Sunday, December 12, 2010

Charles Mathews

December 12. [1825]—Dined at home, and spent the evening in writing—Anne and Lady Scott at the theatre to see Mathews; a very clever man my friend Mathews; but it is tiresome to be funny for a whole evening, so I was content and stupid at home.

Among the many people Sir Walter Scott knew was English actor Charles Mathews, whose play he missed on December 12, 1825.  Mathews was born five years later than Scott (June 28, 1776), and lived nearly an equal number of years, dying in 1835.  Like David Garrick before him, and many others, Mathews became interested in theater at an early age.  His acting career began in Dublin, in 1794.  It took until 1803 to act on the London stage, at the Haymarket.  Mathews was a comic actor, which explains Scott's comment in his journal above.  He has a couple of other literary connections, one of which is that he is thought to have inspired Dickens' character Alfred Jingle in "The Pickwick Papers".  His main legacy to the stage may have been his son, also Charles, who achieved greater fame than the father.

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