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LIBRARY 

UNIVERSJTY OF 
\^ CALIFORNIA 



Amateur Clubs ^ Actors 



Amateur 
Clubs & Actors 



EDITED BY 

W. G. ELLIOT 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY C. M. NEWTON 
AND FROM PHOTOGRAPHS 



LONDON 

EDWARD ARNOLD 

37 BEDFORD STREET 
1898 



tOAN STACK 



Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson 6» Co. 
At the Ballantyne Press 




To THE Hon. 
SIR SPENCER PONSONBY-FANE, G.C.B., 

One of the Founders of the " Old Stagers," 

NOT ONLY AN ADMIRABLE ACTOR, 

BUT ONE WHO UNDERSTANDS THE TRUE SPIRIT OF 

AMATEUR ACTING, 

WE, THE AUTHORS, 

DEDICATE THIS BOOK. 






CONTENTS 



PAGE 

Prologue ^^ 

By R. J. Lucas. 



I. Introductory . 
By The Editor. 



I 



II. The Guards' Burlesque 9 

By Captain George Nugent. 

III. The Windsor Strollers 22 

By B. C. Stephenson. 

IV. The Greek Play, Oxford . . • • -53 

By Philip Carr. 

V. The A.D.C, Cambridge 67 

By The Editor. 

VI. The Amateur Pantomime and Burlesque . 107 
By W. Yardley. 

VII. The Greek Play, Cambridge . . ■ .148 
By J. W. Clark. 

VIII. THE O.U.D.S ^63 

By Claud Nugent. 

IX. Acting at Eton ^93 

By F. Tarver. 

X. Amateurs in Foreign Parts . . • .221 
By Lieut. -Col. Newnham-Davis. 



viii CONTENTS 

PAGE 

XI. The Westminster Play 247 

By M. L. G\VYER. 

XII. The Greek Plays at Bradfield College . 261 
By "Sentinel." 

XIII. Country House Acting 271 

By Leo Trevor. 

XIV. The Canterbury "Old Stagers" . . . 282 

By W. Yardley. 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



Scene from the " Phormio " . . Westminster Play . 
Captain George Nugent as 



Wagner 



Guards' Btirlesatie . 



Mrs. Charles Crutchley as 
Clochette 

The Late Captain Gooch . . . Windsor St7-oUers 

Mr. Arthur Bourchier as 



Gdyaros 



Mr. J. R. Manners as Lady 
Teazle 

Mr. R. a. Austin -Leigh as The 
Bedmaker 



Harlequinade Group 



Mr. M. R. James as Peisthe- 
TAIROS 

One of the Birds 

Hon. and Rev. J. G. Adderley as 



Dinah's Nurse 



Greek Play, Oxford 
I A.D.C, Cambridge 



The Amateur Pantomime 
at the Gaiety Theatre 

Greek Play, Cambridge 



O.U.D.S. 



Mr. Alan Mackinnon as Prince 
Hal 



Eton Group Acting at Eton . . . 

I A.D.C, Simla . . . 



Group in "Midsummer Night's 
Dream " 



Frontispiece 
To face p. 1 5 

18 

37 
59 

87 

99 
117 

153 
155 
170 

184 
196 
225 



X ILLUSTRATIONS 

Group in "Midsummer Night's i 

_ „ [ A.D.C., Simla .... To face p. 228 

Dream ' ) j r 

Mrs. W. James Country House Acting . ,, 272 

Miss Muriel Wilson „ „ ., . ,, 277 

Mr, Augustus Spalding .... Old Stagers ,,291 

Sir S. Ponsonby-Fane, Gen. Sir H. 

De Bathe, and Mr. Quintin \ „ „ „ 296 

Twiss IN "Cox and Box" . 



PROLOGUE 

By REGINALD LUCAS 

HAIL, Amateurs ! hail, lovers of the Muse 
Of Drama ! Come, your story we'll peruse ; 
Discover wherefore, with such fervent heart. 
Unstirred by hope of gain you play your part ; 
For mere delight why stamp, and mouth, and utter. 
Since what's your sport to some is bread and butter; 
Why no role daunts you ; why with conscience clear 
You dare rush in where actors tread with fear. 
No sordid aim is yours ; no love of pelf; 
You take consummate pains for love of — self? 
I wonder if you'd misconstrue me were I 
To say 'tis pleasant digito inonstrari: 
No effort yet to full achievement came 
Without the whispered blandishments of Fame ; 
Then, sure, when Art's your object sole and single. 
Some love of Fame with love of Art may mingle. 
I blame you not : what need to make excuse 
For those who put their talents to good use ? 
Here's one can sing : who wants to drown his song? 
Here's one can paint : who says his painting's wrong ? 
One may not put to shame the nightingales, 
He's therefore not obliged to stick to scales ; 
And one, if no old masters he outshines, 
Need not be kept for ever to straight lines. 
I've heard the songs of amateurs applauded. 
Thought they were right to sing, and wished that more did 
Indeed, t'ards amateurs indulgence stretches, 
Sometimes, so far as to admire their sketches : 



xii PROLOGUE 

What then ! if these are able to give pleasure, 
By cultivating Nature's gifts at leisure, 
And find themselves in general admired 
By reason of the prowess they've acquired, 
Why should not those, who feel the aspiration 
For Drama, strive, within such Hmitation, 
Not trifling, but in earnest — (never was time 
Well spent in trifling yet at work or pastime) — 
To turn to use the talent that's within them. 
Look to the laurels and resolve to win them ? 
For my part I deem him a splendid fellow 
Who blacked himself throughout to play Othello : 
No London, no provincial town or borough, 
Can surely boast professional more thorough : 
Hefe/t the part, and when the boards he trod he 
Became Othello, heart and soul — and body ! 
That prince of amateurs may stand alone, 
No need to take his colour ; yet his tone 
Suits you exactly ; let it be conceded 
All honest players must go in as he did : 
And unto such as choose " to go the whole hog," 
Be offered, as a tribute due, this Prologue. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, the line of whom 

Bids fair to " stretch out to the crack of doom," 

Most delicate the task upon me thrust is. 

How can I hope to do you all due justice ? 

Impartial commendation is the thing wished. 

Fit tribute to such names as are distinguished 

By honourable mention in these annals ; 

But truly there are few of this world's channels 

Down which they have not passed, and who shall group 

In orderly review so vast a troop ? 

First take the Stage itself : no meagre band, 

Brookfield and Elliot, Clark and Bourchier stand, 

Graduates all, who took a high degree 

Once in O.U.D.S. or A.D.C. 

Bourchier, old friend, those days are now " lang syne." 

When at your smoking " My Dame" drew the line, 



PROLOGUE xiii 

(As Elliot tells) : Ah, with what zeal we burned 

Each Saturday when Pupil-Room was turned 

Into a theatre : {pace Mr. Tarver, 

'Twasn't stib rosd ; after some palaver 

" The Head " had granted us our acting license) : 

It may be we were artists in no high sense — 

Your troupe I mean — yet you may well declare 

As Actor-Manager you first "starred" there. 

Swift-footed, nimble-witted. ready writer, 

Dear Willie Elliot, chronicler, reciter, 

No name finds mention in the book you edit 

Reflecting on the Order greater credit : 

You wear a shield won in a race at Eton, 

Life's one long race, and may you ne'er be beaten ! 

In high official places next look round ; 

What name is there more worthy to be found 

Amongst the honoured ranks of G.C.B. 

Than he who helped to found I Zingari ? 

The old order changeth yielding place to new, 

Of your old friends, Sir Spencer, not a few 

Have left the stage for ever, yet be sure 

Your fame and theirs is 'stablisht and secure. 

And still the famous legends shall be told 

Beneath the banners of red, black, and gold. 

Here's one who sometimes left the beaten path 

To tread the boards with you, Sir H. de Bathe, 

Well known as "Sergeant Bouncer," on half-pay; 

(General, late Scots Guards, also, by the way.) 

Lord Harris, of your compeers none or few 

Have been cast for as many parts as you ; 

Cricketer, statesman. Governor of Bombay, 

Courtier, and sportsman, actor, who can say 

Their record is as full of " runs " as yours ? 

Unless 'twere Yardley : he once made great scores ; 

And now writes plays, wherein he still makes " hits " ; 

A critic, too, who "cuts" bad plays to bits. 

See, next, who wear the Church's reverend cloth, 

Lawley and Adderley, famed actors both. 

What soldiers, next, have faced the footlights' flare ? 



xiv PROLOGUE 

All lines of fire they're ever prompt to dare, 

For soldiers, surely, know what to be brave is. 

And never audience daunted Newnham Davis ; 

Nor gay George Nugent, Guardsman many sided, 

Who once some excellent burlesque provided, 

Now handles troops (at Islington) with skill, 

Does many things, and never does them ill. 

Barrington Foote and Liddell, Gunners twain, 

Cum muliis aliis swell the soldier's train. 

In Politics, James Lowther, chosen rightly 

To fill the Chair, draws crowded Houses nightly ; 

Stage managers like him are seldom seen. 

Who Hke "gag" better than a stirring "scene" ! 

Gravely intent upon affairs of State, 

In comedy as apt as in debate, 

See Bromley-Davenport ; sure no M.P. 

Can touch life at more diverse points than he. 

I scan the Civil Service and I miss. 

Official now no longer, Quintin Twiss ; 

Let's hope, though he's abandoned his Profession, 

From Amateurs he threatens no secession. 

Here's one, his colleague oft in days of yore, 

Augustus Spalding, rich in theatre lore : 

" Stagers " and " Strollers " these of large renown, 

The high traditions careful to hand down, 

The which to guard and carry on are summoned 

Alan Mackinnon here, there Charlie Drummond ; 

This one and that, (you'll find them in these pages,) 

Called to prolong the tale to after ages. 

My sense of courtesy may be aspersed 

For disobeying this rule, " Ladies first " : 

Yes ; but the reason it was disobeyed is, 

Words fail me when I come to speak of ladies : 

In such a case few things there are that women hate 

Worse than a critic trying to discriminate. 

Herein no wish to criticise is hinted, 

To all alike my homage flows unstinted : 

It may be I have my own predilection, 

And think that one alone has reached perfection, 



PROLOGUE XV 

Endowed by Nature and enriched by Art, 

One in my humble judgment stands apart ; 

I name no names ; if I began commending 

Each one by name, this rhyme would have no ending. 

God bless them all ! long life to Wit and Beauty ! 

For them to go on acting is a duty. 

That we may see life's limitations dwindle. 

Beneath the spreading ray bright fancies kindle : 

Potential heroines, may they extract 

Joy from real life, weep only when they act ! 

And what of those who've played their part, and seen 

Death's curtain fall ; whose memory is green 

As grows the grass upon their graves ? I wis 

We ask no kinder destiny than this : — 

To play each part assigned us with good will, 

Not envious, but ambitious, striving still 

To pluck from life its sweets, see all things fair, 

Bind fast the ties of friendship, prompt to share 

Prosperity with all, ao prompt to give 

Aid in adversity, and so to live 

That on our tombs this epitaph may run : — 

"Here lies the friend of all, the foe of none." 



AMATEUR ACTING 

I 

INTRODUCTORY 

By the editor 

OH for the pen of a ready journalist ! In these days, 
when even " auld licht " ministers visit theatres and 
— whisper it not in Paisley — sometimes go behind the scenes 
and hobnob with ministerial managers and elders, I feel 
it not out of place to commence this chapter with a sort 
of paraphrase of that ancient canticle. 

Amateur Acting ! I know perfectly well how the ready 
journalist would dash at the subject : "The jovial, red-faced 
squire greeting his guests at the hall-door as they drive up." 
On these occasions the entire house-party arrive at the 
same moment. One may therefore infer that the strength 
of the squire's horses and the capacity of his carriages is 
unlimited. " Hearty handshaking in the porch. Entrance 
of the guests. The squire's aged wife bending over the 
hissing urn " — the only thing that ever hisses at amateur 
theatricals. "Arrival of the amusing man, who trips over 
the carpet and falls headlong among the muffins. Shouts 
of laughter from the entire assemblage except the squire's 
aged wife, who has to ring for more. The first rehearsal 
after dinner. The amusing man again to the fore, but 

A 



2 AMATEUR ACTING 

not quite so amusing as he was before dinner, when 
he was more thoroughly master of himself. Chastened 
laughter of the guests — the squire fuming — the squire's 
aged wife in tears. Gradual recovery of the amusing 
man, and a most successful rehearsal," &c. &c. All this, 
I feel, would be quite delightful both to read and write ; 
but unfortunately it has been discovered that the R. J.'s 
account of amateur theatricals closely resembles the shoot- 
ing correspondent's story of " a day's snipe-shooting on 
the slopes of Helvellyn," i.e. it is entirely evolved from 
his imagination. 

The real thing, whether undertaken by the organised 
amateur clubs, or by people staying in country houses, 
is very different. In the former there is a good deal of 
strict business, attention to and attendance at rehearsal, 
with a view to a complete performance of the play acted. 
In the latter, although one or two very serious people are 
generally to be found, there is a disposition to treat things 
much easier, whether a regular play or charades are being 
acted. Talking of the latter, I had the pleasure of taking 
part lately in a very hastily-arranged one ; the word being 
" Minister," and the final scene representing the first and 
last acts of Mr. Barrie's celebrated play rolled into one. 
The charade was performed without the kind permission 
of the Managers of the Haymarket Theatre. The Elders 
were represented by four charming young ladies, Babbie 
by a gallant and athletic seaman, and the Minister by 
myself. Babbie wore yellow hair and accordion skirts. 
The story, shortly, was, that the clerical one was quite 
prepared to flirt with Babbie to any extent, but drew the 
line at marriage, until informed that she was the daughter 
of a peer of the realm. Then, with the full consent of 
the Elders, who had all this time been burning dressing- 



INTRODUCTORY 3 

room candles in a wood composed of flower -pots, he 
consented, and all ended well. 

After all, I believe this to be the true spirit of country- 
house acting, i.e. a kind of irresponsibility. I am sure it 
is a great mistake to take it too seriously, and to attempt 
to rival the carefully-prepared performances of the clubs. 
Now and then, if the company can be got together for at 
least a fortnight before the event, and if, more difficult 
still, they can be persuaded to arrive knowing their parts, 
the whole aspect of things is changed ; but, as a rule, 
one-act plays are by far the best, as they are easier to 
rehearse in a short time, and go much better than three- 
or four-act pieces. It would be a thousand pities, also, if 
the too serious one — by that 1 mean the individual who 
used to be in business, to shoot, fish, play golf and cricket, 
but who has given them all up for amateur acting — were 
to become very prominent in these amateur performances. 

On coming, however, to the clubs and to a few houses 
where a regular system of amateur acting holds, one is 
met with an entirely different state of things. Let us 
for a moment look at the course pursued by the Old 
Stagers at Canterbury, Oxford, Cambridge, the Strollers 
at Windsor, and at places like Mr. Bromley-Davenport's 
in Cheshire, and Lord Dartmouth's at Patshull. In all 
of these, rehearsals are long and arduous — movements, 
delivery of sentences, and inflections are rehearsed time 
after time for periods varying from a fortnight to four or 
five weeks, and the result is generally to ensure smoothness 
and steadiness at the first performances. As an example 
of this, I shall never forget the first performance of the 
" Money Spinner " at Windsor about nine years ago. 
When one comes to look at it, it really is a remarkable 
thing that so many hard-worked people can be found in 



4 AMATEUR ACTING 

all parts of the world who are willing thus to give up their 
spare time, and it is a decided testimony to the power and 
enjoyment of the art. Is there any one fond of acting 
who can deny the fascination of the Canterbury week ? It 
certainly was a most happy idea of Sir Spencer Ponsonby, 
and the other founders of the Old Stagers, to combine 
cricket and the play. Given fine weather, what can we 
desire more than good cricket by day and the theatre at 
night ? To be an Old Stager at Canterbury means some- 
thing, for you are temporarily, if not permanently, a 
member of I. Z.; and whether you take part in the per- 
formances or not, there is no doubt that you spend a very 
delightful week. This is all the more true in my own 
case, for on the only occasion on which I appeared at 
Canterbury I was so pulverised by the local press, that for 
weeks after I was as dust upon the highroad to Dover. 

It is the same with the Windsor Strollers. Who shall 
say that a man courageous enough to walk about Windsor, 
and attend football matches in the Field at Eton for a 
whole week with a green and red ribbon tied round his 
black billycock hat, is not a devotee of the art ? Yet that 
is what the Windsor Strollers do in the murky November 
of each year. Who shall aver that the undergraduate at 
Oxford and Cambridge who will rehearse for five weeks 
on end before acting is not keen ? Year after year, men 
who are busy will devote two and three hours a day to 
rehearsals for these club actings, and these men not in 
the first bloom of youth. Sir Henry de Bathe took part 
in a performance given by the Guards before Sevastopol. 
Look at the account given by Colonel Newnham-Davis of 
acting at Simla and in other parts, and how, a few years 
ago, the Brigade of Guards gave not one burlesque, but 
many, as recounted by Captain George Nugent. Take 



INTRODUCTORY 5 

the public schools. Mr. Tarver has a good deal to say 
on Eton acting between 18 10 and 1870, when the school 
performances were stopped. The fact is, that the charm 
of amateur acting is irresistible. 

I notice here that Mr. Tarver throws out a sly hint 
that Mr. Arthur Bourchier may be able to give some 
account of certain, as it were, unauthorised performances 
at Eton which took place at a later date. Well, Mr. 
Bourchier has risen to the bait, and so have I. I now 
append two stories of his and one of my own. On one 
memorable occasion it was decided by those Etonians 
who dwelt in a house not far from the School of Arms, 
to give a performance of the " Corsican Brothers." Mr. 
Bourchier organised this, and by kind permission of his 
Dame, i.e. House Master, the performance was to take place 
in the Pupil-room, which, as every one who has been at 
Eton knows, is a room singularly well adapted to the pur- 
pose. It was necessary to prepare snow in order to give 
due effect to the great duel scene in the wood, and one of 
the lower boys was hurriedly set to tear up the first paper 
he could find, as the hour was approaching. The per- 
formance went off with great eclat, and no one was louder 
in praise of it than the Dame, who expressed himself 
as being particularly impressed by the snow which was 
thrown on by the lower boy from behind a screen. After 
prayers, however, that night, just as the house was leaving 
the dining-room, suddenly " Stop a moment " came from 
the Dame, who was looking perturbed. " Can any of you 
boys tell me what has become of the Middle Division 
Trial Papers which I left on Pupil-room desk to look over ? 
I cannot find them." Dead silence. Suddenly a good 
deal of pushing and stirring began at the lower end of 
the room, which eventually resulted in a pale-faced child 



6 AMATEUR ACTING 

being thrust forward. " Please, sir," came a quivering 
voice, " the snow." " The what ? " cried the Dame. 
" The snow, sir, for the ' Corsican Brothers.' " A veil now 
falls gently over that scene. It was, however, remarked, 
that half, by those in authority that the mathematics of 
Middle Division were evidently improving, as no one had 
failed to get through into Upper ; and I understand that 
the astonishment of the mathematical masters at this un- 
expected event was even surpassed by that of many of the 
examinees. 

On another occasion, this painful affair having blown 
over, Mr. Bourchier produced in the identical Pupil-room 
" Still Waters Run Deep." Again the Head of the House 
signified his intention of being present, and special pains 
were taken in rehearsal to get the great scene in the office 
right as regards what is technically known as "business." 
Those who know the play will remember that just as the 
virtuous John Mildmay is about to unmask the villain 
Hawksley he takes out a cigar, and is going to light it. 
The rest of this scene had better be given with the dia- 
logue as it occurred on this particular occasion : — 

Mr. Bourchier as Mildmay addressing Hawksley, and con- 
tinuing a speech. " It so happened that, when the bill 
was presented for payment, only one person was in the 
counting-house — the clerk who paid the money, and is 
since dead. Will you allow me ? " Taking out a cigar-case. 

Voice from the audience. "Bourchier ! no smoking." 

B.y taking no notice. " But in the private room of the 
firm, which was separated from the counting-house by a 
glazed door, was the junior partner — may I trouble you 
for a light ? " About to light cigar. 

Voice. " Bourchier ! did you hear what I said ? No 
smoking. It is not allowed at Eton." 

B. " Please, sir, it's in the play." 



INTRODUCTORY 7 

V. " I can't help that. No smoking." 

B. " But, please, sir, the entire rest of the scene depends 
upon a cigar now." 

V. "Then you must omit the rest of the scene." 

B. in despair. "Oh, sir, really" — makes a desperate attempt 
to light cigar. 

V. " Bourchier, if I see you do that once more, I shall 
complain of you to the Head Master." 

B., fresh from a recent swishing, and moving uneasily on 
his chair. " Oh, very well, sir, then we must go on with- 
out." The scene is finished without the cigar. 

My tutor, too, was most kind about allowing us to act 
on Saturday nights. The rule at our House was, " on 
acting nights, the play which is to be acted at 7.30 P.M. in 
the House Library is not to be invented till 6.30 P.M. on the 
same evening." This sometimes produced the most sur- 
prising results, and unearthed a great deal of ready talent. 

These actings went on for a year or two, but the death- 
blow came when we resolved one night to depart from 
the regular rule and produce the " Last Days of Pompeii," 
in classical costume, and in the upper passage. We were 
all draped in white and coloured tablecloths to represent 
togas, and wore on our heads — why, I know not — towels ; 
all except Mr. " Jorrocks " Lubbock — now engaged in 
financial pursuits — whose headgear was an inverted flower- 
basket. But this was doubtless accounted for by the fact 
that he took the part of Pansa the ^dile. My running 
cups graced the feast at the house of Glaucus the Athenian, 
my part ; and a small quantity of drawing-room lightning 
was brought into use to represent the Eruption of Vesuvius. 
Perhaps the most " striking " scene of all occurred in the 
Temple of Artemis, when the sly Pansa, lurking behind 
the statue, represented by the present Captain H. P. Levita, 
pushed him off his pedestal on to the top of Mr. " Jerry " 



8 AMATEUR ACTING 

Streatfeild, who, in the part of the wicked Arbaces the 
Egyptian, was about to carry off the fair Nydia. He was 
squashed quite flat, and bears the marks of that statue to 
this day. The said Eruption of Vesuvius, worked by sheets 
of drawing-room lightning, was superintended by Mr. 
George Wyndham, M.P., the present Under Secretary for 
War, and the power of controlling fire which he showed 
on the occasion augurs well for his future in that respon- 
sible office. The effect of thunder, too, obtained through 
his knowledge of how to throw a tin bath all the way 
downstairs, was indescribable. My tutor witnessed this 
closing scene, the Destruction of Pompeii, with, I am 
sure, mixed feelings, as several Windsor chairs went in 
the crash ; and although he expressed himself as much 
interested in our noble attempt to represent the decadence 
of a great nation, he decided that in future we had better 
play at passage football instead of passage acting. 

If, after all this, there should remain in any one's mind 
a lingering doubt as to the hold that amateur acting has 
taken in this country, I feel sure that a perusal of Mr. 
Lucas' prologue and the following chapters will entirely 
dispel the same. And I think also that most people will 
agree, that so long as a fatal excess does not creep in and 
produce that appalling being known as the professional- 
amateur, it is an excellent and healthy pastime, for among 
its many advantages it has one which stands out pre- 
eminently — it gives the leisured something on which to 
occupy their minds, and gives relief to the hard worked 
so long as they enter into it con aniore. 

Before concluding, I should like to explain that the 
fact of this book containing no mention of the many 
admirable London amateur clubs is due to the opinion 
we hold that these clubs deserve a special and separate 
history of their own. 



II 

THE GUARDS' BURLESQUE 

By captain GEORGE NUGENT, 
Grenadier Guards 

THE Guards' Burlesque was born early in 1888. Its 
father was a most respectable and hard-working as- 
sembly, entitled "The Grenadier Guards' Nigger Minstrel 
Troupe " ; and its mother, a very pretty annual perform- 
ance, called the " Coldstream Guards' Burlesque." The 
infant, however, soon eclipsed its parents in importance, 
which was not surprising, as it was a " Brigade " affair, 
and not confined to any particular regiment or battalion. 

Acting in the Brigade is, of course, no new thing. 
Soldiers are always acting, for much the same reasons, I 
suppose, that induce so many actors to become volun- 
teers. There is a far greater fascination in doing some- 
thing that you are not paid for, and don't do particularly 
well, than there is in devoting yourself to your real pro- 
fession, by which you earn your daily bread, and of which 
you may possibly know something. But it is, neverthe- 
less, a capital thing for officers and men to be working 
together for one object, and without payment ; it seems 
to do almost more than anything to bind all ranks 
closer together, and I certainly never saw the slightest 
sign of its being detrimental to discipline. When the 
common object is a theatrical performance, it is also 



10 AMATEUR ACTING 

most useful in the cause of charity — though I am afraid 
we don't think of that much — and it is no doubt great 
fun to the actors ; besides, we must never forget that 
there is always an off-chance that some among our audi- 
ence may enjoy themselves, or, at all events, not be very 
much bored. Anyhow — whatever the reasons — soldiers 
have always been fond of acting, and the Brigade of 
Guards no less than the rest of the army. 

But there had never been any organised system of 
giving dramatic or musical entertainments in the Brigade. 
Everything was left to individual enterprise, and, as a 
result, acting was, previously to the birth of the Guards' 
Burlesque, of a very intermittent character. At one time we 
had such amateur theatrical giants as Sir Henry de Bathe, 
General Henry Stracey, and the late " Kit " Pemberton ; 
and the performances then were of a far too " legitimate " 
kind to be included in an article on " Burlesque." 

After these there appears to have been nothing par- 
ticular in the way of acting until poor " Baby " Boyle's 
time. He was in the Coldstream, and used to get up 
a burlesque every year until he sent in his papers and 
went on to the stage, where, after a very brief dramatic 
career, he caught a chill and died. He was a very good 
dancer, and mad-keen on acting, though I don't know 
that one could call him a very good actor. 

Poor George Boyle ! he was the kindest-hearted, 
most generous fellow I ever saw. His burlesques must 
have cost him something like ;^6oo a year at least, 
and he did them " off his own bat " entirely for the 
amusement of the men. He used, it is true, to sell a 
few seats, but very few, and only at the rate of half-a- 
crown each, so that what he got back must have been a 
drop in the ocean to what he spent. 



THE GUARDS' BURLESQUE ii 

I remember a little anecdote about him which is very 
qharacteristic of his open-handedness. He always took an 
immense interest in the Westminster Hospital ; and one 
evening, when he came in to dress for dinner, he said 
to his servant — a man called Read, and a bit of a char- 
acter in his way, " Oh, Read, I saw a poor man brought 
into Westminster Hospital to-day without a coat to his 
back." 

" Did you indeed, sir ? " replied Read. " What studs 
will you wear this evening, sir ? " 

" Oh ! never mind the studs, Read. Do you remem- 
ber that coat I bought last November?" — mentioning one 
of his newest greatcoats. 

" Yes, sir." 

" Well, just take it round to the Westminster Hospital 
when I'm dressed, will you ? " 

"Very good, sir," replied Read, without moving a 
muscle of his countenance ; then, after a pause, " I wish I 
was a poor man in Westminster Hospital, sir." 

These burlesques were the work of one battahon (the 
second) of the Coldstream Guards ; the company called 
themselves the " Star " Company, after the Coldstream 
badge ; and the theatre in which the piece was given was 
always called the " Star " Theatre, wherever it was, whether 
at Chelsea, where we have a very comfortable little per- 
manent playhouse, or at places like Wellington Barracks, 
Windsor, or the Tower, where a " fit up " has to be 
arranged in the gymnasium or schoolroom. At one per- 
formance in the schoolroom at Wellington Barracks, 
George Boyle had to erect a staircase out of doors at the 
back of the building, that being the only means of allow- 
ing the actors to get on to the stage without going through 
the audience. 



12 AMATEUR ACTING 

As a rule, the characters were played entirely by 
officers and non-commissioned officers of the battalion, 
but on two occasions they were assisted by ladies — once 
when Mrs. Cecil Clay played Sarah, a Swiss Slavey, in 
" William Tell " ; and once when Lady Augusta Fane 
played the heroine in " Villikins and his Dinah." 

They were helped by masculine outsiders — I use the 
term in the literal, not the offensive, sense — on three occa- 
sions ; once by Captain — now Major — " Box " Stopford, 
who, though a Coldstreamer, was in the other battalion ; 
once by the Hon. John Boscawen, who was not a soldier 
at all, but — being brother to Lord Falmouth, who till 
lately commanded the regiment — was made a sort of 
honorary Coldstreamer for the occasion ; and once by 
Captain — now Lieutenant-Colonel — " Cis " Ricardo of the 
Grenadiers, who was the original promoter of the Guards' 
Burlesque in its later and more developed form. The 
leading comedian was invariably George Boyle, and the 
leading comedienne a certain Colour-Sergeant Marsh, 
who was really a wonderful actor for a man who had 
never been taught the business. He used to play the old 
women extraordinarily funnily. 

Well, when George Boyle had gone there was, curi- 
ously enough, no one who cared to spend an immense 
amount of time and a young fortune in money on these 
annual shows, and so, to the great regret of everybody 
connected with the Brigade, they ceased to exist, and we 
had to put up with the usual kind of military penny read- 
ing, got up as a sort of duty by the adjutants and the 
sergeants-major of the different battalions. Then '* Cis " 
Ricardo started the " Grenadier Guards' Nigger Minstrel 
Troupe." The troupe was formed by the members of the 
whole regiment, without regard to battalions, and con- 



THE GUARDS' BURLESQUE 13 

sisted of between forty and fifty performers. We did, to 
the best of our ability, the regular black business, as you 
may see it at St. James's Hall. Indeed, I am afraid we 
used to crib most of our " wheezes " from the performance 
then going on at the Moore & Burgess Minstrels ; but 
then, as we reflected, most of our audiences had not been 
there lately, and even if they had, it didn't matter much. 
Our orchestra was selected from the band and drums, and 
was by no means the worst part of the show. 

A nigger troupe is an excellent institution in barracks, 
because, having finished the "first part," which consists, 
of course, of songs and choruses, you can turn on any- 
body who has any sort of accomplishment, so long as he 
doesn't mind blacking his face. For instance, Sir Augustus 
Webster, who was always a shining light in all Brigade 
entertainments, used to do his famous Box trick in the 
second part of the Niggers. This trick was so remarkable 
that it deserves a word in passing. Gussy — " as we who 
loved him loved to call him" — used to be locked into a 
box, which was afterwards carefully corded. He then 
used to get out by means of lighting a match and thrust- 
ing the blade of a knife somewhere, which caused a panel 
in the box to move. At least this was the theory ; the 
only time I saw the trick done it was a little different. 
Gussy was put into the box, and the orchestra, acting, no 
doubt, upon previous instructions, played the " Boulanger 
March " for all they were worth. Suddenly a light sprang 
up inside the box, and shone through the little breathing 
holes upon the expectant audience. It was, however, 

instantly extinguished, and a stentorian " d n " rang 

out even above the clash of the " Boulanger March." 
Then another light sprang up as before, followed by 
sundry noises resembling the hanging up of pictures or 



14 AMATEUR ACTING 

the beating of carpets, mingled with a considerable flow 
of uncompromising expressions, apparently intended only 
for the box, but distinctly audible to every one within 
about a hundred yards. After about twenty minutes or 
half-an-hour of this there was a mighty crash, half the 
box flew across the stage, and Gussy crawled out, coat- 
tails first, covered with blood, and with most of his hair 
singed off. However, the audience were much mystified 
and delighted, and the performance certainly served to 
eke out a considerable portion of the programme. 

We always used to finish up the performance with a 
Nigger farce, in which Colonel Horace Ricardo — " Cis's " 
brother — was always the low comedian, and a first-rate 
one he was too. 

Once we did a pathetic plantation drama. I forget 
the name of it, but it was all about a slave couple who 
had lost their child. " Cis " Ricardo was the hero, and 
Cecil Powney was the heroine. Powney, being a true 
artist, had been at great pains to give a feminine appear- 
ance to his figure. He had stuffed a whole lot of towels 
into the upper portion of his dress, hoping thereby to 
attain that symmetry of outline that we so much admire 
in the softer sex. Unfortunately he omitted to sufficiently 
tighten in his waistband, and the towels all slipped down. 
The effect might be described as distinctly promising. 

It was while making up for one of these Nigger shows 
that " Cis " Ricardo suggested to me the idea of a " Brigade 
Entertainment Committee," by which entertainments for 
the men of the Brigade might be put on a more business- 
like footing. It was an excellent idea, and answered — and 
still answers — capitally. Sir Augustus Webster was the 
first secretary, and, as a consequence, the enterprise had 
a thoroughly good start. We collected subscriptions from 




Captain George Nugent as Wagner in the Guards' 
Burlesque of "Faust." 

From a photograph. 



THE GUARDS' BURLESQUE 15 

everybody, and settled dates for entertainments, which 
were organised once a week at one or other of the London 
barracks by different members of the committee, who were 
allowed a certain sum of money to cover necessary ex- 
penses. I was struck off the roster of " entertainers " 
in order that I might devote myself to organising a big 
burlesque about Christmas. I accepted this responsibility 
— with some misgivings, for I had not joined three years — 
and produced the first Guards' Burlesque, which was written 
by Captain Hobday of the Royal Horse Artillery, and 
Robert Martin, of Ballyhooly fame, and was called " Dr. 
Faust and Miss Marguerite ; or. The Young Duck and the 
Old Quack." I had already played in it in DubHn, and 
knew how good it was, so I " squared " Bob Martin, who 
was most kind about it all, and so got permission to pro- 
duce it. Bob Martin not only gave permission, but wrote 
up the play to suit us, and came and stage-managed it for 
us himself. The music was " specially composed and 
arranged " by poor little " Teddy " Solomon, who was 
always ready to give the best of his great musical talents 
to the service of the Brigade. Solomon was a most 
amusing little man. Like many artists, he invariably put 
off everything till the last minute, and then, when we 
were reduced to absolute despair, he would turn up at 
rehearsal with everything done — orchestration, band parts, 
copying out, everything — and tell us that he felt very ill, 
because he had been sitting up all night to do it. I can 
see him now standing at the piano, with his hat at the 
back of his head, a cigarette in his mouth, and his gloves 
on, playing divinely, and calling everybody who happened 
to be there — colonels, captains, and subalterns alike — by 
endearing abbreviations of their Christian names, and yet 
nobody ever took the least offence at it. Many of the 



i6 AMATEUR ACTING 

most successful of our songs were absolute impromptus, 
made up at rehearsal on the spur of the moment, although 
we were always expected to believe that they were the 
result of hours of careful composition. He was once 
grumbling to me about the amount of work he had to 
do. He said, " I've got a whole lot of songs which I must 
do before the end of the week ; then I've got to finish up 
all your burlesque ; besides, there's the piece I'm doing 
for the Savoy, and / catUt scamp thaty" — which naive re- 
mark rather " gave away " his methods, as far as we were 
concerned. 

Old Doctor Faust was played by Count Gleichen of 
the Grenadiers, who is now a most distinguished officer in 
the Intelligence Department and a C.M.G. He played 
the part exceedingly well ; and when he was replaced by 
Young Faust in the person of Berkeley Levett, he cheer- 
fully changed his clothes and make up, and retired into 
the chorus — an act of keenness that one would rarely find 
on the real stage ! 

"Cis" Ricardo was a most magnificent Mephistopheles, 
and looked, sang, and acted in a way that few amateurs 
could have equalled, and none surpassed. His brother. 
Colonel Ricardo, was Valentine, Major Stopford of the 
Coldstream was Siebel — the part he had played in Dublin 
with great and thoroughly deserved success — and I under- 
took, as in Dublin, the small part of Wagner, an "irre- 
sponsible low comedy " part, which, I am ashamed to 
say, rather suits me. I was offered one or two " shops " 
after this burlesque, one a three years' engagement at ^^40 
a week, which flattered me very much at the time, but I 
am not sorry now that I resisted temptation and stuck to 
my original profession. 

In my judgment the best performer among the lot of 



THE GUARDS' BURLESQUE 17 

us — the men, I mean — was Crompton-Roberts, who played 
Dame Martha. He looked such a charmingly clean old 
woman, and was intensely funny, without the slightest 
suggestion of vulgarity. He was the best masculine old 
woman that I have ever seen anywhere. 

But the success of the show was due undoubtedly not 
to the men, but the ladies. Of these there were two prin- 
cipals — Mrs. Godfrey Pearse, the daughter of Mario and 
Grisi, as Marguerite ; and Mrs. Crutchley — the wife of 
gallant Major Crutchley who lost his leg in Egypt — as 
Clochette, Marguerite's maid. Apropos of Mrs. Pearse, a 
rather pathetic little incident happened. It was arranged 
that we should all provide our own dresses, and Mrs. 
Pearse appeared in one which, although a very pretty one, 
she took a dislike to and wanted to change. I persuaded 
her not to go to the expense of a brand new one, but to 
come with me and see if we could not borrow one from 
Sir Augustus Harris, who was always most kind to us in 
every possible way. Having routed out the entire wardrobe 
at Drury Lane, we at last found a dress which we took to 
Madame Auguste, the costumier, and asked her to alter it 
in time for the performance that evening. This she said 
was absolutely impossible, she was afraid, but she would do 
her best, and Mrs. Pearse went into another room to have 
the dress tried on. When she had gone I said to Madame 
Auguste, " You know who that is, don't you ? That's 
Mario's daughter." Tears started to the old lady's eyes, 
and in an awestruck whisper she said, " Is that Mario's 
daughter, really ? She shall have a new dress if I die for 
it ; and I wouldn't ask a penny from Mario's daughter." 
The dress arrived in good time, and was a real beauty. 
Mrs. Pearse sang charmingly in the part, and was so kind 
and patient with us all. Mrs. Crutchley, too, danced, 

B 



i8 AMATEUR ACTING 

sang, and acted to perfection. It was owing almost 
entirely to the success of these two ladies that we turned 
away a sum of ;^r8oo in a fortnight. 

We had a chorus of eight policemen (officers), eight 
ladies (all entitled to wear the Brigade ribbon, that is to 
say, they were all wives, sisters, or daughters of officers in 
the Brigade), and "eight soldiers of the Camel Corps" (non- 
commissioned officers). We had also a very clever Camel 
played by Sergeant Riley and Drum-Major Philip, both 
of the Grenadiers, besides a diminutive picquet, special 
constables, &c. 

It was certainly a great success, and tremendous fun. 
We made enough to thoroughly do up our theatre, put 
the Entertainment Committee on a sound financial footing, 
and give a large amount to the Guards Industrial Home, 
and other Brigade charities. We used to have tremendous 
suppers, too, usually in barracks. These suppers, by-the- 
bye, were not paid for " out of the profits," as some of the 
cheaper " society " journals used with more cynicism than 
accuracy to assert, but were owing to the hospitality of 
one or other of the actors. 

Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the 
Duke of Cambridge both honoured us by their presence, 
and stayed to supper on different occasions. Indeed, we 
hardly had any performance without some member of 
the Royal Family being in front ; and here it may be well 
to say, that after some little experience in organising 
military entertainments of different sorts, I have always 
found that the easiest part of the whole undertaking is to 
enlist the sympathy and help of the Royal Family. We 
all know what a difference it makes to a charitable enter- 
prise to receive the "patronage and presence" of Royalty ; 
but I don't know that we half appreciate how very ready 




Mrs. Charles Crutchley as Clochette in the Guards' 
Burlesque of "Faust." 



From a photos^raph. 



THE GUARDS' BURLESQUE 19 

they are to give it, and I know we can't appreciate the 
trouble and inconvenience it must often cost them. And 
what an audience they are ! They are always punctual, 
they are always appreciative, and they always pay for 
their seats, and a lot more besides. In a word, they do 
an incalculable amount for the charity, and it is the 
charity that " vaunteth not itself." 

Well, it was a great success no doubt ; in fact, rather 
too great. The papers were all extremely kind, and we 
had the satisfaction of feeling that we had caused quite a 
nine days' wonder ; but the worst of it was that the mothers 
and husbands of our fair artistes were somewhat of the 
opinion that the fame achieved by their talented relatives 
was not quite of the nature that they wished to have 
repeated, so next year we found that we could not get 
the services of the same ladies as before. We therefore 
tried a new experiment, and engaged professional assist- 
ance. Miss Kate Vaughan was good enough to give us 
her invaluable services as leading lady, and Miss Jeanie 
M'Nulty was second lady. The piece was a burlesque on 
" Ivanhoe," written by my father, Sir Edmund Nugent, 
himself an old Grenadier, and the music was, as before, 
by Solomon. We got most of the old lot of men together, 
with the addition of Sir Augustus Webster, who played 
Little John ; George Macdonald of the Grenadiers, who 
was most admirable as Gurth the Swineherd ; and Sir 
Hubert Miller of the Coldstream Guards, who played 
Wamba. The whole thing was a great success — indeed, 
monetarily greater even than the previous one, because we 
had two performances at Windsor, as well as one or two 
extra ones in London — and very enjoyable ; but I think 
we all felt that, charming as the professional ladies were, 
it was better fun when our own "sisters and cousins and 



20 AMATEUR ACTING 

aunts" were acting with us. "Cis" Ricardo played Brian 
de Bois Guilbert every bit as well as he had previously 
played Mephisto. Before " Ivanhoe " we put up " In 
Honour Bound," by Sidney Grundy, in which " Cis " 
Ricardo and " Gussy " Webster were both excellent as 
Sir George Carlyon and Philip. 

In 1890 I was quartered in Dublin, and am there- 
fore unable to speak from personal experience about 
the Chelsea Burlesque of that year. It was *' Fra 
Diavolo," Byron's old burlesque, written up by " Bill " 
Yardley, the well-known author and cricketer, music, as 
usual, by Solomon, and dances arranged by Mr. Fred 
Storey. "Cis" Ricardo was Fra Diavolo, "Gussy" 
Webster, Sir Simpleton Simon, and Crompton- Roberts, 
Matteo ; while the two brigands, Beppo and Giacomo, 
were played by George Macdonald and Colonel Horace 
Ricardo respectively. The ladies were amateur, and 
consisted of Miss Annie Schletter, Miss Rose Hawdon, 
Mrs. Meadows Taylor, and Miss G. Tancred. 

Our next venture was " Robinson Crusoe," written by 
William Yardley. This performance was famous for the 
reappearance of Mrs. Crutchley, and for the appearance 
of the two Misses Savile-Clarke. The latter were the 
two beautiful daughters of the late Mr. Savile-Clarke, the 
well-known journalist and author. They created a very 
great sensation, as they were beautiful dancers, and very fair 
to look upon ; moreover, they were, when made up, exactly 
alike. These three ladies were quite enough to " carry it 
through." The elder Miss Savile-Clarke is, alas ! dead, 
and the younger is married to Mr. " Venus " Martineau. 

The last burlesque we have played was " The Nick of 
Time," by General Sir H. Colvile, K.C.B., at that time 
Colonel in the Grenadier Guards. 



THE GUARDS' BURLESQUE 21 

Perhaps I should mention that between " Robinson 
Crusoe" and "The Nick of Time" we produced that 
well-known drama, the " Ticket-of-leave Man," a pro- 
duction which disclosed the fact that we had amongst us 
one really good serious actor in the shape of Mr. Cecil 
Lowther of the Scots Guards, the brother of the Right 
Hon. James Lowther, Chairman of Committees. Cecil 
Lowther played Bob Brierly, and coached by Mr. Henry 
Neville, played it magnificently. George Macdonald 
played Hawkshaw and I played Jim Dalton. I merely 
mention this performance, because everybody would 
persist in calling it the "Guards' Burlesque," although 
of course it wasn't one really. Indeed, we always con- 
sidered the expression a curious example of lapsus 
linpuce. 



Ill 
THE WINDSOR STROLLERS 

By B. C. STEPHENSON 

ON Friday and Saturday evenings, October 30 and 31, 
1857, a performance was given at the Theatre 
Royal, Windsor, in aid of the funds for the rehef of the 
sufferers in India. The Mutiny had broken out in the 
Bengal Army in March of that year, the Relief of Luck- 
now had taken place in September, and Sir Colin 
Campbell, the new Commander-in-Chief, was due at 
Cawnpore in November. The Relief Fund had started in 
August, and the subscriptions, headed by the Queen, the 
Emperor Napoleon, and the Sultan, who gave ^1000 
each, amounted to so large a sum that, in December 1861, 
^140,000 had been distributed to sufferers in India, 
^100,000 to those at home, while over ^245,000 re- 
mained for the benefit of widows and orphans. To this 
fund the officers of the Windsor garrison proposed to 
contribute the result of their performances. 

The performers were all officers of the garrison, with 
the exception of the three ladies. Miss Rosse of the St. 
James's Theatre, Miss Fielding of the Theatre Royal, 
Olympic, and Mrs. Robertson of the Theatre Royal, 
Dublin. The Royal Horse Guards contributed to the 
caste Mr. Hartopp, Mr. Williams, and Mr. Carew ; the 
Fusilier Guards, as they are described in the bill, Mr. 
Pemberton, Captain White, and Captain Paynter. 



THE WINDSOR STROLLERS 23 

But the greater part of the work fell on the capable 
shoulders of Hartopp and Pemberton. The pieces pro- 
duced were Morton's drama, " Our Wife ; or, The Rose 
of Amiens," "A Most Unwarrantable Intrusion," and 
" Boots at the Swan," one of Robson's best impersona- 
tions. Hartopp delivered an address. In the first piece 
he played Pomaret, and Pemberton, De Brissac. In the 
second they appeared together in the Duologue, and in 
the third Hartopp played Robson's part, and Pemberton 
appeared as Frank Friskly. The performance was a 
great success, one of the results being a substantial sub- 
scription to the Relief Fund, the other the start of the 
Windsor Strollers by Hartopp and Pemberton three years 
after. 

A second performance took place before the Windsor 
Strollers finally settled down. The officers of the House- 
hold Brigade, " assisted by members of other amateur 
clubs," gave performances at the Windsor Theatre on 
Wednesday and Thursday evenings, November 23 and 24, 
1859, in aid of the Windsor Dispensary. Captain Erskine, 
now Serjeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons, Mr. 
Ram, and Mr. Elwes, all of the Scots Fusilier Guards, 
and Mr. G. Webster, of the King's Dragoon Guards, were 
the military contribution to the cast, while from the 
Old Stagers and the Zingari came Mr. J. Palgrave 
Simpson, O.S.; Mr. Thomas Knox Holmes, O.S., I. Z.; and 
Mr. Albert Ricardo, 1. Z., all of them to become later on 
members of the Windsor Strollers. Palgrave Simpson 
played Lavater in "Not a Bad Judge," T. K. Holmes 
Jeremy Census in "Anything for a Change," and Cap- 
tain O'Scuttle in " Poor Pillicoddy." Albert Ricardo 
made his appearance as Zug in " Not a Bad Judge." 
Hartopp, now described as Captain Hartopp, O.S., I. Z., 



24 AMATEUR ACTING 

made a hit in " Pillicoddy," and Pemberton in " Anything 
for a Change," a great success as Swappington, a favourite 
part of Charles Mathews. The company had the advan- 
tage of the services of ladies who at the time were two of 
the most popular actresses on the stage — Miss Marston of 
the Olympic, and Miss M. Ternan of the Haymarket, who 
appeared " by the kind permission " of Mr. Buckstone, and 
sang a ballad called " Wake Me Not," written by Colonel 
Bruce of the Grenadier Guards. It may be said that 
these performances were specially remarkable for the 
appearance on the bill (it was a bill then — not a pro- 
gramme — a regular " ginger beer, oranges, and lemonade " 
bill) of a notice that the orchestra was composed entirely 
of amateurs, under the direction of the Hon. Seymour 
Egerton, for very much in the same way as the Windsor 
Strollers originated in the performances for the Indian 
Relief P'und in October 1857, did the Wandering 
Minstrels make their preliminary start at the Windsor 
Theatre in November 1859. There is so much to be 
said about this wonderful Society of Amateur Musicians, 
which, under the Presidency of General Sir H. P. de 
Bathe and the stick of Mr. Lionel H. Benson, celebrated 
its thousandth meeting in 1893, while its early association 
with the Windsor Strollers was so intimate, that it deserves 
from a Windsor Stroller more than a mere passing notice, 
and it is proposed to return to the Minstrels later on. 

At last, in November i860, the Windsor Strollers met 
for the first time at the Castle Hotel in the High Street, 
Windsor, and formed themselves into a society. The fol- 
lowing were then elected members : — Captain Hartopp, 
O.S. ; Captain Pemberton ; Palgrave Simpson, Esq., O.S., 
and Thomas Knox Holmes, Esq., O.S., who formed the 
committee ; the other members being Captain Erskine, 



THE WINDSOR STROLLERS 25 

Captain Ewart, Grenadier Guards ; Captain Elwes, Captain 
Fearon, Captain Paynter, Captain Peel, Scots Fusilier 
Guards ; Mr. Ram, Mr. B. C. Stephenson, Mr. Gay Webster, 
1 6th Lancers ; and Mr. Albert Ricardo, I. Z. Of these, all 
except Captain Ewart, Captain Fearon, Captain Peel, and 
Mr. B. C. Stephenson had already appeared in one or other 
of the preliminary performances. With the exception of 
Pemberton, the committee consisted of members of the 
'' Old Stagers," and the rules of the new society were 
founded to a great extent on those of the older one. 

Then on the 13th November i860 The Windsor Strol- 
lers started their first season, and their first performance 
with " The Black Book," a melodrama by Mr. George 
Bentinck and Mr. Palgrave Simpson. It was a very seri- 
ous affair. Miss Marston, who was the heroine, had been 
deprived of what the Windsor paper called " her patri- 
mony, fame, and family prestige^' by Hartopp, Peel, and 
Ewart. Their abominable plot was discovered, and ex- 
posed by Stephenson, who was " a conscientious lawyer," 
and Palgrave Simpson, who was a reputed idiot. The 
idiot's part was not a long or a difficult one. It consisted 
in answering " yes " or " no " to questions put to him by 
the conscientious lawyer, who wanted to find out where 
that black book was. But unfortunately in the theatre 
there happened to be the son of the Drum-Major of the 
Scots Fusilier Guards, who was reputed to be a highly 
intelligent boy. The Strollers were sure of their stalls 
and boxes, but, being a little uncertain of their gallery. Kit 
Pemberton sent the men of his company to fill it, and in 
their midst, in the front middle seat of the gallery, sat the 
highly intelligent boy. He had his instructions to applaud 
when he approved, and to laugh at anything funny. The 
men were to follow his lead. In fact he was, for that 



26 AMATEUR ACTING 

night only, the leader of the " claque," and unfortunately 
in this capacity he made up his mind that a reputed idiot 
who never said anything but " yes " or " no " must be the 
funny man of the piece. Every time " Pal " opened his 
mouth to deliver his monosyllable, shrieks of laughter 
came from the gallery. In vain we sent round to stop 
the misplaced mirth. The highly intelligent boy was 
hemmed in by his delighted followers, and the result of 
it all was that " Pal " was so put out, that when the con- 
scientious lawyer, after three acts, at last pointed to the 
safe in which the long-sought-for book was concealed, and 
asked whether it was there, the reputed idiot said '* no " 
instead of " yes." The lawyer, however, fortunately knew 
that the book was there, because he himself had given in- 
structions to a carpenter to hold it close behind the heavily 
iron-barred door which had no back to it, and so he took 
the negative answer for an affirmative one, Miss IMarston 
got back her family " prestige," and the play ended happily. 
On the 14th, Miss Planche's charming one-act piece, "A 
Hasty Conclusion," was played, in connection with which 
the writer has reason to remember a personal sacrifice, 
which at the time he did not consider was sufficiently 
appreciated by his brother artists. The part of the Abbe 
le Bon demanded a clean-shaven face, and before dinner, 
on the day of the performance, with splendid self-denial, 
he applied the razor to his upper lip. At dinner no one 
noticed the change. At this performance Hartopp ap- 
peared for the first time as an author, and his piece, 
" Eclipsing the Son," in which he himself played, served 
to introduce Miss Louisa Thorne to our Windsor audi- 
ence ; Captain Fearon appeared also for the first time 
under the name of Mr. Fritz ; and Mr. Seymour Egerton 
was there with his amateur orchestra, which, after 



THE WINDSOR STROLLERS 27 

supper on the 14th, was formed into "The Wandering 
Minstrels." 

In December of the same year the Windsor Strollers 
strolled for the first time to the Theatre Royal, Brighton, 
and General Stracey made his first appearance under the 
name of Mr. Harding Strax as Sam in " Lend me Five 
Shillings," and John in " Eclipsing the Son." In the 
same cast the Strollers took to their pseudonyms, Albert 
Ricardo appeared in the programme (our first programme) 
as Mr. Raymead. T. K. Holmes as Mr. Thomas Knox, 
B. C. Stephenson as Bolton Rowe, Kit Pemberton as Mr. 
Newton Kitts, Palgrave Simpson as Mr. Paul Grave, Cap- 
tain Peel as Mr. Lemon, and Captain Fearon as Mr. Fritz. 
The performance was remarkable for a great success of 
Miss Louisa Thorne in " A Hasty Conclusion " and 
" Eclipsing the Son," and she joined Mr. Nye Chart's 
Company at Brighton at the end of the year. The 
arrangements behind as to property men and carpenters 
were not quite to the liking of one of our members, who, 
burdened with properties which did not belong to him, 
and harassed by the rapid movement of scenes which hit 
him in the back, complained to the prompter of the state 
of things. But he did not get much comfort out of his 
appeal, for all the prompter said was, " You should play 
'Amlet and shift between, then you'd know something," 
from which it may be inferred that the prompter had 
played the mighty Dane under rather difficult circum- 
stances. 

In 1 86 1 the Strollers added greatly to their acting 
strength by the election of Captain Henry Stracey, who 
had already appeared at Brighton, and Mr. Samuel Bran- 
dram, afterwards the celebrated reciter, who now made 
his first appearance under his pseudonym of Mr. Lincoln 



28 AMATEUR ACTING 

Lane as the Chevalier in " An Angel of the Attic," while, 
at the same performance, Miss Murray, of the Princess's 
Theatre, who afterwards became Mrs. Brandram, made her 
first appearance at Windsor as Mrs. Plummy in " How 
Stout you're Getting." The band, conducted by the Hon. 
Seymour Egerton, appeared for the first time on the pro- 
gramme of the Windsor Strollers as the Band of the 
Wandering Minstrels. 

The second stroll of the Windsor Strollers was on 
June loth of the same year to the Theatre Royal, Roches- 
ter, under the management of Mr. W. H. Swanborough, 
of the Strand Theatre, London. Hartopp was back at his 
post, and acting as Mr. W. Dalby ; Miss Murray and Miss 
Ternan again lent their aid. But the performance is 
chiefly to be noticed for the appearance of Miss Kate 
Terry, of the Theatre Royal, St. James's, as Smart in "Who 
Speaks First ? " and Mrs. O'Scuttle in " Poor Pillicoddy " ; 
and there is her photograph in the Strollers' Book, and 
an excellent portrait it is now of that delightful actress, 
who in this year of grace 1898 is charming the audience 
of Mr. Hare's Theatre in Mr. C. Stuart Ogilvie's play, 
" The Master." 

1 86 1 was a year in which the Strollers were unusually 
enterprising, for in November they gave two performances, 
the Wandering Minstrels, under Seymour Egerton, provid- 
ing the band, which made a total of five performances for 
the year, four of which took place at Windsor. 

The performances in November 1862 introduced to 
our Windsor audience Miss Rose Leclercq, who appeared 
as Estelle Dumery in "The Isle of St. Tropez " (Montague 
Williams' and Burnand's drama), as Winifred in Palgrave 
Simpson's " Heads or Tails," as Gabrielle in "Tom Noddy's 
Secret," and as Ayesha in " Bare-faced Impostors," and is 



THE WINDSOR STROLLERS 29 

still unrivalled in the class of parts which she has made 
specially her own. The Strollers had a great knack of 
discovering talent. On the second night, the 27th, our 
old allies, the Wandering Minstrels, played for us under 
the direction of Seymour Egerton for the last time. 

In 1863, in addition to their usual performances in 
November, the Strollers gave a performance on December 
nth, in aid of the funds of the Masonic Hall at Windsor, 
which was attended by the Freemasons in all the para- 
phernalia of their Order. The house was crammed, and, 
in the absence of the Wandering Minstrels, the music was 
provided by Messrs. Gunnis and Schrodes, two members 
of her Majesty's band, with Mr. Jolley of St. George's 
Chapel at the piano. 

In 1864 "The Black Book" was repeated, the part of 
the drum-major's boy being omitted. On this occasion 
Miss Murray played Dame Asten, and it was Miss Rose 
Leclercq's " family prestige " that was menaced. Colonel 
Henry Hozier made his first appearance in the part of 
Baron Stolzeneck as one of the persons who menaced it, 
as well as in Harry Clinton in " Dearest Mamma " ; and 
this year too Miss Hughes of the Theatre Royal, Strand, 
made her first appearance at Windsor ; and. so did Mrs. 
Leigh Murray, who came from the Olympic Theatre " by 
kind permission of Mr. Horace Wigan," and by kind per- 
mission " of the Great Western Railway Company," an en- 
thusiast who had recently been added to the strength of 
the company missed the ordinary train, and took a special 
train from Paddington to Windsor in order to attend a 
rehearsal — price of train, £6, los. ; value of services, _^i 
per week ! ! 

The performances of 1865 were announced under the 
heading of " Seventh Season ! ! ! " and took place on the 



30 AMATEUR ACTING 

28th and 30th November. Most of the Strollers were in 
the bill, but two additions to the company had been made 
by Hartopp. A Mr. Calthorpe played Belgrave in " One 
Touch of Nature," Don Lopez Avila in " Where there's a 
Will there's a Way," and Frederick in Hartopp's " An 
Evening in Belgravia," while a Mr. A. Blount played Jones 
in " One Touch of Nature," and Surplus in " A Regular 
Fire." Mr. Calthorpe was Jack Clayton ; and Mr. Blount 
was Arthur Blunt to those who knew him at home, and 
Arthur Cecil of German Reed fame, and " Peril " and 
" Diplomacy " renown at the old Prince of Wales's Theatre 
to those who knew him from the other side of the foot- 
lights. They were in management together at the old 
Court Theatre many years after their first performances 
in the theatre at Windsor. Best of good fellows, best of 
good friends, they were both taken away in the prime of 
life, but not till they had made a mark in the profession 
to which they devoted themselves after their early start 
with the Windsor Strollers. 

" The Earl of Mount Charles and the officers of the 
1st Life Guards gave a ball and a supper at the cavalry 
barracks." So said the Windsor paper, and added, " The 
invitations comprised the greater portion of the aristo- 
cratic patrons and patronesses of the Windsor Strollers." 
No wonder, because our astute manager, Hartopp, who 
knew of the ball, being afraid that invitations addressed 
direct to the houses in the neighbourhood would result in 
the people going straight to the barracks and returning 
their tickets and asking for their money back, which some 
of them had an amiable habit of doing, arranged with 
Lord Mount Charles that the invitations should be given 
in the theatre. So those who did not go to the theatre 
could not go to the ball. Billy was a great manager. In 



THE WINDSOR STROLLERS 31 

this year the Strollers made Hozier a Stroller, not because 
he had taken a special to attend a rehearsal, but because 
he had proved himself a good actor, and that was an essen- 
tial condition of election. 

In November 1866 "The Light-house," by Wilkie 
Collins, was produced. Blunt turned up without the O, 
and was elected a Windsor Stroller, and so was Jack 
Fremantle of the 2nd Life Guards. The latter showed 
his appreciation of the honour by helping the Strollers 
out of a very considerable difficulty. The Windsor 
Theatre had been condemned by the authorities. Mr. 
C. A. Clarke, the sole lessee and manager, who had acted 
for some years as our stage manager, had given it up. 
There was much talk of pulling it down and using 
the ground for other purposes, when Fremantle came 
forward, rebuilt the theatre, and started it again under the 
responsible management of Mr. Thomas Townsend. It 
had undergone a complete transformation, which is just 
what it wanted ; but the Windsor Strollers had to wait 
nearly two years before they could go on with their 
performances. However, at the end of March 1869 
everything was ready, and they began their ninth season 
on the 31st of that month. In the meantime, A. Bastard 
had joined in 1868. In order to make up for lost time 
there were three performances. But it was only the 
performance on the third day, the 2nd April, that was 
distinguished in any way from the others. For the first 
time an " Old Stager " who was not a " Windsor Stroller " 
appeared. He played Kester Chedzoy in "A Sheep in 
Wolf's Clothing," and he called himself Mr. S. White- 
head, O.S., but we all knew him to be one of the best 
artists that ever appeared on the amateur stage, and we 
learnt many a lesson from the performance. And so we 



32 AMATEUR ACTING 

did from the artist who played Lord Churchill in " A 
Sheep in Wolf's Clothing." To those who do not know 
this delightful drama of Tom Taylor's, it must be ex- 
plained that the scene is laid at Taunton in 1685, where 
Kirke with his " Lambs " is bullying the hero and heroine. 
Everything would go very wrong indeed if Lord Churchill 
did not turn up at the last moment to replace Kirke, and 
this is what Kirke has to say when Lord Churchill appears 
resplendent in scarlet and cuirass and feathers. 

" My Lord Churchill ! I am pleased to see your lord- 
ship." To which Lord Churchill has to reply, " Scarcely 
— when you know my mission." Now Churchill's en- 
trance is quite at the end of the pla}^, and it was 
impressed on the actor that he was to " get on " — which 
he did — and this was the result : — 

Colonel Kirke. My Lord Churchill ! 

Lord Churchill (rapidly, and with great decision). 
Scarcely. 

Kirke, however, was quite equal to the occasion, and 
taking no notice of Churchill's denial of his own identity, 
promptly declared that he was pleased to see him. It 
was in this year that Captain Ives and Arthur Gooch, our 
future President, joined the Strollers as members. 

In June of the same year the Strollers gave a per- 
formance at the Olympic Theatre for the benefit of the 
Children's Ward of the Convalescent Hospital at Clewer, 
at which they had the advantage of the assistance of 
Miss Herbert ; and in November they started their tenth 
season with Captain Gooch for the first time in the cast. 
He appeared in " A Romantic Idea " as Rogueingrain (a 
tavern-keeper) and Grimbald (Count of Spectresheim). 
Who wrote '' A Romantic Idea " is not mentioned in the 
programme. I regret to say that the Strollers about this 



THE WINDSOR STROLLERS 33 

time had a bad habit of not giving the names of the 
authors of the pieces which they played. Perhaps they 
held the same opinion as Jack Clayton, who was stand- 
ing on the evening of a first night at the wing of the 
Court Theatre waiting to go on in the new piece. The 
author was close by, and to him Jack said, " I feel a bit 
nervous." " So do I," said the author. " What are you 
nervous about ? " said the manager. " Why, hang it all," 
was the reply, " I wrote the piece." " Do you think," 
said Clayton, pointing to the audience, " that they care 
a d n who wrote the piece ? " 

1870 was a sad year for the Windsor Strollers, for 
*' Kit " Pemberton played for the last time on the 29th 
April as Pierre Palliot in the " Follies of a Night." 
Hartopp, Stracey, Fremantle, Miss Rose Leclercq, and 
Miss Thorne were in the cast. But the winter per- 
formance was put off in memory of our dear old com- 
rade, who was killed immediately after the battle of Sedan 
early in September. 

It was strange that some years before he had appeared 
as Alonzo in the burlesque of that name, and had sung — 

" Right through my head 
A Httle piece of lead 
Will cook my goose, 
And it will be said 
That I died in a Sally. 

Then Sally come up," &c. 

And he was shot through the head by some French 
soldiers who had taken refuge in a wood after the action 
was over, and when Colonel Pemberton and three officers 
of the Prussian Staff rode forward they halted within 
twenty yards of the Frenchmen, who fired and killed three 
of the party. 

C 



34 AMATEUR ACTING 

When " Kit " fell he was acting as correspondent to 
the Times, in which paper appeared on the 7th September 
1870 his last letter, with the following heading: — "This 
letter will have a melancholy interest for the many friends 
of Colonel Pemberton, being the last he wrote." It con- 
tained so touching an account of a death as sudden as 
his own, that it may well bear repetition. 

" I was during one part of the action standing near 
some hussars who were in reserve. The sun was pouring 
its rays upon us, and around us on every side lay the 
wounded. The poor fellows cried to them for water. 
' Comrade ! for God's sake, give me water — one little 
drop. I am on lire ! I am on fire I For God's sake, give 
me one drop — only wet my lips.' And another near him 
could only hold up his hands in prayer, and point to his 
lips. A good-natured hussar, touched by the appeal, got 
off his horse, and ran to them with his water-bottle. He 
was in the act of raising the man's head when a shell 
fell within a yard, and blew the whole three to atoms. 
Whatever the poor hussar's faults in this world may have 
been, surely his kind action must atone for them in some 
way. The regiment moved off, and his horse followed in 
the ranks." 

It was many weeks before poor Pemberton 's body was 
found, and then it was only identified by a portion of the 
material in which he was dressed, by a brother officer, a 
Windsor Stroller, who had searched for him with affec- 
tionate perseverance. He was a great loss, and it was two 
years before any one was found to take his place in the 
parts in which he excelled. Colonel Henry Armitage and 
Mr. E. A. Place joined this year. 

In February of 1871 the Strollers started their twelfth 
season, and for the first time a musical piece found its 



THE WINDSOR STROLLERS 35 

place on the programme. The Hbretto was by B. C. 
Stephenson, W.S., and the music by Frederic Clay, 
O.S. It was called ''Out of Sight." Miss Cole sang the 
part of Katrina, Mr. Dundas that of the Innkeeper ; while 
General Sir Heny de Bathe as General Villebois, Mr. 
Lionel Benson as Blancmange, and Mr. Quintin Twiss as 
Jacques, made their first appearance at Windsor ; Mr. de B. 
Holmes, the son of our old comrade, appeared also for 
the first time as Bonser in " The Goose with the Golden 

Eggs." 

With the thirteenth season, which took place at Wind- 
sor in November of the same year, the Windsor Strollers 
made a new and a very happy departure. For a time 
the names of ladies professionally engaged on the stage 
disappeared from the bills, their places being taken by 
amateurs. In this case the word amateur merely meant 
that the ladies received no remuneration. Anything less 
like what was then considered an amateur than Mrs. 
Monckton, as she then was called, cannot be conceived. 
And she was most ably seconded by Mrs. and the Misses 
Hughes Hallett. Entering at once into the spirit which 
guided our management, she accepted and played on the 
first night, November 29, a part in a one-act farce, 
called " A Family Flailing," and contributed with Gooch 
and Stracey to a great success. But it was on the second 
night, December i, that she made her mark. The piece 
was an adaptation by Hartopp from a comedy in three 
acts by Emile Augier and Jules Sandeau, entitled " Mon- 
sieur Poirier." Our manager had put into it the whole 
strength of our company, and Mrs. Monckton's perform- 
ance of the Marquise de Presles was a real triumph — the 
first of many. The adaptation was excellent. But Billy 
had written no tag, and had no time to write a tag, so 



36 AMATEUR ACTING 

several Strollers tried their hands at something appropriate 
to the occasion which might be spoken by the Marquise 
de Presles at the end of the piece. There were a good 
many efforts. The best was — 

" The play is o'er, and we'll no longer worry yer, 
For here's an end of me, and Mr. Poirier." 

