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Full text of "Memoirs Of Joseph Grimaldi"

MEMOIRS OF JOSEPH GI

31-5

agonizing nature. Men were obliged to be kept waiting at the
side-scenes, who caught him in their arms when he staggered
from the stage, and supported Mm, while others chafed his
limbs,—which was obliged to be incessantly done until he was
called for the next scene, or he could not have appeared again.
Every time he came off, his sinews were gathered up into huge
knots by the cramps that followed his exertions, which could
only be reduced by violent rubbing, and even that frequently
failed to produce the desired effect. The spectators, who were
convulsed with laughter while he was on the stage, little thought
that while their applause was resounding through the house, he
was suffering the most excruciating and horrible pains. But so
it was until the twenty-fourth night of the piece, when he had
no alternative, in consequence of his intense sufferings, but to
throw up the part.

On the preceding night, although every possible remedy was
tried, he could scarcely drag himself through the piece; and om
this occasion it was only with the most extreme difficulty and
by dint of extraordinary physical exertion and agony, that he
could conclude the performance, when he was carried to Ms
dressing-room exhausted and powerless.

Here, when Ms bodily anguish had in some measure subsided,
he began to reflect seriously on Ms sad condition. And when
he remembered how long this illness had been hovering about
Tn'-m, how gradually it had crept over his frame, and subdued
Ms energies, with what obstinacy it had baffled the skill of the
most eminent medical professors, and how utterly his powers
had wasted away beneath it, he came to the painful conviction,
that Ms professional existence was over. Enduring from this
terrible certainty a degree of anguish, to which all his bodily
sufferings were as nothing, he covered Ms face with Ms hands
and wept like a child. The next morning he sent word to the
theatre that he was disabled by illness from performing.

His son studied the part in one day, and played it that nightd by cramps and spasms of the mostf Ckiwa