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tragedy, a reply which by no means 'altered the manager's resolution. He was dismissed from Macbeth, but still had lost nothing in the opinion of the friends about him. Those who knew him best looked upon him as a boy of very superior understanding, and his mother felt anxious to give him the advantages of education; it seems, however, that she could not venture upon this step without first obtaining her son's consent, for he not only had a will of his own but had found the means of rendering that will authoritative with his parents. Fortunately he had felt his dignity insulted by the inanager's rebuke, and upon his mother's wishes being proposed to him they were found to coincide with his own; he even intimated that if she had not taken him from a place where he had been so ill-treated, he should have left it without her consent, and sought-his fortune elsewhere. With this happy agreement on both parts he was sent to a little school in Orange Street, where it is probable that dirt was more abundant than learning, and vice than either; the government of such a school could not have been very rigid, yet even to this he submitted with reluctance, and soon growing weary of stated tasks and regulated hours, resolved to go to sea; his mother opposed this foolish scheme with all her power, but Edmund had long since thrown off all controul, and, stealing away from his home, entered as cabin-boy on board a ship bound to Madeira. That this new life did not agree with his utter abhorrence of all authority may be easily supposed ; long before the vessel reached Madeira, he became weary of his occupation, and once arrived there, laid a plan for his escape; this time, however, he had not a fond mother to deal with, and though it was not difficult for him to leave the ship, it was by no means so easy to find a passage back to England; a just pride too, perhaps inseparable from such a life and character, made him unwilling to quit his post disgraced, not to mention that he ran some risque of being retaken and punished, a fear that, no doubt, had some weight in his ensuing calculations.
He had for some time been labouring under a severe cold, which had originated on ship-board, and was probably encreased by the change of climate ; externally indeed there was little appearance of this, and as something inore was requisite to convince others of his malady, he pretended that the cold had produced utter deafness. In this he succeeded
so well that the captain no less than his crew were deceived by the pretence, yet perhaps this would not have been sufficient to this purpose, had he not at the same time declared that his limbs were affected by lameness, a declaration which was rendered credible by the slight distortion of his limbs, for as yet he had not quite out-grown the malady of his early childhood. The Captain, deceived by these pretentions, sent him ashore to the Hospital, where he remained two months, carrying on the farce of sickness, 'till the physicians in utter despair of his cure prescribed his native air as the only remedy for so inveterate a disorder. This was precisely what the patient wished; he re-embarked, persisting in his assumed character of an invalid, though on one occasion his firmness was put to a severe trial. It was soon after they had left Madeira, that a storm arose of such violence as to endanger the safety of the ship; the near peril had roused every one, but himself; he alone, true to his character of sickness, remained quiet in his cot amidst the cries of the women, the exclamations of the seamen, and the roar of winds and waters.
Upon his arrival in London, he would have sought refuge with the mother, whom he had deserted, but she unfortunately was in the country, and he now found himself without friends and without money. In this dilemma he recollected his nurse; to her he applied, and she brought him to his uncle Mosey's lodgings, where he met Miss Tidswell of Drury Lane Theatre; by this lady he was treated with maternal kindness, while his uncle encouraged him to follow the profession of the stage, either from despair of his roying habits, or from his own delight in that pursuit. But the uncle and nephew did not look at the stage in the same light; the old man was really fond of the drama; while Eda mund's ideas were limited to the exhibitions of Bartholomew Fair, of which indeed he was a devoted admirer; still he found it requisite to abstain from his darling pursuits, and content himself with imitating at home the feats of the tumblers and rope-dancers. It seems strange that his vigorous mind did not more readily break through his early habits, but enthusiasm seems at no time to have formed a feature in his character.
The death of his uncle in a few months gave him full liberty to follow his own inclination, whatever it might be ; the consequence was he entered into Saunders' company,
and made his first appearance at Bartholomew Fair' as a monkey, a part for which he was eminently fitted by the wonderful pliancy of his limbs, as much the gift of nature as the result of education. He did not, however, go from fair to fair with the troop, but remained in London for seven years, under the protection of Miss Tidswell, during which time his parent remained absent in the country. At last, after 'repeated enquiries, he learnt that his mother was playing at Portsmouth, where he determined to seek ber, notwithstanding the remonstrances of his protectress; indeed he appears at no time to have paid much attention to the advice of those about him'; what he wished, he was pretty sure to do, if the act were within his power, and accordingly he set ont on foot to Portsmouth, only to meet with the disappointment that had been prognosticated ; his mother was not · there, and his scanty funds being soon exhausted, he was
thrown upon his own resources, without a single friend to assist him.' With his education there was no choice of .means; he had but one cultivated talent, and to exhibit which he hired a room, and the result was he gained enough money to pay his expenses back to London.
