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MADAME CLAIRON. This celebrated lady, destined to be so distinguished, was of the lowest extraction : the daughter of a violent and illiterate woman, who, with blows and menaces, drove about the child, all day, to manual labour. “I know not," said Clairon, of herself, “whence I derived my disgust, but I could not bear the idea to be a mere work-woman, or to remain inactive in a corner.” In her eleventh year, being locked up in a room, as a punishment, with the windows fastened, she climbed upon a chair, to look about her.
A new object instantly absorbed her attention : in the house opposite, she observed a celebrated actress amidst her family, whose daughter was performing her dancing lesson : the girl Clairon, the future Melpomene, was struck by the influence of this graceful and affectionate scene“ All my little being, (she relates) collected itself into my eyes ; I lost not a single motion: as soon as the lesson had ended, all the family applauded, and the mother embraced the daughter. That difference of her fate, and mine, filled me with profound griet'; my tears hindered me from seeing any longer; and when my beating heart allowed me to re-ascend the chair, all had disappeared."
This was a discovery!- From that moment she knew no rest; she rejoiced when she could get her mother to confine her in that room. The happy girl was a divinity to the unhappy one, whose susceptible genius imitated her in every gesture and motion; and Clairon soon shewed the effect of her ardent studies, for she betrayed all the graces she had taught herself, in the commonest concerns of life. She charmed 'her friends, and even softened her barbarous mother; and, in a word, she became an actress, without knowing what constituted an actress.
FOOTE, AND THE MAYOR. This humourist, travelling in the west of England, dined one day at an Inn. When the cloth was removed, the landlord asked him how he liked his fare. “ I have dined as well as any man in England," said Foote. “Except Mr. Mayor," cried the landlord. “I do not except any body whatever," said he." But you must," bawled the host. “. I won't."" You must."-At length, the strife ended, by the landlord (who was a petty magistrate) taking Foote before the Mayor, who observed, it had been customary in that town, for a great number of years, always to except the Mayor, and, accordingly, fined him a shilling for not conforming to this ancient custom. Upon this sage decision Foote paid the shilling, at the same time observing, with great shrewdness, that he thought the landlord was the greatest fool in Christendom, except—the Mayor.
POPE'S EPITAPH ON MACKLIN. Several years before his death, Mr. Macklin happened to be in a large company of ladies and gentlemen, among whom was the celebrated Mr. Pope. The conversation having turned upon age, one of the ladies addressed herself to Mr. Pope, in words to the following effect :-“Mr. Pope, when Macklin dies, you must write his epitaph.”—“That I will, mądam,” said Pope ; “nay, I will give it you now."
« Here lies the Jew
THE ACTOR AND THE DAISIES. A son of Thespis, who had been some time upon the stage, was walking in the fields early in the year, with a young man who had just entered the profession; suddenly the veteran ran out of the path, stopped instantly, and putting forward his foot on the grass, exclaimed, with ecstacy, “ Three, by Heaven! that for managers !" at the same time snapping his fingers. “Three," said his astonished companion; "what do you mean by three?"_“What do I mean, you hungry hunter of turnips ! you'll know, before you have strutted in three barns more (three was, no doubt, in this case, an ominous number.) In winter, managers are the most impudent fellows living, because they know we don't like to travel, don't like to leave our nests_fear the cold-and all that:- but when I can put my foot upon three daisies, managers may whistle for me.”
PRINCE HOARE AND THE DRURY LANE
Ar Florence, this ingenious dramatist, at the solicitations of Stephen Storace, produced that clever piece," No Song, no Supper.” When both parties returned to England, neither the merit of the piece, nor yet the delightful compositions of Storace, were sufficient, to recommend it to the managers of “ Old Drury." It was, consequently, brought out by Kelly, at his benefit, and not acted for the house, till its success was established.
Having thus experienced their liberal treatment with a farce, he took the liberty of getting his next production, (a tragedy,) performed at Bath. Mrs. Siddons honoured him by an application to him to perform it for her benefit at Liverpool.
Notwithstanding his success, the managers of Drury-lane were still inaccessible, and his next production, "The Cave of Trophonius," was produced for the benefit of Mrs, Crouch, and was universally successful. This influenced him to future efforts; and he wrote his admirable farce, called “ The Prize,"—presented it, it was refused; but Madam Storace brought it forward at her benefit. Its success was highly flattering; and the managers condescended, in the most obliging manner possible, to pour the profits into their treasury;--that the author received any thing, would be absurd to imagine.
This gentleman was, for more than thirty-five years, a performer on the London boards, having made his first appearance on Covent Garden stage, January the first, 1753, in the character of Theodosius. He retired from Drury-lane at the end of the season, 1788. He was educated at Eton School and St. John's College,