(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Charlotte Cushman: her letters and memories of her life"

Google 



This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 

to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 

to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other maiginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 

publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing tliis resource, we liave taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 
We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain fivm automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attributionTht GoogXt "watermark" you see on each file is essential for in forming people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liabili^ can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http: //books .google .com/I 



BRtNTANOS'LITERAP'' 

"30 iirjio-: >inilAK.~. 






i 



:- 1 






J 



>K 1 



tOmA 



5 



CHARLOTTE CUSHMAK: 



HEB LETTEES AKD MEMOETES 

OF HEB UFE. 



XDITXD B7 BBB VBJXSDf 



EMMA STEBBINS. 



x*> 



"Th$myidUiiihernaHmrn2m,andUU¥yid»rihanipace,6ld^ 

UfulteorTH. Th^yoftnot^Mtwho p%Ue(h<Ml^ eoT<maUonrobu,and 
gom Ommgh itniwrtcU lorn to wifagrwl ixxotr. ** ^ Kimtaow. 



BOSTON: 
HOUGHTON, OSGOOD AND COMPANY. 

(^ Btendltt JPmi, Cmlcaii. 

1878. 



J 



GOPTBIOBT, 1878. 
Bt HOUGHTON. OSGOOD AND COMFANT. 

AU rights retetved. 



UmvM t M ' ir Puss: Wbx£h, BiGBLOfW, & Co, 
Cahbkidgi. 






^i\/^. 



TO 



TEE DBAHAnC PBOFESSION, 

WHICH HISS CUSHMAN L07ED AND HONORED, 

TO WHICH SHB GAVE THX BTUDT OF HIR LIFB AND THE LOYAL 

DEVOTION OF HER OBEAT POWERS, TO WHICH SHE HAS 

LEFT IN HSR EXAMPLE A NOBLE AND 

IMPERISHABLE REMEMBRANCE, 

Cfjis boltime to usptttMln tietilcateir* 



^Mo^ 



(«*• 



cf^^ 




\ -. 



/ r 



(T- 



K 



k 



tflWB^^ 



791557 



TABLE OF OOlsrTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

1S80. 1B3K. 

Qflnealagic*! Sketch of the Caibm&Q Family. Bobert Cnehwin : hii 
Serrices to the Colony ; hia Semum ; hie Son Thomw Ciulunaii ; 
hi> Death. — Honorable Mention of Botk — KlVnn.t. Ciuhiiuii. 
— The Babbit F&mily. — Anceston on the Maternal Side. — The 
Gift of Imitation hereditary. — UiM Ciuhman's cmIj Bemeni* 
brancea ; early Gifta. — Uodc » Pisuon. — Firat Play. — Sndden 
Birth of the Dnunatia Instinct. — Family Miafortniies. — Study of 
Hmic ai a PToIeaaion. — Practice in Chnich Chirira. — Introdoc- 
tion to Htb. Wood. — First Appeamnce on the Stage ai CoaniVM 
AlmaTira. — Goes to New Orleana, — Losa of Voice. — Detennina- 
tion to act —Firat Appearance aa Lady Hacbetli. — Bnceeia. — 
Methods of Study 1-21 

CHAPTER II. 



Betnin to New York. — EngRgement to act at the Bowery Theatre. 
— lUuoa. — Soccearful Firet Appearance. — Btmiing of the The- 
atre ; Lon of Wardrobe. — Engagement in Albany. — Death of 
her young Brother. — Engagement at Park Theatre, New York. — 
Three Yean' hard Work aa " Walking Lady." — Impreaiiona of 
her at that Ticae. — Acting with Macready. — Undertakea Manage- 
ment of Walnnt Street Theatre, Philadelphia. — Dr. I^rdner. — 
CoUey Qnttan. — Sallie Mercer. — Sails for England. — Ooea to 
Sootlaud ; to Paris. — Uokes Engagement to act in Loudon . 25-44 



VI TABLE OF CONTENXa 

CHAPTER III. 
1845-1846. 

Firat Appearance in London. — Fazio. — Letters to her Mother. — 
Great Saccees. — Social Triumphs. — Newspaper Notices of the 
Time. — Bianca, Bosalind, Mrs. Haller, Beatrice, etc. — Tour in 
the Provinces. — Continued Success. — Second Engagement in 
London. — Romeo and Juliet — Newspaper Notices. — Letters 
from Sheridan Knowles. — Dublin Audiences. — Irish Stories 47 - 67 

CHAPTER IV. 

1847-184a 

Bomeo and Juliet in the Provinces. — Visit to Paris. — Letters of 
H. F. Chorley. — Macready's FarewelL — The Duke of Devonshire. 
Letters of Miss Jewsbury. — Her Remembrances. — Miss Cush- 
man*s Letters to a Young Friend. — Mrs. Carlyle . . 68-85 

CHAPTER V. 

1848-1864; 

Early Dajs in England. — A Friend's Memories. — Singing in So- 
ciety. — (Recitations. — Her Sister's Marriage. — Sails for America. 

— Acts throughout the Country. — Successful Engagements. — 
Crosses the Ocean to see a sick Friend. — Returns to the States. 
—Again crosses the Ocean. — Seaforth HaU. — Isle of Wight — 
First Visit to Rome. — Page's Portrait —Paul Akers. — Other 
Portraits. — Naples. — Florence. — Paris. — Return to England. 

— Malvern. — Acting in London. — House in Bolton Row. — 
May-fair Dinner to Ristori. — Miss Cushman's Diary. — Record of 
1855-1857.— Second Visit to Rome 86-110 

CHAPTER VI. 

1858-1869; 

Acting in the States. — Return to England. — Summer Excnrsiona. 
Rome. — 88 Via Gregoriana. — First Evening Reception. — De- 
scription of the Roman Home ; its Aspect without and within. 

— The Italian Servants; their Peculiarities.— The Cook.— The 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. VU 

Major damo. — " The Principe." — The Portreaa. —The Dogs. — 
The Horses. — The Birds. — The Campagna. — The Aqaedncts. 
— The Rides. — The Hunt — Shepherd Dogs. — Oxen. — Dangers 
of the Campagna. — The Spring. — ^The Flowers. — The Excaya- 
tions. — New Discoyeries. — A Friend's Memories . . Ill - li2 

CHAPTER VII. 

Miss Coshman behind the Scenes. — The Drama ; its Shortcomings; 
its Excellences ; its Opportunities. — Incident in Chicago. — Re* 
membrances of M^ Merrilies ; First Assumption of the Part ; Mr. 
Braham; The "Make-up"; The Costume; The Finale. — De- 
mand for the '* Sticks." — Disposition of the Reading-Table and 
Chair. — Nancy Sykes. — Letter on Charity and Actors 148 - 168 

CHAPTER VIII. 

1869-1862. 

Death of her Sister. — Excursion in Wales. — Winter in Rome. — 
Theodore Parker. — Bust modelled. — Sails for New York. — Acts 
for Dramatic Fund. — Acts in chief Cities. — Visits Mr. Seward 
in Washington. — Returns to England. — Letters of 1861. — Isle 
of Wight — Letters. — Paris. — Visit to Rosa Bonheur's Studio. 
— French Theatres. — George Sand. — Love for Children. — Let- 
ter upon the Sacredness of the Maternal Trust — Rome and the 
Roman Climate ; Letters on this Subject — Letters on the North- 
em Successes. — Return to Rome. — Spezzia. — Mrs. Somenrille. 
— Letters on Religious Subjects 159-180 

CHAPTER IX. 

1861-1867. 

Letters. — Roman Winters. — In 1868 returns to the States to act 
for the Sanitary Commission. •— Acts in New York, Philadelphia^ 
Baltimore, Washington, and Boston for this Purpose. — Letter to 
Dr. Bellows ; his Reply. — Presentation of Album from Great Cen- 
tral Fair. — Reads the Ode on the Inauguration of the Great Organ 
in Music Hall, Boston. —Sails for Liverpool — Rome. — Letters. 
Excursion to Naples. — Letters. — En^and. — Harrowgate. — Let- 
ters. — Rome. — Letters. — Summoned to England to her Mother's 
Death-bed. — Presentation of Alti Rilievi to Music Hall, and De- 
scription of them 181-210 



VUl TABLE OF COKTENTa 



CHAPTER X. 

Dnmatio BeadingB. Providenoe : Henry YIII.» Macbeth, Hamlet^ 
Cardinal Wolaej. — Hiunoroaa Characters in Shakespeare. — 
Readings : Emotional, Heroic, Humorous, LyiicaL — The Skeleton 
in Armor. — Battle of Ivry. — Rervi BieL — Dialect Poems. — 
Death of the Old Sqtdre. — Bums. — Miss Maloney. — '* Betsy 
and I axe oat," et& « 218 - 228 

CHAPTER XI. 

1869-1874. 

First Appearance of the Fatal Malady. — Rome. — Gtoes to Paris for 
Advice. — Dr. Sims. — England. — Sir James Paget. — Malvern. 
Edinburgh. — Sir James Simpson. — Operation decided on ; takes 
place. — Long and serious Illness. — Supposed Recovery. — Re- 
turns to Rome. — Reappearance of the Disease. — Returns to Eng- 
land. — Submits to Second Operation. — Recovers for a Time. — 
Return of Unfavorable Symptoms. — Decides to return to America. 

— Roman Home broken up. — Builds Villa at Newport — By 
Advice of Physicians, returns to the Stage. — Acts in New York ; 
in Boston. — School-house named for her. — Extracts from Let- 
ters of these Tears. — Acting and Reading in Various Places. — 
Letters.— Illness in Baltimore 229-257 

CHAPTER XII. 

Farewell to the Stage in New York. — The Ovation. — The Ode. — 
The Speeches. — Letters. —Farewell to Philadelphia. — Readings. 

— Illness in CincinnatL — Recovery. — Readings. — Acting in 
the West — Illness in St Louis. — Reading in Philadelphia. — 
RistorL— Farewell to Bost^ 258-275 

CHAPTER XIII. 

1875-1876. 

Last Winter in Boston. — Courage and Sustalnment — Daily Let- 
ters. — Fears and Hopes. — Preparations for Death. — Description 
of her Surroundings. — Unexpectedness of her Death. — Funeral 
Ceremonies. — Mount Auburn ....•• 276-286 

CHAPTER XIV. 
Tributes to her Memory »•••••• 287-808 



>.^S»2v, 



UST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 



POBTBAIT OV Miss CuSHHAN FmUUpitee. 



Miss Stibbins'b Bust of Miss Cushkan • 



Fkge 
. 161 



Miss Cushhazv's Villa, Newpobt, B. I. 



• • • 



244 



vy^^*'^ 



CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN: 

HER LirE. LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 



CHAPTER I. 



" Good nms In inin or womu 
I* the immtllrtj j«w«l of tholr ■ouk." 

OaeOa. 

rS Btoiy of the first Bettlers of Now England — 
of that small band of devoted men and women 
who left their native land and subjected them- 
selves iritli nnshaken constancy and conr^ to the perils 
and dangers and privations of the 'wilderness, seeloDg 
only the privily of worshipping God according to their 
own consciences — is too well known to need mnch re- 
capitulation here. It is, as it should be, a household 
word ; it is one of the worthiest boasts of the nation, 
that in this transplantation to the shores of the New 
World its chief or tap root struck deep down, — the noble 
and true Puritan element, compounded of the best quali- 
ties of any race, — earnestness, sincerity, and thorongb 
conscientiousness. 



3 CHABLOTTE CU8HMAK : 

Among the men who first conceived, and afterwards 
carried out, this plan of emigration to America for con- 
science' sake, Bobert Cushman, the ancestor of Charlotte 
Cushman, holds an honored and honorable place. 

To interpret justly a noble character, it becomes neces- 
sary to search out all its springs of action, to follow up 
and grasp carefully the subtle links which bind it to the 
past, have swayed it through life, and still stretch onward 
through influence and example into the illimitable futura 
The antecedents of such a character as that of Miss Cush- 
man, even as far back as we can trace them, cannot but be 
of importance and interest, not only to those who loved 
her as few have ever been loved, but to that large pub- 
lic who knew her only in her work, but over whom she 
held the sway of a master-spirit, and between whom and 
herself existed the never-failing attraction of a powerful 
and magnetic sympathy. I therefore recur briefly to such 
records as I have at my command concerning the two 
honorable families firom whom she has descended, — the 
Cushmans and Babbits of New England. Bobert Cush- 
man,* the founder of the fieanily in this country, was an 
Englishman, a Nonconformist or Puritan, one of the origi- 
nal band of Pilgrims, and a trusted and esteemed leader 
among them, who first emigrated to Leyden, in Hol- 
land, "having heard that there they could find freedom of 
religion for all mea" At Leyden, after a peaceful resi- 
dence of some years, they b^an to agitate the question of 
emigration to America, a project in which Bobert Cush- 
man took a deep interest He was selected, in company 
with Deacon John Carver, to go to England and open 
negotiations with a company which had been formed 
under the royal sanction, called the Virginia Company, 



* Born 1580 or 1586; exact d«te not known. 



HER LIFE, LETTEE89 AND 1IEH0RIE& 3 

" for liberty to settle on the company's territoiy in North 
America.'' But their chief object, then and always, was 
to secuie &om the king the gift of liberty of conscience 
there. These n^tiations did not prove very successful ; 
all the favor they could obtain was the king's gracious 
permission for them to go, and his promise to connive at 
them, and not molest them; but his public authority^ 
under his seal, could not be granted. 

Three journeys from Leyden to England were made on 
this mission, always urging their great point, '' freedom to 
worship €rod," and never either dismayed or discouraged by 
their want of success. At length, findii^ they coidd only 
obtain a sort of compromise, which permitted them, " so long 
as they remained faithful subjects of his Majesty," to be 
tolerated in their form of worship, which was neverthe> 
less declared to be essentially unsound and heretical, 
they finally deteimined to emigrate without further delay 
or preamble, and take the future into their own handa 
Bobert Cushman and Elder Brewster, being then appointed 
financiers and managers of the afTairs of the "Adven- 
turers," as they were called in England, procured for 
them two ships, the Speedwell, a vessel of only sixty tons 
burden, and the famous Mayflower, a little laiger. These 
two vessels sailed in company from Southampton on the 
6th of August, 1620, Bobert Cushman and fiEtmily sailing 
with them. 

A series of disasters, owing to the unseaworthy condi- 
tion of the Speedwell, obliged them to put back into port 
twice, and ddayed the final departure until Wednesday, 
September 6, 1620, when the Mayfiower sailed with only 
a portion of the company, the vessel not being large 
enough to accommodate tiiem all ; among those who re- 
mained behind was Bobert Cushman, it being considered 
moie important that he should remain, as financier and 



4 CHABLOTTE CUBHMAK : 

agent at Leyden, to look after the interests of the colony, 
and send them out supplies and necessaries. 

During the following year Bobert Cushman published 
an able pamphlet on Emigration to America, urging the 
advantages of settling in that coimtry, and on the return 
of the Mayflower, with favorable accounts of the establish- 
ment of ttxe colony at New Plymouth he made his ar- 
rangements to join them, with otheis who had been left 
behind. Early in July he sailed for New England in the 
Fortune, a small vessel of fifty-five tons, taking with him 
his only son, Thomas, whom, on his return to England, 
he left behind him in the family of the first colonial gov- 
ernor, Bradford. He returned, still acting in the interests 
of the colonists, and before leaving delivered an able ser- 
mon or address to the Pilgrims, since quite noted as the 
first sermon delivered and printed in New England. 

On one of Miss Cushman's professional visits to Boston 
Theodore Parker brought her a copy of this sermon, which 
was first published in London in 1622, the year after its 
delivery, and afterwards reprinted in Boston in 1724. 
Various other editions were printed in 1780, 1815, 1822, 
and 1826. Mr. Cushman continued to act for the colony 
up to the time of his death, which took place in April, 
1626. 

In the records of the colony may be found many evi- 
dences of the esteem and consideration in which he was 
held, and the loss they felt they had sustained in his 
death. Governor Bradford alludes to him as ** the right 
hand of the Adventurers, who for divers years has man- 
aged all our business with them to our'gi^eat advantage." 
He is also spoken of by the Hon. John Davis, Judge of 
the United States District Court of Massachusetts, in a 
biographical sketch of him, published with an edition of 
his sermon in 1785, as ''one of the most distinguished 



HER LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MBHOBIES. 5 

characters among the collection of worthies who qtdtted 
England on account of their religion, and settled in Ley- 
den in 1609. The news of his death and that of Mr. 
Bobinson, their pastor in the city of Leyden, were brought 
at the same time to Plymouth by Captain Standish, and 
they were equally lamented by their bereaved and suffer- 
ing friends there. He was zealously engaged in the suc- 
cess of the colony, — a man of activity and enterprise, 
well versed in business, respectable in point of intellec- 
tual abilities, well accomplished in Scriptural knowledge, 
an unaffected professor, and a steady, sincere practiser 
of religioa" 

At a later period (1846) Judge Davis remarked in a 
letter to Charles Ewer, Esq., the publisher of a new 
edition of Mr. Cushman's sermon: "That discourse is 
a precious relic of ancient times ; the sound good sense, 
good advice, and pious spirit which it manifests wiU, it 
may be hoped, now and in all future time meet with 
approval and beneficial acceptance in our community." 
Says the venerable Dr. Dwight, formerly President of 
Yale College, in a volume of his travels in the United 
States, published in 1800, " By me the names of Carver, 
Bradford, Cushman, and Standish will never be forgotten 
until I lose the power of recollection." 

Many other testimonials might be gathered together 
here, showing the genuine worth of Bobert Cushman and 
the high consideration he enjoyed among his associates ; 
but enough has been said to prove Miss Cushman's right 
by inheritance to those qualities which lie at the root of 
all success, and the possession of which her subsequent 
career so fully exemplified. 

It will be remembered that Thomas Cushman, the only 
son of Bobert, remained with the colony when his father 
returned to England, a member of the feonily of Gov- 



6 CHABLOTTS CUSHICAN : 

emor Bradford. About the year 1635, the record says, he 
married Mary Allerton, the third child of Isaac Allerton, 
who came over in the Mayflower. In that matrimonial 
relation they lived together fifty-five years, she surviv- 
ing him nearly ten yeara 

In 1649, the office of ruling elder of the church at 
Plymouth becoming vacant by the death of Elder Brew- 
ster, Thomas Cushman was appointed to that office, and 
continued to hold it to the day of his death, a period of 
over forty-three yeara He was always the intimate and 
confidential friend of Grovemor Bradford, and was the 
principal witness to his will. 

The first volume of the Records of the First Church at 
Plymouth contains the following notice of Elder Cush- 
man's death: — 

*' 1692. It pleased God to seize upon our good Elder, Mr. 
Thomas Cushman, by sickness, and in this year to take him 
from us. He was chosen and ordained Elder of this Church, 
April 6, 1649 ; he was neare forty-three years in his office; he 
had bin a rich blessing to this church scores of years ; he was 
grave, sober, holy, and temperate, very studious and solici- 
tous for the peace and prosperity of the Church, and to pre- 
vent and heal all breaches. He dyed December 11th, neare 
the end of the eighty-four yeare of his life. December 16th 
was kept as a day of humiliation for his death. Much of God's 
presence went away from this church when this blessed Pillar 
was removed." 

He was buried on the southerly brow of "Burying 
Hill," in a very beautiful locality, commanding a full 
view of Plymouth harbor, of the town, of the green hills 
in the distance, and of the " meeting-house " in which for 
more than seventy years he had prayed and worshipped. 
The gravestone erected by Plymouth Church twenty- 
four years after his death is a plain slab of mica slate 



HEB LIFE, LETTEBS, AND HEMORIEa 7 

about three and one half feet in height^ and was piobablj 
imported from England. It is now in a good state of 
preservation, and although it has stood nearly one hun- 
dred and forty years, the inscription is yet distinct and 
legible. It speaks of him as that "" precious servant of 
God." His widow, Mary Allerton, died at ninety, and 
was the last survivor of the one hundred who came over 
in the Mayflower. 

In the seventh generation from Bobert Cushman — dur- 
ing which long time a succession of Cushmans, all more 
or less honorable, respectable, and some of them distin- 
guished, lived and died — Elkanah, the fieither of Charlotte, 
makes his appearance. 

There are five generations of Elkanahs, after Thomas 
Cushman, all bom in Plymouth* and Plympton ; the first 
being the second son of the Bev. Isaac Cushman, who 
was the son of Thomas, and first minister of the Church 
of Christ at Plympton, as his tombstone records. The 
fifth Elkanah married Lydia Bradford, who was the great- 
granddaughter of William Bradford, second Governor of 
Pljrmouth Colony. The sixth Elkanah was one of the 
founders of the old Colony Club in 1769. Isaac Lothrop 
was President, Thomas Lothrop Secretary, and Elkanah 
Cushman Steward. He married Mary Lothrop. The 
seventh Elkanah, bom at Plymouth in 1769, married for 
second wife Mary Eliza Babbit, and was the father of 
Charlotte Saunders Cushman, who was bom in Bichmond 
Street, Boston, July 23, 1816.* 

He was the son of poor parents in Plymouth, Mas- 
sachusetts. Left an orphan at the early age of thirteen, 
he walked to Boston to seek his fortune, and obtaining 

* I am indebted for the foregoing information concerning the Cash- 
man family to a Yoltime of Oenealogical Records gathered together hj 
the Hon. Henry W. Coshman, and printed in 1866. 



8 CHABLOTTB 0U8HICAK : 

there modest employment, by his industry, probity, and 
good conduct succeeded in saving a sufficient sum to en- 
able him to enter into business on his own account He 
was for some years a successful merchant on Long Wharf, 
Boston, of the firm of Topliff and Cushmaa From time 
to time he sent ventures to the West Indies, and to the 
infidelity of those whom he trusted as supercargoes may 
be mainly attributed his subsequent fjEulure, and the con- 
sequent troubles of the family. 

Many of Charlotte Cushman's reminiscences of her 
early childhood bore reference to her father's warehouse, 
and to her childish happiness when she could escape from 
home with her brother Charles and enjoy the freedom 
and delight of the wharves. On one of these occasions 
fate came within a hair^s-breadth of cutting off very pre- 
maturely all the promise which lay stored in her childish 
persoa They were amusing themselves by jumping from 
the wharf to a vessel which lay close alongside in pro- 
cess of loading. After many successfril leaps came an 
unlucky one, which fell short, and Charlotte fell between 
the vessel and the wharf and sank in the deep waters. 
An outciy was raised; a pjwser-by leaped in, rescued 
the child, and went his way. Charlotte would tell with 
much humor how she was carried in to her father, and 
there arrayed in whatever dry garments could be found 
on the spur of the moment, which proved to be a pair of 
overalls and a large jacket, called a spencer, which were 
hurriedly put on her in great trepidation and anxiety. 
Arrived at home in this guise, she found her mother 
much more disposed to be severe at her escapade than 
pitiful over her danger ; and nothing saved her from con- 
dign pimishment but symptoms of illness which followed 
upon the excitement and exposure. Here the tale seemed 
ended ; but long years after came a sequel in the shape of 



HEB UFE, LBTTEBS, AND MEMOBIES. 9 

ft 

a very respectable old gentleman, who asked to see her 
one day, and modestly informed her that he was the for- 
tunate individual who had plucked her out of the water 
and saved her for all that had followed, and how hon- 
ored and delighted he felt in having been the instru- 
ment, etc. 

The following brief memoranda of the Babbit family, 
the ancestois of Charlotte Cushman on the maternal 
side, have been kindly famished me by Mr. Manning 
Leonard, of Southbridge, formerly Sturbridge, Massachu- 
setts, the native town of the Babbit family, who has made 
the collection of these records a labor of love, through 
the interest he has found in the subject The first of the 
family of whom he makes mention is Dr. Erasmus Babbit, 
the second practising physician in Sturbridge, a very 
prominent man, of remarkable energy and perseverance. 
(These two qualities, which were the most marked traits 
in the character of Charlotte Cushman, have descended 
to her in a direct line from both sides of her house.) He 
married, in 1758, Mrs. Mary (Maxcy) Remington, a daugh- 
ter of Colonel Moses Marcy, and widow of Dr. Meshach 
Kemington, the first practising physician in Sturbridge. 
His second child, Thomas, graduated at Harvard in 1784, 
studied medicine with Dr. Wairen, of Boston, and was 
the acknowledged head of the profession in New Eng- 
land, and probably on this side the Atlantic. 

Erasmus Babbit, Jr., his second son and third child, was 
bom in 1765, graduated at Harvard in 1770, studied law 
and was admitted to the bar in Worcester in 1793, and 
married about the same year Mary Saunders, sometimes 
spelled Sanders, daughter of the Hon. Thomas Saunders, 
Jr., of Gloucester, ^er mother was Lucy Smith, daugh- 
ter of Rev. Thomas Smith, a celebrated divine of Fal- 
mouth, now Portland, Maine.) This Mary Saunders and 



10 CHABLOTTB CU8HMAK: 

Erasmus Babbit were the maternal grandparents of Char- 
lotte Cnshman. 

Erasmus Babbit^ Jr.» was captain of a company in the 
army quartered at Oxford, 1788 - 89, under Colonel Na- 
than Rice, a native of Sturbridga He is set down as 
practising law at various places, as having been remark- 
ably fond of music, and having a wonderful memory. It 
has been said that he could p^y upon the violin and 
sing " from sunrise to sunset" As might be presumed, 
his clients were not numerous and his fees "* small'' 

Their children were : — 

Mary Eliza (Charlotte's mother), bom in 1793. 

Winthrop . 

Augustus . 

Among the children of Dr. Erasmus Babbit is one 
named Henry, who died at the early age of twenty- 
threa He also was a musician, and very much beloved. 
His foneral is said to have been one of the largest ever 
attended in the town. An interest attaches to him, from 
the tradition that Charlotte Saunders, the aunt for whom 
Charlotte Cushman was named, was engaged to him, and 
never recovered his loss; as is commonly said, ''she 
never was the same after." She is remembered as a 
woman of culture and refinement^ very modest and retir- 
ing, and at times reduse. The oldest memoranda of her 
I have in my possession consist of a few letters to her 
'' dear Lotty," dated Boston, — sometimes the day of the 
month, but no year given ; upon one of these is a memo- 
randum in Charlotte Cushman's hand : " From my dear 
Aunt Charlotte, 1846." Whether this is the date of the 
reception of the letter, or only when the memorandum 
was made, is not clear ; but the latter is most likely, as it 
is two years after her first journey to England. (This was 
the last letter Charlotte Cushman received ; the news of 
her death followed.) 



HEB LIFE, LBTTEBS, AKD MEMORIES. 11 

These letters are chiefly interesting as showing that 
even at that early time Charlotte had commenced her 
career of thoughtful kindness and care of all who had any 
claim npon her sympathy; they are mostly acknowledg- 
ments of little gifts, and it is very evident that already 
Charlotte is the ruling spirit of the family and the one to 
whom they all look up; everything depends upon her 
success, her engagements, which are to benefit the whole. 
There are allusions to the disasters which befell Mr. 
Cushman's business. She is evidently suffering from the 
feebleness incident to declining life ; the writing is weak 
and tremulous; but there are no complaints, only con- 
stant references to the blessings she has about her, and 
a general tone which bespeaks a woman of sound mind 
and character. 

Her sister, Mary Babbit, Jr., as she sometimes wrote 
her name, was very different ; fond of company and '' a 
good time," never discouraged ; of wonderful powers of 
mimicry, she could imitate almost any sound that could 
be mada Her .daughter, Mary Eliza, Charlotte Cush- 
man's mother, was a good singer, a good scholar, and 
reported the best reader in all that region. 

There are only certain brief memoranda from Miss 
Cushman's own lips taken down at various times during 
the last few years ; alas ! too few and brief, for she never 
could do anything in cold blood ; she required the social 
stimulus, the interest of her listeners, which she never 
&iled to control and retain at her pleasure, and she very 
soon wearied of mere dictation of facts to an amanuensis ; 
beside that, she took singularly little interest in the idea 
of posthumous fame or remembrance after her deatL 
She often said sadly, "What is or can be the record of an 
actress, however famous? They leave nothing behind 
them but the vaguest of memories. Ask any number of 



12 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

persons to give yon a real picture or positive image of 
the effect any great actor produced in his time, and they 
can tell you nothing more than that it was fine, it was 
grand, it was overwhelming ; but ask them how did he do 
such or such a thing, how did he render such a passage ? 
describe his manner, his gesture, even his personal ap- 
pearance, that we may have a living picture of him, — 
and they are at once at a los& It is all gone; passed 
away. Now, other artists — poets, painters, sculptors, 
musicians— produce something which Uves after them 
and enshrines their memories in positive evidences of 
their divine mission; but we, — we strut and fret our 
hour upon the stage, and then the curtain faUs and all is 
darkness and silenca" 

Much might be said in answer to this : her whole life 
and the honors which have been paid her, the position 
she has taken in the mind and heart of her generation, are 
sufficient to show that, like all true workers and noble souls, 
she had a mission to fulfil much higher and broader than 
she ever realized. She " builded better than she knew " ; 
and the foundation she laid and the edifice she erected 
stands strong and firm,a beacon and an emblem, lighting 
and guiding many steps through the tangled and danger- 
ous paths of the profession she loved and honored. 

The precious memoranda of Charlotte Cushman's earliest 
days in Boston open with the following sentence: ''I was 
bom a tomboy." In those days this epithet, " tomboy,** 
was applied to all little girls who showed the least ten- 
dency toward thinking and acting for themselves. It was 
the advance-guard of that army of opprobrious epithets 
which has since been lavished so freely upon the pioneers 
of woman's advancement and for a long time the ugly 
little phrase had power to keep the dangerous feminine 
element within what was considered to be the due bounds 



\ 

\ 



HEB LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIEa 13 

of propriety and decorum. Things which now any young 
girl can do as freely as her brother, many of the games 
which were considered strictly and exclusively masculine, 
are now open to both sexes alike, to the manifest benefit 
of the limbs, muscles, and general development of the 
future mothers of the race. 

But how many years of prejudice have had to be slowly 
undermined and done away before this good could be 
accomplished, and how much the unwise restraint must 
have pressed upon this great, strong, free nature, is evi- 
denced by the fact that it is the first thought with which 
she begins her reminiscences : '' I was bom a tomboy. My 
earliest recollections are of dolls' heads ruthlessly cracked 
open to see what they were thinking about ; I was pos- 
sessed with the idea that dolls could and did think. I 
had no fEtculty for making doUs' clothes. [The needle 
was never a favorite implement with Charlotte Cushman 
throughout her career.] But their furniture I could make 
skilfully. I could do anything with tools." This was so 
true, that it was often said of her, in after years, she pos- 
sessed the germs and capabilities of almost any pursuit 
within her, and would have been successful in any direc- 
tion to which she had turned her large capacity and her 
indomitable wilL " Climbing trees," she continues, "was 
an absolute passion ; nothing pleased me so much as to 
take refuge in the top of the tallest tree when afTairs 
below waxed troubled or insecure. I was very destruc- 
tive to toys and clothes, tyrannical to brothers and sister, 
but very social and a great favorite with other children. 
Imitation was a prevailing trait" 

This faculty, which lay at the foundation of all her 
subsequent career, was so instinctive with her that she 
exercised it almost unconsciously, and even in those early 
days, as the following example will show : — 



14 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAK: 

''On one occasion, when Henry Ware, pastor of the old 
Boston Meeting-House, was taking tea with my mother, he 
sat at table talking, with his chin resting in his two hands, 
and his elbows on the table, I was suddenly startled by my 
mother exclaiming ' Charlotte, take your elbows off the table 
and your chin out of your hands ; it is not a pretty position 
for a young lady ! ' I was sitting in exact imitation of the 
parson, even assiuning the expression of his face/' * 

Befeiring again to this imitative &LCvlty, Charlotte 
says: — 

''Beside singing everything, I exercised my imitative powers 
in all directions, and often found myself instinctively mimick- 
ing the tones, movements, and expression of those about me. 
I 'm afraid I was what the French call ' un enfant terrible,' — 
in the vernacular, an awful child I full of irresistible life and 
impulsive will; living fully in the present, looking neither 
before nor after; as ready to execute as to conceive; full of 
imagination, — a faculty too often thwarted and warped by 
the fears of parents and friends that it means insincerity and 
falsehood, when it is in reality but the spontaneous exercise 
of faculties as yet unknown even to the possessor, and misun- 
derstood by those so-called trainers of infancy. 

"This imitative fietculty in especial I inherited from my 
grandmother Babbit, bom Mary Saunders, of Gloucester, 
Cape Ann ; afterward the wife of Erasmus Babbit, a lawyer 
of Sturbridge, Massachusetts ; through whom I am connected 
with Governor Marcy's family, the Sargents, the Winthrops, 
the Saunders, and Saltonstalls of Salem, and other well- 
known families. My grandmother's faculty of imitation was 
very remarkable. I remember sitting at her feet on a little 
stool and hearing her sing a song of the period, in which she 

* This Mr. Ware was intimate in the family, and seems to have exer- 
dsed a powerful inflnence over Charlotte. There is a monody, written 
by her upon his death, which most have been a very eariy prodaction, 
and is a very creditable one. Emerson was a colleague of Mr. Ware in 
his church, and taught the Sunday-school classes. 



HER LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES 15 

delighted me by the most perfect unitation of every creature 
belonging to the farmyard.'' 

This especial gift of imitating the creatures Miss 
Cushman herself possessed to a remarkable extent She 
could at any time set the table in a roar by the most 
vivid representation of a hen pursued and finally caught^ 
or of the strange, weird, mistrustful behavior of a parrot 
This last was inimitabla 

Of her grandmother she says : — 

'' She was also remarkably clever, bright, and witty, and so 
dominated her household and children that, although the 
qualities descended, her immediate fiunily^had little oppor- 
tunity to exercise them in her presence. My mother was 
this lady's only daughter, and I inherited from her the voice 
which ^as at first so remarkable and which was the origin of 
my introduction to the stage. She sang all the songs of the 
time with good voice and taste, and I learned to love music 
in the truest way at a mother's side. 

" My uncle, Augustus Babbit, who led a seafaring life and 
was lost at sea, took great interest in me; he offered me prizes 
for proficiency in my studies, especially music and writing. 
He first took me to the theatre on one of his return voyages, 
which was always a holiday time for me. My first play was 
'Coriolanus,' with Macready, and my second ' The Gamester,' 
with Cooper and Mrs. Powell as Mr. and Mrs. Beverley. All 
the English actors and actresses of that time were of the Sid- 
dons and Kemble school, and I cannot but think these early 
impressions must have been powerful toward the formation 
of a style of acting afterward slowly eliminated through the 
various stages of my artistic career. 

'* My uncle had great taste and love for the dramatic pro- 
fession, and became acquainted with Mr. and Mrs. William 
Pelby, for whom the original Tremont Theatre was built 
My uncle being one of the stockholders, through him my 
mother became acquainted with these people, and thus we 



16 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN: 

had many opportunities of seeing and knowing something of 
the fraternity. 

'^ About this time I became noted in school as a reader, 
where before I had only been remarkable for my arithmetic, 
the medal for which could never be taken from me. I remem- 
ber on one occasion reading a scene from Howard Payne's 
tragedy of " Brutus," in which Brutus speaks, and the imme- 
diate result was my elevation to the head of the class, to the 
evident disgust of my competitors, who grumbled out, ' No 
wonder she can read, she goes to the theatre ! ' I had been 
before this veiy shy and reserved, not to say stupid, about 
reading in school, afraid of the sound of my own voice, and 
very unwilling to trust it ; but the greater femiliarity with 
the theatre seemed suddenly to unloose my tongue, and give 
birth as it were to a faculty which has been the ruling passion 
ever since." 

I may fittingly insert here portions of a letter I have 
received from a friend of her childhood, which refers to 
these days. She says : — 

** I have only delayed answering your letter that I might 
obtain for you one special word of the beloved friend, ad- 
dressed to my brother, which dwells in my mind as a valuable 
expression of hers. My brother tries as yet in vain to find it; 
but he will, if you wish, gather up what he may recall of it 
and send it to you through me, or not, as you please. It was 
some comment on Salvini and his acting of Othello (with a 
chaige to us to see him in Florence), and some criticism on 
the play, on the drama, and on acting in general, with deduc- 
tions out of her own experience. I remember how it showed 
the keen insight of her alert, original, sincere mind, and the 
grand force of the woman who, conquering her work, had freed 
herself from the conventions and traditional judgments of the 
stage ; and I think that, in her private and individual rela- 
tions, her friends took that same impression of her as of a 
grand soul having conquered life and itself, so that she might 



HEB LIFE, LETTERS, AKD KEMOBIEa 17 

fairly exercise the right to do as she pleased, — to be her own 
gracious, individual self. It was that spontaneity in a woman 
of the world that held its un&iling charm over men of the 
world and over multitudes of young women, which made them 
kneel to hen 

" I shall never forget our first meeting after many years 
of absence. It followed the English period of her career, when 
she had attained to a world-wide reputation and that social 
prestige which wealth and character cannot CeuI to command. 
We sought her, and at last met face to Ceuso the old school- 
mate. There was the same uncalculating, fresh, frank face ; 
the same merry, dear blue eye, but without the long, flow- 
ing, yellow locks to cast back in haste from their obtrusive 
sweep ; the same bold tread, now become regal She seated 
herself in front of me, holding both my hands in the sincere 
grasp of hers, while she went back over the times when, aa 
she said, we were boys together, albeit I had no such pen- 
chant for a masculine masquerade as she, with the glory of 
her Borneo behind her, might reasonably entertain. She re- 
called with the greatest zest, and laughter long and loud, 
an earlier stage d^but.than the world had seen, when, in 
our school-days, her mother, my eldest sister, and perhaps 
one or two of our neighbors, made up the audience to our 
first represenation of the operetta of Bluebeard, in the large 
attic chamber of her mother's house. This was before the 
days of popular private theatricals, and marks the mind to 
dare and do at that early age. Fatima and Irene have gone to 
their graves before her. I was Abomelique. She, with her 
then good voice, which afterward became such a rich and won- 
derful contralto, was the lover, Selim. Even now I seem to hear 
the cheering song of the young soldier, in his white Turkish 
trousers, close jacket, red sash, wooden scimetar, and straight 
red feather, which, if not that of the Orient Turk, was of the 
Western Continentals, as, mounted on some vantage-ground, 
a chair, or wooden steps perhaps, he bravely sang out loud 

and dear, — 

'Fatima, Fatima, Selim 'a here ! ' 



18 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAK : 

Then in her mind and mine the scene was shifted, the vision 
faded, and we looked on through a few years to the trial scenes 
of her musical training, her efforts, her discouragements, still 
holding her aims high spite of all resistance, till the Toice 
broke and the musical career was ended. Others have told 
me an incident belonging to those times. A testimonial con- 
cert or entertainment had been given to * Old Father Mallet,' 
as he was familiarly known, who had been at some time her 
teacher. It proved for those days a large and hearty demon- 
Btration, and the old man wept like a child over it. The 
heart of the young girl was touched ; and — the feet never in 
fear or shame afiraid to follow the impulse of the heart — she 
went to him, putting her hand on his head as he sat, and 
soothed and comforted him effectually. 

'' That she kept the sweet beneficent nature which, wherever 
her home was, over all the world, made for courtesy and kind- 
ness, you know better than I do. Tet with all this natural 
humaneness, which amid prosperity and admiration is so hard 
to hold, she also kept, as it seemed to me to her latest years, 
her sweetness of temper. That she could frown and look 
dark as night I doubt not, though I never saw it, not even 
on one occasion, which might have justified some chagrin, 
when she had been brought before an irresponsive because 
mediocre audience. As she regained the anteroom, the weary 
fidl of the head on the shoulder of a friend, with the exclamsr 
tion, ' 0, I am dead and buried ! * betrayed the sensitiveness 
of the spirit free from all anger or fault-finding. 

** But it is time that I call to mind this was meant to be a 
letter in which I should tell you I have neither data nor any 
continuous recollection of the beloved friend : I have only 
some notes of such graceful expression as to charm me into 
reading and re-reading. There is only the continuity of love, 
a line stretching under the silent years when no sign was 
made ; brought up later to the surface of our lives, and flash- 
ing and irradiating my memory, electrifying my heart at every 
touch which relates to her. 



HER LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIES. 19 

To return to Miss Cushman's recollections : — 

''Then came the circumstances in my Other's life which 
made it necessary that his children should he placed under 
conditions looking toward their future self-support. Eeverses 
in business obliged us to remove from Boston to Charlestown, 
and I was placed at a public school. 

'' I only remained at school until I was thirteen years of 
age ; the necessities of the family obliged us to take early 
advantage of every opportunity for self-sustainment, and my 
remarkable voice seemed to point plainly in that direction. 
My mother, at great self-sacrifice, gave me what opportunities 
for instruction she could obtain for me, and then my father's 
friend, Mr. R. D. Shepherd, of Shepherdstown, Virginia, gave 
me two years of the best culture that could be obtained in 
Boston at that time, under John Paddon, an English organist 
and teacher of singing, the principal teacher of his time. 
This was the foundation of my after success, — or rather of 
my after opportunity, — for it put me in the way of it, and 
even through failure became the foundation of all my success 
in my profession. 

** There was at this time in Boston a rather remarkable 
fiimily of the name of Woodward. The daughters of this 
fitmily sang in all the different Unitarian churches ; one of 
them, Anne Woodward, was the soprano in Henry Ware's 
church. Rebecca, a sister, sang at Dr. Palfrey's, in Brattle 
Street; and Dorcas, another, afterwards married to George 
Andrews, the comedian, sang at Dr. Pierponfs, in Hollis 
Street. They were friends of my mother, and through and 
with them I sang in these various choirs. But before this, 
and before I had received instruction from Paddon, I should 
mention that in my mother's efforts to advance me, and pro- 
cure me musical advantages, she had gone to see an old 
acquaintance of my father's, a retired sea-captain, who had 
invested his savings in a piano-forte factoiy, and amused and 
occupied his leisure by presiding himself over the establish- 
ment His foreman was a man by the name of Chickering, 



20 CHABLOTTB CXISHMAK : 

the founder of the great business whieh is now so &mous all 
over the world. 

*' He invited me to come there to practise, and afterward 
procured me instruction from a prot^g6 of his by the name of 
Fanner ; and it was here that I obtained my first real knowl- 
edge of the science of musia The name of this good sea- 
captain was John Mackey, afterward of the firm of Chickering 
and Mackey, but then associated with Mr. Babcock in piano- 
forte manufacture. 

'* When Mrs. Wood came to sing first in Boston, the thea- 
tres gave only five representations in the week. They were 
not licensed for the Saturday night, and that evening was 
usually devoted to concerts. On one of these occasions, a 
piano being wanted, they came to select one at my practising 
establishment, and while there inquiries were made for a 
contralto singer to sing one or two duets with Mrs. Wood. 
Captain Mackey, always good and kind, spoke of me, and I 
was sent for to go up to the hotel and give a specimen of my 
powers before Mrs. Wood. The voice was a very remarkable 
one : it had almost two registers, a fUl contralto and almost 
a full soprano, but the low voice was the natural one. 

^' It was at the Tremont House. Mrs. Wood received me 
very kindly, and I rehearsed with her, * As it fell upon a day.' 
She seemed to be much impressed by the voice, for she imme- 
diately sent up stairs to ask Mr. Wood to come down. He 
came, and I sang again, and at the end of the duet they both 
seemed much pleased, and both assured me that such a voice 
properly cultivated would lead me to any height of fortune I 
coveted. After this first essay of my voice Mrs. Wood was 
always very kind to me, and I became her constant attend- 
ant in her walks ; she talked to me much of the pity it would 
be to waste my voice in mere teaching, and influenced greatly 
my determination to cultivate it for the stage." 

The impression Charlotte Cushman had made upon 
Mrs. Wood and the interest she took in her I find indi- 
cated in one only letter from her, which has by some 



HSB LIFE, LETTEBS, AKD MEMOBIEa 21 

accident been preserved It is a yellow, time-stained 
document, much worn at the edges and comers, as if its 
youthful recipient had carried it long about with her in 
her pocket, which I have no doubt she did ; for all her 
life long her friendships were of the nature of passions, 
and she seems to have taken heartily and kindly to Mrs. 
Wood. The letter is not dated, that is, the year is not 
given, — a very troublesome omission in most of these 
old letters ; but it must have been in 1835 or 1836. 

« Mt dear Charlotte: Allow me in the first place to thank 
you for your truly kind and most welcome letter, and also to 
offer you many apologies for my delay in writing in answer 
to it I have been but poorly since I arrived in New York. 
It does not agree with me so well as dear Boston. We had a 
most tedious voyage^ and only arrived here on Monday morning, 
the day on which we were to appear at the Park. The per- 
formance was changed, for I was too much fatigued to sing. 
On Wednesday, however, we commenced our labors. Every- 
thing went off extremely well, but the house was thin. On 
Thursday they came out very well to '' Cinderella," and gave 
plenty of apj^use. I know it will give you pleasure to hear 
that Talma [the dog] is in great health and spirits ; he be- 
haved himself in the most discreet manner on board the boat, 
and was admired beyond everything, 

^I am sure^ my dear Charlotte, that I need not tell you how 
I miss you, and how happy I shall be to see you again, and 
trust you will follow my advice by practising steadily, so as to 
be {»*epared for me when that time arrives, as I am most 
anxious for your success. This, I fear, is but a poor epistle ; 
but you will excuse it when I tell you that I am a poor cor- 
respondenty being always so taken up with my profession. 
However, this you must believe, that I am your truly affec- 
tionate and sincere friend, „ ^^^ j^^^^ y^^^^„ 

Below is written, " Not one bouquet of flowers since I 
came here ; alas I " And a faint memorandum in pencil 



22 CHAALOTTE CUSUMAK : 

on the outside says, " Eeceived the 23d of January. The 
happiest moment of my life was while reading this let- 
ter." 

'^ After this [referring to the first interview mentioned 
above] I sang with Mrs. Wood on two occasions at her con- 
certs, and it was through her influence that I became an ar- 
ticled pupil to James 0. Maeder, who had come out with them 
from Europe as their musical director, afterwards the hus- 
band of Clara Fisher. Under his instruction I made my first 
appearance at the Tremont Theatre in the part of the Coun- 
tess Almaviva, in the * Marriage of Figaro.' It was considered 
a great success. My second appearance was as Lucy Bertram 
in * Guy Mannering.' 

*' With the Maeders I went to New Orleans, and sang until, 
owing perhaps to my youth, to change of climate, or to a too 
great strain upon the upper register of my voice, which, as 
his wife's voice was a contralto, it was more to Mr. Maeder's 
interest to use, than the lower one, I found my voice sud- 
denly failing me. In my unhappiness I went to ask counsel 
and advice of Mr. Caldwell, the manager of the chief New 
Orleans theatre. He at once said to me, ' You ought to be 
an actress, and not a singer.' He advised me to study some 
parts, and presented me to Mr. Barton, the tragedian of the 
theatre, whom he asked to hear me, and to take an interest 
in me. 

'^ He was very kind, as indeed they both were ; and Mr. 
Barton, after a short time, was sufficiently impressed with my 
powers to propose to Mr. Caldwell that I should act Lady 
Macbeth to his ' Macbeth,' on the occasion of his (Barton's) 
benefit. Upon this it was decided that I should give up sing- 
ing and take to acting. My contract with Mr. Maeder was 
annulled, it being the end of the season. So enraptured was 
I with the idea of acting this part, and so fearful of anything 
preventing me, that I did not tell the manager I had no 
dresses, until it was too late, for me to be prevented from 
acting it ; and the day before the performance, after rehearsal, 



HER LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 23 

I told him. He immediately sat down and wrote a note of 
introduction for me to the tragedienne of the French Theatre, 
which then employed some of the best among French artists 
for its company. This note was to ask her to help me to 
costumes for the r61e of Lady Macbeth* I was a tall, thin, 
lanky girl at that time, about five feet six inches in height. 
The Frenchwoman, Madame Closel, was a short, fat person of 
not more than four feet ten inches, her waist full twice the 
size of mine, with a very large bust ; but her shape did not 
prevent her being a very great actress. The ludicrousness of 
her clothes being made to fit me struck her at once. She 
roared with laughter ; but she was very good-natured, saw my 
distress, and set to work to see how she could help it By dint 
of piecing out the skirt of one dress it was made to answer for 
an underskirt, and then another dress was taken in in every 
direction to do duty as an overdress, and so make up the 
costume. And thus I essayed for the first time the part of 
Lady Macbeth, fortunately to the satisfaction of the audiencOi 
the manager, and all the members of the company." 

It is to be much regretted that we have not any analy- 
sis by Charlotte Cushman herself how far and in what 
way this early conception of the character of Lady Mac- 
beth differed from her more mature realization of it It 
would be extremely interesting. But it is to be doubted 
whether it did differ materially. She grasped at once and 
with singular consistency and force the idea of whatever 
she had to represent, and, once seized, she identified her- 
self with the conception in a way to make it unchange- 
ably her own. It has been much dwelt upon in the 
many short biographies and notices of her which have 
been published from time to time, that she was a labo- 
rious student, and that it was by hard work she achieved 
her great success in her profession. To a certain extent, 
so far as untiring devotion, love, and unity of purpose go, 
this is true ; but not at all true in the commonly accepted 



24 CHABLOTTE GUSHMAN: 

idea of study. Her powers were wonderfully instinctive 
and spontaneous. She never had to look over an old 
part, in the sense of study, before acting it, even after a 
very long interval When it was something entirely new, 
as, for instance, when the scene in " Henry VIII." between 
Queen Katharine and the two cardinals was introduced, 
which she had not been in the habit of acting, it became 
necessary for her to study it 

The method in this instance was as follows : A speech 
would be read over aloud to her, quite slowly and dis- 
tinctly; then she would repeat what she could of it 
Then another reading and another repetition. The third 
time was generally enough. Then the next speech would 
be taken up in the same way, and so on. There was ap- 
parently no labor, and passages so acquired remained 
stored up as it were in her mind, ready, when called for, 
at a moment's notice. Beyond the due expression and 
feeling given to the words, which she could never wholly 
omit even in study or at rehearsal, the acting was left to 
the inspiration of the time and place. 



CHAPTER n. 

"Iiat 's carry with ni Mn tod eye* tor th« Uma, 
And hearts for the gveuk" 

CoriclaittiM. 

"If it be now, 
T ii not to coma j If it b« not lo come, it viU be now t 
It it be not DOW, yet it will coma ; the readtoeu it olL" 



[IIS successful perfomutDce of Lady Macbeth, at 
I her age, was surely a most noticeable incident, 
I and a remarkable introduction to the stage. She 
struck at once, with characterifltic daring, at the veiy 
heights of her profession; and although circumstances 
and the hard necessities of life afterwards compelled her 
to take lower paths and climb upward painfully, yet she 
struck here the keynote of her possibilities, and knew to 
what she must ultimately attain. Friends will remem- 
ber, who have heard her tell of the difficulties she sur- 
mounted to reach that place from which in her thoughts 
and dreams she never afterwards descended, which was to 
her the goal of all her ambitions. Her circumstances were 
DO doabt poor enough. She had no place for study, and 
she need to resort to the garret of the house she boarded 
in, and sit there on the floor, committing to memory the 
parts to which she aspired and dreaming out the meth- 
ods of their realization. One can well imagine bow the 
impetus of this remarkable success, following upon Uie 



26 CHABLOTTB CUSHMAN : 

bitter disappointment in her voice, carried back the detm- 
tanU with renewed hope and eneigy toward home again. 

'' The season being at an end,** she resumes, " I took pas- 
sage in a sailing-vessel for Philadelphia on mj way to New 
York. In those days travelliDg was a very different and much 
more tedious affair than it is now. Arrived in New York, I 
addressed a note to Mr. Simpson, manager of the Park Thea- 
tre, asking him for an engagement. He offered me a triaL 
While debating upon this, which seemed to my young imagi- 
nation a* great slight, coming fresh from my triumph in Lady 
Macbeth, I received a call one day frt>m Mr. Thomas Hamblin, 
manager of the Bowery Theatre, then a very successful man. 
He was very kind ; he said that his friend, Mr. Barton, had 
arrived frt>m New Orleans, and had told him a great deal 
about me ; he should very much like to see me rehearse, and 
assured me if it was like what his friend had informed him of, 
he would make as great a success for me as he had done for 
another actress, a Miss Vincent, who was a great &vorite. 

''This, of course, fired my imagination and soothed the 
feelings which Mr. Simpson had wounded by asking me to 
act on triaL I was then too much of a child to understand 
the advantage of having even an inferior place at the Park 
Theatre, nvhere there was at that time an excellent school for 
acting in a famous company, over a first-class position in a 
second-class theatre. So I acceded to Mr. Hamblin's wish. 
He heard me rehearse scenes from Lady Macbeth, Jane Shore, 
Belvidera, Mrs. Haller, etc., expressed himself satisfied, and 
entered into a contract with me for a three years' engage- 
ment, at a salary to increase ten dollars a week each year, 
commencing at twenty-five dollars. 

" I had no wardrobe for these characters, and it was decided 
my engagement should commence as soon as these could be 
prepared. Not having the means to procure this wardrobe, 
Mr. Hamblin arranged for me, with people from whom he 
bought goods for his theatre, that I should be supplied with 



H£B LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIES. 27 

whaieyer was necessary. He would beoome responsible for 
the debt, and deduct five dollars a week from my salary to 
meet it. Seeing thus an independence before me, I hastened 
at once to relieve my mother from her position in Boston, 
where she was keeping a boarding-house, which, with four 
children to support, may be imagined had not been very prof- 
itable. She made all her arrangements, broke up her house, 
and came to me. I got a situation for my eldest brother in 
a store in New York. I left my only sister in charge of a 
half-sister in Boston, and took my youngest brother with me. 

" One week before the engagement for which I was announced 
in New York, I was one day suddenly seized with chills and 
fever, caused by getting overheated in a walk at Harlem. For 
three weeks I was very seriously ill with rheumatic fever, 
which finally succtmibed to what was then a novelty in New 
York, — medicated vapor baths. One week after the first appli- 
cation of this I was acting. But three weeks of the four 
which had been devoted to the commencement of my first 
engagement were exhausted, and other novelties to be pro- 
duced at a particular date left me only one week to make my 
New York impression, for I was to act but four weeks in New 
York, and then be sent elsewhere. Weak as I was from my 
illness, that impression might very easily have been impaired ; 
but I succeeded beyond my expectations and those of my 
manager. During that week I acted Lady Macbeth (to Mr. 
Hamblin's *' Macbeth,") Jane Shore, and Mrs. Haller. But the 
reaction from this first week was naturally very great. I was 
again in bed from excessive weakness. My wardrobe, which 
I felt did not properly belong to me until I had paid for it, I 
left in the theatre until such time as I should again need it. 
The piece produced the week after mine was " Lafitte," and on 
the first or second night of it the Bowery Theatre was burned 
to the ground, with all my wardrobe, all my debt upon it, and 
my three years' contract ending in smoke ! 

''In my miserable position, with all the dependants then 
upon me, I sent for the manager of a little theatre called the 



28 CHABLOTTE CUSHICAK : 

Chatham in New York, and also of the principal theatre in 
Albany, conducted at that time by Mr. W. R. Blake as stage 
manager. I asked him for an engagement in Albany, where 
I could at the same time get practice and be sufficiently near 
to New York that if an opening came I might take advan- 
tage of it. 

" He gave me an engagement for five weeks, to which I pro- 
ceeded immediately, accompanied by my mother and younger 
brother, which latter I placed at school. During this en- 
gagement I became a great fii.vorite. At the hotel where we 
lived there also boarded a number of the members of the 
State Senate and House of Representatives. I became ac- 
quainted with many of them, who were very kind to me. 
It became known that Governor Marcy was a cousin of my 
mother. He was a man held in high estimation, and this 
fact may have bettered my position socially, though he was 
then Senator at Washington. It had been jokingly remarked 
often that more of the members of both houses could be 
found at my benefit than at the Capitol 

''There I remained five months, acting all the principal 
characters, at the end of which time I lost my young brother 
by a sad accident, which event made a very serious mark 
upon my life; most of the enthusiasm and ambition, which 
bad been a most marked trait, seemed suddenly checked. I 
bad less to work for, and I determined then, that, knowing 
very little of my art as art, I would seek to place myself in a 
position where I could learn it thoroughly. I became aware 
that one could never sail a ship by entering at the cabin win- 
dows; he must serve, and learn his trade before the mast. 
This was the way that I would henceforth learn mine." 

The young brother, of whom mention has been made 
above, whose sudden loss affected her so deeply, seems to 
have been very dear to her, and some school-boy letters 
of his which have been preserved show that the affection 
was mutual The letters are carefully dated, which is 



HER LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIES. 29 

more than old heads did in those days. They begin, ''My 
darling sister"; sometimes ''darling'' is not enough, and 
he puts " Dear, darling sister," and there is frankness and 
manliness in the tone of them and in the large, bold 
school-boy hand. " Tell Charley to come and see me," he 
says, " tell Susy to come too, and you come, and mother, 
then there will be a good load of you " ; and in another, 
" 0, how I wish I could see you before you go to New 
York. Do come up. I hope Charley will come, I am so 
anxious to see him ; bless his old heart ! " It is clear that 
he is of her kind, and possessed also the love principle 
largely developed. Among the papers is one wherein he 
19 showing his penmanship by striking off, in grand style, 
the names of all the different members of the family ; an 
extra amount of flourish and grander style attests the 
value he sets upon the name of the beloved sister. Sal- 
lie Mercer, Miss Cushman's faithful maid, bears witness 
to her high estimate of this young brother, and the hopes 
she cherished for his future career. He gave promise of 
genius of a high order, and his death was a blow from 
which she never quite recovered. He was killed by a 
fall from a horse she had given him. The jacket he wore 
at the time was always preserved, and went with them 
from place to place through all her wanderings. 

After this event she wrote to Mr. Simpson of the Park 
Theatre, New York, asking him for any opening there 
might be ; and the position of " walking lady," vacated by 
the secession of the pretty Mrs. Cramer, and "general 
utility business" was offered her at twenty dollars a 
week. 

"During the summer of that year,'' she resumes, " I made 
a little excursion to Buffalo and Detroit, on a starring engage- 
ment. There, at the house of the then Governor of Michigan, 
Stephen Y. Mason, I became acquainted with Captain Mar- 



30 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

ryatt, the author, whose friendship I enjoyed from that time 
for the remainder of his life. Returning to New York, in 
due time I commenced my engagement at the Park Thea- 
tre, which lasted for three years, — from September, 1837, to 
June, 1840." 

Of this time there are but scanty records, and scarcely 
any letters have been preserved. We only know that it 
was a time of hard work, of ceaseless activity, and of 
hard-won and scantily accorded appreciation. From a 
very poor publication, called " Records of the New York 
Stage," I find notes of her various performances, wherein 
one is most struck by the uncommon versatility of her 
powers, and the continual alternation all along the scale 
of character, 

** From grave to gay, fix)m lively to severe." 

These were the days of intense study and hard practice, 
when it was the custom of the theatres to change the 
plays every night ; to think that the public must have 
perpetual novelty; when two plays, often three, were 
given on the ssune evening, and long runs were unknown. 
But these trying days afterwards bore excellent fruit, and 
culminated in the finished artist 

From a remarkably well-written letter by a stranger, 
an Englishman, which I find in a Boston paper of the 
year 1863, this time is thus alluded to : — 

"I saw Charlotte Cushman act in Boston for her benefit 
a short time before her first departure for Europe. The 
audience was not generously large; indeed, I might say it 
was ungenerously small, and not a few in it were foreigners. 
This was not as it should be. Macready had a succession 
of crowded audiences, and in private life he was welcomed, 
feasted, and f^ted. Miss Cushman supported him brilliantly, 
loyally, sympathetically, and thus contributed much to his 



HER UFE, LETTEBSi AND MEMOBIEa 31 

eminent success. He acted to the last available hour, and 
the morning of the date which was appointed for Miss Cush- 
man's benefit he sailed for England. There may have been 
inevitable reasons for this, which may have justified it to 
Miss Cushman herself; but upon her friends it left a very 
unpleasant impression. Miss Cushman belonged to Boston 
by birth, kindred, education ; and Boston should have bidden 
her Godspeed in ' a bumper.' But we have changed all that, 
and Boston has often made ample amends for this casual 
neglect of her native artist. I could not help feeling the 
contrast the other evening between 'now and then.'" 

The letter is written on the occasion of Miss Cushman's 
performance in Boston for the benefit of the Sanitary 
Commission, for which purpose she had come all the way 
from Boma If there were space, I should like to make 
longer extracts from this letter ; but this particular passage 
I cannot omit Speaking of the impression she made on 
him when he first saw her, which was many years before 
at the Park Theatre, the writer says : — 



i€ 



In one of my evening rambles about the city I fo\md 
myself passing the Park Theatre, and I was moved to go in. 
There was little, I confess, in outward appearance that waa 
cheerful or exciting. The scenery was poor, tawdry, and in- 
appropriate, the lights were dim, and the audience not large. 
The play was 'Othello,' and on the whole the performance 
was spiritless. In the part of Emilia I saw a large«ized, fair- 
complexioned young woman, not of handsome, but of impres- 
sive presence. The effect of her denunciation of the Moor 
after the murder of Desdemona was electric. The few lines 
of high passion which the part contains, by the power with 
which the actress delivered them, made the part, insignificant 
though it is, the leading one on that occasion. By looking 
at the bill I found the name of this actress was Charlotte 
Cushman. She was rapturously applauded, and this was the 



32 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAK : 

only hearty applause that was given during the evening. I 
knew that there was no ordinary artist in this then compara- 
tively unknown young woman« I saw her next in Lady 
Macbeth, and my conviction was only the more confirmed by 
. this terrible test of any genius. I went away filled with ad- 
miration, resolved to see this powerful actress as often as I 
should have the opportunity. I then foresaw her £une, and 
time has justified my prophecy. I saw her frequently after- 
ward, when she played with Mr. Macready, and even with this 
great and cultivated artist she held her own. She had not 
had his experience, but she had genius. There were times 
when she more than rivalled him ; when in truth she made 
him play second. I observed this in New York, and a critic 
in the Times bore witness to it in London. I have seen her 
throw such energy, physical and mental, into her performance, 
as to weaken for the time the impression of Mr. Macready's 
magnificent acting. She profited no doubt by his admirable 
ability and veteran experience, but she nevertheless always 
preserved her own independence and thorough individuality. 

** Sometimes the intensity with which her acting affected me 
also vexed me. ' The Stranger ' and * Fazio ' are both plays 
that I could never see for their own sakes ; but I have been 
so moved by Miss Cushman's Mrs. Haller and Bianca, that I 
have gone home ill from the effect of the acting. I was 
unutterably ashamed of myself to be so prostrated by compo- 
sitions of such spasmodic melodrama and such maudlin sen- 
timentalism ; but the artist created the tragedy in her own 
person, and that which was frigid in the book became pa- 
thetic in the woman. The same was the case with Mrs. 
Siddons ; some of her most overpowering acting was in very 
inferior plays." 

From a note to her mother, dated "New York," I glean 
the following reference to her first performance at the 
Park Theatre with Mr. Macready. " In great haste I 
write only a few words, with a promise to write again to- 



HEB UFEy LETTKBSi AND HEMOBIES. 33 

night after the play, and tell you all particulars of my gieat 
and triumphant success of last night, of my reception, of 
being called out after the play, and hats and handker- 
chiefs waved to me, flowers sent to me, etc." 

In the winter of 1842 she undertook the management 
of the Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia, at that time 
much run down, and it was lifted fix)m its low condition 
by her spirited and clever management. She was a great 
favorite, and the theatre recovered its popularity. Among 
the company we find the names of Chippendale, Freder- 
icks, Wheatly, Alexina Fisher, the three sisters Valine, — 
one of them afterwards Mrs. De Bar, — her sister Susan 
Cushman, eta She was herself, of course, the leading 
personage of the theatre, and acted all her at that time 
immense repertoire. With characteristic decision, how- 
ever, she did not hesitate, when Mr. Macready came, and 
she saw the opportunity for study and improvement in 
his company, to give up her position of management for 
the purpose of acting with him, and underwent the enor- 
mous fatigue of acting alternate nights between New York 
and Philadelphia for the term of his engagement in New 
York. 

During the year 1842 there are letters passing between 
her and Dr. Lardner, who was then on a lecturing tour in 
the United States, on the subject of the proper lighting and 
ventilating of the theatre, showing a thoughtfulness on 
these subjects at that early time most striking and un- 
usual He is evidently full of appreciation of her ability 
and capacity, and avails himself of it thanldully with 
reference to his own affairs in the country. 

I find also letters under this date from Mr. Colley 
Grattan, British Consul at Boston, an early and warm 
"friend, who afterwards furnished her with letters of intro- 
duction to England. One of these letters alludes to the 



84 CHABLOTTS CUBHMAK: 

play of " The-Bear Hunters/' which is probably his play, 
and which Miss Cushman had produced at her theatre. 
He says, '' I would give much to see you look Aline, though 
there is nothing in the words of the part worthy of you." 

Another letter from him alludes to some cloud of dis- 
couragement which seems to have passed over her, and 
he says: ''You talk of quitting the profession in a year. 
I expect to see you stand very high indeed in it by that 
time. Tou must neither write nor think nor speak in 
the mood that beset you three days ago. I have no 
doubt the cloud has passed over, and that the fine sun- 
shine and bracing air of this very day are wanning and 
animating you to the 'top of your bent.' (I wanted two 
or three words to finish the sentence, and as usual found 
them in Shakespeare.) " 

Again he says, in reference to the same letter: "Are 
you not yourself tinged perhaps by the sensitiveness (to 
give it no harsher name, which is, after all, the true one) 
so common to the profession ? Beware, not of jealousy, 
for I am sure you are above its reach, but of over-anxiety 
to please those whom the ardor of your temperament leads 
you to overestimate." 

