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rather than toddling about the little garden; the few words uttered in simulated tones helping to identify a resemblance which evidently left the diminutive spectators in no doubt as to the fidelity of the likeness. Then came a change of face, another re-adjustment of the pinafore, and an altered tone, with a word and whistle given by turn. This was quickly accepted as the faithful portraiture of a comic countryman well known to the highly appreciative little assembly, and tiny hands were clapped gleefully as the voice of the rustic, simulated in childish treble, was heard to proclaim the necessity of giving something to an old gray mare.”
At a nearer approach, the festive company, entertainer and all, subsided into bashfulness; and, in answer to an enquiry as to the name of the amusing, precocious young gentleman, a reply was lisped out by a giggling damsel, scarcely ten, “It's only a little London boy down for his health, sir." The little boy was J. L. Toole. Mr. Blanchard, fourteen years afterwards, witnessed at the Walworth Institution in Carter Street a performance of the City Histrionic Club, in company with T. P. Cooke and Mark Lemon, having been induced to attend by the recommendation of Charles Dickens and Albert Smith, in which young Toole played the character of Diggory in the "Spectre Bridegroom." The critics were highly pleased, and predicted his future reputation. Mr. Toole has become, unquestionably, the first comedian of the day ; his power to wreathe the lips with smiles, to rouse hearty hilarity, or to touch the heart and raise the tear is almost illimitable. The following anecdote will illustrate his wonderful protean talent; it is extracted from Paul Bedford's “Autobiography." It appears that on one occasion Toole had to perform three times on the same night. After appearing at the Adelphi as the Clockmaker's Boy in “ Janet Pride," he proceeded to Sadler's Wells Theatre, accompanied by Paul Bedford, to play Old Grinnidge, in the “Green Bushes," and being pressed for time changed his clothes in the cab. On their arrival at Sadler's Wells, Cabby was astounded to see an old man instead of a boy step out, and became suspicious of “foul play.” “Halloa !” he demanded of Paul, “what have you done with the boy? What have you done with the young ’un ? I ain't easy in my mind about that there lad!” Never was man more deceived than honest Cabby, and it took some time to undeceive him. We must add that Mr. Toole never forgets himself as a gentleman; his most farcical parts are never blurred with vulgarity. We may enumerate some of his most masterly embodiments, which have been presented to an appreciative public during the last five and twenty years. We would cite that precious scoundrel in embryo—the Artful Dodger in “Oliver Twist," another of Dickens' creations, in which he is invariably most happy-Caleb Plummer, Michael Garner, in Byron's “Dearer than Life," and 1 om Coke, in Clement Scott's effective little drama,“Off the Line.” His versatility and wit are markedly evinced in “ Paul Pry," and it must not be forgotten he had to contend with the recollection of Liston and Wright who were both famous as the Knight of the Umbrella. We pass to John Grumley, in “ Domestic Economy;" Spriggins in the funny "Ici on parle Francais;" his latest achievements being Doublechick in Byron's “Upper Crust,” and Slitherly in the “Light Fantastic.” We now turn to his serious personations, which are marked by such an intensity of pathos and tragic emotion as to justify the opinion of several acute critics, that Mr. Toole's natural vein is more serious than comic, and that he would have distinguished himself conspicuously as Shylock in the "Merchant of Venice," and in other of Shakspeare's potent creations. In confirmation of this assertion, we have only to mention the sensation he made in several Adelphi dramas, written for him expressly by the late John Oxenford, Boucicault's “Vampire," brought out at the same house, and “The Ninetyfive," by Watts Phillips, produced at old Drury. In burlesque, which must not be omitted, his appearance in “Ali Baba," “ Babes in the Wood,” and the “ Spelling Bee,” have been noteworthy. Wherever dancing and singing are required, they are always grotesque and comical.
We regret we are unable for want of space to enter into detailed criticism on these many and widely drawn diversities of characterisation, but we think sufficient has been said to show incontestibly that Mr. Toole is unapproachable in his day, and in his own departments. The subjoined extracts show that Mr. Toole is as humourist off the stage as he is exquisitely humourous on it.
