13 JULY 1956, Page 27


MR. CYRIL HUGHES HARTMANN is an accom- plished biographer. In The Enchanting Bellamy (Heinemann, 25s.) he writes with charm, sym- pathy and sense, and no one could have done George Anne Bellamy a greater service in writ- ing her life. Her garrulous, lying, tedious, naus- eatingly priggish Apology in its six long-winded volumes is quite unreadable to all but the most resolute eighteenth-century scholars. Although forced to base his biography on it, Mr. Hartmann has cleared away its more glaring lies and deceits, but truth was so alien to Bellamy, that fact and fiction can never be completely disentangled. Although Mr. Hart- mann uses all his cunning, he does not succeed in making Bellamy 'enchanting.' She was a tediously dull mixture of gentility and silliness. Her physical charm, obviously great, was not matched by any attractive qualities of charac- ter. However, she was a fine actress—Garrick chose her as a leading lady—and devotees of theatrical history will find 'enchanting' the backcloth to her life, if not Bellamy herself. In the world of the eighteenth-century stage, Mr. Hartmann moves with the same confident, scholarly assurance that his readers have come