Графични страници
PDF файл

that no actor was worth more than Pierson, his treasurer, who had 300l. per annum.

lent large sums of money to the For some years, by the prudent manager. This fellow considered advice of the principal players, the merits of the best actors in no more especially, I believe, of Mr. other view than as they contributed Charl: s Macklin, W1o was the to the payment of his loan; the only player I ever heard of, that just and legal demands of the actors made acting a science; and the were treated by him with infounremitted labours of this actor, lence and contempt: he was civil Quin. Clive, Pritchard, and some 'to Mr. Garrick, indeed, because others, the theatre at Drury-lane he hoped, by his acting, to get back was in a flate of considerable cre- the money he had risqued upon the dit, and generally filled with the patent. choiceft company. But it was im- In this distracted state of Fleet. possible to retirain so irregular and wood's management, the ill treatexpensive a man as the patentee ment of the players seemed to call within the bounds of prudence aloud for redress. Bailiffs were and economy. After he had hap- often in possession of the theatre ; pily been obliged to forsake the and the properties, cloaths, and practice of high play, and had other itage ornaments of the co. deserted Arthur's *, he was seized medians, were sometimes seized with an unaccountable passion for upon by these low implements of low diverfion, and took a Itrange the law. Many ridiculous condelight in the company of the tests and foolith squabbles between meanest of the human species. the actors and there licensed hare This man of genteel address and pie's might here be recorded for polite manners conceived a pecu- the reader's amusement; I shall liar. fondness for the professors of content myself with relating one the art of boxing; his time was of them. The liat of Kiøg Richdivided between sturdy athletics ard the Third, by being adorned and ridiculous buffoons; between with jewels of paste, feathers, and Broughton, James, and Taylor, other ornaments, seemed, to the the most eminent of our boxers, sheriff's officers, a prey worthy of and the tumblers of Sadler's-Wells; their seizure; but honest Davy, che heroic combatants of Hockley Ms. Garrick's Welch fervant, told in the Hole and the Bear-Garden them, they did not know what graced the patentee's levee almost they were about ; “ For, look you," every morning.

said Davy, “ that hat belongs to Some time before Mr. Garrick's the king.” The fellows imagining engagement with this manager, that what was meant of Richard the he had brought all the inmates of Third was spoken of George the SeSadler's-Wells upon his stage, and cond, refigned their prey, though entertained the public with lights with some reluctance. of cail monsters and contemptible Repeated, but ineffectual ap. rope-dancers.

plications, were made to the pa. The theatre was farmed to one ientee, for removal of grievances,

Generally called White's Chocolate-House.

by Garrick, Macklin, . Pritchard,. Barry, and other aggrieved actors,'. and others. It is true, he did not from the tyranny and oppreflion treat their remonttrances with. of Christopher Rich, the old pa.* haughtinels as his treasurer did; tentee of Drury-lane playhouse, he listened to their addresses with grant them a licence or patent great calmness, as well as affabi- for acting plays at the Operü-nouse lity; he owned the jullness of their or ellew here. They drew up a representation:, and the rectitude petition, in which they stated their of their demands; he was most grievances very exac:ly, and fup. heartily forsv, he proceited, for po ted their claim to redress from a what was pait, and promised very variety of facts which they offered to folemuly to reform everything prove. that was amiss. ----Fair promifcs The Duke of Grafton, who was frequently mide, and as often then chamieriain, received the broken, will tile out the most pa- petition of the players with cold. tient tempers; the chamours of neis; instead of examining into the, actors, but fpecially those the merits of their complaints, he who had no means of fubfift.nce desired to know the amount of but their weekly income, were iheir annual ttipends. He was now so loud and urgent, that it much furprized to be intormed, became necessary to look about in, that a man could giia, merely by cinell for some means of fublancial, playing, the yearly salary of cool, redrels,

His grace observed, that a ntar seAbout the end of the summer lation of his, who w:s then an infe1943, the actors f und leisure to rior officer in the navy, exposed his digeit a plan for removing the lite in bcha?? of his king and coungrievances under which they had try for less than half that fun, 10 long patiently fuffe ed. About All attempts to convince the duke 2 dozen of them, the chief of that justice ad right were on the whom were Garrick, Macklin, side of the peutioners, were to do Havard, Berry, Blakes, Mrs. purpole, Prichard, and Mrs. Clive, with It requires but litile art of rea. Mills, and his wife, entered into soning 10 confute the duke's argu.. an ajlociation, to which others ment; his attempt to compare a were invited. A tormil agree principal actor's income with that ment was figned, by which they of a subaltern officer, was very i!! obliged themielves Dot to accede founjed: every gentleman that to any terms which might be pro- would wil to rife in the feet or pored to them by the parentee, the army, is obliged to go through without the consent of all the sub- the leveral gradations of preterfcribers. .

