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Full text of "Forty years on the stage : others (principally) and myself"

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liY YEARS ON THE STAGt 

liERS (PRINCIPALLY) AND MYSELF 



J. H.BARNES 



Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive 

in 2007 witii funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



littp://www.arcliive.org/details/fortyyearsonstagOObarnuoft 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

OTHERS (PRlNClP^LLr) JND MTSELF 



i 





J. H. BARNES (1874) 






[Frontispiece 





FORTY YEARS ON 
THE STAGE 

OTHERS {PRINCIPJLLT) AND MYSELF 



BY 

J. H. BARNES 



LONDON 

CHAPMAN AND HALL, Ltd. 

1914 






Richard Clay & Sons, Limited, 

BRUNSWICK 8TRKET, STAMFORD 8TRKKT 8.E. 
AND BUNGAY, SUFFOLK 




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



J. H. BARNES (1874) 

JOHN BARNES OF WATLINGTON (oXON) 

J. C. M. BELLEW .... 



To fact page 

. Frontispiece 

S 
5 



AUGUSTUS HARRIS THE ELDER (STAGE MANAGER, COVENT 
GARDEN opera) ..... 

MISS ADELAIDE NEILSON 

WILLIAM TERRISS (1872) .... 

MRS. WYNDHAM AND R. H. WYNDHAM (OF EDINBURGH) 

MRS. SCOTT SIDDONS ..... 

H. J. (harry) MONTAGUE .... 

CHARLES MATHEWS ..... 

WITH 



THE ORIGINAL CAST OF THE AMERICAN LADY 
WHICH THE CRITERION OPENED, 1874 

J. H. BARNES AS CLAUDIO (" MEASURE FOR MEASURE " 

SAMUEL PHELPS 



SALVINI .... 

J. H. BARNES AS SERJEANT TROY 
MADDING CROWD ") 

MADAME RISTORI . 

J. H. BARNES AS INGOMAR 

MISS MARY ANDERSON AS GALATEA 

J. H. BARNES AS PYGMALION . 



(" FAR FROM THE 



12 
19 
19 
28 
31 
33 
33 

40 

5Q 
67 

79 

134 
136 
145 
146 
147 



VI 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



J. H. BARNES VS "A PBISONER FOR LIFE" 150 

FRED ARCHER (1885) 158 

CHARLES H. E. BROOKFIELD AS TRIPLET . .155 

MBS. JOHN DREW AS MRS. MALAPROP 190 

EDWIN BOOTH 198 

J. H. BARNES AS MICHAEL DENNIS (" HER ADVOCATE") 205 

J. H. BARNES AS HENDERS (" PROFESSOR'S LOVE STORY ") 20G 

J. H. BARNES AS W.M., DRURY LANE LODGE, NO. 2127, 
F.A.M. ....... 



J. H. BARNES AS JOHN PEERYBINGLE (" THE CRICKET ON 
THE hearth") ...... 

J. H. BARNES IN "THE FINISHING SCHOOL" 

J. H. BARNES AS FATHER DEMPSEY (" JOHN BULL'S OTHER 
island") ....... 



244 

267 
260 

278 



J. H. BARNES AS ROEBUCK RAMSDEN (" MAN AND SUPER- 
MAN ") 280 

J. H. BARNES AS FATHER JOSEPH (" RICHELIEU ") . 290 

SIR JOHNSTON FORBES-ROBERTSON AS HAMLET AND 



J. H. BARNES AS POLONIUS 



800 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 



I THINK I hear the reader say, " What ! another actor's 
reminiscences ? " and I am fain to admit that there has 
been a plentiful crop of them in the last few years. Let 
me hasten to give my reason and ask excuse for adding 
mine to the list. In some articles I wrote on stage 
matters in the Nineteenth Century a few years ago, I 
was able to say with perfect truth, *' I have never been 
interviewed. I have never inspired a paragraph. I have 
never made speeches," and I may add I have never been 
photographed except at the request of my manager at 
the time. I was taught, in my early days on the stage, 
that the actor's duty was behind the proscenium, and 
that his best and most telling pronouncements were 
those made when the curtain was up. In that faith I 
have lived and worked earnestly and sincerely. It 
is an old-fashioned and out-of-date creed in these self- 
asserting days, but in the autumn of one's career it is 
too late to change, and it follows as a matter of course 
that I am not one of those who consider their lives, 
their doings or their thoughts of general or public 
interest. But in my forty-odd years on the stage I 
have been brought in contact, and in a representative 



2 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

capacity, with nearly every great artist, male and female, 
on both sides of the Atlantic, and it is of them I propose 
to write principally. In short, I hope to make my own 
career a peg on which to hang impressions and anec- 
dotes of men and women and places and circumstances 
which can hardly fail to prove entertaining reading for 
many, both inside and outside my own calling. I shall 
" nothing extenuate nor set down aught in malice " 1 

First, then, to clear the ground as to myself. I was 
bom in the little old-fashioned town of Watlington, in 
Oxfordshire, on February 26, 1850. In this quaint, 
old-world place with its genuine Norman Church tower, 
its genuine Tudor market-place and its " white chalk 
mark " on the Chiltern Hills under which it nestles, I 
passed my childhood. My mother died when I was 
quite an infant, and under the loving care of a remarkable 
father, and a dear sister, whom I helped to lay to rest 
only three years ago, I led the ordinary life of 
an English country boy. In speaking of my father as 
" remarkable," I do not think I am over-stating my 
case. A finer specimen of the best yeoman blood of 
" Old England " (that blood which has done so much 
for Britain in the past ages) never lived. Upright, 
fearless, kindly, courteous and loving, and withal 
humorous, he was indeed — 

"A man, take hinn for all in all, 
I shall not look upon his like again." 

Had he lived at the right time, he might well have been 
the original of the line in Gray's " Elegy " — 

"Some village Hampden, that with dauntless breast." 
He lived respected and beloved, and died regretted by 




JOHN BARNES OF WATLINGTON (OXON) 

iTo face page 3 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 3 

all, and it often occurs to me that, if in our last long 
sleep, we are ever permitted to " revisit the glimpses 
of the moon," I should rest a little easier and sleep a 
little happier if I dare hope that my own dear son will 
be able to remember his father in the same way that I 
remember mine. There was plenty of grit about him, 
too; and often when I have found myself stubbornly 
resisting humbug and charlatanism, of which the actor's 
calling presents a goodly variety, I am inclined to think 
I inherit some of my good father's characteristics in 
that respect, and I hold to my tenets all the more 
strongly. 

So much for my father. I make no apology for the 
enthusiasm. If the expression, " a nature's noble- 
man," was ever justified, he was a notable instance. 
For myself, I went to the only really fairly good school 
there was in the neighbourhood, without any particular 
distinction except one. I had quite an extraordinarily 
good memory. My brother, a little older than myself, 
had frightful trouble with his lessons. I could always 
study mine (and be quite perfect) on the three-quarters 
of a mile of road that lay between my home and the 
school. One instance of this is perhaps worth relating 
as strongly bearing on my future. Our master was 
fond of poetry and recitations, etc., and we used to have 
one afternoon every second week devoted to such 
studies. I was rather known as the Reciting Boy. 

On one occasion our master said he considered that 
Milton was perhaps the finest and also the most difficult 
blank verse to commit to memory, and he would give 
a special prize to any boy who would commit the first 
book of Paradise Lost to memory within the term. On 



4 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

the eighteenth day from the time he said it I repeated 
the whole of the first book, and I still have the little 
school prize book bearing this inscription on the fly- 
leaf — 

" Presented to John Barnes as a reward for his com- 
pliance with a wish that he should commit the first book 
of Milton to memory — expressed by his friend and 

tutor, 

" Joseph Brothwood. 

" Christmas, 1861." 

Considering that I was then eleven and a half years 
old it might be considered an achievement. How this 
memory was to serve me in after years in the career I 
was to choose for myself I shall have more than one 
occasion to refer to. 

The agricultural depression that set in in Great Britain 
about the middle of the nineteenth century, caused by 
so much cultivation of food products in other parts of 
the world, and the consequent lowering of prices of the 
home-grown articles, caught my father (amongst many 
others) in its toils, and " times " became bad in the old 
home, and it was advisable (indeed, necessary) for me 
to consider what I was going to do for a living. 

Those were the days of firm apprenticeships in busi- 
ness, and, following in the footsteps of an elder brother, 
it was arranged for me to go to London and take my 
place in a business house. This was when I was thirteen 
years old only. And within a few months an event 
occurred which was destined to have an enormous 
influence on my after life. 

One Sunday morning I found myself attending the 




Photo] 



J. C. M. BELLEW 



[F. H. Fry 



\To face page 5 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 5 

service in Bloomsbury Chapel, of which the Rev. 
J. C. M. Bellew was the pastor. Bloomsbury Chapel, 
long since pulled down, was situated to the south-west 
of New Oxford Street, in Bloomsbury Street, on the 
site of what is now a clothing store, etc. Its pastor was 
a most extraordinary man — ^well known as a great 
reader on both sides of the Atlantic and in India. 
His was undoubtedly one of the most attractive person- 
alities conceivable. With a juvenile set of features, 
of great character, and white hair, which lay wherever 
he chose to shake it, and a wonderfully beautiful hand, 
his appearance alone arrested attention. Add to this 
a glorious voice, capable of modulation and vibration 
to every kind of emotion and character, and the fact 
that he was the very best reader and elocutionist that 
I have ever heard down to to-day, and his magnetism 
and charm may be fairly estimated. To the female 
mind he was well-nigh irresistible, and many were the 
stories, at the time, of the devotion of his admirers. 
It was said that his farewell sermon, on leaving India, 
was preached in a tent to 10,000 people, and as many 
were on the plain outside endeavouring to catch his 
tones and words. Certain it is that anything like his 
power and eloquence in the reading desk and pulpit 
I have never heard. Has any one ever considered the 
full possibilities of some portions of the service of the 
Anglican Church ? Some of the prayers and collects, 
for instance ? I am the last man to advocate theatrical- 
ism in devotion, but I am bound to say that J. C. M. 
Bellew first opened my eyes and ears to the beauties and 
strength of the Church service. After having heard 
them droned out, all my boyhood days, by the ordinary 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

country parson, his reading came as a revelation to me 
and arrested my attention as nothing had ever done 
before. It is, I believe, a fact that Belle w would have 
been an actor (as his son Kyrle eventually became), 
but unfortunately the graces of his person did not 
extend to his nether limbs, which were painfully paren- 
thetic in their conformation. In his public readings, 
which were immensely popular in whatever part of the 
world they were heard, this part of his anatomy was 
unexposed. Of his dramatic skill it may be noted that 
he coached Charles Fechter, the French romantic actor, 
in the part of Hamlet (a performance which Fechter 
made world-famous), and I once saw Bellew make the 
curious experiment of reading the whole of that play 
(every part) with all the characters performed, in dumb 
show, by a company of trained artists. 

Nothing could exceed the attractiveness of his public 
readings, and I say, without any hesitation, he has never 
been equalled. I just knew, and heard several times, 
the great Charles Dickens read, but he did not compare 
with Bellew, even in reading his own works, except in 
the one notable instance of the murder of Nancy Sikes, 
in which he was incomparable. In comedy, tragedy, 
dialect, humour, or pathos, Bellew was facile princeps. 

From all this it may be gathered how completely 
he compelled my admiration and swayed my under- 
standing when I first heard him on that eventful Sunday 
morning in church. He rekindled in my mind all the 
love of my schooldays for the study of the poets, and 
relighted a spark which, though it smouldered for a 
long time, was destined to burst into open flame, and 
burn on for all my days. 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 7 

In the early seventies Bellew undertook a reading 
tour in the United States, which was eminently success- 
ful, but whether the climate disagreed with him, or the 
work was too hard, or from natural causes, I have no 
means of knowing, but he returned a jaded, sallow, 
worn -out -looking man, and died shortly afterwards. 
Nor can I speak of him as a religionist, pure and simple I 
Coincidentally with his great artistic and financial suc- 
cess as a public reader he " verted *' to Roman Catholi- 
cism. How fervently he followed up that faith I know 
not. I attended every Bellew reading I could ever get 
to, and went to as many theatres as I could afford for 
years, and became familiar, as any outsider could, with 
the men and women and the affairs of the stage, and as 
a matter of course, was an ambitious mimic of much 
that I saw and heard ; but my father, to whom I 
broached my ambition, would not hear of the stage as 
an occupation (there was an enormous amount of preju- 
dice against it in those days). So for eight years I was 
destined to continue in a business which was distasteful 
and irksome to me, with only the annual relaxation of 
a holiday in my old home. 

Whilst on one of these holidays as incident occurred 
which has often struck me since as being distinctly 
humorous. I went with my father to Thame (in 
Oxfordshire) on market day. As we alighted from the 
old-fashioned gig (of those days) in the yard of " The 
Spread Eagle " Inn, the ostler came to our horse's 
head. He had a most remarkable face, a Bardolphian 
nose of huge proportions, a complexion in which all the 
hues of the rainbow were represented, and eyes which 
spoke all too plainly of stronger liquid refreshment than 



8 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

water. My father (to whom he was an old acquaintance) 
said : " Johnnie ! It has taken a lot of money to paint 
your nose that nice colour, hasn't it ? " He replied, 
without a moment's hesitation : " E'es, sur, so it 'ave ! 
but if I could affoord it I'd 'ave 'im varnished neow." 

In 1868 came the first great grief of my life. I lost 
my good father, and it seemed at the time that I could 
never get over it. But " Time, the healer," came to 
my aid, and my longing for a change of occupation re- 
asserted itself when I was my own master. For the 
next three years I worked on in business all day and 
studied hard well on into the middle of most of the 
nights, and October 22, 1870, I made my first public 
appearance as a reader in Westbourne Hall, Bayswater. 
I gave another reading on December 14, 1870, at the 
same place, and yet another on November 16, 1871. I 
received considerable Press encouragement. 

At the time of my third venture I had got, through a 
friend, the merest speaking acquaintance with Dion 
Boucicault the elder and, with the temerity of the 
amateur, I wrote to ask him to attend with a view to 
judging of my qualification for the stage. Needless to 
say, he did not do so, but he wrote me a very pleasant 
and characteristic letter in which he said : " Readings 
give little or no proof of dramatic ability. A good 
reader may be a very bad actor, and vice versa. If you 
are fully bent on going on the stage begin at the bottom 
rung of the ladder and work up like an honest man," 
and he added a sentence which, as a precept, I have 
never lost sight of to this day : " Depend upon it, 
experience is the only master, and the public are the 
only judges." 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 9 

My last years in business had been quite successful, 
and I was mentioned for a good position in an enter- 
prise, then under consideration, which has turned out 
amazingly well. It is now one of London's biggest 
monuments of business success, and has resulted in a 
baronetcy for the manager, with whom I might have 
been associated. An old proverb says, " You can't 
burn the candle at both ends," and the strenuous life 
I was leading began to " tell its tale," and I was advised 
by a kind old doctor, who knew me well, that if I did 
not give up one employment or the other I should break 
down utterly, or lose my reason, and one day when 
suffering from acute neuralgia, I resented an insulting 
remark made by an officious " jack in office," and finally 
resigned my position and started out to try my fortunes 
in the walk of life for which I had been hungering for 
so long a time. A stroke of luck befell me almost at 
once ! I had an acquaintance named Henry Melton, 
who had been the life -long friend and was the executor 
of the will of Walter Montgomery, the brilliant actor 
and elocutionist of world-wide renown, who shot him- 
self in London on account of a most beautiful but worth- 
less woman some time before this. Melton introduced 
me to Mr. H. L. Batemen, manager of the Lyceum, who 
was about to produce The Bells, in which Sir Henry 
(then Mr.)]Irving, made his enormous success and stepped 
into stellar rank. To my great joy, Mr. Bateman 
gave me an opportunity to make my first appearance 
on the regular stage as Mr. Irving's double in what 
was to him (and the theatre) a great and eventful 
night. And, for good or ill, I was an actor ! This was 
on the night of November 25, 1871. 



n 

Few people know how momentous, in more ways than 
one, was the first night of The Bells. Mr. Bateman, an 
American manager settled in London, had already 
launched his eldest daughter, Kate — the present re- 
spected and esteemed Mrs. Crowe — as a successful star 
in England through the medium of the play Leah, the 
Forsaken, and, with a limited capital, had taken the 
Lyceum, which had been a failure and closed for a long 
time, with the hope of making another daughter, Isabel, 
also a great feature. He rather relied on a fine character 
actor of the day, George Belmore, for his male attrac- 
tion. He had engaged a good all-round company, 
though, including Irving. The first play — Fanchette — 
failed disastrously, and was followed by a version of 
The Pickwick Papers, prepared by James Albery. 
In it Belmore made only a moderate success as Sam 
Weller. Irving succeeded greatly as Alfred Jingle, but 
again the play failed to attract the public. The Bells, 
a version of Le Juif Polonais, adapted by a London 
solicitor, Leopold Lewis, was put up as a last and forlorn 
hope. Had it failed the theatre would have closed. It 
succeeded from the very first line. Irving scored a 
veritable triumph from which he never looked back, and 
the Lyceum started on a tide of prosperity the like of 
which it had scarcely ever known before. Pickwick 

10 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 11 

was played as an after-piece the first night of The Bells 
and for many weeks afterwards, but Irving soon re- 
signed the part of Jingle to Charles Warner and confined 
his efforts to the conscience-stricken Mathias only. I 
shall have occasion to refer to Irving more fully in the 
course of these reminiscences, but an incident of this 
time is, I think, worthy of record. 

After one of the rehearsals of The Bells, I found myself 
(I don't know how) in conversation with Bateman, 
Lewis, and Irving, when some topic of the politics of 
the day was being discussed. As showing how one man, 
destined to rise, seems to smell out another of a similar 
character, I remember, very distinctly, Irving saying, 
in his most telling manner, " Ah ! I fancy we shall hear 
a good deal more of this chap Joe Chamberlain from Bir- 
mingham before we have done with him." Be it re- 
membered that at that time Irving himself had not 
played The Bells and Joseph Chamberlain was known 
more as a very successful and popular Mayor of Bir- 
mingham than as the brilliant statesman who was 
destined to take so prominent a part in the affairs of 
Great Britain. 

Consequent on Irving's success, Bateman became his 
very enthusiastic champion, and voiced his excellences 
as an artist on every possible occasion in language of 
great force, liberally embellished with his own picturesque 
vocabulary. Indeed, it became so much a mania with 
him that a few years later (1875), at a banquet given to 
celebrate the 100th night of Irving's performance of 
Hamlet, he bitterly resented some remarks of Charles 
Dickens, jun., in which the latter referred to the then 
impending visit of the great Italian tragedian, Salvini, 



12 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

to London, and claimed a generous reception for him. 
Bateman regarded it as quite a personal and almost 
international affront, which was odd, considering his 
own nationality. However, Salvini came and set London 
wild with his Othello for one season ; but his great suc- 
cess did not extend to a second. 

Bateman was, withal, a kind friend to me, and soon 
advised me that as The Bells was " in for a run,'* I was 
not doing myself much good in continuing in a negative 
non-speaking part, and so I sought out H. J. Montague, 
whom I had met on one or two occasions, and who was 
then the manager of the Globe in Newcastle Street, 
Strand — long since swept away by the radical street 
improvements of London which have given us Kings- 
way and Aldwych. 

Montague offered me a small engagement, and I played 
my first speaking part under his management on De- 
cember 18, 1871, in the farce My Wife's Out, with E. W. 
Garden (still happily with us) and Misses Nellie and 
Maria Harris — daughters of Augustus Harris — (a very 
able man), stage manager of Covent Garden Opera 
under Gye, and sisters of him who afterwards became 
Sir Augustus Harris, manager of Drury Lane. A candid, 
valued friend told me years afterwards that, witnessing 
my effort at that time, he came to the conclusion that 
I had not only mistaken my vocation, but was a " stick " 
of a very pronounced kind. 

A book might be written about the career of Montague. 
Indeed, it is almost a wonder it was never done. What 
can I say that will not appear like " painting the lily " 
or " gilding refined gold " ? His dearest friend would 
not have spoken of Harry Montague as a great actor, 




AUGUSTUS HARRIS THE ELDER 

(Stage Manager, Covent Garden Opera) 



[To face page 12 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 18 

and yet he had a vogue which many a great actor might 
have envied, and filled a niche in which he has not to 
this day been replaced. Coming into prominence with 
the so-called " tea-cup and saucer school " of Tom 
Robertson, he had a method and a charm which were 
all his own. He was not really handsome, though he 
had a most pleasing face and a graceful, lithe figure, 
but he had the delightful attribute, both on and off the 
stage, of making it appear that the person he was 
addressing was the one of all the earth in whom he was 
most interested. No one has ever spoken the pleasant, 
tender lines of modern comedy or interested an audience 
in the purely jeune premier r61e as he did. One reads a 
good deal in these days of " matinSe idols." Com- 
paratively speaking, Montague was a " matirUe god." 
The younger female population of two countries seemed 
to consider that the " sun rose and set " in his one 
pleasant personality. 

After enjoying unbounded popularity in England, he 
journeyed to New York and took his place in the company 
at Wallack's Theatre (then at 13th Street and Broad- 
way). There his triumphs, artistic and personal, were 
renewed and, if possible, redoubled. Indeed, I have 
myself, when in his company, been a witness of circum- 
stances where his social popularity was positively em- 
barrassing. He never returned to England, after his 
success in New York, where he made a handsome income 
for some years. Alas ! with a physique never too robust, 
he scarcely led the life which makes for longevity. 
With a disposition to consumption, he broke a blood- 
vessel and died quite suddenly in San Francisco in what 
should have been the prime of life. This was in 1878. 



14 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

His funeral in the " City of the Golden Gate " is almost 
historic, and partook of the nature of a State or even 
Federal function. His body was brought to New York 
and buried from " The Little Church Round the Corner," 
where Dr. Houghton, one of his dearest and most loving 
friends, spoke the last sympathetic words to waft him 
on his final journey, and where a most beautiful stained 
glass window is erected to his memory by his admirers. 
This is an excellent reproduction of his features. He 
appears in the costume of the monk's disguise worn by 
Romeo in the Ballroom scene of Romeo and Juliet. This 
part, by the by, he never played, except in the Balcony 
scene, once, for a benefit in London. The part was one 
of a greater depth than he could tackle successfully. 
Poor Harry Montague ! And yet why " poor " ? To 
have given pleasure to countless thousands and to be 
remembered affectionately by a large section of the 
public of two hemispheres is not to have lived in 
vain! 

I have spoken of " The Little Church Round the 
Corner.'* To those who have not read Joseph Jefferson's 
biography, where the incident is so charmingly de- 
scribed, it may be interesting to learn how the church 
got that name. An actor, a great friend of Jefferson's, 
died, and Jefferson applied to the pastor of a certain 
fashionable church in New York to conduct his funeral. 
This gentleman demurred at the fact of burying an 
actor (such was the prejudice of those days), but, said 
he, " There is a little church round the corner where you 
might be able to arrange it." Jefferson withdrew, 
saying, " Then God bless the little church round the 
comer." The story got abroad, and ever since that 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 15 

time the church has gone by that name. It is endeared 
to members of the actor's calHng by many circum- 
stances. Its real name is " The Church of the Trans- 
figuration." It stands in 29th Street, just out of 5th 
Avenue. The pastor, for many years (the Rev. Dr. 
Houghton), understood us and our work. He sympa- 
thised with our aspirations, as with our heart-breakings 
and calamities, and here, just within a few steps of the 
*' busy haunts of men," there was always a welcome and 
quiet seclusion of rest and peace ; and here so many of 
our comrades, male and female, have been wished a 
loving farewell when starting on their great final tour — 
a farewell wherein their failings have been forgotten and 
their merits remembered by one who knew and loved us 
all, as equal members of the one great family it was his 
work to guide. 

I stayed with Montague the whole of the season and 
got a chance of playing two or three small original parts, 
and also some important ones as understudies (for which 
I was always ready), and it was a pleasant little feather 
in my cap that Montague was rather annoyed that I did 
not remain with him for the following season. About 
this time also I got a flattering and tempting offer to 
return to my former business life, but I had " smelt the 
powder " — the battle-cry rang in my ears, and work, 
work, work in my chosen profession was the absolute 
*' breath of my nostrils." 

After a reading in my native place (June 28, 1872) for 
a local charity under the auspices of the vicar of the 
parish and some other local " big wigs," I joined the 
company engaged for the first opening of the Londes- 
borough, Scarborough (July 8, 1872), as first walking 



16 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

gentleman. Those were the days of strict lines of 
business and first walking gentleman was an appre- 
ciable advance for me. At this fashionable Yorkshire 
seaside resort work was very hard indeed, but never 
too hard for me. The theatre was opened by a Mr. 
Waddington, a wealthy pianoforte dealer of York. We 
had to change the bill two and three times every week, 
and played usually a farce, a comedy, and a burlesque 
every night, with a drama on Saturdays. Business 
was fair only. In the company was a gentleman making 
his first appearance on the stage, named H. G. Blythe, 
son of an Indian judge, an Oxford graduate. He after- 
wards crossed to the United States, changed his name, 
and was the well-known actor, quite fair dramatist, 
and quite brilliant humorist, known as Maurice Barry- 
more, who married that capital actress Georgie Drew, 
daughter of Mrs. John Drew, the elder, and sister of 
the present popular John Drew. Poor Barry's sad 
end was regretted by all. He had many friends and 
few, if any, enemies. 

Our leading man at Scarborough was Charles Van- 
denhoff, son of George Vandenhoff, who settled in 
Boston, U.S.A., as a teacher of elocution, etc. Rather 
a dramatic episode arose in this connection. When 
Charles was becoming well known on the stage, his 
father wrote a public letter, stating that " only two men 
had any right to use the historical theatrical name of 
Vandenhoff — himself and Henry Vandenhoff, then 
residing at Liverpool." This was, strictly speaking, 
true, but certainly cruel and in questionable taste, 
Charley felt it very, very bitterly. He wrote a digni- 
fied and intensely human letter in reply, in which he 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 17 

signed himself " the natural son of a most unnatural 
father," but, in a way, it seemed to embitter his whole 
life. Charles Vandenhoff was a good all-round actor, 
a little undersized, perhaps, thoroughly experienced, 
just a trifle stagey, but steady and sound ; a loyal friend 
and a good fellow. A strong friendship which began at 
Scarborough between Barrymore and him ended only 
with their respective lives. 

Only one " star " came to us during the season — 
that capital character actor, John Clarke, and he brought 
with him his bride, to whom he had been married the 
week before at Yarmouth, a pretty creature and pleasant 
actress — Miss Furtado (long at the Adelphi, London). 

Two rather funny incidents occurred during this 
season, the first one to myself. I was playing Alphonse 
de Grandier in Delicate Ground^ a charming one -act 
play taken from the same French source as Sardou used 
in recent years as the basis of Divorgons. Alphonse 
has to enter very nervously, calling on the wife of 
Citizen Sanfroid, disguised as a pack-man, with his 
box of wares, as if for sale. Citizen Sangfroid says, 
" Sit down, at all events ; your legs seem giving way 
under you." I entered as nervously as I could and was 
received with such a shout of laughter that I was dis- 
posed to plume myself on the possession of, till then, 
undiscovered comedy powers. Alas ! I was soon un- 
deceived. A little later in the scene I discovered I had 
carried on a box labelled at the end showing the audience, 
*' Epps' Homoeopathic Cocoa," which the property man 
had dodged up in a hurry for the purpose without 
noticing the aforesaid label. As the action of the play 
takes place at the period of the French Revolution, it 



18 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

can be readily imagined the audience found good cause 
for merriment. 

The other accident was equally unfortunate. The 
play was The Corsican Brothers one Saturday night. 
The trick swords had been telegraphed for from London, 
but had not arrived, and the manager promised the 
actors that if they would file their own swords so that 
they would break at the right moment he would indem- 
nify them for the loss. They did so. At the given 
moment in the celebrated duel scene where Mont- 
giron said, " This fight cannot proceed ; Monsieur de 
Chateau Renaud's sword is broken " — (as it was) — 
" the weapons are not equal ; " Vandenhoff, as Fabian 
di Franchi replied, " It shall proceed. I have made 
them equal." Montgiron : " Implacable ? " Fabian 
di Franchi : " As destiny ! " and he essayed to break 
his sword over his knee ; it bent double. He repeated, 
"As destiny" and tried to break it the other way; 
again it bent double. What it was made of Heaven 
alone knows, but it seemed as if it could be tied in a 
knot without breaking, and poor Fabian had to finish 
the fight with the butt end of Chateau Renaud's sword, 
amid the derisive and amused shouts of the audience. 





w 52. 

o 



Ill 

The autumn of 1872 found me back in London at 
Drury Lane in Andrew Halliday's version of Sir Walter 
Scott's romance, " The Lady of the Lake." 

The manager of the theatre was F. B. Chatterton, 
the gentleman who gave out the oft -quoted statement 
that " Shakespeare spelt ruin and Byron bankruptcy," 
which was pretty nearly true as he understood it ; but, 
in the words of a well-known saying, " There were 
others." 

Halliday seemed, at that time, to have a " corner " 
in Scott's works, and produced one nearly every year. 
I am afraid this one was not a good play, but it had a 
very successful feature, namely, a gorgeously painted 
panorama of Loch Katrine, by that scenic master, 
William Beverley. The cast was a strong one — James 
Fernandez (Fitzjames), Henry Sinclair (Roderick Dhu) 
J. Dewhurst (Douglas), William Terriss (Malcolm 
Graeme), and our leading lady was a beautiful and 
charming creature. Miss Maria B. Jones, quite a talented 
actress, who died at an early age, to the sorrow of a 
large circle of friends and the inexpressible grief of her 
husband, F. C. Philips, the distinguished dramatist and 
novelist, author of As in a Looking Glass. 

On the first night a contretemps occurred which would 
have broken the nerve and heart of any one less in 

19 



20 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

earnest than I was. I played a small part called 
Captain Lewis, and I remember I was dressed in an 
all -yellow costume, looking like a large animated 
mustard pot. At a certain point I had to advance, with 
my sword drawn, to protect the heroine from the un- 
welcome attentions of a body of soldiery, saying : 
" Stand back, ye knaves ! " I did this correctly as 
rehearsed, but, unhappily, our stage manager, Mr. 
Edward Sterling, who was growing old and somewhat 
oblivious, had not sufficiently instructed them in their 
advances or " business," and I had threateningly drawn 
my sword on as mild a lot of supers as ever killed a 
scene by their incompetence. A roar of laughter went 
up from all parts of that vast auditorium which I can 
never forget. The manager, and indeed everybody 
concerned, hastened to absolve me from blame in the 
matter, and I even received credit for displaying nerve 
in such a situation ; but it was greatly disconcerting, 
and is to this day a painful memory. 

But this engagement brought me one great com- 
pensating pleasure. A friendship begun at that time 
with that fine actor and downright good fellow, James 
Fernandez, has continued without a moment's break or 
intermission down to this day. Amongst the many 
dearly loved comrades in my profession I could think of 
none whose friendship has worn better or brought me 
greater happiness than that of this able, genial, and 
sterling artist and chum. 

In December (1872) I joined the company at the old 

Strand, then under the management of Mrs. Swan- 

borough, a kind old lady with a big heart, but who had 

ot had many of the advantages of education, and whose 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 21 

malapropisms were the cause of much mirth amongst 
her acquaintances. The things she said, and the things 
that were said by others and attributed to her, would fill 
many pages. On one occasion she was congratulated 
on a pretty carpet in use on the stage in a drawing-room 
scene. She replied, " Ah, I'm glad you like it ! The 
Prince of Wales expectorated on that carpet when he was 
here the other night." 

On another occasion she was speaking of improve- 
ments she had made in the theatre, and in enumerating 
them said, " And I have had a new spinal staircase put 
up to the flies." 

When the Vaudeville was first opened it was to be 
called the Bijou, and the prospective managers an- 
nounced were David James, Thomas Thorne, and H. J. 
Montague. At that time David James had a year's 
contract still to run at the Strand, and Mrs. Swan- 
borough said : "If Mr. David James intends to play 
me any tricks and go off to that Bougie theatre, I'll serve 
him with an injection^ and see what comes of that." 

At the Strand I met that incomparable humorist, 
H. J. Byron. I played in three of his plays — Sir Simon 
Simple, Prompter's Box, and Old Soldiers (first produc- 
tion), and was fortunate in making a firm friend of him, 
which continued up to his death. He was not a 
great actor, though he had a delightful way of delivering 
his own good lines. And what good lines they were ! 
But every second sentence that fell from his lips was a 
joke, and always a genial one, never sarcastic or caustic. 
It would, indeed, fill a volume to record half of his 
sallies, but many of them have passed into proverbs ere 
this, and I am constantly being told of jokes that men 



22 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

have made nowadays which, to my certain knowledge, 
date back to and emanated from him. 

Heaven knows how many plays he wrote, dramas, 
comedies, and burlesques. He has been known to write 
an act of a comedy in a day, and a short burlesque 
between Friday and the following Monday. Perhaps 
his best play was a comedy, entitled CyriVs Success ; 
but, of course, his most successful one was Our Boys, 
which ran fourteen hundred nights in London on its 
first production, and has had any number of revivals 
since — indeed, it is constantly being played somewhere 
to this day. 

One of his best jokes was on the occasion of the pro- 
duction of his drama. The Lancashire Lass, at the old 
Queen's. A very long wait occurred at the end of the 
third act. The orchestra had tried to bridge over the 
gap, and the audience were getting very impatient 
indeed. Byron was in a box with E. L. Blanchard, the 
critic. All at once a strong sawing was heard at the 
back of the curtain. Blanchard sympathetically and 
excitedly said, " What's that, Byron ? What's that ? " 
Byron quite calmly replied, " Upon my soul, I don't 
know, old man, unless they are cutting out the fourth 
act ! " 

When he was manager of one of the Liverpool theatres 
he was consulting with the foreman during some re- 
decorations as to a suitable embellishment for a large 
bare space on the wall of the box-ofiice. The foreman 
made two or three suggestions, such as the City coat of 
arms, etc., etc., when Byron said : " No, no ! I have 
it ; the very thing — Shakespearean quotation, ' So much 
for book-ing 'em.' " 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 23 

On what proved to be his death-bed (for he never got 
up again) he made a joke. His coachman came to see 
him, and in the course of conversation said, " That grey 
mare of ours don't seem to do well, sir ! I think I must 
give her a ball ! " Byron replied, feebly, " Well, do 
so, then ; but don't ask too many." 

He had a perfect mania for changing his places of 
residence, and it must have been a frightfully expensive 
one, for he never seemed to be six months in the same 
home. For a man who did so much clever work he did 
not die well off, and I fear with him, as with many 
others, it was easier to make money than to keep it. 
A kindlier, cleverer, wittier, or more genial gentleman 
never lived. Requiescat in pace. 

Other well-known artists at the Strand at that time 
were Edward Terry, W. H. Vernon, Miss Kate Bishop, 
Miss Ada Swan borough, and that wonderful " old 
woman," Mrs. Raymond. 

And yet it is wrong to speak of Lucy Raymond as an 
" old woman " of the stage ! She was in fact a female 
low comedian, if ever there was one. I have seen all 
the best comic acting of my day, but I don't believe 
I can recall any man or woman who could excel this 
extraordinary old lady in compelling laughter. She 
had a funny, squatty figure, and a large face, with a 
broad man's jowl and a kind of stony, fixed, perplexed 
stare. Heaven help the comedian who fancied he was 
getting all the laughs if he was playing a scene with her. 
I have in my recollection one or two such cases. She 
was fairness itself, but she had only to fix that stony 
stare on the other performer and jerk out her lines in her 
own inimitable way for the audience to be convulsed. 



24 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

She positively drew money to the theatre on her own 
account. It was not unusual to hear old gentlemen 
say in trains and omnibuses, " I always go to see Lucy 
Raymond ; she makes me laugh so." 

If it were possible for her to be funnier than when she 
was speaking her lines it was when she forgot them. 
Her perplexity was side-splitting. On the first night 
of Old Soldiers she had to say to Miss Kate Bishop : 
" Shakespeare says, ' What's in a name ? ' I say every- 
thing." Under the influence of first-night nervousness, 
her mind wandered temporarily, and she said, haltingly 
and spasmodically, " Somebody says — who is it ? is it 
Chaucer? or Sir Benjamin Jonson? or Shakespeare? 
or some of those old gentlemen you see in Westminster 
Abbey?—' What's in a name? ' " 

Byron, who was standing by, shook with laughter, and 
immediately said : " Well, I can't write anything as 
funny as that; I'll put that in." And it will be found 
incorporated in the printed book of the play as sold 
to-day. 

After a short and futUe return to the Lyceum, under 
promise of a part in a play, which was eventually 
abandoned, in July 1873, I was engaged by Edward 
Saker, the manager of the Alexandra, Liverpool, for a 
play called Coming Home ; or, Sithors to Grind. It was 
written by an actor named George Leitch, who had 
been first low comedian with me the previous summer in 
Scarborough, and had kindly recommended me. Saker 
had produced the play in the country, and was fired with 
an ambition to act it in London, for which purpose he 
took the old Globe for a summer season. It was not 
quite a good play, but a very interesting one, a sort of 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 25 

recollected dream of Dickens. It succeeded mildly 
only. Mrs. Saker (Miss Marie O'Beirne) was in the cast, 
also Fred Warde, who afterwards went to America and 
finally became a fairly successful classic star. But it 
was destined to be a most important event for me. 
Edward Saker was the younger brother of Mrs. R. H. 
Wyndham, of the Edinburgh Royal, and her husband 
was among the audience at his brother-in-law's first 
night. I was fortunate in striking him favourably, 
and he inquired from Saker who and what I was. 
Learning that I was reliable and always in earnest, he 
asked me to meet him at dinner at the Tavistock Hotel, 
Covent Garden. I accepted his invitation, and, to my 
great surprise, he offered me the position of leading man 
at his theatre. Now at that time the Royal, Edinburgh, 
housed not only one of the last of the historic stock com- 
panies, but was recognised as one of the very finest 
training schools of the British stage, where many of the 
foremost artists had served their apprenticeship under 
the marvellous and incomparable stage management and 
instruction of Mrs. Wyndham (down to to-day the best 
I have ever seen). I pointed out to Mr. Wyndham that 
I had never been in such a position and that every part 
I should play under such an engagement would be for 
the first time. He replied that he was aware of that, 
but from what he had learned about me Mrs. W. and 
he were willing to take the risk if I were willing to work 
and try hard. Of all things, " it was the very favour I 
would have asked." 

I gratefully closed with the offer, took my books and 
parts with me, and went down to my old home in 
Oxfordshire, and here the excellent memory which I 



26 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

spoke of in my opening pages was to serve me well. I 
lay about the meadows and the orchard and on the 
banks of the old mill stream, and went to Edinburgh 
for my opening on September 22, 1873, perfect in the 
words of twenty-six leading parts. 



IV 

This may be a good place, perhaps, for a few words 
on the subject of the old stock companies. One so 
constantly hears the question mooted and discussed 
(and often by people who know nothing whatever about 
it) that a few words by one who does may be of interest. 
Let me say at once that, in my judgment, the stock 
companies of the last generation were by " all odds " 
the finest schools of the drama that ever existed. In 
them work was continuous, varied, and earnest, and 
nearly always under the guidance of an experienced 
stage manager who could, and did, give the aspirant 
the benefit of his knowledge, and, be it remembered, the 
companies were, generally speaking, made up of artists 
of considerable attainment as well as almost unlimited 
practice. When I have sometimes had occasion to 
speak of the work we used to get through, young ladies 
and gentlemen of to-day have sneeringly said, " Yes, 
but how was it done ? " I have always replied — and I 
state here without the slightest reservation — ^that if we 
had dared to give the slipshod, colourless, invertebrate 
performances I see very often on the stage nowadays, u >i~f 
we should have " got our notice " in less time than it 
takes to write this sentence. 

The last two of these fine stock companies were at 

Bristol and Edinburgh. Bristol was under Mr. and Mrs. 

27 



28 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

Chute and Edinburgh, as I have said, under Mr. and Mrs. 
Wyndham; and these two companies between them 
suppUed many of the prominent artists of the contem- 
porary stage. From Bristol came Ellen Terry, Madge 
Robertson (Mrs. Kendal), Miss Henrietta Hodson (Mrs. 
Henry Labouchere), William and George Rignold, 
Charles Coghlan, etc. From Edinburgh came Henry 
Irving, J. L. Toole, A. W. Pinero, John Ryder, Mrs. 
Scott Siddons, and many others. 

The Royal, Edinburgh, was very nearly ideal as 
a training ground. Everything was punctual and 
methodical. We could never have got through the 
work we did if it had not been so. Consequently it was 
the easiest possible theatre to work in. No one took 
liberties; they were not permitted. 

Robert Wyndham himself was quite a good actor 
when he chose to work, but he had grown fond of his 
ease when I knew him. He was a splendid Mercutio, 
Rolando (Honeymoon), and good in all light comedy 
parts of the old plays ; an excellent farce actor in parts 
such as Felix O'Callaghan {His Last Legs), and an 
admirable Irish comedian (he was an Irishman). Mrs. 
Wyndham was, really, rather a stagey actress, but she 
seldom acted. She confined her efforts almost entirely 
to stage management, and in all my life I have never 
met a person with such a general and complete know- 
ledge of this branch of our work and such a splendid 
method of imparting that knowledge to others. She 
knew every phase of the drama, from Hamlet to the 
children's ballet of the pantomime. She had the classic 
plays at her finger-tips, and her brain was a veritable 
treasure house of the effects and points made by all the 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 29 

great actors of her time, and she was never happier than 
when helping those who tried. She had a most direct 
method, and her favourite expression, " This is what 
you do, and this is why you do it," conveyed as much 
as many stage directors could conjure up in a whole 
day, and was generally found to be as effective and 
sound as the result of any amount of reflection. 

In my early days I worked under three great stage 
managers — Mrs. Wyndham, Charles Calvert (of Man- 
chester), and Dion Boucicault (the elder), and, with every 
respect to modern opinion I do not think any one since 
could compare with any of the three. To Mrs. Wynd- 
ham I owe a deep debt of gratitude for much kindly 
consideration and advice, and I shall always feel that 
whatever I may have done in my life in the direction 
of pleasing my public dates from her expert instruc- 
tion. 

One great difference to be noticed between the old 
and modern day stage managers is that, whereas the 
old ones came to the theatre with their ideas cut and 
dried and ready to be rehearsed straight away, the 
modern man nearly always moves his characters about 
like pawns on a chess-board till he finds his effects, and 
thereby takes hours and days about what used to take 
minutes. 

One good story of Mrs. Wyndham before passing on. 
A clown had come down from London for the Christmas 
pantomime calling himself Signor Thomasini. I shrewdly 
suspect his name was Thomas and his " native heath " 
somewhere near the Whitechapel Road. The production 
of the pantomime was approaching. A rehearsal was 
called for the " comic scenes " at 11 o'clock — the 



30 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

" opening " at 12 o'clock. At 12 o'clock, punctual as 
ever, Mrs. W. came on the stage and found it littered 
with the dihris of the comic scenes — perambulators, 
bandboxes, dolls, sausages, etc. Calling Henderson, 
the prompter, she said, in her most austere, inflexible 
manner — 

Mrs. W. : Mr. Henderson, it is 12 o'clock; why is 
the stage not ready for me ? 

Henderson : I can't help it, madam. You must 
speak to the Signer. 

Mrs. W. : Will you bring the Signor to me ? 
{Advance the Signor, obsequiottsly.) 

Mrs. W. : Signor Thomasini, I wish you to understand, 
once and for all, that I am an absolutely punctual 
woman. I give you an hour for your comic scenes. I 
call them at 11 o'clock, and my " opening " at 12 o'clock, 
and I expect to begin at 12 o'clock. Please remember 
that in future. 

The Signor {in choice Cockney dialect) : I couldn't 
'elp it, Mrs. Wyndham; they 'adn't got my bloomin' 
slums and fakes ready, an' I couldn't get on. 

Mrs. W. {coldly, without the smallest change in her 
face or manner) : Mr. Henderson, why were the Signor's 
*' blooming slums and fakes " not ready for him at the 
appointed time ? 

The Edinburgh audiences of those days were quite 
up to the average in intelligence and artistic apprecia- 
tion, and it used to be said, with some degree of truth, 
that any one who could " pass muster in Edinburgh 
could do well anywhere." There was a certain amount 
of reason for this. Edinburgh has always been in the 




MBS. SCOTT SIDDONS 



I To face p3ye 31 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 31 

van in matters educational, and, even then, high-class 
education was to be had there for much less expenditure 
than in the South. The consequence was that many 
people of good family and limited means had settled 
there to enjoy those advantages in the bringing up of 
their children, and the number of educated, thinking, 
and intellectual minds amongst the usual theatre 
audiences was quite a goodly one. 

I entered on my engagement there full of hope and 
determination. My opening part was Romeo, with 
Mrs. Scott Siddons as Juliet. I received a somewhat 
cold welcome, but in the course of Mrs. Siddons's fort- 
night's engagement (in which I played some eight or 
nine parts of the classic drama, as well as in one manu- 
script play, Ordeal by Touch, by Richard Lee), I began 
to feel the audience warming towards me, and began, 
also, to feel my feet. I had followed a good (if rather 
stagey) leading man, and perhaps what I lacked in skill 
I made up in freshness and sincerity; at all events, I 
soon found myself appreciably growing in favour, and it 
was the beginning of as happy a time as I can call to 
mind in all my career. Did an actor ever know a better 
time, or feel a greater amount of personal gratification 
than was his lot as a favourite in one of the old stock 
companies ? I doubt it very much, no matter what his 
future might have in store. Every man and woman in 
the place was his friend, and in his little realm he was 
" monarch of all he surveyed." 

Mrs. Scott Siddons was a sweet little gentlewoman, 
with a beautiful classic set of features and a petite, 
pretty figure. She was not a powerful actress, but had 
very distinct charm and a delightfully educated and 



32 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

refined method. She just missed taking the place on the 
stage to which she aspired, and, later on, fell under the 
ban of domestic trouble, but I fancy very many people 
who remember her treasure a warm spot in their hearts 
for a very clever and charming little lady. 

Apart from our own productions during the season 
I met as stars besides Mrs. Siddons, J. L. Toole (of him 
more anon), Henry Talbot (a tragedian who scarcely 
reached front rank — his real name was Calvert, and 
he was the son of a master of the Edinburgh High School, 
hence he had a particular " hold " on Scottish audiences) ; 
Ada Cavendish (with her great London success. The 
New Magdalen), and the absolutely incomparable Charles 
Mathews. What can I say of him that has not been 
said, or how convey a notion of his brilliance as a light 
comedian ? He probably never had — and perhaps never 
will have — a rival in his own line of parts. His art 
was the essence of " art concealed," and his naturalness 
was such that, in playing with him, until you got used 
to his method you positively could not distinguish if he 
were casually chatting with you or speaking the words 
of his part. Indeed, this naturalness caused his failure, 
to a great extent, on his visit to America, where, outside 
the few central cities, the audiences and the Press 
declared he was not " acting at all, but just conducting 
himself as he would in his own room." Remember, this 
was some years ago. He was not seen at his best in 
scenes of sentiment or pathos, but certainly for dexterity, 
aplomb, and splendidly marshalled and rehearsed 
(though apparently unconscious) humour I have never 
seen his equal and, frankly, I don't expect to. It was 
(in one word) delicious. I had met him, personally, at 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 33 

Palgrave Simpson's reunions in London before his visit 
to Edinburgh. In the latter place I played in nearly 
every one of his light plays with him, and we became 
very firm friends. He was the most charming com- 
panion imaginable — full of fun, anecdote, and artistic 
recollection, and I rejoiced in his company, as everybody 
did who had the privilege of it. 

One very funny incident occurred during his engage- 
ment at this time. He was travelling alone (Mrs. 
Mathews had remained in London), and such was his 
temperament that when awake he hated to be solitary, 
so he used to ask me round to his rooms to supper very 
frequently. Livitations which, it is needless to say, I 
eagerly accepted. One night he had given his landlord 
an order for the theatre to see him act. As we took our 
seats for supper, the said landlord hung about the table 
in an indefinite way, like a man who wants to say some- 
thing, and the following little dialogue took place — 

Charles Mathews : Well ! well I did you come to 
the theatre ? 

Landlord {very Scotch, nervously handling the cruets, 
etc.) : Yes, sirr ! I was at the theatre 1 

C. M. : Well, did you get a good seat ? 

Landlord {still very nervous) : Yes, sirr ! I had a 
fine seat. 

C. M. : Well, did you enjoy yourself, eh ? 

Landlord : Weel, Mr. Mathews, I could scarcely 
keep frae laughing ! 

Those who remember Mathews and his mirth-provok- 
ing work will appreciate the point of this story. For 
ourselves, we kept our faces as well as we could till the 
landlord left the room, and then simply exploded with 



34 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

laughter. I told this story in after years to Charles 
Dickens, jun., who incorporated it in The Life of Charles 
Mathews, which he wrote and published. 

Charles Mathews married twice. His first wife was 
the fascinating and beautiful (as well as clever) Madame 
Vestris, and a good story of a " Comedy Old Lady's " 
humour is told anent this. Madame Vestris was what 
is known nowadays as " a lady with a past " — and quite 
a good deal of it. When the wedding took place it was 
much too delicious a piece of scandal for the company 
at the Lyceum (where he had been playing with her) 
to let go by without some " spicy " comment. Said 
one member of the company in the Green Room before 
rehearsal : " Have you heard the news ? Charles 
Mathews was married to Madame Vestris this morning.'* 
Said another : " Is it possible ? Dear ! dear ! What a 
pity ! What will his people say ? " No. 1 replied : 
" They say she told him everything." No. 2 rejoined : 
** Well, that was frank and honest anyhow." First 
Old Lady (Mrs. Glover) from the corner : " Yes ! and 
good gracious ! what a memory ! " 

At this time neither husband nor wife had the least 
regard for the value of money, and both were frightfully 
extravagant, consequently Mathews was always in debt 
and — one can't say — difficulties, because nothing of that 
kind ever worried C. M. They seemed to go on the 
principle that if they paid nobody there could be no 
jealousy. Wondrous are the stories of his splendid 
audacity in dealing with angry creditors. On one 
occasion he was incarcerated for debt in a country gaol, 
and such was his persuasive magnetism that he went 
to the local races with the governor of the prison. 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 35 

Another time a very irate dim forced his way into the 
office at the Lyceum, swearing he would not leave without 
his money. But he did, and when he came to his senses 
(outside) he discovered he had lent Mathews another 
£100. 

One morning a very gruff, surly, angry man met C. M. 
on the doorsteps of his house at Kensington with the 
remark : " Mr. Mathews, you are the man I'm looking 
for." Mathews replied : " Really, how you startled 
me ! What's the matter ? " The surly one said : 
" Matter, Mr. Mathews, last quarter's rates is the 
matter I Quite a trifle for a gentleman in your position. 
Eight pounds four shillings, and I've been here a dozen 
times after it, and I'm not coming again. I want the 
money here and now I " Mathews looked at him quite 
surprised, and replied, airily ; " God bless my soul I 
Eight pounds four — for rates, and you've been here 
a dozen times after it. I should have thought it 
would have paid you better to have paid the money 
yourself." 

On the occasion of his going to Australia he was 
tendered a farewell banquet, at which he proposed his 
own health in a marvellously humorous and witty 
speech. 

Mr. Mathews married his second wife in America. 
This charming lady reigned as a great favourite amongst 
a large circle of friends for many years in London, and 
was the mother of Sir C. W. Mathews, a very popular 
and successful member of the English Bar, and the 
present well-known and able Director of Public Prosecu- 
tions. 

If ever a man's amiable weaknesses and foibles were 



8« FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

offset by his delightful contributions to the gaiety of 
nations that man was Charles Mathews. 

During my time in Edinburgh I made many sincere 
and pleasant friends, amongst them W. B. Hole (the 
Royal Scottish academician), whose paintings and 
etchings are so well known and valued, and whose noble 
work adorns some of the public institutions of Edinburgh 
in the form of frescoes, etc. Only a short time ago a 
beautiful exhibition was held in London of a large set 
of his pictures illustrative of the life of Christ, which 
was greatly admired and praised, and gave infinite 
pleasure to all, including the writer. 

We had many confidences in our aspiring salad days 
of Art, and though in different branches it was very 
pleasant to be able to congratulate each other on 
working our way to the front. 

Another valued friend in Edinburgh was the well- 
known lawyer (or Writer to the Signet), Kenmure Mait- 
land. He was a clever literary man as well, and con- 
tributed frequently to the Scottish newspapers, and 
also wrote the Royal pantomimes. His son married 
Miss Wyndham. Very witty, with a fund of anecdote, 
he was one of the best raconteurs I have ever known. 
One of his fine stories was a little against himself, which 
he enjoyed. He was coming out of the Scotsman office 
one winter's night, and got to the head of a steep wynd 
(or alley). It had snowed and thawed and frozen 
again and again, and the pavement was like glass. As 
his feet touched the ground they flew from under him 
and he sat down violently, and slid down to some 
railings at the lower extremity of the alley. He got up 
with an exclamation of agony, and was paying sym- 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 87 

pathetic attention to the part of his anatomy which had 
recently been his toboggan, when a little urchin rushed 
out of a doorway and said, " Mon, I ken't ye'd fa'. I 
fell tae ! " 

Probably one of the best of all my friends, though, was 
a perfectly splendid landlady. Dear old Mrs. Fin- 
layson I Nothing was ever a trouble to her, and I really 
think she had a genuine affection for me. Many a time 
when I was studying my parts hard into the night, she 
would come into my sitting-room at three, or even four 
o'clock, in the morning with a cup of appetising soup 
or broth, and say in her quiet way : " I brocht ye this, 
and I thocht it would be well for ye to gang awa' to your 
bed th' noo." But she had a tremendously Scotch 
reverence for the Sabbath, or shall I say, a tremendous 
respect for her neighbours' reverence for it. One 
Sunday night I had a little party of friends to dinner to 
help me eat some game which had been sent me. In 
my room was an old instrument which masqueraded as 
a piano. It was, in reality, a pretty good imitation of 
Thackeray's " rickety, ramshackle, wheezy spinet." 
One of my friends, who was musical, sat down to play 
it. In a minute Mrs. Finlayson was in the room, saying : 
" Mr. Barnes, I'd thank ye if ye would na play the music 
on the Sawbath." Of course, my friend stopped, and 
later in the evening quite inadvertently struck a note 
or two. Again she came in, saying, " Did I no* 
ask ye not to play the music on the Sawbath ? " I 
think I replied rather impatiently that there was no 
harm in it, and there was nothing else to do. She glided 
out of the room, and in a few moments glided back, 
saying, " My monny, I brocht ye twa packs o* 



38 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

cards ! " Oh, bless her ! The neighbours did not hear 
them ! 

Just as the season was drawing to a close I got an 
offer from H. J. Byron to return to London for the 
opening of the new Criterion. Mrs. Wyndham suggested 
I should take a farewell benefit, which I did, playing 
Claude Melnotte in The Lady of Lyons to a very full 
and enthusiastic house and every possible demonstration 
of goodwill. With a big lump in my throat I made a 
little speech of farewell, and with a grateful heart and 
a little added capital closed as pleasant a time as I had 
ever known. I had not had a large salary. I did not 
want much in those days, but I had received instruction 
and assistance for which money could hardly pay, and 
had tried zealously to consider and follow the good 
advice given me. I had a sort of tacit understanding 
with Mrs. Wyndham to return to her next season, and 
at the time I fully intended to do so, but it was not to 
be. I was on the " crest of the wave " of success which 
was hurrying me on from one point to another with 
bewildering rapidity, and I had nothing to do but 
thankfully accept the good luck which continued to 
come my way. 



The Criterion was opened on March 21, 1874, by 

Messrs. Spiers and Pond, the famous restaurateurs, 

under the direction of H. J. Byron. The restaurant, 

of which it formed a part, had been in full swing some 

time previously. The opening bill was a pleasant light 

comedy by Byron, entitled An American Lady. It was 

to have been supplemented by a short burlesque, or 

travesty, by W. S. Gilbert, entitled Topsy-turveydom, 

but the decorators, etc., were behind with their work, 

which made it impossible to get complete rehearsals, 

and it was decided to play only the comedy on the first 

night, postponing the burlesque to a few nights later. 

With plenty of capital to draw on, no expense was 

spared, and a most efficient company were engaged. 

Byron himself, John Clarke, David Fisher, the writer, 

Mrs. John Wood, Mrs. Gaston Murray, and Miss Jane 

Rignold formed quite a strong team for a slight though 

bright and pretty comedy. Of these well- remembered 

and well-graced comrades, only two are left — ^Mrs. John 

Wood and I. What a comedienne she was, and what a 

born humorist ! With her beautiful complexion and 

her glorious black hair and dark eyes, as well as her 

splendid figure, she was the embodiment of radiant 

womanhood, which seemed to permeate the whole of 

her dramatic method. If she had a good line to speak, 

39 



40 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

or a good scene to play, how she would make it " go " ! 
and how many a bad scene she has made to appear a 
good one by her dashing and hearty handling of it. She 
was another artist who drew money, irrespective of the 
play she was in. The public loved her for herself alone, 
and whether singing (inimitably) " His heart was true 
to Poll " in the burlesque of My Poll and my Partner JoCy 
or playing in comedy or drama, she was a host in herself. 
To her comrades on the stage she was a fountain of fun. 
Rehearsals in which she was concerned were positive 
holidays, and if (as in the case of An American Lady) 
she was associated with a wit like Byron, it was very 
difficult indeed to get to serious work at all. I could 
name more than one actress of to-day, earning a large 
salary, whose position is due entirely to as good an 
imitation as she can manage to give of Mrs. John Wood. 

