastern piece, Tigranes and Tiridates. Mr. 
Pitt and Lord Lyttleton were deeply interested in the success of 
the play; and, indeed, it was said to have been at their instance 
that it was produced. They attended the rehearsals, and their 
hints are said to have been received by the players " with great 
respect, and embraced with implicit confidence" Indeed, the play 
was well calculated to bring out all the love and pathos of two 
such tender actors. It flowed on in a strain of rapture and 
chivalrous ardour, which later recommended it for the excep- 
tional honour of French translation. 

In the beginning of April, Garrick had been seized with a 
severe illness, and his pails had to be taken by others. By 
this time, also, the disorder in the management of the theatre 
had come to a crisis. Hopelessly involved by debt and dissipa- 
tion, Fleetwood was at last obliged to retire, and yet, consider- 
ing his bankrupt condition, contrived to make surprisingly good 
terms. He had brought the theatre to a desperate pass. He 
had already mortgaged the patent for three' thousand pounds to 
Sir Thomas de Lorme and Mr. Masters; and had cajoled an 
unsuspicious Mr. Meure or More to advance more money for 
the redemption of the patent, who was told that seven thousand 
pounds would set it quite free, his security being the theatre 
properties and wardrobe, with a title to enjoy all the receipts. 
But he was presently surprised by seeing in the papers a public 
notice, that the patent was to be put up to sale under a decree 
in Chancery. He had been tricked, and found himself in the 
embarrassing position, that he might be the owner of a 
theatre, its scenery and properties, but without patent or licence 
to use either. This stroke of craft was characteristic of Fleet- 
wood, who, indeed, was now said to have turned a sort of 
"sharper." 

About this time Rich, the manager of Covent Garden, had 
in his service a stage manager called Lacy, a business-like Irish- 
man, who had made a little money by speculation, and who in 
his dealings, had been found "honest" and exact — then an 
almost exceptional virtue in the histrionic world. When the 
theatre came into the market, two persons of substance from 
the City, being anxious to venture in theatrical speculation, came 
to Lacy, though he was personally a stranger to them, and 
proposed to him to join them, he undertaking the theatrical 
management. They were content to find two-thirds of the 
purchase-money, and if his share was not forthcoming, would 
allow it to remain out, as it were, on mortgage. 

This arrangement seemed acceptable, and was being drawn up 
by Green and Amber, a City house, who were to have been 



80 THE LIFE OF DAVID* GARRICK. [1743 — 

bankers to the new company, when one of the partners suddenly 
became seriously ill, and the project had to be given up. The 
bankers were much disappointed. It occurred to them to take 
the place of the other contractor ; and, Lacy's character being 
known to them, they made him a fresh proposal. He was to 
undertake the negotiation, to get Fleetwood to accept an annuity 
of £600, and also induce Mr. More not to press for his mortgage. 
If he succeeded in these two matters, they would find the money 
to pay off all the other charges, allow Lacy's contribution to 
" stand out," and be gradually discharged by his proportion of 
the profits. Lacy succeeded in the negotiation. Fleetwood, 
racked with gout, and worn out with excess, was glad to accept 
such handsome terms, and retired to France, where he closed 
his strange career. Drury Lane once more passed to new pro- 
prietors.* 

During this time Garrick's relations with Mrs. Woffington 
had continued, but with a fitfulness that was characteristic on 
her side. They still met ; and we have a glimpse of them in 
the London suburbs, only a little before the Scotch rebellion, 
which has a certain dramatic air. 

She was then living at Teddington. Mr. Sheridan, who had 
met both her and Garrick in Dublin, was staying at Kingston, 
where he kept open house, and dispensed hospitality, and his 
influence was said to have seriously altered her style in tragedy, 
giving it something of the French stiffness. She amused her- 
self by making fools of old men, like Cibber and Owen Swiney, 
having them dangling about her, the wits said, like the elders 
after Susanna. There was a curious circle at this Kingston 
villa : made up principally of jovial students and professors, of 
the delightful Mrs. Woffington herself, and of Garrick, who, it 
was given out, was sighing to be reconciled to his former 
" charmer." To this house came also a Mrs. Bellamy, with her 

* The accounts of the patent and its shares are much confused. Neither 
Victor nor Geneste notices what was done with Giffard's share. Victor is 
wrong also as to the price paid. It was £13,750, not £3,500. The pedigree 
of the " licence " thus disposed of would seem to be as follows : — Starting 
from the year 1711, it was shared between Colley Cibber, Wilks, Collier, 
and Dogget In 1714, Booth, the actor, was taken in, under a new licence 
granted to Steele. A fresh patent was granted in 1731. In 1732, the 
amateur manager, Highmore, purchased the whole of Cibber's share and 
one-half of Booth's for the sum of £5,500 — an enormous price, considering 
the decay of the property. Later, in 1733, Giffard purchased Booth's 
remaining half ; and on Highmore's failure the proprietors of the patent 
were Highmore, representing one-half, with the widow of Wilks, and Giffard, 
who held the other. Fleetwood then appeared, and purchased, for little 
more than the unlucky Highmore had given for his part, Highmore's and 
Mrs. Wilks's share. 



1745.] QUARREL WITH WOFFINGTON. 81 

pretty daughter; and a sister of "Woffington's — Miss Polly 
Woffington — whom the College gentlemen discovered had 
great gifts for the stage. It was once determined to get up a 
private play to make trial of these gifts. Mr. Garrick took 
Orestes ; the pretty Miss Bellamy, who had not as yet gone on 
the stage, Andromache) Hermione fell to Miss Polly; and 
Pyrrhus to Mr. Sullivan, " Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin." 
All the neighbours of fashion were invited, including "Sir 
William Young," who was loud in praise of Miss Bellamy, 
though Miss Polly Woffington much excelled her in beauty. 
Mr. Garrick, also, pronounced that Miss Bellamy was more in 
earnest The whole must have been a curious and characteristic 
scene — the fashionables of Kingston sitting round — the lively 
Woffington, and the " great Garrick," and Mr. Sullivan, Fellow 
of Trinity College, declaiming away against each other.* 

Woffington was one of the pillars of the theatre, and one 
night, and that not on a benefit night, when such compliments 
are usual, she could show her true devotion to the interest of 
a play by taking a mean part in " The Provoked Wife," and 
allowing Mrs. Gibber to play Lady Brule. Thus was given a 
perfect cast. But her admirer sought in vain for such constancy 
in another direction. " Colonel Caesar of the Guards," Lord 
Darnlcy, and others began to crowd on the scene. Many 
looking on, saw this fickleness in the lady, and were con- 
cerned for their friend Garrick ; and Lord Rochford told him 
very plainly that he had small confidence in " WofTs " attach- 
ment, who " could wean herself much easier than you can, or I 
have no skill in woman's flesh." Gallants of the class of 
Hanbury Williams were growing more pressing in their devo- 
tion. It is plain that the volatile creature was making efforts 
to maintain some show of constancy to her lover, and it is 
certain that he had engaged solemnly to marry her.t It was 
later to come so near, that he had brought home the wedding- 

* Bellamy's Memoirs. 

t Miss Polly Woffington married the nephew of Lord Cholmondely, who 
was greatly shocked by the degrading alliance, but on meeting Mrs. Wof- 
fington later owned that the had reconciled him to the match. Her reply 
showed the spirit as well as the good heart of the actress. "My lord," she 
said, coldly, " I have much more reason to be offended with it than you, 
for before I had but one beggar to maintain, now I have two." She for 
years supported this younger sister, sent her to a convent in France to be 
educated. She was " a very airy lady," according to Johnson. In Miss 
Barney's diary, a* well as in the memoirs of Dr. Burney, are some lively 
sketches of the Rev. Mr. Cholmondely and lib wife. It is amusing to see 
how the heralds respectfully put her father, the Dubliu mason, down as 
14 Arthur Woffington, Esquire ; " and her children married into the good 
houses of Townshend iu England, and of Bellingham in Ireland. 

G 



82 TIIE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1743 — 

ring, and tried it on.* With so respectable an alliance in view, 
and possibly with some sincere attachment to the actor, it is 
not surprising she should have made some attempts at steadi- 
ness, though attended with occasional lapses, for which the 
lover could have indulgence.! This is shown by some lines of 
reproach addressed to her by Williams only the year before, 
and which describes the situation, and her character very 
fairly; and shows that some struggle was going on. It is 
curious that they should be in the same injured tone as 
Garrick's wore to be in the year following — complaining of tho 
lady's fickleness, now growing ail but constitutional : — 

TO MRS. WOFFINGTON, July, 1744. 

"If Heav'n upon thy perjured head 
Had the least mark of vengeance shed, 

For all thy hate to truth ; 
Had e'en diminished any grace, 
Lit up one pimple in thy face, 

Or rotted but one tooth, 

" I would believe its powers : but you, 
More fair, as still more faithless, grew— 

Charms flow from perjuries ; 
The more you cheat, we trust the more, 
Each jilting tear's a fruitful shower 

That makes fresh beauties rise. 

" See all our youth confess thy power ; 
They but behold thee and adore, 

Aud press to drag thy chain ; 
And though we swear and brag we're free, 
Repentant Darnley longs, like me, 

To be thy slave again." 

The Lord Darnley who longed to be her slave again, had 
obtained a promise from her that she would not sec the actor, 
when he himself was obliged to leave town. Ho had her 
watched, and taxed her with breaking this promise. She 
denied it, and said " she had not seen Garrick for an age." Tho 
nobleman said he could prove she had, and on that very morning. 
The baffled actress answered with a spirit, that showed affec- 
tion as well as readiness : " Well, and is not that an age ? " It 

* Murphy vouches for this story, and was assured of its truth on many 
occasions by the actress. It is quite plain that Garrick was looking forward 
to a marriage. 

t Macklin used to tell stories of Garrick's approving of these irregulari- 
ties, and favouring the addresses of Lord Darnley. Such conduct is utterly 
inconsistent with Garrick's character, and with the bitter expostulation on 
her perfidy he was to make later.— See this "good story," in Kirkman's 
Macklin, p. 117. 



1745.] QUARREL WITH WOFFINGTON. 83 

was this genuineness that was her charm : and these little flashes 
of nature were to hold her lover undecided a little longer. 
Macklin used to relate her version of how " shabbily " he had 
withdrawn. He told her that he had lain tossing all the night, 
thinking of this wretched marriage — that it was a foolish thing 
for both, who might do better in separate lines, and that, in 
short, " he had worn the shirt of Dejanira." " Then throw it oft* 
at once, sir," said she in her shrill, inharmonious voice. " From 
this moment I have done with you." The next morning she 
sent back all his presents, and a letter of dismissal. He did 
the same, with the exception of a pair of diamond buckles of 
some value. She waited for a month thinking they had been 
forgotten, and then wrote for them ; but Garrick begged " he 
might be allowed to keep them as a memorial of their own 
friendship, and of many happy hours," &c. This was told with 
much chuckling by Macklin, as an illustration of " the little 
fellow's meanness and avarice ; " though there is no reason why 
it should not be accepted in its literal sense, as a proof of feel- 
ingor affection. 

But we have fortunately the means of discovering what was 
his version. I find among his papers a long " copy of verses," 
full of bitter reproach, significant of anger and deep jealousy, 
holding up to her astonished eyes a fierce and caustic picture 
of all her infidelities, and warning her how it must surely end. 
They were headed " Epistle to Mrs. Wofiington, sent to her in 
June, 1745." He still calls her Sylvia, as though she was 
always present to him in that first loved character, and they 
show that all was at an end between them, but certainly 
through no fault on his side.* 

" Sylvia, to you I dedicate my lays. 

No flattering bard, or love-sick youth ; 
Regardless of your censure or your praise, 
I come to expose the naked truth. 

" To you, and to your heart my muse appeals, 
And if not tainted to the core. 
Freely confess the action she reveals, 
Which all your various arts explore. 

M And now my muse in greatest order move, 
In just succession facte impart ; 
Pursue the rovings of a woman's love, 
And sing the progress of her heart. 

M From forty-two I take my present date, 

When Darnley's gold seemed void of charms* 
And driven by whims, inconstancy, or fate, 
You flew from him to Garrick's arms. 

* From the Hill Ma 

G 2 



84 THE LITE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1743 — 

" No mercenary views possessed your mind, 
'Tis love ! cried oub the public voice ; 
To Sylvia's virtue we have all been blind : 
By fate a mistress, not by choice. 

11 But soon these poeons cease — 'twas worse and worse, 
(For fame will err and make mistakes) 
She revels with the man she ought to curse, 
And riots with her quondam rakes, 

•• I know your sophistry, I know your art, 
Which all your dupes and fools control ; 
Yourself you give without your heart — 
All may share that, but not your soul. 

" But now her thirst of gold must be allayed, 
The want of Bhow her pride alarms ; 
It must, it shall be gratified, she said, 

Then plunged in hateful W — 11 — ms' arms. 

" Oh. peer !* (whose acts shall down time's torrents roll), 
If thus you doat, thus love the dame, 
In nuptial bonds unite her to your soul t 
And thus at once complete your fame." 

He then, rather pathetically, warns her of the decay, which 
such a course of life must entail, even in her looks, and bids- 
her look in her glass : 

" Peggy ! behold that harassed, worn-out field, 
Which once was verdant, fruitful, gay — " 

and which is now " barren," and " cracked ; " " and " ho adds, 

11 Though you feign the joys you cannot feel, 
Yet even mechanic passions wear. 

" Your spring is past, but not your summer gone, 
O reap before the sun descends ! 
When autumn's fall or winter's blasts come on, 
Farewell to lovers, flatterers, and friends. 

<( But now, advice apart, the theme pursue, 
Follow the damsel in her wild career ! 
Say what gallants, what keepers are in view- 
Behold the Colonel in the rear ! ; 

M Some say you're proud, coquettish, cruel, vain* 
Unjust ! She never wounds but cures ; 
So pitiful to every lying swain — 
Flatter or pay, the nymph is yours." 

It is extraordinary that so sensible a young man should have* 
meditated uniting himself in wedlock to such a person. It 
may have been that he believed he could reform her, and 
hoped that she might be fit to take her place as the wife of an 
honest man who loved her. This was an infatuation ; still, 

* Lord Darnley. 



I 



1745.] QUARREL WITH WOFFINGTON. 85 

looking at the existing state of morals about him, such views 
were almost creditable to him. But the abandoned creature 
could not be fixed : one lover was preferred after the other, and 
Garrick, dismissing all hopes of a reformation, finally deter- 
mined to break oft* with her. His constancy and attachment 
had no doubt amused the town and his friends, and this rup- 
ture, which was notorious, furnished no less abundant talk 
and diversion. Caricatures were published, and verses written. 
A hundred stories went about, as to the promise of marriage, 
and of the gentleman being tired of his engagement. The 
actress was piqued and angry, and gave friends her version, 
coloured, no doubt, by an angry woman's view of the matter, 
and diligently retailed by her friend Macklin. It was, indeed, 
the happiest thing in the world for Garrick. Such an alliance 
would have shipwrecked his whole life and made his home 
wretched. He was saved in time to meet with the rarest and 
best of women — one that was elegant in mind and person, the 
most faithful and admirable of wives. " Peg " Woffington per- 
haps laughed the loudest at this desertion. 

Still there was a fifteen years' brilliant career before her, 
more theatrical triumphs, membership of the Beef Steak Club, 
and " four thousand pounds brought by her to the theatre," 
for four old stock plays. Her admirers clustered fast, one 
of whom was old Owen Swiney, whom she, later, turned 
to excellent profit. She passed over to Paris, where she 
picked up hints from Dumesnil.* And, long after, the " Hon. 
and Rev. Robert Cholmondely" — the husband of Miss Polly 
Woffington — was not ashamed to draw some profit from Mr. 
Garrick's old intimacy with the actress, and asked and 
received loans of money. Thus ended this episode. 

Lacy, now in command of the theatre, was not on har- 
monious terms with his leading actor. He also had quarrelled 
with Mrs. Cibber ; and Garrick, having been obliged to give 
up playing for the present from illness, was only thinking 
of restoring his strength by easy expeditions to the country. 
What Mrs. Cibber was eager for was a joint adventure — that 

* Fitzpatrick wrote from Paris in 1748 : — " There are a great many 
English now here ; and, among the rest, Mrs. Woffington is now here with 
fiwiney. I have often the pleasure of conversing with her at the play- 
house, where we sit in judgment on the players. We have agreed that 
in comedy they far surpass the English players, but in tragedy they 
fall short of them." At a public fencing match she was so attracted 
by a handsome fencing master that she went over and pinned a favour 
on his breast, and later travelled home with him in the same chaise. 
There is a picture of old Swiney, her other admirer, by Van Loo. In 
dress and air it is very like the well-known one of Rubens. 



86 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1745 — 

with Quin and Garrick she should purchase the Drury Lane 
patent, which it was very probable Lacy's growing embarrass- 
ments would send into the market once more. She tried 
all sorts of pleasant blandishments, now asking Garrick to her 
place at Woodhay, now planning a meeting in town, now 
flattering him, and now frightening him by the news that 
Lacy was determined to shut them both out of the theatre for 
the new season. But Garrick was too cautious to join in such 
triumvirate. 

This was in October, and he was still only recovering 
slowly from his illness, under the care of Thompson, a well- 
known physician of the day. But before arranging the 
details of this new scheme he went down to Buxton Hall, and 
later to Bath, with his friend, Colonel Wyndham, and there 
received a proposal which changed everything. 



CHAPTER Vn. 

SECOND DUBLIN SEASON. — 1745-1746. 

Garrick vwas at Bath, enjoying that pleasant watering- 
place, when the post brought him a letter from Sheridan, then 
in Ireland. It contained a singular and characteristic pro- 
posal. Having heard, he said, that Garrick wished to pay 
a second visit to Dublin, he wrote to inform him that he was 
now "sole manager of the Irish stage," and that he might 
depend on receiving "every advantage and encouragement 
that he could in reason expect." The basis of their agree- 
ment was to be a division of profits/ but he frankly warned 
him to expect nothing from friendsnip, or, indeed, anything 
more than an actor could in strict right require. No wonder 
that Garrick, on this almost hostile invitation, should turn to 
his friend, and say: "This is the oddest letter I ever received 
in the whole course of my life." Colonel Wyndham replied 
that it might be odd, but that it was still fair, open, and 
honest, and advised him to accept the proposal. Uncertain as 
to his plans — for the London theatres were still in sad confu- 
sion — and inclining himself in that direction, he took his 
friend's advice, and closed with Sheridan. 

He first went to Lichfield to see his family, and determined 
to go on from thence to Ireland, without returning to London. 
This resolution seemed to hurt his friend Mrs. Cibber, who 
thought it against his interests, and a little against the 
interests of their friendship. With a break-up in theatrical 



I 



1746.] SECOND DUBLIN SEASON, 87 

matters so imminent, it was well to be on the spot. His 
" little wife," as she called herself, would have been glad to 
have had but two or three hours' conversation with him before 
he left Garrick, we may suspect, was growing a little 
fatigued with this "friendship;" and wrote back some 
routine compliments, saying that she was of the number 
he could not wish to take leave of. He added that he also 
wanted sadly to make love to her — on the stage. To which 
she replied pleasantly that she could assure him very seriously 
that unless he made more love than he did the past year, she 
would never act with him. All the last winter she had had 
" wretched lovers. I desire you always to be my lover on the 
stage, and my friend off it." Garrick then promised to write 
to her from Ireland, and set off about the middle of November. 

In the interval between Garrick's first and second visit, the 
state of the Irish theatres had become deplorable, and sad 
disorders had grown up. A sort of licence among the audience 
had been encouraged by the management, and by allowing the 
public to behave as they pleased, all check of respect and 
decency had gradually been lost. Tho boxes and pit were 
deserted while the stage was crowded with gratuitous visitors, 
and the gallery was the scene of brawls and riots between tho 
"footmen" and the mob. In this demoralization Sheridan 
had been invited to become manager, and attempt a reform ; 
and having remodelled scenery and scenic effects, and brought 
about something like order, determined to play boldly, and, as 
the first card to play, thought of engaging Garrick. 

He presently came to London, to get together a band of 
recruits, and at last started for Chester with a curious party : 
Miss Bellamy, the well-known " George- Anne," an ambitious 
young girl, who had just begun her career as "an actress; her 
mother, and Lacy, the manager of Drury Lane, who was 
going over to pick up recruits for his new season — who, 
furious at his treatment by Garrick, had written bitterly of 
him to the Irish proprietors. There were also Mrs. Elmy, 
another actress, and a Mr. Morgan, who was an admirer of the 
latter, but in the last stage of consumption. Mrs. Elmy, who 
affected to be a humourist, enlivened tho journey by constant 
disputes with Miss Bellamy. At Parkgate they found the 
wind contrary, and the manager, impatient to get to his 
theatre, left them there, and posted on to Holyhead. 

On a Sunday morning, November 24th, Mr. Garrick arrived 
in Dublin. Garrick was anxious to have a certain sum in 
place of sharing profits. There was near being a fresh quarrel, 
which was accommodated by Sheridan's ungraciously taking 

\ 



88 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1745 — 

out his watch, and giving the other a few minutes for an 
answer. This did not promise much harmony. The next day 
the news was in all the papers. The season did not open for 
a fortnight ; meantime the capital had plenty of attractions to 
fill up the popular actors time. It was during this season 
that he formed a crowd 61 acquaintances among the highest in 
the country, whose friendship he retained during all his life — 
Lord Forbes, Lady Doneraile, Bishop Clayton, Mrs. Delany's 
friend, besides Lords Bellamont, Milltown, and many more. 
One of the leading persons of fashion was Colonel Butler, and 
his wife, "the Hon. Mrs. Butler," whose house was "fre- 
quented by most of the nobility." They had a handsome seat 
on the sea-coast at Clontarf, and with this family the English 
actor became very intimate. Lord Chesterfield was now 
Viceroy. He had laid himself out to conciliate the people 
by something like impartial government The Irish Court 
seemed to glitter afresh. New amusements were devised; 
new rooms were built at the Castle, designed by the elegant 
taste of the Lord-Lieutenant himself, where festivals are still 
given on drawing-room nights. 

The theatre was at last ready to open. It was a surpris- 
ingly good company. One of its elements of strength was to \ 
be a new actor, who, like Powell later, had stepped from the 
warehouse to the stage. Mr. Garrick, coming over as a " star," 
perhaps made small account of this local luminary, who was 
now modestly studying Castalio to play to* Miss Bellamy in 
" The Orphan." He did not dream of what perilous rivalry 
he was to find in the noble figure, handsome face, and tender 
voice — a dangerous combination of advantages — of the ci-devaiti 
Dublin silversmith. This was Sprangcr Barry, who had made 
"some figure on the stage" the preceding winter; and that 
splendid presence and silvery voice, full of deep pathos, wcro 
later to ravish all London. 

As Garrick had taken his farewell in "Hamlet," he was 
now to make his re-appearance in the same play. With Sheri- 
dan he was now on fairly cordial terms, and they had agreed 
to play in Shakspearc alternately. Indeed, at every period 
— whether we look back to the beginning or to the end of his 
career, to his apprenticeship, or to his full maturity — we find 
the same calm, temperate, and modest tone of mind, and the 
same generous self-abnegation. No wonder ho won respect, 
fast friendship, and admiration, besides fame. 

On the night of the 9th of December the theatre opened 
"with dclat." The manager had determined to carry out all 
his reforms strictly, and by advertisement the public wcro 



1746.1 SECOND DUBLIN SEASON. 89 

warned that no one would be admitted behind the scenes ex- 
cepting those who had box tickets.* Mrs. Storer was the 
Ophelia, and, after the tragedy, sang, while a Madame Moreau 
•danced. Thus the entertainment comprised music, dancing, 
and singing. 

A fortnight later, Garrick was to have had his first benefit, 
l)ut the " Messiah " being fixed for that night at the " Music 
Hall," for the benefit of " the poor prisoners," he good-naturedly 
deferred his night till Friday, when he appeared in Bayes. The 
Viceroy was present, and also "one of the most polite and 
crowded audiences that hath ever been seen at any play " — a 
pardonable exaggeration. Vast numbers had to be turned away 
for want of room, and the block on the little " Blind Key " was 
tremendous. It was after this occasion that the play-goers were 
entreated by public advertisement to keep distinct route in com- 
ing and going, with their chairs and coaches, which got sadly 
confused " in so narrow a place," and that " these rules may be 
punctually obeyed," oddly added the notice, guards were placed 
to insure the regulations being carried out But the Viceroy's 
behaviour to Mr. Garrick was extraordinary. The actor and 
manager had both attended him to his box, carrying wax lights 
and walking backwards, a custom that still obtains in Dublin 
on benefit nights. To Sheridan he spoke kindly, but took not 
the slightest notice of the other, and did not even return his 
salute. This was characteristic of the cold-hearted professor of 
the Graces. He affected to disparage Garrick's view of the 
part of Bayes. He held that it was intended for a serious 
and solemn character, and that it was quite misconceived. 
Generally, too, he objected to the actor's comedy powers; 
though later he went so far as to say publicly that he was not 
only the best tragedian of the day, but the best that had 
ever been in the world. This was high praise : but it was 
delayed till he was removed from all possibility of contact with 
the player. Yet he had met him at dinner in London. Cer- 

* The new rule, made lately, admitted ladies to the pit, as was the cus- 
tom in London. The quarrelsonie " footmen," who waited for their 
families in the galleries, were not to be admitted there without a ticket 
from the box-keeper ; and their habit of waiting in the " box-room," with 
flaring torches to light their masters' " chairs " home, was found disagree- 
able for the ladies, and was required to be given up* The chief prices 
were 5s. 5d. ; the "lattices," 4s. 4d. ; the " pit," 3s. 3d. ; "gallery," 2s. 2d.; 
and the " upper gallery," Is. Id. Tickets were to be had at Mr. Neil's, in 
Abbey-street, and at the bar of the Merchants' Coffee-house. The per- 
formances were to commence at half-past six, a later hour thftn in London, 
for even at this time they had the habit of dining so late as five o'clock. 
The doors were open at four o'clock. 



90 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1745 — 

tainly during the engagement the Vice-regal box was rarely 
empty. 

Bayes was announced as his last appearance before the holi- 
days. He must have spent them pleasantly. He knew Lord 
Mountjoy, and " old Dr. Barry," and Mr. Tighe, of the Castle. 
He talked "fine things" to them of Mrs. Cibber, who was 
affectionately thought of. He was really anxious that she 
should come over and join their company, but she was afraid of 
the sea. 

It must have been a rare treat indeed, attending Smock 
Alley Theatre and seeing plays bo finely cast, with four players, 
all young, spirited, clever, and good-looking. These, after all, 
are precious stage gifts. On the first day of the new year 
they began with the " Fair Penitent " " by command," when 
Sheridan took Horatio, Garrick Lothario, and the handsome 
Barry Altamont — a small part, which he made so graceful that 
it became as important as the other two. No wonder that the 
Dean of Down's wife should have thought him in this very 
character, " the handsomest man and finest figure altogether 
that ever paced upon the stage." Play-goers and writers seem 
at a loss for words to describe the charm ; but setting all the 
portraits side by side— ChurchilTs, Davies', and many more — 
the features resolve themselves in a graceful figure, a face of 
calm, manly beauty, an expression of soft interest and tender- 
ness, and a touching and musical voice. These are gifts that 
would carry any actor through, and most likely they carried 
him over the mannerisms hinted at by the bitter Churchill, and 
the affectation, with which, the satirist unfairly says, "he 
conned his passions as he conned his part." The ladies were 
his warm patrons, whom " he charmed by the soft melody of 
his love complaints and the noble ardour of his courtship." 
Lord Chesterfield also admired his figure, but forecasted his 
sudden withdrawal from the stage, carried off by some smitten 
rich widow. 

Then followed " Macbeth " (by command), " The Orphan," 
"King Lear and his Three Daughters," "The Recruiting 
Officer;" and for Garrick's second benefit, "The Provoked 
Wife " with the farce of " The Schoolboy." Later came Archci', 
in " The Beaux' Stratagem." But the footmen had again grown 
disorderly, and the manager had to address the public on the 
abuse; threatening to shut up the gallery altogether. He 
offered them one last chance of trial on Garrick's benefit 
night, when if the noise was repeated the gallery was to 
be closed, and servants were "never to be admitted to the 
theatre again." It was odd that this very class were later 



1746.] SECOND DUBLIN SEASON. 91 

to break out at Edinburgh in a riot of very much the same 
kind. 

The English actor once more read in his newspaper compli- 
mentary verses from his Dublin admirers. One took the shape 
of an ?igrum- 

" Hearing that aged crows are learned and wise, 

I ask'd the ancient, famous one, at Warwick, 
Which of all actors best deserved the prize ? 

Rotciut it could not say, but Garrick — Garrick"* 

The young Miss Bellamy was making progress, and combin- 
ing the pleasures of Dublin society with her professional duties. 
The sprightly and ambitious girl had boldly made terms with 
the manager in London that she was to be allowed to commence 
as Constance in " King John," a part in which she had a girlish 
ambition to take the audience by storm. She was naturally 
encouraged to it by the great applause she received, for she 
was appearing nearly every night, in all sorts of characters — 
was going to parties at Mrs. Butler's and other fashionable 
houses, and hardly found time for sleep. She was very pretty; 
and it gives us a hint of the tone of Dublin Society and the over- 
powering rage for drama, when Lord Tyrawley's natural 
daughter was " chaperoned " by Mrs. OUara, Lord Tyrawley's 
sister, as her niece, and Mr. Garrick, the young " player," was 
welcomed everywhere. 

" King John " was much talked of, and was announced by 
the papers to be in rehearsal. There was great curiosity 
abroad to see it, as it had not been played " in this kingdom " 
for many years ; but there was a serious commotion going on 

* On another day he read other lines, not less complimentary — 

II O, thou, the phoenix of the age, 
The prop and glory of the stage — 
Thou Proteus, that with bo much ease 

Assum'st what character you please. 

* * * * 
Like Pallas, from the brain of Jove, 

Perfect you came — nor can improve, 

* * * * 
How did my swelling bosom glow, 

To see thy Leart majestic woe ; 

And yet, 0, strange ! on the same night. 

How did thy Lying Sharp delight! " 

Then in reference to his playing Richard III. — 

" I scarce can think thou play 'at a part, 
And I could stab thee to the heart ; 
Tift here thy genius is admired, 
Tis here thou seem'st almost inspired ; 
Else how could thy sweet nature bear 
T' assume the murdering villain's air ? " 



92 THE LIFE OP DAVID GARRICK. \}^^ — 

in the green-room. Garrick and the manager were to play th e 
King and the Bastard alternately. They were to be the pillars 
of the play ; and Mr. Garrick had privately pitched on Miss 
Bellamy for a " hose and trunks " part, Prince Arthur, for which 
his good sense had told him, a pretty and untrained young 
actress would be far better adapted than for Constance, The 
more experienced Mrs. Furnival was intended for that part. 
There was, besides, another objection to Miss Bellamy appear- 
ing as Constance ; the part of Prince Arthur would then have to 
be done by a lady whose misfortune it was to be "hard- 
featured " and a little too mature for a boy-character. Sheridan 
stood by his promise, and supported the young actress* claim ; 
but Garrick was firm, and prevailed. 

The retaliation she took was characteristic, almost amusing. 
With true green-room spite and girlish fury she flew to her 
friend, " Mrs. Butler, of St. Stephen's Green," told the story 
of her wrongs and persecution, and actually engaged her in a very 
vindictive scheme of revenge. Ladies of fashion in Dublin had 
a great deal of power in reference to the theatre.* Mrs. Butler, 
who led " the genteel world " in Dublin, took up the cause of 
her protege*, and when the play was announced for the 5th of 
February, actually went round diligently to all her friends, and 
made it a point that they should stay away. She further in- 
sisted they should exert themselves to prevent all their friends 
attending the first representation of "King John." The spite- 
ful little scheme succeeded perfectly. On that night, with 
Sheridan as the Bastard, and Eoscius as the King, the house 
was miserably thin, and the receipts did not reach £40. 

The malicious young actress had triumphed thus far. She 
often told how she had given " the immortal Eoscius his first 
humiliation." She had made him "severely repent "of pre- 
ferring the regular tragedy queen, Mrs. Furnival, " to her little 
self." Those who have studied Eoscius* life and character, will 
know that no such feelings were in his heart He was more 
amused than angry, and yielded. He bore her not the least 
malice for so unworthy a trick, and treated the wilful actress 
with a charming good-humour and forgiveness, that shows us 
his true character admirably. He was magnaminous enough to 

* Leading acton attached themselves to some lady of quality, who took 
on herself the management of his "night," canvatsed her acquaintances, 
disposed of tickets, and received the fashionable part of the audience in the 
box- room, as though she were the hostess. The night was called, not the 

actor's but " Lady 'a night," and there was a sort of emulation among 

them to have their particular "night" successful. The silver-tongued 
Barry had many such nights, and was at no loss for patronesses. 



■H 



174G.] SECOND DUBLIN SEASON. 93 

have the play put up once more, with Miss Bellamy in her 
coveted part of Constance. 

The town, meanwhile, had got hold of the story, and was 
vastly entertained. This time it was Garrick's turn to play 
the Bastard. Mrs. Butler, no doubt, set her influence at work 
in the genteel world — but in an opposite direction — and the re- 
sult was an overflowing audience, with crowds turned away 
from the doors. The actress affected to recognise in the bois- 
terous applause of the audience, a recognition of the victory 
she had gained. But the wilful girl was not yet satisfied. She 
took all this good-humoured forbearance for indifference, or 
perhaps enmity. 

" Tancred " then followed, and " Othello " — with Garrick and 
Sheridan taking Iago and Otliello alternately. This variety 
and trial of skill would have delighted the Dublin galleries ; 
but it is plain that by this time, the superior ability and popu- 
larity of his rival had excited some jealousy in the manager, 
who had now become hostile both to Garrick and to Barry. 
The feeling between the two latter was most cordial and honour- 
able. Barry's benefit followed, " The Distressed Mother," with 
Garrick's first attempt at Orestes. Then came "Lear," "being 
the last time of Mr. Garrick's playing under his present agree- 
ment " — for the success had been so great, that a new engage- 
ment was entered into. On the 19th of March, he attempted 
Sir Harry JVUdair, in which it was confessed, that he did not 
approach the saucy Woffington, and on the 3rd of April, played 
for the benefit of a dramatic author. It was also given out 
that " Mr. Garrick would play two or three times more before 
leaving the kingdom." 

April the 15th was a high festival, being the birthday of His 
Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland, which, like all loyal 
occasions, was kept "with great demonstrations of joy," 
" Orestes " was the play for this night, and Lord Chesterfield 
and his court, and "a numerous and polite audience" were 
present. Sheridan spoke a prologue; but the event of the 
night was the epilogue, written by " The Farmer " — a sobri- 
quet for "the ingenious Mr. Brooke" — and spoken by Mr. 
Garrick. The enthusiasm of the occasion, and the correct elo- 
cution of the speaker, may have diverted attention from the 
graver burlesque of this production. Some of the verses ran : — 

" Tis not a birth to titles, pomp, and state 
That forms the brave or constitutes the great ; 
To be the son of George's just renown, 
And brother to the heir of Britain's crown. 1 * 

The bathos of the last line reads like burlesque. The Viceroy 



94 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1745 

was about leaving for England, and Boscius had to deliver sonio 
passages of complimentary regret : 

" Then seize, Hibernia, seize the present joy, 
This day is sacred to the martial boy ; 
The morrow shall a different strain require, 
When with thy Stanhope all delights retire ; 
And (a long Polar night of grief begun), 
Thy soul shall sigh for its returning Sun."* 

An ordinary play had been chosen for Garrick's last benefit 
and last appearance, but as there was a desire to see him in 
one more new character, " Jane Shore " was underlined, and 
Miss Bellamy found in this an opportunity for her malice, or 
her petulance. She was really gaining favour with the 
audience by a mixture of impudence and spirit, which is often 
popular in a theatre, as well as by the way she had resented a 
freedom Mr. Ledger had attempted, giving him a sound slap 
on the face in full view of the audience — which caused Lord 
Chesterfield to applaud publicly, and send his aide, Major 
Macartney, to require a public apology. 

Garrick had wished that she should play Jane Shore for him, 
which she refused — maliciously giving him back his own pre- 
textj in the case of Constance — her excessive youth. He then 
wrote her a sort of playful note, in which he said that if she 
would oblige him in this matter, he would write her a " goody, 
goody epilogue, which, with the help of her eyes, should do 
more mischief than ever the flesh or the devil had done, since 
the world began." And this effusion he directed burlesquely, 
" To my SouPs Idol, the beautiful Ophelia ! " This was given 
to his servant to deliver, to be handed over to a messenger, 
who was utterly mystified by the address, and took it to 
his master. He turned out to be a newspaper proprietor, 
and, Miss Bellamy says, promptly inserted it in his journal. 
" The writer of this high-flown epistle," she adds, " was not a 
little mortified at its publication." 

" Jane Shore " was then played ; but the important feature 
of the night, instead of the "goody-goody epilogue," was a 
farewell address to the town by Mr. Garrick. It has not been 
reported. It was his last appearance on the stage in Ireland, 

* Garrick was fond of telling a story about " the widow Madden," a 
Catholic lady of great beauty, who had appeared at the Castle on King 
William's birthday, with an orange favour in her dress. The Lord- 
lieutenant made the well-known epigram — 

" Little Tory, where 's the jest, 
To wear that orange in your breast, 
When that same breaut, betraying shows 
The whiteness of the rebel rose." 



1746.] SECOND DUBLIN SEASON. 95 

but he remained some days more. The popular Viceroy had 
sailed on the Wednesday before this last performance, a de- 
parture which could not affect Mr. Garrick. His last words to 
Sheridan were a most earnest encouragement in his scheme 
of an " oratical academy " in London, with an appearance of 
warm personal interest in the project that might reasonably 
be taken for a promise of support But when the academy 
was started, and the actor waited on the patron, only a guinea 
was put into his hand ! 

It was rumoured that the amount of money divided be- 
tween Garrick and Sheridan was something incredible. The 
former had indeed full reason to be satisfied with his visit — 
though it is quite plain that the old estrangement had again 
set in. The manager resented the superior popularity of the 
young actor, and still more the mortification of thin houses on 
nights when he was dependent on his own resources. The 
fault can scarcely be laid to Garrick's side ; for with Barry, far 
more dangerous as a rival, a sort of warm friendship sprung 
up ; and, with him also, it seems that Sheridan had fallen out. 

The day before Garrick embarked he galloped down to 
Clontarf to say good-bye to his fashionable friends the But- 
lers. He found the whole family walking on the terrace with 
his girlish enemy. Of Mrs. Butler he was a great favourite, 
but on this occasion she could not resist a sprightly practical 
joke. She went away suddenly, and came back with a sealed 
packet, which she put into his hand, with a little solemnity, 
and a declaration as solemn. "I here present you, Mr. 
Garrick, with something more valuable than life. In it 
you will read my sentiments ; but I strictly enjoin you not 
to open it till you have passed the Hill of Howth." Every 
one was a little surprised, "especially," remarks Miss Bel- 
lamy, "Colonel Butler's chaplain," who was of the party. 
He dined there, and went away in the evening; then the 
" Hon. Mrs. Butler " told the company the joke. The packet 
contained "Wesley's Hymns" and "Swift's Sermon on the 
Trinity." He was so chagrined, says his young enemy, and 
mortified, that he tossed them both over the vessels side. 
But how did Miss Bellamy learn this exhibition of wounded 
amour prapre ? The malevolent and persecuting Garrick told 
her the story himself in London — where, too, he had given 
her an engagement at his theatre! Thus ended the second 
great Garrick season, which had lasted some six months, and 
was long remembered. He was never to see that pleasant 
city again, though his heart often turned to it 

fro wonder Garrick spoke almost with affection of this visit, 



96 THE LITE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1746 

and of his "love to Ireland." No wonder that, while waiting 
till the chaos at the London theatres should settle into some 
defined shape, he should think of returning again in the fol- 
lowing year. He had made abundance of friends, and mixed 
in the best circles, and had " drank " and been merry with the 
Irish gentlemen.* 

As soon as he was gone, everything fell into confusion. 
Salaries were stopped, and the silversmith's graceful son could 
not get a penny of what was due to him. Garrick, however, 
had stood his friend, and lent him money; further, with a 
wonderful absence of all mean jealousy, was anxious to keep a 
place for him in arrangements he was now meditating, and 
eager to introduce him to a London audience. Acting, no 
doubt> on Garrick's advice, he declined Lacy's proposal for an 
engagement. " When I consider you as my guardian angel," 
wrote Barry to him, " I can resist any temptation. . . . i ou 
have already made me happy by your friendship ; and it shall 
be the business and pleasure of my life to endeavour to 
deserve it, and I would willingly make it the basis of my 
future fortune." The business, and perhaps pleasure, of his 
life was to become a fretful and spiteful rivalry, and a harass- 
ing of his friend with complaints and ungenerous suspicions. 



CHAPTER VIIL 

THE VIOLETTE. — 1746-47. 

Mr. Garrick travelled back with Victor, a useful official at 
the Irish theatres, and who knew most of the actors on both 
sides of the water. They reached London on the 10th of 
May, Garrick bringing with him six hundred pounds, the spoil 
and profit of his campaign. He found the air thick with 
clouds. Everything dramatic was in confusion and disorder. 
His clear business eye saw that a general break-up must soon 
come, and that his post clearly was to stand aside, look on, 
and bide his time. 

His friend Mrs. Cibber had kept him an courani with the 
state of the London stage. Nothing could be more deplorable. 
One of the reasons for this general decay had been the general 
disturbance caused by the Scotch rebellion, which affected 
pleasure and business impartially. The actors were starving, 

* In one of his letters to Mrs. Cibber he hinted at these carouses. The 
people of Cork were much offended that he did not visit them. 



1747.] THE VIOLETTE. 97 

and the theatres reduced to the most unhappy condition. 
The managers took the unworthy course of appealing to the 
popular prejudices, and inflamed them by the selection of 
plays likely to stir the vulgar passions of the mob. The little 
" theatre in the Hay " had been opened for opera, with Ge- 
miniani's music, and the amateur assistance of Prince Lobki- 
witz, and the " Mysterious Chevalier of St. Germain." But 
the loyalist mob would not tolerate an entertainment sup- 
ported by Papists and foreigners; and after nine nights the 
place was shut up " by order/' " The Nonjuror " was played 
very often, and with such profit to the managers that, as the 
pleasant Mrs. Cibber said, " it would give them a respect for 
the name for the rest of their lives." But the topping of all 
was Lacy's bringing out "Perkin Warbeck, the Popish Im- 
postor," magnificently "mounted;" perhaps the most comic 
wrestling of history to bigotry on record. The audience, how- 
ever, had the good sense to laugh at " Henry the Seventh," 
who by a curious anachronism was thus made to represent 
English Protestantism and freedom. Even with this attrac- 
tion, the affairs of the theatre continued in a wretched condi- 
tion ; the actors were on half salaries, and there was often, 
according to Mrs. Cibber, scarcely fifteen pounds taken of a 
night. She was. now watching the gradual decadence of the 
Old House. Now, the stage had been " built up " for the ac- 
commodation of the crowds who were to rush to see " The Ke- 
cruiting Officer ; " but as no crowd came, Lacy had to shut in 
the benches with a flat scene. He had tried to detach Mrs. 
Cibber by fresh and advantageous offers, and when these were 
declined, went round telling everywhere of the insolence and 
exorbitance of Garrick and his confederate, who had made 
such extravagant demands as no house could offer to give. 
It was said, too, that he and his friends were hatching a 
pamphlet, in which the rapacity of the pair were to be pro- 
perly exposed ; and the actress was very eager that this move 
should be provided against — that, if such did appear, it should 
be replied to, and Garrick's written decliner of his proposals 
really set before the public. Lacy tried advertisements, hint- 
ing at the matter in the papers ; but finding that they did not 
pique the public, gave over his plan of a pamphlet attack. 
She wrote also, that Lacy was setting up one Goodfellow as 
quite equal in power to the absent actor. 

At last, however, this clever lady persuaded him. Before 
he had left Dublin he had agreed to join with her and Quin in 
purchasing the Drury Lane patent, should it come into the 
market, as indeed it was likely to do. With that spirit of 

H 



98 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1746 — 

accommodation which was always his characteristic, he was 
ready to resign some of his old parts to Quin, study new ones 
himself, and, in case of others, was content to play them 
alternately. But the theatre was not yet sufficiently embar- 
rassed, and was to struggle on for some time longer. 

A dull but handsome Prince of Hesse, who had been on the 
staff of " the Duke " through the Scotch campaign, had arrived 
in town, and was the cynosure of the moment. All the attrac- 
tions of London were displayed to him. On the Sunday he 
dined with the King, who presented him with a splendid sword. 
On the Monday he went to Ranelagh, where he supped, and 
actually went up to the great and famous actor, Mr. Garrick, 
and spoke to him. People in the country were very anxious 
to have the exact words used by his Royal Highness. It is 
curious that, on the following night, he should have been at the 
opera with his suite, to see a very famous danseuse, after whom 
all the town was running, and it was remarked that he changed 
from his own box into the Prince of Wales', to get a better view 
of the "last dance." This was danced by a lady called La 
Violette. Thus the future husband and wife received nearly 
equal honour; and most likely Mr. Garrick, who resorted to 
places of fashion like Ranelagh, was also present at the opera, 
to see this homage to one whom he did not think of then as 
his future partner. 

Rich determined to profit by the general rejoicing, and 

although the season was over, kept his company together for 

a few^nights> in honour of the Prince./ He secm'ed Garrick for 

\ N six performances, one of which'was his weak part — Othello. 

x These performances, however, brought him three hundred 

\ pounds, and most likely the patronage of the Prince.* 

* v —In this tide of success, money, applause, compliments, gaieties, 

and civilities heaped upon him, it is no wonder that he should 

have been in spirits. He could afford to wait events. He left 

London, and went down to Cheltenham for a holiday. His 

letters, at this time, overflow with spirits, and enjoyment, and 

affection. He enjoyed life there. He was admired by ail the 

ladies. He tore himself from the place with reluctance, as he 

wrote to his brother, rather strongly, "leaving Elysium to 

arrive at Hell." The company of that Elysium had been long 

expecting him. Three young ladies, "most agreeable parties, 

with whom he had been "very. merry and happy last night," 

had gone away. Another lady had got " rantipole spirits " by- 

•»— ^— ^— — — ^— — — — ^ ^— ^~ ^— ^— — »— — — i^ ^ — — . _» _ _ 

* He was engaged on June 11th, and played Lear, Hamlet, Richard. 
Othello, Archer, and Macbeth. 



1747.] THE VIOLETTE. 99 

drinking the waters. Miss Polly Fletcher, however, down at 
Lichfield, must not believe her sister if she brings back a story 
of his having fallen in love with Miss Vernon; for his passion 
for Miss Polly is still unalterable.* 

Then he went down to Lichfield, where he had seen his friend 
Walmesley, who still called him " dear Davy," and wrote to him 
from Bath most affectionately. That kind old friend was try- 
ing to learn whist, to make himself acceptable at the parties 
there; and one day, as he was sitting in the coffee house, 
chatting to Mr. Stanhope, entered Lord Chesterfield, no longer 
Lord-Lieutenant, and began to talk of Mr. Garrick. The old 
man had great pleasure in writing to " Davy " that his lordship 
considered him the best tragedian in the world. He then be- 
gan to dwell on the gifts of Barry, and seemed to hint, a little 
maliciously, that he would try and advance him as much as he 
could. Mr. Walmesley, eager for his pupil, hoped his lordship 
would extend his protection to Garrick also; but the other said 
carelessly that he wanted none. He had clearly some petty 
spite to the actor, and his patronage of the other was no doubt 
more a depreciation of Garrick than a substantial assistance to 
Barry. 

But there was a spell drawing Garrick back to London — 
one, whom he perhaps did not then dream as the guardian angel 
of his life — a beautiful young girl, who, as we have seen, was 
dancing at the opera. About her there was quite a little 
history. 

Early in the year 1746, only a few weeks before the Battle 
of Culloden, some young and vivacious Scotch gentlemen, who 
had been studying at a Dutch university, where they left 
Charles Townsend behind, were embarking at Helvoetsluys, on 
their way home to their own country. One of these students 
was the handsome, lively, and not too straight-laced Doctor 
Carlyle, the clergyman of Inverness, whose memoirs are such 
agreeable reading. Among their fellow-passengers was one 
whom they took for a Hanoverian Baron going up to St. James's 
with his suite. Presently the wind began to freshen into a 
cale. The Scotchmen enjoyed it, but the young baron went 
down to the only berth in the cabin, and becoming very ill, 
called out in French to know if there was any danger. The 
young student then detected a woman's voice, reassured her, 
and he and his friends were very attentive and obliging. They 
soon found out that this was a young dancer from Vienna, 
coming to try the English stage at the Opera House; and 

• Forster MSS. 

H 2 



100 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1746 — 

later, a person who gave himself out as her father, with a true 
air of business, begged their patronage for his j>roltgit. 

Landing at Harwich, they travelled on up to London; but 
at Colchester the servants of the hotel suspected the sex of the 
young page, and began to insult "the foreigners." The young 
men interfered, stood by the party, and saw that they were 
civilly treated. The next day they met on the road again, 
and the Scotch gentlemen made the young lady dine with 
them. Finally they got to London, and the whole party put 
up in Friday-street. They did not forget their promise of 
patronage; for shortly after, the young girl made her appear- 
ance at the opera in the Haymarket, and they all repaired to 
see her. The whole thing seemed to their Scotch minds unreal 
and tawdry, but the dancing, which they were perhaps pre- 
pared to like, they thought " exquisite." 

This young girl, who was thus travelling once as a page, was> 
Mademoiselle Violette, the reputed daughter of a respectable 
citizen of Vienna, named John VeigeL* Her story was a ro- 
mance. When the children of Maria Teresa were learning 
dancing, this young girl was taken to the palace with some 
others to form a sort of class, and she was there said to have 
attracted the Empress's notice, so much so as to have been re- 
quested by her to change her name from Veigel — a patois cor- 
ruption of Veilchen, a violet — into the corresponding and 
prettier French word. But it was said also that the Emperor's 
eye had fallen with favour on the young lady who came to 
practise with his children, and that the Empress, much alarmed, 
had sent her off to England, with recommendations to influen- 
tial persons there, with a view also to making her first appear- 
ance on the stage, t Her brother, Ferdinand Charles, belonged 
to the Vienna ballet. She travelled in company with some 
foreigners named Kossiter, who were looking after some 
English property. 

The Earl of Burlington and his family were, no doubt, 
among those to whom she brought introductions. As we have 
seen, they took her up with extraordinary warmth ; and from 
mere patronage their attention grew into affection. Her first 
appearance was on December 30, 1746. The King patronized 
her benefit. She was talked of everywhere, from Leicester 
House downwards ; and — unusual privilege for a dancer — was 
made free of noble and fashionable houses. She was singularly* 

* She was born " on Leap Year's day," 1724-5, at Vienna. — MS. House 
Book, Lichfield. 

t She gave this account herself to a lady, who repeated it to Mr- 
Ilackett, Mrs. Garrick's executor. 



1747.] THE VIOLETTE. 101 

attractive. A dainty little miniature of Petitot's, shows her as 
she appeared about this time — a sort of Watteau beauty, with 
a small round face, ripe lips, and a cloud of turquoise-coloured 
drapery floating about her. This attractive young Viennese, 
who danced with such applause in that ill-fated year, became 
the wife of David Garrick, and lived long enough to sit to Mr. 
Robert Cruikshank, for one of his most characteristic etchings, 
some forty years ago.* The theatre was administered by the 
Prince of Wales and Lord Middlesex, just as Drury Lane was 
later by Lord Byron and a company of noble directors. But 
with the royal manager of the theatre the new dancer had 
fallen into disfavour. He had required her to take lessons 
from a French dancing-master, Denoyer, an intriguer, and a 
useful tool of the Prince, and she had refused, t 

Young Burney was among those who looked on at the " ex- 
quisite " dancing of the Violette. The Violette was still the 
chief attraction. Two noble sisters, the Countesses of Burling- 
ton and Talbot, were competing for her, having her always at 
their houses. For the former she was now sitting for her pic- 
ture. She was a guest at Lady Carlisle's supper parties. Lady 
Burlington, always impulsive and exalUe — as may be seen by 
her odd epitaph upon her own daughter — would go down with 
her to the theatre, and wait at the wings with a pelisse to throw 
over her when she should come off. The danseuse was taken 
to Lord Lovat's trial, and was seen among the very finest com- 
pany. She was the "rage;" and Walpole called her "the 
finest and most admired dancer in the world." Thus it con- 
tinued until the end of July, when the amateur management 
was broken up by the waywardness of one of the noble ma- 
nagers, Lord Middlesex, who " protected " the Nardi at this 
theatre. He became furious at the popularity of the Violette, 
and dragged the whole company into this rivalship. The prin- 
cipal male dancer was arrested for debt ; to the luckless Gliick 
the noble manager gave a " bad note " in payment of his de- 
mands, and then fined him £300 for taking part with his coun- 
trywoman, the Violette, in the theatrical squabble. 

In December, 1746, she had appeared at Drury Lane, sup- 

* There is a charming picture by Zoflany, representing Mr. and Mrs. 
Garrick sitting in their garden, which is in possession of Mr. and Mrs. 
Hill. Nothing fresher or more delicate in colour can be conceived. In 
possession of the same family is also a crayon drawing by Catharine Reed. 

t Lord Strafford writes that at her first appearance she surprised the 
audience. " On her beginning to caper she showed a neat pair of black 
velvet breeches, with rolled stockings ; but finding that this was an 
unusual costume, she substituted white drawers." — Hist. JJSS. Com, 2nd 
Report, 



102 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1746 — 

ported by a male dancer called Salomon. On one occasion she 
was put down for three dances without her knowledge, and the 
audience being disappointed, a riot had nearly taken place. 
The absurdities of the day had made follies, as Walpole said, 
enter into the politics of the time — or, rather, they were the 
politics of the time. On this night Lord Bury and some other 
men of fashion began a disturbance, and insisted on her being 
sent for from Burlington House. Next day it was the excite- 
ment of the hour ; many great houses were thrown into agita- 
tion. Lord Hartington, son-in-law of Lady Burlington, was 
made to work the Ministry, and used all his influence to secure 
a good reception for the dancer on her next appearance. " The 
Duke " was sent to desire Lord Bury not to hiss. But the 
Violette herself took the most effectual mode to appease the 
angry audience. She made a pretty and characteristic apology. 
She " humbly begs leave to acquaint the public that she is very 
much concerned to hear that she has been charged with being 
the occasion of the noise on Wednesday night" She added 
that " she cannot possibly be guilty of an intention to disoblige or 
give offence to an English audience, especially where she had 
met with so much indulgence, for which she retains all possible 
gratitude." 

Later, she paid a visit to the Tower with Lord Burlington, 
to sec the political prisoners. He told her as they entered, 
" Every one that we shall see now is to be executed to-morrow" 
— a speech that shocked her terribly. The prisoners were then 
brought in. They were drawn up, and among them was the 
famous " Jemmy Dawson," and an interesting youth, quite a 
boy, named Wilding, who belonged to an old English Catholic 
family. The young girl was so attracted by this child and the 
unhappy fate that was in store for him, that at the first oppor- 
tunity she threw herself at the feet of her protector, and, with 
extraordinary vehemence, begged him to use all influence to 
save him. This intercession was successful. A pardon was 
obtained on condition of his banishing himself to the North 
American colonies, where he was not long after killed in a 
skirmish with the Indians. Some seventy years later, when 
the Wilding family had become nearly extinct, and an ancient 
maiden lady, at Liverpool, alone remained, a gentleman, named 
Kossan, was charged by her with a mission to Mrs. Garrick, to 
offer a somewhat late acknowledgment for this generous inter- 
cession. The gentleman performed his duty, and found that, 
though she was now old, the whole incident came gradually 
back on her.* 

* This story was told to the writer of this memoir, by a lady who had it 



1747.] QUIN AND GARRICK. 103 

The operas had now ceased to have their day, either through 
the fickleness of the town or these dissensions in the manage- 
ment A few months later they were still being played ; but 
no one thought of going to see them. The theatres then came 
to have their turn/ and the rival managers, preparing for a 
serious struggle in the coming season, made such successful 
exertions, that it almost seemed as if Garrick had " held over " 
too long, and over-reached himself. This was no doubt the 
opinion of his friend, Mrs. Cibber, who, for the last year or 
two, had been coquetting with both houses, and affecting a sort 
of retirement. He was far wiser. Lacy, gathering recruits for 
his season, made every offer to tempt Garrick to join ; but the 
latter still refused, as Lacy's behaviour had rendered alliance 
impossible, or because the application for Drury Lane came 
too late, or more possibly, Garrick was flushed by the success 
of the six performances at Covent Garden. It was soon known 
that he had agreed with Eich for the coming season at Covent 
Garden, and, by his accession, helped to make the strongest 
company ever known at that theatre. Lacy had not been 
remiss. He had commissioned Sparks to make Barry fresh 
offers — even a hundred pounds in hand " by way of present." 
Now the town might look forward to a rare treat in the 
coming season, through the fair rivalry of two such strong 
companies. 



CHAPTER IX. 



QUIN AND GARRICK, THE NEW MANAGERS OF DRURY LANE. 

1746-47. 

Ireland was then looked upon as quite another kingdom, 
and the rise of its actors as well as of its speakers in the Houses 
of Parliament was watched with interest in London. The 
advent of an actor "taller than the common size," graceful, 
elegant, said to have the most touching voice in the world, 
and whose conquests, among his audience, were not a little 

from the Mr. Rossan alluded to. It was repeated that this ardent patron* 
age was owing to the fact that she was a daughter of Lord Burlington's, 
born before his marriage, when he was abroad at Florence. But it has 
little to support it, beyond the fact that a noble lord and his lady were 
very kind to her, and eventually provided for her. First, he had been 
married two years before she was born, and from the date of his marriage 
lived in England many years without leaving it Mrs. Garrick, when asked 
directly on the matter, denied it to Mrs. Carr. " No," she said, " but I am 
of noble birth." 



i 



mm 



104 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1746 — 

remarkable, was sufficient to excite the curiosity of the 
languid town. He promised to be a dangerous rival. Other- 
wise the forces at the two theatres were fairly matched. At 
Covent Garden were drawn up — Garrick, Quin, Woodward, 
Ryan, Chapman, and Hippisley; with Mrs. Cibber, Mrs. Prit- 
chard, and Mrs. Green. To meet these at Drury Lane were 
Barry, Beard, Taswell, Giffard, Macklin, Delane; Clive, Wof- 
fington, and a Mrs. Giffard. As regards the ladies, sprightly 
comedy seems to have gone to one house exclusively, and 
stately tragedy to the other. And though Walpole pronounced 
the Covent Garden company perhaps the best ever brought 
together, the "twinkling feet" of the Viennese dancer were 
likely to be a dangerous counter-attraction. With these forces 
both houses prepared for battle. 

Lacy had secured Macklin as a sort of lieutenant, and who, 
having grievances of his own against Garrick, was sure to be 
an eager auxiliary in the new competition. Macklin took his 
newly-arrived countryman by the hand, and supplied him with 
hints as to matters likely to be useful to an actor who was 
strange to a London audience.* The Prince of Wales, it is 
said, thought him deficient in the graces of deportment, and 
forced his dancing-master on him, just as he wished to force 
this favourite on the Violette in the early part of the year. 
Barry judiciously accepted this august patronage, which he 
may indeed have owed to Lord Chesterfield. 

Covent Garden led off in September, and on October the 4th 
the new actor made his ddbut in Othello. His success was com- 
plete, and did not require the claque of his countrymen, who, 
it was said, crowded the galleries. Every one was struck with 
the fine figure, the graceful movements, and the uncommon 
sweetness and tenderness of the tones of his voice. " There 
was a burst of grief " in it, as one remarked who had often 
heard him ; and in the scenes, where rage, jealousy, and tender- 
ness succeeded each other, it assumed all the tones belonging 
to those passions with marvellous versatility. Ladies' eyes, 
fixed on him, and drinking in his persuasive tones, seemed to 
utter a repetition of Desdcmona's speech — " Would that 
Heaven had made me such a man ! " And in the scene in the 
fourth act, where he was reproaching Desdemona, the agony of 
mind, the tender love, and the hopeless misery that came into 

* He led his friend about the parks, and other public places ; and when 
people asked who was the distinguished- looking stranger that was walking 
with him, some spirit of waggishness made him answer that it was " the 
Earl of Munster ; " and this, getting about, was actually believed, even 
when Barry was first seen upon the stage.— Atrvbnan. 



1747.] QUIN AND GARRICK. 105 

his face, as he spoke the line — " But there, where I had gar- 
nered up my heart " — was such as hardly to leave a dry eye in 
the house. So with his burst of rapture when he met her on 
his return from Cyprus ; and it was noticed that, to the level 
passages at the beginning, generally slurred over by other 
actors, who were keeping themselves in reserve, he gave a 
meaning and force. The greatest encouragement was the 
sight of old Colley Cibber, that link between the new and the 
old school, in the boxes, applauding vehemently and con- 
spicuously ;_and_thenew^ actor jwjjsjald-that the veteran pre- 
ferred his Othello to that oT the Jamous Booth or Betterton. 
DavTes" Indeed says that it was considered his finest effort; 
but his physical gifts, as well as his peculiar style of tender- 
ness and passion, point to another character — Borneo. A 
fortnight later his rival stepped upon the Covent Garden 
boards as Hamlet. But the formal Garrick and Barry contest 
was not to set in for some years ; and we can be almost certain 
that no one was more eager, and even sincere too, in his con- 
gratulations to the new Othello than was Garrick. What was 
now to entertain the town was the contest at the one house be- 
tween Quin and Garrick. Such a situation is always embar- 
rassing for the party whose superiority is already established, 
for he feels that he is watched by curious eyes ; and it was 
Garrick's lot to have this delicacy put to the proof on a whole 
series of occasions. We have seen with what forbearance he 
behaved to Sheridan, and shall see presently with what mode- 
ration he could forget the past, and give a soi-disant rival the 
fairest opportunity for " rivalry " and the leading parts on the 
boards of his own Drury Lane. From Ireland he had written 
home the warmest praise of Barry, calling him "the first 
lover " on the stage, and offering to advise him in every way. 
To him in later years he gave his stage, and his leading parts, 
put up with his sensitiveness, bursts of jealousy, and pseudo 
grievances with a moderation and toleration that seems as- 
tonishing. Here, now, accident had thrown him into an un- 
avoidable competition with Quin, who naturally felt a nervous 
jealousy at the favour of one who, after dispossessing him of 
his throne, seemed destined to be his rock a-head. 

Quin's strength lay in good, bold, and sterling comedy: in 
tragedy ho represented merely the dry, colourless, declamatory 
elocution of the old time — that ancient style, tuned according 
to rule, and declaimed with harmonious conventionality. By 
way of challenge, he came forward early in October as King 
Richard. It must have been a cruel shock to him to find a 
miserably thin house, with difficulty saved from emptiness. A 



106 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1746 — 

week later came Garrick's turn in the same play to an enor- 
mous house. Every one was eager to see their strength 
joined in one play; and it was a night of extraordinary 
interest and curiosity when the curtain rose on "The 
Fair Penitent," with Garrick as Lothario, and Quin Ho- 
ratio. The scene was an exciting one. Each, as they ap- 
peared alternately, had his partisans ; but in the second act, 
when both met, the shouts of applause were so loud, raised 
again and again so noisily, that they appeared a little discon- 
certed. Garrick afterwards honestly confessed that he was, 
and Quin changed colour, though he affected to laugh it off. 
A young Westminster boy — Richard Cumberland — taken to 
this new performance, and placed in front of the gallery, has 
left almost a photograph of what he beheld. 

We can see Quin in his heavy green velvet coat, huge peri- 
wig, and rolled stockings, "paving " out his periods in a full 
heavy monotony, accompanying his periods with a weary 
"sawing motion." We can Hear Mrs. Cibber chaunting her 
periods in a sweet, sustained dead level, that, after a speech or 
two, fell wearily on the ears of the schoolboy, and sounded 
like an old ballad, with interminable verses. Of a sudden 
Garrick came bounding on the stage with a flash, bringing 
with him light and animation, a quick motion, a surprising 
variety of voice and manner — in short, ease and nature, in 
an almost comic contrast to stiffness and grim conventionality. 
It seemed like another life, a young beside an old one, new 
creatures beside those of an older world. Every muscle 
and nerve seemed in full play, as there stood the brilliant 
Lothario pointing at Horatio* The Westminster boy said 
that the audience seemed to lean to their older favourite. 
Quin, too, may have had more openings for declamatory 
"points." Even when challenged by Lothario in a light, 
prompt manner, Quin dragged out his answer, " 111 — meet — 
thee — there ! " with such slow rolling utterance and protracted 
pause, that, as the story ran, some one in the gallery called 
out to know " why he did not give the gentleman an answer V 
It was a trying situation for the fatting actor, and a little hard 
to keep his dignity and temper. The play was repeated 
many times, and was specially chosen for Saturdays, as a 
counter-attraction to the best opera night. 

* Many years afterwards, when they were dressing up Tate Wilkinson, 
at Drury Lane, for a ridiculous part of "The Fine Gentleman," they 
brought the very dress which Garrick wore in thi* part — a very short old 
suit of black velvet, with broad gold flowers, then grown as dingy as 
the letters on a piece of gilt gingerbread. 



1747.] QtJIN AND GARRICK. 107 

But when " Henry the Fourth " was announced Quin had 
his turn. In Falstaff he was unapproachable in all the 
breadth, humour, and stolidity of his great character. It was 
one of the great attractions of that season; and Garrick's Hot- 
spur, which never suited him, quite dwindled into an inferior 
part beside it. It was played again and again. Even after 
the fifth night, when Garrick fell ill, or prudently retired, 
another actor was substituted for him, and the run went on.* 
In "Jane Shore," Hastings restored Garrick's supremacy. 
That masterly part, and, perhaps, most elaborated of his cha- 
racters, was repeated for a dozen nights. 

They also played together in the " Distressed Mother." An 
old Lord Conyngham, who knew the coulisses, recalled that he 
had seen the pair in "Julius Caesar," and used to describe 
graphically the Brutus of Quin, as being like a great solid three- 
decker, immovable, and reserving its attack; while Garrick, as 
CassiuSy seemed to fly round and round, attacking here and 
there, wherever there was an opening, with unflagging vivacity. 
But he was confounding the " Fair Penitent with Shak- 
speare's play. Garrick never played in this tragedy. Through 
the whole season they continued in perfect harmony. Every- 
where Garrick was loud in praise of Quin's Falstaff. He re- 
lished his rough humour, and was determined not to be drawn 
into a quarrel. 

Meanwhile he had not forgotten his gift of farce writing ; and 
having seen a little French piece of M. Fagan's, called the " Pari- 
sienne," adapted it very happily to the English stage. It was 
gay and full of spirit, and had at least five clearly drawn 
humorous characters. There was a hoyden for Mrs. Green ; a 
pert, free-tongued waiting-woman for Mrs. Clive ; a testy old 
baronet, of the " heavy father " pattern, for Taswell ; a Bobadil 
captain for Woodward ; and a mincing Macaroni for himself. 
Such figures and such actors were sure to carry any piece 
through. But the real attraction lay in the Captain Flush of 
Woodward and the Fribble of Garrick, two types of the town 
which were known to all. Every one had seen the " Derby 
Captains " swaggering hotly in the coffee-house, mere adven- 
turers, who came and drank their Derby ale, ruffled it in their 
Kevenhuller hats and long swords, and were a nuisance to 
orderly citizens. 

Some of the critics attacked Garrick for the coarseness of 
his piece ; but in a few months he was to command instead of 

* There is a coloured figure in Derby Stafford- ware — very spirited and 
a good likeness — often seen in the old curiosity shops, representing Quin 
in this character. 



108 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1746 — 

serving, and then could use his power for reformation. It 
drew large houses for many weeks, and was acted over twenty 
times. ' Quin grumbled at having to play in one of his best 
pieces as a sort of lever de rideau, and swore he would not " hold 
up the tail of any farce." This speech was carried to Garrick, 
who said smartly, " Then I will give him a month's holidays," 
and chose a number of plays in which Quin had no part> 
putting up his farce for weeks together. Such is Davies's 
report of mere green-room tattle. Garrick had not the 
power of choosing the plays for the theatre, and Quin was con- 
tent to hold up the tail of the farce at his own benefit.* In 
fact, Davies misapprehended Garrick's speech, the point of 
which was, that as Quin would not act on the nights of the 
farce, he was likely to give himself a long holiday, the piece 
was so popular.! 

Garrick was scarcely bearing in mind an excellent caution of 
his friend Walmesley: "I hope you will take care not to hurt 
your health by playing more than you can bear ; for that would 
be the worst husbandry in the world." Several times in the 
season he had been obliged to retire from illness, and Quin's 
benefit had to be put off for the same reason. He became 
seriously ill indeed ; a severe cold settled on his lungs, and he 
was confined to his bed for weeks. Yet he made attempts to 
rally, and his kindness in coming from a sick-bed to play for 
Quin's benefit was remarkable. He had not strength to go 
through a long comedy, but he was willing to attempt a 

farce.J 

That sickness had its advantages. ' It relieved him of the 
unsuitable part of Hotspur, and besides revealed his surprising 
popularity. During his illness, which lasted five or six weeks, 
and indeed recurred during the whole season, the door of the 
periwig-maker in James Street, Covcnt Garden, where he 
lodged, was quite blocked up with the footmen of persons of 
quality coming to ask after him. Of this interest and sym- 
pathy we have plenty of instances all through his life, down to 
the last great procession — the player's funeral — up to West- 
minster Abbey. 

In the following month the famous comedy of " The Suspi- 

* Genest 

t Murphy says " it was universally agreed that Quin gained no addition 
to his fame by appearing in Lear, Richard, and Macbeth, ... In 'The 
Orphan,' Quin was Sciolto and Garrick Chamont." This is a surprising 
collection of mistakes ; Quin did not appear in Lear, and Macbeth was not 
acted at alL By Sciolto he means Acasto. 

X His letter to Quin was printed at the top of the playbills. 



1747-j QUIN AND GARRICK. 109 

cious Husband" was brought out, and Ranger, one of his 
most successful and spirited characters, was added to Garrick's 
repertoire. Actor and character were indeed worthy of each 
other, for nothing can exceed the buoyancy, the unflagging 
gaiety, the frolicsome abandon of this prince of good-natured 
rakes. It is one of the few living comedies, is written with ex- 
traordinary animation, and reads now almost as freshly as the 
day it appeared. " The Provoked Husband," " The Suspicious 
Husband," "The Clandestine Marriage," "The School for 
Scandal," and Goldsmith's two dramas are the comedies of the 
eighteenth century. Nearly seventy years are gone of the 
nineteenth, and no comedy approaching even "The Sus- 
picious Husband" has yet appeared. As acted by Garrick, 
Woodward, and Mrs. Pritchard, it must have been an admir- 
able and delightful entertainment.* 

To the end of his life almost it was one of Garrick's parts, 
and would seem to have suited him charmingly. In the same 
free key as the "Wonder," having its window and rope- 
ladders, and bed-chambers, it was the work of a medical mem- 
ber of a clever family — Dr. Hoadly; and so delighted the 
King with its genuine life and humour that he sent a hundred 
pounds to the author, and had the play dedicated to himself, f 

* The agreement for the performance of this comedy at Covent Garden 
rune: — 

*' In consideration of £80, which I am to receive from Mr. Rich, I shall 
give up half the profits to him of the third, sixth, and ninth nights arising 
from the new comedy called ' The Rake/ and am to allow the said Mr. 
Rich £60 for each of ye said nights for ye charges of his house. 

" N.B. — The copy of the play is my own, and ye profit arising from ye 
printing it." The title was altered to " Ye Suspicious Husband." 

The gaiety of Ranger starts from the moment the curtain rises. His 
talk with the servants ; his reply to his friend, after being up all night : — 

" Bellamy : Fie ! Ranger. Will you never think ? 

" Ranger : Yes ; but I can't be always a thinking. The law is a damn- 
able dry study, Mr. Bellamy ; there have I been at it these three hours ; 
but the wenches will never let me alone. 

" Bel. : Three hours ! "Why, do you usually study in such shoes and 
stockings ? 

" Ran, : Rat your inquisitive eyes ! Ex pede Herculem. Egad, you have 
me. The truth is, I am but this moment returned from the tavern." So 
with his quotation from " my Lord Coke," in " a case I read this morning," 
and his friend's expostulation, " My Lord Coke T " and his answer, " Yes, 
my Lord Coke ; sleep ? mere loss of time and hindrance of business ; we 
men of spirit are above it ; " and the whole kept up in the same tone, 
make it a most entertaining production. Strickland, however, is but a 
repetition of Kitely. ' 

t And the jealous, growling spirit of the manager, who was in the pit, 
not unnaturally took a general expression, *' the manager an owl," u 
himself. 



110 TIIE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1746 — 

This piece drew forth an excellent dramatic criticism from 
Foote, then playing at " The Hay," and preparing his " Diver- 
sions of the Morning/ 1 in which he pronounced it to be the 
best comedy since Vanbrugh's "Provoked Husband." It also 
brought out a bit of criticism, in the odd shape of a farce, by 
Macklin, which lived but one night* In fact, the play 
excited a storm, of criticism at the Grecian and other coffee 
houses, and was a sensation of the day. 

Yet, with the prosperity of his season, the manager's be- 
haviour and temper were a little strange. He seemed to 
grudge the success that brought himself such profit. When 
the houses were overflowing, he was seen peeping through the 
curtain at the audience, muttering, "Ah, you are there, are 
you ? Much good may it do you ! " One of his pastimes even 
was to go down upon his knees, and give a burlesque of the 
curse in Lear, in "Garrick's manner," to the obsequious ap- 
plause of his dependants. It is even said that he might 
have readily secured Garrick for many seasons more, but that 
he preferred his dislike to his interest, and let him go without 
a word. On May 29th the season closed, with, it is said, 
receipts to the amount of £8,000. Garrick, with his recurring 
bad health and illnesses, had worked harder even than usual, 
and had played nearly ninety times. 

Lacy's attempt at management seemed beyond his strength. 
A load of embarrassment was upon his shoulders. Had he 
received a fair chance, his own reputation for honesty, and his 
business qualifications might have carried him through; but 
his theatrical partners, the banking-house of Green and Amber, 
began to totter, and finally fell with a crash. They had been 
suddenly called on by Government to pay in a large balance of 
nearly twenty thousand pounds, which had been lodged with 
them, and were obliged to stop payment Mr. Riddle, re- 
ceiver for the county of Bedford, father-in-law to Green, was 
made accountable by the Government for this sum in the 
hands of the bankers, and he, in his turn, was obliged to look 
to their securities. The theatre had been going from bad to 
worse; the audiences were growing thin; and the actors 
receiving no pay, quite supported Mrs. Cibber's description 
of "Lacy's ragged regiment" Still he had struggled on, and 
with difficulties gathering about him — the mortgagee actually 
about to sell up the green-room properties, and break up the 
whole concern — extricated the concern with surprising skill, 

* "The Suspicious Husband Criticised ; or, The Plague of Envy," was 
the extraordinary name of this production. 



dMI 



1747.] QT7IN AND GARRICK. Ill 

and now proposed to his creditors that they should use their 
joint interest in trying to get a new patent — the old one, 
which had but half a dozen years to run, being only worth a 
trifle. They would thus enormously increase the value of the 
security. Kiddle at once agreed to so advantageous a pro- 
posal. As Lacy was to be for many years the useful friend 
and assistant of the actor in managing this great establishment, 
a few words about his history and character will not be out of 
place. 

" A man of the name of Lacy," as Sir John Hawkins con- 
temptuously called him, was in trade at Norwich, about the 
year 1722 ; but having met with some misfortunes in business, 
he went up to London and joined Rich's corps. He seems to 
have been a person of steady purpose and good business habits, 
had a clear head without genius, and, besides, a buoyancy of 
disposition and purpose not to be checked by reverses. Above 
all, he had character; and the players in some of their squab- 
bles had accepted his word as ample security that they were 
to be paid their claims. He tried many schemes. He joined 
with Fielding in the unfortunate adventure at the Haymarket, 
and played the tragedy poet in the drama "Pasquin," which 
brought about the fatal Licensing Act This, no doubt, led 
to his appearance as a lecturer at York, in natural protest 
against the persecution which had so injured him; for many 
of the actors were then wandering about destitute and unable 
to get their bread. His strictures gave great offence to Sir 
John Hawkins, from their dealing freely with "the great 
officers of State and the clergy." His entertainment, however, 
seemed to have come under the power of the Act, and was 
stopped, proceedings which the Tory knight thus offensively 
describes : — " He was seized, dealt with as a vagrant, and 
silenced." He it was who had started the idea of Eanelagh, that 
building which, according to Johnson, gave such an " expan- 
sion to the human mind." In this enterprise he was badly 
treated by his partner, but managed to withdraw from it suc- 
cessfully, having sold it at a profit of £4,000. He was " sup- 
posed to understand stage management," adds Sir John, con- 
temptuously, " and had some friends." An important one was 
the Duke of Grafton, the Chamberlain, whom he had met out 
on hunting parties, and had used such opportunities as the 
field opened to him to ingratiate himself with that nobleman. 
The story ran, that he had always kept close to the Duke, who 
was at last attracted by his hard riding and the spirited horse 
he rode. Lacy at once offered it as a gift, which the Duke of 
course declined, but professed himself willing to befriend so 



il2 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1747. 

good a sportsman.* The old Drury Lane patent for twenty- 
one years had but six years to run, having been granted in 1732, 
and Lacy said that if he could obtain a promise of renewal he 
could save the theatre from rum. But he was not inclined to 
venture alone; and looking round the theatrical world his eyes 
settled on the great actor, with whom he had had differences, but 
whose temper, prudence, and tact were as well known in the 
profession as his dramatic gifts. Garrick received his pro- 
posals, and lent his aid; Lady Burlington used her in- 
terest with the Devonshire family; and the new patent was 
readily promised. Indeed, it was likely that the authorities 
would bo glad to have one theatre, at least, which was likely 
to be well-conducted by steady, respectable, clever men, in- 
stead of, as hitherto, by mere adventurers and spendthrifts. 

Garrick had three friends, men of business and of substance, 
who advised and assisted him through the negotiation — Draper, 
the partner of Tonson; Clutterbuck, a mercer in the City; and 
Dr. Sharpe, who afterwards wrote some Italian travels, coloured 
by gross prejudices. On the 9th of April, 1 747, an agreement was 
signed between the two new partners, on the following basis: — 

The total present liabilities of the theatre, including the 
mortgage to Green and Amber, the mortgage to Mr. Meure, 
with the arrears due to actors and tradesmen, were calculated 
at about twelve thousand pounds. It was besides burdened 
with an annuity of £300 to Calthorpe, and another of £500 to 
Fleetwood. Of this twelve thousand pounds, Garrick, helped 
by his friends, found eight. Lacy's old interest and exer- 
tions, therefore, in procuring the renewed patent, were thus 
valued at about £2,000. Each party was to draw weekly or 
otherwise £500 a year as manager, and Garrick was to receive 
besides £500 a year salary for his acting; but was restrained 
from playing at any other house, except on the terms of 
dividing profits with his fellow-manager. 

On the whole it proved a fortunate investment. Karely, 
indeed, have the functions of a clever and " drawing " actor 
and that of a skilful manager been so fortunately united; 
which, after thirty years' skilful government, was to make the 
property nearly six times as valuable. And this young 
manager, who had raised himself to so responsible an office, 
was little over thirty years old.f 

* Shuter used to hunt also, and when complimented by the Duke, 
replied with some humour that "he was riding for a patent." 

t For a fuller account of this transaction, as well as for the contract 
itself between Garrick and Lacy, see my " History of the English Stage," 
VoLII.,p. 149, Ac. 



1747.] THE OPENING SEASON. 113 



book: the thied. 
DRUEY LANE. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE OPENING SEASON. — 1747-48. 

With the new management, there was now to set in a hope- 
ful era for the drama, and a complete revolution in the conduct 
of the stage. At Drury Lane was to begin a new reign of 
judgment, good sense, fine acting, lavish yet judicious outlay, 
excellent yet not " sensational " attraction, good acting, good 
discipline, and good pieces, on which naturally was to follow 
prosperity. Not only came financial prosperity, but a sudden 
elevation of the social position of the drama. The other 
theatres shared in the general " rehabilitation " ; and he would 
have been a bold magistrate who would have now dealt with a 
player of Drury Lane or Covent Garden " as a common rogue 
or vagabond. M 

At once the new managers went vigorously to work. They 
were determined to get together " the best company in Eng- 
land;" and were soon busy remodelling the house. They 
shared the labour — Garrick undertaking the intellectual 
duties, engagement of actors, selection of plays, &c; Lacy 
looking after the theatre, scenes, wardrobe, and expenses, for 
which he was peculiarly fitted. Garrick was to repent later 
that he did not adopt the wise advice of friends, who would 
have inserted a clause defining these duties ; but a mistaken 
delicacy made him refuse. 

The interior of the theatre, as laid out by Wren, had one 
remarkable feature. The stage projected forward by many 
feet into the body of the house, in a sort of oval, and followed 
the semicircular shape of the benches of the pit. The actors 
made their entrance through doors, which were near to the 
audience, and made forward side-scenes necessary. The player 
was thus in the middle of the house, every whisper and play 
of expression was perceptible — every rich or fine-coloured 
habit had a more lively lustre, and the stage had a greater 
depth. Cibber always looked fondly back to this arrange- 

I 



114 THE LITE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1747 — 

ment, and with reason, for it was in favour of the old 
school of declamatory actors, who wished their measured ut- 
terance and mouthings to be heard and seen to the best advan- 
tage. But it obviously interfered • with stage illusion, and 
abridged the space for the audience. A little after the com- 
mencement of the century, fresh alterations were made ; the 
stage was shortened and thrown back, and for the first doors, 
where the actors entered, stage boxes were substituted. By 
this alteration the house was made to hold "ten pounds " more 
than it did before. 

In July the managers were " in the midst of bricks and 
mortar," and Lacy was busy making new approaches to the 
house, altering it internally, painting and decorating. By a 
fresh arrangement, it was contrived to increase the accom- 
modation by forty pounds a night. Garrick had gone down 
to his family at Lichfield, and, owing to damp sheets at 
Coventry, had fallen ill, and had to be bled. To recruit him- 
self for the ordeal of the coming season, he went to Tunbridge 
Wells, where he enjoyed himself exceedingly, and shook off 
the thought of coming responsibilities. "I go to bed at 
eleven ; rise at seven ; drink no malt, and think of nothing. 
Old Cibber is here, and very merry we are. Mr. Lyttelton 
and I are cup and can. I played at E. 0., and won. I don't 
dance, and eat like a ploughman. "* This is gay enough, even 
though he was on a regimen. There is a print of that quaint 
old place, and its company, as it appeared in the following 
year ; showing " the pantiles," the little shops and trees, and 
its mall, crowded with remarkable persons. Here are to be 
seen Mr. Johnson and Miss Chudleigh, and Mr. Pitt, and the 
Duchess of Norfolk ; the Bishop of Salisbury, " the gambling 
Baron," Mrs. Cibber, and many more persons of distinc- 
tion and genius ; and among them we discover Mr. Garrick, 
paying his court to Frasi, the prima donna of the opera. 
To the end of his life he always enjoyed himself at feath 
and Tunbridge, and found relaxation in the pleasant company 
there. 

He was all the time busy enlisting recruits ; and it is charac- 
teristic that, at the earliest moment he found himself with 
power, he used it for the service of all his friends. Barry, 
growing in prosperity, already pronounced superior to Garrick 
in many favourite parts, was retained at the house. Mrs. Cib- 
ber, his old friend and ally, was also engaged. It was, indeed, 
at once whispered that the manager's favour was to place her 

* Forstcr MSS. 



1748.] THE OPENING SEASON. 115 

in every leading part. The rumour reached Bristol, and 
brought up a petulant remonstrance from the Pritchards, hus- 
band and wife, thus early giving Garrick his first managerial 
experience of the morbid sensitiveness of his actors.* A pro- 
test he answered in the good, generous, and reasoning way 
which afterwards became almost habitual to him in dealing 
with such wounded sensibilities. He showed temperately 
that it was the proprietors' interest that Mrs. Pritchard should 
have her proper place at the theatre, and not be sacrificed to 
the empire of "any haughty woman." " I have a great stake," 
he added, " Mr. Pritchard, and must endeavour to secure my 
property and my friends' to the best of my judgment. I shall 
engage the best company in England, if I can, and think it 
the interest of the best actors to be together." If, however, 
they still had doubts, he would do his best to release them, 
and let them go to Covent Garden. And having reassured 
these jealous souls, he gave them the best proof of his regard 
by making their son treasurer to the theatre. 

He was also generous enough to engage Macklin and his wife 
— a man who, under a fancied sense of injury, had so grossly 
attacked him with tongue and pen. It is amusing to read 
Macklin's biographer on this act, which, even if it were an act 
of atonement, had a certain graciousness. "Although Mr. 
Ifacklin," he says, "had just cause to remember the cruel 
reatment he had formerly experienced at the hands of Mr. 
farrick, yet the nobleness and generosity of his mind 
>mpted him now to dismiss it totally from his recollec- 
1/ Kitty Clive, "Peg" Woffington, Delane, Havard, 
irks, Yates, Shuter, and Woodward, who was to join after 
Dublin engagement had been concluded, all made up a 
ipany not merely strong, but brilliant Quin alone, still 
ie and aggrieved, refused an engagement, and retired to 

last, on September the 15th, the playhouse opened bril- 

ly with a fine prologue from the pen of Samuel Johnson ; 

as Shylocky and an epilogue spoken by Woffington. 

friendly but anonymous writer privately sent to Garrick the key of 

ttle intrigue. Rich had behaved with his usual eccentricity, wish- 

letain Mrs. Pritchard, but protesting " that she had turned up her 

what he had offered her ; that he would never give her more, if he 

jned his doors ; and as to asking her, he would never do it, if his 

a starving." Friends then promised they would contrive to 

break her articles with Garrick, by working on her husband's 

and urging that a difference was made between Cibber and 

Cibber's name being always in large character in the bills. 

said to Rich, will " fire " Pritchard. 

1 1 



116 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1747 — 

The prologue — weighty, impressive, and sonorous — contained 
the famous line — 

" Those who live to please, must please to live—" 

and the fine encomium of Shakspeare — 

" Panting time toiled after him in vain ! " 

It also expounded to the audience what were to be the faith and 
principles of the new management. Audiences were not to 
expect rope-dancers like Mahomet, boxers like Hunt, flying 
chariots, or such pantomimic tricks. It was at the same time 
hinted that the remedy lay with the audiences themselves y 
that the stage could not reform itself, but must follow the taste 
of the public. Of this salvo he later fairly availed himself. 
Garrick declaimed Johnson's majestic lines with fine effect, and 
a hum of approbation must have passed round when they heard 
him say, and with singular appropriateness — 

" From bard to bard the frigid caution crept, 
Till declamation roared, while passion slept." 

At the bottom of their bill, the audience found another hint of 
reform. There was to be no more admission behind the scenes ; 
and " it was humbly hoped " that the audience would not take 
it amiss. Significant, too, was the choice of Macklin's Shylock 
— a ready commentary on Johnson's lines \ for Macklin was of 
Garrick's own school, and with such a pair declamation was- 
not likely to roar. Garrick himself fell ill a few days after the 
opening of the theatre ; and as the prologue was repeatedly 
called for, it was at last published, with an apology from the 
manager, who hoped they would accept it in that shape. He 
himself was not able to appear until a month later. 

