Richard Cumberland (1732-1811)
From 18th Century Literary Anecdotes

WHEN the School for Scandal came out, Cumberland's children prevailed upon their father to take them to see it;— they had the stage-box—their father was seated behind them; and as the story was told by a gentleman, a friend of Sheridan's, who was close by, every time the children laughed at what was going on on the stage, he pinched them, and said, "What are you laughing at, my dear little folks? You should not laugh, my angels; there is nothing to laugh at'—and then, in an undertone, `Keep still, you little dunces.'

Sheridan having been told of this long afterwards, said, `It was very ungrateful in Cumberland to have been displeased with his poor children for laughing at my comedy; for I went the other night to see his tragedy, and laughed at it from beginning to end.'

From Sheridaniana, or Anecdotes of the Life of Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1826), pp. 86-87.

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