27, SOUTHAMPTON STREET 1749-1751
WEDDINGS, in the mid- eighteenth century, did not take place with quite the same speed as in the days of the immortal Shakespeare, when Capulet, late on Monday night, decided that Wednesday would be too soon for Juliet's marriage and therefore settled upon Thursday. Garrick, according to the witness of Horace Walpole, was not yet the accepted suitor of La Violette at the Duke of Richmond's water-party on May 15, 1749, but there was not time for banns to be called before his wedding. A licence was issued on June 17 "for the chapel in Russell Street, Bloomsbury, or the chapel of Burlington House". (In any case, Lady Burlington is likely to have insisted 1 on her protégée's marriage taking place, as was usual in high life, by special licence.) On June 20, attended by his lawyer, Mr Paterson, Garrick signed the marriage articles imposed by the Burlingtons. These provided for the bride very securely. She received the annual interest of £5,000 charged on Lady Burlington's Lincolnshire estates. Garrick agreed to settle upon her 10,000 and £70 per annum pin- money. Horace Walpole wrote, three days after the wedding, 2 "Garrick is married to the famous Violette, first at a Protestant, and then at a Roman Catholic chapel. The chapter of this history is a little obscure and uncertain as to the consent of the protecting Countess, and whether she gives her a fortune or not." He had got his facts better than most of his contemporaries, in that he believed that some provision had been made by Lady Burlington. For gossip at the date of the marriage, which persisted with extraordinary vitality, declared that Lord Burlington had given to Garrick, with a large dowry, a natural daughter. One of the chief difficulties in discovering 3 the truth was the longevity of 1822 Violette. She survived, in excellent command of her faculties, until 1822. Biographers of her husband were therefore faced with the choice of asking her for evidence, producing what guess-work they could, or ignoring her origins. Tom Davies, in his two-volume Memoirs of the Life of David Garrick Esq, published in 1780, took the least satisfactory line. He neglected to mention that his hero ever married, although Mrs Garrick inevitably appears as his narrative proceeds. Arthur Murphy, publishing in 1801, opened the fifteenth chapter of his first volume cautiously, though not correctly.