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THEATRES & THEATRICALS.
The story of Miss Joanna Baillie's play of “ De Montfort” is founded on an interesting trial for murder, in the last century, of a gentleman who resided near the sea shore, and with whom the hapless victim had been intimately acquainted in his youthful days. On the evening of the murder, the resident in question, whom we will call Mr. B., was surprised by the entrance of his old comrade, who had been shipwrecked on that part of the coast. Mr. B. welcomed him with apparent cordiality and delight, and invited him to spend a month or two at his mansion. The guest consented, and, the next morning, was found murdered in his bed. Mr. B. was arrested and tried, but nothing could
be proved against him, as he had the gout at the time, until his servant deposed that, at midnight, she heard the door of his chamber open, and, in two or three minutes afterward, that of the stranger. Upon this he confessed, and acknowleged, that what prompted him to comunit the horrid deed was, that once, at school, the other had contended for a prize, and won it. He was executed shortly after.
MISS MUDIE'S DEBUT. On the 23rd of November, 1805, Miss Mudie, called The Theatrical Phenomenon, a child apparently about eight years old, with but a comparatively diminutive figure even for that age, who, in the preceding season, had played the first rate comic characters at Birmingham, Liverpool, Dublin, and other theatres, made her debut at Covent Garden, as Miss Peggy, in “ The Country Girl.”
It is true, she repeated the words of the part correctly; her deportment was confident, unembarrassed, and sprightly; her voice, for her age, powerful; and her acting evinced intelligence and industry; in truth, considering her performance as that of an infant, it was surprising : but, regarding it as a dramatic personification, it
was contemptible. In the first scene, the sense of the house was goodnaturedly expressed; for, when Moody promised to send her back into the country, the audience very cordially expressed their concurrence by loud applause. In the succeeding scenes, they were less equivocal; for, when she came to be talked of as a wife, as a mistress, as an object of love and jealousy, the scene became so ridiculous, that hissing and horse-laughing ensued. The little child was also contrasted with the tine person of Miss Brunton, (now Countess of Craven,) as Alithea, with a plume of three upright ostrich feathers on her head, the whole constituting a figure nearly seven feet high.
When Peggy was with her guardian, Mr. Murray, no very tall man, she did not reach much higher than his knee; he was obliged to stoop even to lay his hand on her head; to bend himself, to kiss her; and, when she had to lay hold of his neckcloth to coax him, and to pat him on the cheek, he was almost obliged to go on all-fours. In the third act, Miss Peggy is seen walking in the Park, dressed in boy's clothes, under the care of her jealous guardian. Miss Mudie, instead of appearing a fine young man, who ought to be