In An American Lady, a quip of Byron's provoked 
one of the biggest laughs I have ever heard in a theatre. 
It ran thus — 

Mrs. Wood {very emphatically) : Why, we Americans 
speak better English than you do ! 

Byron : Do you, though ? 

Mrs. Wood : Of course, we do ! Whose pronounc- 
ing dictionary is invariably considered the best? An 
American's ? Webster ! What have you got to say to 
Webster? 

Byron {very quietly, almost demurely) : Walker ! 

I have been told that the ceiling of the Criterion is, 
or was, eighteen inches below the level of Piccadilly. 
Luckily it was not directly underneath, or the pavement 
might have been in danger at the shout of laughter 
which went up. Mrs. Wood was never happier than 



s ^>> 




FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 41 

when telling a good story, even against herself, and was 
at all times a thoroughly good-tempered, whole-hearted, 
womanly comrade, with whom it was a delight to work. 

When W. S. Gilbert's burlesque Topsy-turveydom was 
produced after a few nights, that sweet singer. Miss 
Fanny Holland (Mrs. Arthur Law), made her first 
appearance on the regular theatrical stage, having been 
recruited from the German Reed entertainment at 
St. George's Hall. I spoke the first word (with the 
curtain up) on the Criterion stage, as I had done at the 
Londesborough, Scarborough — an odd (if trifling) co- 
incidence — as it was within three years of my first 
appearance. The opening season at the Criterion was 
only moderately successful, and in the autumn of 1874 
I had engaged myself, after consulting Mrs. Wyndham's 
wishes, to go to the Prince's, Manchester (then under 
the direction of that great stage manager, Charles 
Calvert), to open as Mercutio in a revival of Romeo and 
Juliet. But, once again, my great good luck stepped 
in to set that arrangement aside. 

That admirable actor Charles Coghlan had settled 
to accompany Miss Adelaide Neilson to America as 
leading man. As the time approached, he repudiated 
and declined the engagement for some cause that I 
never learned. On the strength of Mrs. Wyndham's 
reputation as an instructress, and the quality of work 
I had done under her direction, I was sent for by John 
Ryder (Miss Neilson's teacher and general adviser), and 
asked if I was willing to rehearse some scenes for him, 
that he might judge if I was qualified for this important 
position. I cheerfully assented. After trying me in 
Romeo, Orlando, etc., he pronounced me capable and 



42 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

satisfactory; he procured my release from my engage- 
ment with Calvert (with whom he had influence), and 
it was settled that I should accompany Miss Neilson 
to America as her leading support. Here was a " leg 
up " indeed ! Truly, I was getting on ! 

I set to work with a will to qualify for my promotion, 
and in September sailed in the old s.s. Russia for New 
York. The Russia was then the crack boat of the Cunard 
fleet, and her captain (Captain Cook) the Commodore. 
Among the passengers was ex-Governor (of the State 
of New York) Hoffman, Sir Roderick Cameron, and Mr. 
William Schaus, a great art critic and judge of pictures, 
founder of the firm which, in later years, discovered the 
stolen Gainsborough picture " The Duchess of Devon- 
shire." I had my first experience of a reading on board, 
in association with Miss Neilson, when a large sum of 
money was collected for the Seamen's Orphanage. I 
also had my first experience of sea-sickness, and a terrible 
one it was. Temporarily I regretted the engagement 
which had brought me to sea, and to the point where the 
future (if there was one) seemed to have nothing in store. 
However, it is the illness we most easily forget, and once 
in New York a new life opened up to me, full of interest, 
variety, and charm, which I ask permission to describe 
a little before continuing my purely professional notes. 

Progress has been so rapid in the United States that 
even I can hardly realise a New York with no elevated 
railway, with Delmonico's at the corner of 14th 
Street and 5th Avenue, the " Lotos " Club in a little 
house in Irving Place, next door to the Academy of 
Music and 23rd Street, considered, if anything, too 
far up town for a location of a theatre. Yet that was 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 43 

the city as I first knew it, a place of infinite delight 
and hospitality and kindness. I was made an honorary 
member of the Lotos, New York, Union, and Union 
League clubs, and courtesies were shown me on every 
side. At the Lotos the late greatly respected and 
admired Ambassador to Great Britain, the Hon. White- 
law Reid, then editor (only) of The Tribune, had just 
been elected President, and was a frequent visitor. 
Here, in the afternoon, one might foregather with 
(amongst others) John Brougham, Bronson Howard, 
Billy Florence, J. T. Raymond, E. A. Sothem, Barney 
Williams, Mark Smith, " Uncle " Dan Bixby, William 
Winter, A. C. Wheeler (" Nym Crinkle "), E. Carroll, 
etc., and what delightful times they were ! John 
Brougham was a witty, happy Irishman, with a budget 
of fine stories, which he told splendidly. He did not 
need an income — his popularity was such that he could 
pass his whole time as a guest of one or another of his 
numerous friends. It was said at the time, that, apart 
from the plays which bear his name, he had not a little 
to do with the writing of London Assurance. I do not 
know if it was true, and I give it for what it is worth, 
but it was often referred to in his presence, and I never 
heard of his contradicting it. From what I remember 
of him, I should be inclined to think he was far too 
honourable and punctilious a man to have " sailed under 
false colours " in such a matter. 

Referring for a moment to London Assurance it must 
have often struck people who have seen or studied the 
play as a strange incongruity that Sir Harcourt Courtley 
goes all through it, as an old roue and libertine (in every 
way imworthy), and then speaks the honest man's 



44 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

" Tag " at the end. My old friend of years ago, Horace 
Wigan, a well-read man and one well versed in theatrical 
matters, gave me the following explanation of this : — 
When William Farren (the elder) was in the zenith of 
his fame and the play was first produced at Covent 
Garden, he (William Farren) absolutely refused, at 
one of the last rehearsals, to play the part of Sir Har- 
court, unless he spoke the tag. Hence the apparent 
glaring anomaly ! It would seem that even in those 
days professional jealousy was not unknown. 

To return to the Lotos Club. I have known it in 
four locations — Irving Place, two different positions on 
5th Avenue, and its present palatial home in 57th 
Street. In all of them I have had the privilege of 
visiting membership, and have received at each in- 
numerable marks of friendship and goodwill. Whitelaw 
Reid was a tower of strength, especially when pre- 
siding at the banquets tendered from time to time to 
distinguished visitors. A graceful, eloquent speaker, he 
had that touch of human nature which makes the whole 
world kin, and he was greatly missed at the club, I 
fancy, when his numerous and higher duties drew him 
perforce in other directions. Bronson Howard was the 
distinguished dramatist, author of Saratoga (known in 
England as Brighton), and a very fine American war- 
play Shenandoah, not seen in England, why, I can never 
understand. He wrote many other good plays. E. A. 
Sothern was, of course, the original Lord Dundreary, 
that wonderful chap who said the wisest things in the 
manner and make-up of the veriest fool. Sothern was 
also the original (and a splendid) David Garrick. Mark 
Smith was a prominent member of Wallack's Theatre 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 45 

Company. Barney Williams and his wife, distinguished 
Irish comedians, came to England years before and made 
a pleasing success. Mr. and Mrs. " Billy " Florence did 
the same later. Mrs. Barney Williams and Mrs. " Billy " 
Florence were sisters. Uncle Dan Bixby (unattached) 
was a kind fellow, always doing some service for his 
friends, and never happier than at such times. William 
Winter is, happily, still with us, living in well-earned 
comparative retirement at his pleasant home on Staten 
Island, New York Harbour. He recently published a 
charming book of reminiscences. For the best part of 
his later life (many years) he was the dramatic critic 
of the New York Tribune, as well as the writer of many 
delightful books of poems and wanderings in England. 
His pen and mental force could always be found on the 
side of what was good, noble, and worthy, to the exclu- 
sion of what was false, meretricious and ignoble, and 
the actor's calling loses a firm friend and champion by 
his withdrawal from public life. A. C. Wheeler (" Nym 
Crinkle ") was the critic of the New York World in those 
days — very clever and capable, and also very sarcastic 
and acid on occasion. Ned Sothern had a mania for 
practical jokes, and would spend any amount of thought, 
time, or even money to perfect one. He and J. T. 
Raymond used to match (or toss) each other for a dollar 
whenever they met, and they had been known to do so 
by signs in a theatre when one was acting on the stage 
and the other seated in a private box. 



VI 

Many of Sothem's practical jokes became notorious 
in his day. One of his elaborate efforts in that direction 
was played on Billy Florence, and has, perhaps, not been 
freely recorded. It was as follows : — Billy Florence and 
Dion Boucicault had quarrelled violently and were bitter 
enemies. On one occasion when Mrs. Florence was ill 
a-bed, Billy came home and found a note on his hall 
table which ran thus — 

"Dear Billy, 

" Why did you not call and see me as you 

promised ? 

" Yours ever, 

" Emily." 

Now Mrs. Billy, though a good sort, was inclined to 
be a little jealous ! As Florence knew no one named 
Emily, he cast about for an explanation, and his sus- 
picions fell on Ned Sothern, and he proceeded to satisfy 
himself that he was right. In a frightful rage he wrote 
to Sothern saying something like this — 

"Dear Sir, 

" You are no gentleman to play such a vile 
trick on a friend. Had your silly note fallen into other 
hands than mine, it might have caused endless trouble. 
You have taken an unwarrantable liberty, which I will 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 47 

never forgive, and I beg that when we meet it may be 

as strangers. 

" Yours, 

**W. F." 

Next day he received a pleasant little chatty note from 
Sothern, saying — 

** Dear Billy, 

" I got an extraordinary note from you this 
morning. Of course, I saw in a moment it was not 
intended for me, so I sent it to Boucicault ! 

*' Yours ever, 

" Ned." 

Is not that " I sent it to Boucicault " delicious ? 

Boucicault was never much of a club man. At that 
time he had a charming little flat over a French restaur- 
ant in 16th Street, just out of Union Square. He and 
several good fellows, including Harry Montague, Wright 
Sanford, W. H. Marston, sometimes Mark Twain, and 
occasionally Bret Harte and the writer used to meet at 
Delmonico's, where it was then situated, many nights in 
the week after work. Charlie Delmonico was a persona 
grata amongst us, enjoyed our society, and, although we 
had no understanding to the effect, he used to contrive 
that we had a room pretty much to ourselves. Here we 
passed some delightful hours, and here, too, many bright 
things were said to appreciative listeners. I remember 
Boucicault saying, apropos of play writing : " Ah ! when 
young men get tired of writing clever plays they may 
write successful ones I " That was thirty-nine years 
ago, and yet it is as true to-day as it was when it was 
uttered. How well the experienced actor knows that 



48 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

clever play which he rehearses for five or six weeks and 
which, being outside the never-failing ring of human 
nature, is out of the bill and buried in two weeks* 
performance. 

Another of Boucicault's sage dicta was anent the study 
of Shakespeare and the much-discussed hidden meanings 
that some people are constantly finding in his works. 
He said : " Never mind what he meant here, or what he 
meant there. You be content to read what he says, and 
as long as you live you will never discover anything 
stronger or more satisfying than what he (simply) 
says." How emphatically true ! 

The Union was about the foremost club of New York. 
It sheltered nearly all the New Yorkers of standing. 
I believe the only member of my calling who was ever 
elected a regular member was Lester Wallack, the suc- 
cessful actor and manager of that day. I was introduced 
by a very popular member, and made the acquaintance 
of many well-known men, who, one and all, showed me 
the utmost kindness and hospitality. Pierre Lorrilard, 
the Belmonts, the Jeromes, W. H. Marston, Herman 
Oelrichs, Lester Wallack amongst them, and last, though 
not least, that wit and charming gentleman W. Travers 
(" Bill " Travers his intimates called him). This was a 
delightful friend indeed. 

Mr. Travers was a native of Baltimore, who had 
settled in New York, and had much of the old-world 
courtesy and charm of the typical Southern gentleman. 
He had a marvellously ready wit ; and what gave great 
zest to all his many hons mots, he had a piquant, quaint 
little stutter. I wonder a collection has not been made 
of his many clever sayings. They were of frequent 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 49 

occurrence, and would have made most amusing reading. 
On one occasion he went with some friends into the bar 
of the old Sinclair House on his way up town, and said 
to the bar tender : " I w-w-want some w-w-whisky.*' 
The bar tender put up the glasses and whisky bottle, 
and held on to the latter, saying : " Hold on ! Thirty- 
five cents, please ! " Travers looked at him disdainfully, 
and said at once : " W-w-what's your hurry ? Does it 
k-k-kill so d-d-darned quick ? " 

Another time he went with his son-in-law, who was 
considering the purchase of an English terrier, to see 
the dog tried with some rats. Immediately the dog and 
rat came together in the pit the rat seized the terrier by 
the jaw, and the dog, unused to the game, went round 
yelping. Travers watched this unexpected develop- 
ment for some time, and then said quietly, " Johnnie 
w-w-why the d-d-deuce don't you b-b-buy the rat ? " 

Mr. and Mrs. Travers were much attached, a perfect 
Darby and Joan ; but even with his wife he could not 
resist a joke. One night, on his coming home late from 
the club, Mrs. Travers was asleep. As he reached her 
bedroom, and was taking off his clothes to go to bed 
quietly, she woke up and said, " Oh, William, is that 
you ? " *' Of course," said he, " w-w-who did you 
expect ? " 

One more story of him. A. T. Stewart, the great 
dry goods merchant, on some occasion took the chair 
at a banquet in aid of a hospital. Stewart was not very 
popular. As he rose to address the assemblage they were 
not so quiet or attentive as he could wish, so he knocked 
loudly on the table with his knife. W. T., seated near, 
said loud enough to be heard, " C-c-cash I " 



50 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

Stories of him might be multiplied by the score, but 
we must return to our muttons. Before I began my 
engagement in New York I saw the acting at some of 
the theatres there; perhaps the most notable were 
performances of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, Cardinal 
Wolsey and Queen Katharine, at Booth's, by George 
Vandenhoff (of Boston) and the famous Charlotte 
Cushman. Very interesting, indeed, but the gentleman, 
though a good elocutionist, was a stilted, unnatural 
actor of the very old school, and Miss Cushman was 
really only a ruin, although a magnificent one, it is true. 

I opened as Benedick in Much Ado About Nothings 
with Miss Neilson as Beatrice, on October 29, 1874, at 
what is now the 14th Street Theatre. It was then called 
the Lyceum, and had been built for and opened by Charles 
Fechter, the French romantic actor, mentioned earlier 
in these notes. It bore the marks of his French taste. 
The decorations carried out the scheme of a large boudoir. 
In the following week I played Romeo, and although I 
did not set the Hudson on fire I was pronounced ade- 
quate, and something better, in both parts, and I set 
my foot pleasantly on the path which leads to " troops 
of friends.'* 

And now what about Miss Neilson ? She became such 
a tremendous fact in theatrical work on both sides of 
the Atlantic, especially in the United States, where she 
was almost a religion, that one has been and is constantly 
asked, Was she a great actress ? Was she a genius ? 

First, let us consider what is genius. Macready said, 
" Genius meant hard work." If he was right, Neilson 
was a genius, very distinctly. Some one else said, 
" Genius was an infinite capacity for taking pains." 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 51 

Neither definition appeals to me. Genius, as I understand 
it, and have seen it in three, four, or five instances in 
my life on the stage, is something God-given. Some 
moments of inspiration, great or small, which are not 
learnable nor attainable by work, but which, in their 
truth to nature, are all-compelling and carry the hearts 
of men and women along with them with an irresistible 
force. In this regard Neilson was not a genius, but she 
was a good, in some moments, a great actress. All that 
work could do she did ; but I arrive at the above conclu- 
sion by the following applied test : — I rehearsed three 
parts with her under John Ryder, with whom she 
studied all her legitimate rdles, and until her death she 
scarcely altered an intonation of a sentence from the 
way she had read it with him. She worked so hard and 
threw such an amount of earnestness into her work that 
many thousands of onlookers took for genius what was 
really splendidly marshalled force. 

One quite extraordinary gift she had, namely, that of 
tears ! At any given moment or cue she could make the 
tears mount to her eyes, and even run down her cheeks, 
irrespective of anything she was feeling at the time. It 
almost resembled the turning on of a tap I 

Undoubtedly, she had great beauty, wonderful eyes, 
and an expressive mouth, fine colouring of complexion 
and hair, and a rather spare figure. Her appearance 
suggested a woman of Spanish or Italian type. 

She made her first appearance on the stage in London 
in 1865, after a long course of lessons under John Ryder, 
and succeeded almost from the very first. 

When she became famous all kinds of romantic stories 
were told of her Spanish origin, etc.; indeed, I have 



52 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

heard her refer to her mother at Saragossa. As a matter 
of fact, she was born of humble parents in a village in 
Yorkshire in 1848, and her real name was Elizabeth 
Ann Brown. In her youth she was by turns a mill 
hand at Guiseley (Yorks), a nursemaid, and a barmaid ; 
so the strenuous life she must have led to raise herself 
to the position she eventually attained may be imagined. 
All honour to her for her perseverance, say I. 

She was a curious mixture of good impulses and way- 
wardness, a good friend, but a little fiend if " rubbed the 
wrong way." Heaven help the manager, or, indeed, 
any one, who offended her. She was quite merciless 
either in business or otherwise if she were thwarted or 
annoyed. She was most unfortunate in her marriage, 
or perhaps she might have been more amenable and 
considerate. She married the son of an English clergy- 
man when she was just reaching her big position, and I 
am afraid that it was impossible to regard Phil Lee as 
either a good husband or a man of strong character. 
What a difference this makes to a woman I What a 
number of women I have met on the stage and off whose 
lives and characters have turned for good or ill on this 
all- important point. Phil Lee was the victim of one of 
Ned Sothern's great practical jokes. A party of four or 
five, including the two named, were dining in New York, 
when, on some trivial pretext — if I remember rightly, 
the passing of the mustard — an apparently fearful 
quarrel was worked up, ending with revolvers and knives 
being freely brandished by all except Lee, who, frightened 
to death, got behind a door and asked Sothern, as the 
host, to be allowed to go home. When I met Miss 
Neilson she and Lee had drifted completely apart. 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 58 

Admiration was the breath of her nostrils, and she would 
flirt for mere amusement. Sometimes this habit got 
her into difficulties. In St. Louis one elderly man con- 
nected with the Press, believing himself aggrieved, and 
under the influence of much alcoholic refreshment, made 
himself terribly obnoxious, and expressed his intention 
of shooting quite a number of people, including Miss 
Neilson and himself, until the police were consulted and 
he was temporarily taken care of. 



VII 

Our tour was under the management of Max Strakosch, 

the operatic entrepreneur. We travelled with a business 

manager only, playing with stock companies in the 

various cities. And what admirable companies many 

of them were ! Some of the best all-round leading men 

I have ever met ! James O'Neil in Chicago, Milnes 

Levick in Baltimore, Natt Lingham in Louisville, W. E. 

Sheridan in Philadelphia, among others. A curious 

incident occurred in Baltimore. The play was As You 

Like It. Milnes Levick played Jaques, and had spoken 

the Seven Ages speech very finely, gaining tremendous 

applause at the end. Miss Neilson (as far as I know 

without intent) said, " Go on, go on," and the scene was 

taken up before the applause died down. The audience 

got annoyed and seemed to feel that it was being treated 

scurvily, and kept up the applause in a manner which 

stopped the play. Miss Neilson ordered the curtain to 

be rung down, and then the storm burst out. It became 

a battle royal between her and the audience, who simply 

declined to listen to a word until Mr. Levick had repeated 

the speech. A silly scene, which might have been 

avoided, but became an absolute deadlock, out of which 

there was only one way. The audience was master of 

the situation. 

64 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 55 

I remember that during our tour we met one very 
fine comedian and character actor, Mr. Ben de Bar, 
manager of the Grand Opera House, St. Louis. A tall 
man, of large proportions, with a full face, out of which 
he had the power of taking every possible expression. 
His performance of Dogberry was admirable. When he 
opened his first scene with the line : " Are you good men 
and true ? " and also later in the line : " Is our whole 
dissembly appeared ? " his face expressed nothing more 
than a blank wall. His Touchstone, too, was excellent. 
I heard, at the time, that his Falstaff was also very fine, 
but I did not see it. 

During the tour. Miss Neilson fell ill in New Orleans, 
and had to forego her engagement there, and we came 
through to New York for a fortnight's rest. This gave 
me the opportunity of being present at the first per- 
formance of Boucicault's play, The Shaughraun, which 
was a great delight. Its triumph was complete, and 
the cast (amongst whom were many friends) was one of 
the best that I ever saw. I also saw during that rest 
George Rignold in Calvert's production of Henry V. at 
Booth's theatre. This was another notable performance, 
which went over all the world, and made Rignold a 
deservedly rich man. He finally settled in Australia 
(with occasional visits to England), where he died, much 
respected and beloved, only last year. 

Another fine actor I saw at this time was Mr. E. L. 
Davenport, father of Miss Fanny Davenport, and hus- 
band of the English actress. Miss Fanny Vining, a beauti- 
ful actor of great power and versatility. I have often 
heard Americans express the opinion that Davenport 



56 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

was about the best all round actor they had ever pro- 
duced, and I should be prepared to accept the statement. 
He more nearly resembled my ideal, Samuel Phelps (of 
whom much more hereafter), than any one I have seen 
before or since. His Shylock, Sir Giles Overreach, 
William {Black-Eyed Susan), among other parts, were 
great performances. 

Our first visit to Philadelphia was to Mrs. John Drew's 
theatre, the Arch Street, and there the popular John 
Drew played with us, and his sister Georgie — afterwards 
Mrs. Barrymore — made her first appearance on the 
stage as Hero {Much Ado About Nothing). Thus both 
Barrymore and his wife made their first appearance with 
me. She became a capital actress, and was a humorist 
of the first water. 

Our return visit to Philadelphia was to the Walnut 
Street Theatre, and there, during our stay, we produced 
for the first time on the American continent, as far as 
we could ascertain. Measure for Measure. It was an 
unqualified success. Miss Neilson gave an admirable 
performance of Isabella, and looked a goddess in the 
nun's costume, the veil proving most becoming to her 
cast of features. W. E. Sheridan was excellent as the 
Duke Vincentio, as also were Charles Walcot and his 
wife (English players), as Angelo and Mariana. Lindsay 
Harris was a capital Lucio, and I think I scored as 
Claudio. 

The Walnut Street Theatre was owned by John S. 
Clarke, well known in England as in America. He was 
brother-in-law of Edwin Booth, who was playing an 
engagement in Baltimore (near by) at the time, and who 





J. H. BARNES AS CLAlDK 
("Measure for Measure") 



ITo face pane 56 



q 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 57 

closed his theatre at his own expense, and came over to 
Philadelphia to be present at our first performance. 
Neilson included the part of Isabella in her repertory 
from then until the time of her death. Her trump card 
was, of course, Juliet, and, eminently successful as the 
season was, it would have been more so if she would 
have consented to play that part more often, or even 
every night. At a matinie in St. Louis, when Romeo and 
Juliet was the programme, one of the newspapers, as 
a matter of curiosity, undertook to count the number 
of females present — 2,760 passed the doors, not counting 
males. This was easily a record up to that time. 
Amongst the audience were many ladies' schools. And 
yet, in my personal judgment, it was not her best per- 
formance. Her Juliet seemed to me just to lack some- 
thing of the quality that one wanted to find in the scion 
of a noble house. It conveyed more the notion of a 
beautiful young woman of another class. I used to think 
that if we could have had a Juliet of Neilson's force and 
Mrs. Scott Siddons's breeding, the ideal of the author 
would have been just about realised. Each of them 
lacked what the other had. 

No ! Miss Neilson's very finest efforts were in parts 
and scenes of strongly theatrical power, written for 
theatrical effect. Her Pauline in The Lady of Lyons 
was admirable, and as Julia, in The Hunchback, her 
*' Do it 1 nor leave the act to me I " was really very fine 
indeed. 

This engagement was for me a very arduous one, as, 
in addition to playing a long leading part every evening 
and at least one matinie a week, I had to conduct a 



58 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

rehearsal nearly every morning (Miss Neilson rarely 
attended these rehearsals), and over and above all this 
there was the ever-present danger of her differences with 
the local managers, which had to be bridged over — not 
always so easy ! The work did not bother me. I 
thrived on work in those days, and by the exercise of a 
good deal of diplomacy I somehow managed to keep on 
pleasant, friendly terms with my star, whilst doing my 
very best to serve the manager who paid my salary, 
and I always got on well with the various theatre 
managers and their several companies. Alas ! it fell out 
that our very last week brought about a marked change 
in this condition of affairs. The tour ended at Toronto 
(a return visit). It so happened that I had done a good 
deal of rowing in England in the previous three years 
and had been, thereby, brought in contact with many 
foremost amateur athletes. Some of these had migrated 
to Canada and settled in Toronto. They rallied round 
me, as only Englishmen in the Colonies know how to. 
Amongst my greatest friends was a very clever man, 
T. C. Patteson, who had founded and was then editor 
of the Toronto Mail. He vied with many others in their 
efforts to give me a good time. It fell out that in our 
last week Miss Neilson announced a farewell benefit, 
which really had no business significance, but was an 
opportunity for arousing a demonstration of enthusiasm. 
My friends seized on the idea (against which I protested 
with all the emphasis at my command) that I ought to 
have a benefit, too. Miss Neilson was consulted, with- 
out my knowledge, and she in turn was supposed to have 
taken the opinion of Strakosch (our manager) by tele- 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 59 

gram. It was decided that it was not permissible — at 
which I was not a bit surprised — but the ball having 
been started it gained in size and velocity, and our last 
night, March 24, 1875, when we played The Lady of 
Lyons, was quite a scene of strong partisanship. Ap- 
plause came equally for both of us in our efforts. It was 
really very embarrassing for me, and I could have well 
wished to have been " saved from my friends." But 
there was no help for it ! I endeavoured to explain to 
Miss Neilson, but she was furious and I don't think she 
ever had a more dramatic moment than when she said 
at the end — with her fine eyes flashing volumes of 
indignation — " I'll never speak to you again as long as 
I live." As a matter of fact, she only did once more. 
Coming out of a London theatre two or three years after, 
we met face to face, when she perfunctorily passed the 
usual pleasantries, and I never saw her again. I was 
greatly grieved and shocked to hear of her tragically 
sudden death in Paris in 1880. She had always suffered 
from dyspepsia, and had rather ignored it by often sitting 
up late and eating heavy suppers. In Paris, on a very 
hot day, it was said she drank two large glasses of milk 
and soda in quick succession, which stopped the heart's 
action and she died practically before aid could be 
summoned. She lies in Brompton Cemetery, where a 
beautiful stone marks her last home which, after the 
usual inscription, bears the word of so much moment in 
the actor's life : " Resting." 

So ended one of the most meteoric careers in all the 
romance of the English stage. At first blush it would 
appear a sad thing ! But was it ? She had tasted the 



60 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

sweets of almost unprecedented honours. She passed 
in the fullness of her womanhood and at the zenith of her 
fame, and also when some very distinct annoyances were 
looming in the future for her. All her fine points and 
all her faults lie there with her, and the world, when it 
recalls her at all, remembers only her greatness and her 
goodness, and happily forgets all else ! By her will Miss 
Neilson left one thousand pounds to Clement Scott and 
Joseph Knight; one thousand pounds to Mr. Edward 
Compton (still with us), her last leading man, and the 
balance of her fortune went to an old and dear friend. 
Admiral Carr Glyn, who endowed with it a fund for 
certain needy actors. 

The manageress of the Grand Opera House, Toronto, 
was a Mrs. Morrison, who had been a Miss Nickerson, 
daughter of an old and respected actor. She was in 
great favour with the very popular Governor-General 
of that day, Lord Dufferin. She was a most admirable 
business woman as well as a very capable actress and a 
kind, considerate friend to many people, including 
myself. She persuaded me that I had created sufficient 
interest in Toronto to warrant my trying two weeks 
" starring " there on my own account in modern plays. 
This I did, playing The Romance of a Poor Young Man, 
Old Soldiers, Partners for Life, etc., with a pleasant 
result both artistically and financially. After this I was 
engaged, at Boucicault's suggestion, to play Captain 
Molyneux in the first Canadian production of his play 
The Shaughraun. This was the part created in New 
York by Harry Montague. The play made a huge 
success in Toronto, and then I was still further retained 



n 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 61 

to play the lead with the beautiful Mrs. Rousby, an 
English star visiting America that year. She was indeed 
a lovely woman, but alas ! this was another case of a 
frightfully ill-assorted marriage, and one of the worst ! 
She had married, years before, quite a good actor in 
England, Wybert Rousby. Where the fault lay was a 
matter of opinion amongst those who professed to know. 
Perhaps there were faults on both sides, but certain it 
was they were completely and irrevocably estranged. I 
managed to get on very well with her (sometimes difl&cult) 
and she drew quite a good week's receipts in Toronto. 
At that time, as they do to-day, they liked an entertain- 
ment with the English stamp on it. I played with her, 
amongst other things, the romantic part of Edward 
Courtenay in Tom Taylor's ^Twixt Axe and Crown^ of 
which she was the original of her part in London, and I 
think one of the biggest and most prolonged roars of 
applause I ever heard in a playhouse was when I finished 
a passionate heroic speech with the line, " For England I 
England's Queen ! and England's Law ! " It really 
seemed as if they would never stop applauding. 

After Mrs. Rousby 's engagement closed I had a week's 
tour of some smaller Canadian towns, accompanied 
by Mrs. Morrison, and then spent a few days in Toronto 
saying " good-bye " to a lot of as good friends as a man 
could ever expect to make away from home. I had 
many a lump in my throat as one and all wished me 
" God-speed ! " On the last Sunday night J. L. Toole and 
I walked and talked of old friends on the shore of Lake 
Ontario, and I bore all kinds of messages to his friends in 
England in anticipation of his return. He had been on 



62 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

his first and only tour in America that same year, and 
we had met at odd times in Philadelphia, Cincinnati, 
St. Louis and Toronto. 

One of the prominent members of Mrs. Morrison's 
company in Toronto was a splendid old English actor, 
Mr. C. W. Couldock, who, years afterwards, created the 
leading part in Hazel Kirke, a play which ran at the 
Madison Square Theatre, New York, for years " off the 
reel." Apropos of this play, the late Henry Pettitt 
always insisted that it was taken from his English 
melodrama. The Green Lanes of England, and certainly 
the similarity was so extraordinary that if he was not 
justified in his contention the long arm of coincidence 
was quite unusually en evidence. 

Passing through New York I saw a very fine per- 
formance of The Two Orphans at the Union Square 
Theatre there, under the management of A. M. Palmer. 
I had seen the play in Paris and London previously, but 
the New York performance was by far the best. It was 
a strong cast — Charles Thorne, McKee Rankin, Stuart 
Robson, F. F. MacKay, James Stoddart, Fanny Morant, 
Ida Vernon, Kate Claxton, Kitty Blanchard, etc. 
McKee Rankin was especially fine as Jacques. 

I sailed home by the s.s. Britannic (Capt. Thompson) 
on May 29, 1875, and reached London on June 8. I saw 
my first iceberg on the way, and many of them. One of 
the letters I bore home from J. L. Toole was to a member 
of the club called " The Knights of the Round Table," 
held at Simpson's, in the Strand. The result of this 
introduction was that I was elected a member of that 
club, and remained so for many years. It was not very 



n 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 63 

much of a club, but rather a coterie of jolly old friends 
who had the run of Simpson's fine English food and Simp- 
son's fine cooking in a good, large, private room. Many 
actors and managers belonged to it, amongst thenj 
Henry Irving, David James, Thomas Thorne, John 
Hollingshead and others. We had the largest round 
table in the world made from a single piece of wood. It 
was in the great Exhibition of 1851 — a solid piece of 
mahogany at which some sixteen members could sit and 
dine with ease. Here some kind genial old friends 
used to meet most days, and on Saturdays a goodly 
number would amuse one another with impromptu 
concerts, etc., and many happy times were spent. The 
president of the club in my day was John Christopher 
Pawle, a London solicitor (father of Mr. Lennox Pawle, 
the present-day actor), but the moving spirit was that 
kindly, good-natured Englishman, E. W. Cathie, manag- 
ing director and practical proprietor of Simpson's. A 
better fellow never lived, and when I say he reminded 
me greatly of my own good father, to whom I have 
alluded in my opening chapter, it may be gathered how 
strong was my affection for him and with what sadness 
I received the news of his sudden death when I was on 
one of my tours in America some years after. I believe 
the club and the round table are still at Simpson's, but 
I have not seen either for some years. Here David 
James gave his dinner to celebrate the 1,000th night of 
the run of Byron's Our Boys, and one of the old members, 
George Ledger, brother of the founder of the Era and 
uncle of the late proprietor of that paper, used to show 
with great pride the voucher for the seat he occupied 



64 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

at Edmund Kean's last appearance in London. What 
a wonder Edmund Kean must have been ! George 
Ledger said to me once : " It is true, my boy, that he 
was only five feet six and a-half inches in height, but, 
by Heaven, I have seen him when he seemed ten feet 
high ! " 



1 



vni 

The autumn of 1875 found me at the Royal, Man- 
chester, under special circumstances. A powerful and 
wealthy syndicate had been formed to take over the 
theatre from the estate of the previous manager (John 
Knowles) and run it on first-class lines. There was any 
amount of capital at the back of the scheme, and their 
ambition aimed as high as to form a company such as 
could go to London, even, as the Manchester Theatre 
Royal Company. Manchester has always been a fertile 
ground for local theatrical enterprise (witness the 
success, in recent years, of the management of that 
astute and clever lady Miss Horniman). The proprietors 
in 1875 were unfortunate in their choice of a manager. 
Mr. William Sidney was a man of great experience, but 
principally gained in smaller towns such as Norwich, etc., 
and he seemed quite incapable of " reaching out " as 
the syndicate would have liked. His successor, Alfred 
Thompson, was extravagant enough for anything, but 
his talent lay chiefly in the production of pantomime and 
extravaganza, and his purely dramatic capability was 
not what was required in the instance mentioned ; so by 
degrees the gentlemen interested, finding their hopes 
unrealised; got tired of their enterprise, and the theatre 
drifted back to the ordinary level of provincial houses. 
It was a great pity and a great chance missed. 

We opened on September 4, 1875, with a great flourish 

V 65 



66 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

of trumpets. Everything was new and bright and well 
done. The opening play was As You Like It, with Mr. 
and Mrs. Kendal as Rosalind and Orlando. I played 
Jaques. During their visit the Kendals produced 
several of the plays in their repertory, and we did very 
good business indeed. I wonder if Mr. Kendal remembers 
how near he was to death during our early rehearsals ? 
A counterweight of the drop-curtain became detached 
from its rope, which was new, and fell, just touching his 
arm, crashing right through two floors ! After the 
Kendals, we produced with our own specially selected 
company Tom Taylor's fine play Lady Clancarty, and in 
this I was very fortunate in getting on good terms with 
my public and greatly pleasing my proprietors. Our 
company was quite a strong one, and included as good 
an all-round leading lady as I have ever seen — a much 
better actress than one-half the so-called stars — ^Miss 
Louise Willes. Unfortunately, she was not beautiful, 
but such was her marked intellectuality that I have 
seen her look very positively bewitching when her brain 
shone through her work. She was an artist to her 
finger-tips. Nothing came amiss to her. She played 
Lady Clancarty beautifully. She was a splendid Lady 
Teazle, and her Lady Macbeth and Ophelia, etc., were 
worthy of all praise. I am sorry to remember she died 
" unwept, unhonour'd, and unsung," without her great 
merits having been fully recognised. She had been in 
poor health for some time previously. 

After Lady Clancarty, which did fine business, we had 
a fortnight's visit of Mr. and Mrs. Bandmann ! Only 
moderately successful. Bandmann was a tragedian who 
hailed from Gtermany. He was certainly not of the first 



I 




SAMUEL PHELPS 



[To face page 67 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 67 

water, but an adept in the gentle art of making himself 
disliked by his fellow-artists through a painfully over- 
bearing manner. 

And then came the event which was to mark an epoch 
in my career and a red-letter time in my life, which I 
have never failed to look back on with feelings of the 
greatest interest and pride. Samuel Phelps came to 
us as a star to play several of his great parts, and for the 
first time I met the man who was to have an influence 
on all my future life, and not only compel my positive 
worship of himself, but strengthen in a marked degree 
my respect for the art to which he and I had the honour 
to belong, in showing me its nobler side and its far- 
reaching influence for good and evil when employed in 
truthfully " holding the mirror up to nature." By 
many actors of the modern school, whose reverence is 
not their strongest point, I have been thought quite mad 
in my worship of Samuel Phelps. Well, I plead guilty, 
as they understand that worship. I have never seen 
such an actor ! I am also more than ordinarily familiar 
with stage history, and I can find no record of such 
an actor ! Let me hasten to explain this last state- 
ment. He played more parts and a wider range of 
parts — ^well, than any actor who ever spoke the English 
language. I should not claim for Phelps that he could 
play Othello or Richard III., or even Shylock, as well 
as Edmund Kean, or Lear as well as Forrest, or Abel 
Drugger as well as Garrick, or Coriolanus as well as 
John Philip Kemble. All these and many others 
unnamed have left reputations in one, two, three, or 
even six parts, but Phelps's reputation rests on sixty — 
and more. For eighteen years — ^from 1844 to 1862 — ^he 



68 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

conducted Sadler's Wells Theatre. He produced there 
thirty-four of Shakespeare's plays, and his list of other 
productions and parts played is practically a list of 
every great play in the language. He changed his 
programme every week, fortnight, or month, as required, 
and drew all London to what was an outlying theatre 
to see his work. All this time Charles Kean, under the 
direct patronage of the Queen and Royal Family, was 
doing fine work at the Princess's, but the great heart of 
the public was with Phelps at Sadler's Wells. If this is 
questioned, speak to any white-haired playgoer about 
any one of the great classic plays and you will be met 
by some such remark as this : " Ah, I have not seen that 
play since Sam Phelps produced it at Sadler's Wells, 
and I don't want to see any one else in it." This sort 
of statement is his monument, and, to the disgrace of 
London be it said, his only one. Apart from his own 
individual acting his ideas of our art were all broad and 
grand. Nothing little or narrow-minded found a place 
in his nature. To paraphrase what Disraeli said of his 
wife : " To know him was a liberal education," and to 
talk with him on any play or theatrical subject was an 
intellectual treat. On the stage he was fairness itself, 
and he would (and did, constantly) show any one who was 
in earnest how to make the most of his part, even when 
it would seem to score against himself. From the first 
hour of my acquaintance with him I was fortunate in 
apparently winning his esteem and regard. He seemed 
never tired of showing me how I could improve my 
performances, and we became great friends, and when, 
alas ! I followed him to his last resting-place on that dull 
November day in 1878, and saw London standing 



4 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 69 

respectfully bareheaded for miles as we passed, I knew 
that many thousands of people (including myself) had 
lost a friend whose artistic endeavours had amounted to 
genuine benefactions, and whose particular niche in 
their regard could not, and has not since, been quite 
filled. In private life he was a devoted father, who 
lived for his home and the love of his children (he had 
been a widower for years) and his art. In the course 
of my life I have never met an artist in any profession 
whose ideals were higher and whose sympathies were 
broader. He was in no sense a society man. He had 
not the time. His one holiday was usually spent in 
fishing in the shires, and an amusing story is told of a 
country farmer and his wife seated in the pit at Sadler's 
Wells, and when Phelps came on the stage the farmer 

turned to his wife and said, " Betsy, I'm d d if it 

ain't the old fisherman." One of the few of the public 
who had ever seen him in private ! 

In Manchester I played with him in John Bully 
Richelieu, The Man of the World — in which he was 
magnificent as Sir Pertinax MacSycophant — and finally 
we produced on a scale of much magnificence The School 
for Scandal. It is possible that this was the most 
elaborate and costly production of this play ever seen. 
We used the same models as had been employed at the 
Prince of Wales's under Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft's manage- 
ment, but, of course, in the splendid area of the Royal, 
Manchester, the effect was bigger and finer. All the 
costumes were new and handsome. I should be afraid 
to say what was the worth of the genuine Queen Anne 
silver (lent by Mr. Agnew, one of the directors), which 1 
had in my supper scene as Charles Surface, but it was 



70 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

very valuable indeed. Phelps played Sir Peter Teazle, 
Miss Willes Lady Teazle, Miss Margaret Cooper Lady 
Sneerwell, John Wainwright Joseph Surface, and the 
writer Charles Surface. All the other parts had good 
exponents. The whole thing was a very big success 
indeed — ^individually and collectively — ^and drew splendid 
houses. I was very fortunate in consolidating my 
position in the town and theatre. The public and my 
managers made a great fuss of me, and, what was most 
gratifying of all to me, dear old Mr. Phelps went out of 
his way to be particularly complimentary. Altogether 
it was one of my happiest experiences. 

Mr. Phelps had a fund of humour, and used to tell 
some stories inimitably. One good one was of his 
coming out of Sadler's Wells one night with a large 
bandana silk handkerchief (as used in those days) 
hanging far out of his pocket. Two little pickpockets 
were following him to steal it, when, just as one of them 
was about to grab it, the other said, " 'Ere, Bill, don't 
operate on 'im; 'e's a brother pro." Another story he 
delighted in was of a performance of Bulwer Lytton's 
Money in Sheffield. In the Club scene, where the Old 
Member says nothing but " Waiter ! snuffbox ! " at 
frequent intervals, it so got on the nerves of a man in 
the gallery that, after three or four repetitions, he called 
out in broad Yorkshire dialect, " Hey ! give t'oud fool 
snuff-box, and let him put it in t'is pocket and let 
t' play go on." 

In 1876 Alderman Cotton was elected Lord Mayor 
of London, and during his year of office a luncheon was 
given at the Mansion House to the dramatic profession. 
I believe it was the first public recognition of our calling 



\ 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 71 

within the city proper. There were only two toasts — 
" The Queen " and " The Drama," coupled with the 
name of Samuel Phelps. He rose to respond, and his 
opening words were these : — " My Lord Mayor, ladies 
and gentlemen, — I am sixty-three years of age — forty- 
three years of which have been spent in the service of 
the public as an actor, and it may interest you to know 
that this is practically the first time I have ever addressed 
a word to an audience which has not been set down for 
me by the author." And so it was ! No speeches, no 
paragraphs, no interviews, no photographs, no bunkum 
of any sort ! Just honest, straightforward work for the 
public when the curtain was up. I don't think any words 
ever affected me so strongly. Here, good reader, was 
my text and my sermon in one I This very speech 
caused the resolve on my own part that I would try 
to follow in his footsteps in these particulars (to which 
I alluded in my opening chapter), and when the time 
comes for those left behind to speak of me I ask no better 
eulogy than the words, " according to his lights, he 
faithfully followed the teaching of his great and chosen 
master." 

After the Phelps engagement at Manchester (the 
season was nearly over) the Grand Opera Company came 
to the theatre and the dramatic company moved to the 
Amphitheatre, Liverpool, and the Royal, Sheffield. 
For these two dates we were strengthened by the addition 
of Mr. T. C. King, a well-known and well-liked provincial 
" star," whom I had met the previous year in America, 
as also in London, where he had made several pronounced 
successes, notably as Quasimodo in Notre Dame. He was 
the possessor of a magnificent voice — deep, full, and 



72 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

resonant. Indeed, he had been so much congratulated 
on it during his life that it had been almost a disadvan- 
tage from the fact that he had come to use only his 
rolling, fine lower chest notes for every part and scene, 
sometimes at the expense of naturalness. In rugged 
parts he was excellent — a splendid Ingomar, a good 
Othello, and a fine William — Black-Ey^d Susan. The 
season in Manchester ended just before Christmas, and 
I returned to London. 




IX 

January, 1876, found me back on an old stalking- 
ground — ^the Royal, Edinburgh, which had been burnt 
down during my tour in America, and was now rebuilt 
and reopened under the management of J. B. Howard, 
who had preceded me as leading man under Mrs. 
Wjmdham. For the opening he had secured the first 
performance, in the provinces, of Boucicault's immensely 
successful play. The Shaughraun. It was well produced 
and cast. The company included Mr. and Mrs. Hubert 
O'Grady, J. D. Beveridge, Thomas Nerney, myself, the 
beautiful Rose Massey, and a sweetly pretty little lady, 
Miss Eveleen Rayne (" Mickey Ryan " she was called 
amongst her friends), a daughter of Desmond Ryan, 
for many years musical critic of the London Standard. 
Boucicault had cabled to Chatterton whilst I was on my 
voyage home from America to engage me for the part 
of Captain Molyneux for the original production of the 
play in England at Drury Lane, but William Terriss 
was on his staff and salary list, so he did not do so. It 
was pleasant, therefore, that Boucicault engaged me 
himself when the matter was in his own hands. The 
play ran six and a-half weeks in Edinburgh — an almost 
unprecedented run in those days — to enormous houses. 
O'Grady could not compare with Boucicault as Conn; 
but, then, nobody could, and as the provinces had not 

73 



74 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

seen the great original he satisfied them very well in 
what is known in the profession as an " actor-proof *' 
part. Rose Massey was splendid as Claire Folliott, 
Beveridge excellent as Corry Kinchells, Nerney made a 
" hit " in Shiel Barry's part of Harvey Duff, and Miss 
Rayne was a deliciously piquant and pretty Moya. 
This was a great achievement, as it was her first appear- 
ance on the stage, but she had been beautifully coached 
by the sweet original (in London), Mrs. Boucicault. 

From Edinburgh we went in turn to Glasgow, New- 
castle, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, and other 
large towns. Everywhere we played to crowded houses. 
I left the company in April to return to London under 
engagement to Horace Wigan at the Princess's for a 
play called Abel Drake, by Tom Taylor and John 
Saunders, which failed hopelessly. John Clayton played 
the leading part. I played a heavy part, but the play 
was doomed from the first line apparently. As a stop- 
gap we revived The Lady of Lyons and The Sheep in 
Wolfs Clothing, Miss Coghlan playing the leading female 
part with me in each. She was an admirable actress, 
with great glow and humanity in her work. As soon 
as it could be got ready we followed this with a good 
revival of The Corsican Brothers. It had been produced 
originally in the same theatre by Charles Kean, and was 
a very favourite play there. John Clayton played 
Louis and Fabian de Franchi, and I played Chateau 
Renaud. We were both good swordsmen, and we 
carefully rehearsed a very interesting duel under Mr. 
McTurk, who was the successor of " Angelo," of St. 
James's Street, and it was not an uncommon thing for 
some of the officers of regiments quartered in London 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 75 

and others interested in swordsmanship, to come to the 
Princess's after dining to see the fight alone. Let me 
here observe (parenthetically) what a very useful thing 
it is for all young actors to learn fencing and dancing 
if they have the energy and the chance. Apart from 
their absolute use on necessary occasions, which are not 
as frequent now as in the old days, they are invaluable 
in giving grace and carriage and bearing at every and all 
times on the stage. We still retained The Sheep in 
Wolfs Clothing in the bill. Miss Coghlan played Ann 
Carew therein, and Miss Caroline Hill played the leading 
part in The Corsican Brothers. Horace Wigan, the 
manager, was a delightful man — well-read and genial, 
though with an apparently surly exterior. He was a 
brother of Alfred Wigan, who was a popular and success- 
ful actor — the original John Mildmay {Still Waters Run 
Deep), and the original Chateau Renaud in England. 
Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Wigan had a considerable vogue 
as " stars " for some years about that time. Funny 
stories are told of her. She became badly bitten with 
the " Society craze," and although not bom to it, she 
gave herself considerable trouble in assuming the airs and 
graces of the beau monde. On one occasion she was 
congratulated on a pretty shawl she was wearing, and 
she blandly observed : " Yes ! There are only two like 
this in England ! " Vicky ' has the one and I have the 
other ! " This " chatty " allusion to Her Majesty 
Queen Victoria was quite a little gem in its way. She 
got a sad " calling down " once from that fine actress, 
Mrs. Stirling. Mrs. Wigan, in early life, had been a 
stilt-walker in a circus. None the worse for that, 
perhaps, but she chose (as many others have done) to 



76 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

forget and ignore the past. On one occasion she was 
rehearsing at the old Olympic, when she and Mrs. 
Stirling came to loggerheads about the setting of some 
furniture in a drawing-room scene. After a somewhat 
heated argument, Mrs. Wigan (much forgetting) said : 
" My dear ! I hope you'll allow me to know as much about 
drawing-room furniture as you do. I expect I have seen 
quite as many drawing-rooms as you have ! " Mrs. 
Stirling (much remembering) said : " Doubtless, love ! 
Through the first-floor window ! " 

In August, 1876, 1 commenced a short engagement as 
Sir Leicester Deadlock in Jo, J. P. Burnett's version of 
Bleak House, in which his wife, Miss Jennie Lee, made 
an enormous success, and with which she went all over 
the world. I also created the leading part in a farce 
entitled The Way of the Wind, by Wallis MacKay, the 
original " Captious Critic " of the Illustrated Sporting 
and Dramatic News, when it started. His inimitable 
drawings with their clever and delicate sense of caricature 
did much to establish the success of that paper. In 
October, 1876, 1 was at the Park Theatre, Camden Town, 
which stood in Park Street, nearly opposite the Britannia, 
and has long since been pulled down to make room for 
business premises. The play was called The Ray of 
Light, and was a version of the French UAveugle, by 
Dennery. A very fine story of the kind in vogue at 
that time. It was under the management of Mr. 
William Creswick (former manager of the Surrey, in 
partnership with Richard Shepherd). A version of the 
play had been done there called The Humpbacked 
Doctor, Creswick played the doctor. I played a blind 
part, and added a small mark to my reputation and an 



1 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 77 

addition to the number of my friends among the public. 
Creswick was a dear old gentleman — a brother of Cres- 
wick, the great painter — genial and kindly, but with one 
amiable little foible. He was as vain as a little child, in 
a cheery, harmless way. Absolutely alike in everything 
he did, he was, nevertheless, quite a good actor when his 
personality was fitted. He once said to me : " I have 
often had a desire to play Polonius and The Ghost and 
The Gravedigger in Hamlet. I would have given such 
individuality to each." Now, this was just what he 
could not do, but with " my tongue in my cheek " I 
replied : " Well, why did you not do it, sir, when you 
had the Surrey ? You had the Shakespearean ' ball at 
your feet ' there." Without a moment's hesitation he 
answered : " I should have done so, but for the difficulty 
in finding any one to play Hamlet ! " 

Creswick was the baldest man I ever saw. His head 
was like a misshapen billiard ball, and he wore the very 
wiggiest of black wigs . When the Shakespeare centenary 
was held at Stratford -on -Avon it was considered neces- 
sary to have an actor present who was prominently 
associated with Shakespearean performances, and the 
choice fell on Creswick as the best available at the time. 
After all the big ceremonies, extending over a week, a 
banquet was held under the presidency of Mr. Flowers, 
the Mayor. He was a local brewer of wealth, and had 
taken a foremost part in the movement which culminated 
in such gratifying success. Creswick sat on his right 
hand. The toast of " The Queen " was honoured and 
the " Immortal memory of Shakespeare " drunk in 
respectful silence. And the toast of " The Chairman " 
was proposed in suitable terms. Mr. Flowers rose to 



78 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

respond. In the course of his speech he said : " Ladies 
and Gentlemen, — You may well say my life is bound up 
with the town of Stratford -on -Avon. I worship the 
memory of Shakespeare and I love the town which gave 
him birth. Nearly all my life has been spent here. 
When I first came to Stratford-on-Avon my hair was as 
raven black as^my old friend Cres wick's here ! " At that 
moment he grabbed Creswick's wig, which came off in 
his hand, disclosing a very bald head, to the discomfiture 
of the wearer and the hilarious mirth of everybody else. 
These were the days of the " Albion," which was 
situated just opposite Drury Lane, and has long since 
disappeared, where many actors, authors, managers, 
and Press men could be seen at supper almost every 
night — Chatterton, Webster, Edmund Falconer, Byron, 
Halliday, George Honey, John Clarke, E. J. Odell, 
J. Comyns Carr, and many others — and many were the 
jokes cracked within its hospitable walls, where the 
supper snacks — grilled bones, Welsh rarebits, etc., etc. — 
were of the very best ; and the cellar, too, was excellent ! 
The seats were in boxes like old-fashioned church pews, 
nor could it be said you quite had your own way there. 
The head waiter (one Pauncefort) had an amusing habit 
of saying : " What you want, sir, is so-and-so," and you 
rather resigned yourself to the idea that he knew best — 
sometimes, perhaps, he did. Several clubs also existed 
where actors congregated which have all passed away. 
" The Temple " in Norfolk Street, Strand ; " The Unity " 
in Holywell Street, Strand — long since demolished by 
the Strand improvements — and especially " The Junior 
Garrick " in Adelphi Terrace. This last was owned and 
managed by a Mr. T. Mowbray, and was, for years, 



I 




[To face page 79 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 79 

very popular with the profession. Here many notable 
gatherings took place from time to time. It was here the 
luncheon was given to Salvini on his first visit to England. 
He did not speak a word of English and used to travel 
round with an interpreter named Paravacini, who was 
a sort of international agent. At the luncheon in 
question Salvini' s magnificent rolling voice and his 
beautiful Italian diction when interpreted, sentence by 
sentence, in a cracked, squeaky falsetto, produced a 
ludicrous effect which may be imagined better than 
described without an imitation. The Junior Garrick 
was much affected by the great John Oxenford, the 
dramatic critic of The Tirries. I say " great " because 
Oxenford had undoubtedly one of the most tremendous 
intellects I have ever been brought in contact with. He 
had read almost everything, and it was said of him that 
he never forgot even a date he had read. He knew the 
Drama in nine different European languages. Some- 
thing like a critic, indeed ! and a worthy successor to 
the great Hazlitt, whose works are so well known. A 
great broad mind he had, and though a Bohemian almost 
to the extent of being Rabelaisian, he was a generous, 
kindly man, of fine strong instincts of friendship and good 
nature. On the occasion of our presenting him with his 
portrait, in oils, to be hung in the Club, he was much 
affected, and in the course of his speech of thanks he 
said " he did not recall a time when he had written a line 
which could send an actor home to find his wife in 
tears." This was nearly true, but not quite. I remem- 
ber two instances when he overstepped that line a little. 
Of a very mediocre actor at the Haymarket (Mr. W. G.), 
he wrote : " We learn from a contemporary that this 



80 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

gentleman is considered a very promising actor. For our 
own part we don't care how much he promises so long as 
he doesn't perform " Of another very conceited per- 
former from the provinces, who appeared at Drury Lane, 
and whose self-sufficiency got on his nerves, he wrote : 
" As for Mr. L., who played the part of the hero, he is 
so very much favoured by nature that he scorns to be 
indebted to art." The Junior Garrick went the way 
of most of the so-called professional clubs. A non- 
professional element got in and steadily increased in 
numbers till it gained the ascendancy. Of course, it 
spent more money than the actors, and the proprietor 
was, doubtless, justified in recognising on " which side 
his bread was buttered." At length the two parties 
became impossible, and at a general meeting in the later 
part of 1876 a vote went against the professionals, which 
sounded the death knell of the institution as an actors' 
club. That very night, in David James and Tom 
Thome's dressing-room at the Vaudeville, we resolved 
to start a new club for ourselves, and the foundation was 
laid, there and then, of the present successful Green Room 
Club. The scheme, once started, developed rapidly. 
We drew up a set of rules which should prevent a repeti- 
tion of what had so often occurred in clubs of this sort, 
and which should leave the control always in the hands 
of the professional members. Every one took the matter 
up very enthusiastically, and, although the scrutiny and 
qualification for membership were much stricter in those 
days than they are now, we opened the club in premises 
in Adelphi Terrace, Strand, in July 1877. The inaugural 
luncheon took place at the Criterion Restaurant under 
the chairmanship of the first president — that grand old 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 81 

patrician nobleman and sportsman, the late Duke of 
Beaufort. After luncheon, we adjourned to our own 
premises, where we were joined by those two splendid 
actors, Samuel Phelps and Ben Webster, as guests, and 
the club was fairly started on its way. I joined the 
committee about the second year, and served on it and 
the house committee, off and on, for many years. The 
club has had four homes : Adelphi Terrace, two in Bed- 
ford Street, Strand, and its present handsome premises 
in Leicester Square. Of course, it went through its 
dark days, when it seemed certain that we should 
have to close up — indeed, at one time the trustees had 
decided that we must do so — but the secretary (George 
Derlacher) and some of the committee and the house 
committee, which consisted then of Charles Dickens, 
Jr., R. C. Carton, the successful dramatist, and myself, 
asked them to give us six more months in which to try 
" to pull it through," during which time we had the 
gratification of seeing it weather the storm and float 
serenely into the harbour of prosperity. After serving 
it for a long term of years, I began to find I was so much 
away from London that I was glad to resign the work into 
younger hands, but I continued a member down to two 
years ago (thirty-four years in all), and it was a very great 
wrench to me to give up my membership and separate 
myself from many well-loved friends for a reason which 
one would have thought impossible. 

Although never a member of the Savage Club, I was 
often a welcomed visitor, and many of its members were 
great friends, notably Henry S. Leigh, the poet and 
humorist; Mr. Tegetmeier, the naturalist, etc., and 
especially James Albery, the dramatist (from my first 



82 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

days on the stage). I wonder if many people have read 
the brilHantly human epitaph he wrote for himself, so 
painfully descriptive — 

" He walked beneath the moon. 

He slept beneath the sun, « 

He lived a life of ' going-to-do,' • 

And died with nothing done." 



