Charles Macklin: An Actor's Life

By William W. Appleton | Go to book overview

XII
LAST YEARS

Around 1777 Macklin and his wife moved into modest second-story lodgings at number 6 Tavistock Row, the former site of the Duke of Bedford's gardens, on the south side of the Piazza. For nearly twenty years he held court there, his door always open to friends, visitors, and would-be actors. In 1779 David Garrick died, bringing an age to a close, and attended by a train of grieving peers he was interred in the Abbey with almost regal splendor. The last great player from a vanished era, Macklin enjoyed his role as the Nestor of the Stage, though he was apt to become peevish when asked if he had known Elizabeth Barry or if he had first come to England after the Restoration. Despite his years, he moved with the assurance of a battle-scarred man-of-war. He seemed likely, indeed, to outlive Marmaduke Conway, an earlier resident of Covent Garden, who until three months before his death, at the age of 108, still rode out hawking, his merlin on his wrist.

Despite his lawsuit with the proprietors of Covent Garden he was on amiable terms with Harris, and each season appeared there for a few special performances. On November 6, 1780, he played Shylock and Sir Archy before Their Majesties. On another occasion he performed Sir Pertinax before "some foreigners of distinction, in order to shew them

-217-

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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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