These are marvellously true words, and show deep in- 
sight into character. All her life long Charlotte Cush- 
man suffered from this " ardent anxiety," her warm, true 
heart prompting always her active, impetuous tempera- 
ment to acts of kindness, not always estimated at their 
true valua There are people so coldly constituted that 
they shut themselves up against demonstration, as if it 
were something false, something to be guarded against, 
and the warm glow which emanates from an earnest, 
loving nature beats upon them in vain. The worse for 
them I The coldness which they summon up to repel 
the angels of this life strikes inward, and dulls all that 



HEB UFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIEa 35 

is best worth having in this life and in that which comes 
after. 
In another letter of this period Mr. Grattan says : — 

*' I am sincerely glad you have made up your mind to go to 
England next summer. It must do you infinite good if you 
go there in a mood of true philosophy, not expecting too 
much, and resolved not to be discouraged if things fell short 
of your hopes. Remember that this country must be the 
field of your permanent exertions. England will be only a 
training-ground, where you cannot avoid learning much that 
will be valuable to you. I hope we shall have plenty of time 
to talk the whole matter over and over. As to the ofier from 
the London Theatre you speak of^ you must consider it well 
before you make any pledge that would be binding. Be very 
cautious in writing. I would by all means advise your play- 
ing first in Liverpool, Manchester, and perhaps in Dublin. It 
would accustom you to John Bull and Paddy Bull audiences, 
and give you confidence in yoiurselfl* 

''There is very much on this subject which I shall be 
anxious to say to you. I feel a deep anxiety for your welfare. 
I hope you will continue to dream ' horrid dreams about me/ 
as long as they go by eontrairies. But let your waking 
thoughts be sure to remind you of me as I am. 

" Faithfully and cordially your friend." 

In another letter, writing from Boston, he says : — 

** The theatre has been very well attended here. Mr. Yan- 
denhofif is greatly admired. I wish to God you were not 
tied to your own stage. But I am rejoiced to hear on all 
hands how well you are doing, and that you and your sister 
are such favorites in Philadelphia. I hope I may be able to 
go and see you in the early part of next year. Pray write to 
me soon and fully about your prosperity, for that is what I 
like to hear ot Believe me, as I know you do,* 

" Yours with great truth and regard." 

* Mr. Grattan must have been astonished at tlie manner in which she 
took both of these bcdls by the horns. 



36 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

It is to be deeply regretted that Miss Cushman's own 
letters, to which these are answers, have not been pre- 
served ; in every step of this undertaking I have reason 
to deplore the want of foresight which has permitted such 
wholesale destruction of these valuable letters. 

From later notes, under date London, 1859, which I 
may as well insert here, to preserve the sequence of this 
correspondence, I find the following, referring to the death 
of her sister Susan : — 

" I cannot resist the wish to write you a few lines, not 
merely because it is usual from true and cordial friendship on 
such occasions, but because I do think you will be pleased to 
know that I am always deeply interested in whatever concerns 
you, and anxious you should know also that neither time nor 
absence nor distance, those fatal foes to intimate communica- 
tion, can alter my long and faithful affection. I am deeply 
grieved at the loss you now suffer under, and very, very sorry 
on my own account. I greatly admired and esteemed your 
sister. I heard the sad news even before the papers had 
announced it, from your most worthy and attached friends, 

the B s. This sad loss, so unexpected and so severe, 

must draw closer to you all to whom you have been attached 
by ties of femily affection, or by the sympathy of friendship. 
It is well that you have so many duties to perform, such a 
warm heart and clear head to sustain you under such a heavy 
trial." 

Referring to his book on America, he says : — 

" One word about my book, to which you allude. I quite 
foi^t its existence when I was writing to you. I know there 
is no one who would more cordially testify to much of its 
truth than you would. But still, you are American, with a 
keen sense of national feeling, as you ought to be, and there 
are pictures in it that might not please you ; so I should pre- 
fer your being content with the extracts sent you, without 



HER UFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 37 

risking the possibility of disapproving the work and blaming 
the author and your true friend^ *< T. C. G.' 

It was about this time that Miss Cushman's well-known 
maid, Sallie, became a part of her family, — I might well 
say a part of herself, for she always called her "her right 
hand." Any memorial would be incomplete which would 
leave out the friend and companion of all her wanderings, 
the sharer of her trials and her triumphs, the good, de- 
voted, faithful Sallie Mercer. She came into these close 
relations with her mistress very early, when she was but 
fourteen years of age. Miss Cushman was struck by her 
serious, steady ways, her anxious forehead, but especially 
by her eyebrows ; she believed in what she called " con- 
scientious eyebrows," and Sallie's were so peculiar in that 
way, that one of our merry habitudes in Borne used to 
say, " I am always in expectation of seeing Sallie's eye- 
brows go over the top of her head." There was some 
difficulty in taking her away from her mother, who also 
had her ideas of the child's value ; but it was one of the 
things fated to be, and so was finally accomplished. From 
that time the two were never separated, except for the 
necessity or pleasure of Miss Cushman. Sallie never had 
any will, any love, any desire, apart from her and her 
interests. Perhaps there never has been a more perfect 
instance of absolute devotion on the one side, and appre- 
ciation and trust on the other, than this association pre- 
sented. 

With all this entire self-abnegation, Sallie was by no 
means wanting in character; she had a really superior 
administrative faculty, an imceasing, loving conscientious- 
ness in all her duties, which no temptation ever biased. 
Temptation, indeed ! Sallie did not know the word and 
its power ; to her there was but one law, duty, — duty in 



38 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAK: 

all her relations, but first and chiefest her duty to '' Miss 
Charlotte." Wherever she was, duty had to be the su- 
preme law, and she was rigid and inexorable against all 
the little relaxations and loose-endednesses which make 
of service in our day so much of a lip and eye contract. 
She, like her mistress, always exercised a sort of natural 
supremacy. In her department she reigned, and it was 
edifying to hear her address the other servants, often 
much older than herself, as " my child." 

Sallie's "good sense" also was conspicuous; her rule, 
though rigid, was just and kindly ; true as steel to her 
class, she never, though much noticed and highly esteemed 
by all Miss Cushman's friends, was known to overstep 
the boundary of her position. Add to this that she 
had excellent tastes, loved reading, and always carried 
about with her her favorite books. Her memory was a 
distinguishing attribute; she knew all Miss Cushman's 
parts so well, that she could act the part of prompter 
upon occasioa Miss Gushman teUs of an instance when, 
through some most unusual cause, for a moment the words 
of her part failed her ; they were gone as if they had never 
been. The prompter, seldom needed by her, was off his 
post Moving across the scene to cover her momentary 
perplexity, her eye fell on Sallie at the side scene, who, 
comprehending the situation at once, supplied the missing 
link, and she went oa 

Sallie was the only "dresser" she ever had; the guar- 
dian and custodian of all her theatrical properties. She 
knew, to a pin, whatever was necessary to each costume, 
and, no matter how many were the changes, nothing was 
ever missing. Long experience had made the routine ab- 
solutely perfect, relieving her mistress of all care upon the 
subject. Afterwards, when the pressure of slow-wearing 
disease came, what tongue or pen could ever do justice 



HEB LUB, LETTXB8, AND MEMORIES. 39 

to the unfailing, untiring travail of heart and hand in the 
service of the beloved and worshipped mistress I 

In travelling, also, Sallie was invaluabla She was in 
all respects a skilful courier, and those who were so happj 
as to journey under her convoy and that of Miss Cush- 
man never knew the inconveniences and annoyances so 
apt to beset travellers. But SaUie had a universal genius : 
in travelling, she was courier ; when resting, she was maid, 
nurse, purveyor, general providence; when settled down 
for a season, she was housekeeper; always the one who 
knew where everything was, who kept a watchful eye 
over alL The Italian servants looked upon her as a sort 
of Deus ex mcuJiina, and believed in her powers and re- 
sources with an almost superstitious trust Her store- 
closet was supposed to contain inexhaustible treasures ; 
nothing could be asked for in the house, but the answer 
was sure to be, "Cui dentro,'* — in here, — pointing to 
Sallie's closet, which at last came to be called ^'cui 
dentro" by all the house. As my object is to give as 
nearly as possible a picture of Miss Cushman's life and 
surroundings under all their varied aspects, I make no 
apology for giving place to this sketch of her favorite 
servant 

On October 26, 1844, she sailed for England in the 
packet-ship Garrick. Her finances, when she made up her 
mind to try this En^ish venture, were not very flourishing. 
As we have seen, her last benefit in Boston did not help 
her much. She was obliged to make arrangements for the 
maintenance of her family during her absence, and with 
characteristic prudence she took care that a sufficient simi 
should be left intact to enable her to return home in case 
of failure. It will be seen she did not " bum her ships." 
A short pencil diary kept on board ship, and which was 
the last efibrt of the kind she ever made, — for her life in 



40 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAK: 

England very soon became too full to allow the time for 
any such expression^ — shows that with all her courage 
and decision there were also feelings of deep despondency 
at the bottom of her heart ; doubts and fears which only 
herself knew about, and the expression of which in these 
penciUings gives a touching dew to what must have been 
her early struggles in England before she achieved her 
recognition. 

" How little," she writes, " do we estimate our good gifts of 
fortune till we are deprived of them ! And this, though worn 
out and stale as a proverb, comes upon me with full force at 
this time. When desponding, I repent that I have left my 
home. I reproach myself that I was not content with mod- 
erate competency, while in its enjoyment, but must thrust 
myself out from the delight which I was permitted to enjoy, 
for this miserable, frightM imcertainty, this lingering doubt, 
which at last may lead to disappointment." 

She contrasts the sea voyage of 1844 with that of 1836, 
and says, of the two, that of 1844 will remain much longer 
and more strongly impressed upon her memory. " I am 
eight years older," she says, " than when I went to sea 
last ; and while I have my senses, I think I will never 
go again after I once more return to my own land." She 
became so familiar with the sea in after yeais, that she 
crossed the Atlantic upwards of sixteen times. 

But the voyage passes, as all disagreeable things do, with 
days of misery and discouragement, fast yielding toward 
the last to better influences as health returns and the 
mercurial, hopeful temperament gets the mastery; but 
there is much more looking back than forward. The ties 
of family and friendship — always strong as death with 
Charlotte Cushman — draw her powerfully backward, and 
the diary is full of the tenderest thoughts and fancies over 



HER LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 41 

the dear ones left behind. She finds friends on board, 
however, who were afterwards tried and true to the last. 
If ever any one had a specialty for making and keeping 
friends, she had ; the friends of her early days were those 
of her later years, and nothing but their own unworthi- 
ness ever lost them a place once won in her regard. This 
does not mean that her nature was facile in accepting 
friends or intimates. She had a keen insight into the 
basis of character, and was not deceived by the glitter of 
false metal Although her profession, by bringing her into 
contact with all sorts of people, obliged her to associate 
with them for a time, no unworthy soul ever made a lodge- 
ment When the time came, they were as inevitably shed 
off from her as muddy water glides over without soiling 
the snowy plumage of the swan. So it was with regard 
to mere conventional standards in her estimate of people. 
Her range of sympathy covered the highest and the low- 
est alike, and both alike found no difference in the sweet 
and gracious character of her reception of them ; and al- 
though she estimated at its full value the greatness of 
eminent station and of intellectual and artistic achieve- 
ment, and knew how to give honor where honor was due, 
yet she had a still warmer comer in her large heart for 
the unobtrusive merit of genuine worth, even when it 
came to her in the humblest guise. 

She alludes to one of the friends made on board the 
Garrick as a very religious person, of the Presbjrterian 
persuasion, and mentions a remark made by her of 
which she says, " T am uncertain whether she means it 
as a compliment, but she says she thought that people in 
my profession were very different from what she finds me 
to be." This suggests another reflection with regard to her, 
which is, that no one ever seemed to feel any antagonism 
with her on religious subjects ; she was always sincerely 



42 CHABLOTTE CU8HHAN : 

religious without cant or pretension, and she had a rever- 
ent sympathy for all forms of belief, which enabled her 
to worship as devoutly under the dome of a Boman 
Catholic cathedral as in the simplest and barest of tab- 
emacle& In either, her grand, earnest voice would roll out 
its sincere cadences with entire and absolute faith that 
it is out of the heart of the worshippers, and not through 
the form of the worship, that the acceptable incense rises 
up to the Father of us alL The grand simplicity of her na- 
ture was nowhere shown more fully than in this ; she could 
meet all professors alike on their own ground, where there 
was sincerity of conviction, and never failed to interest 
and attract them. 

To return to the voyage. As the days pass on, the 
natural reaction of her active, energetic spirit towards the 
future rather than the past takes place, and we find re- 
flections as to the possibility of a longer stay than the six 
months she had laid out for herself. '' If I act," she says, 
" I will not go home imtil I succeed as they would have 
me. Longer than I have promised myself will seem an 
age, but I must have patience." 

On Saturday, 15th, they sighted land. She says : — 

" I look upon it with such different feelings from the other 
passengers. I would freely give up the privilege of stepping 
upon this terra tncognita, if I could turn round and go straight 
back again. At home in three weeks 1 Instead of joy, a feel- 
ing of profound sadness presses upon my heart, and I find my- 
self unconsciously shedding tears at my lonely situation* I 
am indeed a stranger, and I feel it. My only hope can be 
that I may not long feel it so. If I do, it will break my heart 
The morning is thick and miserable, and as we get nearer the 
land the fog is more dense. The English on board are smack- 
ing their lips as if they recognized the taste of their own 
native air, off here three hundred miles from their homes. I 



HEB UFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMOBIE& 43 

can well understand the feeling, for if I were within one thou- 
sand miles of Philadelphia, I am sure I should imagine I could 
scent Philadelphia air. They tell me this is a fair specimen 
of En^ish weather. Good heavens 1 what a state of density 
to live in 1 " 

On another page of the diaiy I find copied the well- 
known passage fix)m Longfellow's " Hyperion " : — 

*' Look not mournfully into the past ; it comes not back 
again. Wisely improve the present, it is thine. Go forth 
into the shadowy future, without fear, and with a manly 
heart." 

And these lines tiom Browning's " Paracelsus,'* which 
seem to throw a vivid light upon the workings of her 
mind at that time : — 

"What though 
It be 80 ? — if indeed the 8tit>ng desire 
Eclipse the aim in me f — if splendor break 
Upon the outset of my path alone. 
And duskest shade succeed t What fairer seal 
Shall I require to my authentic mission 
Than this fierce energy T — this instinct striving 
Because its nature is to strive t — enticed 
By the security of no broad course, 
With no success forever in its eyes ! 
How know I else such glorious fate my own. 
But in the restless, irresistible force 
That works within me f Is it for human will 
To institute such impulses — still less 
To disregard their promptings f What should I 
Do, kept among you all ; your loves, your cares, 
Your life, — all to be mine ! Be sure that God 
Ne*er dooms to waste the strength he deigns impart t 
Ask the gier-eagle why she stoops at once 
Into the vast and unexplored abyss ; 
What full-grown power informs her from the firsts 
Why she not marvels, strenuously beating 
The silent, boundless regions of Uie sky ! " 



44 CHilRLOTTE CUSUMAN : 

The passage, — 

" Be sore that Ood 
Ke*er dooms to waste the strength he deigns impart ! " 

was always a favorite quotation with her. 

The vessel arrived in Liverpool Monday, November 18, 
1844. After a week's rest she went with the fellow- 
passengers mentioned above on a short excursion into 
Scotland. In a letter written after her return she refers 
to this tiip. 

*' Having so agreeable an opportunity to go with these kind 
friends, I thought in case anything happened that I should 
not go to Scotland to act, it would be a pity to take such a 
long voyage and see nothing of Edinburgh ; so I e*en started, 
and have been through Scotland and seen everything worth 
seeing. My letters of introduction took me among the most 
delightful people I ever met in my life. They treated me 
like a princess." 

It may not be inappropriate to note here how wise 
and judicious this movement was. The journey into 
Scotland, though it might seem something of an extrava- 
gance to one who was obliged then to coimt every penny, 
was yet the most sensible thing she could do, to obtain 
a proper reaction after the long and dreary voyage, and 
the deep depression which had overwhelmed her in part- 
ing with her family and launching herself alone upon the 
world. It took her through the most charming parts 
of England and brought her into contact with kindly and 
appreciative people, who were not slow to discover the 
unusual quality and promise of their visitor. Beside 
restoring the tone of her mind, it aided in the restoration 
of her health, and prepared her to meet the arduous labors 
which were before her. Afterwards it was extremely 
characteristic that, instead of sitting down and eating her 
own heart in suspense and anxiety in her dull lodgings 



HER LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 45 

in Covent Garden, she boldly dashed over to Paris, and 
for ten days put herself in the way of seeing all that 
the French stage could offer of best and most finished in 
her profession, — a great treat to her, no doubt, and one 
which, coining upon the firesh soil of her mind, made an 
ineffaceable and powerful impressioa 

On her first arrival in England she had found a letter 
awaiting her from Mr. Macready, proposing to her to act 
with a company which was being organized in Paris, of 
which himself and Miss Faucit formed a part She tells 
in another place how she came to reject this proposition. 
In Paris she was again approached on the subject Some 
misunderstanding had arisen between Miss Faucit and the 
management, and they came to Miss Cushman to see if 
she would be willing to step into the vacant place. She 
conceived the idea at once that, by establishing so early in 
her career anything like a rivalry with the -at that time 
— favorite actress of England, she might possibly preju- 
dice her chances in that country. Suddenly making up 
her mind to place herself out of reach of influence or temp- 
tation by a judicious retreat, she returned to London, and 
there in her humble lodgings awaited her destiny. Of 
this time of suspense and anxiety, before her great suc- 
cess. Miss Cushman was fond of talking in after yeara 
She was never ashamed of her struggles or her poverty, 
and would tell with a certain pride, as contrasting with 
the position she afterwards achieved for herself, of her 
straitened housekeeping, and with no little amusement 
of Sallie's careful economies, and how they both rejoiced 
over an invitation to dinner, of which before long she had 
abundance and to spare. Sallie says, "Miss Cushman 
lived on a mutton-chop a day, and I always bought the 
baker's dozen of muffins for the sake of the extra one, 
and we ate them all, no matter how stale they were ; and 



46 CHABLOTTB CUSHMAN : 

we never suffered from want of appetite in those days." 
Sallie always said those early days were the happiest 
they had. 

Meantime she was active and busy, taking what steps 
she could toward obtaining the much-desired opportunity, 
not easy to secure upon her own conditions, imheralded 
and comparatively unknown as she was, and hedged about 
by untold difficulties and rivalries and vexations. 

In the midst of it aU she never abated one Jot of her 
determination to take a high place or none, not even 
when she foxmd herself reduced to her last sovereign, as 
she was when Maddox, the manager of the Princess 
Theatre, at last came to her. He was reported by the 
watchful Sallie as walking up and down the street, early 
one morning, too early for a visit " He is anxious," said 
Miss Cushman ; " I can make my own terms." And so 
it proved. He wanted her to act with Forrest, then about 
to make his d^but before a London audience. She was 
not willing to appear first in a secondary part, and stipu- 
lated that she should have her opportunity first and alone 
then, if she succeeded she would be willing to act with 
Forrest So it was settled ; she made her impression, and 
carried her point This was the turning-point in her 
career, — "The tide which taken at the flood leads on to 
fortuna" It was not money she sought, but recognition ; 
and she entered upon her first London engagement, for a 
limited number of nights, at seven pounds a night 



r:^kO,^^ 




CHAPTER III. 

" Nothing becomes him ill. 

That he would welL" 

Lov^s Labor Lad. 

" Ton have desetred 
High commendation, true applanae, and Iotc." 

Aa You Like IL 

|FTER much difficulty in procuring a suitable 
person to act with her, she made her first ap- 
pearance as Bianca in Milman's tragedy of 
" Fazio," February 14, 1845. 

From letters to her mother, written immediately after 
her arrival in England, I make the following extracts. In 
describing her voyage, she mentions this incident : — 

" On the morning of the 8th I came near being washed 
overboard. I was sitting on deck during the squalls, holding 
on by the back of the settee, when a squall struck us, and 
washed seat and me and two sailors entirely over to the other 
side of the ship, and but for the rolling up of that side we 
should have gone over. I never was so frightened in my 
life, nor, even when overboard off Long Wharf, more wet. I 
thought for a moment that I was indeed gone. However, 
fortune fetvors the brave, and I was picked up the most drip- 
ping young woman you ever saw I found, on arriv- 
ing at the hotel, that Macready had sent down from London 
three times to see if I had arrived. I have in all about 
seventy letters of introduction, and I suppose I may make 
some friends ; but, as it is, I feel most miserable and lonely." 



48 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAK: 

Another letter, under date December 2d, refers to her 
excursion into Scotland, and adds : — 

" By the by, did I tell you Macready had written to me, 
and there was a letter awaiting me on my arriyal, telling me 
he wanted me to come to Paris ? I hardly knew what to do, 
but wrote to Barton, who advised me ; so I sent word / could 
not come. He wrote back ; got annoyed. I replied ; and last 
Saturday I received a letter quite ill-tempered, saying I was 
taking an irrevocable step. On Sunday morning down came 
a gentleman from London to persuade me ; but 'while the 
father softened the governor was fixed/ and he went back to 
London." 

A letter of March 2d, 1845, speaks of her great success 
in London with justifiable exultation. 

*' By the packet of the 10th I wrote you a few lines and 
sent a lot of newspapers, which could tell you in so much 
better language than I could of my brilliant and triumphant 
success in London. I can say no more to you than this : that 
it is far, far beyond my most tannine expectations. In my 
most ambitious moments I never dreamed of the success which 
has awaited me and crowned every effort I have made. To 
you I should not hesitate to tell all my grief and all my 
&ilure if it had been such, for no one could have felt more 
with me and for me. Why, then, should I hesitate (unless 
through a fear that I might seem egotistical) to tell you all my 
triumphs, all my success? Suffice it, all my successes put 
together since I have been upon the stage would not come near 
my success in London ; and I only wanted some one of you 
here to enjoy it with me, to make it complete." 

In the next letter, dated March 28th, we see she is 
reaping the full measure of her success, not only publicly, 
but socially. 

" I have been so crowded with company,** she says, " since 
I have acted, that upon my word and honor I .am almost sick 



HER LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 49 

of it. Invitations pour in for every night that I do not act, 
and all the day I have a steady stream of callers ; so that it 
has become among my more particular friends a joke that I 
am never with less than six people in the room ; and I am so 
tired when it comes time for me to go to the theatre that 
Sallie has to hold my cup of tea for me to drink it. 

** It seems almost exaggerated, this account ; but indeed 
you would laugh if you could see the way in which I am be- 
sieged, and if you could see the heaps of complimentary letters 
and notes you would be amused. All this, as you may imag- 
ine, reconciles me more to England, and now I think I might 
be willing to stay longer. If my femily were only with me, I 
think I could be content. Sei^eant Talfourd has promised to 
write a play for me by next year. I have played Bianca four 
times, Emilia twice. Lady Macbeth six times, Mrs. Haller five, 
and Rosalind five, in five weeks. I am sitting to five artists. 
So you may see I am very busy. I hesitate to write even to 
you the agreeable and complimentary things that are said and 
done to me here, for it looks monstrously like boasting. I 
like you to know it, but I hate to tell it to you myself." 

A friend writes under date of May 12, 1845 : — 

^' I found Charlotte looking well, but complaining of fatigue ; 
she is surrounded by friends who seem to consider her the 
beau ideal of everything that is great. Sergeant Talfourd yes- 
terday, in pleading a case for Mr. Maddox, took occasion to 
eulogize her in the most extraordinary manner, called her 
the second Siddons, etc., and praised her to the skies, when 
it was totally uncalled for. It is really unprecedented. The 
papers continue to speak of her in the most extreme terms of 
praise, and for the present she is the greatest creature in the 
greatest city in the civilized world ! " 

She had made engagements in Liverpool, Birmingham, 
Manchester, Edinburgh, and Dublin, but had to give them 
up because she could not get away from London. 



50 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAK: 

Under date of May 1 she writes : — 

''I have just returned from the theatre, after acting the 
new play for the second time.* It has not succeeded ; but my 
word was pledged to do it, and I have kept my word. It may, 
perhaps, do me some little injiuy, but I can afford a trifle, 
and my next play will bring me up. I am tired ; I have 
acted four times this week, and I act to-morrow night again. 
Everything goes on finely; I am doing well, and I hope 
my star may continue in the ascendant. I have given myself 
five yean more, and I think at the end of that time I will have 
$ 50,000 to retire upon ; that will, if well invested, give us a 
comfortable home for the rest of our lives, and a quiet comer 
in some respectable graveyard." 

A letter of May 18, 1845, is, I grieve to say, the last 
of this series, as her mother and family joined her shortly 
after. In it she says : — 

** This brings you good news. My manager will not give 
me up at the end of my engagement, but insists on my going 
on. The houses continue very fine, and the people are more 
and more pleased. The idea of acting an engagement of 
forty-seven nights in seven old plays, and being called out 
every night, then to have one's engagement renewed for 
thirty nights more, is a thing that would astonish the natives 
on the side of the world you inhabit now, but which I hope 
won't hold you long. I assure you I have reason to be more 
than proud, not only of my success, but of the very kind man- 
ner I am treated in private. In fact, I have no moment to 
myself; and really when I want to write I have to deny my- 
self to my friends, and a constant round of invitations pursues 
me for all the time I can command." 

Of the ordinary newspaper notices of this period a 
very few extracts will suffice ; and it would almost seem 

* This was a play by Mr. Jamee Kenny, called ** Infatoation." 



HEE LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 51 

superfluous to give place to them here, if they were not 
history, and as such not to be entirely disr^arded. 

Of Miss Cushman's first appearance in London in the 
tragedy of " Fazio " the Times says : — 

''The great oharacteristics of Miss Cushman are her ear- 
nestness, her intensity, her quick apprehension of 'read- 
ings,' her power to dart from emotion to emotion with the 
greatest rapidity, as if carried on by impulse alone. The 
early part of the play affords an audience no criterion of what 
an actress can do ; but from the instant where she suspects 
that her husband's affections are wavering, and with a flash 
of horrible enlightenment exclaims, 'Fazio, thou hast seen 
Aldobella ! ' Miss Cushman's career was certain. The variety 
which she threw into the dialogue with her husband — from 
jealousy dropping back into tenderness, from hate passing to 
love, while she gave an equal intensity to each successive 
passion, as if her whole soul were for the moment absorbed 
in that only — was astonishing, and yet she always seemed to 
feel as if she had not done enough. Her utterance was more 
and more earnest, more and more rapid, as if she hoped the 
very force of the words would give her an impetus. The 
crowning effort was the supplication to Aldobella, when the 
wife, falling on her knees, makes the greatest sacrifice of her 
pride to save the man she has destroyed. Nothing could ex- 
ceed the determination with which, lifting her clasped hands, 
she urged her suit, — making offer after offer to her proud 
rival, as if she could not give too much, and feared to reflect 
on the value of her concessions, — till at last, repelled by the 
cold marchioness, and exhausted by her own passion, she 
sank huddled into a heap at her feet Of the whole after 
part of the drama, which was distinguished throughout by 
a sustained energy, this was her great triumph. We need 
hardly say that Miss Cushman is likely to prove a great ac- 
quisition to the London stage. For passion, real, impetuous 
irresistible passion, she has not at present her superior. At 



52 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

the end of the play Miss Cushman, who had acted throughout 
with the greatest applause, came forward and was received 
with showers of bouquets ; never were bouquets more richly 
merited." 

The allusion in this article to the grand culmination 
of the scene with Aldobella, when she sinks in a broken 
heap at her feet, will remind many friends of Miss Cush- 
man's own description of the incident : how she was so 
completely overcome and prostrated, not only by the pas- 
sion of the scene, but by the nervous agitation of the 
occasion, that she could not for a time recover possession 
of herself, and the thunders of applause which burst out 
and continued cheer upon cheer were more than wel- 
come, as giving her a moment's breathing-space. When 
at last she rose up and slowly regained her feet, the 
scene she beheld was one she could never after forget, or 
faU to recall without the same thrill of excitement. The 
audience were standing, some on the benches, waving 
hats and handkerchiefs ; and, as the Times says, " Miss 
Cushman's career was certain." 

Of the same occasion the London Sun says : — 

'^ Since the memorable first appearance of Edmund Eean 
in 1814, never has there been such a d^but on the boards of 
an English theatre. She is, without exception, the very first 
actress that we have. True, we have ladylike, accomplished, 
finished artists; but there is a wide and impassable gulf 
between them and Miss Cushman, — the gulf which divides 
talent, even of the very highest order, from genius. That 
godlike gift is Miss Cushman's, strictly speaking. We know 
that it is usual on these occasions to enter into a critical 
notice of the various beauties developed by a debutante; but 
were we to attempt this, our space would be, in the first place, 
too limited, for we should have to transcribe nearly the whole 
part 3 and^ in the next place, we will flEdrly acknowledge that 



HER LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMOBIES. 53 

we were so completely carried away by the transcendent genius 
of this gifted lady that, after the magnificent scene in the sec- 
ond act, we could not criticise, we could only admire." 

From the London Herald of the same date we have 
the following : — 

" Miss Cushman is tall and commanding, haying a fine stage 
figure. The expression of her face is curious, reminding us of 
Macready, — a suggestion still further strengthened by the 
tones of her voice, and frequently by her mode of speech. But 
that is nothing ; she soon proved that she was a great artist 
on her own account; that she not only possessed peculiar 
sensitiveness, but that she had all the tact and efficiency re- 
sulting from experience. Her energy never degenerated into 
bombast, and rarely was she artificial There are several 
situations in the tragedy requiring the most consummate skill 
on the part of the actress to render them fully efiective, and 
she achieved at each successive point a fresh triumph. Her 
tenderness is beautifully energetic and impassioned, while her 
violence, such as when the sentiment of jealousy suddenly 
crosses her, is broad and overwhelming, but at the same time 
not overdone. Miss Cushman is altogether a highly accom- 
plished actress, and it may be easily foreseen that her career 
m this country will be a most brilliant one." 

The versatility of Miss Cushman's powers was next 
shown to the world of London by her assumption of the 
part of Rosalind. There are, however, many and most 
favorable notices of her Lady Macbeth, which I do not 
quote because her countiy-people know so well all her 
excellences in that part they can learn nothing new about 
it Li Bosalind she seems to have given unbounded 
satisfaction. From many enthusiastic tributes, I select 
the following: — 

*' On Thursday night Miss Cushman gave us the first oppor- 
tunity of seeing her in a Shakespearian character, — the sweet, 



54 CHABLOITE CUSHMAM: 

meny, mocking, deep-feeling, true, loving Rosalind, whose 
heart and head are continuallj playing at cross purposes ; 
whose wit is as quick to scout and scoff at the tender passion 
as her heart is ready to receive it, who flies from tenderness to 
taunting, and back again, as quickly as a bird from bough to 
bough ; who puts on her wit as she does her boy's dress, as a 
defence against an enemy she kno?rs to be too strong for her. 
Whilst under her womanly guise the Rosalind of Miss Cushman 
was a high-bred though most gentle and sweet-tempered lady, 
with the mirthful spirit which nature had given to her saddened 
by the misfortunes of herself and &ther. But, with the indig- 
nant reply which she makes to the duke her uncle, on being 
banished as a traitor, this phase of her character disappears. 
No sooner is the plan of flight conceived and resolved upon, 

and the words uttered,— 

* Were it not better, 
BecauM that I am more than common tall. 
That 1 did suit me all points like a man f ' 

than all sadder thoughts disappear, to make room for the over- 
flowing spirits of the woman. Love itself is put as a mark to 
be shot at by wit ; or rather it is love that arms wit against 
itself, and gives it all its point. 

"But we hear some one say, ' You are speaking of Rosalind, 
instead of the lady who enacted the part on Thursday night.' 
We beg to say it is one and the same thing. If ever we 
looked upon, heard, conceived Rosalind, it was upon that 
occasion. If ever we listened to the playful wit, the sweet 
mocking, the merry laugh of Rosalind, if ever we saw her 
graceful form, her merry eye, her arched brows, her changing 
looks, it was then and there. Mrs. Nesbit's Rosalind was a 
sweet piece of acting, full of honey ; Madame Yestris's Rosa- 
lind is all grace and coquetry ; Miss Helen Faucit's (by far 
the best of them) is full of wit, mirth, and beauty. But Miss 
Cushman wcu Rosalind. These were all water-colors ; but 
Miss Cushman's Rosalind is in oils, with such brilliancy of 
light and shade, with such exquisitely delicious touches of 






HER LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIEa 55 

nature and art, with such richness of variety and perfect con- 
gruity, that if we did not see Shakespeare's * very Rosalind,' 
we never hope or wish to do so. We must confess that, after 
seeing Miss Cushman in Bianca and Mrs. Haller, we thought 
her genius essentially tragic 3 and had we seen her only in 
Bosalmd, we should have thought it essentially comic. But 
the fact is, as with Shakespeare himself, and most other great 
poets, the highest genius necessarily embraces both elements 
of tragic and comic 

" Miss Cushman's features, if they are deBcient in regular 
beauty, have that flexibility which makes every expression nat- 
ural to them, and causes them to reflect each thought which 
passed through the author's brain as he drew the character. 
Never did we hear Shakespeare's language more perfectly enun- 
ciated. Not a syllable was lost, and each syllable was a note. 
The beauties of the author were as clear, as transparent, as 
though the thoughts themselves, instead of the words which 
are their vehicles, were transfused through the senses ; eye, 
ear, heart, took them in, in that perfect form in which they 
were conceived. 

'^ We may seem extravagant in our praise to those who have 
not seen Miss Cushman, not to those who have seen her ; and 
we trust she will repeat the part of Rosalind before she leaves 
us 

" It struck us as a circumstance contrasting with the effect 
ordinarily produced by stars upon the general corps drama- 
tique^ that all seemed to play better with Miss Cushman than 
they would otherwise have done. The atmosphere of her 
genius embraced the whole stage, and was not limited to her- 
self. A few such women or men of equal stamp (would we 
had them !) would work a notable revolution in the English 
stage." 

Another notice of her Rosalind says : — 

" By her performance last night Miss Cushman has discov- 
ered a new talent. Intensity of emotion, rapid, impetuous 



56 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

transitions from passion to passion, she had exhibited in the 
three tragedies that have been presented. But it remained to 
be seen how she would excel in a character in which light, 
graceful comedy is required, and which calls forth no one of 
those qualities by which she had previously gained her public. 
" In this, her new trial, she has been nyost successful, and, if 
her former achievements were triumphs' of enei^, this was a 
triumph of intelligence. By th« ease with which she assumed 
the character she showed how thoroughly she appreciated it : 
a playful vivacity dictated her words, the * points * fell readily 
from her lips ; her Rosalind was no empty convention, but a 
living, breathing, laughing, joyous reality. Yet not all joyous ; 
she shaded the part with nice discrimination. The delicacy 
with which she first addressed Orlando, when she rewarded 
him with the chain and spoke as if with difficulty overcoming 
a scruple, was chaste and maidenlike, and was well followed up 
by her hurrying back to Celia at the words, 'Shall we go, 
coz 1 ' The rapidity and anxiety of the questions with which 
she first ajsks for Orlando in the forest come out with great 
effect from the state of nonchalance which had preceded them. 
£ven her song bears witness to her intelligence. She threw 
into it such a spirit of mirth and vivacity that it told immis- 
takably upon the audience. But the charm of charms in 
this impersonation is the hearty sweetness of her laugh ; it is 
contagious from its very sweetness ; she seems to laugh fi*om 
her very soul as she bandies about her jests and makes the 
love-lorn Orlando the butt of her pretty malicious pleasantries. 
And even as she feels it, so does her audience. In this part 
of the play her acting is a great treat to all lovers of art for 
its truthfulness and its thorough sincerity, and all through 
the performance she received and well merited the unbounded 
and unanimous applause of every person present.'' 

In another notice of the same part I find the follow- 
ing:— 

" Now, what is the secret of Miss Cushman's success in char- 
acters so widely differing from each other as Bianca, Lady 



HER UFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 57 

Macbeth, and Rosalind 1 It is earnestness. She is earnest 
in whatever she undertakes. She thinks nothing of indiyidual 
self, but everything of that other self with which for the time 
she is identified, so that she becomes the very character which 
she represents ; and no actor or actress who does not possess 
this power can ever become great.'* 

Other notices of Mrs. Haller, Beatrice, etc. are in the 
same tone of unqualified enthusiasm ; each part in suc- 
cession more warmly received than the last, as she grows 
in public favor. Apropos of Mrs. Haller, she used to tell 
with much amusement how her performance of it had 
affected Mr. Louis Blanc, at that time a political refugee 
in London, and one of her warm friends. After seeing 
it first, he had no command of English in which to ex- 
press Ids appreciation ; but long afterwards, when he had 
achieved the language, he said to her, " Miss Cushman, I 
assure you I never have c-r-i-e-d so much in all my life.** 
He had a very large mouth, and rolled his r*8 tremen- 
dously, and her imitation of him was inimitable. I make 
no apology for reproducing here these extracts from the 
English papers referring to her first performances there. 
They are interesting and valuable now as showing how 
the first verdict justified the last, and how thorough and 
sincere was the EngUsh estimate of her powers. 

With these manifestations of public approbation it is 
needless to say that private appreciation held equal meas- 
ure. She secured and held the warm esteem and friend- 
ship of the most distinguished literary and artistic per- 
sonages of the day. Verses were written, pictures painted, 
in her honor. Miss Eliza Cook was a devoted friend, and 
celebrated her friendship in many fervid lines. The poet 
Bogers sought her out early, and was most kind in pro- 
curing for her the pleasure of meeting all that was best 
in the social world of London* She often spoke of those 



58 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAK : 

famous breakfasts, made expressly for her, when she was 
permitted to name those whom she particularly wished 
to meet, and who were accordingly summoned by this 
enchanter, whose wealth and celebrity made him a potent 
influence in that potent world. 

Of course, after such pronounced success in London, 
her career in the provinces was a foregone conclusion. 
She had made engagements at Brighton, Hull, Manches- 
ter, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, etc.; but, before 
starting upon this tour, she took a furnished cottage at 
Bayswater, one of the suburbs of London, and established 
there her family, whom, immediately that she felt her 
success assured, she had summoned from America. It 
was there that she and her sister Susan studied " Eomeo 
and Juliet" together. They afterwards went for a few 
nights to Southampton, where they made their first essay 
in this performance, which afterwards became so famous 
and created such a furore in England. 

Miss Cushman opened her second engagement in 
London at the Haymarket Theatre, December 30, 1845, 
when the sisters made their first appearance together in 
Shakespeare's tragedy of "Eomeo and Juliet" There 
were many difficulties and vexations behind the scenes 
in consequence of their determination to act the play 
according to the original version of Shakespeare instead 
of the ordinary acting play with which the company were 
familiar. It may be supposed they resented what they 
considered an assumption of superiority on the part of 
these "American Indians," as they called the Misses 
Cushman, and they made themselves disagreeable accord- 
ingly ; so much so that Mr. Webster, the manager of the 
theatre, was obliged to put up a notice in the green-room 
that any lady or gentleman who made any difficulty or 
objection to carrying out the wishes of the Misses Cush- 



H£B LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMOBIES. 59 

man was welcome to leave the theatre. This tone, how- 
ever, was very soon changed when the seal of success 
was stamped upon their effort, and soon the unanimous 
verdict of the whole community brought the malcontents 
to better and wiser conclusions. They were destined to 
become sufficiently familiar with the Shakespearian ver- 
sion, for the tragedy was acted upwards of eighty nights 
in London alone, and afterwards pursued the same career 
of almost unexampled success in the provinces, — an 
unprecedented fact in those times. 

Although Miss Cushman's early training as a "utility 
actress "at the Park Theatre had obliged her to make her- 
self familiar with many male parts, it was not her choice 
to represent such, and notably in the case of this famous 
impersonation. She was led to her choice of this play as 
the one in which to present her sister to an English 
audience, by her strong desire to be enabled to support 
her fittingly hersell In her own plays there were few 
characters in which her sister could appear, or only such 
in which the standard of position to which she had 
attained would have to be lowered by her personation of 
them. By acting Bomeo herself, she would add to her 
sister's attraction, secure her success, and give her that 
support which it would be difficult otherwise to obtain. 
It is well known that there is no character in the whole 
range of the drama so difficult to find an adequate repre- 
sentative for as Bomeo. When a man has achieved the 
experience requisite to act Bomeo, he has ceased to be 
young enough to look it ; and this discrepancy is felt to be 
unendurable in the yoimg, passionate Bomeo, and detracts 
much from the interest of the play. Who could endure 
to see a man with the muscles of Forrest, or even the keen 
intellectual face of Macready, in the part of the gallant 
and loving boy ? 



60 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN: 

Her assumption of it seemed to fill all the needs at 
once, — maturity of powers, with gentleness and grace of 
deportment; and yet, with the inimitable mvoir faire 
which belonged to her, she was enabled to throw into it 
enough of manliness and chivalrous gallantry of demeanor 
to make the vraiseniblance perfect, as it proved in the 
estimation of the public, who received and accepted the 
unusual combination with delighted enthusiasm. 

The newspaper comments upon this performance are 
very curious, as showing how completely it took the 
heart of London and all England by storm. Miss Susan 
Cushman's success was very marked, thou^^h there can be 
little doubt whose ^lan cLied the piecf along its tri- 
umphant course. The Times says : — 

'' It ifl enough to say that the Romeo of Miss Cushman is 
far superior to any Romeo we have ever had. The distinction 
is not one of degree, it is one of kind. For a long time Romeo 
has been a convention. Miss Cushman's Romeo is a creation ; 
a living, breathing, animated, ardent human being. The 
memory of play-goers will call up Romeo as a collection of 
speeches, delivered with more or less eloquence, not as an 
individual Miss Cushman has given the vivifying spark, 
whereby the fragments are knit together and become an 

organized entirety All the manifestations of Romeo's 

disposition were given with absolute truth, and the one soul 
was recognizable through them all. Miss Cushman looks 
Romeo exceedingly well ; her deportment is frank and easy ; 
she walks the stage with an air of command ; her eye beams 
with animation. In a word, Romeo is one of her grand suo- 
cesses." 

From Doyd's Weekly Messenger we extract the follow- 
ing:— 

" Miss Cushman's Romeo must henceforth be ranked among 
her best performances. It was admirably conceived. Every 



HER UFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIES. 61 

floene was warm and animated, and at once conyeyed the im- 
pression of the character. There was no forced or elaborate 
attempt at feeling or expression. You were addressed by the 
whole mind ; passion spoke in every feature, and the illusion 
was forcible and perfect Miss Cushman*s particular excel- 
lence was in the scene with the Friar, and the concluding 
scenes of the tragedy. We never saw these scenes so justly 
conceived or so vigorously executed. The judgment was 
satisfied and the fancy delighted : they had the excellence of 
all art Miss Cushman's talents are certain of commanding 
success in every character in which vigorous and predominant 
passion are to be delineated. She is temperate, but never 
tame ; her acting always rouses the feelings without offending 
the taste. She is the best actress that has appeared upon the 
English stage since the days of Miss O'NieL" 

Another weekly discourses of this performance as fol- 
lows: — 

'' Monday introduced us to such a Romeo as we had never 
ventured to hope for. Certainly, in reading the tragedy 
feelings of quiet discontent with certain stage renderings 
often came across us, and a vague idea that if an artist with 
some faith in his heart as well as in his art should tiy the 
character of Romeo, work might be wrought with other hearts. 
But we had not dreamed of so early an outstripping of all 
our hopes. The glowing reality and completeness of Miss 
Cushman*s performance perhaps produces the strength of the 
impression with which she sends us away. The character, 
instead of being shown us in a heap of di^ecta membra is 
exhibited by her in a powerful light which at once displays 
the proportions and the beauty of the poet's conception. It is 
as if a noble symphony, distorted, and rendered unmeaning 
by inefficient conductors, had suddenly been performed under 
the hand of one who knew in what time the composer intended 
it should be taken. Yet this wonderful completeness, though 
it may produce upon the public the effect of all high art, that 



62 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN: 

of concealing the means by which it ifl obtained, ought not to 
render the critic unmindful of Miss Cushman's labors in detail 
These should be pointed out, not to diminish, but on the con- 
trary to increase, by explaining her triumph. For had her 
superb conception not been seconded by the utmost exactitude 
of execution, the effect would have failed. Of this, however, 
there was no lack, nor is it for us to estimate the pains of a 
process by which so finished a work was achieved. It is for 
us merely to record that no symptoms of carelessness or haste 
appeared, no sentiment was slurred over or half comprehended, 
no passage slighted as of small importance. The intensity 
with which the actress has seized the character is grounded 
upon too reverent an appreciation of its creator's genius to 
allow her to sit in judgment on the means he has chosen for 
the accomplishment of his own purpose. The restoration of 
the plot and text of Shakespeare (thankfully as we receive it) 
is a part only of this demonstration of the honor in which he 
is held by the most admirable of his modem illustrators. It 
breathes through every line of the performance. 

'' All Miss Cushman's stage business is founded upon intel- 
lectual ideas, and not upon conventionalisms ; but it is also 
most effective in a theatrical light Her walk and attitudes 
are graceful ; the manner in which the courtesy of the stage 
is given is very high-bred ; her fencing is better than skilful, 
because it is appropriate. Tybalt is struck dead as lightning 
strikes the pine ; one blow beats down his guard, and one 
lunge closes the fray ; indignation has for a moment the soul 
of Romeo. With Paris there is more display of swordsman- 
ship : he falls by the hand of the lover when ' as fixed, but far 
too tranquil for despair ' ; and the gestures, eloquent as words, 
in the garden scene, and the piteous lingering over the body 
of Juliet, are portions of the performance which are not likely 
to pass away from the memory of the spectator, who was com- 
pelled in the former to share the lover's enthusiasm, in the 
latter his agony." 

Among these notices of Miss Ciishman's Borneo I find 



H£B LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMOBIES. 63 

the following warm and appreciative testimonial from 
James Sheridan Knowles, the well-known dramatist : — 

'' I witnessed with astonishment the Romeo of Miss Cush- 
man. Unanimous and lavish as were the encomiums of the 
London press, I was not prepared for such a triumph of pure 
genius. You recollect, perhaps, Eean's third act of Othello. 
Did jou ever expect to see anything like it again ! I never 
did, and yet I saw as great a thing last Wednesday night in 
Bomeo's scene with the Friar, after the sentence of banish- 
ment^ quite as great I I am almost tempted to go further. 
It was a scene of topmost passion ; not simulated passion, — 
no such thing ; real, palpably real ; the genuine heartnstorm 
was on, — on in wildest fitfulness of fiuy ; and I listened and 
gazed and held my breath, while my blood ran hot and cold. 
I am sure it must have been the case with every one in the 
house ; but I was all absorbed in Romeo, till a thunder of 
applause recalled me to myself. I particularize this scene 
because it is the most powerful, but every scene exhibited 
the same truthfulness. The first scene with Juliet, for in- 
stance, admirably personated by her beautiful sister, was ex- 
quisitely faithful, — the eye, the tone, the general bearing, — 
everything attesting the lover smit to the core at first sight, 
and shrinkingly and falteringly endeavoring, with the aid of 
palm and eye and tongue, to break his passion to his idol. 
My heart and mind are so fiiU of this extraordinary, most 
extraordinary performance, that I know not where to stop or 
how to go on. Throughout it was a triumph equal to the 
proudest of those which I used to witness years ago, and for 
a repetition of which I have looked in vain till now. There 
is no trick in Miss Cushman's performance ; no thought, no 
interest, no feeling, seems to actuate her, except what might 
be looked for in Romeo himself were Romeo reality." 

Their appearance in this tragedy was due to an act of 
concession on the part of the Dublin manager, Mr. Cal- 
craft, who waived Ins rights to allow of its production in 



64 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

Londoa Almost immediately afterwards they left Lon- 
don to fulfil their engagements in the provinces, acting 
first in Dublin a six weeks* engagement, in the course 
of which they played "Eomeo and Juliet,*' and "Ion,** 
and Miss Cushman's usual round of characters. They 
also played "Twelfth Night *' together, Miss Cushman tak- 
ing the part of Viola. There are numerous enthusiastic 
notices of these performances in the provinces ; but it is 
sufficient for my purpose to have given those which 
marked the great success in London, the verdict there 
making the result elsewhere certain. 

She was a special favorite with the Dublin audiences, 
and with the Irish people generally, and made many 
warm and devoted friends in the green island. They 
felt in sympathy with all that was genial and impul- 
sive in her nature, and friends will remember hearing 
her often say that nowhere, in all her experience, did she 
find the magnetic spark of sympathy so quickly and 
readily enkindled as with her Irish audiences. But why 
should we say that in one place more than another Miss 
Cushman succeeded in touching the hearts of her audi- 
ences ; the potent spell lay in her, and between her and 
the beating heart of humanity, which all the world over 
is lying in wait, as it were, for the magnetic touch, the 
winged word, "the spark as of fire from the altar,** which, 
as it kindles, makes the whole world kin. 

I may recall here one or two of the Irish stories with 
which Miss Cushman used "to bring down the house,*' 
privately, for the entertainment of her friends and guests. 
She would have been a wonderful linguist if the means 
of educating her great faculties had been accorded her in 
early life ; as it was, she had the greatest gift for speaking 
" broken tongues '* and dialects ever heard. The brogue not 
only came natural to her, but she knew how to distinguish 



HER LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIES. 65 

between the accents of different parts of Ireland, and often 
puzzled the natives themselves to discover whether she 
came from the north or the south. One of our dear Irish 
friends in Kome, a noble specimen of the true Irish gen- 
tlewoman, never talked anything but the brogue with 
Miss Cushman, and as she was uncommonly witty and 
clever, the contact of their wits on these occasions struck 
out many a bright spark. It was the same with the 
Scotch, the German, and even the Italian; and her 
I>ower over the negro dialect would have set up endless 
troops of negro minstrels. Many will recall her masterly 
rendering of Bums in ''A Man 's a Man for a' That,'' 
" The Annuity," and that wonderful effort, " The Death 
of the Old Squire," as weU as " The SwivH Eights Bill." 
and others of her comic selections. But she had, beside 
these, an inexhaustible supply of such bits of drollery, 
with which she used "to set the table in a roar," and 
which she enjoyed herself to the fuU as much as they 
did. 

On one occasion, when she was acting in Dublin, she 
started out with the intention of taking a short drive, and 
called up one of the cabs in waiting, near her hotel It 
was what is called, in Dublin parlance, " an outside car," 
that is, an open vehicle with the seat running sideways 
over the wheels. There was a little look of rain in the 
air, and she said to the man, "Do you think it will rain ?" 
"Divil a dhrop," said he promptly. "Well, remember 
now, if it rains I will not pay you," said she. "Hop 
up," was the answer. After they had gone a short dis- 
tance a large drop of rain splashed upon her silk dress. 
She touched his arm. " Look here," said she, " what do 
you call that ? " " 0, that 's nothing at alL" " Faith, 
I '11 be dhrounded," said Miss Cushman, in the broadest 
Dublin brogue. Cabby looked at her out of the comer 



66 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN: 

of his eye. It was enough; the sympathetic note had 
been struck^ and he poured forth endless stores of fun 
and drollery all the rest of the drive^ answering all her 
questions instantly, right or wrong, true or false, with a 
ready wit peculiarly Irish. As they passed the post- 
office, Miss Cushman pointed to some statues on the top 
of the building, and asked him what they were. " Faith, 
thim's the twelve apostles," said he. "But there are 
only four of them," said Miss Cushman; "where are the 
others?" "Faith," said paddy, "they must be below, 
sortin' the letthers." 

On another occasion she asked one of the car drivers, 
" What is the difference between an outside and an in- 
side car?" "The difference," said he, — "the difference? 
Well, sure, it 's just this ; an inside car has its wheels on 
the outside, and an outside car has 'em on the inside" ; 
which is as true a definition as could be devised 

Another Irish incident she used to tell was the follow- 
ing. During one of her engagements in Dublin a very 
full house had assembled ; the Lord Lieutenant was coming 
in state ; there had been excitement over certain elections, 
and party spirit ran high. The audience amused itself 
before the opening of the play by calling out for cheers for 
this, that, and the other, shouting for some, groaning for 
others, and making great disturbance; so much so that 
the play could not be heard There were fears that it 
might end in rioting. Suddenly, in the midst of the con- 
fusion a voice called out, " Three cheers for the divil ! " 
Upon which name both parties united with hearty enthu- 
siasm, and peace was restored. 

The Dublin audiences were very turbulent, very enthu- 
siastic, and much given to uttering their thoughts and 
feelings aloud, from pit to gallery, and often to the per- 
formers on the staga One night a sudden disturbance 



HSB LIFE^ LETTEBSy AKD MSMOBIES. 



67 



occurred among the gods, and could not be easily quieted. 
Of course the pit took the matter in hand ; much wit was 
bandied about, up and down, and as in old pagan times 
a victim was demanded. "Tlirow him over, throw him 
over ! " resounded from all sides. Suddenly, in a lull of 
the confusion, a delicate female voice was heard exclaim- 
ing in dulcet tones, " 0, no, don't throw him over, kill 
him where he is T' 






>c\r^. 



CHAPTER IV. 

" Then ii no aoul 
Hon (trtmgaT to direct 7011 Ouu jonrMlr." 

HtMf vin. 
"ThoM iboDt her. 
From her ihill nad tha peifwt myt of hoDor." 
Bmrv nil. 

IX March, 1847, the aistera commenced their pro- 
vincial tour by acting an eng^ment of six 
weeks in Dublin, afterwards going to Birming- 
ham, Manchester, Leeds, Hull, Newcastle, Sheffield, Brigh- 
ton, Edinburgh, Ghisgow, Cork, Limerit^, Dundee, Perth, 
etc., closing at liverpool, where they made a visit at 
Seaforth Hall, the seat of Mr. James Muspratt, whose 
son, Dr J. Sheridan Muspratt, Miss Susan Cushman (or 
Mrs. Merriman) afterwards married. 

They also made during this season a short excoraion to 
Paris, and it was at this time Miss Cushman made the 
acquaintance of Mr. Henry F. Choriey, the well-known 
dramatic and musical critic of the Athenteum, a man much 
respected for his unbendii^ int^rity as a critic, as well 
as for his sterling qualities as a man. He was a warm 
friend to Miss Cushman, and continued so to the day of 
his death. Some extracts from his letters referring to 
this period may not be uninteresting. Hers to him have, 
unfortunately, not been preserved. 

In a letter dated April, 1847, we find the first allusion 



HEB LIFE, LSITEBS, AND MEMORIES. 69 

to his play, " The Duchess Eleanor," which Miss Cush- 
man afterwards acted in, but which did not prove a suc- 
cess. Miss Cushman is at Malvern, recruiting from the 
fatigues of her two seasons ; and he says : — 

"Keep yourself tranquilly, hopefully, in lavender, both 
mind and body, and get as much rest, health, and strength, as 
you can. When you come again to London you are right in 
thinking that you must come wett. A more unpropitious sea- 
son than this could not have been, and it is just as well that 
the play was not tried, though I b^n to think I shall never 
have the agreeable misery of seeing anything of mine acted, 
beyond some sort of a namby-pamby opera translation. It is 
charming to get old, because one has no longer high-raised 
expectations.^ 

Another letter of this period is from Switzerland, and 
fixes Miss Cushman's locality as still at Malvern, where 
she was in the habit of going whenever suffering from 
overwork or nervous exhaustion, and always with great 
benefit : — 

" I have been more enchanted than I expected with Swit- 
zerland. When one has heard much of any sight, as of any 
person, spiritual pride is apt to say, ' After all, the thing is 
not worth so very much.' This poor country has, perhaps 
beyond all others, been given over as a prey to travelling 
men, women, and children. But, though the weather has been 
wretched and the season much too late, I have had very great 
enjoyment. To describe is impossible. There are only some 
few bits of Byron here and there, among all that has been 
written, which in the slightest manner approach the grandeur 
of the reality. Perhaps, if we are so happy as to have a cosey 
London winter near each other, bits of scenery and wayside 
adventure may come out in talk, such as shall even match 
our rummages of the shops or the theatres in our never-to- 
be-foigotten holiday of October last. 



70 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAK: 

" I must tell joQ that at Veyay I fell into the oompanj of 
Mrs. TroUope, who was wonderfully mystified to discover what 
manner of animal I was, and I must say was yery agree- 
able. We had also three charming days with Mendelssohn at 
luterlaken, and, in short, have not lacked entertainment, 
though, owing to the weather, with not precisely as many 
snow mountains for breakfast, glaciers for dinner, and lakes 
for tea as we would bespeak when setting out for a Swiss 
ramble. 

*' Now, in the hope of our pleasant meeting in late October 
(as I am booked for the 15th), let me provoke you and Mrs. 

M f wind and Maddox permitting, to dine with me on 

Gunpowder Treason Day, November 5, when my house opens 
its doors and cries, ' Chorley at home again.' ** 

" Need I say how heartily I wish and hope that this may 
find you better for the cold 'water privileges' you are ei\]oy- 
ing; and the hot water ditto which I must undeigo if * Duchess 
Elinor ' at last comes to a hearing) This is not a letter, the 
wisest of queens will please to observe, but merely a card of 
inquiry from one who hopes to prove himself,'* eta 

On the subject of the play he says in a later letter : — 

<< As to seeing Mr. Maddox, do you know I think it would 
be for every one's best that I should be the mam behind 
the cloude. Since you and I understand each other so com- 
pletely that I have no earthly fear of the affair not being safer 
in your hands than mine, and I will work morning, noon, and 
night and midnight, till you are contented. My disinclina- 
tion means no avoidance of labor or responsibility, but a con- 
viction that my being known is more likely to hinder than to 
help the success of the piece. I don't think much of the work 
myself, save in seeing the confidence with which it inspires 
you, and from believing the time is come when the public 
would like to have a play for a great woman. Therefore, just 
tium this over in your mind, whether it would not be better 
for you to say that you will see the royal author on Sunday, 



HER LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIEa 71 

who is ready to make such changes as Queen Cushman and 
Manager Maddox may agree upon, but for many reasons is 
anxious to blush unseen until his fate is ascertained. But I 
leave everything at your disposal and discretion. Hoping to 
find a note to say that you are coming to eat Heaven knows 
what this day week at my octagon table at five o'clock," etc. 

Later on, October 23, he writes : — 

^'Thanks for your note, and for your steady efforts to see 
justice done to the Duchess. In my case, beyond the certain 
fidget which, be a man hard as a stone, will from time to time 
wear one when the matter has been so long protracted, I feel 
little in the affair save the encouragement of your great kind- 
ness, which I take as encouragement, inasmuch as it is not 
phrasing, but must be sincere from the nature and manner of 
its manifestations.'' 

On October 28 he writes : — 

'* Had I not found your note on coming home fix)m the the- 
atre, I must have written to you after the Queen Katharine, 
which I went to see quietly. Tou are wholly wrong to fancy 
that the part does not do you good^ and you good to the part. 
What will you say when I tell you that it has given me a 
higher idea of your power than any I have yet seen you actt 
I like it all, conception, execution, everything. I like the 
plainness, the simplicity, and the utter absence of all strain or 
solemnity. 

'*Tou know I am difficult, and little given to praising any 
one. Most of all was I delighted to hear how your level voice, 
when not forced, tells, and tells thoroughly. Now believe I 
don't say this to put you in good-humor, or for any other rea- 
son than because it is honest and must come ! 

''As for the critics, remember that from time immemorial 
they have been always, at first, unjust to new and natural 
readings. The house shows how little harm or good they do, 
and of its humor there was no doubt ; though people who 



72 CHARLOTTE CUSmCAN : 

have been wiping tbeir eyes on apricot-colored bonnet-fttrings, 
as I saw one young lady of nature doing, can't find time or 
coolness to applaud as tbey ougbt In short, I was pleased, 
mnch pleased, and shall tell you yet more about the same when 
I see youy and I am truly glad for your own sake you bare 
played the part. A and I were two sitting notes of admi- 
ration ; be is going to write one also. I believe I saw the 
angelic manager hovering on the stairs ; but I don't think he 
knows me if he sees me, or I would let my beard grow again 
as fast as possible, and dye it black, by way of mystification." 

From some undated notes : — 

'* I write to you immediately on hearing from the Neigh- 
bourinay to say that I hope you will dine with me on Sunday 

week, with Mrs. M , if she shall so please, as it will be 

merely a business dinner, and myself will only arrive late on 
Saturday evening. There can be no truffles, alas ! nor sar- 
cophagus puddings ; only bones to pick, and greetings to ex- 
change, and measures to be taken that the Duchess be written 
neither smaller nor taller than the pleasant public shall please. 
My first impulse was to pack up soul and body immediately 
on receiving yours. Then it occurred to me that all the week 
you will be busy at rehearsal, and that probably the day I 
mention may be the earliest you could really devote to our 
affair ; so that I am acting, I hope, for the best against my 
impatience in thus bidding you to a conference eight days 
hence." 

In default of Miss Cushman's own letters of this period, 
which have been, through lapse of time and combination 
of circumstances, unfortunately lost or destroyed, I have 
thought it best to introduce any letters written to her 
having any value in themselves, which have come into 
my hands, believing that nothing can be unimportant 
which illustrates even incidentally a career like hers. 

"The Duchess Elinor" was not produced until Miss 
Cushman's return to England in 1855. 



HEB LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 73 

For the year 1848 there are few memoranda or letters, 
and memory must be invoked for a record of her move- 
ments, which were many and varied. The activity of her 
life during these English years was amazing, both in the 
direction of work and play. It is notable that work 
always follows play as a natural and inevitable sequence, 
and the social relaxation which was so necessary, and 
which she enjoyed with her whole heart, never absorbed 
her to the extent of making her forget her duties to her 
art or to her family. We have brief records of delightful 
tours into all the most lovely parts of England, almost 
always undertaken with or for friends with whom she 
wished to share the pleasure of the excursioa She never 
could and never did, in all the course of her life, enjoy 
anything alone or selfishly; and such friends as have shared 
with her these unequalled experiences will remember how 
perfect she was as hostess, companion, helper, how ordi- 
nary diflftculties cleared away before her, how rough places 
became smooth and bright spots brighter under her genial 
influence. It has been well said that a sincere desire to 
give pleasure was her chief characteristic; it might be 
added, to take it also, for she had a real genius for enjoy- 
ment ; no one was ever more ready and glad to be pleased, 
and to accept with more gracious cordiality the simplest 
efiTort to afford her gratification. 

In the early part of this year the sisters were acting 
together again in the provinces, always with the same 
success. On the 10th of July Miss Cushman acted 
" Queen Katharine " for Mr. Macready's farewell benefit 
at Drury Lane Theatra The queen was present, and it 
was a very grand occasioa After this she went to 
Manchester on a visit, and then to Bolton Woods for two 
months, stopping at a farm-house on the estate of the 
Duke of Devonshire. The duke was then living there at 



74 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

one of his hunting-lodges, and was veiy kind to Miss 
Cushman, sending his carriage for her to come to luncheon 
with him, and showing her many kind attentions. 

Among the letters of 1846 - 48 I find some from Miss 
Jewsbury, the well-known authoress, who was one of 
Miss Gushman's earliest Mends in England. They are 
carelessly dated, but belong to the above time. In one 
I find the following. Speaking of a dinner-party she 
had attended she says: — 

*' I did not get next the man laid out for roe, but had for 
companion a good Englishman, to whom I had the oomfort of 
talking about you. He had never seen you, and for many years 
had given up going to theatres, as be is faithful to the memory 
of Airs. Siddons and all that generation, and has even pre- 
served the playbills. But he talked very well and most en- 
thusiastically, and listened to all I said with great faith, and 
the next time you come here he is fully purposed to go. We 
were settling you the whole dinner-time, and I could not help 
laughing to see bow people instinctively find their point of 
sympathy. Although he had not been to see you act, he felt 
a sympathy with you for what you had done for your family ; 
he said he had heard of that, and it happens that all his family 
had been thrown on him, and he behaved in a most worthy 
way. He was intended for the church, and had a most decided 
inclination for it ; but whilst he was at college his father died 
in embarrassed circumstances, and this man was obliged to 
leave college, and go behind a counter and drudge for years to 
retrieve his affairs and bring up the rest of the family, hating 
it all the time ; but he did it, and adopted two of his sister's 
children beside ; finally made his fortune and retired, and is 
extremely respected, as he deserves to be ; and there was your 
point of interest to him. He knew what it was you had done, 
and could appreciate it.^ 

In another letter she says : — 

" My dear Chablotte : I feel very anxious about you. It 



HER LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 75 

/seems to me when people have attained your height, the wear 
and tear of keeping up is worse than the fatigue of dimhing. 
You seem to me in that way in your last. I can understand 
how it is, though I am not come to the dignity of feeling it on 
my own account. I &ncy it is a good omen ; none but those 
able to go on can feel it ; and after a triumph such as you have 
achieved it is natural you should feel like a racer after the 
course, not up to running again at present ; people never feel 
so itrang as after a defeat, nor so weak and trembling as after 
a victory, — so little able, I mean, to do more. So, dear, if 
you have any fears or misgivings, don't heed them. It is only 
a sign that success has not intoxicated you, and that you are 
not uncoiled all your length. 

" As to what you say of not having been ' up to the mark/ 
You are not a maehine, but a woman of genius. Nothing is 
certain and constant in its action but mechanism, and yet the 
best thing done by mechanism is not so valuable as the un- 
certain, varying, sometimes imperfect result of human efforts. 
What you effect comes from within, and if you were always 
' up to the mark,' it would be a great presumption that it was 
mechanical, and came from without So do not disturb your- 
self for nothing. I have no need to say * (Jo on,* for you are 
one of those who cannot help it. Tell me how you go on, for 
indeed and indeed I feel for your success more than I ever 
could do for my own." 

