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ary exordium),-“have you heard,” said he, “ how they treat me? they put me in comedy." Thought I - but his finger on his lips forbade any verbal interruption
Where could they have put you better?”. Then, after a pause : “Where I formerly played Romeo, I now play Mercutio !” And so again he stalked away, neither staying, nor caring, for responses.
0, it was a rich scene but Sir A C-, the best of story-tellers and surgeons, who mends a lame narrative almost as well as he sets a fracture, alone could do justice to it - that I was witness to, in the tarnished room (that had once been green) of that same little Olympic. There, after his deposition from imperial Drury, he substituted a throne. That Olympic Hill was his “highest heaven," himself “ Jove in his chair." There he sat in state, while before him, on complaint of prompter, was brought for judgment -- how shall I describe her?. - one of those little tawdry things that flirt at the tails of choruses, – a probationer for the town, in either of its senses, - the prettiest little drab, a dirty fringe and appendage of the lamps' smoke, who, it seems, on some disapprobation expressed by a "highly respectable” audience, had precipitately quitted her station on the boards, and withdrawn her small talents in disgust.
“ And how dare you," said her manager, assuming a sensorial severity which would have crushed the confidence of a Vestris, and disarmed that beautiful rebel herself of her professional caprices ; I verily believe he thought her standing before him, dare you, madam, withdraw yourself without a notice from your theatrical duties ?” “I was hissed, sir." “And you have the presumption to decide upon the taste of the town ?” “I don't know that, sir, but I will never stand to be hissed.” was the subjoinder of young Confidence, when, gathering up his features into one insignificant mass of wonder, pity, and expostulatory indignation, in a lesson never to have been lost upon a creature less forward than she who stood before him, his words were these: “They have hissed me."
'T was the identical argument à fortiori which the son of Peleus uses to Lycaon trembling under his lance to persuade him to take his destiny with a good grace : “I too am mortal.” And it is to be believed that in both cases the rhetoric missed of its application, for want of a proper understanding with the faculties of the respective recipients.
“Quite an opera pit,” he said to me, as he was courteously conducting me over the benches of his Surrey Theatre, the last retreat and recess of his every-day waning grandeur.
Those who knew Elliston will know the manner in which he pronounced the latter sentence of the few words I am about to record. One proud day to me, he took his roast mutton with us in the Temple, to which I had superadded a preliminary ħaddock. After a rather plentiful partaking of the meagre banquet, not unrefreshed with the humbler sort of liquors, I made a sort of apology for the humility of the fare, observing that for my own part I never ate but of one dish at dinner. “ I too never eat but one thing at dinner,” was his reply, — then, after a pause, -“reckoning fish as nothing.” The manner was all. It was as if, by one peremptory sentence, he had decreed the annihilation of all the savory esculents which the pleasant and nutritiousfood-giving Ocean pours forth upon. poor humans from her watery bosom. This was greatness, tempered with considerate tenderness to the feelings of his scanty but welcoming entertainer.
Great wert thou in thy life, Robert William Elliston, and not lessened in thy death, if report speak truly, which says that thou didst direct that thy mortal remains should repose under no inscription but one of pure Latinity. Classical was thy bringing up ; and beautiful was thy feeling on thy last bed, which, connecting the man with the boy, took thee back, in thy latest exercise of imagination, to the days when, undreaming of theatres and managerships, thou wert a scholar, and an early ripe one, under the roofs builded by the munificent and pious Colet. For thee the Pauline Muses weep. In elegies that shall silence this crude prose they shall celebrate thy praise.
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