332 MEMOIRS OF JOSEPH GBIMALDI.
"Ladies and Gfentlemen,—I appear before you this evening
for the last time at this theatre. Doubtless, there are many
persons present who think that I am a very aged man: I have
now an opportunity of convincing them to the contrary. I was
born on the 18th of December, 1779,* and, consequently, on the
18th of last December attained the age of forty-eight.
"At a very early age—before that of three years,t I was
introduced to the public by my father at this theatre ; and ever
since that period have I held a situation in this establishment.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have been engaged at this theatre
for five-and-forty years.
"By strict attention, perseverance, and exertion, did I arrive
at the height of my profession, and, proud I am to acknowledge,
have ofttimes been honoured with your smiles, approbation, and
support. It is now three years since I have taken a regular
engagement, owing to extreme and dangerous indisposition:
with patience have I waited in hopes my health might once
more be re-established, and I again meet your smiles as before;
—but, I regret to say, there is little, or, in fact, no improvement
perceivable, and it would therefore now be folly in me ever to
think of again returning to my professional duties. I could
not, however, leave this theatre without returning my grateful
thanks to my friends and patrons, and the public; and now do
I venture to offer them, secure in the conviction that they will
not be slighted or deemed utterly unworthy of acceptance.
" To the proprietors of this theatre, the performers, the gen-
tlemen of the band—in fact, to every individual connected with
it, I likewise owe and offer my sincere thanks for their assist-
ance this evening. And now, ladies and gentlemen, it only
remains for me to utter one dreadful word, ere I depart—^Tare-
well !—G-od bless you all! may you and your families ever
enjoy the blessings of health and happiness !—Farewell!"
* He was born December 18,1778.
, t At Easter, 1781. Joe was then but two years and foiir months old. same piece produced