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Full text of "Memoirs Of Joseph Grimaldi"

MEMOIRS OP JOSEPH GBIMAIDI.                            9

Drury, where lie made Ms first bow and Ms first tumble.* The
piece in which Ms precocious powers were displayed was the
well-known pantomime of Robinson Crusoe, in which the father
sustained the part of the Shipwrecked Mariner, and the son
performed that of the Little Clown. The child's success was
complete; he was instantly placed on the establishment, ac-
corded a magnificent weekly salary of fifteen shillings, and every
succeeding1 year was brought forward in some new and pro-
minent part. He became a fayourite behind the curtain as well
as before it, being henceforth distinguished in the green-room
as " Clever little Joe;" and Joe he was called to the last clay of
Ms life.

In 1782, he first appeared at Sadler's "Wells, in the arduous
character of a monkey; and here he was fortunate enough to
excite as much approbation, as he had previously elicited in

her, describe her as having been a short, stout, very dark woman. The same
baptismal register from 1773 to 1788, has been carefully inspected, Dtii no men-
tion occurs of Joe's only brother, John Baptist, or of any other of tue Grimaldi
family.

* Joe's first appearance was at Sadler's Wells, not at Drury lane; the an-
nouncement bill for the opening on April 16, Easter Monday, 1781, of the former
theatre, tells us of Dancing by Mr. Le Mercicr, Mr. Languish, Master and Miss
Grimaldi, and Mrs. Button, Here wo see Joe, and his sister Mary, afterwards
Mrs. "Williamson, thrust forward sufficiently early to earn their bread. Grimaldi,
in his farewell address, on his last appearance at Sadler's Wells, pathetically
alluded to this factó" at a very early age, before that of three years, I was in-
troduced to the public, by my father, at this theatre,"

That Joe did not play the "Little Olown" in Sheridan's Pantomime of "Eobin-
son Crusoe," is evident from the consti-uction of the drama. On January 29,
1781, after the " Winter's Tale," Florizel, Mr. Brereton; Perdita, Mrs. Brereton,
afterwards Mrs. J. P. Zombie; and Hermione, Miss Farren; was performed,
for the first time, " Kobiuson Crusoe; or, Harlequin Friday." The bill of the
night lets us know, that the principal characters were by Mr. Wright, Mr.
Grimaldi, Mr, Delpini, Mr. Suett, Mr. Gaudry, and Miss Collett. This panto-
mime waa performed thirty-eight times that season. Grimaldi played Friday,
not the " Shipwrecked Mariner;" and the probability is, that young Joe made
his flrat appearance on the boards of Old Drury, in the Pantomime of 1782,
entitled " The Triumph of Mirth; or, Harlequin's Wedding," the principal
characters in which were by Wright, Griinaldi, and Dolphini. There were
many minor persons of the drama.ncer at Drury