Tuesday, 3 September 2013

A Sequel To The Missing Plaques of Old London Town

David writes (adding to his post from earlier today)…

And just to get to know Susannah a bit better...

Point 1 is she occasioned what may be the most telling, the most trenchant brief biographical sentence ever penned: "Susannah's life was spent gratifying men."

Her biographer develops that point with this follow-up felicity: "Her appearance—she was petite and slender, with pale skin and large dark eyes—contributed to her task."

Point 2 is when he was told that Susannah had died, the greatest English actor ever, David Garrick, exclaimed, "then half of tragedy is dead."

Point 3 is she died - at 65 Scotland Yard (wonder if any coppers know about that brushstroke to their storied name?) - on January 30, 1766. She was 51. The dates, the numbers aren't all that important - apart from a bit of poignancy about her dying that young - what is important is they closed the theatres that night. Out of respect. First time that had happened.

Point 4 is she's buried in Westminster Abbey. The north cloister.

Point 5 is the last two lines of Houseman's great bitter-sweet poem:

The rose-lipt girls are sleeping
In fields where roses fade.

Biographer doesn't say anything about rose lips but I think we can safely assume as much.

A London Walk costs £9 – £7 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.

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