in the first scene of the part. The veteran Quin, by this piece of histrionic manœuvring, surprised the caution of Garrick, who was the most juvenile and unsuspecting of the two.


IN the "Merchant of Venice," this malevolent Jew should undoubtedly wear a large red cross, the senate of Venice having passed an edict, that no Israelite should appear upon the Rialto, without the emblem or badge above specified. This was done to mortify the Jews, many of whom, in consequence, quitted their territory to avoid its infliction.


THE Custom of admitting strangers behind the scenes appears to be abolished by Queen Anne. In "A Letter in answer to some queries relating to the stage," published during her reign, it appears, that her majesty was pleased to send a strict and solemn order, prohibiting whatsoever was offensive on the stage, and all other disorders and ill customs: such as admitting masks, and gentlemen's being behind the scenes, &c., which order, according to royal direction,

I was read before the audience; and both the order and actor were hissed off the stage.


MANY excelling comedians have been gifted with this natural talent. Mr. Rymer, that great critic, tells us, that Mr. Mountford was so excellently gifted in this way (if it may be called excellence), that when he was train bearer to Chancellor Jefferies, in the reign of King James II., at an entertainment given to the most eminent lawyers, his master ordered him to come before him, and plead a feigned cause, which he performed with great eloquence; and, in his pleading, to the admiration of all present, assumed the manner and voice of several of the best pleaders then at the bar, and even of some of those who were present at the entertainment.


ON one occasion, Mr. Sheridan was wantonly insulted on the stage, at Dublin, to which he replied with spirit and propriety. A ringleader was so exasperated by the reply, that he rushed behind the scenes, uttered the abuse which passion suggested, and received the

chastisement which he deserved. Mr. Sheridan was indicted for an assault. No one, in Dublin, supposed that a player would find support,not even in a court of justice, against a gentleman. This was a mistake: Lord Chief Morlay presided, and would not suffer packed juries to be empanelled. Mr. Kelly was the plaintiff, and his abusive and provoking language being proved, the jury acquitted Mr. Sheridan, without leaving their box.

During the trial, he was called on the table, to answer questions, by an eminent, though not a well-bred counsellor in behalf of the plaintiff." "I want," said the lawyer," to see a curiosity. I have often seen a gentleman soldier, and a gentleman sailor, but never a gentleman player." Without the least embarrassment, Mr. Sheridan modestly bowed and replied, "I hope, Sir, you see one now." A loud murmur of applause ran through the court, and the counsellor, impudent as he was, slunk to his seat and never asked another question. The behaviour of Mr, Sheridan afterwards was still more to his honour. This Mr. Kelly had foolishly imagined that his gentility would be supported, and subscriptions raised, to pay the fine of £500 in which he was



cast for his conduct in the riot. He was wholly deserted, lay some time in confinement, and, at last, knew no better means than to solicit Mr. Sheridan, who immediately petitioned government to relinquish the fine; and became, himself, both solicitor and bail to the Court of King's Bench, for the enlargement of Mr. Kelly.


THE duke of D—, on his return from Hyde Park one morning, met Lord Chesterfield in a very sickly state, taking the air in his carriage. They had not conversed many minutes, when Foote rode up to inquire after his lordship's health. "Well, Sam," said the Earl, "what part do you play to night?"—" Lady Dowager Whitfield," replied the wag." I am going to cut a figure myself," said his lordship." You have long cut a splendid figure, my lord," said Foote." It may be so," said his lordship with a smile; "but I am now, Sir, rehearsing the principal character in The Funeral.""


A COUNTRY actor so much persecuted Rich, that he permitted him to make his debut at

Covent Garden Theatre, in Hamlet. The man shewed himself disqualified for the part, from the first scene; but when he came to the celebrated soliloquy of "To be, or not to be," he unfortunately wanted to blow his nose; but being as unfortunately provided with no pocket handkerchief, he had recourse to his usual habit of the fingers, which set the audience in such a roar of laughter, that it was with great difficulty the rest of the play could be got through. Rich, who stood upon tenter hooks, at the side of the scene, through the whole course of the representation, said nothing till the play was over; when, going up to the performer, he exclaimed," Mr. 1 believe you to be a very good kind of a man, and know you to be a good companion; but as to acting, Mr. —, you must go and blow your

nose at some other Theatre.”


A COMPANY of performers announced in their bills, the opening of a Theatre at Montrose, with the farce of the "Devil to Pay," to be followed by the comedy of "The West Indian." Adverse winds, however, prevented the arrival of their scenes from Aberdeen, in time for the re

« ElőzőTovább »