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Notes

Notes

Preface
ADED ideas float in the fancy like half-forgotten dreams;

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picious of its offspring, and doubts whether it has created or adopted." This passage was quoted by Burgoyne, in the preface of the Heiress. The same thought is to be found also in the Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, where Dr. Holmes said, “I never wrote a line of verse that seemed to me comparatively good, but it appeared old at once, and often as if it had been borrowed.” A little earlier in the same chapter, the Autocrat had declared the law which governs in such cases : “When a person of fair character for literary honesty uses an image such as another has employed before him, the presumption is that he has struck upon it independently, or unconsciously recalled it, supposing it his own." It is not without pleasure that I catch at an opportunity of justifying myself from the charge of intending any national reflection in the character of Sir Lucius O'Trigger." In his Retrospections of the Stage, John Bernard, who was present at the unfortunate first performance of the Rivals, has declared that the audience was indifferent to Sir Lucius as acted by Lee. When the play was revised, Clinch took the part. Why any one should object to Sir Lucius, it is now difficult to discover. Sir Lucius is one of the best of stage-Irishmen, and he is emphatically an Irish gentleman.

Act I

Scene I “THOMAS: But pray, Mr. Fag, what kind of a place is this Bath?It is not easy now to understand fully the extraordinary

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brilliancy of Bath after Beau Nash had organized Society there. The manners and customs of Bath, as they were a very few years

before the date of the Rivals, may be seen in Anstey's New Bath Guide, first published in 1766; and Anstey's lively verses prove that the town offered unusual advantages to the social satirist and the comic dramatist. In Humphrey Clinker, Smollett has left us an elaborate description of the place and the people to be met there. Foote's comedy, the Maid of Bath, was a dramatic setting of the romantic story of Miss Linley, Sheridan's wife. The best account of Bath at this time is to be found in a French book, A. Barbeau's Une Ville d'Eaux Anglaise (Paris : Picard, 1904).

Scene II “LYDIA : And could not you get The Reward of Constancy'.?” Miss Lydia Languish seems to have had a catholic taste in fiction. Most of the books she sought were novelties: The Mistakes of the Heart and The Tears of Sensibility were translations from the French, published in 1773. The Delicate Distress and The Gordian Knot had been published together in four volumes in the same year. The Memoirs of a Lady of Quality (i.e. Lady Vane) were included in Smollett's Peregrine Pickle, published first in 1751; Humphrey Clinker did not appear till 1771. The Sentimental Journey had been originally published in 1768, in two volumes. “Lydia: Here, my dear Lucy, hide these books." Miss Languish was evidently fond of Smollett. After Peregrine Pickle, with its Memoirs of a Lady of Quality, and after Humphrey Clinker, comes Roderick Random, published in 1748. The Innocent Adultery was the second title of Southerne's tragedy, The Fatal Marriage, revived as Isabella; or, the Fatal Marriage, for Mrs. Siddons, after Sheridan became the manager of Drury Lane Theatre. A century ago English plays were read as French plays are still. Henry Mackenzie's Man of Feeling had first appeared in 1771. Mrs. Chapone's

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Letters on the Improvement of the Mind, addressed to her niece, had been published in 1773 in two volumes ; and Lord Chesterfield's Letters, written in 1768, had not been given to the world until 1774. From notes found by Moore, we know that Sheridan had begun to draft a criticism of Lord Chesterfield's precepts just before he sat down resolutely to the writing of

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this play.

“Mrs. MALAPROP: 'Tis safest in matrimony to begin with a little aversion.With a readiness recalling Sheridan's own promptness in repartee, George Canning quoted this assertion of Mrs. Malaprop’s, in a speech delivered in the House of Commons in 1825. “Sir ANTHONY: Well, I must leave you.The traditional business of Sir Anthony's departure requires him to bow and gain the door, and then to return to say the next clause as though it had just occurred to him. This leave-taking, protracted by Mrs. Malaprop's elaborate courtesies, is repeated two or three times before Sir Anthony finally takes himself off.

“Lucy: And a black padusoy." Paduasoy was a particular kind of silk stuff, deriving its name from the Italian town Padua, and the French word soie, silk.

Act II

Scene I “Fag: I beg pardon, sir - I beg pardonbut, with submission, a lie is nothing unless one supports it. Sir, whenever I draw on my invention for a good current lie, I always forge indorsements as well as the bill.This use of mercantile technicalities was not uncommon with Sheridan; and Fag's idioms may be compared with

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