Younger, Elizabeth (DNB00)

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YOUNGER, ELIZABETH (1699?–1762), actress, called indifferently on the stage at the outset Miss and Mrs. Younger, was the daughter of James and Margaret Younger, and the sister of M— Bicknell [q. v.] Her mother was a Keith, a near relative of the earls Marischal, and her father rode in the 3rd troop of guards and served seven years in Flanders under King William. She appeared on the stage with the combined companies of Drury Lane and Dorset Garden, and played for Mrs. Knight's benefit on 27 March 1706 the Princess Elizabeth in Banks's ‘Virtue Betrayed, or Anna Bullen,’ and spoke a new epilogue. She is next traced at Drury Lane with the combined Drury Lane and Haymarket companies on 29 Jan. 1711 as Lightning in the ‘Rehearsal.’ Page in the ‘Orphan’ followed, as did Rose in the ‘Recruiting Officer,’ and Miss Prue in ‘Love for Love;’ and on 29 Jan. 1713 she was the original Clara, disguised as a footman, in Charles Shadwell's ‘Humours of the Army.’ She was at this time regularly engaged, which suggests that she was older than was given out. On 2 May 1714, for her sister's benefit, Mrs. Younger danced, ‘who never danced on the stage before.’ She played Mrs. Betty in ‘Sir Solomon Single,’ Cydaria in ‘Indian Emperor,’ Mary in the ‘Puritan, or the Widow of Watling Street,’ Peggy in ‘London Cuckolds,’ Philadelphia in the ‘Amorous Widow,’ and was on 23 Feb. 1715 the original Joyce in Gay's ‘What d'ye call it?’ She then appeared as Mrs. Dainty Fidget in the ‘Country Wife,’ Flora in ‘She would and she would not,’ Queen in ‘Don Carlos,’ Inis in ‘A Wife well managed’ (an original part) in 1715, Miss Notable in ‘Lady's Last Stake,’ Valeria in the ‘Rover,’ Dol Mavis in the ‘Silent Woman,’ Lucy Weldon in ‘Oroonoko,’ Amie in ‘Jovial Crew,’ Sylvius (originally) in Mrs. Manley's ‘Lucius, the First Christian King of Britain,’ on 11 May 1717, Celia in ‘Volpone,’ Dorinda in Dryden's ‘Tempest,’ Angelica in ‘Constant Couple,’ Victoria in ‘Fatal Marriage,’ Violante in ‘Sir Courtly Nice,’ and Floretta in ‘Greenwich Park.’ More important parts assigned her were first Constantia in the ‘Chances,’ Melisinda in ‘Aurenge-Zebe,’ Lady Wouldbe in ‘Volpone,’ and Fidelia in the ‘Plain Dealer.’ In Mrs. Centlivre's ‘Artifice’ she was the first Louisa on 2 Oct. 1722, and in Steele's ‘Conscious Lovers’ the first Phillis on 7 Nov. She also played Hoyden in the ‘Relapse,’ Edging in the ‘Careless Husband,’ Sylvia in the ‘Recruiting Officer,’ Frances in ‘Ram Alley,’ and other parts.

During the season of 1724–5 she disappears. On 4 Oct. 1725, as the Country Wife, she made her entry on the stage of Lincoln's Inn Fields, at which house for the next seven seasons she remained. In her first year she played Charlot Weldon in ‘Oroonoko,’ Desdemona, Euphronia in ‘Æsop,’ Lady Fanciful in ‘Provoked Wife,’ Flippanta in the ‘Confederacy,’ Dorinda in the ‘Beaux' Stratagem,’ Belinda, Gatty in ‘She would if she could,’ and Juletta in ‘Pilgrim.’ She was also the first Graciana in ‘Capricious Lovers,’ Scuttle in ‘Female Fortune-teller,’ and Mariana in Southerne's ‘Money the Mistress.’ Subsequently she was the original Miss Severne, disguised as Sir Harry Truelove, in Welsted's ‘Dissembled Wanton’ on 14 Dec. 1726, and Olympias in ‘Philip of Macedon,’ and played Miranda in ‘Woman's a Riddle,’ Cordelia, Leonora in the ‘Mistake,’ Angelica in the ‘Gamester,’ Selima in ‘Tamerlane,’ Miranda in ‘Busybody,’ Schoolboy, Kitty Carrot in ‘What d'ye call it?’ ‘Lucia in ‘Cato,’ Fair Quaker, Lady Lurewell in ‘Constant Couple,’ Lady Townly, Hippolita in ‘She would and she would not,’ Mrs. Ford, Estifania in ‘Rule a Wife and have a Wife,’ and Mrs. Conquest in ‘Lady's Last Stake.’ Her original parts comprise: Ariaspe in Sturmy's ‘Sesostris’ on 17 Jan. 1728, Artesia in Barford's ‘Virgin Queen’ on 7 Dec., Isabella in the ‘Rape’ on 25 Nov. 1729, Myrtilla in an alteration by Gay of his ‘Wife of Bath’ on 19 Jan. 1730, Hilaret in Fielding's ‘Coffee House Politician’ on 4 Dec. (in this piece, probably given previously at the Haymarket, she spoke a not too decent epilogue); Hermione in Theobald's ‘Orestes’ on 3 April 1731, and Violetta in Kelly's ‘Married Philosopher,’ 25 March 1732, a translation apparently of ‘Le Philosophe Marié of Destouches.’ On the opening performance at the new theatre in Covent Garden she played Millamant in the ‘Man of the World,’ and was seen during the season as Bellaria in ‘Tunbridge Walks,’ Olivia in the ‘Plain Dealer,’ and Eudosia in ‘Siege of Damascus.’ She was on 9 Jan. 1734 the original Betty in Popple's ‘Lady's Revenge,’ played Lady Betty Modish in the ‘Careless Husband,’ and had an original part, probably Lady Willit, in Gay's ‘Distressed Wife’ on 5 March 1734.

The last part to which Mrs. Younger's name appears is Victoria in ‘Fatal Marriage’ on 4 May, though a day or two later she probably played in the ‘Busybody.’ She retired at the close of the season 1733–4, and about the same date she married the Hon. John Finch, fourth son of Daniel, earl of Nottingham; he died on 12 Feb. 1763. Twenty years before his marriage to her Finch was stabbed all but fatally in a quarrel by the famous Sally Salisbury, alias Pridden (Walpole, Corresp. ed. Cunningham, ii. 79n.; see also Smith's Cat. Nos. 1216, 1217); he was member of parliament for Higham Ferrers (1734–44). She had by him a daughter Elizabeth, who married, on 2 June 1757, John Mason, of Greenwich. Mrs. Younger, otherwise Mrs. Finch, died on 24 Nov. 1762. She was a pleasing actress, and, when she retired from the stage, left behind her a good reputation, artistic and social. From the parts of sprightly chambermaid, she rose to play the leading characters in comedy. Her essays in tragedy did little for her reputation. Her most popular parts were Belinda in the ‘Old Bachelor,’ Miranda in the ‘Busybody,’ and the Country Wife.

[Genest's Account of the English Stage; Hist. of the English Stage (attributed to Betterton); Davies's Dramatic Miscellanies; Walpole's Correspondence, ed. Cunningham; Doran's Stage Annals, ed. Lowe; Gent. Mag. 1763; Collins's Peerage, ed. 1812, iii. 403; Notes and Queries, 9th ser. iii. 69, 153.]

J. K.