Cibber and Sheridan: or, the Dublin miscellany. Containing all the advertisements, letters, ... Lately publish'd, on account of the theatric squabble. To which are added, several prologues and epilogues, spoke at the theatre in Smock Alley, ... by Mr. Cibber, ... Also two songs by Mr. Worsdale,
Bella per Emathios pluſquam Civilia campos.LUCAN.
The Fight, grown hot, ſet plumed Pens to work;And the Gor'd Battle bled at every Preſs.Parody on Tate
I HAVE ſent you the Prologues, &c. you deſir'd; you ſay, 'twill be an Amuſement to the Town, and a Satisfaction to their Curioſity, to collect all the Papers, the late theatrical Squabbles have produc'd; and you deſire my Leave to print them:—you have it with all my Heart. You deſire I would not take it ill that you publiſh (among the reſt) that thing, call'd a Letter from antient Piſtol to young Piſtol;—I think, I can't better ſhew my Contempt of it, than by deſiring you not to omit it.—Were you Printing a Trial,—to ſink any Evidence, or Pleadings, on either Side the Queſtion, tho' ever ſo falſe, ſo ridiculous, or impertinent, were an unfair Treatment of the Publick: If I knew the incomprehenſible Author of that extraordinary Piece, I ſhould deſire no other FLING at him, but to affix his Name at Length to his elaborate Work. Who it is, I neither know, nor care; nor am I anxious to be ſatisfied, whether a certain Perſon, gueſs'd by many, was really the Author or no: I mean one, who, for his ill Manners in diſturbing a ſocial Company, was, not long ſince, ‘"quoited down Stairs like a Shuffleboard Piece. ’
[Page 4] Tho' I am ſenſible many Means have been us'd to depreciate me, both as a Man, and an Actor, in the Minds of People here; I can but ſmile at ſuch impotent Malice, and ſhall ever, with grateful Joy remember, the Gentlemen of this Kingdom (to their Honour be it ſaid) would not ſuffer themſelves to be miſguided, by Pique or Prejudice; no, they would judge for themſelves:—Let my Enemies call this boaſting, if they pleaſe; I had rather run the Hazard of that Cenſure, than be liable to the Imputation of Ingratitude; and ſure, to be totally ſilent on this Occaſion, were to be unworthy of their Favours. I have not Words equal to my Sentiments of my Obligations to the Town, let me therefore [...]ntreat their Candour, their Humanity, and better Senſe, to ſupply my Deficiency, and think what ought to be ſaid, when I would declare how much, and how ſincerely,
I am, their moſt obliged, moſt obedient, and devoted very humble Servant, THEOPHILUS CIBBER.
1. The following Paragraphs, are extracted from THE THEATRE, (No 2.) a Paper, publiſh'd in London twice a Week, by Sir Richard Steele, (under the Name of Sir John Edgar,) in the Year 1722.
LET any Man, who underſtands Converſation, or Buſineſs, that lives amongſt knowing Men, either in Publick, or private Life, conſider the Diflidence we are uſually under, in executing any [Page 5] Part that naturally is our Duty, and requires only acting in Publick what is demanded of us in our ordinary Characters and Functions; I ſay, let any one reflect on this, and he will account for the Concern and Confuſion in which an Actor muſt behold an Auditor ſtir up any new Reflection, or Thought, in his old Adverſaries, the Vulgar, the Unthinking, and the Boiſterous, who have it in their Power by Noiſe, or Clamour (while he is to perform what is foreign to himſelf) to diſconcert and puſh him out of a perſonated Character, of Livelineſs, and Mirth, into his private one of Grief and Dejection: And yet, perhaps, in two Minutes it ſhall be expected that he ſhall be enough himſelf to aſſume the Perſon, whom (even to pleaſe his Oppreſſors) he is ſtill oblig'd to repreſent. This Conſideration is enough to gain him the Favour and Protection of reaſonable Men, tho' perhaps it may require Time to turn the Edge of Youths of falſe Fire, natural Wickedneſs, and warm Blood, ſo far as to look in upon themſelves, and ſee how much they have wanted, and ought to learn Humanity.
The Humour in which People go to Plays is generally that of Leiſure, and Indolence, and the Entertainment gives them ſuch a Notion of Levity and Chearfulneſs in the Performers, that they have not the ſame Idea of their laborious Life as they have of the Application of other uſeful People, whoſe Buſineſs does not require half the Senſe and Diligence to be Maſters of it. They do not conſider that Readineſs, Alacrity, Spirit, and Diſengagement from themſelves, are in no one Station of Life ſo indiſpenſably neceſſary, as in the Duty of an accompliſh'd Actor: And if all theſe uncommon Qualities are not ſummon'd, and about him, at a certain Hour, his Intereſt and Reputation are loſt at once: For he cannot even ſubſiſt without being always in a Readineſs to place himſelf in his beſt Appearance: Painful the Taſk, and incumbent only on the undervalu'd Player!
To Mr. GEORGE FAULKNER.
Trinity College, Dublin July 17th. 1743.
IN addreſſing you we are ſenſible we ſpeak to the Publick, and we are but too well acquainted with the Deference owing to their Judgment not to be deſirous of their Approbation, with Submiſſion therefore to all thoſe, whoſe Cenſure may deſerve our Regard, we preſume it will not be taken amiſs, that we are reſolved to ſee Juſtice done to injured Merit.
Upon a ſtrict and impartial Enquiry into the Reaſons of Mr. Sheridan's not appearing Thurſday laſt in the Character of Cato, we find them ſo ſtrong and ſatisfactory, that our Reſolution, we hope, will be favourably look'd on. of ſeeing him righted, and the Inſolence of others properly chaſtiſed, who either thro' Envy or Malice, wou'd remove the ſtrongeſt Inducement we have for frequenting the Play-houſe, and conſequently deprive us of the Satisfaction we propoſe to ourſelves from the moſt rational Amuſements; and it's expected none will condemn us for fruſtrating the malicious Contrivances of ſome ſew deſigning Wretches, and by ſo doing, convince them their envious, but ſhallow Practices ſhall always prove abortive whenever they tend to wrong or depreſs real Merit.
An Apology of this Nature we could not but judge abſolutely neceſſary, to prevent any Miſconſtructions we might poſſibly expoſe ourſelves to, by our Reſentment to find, one of the principal Characters burleſqed by the Preſumption of one, every way unequal to it.
To Mr. SHERIDAN.
Trinity-College, July 17.
THE Reaſons you aſſign for not performing the Part of Cato laſt Thurſday, are more than ſufficient to juſtify you in the Opinion of every unprejudiced Perſon; and tho' your Reſentment of the Uſage you receiv'd is equally juſt, we hope it will not deprive us of the Satisfaction we promiſe ourſelves from ſo eminent a Genius. As the Declarations of ſome malicious Perſons may poſſibly have [Page 7] made you apprehenſive of being hereafter inſulted, we take this Opportunity, with the greateſt Deference to thoſe whoſe Judgment is to be regarded, of publickly aſſuring you, that the juſt Senſe we have of your Merit, and the ill Uſage you have met with, has determined us not only to ſupport you, but fruſtrate any malicious Schemes Theatrical Politicians may form to your Diſadvantage.
I Am extreamly concerned for the Occaſion of my addreſſing you in this publick Manner, but as the [Page 8] Diſappointment which you met with at my not being able to perform, has given riſe to ſeveral Stories very little in my Favour, I think it my Duty to clear up the Matter and juſtify myſelf. The Fact is thus: When I went to the Play-houſe I found every thing in great Confuſion, the People not paid and clamouring for their Money, the Muſick refuſing to play unleſs their Arrears were diſcharged, and an Account brought at the ſame Time that Mr. Philips the Director and Manager of the Whole had abſconded. As I was dreſſing for my Part, I found the Robe which I had before worn in CATO was wanting; upon enquiry I heard that Mr. Philips had come two Days before and taken it from the Houſe, I had ſome Reaſon to believe that he had done it purely to prevent my Playing that Night, the Reſentment I conceived at ſuch Treatment, the Concern I was under leſt the Audience ſhould be diſappointed, ſome other ill Uſage I received, and ſeveral other Incidents concurring, (a Detail of which would take up too much Time) diſordered me ſo much that it not only rendered me incapable of doing Juſtice to the Character I was to play, but like wiſe almoſt took away my voice. You yourſelves were Witneſſes of this when I endeavoured to make an Apology and could not be heard. And indeed I was in ſuch Confuſion that had I been heard I ſhould not have been underſtood. I appeal to any reaſonable Perſon then preſent whether it were better in theſe Circumſtances to diſmiſs the Houſe (which was my Intention) or to keep them purely to convince them that it was not in my Power to get through one Speech of the Part. It has been ſaid that the want of a Robe was a trifling Thing, and that the Audience would have been content to have received me in any Dreſs; they muſt have but little Skill in Theatrical Affairs who think a proper Habit is not abſolutely neceſlary, or that a Perſon can perform a Part well, with a Conſciouſneſs about him that he looks it ill. This was more particularly my Caſe in this Character, as it is one for which I am naturally very unfit in my Perſon, and in which nothing could have made my Appearance ſupportable but a large Robe to cover my Defects, and give a Gravity and Dignity to my [Page 9] Perſon which I wanted and which are ſo abſolutely neceſſary to the Character. I know when an Audience is diſappointed, they often make but little Allowances for the Actor, they feel nothing of the Concern and Anxiety of Mind he labours under when he has acquired a Reputation by performing a Character one Night, and ſees himſelf about to loſe it in another. But it was not that nor the ill Treatment I had received which hindered my Playing, it was the Effect which all this had on me. I had ſo much Deference for the Audience, and ſo much Gratitude; nay, it was ſo much my Duty, that I ſhould have ſacrificed all Regard to Character, and every other Conſideration, to have done my utmoſt to have pleaſed them even in the meaneſt Dreſs, had I not found that my Voice was quite gone, and that it was not in my Power to go through with one Scene. I was then reduced to this Difficulty, either to detain them when I found I was not only incapable of giving them the Satisfaction they might expect, but muſt have given them the higheſt Diſguſt in my Performance, or elſe fairly to tell them that it was not in my Power to play. I choſe the latter; if it was an Error it is one I have paid dearly for, ſince to that Principle I ſacrificed above ſixty Pounds, which I abſolutely loſt by not playing. Such Perſons as have aſſigned any other Cauſe for my not performing, if they can ſuppoſe me either vain, or ungrateful, or even impudent enough to diſappoint an Audience meerly out of Whim or Humour, I hope will not think me Fool enough to ſtand to ſuch a Loſs.
And now (tho' I have already treſpaſs'd too much on your Patience) I muſt beg your Indulgence a little farther, as I perhaps ſhall not have another Opportunity of doing it, in permitting me to return you and all the Ladies and Gentlemen of this Kingdom, who have honoured the Plays, in which I performed, with their Preſence, my ſincere and hearty Thanks for all your Favours. The Succeſs I have met with has been an additional Pleaſure to me, as by this Means you have convinced the World how falſe that Opinion is which has prevail'd amongſt ſome, that the People of Ireland are kinder to Strangers than to their own. For your great Indulgence to me is [Page 10] a manifeſt Proof, how willing you are to encourage the leaſt Dawn of Merit in one of your Country. Yet, I am ſorry to ſay it, your great Favour, and the prodigious Succeſs I have met with, have, I find, rais'd me many Enemies; there are ſome People who can not behold the Proſperity of others in any way of Life without Envy; and as I am conſcious to myſelf that I have by no Action of mine deſerv'd the Hatred of any Perſon, I muſt believe I have no Enemies but ſuch as my Succeſs has made ſo. That I have ſome is manifeſt from the Induſtry with which ſome People ſpread Reports to my Diſadvantage, and the Readineſs with which others believe them. My Gratitude to the Publick, the Friendſhip I have experienc'd in Private, and the Love I have for my Country, would have detained me here much longer, (if I could in the leaſt have contributed to the Publick Entertainment,) in ſpight of any Advantages I could have propros'd to myſelf in another Kingdom; I ſhould be ſorry a few Snakes in the Graſs ſhould drive me from ſo fair a Field; but it is a Misfortune in our Way of Life that a few malicious People can do a Perſon more Injury in one Night, than the Friendſhip of the Publick in general can repair.
I ſincerely wiſh that the Succeſs I have met with may be a Means of raiſing up ſome Genius more worthy to entertain you, but this I will venture to ſay, that you will never find any, who has ſtudied to do it with more Zeal and Induſtry, or who has a more grateful Senſe of the many Obligations you have conferr'd
On your moſt obliged and devoted humble Servant, THOMAS SHERIDAN.July 19th.
It is a Kind of Slander to truſt to Rumour.B. JOHNSON.
—Bella! horrida Bella!The Scene oft' rallies [...]ollies of the Age;Laugh, in your turn, at [...]ollies of the Stage.ANON.
Stephen's-Green, Tueſday Afternoon, July 19, 1743.
YOUR injudicious Diſappointment of the Company laſt Thurſday, who expected to ſee you in the Character of CATO, and your indiſcreet Attempt to diſmiſs the Audience, having, as you confeſs, become a Towntalk, and given Riſe to many idle Falſhoods, meerly calculated to injure the Innocent: You muſt excuſe me if I relate the Fact, ſtrictly adhering to Truth. There were many Witneſſes of what I am about to declare; and I know none, except yourſelf, whoſe Memory is weak enough to forget it, or will be hardy enough to deny it.
When it drew near the Time proper to begin the Play, Mr. Giffard and myſelf were alarm'd, in the Dreſſing-room with a Report, that you declared you would not play, becauſe you had not the ſame Robe you wore in that Character before; and that you ſaid, The Audience muſt be diſmiſs'd. This Reaſon for diſmiſſing an Audience, (propos'd by you who had no Right to diſmiſs them) appear'd to me ſo weak, I could not believe it, till you came into the Room, and ſwore, Unleſs you had that Robe, you would not act. This Declaration I looked upon as a raſh Expreſſion, the meer Effect of your then ruf [...]led Temper; but could not yet ſuppoſe you would proceed ſo idly as you did: You were then compleatly dreſs'd from Head to Foot (as well as ever the Character was dreſs'd in any Theatre in Ireland or England) all but the Robe.
Upon Enquiry, it appeared, the Robes worn by Cato, Juba and Sempronius, the firſt Night, were borrowed [Page 12] by Philips, of ſome Gentlewoman in this Town, who bought them in an Auction at London, ſome Time ſince, but were by no Means the Property of the Managers, or any one belonging to the Theatre, nor were to be got that Night; ſo all the Heroes were equally diſappointed of thoſe Trappings. Your Impatience increaſed, and, tho' another Robe was brought you (the ſame Robe that was made new, this Year, for Mr. Huſband, in the Character of Julius Caeſar) you perſiſted in having the other uncomeatable Robe, or you poſitively would undreſs, and was determined not to play. To every body's Surprize, you did undreſs, and, in ſpight of the moſt friendly Remonſtrances to the contrary, you made a broken kind of Speech to the Audience; with which they were ſo diſſatisfied, they could not help ſhewing it.
Before you went on, I entreated you (on the meer exchange of a Robe) not to do ſo unpolitic a Thing, I might add, unpolite, as to think of diſappointing the Town of their Diverſion: You reply'd, The Vexation had deprived you of your Voice, and rendered you incapable of performing: I deſir'd you to conſider, the firſt Act was of ſuch a conſiderable Length, you might have Time enough to recover your Temper, and your Voice would probably return with it; or if the Defect laſted, your attempting to perform would appear ſo obliging, the Audience would readily make any Allowances, when they knew you had been ruffled, &c. but to think of giving them no Play at all, was what I could not but conceive would offend them.
To repeat all was ſaid to you on this Occaſion, would add to the Tediouſneſs of this Recital: But, as near as I can remember, nothing was omitted, in the moſt friendly Manner, to diſſuade you from your miſtaken Purpoſe.
