Изображения страниц

cial actor, lies buried in the church-yard of Gillingham, Norfolk, with the following curious epitaph inscribed on the tombstone.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

" Sacred to the memory of Thomas Jackson, Comedian, who was engaged December 21, 1741, to play a comic cast of characters in this great Theatre, the World, for many of which he was prompted by nature to excel. The season being ended, his benefit over, the charges all paid, and his account closed, he made his exit in the Tragedy of Death,' on the 17th of March, 1798, in full assurance of being called once more to rehearsal ; when he hopes to find his forfeits all cleared, his cast of parts bettered, and his situation made agreeable by Him who paid the great stock-debt for the love he bore to performers in general.”

GARRICK, AND WHITFIELD. When Mr. Whitfield was building his Tabernacle, in Tottenham Court Road, he employed the same carpenters that worked for Mr. Garrick at Drury Lane Theatre. The reverend gentleman was at that time short of cash, and the carpenter had remained unpaid for some weeks. Being, one day, in conversation with Mr. Garrick, he entreated the manager to advance him a little money, as he had been disappointed by Mr. Whitfield. Garrick assisted the tradesman, and immediately waited upon Mr. Whitfield; when, apologizing for his visit, he intimated to him what his carpenter had insinuated, at the same time offering a £500 Bank-note. It was accepted ; and thus this Tabernacle of the Sectarian was raised by the Monarch of the Stage.


Wuen Churchill finished his “ Rosciad,” he waited on an eminent bookseller with the manu. script, but he had suffered so severely by the publication of poetry, that he was determined to have nothing more to do with any of the rhyming sons of Apollo, unless he were indemnified from sustaining loss. This condition Churchill could not comply with. The bookseller, however, recommended to him a worthy young man, who had just ventured his little fortune on the uncertain sea of ink, and who would probably run the risk of the publication. Churchill waited upon him, and found every thing as he wished.

The poem was printed, advertised, and, at the end of five days, ten copies were sold. Churchill was thunderstruck, and the bookseller was

little less chagrined. At the end of four days more, he found that six other copies were sold : the poet was almost frantic, and hurried away to a friend, to acquaint him with his hard fate. His friend, who was intimate with Garrick, posted to him the next morning, and informed him what a beautiful picture of his astonishing abilities had just appeared in “ The Rosciad.” Garrick swallowed the gilded pill with avidity, instantly sent for the poem, read it, and sounded its praises every where. The next evening the publisher had not a single copy left, and, in a few weeks, Churchill found himself richer than any poet whose estate lay at that time on Parnassus, so extensive was the sale of the “ Rosciad."

THE 0. P. WAR.

On the 18th of September, 1809, the present magnificent Temple of Melpomene and Thalia, Covent Garden Theatre, was opened to the public; and, on that night, commenced a contest between the managers and the public, without any parallel in theatrical history,

The chief causes of disagreement were, in the first place, the alienation of an entire tier of

[ocr errors]

boxes from public occupancy, which were transformed into private boxes ;-secondly, the raising of the prices of the entrance money to the boxes and pit; the former being advanced from 6s. to 7s. and the latter from 38, 6d. to 4s.; and, thirdly, the engagement of Madame Catalani.

The opening play was “ Macbeth.” Prior to the performance of which, Mr. Kemble appeared in the costume of the Scottish Thane, to speak an address, written by George Colmán, which had slept in the lap of oblivion for some years. He was received with vollies of hissing, hooting, groans, and catcalls. He appeared to speak the pointless address, announced for the occasion, but whether he did so or not, it was impossible to discern. His attitudes were imploring, but in vain. Cries of “ No imposition,"“ No Catalani :" and, for the first time, the symbolic watch-word of “ Old prices," resounded in alarming unison through the house, and obliged him to desist.

The play proceeded in pantomime; not a word was heard, save now and then the deeply modulated tones of Mrs. Siddons. On her entrance she seemed disturbed by the clamour; but in the progressive stages of her action, she went


through her part with wonderful composure. Mr. Kemble appeared greatly agitated, yet in no instance did his trouble interrupt him in carrying on the “ cunning of the scene:" Perhaps a finer dumb shew was never witnessed.

In the scene where C. Kemble, as Macduff, triumphs over the fallen usurper, the audience took considerable delight. Many cried out, “ Well done, kill him,

, Charley!” and exulted in the ideal pangs of the dying Macbeth.

The performances of the evening closed with the entertainment of the “ Quaker," who was as dumb as though“ the spirit did not move him." The whole was over before ten o'clock.

After the curtain dropped, the audience kept their seats, in expectation of the managers coming forward. They were loudly called for, yet did not condescend to appear. The only excess in which the spectators indulged was a noisy disapproval of, what they conceived to be, unjustifiable innovations on their prescriptive rights; they continued clamorous even after midnight. There was a complete rivalry between the public and the managers, in exhaustion of patience.

When Mr. Kemble made his first appearance to speak the address, a paper was handed to him

[ocr errors]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »