Presented to the
LIBRARY of the
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
NORAH DE PENCIER
THE LIFE AND ART OF
AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES
Ktfr ani Art
L C PAGE- K COMPANY
BOSTON # PUBLISHERS ;'
-: Copyright, 1886
BY O. M. DUNHAM
: 11 T '
All rights reserved
Fifth Impression, June, 1907
EltCtrotyptd and Printed by C. H. Simondt & Co.
Miss MARY ANDERSON .
William L. Keeu
MR. AND MRS. BANCROFT
William Archer .
MR. LAWRENCE BARRETT
William M. La/an .
MR. EDWIN BOOTH.
MR. AND MRS. DION BOUCICAULT
Benjamin Ellis Martin
M*. J. S. CLARKE .
Edw. Hamilton Bell .
MR. AND MRS. FLORENCE
Laurence Hut ton .
MR. HENRY IRVING
J. Ranken Towse
MR. JOSEPH JEFFERSON .
H. C. Bunner
MR. AND MRS. KENDAL .
William Archer .
MME. MODJESKA .
Jeannette Leonard Gilder
Miss CLARA MORRIS
Clinton Stuart .
MR. JOHN T. RAYMOND.
George H. Jessop .
Miss ELLEN TERRY
Ceo. Edgar Montgomery
MR. J. L. TOOLR .
Walter Henies Pollock
MR. LESTER WALLACK .
William Winter .
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
EDWIN BOOTH AS HAMLET .... Frontispiece
MARY ANDERSON AS GALATEA IN " PYGMALION AND
LAWRENCE BARRETT AS CASSIUS IN " JULIUS CAESAR" . 39
EDWIN BOOTH 57
DION BOUCICAULT 79
AGNES R. BOUCICAULT 86
MRS. W. J. FLORENCE 126
HENRY IRVING 133
HENRY IRVING AS MATHIAS IN "THE BELLS" . . 136
JOSEPH JEFFERSON AS BOB ACRES IN "THE RIVALS". 158
MR. AND MRS. W. H. KENDAL 177
CLARA MORRIS 213
ELLEN TERRY AS HENRIETTA MARIA IN "CHARLES I." 249
LESTER WALLACK AS THE PRINCE OF WALES IN
HENRY IV." 285
MISS MARY ANDERSON.
Beautiful lady from a far-off land,
In whose fair form rejoicingly we trace
The loveliest features of a kindred race
That bids thee welcome with an outstretched hand,
Which lingers lovingly in clasped embrace,
Until our deep emotions, in flushed face,
Thou mayest read, and reading understand
Our passionate love of purity and grace ;
Springing spontaneous from thy generous heart !
We pray Heaven guard thee in thy noble art,
Where art is lost ; made so to intertwine
With purest nature, as to form a part
Of thine own being as entirely thine
That but one word expresseth it it is DIVINE !
MISS MARY ANDERSON.
Since the death of Charlotte Cushman, the American
stage has waited for an actress whose aspiration and
endeavor might foreshadow an imperial rule. Women
have appeared during the last ten years who have
distinguished themselves in certain parts and won
renown in the portrayal and expression of certain
emotions ; but therein were equally revealed their
powers and their limitations. The manifold attributes
of mind and character, developed by serious purpose
into a noble harmony, have not been clearly exhibited
on our stage by any actress of recent years. To say
this does not lessen the fame of any artist now before
the public ; the assertion plucks no laurel from any
deserving brow. I have said that actresses have
become famous through certain impersonations, and
I am well aware that not without thought and study
were the portraits conceived and executed. But I do
not regard the emotional expert as entitled to come
under the head of Richelieu's phrase of "entirely
great." Because a certain actress, for instance, has
been exceptionally effective as Camillc, it does not fol-
low, I think, that equal identification would attend a
new assumption. Would not a change of part rather be
something of the nature of a fresh experiment ? not
the assured donning of a becoming mantle. As a rule,
it is the opportunity for effective realism that appeals
4 MISS MAR Y ANDERSON.
to the dramatic specialist, and just so far as the
realistic possibilities of any given part accord with the
ambition, temperament, and unique personality of the
player, so far will be the measure of the success. It
is noticeable that the performances of the specialist
afford few, if any, felicitous contrasts. The acting is
likely to be on the same plane of thought, feeling, and
expression, and it compels interest and admiration by
a sustained physical and emotional strain. I may be
asked if the oculist and surgeon are not important
adjuncts to the medical profession ? I answer, they
are, of course ; but then we never expect to be blind
nor to have a limb taken off, however frequently we
know we may need the doctor.
The achievements of the actress whose name heads
this paper demand a consideration far beyond my
present limits ; but I think no consideration is needed
to say that she has kindled a greater hope and gives
a brighter promise than any American actress since
the death of Charlotte Cushman. Perhaps she it is
for whom the stage has been waiting. Something in
her early aspiration ; in the manner of her first ap-
pearance ; in the steps by which she has advanced ;
in her patient yet energetic acquirement of the details
of her art; in her devotion to high ideals; in her
refined taste and nobleness of spirit ; in her pains-
taking zeal ; in her endowment of intelligence and
beauty ; in her self-respecting nature ; something in
all these seems to point to a bright fulfilment of the
present hope and promise.
Miss Mary Anderson was born on July 28, 1859.
Her birthplace was Sacramento, California, but she
was still an infant when her parents moved to Ken-
MISS MARY ANDERSON. 5
tucky. The record of her early years is full of
interest for those who study the careers of women of
genius ; and it may be noted that she was wayward
and restless under school and domestic restraint.
Her nature was truthful, her disposition such as to
make her a favorite wherever known, and she seems
to have been the idol of her playmates. It is con-
fessed that her school-learning was of small account,
and her conduct under tuition often refractory. It
was on leaving school, at the age of thirteen, that she
began to study ; but her book was Shakspere, and
the poet opened the gates of dream-land to her, as
he has to so many others, before and since. We
are told that the poet was an education to her, and
that her intellectual development was rapid. The
male characters of Shakspere interested her most at
this time ; she studied with ardor the parts of Hamlet,
Romeo, and Richard III. ; and while thus engaged
she also employed herself in cultivating her voice.
Her passion for the stage seems to have been inborn,
and her first visit to the theatre was an event which
held the seal of destiny. In her fourteenth year she
saw Edwin Booth in Richard III., and the per-
formance, as may well be imagined, was a revelation
to her. Later she visited Miss Cushman, and received
from that great actress an encouraging opinion of her
powers, accompanied with the advice to place herself
in study and training for another year before making
an appearance in public. This advice was followed.
For dramatic instructor the late Mr. Vandenhoff was
selected, and he gave her ten lessons, which is said to
have been her only professional training. Her first
appearance was made at Macauley's Theatre, Louis-
6 MISS MARY ANDERSON.
ville, on Nov. 27, 1875, in the character of Juliet, the
play-bill reading " by a Louisville Young Lady." It
is on record that competent judges regarded this first
performance as indicating great natural talent. From
that time to the present Miss Anderson has steadily
pursued her professional path, not without a share
of the vicissitudes and disappointments that beset a
theatrical career, and her progress has been watched
with more than ordinary interest by the American
Her first regular engagement was at the Louisville
Theatre, in the January following her debut, and in the
course of it she played Evadne, Bianca, Julia, and
Juliet. This engagement was succeeded by her
appearance in St. Louis, New Orleans, Washington,
and San Francisco. A New York audience welcomed
her for the first time on Nov. 12, 1877, when she
appeared at the Fifth Avenue Theatre as Pauline, in
the * Lady of Lyons.' She successively played
Juliet, Evadne, Meg Merrilies and Parthenia. She
made a first visit to Europe in 1878 (not a profes-
sional one), returning the same year, and playing
again at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in a round of her
It is not needful to chronicle here the professional
engagements of Miss Anderson from year to year.
Let it suffice that she has played in all the principal
cities of the Union, and in 1883 made a second visit
to Europe, this time professionally, where she re-
mained until the autumn of 1885, adding largely to
her dramatic laurels by her performances in the
United Kingdom, and winning great popular esteem
by her personal worth. In August of 1885 she played
MISS MARY ANDERSON. ?
Rosalindas* first appearance in that character) at
Stratford-on-Avon, for the benefit of the Shakspere
Memorial Theatre, and the proceeds of this perform-
ance may be seen in the beautiful sculptured emblems
of Comedy and Tragedy which now adorn the front of
the Memorial Hall where * As You Like It ' was
acted. On Miss Anderson's return to her jiativeJand
she began the season of 1885-6 with Rosalind, at the
Star Theatre in New York. This season, which
embraced an extended tour of the United States,
ended in May, 1886, and in June following the actress
sailed again for England.
Eleven years have passed since Miss Anderson's
first appearance. Her progress has shown a steady
increase of dramatic comprehension and power, and
her professional life has been marked by thoughtful
study and conscientious work. She has added to
her repertory from time to time, and her list of
characters presents an array which tested many of her
great predecessors. Free and beautiful, she stands
before us as the foremost American actress, and her
career from first to last, viewed in whatever light, is
one of which we have every reason to be proud. It is
worthy of all regard that from pure and sincere
professional devotion Miss Anderson has never
But the time has not yet come when the lists may
be closed and the crown awarded. Something is due
to tradition to famous actresses of the past who
found the path to fame no royal road. An acute
critic, writing in 1880 on the recognition of the
increasing merit of Miss Anderson's performances,
after a summary of what he judged were her merits
8 MISS MARY ANDERSON.
and defects, used these words : " Here, in brief, is
more tragic impulse than human tenderness ; more of
physical strength and force of will than of spiritual
intensity ; more of the ravishing opulence of youth-
ful womanhood than of the thrilling frenzy of genius
or the dominant grandeur of intellectual character.
Yet, what a wealth of natural power is here ! what
glorious promise ! what splendid possibilities ! "
Doubtless many of the lines of limitation here sug-
gested have been obliterated by growth and develop-
ment ; but Miss Anderson does not claim to be a
prodigy and will be willing to wait for those teachings
of experience that have their part in rounding and
perfecting all human effort. Not to have suffered is
a lesson of life missed. The " glorious promise," the
" splendid possibilities," remain, and there our hope
It may be of interest to place on record Miss
Anderson's present repertory : Juliet, in Romeo
and Juliet ' ; Evadne, in * Evadne ' ; Bianca, in
' Fazio ' ; Julia, in the ' Hunchback ' ; Parthenia, in
' Ingomar ' ; Pauline, in the ' Lady of Lyons ' ;
Meg Merrilies, in ' Guy Mannering ' ; Lady Macbeth,
in ' Macbeth ' (sleep scene) ; the Countess, in * Love ' ;
Duchess de Torrenucra, in * Faint Heart Never Won
Fair Lady ' ; Ion, in ' Ion ' ; Galatea, in ' Pygmalion
and Galatea ' ; Berthe, in ' Roland's Daughter ' ;
Desdemona, in * Othello ' ; Clarice, in ' Comedy and
Tragedy ' ; Rosalind, in ' As You Like It.'
WILLIAM L. KEESE.
MISS MARY ANDERSON. 9
We can scarcely bring ourselves to speak of the
young actress who came before the footlights last
night, with the coolness of a critic and a spectator.
Our interest in native genius and young endeavor, in
courage and brave effort that arrives from so near
us our own city precludes the possibility of stand-
ing outside of sympathy, and peering in with analyz-
ing and judicial glance. But we do not think that
any man of judgment who witnessed Miss Anderson's
acting of Juliet, can doubt that she is a great actress.
In the latter scenes she interpreted the very spirit
and soul of tragedy, and thrilled the whole house into
silence by the depth of her passion and her power.
She is essentially a tragic genius, and began really to
act only after the scene in which her nurse tells Juliet
of what she supposes is her lover's death. The quick
gasp, the terrified, stricken face, the tottering step, the
passionate and heart-rending accents were nature's
own marks of affecting overwhelming grief.
Miss Anderson has great power over the lower tones
of her rich voice. Her whisper electrifies and pene-
trates ; her hurried words in the passion of the scene
where she drinks the steeping potion, and afterwards
in the catastrophe at the end, although very far below
conversational pitch, came to the ear with distinctness
and with wonderful effect. In the final scene she
reached the climax of her acting, which, from the
time of Tybalt's death to the end, was full of tragic
power that we have never seen equalled. It will be
observed that we have placed the merit of this
actress (in our opinion) for the most part in her
deeper and more sombre powers, and despite the high
praise that we more gladly offer as her due, we can-
io MISS MARY ANDERSON.
not be blind to her faults in the presentation of last
evening. She is, undoubtedly, a great actress, and
last night evidenced a magnificent genius, more espe-
cially remarkable on account of her extreme youth ;
but whether she is a great Juliet is, indeed, more
doubtful. We can imagine her as personating Lady
Macbeth superbly, and hope soon to witness her in the
part. As Juliet, her conception is almost perfect, as
evinced by her rare and exceptional taste and intui-
tive understanding of the text. But her enactment of
the earlier scenes lacks the exuberance and earnest
joyfulness of the pure and glowing Flower of Italy,
with all her fanciful conceits and delightful and lov-
The Louisville Courier, Nov. 28, 1875.
Not long afterwards Mary Anderson's dramatic
powers were submitted to the critical judgment of
Miss Cushman. The great actress, then in the zenith
of her fame, was residing not far distant, at Cincinnati.
Accompanied by her mother, Mary presented herself
at Miss Cushman's hotel. They happened to meet in
the vestibule. The veteran actress took the young
aspirant's hand with her accustomed vigorous grasp,
to which Mary, not to be outdone, nerved herself to
respond in kind ; and patting her at the same time
affectionately on the cheek, invited her to read before
her on an early morning. When Miss Cushman had
entered her waiting carriage, Mary Anderson, with her
wonted veneration for what pertained to the stage,
begged that she might be allowed to be the first to sit
in the chair that had been occupied for a few moments
by the great actress. Miss Cushman's verdict was
MISS MARY ANDERSON. II
highly favorable. " You have," she said, " three
essential requisites for the stage : voice, personality,
and gesture. With a year's longer study and some
training, you may venture to make an appearance
before the public." Miss Cushman recommended
that she should take lessons from the younger Van-
denhoff, who was at the time a successful character
teacher in New York. A year from that date occurred
the actress's lamented death, almost on the very day
of Mary Anderson's dtbut.
J. M. FARRAR : * Mary Anderson : the Story of her
Life,' chap. 2, pp. 13-14.
Her works are growing in symmetry but neither
in unity nor in splendor. She still [March, 1880]
wins as a beauty, impresses as a prodigy, and startles
as a genius. The word has not yet been spoken
which is to give her soul its entire freedom, arm it
with all its powers, and make the forms of art the
slaves of her will. The triumph of Miss Anderson
now is the triumph of an exceptional personality
shrined in a beautiful person, but not yet the triumph
of a consummate actress.
With a superb voice, here is a defective elocution ;
with a magnificent figure, here is a self-conscious
manner in the attitudes ; with a noble freedom and
suppleness of physical machinery, here is a capricious
gesticulation ; with a full and fine sense of opportu-
nity for strong and shining points, here is but an
incipient perception of the relative value of surround-
ing characters and the coordination of adjuncts ;
with a brilliant faculty for stormy and vehement
declamation, here, as yet, is an imperfect idea of the
12 MISS MARY ANDERSON.
loveliness of quiet touches, verbal shading, and sug-
gestive strokes ; with a vigorous, and often grand,
manner of address, here is a frequent lack of concen-
tration in listening ; with wonderful intuitions as to
the wilder moods of human passion, here is a restricted
sympathy with the more elemental feelings from
which naturally ensues a certain vagueness in the
effect of their manifestation. Here, in brief, is more
tragic impulse than human tenderness ; more of
physical strength and force of will than of spiritual
intensity ; more of the ravishing opulence of youthful
womanhood than of the thrilling frenzy of genius or
the dominant grandeur of intellectual character.
Yet, what a wealth of natural power is here ! What
glorious promise ! What splendid possibilities !
WILLIAM WINTER : The ' Stage Life of Mary
Anderson,' chap, i, pp. 30-2.
Now, as to the acting. You will at once ask me
how is it possible for any one to adequately represent
the part of an intensely virtuous, highly respectable
and honorable couple, of whom one, the wife, plays
the part of the decoy, and the other, the husband,
the rdle of a bully ? A virtuous and respectable Becky
Sharp is a contradiction in terms ; but Miss Mary
Anderson having chosen the part for herself, plays
it, and assumes the responsibility of the interpreta-
She looks it to perfection, and from a certain point
of view, which must be her own, or she would not
have selected the piece, plays it admirably. I can
imagine what Sarah Bernhardt would have done
with it, but she could never have enlisted the sym-
MISS MARY ANDERSON. 13
pathies of the audience as an honest wife ; but the
actress who can enlist the sympathies of the audience
by acting as a Lucretia could but imperfectly portray
the seductive caresses of a Phryne. Miss Anderson
sacrifices the Phryne to the Lucretia, and her con-
sistently impossible character is entirely in keeping
with the utterly artificial and purely theatrical situa-
tion. The recitation with which Clarice attempts to
entertain her sprawling guests (it must have been
the dullest party conceivable) has been ingeniously
devised and cleverly written. It is at once the tour
de force of both author and actress.
Punch, London, Feb. 9, 1884.
In ' Ingomar,' Miss Anderson was instinct with force
and with simplicity. She had just the delicate yet
firm touch which the character in its main lines de-
mands ; and it is a character made up for the most
part of broad outlines. Yet here and there comes a
passage where fine shading is wanted ; and such a
passage is the rejection of the tricky Poly dor s suit.
Then Miss Anderson was absolutely, hopelessly as it
seemed, at fault. She had to reject the disgusting old
man with a laugh, and the impression produced was
that the actress had learned a laugh, not the laugh
necessary for the circumstances and situation, but
simply a laugh, and that she reproduced this echo
of an abstract laugh with an accuracy which made its
sound all the more incongruous and insincere. Also,
but this is a fault of a different kind, the diction
was frequently very indistinct. Yet, with all faults
admitted, the acting was full both of promise and of
performance, and of broad conviction that Miss Ander-
14 MISS MARY ANDERSON.
son had won the admiration of American audiences
by something more than beauty and grace alone.
So, again, in the ' Lady of Lyons,' an eminently
artificial piece, with an eminently artificial heroine's
part, Miss Anderson was graceful, statuesque, intelli-
gent, or more than intelligent and charming. But
there was, so far, nothing to show whether she had a
claim to be considered as an actress in the true cense
of the word. If her power of impersonation seemed
faulty, or even altogether wanting, why, that might be
the fault of the plays rather than of the player.
Then Miss Anderson appeared as the vivified statue
in Mr. Gilbert's ' Pygmalion and Galatea,' one of
the very vulgarest and commonest plays ever written
by an author of cleverness ; and in this she set her-
self a hard task. The result of the experiment is the
spectacle of a lady, gifted with singular grace and ear-
nestness, delivering lines which are anything rather
than graceful with a manner so opposed to the whole
notion of the piece that the effect is indescribably odd.
It is as if a pretty and harmless tenor were suddenly
to attempt some swaggering baritone, without a per-
ception of the swaggering element. This is, however,
a merely general impression. Going into particulars,
I find that wherever Mr. Gilbert has been unable or
uncareful to coarsen the beautiful legend, and wher-
ever trusting to a fine and simple perception of the
legend's poetry is enough for the acting's needs, there
Miss Anderson is charming, and singularly charming.
Such a moment is the first awakening of the statue,
which could hardly be bettered in voice, manner, or
look. But when the complex emotions come into play,
then, even when one makes fullest allowance for the
MISS MARV ANDERSON. 15
common and stupid inconsistencies attributed by Mr.
Gilbert to the statue, and for an actress's difficulty in
glossing over their stupidity, I think Miss Anderson
fails for want of perception, and for want of " instruc-
tion " in the French, rather than the English, sense of
the word. Here she underplays and there she over-
plays her difficult part. . . . The very first scene and
the very last are, to my thinking, out of eight, the best,
so far as Miss Anderson is concerned. But the fact
remains that when all its faults are counted up, the
performance has charm and, I think, talent which
might become very remarkable if its possessor were
not in great danger of being spoilt by unthinking
WALTER HERRIES POLLOCK, in the Century Maga-
zine, June, 1884.
Miss Anderson's Rosalind deserves much praise.
She looked and did her best. In appearance she
nearly realized Lodge's glowing description of his
Rosalynde : " All in general applauded the admirable
riches that Nature bestowed on her face." When she
was disguised in buff jerkin and hose as Ganymede,
it was impossible to do other than commend Phabe's
fickleness. Miss Anderson's faults are well-known,
and many of them were still present. Her pathos in
the early scenes sounded artificial. The proud scorn
with which she replied to Duke Frederick's accusation
of treason was the only speech in the first act which
she delivered with any approach to real feeling. In
the forest scenes she appeared to far better advan-
tage. In her interviews with Orlando she proved her-
self in sympathy with the spirit of the comedy : full
16 MISS MARY ANDEXSOtf.
of youthful vivacity, she kept well within the limits of
womanly reserve. She bantered Phoebe with the cruel-
est ease, but her manner as the mocking censor of the
rustic coquette was quite free from the touches of
anxiety which she sought often successfully to im-
part to her raillery of her lover. Miss Anderson
delivered the epilogue with great naturalness and
spirit, and dismissed her audience in the best of
SIDNEY L. LEE, in the Academy, London, Sept. 5,
It is not three years since Miss Mary Anderson first
came among us, a young American girl, heralded only
by undeniable evidence (the sun being witness) of her
striking beauty, and conflicting rumors as to her
talent. She is now returning to her native land an
artistic and social notability of the first magnitude.
Her success is all the more remarkable certainly all
the more creditable in that it has been gained entirely
by her own unaided efforts in the art she professes.
She had no social notoriety to launch her on her
career, nor did she take any pains to acquire it. She
shunned rather than courted personal publicity. She
did not ride on fire-engines or sleep in coffins. Scan-
dal, even in this malevolent world, held aloof from
her, and if silly gossip now and then gave her "the
puff oblique," it was without her connivance and to
her no small discomfort. It may even be said that
she was deliberately and injudiciously contemptuous
of all personal means of propitiation. To some peo-
ple, unable to dissociate the two ideas of " dramatic
artist " and " eccentric bohemian," her attitude ap-
MISS MARY ANDERSON. \1
peared unwarrantably repellent, and she suffered in
more ways than one from a certain unapproachable-
ness which was construed as the feminine form of that
foible which in the stronger sex we call priggishness.
Even criticism was not unaffected by this feeling, and
she was treated, I do not say with injustice, but cer-
tainly with scant cordiality. She has won the public
with little help from the press, and that, in these days,
is of itself a remarkable achievement
Let us pass, then, to Miss Anderson's latest and
most interesting effort her Rosalind. The critics who
criticise before the event were full of doubts as to her
capacity for comedy. Juliet's scene with the Nurse
should have banished any such doubt. It proved
Miss Anderson's possession of a fund of delicate
playfulness which could not but stand her in good
stead in the part of the sprightly Ganymede. This
quality was, indeed, apparent throughout ; but, as
Lady Martin remarks, it is a "strange perversion" to
suppose that Rosalind can be adequately performed
by actresses " whose strength lies only in comedy."
There is in her a " deep womanly tenderness," and an
"intellect disciplined by fine culture," which must be
made apparent through all her sportive vivacity. In
the " deep womanly tenderness " Miss Anderson was,
perhaps, a little lacking. Her Rosalind was girlish
rather than womanly, but it was so brightly, frankly,
healthily girlish that to have quarrelled with it would
have been sheer captiousness. In the opening scenes
(it must be remembered that I speak of her first per-
formance of the part, a most trying occasion) she had
not altogether warmed to her work, though even here
she was intelligent and charming. Her speech to the
l8 MISS MARY ANDERSON.