I am informed you ſtay'd afterwards, juſt long enough to hear the extraordinary indulgent Reception the Audience were pleaſed to beſtow on my propoſing, with their Leave, to give them the Play, in the beſt Manner we could, ſince it was not in our Power to give it them ſo well as we would. You then ran haſtily out of the Houſe, and ſent a Meſſage afterwards to the Theatre, [Page 13] That you would not, by any Means, have your Name delivered out for another Play, for you would poſitively act no more.
I ſhould not, Mr. Sheridan, have given you or my ſelf this Trouble, but for the many Reports that fly about, of which, 'tis ſaid, you are the Author: And ſince I have advanced ſo far, I muſt go a little farther, and make a few honeſt Queries; then, giving you a little Advice, ſhall ſubmit to the Determination of the Publick, whether I (as it has been inſinuated) ever intended you the leaſt Prejudice; or, on the contrary, have not always acted towards you with good Manners and good Nature?
Firſt then,—have I not your Letter by me, ſent to me when in England, wherein you expreſs yourſelf very deſirous of my acting in the ſame Theatre with you, and are ſolicitous for my coming over?—And do you not know, your particular Application ſince my Arrival, was one of my ſtrongeſt Motives for playing in Smock-Alley, where I am likely to have a Law-ſuit, for my Right, with the Managers, tho' I was offer'd the ſame Terms from Aungier-Street Play-houſe, where my Agreement would have been ſign'd by a Gentleman of Honour, whoſe Pay is as good as the Bank.
Did I omit any Care, or grudge any Pains, to keep the Audience in Temper, when your ſudden Indiſpoſition prevented your playing, the firſt intended Night of King Lear? Or could I, for a Brother, have been more Active, to ſilence the Reports then made to your Prejudice?—ſed Tu Brute!
Have not you been paid a large Part of that freſh Agreement you made, but did not compleat, while we are unpaid our Agreements, tho', we have, 'tis notorious, often ſolicited the Managers to releaſe us, if they found the emptineſs of the Town would not anſwer their [Page 14] contining our Performance?—But we could get neither our Liberty nor our Money.
Did not your ſudden breaking off from Playing leave us in a diſpleaſing Dilemma? And was it not reaſonable for us, to propoſe acting ſuch Pieces, as might excite the greateſt Curioſity in the Town, whereby the Managers might be enabled to pay us, and the reſt of the Company?
Did I not decline ('till your poſitive Declaration, that you would play no more this Seaſon) appearing in any Character you had perform'd? And did you not expreſs yourſelf as oblig'd to me, on making you that Compliment, as you were pleas'd to term it?
How comes it then, Mr. Sheridan, reported, that Mr. Giffard, and myſelf, have intended you any injury? Or from whence is it ſaid, that we (ridiculous! as falſe!) lock'd up your Cloaths, and did all we could to prevent your Playing? This, Sir, has been ſo frequently aſſerted, as a Fact related by you, that you ought as a Friend to Truth, to have fully anſwer'd ſuch monſtrous Falſhoods; or, may we not reaſonably ſuppoſe, you did ſpread ſuch Reports? If you can be the Author of ſuch Tales, what Language is fit to paint you?
The Letters I read this Day in the Dublin Journal, if not ipſo facto yours, are yet ſo worded, an impartial Reader cannot but ſee they were, at leaſt, the Work of ſome miſtaken Friend, whoſe good Nature you had impoſed on, by falſe Relations: From whom, but you, could come the ſatisfactory Reaſons, (not one of which are mentioned) for your not performing? Or the poor low Invectives, and mean Inuendoes therein contained?—Whom do you mean, by Deſigning Wrelches, and Theatrical Politicians? Or what can you intend but to inſinuate, you have been artfully drove from the Stage, when you know your Abſence from thence is abſolutely your own Act and Deed?
But let me inform you, when a Rebuff to an Actor appears premeditated and beſpoke from Prejudice, ſuch Treatment may put a poor Player out of Humour; but ſure, it ought not to put him out of Countenance.
If you withdraw yourſelf from the Theatre, for a Time, muſt all Diverſion ſtop till your Return? If a Vintner has not Ortelans, or any other extraordinary Dainties, in the Larder, will his Gueſts think it impertinent, if they are intreated to take ſuch homely Entertainment as the Houſe affords?—And if the Defects of others, ſerve as a Foil to the Brilliancy of your Performance, why ſhould you be angry, at what, if you'd keep your Temper, might prove ſo conſolable to you?
But, Maſter Tommy, may we not ſhrewdly ſuſpect, tho' your Performances have been hitherto moſtly tragical, you have given your Mind a little Bent towards Comedy, and, in thoſe Studies, have taken a Hint from Congreve's Petulant? Who, to keep up an extraordinary Reputation, was notorious, under a Diſguiſe, for calling for himſelf at a Coffee houſe; where he would ſometimes, in a Maſk, ſend in for himſelf, wait for himſelf, nay, and not finding himſelf, would frequently leave a Letter for himſelf:—Faith, you are highly in Luck in improving a Hint, I ſind.
But let me aſk you a home Queſtion—Has not a great deal of that fuſs of Mind, you have lately ſhewn, been m [...]re owing to your Diſappointment, that the Audience would not depart, when you declar'd your high and mighty Diſpleaſure, becauſe you had not the ſelf-ſame gew gaw, tinſel Train, more than from any Fears you had of having diſpleas'd them? Or was it naugry, becauſe any one was permitted (under great Diſadvantages) meerly to attempt, what they had never in their Lives a Thought of performing? [Page 16] Why this is the paſſionate Extravaganza of your Brother PISTOL, who, ſcorning all Contradiction, or Competition, bounces about in his Boots, kicks his Heels with Fury againſt the Stage, and ſwell'd with ſwaggering Rage and Nonſenſe cries, ‘"Shall Dunghil Curs confront with Helicon, &c.—Shall Pack-horſes, and hollow pamper'd Jades of Aſia, that cannot travel thirty Miles a day, compare with Caeſar, and with Cannibals, and with Trojan Greeks, &c. &c."’ But, as our Friend concludes, ‘"Shall we fall foul for Toys?—’
Tho' I don't think there is any thing perſonally terrible about you, yet I own you a Gentleman of great Formidability, who have the Power if you ſay true (and you know you have talk'd at that paw-paw Rate) of calling down the Barracks, on any one you condeſcend to be diſpleas'd with: Pray, do you mean the Stone Buildings? for I can't ſuppoſe you preſume to have any Command over the Gentlemen there, as I never heard of any Commiſſion the King had yet honour'd you with; and I believe there is hardly any there will think it worth their while, to attend the Call of your Whiſtle, to a ſilly Riot: I am rather inclinable to think the Gallant Spirits there, are more impatient to attend the Call of a Trumpet, at this glorious Juncture, and be in Actions worthy of them.—And for the Gentlemen of the College, Sir, no Inſinuation ſhall make me dread ill Uſage from thoſe, whoſe Birth and Education will never ſuffer 'em to hurt the Innocent, nor can I affront 'em with ſo ungenteel a Thought, that they will be the Tools of your wrong-plac'd Reſentment.—Mr. Sheridan, your Behaviour has extorted this from me, and as your Conſcience muſt tell you, I never meant you the leaſt Injury, ſhould you by any little Art aim thro' Pique or Paſſion, unhoſpitably to hurt a Stranger, it would be an Act that wants a Name, and require ſuch Language to anſwer, as would but ill become the Mouth of a Gentleman, or be ſitting for the Ears of the Publick.
As my Stay here will be ſhort, I but deſire (what I will not doubt meeting with) a candid Reception for the few Nights I have to play, from the goodnatur'd [Page 17] Town, whoſe paſt Favours I am proud of; to confeſs them is an Act of Gratitude: Nor will I therefore think my ſelf liable to the Imputation of a boaſting Vanity.—Let me, Mr. Sheridan, give you this friendly Caution,—Do not run into an Error moſt young Men, in our Buſineſs, have been too guilty of, who think their Merits are but barely paid, when their Reception is moſt favourable; and take that as their Due, which is moſtly the Effect of a generous Diſpoſition, in the Town, to encourage, and ſupport, a riſing Genius whenever it appears.—Tho' People may be as fond of ſuch, for a while, as Gallants are of a new Miſtreſs, yet, if Vanity and Caprice prevail, in ſuch Performer, grown wild and wanton with Succeſs, they know when to withdraw their Favours, nor is it eaſy to regain them.—If I ever ſee you in England, I'll be moſt unmercifully reveng'd of you, for your Miſtakes towards me; and will abſolutely endeavour, to make your Reception there, as pleaſing to you, as you may have wiſh'd, mine ſhould have been here diſpleaſing to me: But, let us now mind our Buſineſs, and no more trouble the Publick with our Theatrical-Important-Nothings.—They will but laugh at us for our Pains.
I am yours, &c. T. C.
Bella geri placuit nullos habitura triumphos.LUCAN.
Ne Pueri, ne tanta animis aſſueſcite Bella,Neu Patriae validas in vicera verlite vires.VIRG.
Friday Morning, July 22d.
AS there were many Witneſſes of the tumultuous Riot, which you occaſion'd laſt Night at the Theatre (for which the Town are highly oblig'd to you) [Page 18] I ſhall make no Reflections on it: but leave the Relation thereof to the Impartial, and Unprejudic'd:—I ſay you occaſion'd; for, the Pretence of the College being offended, is a meer Pretence; They are Men of Reaſon, and will not reſent without a Cauſe: Nor is it a Reflection on the Society, that a few may be miſled, by their miſtaken Partiality to you; that ought no more to bring an Odium on ſuch a large and worthy Body, than that you were, once, an unworthy Member thereof, which the Majority, by this time, probably wiſh you ne'er had been.
Your Behaviour, Friend Thomas, has been ſo bad, I doubt, if the ſmalleſt, or loweſt, Body of People would chuſe you to mingle with 'em; I ſearce believe, the moſt indifferent Troop of Stroling Players, would chuſe to rank with you: Yet, 'tis methinks a Pity! You ſhould not be quite loſt to the Stage; ſince, tho' you are not equal to all Parts, there are two, I'll venture to ſay, you'll always make an extraordinary Figure in; I mean the Characters of MASKWELL and SCRUB: You ſeem to have ſtudy'd and practis'd them thoroughly—I can't ſuppoſe my Frankneſs towards you can have offended any Set of Gentlemen: Are you not free to anſwer for yourſelf, in any Manner you think proper? And, as to the Gentlemen of the College, I here ſolemnly declare, I am not conſcious of having deſign'd the leaſt Offence to 'em, in Word, in Deed, or even in Thought.
Would any friendly Monitor convince me, how 'tis poſſible for me, to have ſaid, or done, ought to the Offence of any one in this Kingdom (you Maſter Tommy excepted) I ſhould be aſham'd not to acknowledge my Error, and would readily, as I ought, ask their Pardon.—But why ſhould I wonder at your unhoſpitable Attempts towards a Stranger, when you could ſo unmercifully threaten even a Brother, with being ill uſed, if he preſumed to play any Part of yours; this is a Fact naughty-paughty Tommy, too well known by many for you to deny.
But, pray Sir, by what Act of Parliament do you lay this monopolizing Claim, that, even during your Abſence from the Stage, no one muſt preſume to appear [Page 19] in any Part you pleaſe to call yours?—Thou dear Mock-Monarch, have Copper Crowns, and Tinſell'd Robes, ſo elated thee, as to think thy Commands are abſolute?—I wonder you have not publiſh'd your royal Mandate, to all the Theatres in his Majeſty's Dominions, that none ſhall dare attempt any Character you have but thought of—Thou really ſeemeſt to be ſuch a choice Sort of a Monarch, as your Brother Tommy Thumb's King Arthur. Why, while the Stage looks gloomy from your Abſence, do you not cry out with him,
Let nothing but a Face of Grief appear,The Man that ſmiles this Day ſhall oſe his Head,That he may have no Head to ſmile withal.
But pray, ſweet meager Sir, where did you prudentially retire during this noble Riot? were you ſolacing your cal [...]e Carcaſs, and keeping up your poor Spirits, with Punch or Claret, and ſmiling at the Clangor of the diſtant War?—Mr. Pope has a Line draws thy Picture ſtrongly in ſuch Circumſtances. ‘A Fiend in Glee ridiculouſly grim!’
Really, lovely Youth, I am no Quixote to fight Windmills, nor yet a Drawcanſir to encounter Multitudes, nor an Jago to attack Men in the Dark.—But there is no Terror in Maſter Sheridan alone, nor can he wear any Shape himſelf, will ever make me alter an honeſt Purpoſe, or prevent my telling him any neceſſary Truth. In ſhort, uſe no Fallacies to betray miſtaken Numbers into your Cauſe, and I ſhall but deſpiſe you.
Approach Thou like the rugged Ruſſian Bear,The arm'd Rhinoceros, or Hyrcaman Tyger;Take any Shape but That. and my firm NervesShall never tremble; or revive a While,And dare me to the Deſart with thy Sword,If any Sinew ſhrink, proclaim me thenThe Baby of a Girl.—Hence horrid Shadow!SHAKES.
Trinity College, July 21.
AS our juſt Indignation againſt Mr. Cibber, and the Method which we took to ſhew it, has unexpectedly brought Mr. Sheridan under the Cenſure of ſome People, we think ourſelves bound, in regard to Truth, and that Innocence ſhould not ſuffer, to declare, that Mr. Sheridan, was in no wiſe privy to the Advertiſements which we put in the Journal, and was indeed hardly perſonally known to any of us who drew it up; that when he had ſeen it in the Papers, he came to us and requeſted in the moſt earneſt manner that not one of us ſhould go near the Play-houſe on Thurſday Night; out of Regard to him we comply'd and determined not to go. After we had made this Promiſe came out Mr. Cibber's Letter, in which (to leave Mr. Sheridan entirely out of the Queſtion,) we ourſelves were attacked by the manner in which he treated our Advertiſement: Such Inſolence from a Perſon of his Character, tho' it deſerved the higheſt Puniſhment, yet ſhould we not have carried Matters ſo far, had we not heard, and the Event juſtified it, that Mr. Cibber had a Party of Ruffians, and other deſperate Fellows to oppoſe us. Notwithſtanding all this Series of Provocations, we are willing to ſuffer him to play for his own Benefit, or any other Characters that are ſit for him, provided he behaves himſelf well. Mr. Sheridan having earneſtly intreated us that we might.
As there were ſome of Diſtinction and Merit then preſent who might have taken Exceptions to our Behaviour that Night, we publickly diſclaim any Deſign of offending them, which we ſhould have done at that Time, could we have been heard.
