Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub
[ocr errors]

CO

If I am right in my recollection, the story probably occurs in the Scholia on the Frogs, and would soon be found by reference to the name of Theseus, in Kuster's Index.”

Another instance of this propensity in Sheridan (which made him a sort of Catilinė in wit, vetous of another's wealth, and profuse of his own,”) occurred during the preceding Session. As he was walking down to the House with Sir Philip Francis and another friend, on the day when the Address of Thanks on the Peace was moved, Sir Philip Francis pithily remarked, that " it was a Peace which every one would be glad of, but no one would be proud of.” Sheridan, who was in a hurry to get to the House, did not appear to attend to the observation; -- but, before he had been many minutes in his seat, he rose, and, in the course of a short speech (evidently made for the

purpose of passing his stolen coin as soon as possible), said, " This, Sir, is a peace which every one will be glad of, but no one can be proud of.”

The following letter from Dr. Parr to Sheridan, this year, records an instance of delicate kindness which renders it well worthy of preservation :

[ocr errors]

* A similar thest was his observation, that “half the Debt of England bad been incurred in pulling down the Bourbons, and the other half in sctting them up”—which pointed remark he had heard, in conversation, from Sir Arthur Pigott.

וי

66 Dear Sir,

6. I believe that

you
and

my old pupil Tom feel a lively interest in my happiness, and, therefore, I am eager to inform

you, that without any solicitation, and in the most handsome manner, Sir Francis Burdett has offered me the rectory of Graffham, in Huntingdonshire; that the yearly value of it now amounts to zvol., and is capable of considerable improvement ; that the preferment is tenable with my Northamptonshire rectory; that the situation is pleasant; and that, by making it my place of residence, I shall be nearer to my respectable scholar and friend, Edward Maltby, to the University of Cambridge, and to those Norfolk connexions which I value most highly

"I am not much skilled in ecclesiastical negotiations ; and all my efforts to avail myself of the very obliging kindness conditionally intended for me by the Duke of Norfolk completely failed. But the noble friendship of Sir Francis Burdett has set every thing right. I cannot refuse myself the great satisfaction of laying before you the concluding passage in Sir Francis's letter :

" " I acknowledge that a great additional motive with me to the offer I now make Dr. Parr is, that I believe I cannot do any thing more pleasing to his friends, Mr. Fox, Mr. Sheridan, and Mr. Knight; and I desire you, Sir, to consider yourself as obliged to them only.'

" You will readily conceive, that I was highly gratified with this striking and important passage, and that I wish for an early opportunity of communicating with yourself, and Mr. Fox, and Mr. Knight.

" I beg my best compliments to Mrs. Sheridan and

Tom;

and I have the honour to be, Dear Sir, your very faithful well-wisher, and respectful, obedient Servant, September 27. Buckden.

66S. PARR. tó Sir Francis sent his own servant to my house at Hillon with the letter ; and my wife, on reading it, desired the servant to bring it to me at Buckdea, near Huntingdon, where I yesterday received it.”

It was about this time that the Primary Electors of the National Institute of France having proposed Haydn, the great composer, and Mr. Sheridan, as candidates for the class of Literature and the Fine Arts, the Institute, with a choice not altogether indefensible, elected Haydn. Some French epigrams on this occurrence, which appeared in the Courier, seem to have suggested to Sheridan the idea of writing a few English jeux-d'esprit on the same subject, which were intended for the newspapers, but, I rather think, never appeared. These verses show that he was not a little piqued by the decision of the Institute; and the manner in which he avails himself of his anonymous character to speak of his own claims to the distinction, is, it must be owned, less remarkable for modesty than for truth. But Vanity, thus in masquerade, may be allowed some little licence. The following is a specimen :66 The wise decision all admire;

'Twas just, beyond dispute
Sound taste! which, to Apollo's lyre
Preferr'd- -a German flute!"

Mr. Kemble, who had been for some time Manager of Drury-Lane Theatre, was, in the course of the year 1800-1, tempted, notwithstanding the knowledge which his situation must have given him of the embarrassed state of the concern, to enter into negotiation with Sheridan for the purchase of a share in the property. How much anxiety the latter felt to secure such an associate in the establishment appears strongly from the following paper, drawn up by him, to accompany the documents submitted to Kemble during the negotiation, and containing some particulars o the property of Drury-Lane, which will be found not uninteresting: “Outline of the Terms on which it is proposed that Mr.

Kemble shall purchase a Quarter in the Property of Drury-Lane Theatre.

“ I really think there cannot be a negotiation, in matter of purchase and sale, so evidently for the advantage of both parties, if brought to a satisfactory conclusion.

“ I ain decided that the management of the theatre cannot be respected, or successful, but in the hands of an actual proprietor ; and still the better, if he is himself in the profession, and at the head of it. I am desirous, therefore, that Mr. Kemble should be a proprietor and manager.

" Mr. Kemble is the person, of all others, who must naturally be desirous of both situations. "He is at the head of his profession, without a rival ; he is attached to it and desirous of elevating its character. He may be assured of proper respect, etc. while I have the theatre;

an

can.

but I do not think he could brook his situation were the property to pass into vulgar and illiberal bands,event which he knows contingencies might produce. Laying aside, then, all affectation of indifference, so common in making bargains, let us set out with acknowledging that it is mutually our interest to agree, if we

At the same time, let it be avowed, that I must be considered as trying to get as good a price as I can, and Mr. Kemble to buy as cheap as he can. In parting with theatrical property there is no standard, or measure, to direct the price : the whole question is, what are the probable profits, and what is such a proportion of them worth?

I bought of Mr. Garrick at the rate of 70,00ol. for the whole theatre. I bought of Mr. Lacey at the rate of 95,000l. ditto. I bought of Dr. Ford at the rate of 86,000l. ditto. In all these cases there was a perishable patent, and an expiring lease, each having to run, at the different periods of the purchases, from ten to twenty years only.

" All these purchases have undoubtedly answered well ; but in the chance of a Third Theatre consisted the risk; and the want of size and accommodation inust have produced it, had the theatres continued as they were. But the great and important feature in the present property, and which is never for a moment to be lost sight of, is, that the Monopoly is, morally speaking, established for ever, at least as well as the Monarchy, Constitution, Public Funds, clc., - as appears by No. I, being the copy of The Final Arrangement' signed by the Lord Chamberlain, by authority of His Majesty, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Bedford, etc.; and the dormant patent of Covenl-Garden, that former lerror of

« ПредишнаНапред »