The following extract refers evidently to Miss Gush- 
man's first visit to Malvern, which became afterwards 
such a favorite resort . 

"My dearest Charlotte: I was very glad to get your 
note, and to see your handwriting once more. I am very anx- 
ious to hear how hydropathy suits you. It is no use saying 
anything now, but still I hope you had good medical sanction 
before you ventured yourself upon it. My dear child, do per- 
suade somebody, from a general sense of good-nature, to write 
me a few lines of particuJars concerning your present state. 



76 CHARLOTTE CUSHBiAN: 

and how 70a get on with the cold water ; they cannot be too 
minute. If any old nurse would write I should have a chance 
of hearing more than any of your dever ones could think of 
saying. I have it ! Give my best regards to your Sallie, and 
tell her to write me a letter all about you and nothing else in 
nature. I am very grieved that rest has come to you in such 
a miserable guise, but it will be the means of saving your life. 
You were going on too fast, and now, when you are once set 
on your two feet again, you will have gained more power than 
if you had never been laid low. Be patient, my dear child, 
and don't chafe or fret yourself This rest, thus forced upon 
you, will be a quarry out of which you will get many precious 
materials.'' 

Another letter refers still to Malvern, and her anxious 
fears for Miss Gushman's health, which had suffered much 
from overexertion. 

" Mt dearbbt Child : You are in a bad way just now, and 
no wonder; you have had enough to drive to distraction a 
whole regiment of meny let alone women. But don't distress 
yourself too much in your own heart ; your depression and 
discouragement, your weariness and vexation of spirit, are in a 
great measure the result of all the superhuman exertions you 
have had to go through for the last few months. Living in 
London society does, under any circumstances, make one ex- 
quisitely sad, and you have had it« essence, doubly and trebly 
distilled and powerfiiL You must expect, and cannot help but 
find, a reaction as strong as the excitement has been. The 
life you have led, the success, the acclamations, the perfect 
glare of triumph in which you have moved for the last few 
months, are almost fabulous. No nervous system that was 
ever of woman bom could stand it : you are a perfect miracle 
in my eyes ; but you are proving your mortality by suffering. 
You will recover your balance, never fear. Set down all the 
wretchedness and morbid discomfort you are suffering now 
just to physical causes. Think of them just as a headache or 



/ 



HEB LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMO&IES. 77 

I an illness ; but the present uneasiness is all you have to fear ; 
it lies no deeper, believe me, and will pass away. You are 
overworked, overstrained altogether, and you look at things 
in general as we are apt to do when we lie awake at night ; 
everything then looks black and haggard-like ; there is noth- 
ing really bad or wrong the matter, so do not make yourself 
miserable. It is bad enough to suffer, God knows, but there 
is no worse at the bottom, and that 's a comfort You must 
contrive not to do so much another year. Your 'passion- 
ate work ' will kill you else ; for though nature is very elastic^ 
\ she won't stand too much. Remember what I am saying 
\ is not £uicy, for I have suffered myself, and I have studied 
\ the philosophy of the thing, and so I consider I am qualified 
to speak, and you are to believe what I tell you. Do you 
hearr 



\ 



\ 



Following Miss Jewsbury's letters I may here insert 
some of her remembrances of Miss Gushman at that time, 
with which she has kindly favored me. She writes : — 

** I think it was veiy soon after she arrived in England for 
the first time that she came to Manchester, where I then 
resided. She brought letters to me, and was alone, except 
for Sallie, her faithful maid, who I hope is still alive, and if 
so I beg to be remembered to her kindly. I suppose Miss 
Cushman was not handsome, but the beautiful, true, and 
finn gray eyes gave me the impression of beauty, and sup- 
plied the lack of it, if it were lacking. To me she always 
looked beautifuL Her voice, too, was true and real like her- 
self and of a tone that was very pleasant to the ear. She 
conveyed the impression of protection and strength. 

'* In those days she had not yet begun the fight and struggle 
of her professional career in England. She had appeared in 
London in Milman's tragedy of ' Fazio,' and made a very great 
impression. In Manchester she made many friends, quiet, 
domestic people, who regarded her with affection and respect. 
She was noble and generous, and gave help to whoever needed 



78 CHABLOTTB CUSHMAN: 

it, to the utmost of her ability. As she said once to me her- 
self, ' she tried always to keep her prow turned towards good/ 
and I feel sure that desire underlay the whole of her life. 

** We lost sight of each other, as was only natural in lives 
which lay so wide apart. The last year she was in England I 
wrote to her ; but she was ill, and could not see me. Then 
came her apparent recoTery; and then the unexpected end, 
when all her Mends had begun to hope the danger was past. 
Of her acting in some of her characters I retain a vivid recol- 
lection. Her ' Meg Merrilies,' and that strange, silent spring to 
the middle of the stage, which was her entrance on it, can 
never be foi^tten; nor the tones of her voice, which seemed 
to come from another world* Madame Vestris said that ' Meg 
Mernlies made her turn cold.' The song she crooned in the 
part was exactly as Meg would have given it, and suggested 
no other person, and no acting. Indeed, all her characters 
were singularly true and individual She never seemed to 
display herself in her acting. 

** I remember her Mrs. Haller well. She seemed to absorb 
and consume all the fiUse sentiment of the play, and to elicit 
only the real suffering of the character, and the tragical truth 
that nothing can undo iU deeds once done. It was, I think, the 
character in which she most impressed ma The chief charm 
of her acting was, as I remember it, its intense earnestness 
and directness, and the absence of all self-consciousness or of 
any desire to impress herself upon the spectator. In those 
days she used to sing in private in a very dramatic and re- 
markable manner. It is so long ago, that I am afraid I have 
been able to help you little ; but I am glad to make my record 
of the esteem and affection in which I held her, and of my 
admiration for the single-handed strife she carried on and the 
uprightness with which she attained at last her fortune and 
success. It will be a help and comfort to many who are now 
struggling in the same thorny paths." 

The above remark may not inappropriately introduce 
a few extracts from letters and notes written at this time 



HER LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIEa 79 

by Miss Cushman to a young friend in England, who 
with much ability and ambition, and many material 
lets and hindrances, was seeking to find a career, and 
afterwards by Miss Cushman's assistance successfully 
entered the dramatic professioa They are interesting as 
showing what a specialty she had as helper and comforter, 
and how well she could minister to the needs of the spirit 
as well as of the body, in the midst of her own arduous 
labors. 

** I knew all you have told me of your oirciunstanoes," she 
writes, ** before I spoke to you. Tou will believe, from what I 
have told you of my own character and study, that I do not 
recklessly waste my feeling ; and when you ask me if I shall 
despise you for your employment, you little know the admira- 
tion you have excited in me by your capabilities, and I admire 
you all the more for not despising it yourselfl How many 
there are who have a horror of my profession / Yet I dearly 
love the very hard work, the very drudgery of it, which has 
made me what I am. Despise labor of any kind ! I honor it» 
and only despise those who do not find sufficient value in it to 
admire. You did not know me when you asked me if I would 
despise you for it ! But you must find little time for praotis- 
mg music, — a hard and labor^emanding vocation. I have 
tried it myself therefore am fully qualified to speak of it. 
Have you calculated the time it must take to fit you for a 
teacher, and are you able to give your whole heart to it 1 For, 
indeed, it demands it. Your gentleness of disposition will do 
much for you in it, for oh ! it requires more patience than 
brains. But you have brains of no ordinary kind, that would 
be chained into a narrow compass over a piano. How very 
many, with no earthly capacity, — mere machines, automata, — 
rise to eminence as pianists and teachers of the piano ! 

** It seems to me a waste of Qod's greatest gift, intellect. 
It is not alone poetry that you write well. Yomr notes and 
letters are mature, and free from girlishness or mawkish sen- 



80 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

timent Tou write as freshly as you think, and your thoughts 
are as genuine and fresh as your expression ; and I could 
almost grieve over those circumstances which have given you 
more confidence in this than in your other gifts. Would not 
the time spent upon the study of the piano prove of more 
serious benefit to you spent in the study of the poetic art 1 

** I have not time even to tell you what I think of your 
lines, but I will in a few days. Meantime let me uige you to 
condense your thoughts, to bring them all into the fewest 
words possible. Concentration is the grand merit of all writ- 
ing as well as all action. You have the power in you, and you 
will show it. 

'' Now that I know your ideas upon the profession you are 
preparing yourself for, I have not a word to say. You seemed 
to me 'young thoughted.' I imagined it but a fimcy that 
possessed you, as likely to bring only pleasure in its employ- 
ment. I know the toil it is. I know the wearying work it is 
to teach. I know the unceasing and untiring patience it re- 
quires, and I feared you had not looked upon all the disagree- 
ables. However, I find you have, and you seem to have judged 
prudently. But were your situation other than it is, were more 
required of you pecuniarily^ I should have advised anything 
on earth but teaching as a means of living. Don't let any- 
thing that I have said cause you a moment's care with regard 
to it. I think I told you in my last that, not knowing your 
idea, I was not competent to give an opinion; not for the 
world would I interfere with what seems, as you present it to 
me, prudent. Yet remembering that, no matter how much 
you teach, you must be kept in practice yourself, or you fail to 
inspire confidence, I feel you have selected a laborious profes- 
sion ; but God speed you, and give you patience, which is aU 
that is necessary. 

'' I oould wish you would endeavor to bring your poetical 
gift more under subjection ; that is, that you would study 
more and write less. You say change is necessary to prevent 
the mind exhausting itselfl Don't talk at your age of the 



HER LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 81 

mind being exhausted upon any subject. You have much 
before you, and reading can be so varied aa to make a con- 
stant change. I cannot tell you how much I admire your 
letters, and the free, open thought you express in them. Pray 
continue to look upon me as one to whom you may utter all 
your thinkings, although I may not be able to afford you all 
the help you need in your struggles with yoursel£ Only do 
not lacerate your flesh too much." 

Here an interval occurs, during which the idea of the 
stage as a profession seems to have been adopted. The 
following extracts bear reference to this change : — 

/ **l should advise you to get to work ; all ideal study of 
/acting, without the trial or opportunity of trying our efforts 
^ and conceivings upon others, is, in my mind, lost time. Study 
/ while you act. Tour conception of character can be formed 
while you read your part, and only practice can tell you 
whether you are right. You would, after a year of study in 
your own room, come out unbenefited, save in as &r as self- 
communion ever must make us better and stronger ; but this 
is not what you want just now. Action is needed. Your vital- 
ity must in some measure work itself off. You must suffer, 
labor, and wait, before you will be able to grasp the true and 
the beautiful. You dream of it now ; the intensity of life that 
is in you, the spirit of poetry which makes itself heard by you 
in indistinct language, needs ufork to relieve itself and be made 
clear. I feel diffident about giving advice to you, for you 
know your own natmre better than any one else can, but I 
should say to you, get to work in the best way you can. All 
your country work will be wretched; you will faint by the way; 
but you must rouse your great strength and struggle on, bear- 
ing patiently your cross on the way to your crown ! God bless 
you and prosper your undertakings. I know the countiy 
theatres well enough to know how utterly alone you will be 
in such companies ; but keep up a good heart ; we have only 
to do well what is given us to do, to find heaven. . 



/ 



82 CHABi/xm cushmak: 

'' Mr. Barton is not in Bath or Bristol now, therefore if yon 
were to go you would not be getting what I want you to go 
there for, namely, lessons in speaking, — to know the capa- 
bilities of your own voice, and how to manage it.'' 

This is the same Mr. Barton whom she mentions in 
her New Orleans experiences as having been kind to her, 
and with whom she made her first appearance as an 
actress, on the occasion of his benefit Times were 
changed with him, as with her, and she was enabled in 
many ways substantially to return the kindness he had 
shown her. 

'' I think if you have to wait for a while it will do you no 
harm. Tou seem to me quite frantic for immediate work; 
but teach yourself quiet and repose in the time you are 
waiting. With half your strength I could bear to wait and 
labor with myself to conquer yr«<^m^. The greatest power in 
the world is shown in conquest over self. More life will be 
worked out of you by fretting than all the stage-playing in 
the world. God bless you, my poor child. You have indeed 
troubles enough ; but you have a strong and earnest spirit, 
and you have the true religion of labor in your heart. There- 
fore I have no fears for you, let what will come. Let me 
hear from you at your leisure, and be sure you have no 
warmer friend than I am and wish to be. ... . 

'^ I was exceedingly pleased to hear such an account of your 
first appearance. You were quite right in all that was done, 
and I am rejoiced at your success. Go on ; persevere. You 
will be sure to do what is right, for your heart is in the right 
place, your head is sound, your reading has been good. Your 
mind is so much better and stronger than any other person's 
whom I have known enter the profession, that your career is 
plain before you. 

'' But I will advise you to remain in your own native town 
for a season, or at least the winter. You say you are afraid 
of remaining among people who know you. Don't have this 



HER LIFE, LETTEB8, AND MEMORIES. 83 

feeling at alL You will have to be more particular in what jou 
do, and the very feeling that jou cannot be indifferent to your 
audience will make jou take more pains. Beside this, you 
will be at home, which is much better for a time ; for then 
at first you do not have to contend with a strange home as 
well as with a strange profession. I could talk to you a 
volume upon this matter, but it is difficult to write. At all 
events I hope you will take my counsel and remain at home 
this winter. It is the most wretched thing imaginable to go 
from home a novice into such a theatre as any of those in the 
principal towns. 

" Only go on and work hard, and you will be sure to make 
a good position. With regard to your faults, what shall I say] 
Why, that you will try hard to overcome them. I don't think 
they would be perceived save by those who perhaps imagine 
that your attachment for me has induced you to join the pro- 
fession. I have no mannerisms, I hope ; therefore any imita- 
tion of me can only be in the earnest desire to do what you 
can do, as well as you can. Write to me often ; ask of me 
what you will ; my counsel is worth little, but you shall com- 
mand it if you need it." 

The young friend to whom the forgoing letters were 
addressed, after a successful theatrical career of some 
years, in the course of which she came to this country 
and acted with Miss Cushman, married very happily and 
left the stage. She was an earnest, faithful, and true soul, 
and her grateful devotion to Miss Cushman remained un- 
changed to the day of her death. She died early ; but 
while she lived life was a full, bright, and sparkling river 
to her, and the finends she brought about her, — Mends 
chosen from the best literary and artistic society of London. 
Her house was one of Miss Cushman's chosen resting- 
places. Her appreciation of it, and of the friends it con- 
tained, she has herself recorded in several of her letters. 

** I have never known," she says, ** three more soul-satisfying 



84 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN: 

days than those at S— D *s. He is the sweetest, whitest 

soul m his home you ever saw, and she is goodness and duty 
and love personified. Clever and dominant in certain things, 
but with a power of submission to him, and all she loves, as 
wondrous in these days of toil and trouble as you can imagine 
anything to be, and as extraordmary the one as the other. 
You don't know how we two grow and thrive in this atmos- 
phere. How much as one's own individualities are respected 
and loved we are forced by atmosphere to love and respect 
theirs. They were three perfect days.*' 

It was at this house she first met Mrs. Carlyle, that 
wonderful woman, who was able to live in the full light 
of Carlyle's genius and celebrity without being over- 
shadowed by it ; who was in her own way as great as he, 
and yet who lived only to minister to him. In the letter 
already quoted Miss Cushman describes her first inter- 
view with Mrs. Carlyle: — 

" On Sunday, who should come self-invited to meet me but 
Mrs. Carlyle ) She came at one o'clock and stayed until eight. 
And such a day I have not known ! Clever, witty, calm, cool, 
unsmiling, unsparing, a raconteur unparalleled, a manner tin- 
imitable, a behavior scrupulous, and a power invincible, — a 
combination rare and strange exists in that plain, keen, unat- 
tractive, yet unescapable woman ! 0, 1 must tell you of that 
day, for I cannot write it ! After she left, of course w6 talked 
her untU the small hours of the morning." 

After this she often saw Mrs. Carlyle in her own house, 
and had the privilege also of seeing the Thunderer him- 
self engaged in the mundane process of taking his tea 
like any ordinary mortal, and hearing him talk — not like 
any other mortal that ever was made, for no creature but 
himself could ever say the things he said and in the way 
he said them. When in the right mood, and to the right 
listeners, Carlyle was greater than his books; for then 



HEB UFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMOBIES. 85 

manner was added to Toatter, and even more characteristic 
and individuaL He had a method of talking on and on 
and on with a curious rising and falling inflection of 
voice, catching his breath now and then on the lower key, 
and then going on again in the higher, in the broadest 
Scotch accent, and ever and anon giving out peals of the 
heartiest laughter over his own extraordinary pictures. 
This peculiar manner of speech — the broad accent, the 
tremendous, breathless earnestness which he would infuse 
into the smallest topic if it were one which anywhere 
touched his instincts of reformer — Miss Cushman imi- 
tated to perfection. 

Meanwhile Ids wife, quiet and silent, assiduously re- 
newed his cup of tea, or by an occasional word, or judi- 
cious note, struck just at the right moment, kept him 
going, as if she wielded the mighty imagination at her 
pleasure, and evoked the thunder and the sunshine at her 
wilL When she was alone, and herself the entertainer, 
one became aware of all the self-abnegation she practised, 
for she was herself a remarkably brilliant talker, and the 
stories of quaint wit and wisdom which she poured forth, 
the marveUous memory which she displayed, were in the 
minds of many quite as remarkable and even more enter- 
taining than the majestic utterances of her gifted husband. 
It was said that those who came to sit at his feet re- 
mained at hers. 



5^2.1;^'*'? 



CHAPTER V. 

" Prallliig whftt 1j lort 
Malui the nrnsmbrKioe dav." 

AU-t Wdl TKiU Sfid* WtO. 

rTH some further notes and memories, kindly fur- 
nished me bj an old and esteemed fnead of Miss 
Gushman'a, I close my references to those early 
days in England. 

" I shall be glad to try," he writes, " vhether my memory 
and pen enable me to set down any impresaionB which may 
interest those younger friendB whose acquaintance with her 
does not date back, as mine does, more than a quarter of a 
century. It ia in fact more than thirty years since I first 
paid my respects to Charlotte Cushman in my father's house, 
soon after her arriTal in London in 1S45. She was then about 
thirty years of age, tall, active, bright in &oe and manner, full 
of wit and humor, and brilliant in manner and eipression. If 
I were asked what special quality distinguished her then, and 
indeed thronghout hor whole life, my reply would be, intensity ; 
the power of plunging her whole mind and spirit, and indeed 
her entire self, into the character which she for the moment 
desired to personate. She was for the time that very character, 
that man Romeo, that woman Juliana, Viola, or Katharine. 
Not that, like Garrick, 'when off the stage always acting*; 
fax from it : off the stage she was invariably, — as she cor- 
dially expressed it in Julia in ' The Hunchback ' — ' her 
open, honest, independent 8el£' 



HEB UTE^ LBTTEBS^ AKB MEMOBIEa 87 

'' But this ifUeniity, as I shall call it, oharaoterized her en- 
tire being and the current of all her thoughts and deeds. It 
was as brightly shown in priyate life as on the public staga 
.... And she was equally intense, with an honest and heart- 
felt sympathy, when sorrow or suffering appealed to her. I 
have often wondered whether comedy or tragedy was her forte ; 
but in truth she was of that great first rank in the histrionic 
art where no such distinctions can be drawn. It was not mere 
nature uneducated and unskilled, but nature fostered and 
trained by diligent study and steady application, which dio- 
tated to her genius the art which charmed and delisted 
the world. 

^ Her power of arresting attention and commanding mlence 
was most remarkable, and never more so than in the crowded 
and fashionable London circles. At a grand soir^ where ' all 
London' was assembled and chattering, even while distin* 
guished amateurs were singing or playing, it was curious to 
observe the dead silence, first of surprise, then of admira^ 
tion, produced by Miss Cushman's recitation of * Lord UUin's 
Daughter.' 

*' At the time of her arriving in England, and for some years 
after, her singing, although the upper notes of her voice had 
disappeared, was excellent of its kind, and her power of musi« 
cal declamation, so essential to good ballad-singing, was re- 
markably fine. To hear her sing, * We were two Daughters 
of one Race,' or ' They teU me Thou 'rt the Favored Guest,' was 
a great musical treat, full not only of dramatic genius, but of 
pathos, sweetness, and vigor. Nor was it less remarkable as 
a work of art, because the artist was, by consummate skill and 
knowledge, conquering the imperfectious of an organ already 
almost destroyed, her great science enabling her to make use 
of what remained, while the intensity of her feeling absolutely 
riveted her audience. Arriving in London, not only an un- 
known actress, but without any of that preliminary flourish 
which is so unfortunately common nowadays, it may well be 
understood that Miss Cushman had no small trouble in obtain- 



88 CHABLOTTE CUBHICAK: 

ing a suitable d^biit ; but I believe that few can realize the 
obstacles of every kind that beset her course ; and even when 
a London manager had determined to give her an opportunity, 
there was, on his part, an utter absence of cordial support, and 
an entire incapability of appreciating the genius and talents 
of the new candidate for London histrionic honors. It was 
not until the day after her d^biit that the lessee of the Prin- 
cess's Theatre began to see that he had in his hand one of 
the trump cards of the game which he was engaged in playing ; 
and even then his nature did not prompt him to any generous 
or even any prudent acceptance of the services of the greatest 
tragic and comic actress of the day. But a very few nights 
convinced all London that she had merits far beyond anything 
at that day on the boards. I remember when a boy hearing 
it observed of that clever and versatile actor, Charles Eemble, 
that it always seemed as if the costume of each character was 
that in which the man habitually lived, and that whether as 
Faulconbridge he ' strolled into Angiers,' or sprang upon the 
stage as Don Felix, he was in dress and bearing the man 
whom he represented. So might it always have been said of 
Charlotte Cushman, whose Queen Katharine, Julia, Juliana, 
Lady Macbeth, and Lady €hky Spanker were all as distinct 
and clear realities as nature itself. 

" In 1845 - 46 Miss Cushman was certainly fortunate in being 
associated with that excellent actor, James Wallack, whose 
admirable acting, no less than his generous advice, rich from 
long experience and the remembrance of bygone years of fel- 
lowship with the Eembles, EUiston, Young, Miss O'Neill, 
Miss Chester, and a host of great artists, were invaluable to 
the young and almost unfriended actress, whose fate for a 
time trembled in the scales of public favor. Recalling a few 
of the triumphs of that time, passing over Bianca in ^ Fazio,' 
of which nothing remains unsaid, my mind reverts pleasantly 
to the genuine success of her Julia in ^ The Hunchback,' with 
its admirable cast, — Mrs. Sterling as Helen in the height of 
her charms and winning humor, Leigh Murray as Clifford, 



HER UFE, LETTBBS, AND IfEMOBIES. 89 

and Wallaok as Master Walter, — the former in Sheridan 

Enowles's odd phrase, ' a d d picturesque fellow,* and the 

latter, according to the same eccentric authority, 'the best 
Hunchback ever seen; I never imderstood the character be- 
fore.' The manner in which Julia's &ce was made up in this 
play, with its youthful freshness and comeliness, was per- 
fectly wonderful to those who had seen Charlotte in private 
life, and to whom, delightful as the woman and the artist 
were, her plainness and the almost strange cut of her features 
were familiar. But just as 

' Pritchard was genteel and Garrick six feet high,' 

80 Charlotte Cushman was lovely, el^;ant, youthful, and es- 
piigle. 

*' Time will not serve, even if I were capable of doing any 
justice to my recollections of her varied gifts and powers, and 
of the parts wherein she displayed them ; all these crowd on 
my memory as bright visions of the past, which, with no un- 
kindly feeling toward the younger artists of to-day, we cannot 
expect again to see ; for the system of things is changed, and 
trained companies of Shakespearian artists can hardly now be 
assembled. 

** There never was a spark of jealousy or disdain toward her 
sister or brother artists in Charlotte's character, none more 
ready to praise, none more happy in being able to give en- 
couragement to her fellows. But of late years how could 
she fail to see and lament over the poor material put upon 
the stage, and the uneducated, ignorant men and women who 
jostled the best actors and actresses off the boards 1 

'' When I saw her last, at Hampstead, it was this which 
made her shrewdly observe, with mixed sarcasm and judg- 
ment, that she began to doubt whether she ever had really 
been an artist, whether her rules and practice had not been 
all wrong, and whether the rising generation had not discov- 
ered the true art of acting. ' True,' she observed, ' we of the 
old school endeavored to " hold the mirror up to nature, to 
show virtue her own features, scorn her own image, and the 



90 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

veiy age and body of the time his form and pressure." So 
Hamlet had taught us, and so we tried to act ; but our houses 
grew empty, sensation drama and all the tribe of biurlesque fill 
the houses, and if Shakespeare is played it is but to display a 
single actor's genius or folly. We must have been altogether 
wrong — w the pubUc.'" 

In March of 1848 her sister Susan was married to Dr. 
James Sheridan Muspratt of Liverpool, and left the staga 

In August, 1849, she sailed again for America, fulfilling 
engagements throughout the country, and everywhere fol- 
lowed by the prestige of her European celebrity. One or 
two extracts from letters are all we have to illustrate this 
period. 

Chorley writes in March, 1850 : — 

'' Though my note had not reached you when you wrote to 
me from New Orleans on the 7th of last month, I hope you 
have received it ere this, since it would remind you that the 
' reciprocity is not all on one side,' but that I can remember 
you as well as you me. With all my heart do I rejoice in the 
accounts you send me of your thrivings and successes. I 
heard as much from some of your friends here, but I am truly 
glad to see the thing accredited in your own handsome hand- 
writing ; only don^t stop in America till you get thirty thou- 
sand pounds, because perhaps by that time you will not need 
England again ; and that 1 should not like, since I shall never 
see America ; and if you are veiy long of coming, you will 
hardly see me, I think, «o Moom to the very banes of my mind 
do I feel, without the possibility of slackening in the exertion 
to keep on my legs. You had small need to tell me how you 
found America. I am convinced, having read every line I 
could read on the subject, seen and conversed and made friends 
with many Americans, that I have a true, clear idea of what I 
should find there. At all events, 't is just what you describe. 
I should exyoy the originals which such a new land must yield ; 



HER LIFE, LBTTSBS, AlO) MEMORIES. 91 

but I shall never see them, — no, not if Mr. Bamum would 
give me one thousand pounds for ' Duchess Elinor ' ! I am 
getting old and sore afraid ; very much like the ' Cottage 
Maid ' in the circulating libraries, ' all in pieces.' Well, I am 
enchanted at your prosperity." 

In this letter Mr. Chorley makes a strong appeal to her 
in behalf of his play, which was afterwards produced on 
her return to England in 1854^ but did not make a suc- 
cess. 

In a letter under date March 27, 1850, New Orleans, 
we find it stated, that although theatrical business was 
duU throughout the South, Miss Cushman's engagement 
was immensely successful ; a longer engagement than was 
ever played by a star before. In those days very long 
runs were not as common as they have since become. 
The nightly average of receipts was greater than even 
Mr. Macready's. From New Orleans she went to Savan* 
nah, Charleston, Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and 
New York. 

In July, in consequence of news of a friend's serious 
illness in England, she took six weeks fix)m her engage- 
ments and crossed the ocean, returning on the 4th of 
August, and remaining in the States until May 15, 1852, 
when she took her farewell at the old Broadway Theatre, 
acting in the interval at Brougham's Lyceum and at the 
Astor Place Opera-House. 

In July of this year we find her in Liverpool, on a 
visit to Seaforth Hall ; in August at the Isle of Wight ; in 
September and October alternating between London and 
Liverpool On October 15th she made her first visit to 
Borne, in company with several travelling Mends ; among 
them Miss Harriet Hosmer, who was then on her way to 
study art in Home, and Grace Greenwood, the well-known 
writer. The winter was spent in the ways so weU known 



92 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAlf: 

to all tourists, with the most earnest enjojnoient and un- 
ceasing activity in the pursuit of it, varied by sittings to 
artists, among them to Mv, W. Page, whose portrait of her 
is now in Newport It was much praised at the time, 
and is undoubtedly an excellent bit of color, but as a like- 
ness it is decidedly weak. No artist but the sun (notably 
the last photograph by Gutekunst, of Philadelphia) was 
ever able to give the mingled strength and sweetness of 
her wonderful face. Page's portrait, however, inspired a 
true poet and artist, the late Paul Akers, with the follow- 
ing tribute, which, as it embodies the feeling which otLght 
to have existed in the portrait, may not be uninteresting 
to transcribe here. Taking it with reference to her, it 
much more fitly suggests the Gutekunst portrait, which 
is unequalled in its embodiment of all that the great and 
noble face had become through its years of labor, of tri- 
umph, and of suffering. 

Page's Portrait of Charlotte Cushhan. 

'^ It is a &ce^ rendered impressive by the grandest repose, — 
a repose that pervades the room and the soul ; a repose not 
to be mistaken for serenity, but which is, however, in equilib- 
rium. No brilliancy of color, no elaboration of accessories, 
attracts the attention of the observer. There is no need of 
these. But he who is worthy of the privilege stands suddenly 
conscious of a presence such as the world has rarely known. 
He feels that the embodiment before him is the record of a 
great past as well as the reflection of a proud present, — a 
past in which the soul has ever borne on and through and 
above all obstacles of discouragement and temptation to a 
success which was its inheritance. He sees, too, the possibili- 
ties of the near future ; how from that fine equipoise the soul 
might pass out into rare manifestations, appearing in the 
sweetness and simplicity of a little child, in the fearful tumul- 
tuousness of ' Lady Macbeth,' in the passionate tenderness of 



HER LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIES. 93 

'Romeo/ or in the gothic grandeur of the Scotch sorceress ; 
in the love of kindred, in the fervor of friendship, and in the 
nobleness of the truest womanhood." 

This was written twenty-seven years ago, and, read in 
the light of the life which followed after, may be looked 
upon as an almost prophetic utterance, and a striking 
manifestation of the true poetic instinct which enabled 
the writer to see beyond the pictured face into the noble 
individuality which it sought to interpret, and to fed all 
its possibilities in the coming years through the atmos- 
phere which it created in the painter's studio. This is 
the supreme gift which fuses all the arts in the alembic 
of its own consciousness, and brings forth the pure ore of 
truth and beauty to the light of day. It may be said 
also that '' the fine equipoise of soul," passing out in rare 
manifestations, found its ultimate and consummate flow- 
ering in the dramatic readings, — wherein the artist, freed 
from aU stirrounding lets and hindrances, stood alone, acted 
alone, and filled each role, passing " from grave to gay, from 
lively to severe," with a power, a pathos, and a humor 
unsurpassed in this or any foregone period. 

There are many portraits of her in and out of character. 
An early one by Sully is interesting, though with the same 
fault of want of character, which never could have been 
the fault of her face. In this head she looks to be about 
seventeen, and there is a singular brightness and sunni- 
ness of aspect ; the eyes are lovely, and look forth trust- 
ingly tmd hopefully. Artists who attempted her likeness 
erred either on one side or the other; they made her 
either insipidly weak, in the effort to soften certain points, 
which were certainly not ar^w^tco/Zy beautiful, or they lost 
sight of the tenderness and sweetness in the strength, and 
exaggerated the latter. It was very easy to mstke an ugly 
likeness of her, but those who did so saw only the out- 
side of her. 



94 CHARLQTTS CU8HHAN : 

Toward the spring of this year she made the usual ex- 
cursion to Naples and its neighborhood, returning by way 
of Civita Vecchia to Leghorn and Florence. In Florence 
she saw the Brownings, whose acquaintance she had made 
some time before in Paris. Leaving Italy, she returned 
by way of the Italian lakes and Switzerland to Paris^ 
arriving on the 5th of July in England, and making her 
usual visit to Great Malvern, to get a little building up 
by water-treatment for the London season of 1854 

Commencing December 15 at Liverpool, she acted during 
January, February, and March in London. In March '* The 
Duchess Elinor " was produced and acted only two nights. 
In April she acts again in Liverpool and in May in Lon- 
don, Birmingham, and Sheffield. In June she makes an 
excursion to Paris, for the pleasure of a young Mend 
whose health was delicate, and was recalled to England 
by the illness and death of Mrs. Muspratt's youngest 
child, Ida 

I find among her letters one to her sister on the death 
of this child, which is so full of tender sadness and brave 
submission that I cannot omit it 

** I grieve from my heart, dear Sue, for all your sadness and 

depression ; but can you not think that God's will is best, that 

perhaps you needed something to draw you nearer to heavien, 

and so this best and purest and dearest was taken to remind 

you that only such can inherit the kingdom of heaven in all 

its purity, and that your whole aim must be to fit yourself to 

be able to join her there 1 That the taking away of this lovely 

child was for some good and wise purpose, though through 

omr earthly eyes we cannot recognize it, we are bound in 

i humble confidence to trust and believe ; and in striving more 

to do Gk>d's will, in aiming for a more truly Christian life, we 

< shall show that we feel his wisdom and power, and are willing 

\ to bow unto it, eager only to be fitted to rejoin her at the last 

\ 



HER LIFE, LETTBB8, AND MEMORIES. 96 

'kow hard it would be to die, if we had all the joys and hap- 
piness that we could desire here ! The dews of autumn pene- 
trate into the leaves and prepare them for their falL But 
for the dews of sorrow upon the heart, we should never be 
prepared for the sickle of the destroyer. And so does God 
wean us from this world by taking what we love most to his 
world ; and the purer he takes them, the nearer are they to 
his glorious presence, the more blessed and blessing angels, 
who ever see his face. Could you wish her back from this 1 
Could you be willing that she should ever know again the 
chances of such suffering as you witnessed in her little ago- 
nized fhime 1 No, I am sure not ; and if one of God's angels 
should give you the choice, you would say with uplifted hands, 
' Keep her, God, from the suffering and sorrow she knew 
even in her little life ; keep her ever near thee 1 ' And you 
must try not to grieve too deeply, for sorrow in such a case 
is almost rebellion. Feel, as you kneel to God morning and 
night, that it is her spirit which takes you there, and ever 
mediates between you and him. Feel that she is ever near 
you ; and if there can be a torture hereafter, it must be in 
seeing the hearts of those we loved and who best loved us 
bleeding for our loss. That you will and must miss her is 
most certain, and this will be wherever you may be situated. 
Even I, who saw so little of her, never think of any of you 
[ without missing her smile and pretty ways. How much more, 
\ then, must you ! But if you suffer it to be a means of bringing 
you nearer to God and heaven, you will find in time that it 
will prove a tender rather than a harrowing sorrow, and you 
will be indeed saying, ^ Thy will be done.' I know it seems 
1 almost folly in me to attempt to write you upon such a sub- 
^ ject, but I have felt so much, — do feel so much for you in 
\ it, — that I must say what little I can to induce you not to 
despond, and to trust to a higher Power than wecan under- 
stand, but who ordains everything for our good, and who 
^hastens in love and mercifiil kindness." 

\ The summer of 1854 is spent between London, Brigh- 



96 CHABLOTTE GUSHMAK: 

ton, and the Isle of Wight, visiting friends and making 
various excursions. During September, October, and No- 
vember she is acti^ in Dublin and other places, mak- 
ing an extended tour/in the provinces. At Brighton, in 
December, she dines with the Duke of Devonshire, and 
reads " Henry VIIL" to a distinguished circle. 

In January of this year she took possession of her 
ctelightful home in London, Bolton How, Mayfair, where 
for some years she dispensed the most charming and 
genial hospitality. The musical parties she gave there 
are well remembered by many. All that London afforded 
of best in that and kindred arts found there a congenial 
field for their exercisa One notable entertainment was 
a dinner which she gave to Bistori, on the occasion of her 
first visit to England in 1856. She had met Bistori in 
Paris, seen her act, and had a great admiration for her, 
as she had also for Salvini, and for Italian acting gener- 
ally. She preferred the natural school of acting as dis- 
tinct from the conventional. She was herself a splendid 
example of this school, notwithstanding her long stage 
experience ; and the Italians, who are bom actors, even in 
private life, always delighted her. In saying they are 
bom actors, even in private life, I do not mean to say 
they are actors in the sense of being hypocrites or false, 
but simply that they *' suit the action to the word and 
the word to the action," and are free, untrammelled, and 
graceful in all their movements, so much so as to have 
become above any other people types of the picturesque 
in manner, gesture, and attitude. The poorest peasant in 
the Campagna cannot take an ungraceful attitude; and 
you will see them standing, leaning on their long poles 
or shrouded in their ragged blankets, perfect pictures, 
relieved against the wondrous colors of earth and sky. 
Through this irresistible attraction toward the absolutely 



HER LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 97 

true, Miss Cushman preferred Eistori to EacheL They 
were great friends, meeting and communicating on some 
plane known only to their two selves, but apparently quite 
satisfactory to both. Miss Cushman never hcul the advan- 
tage of a knowledge of foreign tongues ; but to observe 
from a distance these two in conversation was quite beau- 
tiful, the animation and interest of each seemingly supply- 
ing all deficiencies. Afterwards when residence in Bome 
had given Miss Cushman some knowledge of Italian, Bis- 
tori came there, and their first meeting took place unex- 
pectedly on the Pincian. Bistori was walking, and Miss 
Cushman descended from her cauriage and ran to meet 
her, pouring forth a warm greeting in Italian. Bistori 
held up her hands, exclaiming, "Brava! brava!" with 
enthusiasm, and then both united in a hearty laugh. 
Charlotte Cushman said, in describing this scene to a 
friend, " I don't know what I said, but I threw all the 
Italian I hcul at her pell-mell, and she understood me, as 
she always does." The Bistori dinner was unique in its 
way ; everything Italianissimo as far as the resources of 
London would permit, — cooks, waiters, dishes, all Italian ; 
the chief cook turning himself into a waiter for the pleas- 
ure of looking at Bistori The table wf^ decorated with 
the Italian colors, and the dress of the hostess also dis- 
played " the mystical tricolor bright," — 

'* Red for the patriot's blood, 
Green for the martjrr's crown, 
White for the dew and the rime, 
When the morning of God comes down.** * 

During these later years in England we have but a 
barren record of her movements and doings, not much 
more than names and dates and places. Letters are 

* Mrs. Browning. 



98 CHAKLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

almost wholly wanting. We know briefly but surely that 
she was living a life of intense activity, full of work, 
equally full of genial human interest and sympathy. 
The bare record of letters written and received fills us 
with wonder that so much could have been done, and so 
much which came out of the fulness of a great soul and 
warm heart could have been suffered to disappear so 
utterly I Yet so it seems to be in this planet, — 

** Oar lires are like the print which feet 
Have made on Tempo's desert strand ; 
Soon as the rising tide shaU beat, 
AU trace wUl vanish from the sand." 

The tide of other interests, of other excitements, effaces 
our impress, however deep it may have been, and we live 
no longer, except perhaps in one or two faithful hearta 

I will make a few extracts from a sort of diary or 
memoranda which she always kept It is only a record, 
as I have said, of the mere outside of her life, kept with 
a neatness, clearness, and punctuality entirely her own. 
She was, as all the world knows, a clever woman of busi- 
ness ; and it is useful in .its way, it fixes many things, but 
it is like the dry bones of a once living, loving organism, 
from which all warmth and breath have departed. 

From February 28 to April 13, 1855, we find her acting 
her usual round of characters in the provinces. Through 
May, at the Haymarket Theatre, London; in June, at 
Liverpool, and again in London, acting for Buckstone's 
benefit In July she makes the tour of the English 
lakes, goes to Ripon, Fountain's Abbey, Skipton, Bolton, 
etc. ; in August, to Devonshire, Lynton, Ilfracombe, Glas- 
tonbury, Bristol, Cheltenham, and Malvern ; then to 
Worcester, Bolton Abbey, Eipon, and Newcastle, where 
on October 1 she acts ; also at Sunderland, Manchester, 
Liverpool, Birmingham, and back to London, where she 



HER LIFE, LETTERS, AlO) MEMORIES. 99 

fulfils a montli's engagement at the Haymarket, and after 
acts at Sheffield, Wolverhampton, and Bristol 

In January, 1856, she again acts at the Haymarket in 
" She Stoops to Conquer," after which, up to the end of 
March, we find her occupied with social life in London, 
breaking from this for another short engagement at the 
Haymarket, Birmingham, Sadler's WeUs, Norwich, and 
Yarmouth, and an excursion to the Wicklow Lakes, 
Killamey, and all the various points of interest in Ireland 

September 6 she acts in DubUn; October 1, visits 
Edinburgh, Melrose, Dryburgh Abbey, Abbotsford, Stir- 
ling, the Trosachs, etc., alternating work with play in her 
usual energetic manner. 

With this specimen of the diaiy, I think I shall leave 
it, or only refer to it when some name or date is needed 
in another connection. I give thus much of it here to 
show the immense activity and fulness of her life at this 
time, which was shortly to be merged in the comparatively 
greater repose of her Boman period. 

But even this diary fails by some chance for the winter 
of 1856-57, though we know that she passed it in Home. 
A note of fiurewell from Mr. Chorley, dated November, 
1856, is interesting as giving an instance of Miss Cush- 
man's never-failing kindness, exercised always in ways 
which most nearly touched the hearts of the recipients. 
In this note he asks her to visit the English burial-ground 
in Home, and bring him a leaf, a blade of grass, from the 
tomb of a friend there, of whom he says : — 

" In her I lost the dearest, kindest friend I ever had. It is 
weak work, relic-gathering, but the greater part of my life is 
filled With thoughts of the dead and gone, and I don't indulge 
the weakness often.** 

Another letter in April, 1856, refers again to the sub- 
ject He says : — 



100 GHABLOTTE CU8HMAN : 

''I was tralj glad to see joars of the 10th ; not that if no 
letter had come I should have felt myself foi^gotten, but be- 
cause it would be difficult to make any one understand the 
refreshment which a little kindly intercourse is to a person 
whose life is so solitary as mine ; and so I am perhaps dispro- 
portionately thankful for being remembered visibly. I thank 
you a£fectionately for your woman's tact and kindness in 
caring for the graye I asked after. She who lies there was 
one of the truest and most exquisite natures I have ever ap- 
proachedy and to whom I owe more than I can ever pay. The 
tears I have wept over yoiur kindness have done me good." 

It was in the winter of 1856 - 57 that the compiler of 
these memoirs first made Miss Cushman's acquaintance, 
and from that time the current of their two lives ran, 
with rare exceptions, side by side. We were in Eome, 
as " travellers and pilgrims " to the famous city. She had 
already passed one winter there, — that of 1853, — but 
this was my first experienca , 

She came late ; and her advent had been heralded by 
many warm friends as something which would add greatly 
to the pleasures of the season. We soon found that the 
voice of fame had not exaggerated her attractions. No 
salon seemed complete without her, and her potent charm 
enhanced aU the delights of the place. I remember our 
first meeting was on the occasion of a reading given by a 
gentleman who, having become possessed with the idea 
that he resembled Shstkespeare, supplemented the attrac- 
tion by appearing in the costume of the Shakespearian 
epoch. We were much impressed by the simple and 
kindly interest Miss Gushman took in the entertainment, 
not fully realizing then how the crude effort must have 
struck upon her cultivated artistic sense. It was one of 
her chief attributes, as it is always an attribute of true 
genius, to be able to enjoy, without too dose analysis, any 



HER LIFB, LETTERS, AKD MEMOBIES. 101 

effort, even in her own art, which had the least flavor of 
the true in it, or even an aspiration toward it ; and when 
that was wanting, her feeling was never one of harsh or 
unfriendly criticism. 

She had a party of friends with her at this time, as 
usual, and was full of active effort for their pleasure. It 
was a busy winter. Bome had not then even a prevision 
of the changes which have since been so strangely wrought. 
She was in all her gloiy, as the religious metropolis of the 
world, and passed through all her ecclesiastical phases, 
with the exact precision of a divine law, " not one jot or 
one tittle of which could be abated without eternal con- 
fusion thereby resulting." Bome was then what she can 
never be again. More happy, more prosperous she may 
be under liberal rule, but equally interesting she can 
never be. Even then, those who had known her still 
earlier were deploring innovations and changes trifling in 
comparison with what has since taken place; but to those 
who saw the wondrous city then for the first time, for the 
first time tasted its magic circle of delights, it was) hard 
to find a flaw or feel a disappointment Miss Cushman 
entered into all its pleasures with a keen appreciation, 
which imparted its own ardent zest to all with whom she 
came in contact She was then in the fulness and frui- 
tion of all her powers. There has been much question 
as to her personal appearance. Those who loved her well 
never made any question about it There was a winning 
charm about her far above mere beauty of feature, a won- 
drous charm of expression and sympathy which took all 
hearts and disarmed criticism. She had, moreover, many 
of the requisites for real beauty, — a fine, stately presence, a 
movement always graceful and impressive, a warm, healthy 
complexion, beautiful, wavy, chestnut hair, and the finest 
eyes in the world. Gk) where she might, she was always 



102 CHAKLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

the person whose individuality dominated that of all 
othera. The harmonious combination in her personality 
of great intellectual force with extreme social genial- 
ity, sweetness, and sympathy, produced an attraction 
which was irresistible (none but the coldest and most 
unsympathetic natures resisted its force), and it was 
as powerful with the poor and lowly as with the high 
bom and bred. 

Another marked impression Miss Cushman made was 
the entire absence of any reminder of the professional in 
private life ; neither in dress nor manner could this be 
detected in her. She was always studiously neat in her 
dress, beautifully natural and true in her manner. Only 
when she spoke one was refreshed by hearing the same 
ease and perfectness of delivery for which she was so 
noted upon the stage. Nature seemed to have formed her 
throat, lungs, and mouth for the most perfect elocution, 
and given the voice a volume and a power of inflection 
which was able to fill any space. This great power was 
tested in her later years by one going about to diflferent 
extreme points of die Academy of Music in Philadelphia, 

— a building capable of holding comfortably three thou- 
sand people, and, filled to its utmost capacity, five thou- 
sand, sa it often was at her readings; everywhere the 
grand voice penetrated without eflTort, and could be heard 
as well in its lowest as in its highest intonation. 

The singular absence from Miss Cushman's personality 
of any suggestion of the stage — if we may so express it 

— was most remarkable in one who had lived upon it so 
long and served such an apprenticeship to it. It was a 
part of her royal birthright, that she was equal to any 
position, and would have adorned any station ; as it was, 
she created for herself a station which surpassed the ad- 
ventitious advantages of greater rank and wealth. With 



HER UFE, LETTERS, AND IIEMORIES. 103 

this inherent superiority was combined a singular, almost 
childlike simplicity, a capacity for enjoying life in all its 
phases, of accepting with equal philosophy the roughness 
or the smoothness of the way. And yet philosophy is 
hardly the word for it, if philosophy can be confounded 
with indifference. Indifference she never knew ; it had 
no part in her full, intense, earnest nature ; whatever of 
wrong she could help, whatever she could make better or 
happier for others or herself, to that she bent the full 
force of her capacious soul, and the rough way became 
smooth, the difficult paths easy, the barren effort fruitful, 
as if by magic. Nothing was too great or too small for 
her to imdertake to serve a friend. She would bestow as 
much personal care and effort in the endeavor to right 
the wrongs of a poor seamstress who had fallen among the 
Philistines in Bome, as she ever gave to the needs of the 
highest among her acquaintances. This was only one in- 
stance of many of the same kind, which were so much 
a matter of course with her that the knowledge of them 
rarely passed beyond herself and her faithful "Sallie," 
who was, as she often said, " her right hand " ; and only 
in this way did her right hand know what her left hand 
did. But the incense of these good deeds filled her life 
with an aroma of faithful remembrance and devotion, 
taking shape, whenever opportunity served, in some little 
gift, the best in the power of the donor, mostly flowers, 
in the instance of the poor seamstress above mentioned, 
a specialty of pressed flowers was the form in which the 
greatful heart uttered itself. Many instances of this kind 
might be recorded here. One in especial occurs to me, as 
very characteristic. This was in Cincinnati, on one of 
her professional tours, during these later years, imder- 
taken by the advice of physicians, and much interrupted 
by attacks of sudden and serious illness. On this occo- 



104 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN: 

sion she was ill in bed, heavy with a sort of stupor which 
was a symptom of her malady. A knock came at the 
door of the room ; going to it, the attendant found there 
a respectable-looking woman, who seemed in great dis- 
tress. She told a sad story : she had been robbed of her 
purse ; she was on her way home, after nursing a sick 
daughter in another city. She was a stranger without 
friends in Cincinnati ; she had seen Miss Cushman*s name 
in the papers, had heard of her noble and generous heart, 
eta Not wishing to disturb the patient, a moment's hesi- 
tation took place ; but a voice from the bed asked, " What 
is it ? " The story was told. *' Her voice is honest," she 
said ; " give her what she needa** 

The following letter is inserted as another instance 
showing how Miss Cushman was constantly dealing with 
evil wherever she found it, and never " in fear or shame 
failing to follow the dictates of her heart" The writer 
of this was a young and interesting woman moving in 
the upper ranks of life. It speaks for itself. 

" Mt deab Miss Cushman : Thank you for your kindness 
in speaking openly to me on a subject from which all others 
have shrunk. I will do my best to merit your — well, what 
shall I say 1 not affection, for I have no claim on it more than 
the pen with which I write, and your respect must, if you 
ever had any, have vanished some time ago. However, I 
will try to win some good opinion from you. Now for a 
r^Bum^ of your letter : Ist, I know a good deal more than 
you think of your character, and that simply from watching 
you very often when you neither saw nor heard me. You sat 
before me for three Sijndays in church, and during the ser- 
mons (stupid enough) I had at least two hours to compare you 
with a mass of half-educated people, living on from season to 
season with no higher idea than ' pour passer le temps.' Put 
any one of these women in your place and they would have 



HER UFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMOBIES. 105 

been like bo many half-fledged birds, trying to fly ; while you, 
gifted by God with unusual powers, rose on the wing. Per- 
haps, to use Browning^s word, you 

*' Starred, feasted, despaired," 

but you succeeded, 

" 2d; I know I have a good, well-grounded character, and 
that I am not a fooL I know also that I have *no consist- 
ency of purpose,' and no 'energy.' But I know that both 
were sacrificed in the beginning to at least a wish to do what 
was right. 

" 3d. * To be degraded in one's own mind is the worst of 
all.' In that you say only too truly ; but I am not going to 
be degraded any longer, in my own mind or otherwise. I am 
rather of the opinion of the author of ' Guy Livingstone,' that 
* a fault is worse than a failure.' I can forgive the first, but 
despise the second ; and when once I leam to despise myself 
I am more than half-way cured. If I can serve you now or 
ever, command me, and hold me always gratefully yours." 

But to return to Bome. During this winter Miss Cush- 
man sang often in society ; her once powerful organ, in 
losing its compass and variety, had lost nothing of its 
power of expression. It was still a supreme gift, as it 
continued to the end of her life. It was only one of her 
means of giving forth the richness and depth of her na- 
ture, and it comprehended the same universality. It 
was very effective in the grander styles of composition, 
especially so where she could bring to bear her early train- 
ing in church music. Friends will call to mind the touch- 
ing and solemn theme by Jones Very, beginning, " Wilt 
Thou not visit Me ? " which we called " The Chant," and 
which was either an adaptation or a suggestion from one 
of the Gregorian chants. It was singularly adapted to 
her style of singing, or, as she herself called it, ^ declaim- 
ing to musia" 



106 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

" Mary, call the Cattle Home," by Charles Kingsley, was 
another remarkable performance, given with a depth of 
pathos, fervor, and intensity which made the blood thrilL 
Her repertoire of ballads and songs adapted to her voice 
was quite extensive. Afterwards, when she had established 
her home in Bome and her salon became one of the chief 
attractions of the winter, many will recall those Saturday 
evenings when, after entertaining her guests with all the 
best musical talent that Bome could furnish, the evening 
was never considered complete without her own contri- 
butions, and a chosen few would always remain to insist 
upon the ''Irish song" as the necessaiy finale to the 
evening. 

These " Irish songs " were always kept for " the fit au- 
dience, though few," who could never be content to go 
away without one. Like her Irish stories, they were 
unique. With the first note of the accompaniment the 
spirit and rollicking drollery of all the Emerald-Islanders 
entered into her ; not a word lost, not a point or witty 
turn slurred over or failing to express its entire meaning, 
and all enhanced by her own thorough enjoyment of the 
fun. Of these songs the favorite, and undoubtedly the 
wittiest and best, was one called " Father MoUoy," by 
Samuel Lover. It turns upon the illness of a certain 
Faddy McCabe, and the efforts made by the priest to 
make him appreciate the value of " repintance" and for- 
giveness of his enemies. 

*' ' For widoat your foigiyeness and likewise repintance, 
You '11 ne'er go to heaven, and that is my sintence.' " 

Paddy is not so low but he can argue the matter ; he 
exhausts every form of special pleading, of wit, of fun, 
of drollery, constantly imploring for the blessing, which is 
sternly refused except upon the conditions aforesaid. 

At last he comes to the conclusion that he must foigive. 



HER LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 107 

" * I foi^ve — everybody,' says Pat, wid a groan, 
' Except — that big vagabone, Micky Malone ; 
And him 1 11 murder if ever I can ' — " 

Here the priest breaks in, peremptorily, — 

" ' Widout your forgiveness and likewise repintance. 
You '11 ne'er go to heaven, and that is my slntence.' " 

Upon which Paddy wonders very much how the priest 
can think of mentioning heaven anyway in the same 
breath with that "blackguard, Malone." Finally he 
winds up with the following irresistibly Irish conclu- 
sion: — 

'* ' Well, since X 'm hard pressed and I must forgive, 
I foigive — if I die ; but as sure as I live, 
That ugly blackguard I will surely desthroy ; 
And now for your blessin', swate Father Molloy.' " 

This song, as I have said, was a great favorite, and de- 
servedly so, as those who recall it will readily admit ; but 
there were sometimes guests present who might not relish 
its freedom, and what might seem something in it of a 
burlesque upon what were to them sacred things. Any 
chance of such offence Miss Cushman always carefully 
avoided. On one occasion a young English priest was 
present, and she refused to sing the song until after his 
departure. In due time he said " good night,'' and soon 
after the rich notes of "Father Molloy" rose upon the 
air. He, however, had not gone ; something detained him 
in the antechamber; he stopped to listen; delighted and 
amused, he stayed the song out, and the next day he called 
to express his pleasure, and to hope that he might speedily 
have a better opportunity of hearing it again. 

This winding up of the Saturday evenings came to be 
at last a recognized necessity, and the fame of them spread 
abroad among our country men and women in Eome, until 
at last the house could hardly contain the numbers who 
thronged there. All came, even those who had no special 



108 CHABLOTTE CUSHKAK: 

title to admittance farther than that they claimed on the 
ground of being Americans. It was sometimes curious 
to see the family groups who would file in, one after the 
other, the pater or mater familias, making a little speech of 
explanation, and then formally presenting the rest, always 
received kindly by the pleasant hostess, who had but one 
face for all her guests. It was delightful to see her in the 
midst of them, with a kind word, a ready repartee, a hearty 
laugh for one and the other. It was a thing to be noted, 
that Miss Cushman always looked taller than any one else, 
even when she was not really so, the carriage of her per- 
son and her marked personality seeming to give her this 
distinction. 

Even up to the last years of her life she continued to 
give the same pleasure with her songs, forgetting herself 
and her pain in the otUgiving of herself, which was her 
mission and her Ufa Some of her latest strength was 
given with wonderful intensity and pathos to Gounod's 
fine sacred compositions, — "There is a Green Hill far 
Away," and "Nazareth." 

The winter of 1856 - 57 passed swiftly, and only closed 
too soon. Miss Cushman made with her party the usual 
Lenten excursion to Naples and its neighborhood, returning 
for Holy Week, and immediately after to England. But be- 
fore leaving arrangements were decided upon for the Boman 
home, which was not, however, to be an accomplished fetct 
until the winter of 1859, she having made engagements 
for an intermediate season in America. On September 5 
of this year she sailed to meet these engagements. 

Here are a few scraps of notes of this period, trifling in 
themselves, but interesting as referring to her, and show- 
ing the universal feeling of her goodness, how " the hearts 
leaped kindly back to kindness." One is fix)m a young 
friend, and begins, " My Minnie." They all felt the moth- 
erly, protective atmosphere she bore about her. 



HER UFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIES. 109 

'' Mt Minnie : So you start to-morrow over the great deep ; 
and if you knew bow sad I felt in seeing the last of you, you 
would not have wondered at my indulging in a little private 

roar on my own account, as I did in Mrs. S ^"s halL You 

know me well enough to understand and believe me when I 
say that the home love, the power of forming and clinging 
to domestic ties, is the deepest capacity in my nature ; and I 
have not felt or taken lightly the constant tenderness you have 
shown me the last two years, and the way in which you have 
made me free of your hearthstone. It has been a great dis- 
appointment to me not to see you off, and I felt thoroughly 
the kindness which made you want me to come to Liverpool, 
but it was better not My own Minnie, don't go and stay away 
twenty months. My love to Sallie ; say farewell to the dear 
little woman for me, and tell her not to get married in America. 

" Your loving child, 

Here is a bright little note from Miss Cushman her- 
self to another B., also a young friend : — 

''Bless you, dearest Belle, for your kind little note. I 
wondered whether you would write to me, and now wish you 
would call me anything but Miss Cushman. I laughed at N. 
for calling mine 'a godmother's box of goodies'; but you 
shall call me 'godmother' if you can find nothing better 
than ' Miss Cushman ' ; and yet there is something formidable 
in mother, therefore it shall be ' Madre Mia,' and I will do what 
I can in a small way to prove my right to the title. I wish I 
could anticipate all your wants as mothers can and do, but 
I will do my best. That naughty ' brown eyes' did not send 
me my snowdrops, only told me you were going to send them. 
Tou tell me «^ is going to send them ; so between you I don't 
get my deserts. I have been doing such a lot of things, as 
busy as the ' old gentleman in a gale of wind ' ; and they say 
no B is ever so busy as he under these circumstances. I 
am as tired as I should be if I had — nothing to do. But 



110 CHABLOITE CUSHMAN : 

to-morrow I am going to Croyden for a couple of days, and 

perhaps that may recruit me a bit, for Mrs. D says I am 

to write no letters while I am with her ; so that I am to have 
perfect rest, with the exception of gosdp ; and it is so foolish 
of people to imagine such can be red. Everything I do in 
this world I do hard, even to loving my friends. On Friday 
I return to town to go and hear Costa's ' Oratorio of Eli,' with 
my handsome friend Chorley. Last night we went to Mrs. 
L's, where we met Mrs. Martin, late Miss Faucit, and a host 

of smaller fry. Tell F , with my love, I have made up the 

house-bills each week in ten minutes^ but have no money left 
to pay them with ; my fortune is exhausted, all my trinkets 
up the spout, and I expect every day to be arrested for debt. 
I have spent all the money she left me, and don't know 
where to get any more. Wilmot finds me ' the easiest^ but 
the most forgetfullest of missusses.' I go out and forget to 
order the dinner, and am followed to the carriage door for 
'Herders, please, mem.' My brain wool-gathers frightfully, 
which gives me hope I may not be bald, even though I should 
lose my hair. God bless you, my child. 

'' I am ever your faiUifully affectionate 

" Madrb." 



:^:t^^<^^ 



CHAPTER VI. 

" I conut myself in notUng elu N> h«iOT 
Aa in a tonl remenbaring my good McmU." 
Richard II. 
" Hekven doUi with US u we with torches do ) 
Not light them for themuliM : tor if our virtOM 
Did not go forth of na, 't were tOl tlike 
As if we had tbem cot. Spirltii are not finely tonched, 
But to fine issnei : nor natare never lends 
The amalleat acmple of her eicellence. 
Bat, lilie a thrifty goddens, nbe deterralnei 
Herself the glory ot a creditor. 
Both thanka and qbop" 

Mauare/or Ittatun 

HE winter Eind part of the simmiet of this year 
J were passed in the States, acting all about the 
I coiintiy with her usual success. Letters and 
notices of this period are wanting ; the record of names, 
places, and dates are in the dlaiy, but without comment. 
After her return to England, July 7, she made some 
delightful excursions, after devoting six weeks to Mal- 
vern ; going to Gloucester, Boss, and Monmouth, by way 
of the River Wye; visiting Baglan Castle, and seeing 
Tintem Abbey by moonlight September was passed 
between London and Brigbton. On October 5 she left 
for Home, going by way of Paris, Strasburg, and Basle, 
through Switzerland to the Italian lakes, and by Genoa, 
Spezzia, and Florence to Roma 

The season was chiefly occupied in fitting up her apart- 



112 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

ment at No. 38 Via Gregoriana, where she gave her first 
reception on January 19, 1859. This house — or rather 
two houses, Nos. 38 and 40 — is considered, and justly, one 
of the choice situations of Borne. The street runs directly 
up to the famous promenade of the Pincian, and the house 
is but a pleasant ten minutes' walk from that charming 
locality. Its outlook is, or was at that time, tmsurpassed 
in extent and interest. Since then many changes have 
taken place, which may have obstructed in some measure 
this view ; but then from most of the front windows the 
eye ranged over a wide prospect, taking in most of the 
picturesque outlines of the city, St Peter's looming large 
and grand in front, with a limitless expanse of open Cam- 
pagna, and the marvellous sky of Bome for background. 

Directly in front lay the pleasant parterres and green- 
ery of the Miguanelli Gardens. The palace itself stood 
lower down on the level of the Piazza d'Espagna. Above 
all these buildings towered the sculptured Madonna of the 
column of the Immaculate Conception ; and to the left a 
far more beautiful object, the corrugated roof and quaint 
tower of the ancient church of St. Andrea delle Frate, 
where, from immemorial time, hosts of rooks had clustered 
and cawed and fed, whose sage and wise proceedings were 
a source of great interest to some members of the house- 
hold. Every evening, exactly as the clock of the church 
struck six, after great note of preparation and much noise 
and discussion, the main body of the birds took flight for 
their night-quarters on the stone-pines of the Villa Bor- 
ghese. They had leaders and conductors of this move- 
ment, whose business it plainly was to preserve order and 
muster in all the stragglers. After the main flock were 
fairly started these returned, flew round the tower, and 
summoned, with loud and peremptory caws, any dilatory 
ones who might have lingered. This they repeated sev- 



HER LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIES. 113 

eral times, until all had been gathered in. Then another 
grand powwow took place among the trees, their dusky 
plumage turned all to palpable gold or copper by the 
level rays of the setting sun. It was impossible not to 
speculate upon these regular proceedings, and the ques- 
tion naturally arose, whether the spirits of the dead gen- 
erations of monks who had inhabited the church below 
might not now be still revisiting "the glimpses of the 
moon " in this appropriate guise, unwilling quite to leave 
the scenes of their earthly pilgrimage, and still inter- 
ested and occupied with the churchly routine through 
which they had lived and died In the enumeration of 
objects seen from this fine point of view, I must not 
forget glimpses here and there of the windings of the 
classic river, gleaming out from among the thickly clus- 
tered houses and churches. The famous Castle of St 
Angelo, the heights of San Fietro in Montorio, the lofty 
sculptured gateway of the Villa Pamfili l5oria, and be- 
hind, against the horizon, its noble grove of pines. The 
vast bam-like structure of St Paul's without the walls, 
and the Protestant Cemetery, were visible to the right of 
the picture, and nearer by, the large and rather angular 
structure of the Quirinal Palace, with its gardens and 
groups of fine old trees, the gray shell of the Colosseum, 
the Capitol with its lofty and beautiful tower, and the 
low round dome of the Pantheon. In the midst a mass 
of palaces, churches, and private dwellings, many of the 
highest historical interest, all with a certain noble pictu- 
resqueness, due partly to their rich and sombre coloring, 
and partly to the deep blue shadow and soft golden light 
in which they lie. 

They are interspersed everywhere with gardens, with 
noble trees shooting high into the blue air, with a wealth 
and luxuriance of trailing foliage breaking the harsh 
angles and softening down 



114 CHABLOITB CUSHMAN: 

*' The hoar aosterity 
Of ragged deeolation, and filling up, 
As 't were, anew the gaps of oenturiea. 
Leaving that beautiful which still was so, 
And making that which was not" 

Within Miss Cushman's house the charm was different, 
but in its way as great. A glow of warmth and comfort, 
combined with a certain elegance, pervaded the pleasant 
rooms, and who of the many who enjoyed the hospitality 
of that house can forget the genial, cordial hostess, her 
kind face, her pleasant voice, her appreciation of all that 
was best in her guest, sending him away with an agree- 
able consciousness of having been more charming than 
he had ever thought himself capable of being before. 

Miss Cushman's apartment at first consisted only of the 
first floor of Ko. 38, which she herself fitted up and fur- 
nished. Afterwards, when more room was required, the 
second and third floors were taken in addition. Still 
later, when it became necessary to have larger space 
for entertaining, the next door Ko. 40, was added to 
the establishment, doors were opened between the two 
houses, and it became a very delightful, convenient place 
of residenca The reception-rooms were not large, nor 
were there many of them ; but there was an air of Twme- 
ine88, if one may coin a word, rarely seen in the apartments 
of Bome, which are mostly either small, bare, and incon- 
venient, or else coldly spacious and splendid, with no end 
of perfectly useless, uninhabitable rooma 

This home was a genuine one, and so grew every year 
more and more in harmony with the true hospitable 
nature of its mistress. Its walls gradually became cov- 
ered with choice pictures and such sculpture as there was 
space for; but its chief beauty consisted in its antique 
carved furniture, its abundance of books, and the patent 



HEB LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMOBIEa 115 

fact tihat eveiy part and parcel of it was for cWly use, and 
nothing for mere show ; so that every one who came into 
it felt at once its peculiar charm, and exclaimed, "0, this 
is like home I" AU those who have experienced the sense 
of strangeness and loneliness which besets one in a foreign 
land will readily recognize this element, and many will 
remember it with heartfelt gratitude. 

