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Full text of "Memoirs Of Joseph Grimaldi"

118

MEMOIBS OF JOSEPH GEIMAXDI.

that his engagement was renewed for " a few nights more," and
on the last of these " few nights " Hamlet was again the play
performed.

As before, all went well till the grave-diggers' scene com-
menced ; when Kemble, while waiting for his " cue " to go on,
listened hodingly to the roars of laughter which greeted the
colloquy of Davis and Ms companion. At length he entered,
and at the same moment, Davis having manufactured a grotesque
visage, was received with a shout of laughter, which greatly
tended to excite the anger of " King John." His first words
were spoken, hut failed to make any impression: and upon
turning towards Davis, he discovered that worthy standing in
the grave, displaying a series of highly unsuitable although
richly comic grimaces.

In an instant all Kemble's good temper vanished, and stamping
furiously upon the stage, he expressed his anger and indignation
in a muttered exclamation, closely resembling an oath. This
ebullition of momentary excitement produced an odd and un-
expected effect. No sooner did Davis hear the exclamation and
the loud stamping of the angry actor, than he instantly raised
his hands above his head in mock terror, and, clasping them
together as if he were horrified by some dreadful spectacle,
iiirew into his face an expression of intense terror, and uttered
a frightful cry, half shout and half scream, which electrified
his hearers. Having done this, he very coolly laid himself flat
down in the grave, (of course disappearing from the view of the
audience), nor could any entreaties prevail upon him to emerge
from it, or to repeat one word more. The scene was done as well
asitoould.be, without a grave-digger,, and the audience, while
it was proceeding, loudly expressed their apprehensions from
time to time, " that some accident had happened to Mr, Davis."

Some months after this, Sheridan happening to see Davis act'
in the provinces, and being struck with his talents, (he was con-
sidered the best stage Jew upon the boards,) engaged him'forued the even