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Full text of "Memoirs Of Joseph Grimaldi"

OF JOSEPH GOIIMAXDI.                    117

the end of January following; drawing as much money as it
had in the previous year. It was during this season, or about
this time, that Grimaldi's old friend Davis, or " Jew Davis," as
he was called, made his first appearance at Drury Lane. This
is the man. whose eccentricity gave rise to a ludicrous anecdote
of John Kemble, of which the following is a correct version:

Kemble was once " starring" in the north of England, and
paid a visit to the provincial theatre in which Jew Davis was
engaged, where he was announced for Hamlet. Every member
of the little company was necessarily called into requisition,
and Jew Davis was " cast" to play the first grave-digger. All
went well until the first scene of the fifth act, being the identical
one in which Davis was called upon to appear: and here the
equanimity and good temper of Kemble were considerably
shaken : the grave-digger's representative having contracted a
habit of grimacing which, however valuable in burlesque or
farce, was far from being at all desirable in tragedy, and least
of all in that philosophical tragedy of which Hamlet is the hero.
But if the actor had contracted a habit of grimacing upon his
part, the audience upon its part had contracted an equally con-
stant habit of laughing at him: so tie great tragedian, moral-
izing over the skull of Torick, was frequently interrupted by the
loudroarsof laughterattendantupon the grave-digger's strangely
comical and increasing grins.

This greatly excited the wrath of Kemble, and after the play
was finished, he remonstrated somewhat angrily with Davis upon
the subject, requesting that such " senseless buffoonery" might
not be repeated in the event of their sustaining the same parts
on any subsequent occasion. All this was far from answering
the end proposed: the peculiarities of temper belonging to Jew
Davis were aroused, and he somewhat tartly replied that he did
not wish to be taught his profession by Mr. Eemble. The latter
took no further notice of the subject, but pursued the even
tenour of his way with so beneficial an effect upon the treasurys instructions,