Behind the scenes also a new order and new regularity had 
been introduced. The greater actors had been careless as to 
learning their parts accurately, and were too often heard ap- 
pealing to the prompter. A strict attendance at rehearsal was 
enforced, and the plays carefully prepared. Some of the older 
actors, who from habit supplied the defects of memory and 
carelessness by "a bold front and forging matter of their own," 
were tacitly rebuked by being left aside for some time until 
they mended. Yates was a notorious offender. 

The management relied principally on good stock-pieces, well 
supported, with one or two strongly-cast characters, and a new 
play or two. Barry was put forward as the leading actor. He 
played in all his favourite characters. Nights of special attrac- 
tion were, when Mrs. Woffington came out in her famous 
" breeches part/' Sir Hairy JFUdair, with Garrick as Fribble, to 



1748.] THE OPENING SEASON. 117 

wind up the evening ; or, when Garrick and Barry played to- 
gether in "The Orphan " and "The Fair Penitent;" or, when 
Mrs. Cibber, Garrick, and Barry were joined in " Venice Pre- 
served." The parts in this play seemed to have been cast 
d, Irarers, for Garrick took Jaffier, the weak, tender, loving, 
irresolute conspirator; while Barry was the fierce, impetu- 
ous, and unscrupulous Pierre. Still, with the "enchanting 
melody " of Mrs. Cibber in Belridera, and the nobleness and 
passionate tenderness of the play itself, it proved a great 
attraction. Later, on another stage, Barry took his right part; 
but all this time was secretly turning the occasion to profit as 
an opportunity for studying Garrick.* Mrs. Cibber had 
another opening for her enchanting melody in Polly ; and the 
new comedy of " The Foundling," by Edward Moore, brought 
out a wonderful cast Barry snowed all his handsome grace 
in Sir Cliarles ; Macklin, as Faddle, found a part that suited his 
oddities, and convulsed the audience. Faddle was said to have 
been modelled after "an ingenious young gentleman" who had 
some skill in taking off the opera singers, and who was suffered, 
by the ladies who had turned his head, to be sent to gaol for 
£40. Mrs. Cibber was all softness and music, and Woffington, 
in Boseita, all pertness and prettiness ; but Garrick, who had 
taken Young Belmont, a sort of walking gentleman, by his extra- 
ordinary spirit and versatility turned it into a leading cha- 
racter. 

To Shakspeare due homage was paid in " The Tempest," and 
in a revival of " Macbeth ; " but a " Macbeth " cleared from the 
" improvements " and decorations with which it had been 
daubed over by the clumsy mechanists of the stage. Three 
years before it had been thus played, but had not excited 
attention. Though considered a sort of good " stock "melo 
drama for a company, it was thought poorly of in the profession 
as an opening for a leading actor. Even to bring it into a suit- 
able condition, it had to endure the choppings and patchings 
of the restorers — a race who seemed to deal with these old plays 
much as inferior picture-cleaners do with acknowledged mas- 
terpieces. In this way, for more than eighty years, audiences 
had looked on and applauded this spurious Shakspeare without 
question ; and actors had declaimed Davenant's " fustian " 
without ever dreaming that it was not the true inspiration of 
the "Swan of Avon." Much more "business" was put in. 
Garrick determined to cast away all the introduced rubbish, 

* It wu said, by those who wished to make mischief, that Garrick 
refused to play Pierre to Barry's Jajjier, saying, " I will not bully the 
monument 1 " 



118 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1748. 

and to give " Macbeth " as written by Shakspeare. Quin ex- 
claimed in astonishment, "What! and don't we play "Macbeth" 
as written by Shakspeare?" And yet, though Dryden, Cibber, 
and many more had all mauled and disfigured the Bard with 
the utmost wantonness, it was reserved for Garrick to be the 
worst offender of the sacrilegious, and at the close of his career 
to hack and hew at " Hamlet "in a fashion that they never 
would have dreamed of. 

He also planned some useful reforms in the conduct of the 
theatre, particularly in "front of the house," particularly 
requiring that all should pay on admission, and prevent 
"bilking and frisking" in and out Foote at this time was 
giving his "tea," and was threatening an abusive satire on 
Garrick and Lacy. The latter declared he would break 
Foote's head; the former that Mr. Foote was quite welcome. 
This was the first beginning of that curious relation of semi- 
hostility which coloured their intercourse; which one would 
be inclined to set down to the envy with which unsuccessful 
talent has sometimes pursued a rival, to whom it believes 
itself superior, but which a skilful judge of character, and its 
mysterious moods, has more delicately accounted for. " From 
the first they were marked out for rivalry. Distinguished by 
their superior intellectual qualities from all competitors in the 
profession to which they belonged, they had only each other 
to carry on a competition with ; and if, as Pope says, war 
is necessary to the life of a wit upon earth, what are we to 
expect when the wit has another in the same line to make war 
upon, who is not only jester and player like himself, but rival 
manager too? The virtue must be more than human that 

refrains No doubt also Foote was almost always the 

aggressor. His wit was ever at its best with a victim wincing 
under it, and Garrick's too obvious weaknesses were a tempta- 
tion difficult to be resisted."* This happily describes this 
most unpleasant relation; though, it must be added, that 
Foote's later aggressions, unchecked through Garrick's tolera- 
tion and, perhaps, weakness, grew at last to assume an 
unjustifiable grossness which repeated amendes could not 
extenuate. 

* Forster's Essays, p. 369. 



1748.] MARRIAGE. 119 



CHAPTER II 

MARRIAGE.— 1748-49. 

Garrick's second season began in September ; but he had 
already begun to suffer from desertions. Delane and Sparks 
were seduced to Covent Garden ; its extraordinary manager, 
Rich, at last rousing himself from his languor. A more 
serious loss was Mrs. Woffington. The manager's new at- 
tachment was, no doubt, distasteful to her, as well as the 
supremacy of Mrs. Cibber — to say nothing of constant quarrels 
with Mrs. Clive. Perhaps Garrick, with his heart now set on 
a new shape of domestic life, was anxious to be wholly free 
from all association with the past. 

At the commencement, the burden lay on Woodward and 
his special range, of character, and on Barry in " Othello " 
and "Hamlet."' The chief attraction before Christmas was 
two Shakspearean revivals. Never was there a more legi- 
timate success than that of Garrick and Mrs. Pritchard in 
Beatrice and Benedick, for it was the triumph of true genius, 
exercised in the most perfect and buoyant bit of comedy that 
could be conceived, yfeo evenly matched were their powers, 
and so sparkling the alternations of their vivacious rivalry, 
that the town found it impossible to decide the question of 
superiority. When the actress was gone, the play lost all its 
attraction. An excellent revival was that of " A New Way to 
Pay Old Debts;" but it seemed unmeaning to revive it for the 
sake of giving Sir Giles to the obscure Bridges, for it seemed a 
part that Garrick could have made much of. It, however, 
introduced an admirable player — King — who was soon to 
become a comedian of the very first order. Indeed, Wood- 
ward and King represented a type of player now extinct, 
whose talents, bright, gay, and luxuriant, filled in a character, 
and made that character vivify the piece; so different from 
the modern system, when the piece has become a mere back- 
ground for the centre figure. A yet more important revival 
had been occupying his thoughts, and was the result of much 
pains and care. This was " Romeo and Juliet " — the play of 
poetry, grace, and tenderness, put into the appropriate hands 
of the very priest and priestess of grace, pathos, and tender- 
ness — Barry and Mrs. Cibber. Here again we see the tem- 
perate self-denial of Garrick. It was a tempting opportunity ; 



120 THE LIFE OP DAVID GARRICK. [1748 — 

and though the part was infinitely more suited to Barry than 
Garrick, the town would have readily found indulgence for the 
manager who had seized on the prize for himself. He took 
the play with him into his closet ; but, with an odd inconsist- 
ency, the man who had just cleared "Macbeth" from the 
thick crusts and varnishes with which Davenant and other 
Shakspearean " restorers " had coated it, did not shrink front 
putting an entirely new catastrophe to the story of the Verona 
lovers. 

There used to be many who have melted over the wakening 
of Juliet in the tomb, the long and touching scene between the 
lovers that follows, and never dreamed that Romeo died just 
after his combat with County Paris. The whole of that inter- 
view is a clever bit of sham Shakspearean writing, fairly well 
done, even to the " fathers have flinty hearts," which has been 
sometimes quoted as a bit of the genuine stuff.* At the same 
time, he deserves some credit for the manner in which he has 
fallen into the tone of the situation, and caught up the sweet 
key of Shakspeare's music. Garrick himself attended all the 
rehearsals, gave his hints, watched it carefully, and the result 
was a marvellous performance, which drew the whole town for 
nineteen nights. 

Meanwhile his old friend and schoolfellow, Samuel Johnson, 
struggling on through "garret toil and London loneliness," 
glad to get fifteen guineas for a masterly poem, busy with the 
" great English Dictionary," had thought of his old tragedy, 
which years before had brought him up to London, full of 
theatrical designs. Very different fortunes had befallen the 
actor and the scholar, who had started together from Lichfield. 
Garrick was now at the head of the first theatre in England, 
in easy if not in opulent circumstances ; Johnson was fighting 
a cruel battle, and not yet known as the great Dr. Samuel 
Johnson, the weighty representative man of sturdy English 
principles and morals, and the classic model of the time. For 
Garrick to take his friend's play, and use all his resources 
to bring out what was a heavy and unskilful piece, even 

* The whole is a clever Pasticcio. 

" 'Twixt death and love I'm torn : I'm distracted— 
But death's strongest — " 
is Qarrick's. 

" I'll not wed Paris : Romeo is my husband ! " 
is Ot way's. 

" Oh, let me hear some voice 
Besides my own in this drear vault of death 1 " 

These lines are from the " Mourning Bride." 



1749.] MARRIAGE. 121 

compared with the existing dreary models of historical tra- 
gedy, was certainly no little proof of kindness. This drama, 
some acts of which had been written in a country town before 
its author had read Shakspeare, and which had been read over 
with Peter Garrick in the Fountain Coffee-house, then fre- 
quented by Fleetwood, was at the beginning of the new year 
put in rehearsal at Drury Lane. The manager tried hard to 
have some " business " introduced into the play. He felt that 
Johnson's cold and solemn platitudes would set the audience 
yawning, and perhaps empty the theatre. But Johnson hotly 
resented this interference, and it nearly brought about a quar- 
rel. Garrick, instead of using his power, applied to a common 
friend to reason with the angry author. " Sir," said Johnson, 
in reply, " the fellow wants me to make Mahomet run mad, that 
he may have an opportunity of tossing his hands, and kicking 
his heels." The "fellow," however, did not play Mahomet, % 
but Demetrius. Mahomet was assigned to Barry, to give the 
play every advantage, and win all his zeal for the author ; but 
he made only a poor part of it 

On the 6th of February was the first night of " Mahomet 
and Irene," when Johnson was seen, not in his old brown suit, 
but glowing in " a laced waistcoat " and a new flaming scarlet 
coat — flitting in that unwonted raiment from the coulisses to the 
boxes, and from the boxes to coulisses. Here surely is a sub- 
ject for our painter, as characteristic and suggestive of humour 
as Leslie himself could have found. It was an anxious night. 
In the beginning, before the curtain rose, shrill catcalls were 
heard, which the author himself a little imprudently had de- 
precated in his prologue.* Garrick had spared neither trouble 
nor expense for his friend. The costumes were superb. 
There was one scene, representing a Turkish garden, which 
was considered a triumph of scenic skill Yet all that could 
be done for it in the way of sumptuous dresses and Eastern 
scenery was of little avaiL Though the prologue "soothed 
the audience," nothing could lighten the hopeless declama- 
tion of the piece, which was as cold and dull as the most 
monotonous tragedy of the French school. The grand " spec- 
tacle " could not help it off. Even the clap-trap description of 
the English Constitution, absurdly put into the mouth of one 
of the Turks, was of no profit. Mrs. Pritchard, Barry, and 

* The epilogue was said to have been written by Sir William Yonge. 
" I know not," says Boswell, in his own true key, " how Johnson's play came 
to be thus graced by the pen of a person then so eminent in the political world." 
And this obsequious doubt seems well founded, as the better opinion would 
now appear to be that it was in part written by Johnson himself. 



122 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1748 — 

Garrick declaimed their dull parts with surprising vigour and 
elocution ; but nothing could give it life. Even the desperate 
resource suggested by Garrick of having the heroine put to 
death by the bow-string before the audience became ludicrous 
from sheer contrast, and some one screamed out " Murder ! 
murder!" She tried in vain to speak, but her voice was 
drowned in a chorus of disapprobation. Young Burney, how- 
ever, says that, with this exception, the play was fairly re- 
ceived. Garrick's zeal and friendly interest kept it before the 
public for at least the regular nine nights, to allow the author 
to have his three nights 1 profits, which reached to close on two 
hundred pounds ; this, with one hundred pounds for the sale 
of the copyright^ was a substantial return for so indifferent a 
play. But Johnson was not satisfied, and,' like many a 
dramatist before and since, complained that justice had not 
been done him by the actors. He was heard growling his dis- 
approbation in the orchestra. From that time he had a 
grudge, born of ill-success, against his friend. 

Garrick also tried to keep Barry in good humour by playing 
logo to his Othello, a part which he seems to have attempted 
only once. He revived his own farce " Lethe," with new cha- 
racters, which, as they did not make any striking effect, he re- 
signed at once to other actors. In Aaron Hill's solemn 
Merope, he seemed, to the ladies of his audience, to look and 
play like an angel. Perhaps there was one lady certainly to 
whom this praise would scarcely have seemed an exaggeration; 
for all this time the hard-worked manager had his eyes fixed 
on Burlington House, and though every obstacle was thrown 
in the way of their attachment, he had contrived to secure a 
firm hold on her affections. The young dancer constantly 
withstood many trials, the pressure of her kind patroness and 
guardian, and even the offers of suitors of family and posi- 
tion. This secrecy and these impediments gave it all the air 
of a little romance. And with this attachment is connected a 
melodramatic story, which has been made the basis of a 
popular German piece, which again has been adapted to the 
English stage, to show off the talents of a versatile comedian 
of our own time, who represented to perfection Garrick's 
Fribble, but in the costume of the present day. 

The story is of a class, associated with Garrick's name, the 
details of which usually turn on his marvellous powers of 
mimicry and facial expression. A young city lady, with a de- 
spotic father, has fallen frantically in love with Borneo as 
played by Mr. Garrick; grows sick, and is at the point of 
death. He is sent for; treated with contempt as "a stage 



1749.] MARRIAGE. 123 

player " by the father, who talks of the folly of being moved 
by sham emotions. There are various versions of the young 
girl's cure. In one she is taken to see him in Abel Drugger, 
and is completely " cMsillusonnte" In another version the 
actor is brought to her as a doctor ; reveals himself as Borneo, 
talks to her, drinks as he talks ; and by the incoherent rav- 
ings of intoxication awakens her from her delusion. In the 
German play it is a baronet, in the English a city merchant 
But the point of the story is nearly the same in all. Lee 
Lewes, the comedian, giving a minute account of the courtship 
of the Violette by Garrick, mentions some incidents of this 
kind, and which he says he heard through an aged domestic 
of the Burlington family. The dancer had seen Garrick in 
one of his characters; had fallen desperately in love with 
him ; had become sick, like the lady in the anecdote, and no 
one could divine the cause. Lady Burlington had designed 
her for a rich and important alliance, and would never consent 
to an alliance with a player. But a clever doctor found the 
secret out, represented that it was a matter of life and death, 
and obtained the lady's reluctant consent. This is obviously 
the basis of the dramatic story ; though Lee Lewes and his 
" old domestic " can hardly be depended on, especially as to 
the details and private conversations, which are given with a 
suspicious minuteness and fulness. 

It was, however, matter of notoriety that Lady Burlington 
opposed Garrick's advances, and the Violette used to tell after- 
wards how he had once disguised himself in woman's clothes 
to have the opportunity of conveying a letter to her. There 
is, besides, the testimony of an old gentleman of eighty, alive 
not very long ago, who was told by Mrs. Garrick herself that 
the German story was, in the main, true; and that it was 
Garrick's noble self-denial in the business that induced Lady 
Burlington to give her consent* 

The Patroness looked after her protigte with extraordinary 
care and jealousy. When the Violette's benefit came on, 
Kent, an artist of reputation, was employed to design the 
tickets. Everything was done to show her off to advantage. 
When, in March, 1748, the strange Duchess of Queensberry 



* Sea " Household Words " for 1857. This German narrative brings in 
also the name of a barrister friend of the actor's, a Mr. Bingham, of Lin- 
coln's Inn f with whom he had once studied law ; and such a name is to be 
found among the barristers of that date. The late Mr. Sothern and Mr. 
Vezin distinguished themselves in this piece ; while the vivacious Charles 
Wyndham and Miss Mary Moore have entertained both Berlin and St. 
Petersburg with the same piece. 



124 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1748 — 

gave a masquerade at Richmond, Lady Burlington was seen 
walking about with her charge on her arm, and Lord Coventry 
following with extraordinary persistence. The Countess, it 
was noticed, motioned to him, and, drawing off her glove, 
significantly moved her ring up and down her finger — a hint 
that was very intelligible. When the Countess took her to a 
splendid masquerade on the river, where was the King, and 
dukes, and princes, and " God save the King " was sung by the 
royal family themselves to the mob over the rails, Mr. Garrick 
contrived to be brought there also, by some of the Richmond 
family. Lady Burlington kept watch over her charge jealously, 
while Garrick, " ogling and sighing " from a distance, caused 
much amusement to those who were behind the scenes. A 
diplomatist, who belonged to the Duke of Modena's court, 
was asking Walpole questions about this lady and the other. 
"That was Lady Huntingdon." "And the next one?" It was 
a distressing question, said Walpole, but, after a little hesita- 
tion, he replied : " Mais c'est Mademoiselle Violetta." The 
diplomatist looked puzzled, and searched his memory. "Et 
comment Mademoiselle Violetta — j'ai connu une Mademoiselle 
Violetta par exemple" — he was thinking of the Ballet, but 
Walpole adroitly turned off his attention to a Miss Bishop. It 
was not so easy to turn off the eyes of the lover now busy 
watching. At last such constancy was to prevail. He wrote 
a formal proposal to Lady Burlington; her opposition was 
withdrawn, or perhaps she saw that it was useless, and she 
finally gave her consent. 

Yet the lover, now happily at the end of this long courtship, 
with all through his life a great uneasiness as to what the 
public or private people were saying and thinking of him, now 
shrank from the discussion, and perhaps ridicule, that was 
sure to follow when his proposed marriage should become 
known. It was suspected that some complimentary verses, 
with which the curious public amused itself, were not quite a 
surprise to him.* 

Not satisfied with this free-and-easy introduction of his 
bride's name and his own to the public, he took another, 
and what he fancied was an effectual way, to deprecate 
the ridicule he so feared. On the eve of his marriage 
some fresh verses appeared, which are to be found among his 

* Fortune was made to ask why Slander is always " sneering at me and 
poor Davy ? " The truth was, Slander believed that 

11 The creature loved self, 
And cared not a fig for a soul but himself." 



1749.] MARRIAGE. 125 

friend Edward Moore's poems, but which were said, to be 
written by himself, or at least under his inspiration.* They 

were headed "Stanzas to Mr. G k on the Talk of the 

Town," and had the following motto from " Much Ado about 
Nothing":— 

" ' When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till 
I were married.' 

" ' No, do ; the left-hand bo?, in blue ; 

There, don't you see her ? ' ' See her ? Who ? ' 
1 Nay; hang me if I tell ; 

There's Qarrick in the music box. 
Watch but his eyes. See them, O pox ! 
Tour servant t Mademoiselle." 

Then the " ladies " are described as, talking it over, " pale, 
wild as the witches in ' Macbeth ' " — 

11 Married ! but don't you think, my dear, 
He's growing out of fashion ? 

People may fancy what they will, 
But Quin's the only actor still, 
To treat the tender passion." 

" ' Nay, madam ; did you mind last night 
Hi* Archer; not a line on't right 1 
I thought I heard some hisses.' 
Two parts, they readily allow, 
Are yours, but not one more, I vow. 
And thus they close their spite." 

It winds up with a soothing compliment, bidding him not to 
mind their speeches : 

"Take, you can't do better, 

A pox upon the tattling town ; 
The fops that join to cry her down 
Would give their ears to get her." 

His wedding present was a silver tea-kettle and a little 
casket for holding tea, which was to stand afterwards on the 

# Among his papers I find the following : — 

"VERSES SENT TO ME ON MY MARRIAGE. 

" What ! has that heart, so wild, so roving, 
So prone to changing, sighing, loving, 
Whom widows, maids, attacked in vain, 
At last submitted to the chain ? 
Who is the paragon, the marvellous she, 
Has fixed a weather-cock like thee ? " 

He wrote a reply, which contains a true picture of the bride :— 

u "Tie not, my friend, her speaking face. 
Her shape, her youth, her winning grace, 



126 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1748— 

table, at which was their cosiest and happiest of meals. Often 
was the actor, and candidate for acting, invited to breakfast, 
when Mrs. Garrick sat and made tea, and took her part in 
passing judgment* Lady Burlington, now softened, presented 
him with a prayer-book, a very modest souvenir, but for which 
he was very grateful, t 

At last, on the 22nd of June, they were married! — first, by 
Dr. Francklin, at the church in Russell Street, Bloomsbury, 
and afterwards at the chapel of the Portuguese Embassy in 
Audley Street, by the Kev. Mr. Blyth.§ \Valpole wrote out 
the news to Florence, but could not understand the business. 
"The chapter of this history is a little obscure," he said, 
especially as to the consent of the Countess, and the fortune. 
It was indeed a surprising little romance; and it was more 
surprising still that the marriage of a comedian, whom Parlia- 
ment but a few years before would have described as a " com- 
mon rogue and a vagabond," with a " famous dancer," whom it 
could have sent to the House of Correction, should have gained 

Have reach'd my heart ; the fair one's mind, 

Quick as her eyes, yet soft and kind. 

A gaiety with innocence ; 

A soft address, with manly sense. 

Ravishing manners, void of art, 

A cheerful, firm, yet feeling heart. 

Beauty that charms all public gaze, 

And humble amid pomp and praise." — Hill MSS. 
* These presents are still preserved, and were of a handsome and sub- 
stantial sort. In her will Mrs. Garrick left a special bequest of the old 
humble tea service which Garrick had used in his bachelor days, 
t He wrote some lines in the beginning — 

" This sacred book has Dorothea given, 
To show a straying sheep the way to Heaven ; 
With forms of righteousness she well may part, 
Who bears the spirit in her upright heart." 
$ Garrick settled the sum of £10,000 upon his wife, with £70 a year 
pin money. Sir T. Martin, in the Quarterly Review (July, 1868), who had the 
settlement before him, says that a further sum of £5,000 is described in it 
as being on the estates of Lady Burlington, in Lincolnshire, but belonging 
to the bride ; and it is suggested that this may have been the young lady's 
money, lent to Lady Burlington. But there is a confusion between a loan 
of Garrick's to his family (see post). In fact, we later find Garrick corre- 
sponding with Lord Hartington on the subject of a charge on the estate. 
Mr. Can*, who was Garrick's solicitor, and afterwards lived in Hampton 
Villa, when asked on this point by " Rainy-day Smith," seemed to say that 
Mrs. Garrick denied ever receiving money from the Burlingtons, adding 
that she had only the interest of £6,000, which was paid to her by the 
Duke of Devonshire. The principal was still unpaid at Mrs. Garrick's 
death, as can be seen by her will 

§ As she herself told Mr. Smith, it took place at eight o'clock in the 
morning. 



1749.] HOGARTH— FOOTE. 127 

such prestige, have attracted such attention, and be celebrated 
under the patronage and friendship of dukes and lords. This 
was certainly fair evidence of the weight of Garrick's private 
character, and of the respectability and position to which he 
had raised himself and his theatre. 



CHAPTER m. 

HOGARTH — FOOTE — THE RIVAL ROMEOS. — 1749-50. 

No happier honeymoon could be conceived. The newly- 
married pair travelled about, stayed at Chiswick, and at Bur- 
lington House; though it is plain that Lady Burlington's 
peculiar temper was to make the actor's relations with her 
rather delicate. They had fixed to go down to Lichfield, 
on a visit to Peter, and were duly expected ; " but," writes 
Mr. Garrick, excusing himself, "when we hinted it to the 
family here, we had only grave faces and cool answers." 
Though the noble family might tolerate the player, they did not 
relish their protigte going to the player's relations. Garrick was 
too independent to accept patronage at the price of an obse- 
quious slavery, and there soon came a rupture ; though with 
Lord Burlington he was always on the best of terms.* 

At this pleasant time Lichfield folks would come up to 
London and go to Eanelagh, then new and in high fashion, and 
be amazed to see their townsman the player in such fine com- 
pany. But " Mrs. B. and Penelope S.," whoever they were, 
could report nothing "fine" on his part. He came up and 
walked and talked with them, " and they seemed pleased," he 
says, characteristically, " for I left Lady Hartington and my 
wife and their company to entertain them."t And Mr. Garrick, 
who himself dearly loved a lord, was not displeased that they 
should bring home an account of the fine people from whom 
they had taken him away. 

He had given up his handsomely-furnished bachelor lodgings 
in Covent Garden, and now looked out for a house where he 
might set up an establishment. He found one that suited 
him in Southampton Street, which in those pre-West-end days 
was not an ungenteel quarter, and which, it was said, he took 

* Lord Hartington was his real friend, and a true peacemaker. Later 
he wrote to Garrick, after one of these differences — " Lady Burlington was 
afraid you were gone away for the last time ; and I said you were a warm, 
impetuous man, but a very honest one." — FortUr MSS, 

f Forster MSS. 



128 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1749 — 

from Mr. Sheldon at far more than its value.* It was within 
five minutes' walk of his theatre, and from the bottom of the 
street came up the buzz and hum of London traffic hurrying 
through the great artery of the Strand. As we now walk up 
the street, we can see on the left, within a few doors of the top, 
one of the good old houses, its long thin windows very close 
together, and with a more architectural pretence than any 
house in the street. Within there is plenty of the old 
panelling, and beyond the study, the little room where Mr. 
and Mrs. Garrick used to breakfast! There he was to live 
for some years, and Mr. Garrick's house in Southampton 
Street became one of the best known residences in London. 

Domestic happiness might now comfort him, after the 
troubles his peculiar position was beginning to expose him to. 
For if office was to bring with it the charm of authority, it 
was also to be accompanied with what was absolute torture to 
a sensitive mind — a shower of abuse, of coarse pamphlets, 
coloured by disappointment, spite, and envy. This, for a great 
part of his life, was the favourite shape of annoyance, and 
almost with the first day of his management it began. No 
man was ever so persecuted. Not less offensive was the 
anonymous and " friendly " advice of outsiders, who publicly 
thrust their counsel on him. One would speak very plainly of 
that " exorbitant and glaring passion, it is reported, you have 
for money ; " and added that " on the least diminution of your 
enormous receipts, you feel the greatest agonies." With some- 
thing like the spirit of true prophecy, the same writer warned 
him against the airs and insubordination of actors sure to be 
in store for him; hinted at Garrick's own extravagance in dress, 
requiring a new one every night, and gave a picture of 
Garrick's " lofty " manner, when, in a lower position, he was 
asked to take a part, " Name it no more ! Another word that 
way makes me your mortal foe ! Begone ! "J 

Another "hand," at the close of his first year's management, 
had as freely canvassed what he had done. Why had he not 
opened with a new part instead of with a prologue, printed 
and sold at sixpence ; which was about as good as telling the 
public that he knew how grieved they were at his ceasing to 

* Cradock. 

t It is now No. 27, and was lately Eastey's Hotel. The excellent society 
that has been formed for the purpose of marking the residences of cele- 
brated men might have one of their tablets inserted in the front of Garrick's 
house. 

X A letter to David Garrick, Esq., on his becoming manager of Drury 
Lane. 



1750.] HOGARTH — FOOTE. 129 

speak it ; and he must, at least, take that way of putting it in 
their reach. Mr. Garrick, it would seem, disdained to play, 
except for noble persons and people of quality. Then, as to 
reformation of the stage, and Garrick's profession of giving a 
moral tone, this critic would wish to know if " ' The Scornful 
Lady and Parson Roger/ a scandalous and atheistical part, 1 ' 
was a proper piece to offer to a decent audience — a question 
for which there might be some foundation. But it should be 
borne in mind that Garrick was hardly settled in his chair, and 
such a reformation could only be brought about gradually. 

In September the theatre opened, and the fortunate manager 
had now a new player — one of the Palmers — a valuable re- 
cruit for the ranks of genteel comedy. Mrs. Cibber was 
aggrieved, and refused to play. At the other house Quin had 
come up from his retirement, and, helped by royal patronage, 
made one more expiring effort. He challenged Garrick in Sir 
John Brute, though admirers of both owned that nothing could 
be more distinct than the two readings. He was supported 
by the young Miss Bellamy, and by Woffington, for whom now 
there could be no place at Drury Lane. 

The manager, whose marriage had been such a source of 
gossip, made his rentree after the honeymoon on the 28th of 
September, and, with questionable taste, chose Benedick as the 
part in which to introduce himself. As he had intended, pas-* 
sages like " Here you may see Benedick, the married man ; " 
"1 may chance to have some odd quirks and remnants of wit 
broken on me, because I have railed so long against marriage;" 
— all excited the heartiest laughter and enjoyment. This 
restless craving to make the public partners in all his little 
domestic concerns was one of Garrick's weaknesses to the end. 

At this stage, we have a glimpse of Foote, and not a very 
favourable one. Indeed, it would seem that every occasion, 
when the manager was to come in contact with him, was to 
have its own disagreeable associations. This was only the be- 
ginning of the series. A dull play of Otway's, called "Friend- 
ship in Fashion," was being revived, to bring out Woodward, 
now returned from Dublin, and a rumour had reached Foote 
that Woodward was about, in stage slang, " to dress at him," 
in Malagene. Foote at once wrote, in a brusque and threaten- 
ing tone, to the manager, speaking of Woodward as "a very con- 
temptible friend " of his, and adding that he could have no dread 
from the manager's "passive wit," or the "actor's active 
humour ; " but would just hint that he had by him " a plan for 
a short farce, that was to be wormwood to some, entertaining 
to many, and very beneficial to, sir, yours, S. Foote." In 



130 THE LIFE OF DAVED GARRICK. [1749 — 

■what shape the wormwood was to be administered might be 
guessed from an insulting postscript, in which the popular 
jest at the manager's saving habits was made to his very face. 
For he sent him back his free admission to the theatre, saying 
that he would in future always pay his five shillings to the 
boxes, "a sum not very contemptible to you. 17 

With perfect dignity, good-humour, and much kind reason- 
ing, Garrick wrote back, declining to interfere. He explained 
that he knew not what views Woodward had in the business, 
who, for that matter, may have even intended "taking off" 
his own manager, whose full permission he had. As for 
calling Woodward " contemptible," that was surely a little in- 
discreet, considering what a dangerous rival of Foote's that 
actor had been. Besides, supposing he did "dress at him," 
was it not a compliment : for the character of Malagene is that 
of a very smart, pleasant, conceited little fellow, and a good 
mimic? Then, with unabated good-humour, he deals with 
the thrust about the five shillings : " If I had such a regard 
for five shillings, surely, then, my giving you the liberty of the 
house was a still greater favour." Foote, however, might have 
restrained his humour ; for the play was a failure. About the 
fifth act the audience broke into something like a riot, to the 
infinite amusement of the French ambassador, who was pre- 
sent. 

More pleasant is it, even by way of contrast, to see Garrick 
in his relations with a man like Hogarth — a very different 
character. The rude work of the theatre, and the rough pas- 
sions of the green-room, had no effect on the manager's nature; 
and when the painter sent round to him, that he was aggrieved 
by his neglect, fancied or real, Garrick wrote an exquisite 
letter of excuse, which has an interest that reaches to other 
friendships. He knew what Montaigne had said, that a debtor 
and creditor account of "callings," &c, was a fatal sign of 
decaying regard, and could " cap " it by an instance of his ex- 
perience. " Poor Draper, whom I loved better than any man 
breathing, once asked me, smiling, ( How long is it since you 
were at my house — how long?' *Why, a month or six weeks.' 
1 A year and five days,' replied he ; * but don't imagine that I 
have kept an account ; my wife told me so this morning, and bid 
me scold you for it" "Dear Draper's" speech has the air 
of one of Steele's little stories, and that it should have im- 
pressed Garrick so much shows his native delicacy. " Could I 
follow my own wishes," he goes on, " I would see you every 
day in the week, and not care whether it was in Leicester 
Fields or Southampton Street" With this sweet and affection- 



1750.] THE RIVAL ROMEOS. 131 

ate tone, it was no wonder the actor was making many and 
fast friends. 

Garrick now felt it was time to introduce a novelty, and he 
brought out a cold declamatory piece entitled " Edward the 
Black Prince," by a Mr. Shirley, and which was one of the 
long series of bald, dreary, tedious plays, constructed on the 
French model, which were to be such a feature of his manage- 
ment. There seems to have been but the one strict pattern 
for these chilling dramas, and we look back wearilyto the long 
procession of Roman generals, sultans, Greek matrons, Persian 
kings, and mythological heroes, whose costume, feelings, and 
religion, wrapped in hopeless mists, become removed from 
all dramatic interest and sympathy. How the taste of the 
audiences already trained by Garrick's nature, and above all 
how Garrick's own pure and healthy taste, could have relished 
these cold abstractions, these colourless heroes, fetched out of 
the Roman History; how people could have crowded to hear 
scraps of Plutarch dramatised, and chapters out of the History 
of the Turks and Davila's Wars, made into tragedies, seems 
now a surprising mystery. 

The only other feature of the season was his riving a bene- 
fit to a grand-daughter of Milton — an old Mrs. Forster — who 
had lingered on, to the surprise of all. Another instance of 
his good nature, though in a different direction, was his play- i 
ing Hamlet to Mrs. Chve's Ophelia on the night of her benefit, 
that vivacious lady winding up the night with a farce of her 
own composition. But the manager was to have early expe- 
rience of the troubles which the rule of a green-room brings 
with it, and which, in his instance, were to be more vexatious 
than ever waited on manager. It would seem as though his 
known moderation and superiority to the mean passions that 
reign behind the curtain, offered tempting inducements to mal- 
contents. What were Barry's grievances — how small and 
petty, and almost ludicrous — may be gathered from his 
written complaints on another occasion, when he again tried 
the forbearance and unruffled good temper of his master. Yet 
to Barry Garrick had behaved professionally in what might 
be called "the handsomest way." He gave him up his 
own parts of Hamlet, Othello, Borneo, and Macbeth. To Barry 
had been given Henry the Fifth, while the manager was 
content with the part of the Chorus. Still the actor began 
to take airs, and ill-health was often put forward as an 
excuse for gratifying his humours. He took the unusual 
course of addressing the public at the top of the playbills, that 
whereas it had been industriously given out, in order to pre- 

K 2 



132 THE LIFE OF DAVED GARRICK. [1749 — 

judice Mr. Barry, that lie had of late frequently refused to 
act when his health permitted, he took the opportunity of 
saying that "he scorned all trick and evasion, " and that 
nothing but illness should ever cause him to fail in his duty. 
He could not endure the manager's Hamlei drawing more 
than his. He pettishly demanded that he might choose his 
own nights, which Garrick, with unruffled good-humour, at 
once conceded. But nothing could satisfy this spoiled "lover" 
of the stage. When the season closed in May, Garrick had 
played about eighty times, and Barry fully sixty. 

At the beginning of the new season these discontents had 
ripened into a regular confederacy, and Garrick found himself 
suddenly deserted by his two chief supports.* Barry actually 
broke his articles, and Mrs. Cibber, in deep resentment, en- 
gaged with him, at the other house. This was a gloomy pros- 
pect. 

Quin, Barry, Woffington, Cibber, and Macklin made up a 
strong host, especially, as it fell out curiously, that each one of 
the party was inflamed by a separate and personal hostility to 
Garrick. Woffington felt that her charms had lost their spell 
— no fury can match that of " a woman scorned ; " Cibber was 
full of theatrical jealousy of a rival ; Barry furious at oppres- 
sion on the part of one he considered an inferior. Macklin's 
was the bitterest hate of all. Quin, alone, had a manly, 
blunt, honourable hostility. Garrick had again made him 
offers, but he refused. It was said, indeed, that Rich was 
paying him a thousand a year. Still Garrick was not dis- 
mayed. He had only Woodward, Clive, and Pritchard to 
count on. But, in truth, he always felt, as he wrote later to 
one of his rebellious actresses, that he himself was the strength 
of the theatre; and, where the line was giving way, his own 
presence might be estimated like Napoleon's on a campaign. 
He had, besides, Mrs. Ward, and the new actress from die 
Dublin stage, Miss Bellamy, whom he was training, f 

It was thought that Drury Lane must go down before this 

i 

* Scandal tried to supply ether motives for this separation. It has 
been said that Mrs. Garrick received a letter from some secret admirer a 
few weeks after her marriage, and that Garrick succeeded in tracing it to 
Barry. This is Lee Lewes 'a absurd account of this transaction (Memoirs, 
voL ii., p. 89). The extraordinary verbiage, and the way in which a little 
fact which has been told to him is expanded into pages of actual dialogue, 
supplied from his own brain, make his book almost valueless. Facts that 
are more simply Btated prove to be either false or perverted. 

t Mrs. Ward proved a failure — was cold and indifferent ; and during 
one of his grandest and most impassioned bursts in " The Fair Penitent," 
was seen carelessly fastening her glove ! 



1750.] THE RIVAL ROMEOS. 133 

dangerous opposition. The revolters had ready a grand coup, 
with which they thought he would be overwhelmed. At 
Drury Lane no play had drawn so well as "Romeo and 
Juliet," and now, with the charming Cibber and Barry, and 
Rich's tact and magnificence in spectacle, it was supposed they 
would draw the whole town. Garrick had actually trained 
the two deserters himself in that tender play. Rut he had 
early information of the scheme, and secretly instructed Miss 
Bellamy in Juliet, while he carefully prepared Romeo himself. 

While the town was forecasting the certain ruin of Garrick 
and his theatre, he opened his doors early in September, and 
pleasantly gossipped with the house before the curtain rose on 
" The Merchant of Venice." With fair humour, he smartly 
glanced at the deserters : — 

11 Some few there are whom paltry paseions guide, 
Desert each day, and fly from side to aide ; 
Others, like Swiss, love fighting as their trade, 
For beat or beating, they must all be paid." 

And then he made a very plain and significant announce- 
ment as to what would be the future policy of the theatre. He 
reminded the town, as he had done at the opening of the house, 
that with them rested the choice and character of the entertain- 
ments. No manager could reform the stage, and keep up a 
series of pure and classic shows, at a heavy loss to himself. 
The most he could do was to try the experiment. He was 
consistent, for at the beginning he had hinted that on these 
classic boards Hunt might yet box, or Mahomet dance; so 

that — 

11 If an empty house, the actor's curse, 
Shows us our Lean and Hamlets lose their force, 
Unwilling we must change the nobler scene, 
And in our turn present you Harlequin. 
Quit poets, and set carpenters to work, 
Show gaudy scenes, or mount the vaulting Turk. 
For though we actore, one and all, agree 
Boldly to struggle for our — vanity ; 
If want comes in, misfortune must retreat — 
Our first great ruling passion is — to eat ! " 

This was perfectly reasonable, and three years was a handsome 
time to allow for the experiment. Some of the small wits 
affected to decry the tone of self-sufficiency in this programme, 
and gave a sort of translation into plain unvarnished prose. 
" It is true there is a formidable force against me at the other 
house, yet I am so possessed with the spirit of my own merit 
that I am pretty sure I shall be a match for them all. This 
Drury Lane stage, of which I am now the monarch, is the 



134 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1749 — 

only stage in the world ; but if two or three of Shakspeare's 
plays, which I have given you over and over again every season, 
don't bring full houses, I must e'en turn Harlequin, and set up 
pantomimes." 

The other house opened later, and Barry gave his address. 
He was not slow to retort, and from the boards defended him- 
self, telling.his audience that — 

" When kings allow no merit but their own, 
Can it be strange that men for flight prepare, 
And seek to raise a colony elsewhere ? " 

The insinuation that Garrick engrossed all the acting, as we 
have seen, was perfectly untrue; and the stroke about his 
treatment of the actresses an unworthy appeal to the prejudices 
of an audience. At the end of September, Covent Garden 
played its trump card — the new "Romeo and Juliet" — but 
they must have been disagreeably surprised by seeing an 
affiche at the other house of the same play, for the very same 
night. The languid town hailed the promised contest as a new 
excitement, and on the 28th the struggle began.* 

Though there was a loud division of opinion and affectation 
of equal merit, and even superiority claimed for Garrick, there 
can be no question but that the Covent Garden performance 
was the best Miss Bellamy could hardly hope to equal the 
trained Mrs. Cibber. Garrick was said to have worked out 
new "points," and fresh readings; but as his figure was 
inferior, and his expressive face a little too much marked for 
the soft interest of a lover, it is likely that his was more an 
elaborate and clever " reading " than the natural and impas- 
sioned conception of the other. Mr. Taylor heard that Garrick 
was considered superior. Miss Bellamy says that Barry was 
held to be the better, except in one scene. As the matter was 
turned into a party question, the voice of the town does not go 
for much. Garrick's friends even tried to compromise the dis- 
pute, by giving Barry the palm in the first three acts ; his 
melting eyes, plaintiveness of voice, and " the amorous har- 
mony of his features," were set against the grace of his rival's 
attitudes, the vivacity and fire of his expressions. It was 
decided that Barry was superior in the garden scene of the 
second act, and Garrick in the scene with the Friar ; Barry 
again superior in the other garden scenes, and Garrick in that 
with the Apothecary; Barry was also preferred in the first part 
of the tomb, and Garrick in the dying portion. Some said 

* Murphy is, therefore, mistaken in saying it began in October. Davies 
mistakes the year. 



1750.] THE RIVAL ROMEOS. 135 

that Barry was an Arcadian, Garrick a fashionable, lover. But 
the best test is, that, after an interval, Garrick, with that 
excellent good sense which distinguished every act of his, 
quietly dropped the part out of his repertoire. Even " Gentle- 
man " Smith, a good judge, and a partial friend of Garrick's, 
owned that the victory was with Barry. The ladies protested 
that in the balcony scene they could have wished Garrick to 
jump up to them, but that they could have jumped down to 
the Covent Garden Borneo; and, with the true method of a 
public fureur, amateurs would go and hear the first part of 
the play at one theatre, and hurry away for the conclusion at 
the other ! 

Woodward was the Drury Lane Mercutio, far superior in his 
vivacity and eccentricity to Macklin at the other house. Kich, 
hankering after harlequinades, had a "grand funeral proces- 
sion," which cost a great deal of money. Garrick had his pro- 
cession also, but without any flourish ; it came, therefore, as a 
surprise, and was doubly acceptable. The public were in- 
terested for a few days, and epigrams fluttered about plenti- 
fully. Some of them verged on wit ; as the well-known one, 
by Mr. Hewitt, Sterne's friend : — 

" ' Well, what's to-night ? » said angry Ned, 
As up from bed he rouses ; 
1 Borneo again ! ' and shakes his head. 
1 A plague o' both your houses.' "* 

The contest was carried on for twelve nights, until the 
town grew tired, and the houses thin. Rich was the first to 
give way, gladly seizing on the excuse of Mrs. Cibber's illness. 
The ladies were thought to have been fairly enough matched 
— Mrs. Cibber thrilling all hearts in passages where grief and 
despair were concerned, Miss Bellamy acting naturally, and 
with infinite fervour and pfesion in the love scenes. She had 
youth on her side — an advantage so precious on the stage. 
Garrick enjoyed a little triumph in giving his play one night 

* Another, not suspected to come from Garrick's own pen, was written on 
his strange principle of ridiculing himself, to prevent others from ridi- 
culing him : — 

" So reversed are the notions of Capulet'a daughters, 
One lovea a whole length, and the other three-quarters." 

Which he put also into another shape : — 

" Fair Juliet at one house exclaims with a sigh, 
1 No Romeo's clever that's not six feet high/ 
Less ambitiously t'other does Romeo adore, 
Though in size he scarce reaches to five feet four." 

These lines he gave himself to Mr. Cooke. 



136 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1749 — 

more, and concluded the contest with an epilogue, in which he 
sent out Mrs. Clive to say of himself : 

11 Oh, 'tis a pretty youth I 
'Tis true he's of a choleric disposition, 
And fiery parts make up his composition. 
How have I seen him rave when things miscarried ; 
Indeed, he's grown much tamer since he married. 
***** 

So much for him. 

The other youth comes next, 
Who shows by what he says, poor soul, he's vext. 
He tells you tales, how cruelly this treats us, 
To make you think the little monster beats us ; 
Warned, I have believed, in melancholy phrase, 
How Bouncing Bajazet retreats from Bayes. 
I, who am woman, would have stood the fray, 
At least, not snivelled thus, and run away ; 
In fact, there has some little bouncing been, 
But who the bouncer was, inquire within. 
No matter who — I now proclaim a peace." 

There was good-humour as well as good sense in this reply 
to Barry's spite; for even upon his footlights Garrick could 
retain the charm of moderation and temper, and never, by 
bitter speech or compromising act of enmity, put off reconcilia- 
tion, or shut the door finally against renewed friendship. In 
the numerous quarrels (invariably fastened on him) he always 
preserved this undertone, as it were, which was of infinite value 
to him ; and though it made some enemies who had not the 
same restraint, it saved to him many friends. 

Even at the other house Mr. Garrick's good fortune at- 
tended him. The only bond of that stormy and dangerous 
confederacy was their hostility to him. By their own intestine 
disputes and jealousies, they were presently in almost ludi- 
crous confusion. They despised their manager, and he made 
no account of them. Quin and Barry were at war ;* Woffing- 
ton and Cibber held each other in the highest contempt ; and 
though a round of the finest and most classical pieces were 
given, there was so much uncertainty, so many postponements 
and disputes, that the public grew angry. Cibber was ill, or, 
it was charitably said, pretended to be ill; Barry had his 
chronic fits of hoarseness or, as it was said again, pre- 
tended hoarseness; but Woffington, with true and gallant 
spirit, and that loyalty to duty in which she was never 
known to fail, was always at her post. At last even her 
patience gave way. It was not uncommon to have one of the 

* At rehearsal Barry would be absent, which Quin would take for a alight, 
and be absent in hit turn on the next occasion. 



1750.] THE RIVAL ROMEOS. 137 

great tragedies, with the names of Quin, Cibber, and Barry 
announced for a future night — when from some quarrel or 
sham illness behind the curtain, the play would be suddenly 
altered, and Mrs. Woffington, in some of her dashing parts, 
substituted. To this she submitted for a time, but warned 
them, if it was repeated, she would not be thus played upon. 
It happened again, and she refused to go on. The public 
unjustly made her a victim — flung orange-peel and bade 
her ask pardon, which she proudly and disdainfully refused to 
do.* The scene was indeed a picture. She stood there, as 
Lady Jane Grey, "looking more beautiful than ever; her 
anger gave a glow to her complexion, and even added lustre to 
her charming eyes." She treated them with sovereign scorn, 
and when they would not hear her, walked away. Then 
they roared for her, and she came back — told them bluntly 
she would play or not, just as they pleased — it was a matter 
of perfect indifference to her. They might say on, or off, 
as they liked. There was a shout of " On ! " During this 
very season this honest actress actually painted her handsome 
face with wrinkles and crows' feet, to give effect to a play of 
Shakspeare's. Under such conditions even so "strong" a 
company could not play well together. The plays, too, were 
absurdly castf Before long came the usual symptoms of dis- 
organization — appeals to the public in the papers. By-and-by 
Quin was " much hissed " in King Richard. The two leading 
actresses, Woffington and Cibber, still showed their dislike 
and jealousy, exhibited under the restraint of contemptuous 
looks and speeches — to the enjoyment of the manager, who 
called them his Sarah Malcolm and his Catherine Hayes, two 
infamous women who had been hanged ; and in this state of 
disorder the theatre was not prospering. 

* " She was never thought to play more finely than when she thus defied 
the angry pit, treating their rudeness with contempt." 

t We have a graphic pprtrait, which may do as pendant for the one 
given before by Cumberland. Quin — past sixty, old, "battered," and 
uncouth — was playing Young Chamont in a long, grisly, half-powdered old 
periwig, hanging low down on each side of the breast, and down the back ; 
a heavy scarlet coat and waistcoat, trimmed with broad gold lace ; black 
velvet breeches, a black silk neckcloth, black stockings, a pair of square- 
toed shoes, with an old-fashioned pair of stone buckles. He had stiff, 
high-topped white gloves, and a broad, old, scalloped laced hat ; he was, 
besides, very corpulent, andmuch out of shape. Ryan, another old veteran, 
was the strong and lusty Polydare, " with a red face, and voice truly hor- 
rible." He was not nearly so well dressed as Quin, though in the same 
fantastic style. Beside these two stood Barry, in all his elegance, youth, 
and beauty, " in a neat bag- wig '* of the prevailing cut and fashion ; and 
the charming Cibber, all elegance and refinement This extraordinary 



138 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1750 — 

Garrick always had really good pieces in reserve, and could 
vary his carte with one of Cibber's capital comedies, " Love's 
Last Shift," produced nearly sixty years before — a revival the 
author actually lived to see — which had true stuff in it ; if not 
wit, the likeness of wit, and became a stock-piece. A strange 
apathy seemed to come over manager Rich, and he did not 
even have recourse to the unfailing attraction of his harlequin- 
ades, in which he was believed to be unapproached. Yet even 
in this department his supremacy was now to be attacked in a 
way he little dreamed of. 



CHAPTER IV. 

PANTOMIME — FOREIGN TRAVEL— MOSSOP. — 1750-1752. 

The name of Rich should be dear to all pantomime-goers, 
and to the rows of little ones that line the front seats at 
Christmas. There were pantomimes, indeed, before his day — 
so early as the year 1700; but it was Rich, both as player 
and writer, who made that sort of piece respectable. It was 
in 1717 that we find his name conspicuously associated with a 
Fderie, called "Harlequin Executed!" He was a strange 
being and curious manager; but beyond all question, the most 
original and vivacious of Harlequins. 

A harlequinade then consisted of two portions — one serious 
and the other comic ; the serious portion being a story selected 
from, perhaps, Ovid's "Metamorphoses," and set off with all 
magnificence of scenery, rich dresses, pretty music, and grand 
dances. At intervals, during the progress of the fable, Harle- 
quin and his company came on, and, with diverting tricks and 
changes, varied the story; carrying on, in short, a sort of 
under-plot. Rich, from some affectation, would not appear 
under his own name, but was always set down in the bills as 
" Mr. Lun." He was not a little eccentric, and had a dialect 

contrast of the old and new school must have been highly diverting ; and 
it is most graphically described by Wilkinson, who was looking on. Justice 
has scarcely been done to Ryan's merit. Garrick once, going with Wood- 
ward to see his Richard, with a view of being amused, owned that he was 
astonished at the genius and power he saw struggling to make itself felt 
through the burden of ill- training, uncouth gestures, and an ungraceful 
and slovenly figure. He was generous enough to own that all the merit 
there was in his own playing of Richard he had drawn from studying this 
le*s fortunate player. Mrs. Bellamy and Wilkinson both mention this 
acknowledgment, to detract from Garrick's merit ; but forget that, in 
another direction, they are adding to it 



1752.] PANTOMIME. 139 

of his own, with an odd, blunt, " Abernethy " manner.* The 
tone of these pieces was purely rustic. The characters were 
farmers and village maidens ; the scenes and changes were all 
taken from the country and farmyard. There were louts <md 
countrymen. Harlequin, in all sorts of disguises, "courting 
Columbine," was always pursued by the " village constables," 
whom he eluded with all manner of tricks and devices — so 
that the introduction of modern policemen is founded on strict 
tradition. A most effective scene was that of building a 
house, with the scaffolding set, the bricklayers busy, the hod- 
men ascending ladders ; when suddenly Harlequin appears 
among them, with a touch pulls scaffolding, bricklayers, all 
down, and is discovered to have escaped in the confusion. An- 
other "trick," that "made the whole house ring with ap- 
plause," was Harlequin's coming on disguised as an ostrich, 
pecking at every one, biting the servants slyly, "kissing Colum- 
bine," and then finally "morricing off" the stage. The 
changes and transformations, too, were all after the modern 
pattern ; and, at a touch of the wand, palaces changed into 
nuts. But more remarkable metamorphoses were the sudden 
change of men and women into " stools and wheelbarrows," of 
long colonnades into beds of tulips, and of shops into serpents. 
Sometimes Harlequin would ride in on a broom, and a magic 
transformation take place, which now appears of a very 
humble order — the garden wall changing into a wall covered 
with prints, ballads, broadsides, &c, and Harlequin disguised 
as an old woman, selling them ; not to mention the " delight- 
ful perspective of a farmhouse, where you hear the coots in 
the water, as at a distance." There were yet more adventures 
of the same sort, and finally a sort of " transformation scene " 
was discovered ; a glittering perspective of pillars and temples. 
At the end, however, a strange retribution was made to over- 
take Harlequin, whe was carried off like Don Giovanni, up- 
wards, to the infernal regions, surrounded with fire and de- 
mons, f 

* One of his own actors takes off his oddities for us excellently, and 
most dramatically. Rich had a kind of provincial dialect, and twisted 
names into special shape for himself. Wilkinson asked him to give a 
part to Ned Shuter. In reply, the manager took snuff, and stroked 
his cat. " If I give it to Muster Shuttleworth, he will not let me teach 
him ; but I will larn you, Muster Williamskin." Younger, the prompter, 
enter*. " Get away, Muster Toungmore ; I am teaching Muster Whit- 
tington." He warned his visitor against Barry, whom he called Muster 
Barleymore, and told him that he had no chance from Muster Griskin, 
which was his name for Garrick. 

t In another piece there was an " effect " of the sun rising, which was 



140 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1750 — 

But now the time for the carpenters to take possession of 
Drury Lane stage had arrived, and Garrick, consistent with 
his declarations, finding the public would not follow him in the 
correct and classical path, determined to let it have its way. 
The houses had been growing thin, and he himself, always a 
source of attraction, could not play every night He there- 
fore set to work diligently, and the "Boxing-night" of the 
year 1750 was celebrated with a gorgeous pantomime, in 
" Italian grotesque characters," called " Queen Mab," in which 
Woodward came bounding on as Harlequin. It was a mar- 
vellous spectacle — comprising gorgeous decorations, and a 
" great pomp of machinery." It drew all the town, and made 
Rich, thus attacked with his own weapons, tremble. Hence- 
forward a pantomime became the regular Christmas feature at 
Drury Lane. This ran forty nights — a curious instance of the 
good fortune that attended all Garrick's schemes, for a harle- 
quinade would seem to have been totally foreign to his tastes 
and experience.* 

During this season, there was actually a daughter of the 
great Farquhar's alive, and in greatly reduced circumstances. 
Even to that generation it must have been a surprise to hear 
that there was such a link between them and the great humour- 
ist. Garrick paid a graceful tribute to his memory by giving 
his daughter a benefit at Drury Lane, and by acting himself in 
the appropriate " Beaux' Stratagem." He was always full of 
such charity in his professional dealings, and the bills of his 
theatre show innumerable* notices of this pattern, "For the 
benefit of a widow of a reduced citizen," &c. He also gave 
fresh evidence of his steady purpose to reform his stage, even 

a " superb and complicated piece of machinery " — though how such effects 
were produced in these pre-gaseous days see ma a mystery. Daphne was 
turned into a tree in the presence of the audience, which was a good sur- 
prise. The tossing of Harlequin in a blanket was a comic incident, and 
delighted the galleries ; but they did not see that he was supported in 
two long Blips all the time. There was acting then even in the conven- 
tional Harlequin. One of Rich's famous effects was " the hatching of Har- 
lequin by the heat of the sun, a masterpiece in dumb-show — from the 
first chipping of the egg, his receiving of motion, his feeling of the ground, 
his standing upright, his quick Harlequin trip round the empty shell — 
every limb had its tongue — every motion a voice." Dramatic genius 
triumphed then over every constraint. 

* That the public felt and enjoyed this success was evidenced by a cari- 
cature called " The Theatrical Steel-yard," in which Mrs. Cibber, Barry, 
Quin, and Mrs. Woffington are exhibited as hanging in a row at one end of 
the yard, and Garrick sits gaily and triumphantly in the other scale, 
waving his cap triumphantly, and weighing all four down ; while Wood- 
ward in his proper dress, and Queen Mab, " strike " the traditional Harle- 
quin attitude, in the centre of the background. 



1752.] FOREIGN TRAVEL. 141 

at some pecuniary sacrifice, and had the courage to abolish a 
time-honoured custom which obliged managers on Lord Mayor's 
Day to give their audience a coarse old play called " The Lon- 
don Cuckolds," and which seemed to be about as appropriate 
as " George Barnwell" was to Boxing-night 

In March, 1751, Drury Lane was to witness an unusual spec- 
tacle — perhaps the most remarkable, as well as the boldest 
venture, known to the amateur stage. Such interest and 
curiosity was excited by this performance, that the House of 
Commons adjourned at three o'clock to attend early. The 
Delaval family — men about town, bitten with a taste for acting 
— had performed " Othello " at Lord Mexborough's, and were 
fired with a desire for a larger field of action. Garrick, one of 
whose little weaknesses was an inclination to favour anything 
associated with persons of quality, interrupted his regular per- 
formances, and allowed his theatre to be used for the night. 
No expense was spared. All parts of the house indifferently 
shone with laces and jewels and costly dresses. Even in the 
footmen's gallery it was noted that half a dozen stars were 
glittering ; the Koyal princes, with some German ones, were in 
the side boxes. All these glories were lit up by the soft efful- 
gence of waxlights. On the stage there were fresh scenes, and 
new and gorgeous dresses. The music was excellent. The 
scene outside the playhouse is described to have been almost 
ludicrous from the confusion, and block of chairs and coaches, 
which impeded each other from getting near the door ; and the 
mob were delighted at seeing fine ladies and gentlemen picking 
their steps through the mud and filth. Even at the mean pub- 
lic-houses close by, lords, in stars and Garters and silk stockings, 
were seen waiting until the street should clear a little. Sir 
Francis DelavaTs performance excited great admiration. The 
expenses, as may be imagined, were enormous. Garrick re- 
ceived £150 for his theatre, and the dresses, scenery, " wax- 
lights," cost upwards of £1,000. 

He had also produced two new plays, one "Gil Bias," by his 
friend Moore, which was a failure, and " Alfred," " a masque," 
written by Mallet or Malloch. The distraction at the other 
house came to a point at the end of the season, when Quin, at 
last, made his final bow as a salaried actor, in the " Fair Peni- 
tent," having however met many mortifications during the 
season. Woffington left them in disgust, and went away to 
Dublin, where she was received rapturously. The manager of 
Drury Lane was now fairly entitled to his holiday. 

In the summer of this year Mr. and Mrs. Garrick undertook 
what might be called their wedding trip, thus delayed for nearly 



142 THE LIFE OP DAVID GARRICK. [1750 — 

two years, and set off for Paris. This first French visit appears 
to have had no special glories or interest. The details are 
meagre, or perhaps his splendid reputation had not yet travelled 
to the French.* Even Dangeau, that surprising courtier, who 
so carefully set down the minutest detail connected with the 
Court, makes no note of our English actor's presentation to the 
King. We have one little scrap of criticism. " You ask me 
how I like France. It is the best place in the world for a visit 
The great fault of our countrymen is that they do not mix with 
the natives, I did."f Among the Parisians, with whom age 
is so serious a matter, he passed for thirty-two, though he was 
some three years over that. At home he would have no such 
unpleasant fiction ; and he wrote to his brother, " Set my age 
down as it is in the Bible." A little story used to be told of 
an adventure which befell him in Paris. X About this time a 
friend of his had been murdered in the Forest of Bondy, so 
associated with the dog of Montargis. It was found that an 
Italian count had left about the same time as the Englishman, 
and had been about a couple of hours away. He was arrested; 
and interest was being used to set him free, when Garrick is 
said to have put in action one of those dramatic ruses or tours 
de force, of which so many, and in so many odd shapes, are 
associated with his name. At his request the accused was 
brought to Sir George Lewis's hotel. He was there suddenly 
told that the Englishman was alive ; who, though wounded, had 
accused him, and demanded that he should be brought to his 
bedside. Garrick had studied a portrait of the Baronet, by 
Latour, and knew his expression welL When the assassin was 
introduced, he saw, as he fancied, his victim in bed, ghastly 
and suffering, who addressed him in a trembling voice — 
" Wretch, do you deny your crime now ? " He fell on his 
knees at once, and confessed all. This story belongs to a 
whole family of such stories. 

It was a great distinction for an English actor to be 
presented to the King, which was duly noted by the English 
papers, or which, perhaps, Mr. Garrick took care shmdd be 
noted.§ The two clever Englishmen, Foote and Garrick, 

* Id the unpublished journal of his later journey he writes, " I shall say 
very little of France, as I have done it well, though slightly, in my first 
journal in 1751." This journal has been lost. 

t Hill MS. 

X The authority for this is very indifferent — being merely a newspaper. 
It passed to the newspaper from some French Memoirs. The name of the 
baronet and the portrait painter give a circumstantial air. 

§ Mr. Fitzpatrick, then over in Dublin, " on business," where he found 
" humbugging in high taste," and who was pining to go back to the Bed- 



1752.] FOREIGN TRAVEL. 143 

had met in Paris ; but we know nothing of their proceedings. 
This villeggiatora brought about a renewal of their " fitful inti- 
macy " — it was never difficult to renew an intimacy with Gar- 
rick. And the first proof of this renewed intimacy was pre- 
sently to be seen, to Footed advantage, on the manager's 
return, in the production of the little comedy of " Taste." 

Though the manager had been so far, and with ease to 
himself, victorious over the Covent Garden confederacy, he felt 
that his ranks were thin, and promptly engaged some new 
players, who brought good reputations from Dublin. Among 
these were Dexter and Boss; but the most remarkable was 
Mossop, an iron-throated tragedian. He was a man of educa- 
tion — reared in Trinity College, Dublin, which had thus 
turned out no less than four first-class tragedians — gifted with 
a strong and unmelodious declamation, and a physical strength 
that would have carried him through such tremendous parts 
as Sir Giles or Richard. But his action was singularly 
ungraceful, suggesting so happily to Churchill the motions of a 
drill-sergeant, and in the more level passages fell into the 
wearying monotony which was the curse of old stage declama- 
tion. He was a valuable recruit. Garrick allowed him to 
come forward in his own great part of Richard, in which his 
tremendous energy brought him success. The town came 
rushing to see him. It was assumed, as of course, that Gar- 
rick was dying with secret spleen and envy; and when a 
green-room wit repeated to him some verses on the new 
actors — 

" The Templars they cry Mossop, 
The ladies they cry Ross up, 
But which is the best, is a toss-up." 

a very natural smile on his part was given out as an intense 
relish and enjoyment of "the sneer." There was neither 
" sneer," nor " relish," nor currying favour. The whole was a 
bit of green-room nonsense, for which Mossop's name, offering 
a facility for rhyming, was accountable. He was at first 
modest in his success, and judiciously advised by the manager 
to try gentlemanly parts, where there was a great opening. 
But very soon was to come the old suspicion, then jealousy, 
and the whispers of ill-natured friends that he was kept out of 
" roaring" and tempestuous parts by the manager's envy. 
Miss Bellamy, aided by what old-fashioned writers were 

ford, had remarked an odd coincidence, that on the day that Garrick was 
present**?, Quin had been stopped by a highwayman on Hounslow Heath. 
" So different," he said, sarcastically, " is the fate of real and imaginary 
heroes." 



144 THE LIFE OP DAVID GARRICK. [1750 — 

fond of calling "an agreeable figure, " continued to attract 
She, too, began to contribute her share to the manager's 
troubles, conceiving that every action of his was directed 
to annoy her, or gratify a deep-rooted spite ; and it is almost 
amusing to see how she could twist even his most good- 
natured actions into evidence of this animosity. Yet his 
good-humour never varied, and the petulant young actress 
forfeited no advantage by her behaviour.* The record of her 
humours becomes almost amusing. 

Now he was to bring forward a most important revival ; a 
play full of breadth, character, and wit, Ben Jonson's " Every 
Man in his Humour," a piece sufficiently classical to have a 
wholesome effect on the public. He first prepared it carefully 
for the stage, by a jealous pruning of everything old-fashioned, 
or likely to interfere with the easy progress of the story — 
which was indeed judicious preparation. But he also, accord- 
ing to his favourite practice, added a scene at the end of the 
fourth act, which really supplies " business," and heightens the 
interest. 

Never was play so perfectly "cast" or so diligently re- 
hearsed. Garrick was suited to a nicety in Kitely, whose fitful 
changes and passions gave him good scope for play of feature, 
and inflections of voice. Woodward could not have had a 
finer part thaxi Bobadil, nor Bdbadil a finer actor; for it eminently 
fitted his solid and classical humour, a humour now lost to the 
stage. Indeed, it was long thought to have been his master- 
piece. Yates, as Brainvnrm, Boss and Palmer as Wellbred and 
Young Knowell, were all good selections, and the manager 
was fortunate enough to find actors, otherwise obscure, who 
made for themselves reputations, in even the minor parts of 
this great play. 

In the green-room Garrick trained them himself, teaching 
them his own readings and inflections. These Woodward 
appeared to adopt with much humility. But one morning, 
during the manager's absence, Woodward, in unusual spirits, 
undertook to give his brethren a specimen of the way he 
meant to deal with his part on the night in question, which 
was wholly different from the one in which he had been so 

* She describes how one night a butcher's wife fell asleep in the boxes, 
and began muttering " Rumps and burrs ! " As she slept, the associations 
of her husband's profession found their way into her dreams. It was no- 
torious that the manager had an almost morbid horror of the slightest 
interruption during his acting, and these extraordinary sounds threw 
him into confusion. He called out sharply, " What is that ! " forgot his 
part, and introduced rambling passages from other plays ; all which the 
young actress maliciously records. 



1752.] mossop. 145 

carefully instructed. During this performance, Garrick arrived 
unperceived, and listened quietly. The way in which he 
treated this little bit of duplicity is excellent testimony to his 
fairness and good-humour. "Bravo, Harry," he cried, "upon 
my soul, bravo! Why, now this is — no, no! I can't say 
this is quite my idea of the thing. Yours is, after all — to be 
sure, rather — ha !" The actor was a little confused, and said, 
with true duplicity, that he meant to act the part according to 
the manager's views. "No, no! by no means, Harry," said 
the other, warmly ; "you have actually clinched the matter. 
Bid why, dear Harry, would you not ammun&ate before?" In that 
question was an epitome of all his managerial troubles. In the 
shifts and artful tricks of his actors, who assumed that bis 
straightforwardness must be a cloak for shifts and ends like 
their own, he always felt the same friendly inquiry on his lips, 
" Why not communicate before 1 " 

How the great actor looked as Kilehj, and how ho "dressed" 
the part, we can know from the fine picture by Reynolds, and 
from the mezzotint worthy of the picture — where we see him 
in his full Spanish cloak and white collar of many points, and 
slashed sleeves ; where his expression is surprisingly altered by 
a short, dark wig, divided down the middle, and " fuzzed out" 
at the sides. The play was acted with complete success — 
though it was said that the audience took some time before 
they could surmount the old-fashioned tone. Yet, while he 
paid this tribute to the fresh, open air of character and 
healthy humour, he was hankering after the insufferable stagy 
models, which were enough to stifle everything that was true 
or natural. Thus the very night before Ben Jonson's play, 
Phmlra and Bippolytus were ranting their mythological WOC3, 
and declaiming sorrows many thousand years old. 

But he atoned for this by presenting Foote's bright and 
lively comedy of "Taste." Its design was "to satirise the 
ignorant affectation with which the fashion of the day gave 
eager welcome to anything with the appearance of age upon 
it, and turned away scornfully from modern art, however 
meritorious."* With what wit and exuberant buoyancy he 
carried out that design may be gathered from reading even a 
page of this little piece. All the essayists were busy with 
this popular fancy, which endured for many years, until Gold- 
smith's Mrs. Croker came home from the auction room, where 
the deaf Dowager was bidding away against herself. Not 
the least part of the entei Lainment was Garrick's prologue. 

* Fontar, Foote, p. 3"8. 



146 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1750 — 

But " Taste," though Carmine and Lady Pentvceazle were enter- 
taining to a degree, was but coldly welcomed, and did not run 
the regular " nine nights." This failure he tried to redeem by 
yet another of the dreary " classical " pieces — a play by a 
heavy scholar, Dr. Francis, and constructed on the usual French 
model. This was called "Eugenia," which, after dragging 
through its nine nights, was laid to rest 

With the new season came a more important production ; 
and Garrick, always true to his friends, brought out, in Febru- 
ary, '52, Edward Moore's pathetic but lugubrious piece of the 
^Gamester ; " with only languid success. It was played but 
a, few nights. The vice of gaming was then the " rage " — its 
palace was "White's," where fortunes were won and lost 
But the town did not relish the unpleasant moral It is said 
that this drama marks an era in the stage, and this was 
the first tragedy that departed from the conventional garb of 
blank verse ; it being assumed, on the authority of a tyranni- 
cal French tradition, that it was impossible to suffer or die 
save in the stately measure of blank verse. It therefore has 
the same relation to the English stage that Victor Hugo's 
" Ernani " has to the French — a play over which the terrific 
battle of the classic and romantic schools was fought. Gar- 
rick touched it a good deal, and is said to have added a whole 
scene in the fourth act 

The month of March brought a dreary play of Dr. Young's, 
of " Night Thoughts " celebrity. livy was actually resorted 
to for the story of this heavy performance, and the audience 
saw such abstractions (such they were for stage purposes) as 
"Philip of Macedon," "Perseus and Demetrius," and "Erix- 
enes," the Thracian princess, masquerade across the stage. 
When Miss Bellamy appeared in the green-room, after some 
little "sulk," the manager said, "Ah! ah! madam, you are 
come at last ! It is unfortunate for us that the doctor in- 
sisted that you were to be his heroine." The pettish actress 
here affected to be indifferent, said that Pritchard would do it 
far better, and resigned it formally, to the consternation of 
Dr. Young, who protested against such a step, " which did not 
seem to please the manager. Indeed, he appeared to be much 
mystified at my sang-frotd" " The Brothers " had only the 
usual "success of esteem," which seemed to attend on such 
solemn performances. It is remarkable as one of the many 
" clergymen's plays " which were given to the stage in a per- 
fect series. The two brothers were well played by Mossop 
and Garrick. The worthy doctor must have been astonished 
at a coarse epilogue of Mallet's, which came as a surprise upon 



1752.] THE BEDFORD. 147 

the author, as he sat in (Jarrick's box to hear his own play. 
He heard himself alluded to thus strangely — 

" The man must be a widgeon ; 

Drury may propagate; but not religion, — " 

and this, too, emphasized by Mrs. Clive in her broadest man- 
ner. Naturally indignant, he substituted another, which 
wound up with a true national flourish, and touched the right 
key in the bosom of the pit — 

" Shout, Britons, shout ! auspicious fortune bless 1 
And cry ' Long live — our title to success t ' " 



CHAPTER V. 

THE BEDFORD. — 1752. 

At the Bedford Tavern was to be found a little society of 
critics, calling themselves the Shakspeare Club, who affected to 
give laws on all things concerning the stage, and conspicuous 
among whom was a certain Fitzpatrick, destined to have a con- 
siderable share in Garrick's history.* He was an Irish gentle- 
man of a cheerful character, who had been brought up in Eng- 
land under the well-known Dr. Peter Whalley. With a great 
deal of the combative impetuosity of his countrymen, he was 
well accomplished, able to unite the pursuits of a West-end 
man of fashion with the more profitable one of a city merchant, 
.and could even find time to look after dramatic interests at the 
Bedford. He had travelled; wrote lively pieces; was nick- 
named the " pale-faced orator ; " and was looked to as the 
champion of the rights of the audience in any theatrical dis- 
pute. His friend Murphy insists particularly on his " elegant 
manners and accomplishments ; " but the tremendous Churchill 
etching — which, as Mr. Forster has acutely said, is drawn with 
such art and mastery as to be above the narrow limitations of 
a particular individual or country — had not yet been painted. 
His effeminate face and macaroni airs were recognized every- 
where. He could turn an essay pleasantly, and write an agree- 
able letter. He had travelled, and knew all the actors and 
actresses. He was fondly regarded by his friends, chiefly Irish, 

* The " Bedford Arms " is linked to our own day by the recollections of 
one Stacey, who was connected with it for more than fifty years. He re- 
membered a shilling Whist Club, to which Goldsmith, Churchill, Hogarth, 
Fielding, and many more belonged. Stacey described the quarrel between 
Hogarth and Churchill ; the latter " a stupid-looking man." See " Smith's 
.London." 

L 2 



148 THE LITE OP DAVID GARRICK. [1752. 

who had come to town to push their fortune, or enjoy town, 
and who included James Murphy French* Arthur Murphy, 
Beau Tracey, George Colman, Whalley, together with Paul 
Hiffernan, Goldsmith's " Hiff," afterwards to nave the distinc- 
tion of frightening Foote, and whom the frequenters of the 
Bedford were warned against as a spy. To such a coterie — 
— young, vivacious, and needy — Garrick and his theatre were 
naturally an object of interest 

The new actor, Mossop, had been received with welcome by 
his countrymen ; their praises stimulated him, and it was their 
chorus of compliment, led by Mr. Thady Fitzpatrick, that first 
sowed the seeds of jealousy. Very soon the actor, though he 
was gaining ground steadily with the public, began to have the 
usual suspicions and jealousies. Garrick had some object in 
keeping him such parts, though some of them were Garrick's 
own " battle-horses •" and he now began to demand " lovers' n 
parts, like Barry's, at the other house. How unsuited would 
have been his rude, unmusical voice, his stiff, uncouth gestures, 
ruled by " military plan," even a nineteenth century reader can 
understand. But Fitzpatrick was at his ear, and finding him 
in this temper, artfully worked upon and inflamed his griev- 
ances. Thus encouraged, Mossop sullenly persisted in his de- 
mands. Garrick, ever gentle and moderate, calmly reasoned 
with him. He even showed him the slender receipts of the 
theatre on nights when the tragedian was allowed his whim, 
and played in some part unsuited to him. Such moderation 
was quite thrown away. Btts grievances only became more 
inflamed ; and, worked on by his friends, he was, after the 
usual quarrel, to leave the theatre abruptly. Later, almost as 
a matter of course, Garrick was to forgive and forget this treat- 
ment, and receive him back on precisely his old footing. 
Another member of this party was the notorious Dr. Hill, or 
Sir John Hill, as he called himself, who was seen driving about 
in his chariot, and became later one of the most notorious 
" quack doctors " of his time. He was certainly a remarkable 
character, uniting prodigious powers of " hack-work " — a love 
of science that made him steal plants from the gardens he 
visited — with the meanest nature, and a cowardice that seemed, 
a disease. He stands apart in the curious line of characters of 
the past century. His "Vegetable Kingdom," in twenty-six 
great volumes, is an astounding monument of industry, and a 
respectable contribution to botanical knowledge. He wrote 
novels, natural history, supplements to dictionaries (true hack- 
work), essays on gems and on medicine. Later he became the 
Hollo way of his day; and in many an old newspaper the eye 






1752.] THE BEDFORD. 149 

will often meet with " Hill's Tincture of Valerian," " Essence 
of Waterdock," " Balsam of Honey," or " Elixir of Bardana," 
nostrums by which he made a fair subsistence. The extraor- 
dinary feature in his nature was his scurrilous courage- — on 
paper — and his no less abject pusillanimity when called to ac- 
count for his outrages. He had a libellous periodical, called 
" The Inspector," which he wrote entirely himself, and which 
was said to have brought him in, in a single year, no less a 
sum than fifteen hundred pounds. In this organ he assumed 
the airs of a public critic, could air his own opinions and his 
own wrongs and animosities with an amusing vanity. For an 
attack on a Mr. Brown he was publicly chastised in Eanelagh 
Gardens. He was exposed a hundred times, yet could not be 
put down. He tried to get into the Koyal Society, and his 
qualifications were certainly equal to those of some of its mem- 
bers ; and when he was rejected, held up two old patrons who 
had opposed his admission in the most outrageous manner. He 
would invite all the ambassadors to dinner ; for his insufferable 
effrontery would seem at last to have made way for him. He 
was seen at all the coffee-houses, at masquerades and prome- 
nades, invariably in the front row at the theatres, exciting at- 
tention by his splendid dress and singular behaviour. When 
there was loud applause for the King, the doctor was seen to 
rise, and bow gravely to his Majesty. As with his position, 
so it was with his title, which no one disputed, and " Sir John " 
was he called always, to his death. He had tried his hand at 
all things — had been one of Macklin's curious company col- 
lected at the Haymarket, and had played Liidovico with Foote. 
Every one could contribute some incident to his degrading 
biography, and he was ready to do battle with all — in print — 
on the same terms. He was engaged in such a controversy 
with " Kit Smart," the chief of hack poets, who had actually 
written a whole canto on the doctor— a " Hilliad " in which 
occurred the extraordinary line — 

" Th' insolvent tenant of incumbered space," — 

Such was an ally of Fitzpatrick and his coterie, and such 
was a fair specimen of the unscrupulous enemies who were 
round Garrick. The origin of his enmity to Garrick we do 
not know very clearly. Murphy says it was owing to reasons 
"best known to himself," which does not explain much; 
but he certainly vented his spleen in an elaborate paper, in 
which he very artfully, because temperately and critically, de- 
preciated Garrick and exalted Barry. But perhaps what 
Garrick would have most resented was the friendly defence of 



150 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1752. 

his short stature.* Yet in Barry's instance, his disproportion 
to Mrs. Cibber was quite overlooked ; and on the same prin- 
ciple the audience now quite forgot Garrick's short stature, 
and he had left off wearing cork soles in consequence. Garrick 
showed that he was offended by this exaltation of a rival, for 
his little petty vanities were worn upon his sleeve, and he 
always foolishly showed that he was hurt. 

Yet more were preparing for the coming fray. A young 
Irishman — an enthusiastic admirer of Roscius — had actually 
established a journal for the purpose of sounding the praises 
of his hero. He had come up to London, according to the 
usual routine with all needy Scotch and Irish ; was in Alder- 
man Ironside's counting-house in the City — seen often at the 
Bedford and George's at Temple Bar, and had' thus become 
acquainted with Foote, and many of the leading wits and 
critics. At the Bedford he had met Hill, and it was a fresh 
bit of ill-luck for the unhappy u Inspector " that his manner 
and style of writing should actually have stimulated the youth 
to try and put him down. In his fifth number he rushed at 
the doctor, describing him as a man who had taken on himself 
"to prescribe fashions to the ladies, and wire wigs to the 
gentlemen ; intrigues to rich, and taste to pretty, fellows," 
pestering the town with dissertations on fossils, minerals, and 
insects, "that never existed but in his own imaginations," 
that then " emboldened by a kind of negative applause, tJiat 
of being endured" he proceeded to greater lengths. Then came 
a parody : 

" Three great wise men in the same era born, 
Britannia's happy island did adorn ; 
Henley in cure of souls displayed his skill, 
Rock shone in physic, in both John Hill ; 
The course of nature could no further go, 
To make a third, he joined the former two." 

This "ingenious young gentleman " conducted his " Gray's 
Inn Journal " with vivacity, and never lost the opportunity of 
praising his hero. Such persistent advocacy certainly laid 
Garrick under an obligation which he never tried to, avoid. 
To Murphy it became eternal — the basis of exactions almost 
extravagant, and the extenuation of the most outrageous be- 
haviour. Such was the Bedford coterie. 

During the last two or throe seasons, Rich had been seized 

* Hogarth showed by a clever pen and ink sketch that Garrick, being 
elegantly made and in the proper " proportion," was really as tall as a taller 
but stouter man, such as Quin. He drew the figures side by a side with a 
scale, &c. 



1752.] THE BEDFORD. 151 

with a more extravagant fit than usual of enmity, and grati- 
fied his spleen by several strange and unworthy acts. He had 
tried to injure Garrick by coarse ridicule. He had given a 
rude burlesque of Garrick's procession in "Henry the Fourth," 
and made one of his singers travesty a popular song in Gar- 
rick's Pantomime. T^is, however, was perhaps fairly incident 
to dramatic warfare. But less justifiable was his hiring a pro- 
fessional mimic to take off Garrick's peculiarities. He had 
lately clegraded the boards of Covent Garden by a dancer on 
" the slack-wire," and in a strange entertainment called " The 
Fair " had imported a collection of wild animals — bears, mon- 
keys, ostriches, " the Ornuto savage," with other such extrava- 
gances. In a new FSerie, therefore, when Woodward pro- 
posed ridiculing this barbarous show, but not Eich himself, 
Garrick made no objection. Hill, however, recollecting his 
old grudge, affected to be very indignant at this freedom; 
talked of " poor Rich," and went as far as to hint that the 
bloods and bucks of the Temple should attend in force to sack 
the theatre, fling the sconces on the stage, and tear up the 
benches. This was going too far, and there were plenty ready 
to take such a hint. 

One night as Woodward, the Harlequin, was being carried 
across the stage in a sedan chair, some disapprobation was 
shown among the audience, and an apple was thrown, which 
broke the glass of the chair. Woodward at once leaped out, 
picked up the apple, and seeing a gentleman very excited in 
one of the side boxes, bowed to him, and said very signi- 
ficantly, "I thank you, sir!" .This gentleman proved to be 
Mr. Fitzpatrick, the merchant and man of fashion. As a 
matter of course, both parties rushed to take the public into 
confidence. Dr. Hill, in his "Inspector," gave Fitzpatrick's 
version, which was, that Woodward came up to the box, and 
said, insultingly, " I have noticed you, and shall meet you 
again ! " Woodward on this went to a magistrate, and took 
, the unusual course of making an affidavit as to the words he 
had used, " Sir, I thank you ! " Fitzpatrick made a counter- 
affidavit before another magistrate, and Woodward was corro- 
borated by witnesses who had heard the whole transaction on 
the stage, and had even been present at the Bedford when 
Fitzpatrick came in and gave a version of the words, which was 
exactly Woodward's. 

These were but small troubles. The theatre was prospering, 
even though the bishops had come to the Chamberlain with a 
memorial to stop all performances during Passion week. This 
was accorded at the beginning of the year 1753, and from that 



152 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1752. 

time panoramas and lectures on astronomy were privileged to 
take the place of plays and comedies. 

Gradually Drury Lane was gaining its old strength. With 
the new season that began in September, '53, returned, re- 
pentant, the revolted Cibber, to be received by the manager 
with his unfailing good-humour — a good substitute for the 
pretty and petulant, but untrained, Bellamy, who had passed 
over to the other house. Now was Macklin taking his " fare- 
well benefit " on the stage of his enemy, and speaking a pro- 
logue written for him by that enemy — perhaps to the surprise 
of the public — but not to the surprise of those who knew 
Garrick's superiority to petty resentment. Macklin's daughter 
was also engaged — a kindly provision now that her father was 
quitting the stage, or pretending to do so.* 

Garrick's usual good fortune brought to his house, and not 
to Covent Garden, the Mrs. Graham, who afterwards became 
Mrs. Yates. Even then her great beauty, fine presence, and 
immature talent made a deep impression ; and later, wisely 
listening to careful instruction, and furnished with opportuni- 
ties by the illness of rivals, she took her place as one of the 
grand actresses of the century. She, with Mrs. Cibber, Prit- 
chard, Garrick, and Mossop, made a strong cast for any play, 
and they first appeared together in Glover's "Boadicea."t 
The piece, however, had the fate of its predecessors — 
" dragged " on for a few nights, and was then consigned to 
the shelf. How, after such lessons, the production of a series 
of plays could be persisted in, considering the cost, trouble, and 
time necessary, seems incomprehensible. But his next venture 
helps us a little to the secret. Garrick lived as much in the 
world as on his stage. He knew wits, politicians, persons of 
quality, lords and ladies in plenty. The clergyman-dramatist, 
who had laboured out his leaden five acts on the story of 
Hippolytus, or -^Eneas, or Eurydice, seeing Mr. Garrick 
dining with " my lord," might readily ask " my lord " to say a 
word for him to the great manager. From the pressure of 
private friendship, the importunity of strangers, or the interest 
of the great, he was driven to produce things which his judg- 
ment scarcely approved. 

Thus, after the failure of "Creusa" — Mr. Whitehead's 

* He gave out that he was going to open a tavern. Foote said, " He will 
first break in trade, and then break his word." 

t The " amiable " author insisted on reading his play in the green- 
room. But his voice was harsh and his elocution bad ; and when Mr. 
Garrick offered to relieve him for an act or two, he rather touchily 
declined. 



1752.] THE BEDFORD. 153 

adaptation from a Greek poet — he was driven, by this weighty 
pressure, to bring out another play of the same class. There 
was s certain Beverend Mr. Crisp — the "Daddy Crisp " of 
Miss Burney— who was an artist, a fanatico in music, a scholar, 
and general dilettante — and who, according to the inevitable 
course, fancied he was also qualified for the drama. In course 
of time he produced a laborious five-act play on the subject of 
Virginia. He had fashionable friends, among others Lord 
Coventry — the " Cov." of the clubs— one of the wild " set " at 
Al mack's. This competent judge pronounced it good, and, 
what was of more importance, got the great Mr. Pitt to read 
and approve it ; for in these times, just as classical scholars 
and clergymen seemed to be ex-offido qualified to write plays, 
so the judgment of a Minister became of equal importance as 
a criticism. Garrick knew the value of such approval. He 
received the piece with the courtesy due to such a recommen- 
dation ; but on one pretext or another, put it aside for years. 
In despair, the author thought of a happy resource. The lovely 
Gunning, now Countess of Coventry, about whom all London 
was mad, drove to Southampton Street, and sent in for Mr. 
Garrick. Mr. Crisp's " Virginia " was accepted and brought 
out Brought out, too, with all speed; but nothing could 
galvanize it ; not even Garrick's grand " point," when Virginia 
was claimed, and he stood in a dull amazement for many 
moments, showing a speechless struggle going on in his face, 
then bursting into a slow sobbing exclamation — " Thou 
Traitor ! "* Later, as an alternative, came a revival — a pro- 
tracted bit of French declamation — " Zara," modelled on Vol- 
taire's "Zaire," which dragged through five long acts. Garrick 
was " a most venerable and pathetic old man," says Murphy. 
We can see him, as he then appeared, with long white woolly 
hair, and a flowered dressing-gown, standing with Mrs. Yates, 
whose dress is absolutely gorgeous. Never did actress appear 
so magnificently clad, glittering with a profusion of laces, tags, 
a cloud of furbelows, and a monster head-dress that seemed a 
perfect pyramid of jewels, hair, and decorations, t 

* Nor could the new and charming actress, Mrs. Graham, help to give 
it life. In a lew nights it went to the Limbo of blank verse playi— a fate 
which the author hud to the account of " careless performers," Garrick's 
hostility, and public prejudice. When the plaj was finally laid on the 
abelf, he struggled for years to obtain a second hearing. His noble friend, 
Coventry, with a man of fashion's wisdom, looked it over again, and ad. 
vised him to make some change. The author took back his play eagerly, 
and for months worked ou it But Garrick was firm. 

t See the fine print in the British Museum. " Half the battle," iu one 
of these new declamatory plays, was the actresses' dress ; and in all tho 



154 THE LIFE OP DAVID GARRICK. [1752. 

The season of 1754 began with fresh spirit and rivalry. 
Sheridan had come over from Dublin, and Barry had left Rich, 
complacently prophesying that ruin would attend on his de- 
sertion.* Sheridan came with new plays and new characters, 
and with his style in certain characters vastly improved. He 
did, indeed, fall into the common mistake of choosing unsuit- 
able parts, and "rattled the ear where he should have touched 
the heart." But in Coriolanus he was fine ; and it must have 
been amusing to have gone from one theatre to the other, and 
heard the two stormy actors lustily thundering. He had 
learned, in Bichard, not to die in sprawling agonies and 
gymnastic convulsions — a common weakness with the leading 
players. Woffington, too, had come back to town, after being 
fooled and flattered in the Dublin green-room in the most 
extravagant way. There she heard that Cibber wanted her 
powers; Pritchard her address and spirit, Clive her humour, 
Macklin her judgment, Bellamy her tenderness, and all human 
nature her accomplishments, t One of her freaks was play- 
ing Lothario. The warm passion of that character was de- 
livered with a " finical delicacy." Her audiences, too, were 
falling off. She changed the scene, and was received with 
welcome and admiration in London. Such was the advantage 
then for players in these two great theatrical communities. 