The back walls of these houses were painted in fresco 
on the outside, said to be by a painter of some note, and 
the windows looked out into a garden, rude, but quaint 
and picturesque, as all Italian gardening ia A mingling 
of fragments of antique marbles, some set into the rough 
plaster walls without much regard to symmetry of ar- 
rangement, but veiy suggestive, and often masterly ; bits 
of broken columns, standing here and there in a mass of 
luxuriant vegetation, the rich green acanthus-leaves vying 
with their sculptured representatives on the shattered 
capitals ; the indispensable well in one comer, with its 
innimierable conductors bringing down buckets from all 
quarters and every stage on long lines of iron wire or rod, 
filling the mind with astonishment how it was possible 
for each bucket to keep its own line of travel and avoid 
coming in contact with its neighbors. One peculiarity 
about this well was, that if you looked down it, you be- 
held far below in the bowels of the earth the surface of 
the water, and, to your astonishment, women coming and 
going, drawing the water from its source, and you recog- 
nized that it was a large reservoir, to which the well- 
mouth above was only £tn opening or conductor. Further 
investigation disclosed the fact that underneath all this 
neighborhood existed enormous excavations, eerie under- 
ground passages, giving access to this well, and Heaven 
only knew to what else beside, since we were none of us 
endowed with the proper groping antiquarian spirit to 
find out 



116 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

The houses which bounded the back view on the Via 
Sistina were occupied as studios and apartments, and 
presented to an inquiring mind a sufficiently entertaining 
prospect, since it is in the nature of Italicms to live very 
much en evidence, and family affairs and interesting domes- 
tic events were freely discussed from window to window 
in the peculiar high-pitched not at all musical voices of 
the natives. It is a curious fact that the throats which 
so often give forth the most marvellous sounds in singing 
are rarely ever pleasant in speaking. They talk fast, and 
in a very high pitch, and have no idea whatever of the 
*' golden empire of silence." They utter themselves like 
children, with the same abandon and imconsciousness, and 
are full of dramatic force and vivacity. Even although 
it is not Zingtui Toscana in hocca Bomana, the exquisite 
beauty and sweetness of the language cannot be disguised, 
and one is grateful, since they must chatter like parrots, 
it can be done in so sweet a tongue. 

While upon the subject of Miss Gushman's home sur- 
roundings in Eome, — the object being to present as dear 
a picture as possible of that time, — a few words concern- 
ing the ItaUan servants may not be inappropriately in- 
serted here. There are many who knew the household 
well who will thank me for these reminiscences ; and those 
who did not will be glad of a record which may place 
more vividly before them the life of so noted and esteemed 
a contemporary. 

Italians make excellent servants on the score of hvman- 
ity ; that is to say, however rascally they may be in many 
respects, they never fail to take a truly genuine intei^est 
in their employers, entering into the affairs of the family 
con amore, and, even while carrying on what they consider 
a perfectly justifiable system of plunder, conducting them- 
selves in a genial and sympathetic way which makes one 
forgive them everything. 



HEB LIFE, LETTJBBS, AND MEMOBIES. 117 

Custom and evil surroundings have trained them in 
habits of deception and peculation of a certain kind ; but 
it is always strictly within the bounds of what they con- 
sider their perquisitea For example, in making purchases 
for you, they will take advantage of any opportunity to 
make their own little per centum, aided in this by the 
habits and institutions of the country. The system is 
profound and manifold, and there is no fathoming the 
depths of it; for ease and peace' sake you must wink at 
it If you get a good cook you must be satisfied to know 
that you pay, not only an ostensible price for him, but 
also a duty upon every article he purchases for you. 

I remember hearing of a case in which a gentleman 
tmdertook to grapple with and lay this domestic monster 
in its stronghold, the kitchen. He had an interview with 
his cook, and came to a thorough understanding with him. 
He agreed to pay him a sum sufficient to cover aU the 
side issues in question, provided he would deal " on the 
square " with him. The man undertook to try the experi- 
ment ; but at the end of a month came to say he could 
not afford it He was obliged not only to prey upon his 
master, but to be preyed upon himself ; and if he did not 
meet the expectations of others in the usual way, he could 
not answer for his life. This dishonesty, however, never 
takes the form of positive stealing. Money is always safe 
with them ; you may leave it about, you may lose it, it 
will never be appropriated. So with anything in the shape 
of personal property. The house would be left during the 
summer months to the care of the servants, and not the 
smallest article was ever missed. The Italian cook — by 
name Augusto — was a chtf par excellence, and quite a 
gentleman. He would come in the morning, get his or- 
ders, do his marketing, lay out and prepare his dinner, 
and then depart, returning only in time to cook it His 



118 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN: 

kitchen was a sight to behold for neatness and order, and 
he himself was a picture, in his white jacket, apron, and 
cap. As soon as the dinner was cooked and served, again 
he became quite an elegant gentleman and went forth, 
probably, to Jlaner with the best on the Pincian, leaving 
all the minor details to the care of his myrmidon, who 
presided over the pots and pans. He may be said to have 
been amaster of the aesthetics of cooking, for he had elimi- 
nated from it all its grossness and reduced it to a pure 
science, ruling serenely in the midst, and, even ladle in 
hand, abating no jot of dignity, but rather making that 
implement the symbol and token of the true sovereignty 
which the one achieves who can do anything thoroughly 
well 

The next important personage on the Italian staff was 
the waiter — or major domo — Antonio. A tall, well- 
made, remarkably good-looking, perfectly ignorant person 
in everything but his business. He could not read or write, 
yet his appearance and manners were so unexceptionable 
that more than one among our younger lady visitors de- 
clared that Antonio realized far more their ideal of what 
a Boman prince was like than any of the genuine article 
they had seen. This is curiously true about the Bomans ; 
the middle and more especially the lower classes are far 
more handsome — even noble in type — than the higher 
ranks. Why this should be so is hard to say, unless it is 
that the upper classes have lost the old classical type by 
intermarriage with other nationalities, whereas the Boman 
peasantry, and notably the inhabitants of the Trastevere, or 
other side of Tiber, have preserved their ancient linea- 
ments remarkably, and are a very noble-looking raca 
They are unquestionably, though it may be too much on 
the material plane, a wonderfully fine, strikingly pictu- 
resque, and artistic-looking people. Their simple dignity 



H£B LIFE, LETTEBS^ AlO) HEMOBIES. 119 

of bearing, which springs from utter unconsciousness of 
themselves, gives a certain nobility of aspect to the very 
poorest ; no amount of poverty, even squalor, can conquer 
this innate charm. The old people are like Bembrandts 
and Teniers ; time having done for them in the flesh what 
the skill of the artist accomplishes on canvas, — toning 
down. Antonio was not, however, one of the picturesque 
ones ; he was too respectable, by association with Ms su- 
periors he had ingrafted on his good looks an unmistak- 
able gentility. ''The Principe," he was called by our 
habitu^ea With all his imposing appearance, however, 
he was the merest child ; his simplicity, real or pretended, 
was simply astounding ; and he possessed in large meas- 
ure the attractive Italian bonhamde and geniality. Ital- 
ian servants are not to be kept at a distance ; they do not 
understand it, and it makes them unhappy ; they take a 
lively interest in the affairs of their family, — not only 
within but without the house, — and do not hesitate to 
offer opiniona and suggest advice from which the evident 
kindly intention removes all suspicion of impertinence. 
The discussions which took place between Antonio and 
his mistress concerning household matters were remark- 
ably entertaining and characteristic. Between her broken 
Italian and his very curious dialect the wonder grew, how 
any understanding was ever arrived it But confusion of 
tongues never baffled either the one or the other; they 
had a mutual language of signs, when words failed, and 
being both " to the manner bom," succeeded perfectly in 
understanding each other. I should rather say, in com- 
ing to an understanding ; for Miss Cushman, after a long, 
patient, and exhausting effort, in which neither party 
ever admitted defeat to each other, would say, after 
Antonio's triumphant departure, " My dear, I have not 
understood one single word that man has been saying, — 
not one single vxrrd!^ 



120 CHARLOTTS CUSHMAN : 

Antonio was " a veiy much married man," having a wife 
three times his avoirdupois and ten times his weight of 
personality, a son who was the care and problem of his 
life, and a r^ular gradation of " oUve branches," the par- 
ent stem throwing forth new shoots r^ularly every year. 

Time and space will not permit more than passing 
mention of the various other domestic personnaggi of the 
household. Personages they all were, from Luisa the 
portress, who lived in her own peculiar den on the Piano 
Terrene, to Giovanni the coachman, who looked down 
upon her like a king, from his sublime eminence on the 
box. Luisa combined with her duties as doorkeeper a 
little dressmaking, a vast flood of gossip, and not a little 
duplicity and cunning, favoring visitors either with beam- 
ing smiles or torrid eruptions, as occasion served or mat- 
ters did not go quite to her mind. The noise that Italians 
can make upon very slight provocation is something in- 
credible. They get up with the suddenness of tropic 
tornadoes, and subside as quickly, leaving little or .no 
destruction in their train, seldom bearing malice, or feel- 
ing in the least ashamed of their outbreaks. What nature 
prompts them to do or say seems to them the right thing, 
and they go in for it with simple straightforwardness. 
This seems to be one of the products of the priestly sys- 
tem, which tickets conscience and lays it away upon a 
shelf, to be taken down and overhauled only upon stated 
occasions. So poor easy conscience gets much out of 
practice, and can only be scared into action occasionally 
by the thunders of the Church. 

There was also a sort of supplement to Antonio, called 
Antonuccio, or Little Antonio. He was a rather strange 
anomaly in Italy, an Italian and a Mulatto ; very good- 
looking, and not darker than the average Neapolitan; 
but his blood betrayed itself in the unmistakable wooUy 



HER LIFE, LETTEBS, AlO) MEMORIES. 121 

hair of the negro raca Notwithstanding his hair, how- 
ever, which indeed is no obstacle in Europe, he was a lady- 
killer, and his place, finally, by reason of these fascinations, 
knew him no mora 

Other members of this household there were, surely not 
unworthy of mention, inasmuch as they were admitted to 
as close companionship, and certainly were not less faith- 
ful and devoted, than the human creatures who composed 
it; at least in our estimation. Miss Cushman loved 
animals always, and especially dogs and horses. Among 
the former the most worthy of note was "Bushie," or rather 
" Bouche Dhu," or " black muzzle," her original Highland 
appellation. Bushie came from Edinburgh, brought by 
a friend, who was much impressed by the dog's behavior 
on the train. She was put in one place, and there re- 
mained without moving the whole journey. She was a 
very handsome blue Skye terrier, with the human eyes 
and attributes of that race. Her first appearance was not 
heralded with rapture by SaUie, for she had been neglected 
as to her coat, which himg in tangled mats all over her, 
and the orders were that she should be oiled all over 
and kept shut up for a time ; and there was much care 
and vexation anticipated, and little prevision of the com- 
fort which lay cushioned in the woolly treasure. So Sal- 
lie rather rebelled at the prospect ; but Miss Cushman said, 
" Sallie, you will do your duty by the little dog." And 
then, to use Sallie*s own words, "I carried her in my arms 
down stairs, and the little thing licked me all the way down, 
and by the time I got to the kitchen I was completely 
won over." This was the beginning of a deep friendship, 
devoted on both sides, which lasted, without flaw, for four- 
teen years ; and, indeed, the friendship was not confined to 
Sallie and herself. The loving dog-heart took us all in, 
and never was perfectly content unless she could have us 



122 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN: 

all together. To her mistress she was perfectly devoted. 
Bushie's general demeanor was discreet and sensible in 
the extrema We all thought she understood all that 
was said to her; and, more than that, she had a way of 
speaking for herself which was almost human. She loved 
driving passionately, and was the first one to announce 
the approach of the carriage ; however sound asleep she 
seemed to be, she would rouse up, and give herself a 
shake of preparation whenever the sound of those special 
horses' feet was heard in the street Carriages without 
number would pass and repass, but Bushie made no sign ; 
at the first note of these she would be ready, make her 
way down, and leap into the carriage, taking her place in 
sublime contentment Then, when we got out of the city, 
driving through this gate or that, into the country, or 
around the old walls, her great joy was to be put down to 
run with the carriage, back and forth, barking at the horses, 
as if to say, " Come on ; how slow you are !" and then cours- 
ing along, ahead, low to the ground, like a " feckless haiiy 
oubit," as Dr. John Brown calls one of her compatriots ; 
the happiest of the happy. But Bush was not always 
permitted to go. Sometimes there was no room for her, 
and then she was deeply injured and unhappy. On these 
occasions her faculty for speech would come into play. 
She would go to SaUie, and lying down flat on her stom- 
ach, with her hind legs stretched out straight behind her, 
working her head up and down and moving her forepaws 
from side to side, she would utter a peculiar succession 
of sounds, of varied intonations, as much like speech as 
anything could be which was unintelligibla "What is 
it. Bush ? " Sallie would say. " Have they gone without 
you, little woman? It is too bad, poor Bushie ! " At these 
words of sympathy Bushie's tones would grow high and 
hysterical, and she would have to be taken up and much 



HER LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 123 

petted and comforted. Sometimes in the evening she 
would have another complaint to make. She always had 
her saucer of milk with a little tea in it, and it sometimes, 
but rarely, happened that a pressure of guests, or other 
accident, caused it to be forgotten. She would tiy first to 
attract attention to herseK by sitting up on her hind legs, 
first on the sofa, and then, if not noticed, on the arm of the 
so£E^ solemn and grave like a little sphinx. If tins ma- 
noeuvre failed, she would go off to SaUie and have a long 
talk, upon which Sallie would come and whisper to one 
of us, " Did you forget Bushie's tea ? " The sin of omis- 
sion acknowledged, she would say with conviction, ''I 
thought so," and go away to make good the deficiency. 
The movement of which I have spoken, with her fore- 
paws. Miss Cushman called playing the piana " Hay the 
piano, Bushie,** she would say ; and Bush knew perfectly 
weU what was meant, and would go through the perform- 
ance, accompanying it with a few words of recitative, with 
great gravity and 4clat Endless was the pleasure and 
comfort this dog afforded to all genuine dog-lovers, and 
many were the moments she filled as nothing else can, 
because there is nothing in this world which so fits itself 
in, without jarrii^ upon the complex and subtle move- 
ments of the human mind, as a dog can; nothing so 
absolutely loving, faithful, disinterested, and sympathetic 
as the dog nature, and especially the Skye dog nature. 
Bushie was a great traveller ; she went with her mistress 
everywhere ; she crossed the ocean many times ; she knew 
so well how to travel by rail, that it scarcely ever occurred 
in all the long journeys, even on the Continent, and espe- 
cially in France, where they have no hearts and no bowels 
of compassion, and are mere machines where official duty 
is concerned, that she was ever confiscated, or put in the 
black hole. She was so wise and quiet, that even the 



124 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN: 

Ijoix-eyed guardians of the trains never discovered her. 
She knew perfectly well that she was contraband, and 
submitted to any kind of restraint patiently. Then her 
joy when we arrived, and she could feel free once more, 
was unbounded, and so plainly manifested that no one 
could doubt that reason as well as sound logic had exer- 
cised her brains on the subject 

At length, after a varied and honorable career, during 
which she gave us the mininiuni of trouble and the max- 
imum of pleasure, the fatal moment came to Bushie, as 
it must to all of ua She sickened and died in Bome 
in the spring of 1867, still in the fulness of strength and 
beauty, although fifteen years of age. On that night, 
when watching over her last moments, friends came in as 
usual, but there was a heavy cloud over the household. 
One among them, a young English poet and artist, who 
knew nothing of what was transpiring above stairs, wrote 
the next day the following note, which seems worthy of 
transcribing here. 

'' Dear Miss Cushhan : I was sorry that I should have re- 
mained so long with you last evening, when I learned that you 
had just lost a favorite pet animal and were suffering that 
pain. Those misfortunes are not always the easiest to bear 
of which the world thinks the least, any more than those are 
the greatest which may appear so. The loss of any living 
creature to which the epithet 'most faithful' may be ap- 
plied is certainly among the very real ones. 

" May I be permitted, therefore, to express my sympathy 

with you under the loss, and beg to be accepted, 

''Your faithful and obedient servant, 

" W. D." 

" P. S. The Latin word for * most faithful ' is fidelissimus ; 
but I suppose the feminine termination would be a, — fidelis- 

Dear Bushie lies buried in the garden of No. 38, Via 



H£B LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIES. 125 

Oregoriana Over her lemains stands a broken antique pil- 
lar, aiound the base of which cluster the acanthus, violets, 
and many sweet flowera Upon the marble is engraved, 
" Bushie, Comes Fiddimma*^ She was the dog par excel- 
lence, but there were others in the family. One, a Scotch 
terrier of the pepper-and-mustard breed, named Brier, was 
run over by the carnage and buried where he fell, in a lonely 
part of the Campagna. Another was Teddy, a toy terrier 
of the English breed, who afterwards became the property 
of a dear friend. Miss Blagden of Florence. She was a 
devoted dog-lover, and much might be written of her dog 
and cat family, which was composed of strays and waifs 
which her benevolence toward the canines induced her 
to give home and care to. One of these, the ugliest kind 
of a poodle, she rescued fix>m some boys who were amus- 
ing themselves in drowning it by inches in Venica It 
was without form, and void of grace or comeliness, so she 
bestowed upon it the classic name of " Ven^zia " I 

Miss Isa Blagden's name must not be passed over with 
slight mention in this record. She was one of Miss Cush- 
man's most faithful friends, a warm, true, and ardent soul, 
whom Florence and many friends will long remember. 
She died in 1873, and the obituary notices of her death 
speak of her as " one well known in the world of letters, 
and remarkable for the warmth of attachment she inspired 
in men and women of acknowledged genius, as weU as for 
her own intellectual gifts. Miss Blagden was linked to 
Mr. Browning and his illustrious wife by ties of the clos- 
est friendship. She nursed the latter in her last illness, 
and performed the same loving oflSce for Theodosia Trol- 
lope, to whose memory, as well as to Mrs. Browning's, 
grateful Florence has erected a commemorative tablet It 
may be added that her charitable presence gladdened the 
last moments of many more obscure sufferers in the fair 



126 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAl^: 

city where she lived and died, and where she will be long 
remembered as a conspicuous and honored figura" When- 
ever Miss Cushman's journeys to and from England took 
Florence in their way, she rarely failed to pause for a time 
at Miss Blagden's villa> on the classic hill of Bellosguardo^ 
where she dispensed for many years a genial and charm- 
ing hospitality. When haste made this visit impossible. 
Miss Blagden would go any distance to meet the travellers 
and exchange with them a passing greeting. On one oc- 
casion, when Miss Gushman was hurrying to England to 
her mother^s death-bed, after a night's journey, as the 
train rolled into the station in the early morning, there 
sat the faithful little woman on the platform, having risen 
in the small hours and come a long distance from the 
country to exchange a hurried fieurewelL Miss Cushman, 
as long as she herself lived, kept her memory green by 
ministering care of her grave in the Protestant cemetery 
at Florence. 

Miss Blagden was on a visit to Miss Cushman in Bome, 
at the time of Bushie's death, and her loving sympathy 
inspired the following tribute : — 

TO DEAR OLD BUSHIE. 

FBOM ONX WHO LOVED HER. 

Much loving and much loved, dare I, 

With my weak, faltering praise, 
Record thy pure fidelity, 

Thy patient, loving ways ; 

Thy wistfiil, eager, gasping sighs. 

Our sollen sense to reach ; 
The solemn meaning of thine eyes, 

More clear than uttered speech ; 

Thy silent sympathy with tears, 

Thy joy our joys to share ; 
In weal and woe, through all these years, 

Our treasure and our care ; 



HER LIFE, LETTERS^ AND MEMORIES. 127 

Thy dxanh, adoring gratitade, 

Noble, yet tender too» 
Respondent to each varied mood. 

Not human, but more tme f 

They say we are not kin to thee, 

Thy race unlike our own, — 
that our human friends could be 

like thee, thou faithful one 1 

The wondrous privilege of love. 

Love perfect and entire, 
Was thine, true heart ; to naught above 

Can human hearts aspire ! 

From all our Uvea some fiiith, some trust, 

With thy dear life is o'er ; 
A life-long love Ues in thy dust ; 

Can human grave hold more f 

After Boshie, our desire for dogs was natnrally 
somewhat quenched, and we did not seek to replace her; 
but the gracious gift of another Skye of good blood and 
antecedents at Malvern could not be rejected, and a few 
words must be said concerning this dear dog also. She 
was called " Duchess/' as her mothers and grandmothers, 
and Dr. John Brown knows how many more generations 
back, had been called before her. Any one so disposed may 
read in that delightful book called " Horse Subsecivse '' in 
England, and " Spare Hours " in America, the story of this 
family, under the head " Duchess." She was a worthy 
descendant of this illustrious line, full of ability, capacity, 
and good sense. Her docility was especially remarkable ; 
she rapidly acquired any desired trick or accomplishment, 
and seemed to have real enjoyment in the performance 
of them. It was enough to give her the idea that you 
wanted her to do a special thing, and she set herself to 
acquire it, with what seemed like real thoughtfulness. 



128 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAK: 

She could sit up, stand up, walk about on her hind 1^, 
sit with her paws on the table, and preach, when requested 
to do so, with great unction ; speak when spoken to, play 
games of hide and seek with untiring assiduity, never 
giving up an object until she had found it ; and yet, with 
all these cultivated tastes, her behavior out of doors was 
always that of the most abandoned child of nature. To 
see her leap through long grass or ferns was a sight to 
behold for gracefulness and beauty. Duchess was also 
a good traveller; instead of concealing her as we had 
always done Bushie, it was found best to let her take care 
of herself; in the stations she seemed to know she must 
not identify herself with us, and we carefully avoided 
taking notice of her, further than keeping her in sight 
She would sit off at a distance, perfectly composed and 
calm in the midst of the direful confusion of the station, 
but watching her opportunity carefully; and when we 
were passed, as is the custom on Continental railways, 
like prisoners being let out upon the platform, and hurried, 
first come first served, to get the best places we could, she 
would get through between the feet of the crowd and into 
the carriage in the same way, ensconcing herself under 
the seat, and only showing herself when we were fairly 
started. One of these journeys — our last journey from 
Eome — occurs to my remembranca We had with us 
a cage, with a pair of canary-birds, members of a large 
family left behind, which had grown and increased year 
by year, and made vocal and cheerftd the back entrance to 
the house. These little birds were mated, and afterwards 
in Paris completed their domestic arrangements, and the 
little wife was sitting on four eggs, when it came our 
time to cross over to England. Of course we expected 
that the racket of the journey would break up this domes- 
tic felicity, but it could not be helped. To our surprise. 



HER UFE, LETTEBS, AND IfEMORIES. 129 

however, the devoted little creature stuck to her duties 
through aU the thundering noises of the stations, the 
vibration and rattle of the express-train, the moving and 
tossing of the channel steamer. The cage was weU 
wrapped up, leaving only a small space at the top for 
air. When looked in upon through this opening she was 
always found in her nest, and the Uttle yellow head would 
turn and the bright eye glance upward, as much as to 
say, ''What does it all mean ? How long this tornado 
lasts I " And then she would snuggle down again, saying 
more plainly than words by the movement, " Well, come 
what will, my place is here." Well, those ^gs were 
hatched shortly after our arrival, and it was such a 
remarkable fact in natural history, that we hoped much 
we might be able to keep the little creatures which had 
come through such a trying experience ; but they did not 
thrive. The damp, raw English spring affected them 
badly, and they dropped off one by one. The parents 
came to this country and lived out their little span, much 
loved, and much lamented ; but they never succeeded in 
raising another feimily, even under the most favorable 
conditions. 

The subject of the household creatures is not complete 
without some mention of Miss Cushman's horses, which 
she held in the same warm esteem as the rest of her 
dumb dependants. She was a great lover of horses, and 
possessed many rare animals in her tima Of these, the 
first and best loved was the noble English blood-horse 
" Ivan," a bright chestnut of incomparable breeding. He 
was a hunter 'par excellence, but she never used him for 
hunting in Some. She preferred a good reliable Soman 
horse, not so handsome, but wise in his generation, who 
knew the Campagna thoroughly, and could be trusted to 
get himself and his rider safely through the varied snares 



130 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAK: 

and pitfalls of that fascinating but dangerous ground. 
Grand Ivan would have faced any danger, and gone over 
any wall, even if it had a precipice on the other side of it ; 
but Othello would know where he could go and where he 
could not, by the sure instinct of the Campagna horses, 
and would find a way round, or positively refuse to go 
where danger lurked. There were many dangers in this 
Campagna riding ; but of this we will speak in another 
place. Ivan in Home was put in harness, and the first 
time he felt the ignoble traces ou his satin skin every 
vein stood out over his body in high relief, and the thin 
fine nostril became red as blood ; ears, eyes, tail, every 
part of him, expressed his astonishment and disgust 
But he was of too noble a nature to disgrace himself by 
insubordination ; he submitted, and did his whole duty 
ever after in the most docile and admirable way, never 
losing the superb bearing and action which always char- 
acterized him. When the Boman house was broken up 
Ivan was sent to good friends in England, and lived a 
happy, honored life with them, carrying a lovely lady in 
the Park, and always distinguished to the last above all 
others by his uncommon beauty. Other horses there 
were, but we will only recall here the ponies, Beduin, 
Charley, and Alwin, The first was a Welsh pony of good 
stock, reared by a dear friend who brought up her horses 
as she would her children, and consequently created in 
them something almost equivalent to a souL Beduin was 
a beautiful little creature, full of genial and social traits. 
He loved and craved human society, and liked nothing 
better than to be the centre of a circle of petting and 
admiring fnenda He would tuck his head under the 
hand which failed to pat him ; and even in harness and 
on the road would always incline toward whatever he 
was meeting, especially if a dog was of the company. 



HER LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMOHIEa 131 

This habit obliged his driver to be always on guard 
against too close contact His career was not long ; the 
soft Italian dimate did not suit his mountain tempera- 
ment; the very first summer he was left in Bome he 
fell ill, and nothing could save him, though he had been 
sprinkled by the priest on the blessed day of San Antonio, 
to please the Italian groom, who duly decorated him with 
ribbons for the ceremony. After this he always went by 
the name of '' The Blessed " among us. Let us hope that 
the holy rite, though it failed to preserve him here, may 
procure for him admission to some happy hunting-groimd 
across the border. 

He was replaced by Charley, a beautiful English pony, 
and Alwin, a handsome gray ; and these two went through 
many of the Boman winters, and are still living, — the 
property of English Mends. 

Very little that is new remains to be said of the famed 
Campagna di Boma : all the greatest names in literature and 
art have celebrated it; it has been sung, described, painted, 
ad infinitum. Only in its connection with Miss Cushman's 
life in Bome shall I refer to it; all visitors to Bome know 
how potent are its influences, how laige a place it fills to 
the mind, as it does to the senses. Biding in the Cam- 
pagna is one of the most esteemed pleasures of the season, 
and an Excellent and very needful stimulant against the 
enervating Italian climata Before the Boman himt was 
inaugurated, riding in large parties was the custom, and 
these rides were much more pleasant, though less excit- 
ing, perhaps, than the hunt, which was often a mere vneet 
with a few wild scampers over a circumscribed range of 
country, full of hair-breadth 'scapes, and little other result 
It is true there was an immense fascination about himt- 
ing in Bome, on the score of picturesqueness and varied 
excitement The meets were usually held at the most 



132 CHABLOTTE CUSHKAN : 

beautiM and historically interesting points that could 
be selected, where all the surroundings, beside gratify- 
ing the eye, supplied to the mind suggestive niaterial 
of the rarest kind. It was what the Italians would call 
a " cimhmassione" unsurpassed in beauty and interest All 
that was best and highest and prettiest and most noted 
in Borne flocked to this gathering, — the Boman aristoc- 
racy, not good as himters or noted for skill in horse-flesh; 
the sturdy, solid, undemonstrative English, with soiled 
red coats speaking of real work, and noble horses un- 
equalled for speed and endurance ; our own coimtry peo- 
ple, alert, ready, making mistakes, but profiting by them, 
not so well up in horses, but getting every bit of eneigy 
and go out of their hacks, '' trying all things," holding on 
or letting go with equal facility, and pretty sure to be in 
at the death, though what is technically called ''the death " 
was by no means a forgone conclusioa 

The Boman foxes possessed advantages in their favor 
which made it difficult to catch them. The Campagna 
is, in fact, in many places a vast rolling roof covering 
buried buildings, and honeycombed everywhere by hidden 
galleries and hollows, no doubt very familiar to their vul- 
pine habitu^. It is rarely the dogs can overtake them 
far fix)m their burrows, and once in them the chase is 
hopeless. These hollows, or grotti, as they are called, are 
very dangerous to riders, the thin crust of earth often 
giving way imder the weight of the horse, and throwing 
him suddenly to the ground, sometimes breaking his legs, 
or inflicting worse damage. There is no warning what- 
ever of these hidden pitfalls; the turf looks as smiling 
over them as elsewhere, only fate lurks below and seizes 
one out of a hundred by the leg which happens to touch 
upon the small weak point Little reck the hunters of 
these dangers, however, as they go at headlong pace after 



HER UFB, LETTEBS, AND HEMOBIES. 133 

the poor little game, useless, when they have secured it, 
except for self-glorificatioa 

But hunting is, after all, only a pretext ; the fox is the 
least part of it ; and we cannot condemn heartily a sport 
which leads to so much of health and enjoyment and 
manliness, which, as in these Boman hunts, brought to- 
gether — into one blazing focus, as it were — so much of 
the interest and beauty and suggestiveness of the feonous 
capital and its sunoimdings. 0, those unsurpassed days, 
— days of glory and beauty, in which the very air seemed 
like golden wine burning and tingling in the veins ! An 
atmosphere so pure and translucent it seemed to bring 
down heaven to earth or lift earth to heaven ; a vast dis- 
tance lying in serene repose under its blue shadows, con- 
trasting the animation, the brightness, the color of the 
immediate for^[roimd, — dogs, horses, people, all full of 
joyous excitement; pictures everywhere, charming groups, 
breakii^ and shifting and changing every minute, with 
ever new and ever efiective combinations; finally, the 
grand outbreak, when, summoned by the horn of the 
huntsman and the deep bay of the hoimds, the pageant 
sweeps away like scarlet leaves scattered before the wind. 
Meantime the carriages and the lookers-on follow along 
as they can, by the highway, or sometimes taking a short 
cut across the greensward, hoping that one of those 
chances which so often occur in the chase may bring the 
hunt bcu^ upon its traces. 

Glorious as the hunt was, its attractions by no means 
compensated for the loss of the rides, which the greater 
attractions of the himt caused to fall into disuse. The 
rides were explorations in a certain sense ; they brought 
one into ''strange fields and pastures new '' continually, and 
often into very great difficulties and some dangers from 
venturing into the "pastures new" aforesaid. The Cam- 



134 CHAKLOTTE CUSHMAK : 

pagnoU, or shepherds and farmers of the Campagna, are 
veiy jealous of intrusion upon their fields, and often with 
reasoa There was much inexcusable tampering with 
their rights and property, in the shape of broken-down 
fences, etc. Some adventurous equestrians even rode 
with a small hatchet at the saddle-bow for this purpose ; 
and, naturally, the owners of the fences resented this 
bitterly, and were at times aggressive, even to the ex- 
tent of using their firearms, — at least, so it was said; 
though no serious mischief of that kind ever occurred, to 
my knowledge. There was also another danger, in the 
shape of the savage sheep-dogs, trained to be fierce in 
the protection of their flocks. It was not pleasant to 
have a dozen or more of these creatures baying and 
barking, and sometimes biting the horses' heels, and dire- 
ful stories were told of what they were capable of doing. 
These dogs and the beautiful cattle of the Campagna 
deserve a word of mention, they seem so appropriate to 
the locality. The dogs have little tents or huts made of 
straw, in which they live; and sometimes two or three 
soft, shaggy young ones sit gravely in the opening of 
these tents, looking forth with contemplative aspect upon 
the world. They are large, handsome creatures, and un- 
tiring and most intelligent in their vocation, supplement- 
ing the efforts of their masters in collecting the sheep 
with wonderfiil sagacity and zeaL When the flock is all 
safely huddled together in the appointed spot, the dogs 
station themselves like sentinels at a distance, seated at 
regular intervals awaiting further orders. 

The grand, slow, cream-colored oxen of the Campagna, 
with their wide-spread, branching horns and large, soft 
black eyes, make another characteristic feature of the 
scene, enhancing its peaceful solemnity. Sometimes in 
the valleys, which intersect the Campagna everywhere 



HER LIFE, LETTEBS, LSD BiEMOBIES. 135 

like great cliasms which have been suddenly rent asunder 
by volcanic violence in the otherwise monotonous plain, 
herds of small active horses scamper away fix)m before you, 
rushing up the slopes covered with cork-trees and ilex and 
clothed with asphodel and other wild foliage, stopping, 
when they have attained a point of vantage, to gaze with 
wild eyes at the intruders upon their solitude. These 
valleys are wonderfully beautiful and picturesque, gener- 
ally carpeted with the softest verdure, broken by winding 
streams which have to be crossed often at the risk of the 
equestrian. You descend into them, like Dante and Vir- 
gil into the recesses of the Inferno ; and, indeed, one of 
the most noted of them is called the Valley of the In- 
ferno. Not that they are like the Inferno, or even the 
purgatorial regions, when you get into them. On the 
contrary, they are decidedly heavenly, and impart very 
paradisaical sensations as one scampers over the soft turf 
and follows their winding and constantly varied openings. 
The wild horses above mentioned belong to the noble 
families of Bome, and are raised in large numbers ; each 
horse bears on his flank the brand of the family to which 
he belongs. They are clever Utile horses, sure-footed and 
enduring, but not very handsome in the eyes of a connois- 
seur. Miss Cushman's favorite mount for many years 
was a black Campagna horse, which she preferred for 
safety and comfort to any of her English horses. He pos- 
sessed the invaluable quality of going when you wanted 
him to go cmd not going when you did not, being an 
honest creature who did the best that was in him ; the 
best can do no more ! 

Emerging from these valleys in the same sudden way 
that you enter them, you find yourself again on the level — 
or apparently level — Campagna, and the eye ranges quite 
over and beyond them as if they no longer existed. Some 



136 CHABLOTTS CUSHMAK: 

knowledge of the Campagna is veiy necessary in taking 
a ride of any lengtk You can easily get lost upon it, 
and wander aimlessly, at times stopped by fences or un- 
fordable stieams, and obliged to go back on your own 
tracks again and again. Memory recalls how on one such 
occasion a dinner-party awaited Miss Cushman at home, 
and night fell upon fruitless efforts to find the nearest 
way hdick. At length, emerging upon the high-road, it 
was found that many long miles lay between the party 
and its destination, and tiiey arrived at last, weaiy and 
worn, to find the guests assembled full of consternation 
at their absence ; but the dinner, albeit a Uttle spoiled, 
was not the less merry over the misadventure. 

Around the old walls was also a favorite ride, always 
cool in the heavy shadows of the massive battlemented 
towers, fall of interest and variety on the one side, if not 
on the other, though the walls themselves are beautiful 
also to antiquarian eyes as well as to the lover of nature, 
from the many new and peculiar growths which cluster 
upon them It was possible to go all round the city in 
this circuit, or to enter again at any one of the numerous 
gates which open at intervals through the solid masonry. 
Nothing could be more varied, more peculiar, more quaint 
and wonderful, than the scenes traversed in these rides 
and drives. Often we paused to descend &om the car- 
riage and explore some picturesque ruin, or gather wild- 
flowers imder the arches of the massive aqueducts, which 
come striding into Bome from all points, like giants, but 
beneficent ones; some ruined, but towering grand and 
massive in their decay, wreathed and decorated with 
climbing foliage, and framing within their graceful arches 
wondrous pictures, or bearing on their shoulders the 
bright and aboimding water for which Bome is famous. 

Toward the spring, which often commences as early as 



HEB LIFE, LETTERS, AND HEMOBIEa 137 

the middle of February, the enyiions of Borne brust out 
into a succession of floral enchantments, unique and un- 
paralleled; the roadside banks are purple with violets^ 
which cluster in perfumed groups in all the bosky dells 
an*d emerald slopes of the numerous lovely villas in the 
neighborhood of Bome. Violet-gathering — by hundreds, 
by thousands, by the bushel — is the feature of the hour. 
The very air is full of them ; and later on comes the won- 
derful festa of the anemones, — not like the flaming red 
flowers with the black hearts which light the way along 
the Bivi^re, although some of these are also found among 
them, — but a delicate, single cup, of endless shades of 
soft color, &om the purest white through all the tints of 
lilac, mauve, and pink ; some deep, some hardly touched 
with color, no two alike. They spring up all over the 
grass, and never seem to lessen while the season lasts, for 
all the gathering. Special expeditions to gather these 
sweet children of the spring were among our annual pleas- 
nre& All thought the anemones enjoyed it too ; for they 
bloomed and opened and closed night and morning in 
water quite as well as they did upon their native heath. 
Some took them up root and all and made mosaic tables 
of them ; a barbarous practice, which must end in depriv- 
ing the fields of one of their greatest attractions. 

Besides the anemones and violets were no end of other 
charming growths, whose advent each spring was hailed 
with never-failing enthusiasm, flowers, both wild and 
cultivated, are abundant and cheap in Bome. Every one 
will remember the roses, the cyclamen, the famous ranim- 
culi, Uke roses in variety and beauty, but without their 
perfume. The short Boman spring is a season imsur- 
passed in any country in the world ; but it i3 a fleeting 
beauty, which must be caught flying, as it were ; for, after 
a few short days of virginal perfection, it rushes into the 
full flush and passionate luxuriance of summer. 



138 CHABLOTIE CUSHMAN: 

Miss Cusliman never wearied of these simple pleasures, 
and each one, as the season came round, was welcomed by 
her with ever new delight The spring, too, inaugurated 
a succession of excursions to the many points of interest 
about Eome ; to Albemo, to Tivoli, to some new excava- 
tion or recently discovered treasure. Thus she saw the 
last and finest portrait statue of the Vatican, ^ — that of 
Augustus Caesar, carrying on into maturer life the fine 
lineaments so well known in the head of the young Au- 
gustus, just as it was taken fix)m the earth, still ** stained 
with the variation of each soil," broken and prostrate, but 
full of nobleness, artistic and imperial She saw, too, the 
great bronze statue of the young Hercules as it was lifted 
from its bed of oyster-shells, with remnants of the gilding 
which had once covered it still clinging here and there, 
and peered curiously into the opening in the top of the 
head, through which it was supposed the priests had ut- 
tered their pretended oracles. 

Ever new and constantly recurring surprises of this 
kind belong to Bome alone, where the long-buried past 
rises up to confront the present, and, ghostlike, '' in their 
habit as they lived,** the actors in a remote antiquity stalk 
again across the stage. Other civilizations we know lie 
buried; we know that the earth teems with them; but 
they lie in barren desolation, save where individual effort 
and enthusiasm brings them with difficulty to the light 
of day ; but in Bome the foot unearths them, the common 
way is strewn with them, the earth is hollow with their 
crumbling remains, the river rolls its yellow tide over 
them, and the very air is full of their suggestions. In 
Bome alone the old and the new exist togetJier and can 
never be disimited. 

Following upon the foregoing description of Miss Cush- 
man's home surroundings in Bome, I may refer to a letter 



H£B LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIES. 139 

lately received from Miss Elizabeth Peabody of Boston, 
in which I find some early remembrances and later refer- 
ences to her life in Home, which are interesting and val- 
uable. Speaking of the first time she saw her act Queen 
Katharine, she says : — 

** I need not say how I enjoyed her splendid impersonation 
throughout, but specially the death scene. It was perfectly 
wonderful how she blended the infirmities of dying with the 
majesty of her spirit. But especially I was struck anew with 
the miraculous genius of Shakespeare as evinced in that last 
speech to Cromwell, in which Queen Katharine characterized 
Wolsey, in those sharp, heavily thought-freighted sentences, 
which it was obvious must be just so concise and terse, because 
the fast-coming death so overcame her power to utter that it 
was only by the intense will she could utter at all, and so 
was forced to concentrate in the few words of each sentence. 
Then in the veiy death she did not seem to struggle much, 
did not evince physical pain, only torpor of organs. She went 
out of the body almost visibly, while the song of angels was 
sung behind the scenes. 

'' When she returned again in 1860 she gave me a season 
ticket, and I went down from Concord to Boston, and saw her 
through the whole, constantly surprised to new admiration by 
each impersonation. I do not know but I thought Bosalind 
the most marvellous of alL Her wit and grace and make-up 
making her seem but twenty-eight ; and changing my former 
idea of a petite Rosalind into the new one of so fine and laige 
a figure, which of course I saw Rosalind must have been, 
to match the force of character that conceived her bold 
enterprise. 

''Another seven years passed before I saw her in Rome, 
and experienced the generous friendship and hospitality which 
made those five months so rich in opportunities of enjoyment. 
But even amid the glories of Rome there was nothing that I 
studied with more interest and intensity than herself. Such 



140 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN: 

simplicity and direotness and humility of heart was to me 
most touching and wonderful in a person of such magnificent 
executive powers. Tou remember the conversations at those 
delightful breakfasts, to which she invited me every morning t 
Never was my own mind in such an intense state of activity. 
It seems to me that I came to my mental majority that year, 
and all my own life and the world's life, as history had taught 
it to me, was explained. Principles seemed to rise up over the 
rich scenery of human life, like the white peaks of the Alps 
^ over the Swiss valleys, which were to me the most exciting and 
transporting objects in nature, — transporting surely, for they 
cany one beyond the limits of the finite. Do you recollect 
how I used to come and announce my discoveries in the world 
of monds and spiritual life, whose gates seemed to be opened to 
me by the historical monuments, as well as the masterpieces of 
art t What golden hours those were when such grand recep- 
tive hearts and imaginations bettered one's thoughts in the 
reply 1 And were not some of those evenings symposia of the 
gods ? Do you remember one when she read * The Halt before 
Rome' to Lord Houghton, Lothrop, Motley, Bayard Taylor, 
yourself, and met Can you, or anybody with mortal pen, 
describe so that readers could realize the high-toned, artistic, 
grandly moral, delightfully human nature, that seemed to be 
the palpable atmosphere of her spirit, quickening all who 
surrendered themselves to her influence t What sincerity, 
what appreciation of truth and welcome of it (even if it 
wounded her) ; what bounteousness of nature ; and how the 
breath of her mouth winnowed the chaff from the wheat 
in her expression of observed character and judgment of 
conduct 1 Those she loved she watched over that no shadow 
of falsehood or of infirmity should be allowed to touch their 
whitenesa She truly ' respected what was dear ' to her, and 
her respect was a safeguard and rescuer from moral perils. 
One of the last times I saw her I remember her earnest affec- 
tionate appeal to a young friend to foiget herself and her 
appearance to others, in the noble unconsciousness that springs 



HEB UFBy LETTEBS^ AND IfEMORIES. 141 

unbidden fix>m surrendering one's self to some generous idea, 
and the sweet impulse of making others happy and appreciated. 
It must have waked an echo that will forever repeat itself for 
I thmk it may have been the last time the young girl ever 
saw her. 

** Have you recorded that conversation of hers with Mr. 
Peabody when she returned from America, and asked him to 
withdraw $25,000 from American securities in 1860 ; and he 
said * O no, he could not in conscience as her banker do it, 
for of course the business men of the world were not going to 
let this war go on,' and gold was then at 128; and she 
replied, ' Mr. Peabody, I saw that first Maine regiment that 
answered to Lincoln's call march down State Street in Boston 
with their chins in the air, singing ''John Brown's soul is 
marching on," and, believe me, this war will not end till 
slavery is abolished, whether it be in five years or thirty; and 
gold will be up to 225 before it is over'1 

** With all her respect and regard for Mr. Seward, who said 
the war would not last sixty days, she trusted her own in- 
tuition, which certainly in this case was proved to be unerring. 

''Ah 1 what a loss she is to me, who in comparison with you 
and her family only touched the outside of her circle at an 
occasional tangent ! By her timely gift to the Boston training- 
school for Kindergartners she sustained the cause through an 
early peril of perishing by inanition, for my sake. She after- 
wards offered to be guaranty nearly to the sum of another 
$1,000 to any publisher who would publish my lectures on 
the moral meanings of history ; that is, what it taught the 
world before the advent of Christ, of which I gave her the 
outline ; and I meant to have prepared them for the press by 
rewriting them carefully. I never knew a person so ready, 
and even ardent, to help and further the efforts and works 
of others! There was swimming-room for all the world in 
her heart ! She was one of the prophets of the unity of the 
human race, — a proof of it, indeed ! 

" I enclose you a letter ; the only one in which she speaks 



142 CHABLOTTE CU8HMAN: 

of herself at any length, for generally her letters were only 
full of her correspondent's interests or afiairs. Ton must 
keep it in a golden box, for I yalue it above all things else 

• 

she ever gave me." 

From the letter above alluded to I make the following 
extract: — 

''Your letter has done me goody dear friend, and not the 
least part of it that which speaks approvingly of my beloved 
art, and all that it takes to make an exponent of it It has 
been my fate to find in some of my most intimate relations 
my art * tabooed,' and held in light esteem. This has always 
hurt me ; but my love for my friends has ever been stronger 
than my pride in anything else, and so my art has been 
* snubbed.' But no one knows better than myself, after all 
my association with artists of sculpture or painting, how truly 
my art comprehends all the others and surpasses them, in so 
&r as the study of mind is more than matter ! Victor Hugo 
makes one of his heroines, an actress, say, ' My art endows 
me with a searching eye, a knowledge of the soul and the 
soul's workings, and, spite of all your skill, I read you to the 
depths 1 ' TbiB is a truth more or less powerful as one is 
more or less truly gifted by the good God." 



^kO.'i^ 



CHAPTER VII. 

BEHIND THE SCENES. 

" Tie eagle waSen little blidt to slug. 
And U not ctreftil what the; msui thereby." 

Tiiat Andnmicui. 
" Lore tU, tnut » few, do wrong to none." 

JU't WeU That Endt WeO. 

S has h&en. much in these later times Tritten 
I and said, — much eren preached regarding the 
I drama, Mighty changes have been silently at 
work in the mimic scene as elsewhere. The ban, which 
for 80 many ages has been laid upon the profession, min- 
gling together in one common outlawry the good, the bad, 
the gifted, and the doll alike, which has been an insur- 
mountable barrier to those within and to many without 
the pale, has been — or rather is in a fair way of being — 
lifted. That domain, that arena, upon which not caily the 
mimic pictures of our lives are represented, but where life 
itself can best exhibit " ite form and pressure," is beginning 
to appear in its true meaning to the minds of men : the 
thoughtful ones among them no longer look upon it as a 
mere amusement, the occupation of an idle hour; they 
b^in to speculate upon it, to look curiously into it, to 
revolt at the injustice with which it has been condemned, 
to see with " lai^er, other eyes " into its vast capabilities 
and possibilities for good, and to take the initiatory steps 



144 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

toward breaking down the middle wall of partition whicli 
fences off fix)m us one of our truest and most (rod-given 
forces for touching the hearts and awakening the con- 
sciences of men. 

The time is still within the memory of many of us 
when to church-people and professors of religion the 
very name of the theatre was Anathema; when for a 
clergyman to be seen at a theatre was considered a grave 
offence against his sacred office; now, 'Vthe Pulpit and 
the Stage " are associated together in eloquent discourses. 
One of Boston's most saintly men honorably united Miss 
Cushman's name after her death with that of Dr. Horace 
Bushnell, drawing. a parallel between their respective ca- 
reers equally honorable to the actress and to the divine. 
Now, yoimg people who aspire to the profession say, with 
truth, when argument is excited against their choice, *' I 
can be a gentleman (or a lady) as well on the stage as 
anywhere else ; it depends upon myself : and as to tempta- 
tion, that lies in wait for me at any comer of the city as 
well as behind the scenes." 

There, as everywhere, good and evil mingle, but evil is 
not more indigenous to the soil than good ; rather less so, 
if we take into consideration how much evil is fostered 
and encouraged for base uses by those into whose hands 
the influences of the theatre for good or evil faU. It is 
the custom to dwell much upon the temptations of an 
actor^s or an actress's life. It may be doubted if these 
are much greater there than elsewhere. It may be doubted 
if the average of yielding is greater there than elsewhere. 
Miss Cushman often said that her experience ''behind the 
scenes " had shown her a decided average in favor of good- 
ness, purity, and honesty of life ; instances which would 
do honor to any station of unpretending conscientious self- 
sacrifice and devotion, — worthy mothers, excellent wives, 



HER UFEy LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 145 

faithfol Mends. There can be no more thrilling repre- 
sentations of heroic deeds before the curtain than are 
often going on in undemonstrative silence and patient 
endurance behind it There is no class more kind to one 
another, none more generous ; their faults all lean to vir^ 
tue's side ; and when we reckon up their sins of omission 
and commission, a candid and unbiased judgment will 
admit that in the eternal equilibrium of forces their 
worser qualities will surely "kick the beam." 

''Behind the scenes" is such a terra incognita to the 
world at large, that few are able to judge righteous 
judgment from the standpoint of personal experience. 
To those who have this experience it ought to be a duty 
as well as a pleasure to speak a word in season for a 
much misunderstood and ill-judged class, who have in- 
herited the prejudices of ages, and yet have been able to 
show so many shining examples of genius and goodness 
to the admiration of the world. 

It was one of Miss Cushman's crowning glories, that 
she knew how to reconcile the inconsistencies and har- 
monize the discordances of this peculiar realm, where she 
reigned with the same undoubted sovereignty as every- 
where eke. Her mere presence on the boards seemed to 
give life and value to what was too often a mere collection 
of incongruous materials. Her earnestness, her thorough- 
ness, seemed to be at once infused into the mass of iner- 
tia, ignorance, and indifference ; all had to do their best, 
because she always did her best ; and her best was not, as 
in so many instances, a mere ego^ stalking around, wrapped 
in its own sublime self-confidence, looking down upon 
and ignoring the lesser lights as of no consequenca Her 
artistic ideal was of a different sort ; she knew and felt 
the absolute truth of the old, time-honored law, that 
" Qod hath set the members every one of them in the 



146 eHABLOTTS CUSHMAJf: 

body, as it hath pleased him .... That there should be 
no schism in the bodj, but that the members should have 
the smne care one for another. .... And whether one 
member suffer, aU the members sufifor with it; or one 
member be honored, all the members rejoice with it" 
And she could not see anything working wrongly or 
ignorantly, without doing her very best to right it. Her 
rehearsals were always hard-working lessons to all about 
her; and that in no unkind or harsh spirit, but with all 
the kindly helpfulness of her nature, suggesting, encour- 
agix^f, showing how a thing ought to be done, and, when 
she saw the true spirit of endeavor and improvement, 
giving it a cheering word which was invaluable. 

This peculiar gift of hers gave occasion for a very 
pleasant demonstration after one of her last engagements 
at Mr. McVicker's Chicago Theatre, which may be fit- 
tingly mentioned hera After her last performance, as 
she was preparing to leave the theatre, a message came to 
her, that the manager would be glad to see her for a few 
moments in the green-room. There had been no whisper 
of what was intended ; it was totally unexpected to her, 
when, on entering the green-room, she found the entire 
company assembled, expectation in all their faces. The 
friendly and genial manager made a pleasant little i^eech, 
and then proceeded to read the following letter : — 

'^MoYiOKBB's Thkatrx, CfiiOAOO, Jtnuaiy 10, 1873. 
'' Miss Charlotte Cushm an : As members of a profession to 
which you, not only as an artist, but as a htdy and true 
woman, have contributed the earnest seal and heartfelt labors 
ef a lifetime to ennoble and honor, we, members of Mr. 
MoTicker's Theatre, desiring to express to you our appre- 
ciation, present, tfarou^ our worthy manager, this circlet 
of gold, inscribed with the motto that haa so endeared you 
to U8| and whioh is no less engraven on our hearts, nunely, 



HEB LIFE^ LKTTSBd, AXTD MfiMORIES. 147 

' kind words.' May your happiness here and in the great 
hereafter be only symholed by this golden cirdet, ' endless.' " 

Signed by all the members of the company. 

The ring was a plain cirdet of black enamel, having 
Tipoa it in gold letters the simple legend, " Kind words. 
McVicker's Theatre, January 11, 1873," — a plain me- 
mento, but one which expressed a priceless value. Miss 
Cushman made a hasty, pleasant speech of thanks, and 
retired beaming. She WBa greatly pleased and touched ; 
ao tribute that was ever paid her gratified her more. 

Behind the scenes, as before them. Miss Cushman was 
always thoroughly herself, energetic, capable, equal to 
any emergency, competent to any necessity; what was 
right she would have, and she knew how to bend the most 
stubborn materials to har behests ; and yet this was never 
done in a domineering or captious spirit, but by the sheer 
force of " character," that most supreme of gifts. 

Under this head it may not be inappropriate to recall 
some remembrances of the part which more than any 
other is identified with her name, and may be said to 
have been her own special creation, that of Meg Merrilies. 
I have sought in vain among the newspaper files of the 
period for the absolute date of her first performance of 
this character; but other evidence settles it as having 
been in the year 1840-41, during Bmham's first and 
only engagement in New York, and at the Park Theatre. 
Her own account of it was substantially as follows. But 
first it may be mentioned that there is one very ancient 
newspaper-cutting, which is, however, without name or 
date, in which the fact of her assumption of the part at a 
moment's notice is thus alluded to : — 

'' Many years ago Miss Charlotte Cushman was doing at the 
Park Theatre what in st»ge parlance is called 'general utiUty 



143 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN: 

business,' — that is, the work of three ordinary performers, 
filling the gap when any one was sick, playing this one's part 
and the other's on occasion, never refusing to do whatever was 
allotted to her. As may be supposed, one who held this posi- 
tion had as yet no position to be proud of. One night ' Guy 
Mannering,' a musical piece, was announced. It was produced 
by Mr. Braham, the great English tenor, who played Hany 
Bertram. Mrs. Chippendale was cast for Meg Merrilies, but 
during the day was taken ill ; so this obscure utility actress, 
this Miss Cushman, was sent for and told to be ready in the 
part by night. She might read it on the boards if she could 
not commit it. But the ' utility woman ' was not used to 
reading her parts ; she learned it before nightfall, and played 
it after nightfall. She played it so as to be enthusiastically 
applauded. At this half-day's notice the part was taken up 
which is now so famous among dramatic portraitures." 

It was in consequence of Mrs. Chippendale's illness 
that she was called upon on the very day of the perform- 
ance to assume the part Study, dress, etc., had to be an 
inspiration of the moment She had never especially no- 
ticed the part ; as it had been heretofore performed there 
was not probably much to attract her ; but, as she stood 
at the side-scene, book in hand, awaiting her moment of 
entrance, her ear caught the dialogue going on upon the 
stage between two of the gypsies, in which one says to 
the other, alluding to her, "Meg, — why, she is no longer 
what she was ; she doats," etc., evidently giving the im- 
pression that she is no longer to be feared or respected ; 
that she is no longer in her right mind. With the words 
a vivid flash of insight struck upon her brain : she saw 
and felt by the powerful dramatic instinct with which 
she was endowed the whole meaning and intention of 
the character ; and no doubt from that moment it became 
what it never ceased to be, a powerful, original, and con- 



HEB LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEM0BIE3. 149 

sistent conception in her mind. She gave herself with 
her usual concentrated energy of purpose to this concep- 
tion, and flashed at once upon the stage in the startling, 
weird, and terrible manner which we aU so well remem- 
ber. On this occasion it so astonished and confounded 
Mr. Braham, little accustomed heretofore to such mani- 
festations, that he went to her after the play to express 
his surprise and his admiration. 

" I had not thought that I bad done anything remarkable," 
she says, ''and when the knock came at my dressing-room 
door, and I heard Brabam's voice, my first thought was, ' Now, 
what have I done 1 He is surely displeased with me about 
something ' ; for in those days I was only the ' utility actress,' 
and had do prestige of position to carry me through. Imagine 
my gratification when Mr. Braham said, ' Miss Cushman, I have 
come to thank you for the most veritable sensation I have 
experienced for a long time. I give you my word, when I 
turned and saw you in that first scene I felt a cold chill run 
all over me. Where have you learned to do anything like 
thatr" 

Prom this time the part of Meg grew and strengthened, 
retaining always its perfect unity and consistency, until it 
became what it was, an absolute jewel of dramatic art, — 
a standing comment and contradiction of the oft-repeated 
assertion that the public must and will have variety. The 
public must and will have excellence ; and when it gets 
it, cannot have it too often repeated. The true heart of 
humanity responds always to truths and recognizes the 
absolute ideal, which is only the real in its highest mani- 
festation, and thrills as one string when the master-hand 
touches it If theatrical managers and theatrical people 
could only once recognize this and act upon it, what 
might not the theatre become? A book might well be 



150 CHAJtLOTTE CTJSHMAir: 

written on this subject, taMng the part of ULeg as its text 
and its iUostration. 

Meg, behind the scenes, was quite as remarkable as 
before them. It was a study for an artist, and has been 
so to many, to witness the process of preparation for this 
notable character, — the makeup, as they call it in the 
parlance of the theatre, — a regular, systematic, and thor- 
oughly artistic performance, wrought out with the same 
instinctive knowledge which was so manifest in all she 
did. " Miss Cushman," a distinguished lady artist once 
said to her, as she wonderingly watched the process where- 
by the weird hag grew out of the pleasant and genial linea- 
ments of the actress, "how do you know where to put in 
those shadows and make those lines which so accurately 
give the eflFect of age ? " "I don't krum," was the answer^ 
" I only feel where they ought to come." And in fact the 
process was like the painting of a face by an old Dutch 
master, full of delicate and subtle manipulations, and yet 
so adapted to the necessities of space and light that its 
effect was only enhanced, not weakened, when subjected 
to them. 

Everybody will remember this vision of age, glowing 
with purpose, instinct with fidelity, inspired with devo- 
tion even unto death, — strong yet weak, full of the con- 
trasts of matter and spirit, subordinated even in all its 
material manifestations to the master conception. ''It 
is terrible," says one ; " it tears one all to pieces.*' " It is 
lovely," says another ; " it melts my heart." " She is a 
witch,*' says a third, " from the crown of her head to the 
tips of her toes." Look at that attitude ! the very limbs 
express and typify a life of privation, of hardship, of suf- 
fering. Hear that laugh ! it thrills one with the super- 
natural emphasis of a spirit more than a human creature. 
Then, again, listen to the soft, tender, loving tones of the 



HEB LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIES. 151 

voice, as with the tremitloasness of age it croons over 
the boy the scmgs of his infancy, or changes to ringing 
notes of ecstatic joy as she sees awakening in his mind 
the dim remembrances she is seeking to evoke. 

The costume of Meg is another subject upon which 
much of interest might be written ; how it gradually grew, 
as all artistic things must, from the strangest materials ; a 
bit picked up here, another there, — seemingly a mass of 
incoherent rags and tatters, but fall of method and mean- 
ing; every scrap of it put together with refwrence to 
antecedent experiences, — the wind, the storm, the out- 
door life of hardship, the tossing and tempering it had 
received through its long wanderings; and which to 
an artist's eye is beyond price, seemingly a bundle of 
rags, and yet a royal garment, for the truly queenly 
character of the old gypsy ennobled every thread of it. 
How many of those who felt this quality in the wearer 
noticed how the battered head-dress was arranged in 
vague and shadowy semblance to a crown, the gnarled 
and twisted branch she carried suggesting the emblem 
of command ? 

Much and great has been the wonder of those who saw 
the dress off her person, how she ever contrived to get 
into it ; no earthly creature, but herself and Sallie, knew 
the mysterious exits and entrances of that extraordinary 
garment, the full completion of which seemed like a 
nightly miracle, so homogeneous did she and it become 
when brought in contact ; so completely, as she got it 
on, did she enter into the personality of Meg and leave 
her own behind, ghe was always particular and perfect 
in her make-^up, and would have been for an audience 
of a dozen as for one of thousands. At times, with bo 
much wear and tear, some part of the costume would 
require renewal ; the stockings, for example, would wear 



152 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

out, and then no end of trouble would come in preparing 
another pair, that the exact tint of age and dirt should 
be attained. This she achieved with her own hand, by 
immersing them in a peculiar dye which she had pre- 
pared from diflferent ingredients not generally known to 
the regular dyers. During all the early period of the 
performance of this part, when it was used more as an 
operetta than a drama, it was the custom for the dra- 
matis personce to sing a finale after the death of Meg. 
This interval gave Miss Cushman opportunity to wash 
the paint from her face and remove the head-dress and 
gray hair of Meg, so that when she was recalled — as 
she always was — she came before the audience her own 
sweet, smiling, pleasant self. The contrast between the 
wild, weird, intense face of M^ and the genial aspect of 
the actress was a veritable sensation, which it was a pity 
to lose when afterward the musical finale was omitted, 
and the piece concluded with the death of Meg. 

Always, wherever M^ was represented, there sprang 
up aifaong the " hero-worshippers," a strong desire to pos- 
sess some memento of the part and the actress. The 
stick which she carried was always greatly in demand ; 
and as it was one of the " properties," and always newly 
provided for each engagement, there must be many of 
these relics scattered about the coimtry. Of those which 
she used on the several occasions of farewell, it may be 
mentioned that the one she carried in Philadelphia became 
the property of Mr. Joseph Lee of that city, who writes 
thus pleasantly about it : — 

''Mt dear Miss Cushman: Might a friend who equally 
admires and loves you ask a very great favor 1 I am * craasy 
to acquire ' the stick which you will use next Saturday after- 
noon as Meg, to put it in my library as a precious souvenir of 
yourself and your great personation. 



HEE LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 153 

" I will be on hand to receive it from you, if you will have 
the goodness to present it to me. I asked this of you two 
years ago, but it probably escaped your memory at the time." 

The Boston one was given to her friend Mr. Addison 
Child, and the one she carried during her last engage- 
ment in New York is at ViUa Cushman, with the other 
sacred relics of the character ; another one is preserved 
in St. Louis, the special property of the children. Apro- 
pos of the sticks : on one occasion, while acting in one 
of the New England towns, Miss Cushman received a 
note from a citizen of the place, telling her that he was 
the possessor of a stick which she had carried many years 
before, which he highly prized, and asking of her the 
great favor that she would allow him to bring it to the 
theatre, that it might be used again. She was always 
simply pleased with these little incidents, and rendered 
an added grace to the favor by the pleasant manner in 
which she responded to the request While upon the 
subject of relics, I may insert here a note written to the 
family after Miss Cushman's death by Mr. Gibson Peat- 
cock of Philadelphia. 

** I do not want to write a long letter at this time, but I 
must tell you of an incident that has affected me much and 
given me a better opinion of human nature. Mr. Pugh came 
to see me yesterday, and, with a good deal of feeUng, asked 
me to accept from him as a gift the reading-desk and chair he 
had had made for your aunt, and which she had used at all her 
readings in Philadelphia. He thought, as I had introduced 
him to her, I was the proper person to own them, especially 
as he never intended that any one else should use them. They 
are in this house now, and the most sacred of its inanimate 
contents. I told him that I accepted them, and that after my 
wife and I are gone they are to go to your famUy, and this I 
want you and your children to bear in mind." 



154 GHABLOTTE <)tJSHHAK : 

Another character, not so renowned as Meg Merrilies^ 
but of somewhat the same type and class, may be remem- 
bered by many. It was a part which Miss Cashman had 
often assumed in her early days at the Park Theatre, 
when she had no choice; and the remembrance of the 
powerful effect she had produced in it was a tradition 
which lingered in the memory of managers, and caused 
them ever and anon^ as their business interests prompted^ 
to bring great pressure to bear upon her for a reproduction 
of it She was too true an artist to be much influenced by 
the opinions of others concerning her art; and the idea 
that any impersonation which she could feel strongly her- 
self and through which she could influence the feelings 
of others, could possibly lower her dignity or her position 
as an artist, she could not accept for a moment As well 
say that a great writer lowers himself by producing such 
types of character. 

It was sufficient for her that she found in the part 
of Nancy Sykes a great opportunity, to which she was 
fuUy equal; and it was characteristic of her, that she 
shrank from nothing in it, and was able to descend into 
the depths of its abasement as thoroughly and potently 
as she ascended to the highest range, and touched the 
noblest notes of the varied symphony of human nature. 

There is a nobility latent in these struggling souls, 
which Dickens knew how to recognize and Miss Cush- 
man to feel and interpret In poverty, in degradation, in 
despair, in the bare plain dress of the people, with no 
accessories of beauty or refinement to blunt the keen 
edge of the naked truth, she presented a picture worthy 
to live, worthy to be commemorated here, for it shone 
with the pure light of Divine truth, piercing through aU 
the gloom and darkness which surrounded it The never* 
dying story of inherent virtue, nobleness, and heroism 



HEB IIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMOBIES. 156 

Springing tip from the foulest sofl, the old, old story of 
good rising triumphant out of evil, and faithful even unto 
death, even unto martyrdouL 

One cannot quite recognize why the repulsive details 
of such a picture should be so readily accepted when 
clothed in all the elaboration of an author's imagination, 
and yet be found so shocking when acted out before the 
eyes ; yet this distinction has always been more or less 
carefully drawn. It would seem to depend muoh upon 
the manner in which it is dome ; excellence confounds all 
cavilling. Miss Cushman's representation of this char- 
acter was its own best excuse for being. It was, like 
Hamlet, Bomeo, Cardinal Wolsey, unique in the strong 
ability which made it possible, — one of the laurel-leaves 
of the crown, and not unworthy to be one of that glorious 
company. 

