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McMDAY, MAY 12,1780. I have been at many placet since I wrote my last note! I am now at Ruckinghain; and have often been delighted with walking in Stowe Gardens! I sometimes take a book in my pocket, sif down and read in some of the temples dedicated to the poets, or to ihe heathen deities!
I wish 1 had some of my old friends with me from Nottingbauishiie: they would be highly pleased with the sight) 1 have daily before me.
August 28, 1790. I took up this book by chance, and find it is more than two years sin.ee I wrote my last Notf. 1 am now at Brighthelmstone where I irai last year at this time; of course this is my second season here-all very pleasant, gay and fashionable, blessed with the smiles of Royalty.
Salisbury, January 31, 1793.—A considerable time has passed since I wrote the above: I ani ndw a Manager, in partnership with my friend Shatfdrd.
My time is so much engaged in business, that I ha** not leisure to write notes as I used to do. I [am less romantic than formerly, but I hope I am equally honest.
May 27, 1795.—I am now, and have been for more than a year, a married man, and a father; and stationed in a London Theatre, (Covent Garden). The latter consideration would once have gratified my feelings more than it does now. Time makes great changes in our ideas; but still I remain as happy as most men can be.
Here close* mj Note Book—I trust that the fcir extracts from it which I have transferred to these pages, wilt find excuse and favor in the eyes of my readers. The latter dotes will be found to have been written at times far apart, for, after I had entered iuto the business of life,—when I had chosen the stage as the scene of all my future toils and troubles as well as hopes and pleasures;—when I had determined to make my joy consist in the "fickle breath of popular applause," and had chosen the pursuit of the most fascinating of all fame, rather than the dull, though mora profitable, retirement of a country town, at a desk or jn a shop; trhen 1 had set my future fortunes on such a die, I found that I had little leisure to dedicate to the scribbling of rougli notes and making memorandums of insignificant occurrences. With the regularity of my diary, closes the regularity of my life; henceforth lam noi to be found day after day superintending the management of cattle, moralizing and romancing, but striving to make my way in the world through a crowd of competitors, now falling—now rising — now hers—» now there—to-day basking in the smiles of fortune,— to-morrow cowering beneath her frown—now gay and single, unloving and unloved,—now married and a father,—first a servant,—then a master and a manager, at one moment blest with plenty and prosperity, at another poor and dependant. Now untrammelled by domestic cares—now burthened with a large family— in short, experiencing all those manifold changes which the history of any long life must furnish abundantly, but which occur to none so frequently Us to such as
pursue those professions which depend wholly on the fickleness of fashion, as the drama, poetry, painting, music, and indeed all the fine arts, and in none of these so numerously as in that most unstable of all pursuits—the stage.
1 am now about to enter upon that portion of my life which saw me launch myself upon the world, to endure whatever winds and tides it might be my chance to encounter. Now my wanderings commence—now begins the story of a roving existence whose greatest delight was change, andwhich, in the pursuit of applause, led me into scenes so various—scenes of joy and sorrow— of humour and dulness—of mirth and sadness—of prosperity and adversity—so that, when I review the memory of past events, they throng so thick upon me that I cannot give them the order which a history should demand.
Rambling from place to place and possessing a home in none, I have, it may naturally be supposed, acquired a love of change and a detestation of monotony which probably will never be subdued.
And, as was my life, so must be its reminiscences. It would be vain for me to promise any thing like regularity of detail, for I know not what regularity is. I will therefore content myself with a brief narrative of the leading features of my fortunes, and, having so done, endeavonr to afford the reader a few hours amusement with a desultory and miscellaneous collection of things and thoughts which have occurred to me in the cours* of my varied existence. These I shall throw together without much attention to order, and, if I cannot awaken an interest in my story by its gradual developement and pathetic climax, I shall at least deserve the negative merit of being neither tiresome nor affected. In all cases I shall rather endeavour to call forth a smile than a tear. My own existence has inclined to (he 'hrig'ht and happy and I would have that of others (he same. I have ever enjoyed a peculiar taste for th» humorous and-whimsical, and scenes which have exhibited this character are more vividly written on my memory than others of a more sad complexion. I trust therefore that my readers will hike it in good part, if in the following pages they find the records of comedy rather than of tragedy—of the gay and light, rather than of the heavy and sad.
From the preceding extracts from my note book ft will he gathered, that, soon after I became of age, I left my uncle and went to London where I imbibed an increased love of the stage, indeed so much so, that 1 determined to make choice of it as a profession. An opportunity soon after offered itself and [ went to Newport Pagnel with a letter of introduction to Mr. Shatford the manager of a company then performing in that town, and was by him engaged to make trial of my talents. With him I travelled for some time and then proceeded to Brighton with Mr. Cross of whom more will be said hereafter. But I did not remain here long,