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Mrs. Cowley's pleasant comedy, "The Runaway," while Miss Younge had the inferior one of Bella. When "The Suspicious Husband" was revived, to be played by him for his last appearances, she was his heroine, and her name was printed in "enlarged type," one of the joys of the histrionic heart: and out of the last few nights, when all England was rushing to see, and hear the last of Garrick, she was privileged to play with him in three characters: though the "London Magazine" pronounced her "a lamentable Lady Anne." She was in fact more favoured than was her due. When he retired, he promised to get her a good engagement, with the new management. In this he failed. Sheridan, with characteristic faithlessness, told her that Garrick "rather depreciated her to them." But Sheridan's loose way of talking was proverbial. He may have not warmly praised talents, which she had not as yet shown, but he was incapable of secretly depreciating her. They did not find it convenient to engage her. I have no doubt from what we know of the "pleasant Brinsley," that this was one of his many harmless exaggerations, devised on the moment to justify himself with the great actress.
It was indeed time to retire. The business and vivacity seemed to be passing over to Covent Garden, where there was a more spirited management, a fine company, and witty writers. For the management was in the hands of Colman, who had learned to be abstinent in the matter of his own writings; the company included Woodward, Bensley, Lee Lewes, Shuter, Quick, Lewis, the two Barrys, Mrs. Lessingham, the handsome Hartley, and Miss Macklin and as for
dramatists, there was the witty Sheridan, now fast mounting to eminence, with the admirable "Rivals " and his "Duenna." Such a competition would soon have become dangerous. Already the warning, lusisti satis, was in Garrick's ears.
THE LAST SEASON.
WE are now arrived at the commencement of the last season during which this incomparable actor played. It was to be the most remarkable in the annals of Drury Lane. Great as had been the enthusiasm of the old Goodman's Fields era, it was to be as nothing, compared with the approaching excitement. In comparison with it, the unmeaning fureur, which it has been the fashion to expend on the retirement of later actors, or actresses, seems feeble indeed, or prompted by good-nature.
It is not too much to say, that the whole kingdom prepared to take part in this ceremonial; not only the whole kingdom, but strangers from foreign countriesat a period, too, when the inconvenience and tediousness of travel quadrupled the importance of the compliment-began to make their plans for attending. People in remote corners of the country, who had been hearing of Garrick all their lives, now determined to go up to town, and not let this last and great chance go by. The old interest seemed to revive. It was discovered, once more, that he was the finest, the most incomparable of actors. No one had ever approached himhis like would never be seen. The welcome name of
Roscius was again heard; the public indeed had, at least with but one interval of inconsistency, been faithful to him; he had no cause to complain of that true and fast mistress, though familiarity had weakened her raptures. Now the papers took up the old strain, and nothing was heard of but the approaching departure of Roscius.
Perhaps to do honour to the festival that was approaching, before the new season began he made some very important alterations in the theatre. These were so extensive and serious, that the outlay must have been considerable, and it was a spirited proceeding on Garrick's part, considering that he had made up his mind to retire.
The Brothers Adam, now architects of reputation, furnished the designs. The façade was fitted with pilasters, pediment, balcony, and colonnade, and crowned at the top with the singular device of a military trophy-a helmet and coat of mail. At one corner was a lion, at the other a unicorn. Great improvements were made in the approaches to the boxes, and part of the "Rose Tavern," in Bridge Street, was taken to give more room.* The in
At the north end of Cross Court, when Charles Lamb was taken to the play, there was "a portal of some architectural pretensions, though reduced to humble use, serving at present for an entrance to a printing office. This old doorway, if you are young, reader, you may know, was the identical entrance to old Drury-Garrick's Drury-all of it that is left." This was written about 1820. He was taken to the play in 1781-only five years after Garrick had gone-and heard the women in the pit crying-"Chase some oranges-'chase some numparels-'chase a bill of the play!'" Among Garrick's papers, was put away the following compliment :
"ON THE NEW FRONT DRURY LANE.
"Garrick, ashamed to poke his nose
So sheepishly beneath the rose,
side, too, was all remodelled. "It was noble," he said. The interior had a grand and spacious air. The decorations were in the Italian style, then in fashion, overlaid with the garlands and vases which spread over the Adelphi houses, and even over the chimneypieces we see in old mansions of this era. The theatre seems to have been wider than it is now, and more in the shape of a square, and the seats were disposed in galleries, rather than boxes. Every one could see and hear to the best advantage.
He might, now, begin to feel a little nervous as to the profits from the theatre, which, most likely from the increased expenses of management, and not from decay of attraction, were falling steadily year by year. I find from a paper in the possession of Mr. Forster, that in the season 1769-70, the balance available, after all deductions, amounted to the handsome sum of 9,4637. This left the partners nearly five thousand pounds each. But from that year of prosperity it began to grow less, and sank steadily, in the year 1776-7, to 45007.* By a little account, too, for the season 1775-6,† we can see what a handsome share Garrick had-8007. a year for acting, and 5007. for management. Lacy besides owed him a large sum, for which Garrick held a mortgage on his share of the patent. Thus heavily engaged, he knew well how precarious was theatrical property, and rightly sus
This face will never make amends
-Lloyd's Evening Post.
The renters' renewal fines seemed to be equal to about 2007. a-year addi
+ Given in the Gar. Cor., vol. ii., p. 178.