Skip to main content

Full text of "Memoirs Of Joseph Grimaldi"

See other formats

MEMOIES, OF JOSEPH GEIMAXDI.                   177

at once consented to play the part, merely requesting that Mr.
Farley would be good enough to give him some instruction in
it, as he had never seen any portion of the piece, and was at
some loss how to study the character. Mr. Farley readily
agreed to do so, and faithfully kept his word.

It has been sometimes said, and indeed stated in print, that
Grrimaldi was a pupil and copyist of Dubois. l^o greater mistake
can be made : if he can be said to have been the pupil of anybody,
Mr. Parley was certainly his master, as he not only took infinite
pains to instruct him in the character of Orson, but afterwards
gave him .very valuable advice and great assistance in getting
up many other parts, in which he was also highly successful.

He was very anxious about his first appearance at Covent
Garden, and studied Orson with great assiduity and application
for some time. He made his first appearance in the character
on the 10th of October, 1806, Farley playing Yalentine. The
piece, which was received with most decided success, was acted
nearly every night until the production of the pantomime at
Christmas rendered its withdrawal imperative.

The part of Orson was in Grimaldi's opinion the most difficult
he ever had to play; the multitude of passions requiring to be
portrayed, and the rapid succession in which it was necessary
to present them before the spectators, involving an unusual
share both of mental and physical exertion upon the part
of the performer. He played this character both in town and
country on many occasions, but the effect produced upon him by
the exertions of the last scene of the first act was always the
same. As soon as the act-drop fell, he would stagger off the
stage into a small room behind; the prompter's box, and there
sinking into an arm-chair, give full vent to the emotions which
he found it impossible to suppress. He would sob and cry aloud,
and suffer so much from violent and agonizing spasms, that
those about him, accustomed as they at length became to the
distressing scene, were very often in doubt, up to the very mo-e Green Knight." The part of the second page