X 

Through the years I have dealt with I used to run 
over to Paris and study the French acting whenever a 
favourable opportunity presented itself. I have seen 
Got, Regnier, Worms, Febvre, Delaunay, Mounet -Sully, 
Coquelin, ain.6 Desclec, Croizette, Bernhardt, Chaumont, 
Judic, Farqueil, Jane Hading, and many others in some 
of their most famous parts. I saw a splendid perform- 
ance of Sardou's great drama. La Patrie, at the Ambigu, 
which so fascinated me that I went back to it four times 
in one week. I saw both Got and Regnier play La Joie 
Fait Peur, and honestly preferred Boucicault in his own 
version of the same play, entitled Kerry, or. Night and 
Morning (a beautiful piece of acting). I saw a great 
performance of UEtrangere with Croizette, Bernhardt 
(in a part almost comedy), Coquelin, and Febvre in the 
cast. Dejazet I saw play in La Petite Marquise in London. 
I shall always think that Febvre was one of the most 
satisfying artists of my time on the Parisian stage; 
and I have no hesitation in saying that Sarah Bernhardt 
is incomparably the greatest tragedienne and vividly 
emotional actress I have seen since Ristori. 

One notable man whom I saw pretty frequently about 
this time was Henry Labouchere. Of course I met Mrs. 
Labouchere as manageress of the old Queen's and the 
Royalty by turns. Her professional name was Henri- 

83 



84. FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

etta Hodson, and I am inclined to think she was a very 

much better actress than she got credit for being. In 

some parts she was charming. Her husband was an 

extraordinary man. Beneath a veneer of cynicism he 

carried a good heart, and was a very sincere friend, as 

he could be a most implacable enemy, whilst his absolute 

delight in probing and exposing fraud and humbug, 

either public or individual, amounted to a positive craze. 

At the time I speak of I was living each summer at 

Teddington, and he had his beautiful home on the 

Thames just below, " Pope's Villa " at Twickenham, 

and I used to travel to and from London with him very 

frequently. The marvellous stories he would tell about 

himself ! I used to think he must pass a|[largeJportion 

of his time inventing them. He once said to me : " My 

dear fellow, I have made it impossible for any one to 

vilify me. I have told such dreadful things against 

myself that no one can think of anything worse." And 

truly some of his adventures as he recounted them were 

rather staggering. Many of them referred to his uncle, 

Lord Taunton, with whom his relations would appear 

to have been most strained. He thoroughly enjoyed a 

joke or good point made against himself, and one incident 

about that time caused him inmiense amusement. The 

old City Barge of the London Corporation, the Maria 

Wood, developed a habit of bringing picnic parties 

up the river and mooring immediately opposite to 

" Pope's Villa " for hours in the afternoon, and with a 

band playing and dancing, etc., the proceedings became 

what Labouchere thought a very decided nuisance. He 

wrote to the authorities, and received a reply that " it 

would be better for him to keep quiet or they would 



1 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 85 

land and dance on his lawn." Perfectly furious, he 
then applied to the Thames Conservancy for an explana- 
tion, and it turned out that an old and long-disused ferry 
and right-of-way had once existed exactly on the site of 
his garden, and the English law of right-of-way is, as is 
well known, most difficult and expensive to fight or 
contravene. He positively roared with laughter when 
all the facts were known. 

Another good fellow who enjoyed an " up-river " life 
and spent two or three summers at Teddington, was 
John Clayton, the actor before mentioned (" Jack 
Clayton " his friends called him). What a good chap 
he was ! And how hard he tried, by an assumption of 
bias 6 indifference, to disguise the fact. He was a 
capital actor. His Joseph Surface was fine, and his 
realisation of the hero in the beautiful version of A 
Tale of Two Cities (of Dickens) made by that brilliant 
literary dramatist, Herman Merivale, and called All For 
Her, was worthy of the enthusiasm it evoked. Later in 
life, when his figure lent itself less to heroic parts, he 
became a splendid character actor. His performances 
in some of Sir Arthur W. Pinero's early and perfect 
farces were singularly effective. One whose loyal 
friendships stood firm in sunshine and sorrow, he was 
very greatly missed by a large circle of friends when he 
was taken from them, and they have seen his two sons 
Dion and Donald Calthrop take a sure footing in the 
world of art and letters with an immense amount of 
gratification. John's real name was J. Alfred Calthrop, 
and he was a brother of the distinguished painter, 
Claude Calthrop. One story of him has so passed into 
a proverb that I fear it must be a chestnut to everybody, 



86 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

but, in case it may meet the eye of any one who has 
not heard it, I venture to reproduce it here with fitting 
apology. A budding dramatist (brother of a very 
successful one) sent him a play to read. After a very 
short time the author wrote to know if it had been con- 
sidered. No reply. Quite soon again he wrote a very 
curt letter demanding an answer. Next day he got his 
MS. back with the following note enclosed — 

** My dear Sir, 

" I have read your play. Oh ! my dear sir ! — 

" Yours truly, 

" J. C." 

In January, 1877, I entered on an engagement with 
John Hollingshead at the old Gaiety, which lasted quite 
a long time. The theatre was owned by Mr. Lionel 
Lawson, one of the family who made The Daily Telegraph 
what it is to-day, and uncle of the present Lord Burnham. 
It was managed entirely by Hollingshead, who, with his 
faithful henchman, Arthur Talbot Smith, and his stage 
manager, Robert Soutar, carried it on with huge spirit 
and enterprise. He was a model actors' manager. So 
long as the work was done, everything moved easily 
and happily. An engagement for the Gaiety meant 
six performances a week, and every extra performance 
was paid for at the rate of one -sixth. As Hollingshead 
practically controlled the later London appearances of 
Charles Mathews, Phelps, and others, and nearly always 
had at least one other London theatre under his control, 
as well as odd companies playing in different places, it 
was essentially a workman's engagement for which my 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 87 

stock company experiences fitted me. Of course, the 
work was hard, but I have received as many as thirteen 
nights' salary in six days by playing every afternoon and 
evening, and at two different theatres on the Saturday 
night. At the time I joined him he was running the 
Opera Comique (also demolished by the Strand im- 
provements) as well as the Gaiety. The usual bill at 
the Gaiety was a short comedietta, a three-act comedy, 
and a burlesque ; and sometimes the same sort of enter- 
tainment was going on at the Opera Comique. I re- 
mained in the same engagement for eighteen months, 
with a short summer holiday. I played the leading 
juvenile parts in The Prompter's Box, Partners for Life^ 
Weak Woman, An Evasive Reply, The Grasshopper, Old 
Soldiers, War to the Knife, and played with Charles 
Mathews in The Critic, My Awful Dad, The Liar, Game 
of Speculation, Used Up, and Married for Money. 
These gave me little trouble, as I had played most of 
them with him before, but it was delightful to meet him 
again, and I think he liked it, as I was familiar with all 
his business and saved him a lot of trouble and work at 
rehearsal. 

The Saturday matinees for many months were given 
over to Mr. Phelps. With him I played in The Man of 
the World, Richelieu, John Bull, First Part of Henry IV. , 
Henry VIII., etc., also without much trouble to me, 
and to his satisfaction ; indeed, he used to get Holling- 
shead to let me go with him for any engagements he 
played at that time. The Wednesday matinSes con- 
sisted of the most varying programmes. Mr. and Mrs. 
Kendal played Black-Ey'd Susan and The Lady of Lyons, 
and I have never seen such a Pauline in my life as Mrs. 



88 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

Kendal. How she wrung the hearts of the audience ! 
and what a bounder she made me feel as Beauseant 
(never a good part). J. F. Young, a member of the 
company, a dear old modest, great artist, played a 
matinee of The Old Corporal, a play adapted from the 
French — a beautiful performance. He was dumb for 
two acts. I played the son, and was really almost 
hysterical at his magnificent pathos. We revived for 
matinies The Serious Family and Paul Pry. Arthur 
Sketchley (the original of " Mrs. Brown " papers in 
Punch) played Falstaff for a matinee. He was a very 
good picture of the part in face and figure, but it was 
only a mediocre performance. I played Prince Hal, 
as I did also with a gentleman named Murray, a retired 
East India merchant (a relative of a former Edinburgh 
manager), who was fired with the same " vaulting 
ambition," but, alas, it fell heavily on the stage side of 
the footlights. No really fat man can play Falstaff ! 
The physical strain in sustaining the unction of voice 
and manner is as exhausting as the passion of Othello. 
At least, so said the very best Falstaff I ever saw — 
Phelps, again. We also revived Goldsmith's Good- 
Natured Man for a matinee, but it did not act well. 
Mme. Rhea, a continental actress, made her first appear- 
ance in English under the tutorage of John Ryder, 
playing Beatrice in Much Ado. She was a fine woman 
and a capable actress, who afterwards became a success- 
ful star in the United States. Selina Dolaro, a sweet 
little opera-bouffe singer and actress, decided to " have 
a shot " at comedy, and played Lady Teazle for a 
matinee. I was the Joseph Surface of a strong cast. 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 89 

She succeeded fairly well. Poor little " Dolly," as she 
was called ! Some years after, in New York, I got a 
letter asking me to call to see her, and I found her in 
the last stage of consumption, her pretty face drawn 
and sallow, and her prettier figure wasted to a shadow, 
but still the same " chirpy " pleasant little body who 
had been so popular with every one in her healthier 
and happier days. She only lingered a few weeks after 
I saw her before " taking her last call." 

Some very notable big benefits took place about this 
time. John Parry, who had been many years with the 
German Reeds, took his farewell at the Gaiety, and all 
who could assisted. He was the first of the school of 
piano entertainers, which has been perpetuated by 
Corney Grain, George Grossmith, Barclay Gammon, and 
others. It was said of him that he could " make a 
piano do anything but talk," and he was a fine humorist 
to boot. The great Compton benefit took place at 
Drury Lane and, with its supplementary one in Man- 
chester, netted an enormous sum (if my memory serves 
me correctly, between £7,000 and £8,000). Mr. Compton 
was an immense and deserved favourite with both the 
profession and the public, and it was a monster pro- 
gramme in which every one did anything one could. 
I remember I " walked on " in a farce with Joseph 
Jefferson. Creswick had a good farewell benefit at 
the Gaiety before leaving for Australia, playing 
Macbeth. 

A complimentary benefit was given at the Gaiety 
to Ada Cavendish. Much Ado was played with a 
strong cast, including Henry Neville, W. H. Stephens, 



90 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

G. W. Anson, Ada Cavendish, Marion Terry, the 
writer, etc. 

But one of the most notable of these entertainments 
was got up by Hollingshead for the benefit of the Royal 
General Theatrical Fund, when we played John Bull, 
with a cast including Phelps, Toole, Lionel Brough, 
Herman Vezin, Kendal, myself, Miss Carlisle, Mrs. 
' Leigh, Miss West, and, as an after-piece, Charles Mathews 
played his great farce Cool as a Cucumber. Another 
benefit for the same good object which Hollingshead 
promoted was a burlesque pantomime, played by all 
the distinguished amateurs of London. In this, W. S. 
Gilbert played Harlequin, and got through it very well 
indeed, but, oh ! he looked dreadfully cross and un- 
comfortable. 

Toole was the principal comedian at the Gaiety when 
I went there, but after the first season he started his own 
theatre in King William Street (now merged in the 
Charing Cross Hospital), and Edward Terry took his 
place. Toole was a good kind fellow, with a host of 
friends — indeed, popular with everybody — and a capital 
actor, funny in comedy, with quite a power of domestic 
pathos, a screamingly funny farce actor, and " a tower 
of strength " with Nelly Farren in the burlesques. His 
Paul Pry was excellent, as was his Billy Lackaday, and 
he made lots of money, for years, with two comedy- 
dramas written specially for him by Byron, Dearer Than 
Life, and Uncle Dick^s Darling, whilst his performances 
in farces such as The Steeplechase and Ici on Parle 
Frangais were splendid. His Caleb Plummer was good, 
but not comparable with Jefferson's. In private he was 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 91 

a kind-hearted man, full of fun, very fond of practical 
jokes, and the perpetrator of many amusing ones . When 
he and Sothern got together they were incorrigible. 
He had the sympathy of a wide circle of friends in his 
hours of great domestic affliction, when he lost succes- 
sively son, daughter, and wife. After some years of 
management he gave up his theatre for the reason of 
ill-health, and retired to Brighton, where he lived in 
gradually failing vitality for many years, greatly cheered 
by the loving regard of his old and loyal friend, Henry 
Irving, and always delighted when any other of his pals 
were down there and would spend a few hours with him 
in talking over old times, old memories, and old jokes. 
During my time at the Gaiety, Miss Marie Litton, with 
her husband, Wybrow Robertson, started a series of 
matirUes, on the odd days, at the Imperial, at the western 
end of the Westminster Aquarium, on the site of which 
is built the great Central Wesleyan establishment. 
Phelps played John Bull, The Man of the World, and 
finally. The School for Scandal. Miss Litton made an 
excellent Lady Teazle; that very fine actress, Mrs. 
Stirling, was an admirable Mrs. Candour, of course; 
Phelps asked Robertson to let me play Charles Surface 
on the strength of my success in the part in Manchester, 
but William Farren — for years the Charles of the grand 
old Haymarket company — had expressed a wish to 
play with Phelps before he retired, and had been engaged 
to do so. Then my old friend " switched-off " and 
suggested me for Joseph. This was settled, and I had 
the immense satisfaction of gaining the favour of the 
public and the Press of London from The Times down ! 



92 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

So I had succeeded with him as the two brothers, with 
their very different characteristics, and found not a 
little of my pleasure in the fact that I had justified his 
interest and recommendation and received his very 
hearty congratulations. William Farren's Charles was, 
as it was bound to be, most legitimate and fine. 



XI 

In April, 1878, Hollingshead released me for a month 
to play with Mrs. Rousby at the old Queen's in a play 
adapted from the German by Daniel E. Bandmann, the 
tragedian, entitled Madeleine Morell. It was not very 
successful, and was the occasion of a painfully un- 
pleasant lawsuit between Mrs. Rousby and the author, 
in which I had to appear as a witness, much to my 
annoyance. It was decided in the lady's favour, but 
did not do either party much good or credit. Band- 
mann's leading counsel was Serjeant Parry, a famous 
barrister of the day, father of the present popular Judge 
Parry, of County Court fame, who is a prolific and 
charming writer of both books and plays. 

One matinie I assisted at was of that very fine play 
Love''s Sacrifice with a great cast. It was to introduce a 
pupil of John Maclean's, another Gaiety actor — Miss 
Agnes Leonard — and as well as herself and Maclean, 
Fernandez, Ryder, John Billington, Harry Paulton, 
myself. Miss Ellen Meyrick, and Miss Cicely Nott took 
part. What a magnificent play it is, and, well acted, 
how it " opened the eyes " of many modern-day play- 
goers on that particular afternoon ! 

When I left the Gaiety, what John Hollingshead 

facetiously described as " the sacred lamp of burlesque " 

was burning brightly. Edward Terry, a great comedy 

93 



94 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

and burlesque actot; E. Royce, a good second and 
perhaps the finest character dancer ever seen; Nelly 
Farren (the idol of the London " boys "), an inimitably 
dashing burlesque boy, and Kate Vaughan, daintiest of 
dancers, with infinite charm, made up a quartet which 
drew all London for months at a stretch. Connie 
Gilchrist, the present Countess of Orkney, was also " in 
the team " at that time. Kate Vaughan was not really 
a great dancer in the strict sense of the term, but her 
unique grace and her innumerable pretty varieties of 
the valse gave her a hold over the spectators that many 
great dancers might have envied. The expression 
" sacred lamp " reminds me of a fact, not generally 
known, as showing John Hollingshead's many-sided 
enterprise. I wonder how many people remember that 
the very first electric light ever shown in public in 
London was put up by him in the Strand, outside the 
old Gaiety ? 

In the autumn of 1878 I was engaged for the first 
provincial tour of Diplomacy, immediately after its long 
and successful run in London. Mr. and Mrs. Kendal, 
who were in the original London cast, had secured the 
rights for the eight largest provincial towns, and our 
proprietors had them for all the others, opening at 
Portsmouth on July 29. We had quite a strong com- 
pany, with J. D. Beveridge as Henri Beauclere and E. D. 
Ward as Count Orloff; I played Julian Beauclere. 
Ward had a most beautiful stage voice. C. Langford 
was Baron Stein; Walter Everard, Algie Fairfax; Miss 
Carlyle, Dora ; and Miss Bella Murdoch, Countess Zicka. 
Miss Murdoch was the daughter of an old and respected 
actor, Mr. Mortimer Murdoch, and was the first Mrs. 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 95 

George S. Titheradge. Other members of the company 
were Mrs. William Sidney, Miss Sophie Eyre, Miss 
Armstrong, Mr. Jordan, etc. We were carefully re- 
hearsed by Mr. Bancroft (as he then was) with the 
infinity of detail for which he was noted, and I really 
think we played the piece very well. Indeed, more than 
one provincial playgoer compared us favourably with the 
other company. What a fine play it is ! How splen- 
didly constructed and of what absorbing interest I It 
has been more than once revived in London since its 
first run, and, as I write, its present revival is nearing a 
full year of performances. How much better for all 
concerned, especially the actors, than the filthy, sordid, 
morbid garbage drama which is nowadays advocated by a 
certain section of the Press, and which not only empties 
all the theatres where it is played, but is slowly and 
surely killing the " theatre habit " amongst the public, 
by whose favour and patronage alone the actor can live. 

On November 16, 1878, I heard with the deepest 
sorrow of the death of Mr. Phelps. I was in Southport 
at the time, and, oddly enough, I had resigned my engage- 
ment that particular week. Of course, I came up to 
London for his funeral and terminated my contract 
finally at the end of the week. 

November 30, 1878, 1 opened at the Princess's Theatre 
in a play called No. 20 of the Bastille of Calvados, by 
Joseph Hatton and James Albery. Charles Warner 
and I played the two opposing leading parts. It was a 
pronounced and hopeless failure, only running a few 
weeks. 

The next few months were not very eventful in my 
work. I played some odd engagements, including the 



96 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

creation of a leading part in a play written by, and under 
the management of, Frank Harvey at the old Olympic 
Theatre, entitled The Mother. Frank Harvey was the 
husband of Mile. Beatrice, whose company had a great 
reputation in the provinces of Great Britain. When she 
died Harvey carried on the company for years. Besides 
being an excellent actor, he wrote and adapted from the 
French many good-acting and successful plays. 

The Lyceum, after the death of H. L. Bateman, had 
been taken over by Henry Irving and carried on under 
his sole management. For a short summer season in 
1879 he let it to Miss Genevieve Ward, who engaged me, 
and we opened with a play called Zillah^ by Palgrave 
Simpson and Claude Templar. She essayed a dual role 
of a princess and a gipsy. The play was another bad 
failure, but the first night was one of the most remarkable 
I can ever remember. Very amusing to look back on, 
but extremely unpleasant to have been associated with. 
It was one of those painful occasions when the audience 
(as they did sometimes in those days) chose to " guy " 
and to reply to the lines spoken on the stage. The 
number of lines they found to reply to, and the wonderful 
replies they made ! One of the characters said, " Ah ! 
I see it all." Voice from the pit : " Do you, by gad ! 
we don't." Some papers had been lowered into a well 
in a bucket. A character said : " If I could only find 
those papers ! " A gallery wit responded : " Look in 
the bucket, you old fool, and get it over." But the 
honours of the evening were reserved for Mr. Tom Mead, 
a very fine old actor, with a splendid voice, loud and 
sonorous. Mr. Mead had, in his later life, developed an 
unfortunate habit of thinking aloud, and as " aloud " 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 97 

meant (with him) stentorian tones, it could, and some- 
times did, become very funny. In Zillah he had never 
been quite easy in his words at rehearsal, and in the 
nervousness of the first night he forgot his first line, and 
came down to the footlights, saying : " Well, here I am," 
which had no particular reference to the scene in progress, 
and got a very sound laugh. Later on he forgot the 
hero's name, which was Paul de Roseville, and dwelling 
on the Christian name, like the tolling of " Big Ben," he 

said, hesitatingly : " Paul — Paul — Paul " A wit in 

front said ; " Paul — Paul, why persecutest thou me? " 
Of course, a yell of laughter followed. Again he tried 
the same name and got it, but with an unfortunate 
addition, " Paul de Roseville," (and in the same tone :) 
" Moustache is coming off, by gad." Another yell. 
Then he had a difficulty about the locale of the play, and 
said, all in one tone : " Never shall it be said that in this 
our good city of Toulouse ! — no ! Toulon ! — no ! His 
Toulouse.'''' Imagine what this meant to an audience 
already grown uproarious. And so the play dragged on 
to the end — a heartbreaking night and a dismal " frost." 
And yet that very night was perhaps the making of 
Miss Ward's fortune. Through the failure of Zillah 
she got that fine play Forget-Me-Not, by Herman 
Merivale and Grove, which was an immediate success. 
She could only play it, however, at the Lyceum a few 
weeks, as Irving' s autumn season was due. When a 
suitable theatre was obtained for its new home it ran 
for many months in London, and went over all the world, 
making her, I presume and hope, a good, big fortune. 

Pending the production of Forget-Me-Not we played 
a revival of Lucrezia Borgia for two or three weeks, in 



98 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

which I played the fine part of the Duke. I did not 
play in Forget-Me-Not ; but it may interest Miss Ward, 
at this distance of time, to know that maybe I was 
indirectly instrumental in its coming to her. As thus : 
I had read the play when I was with Miss Neilson in 
1874; she was then considering its production, as it had 
been written with a view to her playing it. In 1879 J 
was living for the summer in the King's Road, Kingston, 
about four doors from Merivale, and the day after Zillah 
failed so hopelessly, remembering the play, I went to 
him and suggested his submitting it to Miss Ward. I 
don't know whether my suggestion had anything to do 
with it, but it is certain she produced the play almost 
immediately, with the gratifying result known. A few 
lines were altered here and there to make it fit her 
personality, which was considerably different from Miss 
Neilson's. 

Recurring for a moment to the " gentle art of guying " 
from the front of the house, what a cowardly proceeding 
it is ! Much the same as beating a tied-up dog. The 
artist is quite powerless, as the dog is. And yet some 
very funny things are said. There was the historic 
occasion when an actor (George W.), in a play that was 
failing, had the fateful line, " Oh ! this is dreadful," 
and the wag in the pit said, " George, it's perfectly 
awful." But I once heard a remark from the gallery 
that was quite irresistible. Before the present Earl 
of Kilmorey succeeded to the title and was Lord Newry 
he was considerably interested in theatrical specula- 
tions. I think he was the landlord of both the Globe 
and St. James's Theatres. He may be still of the 
latter. He also adapted and wrote one or two 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 99 

plays. A play by him called J^carti was produced 
at the old Globe. He was not altogether lucky in his 
cast. One of the principal characters was (from one 
cause or another) sadly out of drawing, and the play was 
performed to a sort of running commentary of *' chaff ". 
But just about half-way through the last act, at about 
eleven o'clock in the evening, a sort of heavy father of 
the story sat down in an easy-chair with his daughter on 
a footstool at his knee and began what bade fair to be a 
good stereotyped explanatory speech. As far as I 
remember it began something like this : " 'Tis many 
years ago, my child, your mother died," when a fellow- 
countryman of Lord Newry's in the gallery observed 
in the sweetest brogue imaginable : " Och ! now thin 
for the plot I " Of course, the whole house exploded 
with laughter, and who could help it ? 

As will be gathered, the last nine months dealt with 
was not a very fruitful time for me professionally, but 
my luck was soon to re-assert itself. Henry Irving had 
engaged me for the autumn before the commencement 
of Miss Ward's season, and I began my work with him 
in September 1879, as Fitzharding in The Iron Chest 
and the light comedy part in the old farce of The Boarding 
School. The Iron Chest is a play by George Colman the 
younger, taken from Godwin's Caleb Williams. It 
had been a great favourite with Edmund Kean, and he 
used to play it frequently, but though it was beautifully 
produced at the Lyceum, with all the original music (by 
Storace), including the chorus so popular with our 
grandparents — 

"Holy friars tippled here 
Ere these abbey walls had crumbled," 



100 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

and everything possible done for it, it was voted old- 
fashioned and turgid (as it was), and it only ran a few 
weeks. Fitzharding was a part quite out of my line 
at the time — a sort of old buck of the Georgian period, 
and I was surprised at being cast for it, especially as a 
dear old friend, Clifford Cooper, was a member of the 
company at the time, and it was just in his way. How- 
ever, I managed to pull through, and my old friend was 
most genially pleasant about it. On the withdrawal 
of The Iron Chest we played Hamlet for a few nights, and 
I had another shock in being cast for the part of Osric. 
Then came the great revival of The Merchant of Venice 
with Irving's first appearance as Shylock on November 1, 
1879, and Miss Ellen Terry as Portia. Henry Forrester, 
a good actor and elocutionist, played Antonio; Frank 
R. Cooper, Gratiano; I played Bassanio. Salanio and 
Salarino were played by A. Elwood and A. W. Pinero. 
Others in the cast were Clifford Cooper and Sam Johnson 
as the Gobbos. Florence Terry was Nerissa, etc. Our 
most distinguished dramatist (now Sir Arthur W. Pinero) 
was then only feeling his way to the great position he has 
since taken, and, during that season, produced a charm- 
ing one-act comedietta, entitled Daisy's Escape^ at the 
Lyceum, in which he played a very admirable character 
study of a sort of cockney cad. 



XII 

In approaching the subject of living's Shylock and his 
acting generally, I feel that I am entering on dangerous 
ground. Henry Irving occupied so prominent a position 
in the public eye for so long a time and there was such 
an element of magnetic glamour about his whole career 
that, at first, it may appear presumptuous in me to 
attempt to say anything about a man of whom so much 
has been written by many of the greatest minds of his 
time. But most of his biographers and commentators 
have been people outside his own calling, and therefore 
a few words from one on the inside may not seem so 
much out of place after all, when we are far enough off 
to view the facts dispassionately. 

"We needs must love the highest when we see it, 

Not Lancelot nor another." 

And there is no kind of doubt that Irving was a great 
actor, a very great actor, indeed. But the same great 
Shakespeare of England is open to us all, and I should be a 
poor thing and unworthy of having these pages read if I 
had not the courage of my opinion to the extent of noting, 
here and there, points which appear to me worthy of con- 
sideration. Then, again, it is not always opinion only 
which is involved. When a man has played alongside a 

number of foremost artists, male and female, and has had 

101 



102 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

the opportunity of observing their great thoughts and 
great effects, it is ofttimes as much a matter of memory. 
As well as what you think a part or scene ought to he, there 
is what you have seen it he, and he would be false to his 
art and the memory of Shakespeare to say that something 
which he did not think as good was better than his 
experiences had shown him. Having said so much, I 
have no hesitation whatever in declaring that Irving 
was the best actor I ever saw, or ever expect to see, in 
a great number of parts. In The Bells, Louis XI., and 
The Lyons Mail he was incomparable ! His Charles I. 
was a most beautiful performance. Much of his Hamlet 
was very fine indeed. In parts of the more physical 
nature he may not have been quite so satisfying. His 
King Lear, Othello, Macbeth, Coriolanus were open to 
criticism. Most certainly his Malvolio, Richelieu, and 
Wolsey were not equal to Phelps's. In many comedy 
character parts, such as Digby Grant {Two Roses), 
Chevenix {Uncle Dick^s Darling), Jingle {Pickwick) he 
was quite splendid. In Romeo and Claude Melnotte he 
was not at his best. I have always held a theory that in 
playing or reading the poetry and the poetic drama 
of any country, whether English, French, Spanish, or 
Italian, etc., it is an absolute essential that the language 
shall be spoken in its positive purity, so that (to apply a 
test) a foreigner sitting in the front of a theatre armed with 
a lexicon of the language being spoken should be able 
to refer thereto for the meaning of any word falling on 
his ear with which he is unacquainted. Now some of the 
mannerisms of speech which grew on Irving year by 
year would certainly not have stood this test. I say 
" grew on," because that is the bona fide fact. When 



I 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 103 

I was a playgoer, before entering the actor's calling, I 
saw practically all his performances, and, in those days, 
certainly he had none of these mannerisms, absolutely 
none. They first appeared, as far as I can recollect, in 
his masterly performance of Digby Grant. They fitted 
that character to admiration, and little by little crept 
into all his work. It used to be said that the audience 
always wanted a low comedian to be himself, and per- 
petually reveal the same personality. I doubt if it was 
true, but I am quite sure it would be inadvisable for an 
actor playing a wide range of the great heroic parts. 
There were moments undoubtedly when Irving's man- 
nerisms and readings of some of Shakespeare's immortal 
lines left something to be desired either in considering 
their own intrinsic beauty or as an object-lesson to the 
intelligent foreigner already mentioned. Of Irving the 
man it would need an abler pen than mine to speak. He 
was a fine fellow, a loyal friend, a brilliant host, generous 
to all and to a fault, a great tactician and diplomatist 
(a man who would have succeeded in any walk of life 
that he had chosen to take up), with tremendous mag- 
netism and charm. In our calling a great stage manager. 
One hears a good deal of the schools formed by different 
great actors, and one often reads of the Irving School. 
Now, this, I think, is rather misleading. Undoubtedly 
his eye for stage effect was unique, but the imparting of 
ideas to young people was not by any means his strong 
point. His instructions were often halting, vague, and 
lacking in directness, which made it difficult for the 
tyro to gather what was expected or required of him. 

Of Miss Terry it is equally difficult to write (or even 
more so, during her lifetime). 



104 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

Miss Terry was, beyond all question, a most charming 
actress, and when a part came within the radius of her 
charm she was quite irresistible. As Lilian Vavasour 
{New Men and Old Acres), Olivia (The Amber Heart), 
Beatrice, Portia, Viola, etc., she was superb. But I 
venture to think that her limitations were well defined, 
and that some of the stronger parts of the Shakespearean 
drama were well outside them. Her " thick and thin " 
admirers and a considerable portion of the Press ap- 
peared to allow their " reason to be taken prisoner " 
and to praise all her performances alike without analysis, 
which is a pity, when dealing with great artistic ideals, 
because of its baneful influence with the student and the 
aspirant who are always too ready to follow the lead of 
artists of prominence. 

" Harking back " to The Merchant of Venice at the 
Lyceum, it is a matter of history that it was a wonderful 
success and ran well on to 300 performances consecutively. 
Irving's Shylock was full of interest and was a really 
fine study indeed, and Miss Terry's Portia was bewitching 
and artistic in all the scenes at Belmont. Her trial 
scene was, perhaps, less convincing. The whole per- 
formance of this same trial scene, I submit, merits some 
special consideration. 

An article I wrote for The Stage (June 8, 1899) on the 
subject of stage traditions contained the following 
note — 

" Shylock : I have read and re-read most of what has 
been written about the ' Jew that Skakespeare drew,' 
and the authorities who declare it was the author's 
intention to rehabilitate or beget a sympathy for the 
Jewish race, then suffering under gross tyrannies and 



I 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 105 

cruelties : and I willingly admit that, up to a certain 
point in the play, Shylock is a most ill-used man, and 
fully deserving of all the sympathy of the audience ; but 
the modern-day rendering of Shylock as sympathetic in 
the trial scene I cannot bring myself to believe in. If 
ever a cold-blooded murderer was drawn, in all his 
hateful intensity, this is the example. If Shakespeare 
intended Shylock to win sympathy here, how easy to 
have made him prove his rights, beyond all dispute, and 
then forgive the Christian who had so foully wronged 
him. Here would have been sympathy indeed. Here 
would have been a monument of a wronged Jew's 
magnanimity. But no ! He proceeds to the extremest 
limit the law allows him; proceeds to what cannot fail 
to be a cruel murder with the coolness of a butcher 
killing sheep. Again, I apply the test of the author's 
words. Shakespeare laid out the scheme of this act 
with those superb verbal rejoinders or climaxes of 
Gratiano's — 

" * O learned judge ! Mark, Jew, a learned judge ! ' 
and 

"*A second Daniel, a Daniel, Jew! 

Now, infidel, I have thee on the hip.* 

and 

"*A Daniel still I say! a second Daniel — 

I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.' 

All of which he takes, as it were, from the mouth of 
Shylock ; and I refuse to believe that the author intended 
Gratiano to be here regarded by the audience as an 
impudent coxcomb, which is inevitable if Shylock carries 
the sympathy of this scene. No, the baffled, angry, 
turbulent, tragic (in other words, the traditional exit 



106 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

of Edmund Kean and others) is surely nearer to the 
author's intention and most certainly more effective to 
the audience." 

I have ventured to reproduce this note in extenso here 
for two special reasons : First, because the years between 
have deepened rather than in any way changed the view 
expressed ; and, second, because in conversations I had 
with Irving when on my last tour with him in 1901 I 
think he was almost disposed to agree with my view ; and 
here I am going to take a rather bold step and to express 
my curiosity as to whether or not the Shylock he played 
and made so famous was absolutely the Shylock he would 
have played if he had possessed a greater amount of 
physical power. Of course, the Shylock I have in mind 
depends on the actor's power to play the great scene with 
Tubal in the earlier act that begins 

"You knew, none so well as you, none so well as you, of my 
daughter's flight.'* 

It is here he must build up the character with gradu- 
ated awful intensity, and it is here that Edmund Kean 
and his disciples used " to lift the audience out of their 
seats," as they did in the final exit from the trial scene, 
which I have seen played in a whirlwind of passion. 
Now, I may be taking a great liberty with the memory 
of a man for whom I entertain nothing but profound 
respect, but I have always fancied that at the early 
rehearsals I saw him " make shots " at the big scheme, 
and, with his great mentality, recognise that it was out 
of his reach, and so, by degrees, he came to develop with 
consummate art a Shylock he could compass. This may 
be considered an untenable hypothesis on my part, but 
I don't think it is very " wide of the mark," and it 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 107 

proves nothing more than his tremendous ability and his 
power to lead his fellow-men. During the run of the 
play one or two curious incidents occurred. One 
Saturday night, quite in the later days, after a matinee, 
Henry Forrester, as Antonio, forgot his lines in his first 
scene and suffered from complete temporary loss of 
memory. None of us could prompt him. As he ex- 
pressed it afterwards, the theatre seemed one blaze of 
light and he could not recall anything. Irving had to 
come on at an earlier cue as Shylock and take the scene 
up and go on ; meantime Forrester recovered himself and 
all was well again. 

The 250th performance was a great occasion. Imme- 
diately on the fall of the curtain the stage was taken 
possession of by an army of waiters, etc., and was 
transformed into a huge marquee, where a large number 
of London's foremost men of art, letters, and brains 
of every kind gathered at Irving's invitation to supper. 
The company were included in the invitation. It was a 
most noteworthy assemblage and did not pass off without 
a bona- fide thrill. The late Lord Houghton, the poet, 
had been selected to propose the health of our host. He 
rose to do so, and it was soon apparent that if he had 
" primed " himself for the task he had relied on mis- 
leading aid. He mentioned in turn all the Shylocks he 
had ever seen, and, as far as we could gather, the only 
one in whom he could see no merit, or at all events, the 
least merit, was the man we were gathered together to 
honour. It was a moment of most painful tension. We 
scarcely dared look at each other when Irving rose to 
respond, bland, genial, courteous, and master of the 
situation, and with infinite tact, gracefully turned the 



108 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 



whole matter into a humorous groove : put everybody 
at his ease at once, and proved (if proof were needed) 
his abiHty to grapple with a knotty point as only the 
skilled diplomatist can. I doubt if he ever gave a 
greater performance of a thoroughly difficult part and 
scene. 



XIII 

For the last few weeks of the run (on May 20, 1880, 
to be exact) we played The Merchant of Venice without 
the last act — finishing with its trial scene, and, as an 
after-piece, played a beautiful version of the Danish 
play poem, King Renews Daughter^ by W. G. Wills. 
There were several versions of this play extant. I had 
played in two before the one in question, but I think 
Wills 's was by far the best. The delightful legend just 
suited his style of writing. Irving played the lover 
(Count Tristan); Frank Cooper, Sir Geoffrey; I, King 
Rene ; Tom Mead, the physician, Eben Jahia ; and Miss 
Ellen Terry, the blind daughter. A marvellously 
beautiful scene was supplied by Hawes Craven, and with 
gorgeous costume, etc., and very careful rehearsals, it 
was voted a great success. A rather ludicrous accident 
occurred one night, which, in a theatre of less reverence, 
might easily have wrecked the performance for that 
occasion. Irving and Frank Cooper were both very 
shortsighted, and the former dropped a jewelled amulet, 
used in the play, and tried in vain to find it with his 
foot. Failing to do so, he whispered to Cooper : " Where 
is it, Frank ? Find it I Find it ! " Frank whispered 
in reply : " I can't, governor; I am more blind than you 
are." And here was a complete deadlock, when be- 
hold I the blind girl (Miss Terry) came on and picked 

109 



110 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

it up and handed it to " the chief ! " It was absolutely 
the only way out of the difficulty, and happily, the 
audience did not notice the comic side of the incident, 
or were too well-behaved to show that they did. 

W. G. Wills, the author of this play, was a rather 
extraordinary man, who merits more than a passing 
reference fromi one who knew him. An Irishman, with 
a pronounced though rather delightful brogue, he 
occupied a pleasant studio in Chelsea, where he lived 
and worked with his secretary, Alfred C. Calmour, who 
afterwards wrote The Amber Heart for Miss Terry, and 
other plays. A Bohemian of the most pronounced 
type, with unkempt beard and shabby clothes, and a 
generally soiled and neglected appearance — steeped 
to the lips in literature of the best kind — and, ap- 
parently, thinking blank verse by day and dreaming 
it by night, as well as painting pictures, many of them 
much above the average. What a lot of fine plays 
he wrote — Charles /., Eugene Aram, Vanderdecken 
{The Flying Dutchman), for Irving; Jane Shore and 
Juanna for Wilson Barrett and Miss Heath ; Medea for 
Miss Bateman; Jane Eyre for Mrs. Beere, etc., etc. 
Of these Charles I. was, easily, the most popular. It 
came just when Irving was making his great mark 
and greatly helped him on the road to fame. What a 
beautiful performance he gave of the part ! His regal 
dignity, tenderness and pathos were beyond praise. 
I was present at the first performance of the play in 
September 1872, and a very unusual thing occurred. 
When the curtain went up on the first scene, which 
represented a glade at Hampton Court, so vividly real 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 111 

was it, and so beautifully painted, that the audience 
absolutely refused to allow a word to be spoken until 
that splendid artist, Hawes Craven, had come on and 
bowed his acknowledgments of their congratulation. 
I have never seen this occur on any other occasion. In 
Charles I. the treatment of the character of Cromwell 
raised a tremendous outcry and, truth to say, the great 
Protector is represented in an unduly truculent and 
unworthy light — considerably at variance with the 
impression one gets who reads the history of the times. 
I never heard Wills 's reason for this ; or whether he 
was a rabid Royalist. One might imagine so. But 
it brought about one result. A Colonel Richards, 
connected with the staff of one of the big London daily 
newspapers {The Morning Advertiser, if my memory 
serves me correctly), had written an ambitious play with 
Cromwell as the central figure. As a sort of protest this 
play was immediately produced at the old Queen's, with 
George Rignold as Cromwell (at the Lyceum the charac- 
ter was originally played by George Belmore). I saw 
this play, too. It was not a good one, but had one 
magnificent scene (in fact, it was a one-scene play), 
where Cromwell had a glorious soliloquy over the cofl&n 
of the King. However, it failed to live; and Wills*s 
Charles I. remained a popular feature of Irving's reper- 
tory till his death, and has been played by his son (H. 
B.) since. 

A very interesting story was extant at the time anent 
the writing of Charles I. It ran thus : Wills had got to 
the end of the third act of the play to the great satis- 
faction of Bateman and Irving himself, but could not 



112 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

find a solution for the end of it. One night all three 
of them had supped at Bateman's house in Kensington. 
Gore and Bateman had left the table and was lying on 
the sofa smoking. As Wills and Irving were chatting 
over their cigars, Bateman (who had appeared to be 
half asleep) suddenly sprang up, saying : " Wills, by 
gad ! I've got it." Both said " What ? " Said Bateman, 
" The last act of Charles I. Wills, have you ever read 
Black-Ey'd Susan? "^^ Of course. Wills had not, 
probably (dreamer as he was) he had never heard of 
it. Said Bateman : "Go and get a book at French's 
and read the parting of William and Susan." Wills did 
so, and finished Charles I, Now, I give this story for 
what it is worth ; but most certainly facts bear it out 
marvellously, because the two situations are identical, 
even to the disposal of the trinkets, always allowing 
for the difference created by Wills's beautiful and poetic 
English. Both of them are good enough, strong enough, 
and pathetic enough to bring a good big lump into the 
throat of any true man or woman wherever they may 
be played. 

When the Lyceum season was nearing its end, it 
was announced publicly that the autumn production 
would be The Corsican Brothers. As I had been suc- 
cessful as M. Chateau Renaud in the previous revival 
of that play in London and had pleased the adapter of 
it, Dion Boucicault, who was not easily satisfied, I 
naturally hoped that I should again be cast for the same 
part, and I was therefore correspondingly disappointed 
when it was stated later that William Terriss had been 
engaged for it. If any influence was at work against 



1 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 113 

me, it strangely miscarried, and my luck once more stood 
me in good stead. My best friend could not have 
done me a better turn. Terriss had been playing with 
Messrs. Hare and Kendal at the St. James's, and, know- 
ing that they were contemplating a play by W. G. Wills 
in the autumn, I walked along to see them, and 
came out of their office with an engagement settled 
for the autumn. And this is where my good luck 
came in. 

The Corsican Brothers contains very little female 
interest. The drama is all between the twin brothers 
and M. Chateau Renaud. If the latter does not loom 
up a great factor in the play, deadly, feared, there is 
not much play left. When I saw the production at 
the Lyceum I became aware that in the discretion of 
the stage manager the part was terribly " cabin'd, 
cribb'd, confin'd " compared to the scope allowed me 
at the Princess's, and was not (in this production, at 
least) at all a good one. And the duel was a poor 
display compared with what we had given. Neither 
Irving nor Terriss appeared to be the equal of Clayton 
and myself as swordsmen. So, all things considered, 
I did not regret being out of it, and it so fell out that I 
was destined to make one of the most signal marks of 
my London career in the play we did at the St. James's 
(after rehearsing in the provinces) on October 9, 1880. 
This play was called William and Susan, and was a new 
version of Douglas Jerrold's classic Black-Eifd Susan, 
prepared by W. G. Wills. Kendal played William, 
Mrs. Kendal Susan, John Hare (as he then was) the 
Admiral, and I played Captain Crosstree. A perfect 



114 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

" storm in a tea-cup " was raised by the London Press, 
led by Clement Scott of the Daily Telegraph, about the 
desecration of Douglas Jerrold's classic. What absurd 
nonsense it was. As I pointed out to Scott one night at 
supper, no one had ever seen Douglas Jerrold's drama 
in our time. The play we had always played was his 
in name only. His, with one entire act cut out, and 
hundreds of lines of " gag " written in. Nothing could 
have been more respectful than Wills's treatment of the 
subject. He wrote a beautiful new first act to lead 
up to Jerrold's story, and when he reached the latter's 
matter he humoured every line, as well as every time- 
honoured gag. In my humble judgment it was a much 
better play for the time in which it was played. It 
had a very considerable success, and ran for several 
months. John Hare stage-managed it most carefully, 
and played the Admiral with great delicacy. I have 
seen better Williams than Kendal, and I have seen him 
in parts I preferred him in, but he pleased the St. James's 
audiences greatly. In all my career I have never seen 
a more perfect performance of sincere, honest woman- 
liness than Mrs. Kendal's Susan. She was magnificent. 
My part of Crosstree consisted principally of one big 
scene with her; and, while I shall have occasion later 
in these notes to lay my tribute at the feet of Mrs. Kendal, 
I cannot pass over this particular performance without 
thanking her with all the warmth at my command for 
her assistance and inspiration in making a success 
which was rather exceptional, and advanced me a good 
long step in the favour of the London public. Gk>od 
sketches of character were supplied by that fine actor 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 115 

Wenman, Brandon Thomas, the author of Charley* s 
Aunt, etc., Mackintosh, and Miss Phillips, and nothing 
was ever better played at the St. James's in this or any 
other play than the small parts entrusted to Albert 
Chevalier — now so famous in his own inimitable way — 
and then, as now, an artist to his finger-tips. 



XIV 

In the April of 1881 I was playing a series of matinSes 
at the Imperial with Miss Helen Barry, and at Drury 
Lane every evening with John McCullough. During 
Miss Barry's season we produced London Assurance, 
Arkwrighfs Wife, and Led Astray. It was only a 
moderately successful venture, and was, perhaps, 
principally notable for the fact that E. S. Willard made 
his first appearance in London during these performances. 
He was playing at Brighton at the time, and made the 
journey to and fro each day. His different impersona- 
tions were noteworthy for the care and thought which 
afterwards brought him to the front and made him so 
sound a favourite on both sides of the Atlantic. Miss 
Helen Barry was " a monstrous fine woman," and a kind- 
hearted creature, who had taken to the stage too late 
in life to achieve more than passing notice. She died 
in New York a few years after. John McCullough, the 
American tragedian, was everybody's favourite. He was 
not, strictly speaking, a great actor, being, in truth, an 
imitator of his great model, Edwin Forrest, but he had 
an extraordinary amount of magnetism and a singularly 
fine appearance for Roman parts. With a good figure, 
a magnificent torso, and a picturesque head beautifully 
poised on his shoulders, he looked the absolute embodi- 
ment of the part of Virginius, in which he opened in 

116 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 117 

England. With all these advantages, supplemented by 
a good, deep, and resonant voice, he created a most 
favourable impression. A lady friend of mine who saw 
the play said : " I wished he was my father," and that 
was a fair summing up of what many people thought. 
Our business was quite good. When he changed the 
bill to Othello, his success was not nearly so pronounced. 
As a man, he was tremendously popular — kindly, genial, 
full of fun, anecdote, and humour, but an awful " night- 
owl." He would never go to bed so long as any 
one would sit up with him. Thus, I fear, he " burnt 
the candle at both ends," and in 1884 I met him in 
New York, his fine physique wasted to a shadow and 
his poor brain showing signs of that dread ailment in 
which he passed away in 1885, to the inexpressible 
grief of as many friends as a man ever had. John had 
been " juvenile man " with Edwin Forrest, and he used 
to tell some splendid stories of that, undoubtedly, great 
actor. I recall one of them as I write. 

Forrest was playing Virginius, with a bad attack of 
gout in both hands and feet, and in the scene in Act I., 
when Virginius gives Virginia to Icilius (played by 
McCullough), he said, in his grand tone and manner, 
offering his hand — 

ViRG. : " Thou seest that hand ? It is a Roman's, boy. 

Knew it the lurking-place of treason, though 
It were a brother's heart, 'twould drag the caitiff 
Forth. Barest thou take that hand ? " 

IciL. : " I dare, Virginius." 

ViRG. : " Then take it." (And then in muttered tone :) 
" Don't touch, for heaven's sake 1 " 



118 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

John McCullough made a joke one night while in 
England at the club that " set the table in a roar." 
1881 was the year in which an American horse, Iroquois, 
won the Derby, named of course, after the powerful 
tribe of North American Indians. On the occasion of 
which I speak we were all chaffing, and the conversation 
turned on the contrasted pronunciation of the English 
language in England and America. I forgot what led 
up to it, but Johnny Toole remarked : " Why, hang it, 
you people in America have not got a language." John 
replied in a flash : *' Haven't we, by Jove ? What about 
Iroquois? " He and I became great " pals," and when 
he was returning to America he made me a pleasant offer 
to accompany him, but I did not accept for the reason 
that another old friend, Fred B. Warde, was with him, 
and I did not see that there would be much opening for 
two of us in supporting a male " star." In the perform- 
ance of Virginius at Drury Lane, I played Appius 
Claudius; John Ryder, Dentatus; J. R. Gibson, Numi- 
torius ; Gus Harris (the manager of the theatre), Icilius ; 
and Lydia Cowell (Mrs. James Mortimer), Virginia. 
Mortimer was editor of the London Figaro. Gus Harris 
(I knew all of his family when he was a boy) afterwards 
became Sheriff of the City of London, and eventually 
Sir Augustus Harris. As Icilius he wore a toga made of 
light blue soft silk, and I am afraid that, whatever his 
great capacities were, his dearest friend could not have 
said they included the performance of Roman parts. 
John Ryder, who played Dentatus, was quite a character. 
" Honest John " he was sometimes called, and not 
without reason. He was certainly bluff and outspoken 
to a fault, but as " straight as a gun-barrel," and quite 



H 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 119 

fearless when he had anything to say. He was an actor 
of the Macready school, and unwilling to concede that 
any one could compare with " Mac," as he called him. 
He was an admirable stage instructor, and was respon- 
sible for the success of Adelaide Neilson, Miss Wallis, 
Margaret Leighton, and many others, as well as a most 
excellent actor, more especially of strong rugged parts, 
full of humanity, such as Hubert {King John), Williams 
{Henry V.), Dentatus, John Ironbrace {Used Up), etc., 
etc. A number of splendid stories abounded of him in 
his time, but, unfortunately, he was in the habit of 
expressing himself so very forcibly that they are not all 
reproducible in cold print. On the occasion of the first 
appearance of his pupil. Miss Margaret Leighton, who 
made a very great success as Julia in The Hunchback, 
amidst an avalanche of flowers and congratulations, at 
the end of the performance he led her by the hand to the 
centre of the stage and pointing his dexter finger at the 
audience said in emphatic tone : " Look here ! when I 
am dead, people may say I couldn't act, but, by Heavens ! 
will anybody say I couldn't teach ? " He was most 
amusing one night in John McCullough's dressing-room. 
He was then sixty-nine years old and talked of retiring 
the next year, when he would be seventy. His mother 
was still alive, aged ninety-one. He told of her complaint 
that he did not go often enough to see her, and his reply 
was this : " I said to her, ' Look here, mother, this be 
hanged ( ?). I'm acting every night and I give three or 
four lessons a day, and when Sunday comes I'm deuced( ?) 
glad of the rest. Upon my soul, you look upon me as a 
blessed ( ?) kid ! ' " Isn't that human ? Bluff old John 
Ryder as we knew him was still the " kid " (the baby) to 



120 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

some one who had nursed and loved him as such. But 
there was great humanity in all he did. I was told a 
very pretty story of the marriage of his only daughter (he 
had been a widower for years). At the wedding break- 
fast in the snug little home in Brixton, in the course of 
the function, his health was proposed and he rose to 
respond. Putting his hand on the shoulder of the 
bridegroom, he quoted, inimitably, the speech from 
Virginius — 

" Didst thou but know, young man. 
How fondly I have watched her since the day 
Her mother died, and left me to a charge 
Of double duty bound — how she hath been 
My ponder'd thought by day, my dream by night, 
My prayer, my vow, my offering, my praise. 
My sweet companion, pupil, tutor, child ! — 
Thou wouldst not wonder that my drowning eye 
And choking utterance upbraid the tongue 
That tells thee she is thine ! . . ." 

This may sound theatrical to some^ but my informant, 
who was present, told me it was most beautifully done, 
with the utmost feeling, and every one present was 
greatly affected. 

John Ryder was a good specimen of an Englishman, 
tall, straight, and with a fine physique generally. In 
face he greatly resembled the Abbe Liszt, except that his 
features were stronger and without the long hair. 
Writing of the Abbe Liszt, I once had the pleasure of 
hearing him play, in private, under very interesting cir- 
cumstances. During a visit of his to London I was 
calling one Sunday afternoon on an old and treasured 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 121 

friend — W. Beatty-Kingston, of the Daily Telegraph — 
and the maestro was among his guests that day. Beatty- 
Kingston was himself one of the finest amateur pianists 
in England and his daughter was only a little less pro- 
ficient. After several duets by father and daughter 
on two grand pianos Miss Kingston played over a pretty 
ballad of her own composition. Liszt appeared inter- 
ested, and asked her to repeat it. She did so, and then 
the maestro sat down to the piano, and, with his eyes 
half closed and his mind apparently well over the frontier 
of dreamland, improvised variations on the melody for 
at least half an hour. It was most delightful and a 
never-to-be-forgotten treat. 

Every summer about this time a little party of us 
used to have one delightful holiday in rowing down the 
Thames from Oxford to Teddington. The trip was 
organised by Tom Thome, then co -lessee of the Vaude- 
ville with David James. He, too, saw to the provisions 
and the canteen, and everything was of the best ; each 
of us paying our share of the actual cost. We had two 
skiffs, and a boy to attend to our wants and do the neces- 
sary work. Our party usually comprised Henry Neville, 
James Fernandez, Charles Warner, Clement Scott, Tom 
Thorne, myself, and one or two others. What a glorious 
time we had, and what over-grown schoolboys we 
became for the nonce ! We started from Oxford on 
Sunday morning, and even those who had London 
engagements could fulfil them each night and do every 
mile of the journey by a careful study of the railway 
time-tables. Fernandez would make our sides ache with 
his wonderfully told stories of his earlier days on the 
stage. Tom Thorne wanted to race every boat that 



122 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

came alongside ; Charles Warner had splendid spirits, in 
which quality the writer was not deficient, and Clement 
Scott his temperamental sentiment which friendship 
always brought to the surface so readily. We lunched 
under the willows at Newnham, dined in the hayfield 
at Clifton Hampton, and pursued our way by easy stages 
past lovely Mapledurham, the regatta course at Henley 
and Medmenham Abbey, Danesfield, and Harleyford, 
past the grand Quarry Woods at Marlow, and the 
glorious sylvan beauties of Cliveden, and so on until we 
usually pulled up about Friday at a friend's lawn at 
Teddington, where the hospitality of a kind host and 
hostess (Mr. and Mrs. Beale) awaited us. Oh, youth, 
friendship, and nature ! what a combination you made, 
and how glorious it all seemed in those old, bright days ! 
Alas ! three of those named have " crossed the bar," one 
has fallen on evil times. Fernandez and I never speak 
of the joy of those days without something like a glow 
of the old happy enthusiasm, not, however, without a 
large admixture of sad and kindly thoughts for those 
dear old companions who have drifted away out of our 
sight. 



XV 

In the autumn of 1881 I went to New York under 

engagement to McKee Rankin. Rankin had come to 

London in April 1880 with what, I think, was the very 

best of all the so-called Western dramas. The Danites, 

by Joaquin Miller, " the poet of the Sierras," as he was 

called. Coming at that season of the year, he was able 

to collect what is now called an " all star-cast," who were 

anxious to visit London and willing to accept terms 

accordingly. Many of the company were leading artists 

I had met during my visits to America, whose names will 

be found in these notes, among then W. E. Sheridan, 

Natt Lingham, Lindsay Harris, and dear, good Ned 

Holland, who died within two months of my writing 

these lines. The play was produced at Sadler's Wells 

theatre, then under the management of Mrs. Bateman, 

and made such a favourable impression that it was 

transferred to the Globe, where it ran along merrily 

for some months. During his time in London, Rankin 

saw, and was struck with, William and Susan at the St. 

James's, and arranged to produce the play in New York. 

He engaged me for my original part, and to stage-manage 

the play on the St. James's lines. One condition of the 

London production was completely reversed in New 

York. Rankin was an excellent William, but Mrs. 

Rankin could not compare with Mrs. Kendal as Susan ; 

123 



124 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

but the fates were dead against us as it proved. All of 
us of a certain age will remember the thrill of horror that 
ran through the nation when news came that President 
Garfield had been shot by a cowardly assassin on that 
fateful day, July 2, 1881. A good man, worthily risen 
from a log cabin, brave, honourable, and the chosen ruler 
of a great people, bound to us by every tie of kinship and 
interest, had been laid low by the hand of a degenerate 
who was, as Shakespeare says of Barnardine in Measure 
for Measure, " Unfit to live or die." For two months, in 
spirit, we watched by the sufferer's bedside with fear 
and hope alternating in our hearts as the daily bulletins 
were announced. When he was removed to Elberon, by 
the sea, on September 6, hope was in the ascendant ; on 
the 15th, hope gave way to despair. Blood-poisoning 
had set in. On the 19th, he breathed his last, to the 
grief of the whole civilised world, and on the same 
19th we produced in New York City, at the 14th 
Street Theatre, William and Susan. We heard the news 
as we finished the performance; and the next day the 
city was draped with black in every corner; the whole 
nation was beside itself with grief, and business was 
practically dead for days. In those days every produc- 
tion in America depended greatly on the " send-off," 
as they call it, and I don't think it is much changed to- 
day. Nothing could stand up against such a " facer," 
and William and Susan was as " dead as Queen Anne." 
When the public recovered its wonted spirit we did 
another new play, by Joaquin Miller, called 49, a story 
of the first gold rush to California, which was in that 
year. It was in a terribly chaotic state when the manu- 
script reached us, and we had to use all our wits and 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 125 

experience to get it into acting shape. Some time after, 
during some legal action anent the play, I believe Rankin 
testified that the second act was entirely constructed 
by myself. From recollection I don't think I should 
have claimed so much as that ; but I did a good deal to 
it and all I could. With William and Susan dead, much 
of my value to Rankin was gone. Obviously I could not 
be expected to rival a fine actor like W. E. Sheridan in 
a purely American part that fitted him superbly in Tfie 
Danites, and in a thousand little unpleasant ways I was 
made to feel it, so that after about eight weeks, having 
received an offer from Joseph Brooks to join him for 
a tour of the then popular Drury Lane drama, The World, 
I came to an amicable and equitable arrangement with 
Rankin in Chicago, and left there with Brooks one 
Saturday after a matinee for New Orleans, where I 
opened on Monday. With The World I continued the 
whole of the season (a quite pleasant engagement), and 
with it I made my first trip to the Pacific Coast and 
sampled " the glorious climate of California." I 
opened in San Francisco in January 1882. I should 
like to say here, that, wonderful and interesting as are 
many of the cities of the Eastern States, in their great 
development of business facilities and luxuries, the 
scenes and charms of the United States that " stand 
out " in the mind of any travelling European do not 
begin until he gets west of the Mississippi River. Every- 
thing in the great far West is so different to anything 
he has ever seen, and it is all so stupendous, so pictur- 
esque, and, in many cases, so wonderful that the mind is in 
a state of constant expansion and the brain perpetually 
exercised in " taking it all in." The Humboldt River, 



126 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

which you meet in the morning on the Union Pacific, 
is a Httle ditch, and after travelling beside it all day, you 
see it develop into a very large body of water, which 
discharges into Lake Humboldt, hundreds of miles from 
any coast, and disappears altogether. Where does it 
go to? The immense alkali plains, with their herds of 
antelope, etc., and the journey through the snowsheds 
of the great Rockies and Sierras, until you descend into 
the Sacramento Valley of the Pacific slope, with its 
birds of brilliant plumage, but little or no song; its 
flowers of radiant colourings, but little or no scent, all 
go to make up an experience unique and full of interest 
as you meet it for the first time. And once arrived in 
San Francisco you seem to take on a new existence. The 
climate, to a newcomer, is like a joyous tonic. I played 
there a month and enjoyed every minute of it. I saw 
all there was to be seen — ^the park and the great seal 
rocks; had trips through Chinatown, with its opium 
dens, its cafes, its joss houses, and its theatres, etc. 
Was made a member of the well-known Bohemian Club, 
and met a lot of most hospitable friends — Clay Green, 
Frank Unger, Harry Jocelyn, Eugene Dewey, and a 
namesake. Col. Barnes, a very prominent lawyer of the 
city, a man of great intellect and a firm friend. Saw 
Jennie Lee and her husband, J. P. Burnett, off to Aus- 
tralia, and, wonderful to relate, on the same steamer met 
John Hollingshead's niece, Maud Hobson, all that dis- 
tance away from home, quite unexpectedly, after having 
been at the Gaiety Theatre, London, with her for months. 
She was on the way to Honolulu with her husband, 
Captain Hailey, late of the Hussars, who had an appoint- 
ment there. 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 127 

Two things struck me forcibly about San Francisco 
when I first visited it. The first was the extraordinary 
cosmopolitan character of its population. All the nations 
were represented, and all seemed to have their own little 
colony and almost their own districts wherein they lived. 
A reason for this was probably to be found in the fact 
that the Pacific Coast had been the end of the earth to a 
large body of the world's wanderers. To use a term in 
vogue nowadays, it was a kind of " dumping ground " 
for many hundreds who had come there by land or sea, 
and either could not from circumstances get any further, 
or were disinclined to ; and there they had settled and 
formed new ties and started new lives, but always 
apparently in their own coteries and among their own 
compatriots. The other impression was the perfectly 
admirable character of some of the moderate-priced 
restaurants. There were four or five of these that I 
could name where a really excellent meal could be had 
for 50 cents (about 2*. of English money), and for $1 
{4>s.) the menu served was positively luxurious. I am 
writing of the days before the great earthquake, which 
may easily have considerably changed many of the 
conditions. 

