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Full text of "A few memories"

JOSEPH JEFFERSON  ON   IMMORAL PLAYS         83
most difficult of all Shakespeare's women to impersonate naturally, but the most unsympathetic to the public; yet none of Shakespeare's works appeal to me more strongly than " Macbeth " as a reading play. " La Fille de Roland," by Henri de Bornier, was also added to my repertory during the Southern tour. The nobility and purity of this tragic drama always touched the audience, and made one wish for others like it. The period it pictures is that of chivalric Charlemagne, still on the throne, full of honorable years, and the blood of Oliver, Roland, and their noble companions showing in the valiant deeds of their sons and the pure and courageous characters of their daughters. When such works not only draw the public, but influence it for good, one cannot but regret that so many which leave a painful, often a harmful effect, should be produced. I am aware that to say this is to run counter to the latest development of the drama; but I fortify my opinion by recalling what Joseph Jefferson once said to me. He was very severe upon plays that drag one through the mire of immorality even when they show a good lesson at the end. "What I could not invite my friends to hear and see in my own parlor," he said, " I would not feel