Garrick led off the season with a capital revival. A 
friendly whisper came from the Court, that the King had been 
talking over the pleasure he once had in seeing Wilks and 
Mrs. Oldfield play in an old comedy of Beaumont and 
Fletcher's ; and Garrick, whose eyes always turned fondly to 
Court, and whose loyalty verged on obsequiousness, had it put 
in rehearsal at once. This was " The Chances," which Shef- 
field, Duke of Buckingham, had altered and adapted, and 
which Garrick himself now carefully retouched and pruned 
down. The Drury Lane pit had a prospect of seeing some- 
thing with true life and motion, and character ; and to men 
like Ralph, who objected that new plays were not brought 
out, might have been retorted that gay comedies, so old, and 
of such a pattern, were newer and more welcome than the poor 

agreements which were made with actresses, this question of allowance for 
so many dresses was always fiercely pressed and debated. This, indeed, 
was one of the redeeming points in the " Tragedy Queen " parts — they 
gave a fine* opening for magnificence. 

* One of his enemies in Dublin thus described him: — "His Romeo la 
horrible among the most horrible ; and aa he wants ease and life, he has 
judiciously determined to play Celadon in ' The Comical Lover.* It would 
require the pen of a Scarron to describe his appearance." — Digge*. 

T Digges, in Jesse Foote's " Life of Murphy." 



1752.] THE BEDFORD. 155 

stuff of the Crisps and Franklins he was bringing forward. 
Garrick was delightful in Don Juan. Mrs. Cibber, however, 
was scarcely at home in the gay Constantia, and her solemn 
and infinitely sweet accents could not lend themselves to the 
vivacity of a gay coquette. How unsuited she was may be 
conceived when we know that later it was taken up and 
" made " by the lively Abington. 

But here was another clergyman, Dr. Brown, in the green- 
room, with a tragedy of the same wearisome old pattern, full 
of ZelimSj Ottomans, Achmets, and Barbarossas, of bombastic 
Easterns, and turgid declamation. Garrick, however, put 
movement into this play, by suggesting to the author various 
rather hackneyed stage devices.* Mossop had here a splendid 
opening for tearing of a part to tatters in the barbarian Bar- 
barossa, and with stentorian lungs roared tyranny, and de- 
fiance, and cruelty, according to the popular ideal of Eastern 
despots. It was indeed the redudio ad absurdum of the style ; 
but it had success from its very extravagance. 

A bell was heard to toll, about which there was a little 
history. Garrick had purchased it specially, at an enormous 
expense, to toll during his " Borneo " procession, in opposition 
to Rich's. It however failed in this respect, and then did 
most effective duty in tolling for the execution of Pierre, in 
" Venice Preserved." t 

* Barbarossa is the most "swearing" of stage heroes. His language 
was at times awful. His favourite oath is "By hell ! " " Curse the 
traitors ! " *' Perdition on thy falsehood ! " " Accurst art thou," " Curse 
their womanish hearts/' are some of his mildest expressions. 

After scenes of ranting, a discovery which has often since furnished food 
for laughter and burlesque, is thus made : — 

" Othman. — Besides, he wears 

A mark indelible, a beauteous scar, 
Made on his forehead by a furious pard, 
Which, rushing on his mother, Selim slew. 
Achmet. — A scar ! 
Othman. — Ay, on his forehead. 
Achmet {lifting his turban). — What, like this ? 
Othman (kneels). — Whom do I see ? 
Am I awake ! my prince ! 
My honour'd, honour'd king ! " 
We may compare with this, the modern : — 

" Cost. — Tell me, ah ! in mercy tell me, have you such a thing as a 
strawberry mark on your left arm ? 
"Box.— No \ 

" Cox. — Then it is he ! my long-lost brother." 

The same extraordinary token of recognition was introduced in " Zara," 
where a " cross " on a daughter's arm is the means of restoring her to her 
parents, 
t It seems more than probable that, like another famous manager of 



156 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1752. 

The February of '55 was to find him freely "tampering" 
with Shakspeare, as Cibber and others before him had done. 
An operetta called " The Fairies " was brought forward, the 
music by a Mr. Smith, a pupil of Handel's, and the " book " of 
which was adapted from the "Midsummer Night's Dream." 
For this rude laying of hands on a sacred object he was 
roughly brought to account. His cutting up this play and 
"The Tempest" into operas was certainly a foolish and in- 
judicious step. And though his was not the profane hand 
that did the work — as is commonly said — it was done by his 
direction, and on his encouragement.* 

It should be recollected that every one had tried his hand 
at restoring, and patching, and alteration, so that it was 
excusable in Garrick to follow the public taste. It must 
be sai(J, too, that his idea was not to give the "Mid- 
summer Night's Dream," but an opera founded on the story, 
using the poet's dialogue where it was possible. The whole 
was indeed meant to bring out two Italian singers, Signor 
Curioni and Signora Passerini, who had some twenty-seven 
songs : for he hankered after these exotics, and always had 
his agents in foreign countries, looking out for artistes. But 
his real justification, as it might have seemed to him, was the 
high authority of Warburton. It would be hard for any one 
not to be encouraged by such an extravagant compliment as 
the following: "Besides your giving an elegant form to a 
monstrous composition, you have, in your own additions, 
written up to the best scenes in this play, so that you will 

fiction, who was anxious to have his " pumps and washing tubs " turned 
to profit, he wrote to Dr. Brown to bring in his belL The doctor managed 
it in this way : — 

" Bar.-— For the bell 

Ev'n now expects the sentinel to toll 
The signal of thy death. 
Sdim. — Let guilt like thine tremble at death. 
Bar. — Then take thy wish ; 

(BeU tolls.) 
There goes the fatal knell." 

But the doctor forgot, what Johnson soon found out, that the use of bells 
was unknown to the Mahometans, and that Dr. Young had used the same 
device effectively in his play. "We are not to be made April fools 
of twice," said Johnson, roughly. And soon it became a favourite jest at 
his expense ; and Murphy, iu one of his insane fits of exasperation, would 
write to him tauntingly, " You, who rang a bell among the Turks 1 " 

* Nothing can be more explicit than his denial of authorship. " If you 
mean," he wrote to a person who, while offering a play, taunted him with 
turning Shakspeare into an opera — " if you mean that I was the person 
who altered the ' Midsummer Night's Dream ' and ' The Tempest ' into 
operas, you are much mistaken." 



1752.] THE BEDFORD. 157 

easily imagine I read the reformed ' 'Winter's Tale ' with great 
pleasure. You have greatly improved a fine prologue." 
After this, it is hard to say a word against Garrick. 

A detailed setting-out of the annals of a theatre becomes 
about as monotonous as reading a catalogue raUonnd ; a theatri- 
cal history will take the shape of an abstract of so many 
playbills. This seems almost unavoidable ; for looking over 
the long line of theatrical biographies, we find that each 
unavoidably falls into a series of play succeeding play, theatre 
succeeding theatre, and engagement following engagement. 
The story of a manager's life is specially open to this objection. 
But we shall only delay very little longer, and anticipate some 
of these Shakspearean revivals. - 

For the next season of 1755-6 he prepared "The Winter's 
Tale," altered with freedom.* Yet the alteration was not un- 
skilfully done. There was a charming song by Mrs. Cibbcr, 
in the true pastoral key: — 

"Come, come, my good shepherds, out Hocks we must shear; 
In jour holiday suits with your laseea appear ! 
The happiest folk «re acquitteD and free, 
And who are so guileleti and hippy aa we 1 " ■(■ 

Garrick himself played Leontes, and with masterly effect in 
the statue scene. It was said, too, that had he retained the 
original version of the play, he would have doubled the attrac- 
tion of his own part; which shows the self-denial which 
regulated his theatrical plans, and the due subordination of 
himself to the general effect of the stage. To him, also, wu 
owe the capital Shakspearean farce of "Katharine and Petru- 
chio," which now keeps the stage, and probably will always 

* Garrick had the temerity, in his prologue, to boast that it wu his 
" Joy — my only plan 
To low no drop of t&at immortal man." 
Bat it was said, happily enough, that he had certainly " lost, a whole pail- 
ful of him " here. 

t A line was repeated with praise to Johnson, as from this song— 
" I'd smile with the simple, and feed with the poor." 
He was very happy in hit ridicule of it : — " Nay, my dear lady, this will 
never do. Poor David ! ' Smile with the simple ! ' What folly is that. 
And who would feed with the poor that can help it 1 No, no ; let me 
amile with the wise, and feed with the rich." This "sally" was reported 
to Garrick by the good-natured Boa well, who " wondered to find his sensi- 
bility aa a writer not a little irritated by it." The actor might well have 
been, for what he had written waa that " content and sweet cheerfulness " 
were what smiled with the simple, and not " I'd smile." But this is only 
a alight specimen of the misrepresentation that attended the actor all 
through his life. 



158 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1752. 

keep it, in that shape. The animosity well known to exist 
between Woodward and Mrs. Clive gave a life and interest to 
the piece; it was said that the actor threw her down with a 
violence more than was warranted by the situation. The 
fierce, and real, resentment of the actress at this treatment — 
her rage, which she could hardly control, all fell in excellently 
with the tone of the piece, and delighted the audience. Then 
followed " The Tempest," fashioned into an opera, with Mr. 
Beard, the popular ballad singer, as Prospero. This, as I have 
mentioned, was no more than fashioning an opera on the sub- 
ject of the play, just as Hale>y used to do in the present 
century. Still it was thought sacrilege enough for a single 
season; and there were plenty who cared very little for Shak- 
speare, ready to raise the cry. Theo. Gibber, whose father 
had been the grand offender, delivered a lecture at the Hay, 
in which he affected deep indignation.* When Garrick played 
Hamlet again, an idea occurred to him of getting Woodward 
to give a serious tone to the character of Pofonius, instead of 
the usual buffooning air with which low comedians always in- 
vested it The experiment failed; the audience could not 
understand. After this, who could blame Garrick for some- 
times leaving the true legitimate path in his choice of enter- 
tainments, or for taking freedoms with Shakspeare? Mossop's 
wrongs, and the sense that he was " kept down " by jealousy, 
had made him leave the theatre in disgust. There remained 
friends and " bottle-holders " who had made use of him merely 
to annoy the manager, and who inflamed his jealousy solely 
to that end. Yet Mossop seems to have had no reasonable 
cause of complaint, as he had acted over thirty nights, and 
always in fine and important characters, such as Barbarossa, 
Macbeth, Richard, and Coriolanus. Garrick begged of him to stay, 
but he was not to be soothed, and went away to Ireland. He 
left behind him an angry and discontented "party"; and very 
early the manager was to receive a rude check, and discover 
the fatal truth that a theatrical audience is the most fickle 
thing in the world, and will turn upon its most cherished 
favourite at the first moment of ill-humour. With this coming 
trouble, it is not unreasonable to suppose that his personal 
enemies were associated. 
Then followed "All's Well that Ends Well," and "Rule a 

* "The 'Midsummer Night's Dream' has been minced and fricasseed 
into a thing called ' The Fairies/ ' The Winter's Tale ' mammocked into a 
droll, and ' The Tempest ' castrated into an opera. .... Yet this sly 
Prince would insinuate that all this ill-usage of the Bard is owing, for- 
sooth, to his love of him." 



1752.] THE BEDFORD. 159 

Wife and have a Wife," in which Mrs. Cihber perversely 
claimed the lively Esitfania; but had to resign it, after a single 
night, to the better genius of Mrs. Pritchard. It properly 
belonged to Clive, but rumour said that "she was kept out of 
her part " by the jealousy of Woodward and Garrick. As to 
the latter, we have seen enough of him by this time to know 
that he could sacrifice everything to the interest of a play; 
and the change is sufficiently explained by the ill-judged claim 
of Cihber, whose whims had to be consulted. That actress, 
now growing subject to sudden fits of illness, and with some 
of her charms failing, capriciously used the power given her 
by her articles, to select gay and youthful parts. Then he 
revived his little farce of " Lethe," with a new character for 
himself — Lord Ckalkstoiie — and allowed Murphy, who was en- 
gaged at the theatre, and already plaguing him, to bring out a 
new farce for his own benefit. 

Having to face this crowd of enemies, always on the watch, 
it was not long before a serious rebuff came. Fitzpatrick, and 
the partizans of Mossop, were now to find the opportunity they 
sought It was known at the Bedford that he had long been 
preparing a spectacle that should be above all competition. It 
was hardly wonderful that he should bo so attached to pageants 
and processions, as these were the attractions which, after his 
own acting, brought most money to the theatre. He clung 
to them through many shocks; and, after the rough treatment 
he was now to receive on presenting " The Chinese Festival," 
we may admire his constancy and perseverance.* 

* There hit many caricatures ridiculing this weakness ; one represents 
Garrick, with the " book " of one of his shows in his hand, with Meimink, 
the mechanist, teside him, shouting " Processions fur ever ! " and a crowd 
of men with hammers, Ac. Underneath are the line* : — 
" Behold the Muses, Roacius, sue in vain, 
Tailors and carpenters usurp their reign ! " 
In another, Garrick is shown walking aver the works of Shakspeare, Rone, 
and others. 



160 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1755 — 



CHAPTER VL 

THE CHINESE FESTIVAL — WOFFINGTON'S RETIREMENT. — 

1755-1757. 

For Garrick the charms of French life and the attractions 
of the French stage had always a sort of fascination. The 
exquisite and elegant touch of that nation in all theatrical 
matters was well appreciated by him, and his eyes were always 
turning towards Paris for French books, French players, 
French devices in scenery and decoration, and French artists. 
His own recent visits where he had made many friends, had 
strengthened this penchant. In the autumn of 1754 — perhaps 
finding his audiences dulled by their late heavy doses of 
weary legitimate comedy — he had begun to think of a grand 
coup, which should impart variety and rouse their apathy. A 
favourite stock-charge against the manager had been, that he 
conducted his theatre too penuriously in the matter of decora- 
tions and dresses, and relied on the cheap, unadorned attrac- 
tions of his own declamation. Such speeches were not slow 
in reaching his ears, and he was now to give them a triumphant 
refutation. 

There was in Paris a certain Jean George Noverre, a Swiss 
dancer, of some celebrity, but better known at the little 
theatres of the small Courts of Europe than he was at Paris. 
He enjoyed a high reputation as a maitre de ballet, and in the 
more feminine role of "male dancer"; and Garrick had heard 
from his French friends of his abilities. He accordingly 
opened negotiations with him, through a M. Silvain. His first 
offers were declined — Noverre demanding the modest sum of 
350 guineas, with a free benefit* subject to no deductions. 
He obtained his terms, with the exception of the " no deduc- 
tions " from the benefit night, which he consented to give up, 
as it was not the custom in England. A " jolie danseuse," his 
sister, was also engaged on his own terms. 

At last all was arranged, and Garrick having conceded 
everything, was told, in a tumult of grateful rapture, "that 
his style was delicious ; that he was a divine creature ; " and 
the male dancer, with his "decorations" and his figurantes, 
started for England. It will be guessed what a costly venture 
this was, and what a serious outlay had been incurred; the 
result was to be a truly splendid spectacle, which could not fail 
to be successful and profitable. 



1757.] THE CHINESE FESTIVAL. 161 

But there were dangers approaching, which a skilful 
manager — knowing the childish unreasonableness of the 
general public, whose servant he must be — might have fore- 
seen. From the beginning of the year, the relations between 
England and France had been very critical. In the month of 
November, 1755, when Noverre and his grand spectacle, "The 
Chinese Festival," was ready, the countries were actually on 
the eve of a war. The low prejudices of the mob were 
aroused against everything French, and the enemies of the 
manager of Drury Lane were not slow to raise the cry that 
there was a gang of "frog-eating" Frenchmen and French 
women brought over to take the bread out of the mouths of. 
honest Englishmen. 

Some days before the piece was brought out, the managers 
became conscious of the danger, but it was then too late. All 
the expense had been incurred. A temperate appeal — evi- 
dently inspired by Garrick — appeared in the papers. It stated 
that the contract had been signed more than a year ago, and 
before the disturbed relations between the countries could have 
been thought of. As to their being French dancers, there were 
no more than were usually at any of the theatres. Mr. Noverre 
and his sisters were Swiss, and what was more, of A Protest- 
ant family. (It is humiliating to think that the history of in- 
tolerance must be pursued, even behind the scenes.) His wife 
and her sisters were Germans. Of the whole corps — amount- 
ing to sixty — forty were English. This was a fair and con- 
vincing appeal ; but argument with a mob is hopeless. 

The night arrived — the 8th of November — suspiciously near 
to the great Guy Fawkes anniversary. With all these exer- 
tions, the decorations were not quite ready. Noverre, who had 
written a scientific work on Dancing, had exhausted himself in 
splendid devices — exhibiting all the popular, and perhaps in- 
accurate, notions of Chinese dress, music, dancing, and habits. 
Not content with his appeal, Garrick had, as he fancied, by a 
master-stroke, secured the attendance of the old King, respect 
for whom, he thought, would restrain the audience. 

The opening piece passed off without interruption ; but as 
soon as the curtain rose upon the " Chinese Festival," a storm 
of fury broke out ; all was noise, storm, and confusion in a 
moment. It would be neither seen nor listened to. Mr. Lacy 
asked what the cause of the uproar was, and went away, laugh- 
ing heartily. The Babel was almost terrific ; the curtain had 
to be let down. The question then was, what was to be done ? 
Lacy, always prudent and discreet, was for yielding and with- 
drawing the piece ; but Garrick, with more courage — or, as his 



162 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1755—^ 

detractors would have said, with a careful eye to all the money 
he had laid out — was determined on going on. An interval of 
some days was allowed to elapse, and Garrick thought that by 
playing one of his best parts he might disarm the mob. But 
each night things only grew worse. It was noticed that there 
was an aristocratic, or f rench party, in the boxes-noblemen, 
who got all their gorgeous bleu de Ro% suits over from the Paris 
tailors, and who .were vehement in applauding the French 
dancers. On the Friday following, the King was got to come 
again, through the agency of the Duke of Grafton ; and Gar- 
rick, who had never yet played before him, was to give one of 
his best parts. 

The tumult went on for several nights more. At last, on the 
sixth, the lords and gentlemen leaped on to the stage with 
drawn swords — ladies caught up the enthusiasm, and pointed 
out delinquents. This only infuriated the mob, who now began 
to think of venting their fury on the theatre. The benches 
were torn up, the decorations dragged down, the lustres de- 
molished, and, finally, M. Boquet's costly " machines " were all 
destroyed. It was proposed to fire the house, but this was 
happily prevented. From the stage the management had to 
announce that they yielded, and would play the piece no more ; 
in return for which concession the mob repaired at once to 
Southampton-street, where they demolished all Garrick's win- 
dows, and did other damage. Indeed, he was apprehensive 
that his life was in danger, and obtained a guard of soldiery 
from his friends in power. Thus he learned how frail was the 
tenure of a player's popularity. 

It is said that the whole of this riot was deliberately organ- 
ized. Footed capital stroke, in one of his farces, was founded 
in truth, when he described " the patriot gingerbread baker in 
the Borough, who would not endure three dancers from Swit- 
zerland because he hated the French." The loss reached four 
thousand pounds, and, after all, the piece itself was said to 
have been the dullest show of pantomime ever put on the 
stage. But this may be doubted. Garrick himself had excel- 
lent taste, and the French stage, at this time, was pre-eminent 
in "decors" 

Nothing, however, could have been more spirited, and, at 
the same time, more temperate, than Garrick's behaviour. 
About ten days later, when the unlucky dancers had been sent 
away, a scene more dramatic than anything in the bright 
comedy, appointed for the night, took place. As Roscius 
made his rentrfo in Archer, there were angry murmurs of 
"Pardon!" "Beg pardon!" on which he advanced slowly, 



1757.] THK CHINESE FESTIVAL. 163 

bowing, with infinite respect, and at the same time, infinite 
firmness. He then explained how he had been treated, wan- 
tonly and malignantly — by individuals, both as respected his 
property and his character. He gratefully acknowledged all 
the favours that had been heaped on him during his career ; 
but declared that, unless he was that night permitted to per- 
form his duty to the best of his ability — he was above want, 
and superior to insult — he would never appear on the stage 
again. As he spoke, all murmurs died away: what he said 
went home to every heart. For a moment there was a pause, 
then a shout, prolonged for many moments, made the old 
rafters ring. In all the records of theatrical difficulties there 
is nothing to equal this victory. Murphy and Davies, his two 
biographers, omit all mention of this creditable scene. Yet 
Murphy was engaged at the theatre, and must have been actu- 
ally listening, and Mrs. Davies was playing in the first piece. 

At the other house, Barry, newly returned from Dubtin, 
was declaiming with a renewed passion and sweetness that 
caused a fresh furore — this, too, with the disadvantage of hav- 
ing lost his tender Juliet, Mrs. Cibber. Instead, he played 
with a lady of slender gifts, but whom he had infatuated with 
his charms. In that fine bit of old-fashioned exaggeration, 
the " Rival Queens," with Statira and Boxana, superb in their 
declamation, he was literally enchanting. The piece was 
mounted with great pomp, and superb dresses. He was the 
impassioned and melting lover, the furious and phrenzied war- 
rior, by turns ; his agony of remorse thrilled all hearts, and 
his madness was terrible. The tragedy queens, Woffington 
and Bellamy, had their furious jealousies behind, as well as 
before, the curtain ; and an unseemly squabble arose between 
the two ladies, which Foote — acting at the same house, and in 
pieces with them — with his usual personality, chose to make 
up into a farce, for the entertainment of the town.* Pre- 
sently Barry was to revive the old comparison between him 
and Garrick, by appearing in King Lear. His fine figure and 
melodious voice had made him so popular that this was seized 
on as a representation infinitely superior to Garrick's; yet 
there was no competition intended by either of the players — 
certainly not by Garrick, who, as far as I can discover, played 
it only four times during the season, and not once after Barry 
had begun to play. This self-denial was the more praise- 
worthy, as the best judges admitted that he was superior; 

* It was called " The Green-room Squabble." No tie or sense of de- 
cency could restrain this wit 



164 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1755 

and, indeed, considering Barry's special gifts in tender-lover 
parts and heroes, his voice, eyes, figure, and grace — four splen- 
did advantages that would carry all before them — he would 
scarcely have suited the old, distraught king. He was too 
stately, and too tall, and in the mad scenes started and took 
too long and hasty strides. Garrick had all the fruits of study.* 
But Mr. Taylor, who saw both these famous players in this 
part, unhesitatingly decides for Garrick ; and though his re- 
collection was a little dim, recalled the white handkerchiefs 
fluttering in every box as Garrick acted ; whereas, though ho 
had a sense of Barry's fine and handsome figure, there was a 
general air of coldness over his reading. 

This new season, also, found Mossop back again under his 
" envious " rival's flag. He had returned from Ireland, where 
Garrick had taken care to recommend him strongly to the 
good offices of Lord Hartington. He was, indeed, infinitely 
above petty resentment. This year, too, showed his surprising 
tact in discovering useful recruits; and his company being 
strengthened with a young actress from Richmond Theatre 
later to be the vivacious Mrs. Abington, with Miss Pritchard, 
and Foote, the rivalry between the theatres was carried on 
with renewed spirit. He was good-natured enough to play 
his Borneo for the young ddbutante's Juliet ; and, what was more 
indulgent still, played his Benedick to her untrained Beatrice. 
But though she had many fascinations, a beautiful face, that 
was seen bathed in tears as her mother led her on, her attrac- 
tion was not enduring. On the first of November, 1756, he 
appeared in a new character — one that was to be always popu- 
lar to the end, and which perhaps he did not think would be 
the one in which he should make his last bow — Don Felix in 
the gay "Wonder." He refused "Douglas" — one of the few 
mistakes as to speculation he made in his life, but accepted 
Foote's amusing " Author." The latter took care that the vie- 

* As usual, an epigram or two went off, happily hitting the nice distinc- 
tion between both. One was by Mr. Berenger : — 

" The town has found out different ways 
To praise the different Lean ; 
To Barry they give loud huzzas, 
To Garrick— only tears." 

Another was quite as happy— 

" A lung — nay, every inch a king, 
Such as Barry doth appear ; 
But Garrick's quite a different thing, 
He's every inch King Lear." 

Theophilus Cibber, still writing against Garrick, sneered at the first of 
these, and affected to consider it came from Garrick himself. 



1757.] woffington's retirement. 165 

tim he gibbeted in this piece — a friend and intimate of his own 
friend Delaval — should be in the boxes to see himself held up 
to ridicule. 

Garrick was now carrying out a curious little whim — train- 
ing a small dramatic class of children, whom he brought out 
in a little piece he wrote for them expressly. But though 
dramatic talent is not to be even fostered by such means, he 
was repaid by the experiment producing him at least one valu- 
able actress — Miss Pope. At the same time, while his ranks 
were thus strengthened, those of the other house sustained a 
serious loss in the abrupt withdrawal of its leading actress ; 
and on one May night, in 1757, a strange and dramatic scene 
was to take place at the other house. It was long remembered 
at Covent Garden Theatre how, when she was repeating the 
ssage in RosaliruTs epilogue, "If I were among you I would 
:iss as many of you as had beards that pleased me/ 1 she 
faltered, gave a piercing scream, and tottered to the wing. 
She was given over, and she lay at the point of death for 
many dayS. She lingered on two or three years. We can 
accept the story of her conversion to Methodism, and of her 
-devoting the rest of her life to piety. Such might have 
been the case, but the embassy of "Colonel Caesar of the 
•Guards," which was not long before her death, is scarcely con* 
sistent The story of her building the almshouses at Tedding- 
ton is placed to the account of the same change of life.* On 
her death-bed, however, she sent for Mrs. Bellamy — her old 
enemy — the " Rival Queen " who had dared to dress against 
her, and owned to her that she had once got an admirer to 
show Mr. Fox a letter of Mrs. Bellamy's, in the hope of injur- 
ing her with that statesman. This seemed an act of grace. 
To her the English stage is infinitely indebted, not merely for 
a legacy of fine and varied acting, but for a previous lesson of 
duty to herself, to the theatre, and to the public. The testi- 
mony of prompters and managers to this loyalty are extraordi- 
nary. She often played six nights in the week, and never 
was known to have those " occasional illnesses which I have 
seen," says one who knew her well,t " assumed by capital per- 
formers, to the great vexation and loss of the manager, and 
disappointment of the pubtic." " She never," says a Dublin 
stage-manager, "disappointed one audience in three winters 
either by real or affected illness ; and yet 2" have often seen her 

* Mr. J. W. Cole, who investigated this point, discovered that the alms- 
houses were built a century before. A new one was added more than 
twenty yean after her death. 

+ Hit c hcoc k . 



166 THE LITE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1755 — 

on the stage when she ought to liave been in her bed" "To her 
honour," says another friend, " be it ever remembered, that 
while thus in the zenith of her glory, courted and caressed by 
all ranks and degrees, she made no alteration in her behaviour; 
she remained tlie same gay, affable, obliging, good-matured Woffing- 
ton to every one around her. Not to the lowest performer in the 
theatre did she refuse playing for — out of twenty-six benefits 
she acted in twenty-four!" Two warm and graphic pic- 
tures — and a most satisfactory tribute to her merit. She 
had an equal concern for the dignity of the drama in her 
selection of characters, in which she resembled Garrick.* 

She was always ready to take an inferior part in a play, 
when even the leading character was hers by right ; and she 
has been known to resign Ophelia to play the Queen — to take 
Lady Percy instead of Lady Anne — and carry out the same 
principle in many other pieces, to suit the interest of the play, 
or convenience of the manager. This principle obtains on the 
French stage, where the interest of the piece appears to be 
considered the first object ; but it may seem old-fashioned to 
the English players of our time. 

Thus the old romance had ended, and that short career — 
not twenty years in length — was stopped. But decay had 
already set in — the old charms had already begun to lose their 
spell — the fine face had been worn by sudden and mysterious 
strokes of sickness — the voice was growing more shrill — and 
her admirers had fallen away. These were warnings that a 
life of racket and dissipation could not go on. 

Garrick must have heard of this tragic finale to his old 
love's career with regret ;t and we know that when the sick 
and broken creature was lingering on at Teddington, for a 
couple of years more, he showed his old regard by an act of 
true kindness. Over her grave in Teddington churchyard 

* Her ripertoire included such varied characters as Ophelia, Lady Brute, 
Rosalind, Helena, Mrs. Sullen, Lady Betty Modish, Cordelia, Lady Anne, 
Mrs. Ford, Lady Townly, Portia, Belinda, Maria, Viola, Isabella, Jane 
Shore, The Lady in " Comus," Desdemona, Lady Macbeth, EsHfania, Con- 
stance, Violante— characters all of the " first force " and most refined class. 

t I have discovered among the Dublin Patent Rolls a list of " converts," 
who made a formal adhesion to the Established Church of the country, and 
her name is among the number : " filed at Tholsel, January 22, 1756," 
barely a year before, while she was squabbling with Mrs. Bellamy. This 

{ roves the truth of the story, so often told, of her conforming to obtain a 
egacy from old Owen Swiney. A creature of her life was not likely to 
adopt or abandon any religion from principle ; and she had, in fact, long 
before given up the faith she had been born in. I find, in Che t wood's little 
book, a prologue spoken by her in the invasion times of 1745, in the most 
violent " anti-Popish " strain. 



1757.] TATE WILKINSON. 167 

may be now read a conventional inscription. We might 
almost prefer the simple praise of the warm and humble 
friend, "she remained the same gay, affable, obliging, good- 
natured Woflington ! " 



BOOK THIIE POTTETH. 

THE MANAGER. 

CHAPTER I. 

TATE WILKINSON — THE COUNTRY TOWN THEATRE — THE 

MIMICS. — 1 757-58. 

The new season of 1757-8 had little that was noteworthy in 
its theatrical management, save that the manager appeared in 
the new character of Biron, with great success — in a poor 
piece of Home's, called "Agis"; and also in a lively and 
humorous farce of Murphy's, " The Upholsterer," which, with 
a little alteration, would, even now, bear revival. Some of 
those old farces are more properly comediettas, and their 
humour was the humour of character, not of impossible situa- 
tion and grotesque mannerism. Shirley's "Gamesters" and 
" Henry IV." furnished the manager with the new characters 
of Wilding and the King. 

At the end of the season he lost Woodward — an admirable 
comedian — but the loss was in some sense lessened by the 
addition to his troop of the graceful and gentlemanly O'Brien. 
Woodward's desertion was attended with a display of greed 
quite characteristic. He was well worked, but he had the 
largest salary ever given to a comic player, with an extra 
benefit for his Harlequin labours. He was not content, and 
wished to tie the managers down to. the strange agreement, 
that they should in future give him as much as they should 
ever give to any performer. Garrick could not agree to this ; 
and woodward went away to Dubtin, to lose all his savings 
in a most disastrous speculation, to return penniless, and, with 
true meanness, try and ingratiate himself with a London au- 
dience by abuse of the people whom he had left. To them he had 
the hardihood to return later, but was hooted from the boards, 
and not allowed a hearing. The stage, certainly, if it contri- 
butes a handsome chapter to the history of human folly and 



168 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1757 — 

meanness, can also illustrate the truth that honour and manli- 
ness are the best policy in the world.* Garrick in the next 
season, 1758, took up the character of Marplot, in which ht 
hoped to eclipse the recollection of the deserter Woodward. 
But his fine face was thought not to be vacant enough. 
Rather when a character has been long in possession of a per- 
former it becomes identified with his face. 

Garrick, unhappily destined to see more of the ungracious 
side of human nature than any other person, was now to 
encounter Dr. Hill in the new and strange shape of a farce 
writer — a piece called "The Rout," which was put into his 
hands to be played for an hospital, f He was perhaps afraid 
that it would not be received well by Garrick,- or the public if 
he gave his real name, and it was announced as being from the 
pen of " a person of quality." Everything about this queer 
adventurer was to be in character. In a few days he threw off 
his disguise, and demanded a benefit. Garrick would have, 
readily gratified him, but when the audience discovered the 
author they would not endure his play. Garrick paid dearly 
for his weakness, and found this gad-fly stinging him in all the 
newspapers, attacking him with verses and doggerel. He held 
up Garrick's pronunciation in " A Petition for the Letter I," 
which he said was quite neglected by the actor ; and who, like 
Kemble later, was turning "virtue" and "fiercely," into 
" vurtue," and " fersely." There must have been some truth 
in this charge, as Garrick was nettled into a sort of retort, 
which had some wit, or, at least, smartness ; and in which he 
hoped "that I might be never taken for U"t 

During the season the audience were entertained with a fine 
spectacle, and their favourite as Antony — in Shakspeare's play — 
but here again he failed, wanting height and dignity for the 
part. Another new piece was the quarrelsome Murphy's 
"Orphan of China," which at last came before the public, 

* Foote, though taking Garrick's pay, seems to have had some share in 
stirring up Woodward to this " strike." In the half- bau ten ng way, with 
one of those " good things " in which he tried to mask his ill-nature, he told 
him he was made a " common hackney of," and in consequence of the 
ground gone over in his Harlequin feat, &c, was entitled to be paid by 
either time or distance. 

t At this time we find the Duke of Devonshire making him a loan of 
£500, and offering him as much more in generous, cordial terms. 

$ More bitter was this thrust at the doctor's quack medicines :— 

" Thou essence of dock, valerian, and sage, 
At once the disgrace and the pest of this age ; 
The worst we cau wish thee for all thy damn'd crimes, 
Is to take thy own physic, and read thy own rhymes." 



1758.] TATE WILKINSON. 169 

after many secret vicissitudes, to be related presently. By 
this time he had " made money," and was ready to advance a 
substantial sum to his friend Lord Hartington, then Irish 
secretary, to pay off a mortgage. That nobleman continued 
very friendly to him, though at Burlington House the strange 
caprices of " My Lady," and the curious confusion that seemed 
to reign in her household, made harmony not a little difficult. 
Lately there had been a quarrel, now everything was happily 
made up. 

At Southampton Street, with his charming wife, whose 
advice in all matters, even in points concerning his theatre, 
was becoming invaluable and necessary to him, he found com- 
fort and relaxation. Once inside that house he seemed to lay 
down all anxieties. 

On one morning a letter was brought in at Southampton 
Street^ introducing a young man who wished to go on the 
stage. Garrick received him kindly, listened to his declama- 
tion, which was poor enough, and comforted the aspirant by 
telling him that his shyness was a very good sign of success. 
This young fellow had hung about the green-room at Covent 
Garden, and for all this shyness, was a pert, forward, impu- 
dent gamin, whose precocious talents of mimicry had been 
overpraised by friends. He offered to " take, off " some of the 
well-known actors to show the manager his gifts. " Nay, now," 
said Mr. Garrick, in his peculiar mixture of hesitation and re- 
petition, which made his talk a favourite subject of imitation, 
" Nay, now, sir, you must take care of this, for I used to call 
myself the first at this business — " But the young fellow knew 
the manager's weak place. He began, leading off with Foote. 
The likeness amused the manager immensely, and the perform- 
ance was repeated. "Hey, now! now — what — all," went on 

Really witty was a second attack that appeared in a few days : — 
" Their wish must be in form reversed, 
To suit the doctor's crimes ; 
For if he takes his physic first, 
He'U never read his rhymes."* 

* I find among Garrick's papers the first draft of one of these epigrams, 
which is very poor indeed — 

" Your own receipe take, try the force of its juice, 
And by that we shall judge of its merit and use." 

Garrick had a final cast in a very happy shaft which transfixed the quack 
doctor, and silenced him — 

" For farces and physic his equal there scarce is ; 
His farces are physic : his physic a farce is." 

For its point, brevity, and Hudibraatic turn, its severity, and, at the 
came time, comic aim, this epigram deserves a very high place. 



170 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1757 — 

Mr. Garrick. " How — really this — this — is — why, well, well, 
well, do call on me on Monday, and you may depend on my 
doing all I can for you." This broken style of speech was 
Mr. Garrick's characteristic when addressing his inferiors, and 
was, in fact, his managerial manner, and may have been found 
very useful in helping him to a sort of vague generality, with- 
out committing him to any positive declaration. It was not a 
bad auxiliary for one who was asked for so much, and had to 
refuse so much. 

On the Monday the youth came again, and was welcomed 
warmly. He was told that inquiries had been made about his 
widowed mother, and that he was to be put on the books at 
thirty shillings a week — a fortune indeed. The youth's name 
was Tate Wilkinson, who has left behind a very curious his- 
tory of himself and other players, which is a mass of truth, 
falsehood, and blunders ; a mass, too, of meanness, vanity, and 
egotism. 

This indulgence to young Wilkinson, as well as all Garrick's 
subsequent kindness, was not, as he insinuates it was, from de- 
light at Mr. Foote being caricatured, but may be much more 
naturally explained. Wilkinson's father had been rector of 
the Savoy chapel, where he had been in the habit of perform- 
ing marriages, in defiance of a severe marriage law recently 
passed. Vernon, an actor of Garrick's company, had been 
married in this fashion to a Miss Poitier, and the manager, 
always anxious that order and decency should characterise 
everything belonging to his theatre, sent for the culprits. He 
was assured they were married, the certificate was produced, 
and then it was discovered it had been performed in this 
illegal way, by one Grierson, the deputy of W ilkinson. George 
Garrick had married the daughter of Mr. Carrington, a King's 
messenger at Somerset House, and at his instigation the law 
was put in force, the unfortunate clergyman tried, and sen- 
tenced to transportation. He died on shipboard from the 
shock and disgrace, and there can be little doubt that Garrick 
was anxious to do all he could for the son of the man on whom 
he had so indirectly brought such misfortunes. 

" I'm on the wing, young gentleman," went on Mr. Garrick, 
"and have to bo at Hampton to dinner, so my time is short;" 
and then begged of him to repeat his imitations. When he got 
to Barry and Woffington in " Macbeth," Mr. Garrick was highly 
amused, and laughed heartily; but when Wilkinson stopped, a 
concealed laugh was heard, and a green double door opening, re- 
vealed the charming Mrs. Garrick, who had been placed there 
by her husband to listen — " a most elegant lady," she seemed 



1758.] TATE WILKINSON. 171 

to him — who apologised with true foreign grace, owning that 
when he came to Woffington she could not restrain herself. 
Here, perhaps, was the true woman's triumph over a rival. 
There was a tempting vision of a little breakfast parlour be* 
yond, whence they had both come in.* 

Wilkinson's behaviour to his kind patron was of a piece all 
through. A small part had been sent to him in " Coriolanus," 
and he actually thought he had annoyed the manager by taking 
it, but he had determined to make it a means of exhibiting his 
own detestable out-of-place mimicry of Barry. No doubt he 
could not keep this design to himself ; for at rehearsal, as soon 
as the manager's eyes fell upon him, he broke out into his usual 
odd interjections — " Why hey, now — what hey, a — I think now 
that you — why — why, Cross — how now — here you — you have 
sent this part to this lad ; I must not trust him with this Vd- 
scius. You know I must have some steady person to depend 
on — Packer, now, hey, Packer — for if Wilkinson does it, he 

will be at some of his d d tricks, or be taking off, or some 

d d this or other. Do, Cross, take the part from him, and we 

will get him something else." The company, always obsequious 
to a manager, and always enjoying each other's mortifications, 
laughed and smiled ; and Mr. Garrick turned to them, laughing 
too. " Did you ever see now such an exotic ? Why, he would 
have destroyed my whole play, and be d d to him." 

The manager passed over much petulance, and even insolence, 
for the youth was scarcely nineteen. He good-naturedly al- 
lowed him to go on strolling tours ; and to one of these we owe 
a charming little picture, which, as it shows Garrick in a very 
engaging and pleasant view, I shall be pardoned for dwelling 
on. 

It was the day of strolling companies. England was divided 
in theatrical " circuits," which the country managers went regu- 
larly, like the gentlemen of the law. Engaged on one of these, 
Wilkinson had found his way down to Portsmouth. His pic- 
ture of the place is very graphic, full of drumming and drill- 
ing, with the fleet lying out in the roads, and "the gallant 
Rodney " on shore. It was all drawbridges and lines, and 
military gates and posts, where the visitor was stopped and 
questioned. Officers of the navy and army filled the streets. 
The little theatre of the place was iure to have support from 
such a constituency. 

One night, when he was playing Hamlet, and Moody Grave- 

* I often pais the house in Southampton Street, and can see the hand- 
somely carved doorway, and panels of the room in which this lively incident 
occurred. 



172 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1757 — 

digger, the manager plucked him by the sleeve, and whispered 
hurriedly, " Take care, for Mr. Garrick is in the pit ! " We 
may conceive the sensation behind the scenes; every one 
thinking that the eye of " the London Manager " was on him 
or her. Next morning came a message from the Fountain 
Tavern, with Mr. Garrick's compliments to Mr. Wilkinson — 
— would he come and breakfast with him ? Surprised and 
overjoyed, the actor hurried away, and was greeted heartily at 
the Fountain Tavern by his old manager. Nothing could have 
been more charming, or even engaging, than Garrick's beha- 
viour. He was out, he told the other, on a little holiday, stay- 
ing with a Dr. Garney, out at Wickham, some eight miles off — 
an old friend to whom this visit had been promised for years. 
Mrs. Garrick was there also ; and Mr. Garrick said he had been 
charged by her and the doctor to make Mr. Wilkinson fix his 
own day, and come out to them. " A visit," added Mr. Gar- 
rick, kindly, "which we shall all return." After breakfast 
they went out to see the town, Mr. Garrick actually leaning 
on Mr. Wilkinson's arm — "an honour I dreamed not of.' 
They walked on the ramparts, saw the dockyards, and all the 
time Mr. Garrick was asking about his young friend's pros- 
pects, and how he was doing, and congratulatea him on being 
such a favourite. Indeed, it needs not Wilkinson to tell us 
that, " Whenever Mr. Garrick chose to throw off dignity and 
acting, and was not surrounded by business to perplex him, he 
had it in his power to render himself a most pleasing, improv- 
ing, and delightful companion." He was in such good spirits 
that at lunch-time he had a bottle of hock made into a cool 
tankard " for luck." 

On the appointed day, Wilkinson drove out in a post-chaise 
to Dr. Garney, dressed in gold lace, like a gentleman. He was 
received by Garrick, as he says, "as his son." The doctor and 
his wife were " good " people, and made him welcome. So, 
also, did Mrs. Garrick. " She was, in truth, a most elegant 
woman ; grace was in her step." Garrick showed him the 
place, which was charming — "a little paradise" — with exquisite 
views, gardens, conservatories, and a lofty observatory built by 
the doctor himself. He "ran and skipped like a lad of 
twenty." He delighted Wilkinson by complimenting him on 
his dress, merely objecting to the buckles, which were large for 
the mode, and rather too like a sailor's. The actor's heart was 
rejoiced at being treated " like a man of fashion " at dinner. 
Garrick spoke of the benefit night, and, turning to the doctor 
and his lady, said that he would take it as an obligation to 
himself if they would give their patronage to his friend, Mr. 



175S.] THE COUNTRY TOWN THEATRE. 173 

"Wilkinson. At ten o'clock, after a pleasant game on the 
bowling-green, Mr. Garrick saw him out to his chaise, gave 
him some parts to study, and said he hoped there would be no 
impropriety in fixing a bespeak for Friday; "and we desire, 
Wilkinson, you will fix on a favourite character, and do your 

best for the credit of both ; and, d n it, Tate, Mrs. Garrick 

expects you will have a dish of tea ready after her jaunt, by way 
of relaxation " (this was an allusion to a Monologue) ; " and if 
you disappoint us, Doctor and Mrs. Garney and all the party 
will be very angry, so take care." Thus ended a very happy 
day for the young actor. 

We may conceive the sensation Wilkinson's news produced 
in the company. But he was not to have the lion's share, as 
he had fondly hoped. There was a sort of tmeute, each actor 
being eager to have his favourite and most conspicuous part, so 
as to catch the eye of the London manager. Mr. White, the 
jeune premier, very dirty and unshaven about his face, and fond 
of morning gin, asked, with bitter contempt, " Who is Mr. 
Ga-ick? Mr. Ga-ick has no command over the Portsmouth 
company. I think Mr. Ga-ick cannot be displeased with my 
Madieath, though I want no favour from Mr. Ga-ick." All 
combined against Wilkinson's monopoly, and the "Beggars' 
Opera " was fixed on, as giving a fair chance to all. Wilkinson 
might indeed have his Monologue, and a short leading part, as 
it was for his benefit. 

All the genteel people of the neighbourhood, hearing of the 
" bespeak, ' and that Mr. and Mrs. Garrick were coming in, 
crowded to the little box-office ; and when Friday night came 
round there was really a crammed house. The "Beggars' 
Opera " began, but the great party had not come. The first 
act went by, the second began ; and then actors and audience 
began to grow dissatisfied, thinking they had been brought 
there under a pretence. In particular, Mr. White was scorn- 
ful and an<ny, some of the best bits of his Macheath having 
been played through. But towards the end of the act the 
party from Wickham entered, and took their places — the eyes 
of the whole house on them. It was noticed that Mr. and 
Mrs. Garrick and party paid the closest attention, and ap- 
plauded heartily. We may be sure that night was long re- 
membered at the Portsmouth little theatre; and it seems a 
fresh picture, and its primitiveness and rustic character, coming 
after the London worldliness, must have been enjoyed by 
Garrick himself. 

After the play, there was supper at the Rainbow Tavern, at 
which various local persons of distinction came in, and paid 



174 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1757 — 

their compliments to Mr. and Mrs. Garrick. Before them all, 
Mrs. Garrick delicately and kindly thanked Wilkinson for his 
performance. At some time past midnight she retired, having 
to sleep at the house of one of Dr. Garney's friends, these 
good people " not hearing " of her staying at a tavern. Mr. 
Grarrick, who, says Wilkinson, " never failed in attention to 
his lady," would not suffer her to go with the servant, and 
wrapping himself up in a handsome sea-captain's cloak which 
belonged to Mr. Wilkinson, attended her up the street. 
When he returned he said he was quite pleased with his walk, 
as it had made him acquainted with Mr. Wilkinson's snug 
roqudcmre, which he thought would be exactly the sort of thing 
for him during the winter months between Southampton 
Street and the theatre, and save him many a sedan-chair 
journey. He therefore commissioned Tate to get him one in 
Portsmouth, and bring it up to London. It was a very plea- 
sant night. They sat till past three. Great consideration and 
homage was paid to the illustrious guest, who never appeared 
in so pleasant a light. The whole of this scene does, indeed, 
exhibit him to the greatest advantage — the guest of the good, 
honest Garneys, his old friends — free, unrestrained, not 
" stuck up," and full of an engaging bonJwmie. Such treat- 
ment, at least, should have laid the young actor under fast 
obligation. 

This season also saw the entry of another good actor upon 
Garrick's boards. Foote now found it his interest to ask 
for an engagement, which was as cheerfully accorded as it 
was asked; and in one of his brisk, lively lampoons, "The 
Author," " took off," with extraordinary success, an unfortu- 
nate Welsh gentleman, Mr. Apreece. This victim had at last 
found out that the whole town were laughing at him, and now 
applied fpr redress to the author and actor, with whom.. it 
being, as Davies says, a question of money, there was to be no 
room for humanity. He then came to Garrick, and though he 
mixed his complaints with some bluster, was received with 
good-nature, good sense, true sympathy, and perhaps a little 
pleasant humour, and was sent away comforted, with a useful 
piece of advice.* That advice he followed, and with the best 
results. Garrick told him that he was merely a sharer in the 
venture, that Foote and Lacy had a voice in the matter, and 
bade him, therefore, apply to the Duke of Devonshire, the 
Chamberlain. He did so, and succeeded. 

* Apreece even talked of challenging Foote, which only provoked a laugh 
from Garrick. " My dear sir," he said, " he would shoot you through the 
guts before you had time to suck two oysters off your wrist." 



1758.] THE MIMICS. 175 

The unhappy gentleman and his lady, indeed, could not 
walk the streets without being publicly addressed as " Here's 
Dicky ! " or " Here's Becky ! " On the very day of a benefit* 
when Wilkinson and Foote were on the Drury Lane stage, 
busy rehearsing "Mrs. O'Shocknesy," a new personality, 
arrived the Lord Chamberlain's order peremptorily forbidding 
the piece. It was too late to appeal, and nothing could be 
done. To the small mimic it was only the deprivation of a 
short burst of buffoonery ; but the greater one was quite over- 
come. He stood there, shocked, pale, and dejected at being 
thus restrained from exhibiting his victim. Even Mrs. Clive, 
who had been jeering him on the idea of his playing Shylock, 
almost sobbed over the blow that had overtaken "her dear 
Foote," and poured out execrations on the tyrant Chamberlain. 
But there was no remedy, and another piece was substituted. 

With Tate Wilkinson's aid, we have an excellent picture of 
Drury Lane at a morning rehearsal. We can see the actors all 
gathered in a group in the cold demvjour of the stage, and 
laughing heartily at the rough and droll Mr. Foote, who is 
"rattling " away, saying the best — that is, the most personal — 
things that come into his head. He might be even criticizing 
the manager, whose acting he always affected to pooh-pooh. 
" Yes, the hound had a something clever, but no part of his 
could be put beside old Cibber's Sir John Brute or Lord Fop- 
pington." From Foote came half the stories about Garrick's 
" stinginess," which he did not scruple to tell before Garrick 
himself. At the end of a rehearsal he suddenly looks at his 
watch — "Bless me! how we have been laughing away our 
time, it is past three o'clock. Have you and Mrs. Garrick 
enough for a third without infringing on your servants, for I 
know they are on board wages. Besides, the kitchen fire may 
be out, if this be one of your cold meat days, or one of Mrs. 
Garrick's fast days." This was considered rare wit, and made 
the actors laugh ; and Mr. Garrick, always sensitive and even 
timid before such attacks, could only laugh himself, a little 
ruefully. He still would come up with a smile and a manager's 
complacency to join, as Wilkinson says, with an easy affected 
affability and equality, which is quite intelligible, and would 
enjoy and approve with the rest. Foote's quick wit and 
penetration soon told him that Garrick shrank from his 
strokes as from an east wind. He worked on these fears, and 
knew that Garrick would be miserable if he was included in 
the list of Dodds, Melcombes, Faulkeners, Apreeces, Lang- 
fords, whom he had taken off. "I know his mean soul so 
perfectly," Foote would say to his pupil, " that if I tell him 



176 THE LITE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1757 — 

with a grave face I have his figure made and dressed up in my 
closet, he will do anything for me." "With all this, Garrick's* 
enemy owns that he often lent large sums of money to Foote 
when he was in sore straits — services which the latter, in his 
rough off-hand way, always imputed to the "dirty little 
hound's " fears of him. 

Foote's new plan was to give an entertainment, " The Diver- 
sions of the Morning,' 1 which had had enormous success in 
Dublin, and the point of which lay in absurd imitations of the 
various actors at the other house. This part of the show was 
Wilkinson's, who appeared as Foote's pupil; but as Foote was 
the leading spirit of the whole, I have no doubt that, to 
Garrick, these imitations were glossed over, or kept in the 
background. Wilkinson's mimicry of Woflington's shrill voice 
had made the Dublin audience scream with laughter, and it 
was hoped, would have the same effect here. 

The now broken actress heard of this scheme of Foote and 
his pupil. She knew how successfully her tones had been 
taken off for the Irish galleries. The famous Toast had long 
been " protected," to use the gentle phrase of the day, by a 
" Colonel Caesar, of the Guards," and this officer now came to 
wait on Mr. Garrick, to protest against any mimicry, adding he 
should be obliged to hold Mr. Garrick responsible as a gentleman 
and a man of honour. It must not be fancied that there was 
any chivalry in this championship. She had promised to 
leave him all her fortune — a promise that was not kept — and 
the colonel was keeping jealous watch lest she changed her 
disposition. But there was no need so to appeal to Garrick. 
Garrick at once sent for Foote, told him plainly his honour 
was engaged, and that there must be no approach to " taking 
off" Mrs. Wofiington, an interdict received ruefully enough. 
The performance went off with great success. Barry, Sheridan, 
and the obscurer Sparks, who belonged to the other house, 
were all " taken off," instead, to the great satisfaction of the 
audience. The whole was new. Foote's admirable versatility 
would carry anything through, and it was announced for the 
next night 

Next morning came news that the actors at the other 
theatre were furious ; that Sparks had taken to his bed from 
vexation and mortification. Foote burst out with his rough 

" wit," that it must be a d d lie, " for he had met Mrs. 

Sparks with two pounds of mutton chops on a skewer for her 
husband's dinner, ' a stroke that produced a roar. But in a few 
days the unhappy Sparks came himself, to beg humbly of the 
manager that he would take pity on him, and not allow his 



1758.] THE MIMICS. 177 

reputation to be destroyed by this ridicule, and that he was 
indeed miserable. " Why now, hey, Sparks," was the reply, 
u why now, hey — this is so strange now, hey — a — why Wilkin- 
son, and be d d to him, they tell me he takes me, and he 

takes Foote off, so you see you are in very good company." 

Garrick went down to his theatre at noon, walked up and 
down with great state, and then sent for the smaller mimic. 
He came, full of pride and glee, thinking of compliments and 
rewards ; but the manager addressed him sternly : — " Now — 
hey — now why will you take such liberties with gentlemen ? 
You never consulted me, or told me you were going to take off 
people, as you call it.. Hey — why now — I never take such 
liberties myself. Indeed I once did it, but I gave up such im- 
pudence. You and Foote think you are the managers of 
this theatre. But to convince you to the contrary — and be 
d -d to you* — I here order you, before them gentlemen, to 

f've up the practice ; and if you dare to disobey my orders, 
will fine you in the full penalty of your article." The actors 
standing around enjoyed this rebuke ; for they disliked the 
companion whose trade flourished by ridiculing their order. He 
stood there filled with mortification. Mrs. Clive swept by him 
and said, in her most flippant waiting-maid manner — "Fie, 
young man, fie ! She indeed took off actors, but it was only 
squalling Italian devils like the Mingotti, who came over to 
take the bread out of our mouths." Mossop then stalked up 
to him — the true tragedian — "erect with military plan" — 
"his gills all swelling; eyes disdainful, and hand upon his 
sword, and breathing hard. ' Mr. Wilkinson ! (phew !) sir-r. 
Mr. Wilkinson, sir, I say — how dare you (phew !) make free in 
a public theatre, or even in a private party, with your 
superiors ? If you were to take such a liberty with me, sir, I 
would draw my sword, sir, and run you through the body. 
You should not live, sir/'"\ He then swept away magni- 
ficently. This is indeed an amusing scene. When he 
was gone Garrick could not restrain his laughter, in the 
midst of which Foote entered quickly, humming a French 
song. " Hallo," he called out, " all got together, as if the last 
act on ! " He was all in a bustle ; wanted to ^x plays with 
the manager, from whose house he had just come. But Gar- 
rick put on an air of " much serious consequence," and told 

* This was a playful use of the expression, to which Mr. Garrick was very 
partial 

t Wilkinson was a very excellent mimic, and had a very good memory ; 
to these portraits of Mossop's and Garrick's manner may be taken as per- 
fectly faithful They are exceedingly good and graphic. 

N 



178 THE LITE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1757 — 

him how things stood, and that there must be no more 
"taking off" of actors. Foote said nothing, and accepted this 
command. " If, indeed, now," said Mr. Garrick, " if Wilkin- 
son could have taken me off — as Mrs. Garrick says — as to 
that, now, I should have liked it vastly, and so would Mrs. 
Garrick — " 

He had often said jokingly to the mimic, " Hey, now, what 
would you make of me ? " To which the other would obse- 
quiously reply that he never could form any likeness whatever, 
for his manner and tones were so natural, and his voice " so 
melodious, that any imitation was impossible." This sort of 
flattery was the ordinary food served up to the manager by his 
company; and, indeed, he could not think it flattery, for it was 
only what he read in the papers every day, and what he heard 
from every mouth. 

On the same night, when the audience found they were to 
be deprived of their " imitations," a sort of confusion arose, 
with loud cries and shouting. Mr. Garrick had the "lights 
lowered " to show that the play was over, and very indignantly 
accused Wilkinson of having employed persons to get up this 
riot. It indeed looked suspicious. Foote had to go out and 
pacify them. He explained the matter, and the reason of the 
omission, which was to avoid giving pain to certain performers 
— an explanation that was received with open marks of con- 
tempt. He then added, with a malice and love of mischief 
quite in keeping with what we know of his character, that he 
believed Mr. Wilkinson was at full liberty to exercise his talents 
on Mr. Garrick's peculiarities — and certainly on his (Mr. 
Foote's) — if that could give them any entertainment. This 
was a true specimen of his humour, and he no doubt often 
chuckled over it, and told it as a " good thing." The audience 
were not slow to take the hint. The cry was for Wilkinson, 
who was in the green-room. The unsuspecting Garrick pushed 
him on. " Hey, why, now," he said, " as they insist, I do not 
see that I am to run the risk of a riot in my theatre to please 
Sparks and the rest of them. Why, if they are not satisfied 
with your taking off Mr. Foote as a dish, why it is a pity you 
could not give me. But that, you say, is not possible with 
success ; so, why, now, make haste, and so as you have begun 

your d d 'taking off/ why, go on with it, and do not in future 

plague me with your tricks." The exotic was pushed on, began 
his performance, gave Foote, and was for retiring, when the house 
demanded more ; and then, quite overset by this encourage- 
ment, he proceeded to give Mr. Garrick in three specimens : 
from Lear, where he raged ; from Biron\ where he was pathetic ; 



1578.] THE MIMICS. 179 

and from Hamlet, where he was distraught This was an un- 
worthy trick, for it was turning the manager into ridicule in 
his own theatre, and before his own audience. After this, the 
young fellow complained bitterly that he received no bonus 
from either Garrick or Mr. Foote for all his labours.* 

As might be expected, a quarrel broke out between the 
smaller and the greater mimics. In Dublin they used to meet 
in Trinity College gardens, surrounded by friends and admirers, 
and snort defiance as they passed. His pupil, on his return, 
repaired to Mr. Garrick, and made a demand for salary for the 
week or two he had been in London. Mr. Garrick was rather 
angry at the boldness of this request, after all his indulgence. 
Wilkinson then took another tone, and " boldly told him " he 
would make him accountable for the loss of salary and benefit, 
which he would charge at £200, to say nothing of the breach 
of article, and they would see what a Court of Justice would 
say to the matter ! On this Garrick foolishly gave way. In 
truth, they all knew his weak places, and how to work upon 
them ; and this Wilkinson, one of those who tried him most 
sorely, said, "There was no one like Murphy for calm and 
leisurely harassing of the manager. That gentleman,' 1 he 
added, forcibly, " could tease his soul and gall his gizzard whenever 
he pleased, or judged himself wronged." 

* Here was a specimen of the class of stories that circulated in the 
green-rooms about Mr. Garrick's meanness and " stinginess." A bottle of 
wine was brought out in the middle of the day at Southampton Street. 
After the second glass Mr. Wilkinson was asked if he would have more, 
while at the same moment the cork was carefully replaced in the bottle. 
Yet, when the retailer of this story was a short time after setting out for 
Dublin by the coach at midnight, he was to experience the good-nature of 
his patron. He found that he had packed up all his money with his 
clothes, and with this rather lame excuse posted off to Southampton 
Street. He found Mr. Garrick in his night-cap, who received him good- 
naturedly. The youth's modest request was that the manager would lend 
him fifteen guineas, to save him the trouble of unpacking his trunk. Mr. 
Garrick said he was heartily welcome, and made it twenty. Wilkinson 
says, " I do believe I was here welcome to the sum in the humour he then 

was, even had he never received it again And I dare aver, with 

sincerity, he at times did generous actions." 



N 2 



180 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1759 



CHAPTER IL 

ARTHUR MURPHY. — 1759. 

The speech quoted at the end of the last chapter may fairly 
usher in Mr. Arthur Murphy, that clever, epicurean, versatile, 
Irish "man of parts" — and adventurer, as he might, in its- 
more honourable sense, be styled. With no other capital than 
good-humoured manners, ready wit and speech, a certain quick- 
ness and " handiness " in doing what they undertook, and often 
a brilliancy that made them welcome as "good company," many 
clever Irishmen came to London to seek their fortune. Their 
position was doubtful — they were alone in a strange land, and 
their success was resented by those to whom they were superior 
in ability, but inferior in station. This often produced a sen- 
sitiveness, and a constant suspicion as of something meant as 
an offence, which in part explains the singular behaviour of 
Arthur Murphy, who was, perhaps, the best illustration of the 
class. 

A kind of " Bohemian," he was to be a player, a barrister, 
and a hack writer for the booksellers ; to live freely, and not 
very decorously; to jumble together circuit and the green- 
room, the bar and the stage ; to write " opinions " and suc- 
cessful plays. Almost within a few weeks he had appeared on 
the stage at Drury Lane, and on the no less dramatic boards- 
of Westminster Hall. Yet with this curious unsteadiness he 
ended respectably, and was offered legal office three times. 
His sudden fits of anger, and repentance as sudden ; his " end- 
ing their friendship," and renewing it again ; his sulks, petu- 
lance, and self-humiliation, make up a strange spectacle. He 
harassed Garrick almost to the day of his death, yet had 
praised him lavishly in his " Gray's Inn Journal." For every 
service rendered to Garrick during his lifetime a very hand- 
some reward seemed to be expected ; and, it must be said, no 
man ever lay a shorter time under an obligation. When the- 
journal stopped, and the Irish youth was in debt, he set him- 
self to write a farce, which Mr. Garrick at once agreed to per- 
form. Prior engagements, however, made him fix the begin- 
ning of the new season for bringing it out. The cause of 
offence is almost amusing, on account of the far-fetched sensi- 
tiveness it betrays. It hurt his vanity, Murphy said, that any 
one should know he had given the manager a piece which he 
did not think proper to produce. 



1759.] ARTHUR MURPHY. 181 

As an actor he showed his sensitiveness quite as much as 
when an author. He was treated, he thought, with " indig- 
nity. " But it was when he set himself to write a tragedy — or 
rather, to adapt a play of Voltaire's from the French — that 
his extraordinary disposition showed itself. It is curious to 
think that this poor performance should have let loose a tide 
of the stormiest and meanest passions of fury, envy, suspicion, 
hatred, scurrility. 

In his " Life," Murphy affects to give a calm, cool account 
of the quarrel attending this "Orphan of China;" but, it 
must be said, not an ingenuous one. In 1756, and not two 
years later, when Murphy makes the transaction begin, Murphy 
had three acts of his play ready. A meeting was appointed 
at Berenger's, Garrick's friend, and it was there read. Murphy 
thought Mr. Garrick wished " to crush his labours in the bud." 
He burst into a fury, and poured out all that he had on his 
mind, with great heat and violence. A friend showed him 
there was no ground for such absurd suspicions, and got him 
to write an apologetic letter, owning the mistake, acknowledg- 
ing he was " quick to err," proud of Mr. Garrick's acquaint- 
ance, and hoping that he would act the " Orphan " at his own 
time and pleasure. In the interval, the angry author had de- 
manded back his play, and offered it to the other theatre, 
where it does not seem to have been welcomed heartily. 
Garrick, in his answer, said that this step was an utter bar to 
his receiving back a play that had been thus withdrawn from 
him. 

Stung to fury by this rejection, Murphy sat down, and, only 
a few hours after the first penitent letter had arrived, Garrick 
was amazed at receiving another couched in such offensive and 
outrageous terms that the writer wrote to withdraw it, and 
long after made it a condition of reconciliation that it should 
be given up. In this he threatened revenge and attacks in 
the papers. Garrick, wounded, wrote back that the friendship 
so warmly desired, and which he so freely gave, he now as 
willingly took back, with an assurance that it should never in- 
commode him again. 

Time passed away. Once, when Garrick was dining at 
Holland House, Walpole and Fox repeated lines out of the 
play, to Garrick's utter surprise. Heat last said — "I perceive 
you have been reading what I have been reading ? " " Yes," 
said the other, " and we have been admiring what we are sure 
you admire." An opinion from such a quarter was enough to 
throw Garrick into one of his weak fits of indecision. Per- 
haps he had made a mistake. A few days later he wrote to 



182 % THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1759. 

beg that the play might be sent to him for re-consideration, 
saying that " in his hurry he might have passed an erroneous 
judgment." The result was that in a week's time he sent it 
back, with a very polite note, to the effect that he was pre- 
pared to act it early in the following year. 

Murphy's family was in great straits. His brother was 
going out to Jamaica. His mother was a charge on him ; thus, 
so far as his struggles went, he was entitled to some sympathy. 
On this renewal of intercourse he had a farce by him, " The 
Upholsterer," which he began to press upon Garrick, but who 
was afraid to touch it from its political tone. He soon, how- 
ever, found out the meaning of this eagerness — the outfit of 
the brother, &c. ; and this " stingy " man, who, for his thrift 
and nearness was the butt of a hundred jesters, from Foote 
downwards, sent a private offer, and "such an offer" as 
covered Murphy " with confusion." Garrick sent him a sup- 
ply of money; more, too, should be forthcoming when wanted. 
"AH I desire in return is that you will not make any 
speeches on the occasion. Your letter has said too much, and all 
I shall say is that I am happy it is in my power to convince 
you how much I am yours. — D. G." These were coals of fire. 
Garrick's kindness brought out the raptures, which pecuniary 
gratitude, the most obstreperous of all effusions of the heart, 
could prompt. " You are determined to overwhelm me with 
civility and friendship. . . . Mr. Garrick's head and heart 
would be of use to any man in England, and to me the offer is 
an honour." 

He should have recollected these transports only a few 
weeks later, when, in exultation at the success of his farce, he 
began again to press his " Orphan " on the manager. In no- 
thing is a manager so helpless as in the matter of date and 
time for his production of plays. He now affected to believe 
that there had been an engagement to bring out his play 
at once, and on discovering that this could not be done, all his 
professed gratitude disappeared. He burst into an aggrieved 
letter. He was sorry Mr. Garrick did not think proper to 
explain himself. He looked on the question as " highly un- 
lucky, nice, delicate, and only likely if agitated any more to fur- 
nish matter to the talking world ; " (one of Murphy's favourite 
threats to his patron was to publish all their letters, and see 
what the " talking world " would say then). He wished to 
put an end to "wrangling," and "to pursue his studies in 
peace;" and with this view proposed that the piece should 
stand third after two other new ones, and be produced next 
season or the season after, in its turn. In October, 1758, 



1759.] ARTHUR MURPHY. 183 

Garrick sent for it once more, understanding that it Was at 
last completed. Even then, though writing with obsequious- 
ness, Murphy adds a postscript almost offensive — "that 
whatever was to be said, he hoped it would not reach him 
through the channel of a little, mean, paltry Irish tale-bearer" 

The result was that, after a fortnight's consideration, the 
manager returned it — not with " a peremptory declaration " 
that it was inadmissible, as Murphy says, but with an offer to 
see him and explain what he found fault with, or take the 
trouble of writing it down. Murphy wrote back to demand 
reasons in writing, saying, sneeringly, that a personal inter- 
view only led to " conversation wit," and it would be highly 
desirable to know Mr. Garrick's opinion, as Murphy's own' 
opinion was backed by persons whose understandings are not 
thought inconsiderable. The reasons were sent; and then 
he took a new tone, and told Garrick plainly, that being in 
possession of his promise, " he would not be trampled on by 
any man whatever." He obtained a meeting at Vaillant's, 
which his suspicious soul imagined was the result of success- 
ful intimidation. A very angry discussion ensued; but, as 
usual, Garrick gave way, and himself proposed to refer the 
matter to Murphy's own friend, Whitehead. He concluded — 
" As I have really no time, health, or inclination to continue 
these illiberal wranglings, I hope you will excuse me if I am 
silent henceforth." He might well allude to " an unkind 
return for the best wishes and the best offices in my power." 
Murphy again retorts, threatens "publication;" argues about 
the criticisms on his play, adding a sneer about " you who 
rang a bell among the Turks" (alluding to the blunder in " Bar- 
barossa"), and concludes with — "Whenever you are called 
upon, I am sorry Mr. Murphy cannot appear in your defence; 
truth and his own feelings for very indelicate treatment, have, 
I am afraid, retained him on the other side." 

Whitehead's decision soon arrived from Bath. He had 
professed merely to say whether he himself approved of it ; 
now he went further, and declared he thought the public 
would also approve. But he proposed many alterations. 
Garrick at once loyally gave way, and took up the piece with 
ardour. But he wished the play to be put off for a month, 
saying if it were not, he could not do the leading character. 
This was a fresh grievance. " You had an opportunity, by 
acting genteelly on this occasion, of making me blush for some 
things that have happened; but revenge perhaps is more agree- 
able. The part was then given to Mossop. Garrick then 
offered, with unruffled temper, if there was a delay of, ea,^ *> 



184 THE LIFE OP DAVID GARRICK. [1759 

fortnight, to undertake the part still; and this arrangement 
was grudgingly accepted. 

On the 25th of February, 1759, the long battled-for "Orphan 
of China" was brought out with all splendour. Boquet's 
scenery for the unlucky " Chinese Festival " could now be 
utilized without offence ; and to add to these attractions, Gar- 
rick surpassed himself. Mrs. Yates was magnificent. From 
that night her reputation was made. Fitzherbert had made 
up a special dinner party for the author, on the day of perform- 
ance, at the Eose Tavern, close to the theatre. It included 
Hogarth, Foote, Delaval, and some more. The author's heart 
was in his mouth ; and during dinner a letter was brought in 
from Mrs. Cibber, lamenting that she was not to play, but say- 
ing she would put up her prayers for his success. "Catholics," 
said the lively Foote, whom neither friend nor occasion could 
restrain, " always pray for the dead" But when success was 
assured, and the house ringing with applause, the same great 
jester came running to congratulate. 

Looking back on the whole of this odd controversy, we must 
own that Garrick was right — right in the logic as well as in 
the calmness and moderation of his conduct. It furnishes an 
illustration of his curious character. He showed an indecision 
and want of firmness — more developed, when he discovered 
that the other was magnifying the matter into a serious busi- 
ness. From his good-natured deference to every one's advice, 
and his morbid uneasiness at what he heard, he often in small 
matters found his judgment change with the hour. This was 
one of his infirmities. But it must be recollected that many a 
noble nature would have considered the game scarcely worth 
the candle, and would have preferred the luxury of punishing 
so annoying an adversary to any profit This was but one 
little episode, though Murphy had the effrontery to write in 
his " Life " that it was their first and last quarrel. For years 
after, almost to the end of his days, Garrick had to endure a 
whole purgatory of insults, resentments, and angry bursts — 
always met by the same gentle treatment, by remonstrance, 
explanation, good-nature, and concession. And yet this man, 
the object of this kindness, could say, after his patron's death, 
"Off the stage, sir, he was a wretched, sneaking fellow."* 

* Mr. Rogers used to relate the dialogue with great humour. " Mr. 
Murphy, sir. you knew Mr. Garrick ? " " Yes, sir, I did ; and no man 
better." " Well, sir, what didyou think of his acting ? " After a pause — 
" Well, sir, off the stage, he was a mean, sneaking little fellow. But on 
the stage " — throwing up his eyes and hands — " Oh, my great God ! " 
This was the invariable formula ; nothing leas general could be obtained 
from him. 



1759.] THE PLAYWRIGHTS. 185 



CHAPTER IE. 

THE PLAYWRIGHTS. — 1759. 

But Murphy represented only one of a whole class. There 
was a race of needy but clever adventurers who looked towards 
Garrick as their prey, and followed the same tactics to obtain 
his aid and patronage. London swarmed with lively but un- 
scrupulous men, who were living, as the phrase went^ upon 
their wits. Among this class the weak points of the manager 
were notorious. The favourite tactics were first cajolery and 
flattery, and when these failed, hectoring and terrorism. The 
accepting a play was but feeding the appetite. It was ground 
for a fresh claim. The rejecting a play was the unpardonable 
sin. Did a man write a poem, or a history, or compile a voy- 
age, and take it to a bookseller, that potentate's decision, given 
bluntly, was accepted without a word. But with a manager it 
was a different thing, and with a Garrick more different than 
with any one else. He was, besides, himself sensitive, timo- 
rous, and, above all, shrank from giving pain, and we may be- 
lieve had a rather foolish complacency in his own gifts of 
diplomacy, and his power of writing " a good letter." 

If ever there was one of his clients who should have been 
bound to him, it was Mr. Balph. This man, whom Pope had 
found a corner for in the " Dunciad," giving him two wonder- 
ful lines — 

" Silence ! ye wolves, while Ralph to Cynthia howls, 
Making night hideous— answer him, ye owls ! " 

had a favourite play called the " Astrologer," which he had 
offered to many managers, and at last induced Garrick to bring 
out, at Drury Lane, in 1744. It was a complete failure — such 
a failure that the audience had to be dismissed. Garrick, 
who had a sort of regard for him, later actually went to Mr. . 
Pelham, and obtained a pension for him of £200 a year.* This \ 
was enough, and it was observed that he at once seemed to 
take a dislike to his friend. Davies believes it was from 
another play being declined. Later this grudge was worked 
up into open hostility, and a bitter and well-known pamphlet, 
which shall be noticed later, full of attacks on Garrick and his 

* Garrick himself told how the Minister received his request. He had 
made it a rule, he said, never to purchase or reward political writing ; 
" but as Mr. Ralph is your friend, I shall do it with pleasure." 



186 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1759. 

management, was the very triumph of ingratitude. On this 
even (Wrick's forbearance gave way, and he renounced his 
acquaintance. The hope of keeping every one "in good 
humour " is the most futile and delusive of human weaknesses ; 
and from any one in office a decisive answer causes far less 
hostility than a refusal given after excuses and postponements 
— meant to be soft cushions to break the falL 

One of the most curious features in these little histories is 
that men, otherwise respectable, who enjoy with posterity a 
reputation for decency and honour, should in this relation with 
him become changed, and descend to the meanest display of 
spite or intimidation. Garrick had read in " Roderick Ran- 
dom " a bitter and rancorous sketch of himself and his friend 
Lyttleton. He had seen his own portrait under the name of 
Marmozet — an awkward association, and welcome to those who 
were fond of talking of " Little Davy," and the " little hound." 
Yet> as he read this offensive picture, he must have only dimly 
recalled a raw Scotch youth who had plagued him years before 
with a Scotch tragedy called " The Regicide," and who had 
pursued him from town to country, had struggled to reach him 
through patronising lords — in short, by the circuitous agency 
by which literary labour had then to be advanced. The author 
" had been in company with a gentlewoman who, having heard 
of my tragedy, told me she was acquainted with the wife of a 
gentleman, who was very well known to a lady, who had great 
interest with a person who was intimate with Earl Sheerwit" 
Thus he would seem at last to have wrung a sort of conditional 
approbation and half -promise from Garrick. If we may accept 
the whole of Mr. Marmoset's behaviour as a literal portrait, 
which represents that actor as praising the piece to the author's 
face, suggesting alterations, promising to consider it next sea- 
son, and finally pronouncing it unfit for the stage — for such 
was very much Garrick's way — it really amounts to no more 
than the good-natured excuses with which a considerate and 
over-delicate man deals with a troublesome and persevering 
claimant. Garrick was not a manager at the time, merely an 
actor : the piece itself was wretched, as the author was to dis- 
cover when he appealed to the public. Yet the conventional 
promise, excuses, &c, which every new play-writer must ex- 
pect, scarcely deserved such personality as the following : — 

"It is not for the qualities of his heart that this little 
parasite is invited to the tables of dukes and lords, who hire 
extraordinary cooks for his entertainment: his avarice they 
see not, his ingratitude they feel not, his hypocrisy accommo- 
dates itself to their humours, and is of consequence pleasing: 



1759.] THE PLAYWRIGHTS. 187 

but he is chiefly courted for his buffoonery, and will be ad- 
mitted into the choicest parties for his talent of mimicking 
Punch and his wife Joan."* Not content with this attack, he 
had followed it up with another, in which he made Peregrine 
Pickle criticize the great actor and Quin, in the most contemp- 
tuous terms. 

Some years passed by, and on the execution of Byng, a 
nautical ardour had seized on the British public. Smollett, to 
suit the present humour, wrote a piece in the " Rule Britan- 
nia" vein, where the changes were rung to the tune of 
" British Tars " and " British Oak," and had the effrontery to 
submit it to Garnet But faithful to his prudent principle, 
which made resentment subordinate to interest — for Smollett 
was at this time connected with " The Critical Review," an 
organ of much personality — or, perhaps, making due allowance 
for the heat of youth, he received the piece, which was indif- 
ferent enough, and behaved with extraordinary generosity and 
conciliation to its author. He even suspended the regular 
rules of the theatre in his favour, gave him the fourth night 
for his benefit instead of the ninth — a most important change 
as regards the "run" of a piece; played Lusignan for his 
benefit; and wrote him a warm letter about a mistake which 
had been made in the charges of the theatre. This, he said, 
" had given him much uneasiness ; " but though it was very 
reasonable to charge the full expense, he could not agree that 
Dr. Smollett should make the first precedent. He therefore 
returned him the difference.! 

Gossips indeed reported that Smollett had gone about 
speaking disrespectfully of the manager, who had himself come 
obsequiously soliciting this piece. The author wrote in fear, 
lest such stories should have been carried to Garrick. He re- 
pudiated them warmly, and added this remarkable acknowledg- 
ment : — " Perhaps the same insidious efforts had been made to 
influence former animosities, which on my part are forgotten 
and self-condemned." J Not long after, when " The History of 
England" appeared, Garrick found there an amende, in the 
shape of a handsome and critical compliment. Reviewing the 
social progress of England, Smollett wrote : — " The exhibitions 
of the stage were improved to the most exquisite entertain- 

* M Roderick Random," chap. 63. 

t The night's expenses of the theatre, " before drawing up the curtain," 
were about ninety pounds. It used to be forty-five. On a benefit night 
the charge to the author of an original piece was sixty guineas ; to an 
adaptor eighty guineas. 

X life of Smollett, prefixed to his works. 



188 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1759. 

ment by the talents and management of Garrick, who greatly 
surpassed all his predecessors of this, and perhaps every other 
nation, in his genius for acting, in the sweetness and variety 
of his tones, the irresistible magic of his eye, the fire and 
vivacity of his action, the elegance of attitude, and the whole 
pathos of expression." 

The success of "Douglas," the Scotch play, which had 
a " run " at Covent Garden, seemed to have been welcomed by 
a party — not for the author's sake — but because it was believed 
that Mr. Garrick, who had declined it, was infinitely mortified. 
Here, as in the case of Dodsley's "Cleono," and Murphy's 
" Orphan of China," which was almost forced upon him, they 
saw proof of his incompetent judgment; or, as it was in- 
sinuated, of the mean motives which made him actually post- 
pone his interest to the indulgence of petty spite. It will 
hardly be credited that this was gravely sent abroad; the 
authors themselves and their friends believing that the worst 
motive was at the bottom of this indifference to their talents ; 
and chuckling over the public reversal "of Mr. Garrick's 
judgment." It was the common accusation made by Ralph in 
the pamphlet, " The Case of Authors by Profession," that he 
would not produce new plays. When we consider the quality 
of the drama written by the man who put forward this charge 
— and which is ludicrous from its turgid bombast — the accusa- 
tion loses all its force. The list of new plays brought forward 
by Garrick during his thirty years of management, is sur- 
prisingly long. There was almost foundation for its being 
said that he produced too many pieces. With far more 
respect must be received Goldsmith's complaints to the same 
effect ; and when we think of the brilliant line of comedies we 
would have had to relish now — instead of merely two ; that 
had Garrick but have encouraged him, and accepted piece* 
like the " Good-Natured Man," instead of the bales of "Vir- 
ginias," " Boadiceas," and such stuff, he would have laid play- 
goers under eternal obligations.* 

The play of "Douglas," written at Edinburgh, with an 
ostentatious parade, read and criticized by the local juntos, was 
taken up to London with great solemnity by a party of 
virtuosi, with a view of restoring the British drama, and sub- 
mitted to Mr. Garrick. He discovered what seemed to him 
serious objections, both in the simplicity of the plot and its 
treatment, which were sufficient reasons for not accepting it 

Such is the reason given by Davies; and Carlyle, Home's most 

* Forster's Goldsmith. 



1759.] THE PLAYWRIGHTS. 189 

intimate friend, who had transcribed the play, and knew its 
history, says that Garrick had rejected it as " totally unfit for 
the stage. M He speaks also of his " want of truth and judg- 
ment. '* But it must be borne in mind that the " Douglas " we 
read now was not the "Douglas" offered to Garrick. That 
was full of long and solemn prayers, delivered on the stage, 
and of strange oaths and extravagances. It was largely 
altered after Garrick had rejected it ; yet more largely altered 
the day after representation, and again more altered, after 
about a week's performance. Garrick, therefore, in all proba- 
bility, read a crude, long-winded, declamatory production. Dr. 
Johnson also endorsed Garrick's verdict, and noisily insisted 
there were not ten good lines in the whole, and these ten he 
would allow to be picked out separately.* When a weak 
speech was quoted to him about sincerity and its inflexibility, 
this wonderful man, prepared at all points, demolished it by a 
noble passage from Juvenal on the same subject : " and after 
this," he roared, " comes Johnny Home, with his earth gaping 
and destruction crying ! " 

The play was taken back to its native town, brought out at 
Edinburgh with rapture, and pronounced to be the finest 
thing since Shakspeare. It later found its way to London, was 
produced at Covent Garden, and had much success. Murphy 
says it was as "though the manager had brought down a 
judgment on himself," that he was constrained to accept very 
inferior plays from the same author. But even now it 
remains more a poem than a play.f And there was this final 
reason — which was at the time noised about to his discredit — 
that the leading male part would have been quite overpowered 
by Mrs. Pritchard or Mrs. Cibber in the female character. 
But the real difficulty was, who was to play Norval, for which 
he was a little old, and he had no one else of sufficient power 
to put in the part. 

Home had no reason to complain of the manager's later be- 
haviour, t When the new tragedy, " Agis," was ready, he at 

* Mr. Forster has shown that Goldsmith, had he been present, could 
have quoted five lines at least, which are certainly "good " ones. 

+ Davies says that great interest was made for " Douglas " at Leicester 
House " by some great persons." The writer of the article in the Quarterly 
Review, before alluded to, supplies an unpublished letter of Garrick' i to 
Lord Bute, which proves triumphantly that Garrick had resisted the pres- 
sure of so great a personage as Lord Bute. To this nobleman's instances 
he replied in a very firm letter, going through the play, and stating his 
objection in a very decided fashion. Nothing can be more independent or 
manly than the tone of this letter. 

X Carlyle makes the curious statement that Garrick had even promised 



190 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1759. 

once adopted it The play was successful, being carried 
through by a clique and a party; but it was a miserable pro- 
duction. Who shall blame Garrick for endorsing such stuff, 
when Walpole and other soi-disant critics were in raptures over 
it ? Garrick, no doubt, saw its defects as well as he had done 
those of " Douglas;" but was too shrewd and prudent a direc- 
tor to risk giving offence to the powerful clique who were 
then ruling the kingdom. 

There was a clever dilettante bookseller, Dudsley, who had 
been a footman, and had written verses, "The Toy Shop" 
and other trifles, and who had come to him with a play — 
" Cleone," the immortality to which even the meanest scribbler 
then looked forward. It had been read over, and corrected 
by Dr. Johnson — whose most obsequious admirer its author 
was — and had been submitted to Garrick, who fell into one of 
the fits of indecision so common with him. He at first ap- 
proved and accepted, then declined — then sent for it again, 
and once more declined. It was again said that the part 
allotted to him was not sufficiently important, and was over- 
shadowed by the heroine's. The manager, though friendly to 
the bookseller, declared it " a cruel, bloody, and unnatural 
play;" and after the cries of "murder " from the pit, when he 
brought on Johnson's " bloody" catastrophe to "Irene," it was 
no wonder he took fright. Johnson himself, when the piece 
was read to him, said humorously, " Come, let us go into the 
slaughter-house again. But I am afraid there is more blood 
than brains."* It is a most " bloody " play, and would have 
been now considered highly " dangerous " by a manager. The 
disappointed bookseller then took it to the other theatre. 
Eich accepted it The author could secure a long train of 
patrons, noble and simple. Lord Lyttleton and Dr. John- 
son attended the rehearsals ; and it had great success. But 
the bookseller and his friends insisted that Garrick had pur- 

to be the reverend dramatist's second in a quarrel. " Agis," the play of 
Home's, he accepted, which had been declined by Garrick many years before 
— the author, in his disgust, going to Westminster Abbey to write on 
Shakspeare's menument, " I hoped, like thee, to shake the British stage ! " 
Garrick was really attached to Home. "My dear friend," he wrote to 
him on his success, " joy, joy, joy, to you ; my anxiety yesterday gave me 
a touch of the gravel, but our success has cured it I am very happy, 
because I think you are. Mrs. Garrick has cried over it" — Mackcnzu't 
Life of Home. 

* He later added a compliment too absurd to be serious : " Sir, if Otway 
had written this, no other of his pieces would have been remembered." 
Which can only be received with gravity, on the interpretation given to 
another famous compliment — of the piece being still read when Homer and 
Virgil were forgotten. 



1759.] THE PLAYWRIGHTS. 191 

posely fixed on the night of the new piece for a revival of one of 
his own great characters — Marplot, in the " Busybody." On 
the following morning Garrick wrote a warm letter of congratu- 
lation. He was much concerned to hear such a thing re- 
peated; for he was certain no injury had been done to the 
new play. Still, if Dodsley would say what he wished to be 
done to make up for any injury, Mr. Garrick would comply 
at once, provided it did not absolutely sacrifice his own interests. 
This meant that he would stop the run of the new piece. It 
brought out a fiery answer. After what had passed he would 
ask no favour. Garrick had done all he could to destroy his 
play. He renounced his friendship, &c. Garrick wrote him a 
reply, half good-humoured, half contemptuous, which ran thus : — 

" Master Robert Dodsley — When I first read your pee- 
vish answer to my well-meant proposal to you, I was much 
disturbed at it ; but when I considered that some minds cannot 
bear the smallest portion of success, I most sincerely pitied 
you; and when I found in the same letter, that you were 
graciously pleased to dismiss me from your acquaintance, I 
could not but confess so apparent an obligation, and am, with 
due acknowledgment, Master Robert Dodsley," &c. 

But every one was not on the side of the bookseller. 
Warburton wrote Garrick one of his most characteristic letters. 
Dodsley was "a most wretched fellow," no man ever met 
"worse return than you have done for your endeavours to 
serve him." He denied what Garrick had owned, that the 
scholars and men of worth " applauded his trumpery — for a 
learned blockhead is a blockhead stilL" The character of 
Warburton, indeed, comes out in his correspondence with 
Garrick with the clearness of a photograph — overbearing, de- 
spotic, turbulent, but to his friend always tolerant. 

