SALAD DAYS 1737-1742
GARRICK'S first biographer, Tom Davies, declares that the capital which the young Garrick approached with Samuel Johnson in March 1737 was already familiar to him. "Several of his father's acquaintance, who knew the delights of the stage, often treated him with a journey to London, that he might feast his appetite at the playhouse." All succeeding authors have accepted this. But a journey to London, at this date, was something not at all lightly undertaken, and, as Johnson knew, the boy was "the son of a half-pay officer, bred in a family whose study was to make fourpence do as much as others make fourpence-halfpenny do". David himself wrote to Gibraltar that he needed new breeches and a waistcoat. And if he was taken frequently to London by rich friends who customarily went for long stays, it is very odd that in his letters to his father, covering three years, although he mentions Lichfield gentry going and coming to Town, and laments his shortage of local news, he never once alludes to such a jaunt being offered to him. There is a possibility that, after his father's return, he went to London with him. This would account for Davies's further statement that some time before the death of his namesake David Garrick II, "his nephew David insinuated to him, that he ought to make some compensation in his will for the disappointment which he had obliged him to incur by a fruitless voyage to Lisbon. The old gentleman was convinced that the remonstrance was just, and bequeathed to David a larger portion of his effects than to any of his brother's children."
Uncle Garrick died on December 16, 1736, at Carshalton, where he was staying with his sister, Mrs La Condé. He had made his will three days before. It was somewhat illiterate but perfectly legal. David Garric (as he wrote himself) left his sister "Laconde" one thousand one hundred pounds, and his sister Fermignac two thousand two hundred. To his nephew and namesake, "son of my Brother", he left "£1,000, to be put out at interest by the Executors, jointly with my brother, until he is of age, or to be paid before in case there is a good place that offers in given money. If should be disobedient to his father and mother before comes of age the money must be given to the father to doe as he thinks most convenient." He left