THE preſent Conteſt between Mr. CIBBER and Mr. SHERIDAN, having without my Concurrence, or that of any one of my kindred revived the Animoſity which ſo long held us at Variance, I cannot forbear expoſtulating with you on ſo unhappy an Occurrence, more eſpecially when, for this conſiderable Time paſt, nothing has been more commonly the Town-Talk, than that all Differences were made up between One and Another, and that they were at preſent in perfect Unity, which, I aſſure you, gave every One great Satisfaction, let Another take it as he would; for my own particular part it pleaſed me, becauſe every One was weary of the perpetual Noiſe and ſcandalous Reports that were raiſed concerning Squabbles between One and Another; I cannot but aſſume to myſelf ſome Merit, in as much as One alone hath ever been willing, as I now am, of making an Overture of Reconcilement between One and Another, though, at the ſame time, I have all Mankind on my Side, who at all Times declare their Opinion in the moſt publick Manner, and from which no One ever did diſſent; that no one ever differed with a Friend or Acquaintance but by means of Another, was ever any Mortal accuſed of any Ofrence or Crime, how heinous ſoever, but he (though perſonally convicted of it) laid the Fault on Another, and at the very worſt, when no Excuſe can be had to palliate what is laid to his Charge, will he not ſay, That Another tempted him; Nine out of Ten that ever were laid in Priſon, have they not ſaid, It was becauſe they were bound for Another. Nay, if any Perſon ſhould be occaſionally Complimented, (perhaps for the only good Action of his Life) will he not ſay, That it was done in Service of Another, to whom [Page 22] he never was obliged, and who after ſhewed him Ingratitude? I ſpeak of this meerly as the common Opinion, which you well know to be ſuch; and I might add to this, the great Superiority which I bear over you in the Eſteem of the World, in all Perfections whatſoever. If, for Inſtance, in Converſation any Preſent ſhould extol Another for any good Quality, either for Integrity, Valour, or Wit, nay, even Money, which is the Foundation of all Things eſteemed reputable. I ſay, for Inſtance, ſuppoſing there were twenty Gentlemen preſent, was it ever known that the remaining Nineteen would not aloud, (or as the reigning Faſhion is among well-bred People in ſaying their Prayers) mentally tell him, he muſt except One? Was it ever ſaid in Duelling, the ſingular and proper Entertainment of the Beau mond, ‘'Whenever any of this diſtinguiſhable Part of the human Species, being ſet together by the Ears by Another, and do really and actually behave not as rational Creatures, but to ſhew they have ſome Pretentions, of what kind ſoever to Manhood;'’ Will it not be univerſally ſaid, that One hath wounded, or, perhaps kill'd Another. In Diſputes at Law, either they, their Heirs, Executors, Adminiſtrators, and ſo forth, One ever obtains Judgments, or Decrees, (commonly both) againſt Another; and though either ſhould appeal to the Houſe of Lords of England, it is always allowed to be for One againſt Another. This I defy you to deny, for you cannot but know that I can prove it upon Record, which though it ſhould be expenſive, yet as you have ſome Cauſe of Knowledge of my Temper, you muſt be convinced, that there is no One, who would not hazard his Soul, (which you may maliciouſly alledge, no One makes much Account of) but that which ought to be dear to every Gentleman, his Reputation to have Revenge againſt Another; but as to Life or Fortune, you know there is no One (who is really a Gentleman) but diſpoſes of Both on very ſlight Occaſions: Happy would it be for the World, as well as for themſelves, that ſuch ſhould punctually diſpoſe of both together, which, though indeed ſeldom, yet ſometimes happens, and often more by good Luck [Page 23] than by good Guiding! In ſhort, Sir, to end this Argument, which, I believe, you ſcarcely will preſume to controvert, ſince the World was, One however endeavoured to get a Superiority over Another, and ever hath ſucceeded, excepting ſome few Inſtances, as when One hath had all Advantages of a War, Another hath had all the Advantages of a Peace; but this is an Affair of ſuch a Nature, that through a Multiplicity of Affairs, One is excuſable in having over-look'd it; beſides it is of ſo little importance, that it is ſcarce worth the Attention of any One, neither need he be ſolicitous to court the Embraces even of the lovely willing Nymph, OCCASION, whatever Advances ſhe may make him, and in whoſe Power, alone it is to remedy ſuch an Over-ſight: But let the Affairs of this World be conducted as they may, the Wiſe acknowledge that it is all One, or, at leaſt, it will be ſo ſome time about one hundred Years hence; as ſuch of them as are ſkilled in Aſtrology have often aſſured me by Word of Mouth, nay, went ſo far as to ſay, that they would give it me under their Hands, or to any One (they having a great Eſteem for my Family) annexed to a proper Scheme of Calculation, on which they would depend their whole Reputation, That no One, now alive, ſhould ever complain that they were thereby deceived: And all This Gratis.
Writing in any One's Commendation, I know is irkſome and tedious to Another, becauſe the Animoſity between us is ſuch, (I muſt ſay the Fault is yours) that you cannot be brought to believe any Thing favourable of me, more than I can of you; but admitting this as a Truth, I would with all the Moderation I have ever been Maſter of, recommend to your ſerious and deliberate Thought, whether any Variance or Animoſity of what kind ſoever ſhould come between One and Another by any Diſpute which might ariſe between Mr CIBBER and Mr. SHERIDAN? For my part, I ſpeak only as One, Another may take it as he plea [...]es, that the Matter in conteſt between thoſe two Gentlemen, in my humble Opinion, very little, if at all, concerns either One or Another; but [Page 24] the Attention of all Europe being Happily awaked by this and ſome other Matters of Importance, as every One wiſhes his own Eaſe, and never enjoys Satisfaction 'till he finds it is impoſſible to obtain it; I would, I confeſs, for my own ſake, make any decent or Gentleman-like Advances towards an entire Peace, and will fully acknowledge all wherein I am conſcious I ever gave you Offence, hoping you will take it well that I uſe a little Aſperity, which you cannot but indulge me in (you being an Author, and of conſequence dealt in Satyr, towards which your own Conduct could not fail to furniſh you with a great deal of, tho' poſſibly not ſufficient Materials for a Livelihood) all Writers of every Claſs, not excepting ſuch as were never in a Claſs at all, many of which being ſupported (by the Printer) for abuſing themſelves in the moſt outragious Manner, in ſuffering the Preſs to groan with their Labours, and bring forth Brats to publick View, when all Endeavours of their Friends to procure Abortion proved abortive.
I firſt, therefore admit that many a One has wilfully abuſed and ſlandered Another, yet notwithſtanding this, the partiality of the World towards me is ſuch, that the entire blame hath ever been laid on Another; One, I confeſs, hath often defrauded Another, but is it not moſt certain that Another has been equally culpable, and moreover, in the Opinion of the World, Another is a greater Rogue than any One. One may have betrayed Another; but is that any excuſe for Another who has often done the like, both to One and Another, which Circumſtance doubtleſs, aggravates the Offence in the Opinion both of One and Another.
Theſe few Inſtances, many more the like, I could produce, but as every One abhors prolixity and tedious recitals, I ſhall reſtrain my Hand, eſpecially, what more I might ſay, being equally known both by One and Another, and proceed more directly to the Matter occaſioning the preſent Difference between One and Another.
It is a ſurpriſing thing to me, that Mr. SHERIDAN's not thinking himſelf fine enough, ſhould ever be a [Page 25] Cauſe of Conteſt between One and Another, and unhappily at a Time when every One wiſhed to be reconciled with Another. To do both One and Another Juſtice, I muſt confeſs, that on a late Occaſion, when One refuſed to do his Duty, Another endeavoured to do it for him; but can that in any manner juſtify Another for buſying himſelf in an Affair where neither One nor Another had any manner of Concern. If the Spoils of Julius Caeſar were offered unto Cato, as the Hiſtorian Titus Livius in his Decade XII. relateth, and that High-ſpirited Stoick Philoſopher, as Mr. CIBBER in his Letter, Page 1743 affirms, caſt them aſide with Indignation, of what great Importance is that either to One or to Another? Eſpecially that unhappy incident having happened at a Time when our very Grandfathers were ſcarcely thought of. It is true it may caſt ſome Reflection on the Wiſdom, for which Cato is ſo celebrated by all the Antients, to a Man, and is celebrated for it by our own Countryman Mr. Joſeph Addiſon, tho' he has thought fit to put it in the Mouth of an Enemy, in the following Words, viz. ‘CATO, the World talks loudly of your WISDOM. ’
We might indeed amuſe ourſelves in Diſcourſe on ſo odd and out of the way an Occurrence, and conſole ourſelves with the Reflection which naturally occurs from thence, that wiſeſt Men have ever had their blind Sides, not excepting even Solomon the Magnificent Emperor of the Turks, ſo renowned for his Adage; but why ſhould Another take upon him to ill treat any One on Account of a Blemiſh in the Character of ſo great a Man as CATO? By what appears to me this is wholly calculated and intended on ſet purpoſe to revive the uſual Feuds between One and Another, and as far as any Forecaſt One can be ſuppoſed to have, which Another may equally attribute to himſelf, this Affair muſt terminate in a Paper War, in which you cannot but know One is as well able and willing to undertake as Another, which if not ſpeedily prevented ſhall be proſecuted with the [Page 26] utmoſt Vigour of One as well as Another. Mean Time I beg leave to ſubſcribe myſelf.
Yours, &c.Dublin, July the 22d, 1743.
I Was in hopes I ſhould not have had Occaſion to trouble the Publick any more, but farther Misfortunes falling on me, and farther Crimes laid to my Charge, have put me under the Neceſſity of Vindicating myſelf.
It has been ſaid, that I ſpirited up the Scholars to prevent Mr. CIBBER's preforming laſt Thurſday.—In anſwer to this, I moſt ſolemnly declare, that upon reading the Advertiſement which they had put in Faulkner's Journal, without my Knowledge, out of Zeal to my Intereſt, I made it my Buſineſs to find out the Gentlemen who had drawn it up, and by all the Arguments I was Maſter of, drew a Promiſe from them that they would not go to the Play-Houſe the above Night. For the Truth of this, I appeal to themſelves. They have already publiſh'd an Advertiſement in Reilly's Paper of laſt Saturday, in which they have entirely clear'd me, and given Reaſons why they altered their Reſolution. Moſt of theſe Gentlemen I was hardly known to; if I had had a Deſign to have form'd a Party in the College, I think it was moſt probable that I ſhould have applied to ſuch as I had the Pleaſure of knowing: I appeal to them then, or any of them, whether I ever ſpoke to them on that Head, unleſs it was to uſe their Endeavours to prevent any ſuch Reſolution being enter'd into.
Tho' the Publick may have but little Regard to my bare Word on this Occaſion, yet if they conſider that after ſo ſolemn a Declaration, if what I ſay be falſe, I put it in the Power of any one of theſe Gentlemen, at [Page 27] any Time, to prove me a Scoundrel, if they conſider how low I muſt fall, even in their Opinions, ſhould I give what they know to be a Lie, under my Hand in a publick Manner, I hope no one will think that I would with my Eyes open commit ſuch a Piece of Folly.
I well knew the fatal Conſequences of forming a Party, and too well foreſaw the Uſe my Enemies would make of it, to my Diſadvantage. For, indeed, what could I propoſe to myſelf by it, but to bring the Hatred of the Publick upon me, and what End would it anſwer? I never look'd on Mr. CIBBER as an Antagoniſt of mine; I always had ſo mean an Opinion of him in his Characters in Tragedy, that I would not even wiſh that he ſhould have the Reputation of being ſuch by any Oppoſition made on my Part; I hope the Publick will readily believe that I had no Cauſe to be afraid of his appearing in any Character of mine.
As to the impudent and ſcurrilous Epiſtle which Mr. CIBBER publiſh'd, I was determined to take no Notice of it, for I thought him in every Reſpect beneath my loweſt Reſentment; I did not care to wreſtle with a Sweep-chimney: But as I find there are a few who do not know the Man, led away by his falſe Repreſentations, and as he has endeavoured to abuſe that noble Principle, for which this Kingdom is ſo juſtly famed, and which I hope we ſhall never loſe, I mean that generous Spirit of Hoſpitality derived to us from our Forefathers, to his own wicked Ends and Purpoſes, I think it neceſſary for my own Sake, and for the Sake of the Publick, to unmaſk this Jago, and lay him open to the World. In order to do this I ſhall beg Leave to ſtate one Fact.
The Night that I was to have performed Cato (an unfortunate Night for me) when a thouſand unforeſeen Accidents had thrown me into ſuch a diſorder'd State of Mind as I had never known before, I found of a ſudden Mr. CIBBER's Behaviour, which before was very complaiſant, or rather meanly ſubmiſſive, was totally changed; inſtead of trying all Methods to appeaſe a Perſon beſide himſelf with Paſſion, he did all he could [Page 28] to aggravate Matters: When I aſked him what I ſhould do in this Exigence, for want of a Robe? He anſwered, ſomewhat ſhortly, play without a Robe: When, upon that, I laid open to him what a deſpicable Figure I ſhould make, he turn'd upon his Heel, and ſaid, D—n me if I care what you do, the Play ſhall not ſtand ſtill for you; and immediately went and ordered the Prompter to draw up the Curtain. When I heard this, I was ſtunn'd at the Inſolence of the Fellow, who neither had any Right to command in that Houſe, nor was in any Shape intereſted in the Event of that Night. It put me paſt all Patience, and the Terror I was under, leſt the Curtain ſhould be drawn up before I had Time to make an Apology, at a Time that I found myſelf incapable of playing, made me ruſh like a Madman precipitately on the Stage, before I had conſidered what I ſhould ſay to the Audience. Mr. CIBBER, to my great Surprize, came on immediately after me, and very officiouſly (to give it no harſher Term) offered to read the Part of Cato, at the ſame Time that he was to play Syphax. I ſay officiouſly; for if I can make it appear that he was no way concerned, either in Point of Intereſt or Money, the World will judge ſo too.
Mr. CIBBER knows, that the Actors had determined to ſeize on the Receipts of that Night, and all the ſucceeding ones, except the next, (the entire Receipts of which were to have been mine) to pay themſelves their Salaries, of which they had been defrauded by the Roguery of ſome of the Managers. He knows, that the Reaſon of his continuing to play on afterwards, was only to fulfil his Agreement, that he might have an Opportunity of ſuing the Perſons he contracted with for the Sum ſtipulated. He knows (notwithſtanding his plauſible Pretence in his Epiſtle, for chuſing the Characters which he gave out) that he intended to perform, in theſe Words, ‘"And was it not reaſonable for us to propoſe acting ſuch Pieces as might excite the greateſt Curioſity in the Town, whereby the Managers might be enabled to pay us and the reſt of the Company."’ I ſay, he knows that not a Shilling of this was either to go to the Managers or to them. He knows, that he had a Lawyer's Opinion, That it was not neceſſary for [Page 29] him to perform the Number of Nights mentioned tn their Agreement, it was ſufficient if he was ready io perform them in the limited Time. He knows, that he reckoned into one of the Number the Play of the Rehearſal, which was diſmiſſed the Night before. What then could prompt Mr. CIBBER to make ſuch an extravagant and impudent Propoſal to the Audience, as that of reading the Character of Cato, when at the ſame Time he was to play Syphax. I ſay, what could prompt him to give himſelf ſo much unneceſſary Trouble, if he was no way obliged to it, either in Point of Duty, Intereſt, or Money. It was a malicious and wicked Scheme which he had long had in Agitation, and which my Misfortune that Night firſt gave him an Opportunity of putting in Practice. It was a Deſign of building his Fame upon my Ruin.
In order to prove this I ſhall, firſt of all, give a ſhort Account of my Behaviour to Mr. CIBBER, ſince his Arrival in this Kingdom. To proceed in his own Method, I ſhall beg Leave to aſk him a few Queſtions.
Was I not a principal Means of preventing the Trial between Mr. Sloper and him, and the Letters which paſſed between him and his Wife, from being reprinted here ſoon after his Arrival: And did I not commiſſion a Friend to offer the Expence of the Impreſſion, out of my own Pocket, rather than a Stranger ſhould be hurt?
Did I not, when I found Mr. Philips trifling with him, and refuſing to perform the Contract, before his Face declare, that I never would in any Shape be concern'd with Mr. Philips hereafter, if he did not pay [Page 30] him, nay, more, offer'd to play with Mr. Cibber in the other Houſe; to try by that Means to make up his Loſs?
The firſt he had was the above mention'd unhappy Night. Might not one reaſonably expect after all this, that Mr. Cibber would not try to injure me if I did nothing to injure him? But he had worn the Maſk too long, he found an Opportunity of throwing it off, and leap'd at it with the greateſt Eagerneſs, notwithſtanding the many Obligations I had laid him under to me; he could not forgive me, that my Name brought full Houſes when he was obliged to diſmiſs, or to play to empty Benches. His Envy, Spleen, and Malice, which long lay ſmother'd in his Breaſt, now burſt forth into a Blaze. He ſaw me under the Neceſſity of diſappointing an Audience, and conſequently diſobliging them. He contributed as far as in him lay to the one, and was determin'd to improve the other.