Of a different class to that of the bookseller was a dangerous 
fellow called Hiffernan, whom Garrick's imprudence — or pru- 
dence, as he would have called it — made him try and con- 
ciliate. A guinea from the manager, charitably given as a sub- 
scription to some book, laid the foundation for claims ; and 
first presenting a piece called " The Wishes of a Free People," 
which was declined, and a farce, which was accepted and 
damned, he grew so insolent that Lacy threatened to cudgel 
him. Garrick, however, was always indulgent, and often 
helped him in his necessities, which at times amounted to 
absolute want. He met with the usual return. Not long 
after his arrival from abroad, this wretch wrote "a most 
bloody libel " both on Garrick and Mrs. Garrick — too shocking 



192 THE LIFE OP DAVID GARRICK. [1759. 

to be described ; and was preparing to publish it, when a friend 
of Gamck's happened, by a mere accident^ to hear of it It 
was wisely suggested that a few guineas would have more 
effect than any measure of severity ; and as Mrs. Garrick was 
concerned, this was thought the best course. No doubt this 
extortion was at the bottom of the whole proceeding. 

Garrick had already been charitably exerting himself to 
better the wretched man's condition, having spoken of him to 
his friend Hamilton, and meeting him not long before in Long 
Acre, had humanely listened to the story of his complaints 
and grievances. He had long forgotten the malignant libel 
with which he had been threatened. Very soon the unfortu- 
nate wretch died in abject want, and was found dead in a 
miserable garret, the place of which he had kept carefully 
secret from his acquaintances. 

Before Garrick was abroad, he used to meet a Mr. Graham, 
one of the Eton masters, at Hampton, who was teaching his 
nephews. He rode with him at times, and found him an 
agreeable companion. During the rides the Eton master 
talked of a classical piece on the subject of " The Duke of 
Milan," in which there was a duke, a Julio, and others of the 
usual lay figures — Italian, perhaps, only in name. He was 
good-naturedly encouraged by Mr. Garrick, who read a scrap 
or so, gave him hints, and promised — the only promise a 
manager can ever make — if the whole turned out a good play, 
to give it a chance at his theatre. Mr. Garrick went on his 
foreign tour, and in the interval the Eton master laboured 
away at his " Duke," finished it, and sent it in for judgment 
The manager read it over twice, but was obliged to decline it, 
and appointed a meeting at the vicar's, to explain his reasons 
more fully. 

The Eton master was furious. It provokes a smile to find 
that his "peculiar hardships " were in " the advice, encourage- 
ment, and praises" he had received. "How astonishingly in- 
consistent is your present judgment with the expectation you 
were pleased to form of me." The only thing he will agree to 
is to refer it to those good judges who differ from Mr. Garrick. 
" I could refer you to one whom you do not think a flatterer, 
who has said to me that the language is eminently dramatic. 
I would willingly risk the whole on his saying it behind my back" 
In this instance the Eton master failed. Mr. Garrick coolly 
refuted the argument, concluding with, " Whatever you may 
clearly prove, or whatever you may think of my justice and 
humanity, I shall entertain a good opinion of them. If you 
can only think well of them by my acting the tragedy, I must 



1759.] THE PLAYWRIGHTS. 193 

be unhappy enough to lie under your censure, though not to 
deserve it" 

Mrs. Griffith was the most industrious and persevering of the 
class ; and having been tolerably successful with an adaptation 
from the French, " The School for Kakes," plied him steadily 
with proposals, plans, "first acts" of a new piece, that would 
carry all before it. When such were deemed inadmissible, 
she, too, would defend her work. At one time she was all be- 
seeching and pious entreaty, her miserable circumstances, 
&a ; at another she was full of flatteries and admiration. But 
when a negative came, the tone all changed. More difficult 
was it to deal with a piece that came to him under the patron- 
age of his friend, Sir Joshua. . It is a little test of the affec- 
tionate regard borne to the amiable painter that Johnson 
should have made an exception in his friend's favour, and read 
the piece quite through. For others he merely looked over 
plays, just as we know how he looked over a book. The 
play was by Reynolds's nephew. It had been sent in at an un- 
lucky moment, Garrick being pledged to no less than seven five- 
act pieces, to be got out within two years. So he candidly 
told Sir Joshua he could give no hope until after that time — 
that is, supposing he approved of the play.* This excuse of 
the seven plays having precedence was thought disingenuous, 
and a mere pretext, as within the month he accepted one from 
Jephson. But a manager is not to be bound down to every 
light expression he makes use qf, but, as in other professions, 
must be guided as circumstances arise. 

The history of " Dido " is a yet more excellent specimen. 
It was sent back as unsuitable. The author at once appealed. 
It was submitted " to eleven gentlemen of acknowledged dis- 
cernment in literature." "And what was their judgment 
of the piece ? " the author asks. " Why, truly, so diametri- 

* Sir Joshua seemed to be not a little annoyed at this way of receiving 
hit relation's performance, which he was almost sure would be taken. He 
wrote to have it returned at once without a reading, as the author "would 
undoubtedly understand the answer to be an absolute refusal to take it at 
any rate." Garrick was hurt in his turn at this view. So far from refusing 
plays, the complaint was that he accepted too many. "Did Sir Joshua 
snow him so little as to suppose he would refuse a play ' so recommended ? ' 
When a disappointed author hears that I am so provided, it is natural for 
him to imagine and to say that / do not care to receive his performance ; 
hut that my acquaintance, Sir Joshua Reynolds, should think that I would 
say the thing that is not, to clear myself from a performance recommended 
by him, Dr. Johnson, and Mr. Burke, it not a little unpleating to me." To 
clear himself from so disagreeable a suspicion, he offered to show his plays, 
and tell the names of the authors in confidence. Sir Joshua wrote back 
warmly and generously — more than satisfied. 

O 



i 



194 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1759. 

cally opposite to yours, that I should incur the censure of 
vanity by committing to paper even one-half the praises they 
have bestowed on the piece. To which opinion, then, was he 
to incline ? " Is it not possible for even Mr. Garrick to be de- 
ceived in his judgment ? " He then proposed submitting it to 
a junto of judges, or to go before Mr. Whitehead, the universal 
playwright's referee, and who indeed seemed to decide with 
them always. Garrick was naturally a little angry, and wrote 
in reply; but the author was not to be put down, and rejoined, 
with a cool and measured impertinence. As he now saw 
there was no chance for his piece, he might at least have the 
satisfaction of working on Garrick's sensitiveness : " Am I 
the first person that hath dared to suspect your sincerity in 
theatrical concerns ? I am afraid not." Mr. Eecd, the rope- 
maker, for such was the author, then threw off all restraint, 
threatened to file a bill in Chancery, to publish his case, and 
went about everywhere abusing and slandering Garrick. 
Later he had the inconceivable meanness to come truckling to 
him with a new comedy in his hand. He was so anxious to 
return to his old master, " to fight his dramatic battles under 
the banner of David, King of Drury, a man after the public's 
own heart" The King of Drury was "the ablest manager 
that ever presided over a theatre," &c. It was now in his 
power " to secure my friendship, if you think the friendship of 
one who prides himself on the character of an honest man 
worthy your regard." 

From the Rev. Mr. Hawkins came an "Alfred," but it tra- 
velled back to him. The blackest motives were at work. 
" Remember I formerly gave you offence in the business of 
' Henry and Rosamond;' and of all animals I believe a manager 
is allowed to be the sorest." Some years afterwards another 
piece, " The Siege of Aleppo," was rejected, because " it was 
wrong in its first concoction." And yet, like so many other 
plays, it was honoured with the approbation of Dr. Johnson, 
Mr. Smart, Justice Blackstone, and Mr. Warton, who, " with- 
out flattery " (those were his words) " pronounced the perform- 
ance admirable." Quin, too, expressed his satisfaction, and 
told " my late right honourable friend, Sir Thomas Philips," 
that he would have liked to have played one of the characters. 
" But the world will shortly judge of all these things " (the 
usual threat of publication). " After all, sir, I do not desire 
to come to an open rupture with you ; I wish not to exasperate, 
but to convince; and I tender you once more my friendship and 
my play" 

More characteristic still was the behaviour of Mr. Shirley, 



1759.] THE PLAYWRIGHTS. 195 

the Lisbon merchant, whose "Black Prince," a poor piece, had, 
" by the friendship of Mr. Garrick, been carried through." He 
later sent over another heavy performance, " Electra," which 
the manager agreed to accept^ but could only bring out during 
the summer months. This was considered so much "con- 
tempt" The angry author came to England, having narrowly 
escaped destruction in the famous earthquake, and at once be- 
gan a series of bitter attacks on the man who had so obliged 
and so injured him. The usual ungenerous topics were repro- 
duced, the changes were rung on the. stock charges of vanity, 
meanness, and avarice. Was not Mr. Varney, the boxkeeper, 
sent round to the houses of great ladies to let them know 
the nights Mr. Garrick was going to play ? Who was it salaried 
clergymen to fill the newspapers with puffs and eulogiums 
of "the incomparable Roscius"? Who was it kept down, 
from a mean jealousy, the other performers 1 This and much 
more was given in a special pamphlet, called " The Prophecy 
of Hecate ; " but the strain was diligently kept up in the news- 
papers by the same " hand." Garrick, much hurt, resented 
this behaviour deeply; and, apparently to the surprise of the 
public, and of his biographer, " declared that nothing on earth 
should get him to act Mr. Shirley's play." But " Mr. Garrick," 
adds Davies, " however irascible, was far from being implac- 
able. Before he left the stage, amidst other sacrifices to good- 
humour and good-nature, he put an end to the quarrel between 
himself and Mr. Shirley;" and as an earnest of his good-will, 
or as a sort of reparation to the aggressor, persuaded Sheridan 
to accept the " Roman Sacrifice," another performance of this 
gentleman's. 

Now Mr. Mackenzie, the author of " The Man of Feeling," 
arrives from Scotland, introduced by a letter from the excellent 
Dr. Robertson. Garrick has had experience of Mackenzie be- 
fore, having had to wade through a MS. " Prince of Tunis." 
The Man of Feeling sees now how unfit that piece was for the 
stage ; but " he has begun to work on another subject, and will be 
glad to submit the sketch," &c. Another dramatic figure in 
this group of friends was that of Dr. Brown, whose ranting 
"Barbarossa " became one of the stock pieces for lusty tra- 
gedians, and whose flat " Estimate " was one of the most suc- 
cessful books of the day. Overset by the success of his book, 
the doctor projected a scheme for exhausting the whole round 
of philosophy, beginning with " The Rise, Union, Progress, Per- 
fection, and Corruption of Poetry and Music." No wonder, he 
said, he felt that he had got into a vast field, and was for a while 
bewildered. But he soon had really good grounds for such 

o 2 



196 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1759. 

elation, when lie received a proposal from the Empress to come 
to St Petersburg, study the empire and character of the 
people, and construct a constitution.* Bnt he fell into bad 
health, which ended the expedition. From the disappointment 
he destroyed himself. 

To Dr. Hawkesworth Garrick had given many little theatri- 
cal " jobs;" now the altering of a play, now the writing of & 
piece. When -the story of Captain Cook's expedition was to 
be told under official inspiration from papers, &c, furnished 
by the Admiralty, Garrick did him a most friendly and import- 
ant service. He went to Lord Sandwich — a quarter where he 
had already heavily overdrawn his influence — and secured the 
duty of editor and historian for Hawkesworth. How valuable 
this appointment was may be conceived from the fact that the 
lucky "hack" received £6,000from the booksellers for his labour. 
But the severe reception it encountered, the suspicion of infi- 
delity set on foot, and, above all, the strange fact of a lax maga- 
zine culling from it all the warmest passages to make a new art 
of loye, preyed on his spirits, and drove him also to suicide. 
The unfortunate man had, of course, quarrelled with his friend; 
but this friend wrote in the kindest way of him. Garrick lost 
many friends — Yorke, Arden, Hawkesworth, and others — by 
self-destruction. 

Such are only a few specimens of the strange beings who 
clustered round Garrick. A complete history of their proceed- 
ings would fill a volume. 



tT 



CHAPTER IV. 

HAMPTON AND ITS CIRCLE. — 1759. 

We may turn from this curious gallery — from the gay colours 
of the stage to the quieter tones of the domestic retreats, where 
was the real life of the actor — where was his enjoyment and 
his treasure — and where, too, is to be seen the best, brightest, 
and most genial side of his character. " Garrick the actor ~ 
has been too much the conventional idea of him hitherto ; and 

* On this remarkable compliment, he consulted his friends, and it is 
amusing to find him debating with Garrick — " As to the point you speak 
of, it would certainly be dangerous to carry it bo fas- at to think of removing 
the seat of empire; but to reinstate the city of Moscow, and to make it 
one of the two seats of arts and science, is, I think, not so dangerous. 
However, nothing of this kind will I say to any soul living but the Empress 
herself. .... She is aiming at great things, but seems to be wandering in 
the dark." 



1759.] HAMPTON AND ITS CIRCLE. 197 

it cannot be too often insisted on that he was as remarkable in 
other directions. 

A near view of his amiable character, at his desk, or in his 
garden, is not in the least likely to diminish the respect and 
regard of those for whom the stage Mr. Garrick was a source 
of wonder and admiration. It seems certain that if he had 
remained at his vaults in Durham Yard-rif he had taken to the 
Bar, or any other profession, he would have risen, by his virtues 
and calm good sense, his moderation, and the certain affection 
and esteem all his friends would have borne him. The name 
of Mr. Garrick might have figured just the same in theBoswell 
gallery of Johnsons, Heynoldses, Goldsmiths, Langtons, and 
the rest We shall see him now in a more private view, when 
it will be found that the great tragedian, who was the talk of 
the town, was not "puffed up" or upset by his position, but was 
as humble and affectionate, and domestic, as any Jean Bourgeois 
beyond Temple Bar. 

Southampton Street was his little town pied de terre. It was 
bound up with the theatre, with business, and interviews. 
Angry players and playwrights had come in crowds, and sat in 
the little parlour, and told their wrongs. But his eyes always 
turned towards the country — to a delightful corner, within 
easy distance of town, on the very edge of the Thames. 

Very shortly after his marriage he had looked out for 
a country place, and found what suited him on the edge 
of the common at Hampton. He had lived there with Mrs. 
Garrick; and liking the place, purchased, in 1754, from Mr. 
Humphry Primatt, the well-known villa, which will always be 
associated with his name. About it were pretty grounds, 
though separated by the high road from a pleasant sward that 
ran Sown to the river's eSge ; where, within a year, he was 
building that little bit of affectation, more fitted to Drury 
Lane than to the little country Villa — the Shakspeare Temple. 
This absurdity was just a hint of the greater absurdity which 
was to come later — his Jubilee. Beside the villa was another 
house, belonging to Mr. Peele, who left directions in his will 
that an offer of the property should be made to Mr. Garrick, 
who he knew fancied the place. It was not, however, to come 
into his hands without some litigation.* He had other pro- 

* Sir John Hawkins, who lived close by, at Twickenham, tells a charac- 
teristic story about this house. A neighbour also had his eye on the place ; 
and, going to the executors in Garrick's name, actually obtained a convey- 
ance to trustees for his own use. Garrick was greatly concerned on dis- 
covering this trick, knowing he would have a disagreeable neighbour ; but 
Sir John showed him a " case in Vernon," which made out the transaction 



198 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1759 

perty, a little estate called Hendon Manor, which was worth 
some sixteen thousand pounds; not content with which, he 
fancied some five and twenty acres lying near Hampton, for 
which he made an offer to Lord Pomfret That nobleman, 
however, asked a large sum, which Garrick thought was too 
much, but was willing to leave it to the arbitration of any 
two intelligent neighbours. 

Hampton was a charming place; and it is easy to under- 
stand the Garricks* delight in it— in its pleasant gardens, 
where the good and simple vicar would come and take 
counsel with Mrs. Garrick, over the planting of some rare 
laurel cuttings; the grounds and flower-beds, with the dis- 
tant view of the Shakspeare Temple. Here we can see the 
host and owner in his own sphere, and in all his natural 
gaiety, as Miss Hawkins saw him. Sir John Hawkins would 
drop in, on his road to town, and find the owner and Mrs. Gar- 
rick eating figs in the garden. Walpole and his Irish printer, 
whose fine eyes Garrick would have purchased for Drury Lane 
at any price, would come over to the Temple with appropriate 
verses.* Here, too, guests found their way down "to spend 
the day," and dine, and after dinner wandered in the gardens, 
and lounged about the grounds. To them was present the 
figure of their host in his dark blue coat, its button-holes 
bound with gold edging; the small cocked hat also edged 
with lace, and the waistcoat free and open. The face and 
features were never at rest a moment. He would be sitting 
on the edge of the table, chatting on grave subjects to a 
doctor of law or music ; when the wonderful eyes, darting to 
this side and that, would note the little boys of his guest 
scampering gaily round the garden, and he would shoot away 
in the midst of a sentence, join them, and be a boy himself in 
a second.! There was one pleasant day when Home, in the 

fraudulent. He accordingly filed a bill to set aside the purchase, and on 
the eve of the hearing Bent to Sir John ; but when the knight took " the 
case " down himself to Drury Lane, he found the manager so absorbed in 
a new procession as to be quite indifferent to everything else. This ha 
gives as a specimen of Garrick's carelessness and forgetfulness. But the 
legal reader will see that the case must have been in counsel's hands, who 
would have been quite independent of his client, or Hawkins's assistance. 
Even lately, Peele's House was the subject of litigation. 

* " Quod spiro et placeo, * 

Si placeo, tuum est." 
" That I spirit have and nature, 

That sense* breathes in any feature, 

That I please — if please I do — 

Shakspeare ! all 1 owe to you." 

t Miss Hawkins. Enemies fancied they discovered a difference in Gold* 



1759.] HAMPTON AND ITS CIRCLE. 199 

flush of his " Douglas " success, took down the brothers 
Adam, Robertson, Wedderburn, Carlyle, and some others. 
They brought " golf clubs " — their national game, and showed 
their host how to play. Mrs. Garrick was there, too, growing 
a little plump by this time, but gay and pleasant, and speak- 
ing English perfectly. It was a little curious that one of the 
guests — Carlyle — some ten years before, should have been her 
fellow-passenger in the Harwich packet when she was the 
dancer, La Violette, dressed up in boy's clothes. A common 
mind might have officiously reminded the hostess of this old 
and awkward acquaintance ; but Carlyle was a clever and 
accomplished man, who knew the world, and he said 
nothing. After dinner the wine was carried out to the Shak- 
speare Temple. A charming sward ran down <to the river, 
and through a leafy archway it could be seen winding and 
glistening. Carlyle executed a wonderful stroke with his 
golf, sending the ball down the grass, through this arch, well 
into the river — a feat which so delighted Garrick that he 
begged the golf as a present and record. " Yet/' says golf- 
player, who relates it, "this was all only his little vanity;" 
thus repeating the unmeaning and parrot-cry which he had 
picked up in the open thoroughfares of the town. 

Here, too, was seen Mr. Beighton, an old clergyman of 
simple tastes, for whom Garrick was never tired of trying to 
" do something." He delighted in his books and garden. At 
his advanced age he had to ride, often across rivers, five or six 
miles to his duties. He could scarcely afford to keep a curate, 
on his modest thirty pounds a year ; but Garrick often helped 
to increase his income, until something "turned up." "My 
dear friend," would say the vicar, standing among his beloved 
flower-beds, and taking Garrick by the hand, and giving his 
head his " usual jerk of affection," " could I have fifty pounds 
for a curate, and fifty pounds to keep up my little garden, I 
would feel no ambition beyond it." "And thirty pounds 
more," Mr. Garrick would add, slyly, " to keep Hannah, your 
housekeeper?" "Pooh," would say the vicar, "you turn 
everything into ridicule ! Come, let me show you the finest 
arbor vita in the country." And away he trotted, forgetting 
all his wants. Garrick used to plead earnestly for this good 
old man with all his influential friends. He got his old 
friend, General Fitzwilliams — who was " about " a royal Duke 
— to promise a chaplaincy. He then introduced him to the 

smith's and Garrick's mode of playing with children, the former doing it 
to amuse the children, the latter to amuse himself. 



200 THE UFB OP DAVID GARRICK. [1759. 

Duchess of Portland, at Bulstrode. "She is very much his 
friend," said Mr. Garrick, speaking of this visit; "but — " 
It was so difficult to find what would suit him. Finally he 
tried Lady Camden, and her interest with her husband, then 
Lord Chancellor, who warmly promised to befriend him ; not 
then, but on the first opportunity. " For it would be a mor- 
tifying thing for him not to have a living near his present 
place. We are all quite anxious," said she, " for the good old 
man. I hope it is no sin to wish an unknown person near 
Egham to be removed to a better place." The Chancellor sent 
Garrick word that his recommendation alone would be suffi- 
cient, and in a very short time "the good old man " was made 
quite happy by a suitable promotion. He enjoyed his new 
happiness but two or three years, and in 1771 he died, to the 
great grief of his two friends. Lord Camden had grown to 
love him, and thought him " one of the best men Christianity 
had ever produced; and whom we must never hope to see 
again unless we go to Heaven."* 

This episode is one of the pleasant things in studying Gar- 
rick's life, that it helps to glimpses of true goodness and 
amiability, and like Goldsmith's story helps to reconcile us to 
human nature. At times, and at very late and inconvenient 
hours, Doctor Johnson would come bursting in, even when 
they were going to bed, and insist on his supper. Long after, 
his favourite sofa was shown and reverenced. Mrs. Garrick 
herself delighted in her garden. A tulip and a cedar tree were 
planted there by her own hands, with a " sucker " from the 
famous Shakspeare mulberry tree. The Shakspeare Temple, 
separated from them by the high road, was reached by a 
tunnel. Mrs. Garrick often stopped in it to tell her little story 
of Doctor Johnson, who was consulted on the matter. Garrick 
himself was inclined to have a bridge; but "capability" 
Brown, the famous landscape gardener, suggested the tunnel, 
in which he was supported by the doctor, who said, gravely, 
" David — David, what can't be over-done, may be under-done." 
In the temple was the famous Eoubiliac statue of Shakspeare, 

* His dear books — the treasure where his heart was — he was a little 
nervous about, and ehrunk from the notion of their being " put up " under 
the rude operation of a sale. Tet he had nothing but these with which to 
show his gratitude to his kind friends ; so he divided them into three por- 
tions — leaving one to the Chancellor, one to Garrick, and the third to 
Becket, the bookseller, another friend. With true delicacy, the two first 
friends recalled the pain that had come into his face when he spoke of the 
prospect of his little collection being broken up after his death, and tried 
hard to purchase up the other share, and so keep the whole together ; but 
the bookseller, following the instinct of his trade, was for having it sold. 



1759.] HAMPTON AND ITS CIRCLE. 201 

now in the British Museum. The rooms in the house were 
low, and not very large. There was a library, a bow-windowed 
room, the best bed-room, where the bed was in an alcove that 
could be shut off from the room altogether — a French notion 
of Mrs. Garrick's.* Between Hampton and the Adelphi were 
distributed Garrick's pictures. In the dining-room, over the 
sideboard, hung Thomas Da vies, the faithless biographer. The 
man, whose picture hung in Garrick's dining-room, had the 
effrontery to write the falsehood that Garrick was so vain that 
he would admit no portraits but those of himself into his 
house. The truth was, his walls were covered with all kinds 
of pictures, and his portraits were presented to him by painter 
friends, who were always asking him to sit. There were the 
three landscapes by Loutherburg, one of his scene painters, 
and which latter brought good prices; a small and delicate 
Guido; and a fine Andrea del Sarto, presented to him by Lord 
Burlington, at Rome, and which cost that nobleman five hun- 
dred pounds. There were also many theatrical scenes — Gar- 
rick as Lord Chalkstone, as the Farmer, and as Sir John Brute; 
also as Jaffier, with Mrs. Cibber. But what must have been 
more interesting than all, here was seen the young and 
sprightly Garrick seated with his friend Wyndham, in the fore- 
ground of a landscape, painted by Hayman. 

About the house, too, was a good deal of rare china, in which 
Garrick, with a nice taste, was " curious;' 1 and the series of 
pure white china statuettes, issued by the Chelsea Ware Com- 
pany, representing Garrick as Bichard, Quin as Falstaff, Wood- 
ward as the Fine Gentleman, and Kitty Clive as the Lady in 
" Lethe, "t There was a small statuette of Garrick, too, as 
BosciuSy modelled by some artist whose name is unknown. On 
the drawing-room walls was a curious decorated paper, which 
remained long after. The Shakspeare curiosities which were 
the attraction of the Temple must have been the least interest- 
ing of the whole collection. There was a theatrical air about 
them; and they mostly resolved themselves into different 
shapes of the eternal mulberry tree. There was the arm-chair 
made out of the same material, with carvings from a design 
by Hogarth; vases, medallions, &c, and an inkstand. There 
was shown a delft saltcellar, " which belonged to Shakspeare;" 
and a very doubtful pair of gloves and a dagger, " formerly 
belonging to Shakspeare."! 

* A sofa cover in the room where I write these words is covered with 
chintz that once formed Garrick's curtains, 
t These figures are now richerchi, and fetch such prices as £30 a piece. 
X Garrick's enthusiasm for the great dramatist led him into accepting 



202 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1739. 

Conspicuous among the choice treasures of the place were 
the four famous "Election" pictures of Hogarth.* These 
were hung in the " Bow-room" at Hampton, on each side of 
the fire-place. They had been shown to Garrick when finished, 
and the artist told him that he had resolved on putting them 
up to raffle, as he could not hope to find a purchaser who 
would give him the price he asked — namely, two hundred 
guineas. Garrick put down his name for five or ten guineas' 
worth of tickets; but when he got home began to think of 
the begging and mortification to which such a plan would ex- 
pose his friend. He generously determined to spare his friend 
such humiliation, went back and purchased the four pictures 
for the price named, t After all, it was a surprising bargain ; 
and some sixty or seventy years later, Mr. Soane was glad to 
secure them at the sale for his Museum at seventeen hundred 
and thirty-two pounds ten shillings. On the walls hung 
another picture by the same admirable master, representing 
the master of the house seated at his table,' " smilingly thought- 
ful over an epilogue or some such composition (of his own, you 
may be sure), his head supported by his writing hand, while 
madam is archly enough stealing away his pen unseen behind. 
It has not so much fancy as to be affected or ridiculous, and yet 
enough to raise it from the formal inanity of a mere portrait. They 
are a fine contrast." So was it described by Dr. Hoadly, and 
the last sentence is a very happy description of the share poetry 
and fact should have in a true portrait. In this picture there 
is a pleasant air of reverie about " our sprightly friend," a 
charming slyness and piquancy in Mrs. Garrick ; and the whole 
seems rather to convey the idea of lovers, than of sober mar- 
ried life.]: 

Here, too, were many of those surprising theatrical pictures 
by Zoffany — brilliant, yet deep, in colouring, gay, firm, full of 
character, and almost rivalling Hogarth in tone and dramatic 

such suspicious relics. The "delft saltcellar" was later valued at two 
guineas, and the gloves at three, a price that represented their value as 
having belonged to Garrick, not to Shakspeare. There was even another 
pair of Shakspeare's gloves in his little museum, which Mrs. Garrick be- 
queathed to Mrs. Siddons. 

* Painted, as Mr. Christie's catalogue sets out, modestly, " with breadth 
and agreeable freshness of tone." 

t This was told by Mrs. Garrick herself. See " The Gentleman's Maga- 
zine " for July, 1823, p. 62. 

$ It was sold to Mr. Locker, of Greenwich Hospital, for £75 lis. There 
were other sketches and pictures of Hogarth, one in particular of Sir George 
Hay, which went for only £5, but which the auctioneer did not know to be 
Hogarth's. 



1759.] HAMPTON AND ITS CIRCLE. 203 

expression. The charming portrait of Mrs. Garrick holding a 
mask was painted when she, the Violetta, had just come to 
England, and in the heyday of her piquant charms, painted, 
too, with the best enthusiasm of the artist ; for he was at that 
time one of her admirers.* Here, again, and by the same artist, 
were husband and wife sitting in their dear Hampton grounds, 
"taking tea," with the river in the distance, and George 
Grarrick angling. There were two small views, from the 
same hand, of the villa and the grounds. Another token 
yet again of affection — the Shakspeare villa, with Mr. and 
Mrs. Garrick on the steps, and their little dog. These are 
all so many hints of happiness and mutual affection. To the 
worldlings of the time such repeated exhibition of their 
married content would be fade and insipid. 

It is remarkable that in the enormous mass of correspondence 
preserved by Grarrick — and he seemed to preserve every scrap 
that was addressed to him — there is not a single letter of Mrs. 
Garrick's. The simple reason for this is, that she had no occa- 
sion to write to him, as he was literally never absent from her 
a day. When he went abroad Mrs. Grarrick went abroad with 
him ; when he went to the " great houses " on visits, Mrs. 
Grarrick was taken also. She was invited behind the scenes, 
listened to the rehearsals, and gave her judgment The economy 
of the theatre — its accounts — everything was carefully looked 
to by this admirable and invaluable lady. There was a charm- 
ing delicacy and gallantry in his behaviour to her, the bloom 
of which was never lost. Nothing was complete in either his 
business or his pleasure, without her. If a new actor were to 
exhibit his powers at Southampton Street, Mrs. Garrick was 
laughingly put behind a screen to have her share of the " fun." 
She had her box at Drury Lane. When Mr. Grarrick was 
painted again and again by all painters, he was most pleased 
with those paintings where she was brought in. There were 

* This was bought by the Carre, and very appropriately was hanging 
oyer the chimney-piece in the dining-room at Hampton until a few years 
ago. Mrs. Can* was fortunate enough to Becure it for £23. It is now in 
the possession of Mr. and Mrs. Hill, of Richmond. Zoffany was employed 
by Wilson to work on his pictures, and at one of the exhibitions Garrick 
detected a different touch in Wilson's painting. This helped to discover 
the German artist. Garrick's patronage brought its own reward ; for 
Zoffany *s fine theatrical scenes and perfect likenesses of his face and atti- 
tudes are our most faithful memorials of the great actor. Wilson was 
furious and jealous, and would seem to have had Zoffany's visits to Hamp- 
ton watched. Garrick threatened to have the spies ducked in the river. 
Nothing is more curious than the little odd glimpses these Garrick letters 
give ua of famous people. 



204 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1759. 

many husbands who might pay such attentions; but none 
could rival the charming delicacy, and almost lover-like gal- 
lantry, which he maintained towards her to the end. How 
pretty a story is that told of the Dance Picture ! This artist, 
then struggling, had been pushed and recommended by the 
great actor, and had just finished a portrait of Mr. Garrick, 
for which he was to receive one hundred guineas. This was a 
present for Mrs. Garrick ; a place had been already settled on 
the wall where it was to hang, and the artist had been asked 
to. dinner. During the dinner the latter said, as it were care- 
lessly, that Sir Watkin Wynne had seen the picture, and 
offered a hundred and fifty; and, Dance added, he intended 
to let him have it He must have been surprised at this 
treatment; but he was not thinking of that, but of the disap- 
pointed face of Mrs. Garrick. " Never mind, dear," he whis- 
pered, " you shall have a much handsomer picture than that 
to look at;" and accordingly, on the next day, a very hand- 
some mirror — mirrors were costly articles then — was hanging 
in the place selected for the picture. 

There were some delightful days at Hampton. The Gar- 
ricks were very important people in the place. # No one of the 
squires about could have seen such good company: they kept 
up good state, an excellent table, and " did everything " hos- 
pitably, in good style. Sir Henry Bate Dudley, a jovial man 
about town, and no mean judge, always bore testimony to 
this. They drove into town in their well-appointed carriage 
and four horses. 

At this place we see him in quite a pastoral light, and with 
the air of a Jacques Bonhomme. Lord Sandwich, when he was 
in office, was one year settled at Hampton, at Lord Halifax's 
house on the Green. A fine turtle arrived with Sir Edward 
Hughes from Ascension, and a cook had been brought down 
specially to dress it. The weather was hot, and the turtle 
would not keep; so it was determined to ask the leading 
persons of the neighbourhood with little ceremony and at 
short notice. 

A servant was sent over to Mr. Garrick's, who coming into 
the yard, saw a man in an old " scratch wig," an older hat* 
and a loose great coat, busy with the wheels of the carriage, 
and asked him about his master. It proved to be Mr. Gar- 
rick himself. The servant was greatly shocked at his mis- 
take, and even begged to be excused for attending in the par- 
lour. But Garrick accepted all apologies in the most good- 
humoured way, and said that actually a compliment had been 
paid him, for his coachman was a much better looking fellow 



1759.] HAMPTON AND ITS CIRCLE. 205 

than he was. At that turtle dinner there was a large party; 
the unfortunate Miss Ray was of the number, and Garrick 
recollected her quiet and modest behaviour. The evening 
was very pleasant, and the Hampton colony were entertained 
with dramatic recitations. 

Not very far away lived a nobleman and his wife, Lord and 
Lady Spencer, who were his warmest friends, and who, with 
a constancy not usual in the noble persons of that day, re- 
mained his fast friends to the end of his life. At their seat at 
Althorpe, in Northamptonshire, Mr. and Mrs. Garrick were re- 
gular guests; and it was at Althorpe, with these kind friends 
at his bedside, that he was seized with his last fatal illness. 
As Christmas came round, always came eager and pressing in- 
vitations to Althorpe. The best company assembled there to 
meet them. Sometimes Lady Spencer fixed on a gay uniform 
for the ladies of the party; and Mrs. Garrick was told in time 
of a " certain scarlet and white silk/' which was to be got at 
" Mr. King's, the mercer's " — a good-natured warning, for fear 
it should be all gone. Her letters are, indeed, most lively, 
free, gay, and affectionate. No wonder that he endorsed them 
outside, " a letter from heavenly Lady Spencer," from " charm- 
ing Lady Spencer," "Lady Spencer's sweet note," "Lady 
Spencer, always natural ! " He would write for subscriptions 
for a friend's book, and she would send back a string of noble 
names, with, " you know we are all your toadeaters — at least, 
I can answer for myself." This was in the " sweet note." 
Then they must come to her, " so do not shake your head, and 
invent any excuses. The beds and rooms are well aired, and 
more comfortable than at an inn, and that would make the 

journey to Newport Pagnell very easy for your horses 

You must allow us to add that our servants are not allowed to 
take anything." At this pleasant house he had too much 
good sense to wish to " sink " his profession, having that true 
respect for it which made others respect it too. Thus, of a 
night, Mr. Garrick would sit down and read Shakspeare for 
the company; though he was sometimes annoyed in find- 
ing that Lord March, to whom anything intellectual was 
not likely to be entertaining, had gone off to sleep. The 
charming hostess promised that Lord March should never 
again be allowed to assist at the readings.* 

A more awkward incident, but still almost ludicrous as "a 

* On another night, a very rigid-faced lady Bat in front, with her eyes 
fixed on the reader, but without moving a muscle, or showing a gleam of 
intelligence. Mr. Garrick came to his hostess — " She is a very proper 
person, I am sure ; but— but— I cannot read again if she be present" 



206 THE LIFE OF DAVED GARRICK. [1759. 

situation," took place, when Mr. Garrick one night stood up in 
the centre of the drawing-room, to illustrate some stage effect 
A young gentleman, full of eagerness, and with the best inten- 
tions, came over on tiptoe, and set down two lighted candles at 
Mr. Garrick's feet The actor, much disconcerted and annoyed 
by this bit of gaucherie, abruptly sat down. Sometimes malicious 
creatures of his own profession would find out the date of 
these visits, and send on beforehand little dirty letters, or 
rather "covers," addressed "Mr. David Garrick, Player" This 
he felt acutely; it could not have the least effect with his 
host and hostess ; but he knew they passed through the ser- 
vants* hands.* The little world of the players had then more 
than its proportion of such unworthy devices and mean pas- 
sions. 

Yet he was not quite above the sensitiveness which may 
underlie friendship between a player and " a lord." The best 
illustration of this is the little history of an invitation to 
Warwick Castle. He and his friend Arden had been 
" strongly pressed to pass a week en famille " at the castle ; he 
thought he would now avail himself of the invitation. They 
arrived, were received by the housekeeper, shown all the curi- 
osities, treated to such light refreshment as a cup of chocolate, 
and then — bowed out like ordinary tourists. They were both 
bitterly indignant — Garrick especially, whom other lords were 
only too proud to entertain. He turned some very sarcastic 
rhymes on the affair, which, like all the sarcastic rhymes 
of the time, were shown about and copied, and soon got into 
print : — 

" He show'd them Guy's pot, but he gave them no soup, 
No scent would his lordship allow, 
Unless they had gnawed the blade-bone of the Boar, 
Or the rib of the famous Dun Cow." 

This is certainly undignified; but it must be recollected 
that these lines were merely written as a joke, for his own 
amusement and that of his friends. The earl was perfectly 
unconscious of his offence, having sent some message which 
had not been delivered. 

Fond as he was of the company of persons of quality — and 
no one more dearly loved a lord — he never was inclined to 
sacrifice his independence in the smallest degree, " or play the 
toady." As when Lord Essex "got up " private theatricals at 
Cassiobury, and had invited Lords North, Sandwich, and 
Coleraine, and other persons of distinction, Mr. Garrick was 

* Cradock. 



1759.] HAMPTON AND ITS CIRCLE. 207 

asked also, but apparently " through " Mr. Cradock, a guest, 
which was scarcely respectful, and rather treating him as " the 
player." He pleaded his heavy engagements at his own 
theatre, but did not conceal the real reason. "This filthy 
cold," he wrote, "I partly got by exhibiting my person in the 
gallant Hastings, the best compliment I could pay to the noble 
host and hostess, where you are ; but, indeed, my pride was 
very much modified when I found the family did not come to 
their box until in the middle of the third act. It will not be 
long in my power to pay many such compliments." He had, 
in fact, given them a box, and at their request had actually 
fixed "Jane Shore" for the night Lord Essex, however, 
asked a large dinner party, meaning to go after the din- 
ner, and bring their guests. As might be expected, they did 
not reach the theatre until Garrick was nearly at his last 
speech. 

One morning when Boswell had come to breakfast with 
Garrick, the host greeted him with, " Pray, now, did you — did 
you meet a little lawyer turning the corner, eh?" Then, 
with an affected indifference, as if " standing on tiptoe," he 
explained that it was Lord Camden who had just left him, 
and with whom he had been taking a walk. Boswell very 
happily hit off this foolish bit of acting, and this weakness of 
wishing to be seen with the great. It scarcely deserved John- 
son's severe comment that "Garrick was right; for Lord 
Camden was a little lawyer for associating so familiarly with a 
player." That little lawyer and his family were among Gar- 
rick's kindest friends. The Chancellor's interest was used to 
advance friends of the actor, and exerted with a zeal and 
cordiality that made it doubly welcome. They interchanged 
verses, and Garrick and his wife were often invited to Camaen 
Place. When the Chancellor was out of office, one of his con- 
solations was laying out meetings with his friend. "I am 
happy enough . . . treat me then with an epigram or a bit of 
prologue; or if you have nothing of that sort in readiness, 
assure me of your and Mrs. Garrick's health, and I will be 
content." He could write even more affectionately when dis- 
appointed of a visit. "I had an inward feeling when we 
parted, that we should not meet again as we proposed, and 
this made me so desirous of keeping you when I had you. 
But now I despair. You and Mrs. Garrick are two restless 
people, whose minds are always upon the stretch for conversa- 
tion at home and abroad, and are strangers to the pleasures of 
one day's solitude. The only time you allot for thought is 
eight to ten in the morning during winter, and even these 



208 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1759. 

hours are interrupted by posts and box-keepers. You see how 
fretful your letter has made me, but how can I be otherwise 
when I find myself deprived of a pleasure I have lived so long 
in hopes of?" There was a warmth in this eagerness truly 
genuine ; and it seemed as though Garrick's engagements were 
always fatally in the way. Not very long before the actor's 
death, he wrote to him, and it was more than a playful warn- 
ing — "I was in expectation of meeting you last Sunday 
se'nnight at Mr. Dunning's, but you are too much in request 
to be had on short notice. Thai idol popularity which has ruined 
my fortune and made yours, will yet spoil your constitution; for 
perpetual feasting and riot will break you down at last, and 
you will be demolished, though you are stronger than NuttalL 
I do very much, my dear Garrick, wish for a quiet day or two 
with you, when you are not interrupted every minute with 
authors and actors. Our noisy girls are gone, and the house is 
at peace." The friendship of such a man is a charming testi- 
monial, and no better comment could be found on Johnson's 
foolish speech. That "familiarity" endured long; Camden 
was executor, and held the actor's palL And yet that protest 
— a little fretful as it was — but too well described the actor's 
restless " fussiness," that " acting off the stage," which would 
not let him enjoy calmly the hearts and the friendship which 
were his, but kept him busy with little schemes and plots for 
the next hour— like ladies of fashion, with many parties for 
the one night, and whose eyes and thoughts are on the one 
to which they have to go next, and not on the one where they 
are present. 

Indeed, the number of men in office, who could be useful to 
him, and who were delighted to oblige him, was surprising. 
No man of his day had such influence. Some of his prettiest 
letters contain requests for some little service, and were hard 
to resist. As where some India chintz, a present to Mrs. 
Garrick, was detained by the Customs, he pleaded hard with 
Mr. Stanley in rhyme and prose.* How Mr. Pelham obliged 
him, we have seen ; and, in Pelham's honour, he wrote that 
Utile ode, which attained a most surprising popularity, running 

* " 0, Stanley, give ear to a husband's petition 1 " Some passages in the 
letter have quite the turn of Elia's writing. He had done, he said, some 
trifling service for the Calcutta Theatre. " In return they have sent me 
Madeira, and poor Rachel the unfortunate chintz. She had set her young 
heart upon making some alterations in our little place at Hampton. She 
concluded to show away with her prohibited present. . . She had prepared 
chairs, Ac., for this familiar token of Indian gratitude," . . Now it had 
fallen iuto " the coarse hands of filthy dungeon ruffians" — Hill MSS. 



1759.] FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES. 209 

through numerous editions, and two lines of which have been 
enrolled in :he stock of " quotable " phrases — 

" Let others hail the rising sun, 
I bow to that whose course is run." 

Men of ability and of intellect, indeed, formed a rich depart- 
ment of his acquaintance. 



CHAPTER V. 

FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES. — 1759. 

The range of Garrick's acquaintance included a motley 
class, from the meanest, shirtless Grub Street poet to the 
highest Duke in the land. In it were noble lords and ladies, 
bishops, parsons, lawyers, authors, adventurers — gentle natures, 
rough and savage characters ; for all, his calm and placid tem- 
per had a sort of charm. He was fortunate in the friendship 
of Warburton, and it is surprising to see with what warmth 
and gentleness that rude and turbulent nature could deal with 
a character so unlike his own. The Bishop could give him this 
fine compliment : — " I honour you for your repeated endeavours 
in stemming a torrent of vice and folly. You do it in a station 
where most men, I suppose, would think you might fairly be 
dispensed with, from bearing your part in the duty of good 
citizens, on such a necessary occasion. Nobody but you and Pope 
ever knew how to preserve the dignity of your respective employ- 
ments." In stormy contest all his life with every one, he re- 
mained at peace with the actor to the end. Indeed, nothing is 
more remarkable in Garrick's life than the nice proportion of 
his acts of friendship, delicately shaped so as to be of the 
highest profit for the occasion. To Warburton had been intro- 
duced the new Yorkshire Eabelais, Laurence Sterne, who had 
come up to town in 1 761 to enjoy the honours of his book. When 
the storm was rising about Sterne, and cries of scandal ringing 
in his ears, the actor secured for him the useful patronage, and 
protection, of two bishops' ; and when these were being alien- 
ated by the humorist's own folly, made unwearied exertions to 
excuse and restore him. All that round of feasting and honour, 
which makes Sterne's London campaign read like a romance, he 
owed to Garrick, who was unwearied in introducing him every- 
where. " Mr. Garrick," wrote Tristram in a tumult of delight 
to his " Kitty," " pays me all and more honour than I could 
look for. I dined with him to-day, and he has promised num- 

P 



210 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1759 

bers of great people to cany me to dine w tk 'em. He has given 
me an order for the liberty of his boxes .... and indeed 
leaves nothing undone that can do me cither service or credit ; 
he has undertaken the management of the booksellers, and will 
procure me a great price."* The sentimental clergyman, it 
would seem, was not a little affected by the charms of Mrs. 
Garrick, and often sent a rapturous message of admiration, 
through her husband. Garrick helped him with a loan — wrote 
from abroad that it should be looked after ; but he added that 
they were not to be in the least ungentle with him. Shandy's 
incurable lightness, and that round of follies — follies which 
were of the head, not of the heart — seemed to have alienated 
this good friend, as they did so many others ; and Garrick was 
at the dinner party in Clifford- Street, when the footman came 
in with news that he had just seen the miserable Yorick breathe 
his last, without a friend near him.f 

Another nobleman, the Duke of Devonshire, was his friend, 
and came often to Hampton. To him Garrick could apply for 
a loan. The answer was, " I have sent you a note on Snow 
for £500 : if you wanted as much more, it is at your service. 
I am very glad it is in my power to be of any convenience to 
you. I will have no security" After thirty years, the Mr. 
Lyttleton who had been introduced to him during the Good- 
man's Fields' days, now become Lord Lyttleton, was still his 
warmest friend. With him Mrs. Garrick was " Pid-pad " — a 
joke on her pronunciation of "pit-a-pat" Though the house 
was full of Grenvilles, and " Burzinsky and Paoli had just 
gone, and Belgioso and the Bussians were to come next week," 
still " all parties of pleasure without Garrick and Pid-pad ap- 
pear dull and insipid." Mrs. Montagu desired all sorts of 
" fine things " to be said to Mr. Garrick for her ; but Lord 
Lyttleton would only tell him one plain truth, " that we both 
love you dearly." Even the great political Cato of the day, 
now in retirement, thawed into something like warmth and 
gaiety. Down at Mount Edgecumbe Mr. Garrick had turned 
some verses in the statesman's honour. They were not in his 
happiest strain, likening the elderly, hypochondriac ex-Premier 

* From the curious collection of Sterne's love letters in the Philobiblion 
collection. 

t Sterne's death-bed is a ghastly scene. The incidents — the hireling, 
who it is said was robbing him of his sleeve-links as he died, the footman 
looking on — the blank desertion — the coldness of death, that began with 
his feet and went upwards — the whole would make a fine subject for a 
painter, and a fearful contrast to that of the gay clergyman coquetting 
with the grisette in Newton's delightful painting. 



1759.] • FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES. 211 

who was racked with gout and rheumatism, to Achilles, 
" Peleus's son," when he " wrathful forsook the hostile field," 
and took up the lyre ; and then described how the Earl, freed 
from cares of state, solaced himself at Burton Pynsent : — 

" Cheerful he came, aU blithe and gay, 
Fair blooming like the son of May ; 
Adown his radiant shoulders hung 
A harp by all the Musea strung." 

In return for this compliment, the Earl sent some verses i»i 
reply, containing a pressing invitation, and which, it must bo 
said, are infinitely more free and natural than the actor's : — 

" Leave, Garrick, the rich landscape, proudly gay, 
Docks, forts, and navies, brightening all the bay ; 
To my plain roof repair, primeval seat ! 

***** 
Come, then, immortal spirit of the stage, 
Great nature's proxy, glass of every age 1 
Come, taste the simple life of patriarchs of old, 
Who, rich in rural peace, ne'er thought of pomp or gold." 

He was charmed with the verses from Mount Edgecumbe. 
" You have kindly," he said, " settled on me a lasting species 
of property I never dreamed of, in that enchanting place — a 
far more able conveyancer than any in Chanceryland ; for in- 
stead of laboriously perplexing rights, you, by a few happy 
lines, at once both create the title and fix the possession." On 
a rare occasion Mr. Pitt and Lady Hester woidd visit the 
theatre, and, as it were, command a play, through Mr. Berenger. 
They were enchanted. They thanked their friend heartily for 
" his obliging good offices " with Garrick. " Inimitable Shak- 
speare ! but more matchless Garrick ! Always deep in nature 
as the poet, but never (what the poet is too often) out of it" 
This compliment was endorsed by Garrick with delight : " A 
note from Mr. Pitt to Berenger about me having at his request 
acted Macbeth. Rich and exquisite flattery!" Yet it is cha- 
racteristic of Pitt's stateliness that he always seemed to deal 
with Garrick by embassy, as it were, and would make arrange- 
ments for coming to the theatre through other persons. Mr. 
Pitt was one of the audience in the old glorious Goodman's 
Fields' days. "You little Horace," wrote Burke — "you 
lepidissime Homuncio, when will you call to see your Maecenas 
tUavis?" Then he would grumble playfully at Garrick's neglect. 
"You know the unfortunate have always proud stomachs." 
" I send you," he wrote, " a late turtle, a rosa sera, as good for 
the palate as the other for the nose. Your true epicureans are 
of opinion, you know, that it contains in itself all kinds of 

P 2 



212 THE LIFE OP DAVID GARRICK. [1759. 

flesh, fish, and fowl. It is, therefore, a dish fit for one who 
can represent all the solidity of flesh, the volatility of fowl, 
and the oddity of fish." Wilkes, too, wrote him lively, rattling 
letters of compliment. They had met in Paris ; and from Paris 
" Jack Cade " would write over amusing French news — how 
Helvetius, their common friend, had sent nim a note this morn- 
ing, beginning, " Mon cher Wilkes — You, who will be exiled 
in this world, and damned for ever in the next, and to whom 
posterity will set up a statue," &c. Yet he was no friend ; 
and after the actor's death spoke «pf him harshly and unkindly. 

To that old intriguer, the Duke of Newcastle, Garrick sent a 
useful token, " one of the most valuable presents which an 
old man can receive, or a good friend can make, of a delightful 
horse to supply the defects of old age and infirmity." He was 
eager to see him at Claremont; but characteristically, pre- 
sently glided into the old platitudes, and trusted his friend 
would give the public " such representations of human nature 
as must encourage and promote the love of virtue and virtuous 
actions." Beside this, we can put the portrait of the man who 
overcame the old duke, Lord Bute. Garrick must have been 
much taken back by the ungraciousness with which that cold 
favourite received a present of some new little composition. 
Lord Bute said he was much obliged; but was too jealous for 
his country's honour not to wish that this had been Mr. Gar- 
rick's first attempt at writing. He believed it to be below 
Mr. Garrick's talents. Silence in such a matter might be taken 
ill. It is scarcely so wonderful that this nobleman was un- 
popular; and we may fancy Garrick's untoward air — he who 
was accustomed to praise " in pailfuls " — at such unusual can- 
dour. 

With Walpole, a neighbour almost, he never seemed to get 
on well. It would seem that the vicinity of the handsome 
villa at Hampton, whence the player and his wife drove up to 
town in their " coach-and-four," and with whom lords and 
dukes came to dine, excited his jealousy. When Garrick went 
abroad, a letter was sent off to Sir Horace Mann, to warn him 
to be on his guard. The way he spoke of Garrick was always 
offensive. He would not put his new play on the stage, as he 
would not expose himself to " the impertinences of that jacka- 
napes Garrick, who lets nothing appear but his own wretched 
stuff, or that of creatures still duller." No one enjoyed the 
success of Powell so much. " You may keep Garrick in Paris," 
he wrote with delight. Yet he should have recollected one 
kind office, when Garrick had tried to avert the anger of War- 
burton. Walpole had just published the " Anecdotes of 



1759.] FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES. 213 

Painting," where the enraged bishop found his name coupled 
with " Tom Hearne and Browne Willis." He was in a fury at 
this insult, and told Garrick " he would be about Walpole's 
pots " for that treatment. " I mean," he added, " the gally- 
pots and washes of his toilette. I know he has a fribbled 
tutor at his elbow as sicklied over with affectation as himself. 
But these half men are half wits," &c. Garrick knew well 
what all this portended, and that this mild phrase of " being 
about his pots" meant the frantic destruction of a bull in a 
china shop. He hastened to get Walpole to explain or soften. 

What Walpole thought of Garrick's playing, how unfair and 
prejudiced he was in every judgment of the actor and of his 
plays, was notorious, and will be shown later. 

Charles Yorke, brilliant member of a brilliant family, and a 
most engaging character, was an intimate friend. He would 
give him legal opinions on some little theatrical difficulty, 
in a pleasant, untechnical way. Garrick also knew Charles 
Townshend; and that statesman was eager to come to the 
theatre, but characteristically often forgot, or mistook the night 
The Dukes of Portland, Richmond, and Bedford, Lords Palmer- 
ston, Mount Edgecumbe, Shelburne, North, Villiers, Rocking- 
ham — half the ranks of the titled aristocracy — were friends or 
acquaintances. All were pressing him to their houses and 
castles. Lord Camden, as we have seen, lamented these flatter- 
ing attentions, and near the end of his own life told his friend 
that he could find no pleasure in the " trash " that then made up 
the nobility. To the Player the tone of address adopted by 
this " trash " is of the most delicate and friendly sort— defer- 
ential even at times. In so honouring him, they did them- 
selves honour ; and without laying undue weight on the value 
of such patronage, it is a most singular spectacle to think of 
" a mere player ' thus sought, and courted, and petted by the 
noblest and greatest in the country — by the highest in intel- 
lect, in politics, in rank, and in fashion. Foote was found at 
a great house or two — at the Delavals, and others. In his 
case, they descended to him, and did not raise him to a level 
with themselves. 

It is scarcely surprising that such attentions should have 
flattered him, or given him a growing taste for yet more of 
the same kind. But it is even more surprising that he was 
not overset with pride or conceit The most that could be 
detected was his introducing the names of lords a little 
too often, which his really numerous engagements to such 
persons might render unavoidable. In his conduct there was 
no change. He was not " fine," nor inclined to pass by hum- 



J14 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1759. 

bier friends. His little affectations were harmless, though 
sometimes not a little amusing. 

No man ever had such a curious parti-coloured roll of ac- 
quaintance, which included all classes and conditions. It must 
have seemed to him like the interior of his own great theatre, 
with its classes of boxes, pit, and galleries. He knew the 
lowest and the highest, the odd and the eccentric, the happy 
and the miserable. Dr. Dodd, with whom the title of " the 
unfortunate divine " was always associated, was one of these 
unlucky friends, and was assiduous in his civilities. The two 
glimpses we have of this clergyman show him to us, cu- 
riously enough, in relation with the family who brought him 
to the scaffold. Once he gave a play at his house, in which his 
pupil, Mr. Stanhope, took a part, and Mr. Garrick furnished a 
prologue, full of compliments to the Lord Chesterfield, who was 
present Later, Dr. Dodd wrote from " Turret House," saying, 
he is charged by Lord and Lady Chesterfield " to request the 
honour of Mr. and Mrs. Garrick's company at dinner at Black- 
heath, and that Mrs. Dodd and Mr. Stanhope will be of the 
party, and attend him, and he hopes Mr. 6. will not refuse 
him the satisfaction of taking a piece of mutton at Ealing."* 

Boswell was sure not to neglect so important a centre of 
social pleasure. A passage from a letter written to Garrick 
not long after the Jubilee is admirable. " It is true we must 
all look forward to the last scene. You, who have so often 
felt, and made others feel, its solemnity, must fall, just like 
others. This puts me in mind of three essays which I wrote 
on the profession of a player last year, and which were pub- 
lished in the ' London Magazine/ in which I have some con- 
cern. Pray, have you read them ? . . . . Why have you not 
called on General Paoli, since I had the pleasure of presenting 
you to him, in your morning dress, comme vn roi d6gui$6, and 
he paid you so handsome a compliment, which, I dare say, you 
have added to your cabinet of jewels f He likened the letter 
of Garrick that reached him on his tour to a pineapple. 

It was natural that such a disciple of Shakspeare should have 
come in contact with the whole corps of Shakspeare editors — 
Steevens, Capell, Warburton, and many more — who abused 
each other to him, with all the ferocity that seemed incident 
to their calling. Warburton said to him, " Of all idiots, sure 
the greatest is one Capell. " Steevens, speaking of the same 
person, admitted his exactness, but protested, " that if a ilea 
were to break his chain, he would be utterly incapable of mend- 

• Endorsed by Garrick, " Dr. Dodd hanged."— Bullock MSS. 



1*759.] FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES. 215 

ing it." Warburton had a true contempt for Johnson's labours. 
Steevens had a full and forcible style ; his letters are exceedingly 
vigorous.* But it was through Steevens, that Garrick saw how 
faithless and ungrateful a friend could be. All the choicest 
treasures of his libraries — his scarce, handsome, richly bound 
old plays were lent to Steevens, and kept by him for years. 
For years, the friendliest and most confidential intercourse 
existed between them. When the Jubilee was the talk, and, 
perhaps, jest of every one, a number of bitter and amusing 
squibs were noticed in the papers, which attracted much at- 
tention. Some were attributed to Foote. Inquiry was made, 
and Garrick was shocked to discover, that the most savage and 
bitter on himself, were written by the man who was at that 
moment on the most confidential terms with him. When 
Steevens heard that Garrick was about taking the matter up 
seriously, he grew alarmed, and sent to assure him that he was 
author of three only of the most harmless — a parody on 
Dryden's Ode, which he called an ode on the Duke of Bedford 
dedicating a temple to the memory of his cook, Le Stue, and 
of two others. Yet, almost immediately, he was boasting every- 
where that he had written all the offensive pieces — some thirty- 
five or forty — and added, that it was "fun to vex Garrick" 
Fun to vex Garrick ! This was every one's excuse, and Gar- 
rick's destiny; his gentle, forgiving, and too indifferent nature, 
was a mark for the spite and satire of such writers. This 
treachery he took calmly, and broke off this acquaintance, t 
But the editor contrived to pacify him. 

It must have been delightful to see him in his fits of bois- 
terous spirits, as when he was hurrying to pay a visit to his 
frierd Burney through St. Martin's Street, where the little 
boys, who swarmed from the lanes and corners, stared at him 
and gathered round, for they knew him perfectly, and formed 
part of his gallery audience. Once he found his friend in the 
midst of his family, and under the hairdresser's hands. In 
more than ordinary spirits, he began by affecting to watch the 
hairdresser's operations with the most absorbing interest and 
wonder. The artist seemed delighted at this compliment. 
Then the wonderful face began to take a sort of compound ex- 

* " A rival editor, like myself, will always become a kind of Town Bull ; 
and every fatherless letter calved in the newspapers on this subject will, 
of course, be laid to his charge." 

t The character of Steevens must have been truly odious. Da vies men- 
tions a story of his throwing libels over his neighbour's garden wall. Others 
of a very malignant sort are to be found in Taylor, vol. ii, p. 46. Miss 
Hawkins describes his deathbed as terrible. 



216 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1759. 

pression of meanness and sadness, like Abel Drugget's, with 
such a hopeless vacancy, that the hairdresser grew quite dis- 
turbed and confused. And when Garrick, taking off his 
"scratch" wig, asked him, with the same stupid manner, 
" Could you touch up this old Bob a bit now?" the other be- 
came quite scared at the metamorphosis, and ran out of the 
room. He was not so successful with a red-headed Yorkshire 
assistant in Koubiliac's studio, where he had gone to see how 
the Shakspeare statue was getting on. He seized a rule, and 
knitting his brows, scowling, and making his fine eyes roll, he 
came over fiercely to the* man. He was infinitely discomposed 
when the latter said, coolly, " Now, my little master, what 
tricks are you up to now? " 

Put into yet greater spirits by this success, the visitor asked 
how the doctor's pamphlet was selling, and then burst into the 
tone and manner of an auctioneer — " A penny a piece ! A. 
penny ! All agoing ! Each worth a pound, ladies and gentle- 
men! " Then he said the doctor sat in that easy chair " to rest 
his understanding." From all the young people round came a 
cry of " Oh ! " " Oh ! " Garrick, quite grave and concerned, 
started up, " You mistake, I assure you. O really, 'pon ny 
word, I never — that — intended — I only meant — " with ihe 
most absurd alarm. He was inexhaustible that morning. He 
was engaged to breakfast with BosweU, and in a moment was 
taking him off to the life. Going away after this amusing 
visit, he had his jest even with the housemaid on the stairs. 
He addressed her solemnly — " Child, do you know who I am ? 
I am one of the greatest geniuses of the age !" And left her, 
scared and mystified. This little scene, even allowing for 
over-colouring, is a fair specimen of his social manners, and 
speaks a light heart and amiable temper. 

He was fond of "giving" Johnson — not ill-naturedly. It 
was delightful to see him, heaving up his shoulders, working 
his arms, looking round the table, preparing to compound a 
bowl, and asking, " Who's for jpoonck f" He would declaim 
the first four lines of Gray's Bard, in the doctor's solemn and 
sonorous declamation, rolling out the lines, so that scarcelj a 
word was intelligible. The persevering Cradock declared one 
night, in a mixed company, that he could do it better without 
pronouncing any words, or articulating at all. " Tom Da vies " 
was considered to take off the doctor's rhinoceros laugh with 
good success. 

To Hampton came the strange Monsey — one" of the oddities 
of London, whose style of wit may be understood, from his 
declining a nobleman's invitation to dinner on this ground — 



1759.] FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES. 217 

" I can't, my lord, for I have a scoundrel to dine with me." 
" Then bring your scoundrel," said his lordship, as promptly. 
Both excuse and reply were given in the hearing of the invited 
guest. Garrick became acquainted with him at an Old Bailey 
trial, when he heard a gentleman ask a person in front to move 
a little. The other, a stout fellow, kept his place. At last the 
gentleman said, half aloud, "If I were not a coward, I would 
give you a blow even in open court." The oddity of this speech 
highly delighted Garrick, who determined to know him ; and 
was still more delighted when he found out that he was the 
well-known Monsey, whom he had never yet seen. The result 
was an intimacy of many years. Garrick often took him down 
to Hampton. Between the actor and doctor a tone of blunt 
familiarity was studiously cultivated. The plainest and rudest 
truths were spoken in the most open way.* Thus at a dinner 
party at Southampton Street, the guests were Warburton and 
Brown, the author of " Barbarossa," at first and for a time a 
sort of toady and client of the Bishop's, and Monsey. Garrick 
bade the doctor restrain himself, because he was in presence of 
Dr. Warburton. " Oh, yes," said Dr. Brown — more obsequious, 
it is said, than even the obsequious Hurd — "of course he will, 
for he is afraid of Dr. Warburton." Monsey waited a moment 
to see what Warburton would say, and then answered gravely, 
" No, sir ; I am neither afraid of Dr. Warburton nor of his jack- 
jnidding" This thrust, however happy, produced a solemn 
pause, and very soon broke up the party. The doctor, too, 
was once made the object of one of those theatrical tours de 
force for which Garrick has made himself a distinct reputation. 
He was found by the doctor ill in bed on a night when he 
should have been at the theatre to play King Lear. Garrick 
said it was no great matter, as there was an actor there, Marr, 
so like him in voice, manner, and look, that the audience would 
not find out the difference. As soon as Monsey was gone to 
the theatre, Garrick leaped up, drove away, and arrived just in 
time to come on. The doctor listened, wondering ; at last saw 
that the audience believed in the identity, and then began to 

* Monsey heard that Garrick was having the Duke of Argyll and some 
ladies of quality to dinner, and reproached him for not asking him. Garrick 
told him plainly he was not fit company for Buch persons. " Tou are too 
great a blackguard." " Why, you little scoundrel," said the other, " ask 
Lord Godolphin if I can't behave myself?" The doctor came. Mrs. Garrick 
was so busy helping the persons of quality that she passed over Dr. Monsey, 
who had several times put out his plate. At last he called out, " Will you 

help me, you b h, or not ? " Garrick fell back, nearly Buffocated with 

laughter ; the Duke stared ; the rest of the company were Btruck with con- 
sternation. 



218 TOE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1759. 

suspect the trick. He hurried back to Southampton Street ; 
but Garrick was already home before him, lying covered up in 
his bed, having actually not had time to get off his kingly dress. 
It often happens that this gross humour and eccentricity is 
" ill-conditioned " and malignant, and Garrick soon discovered 
that this friend was sending about ill-natured stories of him, 
and then the doctor became his enemy. 

No one could tell a " good story " so dramatically as Garrick. 
He was very fond of practical joking, as it was a sort of useful, 
unprofessional training, and gave him a freedom he would not 
have on the stage. A little scene outside of a public-house at 
Kensington gravel-pits, where a man had undertaken for a 
wager to eat a large quantity of bacon and beans, was one of 
his most effective stories. An enormous crowd was gathered, 
who grew impatient as the man did not appear, but who at last 
came forward without his coat> " his shirt-sleeves tied with red 
ribbons," and a large lump of bacon, with the beans, on his 
knees. He was " well received," and began to eat with alac- 
rity; but gradually slackened, and finally ran in and escaped. 
The mob then grew riotous, and wrecked the house. Garrick's 
animated picture of the whole scene — the cries of the mob, 
" Beans and bacon ! " " Bring out the man ! " and his vivid 
picture of the confusion — made up a most diverting story, and 
convulsed all his hearers. Once, when walking with Colonel 
Wyndham up Ludgate Hill, Garrick went out in the middle of 
the road and stared at the sky, repeating, " I never saw two 
before." A crowd, of course, gathered, some wise one saying, 
" It must be two storks, as these birds are never seen in com- 
pany." Garrick's wild stare of lunacy as it rested on them quite 
scared all. So, when some boys were coming out of school, 
Garrick picked out one, whom he sternly reprimanded for ill- 
treating his companion. The supposed sufferer said it was 
untrue ; but Garrick only spoke with greater severity to the 
culprit, saying how little he deserved the generosity of the boy 
who sought to excuse him by a falsehood. The hopeless mystifica- 
tion, and alarm even, of the boys, the stupid terror of the boy 
himself — who, under Garrick's eye, began to question whether 
he had not done what he was accused of — was a picture. Gar- 
rick justified himself by saying he got valuablo lessons for his 
profession. So would he turn round, and give a piercing look 
at a ticket porter, who was going along cheerily, and humming 
a tune. The fellow's gaiety was checked at once. Garrick 
would stop, and again look round at him. The restlessness of 
the man, and even his distress — the suspicions of the passers-by, 
who also began to look at him — became extremely dramatic. 



1759.] FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES. 219 

So his calling to a smart young waterman on the river, " Are 
you not ashamed to be dressed in that way, with your mother 
in such distress, and you allowing her only threepence a week?' 9 
A stone, however, was the reply to this jest, and Garrick's boat 
had to pull hard to get out of reach.* . 

He often was induced to get up after dinner, and give 
what he called "his rounds," and, leaning on the back of 
a chair, would pass from an imitation of madness to that of 
drunkenness, and change his face with marvellous versatility. 
This must have been a high entertainment 

That weak being, Percival Stockdale, who, like Churchill, 
had stripped off his gown " because it had sickened my soul 
with such a nausea, now came to fling himself abjectly at 
Garrick's feet, with compliments and even adulation, imploring 
him to save him, and keep him on firm ground. This saviour 
was " one of those superior beings destined by God to save the 
miserable and weak. . . . . " All he wished Mr. Garrick to 
procure for him was "a creditable and permanent office, in 
which drudgery should not be required. "The metropolis 
yet strongly attracts me" Garrick used all his interest with 
Lord Sandwich, and obtained for him the chaplaincy of the 
Resolution, then lying at Portsmouth. He was only tolerably 
content with his chaplaincy — was afraid he would again be 
unsatisfied with himself, or unable to act "with that tem- 
pered vivacity which greatly contributes to make a man 
agreeable. 7 ' The captain and lieutenants were polite and 
attentive, and if he were only at peace with himself he could 
be almost happy. When every means of procrastination was 
exhausted, and the Resolution was ordered to sea, he told 
Garrick he was determined to die rather than be sacrificed " to 
this horrible life." Garrick must get him something else. 
" Verify my eulogium of your being as great in Garrick as in 
Lear. It will give great pleasure to your own moral senti- 
ments It is impossible for me to point out what I want 

you to do for me. You know my cast of mind — you know the 
range I formerly gave you ! " In a few months he seems to 
have lost his chaplaincy. He had once admired, idolised Mr. 
Garrick. " With philosophic calmness " he imputed Garrick's 
severity to error, " but to error which hath sunk me for ever." 
The worthless fellow lately came to write some memoirs, and 
there held up the failings of the man who had been his friend, 
and "saviour," and could dwell on his "envy" and his 

* The reader will recall Johnson's " slanging " another waterman on the 
rnrer — perhaps the most masterly specimen of " blackguarding" on record. 



220 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1759. 

" jealousy ! " It is almost sickening to see what vile patterns 
of human nature Garrick was to know. 

The sensitiveness of his many debtors almost makes us 
smile. One might think that to lend money was the sorest 
injury one man could do to another. There was a pleasant 
Irishman, who was Master of the Horse to the Lord-lieu- 
tenant, and who had got into embarrassments. Garrick had 
voluntarily offered his assistance; and when he was going 
abroad for some years, and settling his affairs, proposed some 
shape of formal security. This was indignantly resented by 
the sensitive Master of the Horse, as he frankly admitted, 
" from the consciousness of my own inability to discharge so 
considerable a debt if the power of demanding it fell into any 
other hands but your own.' 1 The result was a rather natural 
coolness. On Garrick's return, Mr. Jephson said that he saw 
his fault He had, in fact, been writing a play. He owned 
that he had been wrong, and acknowledged himself " under the 
greatest obligations to you, and to assure you, if you now 
please to accept my bond, or other instrument, for the money, 
it will in no degree lessen the sense of the great service your kind- 
ness," &c. Garrick, with that charming sweetness which 
always distinguished him, only said, " The more I think of this 
matter, the less I am able to account for your particular diffi- 
dence. I wish your next friend may be as much more able to 
serve you, as more deserving of your confidence." He then re- 
assured Jephson, by telling him that he had protected him, as 
to the bond, in his will. The Master of the Horse, after all, 
was a good fellow; and this was what Johnson might have 
called "the sensitiveness of impecuniosity." Many of his 
plays were afterwards brought out by the same friend. 

Baretti had done him some little offices. The remedy of 
Count Bujowich for sciatica, which he had recommended for 
Mrs. Garrick, and the success of which was " miraculous," was 
never forgotten. Garrick repaid him with loans, and every 
kind of good office. When Baretti was apprehended for 
murder — for killing a man in a street scuffle — Garrick at- 
tended with other friends at Lord Mansfield's, to give bail 
The scene at the trial reads itself, like a scene out of a comedy 
of the day, and characteristically brought on all the actors in 
their various parts.* 

* Garrick waa greatly annoyed by Lord Mansfield's behaviour, who, to 
show his knowledge, affected to discuss the meaning of a passage in 
" Othello " while the bonds were being signed. An account of Baretti's 
trial is given in the Sessions Papers. The " Hon. Mr. Beauclerk " was 
called first, and we seem to hear the man of fashion and UiganL " He 



1759.] FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES. 221 

Among the familiar attractions of Hampton must be counted 
the dogs, and Mr. Garrick's great dog, Dragon, well known 
everywhere. He had travelled up to town, and like his master, 
had made his appearance on the stage at Drury Lane — being 
led out by the droll Weston, who spoke an epilogue, addressed 
to him. The audience were infinitely delighted with the un- 
conscious acting of the large creature, who seemed quite at 
home in their presence, and was looking up with great good- 
humour into the face of the droll actor who was addressing 
him. There was near being a riot on a succeeding night when 
the epilogue was withdrawn, and the dog had to be sent for. 
This familiarity was scarcely consistent with the dignity of 
Drury Lane, and seemed nearly as bad as that boxing of Hunt 
and dancing of Mahomet, which he had once denounced so 
scornfully.* 

Thus, like nearly every other man of heart and feeling, he 
both loved and respected dogs ; and there were always many 
seen about Hampton. 

Such is a glimpse of the private life of a pleasant man, and 
such was the curious " bundle of sticks," smooth, strong, and 
supporting, crooked and useless; which made up Garrick's 
friends and acquaintances. A volume could be filled with the 

gave me letters to some of the first people abroad. I went to Italy the 
time the Duke of York did. Unless Mr. Baretti had been a man of con- 
sequence, he could not have recommended me to such people as he did. 
He is a gentleman of letters." Mr. Croker has quoted Dr. Johnson's testi- 
mony in the witness-box. " He is a man of literature — a very studious 
man — a man of diligence. A mau that I never knew to be otherwise than 
peaceable, and a man that I take to be rather timorous." Garrick was 
then called. " I never knew a man of more active benevolence. At Paris 
I was very inquisitive about men of literature, and asked who whs the best 
writer of French ; they told me Baretti. I have a very particular instance 
of his great friendship. Mrs. Garrick got a lameness, and we tried every 
remedy." Baretti recommended one. A knife was put into his hand. 
u Mrs. Garrick has one now, with a steel blade and a gold back." This in- 
troduction of Mrs. Garrick is quite like the manager. Goldsmith gave his 
testimony with a generous warmth. " He is a most humane, benevolent, 
and peaceable man. I have heard him speak with regard to those poor 
creatures on the street. He is a man of as great humanity at any in the 
world." 

* Later, Miss Hannah More addressed this dog, elegantly and appro- 
priately ; and her very pleasing ode to Dragon was copied and recopied, 
and had at last to be printed to gratify admirers : — 

" O Dragon I change with me thy fate, 

To me give up thy place and Btate, 
And I will give thee mine. 

I left to think, and thou to feed. 

My mind enlarged, thy body freed 
How bleat thy lot and mine. 



222 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1759— 

chronicles of the strange doings of the Potters, Kenricks, Gen- 
tlemans, and dozens more, and who tried every art to secure 
his assistance, or patronage, and when that was tired out, be- 
took themselves to a whole round of meaner agencies. It is 
inconceivable the amount of trouble and worry, though, with 
some, of pleasure and happiness, his contact with such varied 
natures gave him. Therefore it is, that Garrick's life, apart 
from the consideration of his own dramatic talent, seems to 
have such an interest, as a special picture of human life — a 
picture, of which it may be said, that no such colours, such 
shades and effects of human character, are to be found any- 
where else. His office as a manager of a great theatre, his 
own fine character, and lastly, his habit of preserving every 
paper and letter, are the special advantages which have helped 
us to this view. 



CHAPTER VI. 



A MODEL FARCE — SHERIDAN RIVALRY — COLMAN. 

1759-1761. 

Returning now to town, as it might be, with Mr. Garrick 
from Hampton, we resume our view of the great theatre he 
ruled. With the new season of 1759, find Macklin in his old 
part of Shylock; Moody and Miss Pope, promoted from playing 
with children, strengthening the company, and making up for 
the loss of Woodward and of Mossop, who had joined that de- 

" I'd get my master's way by rote, 
Ne'er would I bark at ragged coat, 

Nor tear the tattered sinner. 
Like him I'd love the dog of merit, 
Caress the cur of broken spirit, 

And give them all a dinner. 

" Nor let me pair his blue-eyed dame 
With Venus or Minerva's name, 

One warrior, one coquette. 
No ; Pallas or the Queen of Beauty 
Shunn'd or betrayed that nuptial duty, 

Which the so highly set 

" Whene'er I heard the rattling coach 
Proclaim the long-desired approach, 
How would I haste to greet 'em ! 
Nor ever feel I wore a chain, 
Till starting, I perceived with pain, 
I could not fly to meet 'em." 



1761.] A MODEL FARCE. 223 

serter at Dublin. Home's dull " Siege of Aquileia," one of 
the eternal Greek or Roman plays (" Sieges " of this town, or 
" Fall " of that); " The* Desert Island," and a Pantomime from 
the Old Goodman's Fields Theatre, called " Harlequin's Inva- 
sion," with two good farces, were the chief attractions of the 
season. One of the farces was Macklin's capital " Love a la 
Mode," spirited and humorous.* The other piece was even of 
greater merit. 

The leaden theatrical sky was at last to be broken by a flash 
of true humour. One of the gayest, pleasantest, and most 
laughter-moving little comedies — for it took higher rank than 
farce — was now put on the stage. " High Life below Stairs " 
has the true elements of comedy. It is a picture of human 
nature and of human character besides, and its situations were 
.infinitely droll. Over a hundred years old, it can be played 
to-morrow without altering a line, and be as fresh and intel- 
ligible as on the nights when Ring and Palmer, Mrs. Abington 
and Mrs. Clive, were convulsing Old Drury Lane as My Lord 
Duke, Sir Harry, Lady Bab, and Lady Charlotte. This excellent 
piece has always been attributed to the Eev. Mr. Townley, and 
is still played under his name ; but this was only the finesse, or 
timorousness, of Garrick, who was afraid, perhaps, of exciting 
the enmity of the servants, against whom his satire was directed. 
It shows also that his correct principles of acting followed him 
into another direction, and helped him to write on the same 
pure and correct principles as those on which he acted, t 

A third farce of this season was by that* strange lady, Mrs. 
Clive, and entitled "Every Woman in her Humour;" but it 
was a failure. During the performance, the scene behind the 

* When the usual quarrel came the following year, the manager made 
proposal* to young Wilkinson to take Macklin's place in this farce ; and 
the young fellow, greedy for higher terms, was busy circulating how Mr. 
Garrick and his brother George had attempted to steal Mr. Macklin's 
farce, and play it at their house, against the author himself. Fortunately, 
among his papers we find a note, which shows the managers believed that 
Macklin had sold them this very farce, and they had taken a legal opinion 
on the transaction, which was entirely in their favour. 

t Of Garrick's authorship of this piece I have little doubt. Townley 
never did anything so respectable. Warburton, an excellent judge, seems 
to have received a hint as to the authorship from Garrick himself, who 
had sent him two copies. " I read it with extreme pleasure and satisfac- 
tion," he writes. " I will not venture to tell whose I think it is, because 
the author would be unknown. Yet I believe I am no stranger to the 
hand. I saw it in the very title and motto, and quite through, to the very 
last of the concluding page." It is exactly in Garrick's own gay style. 
Murphy, indeed, used to charge Garrick openly with having stolen this 
piece from him, and maliciously said that the manager's fears iiad put for- 
ward Townley as the author. 



224 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1759 — 

curtain was infinitely diverting — the angry actress, of coarse, 
setting all down to a secret plot of Garrick's. She was seen 
seeking him high and low, with fury in her eyes — " her darling 
prey, and no sooner espied him than ske fastened" The ma- 
nager, " whose curiosity," says Wilkinson, " had led him back, 
to take a peep at the field of battle, after beholding her farce 
and its overthrow, had exultingly sat smiling at the tumult, 
which gratified his spleen/ 7 behaved with great temper, and 
soothed her into good-humour. Yet, not three months before, 
he had been unwearied in his kindness to this fellow, teaching 
him Tamerlane, and, what was thought a great condescension, 
coming into the dressing-room to " make-up " his face properly. 

When Drury Lane opened its doors for the next season, 
1760-61, Garrick's good fortune and good sense were to furnish 
him with a new attraction. Indeed, by a happy chance, the 
very humours of the players unconsciously helped him, and 
their very desertion only found places for newer actors. Those 
humours were presently to receive a most wholesome chastise- 
ment, which they little dreamed was impending over their 
heads. 

Sheridan, distracted with his Irish troubles, had intended 
coming to London to teach elocution, when it occurred to him 
he might make some additional profit by a little " star acting" 
at one of the great theatres. Between him and the manager 
of Drury Lane there had been a coldness, now of a very long 
date ; and yet it was to the manager of Drury Lane that he 
made his first overtures. Adversity had softened him, and his 
proposals were of the most modest and even diffident sort. 
Anything that suited the theatre would suit him. If he were 
wanted but now and again, that would fall in very well with 
his plans ; if his services became more necessary to the house, 
he would still be accommodating. He had some new pieces, 
played with signal success at Dublin, either, or both of which, 
he would get ready in a short time, and with as little trouble 
to the managers as possible. "He neither expected, nor 
desired, that any part of the general views of the theatre 
should give way to his views." The reader will bear all this in 
mind, at the inevitable revolt, which will break out later. As 
for remuneration, he would be quite content to have that 
guided by the success of his efforts, and would gladly receive 
a small share of the profits. His terms were at once accepted. 
Garrick dealt with him handsomely, giving him a fourth of the 
profits, which, in a large theatre like Drury Lane, was a fair 
allowance. His " round " of parts was quite the same as that 
of Garrick, who knew well his colleague's power and gifts ; and 



1761.] SHERIDAN RIVALRY. 225 

it does seem a liberal act, in the little kingdom of the stage, 
where only one can sit on the throne, to give a rival so fair a 
chance. 

It was soon rumoured at the coffee-houses, that Mr. Sheridan 
and Mr. Garrick were to join their powers in the great play of 
'• King John." There was much speculation as to how they 
were to cast the two fine characters of the piece — King John, 
and the bastard Fatdcanbridge. Neither part would seem 
exactly suited to Garrick; the King was scarcely animated 
enough for him, and his figure wanted the manly boldness and 
gallant " dash," which the Bastard required. It was obvious 
that Sheridan's weighty declamatory style would be more in 
keeping with the King ; while of the two parts, Garrick would 
be most at home in the Bastard. Yet Davics, the friend whose 
portrait hung over the sideboard at Hampton, gives a most 
uncandid account of the transaction, by the aid of insinuation. 
" Garrick," he says, " when the parts were being cast, chose the 
King; and he actually consented that the Bastard should be 
Mr. Sheridan's. Secretly he was determined to the contrary : n 
and, after making some apology, he tried to effect an exchange 
of parts, to whicn the other was extremely averse. In this 
there is an inconsistency which Davies did not see; and 
according to Davies, Garrick carried his point "by repeated 
solicitations ; " which was a very legitimate mode in one who 
had such power. But this is only one specimen of the little 
hints and touches with which those who had once been 
Garrick's ardent friends, and who had ceased to be so, because 
he was not sufficiently obsequious to their unreasonable desires, 
revenged themselves, by damaging his good name. The truth 
was, Faukonbridge was Garrick s character, and the one he had 
played only a few seasons before, with success. It was in this 
part that the town expected to see him, while Sheridan had 
played the King in Dublin with great effect. Both, therefore, 
were in their natural position. Mrs. Yates was the Constance 
of this revival, a great change from that charming mistress of 
true pathos, Cibber, in the older days, whose scream of agony 
as she flew off the stage — 

"O.Lord! my boy!" 

was still recollected. Such a pair were matchless ; and their 
characters, full of deep passion and tenderness, suited them 
exactly. Her throwing herself on the ground, as she said, — 

" Hero I and sorrow sit, 
Here is my throne, let kings come bow to it ! " 

both in attitude, grace, and helpless prostration and agony, 

Q 



226 THE LIFE OP DAVID GARRICK. [1759 — 

was one of the most piteous spectacles that could be con> 
ceived. 

" King John/' in the hands of two such actors as Sheridan 
and Garrick, began at once to draw the town. The house was 
crowded every night. The King " commanded " a perform- 
ance two nights before Christmas, and an officious friend about 
the Court — possibly the same who was to come later with news 
of the King's delight at the Lord Mayor in " Richard " — took 
care to bring the manager word that the King was enchanted 
with Sheridan. The " friend," still passing over Garrick him- 
% self, was then asked if the King had hot been satisfied .with 
the performance of the Bastard. The friend was again glad to 
tell him, that the King thought his " rendering " overdone — 
exaggerated and unnatural. . The biographers of Garrick 
delight in relating how at this criticism Garrick was so torn 
with envy, jealousy, and disappointment, that although all 
places were taken for several performances, the play was at 
once withdrawn, and not acted again ; that Sheridan's friends 
were furious ; and that he himself broke out into open revolt, 
while meetings and discussions took place to arrange matters, 
but nothing could be agreed on. The whole, adds Davies, 
ended in the retirement of one of the combatants, and they 
could never be brought to appear together on the stage again. 
The whole of this story was no more than vulgar green-room 
scandal. The play was played three times. Sheriaan — so far 
from refusing to play on the same stage, so far from there 
being any meetings of friends to arrange the quarrel — acted on 
to the end of the season ; played his great part in the Earl of 
Essex ; declaimed Macbeth, and Hamlet, and Otliello; and before 
the season closed, the rivals appeared together again harmo- 
niously in "King John"! But it is idle arguing against 
rumours and whispers, and Garrick's whole behaviour refutes 
these insinuations.- Further, previous to "King John" he 
had forwarded every scheme that Sheridan proposed to bring 
out his own powers. He had expressed himself again and 
again delighted at the great houses Sheridan was bringing. 
He allowed him to act his own characters. On alternate nights 
they played Hamlet, and even Garrick's own cheval de batailU, 
Richard. He said openly, that except in Bamy, he had never 
found so able or so useful an assistant. On other nights he 
allowed him the stage to himself, an all but monopoly. In 
" The Fair Penitent," and other pieces, they played together. 
Ev/m Davies admits that " he seemed for a time to suspend his 
jealousy, and promote every scheme proposed by Slieridan far theit 
mutual profit " Later in 1763, when Mrs. Frances Sheridan's 



1761.] COLMAN. 227 

lively comedy of " The Discovery " was put into his hands, 
this envious man accepted it, brought it out, allowed Sheridan 
to take the leading part, " created " a part in it himself, and 
settled the profits on quite exceptional terms ; for, besides two 
nights' profits for the author, he allowed Sheridan two more 
for his services. 

The Earl of Essex } though one of Barry's tender characters, 
still only made one of the dreary, declamatory series. The 
subject seemed to have such attractions, that half-a-dozen play- 
wrights, and half-a-dozen leading actors, tried their skill upon 
it. It was a cold and turgid performance, on the favourite 
classical model. Sheridan had the most exalted opinion of its 
merits, and went about quoting " fine " passages. It was a 
line from this play quoted by him, that excited Johnson's 
ridicule — 

" Who rules o'er freemen should himself be free." 

The great despot said scornfully this was about as good 

logic as, 

" Who drives fat oxen should himself be fat" 

A humorous and happy parody, but scarcely a refutation. 
Other attractions were Foote and his " Minor " brought from 
another theatre, and which, but for Garrick's friendship with 
the Lord Chamberlain, would have been interdicted by eccle- 
siastical censorship. 

Garrick was besides giving a series of new and good plays, 
Murphy's capital comedies, and Colman's lively and spirited 
" Polly Honeycombe,"* a capital satire on the sentimental taste 
of the day, and a sort of anticipation of the character of Lydia 
Languish. That clever writer, thoughtful, searching, bright, 
had a mind something like Garrick's own, for he combined wit 
and good sense in matters of the world, though he showed a 
quick and sensitive temper, which Garrick did not. They 
were now great friends, and the origin of their intimacy was a 
little curious. 

One of the features of the day was the extravagant value of 
literary support. " Hack writers " found their account in this 
feeling. The contemptible character of the assailant was his 
security. Any personage of consideration was therefore help- 
less, and at the mercy of these adventurers, unless he met them 
with the same weapons ; and this seems to account for the 
crowd of " scribblers," who found work, and profit, and sub- 
sistence on both sides. Many were of mean ability, but the 

* Cross, the prompter, said that " The Jealous Wife " had been received 
with more approbation than any comedy since " The Suspicious Husband." 

Q 2 



228 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1759 — 

open field for personality carried off all defects in execution. 
In this way young Colman, about twenty-six years of age, and 
straggling from the rough road that led to the law, published 
an anonymous " Letter of Abuse to David Garrick, Esq.," in 
which he adroitly affected to take the part of the wronged 
heroes of the stage — of the Macklins, Cibbers, and others, 
whom the dazzling abilities of Garrick had so completely 
extinguished. The author was, of course, made known to the 
manager, in due expectance of patronage, and a kind and 
grateful letter of Garrick's might naturally lead the writer to 
believe that the manager felt himself under a heavy obligation. 
" I must assure you," he wrote, " that I have more pleasure 
than uneasiness when I read a true, well-intended criticism, 
though against myself ; for I always flatter myself that I am 
attain tlie mark which my friends may printout to me, and I really 
think myself neither too old, nor too wise, to learn." Very 
often impatience at friendly fault-finding arises, not so much 
from wounded vanity, as from mortification at finding so much 
time and trouble thrown away. Garrick, with as quick and 
sensitive a pulse for praise or blame as mortal ever brought 
into the world, had levelled it, as well as his resentments, into 
perfect subservience to the grand object of the interests of his 
theatre, and his professional reputation. 