But it was rejected chiefly owing to the necessity of 
anglicising the pronunciation of the name of Poirier, to 
which the author objected. 

Major-General Sir H. P. de Bathe, Captain H. Womb- 
well, Mr. T. E. A. Dolby, and Mr. Godfrey Pearce were 
elected. 

In November 1872 Mrs. Monckton appeared as Miss 
Hardcastle in " She Stoops to Conquer," with Mrs. 
Hughes Hallett and the Misses Hughes Hallett ; Mr. 
Augustus Spalding was elected a Windsor Stroller ; and 
the following season of November 1873 was remarkable 
for an excellent performance of " The Ladies' Battle " 
and " London Assurance," with Mrs. Monckton as the 
Countess d'Autreval in the former and Lady Gay Spanker 
in the latter, and with General de Bathe as Dazzle. Mr. 
Herbert Gardner made his first appearance as Christopher 
Larkings in " Woodcock's Little Game," in which Mr. 
Spalding played Woodcock, having already made his 
first appearance on the 25th as Hastings in Goldsmith's 
comedy " She Stoops to Conquer " ; Lionel Benson 
was elected, and Hartopp acted for the last time. He 
played Sir Harcourt Courtly in " London Assurance," 
and Mr. Adolphus Swansdown in "Woodcock's Little 
Game." 

In the year 1874 the performance was abandoned 
out of respect to the memory of the first President of 




The latk Captain Gooch, Frksident of the Windsor Strollers. 

From a photograph. 



THE WINDSOR STROLLERS 37 

the Windsor Strollers. But in 1875 there was a meeting, 
at which Mr, Herbert Gardner and Mr. Alic Pemberton 
(" Kit's " brother) were elected members, and Gooch was 
unanimously chosen to succeed Hartopp as President. 
The members present were Gooch, T. K. Holmes, B. C 
Stephenson, Gordon Ives, Peel, Albert Ricardo, Bastard, 
Spalding, Hozier, Dolby, and the two new members. 
And the sixteenth season was started with '* Plot and 
Passion," and a strong caste, including Miss Carlotta 
Leclercq and Miss Augusta Wilton. 

In December 1876 Mrs. Monckton returned, and the 
Hon. Lady Sebright and Miss Helmore played for the 
first time. Lady Sebright making her first appearance in 
" Cut off with a Shilling " and " The School for Coquettes." 
Mrs. Monckton, Lady Sebright, Miss Helmore, and Mrs. 
Gooch were elected lady members ; and Mr. Hull, the 
Hon. F. A. Henley, Mr. S. S. C. Dolby, and Mr. T. de B. 
Holmes joined. 

The next season, 1877, started in November with 
" The Wife's Secret," which introduced Sir Charles Young 
and Lieut.-Colonel Mildmay to our audience. It was a 
bold thing to produce a five-act piece in blank verse, and 
dangerous to invite comparison with Mr. and Mrs. Charles 
Kean in a piece of such high pretensions ; but Gooch knew 
what he was about, and so did Young and Mrs. Monckton. 
Mrs. Monckton appeared in the same piece as Lady Eve- 
line Amyott. The performance of the first night was 
brought to a close by " Betsy Baker," in which the Hon. 
Mrs. Wrottesley made her first appearance as the laun- 
dress, whose vivacity, eccentricities, and pattens Mrs. 
Keeley has made immortal. No one but Mrs. Wrottesley 
could have ventured to stand in Mrs. Keeley's pattens. 
The performance was so good, and its success so brilliant. 



38 AMATEUR ACTING 

that the rest of the cast must be set down. They were 
Miss Helmore, who played Mrs. Mouser ; Mr. Bastard, 
who played Mouser ; and Mr. Spalding, who played 
Crummy. Altogether, it may be said that the eighteenth 
season showed a step in advance, an advance which was 
maintained in succeeding years. Colonel Mildmay and 
Mr. E. G. H. Bingham joined. 

In November 1878 the Strollers again came forward 
as dramatic authors. " Our Bitterest Foe," by Mr. Her- 
bert Gardner, W.S., and " Shadows," by Sir Charles Young, 
W.S. (he had been elected that year), appeared on the 
programme. Mr. R. R. Holmes was elected an honorary 
member in this year, and started as scene-painter to the 
Windsor Strollers. Mrs. Monckton and Sir Charles Young 
again scored a success in " Shadows," which was a romantic 
drama, in a prologue and four acts, written in blank verse. 
And " Whitebait at Greenwich " came as a brilliant con- 
trast, with Twiss (his second appearance) as John Small, 
Gooch as Buzzard, Spalding as Glimmer, Miss Helmore 
as Sally, and Mrs. WVottesley as Miss Lucretia Buzzard. 
In this year Mrs. Wrottesley became a member. 

In 1879 more romantic plays. "A Son of the Soil," 
in four acts, by Herman Merivale, with Sir Charles Young 
and Mrs. Monckton in the principal parts ; and " Play," 
by Robertson, in which Mildmay and Spalding greatly 
distinguished themselves, and so did the lady who played 
Rosie Fanquhere, who, having learned from the Chevalier 
Brown that his wife was dead, got mixed up with a pre- 
ceding line and asked, " Where is she now ? " Twiss and 
Nevill were elected. 

In May of 1880 the Strollers made one of their rare 
strolls to Queen Anne's Mansions, where they played for 
the benefit of the Convalescent Hospital at Windsor. 



THE WINDSOR STROLLERS 39 

the Windsor performance in November, " For her Child's 
Sake," another play by Sir Charles Young, was produced; 
and Edmund Yates came down to see the production of 
" Black Sheep," a play which he had written in collabora- 
tion with Palgrave Simpson, and which was founded on 
his novel of the same name. Mr. F. Foster and Mr. C. 
P. Colnaghi were elected members, and Corney Grain was 
elected an honorary member. 

In December 1881 Sir Charles Young was again to 
the fore as an author with a comedietta, "That Dreadful 
Doctor " ; and he and Lady Monckton added to their 
laurels by a magnificent performance of " Clancarty," 
Tom Taylor's play, in which Mr. H. S. Riddell played 
King William III.; Mr. C. C. Clarke, Sir George Barclay; 
Mr. F. C. Bentinck, Lord Woodstock ; and Mr. C. G. 
Allan, Scum Goodman — their first appearances. Mr. C. 
C. Clarke was elected a Windsor Stroller. 

In November 1882 Mr. Herbert Gardner produced 
his comedy in three acts, entitled " Jim will Tell," in 
which he played the part of the Duke of St. Lozels, and 
Mr. Charles Drummond, Mr. Claude Ponsonby, and Mr. 
Eustace Ponsonby appeared for the first time. There was 
new scenery by R. R. Holmes, W.S. ; and the places of the 
lady amateurs were taken by Miss Carlotta Leclercq, Miss 
Hoystan, Miss Reynolds, and Miss Kate Bishop. Mr. 
F. C. Bentinck, Mr. C. G. Allan, and Mr. C. W. A. Trol- 
lope were elected. In December there was another 
stroll to the Londesborough Theatre, Scarborough, which, 
although the Strollers took the best of their company and 
the most successful of their pieces, was not altogether suc- 
cessful from a pecuniary point of view. 

In 1883 Lady Monckton made her last appearance with 
the Windsor Strollers. On Wednesday, 28th November, she 



40 AMATEUR ACTING 

played Lady Dedlock in Palgrave Simpson's drama " Lady 
Dedlock's Secret" (founded on an episode in Charles 
Dickens's "Bleak House"), and on the 30th she played 
Mrs. Colonel M'Cann in Tom Taylor's " Up at the Hills." 
Sir Charles Young played with her the principal parts in 
both pieces, and he bade his farewell to Windsor in the 
character of Major Stonehurst, in Tom Taylor's comedy. 
Mr. Charles Drummond, Mr. Claude A. Ponsonby, and 
Mr. Eustace Ponsonby were elected. 

In 1884 the meeting in November was chiefly remark- 
able for a performance of " Cox and Box," Burnand and 
Sullivan's Triumviretta as it was called, by Mr. Quintin 
Twiss, Sir Henry de Bathe, and a gentleman who ap- 
peared for the second time in a musical piece at Windsor 
under the name of Mr. S. Whitehead ; Lionel Benson was 
at the piano. The other pieces were " The Guv'nor " and 
" Married in Haste," in both of which the Strollers had 
the benefit of the assistance of Mrs. Beerbohm Tree, who 
appeared as Carrie in the first and as Ethel Grainger 
in the last. Mr. J. B. Westropp elected. In 1885 
the theatre was not available, as it was wanted by its 
owner, Mr. Richardson Gardner, for political meetings 
in anticipation of the general election which was then 
expected. But in 1886 the Strollers had their usual 
season in November, when Mr. Alan Mackinnon as the 
Hon. Tom Stanhope, and Captain Liddell as Colonel 
Trevanion, made their first appearances in "The Glass 
of Fashion " ; and Mr. Arthur Bourchier was introduced 
to the Windsor audience as Viscount Glycerine in " Cyril's 
Success." Captain A. F. Liddell joined. In 1887, how- 
ever, again there was no performance, as the theatre, 
which had been condemned by the borough surveyor, 
was closed by the owner, who sold it to Mr. G. H. Long. 



THE WINDSOR STROLLERS 41 

Mr. Long at once set to work to satisfy the require- 
ments of the authorities in a very complete and elaborate 
manner, and in November 1888 the theatre was ready 
for the Windsor Strollers' twenty-seventh season. Mr. 
Mr. C. W. A. Trollope undertook the stage management 
for the first time. Mr. Derrick's farcical comedy "Con- 
fusion " was the principal piece, and it was repeated in 
December at a performance given by the Windsor Strol- 
lers in aid of the Eaton Mission at Hackney Wick, in the 
West Theatre of the Albert Hall. Mr. Arthur Bourchier 
and Mr. E. H. Whitmore were elected. 

In 1889 there was a very successful performance of 
Mr, Cecil Clay's " A Pantomime Rehearsal," in which Mr. 
W. Elliot made his first appearance as Jack Deedes, the 
Manager and Author, and the Ladies' Orchestra played 
for the first time under the direction of Miss L. Blair 
Oliphant. Miss A. M. Mackinnon and Miss G. Nugent 
were elected. 

The Windsor Strollers' work in 1890 began with a 
performance in March at Melton Mowbray, in aid of the 
Farmers' Benevolent Institution. 

"Bombaste Furioso up to Date" was the principal 
feature of the Windsor season of that year. Eustace 
Ponsonby, C. Drummond, and Nugent, with Miss Lizzie 
Henderson to help them, succeeded in making a great 
success. 

In 1 89 1 Mr. Charles Thomas's farcical comedy in 
three acts, " The Paper Chase," was produced, with Miss 
Carlotta Addison as Pedder, Mrs. Charles Sim making her 
first appearance as Mrs. Pomfret in the same comedy. Sir 
Augustus Webster made his first appearance, and was 
elected. 

In 1892 Mr. Pinero's farce in three acts, "The Magis- 



42 AMATEUR ACTING 

trate," was produced with a very strong cast, and Mrs. 
Charles Sim made her second appearance at Windsor. 
She played Mrs. Marsham in " A Naughty Novel," as 
Angela in "A Show of Hands," and as Anne Carew in 
" A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing." The Strollers were again 
fortunate in securing the services of a very distinguished 
amateur actress. 

The season of 1893 was chiefly remarkable for the 
absence of the President's name from the bills ; for 
although he presided at the meeting, the malady to which 
he eventually succumbed had made fateful progress, and 
he was unable to be present in the theatre. He had 
served the Strollers faithfully, and ruled them with singular 
judgment and success. His first appearance had taken 
place in November 1869, and from the date of his elec- 
tion as President, in succession to Hartopp in 1875, he 
had only been absent from one meeting at Windsor 
during a quarter of a century. He had played fifty-four 
different parts in the various performances, and he was 
one of the best and most popular actors that the society 
ever possessed. Firm and fair, he was singularly free 
from prejudice, and nothing is more remarkable in the 
record of the many parts which he played than the fact 
that they were so frequently subordinate. 

It was impossible to believe that our cheery com- 
panion was to leave us so soon. But on January 4, 1894, 
a letter addressed to Spalding, the senior acting member, 
and written in his usual handwriting, full of manly resig- 
nation, announced that the end was near, and bade a 
tender farewell to his old comrades, with a blessing from 
"Goochie." He died on the nth, and many of us fol- 
lowed him to his grave in the Windsor Cemetery at Shital 
There was no performance that year ; but in June the 



THE WINDSOR STROLLERS 43 

Windsor Strollers held a meeting, at which Mr. Augustus 
Spalding, the senior member, presided, and the members 
present unanimously elected Mr. Charles Drummond as 
President. 

One of the first acts of the new President was the 
framing and printing of the rules of the Society. The law 
had hitherto been unwritten, and it now set forth in print 
that the President should be responsible for the choice 
and casting of plays, that he should control the finances, 
subject to an annual statement to each active member, 
that candidates should prove their fitness as actors for 
election by appearing at least in two seasons, while their 
social qualifications should be tested by a unanimous vote 
of members present at the election. The adoption of the 
dramatic profession disqualifies a Windsor Stroller for 
active membership, but he is eligible for re-election as an 
honorary member. 

In November 1895 Drummond started management 
with Mr. Pinero's farce "The Schoolmistress," in which 
Miss Lizzie Henderson played the part of the Principal 
of Volumnia College with great success. On the second 
night Mr. Carton's " Liberty Hall " was produced ; 
Mrs. Charles Crutchley made her first appearance at 
Windsor in it as Blanche Chilworth, and established 
before a delighted audience her hereditary right to a con- 
spicuous dramatic success. She was elected a Windsor 
Stroller. 

In November 1896 Mr. Outram Tristam's "Red 
Lamp " was performed, with Mrs. Charles Sim as Princess 
Claudia Morakofi^, Mr. Bromley-Davenport playing for the 
first time as Rheinweck. And on the second day "The 
Passport," by B. C. Stephenson, W.S., and W\ Yardley, 
O.S., was produced after " Hester's Mystery." Mrs. 



44 AMATEUR ACTING 

Crutchley played the part of Mrs. Darcy inimitably, and 
it was hard to believe that the piece was being played by 
amateurs. 

In November 1897 ''The Idler," by Haddon Cham- 
bers; "The Burglar and the Judge," by Philips and 
Brookfield ; Pinero's " Sweet Lavender " ; and " Breaking 
the Ice," by Charles Thomas, gave ample opportunity for 
Mrs. Crutchley and Miss Lizzie Henderson to repeat 
their triumphs — and the Strollers completed their thirty- 
fifth season at Windsor. 

Although started with the idea of strolling elsewhere, 
the Windsor Strollers have done most of their work in the 
royal borough. In thirty-eight years only seven times 
have they given performances elsewhere — at Brighton, in 
i860 ; at Rochester, in 1861 ; in London, at the Olympic 
Theatre, in 1869 ; and again in 1880, at Queen Anne's 
Mansions; at Scarborough, in 1882 ; in London, at the 
Albert Hall, West Theatre, in 1888; and at Melton 
Mowbray, in 1890. But they have been very faithful to 
Windsor. Only for special reasons or under circumstances 
beyond their control have they ever omitted their annual 
performance at the Theatre Royal. Since i860 they have 
missed only six times — in 1867 and 1868, when the 
theatre was being rebuilt; in 1874, when their President 
(Hartopp) died; in 1885, when the theatre was required 
by the proprietor for political meetings ; in 1887, when the 
building was condemned by the authorities ; and in 1894, 
when their President (Gooch) died. In their thirty-five 
seasons they had given eighty-eight performances, and 
produced one hundred and sixty-eight plays. The records 
of these performances show how singularly fortunate the 
Presidents have been in the selection of the ladies whose 
services have so materially contributed to their success, 



THE WINDSOR STROLLERS 45 

selections which were, of course, made long before the 
artists arrived at their ultimate prominent positions on 
the stage. 

Lady Monckton, Mrs. Beerbohm Tree, Miss Kate Terry, 
Miss Herbert, Miss Murray, Miss Ternan, Miss Louisa 
Thorne, Miss Carlotta Leclercq, Miss Rose Leclercq, Miss 
Carlotta Addison, Miss Emily Cross, Miss Annie Irish, 
Miss Kate Bishop, Miss Augusta Wilton, Miss Rosina 
Filippi, Miss Edith Chester, Miss Mabel Millett, and Miss 
Lizzie Henderson, have all of them appeared profession- 
ally, with the exception of Lady Monckton, who appeared 
as an amateur ; while as regards amateurs, in addition to 
that most talented lady, the Strollers can show on their 
bills such names as those of the Hon. Mrs. Wrottesley, 
Mrs. and the Miss Hughes Hallett, Mrs. Charles Sim, and 
Mrs. Charles Crutchley. From the ranks of the Strollers 
Arthur Cecil, C. G. Allan, Arthur Bourchier, and Willie 
EUiot went to distinguish themselves on the English 
stage. That excellent actor, Jack Clayton, performed 
with the Strollers once, but they did not think him good 
enough. They were mighty particular. Mr. Samuel 
Brandram, one of the most remarkable reciters of his 
time, was a Stroller, and so was Corney Grain. There 
have been authors too amongst them — Palgrave Simp- 
son, Hartopp, Sir Charles Young, Herbert Gardner (now 
Lord Burghclere), B. C. Stephenson, and ''Kit" Pemberton, 
novelist and Times correspondent. There were very few- 
idlers, and most of them still are busy men, which 
accounts possibly for an enviable power of playing the 
fool when they get the proper and legitimate chance, 
which occurs after the banquet. 



46 AMATEUR ACTING 

THE BANQUET 

One of the leading features of the Windsor season is 
the banquet, and the entertainment which invariably 
follows it on the " off night." 

To be easily amused is a most precious gift. It 
involves no expenditure. It calls for little effort on the 
part of the entertained, and for less on the part of the 
entertainer. This priceless gift the Windsor Strollers 
possess in an eminent degree, and liberally share with 
their guests. For the night of the banquet is a guest 
night ; the dinner over and the " loving cup " passed 
round, an adjournment is made to the Club Rooms ; the 
fooling begins with a procession, which partakes of an 
official character. The President, sometimes attired as 
Phoebus Apollo and sometimes as Guy Fawkes, is attended 
by a motley crowd, who enthrone him. The new 
members are led up to him, and receive the " acolade " 
with "rise, brother Stroller," while a convenient poker 
descends upon the shoulders of the new member. Then 
the evening's entertainment starts. Charlie Clarke, with 
conjuring tricks and inimitable banjo performance ; 
Armytage, with a comic account of an Egyptian campaign ; 
Allan conducts a party round the field of Waterloo ; two 
Strollers give an impromptu performance of sham Shake- 
speare, and a guest wants to know which play their 
recitation comes from ; Arthur Blunt sings " Maria," and 
sits for his photograph ; Claude Ponsonby presides at the 
piano; Charles Colnaghi and Eustace Ponsonby extemporise 
a burlesque, while Nugent sings comic songs to an accom- 
paniment of his banjo. Then late in the night the guests 
retire, and the Strollers wander upstairs to their respective 
bedrooms; not, however, till one last story has been told by 



THE WINDSOR STROLLERS 47 

an ancient member. How they all laughed at it ! One by 
one they hammered on their doors, and repeated the point 
of the joke. One singularly appreciative soul broke into 
the early slumbers of the drowsy crowd by opening his 
door and shouting it down the passage. Then the Strollers 
slept the sleep of well-earned repose. The next morning 
two energetic souls who had risen with the dawn and 
ordered breakfast at eleven o'clock, questioned the wit of 
the wonderful story, and being unable to arrive at any cer- 
tain conclusion determined to submit it to the independent 
judgment of the average intelligence. With this intention 
they started to make purchases at six shops in the High 
Street, the story to be told alternately during the trans- 
action of the deals. The result showed either that the 
average intelligence of the Windsor High Street is below 
the ordinary level, or that tradesmen do not joke at twelve 
o'clock, or that the Windsor Strollers are more easily amused 
than most people ; for the expedition resulted in the expen- 
diture of 2s. 6Ad. on a chop, a herring, a piece of flannel, 
a doll, a bun, and a box of pills. But nobody laughed. 

THE LADIES' ORCHESTRA 

At the performance on Tuesday, November 26, 1889, 
the band of the ladies' orchestra appeared for the first time. 
Gooch had the great fortune to enlist the services of Miss 
Lilian Blair Oliphant, now Mrs. Gregson Ellis, who brought 
together and conducted an orchestra composed of the 
following ladies : — Lady Katherine Coke, Lady Sybil Knox, 
Miss Hale, Miss Crutchley, Miss M. Ellison, Miss Blair 
Oliphant, Miss E. Blair Oliphant, and Mrs. Bogle. It was 
twenty-seven years since the Wandering Minstrels' last 
performance at Windsor, and the ladies' orchestra took 



48 AMATEUR ACTING 

a permanent position on the programmes of the Windsor 
performances, recruited from time to time by some of the 
best amateur lady musicians of the day — Mrs. F. Liddell, 
Miss Lambert, Miss Magdalen Ponsonby. In 1891 Miss 
Blair Oliphant resigned the stick in favour of Mr. Claud 
Nugent, with Miss Liddell at the pianoforte ; and in 1893 
the band was strengthened by the addition of Miss H. 
Hale, Miss M. Hale, Miss Ida Nutt, the Hon. Mrs. C. R. 
Spencer, and Miss Ponsonby. 

In 1895 Miss Stone, Miss F. Coutts Fowlie, Miss M. 
Coutts Fowlie, Miss K. Goodford, Miss M. Taylor, and 
Miss Hussey joined. 

THE WANDERING MINSTRELS 

Although the Wandering Minstrels did not form them- 
selves into a Society until i860, they owe their origin to a 
performance which took place at Windsor in November 
1859, and which the officers of the Household Brigade 
gave in aid of the funds of the Windsor Dispensary. The 
late Hon. Seymour Egerton, afterwards Lord Wilton, who 
was at that time an officer of the ist Life Guards, appeared 
with an orchestra composed entirely of amateurs, amongst 
whom were eight future members of the Wandering 
Minstrels besides himself — Lord Gerald Fitzgerald, Mr. 
d'Egville, Mr. Breedon, Mr. Fred Clay, M. le Patourel, 
Mr. A. B. Mitford, Mr. Turner, and Mr. Val Morris. And 
the following compositions by the members of the band 
were played : — " A Romance Dramatique " for the cornet, 
written by Mr. Egerton for Mr. A. B. Mitford ; " A 
Serenade " by F. Clay, a valse by the conductor, and a 
galop entitled ''Windsor Revels," written by Lord Gerald 
Fitzgerald. 



THE WINDSOR STROLLERS 49 

On the 13th November of the following year, i860, 
the same performers, under the same conductor, appeared 
at the first performance of the Windsor Strollers. 

The band consisted of, among others, the following : — 



E. A. Breedon. 

Fred Clay. 

Gordon Cleather. 

A. Davis Cooper. 

S. H. Curtis. 

Capt. H. P. de liathe. 

L. d'Egville. 

Hon. Seymour Egerton. 

Lord Gerald Fitzgerald. 

Viscount Grey de Wilton. 

Nicholas Hanhart. 



Henry le Patourel. 
Sir A. K. Macdonald. 
A. Mendes. 
A. B. Mitford. 
Val Morris. 
Richard Pritchard. 
Henry Robley. 
H. E. Tatham. 
W. L. Turner. 
Fred Wetherall. 



After supper it was suggested that, as there was 
no purely Amateur Musical Society, those then present 
should start one, consisting of instrumental and vocal 
members, with the object principally of playing for 
charitable purposes. The idea was immediately taken 
up, and the nucleus of the Society then and there de- 
termined, the Earl of Wilton being President, the Hon. 
Seymour J. G. Egerton, Conductor, and Mr. A. B. Mitford, 
Hon. Sec. pro tew. 

In a short time the Society really had a being. At 
first it adopted the somewhat punning title of " The Ban- 
ditti " ; but afterwards, at the suggestion of Tom Taylor 
the dramatist, christened itself "The Wandering Minstrels," 
and held its weekly meetings at the Freemasons' Tavern, 
where, after the musical part of the business had been 
gone through, the members adjourned to supper. Shortly 
afterwards one of the members. Lord Gerald Fitzgerald, a 
keen, all-round musician, thinking that it would be better 
for the Society to have a home of its own, at his own 

D 



50 AMATEUR ACTING 

expense built a handsome music-room at the back of his 
house at 47 Sloane Street, and there the Society initiated 
the Smoking Concert, now a thing of everyday occurrence, 
but at that time quite unknown. The orchestra, at the 
end of the room, was decorated with all kinds of quaint 
pictures, arms, and curios, books of prints, &c., on stands, 
and chairs, and tables on the floor, the latter with bottles 
and glasses on them ; and upstairs, at the back, a gallery, 
where Lady Gerald used to entertain her friends. Every- 
body who was anybody at that time in society, art, litera- 
ture, or music was to be met with at these pleasant 
gatherings ; and besides the music of the band and the 
books and curiosities and the bottles and glasses on the 
tables, there were provided, carrying on the old supper 
notion at the Freemasons' Tavern, oysters and stout. At 
that time Seymour Egerton was conductor, and his brother, 
Lord Grey de Wilton, who played the kettledrums, was 
afterwards followed by Lionel Benson (the present Con- 
ductor), and the now President, Sir H. (then Colonel) de 
Bathe, played the side drum. In 1881 Lord Gerald Fitz- 
gerald, through failing health, was obliged to close his 
room and give up his membership, though not before he 
had succeeded the Hon. Seymour Egerton, who, as Con- 
ductor, had retired in 1874. 

The first of the Smoking Concerts took place at 47 
Sloane Street in July 1862, and they have been con- 
tinued since 1881 in the Grosvenor Hall, and although 
shorn of much of their old attractiveness and interest 
through being held in a mere ordinary concert room, 
they still appear to be appreciated. The Wandering 
Minstrels were the first to start the Smoking Concerts, 
which have been initiated all over the kingdom, but, ever 
anxious for originaUty, they devised a new plan for the 



THE WINDSOR STROLLERS 51 

comfort of their visitors, with the result that the waiter, 
generally slow and frequently rude, was done away with 
altogether, and the wants of the guests are now personally 
attended to by their hosts themselves ; and though other 
people have followed their lead in one respect, nowhere 
else in London can be seen the picture of a crowd of 
visitors receiving their refreshment in the shape of whiskeys 
and sodas, &c., from the hands of the President of the 
Society entertaining them ; for General Sir Henry de 
Bathe, with other members of the Society, stand behind 
the bar, and personally serve all their guests — no light 
task, considering that the visitors at these Concerts gene- 
rally number close upon three hundred. The Smoking 
Concerts are, however, but a secondary matter really in 
the history of the Society. It had two principal aims, 
viz., to play for charitable purposes, and to be entirely 
and purely amateur ; and the aspirant for the honour of 
belonging to them had, besides, to satisfy the Society that 
he was not only a good player, but it was incumbent 
upon him to be also a " good fellow." Both rules have 
been rigidly complied with, and only occasionally, when 
at the last moment some member of the band, only in 
the wind department, has been unfortunately prevented by 
illness from occupying his usual post, has it been tempora- 
rily filled by a professional man. Of no other so-called 
Amateur Society can this be said, for in most, if not in 
all of them, the principal desks are held by professors. 

The idea of giving concerts for deserving charities has 
been more successfully carried out than could at first have 
been imagined, for during the thirty-eight years the Society 
has been in existence it has realised nearly ^17,000 in 
the cause of charity. 

The largest amounts ever made were in 1864, when 



52 



AMATEUR ACTING 



two concerts — one for the Brigade of Guards Industrial 
Home — realised together the noble sum of ;^98o. 

The following is a list of the Windsor Strollers, with 
the dates of their first elections : — 



President. 
C. Drummond, li 



Active Members. 

A. F. M. Spalding . . . 1872 

R. R. Holmes (Scene Painter) 1 878 

Q. Twiss 1879 

Captain A. F. Liddell . . 1886 

A. M. Mackinnon .... 1889 

Captain G. C. Nugent . . 1889 

Captain Sir A. F. Webster . 1892 

C. Lambert 1893 

W. F. Fladgate 1894 

Lt.-Col. N. Newnham-Davis 1894 

W. H. Leese 1894 

A. J. Tassell 1894 

H. R. Bromley-Davenport . 1897 



Honorary Members. 

B. C. Stephenson . . . 
Major-General H. Stracey 
Colonel H. Hozier . . 
Lt.-Col. W. Armytage 
General Sir H. P. de Bathe 
L. Benson . . 
Lord Burghclere 
Colonel H. Mildmay 
F. C. Bentinck 

C. G. Allan . 
C. W. A. Trollop 

Manager) . . 
J. W. Westropp 
A. Bourchier 
E. H. Whitmore 
The Right Hon 

Malet, G.C.B. 
W. G. Elliot . . 
C. Nugent . . 



e (Stage 



G. C 



i860 
1861 
1865 
1870 
1871 

1873 
1875 
1877 
1882 



1882 
1884 
1888 
1888 

1892 
1893 
1893 



Lady Monckton. 

Miss Helmore. 

Mrs. Pope. 

Mrs. Copleston. 

Miss G. Liddell. 

Miss L. Blair Oliphant- 



Ladies. 

Mrs. C. Sim. 

Mrs. F. Liddell. 

Mrs. C. Drummond (^'.r officio^ 

President's wife). 
Mrs. C. Crutchley. 



IV 
THE GREEK PLAY, OXFORD 

By PHILIP CARR 

AT those sedate repasts which usually follow the last 
performance of the Oxford University Dramatic 
Society — it is not known, by the way, whether these were 
instituted to celebrate the joy of the spectators that their 
labours were over, or to alleviate the depression of the 
performers at their return to ordinary life and approach- 
ing " schools " — successive Secretaries, doubtless inspired 
by the solemnity of the moment, have rarely failed to 
refer with a sort of conscious superiority to the dignified 
position which the Society holds in the dramatic world. 
Among other courtesies extended to the representatives 
who attend these functions from Cambridge, no little 
stress is laid on the fact that however successful the 
Amateur Dramatic Club may be in a lighter vein, there 
remains a classic reserve and a literary flavour about 
performances of the O.U.D.S. which cannot be attained 
out of Oxford. Certainly a Society which can look back 
since its foundation in 1885 to a record which consists 
of ten plays of Shakespeare and three examples of the 
Greek dramatists, has something of which it can be justly 
proud ; and since even its most enthusiastic advocates 
would scarcely pretend that undergraduates alone would 
have preserved this rather rigorous course, the gratitude 



54 AMATEUR ACTING 

of its members must always be due to the decision which 
made it obHgatory. The late Master of BalHol, Mr. Jowett, 
who was Vice-Chancellor in 1885, made it one of the con- 
ditions of the foundation of the Club and the existence of 
amateur acting in Oxford, that only Shakespeare or Greek 
plays should be performed. Besides this decree, which 
really made the O.U.D.S., Mr. Jowett did other services to 
the drama in the University. It was through his instru- 
mentality that Mr. (now Sir) Henry Irving came down to 
Oxford in 1886 and delivered a lecture in the Sheldonian 
Theatre on English actors, and it was under his immediate 
patronage that there was produced on June 3, 1880, five 
years before the foundation of the O.U.D.S., the first 
serious attempt which had been made in England to give 
a performance, in the language in which it was written, of 
a Greek play. 

When it became known that in the new hall at Balliol, 
just completed, there was to be given a performance of the 
" Agamemnon " of ^schylus, under no less distinguished 
auspices than those of the Regius Professor of Greek and 
the Fellows of Balliol College, the interest of the Univer- 
sity was thoroughly aroused. There were some, indeed, 
of the severer sort who were disposed to regard this as 
a sort of illegitimate back-door to making scholarship 
easy, or even interesting. It seemed to rob the classics 
of their exclusive interest, and to place the scholar in 
no little danger of being lost in the crowd. Among 
undergraduates, on the other hand, the proposed innova- 
tion was greeted with enthusiasm. Many, hardened 
though they were by schools, began to read ^schylus. 
In the punts on the Cherwell, hitherto sacred to the 
yellow-back novel, might be noticed copy after copy of 
the "Agamemnon" — sometimes in Greek. The excitement 



THE GREEK PLAY, OXFORD 55 

spread even to North Oxford, and fluttered the dovecotes 
of the Woodstock and the Banbury roads, where the 
educated lady was in those days really a new woman, 
and this form of " education made pleasant " an excellent 
opportunity to make a trial of strength, and a first exhibi- 
tion of newly-acquired culture. 

When the performance actually took place, the result 
was more successful than the actors or their friends had 
dared to anticipate. An audience composed of all Oxford 
and some of Cambridge discovered that not only could a 
Greek play be acted, not only were the characters human 
beings and not mere abstractions, but that this particular 
play possessed an engrossing dramatic interest. The 
mounting was of the very simplest ; but although those 
who organised the performance disclaimed " any intention 
to produce a facsimile of a Greek drama, which, if it were 
possible, would seem to all but antiquaries grotesque and 
unmeaning," yet this first of the Greek play productions 
was probably more classical in feeling than any of its suc- 
cessors, with the possible exception of the open-air per- 
formances at Bradfield College. The scenery, for which a 
drawing had been made by the late Sir Edward Burne-Jones, 
was painted by Professor W. B. Richmond, who also designed 
the costumes. There was no curtain or wings or pros- 
cenium. The palace front of the Atreidae was the scene 
throughout the play, and occupied the upper stage ; while 
on a stage below were placed the chorus round an altar 
of Dionysus. It was upon the chorus and the question of 
its management that discussion had chiefly centred before 
the production, and no doubt it was the greatest difficulty 
which the promoters had to face. What was to be done 
with these long passages of reflection on the story of the 
play and on life which are placed in its mouth, and which 



56 AMATEUR ACTING 

might seem rather painfully lacking in dramatic effect to 
a modern audience, although they include some of the 
finest lines of Greek tragedy? In later productions the 
difficulty has been met by setting the longer passages to 
music, and assigning the shorter ones mainly to the Cory- 
phaeus. The Greek plays at Cambridge have always been 
produced in this way, and with a full orchestra. In the 
*' Agamemnon," however, there was no orchestra, and 
with the exception of a few bars of austere music composed 
by Mr. Parratt, organist of Magdalen College, for the 
beginning of the opening chorus, and for a short strain 
before the death-cry of Agamemnon, there was no music. 
The lines of the chorus were either recited in monotone, 
for which the note was given by a pitch-pipe and a tuning- 
fork, or were distributed as dialogue amongst its members ; 
and, in spite of a rather natural desire on the part of the 
audience for more music and less monotone, and some 
criticism on the liberty of changing chorus into dialogue, 
it was felt that the difficulty had been very successfully 
overcome. Indeed, it is probable that for the chorus of a 
tragedy this was the best method which could have been 
adopted. The breaking up of some parts among various 
speakers gave movement and dramatic action to those 
passages which dealt most closely with the story, while 
the delivery of the rest in monotone gained at least as 
much in dignity and impressiveness as it lost in variety 
through the absence of music. In the case of a comedy, 
in which variety is the chief aim, the problem presented 
by the chorus is a different one, to which music is a better, 
possibly the best, solution. Even here the question of 
how far modernity is justified by its introduction of variety 
proved, when the later production of the "Frogs" took place, 
one which provoked the most widely different opinions. 



THE GREEK PLAY, OXFORD 57 

As regards the acting of the " Agamemnon," the chief 
parts were taken by Mr. F. R. Benson of New College, 
Mr. G. Lawrence of Corpus, Mr. Bruce of Balliol and 
Mr. W. L. Courtney of New College. Of these, the name 
of Mr. Benson has since become well known as that 
of a successful actor-manager, especially in connection 
with the Shakespearean revivals at Stratford-on-Avon. 
Upon the merits of the performers the critical opinion 
of Oxford was divided into two camps. There were 
the ** Clytemnestrians," the admirers of Mr. Benson's 
impersonation of the queen, and the " Cassandrites," who 
found more virtue in the performance of Mr. Lawrence. 
Each had excellences — the fine presence, the dignity, the 
refinement of Mr. Benson, and the success with which he 
struck the true tragic note in his acting, compensated 
amply in the eyes of his partisans for the lack of variety 
in his voice ; while Mr. Lawrence, with a voice of peculiar 
beauty and flexibility, more than overcame, the Cassan- 
drites urged, the disadvantages of a tendency to under- 
acting and want of movement. Of the others, Mr. Bruce 
as Agamemnon was good, but was hampered by the rather 
elementary nature of his "properties." His chariot, from 
whose eminence he had to declaim his most important 
speech, consisted merely of a wheel in the far corner of 
the stage ; and the purple robes, the walking across which 
was to bring down on him the awful Nemesis of the gods, 
were rather inadequately represented by a roll of red 
carpet, suggestive rather of the brougham and Berkeley 
Square than the chariot and the palace of the Atreidae. 
Mr. Courtney, who played the part of the watchman, 
began thereby a connection with the drama at Oxford 
which bore much fruit in the assistance which he gave in 
the foundation of the O.U.D.S. 



58 AMATEUR ACTING 

After the ''Agamemnon" Oxford did not produce 
another Greek play for several years. Mr. Courtney and 
others who had taken part in the memorable perform- 
ance in Balliol Hall helped to produce the " Alcestis " at 
Bradfield College ; and Cambridge followed the lead of 
Oxford with productions of the " Ajax " of Sophocles, 
the " Birds " of Aristophanes and the " Eumenides " of 
-^schylus. It was not, however, till 1887, in the third 
year of the O.U.D.S., that another effort was made in 
Greek drama at Oxford. By this time the conditions 
were vastly different. Not only was the O.U.D.S. founded, 
but the town had been at last provided with a theatre. It 
was here that, on May 18, the O.U.D.S. produced the 
"Alcestis" of Euripides. Mr. Courtney undertook the 
supervision of the production, while Mr. Alan Mackinnon, 
who has been responsible for so many Shakespearean 
productions of the Society, was stage manager. The 
principal parts were taken by Mr. A. H. E. Grahame 
(Admetus), Mr. Alan Mackinnon (Apollo), Mr. Arthur 
Bourchier (Death), Mr. A. E. W. Mason (Heracles), Mr. 
Coningsby Disraeli (servant) and Miss J. E. Harrison 
(Alcestis). 

As the play took place in the theatre it was almost in- 
evitable that some advance should be made in the direc- 
tion of assimilating the conditions of the production to 
the conventions of the modern stage. The curtain was 
not discarded, as at Balliol ; in fact a new one was used, 
painted specially for the occasion by Mr. Herkomer, then 
Slade Professor of Fine Art. The stage was still divided, 
the lower part being reserved to the chorus, who circled 
round the thymele in its centre, but the arrangements 
approximated more to modern than to ancient convention. 
It was not thought inappropriate, for instance, that Death 




Mr. Bourchier as Qdvaros in "The Alcestis." 

Frotn a photograph by Messrs. Hills ^ Saunders, Oxford. 



THE GREEK PLAY, OXFORD 59 

should enter up a trap-door, or that he should be provided 
with every melodramatic accessory. 

As to the lines of the chorus, they were accompanied 
by music, written by Mr. Lloyd, organist of Christchurch ; 
and although it was throughout archaic in feeling, and 
made a successful attempt to reproduce the tones of the 
music of the Greeks — it is not known, by the way, who 
judged of the success of this — although, also, the orchestra 
was restricted to two harps, a flute, and a clarionet, yet it 
was a distinct change from the simplicity of the " Agamem- 
non." But whatever were the disadvantages of these 
changes from the point of view of theories of a classical 
revival, there can be no question that from the point of 
view of the audience they were entirely justified by suc- 
cess. The music was throughout most impressive, the 
acting — especially, perhaps, that of Mr. Bourchier, Mr. 
Mason and Miss Harrison — was most effective, and the 
enterprise generally was allowed to be the most successful 
that the O.U.D.S. had yet attempted. Not that the produc- 
tion was without its unrehearsed incidents, amusing only 
unintentionally. Possibly the shade of Euripides was 
taking a mild revenge on those who would dare to present 
his masterpiece with the aid of modern theatrical device, 
for the two accidents which occurred were certainly con- 
nected with the most ambitious of the mechanical effects. 
Mr. Alan Mackinnon, equipped with the full paraphernalia 
of Apollo's traditional costume — for which see Classical 
Dictionary, passim — was to be let down in a thoroughly 
supernatural manner by strings from the sky. As this 
descent was taking place his bow — without which no 
Apollo would be complete — managed to get caught up in 
the strings, and Mr. Mackinnon narrowly escaped a violent 
death by strangling. This is probably the only recorded 



6o AMATEUR ACTING 

instance of the use of the bowstring in this country in the 
Turkish manner. Mr. Bourchier, on the other hand, most 
grimly made up, with gauze and dagger and whitened face, 
as Death, was to make his appearance at the other end, 
from below. For this entrance, that no attribute of terror 
should be lost, it was provided that clouds of steam should 
surround the spectral figure as he arose. This was to be 
arranged by a system of pipes of boiling water, certain 
valves of which were to be opened to produce the required 
nebulous effect. The stage hand, however, who had been 
placed in command of this murderous engine manipulated 
it with such adroitness that there issued not jets of steam, 
but of the hottest water, which nearly made Death belie 
his name by being boiled alive. After these two successful 
efforts the soul of the author was no doubt satisfied, for 
no more lives were endangered. That Mr. Bourchier 
should begin his first speech Q to yv/BlX}] in the year 
1887, when all Oxford were ringing with Corney Grain's 
famous song, belonged more to that class of accident 
that is prompted by " malice prepense " in the performer. 
This is only one among many instances in the O.U.D.S. 
when the " original Greek, " in which the play was per- 
formed, was even more original than that of the author. 

In the year 1892, when the next Greek play was 
attempted, the O.U.D.S. struck out a line entirely new. 
Tragedy was exchanged for comedy, and the last shreds 
of convention was abandoned in the performance for the 
sake of modern stage effect. The play chosen was the 
" Frogs " of Aristophanes, and the satire on the Athens of 
Pericles was illustrated by modern instances in the way 
of " business " and " properties " bearing a reference, more 
" up-to-date " and more easily understood, to the Oxford 
of to-day. Dr. Hubert Parry, who had previously written 



THE GREEK PLAY, OXFORD 6i 

music to a performance of the " Birds " at Cambridge, 
revelled, in the complicated score which he composed for 
the " Frogs," in every form of topical allusion and je:i 
cCesprit. A full orchestra was engaged, and no attempt was 
made to recall in any way an atmosphere of old music. 
The " Boulanger March " was pressed into the service side 
by side with reminiscences from Grand Opera, and with 
well-known English airs, to enforce modern applications of 
the points in the play. The result was to make the general 
idea of the satire of Aristophanes far more comprehensible 
to the majority of the audience than it could otherwise 
have been ; and whatever fault the scholar could find with 
the extravagance of the composer's method, he could 
certainly not deny its briUiance. There can be little 
doubt that it was to Dr. Parry's music that was due the 
great success which was achieved. In the staging and 
acting similar tactics were relied upon. It might have 
been thought that the fact of the committee of the Society 
being reinforced for this occasion by three senior members 
of the University — Mr. D. G. Hogarth of Magdalen, Mr. A. 
E. Haigh of Corpus, and Mr. R. W. Macan of University 
— would be some guarantee for the correctness of the pro- 
duction. This was true in a certain sense. An attempt 
being frankly made to give a realistic presentment of 
ancient Greek life by means of modern stage pictures, 
rather than to illustrate the comedy by following approxi- 
mately the conventions under which it was written, the 
advice of these gentlemen was invaluable in the question 
of the accuracy of scenery, properties, and costumes ; but 
with regard to any idea of giving an impression of the 
Greek theatre, upon which one of them was a leading 
authority, their assistance was not needed, as no endeavour 
of this sort was made. The double stage was abandoned. 



62 AMATEUR ACTING 

as was also the altar of Dionysus, and the chorus was dis- 
posed about the stage much as in a comic opera. The 
scenery, which was elaborate, and included many changes, 
was picturesque rather than conventional, and the acting 
aimed chiefly, with the music, at fitting modern applica- 
tion to ancient satire. The effect of all this upon the 
audience was tremendous. The theatre was packed at 
every performance, and the enthusiasm, when Charon 
instructed Dionysus to row across the Styx with all the 
manner of the coach and the freshman out " tubbing," 
was uproariously sympathetic. The O.U.D.S. was above 
playing burlesques as they did at Cambridge — at least it 
was not allowed — but the audience felt that they could 
manage to get quite near enough to it in Aristophanes to 
make a very entertaining evening. So the University 
flocked to the theatre, and the receipts for the " Frogs " 
exceeded those of any performance by the Society, either 
before or since. The acting was excellent almost through- 
out. The chief parts were taken by Mr. L. H. Helbert of 
Oriel (Dionysus), Mr. H. F. Lyon of Trinity (Xanthias), 
Mr. M. B. Furse of Trinity (Heracles), Mr. J. E. Talbot of 
Magdalen (^schylus) and Mr. A. A. Ponsonby of Balliol, 
who doubled the parts of the Corpse and Euripides. Per- 
haps Mr. Ponsonby made the most notable success, though 
where all were good it is difficult to distinguish. Mr. 
Furse combined with acting the part of Heracles the 
arduous duties of stage manager, and triumphed in both ; 
while Mr. Helbert added to his laurels as Dionysus the 
distinction of making the most amusing " gag " of the last 
performance — always an occasion with the O.U.D.S. for 
speeches (long and short remarks), witty and dull ; and 
bouquets (humorous and sentimental). An admirer on 
this occasion had thrown to Dionysus a bunch, which 



THE GREEK PLAY, OXFORD 63 

was obviously intended as a token of admiration for the 
donkey which stood patiently at his side. Dionysus 
picked it up, and bowing gracefully — history does not re- 
late whether he was inspired or had previously paid for the 
vegetables — said simply 'Kapire^. This brilliant repartee 
put a suitable ending to the most successful production of 
the O.U.D.S. It was a week gratefully remembered by 
many ; but by none was it so treasured as by the barbers 
of Oxford. For the design of the Greek costume, and the 
determination of the committee to discard the use of what, 
it is said, are technically known as " fleshings," had 
resulted in placing some of these gentlemen in a position 
of affluence almost sufficient to retire from business. 

The O.U.D.S. made no other attack on the Greek 
classics till 1897, when Aristophanes was again taken as 
the victim, and a performance was given of the " Knights." 
On this occasion the same methods were adopted as in 
the case of the " Frogs." The music, composed by the 
Rev. F. W. Russell of B.N.C., was again elaborate and 
again topical, and in this, as in both the acting and stage 
management, the object aimed at was to illustrate by 
allusion to local and contemporary points the satire on 
the politics of 2000 years ago. The management of the 
chorus was even more than in the " Frogs " that of comic 
opera, or rather of burlesque. So far from circling round 
a Dionysiac altar, they made their first entrance from all 
sides of the stage, and on hobby-horses, and their evolu- 
tions throughout were conducted with a view to ludicrous 
effect. The acting was treated in the same spirit. The 
two chief parts, those of Cleon and the Sausage-seller, 
were played by Mr. P. A. Rubens of University and Mr. 
H. M. Woodward of Keble. Both were excellent in 
different ways, Mr. Woodward shining more particularly 



64 AMATEUR ACTING 

as a comedian, and Mr. Rubens in passages which re- 
quired rather the treatment of burlesque. The other 
parts were taken by Mr. L. R. F. Oldershaw of Christ- 
church (Demus), Mr. A. N. Tayler of University (Nicias) 
and Mr. F. Stevens of Keble (Demosthenes), while Vis- 
count Suirdale (New College) was the Coryphaeus. 

The production of the " Knights " completes the list 
of the Greek play revivals at Oxford. Extending, as this 
list does, from the severe simplicity of the " Agamemnon," 
the first Greek play in England, to the frankly modernised 
stage management of the " Frogs " and the " Knights," it 
suggests the much-debated question of the spirit in which 
the revival of Greek plays at the Universities should be 
undertaken. When, after the *' Agamemnon," the step 
was made towards elaboration in the stage setting of the 
" Alcestis," there were some who thought that the chief 
virtue of these representations was being lost. When the 
producers of the " Frogs " entirely discarded convention to 
give the most elaborate effect to the play, opinions were 
even more divided. It was argued that this method of 
presentation abandoned the whole raison d'etre of putting 
these works upon the stage ; that it might be amusing, but 
it certainly was not classical ; and that it was merely a 
veiled way of producing a modern burlesque under the 
cloak of the Greek author. For this last argument there 
was certainly some ground. No opportunity was missed 
in which a topical interpretation could be given to the 
Greek lines of Aristophanes, both in the acting, the stage 
management and the music ; and these passages were 
naturally the most successful with the audience. It is a 
doubtful question, on the other hand, whether, if they 
were not done in this way, the comedies could be pro- 
duced by the O.U.D.S. at all. The allusions, almost all 



THE GREEK PLAY, OXFORD 65 

to contemporary affairs, are very dead to a mainly ignor- 
ant audience 2000 years after the event, if they are not 
helped out with some modern appHcation, and it is chiefly 
upon these allusions that the plays are based. The 
tragedies, which deal with emotions which are eternal, 
are in a different case, as the performance of the 
" Agamemnon " showed. With the comedies, the alter- 
native is to play them with modern adaptations of the 
satire and to crowded houses, or, in what is obviously the 
better, and in the end the only reasonable, way, to an 
audience which understands the real allusion, but which 
is necessarily very limited. It is here that a society like 
the O.U.D.S. is in rather a difficult position. It is ex- 
pected to perform a Greek play from time to time, and 
apart from the rather natural disinclination of its members 
to act to empty benches, and the also rather natural 
inclination of some of them to indulge in the nearest 
thing they can to burlesque, there remains the fact that 
the Society cannot afford to produce a play in a way 
which is not likely to cover expenses — and these are not 
light. The only thoroughly satisfactory way to present 
these plays is, if not with the open-air theatre of Bradiield, 
at least with absolute simplicity, as was the production at 
Balliol. But if the O.U.D.S. adopted this plan it would 
probably find itself with very small takings to meet the 
expenses. Besides, the necessary incursion into anti- 
quarianism is not peculiarly attractive to most of the 
members of a club like this, whose desire is primarily to 
do some acting. The decree of Dr. Jowett, which con- 
fined the Society to Shakespeare, few of its members 
would regret, but there are certainly some who would 
deplore the additional obligation to periodically produce 
a Greek play. The senior members of the University are 

E 



66 AMATEUR ACTING 

probably more interested in the latter part of the pursuits 
of the Society than in the former; and as the senior 
members of the University are obviously more qualified 
to supervise the management of the Greek plays in a 
scholarly way, and are more in touch with the audiences 
which the Greek plays attract, it would seem more fitting 
that the production of them should be in their own 
hands. This is the position at Cambridge, and might 
advisedly be imitated at Oxford. Whether a College Hall 
is more adapted to the necessary simplicity of the pro- 
duction or not — and those who remember the " Agamem- 
non " would be inclined to say that it is — there can be no 
question that if they were placed entirely in the hands of 
graduates these revivals would gain much in correctness 
and appropriateness of rendering. The elaboration of 
music and scenery, and the modernising of the plays to 
make them attractive to the multitude, have tended to 
spoil these performances ; but this was the only way in 
which the O.U.D.S., unaided, could attempt to under- 
take them. Let them return, under other auspices, to a 
simpler form of presentation, and leave the O.U.D.S. to 
the more congenial task of acting the plays of Shake- 
speare. 



V 

THE A.D.C., CAMBRIDGE 

1861-1898 

By the editor 

MY best thanks are due to the under-mentioned gentle- 
men for the kind assistance they have afforded me 
in the preparation of the following record : — Mr. J. W. 
Clark, Mr. Albert Bankes, the Right Hon. J. W. Lowther, 
M.P., Mr. H. A. Newton, Lord Willoughby d'Eresby, M.P., 
Mr. W. H. Leese, and Mr. R. Balfour. 

W. G. Elliot. 

July 1898. 

In attempting to write any history of the Cambridge 

Amateur Dramatic Club, there are two names that must ever 

be pre-eminent — those of the founder, Mr. F. C. Burnand, 

and the best friend, Mr. J. W. Clark. Had it not been for 

the exertions of these two gentlemen, one who, in the face 

of great difficulties, knit together the stones of this historic 

assembly, and the other, who, ever watchful, kept them from 

faUing apart, it is more than possible that by this time the 

Club would have ceased to exist. Those who have been 

so fortunate as to read Mr. Burnand's entertaining book, 

" Personal Reminiscences of the A.D.C.," will doubtless 

remember the obstacles which beset its formation : how 

it first began in a quiet sort of way in rooms, then 

67 



68 AMATEUR ACTING 

migrated to the Hoop Hotel, and finally entered on its 
present comfortable quarters at the corner of Jesus Lane. 
Unfortunately the scope of the present chapter does not 
admit of any detailed reference to the years 1855-63, the 
period covered by Mr. Burnand's book, which also contains 
a full account of the plays acted within that period. For 
the same reason it is impossible to mention the numerous 
performances which have taken place, and the numerous 
performers who have acted between 1863 and the present 
date. The plan followed, therefore, will be as follows : 
The full casts will be given of those plays which have been 
deemed to be of special merit, and as many of the others 
as possible will be alluded to. 

As regards the earlier period then, suffice it to say 
that the psychological moment having arrived, Mr. 
Burnand — thus showing that he had made a careful 
study, not only of the actor's art, but also of the perru- 
quier's — determined to beard the Vice-Chancellor in his 
den. It was necessary to obtain this gentleman's per- 
mission to give a performance in the big room of the 
Bull Hotel, where money might be taken ; the plays to 
be acted being " Villikins and his Dinah " and " Box and 
Cox." The account of the interview between the two is 
one of the most delightful things in the " Reminiscences," 
Would there were space to quote from it ! The result 
thereof was ultimately unsatisfactory, the Vice-Chancellor 
refusing his permission ; but Mr. Burnand was not to be 
outdone. Very soon an opportunity offered itself. The 
Athenaeum Club got up a performance, which was practi- 
cally winked at by the authorities, and the opportunity 
was seized. If they wink at one club, they must wink at 
another ; and so came the securing of a room at the Hoop 
Hotel, and the foundation of the A.D.C. The first per- 
formance took place in the May term of 1855, and from 



THE A.D.C, CAMBRIDGE 69 

that time to this there has never been break or inter- 
mission. No doubt this continuity has been to a very 
large extent secured by the good offices of Mr. J. W. 
Clark, to whose great services allusion will be made later 
on. Fortunately, too — owing to his exertions, aided by 
those of the late indefatigable President, Mr. R. Balfour 
— a complete record of the Club's performances from 
1855 to 1897 is now in the possession of the A.D.C, 
with all the playbills complete. 

A retrospect shows that there have, to all intents and 
purposes, been three periods. They may be classified as 

follows : — 

1855-66. Burlesque and Farce. 

1866-88. Comedy and Drama. 

1888-98. Modern Burlesque. 

Now it is interesting to note that these two latter periods 
appear to coincide with the general dramatic taste of the 
day. It was just about 1888 that the public began to 
evince a marked aptitude for the lighter forms of enter- 
tainment. Whereas they had hitherto patronised the 
drama proper very steadily, the bulk of them then began 
to turn their attention to— not exactly the drama improper 
— but to those theatres where what is known as "the 
sacred lamp of burlesque" and musical comedy, a later 
development of the music-hall, held sway. The aforesaid 
" sacred lamp " had always burnt pretty brightly, it now 
began to assume the brilliancy of a large electric cluster. 
It is pretty evident that Cambridge at once felt the effect 
of the new wave of public taste, and responded thereto. 

They had a good deal to struggle against in 1888. 
Five years' competition with the Cambridge Theatre, an 
institution unknown in the earlier days, and, it must be 
owned, an exceedingly slack period between 1883 and 
1888, when the acting, from all accounts, was not up to 



70 AMATEUR ACTING 

the usual standard, tended to lower the Club in popular 
estimation. Moreover, since 1882 they had the onus of 
a heavy debt, which it was absolutely necessary to incur 
— more of this later — and the funds, too, were at a very 
low ebb. Burlesque, however, saved them. It was good 
policy to revert to the ideas of Mr. Burnand's time, but it 
was better policy still to dress them up in a new form. 
Those who were in authority at the time were clever 
enough to see this, and they did it. What was the result ? 
Burlesque in the May term has paid ever since. 

In 1861-62, when Mr. Albert Bankes was President, 
there were a number of young men in residence who have 
since distinguished themselves in different ways. The 
present Earl Carrington was the leading lady, and Messrs. 
Burnand and Quintin Twiss — the latter celebrated ama- 
teur coming from Oxford, but still an honorary member 
of the A.D.C. — used to come down and act occasionally, 
although B.A.'s and absentees. Lord Henniker, now 
Governor of the Isle of Man, the late Mr. Arthur Guest, a 
Director of the London & South-Western Railway, and 
Mr. Edward Ross, the champion rifle shot, were, with Mr. 
Bankes, representatives of " the supers " of that period. 
H.R.H, the Prince of Wales was also in statu piipillari, and 
belonged to the Club. He often came to see the perform- 
ances, and showed not so very long ago that his interest 
in the A.D.C. still exists by kindly assenting to take the chair 
at the dinner held to commemorate the 25th anniversary 
of its foundation. Of this more in its proper place. 

During Mr. Bankes' term of Presidency a remarkable 
scene happened one evening. The thunder — a thin piece 
of sheet-iron, six feet by two, decided, for no particular 
reason, to fall from its nail on to the bridge of Lord 
Pollington's nose. He was at the moment waiting for 
his cue at the side, and the farce had just begun. Fleet- 



THE A.D.C, CAMBRIDGE 71 

footed supers rushed hither and thither for cotton-wool 
and plaster, and the noble Viscount pluckily announced 
his intention of proceeding with his part. Unfortunately 
the blood could not be stanched, so the curtain had to 
come down. Mr. Albert Bankes, advancing to the front, 
said, " Ladies and Gentlemen, the thunder having fallen 
on Lord PoUington's nose, the piece just commenced 
must be withdrawn ; but to prevent disappointment, 
within five minutes another farce shall be played by 
members of the Club." 

In 1864 the College Tutors made their first appear- 
ance at the A.D.C. — it certainly was by no means their 
last — and wanted to stop the acting altogether. " Waste 
of time" was the reason given. However, several gra- 
duates wrote a beautiful letter to the authorities, wherein 
they urged the plea "that the A.D.C, and the A.D.C. 
alone, had taught them the secret of producing, in after 
life, that impassioned flow of eloquence and invective that 
had already made its mark, not only in the Lower Cham- 
ber, but had likewise stirred hoary-headed and somnolent 
Peers to fresh efforts in the, at times, more lethargic 
Upper House. Parish meetings — ay, even Local Autho- 
rities, Quarter-Sessions, and rugged Scottish Commissioners 
of Supply were listening with fascination to the younger 
generation, who were thus knocking at the door. This 
wonderful result had been obtained from acting at the 
A.D.C. Could the Tutors be so hard-hearted ? Could they 
be so blind to the vital fact that any society that could get 
all this out of its members should be encouraged — not put 
down ? " Needless to say, the Tutors gave way to a man. 
The appeal got about into donnish circles. Strong and 
bearded Senior Classics were seen to turn pale ; Junior 
Bursars forgot to count their money-bags; sallow, emaciated 
Wranglers writhed uneasily in their not-often-to-be-changed 



72 AMATEUR ACTING 

flannel shirts ; even the Heads of Colleges were visibly 
moved, and the Club proceeded on its way. 

Proceeding with the narrative of events from 1864, 
when Mr. Burnand made his last appearance either in the 
" Critic " or in " Robert Macaire," a strong cast is to be 
found acting in 1865 — Messrs. P. Finch, F. Ramsbotham, 
N. A. Hunt, F. Maclean, Q.C. — now holding a high judicial 
post in India — and the present Sir Charles Hall, Q.C. 

The next year, 1866, marks an era in A.D.C. history. 
After much cogitation the Committee decided to break 
away from the traditions of the past, and present for the 
first time a three-act comedy, Tom Taylor's " Overland 
Route." A great deal of doubt was expressed as to the 
wisdom of the step, but it was fully justified by its success. 
Much care was taken over the production. The late Mr. 
David Powell, lately Governor of the Bank of England, 
who was up at the time, was a tower of strength in the 
way of scene-painting and stage-management, making a 
special study of the scenes required. The cabin of the 
Peninsular & Oriental steamship Simoom was voted a 
great success ; but it was entirely eclipsed by Act II., the 
Deck of the Simoom, and Act III., a Coral Reef. These were 
the most elaborate " sets " the Club had yet undertaken, 
and all sorts of touches were added to give reality, e.g. 
the small swing-lamps in the cabin, which Mr. Powell 
procured, and which were made exactly after the P. & O. 
model. 

Now, any one who has had much to do with plays 
knows that the " Overland Route " is an extremely diffi- 
cult piece to produce. The cast is a big one, each part 
requires good acting, and there is a tremendous amount 
of what is technically known as " business," especially at 
the end of the second act, when the ship strikes on a reef, 
and a panic ensues among the passengers. There is a 



THE A.D.C, CAMBRIDGE 



73 



crowd of supers, consisting of Lascars, stewards, officers, 
and travellers of all types, whose dresses want careful think- 
ing out and arranging properly. That this difficult task 
was carried through successfully shows what a number of 
very strong men must have been members at the time. 
Contemporary records all go to show that this perform- 
ance — the first — of the " Overland Route " was one of 
the big successes of the A.D.C. No doubt the most 
remarkable bit of acting in the play was Mr. Cyril Flower, 
now Lord Battersea, as Mrs. Sebright, the gay, flirtatious 
grass-widow. The cast was a fine one all round, but this 
assumption stood out pre-eminently, and Mr. Flower's 
photograph, now hanging in the Club rooms, shows how 
wonderful he must have looked. The effect made by this 
play was so great, that it practically gave the keynote to 
the style of piece acted for more than twenty years after- 
wards. It inaugurated the second period above referred 
to. Cast :— 



THE OVERLAND ROUTE." 



Mr. Colepepper 
Sir Solomon Fraser 
Major M'Turk 
Tom Dexter 
Mr. Lovibond 
Captain Clavering 
Captain Smar 
Hardisty 
Tottle . 
Moleskin 
Limpet . 
Jack Sebrigh 
Smiths and Jackson 
Mrs. Lovibond 
Mrs. Sebright 
Miss Colepepper 
Grim wood 
Mrs. Rabbits 



Mr. W. A. Bankes. 
. Mr. F. Ramsbotham. 
Mr. E. F. Pellew. 
Mr. C. Hall. 
Mr. P. Finch. 
Mr. A. K. FiNLAY. 
. Mr. C. E. SWAINSON. 
Mr. H. A. G. MORRALL. 
. Mr. H. Powell. 
. Mr. N. A. Hunt. 
. Marquis of Huntly. 
Mr. H. J. RouPELL. 
Messrs COLVIN and LONG. 
. Mr. E. S. SwAiNSON. 
. Mr. C. Flower. 
. Lord Ellesmere. 
. Mr. C. Gaussen. 
Lord Ronald Leveson-Gower. 



74 AMATEUR ACTING 

The great success of 1866 evidently urged Mr. Flower 
and his associates to greater deeds, for they attempted in 

1867, most unwisely as it turned out, to give a represen- 
tation of nothing short of " Ruy Bias " in blank verse. 
According to the record, "the scenery and 'appointments' 
— whatever they may be — were excellent, but the play 
turned out to be much too hard for amateurs to perform." 
The whole thing was evidently rather a dismal failure, but 
the play was in part saved by an unrehearsed effect which 
came off in the last act. In the middle of a dark scene, 
just as Ruy Bias had stabbed Don Salluste, and as the 
lifeless body went plop over the parapet, the figure of the 
Club page-boy was seen to steal slowly across the stage, 
bearing a brandy and soda on a tray to an individual who 
was waiting for his cue on the opposite side, and who was 
evidently nervous. Perhaps this was one of the " appoint- 
ments " above referred to. 

The next event of importance was the production, in 

1868, of the "Contested Election." It was here that Mr. 
Herbert Gardner, now Lord Burghclere, made his first 
appearance, indeed a most excellent Jeutte prcmter, and one 
of the A.D.C.'s. very best actors. Mr. Reginald Kelly too 
scored another of his big successes. The Church and St. 
Paul's Cathedral have now claimed him for their own. 
Mr. Gardner seems to have been the best lover the Club 
ever possessed, for in " Plot and Passion," acted about 
this time, a long love speech spoken by Henri de Neuville, 
which had been cut out at rehearsal as presenting too 
many difficulties, was reinserted after the first perform- 
ance, and rendered by him with admirable effect. 

In 1869 the " School for Scandal " was played, wherein 
Mr. Gardner, as Charles Surface, and others won great 
triumphs. Mr. Walter Durnford, too, now one of our 



THE A.D.C., CAMBRIDGE 75 

most popular Eton masters, scored heavily in the part of 
Lady Teazle. 

In 1870 they tried rather a curious experiment. A 
piece was wanted with no female interest therein. Now 
every one knows that this is a dangerous venture on the 
stage as well as in real life, dangerous because boredom so 
often ensues. The individual known through the medium 
of the novel and play as the " crabbed old bachelor " will 
probably respond — that is, if he talks in old-fashioned stage 
language — " Stuff, sir ; stuff and nonsense ! I don't want 
a parcel of silly, chattering women, with their ribbons 
and laces, bothering me ! No, sir, neither when I go to 
see a play or at home ! " At this juncture in the play or 
novel a bright creature with golden hair depending down 
her spinal column invariably creeps into the room and 
whispers, "Oh, Mr. Hatemall, I've brought you mother's 
miniature. Did you not know her when she was a girl ? " 
Then the C.O.B. always breaks down and sobs, because 
he was attracted towards her when she was seventeen. 

But, bachelor or no bachelor, it was necessary to find 
a play without any ladies therein. It appeared impossible. 
But, ha ! Ecce, behold ! En, lo ! That guardian angel of 
the A.D.C., Mr. J. W. Clark, clad not in dazzling raiment 
and wings, but in an ordinary suit of clothes, suddenly de- 
scended on the committee room firmly grasping a long pole 
in his hand, and in a far-away voice volunteered to rewrite 
the "Courier de Lyons," leaving out the female interest, 
which is slight. The idea was received with a hoarse shout 
of approval from eight wearied throats, and it was done. 
The play was rearranged ; Joliquet, Jerome Lesurques' 
servant, made one of the principal parts, so as to give Mr. 
Gardner a good chance, and the whole was voted a great 
success. It is not generally known that besides writing 



76 AMATEUR ACTING 

this capital version, Mr. Clark also invented the English 
title by which the play has been known ever since, viz., 
*'The Lyons Mail." 

