excerpt from 'The Auto-Biography of John Britton, F.S.A., Honorary Member of Numerous English and Foreign Societies' pp. 122–124 (489 words)

excerpt from 'The Auto-Biography of John Britton, F.S.A., Honorary Member of Numerous English and Foreign Societies' pp. 122–124 (489 words)

part of

The Auto-Biography of John Britton, F.S.A., Honorary Member of Numerous English and Foreign Societies

original language

urn:iso:std:iso:639:ed-3:eng

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122–124

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text excerpt

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George Wright, of Tottenham Court Road, was a harmless, amiable, but odd person, with whom I became intimately acquainted at the end of the last century; and to whose morning lounges I occasionally introduced some of my friends, very much to their amusement.  Wright was almost a dwarf, being only 4 feet 6 inches in height (seven inches shorter than myself); had lost his teeth, was very vain, and could gulp down a large draught of panegyric without shrinking.  He played on the violin, and certainly produced extraordinary sounds from that expressive instrument, in combination with his own voice.  He frequently invited ten or a dozen persons to hear and praise him, for he expected and coveted the latter with boyish avidity.  […]  Mr. Wright was highly successful in his imitations of the sounds produced by pigs, young and old; sheep, lambs, cows, calves, dogs, cats and kittens, blue-bottle flies, and the various voices of men, women, and children.  The following is a copy of a card which he handed to his friendly auditors:

 

“Musical Imitations, yocal and instrumental: in the Comic Style: performed by G. Wright, Esq.”  London Cries, in different voices : “Four bunches a penny primroses; Ground ivy; Hot cross-buns; Hot spiced gingerbread; Come, buy my sweet violets; and Past twelve o’clock and a cloudy morning;” accompanied with the violin and organ.―A Laughing Song; in which is introduced an imitation of the sticcato, with a violin accompaniment.―”The Highland Laddie,” with a favourite Air from the overture to Oscar and Malvina; the Scotch Union Pipes, imitated on the violin.―The singing of a canary bird, accompanied with the violin.―A Song and Chorus: “Gladly may we our wealth employ; and may our duty be our joy,” with instrumental accompaniments, horns, trumpets, kettle-drums, &c.―The Vauxhall Riot; an original thought.  The performer is supposed to be in Vauxhall Gardens: by some neglect of the door-keepers, the doors are left open; a number of sheep run into the gardens, which naturally occasions a confusion among the company. Some pickpockets, taking advantage of the confusion, pick the ladies’ pockets; the ladies cry out “Thieves;” the thieves, to increase the confusion, cry out “Fire;” a young woman, having just begun to sing a favourite air, is forced to stop, not being able to be heard on account of the confusion; cries of “Fire,” “Thieves,” sheep bleating, and dogs barking, are heard for some time, and the whole ends with an instrumental concert.

 

On other occasions, and particularly on Sundays, Mr. Wright made up an entertainment of Sacred Music, in which he displayed his singular powers of imitation, combining the organ, the violin, &c., with his own voice.  Thus he gave “a Cathedral Chant, in different voices, accompanied with the organ; a Chorus, from Handel’s Te Deum; a Duet, in the voices of a man and a boy; finishing with the Coronation Anthem,” as a full chorus, combined with the different instruments.

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excerpt from 'The Auto-Biography of John Britton, F.S.A., Honorary Member of Numerous English and Foreign Societies' pp. 122–124 (489 words)

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