particular business. She told him that a young lady of great beauty and fortune, having seen him act Chamont and Lothario, and several other characters, was so charmed with his person and performance, that she was willing to give him her hand, with her portion, which was at her own disposal. "But are you sure, Mr. Garrick, that you can prove a good husband?" His answer was, "He did not doubt of his proving to be such a husband as the young lady would wish to have. I beg to have the honour of waiting upon her." She promised to call in less than a fortnight, and to fix a day of meeting. In vain did Garrick wait for the performance of her promise; a considerable time had elapsed, when he met her by chance in the street, and then asked her the reason she did not keep the appointment. "Oh, dear!" said the good woman, "it is all over; the young lady has subsequently seen you play Abel Drugger, and her love is all gone."


THIS respectable performer and amiable and friendly man was some time manager of the Lyceum, in connexion with Mr. Arnold, and he

afterwards had the management of Drury Lane under the Committee of the proprietors, between the years 1814 and 1817. In the latter situation he was, as might be supposed, like "a toad under a harrow," stimulated by his own taste and zeal on the one hand, and thwarted by the opposing interests and discordant opinions of the Committee. His integrity, in endeavouring to sustain his own reputation with the public, and in giving a proper direction to the Committee, rendered him a theatrical martyr. For many months he lived and slept within the walls of the Theatre, and often, for nights together, had no repose but what he snatched, at intervals, on the sofa, in the manager's room.

These labours, combined with unquestionable taste and ability, were, nevertheless, unequal to his position, and having, at length, made up his mind that he could not usefully serve so many masters, he retired to his house in Chester-street, Grosvenor-place, where he devoted the night to a letter of remonstrance to the Committee, and had proceeded through many pages, when his anxiety of mind and his exhaustion of body brought on a stroke of paralysis, and he was found extended on the floor, at an early hour of

the morning, speechless and dying! In truth, he never spoke again, but expired within eightand-forty hours.

Such was James Grant Raymond, as a manager; and, perhaps, no man was ever more sincerely lamented by a more extended circle of zealous and anxious friends. He left a large family: one of his daughters was married to Mr. Sams, an eminent and fashionable bookseller.

But Mr. Raymond merits a passing notice as a man of literary acquirements, as well as a lover of virtu; his house was a cabinet, and he assembled many pictures, chiefly dramatic, in which were preserved the best portraits and most highlywrought scenes. His generous patronage of the unfortunate Dermody cannot be too much praised, while his Life and Edition of the Works of this precocious genius will long remain in our libraries as an example of his taste and style: nor was Dermody the only instance of neglected merit, whose cause he espoused; he befriended, at her outset, Miss Owenson, since better known as Lady Morgan, who was the daughter of an Irish manager, in whose company Mr. Raymond had played. He was, also, the zealous friend of Miss Mellon, since so celebrated as Mrs.

Coutts; and to his provident counsel and skilful management, the agreeable result of that lady's fortunes may, in a considerable degree, be ascribed. The strength of her own mind was, doubtless, equal to any circumstances in which she might be placed; but, after all, it was the mind of a woman, subject to the frailties and temptations of which the amiable sex is too often the victim; but Miss Mellon had the good-fortune to have a counsellor in the energetic and liberal mind of her friend Raymond.


THE original relater of the story on which this play is formed was Luigi da Porto, a gentleman of Vicenza, who died in 1529. His novel did not appear till some years after his death, being first printed at Venice, in 1535, under the title of Giuletta. In an Epistle prefixed to this work, which is addressed alla bellissima e leggiadra Madonna Lucina Savoignana, the author gives the following account, probably a fictitious one, of the manner in which he became acquainted with the story.

"As you yourself have seen, when Heaven had not as yet levelled against me its whole wrath, in the fair spring of

my youth, I devoted myself to the profession of arms, and following therein many brave and valiant men, for some years, I served in your delightful country, Frioli, through every part of which, in the course of my private service, it was my duty to roam. I was ever accustomed, when upon any expedition on horseback, to bring with me an archer of mine, whose name was Peregrino, a man about fifty years old, well practised in the military art, a pleasant companion, and, like almost all his countrymen of Verona, a great talker. This man was not only a brave and experienced soldier, but of a gay and lively disposition, and, more, perhaps, than became his age, was for ever in love; a quality which gave a double value to his valour. Hence it was that he delighted in relating the most amusing novels, especially such as treated of love, and this he did with more grace and with better arrangement than any I ever heard. It, therefore, chanced that departing from Gradisea, where I was quartered, and, with this archer and two others, my servants, travelling, perhaps impelled by love, towards Udino, which route was then extremely solitary, and entirely ruined and burned up by the war, wholly absorbed in thought, and riding at a distance from the other, this Peregrino drawing near me, as one who guessed my thoughts, thus addressed me: Will you then for ever live this melancholy life, because a cruel and disdainful fair one does not love you? Though I now speak against myself, yet, since advice is easier to give than to follow, I must tell you, master of mine, that besides it's being disgraceful to a man of your profession to remain long in the chains of love, almost all the ends to which he conducts us are so replete with misery, that it is dange

[ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »