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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 46.djvu/195

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added to her repertory, among other characters, first Constantia in the ‘Chances,’ Elvira in ‘Love makes a Man,’ Isabinda in the ‘Busybody,’ Nottingham in the ‘Unhappy Favourite,’ Amanda in ‘Love's Last Shift,’ Angelica in the ‘Constant Couple,’ the Queen in ‘Hamlet,’ Dorinda in the ‘Beaux' Stratagem,’ the Queen in ‘King Richard III,’ Charlotte in the ‘Villain,’ Hillaria in the ‘Yeoman of Kent,’ and the Silent Woman in ‘Epicœne.’ After playing at the Haymarket, in the season of 1710–11, the Queen in Dryden's ‘Spanish Fryar,’ Lady Macduff, and other characters, she reappeared at Drury Lane, where she was on 5 Dec. 1710 Hortensia in ‘Æsop,’ and played Lady Charlot in Steele's ‘Funeral,’ Aspatia in the ‘Maid's Tragedy,’ and was the original Isabinda in Mrs. Centlivre's ‘Marplot,’ a continuation of the ‘Busybody,’ and on 17 March 1712 the original Hermione in the ‘Distrest Mother’ of Ambrose Philips. In Charles Shadwell's ‘Humours of the Army,’ 29 Jan. 1713, she was the original Leonora, and in Addison's ‘Cato’ on 14 April the original Marcia. Myrtilla in Gay's ‘Wife of Bath,’ on 12 May, was an original part, as was Alicia in ‘Jane Shore’ on 2 Feb. 1714. In the following season she played Monimia in the ‘Orphan,’ Desdemona, Portia in ‘Julius Cæsar,’ Lavinia in ‘Caius Marius,’ Lady Elizabeth Blunt in ‘Virtue Betrayed,’ Belinda in the ‘Man of the Mode,’ and was the original Duchess of Suffolk in Rowe's ‘Lady Jane Grey.’ Roxana, in the ‘Sultaness,’ on 25 Feb. 1717, adapted by Charles Johnson from Racine, was also an original part, as was Lady Woodvil in Cibber's ‘Nonjuror’ on 6 Dec. 1717. Other important parts in which she was seen at Drury Lane were Amanda in the ‘Relapse,’ Lady Wronglove in the ‘Lady's last Stake,’ Angelica in the ‘Rover,’ Evadne, Elizabeth in the ‘Unhappy Favourite,’ Isabella in the ‘Fatal Marriage,’ Lady Macbeth, Belvidera, Zara in the ‘Mourning Bride,’ Octavia in ‘All for Love,’ and Mrs. Marwood. When Dennis produced, 11 Nov. 1719, his ‘Invader of the Country, or the Fatal Resentment,’ a mangled version of ‘Coriolanus,’ Mrs. Porter was the Volumnia. In Southerne's ‘Spartan Dame’ she was the first Thelamia, in Hughes's ‘Siege of Damascus’ the first Eudocia, and in Young's ‘Revenge’ on 18 April 1721 the first Leonora. Queen Katharine in ‘Henry VIII,’ Desdemona, and Athanais in ‘Theodosius’ were assigned her the following season, in which, on 19 Feb. 1722, she was the original Cartismand in Ambrose Philips's ‘Briton.’ In ‘Humfrey, Duke of Gloucester,’ taken by Philips from Shakespeare, she was the Duchess of Gloucester, and in Jacob's ‘Fatal Constancy’ she was the first Hesione. In Cibber's ‘Cæsar in Egypt’ on 9 Dec. 1724 Mrs. Porter was the first Cornelia. In the following February she was the heroine of West's ‘Hecuba,’ and on 13 Dec. 1727 the original Leonora in the ‘Double Falsehood,’ assigned by Theobald to Shakespeare, but credited to himself or Shirley. In the ‘Provoked Husband,’ by Cibber and Vanbrugh, on 10 Jan. 1728, she was the original Lady Grace. In James Miller's ‘Humours of Oxford’ on 9 Jan. 1730 she was the first Lady Science; she was also the first Eunesia in the anonymous tragedy of ‘Timoleon.’

Mrs. Oldfield having now (1730) left the stage—Mrs. Bracegirdle and Mrs. Barry had retired long before—Mrs. Porter had little rivalry to fear. But her career was soon threatened by a sad accident. She played the original Medea in Johnson's ‘Medea’ on 11 Dec. 1730, and Eurydice in Mallet's play so named, on 22 Feb. 1731. At the time she occupied, says Davies's ‘Dramatic Miscellanies’ (iii. 465), a house at Heywood Hill (Highwood Hill), near Hendon, and was in the habit of going home after the performance in a one-horse chaise, carrying always with her a book and a pair of pistols. Being stopped by a robber, she presented a pistol at him, and cowed him into confessing he was not a highwayman, but a man desperate through affliction. After giving him 10l., she struck suddenly her horse, which, bolting, overthrew the chaise, and her thighbone was dislocated. This accident compelled a retirement of nearly two years, and subsequently she always supported herself on the stage with a stick. She reappeared at Drury Lane at a benefit by ‘their majesties' commands,’ playing Queen Elizabeth in the ‘Unhappy Favourite.’ On 19 Nov. 1735 she played Belvidera in ‘Venice Preserved’ at Covent Garden, and the following season reappeared at Drury Lane. On 6 April 1738 she was the first Clytemnestra in Thomson's ‘Agamemnon,’ being, Genest thinks, specially engaged for the part; she repeated, however, the characters of Hermione in the ‘Distrest Mother’ for her benefit, and Portia in ‘Julius Cæsar’ for the fund for erecting a statue to Shakespeare. From 1736 to 1741, in which last year she had a benefit at Covent Garden, playing Isabella in the ‘Fatal Marriage,’ she was not engaged. She played a few familiar parts in 1741–2. On 14 Feb. 1743, for her benefit, she was seen at Covent Garden by command of the Prince and Princess of Wales, enacting Queen Elizabeth in ‘Albion Queens,’ being ‘the last time of her appearance on the stage.’ The stage was enclosed