Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 1


114 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. The plays in which she acted were as follows :- May 22. Venice Preserved. June 5. Jane Shore. 24. Gamester. 7. Douglas. 26. Venice Preserved. 27. Gamester. 10. Mourning Bride. 29. Mourning Bride. June 1. Douglas. Charity Workhouse). 9. Grecian Daughter (for her benefit). 11. Grecian Daughter (for benefit of the 3. Isabella. On the 12th she set out for Dublin, where she was engaged to perfonn twenty nights for 51000. In speaking of her appearance in Douglas, the Cowant observes, “We have seen Rlrs. Crawford in the part of Lady Randolph, and she played it perhaps with more solemnity and as much dignity as Mrs, Siddons, but surely not with so much interesting sensibility. It would far exceed our limits to point out or describe the many beauties that charmed us in the representation of this piece, Mrs. Siddons never once disappoints the spectator ; but from the moment of her appearance she interests and carries along his admiration of every tone, look, and gesture. While the discovery of her son gradually proceeds, she suspends the audience in the most pleasing interesting anxiety. “ During the beautiful narration of Old Norval, when he says- ‘ Red came the river down, and loud and oft The angry spirit of the water shriek’d,’ etc., she kept the audience by her looks and attitude in the most silent anxious attention, and they read in her countenance every movement of her soul. But when she breaks out- ‘ Inhuman that thou art ! How could’st thou kill what waves and tempests spared ?’ they must be of a flinty nature indeed who burst not into tears. ‘( When she discovers herself to her son- ‘ My son ! my son ! I am thy mother, and the wife of Douglas,’ we believe there was not a dry eye in the whole house.” She shared 250 a night for ten nights, and at her benefit drew €350, besides a sum of S260, with which a party of gentlemen presented her. From the subscribers she received an elegant piece of plate, on which was engraved-“ As a mark of esteem for superior genius and unrivalled talents, this vase is respectfully inscribed with the name of SIDDONS. The poetical epistle which follows, showing the ferment into which her presence threw the town, is clever, and worthy of preservation :- Mrs. Siddons played eleven nights exclusive of the charity one. Edinburgh, 9th June 1784.”
Volume 8 Page 168
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