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be proved against him, as he had the gout at the time, until his servant deposed that, at midnight, she heard the door of his chamber open, and, in two or three minutes afterward, that of the stranger. Upon this he confessed, and acknowleged, that what prompted him to comicit the horrid deed was, that once, at school, the other had contended for a prize, and won it. He was executed shortly after.
MISS MUDIE'S DEBUT. On the 23rd of November, 1805, Miss Mudie, called The Theatrical Phenomenon, a child apparently about eight years old, with but a comparatively diminutive figure even for that age, who, in the preceding season, had played the first rate comic characters at Birmingham, Liverpool, Dublin, and other theatres, made her debut at Covent Garden, as Miss Peggy, in “ The Country Girl.”
It is true, she repeated the words of the part correctly; her deportment was confident, unembarrassed, and sprightly; her voice, for her age, powerful; and her acting evinced intelligence and industry; in truth, considering her performance as that of an infant, it was surprising : but, regarding it as a dramatic personification, it
was contemptible. In the first scene, the sense of the house was goodnaturedly expressed; for, when Moody promised to send her back into the country, the audience very cordially expressed their concurrence by loud applause. In the succeeding scenes, they were less equivocal; for, when she came to be talked of as a wife, as a mistress, as an object of love and jealousy, the scene became so ridiculous, that hissing and horse-laughing ensued. The little child was also contrasted with the fine person of Miss Brunton, (now Countess of Craven,) as Alithea, with a plume of three upright ostrich feathers on her head, the whole constituting a figure nearly seven feet high.
When Peggy was with her guardian, Mr. Murray, no very
she did not reach much higher than his knee; he was obliged to stoop even to lay his hand on her head; to bend himself, to kiss her; and, when she had to lay hold of his neckcloth to coax him, and to pat him on the cheek, he was almost obliged to go on all-fours. In the third act, Miss Peggy is seen walking in the Park, dressed in boy's clothes, under the care of her jealous guardian. Miss Mudie, instead of appearing a fine young man, who ought to be
" shown the town," looked shorter than before, and even too little to be safely put into breeches. Yet Brunton, as her lover Belville, pursued her, and was transported to find her under this disguise; and Mr. Murray, her pretended husband, was thrown into an agony of despair, at the idea of another man taking her by the hand. The absurdity was now too great to be endured, and there was a burst of censure from all parts of the house. At last, Charles Kemble, as Harcourt, exclaimed, “Let me introduce you, nephew; you should know each other, you are very like, and of the same age.” The whole effect was so out of character, so very ludicrous, that the audience soon decided against Miss Mudie.
At first, the audience did not hiss when she was on the stage, from delicacy; but, in her absence, they hissed the performance, to stop the play, if possible. Yet, as she confidently persevered, they, at length, hissed her, and called, vehemently, off! off! Miss Mudie was not, however, without a strong party of “warm friends," to sup. port her; and to such a degree did the noise increase, in the latter scenes, that not word could be heard : on which, Miss Mudje (who had, hitherto, appeared entirely occupied with the business of
the scene, and whose energy had not in the least been damped by the marked disapprobation of the house,) walked to the front of the stage,
with great confidence and composure, though not without some signs of indignation, and said,
" Ladies and Gentlemen, “I have done nothing to offend you; and as for those who are sent here to hiss me, I will be much obliged to you to turn them out."
This bold speech, from such a baby, astonished the audience: some roared with laughter, some hissed, others cried off! off! and many applauded. Miss Mudie did not appear to be in the slightest degree chagrined or embarrassed, but went on with the scene, as if she had been completely successful. At the end of it, the uproar was considerable; and a loud cry arising of Manager ! Manager! Mr. Kemble came forward, and said,
Gentlemen, - The great applause with which Miss Mudie has been re-, ceived at several provincial theatres, encouraged, in her friends, a hope, that her merit might be such as to pass the tribunal of your judgment. (Violent hissing.) Be assured, however, Gentlemen, that the proprietors of this Theatre by no means wish to press any species of entertainment upon you, which may not meet your approbation.-(Loud applause.) If, therefore, you will permit Miss Mudiè," -(No ! No!)
Mr. Kemble could not be heard for some time; but, at last, neatly resumed,
" The drama's laws, the drama's patrons give !" “ We hope, however, that, as the play has proceeded so far, you will allow Miss Mudie to finish the character."
No! No! was vociferated from various parts of the house. Finding this of no avail, Mr. Kemble tried his success with the female part of the assemblage, by saying, with emphasis,
“ Ladies and Gentlemen, ** Let me entreat, that you will allow Miss Madie to finish her part. Perhaps, when you are informed, that, after this night, Miss Mudie will be withdrawn from the stage, you will be induced to comply."
This last appeal seemed to produce the desired effect, but the calm was deceitful; for, upon
the next appearance of the child, the uproar broke out with such violence, that she was compelled to retire. Mr. Murray then came forward, and requested to be heard for a few words, when he spoke as follows :
" Ladies and Gentlemen, “ If you will have the kindness to allow me to trespass upon your patience five minutes, Miss Searle, with your indulgence, will play Miss Mudie's part, from the commencement of the fifth act."