Thus was laid the foundation of a sincere friendship — on 
Garrick's side, at least. It must be said Colman worked hard 
for his patron, and supplied the Press with puffs in every 
shape, though at times he became " aggrieved," and troubled 
his friend a good deal. Colman's was a congenial mind — 
vivacious, eager, and full of a quick talent. It made no dif- 
ference with the placid Garrick that Colman should have 
warmly ranged himself on Murphy's side in the " Orphan of 
China " quarrel — it was rather a fresh ground for mistrust of 
his own judgment, and for reconsidering the matter. There 
was no abating the warmth of his friendly interest ; and when 
the curtain was about to rise on Colman's play, the delight in 
which he wrote off a hurried note about the full house and the- 
crammed boxes, is truly genuine and characteristic To Col- 
man, to the very last, he was the same warm, generous friend, 
prompt with a hundred little offices ; while Colman was but 
too often captious, fractious, and ready to become an enemy 
on some trivial grievance, or on some more unworthy pecuniar}* 
misunderstanding. Even the play which has made Colman's 
reputation with posterity—" The Jealous Wife" — owes its 
success to Garrick's judgment, who, with nice tact, discarded 
two whole acts of broad, coarse humour, which by themselves 



1761.] "THE ROSCIAD." 229 

made a good farce. This kindness was to have its own reward ; 
for in Colman's " set " was a strange parson of immense intel- 
lectual power and ability, and who was busy with a poetical 
review, that would presently confound the green-rooms, and 
■set Roscius on the very highest pinnacle of his whole life. 



CHAPTER VH. 

tl THR ROSCIAD" — DR. BOWER. — 1761-62. 

A great critic was now to step out of the crowd, and com- 
mand the attention of the whole ring; and the satire, the 
splendid rhyme, the fine close English — " the wit, the strong 
and easy verse, the grasp of character, and the rude, free daring 
of ' The Rosciad' " — were now to burst upon the town, and teach 
mere scribblers with what deadly point and personality true 
genius can strike and kill. The whole world of stage players 
was aghast. They ran about like a crowd of frightened sheep : 
the crowd of pasteboard kings and queens, the heroes and 
heroines, who had loftily given the town laws, were now coolly 
and deliberately sat in judgment upon, and dissected with the 
finest and most pitiless strokes. They little dreamed that for 
the past two months a laborious observer had been coming to 
the theatre, almost regularly every night, always finding his 
way to one special place — the front row of the pit, nearest to 
the orchestra " spikes." This steady tenant of the front row 
was the Rev. Charles Churchill, taking careful notes of every 
actor, from Garrick down to Packer. The author of this won- 
derful piece — a big, burly man in " a black coat and a black 
scratch wig"* — had been seen about town, and only a few 
weeks before had got rid of both his causes of complaint — 
" the wife he was tired of and the gown he was displeased 
with." 

In March, '61, just before the theatre closed, the satire 
appeared. The players writhed under it. Their profession 
was described for them in terms more degrading than the 
Vagrant Act ever used. Then, as the actors go by, he 
criticises them with delightful and easy touch. There was 
" poor Billy Havard," whose obscurity might have saved him, 
yet whose 

11 Easy, vacant face proclaimed a heart 
Which could not feel emotions, nor impart ;" 



* O'Keefe. Taylor saw him at Vauxhall in a blue coat, edged with gold 
lace, black fcilk small clothes, and white stockings. 



/ 



230 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1761— 

and Davies, the actor-bookseller — 

" With him came mighty Davies — on my life, 
That Davies hath a very pretty wife ! 
Statesman all over ! in plots famous grown, 
He mouths a sentence as curs mouth a bane"* 

Holland was a mere imitation — " I hate e'en Garrick thus 
at second-hand ; " and King was a shameless exhibition that 
" shines in brass." Yates was dismissed briefly — 

" Lo, Yates ! without the least finesse of art, 
He gets applause. / wish kcd get his part. 
When hot impatience is in full career, 
How vilely • Hark'e,' ' Hark'e/ grates the ear."f 

Woodward was put very low indeed, a mere — 

11 Squeaking Harlequin, made up of whim, 
He twists, he twines, he tortures every limb." 

The humbler Jackson was happily ridiculed — 

" One leg, as if suspicious of his brother, 
Desirous seems to run away from t'other." 

And Ackman and Packer, obscure nobodies, were ironically 
complimented as unrivalled in "humour " and " sprightly ease." 
Sparks was to be found at a glass " elaborately dividing frown 
from smile ; " while 

" Smith, the genteel, the airy, and the smart, 
Smith was just gone to school to say his part." 

Ross, a handsome man, of good breeding, would grow indiffe- 
rent and languid as he acted. He was roused with a couplet : — 

" Ross (a misfortune which we often meet) 
Was fast asleep at his Statira's feet." 

Moody, and Moody's country, received a fine compliment 

Foote was dismissed as a mere mimic, and not even a good 

one: — 

" His strokes of humour and his bursts of sport 
Are all contained in this one word, distort." 

* Mr. Isaac Taylor saw Davies play, long after " The Rosciad " had ap- 
peared, and noticed the " hollow rumbling " of his voice. He had also seen 
the very pretty wife sitting in the shop, neat, modest, and with an air of 
meek dejection, and a look as of better days. Friends, as this gentleman 
heard, had to pay the expense of Davies's interment, and the "pretty 
wife " died in a workhouse. 

t Yates's memory improved in after-life; but he was in the habit of 
repeating sentences several times, like this, " Hark'e, Polly Honeycombe," 
to give himself time to think. He was very indignant at his wife being 
dragged into "The Rosciad," and summoned Churchill to meet him at a 
tavern. George Garrick hurried after them, and succeeded in reconciling 
satirist and actor over a bottle of wine. 



1762.] "THE ROSCIAD." 231 

Macklin was coldly, but not cruelly, disapproved of ; but the 
whole venom of the satire may be said to be concentrated in 
the portrait of Murphy. This dreadful carving, and the por- 
trait of Fitzpatrick added later, are certainly the finest bits in 
the whole. Murphy came — 

" When motionless he stands we all approve, 
What pity 'tis the thing was made to move. 
When he attempts in some one favourite part 
To ape the feelings of a manly heart, 
His honest features the disguise defy, 
And his face loudly gives his tongue the lie. 
1 * * * * * 

With various reading stored his empty skull, 
Learned without sense, and venerably dull. 

* * * * * 

Or might not reason, e'en to thee, have shown 
Thy greatest praise had been to live unknown ? 
Yet let not vanity like thine despair ; 
Fortune makes Folly her peculiar care," 

The portraits of Mossop and Barry are too well known to 
be quoted. These were more elaborate than the rest, and 
more amusing. Mossop was so " attached to military plan," 
and kept his eyes fixed on his right-hand man. Barry was 
unfairly dismissed with the fine climax, " conned his passions, 
as he conned his part." The veteran Quin found his tradi- 
tional reputation rudely questioned and examined, and was 
thrust back with the following congi: — 

" Parrots themselves speak properly by rote, 
And in six months my dog shall howl by note." 

So with Sheridan's " stages " and methodised tactics : — 

" Why must impatience fall three paces back ? 
Why paces three return to the attack ? 
Why is the right leg, too, forbid to stir 
Unless in motion semicircular ? 
Why must the hero with the nailor vie, 
And hurl the close-clench'd fist at nose or eye ? 
In royal John, with Philip angry grown, 
I thought he would have knock'd poor Davies down. 
Inhuman tyrant, was it not a shame 
To fright a king bo harmless and so tame ? " 

To Barry he was cruel ; and it is surprising that a man with 
Churchiirs nature could have been so unjust. His choosing 
the " well-applauded tenderness " in " Lear," and praising a 
character in which the actor was inferior, was an artful shape 
of depreciation. 

With the women he was more lenient and gentle. Cibber 
and Pritchard received high and elegant praise. So did Clive 
and Pope. In Yates a certain tameness and sameness, with a 



232 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1761 — 

want of nature, were discovered ; but on a more obscure Miss 
. Bride he lavished far warmer praise. It is indeed so charming, 
and at the same time so extravagant, a portrait, that we may 
suspect the satirist had some partiality for this favoured lady. 
Yet at the present day Bride is a name about the least known 
to those who take interest in the stage. 

But Eoscius was extravagantly lauded. The depreciation of 
the others was made subservient to his exaltation. He admits 
that " the best things carried to excess are wrong. The start 
may be too frequent, pause too long." Actors, just as monkeys 
mimic man, may by their absurd and overdone imitation spoil 
the scenes they mean to adorn. But this should not affect the 
true thing : — 

" Whilst working from the heart the fire I trace, 
And mark it strongly flaming to the face; 
Whilst in each sound I hear the very man, 
/ can't catch words, and pity those who can. 

» * ♦ * * 

Hence to thy praises, Garrick, I agree, 
a And pleas 1 d with Nature, must be pteas*d with thee. n 

And at the finale, bringing forward Shakspeare, who has seen 
the histrionic troupe go by, he makes him present Eoscius with 
the palm, in words • burning and genuine, and which most 
happily describe Garrick's gifts and special charm : — 

" If manly sense ; if nature linked with art ; 
If thorough knowledge of the human heart ; 
If powers of acting, vast and unconfined ; 
K fervent faults with greatest beauties joined ; 
If strong expression and strange pow'rs which lie 
Within the magic circle of the eye ; 
If feelings which few hearts like his can know, 
And which no face so well as his can show, 
Deserve the preference — Garrick, take the chair — 
Nor quit it till thou place an equal there ! " 

Words surely which should have their place upon the monu- 
ment in the Abbey, instead of a Mr. Pratt's feeble praise and 
fustian compliment. At this time Garrick actually did not 
know the author, though he might have noticed the unpleasing 
form over the " spikes " of his pit 

It was given out that the players would revenge themselves 
by chastising the author; but the bold satirist avowed himself 
at once, and walked publicly in the Covent Garden Piazza, 
past the coffee-houses, to give them an opportunity ; but they 
never seized on it 

Yet Garrick's situation, though his vanity must have been 
unusually gratified by this powerful and public testimonial, 
was not a little awkward. Sympathy witn his fellows, and 



1762.] "THE ROSCIAD." 233 

esprit de coips, required not merely that he should take no plea- 
sure in the tribute, but that he should affect dissatisfaction. 
He even was so foolish as to say he believed it was a bid for 
the freedom of his theatre. But the news of so ungracious a 
welcome was soon borne to Churchill, who, inflamed by the 
attacks of reviews and the hostile cries of the actors, had his 
bludgeon in the air again, and in a very short time produced 
*' The Apology " — a sequel to the former work, but in a far 
more savage key. He was infuriated with all, and fell on 
both critics and players in bitter verse, not waiting this time 
for polish or antithesis. Hence have we now the fine Hogarth 
picture of the "Strolling Players," which Mr. Forster, so 
justly, puts immeasurably above Crabbe's pendant on the same 
subject. It touched Garrick indirectly. For he came to the 
great actor himself, and though he spared him the humiliation 
of naming him, there was a savage roughness in the " shaking" 
he gave him — a hint there was no mistaking, and most signi- 
ficant for the future : — 

" Let the vain tyrant sit amid his guards, r 

His young green-room wits and venal bards, / 
Who meanly tremble at a puppet's frown, 
And for a playhouse freedom lose their own ; 
In spite of new-made laws and new-made kings, 
The free-born muse with lib'ral spirit sings." 

It thus seems as if some one had carried Garrick's remark 
about the freedom of the playhouse to Churchill, and this was 
a savage hint that he knew what had been so indiscreetly said 
of him. 

Qloscius was now confounded. The mortification was in 
exact proportion to his previous exaltation. He first thought 
of writing a letter of expostulation to the satirist, but was 
wisely dissuaded. Garrick, in fact, thought everything could 
be done by a " good letter." He knew — as he wrote to Lloyd 
— enough of Churchill's spirit and writings to see that he 
would not tolerate any interference with his purposes. Wisely, 
therefore, thinking of the future more than of the past, he told 
his friend — meaning, of course, that what he said should reach 
other cars — that if there was real resentment at the bottom of 
the attack, he was sure there were no grounds for it ; but if it 
was dono because he was " the Punch of the puppet show," 
and could not be well left out, Mr. Churchill was heartily wel- 
come. Yet for all this he was very" sore." In " The Rosciad," 
he added, he was raised too higEj but in " The Apology " he 
may have been sunk too low, Churchill " making an idol of a 
calf, like the Israelites, and then dwindling an idol into a calf 



234 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1761 — 

again." However, he would bear it all pleasantly. He 
was Mr. Churchill's great admirer. The result was an in- 
timacy; but Garrick scarcely met him with the warmth of 
his other friendships. His allusions to him in letters are 
tranquil; and he received the news of his death very calmly 
indeed. 

When Mr. Churchill chose to visit the playhouse now, all 
eyes watched him; and only a few months later, .about the 
first night of the season, when Garrick was in his great part of 
Bkhcrd, the terrible critic showed, by unmistakable and uncon- 
cealed signs, that he was weary and " sick " of what had now 
ceased to be a novelty. Yet Garrick, with a restraint worthy 
of an ascetic, sent his regards, and a gentle message that 
he was sorry to see that he had been bored. Before long 
Churchill was applying for money, and obtaining it. Garrick, 
though pinched by a purchase he had been making, supplied 
what he wanted. When Hogarth published his dreadful pic- 
ture of the satirist, Garrick, in sincere distress for an artist 
he loved, used the obligation to beg for indulgence. " I must 
entreat," he wrote, " by the regard you profess to me, that you 
do not talk of my friend Hogarth before you see me. You 
cannot, sure, be angry at his print There is, surely, very 
harmless, though very entertaining, stuff in it. He is a great 
and original genius. I would not, for all the politics and poli- 
ticians in the universe, that you two should have the least 
cause of ill-will to each other. I am very unhappy at the 
thoughts of it. Pray, make me quiet as soon as possible." 
But Churchill's genius, as Garrick had with great penetration 
divined, disdained any direction. He had his way, and sent 
out this "most bloody performance." Garrick was deeply 
hurt by it. It seemed to him shocking and barbarous. But 
the wretched man, for all his genius, sinking deeply every day, 
was to receive many more favours from the same hand. There 
is no more dreadful letter, for its length, in the annals of 
debauchery than the following appeal : — 

" My Dear Mr. Garrick, — Half drunk, half mad, and quite 
stripped of all my money, I should be much obliged if you 
would enclose and send by the bearer five pieces, by way of adding 
to favours already received by, yours sincerely, 

"Charles Churchill." 

A miserable death at Boulogne — his last words are said 
to have been, "What a fool I have been" — was not long 
in following. The satire remains a model for attacks of that 
class ; and some fifty years later, when a Dublin wit, in far 



1762.] DR. BOWER. 235 

less nervous lines, brought out " Familiar Epistles on the Irish 
Stage/' the success was not less decided. 

When the season ended, Garrick had begun to think of 
making some important alterations in the arrangements of 
his house. Foote and Murphy, however, had entered into a 
strange partnership, and came to him with a proposal for taking 
the theatre during the " slack " summer months. Foote had 
been anticipated at the Haymarket by some " dancing dogs," 
and had no place to exhibit his mimicry in. Garrick good- 
naturedly agreed to help his two friends, and let them have 
the theatre at a very moderate rent. Yet in their opening 
prologue Foote sneered at Koscius, who had locked up all the 
daggers and bowls of tragedy. 

The next season was unmarked by anything worthy of note. 
He celebrated the crowning of the new King by an absurd 
pageant, one of his favourite processions, which he was acute 
enough to see that the town was fond of. He now indulged 
the popular folly in these matters to the fullest bent. There 
was a rival procession at the other house, got up with infinite 
magnificence. But Garrick with due thrift utilized all the old 
dresses of his establishment. To add to the effect, the back of 
the stage was thrown open, and showed the audience a real 
bonfire blazing, the fumes from which suffocated the actors, 
while the draughts gave them colds. Windows looking into 
the Lane were let at good prices. The show " ran " for forty 
nights. This was the last effort of Rich, who died this year, 
successful to the end He had certainly carried on the contest 
with spirit, and gave up the ghost in a blaze of glory, with 
pageants and processions, and gorgeous transformation scenes 
still before his dim eyes. Yet Garrick's behaviour to him had 
always been marked by an honourable rivalry. He forgot 
some unhandsome attempts to injure him ; and, shortly before 
the old Harlequin's death, was taking counsel with some private 
friends as to how they should get the King to divert a little of 
the royal patronage from Drury Lane to Covent Garden. This 
wonderful man could be above even his own interests. 

His domestic peace was now to be disturbed by a little 
matter, which to one so sensitive became a serious annoy- 
ance. A Dr. Bower had been attracting public attention, as a 
"distinguished convert from Rome," with stories about his 
treatment by the Inquisition, &c. He was a man of some 
learning, and much industry, and when he was selected for one 
of the booksellers' speculations then fashionable, a bulky 
" History of the Popes," in quarto volumes, his subscription 
list showed how fashionable he had become. Among other 



23G THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1761 — 

houses, he was made welcome at that of one of his warmest 
patrons, Lord Lyttleton, Garrick's friend. But his account of 
his " conversion " was felt to be so curious and inconsistent, 
that suspicions were aroused : some of his supporters began to 
look coldly on him, and he found himself excluded from houses 
where before he had been very welcome. One of these was 
Mr. Garrick's, where he had been received by Mrs. Garrick, 
" Catholic though she was," and where Garrick himself " was 
witness to the contradictions, prevarications, and falsehoods, 
which he endeavoured to impose upon her." Dr. Douglas, 
later to be Bishop of Salisbury, had sent out a most damaging 
pamphlet, written in the good old " bludgeon " style of con- 
troversy, in which there was plenty of rough language, and 
pitiless conclusions drawn. The exposure was nearly fatal; 
and a story of a money transaction, into which he was said to 
have entered with " his old friends the Jesuits," injured him 
still more. Stung by these suspicions, he added to one of his 
bulky volumes, a defence of himself, as rough and violent as 
had been the attack, and in which he replied to an unfortunate 
expression of Douglas's, who had said that he dared not show 
his face at various houses, and " had not ventured of late to 
visit the lady and gentleman mentioned ; " adding that " the 
lady's principles and religion are well known." Bower did 
not let this pass. " Now that foreigners," he said, " may not 
think that I dare not show my face at the house of any real 
gentleman or real lady, I beg to inform them who this gentle- 
man and lady are. The gentleman, then, is Mr. Garrick, an 
actor who now acts upon the stage. The lady is his wife, Mrs. 
Garrick, alias Violetti, who within these few years danced upon 
the stage. To do them justice, they are both eminent in their 
way. The lady (though no fioscius) is as c well known and 
admired' for her dancing as the gentleman is for his acting, 
and they are, in that sense, par nobile. That I dare not show 
my face in that house is true ; nor dare I show it in any other 
house, the mistress whereof is a Papist." This touched Garrick 
to the quick, always sensitive on the score of his social position ; 
but proved to be a fat§l, as well as an ungallant proceeding, for 
Dr. Bower. Lyttleton had held by him firmly; but on the 
publication of this attack, his first step was to send word to 
Garrick, repudiating all protection or encouragement, of its 
author. Garrick wrote back gratefully. His lordship's de- 
licacy, he was sure, must have been shocked to have seen 
the illiberal way in which Mrs. Garrick was mentioned. She 
had very innocently told the conversation she had had with 
Bower, without the least intention of having it published, or 



1762.] STAGE REFORM. 237 

of adding to his shame. " Nor would she, though a Papist (as 
he calls her) vary a tittle from that or any other truth, though 
commanded by the Pope and his whole conclave of cardinals. 
.... He calls out for Protestant testimony, and he shall have 
it ; and I flatter myself that it will have its weight, though it 
comes from a player" But Mr. Garrick's next idea was not so 
dignified. He proposed to revenge himself by bringing his 
enemy upon the stage. He had always thought him even a 
richer character than Moliere's Tartuffe. This would be the 
retort pleasant, he thought. Happily, Lyttleton warmly dis- 
suaded him from so unbecoming a step. 

Thus it would seem, that no one's life was so chequered, or 
to know such a wholesome discipline, in the way of correction. 
If he was exalted, there was not long afterwards an unpleasant 
chastisement. Yet under such alternations, he preserved a 
mind surprisingly " even ; " — never lost his head a moment, 
from praise, flattery, or success ; and never sank into depres- 
sion. He was presently to be more sorely tried. 



CHAPTER VHI. 

STAGE REFORM. — 1762. 

" The Two Gentlemen of Verona " was the new revival for 
the new season. English opera and the charming voice of Miss 
Brent had been thinning the boxes and benches of Drury Lane, 
and Yaiing Meadows and Posetta were more followed than 
Hamlet or Estifania. Then were heard, for the first time, the 
cheerful, pastoral, simple melodies, " We all love a pretty girl 
under the rose," " When I have my dog and my gun ; " when 
English opera was a distinct school, not a mere " rechanffi " of 
Italian and French models. In vain Garrick made attempts 
in the same direction, engaging a " Master Norris," with other 
pupils of his friend Arne. The receipts began to fall off, and 
his own attraction to fail mysteriously. And from that time 
he began to think seriously of an important step — either of 
complete retirement, while he could do so without loss ; or, at 
least, of a temporary withdrawal from the vexations which 
were gathering thick about him. 

During the recess he and his partner determined to carry 
out some new theatrical arrangements which they had long 
meditated. No one could prove that there was " stinginess " 
in anything that concerned their management: the performers 
were paid liberally, and the scenery and dresses were always 



238 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1762 

handsome. Only a few years before, be bad decorated and 
re-arranged the house, yet he was now busy with fresh altera- 
tions, which amounted to an entire remodelling of the theatre. 
Under liberal management the number of performers had in- 
creased to one hundred, and the charges of the night " before 
the curtain rose " had mounted up from sixty to ninety pounds 
a night. He was also determined to seize the opportunity to 
strike boldly at .another abuse — the practice of crowding the 
stage on benefit nights, when actors had their " building on 
the stage " — an amphitheatre crowded with select friends, and 
with those who could not find room in the boxes. But there 
were enormous difficulties in the way of reform. Sheridan 
indeed succeeded in Dublin, but at the fatal cost of the utter 
sack of the theatre and of his own ruin. There were yet 
greater dangers in the way at Drury Lane. The young bloods 
and men of the first fashion would resent being driven from 
the coulisses, which they considered their proper parterre, and 
the young clerks and persons of lower degree were glad to get 
a seat on the stage, to see the actors and actresses closely. 
The thing was carried to an absurdity on the benefit nights of 
the actors, which came very often, when there was the " build- 
ing " on the stage, the great circus that rose in tiers to the 
stage clouds, while the floor in front was covered with specta- 
tors sitting or lying down. In front, the stage boxes, which 
had taken the place of the good old stage doors, were " built 
out," with two or three rows of seats, which prevented those 
behind from seeing. Sometimes the Banger or Archer, or con- 
ventional gallant of the piece, had to " escape " from a balcony 
or to scale one ; and it was in the regular course of things for 
him to intrude himself into the side box, with many apologies, 
to the great disturbance of the tenants. These ridiculous 
shifts, contemptuously accepted by the audience, were not 
likely to increase the respect for the players. It was even 
more absurd on Mrs. Cibber's benefit to see that charming 
actress in the centre of a crowded ring, with scarcely room to 
turn, prostrate on the tomb of the Capulets, which was an old 
couch covered with black cloth. More absurdly still, when Mr. 
Holland came on as Hamlet, through a similar crowd, and 
according to the strict tradition, made his hat fall, as though 
lifted off by his hair in terror at the ghost, one of his admirers, 
a woman in a red cloak, got up and replaced it. This, how- 
ever, caused a universal roar. Such familiarities were fatal to 
all respect and to all illusion. 

When reform came, came also rich dresses and better 
scenery. Then the Cibbers, and Bellamys, and Barrys re- 



1762.] STAGE REFORM. 239 

yelled in, and extorted from reluctant managers, those rich, 
gorgeous, and elaborate robes in which they looked like true 
" tragedy queens." * They were "inhabitants," as Steele would 
say, of the most sumptuous structures, stiff, spreading, en- 
crusted with trimmings and furbelows as stiff. ^Their heads 
towered with strange and nodding edifices, built and entwined 
with rows of pearls and other jewels. To turn over the old 
stage pictures, and come upon Staiira and Itoiana, the rival 
queens, fronting each other — Cibber and Bellamy — and 
call up the sweet and melodious chanting, and the lofty and 
pretentious language — poetry sometimes — the sad and tender 
complainings, the fierce but measured rage and despair, it 
must be admitted that, in such an ensemble, there was some- 
thing grand, and even magnificent. With such accessories 
and recollections of the majestic demi-chanting, which even 
now obtains on the French stage, we might almost accept this 
rococo school as a type of something grand and elevating. 
These stage royal ladies were usually attended by pages, even 
in their most intimate and domestic scenes, who never let down 
the sumptuous trains of their mistresses. There could be 
none, therefore, of that " crossing" and recrossing which make 
up the bustle and movement of modern drama. Nor was this 
style of decoration made subservient to the interests of the play. 
Clive or Woffington, when doing the " pert " part of a wait- 
ing-maid, or the more gauche one of a farmer's rustic daughter, 
presented themselves in white satin shoes, and with their hair 
dressed according to the gorgeous canons of the London 
fashions. These contradictions were not noticed ; but it must 
be said that where there is a standard of dress for each part, 
like the conventional lions of old architecture, it really idealizes 
the drama, much more than the present minute and "realistic" 
production of the commonest and most earthly objects in life. 
" Realism " is utterly antagonistic to stage effect. The more 
perfect and vivid, the more like real life, effects are, the more 
the spectator is inclined to be on his guard, and to challenge 
what is presented to him. There is a point beyond which stage 
imitation should not go ; and there should be certain conven- 
tional shapes of scenery which should more indicate than repre- 
sent The Greeks, with their heroic pattern of mask — one for 
comedy, one for tragedy — and their unchangeable scene of a 
temple or street, understood this principle. The truth is, 
acting, mental action, and witty and humorous dialogue, are 
the proper business of the stage, and what people go to sec and 
hear. This is the foundation of the pleasure that brings us to 
the theatre. The excitement is from the play of mind on mind, 



240 THE LITE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1762. 

not in the vulgar accessories of " fires," coal mines, imitation 
water, " bending trees," and the like. These poor devices are 
usurping the place of what they are intended to set off. 

It was time, indeed, that some reform should be made 
in the " ordering " of the house. At Drury Lane, the gal- 
leries to the upper boxes were so contracted, that people 
trembled to think what would happen in case of a fire. If 
the box-door was opened, it would be impossible for any 
one of the tenants to squeeze by. In the pit, the "fast 
men " were accustomed to gather at the entrances, and pre- 
vent the decent citizens from seeing or hearing. - Sometimes 
they talked and laughed, to show their contempt, and were 
saluted with showers of sucked oranges, skins, and half-eaten 
pippins from the galleries. At Covent Garden the scenery was 
of the rudest, oldest, and shabbiest sort There was an old 
faded Spanish interior, which had done duty for thirty or forty 
years; and even in the year 1747 its familiar "wings" and 
rickety folding-doors would wheel on "regularly in ' The Fop's 
Fortune.' " The old dresses, too, cast off by noblemen and 
ladies of quality, were used again and again. There was no 
fitness of character attempted ; all that was required was that 
they should be " fine," or as fine as stripes of tawdry tinsel 
could make them. 

The interior of Drury Lane was like that of a music-hall, 
having deep galleries in front, supported by pillars and shallow 
boxes at the side. It was almost square, not horseshoe, in shape. 
On grand nights, it was ostentatiously put in the bills that " the 
house would be lit with wax ; " but, later, Garrick substituted 
for the chandeliers a great central one, which was considered a 
triumph of workmanship. We might wonder how the later 
dim " floats " could throw a sufficient light to show the work- 
ings and play of feature ; but there was, hanging over the stage, 
in front of the curtain, no less than six enormous chandeliers, 
each containing twelve candles, in brass sockets, with a great 
deal of iron " flourishing " at the bottom of each. This prin- 
ciple of lighting from above, and as from the sun, was moro 
philosophical than the present system, which casts an unnatural 
glare from below on the faces of the actors. When the piece 
was over, these chandeliers were let down, as a signal for the 
audience to depart. At this time foot-lights were unknown, 
though introduced later.* 

* Vet, with all Qarrick's attention to scenery, and his unwearied efforts 
to secure the newest improvements, the absence of a light like gas must 
have hindered anything in the shape of real effect. A letter to the manager, 
about his scenery, shows that they felt this very difficulty. They had "a 



1762.] STAGE REFORM. 241 

Another matter, which really required ordering, was the 
regulations about taking seats. The custom was for ladies to 
send their footmen before the play began, dressed up in gaudy 
liveries, who sat in the best places for two or three acts, and 
thus kept the places. This was an incongruous sight enough ; 
as ladies of the first rank often found themselves seated, 
through a whole piece, beside a servant. But there was a 
worse abuse. The fine footmen preferred the tavern to the 
play; and the "Sir Harry" or "My Lord Duke," whom 
Garrick had so happily ridiculed, often went away, and left as 
his deputy a dirty, ill-dressed porter — a more unbecoming con- 
trast still to his neighbours. It was suggested to Garrick that 
the simple practice of numbering the seats would remedy all 
this. But he does not seem to have adopted it Mr. Varney, 
his box-keeper, was a very important personage with all persons 
of quality and condition. All these improvements were owing 
to Garrick's own unwearied attention and watchfulness. 

The clearing of the stage from the loungers was to be fraught 
with great difficulties, and even danger. The fiercest opposi- 
tion came from his own company, who, on a benefit, would lose 
as much as a hundred pounds or more. The happy device of 
enlarging the house, and gaining in front the accommodation 
that was sacrificed behind the curtain, took away all excuse for 

ton much such as they had at the opera, only larger. Gaetano has about 
convinced me that it is impossible to give a colour to fire. He has tried 
coloured glass, and it does nothing. Spelter, he says, is very good ; sulphur 
does not succeed ; Stars he makes now without thimble*." (Forster MSS.) 
This was so early as 1747. Our grand stage conflagrations, where houses are 
seen wrapt in flames, are produced by coloured glass throwing a red glare 
on fumes. There was one " set piece " for a " Feerie " which Garrick got 
from Paris, the description of which is highly curious, as showing the 
" transformation-scene " of a hundred years ago. It was called the " Palace 
of Armida," The painted stones were put together, with handles at the 
back ; these were drawn away from the bottom ; thus the whole came 
down in ruins. Traps were opened " when the change of the fiery palace 
was commencing," down which it descended, the groups of Graces changing 
also at the same moment, while from above were thrown down what seemed 
to be heavy beams of timber, but which were frames of wicker, covered 
with painted canvas. The conflagration, however, was managed in a rather 
primitive fashion. Strings of tow were wound on long " perches," held at 
all sides, and set on fire ; the car of Medea then crossed the stage, sur- 
rounded by little demons carrying torches, and firing the palace. There 
was then " a rain of fire " made of sulphuric firework composition. The 
rest of the effect was worked out with red agate-coloured columns and 
"gilt beams," and a great deal of gilt moulding. Loutherbourg was his 
scene painter, and contrived some ingenious effects by placing screens, of 
various coloured silk and tiffany, in front of the side and head lights. It 
was he who invented the " effect " of Harlequin in a fog, produced by hang- 
ing dark gauze between the figure and the audience. 

K 



242 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1762. 

dissatisfaction among the actors. These alterations were done 
so judiciously, that the theatre gained not only in size, but in 
beauty, and now held a receipt of £335 a night 

The opposition and displeasure of the men about town were 
^inore perilous. They could not readily accept their dismissal. 
Unfortunately, too, Garrick had been drawn into an open 
quarrel with their leader, "Thady" Fitzpatrick, the "fine 
gentleman " of the coterie. At the Bedford, one night, among 
a group of Shakspearean admirers, it was proposed that some 
testimonial of honour should be offered to their " idoL" But 
Fitzpatrick, filled with sudden spite at this compliment to 
a person he so disliked, opposed the project, saying he was the 
most insignificant member. This public insult was reported to 
Garrick, who called on him for an explanation. Meetings and 
conferences took place, which only inflamed the matter; when 
Fitzpatrick, overflowing with venom, and knowing, as all the 
world knew, the weak point of his adversary, took the usual 
course of assailing him with anonymous slanders in print 
These were kept up unceasingly, and might well goad the 
manager to desperation. There was a yet more offensive 
mode of showing this enmity. Often, when the great actor 
was in the middle of one of his finest parts, his eye would fall 
on his enemy a little below him in the pit, " attended by some 
noisy set." He would see the cold stare and shrugs of con- 
tempt, and actually hear his remarks and his loud laugh at 
some fine burst in Lear. As a matter of course, Fitzpatrick 
found coadjutors among Gai-rick's own treacherous dependants. 
The latter soon found out this double dealing, and chassdd 
him promptly. The crowd then began to discover that the 
person of the great Eoscius was no longer sacred, and this 
never-flaggmg series of criticisms began to raise up at the 
coffee-houses and other places a train of little pretenders, who 
found an agreeable occupation, and some claim to considera- 
tion, in detecting his faults. The paper which was chosen for 
these attacks was "The Craftsman, in whose columns now 
appeared the most vindictive and malignant criticisms on 
Gar-rick's acting and manner. These were signed " X. Y. Z., w 
and soon attracted attention from their perseverance.* 

* Later these worthless criticisms were gathered up into a pamphlet, 
which was called " An Inquiry into the Merits of a Certain Popular Per- 
former; with an Introduction to David Garrick, Esq.," and was then 
known to be written by Fitzpatrick. Nothing more offensive could be 
conceived. They dealt with his age, voice, figure, and manner. The abuse 
was carried so far as to say that " he never did, or never could, speak ten 
successive lines of Shakspeare with grammatical propriety." Copies of this 
production were sent round diligently to all Garrick's friends. 



1762.] STAGE REFORM. 243 

Garrick's incorrigible taste for facetious rhyming led him to 
think of retaliation. The result was "The Fribbleriad," a 
lively and personal description of his enemy, which was 
largely sold, and made the town laugh. Fitzpatrick offered 
tempting openings for ridicule. His face, pale and wan, spoke 
of an effeminacy almost ridiculous ; he had the mincing air 
and gait of all the beaux of the town. 

" The creature's male, say all we can — 
It must be something like a man. 

***** 
What of that wriggling, fribbling race, 
The cuxbo of nature and disgrace, 
Whose rancour knowB nor bounds nor measure, 
Feels every passion, tastes no pleasure ? 
So smiling, smirking, soft in feature, 
Tou'd swear it was the gentlest creature. 
But touch its pride, the lady-fdiow 
From sickly pale turns deadly yellow." \ 

In the preface was an announcement that the task of exhibit- 
ing Fribble in his proper colours was not to be completed 
there. " A much abler hand " was very soon " to expose and 
detect his designs." Not a few guessed that this heralded 
Churchill 

<Warburton was delighted with "The Fribbleriad. n He 
thought it excellent in its fable, its sentiment, and wit. He 
bad his own Fribbles to plague him, and could think of Pope, 
who had called the " Cock Fribble " of his day, a gilded bug. 
This satirical personality affected Fitzpatrick keenly, and a 
suitable opportunity now gave him an opening for retaliation. 
One of the rules, said to be an innovation, had abolished the 
half-price during the run of a new play, but restored it when- 
ever the regular stock-pieces, where Garrick's strength and 
attraction lay, were played. This had been the old custom, 
and was certainly not unreasonable ; but it furnished the occa- 
sion that Fitzpatrick was looking for. On January 25th, 
1763, the coffee-house frequenters were attracted by placards, 
posted up everywhere, in which their attention was called to 
this grievance. It was represented as a great hardship, that 
should be resisted ; and, it was added, they should assert their 
rights firmly. A theatrical community is never slack to ac- 
cept invitations of such a kind. "The Two Gentlemen of 
Verona " was being played, with some alterations by Victor, 
and had reached its tenth night, when it was to be performed 
for the benefit of the author. When the curtain rose, the 
uproar burst forth. The house was packed with the conspira- 
tors, and the notoriously wan face of Mr. Fitzpatrick was seen 

R 2 



244 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1762. 

in the boxes. In a moment he was haranguing them. With 
fierce and excited language he told them, it was now their time 
to fix the price, and exhorted them not to submit to the impo- 
sition. The confusion brought out the manager, who was 
received with yells and uproar. They would not give him a 
hearing. Yet he was prepared with a reasonable case. He 
could have shown them how the expenses had mounted from 
sixty to ninety pounds a-night, though this was hardly the 
point involved.* But in truth he was wrong, or had raised a 
wrong issue. For " The Two Gentlemen of Verona " had been 
played before, with its alterations, and was not, in that sense, 
a new piece. He was just allowed to say, that all should be 
explained in the newspapers of the following day, and was 
summarily driven off, — then the rioters proceeded to the next 
regular step in theatrical dissatisfaction. They fell on the 
theatre and its fittings, broke up the lustres and girandoles, 
and Moody, the popular actor of Irishmen, snatched a light 
from a ruffian who was in the act of firing the theatre. After 
this destruction of property, the curtain was let down, the 
money actually returned to the rioters, and the house cleared. 
The following morning, in the journal Garrick was supposed 
to influence, appeared a short notice, promising an answer — 
stating that he believed what they had done was no innova- 
tion. This temperate appeal had no effect That night the 
house was crammed to the ceiling. At the " third music, 1 ' the 
audience furiously interrupted,— demanded "Britons Strike 
Home," and " The Roast Beef of Old England." They were 
gratified with these tunes. Then Holland came out to speak 
the prologue, but was hissed off. This looked ominous, when 
suddenly Garrick himself appeared, and confronted that hostile 
audience, literally packed with his enemies. The uproar that 
greeted him could not be described. It was noted that the fine 
face betrayed mortification, anger, and humiliation. Some voices 
roared, " Hear him / " others, " Hear the pit ! " Suddenly the 
pale-faced Fitzpatrick, his henchman, Burke, by his side, stood 
up, and there was silence. He called out, " Will you, or will 
you not, charge half-price for every piece, except a panto- 
mime?" The humiliated manager wished to explain, but 

* I have discovered in an old magazine a copy of the "pay list" of 
Drury Lane, of only two yean later. There were a hundred performers on 
the books, and the total amounted to within a few shillings of the sum 
Garrick had named. The salaries are good for those days. Garrick had 
£2 15s. 6<L a night ; Yates and wife, £8 6s. 8d. ; Palmer and wife, £2 ; 
King, £1 6a 8d ; Parsons, 6b. 8d. ; Mrs. Cibber, £2 10s. ; Mrs. Pritchard, 
£2 6s. 8d. ; Mrs. Clive, £1 15a ; Miss Pope, 12s. 4d. ; the Italian dancers, 
£1, and £1 3s. 4d. ; the " Fund," £1 16s. ; and the nightly charity, 3a. 8d. 



1762.] STAGE REFORM. 245 

his enemy called on him to say yes or no. He again 
attempted to make a statement, but was drowned in fresh 
yells. Then, in a tone of agony and impatience, he called 
out " Yes ! " This submission was against his own judgment, 
but he was persuaded by the cautious Lacy. The house was 
taken by surprise; but a victim they were determined to 
have. Ackman, a humble player, who had displeased them 
the night before, was ordered to come out and beg pardon. 
He did so. Then Moody was called for, and required to 
beg pardon on his knees, for what he had done the previous 
night. This strange demand he met in burlesque way, by 
saying, in the tone of one of his stage Irishmen, "that he 
was very sorry he had offended them, by saving their lives." 
This trifling only infuriated them, and the cry was, " Down on 

your knees ! " Moody boldly said, "By , I will not/' and 

walked off the stage. Though Garrick embraced him and 
applauded his spirit, still, to save his theatre, he had to engage 
that Moody should not play any more, until they gave permis- 
sion ; but he assured Moody in private, that his salary should 
go on. Flushed with their triumph, they repaired to Covent 
Garden, where they pursued exactly the same course; but 
Beard, one of the patentees, with more spirit, declined to agree 
to their demands. His theatre was accordingly sacked ; but 
he was able to secure some of the rioters, and bring them 
before the Chief Justice. 

Meanwhile Moody, with good spirit, presented himself at 
Fitzpatrick's chambers, and demanded satisfaction for these 
injuries. The natural pusillanimity of the beau was said to 
have shown itself; he shuffled, turned pale, proposed an 
-amende, and actually agreed to bring about a reconciliation 
between the actor and the public. He was said also to have 
written an abject apology to the manager. There was to be a 
greater humiliation : when the rioters were brought to Lord 
Mansfield's house, he was obliged to attend also. His un- 
naturally pale cheek was seen to turn yet paler as the Chief 
Justice administered to him a stern rebuke, saying that if a life 
had chanced to have been lost in the fray he would have been 
held responsible. With judicious wisdom, he allowed the 
matter to be accommodated, and after a wholesome warning 
allowed all to go; but he told Fitzpatrick that he was 
astonished to see one who looked like a gentleman mixed up 
in such an affair. The history of theatrical riots would make a 
curious narrative, and not the least curious feature would be 
the almost invariable leadership of persons of condition. 

But now Garrick found a friend and ally, who at once took 



246 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1762. 

the task of chastisement into his own hands. This was 
Churchill. *"The Rosciad" had run through some seven, 
editions, and now came out the eighth, in which he inserted 
that tremendous portrait which has been so justly called " one' 
of the masterpieces of English satire." This friendly service 
may be taken as an amende for the little tartness of " The 
Apology," and supports the view of ChurchilPs having a hand 
in Garrick's " Fribbleriad ; " for if he did not suggest, he cer- 
tainly worked out elaborately the same idea. Every one knows 
the lines : — 

'• A motley figure of the Fribble tribe, 
Which heart can scarce conceive or pen describe, 
Came simpering on, to ascertain whose sex 
Twelve sage impannelled matrons 'twould perplex. 
Nor male nor female — neither, and yet both, 
Of neuter gender, though of Irish growth. 
A six-foot Buckling, mincing in his gait, 
Affected, peevish, prim and delicate ; 
Fearful it seemed, though of athletic make, 
Lest brutal breezes should too roughly shake 
Its tender form, and savage motion spread 
O'er its pale cheeks the horrid manly rtd." 

"^Within a few days the manager had to appear in a new 
piece, whose perfect and legitimate success may have consoled 
him. Sheridan was not reconciled to him, but Sheridan's wife 
had written a comedy, which had been put into his hands. 
Indifferent to enmities and injuries, he now engaged Sheridan 
to take a leading part, set off the comedy to the best advan- 
tage, and went himself to the trouble of studying Sir Anthony 
Branvilky which proved to be the last new character he was to 
appear in. It is a gay, bright piece, and reads pleasantly to 
this hour.*\ It was greatly relished, and was played some 
seventeen nights — then a prodigious run. Garrick's picture of 
an old beau, formal and precise, was inexpressibly mirthful ; 
and it was something new, and not less diverting, to see that 
wonderful face producing effect, even when become solemn, 
and discharged of all expression. Not content with this warm 
support of the wife, he liberally gave the husband a second 
night for his benefit, though he was not engaged at the theatre. 

* This sprightly lady had sent him a comedy — very likely this one — so 
far back as 1743, which he had strongly condemned. There was no fable 
— no humour — no connection — no interest. The lady defended her piece 
in one of the pleasantest letters. She believed Mr. Garrick had read it too 
" hastily," and not " finding himself pleased on the whole, would not allow 
himself time to separate the good from the bad." This gay woman's letter 
is given in the Correspondence, vol L, p. 16. 



1762.] STAGE REFORM. 247 

We may wonder how the Fitzpatricks, and others of his pro- 
fessional slanderers, accounted for such behaviour. 

Still the rude shock he had received had sunk deep into his 
mind. The mortification of that defeat, that public insult on 
his own boards, had gone home. The respect, the popularity 
of " the great Garrick" and " Roscius," seemed to have decayed. 
These numerous attacks — ever unflagging and venomous — 
were wounding and disgusting him. It was scarcely wonderful 
that he should recall Sterne's picture of the eagerness of 
French friends to welcome the great actor. He was actually 
thinking of final retirement, as he had done after the Festival 
Riot. His eyes were turning towards the Continent, and to 
quiet. Peace between France and England was now estab- 
lished. The Duke de Nivernois, the newly-arrived ambas- 
sador, had been most courteous, gave him a splendid entertain- 
ment, and, no doubt, promised introductions. Mrs. Garrick's 
health, too, was failing, and he himself wanted change and 
repose. So a tour seemed inviting. 

The unpleasant season closed at the end of May. It brought 
not only mortification but loss. In the present century there 
were still living those who recalled the waning attraction of 
the great actor — the thin pit and empty boxes of Drury Lane 
Theatre. Sir Waller Pepys often described to Mr. Eogers 
this humiliating show, and it was even said that Garrick and 
Mrs. Cibbcr had sometimes played to a house of twenty 
pounds, and once actually to one of five. This, however, was 
the single " bad house " of his life. It was not surprising he 
should begin to think of escaping from such mortifications. 

Now came a very warm letter from Chatsworth, pressing 
him to come and meet Quin, and see the Ascot Races. It 
shows us Quin in a very agreeable light, driving out "in his 
one-horse chaise to get his nag in wind," and receiving the 
present of an umbrella to defend himself from the sun and 
rain. Garrick wrote a hearty and delighted letter to him, 
written in that vein of gaiety which always sat so well on him: 
" If they had but a tithe of the pleasure they had in their last 
meeting, it will be well made." They were to exchange pic- 
tures — Garrick sitting to Hudson, Quin to Gainsborough. 
Garrick looked forward with great delight to their meeting. 
The Duke was eager to welcome his two friends. " Remember 
to come by Derby and Matlock. If you lie at Derby, you 
may with great ease be with me by dinner ; it is all good road. 
Remember to come over Rowesley Bridge, so up my grounds, 
which shall be open." They had the most charming time, 
"all mirth, bagatelle, liberty, and a little drinking at times." 



248 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1763. 

Garrick, one of whose charms was to try and have some little 
bonne bouche for his friends, or in some way make them sharers 
in his present happiness, took care to let Colman know that 
their host was often speaking of him, and had the greatest 
desire to know him personally. At this house he saw 
Churchill's attack on his friend Hogarth, which disturbed him 
much. He thought the description of Hogarth's age and 
infirmities "surely too shocking and barbarous. 1 ' Soon the 
Duke of Cumberland was expected, and they had to leave. 

They seem to have stayed about a week at Chatsworth, and 
met good company there. Mr. Garrick turned some pleasant 
verses on some ladies — the Duchess of Rutland and two others, 
who were always inseparable. After this pleasant excursion 
he came up to town, and began to prepare for his " Grand 
Tour," which, as then made, was one of the most agreeable 
incidents in the noble or wealthy Englishman's life. As this 
little defeat, and the subsequent temporary retirement, forms 
a sort of epoch in his life, we shall pause here for a short time, 
and enter on another department of his history. 



BOOK TIKE PIPTH. 

ACTOR AND TRAVELLER 



CHAPTER I. 

A ROUND OF CHARACTERS. — 1763. 

This stage of the actor's career will, perhap, be found the 
most convenient opportunity for taking a view, in detail, of 
those wonderful gifts, which made so deep an impression on 
the audiences of his day. Nothing is so difficult as to find 
some common standard of comparison between players and 
singers of a past generation, and those of the present The 
judgment of the old, who may have heard both, is disturbed 
by the prejudices of their age, and coloured by the old and 
golden light of youth and enjoyment, now gone for ever. The 
favourite comparison of the old men of Garrick's day, was to 
put him beside Booth and Betterton — to whom, of course, 
they made him inferior. It is hard to make out exactly what 
Betterton's style was— for the well-known description, in The 
Toiler, dwells on his natural acting, his pathos and passion, 



1763.] A ROUND OP CHARACTEKa • 249 

and, in parts, might be accepted as a description of Garrick. 
But be mud have belonged to what has been considered the 
Old School of acting. The best test is, that Quin had not only 
studied with Betterton and Booth, but admired them, and was 
considered to be grounded on their style ; and what Quin's 
style was has been shown. Quin himself, speaking to Selwyn 
of Garrick's early days, owned that Betterton would not go 
down then. Genius will pierce through all such heavy folds ; 
and it may be, that Betterton made his splendid gifts apparent 
in company with such disabilities. Garrick himself had oppor- 
tunities of judging. He had met Mrs. Porter, Mrs. Oldfield, 
and even Mrs. Brace^irdle, the heroine of Lord Mohun's tavern 
brawl. This was going back far enough. Yet he used to tell, 
how he had heard her once, in company, repeat some lines of 
Shakspeare in a way that convinced him, she could never have 
deserved her reputation. What Mrs. Porter thought of 
Garrick we have seen ; and she seems to have approved what 
was opposed to all her experience, and traditions. The con- 
clusion, therefore, we should draw is, that Garrick must have 
been a true reformer, and his style superior to all that had 
gone before. 

/Few men had such natural advantages to lead them to the 
stage. The popular notion that he was " little " was one of 
the vulgar topics of depreciation insisted on, to wound his 
nature, well known to be sensitive to such attacks. He had 
great and expressive play of feature ; was " neatly " and ele- 
gantly made ; handsome, with a French grace, which was yet 
-combined with manliness. His frame had a surprising flexi- 
bility, and even elasticity, which put all his limbs under the 
most perfect control ; there was an elegant freedom in every 
motion, regulated by the nicest propriety, answering every turn 
•of his mind, as a ship might her helm. He was a gentleman 
by birth, and training — a useful accident for an actor. His 
features were wonderfully marked : the eyebrows well arched, 
ascending and descending, with rapid play ; the mouth expres- 
sive and bold; and the wonderful eyes bright, intelligent, and 
darting fire. To these features, intellect and practice had 
.given the same flexibility as to his figure. His mind travelled 
so quickly, that his look seemed in advance of his words, and the 
spectator read in his face the very sentiment he was about 
to utter.* His voice was harmonious and pleasing, always 
distinct, and clear, though naturally weak. He was an elegant, 
fervent, elaborate, and overwhelming lover, though he wanted 

* Cumberland. 



250 THE Ltni OF DAVID GARBICK. [1763. 

the sweet and pleading tenderness of Barry, and the "profu- 
sion of softness" for which that actor was famed. Bat in the 
mixture, and whirl of passions, lay his real strength ; when 
rage, terror, grief, and even madness followed each other, in 
gusts as it were, he was unapproachable. His fault, perhaps, 
was a certain restlessness ; on the stage, he could never stand 
still | His enemy, Macklin, insisted that he never could act the 
gentleman's part, nor even dress with propriety. 

" The part of croof d-backed Richard," as it was called in the 
bill, was to be like a picture, which he touched and retouched. 
Friends remarked that every night he mended. Reference has 
been made to the extraordinary effect produced on the audience 
by so simple an action as his flinging away his prayer-book 
after the Lord Mayor had retired.* The idea seemed to be, 
as Mr. Taylor thought, that from -that moment the old stagey 
manner was doomed. What struck all present was that before 
there had been only one broad conventional delineation of 
" the wicked tyrant," who was savage and furious, and nothing 
more, merely raging like a maniac. Even at his opening 
speech, something new and characteristic was presented ; for 
instead of " chuckling " over his own deformity, and taking a 

Eleasure in being so odious to his fellow-creatures, he showed 
imself pained and uneasy when he dwelt on these defects. 
He himself, in Richard, struck on a good emphasis : 

" Have you seen Anne, my wife ? " 

" My lord, she is exceeding ill." 

" Rich. Has my physician seen her ? She'll mend shortly." 

In his love-making to Lady Anne, his ardour was so earnest and 

Cionate that the audience for the moment forgot it was mere 
[>cri8y. Here, again, what a contrast to the mouthing, 
scornful advances of the older school, which ought to have 
made audiences wonder how a lady could receive, even with 
a show of favour, so unpleasing a suitor. The famous tent 
scene, which was much talked of, and which Hogarth painted, 
seems to have deserved all this admiration. When he started 
from his sleep, his face, attitude, everything was a picture of 
horror and terrors. He called out boldly, as if in the battle, 
" Give me another horse ! " then paused, and, with dismay in 
his face, came forward, crying out in misery, " Bind up my 
wounds ! " then dropping on his knee, prayed in the most 
piteously tender accent — 

" Have mercy, Heaven ! " 

• It was noted as an odd feature in the comedies of the time that ladies 
and gentlemen reading in their garden, and interrupted by a visitor, would 
throw away their book into the soenic ditch, pond, or grove. 



1763.] A ROUND OF CHARACTERS. 251 

When Caiesby came in, his terror and relief, and his gradual 
restoration to confidence and bravado, were again points all 
new to the audience. When he said, in answer to Lady Anne's 
question, " What have I done ? " 

" To me the worst of crimes — outlived my liking I" 

it was thought he should have changed his voice at the last 
words into an angry burst. But his reading was far more 

i'udicious — a slight pause, then speaking the words in the same 
:ey, but a little louder. This suppressed calm and concen- 
trated spite was more effective. 

In the battle scenes he was as loud, fierce, and furious as 
could be desired. When the news of Buckingham's being 
taken was brought in, he uttered Cibber's — not Shakspeare's 
— famous 

" Off with his head ! So much for Buckingham ! " 

with such enjoyment and heartfelt delight that the audience 
burst into perfect shouts of applause. Yet it was noticed that 
in some of these early performances he was often almost hoarse 
and " run out " by the end of the play from this fierce shouting 
and declamation. This was an honest ardour which made him 
reckless in the expenditure of his powers. Later, he learned 
to husband his lungs and strength with a judicious economy. 
The death scene, too, was a terrible spectacle. 

Richard Brinsley Sheridan said "he thought his Richard 
was ' fine,' but not terrible enough." " God bless me," said 
the great actress, Siddons, "what could be more terrible!" 
She then told how, at rehearsal, he had bade her, as he drew 
Lady Anne from the sofa, follow him step by step, so that he 
should keep his face to the audience, as he acted much with his 
eyes. During the performance, she was so overcome by the 
fearful expression of his face that she forgot her instructions ; 
but was recalled to herself by a look of reproof, which, she 
said, she could never think of without terror. 
C-Garrick's Lear was, perhaps, the finest that has ever been 
seen on the stage. Sheridan, the actor's son, thought it the 
best of his whole round of characters. From the pictures by 
Wilson and Houston, there would seem a little too much of the 
conventional old man in his dress and "make-up," his hair 
being too white and woolly. The " curse " was the most tre- 
mendous bit in the play; and Foote, in his pamphlet on 
" The Suspicious Husband," gives us a picture of how this was 
done: "You fall precipitately on your knees, extend your 
arms, clench your hands, set your teeth, and with a savage 
distraction in your look, trembling in all your limbs, and your 



252 * THE LITE OF DAVID GABBIGK. [176S. 

eyes pointed to Heaven (the whole expressing a fullness of rage 
and revenge), you begin, ' Hear, Nature, dear goddess,' with 
a broken, eager, inward utterance, and from thence rising in 
every line in loudness and rapidity of voice, till you come to 
* And feel how sharper than a serpent's tooth,' &c Then you 
are struck at once with your daughters' ingratitude ; and burst- 
ing into tears, with a most sorrowful tone of voice, you say — 

1 Go — go, my people ! ' M 

That curse was so terrible, the audience seemed to shrink 
away and cower from it, as from a blast of lightning; and the 
preparations — his throwing away his crutch, clasping his hands, 
and turning his eyes to Heaven, inspired a strange forecast of 
terror. But it was in the transitions of fury to grief and 
hopeless wretchedness, for which this play afforded such 
openings, that he produced such a magical effect Some 
critics thought he was too slow and measured, in his delivery 
of the imprecation ; and it was recollected that Booth hurried 
it over more impetuously. When he said, "Old fond eyes, 
lament this cause again, 111 pluck ye out," his tenderness and 
piteous agony made every eye in the theatre £11 with tears. 
" I never see him," said an admirer, " coming down from one 
corner of the stage, with his old grey hair standing, as it were, 
erect upon his head, his face filled with horror and attention, 
his hands expanded, and his whole frame actuated by a dreary 
solemnity, but I am astounded, and share in all his distresses. 
Methinks I share in his calamities ; I feel the dark drifting 
rain and the sharp tempest with his — 

' Blow, winds, till yon have bunt your cheeks.* 

It is here that the power of his eye, corresponding with an 
attitude peculiar to his own judgment and proper to the situa- 
tion, is of force sufficient to thrill through the veins." It was 
of course played in the shape to which the profane mangling 
of Tate had reduced it, in which Edgar is made to be in love 
with Cordelia, and the whole to end happily. Yet these altera- 
tions were done with a certain stage tact ; and Tate's scene 
between the lovers never ended without vociferous applause, 
and was one of the " strong " places of the play. 

O'Keefe, when a young man, saw him in this fine part* and 
was infinitely touched by his exquisite pathos, his putting his 
finger to Cordelia's cheek — 

" Be these tears wet ?— Yes, faith ; " 

then looking at his finger. His saying, bitterly— 

" I will do such things — 
What they are I know not," 



1763.] A ROUND OF CHARACTERS. 253 

went to every heart, from the sudden and piteous exhibition of 
helplessness. 

On another occasion, one of the soldiers, whom it was the 
privilege of the house to have on the stage, was so affected at 
the distresses of the old king that he could not restrain his 
tears. It used to be told as a "good thing" against the 
actor, that his vanity was so tickled, that he sent for the man 
to his room after the play was over, and gave him half a crown. 
To others the story would seem to have a different complexion 
— a most natural gratification at seeing his talents produce 
such an effect on a man of that class, with a wish to encourage 
him. 

Another dramatic "alteration," Lear's battle with the 
assassins, furnished Garrick with some acting which was long 
recollected by the playgoers. His leaning against the side of 
the scene, his panting and exhaustion, and his sudden recollec- 
tions of what he had done, and reply to the fellow who said 
that the old king had slain two of them, " Did I, fellow 1 " 
was wonderfully good. And when he called out in rapture, 
still in Tate's language, 

M Old Lear shall be a king again ! " 

the enthusiasm and delight of the audience knew no bounds. 
And at the close a special compliment was often paid to this 
play, of the audience renewing their plaudits again and again 
after the curtain was down, as a testimony of how their feel- 
ings and sympathies had been worked on. The progress, too, 
of returning reason was wonderfully effective ; though, indeed, 
this grand play is so furnished with dramatic life and changes 
that it all but acts itself; and when, after kneeling to his 
daughter and not recognizing her, a glimpse of light begins to 
steal on him, he said — 



11 Do not laugh at me, 



For as I am a man, I think that lady 
To be my child Cordelia/' 

the audience, who had been in a tumult of suspense and pity, 
" now broke out into loud lamentations." He adopted Mack- 
lin's view of declaiming " Kill ! kill ! " with intense fury and 
vindictiveness. We have the testimony of another enemy also 
as to this marvellous performance. CHve was seen one night 
standing at the wing, abusing him and weeping by turns, 
until, angry with herself for being so wrought on, she turned 
away impatiently with a " D — n him, he could act a gridiron/" 
Once, when he was down at the front of the stage, in one of 
his tempests of agony, he unconsciously pulled the white wig 



254 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1763. 

to one side, and exposed his own black hair underneath. 
With any other actor this would have been fatal, but the 
working of his face and the light of the wonderful eyes held 
the audience spell-bound. 

When later Garrick and Barry were playing Lear against 
each other, the latter, with all the advantages of his fine figure 
and bearing, could not approach him. Garrick's conception of 
Lear can be best shown by a comparison with this actor, which 
was not nearly so delicate. In the pathetic passages, the 
latter's passion and feeling told well ; but, in the mad scenes 
he took long strides, stared about him — in short, gave the con- 
ventional stage notion of unsettled wits. But Garrick became 
a weak old man, still retaining his air of royalty ; his size, too, 
fell in with this notion. In the mad scenes, there were no 
starts, no striving or violence, his gestures were slow and 
if eeble, hopeless misery was in his face ; he moved his head in 
the most deliberate manner; his eyes were fixed : or if they 
turned to any one, he made a pause, and fixed his look on the 
person, after a little delay; his face at the same time telling 
what he was going to say before he had uttered a word, 
ugh the whole character he was an impersonation of woe 
nd misery, and a total alienation from any idea but that of 
is unkind daughters. 

The Hamlet of Garrick, when he was a graceful, " sprightly" 
young man, must have come upon the audiences of his day 
with some surprise. At that time the muscles of his face 
were free, and the wonderful eyes possessed their fullest lustre. 
We can see him almost as he then appeared, in a dress of the 
most conventional type — the decent black suit which clergy- 
men wore, the waistcoat with flaps, the black breeches and 
stockings. He seems to have worn his own hair ; and we can 
understand what an impression his " reading " made. It was 
remarked that he improved almost nightly. As he grew older, 
he altered and modified his conception of various passages. 
Critics sitting in the pit both of London and Dublin theatres,' 
watched him narrowly, and sent him, anonymously, some 
really acute and useful hints, which the sensible young actor 
was most thankful for, and adopted with gratitude. 

At his first few representations, there was a certain exagge- 
rated warmth and " testiness," a tendency to railing, whichhe 
afterwards toned down into a calmer and more meditative 
humour. There was also noticed a kind of irregularity in his 
pauses, which seriously interfered with the sense. Another 
little art of his, at this time, was the hurrying on to the close 
of a sentence, and then letting the voice fall ; and where a 



1763.] A ROUND OF CHARACTERS. 255 

number of substantives were to be spoken together, they were 
huddled, as it were, one on the other, in an impetuous torrent. 
This was heresy for the old declaimers, who spoke in the most 
measured way of "te-ruth — jus-tice — ho-nour," <fcc. On the 
other hand, where there were long words of several syllables, 
he was inclined to break them up, like — 

" Ye hur-ri-canoes, spout ! " 

When the Ghost appeared, his face expressed all the 
workings of horror and terror, and he addressed him with a 
trembling, awe-struck voice. Thus, as was acutely remarked, 
he acted for the Ghost also, and made it as terrible to the 
audience as it was to him. This was Betterton's way, and was 
said to be a tradition of Shakspeare's own teaching.* Macklin 
and others practised a bold, defiant style of address, as if they 
had succeeded in subduing their fears. After he had said, 
" Angels and ministers of grace, defend us ! " he fell into such 
a pause of silent stupefaction, that, at Dublin, many thought 
he had forgotten his part. It is amusing to think that the ear 
of the audience had become so attuned to the sonorous declama- 
tion, that even an undue pause should have been a surprise. 
At the beginning he seems to have adhered to a rather absurd 
custom, which was almost de riguewr with every actor — namely, 
that of drawing his sword, when Horatio wished to detain 
Hamlet from following the Ghost; but on the latter saying, " I 
am thy father's spirit/' he, " with a respectful bow, put up his 
weapon." Which seemed to have the comic effect of convey- 
ing that " if the Ghost had not turned out to be one on whom 
he could depend, he would not have sheathed his sword." So, 
too, when he said, " Methinks I see my father's spirit ! " and 
he gave a sharp sudden start of surprise, it was objected, that 
his action expressed too pointedly that the spirit was before 
him, whereas it was only present to his "mind's eye, Horatio.' 1 
He conveyed an idea of deep filial piety and reverence, which 
was surprising in those days of Shakspearean ignorance, and 
shows what a delicate instinct he possessed. When the Ghost 
entered, he was held by his two friends, and made violent 
struggles to set himself free — a piece of the " business " which 
his great taste soon tempered down, as it was much more 
natural that he should remain awe-struck and motionless. 

When he played it in Dublin, he followed the established 

* Some of these old traditions were truly ab*urd, and more worthy of a 
Richardson's Show than of a Royal Theatre. Tin " first murderer's " face 
wis always chalked, and contrasted with a heavy black wig and black 
wmskers, to make him ghastly. 

/ 



256 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1763. 

unmeaning precedent of leaving out the speech to the players. 
When he came to London, he restored it ; but he always gave 
it a little too pedantically, and like a pedagogue teaching, 
instead of a philosophic [prince, carelessly speaking to his 
inferiors. Here was the weak side of Garrick, as it has been 
of so many other great actors — namely, in presenting the 
common character of a gentleman. In this, to the end of his 
life, he never quite succeeded. When the player spoke his 
speech, Garrick illustrated it by gestures, and, as it were, acted 
with him, which seemed a little mean in the son of a king. In 
his scene with Ophelia he was a little too rough and violent, 
and forget that he was the lover of Ophelia. Indeed, when he 
first acted it, there was found to be a want of softness and 
interest, and he seemed to be "a hot, testy fellow, for ever 
flying into a passion," even when there was no provocation in 
the world. Thus, when Polonius came to tell him the actors 
were arrived, and he stops his mouth hastily, it was done too 
roughly and impatiently for a generous, kindly nature such as 
Hamlet's was. Again, when Polonius speaks of using the actors 
according to their deserts, there was the same pettish and 
excited way of contradicting him. 
The panegyric on man — 

11 How noble in reason ! " 

was delivered with a fine enthusiasm and energy. His self- 
upbraidings of cowardice and pusillanimity in the soliloquy, 
where he plans testing his uncle to the quick — the mixture of 
contempt and derision — were beyond measure effective. The 
deliberation, and sudden change in his voice and look, when he 
said — 

" I have heard 
That guilty creatures, sitting at a play " — 

were so marked as to hold the audience breathless while he 
unfolded the plan. He rested on the words " landless villain ! " 
with a pathetic softness and regret that went to every heart 
In the famous soliloquy — 

"To be, or not to be," 

his play of expression, the variety and change of voice, yet all 
not exceeding the bounds of a simple meditation, was one of 
the most remarkable features of the performance. He seemed 
to make all stages of the train of thought quite clear and dis- 
tinct It was a pity he did not break through the stale old 
tradition of Hamlet's pulling out the two miniatures, instead of 
the truer notion suggested by Da vies, of having them on the 
tapestry — or the better idea still, of seeing them with his 



1763.] A ROUND OF CHARACTERS. 257 

mind's eye only. Nothing could be finer than his playing in 
this scene. His reproofs to his mother were stern, yet 
tinged with a filial respect, and regret for one so misled. 
This was varied by his address to the Ghost, full of awe, and 
yet of grief and tenderness. His eyes followed the spirit as 
it passed by, and expressed all these passions. Then came a 
change to sternness, as if he had awakened from a dream. 
When he said, " Some must laugh, while some must weep," 
&c, he was fond of a bit of questionable . stage business — 
namely, walking backwards and forwards, and twirling a 
white handkerchief all the time. With the Gravediggers, he 
was, at first, too sententious, and had too much the manner 
of a lecturer. This was pointed out to him, and he became 
much more digagi and natural. When he was told the grave 
was for Ophelia, he at first took an odd view, and said, with 
seeming unconcern and surprise, "How, the fair Ophelia?" 
Instead of aiming at the rather sepulchral character of aspect 
which is the conventional type, he came on with colour in his 
cheeks, and omitted the pompous music to which the prince 
used to make his entry. All these little points show a happy 
instinct, and a hostility to the strained, unnatural, and buckram 
stage traditions which he inherited. 

Some of his pronunciation, too, was a little uncertain. It 
was objected to him in Dublin that he did not give the letter a 
its full open sound (as in cat) ; but that he said maytron instead 
of mattron, Isrel instead of Israel, villin instead of villain, wind 
instead of wind; and, above all, that he sounded appal as if it 
were the word appeal. This once exposed Quin to a droll mis- 
take ; who, at rehearsal one day, gave orders to his Roman 
Guards that they should "lower their fasces;" and this word 
being pronounced in his theatrical fashion, like " faces," every 
head was bent. At his first performing, too, he talked of 
tropically; but on its being shown to him that the o was the 
short Greek o (not u), he at once amended it. 

Towards the close of Garrick's career, an intelligent German, 
named Lichtenberg, with excellent powers of observation and 
description, came to England on his travels, and made a perfect 
study of the great actor, in most of his leading parts.* What 
struck him was the perfect ease, the free play, and grace of 
every limb and muscle, which he had seen only in Frenchmen 
who had lived about Courts. When Garrick came on the stage, 
without having to speak, or express by his face or action any 

* Mr. Tom Taylor first called attention to these remaikable sketches in 
the early numbers of the " Victoria Magazine." 

S 



258 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1763. 

particular emotion, even then, he drew away attention, by his 
ur of life, and animation, and interest. He was still part of 
" the action " that was going on. The other actors beside him, 
seemed puppets. The new observer, putting him beside what 
he had seen, was struck, even at that late stage, by his infinite 
superiority : — 

" The fall of a pin might be heard throughout the house. All at once, 
just as Hamlet walks down the stage, somewhat far back and to the left, 
with his face from the audience, Horatio starts and exclaims : * Look, my 
lord, it comes ! ' and he points to the right, where the Ghost stands motion- 
less, before any one had become aware of it At these words Hamlet turns 
suddenly round, at the same moment flinging himself two or three steps 
backwards. His knees give way under him ; his hat falls to the ground ; 
the two arms, particularly the left, are thrust forward, the hand as high as 
the head : the right arm is more bent, and the hand is lower ; the fingers 
are apart, the mouth is open. Thus he stands, in a graceful yet fixed 
attitude, as if petrified, supported by his friends, who, more acquainted 
with the apparition, fear he will fall. In his whole mien there is so much 
terror and amazement, that even before he spoke, a feeling of awe came 
over me. The almost fearful stillness of the house probably contributed 
not a little to this state of mind. At length he says, with tremulous voice 
and expiring breath, ' Angels and ministers of grace, defend us ; ' words 
which crown a scene, the grandest and most terrible of which the stage is 
capable. The Ghost beckons him. You should see how he works himself 
free of his friends. The Ghost goes off the stage. Hamlet remains a few 
moments still, with his 6word outstretched, to increase the distance 
between them. At last, when the Ghost is no longer visible, he begins 
slowly to follow it, pausing now and then, his sword still held out before 
him, his eyes fixed upon the Ghost, breathless, his hair dishevelled ; and 
thus he too disappears behind the scenes. You may imagine the burst of 
applause which accompanies this exit. It begins with the disappearance 
of the Ghost, and lasts till Hamlet quits the stage. . . . ." 

The reader will think of Partridge at the play. When he 
came to say — 

" Break, my heart, for I must hold my — tongue,'* 

his arm fell violently, as if to give force to the word " tongue ;" 
but tears came, and he could hardly pronounce it. Thus there 
was a pause for a second, before it was heard. This was art 
indeed. 

In the early part of the play, he was in the ordinary "French* 
dress of the day, and in mourning. With the first stage of 
madness, he appeared with his hair disordered, part of it on 
one shoulder ; one of his black stockings fallen down, showing 
a white under-stocking, and a red garter, with a bow, down 
also on the calf. With one arm supporting his elbow, and his 
eyes on the ground, he spoke — " To be, or not to be," in a low 
'voice ; yet every word was perfectly distinct. 

His Macbeth was a no less astonishing performance, and 
evidently new to the town. It was remarked that he threw a 



1763.] A ROUND OF CHARACTERS. 259 

certain and dejected air over the whole, instead of the daring 
and intrepidity, and perhaps cant and bluster, of the older 
conception. It was full of long pauses, "heart hearings," 
piteous looks, with "a slack carriage of body." This shows 
how delicate and refined was his colouring of a part Thus — 
" Prithee, peace ; I dare do all that may become a man," was 
spoken in the same dejected key. 

More admirable was his marking the shades of progress from 
eager ambition, kindled in him by the Witches, to his gradual 
yielding to his wife's persuasions. But he was supported by 
the incomparable Pritchard, and their united exertion long 
made the play the most wonderful exhibition of dramatic 
power. 

Pritchard and Cibber he almost trained in his own princi- 
ples, and they caught a great deal of his manner. He took 
enormous pains to make Mrs. Pritchard read the letter naturally 
in Lady Macbeth* 

Long after, when Garrick was at a little Italian Court, and 
the Duke asked for a specimen of his powers, he threw himself 
into the attitude of Macbeth looking at the visionary dagger. 
The horror and vivid sense of real seeing, marked in his won- 
derful face, perfectly conveyed the meaning of the whole situ- 
ation to the foreign company who were present t In the scene 
after the murder, his acting could not be surpassed. Even the 
description causes a thrill His distraction and agonising 
horrors were set off by his wife's calmness and confidence. 
The beginning of the scene, after the murder, was conducted 
in terrifying whispers. Their looks and actions supplied the 
place of words. The poet here only gives an outline to the 
consummate actor — " I have done the deed, . . . Did'st thou 
not hear a noise ? " " When ? did not you speak ? " . . . The 
expression of despair and agony and horror, as Garrick looked 
at his bloody hands, was long remembered. His face seemed 
to grow whiter every instant So, too, when the sudden 
knocking at the door came, his disorder and confusion and 

* One little green-room anecdote is a proof of the wonderful effect he pro* 
duoed, even if we accept it with more than the ordinary large grain of salt 
necessary in the reception of theatrical anecdotes. He was one night 
playing it, and when he said to the murderer in the banquet scene, " There 
w blood upon thy face," the other, as he acknowledged himself, was so 
thrown off his guard by the intensity of the look and earnestness of the 
manner, that he put his hand up, with a start, and said, " Is there, by 
O — d ? " thinking he had broken a blood-vessel. 

+ Quin's almost ludicrous way of performing this famous scene has been 
mentioned — a series of violent " clutches," one after the other, in various 
directions, as though he were catching a blue-bottle fly. 

S 2 



260 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARMCK. [1763. 

hopeless grief, and his reply — 

" 'Tis a rough night," 

was in a tone of affected unconcern, under which could be 
discovered fear and misery. These were exquisite strokes, 
altogether new to the audience. In his behaviour to the Ghost, 
he was, on the first nights, too subdued and faint when he 
said — 

" A vaunt, and quit my sight ! " 

— still carrying out his idea of Macbeth being utterly oppressed, 
and overcome by the sense of his guilt. But an anonymous 
critic pointed out to him that Macbeth was not a coward ; and 
with that good sense and modesty which always distinguished 
him, he adopted the advice. 

It is curious to think that even twenty years later, another 
anonymous critic wrote to him, to object to this amended view, 
and said that Macbeth should show signs of terror. But Garrick 
recollected his old critic's argument, and reproduced it in 
answer to his new one. " My notion," he says, " as well as 
execution, of the line are, I fear, opposite to your opinion. 
Should Macbeth sink into pusillanimity, I imagine that it would 
hurt the character, and be contrary to the intentions of Shak- 
speare. The first appearance of the spirit overpowers hira 
more than the second ; but even before it vanishes at first, 
Macbeth gains strength. ' If thou canst nod, speak too,' must 
be spoke with horror, but with a recovering mind ; and in the 
next speech with him, he cannot pronounce ' Avaunt, and quit 
my sight ! ' without a stronger exertion of his powers. I cer- 
tainly, as you say, recollect a degree of resolution, but I never 
advance an inch; for, notwithstanding my agitation, my feet are 
immovable." This admirable analysis shows how thoroughly 
the great actor had studied the character. " Out, brief candle ! " 
was given, accompanied by two starts, and a strong action of 
the hand. A " prodigious " emphasis was laid on the " was " 
in the line " And such an instrument I was to use ; " the pro- 
priety of which he defended in the same happy way. The 
vision represents what toas to be done, " not what is doing, or 
what had been done ; but in many passages like this, all will 
depend upon the manner of the actor." And in the gorgeous 
passage where he thought how — 

" this my hand will rather 

The multitudinous seas incarnadine, 
Making the green one red," 

he at first gave it as some actors " pointed " it, " Making the 



1763.] A ROUND OF CHARACTERS. 261 

green one, red;" but afterwards adopted the true reading, 
" Making the green — one red." 

In this play he was fond of suspensions, which the coarse 
ears of the audience, not attuned to delicate modulations of 
voice or emphasis, would at times take for full stops. Thus, 
in "Hamlet," they insisted that he made a pause in one 
line, " I think it was to see — my mother's wedding." So, too, 
in "Macbeth," at the line "Plead like angels — trumpet- 
tongued." The critics objected that by this pause the epithet 
" trumpet-tongued " was transferred to the " virtues that 
came before. But Garrick could defend himself : — " I really 
think the force of these four exquisite lines and a half, would 
be shortly lost for want of an aspiration at angels. The epithet 
may agree with either, but I think it more elegant to give it to 
the virtues, and the sense is the same." It was objected to him 
also that he put a pause improperly in the lines — 

" My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, 
Shakes bo my single — state of man." 

" If I do so," said Mr. Garrick, " it is a glaring fault ; for the 
sense is imperfect. But my idea is this : Macbeth is absorbed 
in thought, and struck with horror df the murder, though but 
in idea ; and it naturally gives him a slow, tremulous under- 
tone of voice. And though it might appear that I stopped at 
every word in the line, more than usual, my intention was but 
to paint the horror of Macbeth's mind, and keep the voice sus- 
pended a little." This is reasonable and original, and shows a 
nicety in Garrick's conception. He was always partial to this 
" trick " of suspension. 

In preparing to play for the stage he left out a scene or two, 
and pruned others, but with great judiciousness and tender- 
ness. This was very different from the vulgar " mauling " of 
Davenant or Cibber. But at the end, with less taste, he put 
in a speech for himself. He knew that the convulsive actions 
and gasps of the dying man afforded him one of his most effec- 
tive openings, and he could not resist the temptation. Indeed, 
he almost " overdid " these spasms ; and Foote, in his " Tea," 
used maliciously to "takeoff" the great actor's long-drawn- 
out convulsions, as in Lothario — 

" Adorns my fall, 
And chea-chea-chea-chea-cheara my heart in dy-dy-ing ! " 

The wits — always in ambuscade for the successful man — 
exercised their pens on these changes. Garrick did not relish 
this reception, and, a little alarmed, began a rather absurd 
series of tactics to which for many years he adhered, in the 



262 THE LIFE OF DAVID CULHRICK. [1763. 

belief that by such coquetting, he could deprecate the hostility 
of his enemies, and the ridicule of the indifferenL His device 
was to anticipate criticism by an overdone attack upon him- 
self, in which the exaggeration was to be his defence and his 
protection. With this view a pamphlet was sent out, with the 
following title : " An Essay on Acting : in which will be con- 
sidered the behaviour of a certain faulty and fashionable actor/ 
and it was introduced with this motto, from " Tom Thumb *': — 



u So have I seen a pigmy strut. 

Mouth and rait in a giant** robe." 
*0, Macbeth has murdered G k." 

The &n-<1\.>int fault-finder then objects to some trifling 
blemishes of costume. Matheth and Banquo should change 
dresses ; for Machtih should have scarlet and gold lace, and not 
silver lace — not "a tye-wig" but a "0^0^" and a showier 
hat When he comes in, in his night-gown, it should not be a 
" flowered * one. The Ghost, too, should not wear a " tye-wig," 
for thus the address, " Why dost thou shake thy gory locks t " 
became a little absurd. The Ghost was altogether played 
badly, and was ludicrously slow in stalking off the stage ; and 
it was suggested that Garrick should follow him off step by 
step — a hint which he later adopted in playing Richard with 
Mrs. Siddons. It was Garrick who first introduced all that 
garnishing of his plays with little incidents and accidents, 
which gave so much more the air of life. When the Ghost 
came back again, he dropped his wine-glass on the ground. 
But the stage banquet was of the most meagre sort, and the 
board of a great noble would hardly be set out with only a few 
apples and oranges. In this brochure he dwells on the unsuit- 
ableness of his own height, calling himself " our puppet hero," 
and adding that the idea of Macbeth required a figure six feet 
high, and " an Irish leg." This was an artful shape of dis- 
praise ; for it was a mere physical imperfection, which it was 
only the greater credit for his surpassing gifts to triumph over. 
He was always a little sensitive about this matter of height, 
and thought that by perpetually himself alluding to " our little 
hero," and " little David," to draw off and disarm ridicule.* 

This great actor and Mrs. Siddons were often so affected by 
the emotions of their parts as to weep and sob. No one, 
indeed, was so filled with the true and correct instincts of 
playing. Here was his golden principle which every actor 
should lay to heart : — " I pronounce that the greatest strokes of 

* There can be no doubt that it was by his " inspiration " there was 
written a letter some four years later — 1746— on this particular point of 
size, in which he is described as being of " elegant figure." 



1763.] A ROUND OF CHARACTERS. 263 

genius have been unknown to the actor himself 9 till circumstances 
and the warmth of the scene have sprung the mine, as it were, 
as much to his own surprise as that of the audience."* 

Another of his characters was the King in the Second Part 
of " Henry the Fourth. " As his fine eyes were turned up to 
Heaven at the exclamation, "How I came by the Crown, 
O God, forgive me!" the anguish and terror in his face went to 
the hearts of all Hotspur, in the First Part, did not at all 
suit him. He wanted the physique, and always failed in parts 
where soldierly bluntness was required. To improve it, he 
restored a scene in the third act that had always been cut out, 
but found it ineffectual. When the tedious but time-honoured 
" business " of Falstaff's getting Hotspur on his shoulders was 
being carried on, Garrick seemed like a pigmy near Quin.t 
His voice was too flexible for the rant and defiance required 
by the part. His dress was truly absurd, a laced frock and 
Eamillies tye-wig. 

Garrick had played two parts in "King John," the King 
and Faulconbridge. But here again Garrick found himself over- 
weighted by the latter part, to which there was the same ob- 
jections as to Hotspur — its military frankness and fearlessness 
— points in which Garrick was always deficient. To make 
up for his personal defects of height and general bearing, 
Garrick had recourse to a little artifice which may seem 
trifling, but which, in one of his nervous temperament, 
as to all that concerned the scene, became excusable. He 
selected for his Faulconbridge a poor pitiful Scotchman out of 
his troupe, called Simpson, whose shrunk and miserable ap- 
pearance became an excellent foil These little shifts were 
pardonable, but scarcely dignified. 

It was remarked that in Faulconbridge 1 s defiance to Salisbury 
— " You had better gall the devil, Salisbury " — Garrick pro- 
duced no effect at all. He was weak and poor. At the same 
time, these "soldier-like" parts are most difficult As the 
King he was far more effective. Nothing could be finer than 
the gloomy and despairing air he threw over the later scenes ; 
especially in the interview with Hubert, where the King, by 
indirect looks and hints, solicits Hubert to murder Arthur. 
Quin's solemn and mysterious whisperings — yet perfectly 
distinct — sent a thrill through the audience ; yet ho somehow 
fell short. Mossop's lusty declamation was superior. Sheri- 

* This subject has been much discussed of late, since my friend, Mr. 
Walter Pollock's republication of Diderot's well-known esaay. 

t On the other hand, it was ludicrous to see Quin tugging and struggling 
with the tall figure of Barry. 



264 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1763. 

dan's passion and powerful declamation gave him an advantage 
which is intelligible. But in the pathetic part, when Hubert 
came in with news of Arthur's death, and showed the King his 
own authority for what he had done, Garrick asserted himself 
before all competitors. The air of being utterly overwhelmed; 
his speechless actions; his hands crushing up the fatal warrant; 
his grand eyes turned to Heaven, and filled with despair, and 
agony, and terror, made a splendid picture. So, too, in his 
dying scene. The agonies of a man expiring were marked in 
his face, and every word of Faulcortbridge y s story seemed to give 
him a fresh stab of agony. The whole struck terror and 
horror into the hearts of the spectators. Such success and 
mastery, in so grand a part, should surely dispose of the 
charge that ho forced it on Sheridan, to secure Faulambridge 
for himself. 

In that most pathetic play, which is all tears and tenderness 
and passion, clothed in the richest and most melodious poetry 
— Otway's touching " Venice Preserved " — it is curious to note 
that he did not at first choose the greater and more varied 
part of Jaffier; and many of his friends, even in the first few 
months, pointed out to him this mistake. But as soon as he 
sat down in the manager's chair at Dniry Lane, he perhaps 
recollected his friends' remonstrance, and took MpJaffier; not 
wholly for the reason given by Davies, because Barry was so 
much tailor. " I will not bully the monument," Eoscius said, 
though such " trifles light as air " had often a serious effect on 
Garrick's sensitiveness. The truth was, Barry's character had 
always been Pierre. Any one who wished to see the passions 
purged by grief and terror, according to the Greek definition, 
would have a true feast in this most melodious, tender, and 
enchanting play, every chord of which thrills to the mourn- 
fullest, yet sweetest melody. 

" I've now not fifty ducats in the world ; 
Tet still I am in love, and pleased with ruin," &c. 

When he delivered this despairing passage, and others like 
it> there was not a dry eye in the house. Indeed, it was 
noted that he called on that harmonious name, " Oh, Belvidera/" 
with a sort of wail that went to every heart. When, too, she 
was urging him to betray his fellows — it was Cither that 
so urged him — the struggle in Garrick's heart was made so 
plain by his wonderful changes of expression, that even a deaf 
person among the audience could have almost understood 
what was going on. The effect of his phrenzy, when he 
saw his friend in imagination suffering torture, sent a thrill 



1763.] A ROUND OF CHARACTERS. 265 

of horror through the house, who fancied from his face that 
they saw what he saw. Stage custom at this date required that 
the two ghosts of Pierre and Jaffier should appear, in tangible 
shape, to Belvidera, and it is a pity it was not 6arrick , s taste — 
but Barry's long after — that had courage to abolish this appa- 
rition, and make them apparent only to the " mind's eye " of 
Belvidera. There were other absurdities which were later 
abolished. Indeed, nothing can be conceived more ridiculous, 
or more inflexible, than these stage traditions. They are 
more absurd and more difficult to " scotch " than legal ones. It 
was a sacred custom that, when Pierre addressed the con- 
spirators — "Or thou! with that lean, withered, wretched 
face ! " — a ghastly shrunken object should come forward, and 
excite the derision of the audience. So with the Apothecary in 
"Romeo," who now religiously "makes up" into a sort of 
pantomime caricature. To this hour we hear of " gags," and 
buffooning interpolations, actually written out-and-out, and 
handed down from one " comic countryman " to another. 

In another play of Otway's, " The Orphan," and which is a 
good deal in the same impassioned key, he took Chamont, 
a part that had hitherto been despised by previous actors. 
This was not so surprising when they could set down Macbeth 
as a poor acting character. Garrick's delicate sense saw what 
could be made of Chamont, whose character offered him fine 
openings for what was his strength — contrast, changes from 
rage to calmness, from roughness to tenderness, and from these 
passions again to jealousy. Romeo, as we have seen, was one 
of the parts he resigned. It was one of his most unequal 
characters, and a laboured success. It was curious that the 
point in which he was considered most effective was in the bit 
of " sham Shakspeare " at the end of the dying scene. 

It might be thought, perhaps, that the grand tumult of ten- 
derness and jealousy in " Othello " would have made that play 
a fine opening for his genius to work on ; yet when we come 
to think of the coal-black face, with which it was played then, 
and the short figure, no ability would be sufficient to get over 
such impediments to heroic conception. It is said he only 
attempted it two or three times, and was conscious of the 
failure, for he never repeated it. A gentleman who saw the 
performance gave an opinion of it a day or two later, which 
was duly reported to Garrick, who always wished to hear 
criticisms on himself, and profit by them. He was frankly 
told that it was only a fair performance. The elocution of the 
well-known speech to the Senate was faultless; but it was 
accompanied by too many gestures, which were inconsistent 



256 the Lira or pavtd gasejcc [1761 

with the mrur*2 oi-isrrazd di^iirr o* die situation. In all 
tie piss^ges.. t.:*x wh^re Lis jesJ>usy was at work, the same 
fault wis ts ;•::«*! there Wirg loo raary ~ little windngs and 
gesticulativris of the body," which Lad a petty air. 

Though Quins szr^zt as>i il]-natur>ed critique was going 
round, ar.d must from its severirr have sailed Garrick, vet he 
was not the man to yield to a smart thirty where bis judgment 
was concerned. It is more likelv that this true cnide whis- 
pered that his strength, neither physical nor moral, lay in the 
part, and that it were wiser to resign it. Later, to aid Barry's 
benefit, he tried the part of I '?\ 

He played abundance of smaller characters — sketches rather 
than characters — perhaps for training. He did the Ghost in 
<s Hamlet," we may suppose with the traditional %i listen shoes * 
and tall plume, which had come down from Booth's day; Cjskr 
Pearmiin in "The Kecrniting Officer," though he very soon 
took up C'lj'tain Ph'r*\e in the same play ; and Fondkirife in 
"The Old Bachelor/' In this, it was said, he overdid the 
humorous business, " trotting about too much." 

