BOOK OF CHRISTMAS - online book

The Customs, Ceremonies, Traditions, Superstitions, Fun, Feeling,
And Festivities Of The Christmas Season.

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ST. THOMAS'S DAY.
151
To the interesting essay, by the author of the " Curiosities of Literature," from whence this extract is derived, we beg leave to refer the reader, for an anecdotical history of pantomime, Mr. D'Israeli, in conclusion, observes, that " in gesticulation and humor, our Rich appears to have been a complete mine : his genius was entirely confined to pantomime; and he had the glory of introducing Harlequin on the English stage,—which he played under the feigned name of Lun. He could describe to the audi­ence by his signs and gestures, as intelligibly as others could express by words. There is a large caricature print of the tri­umph which Rich had obtained over the severe muses of tragedy and comedy, which lasted too long not to excite jealousy and opposition from the corps dramatique.
" Garrick, who once introduced a speaking Harlequin, has cele­brated the silent but powerful language of Rich :—
' When Ltjn appeared, with matchless art and whim, He gave the power of speech to every limb, Tho' mask'd and mute, convey'd his quick intent, And told in frolic gestures what he meant: But now, the motley coat and sword of wood Require a tongue to make them understood !'"
Foote it was, we think, who attempted to get a standing for a Harlequin with a wooden leg, upon the English stage ; and though he was supported by a clown upon crutches, these and other efforts to effect a witty reform in the mechanism of an English pantomime proved unsuccessful. " Why is this burlesque race here," inquires Mr. D'Israeli, " privileged to cost so much, to do so little, and repeat that little so often ?" In 1327, according to a statement which we believe to be tolerably correct, the " getting up," as it is termed, of the pantomimes produced on the 26th of December, in London, cost at—
Covent Carden..........................,.......  £1,000
Drury Lane................................____      1,000
Surrey.........................................         500
Adelphi........................................         200
Olympic........................................         150
Sadler's Wells..................................         100
West London...................................         109
Making the total of
£3,050
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