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harmonious Doctor, however, (who, by the bye, was a very ugly Christian) laid siege to poor Nancy Storace; and by dint of perseverance with her, and drinking tea with her mother, prevailed upon her to take him for better for worse, which she did in despite of the advice of all her friends; she had cause, however, in a short time to repent of her bargain, for instead of harmony, there was nothing but discord between them; and it was said he had a very striking way of enforcing his opinion, of which a friend of her's informed the Emperor, who intimated to him, that it would be fit for him to try a change of air, and so the Doctor was banished from Vienna.
Storace was the second wife of the discordant Doctor. His first wife was one of the daughters of Mr. Powell, the proprietor of Covent Garden Theatre. The Doctor had a sixteenth share of the Covent Garden Theatre property, in right of his wife ; but was such an inordinate coxcomb, that the other proprietors had a great contempt for him and his opinion. I have heard Moody say, that he came one evening into the green room when he was present, and abused an actress for having torn her petticoat ; and when questioned by her as to his right to do so, he replied, with great pomposity, — “ All the right in the world, Madam, I have to look after my property; for know, Madam, the sixteenth part of the petticoat which you have destroyed belongs to me, and is mine, to all intents and purposes." When his wife died, he parted with his share, to the great joy of the other partners in the concern *.
The sume year, (1784,) the city of Vienna was honoured with the presence of His Royal Highness the Duke of York, then Bishop of Osnaburgh. On his entry into the city, he was received by the populace with acclamations, and welcomed by brilliant fêtes and rejoicings. The condescension and kindness for which His Royal Highness ever has been distinguished, thus early gained him the hearts of all ranks of society: he was in his one and twentieth year, and allowed to be a model of manly beauty. I have seen him often walking in
* The first Mrs. Fisher had two sisters; the one married, first, Mr. Warren, and secondly, Mr. Martindale, who kept one of the club houses in St. James's Street, who also left her a widow; upon her death she bequeathed her share of Covent Garden Theatre to Francis Cunst, Esq. the worthy and excellent chairman of the Middlesex and Westminster Sessions. The other married Mr. White, one of the clerks of the House of Commons, in right of whose daughters, (to whom they are married,) Mr. Willett, and Captain Forbes of the navy, now hold each sinilar shares of Covent Garden Theatre to that which the veracions Doctor Fisher possessed by a similar tenure at the time to which I have just alluded ; and have, of course, if they chose to exercise it, a similar right to the sixteenth part of every actress's petticoat at the preseut moment.
the streets of Vienna, dressed in the Windsor uniform, with his hair platted behind, attended by one or two of his aides-de-camp, visiting the different shops, and conversing with the most amiable familiarity with the concourse of people that flocked around him. The Emperor paid him great and marked attention.
His Royal Highness's first visit to the theatre attracted a crowded and brilliant assemblage. The Emperor, accompanied by his brother Maximilian, the Archbishop of Cologne, was present. A new opera, composed by Stephen Storace, was produced on the occasion : Signora Storace and myself had the two principal parts in it. In the middle of the first act, Storace all at once lost her voice, and could not utter a sound during the whole of the performance; this naturally threw a damp over the audience, as well as the performers. The loss of the first female singer, who was a great and deserved favourite, was to the composer, her brother, a severe blow. I never shall forget her despair and disappointment, but she was not then prepared for the extent of her misfortune, for she did not recover her voice sufficiently to appear on the stage for five months.
As a proof of the retentive memory of His Royal Highness, the circumstances of which I speak are now one and forty years old; and yet, His Royal Highness recollected, and repeated them to a friend of mine very recently. To have lived so long in his Royal remembrance, is to me high honour and gratification.
During the continuance of Storace's illness, three operas were produced, in which Signora Cortellini, Madame Bernasconi, and Signora Laschi performed. The last of these operas was composed by Signor Rigini, and written by the poet of the theatre, the Abbé da Ponte, by birth a Venetian. It was said, that originally he was a Jew,—turned Christian,-dubbed himself an Abbé,--and became a great dramatic writer. In his opera, there was a character of an amorous eccentric poet, which was allotted to me ; at the time, I was esteemed a good mimic, and particularly happy in imitating the walk, countenance, and attitudes of those whom I wished to resemble. My friend, the poet, had a remarkably awkward gait, a habit of throwing himself (as he thought) into a graceful attitude, by putting his stick behind his back, and leaning on it; he had also a very peculiar, rather dandyish, way of dressing; for, in sooth, the Abbé stood mighty well with himself, and had the character of a consummate coxcomb; he had also strong lisp and broad Venetian dialect.
The first night of the performance, he was seated in the boxes, more conspicuously than was absolutely
necessary, considering he was the author of the piece to be performed. As usual, on the first night of a new opera,
the Emperor was present, and a numerous auditory. When I made my entrée as the amorous poet, dressed exactly like the Abbé in the boxes, imitating his walk, leaning on my stick, and aping his gestures and his lisp, there was a universal roar of laughter and applause; and after a buzz round the house, the eyes of the whole audience were turned to the place where he was seated. The Emperor enjoyed the joke, laughed heartily, and applauded frequently during the performance; the Abbé was not at all affronted, but took my imitation of him in good part, and ever after we were on the best
The opera was successful, had a run of many nights, and I established the reputation of a good mimic.
Storace had an opera put into rehearsal, the subject his own choice, Shakspeare's Comedy of Errors*. It was made operatical, and adapted for the Italian, by Da Ponte, with great ingenuity. He retained all the main incidents and characters of our immortal bard; it became the rage, and well it might, for the music of Storace was beyond
* I often mentioned (after I came to England) to Mr. Sheridan, how much I thought introducing Storace's music into the Comedy of Errors would do for Drury Lane: he approved of it, and said he would give directions to have it