The following letter, as showing Miss Cushman's prompt 
and courageous manner of dealing with any subject which 
seemed to call, as she herself says, for some one to throw 
themselves into the breach, explains itself. Although this 
was an abuse to which she had long ministered in the 
sacred cause of charity, when the proper moment came 
for a word in season, it was uttered freely and fearlessly. 

"The dramatic critic" of a newspaper in a neighboring 
city recently wrote to Miss Cushman, asking her, without 
much ceremony, to give a gratuitous representation for 
the benefit of the poor of that place, and requesting her 
to answer by telegraph " yes " or " no." To this summons 
Miss Cushman sent the following sensible and appropriate 
reply : — 

" Dear Sir : I am in receipt of yours of the Ist, in answer 
to which I find myself under the necessity of saying * no ' to 
your request that I would give one of the nights of my short 



156 GHAELOTTE CUSHMAN: 

engagement in Washington for the benefit of your local char- 
ities. My reasons for this decision are as follows : — 

''I think the time has come in which some one should 
make a protest .against the system now so fully inaugurated 
of making artists pay so much more than the rest of the 
community for charities in which they are not especially in- 
terested, and which have no claim upon them. You simply 
ask of me that I should give from four hundred to five hundred 
dollars to your poor, while those more immediately concerned, 
those who are bound by all the ties of neighborhood and com- 
mon brotherhood, think they are doing their part in paying 
their quota of a dollar or two, when they receive in return 
a full equivalent out of the labor, severe enough, of the often 
hard-pressed and struggling artist Each one of these already 
does to the best of his or her ability, within the range of the 
claims which fall upon every human creature alike. You 
may think it indelicate, but it is surely not irrelevant, for me 
to say here, that I give every year to my poor and needy, 
and to my poor's poor and needy, upward of $2,000, which 
I consider a very fair percentage upon my income. As for 
myself, it would take every day of every year if I were to 
respond to one half the applications of this kind that meet 
me at every turn ; and each one of us who are so freely called 
upon in these ways I have no doubt have not only their 
regular clientMe of claimants, to whom they are bound and 
for whom they are accountable, but also hosts of such applica- 
tions and claims for which they are in no way bound. 

" It strikes me that the whole affair is one-sided, and that 
a word is necessary in the way of justice. I am willing to 
place myself in this breach, and say for all my confreres in 
art, whose errors have never been on the side of niggardliness, 
that it is unfair we should do all the work and pay also, both 
publicly and privately, as we do to my certain knowledge. 

" Allow me to suggest that, in place of this easy manner of 
doing good, a house-to-house visitation for charitable objects 
would place it in the power of every citizen to help the poor 



HER LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIES. 157 

of his own city and neighborhood with much greater comfort 
to his conscience than this cent-per-cent contract of so much 
money for so much amusement, and the poor thrown in. 
'* Believe me to be> with much consideration, 

" Respectfully yours, 

« Chablottb Cushhan." 

The following letter is inserted, as not only suggestively 
valuable in itself, but as an explanation due to her mem- 
ory. It was vmtten at her request, and is headed, " Auto- 
graph Hunting." 

'* For the Pablic Ledger, Philadelphia. 

"Mr. Editor: Just before she left New York, Miss Gush- 
man made an arrangement with the treasurer of the ' Shelter- 
ing Arms' to supply her autograph for the benefit of that 
institution, thinking natmrally enough that those persons who 
wanted her name would not be unwilling to pay a trifling sum 
for this gratification, at the same time doing good to a strug- 
gling and ver^c deserving charity. 

" This simple, and as it would appear not unworthy, action 
on her part seems to have given occasion of ofience to certain 
newspapers, and some very ill-natured comments upon it have 
appeared, attributing to her base and mean motives, and oth* 
erwise casting slurs upon an act of the purest benevolence. 
You will confer a favor if you will find space in your columns 
for this notice, thus giving publicity regarding what has 
grown into a very great abuse, namely, * autograph hunting.' 
Miss Cushman has been for years pursued by it to such an 
extent that, at length, in self-defence, she has devised the 
above plan, which she heartUy recommends to her professional 
brethren, artists, and other eminent persons, who must all 
have suffered with her the same annoyance. 

''It may be said that simply writing one's name cannot 
demand very great exertion, and it is a little thing to do to 
give pleasure, etc. ; but when it amounts to, on an average^ 



158 CHABLOTTB CUfiHIIAir: 

aboat forty or fifty demands of tbo kind per week, and often 
more when she ia acting or reading in any of the huge citiea, — 
it being a thing that no one can do for her, — it iano small tax; 
and she felt at last that aha had done as much of it as she was 
called upon to do, especially as the perpetual repetition of it 
could not but deprive even her honored name of all value. 
For the benefit of such persons as might choose to follow her 
example in thi% I am requested to furnish tiie following par- 
ticulars :*- 

''The aociety of the 'Sheltering Arms* is authorissed to 
dispose of her autograph for the sum of twenty-five cents, 
which sum goes to the benefit of that institution. Upon re- 
ceipt of a request for an autograph, endoeing the isaoney, it is 
sent, and there an end. No, not there an end ; the end no one 
knows ; but the promise that even a cup of cold water to one 
of these little ones shall ineet with an exceeding great return, 
ought to make aa autograph so obtained doubly and trebly 
valuable. 

"JuSTiCK." 



>>^wav 



CHAPTEB VIII. 

H« hai ■ wiidoia QM, doth guide hii valor." 

r the 4th of April of the year 1859 came the fint 
ga of her sister'a illness ; the news alternat- 
I ii^ for better or worse until the 24th, when a 
telegram summoned her to England. After a bunied jour- 
ney to Paris, unfavorable accounts met her, and she has- 
tened to Liverpool to watch over and meet Uie sadness of 
these last days. Mrs. Muspratt died on Uie 10th of May. 
This was a heavy blow to her, whose &mily afiections 
were so intense and clinging ; she suffered much from it, 
and it was though well to seek chastgd and distraction 
in constant movement On this occasion she explored 
Wales, and visited all the finest points of tiiat picturesque 
and lovely country, travelling by carriage, and movii^ or 
resting as inclination prompted. Thus, slowly but surely, 
healing and cousolation came throt^h the blessed in- 
fluences of nature. She was never inclined to hold de- 
spondency to her heart ; she suffered keenly and acutely, 
but her nature opened simply and naturally, like a 
flower, to the free air and sunshine. She could not but 
take a living interest in life, in nature, in people ; she met 
and sought always occasion to help others, and in this 
giving out of herself she reaped always a larger harvest 
than she had sown. The summer passed calmly and 



160 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN: 

sweetly away. After Wales came a visit to old and dear 
friends at Brighton, and renewed intercourse with the 
much-loved London circle, where she again saw Mrs. Car- 
lyle, and they cemented a warm friendship. All this 
helped to complete her cure, as far as such wounds ever 
can be cured. On September 11 she left again for Rome, 
travelling by way of Paris, Aix, Cologne and Bonn, and 
arriving October 16. 

The winter of 1859 - 60 passed as usual, but with less 
of social excitement Among the " Roman Pilgrims " this 
year were the Brownings and Theodore Parker ; the lat- 
ter, too much of an invalid to enter into general society, 
was ministered to by Miss Cushman in her wonted kindly 
manner. There are some characteristic little notes of his 
among her papers, one or two of which I may give, as 
showing Juno she tried to make the Pilgrims forget for a 
time they were strangers in a strange land. 

<<Mt deab Miss Cushman: Many thanks for all your 
favors, — the drive the other day, the old-fashioned chicken- 
pie this day. Alas I I have no ooach, no oven ; but as you 
have often taken a kindly interest in me, I think you may like 
to read some of my latest publications, so I send a couple of 
little things which came by mail, and are the only copies in 

^' " Beheve me faithfully yours, 

" Thbodorb Parker. 
" P. a I have finished ' Plutarch.' " 

Another note says : — 

"I thank you heartily for the great loaf of Indian-corn 
bread. It is like the song of Zion sung in a strange land 
and among the willows. It carries me back to dear old Bos- 
ton once more. We shall eat this our bread with thankfulness 
of heart, not forgetting the human giver. 

"Yours for the bread, «t p 

" P. S. I suppose I am as well as co%dd he expected.'* 



'* 



HARLOTTE CLISHM. 






) '• • 



, *• 



t ( 



( 

I 

I 

1 



HER LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 161 

Miss Cushman sat to me in the course of this winter 
for her bust, at the request of her early friend, Mr. R D. 
Shepherd, the same who is mentioned in her memoranda 
as having given her two years of good musical training, 
and thus laid the foundation, as she believed, of all her 
after success. During her last visit to New Orleans in 
1858 Mr. Shepherd sought her out It was pleasant for 
both to meet under such changed conditions; the one 
to find the fruition of Ins good deed, the other to feel 
the satisfaction of her nobly won position and pros- 
pects. Mr. Shepherd on that occasion asked her to have 
her bust modelled for him, and left the choice of an art- 
ist to herself She determined that I should do it, and 
a good portion of the winter was devoted to this work, 
which, thanks to her good-will and sympathetic encour- 
agement, became a successful one. The original, after the 
death of Mr. Shepherd, was presented by his daughter, 
Mrs. Grorham Brooks, to the Handel and Haydn Society 
of Boston. Several copies were made : one is in the pos- 
session of Mr. H. G. Stebbins of New York; another 
belongs to Mr. F. Sully Darley of Philadelphia ; and a 
thiitl to Mr. James Muspratt of Seaforth Hall, Liver- 
pool 

On June 9 of this year Miss Cushman again sailed 
for New York, in the steamship Persia, passing the sum- 
mer amona her friends, and devoting the winter to her 
profession. On March 21st she acted for the benefit of 
the Dramatic Fund at the Academy of Music. The play 
was "Macbeth," with Mr. Edwin Booth as Macbeth. 
This was a veiy successful performance, the receipts 
amounting to S 3,100, being $1,000 in excess of the 
amount received from any previous benefita 

On the 24th of March Miss Cushman went to St Louis 
to attend the marriage of her nephew and adopted son. 




162 CHABLOTTB CUSHMAN : 

Mr. Edwin C. Cushman, to Miss Crow, daughter of Way- 
man Crow, of St. Louis. From April 8th she acted a round 
of engagements in all the chief cities, and on July 1st paid 
a visit to Mr. Seward in Washington, on which occasion 
she visited with him the entrenchments on Arlington 
Heights, and the various camps then in process of forma- 
tion about the city. Her thoughts and feelings on the 
subject of the civil strife which was then beginning to 
convulse the country will be found in her letters of this 
period. It pained her deeply that circumstances forced 
her to absent herself from home at a time so full of deep 
and absorbing interest But good influences and ardent 
souls were as much, if not more, needed on the other side 
than here at that time, and she fulfilled her mission in 
that respect as thoroughly and well as in any other. 
During those grievous years, when the fate of the country 
seemed to be hanging in such an uneven balance, who can 
tell how much her courage, her hope, and her bright and 
persistent cheerfulness may not have aided in i*estoring its 
equilibrium ? They called her the sunbeam in Rome in 
those days of gloom and despondency ; and many after- 
wards confessed to having walked the streets in the hope 
of encountering her and getting a passing word of comfort 
and cheer. Few could understand or feel what those 
depths were in which the expatriated ones lived during 
those days of anxious suspense and doubt. It almost 
seemed as if they suffered more than those who bore the 
burden and heat of the day. They had at least the excite- 
ment of efibrt to sustain them ; but these were called upon 
to face gloomy forebodings, uncertain tidings, exaggerated 
reports, and popular prejudices so strong that even good 
tidings could scarce make their way against them, and 
always came, so long as the result was at all doubtful, in 
a garbled and adulterated shapa To hope was difficult, 



HER UFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 163 

to administer hope to others more difficult still ; but this 
was precisely her forte and her mission in life, and she 
fulfilled it to these deep needs in her own beneficent way, 
not only in Eome, but in England, never failing to lighten 
the darkest hours and the heaviest despondency with some 
gleams of the brightness she found in her own sanguine 
nature. 

On the 17th of July, 1861, she returned to England. 
The following letter of August 8 expresses her feeling on 
the all-absorbing topic of the time : — ; 

*' The news brought by the last steamer has made me so 
sad and so heartsick, that I hardly know how to talk or write 
about it, further than this, that I believe in God's goodness, 
and that even this must work together for good. The recruit- 
ing will go on better. The civilian officers will have got a 
little whipping, and the South a flush in this success which 
will make them a little less careful next time. Meanwhile, 
England and France are not going to do anything about the 
blockade, and are getting so much cotton from other quarters 
which they did not expect, that in less than two years they 
will do without American cotton ; and thus slavery and cotton 
will be dethroned in that hemisphere. This I learn firom a 
very large cotton interest here, who are prchslavery. Again, 
so much rain has fiUlen, that even now they are prognosticat- 
ing short crops. Depend upon it, there wiU be no interference 
with America on the part of England or France. Though the 
war interferes with our merchants to-day, it will be better for 
us in the end, for the country has got to learn to depend on 
herself and develop her own resources. But I am sorry not 
to be at home to see the matter through. God help the weak 
and prosper the right, and send the wrong-doer the punish- 
ment he deserves. I do think the South comes rightfully by 
this success on the principle that the Devil helps his own at 
first. Let those laugh who win. It was natural that all this 
playing at soldiers should result in a shameful defeat; but 
we shall see what will be the end." 



164 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN: 

This was the first battle of Bull Run of which she 
writes, and the allusion " playing at soldiers " bears refer- 
ence to the impression made upon her by her visit to the 
camps around Washington, and to the evidence they af- 
forded, even to her inexperienced eyes, of crudeness and 
mismanagement. 

During this summer she made various excursions, visit- 
ing Buxton, Knowsley, Haddon Hall, Chatsworth, Mat- 
lock, Dovedale, stopping at Izaak Walton's Inn, and finally 
settling down for a time at the Isle of Wight, from which 
'place we have one or two interesting letters. Referring 
to a visit she had just made to London, where, as she says, 
she found " the purest spiritual pleasure," she gives her 
impressions of the Isle of Wight : — 

" Here/' she says, " is the sweetest air material that human 
being ever found. 0, a week of rare delight I In my whole 
English life I have never felt seven such days of golden glory 
as we passed there. We were at a gentleman farmer's in the 
heart of the island, fiir away from everything and everybody 
but ourselves. The weather was divine, — not warm, not cold, 
but such as enabled us to wander in the copses in our morning 
jackets, or sit under the huge old pear-tree on the lawn, in 
front of the dear little seven-gabled house, reading, or up in 
an upper room (fitted up as a writing-room) doing up my cor- 
respondence, with the sweet sounds of birds, and sweet smell 
of wild clematis which wanders up in streaming whiteness over 
the gabled windowa 0, it was a rare week I I only wanted 
you to see how well I was ; how good and clear and true the 
country makes me, when I can throw aside the carking cares 
which almost invariably surround me in a city anywhere." 

Another letter from this chosen locality is full of pith 
and matter. The " clearness and truth " which she feels 
in the midst of nature possesses her spirit and moves her 
pen. She writes words of real wisdom. 



HER LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIES. 165 

" I only wish there were less excitement for you ; yon lack 
repose, and never will be strong until you are shut up in 
' some boundless contiguity of shade,'' where you will see no 
soul but your own, and sit communing with it, &ce to face, 
in unlimited silence. When you bogin to study yourself 
then will you begin to have repose. When you shall find 
that calm interiorly, you will be happier and less troubled 
that you cannot Mong together hold to any fixed principle of 
action.* You know so well what is rights that I do not fear 
these backslidings. Every human being (more or less) must 
have such ; the more generous the nature the more likely to 
have them; but to know them and to tryto cure them, to see 
the flutterings of the conscience and tiy to help it, — these are 
the footholds by which (though you fidl back many and many 
a weary time) you shall mount to the excellence your heart 
covets. There are few entirely perfect characters, few souls so 
white as to bear full sunshine. The wish to be better, the 
strong desire to live higher, purer lives, the determination to 
be worthy in spite of lets and hindrances, the small conquest 
over self to-day, shall lead to the larger to-morrow, until we get 
nearer to our true mosaic of life, — the one spot which we have 
been destined to fill worthily, highly, perfectly, without flaw, 
if we would follow the Creator^s law for us. We cannot commit 
a wrong without its punishment following closely at the heels ; 
we cannot break a law of eternal justice, however ignorantly, 
but throughout the entire universe will there be a jar of dis- 
cord which will so trouble the divine harmonies that in the 
rebound we shall find each man his own hell I The sooner we 
arrive at this knowledge, the sooner we take the certainty to 
our souls, the sooner do our lives begin to assume the square 
allotted to us. To try to be better is to be better; and the 
consciousness that we are ' backsliding,' if our souls are true, 
good, worthy souls, will help us to hold the faster the next time 
to that which is really true and good. God knows how hard 
/ have striven in my time to be good and true and worthy. God 
knows the struggles I have had. God knows how unworthUy I 



166 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN: 

haye kept the promiBes I have made to myself and to him. 
He alone knows the worth. He knows the trialeL He is the 
judge, and he still loves me ! I see and know his love by 
the blessings which surround me : my needs^ my requirements, 
are met ; my struggles with ciroumstances have been many 
and sore ; my life has known its weak places, but I strove to 
come out of them ; I have come out of them. K I am a 
coward, I am compelled to find my safety in fli^t sometimes ; 
but I shall be less a coward day by day as I bring myself face 
to face with my soul, and Qod will help me to see better as I 
' leam to labor and to waU,* Ah, what profound wisdom is 
m that little sentence ! To labor is to love God, and lead ever 
higher lives. To labor is easy compared to tsaiUng. How 
bard it is to wait I 'Patience is all the passion of great 
hearts.'" 

The above letters bear date August 30 and September 
7. On the 12th, Miss Cushman left London for Paris, en 
route to Eome ; on the 21st I find a graphic description 
of a visit to Bosa Bonheur's studio, which had been ar- 
ranged for her by a mutual Mend in London : — 

'^ Did I tell you that I was to go to Rosa Bonheur^s on the 
Saturday, or had I been the day I wrote) K not, you will 
want to know about her. On Friday I received a letter fix>m 
London, telling me that Mademoiselle Rosa would be ready to 
receive me the next day, if I would take the earliest train to 
Fontainebleau. C!onsequently at 10.40 behold me starting fix)m 
the hotel on my way to the ehemin defer: an hour fix>m the 
hotel to the station, an hour and a half on the rail, and we 
arrived at Thomeiy, where we found Mademoiselle Rosa's own 
little sociable (head off) waiting for us, and we were driven by 
a country-boy, like mad, through a beautiful portion of the 
forest ; arriving at a fine old country-house, or ch&teau, which 
she has bought, and added a very fine building and tower to it, 
in which there is the most delightful studio you ever saw in 
your life. She designed it alL Under it she has the stables 



HEB LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 167 

of her animalSy — ponies, cows, sheep, horses, ozen, Scotch 
cattle, m fact everything she can ever want. On arriving 
we mounted the stairs to the studio, and she received us at 
the top of them, dressed in a piqu4 dress of white cross-barred 
with lavender. The dress, I am sure, was a knickerbocker suit 
of this stufi^ over which she had evidently put a skirt (very 
short) of the same for propriety's sake, for she did not seem 
to be over-comfortable in it She received us more graciously 
than I can describe to you. The face is kvdy^ refined, not 
Frenchy and full of intense feeling; bright, dear, truthful 
eyes, an exquisitely cut nose, thin but mobile lips, beautiful 
teeth, little hands, but with a true grip ; altogether the most 
charming great woman I ever saw. She and Mademoiselle 
Micas, her friend, entertained us most agreeably; we saw 
pictures, sketches, drawings, proofs, everything. Her manner 
of showing one of the sketches was characteristic. It was her 
latest production, and drawn on several pieces of paper. It 
represented a flock of sheep huddled together in the moon- 
light, with firelight shining from door and window of the 
shepherd's hut She coolly placed the different sections of 
this study on the floor, stepping over and around them while 
arranging them to her satisfisu^on with her foot Then she in- 
vited us to lunch, and there was brought up in the most simple 
style possible a dish of fruit, with wine, which was placed upon 
a tall studio stool; around it we sat and munched grapes (her 
own grapes) and pears, and talked art, philosophy, and mutual 
admiration for an hour. When we rose to depart she begged 
us to stay to dinner ; but we wisely saw that we had made a 
good impression, and came away. She drove us to the station 
in a sort of cabriolet, with seats running along the sides, and 
drawn by one of those wonderful horses which she paints so 
weU, solid and massive, with a deep groove all down his back. 
On the way she b^ged us to have our photographs taken by 
her own particular man /or her, gave us roses, — 0, such roses I 
— and graciously waited outside the enclosure until our train 
started. The last glimpse we had of her she was holding her 



168 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN: 

hat aloft in salutation^ like a gallant little man. The studio 
she has built is perfectly splendid : oak panelling all over, oak 
floor, beautiful carved furniture, a fireplace large enough for 
six people to sit inside, the sides of it supported by two enor- 
mous bloodhounds modelled by herself and cut in cacu-stone. 
The floor is covered everywhere with skins of wild animals. 
0, what a weak and poor description of a roost charming 
day ! '» 

These flying visits to Paris, each spring and autumn, on 
her vi^ay to and from Eome, gave Miss Cushman a vi^el- 
come opportunity of seeing whatever of new and interest- 
ing the theatres presented. Her enjoyment of the French 
stage was intense and appreciative, and she rarely passed 
through Paris without finding at some one of the numer* 
ous theatres a veritable sensation. They were never 
wanting in novelty ; her love of her profession made her 
catholic in her taste and judgment ; she went everywhere 
and enjoyed alL At the Th^&tre Franqaise was always to 
be found the classical and legitimate drama. Miss Cush- 
man enjoyed the subtleties and even the mannerisms of 
this famous stage ; with her usual zest, she relished its 
finish and its thoroughness, for thoroughness was one of 
her own special attributes; but she thought, as she re- 
turned to it, year after year, that the finish was becoming 
conventional and the thoroughness affected ; the natural- 
ness was so labored as to reach the opposite extreme ; the 
simplicity so simple as to approach absurdity; every 
movement, every situation, so studied, the artificiality so 
marked and apparent, that at first it was like coming into 
another atmosphere and breathing a different air. After 
a while this peculiar impression wore off; one became ac- 
customed to the condensed air, and it was evident that on 
those who lived vrith it and in it, night after night, it pro- 
duced no such effect ; but to eyes and senses accustomed 



H£B LIFE, LETTERS, ANP MEMORIES. 169 

to the natural and spontaneous acting of the Italian school 
it was very striking, and far from true or reaL 

At the minor theatres — less hampered by prestige and 
precedent, less classical, but more true to nature and £etct 
— she found infinite satisfaction. There the inborn French 
necessity for completeness and vraiserriblance found its ex- 
pression less in subtleties of manner than in exactness of 
mise-en-sctee, in perfection of dress, scenery, and accesso- 
ries, making of the historical dramas produced at these 
theatres a succession of the most wonderful and faithful 
picturea 

Among many such attractive entertainments my mem- 
ory recalls one in especial I think it was at the Th^tre 
Porte St. Martin, or it might be the Gymnase. We saw 
a petite drame, of three acts, called Zes heattx Messieurs 
du Bois Bori, adapted from the novel of that name by 
Madame Geoige Sand herself, and acted in by two of the 
greatest favorites of the time, namely, Bocage and Jane 
Ellsler. It was a consummate little jewel, exquisitely put 
upon the stage, exquisitely acted, and complete, with an 
artistic perfection without flaw. This little reminiscence 
may fitly introduce here a letter in which she speaks of 
George Sand and of her feeling towards her. 

" I like you to find in Geoige Sand principUs. She is, in 
truth, the most wonderful preacher, and if she had been an 
American or an Englishwoman with that intellect, her posi- 
tion would have been up to her principles. But I do not feel 
that we hare any right to judge the life of a foreigner by our 
own fixed laws of society. My one sole reason for not know- 
ing or seeking to know her has been my reverence. I cannot 
speak French ; I cannot make myself sufficiently understood 
to intrude upon the life and time of a great woman like Ma- 
dame Dudevant, and I do not find they understand or appre- 
ciate the admiration of foreigners. This used to be my feel- 



170 CHAELOTIE CUSHMAN: 

ing eren with Mn. Browning. I nerer felt that I oould bring 
anything worthy to exchange with her, and I became con- 
scious, which spoiled my ability and her appreciation of me. 
Unless I can utterly forget myself, I am as nothmg ; and this 
is why you care for me, why my own friends love me and 
judge me kindly ; because, when I can talk freely upon the 
subjects which interest and occupy me, without a thought of 
myself or the impression I am making, all is well enough, and 
my life, my character through my life, makes itself felt. To 
George Sand I should bring nothing but my reverence and 
my admiration. She would produce in me the same feeling 
and the same silence she did in Mrs. Browning. Therefore I 
have hesitated to know her. But one of these days we will 
go together to see her and thank her for all that she has been 
to both of us ; for to me she revealed my religion, and she has 
ever been able to produce nothing but good in me.^ 

Among the letters of this period I find many expres- 
sions of Miss Cushman's passionate love for children, 
without some allusion to which this memoir would be 
very incomplete. It was one of the most marked traits 
in her character. She was in sympathy with children, 
and could be a child with them. They loved her and 
gave her their confidence, and she was never so occupied 
that she could not give time and strength to them. Her 
nephew's children were to her like her own. She called 
herself their " big mamma," and she would travel any dis- 
tance to be present at their birth, even on one occasion 
crossing the ocean for that purpose. It was her great joy 
to be the first to receive them in her arms, and she had a 
feeling that this ceremony made them more her own. 

Her first visitors in the morning were always the little 
children, and she had smiles and songs and merry games 
for them, even when at times her sufferings confined her 
to her bed. No amount of trouble was too great to give 



HER LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIES. 171 

them pleasure ; their birthdays were all carefully remem- 
bered, and marked with gifts and tokens of never-failing 
kindness. Her own birthday fite was an occasion of 
great ceremony, and always made much of for the sake 
of the children ; and the little people would be very busy, 
long beforehand, preparing their tokens of love for dear 
" big maroma." Always something done with their own 
hands gave her most pleasure, and, whatever it was, would 
be received with acclamationa This was one of her many 
special charms, — the hearty and kindly reception of what- 
ever was done to give her pleasure. The motive and 
meaning was everything, the mere value nothing; and 
it is most interesting to find, among the gatherings of her 
busy life, these simple tokens, carefully cherished, of the 
friendships, afiTections, and devoted appreciations which 
blessed and glorified her life. 

That her thoughts were also full of deep solicitude for 
the future welfare and proper training of these children, 
her letters bear ample evidenca The maternal and pro- 
tecting element which was so laige in her " found ample 
loom and verge enough," in her loving care for these chil- 
dren, and not only for them, but wherever she could ex- 
tend her beneficent and helping hand. There was a sense 
of protection in her atmosphere which all felt, hardly 
knowing why they felt it ; but drawing them to it, with 
the sure instinct of trust What marvel, then, that the 
little children clung to her and loved her! To these 
children she has left an inheritance which cannot be 
taken away from them. The means which it was her 
pleasure to gather together for them may take wings and 
vanish away ; but the good name, the honorable record, 
no one can take fix)m them, and they have in it a high 
shining beacon to light their steps upward and onward 
in the path she so earnestly desired they might tread. 



172 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN: 

How much she thought of the sacredness of the mater- 
nal trust is expressed with all her own fervor in the fol- 
lowing letter : — 

" All that you say about your finding your own best expres- 
sion in and through the little life which is confided to you is 
good and true, and I am so happy to see how you feel on the 
subject I think a mother who derotes herself to her child, in 
watching its culture and keeping it from baleful influences, is 
educating and cultivating herself at the same time. No artitt 
work is so high, so noble, so grand, so enduring, so important 
for all time, as the making of character in a child. You have 
your own work to do, the largest possible expression. No 
statue, no painting, no acting, can reach it, and it embodies 
each and all the arts. Clay of €rod*s fashioning is given into 
yoiu* hands to mould to perfectness. Is this not something 
grand to think off No matter about yourself, — only make 
yourself worthy of God's sacred trusty and you will be doing 
his work, — and that is all that human beings ought to care to 
live for. Am I right T' 

She left Borne on June 4th of this year, much later 
than usual, but finding no great oppression or discomfort 
from the heat Much misapprehension with regard to the 
Boman climate exists in the minds of many. Long ex- 
perience justifies the assertion that no city in the world 
is more generally healthy than Boma Serious cases of 
illness among visitors are rare, and these can generally be 
easily traced to imprudence and thoughtlessness under new 
conditiona Strangers visiting Borne in ignorance or care- 
lessness of sanitary laws do things which they would never 
have dreamed of doing at home : keep irregular hours, neg- 
lect their food, exhaust themselves with sight-seeing, pass 
from cold atmospheres to hot, and vice versa, without pre- 
caution, remain out late in the night-air, and then are 
surprised at the consequences which naturally ensue. 



H£B UFEj LETTEBS, AND MEMORIES. 173 

Italians are particiilarly careful in these respects. They 
avoid even passing from the sunny to the shaded side of the 
street, and they warn all strangers to beware of the chill 
which comes over the air as the sun sinks below the 
horizon. This chill lasts only for a time ; after an hour 
or so the temperature becomes equalized again, and the 
danger ceasea But in these lovely nights of Italy — the 
sun sinking in a blaze of glory, the mountains and plain 
opal tinted in rose and pale azure, the moon rising glori- 
ously and flooding all things with a light only known in 
Italy — it is difficult to convince any one that danger may 
lurk under all this beauty. But, taking the average, very 
little real harm comes of it. Thirteen years' experience 
surely justifies some confidence. During all these winters, 
in a large family of children, servants, and constant visit- 
ors, no case of serious illness ever occurred. The usual 
ailments incident to humanity in all places visited us, 
and Miss Cushman's health was gradually working out 
the hereditary problem of transmitted evil ; but there was 
no appearance of any ailment peculiar to the soil : on the 
contrary, uncommon freedom from aU forms of ailment 
Cases of fever did occur among our friends and acquaint- 
ances ; but whatever was of purely Boman origin took no 
worse form than that so well known among ourselves as 
chills and fever, — disagreeable enough, no doubt, but not 
dangerous. Where the type ran into typhoid, or assumed 
the malignant character called pemizziosa, it could always 
be traced back to Naples, where it belongs, and where 
there are elements admitted to be of a nature cai)able 
of developing any nudarial tendency. People going ex- 
hausted from Home to Naples, and living there the same 
life of amrest and excitement, were predisposed to imbibe 
any floating mischief; and, returning to Eome with the 
seeds planted and ready to burst forth, Bome took all the 
credit of the result 



174 CHABLOTTE CUSHKAN : 

Persons may go to Borne and live as well and as safely 
as elsewhere, at almost any season, with proper care and 
prudence. Even the summer heat is not as unendurable 
as with us, because it is more steady and continuou& 
Many families who cannot leave Bome in summer remain 
year after year with entire impunity. Some artists remain 
from choice, and say they enjoy immensely the calm, the 
rest, the opportunity for steady work, which they can 
never get in the gay Roman winter. The early autumn, 
when the regular rainy season sets in, is perhaps the least 
healthy period of the year; but is not that the same 
everywhere ? Decaying vegetation saturated with moist- 
ure is a factor for harm in most places. 

The real harm which lies in the Boman climate is of a 
different sort A long residence in Bome is apt to tell 
upon the nerves : the blood grows thin, the general tone 
is lowered and this is the meaning of the phrase dolcefar 
niente. The climate produces the necessity for this " sweet 
idleness," and those who will not yield to it, like our 
country-people, who cany their own nervous, restless 
energies with them wherever they go, are forced at last 
to submit to the genus loci by impaired nerves and ex- 
hausted vitality. 

These few words may be of use to many who, in con- 
templating a visit to Bome, are beset with fears and 
doubts on these subjects. Let them be set at rest. Bome 
is probably the best-drained, the best-watered city in the 
civilized world, and since the Italian occupation is rapidly 
becoming equally well built and comfortable. 

Miss Cushman speaks of Bome and the Boman climate 
in this wise : — 

" The worst feature of living in Bome is the being forced 
to go away for the summer; and next, or perhaps first, is the 
constant strain upon the nerves, through the social changes 



HER LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 175 

of each year. There is no resident English or American 
society here, and every season brings fresh people to learn to 
know, and takes away those whom you have learned to know 
and to like ; and thus every year is a breaking of fresh ground. 
When one lives in Boston, or St. Louis, or London, you have 
a sort of social foundation to which you belong, and upon 
which you every year build, either some fiintastic summer- 
house of a pretty, gay, enthusiastic foreigner, or a good solid 
family room of an old English country gentleman and lady, 
whom you meet at some friend's house, and who thereby come 
indorsed to you with substantial security. Here you are 
without a foundation, but your own house and home and 
its inmates, and every year you are a prey to the adventurer 
who comes to speculate, the needy annuitant who comes to 
live cheap, or the ambitious parents who come to marry their 
daughters ; the callow parson, who comes to find a wife with 
a little money ; the small, very small heiress, who comes to 
fish for a husband ; the ignorant and rich American jobber, 
who comes to play the patron to art, and buy bad copies and 
still worse originals ; and the vulgar and pretentious wives and 
daughters of such, who fiJl victims to hungry Italians in 
search of dances, suppers, and champagne. And such is this 
Roman mosaic, which is made up winter after winter in the 
same design, only difiering each year in the value of the ma- 
terial out of which it is made. But this is giving you only 
the dark side ; it has its bright one, and I would rather live in 
Home than anywhere else in the world for the winter months, 
although I contend that the atmosphere is nervous and ener- 
vating, and that constitutions living here, and indulging in 
all the social enjoyments, are sooner sapped than elsewhere. 
Still, the sunshine is so bright, the cold weather lasts such a 
short time, the skies are so clear, the spring so early, the 
ability to go out every day in the winter at some hour in an 
open carriage so pleasant ; the rides are so enticing, the 
country so beautiful to ride over, the hills so lovely to look 
upon under almost every change and shade of weather, the 



176 CHAKLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

Mrs. Gnmdies so scarce, the artist society (of the best) so nice, 
that it is hard to choose or find any other place so attractive." 

I extract from a letter of March 16, 1862, Miss Gush- 
man's expressions of feeling in reference to the Northern 
successes, the news of which were now coining over the 
ocean. 

'' I can hardly describe to you the effect upon us of the 
political news. It only shows us how our nerves have been 
strained to the utmost, how faith has been tested to the 
verge of infidelity 1 It has been so hard amid the apparent 
successes on the other side, the defection, the weakness of 
men on our side, the willingness of even the best to take 
advantage of the needs of the government, the ridicule of 
sympathizers with the South on this side, the abuse of the 
£nglish journals, and the utter impossibility of beating into 
the heads of individual English that there could be no rigkt 
in the seceding party, — all has been so hard, and we have 
fought so valiantly for our faith, have so tired and tried our- 
selves in talking and showing our belief, that when the news 
came day after day of our successes, and at last your letter, 
I could not read the account aloud, and tears, — hot but re- 
freshing tears of joy fell copiously upon the page. O, I am 
too thankful ; and I am too anxious to come home ! Never in 
my life have I felt any bondage so hard as this which would 
make it wrong for me to go to America this summer ; my 
soul aches to get to the States, to see all those who have 
worked out this noble, grand end ! For, as I saw the end 
through the clouds (for which, by the by, I was ridiculed by 
some, who wittily remarked that I might see farther than 
most people, living nearer where the sun rose, or words to that 
effect), so must I be able to see it clearer now. But I have 
faith that all things which are done upon earnest conviction are 
and wiU he for the best, and so my coming abroad was right ; 
but I cannot help my yearnings, and I do so long to come to 
America this summer. I never cared half so much for America 



HEB LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 177 

before ; but I feel that now I love it dearly, and want to see 
it and to live in it." 

On her journey to Borne in the autumn of this year 
Miss Cushmau stopped for a day at Spezzia, and was 
entertained by Mrs. Somerville, who was living there 
then. Of this visit she speaks in one of her letters. 

'' We passed the day at Spezzia, and in the evening went to 
take tea with that most learned astronomer and kindest, 
most genial of ladies, Mrs. Somerville, who now, at the age of 
eighty-two, is writing a book upon the 'forces.' I saw her 
write her name under a carte de vmte with the greatest calm 
and precision, in a hand without tremor, like copperplate. 
Mary Somerville is one of the wonders of our age, and I am 
most glad to have seen her." 

In an earlier part of this memoir some allusion has been 
made to Miss Oushman's opinions on religious subjects, to 
her large tolerance, her unaffected piety, and her respect 
for all sincere conviction under whatever form or creed 
she found it Among her letters of 1862, I find one 
which gives her own views on the subject in her own 
* words. It is written from Eoma 

« To-morrow will be the last day of the year ! I am glad 
when a winter is over, though sad to think I am so much nearer 
to the end. The days fly by so rapidly ; the Saturdays when 
I must post come round so soon ! I stand sometimes appalled 
at the thought of how my life is flying away, and how soon will 
come the end to all of this probation, and of how little I have 
done or am doing to deserve all the blessings by which I am 
surrounded. But that God is perfect, and that my love for 
him is without fear, I should be troubled in the thought that 
I am not doing all I should, in this sphere, to make myself 
worthy of happiness in the next. Do you quite believe in 
angels with feather wings and flowing draperies, and perfect 



178 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN: 

beauty, and a heaven in the clouds? — or do you believe that 
man, a little lower than the angels, animated by the 'heat 
spark,' wears out his physical in the improvement of his 
moral, and that this ' heat spark ' then returns to the origi- 
nal centre of all, to be again given out, through its own puri- 
fication, helping thus to leaven the whole mass, and so doing 
God's work 1 — or what do you believe 1 You say you * feel 
the need of a saviour ' 1 Do you think Christ more your sav- 
iour, except that he has been the founder of a creed, which 
has been a sign and symbol for so many who needed a sign and 
symbol 1 Do you believe that God was more the father of 
Christ than he is of you ? Do you need any mediator between 
you and your Father 1 Can the Saviour Christ help you more 
than the Saviour Conscience ? I don't believe in Atheism ; so 
you see one may doubt even disbelief; but I should be glad 
to know what your creed is, if you put it into any form. 
Creeds invented by man may and do find echoes, as we find 
around us those who can give us better counsel than we can 
find for ourselves in ordinaiy matters ; how much more, then, 
in those which are purely spiritual But cruds are creeds^ 
after all ; and whether propounded by Jesus, or any other of 
womum bom, they are simply scaffoldings which surround the 
temple, and by which different thinkers mount to their dis- 
tinct and separate entrances. I find it possible to go to any 
church and find Grod! A good and earnest man, though a 
sdf-elected priest, who leads a pure and noble life, who works 
for the good of others rather than his own gratification, who 
leads me to think higher and better things, is my saviour; 
all great, good, noble, high aspirations save me. Vainglory 
in myself or my doings, self-assertion, pride, are often but 
the effects of education ; and though they may be and are the 
clogs of flesh around me, they cannot prevent me from seeing 
God any and every where, and they cannot prevent me from 
being mved^ if I will I O, this question is so difficult, so hard ; 
and yet, if we can prove by our lives that we love God in our 
neighbor, it is so easy I We are asked by all believers to love 



HEB LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIES. 179 

God, and this is alL If we love, we cannot wound ! God is 
perfect ; we cannot hurt him as we do one another, for he sees 
in, and around, and through, and the motive is the hurt I 
helieve that some of the purest lives are among those whom 
we call Deists, — who believe in God, but not in revealed re- 
ligion. No one can doubt a cause^ and there must have been 
ti first causey and whether we call it €rod, or nature, or law of the 
universe, it amounts to the same thing ; and, trust me, every 
human being believes in a God. For me, I believe in all things 
good coming from God, in all forms, in all ways ; my faith is 
firm in him and his love. I believe in instincts marvellously. 
I doubt any power to take from me the love of God, and I 
would guard particularly against the evil effects of injudicious 
or careless education for myself or others. Original sin is the 
excess, or weakness, or folly, of parents, which entails upon us 
evils which we have to combat, and struggle harder in conse- 
quence of; hence the necessity of each human being striving 
to lead a pure life, a life of unselfishness, a life of devotion 
to — well — domg everything a human being can do for the 
largest good of alL 

'' A devotion which drives one to a nunnery, to a life of 
selfHseclusion, of prayer actual, and nothing else, does not seem 
to me devotion such as God needs and wants ; and yet it may 
be that this example is also necessary in God's world, and each 
man or woman may be doing his work 1 But I must not write 
on such topica I am not sufficiently clear in my expression 
to help anybody, and I only intended at first to reply to the 
last sentence of your letter, in which you spoke of ' your need 
of a Saviour,' and of your going to such or such a church. 
Well, it matters very little. All thinking human beings 
(women especially) have to pass through all these thinkings. 
The only thing to be guarded against is the narrowing influ- 
ence of Mrs. Grundy. Think in, but be sure also to think o^. 
Many young people are apt to jump into one of these enclos- 
ures, and then, for fear, are afraid to jump or crawl out, — not 
from fear of God, but fear of the humans around them ! Don't 
suffer yourself to be narrowed in your thinkings. If you do. 



180 CHABLOTTE CX7SHMAN : 

it is because of some part of your mind not having been 
healthily ezeroised, and thus the restraint day by day will 
cramp you more. I don't like too much this pride of intel- 
lect, any more than I do the idea of any and eyery man being 
able to be a priest simply because he chooses that as his voca- 
tion. There are many priests who never see churches, as 
there are many devils within the fold ! Did yon ever read 
very thinkingly '* Spiridion " (Greoige Sand)) She was in 
this coil when she wrote it, and, being greatly imaginative, of 
course the book is very wide of the mark for many ; but it is 
possible to get something from it in spite of its mysticism. 

I go to the English Church here, because I think it right to 
go somewhere, and I cannot understand Italian well enough 
to follow their preaching, though the earnestness and intensity 
and eloquence of the priests often stirs me to my soul, in spite 
of the trammels of language. Therefore I go to the English 
Church, and I observe their observances, because I think it is 
unkind, by any resistance on my part when I am among them, 
to raise doubts or questions or remarks when it is unnecessary 
and productive of no good result. But their scafifolding is no 
more for me, and does not influence me any more, than that 
of the Catholic or the Presbyterian. God saw the creatures 
he created ; he knew their capabilities ; he will judge us each 
by our light. The child shut away from light is not answer- 
able for its blindness. Education is the influences around our 
childhood, not merely books and school, but example, and we 
are only responsible according to Qur light. But we must not 
wilfully shut our eyes when we can be led into the light, which 
is to be tempered to our abilities ; only don't condemn others 
because they do not see as we do, and we are not able to see 
with their eyes. Every human being who goes to sleep awakes 
believing in God, whatever he may call it. There are more 
good Deists in the world than show themselves, and there is 
more pride than one wishes to see ; but education is to blame, 
not instinct, and so we have to go so fiEu* back to find the origi- 
nal plague-spot, that one is apt to sit down by the wayside in 
terror at the journey I " 



CHAPTEB IX. 

" Tb« h«wt tud hind both opoQ iDd both fne, 
For what he hu he giTu, what thinka ha (howt." 

TtvUiu eu^tt Orttiida. 
" He hath a tear for pity. 
And a hand, open m day, tor meltliig charity." 
lave't L^ar Iiott. 

o&e of the letters of this period (1861) we find 
the following reference to her cardinal point of 
faith, namely, that real needs are sooner or later' 
met: — 

" What you say of ' nttdi being mtt ' its curiouB. Froni mj 
very earliest days of reasoning, which b^an with me when I 
b^an to suffer, I haTO felt that thought grow and expand in 
my Boul until it is the foundation of my oreed, my religion. 
Upon that my Etith, which nothing oould shake, is built. If 
I have not at some time or other said this to you (and I feet 
sure I have), and it has entered your mind and taken root 
without your having noted the day and the hour, ao that it 
seems to you a natural growth, and so is more valuable to you 
(aa all beet things come from within), 1 wonder much, for it 
seems to have been the one natural thing I should say to you 
to justify my actions. On the 8th of Februaiy I wrote a long 
letter to Mrs. Carlyle, which had this for its text ; < There 
never yet oame a real need to a nation or an individual which 
was not in due time met.' This was afovpos to something 
flattering she had sud about ' my rnminff to her at the right 



182 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

moimeni? And it would almost seem that the thought uttered 
then by me had reached and passed her, and gone on to you 
for you to send it back to me. 'Bread upon the waters,' 
with ' Eucharistic meanings.' Believe me, it is the truest phi- 
losophy and faith to live by. It does not prevent us working 
for ourselves to the attainment of our needs, because we can- 
not know what we can do with or without until we have tried. 
This ' instinct striving because its nature is to strive ' is our 
surety of the presence of God in our souls, ever drawing 
towards its centre. Himself, in the completion of its r61e, — if I 
may use such a term, — and only the weak and poor sink down 
by the way. The brave and rich nature strives for the accom- 
plishment of what it deems its needs, and thus breaks down 
barriers for the light of faith to enter. This faith, being ' all 
that we truly need^ we shall ha.vt^ All that is worth having 
must be striven for ; in the strife we often find joys by the 
wayside undreamed of, which sometimes put away the fancied 
need, and one blesses God for the better wisdom and goodness, 
and gains a sublimer faith. Are you able to understand me, 
or am I writing in a wild way which you cannot follow 1 One 
of these days we will compare notes as to the springing and 
growth of this idea in our souls. But, believe me, it is a good 
faith to live and die by, if needs must be to die." 

One more extract closes the correspondence of this 
year ; it has reference to her deep disappointment in the 
loss of her nephew's first child, and goes back into the 
troubles and griefs of her own early lifa 

" There was a time," she writes, " in my life of girlhood, 
when I thought I had been called upon to bear the very 
hardest thing that can come to a woman. A very short time 
served to show me, in the harder battle of life which was 
before me, that this had been but a spring storm, which was 
simply to help me to a clearer, better, richer, and more pro- 
ductive summer. If I had been spared this early trial, I 
should never have been so earnest and faithful in my art; 



HER LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 183 

I should have still been casting about for the ' counterpart,' 
and not given my entire %df to mj work, wherein and alone 
I have reached any excellence I have ever attained, and through 
which alone I have received my reward. God helped me in 
my art isolation, and rewarded me for recognizing him and 
helping myself. This passed on; and this happened at a period 
in my life when most women (or children, rather) are looking 
to but one end in life, — an end no doubt wisest and best 
for the largest number, but which would not have been wisest 
and best for my work, and so for God's work ; for I know he 
does not fail to m^ me his work to do, and helps me to do it, 
and helps others to help mt, (Do you see this tracing back, 
and then forward, to an eternity of good, and do you see how 
better and better one can become in recognizing one's self as a 
minister of the Almighty to foithfully cairy out our part of 
his great plan according to our strength and ability?) 0, 
believe we cannot live one moment for ourselves, one moment 
of selfish repining, and not be failing him at that moment, 
hiding the God-spark in us, letting the flesh conquer the 
spirit, the evil dominate the good. 

Then after this first spring storm and hurricane of young 
disappointment came a lull, diuing which I actively pursued 
what became a passion, — my art. Then I lost my younger 
brother, upon whom I had begun to build most hopefully, as 
I had reason. He was by far the cleverest of my mother^s 
children. He had been bom into greater poverty than the 
others; he received his young impressions through a difier- 
ent atmosphere ; he was keener, more artistic, more impulsive, 
more generous, more full of genius. I lost him by a cruel 
accident, and again the world seemed to Uquefy beneath my 
feet, and the waters went over my souL It became necessary 
that I should suffer hodily to cure my heart-bleed. I placed 
myself professionally where I found and knew all my mortifi- 
cations in my profession, which seemed for the time to strew 
ashes over the loss of my child-brother (for he was my child, 
and loved me best in all the world), thus conquering my art, 



184 CHABLOTTE OUSHICAK : 

which, God knows, has never failed me, — never failed to 
bring me rich reward, — never fsuled to bring me comfort 
I conquered my grief and myself Labor saved me then and 
always, and so I proved the eternal goodness of God. I 
digress too much ; but you will see how, in looking back to my 
own early disappointments, I can recognize all the good which 
came out of them, and can ask you to lay away all repinings 
with our darling, and hope (as we must) in God's wisdom and 
goodness, and ask him to help us to a clearer vision and truer 
knowledge of his dealings with us; to teach us to believe 
that we are lifted up to him better through our losses than 
our gains. May it not be that heaven u nearer, the passage 
from earth less hard, and life less seductive to us, in conse- 
quence of the painless passing of this cherub to its true home, 
lent us but for a moment, to show how pure must be our lives 
to fit us for such companionship % And thus, although in one 
sense it would be well for us to put away the sadness of this 
thought if it would be likely to enervate us, in another sense, 
if we consider it rightly, if we look upon it worthily, we have 
an angel in God*s hoiise to help us to higher and purer think- 
ings, to nobler aspirations, to more sublime sacrifices than we 
have ever known before." 

The winter of 1862 - 63 was not marked by any special 
event The Eoman winters passed in the usual routine 
of social life, only each year more full and active and 
busy. The circle of friendships widened and broadened 
and deepened. Where there was a constant giving out 
of good-will and kindness, the return was naturally " full 
measure, filled up, pressed down, and running over" ; and 
the effort necessary to meet this drain upon her strength 
and energy, great as these were, overtaxed her nerves more 
than she was aware of at the time, though those nearest 
to her saw it and felt it, and often remonstrated against 
it earnestly. It seemed, therefore, well when she decided, 
toward the middle of the vrinter, to make another journey 



HER LITE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIES. 185 

to America, one of her chief reasons, if not the chief one, 
being her desire to act for the benefit of the Sanitary 
Commission. Her heart and thoughts were with the 
country in its hour of trial, and as with her, strength, 
will, energy, all worked with the impulse of the heart 
in straightforward endeavor, she suffered no obstacle to 
stand between her and her determination to do what- 
ever lay in her own special power to aid in the sacred 
cause. 

It was no light thing to do ; there were many lets and 
hindrances in the way, — the feelings and the needs of 
many to be consulted, thousands of miles to be traversed, 
and much labor and weariness of spirit to be encountered. 
But she was one of those spirits bom to act, and not to 
be acted upon ; when once firmly persuaded that a cer- 
tain course was to be pursued, she never looked back, 
but went steadily, persistently on, meeting and bafiSing 
obstacles, and conquering success by going bravely forth 
to meet it 

In pursuance of this object she sailed for America on 
June 6th, and acted for the Sanitaiy Fund on the 12th 
of September at Philadelphia, on the 25th in Boston, and 
on the 27th of October in New York, as well as in Wash- 
ington and Baltimore. Her own statement of the result 
of her labors is contained in the following letter : — 

"New York, October 81, 1868. 

■ 

" Dear Dr. Bellows : I have at last received the accounts 
and ' returns ' from the benefit given by me at the Academy 
of Music, New York, on the 27th instant I have pleasure 
in enclosing to you a check for the proceeds, after deducting 
expenses for printing, advertisements, eta, according to en- 
closed memoranda. The stockholders of the Academy, in the 
most generous manner returned to me $150, making the rent 
on that occasion 6nly $100. I beg to refer you to the en- 



186 CHAfiLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

closed note from Dr. J. F. Gray, accompanied by a check for 
$50. A little more courage on my part might have increased 
this sum considerably ; but I am yeiy thankful to the public 
for enabling me to make even this amount of ofifering to your 
noble charity. 

" Enclosed please find acknowledgments frt>m the agents of 
your Commission in Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington. 

" I take the liberty of recapitulating these sums to you, the 
President of the Commission, that I may recall to your mind 
the conyersation I had with you expressive of the desire that 
you should spare a portion of this amount to the Western 
Sanitary Commission, from whose agents I have received very 
touching appeals. My engagements in the East have pre- 
vented me from visiting Chicago and St. Louis, as I fiilly in- 
tended doing, where I should have asked frx)m their individual 
populations the same help for their cause which the Eastern 
cities have given me for yours. Will you let my inability to 
go there plead for them if you can spare anything 1 I know 
no distinction of North, East, South, or West ; it is all my 
country, and where there is most need, there do I wish the 
proceeds of my labor to be given. No one knows so well as 
you where there is most need ; to you, therefore, I commit 
my offering, and with every good wish for your success in 

this and all things, 

" I am very truly yours, 

"Charlotte Cushman." 
Dr. Bellows issued in return the following card : — 

"New York, November 7, 1863. 
" The President of the United States Sanitary Commission 
feels it to be a great pleasure to call universal attention to 
the patriotic munificence of our distinguished countrywoman, 
Miss Charlotte Cushman, who, from the vessel in which she 
leaves our shores, modestly sends him the full account of her 
splendid donations to the sick and wounded through the United 
States Sanitaiy Commission. They are as follows : — 



HER LIFE, LETTEBS, AKD MEMORIES. 187 

Benefit at Academy of Muaic, FhOadelpliia, September 12 . $ 1,814.27 
Benefit at Academy of Music, Boston, September 26 . . 2,020.75 
Benefit at Grover's Theatre, Washington, October 17 . . 1,800.00 
Benefit at Ford's Theatre, Baltimore, October 19 [this small re- 
ceipt is attributable to the negligence and carelessness of 

the manager. 0. C] 860.00 

Benefit at Academy of Music, New York, October 22 . . 2,772.27 

Total $8,267.29 

'* This magnificent product of the genius of Miss Cushman, 
devoted to the relief of our sufiering soldiers, is only the most 
striking exemplification yet made of woman's power and will 
to do her full part in the national struggle. Inspired with 
love and pity, American women have been, by their labors 
and sympathies, a real part of the army, and their ranks, un- 
der leaders like Miss Cushman, will not break while their sons, 
brothers, and husbands are faithful in the field. 

" It is due to Miss Charlotte Cushman to say that this ex- 
traordinary gift of money, so magically evoked by her spell, is 
but the least part of the service which, ever since the war be- 
gan, she has been rendering our cause in Europe. Her ear- 
nest faith in the darkest hours, her prophetic confidence in 
our success, her eloquent patriotism in all presences, have been 
potent influences abrocul, and deserve and command the grati- 
tude of the whole nation. 

" In compliment to the noble woman whose generous gift I 
here publicly acknowledge, the Commission has ordered the 
whole amount to be expended through our home branches in 
those cities where the several sums were contributed, that this 
money may continue as long as possible to be sanctified by 
the touch only of women's hands. It will thus reach our sol- 
diers in battle-fields and hospitals charged with the blessings, 
prayers, and tears of American womanhood. 

"Henry W. Bellows, 
" Prendent United States Sanitary Commission" 

After Miss Cushman's return to Eome, in the winter of 
the follovmig year, she was honored by the presentation 



188 CHAELOTTE CUSHMAK : 

of a large and superb album, containing in all about fifty 
paintings in oil and water colors, which were contributed 
by some of the leading artists of New York, Boston, and 
Philadelphia to the great Central Fair held in the latter 
city for the benefit of the Sanitary Commission. The 
paintings were contributed with the understanding that 
the album should be subscribed for and presented to 
Miss Cushman by fidends and citizens of those cities in 
which she had acted for the cause. The book is elegantly 
bound, and is a valuable and much-prized record of those 
stirring times ; with it came three smaller volumes, each 
containing the names of the subscribers to this compli- 
ment in the several cities. 

In the course of this season Miss Cushman read the 
ode on the occasion of the inauguration of the great 
organ in the Music Hall, Bostoa A friend writes of 
this event: "I never shall forget how beautiful she 
looked that night, and how the organ and everything else 
seemed small beside her, as she stood on the platform, so 
simple and so grand in her black silk dress, which she 
was so fond of" 

These little reminiscences and enthusiasms of friend- 
ship are very precious; they give the absolute realities 
more than anything else: the mind is impressed; the 
heart awakened; emotion, which is the grand magnetic 
element whereby the real and ideal are fused together and 
made one, springs up and recognizes for the time what- 
ever of best and truest and holiest is before it; spirit 
touches spirit, and a mutual and joyous recognition takes 
place. So there is no higher joy than the heartfelt appre- 
ciation and love which Carlyle has immortalized under 
the name of " hero-worship," and no lower plane than a 
systematic and cynical depreciation of its God-given truth 
and beauty. Miss Cushman lived and wrought through 



HER LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMOBIEa 189 

this power, preserving a marvellous equilibrium of the 
real and ideal in herself, and always able through emotion 
to establish that higher relation with the hearts and souls 
of others which is the highest gift of human conscious- 
ness. Whatever may seem extreme or exaggerated in 
this voliune is due to the writer's high appreciation of 
this great gift, and her belief that it is the keynote to a 
character which could not be fully illustrated without it 

On November 3d she sailed again for Liverpool, and on 
the 11th of December started for Bome, arriving there on 
the 22d. Some few letters give expression to her think- 
ings and doings. In one she alludes to the Eoman ques- 
tion, then b^inning to occupy all minds. Writing to her 
friend. Miss Fanny Seward, she speaks of the hurry and 
rush of her life in Bome, and the difficulty she finds in 
doing justice to her friends at a distance, the pressure near 
at hand being so great 

'* If only the day could be an hour or two longer ! But 
Time the healer (Time the killer) flies faster here in Rome 
than anywhere else in the world, I believe, or else it is that 
the social duties and occupations press more closely than else- 
where, and an engagement or claim upon our time treads more 
nearly upon the heels of another than in any other city they 
are allowed to do. Here, the population in winter being 
mostly a floating one, everybody has to compress a great deal 
of ^doing and being into a shorter space. The (mght to do rules 
supreme. As I once heard an exhausted tourist exclaim lan- 
guidly, when told she really ought to see this and that and 
the other object of attraction, — ' 0, I have ought to'd until 
I am fairly worn out and cannot do it any more ! ' 

" Something, I know not what, prevents the pleasure and 
duty which is miles away from being performed as promptly 
as those which hold you by the button. I don't know whether 
I have ever told you that here in Rome there are or seem to 



190 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

be strange differences in the value of things. For instance, 
the pound weight, instead of being sixteen oimces, is only 
twelve ; the foot measure, instead of being twelve inches, is 
only nine ; and I think, in some way, this must apply to time 
as well, so that the hour, instead of being sixty minutes long, 
is only forty-five I And thus I try to explain to myself why I 
can never bring as much to pass in Rome as in any other city. 
My letters to you, dear, seem always to consist of one long 
preface and no matter. But this arises from my disinclination 
to allow you to think that I am neglectful of your sweet let- 
ters, which are veiy grateful to me and deserve more prompt 
response. I will be better, more worthy of your affection and 
its expression, now that the whirl and hurry of the winter is 
over. For with Easter comes the flitting of the winter birds, 
when everybody who is not Roman or an artist migrates else- 
where, and we who belong to the working tribes are able to 
settle down to a quiet which is never known in the winter 
months of the Eternal City. None but artists are seen about 
the streets, and those only in the mornings and evenings ; for 
the heat becomes too great to encounter in midday, and the 
streets look like those of a d^erted town. Grass grows be- 
tween the stones, and peace reigns calmer than even Christ's 
vicar on ewrth, the Pope himself, — who, by the way, is the 
knost pugnacious and contumacious old gentleman (not to 
speak irreverently, to offend the eyes and ears of the powers 
that be, if they chance to overhaul my letter at the post- 
office before it leaves), and who seems disposed to fight all 
creation, and even believes that his militant prayers against 
Russia, for her behavior in Poland, has brought down from 
Heaven this terrible pestilence which has been raging there. 
They make the most of this ' outward and visible sign,' but 
say nothing of their having been compelled by the pressure 
from without to communicate with King Victor Emmanuel con- 
cerning the bishoprics in Romagna^ which we look upon as 
the entering wedge and wait the result with what patience 
we may ! How can they expect of a Pope to be ^Eillible, or to 



H£B LIFE, LETTEBS, AlO) MEMOBIES. 191 

admit of the possibility of being so 1 And yet France goes on 
quietly begging him to resign the temporal power, which, by 
all the laws of Catholicism, he cannot do. Just as reasonable 
would it be to expect Mr. Lincoln to consent to a breaking up 
of the Union, which he had, on taking office, sworn to protect 
and hold intact. Only physical force can make reason among 
nations, which must be feared to be respected. The Roman 
question can only be solved by making Home a free city, like 
Hamburg. There cannot be two kings of Brentford, nor King 
Victor and King Pope Pius in Rome. 

" If it is not possible to do this, the question is no nearer 
solution to-day than since Italy was first land. And this is 
my political conclusion with regard to the country where I 
make my winter home. With regard to my own dearly beloved 
land, of which I am so proud that my heart swells and my 
eyes brim over as I think to-day of her might, her nugesty, 
and the power of her long-sufiering, her abiding patience, her 
unequalled unanimity, her resolute prudence, her inability to 
recognize bondage and freedom in our constitution, and her 
stalwart strength in forcing that which she could not obtain 
by reasoning ! Four years and a half ago I saw through your 
father's eyes and heard through his voice that my faith would 
and must be satisfied, so that I have not since then beaten 
about to convince the unbelieving and the reluctant to be- 
lieve, but have looked my faith. To-day my pride, my faith, 
my love of country is blessed and satisfied in the news that 
has flashed to us, that ' the army of Lee has capitulated I ' 
that we are and must be one sole, undivided — not common, 
but uncommon — country ; great, glorious, free ; henceforth an 
honor and a power among nations, a sign and a symbol to the 
downtrodden peoples, and a terror to evil-doers upon earth I 

" On Monday, the 24th, I received your most welcome let- 
ter of the 4th of April, giving me a graphic description of all 
you had been doing on those wonderful days. 0, 1 would have 
given so much to have been there ! Never have I so heart- 
ached for home ; and yet, if I had been at home, I should have 



192 CHABLOTIE CUBHMAK: 

felt that I wanted to huiiy on to Washington to see yonr 
father and thank him with my heart and with my hands for 
all his good works. The world will never know half how your 
father has been the sustaining power in the government ; but 
/ know it, and my soul is deeply gratefuL I had received a 
telegram from Paris telling me of the occupation of Richmond, 
etc., for I had kept myself informed upon all these matters 
before any one in Rome, and it enabled me to give comfort 
and joy on so many occasions. The telegrams of Sunday 
night, from New York, 11th, brought us news of Lee's surren- 
der, but the papers the next morning gave details of the news 
of your flEtther's accident, which carried terror to my soul for 
him and sadness for you in your great anxiety.'' 

Writing from Borne, in January of this year, to her 
dearly beloved niece, Mr& K C. Cushman. She says : — 

** Another six days' work is done^ 
Another [Friday] is begun 

Return, my soid, eigoy the rest,*' etc (see Dr. Watts). 
Communing with a daughter blest (G. C.) 

might carry out the verse and rhyme; but 'blest' does not 
quite signify what I would convey. * Bles$ed daughter,' I mean, 
for are you not my daughter, and am I not blessed in having 
such an onel A whole week has passed, and again I am at 
my writing-table, talking by ' word of pen' to my darlings 
over the sea, the dear ones who occupy so much of my 
thoughts and my aflTections. How are they 1 What are they 
doing, thinking, feelingi Do they love me best in the worlds Do 
they want me as I want them 1 Do they think they have the 
best 'mum,' as I think I have the best children, in the world 1 
I hope so, else there is love lost between us ; and yet, we are 
not cammm people, we have a specialty for adhering, and once 
loving, we love always. Is it not so 1 I can answer for one, 
and you for two others, and so all is well ; and my conclusion 
is that we are very happy people, and having only one laige 
cause for disquiet, namely, separation. We should try to be as 
content as circumstances will let us be, findmg our oompensa- 



H£B LIFE, LKTTEBS, AND MEMORIES. 193 

tion in the large love and faith which we have in each other. 
Few people are so blessed in their relations, few people have 
so many causes and reasons for being thankfuL 

'* What have I been doing since I wrote to you ) Just the 
same routine of work, visits, etc. On Sunday I did not go to 
church, but stayed at home to read the three cantos of Long- 
fellow's 'Dante,' in the January number of the 'Atlantic' 
How beautiful they are ! How thoroughly they impress you as 
being faithful ! There is a simple grandeur in the language 
and ideas which must be of Dante. This seems to me one of 
Longfellow's special gifts, to render the thoughts of poets from 
one language to another. The accomplished scholar thinks in 
all languages, and thus we have a translation of Dante's 'Para- 
diso,' which I don't believe has ever been equalled. I am so 
thankful for this, not reading it in the original Ton would 
say, then, how can you know that this is the best in the world 1 
I can only answer, my iruHncU tell me that this is so; there 
is a something in these words which carry me to the height 
upon which I conceive Dante to be placed, and no other trans- 
lation I ever saw has had the power to do this. Things at 
home seem to be working together for good. I find the Peace 
Democrats talking of sending commissioners to Richmond to 
talk of terms. The administration Speaker elected, all things 
seem easy, and the only way the peace men have been allowed 
any share of the spoils is by changing their names to ' Con- 
servative War Democrats.' I don't know how there can be 
such a combination as conservative war Democrats : it is either 
peace or war, and no half-way stage of action. But politics 
does not mean reason, or sense, or justice, or equity, or law, 
but only policy* 

•* * Well, aunty, and what did you do on Monday f Went 
for a ride. On Tuesday, we had a grand Bachelors' ball at the 
Braschi, to which your aunty went in canonicals, namely, white 
silk dress trimmed with black lace flounces. I had a hair- 
dresser, and looked stimnmg. It was very brilliant. Your 
aunty was a veiy merry bachelor. On Wednesday, a whist- 



194 CHABLOTTE CUSHBIAX: 

party at PalazEO BarberinL On Thursda;, another ride cm 
horseback. Last night, a grand ball at Lady Stafford's. To- 
day I have been making callsy and hunting up apartments for 
friends. .... 