Soon after his return he appeared at Sadler's Wells, and by his recitation of Rolla's Address to the Peruvians, became extremely popular. Hence, it is probable arose his first predilection for the drama : for about this time he began to look to it as a profession, and applied with some diligence to the study of our dramatists. In this he was earnestly, encouraged by Miss Tidswell, who now gave him letters of recommendation to the manager of a small theatre in Yorkshire. Here he played under the name of Carey, and although only in his thirteenth year was much applauded in the characters of Hamlet, Cato, and Lord Hastings. But his young ambition was still farther excited by royal approbation, when he recited at Windsor, Satan's Address to the Sun, and the first soliloquy of Richard the Third : he was also fortunate enough to attract the attention of Dr. Drury, who, in consequence, sent him to Eton school, where he remained three years. It is said that in this short time he became thoroughly acquainted with Virgil, Cicere, and Sallust, a statement that is scarcely credible. Three years would hardly be sufficient to allow any boy to travel from the rudiments of the latin grammar, to a perfect knowledge of the first com
positions of Roman literature; nor, if the pupil had the genius, would the regulations of any school allow such a progress; a boy can only outstep his class at stated intervals, unless the rules of Eton differ from the rules of other scholatic establishments.
After three years of pupillage, he left Eton, for what reason, I know not; but the feeling of charity very soon eyaporates, and it may be easily supposed, that with his habits acquired as well as natural, he would not fail to afford sub. stantial excuses for the cessation of benevolence. Something of this kind must be true, or the story of his being at Eton is altogether a fiction.
He now returned to his theatrical occupations under his old name of Carey, and obtained an engagement at Birmingham, where he played Hamlet with some success, but not with the approbation that had followed his earlier efforts. lle was, however, fortunate enough to please the manager of the Edinburgh theatre, who engaged him to perform on his stage for twenty nights, on twelve of which successively he played Hamlet to crowded houses. He was at this time about sixteen years of age, and was perfect in fourteen or fifteen characters.'
His next appearance was at Sheerness, where he sometimes played in the higher walks of comedy; here he fell into one of those amorous adventures which forms the delight of youth, and the regret of age. His theatrical splendour gained the affection of a tradesman's wife; and though the husband was remarkable for jealousy, they contrived for a time to defeat his vigilance; such schemes, however, rarely end otherwise than exposure, and this formed no exception to so salutary a rule. One evening after the performance of King Lear, he thought proper to visit the woman in the dress of the insane monarch, for it was his custom to wait in disguise below till an agreed signal announced that he might approach with safety. A little before midnight, a white handkerchief was waved from out of a window on the second loor, and in less than a minute he had entered the apartment; but the husband, either by chance or design, was close at hand, and as the lover entered at the window, the husband entered at the door. Flight was impossible ; Kean, therefore, taking the hint from his disguise, threw himself on his knees, and with all the vehemence of insanity requested a little ice to cool the fever of his brain. The wildness of his manner, aided by his fantastic dress, produced the desired effect on the husband, who was the more facile to the deceit, from having read in a newspaper a few days before that a lunatic had escaped from his confinement; not doubting that the being before him was the very maniac, so advertised, he flew to the farthest corner of the room, and entrenched himself behind a chair; from here as from a place of safety, he harangued the supposed maniac in the alternate tones of menace and expostulation, according to the ebb and flowing of his courage; " See, my good man, I have no notion of being bit in my own house; I know who you are very well now, and what you are come here for. Is it not a shame for an old fellow like you, to break out of your wholesome cell, where you have doctors to physic you, and keepers to flog you, and every other kind .. assistance, which your deplorable situation requires ? Goi home, my good man, and put on your strait waistcoat; don't's come here terrifying people out of their houses, and taking pieces out of the calves of their legs, to make them as out in rageous as yourself.”—The maniac seemed to take the hint , : thus wisely given, and, pointing to his head insignificantly, retired as he had entered through the window. But this de- , ception, however effective at the time, could not long pass without exposure ; the tragedy of Lear was again, played, and in the mad-king, the husband recognized the lunatic of his wife's bed-room. His anger was too loud for concealment, and the unhappy man, becoming the jest of the town, vowed vengeance against the author of his disgrace. Kean, in consequence, lay concealed in the manager's house, 'till an opportunity was offered to him of escaping from Sheerness, when he fled before the vengeance of the husband. He has since declared that this passion was purely Platonic, but Platonic affection does not usually scale windows and play the madman. His letter to the wife on this occasion has been quoted in proof of their innocence, but surely with little reason; a sentimental effusion after the manner of Mrs. Haller is a very poor evidence of a pure affection; let every one judge for himself;—" I have forborne for some days to communicate with her whom I can never learn to forget, that the sorrows of one in misery might not reach her; but, as it is determined by fate that we meet no more, I venture to ad.