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Full text of "Memoirs Of Joseph Grimaldi"

MEMOIRS 03? JOSEPH GBIMALDI.                        125

playing a long and arduous part in the before-mentioned " Great
Devil;" after this he played in some little biirletta -which imme-
diately succeeded it; upon conclusion of that he was clown to
the rope-dancer ; and, as a wind-up to the entertainments, he
appeared as clown in the pantomime, always singing two comic
songs in the course of the piece, both of which were regularly
encored. He had then to change his dress with all possible
speed, and take a hurried wait, and often a rapid run, toDrury
Lane, to perform in the last piece.*

This immense fatigue, undergone six days out of every seven,
left him at the conclusion of the week completely worn out and
thoroughly exhausted, and, beyond all doubt, by taxing his
bodily energies far beyond their natural powers, sowed the first
seeds of that extreme debility and utter prostration of strength
from which, in the latter years of his life, he suffered so much.
The old man had a good right to say that, if his gains had been
occasionally great, they were won by labour more than propor-
tionate.

His attention to his duties and invariable punctuality were
always remarkable. To his possession in an eminent degree of
these qualities, maybe attributed the fact, that during the whole
of his dramatic career, long and arduous as it was, he never
once disappointed the public, or failed in his attendance at the
theatre to perform any part for which he was cast.

He continued to attend his duties as a member of the Drury
Lane company for three months without finding that any violent

*This summary of Joe's exertions is over-stated: in the Spectacles Joe
generally had a part, particularly where combatants were employed; but not
in any of the little Burlettas alluded to, nor was he ever Clown to the rope : as
Clown in the Pantomime, his name certainly appears in the Sadler's Wells' an-
nouncements ; but when the pantomime was played on the same night and hour
at either of the patent theatres, Joe's part at the "Wells was played by substitutes
óby Hartland or others; and by a clause in. the articles of his engagement,
Grimaldi appears to have always been in a position to play at Drnry Lane and
Covent Garden, to the exclusion of any demand on his services at Sadler's
Wells.pective, showing the effect of a balloon descending among the clouds.mong villagers and mobs; but under other lessees was not employed, and died