Lusty nan was another of his favourite parts. An old play- 
goer, who remembered the great actor during his later years 
of acting, and who furnished his recollections* some five-and- 
thirty years ago, once described his first impressions. He was 
a young Irish student just come to London, and he was looking 
forward eagerly to see the famous player of whom he had heard 
so much. He noticed that for the first two acts, during which 
the hero does not appear, there was a general buzz and inat- 
tention ; but the instant the old Lusignan came on, there was 
the most rapt attention — a pin could have been heard to fall 
The young spectator was astonished and confounded by the 
excellence of what he saw. As he said, the idea in his mind 
all through was an utter unconsciousness of Garrick ; it was 
the old King himself, with whose troubles he became identified. 
Every tone, look, gesture, was in harmony, and carried out the 
plot and character. He was struck also with the exquisite 
elocution, so varied, so changing, so expressive, and yet so 
unstudied and unconventional Yet this was in the last days 
of the actor, when he was close on sixty years old. In comedy, 
too, the same spectator was equally impressed. There was tho 
most buoyant humour, yet not a particle of buffoonery. It 
was all regulated, and regulated by the most perfect propriety. 
The wonderful eye, and its strange power, had still the old 
charm ; and its spell was so strong, that he seemed often to 



• In » Blackwood's Magazine.' 



1763.] A ROUND OF CHARACTERS. 267 

disconcert and "put out" the other actors by fixing it on 
them. So buoyant, so racy and natural, was his flow of 
comedy, that his fellows, by contrast, became quite awkward 
near him. 

He never acted " Julius Caesar," though he often talked of 
it, wishing to play Cassius. The parts were even said to have 
been got ready; but he was always cautious in experiments of 
this sort, the result of which might be critical He had actually 
transcribed the character from Plutarch. And this was the 
nice distinction he made. He readily took a part in one of 
Whitehead or Miller's dreary pieces, and would do his best for 
it ; its mediocre success or languid failure would make little 
matter. But with a play like " Julius Caesar," and a character 
like Cassius, it was wholly different. It was a trial, a test of 
strength; and at the news of its being in rehearsal, the critics 
would be sharpening their pens. For the " Bang and No 
King " of Beaumont and Fletcher, he had the same attraction 
and the same indecision. The parts were given out, and he 
was to have played Arbaces, a fine part, alternating in perfect 
whirls of passion and repentance. But with every fresh read- 
ing in the green-room the manager liked it less and less. He 
seemed to think it was " ticklish," and might escape the intelli- 
gence of the audience, among whom there were many Davieses ; 
and at last it was given up. So was it with other plays : so 
was it with the fine part of Lord Ogleby, which the same hesi- 
tation prevented his taking. Never had the stage such a loss, 
and he bitterly regretted the sacrifice he had made. 

All this was but one side of his genius. That portrait of 
Reynolds, where he was placed between Tragedy and Comedy 
(and which the French print-sellers transformed into " L'homme 
entre le Vice ei la Veriu y \ was no empty compliment. Carefully 
reviewing the traditions, criticisms, descriptions of this great 
actor's acting, it is almost difficult to pronounce on which side 
lay his strength ; for — great, new, and original as was his 
tragic force, which had taken London by storm, in Eichard — 
the freshness, broad solid humour, and healthy comedy dis- 
covered in him later, was no less new, striking, and original. 
Abel Drvgger and King Lear were separated from each other 
by a gulf ; and no one man, it would seem, could dream of 
giving even a hint, that would be effective, of both : yet these 
were his masterpieces. Abel would have made him the greatest 
comedian of his day, as Lear had made him the greatest tra- 
gedian. It was unsurpassed. No actor before or since has 
ever been able to snatch up the comic and throw down the 
tragic mask alternately. There have been, indeed, within our 



268 THE LIFE OF DAVID GABBICK. [1761 

time, players of a grotesque school, in a special class of parts 
imported from France, which runs mainly upon the changes 
and turns of old men, semi-comic and semi-pathetic ; but from 
France cannot, unhappily, be brought a genius like Frederick 
Lemaltre, and with us the whole becomes a mere trick of imi- 
tation. The true test would be to cast any of this school in an 
heroic part, like Lear, or Richard, or Hamlet; the result would 
be almost ludicrous. 

What a round of comedy characters, and what a round of 
true comedies — what shades, too, degrees, and divisions in his 
genius; for here was Druggcr, of a broad, rich, original 
humour ; Archer and Banger, dashing heroes of airy comedy 
— light, elegant, and full of a gaiety the stage knows not 
now ; with Sir John Brute, the boisterous, roystering, roaring 
rake ; Leon and Bayes — this latter a whole treasury of varied 
fun, humour, and satire: 

Bayes — that capital bit of burlesque — was one of his freest* 
most natural, and spirited characters. There, his wonderful 
strength of comedy, which lay in variety and vivacity, had 
boundless play. Gibber, the son, was "in possession" of 
this part, and had brought in " hobby horses," and such addi- 
tions ; but spoiled the whole with grimaces and tumbling, and 
arrant buffoonery. Garrick took a very different view. He 
was quite in earnest, seemed to think the whole quite a serious 
matter, and to be rather taken aback at the merriment of the 
audience. This is one of the secrets of humour ; but at that 
time it was a new revelation.* If he was the Whitfield of the 
stage, he could now seize the opportunity to spread his doc- 
trines, and exercise the wholesome power of ridicule in the 
direction of reform. When his actors in the tragedy were 
rehearsing before him, Bayes checked and corrected them, and 
showed them how to deliver their speeches, in what he called 
the true theatrical manner. Thus he would retire to the top 
of the stage, and drawing his left arm across his breast, and 
resting his right elbow on it, would raise his finder to his nose. 
Then nodding his head solemnly, and striding largely, would 

* Gibber dressed it as a coxcomb or extravagant " fine gentleman.*' At 
first Garrick took this view, and in a little water-colour (in the British 
Museum) we can see him in a huge, flowing, exaggerated white wig, a scarlet 
coat turned up with black, and long gold peaks at the corners of his waist- 
coat ; but he afterwards dressed himself with more absurdity, in a shabby 
coat that had ones been very fine, a little hat, a large brown wig, high 
topped shoes with red heels, a mourning sword, and " cut fingered gloves." 
For a time he had worn a large grotesque hat, which covered the fore-top 
of the wig ; and, at first, he omitted the spectacles, in reading the inscrip- 
tion on the coffin. 



1763.] A ROUND OF CHARACTERS. 269 

some slowly down with long stretches, declaiming as he did 

30 — 

" So boar and sow, when any storm is nigh, 
Snuff up and smell it gathering in the sky. 
Boar beckons sow to trot in chestnut groves, 
And there consummate their unfinished loves. 
Pensive in mind, they wallow all alone, 
And snort and gruntle to each other's moan." 

The declamation of these lines was so faithful, that the 
audience was never a second in recognising its stage hero, 
Delane. Presently he would change to a kind of soft, lan- 
guishing strain, but without the least relief or expression : 



How strange a captive I am grown of late ; 
Shall I my love accuse or blame my fate ! " 



And everybody knew Hale, the official lover of the stage.* 
Then came another change. He fell into a tremulous raven- 
like tone of speech, now shrill and sharp, and now solemn : — 

" Tour bed of love from dangers I will free, 
And most from love of any future bee. 
And when your heart-strings shall with pity crack, 
With empty arms I'll bear you on my back — 
A pick-a -pack, a pick-a-pack ! " 

This bombast was meant for Ryan, one of the veterans, who 
had played in Mr. Addison's " Cato." The whole was original, 
and an idea entirely his own ; it was a rough way of reform- 
ing. It is to Garrick's honour, that when some time later the 
actors remonstrated with him on the injury he was doing them, 
he gave up his imitations, and never resumed them. Such an 
expostulation might have in vain been addressed to Foote. f 
Some of the touches in Baycs were capital; nothing was 

* Audiences used to show in a very marked way they knew who was 
intended. When Wilkinson gave his imitations in Dublin, gentlemen in 
the boxes would call out with delight, " Sparks — Sparks of London," &c, 
or other names, according to what each bit of mimicry was intended for. 

t It was truly delicate of Foote to select the infirmity of Delane for 
ridicule, who was said to have only one eye. He brought him on as a 
beggar-man in St. Paul's Churchyard — " would you bestow your pity on a 
poor blind man ?" Ryan had met with an accident in his mouth, which 
gave his utterance a peculiar discordance. This infirmity was not fair 
game; he was held up as a razor-grinder, "Razors to grind, scissors to 
grind, penknives to grind." Woodward was a more difficult subject to 
ridicule; but he could say something bitter at his expense. He was 
brought on as Sir Fopling — " Wherever I go, they say, there goes a gentle* 
man — upon my life a gentleman — and when you have said a gentleman — 

why — why " here Foote assumed his own voice — "you have said more 

than it true." This is characteristic, and it is fortunate, and must illus- 
trative of each nature, that we can thus set them side by side in the same 
part. 



270 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1763. 

. better than the " contempt for Mr. Smith's judgment," and 
his astonishment and distress at the players having gone away 
to dinner. Foote made his piece a sort of peg to hang his per- 
sonalities on. Garrick merely varied his, with an " occasional " 
allusion. But here again set the two players side by side. 
Foote dragged in wretched creatures, like Squires or Can- 
ning, or some more wretched still, like Mrs. Dodd. But 
Garrick finds that one of his company, Hurst, has lately set up 
in the spirit trade. " Sir," he said, extemporising as Mr. Bayes, 
"you are an actor, and I understand a brandy merchant; now 
let me advise you to put less spirit in your liquors, and more 
in your acting, and you will preserve the health of your friends, 
and be more relished by the public." This was a good-natured 
advertisement, and had success. 

Sir John Brute was another metamorphosis; the audience 
had seen him, in nothing like it before. As soon as he entered, 
his very look bespoke the change. He contrived to turn the 
deep recesses of his eyes into rough caverns. He became the 
very personification of rudeness and coarseness. His very 
voice changed into hoarse, sulky tones. Zoflany has handed 
him down to us in the scene with the watch, where the savage 
husband, disguised in woman's clothes, is busy " thrashing the 
watch " — a masterly picture — in which the likeness is admir- 
ably preserved, and yet there is a hint of its being the face of 
a coarse and dreadful woman.* There was always something 
delicate, that distinguished Garrick's acting from that of his 
rivals. Though Quin had a great reputation in the part — indeed, 
he said Garrick would be only " Master Jacky Brute," not the 
manly Sir John — it was noted that in the "raking" and 
drunken scenes, he lost all trace of the baronet, whereas 
Garrick still retained something of the gentleman, or man of 
condition. In the bacchanalian orgie with Lord Rake and the 
others, it was a perfect triumph of roaring spirit and intoxica- 
tion. It increased every instant There was infinite variety 
in his rioting, which had an electric effect, and kept the house 
in a roar. His marked features — the eyebrows, and his eyes 
— never ceased to play. The corners of his mouth were drawn 
down, as the fit increased, throughout the whole play, which 
gave him a most drunken and debauched look. He never 
forgot himself a moment ; and as the drunkenness increased, 
the mouth opened more and more ; with more drunkenness, 
his wig came down more and more over his face, which became 

* This fine and spirited picture is in the possession of Mr. Hill, of Rich- 
mond. 



1763.] A ROUND OF CHARACTERS. 271 

flushed, with a " greasy " air of affection. The scene in his 
wife's room was marvellous in its detail ; his leaning heavily 
against the door, his swimming head, his tipsy efforts at pro- 
nunciation of hard words, " and the way in which he moves 
his lips, so that one cannot tell whether he is chewing or tasting, 
smelling or speaking " — all this detail in the representation were 
carefully noted by the acute Lichtenbcrg. The points of cos- 
tume were not forgotten — the waistcoat open, garters loose, 
the shoes not paired, and a sort of a clodhopper " bill-hook," 
which was struck on the floor to emphasize every word. 

He was not quite so good in the " closet scene " with Con- 
slant and Heartfree. But taking it all in all, it must have been 
his most characteristic and spirited part, and the one which 
must have delighted an audience most.* Lord Bath, however, 
thought Quin the best Sir John, and placed Garrick second, 
and Gibber the last and worst. What a picee it must have 
been when played by Garrick, Mrs. Cibber, and Mrs. Abing- 
ton ! Old playgoers looked back to it with a sort of wistful 
rapture. " Oh, how perfectly," says Mr. Cradock, " was that 
comedy at that time performed ! " 

The picture by Zoffany of his Abel Drugger, clear, solid, 
rich, and firm, like the humour it represents, is one of the 
most characteristic of dramatic portraits. The short, dumpy 
figure, with the shock hair and bullet head, the round, red 
face, the oafish grin, the fancied slyness, and sense of conscious 
humour, are given with the delicacy of a photograph and the 
humour of a Hogarth. He seems almost about to speak, and 
is bursting with stupid enjoyment as he fills his tobacco-pipe. 
Merely to look at this face gives us a hint of what his playing 
was. We can see him, again, looking from a window, with a 
spade under his arm, with the same absurd expression of 
boorish humour and self-sufficient cunning ; and again, with 
his coat off and a sort of stable-boy look, offering to fight. 
Like his Hamlet, he had prepared this character by diligent 
study, and many private rehearsals, before friends like Mack- 
lin. The most curious part was, that it was already a character 
familiar to the public, and in possession, as it were, of the 
younger Cibber ; and yet, with wonderful inspiration, he struck 

* It was during its performance when at this delicate passage of " fall* 
iog asleep/' that Cervetto, the leader of his orchestra (known to the gods 
as " Nosey"), gave a loud yawn, which at once provoked the facile hilarity 
of the gallery, and spoiled the situation. Garrick sent for him to the 
green-room, and with infinite sweetness expostulated with him on thus 
destroying his best bit, and with perfect good-humour accepted the rather 
comic excuse that the offender always yawned when he was particularly 
pleased. 



272 THE LIFB OF DAVID G.UUtlCK. [1763. 

out a new idea, and made it altogether a new character, and 
the true character. This was, indeed, what he was to do with 
every character. Drugger in Cibber's hands was a grimacing 
clown, that buffooned, and grinned, and " gagged," as it is 
called, at the galleries; it was all "squinting and winking," 
and tumbling of the most wretched sort. One of the critics 
of the time described very graphically Garrick's first entry 
— "his dread of offending the Doctor, his sa3 7 ing nothing, 
his gradual stealing in further and further, his impatience to 
be introduced, and his joy to see his friend Face." They 
thought the whole "ridiculous beyond conception." When he 
first opens his mouth the features of his face seem, "as it 
were, to drop upon his tongue: it is all caution; timorous, 
stammering, and inexpressible. When he stands under the 
conjuror to have his features examined, his teeth, his beard, 
his little finger, his awkward simplicity, and his concern, 
mixed with hope, and fear, and joy, and avarice, and good- 
nature, are beyond painting." This is all expressed in Zof- 
fany's painting. In the boxing scene he seemed to run and 
skip, now poising himself on one leg, now on another. In 
Abel Drugger, Weston's "point" was a comic faco of stupid 
awe and petrified astonishment, which excited universal mirth 
by its stolidity; but Garrick, by a play of face, expressed 
a whole tide of feelings and emotions, simplicity, exultation. 
Thus, when the astrologers made out the name Abel Drugger 
in the stars, his secret delight, his chuckling simplicity and 
complacent absurdity, were all conveyed without a word. 

One night he dropped the jar he was carrying, and his 
admirable presence of mind converted what was an accident 
into an admirable " point ; " for he affected a stolid attitude of 
innocence and indifference, so marvellous and truthful, that on 
every future occasion the audience were offended with its 
absence, and the breaking of the jar became part of the esta- 
blished "business" of the piece.* 

His Lord Townly was scarcely so free and spirited as his other 

* We can quite understand the story which Cooke bad from Dr. John- 
son, and the latter from Peter, David's brother, of the Lichfield grocer who 
came up to town with a letter to the great actor. The evening of his 
firrival he saw Garrick'* name in the bills for AM Drugytr, and went to 
the two-ahilling gallery to see him. For a time he could not believe hit 
eyes Or ears, until he was couvinced by what the people about him were 
saying. He came horns after transacting his business, without ever pre- 
twrting the letter. He was pressed on his return by David's brother aa to 
tl.- ' .son of his strange conduct, and, after some hesitation, said, "Well, 
-. ' , Mr. Qarrick, though he be your brother, he is one of the shabbiest, 
Mnatjinott pitiful hounds I ever saw in the whole course of my life," 



1763.] A ROUND OF CHARACTERS. 273 

characters. It was constrained — a constraint he always found 
in playing " a gentleman." What shall be said of his lighter 
characters ? — of his Hanger, which Mrs. Siddons, who only saw 
him at the close of his life, said, with rapture, was " delight- 
ful 1 " Of his delightful and airy conception of Benedick ? The 
eager anxiety of his look, when listening to the conversation 
about himself, was real and delicious comedy. So, too, was 
his grave reasoning himself into a resolution to fall in love 
with Beatrice, and his smirking, self -flattering air caused by her 
speech to him. " If I don't pity her, I'm a villain." Then the 
variety — the change to his gay-spirited raillery against matri- 
mony, so elegantly vivacious. By these little graces, too airy 
for the coarser grasp of preceding actors, he literally gave to 
every character he attempted the air of being an entirely 
new one. 

Don Felix, in " The Wonder," was dangerously like Kitely, 
for both are jealous characters. Yet it was marked that this 
wonderful artist made both happily distinct, and conveyed 
the nice difference between jealousy as it would affect the 
plain, sober mind of a City merchant, or disturb that of a 
gayer Spanish nobleman. There is a philosophy and instinct 
here, above the " trade " of a mere actor. In " The Wonder " 
there was always a country dance, which he danced with in- 
finite grace and agility to the end. 

It was at Bath or Tunbridge that he picked up the character 
of Lord Chalkstone — a type of the day, a debauched old noble- 
man, who, though wrung with gout and a complication of dis- 
orders of all kinds, still went through his old round of pleasure 
with indomitable spirit. His manner of walking, acting, and 
speaking was so full of detail and colour, so rich in touches all 
in keeping, that it is no wonder a clever critic said it was " the 
highest entertainment of the theatre " he ever enjoyed.* There 
is a sketch of this old nobleman, with a huge glass at his eye, 
"ogling" some one, and supposed to be saying — "Pshaw, 
d — n the gout!"t 

All this applies more to. the old, early days of his playing. 
His buoyant spirit and genius then carried him forward ; he 
had no restraint to check or make him " stiff " but that of 



* Wilkes, the same judicious observer, says justly : — " Future times will 
scarcely credit the amazing contrast between his Lear and Schoolboy, or his 
Richard and his Fribble. He gives us not resemblances, but realities. 

t Yet some might reasonably say that there is a sort of ill-luck attending 
the ridicule of human inBrmities ; and it is a little like retribution that to 
his death he was to be harassed with gout, and tortured with that more 
dreadful malady which the name of the old nobleman was made to hint at. 

T 



274 tex. ufe or BiTm gjleexx. [1763. 

juc^me'irt and gocid sense. Ii must be the hardest thing in the 
wo: ad fc»r the great actor to retain this fresh spontaaeoasness, 
in whir/h einLTiiiksm iiiid eagerness grrc a certain novelty to 
the details of each night £ performance. Bat with years comes 
the fatal upas of conventionalism; and the repetition, and 
monotony from rejietrrion, brings on the destroying "stagi- 
ness." It is easier and less fatiguing to hare by heart the old 
tricks of roioe arid gesture than to work up to an original 
eritbu-ii^-iiL So it was to be with Garrick, but to an infinitely 
lea? decree than with others. 

Grimm's own sentiments about Garrick, written to Diderot* 
are testimonies to his vast dramatic merit. He can hardly find 
words for his praise. The English, he said, were apt to exag- 
gerate absurdly the merits of their heroes ; but in this instance 
they had not in the least exceeded reality. He was struck by 
his wonderful face, and the marvellous powers of the eye. He, 
too, like other rational Frenchmen, was attracted by this new 
style of acting, which was no more than nature, as contrasted 
with the artificial chanting of their own schooL It seemed to 
him, as to others, a great discovery, that " a person should try 
and be the thing he represented." Neither was there in Gar- 
rick's wonderful face the grimaces and contortions with which 
ordinary comedians altered their expression, or imitated others. 
The Englishman, he remarked, could make for himself a new 
face ; so, too, when he was doing the dagger scene in " Mac- 
beth," and following the spectral dagger with his eyes, it struck 
the company what a handsome, inspired expression came into 
his face, instead of the traditional disagreeable contortion by 
which such an emotion would be expressed by others. 

He could not do the mere unmeaning roks of coarse fun. In 
" Rule a Wife," the old stage critics delighted in the Copper 
Captain; it was the test for every comedian. It could be 
worked on like a picture, and new readings given. Here it 
was admitted that Wilks was unrivalled. Garrick, when he 
revived the play, was much inclined to take up the Copper 
Captain, whicn he could have made a fine and varied part of ; 
but he had to choose between it and Leon, "the Wittol," and his 
excellent judgment and consideration for the interest of the 
play made him put aside this desire. 

Woodward, to whom he gave it, was long to be associated 
with the Copper Captain. Garrick is said to have rehearsed it 
several times ; but found a stumbling-block in a certain stage 
" laugh," given when the jewels are discovered to have been 
false. It was the conventional usage that there should be here 
a fit of unbounded merriment, in which Woodward revelled; 



«B» 



1763.] A ROUND OF CHARACTERS. 275 

and this he could not do to his own satisfaction. There was 
no appropriateness in it A smile would have done as well ; 
but Woodward tickled the " wittols " of the gallery, and the 
unmeaning merriment became the grand " point " of the part 
Garrick found his reward in the fine piece of comedy he gave 
in Leon. His dulness and stupidity, mixed with a sly archness, 
were admirably assumed, and not in the least overdrawn ; and 
his change to the gallant, manly bearing of the true man and 
husband, his natural dignity and firmness, and humour, were a 
triumph of acting. " I think," says Davies, " I never saw him 
more universally captivate the eyes and ears of an applauding 
theatre. The warmth of his spirit," adds the same critic, who 
is sometimes very acute and happy in his remarks, " was so 
judiciously tempered, his action so correspondent to his utter- 
ance, and his whole deportment so significant and important" 
When the Duke said, at the end of the play — " I pray you, sir, . 
use your wife well — " Garrick's sheathing of his sword, and 
most expressive look and action, as he replied, with a mixture 
of high courtesy, delicate reproof, and self-respect — "My own 
humanity will teach me this " — was a new revelation to the 
audiences of the day. 

The exuberant part of Archer was another of his delightful 
comedy parts. Ail owned that " there never had appeared so 
genteel a footman, or a complete gentleman ; the one fit to 
triumph over the pert airs of an innkeeper's fair daughter, the 
other inspired with that happy impudence, so timely corrected 
by a most profound respect, as not to be resisted by the finest 
woman in the world, languishing under the neglect of a cruel 
husband." Refinements and delicate nuances of this sort must 
read almost unintelligibly to our actors. 

The German traveller's account of the scene in the " Beaux' 
Stratagem," where Garrick was disguised as a " fine servant," 
and Weston was the miserable waiter at a miserable inn, is a 
perfect photograph. The description itself is like a bit of the 
comedy it describes : — 

" Garrick wears a brilliant light blue and silver livery, a rich laced hat 
with * red feather. His shapely calves are resplendent in white silk stock- 
ings ; hi* shoe buckles are in the heigh' of the mode ; he is altogether a 
fascinating fellow. Weston— poor devil — overloaded with his multifarious 
and diny duties, presents a perfect contrast to Garrick. He wears a sorry 
wig, with the curl taken out of it by the rain, a green jacket, which per- 
haps thirty years ago might have been cut for a wealthier paunch, red 
woollen stockings, and a green apron. Mingle) astonishment and respect- 
ful admiration overcome him at the sight of this grand gentleman's gentle- 
man. Garrick, bright, t*ri*k, and knowing, his smart hat cocked airily a 
little on one side, and not in the least overshadowing the brilliant face, 
comes forward merrily, full of confidence in his calves and his new dress, 

T 2 



THE LIFE OF DAVID G AMUCK. [1763. 



with firmness and decision in every movement. He feels himself a held 
taller beaide the melancholy Scrub. And Scrub, at all times thort 
enough, seems to lose some of his few inches bj Ardter't aide ; his knees 
tremble with the terrible feeling of the threefold contrast, between the 
poor drawer anil the triumphant valet. With fallen chin, in a kind of 
adoration, he follows every movement of Oarrick with his eyes. Artier, 
who want* Scrub to aid him in his schemes, soon grows condescending. 
They sit down together. 

" Any one who wishes to study the irresistible power of contrast on the 
stage, should see this scene. With the easy grace peculiar to him, Garriek 
throws himself into a chair, rests his right arm upon the back of Weston's 
seat, and leans forward for a little confidential chat The skirts of his 
splendid livery hang down gracefully, and in the folds of the coat and the 
person of the man, one line of beauty succeeds another. Weston sits on 
the middle of his chair, as beseems him, but somewhat tar forward, a 
hand on either knee. He seems dumbfoundered, and his cunning eyes jut 
fixed on Oarrick. If anything is expressed on his face, it is the affectation 
of dignity struggling with the paralysing sense of the horrible contrast be- 
tween him and his companion. I here remarked a bit of business by 
Weston which produces a capital effect. Whilst Oarrick lolls easily in his 
chair, Weston, with stiffened back, tries by degrees to out-top him, partly 
from feelings of respect, but partly, too, that he ma; now and then steal a 
comparison, when Garriek is not looking him in the face. When Archer, 
at length, in bis easy way, crosses his legs, Scrub attempts to do the same; 
and at last, but not without some assistance from the hands, he happily 
accomplishes this feat. All this is done with eyes either fixed or looking 
stealthy. At last, when Archer begins to stroke his splendid silk stockinged 
legs, Weston almost instinctively imitates the action over his miserable red 
worsted stockings, but immediately after collapses in his chair, and, with a 
feeling of humility that calls forth one's pity, quietly gathers his green 
apron over all. In this scene, Weston, with his natural expression of 
stupidity, his simple, restless looks (which gain not a little from the 
unaffected husky tone of his voice), almost has the advantage of Garriek, 
and that is saying a great deal" 

These little pictures are so minute that they have all the air 
of truth, and show us plainly that he might have fairly con- 
tinued on the stage for many years more, without incurring the 
reproach of lingering there after decay had set in. Weston's 
playing was so exquisitely droll in this scene, that Garriek 
owned to friends it was all he could do to keep his countenance. 
In Marplot, in the " Busy Body," he was considered not so 
good as Woodward. The boy, Charles Fox, told his father 
that Garriek could not look foolish enough.* 

* Stockdale, the clergyman, came to him one morning, loud in his 
praises of Woodward's playing Marplot. There was a large company, and 
with a sad want of tact he began to extol Woodward's Marplot, saying that 
he thought that part could not be performed with a mart maitcrli/ perfec- 
tion. He thought the reply "envious and ungenerous." Garriek gave 
hm r. grave and earnest look — " Your opinion of Woodward may be very 
ju-', jut it was all beaten into him." Everyone present knew that Garriek 
had tilled in the character, and he wished merely to assert for himself the 



1763.] A ROUND OF CHARACTERS. 277 

Another part of his was in Mrs. Sheridan's " Discovery." It 
was a delightful piece, and worthy of a Sheridan. It had the 
most perfect success, and gave great enjoyment to the audience. 
Young O'Keefe was there the first night, and long remembered 
Thomas Sheridan stalking in, as Lord .Medway, in a suit of rich 
crimson velvet ; but Garrick, in Sir Anthony Branville, left the 
deepest impression on his mind. His fantastic dress, and his 
speaking impassioned sentiments with the calmest face and 
most placid voice, filled the house with delight and enjoyment 
The grandmother of the late Mr. Sheridan Lefanu, herself a 
Sheridan, was taken as a child to see the play, and on her 
mind remained the impression of Garrick's charming acting as 
the old beau. It was the perfection of elaborate and delibe- 
rate courtliness, and she recalled his calm and leisured prepa- 
tion for taking what he called " a chaste salute " from one of 
the young ladies of the comedy. The taking off his gloves, the 
arranging of his hair, the general preparation of the old beau 
took many minutes, and filled the theatre with enjoyment and 
delight 

In Crisp's dull play of " Virginia," he made one of those 
famous "points," which used to be classed with the "Zaire, vous 
pleurez ! " and which, indeed, are not of the highest class. 
When Claudius was claiming Virginia, Garrick, as her father, 
was standing on the opposite side, next to the stage-door, his 
arms folded, his eyes on the ground, apparently insensible to 
what was going on. He was then asked what he had to say 
in reply; but still remained, his figure impassive, his face 
working with all manner of emotions. The audience was 
spell-bound. At last he slowly raised his head, paused, turned 
round slowly, but without turning his eyes away from Claudius, 
and finally, in a low, deep, broken voice, that penetrated to 
every corner of the theatre, said, " Thou Traitor ! " 

To Garrick is due the introduction of all legitimate stage 
"business." No one knew better the valuable aid to be 
derived from such illustrations, and he did not allow it to take 
the place of what it is only meant to illustrate — the present 
vice of the stage. To him also is owing much of the traditional 
Shakspearean "business." In Hamlet, the legs of the stage 
chair were shortened and drawn under the seat, so as to fall 
over at a touch, to express the actor's surprise at the entry of 
the ghost. The " combing of the wig " in Archer, the throw- 
ing away the stick in Lear, and innumerable bits of by-play, 
have been all carefully handed down, and are considered drops, 
as it were, of the immortal man. But he reformed other ex- 
travagances of the same description. It was essential that 



278 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1763. 

every actor of an " heroic " part should enter with an enormous 
forest of feathers, to impart dignity. This practice, with others, 
he abolished.* 

Still it should be mentioned, that an old Dr. Mudge told 
Northcote, that at the end of his career Garrick was not nearly 
so free and original, as he was at the beginning. Perhaps he 
meant, not so fresh ; and the town had now begun to know 
him by heart. It indeed almost seemed that at his death a 
sort of reaction had come, and that there was a return to the 
old rugged declamation of the Quin days; for certainly the 
traditions of the Kemble acting seem to be a preaching style, 
and a dry, stilted pronunciation, coming from what Hazlitt so 
happily called "Kemble's foggy throat." It is certainly a 
little curious, that one with such a reputation, and who had 
trained up a whole school of actors, on his own principles, 
should have left so little mark — more wonderful still, that the 
Kemble elocution should for so long have been the established 
model for existing stage diction, and be always followed. 

Macklin, in a malignant criticism found among his papers* 
but which at the same time gives us some traits of peculiari- 
ties in Garrick's acting, says that he restored " that shameful 
scene of the epilepsy in the fourth act of i Othello/ " to give 
himself the opportunity of some " business." Another reason, 
he said, was that he knew Quin could not let his bulky figure 
fall without a ludicrous effect, whereas he was slight in person, 
and there would be no such danger. He speaks of his "strange 
manner of dying, and griping the carpet ; his writhing, strain- 
* ing, and agonizing : all which he has introduced into the pro- 
fession." In other words, Garrick substituted for the solemn 
and monotonous sing-song, and regulated gesture of the old 
school, a variety and liveliness of illustration. " His art in 
acting consisted in incessantly hauling and pawing the charac- 
ters about, with whom he was concerned in the scene ; and 
when he did not paw or haul the characters, he stalked between 
them and his audience, and that generally when they were 
speaking the most important and interesting passage in the 
scene — which demanded, in propriety, a strict attention. 

* Farington, the painter, had never seen him until the last season, when 
he went to see " Hamlet," and found himself but a row or two from the 
stage. He was a little shocked at the oldish face, the bulky figure, the 
enormous heels made to give him height, and the almost grotesque air of 
decay. He expected a very lamentable exhibition of failing powers ; but 
was surprised, delighted, and almost confounded at the spirit, truth, and 
power of the acting — presently had forgotten the paint and wrinkles, the 
high-heeled shoes, and the bulky figure, and saw nothing but Shakspeare'a 
Prince. — Taylor. 



1763.] A ROUND OF CHARACTERS. 279 

When he spoke himself, he pulled about the character he spoke 
to, and squeezed his hat, hung forward, and stood almost upon one 
foot, with no part of the other to the ground but the toe of it. 
His whole action when he made love, in tragedy or in comedy, 
when he was familiar with his friend, when he was in anger, 
sorrow, rage — consisted in squeezing his hat, thumping his 
breast, strutting up and down the stage, and pawing the cha- 
racters that he acted with He introduced sleep into 

Lear — showed how the body dreamed in Bichard. He also 
introduced sleep into Sir John Brute, and for many minutes, 
to the extravagant satisfaction of the audience, cut the faces of 
an idiot, a lunatic, a stupid : so expert was he in all the tricks 
of the face, which the good people acknowledged as his imita- 
tion of a drunken man falling asleep." Through all this per- 
verted view — and the private character that accompanies it, as 
will be seen later on, is shocking from its malignancy — can be 
discerned the true characteristic of Garrick's acting, a lively 
vivacity. It was said, too, that he had not a good ear for 
emphasis, and often misplaced it. An instance has been 
already given as to his reading of one of the Commandments. 
A Colonel Pennington, who had seen him, acutely observed 
another mistake — "and will speak daggers, but use none;" 
instead of " speak daggers, but use none." Yet he may have 
been right in this, as the emotion and passion of the situation 
might require an exceptional force on the word daggers. 

His Hastings, in " Jane Shore," was one of his most elabo- 
rated characters. An admirer, who attended one of his last 
performances, was careful to note, on a copy of the play, every 
turn and inflection of the part. This curious "report" 
becomes valuable, and gives a minute and excellent idea of 
Garrick's manner of working up a situation. 

In the first scene he entered gay and courtier-like. He 
describes Alicia's present condition, warms up gradually, and 
pleads for her fervently. When he sees her, he puts on a 
cunning and cold air, speaking with a sort of deference — 

" None has a right more ample, 
To task my power than you." 

When she made a violent outburst, and attacked him, he 

walked up to her, met her eye, steadily, and poured out a 

number of bitter questions — 

" Are you wise ? 
Have you the use of reason ? Do you wake ? " 

With sudden anger — 

" Why am I thus pursued from place to place t " 



280 THE UFK OP DAVID GASKICK. [1763. 

Then, giving her friendly counsels, he gradually softened, 
took her hand, seemed to press it with his forefingers, and 
when he had finished gently threw it from him, and walked up 
the stage. As he begged, ironically, to be preserved from her 
tongue, his tone was so dry, cold, and petrified, that a burst 
of applause came from the audience. When he said — 

"Soft ye now!" 

his voice became tender and agitated, he kindly taking her 
hand, and touching the ground with his knee. His voice 
altered acain when he asked — 

u What means this peevish and fantastic change ? ** 

as if piqued at the little success of his efforts, and gradually 
grew almost brutal, crossing the stage two or three times, as 
he said — 

u Tia wondrous well, I see my saint-like dame ! " 

Then followed his two spirited speeches. And though Glou- 
cester had a line interposed between, he caught him up and 
replied so smartly that it seemed almost one speech. It 
worked gradually to a climax. 

In the council scene in the fourth act, when he was con- 
demned to the scaffold, the gloom and settled despair in his 
eye was very intense. He was full three minutes — says this 
true stop-watch critic — in saying no more than six lines. As 
he congratulated himself in not living on, to see the miseries 
of his country, he wept profusely. His speech to Alicia — 

" Thy reason has grown wild ! " 

« 

was spoken with, a sort of absent, distracted air. The last 
scene was a triumph of elaborate suffering. The adjuration — 

" Now mark, and tremble at Heaven's just award ! " 

was delivered quite calmly, and in a deep tone, f nil of pathos. 
As he asked her forgiveness, he knelt and appealed to Heaven 
with energy and great firmness. His farewell — 

" Good angels visit thee," 

was most affecting. He then moved very slowly to the wing, 
stood there a moment, said his last two sentences with a 
broken voice, and passed out to tremendous applause. Then 
returning with the guard, as Alicia said her last few words, he 
came up, took her hand most tenderly, and motioned back the 
soldiers — led her off, as if to be still more in private, put up 
his prayer in a sort of whisper until he came to the line — 

" 0, should he wrong _her ! " 
when his voice swelled, but sank again; then left her, got 



1763.] A ROUND OF CHARACTERS. 281 

slowly backwards to the wing, looked back, and said "Re- 
member ! " with a tone that seemed to the audience like the 
last utterance of a dying man. 

Walpole had a poor opinion of his acting ; but Walpole, as 
a judge of stage matters, is often astray. He thought him " a 
very good and various player," but that Quin's Falstaff was 
quite as good as Garrick's Lear. Mrs. Porter and the Dumes- 
nil were far before him in tragic passion. He was inferior to 
Quin in Brute and Macbeth, and to Cibber in Bayes. His Bayes 
was indeed original, but not the true reading. Cibber made it 
the burlesque of a great poet ; Garrick the picture of a mere 
.garreteer. He was "a poor Lothario, a ridiculous Othello, 
a woeful Lord Totrndy and Hastings" Banger he thought 
suited him best; and though the town did not relish his 
Hotspur, he thought he succeeded in it better than anything. In 
this extraordinary opinion he says he was supported by Sir 
C. H. Williams and Lord Holland Garrick often thought of 
taking up Falstaff, and during the Jubilee gave a specimen, 
that delighted all who saw it. It would nave suited him 
admirably, and have made a fine pendant to his Sir John Brute. 
But he would have been overpowered in the artificial corpu- 
lence of the character. It is hard to say which was his cheval 
de bataille. Not certainly his Borneo, not Othello, not Faulcon- 
bridge, nor Hotspur. If we were strictly limited to the choice 
of two parts, we might name Lear and Drugger ; and yet we 
should have liked Kitely or Banger, Brute or Archer. Macbeth, 
Bichard, or Hamlet we might not have cared so much for. 
Fox was his enthusiastic admirer ; and in the boxes at Drury 
Lane, during Garrick's Lear, he was seen one night holding up 
his hands in wonder and delight. One morning Gibbon called 
on Reynolds, after seeing Garrick's Bichard, and thought he 
was inconsistent ; for in the first part he was too " mean and 
creeping," and even " vulgar," and in the last quite the con- 
trary. Cumberland thought Lear his finest part. 

The characteristics of nis acting, outlined by his enemy, 
David Williams, are very remarkable. " In tragic parts your 
execution is masterly. It is much improved within the last 
few years. Your province lies principally where the passions 
are exhibited by the poet, as agitated or wrought up to 
a high degree ; your perfection consists in the extreme. In ex- 
aggerated gesture, and sudden bursts of passion, given in a suppressed 
and tender manner, you are inimitable. In the struggles and 
conflicts of contradictory passions, or in their mixture and combi- 
nation, and when his effects are drawn by the author to a point of 
instant and momentary expression, there you are often excellent." 



282 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1763* 

His fine reputation is bound up with the literature of the 
country ; and readers of Fielding, and Smollett, and Sterne, 
will see how delighted those great writers were to record how 
they had been affected by the great actor. In short, in this 
wonderful man's case, compliment has exhausted all its shapes. 
Admirers of "Tom Jones" will recall Partridge at Drury 
Lane, during Garrick's Hamlet. "'Well, if that little man 
there upon the stage is not frightened, I never saw any man 
frightened in my life. Ay, ay; go along with you! Ay, to 
be sure! Who's fool then? Will you? God have mercy 
upon such foolhardiness ! . . . Follow you ? I'd follow the 
devil as soon. ... 0, here he is again ! No further ? No, you 
have gone far enough already. Nay, sir, did you not yourself 
observe, when he found it was his own father's spirit, how his 
fear forsook him by degrees, and he was struck dumb with 
sorrow ? ' 

" ' He the best player ! ' said Partridge, with a contemptuous 
sneer. • Why, I could act as well as he, myself. I am sure 
if I had seen a ghost, I should have looked in the very same 
manner, and done just as he did.' "* 



BOOK TIEIIE SIXTIEI. 



CHAPTER I. 

ON THE GRAND TOUR. — SEPTEMBER, 1763. 

He had now returned to town, and was busy with prepara- 
tions for going abroad. The Grand Tour, if it was then a 
delightful progress, had also its responsibilities. This was to 
be a holiday; he certainly took with him the resolution of 
never appearing on the stage again — unless this remedy for his 
temporary unpopularity should prove successful He had a 
faint hope that it would be. Before going, he had appointed 
Colman to look after his interests in the theatre ; he made ar- 
rangements for the appearance of a clever clerk, whom he had 
heard " spouting " at the Wood Street Debating Club, beyond 
Temple Bar, and who, he thought, would fairly support lover 
parts during his absence. He did not dream that the terrible 
cry, "A rival ! " would be raised. Finally, on the 15th of Sep- 

* Tom Jones, bk. 16, ch. ▼. 



1763.] ON THE GRAND TOUR. 283 

tember, the very night his theatre opened, he and Mrs.^Garrick, 
with their little dog, set off for Dover. 

As we have seen, nearly two years before, he had told Sterne, 
then starting off for Paris, that he was soon likely to visit that 
capital Roscius, indeed, delighted in good company, and had 
long since discovered the truth, that the " finest " company is 
the most agreeable. The startling success of Sterne in Paris, 
whom the wits and " dlfyans " of Paris were loading with atten- 
tions — honours written home to Southampton Street in a sort 
of rapture — stimulated his eagerness ; and when he heard from 
his friend that at " two great houses " his own gifts and genius 
had formed the staple of the conversation during the whole of 
a dinner party — all wondering how he could be so great in two 
such opposite walks of acting — it was very natural he should 
look forward to coming and receiving this homage in person. 

At Calais he put up, not at the famous Dessein's, but at the 
Table Royal — " a good and reasonable house, with civil and 
obliging people." They had a very pleasant journey, met with 
no accidents, and were entering Paris in high spirits, when they 
were stopped at the barrier by the Custom-house officers ; and 
though their trunks had been duly plambtd at Calais to ensure 
through transmission, they were searched en personne, and 
having mislaid their passe, were led off with indignity to the 
Custom-house, to have their trunks opened once more. But 
the director of the Customs, M. D'Aguemont, treated them 
with great civility. This was the evening of Monday, Sep- 
tember 19th. 

In a day or two he bought a little blank book, which he 
determined to fill with notes of his travels ; a journal, in short 
— " meant to bring to my mind the various things I shall see 
in my journey into Italy." Properly it was to be a record of 
his " opinions and feelings." " For," he writes, " I shall always 
put down my thoughts immediately, as I am struck, without 
the least attention to what has been said by writers of great 
and little repute. — D. Garrick." Which is indeed the true 
plan to make a journal of any interest ; but for all this official 
declaration, the journal began to languish very soon, and covers 
but a few pages. Very soon the seduction of dinners, and 
parties, and excursions, absorbed all his time — the pleasures 
past seem poor, and not worth recording, beside those that 
are coming on. 

Undoubtedly, the most singular feature of the time was 
the "Anglo-mania" then raging. It now seems ludicrous. 
In the shops Shakspeare and Swift were to be bought, like 
ordinary French books ; and it was almost comic to faA «a^s* 



wm 



284 THE LIFE 05 DAVID GARRICK. [1763. 

Frenchmen poring and blundering over the great English poet* 
and straining hard to fancy in themselves something like ad- 
miration for what they could not understand. Sterne's Count, 
who took the sentimental traveller for the Yorick of " Hamlet," 
was but the type of more serious blunderers. 

There were many coteries or societies all ready to welcome 
him. First, that of Baron D'Holbach's, who gave his little 
dinners every Sunday and Thursday. Here was to be met the 
most delightful company possible, and the guests ranged from 
ten to twenty in number. The host's fancy was to discover 
clever and distinguished strangers, and this must have given 
his parties their charm. The regular lwMtuts were remarkable ; 
Grimm and Diderot, Helvetius and the mercurial Abb6 
Morellet, who was so lively in discussion. Madame D'Holbach 
sat in a corner, talking in a low voice; while the greater espriis 
decided greater questions. Helvetius had the Wednesdays, 
with very much the same elements. 

The moment Garrick arrived the universal homage set in. 
He was at once made free of "the synagogue in the Rue 
Royale ;" and the " little sanctuary in the Rue Neuve des Petits 
Champs." He was heaped with honours; he was almost 
ashamed to write home the distinctions he had met with at their 
hands. Before he had been there a fortnight, he knew every 
one, of every degree. Naturally he first devoted himself to 
cultivate the actors. 

On the night after his arrival, he set off for the ComSdie 
Francaise, which at his first entrance seemed " dark and dirty." 
The play was the " Gouvernante," with Dumesnil, who, it 
seemed to him, had expression, but who " made use of little 
startings and twitchings, which are visibly artificial, and the 
mere mimicry of the free, simple, and noble working of the 
passions." A Mdlle. Doligny, "a young beginner, with a 
pleasing look and sweetness of voice," gave him much pleasure. 
But the French actors presently found out their distinguished 
brother, and the "company of comedians" sent their compli- 
ments, with the freedom of the house. On the same morning 
he called on Clairon, and spent ,a long time with her. With 
that incomparable actress and spirited woman, he had a long 
talk. She surprised him by telling him that her appointments 
were only £250, having besides to " find herself " in every- 
thing. He thought of Mrs. Cibber at home, as a comparison, 
who had received from the theatre as much as £700 a-year, 
besides her benefit, and dresses — everything found for her, 
excepting the " mere garniture of her head." Another night 
he went to see Preville, and on the first occasion thought him 



1763.] ON THE GRAND TOUR. 285 

a great comedian — " he certainly had comic powers." But on 
the second and third, he did not see the variety he expected. 
" He has the same looks in every part." He was struck with 
a peculiar " look of folly " the actor could throw into his eye, 
which in certain parts would have a fine effect, but was not to 
be used continuously. 

A very characteristic story is told of one of Garrick's first 
visits to the theatre, when he took his wife to see the great 
actress. She had a great disinclination to see her ; and her 
coldness during the early part of the performance exeited the 
impatience of Garrick, who was in raptures.* Gradually, how- 
ever, she grew attentive, then excited, and finally broke into 
the most extravagant expressions of delight and admiration. 
Garrick, it is said, then grew impatient and discontented, and 
ended by being quite out of sorts. This was not jealousy; it 
was more an uneasiness lest the wife he so loved and admired 
should admire any one more than himself. The whole, how- 
ever, is characteristic, and a capital trait of human character. 

Clairon, with her natural enthusiasm, took him up with 
fureur. He had known her on his first visit" A few days after 
his arrival was brought out Saurin's " Blanche et Guiscard," 
founded on an English story. It was given out that "the 
Clairon " had condescended to take lessons from the English 
actor, and had rehearsed Blanche before him ; but it was also 
said that she had never played worse. Garrick was delighted 
with his new pupil, and wrote home that the " Clairon was 
great ; " but added, that she had her faults, " between you and 
me." He took care, however, not to say this publicly, " for 
she idolises me." "Blanche," however, reached but the third 
representation. The only thing that saved it was the admir- 
able manner with which Belcour, the jeune premier, vanquished 
the poignard difficulty — thus quieting public anxiety — appear- 
ing to transfix " the Clairon " as she lay extended on the floor. 
The story was that of " Tancred and Sigismunda ; M and a large 
crowd of English, who were present, and had seen the original, 
were loud in condemning the coldness and barrenness of the 
piece. Even " the Clairon " was said never to have done worse. 
Everybody was pointing out the celebrated English actor, the 
original Tancred, and whispering his name. Every one, too, 
was quoting his critiques, favourable to this and that actress ; 
but only to a few, says Grimm, did he trust his real opinions. 
It must have been for this performance that he tried to get 

* MS. Journal I find from an unpublished letter, that Mrs. Garrick 
was rather jealous of these attentions to Clairon. 



286 THE LUTE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1763. 

tickets from " the Clairon " for some lady-friends ; but every 
place was taken. She bade him, in a pretty little note, take 
them to the parterre, where ladies could readily go. " Good 
night, dear friend," she wrote : " you know how much I like 
you." 

One night, at the house of an English gentleman, a Mr. Neville, 
a curious scene took place. He had collected many of the lead- 
ing wits and literary characters— Marmontel and D'Alembert 
amongst others — and invited the great English actor and the 
great French actress to sup. What took place is well known, 
and has passed into all the anecdote collections. Clairon stood 
up, and volunteered to declaim some passage from " Athalie," 
which, said Garrick, she did "charmingly." But this was 
done, not to show herself off, but "to bring out Roscius," 
whom all were eager to see. It was a trying exhibition in 
a foreign country, with foreign eyes looking on, and foreign 
ears that could scarcely understand. But Garrick had con- 
fidence in himself, and with excellent tact and good sense 
chose such specimens of his art as would appeal to the 
general intelligence of all. He began with the "dagger 
scene " in " Macbeth," passed from that to the " curse " in 
" Lear," and finished with the " falling asleep " of Sir John 
Brute. These were delivered in the one common language 
of the human race. The effect was tremendous — the success 
complete. He does not mention — as Murphy, his biographer, 
does — his telling the company whence he had obtained the 
idea of his wonderful representation of madness produced 
by grief — suggested, as is well known, from an old man who 
had dropped his child from a window. This incident was 
said to have taken place in a street near Goodman's Fields ; 
but Grimm, on whom the representation seems to have made a 
most extraordinary impression — ("I sawthepoor man himself!") 
— says that Garrick told him it was in Ireland. The philo- 
sopher was not likely to have fixed such a scene in such a 
country. He passed from that to another favourite delinea- 
tion of his, that of the poor pastry-cook's boy who had let 
fall his tray of tarts in the street, and whose face expressed 
all the transitions from stupid astonishment to surprise, 
ie;ror, and hopeless grief. These were but a part of what 
he called "giving his rounds." That night was long re- 
membered. Marmontel it seemed to have haunted. Next 
morning he wrote the English actor a flattering, but genuine, 
letter, full of the most ardent admiration. Macbeth was what 
struck him ; and he makes the just observation, that if they 
but followed the same principle, their scenes would not be so 



1763.] ON THE GRAND TOUR. 287 

tedious, and they would do more by the eloquence of silence, 
and by the expression of face and eye, than by long speeches. 
He owned that this was the only real style of acting ; it was 
quite new to him. This was much from a Frenchman. He 
must have, almost then* and there, sat down to commit this 
enthusiasm and admiration to writing; for he eagerly bids 
his friend look later to the " Encyclopaedia," article " Decla- 
mation," where he would find his true views on this point.* 

Thus welcomed, thus fited, and loaded with civilities and 
homage of the most flattering sort, the actor set off, a little 
after the 28th of September, having been in Paris nearly three 
weeks. He was to make the Grand Tour, but promised his 
French friends to return to them soon. 

They reached Lyons in about four days, and were treated 
with great courtesy by all in authority; but, as usual, were 
greatly imposed on by extortionate innkeepers and postmas- 
ters. In fact, a Frenchman told Mr. Garrick that when an 
English chaise went by, all winked and laughed, and put their 
tongue in their cheeks. The Savoy part of the journey was 
delicious, and they enjoyed it immensely, revelling in the 
noble scenery. They lay at Aiguebelles on the 10th of Oc- 
tober, and found the crossing of Mont C6nis very agreeable in 
such fine weather. They had one little d4$agriment y in their 
coach breaking down. Compliments still attended him on his 
route. The demi-god of Ferney was gracious enough to send 
him a message, hoping that he might see him, and putting his 
little theatre at his service; throwing in, however, his old 
dislike of Shakspeare, who, he was pleased to say, had more of 

the barbarian than of genius. " The d d fellow ! " said Mr. 

Garrick characteristically to his friends. But to M. de Vol- 
taire himself he wrote, almost obsequiously, as being the first 
genius in Europe. " Could I have been the means of bringing 
our Shakspeare into some favour with M. de Voltaire, I should 
have been happy indeed." Though the visit never took place 
— Mr. Garrick being obliged, from the state of his health, to 
post home to Paris — the great genius often spoke graciously of 
him to the guests who came to Ferney, and would send a sort 
of royal sentence of recollection, or approbation. Turin they 
found very neat and clean — a perfect city of palaces. Two 
pictures there, by Guido and Guercino, struck him greatly, 
possibly because of a dramatic sort — " The Prodigal Son " and 
"David and Goliath;" for in the former, grief, contrition, and 
expression were all exhibited without a feature being seen. 

• We do this, but, alas ! find not a word about Gixtv&l. 



288 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1763. 

Thence they hurried on to Milan. These were, indeed, but 
the official stages of the Grand Tour. They put up at the Tre 
He, and, like a thousand travellers before and since, posted off 
at once to the Cathedral There they lighted on a true, 
courteous, and most hospitable friend, Count Firmian, to 
whom they had letters, who insisted on their dining with him 
every day, who could talk and was deeply interested in English 
subjects. Mr. Garrick promised to send him over pictures of 
himself in every character. 

On the 2nd of November they set out for Genoa by boat ; 
and, like many a traveller who has entered that port on 
a gorgeous summer morning, were "ravished" with the en- 
chanting panorama : the slow sailing on the cobalt waters, the 
mole, the lighthouse, and the shipping, and the coloured ter- 
races glittering in the morning sun, as if roofed with gold and 
silver, or built of blocks of mother-of-pearl. " What more I 
think of it," writes Mr. Garrick very confidently in his journal, 
"shall be wrote down when I have examined it." But now 
came the friends, and the parties of pleasure ; and not a lino 
more was added to the little record. He visited Florence, 
where he met Algarotti, on whom he made a deep impression. 
The poet was ill ; and Garrick recommended him the fashion- 
able English remedy, tar-water. He also wrote home to 
England in favour of his verses. Knowing that the actor was 
to visit Bologna, Algarotti sent him letters to the leading 
persons of the place — the Marquis Monvi, the Marquis Scappi, 
and the Cardinal Legate. " You will see," he wrote to them, 
" that his amiability is on a par with his merits." 

Mr. Garrick then hurried on to Rome, where he only stayed 
a fortnight. He got there about the beginning of December. 
The night before he entered it he hardly slept, thinking of the 
sensation of entering the Eternal City. As he drew near it> the 
excitement, and the thrill/and the suspense that have come on so 
many travellers, before and since, came on him ; but the Porta 
del Popolo brought the established disappointment and dtsittu- 
sionnement. He only saw a "dirty, ill-looking 'Place, 7 with 
three crooked streets " branching off. His spirits sank at once. 
But in the afternoon he was taken away to see the Pantheon, 
and the sight raised him into perfect enthusiasm. He said 
afterwards that ho " never felt so much in his life." It made 
him " gape " with wonder and astonishment. The Colosseum 
delighted him ; and he made the sensible remark, how infinitely 
better these ruins look in reality than in pictures ; while with 
the more modern buildings he found the reverse to be the 
case. The whole of his fortnight he devoted to churches, 



1763.] ON THE GRAND TOUR. 289 

ruins, and objects of curiosity, and not to waiting on great per- 
sonages. 

He then posted down to Naples — a miserable journey, 
having come in for the heavy rains, which attended them all 
along the road. They suffered inconveniences and distresses 
that were almost ridiculous, and with which he proposed 
afterwards entertaining his friends at Hampton. They arrived 
on the 17th, and kept Christmas charmingly, with the windows 
open, the Mediterranean at their feet glistening in a sultry sun, 
and — green peas on the table ! With all their distresses the 
journey had improved his health, and the whole party, includ- 
ing the dog " Biddy," were " in the highest spirits." He was 
charmed with the climate, and with the people ; and it is cha- 
racteristic of so great an actor, that he should have found 
entertainment as well as profit, in going among the strange and 
highly dramatic beings that make up the Neapolitan lower 
class. There he found good models for eccentric gestures, 
picturesque attitudes, and that strange play of feature in 
which he universally excelled. The great theatre of San 
Carlo almost confounded him, filled as it was to the roof, and 
blazing with lights. But it was too large for the singer's 
voice. There he heard the famous Gabrielli, one of the sirens 
of the opera, more insolent and more fickle than the " Clairon," 
and not to be tempted to London by any amount of English 

""Wypw. w-.* a **«,»*.*- 

distinguished country people of his own. Lady Oxford, who 
had great influence at the Neapolitan Court, exerted herself 
for him in every way. With Lord and Lady Spencer, he 
went to see Herculaneum and its curious relics, and afterwards 
ascended Vesuvius. The King, who was always favourable to 
the English, and had a company of actors, as a mark of 
special favour, allowed the English actor to be present. As a 
yet higher compliment, he was allowed to test their extraor- 
dinary ability in this way : he was invited to write down the 
outline of a plot, and they engaged to fill it up, supply dia- 
logue, and perform the whole extempore within twenty-four 
hours. The feat was actually executed. 

He was nearly three months at Naples. He thoroughly 
enjoyed himself there ; for, as he said, he was now " out of 
their clutches " in London, and was going to " make a meal, and 
a good one, in Italy. I shall never return." No wonder, for 
never was he " in such fashion," or made so much of by the 
great people, who in a vilkggiatura like this, were more 
familiar and gracious than at home. This to& \ta& ^r^sfc. 



290 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1763. 

corner of "Davey's" nature; he was supremely happy: "I 
laugh from morning until night. I am always with Lord 
Spencer, Lady Oxford, and Lord Palmers ton." Mrs. Garrick 
took her share in their pastime, and would go to the parties, 
though she had a bad " rumatiz." " I scolded and phyzed ; 
but 2 she can wag, she goes."* Mr. Garrick was everywhere 
— at Lord Exeter's, the minister's, the consul's. The only 
thing that annoys him is that bit of "nonsense" which some 
indiscreet friend sent home to be inserted in the St. James's 
Chronicle, " about my dancing with the Duchess of Devonshire " — 
again the old weakness, and " dearly loving of a lord or lady." 
Many such little inspired paragraphs, at which he " pished " a 
little impatiently, were to find their way to the papers during 
his life. Here he met Sir William Hamilton, later to be the 
husband of the fascinating Lady Hamilton. In that coterie, 
they had all sorts of pastimes — among others the fashionable 
one of " charades ; " and to Sir William he addressed a little 
poem, called the " Charader's Eecantation," two lines of which 
were — 

" If Spencer nod, or Jersey smile, 
How could I but obey ? " 

But he was dying to be at Rome again. He thought it, of 
all places in the world, " the one most worth coming to and 
writing of." They were back there by the beginning of ApriL 
Never was a man so much above the more debasing associates 
of the " shop." His whole heart was now in the antiquities, 
books, &c; and he was seen from morning till night hunting 
up the old curiosity shops, with Mrs. Garrick " dragging her 
lame leg " after her. Even the Duke of Devonshire wrote out 
to him from England, " rallying " him on his abandonment of 
the drama for the more captivating attractions of virtu. Borne 
did not agree with him so well ; but when the rains began to 
fall — which they did " in pailfuls " — he grew better. The sun 
came out, and he was " as frisky as the poor flies, who were so 
woefully damped by the wet weather, but are now as trouble- 
some and as pert as your humble servant" 

Early in May the actor reached Parma, the Duke of which 
Court had caught some of the "Anglomanie." He had, of 
course, " read Shakspeare " (the fore-ordained victim for the 
experiments of all foreign students), and could speak English 
tolerably well. The Duke of York, then on his travels, enter- 
tained the Prince at the Hotel Pallavacmi, and had Garrick, 
Lord Spencer, and the Minister Tillot as his guests. To be 

• ForaterMSa 



1763.] ON THE GRAND TOUR. 291 

asked to so select a party was certainly a high compliment. 
After the dinner was over, the Italian Prince showed a little 
anxiety to hear the English fashion of declamation, and ex- 
pressed his wish with so much feeling and delicacy, that Gar- 
rick at once stood up. He gave a short sketch of the story of 
" Macbeth," to prepare them for the situation, and then went 
through his famous dagger scene. He did it with more than 
usual effect. The Duke was so delighted, that he sent him, 
next morning, a gorgeously enamelled snuff-box, and ordered 
apartments for him in the palace. Snuff-boxes indeed were 
to be a special shape of homage to his genius. Later, when 
he was coming home through Germany, the Duke of Wurtem- 
burg presented him with another, in acknowledgment of the 
pleasure he had received from these recitations.* 

He then posted on to Venice, to be in time for the Fetes 
given in honour of the Duke, who had arrived on the 26th of 
May. That city enchanted him, as it has enchanted many, at 
first ; but a month's stay, he said, was like a honeymoon, in 
bringing you to a temperate consideration of things. He 
was dazzled and fatigued to death with the series of shows, 
which transcended even the wonders of the "Arabian Nights." 
But the famous "Regate," a specialty of Venice, astounded 
him. At Venice were Lord Ossory, and Mr. Beauclerk again, 
and Mr. Arden, a clergyman, whose house he afterwards visited 
in England. He was now, however, beginning to grow restless, 
and eager for home again. His heart was beginning to turn 
back to Drury Lane. Even in his walks on the Rialto, he 
fancied himself keeping an appointment with Pierre, though, 
strange to say, not expecting to meet a Bassanio and An- 
tonio; for when the real Venetian nobleman came by, dressed 
like an attorney in one of the Spiritual Courts at York or 
London, the Shakspearean spell was rudely broken. He was 
getting models of Italian scenery made, and sending them 
home. He was also looking out for dancers. 

But he was now disquieted by the rumour of a star that had 
risen up in his absence, and whose brilliancy was, perhaps, 
magnified by distance. The name of this star was Powell, a 
young fellow from the Spouting Club, who, he heard, was now 
fascinating the town with his Philaster, and passing from Phtias- 
ier through the whole round of parts. This alarming news 

* Long after, when Garrick was in his library at home, showing these 
tokens to two of his actors, one of them, Holland, broke out a little coarsely 
with, " And so you went about the Continent mouthing for snuff-boxes ! " 
Garrick, with that good-humour which was bia characteristic, onlg \i».^m& > 
and took not the least offence. 

\5 1 



292 THE LIFE OP DAVID GAKRICK. [1764 



troubled him. The success had been overwhelming. The 
town was as " horn mad " as it had been in the old delightful 
transport of Goodman's Fields. Tall, thin, as he was, he was 
quite of the Barry order ; and his voice in tragedy went to all 
hearts, and drew abundant tears. The pit stood up, and 
shouted, in spite of Foote, who sat in the boxes on the first 
night, and affected to jeer at the whole. Somehow, where- 
ever there is an act of grace, such as would be the welcome 
of a young actor, or at the Shakspeare Jubilee later, those 
sneering features are sure to be seen in the crowd. 

Garrick's uneasiness is plain to us. Yet he behaved admir- 
ably, and with true magnanimity. In Garrick's letter of 
advice to Powell, so often quoted, and his anxiety about his 
"doing Alexander" and "playing himself to rags," is to be 
seen that very pardonable dread which a really magnanimous 
mind often experiences, of being thought meanly jealous of a 
rising competitor. He, indeed, wrote that he had no joy in 
thinking of the stage, and affected to consider that he was to 
be " baited " if he returned there. But his heart, it is quite 
plain, was fluttering at the wings of Drory Lane. 



CHAPTER H. 

Paris.— 1764-65. 

He stayed at Venice until the middle of June. He was still 
longing to be at home, and nervous as to what people were 
saying of him. Yet Mrs. Garrick's health was still bad, and 
the sciatica so violent, that he could not think of returning as 
yet. They had tried all the fashionable and even absurd nos- 
trums, then in vogue. Baretti, whom he had met in Venice, 
asked him, " Have you forgotten the black hen ? " — the same 
remedy that was prescribed for Sterne and Smollett at Mont- 
pelier. Finally they both set off for the famous mud baths of 
Albano, near Padua, and which Baretti prophesied would cer- 
tainly restore her. The " mud baths " had the happiest effect, 
and she was soon able to throw away her stick. By the middle 
of August they hxd got to Munich, but there he was seized 
with a dreadful bilious attack, which kept him in bed for a 
month. Luckily he had an English doctor near him, who 
kindly broko off his own tour, to stay with him, and who cave 
him better remedies than the "flayed cocks' 1 and "black 
hens w of the foreign faculty. It wasted him to the last degree ; 
and we can see the famous Soscius, effective even in his ema- 



1765.] paris. 293 

ciation, described comically by himself : — " I have lost legs, 
arms, belly, cheeks, &c, and have scarce anything left but 
bones, and a pair of dark lack-lustre eyes, that are retired an 
inch or two more in their sockets, and wonderfully set off the 
parchment that covers the eheejc-bones." Yet his strong con- 
stitution helped him over such an attack. He did not love to 
whine over his sufferings. " You desired me to write," he says, 
" and invalids will prate of their ailments." His spirits sank 
very low, and he had a narrow escape, indeed. In this state 
he wrote some lines genuine in character, but very desponding 
in tone, and which may be taken to be a faithful picture of his 
past life. He called it " His own Epitaph : " — 

" Though I in frailty's mould was cast, 

By passions hurried on, 
Though all my days in folly passed, 

No crime has blackened one. 
Some sing I had — for who is free ? 

Of pride, few mortals less ; 
Not those, I fear, who have, like me, 

Small merit with success. 
One pride that with myself shall end, 

That pride the world shall know, 
Much-honoured Camden was my friend, 

And Kenrick was my foe." 4 

But there was a more significant warning in his having an 
attack of the malady, which was later to carry him off: the 
malady which came of " full port " and rich living, and which 
carried off so many men of letters and delightful social gifts. 
He was ordered the Spa waters — to " The Spaw," as it was 
called — then, as now, one of the most delightful nooks of 
Europe ; but the season was too far advanced. 

During his illness, two of his best friends dropped away, 
that Duke of Devonshire, to whom he was so sincerely 
attached, and Hogarth. " The best of women and wives," as ho 
affectionately called Mrs. Garrick, strove hard to keep such dis- 
tressing news from reaching his ears ; but the news of the first 
had nearly " cracked " his nerves. He loved the painter " in the 
greatest confidence." Churchill, too, was dying at Boulogne. 
Voltaire, receiving all the travelling world at his little retreat 
at Ferney, had sent him, as we have seen, a complimentary 
message. Garrick, on his return, intended to turn aside, and 
pay his homage at the shrine; but the serious illness that seized 
him at Munich had weakened him so much, that he dared not 
tarry on the road. From Nancy he wrote his excuses to the 

Eoi Voltaire" — in what was scarcely one of his happiest 

• Hill MS3. 



n 



mm 



294 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1764— 

letters. A friend, who later was honoured with a seat beside 
" the King " at dinner, said that it would be the best news in 
the world for Mr. Garrick to know that M. de Voltaire was 
in good health, and that he hoped he might write so. " No, 
no, sir," replied the host, " do not write an untruth, but tell 
him,je suisplein d'estime pour lui." 

He reached Paris again, about October, 1764 — in a very 
shattered* condition. His pleasant French friends could 
hardly recognize him, until he spoke. But in the delightful 
Paris air he began to mend at once, to fill in, and grow round, 
until, in about a fortnight, he could pass for a tolerable 
Frenchman. It was wonderful, indeed, how he got through; 
for, as ho said humorously, he had been under no less than 
eight physicians, two of whom had been English — one, per- 
haps, Dr. Gem, of Paris. Not much had taken place in his 
absence. But there were letters waiting for him, with more 
news of Powell's success — scarcely a pleasant medicine. 

Powell had gone from one triumph to another. Philaskr 
was his great part, after which came Posthumus in " Cymbe- 
line." He then applied himself to study hastily, and produce 
in succession, a whole round of characters of which he knew 
nothing. It made no difference — the crowds came — it was the 
fashion to go and hear Mr. Powell, and there were even 
plenty to say, that here was Mr. Garricks successor, and that the 
loss of that great actor was more than repaired. There were 
plenty, too, to lot him know of this good news. Kow Lacy, 
with an almost spiteful congratulation, recorded as spitefully 
by Davies, bade him by no means abridge his tour, but enjoy 
himself as long as possible away, "for the house was always 
crammed, and not even Mr. Garrick's own most principal 
parts had brought more money. 1 ' Powell had written to him, 
in the midst of all this triumph, an exceedingly modest and 
temperate letter, in which he acknowledged his obligation to 
"his best friend." Garrick's answer was written in perfect 
sincerity. " The news of your great success," he wrote to him 
from Paris, " gave me a most sensible pleasure — the continu- 
ance of that success will be in your own power ; " and then 
begs that he will give leave " to an older soldier " to hint a 
little advice, which he will answer for being sincere, at least — 
"which in a brother-actor is no small merit" The gratitude 
of Powell for those small hints had attached Garrick to him. 
"I have not always met gratitude in a playhouse; " a truth of 
which he was to have yet more convincing experience during 
the next few years. Then followed his excellent advice. He 
was afraid that Powell's good-nature to his brother-actors — 




1765.] Paris. 

thus delicately did he put it — had driven him into too many^ 
characters, a little precipitately. However, he had succeeded, 
and now was the time to make sure, by study, of the ground 
he had gained. He warned him against clubs and flatterers. 
Should he ever sink by idleness, "those friends who have 
made you idle will be the first to forsake you. . . . But, above 
all, never let your Shakspeare be out of your hands or your 

ocket ; keep him about you, as a charm ; the more you read . 

im, the more you will like him, and the better you will act V 
him. One thing more, and then I will finish my preaching. 
Guard against the splitting the ears of the groundlings, wh 
are capable of nothing but dumb show and noise. Do no 
sacrifice your taste and feeling to the applause of the multi 
tude. A true genius will convert an audience to his manner, 
rather than be converted by them to what is false and un- 
natural/' Advice of inestimable price, and more valuable than 
gold, to every player, who should study and take it to hea: 

The result proved his wisdom. The banker's clerk, after 
doing what he could, did illustrate the truth that little gratitude 
was to be found in a playhouse. Writing to his friend Colman, 
he himself, said Garrick, had now lost all taste for the stage, 
and had grown cold. If the town wished for him, he was ready 
to be their humble servant again; though she was "a great co- 
quette;" and "I want youth, vigorous youth, to bear up against 
her occasional wpriciousness"* 

He wrote to Colman to have a Paris letter, full of items of 
news, inserted in one of the daily papers, in which the trumpet 
might be blown handsomely; and he actually took the trouble 
of writing a long letter of news, in an assumed character, 
to bring in this subject. He hinted to Colman to add a 
line about himself. It might be something in this key, 
he said — "Our little stage hero looks better than he did." 
Colman represented the town and theatre as longing for its 
Roscius. But he " overdid it" Garrick was scared. He was 
sure it would be set down — and naturally so — to his inspira- 
tion. He said — what was perfectly true — that he had never 
in his life "praised himself knowingly." 

* Here was the soreness, and again he hinted at the same thing. " I 
find by a poem of poor Churchill's that the town is very angry at my leav- 
ing them. They must be pleased again."— FortUr MSS. But Churchill's 
compliments were two-edged. He had said, indeed — 

" Garrick abroad ! what motives can engage, 
To waste one couplet on the barren stage." 
But then, he added, that men of real sense — 

" Shall own thee clear, or pass an act of grace, 
Since thou has left a Powell in thy place." 



296 THE LIFE OP DAVID GARRICK. [1764— 

Very soon he had converted French admiration into the 
warmest friendship. Marmontel would sign himself " the most 
tender and devoted of his friends," and had written some 
charming lines to him, in imitation of Churchill The finest 
company in Paris were invited to meet him. Naturally Gar- 
rick was proud of such homage from such a man, and sent 
home copies Qf the letter. In a few weeks, he was as much at 
home as any trained Frenchman. Diderot always wrote to 
him as " cher et amiable Roscius," or " My dear Shakspeare." 
The tradition of the agreeable Englishman was long kept up, 
and many little stories about him preserved. One of his friends 
was De la Place, who edited the Mercurc; and one morning he 
found the editor busy correcting proofs for a number. Garrick 
offered to help, and, sitting down, snatched up a sheet. He 

fresently started up with a cry. He had discovered that the 
rench verses he was correcting were a translation of some 
lines of his own. The editor protested this could not be, as 
he had taken them from an old portfolio, where he kept " odds 
and ends," and that he himself had written them a dozen or so 
of years previously. The song had been translated, and printed 
expressly.* 

Mrs. Garrick also came in for admiration from the " gallant 
nation;" but it was of the most respectful sort. De la Place 
called her charmante epousse, and considered her one of the 
most captivating women in England ; but adds, with charac- 
teristic naivete, "though entirely devoted to her husband." 
Gibbon's message to her is worthy of being noticed : — " May I 
beg to be remembered to Mrs. Garrick ? By this time she has 
probably discovered the philosopher's stone. She has long pos- 
sessed a more valuable secret, that of gaining the hearts of all who 
have the happiness of knowing her" Sterne, who was at the 
Tuileries gardens, and saw all their beauties, said she could 
annihilate them " in a single turn." 

The list that could be made out of his friends is something 
wonderful He was fortunate enough to meet Beaumarchais, 

* Allowing for a little exaggeration, we may accept from the same autho- 
rity another little social adventure. He had told M. De la Place the story 
of Hogarth's portrait of Fielding — the rather improbable story of how he 
had sat to the painter, and imitated the face of the departed humorist ; 
and La Place told it to a sarcastic Intendant, by whom it was received with 
incredulity. De la Place went to his friend Garrick to concert a plan. The 
next day, when the sceptical Intendant was scoffing openly at the legend, a 
solemn voice came from behind a shutter, " Gaze now on the real Fielding," 
and the amazed Intendant saw before him a living head, the original of the 
portrait he held in his hand. The scene, we are told by the editor, finished 
by all sorts of " compliments and embraces." 



1765.] , Paris. 297 

who called iim his dear M. Garike, and who paid him and 
Mrs. Garike, the compliment of saying, that they had both 
assisted him in his "Barber of Seville;" she by her sourires 
fins, Garrick by valuable hints for the management of the 
business. That of showing one of the characters asleep, was 
his suggestion. Ducis, the translator, confided to him that he 
was busy with his notorious mangling of Shakspeare. With 
some affectation, Garrick declined to meet the Abb6 Le Blanc, 
who had written disparagingly of Shakspeare. Greuze, the 
most delicate and airy of painters, offered to paint him a 
picture, which, with the refinement with which Frenchmen 
know how to enhance a present, was to reach him au 
moment que vous y penserez le mains. Hiccoboni called him 
"the dearling of her heart" Gibbon, twelve years later — 
a space during which the sparkling flames of French friend- 
ship might have sunk down into ashes — still heard the salons 
echoing with regrets and wishes for his return, and some- 
times heard them exclaim, with the good-natured vanity which 
constitutes no unamiable part of French character, " ce Mon- 
sieur Garrick dtoit fait pour vivre parmi nous." All these good 
Frenchmen sing in the same key, whether they write in their 
own language, or struggle through comic English, and invoke 
Shakspeare — or address their letters to " Sous-ampton-st, a 
Londres "—or to " Ladelfi." 

The French stage at this time was not flourishing. Most 
eyes were turned to " the Clairon," the wonderful actress, a 
true power on the stage, and whose waywardness, insolence, 
and extravagant behaviour off it, piqued and at the same time 
amused the crowd.- Like her friend Garrick, she often prac- 
tised the trick of sudden withdrawals and retirements, with a 
view of making her absence felt Though her figure was short, 
also like Garrick, it was remarked, that she appeared of full 
height Her voice was harsh, but she had actually trained her 
audience to admire the strange " glapissements" and " charnel- 
house " mouthings to which she was partial. 

Garrick's friendship with this actress strengthened every 
day. The year before Van Loo had painted her, a poet had 
written verses upon her, and both verses and engraving had 
been published. It was now given out that Mr. Garrick, her 
admirer, was having a medal struck in her honour ; and, as of 
course, verses were sent round : — 

" Sur rinimi table Clairon, 
On va frapper, dit on, 
Un medallion," ftc. 

He himself had to sit over and over again. OaxT&&T&S^£* 




298 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1764 — 



picture of him was a happy, and truly French, idea. He re- 
presented the comic Garrick opening a folding door, and look- 
ing in at the tragic Garrick. While he sat for this portrait, 
his behaviour is described as being as entertaining as a play. 
He very soon grew tired and impatient, and then amused 
himself and " intrigued " the painter by wonderful changes of 
countenance — passing imperceptibly from sadness to gaiety, 
and from gaiety to the deepest gloom. Other painters were 
often made the heroes of this little scene. Two years later- 
time enough for him to have passed from the minds of the 
French — his picture was in all the windows, pirated from 
Keynolds's well-known allegorical picture — only by an amusing 
blunder, it was labelled " I! Homme entre le Vice et la VertuS 
Already Le Moine, the sculptor, was busy with his bust, which 
was later regularly "published" in terra cotta and other 
shapes. And another engraving of him by Cochin, was after- 
wards sent out These were certain testimonies of popularity. 
Towards the end of March, 1765, he was really meditating 
his return, and still nervously putting questions as to the pulse 
of the town : Were they talking of him — calling out for him 
— or "cool about their humble servant?" But the doctors 
were firm — loud against his ever appearing again. " I have no 
maw for it, at all. I must entreat you to be very sincere with 
me." Still something should be done to restore the credit of 
the house. He felt, too, he was able "to play as well as ever" 
but still he neither " could, must, nor will" All this shows a 
harmless and pardonable anxiety and restlessness. He was 
growing more troubled about the accounts of Powell ; — whether 
he had a hold on the town, to which he could not be indifferent 
Travellers coming to Paris reported to him that the new 
favourite was " bawling" and "roaring." It had begun to flash 
upon him suddenly, that this popularity, combined with the 
fancied indifference to his own return, was really dangerous, 
The feeling at last took such a curious hold of him, that he 
took an injudicious step, and, as it proved, a very profitless 
one. On the principle called the sifflet b, sucds y well known to 
the French claque, of "hissing" a failing singer, who yet 
enjoys the respect of the audience, and thus provoking a 
reaction in favour, he had been busy at a stupid satire on him- 
self, which he hoped would at least cause him to be talked of, 
and rouse the dormant sympathy of the public. This was a 
poor pasquinade upon his own return, "The Sick Monkey,* 
meant to " intrigue ' the town — rouse friends and enemies, or, 
at least, make him the subject of conversation. " Severe upon 
myself," he wrote of it. It was a marvellous mystery, out 



1765.] PARIS. 299 

" for Heaven's sake, all were to take care and be secret!" Yet 
with all these preparations, when the satire appeared, it ex- 
cited no notice, and fell " still-born." Such is very often the 
short-sightedness of clever men. Even the letters home relat- 
ing to the matter were to be burnt carefully, for "fear of 
wetting the powder of our squib." After all these precautions, 
such a result must have been mortifying. 

It was now Easter, and he was getting more and more eager 
to be in London. He would seem to have been quite deter- 
mined to resume as manager, not as actor ; for Colman had 
been silent as to what he thought was the state of the public 
pulse. When Mr. Beauclerk reported to him in Paris that 
when he saw Powell play last, there was a f alling-off, we can 
almost detect a little relief, under his anxiety, at the news. 
"Be sincere upon that head," he writes. "What, all my chil- 
dren ! I fear he has taken a wrong turn. Have you advised 
him 1 Do you see him 1 Is he grateful ? Is he modest, or is 
he conceited and undone 1 " After all, this is but human 
nature. 

There were inducements still to keep him in Paris. The 
Royal Princes were heaping him with honours. His doings 
were of such interest, that it went round that he was busy 
writing a play on the model of Preville's "Frenchman in 
London."* But he did not wait to see the issue of a strange 
scandal in his own profession, which broke out on the eve of 
his departure from Paris. 

A certain actor, called Dubois, had refused to pay his 
doctor's bill. This came to the ears of Clairon, who roused 
all the comedians to resent the disgrace. When the curtain 
was about to rise, the next night, all the actors were in open 
mutiny. Mole*, Le Kain, Dauberval, and finally Clairon, 
refused to play. There were shouts heard of " Clairon to 
prison ! " The police had to be called in. 

The haughty Clairon was carried away to prison, but went 
triumphantly in the carriage of the wife of the Intendant of 
Paris. The men actors soon struck, except Le Kain and Mole* . 
One of them had to make a humiliating apology to the 
audience ; every night they were brought from prison to the 
theatre to play, and taken back again after the performance. 
But the indomitable Clairon held out, as indeed she well might, 
for her imprisonment was a triumph. 

Soon, a prey to rage and fretting over her treatment, she 

* The lively French diarist, Bachnumont, took down this rumour, on 
one of the little scrape of paper, which went round the aaloru. — Mimowtx 
Stents, toL ii., p. 178. 



300 THE LIFE OP DAVID GARRICK. [176 

fell sick; and had to be released. She demanded her congi, 
and said she would never act again. She went from one 
fainting fit to the other, and her enemies then maliciously 
sent round to her that the great Garrick, now in London, had 
told "Miladi Holland 1 ' that he preferred the Dumesnil's 
acting. She did not believe the story ; her bitter letter to 
him, telling her sufferings and her projects, is highly charac- 
teristic. She said she was determined to sacrifice " her ven- 
geance " to that one motive, the enfranchising of her profession 
from being subject to this degrading restraint Sooner than 
" give in, she was determined to die — to bear all persecutions." 
She inveighed against Mol6 and Le Kain, who had betrayed her. 
Le Kain was under a load of obligation to her — a pension she 
had procured for him — an increase of salary for his wife, with 
many more benefits. "Good-bye, dear friend," she closed 
her letter with, " think of me sometimes ; make your dear 
wife do the same ; and come back to us as soon as you can." 
Garrick's reply was an offer of five hundred guineas ! A 
princely generosity. Well might Voltaire turn to his satellites, 
and ask if there was a Marshal or Duke in all France who 
would imitate such an act 

Ministers were obliged to yield in this unworthy struggle. 
She was allowed to retire to Geneva, where was Tronchin, the 
great doctor. There she dazzled and charmed Voltaire. But 
after this, she never rallied in health or popularity. The public 
found that she was determined to try the device that her friend 
Garrick had tried with his public, and by absence and co- 
quetting make them miss her ; but she kept it up so long that 
they forgot her. Then came neglect and mortification. She 
offered to play before the King as a special favour, who sent her 
word that he was very well content with the present actresses. 
Yet it is impossible not to sympathise with her wayward but 
gallant spirit, and her last letter to her true English friend is 
almost pathetic, showing illness and hopelessness, and a broken 
spirit* 

It was such natures as this that Garrick drew to him, and 
such natures as this that could appreciate him. 

Thus had he established his name, fame, and credit in Paris. 



• M 



Since April I have been daily between life and death ; and the day 
that the Abbe* Bontemps handed me the gauze which your aweet wife sent 
me, I was so bad I could not thank him. I can hardly see, hear, or move 
from one chair to another. Death would be a thousand times less pitiable 
than my condition. But my heart is still whole, and, filled with gratitude, 
loves you both for ever and ever, and tongs but for one thing in this world — 
some way of proving it to you. M. CaUhava trill tell you the rest. I can 
write no more. Adieu I " 



1765.1 paris. 301 

There he was long after thought of, regretted, and respected. 
Preville, the comedian, with whom he had played droll freaks, 
both astonishing the inhabitants of villages near Paris with a 
surprising imitation of drunkenness, which brought out Gar- 
rick's criticism, that his friend " was not drunk enough in the 
legs," long after thought of him, and inquired about him, 
and gave imitations of him, and talked fondly over him at 
suppers, with Foote and others.* Yet from Preville he later 
withdrew his friendship, on account of a disgraceful life the 
latter was leading, and we can read the Frenchman's contrite 
letter announcing reform, and in warm terms imploring a re- 
newal of the old intimacy and friendship. A nature with such 
influence must have been respected, as well as loved, and Gar- 
rick might well look back to his stay abroad, to the roll of 
friendships he had formed, to the brilliant impressions he 
had left of himself, as a delightful memory, honourable alike 
to his character and to the profession of which he was the 
ornament. 

But if he had made new friends, he was to return, and find 
many gaps in the old ranks. Though he followed his friend 
Johnson's wise counsel of " keeping friendships in repair," it 
was hard to supply the place of a valiant henchman like 
Churchill, or of a true and early friend like Hogarth. He took 
infinite pains with an epitaph for Hogarth, for which I find 
among his papers many attempts — 

" If neither charm thee, turn away, 
For Hogarth's honest dust is here.' 
" Hogarth, pride of both, lies here. 1 

Johnson was consulted ; but he seems to have condemned all 
in a blunt, discouraging way, except one happy expression — 
"pictured morals" Garrick adopted all hints, cut away many 
stanzas, and it is now to be read in the picturesque Chiswick 
graveyard ; the epitaph is above the average : — 

" Farewell, great painter of mankind, 

Who reached the noblest point of art — 
Whose pictured morals charm the mind, 

And through the eye correct the heart. 
If genius fire thee, reader, stay — 

If nature touch thee, drop a tear— 
If neither moves thee, turn away, 

For Hogarth's honoured dust lies here." 

* Angelo's Memoirs. 



ti 
it 



302 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1765— 



book: a?HiE seyeuth. 
THE MAN OF SOCIETY. 



CHAPTER L 

RE-APPEARANCE — "THE CLANDESTINE MARRIAGE." — 1765-66. 

He was now in London once more, arriving, as the news- 
papers gave out, on the afternoon of Thursday, April 27, 1765. 
He was infinitely improved both in health and spirits, and 
tone of mind ; and from this time, if we can detect less interest 
in the theatre, and in plays, he seems to take a higher place in 
social life, and, with the aid of his Continental training, to 
assume a leading part in all the coteries and clubs. From this 
date, we begin to hear more of Garrick's esprit and Garrick's 
wit ; and, indeed, it would be impossible for one to have come 
fresh from D'Holbach, and Diderot, and Morellet, without 
catching some of their pleasant ways and manners. But he 
seemed fixed in his determination not to play again. Some 
friends congratulated him on this resolve, others tried to dis- 
suade him. 

He spent the summer among his friends ; now with Mrs. 
Cibber, at Woodhay, who, with her parrot and her dogs, was 
eager that he and " sweet Mrs. Garrick" should come to her. 
Her health was very bad, but she looked forward to joining 
him at Christmas, and " entering the favourite mare, Belvi- 
dera," an entry that was never to be made. Burke, too, was 
eager for his company, promising him true farmer's fare — fowls 
from his ownpoultry yard, and beef of his own rearing — early 
hours, boileflbutton, drowsy conversation, and a little clabber 
milk. 

" I congratulate my dear David," wrote Hoadly, " on coming 
to a resolution ; and, however the public may suffer, hope you 
will continue to enjoy the sweets of retirement with your sweet 
woman." Friends, who knew the actor better, were now at 
work. The King, with whom he always kept up a sort of 
relation through friends about the Court* was induced to make 
a most flattering remonstrance, and a request Mr. Garrick 
must not retire. Would he not appear again at his Majesty's 



1766.] RE-APPEARANCE. 303 

request ? Mr. Garrick could not refuse his sovereign. But he 
took a judicious step before his rentrte : he carefully reviewed 
such characters of his where Powell had made a reputation, 
and discarded any in which he found himself weak, retaining 
only Lusupian, Lothario, and Leon. Another would have entered 
in a wild competition, and disdained the notion of inferiority. 
Then came the new season, and he once more opened his 
theatre, on September 14th, with "The Beggars' Opera." 