mont; but the mid thip.nan and The players were in hopes that the cadet both hope to rif: to the the lord chamberiain would be in- bigheit oihce which they can posli duced to grani them his favogs bly attain. Belues, genius iteps and protection; and, in imitation beyond the tediouş formalities of of one of his predecessors, the progressive service and limited witty and benevolent earl of Dor- practice. Hawke, Howe, and fet, who rescued Betterton, Ms. Keppei, were forced to serve in


the nary some time before they manager upon the best terms that attained to the rank of lieutenant; could be cbrained. The matter Garrick, Clive, and Cibber, from ended, as it might have been torethe firkt trial of their abilities, feen, from the moment the champroved themselves accomplished berlain turned his back upon the comedians.

players. Some of the principal Whilit the players were busy in actors, and such as were absolutely gaining fiiends to their caure, and necefiary to the conducting of the to promote their success with the theatrical machine, were admitted lord chamberlain, the patentee was to favour uron reasonable terus, noi idle; he endeavoured to raise and were allowed the fame annual recruits amongst all the itinerant ftipends which they enjoyed before actors in England. Before they the fecellion; others of less confeproceeded to greater holilities, each quence were abridged of haif their party Itrove to justify their cause income.” by appealing to ihe public from the Mr. Lacy fucceeded Fleetwood press. Paul Whitehead, it is said, as manager of Drury-lane ; at the drew his pen for the manager; and fame time Rich, the inventor of William Guthrie, the historian, was our modern pantomime, governthe coampion for Mr. Garrick and ed the theatre at Covent-garden. his party.

The characters of these two leadTowards the middle of Septem- ers, and the important event of ber, the manager was determined the cainpaign of 1747, are thus to open his theatre; but, on muf- described. tering his forces, he found him. “ John Rich, the son of Christo. self to weak, that he could scarce pher Rich, - forn.e:ly. patentee of act any play whatever. But upon Drury lane theatre, seems to have being joined by Mrs. Bennet, an imbibed, from his very early useiul actress, whom he luspected years, a dislike of the people wich to be gone over to the revolters, whom he was destined to live and and by the allistance of some new. daily converse. We are told, that rajted forces, he announced in his his father wished rather to acquire play-bills the Conf ious Lovers, for wealth by French dancers, Italian September the 20th, the usual time fingers, and every other exotic exof beginning to act plays in the hibition, than by the united skill metropolis.

of the most accomplished come. The compassion of the public, dians. The son inherited the fame. the efforts of friends, and motives odd tale, for being left by his of curiofity, concurred to bring father in the joint poirefion of the together a pretty full audience; patent with his brother Chriito. and the play: though but tolera- pher, and afrer having ireffectubly acted, pafted with applause, ally tried his talent for acting in The conteit between the manager the part of the Earl of Effex, and and the feceders became soon very fome other important character, unequal. The latter found all he applied himself to the Itudy of applications for a new patent in- pantomimical representation. In effcctual., There was now no re- this he was happily very fortunate. sedy left, but to agree with the He formed a kind of harlequinade,


unknown to this, and, I believe, misfortunes of these men, owing to any other country, which he perhaps to an utter desertion of called a pantomime : it confifted theatrical entertainments, in the of two parts, one serious and the year of the Scotch rebellion in other comic. By the help of gay 1745, were occasionally the make scenes, fine habits, grand dances, ing of his fortune; for having, appropriated music, and other de- during the time he was a manacorations, he exhibited a story ger, frequently attended the duke from Ovid's Metamorphoses, or of Grafton, then lord chamberlain, some other fabulous writer : be- in his hunting parties, he fo far in. tween the pauses or ads of this gratiated himself in his grace's faferious representation, he inter- vour, that he afterwards, at the exwove a comic fable, consisting piration of the old patent, obtained chiefly of the courtship of Harle- on very reasonable terms a new one, quin and Columbine, with a va- the balf of which Mr. Garrick purriety of surprising adventures and chased. sudden transformations, which were Mr. Lacy was adive and enterproduced by the magic wand of prisog. He brought Barry from Harlequin,

Ireland ; and, at the same time, It is a very singular circum- fecured Macklin, Yates, Berry, Itance, that of all the pantomimes Beard, Neale, Taswell, Mrs. Clive, which Rich brought on the stage, Mrs. Woffington, Mr. and Mrs. from the Harlequin Sorcerer, in the Giffard, and others. He appeared year 1917, to the lait which was so formidable to Rich, that, by exhibited a year before his death, the advice of his counsellors, he wbieh fell out in 1761, there was immediately entered into a treaty Scarce one which failed to please the with Mr. Garrick, Mr. Quin, and pablic, who testified their approba- Mrs. Cibber. Mrs. Pritchard, tion of them forty or fifty nights Mefis. Woodward, Chapman, fuccessively.

