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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


B I 0 GRAPH I C AL SIC E T C H ES. 113 No. LV. MRS. SIDDONS, MR. SUTHERLAND, MRS. WOODS, OF THE THEATRE ROYAL, EDINBURGH. EVERYo ne who has turned over the leaves of a dramatic biography is acquainted with the usual statements relative to the l i e of MRS. SmDoNs,-how she first appeared at Drury Lane Theatre, in the year 1775, as the representative of Portia, and towards the end of the season degenerated into a walking Venus in the pageant of the Jubilee,-how she returned to the Bath Theatre the year following,-how, a few years afterwards, she reappeared in London with extraordinary success, and, after a brilliant career, finally retired from the stage in July 1812. Her biographers, however, have never indulged the world with any thing like a detailed account of her first appearance on the Edinburgh stage, which occurred on the 22d May 1784. During her engagement, “the rage for seeing her was so great, that one day there were 2557 applications for 630 places ; ” and many even came from Newcastle to witness her performances.’ Her engagement was owing to a few spirited individuals, who took all risk on themselves, the manager of the Edinburgh Theatre being afraid of hazardous speculations. The Edinburgh Feekly Magazine, in its report of her appearance, mentions, that “ the manager had taken the precaution, after the first night, to have an officer’s guard of soldiers at the principal door. But several scuffles having ensued, through the eagerness of the people to get places, and the soldiers having been rash in the use of their bayonets, it was thought advisable to withdraw the guard on the third night, lest any accident had happened from the pressure of the crowd, who began to assemble round the doors at eleven in the forenoon.” The attractioas of BJi-8. Siddons were 80 great, that few could resist the temptation of visiting the Theatre. Amongst those whom her fascinations had drawn from their burrows in the Old Town, was 8 respectable gentleman belonging to the profession of the law, of the name of Fraaer, who was induced to take this, to him, most extraordinary step, in order to gratify his daughter. The play selected was Venice fieserued; and, after some little di5culty, the father and daughter were seated in the pit. Old Fraser listened to the first act with the most perfect composure : the second followed, and in the course of it he asked his daughter, Which waa the woman Siddona 1 ” She, perfectly amazed, solved the difficulty by pointing out Bdvidem, the only female in the play. Nothing more occurred tii the catastrophe. Then, but not till then, he turned to his daughter and inquired, (‘18 thia a comedy or a tragedy ? ”-“Bless me, Papa ! a tragedy, to be sure,”-‘6 So I thought, for I’m beginning to feel a commotioa” Q
Volume 8 Page 167
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