IT has commonly been held to be a dexterous and delicate compliment to Garrick's acting that Fielding has paid through the humorous criticisms of Partridge, who saw nothing admirable in 'the terror of the little man', but thought the actor who played the king was deserving of great praise. 'He speaks all his words distinctly, half as loud again as the other. Anybody may see he is an actor.' I cannot say what truth there was in Partridge's appreciation of Garrick, but if his language is to be interpreted as Fielding seems to imply, the intended compliment is a sarcasm. Partridge says, with a contemptuous sneer, 'He the best player! Why, I could act as well as he myself. I am sure if I had seen a ghost, I should have looked in the very same manner, and done just as he did.'
Now assuming this to be tolerably near the truth, it implies that Garrick's acting was what is called 'natural'; but not the natural presentation of a Hamlet. The melancholy sceptical prince in the presence of his father's ghost must have felt a tremulous and solemn awe, but cannot have felt the vulgar terror of a vulgar nature; yet Partridge says, 'If that little man upon the stage is not frightened, I never saw any man frightened in my life.'2 The manner of a frightened Partridge can never have been at all like the manner of Hamlet. Let us turn to Colley Cibber's remarks on Betterton, if we would see how a great actor represented the emotion: 'You have seen a Hamlet, perhaps, who on the first appearance of his father's spirit has thrown himself into all the straining vociferation requisite to express