The trip back from California, playing by the way, was 
brim full of interest to me, and two or three references 
will I hope also interest my readers. How the staff 
managed to get the play The World on to the stage in 
such places as some of the one-night stands I shall never 
know. They did, and there's the wonder ! The first 
place we stopped at was San Jos6, where I was much 
amused by a well-intentioned friend, who drove me out 
some miles to an old mission house, a dilapidated building 



128 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

looking like an old malt house in England, and, pulling 
up opposite thereto, said, with great emphasis : " There, 
sir, one hundred years old ! " I did not at first realise 
what he was driving at, and he repeated it even more 
emphatically. I wish I could reproduce his looks, though 
not his language, when I gathered his meaning, and 
promised him that when I met him in England I would 
show him places one thousand years old. 

Sacramento, Stockton, with its big State asylum, and 
Reno presented no special features, but from the latter 
we branched off to Carson City, where one of the United 
States mints was situated, and Virginia City, famous for 
the great mining boom of the fifties, where the Com- 
stock lode was discovered running through the moun- 
tains, and where the celebrated Californian millionaires, 
J. Mackay, O'Brien, Fair, and others made their enor- 
mous fortunes. The true stories of their operations have 
scarcely a parallel in the whole history of mining. When 
I was there the production of the mines had practically 
" given out," and the town was well-nigh deserted. The 
streets, chiefly of wooden-frame houses, had been taken 
possession of by the Indians, and I remember a curious 
feeling coming over me as I walked to the theatre, where 
the orchestra, after parading the streets, was playing a 
selection of music on the front verandah, and every 
doorstep and window sill in sight was occupied by 
" noble red men " and their families as interested lis- 
teners, of course, without the means or inclination to 
go inside. Verily, I felt that I had touched a lower level 
in my career than I had looked forward to. I went down 
the Savage mine, which had been one of the most pro- 
ductive, with the manager, whom I had met in San 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 129 

Francisco, and was shown the little wooden house in 
which Mrs. John Mackay lived and toiled with her 
husband in those early days, and I ruminated on the 
wonderful turns of the wheel of fortune as I contrasted 
it with the lordly dwelling she occupied, subsequently, 
in Carlton House Terrace, London. I remember reading 
in the newspapers of her burning a portrait by Meissonier 
that failed to please her. 

From there back to Reno and on to Ogden, where 
again we left the main line to call at Salt Lake City, 
and it was with no small amount of curiosity that I 
found myself in the centre of Mormonism. It is not 
my province to say a word about this faith or its followers, 
but the city as I saw it showed on every hand evidences 
of the master mind of a born leader of men. Although 
Joseph Smith was credited with the foundation of this 
powerful organisation, beyond all question that master 
mind was Brigham Young. First, the selection of this 
particular valley for occupation after a pilgrimage of a 
thousand miles was a stroke of genius, and the indomi- 
table will of the " Prophet " and the perseverance of his 
disciples had turned its fertility to such account that 
it was a veritable garden in the desert. Then the 
utilisation of the adjacent perpetually snow-covered 
mountains was a wonderful instance of foresight. The 
city was built on the slope of the foot-hills of these, and 
when the snow melted in summer the water was caught 
and stored as it ran down the hillsides in a huge dyke, 
and by a system of small sluices conducted down the 
sides of the streets under the shade of countless trees, 
giving a sense of coolness on the hottest day. It was 
more than 90 in the shade when I was there. And the 

K 



130 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

same mind which could harness the forces of nature was 
able to make the most of the resources of science and art. 
When Brigham Young wanted to do anything in the pub- 
lic interest, he was content to go to the highest authority 
on the subject, and follow that authority blindly. He 
built a new Tabernacle, which was capable of seating an 
immense concourse of people with one gallery only, and 
which, through its exit arrangements, could be emptied 
in a minute and a half. I was shown over this building 
by a man who to my surprise addressed me as Mr. 
Barnes at our first meeting. He had been in the orches- 
tra at Drury Lane theatre when I was there ten years 
before. In this immense building, which, from the out- 
side looked like a long beehive, my guide stood at one end 
by the organ, and I went to the extreme other end. In 
the distance he looked positively small. Such were the 
acoustics that he spoke, whispered, rubbed his coat- 
sleeve with his hand, and dropped a pin into his hat by 
turns, and I heard all as distinctly as if I stood at his 
side. This may sound like an exaggeration, but any one 
who has been there will know it is a positive fact. And 
why was it ? Because the building was constructed on 
the rigid principles of acoustics of the greatest authority, 
Sir Christopher Wren. A domed roof with no beams and 
a cellared floor. Other public buildings were equally 
remarkable, but I have said enough to prove the man 
who planned it all had an intellect quite out of the 
ordinary. Brigham Young was dead when I was there. 
His successor, Mr. Taylor, visited the theatre one night 
with some of his wives, and they seemed interested and 
quite a happy, though not particularly distinguished, 
family. Of course, I am writing of the time before the 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 131 

United States Government passed stringent laws against 
polygamy and other Mormon customs (indeed the law 
was passed through the Senate the very week I was 
there). I have not been in Utah since, and cannot, 
therefore, speak of any change it may have brought 
about. I only remember that I left Salt Lake City much 
impressed with the thrift of the people and the evidences 
of the strong worldly wisdom and common-sense of the 
departed Brigham Young. 



XVI 

Back on to the main line at Ogden and by way of 
Laramie City to Cheyenne, where a minor surprise 
awaited me. On the way to the theatre for the evening 
performance notes of a post-horn greeted my ears, and 
down the main street dashed a perfectly appointed 
four-in-hand drag, post-boy and all. A party of rich 
New Yorkers, including Charles Oelrichs (brother of 
Herman, previously mentioned), who had a large ranch 
some miles out on the prairies, had driven in to see the 
play. That night a ludicrous incident occurred which 
caused them and the writer no little amusement. The 
sensation scene at the end of the third act of The World 
was three starving creatures on a raft in the open sea 
signalling to a vessel which comes into sight on the 
horizon. Instead of waiting to descend at the psycho- 
logical moment as a properly constructed and trained 
curtain should, the Cheyenne curtain broke from its 
moorings and dropped to the stage, bodily, some moments 
before the end of the act, leaving us with nothing to do 
but swim (or walk) through the ocean in full view of the 
audience. It was ludicrous, and there was positively 
no saving of the situation ; so it flashed across my mind 
that the very best thing to do was to turn it into a 
thoroughly good laugh and get out of the dilemma that 

way. I shouted to my fellow- voyagers, " There's nothing 

132 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 183 

left but to swim for it, boys, and Heaven give us strength 
to reach the prompt entrance." And we plunged into 
the seething ( ?) billows, and walked to the " wings." 
The audience shouted with laughter, and we had a good 
joke over it at the club that night at supper ; and so all 
ended happily. 

From Cheyenne to Denver; and here, too, I had two 
little surprises. As is well known the high altitude of 
Denver makes it particularly beneficial in all cases of 
lung trouble. The air is so light and curative in its 
effect ! The healthy man finds, at first, a difficulty in 
breathing if climbing a hill or going up stairs. My 
first surprise was to meet, quite unexpectedly, Miss 
Angelina Claude, a charming little singing comedienne, 
who had been in the old Strand when I was there in 
1873, walking with her husband, Richard Kavanagh, of 
Dublin, one of the best fellows who ever lived. " Dick " 
(as all his friends called him) had gone out there, prac- 
tically, to die of consumption, but hoping a stay there 
might prolong his life a few months, and his good loving 
little wife sadly expected to see the last of him there. He 
stayed a little over a year and came back so nearly 
cured — if not quite — that I believe he lived for twelve 
or fourteen years afterwards; nor do I remember that 
the old ailment had anything to do with the dear fellow's 
end when it came. Strolling with this happy Darby and 
Joan we turned a corner and there was my second 
surprise — a good-sized ten-roomed house coming down 
the middle of the street on rollers, being moved from 
one part of the city to another, a distance of more than 
a mile. 

Our tour ended in Denver, and I came through to New 



134 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

York and straight home to London again by the s.s. 
Britannic, then under the command of the popular 
Captain Perry, sailing on April 1 and arriving April 10. 
After so much travelling I intended taking a good rest, 
but it was not to be. Almost immediately on my 
arrival Mr. J. Comyns Carr hunted me up with an offer 
to play in his version of Thomas Hardy's Far from the 
Madding Crowd ; so that I " got into harness " at once 
and opened in that play at the Globe on April 29, 1882. 
There was very considerable excitement about the 
production of this play, and something like a fierce 
controversy raged round its presentation. Pinero had 
produced some time previously, at the St. James's, a 
play called The Squire. That it was founded on Hardy's 
book it was quite idle to deny. How it came about 
it is not my province to discuss. Everybody one met 
advanced a different explanation at the time. Whatever 
the true story was, there could be no doubt that The 
Squire, with Mr. and Mrs. Kendal, Wenman, and Mac- 
kintosh in a great character study of a country yokel 
called Gunnion, had " taken the wind out of the sails " 
of Carr's version of the story. Not that the latter was 
not a good play ! It was, distinctly. I played in The 
Squire afterwards with the Kendals, and I think a just 
summing up of their respective merits would be that, 
whereas Pinero's play was the neatest and best piece of 
dramatic workmanship, Carr's version retained more of 
the vigour and local colour of the great original. A lot 
was made of Hardy's bucolics in Carr's play, and those 
were a set of characters Hardy delighted in and on 
which he spread himself with evident relish. It is 
rather an odd small coincidence that I should be writing 




Photo] 



J. H. BARNES AS S1;k.I1;aNT troy 

(" Far from the Madding Crowd ") 



[J. E. MayaU 



[To /ace page 134 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 185 

of his work a long way from home within forty-eight 
hours of reading in the newspapers that he has been 
justly awarded the " Nobel " prize for literature. In 
Far jrom the Madding Crowd Mrs. Bernard Beere played 
Bathsheba, Charles Kelly was the Gabriel Oak, and I 
played Sergeant Troy, and all the smaller parts were 
well cast. Kelly stage-managed the play. What a 
popular chap he was, and what an admirable actor I 
He left a troop of sorrowing friends when he was called 
away. The play was most favourably noticed by the 
Press, as were the principal performers, but was not a 
great success and only ran a few weeks. 

It fell out that the July of 1882 was to be a very 
eventful time in my career. On the third of that month 
I opened at Drury Lane as Macduff to the Macbeth of 
my old friend, William Rignold, and the Lady Macbeth 
of that incomparable artist, Mme. Ristori. I say " in- 
comparable " because not only was she the greatest 
actress I have ever played with or seen, but she was at 
the same time by far the greatest female mentality I 
have ever met. She came to London for four weeks 
and played Lady Macbeth and Elizabeth, Queen of 
England, for two weeks each. Her Lady Macbeth, 
though a very fine performance, of which the sleep- 
walking scene was a positive revelation, took such 
extraordinary liberties with the play as Shakespeare 
wrote it that at certain points it seemed, and was un- 
doubtedly, all wrong ; but this was the result of studying 
the play from a bad translation, as she afterwards 
admitted in conversation. Her favourite dramatist in 
Italy, Giacometta, had in her younger days prepared a 
version of the play for her to " star " in, which obscured 



136 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

so much of the text that she was quite surprised, and most 
graciously so, when it was pointed out to her how much 
she had missed of the great story. Macbeth had been 
my favourite study for six or seven years previously — 
and, indeed, is yet — and I had read everything I could 
find on the subject, English and foreign, and I could 
not understand at first how such an intellect could have 
so completely tripped. We got to be the very best of 
friends and, through the interpretation of her manager, 
Mr. Wertheimer, had many delightful chats on the 
subject, and it was quite amazing to note her interest 
in some of the points I was able to bring before her. Of 
course any attempt to make Lady Macbeth the star part 
of this play will always end in disaster. Shakespeare 
called the play Macbeth, and if it is considered in its 
absolute entirety nothing can dethrone him from his 
dominant position in what is perhaps the greatest play in 
our language, as well as the nearest approach to the model 
of the great Greek tragedies which the English tongue 
can show. But there was nothing but admiration for 
her performance of the part, as she had studied it. And 
if one writes this of her Lady Macbeth, what must be 
said of her Elizabeth ? In all my life I never saw such 
acting. It was beyond all praise. The part, as is 
known to many, opens with the Queen as a young 
woman in love with Essex (which part I played), and 
each act finds her and all her court growing older until 
we meet her in the last act, a withered, dogmatic old 
hag. It runs the gamut of the emotions and brings into 
play all the phases of the actor's skill. At every point 
Mme. Ristori's triumph was complete. Even in her 
love-making one forgot her advanced age in her exquisite 




MADAME RISTORI 



ITo face page 136 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 187 

art, and when Elizabeth's death came at the end you 
breathed a sigh of relief from the tension in which she 
had held you and of positive gratitude to the artist who 
could weave such a spell of art around you. An actor 
of any years' standing is often asked : " What is the 
greatest piece of acting you ever saw ? " I have no kind 
of hesitation in stating that my very biggest memories 
are Ristori's Elizabeth and Phelps's Sir Pertinax Mac- 
sycophant {Man of the World). When it is said that Mme. 
Ristori was in private a perfectly charming gentlewoman, 
kind and tolerant to all and most considerate to the 
humbler workers of the stage, it may be imagined the 
regard in which she was held. It was a most fortunate 
engagement for me. I pleased the audience in both 
plays. The Press of London were unanimous in my 
favour and especially as to my reading of blank verse, 
which gratified me very much, as a tribute to the valuable 
instruction of my kind old manageress, Mrs. Wyndham. 
Mme. Ristori could not have been more gracious to me. 
Years after, I was coming out of Wallack's, New York, 
where I had witnessed Henry Irving's Louis XL, and 
met her in the lobby. Recognising me, she threw her 
arms around me and gave me a continental salutation 
on both cheeks, which arrested the attention of a crowded 
lobby, and would have been almost embarrassing from a 
" meaner mortal." 

One point that we chatted on was of special interest 
to me and others to whom I mentioned it at the time, and 
may be to some of my readers. When Salvini came to 
London first he made a huge hit, and yet the vogue 
did not last long, or, indeed, extend to a second visit. 
John Hollingshead, amongst his numerous speculations, 



138 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

brought over shortly afterwards his great Italian rival, 
Signor Rossi. In their own country he was considered 
the better actor and many English people were inclined 
to think so, too ; but he came second, when the taste was 
dead, and therefore did not do well ; indeed, Hollingshead 
told me that he played King Lear one night at Drury 
Lane to gross receipts of £18 125., which seemed incred- 
ible for a great actor playing a Shakespearean masterpiece 
in what was called the National theatre ; but it was true ! 
Both Rossi and Salvini had been members of Mme. 
Ristori's company at the same time, and she would not 
hear of any comparison between the two. She said : 
" Ah, yes ! Salvini, attractive, showy, fascinating, but 
melodramatic. Rossi, magniflque, a poet ! " And this 
great woman had been at times something more than 
all this. Statesmen entrusted her with secret missions 
during Italy's struggle for freedom, and in 1861 Count 
Cavour, the Italian Prime Minister, wrote to her : " Use 
that authority of yours, and I will not merely applaud 
in you the first actress of Europe, but the most efficacious 
co-operator in our diplomatic negotiation." All honour 
to the memory of Mme. Ristori, say I. The actor's 
calling is ennobled by such an artist and uplifted by the 
inclusion in its ranks of such a gentlewoman. 

Strange to say, this engagement which brought me 
so much genuine pleasure was correspondingly saddened 
by a very serious accident in which I was the absolutely 
innocent prime mover. I had the great misfortune to 
stab poor Rignold under the following distressing 
circumstances. At the end of a strenuous and well- 
arranged sword fight I used to disarm him, and then 
ensued a struggle for a dirk which he drew and which 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 189 

I finally succeeded in wresting from his hand and plung- 
ing into his ribs. It was only in my hand a second 
of time. On the first night he had looked at his weapon 
and remarked on its sharpness and danger, but took no 
steps to have it ground down or blunted. About the 
third or fourth night I found it penetrate in an unusual 
manner, and to my horror discovered I had wounded him 
very badly. He behaved like the plucky, typical Eng- 
lishman he was, but the blade had gone perilously near 
the lung, and he bled terribly. After some delay a 
doctor came and staunched the wound, and we got him 
home. When I went to see him next day he was in bed, 
though on the road to recovery, and he tried to put me 
at my ease as much as possible by saying it was entirely 
his own fault. But as he had a wife and five children 
dependent on him, in addition to my grief for a very 
valued old friend, my feelings may be imagined until 
he was completely restored to health. Thomas Swin- 
boume took his place as Macbeth. I once read (I think 
it was in De Quincey) of the exquisite and dainty 
pleasure of feeling a sharp instrument entering human 
flesh. " God defend me from ever experiencing it again," 
say I. 

From August to December, 1882, I was engaged by 
Augustus Harris to play in the Drury Lane autumn 
drama called Pluck, by Henry Pettitt. This author had 
almost a genius for constructing and writing melodrama, 
and his successes were many ; but, unfortunately. Pluck 
did not turn out one of his best. It was well cast and 
played, and ran on for several weeks, but not to very 
great business. My success as Macduff had fired my 
ambition, and in November of that year I made up my 



140 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

mind to " have a shot at the bigger game " of Macbeth. 
As I have stated, I had worked at the part for years, 
and had prepared a careful study of it. The best way 
to bring it before the public appeared to be by use of 
the word " benefit," but I did not feel that I had any 
right to ask my fellow artists to make any concessions 
for me; so I took the theatre and engaged as good a 
cast as I could procure, and paid each of them his own 
terms. My confreres included Thomas Swinbourne, 
John Ryder, Somerset, Jackson, Louise Moodie, and 
others. All were sound Shakespearean performers. 
Then I asked Ryder to run me once through the part, 
that I might not miss any good effect by not being 
cognizant of it. He cheerfully acceded to my wish, 
and added, " And I will play Banquo for you and manage 
your stage; any one who plays Macbeth for the first 
time does not need anything else to think about." The 
morning came (November 11), and I can say, without 
egotism, that I succeeded beyond my expectations. The 
audience was enthusiastic, and the Press (with one 
exception) unanimous in telling me I was on the right 
road, and full of encouragement for me to go on. The 
exception was one of the only critics I had a speaking 
acquaintance with (Clement Scott, of the Daily Tele- 
graph), who took a curious tone, which seemed to infer 
that it was quite an impertinence on my part to study 
Shakespeare at all, and in his notice, as in many others 
about that time, appeared to wish to keep the Shake- 
spearean field for the exclusive grazing of certain artists 
toward whom he was strongly biassed. It was rather 
strange, because he had been loud in my praises as 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 141 

Macduff a few months previously, and, without my 
knowledge, a friend of mine, a learned Queen's Counsel 
of the day, " tackled " him on the subject one night 
at the Garrick Club, and found his mind and opinions 
perplexing and contradictory in the extreme. Any 
actor who goes in for a study of Macbeth is doing quite 
a deal for art's sake and for his personal gratification. 
It is not one of the grateful parts of Shakespeare. As a 
proof of this, it may be pointed out how few of the great 
ones of the past have left their mark in the part. It is 
only when you get on the stage in it and have settled 
down to know it, that you find out what a wilderness 
of words it is, and every line right " in the teeth of the 
audience." Not a moment when the audience is not 
antagonistic in its feeling towards the part. It is like 
rolling a barrel up a hill ; not a point where you can take 
an " easy " ! An old actor said to me when I was 
going to play it, and he heard I had worked at it for a 
long time, " Ah, my lad, it is a great mistake. The 
same study put into some other parts might get you a 
fortune; but not Macbeth ! " And yet it always was 
(and is to-day) to me the most entrancing study, and 
one that an artist cannot bend his mind to without (I 
think) finding his knowledge and perception of human 
nature broadening at every page. 

One of my great gratifications in my first essay was the 
behaviour of good old John Ryder. After I had settled 
up all my expenses and paid all my co-workers their 
terms (there was not a great balance) I went to him and 
said, " Now, old friend, what do I owe you ? " He 
replied : " Not a farthing ! " And he added in his 



142 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

heartiest manner : " I like you, my lad, and I believe in 
you, and when you want to ' have a cut ' at any of the 
other big parts that I am familiar with, come to me, 
and I'll do the same again." I was greatly affected by 
his kindness. Needless to say, I found some other way 
to show my appreciation, and a way that pleased him 
very much. The night of the performance I was ten- 
dered a dinner at the Albion, at which a number of old 
friends and well-wishers assembled, and all sorts of kind 
things were said to and of me; and my oldest " pal," 
who had been instrumental in my first appearance 
(Henry Melton), presented me with a sword which had 
been worn on the stage by Walter Montgomery and 
which, he said, he had been keeping for me for years. 
This sword I afterwards gave to the Players' Club in 
New York for their museum of relics of the famous 
departed ones. (I presume it is there still.) And so 
ended one of the great events of my life, to which I 
always look back with very considerable pride. About 
this time I had several proposals of financial assistance, 
and one friend went so far as to offer to " back " me in a 
London theatre. I suppose it would have been wise to 
accept it, as so many others have done, but somehow, 
though always ready for a gamble on my own account, 
I shrank from the position of using (perhaps losing) 
other people's money, and I hoped there would always 
be room in the calling for a salaried skilled workman. 
It is possible I may have missed some advancement 
by the course that I chose, but it is also certain that 
I have missed a lot of anxieties, and when the time 
comes for my final exit my responsibilities, as far as 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 143 

investments are concerned, will be covered by my own 
roof-tree. 

From March to June, 1883, I played at the Adelphi 
in Stormbeaterij a version by Robert Buchanan of his 
jfine book God and the Man. Charles Warner acted 
the leading part, Christian Christianson, and I played 
the villain, Richard Orchardson. Miss Amy Roselle, 
Kate Christianson; C. W. Somerset and others were in 
a good cast. It was also a fine production, the great 
scene in the Arctic Sea being a splendid stage picture. 
The play was brilliantly noticed by the Press, but it was 
only a passable success, and did not realise the expecta- 
tions formed by reading the book. One very funny 
incident occurred during the run of the play. The 
reader will remember that the feud which forms the 
basis of the very dramatic story is caused by the villain's 
shooting the hero's favourite dog. This dog, with us, 
was a really magnificent St. Bernard, which the managers 
(the Messrs. Gatti) bought for the play, and they handed 
him over to Warner to keep with him so that he might 
be quite accustomed to his voice and presence and 
perfectly at home with him at all points. Warner and 
Carlo became inseparable. On the night in question 
I had duly shot Carlo, in the first act, and one of the 
Gatti Brothers had taken him away and brought him 
back into the refreshment room in front of the theatre. 
By that time we were playing the last act, and years 
had supposed to elapse when, some door being open. 
Carlo heard Warner's voice on the stage. He gave 
an enormous yelp, rushed down the stairs, through 
the orchestra stalls, cleared the orchestra with a 



144 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

bound, and shaking his tail with glee laid down at 
Warner's feet on the stage. His inartistic resuscitation 
at that juncture completely killed the end of the play, 
but as an individual effort he made a great success 
and secured the best applause of the evening. Charlie 
Warner was a fine, robust actor, full of virile power. 
His Tom Robinson in Never Too Late to Mend was a 
striking performance, and his Coupeau in Charles Reade's 
version of VAssommoir, called Drink, was a perfect 
tour de force and made a great impression. His Harry 
Dornton {Road to Ruin) was excellent. His experiments 
in Shakespeare were not so successful. His tragic end 
in New York a few years ago came as a great shock to 
many, including the writer. Poor old Charlie ! Only 
his intimates (of whom I was certainly one) knew that a 
great abiding sorrow had clouded nearly all his manhood, 
and in addition he had received his full share of " for- 
tune's buffets." All which undoubtedly told on a 
naturally excitable temperament; but that he should 
" shuffle off this mortal coil " and seek " the undiscover'd 
country from whose bourne no traveller returns " with 
such dread determination was terribly sad, and caused 
a large circle of friends the keenest grief. 

It seems almost impossible that thirty years have 
passed since that sweet woman Miss Mary Anderson 
first appeared in England, and set all London talking 
about her beauty and her talent. Yet so it is. The 
circumstances in which she came to us were as follows : — 
Henry Irving had contracted to take the whole Lyceum 
company, including Miss Terry, to America, under the 
management of Henry E. Abbey, and one of the condi- 




T'iioto] 



[London Stereoscopic Co. 



J. H. BARNES AS INOOMAR 



[To face page 145 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 145 

tions of the contract was that Abbey should take the 
Lyceum off his (living's) hands. It was decided to 
bring Miss Anderson from America as an attraction to 
fill the vacancy. She had been a successful star in her 
own country for years, but I do not think her engage- 
ment in London was regarded with any overweening 
confidence. Abbey sailed away to New York to look 
after his attractions there, and left his London affairs 
in the hands of a particularly able lieutenant, Michael 
Gunn, manager of the Gaiety, Dublin. Miss Anderson 
opened on September 1, 1883, as Parthenia in Ingomar, 
and I had the honour of being selected to play the name- 
part with her. She succeeded with the public from the 
first line. Ingomar is a play which bears its date pretty 
badly. Adapted from the German by a lady dramatist, 
Maria Lovell, it is very much of a dramatic duet between 
Ingomar and Parthenia, and the former has often to act 
a brave barbarian with language lacking the necessary 
vigour and character. In his later years that great 
literary man and dramatist, Charles Reade, did a version 
of the play for Charles Warner called The Son of the 
Wilderness, which was a much more vigorous play. On 
the first night Miss Anderson had not, up to a point, 
tuned her splendid contralto speaking voice to the 
acoustics of the Lyceum (never a very easy theatre to 
speak in), and some playgoer in the gallery said : " Speak 
up, Mary I " Never having been used to that kind of 
interruption, she was, at first, disposed to resent it, but 
I was able to reassure her, in a whisper, that it was 
really only intended kindly, and she took the tendered 
advice good-humouredly, and made a very great hit 



146 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

indeed, and receiving an ovation at the end of the play. 
Ingomar did not, however, draw much more than working 
expenses. It was followed in a short time with The Lady 
of Lyons, with a strong cast, including William Farren, 
Mrs. Billington, Mrs. Arthur Stirling, and others. I 
played Claude Melnotte, but I had grown rather too 
bulky in physique to give the idea of so ultra-romantic 
a part, and I did not fancy myself in it very much. 
Miss Anderson again looked lovely as Pauline, and made 
another stride in the favour of the London public. Still 
the big event was to come. During the run of The Lady 
of Lyons our late great King and his ever-popular 
consort, our beloved Queen Dowager (then Prince and 
Princess of Wales), visited the theatre, and after certain 
inquiries by the Prince he sent for Miss Anderson and 
presented her to the Princess, who gave her the bouquet 
that she was carrying. A small thing, perhaps, and Miss 
Anderson's stepfather and manager (Dr. Griffin) affected 
to take little notice of it, but he did not know what 
weight it had with the ladies of English society. How- 
ever, he soon found out. The business improved appre- 
ciably the next day; and when we, in a short time, 
produced Pygmalion and Galatea, the success was com- 
plete. For weeks and months the Lyceum was scarcely 
large enough to hold the audiences that worshipped at 
the shrine of the new star. She certainly did look 
divine in her white robe as Galatea, her glorious young 
womanhood was set off thereby to perfection, and each 
night saw the theatre crowded with " fair women and 
brave men," and all that was best and brainiest in our 
land. It was a curious fact that she was almost more 



M< 




Photo] 



[The " Vander Veydt Light " 
MISS MARY ANDERSON AS GALATEA 



[To fate page 146 




Photo] 



[LMidon Stereoscopic Co. 



J. H. BABNES AS PYGMALION 



[To face page 147 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 147 

admired by the ladies of England than by the men ; but, 
as is always the case, the latter followed where the former 
led. It was a most pleasant season, and in a thousand 
little ways she endeared herself to all of us. Personally 
I recall with the liveliest gratitude her great sympathy 
with me in a domestic sorrow, and I have always kept a 
very warm spot in my heart for this clever and gentle 
comrade. 

The production of Pygmalion and Galatea was very 
nearly marred by a serious situation that arose. Miss 
Anderson had played the part of Galatea a great deal 
in America, and had been used to making certain effects 
and points. W. S. Gilbert, the author, was a great 
power in those days and more than ordinarily dogmatic ; 
and he objected strongly to some of these effects and 
points, with the result that the two came to loggerheads 
one day. The rehearsal was dismissed, and things 
looked black, but the diplomatic Michael Gunn took 
Gilbert out to luncheon, and when we met next day the 
clouds had rolled by and the sky was clear again. The 
cast was a good one : Amy Roselle, Cynisca (excellent); 
Harry Kemble, Chrysos ; Frank Macklin, Leucippe ; Mrs. 
Billington, Daphne ; the writer, Pygmalion ; and all the 
other parts well filled. For the first few weeks I also 
played Jasper Carew in A Sheep in Wolfs Clothing as a 
first piece. This was also well cast. Later on, Gilbert 
having finished, for Miss Anderson, his fine one-act play 
Comedy and Tragedy, we rehearsed and produced it in 
January 1884. Another great hit, and we ran on merrily 
to crowded houses until Easter. In Comedy and Tragedy 
I played the Due d'Orleans, Regent of France, and 



148 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

George Alexander came over from the St. James's, by 
permission of Messrs. Hare and Kendal, to play the 
husband, d'Aulnay. 

At Easter, 1884, another American star came to the 
Lyceum, viz. Lawrence Barrett, with a play called 
Yorick^s Love, which was not very successful. Mean- 
time Miss Anderson with her entire company went on a 
short tour of the English provinces, visiting Edinburgh, 
Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Dublin, and Birming- 
ham. Everywhere she was received with acclamation, 
and our tour was a veritable triumphal march. In 
Dublin (a city ever susceptible to the influence of beauty) 
the students of Trinity College insisted on dragging her 
carriage through the streets. Some slight changes had 
taken place in the company for the tour. My old 
friend, William Rignold, joined us, and 1 gave up the 
Due d'Orleans in Comedy and Tragedy to him and played 
d'Aulnay at Miss Anderson's request. " Rowley " 
Buckstone, so popular in America, was also with us. 
One of the great pleasures of the tour was the fact that 
it brought me into a close friendship with that " prince 
of good fellows," Henry Kemble, which continued 
uninterruptedly up to his death in recent years. In 
all my life I never met a bigger-hearted man or more 
thorough gentleman. Nothing on earth could make him 
do or think a mean or unworthy thing. His soul was 
that of a patrician. He had his foibles doubtless ! 
Who has not ? But they were far outweighed by his 
sterling qualities. A real humorist ! The stories of 
dear old " Beetle " would fill many pages, but like so 
many of the strongly marked characters of the stage 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 149 

they would be, to an extent, pointless without some sort 
of imitation of the original's manner. One of his very 
strongest traits was his absolute fearlessness in saying 
what he thought of any man or his actions, and that to 
his face for choice. I remember he and W. S. Gilbert 
had a difference of opinion during the rehearsals of 
Pygmalion and Galatea, and he astonished us all by saying 
to that autocratic author in his most sententious manner : 
" Doubtless you think yourself a very clever person, 
Mr. Gilbert, but I, for one, fail to see it." 

During the last week of the tour, in Birmingham, I 
received an offer by cable to play the leading business of 
the Union Square Theatre, New York, in the autumn. 
Now this theatre, under the management of Messrs. 
Sheridan Shook and A. M. Palmer, had long been about 
the foremost in the United States. The terms offered 
me were excellent, and I closed with them at once ; and 
after a good holiday I took all my belongings to New 
York with me and began my engagement there on 
October 6, 1884. But, unfortunately, I was destined 
to suffer a great disappointment. Mr. Shook was still 
the fmancial partner, but Mr. Palmer had left, and 
had gone into management at the Madison Square 
Theatre. His successor, Mr. James Collier, whose 
experience had been gained in a broader and coarser 
field of work, was in no way his equal in either judgment 
of plays or stage management, and I had a most dis- 
astrous season as regards plays and parts. During the 
six months covered by my engagement we tried four 
plays — The Artisfs Daughter, Duprez and Son (a new 
version of UAveugle), by the author attached to the 



150 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

theatre, one Cazauran ; Three Wives to One Husband, a 
farcical comedy, and The Prisoner for Life, a poor melo- 
drama. Not one of them was nearly a good play, and 
in not one of them had I a part with any scope to justify 
my selection for the position. It was rather heartbreak- 
ing, and, in the circumstances, I was not sorry when my 
time was up. 




J. H. BARNES IN " A PRISONER FOR LIFE " 



[To face page 150 



XVII 

I HAD gone out to New York on the s.s. Grecian 
Monarch (Captain Bristow), and it so fell out that the 
same ship was sailing home on the day that my en- 
gagement ended. With some friends, we were a party 
of seven, and the managers of the line consented to 
let the boat lay over one tide for us, so that I played up 
to and inclusive of Saturday night and went on board 
after the performance and sailed away before we were 
up in the morning. Of course, there was not a very 
full list of passengers, or this could not have been 
arranged. I reached London on April 14, 1885. The 
Union Square company were good enough and strong 
enough for anything if we had been provided with 
material : Sara Jewett, Maude Harrison, Eloise Willes, 
Ida Vernon, John Parselle (an old English actor who 
died during the season), James Stoddart, Jack Mason 
(now one of America's best actors and most successful 
stars). Stoddart was a delightful comrade and an ad- 
mirable actor, a member of an old Liverpool theatrical 
family, very strong in forcible, rough parts of a hard 
nature. The American papers praised his Penholder 
on One Touch of Nature very highly, but he could not 
compare with Ben Webster to any one who had seen the 
latter. He was lacking in that great actor's tenderness. 

I only saw Ben Webster in two or three parts, and 

151 



152 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

those quite in his decline, but he was something very 
like a genius, without doubt. H. J. Byron, a good 
judge, once told me he was the greatest actor that he 
ever saw, and he added : " I have seen him play every- 
thing, from tragedy to country boys, and all better 
than anybody else." 

During my season at Union Square one of my 
favourite pastimes was attending the sales at " Tatter- 
sail's of New York," then under the management of 
a very able man, William (" Billy ") Easton, a model 
auctioneer and a great authority on all matters per- 
taining to horses, of which I have always been very 
fond ; and it was during this season that poor Fred 
Archer, the famous jockey, whom I had known inti- 
mately in England, came out to New York with his 
friend Captain Bowling to try to forget his grief in the 
loss of his wife. We saw a great deal of each other. 
I have rarely met a man so bowed down with sorrow. 
He wanted to start back to England almost as soon 
as he had landed, but we persuaded him, amongst us, 
that he could do nothing at home in the off-season of 
racing, and he finally carried out his original intention 
and went on to Texas, where Lord Aylesford had a big 
ranch, and where he stayed some weeks, getting back 
to England in time to " get into harness " for the re- 
sumption of his work in the spring. I wonder if the 
real story of the two years preceding his tragic death 
has ever been known or told, and I wonder if I gauged 
the facts aright ? I am inclined to think I did. He 
made me his conJGidant oftentimes in New York, and 
also when I returned to England; finding me sympa- 
thetic he talked very freely to me. When I heard of his 





FRED ARCHER (1885) 



[To foes page 153 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 153 

sad end I was back in the United States, in Phila- 
delphia, and I sent a cable of condolence to his people 
at Newmarket and in my mind pieced together what I 
knew of his later life as thus : Poor Fred had not had 
many advantages in his youth, and as he, by degrees, 
rose to his big position he got to know and like a better 
class of people and surroundings, but he was without 
any resources within himself. He did not care for 
reading at all. When he married the well-educated 
daughter of a rich trainer she brought something into 
his life that he had never known before, and his greatest 
delight was to get home and listen to her playing the 
piano and her animated well-read conversation. When 
she was taken from him the void was truly awful, and 
was never filled or lost sight of. He has referred to 
it, in talking to me, at the most extraordinary and tm- 
expected moments ; once after one of his most vigorous 
finishes at Kempton. And so two years dragged on, 
and then came that dreadful typhoid and the delirium 
succeeding it, when, left alone by accident, his poor 
mind recurred to the one topic that was always upper- 
most, and he took matters into his own hands and put 
an end to everything. Fred Archer was a great man 
in his walk of life ! To those who knew something of 
racing his position sometimes appeared anomalous. 
His influence was almost too potent and powerful ! 
As an instance of the thoroughness which gained him 
so much eminence, the following may be interesting 
and instructive : — One evening in my garden at Ted- 
dington, after a Kempton meeting, there being racing at 
Windsor next day, he arranged with me to accompany 
him to the latter place unusually early on the following 



154 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

morning. We started ; and I gathered from his manner 
that he was not in a communicative mood, so I did not 
bother him. Arrived at Windsor still very early, we 
started for the course, and once there, with no one 
about except the waiters putting out refreshments, etc., 
he proposed a walk round the course, which was very 
heavy from much recent rain. At the bend (through 
some osier beds) he began to prod the ground with his 
stick and heel, and then it all came out. He said : " I 
am riding a horse for Baird in the first race to-day [a 
maiden plate]. If I can keep him on fairly sound going 
he will win at a good price ; but if he puts one foot in 
the mud he will shut up like a clasp-knife." All this 
was happening whilst some of his rival jockeys were 
still asleep in London ! He rode the horse in question, 
and won at 100 to 15. And people sometimes wonder 
how other people become great. If Carlyle, who said, 
" Genius meant an infinite capacity for taking trouble," 
was right, surely Archer might be cited as a notable 
example. 

In 1885 the theatrical profession was not as crowded 
as it is to-day, and artists who knew their business 
had less trouble in procuring engagements. At least, 
that was my experience. I had settled my autumn 
arrangements before leaving New York in April and, 
after a summer holiday on the river, I joined Mrs. 
Bernard Beere for her tour of the British provincial 
towns to play Loris Ipanoff {Fedora) and Sir Charles 
Pomander {Masks and Faces). An exceeding pleasant 
engagement. " Bernie," as her friends called her, was 
a good sort, a thorough chum, and many little con- 
siderations were shown to her company both by her 




Pf^oto] [Kingsbury and NotciUt 

CHARLES H. E. BIIOOKFIELD AS TRIPLET 

[To face page 155 



% 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 155 

and her business manager, Charles Terry (brother of 
Ellen and Fred of that name). Travelling was made 
pleasant. Business was excellent and the company 
were most agreeable. It included C. H. E. " (Charlie ") 
Brookfield late joint reader of plays to the Lord Chamber- 
lain, a delightful companion, very witty, also very 
cynical at times; and that charming little lady. Miss 
Julia Gwynne (Mrs. George Edwardes). Brookfield 
left us towards the end of the tour, and my old friend, 
James Fernandez, took his place as Triplet, which was 
also most agreeable to me. Mrs. Beere was the original 
Fedora in England, and gave an admirable performance 
of the part on much the same lines as, though by no 
means an imitation of, Sarah Bernhardt. She was also 
excellent in Peg Woffington, full of fun, good nature, 
and humanity. Brookfield's de Sirieux (Fedora) and 
Triplet were both most artistic; and, needless to say, 
the latter part suffered nothing in the skilled hands of 
Fernandez when he succeeded to it. The Press and 
public were kind to us wherever we went, and altogether 
we were very jolly. We were at Leicester for the 
race week, and staying at "The Bell." Mrs. Beere 
gave a birthday supper there to a lot of friends (some 
came from London), and insisted on my asking Fred 
Archer, who was also in the hotel. He was greatly 
pleased with the invitation, and next day, on the course, 
he gave us a tip which, I fancy, paid a goodly portion 
of Mrs. B.'s expenses. One specially pleasant evening 
I recall during this tour. Mr. George Edwardes came 
down to Scarborough to meet his wife, and invited a 
few of us to dinner at the Grand Hotel on Sunday 
evening. Of course, we dined well, and afterw^ards that 



156 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

brilliant musician Alfred Cellier sat at the piano and 
entertained us most delightfully with all sorts of scraps 
and memories and instances of musical plagiarisms for 
hours. What a grand musician he was, and how many 
big men, in music, whose names are household words, 
made use of his almost unequalled knowledge when they 
found themselves " tied in a knot " in some difficult 
matter of orchestration, etc. I remember this par- 
ticular evening he spoke of the perfection and beauty 
of Gray's " Elegy " as a poem, and said how much he 
should like to set it to music, a thing he afterwards 
did to the delight of thousands of musical connoisseurs. 
The tour ended in December, and after a happy home 
Christmas, cheered by the bright company of two 
American friends, I soon " got into harness " again 
and reappeared at the St. James's, still under the 
management of Messrs. Hare and Kendal, on February 
13, 1886, in a comedy-drama called Antoinette Rigaud, 
adapted from a French play of the same name. In 
this performance it was destined that " history should 
repeat itself " ! As in my former engagement at this 
theatre, I had a great scene with Mrs. Kendal, and again 
with her splendidly artistic assistance, I made an un- 
questionable success and met with the emphatic ap- 
proval of Press and public. Some of the company had 
seen the play in Paris. I was unable to do so, but I 
was told that my part made little or no impression in 
the French performance. I don't know what changes 
were wrought in the progress of adaptation, but cer- 
tainly in the St. James's production it worked out finely, 
and I doubt if I ever did myself more good with one 
class, viz. the dramatic authors of the day, than in this 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 157 

particular character. One of the loudest in my praise 
on the first night was A. W. Dubourg, part author of 
New Men and Old Acres. The play was, however, not 
an overwhelming success, and only ran until May 21. 
Mr. and Mrs. Kendal and John Hare were in the cast, 
and a charming young American actress whom I have 
lost sight of entirely. Miss Linda Deitz. Hare, as in all 
cases at the St. James's, produced the play with the 
utmost care. 

This may be a fitting point for me to place on record 
my emphatic opinion that Mrs. Kendal is by all odds 
the best actress that the English stage has produced in 
my generation. As a playgoer and stage-dreamer, I 
saw her make her first appearance in London as Miss 
Madge Robertson in a melodrama at Drury Lane en- 
titled The Great City, a version of Dickens's Great Ex- 
yectations, by Andrew Halliday, in 1867. In the 'sixties 
I saw her in all her performances with the fine old 
Haymarket company (and what a company it was I 
with Buckstone, Compton, Howe, Chippendale, Mrs. 
Chippendale, and others); in the old comedies, in sup- 
port of E. A. Sothern; in Gilbert's fairy comedies, The 
Wicked World, Pygmalion and Galatea, etc., and I saw 
her at the Gaiety and elsewhere; and I never saw her 
play a part in which she failed to win my admiration. 
I little dreamed in those days that it would ever be my 
lot to play with her, and yet it has fallen out that I 
have had the happiness of being associated with her in 
many big plays and scenes, and happy indeed was the 
man who had her invaluable aid. If he could not act 
with her to help him he might well take himself to task 
as to whether he was one of those who had mistaken a 



158 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

taste for a talent in the choice of his profession. Good 
in everything, brilliant in most, she was a splendid 
comedienne and absolutely unapproachable in parts 
of strongly marked womanliness and gentle pathos, 
and, like all the great artists, male and female, of my 
experience, she went down for her finest effects — not up ; 
and made her most certain and profound impressions by 
apparently simple means. The English stage should 
be proud of such an actress, and I doubt if the younger 
members of the profession nowadays are able to realise 
how superb she was. 

During her later years the puny carpers tried in 
vain to pick holes in her invulnerable armour of art 
and womanhood. Both were unassailable, and in her 
dignified retirement she stands to-day, reminding one 
as much as anything of Tennyson's splendid description 
of the lion and the dogs in his tragedy of The Cup. 



XVIII 

Of W. H. Kendal almost as much may be said. I 
saw him make his first appearance in London at the 
Haymarket in the 'sixties in a farce. I saw him play 
an eccentric light comedy part with the elder Sothern 
in a play called A Wife Well Won, in which he gave an 
inimitable performance, and made the star " put his 
best foot foremost," indeed. He played and sang 
delightfully in a burlesque entitled The Frightful Hair, 
a travesty of a drama played at the Lyceum by Band- 
mann, entitled The Rightful Heir. (He had a most 
pleasing singing voice.) I saw him play all through 
the Haymarket repertory of old comedies. He was 
much the best Young Mario w I have ever seen. No 
one carried himself better or looked more graceful in 
the (Georgian costume. His figure was so straight, and 
he wore his clothes so well. I followed him through all 
his career. As a light and eccentric comedian he has 
had no rival, in my judgment, since Charles Mathews. 
I suppose it would appear foolish when two great artists, 
man and wife, have had a conspicuously successful 
career and made a handsome fortune to suggest even 
that any little thing was a mistake, but it is just possible 
that in some of their very successful plays he occasion- 
ally " side-stepped " into parts of deeper feeling, in 
which he was not quite so convincing. But his per- 

169 



160 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

formances in A Scrap of Paper, The Queen's Shilling, 
She Stoops to Conquer, and a remarkably fine one in 
Impulse, and, indeed, in every shade and phase of Hght 
comedy, left nothing to be desired. 

Happily, the deserved and pronounced appreciation 
of the public of two hemispheres placed the Kendals 
above any financial consideration whatever, and when 
the time came for them to take their leave of the pro- 
fession that they had adorned they did so, as they had 
always worked in it, without charlatanism or ostenta- 
tion. Long may they live to enjoy their well-earned 
retirement, say I, with all my heart. 

Of the third partner in the firm, Mr. Hare (now Sir 
John), similar and equally emphatic eulogy may well 
be written. An artist to the very roots of his hair, he 
has done some perfectly splendid work in connection 
with the modern stage, and his knighthood came as no 
surprise but as a matter of great rejoicing to a very 
wide circle of friends and admirers. It was always 
perfectly satisfying, often astonishing, to watch his 
cameo-like performances, especially of modern parts. 
I hardly think he shone so brightly in his few attempts 
at classic or conventional roles. His art was essentially 
of the mimetic school, but most finished. If it were 
possible to admire anything more than his acting of 
the parts that he made his own, commend me to his 
stage management. Just now several of the up-to-date 
men are getting tremendous kudos for productions of 
the very up-to-date plays. One would think when 
reading the notices of the Press that the millennium 
of stage management had arrived. Dear me ! London 
soon forgets, and some of the gentlemen who assume 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 161 

to direct its judgment have very short memories. I 
have worked with all sorts of stage managers, and I 
say as forcibly as I can within the limits of taste that 
no one alive could give John Hare an ounce as a stage 
manager. To enumerate his successful productions 
would mean a very long list indeed, but in atmosphere, 
perfection of detail, good taste, and completeness he 
could easily hold his own with any modern man that I 
have seen. He was terribly in earnest in his work, and 
this very earnestness made him at times fidgety and 
even a little irritable, but he was always working for 
the general good effect, as opposed to any individual 
performance, and it was a lesson in artistic discipline 
to see the way both Mr, and Mrs. Kendal deferred to his 
ideas. Their association was in every way a worthy 
one, and of the utmost value to the contemporary 
stage. 

After the St. James's engagement I played a part in 
a drama entitled By Land and Sea, by J. L. Shine and 
J. A. Campbell, at the Royal, Birmingham, for a trial. 
It seemed to go very well, but has not, I think, been 
played since. 

On June 19, 1886, I took up Maurice Barrymore's 
part of Louis Percival in Jim the Penman at the Hay- 
market in the original run of the play, in which Lady 
Monckton appeared. Barrymore had to return to 
America. The season closed on July 30. 

I was then engaged by Mrs. Conover to play Macbeth 

(my mania) at the Olympic. We produced it by way 

of rehearsal at Leicester on August 16 and came to 

London on August 26. Mrs. Conover was a very 

pleasant little lady of Danish extraction, who was the 
M 



162 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

possessor of a considerable sum of money. She took 
the Olympic as a speculation, and I fear it proved a 
disastrous one for her in more ways than one. After 
quite a liberal management, playing herself in modem 
dramas, etc., she was fired with an ambition to tackle 
Lady Macbeth, and it must be stated that the part was 
quite beyond her. The whole production, though care- 
fully done by Mr. T. Swinbourne, was dominated by 
her comparative failure, and we were not successful 
artistically or financially. I played Macbeth up to 
Friday, September 17, and left after the performance 
for Liverpool, whence I sailed on September 18 on the 
s.s. Aurania to take up a good engagement that I had 
settled some time previously to support Miss Fanny 
Davenport in an extended tour of the United States in 
a repertory which embraced Fedora^ Much Ado, As You 
Like It, London Assurance, Oliver Twist, Lady of Lyons, 
and School for Scandal. Macbeth, Medea, and The 
Hunchback were to have been included, but we found 
the foregoing list enough. We opened at Union Square, 
New York, October 11, 1886, in Much Ado. The tour 
was under the management of Miss Davenport's husband 
(Mr. E. H. Price), and we went over all the States east 
of the Rockies. I think Miss Davenport was one of 
the best all-round actresses that America has produced 
in my time. She was a thoroughly conscientious artist, 
good in everything and excellent in many parts. She 
was a beautiful woman, tall and with a handsome face, 
and a kindly, good-natured creature, but unfortunately 
when I was with her she was not in the enjoyment of 
good health. At the time she secured the American 
rights of Fedora from Sardou, some two or three years 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 163 

before, she had grown unduly stout, and before she 
began to play the part she went through a rigorous 
course of Banting somewhere in Europe, and it so com- 
pletely undermined her health that she had become a 
martyr to dyspepsia and could hardly digest a biscuit. 
But it made little difference to her admirable work, 
with which it was a pleasure to be associated. She 
was a very fine Fedora. I think she got more out of 
the strenuous first act than either Bernhardt or Mrs. 
Beere, and I had seen them both before I saw her. She 
was a good Rosalind, Lady Teazle, and Lady Gay 
Spanker, a capital Nancy Sikes, and in many respects 
the best Beatrice that I have ever seen. Much Ado is 
a play I have been a great deal associated with and 
have played in many hundred times altogether, and, in 
my judgment, the play gains very much in effect if the 
Benedick and Beatrice are a swashbuckler soldierly 
man and a fme womanly woman. Once let these two 
characters suggest, in ever so small a degree, aesthetic 
temperaments, and the play loses much in the ultimate 
comedy situations of their love-making. In this respect 
Miss Davenport was ideal. She was so much the mistress 
of herself and of her own mind, and seemed so unlikely 
to fall in love. I did my best to back her up in this 
view; and in many cities, notably New York, Boston, 
and Philadelphia, our success was very emphatic, not 
only for ourselves, but as proving we were successfully 
interpreting the sense of the great master. It will ill 
become me and would be diametrically opposed to the 
intention that I announced in my opening chapter to 
endeavour to convey an idea of the kind things said of 
us, but they were very gratifying indeed. Miss Daven- 



164 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

port died in 1898. The company were good and well 
balanced. They included Mr. Wilton Lackaye, then 
playing smaller parts, but since become a successful 
American star. Our usual Saturday night bill was 
London Assurance and the short version of Oliver Twist, 
in which E. H. Price (quite a good actor) played Bill 
Sikes. I used to enjoy this programme. I made Dazzle 
as well-groomed and dashing a part as I could, and 
when I came on in the characteristically villainous 
make-up as Fagin the audience usually gave me a good 
round of applause for the complete and absolute dis- 
guise. As showing the possibilities for investment of 
capital in American cities, I recall that Miss Davenport 
bought some lots on the outskirts of Chicago in the 
January of 1887, and sold them in the following April 
at a profit of 18,000 dollars, the completed deeds never 
having been made out to her. We were in New Orleans 
for Mardi Gras, which was a great event in those days, 
and, I suppose, is still, but I was not greatly impressed 
with the street procession. It seemed to me a sort of 
poor Lord Mayor's Show, but the festivities and fancy 
dress balls, etc., in the evenings were very gay and 
amusing, and many of the Southern ladies with their 
wonderful opaque complexions and dark eyes were very 
beautiful. During this tour, too, I got my first sight 
and impression of Florida, with its soft, languorous 
climate, its orange groves, its semi-tropical foliage, and 
its alligators. St. Augustine, partly old Spanish, was 
most interesting. There were grand modern hotels 
replete with every luxury, and also an old-time fort, in 
which a large party of Indians were quartered when I 
was there whilst some question of their rights was being 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 165 

argued in Washington. One of these " noble red men," 
with the absolutely most gruesome and cadaverous 
face that I ever saw, was pointed out to me as being 
one hundred years old, and as having captured one 
hundred scalps. He was usually sitting in the sun on 
a low wall, and even the little children of his tribe drew 
away from him in fear as they passed him. All day he 
sat muttering to himself, and he seemed particularly 
vehement at sight of me. I don't know if my (then) 
ample locks stimulated his craving for further deeds of 
cruelty. Could he see them now that " the gentleman 
with the hour-glass " has worked his will, he would be 
less likely to notice them, I feel sure. Whilst playing a 
return visit in New York I appeared with Miss Daven- 
port in a big benefit organised by Joseph Jefferson at 
Wallack's for Mr. Couldock, a fine old English actor 
previously mentioned (May 1887), and during our visit 
to Boston I met that great actor, William Warren, who 
for so many years was attached to the Boston Museum 
though constantly receiving tempting offers from New 
York and elsewhere. He was a very great artist; 
indeed, I have rarely seen a better. His performances 
of the old comedies and many other parts were quite 
exceptional, and he was a delightful personality as well. 
Many were the happy hours spent with him in dear old 
Miss Fisher's house in Bullfinch Place, where he lived 
all his days and where he used to preside at the table 
and sometimes carve the English joint. Bom in 1812, 
he retired at seventy years of age in 1882, and died in 
1888, beloved and respected by everybody. Boston 
stood with bowed head at his funeral, and his memory 
is very green until this day. One of his great jokes was 



166 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

about his cousin Joseph Jefferson's playing of Bob 
Acres in The Rivals^ a performance which did not meet 
with Warren's approval. Asked what Jefferson was 
doing that season, he replied : " He's playing Bob 
Acres in The Rivals^ and Sheridan forty miles away." 

At the end of the foregoing interesting tour I sailed 
for home on the N. G. Lloyd s.s. Fulda, and arrived on 
May 30, 1887. 



XIX 

In July, 1887, the Princess's Theatre was opened in 
the name of a lady from America unknown in London 
— Miss Grace Hawthorne. The business manager was 
Mr. W. W. Kelly, whose home nickname was " Hustler " 
Kelly. He soon proved that he had not acquired the 
appellation without reason. I was engaged as leading 
man, and we opened with a real, good, old-fashioned 
melodrama. The Shadows of a Great City, which had 
been a huge success in the United States. The English 
rights had been acquired by Mr. W. Calder, who had 
toured with it in the provinces for some months 
previously, and he was responsible for the production 
at the Princess's on sharing terms. It was an excellent 
play of its kind, and very soon proved a bona fide 
success. Full of good parts which were well cast, it 
first of all drew large pits and galleries, and finally the 
more fashionable parts of the house began to follow 
suit. In the cast were Miss Mary Rorke, Miss Cicely 
Richards, who gave an admirable performance of a 
fine character part just in her way, Harry Nicholls, 
Harry Parker, the writer, and also W. L. Abingdon, 
who here made his first appearance in London. When 
Nicholls left for his engagement at Drury Lane, J. L. 
Shine took his place. It ran until December, and I 

believe would have gone longer but that Miss Hawthorne 

167 



168 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

desired to act, and I do not think it was pushed very 
much towards the end for more than one reason. I 
remained under the same management for fourteen 
months. We produced during that time Siberia, by 
Bartley Campbell, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Hume and Law's 
Mystery of a Hansom Cab, and a revival of The Shadows 
of a Great City, which took me up to September 11, 
1888. It was a curious season, and although business 
was not always what we could wish it was truly re- 
markable how Mr. Kelly triumphed over difficulties as 
they arose — and they did ! No artist ever knew him 
fail to respect his obligations. The same business 
acumen has since then made him a most successful 
touring and provincial manager, and assuredly brought 
grist to the mill in goodly quantities. 

