Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 46.djvu/139

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


Drury Lane, to the management of which house during her long stage life she remained faithful. A selection from these characters will suffice. Lucetta in the ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona,’ Widow Belmour in the ‘Way to keep him,’ Elvira in the ‘Spanish Fryar,’ Violante in the ‘Wonder,’ Phillis in the ‘Conscious Lovers,’ Olivia in the ‘Plain Dealer,’ Mrs. Oakly in the ‘Jealous Wife,’ Patch in the ‘Busybody,’ Lady Brumpton in the ‘Funeral,’ Lucy in the ‘Guardian,’ Margery in ‘Love in a Village,’ Catharine in ‘Catharine and Petruchio,’ Lætitia in the ‘Old Bachelor,’ Mrs. Page, Mrs. Frail in ‘Love for Love,’ Lucy Locket in the ‘Beggars' Opera,’ and Abigail in the ‘Drummer,’ are a few only of the parts in which, under Garrick's management or supervision, she kept up the traditions of the stage. Principal among her original parts were Lady Flutter in Mrs. Sheridan's ‘Discovery,’ 3 Feb. 1763; Emily in Colman's ‘Deuce is in Him,’ 4 Nov. 1763; Miss Sterling in the ‘Clandestine Marriage’ of Colman and Garrick,’ 20 Feb. 1766; Lucy in the ‘Country Girl,’ altered by Garrick from the ‘Country Wife,’ 25 Oct. 1766; Molly in Colman's ‘English Merchant,’ 21 Feb. 1767. In the ‘Jubilee’ of Garrick, 14 Oct. 1769, she danced in the pageant as Beatrice (she was an excellent dancer); Patty in Waldron's ‘Maid of Kent,’ 17 May 1773; Dorcas Zeal, the heroine in a revived version of the ‘Fair Quaker,’ 9 Nov. 1773; Lucy in Cumberland's ‘Choleric Man,’ 19 Dec. 1774; and Lady Minikin in Garrick's ‘Bon Ton,’ 18 March 1775.

In the season of 1775–6 she was, for pecuniary reasons, not engaged, this being the only season in which, between her first regular engagement and her retirement, she was absent from the boards. She went to Ireland, made persistent advances to Garrick, and, at the intercession of Kitty Clive, was reinstated. She reappeared, 3 Oct. 1776, as Miss Sterling in the ‘Fair Penitent,’ and, after playing Mrs. Frail in ‘Love for Love’ and Muslin in the ‘Way to keep him,’ was, 8 May 1777, Mrs. Candour in the immortal first performance of the ‘School for Scandal.’ She had by this time grown stout, and was accordingly the subject of some banter. Her success was, however, unquestioned, and for some years subsequently the name of Mrs. Candour clung to her. She lived, it may here be recorded, to play the part for her benefit, 22 May 1805, when she was the only one of the original cast still left on the stage. Many important parts were now assigned her: Ruth in the ‘Committee,’ Lady Fanciful in the ‘Provoked Wife,’ and Lady Lurewell in the ‘Constant Couple,’ and, on 29 Oct. 1779, she created a second of Sheridan's popular characters, being the original Tilburina in the ‘Critic.’ If the original parts subsequently assigned her were of little interest, the fault was not hers. The best among them, if there is any best in the matter, are Phillis in the ‘Generous Impostor,’ 22 Nov. 1780, by Thomas Lewis O'Beirne [q. v.], subsequently bishop of Meath; Lady Betty Wormwood in ‘Reparation,’ 14 Feb. 1784; Phœbe Latimer in Cumberland's ‘Natural Son,’ 22 Dec.; Miss Alscrip in Burgoyne's ‘Heiress,’ 14 Jan. 1786; Mrs. Modely in Holcroft's ‘Seduction,’ 12 March 1787; Diary in ‘Better late than never,’ by Reynolds and Andrews, 17 Nov. 1790; while, with the Drury Lane company at the Haymarket, she was the original Mrs. Larron in Richardson's ‘Fugitive,’ 20 April 1792. Returning to Drury Lane, she made her first reappearance in her great part of Audrey. She was the first Lady Plinlimmon in Jerningham's ‘Welch Heiress,’ 17 April 1795; Lady Taunton in Holcroft's ‘Man of Ten Thousand,’ 23 Jan. 1796. Next season she was successful in Mrs. Malaprop, of which she was not the original exponent. In 1801–2 she played for the first time the Duenna, and essayed, at the command of George III, what was perhaps her greatest rôle, Mrs. Heidelberg in the ‘Clandestine Marriage.’ The king having expressed a wish to see it the previous season, she had studied the part in the summer. A very great number of important characters belong to her entire career, the most remarkable performance of her closing years being Lady Lambert in the ‘Hypocrite.’ Her last original part was Dowager Lady Morelove in Miss Lee's ‘Assignation,’ 28 Jan. 1807. Upon her retirement she chose for her benefit and last appearance, 26 May 1808, Deborah Dowlas, in the ‘Heir-at-Law,’ a choice that incurred some condemnation. She spoke, in the character of Audrey, a farewell address which was not regarded as very happy. After her retirement she quitted the house in Great Queen Street where she had long resided, two doors from the Freemasons' Tavern, and went to Newman Street. She then removed to 25, and afterwards to 17, St. Michael's Place, Brompton, and died there 30 July 1818.

Miss Pope's forte was in soubrettes, principally of the pert order, her greatest parts being Corinna, Dolly Scrap, Polly Honeycombe, Olivia in the ‘Plain Dealer,’ Phillis, Patch, Mrs. Doggerell, Foible, Flippanta, Lappet, Kitty in ‘High Life below Stairs,’ Mrs. Frail, Muslin, Mrs. Candour, Tilburina, Audrey, Lady Dove, and Mrs. Heidelberg.