Duke, culminating in the line, " What's that to me ?
My father was no traitor ! " showed traces of her early
and unpolished manner. It lacked nobility and lofti-
ness. Its indignation was too loud. It was invective
rather than self-restrained and scathing sarcasm. Not
till she appeared in the first forest scene was Miss
Anderson's success assured, but then a very few
speeches placed it beyond question. Her appearance
was ideal. No actress whom I have seen in Rosalind,
or indeed in any " doublet and hose " part, wears
these trying garments with anything like the ease, grace
and perfect good taste displayed by Miss Anderson.
In most Rosalinds the woman obtrudes herself upon
the physical as well as the mental eye. We cannot
get rid of the feeling that Orlando must inevitably see
through this masquerade from the very first. In Miss
Anderson's case we meet with no such stumbling-
block. A cleverly-designed costume, modest without
prudery, combined with her lithe, well-knit and in no
way redundant figure to make her a perfect embodi-
ment of the " saucy lackey." Her beauty, which is
essentially feminine, was the only circumstance which
need have made Orlando suspect the woman in her, if
(to oblige Shakspere) we suppose it possible that he
should fail to recognize her as the identical Rosalind
of the wrestling-match. Her claret-colored mantle,
exquisitely handled, gave her the means for much
significant by-play through which she prevented the
audience from forgetting her sex, without in any way
suggesting it to Orlando. Its tastefulness was per-
haps the great charm of her Rosalind.
WILLIAM ARCHER, in the Theatre, October, 1885.
MR. AND MRS. BANCROFT.
(Miss MARIE WILTON.)
Dramatic flowers they gathered by the way,
And chose the brightest wheresoe'er it grows ;
Never disdaining to contrast in play,
French tiger-lily with the English rose.
With kindly Robertson they formed a ' School,'
Rejoiced in ' Play ' after long anxious hours ;
* Caste ' was for them, and theirs, a golden rule,
And thus by principle we made them * Ours/
MR. AND MRS. BANCROFT.
Marie Effie Wilton, known since her marriage as
Mrs. Bancroft, was born at Doncaster about 1840.
Her father and mother were both on the stage, and
when little more than an infant she used to recite in
public. After playing children's parts on the Nor-
wich circuit, she was engaged with her parents, at the
Theatre Royal, Manchester, then managed by H.
J. Wallack, where she appeared, Oct. 5, 1846, as
Fleance in * Macbeth.' She remained for some years
in Manchester, playing, among other parts, GoneriFs
page in ' King Lear,' Mamilius in the ' Winter's
Tale,' the Emperor of Lilliput in a pantomime of
' Gulliver/ Hymen in * As You Like It,' and Arthur
in ' King John,' a part in which Charles Kemble saw
and admired her. From Manchester, she passed, while
yet a child, to the Bristol and Bath circuit, and did
not make her first appearance in London until Sept.
'5 1856, when she played the boy Henri to Mr. Charles
Dillon's Belphegor, at the Lyceum, and on the same
evening created the title-part in W. Brough's bur-
lesque ' Perdita ; or the Royal Milkmaid.'* Her success
immediate, and she was soon in great request.
* Mr. J. L. Toole clayed Hilarion Fanfaronadt in the drama
and Autolycus in the burlesque.
a 2 MR. AND MRS. BANCROFT.
At the Lyceum she played the Little Fairy at the
Bottom of the Sea in W. Brough's ' Conrad and
Medora' (Dec. 26, 1856) ; at the Haymarket Cupid
in Talfourd's Atalanta' (April 13,1857) ; and at the
Adelphi Cupid in the pantomime of ' Cupid and
Psyche ' (Dec. 26, 1857). She remained a member of
the Adelphi Company under Webster's management
until the demolition of the theatre (last performance,
June 2, 1858), and afterwards played with Webster
and Madame Celeste at the Surrey and Sadler's Wells.
On July 26, 1858, she made her first appearance at the
Strand Theatre as Carlo Broschi in ' Asmodeus ; or
The Little Devil.' The Strand was now her head-
quarters for six years (until December, 1864). She
formed one of the chief attractions of the series of
burlesques, then so unflaggingly popular. Her Pippo
in H. J. Byron's 'Maid and the Magpie' (Oct. n,
1858), finally established her reputation. On Dec.
17, 1858, Charles Dickens wrote to Forster : " I ...
went to the Strand Theatre, having taken a stall be-
forehand, for it is always crammed. I really wish you
would go between this and next Thursday, to see
the ' Maid and the Magpie ' burlesque there. There
is the strangest thing in it that ever I have seen on
the stage, the boy, Pippo, by Miss Wilton. While
it is astonishingly impudent (must be, or it couldn't
be done at all), it is so stupendously like a boy, and
unlike a woman, that it is perfectly free from offence.
I never have seen such a thing. Priscilla Horton, as
a boy, not to be thought of beside it. ... I call her
the cleverest girl I have ever seen on the stage in my
time, and the most singularly original." After Pippo>
her principal parts at the Strand were Sir Walter Ra-
MR. AND MRS. BANCROFT. 23
leigh in Halliday's ' Kenilworth' (1858), Juliet* in
Halliday's ' Romeo and Juliet' (1859), Albert in Tal-
fourd's ' Tell ' (1859), Karl in Byron and Talfourd's
' Miller and his Men ' (1860), Aladdin in Byron's
'Aladdin' (1861), Pierre Gringoire in Byron's ' Es-
meralda' (1861), Miles-na-Coppaleen in Byron's ' Miss
Eily O'Connor' (1862), Orpheus in Byron's ' Orpheus
and Eurydice' (1863), and Mazourka in Byron's
Mazourka ' (1864). During a short break in her con-
nection with the Strand Theatre she appeared at the
St. James's (Easter Monday, 1863) as Geordie Robert-
son in the ' Great Sensation Trial ; or Circumstantial
Effie Deans,' by W. Brough ; and at the St. James's
and the Adelphi, as well as at the Strand, she oc-
casionally played in comediettas, such as the ' Little
Treasure,' ' A Grey Mare,' the ' Little Sentinel,' and
' Good for Nothing.'
In the winter of 1864-5 Miss Wilton conceived the
idea of entering into partnership with Mr. H. J.
Byron in the management of a theatre ; and while this
project was maturing it so happened that she paid a
starring visit to the Prince of Wales's Theatre, Liver-
pool, where her future husband was then appearing.
Mr. Squire Bancroft Bancroft was born in London
May 14, 1841, and joined the dramatic profession at
the Theatre Royal, Birmingham, in January, 1861.
He served his apprenticeship in Birmingham, Dublin
and Liverpool, supporting such stars as G. V. Brooke,
Phelps, Charles Kean, Charles James Mathews and
* On April 18, 1864, Miss Wilton played Juliet in Shakspere's
Balcony Scene, to the Romeo of Miss Ada Swanborough, for the
benefit of the Shakspere Tercentenary Fund ; a performance
which was so well received that it was repeated for eight nights.
24 MR. AND MRS. BANCROFT.
Sothern, and playing in such diverse parts as Mercutio,
the Ghost in ' Hamlet,' Laertes, Gratiano, Bob JBrierly,
John Mildmay, Captain Hawkesley and Monsieur
Tourbillon. His ability so impressed Mr. Byron and
Miss Wilton that they offered him an engagement,
and he made his first appearance in London on the
first night of their management.
The theatre in Tottenham Street, Tottenham Court
Road, which was ultimately to become famous as the
birthplace of cup-and-saucer comedy, had existed as
a playhouse since 1810, under the successive names
of the Theatre of Variety, the Regency Theatre, the
West London Theatre, the Fitzroy Theatre and the
Queen's Theatre. After ruining several lessees, it was
taken in 1839 by Mr. C. J. James, a scenic artist, who
succeeded in keeping it going for more than twenty-
five years with entertainments of the most unam-
bitious order. It was from him that the new lessees
rented it, and he still figured for a time on the bills
as "actual and responsible manager."
On Saturday, April 15, 1865, the reconstructed
Queen's Theatre, renamed the Prince of Wales's, was
opened under the management of Miss Marie Wilton.
The bill consisted of J. P. Wooler's comedy ' A
Winning Hazard ' (Mr. Bancroft playing Jack Crow-
ley] ; Byron's burlesque of * La Sonnambula ; or the
Supper, the Sleeper and the Merry Swiss Boy,' with
Miss Wilton in the part of Alessio ; and Troughton's
farce of 'Vandyke Brown.' The original intention
of the management was to rely upon light comedy
and burlesque. During the first season Palgrave
Simpson's two-act drama, ' A Fair Pretender ' and
H. J. Byron's * War to the Knife ' were produced, Mr.
MR. AND MRS. BANCROFT. 25
Bancroft making his first noteworthy success as
Captain Thistleton in Byron's comedy. The second
season opened (Sept. 25, 1865) with ' Naval Engage-
ments ' and Byron's ' Lucia di Lammermoor.' Six
weeks later, however, a play was produced which,
with its successors, was destined to expel burlesque
from the Prince of Wales's stage and to establish a
new method in authorship, decoration and acting.
During the five years and a half which intervened
between the first performance of ' Society ' and the
death of Mr. T. W. Robertson, that genial play-
wright was practically the sole caterer of the Prince
of Wales's, his comedies steadily increasing in popu-
larity. From this point onwards the history of the
Bancroft management may be most shortly and con-
veniently set forth in the form of annals. That form
I consequently adopt, premising that allowance must
be made in each year for a summer vacation varying
in length from a few days to several weeks and even
1865: Nov. ii, Robertson's 'Society' Mr. Ban-
croft, Sydney Daryl* Miss Wilton, Maud Hethcring-
ton ran over 150 nights ; Christmas, Byron's * Little
Don Giovanni,' in which Miss Wilton created her last
1866: May 5, Byron's *A Hundred Thousand
Pounds ' ; Sept. 15, Robertson's ' Ours ' Mr. Ban-
croft, Angus McAlister, Miss Wilton, Mary NctUy
followed by ' Pas de Fascination,' in which Miss
Lydia Thompson appeared ; Oct 10, Byron's 4 Der
FreyschUtz ; or the Bell, the Bill and the Ball ' ;
* In the revivals of ' Society ' and ' Ours ' Mr. Bancroft always
played Tom Stylul and //ugh ChaUot.
26 MR. AND MRS. BANCROFT.
Christmas, Byron's ' Pandora's Box," the last bur-
lesque produced, Mr. Byron shortly afterwards resign-
ing his share in the management.
1867 : April 6, Robertson's ' Caste ' Mr. Bancroft,
Captain Hawtrec, Miss Wilton, Polly Eccles ; Dec.
21, Dion Boucicault's * How She Loves Him' and
' Box and Cox,' played by Mr. John Hare and Mr.
George Honey. On Saturday, Dec. 28, Mr. Bancroft
and Miss Marie Wilton were married at the church of
St. Stephen the Martyr, Avenue Road, St. John's
1868 : Feb. 15, Robertson's ' Play ' Mr. and Mrs.
Bancroft, the Chevalier Browne and Rosie Fanquehere
ran 107 nights ; in June and July, a revival of
1 Caste ' ; * in the autumn season, a revival of * Society' ;
and Dec. 12, Edward Yates's 'Tame Cats' Mr. and
Mrs. Bancroft, Mortimer Wedgewood and Mrs.
1869 : Jan. 16, Robertson's 4 School ' Mr. and
Mrs. Bancroft, Jack Poyntz and Naomi Tighe. Ran
for 381 nights with only one interruption of n nights,
during which the theatre was entirely re-decorated, the
orchestra being placed beneath the stage.
1870 : April 23, Robertson's ' M. P. ' Mr. and
Mrs. Bancroft, Talbot Piers and Cecilia Dunscombe / it
ran for about six months. This was the last in order
of the Robertsonian comedies. It was followed by
revivals of * Ours ' and ' Caste,' which proved even
more attractive than on their first production ; and
* In the case of revivals of pieces previously produced or re-
vived under the Bancroft management, the absence of any state-
ment to the contrary implies that Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft resumed
the parts last played by them.
MR. AND MRS. BANCROFT. 2?
while his work was thus at the height of its popularity
Mr. T. W. Robertson died, Feb. 4, 1871. During the
next five years Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft were engaged
in a strenuous endeavor to keep their stage supplied
with English plays, new and old. It was not until
1876 that they yielded to circumstances and produced
the first of the adaptations from the French which
have so often subjected them to a charge of lack of
patriotism. I now resume my tabular statement :
1872: May 6, a revival of 'Money* Mr. and
Mrs. Bancroft, Sir F. Blouni and Georgina Vesey.
1873 : Feb. 22, Wilkie Collins's ' Man and Wife '
Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft, Dr. Speedwell and Blanche
Lundie ; Sept. 20, a revival of * School.'
1874 : April 4, a revival of the ' School for Scan-
dal ' Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft, Joseph Surface and
Lady Teazle ; Nov. 7, W. S. Gilbert's ' Sweethearts '
Mrs. Bancroft, Jenny Northcott, Mr. Coghlan, Harry
Spreadbrow ; and revival of ' Society,' Mrs. Bancroft
relinquishing the part of Maud to Miss Fanny
1875 : April 17, a revival of the ' Merchant of
Venice 'Mr. Coghlan, Shylock, Miss Ellen Terry,
Portia, Mr. Bancroft, the Prince of Morocco this
production was a disastrous failure ; May 29, a re-
vival of ' Money ' Mrs. Bancroft, Lady Franklin,
Miss Ellen Terry, Clara Douglass; Nov. 6, a re-
vival of ' Masks and Faces ' Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft,
Triplet and Peg Woffington, Miss Ellen Terry, Mabel
1876 : April 13, Byron's ' Wrinkles ' Mr. and Mrs.
Bancroft, Bob Blewitt and Winifred Piper ; May 6,
a revival of ' Ours ' ; Oct. 4, ' Peril/ adapted by
28 MR. AND MRS. BANCROFT.
Bolton and Savile Rowe (Clement Scott and B. C.
Stephenson) from Sardou's ' Nos Intimes ' Mr.
Bancroft, Sir George Ormond, Mrs. Kendal, Lady
Ormondy Mr. Kendal, Dr. Thornton.
1877 : March 31, the * Vicarage,' adapted by
Clement Scott from Feuillet's ' Village ' Mrs. Ban-
croft, Mrs. Haygarthy Mr. Kendal, George Clarke
and ' London Assurance ' Mr. Bancroft, Dazzle, Mrs.
Bancroft, Pert, Mr. Kendal, Charles Courtly, Mrs.
Kendal, Lady Gay Spanker ; Sept. 29, revival of
' An Unequal Match ' Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft,
Blenkinsop and Hester Grazebrooke and ' To Parents
and Guardians,' Mr. Arthur Cecil, Tourbillon.
1878 : Jan. 12, ' Diplomacy,' adapted by Bolton and
Saviie Rowe, from Sardou's * Dora ' Mr. and Mrs.
Bancroft, Orloff and Zicka, Mr. Kendal, Captain
BeauclerCy Mrs. Kendal, Dora a great success.
1879 : Jan. n, a revival of ' Caste ' ; May 31, a
revival of ' Sweetheart!* ' Mr. Bancroft, Harry Spread-
brow with ' Good for Nothing ' Mrs. Bancroft,
Nan and the farce ' Heads and Tails ' ; Sept. 27,
* Duty,' adapted by James Albery from Sardou's
1 Bourgeois de Pont Arcy.' Neither Mr. nor Mrs. Ban-
croft appeared, and the play was only a qualified suc-
This was the last production under the Bancroft
management at the Prince of Wales's. The increase
in the salaries of actors, and the ever growing demand
for luxury of stage appointments, rendered the ex-
penses so heavy that even when the little theatre was
filled night after night,* there was but a scant margin
* After the production of the ' School for Scandal,' the price
of stalls was half-a-guinea.
MR. AND MRS. BANCROFT. 29
of profit. Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft accordingly looked
about for a larger theatre, and fixed on the Haymarket,
the traditional home of English comedy. They en-
tirely reconstructed and re-decorated the house, and
their abolition of the pit occasioned some disturbance
on the opening night. The following is a list of their
productions at the Haymarket, no mention being made
of the summer seasons, during which it was their cus-
tom to sub-let the theatre :
1880 : Jan. 31, a revival of ' Money' ; May i, a
revival of ' School ' ; Nov. 27, ' School ' resumed af-
ter the vacation, and the ' Vicarage ' revived Mr.
Bancroft, George Clarke.
1 88 1 : Feb. 5, a revival of ' Masks and Faces '
Mr. Bancroft and Mr. Arthur Cecil for some time
played the parts of Triplet and Colley Cibber> week and
week about ; June H, a revival of ' Society ' ; Nov.
26, a revival of ' Plot and Passion ' Mr. Bancroft,
Fouche 1 ; with ' A Lesson,' adapted by F. C. Burnand
from ' Lolette,' by Meilhac and Hale'vy Mrs. Ban-
croft, Kate Reeve.
1882 : Jan. 19, a revival of 'Ours' Mrs. Lang-
try's first appearance on the stage, as Blanche Haye ;
April 25, Sardou's ' Odette ' Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft,
Lord Henry Trevene and Lady Walker, Madame Mod-
jeska, Lady Henry Trevene ; Oct. 7, a revival of the
1 Overland Route ' Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft, Tom Dex-
ter and Mrs. St 'bright.
1883: Jan. 20, a revival of 'Caste'; April 14, a
revival of ' School ' ; May 5, Sardou's ' Fe'dora/ trans-
lated by Herman Merivale Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft,
Jean de Siriex and the Countess Olga Soukareff, Mrs.
Bernard Beere, Fe'dora ; Nov. 24, Pinero's ' Lords
30 MR. AND MRS. BANCROFT.
and Commons ' Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft, Tom Jer-
voise and Miss Maplebeck.
1884: Feb. 1 6, a revival of 'Peril' Mr. Bancroft,
Dr. Thornton ; May 3, a revival of the * Rivals ' Mr.
Bancroft, Faulkland ; Nov. 8, a revival of 'Diplo-
macy ' Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft, Henry Beauclerc and
Lady Henry Fairfax.
1885 : Feb. 28, a revival of 'Masks and Faces';
April 25, a revival of ' Ours ' ; May 30, a revival of
' Sweethearts ' and ' Good for Nothing,' with ' Kathe-
rine and Petruchio ' ; June 20, farewell performances
of 'Diplomacy'; July 13, farewell performances of
' Masks and Faces ' ; July 20, a special farewell per-
formance on the retirement of Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft
from management. The programme consisted of the
first act of ' Money,' performed by a number of the
most distinguished actors and actresses who had
played under the Bancroft management ; a selection
from ' London Assurance,' played by Mr. and Mrs.
Kendal, Mr. Hare and others ; the last two acts of
' Masks and Faces,' played by Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft
and the Haymarket Company ; an address in verse by
Mr. Clement Scott, delivered by Mr. Henry Irving ; a
humorous speech by Mr. J. L. Toole ; and Mr. Ban-
croft's own farewell address. Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft
are at present (August, 1886) living in retirement.
Of Mrs. Bancroft as an actress of burlesque, we can-
not speak from personal recollection.; but we do not
need the hundred testimonies which echo that of Dick-
ens, quoted above, to convince us that she must have
possessed a piquancy and elasticity of spirits as rare as
they were delightful. These were the earlier and bet-
ter days of burlesque ; but Mrs. Bancroft felt in her-
MR. AND MRS. BANCROFT. 31
self the longing and the power for better things. The
success of Mr. Robertson's plays afforded her the de-
sired opportunity of devoting herself entirely to
comedy, and she took prompt advantage of it. The
Robertsonian formula included two heroines in each
comedy: one ideal, the other practical ; one sentimental,
the other humorous. The practical-humorous heroine
Mary Netley, Polly Ecdes, Naomi Tighe always fell
to the lot of Mrs. Bancroft, whose alert and expres-
sive face, humid-sparkling eye, and small compact
figure seemed to have been expressly designed for
these characters. She possessed, too, the faculty of
approaching the border-line of vulgarity without over-
stepping it an essential gift for the actress who has
to deal with Robertsonian pertnesses and wherever
feeling was called for she proved a mistress of tears as
well as of laughter. During her later career she was
very successful in more than one character in which
pathos and dignity were at least as necessary as humor.
Her Countess Zicka in ' Diplomacy ' was an achieve-
ment in which great intelligence helped to cloak a cer-
tain physical incongruity ; and her Peg Woffington in
' Masks and Faces ' and Jenny Northcott in ' Sweet-
hearts,' though they erred here and there on the side
of over-emphasis and caricature, deserve to be remem-
bered as performances of remarkable versatility and
charm. As a female comedian in the strict sense of the
English word much narrower, it need scarcely be
said, than that of the French comedienne Mrs. Ban-
croft deserves one of the highest places among the
actresses of her generation.
Mr. Bancroft is an actor of limited range, but,
within that range, of remarkable intelligence, refine-
. AND MkS. BANCROFT.
ment and power. His face is not very mobile and his
features are so marked that the most elaborate make-
up is powerless to disguise them, while his voice,
though strong and resonant, is of a somewhat harsh
and croaking quality. These peculiarities, combined
with his tall and spare figure, were of the greatest
service to him in embodying the languid, cynico-sen-
timental, military heroes of Robertson. The play-
wright no doubt indicated, but the actor may fairly
be said to have created, this original and essentially
modern, if not altogether pleasing, type. Some of
the Chalcot-Hawtrey-Poyntz mannerisms have clung
to Mr. Bancroft in his more recent impersonations,
and once or twice, as when he essayed Loris Ipanoff
in * Fedora,' he has been tempted out of his proper
sphere. These slips, however, have been very rare,
and throughout his career he has more than held his
own among the distinguished actors whom his liberal
policy of management attracted to his theatre. Quiet
humor, subdued feeling and unflagging intelligence
are his distinguishing qualities, what he lacks in
grace he makes up in manliness. Orloff, and after-
wards Henry Beauclerc in ' Diplomacy,' Sir Frederick
Blount in ' Money/ Faulkland in the * Rivals,' Sir
George Ormond and afterwards Dr. Thornton in
' Peril,' these may be mentioned as among his best
non-Robertsonian parts. Unquestionably the best of
all, however, is his Triplet in ' Masks and Faces,' a
masterpiece of quaint and subtle characterization
full of those touches of nature in which the ludicrous
and the pathetic blend into one.
As a manager Mr. Bancroft had the luck to find
and the skill to seize a golden opportunity. He
MR. AND MRS. BANCROFT. 33
catered liberally and intelligently to the demand for
completeness of presentation and luxurious realism of
appointments which came into existence along with
the would-be realistic school of social comedy. We
have seen how he fought a long and gallant fight
against the encroachments of the French drama. It
was inevitable that he should ultimately have to yield ;
and if some of us are inclined to accuse him of sur-
rendering too utterly and unconditionally, we must
reflect that no "outsider" can realize the difficulties
which beset the art of management.
Among the actresses, I should certainly place Mrs.
Bancroft and Mrs. Kendal in the foremost rank, their
specialties being high comedy. Mrs. Bancroft I con-
sider the best actress on the English stage ; in fact I
might say on any stage. She is probably thirty-eight
years of age. She commenced her profession as a
burlesque actress, and was one of the best we have
ever seen in England. When she took the Prince of
Wales's Theatre she discarded the burlesque business,
and, to the amazement of everyone, proved herself the
finest comedy actress in London. Her face, though
not essentially pretty, is a mass of intelligence. Her
husband, Mr. Bancroft, is an admirable actor in cer-
tain parts Capt. Hawtrcc, for instance. He is the
heavy swell of the English stage.
