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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


24 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Canongate. Life below Stairs,? which the fraternity of footmen bitterly resented, and resolved to stop. On the second night of its being announced, Mr. Love, one of the management, came upon the stage and read a letter containing the most bitter denunciations of vengeance upon all concerned if the piece should be performed. It was, nevertheless, proceeded with, and the gentlemen who were in the theatre having provided accommodation for their servants in the gallery, the moment the farce began ? a prodigious noise was heard from that quarter.? occurred till the night of the 14th December, 1756, when, to the dismay of all Scotland, there was brought out the tragedy of ? Douglas,? written by the pen of a minister of the kirk ! The original cast was thus :-Douglas, Mr. Digges; Lord Randolph, Mr. Younger; Glenalvon, Mr. Love; Norval, Mr. Hayman; Lady Randolph, Mrs. Ward ; Anna, Mrs Hopkins. With redoubled zeal the clergy returned to the assault, and though they could no more crush the players, they compelled John Home, the author of ? #I nounce the orders that had been tarnished by a composition so unwonted and unclerical,? Ultimately he became captain in the Buccleuch Fencibles, and lived long enough to see the prejudices of many of his countrymen pass away; but he was long viewed with obloquy. ?To account for this extraordinary phen o me n o n,? says Dr. Carlisle, ??so far down in theeighteenth cen- Theatre from the original proprietors for L648 and Lroo per annum during the lives of the lessees ; but he failed in his engagement, and James Callender, a merchant of the city, undertook to conduct the business, with Mr. Digges as stage manager. Callender soon after resigned his charge to Mr. David Beatt, another citizen, who had ventured in the past time to read Prince Charles?s proclama. tions at the Cross. Mr. Love also withdrew from the charge, and was succeeded by Mr. John Dawson of Newcastle ; but dissensions arose among the performers themselves. Two parties were formed in the theatre, which, during a performance of ? Hamlet,? they utterly wrecked and demolished, and set on fire in a riot, to the supreme. delight of all opponents of the drama. Legal actions and caunter-actions ensued ; the house was again fitted up, and nothing of interest a few well-meaning people and all the zealots of the time were seriously offended with a clergyman for writing a tragedy, even with a virtuous tendency, and with his brethren for giving him countenance. They were joined by others out of mere envy.? The Presbytery of Edinburgh suspended all clergymen who had witnessed the representation of ?Douglas,JJ and at the same time ?emitted an admonition and exhortation, levelled against aZZ who frequented what they supposed to be the Temple of the Father of Lies, and ordered it to be read in all the churches within their bounds.? The personal elegance of Digges and the rare beauty of Mrs. Bellamy were traditionally remembered in the beginning of the present century, and made them even objects of interest to those by whom their scandalous life was regarded with just reprehension. They lived in a small countg
Volume 3 Page 24
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