excerpt from 'Reminiscences of Michael Kelly' pp. 323-326 (661 words)

excerpt from 'Reminiscences of Michael Kelly' pp. 323-326 (661 words)

part of

Reminiscences of Michael Kelly

original language

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

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323-326

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In the month of October, there was a grand musical festival at Norwich. Madame Mara was engaged there, and so was I, as principal tenor singer. The first performance was " The Messiah, which I was to open on the Thursday morning. I was to quit town on the Tuesday, but on Monday night I received an order not on any account to leave London, for Mr. Sheridan had sent a peremptory message to have Richard Coeur de Lion performed ; and against his decree there was no appeal. John Palmer, the excellent comedian, was with me when I received the message ; he said to me, " My valued friend, Richard will be over by eleven o'clock ; if you choose to have a carriage and four horses at the door, you will get with ease to Norwich by twelve, on Thursday, in time to open " the Messiah. Norwich is the city that first cherished me, and where I married my beloved wife; how I should like to accompany you, if you would give me a seat in your chaise. I said it would make me very happy to have the pleasure of his company. He told me he was perfectly acquainted with every inn on the road, and would write immediately to those where we were to change horses, to have relays prepared for us, that we might not meet with any delay on the road. I was much pleased with the promised arrangement, and wrote to Madame Mara that I should be at Norwich on Thursday in time, requesting her to secure two beds at the Hotel where she was ; one for my friend Palmer, and one for myself. On Wednesday evening, as I was dressing for Richard, my friend Palmer came to me, with the countenance of Joseph Surface, and sighing, said, " My best of friends, this is the most awful period of my life; I cannot leave town; my beloved wife, the partner of my sorrows and my joys, is just confined." I said, under such circumstances, of course I could not expect him to leave Mrs. Palmer, but I hoped there would be no mistake about the horses, which were ordered to be ready at each post ; he sat down, and deliberately wrote down the names of all the places where he had ordered them to be in readiness. About eleven o'clock, having merely taken off my Richard's dress, I got into the carriage ; and accompanied by a Scotchman, who was my valet and hair-dresser, rattled off full speed to Epping, where we were first to change, at the inn marked down by my excellent friend ; we knocked and bellowed for Mr. Palmer's horses ; at last out came the ostler ; Mr. Palmer had no horses there ; he had not sent any orders ; nor did they even know who Mr Palmer was. I never in the course of my life experienced a greater disappointment ; in short, all the way down I had to wait for horses, as Palmer had not written to any one of the inns ; however, the road was excellent, and by paying the boys well, I got on at a capital pace without the smallest accident. It was market-day at Norwich, and as I drove in, the good folks stared and wondered to see me getting my hair dressed in the carriage; however, I reached the church-door just as the overture to " the Messiah," was on the point of commencing. I took my seat in the orchestra, opened the " Oratorio," and never was in better voice, although naturally much fatigued. We had two more morning performances in the church, and three evening performances in the grand assembly room. At the conclusion of the festival I returned to town, and when I charged Palmer with neglect and deception, he swore that he had ordered all the horses exactly as he had stated. I thought it of no use to be at variance with him, and pretended to believe him.

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excerpt from 'Reminiscences of Michael Kelly' pp. 323-326 (661 words)

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