E. A. SOTHERN, in ' Birds of a Feather,'//. 51-2.
Mrs. Bancroft in the line of broad comedy is a
delightful actress, with an admirable sense of the
34 MR. AND MRS. BANCROFT.
"humorous, an abundance of animation and gaiety, and
a great deal of art and finish. The only other actress
in London who possesses these gifts (or some of
them) in as high a degree is Mrs. John Wood, who is
even more broadly comic than Mrs. Bancroft, and
moves the springs of laughter with a powerful hand.
She is brilliantly farcical, but she is also frankly and
uncompromisingly vulgar, and Mrs. Bancroft has
more discretion and more taste. The part most typ-
ical of Mrs. Bancroft's best ability is that of Polly
Eccles, in ' Caste,' of which she makes both a charm-
ing and exhilarating creation. She also does her
best with Lady Franklin, the widow with a turn for
practical jokes, in ' Money,' but the part has so little
stuff that there is not much to be made of it. Mrs.
Bancroft is limited to the field we have indicated,
which is a very ample one ; she has made two or three
excursions into the region of serious effect, which
have not been felicitous. Her Countess Zicka, in a
version of Sardou's ' Dora,' is an example in point.
The Century Magazine , January, 1881.
When ' Masks and Faces ' was first revived at the
Prince of Wales's Theatre, old playgoers first saw the
capabilities of an excellent comedy. It could clearly
be humanized and made natural without offence. I
can recall Mr. Bancroft's Triplet as far back as that.
It was moulded on exactly the same lines as now, but
the actor had not sufficient confidence to convince
everybody how good a performance it was. Webster's
was an actor's Triplet ; Bancroft's was a broken-
down gentleman, as pathetic a picture as was ever
drawn by Thackeray. On the occasion of the second
MR. AND MRS. BANCROFT. 35
revival Mr. Bancroft had almost subdued his nervous-
ness. His scenes with Peg with the manuscripts, and
with Mabel Vane with the sherry and biscuits were
exquisitely touching, and I could quote criticisms,
were it necessary to do so, in order to prove that there
were appreciation and honesty even on the critical
bench of that day. But the Webster " bogey " hung
over the scene. He was thrust into the faces of all
who dared to believe that Bancroft could perform
any part but that of a nineteenth century swell.
People with the best intentions were interested but
not convinced. Once more the play is revived, and
Bancroft's Triplet becomes the talk of the town. A
dozen critics dare say now what one feebly whispered
then. We have arrived at liberal and independent
days, and the public, guided by honest criticism, know
just as much about acting as the critics themselves.
A most artistic performance is the Triplet of Mr.
Bancroft. What he conveys so admirably is the idea
of a man who has been a jolly fellow, but who has
been crushed by misfortune. His temperament is
light, airy, enthusiastic and sanguine, but the res
augusta domi have been too much for him. He is
prematurely saddened by distress. He is a man and
he is gentle. Emphatically he is a gentle-man.
Never was a man so buoyed up by hope as Mr. Ban-
croft's Triplet. He does not cringe or whine. When
Peg Woffington chaffs him about his manuscripts he
shows some reverence for the calling of author.
When Mabel Vane encourages his literary vanity the
genial fellow, mellowed by his wine, rhapsodizes and
eulogizes the poets' calling. When sunshine steals
into the poverty-stricken garret no one is so gay as
36 MR. AND MRS. BANCROFT.
James Triplet. But it is one thing to understand a
part and another to give it artistic expression. If you
want to see a bit of delicate and suggestive art, watch
how Triplet, ravenous with hunger, slips some of the
biscuits into his pocket, and, looking into vacancy,
says : " For the little ones." If this were flung at the
heads of the audience the idea would fail. But Mr.
Bancroft touches every sympathetic chord in the
whole house. It can no longer be said that this excel-
lent actor is merely a " haw, haw " swell, though of
course there are critics careless or indiscriminating
enough not to see that the actor has utterly discarded
his " stiff and angular method."
CLARE LINCOLN, in Dramatic Review, March 7, 1885.
MR. LAWRENCE BARRETT.
TO LAWRENCE BARRETT.
When Burbage played the stage was bare
Of font and temple, tower and stair ;
Two backswords eked a battle out,
Two supers made a rabble-rout,
The throne of Denmark was a chair !
And yet, no less, the audience there
Thrilled through all changes of despair,
Hope, anger, fear, delight and doubt
When Burbage played !
This is the actor's gift to share
All moods, all passions, not to care
One whit for scene, so he without
Can lead men's minds the roundabout,
Stirred as of old those hearers were,
When Burbage played !
LAWRENCE BARK I
infai in luiiu-
MR. LAWRENCE BARRETT.
In the two decades that have elapsed between the
ending of the civil war and the time of this writing, of
many notable careers that have had their development
upon the American stage that of Lawrence Barrett is
one of the most interesting. It is none the less inter-
esting because happily it is not only not ended, but is
in its period of most active and energetic growth.
No present estimate of Barrett's place in his art or of
his relation to our stage can have other than a passing
interest, and must be made to seem insufficient and
unsatisfactory, when considered a little time hence in
the light of his higher transition. John McCullough,
Edwin Booth and Lawrence Barrett have been the
three recent figures of our stage. The first is taken
untimely away, the second is about to retire at the
zenith of a splendid career, and the third is the man
of opportunity. A scholar, a man of wide cultivation,
an indefatigable student of his art and implacable in
his ambition, Barrett now comes singly to the front in
the height of his powers. It must be easily apparent
that whoever would now set forth any consideration
of his place upon the stage of our country should be
embarrassed by the reflection that for all that Barrett
has attained, his story can at present be but left
Barrett is essentially the student and the scholar
40 MR. LAWRENCE BARRETT.
of our theatre. Whatever we may owe to the genius
of Booth, it is apparent that in the process of the
elevation of the drama the most potent force that may
be now discerned is Barrett. In the proper belief that
a star is unimpaired in effect for being one of a
constellation, he has more thought of the presentation
of a drama than of the presentation of Barrett. To
this end he has labored with unswerving fidelity, and
we must look to another stage than ours for a like
example of unrelenting study, incessant labor and
Lawrence Barrett was born in Paterson, New Jer-
sey, in 1839, of Irish parents, and his earliest connec-
tion with the stage was in the capacity of call-boy in
a Pittsburgh theatre. He started at the bottom, and,
like others who have achieved the greatest eminence
in his profession, his ascent is all the more emphatic
and complete for having been so humbly begun.
Such an experience implies a very comprehensive
education in itself, but Barrett has always been pos-
sessed of the student's disposition. The arduous
duties of so hard working an actor as Barrett leave
ordinarily only the time required for rest or neces-
sary distractions. Barrett, however, has found time
enough to become a thorough master of English
literature from the point of view of a student who
makes a specific study of it, as well as a well-read man
in all general directions. A great deal of his study
has been devoted to matters specially collateral with
his profession, and he is, we repeat, the student upon
our stage, and for that reason a very potent and
effective personality in its present development.
Barrett's first appearance in New York was on Jan-
MR. LAWRENCE BARRETT. 4*
uary 20, 1857, at Burton's old Chambers Street
Theatre, where he appeared as Cliff ord\\\ the * Hunch-
back.' Two months later Burton engaged him for his
new theatre (the Metropolitan), and he began there as
Matthew Bates in Time tries All,' on March 2, sub-
sequently playing Piers Wharton in ' Wat Tyler,'
Reynolds in De. Walden's ' Wall Street,' and Tressel
to Edwin Booth's Richard, on that actor's return in
May, 1857, from his memorable visit to California.
During this and the ensuing season he supported
Booth, Cushman, Burton, Murdoch, Charles Mathews,
Hackett and Davenport.
In 1858 he joined the company of the Boston
Museum as leading man, but for the following four
years was seen in New York at the Winter Garden
Theatre, making steady progress and playing a vast
round of parts. Shortly after the war ended he
gravitated to California, where a wondrous era of
prosperity had declared itself, and where his success
was remarkable. His popularity was unbounded, and
with John McCullough he undertook the management
of the California Theatre, backed and sustained by the
efforts and encouragement of the first citizens of San
Francisco, of whom several conceived for him a warm
personal friendship, upon which his hold has never
weakened. During the golden days that immediately
preceded the completion of the Pacific railroads, the
Barrett & McCullough management achieved the
most brilliant results, but it was a partnership that
could not endure, the ambition of each necessarily
impelling him to the East.
Barrett's transition from the leading ranks to
leadership was effected naturally and easily after
42 MR. LAWRENCE BARRETT.
his share in the brilliant history of Booth's represen-
tations in his memorable theatre had ended. He met
everywhere throughout the United States with imme-
diate and cordial recognition, and the foundation of
his reputation is as broad as the country itself. But,
as already pointed out, Barrett's career may not be
set forth now. A later writer may more fitly concern
himself with it, and find in the fruition of the hopes
and ambitions that now dominate our popular and
successful artist much matter whereto to address him-
And yet it would be wrong to close without saying
that Mr. Barrett has done more than any one else in
America to present the higher drama under condi-
tions of artistic completeness, and to stimulate the
literary and artistic development of a stage impressed
with his own character and taste. What he has
achieved in this direction, so far, he has effected
without a theatre, and it has been so serious and
remarkable an achievement that it is earnestly to be
hoped that he may attain, as he so earnestly desires,
to the possession of a house of the drama in this
metropolis. Heretofore he has led his cavalcade
from town to town the whole year round, subjected
to the wear and tear of travel, the vicissitudes of
varying theatres, and of constant change from char-
acter to character.
Nevertheless he has given us an admirable variety
a variety such as only the theatre of Mr. Irving has
afforded, and one which has included the best repre-
sentations that we have seen upon our own stage, the
most profitable to its reputation, and the fullest of
promise for its future. It is only needful in support
MR. LAWRENCE BARRETT. 43
of this belief to point to Mr. W. D. Howells's ' Yorick,'
to Mr. Young's ' Pendragon,' to Mr. Boker's * Fran-
cesca da Rimini,' to the ' Wonder,' to the ' King's
Pleasure,' and to the ' Blot in the 'Scutcheon.'
All of these are distinctively productions by Mr.
Barrett according to his own lights, and to be con-
sidered as such, and as apart from his impersonations
of the standard characters in which he has won his
well-deserved fame, and which comprise all there are
from HamUt down to Henry Lagardtre. That all
this wonderful industry has been hand in hand with a
large and liberal cultivation of his art, and a grow-
ing aversion to all merely perfunctory representation
of the drama, is what makes Mr. Barrett so interest-
ing and important a figure of his time in his profes-
sion in this country. He has broad capabilities and a
fine ambition, and he, if any one, can make a theatre.
It is a present necessity of New York that it should
have a house of the drama where the best that is or
can be written shall be presented in complete and
artistic detail, and with such assurance of its worth
and importance that the place where it is done shall
attain to the dignity of a permanent institution.
WM. M. LAFFAN.
Though Mr. Barrett's acting in the character of
Yorick deserved high praise before, it was a pleasure
to see last night how much he had improved upon his
earlier conception of it. At every sentence one felt
the new power which the player possessed over the
thoughts he designed to express. The clearness in
44 MR. LAWRENCE BARRETT.
the utterance of the words was no novelty. That is
something which he has taught us to expect from him
at all times. Nor was there any imposing change in
the general method that prevailed before in the con-
duct of the play. But the rapidly changing moods of
the character were more perfectly defined. The mind
of Yorick was like an open book in which were to be
read all the vague doubts, the growing suspicions, the
intense passions that are developed in the course of
the tragedy. This distinctness was best exemplified,
perhaps, in that remarkable scene where Yorick, with
all the dexterity which his training upon the stage has
given him, seeks for the proof of his jealous suspicions.
With what address he penetrates the souls of the guilty
Edward and Alice, causing them by their gestures of
shame and grief to confess what they force themselves
to deny with their lips ! Nor is he less skilful in
working upon the arrogant, yet envious, Walton.
Entreaties and threats prove of no avail. When these
are found to be useless, the jealous man becomes a
tormentor, and goads his companion to fury by his
taunts, and thus obtains what he sought. In the last
scene the twining of the passions of the play with those
of the interact is rendered most effective. That
vivacity which belongs to Yorick as an actor and a
man of genius seems everywhere adapted to Mr. Bar-
rett's own temperament. The exquisite modeling he
has given to the personage created by the dramatist
is another instance not only of his talent, but of the
study which he undertakes to make the words he is to
speak altogether his own.
Cincinnati Daily Gazette, Nov. n, 1879.
MR. LAWRENCE BARRETT. 4$
Like Forrest, Barrett owes himself to himself, but
with this difference Forrest's physique first brought
him into notice and prominence, while Barrett had
to work solely with his brain. His progress was slow,
but the recognition has come. Lawrence Barrett pos-
sesses more general culture all of his own getting
than any actor on the stage, either in England or
America. He is a scholar, self-made capable of
entertaining and instructing professional teachers in
their own departments of knowledge and he is a
grand ornament of his own chosen profession, which
he has done so much to elevate and adorn. For these
things he has done, and what he is, he is entitled to
St. Louis Republican, February 19, 1884.
Not long ago it was during the last performance
of Mr. Boker's play, ' Francesca da Rimini,' at the
Star Theatre, New York Mr. Barrett made a brief
speech, in which he laid stress upon the fact that he
had done something to encourage the American
drama. That is perfectly true, and it is also note-
worthy. Mr. Barrett has helped forward the drama
and the dramatists of our country, just as Mr. Forrest
helped them years ago. This is noteworthy, because
Mr. Barrett is quite alone in what I may be permitted
to call his literary work. Mr. Edwin Booth apparently
cares nothing for new plays, nor for the American
play-writers. Mr. McCullough uses the American
plays that Forrest used, and other plays by Payne,
Sheridan Knowles, and Shakspere ; he has, I believe,
purchased two or three American dramas, but only to
send them back to their authors. Both Mr. Booth
46 MR. LAWRENCE BARRETT.
and Mr. McCullough lack, apparently, a certain crea-
tive instinct the desire to bring fresh and salient
characters upon the stage. Mr. Barrett, happily, does
not lack this instinct. He is even a much more potent
force among the American dramatists than Mr. Irving
is among the English dramatists. Mr. Irving is not
afraid to produce, occasionally, a play by Mr. Wills,
or by the Laureate ; yet he has given, after all, little
encouragement to the English writers of drama. Mr.
Barrett, on the other hand, has taken pains to establish
his reputation in novel and experimental works, like
the ' Man o' Airlie,' ' Dan'l Druce,' 'Yorick's Love,'
' Pendragon,' and ' Francesca da Rimini.' Three of
these dramas were written by Americans, and all three
are worthy of more respect than one is inclined to
offer to many new plays which are now popular. The
selection and the production of such dramas show,
lucidly, that Mr. Barrett has a fine literary sense, a
proper regard for the duty that an actor of distinction
owes to contemporary writers, and a moral courage
with which actors are not commonly gifted.
GEORGE EDGAR MONTGOMERY, in the Century
Magazine, April, 1884.
Mr. Lawrence Barrett's Richelieu is splendidly suf-
ficing. He does not give a tumultuous and Boaner-
ges-lunged version of the character. He does not
rant ; but when the occasion demands it,, as in the
famous * Curse of Rome' passage, he rises to the
required height of passionate energy. He displays
from beginning to end wonderful versatility and elas-
ticity of mind, passing from phase to phase of the
many-sided character without any sudden jerks or
MR. LAWRENCE BARRETT. 47
spasmodic transitions. He is alternately, and always
in perfect naturalness, the inflexible, unscrupulous,
and implacable despot of France, whose ambition has
decimated her nobility, but whose politic and bene-
ficent administration has raised her from beggary
to prosperity ; the affectionate protector of Julie; the
kindly patron of Friar Joseph; the dry humorist ; the
astute expert in diplomacy and statecraft ; the
poetaster full of literary vanity ; the broken-down and
almost dying valetudinarian, arid ultimately the lion
at bay, turning on his foes and triumphantly rending
them. I can not look on Mr. Lawrence Barrett's
impersonation of Richelieu as a " conventional " one ;
because I do not know what the convention is in
this case. I have seen Richelieus who roared and
Richelieus who raved, some that grimaced and grinned,
and others that maundered, and not a few that were
dismally didactic. I find in Mr. Lawrence Barrett a
Richelieu who shrinks from exaggeration, whose elocu-
tion is perfect, whose action is poetically graceful, and
who never forgets that Armand Jean du Plessis why
on earth did Lord Lytton make him call himself
"Armand Richelieu?" was a gentleman of long
descent and of the highest breeding.
GEORGE AUGUSTUS SALA, in the Illustrated London
News, May 10, 1884.
Lanciotto becomes a great character under the
masterly treatment of Mr. Barrett. It is a noble soul
cramped in an ignoble case that drives Lanciotto upon
the breakers of destiny. There is a purity, a loftiness,
a womanly delicacy of nature behind that misshapen
trunk, which the brunt of battle, the scoff of malice,
4 8 MR. LAWRENCE BARRETT.
and the slights of happy fortune have not hardened,
nor sullied nor degraded. The soul is above its con-
dition, and in the fiercest hour of its trial slays its
wronger, not as the act of mad vengeance, but as a
sorrowful deed of justice, the doing of which is the
one relief of its heavy shame for the sin of others. It
is an ideal character, truly, but for all that it is won-
derfully human, and is acted with wonderful fidelity
to its poetic compromise between the real and the
desirable qualities, disposition of man. In the stress
of widely originating but closely converging emotions
the character is exceptionally fine. It is at once
heroic and tender, daring and enduring, savage and
docile, violent and loving, morbid and yet just, true
and generous. From the humiliation and agony of
self-despite to the mad rapture of a free accepted love,
from the sting of a bitter fool's malicious jest to the
sweet balm of a trusted brother's love, from faith to
doubt, from suspicion to despair, this creature whose
love has been crowded back upon his heart from the
four corners of the earth is borne along by the
impulse of unkindly fate, but moves all times, pitiful
and sympathetic, with the inner character shining
beautifully clear, nobly true. That Mr. Barrett defines
these varied phases with just the degree of feeling
each requires, with its due proportion of art and
nature, its quality of sentiment and its measure of
force, must, we think, be admitted by all who observe
him with heart as well as with intelligence. He su-
perbly reveals the character in its light and darkness of
emotional being. He shows the greater sensitive-
ness that makes the judgment shift its place and the
greater truth that makes self unworthy when rooted
MR. LAWRENCE BARRETT. 49
faith is torn from its embrace, with a skill and power
and completeness that keep company only with that
true fire of heaven, the genius of intelligence. It is in
the introspective character of the work that Mr. Bar-
rett is chiefly admirable. No one for a moment would
question his dramatic ability, and there is no more
reason to question his interpretive power. His action,
indeed, is so exquisitely tempered by the art of ex-
pression, and so appreciably warmed by sincere feel-
ing, that it is a window through which one may look
beyond the actor upon the conception, upon the ideal,
and one who has this happy privilege is truly to be
pitied if he stands without to trouble himself with
what defects he can find in the man. Mr. Barrett
was fully enough complimented last evening. Ap-
plause was frequent, and on one occasion the actor
was four times recalled, but he received no greater
distinction than his performance merited.
The Chicago Inter-Ocean, November 25, 1884.
There are very few tragic actors of our time, and
among them the most ambitious and the most active
spirit, on the American side of the Atlantic, is Law-
rence Barrett. One proof of this is the fact that no
season is allowed to pass in his professional experience
without the production of a new character, to augment
and strengthen his already extensive repertory. Mr.
Barrett has not restricted himself to Hamlet, Richelieu,
and the usual line of " star " parts. Long ago he
brought out the ' Man o* Airlie,' and gave a noble
and pathetic personation of Harebell. More recently
he presented himself as Yorick, in the tragedy of
4 Yorick's Love/ made by Mr. W. D. Howells, on the
5 MR. LAWRENCE BARRETT.
basis of the Spanish original. His revival of Mr.
Boker's ' Francesca da Rimini,' three years ago, is
remembered as one of the most important dramatic
events of this period. His production of Mr. Young's
tragedy of ' Pendragon,' in which he acted King
Arthur with brilliant ability and fine success, gave
practical evidence of a liberal desire to encourage
American dramatic literature. Within a brief period
he has restored to the stage Robert Browning's superb
tragedy, ' A Blot in the 'Scutcheon.' Last season
he resumed Shakspere's Benedick and brought out
the charming little drama of the ' King's Pleasure' ;
and early in the present season he effected a fine
revival of Mrs. Centlivre's comedy of the * Wonder.'
Mr. Barrett's range of characters is, in fact, remark-
able. Among the parts acted by him are Cassius,
Hamlet, Richard III., Shylock, Benedick, Richelieu,
Don Felix, Alfred Evelyn, Raphael (in the ' Marble
Heart '), Yorick, James Harebell, Lord Tresham, Grin-
goire, David Garrick, Lanciotto, Claude Melnotte, and
Cardinal Wolsey. He has, of course, played many
other parts. When he was at Booth's Theatre, years
ago, he acted King Lear, and when he was associated
with Charlotte Cushman he acted Macbeth. He was
the first in this city to impersonate Daril Druce, and
he is the only representative of Leontes (in ' A Winter's
Tale ') who is remembered by the present generation
of play-goers. This enumeration will readily suggest
to experienced judges the prodigious labor and the
astonishing variety of talents and accomplishments
exerted through many years with strenuous zeal and
patient devotion that were necessarily involved in
the actor's achievement of his present high position
MR. LAWRENCE BARRETT. 51
and bright renown. To-night Mr. Barrett has taken
another important step in his professional careen
making a sumptuous revival of Victor Hugo's roman-
tic drama of ' Hernani,' and winning new laurels by
his impersonation of its central character.
Of the three men, Don Carlos, Don Leo and Hernani ' t
who love the heroine of this drama,each is in a different,
way noble. It would be difficult to decide which is
the noblest, but the character of Don Leo is the most
substantial and complex of the three. He has the
most of mind, the most of passion, and the most of
the capacity to feel and suffer. Youth, when it loves^
is often enamored of itself. Manhood, when love
strikes it in its full maturity, worships its object with
a desperate idolatry. Don Leo proved equal to great
trials and a stern test of honor, but he can not rise to
the supreme height of the final sacrifice. This part
was played by Macready when ' Hernani ' was acted
at Drury Lane in 1831, and its opportunities are cer-
tainly great. Lawrence Barrett, however, has elected
to play Hernani, and he carried it to-night with splen-
did dash and touching fervor. The sonorous elocu-
tion was almost wholly discarded in favor of a vehe-
ment, impulsive delivery, and at such points as the
challenge to Carlos, the reproach of Zartz and the
avowal of the outlaw's royal station he spoke and
acted with the true eloquence of heart, and he evoked
a tumult of sincere public applause. The revival of
Hernani ' was brilliantly effected and it will endure.
WILLIAM WINTER, in the New York Tribune, Dec.
This sense of the dignity of his calling is doubtless
$2 MR. LAWRENCE BARRETT.
the motive which has inspired and supported him amid
all trials and difficulties, and enabled him now to
enjoy, not only substantial pecuniary reward, but the
sweets of gratified ambition. His material prosperity
affords matter for general congratulation, as it is a
complete refutation of the stale and stupid slander,
the sole refuge of ignorant managers, that the public
cannot appreciate and will not support dramatic enter-
tainments of a high order.