1870 saw another rising of the Tutors against the 
Club. Looking back on A.D.C. history, an investment 
in Tutors would have been a capital thing — they seemed 
to be so constantly rising — not unlike, too, the Picts and 
Scots of a slightly earlier period. They w^ere only quelled 
after a scene of awful carnage, wherein the A.D.C. lost 
nearly the whole headquarter staff, and had also to 
accept ten additional rules. The feeling appears to have 
been so strong at this period that the curtain had to be 
dropped at eleven sharp one night, although the play 
was not over! Exeunt the Tutors "for a little, just a 
little," as a somewhat ancient comic song hath it. 

In 1872 a farce was to be played one night, in which 
Mr. Hunt, one of the great guns, was to take part. The 
house was crowded, the time came, but no signs of Hunt. 
The manager, who was evidently an awfully funny and 
amusing man, walked on to the stage and remarked that 
Mr. Hunt was not in the house, but that they would 
''hunt" for him elsewhere. Shouts of laughter. The 
firing off of this witticism, which was very properly 
so splendidly received, evidently seemed to clear the 
manager's brain, for he suddenly became possessed of a 
brilliant idea. Spying out Mr. Reginald Kelly sitting 
among the audience, he requested him to ascend on to 
the stage and give one of his well-known piano sketches 
a la John Parry. Mr. Kelly very kindly obliged, and his 
sketch was such a success that it had to be repeated every 
night. When it was over, the " hunt " ha ! ha ! having 
been successful, the farce was proceeded with. 

1873, besides witnessing a revival of the "Overland 



THE A.D.C., CAMBRIDGE 77 

Route," was noticeable for the production of Sullivan 
and Burnand's charming operetta, " Cox and Box." It 
was acted by Messrs. George Murray, Jekyll, and G. H. 
Longman, the celebrated cricketer. 

1874 saw the "Heir at Law," with Mr. A. T. Olive 
as Dr. Pangloss. 

1875 was the beginning of a very strong time, which 
culminated in 1882. "London Assurance" was given. 
The Hon. A. Bourke played Dazzle, and Mr. J. W., now 
the Right Hon. J. W., Lowther, Chairman of Committees 
in the House of Commons, and Mr. F. Cavendish- 
Bentinck, two of the Club's best actors, first appeared 
before a Cambridge audience. During the rehearsals, 
Mr. Bourke, being lame, had to do his rehearsal in an 
arm-chair. Dazzle in an arm-chair ! The Hon. Stephen 
Coleridge, who acted Sir Harcourt Courtly according to 
contemporary records, " ought to have looked like an old 
man made up young, instead of which he looked like a 
young man made up old." Where were Clarkson and 
assistants ? Mr. Percy Crutchley, who was the " Cool " of 
the occasion, is reported to have opened the play thus — 
" Eight o'clock, and Mr. Charles not yet returned." This 
he did most admirably, but always bent down towards 
the footlights in order to see by their light what the time 
was by his watch. 

In February 1876 they acted for the first time after 
the usual anniversary dinner. The performances had 
hitherto been restricted to three nights per week, but this 
was the beginning of somewhat more liberty. Bravo, the 
Tutors ! The piece chosen was the " Thumping Legacy," 
the only comic incident being the contrast in size of the 
two Carbineers. Mr., now Dr., Alan Gray, Mus. Doc, who 
presides over the organ in Trinity Chapel, was by far the 



78 AMATEUR ACTING 

tallest man in the university. His colleague was a little 
boy, the son of the late Mr. Townley, Lord-Lieutenant of 
the County. This young man was suddenly impressed 
into the service of the Carbineers at the last moment, they 
being evidently one short. He was so terrified when his 
co-Carbineer suddenly stalked on to the stage that he was 
seized with a fit of the wriggles, which eventually deprived 
him of his trousers, and gave a somewhat "Hieland" 
smack to the whole affair. 

In 1875 "She Stoops to Conquer" was mounted. 
Much care was exercised in its production. Mr. Coe 
coached, and Mr. J. O'Connor, the scene-painter at the 
Haymarket, came down to paint the chief scene, " A Room 
at Hardcastle's." It took the whole of the A.D.C. stage, 
and was very pretty. All the furniture and properties — 
no " appointments " this time — were carefully thought out, 
and anachronism religiously eschewed. It was most ex- 
cellently acted all round, Mr. Howard Sturgis as Miss 
Hardcastle in a Gainsborough hat being wonderful, both 
in appearance and performance. 

This year the theatre was redecorated by private 
subscription. On the second night Mr. J. W. Clark 
pulled up the curtain too soon, and Miss Hardcastle and 
Miss Neville— acted by Sir George Douglas — were dis- 
covered among the " Shabby fellows " in the Inn. Cheers 
and laughter. 

In November 1877 they acted "Money," and five 
nights' performance were allowed. One of the A.D.C.'s 
most celebrated actors here made his bow, viz., Mr. 
Charles Brookfield. Those who have seen his admirable 
work on the stage will be interested to know that this was 
his first — as it were — regular appearance. " Money " was 
another very decided success, and was very well cast. 



THE A.D.C., CAMBRIDGE 79 

Mr. Lowther played Evelyn ; Mr. Frank Foster, Sir Fred- 
erick ; Mr. C. Newton, Clara Douglas ; and Mr. Brookfield, 
Sir John Vesey ; and also Messiter in a " Nice Firm," the 
farce preceding the comedy, wherein Mr. G. Milner- 
Gibson, now Mr. Cullum, made a great hit as Miss Apple- 
john. He was a very excellent comedian, especially in 
middle-aged ladies' parts. An amusing incident happened 
in the first act of " Money " ; Mr., now the Rev., A. W. 
Pulteney was acting Lady Franklin, and acting it very 
well. Shortly before the end of the act off came his 
blonde wig. It was hopeless to try and put it on again, 
so he kept it in his lap ; but his well-known features and 
short hair suddenly appearing on the top of his smart 
gown convulsed the audience. 

One night too, during the progress of the " Nice 
Firm," Mr. Lowther gave Mr. Brookfield a little surprise. 
The latter's first lines were spoken to a supposed cabman 
outside, with whom he was disputing over the fare. With- 
out informing Mr. Brookfield of his intention, Mr. Lowther 
got himself up as a cabman, carefully concealed himself 
until the latter had gone in, and then burst in with a 
demand for a larger fare. The audience caught the 
humour of the situation, and appreciated the joke hugely. 

Now comes, perhaps, the finest performance ever given 
at the A.D.C., viz., the "Ticket-of- Leave Man," by Tom 
Taylor, in 1878. A very great deal of trouble was taken. 
The chief parts were cast in the May term before, and 
Mr. Horace Wigan, who created the part of " Hawkshaw 
the Detective," coached. It is indeed difficult to single out 
any one person for special commendation in the very fine 
cast, but Mr. Brookfield made a tremendous hit by his 
presentation of " Jem Dalton alias the Tiger," the forger, 
his assumptions of character in the different disguises this 



8o AMATEUR ACTING 

individual assumes being nothing short of wonderful. 
Those too who witnessed Mr. J. W. Lowther's perform- 
ance of Bob Brierly will never forget it. The manliness, 
strength, and pathos of the character were brought out by 
him in remarkable style, and his technique was perfect. 
Lord Binning as Sam Willoughby, the boy, was splendid, 
and Mr. Cullum as his mother was equally so. Special 
mention should also be made of the Melter Moss of 
the Hon., now, '' and Rev." A. G. Lawley, and the Hawk- 
shaw of the Hon. R. Milnes, now Lord Crewe — all the 
others too were first-rate. In fact, for good acting, per- 
fect rehearsal, finish, and good scenery, painted by the 
deft hand of Mr. C. Newton, the comely Clara Douglas of 
" Money," this A.D.C. production will be hard to beat. 
Cast : — 

"THE TICKET-OF-LEAVE MAN." 

Bob Brierly Mr. J. W. Lowther. 

Jem Dalton Mr. C. H. Brookfifxd. 

Melter Moss Hon. A. G. Lawley. 

Hawkshaw Hon. R. O. A. MiLNES. 

Mr. Gibson Mr. J. A. Watson-Taylor. 

Sam Willoughby Lord Binning. 

Maltby Mr. S. Chisenhale-Marsh. 

Waiter Mr. Claude Ponsonby. 

1st and 2nd Detectives . Hon. W. Sugden and Mr. R. L. Pike. 

i Messrs. W. A. Wigram, J. A. Orr- 
EwiNG, P. S. Hodgson, W. G. 
Elliot, C. Hodgson, H. T. Hall. 

May Edwards Mr. J. Bolton. 

Mrs. Willoughby . . . Mr. G. Milner-Gibson-Cullum. 

This performance ended Mr. J. W. Lowther's active 
connection with the Club, although he has always been 
one of those who have maintained a warm interest therein 
in after life. His term of office was a very remarkable 



THE A.D.C., CAMBRIDGE 8i 

one. As earlier mentioned, the period 1875-82 inclusive 
represented one of the strongest periods of A.D.C. history, 
and he had all to do with the management in the first part 
thereof. An excellent stage-manager, an excellent actor, 
and an excellent fellow and good friend to all who 
knew him, his place at Cambridge will not be easily 
filled.^ 

1879 was chiefly remarkable for a good performance 
by Hon. R. Milnes of Mr. Affable Hawk, in the "Game of 
Speculation," George Henry Lewis's adaptation of " Mer- 
cadet," in which Mr. Claude Ponsonby, Mr. S. Chisenhale- 
Marsh, Hon. " Joe " Lawley — brother of Hon. A. G. Lawley 
— also distinguished themselves greatly. A fine bit of 
acting too was Mr. E. D. Beylard's Dufard in the " First 
Night," which followed. 

Lent term, 1880. The following circular speaks for 
itself : — "The Lent term, 1880, is the 25th Anniversary of 
the foundation of the A.D.C. It is proposed to celebrate 
the occasion by a dinner, at which H.R.H. the Prince of 
Wales has consented to preside, and it is hoped that all 
old members will be present. The dinner will take place 
in the Guildhall, Cambridge, on February 26th, and will 
be followed by a performance by members of the Club 
in the A.D.C. Theatre. Applications for tickets, price 
£1, IS., should be made not later than February 20th 
to the Secretary, Trinity College." The toast list ran 
thus : — 



1 The individual who so kindly supplies notes for the next three years was 
closely connected with affairs from this time forth till the end of l88i, sometimes 
only acting, but for the greater part in the responsible and stern position of stage- 
manager, combined later with the more genial one of President. It would be as 
well, therefore, for readers of this history to take any remarks he makes as to 
the superexcellence of the acting, management, and presidential urbanity of this 
period with the usual grain of salt. — Ed. 

F 



AMATEUR ACTING 



Proposer. 

H.R.H. THE Prince 

OF Wales 



Toast, 
" The Queen." 



To Respond. 



President of the 
A.D.C. 



" The Prince and Prin- 
cess of Wales, and 
the rest of the Royal 
f Family." 
H.R.H. THE Prince 5 " Prosperity to the 

OF Wales I A.D.C." 

Secretary A.D.C. " Old Members." 



Secretary A.D.C. 
Mr. F. C. Burnand. 



Committee. 
President, Hon. Ivo Bligh ; Hon. Secretary and Treasurer., Mr. 
T. K. Tapling ; Stage-Manager, Mr. W. G. Elliot ; and Messrs. 

E. D. Beylard, Claude A. C. Ponsonby, H. Whitfeld, and Hon. 
R. Leigh. 

The design of the theatre-programme consisted of an 

undergraduate and a girl holding a ring with the A. D. C. 

motto within, and the words " Silver wedding : Founder, 

F. C. Burnand." Cast :— 

"TICKLISH TIMES." 



A Farce by J 

Sir William Ramsay 
Mr. Bodkins . 
Lancelot Griggs 
Jansen . 
Constables 
Mrs. Griggs 
Winifred 
Dot 



Maddison Morton. 

. Mr. G. Streatfeild. 

Mr. W. G. Elliot. 

Mr. S. Chisenhale-Marsh. 

Mr. T. B. Miller. 

Messrs. H. Calvert and R. Pike. 

. Hon. R. Leigh. 

, Mr. E. P. Tennant. 

. Hon. R. White. 



THE FIRST NIGHT." 



Hon. Bertie Fitzdangle 

Hyacinth Parnassus 

Mr. Vamp 

Mr. Flat . 

Achille Talma Dufard 

Emilie Antoinette Rose 

Miss Arabella Fitzjames 

Call Boy . 

Actors, lie. Messrs. Miller, F. 



Mr. Claude A. C. Ponsonby. 
Mr. S. Chisenhale-Marsh. 
. Mr. J. M. Paulton. 
Mr. W. G. Elliot. 
. Mr. E. D. Beylard. 
. Hon. R. Leigh. 
Mr. G. M.-G.-CULLUM. 
Mr. W. E. P. Burges. 
MiLDMAY, Tennant, Manners. 



THE A.D.C., CAMBRIDGE 83 

The whole passed off very well indeed. H.R.H. the 
Prince of Wales presided in his usual admirable way, and 
made some excellent speeches. The same may be said of 
those delivered by Mr. Burnand, Mr. Tapling, and Hon. 
Ivo Bligh. Afterwards, to the theatre, where smoking 
and acting were indulged in to a late hour. The Prince 
expressed himself well pleased, especially with Messrs. 
Beylard and T. B. Miller, now a celebrated M.F.H., 
who scored largely as Jansen, the mysterious smuggler. 
History relates that Mr. Miller was brought up to be 
introduced to H.R.H., who was preparing to utter some 
complimentary words, but was entirely forestalled by Mr. 
Miller's immediate remark, " Hope your Royal Highness 
enjoyed the performance ? I saw you laughing ! " After 
this there was naturally no more to be said. 

Mr. Miller was not only a capital actor, but possessed 
a rich vein of natural humour in private life. On one 
occasion, wonderfully made up and arrayed in the simili- 
tude of a German Baron that eateth sausages, he patrolled 
Trinity Old Court in the daytime, on the arm of the stern 
stage manager above alluded to, costumed as his nephew, 
who pointed out to his uncle the various objects of interest, 
such as the Chapel, Hall, Master's Lodge, residence of the 
two Deans, &c., in all of which the Baron took the liveliest 
interest. The porters at the gate were vastly amused. 

The constitution of the A.D.C. Committee, which con- 
sisted of eight undergraduate members, had up to this 
time (1880) been conducted on the principle that the 
whole internal business, writing, and financial work, in- 
cluding the collecting and presentation of accounts, fell 
upon the shoulders of one person, who was at once 
secretary and treasurer for the time being. This was an 
excessively bad practice, and the disadvantage obvious. 



84 AMATEUR ACTING 

It was impossible for a post of this nature, which carried 
with it all the Club obligations, to be properly adminis- 
tered when the individual in charge was constantly 
changing. The result was that accounts were left un- 
paid ; the work done by one man had suddenly to be 
taken up by another, who might or might not have any 
particular aptitude for the post ; and at last came the end 
— hopeless confusion and embarrassment. There is no 
doubt that many of the earlier A.D.C. troubles arose from 
this pernicious system ; i.e. one person having to act both 
as treasurer and secretary, instead of splitting the posts and 
making the former a permanent one. Matters reached 
a climax in the October term 1880. It was then found 
that the twenty-fifth anniversary dinner, the cost of which 
had been estimated at £\y is. per head, practically cost 
X2, 2s. ! What with other debts, the total liabilities were 
^420 ! ! Of course a general meeting was called to discuss 
the situation. The subjoined extracts from the Minutes 
give the evolution thereof : — 

" The treasurer read out a list of debts, amounting to 
^420. He calculated that subscriptions would bring in 
about ;^2oo. This left ^^220 to be provided. He appealed 
to the generosity of members who dined at the anniver- 
sary dinner to pay ^^i as the subscription for this term." 

" The Hon. John Wallop proposed that the price of 
performance tickets be raised ; but this was felt to be too 
great a speculation. The treasurer's motion was ultimately 
carried by two votes." 

" Mr. Wallop then proposed, and Mr. Chisenhale-Marsh 
seconded, that the office of treasurer and secretary should 
be no longer held by one member of the Committee, but 
a permanent treasurer should be appointed, whose con- 
stant experience in the office would prevent such heavy 



THE A.D.C., CAMBRIDGE 85 

debts being incurred. After a vain attempt to adjourn 
the meeting, Mr. Wallop's motion was put and carried by 
one vote. It was decided to offer the post to Mr. J. W. 
Clark, M.A., and in case of a refusal, to summon another 
general meeting. Mr. Clark accepted the post." 

This was indeed a stormy meeting. The Committee, 
who opposed Mr. Wallop's excellent motion, were beaten, 
but did not resign. Subsequent events showed that, 
although they were quite wrong in opposing Mr. Wallop, 
they were right in still clinging to office. The appoint- 
ment of Mr. J. W. Clark to the post of permanent trea- 
surer was one of the best moves the Club ever made, and 
Mr. Wallop and Mr. Marsh may be heartily thanked by 
posterity. Mr. Clark, better known as "J," has shown 
himself to be the best friend the A.D.C. ever had, and his 
business mind and experience have been invaluable at 
all their councils. That admirable reciter, Mr. Henry A. 
Newton, the stage-manager of 1882, never made a happier 
remark than when he said, some years later, " At the cele- 
bration of the fiftieth anniversary the principal feature 
shall be the entrance of ' J ' into the Club-room in a car 
decked with flowers, and drawn by eight cream-coloured 
stage-managers." 

In 1880 a weird and awful melodrama by J. R. Planche, 
entitled "The Day of Reckoning," was acted. It con- 
sisted of nine acts, the story of the last three being entirely 
different to that of the first six. This curious state of 
things was effectively symbolised by Mr. Claude Ponsonby, 
who appeared in a white shirt with a low collar, long hair, 
and a moustache, in the first six acts ; and a jerkin of Lin- 
coln green, short hair and a chin-beard, with no moustache, 
in the last three. Unfortunately " J " pulled up the cur- 
tain too soon one night on the final tableau, when Mr. 



86 AMATEUR ACTING 

Ponsonby, having been killed by the stern stage-manager 
above alluded to, was rearranging himself for another 
death position in Mr. Streatfeild's arms. This situation 
saved an exceedingly dull play from the audience's 
point of view — but the language behind was so awful 
that "J" and the stage-manager incontinently fled to 
tell a few beads in a side chapel at Trinity. They were 
back in time, however, for the next piece that evening, 
"To Parents and Guardians," which gave great satis- 
faction. 

The production of the " Day of Reckoning " following 
after the " Game of Speculation," taken in conjunction 
with the financial condition of the Club after the twenty- 
fifth anniversary dinner, gave rise to a happy effort on the 
part of that facile epigrammatist, Mr. H. A. Newton, which 
is worthy of mention : — 

"The Day of Reckoning ! 1880, 
. . . made a feast unto princes." 
" A Day of Reckoning ! What needs that note of exclamation ! 
Surely that usually succeeds a Game of Speculation.'' 

It is no use being over modest about the success of 
the year 1881, a year notable for the very admirable 
production of the " School for Scandal." In fact, for 
general completeness, evenness, and finish — the result of 
long and arduous rehearsals — this play ran the famous 
" Ticket-of-Leave Man" of 1878 very hard. It was 
further marked by the first appearance on the A.D.C. 
boards of Mr. J. R. Manners, without doubt the very best 
impersonator of female parts ever seen at Cambridge. 
In appearance, movement, voice, and acting, his perform- 
ance of Lady Teazle was quite wonderful. The records 
say that every one was good, some very good ; the scenery 




Mk. J. R. Mannp:rs as Lady Teazle in "The 
School for Scandal." 

From a photograph by Messrs. Hills 6^ Saunders, 
late of Cambridge. 



THE A.D.C, CAMBRIDGE 87 

and mounting were first-rate, and a handsome surplus 
remained after paying all expenses. This was badly 
wanted at the time. Subjoined is the cast of this play — 
a feather in the cap of all those who took part therein. 
Cast, coached by Mr. Horace Wigan : — 

"THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL." 

Sir Peter Teazle Mr. T. B. Miller. 

Sir Oliver Surface Mr. H. A. Newton. 

Joseph Surface Mr. W. G. Elliot. 

Charles Surface .... Mr. E. M. Lawson-Smith. 

Crabtree Mr. J. E. GORST. 

Sir Benjamin Backbite Mr. C. DES Graz. 

Careless Mr. E. P. Tennant. 

Rowley Mr. C. P. Powney. 

Moses Mr. A. Polhill-Turner. 

Snake Mr. E. J. Gibbons. 

Trip Mr. D. H. Peploe. 

Sir Harry Bumper (with song) . . .Mr. A. T. B. DuNN. 

Sir Toby Mr F. B. Mildmay. 

Servant to Joseph Hon. T. Dundas. 

Servant to Lady Sneerwell . . . Mr. P. H. Martineau. 

j Messrs. G. W. E. Loder, Oakley, 
^"^^^^ ' ' • I Farrer, and Hon. D. Tollemache. 

Lady Teazle Mr J. R. Manners. 

Mrs Candour .... Mr. G. Milner-Gibson-Cullum. 

Lady Sneerwell Mr. A. Drake. 

Maria Mr. J. St. Leger. 

In the preceding summer an unpleasant and some- 
what fatiguing episode marred what is generally known 
as the " even tenour of our way." It had no reference to 
any accident, to a chanter of highish songs dwelling in the 
same street, but concerned the Club page-boy, who was 
discovered to be an indulger in acts of larceny, embezzle- 
ment, multiplepoinding — this is a Scotch law term — lese 
majestc, and the taking up of money at respondentia, besides 
other minor offences connected with the wrongful acquisi- 



88 AMATEUR ACTING 

tion of lucre ; in plain English, he had appropriated and 
converted Club moneys to his own use. When the facts 
came out, he was haled before the magistrates, i.e. the 
Committee, consisting of the Genial President and two 
others, these being the only three left up at the time. He 
then confessed that he had hidden the money in a field on 
the road towards Gogmagogs. The President and one 
other immediately volunteered to accompany the peccant 
youth to the spot and recover the lost treasure. The day 
was hot, the hour near lunch-time. The boy walked first, 
the Committee next. When they had arrived at the out- 
skirts of Cambridge, having marched about five parasangs 
— as Xenophon hath it — from the A.D.C., the President 
felt genially faint. The faithful Committee man bounded 
into a shop and procured two buns and two glasses of old 
milk. A mild whisky and soda or two generally accom- 
panied an A.D.C. lunch, and buns and milk were not much 
good. After toiling on for about five miles farther — well out 
into the country — the boy pointed out a plantation in the 
dim distance. ''There," he said, "lies the ill-gotten hoard." 
Visions of Alberich snatching the gold from the three 
Rheintochters in Act I. of the "Rheingold" flashed through 
the President's mind. On they went, haggard, yet heated. 
At last they reached the spot. Only one word, " Dig ! " 
Upon which the boy burst into tears, and said the money 
was not there at all, but in the A.D.C.'s cupboard ! Both 
these gentlemen were supposed to be generally good at 
taking chaff, but for years afterwards it was not safe to 
mention this episode in their hearing. Once a young and 
joysome Freshman undertook to do so. A lonely tomb- 
stone, hard by the Senate House, now marks the spot, 
known only to academic torturers and their examinee- 
victims. 



THE A.D.C, CAMBRIDGE 89 

The "Critic" was performed in 1882, performed 
almost in its entirety, and with great success. No modern 
gags were allowed, and for once Sheridan reigned supreme. 
The Justice scene — now so seldom given — proved highly 
acceptable with Mr. J. E. Gorst, now a leading light in 
Egyptian administration, as the Justice. The late and 
ever-to-be-lamented Mr. Arthur Cecil Blunt, who was an 
honorary member of the Club, was busily coaching one 
day, and was quite overcome when the curtain went up on 
this episode. He had quite forgotten that it existed. The 
only scene omitted was that of the Italian Musician. 

It was at this time that the celebrated " silent supper " 
was held in Mr. Gorst's rooms at Trinity. Many had been 
bidden, among them the late Lord Houghton and the late 
Mr. Corney Grain. At the last moment, however, the word 
went round that in order to keep in good odour with the 
powers it was absolutely necessary that there should be 
no noise. Now an A.D.C. supper without noise is like 
going in to Richardson on a kicking wicket — no fun. 
The Don who lived above Mr. Gorst's rooms, if not actually 
the master, was proxime ace, and it was strictly enjoined 
that he be not disturbed. The supper was just about to 
be dispensed with, when a brilliant idea struck somebody. 
Why not have a sotto voce supper ? They held it, and the 
success was great. The entire entertainment was carried 
through in whispers, including a comic sketch by Mr. 
Grain, and a speech made by the same individual in 
honour of Mr. Gorst's uncle, who was present on the 
occasion, a gentleman of retiring disposition, given to 
country pursuits and the art of bibliomancy, which, ac- 
cording to the dictionary, is " divination performed by 
selecting passages of Scripture at hazard." Mistaking him 
for Mr. Gorst's Right Hon. father, Mr. Grain delivered 



90 AMATEUR ACTING 

an impassioned oration, eulogising his great political 
services. The party broke up at a late hour, still whis- 
pering, and next morning the Don, who slept above, 
remarked that they had evidently dispensed with the 
supper ! 

In May 1882 the Freemasons having entered into 
negotiations with Mr. Elin for the purchase of the Club 
freehold, a plan was submitted by Mr. Clark enabling the 
A.D.C. to make a proposal to the landlord, i.e. that of 
purchase. This was to cost ;^35oo, and at the instiga- 
tion of Mr. Clark, Messrs. Mortlock, the Cambridge 
bankers, kindly undertook to advance the sum required 
by way of mortgage on the freehold at four per cent., the 
Club to do its best to pay off the loan in instalments. 
Again Mr. Clark's services in connection with the carry- 
ing through of this transaction was invaluable. In 1890, 
^^650 of the principal sum had been paid off, besides the 
regular payments of interest, and since that date further 
portions also, so that the debt now stands at about -^2760. 
This must be taken as an entirely creditable piece of 
work, as since about 1883 the A.D.C. have had difficulties to 
contend with which never arose in its earlier stages. The 
principal of these was the establishment of the regular 
theatre. Those only who are constantly at Cambridge 
know what a difference this has made. Whereas, earlier, 
the A.D.C. annual acting stood alone, there is now the 
ever-present competition of this regular theatre for public 
favour ; and had it not been for the fact that those in 
authority have most kindly permitted the resumption of 
the May term performances, wherein any profit that may 
accrue to the Club is generally made, things would have 
been in a bad way as far as continuance is concerned. 
The period between 1883 and 1888 was a very trying one 



THE A.D.C, CAMBRIDGE 91 

— before modern burlesque was revived — and somehow the 
Club fell out of public favour. This it seems now to have 
almost entirely regained ; and if some fairy prince would 
arise to pay off the mortgage debt remaining of ^2000 
odd, there would be no fear for the future. It may be 
hoped that the occasion will produce the men. 

Between 1883 and 1888 there were only two per- 
formances that need be alluded to at any length. These 
were the revival of the "Overland Route" in 1884, in 
which Mr. Montagu James scored largely as Sir Solomon, 
and Mr. Willie Bridgeman was so fascinating in the garb 
of an ayah, that he received, one day, a proposal of 
marriage, sent by a gentleman of dusky hue hailing from 
Christ's College, who had seen the play on the previous 
evening and thought he was the real thing. 

In November 1886 they produced "King Henry IV., 
Part I." The idea of acting Shakespeare had been 
talked of for years. It was first mooted in Mr. Gardner's 
time, but until 1886 nothing had been done. It cannot 
exactly be said that the result was good. A sum of ^90 
was spent on the scenery, the dresses cost a great deal 
of money too, great pains were taken too by all concerned, 
but with the exception of Mr. Macklin as Hotspur, who was 
very fine, especially in his declamation, the performance was 
not very satisfactory, Mr, Hannen as Owen Glendower, 
and Mr. H. A. Newton — who had specially come up — as 
Falstaff being excepted. The undergraduates stayed away ; 
some of the Dons came, but not enough. It must be 
remembered, too, that just about this time there was 
commencing that upheaval of taste wherein the majority 
of the London theatre-going public were transferring their 
patronage from the heavier to the lighter forms of enter- 
tainment. This was being felt at Cambridge, and it was a 



92 AMATEUR ACTING 

bad time to try any play of this nature. It was no one's 
fault, but the choice was very unfortunate. 

In May 1888, alterations were declared necessary by 
the local authorities to provide increased facilities for exit 
in case of fire, and it was thought advisable to make a 
further outlay in general improvements — i.e. to redecorate 
and reseat the theatre, make a second exit, and remove 
the gallery. An appeal to old members was decided 
upon, and eventually the above alterations were carried 
out to the great general improvement. 

Although " Medea ; or, The Golden Fleece," a classical 
burlesque, was acted two years earlier, it was not till 
June 1888 when the first of a series of musical pieces, 
the " Sphinx," was produced, that the silver lining began 
to appear in the clouds. The inauguration of these rather 
go-as-you-please entertainments proved much more to the 
taste of modern audiences than the older fashioned style 
of play which had hitherto been the staple source of 
supply. They were only just in time. Although there 
were still many adverse factors, the turning point was 
at length reached. The " Sphinx " brought in a profit. 
The Hon. Walter Campbell kindly stage-managed the 
performance, wrote the piece up to date, as also the 
songs ; Messrs. W. H. Leese — now a rising barrister — 
Langworthy, and Hon. G. Willoughby — now Lord 
Willoughby d'Eresby, M.P. for Horncastle — were the 
heroes of the occasion, or rather the two heroes and 
heroine, for Mr. Langworthy was Jocasta, the heroine. 
There was a particular song, the words of which Mr. 
Langworthy never could remember, so as an aid to 
memory a large sheet of cardboard with the words 
thereon, stuck upon an elongated toasting - fork, was 
pushed on to the stage close to him, with the desired effect. 



THE A.D.C., CAMBRIDGE 93 

Some of the dialogue in this skit on the classics is 
worth quoting. 

The Sphinx is dragging Jocasta off to his den to eat her. 

Sph., as he drags her off— 

And though this morsel may my dinner spoil, 
After Jocasta comes Jo-castor-oil. 

The good work was carried on. In June 1889 another 
marked success was made with a musical piece called 
" Nydia ; or, The Very Last Days of Pompeii," by Mr. 
Leese, Mr. Willoughby, and Mr. Langworthy, which con- 
tained the following : — 

Apoecides asks Arbaces what his name really is, as 
every one pronounces it differently. 

Apoec. False quantity is not a thing for sport, 

You've had me long, don't take me up so short. 
Arb. Shut up, Apcecldes. 

Apivc. Short, he can't be wrong. 

Arb. Shut up, Apoecides. 
Aposc. Sold, I'm long ! 

Dr. Jackson, the celebrated classical tutor, was so 
delighted with this joke, that he came night after night to 
hear it. Mr. Willoughby, too, had a weird song, which 
ran thus : — 

" Pretty poUy, politechnico, pantechnicon, 
Kitty katty, kata-leptico kamtulicon, 
Huper Hipper, Hyper-critico Criterion, 
Hagravating vaga vagabond Agamemnon." 

It must be remembered that at this time the authorities 
had forbidden burlesque qua burlesque to be acted, this 
although the requisite permission was soon after kindly 
given. It was due, therefore, in a great measure to Mr. 
Willoughby, who was stage-manager at the time, that the 



94 AMATEUR ACTING 

" Sphinx " was played. He was face to face with the 
problem of how to save the A.D.C. by acting a musical 
piece without calling it a burlesque. It was a happy idea 
to hit on a subject like the " Sphinx," which, being a skit 
on the " CEdipus," was at once allowed. Mr. Willoughby 
and Mr. Leese steered the Club through a very critical 
period in its career, and steered successfully. 

In May 1889 the " Wedding March " was played. Lord 
Chelsea, Mr. Victor Cavendish, and the Hon. E. Fielding 
were very good, and Mr. Gilbert Hare scored largely as 
Woodpecker Tapping. In May 1890, Mr. Leese at the 
head of affairs, the burlesque of " Der Freischutz " was 
given. Another big go and very full houses, drawn no 
doubt by the following remark : — ■ 

Zatniel. We've a dramatic club too. 

Caspar, alarmed. Goodness me ! 

What, down in Hades ? 
Zamiel. Yes, the Ha-des C — . 

Lent 1 89 1 was notable for a very admirable revival of 
the " Overland Route," which has been now acted four 
times at the A.D.C. This was the first appearance of Mr. 
H. R. Bromley-Davenport, the celebrated cricketer, who 
comes of a family of excellent cricketers, actors and 
actresses. He was quite one of the best men the A.D.C. 
have produced of late years, resembling in many ways 
Mr. J. W. Lowther in his knowledge of technique. He 
was at the head of affairs for some time at Cambridge. 
Not a part was badly acted in this production, Mr. Daven- 
port, Mr. E. Grenfell, and Mr. Forster being particularly 
good ; while it was difficult to say which were the cleverer, 
Mr. A. M. Balfour as Mrs. Sebright, or Mr. H. C. Norman 
as Mrs. Lovibond. Mr. Willie Bridgeman was rather 
missed. Cast : — 



THE A.D.C., CAMBRIDGE 



95 



THE OVERLAND ROUTE." 



Sir Solomon Fraser 
Mr. Colepepper 
Major M'Turk 
Captain Clavering 
Mr. Lovibond 
Tom Dexter . 
Moleskin 
Limpet . 
Khitmagar 
Captain Smart 
Hardisty 
Tottle . 
Captain Sebright 
Mrs. Sebright 
Mrs. Lovibond 
Miss Colepepper 
Miss Grimwood 



. Mr. M. F. Maclean. 

Mr. H. R. BRO^[LEY-DAVENPORT. 

Mr. H. A. Trotter. 

Mr. E. C. Grenfell. 

Mr. K. Sharratt. 

. Mr. A. FORSTER. 

. Mr. F. Meiggs. 

Mr. W. H. Theobald. 

Hon. G. Saville. 

Mr. J. Llewellyn. 

. Mr. W. Noble. 

. Mr. C. H. Ellis. 

Mr. X. Noble. 

Mr. A. M. Balfour. 

Mr. H. C. Norman. 

Mr. G. Heseltine. 

Mr. F. W. Stephenson. 



Mr. Owen Hugh Smith, the genial Secretary of the 
time, shines all through this period as an admirable record- 
keeper and man of business, a reputation he has well 
maintained in after life. 

In the May term 1891 the Committee took to giving 
suppers instead of the usual Sunday lunches, whence sprung 
a new rule, " Every one must sing, whether gifted with 
a voice or not." The result of this stringent regulation 
was in some cases pleasing, but in others caused a good 
deal of loss to farmers in the vicinity, owing to the 
sudden death of many of the ancient mothers of their 
calves. 

The burlesque this term was " Ivanhoe a la Carte," 
which was especially aided by the introduction therein 
of a parody on the " Death of Nelson," written by the 
late Mr. J. K. Stephen, one whose early death will always 
be lamented. This sons was sung with immense success 



96 AMATEUR ACTING 

by Mr. Forster, and is reprinted without the kind permis- 
sion of the editor of the Granfa. 



Recitative. 

Surrounded by a melancholy crowd, 

See Granta mourns the prematurely ploughed, 

Nor lays the fatal instrument aside 

With which her agricultural trade is plied. 

'Twas in the month of June, one blazing afternoon, 

Hard by the King's Parade, 
The sad examinees, in mournful two's and three's, 

Crept in, morose, dismayed. 
The cold Invigilator's eye detects the succour lying nigh. 

And quenches all suggestion, {bis) 
The stony-hearted order ran, " Cambridge expects that every man 

Will answer every question." {bis) 

And now the questions boom ; along the affrighted room 

Each pen is dropped in ink. 
One man attempts them all, and, hearing duty's call. 

He quite declines to shrink. 
He scribbled on with frenzied pen. 

Receiving no suggestion, {bis) 
From sheet to sheet his answer ran, — oh let us not forget the man 

Who tried at every question, {bis) 

The last, last question, a dark and fatal one, 

Our Hero's pen, our Hero's pen essayed. 

" I'm done at last," he cried ; "the Lord is on their side, 

I'm ruined and betrayed ; 
For honours I have vainly tried, a ' Poll' must satisfy my pride. 

My friends gave no suggestion." {bis) 

They ploughed that miserable man, 
But owned that it had been his plan 

To try at every question, {bis) 

Mr. J. W. Clark was this year appointed Registrar of 
the University, a post he has since continued to fill with 
grace and dignity. Congratulations from all. 



THE A.D.C., CAMBRIDGE 97 

In 1893 Mr. R. L. Thornton, who had gone down in 
1887, kindly came up to play Bob Brierly in the "Ticket- 
of-Leave Man," now revived, and seems to have been very 
good in the part. The Graiita, in its critique on the per- 
formance, remarks on the old-fashioned style of the play. 
" The good people are very good ; the bad, never anything 
but bad." Now this is a sort of criticism that would never 
have been dreamed of in the sixties and seventies. Audi- 
ences and critics in those days were not in the habit of 
going into these questions. Nevertheless the Granta's 
remark is perfectly true. In older fashioned melodramas, 
of which the " Ticket-of- Leave Man " is a very admirable 
specimen, the good people are always quite perfect, and 
the villains unutterably black. The heroine too, as a rule, 
is so frightfully good, that in real life she would bore the 
hero to distraction. In construction and characterisation 
there is no better melodrama. Still, a careful inquiry 
into what the present day A.D.C. audiences like and what 
they do not like, seems to show that while they are pre- 
pared for any amount of frivolity and irresponsibility in 
musical pieces, they are not very keen about the older 
styles of play that used to be popular then. They demand 
greater vraiseniblance than these pieces afford. The diffi- 
culty of choosing plays, therefore, becomes greater every 
year, especially as certain subjects with which the more 
modern drama deals are of necessity tabooed at Cam- 
bridge. The future of the Club seems rather to lie in the 
direction of burlesque and musical comedy in the May 
term, and triple bills and revivals of old English comedy at 
other times. 

In the summer of 1893 they held a ball in the May 
week for the first time in history ; one hundred and eighty 
were present ; dancing in the auditorium, the stage 

G 



98 AMATEUR ACTING 

arranged for sitting out, and supper in the green-room. 
During the progress of the festivities the electric Hght 
suddenly went out, but the inevitable Whiteley saved the 
situation, by appearing suddenly through a trap-door to 
the sound of a gong, and laden with lighted candles. The 
rooms were what local journals always call " tastefully 
decorated." This year the subscription was lowered to 
-fi, IDS., and a large number of new members were 
elected. 

During the bad times, i.e. 1887, an attempt was made 
to revive interest in the Club by means of Smoking Con- 
certs. They were highly successful for some time ; and it 
is interesting to notice that, by reference to a programme 
of one held in 1894, there appear items by Chopin, Mande 
White, Popper, Tosti, Godard, Ries, Liszt, and Schumann. 
The University is evidently improving ! The programme 
of the first "smoker" ever held in 1887, on the other 
hand, does not contain one good song. This was pointed 
out to the then manager of the concert. He was highly 
indignant, thinking that the complainant could not know 
much about the subject. This he subsequently emphasised 
by pointing to one ditty in the list with a triumphant 
gesture. It was " White Wings " ! 

In the Lent term of 1894 the triple bill of "Trying it 
On," "The Duchess of Bayswater," and "To Parents and 
Guardians," actually shows a profit, the first for some 
years, out of the May term. Ever since the revival of 
burlesque, those in authority had always looked to May 
acting to recoup them for the losses sustained at other 
times. A hopeful sign for the future. 

In June 1894 money was again made, as much as 
r300 gross being taken. The draw on this occasion 
was a new and original burlesque, entitled " Jupiter 




Mr. R. a. Austen Leigh as the Bedmaker in "Jupiter, LL.D." 

From a photograph by Messrs. Steam, Cambridge. 



THE A.D.C, CAMBRIDGE 99 

LL.D.," written by Mr. R. C. Lehmann, the well-known 
oarsman and coach, with music by Mr. T. Tertius Noble, 
the organist of Ely Cathedral. This was indeed a very 
capital production. Mr. Lehmann shone in his lyrics 
and Mr. Noble in his music, the only fault of which 
was that the treatment was a little too elaborate for 
the subject, although extremely clever and musicianly ; 
while Mr. Lehmann's lyrics were so good that his dia- 
logue suffered a little in comparison. But the idea was 
excellent and original ; — the notion of a young under- 
graduate suddenly planted among the gods and goddesses 
of Olympus ; the Vice-Chancellor beset by a college of 
ladies ; and a scene in the Old Court of Trinity. The 
house was crowded at every performance. Mr. " Venus " 
Martineau, as the Gay Undergraduate, danced quite admir- 
ably, and his acting was what country newspapers style 
as " most pleasing, and of great acceptance." Mr. W. 
Burns, Mr. d'Hauteville, and the Hon. F. W. Egerton, 
too, were quite in their best form. But the triumph of 
the performance was the song and dance of the " bed- 
makers " in Act III., in which Mr. A. L, Harrison was very 
good, and Mr. R. A. Austen-Leigh was quite splendid. 
His performance of a decrepit bed-maker was one of the 
best and most artistic bits of impersonation ever seen on 
the A.D.C. boards. Through the great kindness of the 
Vice-Chancellor, the usual number of nights was exceeded. 
Michaelmas 1894. Grand reappearance of the Tutors, 
who had been most gentle and — if such a word may be 
used — lanthanistic for a decade or so. They laid down 
the following new rules : — 

1. Suppers to be discouraged. 

2. Every one to undertake to be in College by 12 p.m. 

3. Those who still hankered after suppers to obtain 



loo AMATEUR ACTING 

leave from the Vice-Chancellor, as well as the Senior 
Proctor, such leave to be given for one night only, and in 
no case on Saturdays. 

4. The Club to do its best to perform, as far as 
possible, works of literary excellence and acknowledged 
merit. 

5. No date to clash with Examinations. 

A characteristic effusion from the pen of the late ]Mr. 
Corney Grain is worth noticing here, in answer to a 
request from Mr. Martineau that he would come up and 
assist at a " smoker " : — 

'' Dear Venus, who lives in the Lane, 
'Tis with feehngs of grief and of pain 
That I write to say ' No,' I'm engaged as a ' Pro,' 
On the 2nd — Yours, R. Corney Grain." 

No one was kinder than Mr. Grain in helping these concerts 
with his presence and songs whenever he was enabled to 
get away. 

The Minutes state that in March 1895 the Club was 
considered in a good condition. 

In the same month the " Rivals " was acted for the first 
time for many years, and with very great success ; indeed 
the success was so marked, that it was decided to dispense 
with the burlesque and act it in the May following, when a 
very handsome profit was made, viz., ;^i30 net. This 
revival and " Jupiter LL.D." have been the two big 
financial draws which the Club have made lately ; and it 
is doubtful if, even at the time when things were much 
easier than they are now, any larger profit has been made. 
Probably the " Ticket-of-Leave Man " and the " School 
for Scandal" come nearest. It is indeed cheering to see 
Sheridan so appreciated there. Mr. Burnand spoke most 



THE A.D.C, CAMBRIDGE 



lOI 



highly of the acting in Punch, and in a thoroughly 
admirable cast Mr. Austen-Leigh as Mrs. Malaprop, and 
Mr. A. W. Watson as Captain Absolute, were pre-eminent. 
Mr. Geikie, too, was very good. Cast : — 



THE RIVALS." 



Sir Anthony Absolute 

Captain Absolute 

Falkland 

Bob Acres 

Sir Lucius O'Trigger 

Fag . 

David 

Coachman 

Servant . 

Mrs. Malaprop 

Lydia Languish 

Julia 

Lucy 

Maid 



Mr, 
Mr, 



Mr. R. Geikie. 

Mr. A. W. Watson. 

Mr. A. L. Harrison. 

Mr. R. Balfour. 

Mr. J. J. Murphy. 

Mr. E. Talbot. 

Mr. E. M, Clark. 

Mr. A. H. Finch. 

Mr. J. S. Cavendish. 

R. A. Austen-Leigh. 

F. G. d'Hauteville. 

Mr. A. R. J ELF. 

Hon. O. Bridgeman. 

Mr. C. E. Agar. 



There was an extraordinary epidemic of illness in 
connection with this revival. Three days before the 
date of commencement Mr. P. d'Hauteville took the 
influenza and retired gracefully. He was succeeded in 
his part at this short notice by Mr. E. Talbot, who was 
not acting up to that time. On the morning of the dress 
rehearsal Mr. Pike went down with the same complaint, 
and on the morning of the last performance Mr. F. 
d'Hauteville "was took," and then down went Mr. Jelf ! 
But somehow all the parts were filled, and on the other 
occasion this year that the play was given there was no 
fatalities. 

It is indeed pleasant to chronicle two big successes 
two years running. The " Lyons Mail " — Mr. J. W. 
Clark's version — was revived in 1896, and was quite 



I02 AMATEUR ACTING 

excellently done. The acting was very even indeed all 
round, besides being in some cases very good. The best 
performance of all was Mr. R. Balfour's Joliquet. It will 
be remembered that this version of the " Courier de Lyons " 
is so arranged that Joliquet, Jerome Lesurques' servant, 
becomes practically the principal part. Mr. Clark arranged 
it thus for Mr. Herbert Gardner. Mr. Balfour, who is the 
youngest of a very talented family, showed remarkable 
qualifications on this occasion. His elder brother was 
the Mrs. Sebright in the "Overland Route" of 1891, and 
the junior member has well kept up the family reputation. 
It is much to be regretted that another highly-gifted 
brother, Mr. A. E. Balfour, who was at Cambridge a little 
earlier, never appeared on the A.D.C. boards. Judging by 
this gentleman's later successes in impromptu romantic 
opera and in representations of early biblical heroes, there 
is no doubt that with the aid of the usual rehearsals he 
would have developed into a histrion of striking force. 

A funny incident occurred during the representation 
of the " Lyons Mail." In the last act, Mr. Balfour as 
Johquet had to be shot by Mr. Watson as Dubosc. When 
the moment came the pistol failed to go off. There was a 
ghastly pause — seemingly of hours — during which the two 
stood glaring at each other, not knowing what to do, when 
suddenly the well-known voice of Clarkson was heard at 
the wings — " Mr. Balfour ! say you're stabbed ! " 

In an earlier act, too, when Joliquet was concealed in 
a cellar below the stage, the cue came for him to reappear. 
Not a sign. Every one who was acting imagined he had 
gone to sleep, whereas, in fact, he was so carried away by 
his imagination that he was mentally evolving a dramatic 
picture of the play below ground, and never heard the cue. 
At last he was brought to himself by hearing the following 



THE A.D.C., CAMBRIDGE 



103 



words over his head spoken by Mr. E. M. Clark : " Johquet, 

Johquet ; d n you, Reggie, come up ! " 

In the excellent cast now given, it should be mentioned 
that Messrs. Geikie, Watson, and Talbot were all particu- 
larly good. Cast : — 



THE LYONS MAIL." 



Dubosc I 

Lesurques ) 

Jerome Lesurques 

Dorval 

Joliquet . 

Choppard 

Fooinard 

Couriol 

Didier 



Mr 



Mr 



Mr. A. W. Watson. 

. Mr. R. Geikie. 

F. G. d'Hauteville. 

Mr. R. Balfour. 

Mr. W. Pike. 

P. G. d'Hauteville. 

Mr. E. M. Clark. 

Mr. E. Talbot. 



In June 1896 the "Commission" and the "Romantic 
Idea " were played ; and in November of the same year a 
triple bill, " The First Night," " Our Bitterest Foe," and 
" A Nice Firm." 

Next year, June 1897, a very interesting revival of 
Lord Lytton's play, " Money," all the more interesting as 
the dramatist's grandson acted the leading part, Alfred 
Evelyn. All accounts go to show that the present Lord 
Lytton was quite first-rate. He seems to have in him all 
the serio-romantic, Byronic, sarcastic qualities which are 
absolutely necessary to carry the character. The part 
requires not only these gifts, but also those of nerve and 
firmness ; it must be " held," as it were, all through, for 
Evelyn is not a very sympathetic person in these days. 
Besides this, Lord Lytton did as any good artist does — 
he took an immense amount of pains over his whole 
presentation. Mr. J. B. Dyne as Lady Franklin ; Mr. 
Edward Clark, son of Mr. J. W. Clark, as Sir Frederick 



I04 AMATEUR ACTING 

Blount ; Mr. St. John Wayne as Graves ; and the Hon. 
R, E. C. Guinness of Diamond Sculls fame as the Old 
Member, were all excellent. Again a profit was declared. 

The May term 1898 saw the production of the 
" Ballad Monger," which Mr. Beerbohm Tree was kind 
enough to allow — a special permission on his part to 
Mr. J. VV. Clark, as the piece has never been acted in 
England except by Mr. Tree himself. From all accounts 
the performance was well up to the average, while Lord 
Lytton's Louis XI. and Mr. R. Balfour's Gringoire were 
certainly very good. The play was followed by Planche's 
" Medea ; or. The Golden Fleece " for the second time 
within ten years, with new songs by Messrs. E. C. Kellett 
and R, C. Lehmann, and new music by Mr. T. Tertius 
Noble and Mr. J. St. A. Johnson. The burlesque went as 
well as ever, special successes being made by Messrs. R. 
C. Herz and G. F. S. Bowles, who delighted every one. 
The theatre was full nightly, and once more, to the 
general gratification, there was a good surplus left after 
paying expenses. Then, according to the Minutes, " the 
Committee retired for a well-earned rest," an example 
shortly to be followed by the inditer of this history. 

This completes the records of the A.D.C. up to the 
present date. Looking ahead, it is interesting to note 
that in February 1905 the Club will hold its fiftieth 
anniversary ; one which will no doubt be worthy of the 
occasion, for it will certainly be an occasion. That a 
society of young men banded together in the year 1855 
to do a little quiet acting in rooms should have developed 
as it has is very remarkable, none the less so when the 
fact is considered that these young men are never together 
for long. A strong nucleus cannot practically be kept 
together for more than two successive years. When it is 



THE A.D.C., CAMBRIDGE 105 

clearly understood, too, that the A.D.C. is pre-eminently a 
social club, that is to say, that the fact of a man being 
known as a good actor is not of itself sufficient to gain him 
admittance, it will be seen that the difficulty of constantly 
recruiting people of talent who are also gifted with social 
qualities is a somewhat formidable one. But the fact 
remains that with very few exceptions in this respect the 
A.D.C. has ever since its foundation adhered to this policy, 
and has also been enabled to carry it out successfully. 
The acting nowadays is quite as good as it ever was. In 
every society of this nature that bears the mark of years 
on its brow, there must of necessity be strong and weak 
periods, but old members will be happy to hear that the 
future of the Club seems quite safe in this respect. 

That Cambridge in its amateur performances reflects 
the tone and taste of the day has been alluded to earlier. 
There is no harm in saying that the go-as-you-please 
burlesque of 1898 is as different to the burlesque of Mr. 
Burnand's time as modern comedy is from old-fashioned 
melodrama, and old burlesque and old melodrama are out 
of fashion. The conditions of the day too, wherein the 
existence of the regular theatre plays such an important 
part, have evolved this fact, that burlesque will always 
pay during the May week, and occasionally old comedy 
too, while it is difficult to know what to act at other times. 
The answer seems to be — based on the experience of the 
last two or three years — that triple bills of one-act plays, 
well rehearsed and acted, but inexpensively mounted and 
dressed, and an occasional expedition into old comedy, 
are the best sort of pieces for the October or Lent terms. 
It is gratifying to know that a further instalment of the 
loan above referred to has been paid off lately. That it 
may one day be paid off in its entirety is the desire of all 



io6 AMATEUR ACTING 

who take an interest in the Club's welfare. There are 
many such, as well there may be. Acting in after life, 
whether undertaken as a business or a pleasure, is seldom 
quite the same as it was at Cambridge. Jealousy is there 
reduced to a minimum, self-advertisement is an unknown 
quantity, good feeling is conspicuous by its presence. The 
fact too that although there is plenty of hard work and 
rehearsal the whole thing is not taken too seriously by 
those engaged therein, is a blessing for which it is necessary 
to give much thanks. That the A.D.C. may long continue 
to flourish on these lines is the fervent desire of all her 
sons. 



VI 

THE AMATEUR PANTOMIME OF 1878 AND 

THE AMATEUR BURLESQUE OF 1881 

By W. YARDLEY. 

"The Forty Thieves" 

Played at the Gaiety Theatre, London, on the after- 
noons of Wednesday, 13th February, and Wednesday, 
loth April, and at the Theatre Royal, Brighton, on the 
evening of Saturday, 9th March 1878. 

PROGRAMME 



GAIETY THEATRE, STRAND. 
Sole Lessee and Manager . . Mr. John HOLLINGSHEAD. 

V^EDNESDAY AFTERNOON, I3TH FEBRUARY 1 878. 

Open at 2. Begin at 2.30. Carriages at 5.15. 

344TH Matinee. 
For the Benefit of a Theatrical Charity. 



THE FORTY THIEVES. 

PANTOMIME BURLESQUE 

WRITTEN BY 

Messrs. R. Reece, W. S. Gilbert, F. C. Burnand, and 

Henry J. Byron, 

And performed (excepting the ladies) by Amateurs. 

Produced under the direction of John Hollingshead. 

Stage Manager Mr. R. Soutar. 

Pantomimic Instruct nr Mr. J. d'Auban. 

Musical Director Herr Meyer Lutz. 

X07 



io8 



AMATEUR ACTING 



CHARACTERS. 
Ali Baba . . . {A Wood-cutter) .... Captain GOOCH. 

Ganem {His Son) .... -Mr. W. F. QuiNTlN. 

Cassim {His Brother) . . Mr. ALGERNON Bastard. 

Hassarac . {Captain of the Forty Thieves) . Mr. Jos. Maclean. 

( Miss Helen Barry. 



Abdallah . 
Mesrour 
Benridden . 
Mustapha , 
Saad . . . 
Beder . . 
Nouredin 
Assad . , 
The Trumpeter 



{His Lieutenant) 

\ 

Gentlemen of 
" The Forty:' 
> ( The Deserv- 
ing Hanging 
Committee ^j 



I 



• • \ (Mrs. A. Rolls.) 

f Mr. F. H. M'Calmont. 

Mr. W. " Wye." 

Mr. Leslie Ward. 

Mr. Gilbert Farquhar. 

Hon. F. Parker. 

Mr. W. HiGGINS. 

Major Rolls. 
Mr. A. Stuart-Wortley. 



The remainder of the Forty Thieves represented by Messrs. E. 
Darrell, W. Wye, J. Westropp, J. Gumming, C. Ringrose, C. Daly, 
Hugh Drummond, J. Graham, Cecil Chapman, A. B. Cook, Benson, and 
Amphlett, and Hon. C. Vivian, &c. ; also twenty young ladies who have 
kindly given their services by permission of the Manager and Directors 
of The Alhambra. 



Morgiana 

Cogia . 

The Good Fairy 



Miss Lydia Thompson. 
Miss Eleanor Bufton. 
Miss Lucy Buckstone. 



Scene i.— "Exterior of Ali Baba's House," written by Mr. R. Reece. 

Scene 2.— "The Wood," written by Mr. W. S. Gilbert. 

Scene 3. — "Interior of Ali Baba's House," written by Mr. F. C. 

Burnand. 
Scene 4.— "The Cave," written by Mr. Henry J. Byron. 

THE TRANSFORMATION. 





CHARACTERS IN THE HARLEQUINADE. 


Clown 


Mr. W. "Wye." 


Butcher 


Hon. F. Parker. 


Harlequin 


Mr. W. S. Gilbert. 


Butcher's Boy 


. Mr. C. Daly. 


Pantaloon 


Mr. T. Knox Holmes. 


Baker 


. Mr. L. Ward. 


Policeman 


Captain H. E. Coi.viLE. 


Sweep 


Mr. W. Higgins. 


Swell 


Lord DE Clifford. 


Waiter 


-Mr. J. Westropp. 


Artist . 


. Mr. Leslie Ward. 


Ung Mossoo 


Mr. A. Bastard. 


Tailor 


Mr. W. F. Quintin. 


A Gent 


Mr. A. B. Cook. 


Bricklayer 


Mr. J. Graham. 


Columbine . 


. Mdlle. Rosa. 


Bullerman 


Mr. C. Ringrose. 


Old Woman M 


•. F. H. M'Calmont. 



Scene i.— "A Quiet Street." 

Scene 2. — "An Equally Quiet Bedroom." 



AMATEUR PANTOMIME OF 1878 109 

It was at the merry little Beefsteak Club, then located 
at 24 King William Street, Strand, that the idea of an 
Amateur Pantomime originated in the year 1878. Whether 
it was that the resuscitation of the Beefsteak Club — which 
had passed into a trance for many years, to be brought to 
life again by Archibald Stuart-Wortley, the late Corney 
Grain, " Billy " Morris, the late lamented Montagu Wil- 
liams, Augustus Spalding, and half a score other good 
fellows in the year 1876 — suggested the notion of a revival 
of Amateur Pantomime, which had been produced with 
marked success exactly a quarter of a century previously, 
or whether it was the outcome of the general exuberance 
of high spirits that possessed us all in those " happy, those 
halcyon days," I cannot undertake to aver. The notion 
was no sooner conceived than we set to work to carry it 
out ; and to carry out any such undertaking meant doing 
so absolutely and thoroughly, and with no such word as 
" failure " in our dictionary — if making a business of a 
pleasure could by any possibility eliminate such a word 
from the English language. 

What was the first thing to do ? What we did was 
to resolve ourselves into an utterly informal committee, in 
which it was unanimously resolved to approach the only 
man in the theatrical world who was by any possibility 
the right individual to assist us in our ambitious project. 

That man was John Hollingshead, who was at that 
period controlling the destinies of the Gaiety Theatre with 
such marked success. 

" Practical John," by which name he was then known, 
and for the matter of that is still known,|was " one of us." 
He was a member of the Club, and he was as youthful 
in his enthusiasm as any of us to bring the venture to a 
successful issue, despite the fact that he had played the 



no AMATEUR ACTING 

role of Pantaloon in the Amateur Pantomime a quarter of 
a century before, though that circumstance did not make 
him out to be more than middle-aged. To him in those 
days the term " difficulty " had apparently no intelli- 
gibility ; and yet to us, as may be easily imagined, when 
" we got down to hard pan," the difficulties appeared 
insuperable. 

" Practical John " laughed them to scorn, and by his 
nonchalant method of treating a trifling little matter, such 
as a set of raw amateurs daring to challenge comparison 
with skilled professionals in what is rightly or wrongly 
considered to be one of the most difficult forms of histri- 
onism, almost persuaded us to view the matter through his 
own pince-nez. 

I say almost advisedly, for had we not been possessed 
of, and acted upon, a basis of fairly commendable modesty 
(for amateurs), we should probably have achieved a fiasco 
as complete in its way as our success proved most happily 
to be. 

This, for one of the moving spirits in the enterprise, 
may seem to be a somewhat vainglorious assertion, but 
what I am attempting to do is to write history — of a sort 
— and not to offer apologies. 

I could quote chapter and verse galore in proof of the 
venture having proved a success far beyond our fondest 
anticipations, by inserting in this article the press criticisms 
that followed our efforts; but newspaper notices (especially 
of amateur performances) are, I am confident, of so little 
interest, except to those who form atomic portions of the 
integral, that I leave it to those who may have their 
curiosity sufficiently aroused on the subject to refer to the 
back files of the journals of twenty years ago to satisfy 
that curiosity. 



AMATEUR PANTOMIME OF 1878 in 

But to return to our muttons — or rather to our Beef- 
steaks — we went to work under the genial guidance of 
" Practical John " to secure the very best available amateur 
male talent, for we dared not venture upon any attempt at 
persuading amateur ladies to participate in our crime. 

In those days the lady amateur was either too high- 
class for such truck as Pantomime, or too diffident. 

The best-known lady amateurs of that period, I may 
state (passim), have become more or less successful pro- 
fessionals subsequently for comparatively brief careers, and 
in lines very far removed from Pantomime. 

In Lydia Thompson, Eleanor Bufton, Helen Barry, 
Lucy Buckstone, and Mademoiselle Rosa, who one and 
all not only entered with alacrity and whole-heartedness 
into the spirit of the undertaking, we secured about as 
good a quintette of professional talent for our purpose as 
was available at that time. 

To them, judging from the way they set to work from 
the word " go," the experience was a huge delight. They 
were not only of inestimable value as artistes (hateful 
term, but the only one available), but by their unflagging 
devotion to the cause in which they enlisted, their cheeri- 
ness, cheerfulness, and tactful assistance in the way of 
unobtrusive hints and painstaking work, amounting prac- 
tically to downright drudgery, in instilling into the male 
intelligence the "business" of the real stage, they were 
indubitably enormous factors in the general success that 
eventuated. 

We also felt that an entertainment of the magnitude 
of a "Pantomime Burlesque" — for that is the term by 
which we compromised our ambitious project — would need 
a bit of brightening in the way of the female form divine 
in our " crowd " ; and as " Practical John " preferred that 



112 AMATEUR ACTING 

no one connected with the Gaiety Theatre, which was of 
course the one and only theatre at which such a perform- 
ance could have been given, should take part, he promptly 
solved the vexed question from what source we were to 
seek fair volunteers to assist us, by going to the Manager 
and Directors of the Alhambra, and obtaining their con- 
sent for the appearance of twenty young ladies of the 
chorus of that establishment — where they at that time 
employed chorus as well as ballet — to form the attractive 
half of the immortal " Forty." 

A very charming contingent of young ladies they were 
too, both in appearance and in the esprit de corps they 
displayed, by the loyalty and devotion with which they 
attended rehearsals with the most praiseworthy regularity, 
and the strict attention they paid to business. It must 
be remembered that they were all volunteers, and beyond, 
I presume, actual expenses out of pocket, worked for the 
fun of the thing, and in the cause of charity only. 

But I am somewhat anticipating. 

The first thing to be settled was the subject, which 
was the simplest matter of the lot ; for " The Forty 
Thieves " did not call for too many important principal 
characters, and afforded the more diffident or less ambi- 
tious amateurs numerous opportunities of small {vety 
small most of them) speaking parts. It also gave scope 
to members of the " gang " to indulge in a mild and 
harmless form of humour in the way of " making up " to 
represent various public characters, some famous, others 
notorious. 

Having settled upon the subject, who was to write 
the "book"? Here again the genius of "Practical 
John " rose to the occasion without hesitation. It was 
not to be reasonably expected that any one of our well- 



AMATEUR PANTOMIME OF 1878 113 

known light writers of the time would undertake to gratui- 
tously devote his valuable time and energies to the task 
of writing an entire Pantomime for a parcel of amateurs, 
even in the glorious cause of charity. Four letters from 
our practical manager to the four best of our burlesque 
writers (and burlesques ivere burlesques in those days), 
and Messrs. Robert Reece, W. S. Gilbert, F. C. Burnand, 
and Henry J. Byron had one and all cheerfully consented 
to write a scene each, which four scenes were to consti- 
tute the " opening." 

So far nothing could be better. 

The casting of the opening was a matter of compara- 
tive simplicity. The majority of the amateur talent of 
the day was to be found in the Beefsteak Club ; but it was 
by no means intended from the start to make it a Club 
performance, and all the best available amateurs, whether 
members of the Club or not, were approached to assist. 
The majority of the best-known amateur actors outside 
the Beefsteak Club, whose names need not be particu- 
larised as they took no part in the performance which 
forms the subject of this article, declined on the ground 
that Pantomime was a phase of histrionic art altogether 
outside their experience or ambition. 

That is where they differed from us who did take 
part, i.e. in the " ambition." Our inexperience in Panto- 
mime was as great as theirs ; but the proverb that relates 
to one class of being rushing in where another class fears 
to tread had no terrors for us, who were doubtless re- 
garded as well qualified for the former of the two above- 
mentioned classes. 

To the best of my memory, the only man not belonging 
to the Club who had the courage to undertake a leading 
role was Mr. Joseph Maclean, an amateur of more than 

H 



114 AMATEUR ACTING 

considerable experience, especially in burlesque, and a 
dancer of exceptional ability. To him was entrusted the 
role of Hassarac, the Captain of the Forty; and cer- 
tainly the choice was a very wise one, for the neatness 
and nimbleness of his dancing proved most successful 
features of the performance, whilst his stage " business " 
and general appreciation of the right methods of panto- 
mime had the true touch about them. 

To such a well-known and thoroughly experienced, 
naturally-gifted comedian as Mr. Quintin Twiss, a genuine 
star of the first magnitude in such well-established amateur 
firmaments as the Canterbury "Old Stagers," the "Windsor 
Strollers," the Cambridge " A.D.C.," to which he was affi- 
liated on account of his dramatic prowess at the sister 
university, to which he belonged, and in the success of 
which he was an extremely important factor, as has been 
amply testified by Mr. F, C. Burnand in his highly enter- 
taining book on the most remarkable University Amateur 
Dramatic Club ever daringly conceived and brilliantly 
carried out, the character of Ganem belonged almost by 
right, and absolutely without dispute or cavil. 

No better choice could possibly have been made. He 
revelled in the fun of the thing from beginning to end, 
and the infection of his humour, which, despite its modest 
quietness, was eternally bubbling over, spread through the 
entire company, and materially assisted in the establish- 
ment of the entente cordiale which prevailed throughout the 
company, and was perhaps not the least remarkable 
feature of a truly remarkable performance. 

Mr. Twiss, by the way, figures in the programme as 
Mr. " W. F. Quintin," an important official position neces- 
sitating, in the summer-time of his life, a pseudonym 
when engaged in such frivolous work as play-acting. 



AMATEUR PANTOMIME OF 1878 115 

For reasons best known to himself he did not appear 
on this occasion under his celebrated noin de theatre in 
the amateur stage-world of " Oliver Twist." 

He cannot be passed by in connection with this par- 
ticular appearance as an amateur without a word of 
unqualified praise for his Tailor in the Harlequinade. 
He had but little to do, but his performance was a gem 
of genuine water. 

Captain Arthur Gooch, a shining light of the "Windsor 
Strollers," and a most experienced amateur actor, who 
subsequently joined the ranks of the Canterbury "Old 
Stagers," with great benefit to that most venerable and 
venerated body of amateur histrions, fitted, as it were, 
naturally into the character of Ali Baba, and his per- 
formance left nothing to be desired. 

Mr. Algernon Bastard, an amateur of a wide range 
of experience of a cosmopolitan order — for he had been 
in the habit of playing in French almost as much as 
in English — cheerfully undertook what was perhaps the 
least satisfactory role in the cast of principals, that of 
Cassim, in which he made as much as was possible of 
rather slender opportunities. He got in his fine work, 
however, and made one of the most pronounced hits in 
the Pantomime as Ung Mossoo in the Harlequinade. 

