Page images

upon the point of proving successful, something is sure to intervene between the promise and the completion, as in the well-known scene in the Follies of a Day, which is certainly the best we have of the kind on our stage.

Ultimately, Old Guardy's vigilance is of course defeated, who, when he finds he cannot prevent, reluctantly consents to the Captain's union with his ward. Kelly has been very happy in some of the music; the finale to the first act and a trio in the second are excellent. The overture is by Mr. Condell. Mathews has not yet appeared to more advantage than in Risk: the piece is greatly indebted to the address with which he managed much of the business, and to the humour he displayed in his two songs, both of which were tumultuously encored, One of them is a very laughable burlesque on William and Margaret, and other ballads of the same ghostly description. Mr. Elliston shews his versatility in Captain Beldure, in which he sings a pleasing ariette with much taste. Mr. Grove, the gentleman who made so promising an appearance in Robin Roughhead as to obtain an engagement from Mr. Colman, gave a further proof of his capacity and usefulness in Totterton, a sort of crazy domestic, in whom Vigil places his confidence. Mr. Denman is not very well calculated for such a part as Vigil, but he got through it with credit. De Camp displayed considerable merit in the Yorkshireman; and Mrs. Atkyns, in the heroine, exerted herself very successfully.

Prefixed to the book of songs is an advertisement from Mr. Arthur Griffinhoof, of Hammersmith, who declares himself the author. This Mr. Griffinhoof, is the foster-father of those productions which Mr. Colman does not think of sufficient consequence to avow as his own. The favourite after-piece of the Review was an adopted child of this same Mr. Griffin hoof.

KING'S THEATRE, After a season of unusual success, under all the circumstances, closed on Saturday, the 23d, with Mrs. Billington and Calypso. Next season is to produce wonders, under the management of Gould. It is whispered, however, that Mrs. Billington goes to Covent Garden, and that her place is to be supplied by Mara, whose sweet notes are now enrapturing the princes of Germany, Didelot, who hath been disconsolate ever since the death of his wife, returns to England, together with Del Caro.

Kelly is again to resume his management of the musical department; Mr. D'Egville is to be ballet-master; and Jewell, very properly, at the head of the treasury,

NEW ROYAL CIRCUS. The proprietors of the Circus evince their loyalty by their various entertainments, calculated, as they are, to inspire the country with martial ardour.. Cross is resolved that variety shall be " the order of the day," at this resort of the fashionable and the gay.

ASTLEY'S AMPHITHEATRE. ' “ The Invasion, or all for our Country," a new naval and military spectacle, written by Mr. Upton, is worthy the occasion. The dresses and decorations aid the bustle of the scene, and the effect, upon the whole, is admirable.

SADLER'S WELLS. Young Dibdin is very assiduous in producing the great variety of performances which have this season appeared at the Wells. The water seene has a good effect. This fine weather causes a nightly bumper.

VAUXHALL. The charming weather, the Pandeans, the Prince of Wales, their Graces of Gordon and Devonshire, &c. &c. occasion an overflow every evening.

THEATRICAL CHIT-CHAT. DRURY LANE.---The managers will find some difficulty in raising sufficient strength to oppose the very powerful phalanx at the other house ; Mr. Graham, however, one of the committee, is employing the most active diligence to procure as much novelty as possible against the opening. Mr. Holman quits the Dublin management, and is soon expected in London. He is an object well worthy the attention of the proprietors, and will no doubt, if he be not already engaged, receive from them a speedy offer. Miss De Camp, who was rather expected to go over to the enemy, continues at her post. Mr. Whitfield resumes his station on these boards, which he held with so much respectability for several seasons.

Covent GARDEN.---Mrs. Siddons is certainly engaged at this theatre ; also a sister of Mr. Brunton, a young lady of great personal accomplishments; and a Miss Mortimer, the pupil of Mr. Corri. Mr. Rock, we believe, succeeds Mr. Johnstone in the Irishmen, and Mrs. Atkyns returns to her situation in the vocal department. Mrs. Billington, it is now said, will not sing at either theatre, but intends visiting Dublin. Her brother, Mr. Weichsell, is to lead at some concerts there.

PROVINCIAL MARCHES AND COUNTER MARCHES, &c.---Mr. Kemble is to play a few nights at Margate, where Miss De Canp and Barrymore have been lately performing with indifferent success. Mrs. Siddons has acted a few nights on the Cheltenham boards. Cooke is at the same place, after having inade a profitable experiment at Manchester and Chester. He is engaged also for three weeks at Nottingham. Mrs. Litchfield has declined making any professional excursion. Incledon's Wandering Melodist has been successful beyond measure wherever he has exhibited himself, particularly in Dublin. The theatre there, with Munden and both the Johnstones has not been remarkably attractive. The report that Munden and Mr. J. Johnstone had purchased half the property of the theatre, for £.20,000, we believe is wholly unfounded. Mr. Hargrave will most probably be the new manager in the room of Mr. Holman. Mr. and Mrs. H. Siddons perform at Worcester and Ludlow, a fortnight at each place. Mr. Charles Kemble has been with his uncle Stephen at Newcastle, &c. and Mr. Bannister at Edinburgh, Suett passes the summer, with young Collins, in the Portsmouth company. Mr. Pope's very afflicting domestic loss has obliged him to relinquish most of the engagements he had formed. Sedgwick is seriously in. disposed with a dropsical complaint. Davy furnishes the music to Mr. Farley's forthcoming ballet. A play upon the subject of the Maid of the Hay Stack, from the pen of Mr. Boaden, will appear before the close of the Haymarket season.

Mr. Lee Lewes was found dead in his bed on the morning of Saturday the 23d of July. He had passed the preceding evening in company, in tolerable health and spirits. A brief memoir of this performer shall appear in our next number.