Each of Mr. Barrett's engagements in this city in
recent years has been signalized by the production of
some play unfamiliar to the ordinary theatregoers and
of positive value. ' Francesca da Rimini ' was an
experiment which few managers would have risked,
and the ' Blot in the 'Scutcheon ' was a piece of
which the ordinary manager had probably never heard.
If he had heard of it, he would have jeered at any
proposal to play it. Mr. Barrett, however, thought it
would be appreciated, and the result of the perform-
ance abundantly justified his opinion. Then he pre-
sented the * King's Pleasure,' a most dainty and
delightful bit of fancy, which met with instant ap-
proval. This year he has revived ' Hernani,' Hugo's
romantic tragedy, which is certainly a novelty to most
of the rising generation, and has again scored an indis-
The Critic, New York, Feb. 13, 1886.
Lawrence Barrett, in Yorick, is adequate at every
point, and he gives a noble and touching performance.
His ideal of the comic actor, who deeply feels the
serious aspect of life and would like to play tragedy, is
especially right and fine in this respect, among others,
MR. LAWRENCE BARRETT. 53
that it is precisely the sort of man whom a common-
place young woman (and most young women, both in
plays and out of them, are commonplace) would like,
but could neither love nor understand. The gentle
humility of a fine nature is expressed by him with a
certain sweet and natural self-depreciation, so that
Yorick is made very wistful, and he would be almost
forlorn but for his guileless trust and his blithe, eager,
child-like spirit. An ordinary girl would be flat-
tered by the love of such a man, and would be quite
content with him, as long as she did not love some-
body else. The pitiable character of this disparity is
especially enforced, though indirectly which is all
the better art by the free play, the abandonment, that
is given by the actor to an honest, confiding, simple,
happy heart. Yorick, to be sure, is made to talk too
much when his hour of trial and misery comes ; but
that is the fault of the writer and not the actor. Sor-
row speaks little. Macduff, in one of the great mas-
ter's scenes, simply " pulls his cap upon his brows."
Had Lawrence Barrett never before now shown him-
self to be a true artist, a deep student of human
nature, a superb executant of dramatic effect, he would
have proved his noble worth and signal power by one
effort that he made last night by the splendid self-
control and the refined art with which, throughout
the verbose second act of this tragedy, he subordi-
nated copious declamation to intense feeling. Often
before now he has played this part ; never, surely,
with such wisely-tempered ardor and judicious while
brilliant force. It was an exploit not only delightful
in itself but very valuable as an example.
WILLIAM WINTER, in the New York Tribune, Aug.
54 MR. LAWRENCE BARRETT.
As for the Jew, him we have and he is worth our
gaze. Tall moving with slow strength across the
boards in front of the scene that does duty for the
Rialto, standing in a quietude almost statuesque in its
pose, robed in his black Jewish gaberdine bordered
with red, and marked with a red cross on the elbow,
a black and yellow cap on his gray, bent head, his
richly jewelled hands betraying the nervous eagerness
of his nature as they clutch and twine upon his long
knotted staff, with the withdrawn look of his strong-
featured face, and the reserved intelligence dwelling
in his eyes, Lawrence Barrett's Shylock, it may be
seen, wants neither dignity nor originality. The
shabby meanness which he avoids in his dress he
avoids also in his conduct and speech
Mr. Barrett also pictures before us a Shylock who
restrains his eagerness this side of tremulousness, by
so much the more heightening his intensity ; who
retains a dignity of old age in his outward guise and
the dignity of a rooted purpose too wise to unfold
itself abruptly even in the growing tightening of sus-
pense in the trial scene.
It is, in a word, Mr. Barrett's glory in this part to
have given us that Shaksperean refinement and truth
of characterization which permits us to understand
and to appreciate the peculiar justification and tempta-
tion the man had whose deed is yet repulsive and
Shakspcriana> November, 1886.
MR. EDWIN BOOTH.
In these, and many immortal words like these,
May wondering thousands, with delighted care
Note thy chaste charms of classic-postured ease,
Thy sculptured face, thy rich voice, nor forget
That thou of Kean, Macready, and all who wear
The buskin grandly in art's annals yet
Beamest the radiant equal and true heir !
MR. EDWIN BOOTH.
Edwin Thomas Booth was born on his father's
farm in Harford County, Maryland, Nov. 13, 1833.
Although not dedicated by his parents to the stage,
his apprenticeship began in early youth. The care
of a growing family keeping his mother at home,
young Edwin was sent forth while almost a child him-
self to act as guide, companion and friend to the most
erratic genius that ever illumined the theatre in any
age. As mentor, dresser, companion, the boy lived
almost a servant's life in hotels, dressing-rooms,
among the wings, in constant and affectionate attend-
ance upon him to whom the early drama of America
owes so much of its glory. The applause received
by the father rang in the lad's ears as a sweet prelude
to that which was ere long destined to be his own.
Indeed, he seemed already to participate in the glory
of his father by the close and anomalous relation.
Curious and characteristic anecdotes are given of
this strange union. Incidents were continually hap-
pening which were preparing the character of the boy
for his own eventful career. Seeing much of the
vicissitudes of the actor's life in that day of the
drama's hardest probation in America, he learned
lessons which were to be useful to himself hereafter
Pathos and humor were strangely brought together
5 MX. EDWIN BOOTH.
in these tours of the elder Booth, accompanied by his
bright-eyed, watchful assistant. The irregularities
and vagaries of Junius Brutus Booth are made familiar
to the reader of dramatic history, by the annalist and
biographer; but few knew the serious side of that
strange nature, its home-love, its parental tenderness,
its sweet indulgence, the royally stored mind, rich
with the learning of foreign literature, and graced
with a wealth of expression which made his learning a
well-spring from which all could drink. Thus the
theatre was Edwin Booth's school-room, the greatest
living master of passion his tutor, and the actors his
fellow-pupils, divided from him only by the disparity of
years. Constantly ignoring any question of Edwin's
ever becoming an actor, his father acquiesced willingly
in the boy's amateurish acquirement of the violin, and
of a negro's mastery of the banjo. These tuneful
accomplishments, aided by the voice of the young
musician, in some of the then familiar plantation melo-
dies, amused the leisure and gratified the paternal
pride of a fond and sometimes over-indulgent father.
In many ways these simple graces served to assist
the young guardian in keeping his father within
doors, when his restless spirit urged him forth upon
some of those erratic wanderings which seem now
almost like moody insanity ; when, straying far into
the morning through the sleeping city ; striding for
hours up and down an open deserted market-place,
morose, silent, he was followed by the pleading, faith-
ful lad, who feared that some ill would result from
si wh rashness. Lear in the storm, with no daughter's
ingratitude as an urging cause, seems an apt parallel
here. When the summer vacation came, or when the
MR. EDWIN BOOTH. 59
father drifted into idleness as he drifted into labor,
Edwin was sent to school ; but to be as suddenly
dragged thence, whenever one of the fitful engage-
ments began. One can easily fancy how much more
potent were the lessons of the theatre than those so
irregularly learned in regular school ; and it is dem-
onstrated truly in his case that an actor's life is in
itself a liberal education.
No wonder the boy grew up observant, grave,
thoughtful and melancholy beyond his years. As
no thought had been given to his career, so at last it
was determined by accident, and by no suggestion
of his father's. On Sept. 10, 1849, Edwin Booth
appeared as Trcssd to his father's Richard III.
on the stage of the Boston Museum. No trum-
pet of herald announced this important event ; its
necessity arose from the somewhat insignificant fact
that the duties of prompter made it necessary that
some one should lighten the shoulders of that official
of a double burden, and the obscure actor was
replaced by one who that night entered upon a career
the consequences of which will affect the American
stage more profoundly than any other event con-
nected with it. The success of this maiden effort did
not seem to win the father to the lad's side. Without
openly condemning the step, the elder Booth tacitly
showed that he did not approve of it. The report of
Edwin's hit induced managers of other cities to
request that father and son should appear together
on occasions. This was stubbornly resisted. On one
occasion an old friend, then managing a Western
theatre, asked Mr. Booth to allow him to bill Edwin
with his father. He was met by the usual curt
60 MR. EDWIN BOOTH.
refusal, but, after a moment's pause, and without any
sense of the humor of the suggestion, Booth said that
Edwin was a good banjo player, and he could be
announced for a solo between the acts.
His first appearance in Richard III. was the result
of an accident, quite as unexpected as his original
effort. His father, billed at the National Theatre,
New York, for Richard, suddenly resolved, just before
the play began, that he would not go to the theatre ;
entreaties were in vain. "Go act it yourself," said
the impracticable father to his confused and half dis-
tracted son. On carrying this message to the disap-
pointed manager, that official, in his distress, accepted
the alternative. The audience was satisfied, and the
play went on to the end with no demonstration of dis-
approval. A brief experience in the stock company
at Baltimore, uneventful and comparatively unsuccess-
ful, preluded the departure for California, from which
so many results important to Edwin Booth's subse-
quent career were to flow. The Booths sailed in
1852, crossed the Isthmus, and appeared at San
Francisco soon after their arrival.
The time for this visit was ill-chosen. Financial
depression had succeeded the early marvellous pros-
perity of the Golden State, and the drama, despite
a fine company of actors, was languishing with the
other industries of the Pacific coast. A few perform-
ances in San Francisco, some appearances in Sacra-
mento, given to poor audiences, and unremunerative
both to actor and manager, make up the result of the
only visit of the elder Booth to the far West. Return-
ing home alone and believing fully in the future pros-
perity of California, he left his two sons, Junius Brutus
MR. ED WIN BOO TH. 6 1
and Edwin behind him. The usual vicissitudes of
the actor in those pioneer days were experienced by
Edwin Booth ; unpaid services in the cities, sad and
trying wanderings in the mountains, where the sur-
roundings were of the rudest, the audience the most
indulgent, sickness, want, cold, hunger these were
the early discipline of the sensitive and gifted child
of genius. During this time the news of his father's
death reached him, bringing home to his heart the
first great sorrow it had ever known. Now filling a
subordinate place in a stock company, at a mere pit-
tance, now pushed prematurely forward into the
parts his father had made famous, he journeyed
hither and thither, reaching even as far as Australia,
where his welcome was most cordial ; then to the
Sandwich Islands, with a king for his patron ; and so
back once more to the land of gold, where, in a
happy hour, he yielded a ready car to that voice which
had been for years calling him to the scenes of his
father's glory, and where his crown was in waiting for
His first appearance after his return was made in
Baltimore as Richard III. Later, while playing in
Richmond under the management of Joseph Jefferson,
he met with the lady who became afterwards his wife,
the lovely and accomplished Mary Devlin, then a mem-
ber of Mr. Jefferson's personal and dramatic family ;
and at length, early in the spring of 1857, he made
his bow as a star in Boston, the city where he had
made his first essay as an actor, and where his father's
memory was still cherished. Opening as Sir Giles
Overreach, he was completely successful. He fol-
lowed this auspicious beginning with a round of
62 MR. EDWIN BOOTH.
characters in which he sustained the reputation he
had already gained. On May 4, 1857, he made his
bow before a New York audience as Richard III. at
the Metropolitan Theatre. The writer may be par-
doned if he here connects himself with the subject of
this memoir in recalling the importance of the scene
of which he was a witness and a participant, in an
humble way, playing Tressel in a powerful cast of the
Although Booth had but recently returned to the
East, rumor had brought the story of his fame and
success ; and the stock company of the theatre
awaited eagerly his appearance at rehearsal. The
scene will long live in the memory of those who were
present. A slight, pale youth, with black flowing hair,
soft brown eyes full of tenderness and gentle timidity,
a manner mixed with shyness and quiet repose, he
took his place with no air of conquest or self-asser-
tion, and gave his directions with a grace and courtesy
which have never left him. He had been heralded by
his managers in the papers and on the fences as the
" Hope of the Living Drama," greatly to his dismay,
but his instantaneous success almost justified such
extravagant eulogy ; and while curiosity had brought
many to see the son of him who had been their whilom
idol, they remained to pay tribute to an effort which
was original and spontaneous.
He arrived at an opportune moment. Forrest was
beginning to lose his grasp upon the sceptre which he
had held so long ; age and infirmity were showing
their effect upon his once perfect frame, while his
style was derided by a new generation of theatre-
goers. The elder Wallack was playing his farewell
MR. EDWIN BOOTH. 63
engagement, Davenport was wasting his fine talents
in undignified versatility ; and a place was already
made for a man who had original and creative power.
Pursuing for the next few years the career of a wan-
dering player, with frequent returns to New York, and
new additions to his repertory, Edwin Booth was ac-
quiring new experience and valuable confidence in his
powers. He was married in 1860 to Miss Devlin ; and
in 1 86 1, he visited London, having made an ill-con-
sidered and hasty agreement with a manager there
which forced him to come out at a comedy theatre, the
Haymarket, in a part unsuited for a first appearance,
although one of his best performances, Shylock. He
paid too little heed to the importance of his London
engagement, and it was only as it neared its close,
when he had satisfied the people by his magnetic
performance of Richelieu, that he woke to the magni-
tude of the event. He was obliged to quit the scene
of his success, at the moment of its arrival. Return-
ing to his own country, he found the land agonized in
the throes of civil war. During this first visit to Eng-
land his only child Edwina was born. His home on
his return was made at Dorchester, Mass. Here he
left his young wife, whom he never saw again, to go
to his New York engagement in February, 1863. His
wife's death was bitter affliction which drove him to
increased labor in his art as some poor solace for an
He now took a lease of the Winter Garden Theatre,
New York, having already purchased with Mr. J. S.
Clarke, the Walnut Street Theatre, in Philadelphia.
His partners in the New York scheme were Messrs.
Clarke and William Stuart. In November, 1864, oc-
64 MR. EDWIN BOOTH.
curred the notable production of ' Hamlet,' which ran
one hundred consecutive nights. It was adequately
mounted, excellently cast, and fixed the fame of Mr.
Booth as the Hamlet par excellence of the American
stage. No such revival of a Shaksperean play had
taken place since the days of Charles Kean, at the old
Park. While acting at the Boston Theatre, in April,
1865, the news was brought to him of the great calam-
ity which had befallen the country, and inflicted an
incurable sorrow upon himself and his family. He
at once resolved to abandon his profession forever;
but after nearly a year of retirement, at the urgent
solicitation of friends throughout the whole country,
he appeared as Hamlet at the Winter Garden Theatre
on Jan. 3, 1866. The reception and performance were
William Winter says of this event " Nine cheers
hailed the melancholy Dane upon his first entrance.
The spectators rose and waved their hats and hand-
kerchiefs. Bouquets fell in a shower upon the stage,
and there was a tempest of applause, wherever he
appeared. After this momentous return to the stage,
he found a free-hearted greeting and respectful sym-
pathy ; and so, little by little, he got back into the old
way of work, and his professional career resumed its
flow in the old channel." This was a notable event
in America's dramatic history. A series of revivals
worthy of the refinement of any age succeeded each
other at the Winter Garden Theatre. 'Richelieu'
was given as never before in the history of the
Btage. Shakspere's ' Merchant of Venice ' as a whole,
with a fidelity unsurpassed in scenic and historic
annals, ran for several weeks to large and delighted
MR. ED WIN BOO Tff. 65
audiences. At the summit of the success of these
efforts to revive the glory of the earlier days of the
drama, a fire broke out in the Winter Garden Theatre,
which destroyed not only much valuable material, but
delayed for a time the purposes of the ambitious
actor, who had no less a desire than the highest
achievement for his beloved art. Setting out on his
provincial tours once more, he formed the plan to
create out of the ashes of his ruined theatre an edi-
fice more costly and enduring. Selecting a site for
his new house, he placed the earnings of his richly
productive career in the lap of his new enterprise.
Over a million of dollars were spent in the construc-
tion of the noblest temple yet erected to the drama
in America. With the same liberality which had
stopped at no sacrifice in the erection of the building,
the actor now lavished large sums on the stage and
its settings. The theatre was opened Feb. 3, 1869,
with a gorgeous production of * Romeo and Juliet '
from the original text. He was himself the Romeo^
his future wife, Mary McVicker, the Juliet ; the gifted
Edwin Adams the Mcrcutio, with a supporting cast of
unusual excellence. The success of the theatre was
instant and enduring. For the years during which
Mr. Booth retained its control, the receipts were very
large, although the lavish outlay left no margin of
profit. ' Winter's Tale,' ' Hamlet,' ' Julius Caesar,'
4 Merchant of Venice,' ' Much Ado about Nothing/
and other of the great Shaksperean plays were pre-
sented in an unprecedented style of magnificence, admi-
rably cast. The original texts in all instances were
restored, thus antedating all English efforts in that
line by many years. Disaster, owing to unskilful busi-
66 MR. EDWIN BOOTH.
ness management, and the impossibility that one man
should remain always at the helm, wrecked this noble
venture. But although bankruptcy resulted to the
enthusiastic founder, the glory of having given such a
temple and such a series of revivals to the American
stage, will be linked inseparably with the renown of
His subsequent appearances in San Francisco after
twenty years' absence, and in London, where he pre-
sented a round of his favorite parts with great eclat,
and his crowning glory in presenting himself before
the critics of exacting Germany, lead up so near the
present hour of writing, that their exploits must await
another annalist for their recording.
The noble subject of these records is still in the
zenith of his strength. He lives to lead the American
stage of to-day, with the same power as of old, and
with the same love on the part of his followers to sus-
tain him. Eulogy and praise stand mute in the
presence of such merits. Nil nisi mortuis bonum, is
the admonition when the chroniclers gather up the
records of a great man's life, after the race is run.
The biographer who shall truly write the story of
Edwin Booth's career will have little need to observe
this caution. Of him it may be said aside from his
great place and merit as the greatest exponent of our
art of to-day, that
His life was gentle ; and the elements
So mixed in him that nature might stand tip,
And say to all the world ' This was a man.'
MR. EDWIN BOOTH. 67
On the loth of September, 1849, Edwin Booth
made his first appearance on any stage, in the
character of Tressel, at the Boston Museum, under
the following circumstances. Mr. Thoman, who was
prompter and actor, was arranging some detail of the
play, and becoming irritable at having so much to do,
said abruptly to Edwin, who was standing near him,
" This is too much work for one man ; you ought to
play Tressel" and he induced him to undertake the
part. On the eventful night the elder Booth dressed
for Richard III. was seated with his feet upon a table
in his dressing-room. Calling his son before him,
like a severe pedagogue or inquisitor, he interrogated
him in that hard, laconic style he could so seriously
"Who was Tressel?"
"A messenger from the field of Tewksbury."
" What was his mission ? "
"To bear the news of the defeat of the king's
" How did he make the journey ? "
" On horseback."
" Where are your spurs ? "
Edwin glanced quickly down, and said he had not
thought of them.
" Here, take mine."
Edwin unbuckled his father's spurs, and fastened
them on his own boots. His part being ended on the
stage, he found his father still sitting in the dressing-
room, apparently engrossed in thought.
44 Have you done well ? " he asked.
" I think so," replied Edwin.
"<rive me my spurs," rejoined his father; and
68 'MR. ED WIN BOO TH.
obediently young Tressel replaced the spurs upon
Gloucester s feet.
ASIA BOOTH CLARKE : * The Elder and the Younger
Booth,' pp. 125-26.
Edwin Booth has made me know what tragedy is.
He has displayed to my eyes an entirely new field ;
he has opened to me the door to another and exquisite
delight ; he has shown me the possibilities of tragedy.
Though he has not yet done all that he has pointed
at, there are moments in his acting in which he is full
of the divine fire, in which the animation that clothes
him as with a garment, the halo of genius that sur-
rounds him, not only recalls what I have not of
others ; not only suggests, but incarnates and embodies
my highest notions of tragedy.
ADAM BADEAU : The * Vagabond/ 1859. Edwin
He got out old wigs one that Kean had
worn in Lear : the very one that was torn from his
head in the mad scene, and yet the pit refused to
smile ; he found me his father's Othello wig, and put
it on to show the look. There was a picture of the
Elder Booth hard by on the wall, and the likeness was
Ibid: ' A Night with the Booths.'
Booth cast his first, and the only vote of his life, for
Abraham Lincoln, in the autumn of 1864. A short
time after, on the night of Nov. 25, 1864, the three
Booth brothers appeared in the play of 'Julius
Caesar' Junius Brutus Booth as Casstus, Edwin as
MR. EDWIN BOOTH. 69
Brutus, and John Wilkes as Marc Antony. The theatre
was crowded to suffocation, people standing in every
available place. The greatest excitement prevailed,
and the aged mother of the Booths sat in a private
box to witness this performance. The three brothers
received and merited the applause of that immense
audience, for they acted well, and presented a picture
too strikingly historic to be soon forgotten. The
eldest, powerfully built and handsome as an antique
Roman, Edwin, with his magnetic fire and graceful
dignity, and John Wilkes in the perfection of youthful
beauty, stood side by side, again and again, before the
curtain, to receive the lavish applause of the audience
mingled with waving of handkerchiefs and every mark
ASIA BOOTH CLARKE : ' The Elder and the Younger
Booth,' /. 159.
In a discussion with Henry Tuckerman of New
York, on the character of Hamlet, that gentleman,
who had witnessed many of the old actors, observed
to Booth that they all stood during the soliloquies,
and inquired if it were not possible to alter this. On
the next representation of ' Hamlet,' Booth, seated,
began the soliloquy "To be or not to be.*' Mr.
Tuckerman, watching the play, could not conceive
how Hamlet could rise from that chair with propriety
and grace. When at the words, " to sleep, perchance
to dream," after an instant of reflection, during which
the mind of Hamlet had penetrated the eternal dark-
ness vivid with dreams, he rose with the horror of that
terrible " perchance " stamped upon his features, con-
tinuing, " Ay, there's the rub ! " His friend was
70 MR. ED WIN BOO TH.
satisfied that the actor had caught the inspiration of
the lines in that reflective pause. Booth also intro-
duced sitting on the tomb in the graveyard when,
with his face half buried on Horatio's shoulder, he
speaks, as if to his own heart, the words, " What ! the
fair Ophelia ? " His resting previously on the tomb
is most natural and graceful, and, imbued with these
qualities, it cannot fail to be effective.
Ibid, vol. it., pp. 153-4-
Bulwer's ' Richelieu/ though written in that author's
pedantic, artificial manner, and catching the ground-
lings with cheap sentiment and rhetorical platitudes,
is yet full of telling dramatic effects, which, through
the inspiration of a fine actor, lift the most critical
audience to sudden heights. One of this sort is justly
famous. We moderns, who so feebly catch the spell
which made the Church of Rome sovereign of sov-
ereigns for a thousand years, have it cast full upon us
in the scene where the Cardinal, deprived of temporal
power and defending his beautiful ward from royalty
itself, draws around her that Church's " awful circle,"
and cries to Baradas^
Set but a foot within that holy ground,
And on thy head yea, though it wore a crown
/ launch the curse of Rome J
Booth's expression of this climax is wonderful. There
is perhaps nothing, of its own kind, to equal it upon
the present stage. Well may the king's haughty par-
asites cower, and shrink aghast from the ominous
voice, the finger of doom, the arrows of those lurid,
unbearable eyes ! But it is in certain intellectual
MR. EDWIN BOOTH. 71
elements and pathetic undertones that the part of
Richelieu, as conceived by Bulwer, assimilates to that
of Hamlet, and comes within the realm where our
actor's genius holds assured sway. The argument of
the piece is spiritual power. The body of Richelieu is
wasted, but the soul remains unscathed, with all its
reason, passion, and indomitable will. He is still pre-
late, statesman, and poet, and equal to a world in
EDMUND CLARENCE STEFMAN, in the Atlantic
Monthly, May, 1866.
