"FAREWELL! REMEMBER ME!" 1776-1779
ON a mid-January day of 1776, when snow lay in the streets of London, a young teacher on holiday wrote to one of her sisters in Bristol:
Let the Muses shed tears, for Garrick has this day sold the patent of Drury Lane Theatre, and will never act again after this winter. Sic transit gloria mundi! He retires with all his blushing honours thick about him, his laurels as green as in their early spring. Who shall supply his loss to the stage? Who shall now hold the master-key of the human heart? Who direct the passions with more than magic power? Who purify the stage: and who, in short, shall direct and nurse my dramatic muse?
Miss Hannah More's information was quite correct, except that Garrick was to continue playing until the end of the season, June 10. His sale of the patent and his retirement from the stage were announced in the press on March 7. He had disposed of his share to Mr Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Mr Thomas Linley and Dr James Ford. Everyone knew that" Mr Sheridan, jun:" as such old stagers as Tom King called him, was the son of Thomas Sheridan. He was twenty-five, author of The Rivals, The Duenna and other Covent Garden successes. He did not act, but had political aspirations. Mr Linley the musician, famous for his productions of the works of Handel, was his father-in-law. Dr Ford was a fashionable accoucheur, physician-extraordinary to Queen Charlotte. Clutterbuck hoped that perhaps he represented the solid financial background of the alliance. Kitty Clive thought she should have died with laughing when she saw a man-midwife amongst the strange jumble of people published by the newspapers in their first guesses as to Davy's successors. She had some opinion of Mr Sheridan; everybody said he was very sensible. Her letter of mingled condolence and congratulation was in her best style, and David wrote on it, "My Pivy excellent!"
Is it really true that you have put an end to the glory of Drury Lane Theatre? If it is so, let me congratulate my dear Mr and Mrs Garrick on their approaching happiness. . . . In the height of public admiration for you, when you were never mentioned with any other appellation but the Garrick, the charming man, the fine fellow, the delightful creature, both by