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INC INCHBALD, MRS ELIZABETH, is the daughter of Mr. Simpson, a reputable farmer at Staningfield, near Bury St. Edmund's, in Suffolk, who had a numerous family. Having lost her father during her infancy, she was under the care of her mother, who, on her becoming a widow, continued to occupy the farm, and brought up her children with all due attention. Miss Simpson had an impediment in her speech, which prevented her from being much in company; for she was scarcely intelligible to any one who was not well acquainted with her. During her solitary hours, she applied herself to books; and, anxious to become acquainted with the customs and manners of the world, of which she had read so much, she formed the resolution of visiting the metropolis; and, finding that her intention was contrary to the wishes of her friends, she seized an opportunity, early one morning in February 1772, of eloping from her family. She had previously packed up a few necessaries in a bandbox; and, with these, ran about two miles across some fields, and there waited with impatience for the stage, which conveyed her to London. At this time she was about 16 years of age, and remarkable for beauty of features, and elegance of figure. Having often heard her family speak of a distant relation who lived opposite Northumberland House, in the Strand, on her arrival in London she took a hackney-coach, and sought this asylum; but, on reaching the place, was, to her great mor
tification, told that her relation had retired from business, and was settled in Wales. Her alarm at these unexpected tidings, and her evident distress (it being near ten o'clock at night), moved the compassion of the people of the house where she inquired, who, at her request, generously accommodated her with a lodging. This civility, however, awakened suspicion : she had read in novels the various modes of seduction which were practised in London, and apprehended that she was in a dangerous house; this suspicion seemed confirmed by the entrance of a corpulent old lady, whose appearance exactly corresponded with the description she had read of a procuress. While, therefore, they were whispering their pity for her youth, and extolling her beauty, she suddenly snatched up her bandbox, and, without saying a word, rushed out of the house, leaving the people to stare at each other, and repent of their compassion. Much fatigued and alarmed, she knocked at a house, where she saw a bill announcing "lodgings
to be let," pretending that she was a milliner's apprentice, whose mistress had unexpectedly a number of visitors from the country that occupied all her beds, and had therefore desired her to seek a temporary accommodation. The veracity of her story was naturally doubted; but she persisted in her tale, till, on turning about, to her great surprise and confusion, she perceived the identical tradesman, whose house she had so precipitately left, listening attentively
to her solemn assertion. Im pelled by curiosity, and. determined on knowing who and what she was, this man had followed her to the present house.---Confounded at this detection, she attempted another escape; but the door was locked, and she was detained as an impostor. Sincerity was all that she had now left; and, with a flood of tears, she confessed her real situation. But even now her truth was doubted, and the woman of the house desired a constable to be sent for; but her son, a boy of twelve years of age, more humane than his mother, joined his tears with those of the poor stranger; and by his intercession she was dismissed, and left to wander the streets of London again.
She now walked whither chance directed ber, and exposed to all those insults which unprotected females must encounter. At two o'clock in the morning she found herself at Holborn Bridge; and, seeing the stage set off for York, which she understood was full, she entered the inp, pretended to be a disappointed passenger, and solicited a lodging. This scheme succeeded; though the landlady, much suspecting her character, took the precaution of locking the door where she slept. In vain she rose at her usual hour; for having no bell, she could not apprize the family that she was up. She was therefore obliged to wait till noon; when the landlady was pleased to liberate her, informing her that the York stage would set out again that evening. This intelligence having been delivered with an air of suspicion which was very cuting to Miss Simpson, she immediately took four all the money she hud, to the last half-crown, and
absolutely paid for a journey which she did not intend to take.