The eccentric " abandon," funny to a degree without 
being in the least vulgar, of his " can-can," with Mr. F. H. 
M'Calmont as an Old Woman, cannot fail to live in the 
memories of those who saw it, as an unique specimen of 
spontaneous saltatory genius. It was one of those sur- 
prises to have been seen and not to be described. 

The above-mentioned quartette of gentlemen con- 
stituted the principal "speaking parts," so far as the 
amateurs were concerned. 



ii6 AMATEUR ACTING 

But the minor characters managed to get in a lot of 
fun, with quaint hues here and there, and really good, 
well-thought-out business, the principal scorer amongst 
them being Mr. A. Stuart-Wortley as The Trumpeter, 
whose quaint antics and loose-jointed agility achieved 
for him the pronounced honour of being compared to 
the hitherto incomparable Fred Yokes. This circumstance 
no doubt consoled him considerably for a great dis- 
appointment that befell him in connection with the original 
order of thing regarding the cast of characters, of which 
more anon in its proper place. 

Mention has already been made of the ladies who so 
gallantly undertook what must have appeared to them 
the most formidable task of their stage careers, from the 
point of view of hard work. Suffice it to state as briefly 
as possible that Miss Lydia Thompson as Morgiana was 
the absolute sheet-anchor of the show. Had any drag 
occurred, she would have been ready on the spot, staunch 
to check it in a moment. As it was, all she had to do, 
and did, was to strike the key-note, and everybody was 
in harmony with her, both on the stage and in the 
audience. 

The stately Helen Barry, originally of " Babil and 
Bijou " fame at Covent Garden, when she made her first 
appearance as a gorgeous Amazon leader, was cast for 
the character of Abdallah, the Lieutenant of the Forty 
Thieves. I believe I am right in stating that she emerged 
for this occasion specially from the retirement into which 
she had gone on her marriage with Major Rolls, who 
himself took part in the performance. 

Handsome Eleanor Button, with the most musical 
and infectious of laughs on or off the stage, was a 
delightful Cogia. 




K E 



^ -S < 



s * .S 

-; ■ J3 

C M s 

c o 



'3 3 



AMATEUR PANTOMIME OF 1878 117 

Pretty Lucy Buckstone, daughter of the celebrated old 
" Bucky " of Hay market fame, was an ideal, good Fairy, 
and there was the cast of the " opening " complete. 

But the Harlequinade was quite another affair. To 

our great relief and general astonishment Mr. W. S. 

Gilbert volunteered to undertake the part of Harlequin. 

That certainly was a big load off our minds ; but nobody 

seemed in the least inchned or willing to tackle Clown, 

Everybody was quite game to do Butcher, Baker, Tinker, 

Tailor, &c., or even Policeman, Swell, or Pantaloon, but 

all resolutely shied at the responsibility of Clown. At 

last, after a deal of persuasion and earnest asseverations 

on the part of everybody else that he was sent into the 

world for the sole aim and object of representing Clown 

in the way in which Clown ought to be represented, 

Archibald Stuart-Wortley undertook to do or die in the 

attempt to worthily " don the motley," which I believe is 

the correct phrase for playing Clown. That was all right. 

We got along swimmingly when once this crux was got 

over. Thomas Knox Holmes, a veteran of seventy-two 

years of age, but a boy at heart, was cast for Pantaloon. 

He had taken part in the Amateur Pantomime a quarter 

of a century earlier, in which John Hollingshead played. 

Your humble servant, who played under the rather patent 

pseudonym of W. "Wye," was cast for Policeman, Captain 

H. E. Colvile (now Sir Henry Colvile) for Sprite, and 

Mademoiselle Rosa, one of the premieres danseuses of the 

Alhambra, for Columbine. Lord de Clifford was the 

Swell, with a very good high kick, and the rest of the 

characters in the Harlequinade were filled by those who 

had appeared as Thieves in the " opening." 

Dear old Bob Soutar, who was at that time the stage- 
manager of the Gaiety Theatre, occupied the same post 



ii8 AMATEUR ACTING 

for our benefit, and never did shepherd look more care- 
fully after a flock of sheep than did Bob Soutar after our 
flock of wild amateurs. He was ubiquitous without being 
in the least obtrusive. Was there a trap to be worked, he 
was on the spot to see that none of us unwittingly fell 
into it ; was there a leap to be taken, he was ready 
waiting to see that the stage hands told off to catch us 
were at their posts. In fact, he was here, there, and 
everywhere, and with that peculiar, quiet, methodical 
manner of his proved invaluable to everybody connected 
with the performance. 

Never was practical John Hollingshead's perspicacity 
shown to greater advantage than when he selected John 
d'Auban for the onerous and responsible position of 
our Pantomime Instructor. Imagine the magnitude, the 
seeming impossibility of the task imposed upon him. 
The labours of Hercules were light in comparison to 
what was before him when he undertook to train and 
teach some five-and-thirty amateurs, who have always 
the reputation of being " kittle cattle " to drive. Not 
only had he to superintend every single detail of the 
" opening," to arrange every bit of " business," to teach 
every step of every dance, to drill a body of inexperienced 
gentlemen in marches, counter-marches, entrances, exits, 
to arrange movements to choruses, tableaux at the de- 
nouements of scenes, and broadsword combats in the 
Thieves' Cave, but he also had to commence at the letter 
A of the alphabet of the Harlequinade with one and all 
of us, and go through to Z before trusting us with the 
grammar and language of the business, so to speak. He 
had to teach us individually and collectively " leaps," 
" rolls-out," " slaps," " bats," " fountains," " animations," 
and goodness knows what else, for my memory fails me 



AMATEUR PANTOMIME OF 1878 119 

at this distance of time as to all the technical terms of 
which we were profoundly ignorant at the start, but 
which in an incredibly short space of time we used with 
the easy, flippant familiarity of " old timers " of at least 
a quarter of a century's experience. 

Nor could he have possibly succeeded as he did in 
instilling success into us had we not one and all worked 
loyally, unflaggingly, and seriously. This he has admitted 
to me himself frequently since, and his despair at the 
immediate outset was speedily turned into delight at 
finding himself the instructor of what he has euphe- 
mistically termed the most intelligent batch of pupils 
he ever had under his tuition. 

For our parts, we speedily recognised in him the most 
patient, painstaking, equable, and long-suffering mortal we 
had ever come across in any sphere of life. He knew 
what he wanted to be done, and liow he wanted it to be 
done — and it was done. 

I know as a fact that John d'Auban regards to this 
day his production of that Amateur Pantomime as not 
only one of the most successful achievements of his long 
and honourable career, but also as one of the most 
pleasant — if not the very pleasantest — of his countless 
associations with the stage. His sentiments on the point 
are most fully and unanimously reciprocated by us. 

Another enormous advantage we enjoyed was the 
musical directorship of Herr Meyer Lutz, the deservedly 
popular " Magister " of the Gaiety Theatre. No one at 
that time, and few if any since, had greater experience of 
the class of work that had made the Gaiety, from its start, 
the very first favourite of London theatres that catered to 
the play-going public the lighter form of entertainment of 
the Metropolis. 



120 AMATEUR ACTING 

Amateurs though we were, we were " safe as houses " 
under the stolid guidance of the " Magister." Serene, 
unruffled, patient — even dogged in his determination to 
obtain the result he wanted — he would sit hour after hour 
at the piano, seemingly oblivious of, and callous to, the 
excruciating discords that were the most striking features 
of the earlier chorus rehearsals, no sign or token of any- 
thing in the shape of disapprobation of our well-meant 
but rather abortive efforts at harmony apparent in his 
phlegmatic bearing, until at the conclusion of what we 
considered an especially well rendered number, he would 
laconically ejaculate, " Vunce more, pleess !" and not only 
'' vunce more, pleess," but maybe fifty times, we had to 
hammer at it, until he was — for the time being — satisfied 
of, at all events, a semblance of improvement. He literally 
dinned into our ears sufficient of what did duty for har- 
mony to enable him to know that his clever orchestration 
in the hands of the admirable Gaiety band would cover 
up our delinquencies. In justice to our good singers 
and accomplished musicians, such as Mr. Lionel Benson, 
Mr. Twiss, and others, I must state that the previous 
remarks are not intended to apply to them of course, 
but to the majority of us whose zeal as vocalists outran 
both their capabilities and their discretion. 

Needless to say, the worthy Lutz discriminated with 
unerring certainty between the musical sheep and the 
inharmonious goats, and for the formers' sake, as well 
as for his own, wasted no unnecessary time in directing 
his energies elsewhere than where they were required. 
He did wonders with the goats, and their bleats by 
the day of performance passed muster well enough to be 
fairly indiscernible from those of the sheep — in ensembles 
and choruses at all events. 



AMATEUR PANTOMIME OF 1878 121 

I must now go back to the time when the cast had 
been duly fixed upon, the scripts dehvered, and stage 
rehearsals commenced. So far there had only been 
musical rehearsals, extending over some ten days or a 
fortnight, mostly from four to six of an afternoon. With 
only a month left before the day already advertised for 
the performance, we felt that rehearsing had to begin 
in earnest, and begin in earnest it did. 

It is wonderful what a toil, not to say absolute hard 
labour, enthusiasts will make of a pleasure. Exempli 
gratia. We rehearsed that Pantomime for four weeks on 
end from three o'clock till six o'clock every afternoon, 
and from midnight till three o'clock in the morning, 
barring Saturdays and Sundays, on the Gaiety stage. 

Apart from the regular " calls," we were rehearsing in 
one way or another all day long. You had only to go into 
the Beefsteak Club at any time after the doors were open 
and you would find " Odger " Colvile, as we called him, 
Archie Stuart- Wortley, W. S. Gilbert, your humble servant, 
and others connected with the '' show," practising harle- 
quin leaps over the fire-screen on to the sofa, doing 
scraps of dances in the corners, and arranging details of 
proposed business over a hastily swallowed meal. I verily 
believe that we selfish, egotistical enthusiasts drove every- 
body else away from that Club during the entire month 
in which we suffered from the cacoethes ludendi, except 
a few good-natured souls who had not been included in 
the cast, but who became so fired with the infection of 
our enthusiasm, that they too must needs join in our 
exercises, to the additional detriment of the Club furniture 
and the disintegration of their articles of apparel. 

At that period I was residing in chambers on the top 
floor of one of the Courts in the Temple, which chambers 



122 AMATEUR ACTING 

I shared with Jos. Maclean. After our night rehearsals at 
the Gaiety we used to go home and practise dances, leaps, 
and all sorts of wild antics, until we received a mild pro- 
test from the occupant of the floor below, who, fortunately, 
was not only a personal friend, but also a real good fellow. 
He based his objection not so much upon his deprivation of 
sleep, as that was a matter easily remedied in the daytime 
whilst he was waiting in chambers for briefs that never 
came, but upon the ground that he went in perpetual fear 
of our coming through upon him below. He appeared to 
be just as much concerned on our account as his own, 
for he felt confident that, like himself, we were uninsured, 
and pointed out that a catastrophe of the nature he antici- 
pated would prove to be absolutely unremunerative to 
anybody but the undertakers. There was no combating 
so completely unanswerable an argument as that, so we 
entered into a friendly arrangement with him, by which 
we agreed to swap rooms with him until after the produc- 
tion of the Pantomime, as the chambers below him again 
were non-residential. 

One of the most interesting circumstances in connec- 
tion with the enthusiasm that possessed us was the 
tremendous keenness of W. S. Gilbert. It seems that one 
of the hobbies of his life had been to play Harlequin, and 
with the thoroughness that is one of his most marked char- 
acteristics, he meant to do it well. It is hardly necessary 
to say that he played it extraordinarily well, but with a 
grim determinedness that amused many in the audience, 
although they one and all recognised with admiration the 
enormous trouble to which he must necessarily have put 
himself to arrive at the state of perfection he achieved. 
There is little if any question that Harlequin is the most 
difficult role to fill satisfactorily in a Harlequinade, and 



AMATEUR PANTOMIME OF 1878 123 

that W. S. Gilbert should have acquitted himself so very 
much more than creditably in such an exacting task, especi- 
ally for one v^ho had passed the first bloom of youth, and 
had had no kind of preliminary training for such work, 
is absolutely marvellous. It was a triumph of mind over 
matter, of sheer will-power over physical obstacles. His 
keenness was not confined to personal practice, although 
he never missed an opportunity of going through the 
" animations," or pirouetting, or doing something to per- 
fect himself, when in sufficient privacy or only in com- 
pany of his fellow-workers. He on several occasions 
invited all of those immediately associated with him in 
the business of his Harlequinade to his private house to 
dinner, and we would all afterwards go two or three times 
through a thorough rehearsal in his drawing-room, and 
later on cab it down to the Gaiety to attend the regular 
midnight call. A pleasanter, more genial, or agreeable 
companion than he was it would have been difficult, if 
not impossible, to find. 

Matters went merrily, briskly, and most satisfactorily 
on for the first fortnight of the month's stage-rehearsals, 
when lo ! a bolt from the blue ! an unforeseen calamity ! 
a dire disaster I Archie Stuart-Wortley, who had scarcely 
been up to his wonted mark of vivacity for three or four 
days, was stricken with a bad attack of measles, of all things 
in the world. There was no help for it ; he was obliged 
to relinquish all idea of appearing as Clown, or indeed of 
coming near us for some little time after he rose from his 
sick-bed. There was a nice dilemma ! " Practical John " 
was consulted post-haste as to what was to be done. He 
decided the matter off-hand, to my own utter consternation 
and dismay, and to the astonishment, but at the same time 
the relief, of the others. His fiat went forth that I of all 



124 AMATEUR ACTING 

people was to " don the motley." In vain I protested, 
pleaded, argued. The " ukase " had gone forth, and I was 
obliged to submit. Fortunately in my role of Policeman 
I was a good deal associated with the Clown, and as a 
matter of fact knew every bit of " business " through strict 
attention to it at rehearsals, whether it related directly to 
myself or not. Had it not been for that, I verily believe 
that " ukase " or no " ukase " I should have been sum- 
moned to the antipodes on important family business, 
and have " done a guy," which I understand to be more 
or less of a slang phrase for " showing the white feather." 
Anv way, I undertook the awful responsibility of Clown, 
and I am creditably informed that I got through all right. 
To this day I am of the firm belief that for Clown — even 
an amateur Clown — to attempt to sing both " Hot Cod- 
lings " and " Tippetywicket " was a great mistake. I 
thought so then, but I did as I was told, and they (mean- 
ing the audience) did not throw bricks or anything else 
at me. And so I was satisfied, if they were not. 

Of course my assumption of Clown necessitated a 
further change in the arrangements of the cast of the 
Harlequinade. " Practical John " settled it all without an 
effort. Cut out the Sprite, who wasn't wanted, and let 
Captain Colvile do the Policeman. It was done with the 
very happiest results. " Odger " Colvile's Policeman was 
one of the most pronounced features of the Pantomime, 
and his wrestle w4th the Tailor's dummy has seldom been 
equalled, and certainly never excelled, as a pure piece of 
absolutely first-class pantomime work in the very highest 
sense of the term. 

I had no idea of what I undertook when I obeyed that 
" ukase " and became Clown. To show what I went 
through in the way of physical exercise, I solemnly aver 



AMATEUR PANTOMIME OF 1878 125 

that during that fortnight in which I had to rehei.rse for 
all I was worth, I lost over two stone in weight, and covered 
myself from head to heels with bruises to such an extent 
that after each rehearsal I had to retire to a dressing- 
room, strip to the buff, and be rubbed all over most 
vigorously with a marvellous compound known in the 
profession as " nine-oils " by no less than three stage- 
hands for fifteen or twenty minutes. 

These little trifles were part of the " fun " we entered 
upon in our craving for pantomimic glory ! 

Happily Archie Stuart-Wortley recovered from the 
measles in time to attend sufficient rehearsals to get in 
some excellent work as The Trumpeter of "The Forty 
Thieves," as I have mentioned before. For a variety of 
reasons, which it is obviously unnecessary to detail, I 
should infinitely have preferred to see him as Clown. 

Long before the eventful day arrived every available 
seat in the Gaiety Theatre had been bought up at very 
greatly enhanced prices, the lowest price being half-a- 
crown for the gallery. As much as fifty guineas apiece 
was given for more than one private box. H.R.H. the 
Prince and Princess of Wales not only gave a very hand- 
some sum for the Royal box, but honoured the performance 
with their presence and that of the members of their family. 

Fancy prices ruled for the stalls, two guineas beincf 
the lowest for that coign of vantage ; whilst nothing less 
than a guinea was accepted for dress-circle seats ; and the 
charge in the pit, where the seats were all reserved, was 
half-a-guinea. The total receipts for the first performance 
on the afternoon of Wednesday, February 13th, amounted 
to between six and seven hundred pounds. It was ori- 
ginally intended that there should be only one perform- 
ance, but the success that attended that performance was 



126 AMATEUR ACTING 

so great that Practical John HoHingshead arranged for a 
special performance at Brighton on the evening of Satur- 
day, March 9th. Here the performance was equally 
successful, and the receipts — at, of course, enhanced 
prices — the largest ever taken at the Theatre Royal, 
Brighton, except for Grand Opera. We went down in 
a body to Brighton, and took the whole of the Old Ship 
Hotel, and a royal good time we had of it. Our lady 
thieves at Brighton were recruited from the Theatre 
Royal. 

Shortly after this the terrible disaster of the loss of the 
training-ship Eurydice, off the Isle of Wight, occurred, and 
as a fund was started for the bereaved relatives of the men 
and lads who were lost in such an awful manner, it was 
determined to give yet another performance at the Gaiety 
Theatre for the benefit of the Eurydice Fund. This took 
place on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 10, 1878, 
and proved in every way as successful as the two previous 
performances, although the receipts were not so large as 
on the occasion of the first performance, owing to the 
prices in the cheaper parts of the house being reduced to 
a lower scale. Without having the actual figures, I believe 
I am correct in stating that the receipts of the three per- 
formances amounted to upwards of ^^1500, of which 
-^500 was handed over to the Theatrical Fund, ;^3oo or 
^400 to the Eurydice Fund, and handsome sums to two 
or three London hospitals and the Brighton Hospital, so 
that the Ambitious Amateurs, if they did nothing else, 
proved of some assistance to charities. 

I have made no attempt to give any extracts of 
accounts of the Pantomime, but I append two poetical 
effusions that appeared at the time. I forget at the 
moment in what paper the first of the two following 



AMATEUR PANTOMIME OF 1878 127 

appeared. The first of them was written by Mr. J. E. C. 
Mathews, a member of the Beefsteak Club, with a very 
happy and facile knack of light versification. Here it 



IS 



AMATEUR PANTOMIME, 1878. 
"THE FORTY THIEVES." 



Walk up I ye Church and Laity, 
Take places at the Gaiety, 
Don't hesitate for fear you're late 
And full you find each row ; 
For all the World is coming here 
To criticise our mumming here, 
Our Metaphoric, Allegoric, Pantomimic Show 
Ensure our popularity. 
We claim without vulgarity, 
In worthy cause of charity 

We work to entertain. 
On the rising of the curtain 
Of succeeding we are certain 
If you greet us when you meet us 
In a sympathetic vein. 
So come and see our play. 
No matter what you pay ; 
A show like this 
You mustn't miss, 
For it's only on to-day. 



Mark our play ! Four authors wrote it, 

Quaintly quoted, justly noted 
For the talents they've devoted 

To delineating men. 
" Happy thoughts" by one invented ; 
Novel jokes unprecedented 
Make " Our boys " well represented 

By the brisk Byronic pen. 
Then our " Thieves " are all enlisted 
From the Beefsteak Club, — assisted 

By some Ladies, who are Haidees 
When they're acting on " the Square 



128 AMATEUR ACTING 

Though devoid of family jars, sir, 
We've our prisoner at the Bar, sir, 
For the convict Benson has obtained 
Permission to be there.' 



III. 

Ah Baba's an ex- Lancer, 
Hassarac's a cUnking dancer, 

Who can make you double shuffles and 
Quaint saltatory curves. 
We've a Ganem whose grimaces 
Ever gam him at all places 
The plaudits which his feature Ta/zV-ting 

Faculty deserves. 
Then we've fascinating Lydia, 
Who's gayer grown, and giddier, 
I'll wager half-a-quid yer 

Never saw a sweeter soul ! 
We've alluring little Lucy, 
Whom you'll worship when you do see ; 
And Helen, always tellin' 

When she plays the Major role. 

IV. 

We've a Harlequin reputed 
For the works he's executed. 
And on few men has acumen 

Been more liberally poured. 
When he dances dressed in spangles 
Through the hornpipe's tricky tangles, 
You'll find, though still " in statu pupillari," 

He's encored. 
His dumb motions are perfection 
When taken in connection 

With "gradations," "animations," 

And "technicals" like that : 
Though our wily Willie Gilbert 
Doesn't care a single filbert 
Except to flirt with Columbine 
And wave his magic bat. 



' This refers to the circumstance that Mr. W. Higgins, as one of the thieves, 
made up as Benson, a notorious convict of that period. 



AMATEUR PANTOMIME OF 1878 129 



Our Clown's a first-class cricketer, 
Whose tricks could scarce be wicketer ; 
Yet Yardley we can hardly 

Blame for "blaming" Pantaloon, 
Who in " Fielding " days was famous 
When he played the same old game as 
We shall see him, if we're lucky. 
Re-enact this afternoon. 
We've amongst our " corps " dramatic 
A Policeman acrobatic 

Who'll " take a slap," fly through a trap. 
Or stand upon his head ; 
We've the King of " can-can " dancers. 
Got at great expense from France, sirs ; 
Whilst our Artist blows his trumpet, 
As his trumpeter is dead. 

VI. 

We've a wonderful Cartoonist, 
Who can dash you off the soonest 

In shade and light of black and white, 
Unfinished or Vandyked ; 
In two minutes he will sketch you 
Either Beaconsfield (who'll fetch you) 
Or the people's William, who they say 
Has got himself disliked. 
In short, our Exhibition 
Simply laughs at Competition, 
Such amusements as inducements 
Cannot fail to fill our Show ; 
Yet from the first we've said it, 
We must give the mead of credit 

To D'Auban, Lutz, and Hollingshead, 
Who've taught us what we know. 
So come and see our play, 
No matter what you pay, 
A show like this 
You mustn't miss. 
For it's only on to-day. J. C. Mathews. 

The following lines appeared in a periodical of the 
time called Mirth, edited, to the best of my recollection, 
by Henry J. Byron, who I rather suspect was the author 
of the subjoined lucubration, which was signed " B." : — 

I 



130 AMATEUR ACTING 



THE AMATEUR PANTOMIME AT THE GAIETY." 

Go call me a hansom, and see that the horse 
Seems to look on his fate as a matter of course ; 
Is prepared to fly over the ground at a rate 
Dealing danger to children, — for, hang it, it's late I 
The time is announced when the play's to begin, 
And unpunctuality seems like a sin 
On such an important occasion as this — 
And none of the Amateurs' fooling I'd miss. 

Thus we cried on the thirteenth of Februar^^ 

In metre suggestive of " Bonnie Dundee'' ; 

And shortly the hansom drove up to the door 

Of Hollingshead's playhouse, ten minutes before 

The curtain should rise on the comical piece 

By Gilbert, Burnand, H. J. Byron, and Recce. 

What a sight was the " house " ! What a buzz and a hum, 

And the overture starts off with " Old Mother Gumm " 

Or something as classical, — never mind what : 

The curtain goes up, and soon there's a big shot 

That brings down the " house" in the opening scene, 

The wonderful dancing of " Wye" and Maclean. 

There are two rivers Wye, as we all of us know. 

But such two dancers " Wye," why the world cannot show ; 

Between him and Maclean there was scarcely a choice. 

For the latter was almost as nimble as Royce. 

Then Gooch shone as " Ali," and spoke out so bold ; 
And Quintin as " Ganem " had got a shght cold. 
But looked very funny ; whilst Archibald Wortley 
Exhibited antics so twisty and twirtley 
In boots fitting tightly as patent Balmorals 
That Frederick Yokes had best look to his laurels ; 
Whilst one thief made up as notorious Kerr, 
And another as Gladstone, ex-Prime Mini-ster. 

Miss Barry, — "Abdallah," — wore trousers which we 
Think were p'r'aps just a trifle unnecessaree. 
But still she looked splendid ; and " Cogia" was played 
By blooming Miss Bufton, most grandly arrayed ; 
She made a slight character seem quite important ; — 
But there, — get away, — for the long and the short on 't 
Is this, — that the nonsense was kept in a glow 
By dear Lydia Thompson, — the best in the show. 



AMATEUR PANTOMIME OF 1878 131 

She danced and she sang, and delivered her words 

Like the lightest and brightest of musical birds, 

And whenever the scene threatened flagging, why she 

Came and put it all right in a single ]\{fee. 

But when Lucy Buckstone, the sweetest of fays 

Came, and, using old-world pantomimical phrase, 

Called on Harlequin, Clown, Columbine, Pantaloon, 

And the band struck up gaily a Pantomime tune, 

There was laughing and cheering, and shouts of surprise. 

As Gilbert in glittering garb met our eyes — 

When the old " animations " he showed well he knew, 

A thrill of astonishment ran the house through. 

Then, after the Columbine, dainty as lace. 

The shaky artistical Knox took his place 

As senile Pantaloon ; then with comical cry. 

And a "head over heels," came the Clown, Mr. "Wye." 

There were leaps, fun in heaps. Captain Colvile was good, 

And acted as no " Peeler" would, could, or should ; 

Lord de Clifford as " Swell " was no end of a toff. 

And was quite unconcerned when his "jasey" dropped off. 

M'Calmont, young Ward, each elicited roars ; 

And Bastard the loudest of all the encores ; 

And Gilbert through all danced and postured with grace, 

With a very determined expression of face. 

The thanks of all those who were present that day 

Are certainly due to the brilliant array 

Of good-nature, and talent, and last, though not least. 

To John Hollingshead, founder, no doubt, of the feast ; 

To Lutz, of conductors the best ever known ; 

To d'Auban, who patience and talent has shown ; 

Coaching all with a temper that nothing could vex. 

And to genial Bob Soutar— God bless his old specs ! 

B. 

Although I have been mainly dependent upon my 
own memory for the facts stated above, I believe the 
record of the proceedings in connection with the incep- 
tion and carrying out of the Amateur Pantomime of 1878 
to be substantially accurate in every particular. There 
may be some minor details which I have omitted, but 
if so, it is just as well, for I have far exceeded the space 
I had intended to occupy, and which I thought at the 
outset would be sufficient. 



132 AMATEUR ACTING 

THE AMATEUR BURLESQUE OF 1881. 

" Herne the Hunted." 

Played at the Gaiety Theatre on the afternoons of 
Tuesday, 24th May, and Friday, 27th May, 1881. 

HERNE THE HUNTED! 

PANTOMIMIC BURLESQUE 

BY 

R. Reece and W. Yardley. 

CHARACTERS. 

Henry the Eighth . {King of England) . Captain A. GOOCH. 

The Duke of Richmond (Hts Son) . . Mr, C. G. Allan. 

The Earl of Surrey Mr. C. C. CLARK. 

Sir Thomas Wyat . . . . Mr. A. Stuart-Wortley. 

The Duke of Norfolk Mr. J. H. Morgan. 

The Duke of Suffolk Mr. J. H. Gifford. 

The Earl of Oxford ( T/te Lord Chamberlai7i) Mr. J. Ashby-Sterry. 

Le Due de Chasse- ) .y,^^ French Ambassador) \ Mr. A. Bastard. 

au-Reynard ) ( 

Captain Bourchier {Captain of the Guard) M. H. St. Paul. 

Will Sommers . {The Kings Jester) Mr. JOS. J. Maclean. 

^ J ( {Head Cook at Windsor ) ,, ^ ,,, t-t, r.T t r^T^t^ 

Simon Quanden y Castle) ^ Mr.C.W.TROLLOPE. 

Tristram Lyndwood {Ex-keeperof the Forest) Mr.T. Knox-Holmes. 
Herne . . . {The Dejn on Hunter) . Mr. W. Yardley. 
The " Duke of Shoreditch" \ Non-Coimnis- ( Mr A B CoOK. 

The "Marquis of Islington" I j/(7«^^C>#c^rj- 1 j^^. £ northcote. 
The "Marquis of Padding- Uf the YeomenS Mr. Godfrey Pearse! 
ton" ) of the Guard \ 

Huntsman Mr. S. DuBOURG. 

First Whip Mr. Frank Miles. 

Second Whip Mr. Leslie Ward. 

The Fox Captain Barrington-Foote, R.A. 

Anne Boleyn Miss Fortescue. 

Lady EHzabeth 5 Known as ''J^he j Mrs. LIVINGSTONE THOMPSON. 

Fitzgerald { Fair Geralainc ) 
,, , , ^ . . ( Mrs. Cecil Clay. 

Mabel Lyndwood j (j^U^^ ^^^.^^ Vokes.) 

Yeomen of the Guard, Cooks, Scullions, Hounds, Peasants, &c. 



AMATEUR BURLESQUE OF 1881 133 



Act I. 

Scene i.— " Terrace and Battlements of Windsor Castle by night." 
Scene 2.—" The Kitchen in Windsor Castle." 

Act II. 

Scene i.— "A State Apartment in Windsor Castle." 
Scene 2.—" A Glade in Windsor Forest." 
Scene 3. — " Heme's Oak in Windsor Forest." 

The remarkable success that attended the Amateur 
Pantomime of 1878 fired the majority of us who had 
taken part in that performance to another effort in the 
same Hne three years later. 

It was unanimously felt that another Amateur Panto- 
mime, after such a short lapse of time, would be out 
of the question, for a variety of more or less obvious 
reasons. 

After a vast deal of careful deliberation, in consulta- 
tion of course with our grand ally, our "guide, philosopher, 
and friend," " Practical John " Hollingshead, it was deter- 
mined to try our still 'prentice hands on "Burlesque." 
All sorts of old-time and well-tried burlesques were sug- 
gested, but there seemed to be a general consensus of 
opinion that the entire affair should be as far as possible 
original. 

Naturally the first person to whom we turned to 
provide us with a "book," and to assist us also in the 
rendering of his own work, was Mr. W. S. Gilbert, who 
had been such a marked feature in the success of the 
Pantomime in his dual capacity of part-author and one of 
the leading performers. 

At this distance of time, and writing purely from 
memory, I believe I am correct in stating that the prm- 
cipal reasons why this highly desirable desideratum failed 



134 AMATEUR ACTING 

to become a fait accompli were, that Mr. Gilbert had made 
all arrangements for a prolonged trip abroad. Anyway, 
the fact remains that he was unable to assist us in any 
capacity, to the general disappointment of all. 

On reflection in maturer years, it seems difficult to 
realise now how we could have had what the Americans 
term the "gall" to approach W. S. Gilbert, who was then 
in the zenith of his success with his immortal " Savoy " 
comic operas, with such a suggestion as to gratuitously 
provide us with an original burlesque from his pen. I 
only wonder that we did not also approach Sir Arthur 
(then Mr.) Sullivan to write original music for us. Per- 
haps we did. I am sure we must have attempted once 
more to trespass upon the proverbial good-nature of Mr. 
F. C. Burnand, and also on that of Mr. Henry J. Byron, 
if he was then still alive, they being two of the contri- 
butors to the Amateur Pantomime " book." 

Mr. Robert Reece, who, with Mr. Gilbert, made up 
the quartette of librettists of the Amateur Pantomime, 
would not undertake to write our proposed Amateur 
Burlesque single-handed, and to cut matters short, I had 
the temerity to accept the honour which was offered to 
me of collaborating with him. 

The subject eventually selected was a very " go-as- 
you-please " travestie, based upon Harrison Ainsworth's 
" Windsor Castle," which we took the liberty of calling 
" Heme the Hunted." 

Of course it is not for me to descant upon the merits 
or demerits of the piece such as it was, but I have 
held it as a matter of pride — a feeling that I know was 
shared by poor old " Bob " Reece — that we succeeded, in 
a two-act burlesque of about one thousand lines, in pro- 
viding no less than twenty speaking parts, all of more 



AMATEUR BURLESQUE OF 1881 135 

or less prominence, the large majority of them being of 
" more " than of " less." 

We had a cast of amateur " stars," every one of whom 
had a good chance of distinguishing themselves, and not 
one of whom failed to do so ; whilst one and all pulled 
together with an utter absence of jealousy, but with the 
bonne camaraderie which is the essential of success in 
such circumstances. We had the inestimable advantage 
of the assistance not only of our trusty manager, John 
Hollingshead, but also of the invaluable trio, Robert 
Soutar (stage - manager), Herr Meyer Lutz (musical 
conductor), and John d'Auban (pantomime and general 
instructor), who had done such wonders for us in the 
Amateur Pantomime, and in whom we had the completest 
confidence, whilst they from their previous experience 
of us as workers had a vast deal more confidence in us 
than they naturally possessed when they started upon their 
extremely difficult task three years previously. 

Any attempt to eulogise their good work in " Heme 
the Hunted " would be a mere repetition of what I have 
already written of it in connection with the Amateur 
Pantomime. Such a curt dismissal of their splendid ser- 
vices in the Burlesque must therefore be taken, as it is 
intended, as a compliment, and not as any depreciation of 
their enormous value to ourselves. 

How it came about precisely I do not now remember, 
if indeed I ever rightly knew ; but the fact remains that 
we decided to endeavour to employ amateur talent only 
throughout the cast, ladies and all. 

I am certain that it was not that we failed in any way 
to appreciate the splendid assistance that the professional 
ladies had rendered us in the Amateur Pantomime. 

I am bound to say that our consciences as to the 



136 AMATEUR ACTING 

strict meaning of the term " amateur " were distinctly 
elastic, for we naturally hailed with the greatest delight 
the fact that we could obtain the absolutely invaluable 
services of Mrs. Cecil Clay, who upon her marriage had 
retired from the professional stage, which she had so 
brilliantly illuminated with her unique talents as Miss 
Rosina Yokes, the soul of the famous and talented Yokes 
Family. 

A retired professional, even the star of stars in the line 
in which her lot had been cast, was by us considered an 
amateur for our own ends. These ends, however, could 
scarcely be considered selfish, as they were directed to the 
gratification of the public, who were always her adorers, at 
the unexpected opportunity of seeing her once again, when 
they had resigned themselves to the regret that they had 
seen the last of her upon the stage. 

Again, with such an ally in our ranks we had success 
for the charity for which we had to perform, viz., " The 
Artists' Benevolent Institution," positively assured. 

Why, then, should our consciences, if we were pos- 
sessed of such inconvenient commodities, have been 
otherwise than elastic ? 

I take this opportunity of relating a circumstance 
which escaped me when writing about the Amateur 
Pantomime, but which is quite as apropos to notice 
here, since it relates to Mrs. Cecil Clay, and is illustrative 
of the humour that was the essence of her being. Our 
worthy friend, " Practical John " Hollingshead, wrote to 
her before anybody else to ask her to play the leading 
girl in the Pantomime. He received in reply a highly 
characteristic letter, to the effect that nothing would have 
given her greater pleasure than to comply with his re- 
quest, were it not that grave domestic reasons prevented 



AMATEUR BURLESQUE OF 1881 137 

her from doing so. " But," she added, " should you 
require a baby for the comic scenes in the Harlequinade, 
I have every reason to hope and believe that by the time 
its services would be needed, I shall be in a position 
to supply you with the article." 

There was no idea in her mind at the time of her 
appearance in " Heme the Hunted " that she would 
later re-adopt the theatrical profession, as she did with 
notable success, but alas ! only on the American con- 
tinent, and only for too brief a period, as she practically 
" died in harness," the idol of all who were privileged 
to know her, either as an actress or as a woman, at 
an early age, and in the very zenith of her fame as a 
comedy actress of the most pronounced talents. She 
instituted a style of entertainment absolutely unique in 
its perfection, and of a style that has had many would- 
be imitators, but which remains in the memories of all 
who were fortunate enough to become acquainted with 
it as being as unapproachable as irreproachable. 

I have often thought that America was perhaps in- 
directly indebted to " Heme the Hunted " for the pleasure 
her theatre-going public derived from the return of Rosina 
Yokes to the stage. 

With such a " star " to interpret our humble efforts, 
Robert Reece and I were naturally only too eager to 
make the character of Mabel Lyndwood the centre 
round which the rest revolved ; but Mrs. Cecil Clay 
would not hear of any such arrangement, and positively 
declined to accept a role of anything like undue pro- 
minence. I find on consulting the "book" of "Heme 
the Hunted " that her actual number of speaking lines 
did not exceed stxiy. 

To her performance of Mabel Lyndwood in 



138 AMATEUR ACTING 

" Heme the Hunted " I could not find terms to do suffi- 
cient justice, nor even if I could have I a tithe of the 
space available to do so. From her entrance in the 
Kitchen Scene (Scene 2 of Act. I.), when she was ac- 
corded as magnificent a reception as I ever witnessed 
or heard, to the final fall of the curtain, she was the life 
and soul of the performance. 

Tristram Lyndwood, Mabel's grandfather, played by 
the veteran Thomas Knox-Holmes in his seventy-fifth year, 
calls off to her — 

Tristram. Mabel ! 

Ejiier Mabel Lyndwood. 

Mabel {shyly). Oh my ! my footsteps I'll retrace ; 

I'm not accustomed to this sort of place. 
All. Don't go. [About to go. 

Mabel. Oh dear ! I must : in public my 

Want of experience makes me so shy. 
Herne. It is a source of grief to friends admiring, 

Whose name is Legion, that you're ioo retiring. 

The arch humour with which she gave her first lines, 
the irresistible fascination of that wonderfully infectious 
laugh of hers, produced an electrical effect upon the 
audience. Admirably as the piece had commenced in 
the first scene, started with enormous c'clat by a most 
effective trio to the then popular air, " I'm Living with 
Mother now," rendered inimitably by Messrs. E. North- 
cote, A. B. Cook, and Godfrey Pearse, as the Marquis 
of Islington, the Duke of Shoreditch, and the Marquis of 
Paddington, all possibilities of non-success were dispelled 
by our " Mabel." Her dancing was as light, as graceful, 
as perfect, as in the very heyday of her most triumphant 
successes. Her " business " was Rosina Yokes at her 



AMATEUR BURLESQUE OF 1881 139 

very best. Nothing was ever seen in the way of true 
pantomimic art better than her tremendous fight for 
mastery between herself and her (hobby-)horse in the 
Hunting Scene in the last Act, culminating in the com- 
plete subjugation of the " fiery, untamed steed," a tour de 
force which obtained her a double recall. 

It was not only in her individual performance that 
she was of such inestimable value, but also in the un- 
flagging devotion to the success of the rest of us, one 
and all. She was the first to arrive at rehearsal, the last 
to leave, and I believe I am not overstating facts in the 
least in asserting that there was not an individual con- 
nected with the performance who did not benefit very 
largely by her direct as well as indirect influence. We 
were as a body infected by the zeal and keenness she 
displayed and the example she set us, and as individuals 
we profited vastly by the quiet hints she gave us, which 
hints were conveyed with such tact and skill as to blind 
us to the fact that each and every one of them was as a 
matter of fact a lesson. Hints are easily, and often 
greedily, taken. Lessons are generally unpalatable. We 
never discovered the difference between them, adminis- 
tered as they were with such a delightful sugar-coating. 

It must not be imagined that we found it by any 
means an easy job to enlist the services of amateur ladies, 
especially in the matter of the chorus. Here again Mrs. 
Cecil Clay was of infinite value to us. Mainly through 
her persuasive faculties, and by undertaking the responsi- 
bilities of " chaperonage," she induced a number of stern 
and (at first) horrified " mammas " to allow their daughters 
to appear for the first time in public (in a real theatre at 
all events) in the cause of charity. 

That "charity" is a wonderful word with which to 



140 AMATEUR ACTING 

conjure, provided your "conjurer" or " conjuress " is an 
adept at the art. 

Our " conjuress " secured us a bevy of most charming 
young ladies, whose excellent services demand far more 
recognition than I can give them ; for although I have 
hunted London high and low, and have appealed to every- 
body I can think of, I have been unable to find a single 
soul from whom I can obtain a programme of the per- 
formances. 

The cast I have given at the commencement of this 
article is taken from a printed book of the Burlesque. 
And at that impasse I fear I must leave in most ungallant 
fashion the kind ladies who formed our chorus, all beauti- 
ful and talented, but destined, so far as my mission is 
concerned, to be unrecorded, though far from unrecog- 
nised, except by name. 

It is an interesting matter to me, and I think to all 
who may peruse these lines, that had it not been that she 
had just determined to take to the stage as a profession, 
Mrs. Langtry would have been in our cast. She would 
naturally have proved a great attraction, and it was a 
moot point with her for some days as to whether a first 
introduction to the public on the stage in a " big " amateur 
" function " would prove beneficial or prejudicial to her 
future prospects as a professional actress. She ultimately 
decided not to appear as an amateur — to our distinct loss 
goes without the saying. 

We secured a decided acquisition in Mrs. Livingstone 
Thompson, another of the " Society Beauties " of the day, 
as The Fair Geraldine, and the performance of the char- 
acter was no less charming and engaging than her 
appearance. 

Our great stumbling-block proved to be our Anne 



AMATEUR BURLESQUE OF 1881 141 

Boleyn. Mrs. Godfrey Pearse, the daughter of Mario and 
Grisi, and inheriting a far more exceptional endowment of 
their divine vocal qualities than is, as a rule, bestowed by 
heredity on the progeny of mated talent, whilst at the 
same time of exceptional attractiveness in face and form, 
had consented to honour us with her valuable aid. 
Unfortunately she was incapacitated by an affection of 
her throat, happily of only temporary duration, from 
assisting us. 

Hers was the commencement of a series of disappoint- 
ments on the part of several ladies of marked vocal and 
personal attainments, until Captain Arthur Gooch, our 
Henry Eighth, began to think that there was a fatality 
attaching to the character not unconnected with history, 
in so far that he was obliged to change his Queen so fre- 
quently. I believe it is an actual fact that when we finally 
found our Anne in Miss Fortescue, who had then recently 
joined Mr. D'Oyly Carte's Savoy Company, she was actu- 
ally the sixth with whom Gooch had rehearsed. Needless 
to say Miss Fortescue proved in every respect a most 
efficient and attractive Anne Boleyn. 

I doubt if it would have been possible to find any- 
body, professional or otherwise, who could personify Bluff 
King Hal so much in accordance to tradition as did our 
estimable colleague, " Goochy." His " make-up " was no 
caricature ; the burlesque came out of his own unctuous 
and humorous rendering of the opportunities afforded 
him. One of the biggest hits of the piece was his mock 
Italian " duettino " with Anne Boleyn to Campana's 
" Dimmi che m' ami." 

An amateur, who has since turned professional, and who 
is one of the soundest and most useful, of our actors of 
to-day, was Mr. C. G. Allan, who played with keen enjoy- 



142 AMATEUR ACTING 

ment and appreciative humour the part of the Duke of 
Richmond. Mr. Charles Carlos Clarke, one of the best 
known, and consequently most popular, members of the 
Stock Exchange then and now, was delightful in his 
asstheticism as the Earl of Surrey. Both his banjo-play- 
ing and his nimble dancing were highly prominent amongst 
the most successful features of the Burlesque, and his duet, 
" Marigold," with Mrs. Livingstone Thompson, made a 
most pronounced hit. Mr. Joseph J. Maclean, who played 
Will Sommers, the King's Jester, underwent a most cruel 
experience. On the very morning of the first perform- 
ance he had the very sad misfortune to lose his father, 
to whom he was most devotedly attached. Loyal to the 
core, knowing that in the event of his non-appearance in 
one of the most important parts in the piece it would 
either mean the abandonment of the performance or the 
necessity of a public explanation, which could not fail to 
throw a gloom over not only the company, but the audi- 
ence also and the unsatisfactory necessity of a substitute 
reading the part at the eleventh hour, he went through 
his terrible ordeal like the veritable hero he proved him- 
self to be. 

He has seldom been seen to greater advantage, 
although an amateur actor of very wide experience and 
exceptional skill. He abandoned himself to the excite- 
ment of the afternoon with most conspicuous vervcy and 
contributed in a marked degree to the success of the 
entertainment. The reaction at the close, when the 
enormous tension on his nerve power was once relaxed, 
was the most pitiable experience that has ever fallen to 
my lot, for it was to me, the most intimate friend he 
possessed amongst the circle of intimate friends with 
whom he was associated on the occasion, that he confided 



AMATEUR BURLESQUE OF 1881 143 

his terrible bereavement. It was an experience that must 
perforce dwell ever in my mind as long as I live. 

There are innumerable well-authenticated cases of a 
similar nature in the profession, but such an occurrence 
amongst amateurs " playing at the real game " is, I should 
imagine, unique, and in all human probability will remain so. 

On the Friday following his part was played with 
surprising success, especially considering the brevity of 
the interval, by Mr. Seymour Dubourg, who played the 
Huntsman in " Heme the Hunted." Mr. Seymour 
Dubourg was the son of Mr. A. W. Dubourg, part-author 
of " New Men and Old Acres," and author of other 
successful dramatic works. 

Minor parts were admirably filled by Messrs. J. H. 
Morgan, J. H. Giffard, H. St. Paul, Frank Miles, and Leslie 
Ward, the two latter being distinguished members of the 
craft of artists, to whose Benevolent Institution the sub- 
stantial profits of the performance were handed over. 

Mr. C. W. Trollope, who was then one of the soundest 
amateur actors I have ever seen, and who for several years 
past has officiated in the capacity of stage-manager to the 
Canterbury " Old Stagers," endowed the comparatively 
minor role of Simon Quanden, Head Cook at Windsor 
Castle, with far more importance than the authors of the 
Burlesque had believed to exist in it. 

A really admirable bit of genre burlesque — if I may 
be allowed to use such a term on such a subject — was the 
Fox of Captain Barrington Foote, R.A, It was worthy of 
a Charles Lauri, and I don't know how I could give it 
greater commendation. 

Quite one of the happiest hits, rivalling, if not over- 
shadowing, the success of his " can-can " in the Amateur 
Pantomime Harlequinade, was Mr. Algernon Bastard's 



144 AMATEUR ACTING 

performance of Le Due de Chasse-au-Reynard, the French 
Ambassador. Especially happy was he in the Hunting 
Scene, mounted in the first instance on a hobby-horse, 
and got up in true burlesque French hunting accoutre- 
ments, a large horn slung round his body, and a (Lowther 
Arcade) gun slung at his back. 

Where he shone most conspicuously was in his en- 
counter with the Fox, which to me was one of the funniest 
scenes ever witnessed in burlesque. It is indescribable ; 
but the scene itself may convey some sort of idea of its 
possibilities, which were carried out to the fullest, both by 
Mr. Bastard and Captain Barrington Foote. The brevity 
of the quotation from the libretto must be the excuse for 
giving it : — 

Horn without, very faint and plaintive. 

Enter Chasse-au-Reynard, on foot. 

Reynard. Hello ! — Personne ! — I tink I lose my vay ! 
I mount, — I fall, — mount, — fall, — toujours tombd ! 
Wis so much inountin^ I am now quite ill ! 
My 'orse he frisk, — or I vas wis 'im still ! 
Enfin ! I meet a hedge ! — I try 'im ! — Peste ! 
My 'orse go on alone ! — J'y suis ! — J'y reste ! 
I call to 'im to stay ! — No use, of course ! 
I call so loud, myself am now ze 'orse ! 
I fall so often I am all a sore ! 
N'importe ! Who care ? Vive la chasse ! Vive le sport ! 

\The fox comes in dead-beat and sits, not 
seeing Chasse-au-Reynard. 
Ah ! Qu' est que c'est que qa. 1 — Vraiment le fox ! 
Bonne chance ! — I shoot 'im dead like vun o'clocks ! 

{^Prepares to shoot fox, -ujho moves 
slowly up stage. 
Ah ! quel dommage ! He move ! — All right, he stay ! 

\He stalks fox on his stomach, takes careful and deliberate 
aim, using rest for his gun. He fires. Percussion- 
cap goes off, which completely staggers hi?n, throwing 
him over in the air on to his back. After a bit he 
pulls himself together again. 



AMATEUR BURLESQUE OF i88i 145 

Quelle cannonade ! 

\_Addrcsshii^fox, who has died a most 
spasmodic and acrobatic death. 
Are you kill ? \Exainining hi/n. 

Cui ! Tu cs ! 

\_ln a rapture of delight. 
Eep ! eep ! 'ooray ! — Victoire ! — Vive la belle France ! 

\_l'ery proudly, luithfoot on fo PC's prostrate body. 
Moi-meme j'ai venge Vaterloo ! — d'avance ! 

[With considerable difficulty slings fox s body over 
his shoulder, and exit triumphantly. 

This may not be particularly, if at all, funny to read, 
but the way the scene was played by Messrs. Bastard and 
Foote, was excruciatingly humorous, as any one who saw 
it will bear out. 

One of the most satisfactory features of this perform- 
ance to ourselves, and certainly to the audience, was the 
unqualified success of Mr. Archibald Stuart-Wortley as 
Sir Thomas Wyat. The bitter disappointment that befell 
him over the Amateur Pantomime, through being rendered 
hors de combat by measles, and having to relinquish the 
part of Clown, which he had assiduously rehearsed for two 
or three weeks, was amply atoned for by the triumph he 
achieved in " Heme the Hunted." A born comedian, he 
made capital out of every line he had to speak and every 
bit of " business " that came in his way. His pantomime, 
assisted by the " hints " (to which previous allusion has 
been made) of Mrs. Cecil Clay, was of the highest order. 
His singing, so quiet, so easy, and unforced, was a treat, 
especially in a parody of Tosti's *' Ohe Mama ! " His 
agility and athleticism were the perfection of untutored 
grace. He went through every trap and leap in or on 
the Gaiety stage as if he had been at the business all his 
life. Last, but not least, the freedom of movement he 
displayed in his dancing was a revelation, especially in an 

K 



146 AMATEUR ACTING 

amateur, and obtained for him from the Press favour- 
able comparison with the prince of easy dancers, Fred 
Yokes. 

The dancing throughout was especially good. Some 
of it was eccentric, notably in the case of Mr. Ashby 
Sterry, who when called upon at rehearsal to show what 
he could do in that line, admitted that he had never been 
a votary of Terpsichore, even in the humblest capacity. 
Dear old Ashby Sterry was obliged to be poetical even in 
such (to him) prosaic circumstances. Johnnie d'Auban 
professed not to understand his meaning, and requested 
an exhibit of his saltatory skill. The result of Sterry's 
maiden effort at the shrine of one of the Muses he had 
never dreamt previously of worshipping was simply para- 
lysing. As long as Lutz had strength to play the piano, 
Ashby Sterry found breath enough to perpetrate the wildest, 
most eccentric, and vigorous contortions and evolutions 
conceivable. They would have filled any dancing dervish 
with the greenest envy. At the conclusion of his trial 
trip d'Auban, when he had sufficiently recovered from 
amazement and exhaustion superinduced by uncontrollable 
laughter, simply remarked, " I can teach you nothing, sir, 
in the way of dancing. If you can do anything in any 
way approaching that in the performance, you will make 
the hit of the show." 

And, upon my word, I believe he did. It certainly 
was like nothing ever seen before or since. 

H.R.H. the Prince and Princess of Wales were 
again in evidence, and as usual were most generous in 
applause. 

A third performance was given on a Saturday night at 
what then was known as the " Imperial Theatre " at the 
Westminster Aqu-arium. 



AMATEUR BURLESQUE OF 1881 147 

Nobody seems, as far as I can gather, to have been 
inspired to write verses about the Amateur Burlesque. 

Eh ? Heme himself ? What about him ? I have 
no recollection of him beyond the fact that I tried my 
best to impersonate him, whether successfully or other- 
wise is not for me to say, even if I remembered, which I 
do not. 



VII 
THE GREEK PLAY, CAMBRIDGE 

By J. W. CLARK 

In the summer term of 1880 some enterprising Oxford 
undergraduates persuaded Dr. Jowett to allow them to 
represent the "Agamemnon" of ^schylus in the Hall of 
Balliol College. Their effort not only achieved an im- 
mediate and splendid success, but entailed consequences 
of which the most enthusiastic member of that company 
never dreamt. For some five hundred years Greek plays 
had been read, and commented upon, and imitated ; but 
nobody had ever thought of acting one. The experiment 
made at Oxford showed that these ancient works could 
still be effective on the stage ; and in the eighteen years 
that have elapsed since then, Greek plays have been acted 
in America and in England with a popularity which 
shows hardly any signs of waxing cold. 

In the following year the " OEdipus Tyrannus " was 
given at Harvard, but still our Cambridge gave no hint 
of following these two examples. At last, in the middle 
of May 1882, the subject came up accidentally in the 
course of conversation after a dinner at my house. There 
were present Dr. Waldstein and Mr. H. F. Wilson, then 
enjoying a brief repose after taking his degree. I cannot 
now remember how the talk began, but before long we 
had got as far as to determine to act a Greek play. A 



THE GREEK PLAY, CAMBRIDGE 149 

copy of the " Poetae Scenici," that useful collection of 
all the Greek plays that have come down to us, was 
fetched, and our search began. We put yEschylus out 
of court at once, because it was felt that his masterpiece 
had been given already, and we passed on to Sophocles. 
1 began to read the titles of his plays, which are arranged 
alphabetically. " Ajax," I read. "Jim Stephen," cried 
Wilson. " Of course," shouted Waldstein. The matter 
was settled. I should explain that by " Jim Stephen " 
we meant J. K. Stephen, scholar of King's College, who 
was then giving brilliant promise of a successful career, 
cut short, alas ! a few years afterwards by a lingering 
illness and an untimely death. His splendid physique 
pointed him out as an almost ideal Ajax, and the result 
fully justified our selection. 

The term was half over, and if we were to add our 
play to the attractions of the " May week," there was not 
a moment to lose. The sanction of the Vice-Chancellor 
was easily obtained, and next, as a matter of precaution, 
" a meeting of those interested in the scheme " was sum- 
moned for Wednesday, 24th May. Our real object in 
calling this meeting was pecuniary ; none of us had any 
money to risk or to lose, and we thought it prudent to 
find out, if possible, what support we were likely to get 
in the University. 

The attendance at that meeting could not be described 
as large, but it was influential ; and Dr. Kennedy, Regius 
Professor of Greek, supported us with generous enthu- 
siasm ; but he, and all the others present, counselled delay. 
In fact, looking back on our aspirations at that now 
distant period, it seems almost incredible that we could 
have thought of getting up a Greek play, music and all, 
in less than three weeks ! So it was agreed to act in 



150 AMATEUR ACTING 

the following October term, a committee was appointed, 
and we separated. 

The first act of this body — I may say the only act — 
was to place the coming representation under the care 
of Dr. Waldstein, who threw himself into his new duties 
with infinite zeal and energy. His object was twofold ; 
first, to have the play thoroughly well acted ; and, 
secondly, to bring into it all the archaeological correctness 
possible — no easy task when the different conditions 
under which the Greeks worked are taken into account. 
The Cambridge theatre of 1882 was an oblong struc- 
ture of wood, with a stage at one end and a gallery at 
the other, while the stalls occupied the interval. It 
was easy to sneer at this building and call it a barn, 
but it lent itself admirably to the ingenious devices by 
which Dr. Waldstein turned its wooden planks into the 
semblance of marble. The modern proscenium was 
easily disguised by a wooden framework painted to repre- 
sent a pediment resting on columns, delicately tinted with 
colour, and heightened with gold ; and the removal of 
a few rows of stalls gave space for a chorus-platform 
on a lower level than the stage, but about two feet above 
that of the auditorium, with an altar of Dionysus, heaped 
with fruit and flowers, in the centre. 

For the presentation of the play we had but little to 
guide us. It is a received tradition that a Greek stage had 
an architectural background pierced with three doors ; 
but whether scenery was or was not used in addition to 
this, is still a vexed question. Further, what rules were 
to be laid down for the actors ? In the large open-air 
theatres of ancient Greece their stature was artificially 
heightened, they wore masks, and they spoke through a 
mouth-piece. Such devices could not be employed here ; 



THE GREEK PLAY, CAMBRIDGE 151 

nor did we feel that the performance would gain in dignity 
if our actors declaimed their lines without gestures, stand- 
ing at a respectful distance from each other — a method 
which is, I believe, called "plastic," and is supposed to 
represent ancient custom. We determined after long and 
respectful deliberation to treat the " Ajax " as a modern 
play. We divided it into two scenes, which we might as 
well have called acts, for we dropped the curtain between ' 
them, and we engaged Mr. John O'Connor to paint a 
separate landscape for each. There remained the one 
distinguishing mark of the Greek stage, the Chorus, which 
we were obliged frankly to accept, and deal with as best 
we could. I have already mentioned the separate stage 
provided for its evolutions. Its utterances were set to 
music by Professor Macfarren ; and Mr. Stanford, as he 
was in those days, taught the performers to sing, and then 
conducted. It was objected that Macfarren's music was 
not Greek. Perhaps it was not — but it was effective, and 
contributed not a little to the success of the performance. 
The choice of actors was not easy. Mr. Stephen 
readily consented to play Ajax, but for the rest, all was 
uncertain. Fortunately Dr. Waldstein had a large under- 
graduate acquaintance, and by his own exertions and those 
of his friends a number of aspirants to dramatic fame were 
got together. Many came, and many went away, rejected 
by our stern stage-manager, who would accept nothing 
short of the best. At last, however, the cast became 
fairly complete, and we had several rehearsals in the 
course of the Long Vacation. But we were still without a 
Tecmessa, when a fortunate accident threw in our way Mr. 
Macklin of Gonville and Caius College. I shall never forget 
his first appearance on the stage of a College Hall lent for 
rehearsal. The part had not been in his hands for more 



15^ AMATEUR ACTING 

than an hour, and he could not have read more than the 
opening hnes, but as he walked on to the dais, book in 
hand, he became the person he had to represent ; and 
succeeding study only developed into rare and beautiful 
completeness one of the most remarkable impersonations 
it has ever been my good fortune to witness. 

Of all the difficulties with which a Greek performance 
is beset, perhaps that of dress is the greatest ; and even 
after the costume has been designed, it is no easy matter 
to teach the actor to wear it in a natural and becoming 
manner. It is recorded that at Harvard the actors wore 
their dresses at every rehearsal ; and in our later perform- 
ances at Cambridge we have followed this excellent 
example to some extent. But when we played the 
"Ajax" we were inexperienced, and in fact none of us, 
except Dr. Waldstein, knew what Greek dress meant. On 
him, as was natural, the duties of costumier devolved ; and, 
as in all other matters, he went to original authorities, as 
vase-paintings, bas-reliefs, and statues. From these the 
dresses were designed, and altered again and again until 
found satisfactory. 

The play was given on the nights of 29th November, 
30th November, and ist December 1882, and on the 
afternoon of 2nd December. Our fears of failure proved 
groundless. It was a remarkable indication of the power 
of Sophocles that the attention of the audience never flagged 
during the two hours and a half during which the per- 
formance lasted. Even those ignorant of Greek were pro- 
foundly affected, and came a second and even a third time 
to see it. The applause was frequent, spontaneous, and 
well-timed. The best passages seemed to have a power 
of their own to make themselves appreciated, independent 
of the language in which they were written. 




Mr. M. R. James as Peithetairos in "The Birds." 

From a dranniis; hv C. 71/. Newton. 



THE GREEK PLAY, CAMBRIDGE 153 

I notice that contemporary critics speak of the acting 
with kindly commendation ; and I am glad to find that in 
their judgments there were no blots upon a performance 
of high average merit. Of Mr. Macklin's Tecmessa I 
have already spoken. We knew that Mr. Stephen would 
look the part of Ajax, but nobody could have been pre- 
pared for the dramatic power with which he realised the 
different phases of the character. Teucer also, who domi- 
nates the second part of the play, after Ajax is dead, found 
an admirable exponent in Mr. H. C. Cust. His presence 
and bearing stood him in good stead ; but those natural 
gifts would have been of little avail without the pathos 
of his grief, the scorn of his contempt for the Atridae, 
and the tenderness with which he sheltered Tecmessa 
and her child. 

When we came to balance the accounts of our receipts 
and expenses we found that the former had exceeded the 
latter by ;^ii2 ; which sum, as the treasurer told the 
guarantors, " it is proposed to apply to defraying a portion 
of the expenses of the next performance." This the com- 
mittee lost no time in organising. Their minute-book 
informs me that on May 16, 1883, " it was agreed to play 
' The Birds ' of Aristophanes at the end of November next, 
and that Mr., now Sir Hubert, Parry should be requested to 
write the music." As I think on those days I marvel at our 
courage, at the delightful airiness with which we ignored 
difficulties, or skipped over them. Athenian comedy is 
separated from us by a far wider interval than Athenian 
tragedy. The comedies of Aristophanes not only belong 
to a civilisation which has completely passed away, but 
were written for particular occasions, and are full of per- 
sonal allusions, the point of which is either wholly lost, or 
can only be ascertained by long and laborious research. 



154 AMATEUR ACTING 

Further, many scenes which are delightful to read are 
very dreary in representation — as, for instance, the long 
contest between ^Eschylus and Euripides in " The Frogs." 
And yet we undertook, in the lightness of our hearts, to 
set one of these before the public in six months' time ! 
No doubt, if Aristophanes was to be acted, we were right 
to begin with *' The Birds." It is a brilliant piece of 
poetry and fun, in which, as Mr. Swinburne happily 
observes, the humour of Rabelais is united to the lyrical 
grace of Shelley, it is well known, and it appeals to the 
eye as much as to the mind. A playgoer must be dull 
indeed who does not enter into the fun of the foundation 
of Cloud-Cuckoo-Town, and the humours of the Sovereign 
Birds. 

The dresses of the Birds gave occasion for much dis- 
cussion. It was finally decided that no attempt should be 
made to realise birds completely, for there are many lines in 
the play which show that the faces of the performers must 
have been visible. A fantastic combination of bird-plum- 
age and human dress was therefore invented, consisting 
of a head-dress modelled after a bird's real head, with a 
beak projecting from the forehead of the actor. The wings 
were attached to the ordinary Greek chiton, and made of 
canvas, painted in imitation of the real markings. The 
terminal quills were represented by a piece of bamboo, 
which the actor held in his hand under the canvas, so 
that he could extend or fold his wings at pleasure. We 
planned all this ourselves, and Mr. John O'Connor painted 
the wings in colours judiciously contrasted. The first 
entrance of the Birds was always received with long and 
loud applause ; and it must be recorded that they not only 
looked pretty, but that they danced with grace, and acted 
with intelligence. It was impossible to have numerous 



'^ 




""M.^^p.i 




One of the Birds. 

From a draivin^^ by C. M. Newton. 



THE GREEK PLAY, CAMBRIDGE 155 

rehearsals, as the performers were mostly hard-reading 
undergraduates, so that the " business " was invented on 
the stage, and varied at each representation ; but they all 
thoroughly enjoyed their parts, and did their very best 
with them. The Jackdaw had the impertinence and in- 
quisitiveness suitable to the character, and his by-play 
with the tall Flamingo was exceedingly varied and divert- 
ing. There was also a Cock who crowed and flapped his 
wings with comic self-approval ; and much fun was made 
out of the eagerness with which they all hopped forward 
to pick up the grain which the Priest scattered at the 
Sacrifice. 

Fortunately for us Sir Hubert Parry was delighted with 
his subject, and provided us with music which was not only 
received with enthusiasm when first written, but is still 
popular. Our composer was no slave to archaism. He 
knew that Greek methods in music could not be success- 
fully reproduced, and therefore set himself to express, in 
a thoroughly modern way, the ideas suggested by the 
words and situations. He was ably seconded by his 
singers. None who heard are likely to forget the nuptial 
song, or the charm of Mr. G. F. Maquay's rendering of 
the Invocation to the Birds — one of those exquisite poems 
which Aristophanes was so fond of introducing in the 
midst of his wildest burlesque. 

I should mention before I leave this delightful comedy, 
over which I spent some of the happiest days of my life, 
that we treated the text with the same freedom as that of 
the Ajax. We used the pruning-knife a good deal — some 
said not enough — and we divided what was left into three 
acts, for each of which Mr. O'Connor provided an appro- 
priate scene. When the acting took place in the clouds, 
we indicated atmosphere by stretching a sheet of gauze 



156 AMATEUR ACTING 

across the stage, behind which the Birds passed and re- 
passed, as though flying through the air. We played the 
comedy seven times ; always to full, sometimes to crowded, 
houses ; and could we have played it for a fortnight, I 
believe the house would have been as full at the end as 
it was at the beginning. It was estimated that 2700 people 
had witnessed it. 

After these two successes we reposed awhile ; and 
having no play to mount, we secured our position by 
organising our committee. We had found by experience 
that the system into which we had accidentally drifted 
worked exceedingly well — namely, that a body of older 
men, carefully selected as likely to be useful in various 
ways — scholastic, archaeological, or dramatic — should be 
permanently enrolled ; that they should select the play to 
be represented, the actors in which would, as a general rule, 
be undergraduates ; and that then they should extend their 
numbers temporarily. I will subjoin the rules we then 
drew up, which we have never seen cause to change : — 



RULES FOR THE CONSTITUTION OF THE GREEK 
PLAY COMMITTEE. 

(Agreed to, ist March 1884.) 

1. That a permanent Committee be established, called "the Greek 
Play Committee," consisting of not more than eighteen members resi- 
dent at Cambridge, from whom shall be chosen a President, three Vice- 
Presidents, a Treasurer, and a Secretaiy. Any member of the Committee 
ceasing to reside shall vacate his seat on the Committee. Vacancies on 
the Committee shall be filled up by co-optation. 

2. That the permanent Committee shall invest or deposit its funds 
in the names of two Trustees, of whom the Treasurer shall be one ; and 
that the accounts shall be regularly audited once in each year by an 
auditor appointed by the permanent Committee. 

3. That, when it is resolved to produce a Greek play, the Committee 
shall co-opt temporary or occasional members of Committee, so that the 



THE GREEK PLAY, CAMBRIDGE 157 

whole number of the Committee shall not exceed twenty-four : the 
occasional members shall continue to be members of Committee until 
the end of the term next succeeding the representation of the play, or 
until the proposed representation has been abandoned. 

4. That the Committee thus temporarily enlarged (which shall be 
known by the name of the play to be produced) shall appoint from 
amongst its members, in addition to the permanent officers, a Stage- 
manager, a Conductor of the Chorus, a Sub-committee for the election 
of actors, and such other Sub-committees as may be necessary. 



It was soon decided to perform another play in the 
Michaelmas Term of 1885, and, mainly on the advice of 
Professor Jebb, we chose the " Eumenides " of /Eschylus. 
We learnt by experience how sound this advice was ; but 
before we had got the piece in hand, so to speak, I think 
that most of us were rather terrified at the magnitude of 
the task before us. 

