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exhibit any other passions than those in Dublin was so great, that the mawhich his age has permitted him to nager endeavoured to engage him know and feel. In short, he is nei- for a term of years, at a liberal and ther more nor less than a child pos. increasing salary ; much to the cre. sessed of extraordinary powers for dit of Dublin, however, there alone theatrical representation.
have been found those, who, free Impressed as was Mr. Hough with from envious or interested motives, favourable sentiments for his pupil, have had sufficient discernment to on his return he induced the mana- appreciate truly the child's talents ger of the Belfast theatre to engage and the extravagant impropriety the child for four nights, and, on the both of the theatre and the public 16th of August, 1803, he made his in forcing him into an untimely ma. first appearance on the stage at Bel. turity. fast, in the character of Osman, be. The author of " The Series of ing then eleven years of age. Familiar Epistles to F. Jones, esq. Throughout the night he discovered on the present state of the Irish no sign embarrassment*, per. Stage,” a work of the keenest wit, formed without mistake, and re- humour, and satire, points out ceived the most tumultuous and in the folly and absurdity of making cessant applause. The ensuing the stage a nursery, and laments that morn he was announced for the part a promising child should be deprived of Young Norval, in the tragedy of of that education which might make Douglas, and his representation of him a useful man, to be converted that character inspired the whole into a source of theatrical revenue. town of Belfast with the highest Prince William, now duke of Glouconsideration for his talents. He cester, it is said, has condescended afterwards played Rolla and Romeo to give a similar, though a more with equal success.
His fame hav prudential, because a more qualified ing spread to Dublin, Mr. Jones, advice. One of our esquires on this the manager there, engaged him for side the water, not quite satisfied nine nights. The probability of with the indefinite directions of the the child's theatrical interest becom Familiar Epistles, has published an ing very weighty, induced Mr. octavo of “llints for the Education Betty to attach Mr. Hough entirely of the Young Roscius.” According to his son, which the affection and to him, he must possess many natural zeal of the latter rendered an easy endowments, and almost innumeratask.
ble qualifications and acquirements On the 28th of November, master indispensibly requisite; great laBetty appeared at the theatre-royal bour; invincible ardour; perspiCrow-street, in the character of cuity of intellect; strength of me. Young Norval, and received, in ad. mory; polished capability; classidition to the most general and un cal education ; French;
a uni. bounded applause, the appellation of versal knowledge of history; an “ The Young Roscius." His success acquaintance with the best masters
• Ryder, the celebrated Irish comedian, has said that he had served three ap. prenticeships to the stage (21 years) and the curtain never rose above him a single night that he did not tremble.
of painting, ancient and modern; examining a single character. I have the difference of climate, national traced him through all the parts he character, and bodily temperament; has performed on this theatre, and the customs, manners, modes of watched his dramatic progress with salutation, and dresses of different a critic's eye, in order to notice nations; the classic poets; and the expected defects; and, if needful, whole range of ancient statues (per- to point out emendations. But his haps statutes) should be open to his correctness, and graceful mode of view; and all these are to be ac. deportment, throughout the whole quired during the intervals of a ne. of the performances, and the aston. ver ceasing study of the passions, ishing exertions which his powers as they are exhibited by the respec. enabled him to exhibit, rendered tive inhabitants of the different parts useless my intention, and taught me of the globe. This plan appears to know tható Nature's above art in sufficiently extensive even for "a that respect,' for the gifts she has young princess,” though some of our endowed him with, I found stood Londoners will not be satisfied un. in no great need of a preceptor.” The less the lord chancellor administer whole of this experienced veteran's
reasoning and opinions are of the From Dublin the Young Røscius same quality, and equally worthy proceeded to Cork, under an en of attention: however, according gagement of six nights, which he to that gentleman, “Ho set the town fulfilled with the greatest applause, of Edinburgh in a blaze!” which is to and was induced to extend it three be ascribed to the “ pleasing move. performances more at the desire of ments of perfect and relined nature, the inhabitants. There his powers which had been incorporated with of attraction were unexampled, the his frame, previous to his birth.” general receipts being not above ten Home was present during his first pounds per night, which, during the performance, in Edinburgh, of Young stay of Young Roscius, increased Norval, and 66 the author of to an hundred.