On July 2nd, 1878, he took the chair at the Thirty-third Anniversary Festival of the Theatrical Fund, the dinner being held at the Freemason's Tavern. In the course of the proceedings he delivered an eloquent as well as laughable speech, from which we quote the following “I was playing Bob Cratchett in the 'Christmas Carol,' at the Adelphi, under Mr. Webster's management, and every night at eight, for forty nights, I had to carve a goose and a plum-pudding. Mr. Webster generally provided a real goose and a real plum-pludding, which were served smoking hot for Mrs. Cratchett and the seven Little Cratchetts, of course including Tiny Tim. The children always had enormous portions given them, and all ate heartily every night; but what really troubled me was the conduct of the little girl who played Tiny Tim. That child's appetite appalled me. I could not help noticing the extraordinary rapidity with which she consumed what I gave her, and she looked so wan and thin, and so pitiful, that her face used to positively haunt me. I used to say to myself before I began, 'Well, Tiny Tim shall have enough this time, at all events,' and I'd pile her plate more and more each evening, until I remember she had on one occasion nearly half the bird, and potatoes, and apple-sauce, until I hardly knew how she could carry it away to the fire-place, where she sat on a low stool, in accordance with the story, far less to eat it. To my amazement she cleared her plate as quickly and as eager as ever, pushing forward for plumpudding with the others. I grew alarmed, and spoke to Mrs. Alfred Mellon, who was playing Mrs. Cratchett, respecting this strange phenomenon. I don't like it,' I said ; I can't conceive where a poor little delicate thing like that puts the food. Besides, although I like the children to enjoy a treat,' (and how they kept on enjoying it for forty nights was a mystery, for I got into a condition that if I dined at a friend's house and a goose was the table, I regarded it as a personal affront) I said, referring to Tiny Tim, 'I don't like greediness; and it is additionally repulsive,' I said, 'in a refined looking, delicate looking, little thing like this; besides it destroys the sentiments, and when I, as Bob, ought to feel most pathetic, I am always wondering where the goose and the pudding are, or whether anything serious in the way of a fit will happen to Tiny Tim before the audience, in consequence of her unnatural gorging. Mrs. Mellon laughed at me at first, but eventually we decided to watch Tiny Tim together. Well, gentlemen, we watched as well as could, and the moment Tiny Tim was seated and began to eat, we observed a curious shuffling movement at the stage fire-place, and everything I had given her, goose,
and potatoes, and apple-sauce, disappeared behind the sham fire, the child pretending to eat as heartily as ever from the empty plate. When the performance was over, Mrs. Mellon and myself asked the little girl what became of the food she did not eat, and, after a little hesitation, frightened lest she should get into trouble, which we assured her should not happen, she confessed that her little sisters (I should mention that they were the children of one of the scene-shifters) waited on the other side of the stage fire-place, and the whole family enjoyed a hearty supper every night out of the plentiful portions to which I, as Bob, had assisted Tiny Tim. When I told the story to Charles Dickens, he replied, 'Toole! you ought to have given that child the entire goose.'”
The next extract is from a speech delivered at the Mansion House on the 23rd November, 1875, at a banquet given by the Lord Mayor. “You are aware that I have but recently returned from America," said Toole. “I was interviewed by, and had the pleasure of meeting the President of the United States, who seemed to have a little doubt about my nationality. He enquired if I did not come from Ireland. then asked the President ‘Have you ever heard of St. Mary Axe? because I was born there.' So I feel now as if my foot was on my native heath. I also told him, and he told the gentlemen of the press, (at least I think so) that I resided at Crosby Hall, where Richard III. had lived. I mixed up Richard III. and Crosby Hall, with the Lord Mayor, whose premises happen to adjoin my birth-place in St. Mary Axe, or Crosby Hall (close by St. Mary Axe). Richard JII. and his lordship got so mixed up together that he really believed that I had been Lord Mayor of London.” The next and last specimen of Toole's speech was making his farewell address before going to America, to which we have already made reference. He said “During a period of twenty years, I have been able to fulfil every performance for which I have been announced, and for which I am truly grateful. On one occasion I was nearly not doing so from a sudden attack of gout, and I sent word to the Theatre, that I was placed hors de combat, which had the effect of first bringing the stage-manager to my house, who hobbled into the room, saying, 'Toole, you must come to the theatre!' He had the gout. While I was debating how it was possible for me to go through the performance, the Manager arrived, and he hobbled into the room, saying I must come down to the Theatre at all hazards. He had the gout, and persuaded it was better for all of us "gouts" (go-out) together (which we did). I performed that evening, and was highly complimented on the thoughtful and cautious manner in which I ascended the steps of Uncle Dick's cart.” (This was in the character of Cheap Jack in “Uncle Dick's Darling.")
Mr. Toole enjoys most deservedly the respect of persons of the highest position and rank, as well as of those eminent in art and literature. We may select from these the names of Dickens, Thackeray, Mark Lemon, &c., as well as the leading members of his own profession. At the dinner given at Willis's Rooms, twice before referred to, the Chairman, Lord Rosebery, was commissioned with a message from his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to Mr. Toole, heartily wishing him a prosperous journey to America and a speedy return to his own country. An American critic, speaking of Mr. Toole's acts of charity while in that country, says, he is held in grateful remembrance by our people, as a model English gentleman, and the recollection of his kindness will fade from our memories very slowly, if ever.” Mr. Toole in his own land has also ever been ready to aid charitable purposes by gratuitous performances and in other ways. In his domestic relations, Mr. Toole's conduct is faultless and admirable. In the words of Mr. Creswick at the banquet just alluded to—"His virtues are so very great that no one can do them justice.”
MR. JOHN BRINSMEAD.
It is a very common error to assume that all manufacturers of musical, or other scientific instruments, are tradesmen in the technical sense of the meaning of the word ; and that it would be a mis-description to include them in the professional ranks of the great circle of human workers. Those who are under such an impression can scarcely have studied