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Indeed, but I will, Mistress Burns.". “ Remember your promise, Mister Cooke." “Another jug of punch, Mistress Burns."
Indeed, and I will not get out of my own bed any more at all, Mister Cooke, and so there's an end of it.”
“ We'll see that, Mistress Burns." • When, to Mathews's astonishment, be seized the jug and smashed it on the floor over the head of Mistress Burns, exclaiming, “ Do you hear that, Mistress Burns ?" “
Yes, I do, Mister Cooke.” He then proceeded to break the chairs one by one; after each, exclaiming, Do
you hear that, Mistress Burns?" and receiving in reply,
“ Yes, I do, Mister Cooke; and you'll be very sorry for it to-morrow, so you will.”
He then opened the window, and very deliberately proceeded to throw the looking glass into the street, and the fragments of broken tables and chairs. Mathews had made several attempts to go, and had been detained by Cooke: he now ventured on something like expostulation, on which his Mentor ordered him out of his apartment, and threw the candle and candlestick after
him. Mathews having departed, George Frederick sallied out, and was brought home the next day, beaten and deformed with bruises.
COLLEY CIBBER AND POPE.
CIBBER, acting the part of Bayes, in “ The Rehearsal," having occasion to speak of the manner in which he meant to have brought on his two Kings of Brentford, said, “ I intended to have introduced them differently, in the shape of a mummy and a crocodile, but some of our wits, hearing of my intention, stole that thought and made use of it before me.”
This tame allusion, neither remarkable for point, nor culpable for virulence, was received with considerable applause, but it highly exasperated Pope, who was present at the representation; he rushed, the moment the play was over, behind the scenes, and in a transport of rage, accompanied with coarse language, demanded of Cibber, how he dared to treat a gentleman in so unjustifiable a manner : indeed, so violent was his passion, that interfering friends found it difficult to prevent bis attempting to collar Cibber, notwithstanding the disparity of his powers, his mis-shapen frame, and tender
constitution. The actor, naturally irritated at such treatment, assured his assailant, “ that he would readily have suppressed his own words in question, had he addressed him in the language of pacific remonstrance, but he would not, considering him as a wit out of his senses; and by way of punishment, for this preposterous and unwarrantable conduct, he was resolved, (he said,) to introduce the obnoxious passage, whenever the piece was performed."
CELEBRATED PERFORMERS OF SIR JOHN
The earliest recorded performer of the fat knight, is supposed to have been John Lowin, whose excellence in numerous comic characters is loudly celebrated by the critics of his times. It has, however, been doubted whether he could, at the age of twenty-one, (for he appears to have been no more in 1597, when the first part of King Henry the Fourth, which contains the richest specimen of Falstaff's humour, was first performed,) have been sufficiently initiated in the business of the stage, 'to be capable of representing so peculiarly difficult a character. During a space of little less than fifty years, he
appears to have possessed a monopoly of the part, to the entire exclusion of every other actor; for no notice is taken of any other representative of Falstaff, previous to the suppression of the Theatres, which was accomplished by the influence of the fanatical party in parliament, ia the year 1647.
The first actor of Falstaff, after the Restoration, of whom we have any account, was a bookseller in Holborn of the name of Cartwright, whose name is mentioned in Downe's “ Roscius Anglicanus,” but of whose performance nothing is known. He very liberally bequeathed his books to Dulwich College.
Cartwright was succeeded in the character of Falstaff by Lacy, the favourite actor of Charles II., who was so delighted with his performances, that he had his picture taken in three distinct characters, which may still be seen at Hamptoncourt. He is spoken of by Langbaine as the most perfect comic player of his time, and is described by Aubrey as being “ of an elegant shape and fine complexion." He appears to have been one of the recruits picked up by the King's Company soon after the Restoration, as there is no trace of his having acted previous to the civil wars. Lacy wrote three plays, of no
great merit; he died in 1681, and was buried in the church-yard of St. Martin's in the Fields.
The next actor of eminence, whose name has been handed down to us as the representative of the "doughty knight," is Betterton, whose wonderful powers and admirable versatility formed an inexhaustible source of delight for the audiences of his day. This great master of his profession had been long accustomed to play Hotspur, with general applause : towards the latter part of his life, however, he determined to try his abilities in Falstaff, and speedily convinced the town that the most humorous walk of comedy was equally within the scope of his capacity, with the highest flights of tragedy. A singular circumstance is recorded by Davies as having influenced him considerably to modify the style of his personation of this character, which ought not to be passed over in silence, as it is strongly indicative of the modesty and good sense of this excellent actor. There was in Dublin a master paviour of the name of Baker, who excelled in several comic parts, and especia ally in Sir Epicure Mammon, (in the “ Alchymist,") in the Spanish Friar, and in Falstaff. Some singular anecdotes of this person are to be