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Full text of "Memoirs Of Joseph Grimaldi"

MEMOIRS OH? JOSEPH GBIMALDI.                          15

Mm in such cases, might have prevented Ms subsequent ap-
pearance on any stage. He played a monkey, and had to
accompany the clown (his father) throughout the piece. In
one of the scenes, the clown nsed to lead him on by a chain
attached to his waist, and with this chain he would swing him
round and round, at arm's length, with the utmost velocity.
One evening, when this feat was in the act of performance, the
chain broke, and he was hurled a considerable distance into
the pit, fortunately without sustaining the slightest injury;
for he was flung by a miracle into the very arms of an old
gentleman who was sitting gazing at the stage with intense
interest.

Among the many persons who in this early stage of his career
behaved with great kindness to him, were the famous rope-
dancers, Mr. and Mrs. Redige, then called Le Petit Diable,*
and La Belle Espagnole; who often gave him a guinea to buy
some childish luxury, which his father invariably took away
and deposited in a box, with his name written outside, which
he would lock very carefully, and then, giving the boy the key,
say, " Mind, Joe, ven I die, dat is your vortune." Eventually
he lost both the box and the fortune, as will hereafter appear.

As he had now nearly four months vacant out of every twelve,
the run of the Christmas pantomime at Drury Lane seldom
exceeding a month, and Sadler's Wells not opening until Easter,

* Paulo Eedigd, " Le Petit Diable," made Ms first appearance at Sadler's
Wells with Placide, the " French Voltigeivr," under the Italianised name ol
Signor Placido, on Easter Monday, 1781, on the same night with young Joe. La
Belle Espagnole, whom Angelo describes as " a very beautiful woman," made her
first appearance at the same theatre, on April 1, 1785; having, as the bills
expressed it, " been celebrated at Paris all the winter, for her very elegant and
wonderful performances." She Soon after became the wife of the " Little Devil."
Paulo, the late clown, was their son, and might be almost said to have been born
within the walls of that theatre. The manager's attentions to this beautiful
Spaniard were the cause of much jealousy to Mrs-Wroughton, and some ludicrous
stories are still afloat,                                            ur pounds.' And den he say,