As he looked back, towards the close of his life, to many 
distant nights of triumph and glitter, on none could his 
thoughts have rested with such pleasure as that 14th of 
November, when the King sat in the royal box, and the house 
was crammed to the ceiling, all London having come to see 
their favourite reappear after his long absence and travels. 
The tumult of welcome that greeted him, the plaudits sustained 
and gradually swelling into shouts, then an unusual form of 
welcome, must have told him what a hold he had upon their 
hearts. He remained silent for a time — then advanced and 
spoke, with infinite point and gaiety, some lines he had written 
to introduce himself. They are in that vein of personality 
which, even when it has its own speaker for an object, is 
scarcely in the best taste, and must lessen respect But the 
archness of his manner, and roguish play of feature, carried all 
off, and kept the audience in one flow of merriment : — 

"I am told— what flattery to my heart ! — that you 
Have wished to see me — nay, have pressed it, too. 
A very nine-pin, I my Btage life through, 
Knocked down by wit* t ut up again by you. 
In four- and- twenty years the spirits cool ; 
Is it not long enough to play the fool ? 
To prove it is, permit me to repeat, 
What late I heard, in passing through the street. 
A youth of parts, with ladies by his side, 
Thus cock'd his gloss, and through it shot my pride— 
1 Tis he, by Jove ! — grown quite a clumsy fellow ; 
He's fit for nothing but a Punchinello ; 
O yes, for comic Becrets — Sir John — no further ; 
He's much too fat for battles, rapes, and murther.' 
Worn with the service, you my faults will spare, 
And make allowance for the wear and tear. 
The Chelsea pensioner, who, rich in scars, 
Fights o'er in prattle all his former wars :* 
Should the drum, beat to arms, at first he'll grieve 
For wooden leg, Tost eye, and armless sleeve, 
Then cocks his hat, looks fierce, and swells his chest— 
'Tis for my King ! and, zounds t I'll do my best" 

* Is there not here a hint of another pensioner, who "shoulders his 
crutch, and showed how fields were won " I 



304 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1765 — 

There is good spirit in these lines, and the " hit " at the close, 
with the King himself looking down from his box, must have 
awakened enthusiasm. 

The curtain then rose on the first scene, " Much Ado about 
Nothing," with Miss Pope as Beatrice, and, in a moment, it was 
seen that there was not the least ground for that assumed con- 
sciousness of decay; on the contrary, it was perceived that in 
ease and elegance, and in an unaffected and natural manner, 
he had gained immensely by the influence of French habits and 
French acting; and, above all, that he had now lost that 
rather anxious look of expectancy and waiting for applause, 
which usually attended on the close of one of his " points." 
For more than ten nights — for prologues were repeated like 
plays — this prologue had to be given. 

That two years' withdrawal had shown his wisdom. The 
spectacle of empty benches, which had driven him away, was 
never to disturb him again ; the old charm was restored, and 
henceforward, to the hour of his retirement, when the ordinary 
attraction began to fade, the name of Garrick in the bills was 
the certain spell to conjure a crowded house. The town was 
"half mad to see him," Sir George Beaumont told Mr. 
Rogers ; and men of condition would bribe the attendants to 
admit them privately, before the doors were opened, to avoid 
the terrific crush.* 

During his absence, the Covent Garden Fund had been esta- 
blished for the benefit of decayed players. It was given out 
that he was highly indignant at such a step being taken, with- 
out his being consulted — he, the head of the profession! 
Da vies reports, with satisfaction, that the players were glad to 
retort on him, that they had made so many unsuccessful ap- 
plications to the management of Drury Lane, that they were 
now obliged to depend on themselves. It docs not seem very 
clear what the management of Drury Lane had to do with 
Covent Garden players; but it is more than probable that 
Garrick's good sense preferred a scheme that would have 
embraced the whole profession; and on such a scheme it 
would have been decent to have consulted him. They were 
only too glad to pass upon him this little slight. 

A similar plan was set on foot for Drury Lane, not by way 
of challenge or rivalry, but deliberately; for it took many 
years to settle the details. He was unwearied in his exertions, 
and played for its benefit very regularly. He and his partner 

* They were directed to appear in much heat, wiping their foreheads, so 
as not to excite suspicion. 



1766.] RE-APPEARANCE. 305 

gave a handsome contribution by way of commencement. He 
paid the cost of an Act of Parliament. He presented it with 
some houses in Drury Lane as a place of meeting — took them 
back again for a handsome sum, when it was found that money 
would be more welcome — and once moro bequeathed them 
back to the fund by his will. His last, long-remembered per- 
formance was given for its benefit His return to the profes- 
sion, to which he was not ashamed to show his gratitude, was 
thus really magnificent ; and it was computed that the value 
of his donations amounted to nearly £5,000.* 

He had added to his forces two excellent recruits — Dodd 
and Mrs. Fitz-Henry ; and his next venture was a revival of 
Wycherley's " Plain Dealer," which was prepared for the stage 
by Bickerstaff. By cutting away about half, it was brought 
into some sort of maimed shape ; though the humours of the 
Widow Blackacre, as given by Mrs. Clive, carried it through — 
in spite, too, of the absurdity of Yates, who had acted at 
Ipswich when Garrick first came out, then a youth of seven- 
teen. 

Mrs. Cibber's fond anticipation of entering " the mare Belvi- 
dera " was not to be fulfilled. She had been playfully rally- 
ing him as to " all their amours " being ended, but she did 
not think the real end was so near. She played with him, 
for the last time, as Lady Brute, and a few days later, on 
January 30, 1765, fell ill and died. No wonder Garrick said that 
tragedy was now dead on one side. A month earlier another 
great actor had passed away, and the stage lost the last great 
pillar of the old " exploded " classical style. Quin, long since 
retired, and given up to the enjoyment of venison and claret, 
and made welcome at Chatsworth, was (in the favourite his- 
trionic quotation) " to shuffle off this mortal coil." They had 
several times met at Chatsworth, where they had been invited, 
to use Davies' bombastic language, " to fill up the large cup 
of social happiness which the noble owner proposed to enjoy, in 
the company of his friends. " In the evening, when they were 

* At the other house there was not the same success or harmony. The 
actors would not trust the manager, and the manager in return refused a 
free benefit to the fund. The two funds were later wisely put together ; 
and their amount at present (1868) is about £60,000, which, under 
judicious management, ought to be a handsome provision for the "decayed " 
actors. Yet there appear to be restrictions, which interfere with the effi- 
ciency of administration — as membership for some years, before becoming 
entitled to the benefit, and no admission to the guild after forty years of 
age. A fund of this kind should be associated with a particular establish- 
ment ; but as the great corporations of Drury Lane and Covent Garden are 
dissolved, the actors can derive the same advantages by \*t&oiu& \\roxn3ttA~ 



306 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1765— 

left alone, a warm inquiry after Mrs. Garrick renewed old 
friendship, which intimacy Garrick never allowed to slacken. 
From that date he was often to be found at Hampton, where 
he found excellent claret ; and was always chosen for a visit 
to the cellar, to select a good bottle of Burgundy. Garrick 
had his picture painted for his own collection. When Gar- 
rick was down at Bath, racked with gout and endless dis- 
orders, he set himself to labouring out an epitaph for his 
friend, which, it must be said, reflects the dullness and languor 
of the sick room.* These were now early, but gentle, re- 
minders for Garrick. 

Yet he was now scarcely established at home when his old 
theatrical worries were to set in ; and, as a matter of course, 
the one that harassed him was to be a friend. If there was 
one who, even at the cost of personal sacrifice, was bound to 
give him peace at last, Golman was certainly the man. Garrick 
had laid him under a hundred obligations. To him had been 
sent from abroad the gayest and most amusing letters; for him 
had been shown affection in a hundred little ways. 

Before he quitted England, Garrick had often talked with 
his friend over a scheme for a comedy, a joint production, the 
name of which would seem to have been settled even before it 
was written. Upon his travels Garrick took portions of it with 
him. His amusements interfered with business, and he could 
not lay his mind to the task. But from abroad he encouraged 
Colman to go on. 

A marked character, which has become one of the figures of 
dramatic literature — a bit of true comedy, Lord Oglebp — was 
originally designed for Garrick himself. And, indeed, it seemed 
that no one but Garrick could have given such good effect to 
the good-humoured old beau, so full of ardour for the sex, so 
checked in his advances by sudden twinges of gout and rheu- 
matism. Garrick, however, had formed a resolution of ap- 
pearing in no new character ; and when the piece was ready for 
Drury Lane, and Drury Lane for it, informed Colman that he 
could not undertake the part.f Nothing was more character 
istic of Garrick's nature than these little struggles, of which 

* Plenty of Quin's jests are to be found in the regular collections, but 
the following are not so well known. When he was put to sleep at an inn 
with a clergyman whose linen was not very clean, he said — ' 4 What ! are 
you coming to bed in your cassock, parson f " Also his saying to the turn* 
spit who had shirked his duty, and obliged his master to procure another to 
roast the meat — " Ah ! you must keep a curate too." 

t It has been thought that Garrick's reason for declining to play it was 
its likeness to ChaUcstone, 



1766.] "THE CLANDESTINE MARRIAGE." 307 

some very trifling occasion was the reason. Insensibly, as 
pressure was put on him, they gradually magnified, and grew 
beyond all proportion. The fact that others began to attach 
an undue importance to them, from his unexpected opposition, con- 
tributed to this odd effect ; and thus, from constantly turning 
over this question, whether he should play Lord Ogleby or not, 
it began to appear to him a very serious one indeed, and at last 
he finally made up his mind, and declined. 

Colman was indignant at this refusal, and returned to Bath 
in dudgeon. He affected to consider that Garrick had pledged 
himself, and burst into a whole catalogue of grievances. Gar- 
rick was much hurt When Colman returned, good-natured 
friends came and reported real or fancied speeches of Garrick, 
and inflamed the breacji ; and some expression of the actor's, 
claiming a share in the joint labour, touched his vanity, and 
raised a controversy which has been often debated since, and 
never satisfactorily settled. 

Offended at Colman's behaviour, Garrick had said, to a 
friend, " Colman lays great stress upon his having written Lord 
Ogleby for me. Suppose it should come out that i* wrote it ? " 
The other was indignant, not so much at the claim of author- 
ship as at the betrayal of their respective shares in the work. 
When we read the play, it is surely the image of Lord Ogleby 
that we take away, and Lord Ogleby is Garrick's work. He told 
his friend, Mr. Cradock, that he had taken the idea from a 
humorous old gentleman down in Norfolk, " It is true," wrote 
Colman, "indeed, that by your suggestion Hogarth's proud 
lord was converted into Lord Ogleby, and that, as the play now 
stands, the levee scene at the beginning of the second act, and the 
whole of the fifth act, are yours." A sketch of Lord Ogleby, 
but no more, had been already given in Garrick's own farce of 
" Lethe ; " and it was natural that Garrick should wish a cha- 
racter which had been so successful to have a wider field. In 
" The Clandestine Marriage," there is a good caricature of a 
Swiss valet, who flatters his lordship skilfully, and says, 
" Bravo, bravo, my lor'," at judicious openings ; while Lord 
Chdkstone also has a henchman called Bowman, who flatters 
too, and says " bravo " at openings. In " Lethe," also, there 
are allusions to the vulgar taste for ornamental gardening — the 
serpentine walks and " capabilities " of a city-like paradise — 
which was a hit at " Capability Brown," the great ornamental 
gardener of his day. The same hint is carried on into the Cits 
character in " The Clandestine Marriage," and very amusingly 
developed. 

Coming to the mere writing, we can settle tb&vc &ax%&. 



308 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1765— 

They really divided the work pretty equally between them. 
Colman wrote the first act; Garrick the "strong" scene of 
the second act, and more than half the act ; Colman the third 
act, and a portion of the fourth ; Garrick the remaining por- 
tion, and the whole of the fifth act.* In fact, Garrick's share 
is the two great characters of the piece, the humours those 
characters give rise to — the capital levee seene, the amusing 
garden scene, and the bustling night adventure, which wound 
up the play so triumphantly; in short, all the bright portions. 
Colman supplied all the sober "business" — the steady mecha- 
nism — which was to help forward the movement of the piece. 
And yet Colman was not only prepared to assume the entire 
responsibility of the whole, but could have the effrontery to 
give out " that he wrote Lord Ogleby for Garrick." On the other 
side, having taken this large share in the composition, Garrick 
had actually arranged that Colman was to have the whole 
credit of the play ! — a compliment that Colman had allowed 
himself to accept with the salvo, that it was to be "a means of 
perpetuating and strengthening the connection between them." 
It was to be acted as Colman's, and it was only when revised 
and published in book shape that Garrick's name was to 
appear. But when he heard that Colman was going about 
abusing him for not acting the part) " he, Colman, had written 
for him" he was naturally annoyed, and had then said, "What 
would you say if /had written the part ?"t The quiet logical 
way in which the manager disposes of the angry, peevish 
author ; shows him that he had been wrong ; then forgives all, 
and sets himself to bringing out of the play in the best way he 
could ; is admirable. But Colman's great complaint of Garrick 
was his having declined to play in the comedy. 

For Colman "to withdraw" a piece, written under such 
conditions, was almost ludicrous. Yet when both met in 
" Johnson's parlour," Garrick, having now heard of Colman's 
complaints and unkind speeches about him in the interval, 

* He writes from abroad : " I have not yet written a word of the fourth 
or fifth act ; but I am thinking about it." When he had returned, he 
wrote from Hampton : " I have read the three acts of the comedy, and 
think they will do special well; but why did you not finish the first act, as 
you would have it ? " 

t It is eminently characteristic of the character of both men, that when 
Colman was in Paris he gave a copy of the play to Favart, the poet, as his 
own work, without mentioning Garrick's share ; while to Madame Ricco- 
boni, in the very same week, Garrick had modestly described his share as 
a mere "touch of the fingers" It was said later, that the leading charac- 
ters were taken from an obscure farce of Townley's, which was only acted 
one night, and never printed. But of this there is no proof. 



1766.] "THE CLANDESTINE MARRIAGE." 309 

took another tone, told him plainly that the comedy must be 
treated entirely as his own, and be brought forward at the 
present season, or not at all. " Should I not rather accuse you 
of using me in a strange manner by withdrawing the piece 
which I had a share in, and upon whose appearance I reckoned ? 
I have ever," he wrote admirably, " thought of you and loved 
you as a faithful and affectionate friend ; but surely your leav- 
ing London so abruptly, and leaving complaints of me behind 
you, was not a very becoming instance of your kindness to me; 
and if I betrayed any warmth in consequence of your conduct, 
such warmth was, at least, more natural and excusable than 
your own. Your suspicions of my behaving in a manager-like 
manner, before you went to Bath, are very unworthy t>f you. 
I never assumed the consequence of a manager to anybody (for 
I know that fools may be, and that many fools have been, 
managers), much less to one whom — I leave your heart to sup- 
ply the rest." On an allusion in Column's letter to a past 
service, he says, charmingly — "Iimtld wish, for both our sakes, 
that no account courani (as there ought to be none in friendship) 
may be produced on either side." With such a nature it was 
impossible to quarrel, and the matter was speedily made up. 

When later Foote met with his dreadful accident ; Garrick, 
offering every service in his power, until he should be well, 
took care to mention specially, how his " friend Colman has 
particularly shown his regard to you," in feeling and lament- 
ing his misfortune. He had not miscalculated the effect of his 
message; for Foote wrote back, filled with gratitude and 
thanks, to Mr. Colman " for his friendly feelings." And it was 
this delicate and considerate kindness, always most active when 
his friends were absent — this perfect loyalty — that was the 
charm of Garrick's character. 

It was determined that King should be the Lord Ogleby — for 
him a fortunate choice, for with his name the part has become 
identified. He at first declined it, but it was pressed upon 
him, and ho accepted it.* 

On the 20th of February the comedy was brought out 
Garrick himself opened the night with a prologue, in which he 
alluded to the recent deaths of Quin and Mrs. Cibber. Then 

* Garrick, it is said, took the opportunity of insinuating his own view of 
the character in various private interviews, and finally fixed a day for a 
rehearsal in his own parlour, when King went through it, but after a 
manner of his own, which extorted Garrick's admiration as perfectly origi- 
nal, and far better than any mere imitation of him. But Garrick always 
regretted the chance he had allowed to slip from him, and his eyes often, 
turned back wistfully to the part. 



310 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1765— 

the play began; The house was filled with the friends of the 
two authors ; and as there was a great masquerade that night 
at the Pantheon, many of the company in their zeal came with 
portions of their fancy dresses on, under their coats, and left 
other portions at neighbouring taverns and coffee-houses, to be 
put on after the play. Yet danger was expected. The first 
act passed over without interruption; but in the second, when 
the Swiss valet said there was nothing in the papers but Anti- 
sejanus and advertisements, a storm broke out. Anti-sejanus 
— a well-known clergyman, called Scott, whose employer was 
Lord Sandwich — was sitting in the boxes ; and when some one 
in the pit jumped up, and pointing to him, called out, " There 
he is ! turn him out !" a perfect storm arose. The clergyman, 
who was six feet high, stood up defiantly in his place, and 
looked down contemptuously at the crowd. This episode had 
nearly shipwrecked the play. But King's Lord Ogleby put 
every one in good-humour. The tradition of it is still kept 
alive. Wherever Lord Ogleby has been played — unhappily but 
rarely — it is acted as King performed it.* There is a well- 
known masterly picture of him, at the Garrick Club, which 
represents the stiff, ungainly nobleman with hard, wooden, 
heavy cheeks, a languishing ogle in his old eye, a wig with a 
comic curl over his forehead, dressed in rich finery, and taking 
a pinch of snuff with an air of exquisite dandyism. In the 
course of the play there was another rock — a scene between 
the lawyers, which has some humour, but which excited mur- 
murs, from the same nicety that caused Goldsmith's humorous 
bailiffs to be objected to. Anything like broad, open, healthy 
humour was reckoned "low," and the lawyers, like the 
bailiffs, had to be very much " cut down." 

In the last act, too, so many alterations had been made, up 
to the very last moment, that the players did not know what 
they were to say, or what to leave out ; and the " business n 
became a mass of confusion. There was a deal of rushing in 
and out, from bed-rooms, &c; but the energetic "Pivy" Chve, 
who to the last was full of spirits and animal motion, came 
bustling on, and threw such life and vigour into the scene, that 
she restored the day, and brought the piece triumphantly 
through. 

In his epilogue he determined to satirize the new popular 
fancy for English opera, which had grown up in his absence, 
and had taken serious hold of the public. Yet a taste that 

# The late " Old Farren " must have seen King. The part has passed 
to hia son, an excellent actor, and nourished on his father's traditions. 



1766.] "THE CLANDESTINE MARRIAGE." 311 

brought out such fresh English music, and such truly charac- 
teristic dramas as " Love in a Village," scarcely deserved such 
bantering. Mrs. Quaver asks, "Pray do you know the author, 
Colonel Trill?" — (here was Gaxrick's old system of self -depre- 
ciation once more) — and the " first lady " whispers him, which 
makes Lord Minim break out, " What, he again ! And dwell 
such daring souls in little men ? " After that first night it had 
a great success, and ran for many nights. * 

Kenrick attacked it openly; Hawkesworth was gentle with 
it ; and Johnson good-naturedly sent down to Bath, to Garrick, 
a refutation of Kenrick's review. Even Davies, the bookseller, 
and friend of Garrick, had his little sling ready, and from a 
private corner abused the play as full of " vulgarisms," which 
only made Garrick smile. Now turned bookseller, the former 
actor had made his shop a sort of rendezvous for all who dis- 
liked the manager ; and there, as Garriek well knew, were 
hatched half the ill-natured stories about him. 

It is impossible not to read this little history without seeing 
how much it is to Garrick's credit in every part " If either of 
us," he wrote affectionately to Colman, " had the least ingredi- 
ent of some of the mortal composition that shall be nameless, 
we might have lost the greatest blessing of our lives — at least 
I speak for one." This was not likely to be a " half reconcilia- 
tion." Colman was his " ever affectionate friend." Colman's 
little boy he and Mrs. Garrick looked after carefully. He 
christened him " Georgy-go-jing," and rode oyer often to look 
after him, play with him, and amuse him. He was brought 
over to stay at Hampton. All Colman's concerns were well 
managed during any absence. It was Garrick's lot that those 
on whom he had heaped all these good offices should select him 
as the object of some ungenerous return ; and Colman was al- 
ready meditating a questionable stroke of policy, which, if 
strictly legitimate, had very much the ugly air of ingratitude. 
A new La Rochefoucauld could illustrate very cynically, from 
Garrick's life, the folly of being strictly equitable and above 
worldly resentments, and of being too quick to forgive. Such 
behaviour is sure to be interpreted as weakness, and invites the 
petulance and intimidation of those who have something to 
gain. And this explains, in part at least, the exceptional be- 
haviour of many of Garrick's so-called " friends," who, like 

* The town, as usual, was to indemnify itself with a joke, and made 
merry at the joint authorship. The "Monthly Review " alluded pointedly 
to Tate and Brady, Sternhold and Hopkins, and other noted collabora- 
teurs, while newspaper wits rhymed on them as a new Beaumont and 
Fletcher. 



312 THE LIFE OP DAVID GARRICK. [17§6— 

Murphy, grew at last to know his failings by heart, his dislike 
to give pain by a blunt refusal, and who could "wring his giz- 
zard," as Murphy was supposed to have the power of doing. 



CHAPTER IL 

COLMAN AND COVENT GARDEN. — 1766-1768. 

Now his old troubles began to set in. Lacy, perhaps overset 
by the success of sole management, was beginning to obstruct 
— to take airs, and claim a larger share, though it had been 
stipulated that he was to confine himself to his own special de- 
partment. This, in fact, Garrick's solicitors wished to have had 
inserted in the deed ; but Garrick's delicacy wished to spare an 
affront to the vanity of his partner, who seems to have been an 
obstinate man, with a kind of crooked suspicion in his mind. 
Garrick, wearied of these humours, began actively to look out 
for a purchaser for his share of the patent, which, though nomi- 
nally supposed to be of equal value to his partner's, was worth 
infinitely more, as it was his talent that brought profit to both; 
and when that was withdrawn, not much would be left behind. 
It was some such reflection that always acted as a wholesome 
check upon Lacy. Early in the following year he made a hand- 
some apology, begged that things might go on on the old foot- 
ing, and gave his word of honour that he would never object 
to Garrick's management, except in a private and friendly way. 
This was his reply to a formal memorandum sent by a solicitor. 
Garrick at once forbore, though matters had gone so far, with 
his usual graciousness. " I should have quitted Drury Lane," 
he said, " with reluctance ; and nothing but being convinced 
that Mr. Lacy chose to part with me should have drove me to 
the step I was obliged to take. ... I am ready to meet Mr. 
Lacy as my partner and friend, without having the least re- 
membrance that we disagreed." Thus was the matter accom- 
modated — for a time. 

The foreign tour proved scarcely of so much benefit to his 
health as he anticipated ; for he had presently to go to Bath to 
drink the waters.* They did him some good, and made him, 
as he said, " feel like a feathered Mercury." He found strange 
company there, which amused him, and the present society oi 
Mr. Selwyn. But presently, when he was " cent, per cent 
better," the gout came back, and all but crippled him. Soon 

* His name is among the " arrivals " there in March. 



1768.] COLMAN AND COVKNT GARDEN. 313 

after he found his way down to Mistley, to the social Rigby's, 
who managed to combine a boisterous bonhomie to his friends 
with a reckless and unscrupulous morality at the expense of the 
nation. At his pleasant house there was always a welcome for 
Garrick ; for not yet had the host been overtaken by evil days, 
nor had a stern morality come into fashion which made him its 
first victim. Rigby's letters are the most jovial and friendly, 
and the heartiest They would have, indeed, "jolly" souls at 
that hospitable house — making songs and rhymes to be chanted 
at dinner.* 

To Colman, then in Paris, Garrick now had to write over a 
great piece of news that was stirring the theatrical world. 
The Covent Garden patent was coming into the market; 
" Beard and Co." were going to sell — the price sixty thousand 
pounds. No one knew the probable purchasers. " There will 
be the devil to do ; " but all was to be " mum." Foote also 
was spoken of as a purchaser, but his hands were now full. 
Garrick wrote all this to his friend, in the most affectionate of 
letters: "I wish to God we had you here; your letter has 
made me miserable. Let me beg of you, for my sake, not to 
let your spirits sink." Well might his spirits sink ; for the 
foolish young man, with a folly that seems to border on in- 
fatuation, was fatally incensing General Pulteney, a relation 
with enormous fortune, and who had warned him that unless 
he gave up his stage tastes, and his connection with an actress, 
he should forfeit all chance of succeeding to his estates. Not 
content with this, he offered him a seat in Parliament ; but a 
sort of madness seems to have hurried Colman on. Nothing 
can be more generously affectionate than Garrick's letters. 
Every scrap of news is retailed, and many a service done, to 
his friend, in his absence, t 

The important news of the sale was quite true; but he 
little suspected the effect it was to leave. Colman presently 
told him that he had a letter from a person of fashion. " I can 
^guess," replied Garrick, " what its subject was ; it was to offer 
a share in the patent." It was the last thing in the world he 
dreamed that his friend would think of entering into opposi- 

* " The Travellers," wrote Garrick, after one of these visits, " send their 
thanks for a week of more pleasure than they have ever enjoyed. They are 
going now to mortify with tough mutton, and a bottle of port." The old 
Duke of Newcastle was sometimes of the party. 

t He told him of Foote's engaging the Barrys for the Haymarket, and 
gives a hint of Foote's curious temper. He began to find out that the ex- 
penses were likely to be enormous, and that his friends were not enthusi- 
astic. "When Barry comes," says Garrick, "he'll find Foote very cold. 
They my he abtues him already" 



314 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1766— 

tion against him. The bait was too tempting. With a sus- 
picious eagerness Colman was back in town again — having, in 
his correspondence with Garrick, quite ignored the subject 
During the rest of that year the negotiations did not advance. 

There was one night in October, 1766, which was a remark- 
able one. Rousseau had come to London, and was being filed. 
Garrick was determined to do honour to the distinguished 
stranger, and brought him to the theatre to see his own Lusig- 
nan, in a piece which was likely to be the most familiar to a 
foreigner — " Zara." Lard Chcdkstone was to follow. The King 
and Queen came also, from a curiosity, it was believed, to see 
the author of the " Confessions." Mr. Garrick took charge of 
the guest, and he was placed on a high seat in the box. It 
was reported that he had shown his relish of the plays, quite 
h travers — laughing at Lusignan, and crying at Lord ChaUcstone; 
though, indeed, the last was scarcely so absurd as might 
appear; for the spectacle of an old battered rake of a lord, 
racked acutely from gout and gravel, was more an object of 
pity and disgust than of laughter.* The ludicrous vanity of 
the man was the feature of the night, and Mrs. Garrick often 
told of her terror,, as he would stretch out of the box to show 
himself to the audience, and of her having to take him by the 
coat tail to save him. Thus, in its boxes, as well as on the 
stage, Drury Lane saw many a pleasant bit of comedy. 

Meanwhile Colman had written a comedy, which was ready 
by February. It was called the "English Merchant " — a 
piece founded on Voltaire's " L'Ecossaise," which, in its turn, 
had been founded in some measure on the " Douglas " of Home 
— through such odd shifts and suits had a good play to pass. 
Garrick worked hard for it, though he was kept awake all 
night by violent coughing. The good air of Hampton, how- 
ever, set him up, and with his " warmest affections to his dear 
Coley," he hoped he would come down on a Wednesday, and 
take share of a fine haunch of venison which Mrs. Garrick 
promised them. He would do anything, and offered an 
epilogue, in which he said, modestly, he would do his best, if 
Colman was not already provided. 

But a change which he intended in the arrangements of his 
theatre seems to have brought about a fresh coolness. By the 
recent alterations, the house was now made each night over a 

* The vulgar proverb, " mocking is catching," happily applied in re- 
straint of mimicking physical infirmities, was to be fortified by the instance 
of Foote, who lost his leg by an accident ; and even of Garrick, who was 
later a martyr to the two maladies whose agonies he had so often mimicked 
on the stage. 



1768.] COLMAN AND COVKNT GARDEN. 315 

hundred guineas more valuable in capacity than it was before ; 
and now held 337 guineas instead of 220. Such increased 
receipts of course brought increased expenses, and he proposed 
to charge an author, who took his benefit night, seventy 
guineas for expenses instead of sixty. He proposed a judi- 
cious change in dealing with any new play, always set down 
as the sole entertainment for the night. As the performance 
began at five and ended about nine, the audience were dis- 
missed too early; and as what required every aid was left to 
its own unadorned attractions, Garrick suggested that every 
new piece should be supported by a farce or light comedy. He 
began the system with Colman's play; but the latter was angry, 
and refused to submit to the regulation. As a matter of 
course the manager gave way to his friend, whose resentment 
was inflamed by finding that Garrick's plan and Garrick's 
advice would have been best to follow; for the play failed, and 
was thinly attended. But Colman would not forgive. When, 
in April, Garrick found himself once more at Bath, taking the 
waters, and growing "fat as a hog," Colman arrived with 
a French friend. They met coldly. " We pulled off our hats 
to each other, but did not smile." Kind friends wished hard 
to reconcile them — that is, to abate Column's resentment ; for 
with Garrick, of course, there was no difficulty, though, he 
said, happily enough, that he feared it would be " only adarnJ! 
In June a sort of infatuation hurried Colman into tne scheme 
of taking Covent Garden Theatre. Powell — also under heavy 
obligations to Garrick — joined with him in the speculation. 
Harris and Rutherford were the two other partners. The 
whole negotiation was conducted with the secrecy of a plot; 
but never did man pay so heavy a penalty for gratifying 
theatrical taste. He was supposed to be heir to the enormous 
Bath estates, and General Pulteney, when he heard of the 
plan, had fairly warned him of his displeasure; but, with what 
can only be called madness, Colman persevered. Never did 
penalty come so swiftly; within a few months the affairs of 
the theatre began to fall into disorder; and within a few 
months also, General Pulteney died, and left his vast property 
away from him. He could not have hoped to have received 
the whole of this splendid fortune; but it was always under- 
stood that Colman was in some shape to be his heir. The 
foolish youth fancied he had overcome all the General's scru- 
ples by a " clever letter," quoting the precedents of Sir Richard 
Steele, Sir William Davenant, and other persons of condition, 
who had managed theatres ! Clever letters have never done 
much beyond ministering to the self-sufficiency ot ttafcit^wcfcttrfc. 



316 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1766— 

The stage has cost many of its votaries serious sacrifices of 
character, station, and fortune, but from none has this Jugger- 
naut exacted so tremendous a penalty. He seems to have 
kept Garrick in the dark until all was nearly concluded. Hol- 
land, another of Garrick's actors, a young man whom he had 
taught, and to whom he had been specially kind, joined in the 
affair. Many were hoping that with the new confederacy, 
Garrick's ruin was at hand. 

Colman often came to break the matter to Garrick, but he 
fenced it off, and had many qualms in bringing it out To 
George Garrick, his own brother, Garrick laid open his heart, 
and there we see his liberal view of the matter. George 
and Lacy were furious. " I cannot think," wrote Garrick, 
" that Colman's joining Powell, when he and I were at vari- 
ance, and from an offer of Powell and his confederates, blame- 
able; however, Colman will act under my wing if I would 
have him, and so do not inflame matters, my dear George" Thus 
generous was his view. It was with Powell's treachery he was 
disgusted; the latter had even broken his articles to carry out 
his scheme. " He was a scoundrel," said Garrick, and Colman 
would repent his connection with him "in every vein." 
Though some clamour was raised at his levying the thousand 
pounds — the penalty in the articles, which the actor had 
broken with such cool effrontery — it was surely absurd to 
expect Quixotic toleration for the man who had so treated 
him. He could even admit that Colman, as stage manager, 
was worth five hundred a year to the new partners, and that 
it would be worth his own while to pay that sum to deprive 
them of his services. 

This dangerous opposition from an important theatre, having 
in its management skill, talent, and the prestige of "new 
blood," seemed to augur ill for the fortunes of Drury Lane. 
It was now to have serious losses, both by death and deser- 
tion. The Yates's had deserted, so had Powell ; Mrs. Gibber 
was dead ; Mrs. Pritchard and Mrs. Clive were on the eve of 
retiring. Garrick himself was " worried," and, perhaps, losing 
enthusiasm in his work, too much harassed, and already sigh- 
ing for repose. Yet, such was the good fortune that was to 
attend him in all concerns to the very end of his life, that this 
precise moment was to be the turning-point at which a new 
tide of success was to set in for Drury Lane. 

Now began to be heard of, two rising actresses — Miss Pope 
and Miss Younge — ready now to take the places left by the de- 
serters. Mrs. Abington, who had gone to Dubtin, an obscure 
third-rate actress, after working that excitable audience into a 



1768.] COLMAN AND COVENT GARDEN. 317 

furore of admiration, had come back flushed with triumph, 
with all the cachet of success. She at once fell into the lead- 
ing parts. Her style was matured, her comedy elegant. He 
found yet stronger help in Barry and Mrs. Dancer, who, after 
a long interval, had appeared at the Haymarket with all the 
enthusiasm of a first dtbfit, and these he secured for the season 
at the liberal salary of fifteen hundred pounds. Once more 
the stage of Drury Lane was to echo to the melodious chime of 
two incomparable artists. Mrs. Dancer, by playing so much 
with Barry, had caught many of his tender notes, and in the 
round of characters, Othello and Desdemona, Castalio and 
Mmimia, began to draw crowds. It may be doubted whether 
there ever was such a pair upon the English stage. Even from 
the prints — the little frontispieces to the printed plays, where 
we see " Mr. and Mrs. Barry " — his tall figure breathing anger 
and rage and reproach, she on her knees at his feet, pas- 
sionately pleading in all the richness of the true tragedy 
queen's magnificence, we catch a faint idea of the tenderness 
and interest which this wonderful couple excited. 

The end of Column's venture came with extraordinary speed. 
Before the year was out the most complete shipwreck over- 
took the enterprise, with frantic dissension — bailiffs breaking 
in, and utter destruction. An actress was to be indirectly the 
cause. The whole system of management was indeed a false 
one. From the quantity of Colman's writing brought out 
during that short space, it is not unreasonable to suspect that 
his vanity was what hurried him into the speculation. He 
served the audience with a Colman's "King Lear," newly 
adapted and altered, but which was not found as good as the 
detestable Tate ; also his own " English Merchant," his " Jea- 
lous Wife," a comedy called "The Oxonian in Town," and 
" The Clandestine Marriage," in which he had a share. The 
prologue in the opening was his also. Much indeed was re- 
deemed by Goldsmith's incomparable "Good-natured Man," 
which was brought out on Jan. 29, 1768. This fresh bit of 
open-air nature ought to have stayed the impending doom; 
but the wits of the time might have turned a rhyme on the 
significant retrenchment of Mr. Twitcher and Flannigan, the 
two bailiffs, who were to reappear in sober earnest, before the 
end of the season, and not be then so easily retrenched. 
Goldsmith, when Barry and his wife were passionately de- 
claiming at Drury Lane, had pushed his way out of the Drury 
Lane pit, saying aloud, " Brownri^g, by G — !" — alluding to 
the well-known murderess. For the doctor was now ranged 
among the ranks of the manager's enemies, and made commas 



The whole town rushed to see t 
the pair in Lear and Othello, am 
chivalrous heroes and tender hero 
in now and again with some of hi 
time Drury Lane flourished unint 
to have the services of these gri 
inconveniences and worry. Thei\ 
set by success ; they were presen 
ing grievances; and when aggri 
tences for not doing their duty. 
a natural and decent excuse for hi* 
who had become Mrs. Barry, ws 
with this and last night's perfor 
weak," and if the matter is press 
able of going through the business 
position, which affected the "rur 
play of " Zenobia," drew him also 

The Covent Garden disorder, ii 
Macklin was quarrelling about h 
"Powell's Sultana." The many-1 
tracted ; and through an inf atuati 
Mrs. Lessingham,* a fine enterp 
Powell, too, a little later was cut 
putrid fever; Holland, his friend, 
and thus the opposition, that seer 
away. 

The season, too, was remarkat 
tounding comedy by a Dublin sU 



1768.] DRURY LANE. 319 

stranger to Garrick at the time, and the proceeding seemed a 
little " cool." But he was encouraged to go on, and the result 
was the highly successful comedy of "False Delicacy," which 
had a surprising " run," and was one of the genuine successes 
of Garrick's era.* 

The success of this fade composition is one of the mysteries 
of the stage. It was of course given out that the piece was 
elaborately prepared by Garrick to gratify his spleen, and 
damage the success of Goldsmith's play. But it had long been 
in Garrick's hands, and a promise had been given. More 
reasonable seemed the complaint, that it had been fixed for the 
week of the doctor's comedy; but the manager felt he was not 
bound to go out of his way to serve the man who only a few 
weeks before, had come into his pit to ridicule a new tragedy, 
and make a disturbance. But later, we shall see more fully 
what were the relations of the great actor with that great poet 
and dramatist. 



CHAPTER IH 

DRURY LANE — GARRICK IN SOCIETY. — 1768-69. 

At the end of the season the King of Denmark had come to 
London, having exhausted all the attractions of Paris. Having 
seen many of the established London shows, he expressed a 
wish to see the wonderful actor ; and a company was hastily 

fot together, to play " The Suspicious Husband," and " The 
'rovoked Wife."t He was also diverted with an English farce 
— the humours of "Mungo" — and allowed the piece to be 

* I refer readers to Mr. Forster's humorous description of the comedy 
in his Life of Goldsmith. The play was so successful, and Garrick said so 
much of it, that Lord Pembroke was eager to be back from Paris to see it, 
though he said, with true aristocratic pride, that he could expect very 
little from such a name as " Kelly," especially if there be an "0 " before 
it. Some wonderful things, however, both in politics and in the drama, 
have been done by men with this objectionable " " before their names. 

f Sir John Hawkins is amusing on this. He says that Garrick " received 
an order from the Lord Chamberlain " to entertain his Majesty by an ex- 
hibition of himself " in six characters." " On his way to London," goes on 
the Knight, " he called on me, and told me this as news. I could plainly 
discern in his looks, the joy that transported him ; but lie affected to be 
vexed at the shortness of the notice, and seemed to arraign the wisdom of 
their councils by exclaiming, "You see what heads they have!" The 
truth was, Garrick was seriously embarrassed, for his performers were all 
scattered, and with difficulty he secured Miss Bellamy and Woodward. 
Tet Sir John's picture of Garrick's little affectation is not overdramxu 



320 THE LIFE OP DAVID GARRICK. [1768 — 

dedicated to him. That strange prince, whose tour through 
London and Paris was one whirl of masquerading and shows, 
was pleased with the great player, and there is still in the 
family, the handsome snuff-box with a portrait, set in jewels, 
on the lid, a present from the King. But during these triumphs 
he was to hear of the death of the old partner of his triumphs — 
the unique Lady Macbeth — the incomparable Pritchard. Prom 
the strange, rough Gainsborough came the news : " Poor Mrs. 
Pritchard died here " — at Bath — " on Saturday night, at eleven 
o'clock: so now her performance being no longer present to 
them, who must see and hear before they can believe, you will 
know, my dear sir — but I beg pardon, I forgot — Time puts all 
in his fob, as I do my timekeeper — watch that, my dear — "* 

Another death was that of Palmer, but forty years old, a 
true and airy comedian, with an agreeable figure and person, 
and a pleasant coxcombry in his manner even off the stage, 
which would have pleased Elia, as " highly artificial.* No 
more would he now " top the jaunty part." The old line were 
dropping away slowly. 

By this time the fitful Arthur Murphy thought there had 
been a " cool " of sufficient length between him and Mr. Gar- 
rick. That friendly Irishman, Bickerstaff, volunteered the 
office of mediator. Garrick had been talking with him, and 
Murphy's name being mentioned, spoke with eager warmth 
and kindness, which Bickerstaff at once reported. He told 
Garrick that Murphy felt these expressions deeply, and only 
wished for a handsome opportunity of putting an end to all 
their little quarrels, and proposed that they should meet some 
night at his " hovel " in Somerset Place, and have a little even- 
ing together with Samuel Johnson. Garrick's answer is frank 
and generous. " You are a good Christian," he wrote. " I 
shall with the greatest pleasure meet the company you men- 
tion at your house. As I am almost upon my theatrical death- 
bed, I wish to die in charity and goodwill with all men of 
merit, and with none more so — as he wishes it too — than with 
Mr. Murphy. — P.S. Pray let us meet as if we had never 
thought unkindly of each other." 

But in the next month Garrick was to pay the usual penalty 
for Mr. Murphy's "friendship." The latter's sensitiveness 
began to be disturbed about a loan of £100 from Garrick, the 
only security for which was the profit of some play to be written 
in future. Garrick was not able to bring out the new play, 

* He signs himself — " Who am I but the same, think you ? — T. Q." 
(" Impudent scoundrel," adds Mr. Garrick.) 



1769.] DRURT LANK. 321 

" Zenobia," that season, and sent it back to the author for safe 
custody, possible alteration, &c. This Murphy resented. He 
did not like the air of putting his plays in pawn, as it were — 
"which is to work itself clear, the Lord knows when. This is 
the old trait of business, and I much wish to avoid it" " What 
a pity!" replied Garrick, with infinite temper, "that your 
natural good-humour and good sense will now and then fail, 
when you are to judge of me ! " He then shows h<5w mistaken he 
was : " I think it a very small favour to lend money to a friend; 
and to lend it with his silver spoons in my drawer, seems to 
me the very spirit of pawnbroking, without the three blue balls. 
You are acquainted with no man who would have more pleasure 
in serving you in every manner he could, than myself." With 
all this, Garrick strained a point, and the play was actually 
fixed for the first month of the next year, with a day for read- 
ing. But Mr. Murphy was "sensitive" stilL He did not care 
about it. And Lacy had again begun to thwart him, and to 
disregard the articles of their late reconciliation. He now 
affected to be offended with George Garrick, and spoke of him 
injuriously. Garrick himself was weary of this petty warfare. 
He had made up his mind to end his theatrical life then — 
" Fate, and Mr. Lacy, who alone seems insensible of my ser- 
vices, will drive me away, and they shall have their ends . . . 
therefore I shall immediately prepare for my brother's retreat, 
and will most assuredly follow him. I will have no more 
altercations with Mr. Lacy. I now see the depth of his good- 
will to me and mine, and shall act accordingly." There is dis- 
gust and weariness in this complaint, and it would seem almost 
a fixed resolution. As usual, excuses were made, promises of 
amendment given; his easy nature overlooked all that had 
happened, and was content to go on as before. 

For the new season, he employed Bickerstaff to alter Cibber's 
old political comedy of " The Nonjuror," which had done good 
service as a political drama. In the new hands it became 
" The Hypocrite," and it is impossible too highly to praise the 
tact and power with which the adaptation was made. New 
characters from Moliere were put in, and the local and ephe- 
meral air of the whole removed. This, indeed, is a depart- 
ment no less important than that of play-writing itself; and 
by such judicious treatment, many fine pieces of humour, sup- 
posed to be old-fashioned because belonging to an old era, 
can be made acceptable and delightful to a modern audience. 
The art lies in the adapter, generally a man of true humour, 
putting himself in the place of the author, and fancying how 
he would alter; and also, in a nice discrimination oi V&ak 



322 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1768— 

is the essence of the piece, and what the mere trimmings 
and accessories. No one had a nicer touch than Garrick, and 
he succeeded in imparting the same instincts to his lieutenants 
and deputies — reverential yet bold, firm yet versatile. We 
indeed revive an old piece now and again, like Foote's " Liar; 1 ' 
but as all that is attempted is compression, the piece suffers 
from such violent handling, and becomes abrupt. 

" The Hypocrite w was acted delightfully, Abington excelling 
herself in the Coquette of the piece, and Weston for ever asso- 
ciating his name with Mawworm. " Zingis," an Indian Colonel 
Dow's Tartar play, was an alterative, and a sign of Garrick 
hankering after his old love — the " Tig and Tiry " solemnities. 
Home's dreary bit of " Ossian," " The Fatal Discovery," and 
the persecuting Mrs. Griffith's " School for Rakes/' with Clive 
and the charming Baddeley — these were the features of the 
season. 

Then again comes another retirement — each year now seems 
to be marked by one of these fatal desertions. Clive, in the 
prime of her powers — though she spoke of herself as an " old 
woman " — the best soubrette the English stage has ever seen, 
inexhaustible in spirit, vivacity, and variety, still delighting, 
still " drawing," had determined, with a true dignity and self- 
restraint, to abstain in time. She was the true stage romp- 
had much of the spirit of Woffington in her ; and though she 
often did battle with Garrick, and he rather shrank from en- 
counters with her, there was no bitterness under that opposi- 
tion — nothing like that of " that worst of bad women, Mrs. 
Abington." When she was making her last curtsey, she got 
him to play with her in "The Wonder," and her grateful 
letter characteristically, like all the Clive letters,* shows that 
when the accounts come to be closed in a long friendship, true 
regard may underlie much apparent bickering. "I am ex- 
tremely obliged," she wrote, in November, 1768, "for your 
very polite letter; how charming you can be when you are good/ 
.... I shall certainly make use of the favour you offer me ; 
it gives me a double pleasure — the entertainment my friends 
will receive from your performance, and the being convinced 
that you have a sort of sneaking kindness for your JPtYy. i" sup- 
pose I shall have you tapping me on the slioxdder, as you do to 
Fiolante, when I bid you farewell, and desiring one tender look before 
we part; though, perhaps, you may recollect, and toss the pancake 

* In the Forster Collection are many of these letters, with their sprightly 
style and diverting spelling, most entertaining. These I have used in a re- 
cently published " life of Mrs. dive," one of Mr. Reader's useful series of 
dramatic memoirs. 



1769.] GARRICK IN SOCIETY. 328 

into the cinders. You see I never forget any of your good things." 
Players then knew how to write as well as to act. On the 
24th of April, 1769, this performance took place; and Gar- 
rick's "fine Lady" spoke an epilogue, which her neighbour, 
Walpole, graciously wrote for her. She carried away with 
her a long stretch of memory, as she recalled the old triumphs 
— could roam back from the last night she played with the 
great Garrick, to the Booth at "Bartlemy Pair." A month 
later Havard, another of the Old Guard, dropped away — the 
lines of Drury Lane, both officers and soldiers, were thinning 
fast. These gaps of the old ranks were hard to fill; the 
new actors were not of the same material ; the high salaries 
and the competition were beginning to tell ; or, perhaps, as in 
the case of religions or churches, adversity is the healthiest 
discipline for a theatre. 

He was already repenting that he had not adhered to the 
resolution he had brought back with him from abroad. From 
this time also he had begun to taste in a far greater degree the 
pleasures of social life, the visits to great houses became more 
frequent, his enjoyment of club life, and the company of men 
like Reynolds and Goldsmith, more keen. His French train- 
ing recommended him even more. To such entertainment the 
duties of the playhouse were a serious impediment. Indeed, 
it would seem one of the hardest incidents in the player's lot, 
that he is* cut off from the time of the day most seasonable for 
enjoyment; that when others relax, his labour begins.* To 
keep his connections in " the City," he was careful to show 
himself several times during the winter at Toms' Coffee-house 
in Cornhill, which the younger merchants frequented about 
^Change time ; and was very often found at a club, which had 
been established expressly for the sake of his company, at the 
Queen's Arms in St. Paul's Churchyard, and where he met his 
friends — Patterson, the City Solicitor ; Sharpe, the surgeon ; 
Clutterbuck, Draper, and other steady business men, of sound 
sense — whom he consulted in every difficulty, and who were of 
infinite use to him with their advice. He used to be seen also 
at the Doctors' Club — Batson's — where he had many friends, 
among whom was a Dr. Wilson, who, in his old age, became 
an admirer of Garrick's playing, scarcely ever missed a per- 
formance, and had a special seat of his own in the pit This 

* For him the pleasant meal, the curtains drawn close, the glowing fire, 
the little table, which so gratefully crown the day's labours, is an unknown 
pleasure. He is condemned to the early dinner — half lunch, with the sun 
ahining, at best a cold demi-jour accompaniment, so odious to that fine 
dramatic critic, Elia. 



324 THE LITE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1768— 

character was always found at the coffee-house surrounded by 
a party, for he was a good talker, and his theme was usually 
the praises of his favourite. It was scarcely surprising that 
Mr. Garrick should have been very attentive to this admirer. 
It is impossible not to commend this unwearied assiduity with 
which he watched and cultivated that tender and delicate 
plant, the favour of the public. We might, like Hawkins, call 
them "little innocent arts;" and it should be remembered, 
that he had been already scared by a loss of popularity, and 
that, after all, where such extravagant favour is bestowed, 
decency and a grateful appreciation will lose nothing to keep 
such favour alive. 

He was a welcome companion at other pleasant meetings ; 
as indeed must have been " the first man in the world for 
sprightly conversation." Boswell's gay scenes, the nights at 
Sir Joshua's and Mr. Dilly's, are too familiar to all to be re- 
peated again; and they show the actor in a very pleasant 
light, rallying Goldsmith on the new coat : " Come, come, talk 
no more of that ; you are not the worst, eh, eh 1 " Or " fondly 
playing " round Johnson, " the sage," as Boswell calls him, in- 
dulgently. Garrick's talk is as agreeable as any of the others'; 
and though his friend Colman held up some of his tricks — his 
never going into society " without laying a trap to get away," 
his going off in a shower of sparks, caused by some good story 
of his, and his stealing glances to see how the " Duke's butler" 
was affected at the dinner party — still there is a distinction 
between the really social Garrick and the great actor and 
manager, en evidence, as it were, and feeling himself " a lion " 
at great houses, watched, and admired, and expected to keep 
to his reputation. Every man of note must wear these two 
different dresses. Sir Joshua said the reason Garrick con- 
tinued on the stage so long, and took such pains with his pro- 
fession, was to retain his influence with important friends and 
distinguished persons, whose nature he knew well enough, 
to guess that, if he once lost his own consideration with the 
public, he should find himself deserted. The whole of Gar- 
rick's character and lifei ndeed re veals to us a new phil osophy; 
$ov the common tendency ot tEe^mere vulga r player would be 
to "sink" the profession — ostrich-like, liiae itjjn the saricP^ 
forgetting that in the company of"£hose who patr^yy zftjnm^ h6 
is ^sought ani^teemedfor his genius in his profession. ¥et" 
no manTad such dTmcultie^tcroVercome. The" Very Witting of 
a player was then a serious obstacle. "Sir," said Johnson, 
when he, for once, did justice to his old schoolfellow, "(Jar- 
rick did not find, but made, his way to the tables, levees, and 



1769.] GARRICK IN SOCIETY. 325 

almost to the bedchambers of the great." The smallest witling 
seemed to take airs on the strength of this superiority, and 
Garrick seems to have felt all through that whenever he had 
an advantage some such hint might be insinuated to " bring 
him down." Many found a delight in praising other actors 
before him, with a sham admiration, "to see how he would 
bear it" His " envy " was then said to break out ; he became 
miserable. Yet this was only " uneasiness," at the best, per- 
haps discomfort, at seeing the motive that prompted this 
praise. He was " uneasy " when he heard of a rival, and what 
player is not — especially when he knew that rival was 
inferior ? * 

He had many little arts to make himself agreeable : his 
verses — his epigrams for the ladies — his charades — his good 
things. He had a sort of passion for writing trifles known as 
vers de socidtd, and celebrated every suitable occasion with some 
little light tribute of gallantry or compliment. To be able to 
" turn a verse " of some kind was necessary to the reputa- 
tion of "an ingenious young gentleman;" and looking 
over Dodsley's curious six-volume collection of "occasional 
poems, we are not a little surprised at the spirit, neatness, 
and gaiety— if not wit— which lords, and marquesses, and 

* Henderson used to give an admirable representation of this harmless 
nervousness, in a dialogue between Garrick and an Irish nobleman, who 
was praising Moasop. Garrick's depreciation is very gentle : — 

Nobleman. — Now, Mr. Garrick, Mossop's voice ? What a fine voice — so 
clear, full, and sublime for tragedy ! 

Garrick. — O yes, my lord ; Mossop's voice is indeed very good — and full 
— and — and — But, my lord, don't you think that sometimes he is rather 
too loud ? 

Nobleman. — Loud ! Very true, Mr. Garrick, too loud. When we were 
In college together he used to plague us with a spout, a rant, and a bellow ! 
Why, we used to call him Mossop the Bull/ But then, Mr. Garrick, you 
know his step ! so very firm — treads the boards so charmingly. 

Garrick. — True, my lord. Tou have hit his manner very well indeed — 
very charming! But do you not think his step is sometimes rather too 
firm ? Somewhat of a — a stamp : I mean a gentle stamp, my lord? 

Nobleman. — Gentle — not at all. At college we called him Mossop the 
Paviour. But his action — his action is so very impressive ! 

Garrick. — Yes, my lord, I grant indeed his action is very fine — fine — 
very fine. He acted with me originally in Barbarossa, when I was the 
Aehmet : and his action was — a — a — to be sure, Barbarossa is a great tyrant 
— but then Mossop, striking his left hand on his hip a-kimbo, and his right 
hand stretching out thus ! Tou will admit that sort of action was not so 
very graceful f 

Nobleman. — Graceful ; no. Why, at college we used to call him Mossop 
the Teapot. 

This of course is exaggerated, for effect O'Keefe often saw Hendenoo. 
give it, and it is certainly amusing. 



326 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1768— 

baronets, and men about town could throw into these perform- 
ances.* 

Garrick's have all the air of being " dashed off." It is sur- 
prising the quantity of these little jeux d } esprit he poured out 
in the course of his life ; and it would almost seem that no 
little incident that could occur at a country house, where he 
was the centre of all the gaiety, but was duly sung and cele- 
brated in Mr. Garrick's agreeable rhymes. Did a lady lose her 
slipper or stumble over a footstool, she was sure to find on her 
dressing table in the morning, "Lines on the Duchess of 

D losing her slipper," or, " On Lady S r's stumbling." 

We can almost trace his whole social career; following mm 
from house to house by these agreeable trifles. They help us 
also to all his little social mortifications, reveal his wounded vani- 
ties — weaknesses which he wore upon his sleeve — and which he 
had not trained himself like other men to conceal. Four lines 
were sent to Angelica Kaufman, to whom he was sitting: — 

" While thus you paint with ease and grace, 
And spirit ail your own, 
Take, if you please, my mind and face, 
But let my heart atone.'* f 

This is charming. He calls on her Grace of Devonshire, at 
noon, is shown into the breakfast-room, to find that she has 
not as yet risen. He goes away, leaving a scrap of paper on 
the table, with these lines: — 

" PAST ONE O'CLOCK, AND A CLOUDY MORNING. 

" What makes thy looks so fair and bright, 

Divine Aurora, say? 
' Because from slumber short and light, 

I rise to wake the day ! ' 
hide for shame, thy blushing face, 

'Tis all poetic fiction ! 
To tales like these see Devon's face 
A blooming contradiction ! " 

The Old Watchman of PiecadSly. 

* At Bath Eastern there was Lady Miller's " vase " in the pump-room 
for the reception of livelier verses and satires. Some of these were smart 
and happy, and were even collected and published. A prize was some- 
times offered, and a subject proposed. Once " Charity " was given, and 
Mr. Garrick, a regular visitor, slipped in three lines : 

THE VASE SPEAKS. 

u For Heaven's Bake, bestow on me 
A little wit, for that would be 
Indeed an act of charity." 
These did not receive the prize ; and as he wrote indignantly on, his 
verses " were treated with great contempt, while Reverend Tawdry was re- 
warded."— Hill MSS. 
t Hill MSS. 



1769.] GARRICK IN SOCIETY. 327 

Nor did he keep these tributes for effect, or for fashionable 
friends. They were part of the homage paid for so many 
years and so steadily, to the wife he loved and honoured. As 
her birthday, or some little festival of hers, came round, the 
copy of verses, as tender and devoted, found their way to her 
table, accompanied by a more substantial souvenir. A little 
scrap which has been preserved, helps us to know one of their 
little quarrels. It is called "David and Mary, or the Old Cart," 
and describes rather comically the falling out and reconcilia- 
tion which took place on David's purchase of this vehicle : — 

" But one luckless day, in his folly of heart, 
Poor David was prompted to buy an old cart ; 
At a thing so uncommon, soft Mary took fire, 
Untied David's tongue, and he wagged it in ire."* 

His complaint to Mrs. Bouverie, written only a short time 
before his death, is very lively. He threatens " The Bankrupt 
Beauty " with legal process for her neglect of him : — 

" Four smiles a year, fair Bouverie 
Agreed to pay me quarterly ; 
And though one smile would make me blest, 
She will not pay — though warmly prest — 
Nor principal, nor interest. 
***** 
111 file my bill in Chancery. 
Her eyea, her cheeks, her lips, her nose, 
Mortgaged to me — / ivitt foreclose." f 

There is one " riddle " of the more formal pattern, which, 
though printed, is scarcely known, and certainly deserves the 
foremost rank among such productions. It has also a witti- 
ne8s of its own, in misleading the reader or guesser, by artfully 
suggesting the more " namby-namby " associations of hearts 
and "flames": — 

" Kitty, a fair but frozen maid, 

Kindled a flame I still deplore. 
The hood-winked boy I called in aid, 
Much of his near approach afraid, 

So fatal to my suit before. 

At length, propitious to my prayer, 

The little urchin came. 
At once he sought the midway air, 
And soon he clear'd with dexterous care 

The bitter relics of my flame. 

To Kitty, Fanny now succeeds, 
She kindles slow but lasting fires ; 

With care my appetite she feeds ; 

Each day some willing victim bleeds, 
To satisfy my strange desires. 

• HillMSS. f Ibid. 



328 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1769. 

Say by what title or what name, 

Must I this youth address ? 
Cupid and he are not the same— 
Tho' both can raise or quench a flame— 

I'll kiss you if you guess." 

The answer is " A Chimney Sweep." 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE SHAKSPEARE JUBILEE. — 1769. 

This year was seen that rather absurd extravagana — the 
Shakspeare Jubilee at Stratford — a show wholly foreign to 
English tastes and manners, and certainly not to be carried out 
with success on English ground. The romantic and classic little 
town on the banks of the Avon was not enjoying the venera- 
tion with which Shakspearean pilgrims have since regarded it 
The house in which the poet was born was spoken of as " a 
little, small, old house;" there were no funds, and no public 
subscriptions to purchase the ground on which it stood, or re- 
verently restore it. Visitors were then shown the famous bust* 
not yet robbed of all character by the stupid profanation of 
Malone, and could see the colour of the hair and eyes, as faith- 
fully preserved by tradition ; but only a few years before the 
great sacrilege had been committed, and a Mr. Gastrell had 
cut down the cherished " mulberry tree," because it shut out 
the light from his windows. When Mr. Garrick came to town 
from Bath, a gentleman waited on him with a very flattering 
letter from the Mayor and corporation, proposing to make him 
one of their body; offering, also, the present of a box made 
out of the sacrificed mulberry tree. In return, he was invited 
to present them with a bust or picture of Shakspeare, together 
with a portrait of himself, both to be placed in their new town- 
hall. The actor could not but be flattered by a compliment 
which — even at a heavy cost — placed him in such company; 
and the opening of this new town-hall seems to have suggested 
to his mind the festival that was presently to be the talk of 
the kingdom. 

London soon heard of the mulberry box, and of the fashion 
in which it was proposed to return these compliments, and some 
lively verses were going round ; for everything that " turned 
up," there were verses always ready. Garrick took up the 
scheme with ardour. The last night of his season he an- 
nounced it from the stage, in one of those numerous epilogues 



1769.] THE SHAXSPKARE JUBILEE. 329 

with which he used to illustrate and " point " the humours of 
the day. 

No one in the kingdom would have been better suited for 

the organization of SUch a project ; for nn nnft in the* Ifingdorn 

80 well fnnfininp.fi f, he great p la ye , r and t ~~ 

the link hfttwftftn the sf-ngfl, and 



name, and personal influence, acti 
"tine" and tashionable^wh"^ ' — 



the gentleman. He was 
' ",• and his 

_________ _ ivalits-fiuccfiBS,* 

he was the whole soul of the affair. He it was that gathered 
the company ; and it was to be he, who had to discharge all 
the expenses. The preparations were on a large and costly 
scale. Everybody about the place was interested, and a noble 
proprietor in the neighbourhood actually cut down more than 
a hundred trees near the river, to open out the view. 

It was determined to erect on the common near the river, a 

figantic Rotunda, on the model of the " elegant " building that 
ad been recently erected at Ranelagh, where the ceremonies 
were to take place. The sixth of September was fixed for the 
opening day. The time, however, was so short, and so much 
had to be got through, that three weeks before the opening 
almost nothing had been done. Garrick sent down his men 
from the theatre, with all the Drury Lane lamps, and a whole 
wardrobe of rich dresses and theatrical finery; but they found 
that not even a beginning had been made. The boards for 
the Rotunda had not come from Birmingham, and on the 
ground were lying, in a perfect wreck, all the Drury Lane 
lamps, which had been broken to pieces on the journey. But 
the most amusing part of the whole was the temper and dis- 
position of the inhabitants, who could neither understand the 
projected celebration, nor its details, and who viewed the 
business — to be for their advantage — with open distrust and 
hostility. They would give nothing, and lend nothing, and 
Mr. Garrick's agents became anxious to get away. Even the 
innkeepers, who might look forward to it as to their legiti- 
mate harvest, were grumbling, and had a strange idea that 
their plate and furniture would be sacked by the horde of ex- 
cursionists who were to arrive. It seemed to be contrived 

that all the management and responsibility should be thrown 

> 

* An actor, on the occasion of the Jubilee, now sent Garrick a present of 
Shakspeare's gloves. The original donor of the gloves, who was a glazier, 
said they had *' been often on the Poet's hands." The glazier's father and 
" our Poet " were cousins ; and on presenting the gloves, the glazier said, 
" Sir, these are the only property that remains of our famous relation. My 
father possessed and sold the estate he left behind him, and these are all 
the recompense I can make for this night's performance." Garrick actually 
accepted the questionable relic. 



330 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1769 

upon him.* He engaged to share the risk of loss with the 
corporation — the profits to go hi honour of Shakspeare. 
Becket was appointed " Grand Bookseller to the Jubilee," and 
honoured with a lodging in Shakspeare's own house. 

At last the great day came round. It had been put almost 
a month too late. The "silvery Avon," to which so many 
poetical apostrophes were to be made, had been gradually 
rising, and the weather looked threatening: still the company 
poured in, and came in crowds, from every quarter of the 
kingdom. The accommodation for the guests proved of the 
most wretched description; and the shifts they were put to, 
the sufferings they experienced, and the monstrous extortions 
of the townspeople, were long remembered as the real features 
of the Jubilee. The harpies of the place laid themselves out 
to pillage the visitors, in every possible way. For the most 
"wretched little shed, with any rags patched into the shape of 
abed," a guinea was charged; a standing-place for a horse, 
without hay or oats, half a guinea; and in a humorous account 
of the affair, afterwards written to the papers, and which seems 
very like Foote's own hand, it was said that the English Aris- 
tophanes was charged nine guineas for six hours' sleep; and 
had to pay two shillings for asking a bumpkin the hour! 
Everybody was to return, disgusted with these townsfolk of 
the bard they were celebrating. 

At dawn on Wednesday, Sept 6th, the visitors were roused 
by the firing of cannon, and disturbed in their wretched beds, 
by some theatrical waits, in Drury Lane finery, going round 
playing "gittars," who stopped before each house, and sang, 
with affected jollity, a Bard "Roundelay": — 

" Let beauty with the sun arise 1 
To Shakspeare tribute pay ! 
With heavenly smile and speaking eyes 
Qive lustre to the day." 

The scene at breakfast in " Peyton's " room must have been 
amusing; for Foote had arrived, and was sitting there, half 
angry, half amused, and scoffing at everything. There was a 
picture in the room — allegorical, according to the fashion of 
the moment, with the motto, " Oh, for a muse of fire!" 

* Among his papers I find many memoranda showing his anxiety. He 
had heard of the " rumoured exorbitant charges," and was to take care that 
" no more should be asked than a guinea a bed, as at the races." Peyton, 
the landlord of the chief inn, was to furnish an estimate for an ordinary 
for the performers, say fifty in number. " Mbm. : Boats on the Avon t 
Lodgings for Lord Spencer and family," who were coming. Then follows 
a characteristic mem. : "A good bed for Mr, Foote" so thtt the satirist 
should have nothing to put him out of humour. — Fobster MSS. 



1769.] THE SHAKSPEARE JUBILEE. 331 

M ' Oh, for a muse of fire ' and mettle, 
Cries out Foots, to boil the kettle ; 
Cune your little squalling souls, 
Bring us butter, bring us rolls. 
Look at Caliban's wild picture, 
Oh, how like the poet Victor. 
Teacups rattle, kettles hiss — 
Victor ! Victor ! Foots is Victor. 
Victor, do not mind the picture. 
All, all, all, 
Bawl, bawl, bawL 
Be friends again, and kiss." 

By eight o'clock the magistrates had assembled in the open 
street, and had met Mr. Garrick (who was called the " Steward 
of the Festival ") at the town-hall, where they presented him 
with a medallion of Shakspeare, carved on the eternal, and in- 
exhaustible " mulberry tree," richly set in gold. Mr. Garrick 
himself paid the charges of this ornament. He made " a suit- 
able reply:" he had to make many such through these lengthy 
proceedings, and fastened this " elegant mark of distinction " 
upon his breast Most people, indeed, who took part in the 
show, wore a silver medal or a favour, and it was said that the 
sale of the " elegant marks of distinction " produced a respect- 
able sum. 

From the town-hall the whole company marched on in pro- 
cession to the charming church, where the Oratorio of " Judith " 
was to be sung ; written by Dr. Arne, Mrs. Cibber's brother, who 
like everybody whom Garrick obliged, was presently to be dis- 
satisfied, and " aggrieved," and pettish. Mr. Barthelmon led ; 
his wife was first soprano. The whole was dismal and dreary 
beyond description ; the chorus was bad, and about as meagre 
as the audience. The great crowd had not yet arrived. The 
weather was chilly : no one saw the exact connection between 
the bard and Dr. Arne's "Judith." Still we seem to see the 
whole scene : the pretty church, the Mayor and dignitaries, 
and Mr. Garrick in the place of honour, with his medal Mrs. 
Garrick beside him; Mr. Barthelmon and his men fiddling 
away in the gallery ; and Foote behind a pillar turning the 
whole into a jest. 

When the Oratorio was over, which was not until nearly 
three o'clock, a procession was again formed, with the steward 
at its head, from the church to the Rotunda, the band in front, 
and a chorus chanting, in would-be joyous rapture, this dog- 
gerel : — 

° This is the day— a holiday ! 
Drive care and sorrow far away 1 
Let all be mirth and hallowed joy ! 
Here Nature nursed her darling W$ I " 



332 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1769. 

The spectacle must have been infinitely ludicrous ; and we can 
almost call up Foote's face, as he limped along. Here a ban- 
quet was served for some hundred ladies and gentlemen : an 
ih elegant " dinner, says Victor, Mr. Garrick's dependant ; but 
other accounts are not so favourable. The guests were charged 
fifteen shillings, for which there was ample profusion of turtle, 
claret, Madeira, and such choice things. The whole seems to 
have broken down, as other gigantic feasts have since broken 
down. Some guests could get nothing, others got what " was 
called turtle." There was great confusion, owing to the want 
of seats, and from people long neglected, and whose patience 
had given way, rising en masse to help themselves. 

Then some ten musicians entered the orchestra, and struck 
up a series of songs, catches, and glees, all tuned to the same 
key of semi-rapture. Many of these were written by Garrick, 
others by Bicker-staff, his drudge and lieutenant. The former 
were spirited and characteristic ; and one in particular, " The 
Warwickshire Lad," had a really fresh, open-air ring, that was 
suitable and striking. It was trolled very often during the 
festival, and with Dibdin's music, became popular, and is still 
sung in the county: — 

A SONG. 

" Te Warwickshire lads and ye lasses, 

See what at our Jubilee passes ; 

Come revel away, rejoice and be glad, 

For the lad of all lads was a Warwickshire lad- 
Warwickshire lad, 
All be glad, 

For the lad of all lads was a Warwickshire lad," Ac 

The inevitable mulberry tree came in for its share of lyrical 
honour ; and it would seem that Garrick himself stood up and 
sang to it, holding a cup " made of the tree " in his hand: — 

THE MULBERRY TREE. 

" Behold this fair goblet, 'twas carved from the tree 
Which, my sweet Shakspeare, was planted by thee ; 
As a relic I kiss it, and bow at the shrine, 
What comes from thy hand must be ever divine. 
All shall yield to the mulberry tree, 
Bend to thee, 
Blest mulberry ; 
Matchless was he 
Who planted thee, 
And thou, like him, immortal be." 

One of the country fellows was said to have been utterly 
mystified by the bass viol ; a " Banbury man " told some rustic 
inquirers that they were about to celebrate " Shakspeare's 



1769.] THE SHAKSPEARE JUBILEE. 333 

resurrection. " Wits like Foote insisted that the popular idea 
was that of " a Jew Bill." 

Between nine and ten the company went home to dress, and 
in the interval the amphitheatre was cleared and turned into a 
ball-room. Meantime the town was illuminated. Large trans- 
parencies had been painted, in front of the town-hall, by the 
Drury Lane artists ; but these, which were of a Shakspearean 
character, still more mystified the passing crowd. The ball 
was brilliant, and the room handsome. Every one thought of 
Ranelagh. Thus the first day's entertainment concluded. 
Everything, so far, had been successful But next morning 
came a change. The weather had been dark and lowering ; the 
Avon had been gradually rising, and now the rain was stream- 
ing down. Nothing more dismal could have been conceived, 
than for a number of persons of quality to be thus shut up in a 
little country town, without resources or even room. The out- 
door affectations of jollity, the " demonstrations of joy," had 
to be all suspended. The rustics were delighted. They looked 
on the rains, and the rising of the Avon, as a righteous judg- 
ment! 

The grand feature of the whole, " The Pageant," was thus 
interfered with. For it had been intended that there should 
be a procession of characters through the streets. All the 
dresses had been brought down from Drury Lane. Most of 
the leading players were to walk. " Gentleman " Smith had 
borrowed Garrick's own Bichard's cap. All had to hurry to 
the Rotunda, where homage was to be paid to " the Bard," in 
a formal manner, in an Ode written and spoken by Garrick, 
and " set " by Arne. He himself was a little out of spirits 
that day, perhaps affected by the weather, and the rather 
serious responsibilities he had undertaken. It all rested on 
his shoulders. There was a busy scene that morning at the 
Mayor's house; and to add to his annoyances, a local barber 
— not quite sober — gashed him from chin to mouth. Up to 
the last moment almost, Mrs. Garrick and the ladies were 
" running about " applying styptics. 

The scene was brilliant. The Steward was seated in front 
of the orchestra, with the female singers on each side of him, 
in a suit of brown, richly embroidered with gold lace, and his 
wand and medal. The Rotunda was crowded ; while the rain 
was heard pattering down on the roof. The Ode was con- 
sidered an excellent performance. Garrick seems to have 
roused the audience to enthusiasm. The Ode was revised and 
corrected by Warton, and later much ridiculed. Johnson said, 
contemptuously, it defied criticism. 



334 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1769. 

The airs were sung by the choir, while Garrick declaimed 
the " Recitative* " — a practice, it is said, introduced then for 
the first time, and with the happiest effect. 

After the Ode came a singular proceeding. I find in a sort 
of manuscript " Prompt Book," the " order " of this part of 
the show, neatly written out, with heads for the speech he 
was to address to the company — " the Ode writer's zeal and 
gratitude has, I fear, carried him beyond his depth," he wrote 
with a modesty fait a loisir. It was his first attempt in that 
way, he said, and he might hope for the indulgence always ex- 
tended to any one who appeared for the first time in a new 
<fiaracter. " The only remaining honour is to speak for him n 
— " pause," said the Prompt Book. Mr. Garrick here calcu- 
lated on the audience not understanding exactly: so he was to 
go on. " Perhaps my proposition came a little abruptly on 
you. With your permission I will give you time, by a piece of 
music to collect your thoughts" This was true stage " business." 

After the music, he stood up again, when there succeeded a 
bit of buffoonery quite unworthy of such dignity as there was 
in the festivity. The famous Lord Ogtiby appeared in the 
gallery, in his great coat, and calling out that he had a good 
deal to say against the memory of Shakspcare, was invited 
down into the orchestra by Garrick. He there threw off his 
coat, and appeared in " a suit of fashionable blue and silver * 
— as a Macaroni or Buck of the day, and then began a strain 
of comic abuse and satire, directed against Shakspeare. The 
whole had been planned, and was meant to be deeply ironical; 
but part of the audience seems to have accepted it as earnest, 
and another portion not to have understood it.* 

Some were not a little fatigued by all this speeching. To- 
wards the end there came a pressure of the crowd, many of 
the benches gave way, and it went about that my Lord Car- 
lisle had been seriously hurt by the falling of a door. 

Later came the dinner, the feature of which was a turtle of 
a hundred and fifty pounds weight. This was, as it were, the 
special day, and the fashionable company having now all 
arrived; for at night was to be the great masquerade, and 
the fireworks. The town was full of noblemen and ladies of 
quality, who were dressing in all sorts of out-of-the-way little 
corners. The fatal rain was still streaming down and the river 
rising steadily. It had already overflowed its banks, and 
had begun to flood the field in which the Rotunda had been 



* Mr. Cradock, who was present, thought this interruption a sudden im- 
pertinence of King's. But it was all set down in the book. 



1769.] THE SHAKSPEARE JUBILEE. 335 

built It was determined, however, to make an attempt to 
let off the fireworks, under Angelo's guidance ; but they proved 
a miserable failure. 

Hitherto Foote had been one of the features of the enter- 
tainment He was seen going about everywhere, ridiculing 
everything. Murphy was with him, and there was a report 
abroad that the two were preparing some bit of extravagance. 
On the Mall he had met the foolish country gentleman, who 
had told him " he had come out of Essex/' and whom he 
put out of countenance by asking who "drove" him. For 
some reason not known — it may have been from some quarrel 
with Garrick — he quitted the town after the masquerade. 
But he took with him a mysterious and ungenerous hostility 
both to Garrick and to the festival which Garrick had so much 
at heart — a hostility which was to break out later in bitter 
jests, and pasquinades, and every shape of ridicule. 

The masquerade began at eleven. By this hour the ap- 
proaches to the Rotunda were all covered with water, and the 
horses had to wade knee-deep to reach the doors. Even there, 
planks had to be laid down, to enable the ladies to get from 
their carriages. Such a flood in the river had not been known 
within the memory of any Stratford man. 

Most of the guests were in fancy dresses, many in dominoes 
and masks. There were present the Duke of Dorset, Lord and 
Lady Hertford, Lord Grosvenor, Lord Denbigh, Lord Spencer, 
Lord Craven, Lord Beauchamp, the Duke of Manchester, Lord 
Plymouth, Lord Carlisle, Lord North, Sir Watkin Wynne, 
Lord Pembroke, and many more. All these were personal 
friends of Garrick's. For the meanest dress, four guineas was 
asked, and obtained. Many of the neighbouring squires, and 
their wives and daughters, pinched themselves severely to 
meet the extravagance of this festival. But there was one 
character, now almost historic, who attracted notice there, but 
who now is of far more interest to us than any of the fashion- 
able persons there, or their costly dresses. This wa3 Mr. 
James BoswelL He had come fresh from General Paoli 
in London, who was staying in Bond Street He made 
his famous appearance in the character of a Corsican. He 
had written a Prologue, to be spoken before the masquerade, 
" but was prevented by the crowd." This account is from a 
" communication " to the papers, which, from its unconscious 
vanity, and delightful naivete, betrays BoswelTs own hand in 
every line. It tells us that he " entered the amphitheatre 
about twelve o'clock," and wore the dress of " an armed Cor- 
sican chief " — a short dark coat of coarse cloth, with a scaxtaft, 



336 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1769. 

waistcoat, and black spatterdashes. On his head he had a 
black cloth cap, with the golden inscription, " Viva la Libertd" 
and the cloth cap was besides decorated with a blue feather, 
" so that it had an elegant, as well as a warlike appearance." 
He wore, besides, a stiletto stuck in a cartouche-box, and a 
musket slung across his back. He had no wig or powder, but 
his own hair plaited into a queue, and tied at the end with a 
bunch of blue ribbons. To complete the absurdity of his ap- 
pearance, he carried a long vine-stalk in his hand, " by way 
of staff," carved at the top " with a bird, emblematic of the 
sweet Bard of Avon." He would not wear a mask, explaining 
to everybody " it was not proper for a gallant Corsican." As 
soon as he entered "he drew universal attention." " He was 
first accosted by Mrs. Garrick," and had a good deal of conver- 
sation with her. In the course of the night, too, there was 
"an admirable conversation" between Lord Grosvenor as a 
Turk, and the armed Corsican, on the constitutions of their 
different countries; and "Captain Thomson of the navy, in 
the character of an honest tar, kept it up very welL He ex- 
pressed a strong inclination to stand by the brave islanders. 
Mr. Boswell danced both a minuet and country dance, with a 
very pretty Irish lady, Mrs. Sheldon, wife to Captain Sheldon, of 
(he 38th Regiment of Foot (Lord Blaynetfs)" This minuteness 
is truly Boswellian. " She was dressed in a genteel domino, 
and before she danced, threw off her mask." Mr. Boswell, it 
was added, had come to the Jubilee from " a desire of paying a 
compliment to Mr. Garrick, with whom he has always been on 
a most agreeable footing** It is certainly one of the most cha- 
racteristic figures in the whole scene. But this was not alL 

The " celebrated friend of Paoli," as he called himself, con- 
tented himself with distributing copies of his verses: — 

" From the banks of Golo's rapid flood, 
Alas ! too deeply tinged with patriot blood, 
Behold a Corsican — in better days 
Eagerly I sought my country's fame to raise."* 

* To another of the magazines Mr. Boswell sent a more minute ac- 
count, more characteristic than anything in the Life of Johnson. He was 
greatly affected by the whole scene. " My bosom glowed with joy when I 
beheld a numerous and brilliant company of nobility and gentry — the rich, 
the brave, the witty, and the fair assembled. But I could have wished thai 
prayers had been read, or a short sermon preached. It would hare conse- 
crated our Jubilee, and begun it with gratefully adoring the Supreme Father 
of all Spirits, from whom cometh every good and perfect gift" The per- 
formance of the Ode had been " noble and affecting, like an exhibition in 
Athens or Rome. I do believe if any one had attempted to disturb the 
performance, he would have been in danger of his life." He admired Gar- 
rick's delivery, who seemed " inspired with an awful elevation of eouL It 



1769.] THE SHAKSPEARE JUBILEE. 337 

Not until four o'clock did the ball terminate. It was thought 
that some 1,500 persons were present, and with it virtually 
terminated the Jubilee. The next day, indeed, there was the 
breakfast over again, and a horserace for the Jubilee cup of £50; 
but the course was a foot deep in water. Lord Grosvenor, Mr. 
King, and others of note on the turf, entered horses ; and the 
plate was won by a groom called Pratt, who declared that, 
"though he knew nothing of Shakspeare, or of anything he had 
done, he would never part with it." Then all went in to dinner, 
" the French horns and clarionets attending ; " and the whole 
wound up with fireworks — for thd rain had ceased — and with 
another ball, which must have been languid enough. Such 
was the Jubilee of 1769. 

It was not a pecuniary success ; but /without Garrick it 
would have been a miserable failure. It cost him individually 
a great deal of money.* Even his own presents to the town 
represent a good sum. His was the well-known statue by 
Koubiliac, which now stands in the town-hall, and the fine 
full-length of himself, by Gainsborough, which Mrs. Garrick 
always thought the best likeness. 

The theatres made capital out of this affair. Covent Gar- 
den led off with a theatrical Jubilee. Lacy, Garrick's partner, 
a man of plain and practical sense, had not relished the Strat- 
ford scheme, and had forebodings about his Drury Lane "pro- 
perties." Still he had great confidence in the genius of Gar- 
rick, who presently had a Show ready for Drury Lane. He 
gave Dr. Arne the sum of sixty guineas for music to the 
Ode, and at the end of the month, after the " Country Girl n 
was played, produced it, with the stage arranged like an or* 
chestra — he himself reciting it in the centre. This, however, 

would be unpardonable should I not acknowledge the pleasure I received 
from Dr. Arne's music ; nor must I neglect to thank the whole orchestra. I 
had a tcrene and solemn satisfaction in contemplating the Church, Garrick 
seemed in an ecstasy. When the songs were singing he was all life and 
spirit. At the words 'Warwickshire Thief,* his eyes sparkled with joy. I 
was witness, from my own hearing, what did great honour to Lord Gros- 
venor. After the Ode, his Lordship came up into the orchestra, and told 
Mr. Garrick that he had affected his whole frame — showing him his nerves 
and veins still quivering and well agitated I laughed away spleen in a 
droll simile. Taking the whole of this Jubilee, said I, it is like eating an 
artichoke entire. We have some fine mouthful*, but also swallow the 
leaves and the hair, which are confounded difficult of digestion." This 
truly Boswellian sketch would almost seem to have been thrown off after his 
return from the masquerade — when he was quite overset by his own per- 
formances, and perhaps by the wine. 

* He took the whole charges on himself, and they amounted to over 
£2,000. 



338 THE LIFE OP DAVID GARRICK. [1769. 

did not " take," and it was only performed seven nights. But 
he thought of producing a grander spectacle; he accordingly 
wrote a humorous little sketch, and on the 14th of October 
brought out " The Jubilee." 

Considering the state of the stage at that time, it was a 
wonderful production, pleasantly written, and combining both 
farce and spectacle. In it was shown the courtyard of the 
Stratford Inn, Moody, who was the official Irishman, having 
to sleep in a postchaise ; with all the humours which mkht 
arise from the overcrowding of the little town. It alluded 
to the Shakspearean names given to the rooms in the inn :— 
" A waiter orders one to carry eight glasses of jelly to the 
little thin man who is with the tall lady, in l Love's Labour 
Lost, 1 and bids another stop the quarrel in the ' Katharine and 
Petruchio.' King played one of the local country clowns, 
whose terrors and prejudices had furnished much amusement 
The procession, through what represented a street in Stratford, 
must have been really imposing. There were sixteen drum- 
mers leading the' way, a band of music, men carrying banners, 
and then a long train of actors and actresses, all dressed to re- 
present the leading parts of Shakspeare's plays — each play 
being apart. Garrick walked as Benedick, King as Touchstone, 
Mrs. Abington as the comic muse, and Mrs. Barry as the tragic 
muse, drawn in a triumphal car. They were divided into " the 
Soman characters," Ccesar, Cariolanus; "Roman ladies dis- 
hevelled, &c." 

Thus, in a certain sense, he did not lose by the Jubilee, 
down at Stratford. But the jesting was endless, the ridicule 
killing. The newspapers and magazines were never weary of 
ringing the changes on what was considered a mere display of 
vanity, meant for the glorification, not of Shakspeare, but 
of his priest Warburton's contempt, which spared no foe, 
could not restrain itself, even in the instance of a friend like 
Garrick. Of the Ode, he wrote to a friend, that Cibber's non- 
sense occasionally verged on sense ; but that " this man's sense, 
wJwre he does deviate into sense," was always like nonsense. 
Worse than all, it seems to have stimulated the enmity of his 
old half -friend — but better half-enemy — Foote, in whose mind 
the monstrous " humbug " of the whole show had almost the 
effect of scarlet on a buLL 



1769.] SAMUEL FOOTE AND SAMUEL JOHNSON. 339 



CHAPTER V. 

SAMUEL FOOTE AND SAMUEL JOHNSON. — 1769. 

Anyone sitting with Garrick at Hampton — say only a short 
time before his death — and asking what impression of life he 
had taken away, after his long experience within and outside 
the walls of his theatre, must have learned from him, how 
many mean corners of the heart had been shown to him ; but 
what he must have recalled with most pain was, that some, 
whom all through his life he had striven to conciliate, who had 
treated him badly and ungraciously, whom he had forgiven 
and tried to conciliate, should again have laid themselves out 
to be unkind to him. There were a few from whom he bore 
everything with undisturbed good temper, but who could never 
forgive him, for being more prosperous than they were. No 
good offices could bind them. Those ungracious hearts he was 
never weary of trying to win, and chief among these were 
Samuel Foote and (it might be added) Samuel Johnson. The 
behaviour of these two adds something to the humiliating 
history of the smaller human weaknesses, and at the same time 
contributes to the history of a mind that raised itself to a high 
station, by restraint, forbearance, a kindly charity, and perhaps 
a contemptuous indifference to petty malice. Foote's behaviour 
to him, all through, was the strangest, and though he felt him- 
self bound by no feeling of loyalty to spare any friend, he 
seems to have had a special dislike to Garrick 

While the manager was acting his plays, or accepting his 
services whenever he chose to give them — though, as we have 
seen, they were sure to bring embarrassment — he could hardly 
restrain his envy or malice. He had held him up in one of his 
lectures as " penurious," and churlishly discouraging dramatic 
authors. But presently a dreadful shock was to fall on him, 
the first of the two great blows of his life. It was perhaps 
the lightest, as being physical, — the fall from his horse, at 
Lord Mexborough's, which so shattered his leg, that nothing 
but amputation could save his life. This mutilation was a 
terrible stroke for the man whose life was one broad grin, and 
whose jests and mimicries were set off with all the quick 
motions and spirited action which carelessness and good spirits 
could prompt He, who jeered at the ludicrous helplessness of 
others, moral as well as physical, was now hoverix^ \&\re^tt&. 



340 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1769. 

life and death, and at best could only hope to emerge into the 
world, a maimed and helpless cripple, that would require all 
pity and indulgence. Weak, miserable, in agonies of pain, not 
being able to sleep without opiates, a kind and considerate 
letter from the " mean hound " he had so often slandered came 
to bear him comfort It told him how deeply all his friends took 
his misfortune to heart. Colman in particular was deeply con- 
cerned. Garrick offered his own labour and exertions, to look 
after the theatre in the Haymarket, and had taken care to put 
paragraphs in the papers to contradict false reports. The 
other's acknowledgment is one of the most dismal in the world. 
He was " a miserable instance of the weakness and frailty of 
human nature," "Oh, sir," he went on, almost abjectly, "it 
is incredible all I have suffered, and you will believe me when I 
assure you that the amputation was the least part of the whole." 
They flattered him with the hope of getting soon up to town. 
" Change of place to a man in my way, is but of little import- 
ance ; but for one reason I wish it, as it will give me an 
opportunity, in person, of expressing some part of my gratitude to 
dear Mr. Garrick for all his attention and goodness to me" Mrs. 
Garrick, too, had sent some kind messages which seemed to 
have touched him much. He could not sufficiently express his 
gratitude to her. When Garrick would lose her, he " would 
have more to regret than any man in the kingdom. " We 
might pity him in this wretched state, did we not suspect it 
was the mere prostration produced by his sufferings. " Oh, 
sir, it is incredible all I have suffered." He should have 
thought of what he made others suffer ; and when some years 
later he could drag the wretched Mrs. Dodd and her husband, 
on his stage at the Haymarket, he showed that such a lesson 
was thrown away upon him, and almost seemed to deserve the 
final chastisement which crushed him. A "return" of the 
accumulated amount of suffering and mortifications he con- 
trived to heap on innocent persons, would be astonishing. 
Nearly every piece of his owed its point to such personality. 

A single story will illustrate the character of these two men, 
who were in such curious relationship all their life long. It is 
told by Cumberland, who was actually present He, Sir 
Robert Fletcher, and Garrick, went to dine with Foote, at 
Parson's Green. At the end of dinner, Foote thought the 
baronet had gone away, and the moment his back was turned 
began, in his usual fashion, to ridicule his late guest The 
baronet actually happened to be in another part ot the room, 
and, much hurt, called out to him to wait, at least, until he 
had gone. The situation was most awkward. The unscrupu- 



1769.] SAMUEL FOOTK AND SAMUEL JOHNSON. 341 

lous wit was actually abashed. Then Garrick, with infinite 
address and kindness, came to the rescue, and set himself to 
reconcile the affronted guest to what had happened ; and this 
he did with such exquisite art, and tact, and goodwill, throw- 
ing over all such a comic air, that he eventually succeeded. 
We know enough of Foote to guess how he would have inflamed 
the situation, and complicated the matter still more, with a 
malicious humour, and told the thing everywhere, as one of his 
best stories. 

