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HIS ANSWER TO A CREDITOR. He jocularly remarked one day to a creditor who demanded instant payment of a long standing debt with interest : “My dear sir, you know it is not my interest to pay the principal ; nor is it my principle to pay the interest.
SHERIDAN AND THE PRINCE. THE Prince of Wales, one cold day, went into Brookes's, and, complaining of the severity of the weather, called for a glass of brandy and water, which he emptied at a draught, he then immediately ordered another; after drinking the second and third glass he exclaimed, "Now I am comfortable ; waiter, bring me a rump steak.” Sheridan, who was present, wrote the following impromptu, and handed them to his royal highness :
The prince came in, and said 'twas cold,
Then put to his head the rummer ;
When he pronounced it summer.
KELLY'S IRISH ACCENT. KELLY, having to perform an Irish character, got Johnson to coach him up in the brogue, but with so little success that Sheridan said, on entering the green-room at the conclusion of the piece, “Bravo, Kelly ! I never heard you speak such good English in all my life.”
WHEN the prince was expatiating on the beauty of Dr. Dar. win's theory, that the reason why the bosom of a beautiful woman has such a fascinating effect on man is, because he derived from that source the first pleasurable sensations of his infancy ; Sheridan happily ridiculed the idea. “Such children, then,” said he, as are brought up by hand, must needs be indebted for similar sensations to a very different object; yet, I believe, no man has ever felt any intense emotions of amatory delight at beholding a pap-spoon.”
SHERIDAN'S FRIENDSHIP FOR FOX. Of their friendship Lord John Townshend writes :
“I made the first dinner party at which they met; having told Fox that all the notions he might have conceived of Sheridan's talents and genius from the comedy of! The Rivals,' &c., would fall infinitely short of the admiration of his astonishing powers,
which I was sure he would entertain at the first interview.
“ The first interview between them (there were very few present, only Tickell and myself, and one or two more), I shall never forget. Fox told me, breaking up from dinner, that he had always thought that Hare, after my uncle, Charles Townshend, the wittiest man he had ever met with, but that Sheridan surpassed them both infinitely; and Sheridan told me next day, that he was quite lost in admiration of Fox, and it was a puzzle to him to say which he admired most-his commanding superiority of talent and universal knowledge; or his playful fancy, artless manners, and benevolence of heart, which showed itself in every word he uttered.”
PRACTICAL JOKES. On one occasion, Sheridan having covered the floor of a dark
а passage, leading from the drawing-room, with all the plates and dishes of the house, ranged closely together, provoked his unconscious play-fellow, Tickell, to pursue him into the midst of them. Having left a path for his own escape, he passed through easily, but Tickell falling at full length into the ambuscade, was very much cut in several places. The next day, Lord John Townshend, on paying a visit to the bed-side of Tickell, found him covered over with patches, and indignantly vowing vengeance against Sheridan for this unjustifiable trick. In the midst of his anger, however, he could not help exclaiming, with the true feeling of an amateur of this sort of mischief, “But how amaz ingly well done it was !"
SHERIDAN AND RICHARDSON. RICHARDSON was remarkable for his love of disputation; and Tickell, when hard pressed by him in argument, used often, as a last resource, to assume the voice and manner of Mr. Fox, which he had the power of mimicking so exactly, that Richard
son confessed he sometimes stood awed and silenced by the resemblance.
This disputatious humour of Richardson was once turned to account by Sheridan in a very characteristic manner. Having had a hackney-coach in employ for five or six hours, and not being provided with the means of paying it, he happened to espy Richardson in the street, and proposed to take him in the coach some part of his way. The offer being accepted, Sheridan lost no time in starting a subject of conversation, on which he knew his companion was sure to become argumentative and animated. Having, by well-managed contradiction, brought him to the proper pitch of excitement, he affected to grow impatient and angry himself, and saying that "he could not think of staying in the same coach with a person that would use such language,” pulled the check-string, and desired the coachman to let him out. Richardson, wholly occupied with the argument, and regarding the retreat of his opponent as an acknowledgment of defeat, still pressed his point, and even hollowed
more last words through the coach window after Sheridan, who, walking quietly home, left the poor disputant responsible for the heavy fare of the coach.
HIS IMPROVIDENCE. His improvidence in everything connected with money was most remarkable. He would frequently be obliged to stop on his journeys, for want of the means of getting on, and to remain living expensively at an inn, till a remittance could reach him. His letters to the treasurer of the theatre on these occasions were generally headed with the words, “Money-bound.” A friend of his said, that one morning, while waiting for him in his study, he cast his eyes over the heap of unopened letters that lay upon the table, and, seeing one or two with coronets on the seals, said to Mr. Westley, the treasurer, who was present, “I see we are all treated alike.” Mr. Westley then informed him that he had once found, on looking over his table, a letter which he had himself sent, a few weeks before, to Mr. Sheridan, enclosing a ten-pound note, to release him from some inn, but which Sheridan, having raised the supplies in some other way, had never thought of opening. The prudent treasurer took away the letter, and reserved the enclosure for some future exigence.
Among instances of his inattention to letters, the following is mentioned. Going one day to the banking-house, where he was accustomed to be paid his salary, as Receiver of Cornwall, and where they sometimes accommodated him with small sums before the regular time of payment, he asked, with all due humility, whether they could oblige him with the loan of twenty pounds. “Certainly, sir," said the clerk, -"would you like any more-fifty, or a hundred ?” Sheridan, all smiles and gratitude, answered that a hundred pounds would be of the greatest convenience to him.
Perhaps you would like to take two hundred, or three ?” said the clerk. At every increase of the sum, the surprise of the borrower increased. “ Have
then received our letter ?” said the clerk ;-on which it turned out that, in consequence of the falling in of some fine, a sum of twelve hundred pounds had been lately placed to the credit of the Receiver-General, and that, from not having opened the letter written to apprise him, he had been left in ignorance of his good luck.
POLITICAL PASQUINADES. The following string of pasquinades, written at different dates, though principally by Sheridan, owes some of its stanzas to Tickell, and a few others to Lord John Townshend. Time having removed their venom, and with it, in a great degree, their wit, they are now, like dried snakes, mere harmless objects of curiosity.
Johnny Wilks, Johnny W-ilks,
Thou greatest of bilks, * In Sheridan's copy of the stanzas written by him in this metre at the time of the Union (beginning “Zooks, Harry! zooks, Harry!") he entitled them “An admirable new Ballad, which goes excellently well to the tune of
“ Mrs. Arne, Mrs. Arne,
It gives me concarn,” &c
How chang'd are the notes you now sing!
Your fam'd Forty-five
Is Prerogative, And your blasphemy, “God save the King,"
Johnny Wilks, And your blasphemy, “God save the King."
Jack Ch-ch-11, Jack Ch-ch-11,
The town sure you search ill,
When next you draw out
Your hospital rout,
Captain K-th, Captain K-th,
Keep your tongue 'twixt your teeth, Lest bed-chamber tricks you betray ;
And, if teeth you want more,
Why, my bold Commodore, You may borrow of Lord G-11—y,
Captain K—th, You may borrow of Lord G-11--y.
*Joe M--wb-y, Joe M-wb-y,
Your throat sure must raw be, In striving to make yourself heard ;
But it pleased not the pigs,
Nor the Westminster whigs, That your knighthood should utter one word,
Joe M-wb-y, That your knighthood should utter one word
Whom nobody for is,
From Dublin you came
It had been much the same
• This stanza and the next were by Lord John Townshendo