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out of a certain circle, that, at one time, the standing joke at the Theatrical Fund dinner, consisted in making an elderly gentleman of urbane manners' and much private worth, tell the same story ten times over! The folowing sample of the 'feast of reason and the flow of soul,' will probably satisfy our readers.
• Dined at Andrews', and met there the Duke of Leeds, Colman, Topham, Merry, and John Kemble. The Duke, occasionally partial to punning, said, His Majesty, by supporting the constitution, has proved himself a capital upholder. Yes, but not a capital cabinet. maker ! retorted Merry, forgetting that bis Grace was secretary of
Mal à propos again! Andrews being unwell, and ergo somewhat irritable, Merry told him that he received illness not as a misfore tune, but as an affront. Kemble not so amusing as before ; no man, indeed, pleasant under the dominion of wine. He abused nobody, however; only praised himself, and heard Merry whisper me, I would go barefoot to Holyhead, and back, only to see a fellow one half as clever as he thinks himself.' Colman, as usual, playful and entertaining—Another guest, in the midst of this “chaos come again," constantly amused himself after every glass, by repeating,
• Who is a man of words and deeds ?
Who?--but his Grace, the Duke of Leeds." • Andrews, from anxiety, equally civil to every body-Topham, (after many of his neat repartees) fast asleep-but occasionally awake ened by the noise, yawning and muttering: Reynolds is a humor. ist, not a wit-yaw ! yaw! I am a wit !' then relapsing into his slumber. At twelve, all rose and retired, excepting Kemble, who ex, claimed, Stop some of ye! I see this is the last time I shall be in' vited to this house, so now I'll make the most of it!-Hear!-more coffee!—more wine!' I was flying, but Andrews detained me, saying, • Leave me alone with this tiresome tragedian, my dear Sir, and you shall never be asked again! More influenced by sheer charity, than by the threat, I consented to stay; and not till ten the following morning, did the curtain drop. Kemble the whole time lauding the classical drama, and attacking modern comedy.'
Our readers are, no doubt, well acquainted with that bestauthenticated and most frequently-repeated of ghost stories, the preternatural appearance which announced, with such entire fulfilment in the event, the death of Lord Lyttleton. We have heard the circumstances detailed with such general agreement, by authorities all but primary, and the current narrative appears to have been derived from sources so unexceptionable, that it were nothing better than gratuitous scepticism to doubt the facts as they appear on the surface, whether we refer them to natural causes, or explain them on common and obvious principles. The medical men who were in attendance account
ed for his Lordship's death on the supposition that a 'nervous spasm' had arrested the functions of life. He had cherished, during the last years of his existence, a superstitious horror of solitude, and finding himself suddenly' alone, his dismay proved fatal. However all this may be, the occurrences were most extraordinary, and the following supplement is not less so.
• Speaking of the late Lord Lyttleton, and of the singular dream which preceded his death, Topham related to us the whole story ; but which, with its supernatural bird, white lady, awful prophecy, and fatal completion, has since been so frequently and so variously detailed, that I cannot muster sufficient assurance to introduce it here ; therefore, will pass to an event that is also connected with this strange death of Lord Lyttleton, and which, though nearly equally extraordinary, has, I believe, never been published. Of this event, Topham could speak with considerable certainty, as he was an eye witness to the occurrence of the principal circumstances; and which circumstances, I afterwards heard (more than once) confirmed by the party himself.
• Andrews, imagining that Lord Lyttleton was in Ireland, with Lord Fortescue, and Captain O'Byrne, and wholly unconscious of the fatal prophecy, on the day preceding his Lordship's death, proceeded, with Inis partner, Mr. Pigou, to their residence, adjacent to their gunpowder mills, in the vicinity of Dartford. On the following evening, being indisposed, he retired to bed at eleven o'clock; his door was bolted, and he had a wax taper burning on the hearth. Whether he was asleep, or no, he never could decide ; but he either saw, or thought he saw, the figure of his friend Lord Lyttleton approach his bed-side, wrapped in his long damask morning gown, and heard him exclaim,-“ Andrews! it is all over with me.'