Hippisley, and Mrs. Green, he Ms. Lacy, the rival of Mr. had already bound to himself by Rich, was a man of good under articles. ftanding, uncultivated by educa- It is not, perhaps, more diffi. Lion. By a succeflion of schemes cult to settle the covenants of a he endeavoured to attain afluence league between mighty monarchs, and independence. The first dawn than to adjust the preliminaries of of his prosperity he owed to his a treaty in which the high and projecting the rotunda of Rané. potent princes and princesses of a lagh, about forty years since, theatre are the parties. Mr. Gar. which gained him the sum of sick and Mr. Quin had too much 4ocol. This building is a ftand. sense and temper to squabble about ing monument of his taste and in- trifles. After one or two previous genuity. His being appointed and friendly meetings, they semanager for the bankers, who, lected fuch characters as they in. porchased the remainder of Mr. tended to act without being oblig.

Fleetwood's patent, with a third ed to join in the same play. Some · of his own, advanced him fill parts were to be adied by them al. higher to public police; and the ternately, particularly Richard the

Third and Othello.. The great pitent presented an opportunity to
difficulty lay in chufing-fuch plays display their several merits; though
as they might both appear in to it must be owned that the balance
advantage. The following parts was as much in favour of Quin, as
they consented, as far as I can the advocate of virtue is superior ia
recollect, to ad together : Lotha. argument to the defender of li.
rio and Horacio in the Fair Peni- bertinism.
tent; in Jane Shore, Hastings "The shouts of applause, when
and Glofter: in Henry-the Fourth, Horatio and Lothario met on the
(first part) Hoifpur and Falstaff; ftage together in the second act,
in thc Diftreffed Mother, Orestes, were so loud, and so often repeat-
Garrick ; Pyrrhus; Quin ; and, I ed, before the audience permitted
believe, Brutus and Caffius 'in Ju. them to speak, that the combatants
lius Cæfar. I have feen the cha- seemed to be disconcerted. It was
sacter of Caffius accorately deli- observed that Quin changed co.
neated in Mr. Garrick's own band. lour, and Garrick feemed to be em-
writing, which he had extracted barrassed; and it must be owned,
from Bayle; and it is very proba- that these actors were never lefs
ble that he had given his consent matters of themselves, than on the
to ad the part, but that, on fe- first night of the contest for pre-
rious refe&ion, he had renounced eminence. -
his intention, as the weiglic of ap- Norwithstanding the evident dif-
plause, in the much-admired scene parity arising from one actor's
becween these great men in the pleading the cause of truth and
fourth act of the play, muft have virtue, and the other being ea.
fallen to the share of Brutus. gaged on the side of licentiousness
There was another reason for re- and profligacy, Mr. Quin was, in
jecting Caflius, which, in all pro. the opinion of the belt judges,
bability, had its force with him; fairly defeated; by striving to de
he would never willingly put on the too much, he missed the mark at
Roman babit.

which he ained. The character • Mr. Quin soon found, that his of Horatio is compounded of de. competition with Mr. Garrick, liberate courage, warm friendship, whose reparation was hourly in- and cool contempt of vice. The 'creasing, whilft his own was on last Quin had in a superior de. the decline, would soon become gree, but could not rise to an equal ineffc&tual. His Richard the Third expreffion of the other two. The could scarce draw. together a de- strong emphasis which he stamped cent appearance of company in the on almost every word in a line, boxes; and he was, with some diffi- robbed the whole of that ease and culty, tolerated in the part, when graceful familiarity which thould Garrick acted the same character to have accompanied the elocution crowded houses, and with very great and action of a man who is calmly applause.

chastising á vain and audacious The town had often wished to boaster. see these great actors fairly match 'When Lothario gave Horatio ed in two characters of almost the challenge, Quin, instead of equal importance. The Fair Peo accepting it instantaneously, with


[ocr errors]
« ПредишнаНапред »