Booth, in his first season of Hamlet, is a very roman-
tic recollection. He was the ideal of the part to many ;
his natural melancholy, his great magnetic eyes, and
his beautiful reading, made him a host of admirers.
I remember well, in the first year of our war, when we
were profoundly miserable and frightened, what a
relief it was to go and see Booth in ' Hamlet.' In some
passages he was superb. He gave the play a new
rendering, fresh and admirable. When I first saw
Fechter in it, whom 1 liked infinitely less than Booth,
I wondered anew at the genius of Shakspere, who
could have written two such different and distinct
Hamlets. Mr. Booth gave a new feeling to the rela-
tion to Ophelia. You felt when you saw him play it
that Ophelia was a poor creature ; that if she had
been grander, nobler, and more of a woman, the play
need never have been written. I afterward saw him
in Othello, and, against all sounder criticism, I pro-
nounce that his very greatest part, greater than his
lago, greater than his Hamlet, greater than Salvini's
Othello, because infinitely less terrible, and, shall I say
7 2 MR. ED WIN BOO TH.
brutal ? for, although I am an adorer of Salvini, I did
find the last scene of his Othello brutal.
Booth's Othello was the very spirit of Venice. It
was the Middle Ages. It was the Orient. It was all
that is delicious in the land of gold and pearl of silks
from Damascus, perfumes from Persia. It was Moor-
ish, it was the Adriatic and its history. I do not know
anything which brought all the reading of a lifetime
before one so forcibly. That dark face, to which the
Eastern robe was so becoming, seemed at once to be
telling its mighty story of adventure and conquest. It
was a proud, beautiful face. Desdemona was not wor-
thy of it. He was supple, suspicious, Eastern from
the beginning ; that he loved as only a son of the
South can love, was written all over him, and there-
fore his jealousy and his tragedy was prefigured in
him. His quiet life after his marriage, his reading his
papers and telling lago how " Cassio went between us
very often," was so expressive that it reminded one of
those hot, heavy summer afternoons which hold a
M. E. W. SHERWOOD, in the New York Times, Jan.
Instead of being the slave of " tradition," I found
him constantly neglecting old traditional points
of which his manner after the Play Scene, when
his exultation would not give him time to wait until
the crowd had wholly dispersed, was, perhaps, the
most notable example for effects which commended
themselves better to his true matured intelligence.
Another instance may be given in his delivery of the
words, " I'll rant as well as thou," which were not
MR. EDWIN BOOTH. 73
howled and ranted, as is commonly the case, but
uttered with a profound contempt for the ranting of
Laertes. These two are few among many of his devi-
ations from " tradition." To my mind and espe-
cially on the second occasion of my witnessing his
performance Edwin Booth was eminently natural,
and to be looked on as an admirable exponent of the
more approved "new school."
Throughout he was the Prince, without any dis-
play of stilted dignity, but graceful in his courtesy
and gentlemanly in his condescension. His charm of
manner in this respect was specially to be remarked
in the scenes with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, in
his excellently delivered and modestly reticent advice
to the players, and in his scene with Osric, whom he
treated with the utmost courtesy, displaying his con-
tempt of the fop in suppressed tones of voice, and
playful byplay with Horatio, instead of anger or
impatience. His exquisite tenderness toward Ophelia,
to whom the words, " Go to a nunnery," were uttered
as the warning advice of a man who really loved her,
and not as indignant denunciation, was such as to
reach every heart. The same may be said of the
Closet Scene with the Queen, in his display of filial
forbearance, which was made as prominent as was
consistent with his purpose of reproach.
J. PALGRAVE SIMPSON, in the Theatre, December,
Mr. Edwin Booth's King Lear thus far surpasses
any performance which he has given to a London
audience. It is true that there is no single quality
displayed in it of the possession of which he had not
74 MR. EDWIN BOOTH.
before given evidence ; but on no former occasion
has so much been demanded of him at once, and on no
former occasion has his genius been so unflagging. The
word we have just used, " genius," is one against the too
bounteous use of which we have protested ; and
there are few words which lose their value more
by being scattered broadcast. If we had hesitated
to apply it to Mr. Booth's acting before he had
appeared as Othello and King Lear, we should have
hesitated no longer after he had done so. In his ren-
dering of both characters there was apparent that
native sense of grandeur and poetry which not even
the highest talent can achieve, but the combination of
which with all talent can acquire in the direction of art
and artifice may certainly deserve the name of genius.
In Othello, as we observed, the actor's power on a few
occasions seemed to flag ; in King Lear there are no
such occasions. From first to last the character, with
its senility, its slowly and surely increasing madness,
its overwhelming bursts of passion, its moving tender-
ness and feebleness, and, underlying and seen through
all these, that authority to which Kent makes marked
reference, was seized and presented with extraor-
dinary force. So complete are the interest and the
illusion that it is only when the play is over that the
fine art which rules the storm of passion is apparent,
and that such delicate inventive touches as the sug-
gestion to Lear's wandering wits of the troop of horse
shod with felt are remembered. The character is of
course the more difficult because it begins at such
high pressure in the very first scene that any coming
tardy off after that scene has been successfully played
would be unhappily accented. Nothing could well be
MR. EDWIN BOOTH. 75
finer than Mr. Booth's rage and disappointment with
Cordelia, and the half-insane curse which follows them,
and throughout the scene his senile yet royal bearing,
and that grace and happiness of gesture to which we
have on other occasions referred, were marked.
WALTER HERRIES POLLOCK, in the Saturday Re-
view, Feb. 19, 1 88 1.
Without assuming, however, to state the exact ele-
ments of the genius by which Booth's impersonations
are illumined, it may be suggested that its salient at-
tributes are imagination, intuitive insight, spontaneous
grace, intense emotional fervor, and melancholy re-
finement. In his great works in Hamlet, Richelieu,
Othello, lago, Bertuccio, and Lucius Brutus these are
conspicuously manifest. But perhaps the controlling
attribute, the one which imparts individual character,
color, and fascination to his acting, is the gently
thoughtful, retrospective habit of a stately mind, ab-
stracted from passion and toned by mournful dreami-
ness of temperament. The moment this charm begins
to work, his victory as an artist is complete. It is this
that makes him the veritable image of Shakspere's
thought in the glittering halls of Elsinore, on its mid-
night battlements, and in its lonesome, wind-beaten
place of graves. It is at once the token and the limit,
if not of his power, most certainly of his magic.
He has, it is true, shown remarkable versatility. He
can pass with ease from the boisterous levity of PC-
truchio to the height of Hamlet's sublime delirium on
the awful confines of another world. Othello, the
Moor, lago, the Venetian, Richelieu, the French priest,
and Don Casar, the Spanish gallant emblems of a
76 MR. EDWIN BOOTH.
great variety of human nature and experience are
all, as he presents them, entirely distinct individuals.
Under the discipline of sorrow, and
through "years that bring the philosophic mind,"
Booth, like all true artists, drifts further and further
away from what is dark and terrible, whether in the
possibilities of human life or in the ideal world of
imagination. It is the direction of true growth : it is
the advance of original individuality : it is the sign of
happy promise. In all characters that evoke the
essential spirit of the man in all characters, that is,
which rest on the basis of spiritualized intellect, or on
that of sensibility to fragile loveliness, the joy that is
unattainable, the glory that fades, and the beauty that
perishes he is easily peerless.
WILLIAM WINTER : ' Edwin Booth in Twelve Dra-
matic Characters,'//. 49-51.
MR. AND MRS. DION BOUCICAULT.
Prolific Boucicault ! what verse may scan
The merits of this many-sided man ?
A stage upholsterer of old renown,
Is what an enemy would write him down.
But let the enemy remember still
How much we owe to Dion's cunning quill.
What tho' in many of his plays, perchance.
There may be hints of foraging in France I
Let us be mindful of the genius shown
In those as well as others all his own.
There is a land the playwright has made sweet,
And found a laurel in the bog and peat.
Not yet have audiences joy .out-worn
To see the ' Shaughraun ' and the * Colleen Bawn ' ;
And Dazzle has retired from the scene,
While enter Conn and MyUs-na-Coppaleen.
WILLIAM L. KEESE.
MR. AND MRS. DION BOUCICAULT.
Mr. Dion Boucicault, one of the most prolific and
popular of English playwrights and an actor of much
humorous force, was born in Dublin, Dec. 26, 1822.
In 1841, when he was only nineteen years old, he saw
his comedy, London Assurance,' brought out at
Covent Garden ; and he has produced two, three,
four or more plays in every one of the forty-five years
which have elapsed since this first and great success.
This is not the place, nor have I space, to call the
roll of Mr. Boucicault's countless plays, original and
adapted ; suffice it here to say that of his earlier
pieces a few of the best remembered are the ' Irish
Heiress* (1842), 'Old Heads and Young Hearts'
(1844), and the 'Vampire' (1852), in which the au-
thor made his first appearance as an actor (June 14,
1852, Princess's Theatre, London). The next year
he sailed for America with his wife, Miss Agnes
Robertson, one of the little group of very clever
young actresses with which Mrs. Charles Kean had
surrounded herself at the Princess's.
Miss Agnes Robertson was born at Edinburgh,
Dec. 25, 1833 ; that happy Christmas day giving
to the world a girl who, in her later life, was to bring
merriment, peace, good-will to many thousands of
men and women by her mimic an. She was born to
8o MR. AND MRS. DION BOUCICAULT.
the boards, as it were, singing in public before she
had reached her eleventh year, and coming out as an
actress before she was twelve. This event took place
at Hull ; but further than this nothing is known, either
as to the part she played or her success in it. A few
years later, in January, 1851, she made her first appear-
ance in London at the Princess's Theatre, then under
the management of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Kean, as
Nerissa in the * Merchant of Venice.' Here she
remained, playing the lighter parts of juvenile comedy,
until she sailed for America. She appeared at Montreal
in September, and at Burton's Theatre, New York, on
Oct. 22, 1853, as Maria, in the ' Young Actress.' This
was also the part with which she opened her engage-
ment at the Chestnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia,
April 10, 1854. In October of that year we find her
at the Broadway Theatre, New York, where she played
Milly, in the ' Maid with the Milking Pail,' Andy
Blake, in the ' Irish Diamond,' Don Leander and Bob
Nettles in ' To Parents and Guardians.' For her
benefit on Nov. 10, 1854, Mr. Dion Boucicault made
his debut in New York as Sir Charles Coldstream,
in ' Used Up.' Miss Robertson played in various
places throughout the United States during the fol-
lowing years ; her longest engagements being in New
York, however ; and it was there that she created
new parts, by which she made herself famous.
Among these may be noted, in the year 1858, Jessie
Brown, in the ' Relief of Lucknow,' at Wallack's
Theatre (formerly Brougham's Lyceum), on Feb.
22 ; Ada Raby in the ' Vampire,' in September, and
Pauvrette, in the play of that name, in October, at
Niblo's Garden. In these plays, written or adapted
MR. AND MRS. DION BOUCICAULT. 81
by himself, Mr. Boucicault appeared as Nana Sahib,
the Vampire and Bernard.
During the following year she made farther ad-
vances in her art, and gained greater successes
before her Winter Garden audiences, as Dot, in the
' Cricket on the Hearth,' Sept. 14 ; as Smike in
4 Nicholas Nickleby,' in November, in which char-
acter she moved her audience as deeply in one direc-
tion as did Joseph Jefferson as Newman Noggs in
quite another and as Zoe in the ' Octoroon,' Dec. 5
one of Mr. Boucicault's best plays, in which he him-
self played Wah-no-tee.
A little later she touched the top of her powers, in
the delineation of Jeanie Deans, in the ' Heart of
Midlothian,' first produced at Laura Keene's Theatre,
Jan. 9, 1860; and as Eily O'Connor, in the 'Colleen
Bawn,' played first at the same theatre, March 29,
1860. In these dramatizations one from Scott and
one from Gerald Griffin Mr. Boucicault appeared as
the Counsel for the Defence and Miles-na-Coppaleen.
Both plays had a long run for those days the former
of fifty-four nights, the latter of thirty-eight ; both had
unusually strong casts ; and in both the performance
of Miss Agnes Robertson over-shadowed all the
others, memorable as they were. It was in the latter
part Eily O'Connor that she played for the last
time, then, in New York, and bade farewell to the
American stage, at the Winter Garden, on July 16,
In the same parts, Mr. and Mrs. Boucicault came
before a London audience, at the Adelphi, Sept. 10
of that year, and won praise from the press and
plaudits from the public. At the same theatre, on
82 MR. AND MRS. DION BOUCICAULT.
Monday, Nov. 18, 1861, they appeared in the
'Octoroon.' On Feb. 10, 1862, Mrs. Boucicault
played the ' Dublin Boy.' On Saturday, March i,
she assumed the character of Violet, in the ' Life of an
Actress ' a play of Mr. Boucicault's, in which he
appeared as Grimaldi. On Sept. 15 of the same year,
the ' Relief of Lucknow ' was revived at Drury Lane,
Mrs. Boucicault playing her old part, Jessie Brown ;
on Dec. 22 the play appeared at Astley's Westminster
Theatre, the management of which Mr. Boucicault
then assumed. At Astley's, too, she gave Jeanie
Deans, in the ' Heart of Midlothian,' on Monday,
Jan. 26, 1863. At the Princess's, March 22, 1865, Mr.
and Mrs. Boucicault appeared in his delightful drama,
' Arrah-na-Pogue ' ; and at the Lyceum Theatre,
Sept. 1 8, 1866, she acted Jane Learoyd in his ' Long
They appeared at the Gaiety Theatre, London, on
May 4, 1872, in 'Night and Morning,' an adaptation
of ' La Joie Fait Peur,' and later the same season in
various other of Mr. Boucicault's productions. In
September, 1872, after an absence of twelve years
from America, they appeared at Booth's Theatre, New
York, in 'Arrah-na-Pogue,' and in October Mrs.
Boucicault repeated her old triumphs as Jessie
Brown. Thereafter they played elsewhere through-
out the United States. Mr. Boucicault produced the
' Shaughraun ' at Wallack's Theatre, New York, Nov.
14, 1874, and acted in it himself. Returning to
London, Mrs. Boucicault played the part of Moya, in
the ' Shaughraun,' at Drury Lane, Sept. 4, 1875. In
June, 1878, Mrs. Boucicault appeared in ' Love and
Life,' a dramatization of one of Crabbe's ' Tales of
MR AND MRS. DION BOUCICAULT. 83
the Hall,' by Mr. Tom Taylor. She was again at
Booth's Theatre, New York, in Feb., 1879, where
she was seen as Eily O'Connor and others of her old
favorite parts ; and she soon after quietly retired
from the stage. Mr. Boucicault produced a five-act
comedy called the ' Jilt,' in San Francisco, in the sum-
mer of 1885, and took it to New York and to London
in the following year.
Mr. Boucicault is a playwright of exceeding dexter-
ity and a comedian of consummate skill. His plays
are so many as to be almost numberless ; they are
farces, comedies, operas, burlesques, dramas and
melodramas ; they are original, adapted from the
French, and taken from novels ; they are sometimes
very good, and sometimes very bad. The best of
them may be divided into two groups : the Irish plays
and the plays in which an attempt is made to continue
the traditions and to fill the formulas of the so-called
" old comedies." Of these latter, ' London Assur-
ance ' is the best known, although it is no better than
the ' Irish Heiress,' and not so good as ' Old Heads
and Young Hearts.' They have all a certain glitter-
ing hardness, which has suggested the remark that
they were the work of an old heart and a young head.
The Irish plays, on the other hand, have a gentleness,
a softness, a pathos, a humanity not seen in Mr.
Boucicault's other work. These qualities are most
abundant in ' Arrah-na-Pogue,' which is only a trifle
broader and finer than the ' Colleen Bawn ' or the
1 Shaughraun.' As an actor Mr. Boucicault has con-
fined himself to parts in his own plays, adroitly pre-
pared for his own acting.
Miss Agnes Robertson was a talented, a cultivated,
84 MR. AND MRS. DION BOUCICAULT.
and a most attractive actress : endearing herself to
the generation of play-goers who knew her, and who
loved her, by the womanly charm of her own individ-
uality, ever present in all her personations, appealing
to every heart before her. Her range of representa-
tion was not extensive, but, within the limits of her
powers, she was, in all ways, admirable as the artist,
winning as the woman. It was this winsome woman-
liness, shining softly and subtly out through every
environment of costume and of character, which
made an unconscious but imperative demand on all
sympathies, and even called forth affection ; filling
up our appreciation of and praise for the accom-
plished actress. She seemed, on the scene, in every
variety of part and of play, the ideal embodiment of
innocence, artlessness, sweetness, simplicity ; moving
with a grace, speaking with an intelligence, which
took captive mind and heart, at once. In the juvenile
comedy of her earliest days, and in boys' parts, she
was bright and bewitching ; showing a mingled dash
and delicacy most rare on the boards. In the com-
monplace Protean personations, at one time so popular,
she gave a bouncing Irish boy, a stolid German lad, a
sprightly Scotch lassie, and all the rest ; each done
daintily, each with its own proper patois, all graceful
to look at. As the pert and pretty soubrette, she was
charmingly coquettish, capricious, captivating. But
in none of these, nor in similar light characters, did
she seem to show real humor rarest gift of all to
her sex, indeed ; it was in serious, and even sad,
scenes, that she was more at home ; and her nature ap-
peared more appropriately to lend itself, even then,
to pathetic parts. Her sweetness, her susceptibility,
MR. AND MRS. DION BOUCICAULT. $5
her submission under suffering, her uncomplaining
courage and unrepining resignation beneath unde-
served persecution, her pretty, pathetic, girlish charm;
all this formed her more fully than any actress I have
known, for such parts as Dot, Eily O'Connor, Jeanie
Deans, and made them, in her person, the most touch-
ing of scenic assumptions. In these parts and in
Smike as well, the wretched, starved, beaten, crushed
creature, yet with a human heart, torn by tenderness
and by thankfulness, she was wont to win the tribute
of tears from unwonted and unwilling sources.
Vivid as are these personations in my memory, I
yet always see Agnes Robertson clad in the costume
of Jessie Brown : the sweet and simple Scotch girl,
patient, cheerful, heroic, loveable, moving quietly
amid all the misery of besieged Lucknow. The
Indian mutiny had, just then, fed us full of horrors ;
so that all men were well attuned to the key-note of
this poor play. This was taken from a story fresh
from the field ; which told how a small English gar-
rison, holding out to the last against sickness, starva-
tion, the shots of encircling Sepoys, was saved, just
at the end, by the English advance, the coming of
which was perceived, at the critical instant of sur-
render, by the quick ear of a Scotch servant-maid, who
heard before any other, the far-away strains of the bag-
pipes, leading the van of the friendly force of High-
I see Agnes Robertson, as I write in my mind's
eye sitting silently in the centre of the beleaguered
camp, amid worn women, wailing children, disheart-
ened men ; the deep stillness of the scene, after
all the foregoing action and turmoil : speaking plainly
86 MR. AND MRS. DION BOUCICAULT.
of something imminent : deadly or delightful, we do
not know : only that it is mar. The Scotch girl,
listless and speechless, seems suddenly to listen ;
starts slightly, bends her neck, her eye dilating, her
hand half held up ; listening more and more intently,
to what, we can not hear, nor those about her. More
and more eager she grows ; she leaps to her feet, her
frame fills and towers, her whole soul is in her eyes,
her face flames gladly, madly ; with an exultant cry
that thrills us, she tells them that safety and life have
come at last ! Then, the shrill bag-pipes squeak,
nearer, and nearer, the musketry rattles all around, the
scurrying Sepoys swarm in before the hurrying High-
land bayonets flashing all about, all is tumult, triumph,
thanksgiving ; in the midst, rapt and radiant, stands
Jessie Brown, fixed fast forever in our fancy so.
BENJAMIN ELLIS MARTIN.
Among the reminiscences of the past twenty years
few figures present themselves as more lovely, delicate
and gifted than that of Agnes Robertson Mrs. Bouci-
cault. She was a genre picture, so small, gentil, pretty
and acceptable. I first remember her in Effie Deans, I
think, a -profoundly affecting and impressive bit of
acting. Then in many pieces where she danced, sang,
and performed variety parts. She had the prettiest
of ballad voices, was always unaffected in the use of
it. She never condescended to the trill or cadenza,
but sang her song through serenely, and according to
the text. A bird would not give his " native wood-
notes wild " more charmingly than she did. Her
Smike was a terribly tearful thing ; I never liked to
MR. AND MRS. DION BOUCICAULT. 87
see it ; it haunted me ; but her Jessie Brown, in the
4 Siege of Lucknow' (I am not sure about my names,
but I remember the thing), was most beautiful. I see
now the pretty little figure, the big foot and ankle, the
delicate little head with a plaid shawl thrown over it,
as weakened by starvation, the Scotch girl, with her
second sight, and her preternaturally sharpened senses,
hears the sound of the pibroch. Then comes up a
very pretty piece in which she and Mr. Boucicault
played beautifully, called ' Pauvrette.' The scene laid
in Switzerland, the scenery beautiful. " The ava-
lanche that thunderbolt of snow," was admirably
managed. The young couple are snowed up for the
winter, and the wild storm that raged was not greater
than the excitement which prevailed in the hearts of
the audience as to their probable fate. I believe it
was supposed that they finally escaped.
M. E. W. SHERWOOD, in the New York Times, July
We have heretofore alluded to the Miss Agnes Rob-
ertson of long ago ; and now a memory steals in upon
us of her dtbut at Burton's, and of her enchanting
performance in the Protean play of the ' Young Act-
ress.' Of the half-dozen parts assumed, the Scotch
lassie and the Irish lad still haunt us. The highland
fling of the one, and the ' Widow Machree ' of the
other, were charming to see and hear ; and, indeed,
Miss Robertson was charming altogether.
WM. L. KEESE : ' Life of Burton/ /. 90.
Then somewhere along here, I think in a summer
season, comes a vision of Boucicault playing the ' Vam-
88 MR. AND MRS. DION BOUCICAULT.
pire,' a dreadful and weird thing, played with immor-
tal genius. That great playwright would not have
died unknown had he never done anything but flap
his bat-like arms in that dream-disturbing piece.
M. E. W. SHERWOOD, in the New York Times, Jan.
For himself, Mr. Boucicault selects the character of
Myles-na-Coppaleen, the plebeian Irishman of scampish
propensities, who alternates native shrewdness and
pathos after a fashion familiar to those who are accus-
tomed to the theatrical Hibernian. His consummate
slyness, his dexterity at prevarication, and his evident
enjoyment when he feels that he has baffled too curious
an investigator, are admirably delineated, though he
is less " rollicking " than most of the artists who have
shown in Milesian character.
The Times t London, Sept. n, 1860.
Mr. Boucicault's portraiture of the, by turns, obse-
quious, courteous, and indignant Grimaldi was in all
respects a masterpiece of histrionic ability. What is
technically called the " make-up " was complete ; and
his manner throughout was true to the natural bearing
of a man fallen into misfortune, but conscious of
noble birth and noble feelings. He showed, too, some
extraordinary powers. While teaching his pupil he
has to point out to her how Rachel delivered a par-
ticular speech and finds it necessary to resort to the
original French. This feat he brilliantly accomplished.
His nervous anxiety for his debutante's success on the
provincial stage, and his passionate disappointment
when he misses her from the next scene and learns
the story of her abduction were both admirably delin-
MR. AND MRS. DION BOUCICAULT. 89
eated. These things place Mr. Boucicault in the
front rank as an artist of versatile abilities and a com-
The Athcnaum, London, March 8, 1862.
