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54

MEMOIRS OF R. B. SHERIDAN.

With good Mrs. Soaker, who made her old chin go, For hours, hobnobbing with Mrs. Syringo:

Had Tib staid at home, 1 b'lieve none would have miss'd

her,

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

55

CHAPTER II.

DUELS WITH MR. MATHEWS.

MISS LINLEY.

-MARRIAGE WITH

TOWARDS the close of the year 1771, the elder 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 regard to health. Let slight things pass away of themselves; in a case that requires assistance do nothing without advice. Mr. Crook is a able man in his very

way.

Should a physician be at any time wanting, apply to

I

Dr. Nesbitt, and tell him that at leaving Bath 1 recommended you all to his care. This indeed I intended to have mentioned to him, but it slipped my memory. forgot Mr. Crooke's bill, too, but desire I may have the amount by the next letter. Pray what is the meaning of my hearing so seldom 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 20l. 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, etc. 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 miserable 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-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 *

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

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,

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

DEAR FATHER,

"We have been for some time in hopes of receiving a letter, that we might know that you had acquitted us of neglect in writing. At the same time we imagine that the time is not far when writing will be unnecessary; and we cannot help wishing to know the posture of the affairs, which, as you have not talked of returning, seem probable to detain you longer than you intended. I am perpetually asked when Mr. Sheridan is to have his patent for the theatre, which all the Irish here take for granted, and I often receive a great deal of information from them on the subject. Yet I cannot help being vexed when I see in the Dublin papers such bustling accounts of the proceedings of your House of Commons, as I remember it was your argument against attempting any thing from parliamentary authority in England. However, the folks here regret you, as one that is to be fixed in another kingdom, and will scarcely believe that you will ever visit Bath at all; and we are often

asked if we have not received the letter which is to call

us over.

66

They are like

"I could scarcely have conceived that the winter was so near departing, were I not now writing after dinner by day-light. Indeed the first winter season is not yet over at Bath. They have balls, concerts, etc. at the rooms, from the old subscription still, and the spring ones are immediately to succeed them. wise going to perform oratorios here. his whole family, down to the seven year olds, are to support one set at the new rooms, and a band of singers from London another at the old. Our weather here, or the effects of it, have been so uninviting to all kinds of birds, that there has not been the smallest excuse to take into the fields this winter ; a point more to the

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regret of Charles than myself.

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Mr. Linley and

"We are all now in dolefuls for the Princess Dowager; but as there was no necessity for our being dressed or weeping mourners, we were easily provided. Our acquaintances stand pretty much the same as when you left us, only that I think in general we are less intimate, by which I believe you will not think us great losers. Indeed, excepting Mr. Wyndham, I have not met with one person with whom I would wish to be intimate; though there was a Mr. Lutterel, (brother to the Colonel,) — who was some months ago introduced to me by an old Harrow acquaintance, who made me many professions at parting, and wanted me vastly to name some way in which he could be useful to me; but the relying on acquaintances, or seeking of friendships, is a fault which I think I shall always have prudence to avoid.

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