« PreviousContinue »
tempt with which she treated Captain Hill, fired his resentment. He prided himself on being a gentleman, and an officer in the army; and thought he had a right, at the first onset, to triumph over the heart of an actress; but in this he found himself mistaken. Hill, who could not bear the dislike shewn by Mrs. Bracegirdle, conceived that her aversion must proceed from having previously engaged her heart to some more favoured lover ; and though Mr. Mountford was a married man, he became jealous of him, probably from no other reason, than the respect with which he observed Mr. Mountford invariably treated her, and their frequently playing together in the same scene.
Confirmed in this suspicion, he resolved to be revenged on Mr, Mountford; and, as he could not possess Mrs. Bracegirdle by gentle means, he determined to have recourse to violence, and hired some ruffians to assist him in carrying her off. His chief accomplice in this scheme was Lord Mohun, to whom he communicated his intention, and who concurred with him in it. They appointed an evening for that purpose, hired a number of soldiers and a coach, and went to the playhouse in order to find Mrs.
Bracegirdle ; but she, taking no part in the play that night, did not come to the house. They then got intelligence that she was gone with her mother, to sup at one Mrs. Page's, in Drury Lane; thither they went, and took their stations in expectation of Mrs. Bracegirdle's coming out.
She at last made her appearance, accompanied by her mother and Mr. Page. The two ruffians made a sign to their hired bravos, who laid their hands on Mrs. Bracegirdle : but her mother, who threw her arms round her waist, preventing them from thrusting her immediately into the coach, and Mr. Page gaining time to call assistance, their attempt was frustrated, and Mrs. Bracegirdle, her mother, and Mr. Page, were safely conveyed to her own house in Howard Street, in the Strand. Lord Mohun, and Hill, enraged at this disappointment, resolved, since they were unsuccessful in one part of their design, they would yet attempt another; and that night vowed revenge against Mr. Mountford. They went to the street where Mr. Mountford lived, and there lay in wait for him. Old Mrs. Bracegirdle and another gentlewoman who had heard them vow revenge against Mr. Mountford, sent to his house to desire his wife to let him know his
danger, and to warn him not to come home that night; but, unluckily, no messenger Mrs. Mountford sent was able to find him. Captain Hill and Lord Mohun paraded the streets with their swords drawn ; and when the watch made inquiry into the cause of this, Lord Mohun answered, that he was a Peer of the Realm, and dared them to touch him at their peril. The night-officers, being intimidated at this threat, left them unmolested, and went their rounds.
Towards midnight, Mr. Mountford, going home to his own house, was saluted, in a very friendly manner, by Lord Mohun; and, as his Lordship seemed to carry no marks of resentment in his behaviour, he made free to ask him how he came there at that time of night? To which his lordship replied, by asking if he had not heard the affair of the woman ? Mountford asked, what woman? to which he answered, Mrs. Bracegirdle. “I hope,” says he, “my Lord, you do not encourage Mr. Hill, in his attempt upon Mrs. Bracegirdle ; which, however, is no concern of mine.” When he uttered these words, Hill came behind his back, gåve him some desperate blows on his head; and, before Mr. Mountford had time to draw his sword, and stand on his de
fence, he run him through the body, and made his escape. The alarm of murder being given, the constable seized Lord Mohun, who, upon hearing that Hill had escaped, expressed great satisfaction, and said he did not care if he were hanged for him. When the evidences were examined at Hick's Hall, one Mr. Bencroft, who attended Mr. Mountford, swore that Mr. Mount. ford declared to him, as a dying man, that, while he was talking to Lord Mohun, Hill struck him with his left hand, and with his right run him through the body, before he had time to draw his sword.
Thus fell the unfortunate Mountford, by the hand of an assassin, without giving him any provocation, save that which his own jealousy had raised, and which could not reasonably be imputed to Mountford as a crime. Lord Mohun, as we have already observed, was tried and acquitted by his peers; as it did not appear, that he immediately assisted Hill in perpetrating the murder, or that they had concerted it before; for, though they were heard to vow revenge against Mountford, the word murder was never mentioned. Mr. Mountford, besides his extraordinary talents as an actor, was author of the following
dramatic pieces: 1. “ The Injured Lovers; or, the ambitious Father.” 2. “ The Successful Strangers,” a tragi-comedy. 3, “ Greenwich Park," a comedy. Besides these, he turned " The Life and Death of Dr. Faustus" into a farce,“ With the Humours of Harlequin and Scaramouch," acted at the Queen's Theatre in Dorset Garden, and revived at the Theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields, 1697. Mr. Mountford wrote many Prologues and Epilogues, scattered throughout Dryden's Miscellanies ; and likewise several songs. He was killed in 1692; and lies buried in St. Clement's Danes.
Cibber, in his Apology, says of him, “ Of person he was tall, well made, fair, and of an agreeable aspect; his voice clear, full, and melodious; in tragedy he was the most affecting lover within my memory; his addresses had a resistless recommendation, from the very tone of his voice, which gave his words such softness, that, as Dryden says,
16 • Like fakes of feather'd snow,
They melted as they fell.''
PORSON'S FAVOURITE QUOTATION. PROFESSOR Porson constantly quoted the following passage from Sir Alexander (afterward