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Spectre, for him at Battersea fair. Another story adds, that he was called on to recite his Tom-Thumbery before George the Third at Windsor ; but we will not vouch for the truth of the newspaper anecdote.
From the metropolitan glory of Bartholomew Fair, the transition to the principal fairs of the kingdom was obvious. Mr. Richardson went the whole hog, and, in so doing, had nearly gone to the dogs. At that revolutionary period, neither the fairs nor the affairs of the country were in a wholesome condition. Politics are ever adverse to amusements. Vain was the attempt to beguile the snobbery of their pence; and our poor caravan, like one in the deserts of the Stony Araby, toiled on their weary march with full hearts and empty stomachs. At length it is told, at Cambridge Fair,—well might it be called by its less euphonous name of Stirbitch, so badly did the speculation pay,—that Richardson and his clown, Tom Jefferies, of facetious memory, were compelled to take a sort of French leave for London, leaving much of their materiel in pawn. Undamped by adversity, they took a fiddler with them; and the merry trio so enamoured the dwellers and wayfarers upon the road, that they not only extracted plentiful supplies for themselves, but were enabled to provide sufficiently for the bodily wants of the main body of the company, who followed at a judicious and respectable distance.
The pressure from without was, however, luckily but of temporary endurance; and Richardson was soon well to do again in the world. Fair succeeded fair, and he succeeded with all. His enterprise was great, and his gains commensurate. He rose by degrees, and at length became the most renowned of dramatic caterers for those classes who are prone to enjoy the unadulterated drama. Why, his mere outside by-play was worth fifty times more than the inside of large houses, to witness such trash as has lately usurped the stage, and pushed Tragedy from her throne, and Comedy from her stool. Of these memorabilia we can call to mind only a few instances; but they speak volumes for the powers of entertaining possessed by our hero.
It was at Peckham one day,—and a day of rain and mud,—when Richardson, stepping from the steps of his booth, as Moncey, the king of the beggars, was shovelling past on his boards, happened to slip and fall. We shall not readily forget the good-humour with which he looked, not up, but level, upon his companion, and sweetly said, “ 'Faith! friend, it seems that neither you nor I can keep our feet.”
At Brook Green, as the fair and happy were crushing up to the pay-door, a pretty servant-girl was among the number.“I should like to hire that girl," said a dandy to his comrade. “I rather guess you would like to lower her,” whispered Mr. R. in his ear. But she was a good lass, and not at all like the French gentleman's maid, to whom her master uttered these humiliating words : “Bah! you arre a verry bad girl, and I shall make you no better.”
Mr. R. misliked drunkenness in his troop. “A fellow," he exclaimed to one he was rating for this vice,—" a fellow who gets tipsy every night will never be a rising man in any profession."
In a remote village some accident had destroyed a grotto necessary to the representation of the piece entitled “The Nymphs of the Grotto." What was to be done ? There was no machinist within a
hundred miles! “Is there not an undertaker ?" exclaimed Mr. R.: “ he could surely execute a little shell-work !"
In an adjoining booth at Camberwell was exhibited a very old man, whom the placards declared to have reached a hundred and fire years of age. “Here is a pretty thing to make a show of,” observed R. "A wonder, indeed!' Why, if my grandfather had not died, he would have been a hundred and twenty!"
But why should we dwell on his facetiæ ? Only to point the poignant grief which tells us we shall never hear them more,—shall never look upon his like again! Yes : let others mourn their Prichards, their Garricks, their Kembles, and their Keans ;-our keen is for thee, John Richardson, the undisputed head of thy profession, the master-spirit of them all, the glory of the mighty multitude,
“Where thou wert fairest of the Fair." And how liberal thou wert! Thou wert not a manager to debar from their just privileges thy dramatic brethren, or insult the literary characters who honourably patronised thy honourable endeavours. Thy “Walk up!" was open and generous. When Jack Reeve and a party from the Adelphi visited the splendid booth at Bartholomew Fair, the veteran recognised his brethren of the buskin, and immediately returned to them the money they had paid on entrance, disdaining to pocket the hard-earned fruits of the stage. “ You, or any other actor of talent,” said the old man,“ are quite welcome to visit my theatre free of expense.” “No, no," replied Reeve, “ keep it, or (noticing a dissenting shake of the head) give it to the poor." “If I have made a mistake,” retorted John, “and have not done so already, give it to them yourself; I will have nothing to do with it, and I am not going to turn parish overseer.”
