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Full text of "Memoirs Of Joseph Grimaldi"

342                       MBMOIES 03? JOSEPH GEIJtULDI,

It was greatly in favour of the benefit, that Covent Garden
had closed the night before; the pit and galleries were com-
pletely filled in less than .half an hour after opening the doors,
the boxes were very good from the first, and at half-price were
as crowded as the other parts of the house. In the last piece
Gbrimaldi acted one scene, but being wholly unable to stand,
went through it seated upon a chair. Even in this distressing
condition he retained enough of his old bamour to succeed in
calling down repeated shouts of merriment and laughter. The
song, too, in theatrical language, " went" as well as ever; and
at length, when the pantomime approached its termination, he
made Ms appearance before the audience in Ms private dress,
amidst thunders of applause. As soon as silence could be ob-
tained, and he could muster up sufficient courage to speak, he
advanced to the foot-lights, and delivered, as well as Ms emo-
tions would permit, the following Farewell Address.—

" Ladies and Gentlemen:—In putting off the clown's garment,
allow me to drop also the clown's taciturnity, and address you
in a few parting sentences. I entered early on this course of
life, and leave it prematurely. Eight-and-forty years only
have passed over my head—but I am going as fast down the
hill of life as that older Joe—John Anderson. Like vaulting am-
bition, I have overleaped myself, and pay the penalty in an
advanced old age. If I have now any aptitude for tumbling, it
is through bodily infirmity, for I am worse on my feet than I
used to be on my head. It is four years since I jumped my last
jump—filched my last oyster—boiled my last sausage—and set
in for retirement. Not quite so well provided for, I must
acknowledge, as in the days of my clownsMp, for then, I df,re
say, some of you remember, I used to have a fowl in one pocket
and sauce for it in the other.

" To-night has seen me assume the motley for a short time—
it clung to my skin as I took it off, and the old cap and bells
rang mournfully as I quitted them for ever. have asked such, a favour a second time. I am now quite a retired gentleman,