. So deeply was Andrews convinced of this appearance, that imagining that Lord Lyttleton had arrived at Dartford, without lois knowledge, and had walked into his room for the purpose of alarming him, (a practice his Lordship was very fond of following,) he ex postulated with the figure on the absurdity of the joke, and rising in his bed, was much surprised to observe that it had disappeared. Leaping on the floor, he commenced an immediate search, 'behind the curtains, under the bed, and around every part of the room, but no Lord Lyttleton was to be found. Then proceeding to the cham. ber door, he perceived that it was bolted as he had left it; but, still unconvinced, be rang his bell, and sternly desiring to be told the truth, inquired of Harris, his valet, whether Lord Lyttleton had not just arrived. Though the servant (who had just retired to his bedroom) frequently replied in the negative, yet Andrews persisted that he had seen his friend. However, after another vain search, and a repeated request from Andrews, that his Lordship would not be so foolish as longer to conceal himself, compelled at length, to abandou his unsuccessful attempts, he again retired to bed, though not to rest ; for exactly as the hand of the clock on the mantel-piece, pointed to twelve, he saw the figure of his friend again, but with a countenance so altered, so pallid, so ghastly, that Andrews' alarm increasing, he rang the bell, and called up the whole family, who, with great diffi. culty, at last composed him and convinced him of his error. In the morning at breakfast, Andrews, in the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Pigou, Topham, and various persons, recapitulated all the particulars of this extraordinary occurrence, and in his own mind, evidently believed he had still seen Lord Lyttleton. When Andrews returned to town on the following Tuesday, he found at his house in Gowerstreet, a letter from Lord Westcote, and another from Captain O'Byrne, informing him that Lord Lyttleton had died on the previous Saturday, at midnight; the very night, and the very hour, when he thought he had seen the ghastlý figure of his friend. “ 'To others," concluded Topham, “I leave the task of commenting on, or eluci. dating this singular transaction. I can only add, that as you know, few men talk more, and generally, more pleasantly, than Andrews ; but, for the space of two or three months after Lord Lyttleton's death, he would continue to sit, during successive hours, motionless, and absorbed in silence, in fact, never speaking a word, but what related to the foregoing mysterious event.
• Topham thus declining giving a decision, I must now add a few words, though I own I do not profess that they are quite new. From the first Lord Lyttleton to his son, the one just mentioned, and to the daughter, Lady Valentia, one distinguished characteristic seemed to pervade the whole family; viz. a strange belief in supernatural appearances. The first Lord Lyttleton often asserted, that his first wife, his departed Lucy, whom he has immortalized by his verse, had more than once appeared to him. His son, as has been described, died a victim to the imaginary visitation of a spirit : and his attached sister, Lady Valentia, is said to have maintained, that her fond, affectionate mother, after her death, had often stood before her bed, and smiled upon her.'
Of this strange tale, it is obvious to remark, that, considering the number of persons concerned, it seems extraordinary that it should now come before the public for the first time. It is now too late for investigation, though, if the whole be not one of those senseless hoaxes in which the tribe of quizzers find such unaccountable gratification, there is enough of the wild and wonderful about these appalling circumstances, if not to make us believe, at least to induce hesitation in unbelief.
