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Full text of "Memoirs Of Joseph Grimaldi"

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and a man of colour who acted as footman, and was dignified
with the appellation of "Black Sam."

The father was extremely hospitable, and fond of company;
he rarely dined alone, and on certain gala days, of which
Christmas-eve was one, had a very large party, upon which
occasions his really splendid service of plate, together with vari-
ous costly articles of bijouterie, were laid out for the admiration
of the guests. Upon one Christmas-eve, when the dining-parlour
was decorated and prepared with all due gorgeousness and
splendour, the two hoys, accompanied by Black Sam, stole into
it, and began to pass various encomiums on its beautiful appear-

" Ah !" said Sam, in reply to some remark of the brothers,
" and when old Massa die, all dese fine things vill be yotu*s."

Both the boys were much struck with this remark, and
especially John, the younger, who, being extremely young,
probably thought mach less about death than his father, and
accordingly exclaimed, without the least reserve or delicacy,
that he should be exceedingly glad if all these fine things were

Nothing more was said upon the subject. Black Sam went
to his work, the boys commenced a game of play, and nobody
thought any more of the matter except the father himself, who,
passing the door of the room at the moment the remarks were
made, distinctly heard them. He pondered over the matter for
some days, and at length, with the view of ascertaining the
dispositions of his two sons, formed a singular resolution, still
connected with the topic ever upwards in his mind, and deter-
mined to feign himself dead. He caused himself to be laid out
in the drawing-room, covered with a sheet, and had the room
darkened, the windows closed, and all the usual ceremonies
which accompany death, performed. All this being done, and
the servants duly instructed, the two boys were cautiously in-
formed that their father had died suddenly, and were at oncehis time of the father, mother, Joe,