I have already ſhewn that he was not obliged, by any Principle of Duty or Profit, to this Work of Supererogation; it muſt be then from ſome other Motive, Complaiſance to the Audience, perhaps.—Impudent as he is he cannot think that the doing ſo unprecedented a Thing, as that of reading a capital Part, and playing another at the ſame Time, could give them any Pleaſure; an Attempt which no one but himſelf could ever have thought of, and which even his own Hardineſs muſt have been ſhocked at had he not had the blackeſt Malice in his Heart to prompt him to it. He ſaw the Audience greatly offended at the Diſappointment they met with in my not being able to perform, and very juſtly too, fince it was not in my Power to give them the Reaſons which prevented it. He laid hold of this Opportunity, at once, to run me down in the Opinion of the World, and ingratiate himſelf by the Appearance of an officious Zeal to do every Thing that might give Pleaſure to the Publick. He hoped by this Means to drive me out of the Kingdom, and to eſtabliſh himſelf [Page 31] here for the next Winter, as he knows it is impoſſible for him to return to London. This is the more probable, as I had often declar'd in Confidence to him, that I ſhould never be able to ſtand the Shock of any Party form'd againſt me. His ſubſequent Behaviour is a manifeſt Proof of his Deſign: For after I had left the Playhouſe, and ſent Word, in the Heat of Paſſion, that I ſhould never play there again, Mr Cibber, for fear I ſhould cool upon it, or try to reconcile the Favour of the Town to me again, in a violent Hurry gave out three Plays together (a moſt unuſual Thing, unleſs in caſe of Benefits) in two of which he was to appear in Characters of mine. By this Means, let me have been ever ſo innocent, had not the other Company been in Town, I muſt have quit the Field to him, and left him triumphant.
When I endeavour'd to vindicate myſelf to the Publick, and make an Apology for not performing, Mr. Cibber undertook to anſwer me. What Right, or what Colour like to Right, had he to undertake it? I made no mention of him in the Paper which I publiſh'd, tho' I had a juſt Reaſon to do it; becauſe I did not care to be embroil'd with a Man of his trouble ſome Temper, who has always kept every Theatre in which he was engag'd, in hot Water. I had hitherto had no Quarrel to him, I had done him ſome Favours, ſhould he not if he had the leaſt Humanity (to leave Gratitude out of the Queſtion) have endeavour'd rather to clear me in the Opinion of the Town than endeavour to hurt me, I cannot find that he himſelf has given any tolerable Colour for his entering ſo eavalierly a Volunteer in the Cauſe. His ſetting out, where certainly he ought to have given ſome Reaſon for his undertaking ſuch a Part, is no more than this; ‘"Mr. Sheridan, Your injudicious Diſappointment of the Company laſt Thurſday, who expected to ſee you in the Character of Cato, and your indiſcreet Attempt to diſmiſs the Audience, having, as you confeſs, become a Town-talk, and given Riſe to many idle Falſhoods, merely calculated to injure the Innocent, you muſt excuſe me if I relate the Fact, ſtrictly adhering to [Page 32] Truth."’ So that here he does not pretend to give any Reaſon, only, You muſt excuſe me.
Here and thro' the whole Epiſtle, you may obſerve by his ill-natur'd and bitter Expreſſions, his perſonal Pique and Spleen to me, who never had injur'd him. Mr. Cibber mentions in the Courſe of his Letter, that he heard I had ſpread about ſeveral Reports to his Diſadvantage, but why did Mr. Cibber, whoſe Motto to this Epiſtle is, It is a kind of Slander to truſt to Rumour, ſo readily believe thoſe Reports of one with whom he had hitherto liv'd on a good Footing. Mr. Giffard had heard the ſame Thing in regard to himſelf, but he, like a Gentleman, came and aſk'd me the Truth of it, and I ſatisfy'd him. Why did not Mr. Cibber, if he had the leaſt of a Gentleman about him, behave in the ſame Manner, before he ventur'd to publiſh them to the World, and draw Concluſions from them, as Truths, to my Diſadvantage? No, Mr. Cibber neither wanted, nor wiſh'd that I ſhould juſtify myſelf; his Affairs were grown ſo deſperate, that he had no Hope left but, by a Train of villainous Calumnies, and a Proſuſion of ſcurrilous Language, to try to make me do ſomething monſtrous, to plunge me ſtill deeper in the Diſpleaſure of the Town; at leaſt he had Hopes that this Conduct might rouze (perhaps) the indiſcreet Zeal of ſome of my Friends or Well-wiſhers, to attempt ſomething againſt him which he would be ſure to lay at my Door. Unhappily for me, the latter Part ſucceeded to his Wiſh.
To prove that this was his Principle, I ſhall only make uſe of one Argument. I ſhall not pretend to juſtify or condemn the Gentlemen of the College, it is not my Buſineſs, and the World may eaſily ſee how tickliſh a Point that would be for me to handle. All I ſhall endeavour to do, is, to prove that Mr. Cibber, knowingly and willingly, brought it upon himſelf. He treated the Advertiſement which they had put into the Journal, in a contemptuous and inſolent Way, on a Suppoſition that they were mine. But no one ſhall make me believe that any Man of common Senſe, as I will allow Mr. Cibber to be, could ſuppoſe me either fooliſh enough or baſe enough to do it. Had I wrote ſuch an [Page 33] Advertiſement in the Name of the Gentlemen of the College, was it not natural for them to enquire who it was that dar'd to make uſe of their Name, and had I done it, what Puniſhment would have been too great for my Preſumption?
Mr. Cibber might eaſily have known of Mr. Faulkner, whether they had left it there or no. Upon this Probability then, that he muſt have known it was theirs, what could Mr. Cibber expect from a Set of young Gentlemen, who are, thro' their Youth, warm? What could he hope for, but that they would ſhew their Reſentment for this contemptuous Manner of treating what they had wrote? Nay, muſt he not expect, that probably they would think themſelves bound in Honour to take ſome publick Method of convincing him that they had wrote it, leſt the Calumny which he had caſt upon me, thro' their Silence, ſhould be fix'd upon me. People may wonder that Mr. Cibber ſhould run ſuch a Riſque from ſuch a Motive; but he has been ſo accuſtom'd to Things of this Nature, that they appear to him but as common Matters. The Pleaſure he propoſed to himſelf in having an Opportunity of diſplaying his Eloquence the next Day, of throwing at the Feet of the Publick an unfortunate Stranger unhoſpitably us'd, and above all the joyful Hope of being able to fix this Diſturbance upon me, as it's Author, wou'd, he thought, more than compenſate for any Thing he could ſuffer.
Mr. Cibber is the more inexcuſable, as I took all Pains to prevent his doing any raſh Thing, which might draw more Odium on him from the Gentlemen of the College; I told Mr. Wright and ſeveral others of the Players, that it might reach his Ears, that I had been with the Gentlemen of the College, to prevent any Miſchief, not for Mr. Cibber's ſake, (for I owed him no Favour) but my own: That I had laid open to them the ill Conſequences that would attend me, ſhould any Diſturbance happen at the Theatre, that upon this, they had all promiſed in a ſolemn Manner not to go; and I bid them aſſure Mr. Cibber, that he need not fear any Interruption. Notwithſtanding this, he publiſhed his Epiſtle afterwards, wherein the Gentlemen of [Page 34] the College thought themſelves perſonally ill-treated, and were rouz'd into ſuch a Rage, as no Endeavours of mine or all Mankind could have appeas'd.
Does not this Conduct of his evidently prove, that he ſhut his Eyes to Conviction, that he was determin'd at all Events to purſue the Scheme he had laid down; it either muſt be owing to this, or to the ſtrangeſt Infatuation that ever poſſeſſed Man. As to Mr. Cibber's Poſtſcript, I read it without any Emotion, and heartily thank him for it. He has there painted himſelf in ſtronger Colours than either I could, or my Humanity would ſuffer me to do. His ridiculous Challenge, in the true Stile of an Ancient Piſtol, ſent to me by all the News-Boys in Town, I deſpiſe. He has put himſelf, by his Behaviour, far beneath the Footing of a Gentleman. I ſhall go about my Buſineſs as uſual; if I am attack'd, I ſhall endeavour to defend myſelf, nor ſhall I ever be afraid of any who dare do Wrong. And now I have done with him—I am ſorry I have been compelled to ſhew any Man in ſo bad a Light, but the World muſt do me the Juſtice, to own, he has forced me to do it in my own Defence. I ſhall trouble my Head no farther with him, but leave him to Heav'n,
And to the Thorns which in his Boſom lodge,To goad and ſting him.
It is now Time I ſhould addreſs myſelf to the Publick. There are two Things laid to my Charge; one is, That I ſpirited up the Gentlemen of the College to raiſe a Diſturbance in the Theatre.—A heavy Charge indeed, if true: I have done all that is in the Power of Man to clear myſelf of it, and I hope there is none of the leaſt Humanity but will acquit me. The other is, That I willingly diſobliged the Publick in not playing the Part of Cato.
I publiſhed an Apology, not without conſulting a Gentleman, of great Knowledge and Experience in the World, in it, which, perhaps, the over Eaſineſs of my Friends thought a ſufficient Defence. Perhaps, indeed, I impoſed on myſelf as well as them.
If there be any who think I meant them an Offence, that I did it thro' Wantonneſs, or thro' Contempt of the Audience, I heartily aſk their Pardon; and the [Page 35] only Way I have left to make them Amends, is to exert myſelf in that Character on Thurſday next, if they will honour me with their Company that Night. The Matter is come to this Iſſue, that I muſt either riſe or fall in the Opinion of the World by the Event of that Night. If I am the Perſon Mr. Cibber repreſents; if I was an unworthy Member of the College; (which my old Cotemporaries there, and thoſe Ornaments of Learning, the Fellows, who knew my Behaviour, will hardly take his Word for) if I am not fit to be received in a Company of Strollers (for which Compliment the many People of Faſhion, who have honoured me with their Acquaintance in private, and their Approbation in publick, are much obliged to him) I am not, indeed, worthy of your Countenance: You all know me; I have lived amongſt you; if I have the leaſt Title to your Favour, I hope the Good-nature of my Friends, and the Benevolence of the Publick, which I have ſo often, and in ſo extraordinary a Manner, experienced, will not deſert me in this Exigence, nor ſuffer me to fall a Sacrifice to the mean Artifices, and be baniſhed my Country by the wicked Schemes of a—no, I will not put myſelf ſo much on a Level with him as to call him by the Name he deſerves—who, I am well aſſur'd, dare not ſhew his Face in his own.
If any Expreſſions too warm or indiſcreet have drop'd from me, in the Courſe of this Addreſs, I hope for the Indulgence of the Publick, when I inform them that I have been obliged to draw it up almoſt in the ſpace of one Day, and that too in no very eaſy ſtate of Mind. For I queſtion whether the innocent Man, tho' he has great Advantages over the other, feels leſs than the Man of Guilt, while he is labouring under a Load of Calumny. My whole Intention was to endeavour to clear myſelf, with all Duty, Deference and Submiſſion to the Publick, whoſe humble Servant I am,
‘Pray, Sir, when you write, do you let Blood and take Phyſicke, or make uſe of ſtew'd Pruants only? Vide the REHEARSAL. ’Parturiunt montes, naſcetur ridiculus mus!What damn'd coſtive Poet haſt thou been reading?CONGREVE.
And write about it, Goddeſs, and about it.POPE.
Wedneſday Afternoon, July 27, 1743.
WHEN I call this a Proper Reply, I mean ſuch a one as may be fitting for the Publick to read, and not ſuch a one as Sheridan ought to receive. Without playing the Critick on his nonſenſical, tautological Stile, and rambling Inconnections, I ſhall only take this Notice of his Scurrility: Foul Language, in an Addreſs to the Publick, is an Affront to their Ears: 'tis a Breach of good Manners, and almoſt as unpardonable as throwing Glaſſes, &c. in Company. There's neither Wit, Senſe, Pleaſantry, or Bravery in either.—That it is ſaid by many that Mr. Sheridan ſpirited up ſome Perſons to create a Diſturbance in the Theatre, is a known truth, and it is alſo a truth that many firmly believe it, from well-grounded Reaſons. SHERIDAN's pretending to know nothing of the Advertiſement and Letter, firſt publiſh'd in Mr. Faulkner's Journal, is not at all ſurpriſing, after many other Things he has modeſtly ventur'd to aſſert, even when Numbers know the contrary. Mr. ARNE told me at the Rainbow Coffee-houſe, on Wedneſday laſt, in Company with ſeveral others, that he had been juſt talking with Mr. Faulkner at the Globe Coffee houſe, who, among other Things, declared his Opinion, That it was indiſcreet in Mr. Sheridan to cauſe, or ſuffer, ſuch Things to be publiſh'd; 'twould be more likely to prejudice than ſerve him, &c. and that he had advis'd Mr. Sheridan to the contrary—whoſe Reply was—He was determin'd.—Beſides this, 'tis notorious he had ſeveral Perſons [Page 37] to dine or ſup with him, on different Days, and had loſt no Time, nor ſpared any Money in Chair Hire, &c. to alarm all Parts of the Town, as well as his particular Intimates, he was an injur'd Perſon, forſooth! tho' in what, has not yet appear'd. Add to this his previous Declarations to any one's appearing in any Part he had thought of playing; his threatning them with an ill Reception from his Friends, over whom he boaſted a particular Sway (no great Compliment to them by the way) and what muſt we think of this Man; or what Regard ought the Publick to have either to his Word or Oath?
The Riot that enſued on the Thurſday following, is known to the whole Town; their Sentiments of it will better come from their Mouths than my Pen.—The Town's generous and uncommon Reception and Protection of me ſince, was an Inſtance what an Abhorrence they had of the former raſh Behaviour of a few, miſled by a very bad Man:—I muſt have Recourſe to his Vocabulary, e'er I can find Words low enough to paint him. The extraordinary kind Treatment the Publick afforded me on Monday Night in the Character of Othello, I am conſcious, was more owing to their ſpirited hoſpitable Uſage of a Stranger, than any Merits, my Attempts to pleaſe them, could lay claim to:—I have a ſincere and grateful Senſe of their Favours; it warms my Heart, and I ſhall always think it a Duty incumbent on me, loudly to acknowledge an Act ſo much to their Honour: I confeſs it here, and ſhall not forget it when in England, to which Place I propoſe returning ſpeedily;—tho' the modeſt, the brave Mr. Sheridan, whoſe Veracity is to be ranked with his other Virtues, is pleaſed to aſſert the Impoſſibility of my returning. I ſhall contradict him by Facts, not by dirty Language.
Let me inform him, all bad Expreſſions retort upon the Slanderer; let then his own ſcurrilous Libel ſtick on himſelf, till he wipes it off like a Gentleman. His Affectation of treating me with Contempt, as an Actor, is ſuch a pretty Piece of preſumptive Vanity, that his choice Opinion alone ſhould lead the Town, and ſuch a paltry Puff of his own Praiſe, as is only fit to be [Page 38] laugh'd at—But how, if the Great Sheridan ſhould have given ſomething, under his own Hand, quite contradictory to this mean Opinion of a Man whom, he ſays, he had no Cauſe to be afraid of? What will Gentlemen think of Tommy then? Why,—as they think of him already.—As I chuſe Facts, rather than meer Aſſertions, to contradict his Calumny and Falſhoods, I deſire the Patience of the Publick to read the following Letter, ſent from Mr. Sheridan to me, in a Letter inclos'd to Mr. Giffard, then in London; the Date ſays when.