At length, alas ! his days- his fair days—were numbered, and, as the song says, “ the good old man must die.” As his first, so was his last exhibition at Smithfield; but Smithfield, like the other national theatres, shorn of its splendour, degenerate, and degraded. It seemed as if the last of the fairs: others had been abolished and put down; and this, the topmost of them all, was sinking under the march of intellect, the diffusion of knowledge, and the confusion of reform. Fairs in Britain were ended, and it was not worth Richardson's while to live any longer. He retired, tired and dejected, to his “ Woodland Cottage" in Horsemonger-lane; and on the morning of the 14th of November was expected by the Angel of Death. His finale was serene: his life had been strange and varied, but industrious and frugal. The last time we saw him,—and it was to engage him on his last loyal and public patriotic work, namely, to erect the scaffolding for the inauguration of the statue of George III. in Cockspur-street-he approached us with a fine cabbage under his arm, which he had been purchasing for dinner. His manners, too, were equally simple and unaffected ;-he was the Cincinnatus of his order. He told us of the satisfaction he had given to George IV. by transporting the giraffe in a beautiful caravan to Windsor Park. The caravan was Richardson's world; and he might well have applied to that vehicle the eastern apologue, “the place which changes its occupants so often is not a palace, but a 'caravan'-serai.” But we are giving way to sorrow, though “away with melancholy” is our motto. A wide
mouthed musician—we forget whether clarionet or trombone-applied to Richardson at Easter for an engagement at Greenwich fair : won't do any thing till Christmas,” said he: “ you must wait, as you are only fit for a Wait: you are one to play from ear to ear.”
It is said that Richardson died rich; and indeed the sale of his effects by auction showed that if other persons were men of property, he was a man of properties. Three hundred and thirty-four lots of multitudinous composition were submitted to the hammer; and it was truly a jubilee to see how the Jews did outbid each other. There were Nathan, and Hart, and Clarke, and Levy, besides an inferior and dirtier lot, who got velvets, and silks, and satins, for the old song, « Old clo' !" Though their late owner, in the heyday of his prime, observed, “I have to show my dresses by daylight, and they must be first-rate; anything will do for the large theatres in the night-time, either green-baize, or tin, or dog-skins for ermine;" yet their prices were by no means considerable. Two Lear's dresses, two Dutch and one Jew's ditto, sold for thirty-five shillings; one spangled Harlequin's dress, one clown's, one magician's, and pantaloon's, came to one pound eleven shillings and sixpence; five priests' and a cardinal's dress, and the next lot, six robbers' dresses and a cardinal's dress, went very low; and six satyrs' dresses were absolutely given away. A large scene waggon brought fourteen pounds, and a ditto scene carriage only eight pounds. Then there were sundries of curious character in the catalogue :
Ten common whigs, trick-bottle, and trick-box (probably what Stanley called the thimble-rig).
A trick-sword, a coffin and pall: tomb of Capulate.
The old oak chest, with skeleton and two inscriptions (a very superior property).
A spangled woman's dress, white gown, &c. complete.
Five chintz women's dresses, two bow [gy. beau?] strings and scarf, eight fans, four baskets, and fifteen tails.
A man's ghost dress, complete.
A handsome demon's dress, spangled and ornamented with gilt [guilt] mask, and mace. Four demons' dresses, with masks, complete !
Executioner's dress and cap, complete; six black gowns, and four falls.
A superfine admiral's coat and hat, trimmed with gold lace, breeches, and waistcoat.