The Mystery of a Hansom Cab was founded on a 
book by Fergus Hume which had made a great popular 
success at that time, and much was hoped for from 
the play. Unfortunately, it was found lacking in the 
qualities that make for success, and indeed was a com- 
parative failure; so that extraordinary man, John 
Coleman, was brought in to give it, if possible, the 
necessary fillip. It then ran about three months, but 
was only a moderate success after all. In speaking of 
John Coleman as an extraordinary man I don't think 
I am overstating the fact. A provincial manager of 
considerable experience, quite a well-read man, he was 
an actor of the most grandiloquent and (shall I say?) 
magnificent methods. He had not even a nodding 
acquaintance with any semblance of human nature, 
and, moreover, he was without exception the most 
case-hardened man in vanity I have ever encountered. 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 169 

Nothing you could say in the way of fulsome flattery 
that he would not accept as his just desert; and his 
belief in himself, his glorious egotism, and his delight 
in the use of long words and grandiose sentences were 
almost unbelievable. Unfortunately, the wonderful 
stories of him must perforce lose much of their point 
because one is not able to convey to the reader some 
idea of his method of speaking; but his flights of 
language were, nevertheless, often remarkable. To an 
open-mouthed super he once said : " My dear sir, will 
you endeavour to demonstrate to the denizens of the 
auditorium that you are playing a character unlike 
anything of the present day? And when you ascend 
the raking piece and leave the stage be good enough to 
emit a greasy laugh of truculent defiance." To an 
equally astonished waiter at a Lyceum Fund supper he 
said : " Would it be infra dig. for me to ask for a little 
more fish ? Heaven knows I am no gourmand^ but 
really these infinitesimal portions are positively annoy- 
ing." I met him once when he was about to produce a 
version that he had prepared of Pericles at Stratford- 
on-Avon, and in the blandest manner he said to me in 
speaking of it : " And I flatter myself that I, for once, 
have improved on the Immortal Bard." On another 
occasion I came across him when announcements had 
appeared that Lewis Waller intended to produce 
Henry V. (This was a part in which John greatly 
fancied himself. I saw him play it, oh, my !) He 
said to me : " My dear Barnes, have you seen it an- 
nounced that Lewis Waller is about to enact Henry 
V.r' I replied : " I had." He stroked his full-blown 
moustache and said : " Poor-r-r wor-r-r-m ! " 



170 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

He loved to address an audience at all times, and 
would stop in a soliloquy to do so if there were a chance. 
Once in Lincoln, in playing Claude Melnotte he came 
to the point some lines before the end — '* That voice ? 

thou art ? " John Coleman, " Thy h-u-s-b-a-n-d ! " 

A man walked out of the rather empty pit, with heavy 
boots resounding. John advanced to the footlights, 
and said : " My dear sir, this play has not yet con- 
cluded." The man looked round, paused, and made 
reply : " No ; I dare say not, John ; but I've seen as 
much as I want," and pursued his way to the door, not 
in the least nonplussed. 

Coleman's intimate contemporaries well remember 
two wonderful stories he used to tell of himself when in 
a convivial mood. One was of some young sportsmen 
in the Theatre Royal, Lincoln, and the other of an 
undergraduate in a private box at Cambridge. Neither 
would score much without a reproduction of his style. 
To his dying day he never realised that his hearers were 
laughing at him, and not with him, but that was his 
peculiarity. His airy self-complacency was never irk- 
some ; it was so splendidly amusing. 

In the autumn of 1887 I was specially engaged to 
create a part at a matinSe at Drury Lane in a most 
ambitious play entitled Nitocris, by Miss Clo. Graves. 
This, I think, ought to have been a great event — it was 
the work of a very clever woman's life, and was a really 
fine effort, with which I think she had cruelly bad luck. 
First, she could not get the artists whom she wanted 
for many of the parts. Secondly, the principal one 
was played by a great personal friend of the authoress, 
who was quite unable to do it adequate justice. Lastly, 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 171 

we rehearsed it on the stage at Dniry Lane during the 
production of two different pantomimes (one for the 
home theatre and another for the Tyne Theatre, New- 
castle), without the hammers ever ceasing to knock, 
and it is a Hteral truth that the first time we ever heard 
our own voices in the play was on the morning we 
played it. My part, Phedaspes, was a fine one — ^longer 
than Hamlet. The whole thing was rather a shame, 
and I do not know how she bore it. If that play were 
taken in hand by some brilliant producing manager at 
a good theatre and her very fine ideas carried out, it 
would not surprise me a bit if it were a great success 
even now. (Mem. for Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree.) 

On October 1, 1888, I rejoined Miss Mary Anderson 
for her tour of the English provinces and the United 
States, and, as it turned out, her last. It was par- 
ticularly pleasant to be with her again, I was very 
much gratified to hear of a kind expression made use 
of by her mother (Mrs. Griffin) when she heard of my 
engagement, which, not being said in my presence, or 
where she could know it would reach me, was un- 
doubtedly sincere. During the time I had been engaged 
elsewhere. Miss Anderson had produced several plays 
in London, The Hunchback, Romeo and Juliet, and The 
Winter's Tale among them. In the last-named she 
doubled the parts of Hermione and Perdita, and in 
the latter character she executed a country dance in 
one scene with an abandon and grace worthy of Pavlova. 
To see this beautiful and dainty young lady throwing 
herself with evident relish into such a revel was quite 
irresistible to the public, and the piece was a huge 
success for nearly a whole season at the London Lyceum, 



172 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

as it was wherever we played it. Forbes -Robertson 
had been the Leontes in London. I succeeded him on 
tour. We played four weeks in Great Britain up to 
Dublin, where we finished on a Saturday night and 
dropped down to Queenstown and sailed from there by 
the s.s. Umbria on Sunday morning. I remember it 
was one of the worst storms known for years. The sea 
was running " hills high " in Queenstown Harbour, and 
the Umbria was seven hours late coming down Channel 
from Liverpool ; so the state of the Atlantic for our first 
few days may be imagined. It was quite awful. Our 
repertory included The Winter's Tale, Ingomar, The 
Lady of Lyons, Pygmalion and Galatea, Comedy and 
Tragedy, etc. Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It, 
and The Cup were to have been played; indeed, we 
did the first of these three on the Saturday night in 
Manchester, but through circumstances we did not do 
it again, or either of the other two, nor were they 
required. The tour was under the management of 
Abbey, Schoeffel, and Grau. We opened at Wallack's, 
New York, early in November. The Press notices were 
fine and the business enormous. The company were 
good, comprising Mrs. Billington, Mrs. Charles Calvert, 
J. G. Taylor, John Maclean, Herbert Waring, George 
Warde, G. M. Yorke, Arthur Lewis and his wife (Zeffie 
Tilbury, daughter of Miss Lydia Thompson), myself, 
and others. We stayed in New York four weeks before 
proceeding on the road. During our time there I made 
a pilgrimage, representing Miss Anderson, to the un- 
veiling of the monument to dear old John McCullough 
in Mount Moriah Cemetery in the outskirts of Phila- 
delphia. The trip was arranged and piloted by poor 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 173 

John's old manager, genial " Billy " Connor, then 
manager of the St. James's Hotel, New York. We had 
a special Pullman ; lunch was served on the way there, 
and dinner on the return journey, which occupied in all 
about seven hours. I got back only just in time for 
the evening performance. It was a pleasure, if a sad 
one, to pay a last tribute to the memory of so good a 
fellow. One of the party on that occasion was William 
Winter, of the New York Tribune^ who read one of his 
charming and characteristic appreciations of the dear 
old comrade who rested there, which will be found now 
amongst his published poems. 

During our stay in New York an American actor 
named Louis Aldrich started a somewhat wild move- 
ment which aimed at passing an Act through Congress 
to exclude all English actors from the American stage 
or to put us on the same basis as skilled labour. He 
was desperately in earnest in collecting signatures to 
his petition, and particularly bitter in his denunciations 
of Miss Anderson's company, who were all English at 
the time. This was the more curious as he had spent 
the previous summer in London, where every kind of 
courtesy was shown him and he was almost feted. I 
ventured to think it a fit subject for a joke, and, at the 
instigation of some one in authority, I wrote a column 
which appeared in the New York Herald, taking the 
form of an old-time lampoon. It rather " touched the 
spot" and secured for him some little ridicule, which 
made him specially angry with me, personally, though 
we had always been good " pals " previously. One day 
before a lot of mutual acquaintances he lost his temper 
badly, and, advancing very rudely and threateningly, he 



174 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

said : *' And you, by gad, you ! can't set your foot on 
our stage in two years from to-day." I replied without 
temper : " My dear Louis, I have read of a hneal ancestor 
of yours who commanded the sun to stand still; but, 
for Heaven's sake, don't imagine it runs in the family." 
I am afraid this allusion to his ancestry was scarcely 
kind, but I had received very considerable provocation. 
The whole matter was eventually quashed completely 
by the action of that fine artist and gentleman, Joseph 
Jefferson, who denounced it roundly, and all the leading 
actors of America, including Edwin Booth, followed 
suit. 



I 



XX 

After leaving New York our progress through the 
country was everywhere most successful. Business was 
enormous, and we were as happy a band of comrades 
as could be found. And yet our contentment was to 
have a rude awakening. After twenty weeks (six 
short of the minimum length of our contracts), Miss 
Anderson was taken ill with a nervous break-down in 
Washington, and was unable to continue her engage- 
ment. I have never seen it stated exactly what hap- 
pened, or the cause of it. Let me try and supply the 
information as I observed it at the time. There was no 
doubt she was greatly overworked. We had not a 
properly efficient stage manager with us, and in her 
earnest determination to please the public she was in 
the habit of attending most of the rehearsals, a labour 
which she ought to have been spared, and indeed kept 
from. When we got to St. Louis, the agent-in-advance 
had some misunderstanding with certain members of 
the Press about the number of free admissions, and they 
proceeded to " get back " at him through his star. 
One of them, in a cowardly way, threw cold water on 
her religion, and even went so far as to print sketches 
of her at confessional. Now, no doubt could possibly 
exist that Miss Anderson was a thoroughly devout 
Catholic, and in her overwrought, overworked nervous 

I7fl 



176 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

condition this affected her very keenly. I remember 
her saying to me, with great pathos in her tones and 
almost tears in her eyes, " Barnsey " (which was her 
own name for me), " I did think a woman could have 
her religion to herself ! " 

From St. Louis we went on to Louisville, Kentucky, 
which was her home city. There I met that eccentric 
politician, Henry Waterson, who was a great power 
all through the Southern States, and in the Democratic 
Party, and was once named as Vice-President of the 
United States. From Louisville to Cincinnati and from 
there to Washington, where we arrived on Sunday night, 
March 3, 1889, the night before the inauguration of 
President Harrison. To those who have never been in 
Washington on these occasions, what happens must 
sound like a fairy story or a " tar-i-diddle." Every 
bed in every hotel is taken; the theatres, and some- 
times even the churches and chapels are utilised, and 
you are lucky if you get a bed at all. On this occasion 
I was fortunate enough to get a truckle bed in a passage 
in a fairly good hotel. The sight on Inauguration Day 
is very striking. Few cities lend themselves to such a 
display as Washington does. The place is so beautifully 
laid out, and Pennsylvania Avenue, with its magnificent 
width and sweep from the Capitol to the White House, 
is an ideal street for a procession. On these occasions, 
this procession extends for miles and takes hours in 
passing. Numbers of United States Regiments of 
soldiery, and all sorts of political and other societies are 
drafted into the city to take part, and the sight is a 
grand one. On the day that President Benjamin 
Harrison was installed it poured with rain the livelong 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 177 

day. It was a veritable deluge. Nothing daunted. 
Miss Anderson took her place with friends at some 
point of vantage, where seats had been secured, and 
braved the elements for hours. She got wet through 
and took a severe cold, which in her state of health and 
nerves seemed to fly to her brain and render her work 
impossible. She played on Monday fairly comfort- 
ably; on Tuesday, with difficulty; on Wednesday, the 
theatre was closed; on Thursday, she made another 
attempt, but the more she tried to concentrate her 
powers the more they seemed to desert her. On Friday 
and Saturday no performance. Sunday we went on 
to Baltimore, hoping to play on Monday. It was 
impossible, and on Tuesday we left for New York, our 
season being ended and Miss Mary Anderson's brilliant 
professional career closed. She has never played since. 
Arrived in New York, the management made equitable 
terms with us for the balance of our contracts, and the 
whole thing was over. A curious circumstance was 
that I, too, was somewhat dangerously ill, and had Miss 
Anderson played every night it is doubtful if I could 
have done so, but I had no need to worry about it, as 
no performances took place. A serious case of malaria 
which I had contracted in Cincinnati laid me very low. 
I lost weight at an alarming rate, and with two or three 
days' growth of beard was almost unrecognisable at the 
railway station on the Sunday. But for the kind- 
nursing and attention given me by a member of the 
company, Mr. Rudolph de Cordova, now an active 
worker on the London Press, I really do not know what 
might have befallen me. When I got to New York my 
doctor (an old Edinburgh friend) insisted that I must 



178 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

remain under his care at least a month, and I promised 
to do so, but the s.s. New York was sailing on March 20, 
and knowing all the officers on board, I took my health 
in my own hands and sailed home, but I realised after- 
wards that I had been very unwise. That illness, un- 
cured, hung in my system for a long time, and years 
afterwards asserted itself in an extremely well-defined 
and serious manner. I reached Liverpool March 28, 
1889. 

Shortly after this Miss Anderson married Mr. Navarro, 
of New York. She retired to a picturesque home at 
Broadway, near the country of the Shakespeare she loved 
so well, where she has lived, practically ever since, the 
life that some of us are old-fashioned enough to think 
the higher life for a woman — namely, that of loving wife 
and devoted mother. One occasionally sees her in 
London at the theatres, etc., looking the picture of 
health and happiness, and if possible handsomer in her 
maturity than when she was the " observed of all 
observers." I can think of nothing more complimentary 
to write than that she is almost a counterpart of what 
her mother was when I first saw her. Some three or 
four years after her retirement I was passing through 
New York on my way home from the West and I supped 
at Delmonico's with Abbey and Schoeffel, and they 
entrusted me with a commission — namely, if I could 
persuade her to come to America for a farewell engage- 
ment of thirty weeks they would give her £1,000 a week 
for her own services and they would make me a present 
of £1,000 the day that the contract was signed. On my 
arrival in London I saw Mrs. Griffin (her mother), who 
was disposed to think the offer ought to be accepted — 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 179 

it was such a lot of money to earn — but on submitting 
it to her daughter she was quite obdurate in her refusal, 
and there the matter ended. The £1,000, added to 
what I had, would have enabled me to buy a little home 
at Teddington that I was much attached to, but it was 
not to be, and the place went to a luckier man. 

In August, 1889, 1 was engaged to play Pierre Lorance 
in a revival of that fine play Proof at the Princess's 
Theatre. This is one of the best-acting dramas in 
existence, splendidly constructed and full of human 
nature; but, in my judgment, the version as played 
in England with the above title cannot compare with 
that used at the Union Square Theatre, New York, 
and called The Celebrated Case, which is a literal transla- 
tion of the French name {La Cause Cilebre). The play 
did not have a good " send off " in England. One of 
the leading characters was unfortunately cast. 

In the November of 1889 I had a unique experience. 
Brandon Thomas had written a play called The Gold 
Craze, also produced at the Princess's, and I was en- 
gaged for a part called the Baron de Fleurville. At this 
time there was a man well-known about the West End 
of London who styled himself a Marquis, who was the 
son of a Dublin carriage builder. What right he had 
to his title was always a matter of mystery. It was said 
he bought it of some Continental burgomaster. I did 
not know him personally; in fact, I had studiously 
avoided doing so, but nearly every mail brought me 
information from strangers about him, when the 
following incident became public. 

Brandon Thomas knew him. I am unaware whether 
he had him in view when he wrote the play; but he 



180 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

brought me his photo — as I was informed at the man's 
own request — and asked me to make up Uke him. This 
I refused to do, but I did adopt, and had specially made, 
an extremely outrS characteristic style of hat he wore, 
which I thought would be effective in the part. Hear- 
ing, I suppose, that the part was that of a scoundrelly 
adventurer, and very much against the audience, he 
arranged an organised opposition on the first night, and, 
although I fear the play was not a good one intrinsically, 
he and his friends effectually killed any possibility it 
had, and it was a pronounced failure. I was taken by 
surprise, and I struggled through the dilemma as best I 
could. The management of the theatre, a curious coterie 
at the time (Kelly had retired), prosecuted him for con- 
spiracy, and after eight hearings at Marlborough Street 
Police Court he was committed for trial at the Old 
Bailey. At the trial the prosecuting management, to 
keep up their eccentric character, did not put in an ap- 
pearance when the case was called on, and, of course, it 
fell through. After it had been dismissed one of these 
gentlemen turned up, and appeared to be on terms of 
great friendship with the defendant, which was, to say 
the least of it, an unusual proceeding, from which my 
readers can draw any conclusion they choose. Although 
only a witness, I had found it necessary to employ a 
solicitor, who in turn engaged a barrister to hold a 
watching brief in my behalf, and I had nothing to do 
" but pay and look pleasant " ; altogether I was very 
glad when this most unpleasant incident was closed. 

In December, 1889, 1 was engaged by Robert Pateman 
to play, at the same theatre, the part of Jim Burleigh 
in a drama by G. R. Sims and Henry Pettitt called 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 181 

Master and Man. It was a very strong, effective play, 
and Pateman himself gave one of his masterly per- 
formances of a rugged character part called Humpy 
Logan. Mrs. Pateman was also in the cast, as was 
Charles Dalton, who made therein his first appearance 
in London, and poor E. W. Gardiner (Miss Kate Rorke's 
first husband), whose very sad end was a genuine grief 
to their many friends. Charles Dalton is now a firmly 
established favourite on the American stage. Master 
and Man ran just three months. After some odd en- 
gagements of not much moment, on September 1, 1890, 
I joined Mr. and Mrs. Kendal for a tour of Great Britain 
and the United States which extended to thirty-three 
weeks. We played three weeks at home, and sailed 
for New York on September 24 on the s.s. Germanic, 
We opened at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in that city 
on October 13. I have previously referred to the art 
of our managers, so it only remains to say we had a 
really good company and a repertory of fine plays. 
We went practically all over the country east of the 
Rockies. The Press were loud in our praises everywhere 
and the business was splendid. In the company were 
Miss Bennett, Miss Florence Cowell, Miss Violet Van- 
brugh (Mrs. Arthur Bourchier), Miss Campbell, J. E. 
Dodson, Joseph Carne, Seymour Hicks, Henry Nye 
Chart, A. M. Dennison, myself, and others. Among 
the plays were The Ironmaster^ The Scrap of Papery 
The Squire, The Queen's Shilling, and a beautiful play 
called The Weaker Sex, by Pinero. This play had not 
been the success it deserved in London. I could never 
think why. It was, perhaps, a little before its time. 
I believe it would be worth some manager's revival. 



182 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

It is so human, dramatic, and finely written. There 
was only one discordant note in the tour. The business 
manager was a gentleman who had been an officer in an 
infantry regiment, and, whilst he was presumably loyal 
to his trust, he had no kind of sympathy with our calling, 
and was a positive adept at setting the company " by 
the ears '* and putting us in a false light with our 
managers. He would, if allowed, treat the ladies and 
gentlemen like a lot of indifferent militia men at their 
annual training. This brought about many unpleasant 
incidents which might well have been avoided. When 
the time came for us to sail for home Mr. and Mrs. 
Kendal took passage on the s.s. Teutonic, with one or 
two of the company who chose to pay part of the 
passage money themselves, but the rest of us, whose 
contracts all called for " first-class " passages, were 
shipped by the military gentleman on the s.s. City of 
Richmond, which at that time was very much of a back 
number. The accommodation was meagre, the pro- 
visions poor; in short, a very "shoddy" journey in 
every way. Three days out from New York, in a very 
bad storm (logged by the captain " Strong gale from 
the south-east," " Hurricane force "), a fire was dis- 
covered in some bales of cotton in the hold. To any 
one who knows the habit of sea captains in making light 
of bad weather it will be patent that we were in the 
gravest peril indeed. The recent burning and loss of 
life in the case of the s.s. Vulturno brought vividly to 
my mind our experiences. It was almost a replica of 
our position, and our fate might easily have been the 
same but for our great good luck. The fire was dis- 
covered about two in the morning. My principal chum 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 183 

in the company, who was also my room mate (A. M. 
Dennison), and I dressed hurriedly and sought the 
captain, who was directing operations. The cotton 
was well alight, and the flames were quite fierce and 
spreading. It was then discovered that the equipment 
of the s.s. City of Richmond was as out of date as the 
vessel herself. The fire hose would scarcely carry 
water, the leakage therefrom rendered the deck ankle- 
deep, and the only expedient was, perhaps, the 
best in case of burning cotton — namely, to throw 
volumes of steam into the bulkhead and hold where the 
fire was raging. All this time a hurricane was blowing, 
and it is the barest truth to say that there would not 
have been a possibility of getting a lifeboat on to the 
water within the succeeding twenty-four hours. I had 
often wondered in my youth and early manhood what 
sort of a man my big fearless father (described in my 
first pages) had for a son, and what kind of courage I 
would have in case of danger. Well, here was my 
opportunity for a test, and I may say I came through 
the ordeal to my own satisfaction. As we were dressing 
Dennison said to me, " What are you going to do. 
Jack ? " I made the obvious reply, " What I am told 
to do," with which he acquiesced. After we had been 
shown the danger we asked the captain what he wished 
from us. He said, " Keep the women quiet and get 
some stuff into the lifeboats," and in a few minutes 
" Denny " and I, dressed in tarpaulins and sou' -westers, 
were handing provisions along the deck in the dark to 
the boats as if we had been used to it all our lives. I 
remember thinking once, and once only, that if the end 
was coming it was perhaps as well that way as any 



184 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

other, and it was no good whining over it. It was 
pouring with rain when the morning broke over as 
angry a sea as could well be imagined, and as soon 
as any objects could be discerned a small freight steamer 
was seen some miles off. We signalled to her our con- 
dition, and she answered that " she would stand by us." 
She turned out to be the s.s. Councillor (I think that was 
the name), from New Orleans with cargo. It seemed a 
sort of comfort, especially to the ladies, to be within 
sight of other human beings, though it was not the 
least real good. As I have said, any attempt to launch 
a boat would have been futile and suicidal. And so 
we passed our first day, the fire gaining ground per- 
ceptibly. As the second day wore on towards three 
o'clock, the sea having moderated considerably, the 
Cunard s.s. Servia overhauled us, and in answer to our 
signals also agreed to stand by us, and did so. On the 
fourth day, as we came up from lunch, the smoke of 
another steamer was seen away to the north-east, 
steaming west, and our course was altered to meet her, 
and she was signalled. As was expected, she turned 
out to be the s.s. City of New York, of our own line. 
Then occurred a rather novel and impressive sight. 
The sea by this time was comparatively smooth, and 
these three monster vessels drew up near to each other 
in mid -ocean, whilst boats were lowered and the captains 
went from one to the other consulting as to the best 
course of action. As the City of New York was carrying 
a large consignment of mails it was decided that it 
would be better for her to proceed on her journey, and 
the Servia undertook to see us to the Fastnet Lighthouse, 
on the south coast of Ireland. By this time we had 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 185 

become quite accustomed to the presence of the fire, 
which was being kept in check by the steam; and when 
we got to Queenstown, where, of course, many passengers 
went ashore, the captain having said it would do him a 
little good with his proprietors to take as many of his 
passengers as possible to Liverpool, Dennison and I at 
once expressed our determination to go all the way with 
him — ^the least we felt we could do for as brave a little 
hero as ever lived. His name was Redford. 

When we arrived at Liverpool the sides of the ship, 
in the sections where the fire was, were thickly encrusted 
with charred salt from the action of the sea water dashing 
against the hot metal of her plates, and I was told that 
when she was docked and opened up to the air a dense 
volume of black smoke and dust rose to a great height, 
and part of her deck caved in completely. That the 
owners of the vessel held much the same opinion of her 
as her passengers was rather proved by the fact that 
she never sailed the Atlantic again. After some neces- 
sary repairs she was engaged in conveying pleasure 
parties for trips to the Norwegian Fjords, etc. In all 
this calamity there were elements of humour to those 
whose faculties were alive to them. Some considerable 
amusement was caused by a fellow-actor named Arthur 
Dacre, who was returning with his wife (Miss Amy 
Roselle) after an unfortunate season in the United 
States. Poor Dacre was a good chap but an ultra- 
sentimentalist. He ought to have been a Frenchman. 
Educated, and formerly practising as a doctor, he had, 
presumably, learnt the use of drugs, and he had acquired 
the habit pretty strongly. Such an experience as I 
have described was not to be missed by one of his 



186 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 



temperament. He appeared to be " having the time 
of his life." He spent the night of the discovery of the 
fire in a rather glaring suit of pyjamas. I don't think he 
dressed normally for hours. It was he who woke Denni- 
son and myself from sleep with the fine melodramatic 
announcement, " Now, then ; now you have need of all 
your courage ! " " What is it, Arthur ? " said we. And 
he answered, in tones which would have been an effective 
curtain to any act ever written, " Ah ! ha ! the ship's on 
fire ! " Later on I saw him rush up to two young ladies 
sitting at the top of the companion-way, and behaving 
with perfectly stoical calmness, and say, " For God's 
sake, be calm ! " One of them replied, " I don't know 
if you are aware of it, Mr. Dacre, but my sister and 
myself discovered this fire about an hour ago, and you 
must admit we are not distressing any one very much 
with our anxiety." When matters had settled down 
and all were more self-possessed he spent the rest of the 
voyage in reporting on the progress of the fire, and be- 
moaning the fate which, to his mind, had singled him 
out for special vindictiveness by following up his 
professional ill-luck with a voyage on a burning ship. 

Another amusing thing, though not pleasant, was 
that we were bringing to England about 14,000 carcasses 
of beef in a refrigerator bulkhead. It so happened that 
this was situated near the fire, and the steam poured on 
to the latter melted the ice in the refrigerator and we 
came up the Irish Channel leaving an odour behind us 
which was appalling. One of the ship's carpenters who 
was engaged in remedying the ventilation was so nearly 
asphyxiated that he was laid on the deck quite un- 
conscious for nearly an hour. 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 187 

Poor Dacre some years afterwards was found with 
his wife, both dead, in their room in Australia, where 
ill luck seemed to have pursued them, and there was 
evidence beside them that they had agreed to die 
together. They were both really nice people, and Miss 
Roselle was quite especially clever in her profession. 
Let us hope they found the rest and peace they sought 
with such desperate earnestness. And my great chum 
Dennison — a fine fellow, true as steel, and with the 
best characteristics of an English gentleman, sought 
oblivion, the following year, in the same dreadful way, 
during that terrible period of delirium and depression 
which appears to be always a part of convalescence from 
typhoid fever. I was frightfully cut up when the news 
reached me. 

For further particulars of the City of Richmond 
fire, a very full and circumstantial account will be 
found in Seymour Hicks 's book of his life. There is 
just this trifling difference between us that he was not 
there and I was. Verb. sap. ! It is all very amusing 
and interesting to look back on, but I shall always 
feel we ought not to have been there at all, and should 
not have been but for the martinet militarism of the 
gentleman who was entrusted with the conduct of Mr. 
Kendal's business. He was on the Teutonic himself ! 



XXI 



I ARRIVED home in London June 13, 1891. 

On September 16, 1891, I set sail from Liverpool by 
the s.s. Britannic for New York, again, to fulfil one of 
the most delightful engagements of my career, with 
the Jefferson -Florence comedy company. At this time 
there was a vogue in America for the grouping of names 
such as the Booth-Barrett company, the Robson and 
Crane company, and the one I joined. I don't think it 
meant anything in our case. I believe the entire invest- 
ment and profit were Jefferson's ; but " Billy " Florence, 
having been a fairly successful star on his own account, 
got a good thumping salary to give up his own touring 
and throw in his lot with his older comrade. In addition 
to these two names there were others almost equally 
well known, and the company partook of the nature 
known as an all-star one. Amongst others, Mrs. John 
Drew, Miss Viola Allen, William E. Owen, George 
Denham, Mrs. Rouse, and the writer, possessed good 
credentials with the public, and all the smaller parts 
were in good hands. We only did two plays. The Rivals 
and The Heir-at-Law, in which I played Jack Absolute 
and Dick Dowlas. The tour opened in Richmond, 
Virginia, on October 5. In the larger cities we stayed in 
hotels in the usual way, but when on the road we travelled 
in our own car with two servants — a cook and waiter — 

188 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 189 

pulling up at the railway stations and going to the 
theatres for our performances, returning to our car to 
supper and sleep, and hitching on to an available train 
bound for our next stopping place. The business was 
enormous and the performances were much praised 
everywhere. It will be quite unnecessary for me to 
attempt to extol the art of Joseph Jefferson. Three 
continents set the hall-mark on his work. His Rip van 
Winkle, Caleb Plummer, Dr. Pangloss, Bob Acres, 
Salem Scudder, Mr. Golightly, etc., were world-famous ; 
and justly so. Perhaps his Bob Acres was not quite 
the character that Sheridan intended him to be. He was 
a more gentlemanly Bob Acres than is usually seen, 
but it was a most polished performance, and he made it 
very difficult for Jack Absolute to hold his accustomed 
place in the play. Jefferson was a perfectly delightful 
personality — gentle and kindly to all. Few men in 
one's experience would have stood as severe a test as 
Jefferson did. At twenty-six years of age he was told 
he had one lung only, but he didn't whine about it. 
He left America for Australia in 1861 in the search of 
health, and, happily, found it, as well as fame ; came home 
by way of England in 1865, where he consolidated his 
reputation ; and at the time I write of, when he was well 
over sixty, he was not only the most noted actor in the 
United States, but also one of the most worthy and 
beloved gentlemen. He had trained his mind to amuse- 
ments that his health could compass ; he was a beautiful 
painter, a reader of books, and his summers were spent 
fishing at his home at Buzzard's Bay or on his Canadian 
river reservation. He had great force of character and 
a firm, strong will. Altogether a thoroughly fine man ! 



190 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

Billy Florence was not the equal of Jefferson as an 
actor, though quite a good one, but was a genial, good- 
natured comrade, who was popular wherever he went. 
Unhappily we did not enjoy his cheery companionship 
long. He was taken ill with what appeared to be a very 
bad cold in Philadelphia. He braved it and played up 
to Saturday, but on Sunday pneumonia set in, and he 
became rapidly worse. Jefferson and I called to see 
him at the Continental Hotel in the evening before 
leaving for Buffalo, and I was shocked at his condition, 
though Jefferson (always optimistic) did not seem to 
think his case as serious as I did. We got wires two or 
three times a day, all of graver and graver import, 
and on the Thursday the poor fellow passed away, to 
the great sorrow of all of us and a legion of other friends. 

Louis James, another well-known actor, and semi-star 
at the time, took his place. 

Mrs. John Drew should have a chapter to herself if 
art and humour ever deserved it. She was a veritable 
tower of strength. It is a common theory amongst 
actors and even the public that the first performer you 
see of a great character always remains in your mind as 
the best. I need not say that I have seen many Mrs. 
Malaprops before her, including Mrs. Chippendale (at 
the Haymarket), our great IMrs. Stirling, and others, 
but Mrs. Drew will always stand out in my memory as 
by far the best, and it would not be hard to convince 
me that the character has never had a finer exponent. 
A born humorist, and brimming over with human nature, 
she was not only a great actress, but a wonderful com- 
panion and friend, and the chats over the supper-table 
on our car when we came in from the theatres are 




MRS. JOHN DREW AS MRS. MALAPROP 



[To face page 190 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 191 

amongst my most treasured remembrances. A delight- 
ful little incident occurred at one of our rehearsals. 
Mrs. Drew asked Jefferson's permission to introduce a 
bit of stage business in one of her scenes which she had 
done before and which had proved effective. As stage 
director he requested her to show him what it was, and 
she proceeded to do so with infmite art and charm. 
When she had finished Jefferson said with great hearti- 
ness : " By all means do it, Mrs. Drew ! I am sure 
Sheridan would have liked you to.'* When I was with 
Miss Neilson in 1874 at her own theatre in Philadelphia, 
her son, the present popular John Drew, then quite a 
young man, was playing Borachio in Much Ado About 
Nothing with us. In one scene he has to say, " I tell 
this tale vilely." The opportunity was too tempting 
to his mother. Sitting at the prompt table, she said 
in an undertone, " You do, my son, you do ! " 

William E. Owen, our Sir Anthony Absolute and Lord 
Duberly, was an admirable actor — very much better 
than many with greater names. He had made a hit 
as Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night, and his performances 
with us were good enough for anything. Miss Viola 
Allen, a delightful actress and charming young gentle- 
woman, has since become a successful American star. 
Joseph Warren was Jefferson's third son playing under 
that name, and a worthy son of his worthy father. Our 
business manager was Tom Jefferson (second son). He 
was full of fun and humour. Altogether, we were like 
a united happy family party. 

Tom raised a great laugh at supper one night. It 
was at Fort Worth, Texas, which, at that time, was 
known to harbour many desperate law-breakers. We 



192 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

had played to an enormous house and presumably had 
a considerable sum of money on the car. The conver- 
sation turned on the chances of our being robbed as we 
were standing outside the railway station. After several 
remarks had passed of more or less fun or anxiety, our 
business manager said : " Well, if any one holds me up 
he'll get into debt." 

We went literally over all the United States, travelling 
27,000 miles, and we finished in Denver, Colorado, March 
26, 1892. I came [through to New York, March 30, 
and sailed for home on the s.s. City of Paris, April 6, 
arriving in London April 14, 1892. It is a great pleasure 
to me to think I have remained on terms of intimate 
friendship with all Jefferson's sons until to-day, and we 
are the best of chums wherever we meet. 

One incident well worth recording occurred about 
this time. Pinero and I had always been good friends, 
and more than once he had told me that he had in his 
mind a part which he thought would work out strongly 
for me when he had perfected the story. Anxious not 
to miss such a promising chance (when I was going to 
America to join Jefferson), I called on him at his house 
in Hamilton Terrace to say " Good-bye " and incident- 
ally to let him know where I could be found. In the 
course of a pleasant chat he said : "I have just come 
back from the country, where I have finished a play I 
had to write. I could not get on with anything else 
until it was out of the way. We are going to do it for 
a matinie at the St. James's Theatre and I don't sup- 
pose it will ever be heard of again. At all events, it is 
quite impossible for it to draw money." That play was 
The Second Mrs. Tanqueray. 




Photo] 



[London Stereoscopic Co. 



EDWIN BOOTH 



[To face page 193 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 193 

During these last -mentioned engagements I saw a 
great deal of Edwin Booth when I was in New York. 
What a sweet, gentle, kindly nature his was ! I used 
to have long chats with him in his room at the Players' 
Club, which were most enjoyable. He had almost as 
great an admiration for Phelps as I had, and never 
wearied of talking of him ; so we were on common and 
sympathetic ground. Edwin Booth was another artist 
and gentleman whom it was a privilege as well as a great 
pleasure to number amongst one's friends. He went 
to his long rest in that same room, June 8, 1893. 

When I got home from the Jefferson tour I took a 
good holiday until December, when I appeared as 
Captain Amber in a one -act play by Justin McCarthy 
at the Palace Theatre in London. This was founded 
on an incident in the Indian Mutiny and was called 
The Round Tower. 

It was a vividly dramatic episode, and was, I suppose, 
almost the first of the now popular play-sketches 
attempted in a music hall. I think that it was well 
played, but it was perhaps a little before its time as 
an experiment, and was only moderately successful, 
running but five weeks. 

In the early part of 1893 I made my first serious 
attempt at journalism with an article descriptive of. 
my tour of the West, which appeared in the London 
Topical Times. I had previously scribbled some odd 
poems, etc., and it was pleasantly encouraging to find 
my work accepted, paid for, and kindly received. 
Amongst other scraps were " The Mission of Judas," 
"The Far West," and "The Sun-Kissed Land," the 
last two written in California and first published there. 



194 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

They were impressions of the country I travelled through. 
The former appeared in the New York Herald and the 
Anglo-American Times, a paper started in London by 
the Hon. Francis Lawley, who afterwards proved my 
very good literary sponsor and friend, and helped me 
not a little in finding an opening for my early efforts at 
writing, for which, he was good enough to say, he 
considered I had an aptitude. 

On April 8, 1893, 1 left Southampton by the s.s. New 
York, and arrived in New York on April 15, to take part in 
the first production in America of the Drury Lane drama. 
The Prodigal Daughter, by Henry Pettitt and Sir Augustus 
Harris. With this play the American Theatre, at the 
corner of 42nd Street and 8th Avenue, was opened 
on May 22, 1893, and it ran there right away through 
the summer without intermission up to December 
16 to very fine business, except in the very hottest 
weather. It was quite an exceptional cast that was 
engaged for this drama by Mr. T. Henry French, includ- 
ing Leonard Boyne, Julius Knight, Charles Dalton, 
Sidney Howard, Jefferson d'Angelis, the writer, W. 
Winchell Smith, Miss Julia Arthur, Miss Charlotte 
Tittell, Miss Helen Dauvray, and others. After a time 
Miss Arthur and Miss Tittell left the company, and they 
were succeeded by Miss Adelaide Prince and Miss 
Maxine Elliott. Many of these names are well and 
favourably known on both sides of the Atlantic, and 
all did good work in the play in question. But, oh ! 
the heat at times ! I remember one awful Saturday 
when we played twice, and when (to quote the American 
papers) " General Humidity was out with all his forces." 
I used four shirts and ten collars in the course of the 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 195 

day's work, and, even then, was hardly well-groomed. 
But this summer demonstrated to me a fact which I 
had often heard New Yorkers boast of, viz. that their 
city is the best seaside place in the world. It is quite 
wonderful what an innumerable lot of pleasant resorts 
you can get to, from there, for a trifling fare such as 
25 cents (Is.) or 50 cents (25.). I cultivated the habit 
of getting up early every Sunday morning — ^no matter 
how tired I was — and journeying to some different 
pleasant place, where I remained until Monday after- 
noon. Thus I explored any number of delightful spots 
on Long Island, the New Jersey coast and Long Island 
Sound, and got health and change at the same time. 
Before leaving London I had settled with Mr. Frank 
Lawley, at his request, to write a series of articles on 
New York current events for his paper, the Anglo- 
American Times f and he was most encouraging in his 
opinion of my work, which appeared regularly, and when 
unfortunately the paper died for lack of support, he 
passed my work on to another London journal, by which 
it was accepted and utilised for some time. One great 
feature of our play was a stage reproduction of the race 
for the Liverpool Grand National, with a good-sized 
water jump, over which the horses used to leap in full 
view of the audience, and a number of coaches, etc., 
crowded with visitors, watching the sport. It became 
a perfect craze with the best people in the city to form 
a part of this crowd, and our super-master made a very 
large addition to his income by the tips he got from many 
of New York's biggest swells for the privilege of appear- 
ing in the scene. Indeed, so much a mania was it that 
I could not resist the temptation of scribbling a few verses 



196 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

which I called " The Society Supe," and which, appear- 
ing in the Rider and Driver (a New York weekly), caused 
some little amusement. This I followed with another 
scrap entitled, " The Paradox of Sport," and the New 
York Herald published " The Far West " and " The 
Broken Melody." 

During the summer of this year (1893) I saw a great 
deal of horse -racing round New York, and in the autumn 
my friend Frank Lawley wrote me that if I cared to 
submit a short, comprehensive resum6 of the American 
racing season, he thought he could find a market for 
it in England. This I did, and, to my great satisfaction, 
it was published in the December number of Baily^s 
Magazine of that year. For my first real sporting 
article to find its way into a publication of the class of 
Banff's was, I considered, a great feather in my cap, and 
it was additionally pleasant to find the American papers, 
when it reached New York, speaking of my contribution 
in terms of praise, not only as able and correct, but as a 
particularly fair and uninsular summary of the season's 
sport. Even so distinguished a sporting writer and 
authority as Francis Trevelyan (an Englishman settled 
in New York) went out of his way to be most compli- 
mentary. And here I should like to say a few words 
of the great interest that I have always taken in racing 
ever since I was grown up. Comic and fabulous stories 
have reached me from time to time of my winnings and 
losings, and how I have sacrificed my professional career 
to my hobby. Let me be perfectly frank. I am of a 
methodical turn of mind, and I have kept a fairly accurate 
account of the cost of my favourite amusement. In 
forty-five years or so, racing has cost me a little less than 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 197 

£2,000, i. e. less than £50 a year. I have done little 
or nothing at it for years now, but I could have spent 
as much in the same time on bicycling, and much more 
on golf. When I put against this account the out-of-door 
healthy excitement and the thoroughly good times I 
have had, I cannot honestly say that I regret a shilling 
of the money, though of course the amount in question 
is always handy, especially as one advances in life. The 
old lady who was discovered kissing her cow explained 
the unusual proceeding by saying, " There is no account- 
ing for taste," and, although I have lost no jot of my 
enthusiasm for a well -played good play, I must frankly 
admit that I would rather have seen Ormonde, Minting, 
and Bendigo fight out the Hardwicke Stakes at Ascot 
(as I did) than most of the murderous assaults on a great 
man's work which in recent years have been called 
Shakespearean revivals, and I would much prefer to 
have witnessed the battle royal between Le Blizon and 
Sundridge at Hurst Park than a whole year's aggregation 
of morbid, sordid problem plays such as are advocated 
by some people nowadays, and which are merely nauseat- 
ing to healthy-minded men and women, young and old, 
and keep them away from the theatre. 

Amongst prominent racing people that I have known 
fairly intimately are : Owners — Robert Peck, Captain 
Machell, Mr. Redfern, Lord Lonsdale, Arthur Cooper, 
and C. E. Howard. Trainers — C. Jousiffe, Joseph 
Cannon, Charles Morton. Jockeys — Archer, T. Cannon, 
"Morny" Cannon, Fred Webb, C. Wood, S. Loates, 
Tod Sloan ; and members of the Ring — Charles Head, 
W. D. Foster, George Silke, R. H. Fry ; and, in America, 
J. R. Keene, Foxhall Keene, Richard Croker, " Lucky " 



198 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

Baldwin, W. Easton, Charles Reed, James Rowe, W. 
Lakeland, James McLaughlin, Fred Taral, Francis 
Trevelyan, and many others. From one and all I have 
received marks of friendship, and have spent many 
happy hours with them. My carefully considered opinion 
is that many racing men in all branches of the sport 
compare favourably with any other class that I have 
ever been brought in contact with. Before leaving this 
subject, it may be of interest to some readers to mention 
an incident which occurred during my stay in New York 
— ^namely, the dramatic sale of St. Blaise. To many of 
those who were at all " behind the scenes " this horse 
was regarded as one of the luckiest winners of the English 
Derby (1883). For some reason, which I have forgotten, 
he was sent out to New York to be sold when he was 
thirteen years old. Speculation was rife for weeks as 
to what price he would bring, and many prominent 
owners and breeders were mentioned as determined 
to secure him. The sale took place at Tattersall's 
of New York, one evening after dinner, and round the 
sale ring were gathered many of the prominent sportsmen 
of the country, in evening dress and otherwise, with 
quite a number of ladies of the " Four Hundred " of 
the city. W. Easton (" Billy "), the best horse auc- 
tioneer I ever saw, courteous and well bred, mounted 
the rostrum, and after the usual remarks and giving 
the animal's pedigree, he said, " What price shall I say 
for St. Blaise ? " " Like a bolt from the blue " came 
the voice of Charles Reed, the famous Kentucky breeder, 
" One hundred thousand dollars ! " (£20,000). There 
was no higher bid, and St. Blaise had become the property 
of a new owner in less than two minutes ! The price 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 199 

seemed a large one for a horse of his age, who might be 
considered to have seen some of his best days, but Reed's 
judgment soon received ample endorsement. St. Blaise 
sired many notable winners, and many of his progeny 
took high rank amongst the best-class racehorses of 
the United States. 

Harking back to The Prodigal Daughter, after the 
great success in New York we naturally looked forward 
to a very successful tour through the country — but, 
strange to say, though the business was good, it was not 
enormous, nor indeed as good as was expected. We 
started in Harlem, followed by Brooklyn ; and then 
we were met with a " facer " by the burning of the 
Globe, Boston, where we were due for the third week, 
which caused us a three weeks' lay off. The Globe, 
Boston, was managed by a gentleman named John B. 
Stetson, quite one of the " characters " of that day. 
Mr. Stetson had made a great deal of money as the 
proprietor of many pawnshops. How and why he 
entered the theatrical arena I know not, but he loomed 
up quite large in dramatic matters, and had several 
theatres as well as companies under his control. Some 
of Gilbert and Sullivan's operas were first produced in 
America by him. He had not had many of the advan- 
tages of education, and some of his lapses were worthy of 
Mrs. Malaprop herself. Once after a sea voyage, when 
he had suffered a great deal, on setting foot on the New 
York landing-stage he said, " Ah ! thank God ! once 
more on terra cotta ! " But perhaps his finest effort 
was at Booth's Theatre (then under his management). 
A Passion Play was being rehearsed, and he sailed down 
the parquette (the equivalent of our stalls) and said 



200 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 



to the stage manager, " Who are them fellows on the 
stage now ? " Reply : " Those, Mr. Stetson, are the 

Twelve Apostles ! " John B. S. : " The d 1 ! What's 

the good of twelve on a stage this size ? Have fifty." 

When our tour recommenced we went pretty nearly 
everywhere, finishing up at Boston on April 28, 1894, and 
I sailed for home on the s.s. New York on May 9, and 
arrived at Southampton on May 16. 

During the tour I wrote for Miss Kate Field's Washing- 
ton, at her suggestion, an article on Samuel Phelps, which 
was pretty extensively quoted in the Boston Transcript 
and several papers elsewhere. 



XXII 

When I got home I intended taking a long rest, but 

almost as soon as I landed I received a cable from Joseph 

Brooks, one of my old managers, offering me terms I 

could not afford to refuse, for a summer season at 

McVickar's, Chicago; and after just seventeen days in 

England I left Southampton by the s.s. Chester on June 

3, arrived in New York June 13, left for Chicago June 

23, and after rehearsals, began the engagement on July 

2, 1894, in a play by Francis Reinau, entitled. An 

American Heiress, which proved to be worthless. This 

was followed on July 26 by a comedy by the brilliant 

American dramatist Augustus Thomas, entitled. New 

Blood. Although Mr. Thomas had (and has since) 

written many admirable plays, this did not turn out 

one of his best. It would be well described as slightly 

" sketchy," and was only moderately successful. It 

failed badly when subsequently tried in New York. 

Both plays were splendidly cast and played. Looking 

back on the names of the company engaged they read 

almost like a list of stars. Many of them have since 

become so. Couldock, E. M. Holland, Wilton Lackaye, 

Maurice Barrymore, George Nash, J. F. Saville, J. H. 

Barnes, Orris Johnson, Roy Fairchild, Ffolliott Paget, 

Anne O'Neill, Gladys Wallis, Lilian Lawrence, Jennie 

Eustace, and many others, constituted a company 

201 



202 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 



formidable and forceful enough for anything. But the 
business was only fair, and the season ended on Septem- 
ber 8. Several of my scraps of poems were published 
in the Chicago papers during my stay there. Arriving 
in New York, on my way home, on September 10, I 
was pounced on by Marcus Mayer, who insisted on engag- 
ing me for Augustin Daly to support Miss Olga Nether- 
sole in her first appearance in the United States. This 
lady opened at Wallack's on October 15 in A. W. Gattie's 
play The Transgressor, which proved disappointing. 
On October 29 Miss Nethersole played Camille for the 
first time. She gave an admirable performance of this 
well-known part. Barrymore played Armand Duval 
excellently, and I was extraordinarily fortunate as 
Duval pere. All the parts were in strong hands, and 
business improved materially. After New York we 
went to Philadelphia, where we played Camille^ The 
Transgressor f and where Miss Nethersole played Juliet 
for the first time to the Romeo of Maurice Barrymore. 
In this production I played Friar Laurence. I am afraid 
that I had been spoiled by the performances of some 
former Juliets, and this one did not greatly impress me. 
From Philadelphia we went to Pittsburgh, where we 
played the same bills. By this time I was longing to 
get home, and as I was not particularly happy in the 
engagement, I gave in my resignation, and left the com- 
pany on December 1, coming through to New York, 
and sailing for home on the s.s. New York on December 
12, arriving on December 20 in time for Christmas. 
I am inclined to think that Miss Nethersole was then on 
the road to positive greatness. I had seen her play 
the Countess Zicka (Diplomacy) under the strong stage- 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 203 

management of John Hare at the Garrick, and I con- 
sider her much the best performer of the part that I have 
seen up to this day, and her Camille was at first a splendid 
portrayal. I shall have occasion to refer to her and 
her art later on. 

This engagement was the last time I played with 
Barrymore, whom I had known, as previously stated, 
under his own name of Blythe before, and at the time 
of his first appearance on the stage. He was quite 
an extraordinary character, a Bohemian of the most 
pronounced type. As a young man he won the light- 
weight, middle-weight, and heavy-weight boxing cham- 
pionship of England (Queensberry Rules) in three con- 
secutive years. He became quite a good actor, wrote 
several capital plays, and had a ready wit of the first 
order. During our engagement in Philadelphia, one 
night at the Press Club a fellow-countryman of ours 
who had " looked on the wine when it was red " was 
boring and upsetting us by making silly and almost 
offensive comparisons between the two countries, to the 
annoyance of our kindly hosts. After having shown 
him more than once that we were not inclined to agree 
with him, he suddenly turned to " Barry " and said : 
" Why, hang it, Barry, they can't spell in this country, 
can they? They spell honour h-o-n-o-r, and labour 
1-a-b-o-r, don't they ? " In a flash " Barry " replied, 
" Of course, old man, when they are talking about labour 
and honour they leave you out of the question." During 
one of his later visits to England he adapted a play from 
the French, which was accepted and produced by John 
Clayton at the old Court under the title of Honour. 
When the cast was being discussed Clayton said to him, 



204 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

" My dear Barry, I should awfully like you to play the 

part of , but you know, my dear fellow, with your 

American accent it is quite impossible." Barry thought 
for a moment and replied, " This is funny ! When I am 
in America I am twitted with my English accent. Now 
I'm in England my American accent is considered an 
obstacle. Hang it all, I can't get my living reciting 
on the Atlantic." A play of his called Nadjeska only 
just missed being a great success at the Haymarket. 
His wife (" Georgie " Drew) played one of the principal 
parts. One of the quips therein provoked a roar of 
laughter on the first and every night. In a comedy 
scene Mrs. Barrymore said to a gentleman who was 
paying her marked attention, " Are your intentions 
honourable ? " He replied, " Am I to understand that 
I have the choice ? " 

Nadjeska was the play that " Barry " always claimed 
was the original of Sardou's La Tosca. A heated con- 
troversy took place in a Parisian newspaper (if my 
memory serves me, Le Figaro) between Sarah Bernhardt 
and him at the time of the production of the latter play 
as to the fact, and finally the great Sarah wrote denying 
all knowledge of Barrymore or his play. In a reply of 
biting sarcasm, such as he was master of, he stated that 
he handed his MS. to her at the supper-table of, and in 
the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Henry E. Abbey. I know 
nothing of the merits of the case. I merely state what 
came out in the correspondence. Undoubtedly, though, 
there was a tremendous similarity in the story of the 
two plays. About this time I placed some plays for 
performance. I had previously brought a comedy 
called Incog, from the U.S., which was produced by 




Photo] 



[Turner and DrinkaiUcr 
J^ H. BARNES AS MICHAEL DENNIS 

{" Her Advocate ") 



[To lace page 205 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 205 

Charles Hawtrey under the title of Tom, Dick, and Harry. 
It did not make mueh money in London, but was a 
success for years in the provinces, and was the basis 
of the career and fortune of the present successful 
manager, Frank Curzon. Miss Rose Coghlan produced 
in New York a play called Nemesis, by the same authoress, 
Mrs. Romualdo Pacheco, by my advice. It was com- 
pletely spoiled by insufficient rehearsal, and failed 
badly. Edward Terry accepted from me a comedy by 
Walter S. Craven, entitled An Innocent Abroad, which 
was successful, and remained in his repertory to the 
end of his life. Another play by Craven, called A Cruel 
Law, was secured by Henry Dana, and tried tentatively, 
with success, though not proceeded with for outside 
reasons, A farce-comedy by Barrymore, Blood Will Tell, 
was retained by option by W. S. Penley, and afterwards 
by Messrs. Greet and Engelbach, but never produced 
up to now. Finally, I was the means of bringing Mrs. 
Madeleine Lucette Ryley before the London public, 
through the medium of the comedy Christopher, Junior, 
which was secured by W. S. Penley, and afterwards 
transferred to Fred Kerr, who produced it at Terry's, 
under the title of Jedhury, Junior. Mrs. Ryley had 
very considerable success with subsequent plays, includ- 
ing Mice and Men, produced by Forbes Robertson. 

After my return home I did nothing except a few odd 
weeks until September 26, 1895, when I appeared in a 
play called Her Advocate, by Walter Frith, at the Duke 
of York's. In this I had my first chance as an Irishman 
in London. It was only a small part, but a delightful 
one, named Michael Dennis, a briefless barrister, who 
described himself in the line " O'im the last o' the 



206 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

Juniors and O'im sixty in May." I was most fortunate 
in pleasing the Press and the pubhc and got some 
excellent notices, and even such a stickler for the brogue 
as Lord Donoughmore was loud in my praises on that 
score. The play, however, was not a great success, 
though many good artists were in it, including Misses 
Gertrude Kingston, Lena Ashwell, Henrietta Watson, 
Messrs. Charles Cartwright, C. W. Somerset, F. Volpe, 
A. Holmes-Gore, and others. In October, 1895, I went 
round the corner and joined E. S. Willard at the Garrick 
in a play by Jerome K. Jerome, entitled The Rise of Dick 
Halward, played by a very strong cast, including 
Willard, Marion Terry, H. V. Esmond, Annie Hughes, 
etc., but, unfortunately, not successful, and in The 
Projessofs Love Story , by J. M. Barrie, revived in Novem- 
ber, I played a full Scottish part, Henders. In both 
these plays I got splendid notices, and it was curious 
that I should have played an Irish and Scottish part 
in London within two months of each other. Apropos 
of this fact, my experience teaches me that the faculty 
for brogues and dialects is a thing to be grateful for 
and not egotistical about. I have played Irish parts in 
Dublin, Scottish parts in Edinburgh, and Yorkshire 
and Lancashire parts in the North of England, and all 
without any special application, and I have known 
artists of much greater standing than myself who could 
never simulate any kind of dialect at all. It seems to 
me that it is just the same as an ear for music. You have 
it or you haven't — and if you have, a short sojourn 
amongst people of a different district and the ear catches 
the fall of the vowels and consonants, and you find 
yourself speaking like those around you. In The Pro- 




Photo] 



[Alfred EUia 



J. H. BARNES AS HENDERS 

(" Prolessot'a Love Story") 



[To /aM rotfe 200 



1 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 207 

fessor^s Love Story appeared Willard, Annie Hughes, 
Fred Tyler, Mrs. Canninge, and others. A curious fact 
in connection with this play is that the three Scottish 
parts which cause so much amusement — viz. Pete, 
Henders, and Effie — are so far away from the main 
story that with the alteration of one line they could 
be taken out bodily without affecting the dramatic 
interest of the play. A very Scottish custodian of a 
library near the theatre offered to make a wager not 
only that I was a Scot, but that he could tell the part 
of Scotland I came from, and he named Arbroath. 
This engagement carried me up to March 7, 1896, 
and I was cast in the play which followed — the comedy 
by Henry Arthur Jones, The Rogue's Comedy — but the 
part was one I felt my personality entirely unsuited to. 
Whilst I was hesitating I got an offer for something I 
much preferred, and Willard generously released me 
from my contract. The offer in question was to play 
in that delightful comedy, Rosemary, by L. N. Parker 
and Murray Carson, produced at the Criterion, May 16, 
1896, which made a pronounced hit, and was declared 
one of the most charming plays seen in London for many 
years. The cast was a comparatively small one, and 
practically every one of us scored a success, but what 
was not generally known then, and is perhaps stated here 
for the first time, is that four of those parts were played 
by artists not originally chosen for their portrayal. 
Thus, my old friend, Alfred Bishop, rehearsed Professor 
Jogram and gave it up, finding a difficulty in reconciling 
the two different characteristics of the part. Then it 
fell to me. Bishop then rehearsed the post-boy Minifie, 
and Edward Righton, Captain Cruikshank. Righton 



208 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

was suffering from the acute asthma from which he 
never really recovered, which increased so distressingly 
that he was forced to retire from the cast, and Bishop 
took his place. James Welch was engaged for Minifie. 
A young lady whose name I have forgotten rehearsed 
Priscilla, but was found unsuitable, and Miss Annie 
Hughes stepped into her place. All four of these parts 
became good features of a notable success. Charles 
Wyndham (he was not Sir Charles in those days) played 
splendidly as Sir Jasper Thorndyke, an easy, graceful, 
humorous performance of the highest class. Perhaps 
in the last act, which is a monologue where Sir Jasper 
is supposed to be a nonagenarian, he was not quite 
so effective, but that was as much due to the authors 
as the artists. Many good judges considered that it 
would have been better if some of the other characters 
had lived to keep Sir Jasper company, and I rather agree 
with them. Indeed, I have been told that if the play 
is ever revived that will be found to have been done. 
I have no means of knowing if this information is correct. 
Miss Mary Moore has rarely played more daintily or 
sweetly than as Dorothy Cruikshank. Kenneth Douglas 
was quite admirable as William Westwood, the impulsive 
and perky young lover; and there was only one word 
for Miss Carlotta Addison as Mrs. Cruikshank — she was 
perfect. Altogether it was a signally happy stage event. 
The play ran till July 25, was suspended for the hot 
weather, was revived on October 6, and ran until Boxing 
Night, December 26 ; run again, suspended for Christmas 
holidays, revived February 13, 1897, and went on 
until March 20. It also made a great success in New 
York. One amusing incident occurred to me. At that 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 209 

time I had a very dear friend, manager of a branch bank. 