'* Show me a man's intimates, and I will tell you what that 
man is, if I never saw him. There are some men who would 
rather reign in hell than serve in heaven ; but gradually these 
men sink in the social scale, and their true value appears. I 
bless my mother for one element in my nature, or rather my 
grandmother, — ambition, I cannot endure the society of 
people who are beneath me in character or ability. I ha^e to 
have satellites of an inferior calibre." 

In the spring of this year Miss Coshman made an ex- 
cursion to Naples with a party of friends, for whom she 
assumed the r61es of guide, courier, and "general utility 
business" with her wonted kindly zeal and inborn ca- 
pacity. From a letter written at Sorrento, under date, 
April 25, 1 select the following : — 

''My last hurried letter from Naples on the 18th will have 
prepared you for my being found hereabouts ; but do not be 
surprised if my letter is short and unsatisfactory. The shut- 
ting myself up to write when in Home, and the being com- 
pelled to do so, to guard myself from interruption, has made 
me rather dependent upon solitude for ability to write at alL 
Therefore, when sitting in company with four other ladies, 
each of them occupied in different ways, some reading up 
about the local matters, which make Sorrento a pleasant 
resting-place, and occasionally thinking aloud the information 
thus gained, as, for instance, '0, they have honey here!' 
another replies, 'Have they honey V another sits cracking 
hempseed to feed a poor little quail, snatched from an un- 
timely fate (in the shape of a boy) yesterday ; another reads 
the last ' Atlantic Monthly,' and ezdaims, ' How odd these 
Americans are ! what strange galvanic stories they write ! ' 
another, who is busy writing herself, suddenly startles me 



HEB LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIES. 196 

by saying, '0, Miss Cushman, can you tell me where in 
Rome I can buy German paste for a canary-bird ) ' — knowing 
the sort of intense animal I am, and how easy it is to send me 
off bodily or mentally on any best which is required, you can 
easily imagine how difficult it must be for me to think about 
what I am writing. It is perfectly heavenly weather, — the sky 
without a cloud ; the sun shining upon the water at a distance 
(but not near, for you know the sun don't come upon Sorrento 
or its waters until midday), and now it is half past ten o'clock 
A.1L, the sea as calm as it can be and not be ' smooth as glass' ; 
Naples distinctly seen opposite to us ; Yesuvius, in a gentle- 
manly mood (not smoking), over on our right hand ; the little 
towns along the edge of the sea, with their bright white houses 
looking like pearls around the sapphire bay; the hum of 
voices rising from far down on the edge of the beach, under 
our windows, with an occasional snatch of * Santa Lucia ' or 
'Carolina'; the air perfectly still, not too warm, nor with 
enough of spring in it to take out its little ' snap ' of vigor. 
I do assure you it is perfectly delightful ; and as if to help to 
make it more so to me, yesterday morning I received your 
letter of the 24th March, as well as more favorable news from 
my mother ; so you see, dear, I have reason to see all the 
beauty about me in roseate colors. We are making the usual 
giro: leaving Naples on Wednesday, since which time we 
have been to Salerno and Pcestum ; on Thursday, got to La 
Luna at Amalfi ; on Friday, up the valley of St Drago to 
Bavella and La Scala, to see the Saracenic remains, and down 
by the vaUey of the mills, — a giro which thoroughly did me 
up, reminding me that I am not so young as I was when I 
visited these places in 1853 and 1857, but still as receptive of 
the beauty around and before me as I was then." 

On the 4th of March of this year (1865) Miss Cushman 
writes from Borne : — 

** What a day this is at home ! How grand Mr. Lincoln 
must feel, that by the sheer force of honesty, integrity, and 



196 CHABLOTTB CUSHMAN : 

patience, he has overcome fiiction to such an extent, that he 
is to-day, by the ixmvicHons of the whole people, placed again 
in the Presidential chair to guide and protect their interests 
for four more years. The first election of a President may 
have come through popular clamor, through the passions and 
excitements of the moment being successfully played upon by 
popular orators ; but the calm re-indorsement of faith in his 
judgment, reason, calmness, prudence, and goodness, after such 
a four years, is a spectacle sublime in the eyes of men and 
angels, at a juncture like the present, when the world looks 
on in curious wonder and doubt and distrust, at the struggle 
upon which depend republican institutions for all future time. 
God help him to keep true and faithful ! ** 

Speaking of one of the children, she says : — 

" We shall see if we cannot make a clever man of him, and 
then it will not matter much who was his aunt or grandmother, 
while his ancestry from the spring or fount may have been 
a prouder one than many can boast. The name Cushman 
comes originally from the Cross-bearer, — the man who was 
worthiest to carry the cross in the old crusading times, — and 
it is not an unworthy stem for a family tree. Gkxl knows it 
has been the lot of all ray branch of that genealogical tree to 
bear crosses, but they have done it brayely, and always with 
an upward and onward motto and tendency." 

Part of the summer of this year Miss Cushman spent 
at Harrowgate, having been ordered to use the mineral 
waters of that place. She speaks of her stay there in a 
letter to Miss Seward. 

** You will be glad to hear that my stay at Harrowgate has 
been of great good to me ; I am better and stronger and more 
able to bear the strain of the winter upon me. For, seeming 
so strong as I do, it would appear strange that any social tax 
could weary me so much as does the gayety of a Roman 
winter. I have so much society, so many people who come 



HEB LIFE, LETTEES, AlfD MEMORIES. 197 

to me with letters of introduction, so much to do in the way 
of visiting and receiving of visits,— -which are the moths of life, 
I think, — and then mj correspondence has been so laige, that 
I am literally worn out. Harrowgate is the highest table-land 
upon which you can live in England, and is, as I think I told 
you, the ' Sharon ' of this countiy. This is my second siunmer 
here, and I am deriving much benefit from my stay. We are 
staying in a large, old-fashioned coimtry inn, situated at the 
end of a veiy long and wide green common called the ' Stray.' 
Our sitting-room opens by a few steps on to the lawn, where 
we have lovely flowers, pretty, comfortable garden-seats, sun- 
shine pouring in upon us (and you must be informed how 
rare the sunshine is in England, to appreciate the blessing) ; 
all the airs of heaven unchecked blow upon us, and bring us 
healing; balm, strength, and new hope. Everybody walks 
briskly here ; even the dogs feel the magnetic virtue of the 
atmosphere, and cany their tails at a particularly stiff angle, 
trotting about with an air of importance, as if they had much 
to do in the world. Here we shall remain until the 1 6th, when 
we hope to go to a very lovely country called the * Valley of 
the Wharfe,' where are the ruins of Bolton Abbey, the most 
beautiful in England. Towards the 22d we get to London, to 
make ready for our journey to Rome, which we hope to reach 
by the 22d of October, not a day later. 

" I have done very little reading this summer. I am glad 
you like Jean Ingelow. She is a charming writer; fresh, 
vigorous, pure, and good. I wanted to ask you if you had 
ever read Browning's 'Saul'; it is so veiy fine, full of 
grandeur and meaning. You say so truly that we read and 
read, and study meanings in a poet, and fail to comprehend 
all he intends ; and then a day comes, when through suffering, 
or trial, or mental growth of which we have not been aware 
at the time, the meaning of the poet shines upon us clear as 
light, and we marvel that we never understood before. I find 
this so constantly, that I cease to marvel at it any more ; only 
wait patiently for the revelation. 



198 CHABLOTTE CtTSHMAN: 

** Thanks for your promise of your father's speech, and jour 
{SamiUar account of its manner of being given. The one you 
sent has not reached me yet, but I see extracts from it in all 
the English papers. It is pregnant with meaning, grand, 
strong, comprehensive, faithful, and true ; as your noble &ther 
ever is. The world abroad recognizes his power more than 
that of any man in our country. He has truly been its 
savior, and I love him individually for myself but generally 
for my country, which owes him more than any other living 
man. Thank him for me for all he has said in this speech 
and all he has done for the country. I recognize in all things 
that occur the results he prognosticated, and feel that he 
deserves his title, 'Sage of Auburn'. How simple and how 
dignified it is of him, whenever he has anything to say to the 
country or the world, for him to go home to Aub.um to say 
it. I think it is just splendid of him to do it in that way. 
I should so like to hear him on one of those occasions.'' 

In a later letter from Borne, she writes : — 

** Almost a month since I sent you off an unworthy diort 
note, promising a letter, and now here is another of the same 
size and calibre, starting off on the same errand of promise, 
which I hope may be more ably and fittingly realized before 
another month goes by. But ' man (and woman) proposes, 
and God disposes'; and often — at least I can answer for one 
human being, weak and erring — I am so entirely (imposed of 
by circumstances and the hour, that I find all my own pro- 
positions almost vain and worthless. Sometimes my friends 
argue with me on what they consider the wrong of yielding 
to all the social claims made upon me ; but I have an innate 
necessity for repaying an obligation. If people pay me the 
compliment to want my society, or ask my advice and counsel, 
I must not rest under the obligation of the compliment they 
pay me and their good opinion. Thus I try to do perhaps too 
much ; but this is the day of small things, and the little or 
the much I can do in this world must be done, even though I 



HER LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMOBIES. 199 

suffer through my mability to perform all the duties and 
pleasures which fisdl to my lot. So you will forgive me, dear, 
my many shortcomings, believing, as I am sure you will, 
that it is not for lack of love for you, or wish to write, but 
simply that the day's work which is before me must be done 
first ; and then come my own pleasures, chief among them the 
communing with those who love me and care to know of my 
life outward and inward. 

I can hardly express my thankfulness that our home matters 
are going on so well ; that rogues seem hanging themselves with 
generous rope ; that honest men seem coming to their domin- 
ion ; that incompetency seems to be finding its punishment, 
provided by its own hand ; that honest merit seems silently to 
be taking its place in the front ranks ; that the law will be 
asserted by its own invincible and inevitable power ; and that 
the one man who has held the helm against faction is stem- 
ming the tide so bravely, that all men of all sects and creeds 
are coming to own and to proclaim him. 

Of our poets, whom we both love and prize, have you seen 
Whittier 1 Do you know his poetry well? If not, you must 
know it. He is a true soul, with a pure poet's heart. He 
has written some of the most stirring of our ballads. The 
one called * Cassandra Southwick,* and ' Massachusetts to Vir- 
ginia,' and another, ' To the Reformers of England,' are among 
the very fine things in our language. Last night I was read- 
ing for some young friends from England the 'Guinevere' 
Idyll of Tennyson, and the * Lady of Shalott ' ; and eveiy time 
I read him I am more and more impressed with the beauty 
of his rhythm. Never was such a master of versification in our 
time. * The Lady of Shalott^' read in a measure slowly, is 
like a gently flowing river, *as it goes down to Camelot.' 
Ah, I wish we could have some summer days together in the 
country, when I could point out to you all my treasures in 
these mighty minds, and read to you what I find in them." 

Miss Cnshman's friendship for Mr. Sevirard and his 
high appreciation and regard for her are well known. His 



200 CHARLOTTE CUSHHAN: 

correspondence with her during the anxious years of the 
war was a source of comfort and strength to her, and 
through her to many others. His letters were by her 
own special direction burned after her death. 

It was not long after this that the fearful news of Mr. 
Lincoln's death and the attack upon Mr. Seward flashed 
like a thunderbolt upon the American colony at Borne, 
blacker and heavier from coming out of a comparatively 
clear sky. Miss Cushman's own words will best express 
the feeling of the time. Writing to Miss Seward, she 
says: — 

" How my heart has ached for you and yours during these 
last terrible three days ! In our dreadful imcertainty as to the 
safety of those bo dear to us both, I am weak and powerless to 
express what I feeL I only want to send you this one line to 
let you know how I sympathize with you in your sufferiugs 
for those you love ; you could know and fed this by your own 
heart ; but you must let it speak to them all that I could offer 
of condolence, sympathy, respect, and affection. I hardly know 
what to say to you, for it is now a fortnight since this terrible, 
awfiil act, and how it may have fared with you all it is dilficiilt 
to conjecture. The last we have of news says, ' Mr. Seward is 
considered out of danger, but Mr. Frederick Seward is in grave 
peril ! ' We look so feverishly and anxiously for the news of 
the 19th, which we hope to have to-morrow. Never has ex- 
citement and anxiety reached such a point. All the Americans 
here, meet, look at each other, and burst into tears. A meet- 
ing was held at the Legation yesterday, and resolutions adopted 
which reflect credit upon all who joined in them. This after- 
noon we are to have a funeral ceremony or service performed 
at the Legation for Mr. Lincoln, true friend, patriot, martyr ; 
all the Americans have gone into mourning. The government 
has ordered the flags draped in mourning for three days ; never 
was there such a general feeling of horror, or such universal 
expression of respect Your father's life is prayed for as never 



HEB LIFE, LETTERS, AND HEMOBIEa 201 

man's was before. One and all, friend and foe, feel how more 

than necessary is his life to his oountiy ; and for me, I can 

only say I have never felt such a sense of sorrow, such a fear 

of bereavement and desolation, as I feel now through my fears 

for him. If he is able to* hear it, convey to him through your 

loving words what I would say but cannot ; and if he cannot 

hear it (and what misery there is in that thought !) you will 

convey it to your poor dear mother instead. God bless you 

and help you, prays your attached 

"Charlottb Cushmak.'' 

The natural results of all the pain and horror of this 
time followed in the death of Mrs. Seward, and soon there- 
after that of her daughter, Miss Fanny Seward. 

Miss Cushman writes of this last sad event to Mr. 
Seward: — 

" How can I ever tell you of the sadness which filled my 
soul at the intelligence which reached me on my return to 
Home last Saturday night. No words can express what I feel 
for you all, how truly my heart goes out to you in your great 
sorrow and bereavement^ and how deeply with that sorrow for 
you is mingled a grief for my own loss, which I find it so diffi- 
cult to realize. I ask myself eveiy hour, * Can it be possible 
that my sweet young friend has passed away, and shall I never 
see her more 1 ' This is hard to believe. I have heard from 
her so constantly this summer, that I have known of her fail- 
ing health ; but her last letter brought me so much better 
tidings that I was comforted much, and therefore the sudden- 
ness of the announcement shocked me more than words can 
telL Alas ! poor, dear child 1 how short has been her separa- 
tion from the mother she adored, and what terrible sacrifices 
have you, my noble and sorely tried friend, been called upon 
to lay on the altar of your country ! How more than hard has 
been your way ! how terrible your pain ! how little your seem- 
ing reward ! but 

' He who ascends to mountain-tops shall find 
The loftiest peaks most wrapped in donds and snow. 
He who surpasses and sabdues mankind 



202 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

Kntt look down on the hate of those below ; 
Though high abore the son of glory glow, 
And far beneath, the earth and ocean spread^ 
Bound him are icy rocks, and loudly blow 
Clontending tempests on his naked head ; 
And thus reward the toils which to those summits led.' 

My heart bleeds and aches for you as each successive blow 
falls upon you. I find myself awe-stricken, wondering how it 
can be possible that you should endure still more and live i 
You have had to bear so much in every way, that it seems to 
me you must be more than mortal if you are not broken in 
pieces. I do not ask a word from yourself, for that would be 
too much to expect at such a time ; but I should be so glad 

if A would find time and heart to tell me of you all, and 

if she can of her alsa I should be glad of some particulars. 
About a month ago I received a letter from the dear child 
friend, in which she enclosed to me two sweet poems expres- 
sive of the sublimest trust in the tender love of God. Do you 
know themi One of them, 'God Knows Best,' seemed to 
me so full of saintly thought, as well as the most beautiful 
faith and hope I She waa fitted for her translation, dear 
friend, and this must be some consolation when you grieve 
that you have been compelled to yield her up, a pure, true 
sacrifice, worthy of the place to which she has been called. 
Her last letter was a very long one, written in the midst of 
those she most loved in the world, in the little library at 
Washington. She described the scene to me, — what you were 
each and all doing, and her feelings with regard to each and 
alL Her tender love and reverence for you, and your sufifer- 
ings during the last year and a half, had permitted her to 
watch over you as you had ever so tenderly watched over her, 
and had seemed to change your relations toward each other, 
making her life larger and richer and happier. It would al- 
most seem as if I ought to send you this letter ; it is always 
sweet to know hew one is loved ; and you shall have this let- 
ter if you wish, though it is sadly precious to me, as the last 
I can ever have from her loving hand. 



HEB LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIES. 203 

'* I know it is hard, but I shall be so glad of a word from 
among you that I venture to ask it, trusting to the goodness 
and kindness you have always shown me. I regret more than 
ever that I am unable, through illness, to get to America this 
summer ; it would have been a great joy to me then, and a 
great consolation to me now. But it was not to be. Ah, 
my friend, truly God's ways are not as our ways I That he 
may bless and comfort you, prays ever 

'^ Your fidthfuUy loving friend, 

«Chaelottb Cushman." 

In May of 1866 Miss Cushman was summoned to 
England to her mother's death-bed. At that time aU Italy 
was in excitement with the movement of troops, and reg- 
ular travel was for a time much impeded. She met with 
many delays on the road, and had the unspeakable pain 
of meeting in Paris the sad intelligence that she was too 
late. Mrs. Cushman died on the 7th of May, and she 
only arrived in time to follow her remains to the grava 
This loss cast a heavy shadow over her life, and she lost 
after it much of her hoj)eful buoyancy of temperament, 
health began to fail, and she sought change and relief 
in movement. 

From a letter of this period I extract the following. 
It refers to certain troubles and states of feeling which 
had caused her deep anxiety and much heart-burning. 
The reflections are valuable, as showing how our poor 
earthly trials and resentments fade away and come to 
nothingness before the awful presence of death: — 

'' I feel," she says, '' in being here we are doing more to 
help the poor dear spirit to its final rest than by all the masses 
that could be said or sung by priest or pope. Tou, who know 
our inmost hearts, will judge us fairly in this act. We know 
that we are doing what would have brought comfort to her 
poor dear tired heart while living, but what in the pride of 



204 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAK: 

our tempers we could not render until we laid her in the 
earth by the side of the child she so loved, and for seven long, 
weary, troubled years longed to rest beside. God forgive us, 
and make us see in this how poor are all earthly resentments, 
how unworthy of our high calling as ministers each to do his 
work and not our own separate individual vengeances! I 
don't know, but it seems to me now as though all other 
troubles that can come to me will be more easily dealt with 
than they have ever been before. We shall see. The future 
must judge us, and we can only ' watch and pray.' " 

It was during the winter of 1867, in Rome, that Miss 
Cushman, in her eflfort to help a deserving and suflfering 
artist, conceived the idea of presenting to the Boston 
Music Hall the masterly alti^rilievi which now adorn 
its walls. It was her hope that, after seeing these pro- 
ductions, a subscription might be raised in Boston to put 
them into a more durable material than plaster; and with 
this view she entered into correspondence with Dr. Upham, 
the President of the Association. It was not found prac- 
ticable at that time, however, to raise the money for this 
purpose, and the reliefs were inserted as they came. 

The Association, however, ordered from the artist two 
other brackets in the same style, sustaining busts of Gluck 
and Mendelssohn, which were also placed in the walls of 
the Music Hall, making a series of admirable and ap- 
propriate ornaments; Hie Association did not entirely 
abandon the idea of being able to have these works exe- 
cuted in marble, and Miss Cushman proposed, whenever 
any effort of the kind should be made, to give the fund 
the benefit of a performance for that purpose. 

This good intention was never called for, and the brack- 
ets remain as they came, " things of beauty and joys for- 
ever" (though in a very perishable material), or at least as 
long as Music Hall shall be spared the fate which it is 
said awaits upon such structures sooner or later. 



HER LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIES. 205 

The original gift comprised, as we have said, basts of 
three great musical composers, upheld by brackets, orna- 
mented with allegorical figures, suggesting the distinctive 
genius, style, and place in musical history of eacL The 
heads are modelled in heroic, or more than life, siza 
The brackets are some five feet long by three feet wide. 
The figures stand out in full aUo-rUievo, They are the 
works of a Danish sculptor, a fellow-worker of Thorwald- 
sen, WUhelm Mathieu by name, who, though he has 
created real works of genius, lived there poor and old, 
and comparatively unknown. Several years ago he de- 
signed and executed for the Grand Duchess Helena of 
Bussia busts of three great musical composers. These 
are the works which Miss Cushman, captivated by their 
beauty, has presented to Music HalL 

'' The first bust is that of Palestrina, a very noble head, 
high, symmetrical, and broad, with features regular and finely 
cut, giving the impression of rare purity and truth of charac- 
ter, fine intellectuality, the calm dignity of a soul well cen- 
tred, a beautiful harmony of strength and delicacy. 

'' As Palestrina was the great reformer of church music, the 
master in whom pure religious vocal music first attained to 
perfect art, there stands forth from the centre of the bracket 
a figure representing the genius of Harmony, as it is called 
by the artist, or say St. Cecilia, holding an open music-book 
of large wide pages, between two angels, who are placed a 
little higher in the background : one of them with folded 
hands, and lost in devotion, reads over her shoulder from the 
book ; the other, pointing to the notes, appears to ask her 
whence the music came, and the genius, whose eyes are up- 
turned, indicates that it is given by inspiration from above. 
The three forms and faces are instinct with a divine beauty ; 
the central figure is one of unconscious dignity and grace, and 
is the loftiest idea of pure womanhood. Above and behind 



206 CHABLOTTE CUBHMAK: 

this group, for the immediate support of the shelf which holds 
the bust, there is a choir of little cherubs, with sweet faces, 
nestling eagerly together, and with little arms encircling each 
other's necks, who are singing over the shoulders of Cecilia, 
and seem to be trying the new heavenly music. It needs no 
argument to show the fitness of the allegory ; it speaks for 
itself. 

*^ The next bust is Mozart's, type of all that is graceful and 
spontaneous in music, and of perpetual youth ; the purest 
type of genius perhaps that ever yet appeared in any art, or 
in literature, if we except Shakespeare. Not that there has 
been no other composer so great, but that there has been none 
whose whole invention and processes have been so purely 
those of genius. Learned and laborious though he was, yet 
he created music as naturally as he breathed ; music was his 
veiy atmosphere and native language. The busts and por^ 
traits which we see of Mozart dififer widely, almost irrecon- 
cilably. This one adheres mainly to the portrait from life of 
Tischbein, with aid from several sculptures. Of all the busts 
we have seen, it seems the worthiest to pass for Mozart It 
has the genial, beaming, youthful face, with nothing small or 
weak in any feature, — the full eyes, square eyebrows, broad, 
large, thoughtfiil forehead ; the full, compact head ; the long 
nose withal. Altogether it is very winning. 

''Mozart was the complete musician; his genius did not 
wholly run in one direction. like the other greatest modem 
masters, he was master in all kinds, in symphony as well as 
in song. But wherein he lives pre-eminent is in the lyric or 
dramatic union of orchestra and human voices, best shown 
in his operas, but shown also in his sacred compositions. 
Accordingly, to symbolize at once the most graceful minister 
that music ever had, as well as his peculiarly lyrical province, 
the artist has given for a central support to the bust the 
trunk of the German oak, about which, under its umbrageous 
canopy, circle the three Graces, with flying feet and flow- 
ing skirts, linked hand in hand, sisterly, in mutual guidance ; 



HEB LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMOBIEa 207 

though in truth the middle one guides the other two, for 
cause which shall appear. 

*' In these three Graces he haa represented the three char- 
acters of music, — the joyous, the sacred, and the tragic. The 
foremost in the dance, with full, open face and breast, all 
sunshine and delight, with the right arm thrown up, and 
holding a bunch of grapes over her head, is joyous in the 
sweetest sense; her other hand is gently detained by her 
religious sister, — the unspeakably lovely one between us and 
the oak, whose shoulders thrown back, and intent head in 
half profile, slightly bent in serious blissful meditation, remind 
us not a little of Jenny Lind, save that in beauty it exceeds 
her as far as she exceeded herself when she rose in song. Her 
left arm sustains, and seems to lead forward, her drooping 
sister Tragedy, whose head, deeply bent, looks off and down- 
wards to the lef%^ and takes the shadow of the picture, while 
the left arm is gracefully thrown up to balance the raised 
right arm of the joyous one. At their feet the masks of 
Tragedy and Comedy lean against the tree, grouping with the 
pineapple of a thyrsus stick. The whole group is exquisite 
— so rhythmical, so fluid, free, exhaustless in its movement, 
that it becomes fugue and music to the eyes, drapeiy and 
all accessories in perfect keeping. Around the top of the oak 
stem is carved the word ' Requiem,' the last unfinished work 
and aspiration of the composer, below which a wreath of laurel 
rests upon the oak leaves. The Mozart seems to us the hap- 
piest conception of the three. This one design should be 
enough to make its author famous. 

" Beethoven is the subject of the third bust, which also is 
extremely interesting ; and yet to many it will prove the least 
satisfactory of the three. Indeed, Beethoven is fieur more diffi- 
cult to symbolize in art than either of the others. The head 
is modelled mainly from a good bust made in Vienna, and is 
doubtless far more true to actual life, if not a stronger head, 
than Crawford's noble but only ideally true statue. Whether 
a better bust of Beethoven exists we know not ; but certainly 
none so good has found its way before to America. 



208 CHABLOTTB CUSHMAN: 

"But how to symbolize the genius of Beethoven, — one so 
many-sided, so profound, struggling with untoward fieite, yet 
full of secret hope and joy beyond the cloud, of glorious aspi- 
ration for the human race, — one bom into the new era with 
the hope of universal liberty and sanctity and brotherhood 1 
It is easy to think of his power, and how he wields the thun- 
derbolts and smites in the climax of his harmonies, and how 
Jove-like and all-conquering he is. The Germans sometimes 
call him the ' Thunderer'; and so our artist has chosen, for 
support of the bust, Jupiter Tonans himself, sitting throned 
upon his eagle, which clutches the thunderbolts in its talons 
and soars through immensity. Above the god's shoulders ap- 
pear two winged genii holding up the bracket There is a 
fine truth to the glorious uplifting sense his music gives us 
in the idea of being borne aloft by Jove's strong eagle. 

"But the sweetness, the tenderness, the frolic fancy, are 
quite as characteristic as the strength and kingliness of 
Beethoven ; and our artist has made the Thunderer relax his 
gravity and listen with inclined, smiling face to a little urchin 
of a Cupid, seated on the eagle's wing, who, with upraised looks 
and hands, is telling merry stories to the god of gods, clearly 
in allusion to the humorous passages — the scherzos — in 
Beethoven's music. The thought is a happy one."* 

In September of 1867 Miss Cushman writes from Bude, 
a little fishing-village on the picturesque coast of Corn- 
wall: — 

* I find this worthy description of these interesting scolptures in the 
Atlantic Monthly for March, 1868, and have thonght it well to insert 
it here, not only for its own sake, bnt by way of calling public attention 
once more to them, and to the fact that they are now so placed in Music 
Hall that they are never really seen, and to express the wish of many 
admirers, that they might now be transferred to the Museum of Art, and 
placed in a position to be seen and appreciated, where they would be * 
monument to Miss Cushman*s taste as well as to that generous quality of 
heart which prompted her desire to further and bring out the manifesta- 
tion of other arUsts' genius. I have recalled them and their presentation 



H£B LIFE, LSTTBBa, AKD MEMOBIES. 209 

^' I do 80 wish you could have been here with me ; such a 
quaint, simple, piimitive place, widi a lovely beach for bathr 
ing, nestled amid cathedral-like rocks, and no Mrs. Grundy 
to see or care for, so you can wear what you choose ; food ex- 
cellent, and cheapness amaeing. In its general aspect, Bude 
is not unlike Newport; the cliffs are something like, but 
finer and grander, and iiie downs much more extenuve. There 
is a little breakwater to keep off the encroachments of the 
Atlantic waves, which roll in here miles in extent, a splendid 
sight We, with three dear Mends of ours, go down and sit 
fi>r hours among the rocks and watch the waves coming, dasb- 
ing, and booming up against them, and thrown back again, in 
a wilderness of milky foam, which beats again and again upoa 
the rocks until it is caught up by the wind and blown about 
like great white sea-birds. One day we saw Maodonald, who 
is living in a cottage here with hosts of children, cross over 
the breakwater when the tide was just beginning to creep 
over it. He carried one baby in his arms, led another by the 
hand, and a third toddler held on by the second. We watched 
this procession breathlessly, as you may imagine. They ar- 
rived safely at the other end, where the breakwater ends in a 
high mass of rock upon which are some buildings. Now the 
question arose whether they would attempt the return, for 
eveiy moment the tide washed heavier over and between the 
huge stones of the breakwater ; presently, back they came, 
almost blinded by the spray and foam, but full of courage and 

to the hall as a fine example of Miss Cnshman*s manner of doing things 
of this Idnd, not merely giving help to a deserving artist, which is easy 
where mere money is concerned, bat giving it in a way which, beside 
helping his material needs, supplied that still more important aliment 
for which he was suffering, namely^ appreciation and encouragement in 
his art Add to this the esthetic value of these gifts as well as their 
value to the country in their beautiful and varied suggestiveness, and it 
wiU be seen how far-reaching and complete were Miss Cushman's ways of 
dealing in such matters, and what capacity and energy she brought to bear 
upon them, taking untold trouble in the way of correspondence, manage- 
ment, etc., of which those who ei\joy the results very littie dream. 



210 CHABLOTTE CU8HMAN. 

pluck, not one of them shrinking or betraying the least sign 
of fear. The bahj crowed aloud with delight. Macdonald 
came to speak to me afterward, and made very light of the 
adventure. *^ It does them good," he said ; *' they like it" I 
am so much better and stronger for this wild, unceremonious 
life among the rocks and deep-sea caves. We have our din- 
ner sent down to the shore, and eat it with good appetite and 
plenty of sea-salt. Then we sit and read or sleep, propped 
against rocks, and full of content until the spirit stirs us to 
movement^ and then we clamber about and explore and find 
no end of curious things. The tide &lls here so many feet 
that the caves are full of deep-sea curiosities left in the pools 
and shallows." 



CHAPTER X. 

DRAUATIC BCAI^INaS. 

" Tbe pnipots of playing 
It to ihow vlrtne her own reattue. 

Scorn hei avn Image, uid tha very age and bod; ot tha tima 
HU form and preMure.'' 

BamUl. 

r was not iintS the last six years of her life that 
I Miss CoBbman fully developed her unequalled 
I ability as b dramatic reader. She had given 
occasional public readings before that time. She was al- 
ways ready to amuse and delight the social circle, and she 
rarely refused to lend her powerful aid in that way to any 
worthy object of charity ; but it was not until these later 
years, when, by the advice of physicians and the counsels 
of her own strong heart, she sought refuge from herself in 
hei art and nobly struggled against the lowerii^ influ- 
ences of a fatal malady in the exercise of her great gifts, 
that she came to what was undoubtedly the highest cul- 
mination of ber genius. 

In this effort, which was persistently and thoroughly 
pursued through trials of strength and patient endurance 
unparalleled, she did forget herself, and rose always nobly 
and unflinchingly to the heights of ber possibility, and 
to the entire satisfaction of her hearers, little dreaming, 
while so rapt and delighted, how much of pain and suf- 



212 CHABLOTTE CtTBHMAN: 

fering was held in abeyance, if not absolutely conquered, 
in the effort All Miss Cushman's nearest friends weiB 
anxious and troubled when she came to this resolution 
to continue working. It was difficult for any one to 
believe how completely spirit could conquer matter in 
her nature, and to those who watched this struggle dur- 
ing these latter years ; it was not strange that they never 
could fully realize the possibility of surrender in the end. 
She was heroic in her suffering, as in all things else. She 
it was who sustained others ; she held them up in her 
strong arms and comforted them, instead of leaning heav- 
ily upon them. In her sick-room she was still as much 
a queen as when, in the r61e of Katharine, she drew the 
faithful picture of a noble and saintly death-bed. 

It was in this play, " King Henry VIII.," at Provi- 
dence, that she made her first essay as a reader, after 
her resolution was taken. She read only the play ; she 
had not then added to her repertoire the innumerable 
subjects with which she afterwards diversified her pro- 
grammes. On this occasion she was a little nervous, 
and friends among the audience not less so. But the 
moment she made her appearance on the platform they 
felt that all fears for her were superfluous ; for her there 
was "no such word Bsfail" 

The surpassing power of concentrativeness, which may 
be said to have been the keystone to the arch in her 
character, brought her at once, full, rounded, and com- 
plete, to the perfect possession of herself and the needs of 
the occasion. She seemed to cast off, with grand ease, 
every influence, every suggestion of any other life but 
the one she was for the time to interpret She identified 
herself with it, and from the moment when, after her 
graceful, self-possessed entrance, she seated herself at her 
table, and, with one comprehensive glance which ^emed 



HER UFB, LBITEBS, AND MEMOBIES. 213 

to gather in all her audience and hold them, as it were, by 
a spell peculiarly her own, — the spell of a potent and irre- 
sistible magnetism, — she set aside all feeling of personal 
identity, and lived, and moved, and acted the varied per- 
sonages of the stoiy as they each came upon the scene ; 
and not only in voice and word, but in look and bearing, 
they lived before us, each one distinctly marked and 
individual, and never by any chance merging into the 
others, or losing its clearly marked character. 

It hardly needed that she should ever repeat over the 
names of the dramatis persona: ; they spoke for them- 
selves, and came and went as vividly, and far more ably, 
than they are often seen upon the stage. It was well said 
by a friend, on one occasion, " I much prefer hearing Miss 
Cushman read to seeing her act, because in the readings 
she is so well supported." All the minor parts are given 
their full value and significance, and one receives a strong 
impression of what the drama might be if this com- 
pleteness were more persistently aimed at Often these 
small parts in able hands assume an unexpected impor- 
tance, are, indeed, like certain shifting tints or fitful 
lights in a picture, important adjuncts to the general 
effect, and meant to be such by the artist or dramatist ; 
connecting links, as it were, whereby the passion or 
emotion is subdued or heightened; points of repose 
upon which the mind can rest for a moment, contrast- 
ing or enhancing the situation. Shakespeare is full 
of such artistic contrasts, and Miss Cushman felt and 
used them with her wonted dramatic instinct In '' Mac- 
beth," for example, she always read a scene, seldom or 
never acted, where a drunken porter holds the stage 
for a time with a kind of maudlin soliloquy, between 
the dumb horror of the midnight murder and the awful 
tumult of its discovery. This bit of humor on the 



214 CHABLOTTE CUSHHAK : 

very verge of hell is a kind of artistic necessity, and 
carries out an artistic law; and the ignorance and indiffer- 
ence to all such delicate shades in the ordinary conduct 
of the theatre shows how very large a margin for prog- 
ress exists there. 

To return to the reading of Queen Katharine. From the 
moment of her entrance all anxiety ceased. It was com- 
pletely successful, and hardly needed that she should ask, 
when it was over, with the eager simplicity which was a 
part of her nature, "Well, were you satisfied?" and to 
flush with gratification at the response, " Soul-satisfied." 
This appreciation from those she loved was even more 
necessary to her than the larger verdict of the public; 
though to her quick spirit that was very needful She 
was always working hard for it, and could never be satis- 
fied unless it came. Sometimes it seemed as if she might 
surpass the bounds of the highest endeavor in her effort 
to secure this ; that it might be a temptation to her to 
overdo. Her first and instinctive creation was always 
her best But of what art may not this be said ? Human 
effort must be more or less imperfect In a bright, crea- 
tive moment comes a JUish, as it were, of influence from 
some (xod-given source ; the hand, the pen, the tool, works 
with power, something far beyond our ordinary efforts, — 
it may be crude, incomplete ; the common eye cannot see 
its value; we ourselves hope from it still unutterable 
things ; but there is in it something not to be improved 
upon ; all the care and work and study in the world will 
not add to that intangible something ; labor only weakens 
it, what is called finish only disguises it, it is lost in the 
handling, it is spiritual and immortal This it is which 
makes the rough sketches of great masters so valuable 
and important The very highest culture covets them, 
the most precious fruition of the world culminates in these 



HEB LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 215 

sparks from an immortal source. It is the only way that 
we can explain what is called the inequality of genius ; 
no human creature can be always up to the height of 
the best that is in them, and they do not always know 
their best The love of the world for outside glitter or 
polish, the feverish craving for excitement, the demand 
for the sensational and extreme, has ruined many an artist 
and spoiled many a work of true genius. If Miss Cush- 
man yielded to such influences at all, — and it requires the 
strongest kind of a nature to resist them, — it was in a 
very modified degree ; her nature was too thorough and 
too instinctive to err much on the wrong side, if at alL 

The Shakespearian Headings were of course her highest 
manifestation in this branch of her art Such a combina- 
tion of fine presence, noble voice, perfect delivery, and 
admirable elocution has seldom been brought to bear 
upon the matchless productions of Shakespeare ; but she 
possessed beside a large and varied repertoire of choice 
reading, in which her ability found unlimited range, and 
left her without a rival Earnestness, intensity, here as 
ever, were the chief characteristics of her style ; but there 
was never wanting in its proper place, tenderness, deli- 
cacy, pathos ; while humor, from its subtlest to its broadest 
shades, has probably never found an abler interpreter. 

Of her Shakespearian Readings, " Macbeth " must take 
the first place, but Queen Katharine was her favorite part 
She was greatly in sympathy with the noble, pious, and 
long-suffering queen, who, in a position of unmerited 
abasement, knew how to bear herself so royally; and she 
identified herself so completely with the character, that 
the tender inspiration of the last scene would be visible 
in her face and eyes long after she had left the stage. 
The part of Lady Macbeth, on the contrary, she disliked. 
The marked contrast between these two parts, which. 



Z16 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN: 

during the latter years of her life, when her range of 
acting parts became so limited, she was called upon so 
constantly to repeat, she often discussed with masterly 
analysis and depth of insight, — the good and the evil 
principles warring upon the field of life, the one triumph- 
ing through appcu^nt failure, the other wrecked amid ap- 
parent success ; the noble and saintly queen rising above 
all her woes in the divine panoply of virtue ; the bloody 
and remorseless murderess overwhelmed and destroyed 
by the recoil of her own weapons upon herself, able to 
do the evil, but unable to bear its consequencea 

She liked better to read ** Macbeth" than to act it, 
because in the reading of the other parts she could find 
relief from the tension and strain she experienced in the 
realization of a character so opposed in all ways to her 
own. It may be said, it is especially the function of 
the dramatic art, and the crowning gloiy of an artist, to 
be able to embody all shades and varieties of character, 
whether in sympathy with them or not This is im- 
doubtedly true, and Miss Cushman never allowed her 
want of sympathy with a part to afiect or weaken her 
interpretation of it ; but we are speaking now, not merely 
of Miss Cushman as she appeared upon the stage, but 
trying to give a rounded and complete portrait of her in 
all her phases, both on and off the stage ; and there was 
a side to her which was above and beyond the mere act- 
ing of a part, a side of her nature which made her far 
more than an actress ; which enabled her to fill the r61e 
of a noble and thoughtful woman. She analyzed all her 
parts, and missed no shade of their true embodiment ; but 
for her own supreme rdle, no study and no analysis was 
necessary, for God had cast her for the part 

It is well known that Miss Cushman on a few occasions 
acted the part of Hamlet, and it was a performance which 



HEB LIFE, LEITEBS, AND MEMOBIES. 217 

gave her intense pleasure. She allades to it in some of 
her letters as the very highest effort she had ever made, 
and the most exhausting ; of all her parts, this one seemed 
to fill out most completely the entire range of her powers. 
What has been said of Bomeo in another part of this 
memoir applies equally to Hamlet. It is a part which 
cannot be well filled, except by a man too young to have 
achieved the necessary experience : a crude Hamlet is in- 
sufferable ; an old Hamlet is equally incongruous ; in this 
respect Miss Cushman satisfied the eye, in all others she 
gratified the mind. The matchless delivery of that im- 
mortal language, no word or sentence slurred over or " come 
tardy off," no delicate intricacies of thought left obscure, 
but all illuminated by a genius created for such interpre- 
tation, was alone a treat beyond comporisoa Miss Cush- 
man looked the part of Hamlet as well as she did that of 
Bomeo. Her commanding and well-made figure appeared 
to advantage in the dress of the princely Dane, and her 
long experience in the assumption of male parts took 
&om her appearance all sense of incongruity. In fact, 
her excellence in whatever she undertook to do disarmed 
criticism and satisfied the mind and the eye at once. 

Her assumption of the part of Cardinal Wolsey was 
another exceptional triumph of the like kind. In a notice 
of the time I find it alluded to as ^ a magnificent piece 
of acting, which fairly carried away her audience ; even 
for a man it is an arduous character, and we had doubts 
of the success which would attend it ; but she knew her 
own powers, and commanded a great success. In the 
third act, in which the Cardinal faUs from greatness, no 
actor or actress on the stage can equal her. She realized 
to our memory the palmy days of the drama, and made 
old play-goers recall the times of Cooke, Kean, and Ma- 
cready.** She spoke of it often, and criticised her own 



218 CHA&LOTTB CUSHMAN: 

perfonnance as fully and fireely as she would have done 
that of another person. The chief difficulty she found in 
it was the necessity for keeping up to, and above, in voice, 
bearing, and impression, the other male parts in the play, 
especially in the scene where the fallen Cardinal is baited^ 
as it were, by the rude and triumphant nobles who rejoice 
in his discomfiture. In this scene great power is neces- 
sary to avoid being overborne by mere noise and violence, 
and falling below the moral level which the Cardinal 
must maintain to be even in ruin the ''high Cardinal" 
whom Shakespeare drew. It may be fancied how easily 
a weak assumption of ttds part might at this point drop 
into the contemptible. Miss Cushman confessed that she 
held her own with difficulty ; but that she did hold it, 
there can be no doubt She looked the part well, and 
was in all points of dress and bearing admirable. Her 
reading of this part did not fall below her acted concep- 
tion of it, and possessed the value of a higher interpreta- 
tion through the more delicate and subtle rendering of 
the other characters. 

Although Miss Cushman's special gifts, combined with 
her noble presence and fine voice, adapted her most for 
tragic parts, the lighter creations of comedy found in her 
an apt and capable interpreter. It will not be necessaiy 
to recall to the memories of this generation her early 
triumphs in such parts as Bosalind, Beatrice, Juliana, 
Lady Gay Spanker, etc. In the readings, her genuine 
and genial enjoyment of the minor humorous characters 
scattered all through Shakespeare's plays will be well 
remembered, as well as many other efforts in which the 
light and sparkling wit of comedy widened and deepened 
into the broadest and richest humor. There was some- 
thing so infectious in her own enjoyment of the fun that 
she took her audience completely along with her; the wave 



HER LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 219 

of sympathy gathered ihem all together into such a genial 
glow of enjoyment and self-foigetfulness, that convention- 
alities were forgotten, the hedges and barriers which fence 
human souls from one another were thrown down, and 
strangers exchanged smiles and comments, and all felt 
that some potent spell had evoked the friendliness firom 
the depths of their hearts, and that they were in some 
new sense brethren in feeling and sympathy. 

This power of creating an atmosphere of love and kind- 
ness about her, which she exercised so fully in her private 
relations, was thus found capable of attaining a wider 
scope and achieving a broader influence. She loved to 
evoke this kind of sympathy : she worked for it by an 
instinctive law of her nature, and never could be quite 
satisfied until she felt that it was effected ; then how she 
glowed and basked in the reflection of her own sunshine 
from the faces about her, how she fed on the emotion she 
had herself elicited, and how by her own large true- 
heartedness she opened and widened and softened the 
hearts of others. 

Those readings which formed the second part of her 
entertainments may be classed under the three heads, 
of emotional, heroic, and humorous, although she read 
to perfection anything purely Ijrrical, as, for example, 
the " Lady of Shedott," than which a purer, sweeter, more 
harmonious utterance never fell from mortal lips. Yet 
her great force undoubtedly lay in such compositions as 
possessed a narrative and dramatic interest; and as the 
needs of a mixed audience had always to be considered 
in her selections, probably no one ever before met so large 
and varied a demand as she did. After the tragedy, 
ought by all the laws of human nature to come the farce ; 
and the comic selection became as indispensable as the 
Irish song after a Boman receptioa 



220 CHABLOTTE CU8HMAN : 

Among her emotional readings may be mentioned "The 
Young Gray Head," by Mrs. Southey ; a touching narra- 
tive poem which always brought tears from her audience. 
Tennyson's ^'Grandmother" was another of this class; 
remarkable for the sustained manner in which she pre- 
served the appearance, voice, and accent of an aged woman, 
who with the garrulity of extreme age goes over and over 
the scenes and impressions of her youtL 

'* Serenty years ago, Annie, 
Seventy yean ago." 

In marked contrast with this, yet with much the same 
sustained evenness of declamation, whereby with masterly 
skill she subordinated her whole force to the weird and 
supernatural character of the poem, preserving its solem- 
nity and yet losing none of its suppressed energy, I 
would recdl the remarkable reading of " The Skeleton in 
Armor." It might be compared to a fine symphony of 
Beethoven, or the solemn funeral march of Chopin; it was 
more musical than dramatic, and full of the suggestive- 
ness of tone as well as word, with the added force of im- 
personation ; for, as usual, face and form became imbued 
with the personality of the warlike apparition. 

" Then from those cayemous eyes 
Pale flashes seemed to rise." 

By some power, known only to herself, she took on this 
supernatural aspect The solemn lines fell from her lips 
like deep reverberations from some distant funeral bell, and 
yet with an undertone, a sort of suppressed martial clang, 
as if the spirit of the old Viking still warmed to the memory 
of his warlike exploits , and when the verse was reached 
where he tells his triumph over his pursuers, — 



*t 



And, as to catch the gale, 
Bound veered the flapping sail. 



HER LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIEa 221 

Death 1 was the helmsman's hail. 
Death without quarter ! 

Midships, with iron keel. 

Struck we her ribs of steel, 

Down her black hulk did reel 

Throng the black water 1 ** 

a sense of horror seemed to pass all through the audience, 
making " the nerves thrill and the blood tingla" Of the 
same type, and treated in the same way, was Bossetti's 
strange ballad of "Sister Helea" Here also was felt 
this mastery over the nerve-centres of her listeners, the 
same instinctive grasp of all the subtleties of the poet's 
meaning, the same intense, sustained, and powerful work- 
ing up, without apparent effort, to an artistic climax, of 
which not many were capable of realizing the full force 
imtil they felt it in their nerves and blood, and then they 
hardly knew what had so thrilled them. 

Great as was Miss Cushman's rendering of this class 
of subjects, there was still another field where her genius 
shone with a more resplendent lustre and produced still 
more marked effects. This was in the rendering of the 
heroic ballads of Macaulay, Tennyson, and Browning. It 
would be difficult for any pen to do justice to this theme, 
still more one so inexperienced. In "The Battle of Ivry," 
for example, wherein seems concentrated in one blazing 
sheaf all the martial and religious fervor of the time, it 
would seem impossible to give the faintest idea of the 
impulse, the enthusiasm, the chivahic loyalty, the mar- 
tial energy which Miss Cushman imparted to the lines, — 
the rush and hurry of the battle, the shifting tumult of 
the strife, the valor and clemency of Henry, and, through 
all and dominating all, the deep, fervid, passionate devo- 
tion to G^ and king. 



' Now glory to the Lord of Hosts, ftom whom all glories are. 
And glory to our sovereign li^;e, King Henry of Navarre." 



222 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAK: 

All this ifl in the poem, but sleeping, as it were, until 
evoked by the master spell of an interpreting genius. 

" The Charge of the Light Brigade," by Tennyson, and 
Browning's masterly poem, "How they brought the good 
News firom Ghent to Aix," were brilliant examples of the 
same kind. Macaulay's noble poem of '' Horatius " was a 
more varied and sustained effort^ but fiill of the same 
fervid quality. In aU these Miss Cushman found space 
and room for the exercise of her highest and strongest 
powers; but concentrated force, sustained eneigy, mas- 
terly elocution, though great &ctors in the general result, 
would have been as nothing, unless infused and welded 
together, as it were, by the earnest enthusiasm, the deep 
spiritual force of her nature, feeling and interpreting 
whatever of highest and noblest and best lay underneath 
the heroic lines ; so in each and every manifestation of 
herself on the stage, on the platform, or in private life, 
she touched the heart ; and this was the secret, if secret 
it may be called, of all her influence and of all her success. 
In one sense she was an interpreter of the thoughts of 
others; in another she was a creator, inasmuch as she 
made them live doubly and trebly in the minds of others, 
to whom, but for her, they might have been as sealed 
fountains. 

One more of these heroic themes remains to be noted. 
In the quaint ballad of " Herv^ Kiel " Browning has not 
more skilfully told the story of a simple act of disinter- 
ested heroism than Miss Cushman has made it live and 
move and breathe before her audience. One saw the 
honest sailor so quietly and so simply acting his great 
part, so calmly and so bravely ignoring that he had done 
anything worthy of reward, so contentedly and gladly ask- 
ing and receiving the poor guerdon of a hoUday to be 
spent with his wife on shore : — 



HEB LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMOBIES. 223 

" ' SiDce 't is ask and have, I may ; 
Since the others go ashore, — 
Come I A good, whole holiday 1 
Leave to go and see my wife, 

Whom I call the Belle Aorore V 
That he asked and that he got — 
Nothing more." 

Mijss Cushman's readings of Browning were especially 
fine, and would have delighted that impetuous and subtle 
genius, could he have heard them. The ruggedness and 
roughness of the metre were lost sight of in her vigorous 
declamation, for she declaimed rather than recited them. 
All obscurities of diction and involutions of thought be- 
came unravelled as if by magic, and the full force of the 
poet's meaning flashed out with a new and intense light 
She was very fond of reading Browning in private to 
chosen listeners, and she dearly loved Mrs. Browning's 
poetry. During her Boman days she delighted many 
with " Casa Guidi Windows " and afterwards, it will be 
remembered, she introduced parts of this beautiful poem 
into a reading called " Roman Pilgrims," wherein was em- 
bodied some of the poetical inspirations to which Bome 
and Italy had given birth. 

Some of Miss Cushman's finest readings were of what 
are called ''dialect poems," a department in which she 
was quite unrivalled. Who could ever forget, for exam- 
ple, her reading of " The Death of the Old Squire," a sim- 
ple, homely, but terrible picture, or, rather, a tableau v^i- 
vant over which shifts and changes the shadow of a fear- 
ful catastropha All of her readings were of the nature 
of pictures, full of the subtlest lights and shades and the 
most wonderful suggestiveness, presented with a vividness 
of local coloring which compelled the mind to a full reali- 
zation of the scene which lived and moved before it 

Of none of these can this be said more truly than of 



224 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

this ** Death of the Old Squire/' and in none did she feel 
heiself more thoroughly at home. With what vigor and 
truth she painted in the rough, quaint language of the 
old servant, — 

''The wild, mad kind of a ni^t, as black as the bottomlefls pit"; 

the wind, the rain, — 

" (Well, it did ndnX dashing the window g^ass 
And deluging on the roof^ as the Deyil were coming to pass " ; 

The stable and its occupants, — 

« Hnddlin' in the hameas-room,. by a little scrap o' fire," 

striving to keep up their spirits 

'* A-practising for the choir " ; 

while the old squire lay dying in the house, and the super- 
stitions of their class and country fill them with a sense 
of hovering evil, and make every sound and movement 
ominous and terrible. 

*' We could not hear Death's foot pass by, bat we knew that he was near; 
And the chill rain, and the wind and cdd, made ns aU shake wi' fear." 

This picture was complete. Then follows another, in 
which the life of the old squire is lightly drawn fix>m the 
huntsman's point of view, — a fair portrait of a fox-himt- 
ing squire of the period, rounded with a sort of rough ten- 
derness, and touching upon those points in his character 
which would lead up naturally to the final catastrophe. 
Meanwhile there has come a lull in the storm, the wind 
has gone down, the rain ceases, — 

"The moon was up quite glorions-like." 

From this point the poem is one mad, wild rush to the 
conclusion. Suddenly, in the hush of midnight, the rusty 
turret-bell, which has not been heard for twenty years, 



HER LIFE^ LETTEBSy AND MEM0BIE3. 225 

dangs and clashes out, and, as they all hurry forth, the 
dying master meets them face to face. 

*' His scarlet ooat was on his back, and he looked like the old race." 

In the deUrium of fever he orders out his horse, summons 
his dogs. All obey him without question, for 

" There was a deyil in his eye that wonld not let us speak," 

and he rides away on his last hunt, followed by the 
amazed and horror-stricken servants. He rides to his 
death, and the old servant says, — 



**Vfe pulled up on Chalk Lynton HUl, and as we stood us there, 

Two fields beyond we saw the ould squire fall stone dead from the 

mare; 
Then she swept on and, in ftdl ciy, the hounds went out of sight. 
A cloud came oyer the broad moon, and something dimmed our sight, 
As Tom and I bore master home, both speaking under breath. 
And that 's the way I saw the ould squire ride boldly to his death." 

This synopsis of the poem, which is an anonymous 
one, may give to those who never heard it read a faint 
glimpse of its capabilities as interpreted by Miss Cush- 
man. In none of her readings was there a finer oppor- 
tunity for her varied and versatile powers, in none such a 
masterly mingling of the natural and the terrible, of the 
simple and the sublime ; the whole heightened, instead of 
injured, as is too often the case, by the use of dialect, 
which with her was so dealt with as only to add a new 
element of truthfulness and interest to the picture. This 
may be said also with reference to any dialect which she 
attempted. In her mouth it became natural and easy, and 
never made any impression of incongruity. In Bums's 
famous lines, for example, '' A Man 's a Man for a' That," 
who would recognize it without its capny Scotch accent, 
or who would wish to hear it with that accent imperfectly 
rendered ! The genuine, hearty enthusiasm with which 



226 CHARLOTTE CIJSHMAK: 

Miss Cuslunaii felt and delivered this noble, manly ntter- 
ance, was positively infectious, and cairied her audience 
by storm. Every man was more a man who listened to 
it, and the better for that momentary lifting into a purer 
and better air. The wondrously varied intonation which 
she managed to impart to the refrain, ** For a' that, and a' 
that," was not the least remarkable part of this remark- 
able performance. 

To the humorous readings, which wound up these pro- 
grammes and sent everybody away the better and lighter 
and happier for having been beguiled of a hearty laugh, 
the same or even fuller meed of praise is due. In this, 
as in aU she did, she touched " the high top-gallant " of 
her powers ; into this, even more than into the rest, she 
threw herself with that fiill completeness and self-aban- 
don which was her great secret Of this class of subjects 
I need only particularize a few : " Betsy and I are out," 
"Miss Maloney on the Chinese Question," "The Annuity," 
and " The Bapteesement o' the Bairn," though the two 
latter might perhaps come more appropriately under the 
head of "Dialect Poema" Of these, "Betsy and I are 
out" was a pecuUar favorita From the moment she 
begins slowly to draw off her gloves, and take the action 
and attitude of the honest, tender-hearted, obstinate old 
farmer, she seems to have a realizing sense of how such 
a man would act and speak and look under the circum- 
stancea She creates the lawyer sitting opposite. She 
makes every one feel how they acted upon one another. 
She projects the absent Betsy upon the field of our con- 
sciousness. We know and see them all far more truly and 
really, because more subtly, than if they lived before us. 
This seems a paradox, and yet it touches a high truth. 
Her conceptions were beyond reality, because they were 
idealizations, which is the highest reality. There was 



HEB LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIES. 227 

mucli more in this ballad in her hands than its writer 
ever conceived of, as he himself acknowledged when he 
came to see her on one of her Western journeys, and 
thanked her for all she had done for him in her reading 
of his lines. The same occurred with the authoress of 
'' Miss Maloney on the Chinese Question.*' Mrs. Dodge 
said, ** Miss Gushman, I never dreamed what was in it^ 
until I heard you read it*' And Miss Woolson, the 
writer of "Kentucky Belle,** which was one of Miss 
Cushman's most effective readings, wrote to her to the 
same effect firom the South: — 

''Last spring, while at St. Augustine, I received from New 
York the programme of yomr Beading at the Academy of Mu- 
sic, and was equally surprised and pleased to find among the 
announcements ' Kentucky Belle.' Ever since, I have wished 
to thank you for the honor, to tell you how much real pleas- 
ure it gave me. 

*' It was little to you, Miss Cushman, but a great deal to 
me, and I thank you. It is not quite fomr years since I began 
to write, and in that time nothing connected with the work 
has given me so much pleasure as this." 

She had, beside, many choice bits, not suitable in length 
or scope for the platform, but reserved for a happy mo- 
ment to enliven the social cirda Many of these she 
kept in her pocket, and would produce on occasion, with 
a gleeful twinkle in her eye which she soon transferred to 
those of her listeners. She was indeed largely in sympa- 
thy with jay, and whatever led to wit, and she fairly 
revelled in the effects she produced, when she opened 
this special door to her hearers' hearts, and saw and felt 
her influence in their brightening faces. She may be 
said to have been an opener of many doors into the inner- 
most of human nature, bringing forth tears and smiles at 
her pleasure, and weaving a spell which for the moment 



228 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN. 

at least brought all hearts to a higher level and touched 
them as with fire from the altar of her own fervid spirit 
Besides the readings which came under these various 
heads^ were many miscellaneous and some religious ones. 
These last she delivered with grand simplicity and fervor; 
and it was her intention, had her life been spared, to make 
of them a special feature in her programmes. I find in 
one of her letters an allusion to a poem of this class, 
which she read sometimes in private, and the effect of it 
was much like her singing of sacred compositions. 

" 0, if you knew," she writes, " what pleasure I have had in 
reading aloud * The Celestial Country,' that grand old poem of 
Bernard de Cluny, which is translated fix)m the Latin, and is 
in that book you sent me at Christmas I It performed as 
much work in its time as Luther's Reformation, only the one 
was silent and the other outward. It is like a bell, which 
rings and clangs and calls and cheers! I never read any- 
thing like it." 

In all the range of her readings, a noble simplicity and 
directness of method, the absence of the faintest shadow 
of affectation, and an artistic completeness of conception 
and execution beyond praise, place these performances 
on the highest level of contemporary art ; but above and 
beyond all this there is a still greater excellence, a still 
higher spiritual significance. An old Mend has well said 
of her in certain reminiscences of her early life, ^'the 
feet, never in fear or shame afraid to follow the dictate 
of the heart"; so in her later years, not the feet only, but 
the whole nature, went forth rich and strong in all its 
varied manifestations, but always more earnestly, more 
truly, more grandly, in the direction of the best and 
highest. 



CHAPTER XI. 

LAST FIVE TEASS. 

"He'i bill; nliant Out caatnlfiDlte." 

Timtm qf Ati«nt. 
" Nothing In U4 IUb baouns him lika tliB IstriDg of It" 

r' vaa in the Hpring of 1869 that Miss Cush- 
mao's Toaiadj first made its appearance. It 
seemed trifling, and upon consnltAtion witli tJie 
best physicians of Borne she was advised to go to certain 
German baths, which -were said to be of great efficacy in 
such disorders. Fearing delay, however, she determined 
to go to Paris for further advice. There she was earnestly 
recommended by Dr. Sims to do nothing, to live well, 
take care of her general health, amuse herself, and foi^t 
the trouble if possible. It is to be deeply regretted that 
Uiis excellent advice could not have been followed ; but 
it was impossible for her to sit still onder the thought 
that she might be helped by quicker means to an entire 
relief, and her remembrance tiiat it was an inheritance in 
her family would not permit her to treat it lightly. Her 
resource was always in action. She went over to Eng- 
land and consulted Sir James Paget, then the highest 
name in the profession. His opinion was decidedly in 
favor of "heroic treatment" She, however, determined 
to make one more efibrt to avoid this neceasily, and went 



230 CHABLOITE CUSHMAN: 

for a time to Malvern, where in connection with water- 
tieatment she tried certain remedies which had been sug- 
gested to her, with a view of dispersing the tumor. This, 
however, proved useless, and on the 18th of August she 
went to Edinburgh, to place herself under the care of Sir 
James Simpson, whom she knew well, and for whom she 
had a great esteem. He, in connection with Dr. Spence, 
the head of the Boyal College of Surgeons, decided upon 
an operation, and this sad and painful event took place 
on the 26th. 

It was appcu^ntly very successful, but was speedily 
followed by a series of very dangerous complications, and 
for a time Miss Cushman seemed to hover between life 
and death. Finally, however, her good constitution and 
cttreful nursing brought her round; she rallied, and it 
was supposed and believed that the danger was effectually 
removed. 

Toward the end of October she was sufficiently re- 
stored to be enabled to leave Edinburgh, and after a short 
stay at Malvern, for general restorative treatment, to start 
again for Bome on the 23d of November ; but she was 
weakened generally by the long and serious illness, and 
in the course of the winter it became evident that the 
evil was not entirely eradicated. 

In the spring of 1870 the trouble again made its ap- 
pearance. She left Rome on May 23d, going by way of 
Venice and Munich to Paris, and from thence to England, 
where she again consulted Paget, and with some difficulty 
got his consent to further efforts for relief by another 
process of "heroic treatment," severer and more painful 
than the first, but less dangerous, namely, excision by 
caustic. This terrible process she underwent with her 
usual firm courage at Hampstead, at the house of dear 
and valued Mends, during the month of June. For a 



H£B LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIEa 231 

time this also was supposed to be successful; healing 
took place lapidlj, her general health improved, and all 
seemed going on well She went again to Malvern ; but 
''the snake was only scotched, not killed/' and the return 
of unfavorable symptoms induced her to make up her 
mind to return finally to America. 

On the 22d of October, 1870, Miss Cushman sailed 
from Liverpool in the Scotia, on her last voyage to Amer- 
ica. The Boman home was abandoned to the tender 
mercies of tenants. All knew, though no one ever said 
so, that they might never see it agaux It was not until 
1874 that it was finally broken up, and all its artistic 
contents transported to this country. These were so 
many and various, that it has only been since her death 
they have all been opened and distributed, and this only 
through a large addition having been made to the Villa, 
which before this could not contain them all The Villa 
is now a most interesting and valuable record of her career, 
full of associations and remembrances, and held sacredly 
and reverently as such in the hearts of its present pos- 
sessors. It is her real monument, which she herself 
created and adorned, where she yet speaks the noble 
lessons of her life through the subtle spiritual essence 
which breathes from every object she knew and loved. 
It is as sadly full of her now as it was when her sweet 
presence filled it with light and joy, and the potent force 
of her great personality pervades every material object 
with a strength which only such Uving presence as hers 
could leave behind. 

The monument in contemplation at Mount Auburn, 
which only imavoidable circumstances has delayed, will 
be but an expression to the world at large of a great soul 
departed ; but to the hearts of those who knew her in the 
genial and loving atmosphere of her home, the Villa must 
be her best monument 



232 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN: 

She came home to America to make a last stn^le for 
her life, and, failing that hope, to make what remained 
of it as useful and valuable to herself and others as lay 
within the bounds of her possibilities. It has been al* 
ready shown how thoroughly she carried out this deter- 
mination. The progress of her fatal malady, though sure, 
was slow. She had an originally powerful constitution 
and a most indomitable courage to fall back upon, and 
these sustained her almost to the last moment The 
mere record of what she accomplished during these last 
years would seem incredible, and did indeed lead many 
to the belief that no serious ailment could exist In 
spite of themselves, it also buoyed up the hopes of those 
surrounding her ; it almost seemed as if a miracle might 
be wrought in favor of one who knew how to hold and 
use life with such power, who seemed as it were to defy 
the ordinary conditions of humanity. Very few who saw 
Miss Cushman act, or heard her read, during these years 
could at all realize her condition, she rose so entirely 
above and beyond it ; and yet it was such that no medi- 
cal authority would venture upon any hopeful auguries. 
To lengthen life as long as possible by careful living and 
judicious treatment was the utmost to be attained, and 
for a long time the disease seemed to be held in abey- 
ance by these means. She always r^retted that she 
gave up this generous system of treatment for hope of 
benefit from the water-cure, which was much urged 
upon her by friends, one of the first requisites of which 
is to lower the system. These matters are, however, 
beyond the scope of discussion here; in some respects 
she did derive benefit &om the water-cure, and who can 
teU how much it may not have saved her of suffering ? 
At any rate, with her usual firmness, having undertaken 
it, she gave it a fair trial She was not one to siirrender 



H£B LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEHOBIEa 233 

80 long as there remamed even a faint hope of help ; and 
for the sake of all who loved her she never remitted her 
efforts, and tried to cherish hope for herself, as well 
knowing how her despair would darken and depress 
their lives. So, as I have said, perhaps too often in this 
memoir, in this also she gave herself for others ; she lived 
to the veiy utmost, that they might not despair; and it 
was a daily and hourly study, amid aU that she had to 
contend with of pain and discouragement, to see and feel 
how truly she lived up to this thought, never, or rarely, 
descending into the inevitable depths which belong to our 
human nature, and from which not even the strongest can 
wholly escape. So powerful and so sustaining was this 
attitude on her part, that when she for a moment gave 
way, the world seemed to be coming to an end, to the 
faithful and devoted group who ministered to her ; and 
when the sad moment of surrender at last came, it struck 
them aU with the suddenness of a blow which had been 
slowly gathering force during six years of suspense, 
anxiety, and intense tension of soul and body. 

The record of Miss Cushman's achievements during 
these last years is simply marvellous when we consider 
her rapid movements from place to place, the miles of 
railway travel she undertook, and the amount of work 
she performed under conditions so unfavorable. It was 
a grand, and yet a painful contemplation ; for she threw 
herself into it with a steady and persistent purpose, 
knowing well that such an amount of overwork must 
wear out her forces sooner, yet content that the machine 
should wear rather than rust out, and finding in the 
exercise of her powers a satisfaction and content which 
seemed to more than repay her for the effort 

The autumn and winter of 1870 she passed in va- 
rious places, trying what help might come from her native 



234 CHABLOTTB CU8HMAN: 

air ; up to the 11th of Januaiy she was at Hyde Park, 
on the Hudson, enjoying immensely the winter in the 
country, and taking long walks and drives^ full of appar- 
ant strength and energy. She went also to Newport, with 
a view of trying that climate as a winter residence, having 
heard that it was milder than other places, and in many 
respects like the climate of England. It was after this 
visit she conceived the idea of building there ; and she 
shortly entered into negotiations for the purchase of a 
site, and the erection of the home now so well known and 
so much admired. Her subsequent determination to work 
the better part of the year left it often tenantless ; but 
she returned to it whenever she could, even for a time, 
with delight, and had much comfort and satisfaction in 
it, practising there, as everywhere, the pleasant duties of 
hospitality to its utmost capacity. 

