The History of Henry Fielding - Vol. 1

By Wilbur L. Cross; Humphrey Milford | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII
DRAMATIC CAREER

PASQUIN

If Fielding, as has been alleged, was disposed at this time to renounce the stage for the life of a country squire, the old longing for the town soon returned to him. The quiet of East Stour gave him an opportunity to take a comprehensive view of his dramatic talent--to see that it lay, not in depicting the irregular sex relations of fashionable society, but in farce, burlesque, and political satire. On mature consideration, he must have known why "The Universal Gallant" had failed, and that to regain his audience he had but to produce another play in the manner of "Tom Thumb" or "The Author's Farce." Perhaps while at East Stour, he sketched out "Pasquin," and went up to London with it early in 1736. He took lodgings or a house for himself and wife near the theatres, in the parish of St. Martin's in the Fields, where their first child, Charlotte, was born on April 27, and baptized on May 19, 1736. So Mrs. Fielding, who had shared in her husband's chagrin over "The Universal Gallant," was now to see him retrieve his fortunes handsomely.

The theatrical situation had not greatly changed since I last described it. Drury Lane was still under the direction of Fleetwood as the chief patentee, with young Cibber and Mrs. Clive among the leading players. Rich's company at Covent Garden was amusing the town with "dramatic entertainments," varied by light comedy and an occasional tragedy. Giffard began the season at Goodman's Fields

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