He was a good theatre-goer, a great wit, and a loyal and 

amusing companion. He was also a great Phelpsite, 

having seen nearly all the grand old man's performances 

for years. About the time Rosemary was nearing the 

end of its run he came to see it, and we supped together 

afterwards. Beyond a general appreciation of the play 

and the acting, he did not say much, and I did not seek 

his opinion, knowing that I should be sure to get it in 

his own humorous way. Whilst smoking a cigar later 

on he suddenly roused himself and said : " Jack ! I 

shouldn't have thought one actor could recollect as 

much of another as you do of the old man." And so it 

was. Professor Jogram, in one scene, was as near as I 

could make it a reproduction of one of my old patron's 

great performances, and my friend was the only one of 

all London to " spot " it. I suppose some men might 

have been annoyed. I was delighted. I have always 

held the theory that the great traditions of our difficult 

art are always worth considering, as much as the works 

of the Old Masters are considered a fitting study, 

and an almost indispensable part of, the education of a 

would-be painter. 



XXIII 

During the summer break in the run of Rosemary 
(September 1896), I was engaged to star conjointly 
with Miss Bella Pateman for two weeks at the Elephant 
and Castle, in Proof. We did capital business, and 
apparently pleased our audiences immensely, but it was 
rather disheartening on more than one occasion to find 
ourselves playing second to a " harmless necessary cat." 
It appeared the theatre was over-run with rats, and this 
cat was kept with a view to their repression or exter- 
mination. Twice during our engagement, as a re- 
laxation from his own profession, he chose to take a 
hand in ours. He advanced from the first entrance, 
walked deliberately to the middle of the stage, at the 
footlights, and there sat down and proceeded to wash 
his face in the approved manner of his tribe. Of course, 
no theatrical art could stand such opposition as this, 
and we played a distinct " second fiddle." 

Just before I joined the stage there were several 

animal dramas extant. Dramas to exploit performing 

lions, bears, and dogs, such as The Dog of Montargis, 

The Forest of Bondy, etc. I suggested to the manager 

of the theatre (Mr. D'Estarre) that he should have a 

play written for and round this particular cat, who had 

already solved one important phase of our art, viz. 

perfect self-possession. Maurice Barrymore once de- 

210 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 211 

scribed a certain American artist as an actor " who be- 
lieved in God and the centre of the stage." If my sug- 
gestion had been followed I fear the Elephant and 
Castle cat would have been known as a very " selfish 
star." At the Christmas break in Rosemary we revived 
at the Criterion the comedy Betsy, which had first been 
produced at that theatre, with a strong cast, including 
Alfred Bishop, James Welch, Aubrey Boucicault, 
Kenneth Douglas, Miss Annie Hughes, Miss Carlotta 
Addison, Miss Sybil Carlisle and others. It is a scream- 
ing farcical comedy, which went with a roar of laughter 
from end to end and played to good business. I 
played another Irishman, Captain McManus. I re- 
member in connection with this production we were 
terribly upset one night by two disorderly men and two 
ill-behaved ladies in a private box, who were talking 
at the top of their voices and making such a noise that 
it was almost impossible for us to play our scenes, and 
the audience expressed annoyance more than once. 
During the second act the ladies of the company became 
quite disconcerted, and there was no alternative but to 
try to stop it. Advancing to the box I markedly 
addressed one of the gentlemen thus : " Excuse me, sir, 
but I think at the present moment the audience would 
rather hear me than you." There was a big round of 
applause from the audience, and the nuisance ceased. 
At the end of the act the principal offender and his 
friends felt it convenient to leave the theatre, and, as John 
Coleman once said, under similar circumstances, '* we 
thought ourselves well rid of a knave." 

The year 1896, though successful and pleasant, pro- 
fessionally, was, perhaps, the saddest in all my manhood. 



212 FORTY YEARS ON THE. STAGE 



Through circumstances of almost unparalleled treachery, 
I suffered a terrible domestic affliction. With my old 
world view of life and its responsibilities, it might have 
completely overwhelmed me, but that my trouble showed 
me the number of good friends I had, who, by their 
consideration and sympathy, helped me to bear and 
finally recover from the blow that I had suffered. It 
is true that this very grief brought in its train a great 
deal of compensating happiness, but it also left in its 
wake one deep scar, which will probably outlive me, 
and that, in the case of those dear to us, is a tragedy 
more dread even than losing them. But iron is hardened 
and toughened by blows ; and the care of the afflicted, 
like that of children, can become so humanising as to 
amount to a tender charge, which we bear with forti- 
tude if we have got the right sort of grit in our natures. 
After two or three odd engagements, in the early 
summer of 1897 I was retained by Mr. Beerbohm Tree 
for a play which was abandoned after two or three re- 
hearsals, and, in place of it, I played Taffy in Trilby and 
Allan Villiers in The Red Lamp, in revivals of those 
plays at Her Majesty's. I need not dwell on the 
manager's great performances of Svengali and Deme- 
trius. They have been fully recognised by the Press 
and the public, and they were amongst those artistic 
triumphs which helped him to the very front rank of 
character actors. Amongst the strong company at 
Her Majesty's were Mrs. (now Lady) Tree; that popular 
comedian, Lionel Brough; the present successful 
manager and actor Gerald du Maurier (son of the brilliant 
Punch draughtsman, who also wrote the story of Trilby.) 
These were Gerald's early appearances, and he, even 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 213 

then, showed very clearly the qualities which have since 
placed him in the van of living actors. Also Charles 
Brookfield was in the cast, and as well Miss Rosina 
Filippi, Miss Dorothea Baird (Mrs. H. B. Irving), 
and Lewis Waller. It will be remembered that this was 
the Diamond Jubilee year, and one very great event 
occurred when Mr. Tree invited all the Colonial Premiers 
then visiting England to the theatre and afterwards to 
a reception and recherche supper on the stage. A very 
notable and brilliant gathering. 

After that, July 17, 1897, I played for four weeks in 
a comedy at the Criterion, Four Little Girls, by Walter 
S. Craven. I was responsible for the production of 
this play. It appeared to greatly please the audi- 
ences who saw it, but the weather was dreadfully hot, 
and from that or other causes it was not attractive 
enough to be kept in the bill. One recollection of this 
play is still vivid in my mind. It was the last ap- 
pearance of that extraordinarily funny actor William 
Blakeley. Probably very few comedians have ever 
pleased or got more laughter from a public than this 
genial and eccentric old friend. He was irresistible. 
Lines that appeared quite ordinary, not to say worthless, 
he would get " screams " for, and if he had a good scene 
to play he could easily hold his own with any kind of 
comedian who might be pitted against him. The 
stories told of him are amongst the most amusing of the 
modern stage, but most of them depend absolutely on 
his own mannerisms, and would appear quite pointless 
in cold print. Within a few weeks of writing these 
lines a gentleman in America, in talking of the early 
visits to that country of Charles Wyndham and the 



214 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

elder Sothern, said to me : " Yes ; but who was that 
wonderfully funny old gentleman they had with them ? " 
This was William Blakeley. His remark on his first 
visit to New York has become a classic. Jolting in a 
carriage, over a very badly-paved street on his way 
from the dock to his hotel, he got exasperated, and said : 
" Oh, hang it ! I knew I shouldn't like the beastly 
country before I started." Once, seated behind a 
gentleman at the club, who was playing poker (Blakeley 
only knew the game of Napoleon), he blurted out : 
" Three aces and two kings ! By gad ! I should go Nap ! " 
The discomfiture of the holder of the hand, who was a 
keen player, may be imagined by those who play cards 
and know the games in question. On the occasion of 
his last appearance he had great difficulty in remembering 
his words. I was playing the opposite part and, with 
the affection I had for him, I had covered up his dis- 
crepancies from the audience by speaking much of 
his part as well as my own, when, in the third act, to 
my utter dismay, he suddenly exclaimed : "As I was 
going to say when you interrupted me," etc. Poor old 
"Bill." It was his last effort; and very soon after 
the curtain fell finally on as funny an actor as 
ever lived. We all mourned the loss of a genial old 
friend, and the public that of one of their primest mirth- 
pro vokers. We tried the play for a week in a suburban 
theatre, but it did not succeed. 

The autumn of 1897 was one of great interest and 
importance to me. I played Polonius for the first time 
in my life in support of Forbes -Robertson, who then 
made his first appearance as Hamlet. The circumstance 
of my doing so was a little amusing. Forbes and I had 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 215 

both been protdg^s of Mr. Phelps, and our careers 
had run on similar lines, though in different fields. I 
mean we had both been leading men for many years, 
and, although I had begun to drift into character parts, 
I had not definitely taken up the line of business known 
as old men. With that kindly consideration for others 
denoting the true gentleman, which has been one of 
his distinguishing characteristics all his life, he hesi- 
tated about asking me to play Polonius to his Hamlet. 
I well remember he called at my house, and, with more 
than ordinary trepidation, broached the subject to 
me, telling me how much he would like me to accept 
the part, and begging me not to be angry, but to give 
the matter my calm consideration. To his astonish- 
ment I accepted at once quite gladly, with the one 
reservation that I should be allowed to play the part 
as I read it in the book. He replied that that was 
just what he wanted, and the matter was settled there 
and then. We opened on September 11, 1897. It 
would be quite superfluous for me to add anything to 
the encomiums which greeted his performance. From 
then until to-day his has remained the Hamlet of our 
time — graceful, feeling, pathetic, scholarly, lovable — 
no Hamlet of our time has read the lines as beautifully 
or brought out their meaning with such distinction and 
such distinctness. Hamlets have been seen who ac- 
centuated this or that point with greater emphasis or 
greater elaboration. Hamlets have been seen for whom 
it was claimed that they reached greater heights of 
tragedy. Every actor finds something to suit his 
temperament in some part of Hamlet, and every thinker 
amongst the public has his pet theories as to what 



216 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

Shakespeare meant in the various scenes of the play, 
but the great heart of the paying public on both sides 
of the Atlantic for the last sixteen years has declared 
with no uncertain voice for the Hamlet of Johnston 
Forbes -Robertson. On this notable occasion, I am 
very proud to say I was not found wanting. For years 
and years I had seen Polonius played, as I thought, 
quite " out of shape." Tradition is a splendid thing on 
the stage, and I firmly believe in it, but when it does 
lead wrongly it leads very wrongly indeed. Numbers 
of parts have got " out of gear " through exigencies 
of cast at some time or other and various different causes, 
and perhaps no one part had suffered more in the past 
than Polonius. I have seen performances of it which 
made me shudder. I determined to blot everything out 
of my vision, and, as the elder Boucicault said (to which 
I have referred in my earlier notes), read what the author 
said. I found him the acting Lord Chamberlain of the 
court, a splendid father, with a keen eye for the main 
chance, and a never-failing solicitude for the welfare 
of his son and daughter; far too wise and prudent to 
make an enemy of the prince whom he firmly believes 
to be mad — or very nearly so — and, in short, ever 
ready, when meeting this prince, with what in modern 
slang is known as " spoof." On these lines I played him ; 
I venture to assert he was as amusing as he had ever been 
without losing a particle of his dignity or his character. 
It is my pleasure that the Press were unanimous in my 
praise, and my friends, the public, showed me very un- 
mistakably that I had pleased them. A compliment 
which I greatly appreciated came from that fine 
writer and Shakespearean student, Herman Meri- 



I 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 217 

vale. He had often spoken pleasantly of my work in 
poetic plays. Just after the production of Hamlet^ 
I met him, coming out of the Garrick Club, and, grasping 
my hand heartily, he said : " My dear Jack Barnes, 
all I have to say about your Polonius is that no one dare 
play it the old way as long as you are alive." What 
could one desire more? I was very happy over the 
whole matter. The cast included Mrs. Patrick Camp- 
bell, Miss Granville, Miss Sydney Crowe, Messrs. Cooper 
Cliffe, Bernard Gould (Bernard Partridge of Punch)^ 
Graham Browne, Franklyn Dyall, Martin Harvey, 
Fisher White, James Hearn, Ian Robertson, and others. 
The play ran until December 18, 1897. 

This December is deeply graven on the minds of 
many actors and others by the brutal murder of our 
fellow-artist William Terriss. " Breezy Bill, " as his 
associates loved to call him, was done to death by a 
degenerate of the worst type, named Prince, and a thrill 
of horror ran through the entire community at the 
callous determination of the crime. No motive for it 
could be established, beyond the fact that the criminal 
had been a super in the theatre with Terriss, and whilst 
the latter was a great success in life his slayer was a 
hopeless failure. To me personally it was especially 
horrible. Will Terriss and I had been great " pals " since 
the year 1872, when we were almost boys together at 
Drury Lane, and, on more than one occasion of late 
rehearsals, etc., he had actually shared my bed. We 
had more than once talked of joining forces in the pro- 
duction of a play we both greatly believed in, but some- C 
thing always occurred to put an obstacle in the way. c 
He was killed as he was entering the private door of >' 






218 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

the Adelphi to prepare for his evening performance. 
No one would claim for Terriss that he was a great 
actor, but he filled a niche in London theatricals which 
was all his own, and which it is bare justice to say has 
had no such efficient occupant since his death. If 
anybody is found to quibble at this statement I would 
remind him of the sympathetic crowds that lined the 
three miles of streets when we followed him from his 
house in Chiswick to his last home in Brompton Ceme- 
tery. Doubtless the terrible tragedy of his death had 
created a special interest, but " Bill " Terriss was a 
huge public favourite, and his name a household word. 
In some parts, such as Squire Thornhill (Olivia) and 
Nemours {Louis XI.) he was positively splendid, whilst 
his Henry VIII., with Irving at the Lyceum, was very 
admirable, if falling a little short of greatness, but as 
the hero of the dramas at the Adelphi, such as Henry 
Kingsley {Harbour Lights), and indeed in the whole 
series of the plays done about then at that theatre, 
he was absolutely unapproachable, and up to now un- 
approached. To his other fascinating qualities he 
added a delightful impudence which was amazing. I 
remember being present at the Haymarket to witness a 
comedy called The Crisis. When the curtain went up 
on the first act Will was discovered standing by the 
fireplace with a needle and cotton calmly sewing a but- 
ton on his waistcoat whilst taking part in the opening 
dialogue. Perfectly natural, perhaps, but, let us say, 
a little unusual ! 

A good story was extant at the time which ran thus : 
Frank Tyars and he were next-door neighbours at 
Chiswick, and Tyars had a saddle-horse for sale. One 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 219 

day Terriss, at work in his garden, saw a man come to 
Tyars's door, accosted him, and learned that he had 
come to look at the horse with a view to purchase. 
Tyars was in London for the day. Terriss, without 
a moment's hesitation, took the man round to the 
livery stable where the animal stood, struck a bargain 
for its sale, took the money, gave the man possession, 
and, when he came up to the theatre (the Lyceum) in 
the evening, said : " Well, Frank, I've sold the horse 
and here's the money." All this without one word 
of authority from Tyars, who thought he might have 
got a little more, but was so thoroughly amused at the 
whole thing that he accepted the situation. But stories 
abounded of his amusing " cheek," and he left a very 
great void behind him when so brutally taken from us. 
His murderer, Prince, is, I believe, still living in com- 
parative comfort at Broadmoor, " detained during his 
Majesty's pleasure." I am afraid he came of rather 
bad stock. It may be of some dramatic interest to 
chronicle the fact that his sister (they were from Dundee) 
was a well-known member of the half-world of London, 
who had been one of the celebrated " Big Six " of Alex- 
ander Henderson's first production of Les Cloches de 
Corneville at the Charing Cross Theatre — a galaxy of 
very fine women. She even developed dramatic as- 
pirations, and a play, avowedly written by her, was 
given for a matinie at the old Gaiety. It had a run of 
one consecutive afternoon only. After this she was 
mixed up in a well-known actor's divorce case, and she 
was one of many mentioned in connection with a much- 
execrated European monarch who died a few years ago. 
Unrecognised by her married name she was found 



220 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

by a doctor, dead, in a house in London recently — a 
faithful little dog and a half-empty bottle of brandy by 
her side — and without a human being near or within 
sound. Truly an ill-starred brother and sister ! 

In the beginning of 1898 I was engaged by Forbes- 
Robertson for his trip to Germany, and we left by the 
Queenborough and Flushing route on February 22, 
arriving in Berlin on February 23. We opened in Hamlet 
at Kroll's Opera House in the Thiergarten on March 3. 
The German Press were most liberal to us, especially 
to our star, and a very charming appreciation of him 
and our work generally came from Josef Kainz, the 
distinguished German actor, who was then playing in 
Berlin, who afterwards became an immense favourite 
in Vienna, and who died only a short time ago. In 
addition to Hamlet we played The Second Mrs, Tan- 
queray (March 7) for Mrs. Patrick Campbell, in which 
she duplicated her great London success, but Forbes- 
Robertson found poor scope for his powers in the some- 
what negative part of Aubrey Tanqueray. On March 
14 we produced Macbeth. This was Robertson's first 
appearance in that part, and also Mrs. Campbell's 
first effort as Lady Macbeth. I played Macduff. The 
'personnel of the company was very much the same as 
in London. The whole experiment was immensely in- 
teresting, although with our large expenses and the 
prices of seats prevalent in Germany I fear our manager 
did not make money, but the kudos of his success gave 
him any amount of admirable advertisement for his 
subsequent home tour. I must say Berlin itself palled 
on me pretty quickly. It is all so terribly correct 
and uniform that one almost pined for a little irregu- 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 221 

larity, and most certainly the ever-present militarism 
got on my nerves to the extent of boredom after awhile. 
Wherever you turned nothing but soldiers with their 
ostentatious salute of passing officers; all the statues 
in the streets, most of the pictures in the museums 
apparently designed to foster the fighting spirit. And 
the crowds of students everywhere on the Sunday 
afternoons, the majority of their faces slit and 
cut about by duelling swords all pointing in the 
same direction. A brilliant military officer whom I 
sat next to at a luncheon given to Forbes-Robertson at 
the Berliner Club (whose name must necessarily be 
withheld) explained this to me in perfect English thus : 
" You saw, Mr. Barnes, when you came to Berlin that 
we have little or no frontier. We have made our 
country by force of arms, and we have to keep it by the 
same power. Rightly or wrongly, we are prepared to 
fight an enemy on either or both sides, and every man 
will be at his post and every pound of provisions to 
feed him in twenty-four hours." This point is brought 
forcibly under your notice by all the rolling stock of 
all the railways bearing the Government mark of its 
capacity for carrying men, horses, and provisions in 
time of war. This officer's remarks give me the cue 
for recording my opinion that Prussia (proper) is not 
only a flat, grey country, but that I also found the 
Prussians a fiat, dull people as a whole. As one journeys 
south in Germany and gets among the mountains and 
the sunshine the whole character of the population 
appears to change. I wonder if my readers will agree 
with the statement which I make from my own obser- 
vation, that nearly all art, music, and charm in life 



222 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

appear to follow the sun and thrive more satisfactorily 
among bright and picturesque surroundings. 

Probably the outstanding impression remaining in 
my mind of my visit to Berlin is that of the Emperor. 
At the time of which I am writing he was even more 
in the public eye that he is to-day. All Europe was 
regarding him with the keenest interest as well as 
anxiety, and opinions were very varied as to his inten- 
tions and his characteristics. Most assuredly one had 
to go to Berlin to realise his tremendous hold on the 
affection and admiration of his people, and the reason 
of it. It would be quite impossible to overstate his 
indefatigability. He was surely the hardest working 
man in the whole of his dominions. Morning, noon, 
and night, whatever affected the welfare of the citizens, 
found him taking a personal interest in it. After his 
usual ride up the Unter den Linden in the morning you 
were liable to meet the Royal carriage half a dozen 
times a day driving hither and thither with its Imperial 
occupant inspecting for himself everything of public 
consequence. A small evidence of his systematic self- 
discipline was connected with us. He came to see 
Forbes-Robertson play Hamlet, and sent for him to 
offer him his gracious congratulations, but it put him 
a little " out of his stride." It drove his plain supper 
off to a later hour than he liked before retiring. He 
came again to see us play Macbeth, and this time an 
extra carriage in the retinue carried a chef and small 
cooking apparatus, and his modest supper was served 
in the retiring room at the back of his box after the 
third act, so that he would not pay us the bad compli- 
ment of leaving before the end of the play, but was then 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 223 

able to retire immediately he reached the castle. A 
small matter to record, perhaps, but all part of a big 
man's earnestness. 

From Berlin we went to Hanover (March 16), a dear 
old-world city with its picturesque home of the ancient 
Royal family and a perfectly magnificent Opera House, 
where we played. From Hanover to Hamburg (March 
28), with its busy river full of shipping and bustling 
industry everywhere, and its beautiful ornamental 
water (the Alster Basin) in the middle of the city ; and 
from there to Amsterdam (March 28), which, tome, was 
much the most charming of the four places we visited. 
Everything was so different to all one's experiences. 
To see the groceries delivered and the dust refuse col- 
lected by boat; the old Dutch buildings overlooking 
the canals, as well as the character of the people — all 
was picturesque, novel, and delightful. Of course we 
went to the Island of Marken, in the Zuyder Zee, where 
Henry Labouchere (previously mentioned) was born, 
and where the natives continue to wear their last cen- 
tury costumes for business purposes and sell you souvenirs 
and tokens, manufactured (I shrewdly suspect) in Bir- 
mingham. I have always remembered Amsterdam 
with the keenest pleasure, and one of its greatest 
delights was a Rembrandt picture in the public gallery, 
supposed to be the artist's finest example, " The Night 
Watch." No work of art has ever fascinated me quite 
so much as this. I found myself gazing on it at least 
five out of the seven days I was there. We played the 
same three plays in all the cities we visited. In Amster- 
dam a most gratifying notice appeared in one of the 
newspapers, coupling my name with that of our star 



224 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

at all points, and expressing the hope that " Messrs. 
Forbes-Robertson and Barnes would soon pay a return 
visit to show the citizens what the English Shakespeare 
meant by Hamlet and Polonius." We left Amsterdam 
on April 3, and returned to London, as before, via 
Queenborough and Flushing. 



i 



XXIV 

Back in England, we commenced a tour of the pro- 
vincial towns, beginning at the Grand, Islington, where 
we played Hamlet all the week. On the Saturday a 
New York manager of my acquaintance, visiting London, 
went with me to the theatre and made Robertson a 
very fine offer to visit the United States with Hamlet 
in the autumn of the year. The financial proposition 
was most tempting and even extraordinary, but certain 
outside conditions were unacceptable, and America 
had to wait some years before seeing this fine perform- 
ance. We visited Newcastle, Glasgow, Edinburgh, 
Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool. The Press 
was most laudatory about Hamlet, but not so enthusiastic 
about Macbeth. Business was fine everywhere. During 
our week in Edinburgh (May 14), a luncheon was ten- 
dered to Mr. Robertson and Mrs. Patrick Campbell by 
the well-known artistic club. The Pen and Pencil, to 
which I was invited, and after the principal guests had 
been toasted the hon. secretary, Mr. W. W. Macfarlane, 
proposed my health in glowing terms, alluding most 
feelingly to my old association with the city. It was 
received with the greatest favour, and I had a big lump 
in my throat and a strongly palpitating heart as I rose 
to respond. During this tour some of my poems 
appeared in the Manchester Chronicle ; and the Admiralty 

Q 225 



226 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

and Horse Guards* Gazette, of London, reprinted a whole 
series of them in July, August and September of the 
same year, 1898, and a new one entitled, " Behef — a 
Parallel," May 18, 1899. 

On September 1, I re-appeared in London at Her 
Majesty's in a play by L. N. Parker and Murray Carson, 
called The Termagant. I am afraid it was not quite 
a good play, but unfortunate dissensions arose at 
rehearsals between the authors and the star, Miss Olga 
Nethersole, causing certain changes in the cast, etc., 
and it failed to " catch on," finishing its short career on 
October 7. Hamlet was revived by Forbes -Robertson 
at the Lyceum on November 7, for three weeks. Busi- 
ness for the revival was not great. On December 6 I 
played in a broadly farcical comedy at Terry's entitled 
The Brixton Burglary, with a good cast, including James 
Welch, Holmes -Gore, F. Gottschalk, Frank Curzon, 
Maud Hobson, and Annie Hughes. It was well noticed, 
but business was only moderate, and the run finished 
January 21, 1899. The play afterwards made much 
money in the provinces and America. 

In February, 1899, 1 was engaged for a very interesting 
experiment. The New Century Theatre Society pro- 
duced at the Haymarket, for four matinies, February 
7, 9, 10, 13, a play by H. V. Esmond, entitled Grierson's 
Way. It dealt with a somewhat gruesome subject, but 
was a very fine piece of work. And in these days of 
ultra-realism I can never understand why it has not 
been revived. I feel sure it would be successful, 
although it will have been gathered from my oft-ex- 
pressed opinion it is not a class of play I am, personally, 
in sympathy with. At the Haymarket it had the 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 227 

advantage of an excellent company — the author him- 
self, G. S. Titheradge, Fred Terry, myself. Miss Lena 
Ashwell, and Miss Ingram. Esmond rehearsed us 
most carefully and considerately, and gave a splendidly 
vivid performance of a strangely dramatic character 
himself — a cripple whose nature and temperament were 
warped by his misfortune and who worked the evil of 
the story. I doubt if Miss Lena Ashwell ever played 
better than in this play, though perhaps she won't thank 
me for saying so. I have seen and admired much of her 
work on the stage. Of course, she has played many 
parts in pieces that ran for a long time and therefore 
made a greater impression on the public, such as in 
Mrs. Dane's Defence and many others, but with the 
advantage of the author's ideas, and in consultation 
with him, I think she never reached a higher plane 
in her art than in Grierson^s Way. The play did not 
prove attractive, but the business improved steadily 
for each of the four matinees, and it was beginning to be 
talked about a great deal when the last was reached. 

I am afraid that about this time I struck an unlucky 
streak. On April 28, 1899, I played in another play by 
L. N. Parker and Murray Carson at the Garrick, entitled 
Change Alley, founded on the dramatic episode in history 
of the South Sea Bubble. Much had been hoped for 
from this comedy drama, and it seemed to contain the 
elements of success during rehearsals. It partook of 
the nature of plays known as old comedies, was full 
of seemingly good parts, and a splendid company of 
London favourites were engaged for its representation ; 
but, alas I it fell hopelessly flat in performance, was 
condemned by the Press unanimously, and only ran 



228 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

eleven nights. I don't think the fault lay with the 
actors. On June 8, 1899, an article of mine appeared 
in The Stage on the subject of Stage Traditions, in which 
I pointed out the advantage of at least considering the 
effects produced by our predecessors, and called attention 
to several noteworthy examples of the great moments 
that had pleased and interested our fathers and mothers, 
in every case referring to the author's text to prove their 
truth and value. 

On July 11, 1899, a great supper was given by the 
Eccentric Club to the American visitors then in London, 
at which the American Ambassador (Mr. Joseph H. 
Choate) responded for the guests most eloquently. 
Amongst the well-known Americans present were David 
Belasco, John Drew, De Wolf Hopper, T. Henry French, 
Charles Klein, Nat Goodwin, McKee Rankin, and Burr 
Mcintosh. What extraordinarily fine orators the 
Americans are as a rule ! I have known many good 
after-dinner speakers in my time — the late Charles 
Dickens, jun., J. Comyns Carr, and several others — but 
the four very best I ever heard in their order were James 
Russell Lowell, Robert Ingersoll, Chauncey Depew, 
and Joseph H. Choate. 

On July 21, 1899, Rosemary was played with nearly all 
the original cast for Charles Wyndham's last appearance 
at the Criterion " after twenty-three years of continuous 
management." I don't quite know why, for he has often 
acted there since, but probably it was not his intention 
to do so at the time I write of. In 1899, four big benefits 
took place. The recipients were all loved and respected 
by the profession as well as the public. The former, 
including the writer, gladly joined in making up monster 



*1 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 229 

programmes, and the latter responded by their attend- 
ance and subscriptions, so that liberal results were 
obtained in each case. The first was that of Miss Lydia 
Thompson, held at the Lyceum, May 2. Miss Thompson 
was in her day the most dashing, shapely, pretty, 
and fascinating of burlesque boys, the wife of Alexander 
Henderson, and mother of that charming actress. Miss 
Zeffie Tilbury, who has found a successful field for her 
work for many years in America. As a young woman, 
Miss Thompson got a large amount of notoriety and 
advertisement by horse-whipping a man on the Press 
in Chicago, who had incurred her anger by some insulting 
remarks about her. On September 21, 1899, Charles 
Morton was given a birthday testimonial at the Palace 
with an immense programme of stars drawn from both 
theatre and music hall. Morton was the pioneer of the 
improved variety theatre of London and was often 
written of as the " father of the modern music hall." 
He had also some experience of theatres proper, having 
been the manager of the Philharmonic, Islington, when 
the immensely successful opera bouffe Genevieve de 
Brabantwas produced with Miss Emily Soldene as Drogan, 
on November 11, 1871. For hundreds of nights this 
tuneful opera drew all London to this somewhat out- 
lying theatre and made a large sum of money. After 
its run there, and, I think, one succeeding musical play, 
Mr. Morton became Miss Soldene 's manager, and con- 
ducted her tours through Great Britain and the United 
States for some years, finally returning to his first 
love, the music hall, and becoming manager, in 
turn, of the Alhambra and the Palace, etc. At the 
latter he finished his career and his hard-working 



280 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

life, and was greatly respected and regretted. The 
Philharmonic Theatre afterwards became the Grand, 
and is now given over to variety as the Islington Empire. 
Miss Soldene (whom I had once heard sing as Miss 
Fitzhenry at the old Oxford Music Hall) held a foremost 
place amongst comic opera singers for many years. She 
had a splendid voice and presence and was a thorough 
artist. She has written a book of her recollections, 
which is full of interest and amusing matter. The third 
of these benefits was tendered to Mrs. Billington at 
the Lyceum, November 28, 1899. A bumper programme 
and attendance ! Few actresses were more respected. 
For years and years at the old Adelphi Theatre she had 
played all sorts of parts, and all of them faultlessly. I 
did not see her Gretchen in Jefferson's original perform- 
ance of Rip Van Winkle, 1865, but he assured me in 
later years that she was the best he had ever played 
with. I did see her do an ideal piece of work in No 
Thoroughfare in 1867, when that play was first produced 
with an enormous cast, including Fechter, Ben Webster, 
Henry Neville, George Belmore, John Billington, Miss 
Carlotta Leclerq, Mrs. Alfred Mellon, and others. If 
I remember, she had only one scene — in the first act or 
prologue — but it stands out in my recollection as a 
very gem. Her Margery {Rough Diamond), Daphne 
{Pygmalion and Galatea), and the Widow Melnotte with 
me were splendid performances. Indeed, she touched 
nothing she did not adorn, and her list of successful 
impersonations would take a column to themselves. 
When it is added that she was a good-natured, humorous, 
whole-souled comrade, thoroughly womanly and sincere, 
it may be gathered that " Auntie B.>" as her intimates 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 281 

delighted to call her, was everybody's friend, and every- 
body vied in doing her honour. I am glad to say she is 
still with us. The last of the four benefits was John 
Hollingshead's at the Empire. On this occasion I 
acted as a steward, as well as appearing in the programme. 
I have alluded so fully to J. H.'s sterling qualities 
earlier in these recollections that I need only add that 
his friends rallied round him in goodly numbers and the 
occasion was an unqualified success. On December 5, 
1899, a grand military concert promoted by Miss Ellaline 
Terriss and Mr. C. P. Little took place at the Albert Hall, 
for the benefit of the wives and families of the soldiers 
serving in the South African War, as well as their 
widows and orphans. It was, indeed, a monster affair. 
The immense building was thronged in every part. 
The programme lasted for more than five hours, and 
the whole was an overwhelming triumph, yielding a 
very large sum of money. I worked on the committee 
and as a steward, as well as helping on the stage. 

In the autumn of 1899 I was engaged by Wilson 
Barrett for a play written by him and L. N. Parker, 
named Man and His Makers. He had the highest 
hopes of it, and produced it splendidly at the Lyceum 
with an excellent cast on October, 7, but it failed com- 
pletely, and was received by Press and public with such 
lukewarm interest that it made way for the ever-popular 
The Sign of the Cross on October 19. We played some 
matinees of Hamlet, in which I acted the Ghost, and 
the season closed December 16, 1899. 

A few references to Barrett may be of interest here. 
His career was a most varied one. A good sound actor 
of experience and skill, he married a very charming 



232 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

lady, Miss Heath. She was spoken of as " reader to 
the Queen " (Victoria). I never quite understood what 
that position implied, or its functions, but she was a 
thorough artist, and a most amiable gentlewoman who 
had been reared under the tutorage of Charles Kean, in 
his days of glamour, success, and royal patronage at 
the Old Princess's. I played Captain Levison with her 
in a revival of East Lynne at the Olympic, 1879. With 
his wife, Barrett travelled the provinces, making good 
money, and eventually became manager of theatres 
in Hull and Leeds. Then he came to London and took 
the Court, where he produced several plays, including 
Romeo and Juliet, with Madame Modjeska as Juliet, 
himself as Mercutio. From the Court he migrated to 
the rebuilt Princess's, and here he held sway for many 
seasons with a series of very successful melodramas, 
such as The Lights o' London, Hoodman Blind, and last, 
but by no means least, that admirable play, The Silver 
King (1882), by Henry Arthur Jones and Henry Herman. 
This sterling acting play ran for many months, and made 
Barrett a rich man, as, besides its success at the London 
theatre, numerous provincial companies were profitably 
employed in playing it. Then Barrett got " a bee in 
his bonnet," that he wanted to play higher class work, 
and produced such plays as Claudian, Clito, and later 
on, Hamlet. That his public did not want him in this 
kind of work was amply demonstrated. He not only 
lost money in London, but he cut the ground from under 
his many successful country companies, and in a short 
time he had not only squandered his comfortable fortune 
but was quite heavily in debt, and in the hands of harpies 
who kept him toiling for their rapacious greed. But 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 238 

Wilson Barrett was an indefatigable worker, and never 
knew when he was beaten, and fortune turned her smiling 
face on him once more when he wrote and produced that 
almost world-beating and attractively-named success. 
The Sign of the Cross. It was not a great play surely, 
though full of theatrical effect, and its " fate hung in the 
balance " for a time, but it possessed an element which 
appealed to the religious section of the public which 
gave it its first " send off." About every decade one 
of these plays does seem to crop up and assert itself. But 
whatever the reason, The Sign of the Cross soon became 
the absolute rage of playgoers in every part of the English- 
speaking world, was being played everywhere, and Wilson 
Barrett was a well-off man again. From what I know 
it would not surprise me to hear that this play had made 
money and earned royalties enough to establish a 
positive " record " up to date. And every one who 
knew " Will " Barrett was delighted ! He had not an 
enemy ! He was quite a good writer, his name is con- 
nected with the authorship of many well-known and 
successful plays. Above all he was a kindly, charitable, 
good fellow, with a great love of and feeling for his 
fellow artists. I have been assured that at the time of 
his greatly regretted death, July 23, 1904, he had on his 
salary list something like £40 a week for old pensioners 
who had " fallen by the way," and whom he employed 
for small and " walk on " parts at a salary on which 
they could live, whereas ordinary supers at one-third 
of the sum would have done the work as well. His 
kindly acts were many and frequent, and all done without 
ostentation and " under the rose," where no advertise- 
ment could be intended or expected. He used to tell 



234 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

one or two amusing stories. One was of his dresser, 
a very cockney young man indeed. Barrett decided 
to have his somewhat straight hair curled for one of his 
parts (I think it was Claudian). At the dress rehearsal 
he sent this dresser round to the front to report on 
the effect. When he came back to Will's dressing room, 
in answer to questions he replied : — " Upon my soul, 
Gk)vernor, you looks all 'ead." On another occasion 
he was leaving rehearsal, and hailing a hansom cab he 
was about to enter it, and stood with one foot on the 
step abstractedly thinking of some engrossing business 
matter, when the cab-driver said, impatiently : " Now, 
then, Wilson, get in ! I knows where you wants to go 
to if you don't ! " 

When Barrett struck his ill-fortune he gave up the 
Princess's and became a wanderer. His subsequent 
appearances in London were at the Princess's (return), 
the Lyric (twice), the Lyceum (twice) and the Olympic. 
He also made tours of Australia and the United States. 
The Sign of the Cross was produced first at St. Louis, 
U.S.A. Its first performance in England was at the 
Grand, Leeds, August 26, 1895, and its initial appearance 
in London was at the Lyric, January 4, 1896. It had 
numerous revivals, including the one I played in. 
Wilson Barrett, in addition to being a prolific author, 
was a great stage director and an admirable actor. 
Amongst his best characters were his Claudian, Wilfred 
Denver {Silver King), Marcus Superbus {Sign of the 
Cross), etc., but perhaps the very greatest and most 
unqualified artistic success of his later life was Pete in a 
dramatic version of Hall Caine's story. The Manxman. 
In this he was most convincing and admirable. A few 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 235 

paragraphs back I wrote of my streak of ill-luck which I 
encountered. Perhaps the greatest instance of it 
occurred at the end of 1899. On the Saturday on which 
3Ian and His Makers was produced I received an offer 
from Charles Hawtrey to play the Messenger in A Message 
from Mars on its first production. I waited till the 
Monday, when the lukewarm reception of the former 
play by Press and public made it tolerably certain 
that it was no good, and then I asked Barrett to release 
me from my contract. Plucky and optimistic as he was, 
he replied that " he was sure it would work into a big 
success and he intended to make it do so," and he reluc- 
tantly declined to accede to my request. I am quite sure 
that when he spoke he believed what he said. He was 
far too considerate and generous to have stood in a 
f ellow-actor*s light without good reason ; but, as I have 
shown, the play ran two weeks and his whole season 
about nine, and A Message from Mars ran 550 nights 
off the reel and has been revived again and again. 



XXV 

The whole story of the production of A Message from 
Mars, for which I was directly responsible, is so dramatic 
as to amount to a perfect " Romance of the Stage." 
The circumstances are as follows : Written by Mr. 
Richard Ganthony — an Englishman who had been in 
the United States for years — it had been offered to and 
declined by nearly every manager in that country. 
Indeed, I have been told, within a year of the time I 
am penning these notes, by Mr. Jay Witmark, the music 
publisher of New York, who sometimes dabbles in 
plays, that the author for whom he was acting at the 
time, requiring some money for a private purpose, 
instructed him to sell it outright for five hundred dollars 
(about £100), and that without success. Read by the 
light of subsequent events, this may seem incredible, 
but if any mistake has been made, it is not mine. I 
give my authority for the statement. Then the author 
came to England, and still could not find an opening 
for the play. About to return to New York, he sought 
me out and asked me to interest myself in the matter. 
Before sailing he came to my house and read the play 
to me. I don't think he did himself justice. At all 
events, I was not greatly struck with it, but still certain 
points did, undoubtedly, arrest my attention, and it 
was arranged that he should leave it with me to do my 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 237 

best with it, and he sailed away. After he had been 
gone about two weeks, I took the play from my desk 
and read it myself one evening, with the result that I 
found myself unusually interested. A large lump in 
my throat, tears in my eyes, and the blood coursing 
quickly through my veins — all not unmixed with genuine 
amusement — convinced me I had found something out 
of the ordinary. But, thinking that I might be in a 
peculiarly emotional or hysterical frame of mind that 
night, I put it away for another space of two or three 
weeks, when I read it again with the same result in an in- 
creased degree, if possible. I then made up my mind as 
to its value, and that I would never rest until I got it pro- 
duced. I saw Hawtrey at once on the subject, and after 
talking it over with him, I sent it to him to read. He did 
not agree with me about it, and returned it as of no use. 
I tried Charles Wyndham. He returned it, telling me it 
was only a hash up of Dickens's Scrooge ! I pointed 
out to him that Scrooge was an old miser, who could 
not be expected to get sympathy from an audience, 
but the leading man of A Message from Mars was humor- 
ous and human, and never ought to lose the sympathy 
if properly played. No good; he would not entertain 
it. Then I tried Forbes -Robertson and Herbert War- 
ing, who was about to start a management, which turned 
out disastrously, at the Imperial. No luck in either 
case. Then I approached Hawtrey again, with in- 
creased earnestness and stronger recommendation. 
He consented to read it carefully again. Did so, and 
again returned it as worthless. Finally, when all hope 
seemed gone, he and I met one night at the Green Room 
Club. He was in sore trouble, and badly in want of a 



238 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

play. I once more broached the subject, and after 
some exchange of views, it was arranged that I should 
join him at breakfast at his fiat the next morning and 
go into the matter more fully. This I did, and read to 
him two short scenes from the play on which I thought 
its success seemed to turn. He became convinced I 
was right, at last, and said, " By Jove ! I see it now ! 
If I can have a few changes made in it to make it more 
suited to my purpose I will do it, and do it next." I 
consented to this, and the production was arranged. 
Even then only he and I were strong in our belief. 
At the dress rehearsal a dear friend of his appeared in 
despair, and apparently regarded me with feelings far 
removed from those of kindliness, and a mutual chum 
(that good fellow, Walter Pallant, long since gone to his 
rest) voiced his opinion thus : " Jack ! What have 
you let our pal, Charlie, in for ? " I replied : " It 
will run a year, Walter ! " He answered : " My dear 
chap ! It will never finish 1 " The eventful night 
came — ^November 22, 1899. I finished my performance 
early at the Lyceum and got down to the Avenue in 
time to see the last act from the pit and meet the audience 
when they came out. Never have I heard such general 
praise for a new play ! Hardenjed Press men were 
raving about it, and the paying public, wiping the honest 
tears from their eyes, were shaking each other's hands 
hysterically, and (in one case) looking for beggars to 
be charitable to on the spot. Its success was un- 
equivocal and emphatic. Had it not been so it could 
not have stood the " set back " still in store for it. 
Hawtrey sprained his shoulder falling in the second 
act, and the next performance took place on the Monday 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 289 

week — the theatre being closed in the interim. Think 
what that meant to a new production ! It ran for a 
year and a half ! and it has been playing somewhere 
ever since. Of course, the aggregated profits represent 
a very large sum of money to all concerned, however 
they may have been divided. Now I do not wish to 
claim any extraordinary credit in this matter, but I 
do claim this for actors who, like myself, have worked 
conscientiously for a great number of years in our 
calling. Few plays that can be brought before us are 
very original. Every one, and nearly every scene, is 
reminiscent of something we have met before. I could 
make out a very long list of plays with their originals 
opposite to them. Why, even Shakespeare is credited 
with annexing the plots of others ! An actor would 
be a fool who said he could surely judge the value of a 
play from reading it, and still more of a fool if that 
play depended for its success on its cleverness. Such 
plays may go wrong from a hundred different causes. 
But there are certain notes of humanity running through 
some plays which the experienced actor recognises as 
never failing in their power to move and interest an 
audience ; and these are the notes in which it is toler- 
ably safe to invest capital. Such a note I found in A 
Message from Mars unmistakably. I had achieved 
some of my most important successes as an actor in 
similar scenes, and I felt very confident I was on the 
right track in this case. The result spoke for itself. 
A good deal was said about the changes made in the 
play by Hawtrey's brother, under his direction, and 
these changes were the subject of an action by the 
author against a London newspaper, in which I was a 



240 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

witness, and I venture to think my evidence had some- 
thing to do with the result of the trial, which was won 
by Mr. Ganthony with substantial damages. I was 
able to testify on oath that the changes made most 
certainly improved the play as a vehicle for Charles 
Hawtrey's charming light comedy method, and in 
this respect only; that wherever the construction was 
changed, it was not for the better, and that had an 
actor with a stronger method produced the play, it 
would have succeeded as it stood. That is my deliberate 
opinion to-day. If Forbes -Robertson had produced 
A Message from Mars exactly as it stood, in my judg- 
ment it would have brought him just as big a success, 
as he afterwards found in The Passing of the Third 
Floor Back, with which, I think, it compared very 
favourably. Only the fortune would have come to 
him some years earlier. Having said so much, I should 
not like to leave the subject without expressing my 
appreciation of the delightful, even great, performances 
in the play. Charles Hawtrey himself was absolutely 
brilliant as Horace; humorous, refined, and, withal, 
instinct with feeling, he delighted everybody. Arthur 
Williams, as the tramp, was no whit behind him — 
funny, human, and pathetic; his performance was a 
masterpiece. G. S. Titheradge (now returned to his 
countless friends in Australia and his beloved gardening 
and bulb-growing) was sound and effective as the 
Messenger. Poor Mrs. Pateman (whose great physical 
sufferings ended in her sad death some years ago) was 
a model Auntie; and Miss Jessie Bateman won all 
hearts by her sweet enactment of the ingenue. All 
the small parts were well played, and one and all aided 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 241 

in a wonderful artistic and financial success. For me, 
the conduct of the business presented many points of 
recurring anxiety, and I was heartily glad when the 
ship *' was safely steered into harbour." 

February 22, 1900, found me playing in a comedy 
at the Vaudeville by Miss Clo. Graves, entitled The 
Bishop^s Eye. Amongst my comrades were Yorke 
Stephens, Ernest Hendrie, Miss Carlotta Addison, 
Miss Granville, and a curiously named young lady, 
Miss Ellas Dee. The play was not successful, and ran 
only nine nights. The season was nominally under 
the management of Yorke Stephens, but the real " man 
behind the gun " was a person well known in another 
walk of life, of whom, I am afraid it must be said, in 
the terms applied by Charles Brookfield to another 
man, considerably in the public eye — that he was not 
quite a gentleman. 

On May 5, 1900, I appeared at the Adelphi as Petro- 
nius in Stanislaus Strange's dramatisation of the Polish 
author, Henry Sienkiewicz's, great book Quo Vadis? 
The play was produced in London by an American 
manager, Mr. Fred Whitney, who had travelled it 
with great success for a long time in the United States. 
It was a most sumptuous and artistic production, with 
a fine cast, including Robert Tabor, G. W. Anson, 
Edward Sass, Robert Pateman, A. G. Poulton, myself. 
Miss Wallis, Miss Lena Ashwell, Edmund Gurney, 
Franklyn Dyall, and a long list of names in smaller 
parts. On the first night it appeared an unqualified 
success, and, indeed, every one who saw it liked it, but 
it had distinctly bad luck. At this particular time 
England, and especially London, was staggering under 



242 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

the severe blow of the reverses in the South African 
War, and although " an Englishman with his back to 
the wall " is a difficult man to beat, and no one really 
doubted the final outcome of the struggle, at this junc- 
ture every one appeared in a sullen frame of mind and 
with teeth firmly set doggedly refused to be amused or 
to consider amusement. I candidly believe that at a 
more propitious time this production would have been 
a great attraction. As it was, it only ran four weeks to 
June 1. It was pleasant to find oneself in a Roman toga 
again — always one of my very favourite costumes to 
act in — and the public appeared to be pleased with my 
work, if applause was any testimony. This was one 
of the last appearances of that extremely good actor 
and charming gentleman, Robert Tabor. He was an 
American who had made his home in England for some 
time and had gained troops of friends. Poor " Bob " 
died shortly after this of acute tuberculosis, to the grief 
of all who knew him. On July 23, 1900, I played one 
week at the Coronet in conjunction with Courtice 
Pounds and Holbrook Blinn, this time an Indian chief, 
one Lonely Tree, chief of the Apaches, in a playlet by 
Basil Hood called The Great Silence. I had seen quite 
a little of Indians in my various trips to America, and 
I tried to give a good study of the part. I also played 
Old Heinrik in the two first periods of Basil Hood's 
version of the Danish play lb and Little Christma. This 
was a very old man indeed (in the second period a 
nonagenarian) and gave me some amount of anxiety, 
but I hope, and was assured by my managers, all turned 
out well. 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 248 

On October 6, 1900, William Mollison, who had made 
a good reputation in the provinces and had also played 
several successful engagements in London, took the 
Lyceum for a season, and opened with a drama based 
on the Boer War written by Seymour Hicks and F. G. 
Latham. It was called For Auld Lang Syne, and a 
capital company was engaged in it representation, in- 
cluding Mollison, Leonard Boyne, W. L. Abingdon, 
myself, Bassett Roe, Wilfred Draycott, W. Devereux, 
Misses Fanny Brough, Irene Rooke, and Lily Hanbury 
in a rather long cast. It was, however, received very 
coldly by Press and public, and was a failure, finishing 
its run on October 31. This led up to a very interesting 
revival of Henry V. on December 22, 1900, under the 
joint management of Mollison and Lewis Waller, which 
was quite a success, and but for the lamented death 
of our great Queen Victoria, causing the closing of the 
theatre for about two weeks, would have been still 
more so. It was doing finely when the sad event oc- 
curred. As it was, it ran seventy-nine nights up to 
March 16, 1901. It was not particularly well noticed by 
the Press, but the public liked it, and turned out for 
it in goodly numbers. Lewis Waller gave a dashing 
performance of the name-part, especially in the elo- 
cutionary and declamatory passages. In the more 
inspired portions he was not quite so satisfactory. He 
seemed to lack the higher poetic note that carries 
Henry into the realms of ecstasy at certain moments 
of the play. Mollison was an admirable Pistol, humor- 
ous and unctuous, and his fine rolling voice was of 
great assistance to him in his excellent delineation. 



244 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

E. M. Robson was a quaint and really good Fluellen; 
Miss Sarah Brooke a dainty and piquant Princess 
Katherine; and that beautiful and sweet-dispositioned 
woman, Lily Hanbury (cut off, alas, in her glorious young 
womanhood), looked an absolute Goddess in the robes 
of Chorus, and declaimed her speeches most tellingly. 
I played Williams, the bluff soldier. Other ^arts were 
ably, most of them finely, sustained by Norman McKen- 
nel, George Warde, Arthur Lewis, Tom Heslewood, 
Charles Rock, C. Goodhart, Gerald Lawrence, W. 
Devereux, Frank Dyall, Miss Zeffie Tilbury, and Miss 
Kate Phillips. 

February 12, 1901, was a red-letter day for me. On 
that day I was installed Master of Drury Lane Lodge of 
Freemasons. I had joined the Masonic Craft as far back 
as my stock days in Edinburgh, 1873, but after going 
a little way only in the study I let it drop for a number of 
years. About 1888 or 1889 I was induced, by my good 
friend Harry Nicholls, principally, to become a member 
of Drury Lane Lodge, and, with more time to think 
about it, I soon became bitten with the dignity and far- 
reaching good of the craft. I became a regular attendant 
at Lodge and a punctual student at the Logic Club of 
instruction, and by the time my turn came to take 
office in the Lodge I was fairly proficient. After work- 
ing through the offices, beginning about 1896, 1 reached 
the Chair of the Lodge in 1901, and I hope I did my work 
efficiently. At this time, it will be remembered, Eng- 
lish Masons were in rather an unsettled state. Our 
Queen was dead, and her son, our then King, had 
resigned the office of Grand Master, as he was bound to 




J. H. BARNES AS W.M., DRURY LANE LODGE, 
NO. 2127, F.A.M. 



[To face page 244 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 245 

do (creating for himself a new dignity, that of Grand 
Protector of the Craft), and his successor, the Duke of 
Connaught, had not been elected. Rising to propose 
the first toast at the banquet following the ceremony, 
I said I found myself in rather a dilemma. I did not 
suppose the company would expect me to pass over 
current events without some reference to the memory 
of the great monarch who had been taken from us, but 
that not trusting myself to do justice to that memory 
in spoken words I had put my thoughts into a few lines 
which I asked to be allowed to read. This was a poem, 
" Victoria, 1837-1901," in which I had summarised, in 
a simple manner, her grand life under the heading of 
the four seasons, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. 
This proved very much to the taste of all present. 
The Editor of The People, being present, asked me for 
a copy, which I gave him, and it was published in that 
paper on March 3, 1901, and the next thing I knew was 
a letter of thanks from his Majesty King Edward VII. 
for the verses. Who sent them to the King I do not 
know, but I plead guilty to sending them to the Duke 
of Connaught after the receipt of the first letter, and I 
got a most gracious reply from him also. This is the 
first time that this fact has been publicly announced 
in England. Later on I wrote another scrap, entitled 
" Crowned," in commemoration of our popular King 
Edward's deferred coronation. I confess sending a 
copy to the King, the Prince of Wales (now King George 
v.), and the Duke of Fife, and from each of them I got 
a charming letter of acknowledgment and thanks. I 
endeavoured to discharge my Masonic duties conscien- 



246 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

tiously, and it was a great disappointment to me that 
my professional engagements took me to America in 
the autumn, and I was unable to install my successor, 
my old friend Luigi Lablache. During my Masonic 
career, extending over twenty years, apart from my 
constant attendance at my own lodge, at which I wit- 
nessed eleven Installations, I had the pleasure of visiting 
the Asaph, the Athelstan, the Green Room, and the 
Richard Eve. These were all Installation meetings, 
whilst I was present at the Consecration of the Yorick 
and the Hogarth Lodges. Amongst other events of 
note was a luncheon given by Drury Lane Lodge to 
Lord Kitchener, one of its founders, December 1, 1898, 
on his return from Egypt ; a visit by the Logic Club 
to the Jubilee Masters' Lodge, at which we gave a 
most successful exposition of our working, January 5, 
1901; and the Installation of H.R.H. the Duke of 
Connaught, as Grand Master of English Freemasons, 
at the Albert Hall, July 17, 1901. This latter was a 
highly impressive event. The vast building filled in 
every corner with fully-clad Masons made a sight to 
be remembered, whilst the effect of certain details in 
the ceremonial was positively electrical. During my 
year as Master I initiated at Drury Lane the late intrepid 
hero, Captain Scott, into Masonry, and in 1902 I took 
the chair at an important function at the Logic Club. 
Though I have abated no jot of my admiration for the 
tenets, the ritual, and the noble charities of the Masonic 
craft, I have withdrawn a great deal from its cere- 
monials in recent years for other and weighty reasons. 
About the year 1900 I conceived the notion of 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 247 

utilising my experiences as a public reader (in the days 
before I adopted the regular stage as a profession), and 
from that time down to the present have done quite 
a good deal of reciting — sometimes for charity, some- 
times in the hope of amusing my friends, sometimes 
for benefits, and many times under engagement. For 
Charity I have recited for the Referee Children's Dinner 
Fund (twice), St. Mathias Church, Earl's Court, Restora- 
tion Fund, Eustace Miles's Starving Poor on the Em- 
bankment Fund (twice). Heme Bay Curate's Fund, 
Theatrical Garden Party, Playgoers' Club Ladies' 
Concert, Duchess of Portland's Hospital Fund at Not- 
tingham. For amusement many times at Masonic 
gatherings, and such meetings as the Eccentric Club 
ladies' afternoon, the Beaufort Club (twice), the Bons 
Fr^res Club, etc. For benefits, the matinee given to 
Edward Swanborough (son of my old manageress, at 
the Strand in 1873, previously mentioned), at the 
Pavilion, June 1906, a matinee organised by Miss 
Ellaline Terriss at the Queen's in aid of the Royal Free 
Hospital, December 1907, and another matinie at the 
Ardwick Empire (whilst in Manchester, January, 1909) 
for the funds of the infirmary and Ardwick Empire Cot. 
In the way of engagements for a fee I have appeared at 
the Old Acquaintance Musical Society's concerts (twice). 
Brighton Palace Pier concerts (Sunday afternoon and 
evening), Stationers' Old Boys' Society (four times), 
Vaudeville Dramatic Club, and at the National Sunday 
League concerts (eighty-nine times). 

This latter movement is one in which I take a very 
keen interest, and I firmly believe it is doing good work. 



248 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

Outside the question of money earned, it is a matter 
of considerable self-gratification to find oneself taking 
part in a programme that appears to afford such genuine 
enjoyment to a large number of people who are being 
uplifted by fine music and other intellectual items, 
and who, but for these concerts, would be far less pro- 
fitably employed, as was the case before this movement 
was inaugurated. I have given myself a considerable 
amount of work to please these various audiences in 
and all about London. I have also had happy ex- 
periences (three times) at the Beckenham Pleasant 
Sunday Afternoon Society at the invitation of my old 
and valued friend Albert Neville. He is the son of 
that fine actor and good fellow the late Henry Neville. 
As a boy he was very anxious to follow in his father's 
footsteps and join the theatrical profession, but that 
father, who had realised the precarious nature of the 
calling, persuaded him to become " a man of business," 
and it is a matter of rejoicing to an enormous circle of 
friends, who love him, that he followed that sound 
advice with the best result. Albert is a successful 
and well-off man. In Freemasonry he found the 
outlet for his gifts of memory and elocution, which he 
had felt as a boy, and he is, perhaps, a little the best 
exponent of the Masonic Ritual I have ever heard. A 
kind, good fellow, he is in complete sympathy with the 
sentiments he has to utter, and he delivers them with 
unusual charm and impressiveness. I can never forget 
being present on an occasion when his father heard him 
for the first time take a prominent part in a ceremony 
of which he, the father, was only a good (not a great) 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 249 

exponent. It was a most human and pathetic moment, 
in which he realised not only his son's great proficiency, 
but also the possibilities of distinction in the walk of 
life that he had himself adorned, which had animated 
and slumbered in his boy's mind from youth upwards. 
On the occasion of Albert's installation as Master of 
Drury Lane Lodge it fell to my lot to propose Henry 
Neville's health amongst others, and I ventured to 
suggest the happiness the occasion must, perforce, 
afford him. In his reply he acknowledged that happiness 
in most felicitous terms, and added : " My son has never 
given me a moment's uneasiness since he was born.'* 
If it is true that the Recording Angel is ever present, 
that statement ought to mean a good big mark in Albert's 
favour (as Mephistopheles says in Faust) " by and by." 

