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DAVID GARRICK TO GEORGE COLMAN, ESQ.
MY DEAR COLMAN, Rome, April 11th, 1764. THOUGH I resolved in my last letter to George not to trouble you any more till I got to Venice, yet I cannot hold it out so long, but must say a word or two more to you from this place; which of all places in the world is the most worth coming to and writing about-to show you that I think so, you must know that I am antiquity hunting from morning to night, and my poor wife drags her lame leg after me; by the by, she is now much better, and we have hopes of her being able to run away again from me, if she can meet with another Captain Caswell ; she desires her love to you, and thanks you for writing to me, as I am sure to be always in spirits for some time after the receipt of a letter from you : I have not been quite so well here as at Naples, which is rather extraordinary; whether I fatigued myself too much, or whether the climate does not suit me so well, I cannot say, but I have had some disagreeable nervous flutterings that made me as grave as an owl for a few days, but since the rains have fallen (and they came down here in pailfulls) and the sun is bright upon us, I have been as frisky as the poor flies, who were wofully damped by the wet weather, but are now as troublesome and as pert as your humble servant. His holiness the Pope is trying, by prayers, tears, and intercessions, to avert the famine which his state is threatened with. He has crept up the holy stairs ( Santa scalu) which
were brought from Jerusalem ; he has ordered processions, and what not. We are not so bad as they are at Naples, for there indeed the tragedy was deep-I remember some scenes with horror; and since we came away, many people have dropped down in the street, and have been taken away dead, from mere want of food. Our prospect at Venice is rather worse, for we hear that the plague has spread as far as Trieste, and that they begin to talk of quarantine in the neighbouring states; if so, we shall run the gauntlet terribly, but we are not dismayed, and must go through with it. I must thank you again for the trouble and care you have had about Count. Firmian's books. He is very happy at the execution of the commission, and was highly pleased with your sending your own matters to bim gratis -it pleased me much. I have not seen a St. James's Chronicle since the end of January-if I have them, I wish you would desire George to keep them for me, to rummage over when I come to England. Mr. Baldwin (the proprietor and printer) I bear is no friend to our house. A propos -I am very angry with Powell for playing that detestable part of Alexander.- Every genius must despise it, because that, and such fustianlike stuff, is the bane of true merit. If a man can act it well, I mean to please the people, he has something in him that a good actor should not have. He might have served Mrs. Pritchard, and himself too, in some good natural character: I hate your roarers. Delane was once a fine Alexander-damn the part-I fear 'twill hurt him—but this among ourselves. I was told by
a gentleman who is just come from Sterne, that he is in a very bad way. I hope Becket has stood my friend in regard to what he ought to have received for me, some time ago.-I had a draught upon him from Sterne for twenty pounds ever since he went abroad-pray hint this to him, but let him not be ungentle with Sterne. I have sent the plan of a fine scene, and coloured, among some small things in a little box of Mr. Stanley's of the Customhouse: it is in several parts, and wrote upon the back, which is 1st, 2nd, &c. I will send a further explanation of it; but any Italian, and our Saunderson will understand it - they should go upon it directly: it will have a fine effect. Many thanks to you for your attendance on the pantomime.-I am sure they wanted help-no more humour than brickbats. I am afraid that Love in humorous matters carries too much gut to be spirited-flip flaps, and great changes without meaning, may distil from the head, whose eyes are half asleep; but humour, my dear Coley, and scenes that are all alive alive ho, can only proceed from men of small stature, whose eyes are either quite asleep or quite awake,-in short, from men who laugh heartily and have small scars at the ends of their noses*. I am surprised about Murphy, and want to know how he (obliterated) from Mr. Lacy. Poor Lloyd ! and yet I was prepared—the death of any one we like don't shock us so much when we have seen them long in a lingering decay. Where is the bold Churchill ?-what a noble
# This alludes to Colman.
ruin !—when he is quite undone, you shall send him here, and he shall be shown among the great fragments of Roman genius-magnificent in ruin! I have wrote this on purpose to tell you that Voltaire, in his additions à l'Histoire Générale, at page 183, under Usages du Seizième Siècle, says something about translating Plautus into verse, that will be of use in the preface to TerenceSpeed the plough, my dear friend. Have you thought of the Clandestine M.? I am at it. I must desire you to write to me once more; and direct, à Monsieur Monsieur G. Gentilhomme Anglais, chez Monsieur Dutens à Turin, and I shall get it by hook or by crook. Pray send me all kind of news:-a letter from you will comfort me in bad roads, and through plague and famine,
-So write, I beg, as soon as you receive this. Desire George to speak to Mr. Stanley about my things in the box. My love to all the Schombergs, Townleys, Kings, Hogarths, Churchills, Huberts, &c. &c. &c. Yours most affectionately ever,
DAVID GARRICK TO MR. STANLEY.
DEAR SIR, Not Rachael weeping for her children could show more sorrow than Mrs. Garrick,—not weeping for her children, she has none, nor indeed for her husband : thanks be to the humour of the times, she can be as philosophical upon that sub
* Secretary of the Customs.
ject as her betters. What does she weep for then ? Shall I dare tell you ? It is—it is for the loss of a chintz bed and curtains. The tale is short, and is as follows:- I have taken some pains to oblige the gentlemen of Calcutta, by sending them plays, scenes, and other services in my way; in return they have sent me Madeira, and poor Rachael the unfortunate chintz. She has had it four years, and upon making some alterations in our little place at Hampton, she intended to show away with her prohibited present. She had prepared paper, chairs, &c. for this favourite token of India gratitude. But, alas ! all human felicity is frail. No care having been taken on my wife's part, and some treachery being exerted against her, it was seized, the very bed, “ by the coarse hands of filthy dungeon vil. lains, and then thrown amongst the common lumber!”
If you have the least pity for a distressed female, any regard for her husband (for he has a sad time of it), or any wishes to have the environs of Bushy Park made tolerably neat and clean, you may put your finger and thumb to the business, and take the thorn out of Rachael's side. I am, dear sir, yours,
D. GARRICK. Text.-—" For earthly power doth then look likest God, when mercy seasons justice.”
Shakspeare's Merchant of Venice.