A true Copy of Mr. Sheridan's Letter to Mr. Cibber.
March 22d. 1742.
THO' I have not the favour of being known to you, yet I make bold to write to you about an Affair, in which you are concern'd as well as I. I hear the Gentlemen of Aungier-ſtreet Theatre, intend to make Propoſals to you about a Summer Expedition to this Kingdom; as I had ſome Thoughts of doing the ſame in favour of the People of Smock-alley, this Intelligence has haſten'd my Application to you perſonally, which otherwiſe might appear too abrupt. There are many Reaſons why I ſhould think it our mutual Intereſt to play in one Houſe. In the firſt place, if we act in different Houſes, the Town will poſſibly be divided, and the Receipts of both will neceſſarily be much leſſen'd. Not that I ſhould expect this upon the footing of Merit, but I know not how it is, whether it be their Partiality to their Countryman, or whether it be owing to the powerful Intereſt of a Number of Friends that I have in this City, but there never was known ſuch Encouragement, ſuch Applauſe given to any Actor, or ſuch full Houſes as ſince I appear'd on the Stage. Mr. Giffard will inform you that Dublin is not like London, we have not two Audiences in the whole City, eſpecially as the Town is now more empty than it has ever been known. Beſides, as it is not improbable, but that we may be together next Winter, it will be a great Advantage to practice ſuch Plays together, as we can both appear in I am commiſſion'd to aſſure you from the Managers of Smock-alley, and I will alſo do it from myſelf, that you ſhall [Page 39] have all the Encouragement that you can expect, they are as willing, and they are as well able to do it as thoſe in Aungier-ſtreet. I ſhould be obliged to you, if you would let me know as ſoon as poſſible, whether you have any deſign of coming hither, what are your Terms, and how ſoon it would be convenient for you to come. You may think, it is my own Intereſt that has prompted me to write to you, 'tis very true, I have no ſmall Cauſe to be afraid of ſo potent an Antagoniſt, but I believe upon mature Deliberation, you will alſo find it your Intereſt to be with us. If you will favour me with a ſpeedy Anſwer, you will extremely oblige
Your Admirer and very humble Servant THOMAS SHERIDAN.
To this I wrote an Anſwer, I believe, not unbecoming a Gentleman to ſend, or a Gentleman to receive:—Sheridan may print it, if he pleaſes; I hope he won't alter it tho'.—As I have been honoured with a Meſſage from the Heads of the College, to ſignify their Deteſtation of the outrageous Proceedings at the Theatre, on the Night Othello was firſt intended; and thoſe Gentlemen having abſolutely diſclaimed any of the Advertiſements being any Act of the College; but, on the contrary, look on 'em as a Reflection and Affront on that worthy Body, let Sheridan make 'em Libellers, not I; I ſay Sheridan,—Sheridan who carried that Piece of Rhetorick laſt Friday to Mr. Faulkner, who prudentially choſe not to affront his worthy Fellow Citizens, as he declar'd to Sheridan:—indeed, Maſter Tommy, to ſoften it, it ſeems, alter'd the Word Butchers to Ruffians; a tender Apellation! and then was angry with Mr. Faulkner, who poſitively refuſed to inſert it: Some other Printers did inſert it, who have confeſſed, Sheridan brought it to 'em. Here it may not be improper to tranſcribe Sheridan's third Paragraph of his modeſt Addreſs, &c.
‘Tho' the Publick may have but little Regard to my bare Word on this Occaſion, yet if they conſider that after ſo ſolemn a Declaration, if what I ſay be falſe, I put it in the Power of any one of theſe Gentlemen, at any Time, to prove me a SCOUNDREL, if [Page 40] they conſider how low I muſt fall, even in their Opinions, ſhould I give what they know to be a LIE, under my Hand in a publick Manner, I hope no one will think that I would with my Eyes open commit ſuch a Piece of Folly.’
You little thought, when you wrote this, that Mr. Faulkner had declar'd his refuſing the Advertiſement, or that Mrs. Reilly had ſent Word to the College, that You brought the Advertiſement to her, in which you chang'd the Word Butchers to Ruffians; and by which, in the Name of the abus'd College, you clear yourſelf of knowing any thing of the Matter: Any one may be ſatisfied of the Truth of this, who will give themſelves the Trouble to call at the Printers.
As to the Inſinuation of my procuring Ruffians (as the well bred Sheridan may ſtile them) to be at the Theatre, I appeal to the Publick, if I have not always, in any Diſcouſe I ever held on the Subject, made it my earneſt Requeſt, every Step ſhould be avoided that might diſturb the publick Peace; and I hoped none would be omitted to preſerve it. If any honeſt Man will ſtep forth, and ſay, I have not acted thus, or ever deſir'd any one to be preſent, to give me a forced Applauſe, let this, I ſay, be proved, and I'll bow me to the Shame Tom Sheridan deſerves for all his Falſhoods.
In anſwer to the Meſſage I was favour'd with from the College, as aforementioned, I begg'd my humble Reſpects might be acceptable; and tho' I was preſſed to mention the Names of thoſe who were concerned in the Diſturbance, I deſir'd to be excus'd, ſince, as I was a Stranger to their Perſons, I might poſſibly be miſinform'd; and, tho' I had been adviſed to addreſs the Provoſt on this Occaſion, nay, farther, to apply for a Lord Chief Juſtice's Warrant, to be ſerved on the Aggreſſors—I declin'd all Proceedings of this Sort; tho' I have an undoubted Right to the Protection of the Laws, equal with any of my fellow Subjects. I had Charity enough to conſider this, as an inconſiderate Act of warm Blood, and more the Effect of Partiality to this artful Man, than any ill will to me; I imagined their cooler Reaſon would diſprove it, I believed [Page 41] their Judgments would not repeat it, and I declared, without freſh Occaſion, never to diſturb any one about it; I have kept my Word.
But, to go on with you, Sir, Pray what were thoſe thouſand unforeſeen Accidents that ſo diſorder'd your dear Mind, on the fatal Night you mention? Why have you not recited 'em? I call'd on you to do it in my Epiſtle to you. Did you not appear to every one very tranquil, till there was no great Hopes of a crouded Audience; ſtill your Philoſophy prevailed, till it appear'd the Robe did not appear; that indeed ‘"inflam'd your noble Liver and made you rage;"’ well, but ‘"on a ſudden Mr. Cibber's Behaviour, which before was complaiſant, or rather meanly ſubmiſſive (a generous and grateful Expreſſion, for my treating you all along, with more Breeding than you deſerv'd, or probably ever underſtood or practis'd) "was totally changed:"’ This Aſſertion every one, behind the Scenes that Night, can deny; I appeal to Mr. Giffard, Mr. Wright, and many others there, if I did not adviſe you, like a Friend and a Gentleman, not to do an indiſcreet uncivil Thing toward the Audience, let Philips or any one be to blame;—and ſo, ‘"on my ordering the Curtain to be drawn up, you ruſh'd precipitately on the Stage:"’ Theſe Lies are as monſtrous as the Father of 'em. I never ordered the Curtain to riſe till the Audience accepted my Offer of having Cato read. Did you not undreſs yourſelf from Head to Foot, and poſitively ſwear, to me and ſeveral, you would inform the Audience you would not play, on account of your Diſappointment? Were you not in your own Cloaths when you appeared? And did you not farther, even then, * abuſe the Ears of the Audience, with ſaying, Philips had lock'd up your Cloaths, tho' many ſaw you dreſſed for the Part, as aforementioned?
If I choſe to Play on, to fulfil my Agreement, which the Managers would not releaſe me from, was I not right?—The Actors, you ſay, determin'd to ſeize on the Receipt of that Night, to pay their Salaries; [Page 42] 'Tis true, You, Mr. Morris, and Mr. Wright agreed, they ſhould have that Houſe, not having received any Salary for three Weeks;—But, you propos'd to receive the next for your ſelf alone: And had taken care to ſeize the beſt Receipt taken at your Playing (viz. the firſt Night of Cato) which did not amount to forty Pounds.—Who then acted honeſtly, I, whochoſe not to diſmiſs the Audience, or you, who to the diſappointment of the poor unpaid People, would have depriv'd 'em of the Receipt of that Houſe, by a Diſmiſſion? What could I propoſe by Playing on, but juſtly to fulfil the Agreements on my part, which the unfair Managers would neither releaſe us from, nor Pay us for? Certainly I ought to take all legal means to recover, what I have been ſo unjuſtly depriv'd of. The Diſmiſſion of the Rehearſal, (a Play too often repeated, given out by Philips, on a By-Day, againſt the Senſe of the Company, when you were yourſelf afraid of Playing) was the imprudent Act of Philips; tho' at the time the Audience were ſent away, every one allows, there was a better Proſpect of an Audience, than there was at the ſame Hour, to the Play of Cato—If my offering to the Audience to read Cato and Play Syphax, was, as your Wit and Modeſty terms it, an impudent and extravagant Propoſal; what ſort of Language would you beſtow on them who allow'd of it if you durſt? The trouble was not unneceſſary, tho' fatiguing enough; it was both my Duty and Intereſt to act, as the Audience directed: And, by their Appointment I play'd Syphax, and read Cato. I wonder you have not publiſh'd your Diſpleaſure towards them, for the terrible Mortification your little Pride, mean Vanity, poor Envy, and rancarous Heart felt, from the unbounded Good-nature they ſhew'd me on that Occaſion—But this it ſeems. Tommy ſays, was a malicious wicked Scheme, I had long in Agitation. Sure, I muſt have dealt with the Devil, Tommy, to have foreknown you could have acted, ſo ſuddenly as you did, the part of ſuch an extravagant Fool: Who could have ſuſpected it? And why ſhould I, Chicken, wiſh to build my Fame on thy poor Ruin? I queſtion if I did not paſs for an Actor of Reputation, when you [Page 43] probably eat Spoon-Meat; to build my Fame upon ſuch Ruins, were as low, as a General's hoping to gain Reputation, from his laying ſiege to, and demoliſhing a ſet of, Cotts or Cabins. I aſk pardon for the ſudden Extravaganza of the Compariſon, as far as it relates to the Officer; but ſhall not apologize for what part relates to you: You will be honour'd by any Compariſon.—
Well but, Tommy ſays, my Fame was deſign'd on his Ruin; to prove it, he'll give an Account of his Behaviour to Mr. Cibber, ſince his Arrival in this Kingdom—very pretty Reaſoning this, truly! How was your Behaviour to prove my Deſign?—Prithee, Boy, go to School again; learn to make Themes, and to mend your Manners.—Well, to proceed, Tommy will ask Mr. Cibber a few Queſtions, which have no Analogy, nor are at all appoſite to any Queſtion Mr. Cibber has made Tommy; no, Sophiſter Tommy, can't anſwer 'em:—Very well, Child, go on, I'll anſwer your Queſtions. They are as follow.
Anſw. How could I be conſcious I could not, without your Aſſiſtance, ſet my foot on any Stage here, after you had by Letter of Complement, invited me to one Theatre; and Mr. DESBRISAY, and other Gentlemen (Men of Worth and Honour) had, by Meſſage, and Letter of Attorney granted to Mr. SWAN (who came to England on purpoſe) invited me to the other? Needs there more be ſaid to this?
Anſw. How came your Power to quaſh a * Cartel? Or, who had a Right to make ſuch Cartel? That Mr. Swan (he is abſent, therefore to be treated tenderly) drew one is certain; that ſome injudicious People ſign'd it, I believe: But ſtill, Aungier-ſtreet was open to receive [Page 44] me—the ſame Terms proffer'd me,—nay, would I have engag'd alone, double the Terms, which I am now to get when I can. But, Mr. Sheridan's particular Application, and Perſwaſions, have drawn me into an Agreement I have but too much Reaſon to Repent.
Anſw. And ſo, thou, condeſcending Creature, didſt treat me with all Civility. And, pray, why ſhould not you?—or could you ſuppoſe, you would not hear of it, whenever you behav'd otherwiſe? I think you have, and I believe you will ſtill:—Oh! but my unhappy Character prevented your having any particular Friendſhip with me; I ſhall always think it a happy Part of my Character, not to have been too far inveigled by you; and a Happineſs in my Circumſtances, that you have given me timely Warning, not to enter into any Intimacy, into which, my good-natur'd Credulity, and your wheedling Cunning, might have betray'd me: I have ſuffered too much already, 'tis well known, by ſuch Caitiffs.
Queſt. 4. Was I not a principal Means of preventing the Trial between Mr. Sloper and him, and the Letters which paſſed between him and his Wife, from being reprinted here ſoon after his Arrival: And did I not commiſſion a Friend to offer the Expence of the Impreſſion, out of my own Pocket, rather than a Stranger ſhould be hurt?
Anſw. You ſay, but we have only your bare Word for it (which is now in no great Eſtimation) you prevented the Trial between Sloper and me, being printed; I don't know you did, nor do I believe you did; and I am ſure, I don't care whether it's printed or no: Time, Truth, and undeniable Facts, have open'd the Eyes of Mankind, ſo much, in my Behalf, on account of that unhappy Affair, that I have no farther Anxiety about it, nor dread any Imputation on my Honour, or Honeſty thereby.—As to the Letters, between me, and my Wife, whenever they are read, all ſenſible impartial Readers will readily allow me to [Page 45] be, tho'a weak, an unfortunate Man; a hurt Lover, an injur'd Huſband, and a Friend betray'd.—But, how dare you, thou unſpeakable Wretch, mention my Wife,—or what wouldſt thou intimate? I defy my direſt Enemy, who dares ſpeak Truth, to ſay, that ought ever happened between us, but what, too fatally, has prov'd me to be ‘One, who lov'd not wiſely, but too well!’
As to Mrs. CIBBER, I ſhall only at preſent ſay of her, the Amendment of her Conduct, joined to her Merits as an Actreſs, having gained her the Good will of many, and reſtor'd her to the charitable Thoughts of a kind World, I will ſcorn (tho' wounded in the deepeſt Manner Human Nature can feel) ever to uſe any low Invectives againſt a Woman, or to obſtruct her future Quiet, or her Happineſs, unleſs (and I hope there will be no Occaſion) ſome future Cauſe ſhould call upon my Honour, as a Huſband, to put that Power in force, which my Humanity would be ſhock'd to be driven to the Neceſſity of executing.—But ſay, thou unnatural Thing, of Nothing, unknowing (as your neareſt Friends aver) either of the Joys, or Pains of Love, thou hateful Stranger to the Ties of Kindred, or real Joy of Social Friendſhip, what, but the moſt rancrous Heart of the moſt baſe, infamous Villain, and notorious Poltroon, could have drawn this diſgraceful Paragraph, from the Gall of thy invidous Pen? Thoſe Epithets I many Times have us'd in moſt publick Places, in publick Print, or viva voce, and ever ſhall, join'd to the Name of Sloper: Nor will the Name of THOMAS SHERIDAN, henceforward, be ever mention'd by me, but the ſame Epithets will be heard or underſtood. That a Gentleman of Honour, in this City, did prevent the Re-publiſhing of the above-mention'd Letters, I have reaſon to believe, and muſt think it deſign'd as an Act of good Nature in him, as not willing either ſhould be hurt:—But your ſtopping 'em I know nothing of, any more than I do of the Obligations, you would intimate, I have to you, unleſs you mean it an Obligation—that I have accidentally done you the favour to dine with you, when I might have paſs'd my Time more agreeably in better Company.
Anſ. You did promiſe to ſtudy a Part for my Benefit, tho' I did not want you to do it; but you ſince ſaid you'd play no more; and if you have refuſed that mountainous Favour, as your own vain Imagination paints it, to worthier Perſons, I think, as every one will, you were very much to blame.
