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actors were held. The audience thought such decorations quite good enough.
The look of the interior of Drury Lane was more that of a Music Hall, having deep galleries supported by pillars. It was almost square, not horse-shoe shaped. 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 workings and play of feature, but I have discovered that 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 principle of lighting from above, and as from the sun, was far more philosophical than the present system of casting 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. In Garrick's day foot-lights were un
Yet with all Garrick'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 sun much such as they had at the opera, only larger. Gætano 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;
This was so
Stars he makes now without thimbles."*
This rude and ineffective fashion obtained at our theatres until a few
stage are most unlike what is real.* The rest of the effect was worked out with red agate-coloured columns and "gilt beams," and a great deal of gilt moulding.†
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 often 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 contrast 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, the 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. He kept his eye on the French stage; and it is surprising that, with the whole intellectual department of the establishment on his shoulders, he should have found time to busy himself. with matters like these.
Thus real fire, real water, real furniture are not nearly so good for effect as the imitative articles.
+ 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 hanging dark gauze between the figure and the audience.
THIS clearing of the stage from the loungers was to be fraught with great difficulties, and even danger. Above all, the fiercest opposition would be raised by his own company, who on a benefit, would lose as much as a hundred pounds or more, by being curtailed of this privilege. Garrick, however, always on the side of propriety, was content to brave the first dangers; and the happy device of enlarging the house, and gaining in front, the accommodation that was sacrificed behind the curtain, took away all excuse for 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, was more perilous still. They could not readily accept their dismission. Unfortunately, too, Garrick had been drawn into an open quarrel with their leader, "Thady" Fitzpatrick, the "fine gentleman" of the coterie, who affected a superior tone, from his West End connection. He would seem to have carried the extravagance of dandy dress and
airs to its farthest limit-and the bitter satire which Garrick some years before had levelled at the fops of the town, was applied in a special degree to this archexquisite. It has been mentioned that he began by taking Mossop's side, in that actor's discussion with Garrick, as to a choice of parts, and artfully inflamed his irritation, by exaggerated praises and representations, that his abilities were kept down. He had now himself found a personal cause of quarrel with Garrick.
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." The shape was being discussed, when a gentleman interposed, and moved that the matter be postponed until Mr. Garrick should be present, who, as the poet's finest interpreter, was surely the best authority on such a point. This was reasonable. But Fitzpatrick, filled with sudden spite at this compliment to a person he so disliked, said absurdly that "he wondered how any one could think of putting off the business of the club, to suit the convenience of its 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