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,T_". ^;-*'V AUSTRALIA.

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UPS AND DOWNS OF AN ACTOR'S LIFE. A case most painfully illustrative of the vicissitudes of an actor's life came before the bench at Hull last week. A middle-aged man, named James Clifford, of wretched and half-starved appearance, and whose only covering consisted of shirt, trousers, and boots, was placed at the bar charged with having attempted to commit suicide by jumping into the Humber-dock on Saturday evening. A young man, named Thomas Beautyman, a licensed porter, stated that on that evening he was going along the Humber Dock side, when he observed the prisoner jump from the quay into the water. The witness at once raised an alarm, and also got into a boat with the view of saving the life of the unfortunate man. After censiderable diffi- culty and the lapse of about five minutes he was successful in his endeavours. The would-be suicide was hauled on to the quay and handed over to the custody of the police. The prisoner, on being asked by the magistrate what he had to say for himself, made the following statement: He said that for about forty years he had been a travelling performer with portabletheatres, andhadperformedat Winn's Theatry, at DrypoolFeast He had once been in very comfortable circumstances, and had plenty of friends, but latterly he had become very much reduced. He had been com- pelled to part with all his clothes except those few rags which now covered his body. He soon found that when his clothes were gone his friends had also flown, and those who had once appeared to be the firmest of friends had now become almost his greatest enemies. When he was left in an almost naked state, he found it absolutely impossible to obtain an engage- ment, and having nothing wherewith to procure food his existence became miserable in the extreme. During the latter part of last week he had wandered about houseless, homeless, and friendless, and on Friday and Saturday had nothing to eat. On the evening of the last-named day the rain was falling very fast, and on meeting a policeman he asked him if he would be allowed to go into the lock-up for the night. He was informed by the officer that unless he had committed some crime he would not be locked up. Being very wet, cold, and hungry—in fact, just on the verge of starva- tion—he sought refuge under the dock sheds, and whilst he was so sheltering he began to consider which would be the best way to pursue in his then lone and desolate circumstances. He considered that he had neither clothes, food, shelter, or friends, and was at a loss how to proceed. If he had had his clothes he would have known how to pro- ceed, but in his then state before any respectable manager he would have been naturally told that he was "worse than a shoeblack." Therefore at the time he thought there was only one way for him, and he de- termined to take it. He therefore got up from the place where he was sheltering, walked to the edge of the quay, and jumped into the water. This was all that he (prisoner) had to say. Such a thing had never before passed in the drama of his life, and he hoped that it would be a caution for the future, for if he lived he would long remember it. During the time the prisoner was making the above statement the most breathless silence prevailed in the court. Mr. Winn, the proprietor of the portable theatre which has been exhibiting near the Drypool Church since the Drypool Feast, was in the court. He came forward and said that he had known the prisoner for upwards of twenty years, during which period the prisoner had been under his management in several portable theatres. In the whole of this time he had never known him commit an offence similar to the one with which he was now charged. He had al- ways been a steady and inoffensive man. The witness also further stated that about a fortnight ago the prisoner and his wife quarreled. In consequence of this he took to drinking. His wife left him and took away with her his wardrobe, thus depriving him of the means of going on the stage. The wit- ness had several times sent for the prisoner to return to his theatre, directing the messengers to tell him that he was quite agreeable to take him on. The witness supposed that through shame the prisoner de- clined his offer. Whatever might be the cause, how- ever, he did not accept Mr. Winn's offer, and he (witness) was very much astonished when on the previous night he heard that the prisoner had at- tempted to commit suicide. He could come to no other conclusion than that he had been induced to commit the rash act through want of food and through intoxicating drink. Even at that moment he (witness) was quite willing to take the prisoner back into his employment. His worship pointed out to the prisoner the folly of the course of conduct which he had pursued. As the witness, however, had so kindly come forward to speak for him, and had even promised to take him into his service, he should discharge him. A subscrip- tion was got up amongst the attorneys and several gentlemen in the court, his worship also contributing, and upwards of 15s. were placed in the hands of the prisoner, and he left the court a happier, and no doubt a wiser man. His worship also presented 5s. to Beauty- man, for the promptitude and presence of mind which he had shown in rescuing the prisoner from a shocking and untimely end.



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