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Full text of "Memoirs Of Joseph Grimaldi"

356                       MEMOIRS 03? JOSEPH GBIMALDI.

(not of Lombard-street), and "Wieland, of Drury Lane, may be
mentioned as possessing grotesque humour of no ordinary kind;
while for mere feats of tumbling dexterity, Brown, lang, and
Gibson of the Adelphi, perhaps stand unrivalled. It is no dis-
paragement to all or any of these actors of pantomime, to say,
that the genuine droll, the grimacing, filching, irresistible clown
left the stage with Gfrimaldi, and though often heard of, has
never since been seen.*

In private, Grrimaldi was a general favourite, not only among
his equals, but with his superiors and inferiors. That he was a
man of the kindest heart, and the most child-like simplicity,
nobody who has read the foregoing pages can for a moment
doubt. He was innocent of all caution in worldly matters, and
has been known, on the seller's warranty, t to give forty guineas
for a gold watch, which, as it subsequently turned out, would
have been dear at ten. Among many acts of private goodness
may be mentioned—although he shrunk from, the slightest
allusion to the story—bis release of a brother actor from Lan-
caster jail, under circumstances which showed a pure benevolence
of heart, and delicacy of feeling, that would have done honour
to a prince.

With far more temptations to indulge in. the pleasures of the
table than most men encounter, Gfrimaldi was through life re-
markably temperate, never having been seen, indeed, in a state

* Tom Matthews, perhaps, presents at this time the nearest approach.

t The seller's warranty was doubtless that of some Jew money-lender, by
•which class of persons he seems to have been almost devoured: when their
pressure became insupportable, or they pushed their claims to a consummation
not too devoutly to be wished, and sent a sheriff's officer to enforce the demand,
Joe was wont to accompany them to the shop of Mr. Crouch, a pawnbroker, in
Kay-street, Clerkenwell, by whom the sum was immediately paid. When the
hour approached for his appearance at the Wells, the messenger belonging to
the theatre, always knew where to find him; and being told the sum required to
redeem him, Joe would wait patiently till he returned and released hita'j'iiie
would then proceed to delight an audience, who had but a few minutes before
threatened to pull the house down if he did not appear.the visitation of God."