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, wife of the preceding, and for several years the best actress in England, was the daughter

, wife of the preceding, and for several years the best actress in England, was the daughter of an eminent upholsterer in Covent-garden, and sister to Dr. Thomas Augustin Arne, the musician. Her first appearance on the stage was as a singer, in which the sweetness of her voice rendered her very conspicuous, although she had not much judgment, nor a good ear. It was in this situation, that, in April 1734, she married Theoph. Cibber, then a widower for the second time. The first year of their nuptials was attended with as much felicity as could be expected, but the match was by no means agreeable to his father, who had entertained hopes of settling his son in a higher rank in life than the stage; but the amiable deportment of his daughter-in-law, and the seeming reformation of his son, induced him to take the young couple into favour. As he was a manager of Drury-lane play-house at that time, and his son having hinted somewhat respecting Mrs. Cibber’s talents as an actress, he desired to hear a specimen. Upon this her first attempt to declaim in tragedy, he was happy to discover that her speaking voice was perfectly musical, her expression both in voice and feature, strong and pathetic at pleasure, and her figure at that time perfectly in proportion. He therefore assiduously undertook to cultivate those talents, and produced her in 1736, in the character of Zara, in Aaron Hill’s tragedy, being its first representation. The audience were both delighted and astonished. The piece, which was at best an indifferent translation, made its way upon the stage; and Mrs. Cibber’s, reputation as an actress was fully established, with its agreeable concomitants, a rise of salary, &c. The character, however, which she acquired in public, was lost in private life. She was married to a man who was luxurious and prodigal, and rapacious after money to gratify his passions or vanity, and at length he resolved to make a profit of the honour of his wife. With this view, therefore, he cemented the closest friendship with a gentleman, whom he introduced to his wife, recommended to her, gave them frequent interviews, and even saw them put, as if by accident, in the same bed, and had then the impudence to commence a trial for criminal correspondence, which brought to light his nefarious conduct. He laid his damages at 5000l. but the jury discerning the baseness of his conduct, gave only 10l. costs; a sum not sufficient to reimburse him a fortieth part of his expences. From that time Mrs. Cibber discontinued living with her husband, and resided entirely with the gentleman who was the defendant in this abominable trial.