Queſt. 6. Did I not, when I found Mr. Philips trifling with him, and refuſing to perform the Contract, before his Face declare, that I never would in any Shape be concern'd with Mr. Philips hereafter, if he did not pay him, nay more, offer'd to play with Mr. CIBBER in the other Houſe; to try by that Means to make up his Loſs?
Anſ. 6 and 7. When Philips trifled, and behaved ill enough (as he knows not how to behave well) you did talk of being concern'd no more with Philips, and of playing with me in another Houſe (which you thought it would be your Intereſt to do) I made you ſeveral Compliments on that Account, which, on Reflection, were more than you deſerv'd, for a Propoſition you had no Right to make, ſince you were then actually engaged with Philips, in Articles for ſome Time, ſo could not keep your Word. And whenever you play, the Players too well know how much your own Intereſt will be conſider'd, before the Welfare of any one Perſon, or the Intereſt of the whole Body.
May one not reaſonably ſuggeſt, you rather choſe to play with me, that my good Nature, or good Manners (call it Indolence, if you will) might decline any Part you wiſh'd? And if the all-ſufficient Tommy held my Playing in Tragedy ſo cheap, whence all theſe unneceſſary Cautions of his, againſt my playing in that Light? Or his Endeavours, before I appeared in the Kingdom, to imprint in the Minds of ſome People (theſe Things can be proved Tommy) my Incapacity for ſuch Performance? [Page 47] Or whence his preſent Anger avow'd againſt any Attempts of Mine of that Sort? Indeed, Child, your Heat betrays you here; it out-runs your Cunning. And ſo, your Name brought full Houſes, when we play'd to empty Benches: The worſt Houſes I have ſeen here, were when you play'd; indeed, Youth, you ſhould remember the Old Saying, Fibbers ſhould have good Memories: Not one full Houſe have I ſeen you Play to, ſince I came.—The firſt Time I ever ſaw you on the Stage, was in the Play of Julius Caeſar, when the Curioſity of ſeeing your Brother, in Caſſius, was what the Managers depended on for bringing the Audience: I was told there was then about 50l.—You play'd Lord Townly, for a Widows Benefit, to about 20l. Hamlet I believe to leſs, tho' for a Benefit too: Richard to leſs than 30l. and caus'd about 15l's. worth of Tickets to be given away to Puff for you, &c. The beſt Receipt you had was to Cato, which I have mention'd; and the firſt Night of your appearing in the Character of Horatio in the Fair Penitent, was worſe than any of theſe; and, I believe, the very worſt Audience they have known a long while.—Why, you're bewitch'd ſure;‘Sed, Quos Jupiter Vult perdere, prius dementat.’
That you have diſoblig'd an Audience, by not performing, more than once, that you have created Diſturbances more than once, the whole Town knows: But, that you were always under the Neceſſity of ſo doing, nothing but the Nonſenſe of thy own peerleſs Pericranium, could ever perſuade you to aſſert:—Can any one in their Senſes, ſuppoſe I could undertake ſo wild a Project, as to attempt driving you out of a Kingdom, you were born in, and in which you had, as you often boaſted, ſuch a ſtrong natural Intereſt? Or why, were I to ſtay, or ever to return, muſt my Eſtabliſhment be grounded on your Removal? Upon my Word, Incomparable Sir, I cannot pay you ſo great a Compliment as to think that neceſſary: Nor do I think, thou egregious Mock Monarch, like thee, of monopolizing Kingdoms, or, as you in your Letter to Mr. G—k, ridiculouſly enough phras'd it, of dividing 'em; or that, we are to be (as you farther ſaid to him) The Twin Stars of Heaven, [Page 48] &c. and ſuch like Traſh, which, his better Senſe, as I am credibly inform'd, ſmil'd at. But I ſuppoſe the Town here are to dread your threatning to depart, and join in a Petition for your Stay; ſhould you, cruel Man, leave this weeping Nation, to deplore your Abſence for a while; I'll venture to affirm, your Return will be pretty quick. Unleſs you can perſuade every body in England to hold every Performer, as low in their Opinion, as you do, when comparing 'em to your inimitable ſelf.—All Men have ſome Degree of Vanity, without it there would be but little Emulation: But yours is ſo barefac'd, ſo ſtupidly apparent, a Schoolboy would act with more Diſcretion:—However cordially partial you may be, to your dainty, delicate ſelf, I ſhall not forfeit my Underſtanding ſo much, ever to hint, you have the leaſt Right to ſtand in any Degree of Compariſon, with Mr. Quin, or Mr. Garrick, (whatever your critical Noddle may be pleaſed to alledge) or with many more there, or ſome here, who, in their different Walks, will always be your Superiors.—
As an Actor (tho' I have more to ſay to you as a Man) I ſhall yet, leave you for a while, This Anſwer already ſwelling to a large Size; But ſhall take an Opportunity, of ſhewing you, impartially, what you are, and what you are not: When, probably, the judging World will take their farewel of thee, with this Parody.
Thou art but a ſtalking Shadow, a Poor, poor Player!Who haſt ſtrutted, and fretted, thy hour upon the Stage,And now,—Thou'rt heard no more! 'Twas a Tale,Told by an Ideot, full of Sound and Fury,Signifying—Nothing.
'Twere endleſs to trace you thro' your repeated Falſhoods, or to take Notice of all your Sheridaninian rhetorick: Numbers can confront you, as to the Firſt; and as to the Latter, 'tis fit only to be laugh'd at.—But, out of thy own Mouth will I condemn thee, wicked Scribler! You ſay yourſelf, Page 9th, ‘"The Audience was greatly offended at the Diſappointment they met with, in your not being able to perform, and very juſtly too, ſince it was not in your Power to give them the Reaſons which prevented it."’—No, nor [Page 49] ever was, Nor ever will be.—Now, if Tommy will but correct it boldly, and inſtead of, not being able to perform, read thus, Not willing to perform; why then, the Fact will be truly ſtated, I believe.
You ſay, being equally ſkill'd in theatrical Affairs, as you are in Laws of Hoſpitality, and good Breeding,—‘"The giving out three Plays together is a moſt unuſual Thing."’—No, Tommy, it has been frequently done in England, where the Theatres are ſomewhat better conducted than here, (or they would be in a woeful Plight) and the Company, on ſuch Occaſions, have been greatly ſerv'd thereby. Oh! But ſome of the Characters were yours. Pray, who are you? What do you mean, that they fitted you in private Life? I'll readily allow you all the Virtues you can find cram'd into Richard or Macheth,—their Valour and their Policy excepted; (little cunning that betrays it ſelf is no Policy) but, the Pangs, and Pleaſures, of Othello, ſure, you don't pretend to have known.—Oh! But you mean, they were your Parts, and pray, why the Property of you particularly, any more than of many others, who have acted 'em before you, and 'tis poſſible don't play 'em worſe.—But, you would not play, and nobody elſe muſt—Pert enough that!
You ſay, what Right had I to anſwer your firſt Addreſs to the Town?—Why, Child, I never did anſwer it. My Epiſtle was ready for the Preſs, before I ever ſaw your Paper, as a Gentleman can teſtify, who brought it to me, juſt as I was going to ſend away my Letter: 'Twas your idle Reports, which Numbers have known you guilty of, and the two ill-natur'd Advertiſements (which no one believes you innocent of) calculated to create a Diſturbance, and the ſilly threatning Papers poſted up about the Town: All theſe made me think it neceſſary to break Silence.
Your Nonſenſe, in ſaying, I keep every Theatre in hot Water, is very pretty, to be ſure, if you did but know what you meant; but, as to my troubleſome Temper, there is not, I believe, a Player that will not contradict you.—I am confident, there's none of the Profeſſion, here, that will find Fault with my want of Manners, good Nature, or good Humour: But, is [Page 50] there any of 'em, that have not laugh'd at your ridiculous Tyranny, or been aſtoniſh'd at your ill Uſage, even of the Women?—But, they ſhould excuſe you there, Tommy: How can you tell properly to treat a Sex, every Body believes you're ſcarce acquainted with?—and ſo, ‘"You cannot find out any tolerable Colour I had, to be ſo cavalier a Volunteer, in the Cauſe."’—Really, too many publick and private Libels, preſs'd me to the Service.—But, 'tis no Matter whether you can find the Cauſe or no, if the Publick finds it; and if they are pleas'd.—‘"Muſt I be fright'ned 'cauſe a Spalpeen Stares?’ As to your pretty Compliment to your Friends, by calling their Zeal indiſcreet, that Blunder needs no Remark,—and to ſay, I knowingly, and willingly, brought the Anger of any Set of People upon me, is an Aſſertion ſo abſurd, nothing can equal the Folly of it, but the Falſhood;—'Tis a pretty plump Contradiction to the forc'd Compliment you make, when you are pleas'd to allow me a Man of common Senſe: But your Effronterie in denying all Knowledge of the Advertiſements, or having even the leaſt Knowledge of the Gentlemen, whom you pretend were angry on your Account,—tho' living Witneſſes have prov'd, and will farther, your being deeply concern'd in publiſhing the firſt; and that you were daily and hourly in Company with the latter, as you confeſs in your own Libel, is matchleſs indeed.—Such glaring Contradictions prove, you thought your Readers muſt be as ſilly as your ſelf, and would over-look them.
'Tis notorious, the College reſenting the Freedom of the Printers, in publiſhing Papers as coming from them, which they diſclaim, have on Enquiry found, SHERIDAN brought 'em, SHERIDAN ſet 'em on. For this Truth, let any one appeal to Mr Faulkner, Mr. Exſhaw, Mrs. Reilly, and their Servants, &c. You talk of a Meſſage you ſent me by Mr. Wright, of your having endeavour'd to appeaſe the Anger of your Friends, &c. You took care to ſend the Meſſage late enough: For I received none, till within half an Hour, or thereabouts, of my Letter being cry'd about the [...]treets.—But I no more believe your Sincerity in [Page 51] this, than I do in every thing elſe.—The Impatience of thoſe itinerant Gentry, the Flying Stationers, being great, I muſt haſten to a Concluſion; they farther inform me, if I ſwell this to an enormous Size, 'twill not be ſo portable as they could wiſh: Nor can they afford it for ſo ſmall a Price as a Penny. That I may therefore, neither inconvenience their Traffick, or incur their Mightineſſes Diſpleaſure, I ſhall give you but a few Words more, and then leave thee.
To thoſe Thorns, which in thy Boſom lodge,To goad and ſting thee.
And ſo, the whole Intention of thy long elaborate Piece, is to introduce a whining, begging Paragraph, in behalf of your Benefit; thou Prince of Canters, and thou King of Maunders! Is it come to this? Does this agree with Tommy's dauntleſs Declarations? he never did, nor ever would aſk any one to come to ſee him: 'Twas to oblige themſelves, not him, they came, &c. &c. ‘"Is that too modeſt and gentle:’ Mr. Bays? No, but 'tis very great, and as far-fetch'd a Fancy as ever was known.‘How are the Mighty fallen!’
But this prodigious Work, the learned Tommy did not take up much above a whole Day (tho', by his late Publiſhing it, 'tis poſſible he may ſib there too) to draw up.—Miraculous! Why, what an amazing Author you may prove in Time! But, prithee, how could'ſt thou be ſo long about it? I have a Child, ſhall write twice as much Nonſenſe, in half the Time, and be more aſham'd of it when done.—And was its ſtate of Mind uneaſy? Good Lack! You queſtion, whether the innocent Man feels leſs than the Man of Guilt, while he is labouring under a Load of Calumny—Really I can't readily anſwer you. Calumny you have endeavour'd to load me with, but, as I know no Guilt, I cannot ſay I have felt much Anxiety of Mind: Nay, I am ſo innocent of any baſe Intentions, that I ſolemnly declare I ſleep very ſound, and am very eaſy: Try if you can do ſo too. And Reſt, perturbed Spirit. Farewel, Remember me!
Thou Dog in Forehead.POPE's Hom.
IT is with no ſmall Diſcomfort and Anxiety of Mind, I hear ſo exploded a Raſcal as you, ſhould by imitating my noble Character, endeavour to recommend your ſelf to the World as a ſecond Piſtol; a Fellow! ſo little Heroick, either in Mind or Geſture, that even the Character of Scrub had been debas'd by you; had not there been other inferior Parts in Plays, ſuch as Footmen, Bailiffs and Tapſters, thy Impudence in aſſuming mine had been more excuſable, but every other Act of your Life, as well as this, demonſtrates, you were born to bring that Vice to Perfection, which before did but faintly appear in the awkward Geſtures of half impudent, and half baſhful Men. Nay, to ſuch a Pitch of Tranſcendency have you carried Impudence, that even thine own Father, Old Colley, (whom none will charge of being over modeſt) begins to be aſham'd of you: But, Sirrah, neither thy commencing Pimp, Sharper, Poet, (or what is baſer ſtill, a ſelf will'd Cuckold) carries ſuch Aggravations of Impudence with them, as your affecting to play my other Parts, you might have play'd without having ſtraining for, or deviating from the common Courſe of your Liſe, but ſurely Heroiſm as little becomes you as Majeſty would a Clown, or Military Weapons a Taylor, yet under all theſe Diſadvantages of Body and Mind, muſt I forſooth be perſonated.
I whoſe lofty Stile employ'd on greateſt Things,Might well become the Mouths of mightieſt Kings.
Thou prophane unmeritable Wretch! may the mighty Gods condemn me to the loweſt Tortures, if I am not ſick when I think of you, and yet, ſuch is my [Page 53] curſed Deſtiny, I cannot put thee out off my Thoughts, ſo much thy Impudence provokes me,—Well, you cannot live always,—a Time will come when thy ugly Soul, freed from that Cage thy Body ſhall deſcend to theſe gloomy and dread-creating Shores; then ſhalt thou find, Wretch, (yea even then! When all thy worldly Debts ſhall be paid) thou ſhalt here find a Score, the payment of which ſhall anniliate your Soul even to Horror, thy worſt Fears (at which you are pretty apt) will not let you conceive how I'll uſe you.
I'll ſpurn you under my big Boot, as an Elephant would a Bear's Cub, or the Jackcal of a Lyon, it ſhall avail thee little that thou art the Son of a Laureat, ſuch Laureats as he I deſpiſe, you are as good a Poet yourſelf, and yet by G—! if you can find me any earthly Scribler beſides him who writes as ill as you, I'll forgive you (however injur'd I may be) from the very Bottom of my Heart. But this Ingagement you will never be able to perform, and ſo the Enmity ſtill holds.—I hear you are now after ſelling your Native Country, arrived in Ireland, and thinking thy ſelf far enough removed from the Scene of your former Roguery, ſetteſt up for a new Man of Honour, well, of all thy Impudences this is without Diſpute the greateſt. To ſay, there were one or two greater Raſcals in the World than yourſelf, were a Brag might eaſily be diſpens'd with, but to defy any Man, to find a Flaw in your Honour, who never was known to have any, is like Playing (as you Actors Phraſe it,) the Double, for who the Devil, that was but half Sober, would look for a Houſe in a Pepper-Corn; but perhaps thou takeſt Honour and Baſeneſs to be like the two halves of one Circle, and he who comes to the Extremity of one, muſt of Conſequence be at the Beginning of the other; if it be ſo, Grammercy! Right Honourable!—I wiſh you Joy of your new Title, which I promiſe you (freſh as it is) will laſt no longer than you have an Opportunity of contracting a new Debt, or the perſuading ſome few credulous Creatures, you are capable of being a ſincere Friend, or an innocent Companion. [Page 54] No! no! Sirrah, would you ever hope to come at the Character of an honeſt Man, it muſt be by inverting the preſent Notions concerning Virtue and Vice; could you by any cunning Sophiſtry, peſuade Mankind that Falſhood was Truth, Diſſimulation, Sincerity, and Malice, good Nature, and ſo of other Vices, you might ſtand fair ſor the firſt Place in the Liſt of honourable Gentlemen, but while the preſent ſet of Maxims prevail, you muſt content yourſelf to be held, and that deſervedly, as the baſeſt of Mankind.
