Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 1


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 151 Prior to his departure, on the 18th of August, the following advertisement appeared in the newspapers :-“ Mr. Henderson, before leaving this city, begs leave must respectfully to express his grateful sense of the indulgent and liberal patronage he has received from the public of Edinburgh, and to assure them t,hat he shall ever retain a lively remembrance of the polite and flattering attention with which they have been pleased to honour him.” During the summer of 1785 he performed a few nights at Dublin, and was invited to the Castle, where he read the story of “Le Fevre,” and some other select passages from his favourite Sterne, to the Duke and Duchess of Rutland and their Court. Previous to his voyage to Dublin, some little difference betwixt him and Mr. Harris had been accommodated, and he again entered into an engagement for four years, which he did not live to fulfil. His last performance was Ewatius in the Roman Father, on the 3d November 1785. He was soon after seized with a disorder-ossification of the heart-which terminated his life on the 25th of that month, in the fortieth yeas of his age. On the 3d December following, the remains of John Henderson were interred in Westminster Abbey, near Dr. Johnson and Garrick, the Chapter and Choir attending to pay respect to his memory. His pall was supported by the Hon. Mr. Byng, Mr. Malone, Mr. Whitefoord, Mr. Stevens, and Mr. Hook MR. CHARTER18 was admirably fitted for the personification of Barddph, in which character he is represented in the Print. This arose not only from the possession of genuine talents as a comic actor-but from another advantage more peculiar to himself, in bestowing which nature had been extremely prodigal -we mean his remarkably long nose. The pencil of Kay may be suspected of at least having done nothing to lessen the appearance of this protuberance ; but certain it is, Mr. Charteris’ nose was so wonderful as to be an object of general attention when he appeared on the streets. One day a party of country people were strolling along the High Street, viewing whatever might appear to them curious, when the actor, happening to be proceeding in the opposite direction, met them somewhere about the Cross. The clowns, attracted by his huge proboscis, stood staring at it, as if riveted with astonishment. -“ Gentlemen,” said Charteris, good-humouredly, suiting the action to the word, “ if you can’t get past, 1’11 hold it to a side.” Mr. Charteris was a popular actor, and his comic powers have formed the subject of four lines of doggerel in “The Edinburgh Rosciad for 1775.” They run thus :- U Charteris, for comic merit, need not yield To any hero in thentric field : In the poor starved Apothecary, you Deserve great praise for looks and action tnw.” He died about the year 1798-but of this event, or any thing relating to his private history, we have been unable to procure authentic information. The
Volume 8 Page 213
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