Douglas, in the plenitude of rapFame now blew her trump so turous enthusiasm, from the unex. loud, that its sound reached the ca. pected gratification he had received, pital of Scotland, and in May 1804, stepped forward before the curtain, he appeared on the Glasgow boards and bowed respectfully to the audi. in the tragedy of Douglas. Of all ence.” On being asked how he the panegyrists of our Roscius, Mr. had been entertained, he answered Jackson, the Glasgow manager, ap. 6 Never better: this is the first time pears to be the warmest. He asserts I ever saw the part of Douglas him to be presented by heaven," played, according to my ideas of (which of the heavens he has not the character. He is a wonderful thought proper to state) and “fully being ; his endowments great be. instructed by the inspiring voice of yond conception: and I pronounce nature,”—“ words cannot express him at present, or at least, that he his surprising endowments.” Mr. soon will be, one of the first actors Jackson observes, “ I speak not upon the British stage!" from a transient view, or from the The criticisms on his performances
in Scotland, according to the bio. he would play Lusignan or old graphers, were neither few nor Norral, with equal propriety and temperate, and are said to have no effect, as Douglas or Osman." thing but their malignity to recom. The Birmingham manager sent a mend them.*
choice of conditionst, either a clear Mr. M'Cready, the monarch of benefit for sis performances, which the Birmingham theatre, now sent might hare equalled 2601. or for the young hero of the sock an em. eight nights one fifth of the gross bassy to implore the aid of his om. receipts, and a benefit; or on Mrs. nipotent prowes, in whose cause Siddons's plan, to divide equally the Young Roscius made bis first after the expences, and to pay the appearance on the English stage: customary gratuity for a benefit; but there, and there only, we hear but those concluded on were to di. of the slightest symptom of incredu. vide for six nights, allowing 501. lity. For the first four evenings for expences, and to give the 7th the theatre was but thinly attended, night gratis on condition of receita but on the fifth, the electric shock ing the 8th for 401. Mr. Hoogh, communicated itself with the great- in a letter dated Edinburgh, Joly est success. Mr. Harley, author 28, states that “the last six nights and actor of that theatre, “ was en- of his performing here produced wrapt in wonder and delight,” own- £.814.” At Birmingham the receipts ed himself a convert, and from his for thirteen nights were nearly soul exclaimed—“. This is no coun. £.2,300. During Young Betty's terfeit! this is the acting that feels stay at Birmingham, one of the ingly persuades me what it is.” The Drury-Lane managers, in passing * subsequent nights were thronged through that place, was persuaded beyond all precedent, Dearly to to stay and see the prodigy : he suffocation, and every tongue stayed two nights, and, after much confessed the power which every deliberation, offered half a clear óebeart had felt.” Mr. llarley's ne fit to perform scren nights in ideas of acting seem to agree per- London! Of course the offer was fectly with the Edinburgh manager, rejected with disdain. for although his modesty would not After frank deliberation, a com, permit him to anticipate the judg. mission was sent down to a Birment of a London audience; hemingham critic to obtain an opinion considers " bis Hamlet as one of on the case : the critic being indis. the most fascinating pieces of acting posed, alas! like ordinary men, that he had ever witnessed.” His had recourse to Mr. M‘Cready, who Richard too was equally a master- expressed an opinion that he was piece. It should not be forgotten, worth fifty guineas a night, and a that, in support of the opinion of clear benefit. Terms so enormous these two experienced and able cri- gave birth (and well they might) to tics, a letter signed Jo. Stuart, in a new deliberation; and, in the in. serted in Mr. Jackson's pamph. terim, captain Barlow arrived at let, contains a conviction, that Birmingham on the part of Mr,
* Jackson's Pamphlet, p. 41. + Harley, p. 97.