It may be said that he reached the climax of his
fame as an actor and dramatic author in 1860 with
the production of the ' Colleen Bawn.' His merits as
an actor were probably best exhibited in that play,
and his later production, the * Shaughraun.' Mr.
Boucicault cannot be said to be entitled to the dis-
tinction of being designated an original writer. His
most popular plays are adaptations ; but no modern
dramatic author has said better things on the stage
than Mr. Boucicault in those plays.
CHAS. EYRE PASCOE : the * Dramatic List.' Bou-
For example : the usual price received by Sheri-
dan Knowles, Bulwer, and Talfourd at that time for
their plays was ^500. I was a beginner in 1841,
and received for my comedy * London Assurance,'
^300. For that amount the manager bought the
privilege of playing the work for his season. Three
years later I offered a new play to a principal London
theatre. The manager offered me ^100 for it. In
reply to my objection to the smallness of the sum he
remarked, " I can go to Paris and select a first-class
comedy ; having seen it performed, I feel certain of
its effect. To get this comedy translated will cost
me 2 S- Whv should I give you ^300 or ^500 for
your comedy of the success of which I cannot feel so
assured ? " The argument was unanswerable and the
90 MR. AND MRS. DION BOUCICAULT.
result inevitable. I sold a work for ^100 that took
me six months' hard work to compose, and accepted
a commission to translate three French plays at ^50
apiece. This work afforded me child's play for a
fortnight. Thus the English dramatist was obliged
either to relinquish the stage altogether or to become
a French copyist.
DION BOUCICAULT, in the North American Review,
Mr. Boucicault with his four hundred plays may
be regarded as one of the most prolific writers in the
whole history of literature. We know of no other
pen that can approach his in this respect. There are
plenty of playwrights who have written plenty of
plays, unaccepted, and never likely to see the light of
the foot-lights ; but all of Mr. Boucicault's four
hundred plays have been " played," and abused, and
derided, and played again. They have been received
as standard, and are likely to be long lived ; while
some of his characters are almost destined to be im-
mortal. Jesse Rural \ Dolly Spanker, and Lady Gay we
venture to assert will live as long as Sir Anthony
Absolute, Lady Teazle, or as Tony Lumpkin himself.
As a producer of plays and not as a player, will Mr.
Boucicault be remembered by posterity ; still Mr.
Boucicault is by no means a poor player : his Grim-
aldi in his own * Life of an Actress,' his Nana Sahib
in ' Jessie Brown,' his Bernard in ' Pauvrette,' his
Spectre in the * Vampire,' his Counsel for the Defence in
the * Heart of Midlothian,' his Myles-na-Coppaleen in
the ' Colleen Bawn,' his Mantalini in 4 Smike,' and
his Wah-no-tee in the * Octoroon,' in other days,
MR. AND MR DION BOUCICAULT. 9 1
were all strongly played ; while in these days his
Daddy O'Dowd, his Kerry, and his Conn the Shaugh-
raun are inimitable. In all of these late plays in
which he has himself assumed the central and titular
part, his object, he claims, has been to elevate the
stage Irishman to something like nature, " to give a
truthful stage portraiture of Irish life, manner, and
character ; and to obliterate the gross caricature the
public had received from the stage a caricature that
had been mainly instrumental in forming a popular
and very false impression of Irish nature." His
Daddy O'Dowd we consider a beautiful bit of charac-
ter acting, equal to his Kerry, which was saying very
much for it, and fit to rank with Fisher's Triplet or
Jefferson's Rip Van Winkle.
LAURENCE HUTTON : ' Plays and Players/ chap,
xxv., p. 208-10.
There has been no play since ' Rip Van Winkle '
which has excited so much interest as this, and no
character which is a more distinct figure in the mind
than the Shaughraun. He is an Irish good-for-
nothing, a young vagabond who is as idle as Rip Van
Winkle, and who loves the bottle not to Rip's excess
and who by his nimble wit and laughing, careless
courage serves to good purpose a pair of very amiable
lovers. There are knaves and wretches in the play, and
ladies and lovers, and soldiers and a priest and old
crones. There is some kind of story, as there is in an
opera, but you don't remember very well what it is. It
is only a background for the Shaughraun to sparkle on.
Some grave critic remarked that as a play it had
faults ; it violated canons and laws, and wanted unity,
9* MR. AND MRS. DION BOUCICAULT.
and did many things which it seems plays ought not
to do. There are two plots, or threads, or catastro-
phes, and the mind, it appears, is distracted, and the
whole thing could have been much better. Ah ! had the
painter only taken more pains ! But, on the other
hand, Mr. Critic, there is not a dull word or a drag-
ging scene in it. It moves from beginning to end,
and it is pure picture and romance all the way. There
are, indeed, those dreadful moral difficulties which we
have been called upon to consider in 'Rip Van
Winkle.' Here is a lazy good-for-nothing, who has
no trade or profession, or even employment, who has
been in jail for his tricks more than once, who carries
a bottle in his pocket, and poaches and fishes at his
will, and he carries with him our admiration and
sympathy, and puts our minds into any mood but that
of severity and reproof. He is simple and generous
and sincere, and brave and faithful and affectionate,
indeed, but he is a mere Shaughraun after all.
Perhaps the only plea that can be urged in the
defence is that the play leaves us more kindly and
gentle. But if you return to the charge, and ask
whether this might not have been done had the hero
been a respectable and virtuous young man, keeping
regular hours and reputable society, avoiding strong
liquors and vagabondage, and devoted to an honest
trade or a learned profession, the Easy Chair can
only ask in return whether Hamlet might not have
been a green-grocer. The charm and the defence of the
' Shaughraun ' are those of * Rip Van Winkle ' they
are its humanizing character and influence. Here is
the spectacle of knavery brought to naught, of faith-
ful love rewarded, and all by means of simplicity, gen-
MR. AND MRS. DION BOUCICAULT. 93
erosity, good-nature, and courage. Things are very
perplexing if that is immoral. It is, in fact, a poem, a
romance. The little drama is wrought, indeed, with
all the consummate skill of the most experienced and
accomplished of play-writers. The resources of the
stage, machinery, surprises, whatever belongs to
effect, are all brought most adroitly into play, and the
spectator is compelled to admire the result of tact and
experience in the construction of a drama. But it
all deepens the romantic impression. The scene is
Ireland, the story is one of love, the chief actor is an
Irishman seen by the imagination ; and it is one
of the felicitous touches of the skill with which the
work is done that from time to time, when the spec-
tator is most intent and his imagination is all aglow,
there is a faint breath from the orchestra, a waft of
wild, pathetic Irish melody, which fills the mind with
vague sadness and sympathy, and the scene with a
nameless pensive charm. This is the stroke of true
humor the mingled smile and tear.
But as you sit and watch and listen, you become
more and more aware that the key-note of the whole
play is very familiar, and even what the Easy Chair
has already said may suggest the essential resem-
blance, which gradually becomes fixed and absolute.
Under a wholly different form, under circumstances
entirely changed, in another time and country, and
with a myriad divergences, the ' Shaughraun ' is our
old friend ' Rip Van Winkle.' It is recognized as
readers of Browning recognize ' In a Spanish Clois-
ter' in the dialect poetry. The motive of the two
dramas is the same the winning vagabond. In the
earlier play he is more indolent and dreamy, and the
94 MR. AND MRS. DION BOUCICAULT.
human story naturally fades into a ghostly tale ; in
the latter he is heroic and defined, and acts only within
familiar and human conditions. As a study of the
fine art of play-writing, you can easily fancy, as the
performance proceeds, that an accomplished play-
wright, pondering the great and true and permanent
success of ' Rip Van Winkle,' may have set himself
to pluck out the heart of its mystery, and to win the
same victory upon another field. You can fancy him
sitting unsuspected in the parquet on Jefferson's
nights, intently poring upon that actor's persona-
tion of the character that he has " created," studying
it with a talent of infinite resource for the object in
view, and gradually reproducing, under a wholly new
and foreign form, the fascination of a spell that is
peculiar to no country or clime, but inheres in human
nature. It is doubtless a fancy only, but it holds
with singular persistence. What is the Shaughraun
but a jocund Irish Rip, or Rip but a Shaughraun of
the Catskill ?
GEORGE WILLIAM CURTIS, in Harper's Magazine,
MR. J. S. CLARKE.
Method with Clarke has ever been prime factor,
And method made him an artistic actor.
Gifted with skill to seize and to portray,
He gives his fine mimetic power full sway.
Thus finished pictures from his art arise,
Which lure the mind as they have lured the eyes.
A low comedian of that better school,
That does not think a laugh bespeaks a fool.
WILLIAM L. KEESE.
MR. J. S. CLARKE.
In the year 1850 the town of Belair, Maryland, was
placarded with the following poster, although the
townsfolk may not have derived the same pleasure
and advantage from its perusal as the present reader ;
the illiterate negro bill-sticker having posted every
one upside down :
GRAND DRAMATIC FESTIVAL
AT THE COURT-HOUSE IN BELAIR,
Saturday, Aug. 2.
In compliance with the request of several gentlemen,
MR. EDWIN BOOTH
respectfully informs the inhabitants of Belair and vicinity, that
he will give one entertainment as above, in
MR. J. S. CLARKE.
The performance will consist of
SHAKSPEREAN READINGS, ETC.
Selections from RICHARD III.
Richard III Mr. E. Booth.
Selections from MERCHANT OF VENICE.
Shylock Mr. J. S. Clarke.
9 8 MR. J. S. CLARKE.
The celebrated dagger scene from MACBETH.
Macbeth Mr. E. Booth.
Selections from Kotzebue's STRANGER.
The Stranger Mr. J. S. Clarko.
Hamlet's Soliloquy on Death .... Mr. E. Booth.
Selections from Otway's tragedy of VENICE PRESERVED.
Jaffier Mr. J. S. Clarke.
Selections from RICHELIEU.
Cardinal Richelieu Mr. E. Booth.
The great Quarrel Scene from JULIUS CAESAR.
Brutus . . . . r Mr. E. Booth.
Cassius Mr. J. S. Clarke.
Yankee Stories, Etc.
Mr. Clarke's peculiar illustration of
"A Young Man's First Appearance as an Actor."
Cards of Admission, 25 cents. Children under twelve, 12^ cents.
Doors open at 7 o'clock.
Performance to begin at 8.
The two lads, for they were little more, who, burn-
ing with dramatic ardor, had not only undertaken to
present such a programme to a rural audience, unused
to any entertainment of a higher order than a travel-
ling circus or conjurer, but had also ridden fifty miles
under an August sun to procure printed programmes
and tickets in Baltimore, were destined both of them
to make their mark in the dramatic record of their
Of Edwin Booth, a worthier hand than mine has
more worthily written. Mine be the congenial task to
chronicle the capers of comedy. Comedy ? say you,
MR. J. 5. CLARKE. 99
with a programme like that confronting you. Yes,
even so ; although if truth be told, John Sleeper
Clarke, like many another heaven-sent son of Thalia,
with his lineage stamped on every line of his mirth-
provoking countenance, passed through a period of
calf-love for the sterner muse.
John Sleeper Clarke was born in Baltimore, Mary-
land, on Sept. 3, 1833, of very recent English extraction.
His grandfather, Stephen Clarke, was a London mer-
chant, and his mother was a granddaughter of John
King, who held an official position under the East
His father died when he was three years old, and
he was left to the care of his mother. Part, at least,
of his education seems to have been received at the
hands of a Mr. Kearney, an original sort of peda-
gogue, who wrote all his own school books, and
encouraged his pupils in their juvenile attempts at
dramatic representation. On one occasion, Mrs.
Clarke records that Edwin Booth and John S. Clarke,
dressed in the white linen trousers and black jackets
then in fashion, recited, or rather enacted, with appro-
priate gestures, the quarrel scene of Brutus and
Cassius. The elder Booth entered the crowded
school-room unobserved, and, seating himself on the
corner of a bench near the door, witnessed and enjoyed
the performance. So that the Grand Dramatic Festi-
val at Belair was in all probability by no means
Mr. Clarke's first clutch at histrionic laurels.
In compliance with his mother's wishes he was
educated for the practice of the law, and even went so
far as to enter the office of Elisha B. Sprague, of Balti-
more, but finally abandoned Themis for Thespis in
ioo MR. J. S. CLARKE.
1851, when, at the Howard Athenaeum, in Boston, he
made his first appearance on the professional stage, as
Frank Hardy in ' Paul Pry.' One cannot help wonder-
ing with what feelings the future comedian regarded
the performance of the Paul Pry of the evening ; and
how much he may have unconsciously owed to him,
when he made his own success in that part. His first
regular engagement was at the old Chestnut Street
Theatre in Philadelphia, where he appeared on Aug.
28, 1852, as Soto in a revival of Colley Gibber's play
' She Wou'd and She Wou'd not.' In the following
January he succeeded John Drew, the elder, as leading
comedian of the theatre, which then had a position
only comparable to that held by Wallack's in New
York, a rapid rise indeed for a young man of twenty,
with less than a year's experience of his craft. In
1854 he left Philadelphia, and returned to his native
city, as first low comedian of the Front Street Theatre.
" His benefit in the following autumn was one of the
most memorable events in Baltimore." Thus early
and securely had he established himself as a favorite.
In Aug., 1855, he returned to Philadelphia, where he
became leading comedian of the Arch Street Theatre,
and so remained until June, 1858, when in partnership
with Mr. William Wheatley, he assumed the reins of
management for the first time. During this period
he occasionally starred through the South with great
In 1859 his connection with the Booth family,
always friendly, was cemented by his marriage with
Asia, daughter of Junius Brutus Booth and sister of
Edwin. In 1861 he retired from the management of
the Arch Street Theatre and took the great step in an
MR. J. S. CLARKE. IOI
actor's life his first appearance in the theatrical me-
tropolis. He appeared at the New York Theatre and
Metropolitan Opera House on May 15. It stood in
Broadway opposite Bond Street, and on the site of
the Metropolitan or Tripler Hall, originally erected
for Jenny Lind's Concerts. Mr. Ireland records that
his first part was Diggory in the ' Spectre Bridegroom/
and that he was received with hearty applause. " He
was not merely a success, he was a revelation." Mr.
George William Curtis wrote of him at the time in
Harpers Weekly : " I consider Clarke by far the
finest artist who has been seen on our boards since
Rachel." The name of the theatre was subsequently
changed to the Winter Garden ; and on Aug. 18,
1864, he undertook its management in partnership with
William Stuart, and his brother-in law, Edwin Booth.
" During the occupancy of the Winter Garden Theatre
by Booth and Clarke, the latter usually acted there
from the month of August until Christmas, Booth
following and playing until Easter, Mr. and Mrs.
Barney Williams and other attractions filling the inter-
vening time. John S. Clarke sold his interest to
Booth, and retired finally from the management early
in the year 1867, a few months before the building was
burned." During the season of 1864 and 1865 he
appeared at this theatre among other parts as Dromio
of Syracuse in the 4 Comedy of Errors,' and as Smash-
ington in ' Somebody's Coat ' on Oct. 3 ; as Paul
Patent in ' Love in Livery ' on Oct. 10 : as Paul Pry
in the play of the same name on Oct. 24 ; as Bob
Tyke in the ' School for Reform ' on Oct. 25 ; as
Brown, the Broker, in ' My Neighbor's Wife ' on
Oct. 31 ; in the four characters of Jack Sheppard,
102 MR. J. S. CLARKE.
Toby Twinkle, Simon Purefoy and Timothy Brown on
Nov. 5 ; as Jeremiah Beetle in the ' Babes in the
Wood ' on Nov. 10 ; as Bob Brierly in the ' Ticket of
Leave Man ' on Nov. 12 ; in 'Clarke in Russia' as
General Jocco, as Jack Humphrey in ' Turning the
Tables,' as Waddilove in ' To Parents and Guard-
ians ' on Nov. 1 8 ; and as Peter Plumley in ' Single
Life,' and as Mr. Dove in ' Married Life,' on Nov-
21. During this same brilliant engagement he played
Major de Boots in ' Everybody's Friend,' one hundred
nights, and he played Jack Sheppard and Toodles the
same number of times. On the last night in His
Jack Sheppard,' Paul Patent in ' Love in Livery,'
Simon Purefoy and Lord Sparkle in ' A Roland for
" In October, 1863, the Walnut Street Theatre in
Philadelphia was offered for sale. At such a preca-
rious time, during a disastrous civil war, few men were
willing to assume so great a risk ; but John S. Clarke
and Edwin Booth conjointly ventured to make the pur_
chase, feeling that they would be lucky to be able to
pay for it entirely in thirteen years. This they did,
however, in three ! In January, 1866, Booth and
Clarke obtained the lease of the Boston Theatre at a
rental of sixteen thousand dollars a year. Offers as
high as twenty-six thousand dollars were made by
other parties, but the directors preferred these two
gentlemen, who managed now conjointly three first-
class theatres in the three principal cities."
It is not generally known that Mr. Clarke made a
visit to London in 1862, under an engagement to Mr.
Dion Boucicault to appear there, but for some unex-
plained reason the comedian returned to his native
MR. J. S. CLARKE. 103
land without having played. So that it was not until
October, 1867, that he made his bow before a London
audience. This was at the St. James's Theatre, in the
character of Major Wellington de Boots, which he had
already played over a thousand times in his native
country, two hundred and fifty or more performances
having been given in New York alone. His triumph was
as instantaneous in the English as in the American
metropolis ; in all probability no American actor ever
won, or kept so enduringly, such a distinguished posi-
tion on the English stage as Mr. Clarke. It is said
that he visited England with his wife and family " on
pleasure bent," and he had certainly no intention of
remaining. His success, however, was so great that
it would have been folly not to reap such a crop
while the sun of public favor shone so brightly. In
spite, therefore, of the fact that he had one American
Theatre the Walnut Street, Philadelphia still on his
hands, he settled down in London. Charles Dickens
was delighted with him, and his voice was but
one of thousands. In February, 1868, he played
Salem Scudder in the ' Octoroon ' at the Princess's
Theatre ; and then went on a tour through the
English provinces, appearing with great success
in Edinburgh, Liverpool, Birmingham, Dublin, Bel-
His name was long associated with that of the Strand
Theatre, in London, where he played Doctor Pangloss
in the ' Heir-at-Law,' Ollapod in the ' Poor Gentleman/
Robert Tyke in the ' School of Reform,' and Babbing-
ton Jones in ' Among the Breakers.' In all of these
he achieved distinguished success, his Doctor Pangloss
being always one of his most favorite characters ; but
104 MR. /. S. CLARKE.
even this was effaced by his performance of Toodles,
which was hailed with delight as his most perfect
impersonation. It ran for two hundred nights on its
first production at the Strand.
On April 17, 1870, he reappeared in New York, and
was welcomed with a perfect ovation. He played for
forty-two nights, to enormous business, the receipts
for the first week alone exceeding $10,000. He then
visited Chicago, St. Louis, Louisville, Cincinnati,
Pittsburg, Baltimore, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Hartford,
New Haven and Philadelphia, playing everywhere to
crowded and delighted houses. In Philadelphia,
where he had made his earliest triumphs, the welcome
given to their old favorite was so enthusiastic, that
although his engagement was for fifty nights, the or-
chestra had to be removed to accommodate the num-
bers that flocked to see him. The following year he
returned to London for a summer season at the Strand
Theatre, opening there on July 29, 1871, as Dr. Pan-
gloss in the * Heir at Law,' which ran for one hundred
and fifty nights. In December, he returned to America,
and during this visit he and the late Edward Sothern
played alternately, at two theatres in Philadelphia on
the same evening. Mr. Clarke would begin his per-
formance at the Arch Street Theatre with Dr. Pan-
gloss and Mr. Sothern at the Walnut Street Theatre
with Lord Dundreary. Then Mr. Sothern would skip
to the Arch and personate Dundreary married,
while Mr. Clarke, hurrying to the Walnut, would close
the evening's programme with Toadies. During this
time the prices were doubled, but notwithstanding
that fact both theatres were crowded nightly for two
MR. J. S. CLARKE. 105
On March 9, 1872, he again appeared at the Strand
Theatre and played Ollapod in the ' Poor Gentleman '
for sixty nights, which he followed with Paul Pry
for a few weeks in the summer. In 1872 he became
manager of what was then the Charing Cross Theatre
(now known as Toole's) in London, and opened it
with the * Rivals,' giving his delicious performance of
Bob Acres for the first time in London. The produc-
tion was a great success both artistically and financially,
and ran for one hundred and twenty-seven nights. It
was followed by other of his favorite characters ; and
he subsequently played with brilliant success through-
out the English provinces. On April 4, 1874, he made
another London success as Phineas Pettiphogge in H.
J. Byron's 4 Thumbscrew,' at the Holborn Theatre.
In the autumn of 1878, Mr. Clarke became lessee of
the Haymarket Theatre, but did not act there himself,
until April, 1879, when, in consequence of a failure,
he appeared for a short time as Bob Acres and Toodles.
On Sept. 25, he played Dr. Pangloss in the ' Heir-at-
Law,' and five days later his management concluded.
His next appearance in London was again at the
Haymarket for a short summer season, commencing
Sept. 20, in 1880, as Dimple in * Leap Year,' and Major
Wellington de Boots. On Oct. 18, this gave place to the
' Rivals,' with Mr. Clarke as Acres. He spent part of
1 88 1 in America.
The Strand Theatre, enlarged and redecorated,
opened on Nov. 18, 1882, with the ' Heir-at-Law,' and a
new burlesque by H. J. Byron and H. B. Farnie called
' Frolique,' in which Mr. Clarke played Pierre Coquil-
Ian. On Jan. 18, 1883, the ' Comedy of Errors' was
revived at this house, with Messrs. Clarke and Paul-
106 MR. J. S. CLARKE.
ton as the two Dromios, it was impossible to say
which of the two was less like the other. It was not
till April, 1885, that he re-appeared again at the same
theatre, playing De Boots. On July n, he played a
new part, Cousin Johnny in a comedy of the same name,
by J. F. Nisbet and C. Masham Rae, also at the Strand.
" The burden of the piece fell on his shoulders, but
even his droll acting failed to galvanize the play into
success." Then he appeared in a play by F. C. Bur-
nand, ' Just in Time,' produced at the Avenue Theatre,
Nov. 12, 1885, which was also a failure. These
meteor-like visits to the London stage have been
parts of an orbit of provincial starring, in which he
has always been uniformly successful. His last ap-
pearance in New York was during the year 1879,
when he played Toodles, Major de Boots and Dr.
Pangloss for a season at the Fifth Avenue Theatre.
This brings the history of an unusually busy career
" up to date " ; and with a keen feeling of gratitude
for past enjoyment, we look forward to much more to
come. Mr. Clarke is still at the zenith of his powers ;
and though an ample fortune acquired in the exercise
of his art may dispose him to " retired leisure," yet
for such a performer there are ever new audiences,
who clamor for his mirth-compelling presence.
EDW. HAMILTON BELL.
It is no mere assumption of external oddities that
can produce two such personalities as Bob Tyke and
Toodles. He has caught the spirit which colors
every feature of his former remarkable personation
MR. J. S. CLARKE. 1 07
which made Fechter describe him when he saw it as
an English Frederic Lemaitre, and all the strange
unctuous drollery of the latter. The plastic sensibility
of mind which enables the player to become another
being on the instant is a gift of nature, though it
may be improved by study and practice. Mr. Clarice
possesses an innate, pliant mobility that enables him
momentarily to assume a certain condition of humanity.