(Continued from page 272, vol. XV.)

COVENT-GARDEN.----SEASON 1760-1. Monday, 2nd March, 1761.-Wonder. R. of Proserpine. 3.-R. Queens, Cassander, Clarke. Thomas and Sally. 5.-Sp. Friar.-Bertran, Clarke ; Elvira, (1st time) Mrs. Abegg. R. of Pros. 7.--Comus. Cath, and Pet.

9.-(Not acted for 5 years) Venice Preserved.- Jaffier, Ross; Priuli, Gibe son ; Pierre, (1st time) Smith; Renault, Hull; Belvidera, Mrs. Ward. A grand comic ballet called Hungarian Gambols, by Signor SODI (1st. app. for ten years) and Mademoiselle Capdeville, &c. Lethe.

10.-Wonder. R. of Pros. 12.-M. of Venice. L. a-la-Modę.

14.-[Mr. BeARD's night] (a) J. Crew. L. a-la-Mode. 23.-Ib. R. of Pros. 24.-[Ross's n.] Rom. and Jul. F. Laurence, Hull; (b) Paris, Perry. Flor. and Perdita. King, Hull.

25.-[Mrs. HAMILTON's n.] (not acted for ten years) Rule a Wife. Leon, Sparks ; Copper Captain, (1st time) SMITH; Juan, Hull; Cacofogo, Marten; Old Woman, Shuter; Altea, Mrs. Pitt ; Clara, Mrs. Lee; Margaretta, Mrs. Vincent; Estifania, Mrs Hamilton, with a new epilogue in character. Contrivances.-Arethusa, (1st app. for 8 years) Mrs. Storer. (c)

(a) “ Several of Mr. Beard's friends being pre-engaged for Monday the 23d of March, advertised for his benefit, and Mr. Rich having kindly given him Saturday the 14th, he humbly, hopes (the shortness of the time not permitting him to wait on his friends as usual) those ladies and gentlemen who design to favour him with their presence, will be pleased to send for their tickets and places to his house, next Old Slaughter's Coffee-house, in St. Martin's Lane."

Advertisement at the bottom of the bill. (b) In the room of Mr. Ridout, who was obliged, through declining health, to quit the theatre, to which he never again returned. He went to Bath, and soon after died in that city. He was a respectable actor, and the only man, (observes Mr. Wilkinson) in whom Mr. Rich placed any confidence, or whose advice he would listen to. Mr. Hull succeeded to many of his characters.

(c) “ Mrs. Storer (formerly Miss Clark) recommends herself by her amiable person, good-nature, and her excellent, sweet, harmonius manner in singing ; therefore she is too much desired to shew her excellence that way, to perform many speaking parts, but where her exalted talent is required; and then, whatever she says, or sings, thus properly introduced, she doubly charms in. I shall end with four lines of a poem on Ranelagh Gardens, written last summer in London.



THOMAS BRITTON, The famous musical small coal man, was a most singular personage. He was born at or near Higham Ferrars, in Northamptonshire, about the middle of the seventeenth century, and went from thence to London, where he bound bimself apprentice to a small coal man. He served seven years, and returned to Nora thamptonshire, his master giving him a sum of money not to set up; but, after this money was spent, he returned again to London, and set up the trade of sınall coal, which he continued to the end of his life. Some time, however, he applied to chemistry, and, by the help of a moving elaboratory, contrived by himself, performed such things in that profession as had never been done before. But his principal object was music; in the theory of which he was very knowing, in the practice not inconsiderable. He was so much addicted to it, that he pricked with his own hand, very neatly and accurately, and left behind him a collection of music, mostly pricked by himself, which was sold for near one hundred pounds. He left an excellent collection of printed Books, both of chemistry and music; not to mention that he had, some years before his death, sold by auction a collection of books, most of them in the Rosicrucian Faculty, of which he was a great adınirer; but what distinguished him most of all, was a kind of musical meeting, held at his own little house, and kept up at his own charges, for many years. This society was frequented by gentry, even those of the best quality, with whom he conversed familiarly, and by whom he was much esteemed; for Britton was as respectable for moral endowments, as he was curious for intellectual. The singularity of his character, the course of his studies, and the collections he made, excited suspicions that he was not the man he seemed to be ; some thinking his musical assembly only a cover for seditious meetings, others for magical purposes, and that Britton himself was an atheist, a presbyterian, and a jesuit. But these were ill-grounded conjectures, he being a plain, simple, honest man, perfectly inoffensive, and greatly loved by all who knew him. The circumstances of his death are not less remarkable than those of his life. There was one Honeyman, a blacksmith, who was farnous for speaking as if his voice proceeded from soine distant part of the house ; a ventriloquist, or speaker from the belly, as those persons are called. This man was secretly introduced by Robe, a Middlesex justice, who frequently played at Britton's concerts, for the sole purpose of terrifying Britton, and he succeeded in it entirely; for Honeyınan, without Inoving his lips, or seerning to speak, announced, as from afar off, the death of poor Britton within a few hours, with an intimation, that the only way to avert his doom, was to fall on his knees immediately, and say the Lord's prayer.

The poor man did so, but it did not avert his doom ; for, taking to his bed, he died in a few days, leaving Justice Robe to enjoy the fruits of his mirth. His death happened in September, 1714.

Britton's wife survived her husband. He left little behind him, except his Books, his collection of manuscript and printed inusic, and musical instruments, all of which were sold by auction, and catalogues of them are in the hands of inany collectors of curiosities. His instrumental music consists of one hundret and sixty articles, his vocal of forty-two, eleven scores, instruments twentyseven. All these are specified in Hawkins's “ History of Music."

« PreviousContinue »