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good literature, till the age of fourteen or sixteen, and then put out to honest trades and callings. Alleyn was only forty-eight years of age, when he made this endowment, and he took care to see it carried into effect. But, what is still more extraordinary, after the hospital was completed, he was so pleased with the institution that he resolved to be, ehimself, one of the first pensioners. Accordingly, during the remainder of his life, he conformed strictly to the rules of the house, and appeared perfectly satisfied with the allowance which his bounty had made for the indigent. Along with this apparent' self-denial he still displayed a laudable attention to his temporal 'interest and either for his own gratification, or with a view to the public good, he continued, even after his establishment of the hospital, to draw considerable profits as manager of the Theatre. Besides the above, he founded several alms-houses in London and Southwark, with competent provision. This singular and estimable character died November the 25th, 1626, and lies buried in the Chapel of the College.
of the Mysteries, in the fifteenth century. His repartees, and manner of delivering them, procured him admission to the first families; nay, he had even the honour of frequently approaching Louis XII. and Francis I. of France. He was deformed; and one day saluting a Cardinal, who was the same, he placed himself so as to touch back to back, and said, “ You see, Mon. seigneur, that, in despite of the proverb, mountains may meet.” Before it was customary to print play-bills,
actor used to accompany a drummer to squares, thoroughfares, and public places, make an eulogium on the piece, and invite the public to see it performed.* One Sunday morning, Pont-Alais had the audacity to cause his drum to be beaten, and a new piece announced, in sermon time, in the open place, opposite the church of Saint Eustache. The curate, seeing the people crowd out of the church, left his pulpit, went up to the actor, and asked, “Who made you daring enough to beat your drum, while I preach ?"_“And who made you daring enough to preach, while my drum is beating ?”
* This has been done, in small country towns of England, in the memory of many persons, now living.
replied Pont-Alais. This insolent repartee rendered the curate silent for the moment; but, on application to the magistrate, Pont-Alais was for some months imprisoned. Pont-Alais's barber complained, that the parts given him to perform were too insignificant; on which Pont-Alais gave him the part of one of the Kings of the East, seated him on a high throne, and standing behind his shoulders, maliciously repeated :
Je suis des moindres le mineur,
I'm the least of the least,
Not a sixpence to save me ;
EXTRACT FROM A LETTER TO SECRETARY
WALSINGHAM, AGAINST STAGE PLAYS.
“The daily abuse of stage plays is such an offence to the godly, and so great an hindrance to the Gospel, as the Papists do exceedingly rejoice at the blemish thereof; and not without cause for, every day in the week, the players' bills are set up in sundry places. Some, in the name of
Her Majesty's men; some, the Earl of Leicester's; some, the Earl of Oxford's; the Lord Admiral's, and divers others ; so that, when the bells toll to the lectures, the trumpets 'sound to the stages. The play-houses are pestered, when the churches are naked : at the one, it is not possible to get a place; at the other, seats are plenty. It is woeful to see 200 proud players in their silks, when 300 poor people starve in the streets. But, if this mischief must be tolerated, let every stage in London pay a weekly pension to the poor, that ex hoc malo perveniat aliquid bonum. But it were rather to be wished, that players might be used, as Apollo did his laughing, semel in anno.”
THE SPANISH FRIAR."
This tragedy, which is by far the best of Dryden's dramatic efforts, was much decried, both by his enemies and the adherents of the Duke of York, on its first representation. The former said it was merely stolen from other authors; though it trenched too much on the Popish religion. The witty Charles, however, thought otherwise; he said, in regard to the latter, that knaves in every profession should alike be subject to ridicule; and, as to the first, he exclaimed, “ Aword in your ear, gentlemen! Steal me such another play, any of you, and I will frequent it as much as I do “ The Spanish Friar."
Foote's CAT MUSIC.
When Foote first opened the Theatre in the Haymarket, amongst other ingenious projects, he proposed to entertain the public with an imitation of Cat-music : to accomplish this, he engaged a man famous for his skill in mimicking the mewing of Cats. This person, from his possessing this singular faculty, was called “ Cat Harris.”-Foote, having fixed a rehearsal of this odd concert, Harris, from some circumstances or other, neglected to attend. Foote accordingly requested Shuter would endeavour to find him out, and bring him with him. Shuter, as in duty bound, sallied forth on this momentous expedition; and after wandering for some time, was directed to a court in the Minories, where this extraordinary, musician lived. He accordingly bent his steps thither, and having reached the place of his destination, not knowing the house, Shuter very sagaciously began a