The personages to be represented, with the exception 
of Orestes and the Shade of Clytemnestra, are deities ; and 
the Furies, or, as the Athenians called them. The Gracious 
Goddesses, compose the Chorus, and are therefore con- 
stantly before the public. How were they to be pre- 
sented ? and how were we to treat Pallas Athena, who 
presides at the trial of Orestes ? Could we entrust such 
a part to an undergraduate ? Gradually, as commonly 
happens when everybody is in earnest, difficulties vanished. 
A young lady of great dramatic ability. Miss J. E. Case, 
then a student at Girton College, was willing to play 
Athena ; Mr. Macklin (already famous in the University 
for his impersonation of Tecmessa in the '' Ajax ") under- 
took Orestes ; Dr. Waldstein found a vase-painting which 
taught us how to dress the Furies so that they might be 
terrible and not ridiculous ; Mr. Stanford supplied the 
music, and Mr. O'Connor the scenery. The play requires 
three scenes — the Interior of the Temple at Delphi, the 



158 AMATEUR ACTING 

Exterior of the Temple of Athena on the Acropolis at 
Athens, and the Court of Areopagus. All these are 
elaborate sets, and taxed our resources to the utmost. I 
have since learnt that my reconstruction of the Temple at 
Delphi — on the accuracy of which I greatly prided myself 
— was entirely wrong ; but, fortunately for me, the public 
did not find me out ; and even if they had, the acting of 
Mr. Dighton Pollock as Apollo, Mr. Macklin as Orestes, and 
Mr. Platts as the Shade of Clytemnestra would have made 
them forget any quantity of archasological shortcomings. 
But I cannot trust myself to speak of these things. I 
will call an impersonal witness — a critic in The Saturday 
Review. 

" Of the first Act it is not too much to say that the impression it 
conveys is far more powerful than any that we have received from any 
stage representation whatsoever. The fauhless grouping and noble 
massing together of colour are things never to be forgotten, and it 
would prove an impossible task to attempt to select any special ex- 
cellence of movement or arrangement where all was perfect. We 
cannot, however, pass over Mr. Platts' admirable rendering of the 
Shade of Clytemnestra in silence. . . . The gradual working up to the 
culminating point of passion, when the last of the Furies shakes off the 
spell of slumber under the tempest of Clytemnestra's rage, could not have 
been bettered. Mr. Macklin's Orestes was a performance of unusual 
power, displaying emotional qualities and a soundness of judgment not 
often to be met with. . . . The Apollo of Mr. Dighton Pollock was also 
admirable alike for gesture and diction. Miss Case spoke and moved 
with much grace and distinction as Athena. Of the gentlemen to whom 
the parts of the Furies were entrusted it would be difficult to speak too 
highly ; and no small part of the overpowering effect of the whole 
performance was owing to their thoroughly artistic handling of some- 
what risky material. Beauty was never lost sight of in horror." 

I have explained the constitution of our committee, 
and the point of view from which we approach Greek 
plays, in some detail, because it seems to me important 
that a chapter such as this, of limited length, should 



THE GREEK PLAY, CAMBRIDGE 159 

explain principles, as well as describe the works repre- 
sented. To what I have said above about our procedure, 
I should add a brief account of how we select our actors. 
A few months before the performance is to take place a 
notice of it is issued, and those who are willing to sing 
in the chorus, or to act, are invited to communicate with 
the stage-manager. In this way we are enabled to dis- 
cover talent which, having regard to the size of the 
University, we could not otherwise get at. After some 
preliminary conversation a day is appointed on which 
possible capacities are tried. The men who come are 
invited either to declaim something that they know, or to 
learn a scene from the work selected for representation. 
A provisional assignment of parts is then made, and the 
rehearsals begin. 

At the conclusion of the " Eumenides " two questions 
presented themselves. How soon should we play again ? 
and what play should we give ? The former question 
was soon settled by deciding not to perform again before 
1887, but the second was more difficult. Our choice 
of plays is, in some respects, limited. We have never 
attempted a female chorus. No doubt the Greeks pre- 
sented men dressed as women, who must have sung with 
male voices ; but our musical contingent has always pro- 
tested against that combination. On this occasion some 
of us pleaded for Euripides, others for the " CEdipus 
Tyrannus " of Sophocles ; and finally it was agreed to 
attempt that masterpiece of Attic tragedy — partly, I think, 
because it had been given at Harvard (in 1881), and 
partly because we happened to have ready to our hands 
some sound and tried dramatic material. 

We all realised the difficulty of the task before us, and 
we set to work with a steady determination to produce 



i6o AMATEUR ACTING 

the play in a manner worthy of itself and of the reputa- 
tion we had already gained ; and I do not think that I 
am unduly partial if I record that we succeeded. This 
was the cast : — 



CEdipus . 

Jocasta . 

Creon 

Teiresias . 

Priest of Zeus 

Messenger from Corinth 

Herdsman of Laius . Mr 

Messenger from the Palace 

Leader of the Chorus 



Mr. T. H. G. Randolph, Trinity. 

Mr. C. Platts, Trinity. 

Mr. F. T. Miller, Gonville and Caius. 

Mr. H. Head, Trinity. 

Mr. L. G. B. Ford, King's. 

. Mr. M. R. Jainies, King's. 

T. A. Bertram, Gonville and Caius. 

. Mr. H. B. Smlph, Trinity. 

Mr. R. R. Ottley, Trinity. 



The Jocasta of Mr. Platts was quite up to the level of 
his Shade of Clytemnestra ; and Mr. Randolph's CEdipus 
surpassed all our expectations. The part is one of almost 
overwhelming difficulty ; and it would be no disgrace to 
even a tried actor of established reputation to say that he 
had failed in it. But Mr. Randolph, by natural ability 
and careful study, assisted by some lessons from Hermann 
Vezin, and a few reminiscences of Mounet-Sully, gave a 
clear and consistent realisation of the character, from the 
proud, patronising bearing in the opening scene, to the 
terrible pathos of the close. He was ably seconded by 
Creon and the rest ; and it was easy to see, from the 
demeanour of the audience, that they were profoundly 
impressed. I should add that the play gained greatly by 
Mr. Stanford's music, and that Mr. O'Connor provided a 
single scene of great beauty. We tried to indicate the 
despot by his environment : we gave him a marble palace, 
glowing with colour ; we clad him in the most sumptuous 
robes we could devise, with gold on his head and arms, 
and a golden head to his staff of office ; he was attended 



THE GREEK PLAY, CAMBRIDGE i6i 

by four stalwart guards ; and when the curtain rose the 
stage was crowded with the suppHant Thebans, who hailed 
him as their deliverer. 

I have now nearly reached the limit of space allotted 
to me ; and though I am not weary, perhaps my readers 
are, so I will pass rapidly over the rest of my story. 

After " QEdipus " three years elapsed before we played 
again, and then we determined to make trial of Euripides. 
We chose the " Ion," turning the chorus of waiting-women 
into one of serving-men. It was a venturesome experiment ; 
for the play is literary rather than dramatic, and the curi- 
ously involved plot, with its modern melodramatic interest, 
must be followed closely to be intelligible. The play was 
well acted, the Ion of Mr. Stephen Powys was eminently 
youthful and charming, and the music of Mr. C. Wood 
was appropriate ; but I doubt if the public verdict was as 
favourable as usual ; and in 1894, when we tried Euripides 
again and mounted the " Iphigenia in Tauris," there was 
an ominous falling off in the attendance. And yet this 
play, tried by the usual tests to which dramatic works are 
submitted, was as well acted and as carefully presented 
as any of our previous efforts. Our conclusion was that 
" Euripides the human " does not suit the end of the 
nineteenth century. 

Lastly, in 1 897, we gave " The Wasps " of Aristophanes, 
under somewhat changed conditions. The old theatre, 
which I have described above, had given place to a 
charming new playhouse, which we could not treat 
with the same easy familiarity. We made no attempt, 
therefore, to construct a separate chorus-platform, but 
treated the chorus as an integral part of the play, not as 
something external to it. The fun of " The Wasps " is 
readily understood, even by those who cannot follow the 

L 



i62 AMATEUR ACTING 

Greek text, and our performance was received from 
beginning to end with roars of laughter. Not only was 
the trial, with the cock and the puppies, conspicuously 
successful, but even the third act, in which the old jury- 
man is taught the manners of the polite world — a lesson 
which he loses no time in forgetting — was felt to be quite 
free from dulness. Mr. Reginald Balfour as Bdelycleon, 
and Mr. Fry as Philocleon, proved themselves excellent 
comedians, and they were admirably seconded by the 
others. The Wasps too were as waspish as the author 
could have wished, the music of Mr. T. T. Noble was 
bright and attractive, and the single scene, painted by 
Mr. Hemsley, representing an open place in Athens with 
the Acropolis in the distance, was a most beautiful and 
artistic production. 



VIII 
THE O.U.D.S. 

By CLAUD NUGENT 

I 

IT is a great mistake to suppose that the art of acting is 
a modern development in the sister universities. As 
early as 1535 it was so encouraged at Cambridge that 
nine lecturers of Trinity were ordered by statute to act 
publicly every Christmas on pain of ids. fine for non- 
compliance. At Oxford also plays were written in Latin 
and English, and represented by members of the univer- 
sity in the presence of the kings and queens of the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. When Queen Eliza- 
beth visited Oxford in 1566, and again in 1592, it was 
customary to produce plays on Sunday evenings in Christ 
Church Hall. On the first of the two visits a Latin play 
called " Progne," by a Canon of Christ Church, was pro- 
duced. On the same occasion an English play called 
" Palaemon and Archyte," written by R. Edwards, was 
acted, in which a real pack of hounds was introduced into 
Tom Quadrangle to lend effect to a hunting scene. The 
audience grew so excited when the hounds gave tongue 
that they ran out into the quadrangle, and left the play to 
go on by itself. Nor was acting at this time confined to 
Christ Church alone ; for at St. John's College in 1607 they 

actually elected a Prince of the revels, who should serve 

163 



i64 AMATEUR ACTING 

as a Christmas lord to superintend all the forthcoming 
festivities for the months of December and January. It 
will be worth while to record ver}^ briefly the causes 
which led to this curious institution. It seems that on the 
31st of October in the above-mentioned year the graduates 
and undergraduates were collected in their Hall to cele- 
brate All Saints' Eve. The scene was a riotous one, be- 
cause, although the object of the meeting was to witness 
divers sports in preparation for Christmas, there appeared 
to be no clear arrangement what the sports should be, 
or by whom they should be represented. The Seniors 
were content to be onlookers ; Second-Year men, called 
« Poulderings," were anxious to exhibit their ability ; but 
the Freshmen, " Punies of the first year," were not re- 
markable for their patience, and the tumult in conse- 
quence became so great, that no sports could on that 
night be held at all. This led, as I have said, to the elec- 
tion of a " Christmas Prince," and a certain Mr. Thomas 
Tucker was the chosen one. We have his formal title, 
which runs as follows : — 

"The most magnificent and renowned Thomas, by 
the favour of Fortune, Prince of Alba Fortunata,^ Lord 
St. John's, High Regent of ye Hall, Duke of St. Giles',- 
Marquesse of Magdalen's,' Landgrave of ye Grove,^ 
County Palatine of ye Cloisters,^ Chief Bailiff of ye Beau- 
monts,* High Ruler of Rome,^ Master of the Manor of 



1 Alludes to the name of the founder of the College, Sir Thomas White. 

2 The parishes which border on St. John's. 
' Part of the home domain. 

4 The name of some lands belonging to the College, on which stood originally 
the Palace of the Beaumonts, built by King Henry I., and still surviving in the 
name of Beaumont Street. 

* The name of a piece of land on the north side of Oxford, near a walk which 
used to be called Non Ultra. 



THE O.U.D.S. 165 

Waltham ^ Governor of Gloucester Green." ^ A rate was 
levied on all the members of the College in proportion to 
their ability, the President being taxed to the extent of 
forty shillings, and Mr. Laud, who was none other than the 
future Archbishop of Canterbury, furnishing on two sepa- 
rate occasions sums of ten shillings. The public installation 
of the Prince took place on the evening of St. Andrew's Day. 
The first play was produced with the title of " Ara Fortunae," 
or " Fortune's Altar." The next performance took place 
on Christmas Day, when Prince Tucker sat down at the 
High Table in the Vice-President's place, and was served 
with a magnificent banquet, including the customary 
boar's head. The evening ended with an interlude, con- 
sisting of " Saturnalia," which were eminently successful, 
" because," says the narrator, " there were no strangers to 
trouble us." A tragedy called " Philomela " was given on 
December 29th, fairly successfully, although the carpenters 
were by no means ready with the stage, and the Prince 
himself, who was to play the part of Tereus, had got an 
extremely bad cold in his head. On New Year's Eve 
there seems to have been a complete fiasco in a play 
called "Time's Complaint." The Prince and his suite 
passed through the quadrangle, honoured by three suc- 
cessive volleys of shot from fifty or three score guns ; 
but no sooner was the play begun than the tale of 
misfortunes commenced. The " Prologue," who had 
only six lines to say, clean forgot them all, and after 
a long stage - wait abruptly went behind the scenes. 
One of the comic characters was the Goodwife Spigott. 
Unfortunately she came on the boards before her 
proper time, and had to fill in the interval by some 

1 The manor of Waltham, or Walton, belonged to the College. 

2 Literally a meadow close to Gloucester Hall, from which it derives its name. 



i66 AMATEUR ACTING 

meaningless babble, which was not well appreciated by 
the audience. The low comedian, in acting the part of 
Humphrey Swallow, a drunken cobbler, used his oppor- 
tunities with a gusto which was anything but pleasing to 
the company at large : he so emphatically over-acted his 
part, that he delayed the action of the scene and only pro- 
duced disgust. On Sunday evening, January loth, being 
properly the last day of the vacation, it occurred to some 
merry spirits to produce a mock play, called " The Seven 
Days of the Week," which proved to be the most 
successful performance during the reign of the Prince. 
In the first week of term the Prince and his fellow-actors 
were invited to Christ Church to witness a rival perform- 
ance, entitled " Yule Tide," which indulged in some witty 
pleasantries against Prince Tucker. The Prince's resigna- 
tion took place on February 9th, Shrove Tuesday. As 
his reign had been introduced by a play dedicated to 
Fortune, so also was its close commemorated by an 
exhibition, entitled "Ara seu Tumulus Fortunae," to 
designate the final term of Fortune's dynasty. At the 
close of the performance the Prince, now but a prince 
in name, was conducted to his own private chamber in a 
solemn funeral procession. 

Thus England was merry England before the Puritan 
came and swept all such joys away. 

II 

About the year 1845 Oxford was passing through one 
of her witty periods, which are now, alas ! so unfrequent. 
Nowadays the art of satire and epigram seems almost 
lost at the Universities. Since the days of Calverley's 
poems, I do not think anything in that line has been 



THE O.U.D.S. 167 

written which is likely to survive the test of time. But 
fifty years ago it was a different story. Those were the 
days of the "Art of Pluck " and the " Hints to Freshmen," 
followed in 1869 by the "Oxford Spectator," and the 
" Tatler." Then came the desire for the drama, the desire, 
that is, to put wit into action. Brazenose College must 
have the credit of being the first college to start theatricals. 
The late Frank Talfourd, together with some fellow-under- 
graduates, started a society called the " Oxford Dramatic 
Amateurs." They did not act very much in Oxford, but 
generally gave their performances at Henley during the 
Regatta week, in much the same way as the " Old Stagers " 
do in the Canterbury week. Their first public venture 
was in 1847, when a burlesque by Talfourd, entitled 
" Macbeth Travestie," was performed, with the author as 
Lady Macbeth, and Samuel Brandram as Macbeth. The 
entertainment concluded with " Bombastes Furioso," in 
which Mr. Brandram actually danced.^ So successful 
was this performance, that it was subsequently repeated 
at the residence of Talfourd's father in Russell Square be- 
fore a large audience, comprising Charles Dickens, John 
Leech, Albert Smith, the Keeleys, and other distinguished 
persons. 

In 1848 "Ion," by Mr. Talfourd, senior, was given at 
Brazenose College, and this was probably the first public 
dramatic entertainment given by undergraduates in 
Oxford during this century. This performance was very 
near being a failure, because Oust, an undergraduate of 
the College, now better known as the Dean of York, 
threw up his part (a very important one) at the last 
moment in order to go to the Queen's ball. 

1 The late George Augustus Sala made a picture of the J>as de quatre danced 
on this occasion. 



i68 AMATEUR ACTING 

In 1849 the undergraduates grew more ambitious 
and took Miss Kelley's (the old Royalty) Theatre, where 
they repeated " Macbeth Travestie," preceded by a drama 
in which Mr. Brandram and Mrs. Fanny Stirling appeared. 

In 1850 another performance was got up at Oxford, 
in which " Box and Cox " was given in place of 
"Thumping Legacy," which for some reason was given 
up, although it had been put into rehearsal with Edmund 
Yates as Jerry, and Charles Kegan Paul as Rosetta. As 
an entr^acte Mr. Brandram sang " Caller Herrin'." The 
performance concluded with a burlesque of " Hamlet." 

In the same year, fired by the success of the Braze- 
nose Amateurs, we now find Balliol taking up the work. 
A club was started there by Herman Charles Merivale 
and Robert Reece, who called it "The Tents of the 
Keanites " (Merivale being a particular friend of the late 
Charles Kean). A humble actor, who had been lately play- 
ing in a travelling company at Oxford, and was now 
earning a small recompense by reading out " cribs " to 
lazy undergraduates, was engaged, and to his experience 
the Balliol Amateurs owed their success. " To Oblige 
Benson " and " Crinoline " were the plays chosen, and were 
given in 1850, to the horror of the authorities. Besides 
Reece and Merivale, many well-known persons took part 
in this performance, including Edmond Warre (now 
Head Master of Eton College) ; in fact, the performance 
took place in his room. The Dons got wind of the 
matter, and it reached the ears of Professor Jowett, 
Thereupon a meeting was held in " Common Room," 
but with very good sense they let the undergraduates 
alone, and a repetition of the performance on a larger 
scale was allowed, to which the Dons themselves and 
ladies were invited. 



THE O.U.D.S. 169 

There is no record of any further acting having taken 
place until 1866, when the "Shooting Stars," a more im- 
portant Society than any hitherto started in Oxford, was 
formed. On July 8th of that year they acted the " Comical 
Countess " and " Lalla Rookh " (burlesque) in the Masonic 
Hall. In November they played " Dearest Mamma " and 
" Fair Helen," by Vincent Amcotts, at the Victoria Music 
Hall. In February 1868, at the same place, they per- 
formed " Wonderful Woman " and " Lurline." During 
this period, also, an excellent Society was formed at St. 
John's College, under the management of Mr. E. Nolan. 
This Society went in for comedies and burlesques. During 
the years 1866-68 they played "The Rivals," "She 
Stoops to Conquer," "Scrap of Paper," "Still Waters 
Run Deep," also the burlesques of " Iphigenia " and 
" Romeo and Juliet." 

In 1869 the authorities put their feet down, and acting 
at Oxford was positively interdicted. 



Ill 



In 1879 commences a new era in the history of 
Oxford acting. Hitherto, as will have been seen, the 
various dramatic clubs, if we except the " Shooting Stars," 
were purely of a private nature, and restricted to their 
several Colleges. But now began a fierce fight for the 
drama between Don and Undergraduate. It should be 
mentioned that the only form of entertainment at this 
time provided for the amusement of undergraduates was 
a performance at the Victoria Music Hall, more familiarly 
known as the " Vic," and now happily abolished. Many 
are the stories told of the disgusting scenes which took place 



170 AMATEUR ACTING 

within its walls, not only on the stage, but also in the 
auditorium ; for while the artistes never scrupled to hurl 
at the audience any nasty things they had in their minds, 
the occupants of the stalls retaliated with any nasty things 
they had in their hands ; and yet this state of things was 
passed over by the very authorities who persistently 
refused to allow the legitimate drama to be performed 
either by professionals or amateurs during term time. 
In this year the Hon., and now Rev., James G. Adderley 
came up to Christ Church, and it was to his enthusiasm, 
and to the enthusiasm which he infused into the minds of 
his contemporaries, that the dramatic ball was set rolling 
which has never yet stopped. 

A sharp tussel eventuated, firstly, in the subdual of 
prejudice; secondly, in absolute concurrence; and finally, 
in hearty co-operation. It only rests with the under- 
graduates of the future to see that they do not abuse their 
privileges, but maintain the high standard which up to the 
present time has existed. 

It occurred to Mr. Adderley and to some of his 
Christ Church friends to endeavour to form a Society 
similar to the famous Cambridge Amateur Dramatic Club. 
Being fully aware of the prejudice with which they had to 
contend, they satisfied themselves by starting in a small 
way. They issued invitations to their Christ Church 
friends, and prepared a performance, consisting of "The 
Area Belle " and " Box and Cox." The performance was to 
take place in Mr. Adderley's room in Peckwater Quadrangle, 
and much consternation amongst the Dons was caused at 
the sight of scenery and footlights being publicly carried 
through the College gates. The Censors were dismayed, 
but hardly knew how to stop it. 

There is an old rule at Christ Church by which not 




Hon. and Rev. J. G. Adderley as Dinah's Nurse in 

"VlLLIKINS AND HIS DiNAH." 



From a photograph. 



THE O.U.D.S. 



171 



more than four supper rations are allowed to each person, 
and as Mr. Adderley had applied for forty suppers, the 
Censors thought that by refusing this request the per- 
formance would probably fall to the ground. But a 
means of evading this regulation readily presented itself to 
Mr. Adderley ; he carefully examined the rules, and finding 
nothing to prevent his doing so, ordered cold luncheon 
for forty, which he kept in a cool place till the evening. 
Both supper and theatricals were a great success, and 
a few days afterwards the actors were sent for to the 
Deanery, where they repeated the performance before 'the 
late Duke of Albany, the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford being 
also amongst the audience. They now organised them- 
selves into a Society called the Oxford University Philo- 
thespian Society, and set about to prepare for a public 
performance the following term. 

The subjoined is the list of the original members : — 



Hon. J. G. Adderley, Christ 

Church, President. 
Hon. R. Adderley, Ch. Ch. 
H. D. ASTLEY, Ch. Ch. 
F. E. Shafto Adair, Ch. Ch. 
Elliott Lees, Ch. Ch. 



J. W. GiLBART Smith, Ch. Ch. 
Sir Henry LAMBERT,Bart., Ch.Ch. 
W. Ogle, Ch. Ch. 
SirGEORGE SiTWELL,Bart.,Ch. Ch. 
Alan Mackinnon, Trinity. 



Dr. Evans of Pembroke, who was at that time Vice- 
Chancellor, absolutely refused to give his sanction to a 
public performance. " You may do what you like in 
your colleges," he said, '* but publicly I forbid you to 
act." Mr. Adderley took the word " colleges " to include 
" lodgings," and thereupon arranged a very successful per- 
formance at 26 Cornmarket, where " Ici on parle Fran- 
<jais," the Screen scene from " School for Scandal," and 
" Villikins and his Dinah " were given to crowded audi- 
ences. It is not to be supposed that this did not reach 



172 AMATEUR ACTING 

the ears of the authorities, and it was afterwards ascer- 
tained that the Proctors actually came to the door of the 
house, but on hearing that certain distinguished academic 
ladies were present, thought it better not to interfere, and 
accordingly retired. 

In the Michaelmas term, 1880, the Vice-Chancellor 
was again approached, and once more refused his sanction. 
Nothing daunted, however, the Society risked his displea- 
sure, and in February 1881 played "Dearer than Life" 
and a burlesque called " Lord Lovell and Lady Nancy 
Bell " at the Templar's Hall. Meeting with no rebuke, 
" The Philothespians " were emboldened to attempt a per- 
formance on even a larger scale. Accordingly, in the 
Summer term of 1881 they took the Holywell Music 
Room, and announced two public performances of " Clan- 
destine Marriage." But this time the Vice-Chancellor was 
aroused, and sent to Mr. Adderley a few days before the 
performance, and remonstrated ; but being a kind-hearted 
man, and knowing that the Society had been put to much 
trouble and expense, he gave them permission to act, but 
with the solemn charge that it must never occur again. 
The Philothespians made full use of this permission, and 
ordered to be printed a thousand circulars, headed with 
the words, " By permission of the Vice-Chancellor." About 
four hundred tickets were sold. Heads of Colleges, even 
Proctors came ; and if it had not been for the deadening 
feeling that this was to be the last appearance of the Philo- 
thespians, there could not have been a pleasanter or more 
successful show. There seemed nothing for it now but to 
dissolve the Society, and a meeting was called to consider 
the question ; it was decided, however, by a majority of 
one, to continue, and club-rooms were taken in St. Aldates, 
where many minor performances took place, including 



THE O.U.D.S. 173 

Burnand and Sullivan's " Cox and Box," with Adderley as 
Cox, Capel Cure as Box, and Alan Mackinnon as Sergeant 
Bouncer. There is not space to record all the smaller 
performances which took place in the Club House, in the 
Holywell Music Room, and the Bicester Town Hall, but 
they were of sufficient importance to keep the name of 
the Society before the public, and to infuse sufficient enthu- 
siasm amongst the members as to strengthen them for the 
final struggle. In most of these performances the leading 
lights were the Hon. J. G. Adderley, Mr. Mackinnon, 
H. A. Tipping, Hon. G. Coleridge, and Mr. H. D. 
Astley, who looked and played the female parts to per- 
fection. 

The Midsummer term of this year was the last term of 
Dr. Evans's Vice-Chancellorship. The knowledge of this 
fact emboldened the Philothespians to announce a per- 
formance during Commemoration. The pieces chosen 
were " Husband to Order " and " Little Toddlekins." 
Very fortunately for the Society a new Senior Proctor at 
this time came into office — the Rev. H. Scott Holland, 
now Canon of St. Paul's. He was kind enough to throw 
himself heart and soul into the matter. He interviewed 
Dr. Evans, asking his leave for the performance to take 
place on condition it were conducted in a more private 
manner. Dr. Evans's reply was, " That he would not object, 
provided the matter were not directly brought under his 
notice " ; but as ill-luck would have it, it was brought 
directly under his notice, and on the very morning of the 
day upon which the performance was to take place Mr. 
Adderley received a letter, which read as follows : " The 
Vice-Chancellor considers that the performance announced 
in the Holywell Rooms is a breach of the Statutes, and 
a contempt of his authority, and therefore requests 



174 AMATEUR ACTING 

Mr. Adderley to call upon him on Thursday at twelve 
o'clock." 

Mr. Adderley knew too well that this implied that, if 
he acted on that day (Monday) he would be sent down 
on the Thursday, which would be fatal to his University 
career. He thereupon called at once upon the Vice- 
Chancellor, and obtained an interview one hour before 
the curtain was timed to rise. " Why do you come 
here ? " said Dr. Evans ; " I told you to come next Thurs- 
day." " I cannot wait till next Thursday," replied Adder- 
ley. " I hear you are going to send me down : I want to 
know if this is true before I go and act. I shall not act 
if you are going to send me down." " I decline to answer 
you ; you must come on Thursday." With a heavy 
heart Adderley left the room to play the parts of Madame 
Phillipeau and Amanthis. Through the mediation, how- 
ever, of the Senior Proctor, Dr. Evans was induced to 
look lightly on the matter ; and when the dreaded Thursday 
arrived, received Adderley in the most friendly manner, 
saying, " I should be sorry to do anything disagreeable, as 
this is my last day of office : I shall not trouble you any 
more after to-day. Good-bye ! " and they shook hands. 

In the Michaelmas term, 1882, Adderley resigned the 
Presidency of the Club, and as all the original members 
were reading for their final schools, they were unable to 
take much active interest in the affairs of the Society. 
Coleridge and Mackinnon resigned their places on the 
Committee, and G. Gurney of Merton was elected Presi- 
dent. Fortunately, however, the dramatic flame was 
fanned to almost a furnace by the arrival at this time of 
Arthur Bourchier from Eton, who is now recognised as 
one of our leading actors, and has even had a London-^ 
theatre of his own. The Society had also a strong arm of 



THE O.U.D.S. 175 

support in Mr. W. L. Courtney, a tutor of New College, now 
better known in connection with the Daily Telegraph and 
as editor of the Fortnightly Review. It was due, perhaps, 
to these two gentlemen as much as to any other cause 
that the Club was awakened to fresh activity, and prepara- 
tions were made for renewing " the fight for the drama." 
The important question was to decide what attitude should 
be adopted towards the new Vice-Chancellor, the late 
Professor Jowett. The course which was hit upon was 
impudent, but at all events had the effect of bringing the 
whole matter to a head at once. An invitation was sent to 
Dr. Jowett to come to a grand performance of " Money " 
in the Holywell Music Room. Needless to say, the Vice- 
Chancellor could scarcely ignore the fiat of his predecessor 
without some show of disapproval ; but happily, owing 
again to the hearty support of the Senior Proctor, he was 
more easily persuaded to look leniently upon the matter, 
and finally induced to call together a meeting of the Philo- 
thespians at his house, there to give his irrevocable deci- 
sion, which has remained unaltered to this day : Firstly, 
he sanctioned the performances already announced to take 
place at the Holywell Music Rooms ; secondly, he gave 
permission for public performances at Oxford on two con- 
ditions — (i) that only plays by Shakespeare and Greek 
plays were to be acted, (2) that ladies were to take the 
female parts. 

Four performances were given of " Money," which 
was preceded by a prologue and a farce. The Vice- 
Chancellor was himself present on one evening, and 
Lytton's famous comedy was played to crowded houses. 
The prologue was delivered by the old president and 
founder, Mr. Adderley. The last four lines are as fol- 
lows : — 



176 AMATEUR ACTING 

" But now farewell, they call for my removal, 
I'm only here to buy your best approval. 
This is a serious sale, and nothing funny ; 
Vou give us your applause, lue give you ' Money ! ' " 

Bourchier as Sir John Vesey and R. Goring Thomas 
as Stout appear, between them, to have carried off the 
palm. G. Gurney played Graves, and W. J. Morris of 
Jesus, who has since done so much for the Club, doubled 
the parts of Sharp and the Old Member. Alfred Evelyn 
was played by Pryce Hamer, and Glossmore by W. H. 
Spottiswoode. It seems to have been singularly suc- 
cessful, and was spoken of very well at the time in the 
London papers. 

Needless to say that the snuff-box episode in the Club 
Scene occasioned numberless practical jokes. On one 
occasion it was filled full of cayenne-pepper, with disas- 
trous results ; on another occasion with appalling asafoetida, 
which made its presence felt even on the audience ; and 
on more than one occasion a general game of hide-and- 
seek was played with the harmless, necessary box, for 
which the Old Member perpetually cries out. The 
part of Georgina Vesey was played by the present Lord 
Wolverton, then " Freddy " Glyn, who greatly objected 
to shaving his moustache, and at the entreaty of the Com- 
mittee finally consented to compromise the matter by 
having it gummed over with gold-beater's skin, which was 
always proving refractory, and qualifying the fair Georgina 
to enter the ranks with the " bearded lady." Georgina 
also spoke with a very gruff voice, and her father, imper- 
sonated by Arthur Bourchier, possessed a somewhat high- 
pitched one, this reversal of the right order of thiii^s 
frequently causing much amusement. 

During the remainder of 1882, and during most of 



THE O.U.D.S. 



177 



1883, the Club contented themselves with small private 
performances at Bicester and elsewhere, in which a very 
valuable acquisition was found in Lionel Monckton, their 
musical director, who is so well known now as not only a 
composer, but also as a dramatic critic. Smoking con- 
certs also frequently took place at the new club-room at 
Canterbury House, King Edward Street. The dining 
accommodation was increased. 

Club colours were instituted, of pink and old gold, a 
sash of which had to be worn by the members at their 
various dinners. In fact, the Society had now grown to 
be not only a dramatic club, but also a social club, in 
like manner to the Cambridge Amateur Dramatic Club, 
with this exception only, that the Philothespians had not 
got their own private theatre like the more fortunate Cam- 
bridge Club. Arthur Bourchier was now President, and 
with the co-operation of principally Courtney and Mac- 
kinnon, set about arranging for their first Shakespearian 
production. " Merchant of Venice " was the play selected, 
and took place at the Town Hall on December 4th to 8th. 
It will be as well to give the cast : — 



Duke of Venice 
Prince of Arragon 
Antonio 



Bassanio 

Salarino 

Salanio 

Salario 

Gratiano 

Lorenzo 

Shylock 

Tubal 

Launcelot Gobbo 

Old Gobbo . 

Leonardo 



Portia 

Nerissa 

Jessica 



W. J. Morris, B.A., Jesus College. 

. H. S. Carey, Pembroke 

. E. G. Gordon, Merton 

. W. L. Courtney, M.A., New 

G. Pritchard, University 

. G. F. Staffard, Balliol 

E. Harrington, Christ Church 

A. M. MACKINNON, B.A., Trinity 

G. H. AlTKEN, Oriel 

Arthur Bourchier, Christ Church 

H. Lechmere Stuart, Magdalen 

W. Bromley-Davenport, Balliol 

W. J. Morris, B.A., Jesus 

Earl of Norbury, Christ Church 

&c. &c. 

Mrs. W. L. Courtney. 

Miss J. F. Arnold. 

Mrs. Woods. 



M 



178 AMATEUR ACTING 

It will be seen from the above cast, and it is an 
interesting fact to notice, that whereas at the foundation 
of the Club nearly all its members were Christ Church 
men, now they are far more scattered over all the Colleges 
of Oxford. This was an encouraging sign for the future, 
and gave good reason to hope that the dramatic art was 
increasing in its popularity amongst the undergraduates. 

Mr. Clement Scott, the well-known dramatic critic 
for the Daily Telegraph, gave a very full account of this 
the first fully authorised production of the Philothespians, 
and enlarges in no unmeasured terms on the satisfactory 
issue to the previous efforts of the originators of the move- 
ment. " It is due," he writes, " to Mr. Bourchier of 
Christ Church, to Mr. Scott Holland, to the Hon. J. G. 
Adderley of Christ Church, to Mr. W. L. Courtney of 
New College, and to many others, that the Oxford Town 
Hall, usually devoted to second-rate performances, pre- 
sented last evening such a remarkable sight. The Vice- 
Chancellor, when he attends the performance, as he 
intends to do to-morrow night, will not regret his sanction. 
At any rate, he will hear a play by Shakespeare, from 
first to last, more intelligibly and intelligently performed 
than it can ever hope to be under any other condi- 
tions." Mr. F. E. Weatherly, the well-known song writer, 
and at that time an Oxford coach, wrote the prologue, 
which was delivered by the Hon. J. G. Adderley. This 
was followed by an overture, composed by Lionel 
Monckton, who himself conducted the orchestra, and 
was likewise responsible for all the glees and music 
incidental to the piece. Mr. Scott proceeds to mention 
with special commendation the Shylock of Mr. Bourchier, 
the Portia of Mrs. Courtney, the Gratiano of Mr. Mac- 
kinnon, and the Duke of Mr. W. J. Morris. He mentions 



THE O.U.D.S. 179 

that Mr. W. Bromley-Davenport, now M.P. for Maccles- 
field and Congleton, is " quaint without being extravagant." 
He mentions Mr. Courtney's Bassanio as " an excellent 
specimen of elocution." 

The " Merchant of Venice " was also repeated at the 
Memorial Theatre, Stratford-on-Avon, on the evening of 
December 1 2th, by the special invitation of the Council, all 
the cast being put up in the neighbourhood ; on the next 
afternoon and evening at the Theatre Royal, Leamington ; 
and on the following afternoon at the Vaudeville Theatre 
in London, in aid of the Royal General Theatrical Fund. 
The Oxford scenery would not in all cases fit these various 
theatres ; and some amusement was caused, I am told, by 
the Rialto in Venice being, in one place, represented by 
the Royal Crescent at Bath. The cast, also, had to be in 
certain cases altered, as the ladies declined to play during 
this tour. Excellent substitutes were, however, found in 
Miss Houliston, Miss Kate Lee, and Mrs. Dixon. 

Mr. Mackinnon also arranged a repetition of the 
" Merchant of Venice " at Charterhouse School, where 
the ladies consented to resume their former parts. 

An amusing adventure occurred on the opening night. 
One of the Proctors, led on by over-zealous bull-dogs, 
made a raid on the performers as they left the improvised 
pressing-room belonging to a bicycle firm next door to the 
Town Hall. On being asked to give their names and 
addresses, in the usual way, for not being in cap and 
gown, two of the performers, being so thoroughly in the 
spirit of their parts, and fearing to keep the stage wait- 
ing, gave their names as Shylock and Launcelot Gobbo, 
Number One, High Street, Venice ! ! 

During the tour which followed, the Club had the 
temerity to give a morning performance at the Vaudeville 



i8o AMATEUR ACTING 

Theatre in London, and the outburst of professional 
indignation can easily be imagined. During one of 
Shylock's pauses for effect in the Trial scene, that effect 
was made by a well-known veteran actor hurling the 
remainder of the speech at him from the stalls, thinking 
he had forgotten his part ! 

At Charterhouse School the stage was suddenly 
plunged into darkness during the Casket scene, and the 
more Shylock, the stage-manager, stormed and stamped 
the darker it became, the fact being that he was standing 
on the indiarubber pipe that connected all the stage lights 
with the main gas-jet in the building, and which ran 
through the prompt entrance ! 

In February 1884 "Vice Versa" and "Withered 
Leaves" were given at Bicester, but as professional 
actresses were on this occasion engaged, it was looked 
upon by the Vice-Chancellor as a breach of the agree- 
ment which had been made with him. On May 15th 
of the same year a performance, which proved to be 
the last given by the Philothespians, was arranged at the 
Town Hall in aid of the Oxford Fire Brigade. Amongst 
other items, the Quarrel scene from "The Rivals" was 
given by W. J. Morris and Lechmere Stuart; "A Most 
Unwarrantable Intrusion," by Adderley and Mackinnon ; 
and the inevitable " Cox and Box," which was only 
remarkable on this occasion in that Arthur Bourchier 
took a part whose " vocal villainies all desire to shirk." 

Now came a very serious crisis in the history of 
Oxford acting, caused by a breach between the non- 
dramatic element and the dramatic, the former becoming 
numerically stronger, and wanting the Club to be run 
more as a dining and a card club than anything else. 
Thereupon they elected W. J. Morris to be President 



THE O.U.D.S. i8i 

in place of Bourchier. The latter appealed to the old 
members, and J. G. Adderley and Alan Mackinnon came 
speedily up to Oxford to move and second a resolution 
which was in the nature of a compromise, with a view to 
keeping the Club on its legs. 

By this motion, which was successfully carried, 
Arthur Bourchier was to be elected stage-manager, with 
absolute authority over the dramatic side of the Club as 
opposed to Club matters. The internal arrangements of 
the Club, however, had now become very unsatisfactory, 
and was growing so unpopular, that the authorities, never 
more than lukewarm, were determined to put an end to a 
Club which would offer so little organised resistance. Dur- 
ing the Long Vacation therefore, Bourchier, Adderley, and 
Mackinnon had a meeting by appointment at the Mitre, 
where Bourchier suggested the reconstruction of the 
Society on popular lines ; doing away with the old name, 
and calling it in future "The Oxford University Dramatic 
Society," and electing a committee comprising the Presi- 
dents of Vincents, Bullingdon, the Union, the Boating 
Club, the Football Club, the Cricket Club, the Athletic 
Club, and so on, besides several of the Philothespian Com- 
mittee. Adderley at first felt very keenly the idea of 
breaking with the past ; but after careful discussion there 
seemed no other feasible manner of placing the Club on 
a substantial basis, and of restoring it to the good graces 
of the authorities, so Adderley was induced to waive his 
objections, and the plan was carried out. 

I should be sorry to pass away from this portion of 
my narrative without a slight review of the last three 
years ; for although from the time of the foundation of 
the O.U.D.S. the Club has never looked back, but has 
gained more and more strength and popularity every 



I82 



AMATEUR ACTING 



succeeding year, it must not be for a moment forgotten 
that it would never have been possible had it not been for 
the indefatigable energy and the untiring zeal of three 
gentlemen. To James Adderley I attribute the foundation 
of the dramatic movement, and to Arthur Bourchier the 
consolidation of the O.U.D.S. as a recognised 'Varsity insti- 
tution. It would be unfair to omit that Alan Mackinnon's 
stage productions of the various plays for which he has been 
responsible entitle him to no small share of the praise 
which modern Oxford audiences have lavished on them. 

The Lent term of 1885 was principally occupied in con- 
solidating the new Society, and preparing for their inaugural 
performance. A. G. Grant Asher of Brazenose College 
was now President ; L. E. R. Lance of Brazenose College, 
Secretary, and a most indefatigable secretary he was ; L. 
Owen of New College was Treasurer, while Mackinnon held 
the post of Stage-Manager, and Bourchier that of Acting 
Manager, W. L. Courtney of New College being Auditor. 
There was a Provisional Committee, consisting of — 



Hon. J. G. Adderley, Christ 

Church. 
W. E. BOLITHO, Trinity. 
Hon. C. Coleridge, Trinity. 
Lord Kenyon, Christ Church. 

C. G. Lang, BalHol. 

B. P. Lascelles, Magdalen. 

D. H. Maclean, New. 



A. M'Neil, Trinity. 
H. V. Page, Wadham. 
W. H. Spottiswoode, Balliol. 
T. C. TOLER, Christ Church. 
Elu Wood, Merton. 
R. Williams Wynn, Christ 
Church. 1 



1 In addition to the names mentioned 
members : — 

P. L. Agnew, New. 

A. T. Arnall, Brazenose. 

C. \V. Barry, „ 

Hon. A. Bi.iGH, Christ Church. 

E. Buckley, St John's. 

H. C. Bush, Hertford. 

H. W. Cave, Balhol. 

A. R. Cobb, New. 

Hon. G. CuRZON, All Souls. 

E. Harrington, Christ Church. 



above, the following were also original 

F. J. Humphreys, Brazenose. 
E. A. Mitchell Innes, Balliol. 
R. H. Pemberton, New. 

R. H. Philipson, New. 

S. J. Portal, Christ Church. 

G. W. Ricketts, Oriel. 
A. RoTHERHAM, Balliol. 

N. E. Stainton, Christ Church. 

S. H. Lechmere Stuart, Magdalen. 

J. H. Ware, Brazenose. 



THE O.U.D.S. 183 

There were fifty-two members in all. Charming club- 
rooms were taken in the High Street, which rooms have 
since been merged in to the Gridiron Club. W. J. Morris, 
C. Egerton Green, G. H. Aitken, and other members of the 
Philothespian's Committee subsequently joined the ranks 
of the O.U.D.S. after the old Club had been wound up, 
and the photographs and records of the old Club were 
transferred to the keeping of the Committee of the 
O.U.D.S., so that the continuity of the Dramatic Society 
founded by Adderley was thus preserved. 

The inaugural performance of the O.U.D.S. took place in 
the Town Hall on May 9th to 15th, 1885. The play, '^The 
First Part of King Henry IV.," was very carefully prepared, 
rehearsals extending over two terms, and it would be safe 
to say that the O.U.D.S. never had a better played show. 
As well as the principals, the secondary parts, and especially 
the supers, were far above the general level. The piece was 
produced under the direction of Mackinnon, who was more 
than usual to be commended, owing to the terrible difficul- 
ties with which he had to cope. The art of converting the 
large but inconvenient Town Hall into a stage capable of 
bearing a battle of thirty men in suits of chain armour, in 
a scene of scattered bushes and a fair-sized hillock, was 
no light task ; but all passed off without those hitches so 
common amongst amateurs. A prologue was spoken by 
C. G. Lang (President of the Union), written by the Hon. 
G. N. Curzon, now Lord Curzon of Kedleston, the newly- 
appointed Viceroy of India. I cannot refrain from quoting 
the four following lines, however pressed for space I am : — 

" The curtain's rising — at this shrine of science 
We meet to join in nuptial alliance 
Oxford, a bachelor paerclaro homine, 
And the famed Grecian maiden called Melpomene." 



i84 AMATEUR ACTING 

Bourchier was an admirable Hotspur, a performance 
which he never surpassed at Oxford. Mr. Clement Scott 
in the Daily Telegraph at the time speaks in very high 
terms of his acting ; while he says of Mackinnon, who 
played Prince Hal, that " it was one of the best and most 
creditable of the many good performances." E. H. Clarke, 
now of the Haymarket Theatre, made his first appearance 
in the O.U.D.S. in the double role of Glendower and a 
Carrier, and the Hon. Gilbert Coleridge made an ex- 
cellent Falstaff : it would be absurd not to mention 
Henry IV. himself, which was played by E. Harrington, 
who looked every inch a king. Lady Edward Spencer 
Churchill was the Lady Mortimer, and sang a Welsh song 
very prettily, while Mrs. Quickly was played by Lady 
St. Leonards. Little more was done by the Society that 
year with the exception of a concert, which was given by 
them in the Holywell Music Rooms, which included a new 
operetta, specially written for Adderley, Mackinnon, and 
Bourchier, by W. Childe Pemberton. 

The next event, and one of great importance, was the 
opening of the New Theatre by the O.U.D.S. with a per- 
formance of " Twelfth Night." It seems to have been 
almost as successful as " Henry IV.," and of course they 
were possessed of greater stage facilities. Bourchier played 
Feste, and E. H. Clarke, Malvolio. Mackinnon had now 
gone down from Oxford, and merely came up to witness 
the performance and walk on as a super. After "Twelfth 
Night " the Society was gradually allowed to dwindle 
down. There was nothing to keep it alive between the 
annual shows, and consequently members did not care 
to pay subscriptions ; the club-rooms had to be given up, 
so there was literally no means of rallying the members 
together. It was consequently decided by Courtney, 




Mr. Alan Mackinnon as Princk Hal in "King 
Henry IV.," Part I. 

From a photograph. 



THE O.U.D.S. 185 

Bourchier, and Mackinnon, who came up on purpose to 
attend the meeting, that it was essential to produce a 
Greek play. There being no funds available, economy 
had to be considered, and it certainly cost less and drew 
more. A full description of the " Alcestis " has been sepa- 
rately treated at another part of the volume. I shall be con- 
tent, therefore, with passing over it, with just the comment 
that it resulted in a profit of ^^200. I came up to Oxford 
this term, and was offered the part of Hercules, which, how- 
ever, I declined for two reasons, one that I am not exactly 
the build for a Hercules, and the other, that I preferred 
other pursuits to learning Greek. The year between the 
" Alcestis " and the production of " The Merry Wives of 
Windsor" was the most prosperous that the Club ever 
had. Tupper Carey of Christ Church, the Hon. Secretary, 
Greenwood of Christ Church, and one or two others, were 
most indefatigable in enrolling new members, and smoking 
concerts were given in various rooms, which not only kept 
the members continually meeting, but enabled newly-joined 
recruits to give a sample of their ability. Mackinnon con- 
sented to stay up all that term to give his assistance and 
advice, and he brought in some very important changes in 
the external working of the Club. They allowed the office 
of President, which had only been a figure-head, to drop 
out, and made the Secretary the principal officer, with this 
important proviso, that the Secretary should never be a 
Don. Also, it was settled that the stage-manager should 
cease to be a regular member of the Committee, but should 
only be elected for the purpose of producing a play, and 
be then ex-officio member of the Committee. The Hon. 
R. Scott-Montagu was elected Secretary, but very shortly 
resigned, and the Hon John Scott-Montagu (now M.P. for 
the New Forest) stepped into his place. With a pleasant 



i86 AMATEUR ACTING 

and hard-working committee, and money in hand, the way 
seemed quite clear for a successful production of "The 
Merry Wives of Windsor," which took place on May 28th 
and the six following days. Mackinnon as usual was 
responsible for the stage management ; with money to 
spend on the production, it was far more elaborate and 
worthy of the Society than any of its predecessors. The 
Dell of Windsor Forest, with three cascades of real water, 
shrubs, &c., and the stage broken up into rocky plateaux 
of different elevations, with Heme's Oak overshadowing the 
whole, was quite a new effect in Oxford. Bourchier was 
an excellent Falstaff, and Morris's rendering of the jealous 
Ford was one of the best things in the play ; neither 
must the Dr. Caius of E. H. Clark and the Sir Hugh of 
M. F. Davies pass unnoticed. But the hit of the piece, 
from an audience point of view, was the Slender of my 
brother, E. F. Nugent, whose build and general appearance 
were created for the part. Mrs. Charles Sim made her first 
appearance for the O.U.D.S., and has since won many 
successes at Oxford. Mrs. Copleston was Mrs. Quickly ; 
Lady Abingdon, Sweet Anne Page ; and Mrs. Jameson, Mrs. 
Ford. Sullivan's music was very effectively rendered by 
a special orchestra under the direction of Lionel ]\Ionck- 
ton. The performance was certainly a good one, good 
enough to make Mr. Beerbohm Tree, who came specially 
to see it, ask for the prompt copy ; but the expenses 
were heavy and the receipts not so good as usual, and it 
resulted in a serious deficit, and the Society was greatly 
hampered in arranging for the next production. 

Lady Abingdon, who played Sweet Anne Page so 
charmingly, frequently entertained the members of the 
company at Whitham during the rehearsals, and Bourchier 
as Falstaff was the victim of a practical joke in the shape 



THE O.U.D.S. 187 

of one of the old family chairs in the hall at Whitham. 
This chair when sat on promptly shut the occupant in, 
and there was no way of getting rid of the chair except 
the occupant touched a certain spring. 

On one fell night this Whitham chair was cruelly 
substituted for Falstaff's usual seat — result, imprisonment 
of Falstaff, terrible language, and ringing down of the 
curtain in the middle of the scene to extricate him from 
his sorry plight. The next day Bourchier was the re- 
cipient of a number of letters sarcastically asking his 
authority for certain words used on the previous evening 
not to be found in any of the folios, quartos, or early 
editions of " The Merry Wives of Windsor." 

On the resignation of the Hon. J. Scott-Montagu, 
A. E. Grahame became Secretary ; but though he con- 
tinually regally entertained us in his house in Brewer 
Street, he did not take much interest in the affairs of 
the Society ; and as Mackinnon had gone down, declining 
to produce the new piece, and as Clark had also gone 
down, the work principally devolved upon me, with, of 
course, the invaluable assistance of Bourchier. The 
smoking concerts went on as usual, but the Society was 
lamentably weak in the point of view of actors. This 
made it very hard to determine what should be our next 
production. It was clear from the failure of " Merry 
Wives," in a pecuniary sense, that it would be politic to 
produce a tragedy. Eventually we agreed upon " Julius 
Caesar," but I begged that Bourchier would consent to 
play Brutus, and wrote and asked E. H. Clark to come 
up and take the part of Cassius. This they both con- 
sented to do, and with Morris as Mark Antony and 
Grahame in the title role, we really had a very creditable 
cast. I played Casca, and Henry Irving, jun., was Decius 



i88 AMATEUR ACTING 

Brutus. But the chief feature of the show was the 
exquisite scenery, designed by Ahna-Tadema, R.A., and 
executed by Hall. Some very charming music, com- 
posed and directed by Lionel Monckton, was also a great 
addition. It was produced by the late Stewart Dawson, 
and was a great artistic success, but, unfortunately, once 
more a considerable financial failure. The houses were 
nightly crammed, and the takings very considerable, but 
the expenses overbalanced the receipts, and if Sir Robert 
Peel had not come forward and most generously advanced 
us ;^8o for one bill alone, we should have had no balance 
at all. Grahame now went down from Oxford, and I was 
elected Secretary. In order to enrol fresh recruits we 
kept to the same policy of organising fortnightly smoking 
concerts, which were now on a much bigger scale than 
usual. They were held in the Clarendon Assembly 
Rooms, and each member was permitted to bring in two 
guests. This system of concerts proved an excellent 
tonic for the revival of the Club, and caused its numbers 
to considerably swell. At a private meeting of old 
members we thought it would be a bold, and perhaps 
a successful, step to make an effort to break through the 
original mandate of the Vice-Chancellor, and to apply for 
permission to produce Marlowe's " Jew of Malta." Rather 
to our surprise, but be it said chiefly through the inter- 
cession of W. L. Courtney, leave was granted; and 
Courtney set to work to revise it in such a manner as 
not to offend the moral sensibilities of an Oxford public. 
A. C. Swinburne kindly granted some matter relating 
to Marlowe, to be reprinted in the form of a preface, 
and everything was in preparation. I went down that 
term, and Henry Irving, jun., succeeded me. 

In the winter of 1889 Robert Browning died, and 



THE O.U.D.S. 189 

it was consequently decided to substitute " Strafford " 
for "The Jew of Malta." Dr. Bellamy, the Vice-Chan- 
cellor, gave his consent, and preparations were made 
for its production. "Strafford" had not been given 
(except by the Browning Society) since its production 
by Macready in 1837. The performances took place 
on February 12th to i8th, 1890, and Robert Barrett 
Browning was present with Dr. Jowett. Alma-Tadema, 
R.A. (as in " C?esar "), designed the scenery. 

The influenza was raging in Oxford at this time, 
which was most disastrous to the performance. The 
ill-luck of the unfortunate Charles I. pursued his repre- 
sentative ; Hunt after the first night was seized, and had 
to give up his part, his understudy was taken ill at the 
same time, so once more the Club had to fall back on 
the ever-willing Mackinnon, who most kindly undertook 
the part at a moment's notice, and played till the last 
night, when he was also attacked, and actually a fourth 
understudy had to play on the closing night. 

On Irving's resignation of the Secretaryship, owing 
to his reading, Amhurst Webber of New College suc- 
ceeded ; but he went down before the next production, 
and Lord Warkworth of Christ Church became the new 
Secretary. 

On February 4th to loth of 1891 an excellent perform- 
ance was given of " King John." There was, however, 
such a paucity of efficient actors, that once more the Club 
had to have recourse to old members. Mackinnon played 
Faulconbridge, and Holman Clark, Hubert. Harry Irving 
was King John, and a little professional lady named 
Mabel Hoare played Prince Arthur. Clark designed 
the scenery, and the armour was lent from the Lyceum. 
The great feature of the performance was, however, Lady 



I90 AMATEUR ACTING 

Radnor's band of ladies, who played all the incidental 
music. One hitch occurred on the first night, which led 
to a story being told against myself. I had written 
a wedding march for the procession into the walls of 
Anglers ; but the drawbridge stuck, and the music had 
stopped long before the last soldier had entered. Mac- 
kinnon was left alone on the stage, and the first words 
that he uttered were, " Mad world, mad kings, ynad com- 
position." 

Soon after the performance of " King John " both 
Irving and Clark went on the stage. 

In the following year a performance of " The Frogs " 
of Aristophanes, which is dealt with elsewhere in this 
volume. 

In 1893 H. T. Whittaker of Christ Church was Secre- 
tary, and a most successful performance was given of 
"Two Gentlemen of Verona," in which Whittaker's 
Valentine, and A. Ponsonby's Launce, were the most 
notable features. 

In 1894 A. Ellis of Trinity, Secretary, arranged for 
a performance of "The Tempest." The stage effects 
here were a very important feature, the Storm scene 
being particularly worthy of praise. F. C. Woods of 
Exeter was responsible for the music, and the Exeter 
Choir appeared as Spirits. Miss Bruckshaw, of the Royal 
College of Music, was the Ariel. Other good perform- 
ances were those of R. G. Talbot as Prospero, A. Ellis 
as Trinculo, and L. Playfair as Stephano. 

In August of the same year the University Extension 
had their Summer Meeting in Oxford. The period chosen 
for the lectures of the year was the seventeenth century, 
and the committee of the Oxford Extension wrote and asked 
Mackinnon to undertake a performance of " Strafford," to 



THE O.U.D.S 191 

illustrate a leading statesman of the period, which he 
undertook to do. H. Snagge of New College was then 
Secretary, and an arrangement was made for a picked 
company of past and present members of the O.U.D.S. to 
undertake a revival of the play. Thus ten years after the 
foundation of the O.U.D.S. a performance was given at 
the request of, at any rate, an authoritative body in the 
University. 

The cast included : — 

Strafford Alan Mackinnon. 

Charles I A. Ellis. 

Pym E. H. CLARK {by permission of Mr. H. Beerbohm Tree). 

Vane H. T. WnrrTAKER. 

Denzil Hollis H. Croker King. 

Hampden G. T. Kidstone. 

Puritan W. A. Phillips. 

The ladies' parts were undertaken by Miss Behuke 
and Mrs. Charles Sim. The play passed off successfully, 
and a vote of thanks was passed by the Committee of the 
University Extension to the O.U.D.S. and to Mackinnon, 
who became the recipient of a portrait of " Strafford." 

1895 was the last year in which Mackinnon had any- 
thing to do with the Club. He stage-managed a production 
of ''The Merchant of Venice," which appears to have 
been a smooth, but not a very brilliant show. Ellis as 
Gratiano appears to have shone most, and next to him 
Hearn as Launcelot Gobbo. J. Comyns Carr, jun., made 
a good Antonio, and A. Bonnin a fair Shylock. 

In 1896 (J. Hearn of Brazenose being Secretary) "The 
Merry Wives of Windsor" was revived. Hearn played 
Falstaff, and Croker King, Slender, Doctor Caius being 
played by Woodward. It was a fair, all-round show, but 
did not come up to the one of '88, Mrs. Copleston being 



192 AMATEUR ACTING 

the only one of the original cast. About this time Paul 
Rubens of University College, a very promising musician, 
arranged all the smoking concerts. 

An excellent performance was given in the following 
year of "The Knights," and that practically brings the 
history of the O.U.D.S. down to the present time. I have 
heard from the present Secretary, R. L. Oldershaw, and 
from L. E. Bernham, the Treasurer, that the affairs of the 
Club are in a most flourishing condition. A new club- 
house has been erected in George Street, quite close to the 
theatre, which is fitted up with every luxury, and that the 
same enthusiasm prevails amongst the present members 
as did in the old days. 

" God speed ye, merry gentlemen." 



Note. — I should like to make the following acknowledgments : — To 
Mr. W. L. Courtney for allowing certain matter to be reprinted from an 
article of his entitled "Oxford Revels"; to the Hon. and Rev. J. G. 
Adderley and Mr. Alan Mackinnon for lending me their records ; to Mr. 
Arthur Bourchier for much valuable assistance, and to many others for 
their kind suggestions and advice. 



IX 
ACTING AT ETON 

By F. TARVER 

1HAVE been requested by the editor of this book to 
write a chapter on " Etonian Amateur Theatricals," 
I suppose for two reasons : First, because I am one of 
the few living Etonians whose memory carries them back 
to early in the forties, a time when " Theatricals " were 
at their best in Long Chamber, and also because from the 
time when I returned to Eton as a master in 1864 till the 
abolition of all such public or private performances in the 
school in 1870 I had, at the request of the boys them- 
selves, " coached " nearly all the Fourth of June speeches, 
and managed, and occasionally taken part in, some of the 
plays which were acted in private houses, and in all of 
those which were performed in the Mathematical School, 
to which the whole school were admitted by batches. To 
begin then at the beginning, and to go back to the time 
previous to that in which my own memory serves me, 
I have been informed by a friend, who had it from the 
lips of the Rev. J. Wilder (who died in the year 1892 at 
the advanced age of ninety-one), that he, John Wilder, had 
acted the part of Lydia Languish when a boy at Eton, and 
that the theatre was a barn a little way out of Eton, pro- 
bably at Dutchman's Farm, near Willowbrook, and that 
the boys who played the ladies' parts went out in sedan 
chairs, one of which was once stopped by a master, who 

193 N 



194 AMATEUR ACTING 

apologised profusely to the supposed lady occupant and 
let it pass. And in the " Reminiscences of Eton, Keate's 
time," by the Rev, C. Allix Wilkinson, we read that " there 
was at that time a regular theatre, with permanent scenery, 
at Barney Levi's large room, about halfway ' up-town,' 
conducted by a joint troupe of Collegers and oppidans, 
and patronised by ladies from Windsor, * dames ' and 
their friends from Eton and the environs, and if not by 
masters' wives, certainly by their daughters." I have also 
been told, on the best authority, that Dr. Goodford, for 
some time Head Master and afterwards Provost of Eton 
College, had in his schooldays acted the parts of Mrs. 
Malaprop in the " Rivals " and of Distaffina in " Bombastes 
Furioso." 

The first authenticated account that I can find of act- 
ing in Long Chamber is in the extracts from the letters 
and journals of William Cory (better known to Etonians 
by his former name of William Johnson), lately printed 
for private circulation. 

^' Eton, May 14, 1838. — Last night we began our 
theatrical season with ' The Original ' and ' The Sleep 
Walker,' two tolerable farces, acted in the best possible 
style, as far as the great characters, and got up in scenery, 
&c., very neatly and cleverly, especially considering our 
limited funds, about ^7 odd. The theatre is erected in 
Long Chamber, in front of two small chambers where they 
dress ; there are six scenes to last the season, and curtains, 
&c., with beds turned up as walls. Beds, too, were our 
galleries, some turned on their sides, some perpendicular, 
with ' boxes ' of chairs for the ' Sixth Form ' and ' Liberty,' 
and for two or three visitors, one of whom was our 
musician, whistling very excellently to the accompaniment 
of a wretched guitar, and singing occasionally. The three 



ACTING AT ETON 195 

good actors were Westmacott ^ (the manager), Bullock, 
and Tarver,^ all sextiles (Sixth Form)." 

I may now begin to draw on my own memory and 
recount my own experiences of the performances in " Long 
Chamber," and as the room so called ceased to exist as 
such about the year 1845, many still living who may 
fairly style themselves " Old Etonians " can never have 
seen it in its pristine state. It was the long dormitory 
on the first floor of the building which forms the northern 
side of " School yard." In it slept the first fifty of the 
seventy King's Scholars, on strong oak bedsteads, of which 
we shall have more to say soon. The original walls still 
exist, but the interior has now been divided up into 
twenty separate cubicles for the last twenty boys in 
College, three or four studies of " Sixth Form " boys, and 
the apartments for the " Master in College." Before 1845 
this functionary did not exist, and we were left entirely to 
the control of the " Sixth Form." 

It is true that we did receive occasional nocturnal 
visits from the kind-hearted headmaster. Dr. Hawtrey, but 
these visits were always heralded by a loud rapping on the 
door from the stick of his trusty henchman " Finmore," 
so as to give ample time for the steaks, sausages, &c., which 
we were cooking for our suppers, to be thrust under the 
beds ; but Hawtrey, knowing full well how scanty was the 
fare provided for us at the " Hall " supper, always pre- 
tended not to smell the delicious odour of these contraband 
viands. I have spoken of the oak bedsteads in which we 
slept, because these and the rugs which covered us (lite- 
rally " horse-rugs," and those not of the best) were the 
materials with which we formed the framework of our 
stage. The bedsteads were of very strong oak, and about 
six feet long, so that two of them raised on end, and one 

^ Some time Professor of Elocution at Oxford. 
2 My elder brother and Canon of Chester. 



196 AMATEUR ACTING 

on the top of the other, strongly roped together, joined to 
as many more as were requisite to form the sides and 
back of the stage, really made an excellent framework, 
an unlimited amount of rugs forming a substantial, if not 
elegant, drapery for sides, exits, &c. &c. For the pro- 
scenium we had of course to enlist the services of some 
carpenter and upholsterer from the town, and Mr. Evans, 
the drawing-master, and distinguished member of the old 
Water-Colour Society, would occasionally lend a helping 
hand, and indeed on one occasion furnished a very 
spirited picture of Tilbury Fort {" very fine indeed ") for 
the back scene of the " Critic," which picture remained for 
a long time after the breaking up of Long Chamber into 
separate cubicles on the western wall of that building. 
The building of the stage was of course a matter of two or 
three days or nights, and if during this preparatory time 
dear old Hawtrey did pay us one of his occasional visits, 
he would turn upon the gaps in the line of bedsteads much 
such an eye as did Nelson on the famous signal at Copen- 
hagen. If the stage were fully " set," and the proscenium 
footlights in their places, he would do no more than 
shrewdly remark, " Oh ! I see what you are about " (as 
well he might, having been an old " Colleger " himself), 
and sending for the Captain, exact from him a promise that 
all should be carried on with due order and decency. 

The first play that I can recollect seeing acted in Long 
Chamber was " The Critic." Not yet being a " Colleger," 
I had been smuggled in by one of my brothers. Walter 
Long, brother to the late Vice-Provost of King's, and to 
the late Mayor of Windsor (Sir G. Long), acted Pufif ; and 
I was told, though I was not of an age to judge for myself, 
that his performance of the part was as good as, if not 
better than, that of C. Mathews ! But when did not school- 
boys think themselves better than professionals ? About 




.^ ^' 



"^ 



ACTING AT ETON 197 

that time too, " Anson," a very big Colleger, compared 
with whom, in the eyes of us small boys, Goliath was a 
pigmy and Samson a stripling, had actually carried, or 
hauled, a donkey up the stairs into Long Chamber, which 
donkey was stabled and fed in one of the studies until 
such times as he should be wanted for General Bombastes 
to ride him triumphantly into the presence of King Artaxo- 
minous and Fusbos. In my own time we had a very credit- 
able performance of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," in 
which Arthur Browning (an elder brother of Mr. Oscar 
Browning) took the part of Oberon, my brother " Joe " 
that of Bottom, Arthur Coleridge, Mustard Seed (singing 
all the songs), and myself Puck. The music was very 
well and carefully got up and executed. 

This was followed by a very amusing piece written in 
verse by a Colleger of the name of King, entitled "A Night 
in China," introducing our Plenipotentiary there. Sir H. 
Pottinger, whose dealings with the Chinese about that time 
excited as much interest as has attended the recent action 
of Russia, Germany, France, and England in that country. 
This was the last play acted in Long Chamber, which, 
as I have said before, "ceased to be" in the year 1845 ; 
but the tradition still clung to us survivors, and we burned 
to emulate the noble deeds of our predecessors, and in 
the month of April 1846 Arthur Coleridge and myself 
rented what was known as " Turnock's Room " in the 
High Street ("Turnock" was a small tailor, and behind 
his shop was a large room occasionally used for concerts, 
recitations, lectures, &c.). We there acted the three plays 
of which I append the casts. The programme, or bill of 
the play, which has been religiously preserved, and lent 
to me for insertion here by Mr. Coleridge, was considered 
by our audience, but more especially by ourselves, the 
compilers, as humorous in the extreme : — 



198 AMATEUR ACTING 

THEATRE ROYAL 

(TURNOCK'S ROOM). 

Managers— Mr. A. D. Coleridge and Mr. F. Tarver. 

Monday and Tuesday Evenings, ioth and iith April 1846, 

Will be performed, with entirely New Scenery, Dresses, and 
Accoutrements, by Her Majesty's Servants, 

Mr. Barnardo's Admired Farce of 

"HIS LAST LEGS." 

Mr. Rivers . {A Credulous Old Gentlnnan) Mr. JOCK BiDWELL. 

Mr. C. Rivers . . {A71 Amatory Youth) . Mr. H. Cheales. 

(His first appearance at this Theatre.) 

Dr. Banks . . (15 Rue de la Victoire, Paris) . Mr. F. Stacey. 
Mr. O'Callaghan {A Getit on his Last Legs) Mr. A. D. Coleridge. 

