CHAPTER VII
DANGER 1755-1756

1

AT a difficult moment in the winter of 1754, when a theatrical manager must be at his busiest, Mr John Cleland, novelist, asked Mr Garrick to be kind to a young French visitor to London, author of a comedy, an Anglo-maniac, and an adorer of Shakespeare. M. Claude Pierre Patu, a little French banker with a weak chest, had most unwisely chosen November for his first trip to a country he so much admired. His admiration extended to having learned enough English to write a letter in that tongue, though when he discovered that Mr Garrick understood him in French he gladly relapsed; for his letters were very long. Cleland, who had social sense, enclosed to Garrick an English letter from M. Patu which showed he was appreciative.

I long to wait on Mr. Garrick, and return him viva voce my sincere thanks for his truly French politeness. My being civil or uncivil towards him is entirely in your power, since you may, at your pleasure hasten or delay the time of your leading me to his house. If you get any occasion of seeing him before, I shall be obliged to you to assure him that I am not a stranger to his talents. . . .

Cleland had not exaggerated. Patu was a charming character. It was only a little disappointing that he proved not to know M. Jean-Georges Noverre. Garrick had been in correspondence with that person since September and wanted an independent opinion upon him. He was Jean Monnet maître de ballet at the Opéra Comique, and Garrick was thinking of inviting him to London. Monnet, to be sure, Garrick knew well, but Monnet could hardly be asked to recommend for London employment a member of his company who had just scored a resounding success. If he came to business, Garrick meant to employ as intermediary his own Paris banker, Charles Selwyn. Monnet had a flair for discovering talent, and Noverre's ballet Les Fêtes Chinoises produced in Paris on July 1, 1754, had received wonderful notices in the press of that capital. Drowsing in the country peace of Hampton, while the Thames flowed peacefully by, in the dead season, Garrick considered something which might make Covent Garden green with envy. LeNouveau Calendrier des spectacles de Paris, 1755

-169-

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David Garrick
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Garrick Pedigree vii
  • Illustrations xi
  • Prologue xv
  • Chapter 1 - "First, the Infant" 1717-1737 1
  • Chapter II - Salad Days 1737-1742 19
  • Chapter III - Woffington 1742-1745 50
  • Chapter IV - 1745-1749 84
  • Chapter V - 27, Southampton Street 1749-1751 116
  • Chapter VI - Happy Days 1751-1755 142
  • Chapter VII - Danger 1755-1756 169
  • Chapter VIII - 1757-1760 184
  • Chapter IX - The New Reign 1760-1763 211
  • Chapter X - 1763-1765 227
  • Chapter XI - "Tied to the Stake" 1765-1769 258
  • Chapter XII - Stratford-Upon-Avon Jubilee 1769 285
  • Chapter XIII - Adelphi 1770-1776 307
  • Chapter XIV - "Farewell! Remember Me!" 1776-1779 335
  • Epilogue 374
  • Notes 384
  • Index 407
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