Thus I think, I have given you ſome Reaſons why, I ſhould reſent your appearing in my Character, ſeeing the Nobleneſs of it cannot but ſuffer, thro' the vile Action and worſe Fame of the Performer. Deſiſt therefore from ever aſſuming that Part, nor Cowardly take the Advantage of my Abſence to Inſult me, leaſt too far provok'd, I may be tempted to treſpaſs upon the Edict of Pluto, and quitting theſe Shores, reſiſt once more the Manſions of my former earthly Habitation, in order to the obtaining due Satisfaction.
I BELIEVE you will think this comes very late by Way of Anſwer to a Paper you publiſh'd, dated 11th of July, entitled, A Proper Reply to a late ſcurrillous Libel, &c. I have been in the Country for this good while paſt, and heard nothing of your Quarrel with Mr. SHERIDAN till the Day before Yeſterday, when the above-named Paper was put into my Hands, by a Gentleman, who, at the ſame Time, related the Occaſion of your Diſpute to me. I muſt confeſs, when I firſt caſt my Eyes on your Reply, I imagined I ſhould have been of your Party; but when I had read a few Pages of it. I own I changed my Mind, and began to ſuſpect that the Gentleman had been a little partial in his Account.
You begin with letting the Publick know, ‘"that to addreſs them in foul Language is an Affront to their Ears, and a Breach of good Manners."’—A very hopeful Beginning.—And would not one imagine, that a Gentleman who thought thus would write nothing contradictory to ſuch an Opinion, but would, at leaſt, keep within the Bounds of common Decency in his Expreſſions? Yes, certainly, and Mr. CIBBER is ſo conſcious of the Heinouſneſs of uſing ill Language, that he moſt religiouſly avoids it, as I ſhall take Notice of more at large preſently: In the mean while I ſhall proceed in Order to your ſeveral Paragraphs.
‘"Mr. Arne (ſay you) told me at the Rainbow Coffee-houſe, that he had been juſt talking with Mr. Faulkuer at the Globe Coffee-houſe, who, among other Things, declared his Opinion, that it was indiſcreet in Mr. Sheridan, to cauſe or ſuffer ſuch Things to be publiſh'd, &c. &c."’—A Printer's Opinion!—Why, Man, [Page 56] if it was a Stadtholder's, you could not deliver it with more Solemnity; poor Faulkner is an honeſt Fellow, but for God's Sake don't talk of his Opinion!
Well, in the next Place, you inform us ‘"Mr. SHERIDAN ſpar'd no Money in Chair-hire, to alarm all Parts of the Town."’—Why, this is not like London, Chair-hire is very cheap here, and you may go almoſt from one End to the other of our poor little City in an Hour's Time, and it won't coſt you Nineteen Pence; if you don't believe me, prithee, for once, make the Experiment.
Now, to come to your Promiſe of good Manners again.—You ſay, ‘"you will contradict Mr. SHERIDAN by Facts, not by dirty Language."’—Very good ſtill; I am in Hopes you will keep your Word; but we ſhall ſee that preſently: In a few Lines after this you call him the Great Sheridan, and by and by Maſter Tommy; there is no Scurrillity in this, I grant you, but indeed, my Friend, there is a little Malice, and a little Childiſhneſs in it.—But, to come to a more material Place.—You aſk Mr. SHERIDAN, ‘"Why he did'nt recite thoſe thouſand unforeſeen Accidents that diſorder'd his dear mind, &c."’—Why, indeed Mr. SHERIDAN ſhould, in Juſtice to himſelf, have been a little more explicit, with Reſpect to them Accidents, whatever they were; but is it not poſſible (I ſpeak to you as a Man of common Senſe now, and leave the Diſpute quite out of the Queſtion) is it not very poſſible that a Man may, by a hundred little concurring Incidents (ſo trivial in themſelves that they would ſcarce bear a Repetition, yet at the ſame time may make a great Impreſſion on a delicate Mind) be really ſo diſordered that it would be actually impoſſible for him to exert himſelf properly at ſome particular Junctures? Certainly nothing is more true, Inſtances of this Nature are ſeen frequently; and I knew a Lady who put off her Marriage Day, and diſmiſſed the impatient Bridegroom with all his Train, becauſe ſhe was diſappointed of her Wedding Slippers.—I think this is a parallel Caſe with the one in Queſtion.
But to go on.—You ſay, ‘"you treated Mr. SHERIDAN with more good Breeding than he deſerved, or probably [Page 57] ever underſtood or practiſed."’ An admirable Inſtance of your good Breeding this, and a great Compliment to the College where Mr. SHERIDAN received his Education. Do you remember you are talking to a Gentleman, one who was born ſuch, and educated ſuch, and, it is to be preſumed, converſed with none other, till the Narrowneſs of his Fortune reduced him to the ſad Neceſſity of being Company for the Gentry of the Stage. This Kingdom, I own, is much honour'd by your Preſence, and is likely, by your Means, to improve as much in good Breeding as it will in the Regulation of the Theatres. The Man of Manners is a Character I find you affect, and keep up notably; but really, till you undeceiv'd me, I always thought a Player's Politeneſs was much of a Size with a Printer's Opinion.
You tell us, ‘"You offer'd to play Syphax and read Cato."’ I will not call this an impudent and extravagant Propoſal, but I cannot help ſaying, there ſeems to be a good Deal of Art and Deſign in it: What could you propoſe by ſuch an Offer? but to make Mr. SHERIDAN's Behaviour in refuſing to act, appear in the worſt Light, when oppoſed to your kind Candeſcenſion in taking upon you to act two Parts (which was the Caſe in Effect) when he totally refuſed to appear in one. You knew the Audience muſt have an ill Impreſſion made on them for the preſent from ſuch a Refuſal: You take them in the Mood, and, out of your great Affection to them, like an obliging Creature, chuſe the Fatigue of playing two Characters (a Thing perhaps not ſo new to you) where that little, obſtinate, perverſe Chit, SHERIDAN, wou'dn't, as I ſaid before, play one.—Kind, indeed, but, between you and I, I ſuſpect you in this plauſible Intention, and am apt to believe, there was more Illnature than Complaiſance in it.
But come, you advance a-pace with your Court Breeding. ‘"The Good Nature, you ſay, was ſhew'd you on this Occaſion, you wonder didn't provoke Mr. SHERIDAN to publiſh his Diſpleaſure againſt the People, for the terrible Mortification, his little Pride, mean Vanity, poor Envy, and rancarous Heart, felt on this diſmal Account."’—Now from Envy, Hatred, Malice, and all Uncharitableneſs, good Lord deliver us. [Page 58] Pray, how do you know that Mr. SHERIDAN was ſo much mortify'd? Softly, or you will betray yourſelf, and eaſily diſcover that the Pleaſure you propos'd to yourſelf in mortifying your Antagoniſt, was a Motive much more prevailing with your ſocial, humane Heart, to act as you did, than that of obliging your Audience;—is not this true?—Well, here you quote Mr. SHERIDAN's Expreſſions, ‘"Tommy (as you call him) ſays your Fame was deſign'd on his Ruin, and to prove it, he will give an Account of his Behaviour to you ſince your Arrival in this Kingdom."’—Very pretty Reaſoning this, ſay you, how was his Behaviour to prove my Deſign? This it ſeems was a high Joke to you, but pray have a little Patience, had Mr. SHERIDAN only related his own Conduct towards you, without mentioning any Part of your Behaviour with reſpect to him, I own that wou'd be a Method of proving a little new, it might indeed make the Ingratitude, or Inſincerity of a Man, appear in blacker Colours, but that it could not prove his Deſign, muſt be allowed; but if I don't miſtake Mr. Sheridan, he gives us ſome Account of your Conduct as well as his own, but there was no need of that, the Town have been Witneſſes to it, and I think it is very obvious from what you have ſaid, done, and wrote, that your Intentions were none of the moſt charitable; your Behaviour in the Affair of Cato, prov'd your Deſigns, and Mr. Sheridan's Behaviour towards you, prov'd how little he deſerv'd ſuch Treatment.—Where's the Abſurdity of this?—I ſuppoſe it was thus, that every body (but yourſelf) underſtood Mr. Sheridan, tho' perhaps he did not conſider it ſo diſtinctly—.
I ſhall paſs over that Part of your Reply which is by way of Dialogue between you and Mr. Sheridan, becauſe there are ſome private Reflections in it, of a Nature too tender to be trifled with; but I long to come to the Place where you ſhew yourſelf the very Pink of Courteſie, I mean where you ſalute Mr. Sheridan by the Name of the moſt baſe, infamous Villain and notorious Poltroon.—Courteous and polite, I confeſs.—You told us, ‘"Fibbers ſhould have good Memories."’—So ſhould Railers too. You ſeem to forget, that all [Page 59] bad Expreſſions retort upon the Slanderer. If you believe this you have them for your Pains; but you ſhould have conſidered this before you gave your Pen ſuch a Liberty.
Very ſublime! I had ſome Thoughts of throwing it into Metre, but I was afraid it would loſe its Dignity, and therefore choſe to let it remain in Blank Verſe. Pray who gave you this odd Character of Mr. Sheridan? I am his Country-Woman, have always liv'd in the ſame City with him, and have been acquainted with his Name for ſome Years, and yet I never heard that he had ſuch a little adamantine Heart, as to be inſenſible both to Love and Friendſhip; he has Kindred, who I have been inform'd are in ſome Meaſure oblig'd to his Tenderneſs for their Support—I think this is not an Argument, that he has ſo ſavage a Breaſt as you wou'd intimate, ſo that 'tis probable them near Friends you ſpeak of, have miſinform'd you.But ſay, thou unnatural Thing of Nothing,Unknowing (as your neareſt Friends aver)Either of the Joys or Pains of Love,Thou hateful Stranger to the Ties of Kindred,Or real Joy of ſocial Friendſhip.
You give us to underſtand that ‘"you have not ſeen Mr. Sheridan play to one full Houſe ſince you came."’ I can't tell, indeed, what particular Fatality may have attended him ſince you came, but I know his Name (whatever Jeſt you are pleaſed to make of it) ſeldom fail'd to bring a numerous and polite Audience. Nor is it, let me tell you, over and above civil in you, to point out any particular Night, when, as you ſay, there was the very worſt Audience that has been known a long Time; how do you know how many Perſons of Diſtinction and Merit might have been there? I preſume you are not well enough acquainted here to aſſirm this upon your own Knowledge. Pray what do you call the worſt Audience? Did you mean the thinneſt? If you did, you ſhould have ſaid ſo, for the other Word, I think, affronts the whole Audience at once, [Page 60] be it good or bad: Mr. Sheridan himſelf didn't do worſe than this.
You think proper to ſpeak with great Contempt of his Stile, and (as a competent Judge) at once pronounce it, nonſenſical, tautological, and inconnected; to be ſure you can never be guilty of any ſuch notorious Faults; but pray let me aſh you a Queſtion: I muſt firſt make uſe of your own Words to Mr. Sheridan, ‘"I ſhall not (ſay you) forfeit my Underſtanding ſo much, as ever to hint you have the leaſt right to ſtand in any Degree of Compariſon with Mr. Quin or Mr. Garrick, or with many more THERE."’ Where pray, Mr. Cibber? One would imagine by your Way of putting it, that Quin and Garrick were the Names of two Cities. But I ſuppoſe you were dreaming of London when you made this Miſtake, and indeed I believe you were ſleepy when you wrote the whole. But you go on with your Compariſon: ‘"He is not on a Footing you tell us with Quin or Garrick, (but this is the beſt of it) or with ſome here, who in their different Walks will always be his Superiors."’ O lamentable! if by their different Walks, you mean their different Gaits, or Manner of treading the Stage, I don't know but ſome of them may have the Advantage of Mr. Sheridan, but as Players, I dare ſay not one of them would have the Vanity to offer ſuch an Aſſertion.
I am almoſt tired of you, but I will go on. You tell us (very obligingly) ‘"that the Theatres in England are ſomewhat better conducted than thoſe here, or they would be in a woeful Plight."’ Is this a Reflection on Mr. Sheridan in particular, or on the whole Body of the Managers? Which do you think? really I don't know that it affronts Mr. Sheridan at all, but you fancy you will do it compleatly by and by, where you tell us of his ill Uſage to the Women, ‘"a Sex he can't tell properly how to treat, being ſcarce acquainted with."’ If this were true, I can't ſee how he is the worſe for it, and really, the leſs he is acquainted with that Part of the Sex which his preſent Method of Life muſt unavoidably throw in his Way, I muſt [Page 61] ſay he will be the better for it; but let me inform you, I know ſome Ladies of Senſe and Reputation that are acquainted with him, and never found him wanting either in that Complacency which is natural to a Man of a good Underſtanding, or that Reſpect which is due to a Woman of Honour; for my own Part, I never exchanged a Word with him in my Life, and therefore can't poſſibly ſpeak out of any particular Prejudice; you will not believe this probably, but, with all due Submiſſion to you, I am very eaſy about that.
I thank my Stars I am come to your loſt Page, but there is an Expreſſion here that ſtops me ſhort, ‘"Muſt I be frightened becauſe a Spalpeen ſtares?"’ What do you take a Spalpeen to be, Mr. Cibber? a Bear, may be, or a Bug-a-bow; I believe you are not rightly apprized of the Senſe of the Word, and yet it may be properly enough applied to a Player; they are People who labour in one Seaſon, and are Beggars in the other; that is all.
But it's Time to take my Leave of you, which I ſhall do anon, tho' the Flying Stationers don't preſs me to a Concluſion as they did you; but indeed, I am afraid you had to do with great Knaves, for they would make you believe, that if you encreaſed the Bulk of your Paper, they could not afford it for a Penny, but let me tell you as a Friend, that, in ſo cheap a Country as Ireland, they cou'd afford ten times as much of the ſame Wit for half the Price.
A Word or two more and then adieu: I find you take the Liberty of playing upon ſacred Verſe as well as the Tag Ends of Comedies, I ſhould think this almoſt unpardonable, but having a Precedent of ſo great a Genius, I hope I may, without offending, venture to inſert the Verſe which you left incompleat; your Exclamation is,‘How are the Mighty fallen?’ Pray give me Leave to add,‘And the Weapons of War periſh'd.’ For, believe me, all the Papers you have pen'd on the preſent Occaſion have been put to their proper Uſe.—
I am, &c.
I DO indeed think your Anſwer comes very late; and if it had not come at all, Miſs, I don't ſee any great Loſs the World would have had of it, Miſs; but ſince you have ſcribled to amuſe yourſelf, why ſhould not I do ſo too, my dear? And as I have been a great Frequenter of the Theatres, both at London and here, I think I have as good a Right to prattle, and judge of Playhouſe Diſputes as Mrs. Anybody; for really, Miſs, I always pay for my Place, and was ever above excepting an Order from any of the Fellows, whether I ſat in the Green Box, the Balcony, or the Lattices, I'll aſſure you, Miſs.
So you have been in the Country for this good while paſt; why really, Miſs Tammy, I heard you retir'd to Country Solitude the Day after your Couſin Tommy's Benefit: You were lately ſeen at Laughlinſlown in your Jockey Cap, and a Hunting Pole in your Hand (an unbecoming Weapon for a young Miſs, by the way) and you know how the Ladies there laugh'd at the uncouth Figure you made. Dear Creature, don't have any more ſuch Flights I beg of you.—But pray, Miſs Tabitha, why are you ſo free with poor Mr. Faulkner? What has he done to deſerve any Fleer from you.—Oh! I forgot, he ungraciouſly rejected one of Tommy's polite Advertiſements: a heinous and unpardonable Crime, I grant you.—But, dear Angel! Why may not a Printer's Opinion, if he's an honeſt ſenſible Man, be of as much Weight as a Stadtholder's?—Lud! that's a filthy hard Word, how could you think of it!—As Mr. Faulkner's Opinion was not wrong, ſure it had been better for Tommy to have paid more Regard to it; but if Tommy is ſuch a Coxcomb to regard no [Page 63] body's Opinion but his own, why—Tommy muſt take the Conſequence.