John . {Re-engaged by the Managers at imtnense expense) Mr. COKE. 
Mrs. Montague . . {A Blooming Vidder) . Mr. F. Tarver. 
Miss Banks . . {The Purest of her Sex) . . Mr. H. Still. 
Betty .... {Could you have a better?) . , Mr. H. Yonge. 

An Overture by Signor Joel'S Band, 

After which will be performed the laughable Burlesque of 

•'BOMBASTES FURIOSO." 

Artaxominous . . . {King of Utopia) . . Mr. H. Cheales. 
Bombastes . . {His much-loved Gefieral) . Mr. F. Tarver. 
Fusbos . . . {A Minister of State) Mr. A. D. COLERIDGE. 
Distaffina Mr. H. Still. 

The Performance to conclude (or begin, we can't say which) with the 

Farce of 

" BOX AND COX." 

Box .... {A fourneyman Printer) . Mr. F. Tarver. 

Cox (A Natter) . Mr. A. D. Coleridge. 

Mr. Bouncer . {Wait till you see her) . . Mr. Wayte.^ 

The Managers are happy to state that they have been able to engage 

the valuable services of Signor COKO^ Joel's Band. 

Doors open at half-past 2. Performance to commence at 4 precisely. 

Scenery and Decorations by Mr. F. Tarver. 

Vivat Regina ! Floreat Etona I 



^ For some time Assistant-Master at Eton College, afterwards Professor of 
Greek at London University. Died, after a long illness, in May of this year. 

2 Jack Joel, who may still be seen with a straw hat and light blue ribbon, any 
summer's day in Upper Club. 



ACTING AT ETON 199 

This concludes the account of Eton theatricals in the 
" forties," and now a long interval elapses before their 
resumption. During my residence at Oxford, and the 
year or two which I spent at Eton after taking my degree, 
I cannot remember any performances taking place ; and 
although I cannot speak from personal experience of the 
ten years between 1854 and 1864, when I was very little 
in England and hardly ever at Eton, I have taken great 
pains to ascertain from men who were either boys at Eton 
or masters during that period whether any, and, if any, 
what performances, did take place, and I cannot find out 
that there were any between the years 1850 and i860 ; 
but thanks to the kindness of Mr. Arthur M. Heathcote, 
well known in London for his dramatic recitations, but 
especially as the author of " The Duchess of Bayswater " 
and other plays, who has supplied me with much valuable 
information, I shall be able to give an account of the plays 
which were acted between that date and the year 1864, 
when I came back to Eton as a master, and when I can 
again draw on my own personal memory. I must also 
record my indebtedness to Mr. William C. Higgins, of 
cricketing celebrity, who has kindly placed at my disposal 
a complete set of the Eton Chronicle from May 1863 till 
the end of 1869, which not only supplies information 
with regard to the year 1863, but enables me to supple- 
ment whatever may have escaped my memory in the 
subsequent years. 

To begin then with the year 1862. Mr. Heathcote 
tells me that he and another small Lower boy (B. Tun- 
nard) actually had the audacity one night after prayers to 
approach their tutor, the Rev. W. A. Carter (now Fellow 
and Bursar of Eton College), with the bold request that 
they might "get up a humble farce and perform it in 
Pupil room." Mr. Bumble, when Oliver Twist "asked 



200 AMATEUR ACTING 

for more," could not have been more taken aback than was 
Mr. Carter ; however, not only did he consent " to think 
about it," but actually said a few days later that, if they 
could get the head boys in the house to take it up and do 
a good play, he would ask his friends to see it. The result 
was a performance of " She Stoops to Conquer," of which 
Mr. Heathcote has supplied me with the programme : — 

Under the Patronage of the Rev, W. A, atid Mrs. Carter. 

This Evening only, Thursday, 31st July 1862, 

"SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER." 

Sir Charles Marlow Mr. H. Howard. 

Hardcastle Mr. C. Cotes. 

Young Marlow Mr. H. Romilly. 

Hastings Mr. W. Baring. 

Tony Lumpkins Mr. C. Heathcote. 

?t'"&° I Hon. E. BoscAWEN. 

Jeremy ) 

Diggory Mr. B. Tunnard. 

Ralph Lord Suirdale. 

Roger Hon. H. Boscawen. 

Mrs. Hardcastle Mr. L. Palk. 

Miss Hardcastle Mr. A. Heathcote. 

Miss Neville Hon. W. Vernev. 

Maid Hon. H. Boscawen. 

^ , T-. „ J. ( Mr. H. Lee Warner. 

Orchestra-Piano. Performers | j^r. C. C. W. Sibthorp. 

The next year Mr. Carter's pupils acted the " Rivals," 
with the following cast : — 

Thursday, 30th July 1863. 

"THE RIVALS." 

Sir A. Absolute Mr. C. Cotes. 

Captain Absolute Mr. H. Romilly. 

Faulkland Mr. C. E. Jarvis. 

Bob Acres Hon. R. G. Molyneux. 

Sir Lucius O'Trigger Lord Suirdale. 

Fag Mr. W. E. Balston. 

David Mr. J. W. Montresor. 

Coachman Mr. H. P. Powell. 

Mrs. Malaprop Mr. E. D. Heathcote. 

Lydia Languish Mr. A. M. Heathcote. 

Julia Mr. C. A. Hopwood. 

Lucy Lord Randolph Churchill. 



ACTING AT ETON 201 

And here I will quote a few of Mr. Heathcote's observa- 
tions as to this performance : " Lord Randolph Churchill 
made a first-rate Lucy ; and my brother Evelyn, who was 
not an Etonian, came, at Carter's invitation, to act Mrs. 
Malaprop and supply Palk's place, who was taken ill in 
the middle of the rehearsals. 

"The next year," Mr. Heathcote goes on to say, 
" Carter relaxed his rule as to the play being ' a classic,' 
and I have no doubt the audience suffered, for we at- 
tempted ' A Scrap of Paper,' with the following cast : — 



27th July 1864. 

The Performance will commence at 7 o'clock with the popular 
Comedy in three Acts, entitled 

"A SCRAP OF PAPER." 

Prosper Couramont Mr. H. Romilly. 

Baron de la Glaci^re Mr. W. Scholfield. 

Brisemouche Mr. E. D. Heathcote. 

Baptiste Mr. R. W. Powell. 

Anatole Lord Suirdale. 

Louise de la Glaci^re Lord R. Churchill. 

Mme. Suzanne de Ruseville . . . Mr. A. M. Heathcote. 

Mathilde Mr. A. Romilly. 

Mme. Zenobie ) ^^^ ^ G. Molyneux. 

Mme. Dupont > 

Pauline Mr. W. Carter. 



To conclude with the screaming Farce of 

"WHITEBAIT AT GREENWICH." 

Mr. Benjamin Buzzard . . . , Mr. E. D. Heathcote. 

Mr. Glimmer Lord Suirdale. 

John Small Mr. H. Romilly. 

Miss Lucretia Buzzard . . . . Mr. A. M. Heathcote. 
Sally Lord R. Churchill. 



202 AMATEUR ACTING 

About this performance Mr. Heathcote remarks : " My 
chief remembrance is of the difficulty of getting Randolph 
Churchill to rehearse or do anything he was wanted to 
do. He was both too clever and too fly-away to submit 
to a boy stage-manager ; and to this day I remember the 
agonies he caused us, especially with a collection of real 
butterflies lent us for the Curio scene, which he sent flying 
over the place, and left me to pick up as best I could 
during Suzanne's soliloquy." 

Soon after this Mr. Carter was made a Fellow, and 
his house was broken up ; but before following Mr. 
Heathcote to the scene of his future triumphs at the Rev. 
E. Stone's, I will quote from the Eton Chronicle the following 
short notice of a performance at Mr. Vidals' : — 

"Private Theatricals at Rev. F. Vidals', i8th and 19th 
November 1 863. The first piece was ' Cool as a Cucumber,' 
and this was followed by a burlesque, entitled ' 111 Treated 
II Trovatore ; or. The Mother, The Maiden, and The 
Musicianer.' We understand that the scenery, dresses, &c., 
were hired from London. Dawson and Hon. J. Henley 
distinguished themselves in the farce as Plumper and 
Old Barkins. The Hon. E. H. Primrose, Hon. F. Henley, 
and Dawson acted especially well in the several characters 
of Azucena, Count de Luna, and Marica. The other 
parts were sustained by the Earl of Ranfurly, Hon. J. 
Wodehouse, Irving, and Hartopp." 

The same authority, the Chronicle, informs us that on 
the Tuesday evening, March 14, 1864, " Moliere's play of 
' Les Precieuses Ridicules ' was acted in Mr. Tarver's ^ 

' My brother, Mr. H. Tarver, then sole French master at Eton. 



ACTING AT ETON 203 

Pupil room before a select company." The principal 
characters were : — 



Du Croisy } 

La Grange > 

Gorgibus 

Mascarille 

Jodelet 

Madelon 

Cathos 



{Rejected Lovers) 



{ Mr. Wells. 

\ Mr. Jones. 

(^ Worthy Citizen) . . Mr. Dawson. 

{La Granges Valet) . . .Mr. Grey. 

{Du Croisfs Valet) . .Mr. FERGUSON. 

{Gorgibus- s Daughter) Hon. J. Wodehouse. 

{Gorgibus's Niece) . Hon. J. Henley. 



This was followed by "Little Toddlekins," in which 
the same actors took part (with the addition of Holland 
and Hon. E. Primrose), and in which Ferguson's acting 
of the Old Maid received " enthusiastic applause." 

On the following evening, March 1 5th, the same '' com- 
pany " (again in Mr. Tarver's room) played " The Adven- 
tures of a Love Letter " and " Little Toddlekins," and 
this time Mr. Grey seems to have shared the honours 
with Ferguson. 

In September 1864 I came back to Eton as a master, 
and before the end of that " half " I was requested by the 
Collegers to assist them in getting up some plays to be 
acted in the College Hall. The entertainment began 
with a " vocal concert " of considerable merit, conducted 
by Mr. H. Barnby (brother of Sir J. Barnby, late organist 
at Eton College), of which I need not give the programme. 
This was preceded by a very clever prologue, spoken by 
E. Symonds and W. Durnford, and followed by the two 
plays of which I append the casts. 

In the College Hall on Thursday evening, December 
15, 1864:— 



204 AMATEUR ACTING 

PART 11. 

AMATEUR THEATRICALS. 

"THE SENTINEL," 

A MUSICAL BURLETTA, IN ONE ACT, 
BY 

J. Maddison Morton. 
Frederic William . {King of Prussia) . . A. J. Pound 

Frederic. . S {His Son, afterwards ) A. G. Tindal. 

( Frederic the Great) ) 

Baron Vonderbushel W. DURNFORD. 

Schloppsen . . {The Sentinel) . R. C. B. Willis. 

Corporal J. W. FOLEY. 

Linda . . . {Schloppsen's Intended) W. H. Pollock. 

Officers, Soldiers, &c., &c. 

A?i Interval of Te?t Minutes. 

To conclude with the celebrated Farce by J. M. MORTON, 

"A REGULAR FIX." 

Mr. Hugh de Brass E. S\tvionds. 

Mr. Surplus . . . {A Lawyer) . . . A. J. Pound. 
Mr. Charles Surplus {His Nephew) . . C. H. Everard. 

Abel Quick . . {Clerk to Surplus) . H. A. Macnaghton. 
Smiler . . . {A Sheriff's Officer) . . J. W. FOLEY. 

Mrs. Surplus E. R. Phelps. 

Emily W. H. POLLOCK. 

Deborah Carter {Housekeeper to Mrs. Surplus) . W. Durnford. 
Matilda Jane . . (Housemaid) . . F. T. Dowding. 

The Costumes by Messrs. Nathan, 24 Tichboume Street. 

"DULCE DOMUM" AND "GOD SAVE THE QUEEN," 

In which the Audience are requested to join. 

The acting was really very good. The boys had 
chosen for themselves "A Regular Fix," mainly, I think, 
to bring out the comic powers of E. Symonds, which were 
really quite remarkable. W. Durnford's " get up " as 
Deborah Carter was also inimitable. They adopted "The 



ACTING AT ETON 205 

Sentinel " at my suggestion. I had myself acted in it some 
years before in Hamilton Palace, and it proved, as I 
hoped it would, " a success," with a good soldier's chorus, 
good songs by Schloppsen and Linda, thrilling beats of 
the drum to herald the King's approaches and exits, 
&c. &c. I should mention that the whole of the expenses 
of this entertainment were defrayed by the then Head 
Master, the Rev. Dr. Balston. 

Some little time before this performance in " Hall " 
there had been one at Mr. Stone's under the direction of 
Mr. A. M. Heathcote, who had " gone on " to that house 
when Mr. Carter became a Fellow. I quote from the 
Eton Chronicle of 15th December 1864: "The first piece 
was a farce, entitled * A, S. S.', in which Mr. Heathcote was 
exceedingly good as Anthony Sniggles. This was followed 
by 'Boots at the Swan,' in which Mr. F. H. Wilson sus- 
tained the difficult part of Jacob Earwig with great 
success. Mr. Heathcote made another hit as Cecilia 
Moonshine ; the performance ended with the farce of ' Ici 
on Parle Frangais,' in which the Hon. R. Molyneux as 
Victor Dubois and Mr. Heathcote as Anna Maria were 
particularly successful ; Mr. Trower and Mr. F. H. Wilson 
were also frequently applauded." Mr. Heathcote has 
kindly furnished me with the complete " bill of the play," 
which follows : — 

At Rev. E. D. Stone's on Monday, 5TH December 1864, 

Will be performed 

"A. S. S." 

Mr. Diogenes Hunter Mr. F. H. WiLSON. 

Anthony Sniggles Mr. A. M. Heathcote. 

Adolphus Mr. A. Trower. 

Mrs. Hunter Mr. R. H. Thurlow. 

Sophia Hon. R. G. Molyneux. 



2o6 



AMATEUR ACTING 



After which 
"BOOTS AT THE SWAN." 



Mr. Henry Higgins . 
Mr. Frank Friskley . 
Jacob Earwig . 
Peter Pippin 
Miss CeciHa Moonshine 
Miss Emily Trevor . 
Sally Smith 



To conclude 
"ICI ON PARLE 



Major Regulus Rattan 
Victor Dubois 
Mr. Spriggins 
Mrs. Spriggins 
Angelina . 
Julia Rattan 
Anna Maria 



Mr. H. A. Danniel. 

Mr. A. Trower. 

. Mr. F. H. Wilson. 

Hon. R. G. MOLYNEUX. 

Mr. A. M. Heathcote. 
. Mr. T. P. Wilson. 
Mr. R. H. Thurlow. 

with 
FRANgAIS." 

. Mr. F. H. Wilson. 

Hon. R. G. MoLYNEUX. 

Mr. A. Trower. 

Mr. R. H. Thurlow. 

. Mr. T. P. Wilson. 

Mr. H. A. Danniel. 

Mr. A. M. Heathcote. 



I am also indebted to Mr. Heathcote and to Mr. J. 
Sturgis for the following casts of plays acted in the same 
year at Mr. Browning's and Miss Evan's, about which the 
Eton Chronicle gives no information. 

At Miss Evans's, on Monday, 12th December 1864, 

Will be performed 

" B. B." 

. Mr. J. D. Mansel. 

. Mr. J. M. Carr Lloyd. 

. Mr. H. Ricardo. 

Mr. F. A. Currey. 



Squire Greenfield 

Bob Rattler . 

Joe 

Mr. Benjamin Bobbin 

Mr. Puncheon 

Dorothy 



Mr. W. O. Massingberd. 
Mr. G. Greenwood. 



Mr. Benjamin Buzzard 

Mr. Glimmer 

John Small . 

Miss Lucretia Buzzard 

Sally . . . . 



After which 

"WHITEBAIT AT GREENWICH." 

. Mr. W. H. Ady. 

Mr. F. A. Currey. 

Mr. C. W. Greenwood. 

Mr. W. O. Massingberd. 

Mr. G. Greenwood. 



ACTING AT ETON 207 

And 

At Mr. Browning's, on Wednesday, 14th December 1864, 

Will be performed 

"RAISING THE WIND." 

Plainway J. Rigdon. 

Fainwould C. Devas. 

Jeremy Diddler W. Barrington. 

Sam W. Hay. 

Richard E. Pears. 

Waiter F. Hodgson. 

John S. Roper. 

Peggy W. Stancombe. 

Miss Laurelia J. Murray. 

"POOR PILLICODDY." 

Pillicoddy W. Devas. 

Captain O'Scuttle A. Gosling. 

Sarah Blunt F. HODGSON. 

Mrs. O'Scuttle J. Murray. 

Mrs. Pillicoddy W. Hay. 

This concludes all the information I have been able to 
obtain about 1864, but in 1865 the dramatic "furore" 
seems to have been unabated, and the performances at 
various houses succeeded each other with great rapidity ; 
but before proceeding to give the 1865 casts seriatim, 
I should like to quote again from a letter written to me 
by Mr. A. Heathcote : — 

" I remember Stewart Dawson (who afterwards went 
on the stage, and died last year, 1897) telling me of their 
doing 'The Adventures of a Love Letter' (the other 
version of a ' Scrap of Paper ') at his ' dame's,' but I am 
not sure what house he was in. A boy named Henley was 
very good in the chief lady's part. W. Johnson (after- 
wards W. Cory, see page 194) was the House Tutor, and 
undertook to prompt, but not having been to any re- 



2o8 AMATEUR ACTING 

hearsals, and not knowing the play, he became so much 
interested in it that he read on, and when his services 
were required in Act I. he was found deeply immersed in 
Act III., and Dawson had to find his place for him before 
the play could proceed." I am all the more indebted to 
Mr. Heathcote for this anecdote, that, unless I am much 
mistaken, this was the same S. Dawson who sustained so 
admirably the part of Madame Jourdain in the " Bourgeois 
Gentilhomme " when we acted that play before the whole 
school in 1869, of which full details will be given in due 
time and place. 

To proceed, then, without further preamble to the year 
1865, the first play I find recorded is — 

At Stone's, on Tuesday, 4Th December 1865, 
Will be performed the Screaming Farce by J. Maddison Morton, 

"THE TWO BONNYCASTLES." 

Mr. Smuggins Mr. F. H. Wilson. 

Mr. John James Johnson Mr. A. Trower. 

Mr. Bonnycastle Mr. A. M. Heathcote. 

Mrs. Bonnycastle Mr. R. H. Thurlow. 

Helen Mr. A. S. Daniell. 

Patty Mr. H. A. Case. 

To be followed by the Comedietta, in One Act, entitled 

"NINE POINTS OF THE LAW." 



Mr. Joseph Ironside. 

Mr. Cunninghame . 

Mr. John Britton 

Mr. Rodomont Rollingstone 

Mr. Smylie 

Kate Mapleson . 

Sarah-Jane 



. Mr. F. H. Wilson. 

Mr. A. Trower. 

. Mr. G. Thornhill. 

Mr. R. H. Thurlow. 

Mr. A. M. Heathcote. 

Mr. H. A. Case. 

. Mr. A. S. Daniell. 



ACTING AT ETON 209 

To conclude with the Domestic Drama by Tom Taylor, 
"A WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING." 



Colonel Percy Kirke 
Colonel Lord Churchill 
Jasper Carew . 
Kester Chedzoy 
Corporal Ilintoff 
John Zoyland . 
Anne Carew 
Dame Carew 
Sybil Carew 
Keziah Mapletoft 



Mr. A. Trower. 
. Mr. G. Thornhill. 
Mr. R. H. Thurlow. 
. Mr. F. H. Wilson. 
Mr. J. T. R. FussELL. 

Mr. H. A. Case. 
Mr. A. M. Heathcote. 
. Mr. A. S. Daniell. 
Mr. F. H. W. Thornhill. 

Mr. H. A. Case. 



Then on December 12th, still in the same year, we 

have 

At Browning's, 

«'TOM NODDY'S SECRET." 

Captain Ormond Mr. Barrington. 

Tom Noddy Mr. Devas. 

Inkpen Mr. Hay. 

Mary Mr. Tabor. 

Gabrielle Mr. Murray. 

This was followed by a short French play, of which 
the cast is not given, called " L'Histoire d'un Sou," in 
which I remember acting the principal (and only) male 
part, with the two Misses Browning as the " ladies." 

The programme concluded with — 

" DEAF AS A POST." 

Mr. Walton Mr. Roper. 

Tristram Sappy Mr. Barrington. 

Captain Templeton Mr. C. Devas. 

Crupper Mr. Divett. 

Gallop Mr. Pears. 

Sophy Walton Mr. Longman. 

Amy Templeton Mr. Stancomb. 

Mrs. Plumpley Mr. Hay. 

Sally Maggs Mr. Hodgson. 

O 



2IO 



AMATEUR ACTING 



On the next evenings, December 13th and 14th, were 
acted 

At Miss Evans's, 
"SLASHER AND CRASHER." 



Mr. Benjamin Blowhard 

Mr. Samson Slasher. 

Mr. Christopher Crasher 

Lieutenant Brown 

Dinah 

Rosa .... 



. Mr. J. M. Carr Lloyd. 

. Mr. F. A. CURREY. 

Mr. H. RiCARDO. 

Hon. Arthur Lyttelton. 

Mr. W. O. Massingberd. 

. Mr. G. O. Trower. 



After which 
DONE ON BOTH SIDES." 



Mr. Brownjohn 
Mr. Whiffles 
Phibbs 
Mrs. Whiffles 
Lydia . 



Sir William Ramsay 

Launcelot Griggs 

Bodkins 

Jansen . 

Mrs. Griggs 

Winifred 

Dot . 



Mr. G. Greenwood, 
Mr. C. W. Greenwood. 
Mr. Julian R. Sturgis. 

, Mr. F. A. CuRREY. 
Mr. F. C. Ricardo. 



To conclude with 
TICKLISH TIMES." 



. Mr. J. R. Sturgis. 

Mr. C. W. Greenwood. 

Mr. W. H. Ady. 

. Mr. J. M. Carr Lloyd. 

Mr. G. Greenwood. 

Mr. F. C. Ricardo. 

Hon. Arthur Lyttelton. 



On the same evening, December 14, 1865, I helped 
to get up a Httle entertainment at Mr. (now Dr.) Warre's 
house for the amusement of his pupils, family, and a few 
friends, of which I give the programme verbatim : — 



ACTING AT ETON 211 

Rev. E. WARRE'S THEATRICALS. 

Thursday, December 14, 1865, 

Will be presented in the newest possible Theatre, 

" A CHARADE " in Three Acts. 

To be followed by the usual " Christmas Box " (not without " Cox "). 

Box . . Mr. F. Tarver. 

Cox Mr. T. H. M'Clintock Bunbury.^ 

Mr. Bouncer .... Mr. J. M'Clintock Bunbury. 

To conclude with the Burlesque Tragic Opera, 
"BOMBASTES FURIOSO." 

Artaxominous . . . Mr. T. H. M'Clintock. Bunbury. 

Fusbos Mr. H. F. Eaton. 

General Bombastes Hon. B. Lawley. 

Distaffina Mr. W. Higgins.^ 

Attendants, Courtiers, Army, &c. 

My principal recollection of this performance is the 
stroke of genius which inspired the younger Bunbury 
(who died a few years ago) to express to Mr. Cox the hope 
that he slept " comfortable " (so pronounced). 

The Chronicle records no theatricals in this year ; but 
Mr. J. Sturgis has told me that before Christmas in 
that year they performed at his " dame's " (Miss Evans) 
" A Comical Countess," in which he took the part of the 
Chevalier, and George Greenwood that of the Countess. 

In the following year (1867) theatrical representations 
became so " fast and furious," that I must request any old 
Etonians who may do me the honour to read these pages, 
and may deem that scanty justice is being done to their 
performances (which, I have no doubt, they had every 
reason to believe to have been amongst the best produced 
at Eton), to excuse me if the limited space accorded to me 
prevents me doing more than to record the dates of such 

^ Now Lord Rathdonnell. 2 Captain of the Eleven in 1868. 



212 AMATEUR ACTING 

performances, titles of the plays, and names of the actors, 
without giving the full casts. I will take them in due order: — 

1. April 3rd and 4th, at Rev. W. Wayte's : " Cool as a 
Cucumber " and " Whitebait at Greenwich." Performers : 
C. T. Campbell, J. P. Cunliffe, H. S. Ferguson, R. R. N. 
Ferguson, M. L. Macnaghten, E. S. Lucas, and Lord R. 
Graham.^ I cannot remember which of the two Fergusons 
it was, but I can remember one " Ferguson at Wayte's " 
as being a first-rate actor. 

2. April 8th and 9th, at Rev. C. C. James's : " Ticket-of- 
Leave Man," " Done on Both Sides," and " In the Pigskin." 
Performers: C. R. Alexander, E. F.Alexander, H. B.Walker, 
F. E. Temple, F. Newcome, T. H. Locke, F. J. Craven, 
W. C. Hemming, M. D. Jefferson, T. Wood, J. B. Doyne. 

3. April 9th and loth, at the Theatre Royal: "Old 
Christopher " (W. Johnson, Esq.), " An Affair of Honour," 
"A Peculiar Position," and "Turn Him Out." Per- 
formers : Hon. F. Henley, Lord Wodehouse, F. E. H. 
Elliot, H. G. Willink, Earl of Charleville, M. Francis, R. 
Russell, Hon. F. Finch-Hatton. 

4. April loth and nth, at Miss Evans's : "My Wife's 
Maid," " Lend me Five Shillings," and " A Comical 
Countess." Performers : J. M. Carr Lloyd, G. Greenwood, 
F. A. Currey, H. Ricardo, Massingberd, F. C. Ricardo, 
Schuster, and J. R. Sturgis. 

And now again Mr. Sturgis kindly supplements an 
omission in the Chronicle, and writes to me as follows : — 
"At Xmas, 1867, I did the Captain of the Watch in the 
play of that name. That must be the resplendent being 
whom you faintly remember. The other parts (for 
although I was then a great swell, in Sixth Form, and 
keeper of the field, I could not act them all) were played 

1 Now Duke of Montrose. 



ACTING AT ETON 213 

by F. A. Currey, Arthur Lyttelton (who ought to be a 
bishop by now), Schuster, a great musical amateur, and 
Howard,^ then a new boy at my dame's." 

On the 3rd December in the same year I remember 
witnessing an excellent performance by the small boys at 
the Rev. J. Hawtrey's, principally noticeable as being the 
first occasion upon which Charles H. Hawtrey appeared 
on any stage ; and as the Chronicle is also silent as to this 
performance, I will quote Mr. C. H. Hawtrey's letter to 
me on the subject. The plays performed were " Ici on 
Parle Fran^ais " and " Bombastes Furioso." " All I 
remember of the performance is that George Tufton 
played the Frenchman, and Sir George Lowther, Spriggins 
(he also performed half the Army in * Bombastes Furioso '). 
Bombastes, I well remember, was my brother William, the 
king was Wynne-Roberts-Wynne — he was a great big 
chap — the Army was Lonsdale, who was near six feet, 
and Spearman (Sir Joseph Spearman now), who was about 
three feet high, and could put his fist in his mouth, and I 
myself played Distaffina. I was eight years old, and it 
was my first appearance on any stage." 

I can supplement Mr. Hawtrey's letter by recording 
the fact that C. F. Oliphant, son of Mrs. Oliphant the 
authoress, played the part of Fusbos. With this I con- 
clude my notice of plays acted in private houses ; but 
before proceeding to deal with those acted in public, and 
to which the whole school were admitted in batches, I 
will state as briefly as possible the reasons which led to 
their introduction. It had often occurred to me when 
witnessing the performances at the different " tutors' " and 
" dames' " houses, that it would be a very good thing if 
the always respectable, and sometimes really excellent 

^ His younger brother. 



214 AMATEUR ACTING 

acting power exhibited by many of the boys could be 
combined in one " School theatrical company," and plays 
acted which the whole school might have an opportunity 
of seeing and hearing, for I had noticed that in addition 
to the " house " boys, numbering some thirty or forty 
spectators, only some ten or twenty outsiders could be 
admitted, and these were, naturally enough, the leading 
boys or " swells " of the school, members of the " eight " 
or " eleven," or of " Pop," whose privileged eyes and ears 
had all the enjoyment withheld from the tgnobile vulgus; 
and to show that this idea of " generalising " the theatrical 
performances had occurred to the minds of the boys 
themselves, I will quote first from a letter addressed to the 
editor of The Eton Chronicle of October 27, 1864, signed 
" Ophelia " : " Sir, it strikes me forcibly that the histrionic 
interests of the school are neglected. It is true that 
isolated houses perform plays, . . . but nothing at all 
equivalent to the world-renowned and never-to-be-for- 
gotten celebrity of the 'Westminster Play,' an institution 
looked forward to by many every year. Let the Mathe- 
matical School be prepared for the purpose. Let a play 
worthy of the school and the occasion be enacted. Why. 
should the school be content with broad farces and 
miserable comedies from the French ? Let Etonians aim 
higher — Shakespeare is a worthy subject to try upon. Let 
present Etonians form a histrionic club, and on the boards 
of the Mathematical School act ' Hamlet,' or some such 
light and easy subject (! !) " And in the Chronicle's Leader 
of October 26, 1865, reference is made to this letter, and the 
idea contained therein endorsed and amplified, the editor 
concluding with these words : " If anything is to be done, 
it must be done quickly. Surely there is some one who 
has a turn for such things, and who would not mind the 



ACTING AT ETON 215 

trouble which it would involve to bring the matter to 
perfection. In supporting the idea of forming a company 
in the school, we certainly do not mean to cry down the 
theatricals in the houses, which are a great source of 
amusement to all those concerned in them." 

It was, then, on finding my own ideas on the subject 
thus endorsed by what might be considered the organ of 
public opinion in the school, that I ventured to sound the 
Head Master on the subject, and readily obtained his 
permission to form a School Company and produce a School 
play ; the only conditions being that, for educational pur- 
poses, one of the plays acted should always be a French 
classic, and that any English play produced should also 
be a "classic"; and the Mathematical School having 
been not only very kindly lent, but actually prepared for 
the purpose by the late Rev. S. Hawtrey, on the 12th 
December 1867 was produced Moliere's play of " Le 
Bourgeois Gentilhomme," with the following cast : — 

Monsieur Jourdain Mr. F. Tarver. 

Madame Jourdain A. C. Tufton. 

Lucile R. T. W. Ritchie. 

Cleonte Hon. J. A. de Grey. 

Dorimene Hon. H. S. Finch-Hatton. 

Dorante Hon. M. E. Finch-Hatton. 

Nicole H. G. Willink. 

Covielle , . . . R. Russell. 

Un Maitre de Musique Hon. J. A. de Grey. 

Un Maitre k Danser . . . . F. W. Cornish, Esq.^ 

Un Maitre d'Armes R. A. Dobree. 

Un Maitre de Philosophic . . . W. H. Tarver, Esq. 

Maitre Tailleur W. H. Onslow.^ 

T^ T • rr. •„ ( Lord Naas. 

Deu.x Laquais et gar^ons Tailleurs . . . -j j,^ Dashwood. 

Le Grand Mufti A. C. James, Esq. 

Dervis, Turcs, ( Messrs. J. CARTER, Onslow, Dashwood, 



&c. &c. ( Cartwright, Mangles, and J. C. Tarver. 

^ Now Vice-Provost of Eton. ^ Now Earl of Onslow. 



2i6 AMATEUR ACTING 

Of the performance the Chronicle speaks in terms which 
it would ill become me to repeat, but I must record my 
own appreciations of the really admirable manner in 
which the boys (none of whom, with the exception per- 
haps of Tufton, had had any peculiar advantages of obtain- 
ing a correct French accent) performed the various parts 
assigned to them. For the incidental music, led by Mr. 
James, as the Grand Mufti, we did not employ that 
composed by Lulli for the delectation of " Le Grand 
Monarque," and which to modern ears would have had 
little charm, nor did we stoop to the " burlesque " airs of 
our own time, but with the assistance of Dr. Hayne, then 
Precentor and Musical Instructor, and of Mr. Cornish, we 
adapted well-known opera airs to the words that had to 
be sung in the "Ceremony," and so obtained a "great 
success." That the plays in private houses did not suffer 
from the introduction of a " School play," is evident from 
the fact that in the course of the same month {i.e. 
December 1867) there were performances at the Rev. C. 
C. James's on the 7th and 9th, at the Rev. W. Wayte's on 
the loth, and at Miss Evans's on the nth. I have not 
been able to obtain the casts of these two last-men- 
tioned performances, but from the Chronicle I learn that at 
Mr. James's they acted " The Chimney Corner " (by H. T. 
Craven, Esq.) and "A Phenomenon in a Smock Frock," 
the various characters in these two plays being sustained 
by T. Wood, G. Blane, J. Lister Kaye, M. D. Jefferson, F. E. 
Temple, F. Newcome, H. B.Walker, R. D. Lane, and Doyne. 

On December 10, 11, and 12, 1868, there were three 
performances in the Mathematical School, where the stage 
had been considerably enlarged by the removal of the two 
pillars in front. On December loth the performance was 
" after four," and the Lower boys were admitted, and to the 



ACTING AT ETON 



217 



two subsequent performances, on the evenings of December 
nth and 12th, the whole of the rest of the school were 
admitted (in relays). At one of these H.R.H. Prince 
Leopold was present. The casts were as follows : — 



A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM." 



With Music by Mendelssohn. 



Theseus . 

Hippolyta 

Lysander . 

Philostrate 

Oberon . 

Titania 

Puck 

First Fairy 

Second Fairy 

Third Fairy 

Fourth Fairy 

Peas-blossom 

Cobweb . 

Moth 

Mustard-seed 

Bottom (and Pyramus) 

Quince 

Flute (and Thisbe) 

Snug (and Lion) 

Snout (and Wall) 

Starveling (and Moonshine) 



. C. J. Ottaway. 
F. D. Newcome. 
. F. H. Rawlins. 

C. W. Bell. 

. H. B. Walker. 

. H. A. Tufnell. 

C. F. Oliphant. 

. W. Hawtrey. 

J. H. Blakesley. 

F. B. Greenwood. 

W. C. Cartwright. 

S. G. Moon. 
. H. E. Bowman. 

E. M. Eyre. 
. E. B. Layard. 

. A. G. TiNDAL. 

Hon. F. Parker. 
. S. R. Murray. 
W. M. Compton. 
. F. Churchill. 
M. L. Macnaghten. 



This was followed by Moliere's play of 



"LE MARIAGE FORCE." 

Sganarelle F. Tarver, Esq. 

Geronimo Earl OF Elgin.i 

Alcantor H. T. Hope. 

Aicidas R. A. Dobree. 

Panerace W. H. Tarver, Esq. 

Marphurius '. '. '. '.*... W. H. Onslow.^ 
^ J H. Eyre. 

Deux Egyptiennes | W. Cartwright. 

Un Page Hon. C. Harbord. 

' Viceroy of India, 1898. 

2 Earl of Onslow, formerly Governor of New Zealand. 



2i8 AMATEUR ACTING 

The Eto7t Chronicle of December 15, 1868, gives a very 
flattering notice of the above performance, which want of 
space precludes the possibiHty of inserting here. 

On Thursday, 9th December 1869, at 3.30 P.M., for the 
Lower boys, and on Monday and Tuesday, December 13th 
and 14th, at 7.30 P.M., for the rest of the school, the last 
of the school performances took place in the Mathematical 
School, as before. The plays selected were Sheridan's 
" Critic " and Moliere's " Bourgeois Gentilhomme," with the 
following casts : — 

"THE CRITIC." 

Puff C. C. Thornton. 

Dangle F. H. Rawlins. 

Sneer E. F. Alexander. 

Sir F. Plagiary F. A. Currey. 

Mrs. Dangle R. Ritchie. 

Under Prompter H. B. WALKER. 

Whiskerandos W. C. HiGGlNS. 

Earl of Leicester B. T. S. Coleridge.1 

Sir C. Hatton M. L. Macnaghten. 

Sir W. Raleigh J. C. Tarver. 

Governor Hon. A. T. Lyttelton. 

Beefeater Hon. F. Parker. 

Lord Burleigh E. H. BURROW. 

Tilburina C. A. Whitmore, 

Confidant S. R. Murray. 

First Niece T. Bagot. 

Second Niece Hon. H. Tracy. 

First Sentinel A. Courthope. 

Second Sentinel E. F. R. Gould. 

Followed by 

"LE BOURGEOIS GENTILHOMME," 
reduced to three Acts, and cast as follows : — 

Monsieur Jourdain F. Tarver, Esq. 

Madame Jourdain S. E. Dawson. 

Lucile G. R. Tufton. 

^ Son of the late Lord Chief-Justice, and now Lord Coleridge. 



ACTING AT ETON 219 

Cleonte H. Willink. 

Nicole C. F. Oliphant. 

Covielle Hon. F. Parker. 

Un Maitre de Musique H. A. Perry. 

Un Maitre a Danser . . . . F. W. CORNISH, EsQ. 

Un Maitre d'Armes Hon. G. Harris.^ 

Un Maitre de Philosophic , . . , H. Tarver, Esq. 

Un Maitre Tailleur R. Ritchie. 

tAhve du Maitre k Danser E. Conant. 

First Laquais S. Dashwood. 

Second Laquais W. C. Higgins. 

"CEREMONIE TURQUE." 

Le Grand Mufti A. C. James, Esq. 

ler Turc Chantant S. R. Murray. 

_ ^ , ( Messrs. Lyttelton, Dashwood, 

Dervis et Turcs Dansants ) higgins, Macnaghten, and 

etChantants. . .; | Alexander. 
Deux Pages . . T. Bagot and Hon. H. Hanbury Tracy. 

For comments on the above performances I must again refer 
my readers to the Eion Chronicle of December 16, 1869, 

This, then, concludes our chapter on Eton theatricals ; 
for although there may have been some subsequent 
clandestine performances in private houses, of which Mr. 
Arthur Bourchier may be able to tell us something, they 
practically ceased to be a " School institution " ; and indeed 
there may have been very good reasons for bringing them 
to a close, the principal one, to my thinking, being, that as 
the female parts were of a necessity generally assigned to 
younger boys, it brought them into a, perhaps to them- 
selves, enviable but certainly undesirable prominence ; but 
that Eton theatricals have been productive of "some 
good," I think we have sufficient proof in the success 
obtained on the London stage by such old Etonians as 
Charles Kean, the brothers Hawtrey, W. G. Elliot, A. 

1 Now Lord Harris, and formerly Under-Secretary for War, Under-Secretary 
for India, and Governor of Bombay. 



220 AMATEUR ACTING 

Bourchier — cum multis aliis. And I cannot bring my 
chapter to a close without recording that some of the 
pleasantest hours I spent as an Eton master were those 
which I devoted to coaching for the Fourth of June speeches 
and the theatricals, which were amply rewarded by the 
most painstaking efforts on the part of my pupils, efforts 
which, if bestowed on the admirable instruction which I 
used to shower upon them in school hours, would have 
made them one and all perfect French scholars. 



X 

AMATEURS IN FOREIGN PARTS 

By LIEUT.-COLONEL NEWNHAM-DAVIS 

YOUR joker would say that amateur actors are con- 
stantly found in foreign parts at home. The 
foreign parts to which I am going to refer are, however, 
some of our great foreign possessions, and I will tell, as 
well as I can, of the amateur histrions who live and have 
their being in Asia and Africa, and of the important clubs 
which have grown up in some of the larger towns in the 
uttermost parts of the earth. 

Simla, the summer capital of India, the town lying 
on a pine-covered horseshoe amidst the tumble of minor 
mountains that are the advance guard of the Himalayan 
snows, is the Mecca of amateur actors abroad, and the 
Simla Amateur Dramatic Club is probably the best 
equipped amateur club in the world. Its beginnings, 
however, were small enough. In the days after the Mutiny, 
when the Viceroy of the time first began to go yearly 
from Calcutta to Simla for the summer, there were 
theatricals at the Commander-in-Chief's house — for Lady 
Mansfield was very fond of the drama — and elsewhere ; 
but the Viceroy, Sir John Lawrence, looked askance at 
theatricals, and the A.D.C., if indeed it existed then, had 
not received the impress of Viceregal favour which is 
necessary at Simla to make any amusement current. 



222 AMATEUR ACTING 

It was not till the seventies and the palmy days of Lord 
Lytton that the Club gave promise of becoming the 
important factor in the gaieties of Simla that it is to-day. 

The first Simla Nantch Gurh, as the natives call the 
theatre, was always spoken of as being " down the khud." 
It was a whitewashed barn of a place, a hundred yards 
or so down the hill, with the native bazaar in close 
proximity, owned by a Mr. Goad, who occupied the one 
box, and in the pride of ownership could look down upon 
the Viceroy and Commander-in-Chief sitting in the stalls. 
" Plot and Passion " and the " Ticket-of- Leave Man," put 
on the stage in 1876, are two of the earliest plays that I 
can find trace of as having been played. In the former. 
Captain Morton, who has just completed his term as Adju- 
tant-General in India, and who, by the way, is half-brother 
to the editor of this volume, played Fouche, a character 
with which his name became much associated, and Gal- 
braith, the General who has been winning laurels in the 
Soudan, "Joey" Deane, C. Marshall, Arthur Prinsep, 
M'Call, nicknamed " Jackall," A. F. Liddell, all of whose 
names are or were household words in India, took parts. 
The " Ticket-of- Leave Man " was produced for the benefit 
of Rosa Cooper, a professional actress who had played 
with Phelps. 

The next year (1877) brought forth an operetta which 
would have interested Mr. Frank Burnand and Sir Arthur 
Sullivan. It was a version of the " Contrabandista," with 
some very original dialogue. The words and music of 
the songs had fallen into the hands of the A.D.C., but no 
libretto. Val Prinsep, the artist, who was in India at the 
time to paint his great picture of the Durbar, came to 
the Club's aid, and with the songs to guide him wrote an 
original libretto, following the lines he thought the author 



AMATEURS IN FOREIGN PARTS 223 

must have taken. The A.D.C. in this season (1877) 
produced an original comedy, " The Passing Cloud," by 
Val Prinsep, and their ranks were strengthened by the 
advent of the lady who now plays on the English stage 
under the nom de theatre of Madame San Carolo. " Bwab " 
made an appearance in " Society," one of the plays pro- 
duced during the year ; and Lord " Bill " Beresford, who 
was to do so much later to aid the A.D.C, was the 
Irishman in the Owl's Roost scene. 

These were the days that dwellers in Simla with long 
theatrical memories always talk of as the " Riddell and 
Liddell time." They were both young officers on the 
Viceregal staff then ; now the former is the trusted 
business manager to the Kendals, the latter a light of 
the Stock Exchange, one of Her Majesty's Gentlemen- 
at-Arms, and a star of the yearly performances of the 
" Windsor Strollers " ; and Lord Lytton, the Viceroy, 
encouraged theatricals unreservedly. The theatre was 
redecorated, three boxes built for the three great powers 
of Simla — the Viceroy, the Commander-in-Chief, and the 
Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab; and the season of 
1878 commenced with the production of the first Lord 
Lytton's drama " Walpole," the rehearsals of which were 
superintended by the Viceroy. It is an old-fashioned 
play, dealing with Jacobite plots, and written in rhymed 
Alexandrine verse. Report says that some of the actors 
found the lengths of verse anything but easy matter to 
commit to memory ; but then, a Viceregal stage-manager 
does not appear every day. This was not the only play 
produced under the direction of the Viceroy, for at 
Calcutta during one of the winter seasons "The School 
for Scandal " was rehearsed under the Viceregal eye. It 
was no doubt an invention of the enemy ; but those who 



224 AMATEUR ACTING 

were inclined to gird at the Viceroy for his love of 
gorgeousness, declared that he could never superintend 
a rehearsal until an especially resplendent sofa, all gilding 
and yellow satin, had been placed facing the stage, and 
His Excellency duly enthroned thereon. 

A period of wars followed ; the news of the death of 
Cavagnari arrived at Simla during one of the A.D.C. per- 
formances ; and the fortunes of the Club ebbed, for nearly 
all the men who should have played or paid were away in 
Afghanistan. There came a dire day when the A.D.C. 
owed two years' rent of the theatre and had not the 
wherewithal to pay. Lord " Bill " Beresford came to the 
rescue. He was military secretary to the Viceroy, and 
was the guiding spirit of all race-meetings and gymkhanas 
in the summer capital, but he cheerfully took a new burden 
on his shoulders. He made an arrangement as to the 
rent ; the resources of Peterhof were brought to bear to 
aid the theatre ; the wars ceased, and the men swarmed 
back to Simla ; little suppers after the performances, to 
which each actor was entitled to ask a guest, became so 
popular, that the competition to be allowed to play, even 
as a super, was keen, and Hobday and his burlesques 
sprung into prominence. Major, then Captain, Hobday was 
one of Lord Roberts's aides-de-camp, and could not only 
write very witty doggerel, but was a clever burlesque actor 
and an excellent stage-manager. A burlesque, put upon 
the stage regardless of expense, became one of the events 
of the A.D.C. season ; the fairest of Capua's daughters 
sang in the chorus; and the art of stage-dancing was 
much cultivated. Elaborate scenic effects were attempted, 
and one at least of the burlesques played almost as long 
on its premiere as a Drury Lane pantomime does. 

To come to more modern times, of which I have per- 



AMATEURS IN FOREIGN PARTS 225 

sonal knowledge. When, in 1 890, I first set foot in Simla as 
an unpaid Attache in the Intelligence Department, the Town 
Hall, a grey stone mediaeval castle, with a red roof that 
leaked on to the floor of the ballroom, and the Gaiety 
Theatre tucked away in the basement, stood on the crest 
of the " nek " which joins Jakko to the long line of hill on 
which the rest of Simla stands, and the old Nantch Gurh 
had effaced itself by means of fire, a remnant of blackened 
walls " down the klud " being all that was left of it. 

Some stone arches, slightly reminiscent of a cathe- 
dral cloister, shaded the stage-door and the entrance for 
the public. The stage-door led directly on to the stage, 
there being one or two steps to go down, which a new- 
comer, blinded by the sudden transition from blazing 
sunshine to gloom, generally fell down. The stage was 
small, being about the size of one of those of the smaller 
Strand theatres. The dressing-rooms, up aloft, were long, 
comfortless apartments, with white walls through which 
the damp sweated. A gallery crossed the stage at its far 
end, and a number of cupboards in this gallery held the 
" wardrobe " of the theatre — a very good one, from which 
any costume-piece could be handsomely clothed. On 
brackets projecting over the stage were rolled " back- 
cloths," and in the cellars below the stage were the 
" wings " and built-up scenes — an admirable assortment, 
for the A.D.C. was lucky enough to have in Mr. M'Cracken 
an amateur scene-painter who was, and is, a fine artist, 
and who, happily for the Club, liked the broad work 
of scene-painting. The row of arches which formed a 
balcony above the cloisters was enclosed with old scenery 
when there was a performance, and it was there that we 
supped. The lights on the stage and in the house were 
kerosene lamps. The foyer, into which the public entrance 

P 



226 AMATEUR ACTING 

led, the theatre shared with the Freemasons, whose lodge 
was reached through it. There was a frequent clashing 
of dates between lodge meetings and theatrical perform- 
ances. We talked of the convenience of the Viceroy and 
Commander-in-Chief being consulted ; the Freemasons 
fell back upon Solomon and Hiram of Tyre. Stalls on 
a steep rake, and behind them a ring of boxes, the three 
boxes in the centre being those of the Viceroy, the Com- 
mander-in-Chief, and the Lieutenant-Governor ; a dress 
circle, with boxes at either side, and a gallery stretching 
far back behind it — such was the Gaiety Theatre, Simla, 
when I first saw it. Lord Roberts, who is very fond of the 
theatre, was the President of our Club ; the municipality 
were very lenient as our landlord ; our funds were kept in 
a flourishing state by the letting of the boxes and stalls by 
Mrs. Corstorphan, a dear old lady, who kept a " reposi- 
tory " at the end of the big bazaar ; and the affairs of the 
Club were managed by a committee of four, who met once 
a week, one of them, as honorary secretary, keeping the 
books. Members of this committee changed, and honorary 
secretaries came and went. Some of the names that recur 
to me as having been on the committee are those of 
" Joey " Deane, M'Cracken, Percy Holland, G. Williams, 
Yeatman Biggs (who died through overwork and dysentery 
during the Tirah campaign), and Gerald Morton. 

During the summer the A.D.C. played on an average 
five important pieces, each running for three nights, and 
a dozen or so comediettas put on at matinees and supple- 
mented by variety " turns." Nothing came amiss to us, 
from Goldsmith, Pinero, and Haddon Chambers down to 
the lowest depths of three-act farce. India is a country 
in which piracy of plays is rampant, and as the A.D.C. 
went to the fountain-head and paid for the plays they 



AMATEURS IN FOREIGN PARTS 227 

produced, managers and authors were kind to the Club. 
Mr. Pinero in particular always had a keen interest in 
the A.D.C., and sent out to them his plays in manuscript 
as soon as they were produced at home. The one play that 
he did not send out, for he considered it unsuited to ama- 
teurs, was " The Profligate." At a period later than that 
I am writing of the amateurs did play " The Profligate," 
and proved Pinero to be right, for Simla did not like it. 

Strange to relate there were never, or hardly ever, 
any quarrels in the corps dramatique, the reason not 
being, I fancy, that we were made of different clay from 
other amateurs, but that the supply of actors and actresses 
was greater than the demand, and that a leading lady 
inclined to assert herself too much knew if she was asked 
to send back her part that there were two or three other 
ladies anxious and competent to take it. There is a tale 
still remembered of a bouquet presented to the wrong 
lady at the close of a performance of " Caste," and the 
trouble that came of it, but it would not be wise to re-tell 
it. The Deanes, Mrs. George Williams, Mrs. Little and 
her daughter (the latter now a charming actress on the 
London stage), Mrs. Wheeler, Mrs. Fortescue Porter, 
Mrs. Harry Stuart, Percy Holland, C. de C. Hamilton, 
Hunter Weston, Yeatman Biggs, were the stars of the 
dramatic side ; while in musical pieces, the direction of 
which were in the safe hands of Major H. Clarke, Miss 
Ribenthrop, Miss Collen, and Miss Halliday made special 
successes. ^ 

It was not only in the Gaiety Theatre that the dramatic 
plant was reared, for both at Snowdon, the Commander- 
in-Chief's house, and at Barnes' Court, the Lieutenant- 
Governor's official residence, there were small stages, and 
both Lady Roberts and the Lieutenant-Governor generally 



228 AMATEUR ACTING 

included theatricals amongst their yearly entertainments. 
At the Viceregal Lodge a stage was especially built, and 
scenery and a drop-scene painted, that theatricals might 
be one of the series of entertainments which Lord and 
Lady Lansdowne offered to Lord Harris, then Governor 
of Bombay, and Lady Harris when they visited them at 
Simla. 

A record of Simla theatricals would be incomplete if 
I did not refer to some proposed pastoral performances 
which could not be held in the open air. The occasion 
was a series of representations of " A Midsummer Night's 
Dream," the profits of which were to go to Lady Roberts's 
pet charity, the " homes in the hills for nurses and 
hospitals for sick officers." The K.O.S.B.'s sent their 
string band to Simla to play Mendelssohn's music ; all the 
stars of the A.D.C., musical and dramatic, were in the 
cast ; and all the prettiest ladies in Simla worked hard at 
their dances and music as the Fairies. The dates for the 
performances had been fixed for the end of September 
and the beginning of October, when the rains should, by 
all rules, have ceased, and the lawn and grassy terraces 
of Peterhof, kindly lent by the Financial Secretary of the 
time, had been turned into a level, grassy stage, with altar 
and temple and seat of state, under a velarium, and arbours 
and thickets, faced by a semicircle of seats. In the re- 
sponsible post of stage-manager I had drilled the chorus 
into exactitude in their dances, but not into silence, for 
nothing in the world could keep thirty-two Simla ladies 
silent for two hours. All that was wanted was the fine 
weather. Day after day those interested in the perform- 
ances watched fresh banks of clouds sailing up from the 
plains, and at last in despair the open-air performances 
had to be abandoned, and '* A Midsummer Night's 



AMATEURS IN FOREIGN PARTS 229 

Dream " had to be played in the ballroom of the Town 
Hall, a hall the echo in which made hearing very difficult. 

Of course any professionals travelling in India cast 
eyes upon the amateur dramatic paradise of Simla, and a 
clause in our lease obliged us to put the theatre at the 
disposal of other companies so long as this did not 
interfere with the A.D.C. performances. Small companies 
of professional players did occasionally come to Simla, 
were leased the theatre for a time, and were helped by 
the amateurs ; but Simla society did not take kindly to 
these invasions. The A.D.C. performances, good, bad, or 
indifferent, were recognised social functions, and were as 
much part of Simla life as the birthday ball or the races 
at Annandale. No professionals managed to make their 
performances a necessity of Simla life, and accordingly 
went down the hill, as a rule, saying unjustifiably hard 
things of the amateurs. 

The A.D.C. still flourishes exceedingly ; the boxes are 
put up to auction now at the beginning of each season, 
and the income of the Club has increased. The theatre 
has been redecorated, and shines resplendent in salmon- 
pink, light green, and gold ; the positions of the boxes have 
been rearranged, electric light introduced into every part 
of the theatre, a green-room built, the dressing-rooms 
made habitable, a paid secretary secured, and a box office 
opened at the theatre. Fritz Ponsonby, Baden Powell, 
and Wilkinson have lately made successes on the side 
of the sterner sex, while Mrs. Wheeler has been adding 
to laurels already gained. "The Crusaders" and "The 
Geisha" mark the high-water mark of the comedy and 
musical performances of late years. 

I have dwelt thus at length on the doings of the Simla 
A.D.C, because it is an example of the pitch of efficiency 



230 AMATEUR ACTING 

to which an amateur organisation can be brought abroad ; 
but all over India, notably at Poonah, Mhow, Meerut, 
Calcutta, and Lucknow there are centres of attraction for 
amateurs. Calcutta shone at one time by the excellence 
of its amateur renderings of Gilbert and Sullivan's operas, 
stage-managed generally by Mr. Nicol, a very clever 
amateur ; and I remember that at a dinner-party the 
hostess as a pleasant item of information told Mr. W. S. 
Gilbert, newly landed, that two of his pieces — both, need- 
less to say, pirated — were being performed in the city of 
palaces. What Mr. Gilbert's answer was I did not catch. 
At the Saturday Night Club, a little " cock and hen " insti- 
tution, there were constantly theatricals on a small scale. 

There have always been in India certain amateurs 
who have established a club, and as often as not built a 
theatre, in whatever station they have been stationed in. 
Colonel and Mrs. Moore-Lane are perhaps the brightest 
examples of this, and Quetta, Poonah, where they joined 
forces with General and Mrs. Pottinger, Murree, Mhow, 
Bombay — all had to thank them for exceptionally good 
performances. Colonel Moore-Lane would, but for the ill- 
ness of his wife, have carried out the biggest purely amateur 
tour ever attempted. The Bath School for officers' 
daughters was at that time a charity which attracted a 
great deal of attention in India, and Colonel Moore-Lane 
— who was then a captain — arranged to take the com- 
pany of amateurs he had collected round him on tour 
through all the big cities of India, playing " My Milliner's 
Bill," "The Parvenu," and "Creatures of Impulse," the 
surplus over expenses — and the tour would have paid 
well — going to the Bath School, Unfortunately after the 
first performances at Poonah Mrs. Moore-Lane fell ill, 
and the tour had to be abandoned. 



AMATEURS IN FOREIGN PARTS 231 

It was at Poonah, I believe, that Colonel Moore-Lane 
and his company had rather a trying experience. Some 
kind-hearted lady had suggested that the school children 
should be allowed to come to the dress rehearsal. 
Colonel Moore-Lane, being a kindly soul, and also 
knowing what a splendid audience school children make, 
consented willingly. He was surprised, however, to 
find, instead of the hundreds of smiling white faces he 
expected to see, row upon row of grave little copper- 
coloured visages, the little Indian children from the 
missionary schools. The harder he and his company 
worked to raise a laugh, the graver and graver this audi- 
ence grew. They had been brought up to regard every 
sahib with the greatest respect, and the more ridiculous 
the sahibs on the stage made themselves, the more cause 
the little brown scholars found for not being drawn 
into anything so disrespectful as a laugh. It was at 
Poonah, too, though not at these particular performances, 
but at some given in a private house, that a good-natured 
soldier discovered that a prompter's life is not altogether 
a happy one. He had volunteered to prompt, just as 
he would have volunteered for any other dangerous duty, 
and though he knew nothing about the duties of a 
prompter, he set to work reading out the lines at the 
wings, and following the play as best he could. The 
leading comedian said horrible things to him under his 
breath, the heroine tried to kill him by a glance, the 
asides of the villain to him were worse than all the swear- 
words the authors had put into his part. The audience, 
who appreciated the situation, adjured him to speak up, 
and in kindly response he did read a bit louder. When 
the curtain dropped he was surprised to find that there 
was something more than a coldness shown towards him 



232 AMATEUR ACTING 

by all the members of the company, and the hostess of 
the evening, who evidently thought that he had dined 
liberally before coming to the house, withered him by 
an inquiry as to whether he had had all that he wanted. 
The poor fellow mopped his brow. " Madam," he 
replied, with absolute truth, " all that I have had up 
to the present is unlimited abuse." 

Major Hobday was another star of the dramatic 
firmament who lighted the sacred lamp of burlesque 
wherever he went. I have written of his advent in Simla, 
and at Poonah also he played with the greatest success. 
He there, as the Moore-Lanes before him, was assisted 
by General and Mrs. Pottinger and their daughters, and 
a happy marriage united two of the amateur dramatic 
dynasties of India. 

General Yeatman Biggs did for Meerut what the 
Moore-Lanes did for Quetta, gave the station a theatre, 
complete with scenery and accessories, and started a club 
on a sound financial basis. 

To turn to the Far East. Next to Simla, the best 
organised club that I have found in the uttermost parts of 
the earth was the Hong-kong Amateur Dramatic Club. 

The early days of amateur theatricals in Hong-kong 
were scarcely palmy. The first " Victoria Theatre " was 
above a go-down in Wanchai, Queen's Road, East. The 
only way of getting into this theatre was by some very 
steep wooden stairs outside the building, and the whole 
place was odorous of what is known as " Singapore 
cargo " — damaged rice, fish maws, &c. The present Ama- 
teur Dramatic Club began life in i860, when the first 
" Theatre Royal Mat-shed " was erected, where now stands 
the east wing of the City Hall. It was a perfect bijou 
inside, but a most ungainly-looking edifice outside. The 



AMATEURS IN FOREIGN PARTS 233 

plans were drawn by the late Charles Murray, son of 
the well-known Edinburgh actor and manager. It was 
made entirely of bamboo mats and light planks, all lashed 
together with strips of rattan, not a nail being used. The 
corridors and passages were decorated with fire-buckets 
kept full of water and bill-hooks. The theatre was pulled 
down each year when the summer heats stopped the 
gaieties of the town, and rebuilt, generally on a new site, 
every winter. The last site of the mat-shed was where 
now stands the " married quarters " of the barracks. 

The performances before the A.D.C., as at present 
constituted, opened in November i860 belong to the 
heroic period lost in the mist of years. A Colonel who 
never spoilt a good story by a too scrupulous adherence 
to truth used to tell me various tales of the days when 
he was the manager of the theatre. His company rose 
to the height of grand opera, and his tenor was a gunner 
in the battery quartered in the town. The man was, un- 
fortunately, addicted to drink, and the excitement of the 
coming performances generally drove him to stimulants. 
Therefore he, with his own consent, was always put as 
a prisoner in the guard-room for three days before a 
performance, marched under escort to rehearsal and to the 
performance, and only released, with carte blanche to take 
the best that the canteen could afford, after he had bowed 
to the audience at the fall of the curtain. There was 
another tale of a Chinese scene-painter who painted palm- 
trees all of the same thickness, all plumb upright, and 
each with the same number of leaves — but, as I have 
said, the Colonel's stories belonged more to the field of 
romance than of history. 

The first performance of the Hong-kong Amateur 
Dramatic Club was of " Still Waters Run Deep," with 



234 AMATEUR ACTING 

Attwell Coxon — whose name is writ large in the libro d'oro 
of Hong-kong theatricals — as Hawksley, and an exception- 
ally good Potter in Robert Watmore. The names of some 
of the men who did good amateur work in those days 
were : C. Murray ; Arthur Twiss, R.A. ; Pooley ; E. H. 
Pollard ; K. D. Tanner, 99th ; Bisset Snell, 99th ; Taylor, 
5th Battalion Light Infantry ; Alex. Roger ; Wingfield ; 
M'Leod ; Henry Murray. 

Two peculiarities the Hong-kong Amateur Dramatic 
Club had. One was that all the actors adopted noms de 
theatre; for there was an idea, an unfounded one I believe, 
that the typans, the heads of the big Hongs, might object 
to seeing the names of the gentlemen in their houses in 
print on a theatrical programme. Therefore Coxon became 
Hockey on the bill of the play, and so on. The other 
peculiarity was that no ladies appeared on the Hong-kong 
stage until 1879, the women's parts being all played by 
men. The Esther Eccles of G. Caldwell was remembered 
and talked of in the days when I was quartered at Hong- 
kong as having been a very remarkable performance. 
Burlesque was the trump card of the Hong-kong Amateur 
Dramatic Club in the pre-ladies' days, and the " Field of 
the Cloth of Gold " was put upon the stage with a splendour 
that was never dreamed of at the Strand Theatre, a splen- 
dour that plunged the A.D.C. into debt for a considerable 
period. In E. Beart the A.D.C. had an exceptionally 
clever low comedian, so good indeed, that he would have 
taken a high position in any professional company in 
the days W'hen burlesque was still played. His Widow 
Twankay in " Aladdin " was an exact reproduction of a 
Sampan woman ; and in a performance given by the 
Choral Society, a friendly rival of the A.D.C, of " Pina- 
fore," he convulsed the house with laughter by his make- 



AMATEURS IN FOREIGN PARTS 235 

up and manner as Sir Joseph Porter, being an exact repro- 
duction in every particular of the Governor, Pope Hennessy, 
who at that time was intensely unpopular. The Governor 
was not in the theatre, though he afterwards asked Beart to 
lunch at Government House, and laughed very heartily over 
the photographs of Sir Joseph Porter ; but the Lieutenant- 
Governor, General Donovan, was, and it was said that the 
finest performance ever seen in the Hong-kong theatre was 
the self-command he exhibited in not even smiling when 
everybody else in the house was roaring with laughter. 

When, in 1882, I was quartered at Hong-kong, the mat- 
shed days were long past, and the theatre occupied one 
wing of the Town Hall. It was a fine roomy building 
inside, with stalls, pit, and a broad dress circle. It was said 
to have owed its magnificence to the grand old days when 
Dent's and Jardine's, two of the great Hongs, competed as 
to which should be the most magnificent and munificent. 
In racing and in every other form of amusement the two 
houses were rivals. If one gave a fountain to the town, 
the other " went one better " by founding a city hall, and 
the competition on the turf culminated when one house 
bought a Derby winner to run on the race-course in the 
Happy Valley. Those magnificent days are gone. Jar- 
dine's is still a power in the land, but there was no Dent's 
when I was in Hong-kong. 

In 1880 and 1881 the Hong-kong Amateur Dramatic 
Club had given two performances, which were as good as 
any amateur performances ever given. The plays were 
''New Men and Old Acres " and "The School for Scandal." 
Mrs. Philip Bernard, who subsequently came to London 
and played as a professional actress, acted the part of the 
heroine in each play delightfully, and had very strong 
support in Mrs. Hockey, Mrs. Chervau, and Mrs. Wood- 



236 AMATEUR ACTING 

bine — to give them their noms de theatre. Coxon, Beart, 
and Young were amongst the men who played with 
success. 

During the time that I was in Hong-kong, "School" 
and " She Stoops to Conquer " were the successes of the 
A.D.C. seasons, and there was a performance of "The 
Wedding March," which was very extraordinary. "The 
Eccentricity " had been rehearsed with the greatest care, 
money had been lavished on the costumes and scenery ; 
but the day before the performance H. Sommerset, the 
Adjutant of the Buffs, who was to have played Wood- 
pecker, fell ill. A professional in a travelling troupe 
volunteered to take the part at twenty-four hours' notice, 
and at first was fairly firm in his words. The eccentricity 
towards the close of the piece was, however, not that 
contemplated by Mr. W. S. Gilbert. The play became 
a sort of " go-as-you-please " contest, and when the cur- 
tain came down the audience wondered what it had all 
been about. 

In later years at Hong-kong comic opera has flourished 
exceedingly, for the secretary of the Hong-kong Club 
who succeeded E. Beart was, and is, a clever comedian, 
with a very good voice. 

At Shanghai and some of the other treaty ports 
amateur actors flourished. I have no personal know- 
ledge of their doings, but the papers used to be very 
complimentary to the Shanghai amateurs in their criti- 
cisms on the Robertson plays which were put on the 
tage. 

In Japan, British amateur acting took a firm hold. 
There was in Yokohama a fine old actor, who had played 
with all the great men of the last generation both in 
America and England, and who had finally drifted into 



AMATEURS IN FOREIGN PARTS 237 

a haven of rest, a little inn near the race-course. He 
was a tower of strength as a stage-manager, and a per- 
formance of " The School for Scandal " done under his 
management was surprisingly good. A performance of 
"The Mikado," of which three-quarters of the cast were 
amateurs, was probably the strangest perversion of that 
popular opera ever made. The occasion was the visit to 
Yokohama of the remnant of a travelling opera company. 
The amateurs rallied to the rescue, and "The Mikado" 
was rehearsed day and night by the hemficiaires and their 
recruits. A scene with a profusion of real wistaria for 
wings and flies was improvised, and all Anglo-America 
in Yokohama had taken tickets, when the unforeseen 
occurred. The Mikado's government had a word to say 
as to an opera with such a title being performed in Japan, 
and the players — amateur and professional— were told 
that the opera could not be performed unless the title 
was changed and all reference to "The Honourable Gate" 
expunged. The company was equal to the occasion, and 
the opera of "Three Little Maids from School" was per- 
formed for the first and last time upon any stage. 

In the Golden Khersonese, the dreamy land of the 
Straits Settlements, which dozes on the Equator, amateur 
theatricals did not flourish in the eighties, when I knew 
Penang and Malacca and Singapore well. At Penang the 
merchants and civil servants subscribed to build a stage 
in the new Town Hall. The stage was built, and, as I had 
once daubed paint on canvas under the instruction of 
Mr. Perkins, by universal consent I was designated as the 
man to paint a curtain. Whether I had forgotten the 
elements of "priming," or what went wrong, I do not 
know, but the view across the Penang Harbour, looking 
towards the Kedah Hills, which I put on canvas, was 



238 AMATEUR ACTING 

plastered so thick with paint, that all the prospective 
amateur actors agreed that it would crack if it was 
pulled up. The situation was accepted, the curtain was 
left down, and there were no theatricals during the two 
years I was quartered at Penang. 