The elasticity of this faculty, his native humor and
power of mimicry, the mimicry of character and
modes of thought and feeling, not of personal peculiar-
ities merely, and of the various forms and degrees of na-
tural drollery have always given variety to his acting
His forte is the imitation of humanity as seen in
every-day life ; and everywhere in this wide range he
seems to be at home. He endeavors to be natural by
being the character he assumes ; and the secret of his
great success we believe to be that he experiences for
the time the emotions, comic or otherwise, which he
depicts, and is for the moment the person he rep-
resents. It has always seemed to us that in forming
his personations he unfolded from the germ of the
dramatist's idea a visible shape, clothed in the external
attributes of some person who may have crossed his
path, and whose image is recalled by some analogy of
nature. We are confirmed in this notion by knowing
that in creating such a real and original person as De
Boots he did so by mimicking a real person whose
manner accorded with the characteristics of the dram-
atist's sketch ; and some of the best bits in * Toodles '
we know to have been taken from living subjects.
His by-play in both these performances surpasses that
of any comedian we have ever seen. He fills up the
Xo8 MR. J. S. CLARICE.
pauses of the dialogue by a number of trivial and
unimportant actions, performed with so much ease and
address that they seem habitual and unconsciously
done, always tending to preserve the illusion of the
scene or develop minor traits of character, and never
appearing forced. Clarke rivets attention by what he
does ; he does not invite notice to what he is about ;
there is no note of preparation sounded, no intimation
given to watch his movements, nor are they exagger-
ated for effect at a distance.
WILLIAM STUART, in Lippincotfs Magazine, Novem-
ber, 1 88 1.
The purpose of the revival is obviously to furnish
Mr. John S. Clarke, the American comedian, with a
new part of strongly marked character. He plays
Dr. Pangloss, and takes a view of that model tutor
which is perfectly consistent with the text, and which
affords occasion for the display of the broadest
humor. According to Mr. Clarke, Pangloss is not a
dry pedant, but a genial swindler with pedantic em-
bellishments, who has the greatest difficulty in con-
cealing the delight afforded by the triumphant suc-
cess of his own dishonesty. An urbane man, too !
He chuckles inwardly at the cacology of his noble
patron, but he corrects his mistakes with the utmost
delicacy, rather suggesting than demanding an
amendment, the embodied spirit of insinuation. On
one occasion only is he thoroughly grave, and that is
when he is compelled by Dick Dowlas to dance in the
streets, and he sees in that dance the ruin of his pros-
pects. The legs partially move, but the face is sad.
The Times, London, Feb. 7, 1870.
MR. J. S. CLARKE. 109
But of the twin Clarke J. S., what is to be said ?
Such an emollient face, surely such rich enjoyment
and fun, is seldom seen. The rapidity with which the
changes are made, the return from boisterous laughter
to instant gravity, in this he is unique. A favor-
ite device of his is known to us all ; a sort of chuck-
ling is going on, the unctuous face is rippling in
waves of enjoyment, he is getting familiar, when some
remark is made, an allusion to a wife of whom he is
in awe, when, in a second, a livid terror fills his face.
His eyes roll, his lips take an O shape, as if anxious
to form words but cannot, his cheeks become red and
distended, he seems hot with alarm. This change the
play-goer will recall. His Major de Boots is full of
such ; and there is nothing more diverting on the stage
than the gravity of his face and tones, as he reads, or
attempts to read, the letter at the end of the piece.
PERCY FITZGERALD : The 4 World behind the
On Thursday, June 27, 1872, at the Strand, he per-
formed the part of Paul Pry in Poole's well-known
comedy. During the several seasons Mr. Clarke has
played in London he has taken up, one after the
other, most of the leading characters of broad comedy.
His representations, depending largely upon facial
play, have a generic likeness, and it is rather by aid
of such accessories as costume than by means of any
special portrayal of character that the spectator dis-
tinguishes one from the other. The impersonation of
Paul Pry, the hero of Poole's well-known comedy,
has much in common with his Dr. Ollapod and Dr.
Pangloss. In absolute extravagance of drollery Mr.
MR. J. S. CLARKE.
Clarke approaches nearer Listen perhaps than any
subsequent interpreter of the character first named.
CHAS. EYRE PASCOE : The ' Dramatic List.' J. S.
Of his best known impersonations I can only say a
few words in closing this sketch. His De Boots is one
of the most delightful characterizations of a good-
humored poltroon, whose soldierly swagger is at odds
with his bantam-like person, feeble voice and satisfied
pomp of manner. His Young Gosling is a rare piece
of drollery, illustrating various stages of inebriety and
a rich display of pusillanimity in carrying out the duel
which he has provoked. His Babbington Jones is a
skilful delineation of the character of a groom whose
comical mishaps he accompanies with a capital change
of feature and gesture. His Toodles is a masterly
representation of a drunken countryman who tries to
maintain his self-respect under the most discouraging
and ridiculous surroundings. His Dr. Pangloss is a
study true to nature and a work of art which has
placed it on the same high plane as the efforts of the
renowned comedians of the past in this character.
His Dr. Ollapod2i&& Bob Acres are distinguished for
the same high order of acting, and that is the highest
possible praise that could be given them
Brooklyn Eagle, Nov. 15, 1885.
Mr. Clarke's power as a comedian chiefly lies, and is
shown to the best advantage, in characters which he
has solely created. Take, for example, his rendition
of Salem Scudder, Bob Tyke, Waddilove and De Boots,
parts which, for his fame's sake and the public's enter-
MR. J. S. CLARKE. ill
tainment, he plays less frequently than he should.
The first of these impersonations is a pure creation of
his genius, and the same remark will apply equally
well to the last two, full of the finest conceptions,
and played with such exquisite judgment and mean-
ing as to place him among the first of living players.
In that scene in the ' Octoroon ' where he has the
struggle for life with the brutal overseer, whose knife
he has wrenched from his hand, and whom he is
pressing to the earth with his knee fixed on his breast,
he rises above the ruffian the very picture of retribu-
tive justice. At first it seems right that he should
kill the murderous scoundrel, and he tells him in those
low, thrilling tones that he feels tempted to do it.
" Then why don't you ? " asks the surly woman-
whipper. Nothing can be finer, fuller of dignity and
repressed power, than Salem Scudders reply, which is
so spoken as to seem the protest of all mankind
against the Devil's code of law, the bowie-knife and
pistol : " Because," he slowly, almost regretfully,
says " because the spirit of civilization within me
won't let me do it." And as he says it, the spectator
can see that " the spirit of civilization " is having a
tough struggle with that wandering Yankee for the
slave-driver's blood ; but civilization conquers, and
he removes his knee, letting the miscreant go. The
whole scene is exquisitely rendered, and is worthy of
the highest commendation. As Bob Tyke, another
eccentric character, not strictly belonging to comedy,
he displays throughout the same rarely beautiful
traits of restrained power. But we are afraid that
Mr. Clarke considers these characters beneath his
care, and they are falling out of his repertoire ; yet
112 MR. J. S. CLARKE.
they are, as he plays them, portraits strong as a Titian
Atlantic Monthly ', June, 1867.
John S. Clarke is the heir in genius of Harry Wood-
ward and John Emery, and more versatile and brilliant
WILLIAM WINTER: The ' Jeff ersons,' /. 226.
MR. AND MRS. FLORENCE.
Lustrous beacons of the stage
In a fickle, feverish age ;
Striving on with honest heart
For the claims and aims of Art
Twin stars circling year by year
Radiant o'er a hemisphere ;
Models of the good and pure ;
May your influence long endure.
THOMAS E. GARRETT.
\V. J. KI.ni:
MR. AND MRS. FLORENCE.
William Jermyn Florence, like so many of the stars
of his profession, began to twinkle on the amateur
stage. Born in Albany, N. Y., on July 26, 1831, he
drifted to New York before he was fifteen years of
age ; and while his days were spent in honest, prosaic
toil for daily bread, his nights were devoted to tragedy,
comedy, scene individable, and poem unlimited un-
der the auspices of the Murdoch Dramatic Associa-
tion of that city. He soon found his way upon the
regular boards, and made his maiden bow to the public
as Peter in the ' Stranger ' at the theatre at Richmond,
Va., on December 6, 1849. In the spring of the fol-
lowing year he became a member of the company at
Niblo's Garden, under the management of Brougham
and Chippendale, and as Hallagon, a small part in a
drama by Brougham called ' Home,' first appeared as
a professional actor in New York, May 13, 1850. At
this house he was associated during the season with
Mary Taylor, Mrs. Vernon, Mrs. John Sefton, Fanny
Wallack, Charlotte Cushman, Burton, Brougham and
Placide. When Mr. Brougham opened the Lyceum
(afterward Wallack 's Theatre, and the Broadway
Theatre) on the corner of Broadway and Broome
Street, New York, on December 23, 1850, Mr. Flor-
ence appeared in an after-piece of absurdity, called the
n< MR. AND MRS. FLORENCE.
* Light Guard, or Woman's Rights ' ; and he made his
first decided hit at this establishment on April 22, 1851,
in the ' Row at the Lyceum,' where he appeared as a
red-shirted fire-laddie of that period, and at once
asserted himself as more than a mere utility man or
second walking gentleman, and fit for better things
than the commonplace parts that had hitherto been
assigned to him. During the season following he was
at the Broadway Theatre, New York (the original of
that name, between Anthony, since Worth Street, and
Pearl Street), opening on Aug. 30, 1852, as Lord
Tinsel to the Julia of Julia Dean and the Master Walter
of F. B. Conway, later supporting Forrest, Mr. and
Mrs. Barney Williams and Mrs. Mowatt. On Janu-
ary i, 1853, he married Miss Malvina Pray, with
whom he has since been so pleasantly and so profit-
ably associated during a long and honorable dramatic
Mr. and Mrs. Florence as the Irish Boy and
Yankee Girl were first discovered in the dramatic
horizon as a double star at the National Theatre,
Chatham Street, New York, on June 13, 1853, where
they met at once with the great success which followed
them on their extensive tour throughout the United
States. In 1856 they first appeared at Drury Lane,
when Mrs. Florence, as a specimen of American Help,
in the * Yankee Housekeeper,' a new figure on the
English stage, amused and entertained London au-
diences for a season of fifty nights. Mr. Florence's
first marked success in a more serious part was his Bob
Brierly in the * Ticket of Leave Man ' produced
originally in America at the Winter Garden, New
York, Nov. 30, 1863, Mrs. Florence playing Emily
MR. AND MRS. FLORENCE. H7
St. Evremonde. The drama, admirably presented in
all its parts, created a sensation almost without pre-
cedent in the United States, and ran for an hundred
and twenty-five successive nights in New York, and for
thousands of nights elsewhere throughout the coun-
try. On Aug. 5, 1867, at the theatre on the corner
of Broadway and Broome Street, Mr. Florence pro-
duced Robertson's ' Caste ' first time in America an
almost perfect play perfectly played. Mr. Florence
as George D'Alroy was the ideal, honest, modest,
manly soldier, who combined simple faith with Norman
blood, and whose kind heart adorned his coronet ;
while Mrs. Florence, with a delightful and conspicuous
lack of that repose of manner which stamps the caste
of Vere de Vere, was worth, as Polly Eccles, several
' Caste ' was followed on September 28, 1868, and
at the same house, by ' No Thoroughfare,' when Mr.
Florence introduced Obenreizer to the American stage,
in his hands a very clever piece of character acting, en-
tirely unlike D'Alroy, Brierly, Captain Cuttle, Mose, or
the Irish Emigrant, by which he had hitherto been so
well known. Mrs. Florence did not appear in this
In 1875 Mr. Florence created Bardwell Slote in
Mr. B. E. Woolf's ' Mighty Dollar/ an original char-
acter, fresh, quaint, and entirely possible in real life,
who is destined to walk down to posterity arm in arm
with Rip Van Winkle, Joe Bunker, Solon Shingle,
Davy Crocket, and Colonel Sellers, the typical stage
American of the Nineteenth Century, Mr. Florence's
most enduring character, by a large majority. As
Mrs. General Gilflory in the ' Mighty Dollar/ Mrs.
Florence was a fit mate for the m. o. o. (" man of
MR. AND MRS. FLORENCE.
honor ") with whom she was associated ; not destined
to live so long, perhaps, as the member from the
Cohosh district, but quite as delightful in her way.
In September, 1883, Mr. Florence produced Geo. H.
Jessop's * Our Govenor,' under the title of * Facts,' at
the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia. Its name
was changed the following season.
Mr. Florence has been seen in many characters,
and has been associated with supporting or sup-
ported by some of the most prominent members of
his profession on both sides the Atlantic. His name
has appeared in bills by the side of Barrett, McCul-
lough, Raymond, Burton, Brougham and Toole. He
has played Trip to the Lady Teazle of Mrs. Catherine
Sinclair (Forrest), Captain Cuttle to the Mr. Dombey
of Henry Irving, Richmond and Laertes with the
elder Booth, Titus and Lucullus with Edwin Forrest,
and at the Academy of Music, New York, October 12,
1877, for the benefit of Edwin Adams, he played lago
to the Othello of E. A. Sothern, the Desdemona of
Lotta, and the Emilia of Mrs. John Drew.
Mrs. Florence, a daughter of Samuel Pray, who
lost his life by fire at the old Broadway Theatre, New
York, was known as Miss Mavina, a dancer at
the Vauxhall Garden, Bowery, and at Burton's and
Wallack's Theatres, New York. She rarely appeared
in speaking parts until she became Mrs. Florence,
in 1853, although she is remembered as playing
Little Pickle in the ' Adopted Child,' at Pelby's Na-
tional Theatre, Boston. The story of her career since
her marriage has been told with that of her husband
in the preceding pages.
MR. AND MRS. FLORENCE. 119
The curtain rose to a crowded house on a scene at
rehearsal, after the manner of Sheridan's ' Critic ' ; the
actors and actresses, in their ordinary street dresses,
looking in every respect like the not more than
ordinary men and women they really were, when paint
and tinsel, sock and buskin, were discarded, dropping
in casually like other ordinary mortals on business
bent, to read and discuss Carlyle's new and wonderful
It was the green-room proper of a theatre, with all
the green-room accessories and surroundings, the
scenes and incidents, concords and discords of a
green-room gathering ; and was as heartily enjoyed
by the Lyceum audience as would one of Wallack's
famous Saturday night houses of the present, enjoy
being invited to visit en masse that unknown and
mysterious land contained behind the scenes, and to
assist at Mr. Boucicault's reading of the ' Shaughraun '
to the assembled company for the first time.
Mr. Dunn as Mr. Dunn, Tom the Call Boy as Tom,
and Mrs. Vernon as Mrs. Vernon, were very natural
of course and very funny. As it was Tom's first
appearance before the curtain in any character, he
was not a little excited, and his very evident con-
sciousness was as amusing and refreshing as was the
self-possession of the rest of the dramatis persona.
The audience was thoroughly interested and amused
at the realism of the performance, when, " Enter Mrs.
B.," the scene changes, and the ' Row at the Lyceum '
begins. While she greets her friends, looks over her
part, objects to her business, and lays her claims to
something more in her line, a stout, middle-aged
gentleman, seated in the middle of the pit, clothed in
120 MR. AND MRS. FLORENCE.
a Quakerish garb, who had hitherto quietly listened
and laughed with the rest, rises suddenly in his place,
with umbrella clasped firmly in both hands, and held
up on a line with his nose, to the astonishment of the
house, calmly and sedately addresses the stage and
the house, in words to this effect : " That woman
looks for all the world like Clementina ! Her voice
is very like the form the same." And then, with
emphasis : " It is ! it is ! my wife ! " at the same time
leaving his seat in great excitement, he rushes toward
the foot-lights, and cries wildly and loudly, " Come off
that stage, thou miserable woman ! "
The utmost confusion quickly reigned in the theatre.
The audience, at first amused at the interruption,
seeing that the Quaker gentleman was in earnest, soon
took sides for or against him, and saluted him with all
sorts of encouraging and discouraging cries as he
fought his way toward the orchestra. " Who is he ? "
"Who is she?" "Shame! shame!" "Put him
out ! " " Go it, Broadbrim ! " " Sit down ! " " Police ! "
Hootings, hissings, cat-calls, making the scene as
tumultuous as can be well imagined. The boys in the
gallery, delighted at the " Row," in which, from their
distance, they could only participate vocally,
Hailed him from out their youthful lore,
With scraps of a slangy repertoire :
" How are you, White Hat ? " " Put her through ! "
" Your head's level ! " and " Bully for you ! "
Called him " Daddy ! " begged he'd disclose
The name of the tailor who made his clothes,
and did all that boys in a gallery could do, to worse
confound the confusion.
Up in the third tier, in a corner near the stage, in
AfR. AND MRS. FLORENCE. f
prominent position, visible to all, was one particularly
gallery and "gallus" boy, a fireman, red-shirted,
soap-locked, with tilted tile, a pure specimen of the
now obsolete b'hoy, Afosc himself. He added greatly
to the excitement of the scene, by the loud and per-
sonal interest he seemed to take in the proceedings,
and promised, in a vernacular now happily almost as
obsolete as is the genus itself, to give the indignant
husband a sound lamming if he ventured to lay a hand
on that young 'oman ; volunteering, if the indignant
husband would wait for him, to go down and do it
then and there ; proceeding then and there to go
down and do it !
At this stage of the proceedings, the dramatic per-
formances of ' Green- Room Secrets ' were entirely
stopped. The artists were utterly unable to proceed
on account of the uproar in front. The ladies were
frightened ; the gentlemen, addressing the house, and
striving vainly to restore order, were quite powerless
to proceed ; while Mrs. B , the innocent cause of
all the trouble, evidently preparing for flight, was
agitated and very nervous. All this time the irate
husband was struggling to reach his wife, and fighting
his way toward her. He finally climbed over the
orchestra, the red-shirted defender of the young 'oman
close behind him, when both were collared by a police-
man or two, dragged upon the stage, made to face the
house, the regulation stage semicircle was formed
behind the footlights, and the epilogue was spoken,
the audience beginning to recognize in the efficient
policemen, the supes of the establishment ; in the fire-
laddie of the soap-locks and tilted tile, Mr. W. !
Florence, a member of the company ; in the indig-
I'** MR. AND MRS. FLORENCE.
nant husband, Mr. Brougham himself ; in the recov-
ered wife, Mrs. Brougham ; and to realize that the
* Row at the Lyceum ' was a premeditated and mag-
nificent " sell."
We may mention here in passing, that this peculiar
part of the " rough," played by Mr. Florence, was his
first decided success on the New York boards. It
brought him much notoriety and applause, and en-
couraged his adoption of the eccentric comedy and
sensational parts he has made his/0r/<r, and in which
he is so well known at present. Previous to this hit,
we find him doing a general utility business, as second
or third walking gentleman, chiefly in Brooklyn and
the provinces, playing such parts as Witherton in Paul
Pry,' Valarc in the ' Secret/ Langford'm ( My Precious
Betsey,' Brockett in the * King and the Mimic,' Mr.
Wickfield in ' David Copperfield,' Brandt in the
' Soldier's Return,' Captain Cannon in the ' Dead Shot,'
Frampton in the ' Nabob for an Hour,' and in other
parts of similar kind.
LAURENCE HUTTON : ' Plays and Players,' chap. 8.
The Hon. Bardwell Slote, acted by Mr. Florence, is
a personage not unlike, in his effect, certain of the
caricatures delineated by Dickens. He is portly,
grizzled, slightly bald, red nosed, bright-eyed, ad-
dicted to black satin waistcoats and big bosom pins,
voluble, shrewd, grasping, unprincipled, saturated with
greed and with an odd kind of smirking humor, and
very absurd : and he is presented as a politician, resi-
dent in Washington, and engaged in trying to feather
his nest by taking bribes for lobbying railway bills
through Congress. This individual, as he is person-
MR. AND MRS. FLORENCE. 123
ated by Mr. Florence, is, assuredly, a valuable addi-
tion to the comical figures of the stage. Mr. Florence's
temperament is of the kind that tends to drollery, and
he has entered with great vigor and zest into this con-
ception. The performance is toned with burlesque,
but this tone is necessary in dealing with a caricature.
Mr. Florence exhibits artistic instinct in making Slote
grotesque and amusing, without making him unsym-
pathetic and contemptible. The habit of indulging in
monologues after the manner of Unsworth, the negro
minstrel, in those clever stump speeches which will be
heard no more and the habit of preluding phrases
by announcing their initials (as, k. k. the cruel cuss,
and g. u. gone up), are superficial peculiarities, occa-
sionally laughable. The deeper merit is identifica-
tion of the actor with the character, and the discreet
preservation of balance betwixt nature and extrava-
WILLIAM WINTER, in the New York Tribune, Sept.
Mrs. Florence was formerly popular as a danscusc
(to which fact is doubtless owing the gracefulness of
carriage so admired in her), and subsequently gained
great applause by her impersonation of the ' Yankee
Girl.' She shared the honors with her husband in their
engagements, and her latest effort combined to secure
the great popularity of the ' Mighty Dollar.' Mrs.
Florence is indeed inimitable as Mrs. General Gilflory.
Her impersonation of the good-natured widow, with a
weakness for the French language, is replete with
vivacity, while utterly devoid of coarseness. It is, in
fact, the work of a consummate comedienne. . . .
124 MR. AND MRS. FLORENCE.
Her acting as Emily St. Evremonde in the * Ticket of
Leave Man ' is as good in its way as is Mrs. Gilflory.
In both cases it stamps her traits as unique as they are
The New York Graphic, Sept. 21, 1877.
When the stage made its next snatch for another
typical American it grasped a full-fledged member of
the lower house engaged in feathering his own nest.
Judge Bardwell Slote is M. C. for the Cohosh district.
He appears in a play called the ' Mighty Dollar,' by
Mr. B. E. Woolf. He is a good-natured, well-mean-
ing, half-educated politician, with little knowledge
and no principles. He is a fair specimen of those
who take the stump before election, only to roll logs
after it. The part is played by Mr. W. J. Florence
with a richness of humorous caricature which almost
redeems the inherent vulgarity of the character. The
performance is pitched in a burlesque key, and in quiet
burlesque informed with drollery Mr. Florence is ad-
mirable. He acts the character with great zest, and
in marvellous "make-up." The smirking, grasping,
greedy, shrewd and yet simple politician has been
endowed by the author of the play with certain super-
ficial characteristics of which the actor makes the most.
BRANDER MATTHEWS, in Scribners Monthly, July,
Mr. Florence's representation of the part is, indeed,
wonderfully clever and amusing. His caricature in no
respect oversteps the modesty of nature. It is a cari-
cature, and is intended to be one, but it is not one of
those violent and fantastic absurdities with which we
are sometimes presented under like circumstances. It
MR. AND MRS FLORENCE. 125
is a careful study, founded throughout on fact and
observation, and only a little overcolored to suit the
dramatic medium in which it is presented. In any
case it went home to the audience directly " p. d. q.,"
as Judge Slote himself puts it, " pretty d quick ! "
A sympathy with American character, a delight in
American eccentricities and forms of expression, has
been rapidly growing among the English public of
late, and Mr. Florence is certainly one of the ablest
exponents of American human nature our stage has
as yet seen.
The Figaro, London, Sept. 2, 1880.
Mr. Florence's presentation of the Hon. Bardwell
Slote is a singularly fine piece of character acting. It
develops in a kind of extravagance in parts, where, for
instance, a pretence is made to sing, and it is marred
by the too frequent repetition of a specie of conver-
sational trick, which in itself is not unamusing, but
which grows tedious when too frequently employed.