| Ilarley, p. 33,
Harris, with a carte blanche for a was such, that in a few minutes the Covent-Garden engagement, which house filled :-nay, the pressure, in was concluded for twelve nights on a morning, to take places, was M-Cready's terms. The nights were such, that all the standing rigging to be three in the last week of No. of the pressors was carried away; vember, three in the first week of and hats, wigs, boots, muffs, spencers, December, three in the last week and tippets, flew about in all direcof January, and three in the first tions through the crowd. In fif. week oi February. His benefit to teen nights Master Betty cleared follow in:mediately, and the engage. £.1520 at Liverpool. From thence ment to be renewed after Easter, he proceeded to Chester and Manshould its success render it eligible. chester, and finished his provincial The altercation consequent, between engagements at Lichfield ; where it the managers, is not worth repeat. is said he played twice a day. ing, but Mr. Harley states that Saturday December first, 1804, Drury-Lane dispatched immediately was announced for his first appearmessengers to Liverpool, and else. ance on the London boards, and as where, to buy off, at any price, his the newspapers had for months been present engagements; but, much to winding up the public to the highthe credit of the boy and his friends, est pitch of expectation; those who they determined to adhere to every are acquainted with the turbulent subsisting contract; an exclusive manners of a London mob, and engagement, however, having not its more than Liverpool attachment been made, Drury-Lane obtained to prodigies of all descriptions, may hiin for the Covent-Garden inter- form a tolerable picture of the asvals. From Birmingham he pro- semblage on that occasion, and also ceeded to Sheffield, and with the of its conduct.-A playhouse door, same success ; on no occasion was on a favourite night, in London, is that town known to be so crowded; the only place where the true spirit great numbers thronged to town in of jacobinism is to be found; there all directions, and every house was all distinctions of age, sex, or rank overloaded with visitors; and the are unknown, and by force or acprices of admission were raised, cident only can pre-eminence be no doubt, to oblige the gentility of obtained. The pressure was the place. Early in October he ar. paralleled : the doors were scarcely rived at Liverpool.* All his former opened before proclamations ansuccesses, however brilliant and un nounced the house to be full. Con. precedented, were there completely fusion reigned triumphant in every eclipsed, (the inhabitants of Liver. part of the theatre. In vain was an pool being particularly attached to attempt made to address the audidramatic amusements and prodigies,) ence; the play commenced amidst and the ordinary theatric receipts the storm, and was compelled to greatly exceed any in the empire, shrink from its fury. The address London and perhaps Dublin except. was again brought forward, and the ed: the house is also the third in mag- actor had sufficient firmness to grum, pitude, yet the dificulty of admittance ble quite through it. The tragedy
Meprit, p. 47.
of Barbarossa again commenced, which abstract sentiment assumes, but of the first act the performers it is quite ridiculous to expect it.had all the pleasure to themselves, Characters suited to his years, such as not a word could be heard. In as Frederick and Young Norral, the second act, when the Young he performs in general very well; Roscius entered, the most tumultu- though in parts of each of these, ous applause greeted him, which he (and it should seem his instructors received with the utmost coolness do not understand the sense of the and presence of mind. His per- author,) wherever the expression of formance, judging by its effects, a passion is demanded, of whatever be even exceeded all promise ; the its nature, that general energy which town for weeks after his first ap- characterizes his acting, is applied pearance was like the city of Ab. to it, and it satisfies the audience. dera, not a word but of “ Cupid In the business of the stage he is prince of gods and men ;' and even extremely correct, and pays more Methodism herself lent her pious vo attention to the scene than is usual taries to swell the list of his cap- with some even of the best performtives. Of his figure little at pre ers. Of his voice it is said, that on sent can be said, but that it is, his first appearance it was uncom. straight and not ungraceful ; his monly strong, clear, and sweet: face oval and flat, features small, at present it is husky, though not eyes grey and not lively, eyebrows disagreeably so; but he possesses a straight and thin.--At present his surprising distinctness of articulaface possesses no great powers of tion, and without the slightest ef. expression, nor, as far as can be forts can be understood throughout judged, are his muscles likely to Druty-lane theatre, to which he swell out into that grand, bold size super-adds a perfect command of it. necessary for theatric effect. His On the whole, it may readily be powers consist in expressing his admitted, that he is a youth gifted feelings rather by a general energy with extraordinary qualifications of figure than of countenance, and from nature; that his defects are he has been so well schooled, that such as are accounted for by his age this energy is confined to the princi. alone, and, with prudent managepal passages he has to deliver. As ment, who would probably in a few to his capability of depicting all the years become one of the brightest passions, and their varied shades, ornaments of the British stage. with all the refinements of delivery