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JOY KILLS AS WELL AS GRIEF.
“Miss Smith, a young lady who played the character of Amelia, in the comedy of “The Twin Rivals," at Covent Garden Theatre, some years ago, died, last week, in this town (Norwich), in the following extraordinary manner. A young gentleman of a good family and great expectancy had long had a tendre for her, but did not make her any serious offers, because he feared his friends would object to the match, on account of the young lady's want of fortune, she having given up every shilling of some property which had been bequeathed to her, to rescue her parents from ruin. Her theatrical prospects not appearing very promising, the young gentleman generously told her, that if she would quit the stage, he would make her his wife, in spite of any objections of his friends; as she really loved him, the excess of her joy was such, that she sunk into his arms, and died immediately." (From a letter, dated Feb. 1779.)
MR. HOLLAND AND MRS. EHolland, the tragedian, who flourished about 1760, was a great favourite with the fair sex; and the distinction with which some of them honoured him, has rendered him famous in the annals of gallantry. Among the chief of his amours, stands his intrigue with Mrs. E-le, which detail, we have little doubt, will amuse our readers.
Our tragedian had received many letters, signed “ Leonora,” Some of them, replete with extravagant praise of him, as an actor; and others, declaring, “ that the writer should have thought herself blest, if he had fallen to her lot as a companion for life ; but, as fortune had cruelly denied her that extreme gratification, she should enjoy no rest till he had assured her, in the most solemn manner, that he would attempt nothing against her virtue, if he was indulged with an interview;" the letter, which contained this declaration, enclosed a present of four lottery tickets, and mentioned, that a servant would call for an answer in a few days.
Our hero's curiosity being hereby worked up to the highest pitch, he sent a most loving answer. Near a month elapsed before the impatient actor received a reply; which, however, when it came, set his heart at rest. The fair one breathed the most tender sentiments, and assured him, that they remained unchanged. She had been ill,
and was ordered to the country for the recovery of her health, She desired him to accept a diamond ring, and wear it, constantly, for her sake. In about six weeks from this period, the Lady returned from the country; and, in a letter, penned in the usual strain, assured him, that she had now determined to venture on an interview, and that she would call on him at his lodgings on the Sunday morning. In this irksome interval, our tragedian's soul was continually up in arms, and formed ten thousand plans of the manner in which he should receive her Ladyship, or her Grace.
The happy moment at length arrived ; and a plump well dressed female entered Holland's dining-room, when he exerted the utmost powers of his elocution in thanking her for the unmerited favour she conferred on him ; calling up all the assistance of stage-trick, by counterfeiting confusion, terror, &c. &c., on which the lady accosted him in this manner:“Sir, you may spare yourself your declarations and transports for another. person. I am not the lady who has been your correspondent, but an intimate friend, who can refuse her nothing; and, as she found herself incapable of meeting you alone, I undertook the
task, from motives of pure friendship and compassion : her coach is now at the door ; she has a villa near town ; and, if you please, I will accompany you thither to dinner.”
This being arranged, they soon arrived at the villa. Holland was ushered into an elegant apartment and regaled with chocolate, while his fair inamorata was mustering up courage to meet him. - Every preparatory step being taken, he was suffered to approach his princess; “when" (as Hume said of himself and Rousseau)
a very tender scene ensued." We will pass over the under plots, &c., and proceed to say, that lodgings were taken in town, where the happy couple met, as they thought, in the most secret manner; but what was their surprise when they found, that an action was brought against Holland, by the enraged Mr. E. for Crim-Con; and, above all, that the complaisant friendly go-between was to be produced by him as the sole witness to prove the deed. This stratagem operated like a thunder-bolt, and dispersed, at once, all the loves and graces; the lady retreated to obscurity, and the gentleman prepared for his defence. As he had no doubt of the fact being fully ascertained, bis only resource was to prove, that, from
his salary, and other circumstances, he was incapable of paying large damages. This precaution was, however, rendered unnecessary, by a message from Mr. E., who, convinced Mr. H. that it was his interest to make no defence; as, in that case, no more than £50 damages would be claimed, and even that sum not received.
What could poor Holland do in this exigence ? Blank verse could be but of little use to him; he, therefore, submitted quietly to his fate, which turned out exactly as he had been promised; it plainly appearing, that her husband's sole view was, to get rid of a wife, for whom he had no regard, without refunding a shilling of her fortune, which was large; and, in this honourable pursuit, he effected his purpose by means of the virtuous lady who had insinuated herself into the confidence of the credulous Mrs. E.
Holland made his exit from the stage of life, on the 7th of December, 1769, in the 36th year
of his age.
FOOTE AND DR. JOHNSON.
Tom Davis, one evening, related to the Doctor the intention of Foote to personify his figure, dress, and manner, upon the stage. “Well,”