Part 11 out of 11
girl she joined the Duke's Company in 1673, and in a few years, owing to
her beauty and extraordinary spirit, became a prime favourite with the
Town. Amongst her chief recorded parts are: 1677, Mrs. Hadland in The
Counterfeit Bridegroom, January, 1678, Lady Fancy in Mrs. Behn's _Sir
Patient Fancy_; in March, Marcella in _The Feign'd Curtezans_; June of
the same year, Madam Tricklove in D'Urfey's _Squire Oldsapp_. In 1680,
The Queen in Tate's _The Loyal General_, and Jenny Wheedle (Matilda) in
D'Urfey's entertaining comedy _The Virtuous Wife_. In 1681 she created
Ariadne in _The Rover_, Part II. and 'Lady Elianor Butler, a young lady
of great quality that was one of King Edward's mistresses,' in Crowne's
adaptation of, 2 _Henry VI_, which he dubbed _The Miseries of Civil War_.
1682, Eugenia in Ravenscroft's rollicking _The London Cuckolds_;
(probably) Lady Desbro' in _The Roundheads_; Diana in _The City Heiress_;
Isabella in _The False Count_; and, her greatest role, Aquilina the Greek
light o' love in _Venice Preserv'd_ to the Antonio of Leigh. 'When Leigh
and Mrs. Currer', says Davies, 'performed the parts of doting cully and
rampant courtezan the applause was as loud as the triumphant Tories could
bestow.' Subsequent decades eliminated the intrigue between Nicky Nacky
and the fumbling old senator. The scenes were thought to reek too openly
of the stews, and when indeed they were played for the last time in their
entirety at the express command of George II, then Prince of Wales, with
Pinketham as Antonio and pretty Mrs. Horton Aquilina, the house, in spite
of the high patronage, thought fit to demonstrate their pudicity in a
very audible manner. The critics too, in a somewhat ductile herd, have
modestly decried these same episodes. Otway's comic and satiric powers
have been thoroughly underrated. Taine, however, boldly confessed that
Otway 'like Shakespeare ... found at least once the grand bitter
buffoonery, the harsh sentiment of human baseness', and he demonstrates
that, however odious and painful the episodes of senator and whore may
be, they are true to the uttermost. Even the great nineteenth-century
realist Zola did not disdain to take a hint thence for his chapters in
_Nana_ of the masochist Count Muffat and the 'rampant courtezan'.
[Footnote 1: There was a notable performance of _Venice Preserv'd_ at
Drury Lane, 19 November, 1721, which is perhaps the occasion referred to;
but, as Genest says, after the original performances the role of Aquilina
is not to be found in the play bills. 2 December, 1721, Spiller acted
Antonio at Lincoln's Inn Fields.]
In 1684 Mrs. Currer created Mrs. Featly In Ravenscroft's 'recantation
play', _Dame Dobson_; she was also Sylvia in Otway's last comedy, _The
Atheist_, and Lady Medlar in _The Factious Citizen_. In 1685 she played
Isabella in Tate's farcical _A Duke and no Duke_, and five years later
she is billed as the roystering Widow Ranter in Mrs. Behn's posthumous
comedy of the same name. Her name does not appear after 1690, latterly
her appearances were few, and she seems to have been one of those 'crept
the stage by love'. An unprinted MS. _Satire on the Players_ (1682-3) has
a sharp reference to Betty Currer and cries:--
Currer 'tis time thou wert to Ireland gone
Thy utmost Rate is here but Half-a-Crown
Ask Turner if thou art not fulsome grown.
p. 309 _Silvio, Page to Laura Lucretia_. (Dramatis Personae.) I have
added 'Silvio' to the list of actors as he enters according to the stage
directions, Act i, 1, and elsewhere. Julio in the same scene refers to
him, and Laura Lucretia several times addresses him during the play. Act
ii, 1, &c. In Act v, however, he is manifestly confused with Sabina.
Laura gives Silvio certain instructions, he approaches Galliard, and his
lines have speech-prefix 'Sab.' In the following scene the direction is
'enter Silvio' and his speech is given to Sabina, Laura moreover
addressing him as Sabina. I have no doubt that this confusion existed in
Mrs. Behn's MS.
p. 315 _Medices Villa_. The Villa Medici was erected in 1540 by Annibale
Lippi. The gardens are famous for their beauty. From the avenue of
evergreen-oaks with a fountain before the Villa can be obtained a
celebrated view of St. Peter's.
p. 317 _I may chance to turn her_. Mr. Tickletext was much of the opinion
of the celebrated casuist Bauny, who, in his _Theologia Moralis_,
tractatus iv, _De Poenitentia_, quaestio 14, writes: 'Licitum est
cuilibet lupanar ingredi ad odium peccati ingerendum meretricibus, etsi
metus sit, et vero etiam verisimilitudo non parva se peccaturum eo quod
malo suo saepe sit expertus, blandis se muliercularum sermonibus flecci
solitum ad libidinem.'
p. 319 _Amorous Twire_. Twire--a sly, saucy glance; a leer. cf.
Etheridge's _The Man of Mode_ (1676), Act iii, III, _Harriet_. 'I
abominate ... the affected smiles, the silly By-words, and amorous Tweers
in passing.' The verb 'to twire' occurs in Shakespeare's _Sonnets_,
xxviii, 12, and frequently elsewhere.
p. 320 _Hogan-Mogan_. A popular corruption, or rather perversion, of
the Dutch _Hoogmogend-heiden_, 'High Mightinesses', the title of the
States-General. In a transferred manner it is used as a humorous or
Contemptuous adjective of those affecting grandeur and show; 'high and
mighty.' The phrase is common. Needham, _Mercurius Pragmaticus_, No. 7
(1648), speaks of the 'Hogan Mogan States of Westminster'. Tom Brown
(1704), _Works_ (1760), Vol. IV, lashes 'hogan-mogan generals'.
p. 330 _Pusilage_. French _pucelage_; virginity; maidenhead. 1724 reading
'pupilage' misses the whole point and comes near making nonsense of the
passage. cf. Otway's _The Poets Complaint of his Muse_ (4to, 1680), v-vi:
No pair so happy as my Muse and I.
