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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 47.djvu/416

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Cheltenham, he played Falstaff, Autolycus, and other characters, never subsequently resumed, in the poetical drama.

Reeve soon returned to the Adelphi, where he succeeded Watkins Burroughs as Jerry Hawthorn in Moncrieff's adaptation from Pierce Egan's ‘Tom and Jerry, or Life in London.’ This character he made wholly his own. At the close of the season he gave in 1823 at the Adelphi, in association with Wilkinson, an entertainment called ‘Trifles light as Air,’ and spoke or acted a ‘monopolylogue’ called ‘Bachelor's Torments.’ On the departure of Wilkinson he continued the entertainment alone. He imitated Kean successfully in ‘Quadrupeds,’ played in a drama called ‘Killigrew,’ was the first Boroughcliffe in Fitzball's version of the ‘Pilot,’ and played in Egan's ‘Life of an Actor.’ Subsequently he played at the Surrey and the Cobourg, rising high in public estimation. On 17 April 1826, with a salary of 13l. a week, he made as Ralph, a comic servant, in Hoare's ‘Lock and Key,’ what was inaccurately announced as his first appearance at the Haymarket. Caleb Quotem in the ‘Review,’ Old Wiggins, a glutton, in Allingham's ‘Mrs. Wiggins,’ Somno in ‘Sleep Walker,’ Nipperkin in the ‘Rival Soldiers,’ Nehemiah Flam in the ‘Gay Deceivers,’ Scout in the ‘Village Lawyer,’ Crack in the ‘Turnpike Gate,’ Davy in ‘Bon Ton,’ Major Sturgeon in the ‘Mayor of Garratt,’ Ollapod in the ‘Poor Gentleman,’ Sir Solomon Gander in ‘Love and Gout,’ Multiple in ‘Actor of all Work,’ Major Dumpling in the ‘Green Man,’ Maurice Holster, an original part, in ‘Thirteen to the Dozen,’ Buskin in ‘Killing no Murder,’ Peter Smink, an original part, in ‘Peter Smink, or which is the Miller?’ Bob Acres, Dicky Gossip in ‘My Grandmother,’ were acted during the season. He thus established his position in comedy, and was placed in rivalry with Edwin. He opened the Haymarket season on 15 June 1827 with ‘Paul Pry,’ and played, among other characters, Lubin Log in ‘Love, Law, and Physic,’ Midas, Mawworm, Clod in the ‘Young Quaker,’ Pengander in ‘'Twixt the Cup and the Lip,’ and was the first Gabriel Gudgeon in ‘Gudgeons and Sharks,’ and Barnaby Boxem, an undertaker, in ‘You must be buried.’ On 17 June 1828 he reappeared as Figaro, playing during the season Don Ferolo in the ‘Critic,’ Ephraim Smooth in ‘Wild Oats,’ Tony Lumpkin and Sir Peter Pigwinnin, and being the original Peters in ‘The Barber Baron, or the Frankfort Lottery,’ assigned to a dramatist called Thackeray. In 1829 he added to his repertory Pierre in the ‘Rencountre,’ April in ‘Secrets worth Knowing,’ Adam Brock in ‘Charles the Twelfth,’ Sancho in ‘Barataria,’ Cosey in ‘Town and Country,’ and was the first Sadi in Thompson's ‘Nothing Superfluous,’ William Thomson the Second in Caroline Boaden's ‘William Thompson, or which is he?’ and John Bates in ‘Procrastination.’ In 1830, his last season at the Haymarket, he played Grojan in ‘Quite Correct,’ Pedrigo Potts (Liston's part) in ‘John of Paris,’ Lissardo in the ‘Wonder,’ Gregory Gubbins in the ‘Battle of Hexham,’ Apollo Belvi in ‘Killing no Murder,’ and Whimsiculo in the ‘Cabinet,’ and was the original Madrigal Merry-patch in ‘Honest Frauds.’ Quarrelling with the management on a question of terms, he played at the Adelphi, on 21 Oct. 1830, Magog in Buckstone's ‘Wreck Ashore,’ and then went to Covent Garden, where he added nothing to his reputation, and is said, indeed, to have ‘signally failed.’

It was with the Adelphi that Reeve's principal original triumphs were associated. Here he played in a burlesque of ‘Cupid,’ was in January 1833 Sancho Panza in ‘Don Quixote,’ and acted in Hall's ‘Grace Huntley’ and other pieces. After playing two years at the Queen's, he went, in 1835, to America, gaining much money but little reputation. Returning, at a salary of 40l. a week, to the Adelphi, now under the management of Yates, he reappeared there in a piece entitled ‘Novelty;’ it was little more than a framework for his American adventures, particulars of which he sang or declaimed. In 1837 he played Sam Weller in the ‘Peregrinations of Pickwick,’ and was seen in other characters.

From an early date Reeve had been given to excess in drinking, and was consequently not seldom imperfect in his part. This may account for the paucity of the original characters assigned him at the Haymarket and Covent Garden. It is said that during his American tour he was not once perfect in any stock comedy, and that he offended his audiences by telling them that they were ‘jolly good fellows,’ that he ‘loved them heartily,’ and so forth. During 1836 he was to have played at the Surrey the principal part in a drama called ‘The Skeleton Witness.’ At the final rehearsal he knew no word of his part, and at night he sent a note of apology. In answer to the demonstrations of the audience, Davidge, the manager, came forward and described the trick that had been played him by an actor to whom he was paying 30l. a week. Reeve's latest appearance in 1837 was at the Surrey, with a portion of the Adelphi company. In a performance of a part he had chosen in a