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rank in the theatre, she acted the Country Girl there, on the 23d of March. Indeed, it was chiefly with a view to throw some additional comforts, by her own exertion, into the establishments of her daughters, that she returned to the stage the present season, it not being the wish of her illustrious friend that she should continue in the profession of which she was so great an ornament. Enough has been thrown out, sometimes supported by illustrations from the author's text, at others by simple reference, and often by proverbial dicta, to denote what kind of actress she was. But the charm about her was not to be evinced by analysis :
“ Like following life, in creatures we dissect
We lose it in the moment we detect."
We only know and feel that it did exist, and that we were attached by its power. A critical friend once told her he had detected it, and humourously called it her swindling laugh. “You have caught, madam,” said he, “the hearty enjoyment of unre. strained infancy, delighting in its own buoyancy; and you have preserved this in children of a larger growth, who in the world are checked and blighted by decorum and art, authority and hypocrisy."
“What,” said she, “then you have found me out! Something very like what you say may be the secret of my success.” But to her general merits on the stage we shall return at the close. At present we forbear from a theme which is so grateful to us. A momentous point in her life is about to open upon us, which we are happily enabled to illustrate by her own letters. They will show her, though deeply suffering, generous, candid, and affectionate; meriting a very different fate, but drawn on from circumstances over which she could have no control, to encounter alienation and unsuspected difficulty, the failure of her maternal hopes, and the embarrassment of her finances. A noble fortune, acquired by unexampled toil, mouldering away unaccountably from her disposal, and her independence at last consisting in an annuity, which sprung solely from the bounty of him whose happiness she had promoted for nearly twenty years of even exemplary attachment and confidence.
Domestic Arrangements of Mrs. Jordan — Her Three Daughters,
Their Husbands and Intended Fortunes — Sir Richard Ford, His Marriage with Miss Booth — Attacks upon Mrs. Jordan in the Newspapers Reports of a Violent Quarrel between the Duke and Herself - Mrs. Jordan Writes to a Confidential Friend – The Advice Given to Her — Withdraws from Town Theatricals — Visits Bath with One of Her Daughters — Ludicrous Scene at One of the Libraries — The Author's Opinion of Her Conduct - Doctor Johnson – Mrs. Jordan's Letter from Bath States Her Success in Her Profession - Her Burthens and the Result — Tired of the Profession - Popular Enthusiasm about Her — Her Own Admirable Description of the Ladies Who Know Everything but Her Person - Her Return to Bushy, and Visit to Dublin - Her Letter as to Her Prospects There — Author's Observations — Her Manner in Society — Like Mrs. Siddons, no Showy Talker - Treatment of Her by the Irish Manager, Jones — And the Danes in His Company - Poor Old Barrett Provided For by HerOthers Relieved, from Early Knowledge — Actions for Defamation - Corri and His Libels - Assails the Friends of Mrs. Jordan as well as Herself.
RS. JORDAN, during the years 1808
and 1809, was engaged in preliminary
arrangements for the marriage of her three daughters. The eldest, Frances, became Mrs. Alsop: her husband was in the ordnance office, and, I think, if I can trust to memory, clerk of the delivery of small arms. I am confirmed in this notion by knowing that the situation has been abolished. There is a respectability attached to the clerkships in government offices, which belongs to no other subordinates in life. The gentlemen who fill them rank as esquires in the red book, and, why I know not, are supposed, in their style of living, to be little bounded by the mere salaries of their respective situations. Miss Jordan was in her twenty-sixth year when she gave her hand to Mr. Thomas Alsop; his residence then was at No. 11 Park Place, and with their married sister Miss Dora and Miss Lucy domesticated, until, in the year following, with the approbation of their mother, Miss Dora became the wife of Frederick Edward March, Esq., as I understand, a natural son of Lord Henry Fitzgerald, who was also a clerk in the ordnance office; and, in 1810, the youngest, Miss Lucy, was united to General, then Colonel, Hawker, of the 14th Light Dragoons. The reader will bear in mind that their mother had, under her own hand, publicly devoted her fortune, and a portion of the gains of her professional exertion, to a provision for these ladies, now that she herself, by accepting a splendid connection, might look to the probability of having a new and a large additional family, on the presumption of good conduct, no way likely to be in any manner burthensome to her. The fortunes intended for her daughters are clearly noted in a private letter from Mrs. Jordan herself.
“I am sure you will be pleased to hear that your young friend Lucy is about to be married, much to my satisfaction, to Colonel Hawker, of the 14th Dragoons; he is a most excellent man, and has a very good private property; she will make the best of wives, — a better girl never lived; it makes me quite happy, and I intend to give her the value of £10,000.”
I purposely place this here, as some, though a slight excuse for those who, in addition to expensive inclinations, marrying what are called girls with fortunes, might think themselves bound to commence and continue establishments suited rather to their fancies than their finances. I believe the sons-in-law alike received £2,000 of these ten, and an annual present, something like £200, from Mrs. Jordan, while she had the means to give it. The reader will himself apply this information, when he hears of subsequent