|Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Mrs. Creevey to (her daughter) Miss Ord.
12 Sept., 1806.
“… I am going to Somerset House to enquire after poor Sheridan, who went from this house very ill at 12 o’clock last night. . . . He complained of sore throat and shivering, and his pulse was the most frightful one I ever felt; it was so tumultuous and so strong that when one touched it, it seemed not only to shake his arm, but his whole frame. … I lighted a fire and a great many candles, and Mr. Creevey, who was luckily just come home from Petty’s, began to tell him stories. . . . Then we sent for some wine, of which he was so frightened it required persuasion to make him drink six small glasses, of which the effect was immediate in making him not only happier, but composing his pulse. … In the midst of his dismals he said most clever, funny things, and at last got to describing Mr. Hare, and others of his old associates, with the hand of a real master, and made one lament that such extraordinary talents should have such numerous alloys. He received a note from Lady Elizabeth Forster, with a good account of Mr. Fox. It ended with—’try to drink less and speak the truth.’ He was very funny about it and said: ‘By G-d! I speak more truth than she does, however.’ Then he told us how she had cried to him the night before, ‘because she felt it her severe duty to be Duchess of Devonshire!’ *
|Lady Elizabeth Foster by Angelica Kaufman
* Georgina, the Duchess of Devonshire, had died in March of this year. Lady Elizabeth married the Duke, but not till three years later, in 1809.