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"Does not the rage (asks this writer) of the new managers, all directed against the innocent and justifiable conduct of Mr. Lacy, look as if they meant to rule a theatre, of which they have only a moiety among them, and feared the additional weight and influence which would be given to Mr. Lacy by the assistance of Captain Thomson and Mr. Langford? If their intentions were right, why should they fear to have their power balanced, and their conduct examined? Is there a precedent in the annals of the theatre, where the acting manager deserted the general property, left the house, and seduced the actors from their duties-why? forsooth, because he was angry. Is not such conduct actionable? In any concern of common property, Lord Mansfield would make it so. And, what an insult to the public, from whose indulgence and favour this conceited young man, with his wife and family, are to receive their daily bread! Because Mr. Lacy, in his opinion, had used him ill-his patrons and benefactors might go to the devil! Mr. Lacy acted with great temper and moderation; and, in order that the public might not be wholly disappointed, he brought on old stock-plays-his brother-manager having robbed him of the means and instruments to do otherwise, by taking away the performers."

It is also intimated in the same publication that Mr. Garrick had on this occasion "given Mr. Sheridan credit on his banker for 20,000l. for law expenses or for the purchase of Messrs. Langford and Thomson's shares."

The dispute, however, was adjusted amicably. Mr. Lacy was prevailed upon to write an apology to the public, and the design of disposing of his share in the theatre, was for the present relinquished.

There is an allusion to this reconciliation in the following characteristic letter, addressed by Sheridan to Mr. Linley in the spring of the following year.


"You write to me though you tell me you have nothing to say-now, I have reversed the case, and have not wrote to you, because I have had so much to say. However, I find I have delayed too long to attempt now to transmit you a long detail of our theatrical manœuvres; but you must not attribute my not writing to idleness, but on the contrary to my not having been idle.

"You represent your situation of mind between hopes and fears. I am afraid I should argue in vain (as I have often

on this point before) were I to tell you, that it is always better to encourage the former than the latter. It may be very prudent to mix a little fear by way of alloy with a good solid mass of hope; but you, on the contrary, always deal in apprehension by the pound, and take confidence by the grain, and spread as thin as leaf gold. In fact, though a metaphor mayn't explain it, the truth is, that, in all undertakings which depend principally on ourselves, the surest way not to fail is to determine to succeed.

"It would be endless to say more at present about theatrical matters, only, that every thing is going on very well. Lacy promised me to write to you, which I suppose, however, he has not done. At our first meeting after you left town, he cleared away all my doubts about his sincerity; and I dare swear we shall never have the least misunderstanding again, nor do I believe he will ever take any distinct council in future. Relative to your affair he has not the shade of an objection remaining, and is only anxious that you may not take amiss his boggling at first. We have, by and with the advice of the privy council, concluded to have Noverre over, and there is a species of pantomime to be shortly put on foot, which is to draw all the human kind to Drury. This is become absolutely necessary on account of a marvellous preparation of the kind which is making at Covent Garden.

"Touching the tragedies you mention, if you speak of them merely as certain tragedies that may be had, I should think it impossible we could find the least room, as you know Garrick saddles us with one which we must bring out. But, if you have any particular desire that one of them should be done, it is another affair, and I should be glad to see them. Otherwise, I would much rather you would save me the disagreeableness of giving my opinion to a fresh tragic bard, being already in disgrace with about nine of that irascible' fraternity.

Betsey has been alarmed about Tom, but without reason.

*I find that the pantomime at Drury Lane this year was a revival of "Harlequin's Invasion," and that at Covent Garden," Harlequin's Frolics.”

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He is in my opinion better than when you left him, at least to appearance, and the cold he caught is gone. We sent to see him at Battersea, and would have persuaded him to remove to Orchard Street; but he thinks the air does him good, and he seems with people where he is at home, and may divert himself, which, perhaps, will do him more good than the air, but he is to be with us soon.

"Ormsby has sent me a silver branch on the score of the Duenna. This will cost me, what of all things I am least free of, a letter: and it should have been a poetical one, too, if the present had been any piece of plate, but a candlestick! -I believe I must melt it into a bowl to make verses on it, for there is no possibility of bringing candle, candlestick, or snuffers, into metre. However, as the gift was owing to the muse, and the manner of it very friendly, I believe I shall try to jingle a little on the occasion; at least, a few such stanzas as might gain a cup of tea from the urn at Bath-Easton.

"Betsey is very well, and on the point of giving Tom up to feed like a christian and a gentleman, or, in other words, of weaning, waining, or weening him. As for the young gentleman himself, his progress is so rapid, that one may plainly see the astonishment the sun is in of a morning, at the improvement of the night. Our loves to all.

"Yours ever, and truly,

The first contribution which the dramatic talent of the new manager furnished to the stock of the theatre, was an alteration of Vanbrugh's comedy, The Relapse, which was brought out on the 24th of February, 1777, under the title of "A Trip to Scarborough."

In reading the original play, we are struck with surprise, that Sheridan should ever have hoped to be able to defecate such dialogue, and yet leave any of the wit, whose whole spirit is in the lees, behind. The very life of such characters as Berinthia is their licentiousness, and it is with them, as with objects that are luminous from putrescence,-to remove their taint is to extinguish their light. If Sheridan, indeed,

had substituted some of his own wit for that which he took away, the inanition that followed the operation would have been much less sensibly felt. But to be so liberal of a treasure so precious, and for the enrichment of the work of another, could hardly have been expected from him. Besides, it may be doubted whether the subject had not already yielded its utmost to Vanbrugh, and whether even in the hands of Sheridan, it could have been brought to bear a second crop of wit. Here and there through the dialogue, there are some touches from his pen-more however in the the style of his farce than his comedy. For instance, that speech of Lord Foppington, where, directing the hosier not "to thicken the calves of his stockings so much," he says, "You should always remember, Mr. Hosier, that if you make a nobleman's spring legs as robust as his autumnal calves, you commit a monstrous impropriety, and make no allowance for the fatigues of the winter." Again, the following dialogue :

"Jeweller. I hope, my lord, those buckles have had the unspeakable satisfaction of being honoured with your lordship's approbation?

"Lord F. Why, they are of a pretty fancy; but don't you think them rather of the smallest?

"Jeweller. My lord, they could not well be larger, to keep on your lordship's shoe.

"Lord F. My good sir, you forget that these matters are not as they used to be: formerly, indeed, the buckle was a sort of machine, intended to keep on the shoe; but the case is now quite reversed, and the shoe is of no earthly use, but to keep on the buckle."

About this time Mrs. Sheridan went to pass a few weeks with her father and mother at Bath, while Sherid himself remained in town, to superintend the concerns of the theatre. During this interval he addressed to her the following verses, which I quote, less from their own peculiar merit, than as a proof how little his heart had yet lost of those first feelings of love and gallantry which too often expire in matrimony, as Faith and Hope do in heaven, and from the same.


"One lost in certainty, and one in joy."

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