In one of his fitful returns of friendship he asked Garrick to 
dine with him, gave him a present of some geese, and was 
addressed by his guest, next day — always grateful for any signs 
of grace — in some pleasant rhymes. No doubt, the other had 
his rough jest about the "Garrick and the geese:" 

" Dear Foote, I love your wit, and like your wine, 
And hope when next with you I dine — 
(Indeed, I do not care how soon) — 
I hope — nay, beg it — as a boon, 
That you will get decanter six, 
Ye various wines that number fix ; 
So may the generous grape you give — 
(To give it may you ages live t ) — 
From bottle to decanter pass, 
And not a cloud to stain the glass. 
* ♦ » * » 

I took my leave in such a hurry, 
With drinking, too, in such a flurry, 
With gibes and jests so crammed my mind, 
Again we left the goose behind, 
* Which, by the bearer, please to send 
To me, your very thankful friend."* 

Not a cloud to stain the glass! That very soon gathered. 
Nothing could change the nature of the man, and he was pre- 
sently — only the next year — ridiculing and " taking off" " the 
friend who had addressed him in this warm and kindly way. 
This hostility really endured through Footed life, and merely 
intermitted. The sure and steady course of Garrick's success, 
his growing progress in wealth and estimation, and above all, 
some of Garrick's pleasant absurdities, were all so much exas- 
peration to his strange souL The food of that soul was a sort 
of boisterous jesting, which he called good-humoured satire, or 
rallying, and which, in another, might have been so con- 
sidered ; for, as in the case of Douglas Jerrold, there can be a 
reputation for " bitter things," and a kindly heart at the same 
time. But Foote's behaviour seems to be but too consistent with 
his speeches. His conduct to Garrick alone would prove this. 

• HillMSS. 



342 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1769. 

The latter's kindness, his good-nature in overlooking the past, 
his assistance with money, might have been set down to fear ; 
and it was not unnatural that the sensitive Garrick should 
have an almost morbid terror of this theatrical highwayman, 
who was stopping every one on the road. Footed tongue was 
never weary of retailing stories about Garrick's " meanness. 71 
Some of these were diverting enough — as his picture of the 
actor and Hurd walking up and down the Adelphi Terrace, the 
former in an agony at seeing a waste in a candle in his dining- 
room, distracted between obsequious attention to the bishop, 
and economy. His bust was on Foote's desk, near his money; 
"but," said the wit, showing it, "you see he has no hands." 
This was good, and perhaps fair, if he did not go beyond. But 
from a man who had not the decency to spare his dead wife, 
not much restraint towards friends could be expected. Just 
after her death, he dined out as usual, with a large party, 
where he affected a sort of grotesque sorrow, which amused 
the servants. When he added that he had been all the morn- 
ing " hunting for a second-hand coffin to bury her in," he suc- 
ceeded perfectly, and sent them from the room in convulsions.* 
And now freshly returned from the Jubilee, and in dearth 
of a subject, he was everywhere telling his ill-natured stories. t 
A witty but malicious speech of his — an impromptu fait aloisir 
— was in everybody's mouth. " A Jubilee," he said, " as it 
hath lately appeared, is a public invitation, circulated and 
urged by puffing, to go post without horses to an obscure bo- 
rough without representatives, governed by a Mayor and 
aldermen, who are no magistrates ; to celebrate a great poet, 
whose own works have made him immortal, by an Ode without 
poetry, music without melody, dinners without victuals, and 
lodgings without beds ; a masquerade where half the people 
appeared bare-faced ; a horse-race up to the knees in water ; 
fireworks extinguished as soon as they were lighted, and a 
gingerbread amphitheatre, which, like a house of cards, tum- 
bled to pieces as soon as it was finished."]: His behaviour 
seems almost inexplicable. He must have visited the festival 
at the request of Garrick. Yet he had no sooner left, than he 

* Taylor, vol. ii., p. 362. 

f He furnished Boswell with the occasion for a pun. Garrick had a happy 
knack at " turning " a prologue ; but Foote could not spare him even thi* 
gift, and said all Garrick's prologues had a culinary turn, and should have 
for a motto, jamdudum patinxt. " He might be answered," said the Laird 
of Auchinleck, " Any pattens rather than your ' Piety in Pattens.' " 

X The " Ode without poetry " was a thrust at the man who had always 
been his friend. Even the forethought of providing " a good bed for Mr. 
Foote," deserved the little return of at least forbearance. 



1769.] SAMUEL FOOTE AND SAMUEL JOHNSON. 343 

began to ridicule it in every possible way. Every newspaper 
was said to contain satires and squibs directed against the 
celebration from his hand. At last he carried his animosity 
so far as to meditate a piece in which Garrick was to be 
brought in, and " taken off." A lady asked him, were his 
figures at " the little theatre " to be the size of life. " No, 
madam," he answered, " about the size of Garrick." To the 
list of those whom he had mimicked, or threatened to mimic, 
was now to be added the respectable name of the English 
Boscius. 

The sensation pageant of the Jubilee at Drury Lane, with 
its extraordinary success, only quickened his burning desire to 
exhibit his friend ; and he really meditated bringing out at his 
own theatre a sort of burlesque procession, in which there was 
to be a figure of Garrick, who was to be addressed by one of 
the mob in the often-quoted lines — 

" A nation's taste depends on you, 
Perhaps a nation's virtue too." 

And Garrick's image was made to answer, flapping its wings : 

" Cock-a-doodle-doo ! " 

This coarse bit of wit quite took possession of his mind, and 
though he was not able to carry out his notion of the proces- 
sion, he came back to the " cock-a-doodle-doo " idea very often 
and fondly. The project was much talked of and speculated 
over, a trick of his in all his " foot-pad " schemes, to stimulate 
public curiosity. Garrick, naturally indignant, said to his 
friends that such treatment did not come handsomely from a 
man who at that moment actually owed him five hundred 
pounds — a speech that was soon reported to Foote, and rather 
disturbed his guilty conscience. He affected to be furious at 
such a disclosure, and with some exertion got together the 
sum — borrrowing it, however, of his friends — to repay Gar- 
rick. In this way he fancied he was now clear of all re- 
straint 

Yet Garrick dreaded this public gibbeting so much, that we 
can readily imagine he made fresh advances to soothe his enemy. 
There is a story of their accidental meeting at Lord Stafford's 
door, and of Garrick's asking, before they went in, " Was it to 
be peace or war ? " " Oh, peace, by all means," said the wit. 
That was but a truce — possibly during the dinner. Davies — 
no partial reporter — seems to hint that the forbearance was to 
be purchased by a new loan. They met at houses of their ac- 
quaintance, at whose tables Mr. Foote "rattled away." No 
one enjoyed his sallies more than Garrick, or laughed so mxicl^ 



344 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1769 

or applauded more heartily. But it was noticed that the latter 
did not shine where Foote was present, being, not unnaturally, 
under some restraint. It was noticed, indeed, that there was 
a class of men of the boisterous sort, who had very much the 
same effect upon Garrick. No one, the same authority tells us, 
was more illiberal in his attacks on the absent Garrick — in all 
companies " pooh-poohing " his merits as an actor, laughing at 
his writings, accusing him of trickery and meanness ; in short* 
to use. the reporter's strong expressions, " rendering his conver- 
sation disgusting by his nauseous abuse of Mr. Garrick. " 

At the same time, it must be admitted that' there were fail- 
ings about Garrick — his pride in the acquaintance of the great, 
his belief that he himself was the engrossing subject of the 
thoughts and interest of the public, his little airs of superiority 
— which to a man of Footed temper and wit were an hourly 
challenge, and literally irresistible. Another matter to which 
due weight should be given, is Garrick's apparent placidity and 
endurance, which really might seem to suggest to Foote that 
" the hound " had not much feeling, and cared very little for 
such treatment. He was so accustomed to impunity, that he 
had literally lost the sense of restraint This unkindness fretted 
Mrs. Garrick more than it did her husband ; and when she was 
sitting for her portrait, Northcote, who was with Reynolds, 
could hear her complaining of this ceaseless and unaccountable 
persecution, which was embittering their lives. But she was 
to be comforted by Reynolds, who told her it was the inferior 
nature that always thus indemnified itself. 

If there be one impartial character of this period whom we 
could ask to arbitrate in such a matter, it is Reynolds, the 
amiable painter, who, in the dialogue in which he affected to 
make Johnson describe Garrick's character, but in which his 
own generous heart was speaking, true justice is done to both 
Foote and Garrick ; and to the popular stories that went about 
as to their relations, which Davies and other slanderers were 
glad to repeat, that Garrick in society shrank from competition 
with Foote, and became silent. " The reason was," says Rey- 
nolds, " he disdained to compete with one whose style of con- 
versation and wit was vulgar merriment, indecency, and im- 
piety. " Even in mimicry, where Foote excelled, he was left far 
behind by Garrick, who, besides beating him in the nicest and 
most exact imitation of peculiarities, gave the tone of mind and 
modes of thought. " Foote went out of himself, but without 
going into another man." 

He had presently discovered a fresh injury in Garrick's play- 
ing a round of his own favourite characters, which he affected 



1769.] SAMUEL FOOTE AND SAMUEL JOHNSON. 345 

to believe was done with the view of drawing away the public 
from his little theatre. Drury Lane had been kept open for a 
short time after its usual season for closing, which was another 
outrage. But, indeed, he had no title to expect consideration 
from a man he had so injured. He had begun by attacking 
him in the newspapers, in letters, fables, and such squibs — a 
form of annoyance to which he knew Garrick was sensitive. 
At that time, Garrick was suffering acutely from an infamous 
libel, written at him by the wretch Kenrick, and called " A La- 
mentation for the Loss of his Nikey," which had just come 
out, and which referred to the ruin of his friend Bickerstaff, 
who had fled from the country to avoid the consequences of an 
infamous crime ; and while Garrick's friends were sorely dis- 
tressed for him, and the warm-hearted Moody " hoped to God 
that he did not suffer this injury a place in his mind, but let it 
.go to hell from whence it came," the delicate Foote could choose 
this moment to attract yet more attention to Garrick's name. 
This seems to be about the worst trait in all his behaviour. 

He was to open his theatre in February of the following year, 
1773, and had prepared one of his best pieces of personality. 
This was called the " Handsome Housemaid, or Piety in Pat- 
tens ; " and he again intended to introduce Garrick on so favour- 
able an opportunity, as it was to be in his favourite shape of a 
puppet show. A mask and puppet had been made as like Gar- 
rick as could be contrived, with a man concealed inside. At 
the proper cue, he was to clap his arms to his side, and crow 
loudly, and thus revive the stale jest of " cock-a-doodle-doo. " 
All this reads pitiably, and the jest was of the lowest sort 
Perhaps it was so represented to him, for he seems to have 
abandoned it in that shape ; not, however, before it had gone 
round all the coffee-rooms and clubs what pleasant entertain- 
ment was to be made out of Mr. Garrick.* Good-natured 
friends soon carried the plan to the ears of Garrick, who was 
thrown into agonies by such a prospect. 

When the night came round, the crowd was so great and 
curiosity was so intense that the doors of the playhouse were 
broken open, and the streets about the Haymarket were im- 
passable. Hats, swords, and cloaks, and shoes, were all torn 
off and lost. Hundreds got in without paying admission 
money. Many ladies fainted, and one girl had her arm broken. 
There was almost a riot. Foote excelled himself on this night 

* Cooke tells a good story of his exciting the jealousy and fears with 
which the manager was supposed to be tortured, by telling him of a new 
Roscius he was bringing out ; and of his then having this puppet brought 
in. Garrick was still uneasy. " What, jealous of Punch t " «»id. !£<*&&« 



footlights, and was convulsing h 
On this night, however, his e 
did not find such favour. It ex« 
tions of personality. Mrs. Ya 
" House-maid," Polly Pattens.* 
commentator, was dragged in, J 
He now had his revenge, and " t 
ner admirably. He held him u 
Punch's wife, Joan, with Garrick's 
This was his revenge. But wh 
more personal, began to give nai 
berland, and Mr. Cradock, the a 
riot took place, which was with 
Yet within a few months he v 
his plays from Garrick, and ha< 
whom he had held up at the Ha; 
The unfailing temper, the real ? 
have had its influence on him ; 1 
time drawn to the man he so ria 
is not so unfair a supposition — hi 
him. Garrick answered him c 
agreeing to go. " He has too 1 
Footed society not to accept 1 
And, at the end, he, with true ti 
Foote with a fine account he had 
It was, he heard on excellent au 
formance, there was a full houE 
pleased." We can scarcelv belie 



w*—m 



1769.J SAMUEL FOOTK AND SAMUEL JOHNSON. 347 

not with the greatest truth say that I am most sincerely and affec- 
tionately yours, Samuel Foote." 

He was growing impatient of the slow gains which his trade 
brought him in, and of the weary journeys and endless labour 
it took him to earn his crust A kind of despondency had 
come over him, which almost seemed the shadow of the 
calamity that was travelling on behind him. If he had not 
heart for bitterness against his more successful friend, it was 
from no awakening of generosity; if he wrote warmly and 
gratefully, and offered his hospitalities, it was from the ordi- 
nary decencies of gratitude, for money security just under- 
taken, and kindness, and, perhaps, want of spirits for attack. 
The " stingy little hound " had just endorsed his note to pay 
one Sowden, who was pressing Foote, and in return received 
a copy of a compliment to Mrs. Garrick, in which she was 
likened to Madame De Maintenon.* 

Garrick, always indulgent and good-natured, received all 
these advances tolerantly, and puts the maimed and dispirited 
satirist in good-humour with compliments, telling how his 
speeches had quite upset Mrs. Baddeley, the actress, who, on 
the strength of them, wanted an increase of salary. "My 
wife sends her best wishes, and begs you will not keep too 
much company, nor make your pelly too pig with entremets 
and hors-d'oeuvres. It is a bitty you are so bleasant to so riot 
yourself to teth. M t A good-natured jest against Mrs. Garrick's 
foreign pronunciation. 

Yet, after all this sham sympathy and affected gratitude, 
his old envy could not be restrained. It was exhibited even at 
his own table, not very long before Garrick's death, and a 
curious scene it was. It shows that the old envy was incurable, 
and " speaks volumes," as the phrase runs. Young Mr. Lyttle- 
ton, Lord Lyttleton's son — a fashionable scapegrace — was 
dining with him with two other gentlemen, and mention was 
made of Garrick. Mr. Lyttleton, to please his host (" For you 
must know," said Garrick, telling the story, " that Foote hates 
me "), struck in, on the usual tack, " Garrick is so mean" He 
was at once stopped — not by the Iwst, but by one of the gentle- 
men present — " Sir, I shall hear nothing against Mr. Garrick ; 
he is a man of honour, my friend, and you do not know him.'* 

* Garrick's tone about Foote was always friendly. " Foote is in great 
spirits/' he wrote to Colman, " but bitter against the Lord Chamberlain. 
The Duchess has had him in her closet, and offered to bribe him ; but Cato,. 
though he had one leg more than our friend, was not more stoically vir- 
tuous." 

f Forster MSS. 



348 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1769 

And his spirited defence was seconded again, not by the host, 
but by another friend of Garrick's, who was present. The 
young man said, in reply, that this was not his opinion merely, 
but that of his father, Lord Lyttleton, who knew Mr. Garrick 
better than he did. They — not Mr, Foote — told him that if his 
father had said so, he knew about as little as his son did. This 
painful discussion at a supposed friend's table was reported to 
Garrick, and caused him deep pain, so much so that he could 
not give Mrs. Garrick the pain of knowing it. Lord Lyttleton 
was an old friend, and the speech may be dismissed as an in- 
vention of the son's. " For you know Foote hates me/" There 
was the truth at last, and a humiliating one it was. 

Yet all this could pass from Garrick's mind like a cloud, 
when a second and more terrible misfortune than the loss of a 
limb came to overwhelm Foote — the terrible charge of which 
indeed, he was acquitted, but which ended his jesting. No 
sooner had this blow fallen than all was forgotten. The sense 
of a hundred ungracious, unkind acts had passed away. The 
heart of the true Samaritan — that could see only the spectacle 
of distress and suffering, and nothing else — was there. He was 
unwearied in his exertions. His great influence with the papers, 
with the Chronicle, with the Morning Post, and others, was 
exercised. " There was not a step in the preparation of his 
defence," says Mr. Forster, " that was not sedulously watched 
by Garrick. " The unhappy man, whose unlucky destiny it 
was to require some such trial to make him sensible to the 
common claims of gratitude, wrote, in a tumult of acknowledg- 
ment, " God for ever bless you, my dear, kind friend ! Ten 
thousand thanks for your note. I shall make the proper use 
of it directly. May nothing but halycon days and nights 
crown the rest of your life, is the sincere prayer of S. Foote. n 

He was saved, perhaps owing to the exertions of this kind 
and forgiving friend. Garrick himself was that year quitting 
the stage, and it was a little curious that the two men whose 
relations had been so strange should have died the following 
year, within a few months of each other. But their end was 
very different. For Garrick's was the procession to West- 
minster Abbey, and the pall upheld by friends he had found 
and attached to him ; but the poor jester, hurrying into exile, 
a lonely death at Dover : hi$ last moments were watched by a 
servant, and a stage treasurer came down to see him interred- 

Turning from this painful picture of human weakness and 
malice, we might at least hope that with Samuel Johnson — old 
friend, almost schoolfellow — he might have found true comfort 
and a hearty sympathy — possibly a kindly, and perhaps rough, 



1769.] SAMUEL FOOTE AND SAMUEL JOHNSON. 349 

admonition and correction; but in that quarter at least, no 
meanness of envy or petty spite. Since the failure, or at 
at best, the succes d'estime of "Irene," he had scarcely seen or 
heard of his old friend, whose play, however, he had taken 
care should be successful — at least, so far as profit went. Yet 
Johnson appeared to be dissatisfied. Justice had not been 
done to his play. He had been busy with his periodical, " The 
Kambler;" and though for a time he used to come behind the 
scenes and mix with the actors, he soon withdrew himself, his 
contempt for players, with his roughly expressed opinions, not 
being likely to make him very welcome there. His excuse to 
Garrick of its temptations, was a mere plaisanterie. The man 
who wrote of the stage as " a condition which makes almost 
every other man, for whatsoever reason, contemptuous, inso- 
lent, petulant, selfish, and brutal," could not be popular with 
the profession.* There was so much that was fine and noble 
in Johnson, so much that has endeared him to us, that even 
when duty to Garrick makes us dwell on this strange be- 
haviour, we may have the excuse that all this was mere ebul- 
lition. But when ebullition takes the shape of action, extenu- 
ation becomes more difficult Garrick had such ebullitions, 
but he never allowed temper to vent itself in the shape of 
action. Once, indeed, Johnson gave way to a generous burst, 
and did hearty and cordial justice to his friend. " Sir, it is won- 
derful to see how little' Garrick assumes. Garrick had ap- 
plause dashed in his face, sounded in his ears, and went home 

every night. Garrick has made a player a higher 

character. All this, too, was supported by wealth of his own 
making." He added that he himself in such a position would 
have had a couple of fellows walking on before him with long 
poles, to knock down any one that stood in his way. Cibber 
and Quin would have jumped over the moon. 

When Garrick was talking of retiring, it was plain to every 
one who knew him that he was " tired," mentally and physic- 
ally. Yet Johnson was the one to say coarsely, "Garrick 
begins to complain of fatigue ! Sir, the man that bawls tur- 
nips may complain," &c. This hostility was indeed surprising 
and unaccountable. The tranquil affluence of Garrick was a 
daily irritation. Sometimes he would break out, in a mixed 
company, with a malicious and over-coloured allusion to their 

* " Now, sir," he said to Boswell, " to talk of respect for a flayer / " 
(smiling disdainfully ). . . . "What, a fellow who claps a lump on his back, 
and a lump on his leg, and cries, ' / am Richard the Third /'" He was 
clearly thinking of Garrick. "A ballad-singer," he said, "was a higher 
man." 



350 THE LITE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1769. 

early trials — to that " three halfpence in your pocket on coming 
up to London" — reminiscences which made Garrick wince be- 
fore his friends. But Garrick bore such ill-bred reminders wito 
unvarying sweetness of temper. From Garrick was to come 
the capital compliment to his Mend on the completion of that 
marvellous monument of labour and knowledge, the " English 
Dictionary," a work, it may be said, as entertaining and amus- 
ing as it was instructive: 

"And Johnson, well armed, like a hero of yore, 
Has beat forty French, and will beat forty more." 

In return Johnson's surly remarks were perpetually travelling 
to Garrick's ear. It was said, indeed, that he would allow none 
to abuse Garrick but himself — at best a very questionable shape 
of attachment, and to be perfectly explained by his favourite 
principle of arguing in support of a proposition, which he would 
oppose if any one else brought it forward. Warm admirers of 
" grand old Samuel/' as he had been affectedly called, will feel 
something like pain at coming to a harsh conclusion, as to this 
behaviour to his early friend. Does Boswell repeat to him a 
saying of Garrick's, that if he were now beginning, he should 
not play low characters, like Abel Drugger, Johnson sneers, 
that he was not in earnest " Then why did he say so I " 
"Why, sir, to make you answer as you did," and Johnson 
added that he had probably made the same speech some twenty 
times before. When it was said, that a little compliment of 
Garrick's to the Queen, introduced on the stage, was " mean," 
he broke out, " How is it mean in a player — a fellow who ex- 
hibits himself for a shilling?" But Sir Joshua calmly, and 
admirably, set him right, and defended the profession of a 
player. Instances would be endless. He had to own that his 
" enemy," as we may call him, was liberal, and gave away more 
money than any man in England that he knew of. But then 
— no one's liberality depended so much " on the humour of 
the moment." He came in to Davies's house, loud in his com- 
plaints of Garrick's stinginess, who had refused him an order 
to the theatre for Mrs. Williams, because he thought the place 
would be worth three shillings on that night ! When Boswell 
incautiously said, he was sure Mr. Garrick would not refuse 
him such a trifle, Johnson told him, haughtily, that he had 
known Garrick longer than he had, and therefore knew him 
better. Knowing him, then, so much better, and so long, he 
might have recollected, that a short time before, Garrick had 
given this very blind Mrs. Williams, not three shillings, but 
two hundred pounds ! But it was Garrick's lot that he should 



1769.] SAMUEL FOOTE AND SAMUEL JOHNSON. 351 

be called " stingy" by exactly the persons who had least title 
to do so. 

This depreciation was constant, and can be traced through 
the whole of their relations. When Garrick, after his mar- 
riage, had moved to his new house in Southampton Street, and 
was engaged with all the trouble, and pleasant cares, of a new 
establishment, he had rather lost sight of Johnson, and meet- 
ing him one day, " gently complained of his neglect " — how 
like Garrick ! — and insisted he should fix a morning to come 
and breakfast. The manner in which he was then welcomed, 
Johnson chose to interpret as "condescending" and patroniz- 
ing ; and his sensitiveness was so touched, that he sat down, 
and in one of his " Ramblers," sketched a character so personal 
that no one could mistake it. Prospero had invited his blunt 
friend Asper to breakfast. He came, but found that the im- 
patience of his host arose, not from any desire to communicate 
his happiness, but to enjoy his superiority. Asper gave his name 
at the door, but the time the footman was absent, gave him 
reason to suspect there was deliberation going on. He was 
then shown up the staircase, " carefully secured by mats from 
the pollution of my feet. The best apartments were then osten- 
tatiously set open, that I might have a distant view of the 
magnificence which I was not permitted to approach ; and my 
old friend receiving me with all the insolence of condescension 
at the top of the stairs, conducted me to a back room, where 
lie told me he always breakfasted, when he had not great com- 
pany." The floor was covered with a cloth, which the ser- 
vant was ordered to lift up. " I did not gratify his folly with 
outcries of admiration, but coldly bade the footman let down the 
doth" They sat down. Then, as Johnson absurdly says, 
" he had hoped that pride was glutted with persecution " — 
when his host, restless and anxious, observed that the cover 
of Johnson's chair had got awry, and begged he would let the 
servant arrange it. He added, that he had ordered some 
chairs for ordinary use, but they had not come home. John- 
son, restraining himself, praised the tea ; but the host said he 
had a much finer sort, of which only a little was left, which he 
must keep for those " whom he thought himself bound to treat 
with particular respect." Another time, however, his guest 
should taste that. He then observing his host's attention wan- 
dering, he gave his servant directions about the jeweller and 
silversmith, and that if " Lord Lofty " called, he was to be 
shown into the best parlour. Some rare Dresden china was 
then produced to be admired, which the visitor determined 
not to look at ; but his curiosity getting the better, he was en- 



352 THK LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1769. 

treated to set tbem down, " as those who were accustomed 
only to common dishes seldom handled china with much care. 
Asper was philosophic enough at this insult " not to dash his 
baubles to the ground" The host then fell into a quiet fit of 
meditation on what was, after all, the vanity of these things 
— they did not add much to human happiness ; that he still re- 
called the old old days, when they began this struggle together, 
mutually assisting each other in their exigencies — " when he 
and I were upon a level" The guest was meditating some 
" bitterness of reproof," when the host suddenly recollected he 
had an engagement to attend some ladies in the Park, and 
offered to take his friend part of the way; but the other took 
his leave " without any intention of seeing him again, unless 
some misfortune should restore his understanding." Johnson 
then makes some reflections to qualify these bitters, that it 
could not be intentional, and that it was better to take no 
notice, &c. 

Some five-and-twenty years later, when talking over tie 
actor — grumbling at him, "his reputation for avarice saved 
him from hatred : you despise but do not hate an avaricious 
man ; " he then added, " Garrick might have been better attacked 
for living more spendidly than suited a player. That might hate 
galled him more." For the moment he forgot Prospero, and that 
he himself had actually attacked him in that weak place. At 
the same time, it is plain, he did not mean more than to satisfy 
his own private resentment by this little bit of spite. It might 
be a good hint to his friend, and show his anger ; but he did 
not expect that the whole town would discover, and apply, the 
likeness, and was really shocked when he found it was so.* 
Long after, he affected to complain to Mr. Thrale that Garrick 
had never forgiven him. That surprisingly even-tempered 
nature forgave not only that, but much more — and even a 
second ungracious attack. 

When Johnson was preparing his edition of Shakspeare, he 
announced that the principle that would guide him, would be 
the collation of all the early printed editions. Garrick was 
known to have an unrivalled collection — certainly not to be 
matched in England — and Johnson knew the special advantage 
he would have in the use of these treasures. Garrick, when 
he heard of his seriously taking up the plan, sent word that 
his library was open to him — the key left with the servant, 
and that a fire would be always kept ready — perhaps the 
most welcome and unrestrained way in which the use of books 

* Cradock. 



1769.] SAMUEL FOOTE AND SAMUEL JOHNSON. 353 

could be offered. Will it be credited that Johnson saw here a 
fresh attempt to patronize him, "the fellow wanted to be 
courted."* He should have collected those rare and priceless 
books, packed them up, and sent them to be strewn about the 
garret, where Johnson worked, t Johnson nursed his fancied 
injury. When the Shakspeare appeared, every one wondered 
at seeing no allusion to the Koscius of the age — who had done 
so much for Shakspeare — the King Lear, Hamlet, Macbeth, and 
Richard of the era. When asked about this omission, Johnson 
would say, in his easy way, " Garrick, sir, has been liberally 
paid for anything he has done for Shakspeare. " On another 
occasion he was again pressed for the reason. Did he not 
admire Garrick 1 " Yes — as a poor player that frets and struts 
his hour on the stage, as a shadow. My dear sir," he added, 
impatiently, " if I had praised him, I must have praised many 
more," which was a poor pretence, as Garrick stood quite 
apart from all the rest. But this was nothing: merely a 
matter of taste. He went further. He tortured Garrick's 
offer of his books into a refusal, and Garrick, to his astonish- 
ment, found himself again held up to the public in such a pas- 
sage as this : " I collated such copies as I could procure, and 
wished for more ; but have not found the collectors of these rarities 
very communicative. Of the editions which chance or kindness 
put into my hands," &c. 

Garrick never forgive him! Only a few months later, there 
was a dinner at BoswelTs, in Bond Street, " where he played 
round him with a fond vivacity, taking hold of the breasts 
of his coat, and, looking up in his face with a lively arch- 

* Garrick, after this injustice, actually called the man-servant in to 
Hawkins; and made him repeat the instructions so carefully given to him. 
" I was told, sir/' said the man, " to let Mr. Johnson have any books he 
wanted." But Sir John " conjectured " that Ganick's " object " was thus 
to get " thanks, and perhaps some additional compliment." 

t The latter's treatment of books was notorious. Garrick found John- 
son one day in his private study, where was his choice collection of 
elegantly bound presentation copies, busy throwing the books down one 
after the other, and strewing the floor. The owner was naturally angry, 
and said it was his private cabinet. " I was determined to examine your 
collection," said the other insolently, " and find it consists of three sorts 
— stuff, trash, and nonsense." There must have been great sweetness, on 
Garrick's side, that could put up with this treatment. He used even good- 
naturedly to take off his friend, asking him, in his solemn tones, " David, 
haveyouaPetrarcha?" "Yes, sir." "Don't sigh, David. Send it to me." 
Burney tells us the handsome volume was lent ; and Boswell, later, de- 
scribed the doctor holding that very book up, at full arm's-length over his 
head, in a sort of rapture. It slipped and fell on the floor, with its back 
all strained and dislocated. This little point shows how minutely accurate 
—even to the name of a book — was Boswell. 



354 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1769. 

ness, complimented him on the good health he then seemed to 
enjoy." Boswell had set a passage in the " Mourning Bride" 
above anything in Shakspeare ; and Garrick, in alarm, defended 
his demigod, saying, we must not make the poet suffer for the 
badness of their memories — making " the sage " smile at hifl 
eagerness. This little scene — one of the prettiest in Boswell 
— shows Garrick in his most charming guise — playful, affec- 
tionate, and forgiving. Perhaps, after all, we may have a 
faint hope that this was only Johnson's " way," and that the 
two understood each other. Yet there is more to come ; and 
Johnson's singular behaviour about the Literary Club shows 
the same secret grudge. That society was founded in the year 
1764, with Reynolds, Johnson, Burke, Beauclerk, Langton, 
Goldsmith, Chamier, Nugent, and Hawkins, as original mem- 
bers. Garrick did not return from abroad until a year and a 
half later, and with such friends, might fairly claim admission 
— at least as well as Hawkins or Chamier. When no pro- 
posal was made, he began to be a little restless and fidgety, 
would stop at Hawkins's on his way to Hampton, and ply 
him with questions — Had he been at the club last night t 
— Did they talk of him ? — Was Johnson there ? — Did he say 
that* Davy was a pleasant fellow enough in his way, but no 
poet or scholar ? When he first heard of the plan, Garrjck 
said, "I like the notion. I think I shall be of you." A 
light speech, but not an unnatural one. It was scarcely pru- 
dent of the placid and friendly Sir Joshua to repeat it " HfU 
be one of us/" roared Johnson, delighted to have him on the hip. 
" How does he know we will permit him ? — the first Duke in 
England has no right to hold such language." This was his 
tone to Reynolds. To Hawkins, who was willing to admit 
Garrick, he objected, "he will disturb us by his buffoonery." 
And finally, when Mrs. Thrale started the subject, he broke 
out with : " If Garrick does apply, I'll blackball him. Surely 
one ought to sit in a society like ours, * unelbowed by game- 
ster, pimp, or player.' " Here are three distinct significations 
of hostility, addressed to three distinct witnesses. Hawkins 
adds, that he so contrived matters, that the actor was never 
formally proposed, and by consequence, never admitted. In 
this he is a little mistaken : Garrick's admission did not take 
place for eight or nine years, and Johnson's opposition and in- 
fluence may have been at the bottom of this long postpone- 
ment. 

Boswell, reporting his "vanity" and Johnson's "envy," 
said the actor "was always jealous that Johnson spoke lightly 
of him,'' Hawkins adds, that Garrick used to complain that 



1769.] SAMUEL F00TE AND SAMUEL JOHNSON. 355 

Johnson " was capricious in his friendship, and, as he termed 
it, coquettish in his display of it; and when Boswell good- 
naturedly reported to him some little praise by Johnson of 
his knack of writing prologues, Garrick could not conceal 
his delight and joy at the unexpected encomium. Stock- 
dale brought tears into his eyes by reporting to him a 
poor compliment of Johnson's. These are trifles ; but they 
show a surprising evenness and sweetness, a kindly and simple 
nature — an amiable return for such behaviour. When Gar- 
rick would give a good-humoured imitation of his friend, 
even here he showed his anxiety as to this one matter. 
Taking him off, he would make him say, " Davy has some 
convivial pleasantry about him, but is a futile fellow." In re- 
turn, Johnson, after coming from behind the scenes, would 
tell his friends, " I met Davy behind the scenes last night, 
dressed for his part. I was glad to see him, but I believe he 
was ashamed to see me." Johnson repeated this story in 
various shapes. It was when Garrick was dressed for Scrub, 
or Drugger, and I think we can see in it, a harmless delicacy 
— a wish not to disturb the more dignified image of his his- 
trionic self, which he wished to rest in the mind of the friend 
he so respected — that of Lear or Richard. Indeed, the pre- 
sence of Johnson could have been no welcome addition be- 
hind the scenes. When every eye in front is wet with tears 
at the sorrows of Lear, and even Clive, at the wing, is sobbing 
out, " D — n him, he can act a gridiron ! " the great actor is 
disturbed by the loud voices of Murphy and Johnson, laugh- 
ing and talking over something else. As he comes off, he re- 
monstrates gently, and tells Johnson he distracts his feelings. 
" Pshaw ! sir," says Johnson, coarsely, " Punch has no feelings ! "* 
This to the manager, before the other players, and from a 
friend, was unkind. The speech was recollected and enjoyed, t 

* Johnson, though he had a contempt for players, did excellent justice to 
his acting. Who can repeat Hamlet* 9 soliloquy. ' To be, or not to be,' as 
Garrick does it ? " said Boswell, foolishly, and with that misplaced praise 
which really depreciates. "Anybody may," said Johnson. ''Jemmy, 
there, ' a child, 1 will do it as weU in a week." Garrick was no declaimer ; 
yet he was the only actor I ever saw whom I could call a master both in 
tragedy and in comedy ; though I believe him best in comedy. A true con- 
ception of character, and natural expression of it, were his distinguishing 
excellences." This was his real excellence, and not the poor recitatio 
" To be, or not to be " — perhaps his weakest point. 

t Garrick and his associations were always, by some fatality, unpleasant 
for Johnson. Thus, when Walmesley's old letters of introduction to Col- 
son, now nearly forty years old, came to light, having been carefully trea- 
sured by Abraham Kewling, a friend wrote to Garrick, " If I had called, as 
I sometimes do, on Dr. Johnson, and showed him one of these, ^tver* W\* 



356 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1769. 

Wilkes, repeating the stupid slander of stinginess, said, in 
Johnson's presence, that Garrick "would play Scrub to the 
end of his life;" then, brought on a discussion, which ex- 
tracted from Johnson an admission that Garrick gave away 
more than any man in England.* After a fine panegyric 
on Garrick's liberality, and his wonderful self-restraint under 
the tempest of praise " dashed in his face " — " Sir, a liberal 
man ; a little vanity, indeed ; but he has shown that money 
is not his first object," he might seem liberal. Yet, when 
Boswell quotes Foote's stupid jest about his going out with 
an intent to be generous, and its all vanishing in the 
street at the ghost of a halfpenny candle, Johnson agrees 
complacently, " That is very true, sir. No man ever so 
much depended on the humour of the moment." It would 
be far more true to say, that it was not on the humour 
of the moment that he was generous; that he reflected, and 
perhaps wrote a letter; and thus, his benevolence was mea- 
sured, and infinitely superior to a charity of impulse. No 
" ghost of a halfpenny candle " had come between Foote and 
his kind assistance. No. It was a humour that lasted all his 
life — a humour not by any means of the moment : as most ap- 

Slications for money came to him by letter, he had time to 
eliberate. We can mark every year of his life by a series of 
generous actions and of thoughtful aid. 

From the same hostile quarter came the grudging testimony 
that he was the first man in the world for sprightly conversa- 
tion, though he thought that conversation was light. Even after 
the actor's death, as will be seen, Johnson's encomiums were 
conventional and ill-applied. What were Garrick's real faults 
escaped him, and it was reserved for Goldsmith's nicer obser- 
vation to hit off those social histrionics, the blemish of Gar- 
rick's life. "He had friends, sir," Johnson said, after the 
actor had passed away, " but no friend. He was too much 
diffused. He found people always ready to applaud him, and 
for the same thing, and so saw life with great uniformity." 
He ought, at leasts to have found one friend in his own school- 
fellow and companion — whose failure — the school and the play 
— he had helped to the best of his power, t 

mentioned as one Johnson, I should have risked, perhaps, the chance of one 
of his ghastly smiles." 

* The kindly Reynolds made this excuse for him, that Johnson con- 
sidered Garrick as his property, and would allow no one to attack or praise 
him without contradiction. He wrote the two well-known dialogues in 
Johnson's manner to show this. 

f Even in trifles we see instances of Garrick's thoughtful kindness. Bos- 
well and Johnson pay a visit to Lichfield. Johnson was scarcely at home 



1770.] THE ADELPHI. 357 

And yet, after all, it seems as if Garrick's regard and affec- 
tion for him, are his best extenuation. We know what a 
struggle was always going on in that fine, strong, powerful 
nature — how Johnson prayed and wrestled with himself and 
the meaner passions, which so often overpowered him. Some- 
times, therefore, in dealing with Garrick, the generous feeling 
prevailed, and he did him more than justice ; but the next 
moment he was thinking of the success, and of Garrick's social 
artifices, which to him were contemptible, and then the less 
worthy feeling seemed to prevail. After all, this may be the 
solution; and all hearty admirers would be delighted that 
such strange behaviour could be reconciled with Johnson's 
really fine temper. 

At the end, when Garrick had passed away, some such 
better influence prevailed. " Garrick was a ve ry gQofl man," 
lie said ; " t he cheerfi ilpg* maTT^f bin affi a dnrnnt liygr in a 

nessT ^ There is something pretty and appropriate in that 
epitaph, something so nicely describing Garrick, something so 
inviting, that we condone all, a nd fondly believe that Johnson, 
his old schoolfellow, then understood him — but, alas! too late. 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE ADELPHI — COUNTY VISITS. — 1770. 

The same old taste for high life, and this rather foolish am- 
bition to do as those did who were above him in rank and 
wealth, made Mr. Garrick now prepare to leave his* house in 
Southampton Street* where he had lived more than twenty 
years. They were but two — their house was large and hand- 
some enough; well situated, too, for one of his condition. 
But he was eager for something grander, and more " fashion- 
able." Four brothers, of the name of Adam — two of whom 
were architects of repute, who have left admirable works 
behind them — had entered upon what was then considered a 
colossal undertaking. They had bought the old Durham yard 
— where Garrick long before had his wine vaults — with the 

there ; but a letter arrives to Peter Garrick, enjoining him to pay every 
attention to the visitors. When a great honour was paid to Garrick in 
being sent for to read for the King, Johnson chuckled over the coldness 
which the Royal host had shown at the entertainment. He dwelt on Oar- 
rick's mystification and disappointment ; then went off in the old stock 
charge — avarice and love of praise. — D'Arblay's Diary. 



358 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [17701 

sheds and buildings about it, and conceived the daring scheme 
of throwing out a handsome terrace, raised on a series of 
arches, over the river side.* In a spirit of Scotch nationality 
they had brought all their masons and bricklayers from Scot- 
land, and the work was stimulated hy the monotonous drone 
of the bagpipe. The Adelphi was then considered a splendid 
undertaking, The name was given in compliment to the 
brothers; and the two dingy approaches, John and Robert 
Streets, were named after them. The arches are solid and 
substantial ; the houses handsome, and decorated with Italian 
tracery, that was then considered in the best classical taste. 
Garrick was taken with the situation, and through Lord Mans- 
field's interest obtained the promise of one of the houses, even 
before it was completed. These mansions are really sumptuous 
in their finish. It proved to be a costly venture, and was much 
above the resources, perhaps above the position of " a player;" 
for the other houses were taken by men of rank ana wealth 
— like Beauclerk and Mr. Hoare. But one of Mr. Garrick's 
little weaknesses was to do as people of rank and wealth did 

What is now number four, was the one he chose, and he 
fitted it up almost with magnificence. The plafond of the 
drawing-room was painted by Zucchi, with Venus and the 
Graces ; and a rich Italian marble chimney-piece, said to have 
cost £300, adorned the fireplace. All his choicest pictures 
hung round upon the wails. Yet, like many a house built to 
be "architectural," it turned out a failure. There was too 
much light in front, from the river and the sun ; and the back 
rooms, where the pictures were, were dungeon-like, from the 
shadow of the neighbouring houses. It is conceivable that 
the situation had a charm — from the gaiety and animation of 
the river, the passing boats, and the hum and bustle of the 
Strand close by, yet shut out, and remote. Even now, that 
deserted terrace — lonely and grass-grown as it is — has a quaint 
air ; it belongs not to our age ; the houses, with their Italian 
arabesques, seem like a scene from old Drury Lane ; and it 
did not take much imagination to conjure up that not un- 
picturesque evening when Boswell and Johnson strolled there, 
and leant on the rails, looking over the river, and talked of 
the friend that had once lived in the house they had just leftf 

* It has never been noticed that this was a realization of a dream of 
Diocletian's Palace at Spalato, which Adam had visited and drawn. 

t It was the office of the literary Fund, and business was conducted 
in Garrick's fine drawing-room. It would have made him u turn in his 
grave " had he thought that David Williams's Society was to have its 
home in his house. 



*—* 



1770.] county visits. 359 

In the March of this year, an act of friendship was to draw 
him into one more unpleasant conflict with the public. Kelly, 
the drdevant staymaker, had brought him a new piece, which 
Garrick's tact must have told him could not have been brought 
out without danger. Kelly had written bitter satires on the 
players of both houses in succession, in feeble imitation of " The 
Kosciad." He had talked of " Olive's weak head or execrable 
heart/' and spoken of Mrs. Dancer as " a moon-eyed idiot." 
This was mere scurrility. Garrick, with infinite difficulty, had 
smoothed away these green-room resentments ; but the author 
had since enlisted under Government, and had been writing 
down the popular side, and Wilkes's friends had determined 
not to let so tempting an opportunity go by. The friends of 
the manager, and even those who had some terror of the 
" hack's " pen, mustered strongly, and the first scene of " A 
Word to the Wise " was the signal for an outrageous riot. 
Through the combined efforts of the two parties, not a word 
was caught of the piece. When it was concluded, the author 
himself was anxious that no more should be heard of it, and 
that a new play should be announced for the next night ; but 
an alarming deputation of some gentlemen, supporters of the 
manager, waited on him behind the scenes, and threatened to 
sack the house if the new play was not given out — which was 
accordingly done. 

It may be conceived what a promise of riot this held out ; 
and as soon as the prologue began on the following night, both 
parties rushed to the attack. In vain Garrick appealed to 
them, with a request from the author that his play might be 
withdrawn. His "friends," with an embarrassing partisan- 
ship, insisted it should go oil In vain the author himself im- 
plored that his piece might be withdrawn. He was not listened 
to. The night closed in utter riot and confusion. 

We presently find him setting off on a visit to friends in the 
Isle of Wight. These were the Fitzmaurices, who were the 
centre of a pleasant coterie, with Lord Clanricarde, the admiral 
of the station, and others. The Governor, Mr. Stanley, who 
did not know him, sent his compliments to Mr. Garrick, with a 
hope that they would come to stop with him at Steeple ; and 
offered his yacht during their stay. They were indeed made 
much of. They left behind them memories of a delightful 
gaiety and badinage. Mrs. Garrick was pronounced "the 
queen," and her health was drunk every day after her depar- 
tnre, with a fond recollection.* 

* It was insisted by the little coterie that Mr. Hewson, the clergyman, 
when giving prayers at Shanklin, laid a special stress upon, tha '*«&&" <rat 



360 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1770. 

His mode of life seemed to change with these high preten- 
sions. The visits multiplied. Many entertainments were 
given at the new house. They were seen at balls and mas- 
querades — at Mrs. Cornely's famous one in 1770, where the 
great actor was dressed as a Macaroni Doctor, and his 
" lady " as an Italian peasant Now he was to be asked down 
to Wynnstay, in obedience to many a pressing invitation. 
Going down to this house, he met some flattering proofs of his 
popularity. For at Shrewsbury the whole town was in a fer- 
ment, and the Haven Inn, where the party put up, was besieged 
with the curious. When he appeared, there was a crowd, who 
made free and rustic remarks on his person, eye, hair, &c. He 
travelled quite en seigneur, with six horses and four men-ser- 
vants, which seems a state more befitting a man of rank than 
even a wealthy player.* Whether it was that he was thus ab- 
sorbed by fashion and pleasure, or that a real theatrical decay 
Was slowly coming, the affairs of the theatre seemed to lose 
much interest. 

Now came an event which to his sensitive soul must have 
been like a shock, and have robbed him of his rest at nights. 
One day a terrible letter reached him. It was only a few lines 
long, but it warned and threatened, and was signed " Junius. 1 ' 
When we know that in his heart he shrank from the cheapest 
and meanest anonymous rascal who wrote to him, we may 
imagine the effect of this awful power, who was striking in the 
dark. He had done a foolish thing. Woodfall, the printer, 
had mentioned carelessly, in one of his letters, that Junius would 
write no more, and Mr. Garrick had sent this joyful news with 
all speed to the King, by one of the Court pages, Ramus, whom 
he knew very wellt The King, however, mentioned the 
matter to his friends, and perhaps to those whom it most 
seriously concerned ; and it thus speedily came to the know- 
ledge of the unseen power. His warning to Garrick ran : — 

" I am very exactly informed of your impertinent inquiries, and 
of the information you so busily sent to Richmond, and with 
what triumph and satisfaction it was received. I knew every 

gracious Queen Charlotte," to prevent his friends making any mistake as to 
the queen they were to pray for. Wherever they went, they always left 
behind them the same playful memories, and affectionate regard. 

* Forster MSS. There are many little hints of this growing taste for 
gaiety — more verses, more letters. I have seen his hair-dresser's — Oast's 
— bill for the last year of his management, for wigs, dressings, " pomadums," 
and it is very large. — BuL Col. 

t Woodfall received this secret, alarming warning : " Beware of David 
Garrick ! He was eent to pump you, and went directly to Richmond to 
tell the King I would write no more." 



1770.] COUNTY VISITS. 861 

particular of it next day, through the indiscretion of one who 
makes it a rule to betray everybody that confides in him. Now 
mark me, vagabond / Keep to your pantomimes, or be assured 
you shall hear of it. Meddle no more, thou busy informer ! 
It is in my power to make you curse the hour in which you 
dared to interfere with — Junius." 

Woodfall, who had much regard for Garrick, remonstrated 
humbly with the tremendous writer. But he received a stern 
order — " the letter to D. 6. must go forward ; " all he allowed 
was that "impertinent inquiries should be changed into 
" practices." But Woodfall went further, and quietly took out 
the allusion to the King, through fear it would compromise 
himself. Garrick was aghast. " Mark me, vagabond ! " was 
offensive enough. After some deliberation, he wrote to Wood- 
fall a curious letter, which was dignified and confident, and yet 
seemed to appeal to Junius's forbearance, with many artful 
compliments of superior strength, talents, &c. "However 
mighty may be the power with which he is pleased to threaten 
me, I trust, with truth on my side and your assistance, to be 
able to parry the vigour of his arm, and oblige him to drop his 
point, not from want of force to overcome so feeble an adversary as I 
am." He then explains the matter, and justifies himself. 
This was sent forward by Woodfall, and it elicited a half- 
satisfied acceptance from Junius. "If he attacks me again, 
I will appeal to the public against him; if not, he may 
safely set me at defiance." This was thrown in contemp- 
tuously, in a letter full of more important subjects; but 
from such a quarter it seemed a good deal, and must have 
comforted Garrick's sensitive heart. Junius had also alluded 
to Wilkes, no friend of Garrick's, though he wrote him 
letters full of false bonhomie, and compliments, and a jovial 
affection. Home Tooke had accused him of having sent Gar- 
rick a threatening letter, telling him not to play " Jane Shore." 
Wilkes replied, denying the accusation. He said, indeed, that 
it was noticed that Mr. Garrick had altered his manner of play- 
ing Hastings, and leant with undue emphasis on certain pass- 
ages which could be applied to Wilkes's case ; and also that 
some " warm Mends " talked of showing their disapproval, and 
had waited on Mr. Garrick. This looked very like " intimida- 
tion." Garrick replied simply, and with spirit, that he had 
made no alteration, and would continue to play the piece in 
the same way. This furnishes a glimpse of the true cha- 
racter of the demagogue, and of the sort of "liberty" that 
was meant by "Wilkes and Liberty." How Wiiksa *aA 



362 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1770. 

Johnson could talk together oyer their dead friend has been 
seen. 

All this was vexatious enough ; but his enemies were now 
to be delighted with news of a fresh trouble, which must have 
tried him, and his gentle wife, sorely. It was hard for him, 
certainly, to be gay and diverting at those great houses, where 
he was made so welcome. 

For, happy as the manager of Drury Lane might be con- 
sidered, wealthy, prosperous, enjoying the friendship of the 
best and noblest natures in the land, few knew what secret 
trials he had to endure, and what persecution his own yielding, 
or perhaps weak, temper invited. The brigands of Grub 
Street, the scoundrels who found a profession in publishing, or 
suppressing, libellous pamphlets ; the tribe of Kenricks, Pur- 
dons, Smarts, knew that in his complacent or timorous nature 
they were sure to find their account. Of these Kenrick, or 
Dr. Kenrick, as he was always deferentially called, was the 
most unscrupulous and infamous. He stands apart from his 
fellows, is a marked character of the time, and like one of the 
bullies who sometimes infested the taverns, is seen striving to 
fasten on men like Goldsmith, Johnson, Colman, even Boswell, 
and on Garrick himself. A manager who had influence and 
riches was a far more profitable object than needy poets or jour- 
nalists. He began with the usual advance, a play, which Gar- 
rick, on his return from abroad, brought out at once. It was 
called " FalstafTs Wedding," and intended as a continuation of 
"Henry IV.," but was promptly damned. Later he came 
with another piece, which Garrick could not bring himself to 
refuse. A few years later, he came again with a comedy; but 
here Garrick was obliged to make a stand. He gave excuses 
about being pledged to other plays, promised that he would 
consider it carefully, and if suitable, would accept it. He then 
declined it, and turned the man he had been trying to con- 
ciliate into a furious assassin. At the first opportunity a 
scurrilous and unscrupulous onslaught might be looked for, 
and that opportunity came speedily. 

Bickerstaff, a man of undoubted talent, and with a true vein 
of pleasant comedy, who has given to the English stage many 
fresh agreeable pieces, was, as we have seen, one of Garrick^ 
most useful aides-de-camp. The manager found him service- 
able in a hundred ways. Ho could alter an old comedy like 
the "Nonjuror" with fair skill, and fit it to the fashion of 
the day. Garrick always treated him with true kindness, a 
perfect equality, and a delicacy, quite characteristic of himself, 
towards one who was really a dependant. 



1770.] COUNTY VISITS- 36S 

Yet he, too, was following the desperate calling of the hack, 
now begging, now borrowing ; and at last, in this very year, it 
became known on town that Bickerstaff had fled suddenly, 
to avoid the certain penalty which would have overtaken 
him, for a shocking and monstrous crime. There were, no 
doubt, plenty who thought this was no more than incident to 
the degrading life of such creatures ; but the scoundrel 
Kenrick was on the watch. He knew of their friendship, and 
in a few days a malignant and scurrilous pamphlet, full of 
dark, yet unmistakeable hints, had appeared, entitled "La- 
mentation for the Loss of his Nykey."* 

The insinuations in this production there could be no mis- 
taking. It was followed up by another, entitled " Love in the 
Suds, ' which seems to have gone through four or five editions- 
In this there was an attempt to explain away the meaning 
put in the first libel, while even worse was insinuated. He 
ridiculed the actor's defects — pointed the general decay in his 
gifts, and said that he had been hissed, he had " died " so tamely 
in Richard, and made Boscius gloat over Foote's accident : 

" Curse on his hone ! One leg, but one, to break ! " 

Yet there was a crafty and tortuous scheming that accom- 
panied this open ruffianism — a secret by-play, which is a 
highly curious feature in the business. In the papers appeared 
some queries, coming, as it were, from a friend of Garrick's, 
accusing the libeller of cowardice, and saying that George 
Garrick had waited on him to demand the satisfaction of 
a gentleman. The libeller then replied to himself, saying 
that the challenge was general, with no time or place spoken 
of. Nearly at the same time an anonymous letter was sent to 
Garrick, warning him, as "a sincere friend," against "that 
desperate villain Kenrick," which "cowardly villain," to 

* From the miserable wretch who was hiding at St Malo came a piteous 
appeal to Garrick, in which shame and despair are strangely blended : — 
" Si votre cosur a conserve* jusqu'a present, la moindre trace de cette pre- 
vention que voua avez autrefois avoue* pour un homme, qui est aujourd'hui 
le plus malheureux qui soit sur la terre, je voua supplie de me faire la con- 
noitre par trois ou quatre mots. Pe*ne*tre* avec un chagrin le plus amer, qui 
peat blesser le coour, soyez persuade*, que je n'ai rien de demander de votre 
bonte, que de vous ecrire plus an longue : si vous n'dtes pas dans ce senti- 
ment de me permettre, imaginez que cette lettre vient d'un mort au 
vivant : jettez la dans le feu, et n'en pensez plus. Je n'ai pas le moindre 
doute que mon chagrin me h&tera au tombeau, mais par un chemin peut- 
fitre plus longue que je ne le souhaiterai . . . J'etois loin de soupcpnner que 
la dernicre fois que j'entroia dans votre libraire, serait la derniere que j'y 
entrerais de ma vie, et que je ne reverrai plus le maitre." Garrick en- 
dorsed this appeal, " From that poor wretch Bickerstaff! I could not bring 
myself to answer it" 



364 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1770. 

retrieve his reputation, was going about, declaring in all places 
that he was now ready to give Mr. Garrick the satisfaction of 
a gentleman. Kenrick was indeed going about, bragging that 
the player was afraid to meet him. He himself had a wife and 
children ; but if Mr. Garrick would settle half his fortune on 
his family, in case of an accident, he would meet him at once. 
This effrontery was quite in keeping. Yet Garrick had the 
inconceivable folly to think of temporising and privately 
remonstrating. " Sir," he had written, " I am really sorry for 
the figure you made in the late transaction with me. Could 
not you have finished a little better, for the sake of that 
honour which so readily drops from your pen ? . . . Do you 
imagine I would have risked my reputation to have acted 
unlike a man, even to him who has been ungratefully vilifying 
me ? No, sir. I would have honoured you by giving the satis- 
faction of a gentleman, if you could (as Shakspeare says) have 
screwed your courage to the sticking place to have taken it." For- 
tunately, his better judgment made him change his intention, 
and this paper was never sent* In the whole transaction he 
seems for once to have been goaded out of his usual self- 
restraint ; and the sending such a fellow a challenge, which he 
seems to admit he did, was a grave mistake. He took the 
more sensible course of an appeal to the King's Bench. But 
here again the indulgence, or perhaps weakness, of the actor 
intervened, and his prudence deeming conciliation more profit- 
able than punishment, interposed, and he accepted the rascal's 
humble apologies. The whole is, indeed, curious ; as showing 
a class of annoyances and persecutions, against which the 
public man had to defend himself as best he could ; and which, 
indeed, seem to have been, as it were, licensed, t 

Barry, whose health was now failing, and who was indeed a 
martyr to infirmities, the delicacy and kindness of the manager 
considered in every way. His and his wife's joint salary had 
been raised by two hundred pounds ; he was left free in the 
choice of parts ; his ease and health were consulted ; and he 
was never called on to do anything which would displease or 
degrade him. J 

* It is endorsed, " This not sent to that scoundrel Dr. Kenrick. .... 
It was judged best not to answer any more of Dr. Kenrick's notes ; he had 
behaved so unworthily." 

t Mr. Forster has given the story of Goldsmith's persecution by this 
ruffian, at length. 

£ There is one scene connected with Barry's decay, which is almost 
pathetic. When he was playing, and, tottering to a chair kept at the wing 

for him, said, in allusion to his infirmities, " I am now old ," there was 

A jeer, from the galleries, and a coarse laugh. Sheridan was present 



1770.] county visits. 365 

A new question was about the play of " Alzuma," which was 
then actually in rehearsal Murphy wished the leading part 
to be taken from Mrs. Abington, and given to Mrs. Barry. 
His morbid fancy saw a conspiracy between the manager and 
the actress, and that Garrick and she were plotting to revenge 
themselves on him, by destroying the chance of his success. 
He at once sent to recall his play ; nothing would change him ; 
he raked up all his old griefs ; no business of his, he told 
Barry, was ever done in a candid manner, except that of 
" The Grecian Daughter." " My peace of mind on that occa- 
sion I owe to you and Mrs. Barry : upon every occasion Mr. 
Garrick has been a thorn in my side." This was an ungenerous 
and unjust imputation; but he thus artfully tried to draw 
Barry into the quarrel, and actually told a whole string of old 
accusations against Garrick. " If the intention of this crooked 
dealing was not to thwart Mrs. Barry, the whole is pointed at 
me. The attempt to hinder me from writing a comic character 
for her is new; out the public universally admire her genius, 
and I beg to be one of the number." The parts were then 
sent back. Garrick did not lose his temper, though he said, 
" I am too old and too happy to love altercation." He was in 
hopes, he wrote to Barry, " that after eighteen years' acquaint- 
ance, we should at least have finished in harmony and good- 
will. I am afraid that he has unwarily got into some mis- 
understanding with Mrs. Abington; and thinking a quarrel 
with an actress about her part would be too trifling a reason 
for taking away his play, he has chosen to exhibit a complaint 
against me; but I defy the malice of my most inveterate 
enemies to prove the least intentional injury from me to him, 
since our first knowledge of each other : can Mr. Murphy do 
the same ? " But, always temperate, and with an eye to bring- 
ing the matter to a practical issue, he offered to refer the 
matter to any legal friend — not mutual — but Murphy's; to 
Wallace, Bearcroft> Cowper, Tighe — or any of his Lincoln's 
Inn friends — the condition to be, that if they decided tho 
matter against Garrick, he should forfeit a sum equal to the 
profits of a new play ; but if otherwise, Murphy should ask 
pardon " for his unjustifiable, unfriendly behaviour, and un- 
warrantable suspicions." To this fair, and, it must be said, 
very unequal proposal, the only answer was a furious letter of 
recrimination for Garrick : 

" If Mr. Garrick considered it as his duty to forget what he 
thought former injuries, how did it happen that he told a rela- 
tion of Mr. Murphy, at Bath, two years ago, ' Yes, I could do 
great things with his play; but you know he has written against 



366 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICE. [1770. 

w£ ? If I remember former injuries, it is because the wounds 
are opened by the hand that gave them. To store up resent- 
ment for occasional use was the black character of Tiberius." 
He then declared the reference " ludicrous." " I have much 
esteem for the gentleman named, but must take leave to think 
myself a competent judge in my own affairs. " Garrick had 
reminded him of their eighteen years' acquaintance, and of the 
quarrels and penitence, and the reconciliations which Murphy 
himself had sought, as Murphy's own letters could prove. This 
last allusion seemed to sting him to fury. He had hoarded no 
man's letters ! He had written none that he could be ashamed 
of! 

We shall have but one more glimpse of Mr. Murphy; and it 
is a relief to be able to finish with one who has played so un- 
worthy a part in Garrick's life — whose own life was such an 
alternation from bullying to fawning, from bluster to obsequi- 
ousness. There is no more unpleasant figure to meet the eye, 
as we look back on all that time. Even as we turn to his por- 
trait — taken when he had grown elderly — we can discover this 
air of false good-humour, overlying a something that is ill-con- 
ditioned and vicious. For the twenty years or so during which 
he survived his old enemy, his life was much of the old charac- 
ter — now dedicating to Lord Lauderdale, or "animadverting 
severely on his lordship's character," now doing hack-work for 
the booksellers; translating "Tacitus," which he modestly 
styled "a gaol delivery from Gordon;" slavishly obsequious to 
Johnson, who in return was said to have pronounced him the 
beau ideal of a fine gentleman. Later, he actually contracted 
the doctor's overbearing manner in conversation. Gradually 
his necessities became more pressing; but the adventurer's 
good luck often came to his rescue. Now he is left a legacy ; 
now a " Mrs. Plunkett " gives him an allowance ; but his most 
curious piece of fortune was, that one who had been held up 
with him in " The Eosciad," the 

" Pert prim prater of the Northern race, 
Guilt in his heart, and famine in his face," 

and who is represented as urging Murphy's claims to promo- 
tion to the chair, should long after — as Lord Loughborough — 
have come to his aid substantially, and given him the profit- 
able, but temporary, office of Commissioner of Bankrupts. A 
better " thing " was a small pension, procured by Lord Sid- 
mouth, for this "steady friend and supporter of our unri- 
valled Constitution." But nothing seemed to help him, and 
to the end he was always to be the old Arthur Murphy. Be- 
fore he died, " he had eaten himself out of every coffee-house 



1770.] COUNTY VISITS. 367 

between Temple Bar and the West-end." From Mr. Rogers 
he obtained money; and when payment was talked of, assigned 
him over all his works as a security, which the creditor pre- 
sently discovered to have been already assigned away to a book- 
seller. To the end, too, he had always the satisfaction of 
abusing Mr. Garrick. If it was asked in a club why did not 
Mr. Garrick acknowledge that amusing farce, "High Life 
below Stairs," he could explain it : " Sir, he stole it from me. 
I sent it to him; and afraid of detection, he got that clergyman 
Townley to father it" To the end he maintained that singular 
estimate of the merits of Garrick : " Off fthr c tftgp, fiifj hf,:™^ 
a little sneaking rascal ; but an the stage — O, my great God !"* 
From this point to the end of Garrick's management it does 
seem as though Drury Lane had begun to languish a little : a 
sort of respectable monotony seemed to set in. Nothing strik- 
ing or novel in the way of drama or actor seemed now to rise, 
though there were new actors and new plays in plenty. The 
manager, growing more and more rcdiercht by his friends of 
high rank, acted only at intervals, to bring up the receipts — 
and it must have been flattering to him to think his name was 
always a talisman — or else to oblige his noble friends. He 
would play scarcely about twenty times in the season; a great 
change from his old industry, of over a hundred times. Yet he 
was not left idle. His hands were fulL Vexations and worries 
behind the scenes were setting in. The fine old school of 
players, who had been trained under contempt, and in adver- 
sity, had nearly all passed away. The newer generation 
wanted docility and humility, and had excessive ideas of their 
own worth and consequence. He himself was beginning to 
lack the energy and spirit necessary to deal with such preten- 
sions; and there was now rising a decided insubordination, 
principally led by the actresses. The actors, indeed, gave 
trouble, though they were amenable to reason, and in the end 
submitted ; but the withdrawal of Pritchard and Clivc had left 
him completely at the mercy of that " worst of bad women," 
the unscrupulous Abington. There was no one to take her 
line of parts, and no one so popular in special characters. 
Hence set in for him a new class of troubles, which he must 
have detested — wrangles with women. This disorder was to 
be inflamed by the ever-troublesome Murphy, who, not content 
with his old taste of doing battle singly with the manager, 
was now to get into the green-room with a play; contrived to 

* " I have heard him," says Mr. Taylor, M utter these words several times 
during the evening, without any variation." Mr. Forster told me he had 
often heard Mr. Rogers relate the story. 



368 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1770. 

fight with Garrick about Abington; then fought with both 
Abington and Garrick together. 

We may therefore hurry over the dramatic incidents of the 
remaining period of his connection with Drury Lane. The 
good comedy of the "West Indian," by Cumberland, in 1771, 
introduced a good writer to the stage.* There was also the 
turgid " Braganza,"t considered by many excellent judges of 
the day to be quite equal to Otway and Shakspeare,! and a 
dreary " Almida," by a lady he had met abroad, and whose 
civilities became a claim for the bringing out of a play. There 
was also Burgoyne's cheerful piece — a soldier dramatist — " The 
Maid of the Oaks," which, strange to say, was a dramatic re- 
production of a fite at Lord Derby's, and for which he was 
obligingly lent the decorations, dresses, &c, used by the noble 
host. A new claim for his judgment was the introducing of 
the cheerful " Runaway," in which Mrs. Cowley tried her 
powers before attempting the better known " Belle's Strata- 
gem," a piece written in a good key, and belonging to a good 
school, but not of the first rank. 

There was one act of folly in his life to which Garrick might 
look back with compunction. This was that famous and Gothic 
mutilation of " Hamlet," the outrageous hewing to pieces of 
the noble play, which seems inconceivable in one who had such 
reverence. His excuse was that there was no guide, even for 
the best intentioned. He himself had always been busy 
with alterations, and in the best faith. There was scarcely a 
stage play of Shakspeare which he had not touched, and, it 
must be said, with some delicacy. But with regard to " Ham- 
let," he had a sort of feeling that was almost morbid, and which 
had grown stronger every year. It was with him a kind of 
diseased hobby; and stimulated by confederates, and cautiously 
reflecting over it, he had brought himself to think that the 
later acts of " Hamlet " were a mass of hideous deformity, and 
so much rubbish. 

Steevens looked forward with delight to the hacked and hewed 
" Hamlet." The alteration was " a circumstance in favour of 
the poet, "which he had been longing for. There might be variety 
in tnis play; but in his humble opinion that variety was often 
impertinent, and always languishing, on the stage. After the 

* " D — n his dishclout face ! " Northcote overheard Garrick say, at he 
rattled on when sitting to Sir Joshua; " only that 1 touched up his play«, 
and wrote prologues and epilogues for them, they would never go down." 
Between the painter and actor there was the freest speech. 

t Produced in 1775. 

$ "Vigorous and warm he comes from Shakspeare 's schooL" — 2/WrpAy. 



1770.] county visits. 369 

third act, the genius of Shakspeare " retires, or only plays bo- 
peep through the rest of the piece." He suggested throwing 
the remainder of the play into a farce, to appear after it : it 
might be called "Tbe Gravediggers," with the pleasant humours 
of Osrick, the Danish macaroni. His friend Dr. Hoadly en- 
joyed the prospect also. He was afraid too little was going to 
be done, " and only twenty-five lines added ! " He too had 
turned over the folios, and proposed to aid in the " tinkering." 
When Ophelia talked to her father of "repelling Hamlet's 
letter," would it not help the action to have one produced, 
which he might take to the king ¥ All which could be done 
by the insertion of the following mock Shakspearean : — 

" Oph. — There's his last letter to me ; 
This packet, when the next occasion suits, I shall return. 

Pol. — Go we with this to the king. 
This must be known." * 

Then Hamlets behaviour to Ophelia was always unmeaning and 
crueL Would it not be better that he should show that he 
was discouraging her love purposely, as he had other dreadful 
purposes on his mind ? Here was the Hoadlyan version : — 

"Softly now, 
The fair Ophelia ! I have made too free 
With that sweet lady's ear. My place in Denmark, 
The time's misrule, my heavenly-urged revenge, 
Matters of giant stature, gorge her love, 
As fish the cormorant. 

* * * * * 

My heart ! Could I, in my assumed distraction, 
Drive her sad mind from all so ill-timed thoughts 
Of me, of mad ambition, and this world ! " 

It was suggested that a good deal of the " rubbish" had been 
put in at the suggestion of " the Hopkins of the day " — Hop- 
kins was GarricKS stage manager — to suit various seasons and 
actors ; and the whole had been printed, without discrimina- 
tion, on the authority of that officer. It is melancholy to read 
of such critics, who may be fairly placed in the profane band 
whose pleasure and occupation is knocking noses and fingers 
off old statues, like barbarian tourists. Mr. Malone's white- 
washing the coloured bust at Stratford was only symbolical of 
the greater Goths, who treated Shakspeare's works in the same 
outrageous way. Some of Garrick's folly may therefore be 
fairly apportioned among the " judges " who encouraged him. 

In December, 1772, this precious composition was brought 
out. A more extraordinary medley could not be conceived. 
The dreamy inaction of Hamlet was got rid of by plenty of 
exclamations and "business." He was in perpetual m&t\£rcu 



370 THE LIFE OF DAVED GARRICK. [1770. 

The King defended himself bravely, and what Garrick himself 
called the " rubbish of the fifth act," which included the grave- 
diggers' 6cene, was all shovelled away, with the diggers' own 
mould. An acute Frenchman, De la Place, who knew the 
English mob, owned that he trembled for their temerity in 
depriving the stage of the "Fossoyeurs qui de tout ont fait ses 
delices."* A happy compliment to the despised groundlings ! 
But' the whole was received with indifference and languor in 
the performance. It was a pity indeed that one of Garrick's 
last acts should have been, at the lowest, a blunder. It caused 
much amusement in the town, where it was considered to ap- 
proach a burlesque.! 

Murphy, his friend, had prepared a ponderous satire of great 
length in ridicule of these alterations, which he was wise 
enough not to publish — a scries of scenes between Garrick, 
George Garrick, Hopkins the stage manager, Johnson the 
property-man, and Becket the bookseller. It is a poor and 
laborious piece. The usual defence for attacks of this sort 
directed by " friends," against Garrick, was that they were all 
mere "squibs," and full of good-natured "fun," and that they 
could do no harm. This was also Foote's excuse. But in all 
these attacks is to be found a malicious sting, which cannot be 
so defended. In Murphy this meditated attack was treacher- 
ous, for, as we have seen, he approved of what had been done. 

This wonderful composition held its ground for almost eight 
years ; was acted even after Garrick's retirement, then gave 
place to the purer Shakspeare in 1780, and will never be heard 
of again. But Garrick's Borneo, Cibber's Richard, and Tate's 
Lear, are not to be so easily got rid of. As it was at this point 
that the slow decay of the stage seemed to set in, we may now 
take a glance at its fine company — the grand, strong cohort 
which Garrick trained and directed — the noble procession 
which was fast beginning to grow thin, and fade out in the dis- 
tance. No such procession ever came again. 

* I possess the original prompter's copy of this sacrilegious work, with 
all Garrick's changes. It is, I believe, the only copy ; for it has never been 
printed. 

t One of Garrick's projects, of which he had spoken to French friends, 
was an edition of Shakspeare. For this end he had made that wonderful 
collection of " old plays," which are now in the Museum, and which Eli* 
pored over with delight, and the gems of which he picked out, and set so 
daintily. 



1772.] THE GREAT ACTORS. 371 



CHAPTER VH. 

THE GREAT ACTORS. — 1772. 

Zoffany, the theatrical artist, has painted a very charac- 
teristic scene of Drury Lane green-room, in which are grouped 
all the leading performers.* The manager himself sits to the 
left, in an easy attitude, his legs over the arm of a chair, de- 
claiming some part for their instruction. Hogarth is in the 
middle, pointing to the instructor; while Mrs. Garrick sits 
with the rest, demurely listening — as though she belonged 
actually to the company. Even their little dog is there, and 
George Garrick, the faithful henchman, stands obsequiously, 
with his hand on his brother's chair, and, characteristically 
enough, is the only one of the company who is not seated. 
The whole has an almost domestic air : the manager's wife 
always came down to rehearsals — brought her work — listened 
— and was deferentially asked her opinion by her husband ; 
and though this devotion was often smiled at, and his 
favourite excuses to a claimant, " Well, well, I'll speak to Mrs. 
Garrick," often mimicked, there can be no doubt but that her 
presence and interest in the business was founded on good 
policy, and had the happiest effect. For it brought order, 
dignity, and self-respect ; and as ^the chief and his wife im- 
ported these courtesies and decencies of life, so they had in- 
sensibly the effect of bringing about a similar tone among 
their subordinates. 

Yet Zoffany's selection seems arbitrary. It does not fairly 
represent the strength of Drury Lane — that wonderful com- | 
pany, which, for nearly thirty years, continued so strong, j 
sterling, and varied in its talents, with an almost classic 
solidity in their dealing with a part. This was indeed the 
merit of this excellent set, who were a perfect " school," with 
all that honest work, labour, study, and talent could train 
them in. No clap-trap would be endured, and if we look at . 
their portraits — such, at least, as have been done by the skil- ; 
ful touch of Reynolds and Zoffany — we shall see what a power j 
of highly developed expression they could infuse into their 
faces. 



* There are also present Beard, Baddeley, Woodward, Aicken, Smith, 
Macklia, Mrs. Yates, Mrs. Abington, and O'Brien. 



372 THE LIFE OF DAVID GABRICK. [1772. 

Garrick, while he ruled Drury Lane, might be said to have 
controlled two different generations of actors. The older one 
was by far the most remarkable, and was the choice and bril- 
liant corps with which the splendid successes of Drury Lane 
were achieved. It included Macklin, Barry, Woodward, Mos- 
sop, Sheridan, King, Foote, Smith, Yates, Shuter, and Boss ; 
with Pritchard, Clive, Cibber, Woflington, and Yates. The 
newer generation, who came during the last years of his 
administration, were Parsons, Dodd, JBensley, Shuter, Weston, 
O'Brien, Powell, and the two Palmers; with Miss Pope, Miss 
Younge, Mrs. Barry, Mrs. Abington, and perhaps Mrs. Siddons. 
Towards the end of his reign, when his retirement had been 
talked of for some time, a sort of insubordination and irregu- 
larity set in ; the indulgence in " airs " and humours, which 
have always been the curse of the stage, the good salaries, and 
the petting of the town, began, and tempted the overbalanced 
histrionic soul to kick. Nothing, indeed, can be clearer than 
that it was Garrick, and Garrick alone, who did all for the 
stage. At the other house, where there was no such control, 
there was constant disorder and decay; the moment he retired 
the gradual decadence which has continued almost to the pre- 
sent time, set in. 

What a company to act great plays ! what a green-room ! 
It was, indeed, a fine classical school, where all were masters 
— not rude, raw creatures, taken, as it were, from the plough 
— but who had served long years in the ranks. What full, 
round, brightly coloured figures ! They stand out — we seem 
to know them — like historical characters. The parts in which 
they played filled the minds of the playgoers who were fortu- 
nate enough to see them, and came back as something wonder- 
ful and satisfactory to think on. It is in looking over the 
wonderful series of theatrical portraits of that time — those 
noble mezzotints of McArdell, Smith, and others, who worked 
under the inspiration and direction of Reynolds, and Zoffany— 
that we catch an idea of what true expression, and dramatic 
character, was then. As we look on these incomparable works, 
we seem to be looking at the play itself ; the stately, sump- 
tuously dressed women; the wonderful faces and figures 
(figure, as well as face, teeming with expression) of the Kings, 
Woodwards, Footes, Westons, and of Garrick himself. We 
turn over these old prints, and find the secret ; see Woodward 
as the Fine Gentleman in Garrick's farce — a figure most charac- 
teristic, in dress least of all, but in attitude, face, motion, all 
he meant to be; and Foote's curious and half-Irish face, 
earnest, mischievous, and a little malevolent about his drawn 



1772.] THE GREAT ACTORS. 373 

mouth ; his eyes earnest, his head on one side. Or King, 
with Mrs. Baddeley, in the scene from " The Clandestine Mar- 
riage "—a noble scene, so true and dramatic that we seem to 
be looking on at the play. Everything about the old lord: 
his hard, old, bony face composed to a leer of hopeless admira-" 
tion ; the stiffness of his old joints ; the sumptuousness of his 
embroidered suit ; the spasm of adoration, seen even in his 
wrists : all this in fine contrast to the stately Baddeley beside 
him, smiling and amused. The picture itself seems as true as 
the play itself. In such times well might the Chelsea china 
works send out little statuettes, of that precious material, of 
Clive, Woodward, and Garrick, in all these characters ; for the 
china had then something to express. 

The women, too — the Clives, Bellamys, Cibbers, Woffingtons, 
Pritchards, and Yateses — what finished, trained creatures, each 
in their own walk ; each something to look at, and study ; each 
having a style, a force of her own.* Here was the unique 
Lady Macbeth, Pritchard, with a plain yet intellectual face, 
" of whom we should entertain a very high opinion, had she 
left us nothing but the face in her portraits," said Leigh Hunt. 
She was vulgar, certainly — "Pritchard's genteel," Churchill's 
ironical compliment settled the question — though not "a 
vulgar idiot," as Johnson, with characteristic bluntness, called 
her. He heard her talk of her " gownd," and declared loudly 
that she never travelled beyond the " lengths " of her own part 

We hear the enchanting tones of another of Garrick's 
heroines — Cibber. It was curious her face should resemble 
his, so remarkably that she might have passed as his sister. 
Never were there such tender, melting notes, such passion, 
such grief, and in the true pathos of Otway she was at home, 
and unapproachable. Her tenderness was natural, for it was 
said that in pathetic parts she wept genuine tears ; and that 
her agitation turned her face pale, even through the rouge. 
She was not what is called "a fine woman ;" but she had that 
look of interest and sympathy, which is a superior charm. 
Later playgoers gathered an idea of Cibber from Mrs. Siddons, 
for there was thought to be a likeness between them. Miss 
Seward heard both, and seems to have preferred the latter, as 
having more variety, and less monotony. But there was 
a " sensation " about Mrs. Siddons, which carried away every 
one ; and subdued tenderness and exquisite pathos are not so 

* Mr.Chaloner Smith, of Dublin, possessed a collection of these treasures, 
all in " choicest " condition. Turning them over we see, far better than 
any tradition or description could show us, what those great players wfera 
like in expression and attitude. 



374 THE LIFE OF DAVID GARRICK. [1772. 

likely to impress the crowd. Cibber was the unique Cordelia, 
the unique Ophelia, the unique Mrs. Beverley, and represents a 
type of acting unhappily too rare. 

Garrick was indeed rich in his heroines ; nor did the line 
ever fail him. When Pritchard and Cibber were gone, there 
was Mrs. Yates, still at her maturity, and Mrs. Barry; and 
when they began to fail, Mrs. Siddons rose at the right 
moment. With an antique cast of face, and a stately magni- 
ficence in her figure and bearing, Yates was a true and 
gorgeous auxiliary. In parts where good sterling tragedy was 
wanting, or rage, jealousy, and fury conspicuous, these gifts 
served her, and gave her a distinct department She had 
more warmth and emotion than' Pritchard. Her voice was 
strong and powerful. She transported with delight two 
veterans who were alive a few years back, and who had seen 
her in all her days of glory — John Taylor and Mr. Godwin.* 
Here, too, was Mrs. Barry, who could put surprising and 
piteous tenderness into a voice naturally a little unmusical, 
whoso Rosalind was charmingly playful, animated, and loving 
to a degree ; and who could play the Widow Brady, sing her 
Irish songs, and dance, with singular versatility. She had to 
feel the painful reminder of decay, the most cruel trial of the 
histrionic world ; and Mr. Taylor was present at a memorable 
scene, when she and Mrs. Yates, then almost veterans, met for 
the first time, on the same stage, in "Jane Shore." This won- 
derful combination crowded the adjacent streets with a crowd 
larger than any known on " royal nights." But it was a sad 
change for the heroine of the silver-toned Barry. Instead there 
were only two elderly women — the enchanting Mrs. Barry, with 
a coarse, croaking voice, and the " face of an old man," and 
Yates, weak and faded. 

Here was Woffington, "dallying and dangerous," faithful 
and loyal, with a surprising spirit that carried her through 
everything; and Clive, like Shakspeare's toad, "ugly and 
venomous," but with a jewel of liveliness and spirit in her 
head — a bustle and animation, the established titular chamber- 
maid, and hoyden ; which in our time might have privileged 
her to lose all restraint and self-respect, and allowed her to 
play any trick or buffoonery. But with her it was all nature ; 

* The former told Mr. Campbell that he thought her the most stately 
and dignified actress he had seen, until Siddons came. Godwin, so late as 
1834, rapturously recalled, as the perfection of acting, the admirable recon- 
ciliation scene between her and Garrick in " The Wonder " — the " mixture 
of majesty, condescension, and love, which brought both the Court and 
audience to her feet." 



1772.] THE GRKAT ACTORS. 375 

and the stage to her was a room at her own lodgings. There, 
too, we see Miss Pope, the real link between the palmy Garrick 
era and our day — between Churchill and Leigh Hunt. " Pope," 
says Lamb, " a gentlewoman ever, with Churchill's compliment 
still burnishing upon her gay Honeycomb lips." Leigh Hunt> 
too, saw her with delight, and recognised the old excellence 
that had drawn forth the praise of " The Kosciad." How 
strange, and what a stretch of time it seems to cover, to have 
been criticised by Churchill and also by Leigh Hunt ! 

" Her genius," says Hunt, in that pleasant criticism, valuable 
because criticising Garrick's school, "is of a very lasting na- 
ture, for it does not depend upon bodily exertion. She never talks 
to her audience. One of her great beauties is a most judicious 
emphasis of speech, that unites the qualities of reading and of 
talking ; for it has all the strength of the one, tempered by all 
the familiarity of the other. .... This is peculiarly observ- 
able in her performance of Mrs. Candour in * The School for 
Scandal/ in which her affected sentiments are so inimitably 
aided by the natural turns of her voice, that it is no wonder her 
scandal carries perfect conviction to everybody round her." 
These^are p recious jind ***** princjp]^. oJL Acting. She was 
train«t~froma child under Garrick's own eye, and she thus 
gives us a faithful idea of his school. 

There, too, was Miss Younge, " with a voice," says Elia, in a 
fine passage, as he gazes at the Garrick Club pictures, " which 
might have competed with the silver tones of Barry, so en- 
chanting in its decay do I remember it ; of all her parts ex- 
ceeding herself in the Lady. There earth touched heaven ! " 
The oldest in the service were perhaps the Yateses ; he, an ad- 
mirable and solid actor, with a solemn manner, full of humour, 
unassisted by twist or grimace. His manner was " of the dry 
or grave humour, but perfectly natural ; his speech slow; he 
knew he had his audience, and therefore took them at his 
leisure." There were those who recollected seeing him at Bar- 
tholomew Fair, on the platform of a booth. But he rose from 
this, and found his way to the little Ipswich Theatre, where he 
had played long, long ago, with " Mr. Lyddal," in " Oronooko." 
That acquaintance brought him great profit ; for Garrick never 
forgot his friends. Drury Lane was their home. Yet they 
took airs ; and when Garrick wished Mrs. Yates to help him in 
his hobby of the Jubilee, she went and acted at Birmingham 
without his leave. Latterly he heard — and we may be sure 
there was truth in the story — that they furnished ridiculous 
notes of him to Mrs. Brooke, who was writing a novel. Yet he 
was glad to welcome them back to his theatre when they wished 



376 THE LICTB OF DAVID GARRICK. [1772. 

to return. Drury Lane was fortunate, too, in the training and 
principles of its company at this era. Her husband had caught 
so much of Garrick's theory as to " think out " a conception of 
a part When he received a new one, he set himself to recall 
some living model which he had met ; and taking this for a 
basis, thus worked it up. 

Sometimes is seen there, though fitfully — chiefly when he 
comes over from Ireland to play for his intelligent daughter's 
benefit, charging her, however, with the expense of the jour- 
ney — a hard, strange figure, the oldest of the old actors — Mack- 
lin. That curious face — the nose and chin gradually drawing to- 
gether, as he grew old, like that of Punch ; features which seemed 
to disdain each other ; that harsh voice, which " largely deals 
in half-formed sounds " — were familiar to Drury Lane green- 
room. To the end Garrick was willing to befriend him, to give 
him or his daughter an engagement, or to act his Plays. But 
nothing could conciliate him. There is no more unpleasant 
picture than the old age of this player, who is said to have died 
at the age of 97, and in whose old age all the old ill-nature 
was developed.* To the end the name of Garrick would 
quicken his faculties, and he contrived to pour into the ear of 
the two persons who wrote his life the story of his unforgiving 
hatred. Among the old man's papers they found some sketches 
which he had no doubt failed in getting into newspapers or 
magazines, and which are shocking from the concentrated 
malignity they show.f 

* Angelo describes him instructing a professional candidate, putting bis 
dreadful face forward, as who should say, " Look at me." " First, sir," he 
would croak, " you should have a silvery voice; and, secondly, sir, a pleasing 
face." Even when his memory began to fail, he, unconsciously, would make 
his host and admirer uncomfortable by taking one of his guests for his enter- 
tainer, and addressing all his remarks to him. Mr. Taylor has some curious 
stories about him. 

f "fiarrick's Character. — His eye was dark, but not characteristical of 
any passion but the fierce and the lively. To friendship with man, or love 
And friendship with woman, he never was disposed ; for love of himself 
always forbid it. Envy was his torment— ever dreading merit in the lowest 
of his brethren, and pining at the applause and fortune that their labours 
procured them. 

" He had a narrow, contracted mind, bounded on one side by suspicion, 
by envy on the other, by avarice in the front, and by pale fear in the rear, 
with self in the centre. Out of these limits he never expatiated, unless fear 
and ostentation exerted their functions conjointly. 

" He never could enjoy the convivial felicities of society, especially with 
those persons who were most capable of tasting and contributing the free 
inquiries of ingenious minds. He had read that the more refined minds of 
all ages had a particular pleasure in the mental intercourse of the ingenious 
few. Of this custom he was resolved to avail himself ; but it was just at 



1772.] THE GREAT ACTORS. 377 

It is impossible not to admire the power and vigour of this 
terrible description. 

In the green-room they must have been often merry at the 
pompous enunciation of that great Dublin player, Sheridan, 
who thought he was quite equal in power and gifts to the 
manager. A smile must have gone round, as he talked of a 
servant as " a minion ! n Even in the days of " The Rosciad," 
when he had been playing nearly twenty years, his was pro- 
nounced "a doubtful name." A doubtful name it still re- 
mains, like that of many other players, whom jealousy or 
wounded sensitiveness has overset Self-restraint is as neces- 
sary to an actor, as elocution itself. Sheridan was always in 

an hypocrite avails himself of religion, by ostentation and imposture ; for 
he herded constantly with wits, and was, in letters, a professed Tartuffe to 
«1L 

" He had a hackneyed kind of metaphorical, theatrical, tinselled phrase- 
ology, made out of tags and ends, quotations and imitations of our English 
poets ; and, indeed, from the Greek and Latin authors, as often as his me- 
mory served him with the scraps and mottoes it had quaintly picked up ; 
for he knew no book of antiquity, nor, indeed, of modern note, Prior, La 
Fontaine, Swift's poetry, and a few more of that kind excepted ; these he 
constantly imitated, plundered, disguised, and frittered in occasional pro- 
logues, epilogues, and complimentary poems upon parrots, lap-dogs, mon- 
keys, birds, growing wits, patrons, and ladies. But what he most excelled 
in was writing epigrams and short poems in praise of himself and his pro- 
ductions, and in defamation of a rival actor, or of any of those poor people 
of the stage whom he wished to be unpopular. With such shreds and 
patches he constantly fed the daily papers, the reviews, and magarinea. 
Each of his associate wits had a peculiar quaintness of phrase and greeting, 
such as ' My sprig of Parnassus, let me pour my incense ! ' 

" He laboured for private esteem, but always in vain ! Fear, envy, and 
Avarice were seen even in deeds that appeared convivial, benevolent, and 
liberal ! He was a maker of professions, but a slave to interest ! He was 
honoured as an actor, hated as a man, and despised as an author ! He ever 
made friendship a footstool to his interest and ambition. The two men 
that he was most obliged to, he always hated and feared. He ruined the 
one and planned the destruction of the other ! He could have no lasting 
intimacy with anybody. He was totally void of any kind of address to men 
or women, in any rank or circumstance of life, that the judicious, and those 
who had thought on that art, called genteel or well-bred. 

" In private life, had this man been interdicted the use of mimicry, of 
simulation and dissimulation, he would have appeared what in reality he 
was, a superficial, insignificant man. But with the help of those arts, he 
was entertaining, and appeared sagacious, learned, good-natured, mode