Singapore now has, I believe, a fine theatre ; but in 
the days of my subalternhood a long room under the 
Town Hall, with barred windows, the smell of a dungeon, 
and a rickety stage, was the theatre which travelling 
companies hired, and then called the amateurs to their 
assistance. The amateurs were lazy, and would always 
sooner pay to see somebody else act than act themselves 
— an unusual characteristic in amateurs. In earlier days, 
1856-59, when the theatre was a long mat-shed at the 
foot of Fort Canning, which was then Government House, 
the amateurs were more energetic, and " Helping Hands," 
"The Prisoner of War," "The Critic," with E. J. Leve- 
son, Barkley Read, Davidson, Mansfield Goss, W. Adam- 
son, H. W. Wood, will still be in the memory of old 
Singaporeans. 

At the Tanglin Club, a charming little building on the 
outskirts of Victoria, the town of Singapore, where every 
Saturday all the good fellows in the island used to gather 
together to play bowls, there was a little stage, and a 
comedietta preceding a dance was a very favourite enter- 
tainment for some kind hostess or host to give. "Joe" 
Miller was a low comedian of note, and on the walls of 
the club were photographs of Colonel and Mrs. Moore- 
Lane, the former in an impossible tall hat, as the hero 
and heroine of " Sweethearts," showing that those mis- 
sionaries of the amateur drama had at one time or another 
set their seal upon the place. During the time that I was 
in Singapore we never aspired higher than " Cut Off with 



AMATEURS IN FOREIGN PARTS 239 

a Shilling" and "Withered Leaves," which made an excuse 
for some very pleasant rehearsals, but did not deserve any 
comment as producing any exceptional talent. 

South Africa has never, to my knowledge, supported 
any amateur dramatic club that could be compared to 
those of Simla or Hong-kong. Here and there some 
enthusiastic amateur has gathered a company together, 
which always disbanded itself with all speed on the 
departure of the bright particular star, and the profes- 
sionals who occasionally raided the country from Eng- 
land, Australia, and America were often glad enough of 
amateur help. At the Cape, in the seventies, Sir Henry 
Cunninghame's smart young aide-de-camp, who has now 
blossomed into Sir Francis Grenfell, G.C.M.G., K.C.B., 
organised burlesques, and painted a very pretty drop- 
curtain, taking the motif from a willow-pattern plate. 
About the same time the 13th Light Infantry were doing 
some very good amateur work in Natal, and a perform- 
ance of " Caste," in which Mrs. Kemmis, who has joined 
the professional ranks, and is well known on the London 
stage, played Esther, is still talked of in Pietermaritzburg 
as being the best amateur performance ever seen there. 
The critics in the local papers quite out-Heroded them- 
selves on this occasion, and not content with dealing out 
double-barrelled adjectives all round, they hailed a clever 
young lady, who was making her first appearance on any 
stage in the character of Polly, as being "better than 
Mrs. Bancroft." The Theatre Royal, Pietermaritzburg, in 
which the amateurs played, was a large naked room, with 
a stage at one end ; but this was an improvement on the 
drill shed, which was what the colony was accustomed to 
in its earlier days. The men of the old 20th, a regiment 
which stayed so long in Natal that the War Office was 



240 AMATEUR ACTING 

believed to have forgotten its existence, were the principal 
performers in the drill-shed days ; but every regiment that 
went to South Africa developed theatrical tendencies. 
Perhaps the quaintest regimental performance ever given 
in Africa was one organised by the Gordons at Newcastle, 
Natal, just after the Boer war. " Rob Roy " was the 
play, and the Gordons, as indeed most Highland regiments 
do, played a version of their own, learnt by word of 
mouth, scorning books as being misleading. A hut of 
straw and other light material had been run up to form a 
theatre, and when the hero thundered out " Ye have not 
yet subdued Rob Roy," the roof collapsed, the sides fell 
in, and Rob Roy was subdued, and the play ended at one 
and the same time. 

Whether Oom Paul encourages amateur theatricals in 
Pretoria now I do not know ; but during the period that 
the Union Jack waved over Government House there one 
attempt at least was made to give a theatrical performance. 
Those of us who were the movers in the enterprise held a 
consultation, and after lifting our eyes as high as Robert- 
son, we came at the end to a modest selection in " Ici on 
Parle Fran9ais." Even then our available ladies were too 
few to fill the parts, and a son of Colonel Weatherley, 
who met his death so bravely in the Zulu war, was put 
into petticoats. The performance never became an 
accomplished fact. Secocoeni in the northwest of the 
Transvaal, and Gassibone in the south-east, must have 
had a spite against amateur actors ; for on the day on 
which the dress rehearsal was to have taken place news 
came that these two chiefs were giving trouble, and it was 
" boot and saddle " for us, not sock and buskin. 

Kimberley was the South African town in which 
amateur acting flourished the most, and the head of the 



AMATEURS IN FOREIGN PARTS 241 

amateurs there was the late Mr. " Barney " Barnato. If 
instead of making him a millionaire fate had decreed that 
he should make a living by the stage, he would have drawn 
a big salary. His appearance at either of the theatres — 
for Kimberley boasted two zinc-roofed edifices called 
theatres — was a sure draw, and the professional com- 
panies, to whom Kimberley was in the seventies the 
El Dorado that Johannesburg has become in the nineties, 
used always to induce him if possible to play some char- 
acter. " Barney " played Othello and lago alternately 
with Fairclough, the American tragedian ; but Mathias, in 
" The Bells," was his favourite part. He played it scores 
of times, and always filled the theatre. M'Closky, in the 
" Octoroon," was another of Mr. Barnato's favourite char- 
acters, and of one of his appearances in that character 
there is a story told. 

There was a clever young lady amateur who frequently 
acted with " Barney." In this particular performance she 
was the Zoe to his M'Closky. One of the many ad- 
mirers of the young lady's beauty and talent had secured 
a seat in the front row of stalls, and followed the closing 
scene of the third act with ever-increasing excitement. 
When the auctioneer, registering M'Closky's bid, came to 
his final sentence, " Is there any other bid ? For the first 
time, twenty-five thousand — last time ! " the enthusiast in 
the stalls leapt to his feet. " Twenty-seven thousand ! " he 
shouted. " You may be a millionaire, but you don't buy 
that girl." It is sad to have to end the story by narrating 
that the father of the young lady waited for the enthusiast 
outside the theatre, and smote him violently for compro- 
mising his daughter in this manner. 

There was a good deal of punching of heads incidental 
to amateur acting at Kimberley in those days. There was 

Q 



242 AMATEUR ACTING 

a well-known dentist who sometimes trod the boards, 
and his enemy, probably a rival amateur, would sit in the 
front row of the stalls and laugh during all the pathetic 
scenes. At last the dentist could stand it no longer. He 
leapt over the heads of the orchestra, hit the laugher a 
violent blow, saying, "That will teach you to laugh in 
the wrong place," and then, much relieved, climbed back 
on to the stage and proceeded with his part. 

" Barney " himself was quick enough to put up his 
hands. It so happened that a critic in one of the local 
papers said of his Othello that it was reminiscent of 
the Ethiopians on Margate Sands. The criticism was re- 
sented, and " Barney " struck the critic, as he thought, but 
picked out the wrong man. The real writer of the article, 
who was looking on, discovered himself. " You would 
never criticise me in such base terms," said " Barney." 
" Wouldn't I ? " said the offender. " I only used those 
because I could think of none worse." There was no 
more bloodshed, however. 

The same critic, who was a well-known mining man, 
and amused himself by writing as an amateur, once ex- 
pressed himself in pungent terms as to the talent of a 
violinist who played a solo at one of the amateur perform- 
ances. On the day on which the criticism appeared in 
print the critic's friends dropped in one by one to his 
office to tell him that the violinist was going to " go " for 
him, and had taken up a commanding position for that 
purpose. The critic, who was a small man, thought if 
he was to be " gone for " it had better occur before as small 
an audience as possible, and sallied forth at the hour 
when there were the fewest people about. The aggrieved 
violinist was ready for him, but the critic, to his surprise, 
found that when he fell he was on top. The police court 



AMATEURS IN FOREIGN PARTS 243 

was the scene in which the second act was played, and the 
violinist complained to the magistrate that the critic had 
bitten his finger. The critic's defence was that he had a 
strong dislike to resin, and that if the violinist put a finger 
into his mouth his teeth would naturally close. A fine of 
_^5 inflicted on the violinist closed this incident of amateur 
criticism. 

The Kimberley amateurs took themselves very seriously 
in those days. There was much rivalry at one time between 
the two theatres, the Royal and the Lanyon, and Mr. Barnato 
and his following of amateurs were warm supporters of 
the Royal. Not only did he and other millionaires spend 
their nights in pasting throughout the town posters of the 
Royal over those of the Lanyon, but he subsidised a paper, 
The Mining Gazette, to fight the Royal's battles in print. 
A grand amalgamation, " Barney's " usual remedy, was the 
end of the dispute. 

General Digby Willoughby was an amateur who, play- 
ing in Natal and Kimberley, was a star whose radiance 
only paled before " Barney's " tragic efforts. The General 
(who at that time was, I fancy, only a captain, not having 
as yet led the troops of Her Majesty of Madagascar to 
victory) had this advantage over the millionaire, that he 
could sing. But he did not always sing, for I can recall 
a performance of " Ben Bolt " in which, when the General 
came upon the stage as the hero, there was a Macready 
pause which lengthened into an undoubted "dry up." 
Then Ben Bolt strode down to the footlights. "Ladies 
and gentlemen," he said, " I am very sorry, but I have 
forgotten every word." 

Of the managers who utilised the services of the 
amateurs there was no one who knew the art of tickling 
their vanity as did Captain Disney Roebuck, who for a 



244 AMATEUR ACTING 

time had a clear field of operation in the Cape and Natal. 
" Still Waters Run Deep," with himself as John Mildmay, 
was his cheval de battaille in all cases of need, and many 
were the amateur Hawksleys and Mrs. Sternholds whom 
he coached. He had a curious temper, and many stories 
were told of his autocratic methods. De mortuis, &c., but 
I may be permitted to tell the tale of Disney Roebuck and 
the French horn player. Various versions of the tale are 
told of other men ; but I hold that mine is the only legiti- 
mate and original version. One of Gilbert and Sullivan's 
pieces had been put into rehearsal — either at Cape Town 
or Kimberley — and Roebuck, superintending matters from 
the front, saw one of the French horn players sitting par- 
ing his nails. He was down on him at once, and asked 
him why he was not playing. The man explained that 
he had so many bars' rest. "You are discharged," said 
the Captain. " I pay men to come here and play, not 
to rest." 

The best-paying amateur performance ever given in 
South Africa was one of " Trial by Jury " played by 
amateurs at Kimberley. The surplus proceeds were to 
be devoted to the needs of the wounded in the Russo- 
Turkish war. The expenses were heavy, but the sum of 
^400 net was handed over to the charity. 

Before leaving the subject of Kimberley and its ama- 
teurs, I must tell the story of the Boer and the train, 
which, if it has nothing to do with amateur acting, has a 
great deal to do with amateur play-going. The railway 
in the days I am writing of had not progressed farther 
towards Kimberley than Wellington, and the Boers in the 
Free State and the Transvaal had never seen a steam- 
engine. A melodrama was being played at Kimberley, 
the sensation scene in which showed a train crossing the 



AMATEURS IN FOREIGN PARTS 245 

stage. The fame of this reached as far as Bloemfontein, 
a two-day journey by ox-waggon from Kimberley, and an 
old Boer who wished to see the sight inspanned his oxen, 
and with his vrow started for Kimberley. He arrived on 
Saturday morning, the last day on which the play was to 
be performed, and going early to the theatre took stalls 
for himself and his wife. The rest of the day he spent 
going from store to store and bar to bar, telling everybody 
of the wonderful sight he was going to see in the evening. 
Amongst the people in whom he confided was the cham- 
pion practical joker of the mining town, and the joker 
determined that the Boer should not see the wonderful 
steam-engine, so he too went to the box-office and took 
a seat immediately behind those secured by the Boer. 
He confided his coming joke to one or two of his 
friends in order that he might have an audience, and 
they went to the theatre to see what was going to happen. 
The Boer and his wife sat stolidly through the first 
scenes of the play. At last came the train scene with 
its tunnels at each wing. The unconscious hero or 
heroine was put upon the line, the lights changed from 
red to green, and the advancing " chug chug " of the 
engine grew and grew in intensity. Just as the steam 
gushing out before the engine came from the wings 
the Boer received a resounding bang on the head from 
behind, and he and his wife looking round, found the 
practical joker full of apologies for his clumsiness. They 
turned their heads again ; but, alas ! the train had 
passed and vanished, and it was a disappointed old Boer 
who inspanned and set out back on his forty-eight-hour 
journey to Bloemfontein, while the wicked joker rejoiced 
much over his successful wickedness. 

To jump from Continent to Continent, from Africa to 



246 AMATEUR ACTING 

America, I have to plead entire ignorance as to amateur 
actors and their doings in Canada — I have no personal 
experience, and so cannot write on the subject. The 
West Indies are a stronghold for amateurs, and the name 
of Colonel Kelly is still remembered there as a very 
successful organiser ; but here again I cannot speak from 
experience. The Barbadoes at one time had such a repu- 
tation for amateur acting that the performances at the 
theatre used to be advertised in New York to induce 
travelling millionaires from the States to make a stay in 
the islands of sunshine ; but here again I am at fault for 
want of personal experience ; and the same apology for 
ignorance must serve in the case of Australia and New 
Zealand. 

In conclusion, may I thank the good fellows from two 
Continents who have come to my assistance and have 
jogged a defective memory ? 



XI 
THE WESTMINSTER PLAY ^ 

By M. L. GWYER 

EVEN before the time of Queen Elizabeth, who is 
always recognised as the Royal Foundress of St. 
Peter's College, Westminster, a school existed near the 
Abbey, at which Latin plays both of Plautus and Terence 
were acted yearly, as indeed seems to have been the 
custom at most schools of the period, as well as at 
Colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, where statutes are to 
be found enjoining the practice. Dr. Nowell, who was 
lappointed Head Master in 1543, is mentioned as having 
introduced the reading of Terence to improve the Latin 
style of the day ; while the earliest English comedy extant, 
avowedly formed on the model of those of Plautus and 
Terence, was written about 1550 by Nicholas Udall, then 
an usher at Westminster. But Elizabeth, when she 
founded and endowed the school anew, ordained by statute 
that a play should be acted every year, as follows : — 

De cotncediis et liidis in Natali Domini exhibendis. 
" Quo iuventus maiori cum fructi tempus Natalis Christi terat et cum 
actioni turn pronunciationi decenti melius se assuescat, statuimus ut 
singulis annis intra duodecim post festum Natalis Christi dies vel postea 
arbitrio Decani, Magister et Praeceptor simul latine unam, magister 
choristorum anglice alteram comoediam aut tragediam . . . agendam 
curent," 

1 I have to acknowledge my indebtedness to the editors of the Ltmis alteri 
Westmonasterienses and to Mr. P'orshall's " Westminster School." 

247 



248 AMATEUR ACTING 

which being translated runs : 

Concerning Comedies and Plays to be performed at Christmas. 

" In order that the young may spend Christmas-time with greater profit 
and obtain a better famiharity with graceful gesture and pronunciation, 
we ordain that every year within twelve days after Christmas or after- 
wards at the discretion of the Dean, the Headmaster or Under-master 
shall jointly see that one play in Latin, and the Master of the choristers 
that a comedy or tragedy in English ... be acted." 

A fine of ten shillings was to be imposed on the party 
whose negligence was the cause of the omission. There 
also occurs in an old account of the charge of the revels 
in 1564: "For certeyne plays by the gramer skole of 
Westmynster and childerne of Powle's, wages and diet for 
officers, taylers, mercers ; and other provisions viijl. vjs. 
viijd." No record remains of the plays of those days, the 
earliest prologue extant having the date of 1704. Terence 
is pre-eminently the favourite of the Westminster boards ; 
up to i860 Plautus had only appeared on six occasions. 
The " Ignoramus," a modern Latin play by Ruggles, of 
Clare Hall, and Congreve's " Morning Bride " have been 
acted five times and once respectively. There is at the 
present time a regular cycle of plays, acted in rotation 
year by year, consisting of the " Trinummus " of Plautus, 
and the " Andria," " Adelphi," and " Phormio " of Terence 
in the order named. The play is acted by the Queen's 
scholars on the last Thursday, Monday, and Wednesday 
of the Christmas or play term. It is preceded by a pro- 
logue spoken by the captain dressed in Court dress, and is 
followed by an epilogue. The prologue was originally 
merely an introduction to the play, containing references 
to the more important events of the past year. It is now 
conventionally restricted to subjects connected more nearly 
with the school alone, a restriction which in some ways is 



THE WESTMINSTER PLAY 249 

not altogether for the good : for instance, the writer of 
the prologue is deprived of all opportunities such as 
that of which Dr. Liddell made such exquisite use in his 
threnody upon the Duke of Wellington, which formed the 
sole subject of his prologue. But it is to the epilogue that 
the audience give their whole and undivided attention. 
Originally a dialogue between two or more characters, it 
has now assumed the functions of a Latin revue, a skit on 
prevailing foibles and fashions, on politics, foreign or 
domestic, of the day ; the whole cast take part, and with 
the same names and characteristics, are transferred bodily 
into nineteenth-century costumes and manners. Extracts 
from more modern prologues and epilogues shall be given 
lower down. 

The whole is acted in the college dormitory, a long 
lofty room which runs the whole length of the building, 
and measures 160 feet from end to end. Here about five 
weeks from the end of term a work of destruction begins ; 
cubicles are abolished pro tern., and a stage is erected at 
one end fitted with scenery, with the two houses indispen- 
sable to Roman comedy on either side. The back scene is 
a beautiful painting of Athens, with the Acropolis in the 
centre, designed in 1857 by Professor Cockerell, R.A., 
himself an old Westminster. The pit is immediately in 
front of the stage, and behind a gallery is built right up to 
the ceiling. The whole theatre when full may hold from 
five to six hundred spectators, without counting old 
Westminsters, who come and stand in crowds in all the 
gangways and every available space. Visitors are now 
made as comfortable as circumstances permit ; but it can 
have been no light thing to sit through a Westminster 
play in the early years of the century, when hard benches 
only were available, and light was supplied by flaring 



250 AMATEUR ACTING 

tallow candles. This, however, the editors of the Ltisus 
alteri Westmonasterienses assure us was the case. Still more 
quaint must have been the appearance of the actors them- 
selves, dressed in frockcoats of the latest fashion or (in 
the case of the minor characters) in the liveries of footmen 
and servants. It is fair to say that they did but follow the 
example of all London theatres of that period, and those 
who did not consider it absurd in the case of Garrick 
could scarcely be expected to be over-critical in the theatre 
at Westminster. 1839 saw a change, however, when Dr. 
Williamson, then Head Master, introduced Greek costumes 
very much as worn at the present day. There is a con- 
ventional dress according to the character. The old men 
wear long white tunics reaching to the ground, with 
palliums of different colours. The young men appear in 
short tunics (often, it is to be feared, mistaken by the 
ladies for petticoats, who regard the characters with in- 
creased interest as representatives of their own sex) with 
palliums of red or blue, the red being always assigned to 
the less effeminate of the two — an invidious but only 
possible method of discrimination between the usual 
Terentian pairs. 

To recount all the honoured names which are to be 
found among the casts of the various plays it would be 
necessary to give a list of nearly all the famous Queen's 
scholars who have been at Westminster. A few perhaps 
will suffice. Naturally enough in some cases there is no 
actual proof that they acted, as regular lists of the casts are 
not extant much before 1750 ; but as most of the persons 
mentioned held high places in the school, it is practically 
certain that they did. Such are John Dryden the poet. 
Bishop Trelawney (one of the famous seven bishops), 
John Locke the philosopher, Nicholas Brady, the composer 



THE WESTMINSTER PLAY 251 

of the metrical version of the Psalms, Zachary Pearce, 
Dean of Westminster and Bishop of Rochester ; the Earl 
of Mansfield, perhaps the most famous of English judges, 
spoke the prologue in 1722; while Elijah Impey and 
Warren Hastings entered College together in 1747. Then 
we find the names of Robert Lloyd, the poet, and George 
Colman the elder in the same cast. In 1725 Charles 
Wesley acted Davus in the " Andria," and Richard Robin- 
son, afterwards Primate of Ireland, that of Chremes. In 
the present century the names are perhaps not quite so 
numerous, but we may notice those of Sir Robert Philli- 
more and of Sir Walter Phillimore, lately appointed one of 
the Judges of Queen's Bench. 

Others there are who have gained distinction in other 
branches of life. E. C. Burton and W. G. Rich rowed in 
the last Westminster eight that beat Eton in 1845, and 
Rich stroked the Oxford eight against Cambridge for three 
years in succession, while W. G. Armitstead, who acted in 
1848-51, was afterwards Captain of the Oxford Cricket 
Eleven, while others there are whose more recent exploits 
forbid their names being mentioned in a sketch which pro- 
fesses to treat of a past heroic age. 

Notices of the acting are not very common, but there 
are a few exceptions, notably that of George Lewis, whose 
acting in the " Ignoramus " in 1730 was so much admired 
that he went by the name of Ignoramus Lewis for the rest 
of his life. We are also told that in 1764 Garrick was so 
pleased with the Davus of John Eckersall that he made 
him a present of the freedom of his house. In a letter of 
Atterbury, Dean of Christ Church, to Trelawney, Bishop of 
Winchester, dated February 24, 161 1, occurs the follow- 
ing : — " I spent the evening in seeing ' Phormio ' acted at 
the College Chambers, where, in good truth, my lord, Mr. 



252 AMATEUR ACTING 

Trelawney (the bishop's son) played Antipho extremely well, 
and some parts he performed admirably. Your lordship 
may depend upon it that, in whatsoever place he stands, he 
shall go first of the election to Oxford." Trelawney was 
elected head, and must have considered the labour he 
devoted to his part as well expended. 

No account of the play would be complete without a 
reference to the " Cap," a peculiarly Westminster institu- 
tion. On the last two play nights, after " God save the 
Queen " had been played, the old Westminster who is in 
the chair calls for a cap, and college caps are passed round 
by the captain, into which are put contributions to defray 
the expenses of the play, which are often heavy. Many of 
those who are unable to be present themselves at play- 
time never fail to remember their own acting days, and 
their presents to the cap form a large proportion of the 
whole. It is on record that in 1834 King William the 
Fourth was present, and before leaving the theatre pre- 
sented ;^ioo to the cap. 

We have said that there is a cap on the last two nights 
only. This is because the first night (the ladies' night) is 
usually considered, perhaps rather ungallantly, as more or 
less of a dress rehearsal. No prologue is spoken, nor was 
the epilogue produced till recent years, when the strain of 
sitting out the comedy itself, without anything in the way 
of an after-piece which all could understand and appre- 
ciate, was barely compensated in the eyes of the audience 
by the excellence of the acting, however good that might 
be. " Gentlemen of the Press," however, are still requested 
to defer the publication of both prologue and epilogue in 
their various journals till after the third night, and the 
conservative Times refuses to give even a critique till after 
the second performance. An anecdote in connection with 



THE WESTMINSTER PLAY 253 

this custom may be of interest. Sir Edwin Arnold, repre- 
senting the Daily Telegraph, was once present on the first 
night, and committed to memory the text of both the 
epilogue and prologue while they were delivered on the 
stage ; then, while walking back to the office of the paper, 
he rendered them into English couplets, the Latin and 
English versions appearing the following day in the Tele- 
graph — a truly remarkable feat, which we believe to be 
quite authentic. 

A few words as to the choice and coaching of the cast 
may not be out of place. A few days before the mid-term 
holiday the setting-up takes place. There is a good deal 
of competition for the various parts, which are decided by 
the Head Master and the Master of Queen's scholars, the 
latter of whom also undertakes all the coaching. It was 
once the custom to depend largely on outside help to 
instruct the actors, but the plan had many disadvantages, 
and the teaching has been entirely domestic for many 
years. It is not too much to say that by far the greater part 
of the success obtained by plays for the last ten years has 
been due to the careful coaching and indefatigable energy 
of the present Master of Q.SS. In spite of the demands 
on his time, he invariably succeeds in producing a cast of 
a high and uniform level of excellence, and in worthily 
continuing the best traditions of Westminster acting. The 
epilogue is not learnt till within a day or two of the 
first play-night ; but naturally its macaronic couplets are 
much more easily committed to memory than the Teren- 
tian senarii. 

Let us attempt to describe a Westminster play-night. 
The whole of the inmates of the College are pressed 
into service, and perform various offices. Some stand at 
different barriers to take tickets, others dispense pro- 



254 AMATEUR ACTING 

grammes, others conduct ladies to their seats, and have 
often to soothe the wrath of husbands and brothers, for 
the ladies sit by themselves in seats of honour, and the 
gentlemen take their place in pit or " gods," and not 
seldom resent the separation. One boy is deputed to 
supply Gentlemen of the Press with necessary refresh- 
ments — a responsible position this, for critics are but 
mortal, and Latin plays are often dry. Up among the 
" gods " sit two seniors, rod in hand, who lead the claque^ 
and signify the points for applause by waving their canes. 
The clapping begins when the Head Master enters the 
dormitory to the strains of " See the Conquering Hero 
comes," and continues till he and his party are seated. 
The captain then comes forth from behind the curtain, 
makes his bow, and recites his prologue, dressed, as has 
been said above, in Court dress, with bands. After this the 
play itself, with all its traditional points heartily applauded, 
the claque being generally quite out of it. The waits 
between the acts we fear strangers find abnormally long, 
but there are few old Westminsters who would see them 
curtailed. It is a general meeting of old friends and 
acquaintances, for one is sure to meet most of one's school 
contemporaries on one of the three nights. 

Then comes another break, and the curtain rises on 
the epilogue ; while the audience settle themselves down 
to see all the jokes, and laugh accordingly. 

It is very rare indeed for an epilogue to hang fire ; the 
spectators want to be pleased, and do not fail to be so. 
Finally, when the last " Floreat " has been said, " God 
save the Queen " played, and the " cap " circulated round 
the theatre, there is a rush for the stage, handshakings and 
congratulations are exchanged, and mothers and relatives 
express their pride at having recognised their sons in their 



THE WESTMINSTER PLAY 255 

strange dresses. It is all very enjoyable, to none more so 
than to the actors themselves ; to those whose last play 
it is, a tinge of regret is added, while those who have 
another year look forward to another triumph. And 
thus the lights are lowered, and the play is over for 
another year. 

Some few extracts from prologues and epilogues of 
more or less recent date may be of interest as showing 
the character of most of them. Of the prologues, two 
will suffice. The first, dated 1838, is on Her Majesty's 
recent coronation. 

PROLOGUS IN PHORMIONEM. 
Henry R. Farrer, Captain. 

Quern nos praeterito ludum intermisimus anno 

Communis vetuit dum leviora dolor, 
Hunc iterum tractare iuvat, nobisque theatri 

Annua consueto tempore cura redit. 
Interea summas sensit res Anglia verti, 

Virgineamque iterum sceptra tenere manum. 
Id quibus auspiciis, quoque accidit omine, dicat 

Vox populi unanimem testificata fidem ; 
Dicat et ille dies quo nuper in aede sacrata 

Regia gemmatum frons diadema tulit. 
Vidimus hue alacri studio concurrere mundi 

Quot gremio heroas maximus orbis alit. 
Quin etiam audiimus strepitus populique faventes, 

Clamorem insolitis surgere ad astra modis. 
Hinc dum, fortunae felicia dona fatentes, 

Fudimus ingenua simplicitate preces, 
Ut pietas et casta fides, utque optima regnet 

lustitia et toto quidquid in orbe boni est : 
Fas etiam solitum nobis sperare'favorem 

Quaeque banc fovit adhuc Regia cura, domum. 
Dumque piis manes animis veneramur Elizae, 

Quaeque dedit nobis haec loco cava, manum, 
Usque suis itidem Victoria praesit aluminis, 

Protegat et veteres, altera Eliza, lares. 



256 AMATEUR ACTING 

A year ago you marked our absent Play ; 
Our common griefs had chased our joys away, 
Here we again present it : here we prove 
Our annual custom and our annual love. 
Meantime a change of monarchs holds the land ; 
Once more the Sceptre decks a maiden's hand. 
With what good omen this event befell, 
The common voice of loyalty may tell. 
So shall the day when in our hallowed shrine 
Her brow received the diadem of her line. 
'Twas at this spot, hasting with eager feet, 
Ourselves we saw earth's greatest heroes meet. 
Hence then, confessing fortune's gift so fair, 
We pour in simple confidence our prayer ; 
That piety and faith without a stain. 
Justice and all that's good begin their reign ; 
That we again may hope that grace to share 
Which aye has nursed us with its fostering care. 
And while we reverence still our good Queen Bess, 
Who founded this our home of happiness, 
May our new Queen our patroness become. 
And guard, Elissa's equal, this our home ! 

The next is part of that of 1898, and celebrates Her 
Majesty's Diamond Jubilee. Curiously enough, the play 
is again the " Phormio." 

PROLOGUS IN PHORMIONEM. 

Vobis quod dicam prae pietate, prae fide, 
Hue Regium congressis in collegium, 
Scholaris ipse Regius, qua vos ego 
Laetari, si quern et alium, praecipue scio, 
Haec anni praebet optimi felicitas. 
Vivat Regina ! nostras ea regno recens 
Avito in templo, sella in regali sedens, 
Audivit ipsa voces : certe exaudiet 
Easdem nunc eadem resonantes fide. 
" Vivat Regina" quotiens hie clamantibus 
Acclamavere parietes nostrae domus ! 
Qui clamavere, tanto annorum ex ordine, 
Quot cari ex illis conticuerunt ! quot sui 
Luxere ademptos iuvenes, seniores, senes ! 



THE WESTMINSTER PLAY 257 

Sed universi populi pollentes preces 
Hoc evicere nobis, ut sexagiens 
Liceat Reginam, feriis sollemnibus, 
Pietate iusta, amore vero prosequi. 

Gathered within our Royal school you prove 

Once more your piety and loyal love. 

Surely Queen's scholars lack not words to-day ! 

The year itself dictates — and we but say. 

The year's felicity a theme can give 

Of joy wherein we claim prerogative. 

Long live the Queen ! we cried, and still we cry ; 

We hail'd her earliest hour of majesty. 

When she besought the benison divine, 

Throned in the Abbey of her ancient line. 

Ah ! could these walls but speak, they would proclaim 

How oft that cry has echoed still the same. 

Could they not tell of many, young and old, 

(Dear hearts to us) whom death and silence hold. 

Whose cry was heard ? Omnipotence hath will'd 

Theirs and a nation's prayer alike fulfilled. 

Hence as the year once more brings round the Play, 

Duty commands — and does not love obey ? 

And now for a few epilogue extracts, which shall all 
be of recent date save one, which, bearing as it does the 
date 1805, the Navy League at least will surely have 
made familiar : 

Fungi 
Anglia confidet munere quenque suo ! 

Here we have Batter sea Park : 

An matutinus vicos Batterque marina 
Aequora pneumaticis dum vorat ille rotis 

Cyclopedem sequitur Cylopes comitata virago 
Captivumque tenet nympha bifurca virum. 

Does he spend all his mornings a la mode 
Riding a bicycle down Albert Road ? 
Or else inside the Park at Battersea, 
Where lady cyclists flock and take their tea, 
Where many a man, if there be truth in rumours. 
Has fallen a victim to a girl in bloomers? 

R 



258 AMATEUR ACTING 

A certain Eastern potentate may still be remembered : 

I nunc ! quid cessas ? non es Shahzada ! 

Hence ! away ! 
You've no Sh-hz-d- to prolong your stay. 

To a person who has just been birched the following 
remark is made : 

Reprime te tangatque locos Homocea dolentes ! 
The popular conception of the motor car : — 

Monstrum horrendum, informe, ingens : non fumus ademptus ; 
Motor currus hie est. 

Demipho {an Afrikander) here appears on the stage 

and announces he is come to obtain damages. He is 

asked : 

Davus. Quantum ergo petitis? 

Deni. Modo milia mille librarum. 

Davus {aside). Paulo ut reddatur vult spoliare Petrum ! 

Chremes (a ruined farmer — now a politician) takes 
occasion soon after to remark : 

Sum Moderatus homo, non Progressivus, et ipse 
Curabo ut nequeas bis dare verba "Globo" ! 

A certain pink journal was much flattered by the 
above couplet. 

We refrain from comment on the pun a Rontgen 
rays photograph calls forth : 

Infortunati nimium sua si bona norint ! 

The epilogue of 1897 was full of good things, and 
deserves to be quoted in full. As space forbids we 
append a few of the best points. 

Lesbonicus (a spendthrift) is asked how he will make a 
living. He replies, "by writing a Royal Ode," which calls 
forth the quotation {sic) : 

Nescio quid majus nascitur Austinide 



THE WESTMINSTER PLAY 259 

To which he rejoins : 

Ranjitsinhji librum scripsit ; cur non ego carmen ? 

The following will perhaps be recognised : 

Laudabunt alii clarum Rhodon et Matabeles 

Ferratasque tuas, o Buluvaio, vias ; 
Occupet Hessiculum scabies ! Criticus mihi nil est Africus. 

Lesbonicus proceeds to play cricket and makes a big 
hit, on which it is prophesied that : 
Jessopus alter eris. 

The next remark of his uncle was, we fear, made 
before the close of the last test matches in Australia : 

Non defensoribus istis 
Anglia eget : plorant jam domiti Antipodes. 

The " mailed fist " thus appears : 

" Care Henrice, manu armata, si forte necesse est 

Fac ferias pro me, pro patriaque. Deus 
Si volt, sic poteris circum tua tempora laurus 

Texere. Tum frater, " Rex Domine omnipotens, 
Majestate tua sacrosanctissime semper 

Hoc evangelium discet ab ore meo 
Qui volt, qui non volt. Saeclorum in saecla serene, 

Maxime Rex ! Hoc, Hoc, Hoc, resonate ! " 

A reference to Klondyke brings forth the aphorism : 

Quid non mortalia pectora cogis, 
Auri sacra fames ! 

The reply is apt : 

Est ibi dira fames — 
Sed non solum auri ! 

There's thirst and hunger — of another kind ! 

Piper Findlater — or Milne — shall be the last : 

Gordona Montanum nunc aequiperabimus ilium 
Qui modo Dargai saucius insonuit. 

The Gordon Highlander I'll equal quite, 

Who played when wounded on Dargai's height. 



26o AMATEUR ACTING 

These quotations are sufficient to show the general 
scope and characteristics of Westminster epilogues. It 
goes without saying that they are the most popular part 
of the programme. Yet it is not the epilogue alone or 
the drama itself alone that is the great attraction of the 
play, nor even the acting, which is not always of the 
highest class ; for it is clearness of enunciation rather than 
gesture that is cultivated, as indeed befits a classical 
performance. Rather is it an indescribable charm, the 
outcome of the tradition of centuries, which appeals of 
course to Westminsters first, but also to all in a measure 
who have had the privilege of witnessing the performance ; 
a charm that causes year after year a large and distin- 
guished audience to listen with attention and applaud 
generously from the first lines of the captain's prologue to 
the last " Floreat " of the ever popular epilogue. 



Floreat. 



XII 

THE GREEK PLAYS AT BRADFIELD 
COLLEGE 

By "SENTINEL" 

BRADFIELD College, Berks, was the first of the Public 
Schools, as it has been one of the most successful 
and original, in reviving interest in the Greek drama 
among English literati. 

In 1882 the " Alcestis" of Euripides was attempted at 
Bradfield on a comparatively humble scale, the scene of 
the representation being the College dining-hall. The 
Warden,^ who had just assumed the reins of office at 
the College, was the leading spirit of the reproduction. 
Struck with the effect produced on scholarship by the 
visual presentment of the Greek drama, he determined 
to follow the example of Oxford University, where the 
" Agamemnon " of -^schylus had been recently performed, 
and the co-operation of Mr. F. R. Benson (now the well- 
known actor), Mr. W. L. Courtney (now editor of the 
Fortnightly Review), and others who had taken part in that 
representation, was invited towards putting on the stage 
the beautiful story of " Alcestis " — a story more suited to 
the taste of a modern audience than the more ambitious 
tragedy of the older poet, and immortalised by the genius 
of Browning in " Balaustion's Adventure." 

^ t.e. The Rev. H. B. Gray.— Ed. 

361 



262 AMATEUR ACTING 

The Warden himself undertook the thankless role of 
Admetus, while Mr. Benson acted Apollo, and Mr. 
Courtney portrayed Hercules. The rest of the cast was 
composed of Bradfield masters and boys. The result 
was a triumphant success, and proved that without infring- 
ing on ordinary work a Greek play could be produced in 
a Public School, under the control of one dominating 
influence, far more easily than in the less restrained 
atmosphere of a university. 

Those who were privileged to witness the performance 
realised that the Bradfield boys were " one play to the 
good " (to quote the language of a Greek Professor), and 
that the dead language had at length spoken with a living 
voice to the world of scholars. 

The example of Bradfield was followed by other 
Public Schools — Cheltenham, Uppingham, Leamington, 
and Edinburgh Academy — though spasmodically, and with- 
out any particular order of procedure. But it was reserved 
for Bradfield once more to break out into original methods. 

In 1888 an old and disused chalk-pit just outside the 
College grounds came into the Warden's hands. He 
immediately conceived the idea of converting it into a 
Greek theatre, on the model of those existing in the best 
times of the Attic drama. 

With the aid of his boys, and afterwards with the help 
of more skilful workmen, he cut into the solid chalk ten 
tiers of seats, while he shaped the orchestra on the model 
of that at Epidaurus, in the Peloponnese — i.e. a complete 
circle or proper dancing place, such as existed when the 
Attic drama was little more than a series of Hymns to 
Dionysus, interspersed with a monologue or dialogue 
between actors (from a temporary platform), introduced 
to give breathing time to the chorus. 



GREEK PLAYS AT BRADFIELD 263 

The type of the theatre at Epidaurus was chosen, 
because it was the only one on the mainland of Greece 
which had escaped the alterations introduced by the 
Romans ; for that people, after conquering Achaia, having 
no chorus in its own drama, found the complete circle 
unnecessary, and little by little invaded and cut olif the 
dimensions of the original orchestra by pushing forward 
their stage. 

The stage buildings at Bradfield had to be left more 
entirely to the imagination and discretion of the revivalist, 
since the remains of the ancient Greek structures are of 
an extremely scanty description. The form decided on 
at Bradfield was that of a Greek temple, to which indeed 
the original ancient buildings must have been very similar. 
The material was of wood, as was no doubt that of the 
earliest structures, the result being excellent for acoustic 
purposes. 

In June 1890 Bradfield College, thus furnished, pro- 
duced under unique conditions its first open-air Greek 
play, the " Antigone " of Sophocles. " For the first 
time," said the journals of that date, " since the downfall 
of the Greek stage a Greek drama has been produced 
under conditions exactly identical with those of ancient 
times." All the players and all the chorus were either 
Bradfield masters or boys. 

The Warden himself took the part of Coryphaeus ; the 
heroine Antigone and the tyrant Creon were Sixth Form 
boys, the former being now the Tutor of an Oxford College. 

No outside help was asked for, and none was needed. 
Even the music, in the severe Dorian Modes, was com- 
posed by the Precentor of the College. A single instru- 
ment was used to accompany the choric songs, the 
musician (Rev. L. de Brisay) performing on the clarinet 



264 AMATEUR ACTING 

— the instrument most nearly approaching the flute of 
the ancient Greeks. 

There were many reasons for choosing the "Antigone." 
It is perhaps the most perfectly constructed of all the Greek 
tragedies extant. The principal character is conceived in a 
spirit of such sublimity, refinement, and self-sacrifice, that 
it has become the ideal female type in fiction for all time. 
And at Bradfield, for the first time since Athenians flocked 
to the theatre of Dionysus to hear with a sort of religious 
awe the contests of their great tragedians, there was heard 
by hundreds of modern spectators this greatest and most 
pathetic of all tragedies in an open-air theatre, the pro- 
portions and acoustic properties of which Pericles might 
have envied. 

The enthusiastic reception which was accorded to the 
"Antigone" impelled Bradfield to attempt a more ambitious 
effort in 1892. In the June of that year the "Agamemnon" 
of -(Eschylus was played, and again the cast was com- 
posed exclusively of Bradfield masters and boys. 

The musical part of the performance was strengthened 
by the introduction of the harp, which, in the skilled 
hands of the Welsh harpist Aptommas, gave colour and 
emphasis to the thinner tones of Mr. de Brisay's clarinet. 
This time the production was helped by the experienced 
eye and hand of Mr. George Hawtrey, who devoted much 
time and thought to the stage accessories. His influence 
introduced perhaps too modern a touch at times, though 
it doubtless helped the dramatic action, which requires 
in this most tragic of all the dramas to be gradually 
worked up to its climax. As a pageant the " Agamemnon " 
is by far the most impressive of all the productions of 
^schylus, though it lacks the sublimity of Sophocles's 
"Antigone," and the tender pathos of Euripides's "Alcestis." 



GREEK PLAYS AT BRADFIELD 265 

Clytemnestra, in the person of Mr. C. M. Blagden, the 
same Sixth Form boy who acted as Antigone two years 
before, and Cassandra, a part which was interpreted by 
Mr. E. d'A. WilHs, were the leading characters in the 
play, and were acted in a way which was quite marvellous 
in schoolboys. 

Three years elapsed before the next performance, 
which was the " Alcestis " of Euripides, and June 1895 
witnessed the repetition of the play which had been 
so humbly put on the Bradfield stage thirteen years 
before. 

The development in 1895 was a great one. 

Mr. C. F. Abdy Williams, whose knowledge of the 
principles of ancient Greek music is probably not sur- 
passed by many, if any, musicians in England, had come 
to Bradfield as Director of the Music of the College, 
attracted partly by the fame of its Greek plays. 

The Warden and Mr. Williams determined on no less 
bold a move than the reproduction of the ancient flutes 
found at Pompeii, and now in the Museum at Naples, and 
the manufacture of the ancient citharae, and the stringing 
of them on the ancient Greek principles. 

It was, however, one thing to reproduce the instru- 
ments, quite another to teach boys to play them with 
effect. The Warden's efforts in this direction also, how- 
ever, were crowned with success. Nine instrumentalists 
(the number of the Muses) were ready in the middle of 
June to accompany the choric songs. 

The music was written by Mr. Williams. Dr. Gray 
again took his former part of Admetus, and two Sixth 
Form boys, now at Oxford, acquitted themselves more 
than creditably in the difficult parts of Alcestis and 
Hercules. Five thousand spectators on four days wit- 



266 AMATEUR ACTING 

nessed this remarkable production, which for magnifi- 
cence of weather, as well as for the excellence of the 
acting, carried away the palm even from its two pre- 
decessors. 

The success of the three above-mentioned perform- 
ances established the reputation of Bradfield in this 
combined domain of scholarship and dramatic repre- 
sentation. 

The question came before the authorities whether the 
three years' cycle should be henceforth adopted. This 
was decided in the affirmative, and the next date was 
fixed for June 1898. 

Another question also arose. Should the representa- 
tions be confined to the three plays already acted, one 
from each of the three tragedians, or should they go 
further afield and attempt to break fresh ground ? After 
much consideration it was definitely decided to take 
the former course. First, on account of the necessity 
of a male chorus, while many of the other possible plays 
involved female choruses. The ** Electra " of Sophocles 
was rejected for this reason. Secondly, on account of 
the paucity of plays, of which the plots were suitable for 
modern audiences. The " GEdipus Tyrannus " of Sopho- 
cles was abandoned on this ground. Thirdly, on account 
of the fact that some plays, which satisfied the two above- 
named conditions, were impracticable, because the dra- 
matic action ceased half way through. The " Ajax " of 
Sophocles was a case in point. Henceforth, therefore, 
Bradfield was to be known for its cycle of three plays, 
played triennially in the following order : — 

The "Antigone" of Sophocles. 
The " Agamemnon " of yEschylus 
The " Alcestis " of Euripides. 



GREEK PLAYS AT BRADFIELD 267 

The play of June 1898 — the "Antigone" of Sopho- 
cles — will be so fresh in the minds of our readers, that 
little need be said about it here. The Warden had, in 
the previous winter and spring, however, executed a 
great, almost a herculean task, which deserves mention. 
He doubled the size of his auditorium by cutting out 
several thousand tons of chalk, and making thereon eight 
more tiers of gradually increasing circles, so that the 
whole was capable of seating more than two thousand 
spectators. The citharae had also undergone a change, 
by the fact that the neck of the instruments were removed, 
thus bringing them exactly to the archaic form. The chorus 
and actors were again all Bradfield masters and boys, 
with the exception that Antigone and Ismene were played 
by ladies " connected with the College," whose Greek 
scholarship was as undeniable as was the purity of their 
accent and their dramatic powers. In adopting this 
course the authorities followed the precedent of both 
Universities ; and whatever criticism may be brought to 
bear on the innovation, may with equal force be main- 
tained against the acting of Shakespeare's heroines by 
women on the modern stage. If it be true that women 
never acted in the dramas of Sophocles, it is equally 
true that the female parts in Shakespeare's times and 
plays were undertaken not by ladies, but by boys from 
the choirs of St. Paul's Cathedral and other " singing 
places." If it be unclassical for a lady to play Anti- 
gone, it is equally heterodox for Miss Ellen Terry or 
Mrs, Beerbohm Tree to represent Ophelia. But the 
fact is, that though a Public School boy of ability 
could act, and act well, the parts of Clytemnestra and 
of Alcestis, it is well nigh an impossibility for him 
to enter into the complex feelings and position of 



268 AMATEUR ACTING 

an Antigone, if it be true, as we believe, that " the 
struggle of conflicting duties in the single personality of 
Antigone is the chief motive of the play." Hov^ the lady 
who acted the part conceived it, most of our readers may 
have had an opportunity of realising in June last. 

In summing up this brief review of the Bradfield 
plays, it may be interesting to note how much more 
statuesque and simple the acting of the ancient Greek 
drama must have been than modern scenic repre- 
sentation. 

First, all that we call " tragic " was done behind the 
scenes. Messengers simply came forward to recite the 
tragedies which had taken place within. 

Secondly, there was no " perspective " in ancient 
tragedies when acted. They may be contrasted with 
modern plays, as statuary may be compared with 
painting. ^schylus, Sophocles, and Euripides carved 
for representation, as it were, single figures standing 
" nakedly " against the background, with no subsidiary 
groups around them. In modern plays, on the other 
hand, the principal characters form merely the fore- 
ground ; the background is shaded off into " attendants, 
soldiers, and crowds." There is perspective everywhere. 

This is perhaps what strikes the spectator, or rather 
the auditor (for we go to "hear" a Greek drama, not 
to " see " it), more than anything else when he goes into 
the Bradfield Theatre, and sits in the open air, rejoicing 
in the clear sky, and sheltered from the wind by the trees 
which fringe with green the white soil above the topmost 
seats, while the birds in the branches from time to time 
join in the chorus, and the " unrehearsed swoop of the 
swallow " almost fails to make us remember that we are 
not in the home of Sophocles, "the fairest home in the 



GREEK PLAYS AT BRADFIELD 269 

land of goodly steeds, the white Colonus, where the 
clear-voiced nightingale most loves to sing, amid towers 
that know no heat of sun, no blast of storm." 

It does good to any man to go and listen to a Greek 
play at Bradfield. 

[Since this chapter was written the " Antigone " of Sophocles 
has been acted at Bradfield, and owing to the great success 
thereof, five representations were given. At the kind invitation 
of the Warden I was present at the last of these — my first experi- 
ence of a Greek play — and it will long remain in my memory. 
From the moment the closed doors of the Temple opened, at 
the sound of the trumpet, and the Herald descended the steps 
bidding us welcome, until the last of the Chorus disappeared 
up the wooded lanes flanking the side of the theatre, the illusion 
was maintained. The acting struck me as very intelligent and 
earnest, and in one or two cases specially good. The style adopted 
by the different actors was that of dramatic declamation. The only 
two who departed from this method were the Messengers, who spoke 
their Greek in a more modern tone. This produced an excellent 
effect, and made a good contrast. Directly these announcers of 
news appeared, it seemed quite natural that they should speak in a 
different manner to the other characters, serving thus to grip the 
audience and produce the necessary dramatic effect. To single out 
any particular impersonations from a general all-round excellence, I 
should mention the Antigone of Mrs. Gray and the Creon of Mr. 
J. H. Vince. These two practically bore the weight of the tragedy 
on their shoulders, and were quite admirable. I was much struck, 
too, with the stage-management of Mr. C. de M. la Trobe. The 
characters moved easily and at the right time, and the chorus 
groupings and changes were all picturesque and well thought out. 

But what was most noticeable throughout the performance was 
the guiding hand of the Warden, who has superintended every pro- 
duction at Bradfield, and to whom belongs the honour that these 
Greek plays now evoke such general interest. Mr. Abdy Williams's 
chorus music, too, written in the Greek mode, was very musicianly 
and interesting. 

Altogether a delightful day. — Ed.]. 



270 



AMATEUR ACTING 



THE "ANTIGONE" OF SOPHOCLES. 

DRAMATIS PERSONS. 

Creon . . . {King of Thebes) . . J. H. ViNCE. 

Haemon . . . (Son 0/ Creon) . . . C. G. Ling. 

Tiresias . . . . (A Seer) . . S. T. Sheppard. 

Sentinel A. M. C. NiCHOLL. 

First Messenger L. Starev. 

Second Messenger T. B. Layton. 

Antigone . . . {Daughter of CEdipus) . Mrs. H. B. Gray. 

Ismene ) < {Sister of Antigone)) Mrs A. Bellin. 

Eurydice j ' \ { Wife of Creon) y 



CHORUS OF THEBAN SENATORS. 
Coryphaeus H. H. PiGGOTT. 



G. R. Barker. 
G. A. W. Booth. 

F. J. Browell. 
U. Cawley. 

A. F. Gardiner. 

L. F. GOLDSMID. 

G. M. Hamilton. 



J. T. Hayton. 
T. H. F. Johnson. 
A. B. D. Lang. 
H. R. Latham. 
J. L. Martin. 
R. Master. 
G. A. Simmons. 



MUT^ PERSONS. 
C. G. Ling and E. L. Warman, Heralds. 



^ 



J. S. Armstrong 
G. M. Clark 
G. S. Freeman 
H. F. Hodges 

A. G. P. Rigby 

B. T. Heathcote 
T. H. M. Phillips- 
Conn 

Flutes : J. R. Fox, J. E. Gardiner, A. S. Hoare, A. J. F. Hood. 
Lyres: C. F. Abdy Williams, H. C. Burnett, A. C. Cooper, 
A. H. Loughborough, A. C. Mourilyan. 
Stage-manager : C. de M. la Trobe. 



'Soldiers. 

) Watch- 
j men. 



R. B. Herbert 
G. K. Leach 

J. C. HiGGINS 

A. A. L. Parsons 
Z. N. Brooke 



A ttendants 
on King. 

A ttendants 
on Queen. 

Tiresias's 
Boy. 



XIII 
COUNTRY HOUSE ACTING 

By LEO TREVOR 

UNDER this heading my friend the editor has asked 
me to write a short chapter on my recollections and 
experiences as an amateur actor. He also requested me 
to be " chatty ^ and anecdotal," and I breezily consented. 
But it is one thing to be chatty and anecdotal in a com- 
fortable smoking-room about 11.30 P.M., and another to 
sit in front of a sheet of fair white foolscap at 11.30 a.m. 
cudgelling your brains for reminiscences, and totally — 
I might almost say " anecdotally " — at a loss for a single 
one. To add to my difficulties I have never kept pro- 
grammes or newspaper cuttings, partly I fear from chronic 
and constitutional sloth, and partly because I am unable 
to take an active interest in the mildly tolerant criticisms 
of the local press. They are so unsatisfying and dis- 
appointing ; and yet there was a time — ten years ago — 
when the arrival of a country newspaper containing an 
account of some recent performance in which I had taken 
part made my heart beat quickly. 

But custom soon staled their invariable monotony. 
There was so little said about the artists, and such a 
generous space allotted to an inventory of the provincial 
magnates in the front of the house, a few lines to ex- 

^ I feel sure the word used was "conversational." — Ed. 
271 



272 AMATEUR ACTING 

plain the plot of the piece represented, and three-quarters 
of a column devoted to a description of the furniture 
(" kindly lent by our esteemed fellow-townsman Councillor 
Wardroper of High Street "), and a long panegyric on 
the " floral decorations, which were in the competent 
hands of Alderman Gardener, J. P., of the Nurseries, Towns 
End." After stating that " Lady Anastasia Smith did all 
that was possible with the part of Esther, and that Mr. 
Leo Trevor played the drunkard Eccles as though to the 
manner born," the article would conclude with the vaguely 
comprehensive statement that " the other ladies and gentle- 
men of the caste " (caste with an " e " invariably) " gave 
equal satisfaction in their respective roles," and a perfect 
avalanche of thanks to Lieutenant-Colonel Burnisher, 
25th (Volunteer) Battalion of the Royal Muffineers, for 
so kindly permitting the magnificent band of the regiment 
to discourse sweet music from the orchestra during the 
somewhat lengthy waits between the acts. 

This may be good, sound journalism from a commercial 
point of view, but I feel sure that Mr. WiUiam Archer will 
agree with me when I say that it is not dramatic criticism 
in its highest sense. 

When I said I never kept programmes, I ought 
to have made a reservation. I have a programme 
before me as I write, which is one of my most treasured 
possessions. It was printed two years ago at Biarritz 
by a French firm, on the occasion of a performance of 
" Sweethearts " that Mrs. Willie James and I gave at the 
Casino in aid of " Les Petites Soeurs de Charite." It is 
libellously reported among my friends that my hand- 
writing is not so distinct as might be wished, and a kind 
lady. Miss Blanche Forbes, to whom I showed the draft 
of this programme, generously offered to copy it out in 




Mrs. W. James. 

From a phoiogi aph. 



COUNTRY HOUSE ACTING 273 

her own fair, lucid hand, " in order that the foreigners 
should have no possible excuse for errors and misprints." 
I accepted gratefully, and it was with a feeling of perfect 
confidence that I applied myself to the perusal of the 
proof a few hours afterwards. 

I reproduce the document below as an example of 
the marvellous faculty possessed by continental peoples 
for mastering the intricacies of foreign tongues. 



CASINO, BIARRITZ, 

April 3ND at 8 clock. 

"SWEETEART S," 

By W. S. Gilbert. 

IN 2 ACTS 

Mr. Henry Spreedbrow .... Dr. Leo Trevor. 
Wilcow (a gardenera) .... Mr. Mamwaring. 
Jenny Morticolli Mrs. William Jam. 

The cast of the second act was fairly correct, but 
concluded with this astounding and dismally prophetic 
announcement: "An interval of thirty jeers is supposed 
to elapse between Acts I. and II." 

Why the degree of " Doctor " was bestowed on me, 
why " Wilcow (a gardenera) " should be introduced in the 
place of " Wilcox, a gardener," who figures in Mr. Gilbert's 
original, and how the combined efforts of France and 
Scotland contrived to transform " Jenny Northcote " into 
" Jenny Morticolli," are secrets only known to the printer 
and Miss Forbes ! I need hardly say that Mr. Gilbert 
never contemplated such an interval as is suggested above, 
but had merely arranged for the lapse of thirty years 
between the first and second acts. 

S 



274 AMATEUR ACTING 

The performance was eminently successful, and we 
made a handsome profit for the "little sisters." Mrs. 
James played excellently, and was particularly good in the 
second act — a rather uncommon occurrence with most 
people who appear in this charming little play. There 
was the same objection to my playing Spreadbrow that 
there was to Mr. Tracy Tupman going to the Fancy Dress 
Reception " in a green velvet jacket with a two-inch tail " 
— I was " too old and too fat " ; but there was no one else 
to do it, and I got through all right, while Mrs. Willie 
made a great hit. 

Of all the clever ladies I have acted with in country 
houses, I consider Mrs. Charles Crutchley, Mrs. William 
James, and Miss Muriel Wilson quite at the top of the tree. 
There are many other clever actresses in the amateur 
ranks, but these three, each in different ways, possess 
something which to an actress is beyond price — a dis- 
tinct style and individuality of their own. Is there any- 
thing so distressing to watch as an amateur actress (or for 
the matter of that, a professional one) giving an earnest, 
slavish, but inaccurate imitation of a great artist in some 
part that her personality has made peculiarly her own ? 
If the imitation is bad, the result is a dead failure ; and 
even when it is good, it only causes us to regret the 
absence of the great original. Mrs. Crutchley's perform- 
ances are not merely recollections of our leading actresses. 
Her voice is flexible and sweet, and though not very 
powerful, is capable of many intonations ; in pathetic 
scenes she produces a little sort of tearless sob, which is 
extremely effective, and perfectly original. Her comedy is 
not really so good, in my humble opinion, as her pathos, 
and I have no very vivid recollection of anything but her 
dancing in the Guards' Burlesque, which I believe my friend 



COUNTRY HOUSE ACTING 275 

George Nugent has already done honour to in another 
part of this volume ; but given a part to suit her, there 
are few actresses, amateur or professional, who com- 
mand the sympathies of an audience so completely as 
Mrs. Charles Crutchley. 

Mrs. Willie James has not had Mrs. Crutchley's experi- 
ence, but, considering the little she has acted, her success 
is really remarkable. She is an admirable mimic, and one 
of the few instances of a mimic achieving success on the 
stage. Both she and Mrs. Crutchley played Mrs. Boswell 
in my little play, " Dr. Johnson " (afterwards produced at 
the Strand), and it is in no spirit of dissatisfaction with the 
professional ladies that I speak, when I say that the part 
was never so well rendered in London as it was at Dover 
and West Dean. Mrs. James, though a most painstaking 
rehearser, will never accept instructions from the stage- 
manager without receiving chapter and verse for the 
various movements and " business " required. It is not 
enough for her to know that " they always did it like 
that in London ! " She wants to know the " why " and 
" wherefore," and that is why her performances are 
always intelligent and interesting, though occasionally lack 
of experience will prevent her making an effect which she 
has carefully planned and practised. Her acting last year 
at Chatsworth, in a sketch called a " Backward Child," 
was a wonderfully clever bit of work. 

What I suffered on that occasion I shall not readily 
forget. The playlet in question is a short dualogue be- 
tween a governess and an overgrown tomboy — " one of 
those small misguided creatures who, though their intel- 
lects are dim, are one too many for their teachers." I 
had seen Mrs. James act it with her sister, and had offered 
to play the Governess for her at some future time, but 



276 AMATEUR ACTING 

had later decided not to do so, as I have an uncontrollable 
antipathy to "female impersonators." But Mrs. James's 
acting as the Schoolgirl had got talked about, and one 
" off " night, when Miss Muriel Wilson and Count Mens- 
dorff were going to do a dualogue, ** La Souri " (and very 
well they did it), Mrs. James came to me and said the 
Prince of Wales had asked her to act something with 
me to lengthen the programme. I got into my corsets 
and skirts — I hadn't any petticoats (an omission that 
was remarked on audibly from the front of the house) 
— feeling very uncomfortable. If there had been none 
but strangers in front I wouldn't have cared, but you 
don't want people you know to see you make a fool of 
yourself ; and I'll wager my soul that nothing makes a 
healthy-minded man feel so helplessly idiotic as a pair of 
stays and a skirt. By good luck, however, the audience 
laughed till they cried, and the whole piece went splen- 
didly. Mrs. James's make-up for this part was one of the 
most extraordinary transformations that I have ever seen, 
and her method of attaining it simplicity itself. She put 
on a child's frock and let down her hair, and lo ! time 
stood still, and she looked fourteen again. Two days 
later we played " His Little Dodge," and the Prince, 
taking the greatest interest in the corps dramatique, attended 
several rehearsals, and on more than one occasion H.R.H. 
made suggestions as to action and business that were of 
the greatest assistance. The last of my trio. Miss Muriel 
Wilson, makes every bit as effective a picture on the 
stage as she does off — which is rather an uncommon 
coincident, for, as a rule, a really pretty girl is seen to 
far greater advantage in the light of day than in the glare 
of our old-fashioned and barbarous footlights. Of her 
natural talent as an actress there can be no doubt. She 




Miss Muriel Wilson. 

From a photograph. 



COUNTRY HOUSE ACTING 277 

has a manner and method completely her own, and her 
movements are wonderfully easy and graceful. I have 
seen her play many parts, and only once remember her 
unsuccessful. That was a couple of years ago at Tranby 
Croft, when she good-naturedly consented to act Lady 
Pettigrew in the " Parvenu." It wasn't that she didn't 
understand the words ; it wasn't that she couldn't speak 
the lines ; it was merely because it was simply impos- 
sible to make her look like a faded old woman of sixty I 
We put on her a grey wig, and she looked like a young 
girl "whose hair had gone white in a single night," as 
tradition and the Family Herald would have you believe. 
We tried her in a red wig. She looked rather younger 
than she did in her own hair. We " painted her face and 
tired her hair " in twenty different ways, but not a suspicion 
of Jezebel appeared. Charles Colnaghi confessed himself 
beaten. Tuplin, the Clarkson of Hull, was in despair. 
" I can do nowt wi' er," he confessed despondently ; but I 
encouraged him to fresh efforts, and he tried again. This 
time he interlaced Miss Muriel's face with heavy Indian 
ink wrinkles and crow's-feet of richest sepia, but it was 
useless. Her bright eyes and fresh cheeks peeped out 
from behind his handiwork, like the face of a fair prisoner 
behind a grating, and Tuplin, the artist, was beat. 

Miss Wilson's acting in "Kitty Clive " was certainly 
one of the cleverest things that the amateur stage has 
ever seen ; and though I personally prefer her in " Mrs. 
Hilary Regrets," her delivery of the big speech in "Kitty" 
(which Miss Irene Vanbrugh, the creator of the part, has 
often assured me is a most trying ordeal) showed excep- 
tional thought and ability. 

Talking of "Mrs. Hilary" reminds me of a rather amus- 
ing theatrical " sell " which we were enabled to play off 



278 AMATEUR ACTING 

on some of " our kind friends in front." At the end of 
this play, when Dr. Power has succeeded in getting rid of 
all the unwelcome guests by the somewhat unconvincing 
expedient of telling them that they will be thirteen at 
dinner, he timidly avows his love for the fascinating 
widow, and the following dialogue ensues : — 

Mrs. Hilary {softly). Why don't you call me Blanche. 

Power {passionately). I'll call ye Blanche till your black in the face. 

Now it occurred to me that if my fair companion would 
alter her line and say, " Why don't you call me Muri — " 
and stop, covered with bashful confusion, that the com- 
promising nature of the slip would call forth much unholy 
joy on the other side of the footlights, and we should have 
the satisfaction on ours of knowing that the clever people 
in front had been sold. 

Mrs. Hilary aided and abetted me in my criminal design, 
and the roar of ribald laughter that went up as she begged 
me to call her " Muri," and hurriedly hid her face in her 
hands, was a sound never to be forgotten. Luckily two 
or three others were in the joke, or we should never have 
succeeded in persuading the scoffers in the audience that 
they had been " taken on." 

I am afraid this paper is resolving itself into an 
" appreciation " of three clever and attractive women, and 
that I am not treating my subject with the solemnity and 
respect due to the present high position of Amateur 
Dramatic Art. But really it is difficult to be solemn 
when our thoughts wander back into past theatrical 
experiences. The days that were so successfully satirised 
in " The Pantomime Rehearsal " are passed ; indeed, I 
always thought the fun a little out of date even when 
this clever entertainment was first produced. In my 



COUNTRY HOUSE ACTING 279 

theatrical experience, extending over a period of thirteen 
years, I have never seen a member of an amateur com- 
pany throw down his or her part and refuse to act. But 
I have seen it done at a rehearsal on the professional 
stage ! I have never heard an amateur author grind his 
teeth and swear volubly before the ladies of the cast, but I 
heard a professional author do that only a few days since. 
Wild horses shall not drag from me his name, but I heard 
him do it all the same. On the whole, I think we amateur 
artistes are rather a maligned lot. It is not necessary for 
a man to be a hopeless muff before he takes to acting. I 
hear such stories of our self-esteem, our airs and graces, 
of the jealousies and tantrums of the ladies, of the conceit 
and bad temper of the men. 

But is there much authority for such rumours? I 
know several amateur actors who do not fancy themselves 
endowed with the tragic power of Sir Henry Irving or 
the comedy of dear old Mr. Toole. They play cricket, 
and shoot, and golf, and hunt, and come down to ten 
o'clock breakfast quite clean and fresh, just like any one 
else. They do not tell disparaging stories of each other, 
or give you reminiscences of how "they knock 'em at 
Derby," or talk about " floats " or " flies " or " backings " 
or "Tee pieces" or "borders"; oh no! they go on just 
like ordinary mortals, and you might spend a week with 
them before you discovered that they ever did any acting 
at all. I am told that there are others, earnest students 
of their art, whose behaviour is quite the reverse of what 
I describe ; but I flee from these as I would from the 
plague, and know little of their manners and customs 
except by hearsay. I am also fortunate to number 
among my acquaintances several ladies who can act 
together without desiring each other's immediate death 



28o AMATEUR ACTING 

or humiliation, and who would, even if you filled their 
tea-cups with vitriol, carefully abstain from throwing a 
drop ! I do not expect these statements to be believed ; 
I know how useless it is to combat popular opinion. I 
do not say these things expecting to make converts, but 
merely to ease my conscience. 

In the choice of plays and the method of mounting 
them, country-house theatricals have made enormous 
strides during the last few years. We seldom hear now 
of " Money " or " The Lady of Lyons " being played on 
a stage eight feet by six ; and yet my dear old friend Sam 
Brandranv has often assured me that such performances 
were of frequent occurrence in the late sixties and early 
seventies. On these occasions history tells us that both 
the costumes and the scenery were made at home, and 
the actors and actresses, who were also invariably local 
products, frequently made their first appearance on any 
stage in one of these standard works. But a close 
examination of old newspaper cuttings leads me to believe 
that our fathers and mothers caused the local press the 
same mild quiescent satisfaction, that is all we succeed in 
exciting with all the gorgeous scenery and correct dresses 
of modern times. I cannot help thinking though that 
the " Lady of Lyons," on a stage eight feet by six feet, 
with home-made dresses and rudimentary scenery, must 
have been indescribably funny, and that we show our 
good sense nowadays when we confine ourselves to 
dualogues and three-part pieces for the drawing-room, 
and leave the more ambitious efforts for the Corn Ex- 
change or Town Hall. Of course in very large houses 
such as Chatsworth, Craig-y-Nos, West Dean, or Tranby 
Croft, where you have perfect bijou theatres fitted with 
electric light, with scenery painted by excellent artists. 



COUNTRY HOUSE ACTING 281 

where you can get night and morning effects, and where 
properties and furniture are of the best, the amateur is in 
clover, and really gets a fair chance of showing what he 
can do. If with all these assistants to his art he cannot 
make a hit before one of those friendly audiences, let him 
give up acting and take to manly sports- -say spillikins or 
dominoes. 