The late awful death of Richard Green reminds me 
that on April 15, 1901, I recited two items of my own 
writing at a matinie benefit concert for him at Stein - 
way Hall, and for the first time to a musical accompani- 
ment. Mr. Stanley Hawley, well known as a London 
organist and composer, had asked permission to set 
my poem, " The Mission of Judas," to music. I cheer- 
fully consented, and we tried it together for the first 
time on this occasion, he playing his own composition. 
The effect seemed satisfactory, but it was a strange and 
not easy thing to do. " The Far West " was my other 
contribution. Poor Dick Green ! He had been in 
trouble and hard luck for years, but who would have 
thought he would take his own life in the way he did ? 
I am not a musician, though very fond of music; but 
a great authority, a friend of his and mine, told me 



250 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

recently that Dick's troubles were inevitable, for the 
reason that his voice and talents were never quite good 
enough for the position to which he aspired, and in 
which he for a time considered he was firmly estab- 
lished. 



XXVI 

That April 15 was an eventful day for me, as in the 
evening I appeared for the first time in the part of 
Menenius Agrippa in Sir Henry Irving's production 
of Coriolanus at the Lyceum, and made one of my best 
successes in London. It cannot be said that Irving's 
performance of the name part was one of his strongest 
impersonations. His expression of biting sarcasm and 
withering contempt for his foes was magnificent; and 
a thing to be remembered ; but he lacked the physique 
for the warrior scenes of the part, and altogether failed 
to convey that side of the character. Neither was 
Miss Ellen Terry happy in Volumnia. Though her old 
charm was in evidence at every turn, her feeling, as 
expressed, was rather that of a sweetheart than the love 
of a Roman mother for a Spartan son, and many of the 
scenes were unconvincing. The Press were divided 
in their opinions, but on the whole lukewarm, and no 
one held his own or fared better in their judgments than 
Menenius. I enjoyed playing the part immensely; 
humorous, straightforward, and intensely human, he 
is a splendid foil to the somewhat gloomy principals, 
and is always welcome to the audience in scenes that 
are amongst the most natural of the play. Good per- 
formances came from Miss Maud Milton, James Heam, 

Laurence Irving, and others, but the production was not 

251 



252 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

a brilliant success, and gave way to the repertory of the 
Lyceum Theatre in about two months. I played Lefe- 
bvre (Sans-GSne) June 10; Marquis of Huntley {King 
Charles I.) June 24; Coitier {Louis XI.) July 1, and 
Menenius for the last night of the season, July 20. Imme- 
diately on my success in Coriolanus I had been engaged 
for the rest of the London season and the autumn tour 
in England and the United States for the parts mentioned. 
I had been in treaty with Mr. R. Flanagan, of the 
Queen's, Manchester, to play Falstaff in a revival of 
The Merry Wives of Windsor at his theatre at Christmas, 
but nothing had been settled, and I fear Mr. Flanagan 
was a little angry at the time that I chose to take the 
longer and better engagement, though we have been 
quite good friends since. He was also considerably 
astonished when I told him that Falstaff in The Merry 
Wives of Windsor is not a great " catch " to play and is 
not a very good part ; but I had the authority of some 
one who knew much more about it than either he or I 
for saying so. It may be taken as an axiom that plays 
written to order are rarely good ones, and nearly always 
show the mechanism pretty strongly, and it is recorded 
that The Merry Wives of Windsor was written by Shake- 
speare at the special request of Queen Elizabeth, who 
desired to see the Fat Knight brought under female 
influence — in other words, in love scenes. Assuredly, 
the play bears out this idea — it cannot be called a good 
one, and Falstaff is most certainly secondary to the Wives 
if not to other parts, in this instance. Of course, if 
an artist has played the real great Falstaff in Henry IV. y 
Part I, and his name is associated with it, he can well 
afford to play that in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 253 

the audience will receive him with acclamation therein. 
Otherwise he is liable to be disappointed in a part which 
does not present the chances it is supposed to. 

The tour of the Lyceum company began on September 
2, and we visited Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds, and 
Birmingham, and in each of these places the same story 
had to be told about Coriolanus — poor notices in the 
Press generally and individually, except for Menenius, 
and poor business, and finally it was determined to cut 
the play out of the repertory and not take it to America 
at all. No one could blame the management. It meant 
a great deal of extra expense, and it was not a paying 
investment. Nevertheless, it was a genuine disappoint- 
ment to me. Coriolanus had not been seen for many 
years, and Menenius meant for me as much as a good 
original part in which I had hoped to please my American 
friends, but it was not to be, and it was no good worrying 
over it. Of course, in the princely arrangements of 
Sir Henry Irving it made no difference to my engage- 
ment, and we sailed from Tilbury on the s.s. Minnehaha 
(Captain Robinson) on October 5, 1901. The voyage 
was an exceptionally pleasant one. As will be gathered 
from my earliest notes, I had known a great many 
mutual friends of Sir Henry's in my salad days. Natur- 
ally, when he achieved his big position in life our ways 
lay a good deal asunder, but on this trip the gap seemed 
to be closed up again. He invited me constantly to 
dine with him in his private room, and, in company with 
his friend Joe Parkinson (who was also a great Masonic 
friend of mine), and who made the trip both ways with 
us, we had some delightful hours, chatting over old times 
and old associations, and no man on earth could have 



254 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

been kinder or more positively brotherly than he 
was. 

We opened in New York at the Knickerbocker 
Theatre, October 21, and after four weeks there started 
on a full tour of the country east of the Rockies. We 
went to Philadelphia after New York, and whilst there 
the thirtieth anniversary occurred of Irving's first night 
of The Bells in London and of my first appearance on 
the stage as his " double." This was on November 25. I 
thought it a fitting occasion to write him a little note of 
remembrance and good wishes. To it I received the 
following pretty and sympathetic reply — 

" The BeUevue, 

" Broad and Walnut Streets, 
" Philadelphia. 
" My dear Barnes, 

" I thank you for your kind wishes, which I wish 
back with all my heart. Thirty years 1 Friends are 
fewer, and kind words are precious, and again I thank 
you for a remembrance which has touched my heart. 
God bless you, old friend. 

" Yours ever, 

" Henry Irving. 
" November 25, 1901." 

A great man, my masters ! Great in big things and 
great in little things as well. We finished our tour 
at Harlem, March 17, 1902, and sailed from New York by 
the s.s. Minneapolis (Captain F. F. Gates) on March 22. 
Sir Henry Irving greatly affected The Atlantic Transport 
line of steamers and, as in other matters, his good 
judgment was proverbial. 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 255 

On the voyage out to America (October 1901) a 
gentleman connected with journalism in the State of 
Connecticut was pleasantly impressed with some of my 
poems and asked me for copies of them, and a series 
was reprinted in newspapers in Manchester, Conn., 
and Hartford, Conn. I had one amusing experience 
with Irving during the tour. As was well known, he 
had a remarkable faculty for putting an enormous 
amount of meaning into the shortest possible sentences, 
and many instances are remembered of the smart things 
he said — cynical, satirical, and amusing — in a word or 
two, only. Once at the Green Room Club he was being 
bored by a schoolfellow and fellow-actor, who was very 
much of a pensioner of his, with a story of meeting a 
mutual schoolfellow in a picture gallery in Paris. All 
we heard was this : " And you know, Harry, he came 
up to me and said : * Surely your name is Fletcher ? * " 
Irving replied, "And was it? " What more could be 
said ? His quip with me was as follows : — We had 
played a week of two-night stands — Indianapolis, 
Columbus, O., and Toledo, O. It so fell out that I was 
not concerned in the programme all the week, and although 
journeying with the company in the ordinary way I 
had not appeared, or met him, from the one Saturday 
night to the next. The play was Louis XI. I had 
played my first scene as Coitier, and was waiting to go 
on with him for his first entrance. Coming from his 
dressing-room with his usual formidable array of retainers 
he looked at me with a suggestive sly twinkle in his 
eye and said, inquiringly : " All right ? " I replied, 
" Yes, thanks, very well indeed." A moment's pause 
and he said, " Ah, tired ? " 



XXVII 

Having now arrived at the year 1902, 1 do not suppose 
my readers will expect me to deal as exhaustively with 
events which come within the memory of many ; so for 
this and other reasons I propose to pass many of them 
more cursorily than in my preceding pages. On 
April 28, 1902, Mr. Beerbohm Tree celebrated the fifth 
anniversary of his management of Her Majesty's 
Theatre, 1897-1902. The play was Ulysses, by Stephen 
Phillips, but a special souvenir programme was given 
away containing photographs of all the important 
artists who had appeared there during those years. 
Looking back on it now it seems a pretty comprehensive 
gallery of all the leading lights of the London stage. 
May 1, 1902, saw the production at the Adelphi by Miss 
Olga Nethersole of the play of Sapho by Clyde Fitch. 
The French book, by Alphonse Daudet, was a rather 
lurid affair, and the play done from it was rather lurid 
too, and I fear our star's performance of the leading 
r61e did not do much to tone down its luridness. It 
was fairly noticed, and the business was quite good for 
eleven weeks, finishing July 11. I played Dechelette, 
and others in the cast were Frank Mills, Eric Lewis, 
Holbrook Blinn, W. H. Day, Misses Olga Nethersole, 
Rosina Fillipi, Gladys Homfray. I have previously 
stated how much I admired Miss Nethersole's acting 

266 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 257 

on former occasions. I fear she had not improved in 
the interim. I suppose the desire to become a star and 
one's own master or mistress and make big money is 
a natural one, but it is not always conducive to good art, 
and I don't wish to be ungallant to Miss N., for whom 
I have a very genuine regard, when I say that it appeared 
as if the " reaching out " to capture and impress all 
sorts of indiscriminate audiences in all manner of sized 
theatres had brought into her work an amount of elabora- 
tion which obscured her own innate and clever ideals, 
and much of her old charm was submerged beneath a 
vortex of detail which often blurred and delayed the 
dramatic action. It is an immense advantage to us all 
to have some one whose judgment we can rely on, not 
only to tell us what to do, but also what not to do. And 
this brings me to a reflection, absolutely impersonal, 
which occurs to me as bearing on our calling in the 
broadest general way. My observation teaches me 
that there are three distinctly marked periods apparent 
in the careers of every artist of front rank whose work 
I have followed. First, when they can do little or 
nothing; second, when they do far too much; and, 
third, when they settle down to what may be called 
repose and art. Many never get beyond the first mark. 
Hundreds stop at the second, and those who reach the 
third are usually famous and honoured alike by the 
public and their fellow-artists. The misleading danger 
of the stage as a calling is its kindness to mediocrity. 
Any young man of fair appearance, with credit at his 
tailor's, and a little influence, can go on the stage and get 
three, four, or even five pounds a week to start with, 
whereas if you advertise a post, say, of a clerkship or 



258 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

secretaryship at a similar income (£200 a year) you will 
receive hmidreds of applications from men of university 
education who can write B.A. or MA. after their names, 
and whose capacity is undoubted. When I was a boy 
it used to be said that the Church was the outlet for all 
the younger and least talented sons of the county 
families, etc., and certainly the rural districts did present 
some curious specimens, here and there, of gentlemen, 
who had bought or been presented with " livings " 
or advowsons. That is all changed now, and the stage 
has become the dumping ground of the failures and 
" ne'er-do-wells " of every class of society and social 
grade. The influx has been, and is to-day, absolutely 
appalling. And once brought within the lure of the 
footlights, they rarely leave it. Mistaking a taste for a 
talent, they think they would like to be actors, and that 
that fact makes them so. It is most tragic. With 
no aptitude for the stage, and not much aptitude 
for anything else, they have never read the poets 
of the language and know nothing of its litera- 
ture. They spend their youth in idleness and mild 
indifference, their middle-age in carping at and criticising 
their harder-working and more successful brethren, 
and their old age as the recipients of the theatrical 
charities. Ask any of the committee of these charities 
if I am right, especially those whose duties include 
the dispensing of funds, and they will tell you, as I do, 
that not once a month do they receive an application 
from any one whose name they ever heard in connection 
with the actor's art, though applicants abound in hun- 
dreds, and I have known cases where respected artists, 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 259 

having a bad time, and too proud to apply to a Fund, 
have been asked by a committee to accept a temporary 
loan to tide them over a chasm till the clouds rolled away 
and a better time asserted itself. All this is, to me, quite 
the most pitiful phase of the theatrical profession of 
the present day, and I make no apology for my digression 
in order to call attention to it. 

On May 27, 1902, a matinie of Rosemary, with nearly 
all the original cast, was given at Wyndham's under the 
patronage of the Queen and a numerous committee of 
the aristocracy and others, in aid of the fund for provid- 
ing a new open-air sanatorium for the City of London 
Hospital for Diseases of the Chest, at Victoria Park. 

July 14, 15, 16, 1 played Coitier in Louis XI., for three 
flights at the Lyceum, a special engagement. 

On August 9, 1 witnessed, with my wife, the procession 
of the deferred coronation of our great King Edward 
VII. from the window of a relative, who was a highly- 
placed official at the old War Office in Pall Mall. The 
military display was most brilliant, and it was altogether 
a noble and impressive sight. 

September 20 found me at the Apollo playing in a 
co'ftiedy by Gilbert Dayle, entitled What Would a Gentle- 
man Do ? Amongst my comrades were Frank Mills, 
Dennis Eadie, Fred Emney, Louis Bradfield, Misses 
Nina Boucicault, Beatrice Ferrar, Marie Illington, and 
Enid Spencer-Brunton. It was a bright little play, but 
it did not succeed, and only ran about four weeks, 
till October 18. On the first night one comedy point 
evoked a most prolonged round of applause. The strong- 
willed woman (played by Miss Illington), with the usual 



260 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

good heart, and managing everybody's business in the 
play, decided to refund to the light comedian some money 
he had lent, with a motive, to her ne'er-do-well nephew. 
The said comedian objected to take it. Seating herself 
at a writing-desk, she drew out a cheque-book, wrote a 
cheque hurriedly, and handed it to him, without looking, 
saying, " Whatever else I am, at least I'm a business 
woman ! " He glanced at the cheque without taking it, 
and said quietly, " Well, you might sign it ! " I am 
not quite certain that this play was cast to the best 
advantage in one or two parts. Some time afterwards 
I negotiated it for Nat Goodwin to play in the U.S. He 
appeared very enthusiastic about it when he secured 
the option, but, from some cause, he weakened before 
the time came to do it, and its first night in New York 
was a poor production, spoilt by lack of earnestness on 
his own part and that of others, and it failed again. I 
honestly think Mr. Dayle and his play deserved better 
luck. 

November 17, 1902, 1 went with Sir Charles Wyndham 
to Brighton for a week. The plays were David Garrick 
and Rosemary, but I only played in the latter. Business 
enormous. At this time I was engaged by my old friend 
George Edwardes to play a character part in a musical 
comedy, but the part turned out really no good at all, 
and I transferred my allegiance to Sir Charles Wyndham, 
who paid me a retaining salary to hold myself for the 
opening of the New, then nearing completion. The 
New opened March 19, 1903, with Rosemary, and nearly 
all the original cast. We also played the same enter- 
tainment for one matinSe at Brighton for the opening 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 261 

of the New West Pier theatre. I don't know if the revival 
was too soon after the original run of the play, but the 
business was only fair, and the run finished on April 18. 
The Press notices, general and personal, were as good 
as ever. From April 20 to 25 we did a week of " flying 
visits " to Swansea, Bristol, Plymouth, Exeter, Bourne- 
mouth (Boscombe), and had crammed houses everywhere. 
Plays, David Garrick and Rosemary ; again I only played 
in the latter. After this two weeks of Rosemary, at 
Wyndham's, April 25. The usual good notices but 
business moderate only. The Eccentric Club gave a 
supper (and dance) in honour of Sir Charles Wyndham, 
April 16, at which he took the chair and made a most 
eloquent and witty speech. As the fore-mentioned 
engagements are the last times I played with Charles 
Wyndham, except in the case of a benefit or two, I take 
it for granted I shall be expected to say something about 
him, and yet what more is there to be said than my 
readers and the public know ? He has done such brilliant 
work on the stage of the last many years, and his name 
is so associated with much of what is best dramatically, 
that an appreciation from me must appear more or less 
fulsome. And yet my memory of him extends such a 
distance back that a few notes may be interesting. 
His father was connected with the medical profession, 
and he himself was trained for a doctor; indeed, he 
practised as one in the American Civil War, but forsook 
that profession for the stage at the close of hostilities 
or thereabouts. I saw him at the old Queen's in the 
late sixties, playing Captain Hawkesley in Still Waters 
Run Deepy to the John Mildmay of Alfred Wigan (the 



262 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

original), and in the big casts, at the same theatre, 
which played Dearer than Life and The Lancashire Lass, 
and which included Irving, Toole, Brough, Sam Emery 
(a fine actor), Miss Hodson, pretty and sweet, Nelly 
Moore, and many others whose names were household 
words. I remember him at the St. James's in a curious 
play from the French of Sardou {Daniel Rochat). Then 
when Messrs. Spiers and Pond had grown tired of trying, 
in vain, to make the Criterion a success he became the 
lessee, and has remained so to this day, I think, without 
intermission. At the Criterion in its early days he 
started a series of brilliant farcical comedies, some of 
them, like The Pink Dominos, a little risky, but all great 
moneymakers in London and the provinces, with numer- 
ous companies. From these he gradually developed a 
better standard of play and acted many of the well- 
known works, in turn, such as London Assurance, School 
jar Scandal, Still Waters Run Deep (himself as Mildmay, 
(1890), Rosemary, etc., etc., and so on by degrees his 
art maturing and growing till be became, and has 
remained, an idol of the London public and a consum- 
mate artist in every and the best sense of the word. 
His Mildmay did not make us forget Wigan, and his 
David Garrick did not efface that of the elder Sothern, 
but they were both admirable performances. Perhaps 
he made a mistake to tackle Cyrano de Bergerac, but it 
did not count much against him. He was too firmly 
placed in the affections of the people, and it is a great 
characteristic of London audiences that they are more 
loyal than any other public in the world to the favourites 
they have learned to love. Such was, and is, Wyndham's 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 263 

position to-day, firmly fixed in the public regard. He 
also carried the banner of English art abroad, playing, 
if I remember rightly, in Paris, Brussels, Berlin, and St. 
Petersburg, and, I think, other Continental cities. 
Long may he live to enjoy his well-earned rest, his com- 
fortable fortune, and the esteem of all classes of the public 
as well as the knighthood with which his King honoured 
him. 

As well as being still lessee of the Criterion, he built 
and is proprietor of Wyndham's and the New. His 
leading lady, Miss Mary Moore, made her first appearance 
at the old Gaiety theatre at the time I was there in 
the late seventies — a pretty, timid, little gentlewoman, 
anxious to earn her living. She soon became the wife 
of that very clever dramatist, James Albery, before- 
mentioned. Associated with a brilliant actor and 
admirable stage-director like Charles Wyndham, she 
steadily progressed in her art, and in recent years has 
made several marked successes, such as, for instance, 
in Mrs. Gorringe's Necklace. Report has it that in 
pecuniary matters she has been even more successful, 
and, as a partner in many of Sir Charles's business 
projects, is quite well off. If so, it would be but a just 
reward for one great feature of her life — her intense 
love of, and care, in bringing up and educating her sons, 
in which respect she has ever shown the very highest 
qualities of motherhood. 

The last performance at the old Gaiety took place 
July 4, 1903, when many old comrades and associates 
gathered to bid good-bye to a place endeared to all of 
us by memories of happy times. It then closed its 



264 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 



doors for ever, to make way for its present palatial, 
if somewhat gloomy-looking successor, and, incidentally, 
for a new section of London itself. One rubs one's eyes 
in wonder when one looks at what is in that neighbour- 
hood and remembers what was. 



XXVIII 

On July 14, 1903, a benefit matirUe took place at 
Drury Lane Theatre for that progressive institution, 
the Actors' Association. The Merchant of Venice was 
the play, with Irving, Miss Ellen Terry, and all the 
prominent actors of the London stage playing the parts, 
down to the very smallest. Those for whom no speak- 
ing parts could be found walked on and were grouped 
in the Casket scene. I played the Duke of Venice. 
A feature of the entertainment was the presentation 
of a souvenir programme to every one in the audience, 
containing a reproduction of the autographs of every 
artist connected with the performance. This was the 
last time I played with Sir Henry Irving. 

The autumn of 1903, September 17, saw produced 

at Drury Lane a drama by Henry Hamilton and Cecil 

Raleigh called The Flood Tide. It ran the usual course 

at that theatre up to December 1, when it made way 

for the preparations for the pantomine. A strong 

company played it, Messrs. Weedon Grossmith, C. W. 

Somerset, myself, R. Minster, J. Tresahar, N. McKinnel, 

Miss Margaret Halstan, Miss Daisy Thimm, Mrs. Beer- 

bohm Tree, and a very clever soubrette named Miss 

Claire Romaine. It was not one of the best of the 

Drury Lane plays and the business was not colossal, 

265 



266 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

but I was told, on excellent authority, that it was ex- 
ceptionally successful afterwards in the London suburbs 
and the provincial towns. 

On October 6, a testimonial matinee was given at 
the Haymarket Theatre to that excellent actor and 
popular typical Englishman John Billington (husband of 
the Mrs. Billington previously alluded to). It was an 
event in which everybody joined with all possible good- 
will. A splendid committee was formed of leading 
actors, joined by a long list of names famous in other 
arts, science, and commerce. That brilliant artist Tom 
Browne designed the programme. Selections were 
given from popular plays, The Last of the Dandies, Mrs. 
Gorringe's Necklace, Waterloo, The Monkeifs Paw, etc., 
with Tree, Wyndham, Miss Moore, Irving, C3rril Maude, 
Sydney Valentine, Miss Lena Ashwell, the Grossmiths, 
and their many associates, and the whole affair was a 
signal success. John Billington made a most feeling 
and pathetic little speech at the end, and a good many 
old friends found themselves greatly sympathising with 
the passing of such a good fellow. For many years he 
had been a member of the great company engaged by 
Ben Webster at the Adelphi, where his wife was also 
engaged. When that company dispersed he travelled 
the provinces with Mrs. Billington for some years in 
different plays of which they held the rights. In their 
company was their niece, Miss Ellen Meyrick, an excel- 
lent actress, who afterwards became Mrs. Fred Burgess, 
her husband being part -proprietor of the Moore and 
Burgess Minstrels. After that John settled down as 
stage manager, and playing many parts, with his old 
friend J. L. Toole, at Toole's and went with him on 




Photo] 



[" The Play Pictorial " 

3. H. BARNES AS JOHN PEERYBINGLE 

("The Cricket on the Hearth") 



ITo face page 267 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 267 

his numerous tours until Toole retired, as before stated, 
from ill -health. Billington was a very excellent actor 
indeed, with a breezy, natural method that was most 
captivating. In parts of good rugged manhood, such 
as in Rough and Ready by Paul Merritt, he had few 
equals, no superiors. He was a splendid raconteur, 
and some of his Yorkshire stories, of which county he 
was a native, were humorous and droll in the extreme. 
Altogether a downright good comrade, socially and pro- 
fessionally. 

I had left Drury Lane three days before the run of 
The Flood Tide finished, November 28, by courtesy of 
Mr. Arthur Collins, having been offered an engagement 
by Mr. Arthur Bourchier to play John Peerybingle in 
a revival of The Cricket on the Hearth at the Garrick. 
This production took place December 1, 1903, and ran 
till February 13, 1904. It turned out very luckily for 
me. In the version we did, John was an unusually 
good part. He had a dream scene with the little dancing 
fairies not generally included, and I thoroughly en- 
joyed playing him. I appeared to please my audiences 
very much as well. I am afraid Mr. Bourchier's phy- 
sique was not suited to the part of Caleb Plummer. 
Mrs. Bourchier gave a vivid and pathetic rendering of 
Blind Bertha. Jerrold Robertshaw was the best Tackle- 
tom I have ever seen He seemed to have walked out 
of the pages of Dickens. Jessie Bateman was a most 
sweet, pretty, and lovable Dot ; Lizzie Webster a 
thoroughly droll and natural Tilly Slowboy. Other 
parts were well played by Frank Mills (Ned Plummer) 
and Elfrida Clement (May Fielding). Dorothy Grim- 
ston and Madge Titheradge were the leading fairies, 



268 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

and the latter, who has since become a distinguished 
actress, looked a " dream " and danced delightfully. 
The play was received with qualified favour by the Press 
— ^though I had no cause to complain — and the business 
was only moderately good. An amusing little incident 
occurred on the first night. When the curtain fell on 
the spirited dancing of Sir Roger de Coverley, etc., it 
was rung up on the full company assembled on the 
stage again and again. There were plenty obvious 
calls of the name of the performer of John Peerybingle, 
and after some eight or nine repetitions of this, Mr. 
Bourchier took me by the hand and led me down to 
the footlights and presented me to the audience, which 
was very considerate of him ! 

March 31, 1904, I played in a slight comedy by 
Frank Stay ton, called A Maid from School, at Terry's . It 
was not successful, and the public stayed away in large 
numbers. Miss Kitty Loftus was the manageress, and 
played the leading part. 

April 25, 1904, was signalised by the first meeting 
at His Majesty's (the name having been changed to 
that) in connection with the Academy of Dramatic 
Art which has since become such a flourishing and potent 
institution. I was engaged as one of the instructors 
for the first two terms, and entered very heartily into 
the work, which I enjoyed. I am bound to say that 
my views changed very materially as time went on. I 
had firmly thought, at first, that it was a good thing 
that the aspirant should have a place where he could 
get good, sound instruction in the first steps of his pro- 
fession, but when I became intimately associated with 
it and saw its other bearing, in the direction I have 




Photo] 



[" The Play Pictorial" 

J. H. BARNES IN "THE FINISHING SCHOOL" 



[To face page 269 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 269 

recently called attention to — i. e. of flooding the stage 
with amateurs, to the exclusion of those who had " borne 
the heat and burden of the day " — I was honestly glad 
when rearrangements at the Academy itself and my 
own professional work terminated my connection with 
it. I should like to emphasise the fact that this was 
a case of honest change of opinion, and I still regard 
the question from my later point of view. Among the 
pupils who received their first lessons in my class during 
my short connection with the school were Mr. Reginald 
Owen and Miss Maud Cressall, who have both succeeded 
well in the profession in England, and Miss Maud Leslie, 
firmly established in America. 

June 16, 1904, I commenced an engagement with 
Frank Curzon in a play at Wyndham's by that charming 
writer, Max Pemberton, called The Finishing School. 
Lots of good names figured in the cast : Ben Webster, 
Frank Cooper, myself, George Bellamy, Miss Ethel 
Mathews, Mrs. E. H. Brooke, and Miss Annie Hughes 
(who played the leading or star part), and a very long list 
in minor characters. The notices were fair, some very 
good, but the weather was dreadfully hot at the time. 
Theatres were out of the question, and the run ter- 
minated on July 16. Miss Hughes gave a delightful 
performance as Dorothy Melville, and looked perfectly 
bewitching when she went into her male costume. 
During the intense heat of that time the annual fete 
took place in the Botanical Gardens, Regent's Park, for 
the Actors' Orphanage Fund, when all who could find 
a part, joined Cyril Maude in a blood-curdling melo- 
drama by poor Captain Robert Marshall, entitled The 
Track of Blood. I shall never forget the heat. I think 



270 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 



we played the drama five times during the afternoon. 
To enumerate the cast is unnecessary. They were all 
the prominent names of London. A parboiled com- 
pany ! and a melting audience ! I think, as the day 
progressed, The Track of Perspiration would have been 
a more fitting title, but no one grumbled. All was 
good humour and heartiness . The gardens were thronged . 
Thousands of the public got good value for their money. 
The charity benefited to a large amount, and all ended 
happily except that poor Brandon Thomas lost his 
voice shouting as the outside showman. Oh, how he 
shouted, as long as he could ! In works of charity we 
actors do, undoubtedly, " hold our own." I remember 
reading years ago a story of the mother of the Gracchi, 
who was one day visited by a neighbour, a very vain 
woman, and the owner of very beautiful jewels, of which 
she was duly proud. In the course of conversation she 
said to her hostess, " But where are your jewels ? You 
are wearing none." At this moment three splendid 
sons of the noble matron entered the room, and point- 
ing to them with a mother's pride, she said, " These 
are my jewels." So I would claim for my calling this 
one sure characteristic. Whatever else we are, or what- 
ever our foibles may be, once sound the tocsin " charity," 
and we are never " weary in well doing," and, I am bound 
to add, for many years the public have recognised 
the fact, and responded most nobly to any appeal we 
have made for our own charitable institutions. 

Late in the year 1904 I had settled to play in a re- 
vival of Bernard Shaw's Candida, at the Court, besides 
which I had some weeks to run of my second term as 
one of the instructors at the Academy of Dramatic Art, 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 271 

but Mr. Pinero (before he was Sir Arthur) settled with 
Mr. Frohman's manager that he would Hke me to go 
out to New York to produce, and play in, his play, A 
Wife Without a Smile. After some little parleying, 
I was kindly released from both my other engagements, 
and I sailed from Liverpool by the s.s. Etruria (Captain 
Warr), November 26, 1904. Arrived in New York, I 
found a perfect storm raging in the Press anent the play. 
It will be remembered that there was one effect in it 
to which some people took exception ; indeed, there was 
a statement going round that a certain Royal personage 
had expressed the opinion that it would be better cut 
out. It is not my province to discuss it. I merely 
chronicle the fact. The New York Press had taken 
up the matter so warmly that Mr. Frohman thought 
it advisable to remove the objectionable feature, and 
the play was produced without it at the Criterion on 
December 19, 1904. The play may have been risky 
with it. It was meaningless without it, and failed 
completely, despite a strong cast including Ernest Law- 
ford, Frank Worthing, Frank Atherley, myself. Misses 
Margaret Illington, Esther Tittell, Elsie de Wolf, and 
others. The notices were not bad; some good. Mr. 
Dan Frohman told me in conversation, afterwards, that 
they were bound by contract to do the play, but with 
the storm raised against it in the Press, there was nothing 
to do " but to kill it and get it off," which seemed hardly 
fair to Pinero, and not very satisfactory to me, as it 
only ran about a fortnight, but, fortunately, I had a 
limited guarantee. When the play failed so badly I 
was asked by the management to play a part in a new 
play about to be produced by my old friend Augustus 



272 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

Thomas, one of America's foremost dramatists, to which 
I cheerfully consented. It was called Mrs. Leffing- 
welVs Boots, and first saw the light at the Savoy on 
January 16, 1905. It was an unequivocal success. 
Again the company was very strong, John Saville, E. 
Lawford, William Courtenay, Louis Payne, Vincent 
Serrano, myself. Jay Wilson, Misses Dorothy Hammond, 
Jessie Busley, Margaret Illington, Fay Davis, and 
Mrs. A. A. Adams (mother of Miss Maude Adams). 
The general notices were excellent, as were mine, per- 
sonally, though I had by no means a good part. The 
business was enormous. I confess to a considerable 
disappointment in the matter. My engagement for 
Pinero's play had been for the run of the play with a 
six weeks' minimum guarantee, and naturally I con- 
eluded I was transferring my services to Mr. Thomas's 
on the same terms, and it was with no little dismay that 
I received the information from one of Mr. Frohman's 
henchmen, after the great hit made by the latter play, 
that I was only filling out my six weeks' minimum, for 
the reason that the management had so many people 
on their hands for whom they were bound to find em- 
ployment first. I felt annoyed about it, but I had no 
one to blame but myself, and there was no remedy. 
As a matter of fact, I believe Mr. Guy Standing took 
my place, and the play ran well into the summer 
months. Without comment, I sailed for home on the 
s.s. Minneapolis with my friend Captain T. F. Gates, 
February 4, and arrived February 14, 1905. 



XXIX 

Shortly after I reached home a young lady of great 
amateur experience, well-connected, and with a host 
of friends, essayed the part of Portia for two matinies 
at Terry's, March 9 and 11, 1905. She engaged me to 
play Antonio, and asked me also to stage-manage and 
produce the play. It was not an easy thing to get 
The Merchant of Venice on to a stage of the size of Terry's 
at all, but I thought it out, and with a little re-arrange- 
ment and abridgment prepared a version which solved 
the difficulty. Miss Constance Stuart, the lady in 
question, was more than intelligent as Portia ; Norman 
Forbes quite as good as Shylock; Henry Ainley an 
admirable Bassanio ; poor Loring Fernie bright and 
amusing as Gratiano, and Miss Madge Fabian a delightful 
Jessica. Of course the performances were of little 
general public interest, but the Press were quite favour- 
able. Then Miss Tita Brand (daughter of the brilliant 
singer and dramatic actress, Miss Marie Brema) took 
the Shaftesbury and produced Othello ^ April 8. Mr. 
Herbert Jarman was the stage manager, and did his 
work excellently. The notices were very mixed, though, 
personally, I had no cause to complain, but the business 
was poor. And yet I venture to say that many worse 
performances of Othello have been highly praised and 

successful. Hubert Carter was full of power and 
T 273 



274 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

pathos as Othello ; Henry Ainley about the best Cassio 
I have ever seen. His drunken scene was fine, without 
descending to the inane tricks so often associated with 
the part. Miss Granville excellent as Emilia; Miss 
Brand quite good as Desdemona. I played lago; 
E. A. Anson, a really good Brabantio. On May 24 it 
was supplanted by Renaissance, a play which had a 
tremendous vogue on the German stage at the time. 
Much the same company played as in Othello, with the 
addition of Marie Brema herself, who gave a splendid 
performance. I played a monk called Father Benta- 
voglio; quite a good part. An increased orchestra 
played some most beautiful incidental music. Press 
indifferent. Business improving. 

On June 4, 1905, a complimentary dinner was given 
at the Savoy Hotel, by the theatrical profession, gener- 
ally, to Mr. Joseph KJnight, the doyen of the dramatic 
critics of London, with Sir Henry Irving presiding, at 
which both ladies and gentlemen were present, and I 
had the pleasure of being joined by Mrs. Barnes, who, 
not being a member of our calling, enjoyed the 
(to her) novel experience immensely. Joseph Kiiight 
had been a true friend of the actors, though not 
a fulsome one. A fine specimen of manhood, a 
thorough Bohemian, but a brilliant well-read scholar 
with a kindly nature, he had been the critic of 
the Globe for years; also of the Sunday Times and 
the Athenceum on occasion. Erudite and thoughtful, 
he had held the balance fairly between praise and blame, 
and had earned and greatly enjoyed the love of all. 
That was the note struck in Irving's admirable speech 
in proposing his health, and it is needless to say it was 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 275 

received with acclamation. This was the very last time 
I met Irving. On October 13, 1905, after dying on 
the stage as Becket, he passed away, finally, in the 
vestibule of his hotel at Bradford, dying, as I believe 
he would have wished to, literally " in harness." It 
was a tremendous grief to me when I learned it. Of 
course it was only a sentiment, but, having started with 
him, my own career seemed linked with his in some 
small way. His body was brought to London, and lay 
in the Baroness Burdett Coutts's house, in Piccadilly, 
for one or two days, where thousands passed it in solemn 
reverence, testifying their affection and appreciation 
of him and his life's work. After a time his ashes were 
laid in Westminster Abbey among the many illustrious 
Englishmen who have benefited their country. A 
fitting tribute to an artist of lofty ideals and a truly 
gentle man. One great characteristic of his, which 
cannot be too much insisted upon by his fellow actors, 
was this : Whatever position he achieved, whatever 
dignities or honours came to him (his knighthood in 
1895, his LL.D., Dublin, 1892, and Glasgow, 1898, etc., 
etc.), he invariably went hand-in-hand with his calling. 
Believing in its possible nobility, if regarded from a high 
standpoint, he was the actor first in all things, shedding 
an endless lustre on the art he loved better than anything 
else in life. 

I want to " hark back " slightly to Joseph Knight 
for the purpose of recalling a memory which should be 
of interest. He was one of a coterie of remarkable men 
who belonged to the Arundel Club in my early professional 
days. This club occupied the last house in Salisbury 
Street, Strand, overlooking the River Thames. Street 



276 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

and club were swept away in the building of the Hotel 
Cecil, of which they would represent about the site 
of its western wall. Here some of the brightest minds 
of London used to foregather and sit until broad daylight 
very often. It was a veritable company of " night- 
owls." One of them was "Joe" Knight himself; 
another, Richard Lee, dramatist, critic, and poet, who 
wrote Ordeal by Touch for Mrs. Scott Siddons (previously 
alluded to) ; and a really wonderful man named Horace 
Green, a great journalist. He was the model from whom 
Tom Robertson drew his character of Tom Styles in 
Society. His tremendous capacity may be imagined 
when I say that I have seen him sit at the general table 
at the Arundel Club practically chatting with and listen- 
ing to any members around him, and at the same time 
writing a leading article for a newspaper, with a boy 
waiting downstairs to take it to the printers for next 
morning's issue. I believe I am right in saying that the 
paper was the Times. It is so long ago that I can't be 
quite sure, but I vouch for the main fact. One other 
extraordinary member of this circle was the actor 
William Belford. He was an " old-timer," had been 
a light comedian with Phelps at Sadler's Wells, and, 
in his later life, was a member of the company at the 
old Strand Theatre under Mrs. Swan borough. A 
capital actor with a fund of humour. His habits were 
out of the ordinary certainly. He would get up about 
two o'clock in the day, take his breakfast at three, get to 
the theatre in time for performance, have his principal 
meal at the Arundel after his work, and sit up until 
daylight, when he would go home to his bed. And when 
not put " out of his stride " by work he followed this 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 277 

routine for years. Just in his latest days he announced 
with great ostentation that he had turned over a new 
leaf, and that he would not sit up later than when the 
time came to walk up Gower Street and catch the first 
workman's train to Bays water, where he lived. A funny 
story once arose out of his habit. He had a rehearsal 
at the Strand Theatre on a certain day, and before 
leaving home, the day before, he told his landlady to 
call him at ten o'clock on the following morning. He 
pursued his usual course that evening, and the next 
day when called he inquired the time. His landlady 
replied " it was two o'clock." Jumping out of bed, 
" Bill " said : " What do you mean ? I told you to call 
me at ten ! I had a rehearsal at the Strand at twelve." 
The landlady replied meekly, " I didn't think it necessary 
to call you, sir. I came to your sitting-room door and 
saw you having your breakfast." Perfectly furious, 
though amused, " Bill " thundered out, " Breakfast 
be hanged. That was my supper I " 

To retrace my steps a little. On May 2, 1905, I made 
my first appearance under the management of Messrs. 
Vedrenne and Barker at the Court. It is within the 
recollection of nearly every one that these gentlemen 
made a great and honourable record as managers and 
received a quite unusual amount of praise from the 
London Press. I honestly think they deserved it, 
and if I was never able to yield to the hysteria that pos- 
sessed most people at the time it was not because I did 
not appreciate their methods and their ability, but 
simply because I had met a good many clever people 
in my life previously, and I was not quite prepared to 
blot from my memory all that had gone before. I am 



278 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

quite prepared to admit that Mr. Vedrenne was a model 
business manager, punctual, courteous, and considerate, 
and Mr. Granville Barker an admirable stage manager 
within certain limits, but so were others I could name. 
Indeed, I have done so in these notes. Judged by what 
is going on around us nowadays, I frankly admit his 
great excellence. I opened with them as Finch McComas 
in You Never Can Tell, by Bernard Shaw, and it was 
my first part in one of this amusing and clever author's 
plays ; and after a short summer holiday I rejoined them 
in the autumn and played with them up to July 7, 1906. 
Other parts which fell to my lot were Father Dempsey 
{John BulVs Other Island), Roebuck Ramsden {Man and 
Superman), Sir Howard Hallam {Captain Brasshound' s 
Conversion), all by Shaw ; Samuel Jackson {The Return 
of the Prodigal, by St. John Hankin), an old man {Electra, 
Professor Gilbert Murray's translation of Euripides), 
Dr. Delfinos Tron {The Youngest of the Angels, by Maurice 
Hewlett). The usual system adopted at the theatre in 
those days was to play a new production for six matinSes 
first and put it into the evening bill later. This was 
successful in many cases, especially with Mr. Shaw's 
plays, but some of the others, though highly praised 
and successful on their first appearance did not prove 
attractive to the general public when submitted to the 
stronger test. The company were always specially 
selected for the parts as far as possible, and included 
many of the best artists in London, and it was altogether 
a thoroughly cheery, artistic, and enjoyable engagement. 
Business was, generally speaking, fine, and the audiences 
were of the most refined class of playgoer. The last 
of the productions I played in was Captain Brassbound's 




Photo] 



[Alfred Ellis and Walery 

J. H. BARNES AS FATHER DEMPSEY 

("John Bull's other Island ") 



[To face page 278 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 279 

Conversion, which after the six matinies went into the 
evening bill and ran for twelve weeks from April 16 
to July 7, 1906. In this Miss Ellen Terry played the 
leading female part (Lady Cicely Waynflete). I am 
not quite certain all the leading parts were cast with the 
management's customary excellent judgment. The 
notices were fair, and I had no cause to complain. 
Business good but not great. During the run, April 
28, 1906, the fiftieth anniversary occurred of Miss Terry's 
first appearance on the stage (as a child), and a special 
souvenir programme was given away containing an 
autograph letter from her, and the autographs of all 
the company appended. One element of considerable 
anxiety arose from Miss Terry's treacherous memory. 
Never very good, her " study " had become apparently 
most indifferent about this time, and was often a source 
of amusement or concern to the audience and of dismay 
to her fellow-players. Those having scenes with her 
had to be constantly on the alert to reply to what she 
might say, and as my part was chiefly with her I 
passed twelve weeks with a modicum of what actors 
know as " first-night nervousness." At one rehearsal, I 
remember, Bernard Shaw demurred to her version of 
his lines by quaintly observing, " Well, that's not what 
I wrote, but I dare say it's a great deal better." But the 
complete explanation came later. It must be forty 
years since I played in or saw Tom Robertson's comedy. 
Society, but, if my memory serves me correctly, a speech 
therein runs something like this : — Tom Stylus speaks 
to Sidney Daryl, who is abstractedly thinking of his 
sweetheart, and gets no reply, and says (aside) : " Cupid's 
carriage stops the way again. Confound that nasty, 



280 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

naughty, naked little boy ! I wonder if he'd do less 
mischief if they put him into knickerbockers." How 
could we possibly tell that Cupid was playing havoc 
with Miss Terry's memory and causing all of us so much 
distress ? Yet so it was. It was in this play she met 
Mr. James Carew, who became her leading man the next 
season, and led her to the altar a short time after that ! 

On June 12, 1906, occurred Miss Terry's benefit at 
Drury Lane, which was one of the monster affairs in the 
records of the British stage. Everybody did everything 
they could. We all joined the committee; we all acted 
anything (or " walked on " in anything) we were asked 
to. An enormous committee was formed inside and 
outside the profession, a splendid list of subscriptions 
was secured, an enormous programme lasting five hours 
arranged, the big theatre was packed to the doors, 
Caruso sang, Signora Duse (the distinguished Italian 
actress) joined Miss Terry on the stage at the final 
reception, and altogether it was a veritable gala in the 
fullest sense. The full receipts aggregated a magnificent 
sum. The three big benefits of my time on the stage 
were Mr. Compton's, Nellie Farren's and Miss Terry's. 
I am unable to remember which resulted in the largest 
sum, but I know they were all well over £5,000, but Mr. 
Compton's was supplemented by a similar compliment 
in Manchester following his London testimonial. Miss 
Terry must have been a proud and happy woman on 
that great day for her in 1906, which proved the enor- 
mous " hold " she had on the public as well as her own 
calling. 

I had almost forgotten that in February 1906, being 
only engaged in the matinSes at the Court, I played for 




Photo] 



[Alfred Ellis and Walertf 
3. H. BARNES AS ROEBUCK RAM8DEN 
('Man and Superman") 
(See page 278) 



[To faee page 280 



FORTY YEARS ON THE .STAGE 281 

two weeks only with Nat Goodwin at the Shaftesbury, 
in a play called The Gilded Fool. It was not successful. 
The notices were poor all round, and the public did not 
come in any number. It is a matter of regret and some 
surprise to me that, in his two or three attempts to win 
the favour of the London public, this fine actor has 
signally failed. I have seen him do great work on the 
American stage and demonstrate something very like 
genius at times, but possibly the parts he has selected 
to appear in in England have not provided scope for 
his undeniably great ability. 

July 9, 1906, You Never Can Tell was very success- 
fully revived at the Court, and I resumed my old part of 
McComas for a few nights up to July 26, when I termi- 
nated my engagement and left for New York July 28, by 
the s.s. Philadelphia (Captain Mills), having been selected 
by Mr. Henry Arthur Jones, and engaged by Mr. Charles 
Frohman to create an important part in the former's 
play of The Hypocrites. Of course, we had the usual 
concert on board for the different seamen's charities, 
and arrived August 4. 

The Hypocrites was produced at the Hudson, New York, 
August 30, 1906, and was an enormous success from the 
first line to the last. The notices were really magnificent 
generally and personally. A good company interpreted 
the play, including Leslie Faber, Richard Bennett, John 
Glendinning, myself, Arthur Lewis, Misses Jessie Mil- 
ward, Viva Birkett, Helen Tracey, Doris Keane, and 
others. The business was excellent, and we ran along 
merrily till February 23, 1907. After the New York 
run we had a week of " one-night stands " in New 
England, a week at Baltimore, two weeks at Philadelphia, 



282 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

a week in northern New York, one week at Washington, 
and one week's return to New York (City) at the Grand 
Opera House. Then home again by the s.s. Teutonic 
(Captain Smith, R.N.R.), saiHng May 1, arriving May 9, 
1907. Again a concert on board, at which I assisted. 

A comphmentary dinner was given to Messrs. Vedrenne 
and Barker at the Criterion Restaurant on July 7, 1907, 
the Right Hon. the Earl of Lytton in the chair, and again 
I had the pleasure of being accompanied by Mrs. Barnes. 
I cannot say I was greatly impressed with the pro- 
ceedings, which were, however, cut short through some 
one's oversight in not arranging for an extension of the 
licence of the establishment. As far as we got the 
speeches were dull to boredom and quite early resolved 
themselves into the category known as " mutual admira- 
tion society." Really the British Stage, according to 
the speakers, had no past history at all. All the great 
authors, all the great actors and actresses who had 
adorned it through the ages were apparently purely 
mythical, and the British Drama had begun about a.d. 
1900. Lord Lytton succeeded in proving how little he 
knew about the subject. Vedrenne spoke briefly and 
modestly and to the point. Granville Barker cut loose 
and fairly let himself go. Neither Tree nor Bernard 
Shaw was at anything like his best, and when the arrange- 
ments (before mentioned) brought about an earlier 
departure than had been planned, no one seemed loath 
to leave. The further proceedings, as arranged, were 
printed and supplied in the form of a pamphlet. I 
remember an early play of Sir Arthur Pinero's in which 
the curtain was brought down very effectively on one 
act by a character rushing in and shouting : " They 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 283 

have cut off the gas ! " I was reminded of it. I am 
doing myself a great injustice if my remarks on this 
event should appear, in any way, inimical to Vedrenne 
and Barker. For both of them I feel a personal regard 
amounting to affection and for their work profound 
respect and admiration, but with my reverence for many 
big artists and plays that have gone before, I do feel 
that enthusiasm for what is becomes of even greater 
worth if reasonably tempered with honour for what 
has been. 

August 27, 1907, The Hypocrites was produced in 
London at the Hicks (now called the Globe) with several 
of the New York cast, Leslie Faber, myself, Arthur 
Lewis, Miss Doris Keane (who has since become a very 
successful American star), and Miss Viva Birkett, the 
new names embracing those of Misses Marion Terry, 
Henrietta Watson, Mrs. Leslie Faber, Vernon Steel, 
Charles V. France, Alfred Bishop, Fred Grove, and others. 
The play did not go as well in England, and I venture 
to think that in some points the author's ideas were not 
as faithfully reproduced, which caused the pathetic 
nature of the story, in some of the scenes, to appear 
too grimly painful. It only ran six weeks, till October 
11. At the time I received a beautifully-bound copy 
of the play from Mr. Jones with a most complimentary 
and gratifying appreciation of my work therein over his 
own autograph. 

November 6, 1907, by a letter to the Daily Telegraph 
on the subject of censorship of plays I joined in the 
lively controversy then raging in the London Press 
on the subject. In the late part of 1907 I had a most 
pleasant literary success. Current events on the stage 



284 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

had inspired me with the notion that the time had come 
for some one who had expert knowledge to endeavour 
to counteract some of the errors which had crept — 
and were creeping — into the actor's calHng in many 
directions, and I conceived the idea of three articles on 
Acting, Play-writing, and the Dramatic Press to illustrate 
what I wanted to say, and what I honestly believed ought 
to be said. I wrote the first of these articles, and sent 
it to an important daily paper. It came back, set up 
in type, as slightly proving to me its value, but with 
certain suggestions for alterations and other conditions 
which I could not accept, and I asked for its return. I 
then sent it (under advice) to Sir James Knowles (Editor 
of the Nineteenth Century and After), whom I did not 
know and never met, and, to my great delight, I got a 
letter in a few days accepting the contribution, and it 
appeared in that magazine within two months (February 
1908). In due course I received a most useful cheque 
in payment, accompanied by a request that I would 
submit to the Editor any other article I might write 
on similar subjects. The article appeared under the 
title of " The Drama of To-Day and the Public's Attitude 
Thereto," and in September 1908, the second of the 
series came out in the same magazine, entitled " An 
Actor's Views on Plays and Play- writing." The third 
and last of the articles, called " The Drama and Dramatic 
Press," was duly finished, but, alas ! my friend Sir James 
Knowles had died (without my having even made his 
acquaintance), and the editorship of the magazine had 
fallen into other hands. Whether my third effort was 
inferior to the other two (I don't think it proved so) 
or whether the question of the Press was too dangerous 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 285 

a ground for a young or new editor to venture on I know 
not, but it was refused, and afterwards published in a 
professional weekly paper, October 16 and 30, 1909. 
These articles were freely quoted, discussed, and com- 
mented on in London, all over England, and even in 
some Continental papers, and the then manager of the 
paper in question suggested that it would be a good 
thing for the profession at large to collect the three and 
re-issue them as a pamphlet. To this I cheerfully 
assented, and having obtained the consent of the editor 
of the Nineteenth Century and After, the brochure duly 
appeared. I cannot say its reception was flattering. 
Its sale was most limited. 

February 27, 1908, witnessed the first production at 
the Comedy of a play called Lady Barbarity, adapted 
from J. C. Snaith's novel of the same name by R. C. 
Carton, and in which Miss Marie Tempest played the 
title-part delightfully, and such as Allan Aynesworth, 
Graham Browne, myself, W. H. Day, Misses Lena 
Halliday, and Dora Barton supported her. Notices 
poor. Business indifferent. Run finished April 11, 
1908. 

May 19 I played Dr. Delaney in Sweet Lavender at a 
matinie at the Playhouse for the Veterans' Relief Fund, 
and received through Lieut.-Col. Marshall-West the 
thanks of that distinguished soldier. Lord Roberts. 

From May 25 to June 20, 1908, I was on a " flying 
matinSe " tour with Mr. Seymour Hicks, playing the 
Reverend Mr. Floyd {Sweet and Twenty) and the Ghost 
of Jacob Marley {Scrooge). We went all over the country 
playing, in most places, to very fine business indeed. 

August 31, 1908, I made my first appearance at the 



286 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

London Hippodrome in The Sands of Dee, a sketch, by 
Alicia Ramsay and Rudolph de Cordova, with a tre- 
mendous water effect of an incoming wave, invented 
and produced by Frank Parker. It was a curious experi- 
ence to find myself playing with the audience practically 
all round me. This sketch was done in the centre arena 
before the alterations in the building, and it terminated 
by the sinking of the floor and the flooding of the centre 
tank to a depth of 5 ft. I got used to it quickly though, 
and liked the work. The sketch was a huge success, 
and ran fifteen weeks in London, and then went to the 
Manchester Hippodrome for five weeks, December 21, 
1908, and Liverpool (Olympia) for five weeks, February 
1, 1909. Mr. Norman Trevor, Mr. Lawson Butt, and 
Miss Ruth Maitland were my comrades. How the latter 
managed to endure six months of complete immersions 
up to her neck in water practically twice a day, I shall 
never cease to wonder. During my engagement in 
Liverpool I witnessed my first " Waterloo Cup." Three 
splendid days' sport. 



XXX 

In November, 1908, very many in the dramatic 
profession were greatly pleased to read of the special 
honour bestowed upon Sir Anderson Critchett by King 
Edward. Known to the general public as the King's 
oculist, his baronetcy had not any very special meaning, 
but to many artists in our calling it meant a great deal, 
being a brother of one of the most popular dramatic 
authors (Mr. R. C. Carton), and to every one with whom 
he was brought in contact, the kindest and most consider- 
ate of men. For myself, I had known his good father 
(from whom he inherited his kindly disposition), his 
uncle and his father-in-law (Mr. C. Dunphie, the distin- 
guished dramatic critic of the Morning Post), whilst 
his brother and I have been firm friends for many years. 
I could not let the event pass without a few lines of 
sincere congratulation, to which I received the most 
charming reply November 18, 1908. On the occasion of a 
memorial matinie to Ristori at His Majesty's I was asked 
to write a few lines of tribute to her for a daily paper, 
which I did November 28. And I also wrote in The Stage, 
November 26, 1908, a reply to some remarks of Miss 
Ellen Terry's about myself, in the book of her life, pub- 
lished about that time. This reply was largely quoted 
and commented on. After my engagement with The 
Sands of Dee terminated in Liverpool I made an entirely 

287 



288 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

new departure by accepting an offer of a regular music- 
hall engagement to give some recitations at the Palace, 
Manchester, March 8, 1909, and the Metropolitan, 
Edgware Road, April 12, 1909. At both places the 
audiences were demonstrative in my favour, and I was 
assured by both managers and agents that I was dis- 
tinctly successful, but I could not get anything like 
continuous dates as bookings, except in the dim dis- 
tance, so I gave up the project with some regret, as it 
was work I was always fond of. 

May 7, 1909, I appeared for the Daily Mail Cab- 
men's Fund in a benefit promoted by Mr. Seymour 
Hicks under the patronage of the Duke of Rutland, 
Lords Rosebery, Shrewsbury, and Cork, and Mr. Alfred 
de Rothschild, at the Aldwych. It was a good pro- 
gramme, and a very full house. My part of the enter- 
tainment consisted of studying and reciting some five 
or six stanzas of verse, entitled " To a London Cabby," 
by " Touchstone," a writer on the staff of the Daily 
Mail. This I did, surrounded by a bevy of London cab- 
men, some of their children, and an amiable bull-dog. 
I enjoyed doing it thoroughly, and have often been 
astonished since, when walking the streets of London, 
to receive a greeting or salute from one or other of the 
good, cheery fellows who were in that group, and who 
never seem to forget the little service I rendered. Poor 
chaps ! I am afraid their case has gone " from bad 
to worse " since then, and the all-conquering " taxi " 
has very nearly rendered their calling a thing of the 
past, 

September 1, 1909, saw the production at the Globe 
of the adaptation from the French of the play Madame 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 289 

Jl, which had been such an enormous success in New 
York. It was stage-managed by Mr. Dion Boucicault 
with great care, and a fine array of names appeared in 
the cast : Sydney Valentine, Arthur Wontner, G. W. 
Anson, O. P. Heggie, C. M. Hallard, Frank Cooper, 
Herbert Ross, Edmund Gwenn, myself, Alfred Brydone, 
Cyril Harcourt, Lena Ashwell, Elsie Chester, and others. 
The Press notices were fair, as was the business for 
the run, which was nine weeks only. Miss Ashwell 
played the leading part finely. Arthur Wontner en- 
hanced his position on the London stage very much 
by his performance as the son delivering the great speech 
in the trial scene with admirable effect. I played the 
judge (in that scene only). Frank Cooper (and, after 
he left, C. M. Hallard in his part), Sydney Valentine, 
Edmund Gwenn, Alfred Brydone, Miss Elsie Chester, 
all scored successes. I left one week before the run 
terminated to go to the Adelphi to play in Charles 
Rann Kennedy's powerful play entitled The Servant 
in the HousCy which had also been a huge success in 
America. It was a play of a similar nature to The 
Passing of the Third Floor Back, but of much stronger 
and coarser fibre. Its first night was October 25. Some 
of the scenes and dialogue were even slangy in their 
strength, but I honestly thought (as many others did) 
that it was a great play if not a work of genius. How- 
ever, it did not prove very successful and only ran four 
weeks. I dare say its socialistic theories were against 
it, and indeed they did not appeal to me. But that 
was a point which I did not consider in forming my 
opinion of it as a play. It was a small but specially 
selected cast : Guy Standing, Sydney Valentine, Ben 



290 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

Field, myself, and the favourite and excellent American 
actor, Henry Miller, Miss Edith Wynne Matthison, and 
•Miss Gladys Wynne. The general notices were mixed 
for the play, excellent for the actors, but the parts 
were all good and gave the company fine opportunities. 
I think the author made a considerable mistake in 
making a very confident and self-assertive speech on 
the first night. The play had apparently gone so well 
that he was tempted into this extravagance, a pro- 
ceeding which, in miy judgment, is much to be depre- 
cated. It may savour of fogydom if I state that in 
my early days on the stage a very absolute rule existed 
in every properly conducted theatre forbidding any one 
to address the audience under penalty of immediate 
dismissal. Our predecessors had found out the error 
of it and established a custom which nowadays is " more 
honoured in the breach than the observance." During 
the run we were visited by a large number of prominent 
socialists, including Lady Warwick; and the Labour 
members of Parliament (to whom the story strongly 
appealed) were much in evidence. Amongst them Mr. 
Keir Hardie, who introduced himself to me one night, 
in talking about the play, and was quite astonished to 
learn from me that I held views diametrically opposed 
to his. 

