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CHAP.

I.

1771.

In the following passage, with more of the tact of a man of the world than the ardour of a poet, he dismisses the object nearest his heart with the mere passing gallantry of a compli

ment:

"O! should your genius ever rise,

And make you Laureate in the skies,
I'd hold my life, in twenty years,
You'd spoil the music of the spheres.

Nay, should the rapture-breathing Nine
In one celestial concert join,
Their sovereign's power to rehearse,
Were you to furnish them with verse,
By Jove, I'd fly the heavenly throng,
Tho' Phoebus play'd and Linley sung."

On the opening of the New Assembly Rooms at Bath, which commenced with a ridotto, Sept. 30. 1771, he wrote a humorous description of the entertainment, called "An Epistle from Timothy Screw to his Brother Henry, Waiter at Almack's," which appeared first in The Bath Chronicle, and was so eagerly sought after, that Crutwell, the editor, was induced to publish it in a separate form. The allusions in this trifle have, of course, lost their zest by time; and a specimen or two of its humour will be all that is necessary here.

"Two rooms were first opened—the long and the round CHAP.

one,

(These Hogstyegon names only serve to confound one,)
Both splendidly lit with the new chandeliers,
With drops hanging down like the bobs at Peg's ears:
While jewels of paste reflected the rays,

And Bristol-stone diamonds gave strength to the blaze:
So that it was doubtful, to view the bright clusters,
Which sent the most light out, the ear-rings or lustres.

Nor less among you was the medley, ye fair!

I believe there were some beside quality there :
Miss Spiggot, Miss Brussels, Miss Tape, and Miss Socket,
Miss Trinket, and aunt, with her leathern pocket,
With good Mrs. Soaker, who made her old chin go,
For hours, hobnobbing with Mrs. Syringo:

Had Tib staid at home, I b'lieve none would have miss'd

her,

Or pretty Peg Runt, with her tight little sister," &c. &c.

I.

1771.

re

CHAP. II.

DUELS WITH MR. MATHEWS. MARRIAGE WITH

MISS LINLEY.

CHAP. TOWARDS the close of the year 1771, the elder

II.

1771.

Mr. Sheridan went to Dublin, to perform at the
theatre of that city, leaving his young and
lively family at Bath, with nothing but their
hearts and imaginations to direct them.

The following letters, which passed between
him and his son Richard during his absence,
though possessing little other interest than that
of having been written at such a period, will not,
perhaps, be unwelcome to the reader :

"MY DEAR RICHARD,

"Dublin, Dec. 7th, 1771.

"How could you be so wrong-headed as to commence cold bathing at such a season of the year, and I suppose without any preparation too? You have paid sufficiently for your folly, but I hope the ill effects of it have been long since over. You and your brother are fond of quacking, a most dangerous disposition with

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CHAP.
II.

regard to health. Let slight things pass away
of themselves; in a case that requires assistance
do nothing without advice. Mr. Crooke is a
very able man in his way. Should a physician
be at any time wanting, apply to Dr. Nesbitt,
and tell him that at leaving Bath I recommended
you all to his care. This indeed I intended to
have mentioned to him, but it slipped my me-
mory. I forgot Mr. Crooke's bill, too, but de-
sire I may have the amount by the next letter.
Pray what is the meaning of my hearing so sel-
dom from Bath? Six weeks here, and but two
letters! You were very tardy; what are your
sisters about? I shall not easily forgive any
future omissions. I suppose Charles received
my answer to his, and the 207. bill from Whately.
I shall order another to be sent at Christmas
for the rent and other necessaries. I have not
time at present to enter upon the subject of
English authors, &c. but shall write to you upon
that head when I get a little leisure. Nothing
can be conceived in a more deplorable state
than the stage of Dublin. I found two misera-
ble companies opposing and starving each other.
I chose the least bad of them; and, wretched
as they are, it has had no effect on my nights,
numbers having been turned away every time I
played, and the receipts have been larger than
when I had Barry, his wife, and Mrs. Fitz-

1771.

II.

1771.

CHAP. Henry to play with me. However, I shall not be able to continue it long, as there is no possibility of getting up a sufficient number of plays with such poor materials. I purpose to have done the week after next, and apply vigorously to the material point which brought me over. I find all ranks and parties very zealous for forwarding my scheme, and have reason to believe it will be carried in parliament after the recess, without opposition. It was in vain to have attempted it before, for never was party violence carried to such a height as in this sessions; the House seldom breaking up till eleven or twelve at night. From these contests, the desire of improving in the article of elocution is become very general. There are no less than five persons of rank and fortune now waiting my leisure to become my pupils. Remember me to all friends, particularly to our good landlord and landlady. I am, with love and blessing to you all,

"P. S.

"Your affectionate father,

"THOMAS SHERIDAN.

Tell your sisters I shall send the poplins as soon as I can get an opportunity."

The money-bill brought forward this year under Lord Townshend's administration, encountered violent opposition and was finally rejected.

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