She now turned her thoughts on a theatrical life; and to Mr. Inchbald, of Drury Lane theatre, whose name she remembered in the playbills at Bury St. Edmund's, she resolved to apply for advice respecting an engagement. This gentleman, with whom she had been hitherto unacquainted, but had frequently seen him in her own neighbourhood, introduced her to ano→ ther performer of Drury Lane, who had purchased a share in a country theatre, and who, struck with her beauty, gave her an immediate engagement, without any trial. He became also her instructor, and she imagined that in him she had found a friend; but one evening, while she was reciting a part, an altercation arose; when her master coolly intimated, that he meant to be repaid for the engagement he had given her with other services than those required for ą theatre, and which if not rendered, the engagement should be void. Indignant at his proposal, she availed herself of the tea-equipage which lay on the table; discharged the contents of a basin of scalding water in his face; and, before he recovered from his surprise, had vanished down stairs. She repaired to Mr. Inchbald, and informed him of every circumstance. Affected by her sorrow, this gentleman endeavoured to soothe it; and recommended marriage as a security against insult. "But who would marry me?" cried she. "I would (he replied "with warmth), if you would have me. Yes, Sir, and "would for ever think myself obliged to you." In a few days they were married; and thus, unexpectedly, she became both a
wife and an actress. Mr. Inchbald introduced her on the stage in Scotland, where they remained four seasons; and the two succeeding years they performed at York. Mrs. Inchbald's health being now much impaired, a tour to the south of France was recommended; and, after staying abroad about a year, she returned with her husband, with whom she lived in the most perfect harmony. Two years after their return, Mr. Inchbald died, at Leeds, where he was buried. The following inscription to his memory, written by Mr. Kemble, now of Covent Garden theatre, is placed on his tomb, and is here inserted as no unfavourable character of him:
Siste, Viator! Hic sepeliuntur ossa JOSEPHI INCHBALD, HISTRIONIS,
Qui æqualium suorum
Procul este, invida superstitio,
Vestris enim ingratiis, hic lapis omnibus prædicabit
Quòd in his humi sacræ carceribus
Vir recti semper tenax, Sociis charus,in pauperes, pro re, benignus, Pater optimus, maritus fidelis, Societatis jurum in cunctis observantissi
Otii gaudium, nec non seriorum
De clementia Numinis immortalis,
Octavo Iduum Junii
Mrs. I. now visited London again, and obtained a situation in Covent Garden theatre, where she made her first appearance as Bellario, in Philaster, Oct. 3, 1780.-She vi
sited Dublin in 1782, and performed under Mr. Daly's management. On her return, she procured a reinstatement at Covent Garden. It was during her absence from this theatre, that, to divert a melancholy mind, she applied her attention to dramatic writing. Having produced a comedy, she read some of it to Mr. Harris, who disapproved of the piece; whereupon she sent it, anonymously, to Mr. Colman, then manager of the Haymarket, and it remained in that gentleman's possession near three years unnoticed. Notwithstanding this discouragement, she persevered, and, availing herself of the then rage for balloons, sent him a farce, called A Mogul Tale; or, The Descent of the Balloon. The subject probably induced Mr. Colman to pay this more attention. He read, approved, and accepted it; and its success induced Mrs. Inchbald to remind him of her dormant comedy; whereupon he immediately replied, "I'll go home this mo"ment, and read it." He did; and having approved of that also, gave it himself the title of I'll tell you what, and brought it out in 1785. Mrs. Inchbald afterwards produced several other dramatic pieces while she continued an ac◄ tress; and in consequence of some difference of a literary nature with the manager of Covent Garden, at the close of the season of 1789, she retired from the stage. Her mother died in 1786; and her brother, having been left executor, took upon himself the conduct of the farm. He, however, was killed in a duel in 1795, aged fortytwo.
Besides her dramatic pieces, which we shall presently enumerate, Mrs. I. has produced two
11. The Hue and Cry. F. 1791, N. P.
12. Next Door Neighbours. C. 8vo. 1791.
13. Young Men and Old Wo
F. 1792. N. P.
14. Every one has his Fault. C. Svo. 1793.
15. The Wedding Day. C. 8vo. 1794.
16. Wives as they were, and Maids as they are. Č. 8vo. 1797. 17. Lovers' Vows. P. 8vo. 1798. 18. Wise Man of the East. P. 8vo. 1799.
19. To Marry, or Not to Marry. C. 8vo. 1805.
Mrs. Inchbald has lately superintended the publication of two different Collections of English Plays, and one of Farces. To the former she prefixed Critical Remarks, which do credit to her taste and judgment.
INGELAND, THOMAS. This gentleman is one of our oldest dramatic writers; having been a student
at Christ's College, in the univer sity of Cambridge, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. He wrote one dramatic piece, which he himself styles a "prettie and merrie Inter"lude." It is entitled
The Disobedient Child. Interl. 4to. B. L. N. D.
IRELAND, WILLIAM HENRY. This writer is the son of the late Mr. Samuel Ireland, of Norfolk Street, well known by his publications of A Picturesque Tour through Holland, &c. Picturesque Views on the Rivers Thames and Medway, Graphic Illustrations of Hogarth, &c. In 1796 he made his father the public dupe of an unparalleled literary imposition; under the impression of which that gentleman published, in imperial folio, price 4l. 4s. Miscellaneous Papers and legal Instruments under the Hand and Seal of William Shakspeare: Including the Tragedy of King Lear, and a small Fragment of Hamlet, from the original MSS. Never, certainly, was literary industry more laboriously, and at the same time more unjustifiably, employed. Whether the strange and abominable idea of immortalizing himself, which influenced Eratostratus to fire the temple of Diana at Ephesus, had operated on the mind of young Ireland, or not, we cannot be supposed to know; but the undertaking of which we are about to speak will probably connect itself with the history of Shakspeare as long as British literature shall last. The idea of forging the Shakspeare manuscripts seems to have. been created in the mind of this literary culprit (then not nineteen years of age) by Mr. Steevens's edition of Shakspeare. He had heard, perhaps, the names of Chatterton and Rowley, without being