Pray, Miſs Tabby, adviſe Tommy never more to commit ſuch paw Tricks; never more to tell horrid Fibs, and write a whole Paragraph to prove himſelf a ſad Fellow, and then make you ſully your pretty Fingers with Ink, to excuſe them. But does not Cibber fairly charge TOMMY that HE knew and approved of the two Letters in Faulkner's Journal? To prove this, he mentions Mr. Faulkner's telling him his Opinion, That it would be better not to have them printed: I grant it may be nothing to the Publick, what was Faulkner's Opinion; but it proves, that Mr. Faulkner knew Sheridan to be ſo much intereſted in the Advertiſements, that he thought his Reſolution alone neceſſary, as to the putting them in or leaving them out; and Sheridan's Anſwer to Mr. Faulkner accordingly, was, ‘"I AM DETERMINED:"’ Yet aſterwards, frontleſs Sheridan, in his ſilly Addreſs, ſolemnly declares, ‘"It was all without his Knowledge."’—matchleſs Impudence!—Tommy cannot anſwer this, nor has attempted it.
Cibber ſurther charges Sheridan, that he himſelf carried the other Advertiſement to Faulkner's, where it was refuſed; that he himſelf altered the Word Butchers to Ruffians, and afterwards himſelf carried it to Reilly's; and in which, as you may ſee, he himſelf declares, That He himſelf is innocent of the former Advertiſements or Letters, and knew nothing at all of the Matter. This is a Truth Mr. Faulkner, Mrs. Reilly, and other living Witneſſes can prove.
Thus then ſtands the Fact,—Mr. Sheridan diſappointed, either at not having a particular Robe, or at the thinneſs of the Audience, or, perhaps, deſirous to indulge his Vanity in making an Audience be diſmiſſed, though Mr. Cibber and Mrs. Giffard were in the Play, (who by that Means were to be thought oſ no Conſequence) or from Tommy's uneaſy delicate Mind, He did not chuſe there ſhould be any Play, then ſays, it was ungrateful and inſincere in any Man to attempt any Character he had play'd: Thus he forms wild Ideas in his Noddle, of his being injured; ſets a Man up as an imaginary Enemy; cruelly perſecutes him; and endeavours, [Page 64] by Means the moſt unjuſtifiable to Society (no leſs than the endangering of Lives) to hinder any one from doing what Tommy, through Spleen, Pique, Pride and Impertinence, would not do himſelf.
By ſeveral Paſſages in your Letter, Miſs, I ſhrewdly ſuſpect Tommy has gone farther in the Character of Congreve's Petulant, which Cibber mentions in his firſt Letter;—I queſtion whether Tommy, like Petulant, beſides having wrote to himſelf, has not put on a Hood, Mask and Scarf, and called for himſelf; poſitively, it looks mighty like it. I proteſt I'll not forgive it, if like Slender in the Play, I am to be deceived, and inſtead of ſweet Mrs. Anne Page, am to be put upon by a great lubberly Boy.—I hear, when Cibber read your Letter, he burſt into a loud Laugh, and cried, Stap my Vitals, Tam again! then added, with the compos'd Serenity of Lord Foppington, Tam is the impudenteſt Fellow that Nature ever ſpawn'd into the World, ſtrike me ſpeechleſs!—Did Cibber gueſs right, or how, dear Creature?
But pray, Miſs Tabby, why did you give yourſelf the needleſs Trouble of telling Cibber the Price of Chairhire here? Sure you can't but ſuppoſe he has been idly indolent enough to have rode in one ſeveral times here, as he frequently uſed in London, when your Couſin Tommy found it much more convenient to walk on foot; when Tommy was not plagued with the Incumbrance of a Chair, a Horſe, a Footman, or any other impertinent Equipage, nor knew the Fatigue of being levee'd by Wine-merchants, Tradeſmen, &c. which his late Luck made him unexpectedly acquainted with.
That Cibber calls Tommy the great Sheridan, and afterwards Maſter Tommy, is not at all inconſiſtent; ſince all the World muſt ſuppoſe, the firſt can be but Irony. Had Cibber ſaid, Sheridan was brave, juſt, witty, generous, handſome, genteel, polite, a pretty Fellow, a compleat Gentleman, or an excellent Actor, would any one have ſuppoſed Cibber in earneſt?—To be ſure, my Dear, you know they could not.—I again queſtion whether Tommy, not caring to ſhew his Face like a Man, has not hid himſelf under a Petticoat.—
[Page 65] You own, Miſs Tabby, Tommy ſhould, in Juſtice to himſelf, have been a little more explicit, with regard to them Accidents,—A little more explicit!—why, he has ſaid nothing at all, but that he had not his fine Play-things: As childiſh a Reaſon as we, when we wore Bibs and Aprons, ever gave for not eating our Bread and Butter, when, perhaps, it wanted Glaſs Windows upon it, or becauſe our Dolls were not dreſſed to our Minds. But I wiſh, Miſs Tabby, you had let us into a few, or any one, of thoſe little concurring trifling Incidents, that made ſo great an Impreſſion on the delicate Mind of the dainty Deary, as RENDR'D HIM INCAPABLE AT A PARTICULAR JUNCTURE. Oh! the critical Minute! how has Tommy loſt it! Oh Ged! I wiſh he may ever get over it! Well, I vow, Miſs Tabby, you brought all the Blood of my Body into my Face; you wicked Creature! You gauky Romp! You wild Toad! How can you give one ſuch comical naughty Ideas?
Well, that Parallel of the Lady diſmiſſing her impatient Bridegroom, for want of her Slippers, is apt enough, and was very near as ridiculous as diſappointing an Audience for want of a particular Robe: 'Twas a dangerous Trial of the Bridegroom's Love; Did he ever return to the Lady?—And, was the Lady as handſome as pretty Tommy?—Sure Tommy wou'dn't diſappoint a Bride for want of white Gloves and a lac'd Nightcap.
But, Miſs Tabby, why do you lug the College into your Epiſtle? (that's ſo like Tommy) What Reflection is it on them, that Tommy does not underſtand good Breeding? I have heard of a Parſon's being hang'd, and a Soldier's being drumm'd out of a Regiment, yet neither brought any Reflection on the Gown or the Army. Though you and I are two prate-a-pace Baggages, does it follow, none of our Sex know when to hold their Tongues? But of what Conſequence is it to the Publick, whether Cibber is a Gentleman by Birth, or whether any of Sheridan's Relations were ever tranſported, or made their Exits at the tripple Tree? But ſure Tommy won't pretend to ſay he acted like a Gentleman, when he did all he could to ſet the whole Town in a Blaze, and laid Schemes for very fatal Conſequences; [Page 66] while he has had Recourſe to the meaneſt Falſhoods, baſeſt Equivocations and Miſrepreſentations, to ſhelter himſelf from the Tumults he wiſh'd to create.—The Town are greatly oblig'd to him; a pretty grateful Return this, for the charitable Aſſiſtance they have afforded him, when the Narrowneſs of his Fortune reduced him to the Neceſſity of gaining more from a Theatre (through the Indulgence, Compaſſion and Benevolence of the Gentlemen and Ladies here) than ever his boaſted Merits can pretend to lay claim to.
Well, your playing upon the Players Politeneſs and Printer's Opinion, is prodigious pleaſant and pretty, I proteſt; ah! how the P's come in there!—P upon P, or Pay upon Pay, as Bays ſays, as good as ever was wrote.
What were Cibber's real Motives for reading Cato, and playing Syphax, I won't pretend to determine, any more than you, Miſs Tabby, or your Couſin Tommy, ought;—that it was fatiguing, is certain,—that it requir'd ſome Art, as an Actor, I ſuppoſe,—that it prevented the Audience from being diſappointed thro' Tommy's Vanity and Caprice, is undeniable,—who one may reaſonably ſuggeſt wiſh'd, as there was not a great Audience, to diſmiſs them, that it might be ſaid, there could be no Play without Tommy. Why ſhould we ſuppoſe any ill-natur'd Deſign in Mr. Cibber's Offer, of giving himſelf ſo much Trouble? 'Twas allow'd by the Audience, an Act of Complaiſance; they thought he acquitted himſelf well: And their repeated Applauſes ſhew'd their Opinion.—Now, as I told you, Miſs, I have ſeen Plays often in London, I ſhall farther inform you, I have heard it ſaid there, that Mr. Cibber has frequently manag'd a Theatre with ſuch Succeſs, that both the Town and the Players have been well pleas'd: Nay, I have heard it allow'd, no Actor better knows how to conduct a Theatre than he does:—I ſuppoſe, he did not come hither to learn that Art, if there is any in it.—Nor can any of the Directors, here, boaſt much of the regular Conduct of their Play-houſes, I believe.—
I vow, Miſs Tabby, I muſt chide you, for taking the L—d's Name in vain, and making ſo free with any [Page 67] Thing out of a good Book;—how could you ſay, from Envy, Hatred, Malice, &c. good L—d deliver us! indeed, Miſs, my Mama would have been angry with me for talking ſo prophanely and ludicrouſly:—I'll aſſure you, Miſs, I'm no Prude, but I know when to be decent to.—
You ſay, if you don't miſtake Mr. Sheridan, he gives ſome Account of Mr. Cibber's Conduct, as well as his own.—Why, my Dear, you do miſtake; he gives no account:—I allow with you, all Tommy could ſay were needleſs,—for the Town will always judge for themſelves.—That Cibber has join'd the Words, baſe, infamous Villain, and notorious Poltroon, to Tommy Sheridan's Name, is undeniable; and, after Tommy had impudently, and impertinently, mention'd Family Diſtreſſes (quite foreign to the Purpoſe) what leſs could Tommy expect? or what Gentleman or Lady, will be offended with Mr. Cibber, for beſtowing ſuch Appellations on Tommy, after ſo juſt a Provocation? Why does not Tommy ſhake 'em off? 'Tis his own Fault if they ſtick upon him—But has he not dealt as freely with himſelf, in the third Paragraph of his own Letter? Does he not there under his own Hand, in a publick manner, prove himſelf an unfit Companion for any Gentleman whatever.
Bad Expreſſions certainly retort upon the Slanderer, but when the Perſon pointed at deſerves thoſe Expreſſions (which I don't hear any one deny but that Tommy did) they'll remain where they are plac'd; and are only bold Truths, not Slander.—As you grow critical, Miſs Tabby, on Cibber's lofty and ſublime manner of addreſſing Tommy; give me leave to ſuppoſe, Cibber might grow a little warm, on ſo nice a Point as the mention of a Woman; The Occaſion appears juſt enough, and 'tis excuſable, if his Stile ſwells a little: If you, or I, were in a Paſſion, 'tis poſſible we might elevate our Dialect, as well as raiſe our Voices.
You deſire to know, who gave Cibber that odd Character of Sheridan; Cibber tells you, his neareſt Relations and Friends.—You declare, Miſs, you have been acquainted with Sheridan's Name (nothing more I hope) for ſome Years; ſo may every Shoeboy, [Page 68] my Deareſt, that can read: For, it is to be met with, underneath many an Alehouſe Sign in this City, and many Parts adjacent.—But why, dear Child, will you be ſo cruel, to mention any of his indigent Relations, for ſuch they muſt be who could ſubmit to be oblig'd to him for Support; not that Poverty is any Crime;—but 'tis not quite pretty to hint at the Narrowneſs of their Circumſtances:—And, ſhould Tommy boaſt of any Relief he may have afforded 'em, would not Tommy by ſuch Declaration, cancel the Obligation? And may we not conclude Tommy has more Oſtentation than Generoſity?—Sure Tommy does not pretend to talk of any Favours he ever conferr'd on his Brother.—Tho' Tommy condeſcended to ſhare, with the Managers, the Profits of his Brothers Playing; it is not yet apparent, Tommy ever refunded any Part thereof to his Brother.—That Tommy has not play'd to a full Houſe, ſince Mr. Cibber's Arrival in this Kingdom, is certain; nor had for ſome time before his Arrival:—The Joke was over.—Tho' the Gentry here, are as benevolent and generous, as any Nation; yet it was not to be ſuppos'd they could throw away their Charity, in one Quarter, for ever.
Well, I vow and proteſt, Miſs, that was comically thought of you, to find out, calling a thin Audience a bad Audience, was an Affront;—but I believe, you'll not eaſily perſuade the Undertakers of any Play-houſe, to think a thin Audience agood one:—Nor would any half dozen Perſons of the greateſt Diſtinction, or Merit, be angry at the Expreſſion, if they were the only Spectators. I have ſeen the royal Family at an Opera in London, and ſo thin a Houſe, the few that were there, all allow'd it to be a very bad Audience, and not one thought themſelves affronted by the Declaration.
Why, as you ſay, Cibber does find Fault (and pretty juſtly I believe) with Sheridan's Stile, and calls it, properly enough, nonſenſical and tautological; and adds, his Matter is inconnected, &c. Now were Cibber's Stile, and Matter worſe, would that prove Tommy's good? No ſure.—When you quote Mr. Cibber's Words, viz. ‘"I ſhall not forfeit my Underſtanding ſo much, as ever to hint, you have the leaſt right to ſtand in any [Page 69] Degree of Compariſon with Mr. Quin, or Mr. Garrick, or with many more there."’—You add,—where Mr. Cibber? Why, in England, Miſs Tabby, England, my Deareſt, mention'd a few Lines before.—Laud! Child, ſure this muſt be a wilful Overſight of yours; if you don't own that,—I ſhall ſuſpect you (tho' you ſtile yourſelf a young Lady) to be really an old Gentlewoman: If your Sight is dim call for your Spectacles.
Well, you're charmingly pleaſant again, on 'the Words different Walks, (ſure you muſt be mighty pretty Company) I'll ſwear you're a provoking Creature, you agreeable Devil you!—You own ſome of the Actors may have the Advantage of Tommy, in treading the Stage; and I am ſure many others will allow, tho' the Actors do not vainly and fooliſhly, like Tommy, puff their own Praiſes, yet the judicious, I ſay, eaſily diſcern, there are Players who, in their different Walks or Caſts of Playing, are ſo much ſuperior to Tommy, they would be paid no great Compliment by being put in Competition with him.
When Cibber ſays, the Theatres in England are ſomewhat better conducted than the Play-houſes here, I don't ſuppoſe he means a Compliment either to Sheridan, or the Managers. Might he not, by ſuch Compliment, arraign his Judgment, ſhould he either extol Tommy as an Actor, or the others as Managers?—moſt People are of Opinion he would.
That Cibber knew what the Word Spalpeen meant, is pretty certain, by his applying it to Sheridan; and your Explanation of it fully ſhews, Miſs, that it fits Tommy very well: How near he was to being a Beggar, 'till he labour'd, laſt Seaſon, in his Vocation, as a Player, is pretty notorious.
Well, as you ſay, I am tir'd of you, and my Tea waits. But oh! you dirty thing, you! what do you mean, by Cibber's Papers having been put to their proper Uſe? If you mean curling your Hair—Why, you know, Child, we do that with our Love-Letters.—Sure,—Lud bleſs me!—Why, Miſs you don't mean any naughty Naſtineſs, do you?—oh fie! O Ged! I muſt leave you,—Why, you filthy Hoyden,—you'll [Page 70] ſcent the Room, Child;—well, I did not think ſuch a thing could have come out of your Mouth: Good-by-to-you!—oh paw paw!—I waſh my Hands of you.