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this door a bailiff, whose face was unknown to Weston, and who carried clothes under his arm, covered with green baize, as if he were a tailor, came, and requested to speak with Mr. Foote. Weston unwarily opened the hatch, and the bailiff assumed his true character and exhibited his writ. Disguising his emotion, Weston desired the bailiff to follow him, that Mr. Foote might either pay the money, or give security. The man did as he desired; and thus the deceiver was deceived. He had not made a legal capture, by touching Weston; the passage behind the sideboxes was very dark, and the bailiff was obliged to grope slowly along. Weston knew the way; gained the door, which, also, had spikes; bolted it, crossed the stage, ran through the adjoining house of Mr. Foote, and escaped.
MELANCHOLY SITUATION OF BOISSY, THE
BOISSY, the author of several dramatic pieces which were received with applause, met with the common fate of those who give themselves up to the Muses. He laboured and toiled incessantly; his works procured him fame, but not bread. He languished, with a wife and child, under the
pressure of the most extreme poverty. Boissy became a prey to distress and despondency. The shortest way to rid himself, at once, from all his misery, seemed to him to be death. His wife, who was no less weary of life, listened with a sympathizing feeling when he declaimed of deliverance from this earthly prison, and of the smiling prospects of a futurity; and, at length, resolved to accompany him in death. But she could not bear to think of leaving her beloved son, of five years old, in a world of misery and sorrow; it was, therefore, agreed to take the child along with them in their passage into another and a better world.
They chose that of starving; and, accordingly, they waited, in their solitary and deserted apartment, for their deliverer, Death. Their resolution and fortitude were equally unshaken. They locked the door, and began to fast. When any one came and knocked, they fled, trembling, into the corner, and were in perpetual dread lest their purpose should be discovered. Their little son, who had not yet learnt to silence the calls of hunger by artificial reasons, whimpering and crying, asked for bread, but they found means always to quiet him.
It occurred to one of Boissy's friends, that it was very extraordinary he should never find him at home. At first, he thought the family were removed; but, on being assured to the contrary, he became more uneasy; he called several times in one day; always-nobody at home! At last, he burst open the door. He saw his friend, with his wife and son, on a bed, pale and emaciated, scarcely able to speak. The boy lay in the middle, and the parents lay by his side, with their arms thrown over him. The child stretched out his hands towards his deliverer, and his first word was-bread. It was now the third day, and not a morsel of food had entered his lips. The parents lay still in a perfect stupor; they had never heard the bursting open of the door, and felt not the embraces of their agitated friend. Their hollow eyes were directed towards the boy, and the tenderest expressions of pity were in the looks with which they beheld him, and still saw him, dying. Their friend hastened to take measures for their deliverThey thought they had already done with all the troubles of the world, and were suddenly terrified at being forced into them again. Void of either sense or reflection, they submitted to the ef
forts that were made to restore them to animation. At length, their friend hit upon the most efficacious means; he took the child from their arms, and thus called up all the latent feelings of parental tenderness: he gave the child to eat, who, with one hand, held his bread, and, with the other, alternately shook the hand of his father and mother; when his piteous moans at length roused them from their death-like slumber.
Their friend procured them broths, which he cautiously put to their lips, and did not leave them till every symptom of restored health was fully visible. Thus was their deliverance consummated.
This transaction made much noise in Paris, and, at length, reached the ears of the Marchioness de Pompadour. Boissy's deplorable situation moved her. She immediately sent him a hundred louis-d'ors, and soon after procured him the profitable place of Controlleur du Mercure de France, with a pension for his wife and child, if they outlived him.
IN the representation of masques and regular dramas at Court, at the latter end of the 16th
and beginning of the 17th century, the dresses worn by the performers were remarkable for their elegance and splendour. Gold, silver, silk, satin, velvet, and feathers, in every variety of colour and combination, were exhausted in adorning the actors, who were mostly persons of rank. Nor was splendour the only consideration; considerable pains were bestowed, and expense incurred, in the provision of dresses, attributes, and ornaments, appropriate to the characters represented. It appears, from the accounts of the Master of the Revels, that these performances frequently put the Court to an enormous expense.
However cramped by poverty, in the use of scenery, &c. various causes combined to enable the Theatres to emulate, in dress at least, the costumes of the royal stage. The customary habits of the noble and wealthy were extremely splendid; and their rejected wardrobes found a ready sale at the Theatres, where a slight diminution of their lustre was not very material, and casual soils were well compensated by the cheapness of the purchase. As plays or masques were not generally acted more than once at Court, little necessity existed for the preservation of the