February 10, 1910, I played Father Joseph (Richelieu) 
with a gentleman named Robert Hilton at the re-named 
Strand Theatre, and had one of the most unpleasant 
experiences of my whole career. According to this 
person's story, he had been promised good financial 
assistance, but promises did not justify him in taking 
a theatre and engaging a large company without the 




Photoi 



[Alfred KlIU n,.,l W.r.ry 
J. H. BARNES AS FATHER JOSEPH 

("Richelieu") 



[To fan page 290 



< 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 291 

money in hand, and, after playing three nights and a 
matinie, it transpired there were no funds to pay the 
treasury on Saturday. Scenes of great distress occurred 
and even violence was threatened. I was able to help 
one or two bad cases a trifle, but I could not make myself 
responsible for much, and the theatre closed summarily. 
I certainly got my salary for the time we played, after 
waiting some weeks, but, as I had rehearsed a fortnight 
and shown the person in question nearly all he knew 
about Richelieu and, relying on his promises of a three 
months' engagement, I had given up negotiations in 
another direction, which would have given me ten 
weeks' income, payment for four performances was not 
a very good equivalent. The man declared himself 
a bankrupt shortly afterwards, and most of the company, 
including its most needy members, did not get a penny. 
The Press were not kind to him or his acting, and the 
public were not enticed to witness it in any number. 

In Sir Herbert Tree's (he had received his knighthood 
by now) Shakespearean Festival at His Majesty's, one 
performance was given by Lewis Waller and his company 
of Henry V., and I resumed my old part of Williams, 
April 21, 1910. 

May 2, 1910, at the Shakespeare, Liverpool, was pro- 
duced an American play called The Dawn of a To- 
MorroWy in which Miss Gertrude Elliott played the 
leading part surrounded by a good company. I had 
a very small part. The notices were fine all round, 
and the business excellent up to the Friday. On 
Saturday morning all England was mourning the death 
of our good King Edward VII. No business could be 
thought of. The theatre was closed — when two fine 



292 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 



houses were assured — and we returned to London, May 
7. The play opened at the Garrick, London, May 18, 
and was quite fairly noticed by the Press, and the busi- 
ness was moderately good. Of course, the theatre 
closed May 20, the date of the King's funeral. From 
the Garrick it was removed to the Duke of York's, and 
ran on for some weeks. The People, May 15, 1910, 
contained a scrap of mine, the theme of which was " The 
King is dead ! ! God save the King ! ! ! " 

For some time a very decided movement has been 
in the air, having for its object the establishment of 
a Shakespeare Memorial National Theatre. My scep- 
ticism as to its fulfilment has led to considerable 
misapprehension as regards my views. No one would 
rejoice more than myself to see such a scheme brought 
to a successful issue, but I doubt, firstly, if the 
money required can be raised; and, secondly, the 
possible character of its directorate? To perpetuate 
some of the crying evils at present extant would be 
a very positive national disgrace. I shall explain my 
meaning a little later. On June 7, 1910, I attended 
a special meeting of the Kensington Committee of the 
movement held at the house of Mr. and Mrs. Godfrey 
Baring, 195, Queen's Gate, S.W. Sir John Hare 
presided, and the principal speaker in favour of the 
scheme was Forbes-Robertson. He was most fervent 
and eloquent, and I stated that I was only too ready 
to agree with him if his views could be carried out. 
It was rather a coincidence that in a letter I had 
written to the Press some days prior to this meeting 
I had suggested that the one name to place at the head 
of a National Theatre to commemorate the name of 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 293 

Shakespeare was that of Johnston Forbes-Robertson. 
With his announced retirement I suppose that is now 
impossible. More's the pity for the scheme, if it ever 
goes through. 

September 27, 1910, I commenced an engagement 
with Mr. George Alexander at the St. James's in a play 
called D'Arcy of the Guards, a very pretty story of the 
American War of Independence, with scenes laid in 
and around Philadelphia. It had been a great success 
in America and was brought to London, and arrange- 
ments made for its production by Mr. Henry Miller, 
the previous year. In it Mr. Alexander played (I 
think) his first Irish part, an officer in the Foot Guards. 
All the men were soldiers. I played the pleasant part 
of the Regimental Doctor. Miss Evelyn D'Alroy looked 
divine in her powdered wig, which became her to ad- 
miration. She played charmingly, as did Miss Margery 
Maude as an ingenue. There were several performances 
in the play above the average. The notices were from 
fair to very good, but there was a weakness somewhere, 
and it was only mildly successful, finishing its run 
November 12. 

It was followed, November 19, by a light comedy 
called Eccentric Lord Comherdenc, by R. C. Carton. 
George Alexander played the title part in his best 
manner. Miss Compton was, as she always is, excellent 
in one of those parts her husband (the author) so cleverly 
fits her with, and a lot of good artists lent efficient 
help, such as A. Royston, Athol Stewart, Fred Lewis, 
Lyton Lyle, myself, T. Weguelin, Vivian Reynolds, 
Gerald Ames, Misses Rita Jolivct, Ruth Maitland, and 
Margerie Waterlow. The play was full of the delicate 



294 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

humour and charm for which the author is famous, but 
for some inscrutable reason it just missed success, and 
in spite of praise from the Press, a beautiful production 
and every possible chance, it fell somewhat flat, and 
ended its run January 21, 1911. At a very full after- 
noon's entertainment given by that most admirable 
charity, the Theatrical Ladies' Guild, at Kensington 
Town Hall, February 24, 1911, I recited at one of the 
concerts and acted as Bell-man in making announce- 
ments in the Large Hall. 

March 20, appeared at the London Hippodrome as 
President of the Hampton Club in Seymour Hicks's 
adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel; a 
terribly weird and grim story of a coterie of men who 
decide by cards which of their number shall commit 
suicide — a play of the nature brought into prominence 
by the Grande Guignol in Paris. In this play Seymour 
Hicks, himself, gave a most vivid and (as I think) a 
great performance. 

April 20. Went to Steinway Hall to a concert given 
by Hayden Coffin and Maurice Farkoa, when the former 
sang a song entitled " Kent." Music by Colon McAlpin : 
Lyric by the writer. 



XXXI 

On April 20, 1911, a comedy called Better Not Enquire 
was produced at the Prince of Wales's by Charles Haw- 
trey, who engaged me for a capital part of a gay old 
Frenchman. The play was an adaptation from the 
French by Gladys Unger. The notices were not good 
and the business was only fair, but we were a cheery 
company. Good nature and good humour radiated 
from our " star," who is one of the most delightful 
men to work with, as well as one of the very best actors 
in the world, when he has a part worthy of his powers. 
Our run was about thirteen weeks, to July 20. Besides 
Hawtrey and the writer, the company consisted of 
Holman Clark, Gerald Ames, T. Weguelin, Hubert 
Druce, C. B. Vaughan, Misses Marie Lohr, Vane Feather- 
ston, Hilda Moore, and a pretty little actress named 
Enid Leslie, who seems to have dropped out of sight, I 
am told, through ill-health. 

It was during this engagement that the never-to- 
be-forgotten Command Performance took place at 
Drury Lane in honour of the German Emperor and 
Empress, May 17. Their Imperial Majesties being in 
London for the occasion of the unveiling of the statue 
to Queen Victoria in front of Buckingham Palace, our 
King arranged for this entertainment as part of the 

festivities ; and the Emperor having expressed a wish 

296 



296 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

to see one of the standard plays of the language, Lord 
Ljrtton's Money was chosen and presented with a cast 
embracing all the very best names of the liOndon Stage, 
and those for whom parts could not be found walked 
on as supers in the club scene, etc. 1 was fortunate 
enough to get a few lines as one of the tradesmen in 
Evelyn's house — one Tabouret, an upholsterer. It was 
a marvellous night and a sight of bewildering magnifi- 
cence from the stage. The grand old theatre, specially 
and handsomely decorated, and the brilliant uniforms 
of the foreign and British officers as well as the con- 
course of society men and women — the latter in their 
handsomest gowns and ablaze with jewels — ^made up 
a setting for the Imperial and Royal party the like of 
which I had never seen and never expected to again, 
and yet it was destined that within a few weeks I was 
to see another almost, if not quite, as remarkable. 
The event described above reflected the highest possible 
credit on Mr. Arthur Collins and all those who worked 
with him to bring about such a superb consummation ; 
and then came Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree's turn. 
Our Gracious King George V. had signified his intention 
to do honour to that section of his subjects, the ever 
loyal actors, by a command performance at His Majesty's 
and Sir Herbert threw himself heart and soul into the 
scheme. The theatre was splendidly decorated under 
the artistic direction of Mr. Percy Macquoid. A mon- 
ster programme was arranged this time of various items, 
which included Act II of Sheridan's The Critic, in which 
I played the Beefeater. Again all the profession found 
some niche for their services^ — great or small, it did not 
matter. A special poetic masque was one of the enter- 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 297 

tainments, and again the theatre was a sight of the utmost 
splendour as seen from the stage. There were not so 
many foreign uniforms visible, though a good number, 
worn by the military attaches of the various Embassies, 
but our British Army makes a gallant showing in full 
dress, and the English public can hold its own with any 
in the world when it turns out in force either by day 
or evening. On both the occasions mentioned all boxes 
and seats were at a great premium, the receipts were 
enormous, as, of course, were the expenses, but a large 
sum remained over, in each case, to be divided among 
the theatrical charities. By the second performance a 
new Fund was started which is known as the " King 
George's Pension Fund," and one of the first to benej&t 
by it is that admirable artist and thoroughly worthy 
lovable old comrade, Mr. Harry Paulton. 

When the season closed at the Prince of Wales's, 
July 20, I spent a delightful holiday with my people 
and a relative at Dieppe, though the heat of that summer 
was so abnormal that the middle part of most days was 
passed lying under the trees in as little clothing as 
decency permitted. We had a little house on the 
outskirts of the town which permitted us to enjoy as 
much of the gaiety of this piquant resort as we liked, 
and, at the same time, we saw quite a little of the more 
sedate side of French life. Two things struck me very 
forcibly : First, the extraordinary thrift and genial 
politeness of the peasantry, market -gardeners, etc., and 
second, the remarkable enthusiasm and esprit of the 
soldiery (we were very near a large barracks). From 
what I observed, I should think the renaissance of 
the French Army is a very solid fact. 



298 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 



After this pleasant time in new environment I returned 
to London to rehearse for Sir Herbert Tree's production 
of Macbeth, in which I played Banquo. It was first 
played on September 5, 1911, and ran till December 13. 
The notices were good, generally and personally, and 
the business was enormous for a long time. All will 
remember the sumptuous character of this revival. 
In my wildest dreams of Macbeth I had imagined nothing 
like it. J. Comyns Carr acted as artistic adviser in 
the matter and did his work well. If I said that the 
performance wiped out my former impressions of the 
acting play, I should not be writing the truth, and those 
who knew me, as well as those who have paid me the 
compliment of reading these reminiscences, would 
know I was a humbug ; which I am not ! For Sir 
Herbert Tree I have nothing but sincere regard. A 
delightful companion, humorous and witty, a splendid 
host, and the best all-round character actor I have seen 
in my time, I cannot, however, say that his Shake- 
spearean performances have supplanted in my mind 
some of those I have seen before. Yet he is always 
more than interesting, and there were moments in 
his Macbeth so fine that if I had my time to come over 
again and were again called on to play the part, I should 
certainly copy him. I recall one very notable scene, 
with Lady Macbeth after the murder of Duncan, in 
which he reached real greatness. But as a whole it 
left me cold and inclined to retrospection. IMr. Bour- 
chier's Macduff, too, had the same effect. Here is 
another artist who has done some very fuie character 
work in play after play at the Garrick and a performance 
I shall refer to directly. But his readings at times are 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 299 

so diametrically opposed to all I have ever learned and 
practised that the only honest course for me to take is 
to " agree to differ." And this brings me back to 
the suggestion I hinted at in my previous remarks 
about a National Theatre. Without the slightest 
reference to any one, individually, I venture to assert 
that many grave errors have crept into the reading of 
blank verse. Indeed, they abound in profusion. Be- 
yond all question the traditions of Shakespearean 
reading were conveyed pretty directly from the author's 
time down to the last half of the nineteenth century, 
through a sequence of great actors ; and the effect, on 
an attuned ear, of rendering his glorious verse in the 
spirit of modem prose can only be to lessen its effect 
and make it commonplace. Of course, on the French 
stage the traditions, as bearing on the works of the old 
dramatists, are carefully preserved and insisted on. 
Even too much so I Heaven forbid that Shakespeare's 
verse should ever be delivered in the intoned manner 
adopted by the tragedians of France (though they, 
doubtless, would insist on its correctness). What we 
want in England (and always had till recently) is a 
happy medium. There is no need to go far for an 
example. The standard for delivering blank verse is, 
in my judgment, that set by Sir Johnston Forbes -Robert- 
son ; that is the method of elocution and reading which 
should be a part of the equipment of every Shakespearean 
actor of every rank, and that is the standard which 
should be the absolute objective point of a national 
Shakespeare Memorial Theatre if it ever arrives. The 
question is who is to teach it and to insist on it as far 
as possible ? To get back to Macbeth. Miss Violet 



300 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

Vanbrugh did extremely well as Lady Macbeth. Her 
sleep-walking scene — ^which had a wonderfully effective 
setting — ^was much above the average. Basil Gill was 
a good Malcolm and A. E. George, Miss Frances Dillon 
and Ross Shore were effective witches. The Lady 
Macduff scene, from the text, was introduced for the 
first time in many years, but though well played by 
Miss Viva Birkett, did not prove of much value to the 
play. The last act was perhaps the weakest point in 
the performance, and the fight was really poor. Its 
arrangement was entrusted to a young gentleman who 
knew nothing about the play and who did not realise 
that what is effective in a school -of -arms may not prove 
so on the stage. The fight in Macbeth has points of 
drama in it which are of far greater consequence than 
the mere clash of swords, and there is a world of dramatic 
effect in it when properly carried out. 

Mention of the name of Miss Vanbrugh reminds me 
that possibly we came of the same stock in the distant 
past. Of course, it is known her name is the same as 
mine, and she herself has told me that her family came 
from Oxfordshire, my native county, where my people 
could be traced in one parish for more than two hundred 
and fifty years. Some old relatives of mine, who have 
little else to do but find out such things, have told me 
that^ beyond all question our ancestors were of the same 
family. I hope it is true. It would be no small pleasure 
in life to know that one could claim ever so slight a 
kinship with two such charming and talented ladies 
as herself and her sister. j 

During the run of Macbeth we rehearsed and pro- 
duced for three matinies and one night a play by Mr. 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 801 

Israel Zangwill, entitled The War God. Like all the 
work of this very clever man, it was full of good things ; 
indeed I have often taken the book he gave me down 
from its shelf at home and thoroughly enjoyed some of 
the fine writing it contains. The notices were not good, 
and it did not prove attractive. I fear it must be classed 
in the category of what are known as *' dreamer's plays.'? 
Who was it said : " A dreamer is one who can only 
find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that 
he sees the dawn before the rest of the world " ? 

Beyond all question, Mr. Zangwill's imagination 
reached a very high altitude in The War God, and it 
was a pity it was not seen by a greater number of the 
public. In this play Mr. Bourchier gave perhaps the 
best performance of his life. As Count Torgrim, the 
Chancellor of a supposititious kingdom — a character 
evidently suggested by the life and work of Bismarck — 
he was positively great. Proud, austere, masterful, 
scheming by turns and pathetic on occasion, he touched 
all chords in the gamut of emotion with a master hand, 
and had the play run he would have enhanced his repu- 
tation immensely by his very fine delineation. Tree 
played the secondary part of Count Frithiof, which 
was certainly fashioned on the career of Count Tolstoi, 
and he, too, scored a success in a lesser degree. A. E. 
George was very effective as one Brog, a revolutionary ; 
Basil Gill's fine voice was heard to advantage as Osric, 
the hero; Miss Lillah McCarthy was picturesque and 
forceful as the Lady Noma, and the rest of us, including 
Charles Maude, myself. Moss Shore, Gerald Lawrence, 
Misses Laura Cowie and Clara Greet, lent our best help 
in more or less visionary characters. 



302 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

November 26, 1911, a complimentary dinner was 
given to Mr. George Edwardes at the Savoy Hotel, with 
Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree in the chair, to celebrate 
the twenty-fifth anniversary of his career as a London 
manager. It was a splendid gathering, and there I 
had the great pleasure of meeting, after many years, 
that fine artist Charles Santley, one of the greatest 
vocalists the world ever produced ; perhaps as a singer 
of baritone ballads the absolute best. I had known him 
in my early days at the old Gaiety, when he sang in 
Zampa, etc., and his greeting of me was cordial in the 
extreme. He sang two ballads in honour of his old 
friend George Edwardes, and showed that years had 
only impaired his voice a little and his art not a jot. 
More than one popular singer present rubbed their eyes 
in astonishment at the wonderful and " grand old 
man." 

January 7, 1912, I took part in the Dickens Centenary 
Celebration at the Coliseum, promoted and arranged by 
Seymour Hicks and Mr. Oswald Stoll. It was held on 
a Sunday evening, and consisted entirely of acts, scenes, 
and tableaux from the works of that popular author. 
Nearly all the profession joined in some part of the 
entertainment, and the immense auditorium was packed 
from floor to ceiling. The proceeds were handed to 
some members of the great novelist's family who were 
in reduced circumstances. 

January 20, March 16, April 13, 1912, articles of 
mine appeared in the London Press on the following 
subjects ; " A Working Actor on Macbeth," " An Actor 
on ' The Miracle,' " and " The Reading of Shakepeare." 

An ambitious play by Mr. E. G. Hemmerde, K.C., 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 303 

was produced at the Aldwych, March 12, 1912. It was 
called Proud Maisie^ and was a modem blank-verse 
effort dealing with incidents in Scotland at the period 
of Bonnie Prince Charlie. It is a curious but well- 
established fact that plays written around this character 
have never succeeded. It is difficult to understand 
why. His were stirring times, full of incident, chivalry 
and loyalty, but apparently not lending themselves 
to dramatic success, and Proud Maisie was no exception. 
The theatre was nominally under the management of a 
Mr. Archdeacon, but in reality was controlled and 
financed by Sir Joseph Beecham; therefore everything 
was done on the most liberal scale. Beautiful scenery, 
exceptionally gorgeous old Scottish costumes, and a 
fine cast ; John Bardsley, the operatic tenor, sang a 
tuneful ballad. Real Scotch dances were executed, a 
good fencing bout arranged. Miss Alexandra Carlisle 
played the title -part to admiration. Henry Ainley 
was romantic and virile. Ben Webster, myself, Leon 
Quartermane, Norman Trevor, poor Blake Adams, and 
Miss Madge Fabian all succeeded in our parts, according 
to the newspapers. But the business was very dis- 
appointing. I am afraid there is no doubt it was a 
poor play. 

May 11, 1912, I started on a five weeks' tour with 
Robert Loraine, playing my old part of Roebuck 
Ramsden {Man and Superman). We visited Manchester, 
Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow, and Liverpool, giving 
one matinee at Edinburgh. The Press were unanimous 
in our favour, and we played to good houses. My next 
engagement was a return to the St. James's for that 
curious play Turandot, January 18, 1913. This had 



304 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

been a wonderful success in Germany, and was as pictur- 
esque and unique as could be imagined, dealing as it 
did with old China. The scenery was lovely, and the 
dresses marvels of richness, but, alas ! the play was hope- 
less. When the MS. reached England and was trans- 
lated it appeared to contain a great deal of matter so 
coarse as to be quite unplayable in London, and although 
we were given nearly carte blanche in the matter of 
discreet gags it was absolutely impossible to make 
it go, and it came to an end in four weeks. The Press 
cut it up badly, and the business was very poor indeed. 
Another version of this extraordinary play, called A 
Thousand Years Ago, has been tried in the United States, 
with nearly the same result. In the London cast were 
Edward Sass, myself, Vivian Reynolds, Fred Lewis, 
Norman Forbes, Godfrey Tearle, James Berry, Misses 
Evelyn d'Alroy, Maire O'Neill, Margery Tarde, Margaret 
Chute. Some of Edward Sass's interpolated lines were 
very humorous. 

February 12, 1913, Theatreland reprinted my poem, 
entitled, " The Broken Melody," for the following signifi- 
cant reason. Nearly twenty years before I had written 
this scrap at the request of August van Biene at the 
time he acquired and made a great success with a play 
of the same name. He suggested that if I could supply 
the lyric for a song he would set it to music and, if 
successful, it might have a sale on its merits as well as 
help to advertise his play. I did so, and I suppose I 
over-wrote it. At all events, he was good enough to 
say it was too much of a poem for his purpose. It was 
reprinted more than once in the interim, but it was rather 
an extraordinary coincidence that in the third verse I 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 305 

practically described the absolute manner of my old 
friend's death, as it occurred all those years after. Hence 
its reproduction at the time stated. 

February 15, 1913, the weekly Scotsman printed a long 
article on myself and my career, with a portrait, and 
pleasant allusions to my old days in Edinburgh. With 
Scotsmen " once a friend always a friend." Their loyalty 
is marvellous : they never forget. 

February 23, 1913, I was a guest with Henry Ainley 
and Miss Haidee Wright at the Gallery First Nighters' 
Club, at which I spoke in response to the toast of my 
health and finished up with a short recitation. 



XXXII 

On Saturday, March 22, 1913, Forbes -Robertson 
commenced his farewell performances at Drury Lane, 
in Hamlet, and invited me to resume my old part (Polo- 
nius) with him. Whilst sharing a dressing-room with 
his brother, Norman Forbes, at the St. James's in Janu- 
ary, the latter had made the casual remark, " I don't 
believe they want my brother, or his plays, in London, 
but he only intends to lose just so much money." What 
happened is quite modern history and common know- 
ledge. How the theatre was besieged by crowds night 
after night, week after week, to witness, not only Hamlet, 
but nearly all the plays in his repertory. How the 
records of the theatre, as regards receipts, were equalled, 
and (I was told) exceeded, and the nightly demon- 
strations of respect and affection for our foremost actor 
are amongst the happiest incidents of the modem stage. 
The Press on Hamlet, generally, and to me personally, 
were as favourable as ever. The business continued 
enormous for nearly the whole of the eleven weeks, and 
our star's banking account must have been very sub- 
stantially increased, where a loss was considered possible. 
I was only engaged for Polonius, but through a dis- 
appointment in the case of a gentleman who had en- 
gaged to play lago, I undertook that part at a short 
notice (May 19, and twice afterwards), with every evi- 




Photo] 



L" 2'he Dailv Mirror " 



SIR JOHNSTON FORBES-ROBERTSON AS HAMLET AND J. H. BARNES 
AS POLONIUS 



[To face page 306 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 307 

dence of satisfaction to the public. Almost in the last 
days of the engagement the announcement was made 
that his King had made him Sir Johnston Forbes- 
Robertson. Never was a theatrical knighthood more 
welcome or popular. And then came the last night 
and final farewell, June 6, 1913, when the prices of 
seats were raised, the theatre was thronged to its utmost 
capacity, and hundreds were unable to obtain seats. 
In a speech of feeling, dignity and charm, but free from 
maudlin sentiment, he alluded to his new-found honour 
and his old-time respect and love for his friends, the 
public, and the curtain fell, as far as London was con- 
cerned, on a career as honest and earnest as can be 
found in the annals of the British stage. A number of 
his personal friends and associates met him by invitation 
on the stage for a last handshake, a parting glass, and 
a sincere wish for his welfare, in which his popular and 
gentle wife was heartily included, and " there was an 
end." 

After this I joined him in the curious experience of 
being filmed for moving pictures in Hamlet, when we 
rather opened the eyes of the good folks of Walton -on - 
Thames by literally walking across and about the streets 
in our costumes and grease paint, looking like Red 
Indians or worse. And, now, before taking leave of 
this fine artist and valued friend, I am going to cross 
swords with him on one point. A short time ago 1 
read a most optimistic opinion of his as to the present 
condition of the British stage, and I also read an open 
letter from Mr. Henry Arthur Jones combating his 
contention. I am not always in accord with the views 
of the latter gentleman, but in this case I range myseli 



308 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

unreservedly on his side. Sir Johnston's life of sincerity 
of purpose would clearly denote that he thoroughly 
believes what he says. That being so, may it be sug- 
gested that he speaks from the platform of success, 
which has come to him in recent years, and in which 
every individual who knows him (or of him) rejoices. 

I am never afraid to face facts, and have no desire 
" to sail under false colours." Any one reading between 
the lines of these, my recollections, could hardly fail to 
notice that the last decade of my career has not been 
as successful as the former ones, and " times " have not 
been as good. This may have made me pessimistic, 
but I don't think so, and I desire to place on record my 
decidedly opposite opinion to his. I see a stage where 
our great Shakespeare is over-embellished and under- 
acted, and often very faultily read — where the scene 
painter and upholsterer triumph to the exclusion of 
the poet's fancy, his immortal lines, and colossal studies 
of human nature. I have seen Sir Johnston himself 
have a great difficulty in getting members of his own 
company to give adequate emphasis and meaning to the 
author's lines. I see a stage from which romance and 
charm are almost entirely banished, where filthy, sordid, 
realistic, ugly so-called problems, neither amusing, en- 
nobling nor interesting (except to a very few advanced 
thinkers), are (slightly to paraphrase the bard himself), 

"Like a mUdew'd ear 
Blasting a wholesome nation," 



perverting the young and disgusting the old, and so 
deadly dull as to kill the theatre habit among the public 
— plays to which no decent parents would take their 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 809 

young people; thereby excluding all that section of 
playgoers. — Theatres opening one week to shut up 
next I Actors rehearsing four and five weeks, very 
often to get one or two weeks' salary, and three-fifths 
of the English actors of force and character driven abroad 
to get a living. I could furnish a list of these, from my 
own knowledge, which could hardly fail to convince 
the most sceptical. These are facts as I observe them. 
Let who will differ from me. 

And now I enter on my " last lap." August 2, 1918, 
I left Southampton on the s.s. New York for a tour 
in the U.S. of the Drury Lane drama The Whip. We 
opened in Chicago August 30, and played there eight 
weeks. When I look back and remember Chicago as 
I first knew it and see it now it seems unbelievable. The 
public spirit of the place which has brought about the 
transformation must have been gigantic. Where I 
can recall wooden pavements about as level as a switch- 
back railway, barren, ugly prairies and treeless deserts, 
I now find splendid streets, magnificent public (as well 
as business) buildings, perfect pavements, and glorious 
parks studded with lakes and wooded islands, public 
bathing-houses, public golf links, and tennis grounds, 
each and all created out of a wilderness. I am told that 
the very latest enterprise of this truly wonderful city 
is to put the ugly railway on the lake front out of sight 
in some way, carry a bridge over the river, and finally 
have a majestic boulevard on this same lake front 
fifteen miles in length, extending from Evanston at the 
north to the southern extremity of Jackson Park at 
the south. 

From Chicago to Boston, November 1, 1913, where we 



310 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

played thirteen weeks, Boston (always charming to 
the Englishman), with its interesting old Colonial land- 
marks, its splendid institutions, its public library with 
mural decorations by Sargent, Abbey, and others; its 
beautiful Opera House and Art Museum, its Symphony 
Hall, where the Boston Symphony Orchestra, led by 
Dr. Karl Muck (of the Imperial Opera, Berlin) would 
" charm the birds off the trees." Everywhere good 
taste and comfort, especially in the fine hotels, amongst 
which may be mentioned the Bellevue, owned and 
managed by a " Man of Kent " (a Mr. Harvey, son of 
the inventor of the " Harvey " torpedo), with many of 
our countrymen among the staff, including one or two 
old soldiers of the British Army. 

From Boston to New York for two weeks, February 16. 
New York, which some of its citizens claim " is the 
most wonderful city in the world." In some respects 
they would appear to be right. It seems to have ab- 
sorbed the gaiety and advanced ideas of every other 
prominent community in the world. Presumably, there 
is hidden away somewhere in New York a domestic 
life, but one is never cognizant of it. Everywhere is 
evidence of the " mighty dollar " and the most strenu- 
ous pursuit of pleasure. The money spent daily on 
costly and luxurious enjoyment must be too fabulous 
to contemplate. 

On to Philadelphia March 7. " Sleepy old Phila- 
delphia " some of the forward Americans call it. Maybe ; 
but to me it is one of the most charming cities in the 
Union, and I have always thought so. I love its magnifi- 
cent Fairmount Park, its old-world characteristics, 
and even its narrow streets and red -brick pavements, 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 811 

carrying the mind back to the days " when all the world 
was young " to us, and its sense of calm, comfortable, 
well-off respectability. Nor is this feeling of secure 
wealthy complaisance without good basis. I wonder 
how many of the gigantic, ostentatious projects of the 
West have been formulated and financed and owned 
in the sedate but handsomely housed trust companies 
of Philadelphia. We played there seven weeks, and 
I experienced any amount of most kindly hospitality. 
It is a city of delightful clubs, the Union League, the 
Racquet, the new Manufacturers' (a most wonderful 
all-marble structure), and last, but by no means least, 
the charming Art Club, one of the very nicest, cosiest, 
and tasteful semi-Bohemian clubs in the world. Here 
good-fellowship abounds, radiating from its President. 
John Howard McFadden. Known to his friends on 
both sides of the Atlantic as the Cotton King, he is a 
many-sided man in the true sense of the word. There 
are many fine collections of pictures and objects of art 
owned amongst the wealthy men of Philadelphia. This 
is the present home of Rembrandt's " The Mill " ; also 
the celebrated " Madonna," by Raphael, known in 
Europe as the " Cooper " Madonna, recently purchased 
from the famous Lansdowne collection for an enormous 
sum. Both of them are housed with other great works 
in the veritable palace of Mr. Widener, which is a posi- 
tive storehouse of treasures. There are several other 
valuable collections in the city, but I have never derived 
greater pleasure from the contemplation of pictures 
than from those owned by John McFadden. There are 
not a great number, about thirty or forty — all gems of 
the great English School. Two Hogarths, several. 



312 FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 

Raeburns, seven Romneys, a glorious Gainsborough, 
an equally splendid Turner, a George Morland, an Old 
Crome, " Blacksmith Shop," the best Harlow I have 
ever seen, and as fine an example of Constable as (I 
believe) there is in the world. This last picture has 
quite a history. It was sent to Lisle to an exhibition 
about the year 1824 or 1826, and on its return to England 
was held in pawn at the port of entry through 
the inability of the painter to pay the accrued costs or 
expenses of £14. It was eventually taken out of custody 
by a man named Silcock, and after many vicissitudes 
found its way to its present abiding-place. Called 
" Stour Lock," it is a magnificent specimen which " makes 
one's mouth water." The great charm of McFadden*s 
collection to me is that they are not exhibited in 
a gallery with a lot of inferior specimens, but, beau- 
tifully preserved, they are tastefully hung and splendidly 
lighted in the living rooms of his fine house in Kitten- 
house Square, so that he, his family, and his friends 
move always in this gloriously artistic atmosphere. 
What a luxury ! Nor does Mr. McFadden spend all 
of his great wealth on his own personal pleasures or 
fancies. Descended from John Howard, a man famous 
in the annals of medical research in the last century 
(which he conducted at his own expense), he has in- 
herited the same desire to benefit his fellow-creatures. 
He is prime mover in, and sole supporter of, " The John 
Howard McFadden Cancer Research," which is carried 
on by his assistants the Messrs. Ross, in a laboratory 
in connection with the Lister Institute, near Chelsea 
Bridge, in London, and " a little bird has whispered me " 
that great results are looming in the near future. He 



FORTY YEARS ON THE STAGE 313 

has written an article on this topic, which was printed 
in the Nineteenth Century and After. Add to this a 
genial manner and presence and a thoroughly kindly 
and friendly nature, and it may be gathered that he is, 
distinctly, a man to know 1 

And here ends my task. With my face turned towards 
home, the dear home folk, and the friends I love in 
" Old England," I lay down my pen. To those of my 
readers who are my contemporaries in our calling my 
affectionate heartfelt regard. To the younger members 
of our great and noble profession I wish all good -luck, 
with just a scrap of advice by slightly altering Addison's 
line in the play of Cato — 

'Tis not in actors to command success : But we'll 
do more, Sempronius — we'll deserve it. 

To that greater public, outside, the profound respect 
of an ever-faithful servant. It would be an immense 
gratification to feel that, among them all, even a very 
few could be found to differ from me, when I say, 
"THANK GOD! IT'S FINISHED 1 " 



INDEX OF NAMES 



Abbby, H. E., 144, 145, 178, 204 
Abingdon, W. L., 167, 243 
Adams, A. A., 272 
Adams, Blake, 303 
Addison, Carlotta, 208, 211, 241 
Ainley, Henry, 273, 274, 303, 305 
Albery, James, 81, 263 
Aldrich, Louis, 173, 174 
Alexander, George, 148, 293 
Allen, Viola, 188, 191 
Alroy, Evelyn d', 293, 304 
Ames, Gerald, 293-295 
Anderson, Mary, 144-148, 171- 

178 
Anson, G. W., 90, 241, 289 
Archer, Fred, 162-155 
Arthur, Julia, 194 
Ashwell, Lena, 206, 227, 241, 266, 

289 
Atherley, Frank, 271 
Aynesworth, Allan, 285 

Baird, Dorothea, 213 

Bancroft, Squire, 95 

Bandmann, 66 

Bardsley, John, 303 

Baring, Godfrey, 292 

Barker, GranviUe, 277, 278, 282, 

283 
Barnes, Colonel, 126 
Barrett, Lawrence, 148 
Barrett, Wilson, 110, 231-235 
Barrie, Sir J. M., 206 
Barry, Helen, 116 
Barrymore, Maurice, 16, 17, 161, 

201-204, 210 
Bateman, H. C, 9-12, 96, 111, 

112 
Bateman, Jessie, 110, 267, 240 
Beatrice, Mile., 96 
Beatty, Kingston, 10, 121 



Bedford, William, 276 

Beecham, Sir Joseph, 303 

Beere, Mrs. Bernard, 110, 135, 

155, 163 
Belasco, David, 228 
Bellamy, George, 269 
BeUew, J. C. M., 5, 6, 7 
Belmore, George, 10, 111, 230 
Bennett, Miss, 181 
Bennett, Richard, 281 
Bernhardt, Sarah, 83, 163 
Berry, James, 304 
Beveridge, J. D., 73, 74, 94 
Beverley, William, 19 
Biene, August van, 304 
BiUington, John, 93, 230, 266 
BiUington, Mrs., 146, 147, 172, 

230, 266 
Birkett, Viva, 281, 283, 300 
Bishop, Alfred, 207, 208, 211, 

283 
Bishop, Kate, 23, 24 
Bixby, Dan, 43, 45 
Blakeley, WiUiam, 213, 214 
Blanchard, E. L., 22 
Blanchard, Kitty, 62 
Blinn, Holbrook, 242, 256 
Blythe, H. G., 16 
Booth, Edwin, 174, 193 
Boucicault, Aubrey, 211 
Boucicault, Dion, 8, 29, 48, 65, 

73, 83, 112, 216 
Boucicault, Nina, 259 
Bourchier, Arthur, 267, 298, 301 
Bourchier, Mrs. Arthur, 267 
Bowling, Captain, 152 
Boyne, Leonard, 194, 243 
Bradfield, Louis, 269 
Brand, Tita. 273, 274 
Brema, Marie, 273, 274 
Brookfield, C, 156, 213, 241 



314 



INDEX OF NAMES 



815 



Brook, Miss E. H., 269 
Brooks, Joseph, 125, 201 
Brooks, Sarah, 244 
Brough, Fanny, 243 
Brough, Lionel, 90, 212, 262 
Brougham, John, 43 
Browne, Graham, 217, 285 
Browne, Tom, 266 
Buchanan, Robert, 143 
Buckstone, 166 
Burgess, Mrs. Fred, 266 
Burnham, Lord, 86 
Busley, Jessie, 272 
Butt, Lawson, 286 
Byron, H. J., 21-24, 38-40, 78, 
90, 152 

Calder, W., 167 
Calthrop, J. A., 85 
Calvert, Charles, 29, 42, 55 
Calvert, Mrs. Charles, 172 
Cameron, Sir Roderick, 42 
Campbell, J. A., 161 
Campbell, Miss, 181 
Campbell, Mrs. Patrick, 217, 220, 

226 
Canninge, Mrs., 207 
Cannon, Arthur, 197 
Cannon, Joseph, 197 
Cannon, " Momy," 197 
Carew, James, 280 
Carlisle, Alexandra, 93, 94, 303 
Carlisle, Sybil, 211 
Came, Joseph, 181, 188 
Carr, J. Comyns, 78, 134, 228, 

298 
Carroll, E., 43 

Carson, Murray, 207, 226, 227 
Carter, Hubert, 273 
Carton, R. C, 81, 288, 287, 293 
Caruso, 280 

Cavendish, Ada, 32, 89, 90 
Cavour, Count, 138 
CeUier, Alfred, 166 
Chamberlain, Joseph, 11 
Chatterton, F. B., 19, 73, 78 
Chaumont, 83 
Chester, Elsie, 289 
Chevalier, Albert, 116 
Chippendale, 167, 190 
Choate, J. H., 228 
Christianson, Christian, 143 
Christianson, Kate, 143 
Chute, Margaret, 304 
Clark, Holman, 295 



Clarke, John, 17, 39, 66, 78 
Claude, Angelina, 133 
Clayton, John, 74, 85, 113, 203 
Cliife, Cooper, 217 
Coffin, Hayden, 294 
Coghlan, Rose, 205 
Coleman, John, 168, 170, 286 
ColUer, James, 149 
Collins, Arthur, 267, 296 
Compton, E., 156, 280 
Compton, Mrs., 293 
Connaught, Duke of, 246 
Conover, Mrs., 161 
Cooper, Clifford, 100 
Cooper, F. R., 100, 109 
Cooper, Frank, 269, 289 
Cordova, Rudolph de, 177, 286 
Couldock, C. W., 62, 201 
Cowell, Arthur, 197 
Cowell, Lydia, 118 
Cowell, Idxa. Florence, 181 
Cowie, Laura, 301 
Craven, Hawes, 217 
Craven, W. S., 205, 213 
Cressall, Maud, 269 
Critchett, Sir A,, 287 
Croizette, 83 
Croker, Richard, 197 
Crowe, Mrs., 10 
Crowe, Sydney, 217 
Curzon, Frank, 205-226, 269 

Dacre, Arthur, 185-187 
Dalton, Charles, 181, 194 
Daly, Augustin, 202 
Dauvray, Helen, 194 
Davenport, E. L., 55 
Davenport, Fanny, 162, 163, 165 
Davis, F., 272 
Day, W. H., 256 
Dayle, Gilbert, 259 
Deadlock, Sir Leicester, 76 
Dee, Ellas, 241 
Deitz, Linda, 157 
Delaunay, 83 
Delmonico, Charles, 47 
Denham, George, 188 
Dennis, Michael, 205 
Dennison, A. M., 181, 183, 186 
Depew, Chaimcey, 228 
Devereux, W., 243, 244 
Dewey, Eugene, 127 
Dewhurst, J., 19 

Dickens, Charles, 6, 11, 25, 34, 81, 
85, 228, 302 



316 



INDEX OF NAMES 



Dillon, Francis, 300 

Dodson, J. E., 181 

Douglas, Kenneth, 208, 211 

Draycott, Wilfred, 243 

Drew, George, 16 

Drew, John, 191, 228 

Drew, Mrs. John, 188, 190, 191 

Druce, Hubert, 295 

Dubourg, A. W., 157 

Du Mauri er, Gerald, 212 

Dunphie, C, 287 

Duse, Signora, 280 

DyaU, FrankUn, 217, 241 

Eadie, Dennis, 259 
Easton, William, 152, 198 
Edwardes, George, 302 
Edwardes, Mrs. George, 155 
Edward VII, King, 245 
Elliott, Gertrude, 291 
EUiott, Maxine, 194 
Elwood, A., 100 
Emery, Sam, 262 
Emney, Fred, 259 
Esmond, H. V., 206, 226, 227 
Eustace, Jennie, 201 
Everard, Walter, 94 

Faber, Leslie, 281, 283 

Fabian, Madge, 273, 303 

Fairchild, Roy, 201 

Falconer, Edmund, 78 

Farkoa, Maurice, 294 

Farqueil, 83 

Farren, Nellie, 94, 280 

Farren, W., 44, 91, 92, 146 

Featherston, Vane, 295 

Febvre, 83 

Fechter, 230 

Fernandez, James, 19, 20, 93, 

121, 155 
Ferrar, Beatrice, 259 
Field, Ben, 290 
Field, Kate, 200 
Fife, Duke of, 245 
Fihppi, Rosina, 213, 256 
Finlayson, Mrs., 37 
Fisher, David, 39 
Fitch, Clyde, 256 
Flanagan, 252 
Fletcher, Charles, 6, 50, 255 
Florence, " Billy," 43, 188, 190 
Forbes, Norman, 273, 304, 306 
Forbes-Robertson, Sir J., 172, 

205, 214, 216, 220, 221, 222, 



225, 226, 237, 270, 292, 293, 

299, 307, 308 
Forrest, Edwin, 117 
Forrester, Edwin, 100, 107 
Foster, W. D., 197 
Frame, Charles, 283 
French, T. H., 194, 228 
Frohman, Charles, 2771, 22, 281 
Fry, R. H., 197 
Furtado, Miss, 17 

Gammon, Barclay, 89 
Ganthony, Richard, 236, 240 
Garden, E. W., 12 
Garrick, David, 44, 67 
George, A. E., 300, 301 
George V, King, 245, 295, 296 
Gibson, J. R., 118 
Gilbert, Sir W. S., 39, 41, 90, 147, 

149, 157, 199 
Gilchrist, Connie, 94 
Gill, Basil, 300, 301 
Glendinning, John, 281 
Goodhart, C, 244 
Goodwin, Mat, 228, 281 
Gottschalk, F., 226 
Gould, Bernard, 217 
Grain, Comey, 89 
Granville, Miss, 217, 241, 274 
Graves, Clo, 241 
Green, Clay, 126 
Green, Richard, 249, 250 
Greet, Clare, 301 
Grimston, Dorothy, 267 
Grossmith, George, 89, 266 
Grossmith, Weedon, 265, 266 
Grove, Fred, 283 
Gimn, Michael, 145, 147 
Gumey, Edward, 241 
Gwenn, Edward, 289 
Gwynne, Julia, 155 

Hading, Jane, 83 

Hallard, C. M., 290 

HaUiday, Andrew, 18, 78 

Halliday, Lena, 285 

Halstan, Margaret, 265 

Hanamond, Dorothy, 272 

Hanbury, Lily, 243 

Harcourt, Cyril, 289 

Hardie, Keir, 290 

Hardy, Thomas, 34 

Hare, Sir John. 113, 114, 156, 157. 

160, 161, 203, 292 
Harris, Lindsay, 123 



INDEX OF NAMES 



817 



Harris, Sir Augustus, 12, 118, 197 

Harris, Maria, 12 

Harris, Nellie, 12 

Harrison, Maude, 161 

Harrison, President, 176 

Harte, Bret, 47 

Harvey, Frank, 96 

Harvey, Martin, 217 

Hawley, Stanley, 249 

Hawthorne, Grace, 167 

Hawtrey, Charles, 235-240, 295 

Head, Charles, 197 

Heam, James, 217, 251 

Heath, Miss, 110, 232 

Heggie, O. P., 289 

Hemmerde, E. G., 302 

Henderson, Alexander, 219, 229 

Heslewood, Tom, 244 

Hicks, Seymour, 181, 187, 243, 

283, 285, 288, 294, 302 
Hilton, Robert, 290 
Hobson, Maud, 126, 226 
Hodson, Henrietta, 84, 262 
Hole, W. B., 36 
HoUand, E. M., 201 
Holland, Fanny, 41 
Holland, Ned, 123 
Hollingshead, J., 83, 86, 93, 137, 

138, 231 
Holmes-Gore, 226 
Homfray, Gladys, 256 
Hopper, De Wolf, 228 
Hominnan, Miss, 65 
Houghton, Dr., 14, 15 
Howard, Bronson, 43, 44 
Howard, C. E., 197 
Howard, Sidney, 194 
Hughes, Annie, 206, 207, 208, 

211, 226, 269 
Hume, Fergus, 168 

Illington, Margaret, 271, 272 

Illington, Marie, 259 

IngersoU, Robert, 228 

Irving, Sir Henry, 9-11, 28, 63, 
91, 96-113, 144, 145, 251, 253- 
255, 262, 263, 266, 274, 276 

Irving, Laurence. 261 

James, David, 21, 63, 80, 121 

Jarman, Herbert, 273 

Jefferson, Joseph, 14, 165, 166, 

174, 188-194, 230 
Jefferson, Tom, 191 
Jerome, Jerome K., 206 



Jerrold, Douglas, 113, 114 
Jewett, Sara, 161 
Jocelyn, Harry, 126 
Jogram, Professor, 209 
Johnson, Orris, 201 
Johnson, Sam, 100 
Jolivet, Rita, 293 
Jones, H. A., 207, 281, 283, 307 
Jones, Maria, 13, 19 

Kean, Charies, 68, 74, 232 

Kean, Edmund, 64, 67, 106 

Keane, Doris, 281, 283 

Keene, F., 197 

Keene, J. R., 197 

Kelly, Charles, 135 

KeUy, W. W., 167, 168, 180 

Kemble, 67, 147, 148 

Kendal, W. H., 66, 87, 88, 90, 

94, 113, 134, 156, 157, 169, 160, 

181 182 
Kendal, Mrs. W. H., 28, 66, 87, 

94, 114, 123, 134, 156, 167, 160, 

181, 182 
Kennedy, C. R., 289 
Kerr, Fred, 205 
Kingston, Gertrude, 206 
Kitchener, Lord, 246 
Ellein, Charles, 228 
Knight, Joseph, 274, 275, 276 
Knight, Julius, 194 
Knowles, Sir James, 287 
Knowles, John, 65 

Lablache, Luigi, 246 
Labouchere, Henry, 83 
Labouchere, Mrs. Henry, 28, 83 
Lackaye, W., 201 
Langford, C, 94 
Latham, F. G., 243 
Lawford, Ernest, 271, 272 
Lawley, Hon. Francis, 194, 196 
Lawrence, Gerald, 244, 301 
Lawrence, Lilian, 201 
Lawson, Lionel, 86 
Leclerq, Carlotta, 230 
Ledger, George, 03, 64 
Lee, Jennie, 126 
Lee, Phil, 52 
Lee, Richard, 31 
Lee, Robert, 276 
Leigh, Henry, S., 81 
Leighton, Margaret, 119 
Leonard, Agnes, 93 
Leslie, Enid, 295 



318 



INDEX OF NAMES 



Leslie, Maud, 269 

Lewis, Arthur, 172, 244, 281, 283 

Lewis, Fred, 293, 304 

Lewis, Leopold, 10 

Lingham, Nat, 54, 123 

Little, C. P., 231 

Litton, Marie, 91 

Lloyd, N. G., 166 

Loates, S., 197 

Loftus, Kitty, 268 

Lohr, Marie, 295 

Lonsdale, Lord, 197 

Loraine, Robert, 303 

Lyle, Lyton, 293 

Lytton, Lord, 282, 296 

McAlpin, Colonel, 294 
McCarthy, Lillah, 301 
McCarthy, Justin, 193 
McCuUough, John, 11&-119, 172, 

1731 
McFadden, J. H., 311, 312 
Macfarlane, W. W., 225 
Machell, Captain, 197 
Mcintosh, B., 228 
MacKay, F. F., 62 
MacKay, Wallace, 76 
McKennel, Norman, 244, 265 
Macklin, Frank, 147 
McLaughlin, James, 198 
MacLean, John, 93 172, 
McManus, Captain, 211 
Macquoid, Percy, 296 
Macready, W. C, 60 
Maitland, Kenmure, 36 
Maitland, Ruth, 286, 293 
Marston, W. H., 47 
Mason, Jack, 151 
Massey, Rose, 73, 74 
Mathews, Charles, 32-36, 86, 90, 

159 
Mathews, Ethel, 209 
Matthison, Mrs. E. W., 290 
Maude, Charles, 301 
Maude, Cyril, 266 
Mayer, Marcus, 202 
Mead, Tom, 96, 109 
Mellon, Mrs. Alfred, 230 
Melton, Henry, 9 
Merivale, Hermann, 85, 97, 98, 

216 
Merriott„Paul, 267 
Meyrick, Ellen, 93, 266 
Miller, Henry, 290, 293 
Miller, Joaquin, 124 



Mills, Frank, 256, 267 

Millward, Jessie, 281 

Milton, Maud, 251 

Minster, R., 265 

Modjeska, Madame, 232 

Mollison, William, 243 

Monckton, Lady, 161 

Montague, H. J., 12-15, 21-47, 60 

Montgomery, Walter, 142 

Moodie, Louise, 141 

Moore, Mary, 208, 263, 266 

Morant, Fanny, 62 

Morton, Charles, 229 

Mowbray, T., 78, 79 

Muck, Dr. Karl, 310 

Murdoch, Bella, 94 

Murray, Mrs. Gaston, 39 

Nash, George, 201 

Neilson, Adelaide, 41, 42, 60-60, 

98, 119 
Nemey, Thomas, 73 
Nethersole, Olga, 202, 226, 256 
Neville, Albert, 248 
Neville, Henry, 89, 121, 230, 248, 

279 
Newry, Lord, 98 
NichoUs, Harry, 167, 244 
Nott, Cicely, 93 

O'Beime, Marie, 25 
Odell, E. J., 78 
O'Grady, Hubert, 73 
O'Neil, James, 54 
O'Neill, Anne, 201 
O'NeiU, Mary, 304 
Owen, R., 269 
Owen, W. E., 188, 191 

Paget, F., 201 

Pallant, William, 238 

Palmer, A. M., 149 

Parker, Frank, 286 

Parker, Louis N., 207, 226, 227, 

231 
Parkinson, Joe, 253 
Parry, John, 89 
Parry, Judge, 93 
Parry, Serjeant, 93 
Parselle, John, 151 
Pateman, Bella, 210, 240 
Pateman, Mrs., 181 
Pateman, Robert, 180, 181, 241 
Paulton, Harry, 93, 181, 297 
Payne, Louis, 272 



INDEX OF NAMES 



319 



Peck, Robert, 197 

Pemberton. Max, 269 

Penley, W. S., 205 

Pettitt, Henry, 62, 139, 180, 194 

Phelps, Samuel, 66, 67, 68, 70, 71, 

81, 86, 87, 90, 91, 137, 193, 216 
Philips, F. C, 19 
PhilUps, Kate, 118, 244 
Pinero, Sir Arthur, 28, 100, 134, 

181, 192, 271, 282 
Poulton, A. Q., 241 
Pounds, Courtice, 242 
Price, E. H., 162, 164 

Quartermane, Leon, 303 

Bamsay, Alicia, 286 
Rankin, McKee, 62, 123, 125, 228 
Raymond, J. T., 43, 45 
Raymond, Lucy, 23, 24 
Rayne, Eveleen, 73 
Reade, Charles, 146 
Reed, Charles, 198 
Renaud, Chateau, 112, 113 
Reynolds, Vivian, 293, 304 
Richards, Cicely, 167 
Rignold, George, 28, 65, 138 
Rignold, Jane, 39 
Rignold, Wilham, 28, 135, 148 
Ristori, Madame, 135, 135, 137 
Roberts, Lord, 285 
Robertshaw, Jerrold, 267 
Robertson, Ian, 217 
Robertson, Madge, 28, 167 
Robertson, Tom, 13, 276, 279 
Robson, E. M., 244 
Robson, Stuart, 62, 188 
Rock, Charles, 244 
Roe, B., 243 
Romaine, Claire, 265 
Rousby, Mrs., 61, 93 
Rooke, Irene, 243 
Rooke, Mary, 167 
Rosebery, Lord, 288 
Roselle, Amy, 143, 147, 185 
Ross, Herbert, 289 
Rossi, Signor, 138 
Rothschild, Alfred de, 288 
Rouse, Mrs. 188 
Rome, James, 198 
Royce, E., 97 
Royston, A., 293 
Rutland, Duke of, 288 
Ryder, John, 28, 41, 51, 93, 118- 
120, 140, 141 



Saker, Edward, 24, 25 

Salvini, 11, 12, 137 

Sanford, Wright, 47 

Santley, Charles, 302 

Sass, Edward, 241, 304 

Saville, John, 272 

Saville, T. F., 201 

Schaus, William, 42 

Scott, Captain, 246 

Scott, Clement, 66, 114, 121, 140 

Serrano, Vincent, 272 

Shaw, Bernard, 270, 278, 279, 

282 
Sheridan, W, E., 54, 66, 123, 125 
Shine, J. L., 161, 167 
Shook, Sheridan, 149 
Shore, Moss, 300, 301 
Shrewsbury, Lord, 288 
Siddons, Mrs. Scott, 28, 31, 32, 

276 
Silke, George, 197 
Simpson, Palgrave, 33 
Sims, G. R., 180 
Sinclair, Henry, 19 
Sketchley, Arthur, 88 
Smith, Joseph, 129 
Smith, Mark, 43, 44 
Soldene, Miss, 230 
Somerset, C. W., 142, 143, 206, 

265 
Sothem, E. A., 43-47, 157 
Spencer-Brunton, Enid, 269 
Standing, Guy, 272, 289 
Steel, Vernon, 283 
Stephens, W. H., 89 
SterUng, Edward, 20 
Sterling, Mrs. Arthur, 146 
Stetson, J. B., 199, 200 
Stewart, A. T., 49 
StirUng, Mrs., 91, 190 
Stoddart, James, 62, 161 
Stoll, Oswald, 302 
Stuart, Constance, 273 
Swanborough, Edward, 247 
Swanborough, Mrs., 20, 21, 23, 

276 
Swinboume, Thomas, 139, 140, 

162 

Tabor, Robert, 241, 242 
Tarde, Margery, 304 
Taylor, J. G., 172 
Tearle, Godfrey, 304 
Teazle, Lady, 91, 163 
Tempest, Marie, 286 



320 



INDEX OF NAMES 



Terriss, EUaline, 231, 247 
Terriss, William, 19, 73, 113, 217- 

219, 226 
Terry, Charles, 155 
Terry, Edward, 23, 90, 93 
Terry, Ellen, 28, 100, 103, 104, 

109, 110, 144, 155, 251-263, 

279-281, 287 
Terry, Florence, 100 
Terry, Marion, 90, 206 
Thame, 7 

Thimm, Daisy, 265 
Thomas, Augustus, 201, 272 
Thomas, Brandon, 115, 179, 270 
Thomasini, Signor, 29 
Thompson, Lydia, 229 
Thome, Charles, 62 
Thome, Thomas, 21, 63, 80, 121 
Tilbury, Zeffie, 172, 229, 244 
Titheradge, G. S., 227, 240 
Titheradge, Madge, 267 
Trttell, Charlotte, 194 
Tittell, Esther, 271 
Toole, J. L., 28, 32, 61, 62, 90, 

262, 286 
Tracey, Helen, 281 
Travers, W., 48, 49 
Tree, Mrs. H. B., 265 
Tree, SirH. B., 171, 212, 256, 282, 

291, 296, 298, 302 
Tresahar, J., 265 
Trevelyan, Francis, 196, 198 
Trevor, Norman, 286, 303 
Twain, Mark, 47 
Tyars, Frank, 218, 219 
Tyler, Fred, 207 

Valentine, Sydney, 266, 289 
Vanburgh, Violet, 181, 300 
Vandenhoff, George, 16, 17, 50 
Vaughan, C. B., 295 
Vaughan, Kate, 97 
Vedrenne, 277, 278, 282, 283 
Vernon, Ida, 151 
Vemon, W. H., 23 
Vestris, Madame, 34 
Vezin, Herman, 90 
Volp6, F., 206 



Waller, Lewis, 169, 213, 243, 219 
WaUis, Gladys, 201 
WaUis, Mrs., 119, 241 
Ward, Fred, 25, 94, 118 
Ward, Genevieve, 96-99 
Warde, George, 172, 244 
Waring, Herbert, 172, 237 
Warner, Charles, 11, 95, 121, 122, 

143, 144, 237 
Warren, Joseph, 191 
Warwick, Lady, 290 
Waterlow, Margerie, 293 
Waterson, Henry, 76 
Watson, Henrietta, 206, 283 
Webb, Fred, 197 
Webster, Ben, 81, 151, 230, 266, 

269, 303 
Webster, Lizzie, 267 
Weguelin, T., 293, 295 
Welsh, James, 208, 211, 226 
Wheeler, A. C, 43, 45 
White, Fisher, 217 
Wigan, Horace, 44, 74, 75, 76 
Willes, Eloise, 151 
WiUs, W. G., 109-114 
Willard, E. S., 116 
Wilhams, Arthur, 240 
Williams, Barney, 43, 45, 111, 119 
Wilson, Jay, 272 
Winter, William, 43, 45, 173 
Witmark, Jay, 236 
Wontney, Arthur, 289 
Wood, C, 197 
Wood, Mrs. John, 39, 40 
Worthing, Frank, 271 
Wright, Haidee, 305 
Wyndham, Sir Charles, 208, 213, 

228, 259-263, 266 
Wyndham, R. H., 25, 28, 29 
Wyndham, Mrs., 26, 27, 28, 29, 

38, 41, 73 
Wynne, Gladys, 290 

Yorke, G. M., 172 

Young, Brigham, 129, 130, 131 

Zangwill, Israel, 301 



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