In one of her letters of this year, speaking of her state, 
she writes: — 

'' I am waiting ; seeking all simple aids that can palliate 
my trouble ; avoiding all things that can fatigue me ; leading, 
for the most part and for the first time in my life, an idU 
existence. But I hope, with God's help, not a useless one for 
all that ; for in trying to train myself to patience perhaps I 
am helping those who love me and suffer with me." 

Shortly after, speaking of her Newport home, she 
says: — 

^ My house is pretty, and much admired ; it is comfortable ; 
but I am not going to test its merits this winter, for my doc- 
tor wishes me to work again, as he considers that change of 
scene, air, and occupation are desirable for me. I leave my 
home early in the autumn, to wander for a couple of months, 
not far away from it, and in the New England towns. Early 
in December I go to the West for a couple of months, and 
then perhaps to the South for a couple more, after which, if 



H£B LIFE^ LETTEBS, AKD MXMOBIES. 236 

all goes well with me, I may undertake the journey to Cali- 
fornia. Tou see I must be pretty well, or I should be unable 
to look forward with such a hopeful soul to suoh work and 
change as I do." 

In pursuance of these projects, we find her busy in 
various places. On December 22d we have a pleasant 
letter from Brattleborough, Vermont. 

'' Tou will hold up your hands in wonder when you see 
where I am, and know of the cold, cold weather, — thermome- 
ter 10^ below zero 1 I assure you I am amazed at myself; but 
while the weather in Boston was in a mild and serene state, 
they made application to me to come up here for a reading. 
I was stupid or sanguine (they both mean the same thing 
when one acts without calculation) enough to forget that 
Christmas of 1871 might be colder than Christmas of 1870, and 
made the engagement to come here on the 22d ; and so, though 
my reading at Providence on Monday gave me a tasfce of Nova 
Zembla, and my journey of Tuesday to New Hayen increased 
my knowledge of po$nlnl%He8f which Wednesday night's experi- 
ence at the Music Hall at New Hayen ripened into shivering 
certainties, yet I was not prepared for yesterday's journey. 
Arrived earlier than I was expected by a day, for I had not 
had time to give warning ; of course I had to come up in 
the village sleigh, a one-story house on runners, with the win- 
dows too high to see out oH I felt as if I was an exile on my 
way to Siberia, in the prisoner's van or 'black Maria.' I 
found my manager was an apothecary, and in the midst of a 
prescription when I drove up. He rushed out, covered with 
confusion as with a garment, making many apologies for not 
having been waiting for me. (How could he, when he did not 
know I would be so rash as to take one day for travelling and 
another for reading? Beaders and lecturers are generally 
more economical of time and tneans,) He directed the driver 
what to do with me, and he landed us at the Park House, a 
summer house, where we are the only visitors ! We are oppo- 



236 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

site the Park, on what seems to be the main road out of the 
Tillage, and opposite us, on the other side, also facing the 
Park, stands the ' Insane Asylum.' When thej pointed out 
this building to me with some pride, I exclaimed, * Ah, that 
is the house I ought to haye been taken to.' The good simple 
people, not understanding the poor little ' bit of wit, picked 
out of a pro&ne stage play,' turned and looked at me with a 
strange sort of inquiring wonder, that was perfectly refresh* 
ing after Boston and its realisms and realities! Well, the 
master of the house, after hearing what I wanted for supper, 
jumped into a sleigh and rushed (2.30) down to the village^ 
and brought me back a steak worthy of Paris and Souchong 
tea worthy of London. We were yery tired and parched and 
frozen, and by the time it was ready we were thawed out and 
able to thoroughly ei\joy it Then I was too tired for any- 
thing but bed ; had forty blankets and a good fire ; but in the 
night the fire went out> the blankets lost their power, and I 
did not dare to put my hand out of bed to pull up the other 
forty blankets which Sallie's proyident care had piled up at 
the side of me. But morning came, and with it a woman 
whose activity and briskness made the blood jump in me, and 
I was warm before the fire was made. And now here I am, 
writing this to you in bed, where I haye had my breakfast, 
and within three feet of a stoye ! You will want to hear 

something about my readings. When I tell you that E 

was in a state of ' wonder, loye, and praise,' you will believe I 
read welL She said, ' You walked up on to the platform as if 
you had never done anything else in all your life, and had de- 
voted your whole mind to it.' Sallie said, ' I expected nothing 
but to see you die at the end ; it was so perfect.' * 

'' I leave here at 8.40 for Springfield ; then to Albany ; and 
from there to Hyde Park, for a rest. On the 3d Jantiary I 
get back to Boston, for readings on the 4th, 6th, and 8th." 

It was not until September, 1871, that she made her 

* Thia was the first reading at Providence, to which she is alluding. 



HEB UFE, LETTERS, AlO) MEMORIES. 237 

first engagement to act at Booth's Theatre, New York. 
The newspaper notices of the time speak of this return 
to the stage in a tone of respect, almost of reverence, most 
unusual with the free lances of the press. All seemed to 
feel that it was that brightening up of the flame which 
precedes its final extinction. 

The engagement was a highly successful one * and was 
followed by another in Boston.+ It was during this 
yisit that the honor was paid her of naming the public 
school which had been erected on the site of her birth- 
place "The Cushman School," and a very interesting 
ceremony took place on the occasion, which will per- 
haps be best described in her own words. In a letter 
to a friend in England, dated December 31, 1871, she 
writes: — 

''Tour letter should have been acknowledged long ere this, 
but I have been the very busiest and hardest worked human 
being you ever knew for these last thirteen weeks. I do not 
remember even in my youngest days ever to have accomplished 
so much, for then I had only my profession, and no society 



* The receipts for forty- two nights amoimtiiig to $ 57,000. 

t A fHend writes of this Boston engagement : ** I can only teU 3ron, 
what you no donbt hear from other quarters, that she is perfectly spleti^ 
did, and seems to find only strength in the fatigues of her profession. It 
is hard to believe that there is anything wrong with her, seeing how she 
looks now, after all she has done lately. Last night, after two perform- 
ances of Macbeth (afternoon and evening), I went behind the scenes to 
her dressing-room, on my way walking behind poor Macbeth, who had 
just come off from his dying scene, and a more dilapidated object it 
would be hard to find, — stumbling, tottering, and groaning, like a rheu- 
matic old woman, while she I found almost as bright and cheery as if she 
had done nothing more than usuaL But 'she is alone the queen of 

earthly queens.' M says she is Pope now, crowned with the triple 

crown of excellence in her three parts. AU this, no doubt, the stoiy of her 
great success in Boston, wiU be no news to you ; but I am sure you can 
never hear too much of her good health and good condition.' 



ft 



238 CHABLOTTB OUBHMAN : 

duty to attend to as welL I have been hard at work, bodilj, 
mentally, socially, and not, I hope, worthlessly. If you haye 
seen any of the New York papers fix>m about the 26th Sep- 
tember and 17th October to 29th of the same, you would haye 
seen that my country-people giye me credit for growth in 
grace, and believe now firmly that they haye a Siddons of their 
own I Of course it is not displeasing to me to be so considered, 
but / hum better I I dare say I haye grown intellectually, and 
my suffering has been sent to me in yain if I haye not im* 
proyed in spirit during all the time I haye been away from my 
profession ; but as a mere actress, I was as good, if not better, 
eleyen years ago than I am now. But what is printed liyes 
for us, and what is conoeiyed and acted liyes only in the 
memory of the beholder; thus I am glad that such things 
should be printed of me. I do not think it has hurt me 
physically to work. While the recognition has done my soul 
and spirit good, I feel that I haye not labored in yain. Then, 
after New York, when I went to my natiye city, Boston, where 
they neyer belieyed in me so much as they did elsewhere, I 
came to haye such praise as made my heart satisfied, and they 
indorsed their good opinions in a substantial way, which was 
also good. The City Council paid me a great honor in formally 
announcing to the world that one of their chief boasts, their 
public school system, should be associated with my name^ 
by enacting that henceforth and foreyer the school building 
which had been erected on the site where stood the house in 
which I was bom was to be known as the Cushman School, 
This from old Puritan stock, which belieyes that the public 
school is the throne of the state, was a greater honor than any 
I could haye receiyed from them. I was proud, first, that I 
as an actress had won it; then, secondly, that for the first 
time this had been bestowed upon a woman ; and then came 
the ciyic pride, in knowing that my townspeople should care 
that I was oyer bom. Nothing in all my life has so pleased 
me as this." 

The ceremonies were simple and impressiye. The chil- 



HEB LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMOBIES. 239 

dren sang, and presented flowers. Speeches were made, 
to which Miss Cnshman responded in her usual hearty 
manner, and from her usual text, — impressing upon her 
youthful hearers the value of earnestness of purpose, and 
the need to give themselves up to any work they had 
to do, whether of business or kindness, of sympathy or 
obedience." She then read to them "After Blenheim," 
by Southey, and other selections. 

The following letter, by an eye-witness of the proceed- 
ings on this occasion, may not be iminteresting. 

'' In the old, historic part of Boston, dose by the chime 
of bells giyen to the American colonists by King George, 
under the Tigilant eye of the old cockerel, there stood, in 
1816, a 'rough cast' house. Here, amid the summer heats, 
was bom, of stem Puritan stock, a blue-eyed girl who after- 
wards, single-handed, fought her way to an eminence where 
she stood a queen, her royal ri^t unchallenged 1 Boston 
proudly boasts that her day and generation had not Charlotte 
Cushman's equal In 1867 the old house was torn down, 
and in its place was built a handsome brick school-house. 
For five years it had no name; then — happy thought I — 
a member of the school board proposed it should be called 
The ' Cusbman School,' in honor of the celebrated actress. 
Some of the old conservatiTes were startled into a mild re- 
monstrance. A public building named, forsooth, for a wmant 
What matter that it was a girls' school, and women only for 
teachers I Fortunately there was no mayor who must be 
flattered with an educational namesake; so the vote was 
carried, and to-day a woman's name is graven in letters of 
granite upon its hf^gsA^. On the fifth day of January, 1872, 
Miss Cushman made a tour of the building, gracing each room 
with her presence. Then all were assembled in the hall for 
a dedicatory serTice. On the floor were seated the pupils, a 
thousand girls ; on the platform, teachers and visitors; and in 
the centre^ Miss Cushman. Here she made her 'maiden speech,' 



240 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAK : 

as she smilingly said. Those upturned girlish faces were all 
the inspiration she needed, and a flush of enthusiasm gathered 
on her pale fiuse. For their encouragement she told them 
she walked those very streets, a school-girl as poor as the 
poorest among them. With rapid gestures of her laige, 
shapely hands, her eyes glowing with the fire of her own pe- 
culiar genius and her habitual intensity, she told them that 
whatever she had attained had been by giving herself to her 
toorh A patience that tired not, an energy that faltered not, 
a persistence that knew no flagging, principles that swerved 
not, and the victory was hers, after long years of hard wof^ 
Higher than her intellectual strength, higher than her culture 
or genius or graces of character, she ranked her ability for 
vfcrh This was the secret of her success, and the legacy she 
bequeathed the girls of the Cushman SchooL They knew 
something of her history ; that she had educated herself; 
that she had stoutly resisted the shafts of disease ; that the 
great men of the age delighted to do her honor ; that she was 
an earnest, religious woman, upon whose fair name rested no 
shadow of suspicion. They felt the soft womanliness of her 
character shining out fix>m the mi^esty of strength, and who 
can say how many impulses 

' To dare and do and be ' 
were bom there t 

<< Among the honored visitors who pressed round after the 
exercises were over was a slender, dark-eyed woman, principal 
of a well-known seminary about twenty miles from Boston, 
a woman whom hundreds have risen up and called blessed. 
She had been thrilled by Miss Cushman's words, and with an 
impulsive earnestness, so characteristic, said, as she was in- 
troduced : ' I wish you might live a hundred years and see 
the seed you have to-day planted spring up and ripen a hun- 
dred-fold.' The reply flashed back quick and strong, ^Mad- 
am, I wish I might, that I could do more and do it better ! ' 
As the two women, each eminent and successful in her chosen 
sphere, clasped hands and looked in each other's &ce one 



HEB LIFE, LETTSSS, AND HEMOBIES. 241 

brief minute, they recognized a fellowship of soul, a kinship 
of purpose. 

*' Goethe said, ' On some &oes there is only a date, on oth- 
ers a histoiy 1 ' Much of conflict and yiotoiy was chiselled 
on Charlotte Cushman's &ce. None of us refuse ' Glory to 
God in the highest,' few but wish ' peace on earth,' but she 
had surely learned 'good will toward men ' ; and these three 
chords of that angelic choir, which nearly two thousand years 
ago sang ' o'er the blue hills of Galilee,' had turned the ele- 
ments of her character into harmonious beauty." 

Among many newspaper notices of this period (1871) I 
select a few, which, as expressing the univeisal opinion 
of the time, are worthy of preservation here. Her first 
appearance at Booth's, in Queen Eathaiine, is thus al- 
luded to by the Tribune : — 

** The enthusiastic reception which Ifiss Cushman received 
on Monday night must convince her how dear she is to the 
public, and with what profound regret her departure from the 
stage is viewed by all the lovers of dramatic art Not to many 
women is it given to arouse our admiration ; to fewer is it 
granted to gain our respect and gratitude. Miss Cushman 
can pronounce the sad word * fiurewell,' with the honest and 
proud conviction that her name will live in the annals of the 
drama as one that was ever associated with all that is noble 
and pure. To her we owe a special debt of gratitude, in that 
she has ever been true to her art in spite of difficulty, f^roocA, 
and suffering." 

Another notice alludes to her reception as full of re- 
spectful enthusiasm, tempered with regret : — 

'* She acted with remarkable strength and fire. That she 
would bring back to the stage her old earnestness and subtlety, 
her unique command of all the resources of her art, and her 
keen appreciation of the text, enriching even the spaces be- 
tween the lines with wonderful suggestiveness of look and 



242 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

gesture, we quite expected. But last night she did mora 
She threw into her performance a vigor and intensity not in- 
ferior, as we remember them, to those characteristics in her 
best days. Miss Oushman is beginning to feel the approach 
of age, and physically, perhaps, she is not equal to her former 
8el£ But weakness, if it exists, is more than atoned for by 
the splendor of her intelligence, her scholarly and refined 
elocution, the pathos, the simplicity, the effectiveness of her 
action. It is one thing to play a queen's part, it is another 
thing to look like a queen. We wish some of the young ladies 
who think themselves tragic actresses, and who trust to their 
pretty faces and elaborate toilets for success, would take 
lessons from the carriage of Miss Cushman. She, at least, 
derived no aid from the magnificence of dress, or from pei> 
Bonal beauty ; but there was a royalty in her demeanor, a con- 
sciousness of power in her every movement, which made ker 
the one figure of interest on the stage." 

One more extract will suffice. 

*^ The announcement that this will be Miss Cushman*s clos- 
ing engagement will cause many a pang of regret, that this 
great actress, this unequalled reader, most thorough artist, 
and noble lady, is to be seen no more upon the stage she has 
graced with her presence so long. Her life, which has not 
even now ' fallen into the sere and yellow leaf,' is one that can 
be set forth as a bright example of what energy, intelligence, 
virtue, and independence of character can accomplish. Women 
on the stage nowadays owe much of their popularity to their 
beauty. Miss Cushman never was beautiful, except in that 
beauty and nobility of character which shines through her 
face and irradiates it with a strange gloiy of truthfulness, of 
honor, and of refinement. 

'^ The special glory of Miss Cushman's final representations 
has been that they bore evidence of enlarged thought and cul- 
ture without losing any of their old efficiency. She came back 
to say adieu in her old strenuous way, after a lifetime spent 



HEB LIFE, LETTERS, AKD MEMOBIES. 243 

in the seirice of the drama, and she wins us again, not by a 
renewal of her old powers, but by the disclosure of new ones. 
It was impossible not to see that she had broader views of 
human nature, and had obtained a deeper insight into its 
secrete ; that her sensibilities were as keen as oyer, but that 
her judgment was matured ; in a word, that she was none the 
less the great actress, but more than ever the finished artist 

" Let us not fail to make fitting record of this before the 
priestess of an almost deserted temple passes out of our sight 
forever ; no nobler record can we well make, and none that 
will carry so valuable a lesson to those neophytes who may 
hereafter minister in the same temple. Standing at this mo- 
ment before her countrymen, the recipient of honors that are 
now, alas ! rare in her profession, recognized as a representa- 
tive artist, let us not forget that the greatest boon she has 
conferred upon the American stage is her demonstration that 
it is possible to combine genius and culture, goodness and 
greatness." 

Miss Cushman spent the Christmas of this year (1871) 
at Hyde Park, and was very happy and merry in spite of 
her physical ills. She enjoyed the country at all seasons, 
and never felt a moment's ennui or weariness, although 
at that season there was no social life but what the four 
walls and the family circle afforded her. She occupied 
herself in preparing her readings, took long walks and 
drives, and was apparently well and strong, though always 
conscious of her " enemy," as she called her ailment On 
the 15th of January, 1872, she started on her Western tour, 
and passed the months of March, April, and May read- 
ing and acting in various places. On the 3d and 4th of 
April she gave two very successful readings in Philadel- 
phia, and on the 7th she made a visit to her Mend Mr. 
William B. Ogden, at his well-known country-seat in the 
neighborhood of New York. It was not until June 10 



244 CHABLOTTB CUSHMAK: 

that she took possession of her villa at Newport, which 
had been built during her absence. She concluded her 
season of work by giving a reading for the benefit of the 
Newport Hospital, on August 20 ; and on the 23d she 
read for the Protestant Episcopal Chapel at Nariagan- 

sett 

The reading which Miss Cushman gave at Nairagansett 
deserves a more particular mention. She went over early 
on the day appointed (a lovely morning in August), accom- 
panied by a party of fiiends, and was received with great 
distinction by the lady under whose auspices the reading 
had been inaugurated, Mrs. W. B. Eichards of Boston, 
and the numerous summer visitors of the hotels which 
stand all along the shore of Narragansett Bay. The read- 
ing took place in the chapel for the benefit of which it 
was intended, and was a very successful affair. Towards 
evening a large assembly of admiring and grateful friends 
accompanied her to the landing, and the little steamer 
sailed away upon the summer sea amid cheers and waving 
of handkerchiefs. It was one of those wonderful evenings 
of which Newport only is capable : a sunset of imexam- 
pled glory illuminated the sea and touched with points 
of fire the distant buildings and the nearer islands ; a calm 
serenity, as of a good deed happily accomplished, filled 
the air and gently touched all hearts. It was an evening 
which all those who shared its sweetness will long re- 
member. 

On the occasion of the reading for the benefit of the 
Newport Hospital a proposition was made to Miss Cush- 
man, by one of the wealthy and fashionable summer resi- 
dents, that she should give the reading at her house, which 
was freely placed at Miss Cushman's disposal She de- 
clined the proposition, on the ground that as she was 
reading for the benefit of the people of Newport, she pre- 



.' , t 



\ .. 



( > 



V 



\." .' ' 



. I 



. ■ I ' I i 



\ 



• 1 



, I 



^] 









) , 



t " 



\ » 



1 .t 



1 1 



HER LIFE, LETTEBS^ AND MEMOBIEa 245 

ferred to do so in a place to which thejmight more freely 
come ; and she therefore gave it in the town itself. It 
was a very successful effort, notwithstanding that the peo- 
ple for whom she made it had not public spirit enough 
to avail themselves as folly as might have been expected 
of her kindly thoughtfulness. 

After October 11th follows a long season of acting and 
reading in all parts of the country. She was acting in 
Boston at the time of the great fire, and her engagement 
was interrupted by that calamity. On December 5th 
she again went West, arriving on the 14th of January 
in New Orleans, having engaged to act with Mr. Law- 
rence Barrett's company there and in other Southern 
cities. This was a most disastrous experience. After act- 
ing a week in New Orleans she was taken seriously ill, 
and, notwithstanding every effort and struggle on her 
part to keep her engagements, found herself compelled to 
abandon them. From Montgomery she started, still very 
weak and ill, with recurring chills and fever, to make the 
best of her way to Philadelphia and her good doctor 
there. The journey was a terrible one ; owing to the sea- 
son, and want of proper information as to the route, she 
encountered every kind of discomfort; missing connec- 
tions and obliged to stop over at the most Grod-forsaken 
places, unable to procure suitable food, and obliged, when 
she did move, to take the poorest kind of accommodation. 
At length, on the 12th of February she arrived, much 
prostrated, in Philadelphia, and remained there under 
the doctor's care until the 1st of March, when she was 
sufl&ciently recovered to recommence work at Washing- 
ton. Following this, she moved with her usual rapidity 
from point to point, reading, acting, and visiting in various 
places. 

From a series of letters written during the years 



246 CHAJILOTTB CU8HBIAN: 

1872-74 I make some brief extracts, which show where 
and how she was at those dates, and cany on the rec- 
ord in the best way, namely, from her own lips. Her 
life was too full for her letters to be much more than 
brief memoranda of the facts of each day, written to re- 
lieve the anxiety of friends at a distance ; but interesting, 
as all letters from people of marked character must ever 
be. Her summer had been spent mostly at Newport, in 
the midst of her family. On September 28th she writes 
from there, speaking of the departure of the children and 
the break-up of her home for the summer. 

'* I do not get over my dreadful depression and sickness of 
heart, and I cannot reason myself out of it. I suppose it is 
that I am weaker than ever before, and the summer has been 
a greater strain upon me than I knew, until the reaction came. 
I have had much trial this summer, more than any one knows. 
First, the excitement of getting into the house, then the heat, 
the arrival of the things from Rome, and the sickness of soul 
over the memories that were awakened at the sight of them ; 
but most of all, the wrench I had at last in the departure of 
my children, the breaking up and being left alone. I have 
been very lonely. This is a confession of weakness ; but 
enough of myself." 

From Swampscott, one of her favorite places, she writes 
to a friend : — 

"Your dear spirit is all around me in this sweet place, and 
I seem to be sure that I shall find you in your own room if I 
go out and return ; but, alas ! I shall not see you yntil a fort- 
night from this day, when we will have 2^ jubilation^ won't wel 
I had a tremendous success in my reading yesterday. Phillips 
Brooks says it is the most wonderful * growth^ since last year, 
and many others say the same. George Macdonald and his 
wife were so enthusiastic that when you know the quiet people 
that they are it will seem wonderful He speaks of me in his 



H£B LDTE, LETTERS, AND MEMOBIES. 2^ 

lecture on Burns, where he repeats some lines, and says, * If 
I had mj friend Miss Cushman here to read it to you, she 
would show you much more meaning in it than / can.' Fields 
also refers to me in his ' Masters of the Situation.' So you see 
I am getting spoiled. I read the * Skeleton in Armor ' wdL^ 
and the effect was fine. I made the ' fearful guest ' speak in 
monotone, like the ghost in * Hamlet,' and you cannot think 
how strange and weird it sounded. Tou could hear a pin 
drop in that vast hall, which, after all, is a most awful place 
to speak in. I was tired, but not so much so as I expected. 
* Ivry ' brought down the house at every verse, and our good 
friend here says he don't believe any other woman, or man, 
could give the ' Hurrah i ' with ma So much for all that part 
of me ; the other home part of me hurried away from the hall 
as fast as the ' dear five hundred friends,' who came to the 
artists' room to speak to me and thank me, would permit, glad 
to get back to my dear hostess, who is the soul of goodnesa^ 
and 'just adores me.' " 

With reference to the above reading a friend writes 
to Miss Cushman one of those little tokens which more 
clearly than anything else give thefediTig her eflforts at 
this time were eliciting from her friends and the public. 

''DsARFRiBin): Let me tell you of the entire and perfect suc- 
cess of your last evening's reading. My most critical judgment 
could not pick a flaw in you or your work. You looked and 
did superbly. It is to the praise of modem things that in 
your half-dozen selections you could gather up such sweet and 
noble sentiment ; and that you could succeed, either in getting 
out of it or putting into it, such exquisite shadings of thought 
and feeling, seemed to everybody simply wonderful. I was 
never among a more impressed and delighted audience ; a 
sense of awe, half of afiright, oppressed me, that one personality 
could hold and exactly express so many and varied individuals. 
Even now, after a night's sleep, when you came to me once 
and again, I have still that vague shadowy sense as of some- 



248 CHABLOTTE CUSHHAir : 

thing Bupematural about me. Who shall say how superhuman 
are the human capabilities ! Well, dear, I am glad of a noble 
woman in the world." 

I find the following chaiacteiistic bit in one of her own 
letters of June 6th : — 

'' I am so sorry to hear that your mother has dropped down 
again. She was very likely to do so in the quiet of the countiy. 
She requires a peculiar kind of entertainment^ just the kind 
that 'so poor a man as Hamlet is ' can give her, — a mixture 
of rattle, nonsense, and sympathy ; in hci, you will have to 

keep an adar for her (priyate), and M must leam to endure 

the presence of such for her saka You will be able to trace 
almost daily my stages of being and doing by my tone in 
writing. I am too bom a demonstrator to hide anything. 
'They tell alL'" 

Under date of June 26tli she writes discouragingly of 
herself: — 

** I do get so dreadfully depressed about myself, and all 
things seem so hopeless to me at those times, that I pray God 
to take me quickly at any moment, so that I am not allowed 
to torture those I love by letting them see my pain. But when 
the dark hour passes, and I tiy to forget by constant ocoupa- 
pation that I have such a load near my heart, then it is not 
so bad." 

In July she writes : — 

'' I am being pursued by managers, and have promised, if ^ 
/ am entirely able^ and not otherwise, to act in New York for 
four weeks, commencing the 12th of January ; and if the produc- 
tion of ' Guy Mannering ' on a grand scale should be successful, 
I have said I would not interfere with it by going elsewhere. 
So from January to February I shall be in New York tame- 
vfkere. But I can promise nothing absolutely, for I am not 
well, and I suppose I shall not work any more. Still, it gives 



H£B LIFE, LETTERS, AIQ) MEMORIES. 249 

me something to think oC I most tell yon of a funny thing 
that occurred the other day. A friend had heard of a pair of 
horses which he wanted me to buy, but when he wrote for them 
they were sold. He told me yesterday that the man said, ' Miss 
Cushman ought to have had them, for they were named Edwin 
Booth and Charles Fechter.' I should have declined such a 
pair, as not likely to work well together ! " 

Speaking of a certain theatrical d^biit about this time, 
she says : '' These women don't know what they want, but 
like to try everything, to prove how easy it is!'* 

The letters of this time constantly end with the prayer, 
''Ah, I pray Gk)d in his infinite mercy to take me quickly, 
that I may not wear out those who love me I ** And to 
the friend to whom she vmtes daily, who is laboring under 
a heavy trial, she says : — 

** God bless you and help you in all ways to bear, to endure, 
and be patient This is the best prayer I can make for you, 
and it covers all the ground of a life. From my soul I make 
it a hundred times a day ; but prayers are all I can give you 
to help you. I am not able to come to give you comfort and 
strength by my presence." 

She was at this time exercising the duties of hospitality 
to a large indoor and outdoor ciicla Her brother and her 
niece had come over from England, and the Villa was 
stretched to its utmost capacity to hold and entertain the 
friends whom it was her chief pleasure to draw about her. 
She never thought of want of room ; the impulse towards 
kindness came first, the ways and means of executing it 
followed ; and it was amazing, and not a little amusing, 
to see the shifts to which she resorted rather than disap- 
point or delay the proposed visit of a friend. She used 
to say, " This is Liberty Hall ; every one does as / pleasa'' 
And, indeed, the homelike, genial atmosphere she created 



250 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN: 

about her made eveiy one content and happy in the 
narrowest quarters. 

She was at this time singing sometimes the sacred songs 
of (jounod, and enjoying them herself in the enjoyment of 
others. Speaking of one of these, '' There is a Green Hill 
far Away," she writes : — 

** I cannot give you an idea of its beauty, for the accompani- 
ments are truly splendid, and our friend D so enjoys my 

singing it that he plays it beautifully. I wind them up some- 
times with ' Father MoUoy,' and they go o£f to bed very happy 
and merry." 

Other letters of this time are not so bright and hopeful 
She is suffering more, and feels the weight of care and 
responsibility in so large a household and such abound- 
ing hospitality. 

'' I am subject to many interruptions^" she writes, '^ from 
all directions, and so get confused and worried. I sometimes 
find myself wishing I had no house, and all who have ' a place 
of their own ' will find in time they are likely to repent taking 
such care upon themselves, and I wish * Bailie Nicol Jarvie's 
boots had been full of hot water before he had entered on sic 
a damnable errand ! ' 

" The casino is going on this year, just opposite, and twice 
a week the band plays and the carriages congregate around 
and in front of this house, and the sound of music and voices 
reaches me through my house, and to my writing-table. I 
have not been ; when I can go in a calico gown, and take my 
sewing, I will go. I don't think I will go before. I have not 
yet thought what sewing it will be ; if it were soHSO-ing I could 
go any day, for that is my usual occupation." 

Among her visitors at this time were her friends John 
Gilbert and his wife, and she thus speaks of the pleasure 
their visit afforded her : — 

" August Wik, — I spent a perfectly indolent day yesterday ; 



HEB LIFEi LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 251 

that IB, if indolence can be where one is busy all the time with 
reminiscences and talks of old friends and old times, and later 
times and later people. I talked more yesterday than I haye 
talked in a fortnight, and yet I was not tired. What makes 
the difference ) Some people tire me to death eyen when I 
don't talk myself; others don't tire me when I do all the 
talking. Is it that I love the sound of my own yoice, and am 
vain and conceited t If so, why don't I talk to the others, and 
find pleasure in my own voice t No ; it seems to me that some 
people are sympathetic, and that others, however kind and 
good they may be, are not so. Now on Saturday John Gil- 
bert and his wife came ; and although I sigh when people get 
out at the door, yet I was very pleased to see this old friend 
of my childhood, who has been in feeling like a brother to me 
ever since I was little ; even though we have had no association 
for years, yet we always meet just where we left off, and are 
always happy when we are talking to each other. Yesterday 
I went to a luncheon-party. It was pleasant, and of course 
/ acted hardf as I always do ; but everybody seemed pleased 
with me, and they were all very agreeable people. There were 
ten of us, and we made a great noise, which they say is a good 
sign for fun, but not so much for convention. I cannot let 
people be conventional where I am, for I don't know how, and 
wh^ I go to play with people, they must play my way ; is it 
not so 1 And this is the only thing I will admit I am dogmatic 
in. Of course I was good for nothing when I came home ; 
had to go to bed at once ; but later I did a portion of * Mid- 
summer Night's Dream ' with John, and he says I am awfuUy 
funny in Bottom. We shall see.'' 

On the 25th of August she left Newport for change of 
air, the climate of that place being unfavorable for her 
during the muggy heats and fogs of August, and spent a 
delightful week in exploring the recesses of the Catskill 
range under the convoy of Mr. William B. Ogden, who, 
being a native of that locality, made the excursion very 
pleasant with his memories and leminiscencea They trav- 



252 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN: 

elled short distances each day by carriage, stopping each 
night at some one of the pleasant towns which lie all along 
the course of the Delaware Eiver. She was as usual 
waimlj interested in all she saw and heard ; the country 
was lovely, and the long hours' driving in the open air 
helped and strengthened her mucL 

September waj3 passed chiefly at Newport, and it was 
not until October that she started on her Western journey, 
in better general health than she had been during the 
summer, and, from the tone of her letters, in excellent 
spirits also. She began acting in Chicago on the 13th 
October, following up at Bochester, Cleveland, Toledo, 
Detroit, Buffalo, and Boston. 

These letters of 1873-74, written under all the 
pressure of steady work and perpetual travel, are wonder- 
ful evidences of her remarkable physical powers, as well 
as of the bright sunshiny nature which could not be long 
lowered or depressed by outer circumstances. They have 
not a morbid note in them. If a trial or a pain comes, it 
is told frankly, but always with some hopeful comment 
or some comforting bit of philosophy. Writing fix)m El- 
mira, she says : — 

** In Utica, on Monday, I thought I should be blown away ; 
the wind blew like 'cinque oenti diavoli,' as they say in Italy. 
I am glad you think I did right in the way I have given up 
my summer. I did it unselfishly, and so it has gone welL 
I never think much of what I do for my oum; Ood gave them 
to me and me to them just for that purpose, and I am simply 
doing my duty to help them to health and happiness if I can. 
Thus you say comforting things when you say I have done 
w^exi. • . • . 

'* Tea, you are right ; little people are conceited, some big 
people, too, sometimes, but little people alwayB, If you could 
have seen three people with whom I dined on Sunday, three 



HEB UFB, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 253 

of the littlest people yoa ever saw, and three such conceits ! 
I sat damb in wonderment, and they all talked, and toaM 
talk. This sort must, you know, even if no one understands 
or cares for what they are saying." 

On November 16th she writes : — 

*' I was in a sort of trap at Springfield, Ohio ; could not get 
out, or make sure connection anywhere, unless I went in a 
eaboote ear on a freight train from Springfield to Urbana. I 
had to start at nine o'clock ; of course starting at nine makes 
me out of bed at seven. The horror of being left at this place 
was so great, that I kept waking all night, and asking Sallie 
what time it was, for fear she should oversleep herself. At 
seven I was up and, marvellous to relate, dressed in an hour; 
got some breakfast, and walked to the station, for I had to go 
to the freight department and start from there. But that 
same caboose car was a clean as a pink, a nice gentlemanly fel- 
low, of that class, was the conductor, and I was able to walk 
about and pick up information generally. Well, the day was 
more gorgeous than anything you can imagine. I stood by 
an open window all the fourteen miles, and enjoyed the warm 
balminess of the air after the wet and cold and gloom I had 
been enduring. Arrived at Urbana, I had to wait an hour and 
a half for the train ; of course the waiting-room was so hot 
that it was impossible to sit in it. So I walked up and down 
in the sun, thinking, determining, resolving, and promising our 
Lady of Loretto, etc., eta, if ever I got out of this, etc., etc., 
etc., I would never, etc., etc., etc., any more. By the by, as 
I make these three signs of eta, it strikes me very much like 
the geographical or geometrical designs of my joumeyings 
since I left you, for such up and downs, ins and outs, to's 
and froms I have never before encountered in succession, I 
have committed some escapades, but they were short and 
sharp. This has been a long-drawn-out affair." 

The above allusion to " our Lady of Loretto " was a 
reminiscence of a witty friend, who was wont on any occa- 



254 CHABLOTTB CUSHliAN : 

sion of difficulty or emeigencj to promise two candle- 
sticks to our Lady of Loretto, with inimitable grace and 
unction. 
In a sad letter from Toledo, November 26, she writes : — 

*^ I have got off acting at a mating, which was first intended, 
and I shall give thanks for that, and all the infinite mercies 
of God to me, for they are manifold, I am suffering a good 
deal more pain than I like to acknowledge, and only when I 
am on the stage or asleep am I unconscious of it This has 
been unceasing since the summer, and I suppose I must ex- 
pect it ; but while I can bear it I am wrong to give any ex- 
pression of it, even to you. It is wicked of me to say any- 
thing about it, and I have a great mind to destroy this letter ; 
and yet) and yet, when we regularly face our real troubles I 
believe they become more endurable, and the thought con- 
veyed in one of your last letters, that anything happening to 
me would kill you, gives me much sad thought. I have been 
spared much longer than you or I ever thought possible when 
my trouble first declared itself. We ought to be better pre- 
pared by this time, and we must school ourselves for what is 
inevitable ; though I am a poor creature to talk in this way, for 
I cannot accept even the inevitable without fighting. I have 
fought, €k)d knows, very hard for four years, especially the two 
last ; but I know my enemy, he is ever before me, and he must 
conquer ; but I cannot give up to him. I laugh in his face 
and tiy to be jolly, and I am I I declare I am, even when he 
presses me hardest, and you must try to be so too. Tou must 
not mind these landmarks which you get occasionally from 
me in any other way than to make you more and more 
resigned to the changes which must come some time to every- 
body, and which, wandering as I do, and running other risks 
than those which fate seems to have marked out distinctly for 
me, might come to me any day and any hour." 

After a severe illness in Baltimore, which obliged her 
to stop short in all her engagements for a time, she writes 
upon recovery, February 14th : — 



HER LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 265 

" I am BO grieved to hear jou are not well ; but keep up a 
good hearty courage, and let us thank God that we are both 
lifted out of our troubles and anxieties, and we shall be com- 
forted by the laying of ourselves at his feet, for that means 
resignation and self-abnegation, and with both of these oomes 
help ; and only in self-abnegation and self-sacrifice does help 
come. Then God takes up his part, but while we will help 
ourselves he permits us. I have a lovely day for my journey, 
and all promises welL Once in Philadelphia you must have 
no anxiety about me, for is not God and my good doctor 
there 1" 

After this the tone of her letters is better and more 
hopeful for some tima She is again looking forward 
to work, and laying out plans for the future ; but she 
says: — 

" Ah, how we lay out plans, and how they are all frustrated 
and hopes shattered and calculations blown to air by an over- 
excitement ! Hereafter, neither before nor after my readings 
will I do anything but rest^ and always during my readings I 
must wear a bit and a bridle." 

It is from Wilkesbarre she is writing : — 

''Let us be fashionable, or perish. So I begin my note 
of to-day writing across the paper instead of the usual 
way. I sit, as I write, and look across a large yellow 
river to the opposite stretch of hills, upon which the sun is 
lying in a March-y way. The wind is slapping the branches 
of the trees against one another, and loosening the sap-cells, 
and veiy soon, in a three days' change, spring will be upon 
us. You and I have been passing through our blowing sand 
slappings, and we shall, as soon as bright days come, be like 
birds, hopping, singing, and making everybody jolly about 
us." 

May IStJu During this interval Miss Cushman had 
gone through a very successful reading engagement in 



256 CHASLOTTB CUSHMAK : 

New York, and had put herself under a course of water- 
treatment which she thought was helping her. Under 
this date she writes : — 

'' I am satisfied that the treatment is doing me good, not» 
perhaps, by any evidenoe in my special malady, but in my 
general condition. I am feeling generally much better. I 
am certainly going through my work wonderftiUy ; my spirits 
are better, and I can do more. I am sure it is the treatment. 
I am so settled in my fidth in this, that I think I will consent 
to the engagement offered me at Booth's Theatre for Octo- 
ber." 

During the rest of this summer she pursued the water- 
treatment with her usual firm persistence in whateyer 
she once accepted. In some respects, as the foregoing 
letter will show, she found benefit, and there can be no 
doubt it relieved her of some unfavorable symptoms ; but 
as time went on there were evidences that the time for 
giving up the active work of her profession was at hand. 

Her last engagement at Booth's Theatre waj3 the result 
of these convictions, though when she entered upon it 
she had no thought of taking a formal farewell of the 
stage. She had already made engagements to act, if she 
were able, in various parts of the country, and, as every- 
body knows, theatrical engagements are fixed and irrevo- 
cable facts, which cannot be altered or modified except 
under conditions of absolute inability from illness. After- 
wards, when the farewell at Booth's Theatre was deter- 
mined on, and the ovation tendered to her which assumed 
such formidable proportions, she herself explained to the 
public that she was still under these engagements, and 
also that in leaving the stage she reserved to herself 
the right of appearing at the reading-desk. This explana- 
tion seemed unnecessary at the time> and is therefore 






HEB LIFE, LBITEBS, AKD lOEMOBIES. 257 

repeated here in justice to her memoiy against some 
nnwortiij comments which weie made, let us hope in 
ignorance of the true state of the case. With regard to 
the ovation, Miss Cushman was herself perhaps the person 
who knew least about it of all the parties concerned; 
rumors of what was intended reached her from time to 
time, and she took pains to utter earnest protests against 
any proceedings which seemed to her exaggerated or want- 
ing in true dignity. Whatever was carried out which 
could be so characterized was contrary to her wishes, 
though she, in common with all who cared for her, could 
not but be deeply impressed by the depth, warmth, and 
enthusiasm of the demonstration. Under all its aspects 
it can only be looked upon as a grand testimonial ; for 
such expressions of feeling cannot even be gai up without 
a true and solid foundation. 







CHAPTER XII. 




CUSHMAirS FAHEWEIX TO NFW 
YORK. 



" My Lords, I care not (so much I am bappy 
Above a number) if my actions 
Were tried by every tongue, every eye saw them. 
Envy and base opinion set against them, 
I know my life so even." 

Henry VIII. 

newspapers gave full particulars of the event, 
and it is not so far distant that it is not well 
remembered ; but for the sake of those who come 
after us, to whom all that relates to Miss Cushman will 
soon be only a tradition, I insert here a brief abstract of 
the ceremonies of the occasion. 

Bemembrance will long bear in mind the incidents of 
the Saturday night at Booth's Theatre, when Charlotte 
Cushman took her final leave of the metropolitan stage. 
The scene was one of quite extraordinary beauty and in- 
terest. The spacious theatre was crowded in every part 
by an assemblage comprising all that is most worthy and 
distinguished in our civic circle of literature, art, learning, 
and society. Faces of known and honored persons were 
seen in every direction. All that could be desired of 
intellect and brilliancy in an audience, and all that coidd 
be devised of tasteful accessories for a great occasion, were 
gathered and provided here, and the occasion proved in 



H£B LIFE, LSTTEBS, AND MEMORIES. 259 

every way worthy of the motive that prompted it, the 
idea that it celebrated, and the anticipations it aroused. 

The play was ''Macbeth"; upon the performances there is 
here no reason to pause. The personation has passed into 
history as one of the greatest dramatic achievements of 
our age ; and the word for the hour is not so much a 
recognition of its established excellence, as a record of an 
ovation, not more brilliant than deserved to illustrious 
genius and imperishable renown. 

It was about eleven o'clock when the curtain fell upon 
the tragedy. An interval ensued: when it was again 
lifted, one of the most distinguished companies that has 
ever been seen in a public place came into view. The 
stage was crowded with representative faces in art, litera- 
ture, and the drama. The venerable head of William 
Cullen Bryant occupied the centre of the group; Mr. 
Charles Boberts, who had been selected to read Mr. Stod- 
dard's ode, appeared at the right of the stand, which was 
composed of the beautiful floral testimonials offered to 
Miss Cushman. 

The actress herself, who had doffed her tragic robes, 
and appeared in propria persona in a tasteful dress of 
steel-gray silk, simple and without ornament, entered 
amid plaudits which shook the building, and took her 
place upon the left of the stage, and the ceremonies of 
farewell began with the recitation of the oda 

SALVE, BEGINA. 

The race of greatness never dies ; 
Here, there, its fiery children rise, 

Perform their splendid parts, 

And captive take oar hearts. 

Hen, women of heroic monld, 
Have overcome ns fix>m of old ; 



260 CHABLOm CUSHMAN: 

Crowns waited then» at now. 
For every loyil brow. 

The rictor in the Olympic gamei^ — 
UiB name anumg the proudest names 

Was handed deathless down ; 

To him the olive crown. 

And they, the poets, gnye and sage^ 
Stem masters of the tragic stsge^ 
Who moved by art aostere 
To pity, love, and fear, — 

To those was given the knrel crown. 
Whose lightest leaf conferred renown 
That throng the ages fled 
Still circles each gray head. 

Bat greener laurels duster now. 
World-gathered, on his spacious brow, 
In his snpremest place, 
Greatest of their great race, — 

Shakespeare ! Honor to him, and her 
Who stands his grand interpreter. 

Stepped ont of his broad page 

Upon the living stage. 

The xmseen hands that shape onr fate 
Moulded her strongly, made her greats 
And gave her for her dower 
Abundant life and power. 

To her the sister Muses came. 

Proffered their marks, and promised fiune ; 

She chose the tragic, rose 

To its imperial woes. 

What queen unqueened is here ? what wife. 
Whose long bright years of loving life 
Aro suddenly darkened ! Fate 
Has crushed, but left her great 



HBB LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMOBIES. 261 

AbftiidoDed for a younger hc», 
She sees another fill her place. 

Be more than she has been, — 

Most wretched wife and queen I 

royal sufferer ! patient heart ! 
Lay down thy burdens and depart ; 

" Mine eyes grow dim. Farewell," 

They ring her passing-belL 

And thine, thy knell shall soon be rung. 
Lady, the yalor of whose tongue, 

That did not uige in yain. 

Stung the irresolute Thane 

To bloody thoughts, and deeds of death, — 
The eyil genius of Macbeth ; 

But thy strong will must break. 

And thy poor heart must ache. 

Sleeping she sleeps not ; night betrays 
The secret that consumes her days. 

Behold her where she stands 

And rubs her guilty hands. 

From darkness, by the midnight fire^ 
Withered and weird, in wild attire^ 

Starts spectral on the scene 

The stem old gypsy queen. 

She croons his simple cradle-song. 
She will redress his ancient wrong, — 

The rightful heir come back. 

With murder on his track. 

Commanding^ crouching, dangerous, kind, 
Gonfusiou in her darkened mind. 

The pathos in her years 

Compels the soul to tears. 

Bring laurel ! go» ye tragic Three, 
And strip the sacred laurel-tree, 

And at her feet lay down 

Here^ now, a triple crown. 



262 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN: 

Salve, Begina 1 Art and song, 
Dismiased by thee, ahall misa thee hmg. 

And keep thy memory green, — 

Our moat illustriooa queen 1 

Mr. Bryunt then delivered the following address : — 

'' Madam : The members of the Arcadian Club have desired 
me to present you with a crown of laurel. Although of late 
years little fiEtmiliar with matters connected with the stage, I 
make it a pleasure to comply with their request Be pleased 
to receive it as both a token of their proud admiration of your 
genius and their high esteem for your personal character. You 
remember the line of the poet Spenser, — 

' The knrel, meed of mi^ty oonqnerora.' 

Well is that line applied in the present instance. The laurel 
is the proper ornament for the brow of one who has won so 
eminent and enviable a renown by successive conquests in the 
realm of histrionic art You have taken a queenly rank in your 
profession ; you have carried into one department of it after 
another the triumphs of your genius ; you have interpreted 
through the eye and ear to the sympathies of vast assem- 
blages of men and women the words of the greatest dramatic 
writers ; what came to your hands in the i^eleton form yon 
have clothed with sinews and flesh, and given it warm blood 
and a beating heart Receive, then, the laiurel crown as a 
token of what is conceded to you, as a symbol of the regal 
state in your profession to which you have risen and so illus- 
triously hold." 

Mr. Bryant then tendered her a laurel wreath bound 
with white ribbon, which rested on a purple velvet cush- 
ion. Embroidered in golden letters is this inscription : — 

C.C. 

"PALMAM QUI MERUrr VEELkTr 

18 AC. 74. 



HER LIFE, LETTEBS, AND liEMOBIE& 263 

The letters '' A. C." form the monogram of the Arcadian 
Club. Miss Gushman responded to this address in the fol- 
lowing words: — 

« Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks, but I thank 
you. Gentlemen, the heart has no speech; its only lan- 
guage is a tear or a pressure of the hand, and words very 
feebly convey or interpret its emotions Yet I would beg you 
to believe that in the three little words I now speak, ' 1 thank 
you,' there are heart depths which I should fail to express better, 
though I should use a thousand other words. I thank you, 
gentlemen, for the great honor you have offered me. I thank 
you, not only for myself, but for my whole profession, to 
which, through and by me, you have paid this very graceful 
compliment. If the few words I am about to say savor of 
egotism or vainglory, you will, I am sure, pardon me, inas- 
much as I am here only to speak of myself. You would seem 
to compliment me upon an honorable life. As I look back 
upon that life, it seems to me that it would have been im- 
possible for me to have led any other. In this I have, per- 
haps, been mercifully helped more than are many of my more 
beautiful sisters in art. I was, by a press of circumstances, 
thrown at an early age into a profession for which I had re- 
ceived no special education or training ; but I had already, 
though so young, been brought face to face with necessity. 
I found life sadly real and intensely earnest, and in my 
ignorance of other ways of study, I resolved to take there- 
from my text and my watchword. To be thoroughly in ear- 
nest, intensely in earnest in all my thoughts and in all my 
actions, whether in my profession or out of it, became my 
one single idea. And I honestly believe herein lies the secret 
of my success in life. I do not believe that any great success 
in any art can be achieved without it. 

" I say this to the banners in my profession, and I am 
sure all the associates in my art, who have honored me with 
their presence on this occasion, will indorse what I say in 
this. Art is an absolute mistress; she will not be coquetted 



264 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAK : 

with or slighted ; die requires the most entire self-devotion, 
and she repays with grand triumphs. 

^ To you, gentlemen of the Arcadian Club, and to all who 
have united to do me honor, — to the younger poet who has 
enthroned me in his Terse, and to the older poet who brings 
the prestige of his name and fisune to add a glory to the crown 
he offers me ; to the managers of this theatre, who have so 
liberally met all my wishes and requirements during this 
engagement, as well as to the members of the company who 
have so cheerfully seconded my efforts ; and last, not least, to 
the members of my profession who have so graciously added 
by their presence to the happiness of this occasion, I return 
mj cordial thanks. 

"To my public — what shall I sayl From the depths of 
my heart I thank you, who have given me always considera- 
tion, encouragement, and patience ; who have been ever my 
comfort, my support, my main help. I do not now say fare- 
well to you in the usual sense of the word. In making my 
final representations upon the mimic scene in the various 
cities of the country, I have reserved to myself the right of 
meeting you again where you have made me believe that I 
give you the pleasure which I receive myself at the same 
time, — at the reading-desk. To you, then, I say, may you 
fare well and may I fare well, until at no distant day we 
meet again — there. Meanwhile, good, kind friends, good 
night, and God be with you.** 

The ceremonies of this notable occasion terminated vnth 
a serenade and display of fireworks in front of the Fifth 
Avenue Hotel, where many friends had assembled to greet 
Miss Cushman on her return from the theatre. 

I find in one of Miss Cushman's own letters a reference 
tp this event, which shows her own position witb regard 
to it 

" I acted eight times last week," she writes, '^beside that 
fearful affiur after the play on Saturday. They say such a 



HER LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 265 

iemonstration has never been made before, not even politicaL 
The number of people in front of the hotel must have been 
near 25,000, and it looked exactly like the Piazza del Popolo at 
the fireworks. I wish the children could have seen it ; it was a 
thing they should have seen, to remember in connection with 
their ' big mama.' You must tell them all about it, how the 
whole big square in front of the Fifth Avenue Hotel was 
crammed with human beings. They could not move, they 
were so densely packed. 

''The sight in the theatre was magnificent Then the 
ceremony at the end, which had made me sick all the week, 
for I was frightened lest I should foi^t what I had to say. 
Then I did not know what they were going to do, for when I 
would protest against this or that they would tell me it should 
not be, and yet I felt sure they would do what they pleased ; and 
so it turned out ; for, though I had said if they carried out their 
plan of white horses and escort with torches, eta, I would re- 
main in the theatre all night, yet, when I got into my car- 
riage at the private (carpenters') entrance on Twenty-third 
Street, expecting to go quietly to the hotel, where I had in- 
vited private friends to meet me, I found myself surrounded 
by a mass of human beings with torches and fireworks, rockets 
sent up all the way along up to the front entrance of the 
hotel, and a most mdescribable noise and confusion. The 
corridors of the hotel were as crowded as the streets outside, 
and I could scarcely make my way along. Then, after a time, 
I had to make my appearance in the balcony, and then the 
shouting was something awful to hear. I was ready to drop 
with fatigue, so I only could wave my handkerchief to them, 
and went in, not getting to my bed before half past two." 

FAREWELL TO PHILADELPHIA. 

On Saturday afternoon, November 14, 1874, Miss 
Charlotte Cushman played Meg Merrilies, and on Sat- 
urday evening. Lady Macbeth, for the last time, before 



266 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAK: 

the Philadelphia public. On each occasion the Academy 
of Music was crowded ; the audience in the evening being 
especially noteworthy, not only for numbers, but for dis- 
tinction. The tragedy was finely done throughout, and 
Miss Cushman was admirably supported. After the aw- 
ful sonmambulist scene, Miss Cushman was summoned 
by the plaudits of the audience, and came forward to re- 
ceive many magnificent floral testimonials. The tragedy 
then proceeded to its conclusion, and after the curtain fell, 
in answer to loud demands. Miss Cushman appeared, trans- 
formed from the ghostly figure in which she had last been 
seen into the elegantly dressed lady of the drawing-room. 
The whole vast audience rose, applauding and cheering as 
she approached the footlights, and as soon as silence could 
be obtained. Miss Cushman spoke as follows : — 

" Ladibb and Gentlemen : Accustomed as I am to speak 
before you the impassioned words of genius, to give utterance 
to the highest ideals of the poet and the dramatist, I yet feel 
that my poor tongue must falter when it is called upon to 
speak for itself alone so sad a word as ' farewell,' or when it 
tries to thank you fitly for all your kindness to me in the 
past, for all the honor you do me in the present I have 
never to the best of my knowledge and belief altered a line 
of Shakespeare in my life ; but now, in taking my leave of 
the stage, I shall beg your permission to paraphrase him, the 
more fitly to express what I would say to you ; for it is his 
peculiar gloiy that none other in the whole range of litera- 
ture has written words which apply more fully to every want 
of the soul, to every feeling of the heart Let me say, then, 

partly in his words, 

"All my service 

In every point twice done, and then done double, 

Were poor and single bosinees to contend 

Against these honors, deep and broad, wherewith 

Yon have ever loaded me. For those of old, 

And the late dignities heaped up to them, 

I rest your debtor." 



H£B UFE, LETTESS^ AND MEMORIES. 267 

** In the earlier part of my professional career Philadelphia 
was for some years my happy home. Here I experienced 
privately the greatest kindness and hospitality, publicly the 
utmost goodness and consideration ; and I never come to 
Philadelphia without the affectionate feeling that I am com- 
ing home, and to my family. This would make my farewell 
too hard to be spoken, were it not that, though I am taking 
my leave of the stage, I have reserved to myself the right and 
the pleasant anticipation of appearing before you where you 
have flattered me with the belief that my efforts are not 
unacceptable to you, — at the reading-desk ; until, at no dis- 
tant day, we meet again there, good night, and all good be 
with you." 

This beautiful address, deUvered with genuine feeling 
and matchless elocution, was often interrupted with ap- 
plause, which warmly followed the great artist as she 
disappeared. When the vast multitude emerged upon 
Broad Street, there was such a mass-meeting as that 
avenue has seldom seen. The management had thought 
to give ^cl&t to the occasion by a display of fireworks in 
front of the theatra The object of this demonstration 
quietly went out of the theatre by the stage door and 
drove to her hotel, while the vast crowd were enjoying 
the pyrotechnics given in her honor. It was an evening 
to be long remembered. 

After the farewell in Philadelphia Miss Cushman gave 
readings in Trenton, Baltimore, and Washington, at which 
last place, ovdng to a cold hall and careless arrangements 
for her comfort, she took cold, and started on her Western 
journey already suffering. She was obliged to stop short 
at Cincinnati, where a very serious illness overtook her, 
which postponed her engagements and compelled her to 
abandon her projected trip to California. This was a 
great disappointment to her ; she ardently desired to see 



268 OHABLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

that cotmtiy, and make the acqaaintance of its people, 
but it was too late ; after this she was never able to un- 
dertake the journey ; as soon as she was sufficiently re- 
covered, — and she rose up from these violent attacks for 
a long time in a wonderful way, — she gave readings at 
Chicago and Milwaukee, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Ithaca. 

December 18th she returned to New York, and read at 
Trenton, Morristown, Philadelphia^ Baltimore, and Wash- 
ington. 

Among the many graceful tributes to Miss Cushman 
with which I might crowd my pages, I must not omit 
those of her true poet-Mend, Sidney Lanier, who, though 
coming into the circle of her friendship during these lat- 
ter years, won for himself there a warm and high place. 
She met him for the first time on this visit to Baltimore, 
and, aheady much interested in him through his writings, 
sought his acquaintance, and expressed to him in her 
wonted earnest way the pleasure they had given her. 
The interest with which she inspired him he has en- 
shrined in his own verses, and I am permitted to let them 
speak for themselves. 

(With a copy of " Com.'O 

TO MISS CHABLOTTE CITSHMAK. 

what a perilona waste from low to hi^ 

Must this poor book from me to yoa o'erleap^ — 

From me, who wander in the nights that lie 

About Fame's utmost yagae foondations deep, 

To you, that sit on Fame's most absolute height, 

DiBtinotly staned, e'en in that awful light t 

SiDNBT Lanhr. 
Januaiy 37, 1875. 

And in another and later sonnet : — 

TO CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN. 

Look where a three-point star shall weaye his beam 
Into the slumbrous tissue of some stream, 



HEB LIFE, LETTEBS, AND HEMOBIES. 269 

TiU hu brl^t self o'er bis bright copy leem 

Fnlfilsient dropping on a come-tme dreun ; 

So in thlB night of art thy soul doth ahow^ 

Her excellent doable in the ateadfart flon 

Of wishing love that through men's hearts doth go ; 

At once thou shin'st above and shin'st below. 

E'en when thoa atrivest there within Arf s sky 

(Each star most o'er a strennons orUt flyX 

Full oslm thine image in our love doth lie^ 

A motion glassed in a tranquillity. 

So triple-rayed thou mov'st, yet sta/st, serene, — 

Arf s artist, Love's dear woman. Fame's good queen ! 

SiDNET Lanisb. 

And again, when he published a volume of poems, the 
deep feeling of mingled tenderness and admiration which 
he felt for her finds fit utterance in the '' Dedication." 

TO CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN. 

Aa Love wiU carve dear namea upon a tree^ 
Symbol of gravure on hia heart to be^ 

So thought I thine with loving text to aet 
In the growth and aubatance of my Canzonet ; 

But, writing it, my teara begin to ftU — 

Thia wild-roae atem for thy laige name 'a too amaU ! 

Kay, atin my trembling handa are fain, are fidn 
Cut the good lettera though they lap again ; 

Perchance auch folk aa mark the blur and atain 
Wm aay, It was ike bwting o/th^ rain; 

Or haj4y theae o'er-woundinga of the atem 
May koae some little balm, to plead for them. 

On the 6th of February, 1875, she read in Albany, stop- 
ping with Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Seward, travelling on the 
8th to Chicago, through the very coldest weather of the 
season, and acting in Chicago from the 15th to the 26th. 
On the 27th she b^an a week's engagement in Cindn- 



270 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

nati, and on the 7th of March started for St Louis. In 
consequence of a heavy snow-storm she missed connec- 
tion at Indianapolis, and was detained so long on the 
road, that she only arrived in time to go directly to the 
theatre and act Lady Macbeth the same night. This was 
a splendid example of her power of rising above difficulty 
in the dischai^ of duty. Although exhausted by a long 
journey, and far from well, she could not disappoint man- 
ager or public. After a slight rest and refireshment she 
went upon the stage, and acted Lady Macbeth so that 
none among her audience knew she was not in full force, 
or missed anything in the impersonation. She fulfilled 
her engagement of five nights ; but it was at the expense 
of another attack of illness, from which she rose up to 
give a reading, and afterwards to read and act at Pitts- 
burgh and Philadelphia, — in the latter place, to an au- 
dience of three thousand. 

During this period of rapid movement and constant 
occupation the letters are only brief bulletins of her state 
and progress, and there are no noteworthy incidents to 
chronicle ; except that I find in one of them an expres- 
sion of her pleasure in seeing Bistori act, and describing 
a graceful little incident which occurred on one of these 
occasions. She writes : — 

'' I have been to the theatre two nights to see Bistori in 
" Elizabetta " and " Marie Antoinette." I wished for you very 
much to see her with me. She is the greatest female artist I 
have ever seen. Such perfect natiue, such ease, such grace, 
such elegance of manner, such as befits a queen. On Monday 
night I sat in the director's box, holding a beautifiil bouquet 
of roses and lilies of the valley for her. At the end of the sec- 
ond act she was called, the curtain was lifted, and she came 
down with some of the others. As I lifted the bouquet she 
saw it and came over to the box. She is near-sighted| so did 



HEB LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 271 

not recognize me until she came near ; then she gave a start 
tx)ward me, saying, ' Ah, cara amica 1 ' She almost put her 
arms around me, and would have kissed me if I had let her. 
We exchanged words to know where each was staying, the 
audience all this while applauding tremendously. Friends say 
it was one of the prettiest sights they ever saw, and the audi- 
ence seemed to think so. She came to see me yesterday, and 
we had a long, long talk ; I floundering about in Italian, and 
she talking like an angel. Her voice is the most lovely, 
and her mouth the most &scinating, after Titiens, of any ar- 
tist I ever saw. The * Marie Antoinette ' lasted four hours 
and a quarter. I am sorry to miss the * Lucrezia Borgia ' to* 
night, but I am already suffering too much from the indul- 
gence. I go on to Baltimore on Saturday. I never know 
what I can do till I try [the mat dlwdrt of all true artists], 
and I shall try to fulfil my engagements." 

FARirWXLL TO BOSTON. 

Miss Cushman's farewell to the Boston public, virhich 
took place on the 15th of May, 1875, was an occasion of 
a less demonstrative kind than that of New York, but, 
from its associations, more interesting. She appeared as 
Lady Macbeth, and " never," as the chronicles of the time 
have borne due witness, " with a grander force, a deeper 
intellectuality, or a broader sweep of passion than char- 
acterized this, her final impersonation. It is no light 
thing for an artist to bid farewell to a career which has 
been the loved occupation of a long and thoughtful life, 
in which she has reigned supreme for over a quarter of a 
century. Nor is it more easy when she is aware that her 
genius is yet undimmed and her power unabated. Whether 
it was owing to the associations of the time and place or 
not, Miss Cushman seemed to throw a deeper pathos into 
her efforts, and the last song of the swan appeared to all 
to be the sweetest" 



272 CHABLOTTB CU8HMAN: 

When the cortain loee again* after the condnsion of 
the tragedy, it discoveied two fine bronze copies of the 
celebrated statues of Mercmy and Fortune, the gifts of 
* a number of Miss Cushman's Mends and admirers * in- 
tended as a memento of the occasion. Miss Cushman 
was led forward by Mr. Arthur Cheney, a number of gen- 
tlemen grouped themselves about her, and Mr. Curtis 
Guild delivered an address, from which I make the fol- 
lowing extracts : — 

"MiM Cushman akd Ladrs and Qxntlbmbn: — 

** The retirement from the dramatic profession of one who 
has 80 long been recognised as one of its most distinguished 
representatives, and who has done so much (o elevate dramatic 
art^ is, in itself, an event of more than ordinary moment 

" But when it occurs here, in the native city of the artist, 
and among those who have followed her from the commence- 
ment of her eventful career with hope and admiration, and 
claimed her as our own with pride at its culmination, it is felt 
that the occasion should not be permitted to pass without an 
attempt to express, in the most decided manner, the feelings 
of her many friends, who deem it a privilege to do her honor. 

*' Now that you are about to cast aside the robes of the 
artist forever, to abdicate, not resign, the dramatic sceptre of 
the American stage, — for who is to wield that which you 
have so long swayed as queen ) — now that you are to close 
your eventful and successful career with a fame honorably 
won and name untarnished, — you that 'have outstripped all 
praise and made it halt behind you,' — it is not surprising 
that every true lover of dramatic art hastens to do eager 
homage, and that hosts of warm and hearty friends should 

* In oonseqiience of Miss Coshman's houae being already oyercrowded 
with works of art of a liko character, and also innnmerable articles still 
unpacked for want of space, the bronzes above mentioned were, vdth the 
approval of all ooncemed, changed for a tastefiil gift in silver. 



HER LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMOBIES. 273 

press forward for the last hand-grasp of her whom they honor 
and respect. 

''The players' profession, we well know, from the earliest 
days, when in Greece it was held honorable and in Rome a de- 
spised vocation, has been assailed by fierce opponents. The 
great poet of all time himself, we read in the annals of the 
English stage, came into the world when the English portion 
of it was ringing with denunciations against the profession 
which the child in his humble cradle at Stratford-on-Avon 
was about to ennoble forever. We need not go back as far as 
Shakespeare's time to cite the fierce opposition that the drama 
has encountered, or enumerate the obstacles that the dramatic 
artist must overcome. 

" Let us remember, however, that the art has been sanc- 
tioned by the great, befriended by the good, and supported by 
the people ; and, moreover, bear in mind that, in this profes- 
sion, whose members are in the fall blaze of public observation 
and scrutiny, who are too often censured without reason and 
condemned without excuse, who are too frequently judged as 
a class by the errors of individualSi those who do pass the 
fiery ordeal unscathed, who stand before us the real represent- 
atives of the dramatic profession, deserve frt)m us our garlands 
as the exponents of a great and glorious art, and, upon the 
present occasion, more than that, — the high regard which 
genius, combined with nobleness of mind and purity of char- 
acter, exacts from all true and honest hearts. 

" We come here to-night to accord that homage which genius 
does not ask, but commands ; to give you, not evidence of pop- 
ularity, — mere popularity, — which is as the brightness of 
the passing meteor or the fleeting splendors of the rainbow, 
but to express our appreciation of true genius and the mani- 
festation of genuine friendship. 

