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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


North Bridgt.] were again seen bivouacking all night, on straw or pallets, under the portico of the house, or in the adjacent square, for the purpose of securing seats for their employers the moment the doors were open. Again it became a recognised amusement for peop!e to proceed thither after breakfast to see, about the time of the box-office unclosing, the fights that ensued between the liverymen and the imtable Highland porters. But in the year 1819 Miss O?Neill quitted the stage, and became eventually Lady Becher of Ballygiblio Castle, in the couiity of Cork. THE WAVERLEY DRAMAS. which she had to pay yearly as rent and purchase. money. Thus one day she was shocked and startled by a harsh, cold letter, in the usual legal form, arresting all moneys in her hands until certain claims were settled, at a time when she had scarcely a penny wherewith to make payment. It was at this desperate crisis that Walter Scott came to the rescue. His Rob Roy, operatically dramatised, hadalreadyproved a marked success at Covent Garden, and it was now prepared for the Edinburgh Theatre, with an excellent cast and much ?49 girl, Miss Elizabeth ONeill, ?who seemed designed by nature to catch the tragic mantle as it fell from Mrs. Siddons? shoulders,? appeared in the theatre in August, ISIg-two months after Waterloo. The characters in which she always achieved the greatest success were Juliet, Mrs. Haller, Jane Shore, and Mrs. Beverley ; and on the occasion of her first appearance, the old scene of the Siddons furore was renewed, and porters and livery servants In 1816 Edmund Kean appeared in Edinburgh, to startle and delight the people by his vivid action; then came the elder Matthews, with his wondrous humour and power of mimicry, and then Miss Stephens and Mr. and Mrs. Charles Kemble ; yet with all this excellence the management did not prosper, and when the season of 1819 opened, matters seemed so gloomy that it was doubtful if Mrs. Henry Siddons could collect the L2,ooo THE OLD 1HEATRE ROYAL. (Fmm a Drawing by T. H. Shfherd.publi~hdin 1829.)
Volume 2 Page 349
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