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Full text of "Memoirs Of Joseph Grimaldi"

136

MEMOIRS OF JOSEPH GEIMAIDI.

CHAPTER IX
1803.

Containing a very extraordinary incident well worthy of the reader's

attention.

ONE evening in the second week of November, 1803,* Grrimaldi,
then playing at Drury Lane, had been called by the prompter,
and was passing from the green-room to the stage, when a

* Sadler's Wells opened on Easter Monday, April llth, 1803, under a change
of proprietors. Mr. Hughes retained his fourth; Thomas and Charles Dibdin
had purchased Mr. Siddons' fourth for 1400Z; Barford and Yarnold had bought
the fourth previously held by Mr. Thos. Arnold, of the First Fruits Office;
Mr. Eeeve purchased the eighth, hitherto the property of Mr. Wroughton ; and
Mr. Andrews the eighth previously held by Mr. Coates. The season is memor-
able for the appearance on that stage of the celebrated traveller, Signor
Giambattiata Belzoni, as the Patagonian Samson, in which character he per-
formed prodigious feats of strength; one of which was to adjust an iron frame
to his body, weighing 127 Ibs., on which he carried eleven persons. On hia
benefit night he attempted to carry thirteen, but as that number could not hold
on, it was abandoned. His stature, as registered in the books of the Alien
Office, was sis feet sir inches.

Poor Tom BUar, in his Manuscripts, notices—" The first time I met Signor
Belzoni, was at the Koyalty Theatre, on Easter Monday, 1808, my first appear,
ance in London; the theatre closed after the fourth week. In September of the
game year, I again met Trim at Saunders's booth in Bartholomew Pair, exhibiting
as the Erench Hercules. In 1809, we were jointly engaged in the production of
a Pantomime, at the Crow Street Theatre, Dublin; I as Harlequin, and he as
an artist to superintend the last scene, a sort of Hydraulic Temple, which, owing
to what is very frequently the case, the being over-anxious, failed and nearly
inundated the orchestra. Kddlers generally follow their leader, and Tom Cooke
was then the man; seeing the water, off he bolted, and they to a man followed
Mm, leaving me, Columbine, and the other characters, to finish the scene, in the
midst of a splendid shower of fire and water. Signor Belzoni was a man of
gentlemanly but very assuming manners ; yet of great mind." Such, was Tom
Knar's opinion of that memorable man, whose celebrity afterwards as a traveller
requires no recordin this place.d played first tragedy woman at Bichard-