'* And in conclusion let me say, that though you may pass 
from the mimic stage, distant be the day when your exit shall 
be made from the great stage on which men and women all 
are merely players ; though you may not have our hands in 



274 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

future before the curtain, they will still cordially grasp yours 

in the social circle, which you adorn as modestly as you have 

upheld the dramatic art worthily and honorably ; and now, 

when we depart, we shall each and all of us remember that^ 

though 

' Many the parts yon played, yet to the end 

Your best were those of sister, lady, friend.' " 

Miss Coshman, with much emotion, replied as follows : — 

" ' The less I deserre, 
The more merit lies in yonr bounty.' 

" Gentlemen : Tour unexpected kindness deprives me of 
all words in which to thank you, and the few I can find will 
be but poor and feeble expressions of what I feeL But I would 
beg you to believe all that the heart prompts, as my deep and 
earnest appreciation of the honor you have done me. It is 
especially grateful, because it comes to me here, in my own 
native city, and at the hands of those who, from the begin- 
ning to the end of my career, have been truly 

' Brothers, Mends, and countrymen.' 

*' In leaving the stage finally, it has always been my inten- 
tion to make my last appearance in Boston ; and this suggests 
to me a little explanation, which, with your permission, I would 
like to make on this occasion. It has been implied, if not de- 
clared, and repeated in the newspapers about the countryi that 
I should not have appeared again upon the stage after the great 
ovation which was paid to me in New York. At least, so the 
gentlemen of the press decided, and many comments have been 
made upon me in the papers derogatoty to my dignity as a 
woman and my position as an artist. I have passed on, in the 
even tenor of my way, little regarding, on my own account, 
these would-be censors and judges ; but it seems to me proper 
that I should explain to yott^ in whose esteem I have a long- 
vested interest, which must not be endangered without a strong 
and earnest protest on my part, that, if my last engagement 



HEB UFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMOBIES. 275 

in New York was announced as my farewell to the stage, it 
was done by no act or will or word of mine. I had no such 
intention; indeed, I could not have had; for I had already 
made many other engagements for the season, which I have 
been endeavoring to fulfil, concluding, as was always my dear- 
est wish, here, in my own city of Boston, which I have always 
dearly loved, and where I would rather have been bom than 
in any other spot of the habitable globe. 

" I hope I have not tired your patience, but I could not rest 
without endeavoring to remove even the shadow of a shade 
which might cloud the perfect harmony between me and my 
public, who I hope and trust will accept this explanation from 
me. Looking back upon my career, I think I may, ' without 
vainglory,' say, that I have not by any act of my life done dis- 
credit to the city of my birth." 

Then, turning to the gentlemen of the committee of 
presentation, Miss Cushman continued : — 

" So now, with a full but more free heart, I revert to you. 
To this last beautiful manifestation of your goM-will towards 
me, and to all who have so graciously interested themselves to 
do me this honor, I can but say, — 

' More is their due 
Than more than all can pay. 

Believe me, I shall carry away with me into my retirement no 
memory sweeter than my associations with Boston and my 
Boston public. 

" From my full heart, €rod bless you, and farewelL" 

The chronicle continues : — 

''The curtain then fell and the audience departed. And 
thus was seen the last of the great artist in a sphere which 
she has so long and so well adorned. She has quitted it 
with, we hope, many years of life and happiness before her^ 
to enjoy the repose she has so worthily earned. ' Hail, and 
farewell!'" 



CHAPTER XIII. 

" Boniitjr, peTMTennoe, mttiey, lawUnen, 
DaroUou, pktlance, eooniga, rortitude." 

" Wtiere woidi an icuce, thej' 're Mldom ipent in vain. 
For Ui>7 bruUie tnitti, thti brwtlie tlielr woidi Id piln." 

Jtichardll. 

ER the farewell io Boston on May 15, 1875, 
I Mias Cusbman went on a short readit^-tour to 
I Bocbester, Buffalo, Syracuse, Auburn, and Ithaca. 
On June 2d she read at Easton, Pennsylvania, and from 
there she went foi a few days to Lenox, Maasacbusetts, 
where she was much interested iu altering and furnishing 
a small cott^, to which she hoped to retreat in the late 
days of summer, when the damp heat of Newport became 
oppressive and baleful to her, and when a change from 
the sea to mountain air seemed desirabla 

The pleasure and enjoyment she found in this small 
spot were delightful to see ; all its appointments were of a 
simple, homely kind, which added the charm of contrast 
to the elegant attractions of her N'ewport home. She 
brought with ber there the same simplicity of taste aud 
adaptability to her surroundings which made for her a 
home wherever she might be. She always enjoyed a 
return to the modest housekeeping of her early days, 
when Sallie and herself used to rough it so contentedly 
tc^ether. Everything interested her, on the small scale 



HER LIFE, LETTERS^ AND MEMORIES. 277 

as on the large one ; her mind was busy, active, sugges- 
tive, and full of purpose and energy. She had no room 
for petty cares or trivial conventionalities ; she raade her 
surroundings suitable and appropriate, and where she was, 
no one ever thought of anything else. 

The little place would have been as complete in its 
way as the larger one if her life had been spared; but 
she was only permitted to enjoy a few days of it at this 
time, and again later in the season, a few weeks, after a 
long and severe illness at Newport, which for a time 
seemed to make it doubtful if she might ever see it again. 
Part of July and all of August she was prostrated by what 
seemed to be a kind of intermittent fever, with malarial 
symptoms, accompanied by aggravations of her especial 
malady, which made it a very suffering tima In the 
early part of September, however, she raUied* again, and 
gained strength enough to make the journey to Lenox. 
There the fresh breezy air of the Berkshire hills, the 
moxmtain drives, and the short walks she was soon able 
to take, acted like a charm upon her, and speedily gave 
her back some measure of strength and appetite. 

But, pleasant as she found it, here as always '' a divided 
duty " was warring against the good influences about her. 
She had made up her mind to put herself again xmder 
special medical treatment, and on October 7th she returned 
to Boston for her last winter. 

The last winter was passed at the Parker House, un* 
der medical treatment ; bearing up steadfastly, enduring 
pain bravely and heroically, and finding her best relief 
in the giving out of herself for the help and comfort oi 
others. How many will remember those days, who came 
to her with their sorrows and left her cheered, com- 
forted, and instructed. Until within two days of her 
death she sent a daily bulletin of her condition, written 



278 cEASJ/ym cushman: 

in pencil with her own hand to her family at Newport 
This was her first act in the morning after taking her 
breakfast. The daily notes vaiy in character : sometimes 
hopeful, as a better day comes and the cheerful, sanguine 
nature gets a little lift ; at others sad and depressed, but 
never failing in loving interest in whatever concerns the 
dear ones she watched over so tenderly. To the daily 
guests and intimate companions she was so generally 
cheerful, so forgot herself in the intellectual and social 
stimulus which she enjoyed and needed, that no one could 
dream of so sudden a departure. There were alwajrs 
anxious fears alternating with almost despairing hopes, 
but no anticipation of such a sudden loosening of the 
cords of so strong a Ufe. Of those who had borne with 
her so long the " burden and heat of the day " all were so 
much xmder the influence of her brave spirit, that it was 
impossible to believe other than she did ; and even so late 
as February 3d she speaks of the possibility of her yet 
going to California. 

It was most merciful that such should be the case, for 
aU about her loved her so they could not have borne up 
imder the belief that she must soon go from them. It 
was a sufficiently heavy trial, — the long, long suspense, 
the aching sympathy, and pity so intense as to be almost 
unendurable. She was so sweet, so faithfully loving, so 
ready to accept whatever came of comfort or alleviation, 
so full of interest and bright intelligence, alive and awake 
to all the topics of the time, that her sick-room was the 
most interesting place in the world; and those whose 
privilege it was to find admission there sat lost in won- 
dering love and reverent admiration. 

On December 24th Miss Cushman writes more despond- 
ingly than usual, more freely of her sufferings ; but, as 
usual, with the cry comes also the word of resignation. 



HEB LIFE^ LETTEBS^ AND MEMORIES. 279 

" This is not the greeting you should have for your Christ- 
mas ; but it is better you should know exactly where I am, 
and that we may have to defer the celebration of our Christ- 
mas to another and happier day. Just feel as though to-mor- 
row was any common day, — for is not Christ here to us every 
day 1 And we will show our belief in this by trying to have 
faith and trust, and make the celebration of it when that trust 
and faith are borne out and justified by time ! I grieve for 
you, dear, more than for myself, though I am a dreadful baby 
over my pain. It is very hard for you ; but the hard places 
must come in our lives, and perhaps we should not know how 
to enjoy the pleasures, but for the corresponding gloom of the 
pains of life. Keep up a good heart. Tou are loved and 
thought of as you toould be, and that must give you courage 
for the battle which is before you as before us all ) " 

In a letter written on Christmas day she says : — 

" The doctor is very hopefiil, and says I am better. When 
I hear him talk, I am ashamed that I give way under pain 
and cause such suffering to those who love me ; but I cannot 
help it. It is beyond me, and those who love me must bear 
with me, and if I ever get well I will repay them with interest 
in mirthfulness and joy, until they shall wonder at the merry 
old woman I Your dear letter, with Nino's book-mark, so 
beautifully embroidered, and my darling big boy's beautiful 
letter and. book-marker, all came to me last night and com- 
forted me. I like the children to make me little bits of things 
rather than anything else. Give them my dear Christmas love 
and wishes. I will write to them before New Year's day. How 
did they like their presents 1 I hope well This morning came 
Will's comfortable foot-rug ; dear Ned's foot-muff, for carriage 
driving ; your lovely head-dress, which I am disporting in a 
sort of mockery ; it is too beautiful for such suffering as mine. 

My dear friend Annie S sent me a beautiful pot of cama- 

tions ; L H a lovely china cup and saucer and plate. 

Sallie gave me a bowl which matched it perfectly. Mr. Parker 



280 CHABLOTTB CUSHMAN: 

sent up an immense banch of mistletoe, which I have dis- 
tributed among my curious firiends, where it will make fun. 

Mrs. C sends a crown and cross in immortelles; Mr. 

A y a charming book of his wanderings in Egypt ; Mr. 

T , flowers ; Mrs. H B , flowers ; indeed, I have 

not room to tell you all the kindness and good-will. Tell 
Will, with my dear love, that her little foot-rug comforts my 
feet at this moment ; my foot-muff gazes at me with open 
mouth from the comer ; my book-markers are on my photo- 
graph board. All are sweetly welcome and much prized." 

A note from another hand, speaking of this time, is not 
so cheerfuL She bad been much more ill before Christmas, 
and had made her usual effort to be equal to the day and 
the occasion, as is evident in the foregoing letter. It 
says: — 

" I could not write you a word of greeting for Christmas, 
because I could not do so cheerfully. You know how deep 
down in our slough of despond we have been, and it was as 
much as I could do to bear up for our daily needs. Yet I 
have been sustained by something above and beyond myself, 
else I could not have kept up. Now, this morning, I am glad 
to be able to send you a more hopefid word. I know so well 
what it is to be at a distance from those we love when they are 
sufiering. I feel it even when I go into the streets here ; the 
rush of life and health hurts in the ever-present thought of the 
dear and precious one alone and in pain. I hurry back to her, 
finding my only comfort in the nearness, and in the small, 
ifnaU ways wherein I can tiy to be of help and comfort. 
Your letter of last night made me feel how much more happy 
I am than you, in possessing this privilege, and I felt the need 
of telling you my sympathy. 

" We have had a pleasant Christmas within, though gray 
and dismal without ; all oiur little gifts are placed about, and 
look lovely ; my heavenly blue jacket seems to hold out its 
arms to me, full of celestial influencea Thank the dear little 



HEB LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIES. 281 

boys for me for their pretty gifts. I wish I were a fidry god- 
mother for their sokes. The room is quite a bower with 
flowers and Christmas greens ; the mantel and evety available 
place is adorned with charming little things, and our dear one 
has been pleased and happy in them. Tou will see by all 
this that the good genius of Christmas has not forsaken us 
yet ; and you will be pleased to know that flowers and pleasant 
things can yet find an echo in our souls," 

Early in Januaiy Miss Cushman's sufferings were 
much aggravated, and for a time she seemed to be run- 
ning down rapidly : appetite and sleep failed, and hope 
and trust almost departed ; our hearts were heavy indeed. 
It was at this time that she made aU the arrangements 
which were afterwards carried out for her funeral services, 
naming those whom she wished to be pall-bearers, and 
fixing upon King's Chapel for her burial-services. With 
all her own calm forethought she entered minutely into 
the details, which seemed afterwards most providential, 
because, when the event really came, it was so compara- 
tively sudden that there was no opportunity for such 
instructions. She had already purchased and prepared a 
plot at Mount Auburn, rejoicing much, when she visited 
it for the first time, that it commanded a view of " dear 
Boston," and talking over its site and its beauty with a 
cheerful brightness peculiarly her own. 

After this she again rallied, and was so much better for 
several weeks that hope again sprang up in our hearts. 

In a letter as late as January 27th, alluding to a friend's 
sorrows she writes : — 

" Ah, I am ashamed of the outcry I have made over mere 
physical pain, when the world is so full of * carking care,' 
which corrodes the soul ! God forgive me for fretting and 
complaining. I have not known what else to do, and impo- 
tence is my curse and cross. Ah, please his infinite mercy 



282 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN: 

that I am ever well again, will we not be happy and good, and 
love him more and more day by day 1 " 

In another letter of the 30th she writes : — 

'* I hardly think you or any one dream how I love those dear 
children ; how my own belongings make up my world of love 
and faith. The rest of the world are more or less agreeable, 
as givers-out or recipients, and so are more or less acceptable. 
I am sympathetic, and so more a lover of my kind than most 
people ; hence I must see people, and it is useless to attempt 
to box me up. I cannot be saved in this respect, and it is 
foUy to try." 

This is in reference to well-meant but mistaken endeav- 
ors to save her from some of the fatigues to which she 
subjected herself by the social influences she drew about 
her. More than ever in her decline was she attractive 
and fascinating. The light burned more and more brightly 
as it approached its extinction, and every moment she 
could give to the friends who surrounded her, and were 
only too happy to sit at her feet, was absorbed and en- 
joyed to the utmost 

From a letter of February 4th I take an extract refer- 
ring to Miss Gushman's life and surroundings at this time. 

" We were hoping that this morning would bring us a letter 
from you ; but since it has not, the next best thing is to send 
you one on this good day which keeps us in and other people 
out, for it is snowing. Old winter has been trying again to be 
winterly, and has deposited snow to about the depth of five 
inches. The pigeons and sparrows are somewhat inconven- 
ienced by it : the former, because they sink into it, being round 
and fat with much feeding ; and the latter, whose light weight 
enables them to hop over it, because the bread thrown to them 
drops down beneath the surface. One large piece of roll made 
a sort of well in the snow, deep enough to ingulf two small 
sparrows at once. C lies in her bed in the morning and 



HEB LIFE, LETTERS, AKD MEKORIES. 283 

looks out upon the opposite roof where we feed the creatures, 
and the first thing that must be done is to give them their 
breakfast, for which thej are always waiting. They are so 
tame now, that when the expected meal is delayed they crowd 
the window-sill, and as the morning sun pours into these win- 
dows they are pleasant objects, with their burnished necks and 
bright glancing eyes. 

** I promised once to give you a description of our sitting- 
room ; it has four windows in it, looking towards the southeast 
and north; those on the north haye double glass, and the 
southern ones admit the morning sun in floods up to twelve 
o'clock. The prospect from these windows is not at all ugly ; 
it is open, and commands a view of some fine buildings. Op- 
posite, on the north, is the City Hall, a handsome building, 
very bright and cheery at night, when its windows are all 
lighted up. It has a lai^ and spacious courtyard with grass 
plots and lai^e trees, and on one side is a veiy good bronze 
statue of Franklin, who stands with his cocked hand under 
his arm, and has on at this moment a hood and cape of 
snowy white, in which he looks very funny. Next to the 
City Hall comes in well the gable-end of King's Chapel, one 
of the oldest churches in Boston, with a steep slate roof and 
a projecting semicircular bit at the end, with a sloping roof of 
its own, where our pigeons sit and sun and plume themselves, 
and where they apparently belong. All over the wall are 
vines, now leafless, where the sparrows haunt and keep up an 
endless twitter. The windows toward the southeast look over 
the roofs of the meaner buildings, and command a view of the 
new Boston post-office, which has a sufficiently massive and 
varied outline to be quite picturesque. In this direction there 
are other fine distant buildings, many steeples, and a perfect 
forest of vanes, which light up in a wonderful manner in the 
setting sunlight. You perhaps will care more for the inside 
than the outside of oiur room ; so I must turn your attention 
inward. In one comer is the writing-table, and over it hangs 
the frame of photographs, a contrivance of C ^'s own, being 



284 CHABLOTTE CUSHMAN : 

a board of about a yard and a half long by three qnarierB 
broad, covered with purple cloth, and hung up by gilt chains 
like a picture. Upon this are fastened the photographs with 
artists' pins. It has already a goodly collection, and has 
proved a great success. To the left of the table, over the 
sofa, the bare wall is covered up with some Japanese paintings 
of flowers ; fiulher on a door is decorated with autumn leaves, 
and opposite, another door has one of those pictures of a Jap- 
anese lady walking in the snow, with an umbrella. The man- 
tel is covered with pretty objects in china and glass, pictures, 
and vases with flowers, of which there is an unceasing supply. 
At the end of the room is a large pier-glass, and in front of it 
stands dear Charlotte's easy (or uneasy) chair and her little 
table, where she sits now fix)m morning till night, except for 
the hour or two after four o'clock when she takes her rest 
She reads a great deal, and occasionally writes, as you know. 
Our days pass swiftly in their regular routine ; she receives 
any intimate friends who come, and there are many." 

During the early part of February Miss Cushman 
seemed to be much better. It was not until the 12th 
that in her last walk along the corridor of the hotel she 
took the cold from some insidious draught which event- 
uated in her death on the morning of the 18tL 

Those last days were almost painless. She did not at 
all realize the hopelessness of her condition, until uncon- 
sciousness of everything mercifully came, to save her the 
pang of parting, and the hopeless grasp at what she was 
leaving behind her. 

On the night before her death she asked to have the 
poem of " Columbus " read to her, and was able, when 
the eyes of the reader failed in the dim light, to prompt 
the missing word or line ; she was interested in one whom 
she believed was a discoverer, and with whom she traced 
an analogy to the character of Columbus as depicted in the 
poem. It was almost her last vnsh that the volume of 



H£B LIFE^ LETTEBS, AND MEMORIES. 285 

Lowell containing this poem should be presented in her 
name to the person in question. Among the newspaper 
cuttings of the time> the following lines bear reference to 
this incident, and were suggested bj it : — 

'' For wast not thou, too, going forth alone 
To seek new land across an untried sea ? 
New land, — yet to thy sonl not all unknown. 
Nor yet £ur off, was that blest shore to thee. 

" For thou hadst felt the mighty mystery 

That on man's heart and life doth ever rest^ 
A shadow of that glorious world to be, 
Where love's pure hope is with fruition blest. 

** Thine was a conflict none else knew but God, 
Who gave thee, to endure it, strength divine : 
Alone with him the wine-press thou hast trod. 
And Death, his angel, scab the victory thine. 

'' The narrow sea of death thou now hast passed ; 
The mist is lifted from the unseen land ; 
The voyage ends, the shining throng at last 
Meet thee with welcome on the heavenly strand. 

•*C. T. K- 

God was very good to us all in the manner of her death, 
whereby the merciful sequence of h^r hopeful fortitude 
was never broken down, and we were not called upon to 
see one moment of weakness in the heroic picture of her 
last days. 

For an hour on the day of the funeral the people were 
permitted to pass through the room where she lay, the 
sublime serenity of the last peace upon her noble face, for 
the first time failing to respond in sympathy with the 
grief around her ; for the first time in all her long career 
insensible to the affectionate demonstrations of those she 
loved, who in the midst of the overwhelming sense of 
bereavement could not but feel, and thank God, that their 
loss was her gain. The funeral ceremonies took place 
according to her wish in King's Chapel, and were simple 



286 CHABLOTTB CUSHMAN : 

and sweet and touching with the heartfelt feeling which 
surrounded her always^ and found deeper and. more spon- 
taneous expression after her death. The flowers that she 
loved covered her, — children's hands laid them upon her 
coffin; above her head, the inscription on the chancel 
wall — ** This is my commandment unto you, that ye love 
one another " — seemed to he speaking to all the lesson 
of her life, and to be drawing all, with still greater force 
than even her living presence had done, into the magic 
circle of " peace and good wilL" 

All that was mortal of Charlotte Cushman rests beneath 
the sod at Mount Auburn, but no one who ever knew her 
can think of her as there. Our spirits do not seek her in 
the dust ; no thought of her can ever be associated with 
the grave ; and so our hearts are not cast down, but only 
elevated by the thought that she has escaped the bondage 
and sufferings of the flesh, and is rising ever " upward and 
onward." 

" Not to the grave, not to the graye, my sonl, 
Descend to contemplate 
The form that once was dear 1 

The spirit is not there 
Which kindled that dead eye, 
Which throbbed in that cold heart, 
Which in that motionless hand 
Once met thy friendly grasp. 
The spirit is not there ! 
Not to the grave, not to the grave, my soul* 
FoUow thy friend beloved ; 
The spirit is not there 1 
♦ ♦ ♦ 

Bat in the lonely hoar, 
But in the evening walk, 
Think that she companies thy solitnde ; 
Think that she holds with thee 
Mysterious intercourse I 
And though remembrance wake a tear. 
There will be joy in griet" 

SOUTJUBV. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

TRIBUTES TO HER MEMORY. 

" Clou up hii cyea u>d draw the cnrUla clou, 
And let ua bJI to oedltation." 

nairr VI. 

1R0M among the 'warm and Bpontaneous tributes 
which were called forth by her death, many are 
voTthy to be rescued from the ephemeral life of 
the newspaper and find a more permanent record here. 
There was something very remarkable and deeply touch- 
ing in the unanimity, the eamestnese, and the respect with 
which the press of the entire country bore witness to her 
greatness and laid their tributes u^n her tomb. Earely 
has it been given to one individuality to call forth so 
wide and heartfelt a recognition. Touched by death's 
magic alchemy, whatever remnant of human misjudgment, 
prejudice, or ignorance still lingered, marring the perfect 
image of her fome, vanished away, leaving the virgin gold 
tried in the furnace of affliction and purified until it re- 
flected God's image to speak only its true and perfect 
lesson. 

Even the old accusation, that she made too many fare- 
wells, is gently and kindly lifted irom her memoiy by the 
hand of her true friend and lover, William Winter. In 
the notice from which we quote farther on he says : — 



288 GHABLOTTE CUSHMAN: 

'' It is not difficult to understand when we consider that 
Miss Cushman was a woman of weird genius, sombre imaginar 
tion, and great sensibility, that for her conscientious mind and 
highly nervous organization the practice of the dramatic art 
was terribly earnest ; and that frequently she was the victim 
of disease, in which way she often came to believe that the 
limit of her labor was reached, that the end of her life was 
near, and that her retirement from the public view was need- 
ful With natures that see widely and feel deeply, such de- 
spondent views of personal destiny and worldly afiBurs are not 
unusual. Thackeray, long before he wrote ' The Newcomes,' 
said of himself that his work was done, and he should accom- 
plish no more. In the several farewells that she took of the 
stage Miss Cushman acted like a woman, and precisely like 
the woman she was. All of her adieus were sincere. None 
of them, till now, were final or possible. Let us bring to the 
coffin of this great genius, dead and at rest after such trials 
and such anguish, not only the gentleness of charitable judg- 
ment, but the justice of intelligent appreciation.'' 

On the Sunday following the funeral the Bev. Charles 
Foote of King's Chapel preached a memorial sermon, 
taking for his text these excellent words : " Whatsoever 
things are true, whafeoever things are honest, whatso- 
ever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, what- 
soever things are of good report, if there be any virtue 
and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Philip- 
pians iv. 8.) 

*' In these wonderful words of an apostle," he said, ^* we 
have the Christian warrant that whatever brings beauty and 
graciousness into our human life is a power for good in human 
character. My purpose now is to call your attention to the 
fact that in the same group with what may be called the seven 
virtues of the gospel is a distinct recognition of what may be 
called the gentle aspects of life. Side by side with the things 



HEB LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 289 

of truth, honesty, justice, puritj, are ' whatsoever things are 
lovely and of good report' I take the words as a recognition 
among the forces of Christianity, not only of moral loveliness, 
but also of those forms of beauty and power which appeal 
through the aesthetic sense to the souL They seem to declare 
not only that religion is not hostile to these things, but that 
it is able to make them helpflil to itsel£ They would show 
art has a consecrated function to fulfil .... 

'* The only true theory of art is this, that its function is to 
create beauty and power, and to make that beauty and power 
bear upon the human souL But what kind of beauty ) Let 
Raphael answer, writing to a friend : ' As I have not under 
my eyes any model which satisfies me, I make one of a certain 
ideal of beauty which I find in my souL' Let Michael Angelo 
answer in the words of one of his majestic sonnets : ' Expand- 
ing her wings to rise toward the heaven whence she descended, 
the soul does not linger on the beauty which entices the eye, 
and which is as frail as it is treacherous ; but she seeks in 
her sublime flight to attain the principle of universal beauty.' 
And then she seeks to bring this principle to bear upon the 
elevation of human character through its refining and quick- 
ening influences. This, and nothing less than this, is the view 
which Christianity would take of those great persuasive, at- 
tractive forces which so enrich and beautify modem lifa It 
would bid them use their opportunities as ministering hand- 
maids * at the gate of the temple called Beautiful,' so that 
it shall be easier for men to enter in by them to the Temple 
itself. .... 

*' Many among you, my hearers, are making an application 
which is naturally suggested by these thoughts. The remark- 
able manifestation of public sorrow which was seen in this 
church six days ago, thronging not only this house of prayer, 
but the ways around it, and yonder hill of the dead, with mul- 
titudes in every condition of lifq, drawn by a like sympathetic 
feeling, not merely of a common admiration for a genius that 
had dazzled and delighted them, but of appreciation of a noble 



290 CHABLOTTB CUSHBCAK: 

and generous character, — that general outpouring seems to 
giye the keynote for our thoughts. Others have spoken, and 
will speak, of the light of genius which shone with strong and 
-vivid glow on so many thousands of the English-speaking race. 
Many here will long remember the hospitalities which wel- 
comed them in the ancient city by the Tiber, and filled its 
classic spaces with kind and modem friendliness. Those 
whom the ties of friendship bound to her with peculiar 
strength, by the magnetism of a laige and forceful nature, 
by gratitude for innumerable acts of generous thought which 
took shape in effectiye deed, will feel that the world has lost 
much of its light for them. And in this community, to which 
she belonged, and whose best characteristics were deeply im- 
pressed upon her character, there will seem a special fitness 
that her earthly life closed in her native place, which was 
ever near her heart. I cannot doubt that some fitting me- 
morial services will hereafter be held to give expression to all 
these. But in this sacred place (which she herself chose for 
these last offices, perhaps because it is wellnigh the most char- 
acteristic thing of the Boston that she loved) it is alone fitting 
to dwell on the moral and religious lessons which always com- 
fort us in the presence of death, which comfort us with special 
earnestness when we see them illustrated in a noble character, 
and shining the more brightly against the earthly shadows 
which fall around the close of a remarkable career. 

" I have spoken in the beginning of this discourse of the 
pure, true function of consecrated art .... The principles 
which lie at the heart of this spirit of true art are much more 
dose than we are apt to think to the conmion life of us alL 
.... So it follows that, in a sense, the true theory of life is 
to consider it as an art j and the true art of life is to interpret 
God's purpose of what it should be in noble and worthy treat- 
ment of it The first necessity of true art is this, — that it 
must follow a high ideal ; and none ever accomplished this 
without having the eye fixed on an ideal always higher, never 
attained, but shining like a guiding star. 



H£B UFEy LETTEBSy Ain) MEMOBIES. 291 

'' And here that gifted woman, who has done so much to 
show our time how a vocation which is beset with peculiar 
difficulties and temptations may be filled in a lofty spirit, may 
well teach us how near the true spirit of art is to Christianity. 
When we see that one has lived on this earth in whom the 
ideal of truth and love and goodness is made real, we may 
well recognize that Christ's coming answers the soul's longing 
by giving to it the type of a perfection toward which it is to 
strive for ever and ever. 

« There was a time when the world sneered at the possibility 
of virtue in dramatic life, and by the sneer, and what went 
with it, did its worst to make virtue impossible. But it has 
been given to our generation to show, in lives among which 
happily our noble townswoman does not stand alone, that a 
pure spirit can go stainless, as the lady in Milton's ' Comus,' 
through corruptions. In one of those solemn hours, when the 
soul looks back on the past to read its lessons, she said, not 
long before her death, to one for whom she could draw aside 
the veil of her thoughts : * I have tried to live honestly ; I 
have tried to show women that it was possible to live a pure, 
noble life.' Let women and men be thankful that she suc- 
ceeded greatly, that society is purer, that the tone of that 
which has sometimes been one of the most demoralizing, and 
which can be one of the most helpful publio influences, has 
been elevated in no small degree by her example. One great 
secret of the public power of that woman of genius, whose 
memory is with you to-day, was, that she lived with the great 
thoughts which she interpreted until they were her very self 
and she was they. Those who knew her best, best knew how 
the masters of thought were guests at home in her mind. It 
was but a few hours before she died that she bade a friend 
read to her the grand poen^ of * Columbus,' by one of our own 
poets; and when in the dim light her friend fitiled to read some 
words aright, the mind, clear and strong as ever, set her right 
fh)m her unfailing memory. .... 

'' What way shall I live 1 What shall I do 1 These are 



292 CHARLOTTE CUSHMAK: 

the questions which lie at the base of all true living, alike for 
the peerless genius and for us alL The things which are 
lovely must be imperishablj intertwined with those which 
are true and honest, just and pure, for they come from Him 
who is perfect beauty and perfect truth." 

On the same day the Bev. Dr. Bartol preached a ser- 
mon on the " Pulpit and the Stage," in which he brought 
together the names of Charlotte Cushman and Horace 
Bushnell. After contrasting the two in their different 
and seemingly widely differing r61es, he proceeds to show 
how they approximate in the motive which swayed them 
in their separate avocations^ how they meet in the way 
either was pursued. 

^'Both Charlotte Cushman as an actress and Horace 
Bushnell as a preacher cultivated the capacity of appro- 
priating to themselves what they saw moral and lovely in 
others^ and they reaped the proper fruit to nourish them- 
selves and others. 

** The heavenly grace and human strength were doubtless 
fused together in both, and the stage, I think, should be more 
proud of the conduct than even of the unmatched achieve- 
ment of its American queen and pattern in every way. Was 
aught left for her of the hag in Meg Merrilies, or of horror 
in Dickens's Nancy Sykest The impersonation of these 
parts was clear and sweet, in perfect balance, without one 
gaping defect or eccentric fault. A bom princess, she was 
native to command. A wave of influence, as from a magnetic 
battery to a company holding hands, swept from her, and laid 
on the thousands in the assembly she acted or read to one 
hushing spelL She had what the French historian attributes 
to C8Dsar, — charm. It was moral grandeur in and through 
the artist's gift. 

' What migesty ia in her gait f Remember 
If e*er thoa look'dat on migetty.' 



HER LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIEa 293 

And wboeyer listened to or conyersed with Charlotte Cushman 
had a sense of something uhaffectedly imperial in her port 
and style. With one comprehensive and swift-revolving glance 
how she gathered her audience in ; with a single persuasive 
smile how she melted them I Her magnificent presence 
answering to the proportions of the largest buildings, her 
cathedral voice, that could make of any hall a whispering- 
gallery, all the instruments and tools of her art down to 
the color on her face and neck, how masterly I But the irre- 
proachable woman, the soul intangible with evil, the generous 
nature, contributed how much ! Humanity responded to one 
nnsurpassably humane. A true and quite un-Romish catholic, 
she embraced all ; nothing in her race too low for her fellow- 
ship or too high for her reach. She was of no creed or par- 
ticular church, but a worshipper in every sanctuary, a sympa- 
thizer with every votary, a believer in the divine unity, and a 
hoper for immortality. Who may part or put asunder what 
Qod hath joined together t She made the connection of genius 
and virtue. 

<< In my two illustrations of to-day, pulpit and stage, actor 
and preacher, the power was as manifest as the skilL Both 
had alike, not only in their mode of communication the circle 
of beauty, but in the substance of demeanor the indomitable 
and rectilinear will. The circle was so laige, it was the right 
line of heaven and earth ; and to preachers and actors I com- 
mend them as models which to copy is equally blessed and 
safe. They alike united personal independence with the most 
gracious salute. Stepping to the footlights to rebuke inso- 
lence in the house, writing a public letter to resist philan- 
thropic blackmail, insisting on justice to others as to herself be- 
hind the scenes, a pattern of artists in every sort, — Miss Cush- 
man showed always the resolution with which, when her voice 
failed for music, she strode upon the stage. Conservative in 
her stand, a lover of the old ways and solemn forms of wor- 
ship, yet from any one taking a different position she claims 
the honor due to her own unbounded tolerance, charity, and 



294 CHABLOTTE CU8HMAN: 

liberty of thought. So Dr. Bushnell, as a preacher, signalized 
a singular consonance with our actor's unequivocal stamp ; as 
in the labor of their several provinces and professions they 
were alike untiring, and neither could carry off from the other 
the palm, while in an obsequious, superficial, and dissipated 
age both held the standard of courageous diligence aloft. 

** To the soul, nothing is gona Love has no past Said to 
me her nearest companion : * I must speak of Miss Cush- 
man in the present tense.' Never more than in her was 
expressed the power to live and be herself despite sickness 
and distress. The whole of Charlotte Cushman could live and 
act in the least remnant of her bodily strength. Eye and 
voice are last to go ; they remain and haunt us still." 

From the New York Tribune's obituaiy notice, in wbich 
we recognize the effort of one of the most kindly, true- 
hearted, and intelligent critics known to the press of this 
country, — William Winter, — I select the following : — 

^' There is something so awfully impressive in the vanishing 
of a great genius and a great force of noble intellect and char- 
acter out of this world, that reverence must pause before the 
spectacle, no less in humanity than in sorrow. The historian 
of our time will review many important and significant lives, 
and will lay the laurel upon many a storied tomb ; but he will 
honor no genius more stately or more singular than that which 
now sleeps in the cofi&n of Charlotte Cushman. It is difficult, 
if not impossible, at once to do justice to such a life. The 
end, which came yesterday in Boston, though not unexpected, 
was sudden ; and it comes upon the mind with a solemn force 
that prompts to silent thought and fond remembrance more 
than to words. The future will speak of Charlotte Cushman 
with pride and gladness ; the present can only tell her story 
in the quiet accents of grief. 

'* Only twenty days ago, in her room at the Parker House, 
Boston, she spoke with cheerful confidence of her anticipated 
restoration to health. Her eyes were bright^ her voice was 



HER LIFE, LETTEBS, AND MEMORIES. 295 

firm, though suffused m every tone with an unconscious sad- 
ness most deeply touching and quite indescribable, and her 
noble countenance indicated such a vitality as it seemed im* 
possible that death could conquer. To the last she was an 
image of majesty. The pain that consumed her suffering 
body could never quell her royal spirit. She could look 
back upon a good life ; she was sustained by religious &ith ; 
she felt upon her gray hair the spotless crown of honor ; she 
met death as she had met life, a victor; and she has passed 
from the world with all the radiance of her glory about her, 
like sunset from a mountain peak, that vanishes at once into 
the heavens. 

** The greatness of Charlotte Cushman was that of an ex- 
ceptional, because grand and striking personality, combined 
with extraordinary power to embody the highest ideals of 
majesty, pathos, and appalling anguish. She was not a great 
actress merely, but she was a great woman. She did not 
possess the dramatic flEU^ulty apart from other Acuities, and 
conquer by that alone ; but having that fiumlty in almost un- 
limited fubess, she poured forth through its channel such 
resources of character, intellect, moral strength, soul, and per- 
sonal magnetism as marked her for a genius of the first order, 
while they made her an irresistible force in art When she 
came upon the stage she filled it with the brilliant vitality of 
her presence. Eveiy movement that she made was winningly 
characteristic. Her least gesture was eloquence. Her voice, 
which was soft or silvery, or deep or mellow, according as emotion 
affected it, used now and then to tremble, and partly to break, 
with tones that were pathetic beyond description. These were 
denotements of the fiery soul that smouldered beneath her 
grave exterior, and gave irridescence to every form of art 
that she embodied. Sometimes her whole being seemed to 
become petrified in a silent suspense, more thrilling than any 
action, as if her imagination were suddenly inthralled by the 
tumult and awe of its own vast perceptions. 

''As an actress, Miss Cushman was best in tragedy, whether 



296 CHABLOTTS CUSHlfAN: 

lurid or pathetic, and in sombre melodrama. Theatrical his- 
tory will probably associate her name more intimately with 
Meg Merrilies than with any other character. This production 
was unique. The art method by which it was projected was 
peculiar in this, that it disregarded probability and addressed 
itself to the imaginative perception. Miss Cushman could 
giye free rein to her frenzy in this character, and that was 
why she loved it and excelled in it, and was able by means of 
it to reveal herself so amply and distinctly to the public mind. 
What she thus revealed was a power of passionate emotion as 
swift as the lightning and as wild as the gale, — an individ- 
uality fraught with pathos, romance, tenderness, grandeur, 
the deep knowledge of grief, and the royal strength of 
endurance. Her Meg Merrilies was not her greatest work, 
but it was her most startling and effective one, because it was 
the sudden and brilliant illumination of her being. In deal- 
ing with the conceptions of Shakespeare, Miss Cushman^s 
spirit was the same, but her method was different. As Meg 
Merrilies, she obeyed the law of her own nature ; as Queen 
Eatherine, she obeyed the law of the poetic ideal that encom- 
passed her. In that stately, sweet, and pathetic character, 
and again, though to a less extent in the terrible yet tender 
character of Lady Macbeth, both of which she apprehended 
through an intellect always clear and an imagination always 
adequate, the form and limitations prescribed by the dominant 
genius of the poet were scrupulously respected. She made 
Shakespeare real, but she never dragged him down to the 
level of the actual She knew the heights of that wondrous 
intuition and potent magnetism, and she lifted herself and her 
hearers to their grand and beautiful eminence. Her best 
achievements in the illustration of Shakespeare were accord- 
ingly of the highest order of art. They were at once human 
and poetic. They were white marble suffused with fire. They 
thrilled the heart with emotion and passion, and they filled 
the imagination with a thoroughly satisfying sense of beauty, 
power, and completeness. They have made her illustrious. 



HER LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 297 

They have done much to assert the possible grandeur and 
beneficence of the stage, and to confirm it in the afifectionate 
esteem of thoughtful men and women. They remain now as a 
rich legacy in the remembrance of this generation, and they 
will pass into history among the purest, highest, and most cher- 
ished works that genius has inspired and art has accomplished 
to adorn an age of culture and to elevate the human mind." 

From the Boston Advertiser we select these few heart- 
felt words : — 

''Miss Cushman's death makes vacant a place in art which 
there is no one to filL She won and held the highest honors 
as an actress, but it is impossible to separate her life from her 
art, or the woman from the actress. As she advanced in noble 
acting she advanced in noble living ; and at the height of her 
great artistic success she was so generous and magnificent a 
woman that the noblest dramatic representation seemed only 
her natural expression. On the stage and off she was essentially 
the same, putting her heart and her power into whatever she 
had to do. She was endowed with a strong and brilliant mind, 
an unconquerable will, keen wit, and exquisite sense of humor. 
To these were added a conscience that made her a severe stu- 
dent, and energy that made her a tireless worker. 

"Strong as she was physically, disease beset her with open or 
insidious attacks, and her defence was long and heroic ; never 
did human will or human frame sustain a more persistent siege, 
never did they offer more gallant defence. Long after anybody 
else would have yielded to pain she pursued her art, acting with 
her accustomed power and with no fSEdtering. It helped her, 
she said, to forget herself. All through the last weeks of her 
life she has for a portion of every day received her friends, and 
been the most gracious hostess, — never alluding to her health 
unless asked, and then putting the subject aside as soon as 
possible, and talking of the events of the day, of literature, 
art, and people, with the warmest interest and the most 
sparkling vivacity. Often she would pause, her fitce would 



298 CHABLOTTB CUSHMAK : 

flash or grow pale^ and pain would for a moment cloud her eyes 
or make her shiver ; but not one word of it would she say, and 
directly would go on in the old brave, cheerful way. It was 
admirable, but infinitely touching. Miss Cushman possessed 
in a remarkable degree the power of attaching women to her. 
They loved her with utter devotion, and she repaid their love 
with the wealth of her great warm heart ; young girls gave 
her genuine hero-worship, which she received with a gracious 
kindness, that neither encouraged the worship nor wounded 
the worshipper ; mature women loved and trusted her wholly 
to the last hour of her life. She had the perfect service of the 
purest friendship, and beyond that, numbers of noble women 
waiting to ^ve and receive imfailing sympathy and affection. 
Miss Gushman's triumphs have been great ; but the greatest 
of these was the character that won such friends. Laurels for 
the actress will lie thick upon her grave, but they will be wet 
with the tears of those who mourn for the loving friend, the 
heroic woman.^ 

The New York Evening Post enshrines her memory in 
words " fit though few.** 

" All lovers of the dramatic art will be pained to learn that 
one of its greatest interpreters in the present era, Charlotte 
Cushman, has passed away ; and their sorrow will be shared 
by every man and woman who reveres high purpose and in- 
domitable force of will for its own sake. 

'' Charlotte Cushman was something more than a remark- 
able actress; her public career was merely the mirror in 
which the strong features of her private character appeared as 
reflected images; and many a fainting spirit has doubtless 
drawn fresh strength from her example as a woman, to whom 
the privilege of witnessing her impersonations on the stage 
has been denied. 

" Her native virtues will keep her memory fragrant, and 
coming generations will know her as one who carried a lofty 
ideal in her mind, and lived up to it ; who never sacrificed 



HER LIFE, LETTERS, AJH) MEMORIES. 299 

principle to gain ; whose &ith in God and herself yielded not 
under the weight of many years and discouraging vicissitudes, 
and who has left as a legacy to her multitude of friends a 
reputation free from those moral blemishes which too often 
accompany intellectual eminence." 

Miss Cushman's neighbor and warm friend, Mr. George 
H. Calvert of Newport, lays this tribute upon her tomb : — 

'* The death of Miss Cushman leaves a throne empty in his- 
trionic art, and at the same time makes a deep gloomy chasm 
in a very wide circle of friendship. To be at once admired, 
esteemed, honored, and beloved, is a rare fortune for one indi- 
vidual ; it denotes an abundant and gifted organization. The 
high-souled, commanding queen on the stage was in private 
most affectionate, most tender, most sympathetic. 

*' Out of the richness of her nature came the manifold sym- 
pathies that made her so great in public, so warmly welcome, 
so devotedly cherished, in private. How animating, how 
cheering, to see her enter a room ! Her presence was an im- 
pulsion to the best wheels of one's mind. It was at once an 
invitation and a stimulant, — that powerful countenance in 
which was the beauty of nobleness and intellectual superior- 
ity I Her talk, like her life, moved on a high plane ; petty 
things and offences, touched upon for their significance, were 
too small for the strong, dean grasp of her mind. Doing noble, 
generous acts herself, she liked to talk of others who had done 
them, and she had a quick insight into pretenders and sophists. 

" Capable, and aiming to seize principles, she readily en- 
gaged in discussion of them, whether political, ethical, or »8- 
thetic. With great capacity and fluency of talk, she was a 
good listener, and had an open ear for wit and frm. The 
hearty ring of her laugh will long be a pleasant memory to 
her frienda The circle of her friends was unusually wide and 
various, her large soul had room for so much ; and such was its 
truth and fidelity and fascination, that the nearer you came to 
her the dearer she was; those loved her most who knew her best. 



300 CHABLOTTE CUSHHAN : 

Of the chief mourners for her loss, it is a precious privilege 
that to them it is given to shed the warmest tears for such a 
being. In their memory she will dwell a beneficent presence, 
and in their hearts a purifying love, ever dropping balm in 
regrets." 

Mrs. Julia Ward Howe writes to the " Woman's Jour- 
nal":— 

'' The curtain drops upon a vanished majesty. One who 
trod the boards in all the queendom of the drama will do so 
no more. Sorrow rises up between us and the vision of hours 
consumed with the high interest of classic personations. 
Thespis is perhaps the most pathetic of the muses, when she 
is pathetic. She cannot stay to mourn, but gathers up her 
trailing robes and hides her tears behind the mask of Fancy. 
But she and her ministers should have been sad at heart on 
the day when a name so honored and so dear as that of Char- 
lotte Cushman was answered on the roll-call by the silence of 
death. 

" The question here arises, — Is it a true migesty, that of the 
stage t Is it a poor mimic and mockery of the migesty which 
dwells in palaces and commands the ministry of art instead of 
furnishing it % We should say, on the contrary, that, as the 
representative of human fate and feeling, the majesty of the 
drama has a grandeur and a permanence which that of the pal- 
ace only attains by rare and unaccustomed merit The gran- 
deur of a human life is such that adventitious circumstances 
do not really heighten it, though to our short-sighted gaze they 
seem to do so. Theories of society have changed since Shakes- 
peare^s day, and we of to-day may be inclined to alter a word 
in his well-known line and say, — 

* There 'a a vulgarity doth hedge a king,* — 

the vulgarity of adulation, which the sincerer public of the 
theatre cannot offer, because nature will not allow it to do so. 
No ffisthetic crown is loftier than that of the artist who has 



HER LIFE, LETTERS, AND MEMORIES. 301 

worthily walked in this true majesty of life upon the scene, 

reoeiying at every step the tribute of grateful and admiring 

hearts. 

<< Our friend had this true crowning. When we recall her 

form and action, we must rehearse the lines of Elizabeth 

Browning : — 

' Jnno^ where la now the ^ry 

Of thy regal port and tread t 

Will they lay, forerermore, thee 

In thy strait, low, golden bed t 

Will thy qaeendom all lie hid 

Meekly under either lid ? ' * 

But the crown of all crowns is that of eKarader^ and in this 
respect our friend's record does not belie her broad brow and 
generous smile. Laborious, fitithful, affectionate, tender, her 
daily life fulfilled all that her art-prophecies promised. Rich 
were they who dwelt within the cordial influence of her words 
and acts. Bright and sunny was the home which her pres- 
ence illuminated. Distant friends turned towards her with 
loving memory, and those who needed and deserved friendship 
found it in her. 

''So let our tributes to her memory be Ktanri tribuUs alL 
She loved much, served much, earned by hard work a noble 
reputation, and has left an example in which her race is 
enriched." 

On behalf of the profession, of which he is an esteemed 
member, Mr. Lawrence Barrett has recorded in a few 
fervent words this "Tribute to Charlotte Cushman's 
Memory": — 

''Charlotte Cushman is dead. Before the shock of this 
news has passed away it cannot be improper to recall to her 
professional brethren the great loss we sustain by this sudden 
departure. After a long life of toil, laden with years and 
honors, she sleeps at last. That crown which she has worn 
for so many years undisputed now lies upon a coffin beside 
which a whole nation will mourn. The world contained no 



302 CHABLOTTE CU8HMAN: 

greater spirit, no noUer woman. Her genius filled the world 
with admiration, and the profession which she adorned and 
ruled must long await her successor. This is not the place, 
nor is mine the pen, to write her history ; larger space and 
abler hands will see that duty performed. These lines are 
traced by one who loved her living and weeps for her now 
dead. Her career is an incentive and an example to all the 
workers in our noble art. A woman of genius, industrious 
and religious, her best education was obtained within the cir- 
cle of her calling. Almost masculine in manner, there was 
yet a gentleness in her which only her intimates could know. 
The voice which crooned the lullaby of the Bertrams so touch- 
ingly came from a heart as gentle as infancy. To all who 
labor in the realms of art, and to my profession most espe- 
cially, the loss of this day will be a severe ona Bigotry itself 
must stand abashed before the life of our dead queen, whose 
every thought and act were given for years to an art which 
ignorance and envy have battled against in vain for centuries. 
To her, our queen, we say, * Peace and fieurewell 1 ' We shall 

not look upon her like again. 

''Lawbbnob Barbbtt. 
«'Nbw Yowc, Febmaiy 18, 1876." 

These are but a few of the public expressions of univer- 
sal regret and admiration; private utterances to the same 
effect were many and heartfelt We may fitly close our 
record with this tender and touching tribute firom her 
friend, H. H. 

CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN. 

Bnt yesterday it wu. Long yean ago 
It seems. The world so altered looks to^laj 
That, jooraeying idly with my thoughts astray, 
I gazed where rose one lofty peak of snow 
Abore grand tiers on tiers of peaks below. 
One moment brief it shone, then sank away, 
As swift we reached a point where foot-hiUs lay 



HEB LIFE, LEITEBS, AJSD MEMOBIE& 303 

So near they aeemed like monnteizis huge to grow 
And touch the sky. That instant, idly stilly 
My eye fell on a printed line, and read 
Incredulous, with sudden anguished thrill, 
The name of this great queen among the dead. 
I raised my eyes. The dusty foot-hills near 
Had gone. Again the snowy peak shone dear. 

II. 

thou heloved woman, soul and heart 

And life, thou standest unapproached and grand. 

As still that glorious snowy peak doth stand. 

The dusty barrier our clumsy art 

In terror hath called Death holds thee apart 

From us. 'T is but the low foot-hill of sand 

Which bars our vision in a mountain-land. 

One moment fSuther on, and we shall start 

With speechless Joy to find that we have passed 

The dusky mound which shut us from the light 

Of thy great love, still quick and warm and fast, 

Of thy great strengths, heroically cast. 

Of thy great soul, still glowing puro and white. 

Of thy great life, still panaelesa, full, and blight I 



^.^.^1!^><-, 



INDEX. 



"Admtivr," Bonon, cUtiui? aottn of 
Ula Ciubmu, 297. 

I, Ful, iHcilptkin or P>c«'i portnlt 




Bufcil, Bar, Dr., *iti*oM from hli Mimati 
oo"TtwPalpl(>iidtb(Btic*i" 39I-2BT. 

BibUt, Aivsrta, iDtHMt of, iB Wa Onih- 
nui'i tdncstloD, U. 

BitiUt hmUr, ttateh <if, B. 

BuTitt, lAwnm, awiniait of, to ut «1U| 
tdiemnpuij.ltt; ferlbnta to HlM Oialk' 



"BahlDdUMtcgiw," UE, UT, IK. 
B«]lDwi, BrT. RsDTT W., eormpondinM 

nliUn Id donMlaiu to Sanltuj Ocminl*- 

■kii>,lB6-lS7. 
B1a«d«, Wm Im, 12, US. 



2S8 1 lut iiipcanin in, 
B«(on, flinwall pCT(bniiiHUC1n,971-27S. 

Bonrrj ThMtn, burning af. ST. 

BTAdfbnl ^GoTvnKir , ftiondiliiit of, wltli Goih- 



Cuihibuj lb 1020, 8. 
Brfuti, PhDUpflp optolon of diimfttio rwd- 

tD(,aM. 

Brown, Dr. John, 12T. 
BmimlDi, Un., 170- 
BrovolDg, Robgrt, qnotstloa from " Pu*- 

i»lnu,'>lS; •■Bwil,"iaT. 
Brownlnp, tl», IK, US. 
Brrut, nillkm Cnllfln, 2G9, 96S. 
Bode (Englud), dwcrlption of, 309. 
" Bnahle," 121 - 1», lae, 13T. 
Bulmell, It«T. Honca. pusUet bttwNB hk 
TiuhiiiHi'a, SSS- 2ST. 



Cllnrt, Qtatgt H., trflmto to Wb Oub- 

Cunpafu dl Roiu.daHrlptlni cil; ISl - UT. 

Carijta, Thomu, 84, 8[>. 

Culf]*, Hn., 84, 86, IflO. 

Cbull;, ■mnuwabla mqiiMi In c*dh of, 
eommontod on br UlH Ciuhmu , lU - IGT. 

Childhood, roeordi of His Gmhmui'i, IS- 
IS. 

Ohlldnm, har lora of, 170 • ITS. 

Ohorlar, Hamj V., Istun ftiim,tS-n,M, 
lOO) plajwiltMabj.TD.Sl. 

ObilfBDU MtMi and (lit*, ire - ni. 



306 



INDEX. 



ClimAto, Boman, lis tOMt on hmiih, ITS- 
174. 

01oMl,MftduiM,28. 

** Colnmbof," Um poem of; 28^ 

Cook, BUM Eli», 87. 

Crow, Miaf , her marriage to S. 0. Onahman, 
182. 

Cnahman, Ohariotte, birth, ancestry, and 
flunily,8-12. Early reeoUeedonB, 12-15, 
19-22. FIrrt performanoe of Lady Mac- 
beth, 22. Engagement at Bowery Theatre, 
86,27; 'at Park Theatre, 81, 82. Onboard 
the " Oarrick/' 89-44. In Scotland, 44. 
Vint London engagement* 46 > 68. Letters 
from Miss Coahman, 47-60. ^r ear* 
nestness, 56, 240. The Coshman sisters 
as Romeo and Jnliet, 68-60. Comments 
of the press, 60-63. In Dablin, 64 -67 ; 
8wit»rland,69. Letters to a young friend, 
79-88. InBome,91. Page's portrait, 82. 
In England — iettw to Blrs. Mospratt on 
death of her child, 94. The London home, 
96* Throngh the prorinces, 98* In Borne 
~flrst acquaintance with Bliss Btebbina, 
100. Personal appearance, 101,102. Kind- 
nsss and beneTolence of, 108-195, 146, 
147. Blosical ability, 185-106. The apart- 
ments in Borne, 112-116. Letters from 
Hiss Peabody, 189. Incident at BIcTlck- 
er's Theatre, 146, 147. Meg Merrilies, 
147-162. Letter upon charities, 166. 
Death of Blrs. Mospratt, 160. Bust by 
Miss Btebbtns, 161. Letters from Eng- 
land, 168-166. Letter from Paris, 166. 
EuJoyment of French stage, 168, 169. 
Lore of children, 170-172. Beligloas 
Tlew«, 177-181 Interest in Sanitary 
Commission, 186 -187. Letters from Borne, 
192 - 196. Death of Mr*. Cushman, aO& 
First appearance of malady, 229. Adrice 
of physicians, 280. Retnm to America, 
282. Letter on dedication of the Cnshman 
School, 287. Engagement at Booth's 
Theatre, N. T., 287, 241, 243. Western 
tonr, 24a Reading at NarraganseU, 244. 
Illness at the Sonth, 246. Letters from 
Newport, 246-261. Letters from tha 
West, 262-265. Farewell to New York, 
268-265. Farewell to Philadelphia, 266- 
867. Readings— illness in Cincinnati, 267. 
Farewell to Boston, 271-276. Last win- 
ter in Boston, 277. Letters from Parker 
House, Boston, 279-284. Death, 284. 
Funeral ceremonies, 286, 286. 

Cushman, Klkanah, 7. 

Cushman, Blrs., death of, 208. 

Cnshman, Robert, 2-6. 

Cushman, Susan, letter relating to, 86 ; acts 



with bar sbter, 68-60, 68; marries Dr. 

Muspratt, 66, 90 ; death of her child, 94, 

96 ; iUness and death of, 160. 
Cnshman, Thomas, 6, 6. 
Cushman School, the, 287-241 

Dante, LongfUlow's translation of, 198. 

Death and burial. Bliss Cu8hman*s, 284 - 2861 

Dickens, Charles, 164. 

Dism>polntnMnt in early life, letter xdbr- 
rlngto,182-184. 

Dramatic characters, principal, perftnmed 
by Miss Coshman—Bianea, 61-58; Mrs. 
Hallar, 86, 88 ; Hamlet, 216, 817 ; Lady 
Macbeth, 28, 85, 815; Meg Merrilies, 78, 
148-158; Nancy Sykes, 154; Queen 
Katharine, 71, 78, 815; Bomeo, 68-68; 
RosaUnd,64-6a 

Dramatic readings, 811. "King Henry 
ynL/'813; "Blacbeth,"216; *' Lady of 
Shalott," 819; ** Skeleton hi Annor," 
880 ; " Battle of iTry," 221 ; Brownhig's 
poems, 222-228; "Death of the Old 
Squire," 284, 226k BamartraMe sueeesses, 
286,248,245,246. 

Dublin, her engagement tiwre, 66-67. 

DudcTant, Madame Aurore. 5^ George 
Band. 

Earnestness, tha aaent of MIsb Cuahman's 
success, 66, 240. 

England, fcellng in« ai to ivw In Amaifca, 
16& 

"ETenldk Post" (New York), oUtany no- 
tice of Miss Cushman hi, 898. 

Farewell appeafaaesa, ezplaaatlon of, 888. 

Ikoeit, BUSS Helen, 46, 64, HO. 

** Fasio," MOman's, lOss Cuahman's acting 

hi, 61-68. 
Fields, James T., 847. 
Foots, Ber. Chariea, ssmMtt on dsath. of 

Miss Cushman. 888. 
Forrest, Edwin, 4a 
Foz-huntiog, 1889 188. 

** Oarrick," Toyage hi the, 89- 44. 
Ctonealogloal reoorda of Cuahman ftmUy, 

1-7. 
OUberi, John, Tlsit from, at Newport, 860, 

26L 
Girlhood, reeorda of Bliss Cushman's, 

12-ia 
Gounod, sacred songs by, 106. 
Greenwood, Grace, trarels with, in Italy, 01. 
Grattan, Thomas Colley, letters from, 

88-87 ; work on America by,86. 
Gutekunst, photograph by, 98. 



INDEX. 



307 



Handel and Haydn Sodetj, HIn Cosh- 

man'8 bust preMnted to, 16L 
HaiTOwgate, a summer in, 196, 197. 
H U., poem on death of Min Gushman bj, 

SOL 
Hoamer, Miss Harriet| UIm Ouahman 

Tlaita Rome with, 9L 
Howe, Mrs. Julia Ward, tribute to SDai 

Coshman by, 800. 

Illness, final, 281 - 2S5. 
Ingelow, Jean, her poons, I9T. 
Iritfh songs, 106, 107 ; storiee, M-68w 
Italian servants, 116-118. 

Jackson, Mrs. Helen Hunt. &< H. H. 
Jtfwsbury, Bliss, letters from, 74-78. 

Kemble, Charles, 88. 

King^B Chapel, chosen ibr her obseqniea, 

281; ftineral senrlce and sermon in, 286. 

288-292. 
Enowles, James fliMn-MAw, big opinion of 

MiiB Cnshman's acting, ^ 



Lady Macbeth, itrst p et tounan ea e<; 22. 

Lanier, Sidney, poems addwssed to SUn 
Cnshman, 268, 269. 

Lardner, Dr., eorreepondenoe with, 88. 

Lenox, Mass., her home in, 276. 

Lincoln, Abraham, 195, 196. 

Uppinoott, Mr*. S$e Oiaee Orsenwood* 

London, her success in, 87-88; home in, 
96. 

LonglbUow, Henzy W., extraet ftmn ** Hy- 
perion," 48; translation of Dante, 198; 
** Skeleton in Armor/' 220. 

Lorer, Samuel, comic song by, 106. 

Lowell, James Bnssell, poem of '* Colum- 
bus," 284. 

Macbeth, Lady, seleeted Ibr Miss Gushman's 
d^bat as actress, 22. 

Bfocdonald, George, meeting^ with, in Eng- 
land. 209; his opinion of dramatle zaad- 
Ing,246,247. 

Maeready» William, acts with Miss Gush- 
man, 80, 82 ; iuTites her to aet In Paris, 
45 ; his fluewell benefit, 78. 

Maeder, James O., Instraetor of Miss Gush- 
man in ringing, 22. 

Mahrem, a IkTorite resort, 76. 

Blarcy, Ooremor, 28. 

Bfarryatt, Captain, friendship fbtWm Gush- 
man, 29, 80. 

Mathieu, Wllhehn, his works purchased by 
Miss Cnshman Ibr Music Hall, 206. 

*'Mayflower,"the,8k4. 



McVicker's Chicago Theatre, presentation 
of testimonial to Miss Gushman by pcr- 
ibrmers, 146, 147. 

Mercer, SoUie, chaxacter of, 87-89; econo- 
mies of, 45 ; her oave of Miss Gushman, 
286. 

Mount Auburn, monument to be erected in, 
281 ; purchase of plot in, 281. 

Moourt, his bust by Mathieu, 206. 

Music Hall, inauguration of organ, 188; 
presentation of brackets and busts, 204- 
208. 

Muspratt, Ida, letter on death of, 84, 86. 

Muspratt, Dr. J. Sheridan, 68, 90. 

Mnspratt, Mrs. Ste Cnshman, Susan. 

Needlework, Miss Cushman's dislike of, 13. 

Mew HaTen, reading in, 285. 

New Orieans, engagement in, in 1860, 91 ; 
Tisit to, 161 ; iUness hi, 246. 

Newport, her home in, 284, 251. 

Newport Hoepital, reading in aid of, 244. 

New York, first arrival in, 26; burning of 
Bowery Theatre, 27 ; engagement in Park 
Theatre, 29, 88 ; performance for Sanitary 
Fund, 187; readings in, 288; flovweJ 
engagement in, 266 ; OTstion, 268 - 266w 

Nonconformist, Bobert Cnshman a, 2. 

Ogden, Wm. B., 248, 251. 

Ohio, tniTelllng adTenturoi at Springfield 

and Urbana, 258; letter flrom Toledo, 

264. 
'* OtheUo," Miss Gushman ptays " KniUa " 

in, 81. 

Paddon, John, her teacher of ringing, 19. 
Page, W. , his portrait of Miss Gushman, 92. 
Paget, Sir James, 229, 280. 
Palestrina, his bust by Mathieu, 206. 
Paris. Tirits to, 88, 166, 168. 
Parker House, reridenoe in, 279 - 284. 
Parker, Theodore, his Tirit to Rome, 160. 
Peabody, lilss Elisabeth, reminiscences <^ 

Miss Cnshman, 189 - 142. 
Personal ^>pearance, comments on her, 58, 

92, 101, 102 ; on stage, 89, 151, 152. 
Peti, Miss Cnshman's, 121-181. 
Philadelphia, ikrewell performance hi, 

265-267. 
Photographt Miss Gnihman's,by Gutekunst, 

92. 

Pius IX., 190,191. 

Queen Katharine, a ihTorite x6Ie, 71, 78, 212, 
216. 

Ristori, Madame, acquaintance with. In 
Italy, 97 ; meeting with hi Boston, 270, 271. 
Rogers, Samuel, 67. 



308 



INDEX. 



Boman eUmate, 172 - 176. 

Romui ■odffty, 176, 189. 

Rome, MIm CiuhiDfta'f home in, 112, 181. 

Saad, G«<xge, MIm duhmui'i ■dmlfrtmi 

OC169. 
Sftoitory Fond, domtion to, 186- 187. 
Sanndert, MIm Charlotte, 10. 
School-daja, 16. 
Scotland, timT^ In, 44. 
Seward, Min Fanny, 189; death of, 201; 

letters from MIm Cnihman to, 196, 200. 
Sewaid, WUUam A. , Tiilt to, In 1861, 162 ; the 

attempt on hb Ulb,200; letter from IQai 

Gnahman to, 201. 
Bhakeapeare, 84, 62, 189, 216, 218, 260. 
" Sheltering Arme,*^ Sode^ of the, Ml« 

Coihman^s correepondence with, 167, 168. 
Shepherd, R. B., aide Min Cnahman^s mn- 

•loal education, 19 ; meets her in 1868, 161. 
Slme, Dr. Bfarion, ooninltatlcQ with, in 

Parle, 229. 
Simpeon, Sir Jamee, 280. 
Singer, Mies Cnshman^s first appeamaoe ai 

public, 22 ; loes of Tolee, 22. 
Sodetgr in Rome, mixed character of, 175> 
SomerrlUe, Mrs., rislt Co, 177. 
Spence, Dr., 280. 
*« Spiridion,*' exponent of Qeorge Sandys 

religious Tlews, 109. 
Stebbhtf , Miss, first meeting with, 100 ; bust 

of Ifflis Cushman by, 161. 
Stage ooetnme. Miss Coahman't great iUll 

in, 161, 162. 



St. Iionis, memorials preeerved there, 168 ; 

Tisit to, in 1861, 161. 
Stoddard, Richard H., ode to Miss Cushmaa 

by,260.262. 
Sully *8 portrait of Miss Cushman, 98. 
Switaerland, Tisit to, 69. 

TiUbnrd, Thomas N., admlretJon of her 

acting, 49. 
Tennyaon, Alfred, 190. 
Tremont Theatre, Miss Ooahmaa's flnt ^- 

pearance in, 22. 
TroUope, Mrs., 70. 

Walee, tvatels throng, 160. 

Wallack, James, acts with Miss Cushman, 88. 

War, excitement among Americana in Rome 
during, 16B, 176. 

Ware, Rer. Henry, anecdote concerning, 14. 

Washington, Tirit to, hi 1861, 162. 

Water-cure, Mies Cushman makes trial of» 
266. 

Whittler, John 6., his poems, 199. 

Wight, Isle of; her Imp re esions of, 16i 

Winter, William, ex|danation of her fitf»> 
wells to the stage, 288 ; obituary notice of 
Mies Cushman by, 294-297. 

** Woman's JoumaL" fits Howe, Julia 
Ward. 

Wood, Mn. M. A., sings with Miss Cush- 
man, 20 ; adrises her to go on the etage, 
20 ; letter from, 21. 

Woodward fronily, remarkable muskal abil- 
ity of, 19. 

Woolson, Miss, letter from, r e sp ec tin g " Ken- 
tnoky Belle," 227. 




Cambridge : Electrotyped and Printed by Welch, Bigelow, & Ca 









>