Ditto (no breeches).
Such and so various were the articles in this unique three days' sale ; and in the last some pieces of good old china were knocked down. Three weeks previously their owner was deposited in the cold church-yard of Great Marlow, in the grave, we are assured, of the Spotted Boy. The funeral was, at his request, conducted without Show; and his nephews and nieces-for he left no family
inherit his worldly wealth, under the executorship of Mr. Cross, the proprietor of the Surrey Zoological Garden and its giraffery.
Many actors who have risen to celebrity began their course with him : Kean, first as an outside and inside tumbling boy, and afterwards as a leading tragedian, with a salary of five shillings a day; Oxberry, Mitchell, Walbourn, and Sanders, A. Slader, Thwaites, Vaughan, S. Faucett, &c. were introduced to the public under his auspices. Who now shall open the gates of the temple to dramatic fame? The Janitor is gone for ever. A hearse is the last omnibus, after all. A hearse is the end of the showman's caravans, and the sexton is the last toll-collector he encounters in this world. John Richardson,
PADDY BLAKE'S ECHO.
A NEW VERSION FROM THE ORIGINAL IRISH.
“ Ecco ridente," &c.
There's a spot by that lake, sirs,
Where echoes were born,
Was walking one morn
Says he, “ Mrs. Blake
Doesn't trate me of late
When I first call'd her Kate:
My cabin 's the dhiaoul,
Are all cheek by jowl ;
(Spoken.) So up he goes bouldly to the Acho, and says, “The top o' the mornin' t'ye, Misther or Missus Acho, for divil a know I know whether ye wear petticoats or breeches."
“ Neither," says the Acho in Irish.
“Now, that being the case,” says Paddy, turnin' sharp 'pon the Acho, d'ye see, “ye can tell me the stark-naked truth.”
so 'Troth, an' ye may say that, with yir own purty mouth,” says the Acho.
Well, thin," says Paddy agin, “what the divil's come over Mrs. Blake of late ?"
“ Potcheen !” says the Acho.
“Oh! (shouting) by the pow'rs of Moll Kelly," says Paddy, “I thought as mich
“It wasn't for nothin' the taypot was hid,
Though I guess'd what was in it, by smelling the lid !"
There's another suspicion
Comes over my mind,
And pray’rs, and that kind,
When a station, he says,
Will be held at my house,
Or be mute as a mouse.
Is pull'd from the shelf;
The coals for myself:
(Spoken.) Up he goes agin to the Acho, and says, “Tell me, aff ye plase, what is 't brings ould Father Mahony so everlastingly to my country seat in the bog of Bally Keeran ?"
“ Mrs. Blake !" says the Acho.
“Oh! hannimandhiaoul !" says Paddy, “I thought as mich-the thief o' the world—I thought as mich. "Oh! tundher-a-nouns !
“I'll go home an' bate her, until my heart's sore,
RECOLLECTIONS OF CHILDHOOD.
BY THE AUTHOR OF HEADLONG HALL.
THE ABBEY HOUSE.
I PASSED many of my earliest days in a country town, on whose immediate outskirts stood an ancient mansion, bearing the name of the Abbey House. This mansion has long since vanished from the face of the earth; but many of my pleasantest youthful recollections are associated with it, and in my mind's eye I still see it as it stood, with its amiable, simple-mannered, old English inhabitants.
The house derived its name from standing near, though not actually on, the site of one of those rich old abbies, whose demesnes the pure devotion of Henry the Eighth transferred from their former occupants (who foolishly imagined they had a right to them, though they lacked the might which is its essence,) to the members of his convenient parliamentary chorus, who helped him to run down his Scotch octave of wives. Of the abbey itself a very small portion remained : a gateway, and a piece of a wall which formed part of the enclosure of an orchard, wherein a curious series of fish-ponds, connected by sluices, was fed from a contiguous stream with a perpetual circulation of fresh water,-a sort of piscatorial panopticon, where all approved varieties of fresh-water fish had been classified, each in its