In concluding these fugitive notes and recollections, 
my thoughts naturally turn towards many friends with 
whom I have been associated in country house perform- 
ances. Of these the professional stage claims many — 
Arthur Bourchier, Allan Aynesworth, Holman Clark, 
" Scrobbie " Ponsonby, and Rosslyn were all amateurs 
in my time. Alan Mackinnon, Jeffcock, George Nugent, 
and Dick Bromley-Davenport still remain on the side 
of the angels — I mean the amateurs. And there was 
one — a greater than any of these, who has made 
his final exit and last appearance on this or any other 
stage — my dear friend Charlie Colnaghi. Poor little 
Charlie ! he was the best all-round actor that I ever 
saw, and the most faithful comrade a man ever had. He 
was, as was said of the greatest actor of all time, "An 
abridgment of all that was pleasant in man " ; and if 
his death did not " eclipse the gaiety of nations," there 
was many a country house made sadder by his loss, and 
one at least in which the memory of his sweet, gentle 
personality will never pass away. 



XIV 
THE CANTERBURY "OLD STAGERS" 

By W. YARDLEY 

APOLOGIA 

BY way of preface, I venture the remark that I honestly 
doubt if any of my colleagues engaged on the 
collaboration and compilation of this immortal work have 
had a more hopelessly impossible task than that which 
I undertook in a moment of greater amiability than 
prudence. 

I am compelled by force of circumstances to endeavour 
to work a miracle, a species of conjuring trick that has 
apparently become impossible of accomplishment in these 
matter-of-fact days. To put the case as briefly as possible, 
I have practically undertaken to pour out a magnum into 
a half-pint glass, a feat which I have hitherto never seen 
performed satisfactorily by anybody, unless perhaps by the 
consumer, if not especially thirsty. 

In short, I have been obliged to try to place on record 
the doings of the oldest and most celebrated body of 
amateur actors, established in the year 1842, and extend- 
ing to the present year of grace, 1898, within the com- 
paratively (if not extremely) narrow limits of some forty 
pages of print — more or less. 

It is obvious that I have attempted an impossibility, 



CANTERBURY "OLD STAGERS" 283 

for no approach to justice towards the splendid work of 
such an unique coterie of amateur actors as the world- 
renowned body of "Old Stagers" could be done in a 
space of lesser limits than could be afforded by this entire 
volume of amateur records. 

Even then I doubt if substantial justice could be done 
to the subject in such narrow confines ; but I must leave 
it at that, or my " apology " for the foolhardiness of my 
undertaking must perforce outrun, in proportion, the all 
too meagre details to which I have had the temerity to 
boil down the overwhelming stock at my disposal. 

The Original Inception of "O. S." 

In the year 1841 a notable cricket match was played 
at Canterbury between Kent and England, on the loth of 
August and two following days, on the ground of the 
East Kent Cricket Club, known as the " Beverley " Ground, 
in which match England proved victorious by scoring 
163 and 56 to Kent's 114 and 31. 

This was a return duel to one which occurred pre- 
viously in the same year at Lord's Cricket Ground, on 
which occasion Kent had proved the victor over England 
by 54 and 91, against the adversaries' 31 and 44. 

The stakes, according to the historians of that period, 
were for a thousand guineas (presumably five hundred 
guineas a side), the sort of thing we have not been in the 
habit of experiencing within this latter half of the century, 
in which honour and glory appear to be sufficient incen- 
tive to cricketers, without the introduction of the money 
element. But I fancy the majority of those large stakes 
were " only on paper." 

So great a success attended the match at the Beverley 



284 AMATEUR ACTING 

Ground, Canterbury, when close on 5000 spectators were 
present, that the brothers John and W. de Chair Baker, 
who had the interests of Kent cricket deeply at heart, 
consulted the Hon. Frederick Ponsonby (subsequently the 
Earl of Bessborough) as to the possibility of establishing an 
annual meeting at Canterbury, with the pleasant object in 
view of combining cricket by day with theatricals at night. 
This evidently suited the views of the Hon. F. Pon- 
sonby, who was celebrated, even in those comparatively 
early days, for his love of the drama and his histrionic 
prowess as an amateur, for he promptly gathered around 
him a remarkably strong " posse " of amateur actors with 
whom he had been most successfully associated erstwhile, 
and the autumn of 1842 inaugurated the establishment 
of the " Old Stagers," whose performances have continued 
at Canterbury with unbroken success up to the present 
time. 

The Constitution of "O. S." 

As a matter of fact the " Old Stagers " were not con- 
stituted as such until the tenth year of their appearance 
at Canterbury. No doubt the innate modesty of all 
amateur actors militated against their styling themselves 
" Old Stagers " until their existence had run into double 
figures, but to all intents and purposes " O. S." actually 
sprang into existence in 1842. 

It must be remembered that at the outset of their 
career the originators of " O. S." were in the main 
cricketers, who devoted themselves indefatigably to the 
game during the day, and found comparatively little 
time for rehearsals. Scenes were rehearsed in corners 
of the cricket field or in the dressing tent, at any odd 
moments that were available. Nothing but the inde- 



CANTERBURY "OLD STAGERS" 285 

fatigable energy of youth, combined with an intense love 
for theatricals, could have kept the ball a-rolling when 
once started. 

The following are the Rules of the " Old Stagers," with 
the various alterations that have been made in them from 
time to time : — 

Rules of the "Old Stagers" 

At a Meeting of the Old Stagers held at the Fountain Hotel, 
Canterbury, on August the 19th, 1850, the following revised Rules 
were agreed to : — 

Rule I. 

That the Club shall consist of twenty-five actual Members, and 
that no person shall be eligible for Election until his second ^ (con- 
secutive) attendance at a Canterbury Season, provided he shall have 
been present twice in the course of four years. 

Rule II. 

That any Member absenting himself from the August Annual 
Meeting for three consecutive years shall be placed on the list of 
Absenthree Members, but^ that on again attending, he shall be 
reinstated as an actual Member at the first vacancy. 

Rule III. 

That the Club-Room be reserved for Old Stagers only, and that 
no Stranger be therein admitted, unless his name, with that of five 
actual Members, be entered in the Visitors' Book. 

Rule IV. 
That the Books and Archives of the Old Stagers be entrusted to 
the care of the Hon. S. Ponsonby. 

1 The word "consecutive" added at a Meeting of " Old Stagers," August 15, 
1862. 

^ The words after "but " ordered to be struck out, and the following words 
inserted in their place — "shall not thereby forfeit any of the privileges of Old 
Stagers." 



286 AMATEUR ACTING 

Rule V. 
That a Candidate for Election must be proposed, seconded, 
and unanimously elected at a Meeting of no less than seven 
actual Members, during the Annual gathering. 

Aumst 15, i860. 

Rule VI. 

That a Musical Foundation be erected and affiliated to Old 
Stagers, subject to the Rules of the Society, to which the Members 
of the Band shall after the usual two years' attendance be eligible. 

The Musical Old Stagers shall possess all the Rights and 
Privileges of the Society, with the exception of that of voting on 
the Election of actual Members, or on the alteration of the Rules 
of the Society. 

The number of the Musical Old Stagers is to be limited to ten. 

August 15, 1862. 

The word " consecutive " was ordered to be added to Rule I. as 
to eligibility of Candidate. 

August II, 1869. 

The following alteration of Rule II. was carried : " That the words 
after ' but ' be struck out, and the following words inserted in their 
place—* shall not thereby forfeit any of the Privileges of Old Stagers.' " 

August 1 880. 

With reference to Rule I., it was ruled, that although a person 
may have been present at two consecutive Canterbury Seasons, he 
was not eligible unless present at the present Season. 

August 3, 1887. 

Resolved : That in view of the numbers of actual Members of 
Old Stagers who have retired from active service at Canterbury, 
excepting with the knife and fork, a Shelf be provided for actual 
Members who may volunteer to repose thereon, and who shall not 
thereby forfeit the Privileges of Old Stagerdom. 

By no means the least interesting feature in connection 
with the " Old Stagers " is the following list of " Noms de 



CANTERBURY "OLD STAGERS" 287 

Theatre " adopted at various times by all who have been 
in any way connected with the Club itself : — 



" NoMS DE Theatre " used at Canterbury 
O. S. Performances 

Adolphus, O A. K. Oom .... Deceased. 

Archer, Capt W. P. Bolland . . . Deceased. 

Banjo, Benjamin .... Sir A. Webster. 

Barchester, Alington . . C. Trollope. 

Baddun, Reglar .... Col. J. Goodden. 

Bartey,W A. B. Mitford . . . | Now Freeman Mit- 

Benfiglio, Signor . . . . L. Benson. 

Biffin, R. W R. W. Keate .... Deceased. 

Biddulph, H. E B. Butler. 

Boeuf, Baron de . . . . A. Bourchier. 

Brooke, Lord H W. P. Bolland . . . Deceased. 

Brun, Monsieur le . . . Bruno Holmes. 

Burley, E E. Balfour Deceased. 

Balsamo di Anizzidi . . . H. D. Stewart Powell. 

Centreson, Head . . . . B. C. Stephenson. 

Cade, Lowther R. ... J. W. Lowther. 

Charles, S C. Seymour • • • • ? t~, 

Conway, Sir G C. Seymour . . . . ) 

Cokeupon, Mr Hon. A. Lyttelton. 

Courtley, W W. Yardley. 

/-.,^TT^ TT/-J i NowRt. Hon. Lord 

Cultor, Horty H. Gardner . . . . < ^ 

( Burghclere. 

Cropland, Sir C C. Ellison Deceased. 

Curls, C H. Fellows. 

Cuthbert, C C. Ellison Deceased. 

Chancellor W. E. Goschen. 

Checquers W. E. Goschen. 

Dalby, E E. H. Hartopp. 

Dalby, W W. Hartopp .... Deceased. 

Deede, Acton W. H. Leese. 

Dilly, Sir Daffydown . . W. M. Rose. 

T^ c- T /- /- T5 4^- 1 (Afterwards Rt. 

Doe, Sir J G. C. Bentinck . . . < ^^ 

i Hon.; deceased. 

Doe, Sir F F. C. Bentinck. 

Eagle, The Gt. Bald . . Hon. R. Grimston • • > p, 

Eagle, Sir Solomon . . . Hon. R. Grimston . . i deceased. 



288 



AMATEUR ACTING 



:} 



Edwards, E Hon. E. C. Leigh, 

Esrom, Count and Countess C. R. Morse . . 

Evans, E E. E. Hartopp. 

Evans, W W. Hartopp . . 

Eyot, L W. G. Elliot. 

Parkins, Fredo .... A. Farquhar. 
Felice, Sig. R. S. V. P. . N. Wanostroght 

Felix, N N. Wanostroght 

Fogg, Dodson W. Fladgate. 

George, P George Ponsonby . . 

Gentiluomo, Sig. Nuovo . G. Nugent. 
Goodlittle, Gustavus . . A. Ricardo. 

Graves, Paul Palgrave Simpson . . 

Gurney, Gilbert .... Hon. and Rev. J. Leigh. 

Gucini, Capitano .... A. Gooch 

Guernsey, G. de . . . • G. du Maurier . . . 

Hardinge, H H. Stracey. 

Hall, Hams, Hon. J. Adderley. 

Heavysides, H H. Fellows. 

Hoe, Haigh W. H. Hay. 

Hopper, Clod Claud Ponsonby. 

Hozier, E. V. E Mercer Adam. 

Jacques, J J- H. Ponsonby. 

Jardineros, Don das . . . Dundas Gardiner. 

Justocorpo, Signer . . . N. Wanostroght 

Knox, Hon. T T.K.Holmes . 

Knox, John, jun Q. Twiss. 

Kitts, Newton K. Pemberton . 

Lane, Lincoln S. Brandram . . 

Lafite, Monsieur . . . . H. S. Ponsonby. 

Lilytop G. R. Ponsonby. 

Littlejohn, John .... J. Bidwell . . • 

Lively, Sir Deadly . . . C. R. Morse . . 

Loraine, J J- L- Baldwin . 

Lovelace, Hon. E. . . . Hon. E. C. Leigh. 

MacUsquebaugh . . . . C. Drummond. 

MacFingon A. Mackinnon. 

Meerschaum, Herr . . . F. Clay 

Mecum, Vade A. Wade. 

Michael, B M. G. Bruce . . . . 

Montagu, Aug A. Spalding. 

Naghi, Col C. P. Colnaghi . . 

Noakes, John Tom Taylor . . . 

Nuneham, de Col. Newnham-Davis, 



Deceased. 
Deceased. 

Deceased. 
Deceased. 

Deceased. 

Deceased. 
Deceased. 



Deceased. 
Deceased. 

Deceased. 
Deceased. 

Deceased. 
Deceased. 
Deceased. 
Deceased. 



Deceased. 

Deceased. 

Deceased. 
Deceased. 



CANTERBURY "OLD STAGERS" 289 

O'Howl, The J. C. O'Dowd. 

Olde, Lawrence . . . . Sir W. Young. 

Oldjohn, John J. Bidwell Deceased. 

Ost, Twiliver Q. Twiss. 

Pippin, Ribstone . . . . K. Pemberton . 

Peachie, K K. Pemberton . 

Pearson, F Hon. F. Ponsonby 

Perceval, H Gen. Sir H. P. de Bathe 

Phitz R. A. FitzGerald 

Pootra, Brahma . . . . E. Hartopp. 

Podger, E E. Tredcroft . . , 

Quintin, F Q. Twiss. 

Ready, Capt. R.N. . . . Hon. F. Ponsonby. 

Richards, A A. Ricardo. 

Rind, C C. Peel 

Roe, Hon. R Hon. 



Deceased. 

Late Earl of Bess- 
borough. 

Deceased. 

Deceased. 

Late Earl of Bess- 
borough. 



Deceased. 
( Late Earl of Bess- 
( borough. 



Deceased. 



Deceased. 



F. Ponsonby 

Roper, Bell A. J. Tassel. 

St. Gomm, Motcomb . . E. H. Whitmore, 

Sawe, C. E C. C. Clarke. 

Sauvage, Frere .... W. Wilde. 

Schrymper, M. de . . . F. H. Whymper 

Scrobbs, Herr Eustace Ponsonby, 

Sharp, A A. Cecil Blunt 

Smith, Promiscuous ... A. Wigan Deceased 

Storer, Herr Rea .... J. Allen Deceased 

Smith Family j ^very one employed 

( on Stage. 

Twist, Oliver . . . . Q. Twiss. 

Tyme, Mr. Mark . . . . G. Nugent. 

Tyme, Mr. Beat .... Claud Nugent. 

Viret, Semper H. Vernon . . 

Villars, Chepstow . . . T. G. Cooper. 

Waggs, C C. Weguelin . . 

Wiggs or Wiggins, C. . . C. Weguelin . . 

Whitehead, Hon. S. . . . Hon. S. Ponsonby 

Williams, Mathew . . . W. Mathews. 

Windsor, Gobelins de . . J. B. Westropp. 

Wright, Hall Sir C. Hall. 

Wye, W W. Yardley. 

Wobbles, Colley . . . . E. Balfour . . 

Young, John J J. Bidwell Deceased 

T 



Deceased. 



Deceased. 



Now Sir S. Pon- 
sonby-Fane. 



Deceased. 



290 AMATEUR ACTING 

" NoMs DE Theatre " used at Canterbury " O. S." 
Performances which I have not been able 
TO identify. 

Burgh, F. de 

Buckstone, C. J. 

Coverley, Sir Roger de. (No one in particular.) 

Cust, C. 

Dove, H. 

Dunck, Mein Herr von. (No one in particular.) 

Marquecy, E. „ 

Munchausen, Baron. „ 

Scott, The Great. „ 

Stick, Mr. Mahl. 

Vavasour, H. de. 

Anecdotes of " O. S." 

The anecdotes of the " Old Stagers " are neither so 
voluminous nor so attractive as might be expected. 
With regard to their voluminosity, the cause is that no 
records of them have been kept in the ponderous tomes, 
to which I have had unlimited access by the kind courtesy 
of the Hon. Sir Spencer Ponsonby-Fane, G.C.B., to 
whom I am mainly, if not entirely, indebted for such 
information as I can only too sparsely offer. 

Concerning their attractiveness, it is, after all, purely 
a matter of opinion ; but I had hoped to have captured 
a great deal more that was both witty and interesting. 
However, the fact remains, that despite the presence on 
many brilliant occasions of some of the most brilliant 
wits of their various periods, comparatively little that is 
genuinely humorous can be set down to their credit. 

This is undoubtedly due to the fact of autre temps 
autre mceurs, more especially with regard to the difference 




Mr. Augustus Spalding. 

From a photograph by Barraud. 



CANTERBURY "OLD STAGERS" 291 

between *' old time " and " up to date " methods, both in 
anecdotism and journaHsm. 

Augustus M. Spalding told me, when the late Tom 
Taylor played in " The Wreck Ashore " he conceived that 
a great effect might be obtained at the end of the play 
(when he had to be shot), if he were to crush a mulberry 
upon his forehead to give the appearance of a suddenly 
received wound. He accordingly carried throughout the 
piece a mulberry nestling in the palm of his hand. He 
completely ruined the dresses of the ladies with whom he 
had to act, and when, at the end of the play, the cue was 
given for the shot, the call-boy or property man was not 
at his post ; the shot was not fired, so Mr. Addison, the 
stage manager, rang down the curtain without giving 
Tom Taylor legitimate opportunity to crush the crimson 
berry on his brow. He poured forth a torrent of abuse, 
at which Mr. Addison grew angry. Tom Taylor seized 
Spalding's arm and walked off, exclaiming, " Bah ! Addi- 
son doesn't understand Canterbury ! " 

Spalding on one occasion played a practical joke on 
the late George Bentinck. At the conclusion of some 
performance, Spalding advanced, insisted upon breaking 
the rules of the "'Old Stagers" (which expressly forbid 
the making of speeches), delivered a long panegyric on 
the rare qualities of Bentinck, and finally presented him 
with a cup that had been until that moment concealed 
by a napkin. It turned out to be a china mug, with "A 
Present for a Good Boy " written upon it in gold letters. 
No one enjoyed the joke less than George Bentinck. 

In one of the Canterbury epilogues a crocodile had to 
appear upon the stage. The part was cast and re-cast 
several times. The representative of the firm of Nathan 
strove hard to obtain reliable information as to by whom 



292 AMATEUR ACTING 

the part would be ultimately played. Apparently he was 
misinformed, for when on the night Spalding (who was 
finally entrusted with the role) called to Nathan's man, and 
said, "Where the devil is my crocodile's dress?" the at- 
tendant burst into beads of perspiration, and exclaimed, 
" Gracious goodness, Mr. Spalding ! we've had the croco- 
dile cut down for Mr. Twiss ! " 

In "The Ticket-of-Leave Man," in the year 1885, 
Jim Dalton and Melter Moss after Act i. do not reappear 
until the middle of Act iii., an interval of an hour and a 
half. J. D. has a different costume and make-up in each 
of the three Acts in which he appears. The theatre being 
very hot, the actor who played Jim Dalton thought it 
would freshen him up were he to get into his own clothes 
and get some fresh air outside for a portion of the inter- 
val. As he was passing through the green-room on his 
way out, Melter Moss, who was unable to remove his 
make-up, owing to the time occupied in adjusting his 
Jew's false nose, jealously asked J. D., "Where the 
d-d — 1 are you going ? " and when told, was moved to 
anger, being compelled to remain in the theatre all the 
time. In the fourth Act (the public-house scene), where 
he has to utter a strong denunciatory speech, his nose 
partially gave way and wobbled. This tickled the audi- 
ence ; the Jew got nervous, and the speech went for 
nothing. (Jim Dalton was played by Q. Twiss, and 
Melter Moss by Gooch.) 

In this same scene the navvies were played by some 
men from the barracks, led by Arthur Bourchier, who 
was astonished, when he came on, to find at the table 
eight instead of six navvies, the number which had been 
present at rehearsal. The two new navvies being realistic 
artists, at once proceeded to show their conception of 



CANTERBURY "OLD STAGERS" 293 

their characters by making use of some of the most 
emphatic language possible, of course only audible on 
the stage. Bourchier, being in charge of the navvies, 
and supposing the *' supers " to be two of the men requi- 
sitioned for that purpose from the barracks, threatened 
to report them for their misconduct to their superior 
officer, which threat was received by them with jeers, 
none the less effective because they were delivered with 
apparently additional emphasis in a telling undertone. 
The " navvies " in question incontinently bolted downstairs 
as soon as the scene was over. The undaunted Bourchier, 
however, pursued them with alacrity, and discovered, to 
his chagrin in the first place, and ultimately to his amuse- 
ment, that they were two of the very most prominent of 
the very elder members of " O. S.," whose names could 
not be torn from me with red-hot pincers. 

I forget whether it was at Canterbury, but I rather 
think it was — and anyway the anecdote will excuse itself 
I fancy — that dear old Palgrave Simpson, who was nothing 
if not realistic both in conception and execution, came to 
the final rehearsal, and casting his eagle eye over the 
scene, exclaimed in accents of unfeigned horror, " IVhat ! 
What ! WHAT ! Gracious goodness ! Lor' a'mighty ! 
Here we are supposed to be starving, and the blithering 
idiot of a scene-painter has painted a ham and pickles on the 
back-cloth / " 

Another anecdote relating to Palgrave, on the same 
lines somewhat as that previously related about Tom 
Taylor, is quite as authentic. He also had the concep- 
tion of realistic effect by the timely use of a ripe mul- 
berry, and had got a lovely specimen of the fruit awaiting 
him on his dressing-table. When in need of it he entered 
his dressing-room just in time to catch his best of friends. 



294 AMATEUR ACTING 

Jack Clayton, eating it ! ! Tableau ! Swear words, 
&c., &c. 

There was a very amusing episode in one of the 
comparatively latter-day epilogues, when young Freddy 
Bentinck, made up excellently as an old grumpy specta- 
tor, caused a sensation by objecting to the supposed loss 
of the script of the epilogue, which was found on his 
person by a policeman (bogus, of course), played by 
Claude Ponsonby. Quintin Twiss conceived a humorous 
notion which he speedily carried into execution, for he 
requisitioned a real policeman to actually arrest young 
Bentinck when he had been thrown out of the theatre 
by the sham " bobby," and it was not without a con- 
siderable deal of dubiousness on the part of the " Simon 
Pure " in the shape of the local guardian of the peace 
that Bentinck escaped from acquaintance with the interior 
of the " lock-up." 

A little tale about Morse, who was known as "The 
Chevalier Esrom." He was playing in the farce " Grim- 
shaw, Bagshaw, and Bradshaw." The extent of his role 
was to appear at the finish and exclaim, " I'm Brad- 
shaw ! " With the re-7I/orsg-less-ness for which he was 
famous, he must needs ejaculate, " I'm 5a^-shaw ! " But 
he was not that individual, as Twiss explained to the 
puzzled audience in lieu of Maddison Morton's ordinary 
*' tag." Morse was always disappointing if not wrong. 

On one occasion, in the course of some piece, Tom 
Taylor got off one of his practical jokes upon Hartopp, 
who had to drink a draught " without heel-taps " to show 
the glass was empty. As is frequently the case at other 
amateur shows besides those of the " Old Stagers," there 
was nothing ready for Hartopp. Tom Taylor, more 
than equal to the occasion, found a pewter containing, 



CANTERBURY "OLD STAGERS" 295 

of all horrible drinks, the dregs of porter. To these he 
added the thickish contents of an ink-bottle. " Topps " 
Hartopp, who was nothing if not an artist (on the stage 
at all events), polished off the contents of the tankard 
without turning a hair, and before he could make a wry 
face Tom Taylor ejaculated with consummate gusto, " See 
how he enjoys the exhilarating fluid !" 

In 1886 several London managers who had come 
down to Canterbury " came on " in the club scene in 
" Cyril's Success." Amongst them were Charles Wyndham 
and Edgar Bruce. The former, despite his elaborate 
" make-up," was sure of recognition by the audience. 
Naturally, some one, whose name must not be mentioned, 
suggested an idea to E. B. Norman, who was the stage 
manager that year, to arrange matters so that Our Best 
Light Comedian should be placed on the stage all the 
time with his back to the audience. The situation had at 
all events the pleasure of variety for Charles Wyndham. 

The Sociability of "O. S." 

I doubt if any club in the world ever could hold a 
candle to the " O. S." for sociality and sociability. Such 
fun as always existed in the many amusing episodes that 
occurred in days gone by, concerning the performances, 
is not a patch upon the fun that exists now, and has 
existed far more exuberantly and exhilaratingly in the 
past, in the " Old Stager " Rooms at the far-famed Foun- 
tain Hotel. 

I shall never forget my first introduction to that 
mystic palace of delight. The Friday night when that 
terrible bugbear " The Epilogue ! ! ! " has been scrambled 
through, and the throes, agonies, apologies, congratula- 



296 AMATEUR ACTING 

tions, appreciations, and (very seldom) condemnations 
have been given, received, believed, or doubted, as the 
case may be, has always proved the brightest spot in the 
brightest week of the season. 

After a plain but substantial supper comes the real 
fun of the week. On the occasion to which I refer I 
had the honour of being introduced as a guest (many 
years before I had the further honour of becoming a 
full-fledged " O. S.," in propria persona), by my old friend 
and school -fellow of now over forty years' standing, 
Cecil Clay. 

His brother, Fred Clay, one of the most eminent of 
our English composers, had produced during that week 
"The Bold Recruit," of which he had written the music 
to the lyrics of B. C. Stephenson, a subsequent friend 
and collaborator of mine. What fun we had, to be 
sure ! Songs, imitations, recitations (not long, but full 
of wit and pith), and everything to make us jolly and 
happy. 

And the fun on that Friday night! "William Tell" 
was the subject of the " extempore." Well I remember it. 
My old dead and gone friend, Captain Alfred Thompson, 
stage-managed the "impromptu," and right well was it 
done. With Freddy Clay and Arthur Sullivan at the piano 
no greater treat could be imagined. Why don't we live 
for ever, all of us, and have annual recurrences of such 
delights ? 

The next year brought Canterbury its chef-d'ceuvre, 
the immortal " Cox and Box," founded upon the already 
vigorous "Box and Cox" of Maddison Morton, but ren- 
dered now imperishable to fame with the happy lyrics of 
F. C. Burnand, and the deathless music of Arthur Sullivan. 
The latter came down to manipulate the harmonium, and 




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m - 

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CANTERBURY "OLD STAGERS" 297 

dear old Freddy to " spank the Joanna," and a more per- 
fect accompaniment to any light musical piece could not 
be conceived or executed. 

" There are others " (as the Comedy Merchant says in 
the piece somewhere) also. Poor Charlie Colnaghi and 
" Scrobby " Ponsonby have done most artistic and amus- 
ing pleasantries there. 

Has not Charlie Clarke shown himself equally adept 
at light finger work with watches and banjo-strings ? 

In fact, what talent, including the inimitable imitations 
of Tom Cooper, has not been seen in the " Old Stager " 
Rooms during the Canterbury Week, on the part of ama- 
teurs, and even of the brightest and best of professionals, 
who have at various times been the welcome guests of the 
" Old Stagers." 

To give full justice where it is due ; to make so much 
even as a mild attempt at recognition of the talents of the 
very flower of amateur histrionship, that has been the 
leading feature of the Canterbury " Old Stagers," would 
prove to be the proverbial work of supererogation of 
" painting the lily or gilding refined gold." 

Records of *' Old Stagers " 

The foregoing words indicate, or ought to indicate, 
clearly enough that I am absolutely unequal to the her- 
culean task of recording the unapproachable deeds of 
the "Old Stagers" with anything in the neighbourhood 
of real justice. 

I therefore take shelter behind a bare skeleton record 
of their work, which is one of which any body of indi- 
viduals with their souls in a set purpose may well be 
proud, if not even vain. 



298 AMATEUR ACTING 



1842 

PLAYS 

"The Rivals," "The Poor Gentleman," "Too Late for Dinner," 

and " Othello Travestie." 

PERFORMERS 

H. Ellison, Tom Taylor, M. Bruce, C. G. Taylor, C. Bentinck, Captain 

Baker, Hon. S. Ponsonby, T. Thackeray. 
Mrs. Nisbett, Miss J. Mordaunt, Miss Engeham, Miss Williams. 

A Prologue and Epilogue were both written, as well as 
spoken, by Tom Taylor. 



1843 

PLAYS 

"The Critic," "Othello Travestie," " Bombastes Furioso," "A Roland 
for an Oliver," and " High Life below Stairs." 

PERFORMERS 
C. Ellison, R. Keate, Tom Taylor, Capt. Archer, J, L. Baldwin, W. de 

St. Croix, M. G. Bruce, Hon. F. Ponsonby, R. Garth, E. Hartopp, 

E. Bayley, Hon. S. Ponsonby, T. Wythe. 
Miss Sidney, Mrs, Tayleure, Mrs. Walter Lacy. 



1844 

PLAYS 

"The Haunted Inn," "Sylvester Daggerwood," "Two in the Morning," 
" The Rent Day," " Shocking Events," " Esmeralda." 

PERFORMERS 
G. C. Bentinck, Tom Taylor, E. Hartopp, Hon. S. Ponsonby, R. W. 
Keate, E. Dewing, H. Brown, Hon. F. Ponsonby, Count Esrom, 
Lord H. Brooke, C. Randolph, C. Wilson, C. G. Taylor. 
Miss J. Mordaunt, Mrs. L. S. Buckingham, Miss Grey, Mrs. Tayleure. 
There was a short Prologue by Lord Bessborough. 



CANTERBURY "OLD STAGERS" 299 

1845 

PLAYS 
" The Wreck Ashore," " The Captain of the Watch," " The Beulah Spa," 
"Why did you Die?" "The Original," "Amateurs and Actors." 

PERFORMERS 

Hon. J. Percival, Sir George Conway, T. Taylor, E. Dewing, T. K. 

Holmes, F. Pearson, C. G. Taylor, C. Morse, G. C. Bentinck, Lord 

H. Brook, E. Hartopp, H. de Vavasour, F. de Burgh, J. George. 

Miss Pearson, Miss Mordaunt, Miss Binns, Mrs. A. Wigan. 

A brief Epilogue written by T. Taylor. 

1846 

PLAYS 

" Comfortable Lodgings," " You can't Marry your Grandmother," 

" Kill or Cure," " The Thimble Rig," " The Prisoner of War," 

"The Loan of a Lover," "Twice Killed." 

PERFORMERS 

R. W. Keate, Hon. Richard Roe, Hon. Claude Lyon, M. G. Bruce, J. L. 
Baldwin, E. Hartopp, C. E. Ellison, Sir John Doe (Bart.), E. George, 
C. G. Taylor, J. Leslie, W. Pickering, Hon. C. Lyon, E. Morton, 
Hon. R. Grimston, F. W. Commerill. 

Miss J. Mordaunt, Mrs. A. Wigan, Mrs. Garthwaite, Miss E. Messent. 

There is no record of any Prologue or Epilogue. 

1847 

PLAYS 

"The Dream at Sea," "A Match in the Dark," "The Sentinel," 

" Married Life," " The Windmill," " The Carnival Ball." 

PERFORMERS 
M. G. Bruce, W. Bolland, J. Leslie, John Doe, H. Mansfield, E. Hartopp, 

Hon. H. Percival, John Noaks, G. Goodlittle, C. Morse, C. Ellison, 

Henry Dove. 
Miss J. Mordaunt, Mrs. Garthwaite, Mrs. A. Wigan. 

There was an original Epilogue, but its title and the name of the 
writer are not recorded. 



300 AMATEUR ACTING 

1848 

PLAYS 

"Charles XII.," "Why don't she Marry?" "Kill or Cure," "Naval 

Engagements," " A Day Well Spent," " The Prince and Pedlar." 

PERFORMERS 

John Noakes, Hon. R. Grimston, Hon. C. Lyon, H. Fellows, C. Cuthbert, 
A. Mynn, Lord Henry Brooke, John Doe, E. Hartopp, J. Leslie, 
Hon. Richard Roe, J. Biffin, Hon. H. Percival, C. Morse, J. Loraine, 
A. Richards, C. Randolph. 

Miss Garthwaite, Miss Mordaunt, Mrs. Garthwaite, Mrs. A. Wigan. 

Epilogue by T. Taylor. 

1849 

PLAYS 

" Law for Ladies," " X. Y. Z.," " The Beulah Spa," " Robert Macaire," 

" Turning the Tables," " The Master's Rival." 

PERFORMERS 

Hon. Thomas Knox, R. W. Biffin, E. Hartopp, Lord H. Brooke, M. 
Bruce, P. George, Hon. H. Percival, Sir Charles Cropland (Bart.), 
the Chevalier Esrom, John Noakes, A. Mynn, Hon. R. Roe, Hon. S. 
Whitehead, John Doe. 

Mrs. Caulfield, Mrs. A. Hughes, Mrs. A. Wigan, Miss Mordaunt. 

Epilogue by O. Adolphus. 

1850 

PLAYS 
" Killed, Wounded, and Missing," " The Follies of a Night," " Fighting 
by Proxy," " Pleasant Dreams," " Used Up," "The Bengal Tiger," 
"The Unfinished Gentleman." 

PERFORMERS 
O. Adolphus, E. Evans, Sir Charles Cropland, Hon. R. Roe, Chevalier 
Esrom, Hon. S. Whitehead, S. Charles, Hon. H. Percival, J. Noakes, 
O. Smith, A. Mynn, J. Loraine. 
Miss Engeham, Miss Mordaunt, Mrs. Caulfield, Mrs. A. Wigan, Miss 
Marston. 

Epilogue written by J. Noakes. 



CANTERBURY "OLD STAGERS" 301 



1851 

PLAYS 

"Hearts are Trumps," "John Dobbs," " Deaf as a Post," "Not a bad 
Judge," "A Nabob for an Hour," "The Lottery Ticket." 

PERFORMERS 
Hon. S. Whitehead, Hon. Richard Roe, John Doe, Sir Charles Cropland, 

J. Noakes, E. Evans, H. Percival, T. Knox, Chevalier Esrom, A. 

Mynn, J. Loraine. 
Mrs. A. Wigan, Mrs. Caulfield, Miss Cathcart, Miss Marston. 

Epilogue written by T. Taylor. 



1852 

PLAYS 

" Simpson & Co.," " Raising the Wind," " Comfortable Service," " The 
Spitalfields Weaver," " Tom Noddy's Secret," " The Mummy." 

PERFORMERS 

John Doe, Richard Roe, A. Smith, B. Smith, John Noakes, Hon. 

S. Whitehead. 
Miss Jenny Marston, Mrs. Caulfield, Miss Engeham, Miss Leclercq, Mrs. 

A. Wigan. 

An original Epilogue ; writer not recorded. 



1853 

PLAYS 

" Spring Gardens," " A Dream of the Future," " A Trip to Kissengen," 
" The Bengal Tiger," " Boots at the Fountain." 

PERFORMERS 
John Noakes, Hon. Richard Roe, Sir Chas. Cropland, Hon. John Doe, 

Hon. S. Whitehead, A. Mynn, T. Knox, E. Evans, A. Smith, 

B. Smith, J. B. Loraine. 
Mrs. Wigan, Miss Marston, Mrs. Caulfield, Miss Engeham. 

Epilogue, "Time Baffled" ; writer not mentioned. 



302 AMATEUR ACTING 

1854 

PLAYS 
"The Housekeeper," "Handsome is as Handsome Does," "Pleasant 
Dreams," " Sweetheart and Wives," " Beards or Tails," 
" Barefaced Impostors." 

PERFORMERS 
The characters were played by the usual performers, and included — 
Mrs. Wigan, Mrs. Caulfield, Miss Carlotta Leclercq, Miss Elwen 
Turner, Miss Marston. 

1855 

PLAYS 

" Helping Hands," " A Desperate Game," " Twice Killed," " Prison and 

Palace," "Dr. Dilworth," "The Blighted Being." 

PERFORMERS 

These were the usual, assisted by the numerous and talented 

Smith family. 

1856 

PLAYS 

" Tit for Tat," " Frederick of Prussia," " The Mummy," " The Black 
Book," " The Camp at Chobham," " The Widow's Victim." 

PERFORMERS 

John Doe, Lieutenant-Colonel Percival, Paul Grave, Hon. S. Whitehead, 

Hon. S. Ponsonby. 
Miss Reynolds, Miss Marston, Mrs. Melford. 

1857 

PLAYS 

"The Follies of a Night," "Betsy Baker," "Burlington Arcade," "The 

Prisoner of War," "The Jacobite," "Barefaced Impostor." 

PERFORMERS 
Hon. S. Whitehead, John Doe, T. Knox, Richard Roe, Paul Grave, 

E. Evans, H. Percival, Chevalier Esrom. 
Miss Ellen Turner, Miss Milford, Mrs. Keeley, Miss Marston. 



CANTERBURY "OLD STAGERS" 303 



1858 

PLAYS 

"A Sheep in Wolfs Clothing," "Done on both Sides," "The Critic," 
" The Wreck Ashore," " Anything for a Change," " Othello." 

PERFORMERS 
Tom Taylor, H. Percival, J. Doe, Hon. S. W^hitehead, P. Grave, J. 

Loraine, E. Evans, Oliver Twist, W. Evans, John Noakes. 
Miss Woolgar, Miss Conway, Miss Herbert, and Miss Cottrell. 

Epilogue, entitled " Foreign Relations," written by Tom Taylor. 



1859 

PLAYS 

" Prison and Palace," " Whitebait at Greenwich," " A Thumping Legacy," 
"A Dream of the Future," "Ticklish Times," "The Original." 

PERFORMERS 

Col. de Bathe, John Doe, E. Evans, Hon. S. Ponsonby, Hon. F. Pon- 
sonby, J. Loraine, Capt. Hartopp, Hon. R. Roe, Hon. S. Whitehead, 
J. Noakes, Paul Grave, T. H. Knox, Oliver Twist, H. Percival, W. 
Evans, Baron Munchausen, A. Mynn. 

Miss Bulmer, Mrs. Leigh Murray, Miss Marston, Miss Engeham. 

Epilogue written by Palgrave Simpson. 



i860 

PLAYS 

"A Bachelor of Arts," "You can't Marry your Grandmother," 

"Shocking Events," "Charles XII.," "To oblige Benson," 

" The Two Bonnycastles." 

PERFORMERS 

These are the usual, and include — N. Kitts. 
Miss Marston, Miss Leclercq, and Miss Haydon. 



304 AMATEUR ACTING 



1861 

PLAYS 

"Victims," "Who Speaks First," "Grimshaw, Bagshaw, Bradshaw," 
" Going to the Bad," " Dearest Mamma." 

PERFORMERS 

John Doe, J. Noakes, E. Evans, Oliver Twist, H. Percival, Paul Grave, 

N. Kitts, T. Knox, Tom Taylor. 
Miss Carlotta and Miss Rose Leclercq, Miss Murray, Miss Selby, Miss 

Smith. 

Epilogue written by J. Noakes. 



1862 

PLAYS 

" Our Wife," " Tit for Tat," " Lend me Five Shillings," "A Scrap of Paper," 
" The Sentinel," " Retained for the Defence." 

PERFORMERS 
Paul Grave, N. Kitts, Oliver Twist, Hon. R. Roe, W. Dalby, Chevalier 

Esrom, H. Percival, A. Burley, E. Evans, Hon. S. Whitehead, T. 

Knox, John Doe. 
Miss Carlotta and Miss Rose Leclercq, Miss Murray, Miss Raynham. 



1863 

PLAYS 

"Taming the Truant," "Tom Noddy's Secret," "The Goose 

with the Golden Eggs," " Ticket-of- Leave Man," 

" Samuel in Search of Himself" 

PERFORMERS 
The characters were played by the usual performers, with the exception 

of Hon. S. Whitehead and Richard Roe, who were absent. 
The ladies engaged were Miss Murray, Miss L. Foote, Miss Kate Terry, 
Miss Ellen Terry, Mrs. Selby. 

Epilogue written by Tom Taylor. 



CANTERBURY "OLD STAGERS" 305 

1864 

PLAYS 

" Payable on Demand," "Advice Gratis," "A Regular Fix," 

" Money," " The Illustrious Stranger." 

PERFORMERS 

J. Noakes, H. Hardinge, O. Twist, J. Doe, H. Percival, T. Knox, Hon. 

S. Whitehead, N. Kitts, Hon. R. Roe, E. Evans, Lincoln Lane, C. 

Wiggs, Mons. le de Schrymper, Sir Roger de Coverley, Methuselah 

Smith. 
Mrs. Leigh Murray, Miss Murray, Miss Kate Terry, Miss Gertrude 

Melvin. 

Epilogue, entitled " Intervention," written by Tom Taylor. 

1865 

PLAYS 

"The Attic Story," "A Dream of the Future," "The Loan of a Lover," 

" The Prisoner of War," " Your Life's in Danger," " To Paris 

and Back for Five Pounds." 

PERFORMERS 
W. Dalby, T. Knox, O. Twist, K. Peachie, R. Burley, H. Percival, John 

Doe, Hon. Richard Roe, E. Evans, C. Rind, Mons. le de Schrymper, 

Hon. S. Whitehead. 
Miss L. Thorne, Miss Cottrell, Miss Ada Dyas, Mrs. Leigh Murray. 

Epilogue written by W. Dalby, entitled " The General Election." 

1866 

PLAYS 

"Orange Blossoms," " Nine Points of the Law," " Deaf as a Post," 

" Still Waters Run Deep," " Why did you Die ? " 

" Urgent Private Affairs." 

PERFORMERS 
W. Dalby, K. Peachie, O. Twist, Hon. Richard Roe, Mons. de le 
Schrymper, E. Evans, H. Percival, T. Knox, Hon. S. Whitehead, 
John Doe, Chevalier Esrom, Mein Herr van Dunk. 
Miss Hastings, Miss Farrer, Miss Palmer, Miss Dyas, and Mrs. St. 
Henry. 

U 



3o6 AMATEUR ACTING 

1867 

PLAYS 

"A Charming Woman," "The Cricket Ball," "Whitebait at Greenwich," 

" My Wife's Second Floor," " Out of Sight," " A Phenomenon 

in a Smock Frock." 

PERFORMERS 

W. Dalby, C. Waggs, John Doe, Oliver Twist, E. Evans, de Schrymper, 
J. Knox, Hon. R. Roe, Hon. S. Whitehead, H. Percival, Vade 
Mecum, Head Centreson. 

Mrs. Leigh Murray, Miss Carlotta Leclercq, Miss Duvernay, Miss 
Susan Galton. 

Epilogue written by W. Dalby, " Our Illustrious Visitor." 

1868 

PLAYS 

" Meg's Diversion," " Married Life," "A Skilful Practitioner," 
" The Bold Recruit," " Kill or Cure." 

PERFORMERS 
W. Dalby, Hon. S. Whitehead, John Doe, A. Montagu, J. Knox, H. 
Percival, M. Jacques, E. Evans, Oliver Twist, Brahma Pootra, A. 
Sharp, W. Evans. 
Miss Carlotta Addison, Miss Carlotta Leclercq, Miss Norman, Miss 
Fanny Holland, and Mrs. Stephens. 
Epilogue, entitled " Canterbury Races," written by W. Dalby. 

1869 

PLAYS 
" Hearts are Trumps," " On and Off," " The Flying Column," 
" A Bachelor of Arts," " Ticklish Times," " Box and Cox ; or, The Long- 
lost Brothers." 

PERFORMERS 
These were the usual, and included Hon. S. Whitehead (playing Mr. 
Cox), Mr. Oliver Twist (playing Mr. Box), Mr. Percival (playing 
Sergt. Bouncer). 

Epilogue written by W. Dalby. 



CANTERBURY "OLD STAGERS" 307 

1870 

PLAYS 

" London Assurance," " A Regular Fix," " A Husband to Order," 
" A Blighted Being," " Cox and Box." 

PERFORMERS 
Hon. R. Roe, W. Dalby, C. Waggs, O. Twist, H. Percival, E. Evans, 
T. Knox, A. Smith, Chevalier Esrom, J. Jacques, J. Doe, Hon. 
S. Whitehead, Mons. le de Schrymper. 
Miss Fanny Addison, Miss Constant Brabant, Miss Marion. 

Epilogue, entitled " Eastward Ho ! " written by W. Dalby. 

1871 

PLAYS 

" Naval Engagements," " Cool as a Cucumber," " A Thumping Legacy," 

" The Rivals," " Going to the Derby." 

PERFORMERS 
Lincoln Lane, Augustus Montagu, T. Knox, E. Evans,' Chepstow Villars, 
Matthew Williams, H. Percival, Hon. R. Roe, Oliver Twist, Hall 
Wright, Sir Daffydown Dilly. 
Mrs. Leigh Murray, Miss Fanny Brough, Miss Fanny Addison, Miss 
Carlotta Addison. 
Epilogue written by W. Dalby, entitled ''' Competitive Examination." 

1872 

PLAYS 

"The Housekeeper," "Anything for a Change," " My Precious Betsy," 
" Duchess of Nothing," " Pleasant Dreams," " Box and Cox." 

PERFORMERS 
Lincoln Lane, Horty Cultor, Augustus Montagu, Oliver Twist, E. Evans, 

Sir Roger de Coverley, Sir Frederick Doe, Mein Herr van Dunk, 

T. Knox, J. Jacques, Chevalier Esrom, Hon. S. Whitehead, H. 

Percival, John Doe, Hon. R. Roe, Colley Wobbles. 
Miss Fanny Addison, Miss Fanny Brough, Miss Maud Haydon, Mrs. 

Stephens, the Smith Family. 

Epilogue, entitled " Autumn Manoeuvres," written by W. Dalby. 



3o8 AMATEUR ACTING 



1873 

PLAYS 

" New Men and Old Acres," " Retained for the Defence," 
" The Rent Day," " Out of Sight." 

PERFORMERS 

Hon. R. Roe, H. Percival, Sir Frederick Doe, J. Doe, Hon. S. White- 
head, Lincoln Lane, Horty Cultor, Colley Wobbles, Augustus 
Montagu, Oliver Twist, J. Jacques, T. Knox, E. Evans, Chevalier 
Esrom, Ripston Pippin, Signer Benfiglio, A. Cecil. 

Miss Fanny Brough, Miss Carlotta Addison, Miss Sherrington, Miss 
Lavis, Miss Marlborough. 

Epilogue written by J. Noakes and J. D. Norton. 

1874 

PLAYS 

" War to the Knife," " Tears," " Dearest Mamma," " Little Toddlekins," 
" The Bengal Tiger," " The Two Bonnycastles." 

PERFORMERS 
These are the usual, with the addition of Mr. Black Smith and Mr. Brown 
Smith. 

1875 

PLAYS 

" Tit for Tat," " Lend me Five ShiUings," " The Mummy," 

" Handsome is who Handsome Does," " Advice 

Gratis," " To Paris and Back for ^50." 

PERFORMERS 
Hon. S. Whitehead, Oliver Twist, A. Montagu, E. Evans, Sir F. Doe, 

W. Evans, W. Courtley, Chepstow A^illars, Chevalier Esrom, Jacques, 

Hon. R. Roe. 
Miss Carlotta Addison, Miss M. Cooper, Miss A. Wilton, Mrs. Leigh 

Murray. 

An Epilogue entitled "Change of Weather," written by Horty Cultor. 



CANTERBURY "OLD STAGERS" 309 

1876 

PLAYS 

" Camilla's Husband," " Tom Noddy's Secret," " A Regular Fix," " You 
can't Marry your Grandmother," " A Family Failing," " Cox and Box." 

PERFORMERS 

These were the usual, and, in addition, Mr. Courtley, Mr. Heigh Hoe, 

Signor Benfiglio. 

Epilogue, " Minus a Manager," written by Horty Cultor. 

1877 

PLAYS 

" Who Speaks First," " Meg's Diversion," " Your Life's in Danger," 
" She Stoops to Conquer," " Tears." 

PERFORMERS 

These are the usual, and include C. Waggs and Sir Deadly Lively. 

Epilogue entitled "The South-Eastern Question," written by Horty 

Cultor and W. Courtley. 

1878 

PLAYS 

"The Goose with the Golden Eggs," "A Husband to Order," 

" Whitebait at Greenwich," " The Bachelor of Arts," 

"The Original, "A Party of Pleasure." 

PERFORMERS 
W. Courtley, Haigh Hoe, W. Evans, T. Knox, Lowther R. Cade, 
Augustus Montagu, F. Doe, O. Twist, H. Percival, Hon. S. White- 
head, C. C. Sawe, &c. 
Mrs. Leigh Murray, Miss Compton, Miss Carlotta Addison, Miss 
Chippendale. 

Epilogue 1 entitled "Tempus Fugit ; or, Harlequin and Eighteen 
Seventy-Eight." 

1 This Epilogue was a reproduction of the Amateur Pantomime Harlequinade 
with Spalding as Harlequin, Miss Carlotta Addison as Columbine, W. Wye {i.e. 
W. Courtley or W. Yardley) as Clown, T. Knox Holmes as Pantaloon, &c. It 
proved an enormous success. 



310 AMATEUR ACTING 



1879 

PLAYS 

"The Prison of War," "The Wedding March," "A Rough Diamond," 
" Monsieur Poirier." 

PERFORMERS 

Hon. R. Roe, Lincoln Lane, Frederick Doe, Oliver Twist, Augustus 
Montague, Signor Benfiglio, Sir Lowther R. Cade, W. Evans, 
Chevalier Esrom, E. Evans, T. Knox, Mons. le Brun, C. E. Lawe. 

Miss Carlotta Addison, Miss Nellie Phillips, Miss Jessie Ryder. 

Epilogue entitled " Weather or No," written by W. Courtley. 

1880 

PLAYS 

" Our Bitterest Foe," " A Scrap of Paper," " To Oblige Benson," 
" Lend me Five Shillings," " New Men and Old Acres." 

PERFORMERS 
W. Courtley, Horty Cultor, A. Montagu, H. Percival, O. Twist, F. Doe, 

H. Hoe, T. Knox, E. Evans, L. R. Cade, Cloud Hopper. 
Miss Carlotta Leclercq, Miss Measor, Miss Ella Dietz, JMrs. Leigh 

Murray, and Mrs. Bernard Beere. 

Epilogue, entitled " Manager Redivivus ; or. Dr. Doe's Elixir," written by 
Mr. Horty Cultor and Mr. W. Courtley. 

1881 

PLAYS 

" Hester's Mystery," " Tit for Tat," " A Thumping Legacy," 

" The Charming Woman," " Out of Sight." 

PERFORMERS 

Sir F. Doe (Bart.), Clod Hopper, C. C. Sawe, W. Courtley, Oliver Twist, 
Augustus Montagu, E. Evans, A. Cokeupon, John Doe, T. Knox, 
H. Percival, Signor Benfiglio, Don das Jardineros, Col. Naghi, 
F. Godfrey. 

Miss Carlotta Leclercq, Miss Carlotta Addison, Miss Measor. 

Epilogue, "The Comet Here," written by Mr. W. Yardley. 



CANTERBURY "OLD STAGERS" 311 



1882 

PLAYS 

" Friends or Foes," " Time will Tell," " If I had ^looo a Year." 

PERFORMERS 

W. Courtley, A. Montagu, O. Twist, Capitano Guicini, L. Eyot, E. Evans, 

T. Knox, C. Hopper, F. Doe, R. Roe, J. Doe. 
Miss Florence Gerard, Miss E. Evelyn, Miss Rose Norreys, and Mrs. 

Leigh Murray. 

Epilogue, entitled " Time Tells," written by W. Courtley. 

1883 

PLAYS 

" The Palace of Truth," " Cousin Zachary," " The Parvenu," 

"To Oblige Benson." 

PERFORMERS 
O. Twist, Horty Cuhor, Colonel Naghi, C. C. Sawe, F. Doe, Capitano 

Gucini, Colley Wobbles, T. Knox, E. Evans. 
Miss Carlotta Leclercq, Miss Louise Willes, Miss Mary Rorke, Miss 
Adela Measor, and Miss Kate Rorke. 

An Epilogue entitled "The Parcel Post," by Horty Cultor. 

1884 

PLAYS 

"The Guv'nor," "After Dinner," "Married in Haste," 
" Pleasant Dreams." 

PERFORMERS 
Frederick Doe, Clod Hopper, II Capitano Gucini, Col. Naghi, Lowther 
R. Cade, Hams Hall, Regglar Baddun, Herr Rea Storer, Herr 
Scrobbs, Colley Wobbles, Simon Smith, Oliver Twist, Augustus 
Montagu. 
Miss Lucy Roche, Miss Fanny Addison, Miss Lily Fane, Mrs. 
Copleston. 
Epilogue, entitled " Sanitas Sanitatum," written by Mr. Horty Cultor. 



312 AMATEUR ACTING 



1885 

PLAYS 

"A Lesson in Love," "Betsy Baker," "The Ticket-of- Leave Man." 

PERFORMERS 

Clod Hopper, Col. Naghi, Augustus Montagu, II Capitano Gucini, Oliver 
Twist, Lowther R. Cade, E. Mergency, Herr Scrobbs, Hams Hall, 
Herr Rea Torrer, The MacUsquebaugh, C. C. Sawe, T. Doe. 

Miss May Mellon, Miss Carlotta Addison, Mrs. Cecil Clay, Mrs. 
Copleston. 

Epilogue, entitled " Civil Amenities," written by Fr^re Sauvage, Esq. 

1886 

PLAYS 

" How Will they Get Out of It ?" " Poor Pillicody," " Cyril's Success." 

PERFORMERS 

II Capitano Gucini, Augustus Montagu, M. le Baron de Boeuf, The 
MacFingon, Oliver Twist, Herr Scrobbs, Clod Hopper, The Mac- 
Usquebaugh, Lowther R. Cade, Motcomb St. Gomm. 

Miss Carlotta Addison, Miss Carlotta Leclercq, Miss Lucy Roche, Miss 
Chester, the Smith Family. 

Epilogue, entitled " Colindia," by Frfere Sauvage. 

1887 

PLAYS 

" The Glass of Fashion," " A Regular Fix," " My Friend Jarlet," 
" Daisy Farm." 

PERFORMERS 
Lowther R. Cade, Clod Hopper, II Capitano Gucini, The MacFingon, 

Col. Naghi, The MacUsquebaugh, Motcomb St. Gomm, Herr 

Scrobbs, Oliver Twist, Augustus Montague, M. le Baron de Bceuf, 

M. Gobelins de Windsor. 
Miss Carlotta Addison, Mrs. Frank Copleston, Miss Adela Measor, Miss 

Lucy Roche. 

Epilogue, entitled " Buffalo Billicosus," written by F. Farquhar. 



CANTERBURY "OLD STAGERS" 313 

1888 

PLAYS 

" Sent to the Tower," " Confusion," " The Area Belle," "Dearer than Life." 

PERFORMERS 

M. le Baron de Boeuf, II Capitano Gucini, Signor Nuovo Gentiluomo, 
Oliver Twist, Motcomb St. Gomm, Herr Scrobbs, The MacUsque- 
baugh, M. Goblins de Windsor, The Great Scott. 

Miss Lizzie Henderson, Miss Ada Houston, Miss Laura Linden, and The 
Great Bald Eagle and the Smith Family. 

Epilogue, " Confusion worse Confounded," written by Fredo Farkins. 

1889 

PLAYS 

" Two Roses," " The Tiger," " Good-bye," " Betsy." 

PERFORMERS 

John Doe, Oliver Twist, Augustus Montagu, Frederick Doe, Lowther 
R. Cade, II Capitano Gucini, Motcomb St. Gomm, Mons. le Baron 
de Boeuf, The MacUsquebaugh, Signor Nuovo Gentiluomo, The 
MacFingon, Col. Naghi, Herr Scrobbs, The Great Bald Eagle. 

Misses Laura and Marie Linden, Mrs. Frank Copleston, Miss Isabel 
EUissen, Miss Ada Sala, and Miss Edith Chester. 

Epilogue, " Eiffels and Trifles," by Fredo Farkins. 

1890 

PLAYS 

" My Milliner's Bill," " The Silver Shield," " At Last," 
" The Money Spinner." 

PERFORMERS 
John Doe, Oliver Twist, Frederick Doe, Chepstow Villars, Herr Scrobbs, 
Col. Naghi, The MacFingon, The MacUsquebaugh, M. Lafite, 
Dodson Fogg, The Great Bald Eagle. 
Miss Annie Irish, Miss Ethel Norton, Mrs. George Canninge, and Miss 
Laura Linden. 

Epilogue, " Keep it Dark," written by Motcomb St. Gomm. 



314 AMATEUR ACTING 



1891 

PLAYS 

"In Honour Bound," " The Paper Chase," " A Thumping Legacy," 

" Nine Points of the Law," " Cox and Box." 

PERFORMERS 

The Hon. S. Whitehead, H. Percival, OHver Twist, Augustus Montagu, 
II Capitano Gucini, Colonel Naghi, IMotcomb St. Gomm, Lincoln 
Lane, Herr Scrobbs, Dodson Fogg, The MacUsquebaugh, Signor 
Nuovo Gentiluomo, M. Lafite, Benjamin Banjo, The Great Bald 
Eagle. 

Misses Annie Irish, Mary Ansell, Adah Barton, Carlotta Addison (Mrs. 
Latrobe). 

This was the great jubilee year, the fiftieth anniversary of the original 
foundation of the " Old Stagers." The attendance was, of course, in the 
circumstances, unusually large, the list containing no fewer than thirty- 
seven " Old Stagers," and as many as forty-three guests invited to make 
themselves free of the " Old Stagers' " Rooms, the total number of eighty 
being a record. 

In this year the " Old Stagers " held their annual dinner and celebrated 
their jubilee at the Cafe Royal, on Saturday, August ist, the Saturday 
before the commencement of the Canterbury Week. This was necessi- 
tated by the fact that on the Wednesday of the Canterbury Week the 
" Old Stagers" were entertained by the Mayor of Canterbury. 

There were present at this dinner Lord Bessborough, Sir Spencer 
Ponsonby-Fane, General Marshall, General Sir Henry de Bathe, Thomas 
Knox Holmes, J. O'Dowd, J. Lowther, E. Whitmore, C. Drummond, 
A. F. M. Spalding, Q. Twiss, C. Eccles, C. Ponsonby, C. Colnaghi, E. 
Ponsonby, Captain Gooch, W. Nicholson, G. Whymper, T. G. Cooper, 
W. P. Mills, H. Curtis, Arthur Bourchier, N. Cooper, A. Mackinnon, 
and W. Yardley. 

The Epilogue, "A Jubilee Review," which had been entrusted to 
the last-mentioned, achieved a record for Canterbury Epilogues, for it 
was not only written and completed, but actually read after the dinner. 
It also had the advantage of thorough rehearsal, and went as smoothly 
as could possibly be. This year, in addition to the fact of its being the 
jubilee, was marked by the sad circumstance of the death of the popular 
manager of " O. S.," George Cavendish Bentinck. 



CANTERBURY "OLD STAGERS" 315 

1892 

PLAYS 

" The Duchess of Bayswater," "A Show of Hands," " Young Mrs. 
Winthrop," " The Magistrate." 

PERFORMERS 
Messrs. Lafite, MacFingon, Benjamin Banjo, AHngton Barchester, 

Dodson Fogg, Oliver Twist, H. Spence, B. Tyme, Hosier, Gucini, 

Colonel Naghi. 
Mesdames Carlotta Addison (Mrs. Latrobe), Ethel Norton, Laura Linden, 

Leston. 

The Epilogue, " A Contested Election," was written by Mark Tyme and 
A. Doubleyou, with music by B. Tyme. 

1893 

PLAYS 

" Barbara," " The Dancing Master," " On Bail," " The Hobby Horse." 

PERFORMERS 

Messrs. B. Banjo, Mac Usquebaugh, MacFingon, De Guernsey, Bar- 
chester, Chancellor X. Checkers, Scrobbs, O. Twist, Dodson Fogg. 

Mesdames Copleston, May Whitby, Marie Linden, Ethel Norton, 
Laura Linden, Sarah Smith, and L. von Malachouska. 

The Epilogue, "The Great Drought ; a Midsummer Dream of 93," 
was written by W. Courtley. 

1894 

PLAYS 

" Sixes and Sevens," " Engaged," " Sweet Lavender," 
" Cool as a Cucumber." 

PERFORMERS 

Messrs. Barchester, Kensington Gore, MacUsquebaugh, O. Twist, B. 

Banjo, Colonel Naghi, De Nuneham, John Montague, Baron de Boeuf. 
Mesdames Lizzie Henderson, Annie Webster, Carlotta Addison, Ethel 

Norton, Rose Nesbitt, Irene Vanbrugh. 

The Epilogue, " On Trial," was written by C. Colnaghi and 
Lieut-Col. Newnham-Davis. 



3i6 AMATEUR ACTING 

1895 

PLAYS 

" The Professor," " To Oblige Benson," " Liberty Hall." 

PERFORMERS 
Messrs. Col. Naghi, Dodson Fogg, MacUsquebaugh, MacFingon, Bar- 

chester, Oliver Twist, Lawrence Olde, De Nuneham, St. Claverton. 
Mesdames Carlotta Addison, Lizzie Henderson, Aileen O'Brian, Dora 

de Winton, Ethel Norton. 

The Epilogue, " Change of Air," was written by N. and N. 
(Naghi and Nuneham). 

1896 

PLAYS 

" My Little Girl," " Hal the Highwayman," " The Passport," " Ours." 

PERFORMERS 

The same as last year, with also Messrs. Acton Deed, Cyril Edgar, 

Charles Berkley, H. Biddulph, and Bell Roper. 
Mesdames Irene Vanbrugh, Lizzie Henderson, Lena Ashwell, Ethel 

Norton, and Aileen O'Brian. 

The Epilogue, " A Nightmare," by N. and N. 
(Naghi and Nuneham). 

1897 

PLAYS 

"That Dreadful Doctor," "Dream Faces," "The Idler," 

" A Pair of Spectacles." 

PERFORMERS 

Messrs. Oliver Twist, The MacFingon, The MacUsquebaugh, Lawrence 
Olde, D. Nuneham, K. Gore, Bell Roper, Acton Deed, Hall 
Magniac, Roland Twist. 

Mesdames Carlotta Addison, Irene Vanbrugh, Eveleen Mills, Victoria 
Addison, Lilian Hingston, Mona K. Oram. 

The Epilogue, " 1947," was written by W. Courtley and De Nuneham. 



CANTERBURY "OLD STAGERS" 317 

1898 

PLAYS 

"Shades of Night," " Jedbury Junior," " Liberty Hall." 

PERFORMERS 
jMessrs. Oliver Twist, The MacFingon, The MacUsquebaugh, De 

Nuneham, K. Gore, Bell Roper, Acton Deed, Hall Magniac, Hazard 

Straight, Alexander Jordan. 
Mesdames Copleston, Sybil Carlisle, Mabel Beardsley, Lizzie Henderson, 

Winifred Fraser. 

The Epilogue, " The Canterbury Ring," a parody on " The Nibelungen 
Ring," was written by W. Courtley. 



3i8 AMATEUR ACTING 



EPILOGUE 

In due accordance with the original custom of the " Old 
Stagers," in which days they had " An Apologist," whose 
duty it was to make polite excuses to the audience 
upon any pretext, I commenced this article with " An 
Apologia." It is quite in the fitness of things, then, that 
I should conclude it with an " Epilogue," for the Epilogue 
is a firmly-rooted although early established custom at 
Canterbury. 

My present Epilogue will consist of a few words on 
one or two matters which appear to me to call for special 
comment on my part, in some cases from the point of 
view of general interest, and in others more on personal 
grounds. 

I consider, for instance, that a special tribute of 
recognition is due to Miss Carlotta Addison (Mrs. La 
Trobe), who has been for so many years identified so 
intimately with the " Old Stagers " that she virtually, if not 
indeed actually, has become part and parcel of the club. 

" Sarah," by which soubriquet she is affectionately 
known by " O. S.," appears to have made her first appear- 
ance with them in the year 1861, when obviously 
extremely young, since when, though occasionally absent 
through force of circumstances, such as engagements of 
a professional, matrimonial, or domestic nature, she has 
continued to appear up to and inclusive of the present 
year. I should imagine that she must have taken part 
in a considerable majority of the performances given 

by " O. S." in that number of years. This is a record 

318 



CANTERBURY "OLD STAGERS" 319 

which certainly calls for notice, however brief, in any 
epitome of the deeds of " O. S." 

A few words too are due to Mr. C. W. A. Trollope, 
who for the past consecutive dozen years or thereabouts, 
has most devotedly and adequately fulfilled the onerous, 
and at times somewhat thankless, duties of stage manager 
to the '' Old Stagers." I must also add a word of thanks 
on my own account, to all who have assisted me in my 
difficult task, and especially to my friends Quintin Twiss 
and Augustus M. Spalding, in addition to what I have 
already previously mentioned concerning Sir Spencer 
Ponsonby-Fane in that direction. 

With regard to the latter, it may be fairly said that he 
has for many years past been the principal guiding spirit 
of the " Old Stagers." It is a matter of exceptional and 
extraordinary interest that he sang a verse of the National 
Anthem on the night of the opening performance in 1842, 
and did the same thing at the conclusion of the Epilogue 
in the Jubilee year 1891 ! Goodness knows how many 
times he has assisted in the same way in the intervening 
years, but certainly remarkably often. He has also in- 
variably suggested the themes and rough ideas of the 
Epilogue of the past thirty years without a break. These 
are but very few of the countless methods by which he 
has so ably and materially assisted " O. S." to its present 
unique position. His administrative qualities, supreme 
tact, and unvarying geniality, have alike combined to 
secure him the admiration and affection of the " Old 
Stagers " individually and collectively. 

My task — alas ! woefully incomplete — would be crimi- 
nally so were I to quit it without a special reference to the 
immortal trio who have done so much towards achiev- 
ing the immortality of Morton, Burnand, and Sullivan's 



320 AMATEUR ACTING 

triumviretta " Cox and Box." No other trio, amateur or 
professional, has ever approached the Hon. Sir Spencer 
Ponsonby-Fane, General Sir Henry P. de Bathe, and 
Mr. Quintin Twiss, as Cox, Bouncer, and Box respec- 
tively. Any words of mine in their favour are altogether 
superfluous. 

I have confined myself strictly to " O. S." perfor- 
mances at Canterbury only. Those that have been given 
elsewhere, especially in the earlier life of the club, are both 
numerous and interesting, and indeed would form the 
subject of a pleasant little brochure in themselves. They 
will probably have to wait, however, until the bibliographer 
shall arise with the patience and perseverance to compile 
from its massive archives a tome worthy of the complete 
subject of the "Old Stagers." This is certain to be an 
accomplished fact one of these days, even if it be deferred 
till the Jubilee of the centenary of the most celebrated 
and longest lived Amateur Theatrical Club that has ever 
existed. 



THE END 



Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson fr" Co. 
Edinburgh <5r» London 



YD 30974