Ne'er was young lover half so fond,
When first his pusilage he lost;
Or could of half my pleasure boast.
p. 322 _Back-Sword_. A sword with a cutting edge; or single-stick (with a
p. 322 _Parades_. 'The lessons defensive are commonly called the
parades'.--Sir W. Hope's _Compleat Fencing Master_ (2nd edition, 1692).
p. 322 _Degagements_. Andre Wernesson, Sieur de Liancour, in chap. v of
_Le Maistre d' Armes_ (1686), treats 'des Degagements' in some detail.
Hope defines 'Caveating or Dis-engaging' as 'the slipping of your
Adversaries' sword when it is going to _bind_ or secure yours'.
p. 322 _Advancements_. Advancings. 'A man is said to _Approach_ or
_Advance_ when being out of his adversaries' reach or at a pretty
distance from him he cometh nearer to him'.--Hope, _Compleat Fencing
p. 322 _Eloynements_. To elonge 'is to Streatch forward one's right Arm
and Legg and to keep a close left Foot. This a Man doth when he giveth a
Thrust, and when he doth it he is said to make an _Elogne_'
(Eloynements).--Hope, _New Method of Fencing_, chap. iv, XI (2nd edition,
1714), deals in detail with 'Elonging, or making an Elonge'.
p. 322 _Retierments_. Retreats or Retirings are very fully described in
Liancour's _Le Maistre d' Armes_, chap. iv. 'A Man is said to Retire when
being within his Adversaries' reach he goeth out of it either by stepping
or jumping backwards from his Adversary upon a Straight Line'.--Hope,
_Compleat Fencing Master_ (2nd edition, 1692).
p. 322 _St. George's Guard_. 'A guard of the broadsword or sabre used in
warding off blows directed against the head'.--C. James, _Military
p. 322 _Flurette_. or Fluret. A fencing foil. Hope, _New Method of
Fencing_ (1714), chap, vii says: '[The Fencing-Master] ought to ... begin
his Scholars with Fleurets'.
p. 323 _Ajax and Ulysses contending for Achilles his armour?_
Bella mouet clypeus: deque armis anna feruntur.
Non ea Tydides, non audet Oileos Aiax,
Non minor Atrides, non bello maior et aeuo
Poscere non alii: soli Telamone creato
Laeertaque fuit tantae fiducia laudis.--Ovid: _Metamorphoscon_.
xii, 621-5. Book xiii commences with a description of the contest of Ajax
(Telamonis) and Ulysses for the arms of the dead Achilles. They were
awarded to the prince of Ithaca.
p. 324 _Clouterlest_. Clumsiest. E. Phillips, _Theatrum Poetarum_, speaks
of Spenser's 'rough hewn clouterly verses'. cf. _Pamela_, Vol. I, p. 112
(1741), 'some clouterly ploughboy'.
p. 338 _Rosemary_. 'There's rosemary, that's for remembrance'. Hamlet,
p. 340 _Docity_. Gumption. A favourite word with Mrs. Behn. cf. _The
False Count_, ii, 11. _Guill_. 'I thank heaven I have docity', and
p. 341 _Julio_. Guilio, a silver coin worth 6_d_. It was first struck by
Pope Julius II (1503-13), hence its name.
p. 346 _The hour of the Berjere_. L'heure du berger ou l'amant trouve
celle qu'il aime favorable a ses voeux. cf. La Fontaine, _Contes. La
Coupe Enchantee_. 'Il y fait bon, l'heure du berger sonne.' It is a
favourite expression of Mrs. Behn. cf. _Sir Patient Fancy_, Act i, l.
'From Ten to Twelve are the happy hours of the Bergere, those of intire
enjoyment.' Also the charming conclusion of _The Lover s Watch_:--
Damon, my watch is just and new:
And all a Lover ought to do,
My Cupid faithfully will show.
And ev'ry hour he renders there
Except _l'heure du Bergere_.
p. 352 _Knox, or Cartwright_. The allusion here is to the Scotch reformer
and the Puritan divine, whose weighty tomes Tickletext might be supposed
to carry with him for propagandist purposes. Fillamour has already
rallied him on his Spartan orthodoxy, and anon we find the worthy
chaplain hot at the 'great work of conversion'. It has been ingeniously
suggested that a reference is intended to _The Preacher's Travels_ of
John Cartwright of Magdalen, Oxford, a book first published in 1611, and
p. 353 _St. James's of the Incurables_. The church of S. Giacomo and the
adjacent Ospedale stand at the corner of the Via S. Giacomo, which leads
from the Corso towards the river.
p. 378 _cogging_. To cog is to trick, to cheat. A word in common use.
p. 384 _like to like_.... A very old proverbial saying. The humours of
Grim the collier are introduced by Ulpian Fulwell into his morality,
_Like Will to Like_ (1561). cf. The amusing anonymous comedy, _Grim, the
Collier of Croydon_ (1600), with its major plot of the Belphegor story.
p. 384 _smoke_. To detect. cf. _All's Well That Ends Well_, iii, 6. 'He
was first smoked by the old lord Lafeu.'
END OF VOL. II