The • Reminiscences' of Michael Kelly make up a more substantial book than the autobiographical sketches of Frederick Reynolds. We cannot, indeed, say that the subjects are altogether of the most important kind, nor is theatrical gossip particularly valuable to any but the parties concerned: but ihere will be found internlxed with this, some interesting illustrations of the state of musical science both at home and abroad, and a sprinkling of amusing anecdote connected with names of some note on the political scene. The Kelly family were all musical, and in Michael, the propensity was so decided as to induce his father to send him to Italy for more complete instructions in the principles of the science. He appeared on the Dublin stage before he was fifteen, and left Ireland in May, 1779. He reached Naples in safety, and placed himself under the tuition of a celebrated teacher, who insisted on his abandonment of the piano-forte as highly prejudicial • to the voice.' He was patronised by Sir Williain Hamilton, presented by him to the king and queen, and, on the whole, seems to have passed his time very pleasantly. In August, 1779, occurred the memorable eruption of Vesuvius, of which Sir William was fortunate enough to be an eye-witness, and his protegé had the advantage of being constantly near him during that season of magnificence and dismay. Naples was in great danger, and its safety appeared to depend on the direction of the wind, which, happily, blew towards the opposite quarter. The Lazzaroni took it into their heads, that the exhibition of the image of St. Januarius would silence the mountain, and went in a body to demand that it might be placed in their hands for that purpose. The archbishop of Naples, apprehensive that the valuable jewels which adorned the saint might disappear during the ceremony, and unwilling at the same time to hazard the personal consequence of a refusal, took the middle course of getting out of the way. The Lazzaroni, in high displeasure,
held a council, and I saw them,' says Mr. Kelly, in an immense body march to Posilipo, whither the king and queen had retired, determined to force the king to order the saint to be given up to them. The king appeared on the balcony to address them, but in vain ; the queen also (enceinte) came forward, but without avail. The royal guard and a Swiss regiment were ordered to disperse them; but they were not to be intimidated; neither intreaties nor menaces could divert them from their
• The Saint! the Saint! give us up our Saint!' was the universal cry. Just as popular fury was at its height, a man appeared, whom the moment they saw, the wolves became lambs; the mob fell on their knees before him bareheaded and in total silence. He addressed them in the following conciliatory manner :
«« What do you come here for, ye infamous scoundrels ? Do ye want to disturb your Saint in his holy sanctuary, by moving him? Think ye, ye infamous rascals, that if St. Gennaro had chosen to have the mountain silent, ere this, he would not have commanded it
be so? Hence! to your homes, ye vagrants ! away! be off! lest the Saint, enraged at your infamous conduct, should order the earth to open and swallow ye up!"
• This soothing speech, aided by a kick to one, and a knock on the head to another, (fairly dealt to all within his reach,) dispersed them without a single murmur ! So that what the supplication of their sovereign, backed by the soldiery, could not effect, was accomplished by one man, armed indeed with superstition, but with nothing else! This man was Father Rocco, well known to have possessed the most unbounded power over the lower orders in Naples : of no saint in the calendar (St. Gennaro excepted) did they stand in such awe as of Father Rocco. He was a sensible, shrewd man, and used the power he possessed with great discretion. He was much in the confidence of the Chevalier Acton and the other ministers. Previous to his time, assassinations were frequent at night in the streets, which were in utter darkness, and the government dared not interfere to have them lighted, lest they should offend the Lazzaroni; but Father Rocco undertook to do it. Before each house in Naples there is a figure of a Madonna, or some saint, and he had the address to persuade the inhabitants that it was a mortal sin to leave them in the dark !
• I was myself a witness of the following ridiculous scene. One evening, a groupe of Lazzaroni were very attentively playing at their favourite game of Mora ; beside them was a puppet-show, in which Punch was holding forth with all his might. Father Rocco suddenly appeared amongst them. The first step the holy man took, was to sweep into his pouch all the money staked by the gamblers ; then, turning to the spectators of Punch, he bawled out, “ So, So, ye rapscallions! instead of going out to fish for the convents and support your families, ye must be loitering here, attending to this iniquitous Punch! this lying varlet !” Then lifting up a large wooden cross, suspended by huge beads round his waist, he lustily belaboured all within his reach, lifting up the cross at intervals, and crying out, “ Look here, you impious rogues ! Questo é il vero Pulcinella ? This is the true Punch, you impious villains.". And, strange as this mixture of religious zeal and positive blasphemy may appear, they took their thrashing with piety, and departed peaceably like good Catholics.'
A considerable change soon took place in the situation of Kelly. A Signor Aprile, the famous soprano,' the greatest
singer and musician of the day,' took a fancy to him, and offered to instruct him without remuneration. This was too advantageous a proposal for rejection, and Aprile kept his word to the letter. His pupil speaks of him with becoming gratitude.
• I prevailed on him to accept, as a remembrance, the piano-forte I brought from Ireland,—it was my only possession; but I declare, that had it been worth thousands, it would have been his ; my love and gratitude to him were so strong.. Many years afterwards, when dining with my dear and lamented friend, the late Lady Hamilton,