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Wignell The Actor

Jests Home

ONE of old Mr. Sheridan's favorite characters was Cato: and on its
revival at Covent Garden Theatre, a Mr. Wignell assumed his
old-established part of Portius; and having stepped forward with a
prodigious though accustomed strut, began:--

The dawn is overcast; the morning lowers,
And heavily, in clouds, brings on the day.

The audience upon this began to vociferate Prologue! prologue!
prologue! when Wignell, finding them resolute, without betraying any
emotion, pause, or change in his voice and manner, proceeded as if it
were part of the play:--

Ladies and gentlemen, there has been no
Prologue spoken to this play these twenty years--
The great, the important day, big with the fate
Of Cato and of Rome.

This wonderful effusion put the audience in good humor: they laughed
immoderately, clapped, and shouted Bravo! and Wignell still
continued with his usual composure and stateliness.

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