Charles Macklin: An Actor's Life

By William W. Appleton | Go to book overview

I
EARLY YEARS

Promptly at noon, on July 16, 1797, a hearse and three mourning coaches rumbled up Tavistock Row and drew to a halt in front of St. Paul's, Covent Garden. At the church a crowd of curiosity-seekers had gathered. For years they had seen the old actor striding through the square on his way to Covent Garden Theatre or the Antelope Tavern in Duke's Court. At ninety-seven he was dead.

When he had first come to London a pillar of black marble had adorned the center of the Piazza. At its base, by day, the countrywomen in their broad blue hats sold rosemary and lavender, and there, by night, the young bloods measured swords. At Moll King's notorious establishment, within the very shadow of St. Paul's, duke and chairman had caroused together. But in the twilight of the eighteenth century things had changed. Covent Garden was no longer the center of London's raffish, brawling night life. Moll King was long dead and forgotten. The pillar had been pulled down. And as the old actor was laid to rest in the vault of Inigo Jones's church, alongside his only son, another link with the past was broken.

For over fifty years he had enthralled London audiences until, at the age of nearly ninety, increasing lapses of memory had finally forced him to leave the stage. But for a

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Charles Macklin: An Actor's Life
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • I- Early Years 1
  • II- Dissension at Drury Lane 20
  • IV- The Quarrel with Garrick 56
  • V- Actor-Playwright 66
  • VI- Macklin, Orator 98
  • VII- On Stage Again 109
  • VIII- The Wars of the Theatres 127
  • IX- The Science of Acting 151
  • X- Riot and Conspiracy 168
  • XI- The Man of the World 195
  • XII- Last Years 217
  • Appendix 235
  • Notes 245
  • Index 271
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