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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 they came up to town, and began to prepare for the "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.
See this odd ballad-quite in the taste of the day-in the "New Foundling Hospital for Wit," vol. ii. p. 164. Davies makes Garrick's and Quin's reconciliation take place at this visit, and is circumstantial about "Quin's kind inquiry, after dinner," about Mrs. Garrick, which was the cause. But they had been reconciled before.
BOOK THE FIFTH.
ACTOR AND TRAVELLER.
A ROUND OF CHARACTERS.
THIS stage of the actor's career will, perhaps, 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. Beyond the mere general notion, that he took Nature as his model, we, of the present time, know little of the characteristics of his acting. This is the unhappy fate incident to great musical, and dramatic, reputations. As compared with the more enduring glories of the painter, and the writer, they have a more splendid audience, a grander and more dazzling reception; but their life is but for the life of the men and women of their time. Their career is bounded by the few generations of their own course. Description can only give a faint idea of a great actor's gifts --his expressions, his motions, his eye. Still it cannot but be interesting to have something beyond the mere tradition that David Garrick was one of the greatest players the world has seen, and with this view I have diligently searched for, and collected all contemporary
accounts the later recollections and traditions, and from these materials can furnish a tolerably complete series of sketches, exhibiting him in nearly all his leading characters. This will be entertaining to the theatrical reader, and perhaps useful to the professional.
Nothing, too, 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 the aged, 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 Tatler, dwells on his natural acting, his pathos and passion, and, in parts, might be accepted as a description of Garrick. But he must have belonged to what has been considered the Old School of acting. He might have been "natural" and easy, compared with his contemporaries, but still bound by the conventional rules then popular. 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. Old Cibber, too, had come from the same school, and every one knew what his style was; even allowing both in his, and Quin's case, for the mannerism and exaggeration that comes on with age and repetition. It has been mentioned how the testimony of the Duke
of Argyle and of Lord Cobham, who had seen both players, was for Garrick. Leigh Hunt, in his pleasant gossip over the list of players, has suggested that though Shakspeare made a protest against the vices of mannerism in players, he may not have objected to the elevated and artificial style, as imparting a certain state and grandeur. 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 opportunities of judging. He had met Mrs. Porter, Mrs. Oldfield, and even Mrs. Bracegirdle, 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 conclusion, therefore, we should draw is, that Garrick must have been a true reformer, and his style almost 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. He was "neatly" and elegantly made; handsome, with a French grace, yet combined with perfect manliness. His frame had a surprising flexibility, 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 eye-brows well arched, ascending and descending, with rapid play; the mouth expressive 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 the sweet and pleading tenderness of Barry, and the "profusion of softness" for which that actor was famed. But 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 crook'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