Making allowance for these defects, it is a very ripe
and effective piece of acting, and the character pre-
sented, with its ineffable self-content and its cheery
exposition of selfishness it is too ingenuous to strive
to hide, is quite masterly. Though American as re-
gards its surroundings, and certain manifestations, the
character is true and recognizable. No difficulty
whatever is experienced in estimating its truthfulness
or appreciating its niceties. Mr. Florence is entitled
to the honor of supplying the stage with a creation.
The Athen&um, London, Sept. 4, 1880.
As for Mrs. General Gilflory as represented by Mrs.
126 MR. AND MRS. FLORENCE.
W. J. Florence, she is simply superb. She is impayable
or ongpayable as she herself would say in her inimitable
atrocious French. . . . Mrs. General Gilflory is not an
original character. She is a combination of Mrs.
Ramsbottom, Mrs. Malaprop and the Begum in ' Pen-
dennis ' ; but her wit, her humor, her good nature and
her wonderful French are all Mrs. Florence's own.
I have seldom seen a part so naturally and so un-
affectedly acted ; and, looking at the doubly farci-
cal elements in the character, it is surprising to mark
how very rarely the fun of Mrs. General Gilflory is
strained to caricature.
GEORGE AUGUSTUS SALA, in the Illustrated Lon-
don News, Sept. 4, 1880.
The American actor showed that he was thoroughly
skilful, and had a strong sense of humor, by his per-
formance of Bardwell Slote in a bad play, and per-
haps shows it still more by his performance of Captain
Cuttle in an even worse play. His rendering of pathos
misses the true ring, but avoids condemnation. In
the general interpretation of the character he has to
meet the same kind of difficulties which beset the
illustrator of a familiar book, and he gets over these
difficulties, as well as those which arise from his being
an American, with much success. Both in Bardwell
Slote and in Captain Cuttle Mr. Florence has displayed,
besides the merits which belong to a clever and
thoroughly practised actor, that indefinable quality by
which a player is enabled to create at once a sympa-
thetic feeling between himself and his audience.
WALTER HERRIES POLLOCK, in the Saturday Re-
view > Nov. 27, 1880.
MKs. U. J. PLOl
MR. AND MRS. FLORENCE. 127
Although new to a metropolitan audience Mr.
Florence's Captain Cuttle has been seen in this country
before. In 1862 I believe he played the part in Man-
chester, on which occasion the cast included Mr.
Henry Irving as Dombey, while Mr. Florence's imper-
sonation of the old captain won warm recognition
from Mr. Dickens himself, who declared that it
thoroughly realized his conception of the character.
And it is easy to understand that such was the case, for
a more thoroughly breezy, natural and lifelike presenta-
tion of the old man than Mr. Florence's, it would be
difficult to conceive. . . . Mr. Florence's acting is as
good as his inimitable make-up, and the personation
is a most finished one. He is irresistibly humorous
and delightfully in earnest when he wants to present
his teaspoons to Mr.Dombey; and the way in which
he tacks to the door with Florence Dombey in his
arms, as if under a heavy press of sail, was a capital
piece of " business." There was pathos too in the old
man's sorrow for Walter s supposed death, and his
glee at the good news was very amusing to witness.
H. SAVILE CLARKE, in the Examiner^ London, Dec.
Mr. Florence acted last night with extraordinary
spirit and deep feeling. His identification with Bob
Brierly is complete in every point, and is consistently
sustained from beginning to end. The education of
the old school actor was seen again with delight in
the honest, unaffected and only artistically curbed
emotion that the actor allowed to suffuse his work.
Mr. Florence is one of the actors who have not
caught the fever of modern cynicism, and are not
128 MR. AND MRS. FLORENCE.
ashamed to be in earnest. His treatment of the love
scene was full of tenderness and a certain rough
grace that easily won the hearts of his hearers. The
spirit of the impersonation is uncommonly sweet and
gentle, and its artistic treatment has the ease of
WILLIAM WINTER, in the New York Tribune, Oct.
Mr. Florence is a genuine actor, and in his way a
most finished artist. He has the gift of impersonation
a quality scarcely looked for upon the modern stage
to a most remarkable degree, being perhaps without
a rival in the art of self-effacement. There is certainly
no other actor of prominence in this country capable
of presenting three characters so completely distinct
as those of Obenreizer, Bardwell Slote, and Captain
Cuttle, not to speak of other personages in his theatri-
cal repertory. These impersonations are noteworthy
not only for the extraordinary versatility indicated by
them, but for the perfection of their artistic finish.
Nobody could reasonably wish for portraits more
vivid, lifelike, or consistent in detail. And this effect
is wrought by sheer power of simulation, as there is
scarcely anywhere a trace of the individual personality
of the actor himself. Such a performance has real
artistic value, and is of so rare a kind nowadays that
it ought not to be neglected.
J. RANKEN TOWSE, in the Evening Post, New York,
September 22, 1885.
A comedian of the most genial, mirthful, kindly
nature, he has powers to depict the most pronounced
MR. AND MRS. FLORENCE. 129
types of melodramatic character with a vital force, an
intense energy, that would seem incredible to one
who had seen his Captain CuttU and had never seen
his Jules Obcnrcizcr. To sum him up in a word, Mr.
Florence is an actor and how few actors we have
to-day ! We have come to be content with merely
special players. We mean those actors who play one
part well, but can never submerge that character or
their own individuality in any other part. One might
number on his fingers all the players now before the
public who might do well any line of character for
which they could be cast. They are mostly veterans,
men who have come up the disciplinary way of varied
experience and much study. The younger actors
have neither the opportunity nor the incentive of their
predecessors. They mount quickly to their little
prominence, reign their brief day, and are shoved
aside to make way for other ephemerals. But the
actors of the school from which Mr. Florence came
leave their impress on their times so firmly that other
generations come to know of them and something
like real fame attends their names. Mr. Florence will
be a memory long after he has ceased to play at
making character on the stage. This capital actor is
no less entertaining in private life than on the stage.
He is a remarkably well-informed man. A great
observer, he has gathered from all lands some curious
knowledge, knows something of all peoples, and per-
haps has as extensive acquaintance as any man liv-
ing with notable persons throughout the world. His
memory for scenes, incidents, and facts located at any
period within the past thirty years is extraordinary.
In conversation with him one can hardly mention the
130 MR. AND MRS. FLORENCE.
name of place or person that does not recall to Mr.
Florence some interesting fact or circumstances re-
lated thereto, which he proceeds to narrate delight-
fully. And as a raconteur he has few superiors, his
stories usually being of a kind to illustrate point-
edly some part of the general conversation, which he
manages shall flow on again without that dead calm
which so commonly falls after a clever story. It is a
profit to pass an hour or two in his company whenever
there is opportunity, as it is a delight to witness his
artistic work in an evening.
The Chicago Inter-Ocean, March 14, 1886.
MR. HENRY IRVING.
His life has made this iron age
More grand and fair in story ;
Illumed our Shakspere's sacred page
With new and deathless glorv *
Refreshed tne iove of noble fame
In hearts all sadly faring,
And lit anew the dying flame
Of genius and of daring.
MR. HENRY IRVING.
John Henry Brodribb, or, as he is now known,
Henry Irving, the most accomplished theatrical mana-
ger and one of the most interesting and intellectual
actors of the day, was born in England, at Keinton,
near Glastonbury, Feb. 6, 1838. His father and
mother were both descended from old Cornish fami-
lies, held in high repute in the neighborhood of St.
Ives, and it was in Cornwall that he passed the days of
his early boyhood. At the age of eleven years he
was put to school in George Yard, Lombard Street,
London, under the tuition of Dr. Pinches, and tradi-
tion says that he soon won the admiration of his
school-fellows by his skill in recitation. However this
may be, it is certain that he was stricken early with
the stage fever ; for although upon leaving school he
was placed in a merchant's office, he devoted all his
spare time to the study of theatrical literature, saving
his scanty pocket money to buy the needful books, and
to pay for lessons in elocution from an actor in the
company of Sadler's Wells Theatre. This led to his
introduction to Samuel Phelps, the illustrious mana-
ger of that famous little house, who must have dis-
cerned evident signs of talent in the youth, inasmuch
as he offered him a small engagement. This must
have been a tempting offer to young Irving, but he
had the good sense to decline it, rightly judging that
134 MR- HENRY IRVING.
preliminary practice in the provinces was the surest
road to future metropolitan success. Thus it hap-
pened that he made his first public appearance as the
Duke of Orleans in ' Richelieu,' in Sunderland, in the
North of England, in September, 1856. In the fol-
lowing year he was engaged at the Theatre Royal,
Edinburgh, where he remained for two years and a
half, acting in company with Charlotte Cushman,
Helen Faucit, Charles James Mathews, Benjamin
Webster, Frederick Robson and other players whose
names are high on the roll of dramatic fame. During
this period he appeared in more than three hundred
parts, of every imaginable variety, and doubtless laid
the foundation of that complete mastery of stage arti-
fice which in later days proved of such inestimable
value to him. Through the influence of the well-
known comedian John L. Toole, with whom he has
ever since maintained a close, almost romantic friend-
ship, he procured a three years' engagement at the
Princess's Theatre, in London, and fame and fortune
seemed almost within his grasp. But disappointment
awaited him. He was awarded an insignificant part
in an adaptation of Feuillet's ' Romance of a Poor
Young Man/ and cancelling his agreement, retired
once again to the provinces. He went first to Glas-
gow, but soon removed to Manchester, where he acted
for nearly five years, at the end of which time he had
acquired sufficient confidence in his powers to essay
Hamlet. In the following year, 1866, he was engaged
by Dion Boucicault, and played Rawdon Scudamore in
that prolific writer's ' Hunted Down,' acquitting him-
self so well that he was selected to play leading
characters in the St. James's Theatre, London.
MR. HENRY IRVING. 135
It was in October, 1866, that the actor made his
second venture on the London boards, enacting Dori-
court in the ' Belle's Stratagem,' a performance which
met with commendation. From this he reverted to
Rawdon Scudamore, and for some time was closely
associated with various types of stage villains, ranging
from Joseph Surface to Robert Macaire and even Bill
Sikfs. His professional labors, however, were by no
means confined to this class of characters, for he
appeared successfully as Petruchio, Charles Mar low,
Harry Dornton, De Neuville (in ' Plot and Passion '),
and, especially, as Dr. Chevenix in * Uncle Dick's
Darling.' He made a hit as Jeremy Diddler, and was
recognized generally as an eccentric comedian of
great versatility, keen perception and finished skill.
It was as Digby Grant, however, in Albery's * Two
Roses,' produced in the London Vaudeville Theatre
in 1870, that he made his first great hit, and estab-
lished his position as one of the leading actors of the
day. The forcefulness, truth and cynical humor of
this performance were extraordinary, and the actor and
the play became the talk of the town. After a long
and triumphant season he was tendered a benefit per-
formance, and then for the first time recited the
* Dream of Eugene Aram,' startling everybody by the
vividness and power of his interpretation, and the
boldness and novelty of the methods employed.
Immediately after this triumph he went to the Lyceum
Theatre, then under the direction of Mr. Bateman,
and it was there in November, 1871, that he made his
appearance as Mathias* in the ' Bells/ achieving a
success which placed him in the very front rank of
his profession. Critical opinion differed greatly as to
136 MX. HENRY IRVING.
the artistic merit of the assumption, but there was
never any room for doubt touching its thrilling effect
upon the audiences which filled the theatre for months.
The extraordinary subtlety and minute perfection of
detail with which he portrayed the growing horrors of
a guilty conscience racked by ever-increasing appre-
hension of detection and punishment, culminating in
the delirium of the dream scene, and ending in a sim-
ulated death of most ghastly realism, more than
atoned for the mannerisms of speech and gesture,
which had always been peculiar to the actor, but
which had never seemed so prominent and aggressive.
But Mr. Irving had more surprises in store. In 1872
the play of ' Charles I.' was produced, and in this
again Mr. Irving scored a triumph, not so great as
the first, perhaps, but no less remarkable in view of
the versatility displayed. Whereas in the part of
Mathias he had wrought the profoundest impression
by his portrayal of the frenzies of despairing guilt, he
now compelled admiration by the dignity and mourn-
ful tenderness with which he played the luckless King.
The old faults were manifest, but in a less painful
degree, and the artistic repose and pathos of the
impersonation awakened profound admiration. In
April, 1873, Mr. Irving added Eugene Aram to his
theatrical portrait gallery, and again the actor was
successful, but his success in this was less astonishing,
as the character, although widely different from that
of Mathias, was manifestly easily within the resources
of the actor who had created the latter part.
In 1873, Mr. Irving made the bold experiment of
playing Richelieu, and the storm of criticism raged
once more. That the performance was exceedingly
As Mathias ...
MR. HENRY IRVING. 137
clever, elaborated with rare skill and keen intellectual
insight, was generally conceded, but the lack of true
emotional power in the most trying scenes was clearly
shown, especially when the inevitable comparison was
made with the performances of men like Macready
and Phelps. The play ran for more than one hun-
dred nights, but the representation cannot be classed
among Mr. Irving's triumphs. The next Lyceum
play was ' Philip,' and then in the autumn of 1874 Mr.
Irving took the boldest step of his career and played
Hamlet. By this time the critics had resolved them-
selves into two bodies. To the one party everything
done by Mr. Irving was the work of supreme genius
to the other his claims to eminence in tragedy seemed
preposterous. A furious battle was waged in the
public prints over his Dane, and the bitterness of the
disputants, as in the case of Fechter, only tended to
increase public interest in the performance. The
popular success was never in doubt. From the first
the theatre was crowded, and the piece ran for two
hundred nights, a statement which proves conclusively
the fascination which the performance had for the
ordinary theatre-goer, while the novelty and ingenuity
of it had potent charms for the more critical observers.
There is not room within the limits of the present
article for anything like a minute or critical analysis
of the interpretation. The most obvious defects in it
we are due to the absence of real tragic power and con-
firmed vices of elocution. In the great scenes of the
play in the meeting with the Ghost, in the closet
scene with the Queen, in the challenge to Laertes, and
in the death scene there was not a gleam of tragic
fire ; and it is scarcely too much to say that the tragic
138 MR. HENRY IRVING.
side of Hamlet's character received no representation
at all. The action was spirited, picturesque, dramatic,
and incessant, and would have been most eloquent
and impressive to an audience of the deaf and dumb ;
but in the delivery of the lines there was no thrill of
passionate emotion. In other words, the actor was
incapable of executing the design which his intellect
had elaborated. In the quieter conversational pas-
sages of the play he was entirely successful. Here
his fertility in all expedients of gesture and expression
stood him in good stead. His scenes with Horatio
and Marcellus, with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, with
Polonius, and with the Players, were almost wholly
admirable, and were acted with a naturalness and
simplicity which made his extravagances at other times
all the more noticeable. His treatment of the scene
with the Grave-diggers was perfect, the spirit being
one of gentle and philosophic melancholy, lightened
by a tinge of amusement. The impression gained
from the impersonation as a whole was one of
elaborate study, rather than subtlety. Most careful
thought had been expended, evidently, upon the pos-
sible significance of lines and words, and upon the
invention of illustrative business. Many examples
might be quoted to show the extraordinary care which
the English actor bestowed upon what less con-
scientious men would call insignificant details. Even
so hackneyed a play as ' Hamlet ' under his manage-
ment was transformed into something like a novelty.*
In ' Macbeth,' which was Mr. Irving's next venture
in Shaksperean tragedy, he was even less successful,
* Parts of this article were published in the Century Magazine
of March, 1884.;. R. T.
MR. HENRY IRVING. *39
for his interpretation of that character was opposed to
nearly all those conceptions made familiar to the
English public by generations of eminent tragedians.
The criticisms upon this performance however did
not prevent him from playing Othello in 1876, but his
failure in this tremendous part was emphatic, and he
abandoned Shaksperean tragedy for a while to act
in Tennyson's 'Queen Mary,' in which he found
Philip II. a part much more congenial to his style and
temperament than that of the Moor. In 1877 he once
more turned his attention to Shakspere, producing
1 Richard III.,' and playing the true version, not
Gibber's. His Gloster was remarkable for finesse and
intellectual force. The subtle deviltry of it, and a
certain princeliness which was never wanting, -were
admirable, and elidited much critical praise, but once
again the actor proved wanting when he came to deal
with the tragic episodes at the end of the play. His
next production was that of the * Lyons Mail,' in which
he enacted the dual characters of Lcsurqucs and
Dubosc with striking effect, and then he revived
Delavigne's play of ' Louis XI.,' in which he achieved
one of the most notable and thorough artistic triumphs
of his remarkable career. A more brilliant example
of elaborate and harmonious mechanism had rarely if
ever been witnessed upon the stage. The personal
appearance of the actor as the decrepic old monarch
was a triumph of the dresser's art as well as of artistic
imagination. The deathly pallor of the face, with its
sinister lines ; the savage mouth, with its one or two
wolfish fangs ; the hollow cheeks, surmounted by the
gleaming eyes, whose natural size and brilliancy had
been increased by every known trick of shading ; the
140 MR. HENRY IRVING.
fragile body on the bent and trembling legs presented
a picture of horrible fascination. It was as if a corpse,
already touched by the corruption of the tomb, had
been for one brief hour galvanized into life. The
conception was exaggerated to the verge of grotesque-
ness, but the thrilling effect of it was indisputable ;
and, after all, a little exaggeration in the depiction of
a character bearing few traces of ordinary humanity is
not a grievous fault. Mr. Irving's sense of the pic-
turesque is very keen, and it was plain that he intended
this impersonation for the eye and the fancy more
than for the judgment. If tested by the rules of prob-
ability or consistency, it would have been found
radically false and incoherent. Innocence herself could
never have been cozened by so palpable a hypocrite as
this, and it is preposterous to suppose that so groveling
a coward could by any chance have become a ruler of
men. In the veritable Louis there were, in spite of
his hideous vices and despicable weaknesses, certain
elements of greatness which in this portrayal are never
even dimly suggested. The actor simply out-Heroded
Herod by bringing into the strongest relief the theat-
rical side of the character so vividly sketched by Sir
Walter Scott. The cleverness of the whole perform-
ance was extraordinary,. and the effect of it was all
the greater, because the very exaggeration of the out-
lines in the picture drawn concealed effectually the
mannerisms which marred all the rest of Mr. Irving's
impersonations. It was difficult, however, for the
most ardent admirer of the actor to mention a point
where absolute greatness was displayed. There was
no opportunity, of course, for pathos, and there was
assuredly no manifestation of passion. The exhibi-
MR. HENRY IRVING. 141
tion of craven fear, in the interview with Nemours^
was perhaps the nearest approach to it, but there was
no effect in this which could not be wrought by
theatrical device. The great merits of the perform-
ance lay in the wonderful manner in which the fanci-
ful and grotesque ideal was sustained, and the skill
with which the weaknesses of the actor were con-
verted into excellences. There was not an instant
which did not afford its evidence of deliberate calcu-
lation and assiduous rehearsal, and there were little
bits of masterful treatment here and there which
lived long in the memory. Among them may be
noted the picture of the king warming his wizened
and wicked old carcass by the fire in his bed-chamber,
mumbling excuses to his leaden saints for the one
little sin more which he hoped to commit on the
morrow ; the scene with the peasants, with its ghastly
suggestions, and the final death episode, the horrify-
ing effect of which was due not only to the rare skill
of the acting, but to the startling contrast between
the wasted, bloodless body and the splendor, in
texture and color, of its habiliments. The portraiture
throughout was a marvel of detail, most cunningly
devised and most beautifully executed. It failed
only, as the preceding impersonations had failed, at
the crises where the glow of true passion was essen-
tial to vitality.
This season closed with ' Vanderdecken,' a mere
reference to which must now suffice, and then Mr.
Irving made another step upward and became the
sole manager of the theatre of which he had so long
been the chief attraction. He opened with ' Hamlet,'
on Dec. 30, 1878, and from that day until the present
14* MR. HENRY IRVING.
time he has enjoyed the fullest measure of fame and
prosperity. Whatever may be the final estimate of
him as an actor, his reputation as the most learned
and enlightened manager of modern times is assured.
Not even Charles Kean ever excelled him in the
conscientious care and magnificent liberality of his
theatrical representations, and under his direction the
Lyceum Theatre has become a veritable school of
dramatic art. The splendor of the scenery of his
* Hamlet,' and the general excellence of his support-
ing company, evoked the warmest critical approval,
and from the standard which he then set he has never
once departed. After ' Hamlet ' came a number of
revivals, all splendidly mounted with the closest atten-
tion to accuracy and artistic effect, and then in 1879
he produced the ' Merchant of Venice,' in which
occurred a series of the most lovely pictures ever
seen upon the mimic stage. His Shylock was the
target, as usual, for a vast amount of criticism,
chiefly on account of its many contradictions ; but
his management of the trial scene was extremely fine,
the Jew becoming invested with a forlorn dignity
which was infinitely pathetic, while the living group
of which he was the central figure formed one of the
most brilliant and truthful tableaux ever seen upon
any stage. This play was repeated for two hundred
and fifty nights.
In 1880 Mr. Irving appeared with moderate success
in the ' Corsican Brothers,' and in Tennyson's ' Cup.'
The season of 1881 was particularly memorable, for
then Mr. Irving, with fine artistic instinct and the
most generous appreciation of a great rival, invited
Mr. Edwin Booth to his stage and acted with him in
MR. HENRY IRVING. 143
'Othello,' alternating the characters of lago and the
Moor with the distinguished American tragedian. It
is not necessary here to contrast the styles or com-
pare the merits of these famous artists. Mr. Irving's
Othello was never accounted, even by his most devoted
admirers, among his best parts, but as lago he was
able to stand the test of comparison with the famous
impersonation of the American actor. His delivery
of the soliloquies was praised greatly, and the whole
impersonation was remarkable for subtlety and consis-
tency. In 1882 he produced * Romeo and Juliet, 1
with a most wonderful completeness and richness of
stage adornment and a cast of most uncommon excel-
lence. Mr. Irving could scarcely hope to make a
profound impression as the young Montague ; but
the general effect of a representation in which Mr.
Terris, Mr. Howe, Mr. Tyars, Miss Ellen Terry and
Mrs. Stirling bore prominent parts may be imagined.
The masterpiece had never been interpreted with
greater splendor or more artistic devotion, and the
fame of the Lyceum and its manager waxed brighter
In 1882 Mr. Irving scored another triumph in his
production of ' Much Ado About Nothing,' which
was put upon the stage with a perfection of scenery
and a delicacy of interpretation never witnessed by
the present generation. The Benedick of Mr. Irving,
if somewhat sombre, sparkled with incisive humor and
was full of soldierly gallantry. The Beatrice of Ellen
Terry was delicious, and the subordinate characters
were distributed with such nicety of judgment that
the illusion was as nearly perfect as possible. No
more loving, poetic or truthful enactment of a Shak-
144 MR. HENRY IRVING.
sperean comedy could be desired, and nothing can be
compared with it except the performance of Twelfth
Night,' which was one of the great features of Mr.
Irving's American tour, which was now close at hand.
It is not within the province of this article to expa-
tiate upon the social honors which were showered
upon Mr. Irving before his departure from England
to visit the new world. They were plentiful enough
and rare enough to satiate the ambition of any man.
Even the great universities offered him laurels. He
was the chief guest at dinners tendered by the most
eminent of his countrymen in social rank, in art, and in
literature ; he enjoyed a triumphant progress through
the provinces ; he was made the especial object of
even royal recognition. These facts are significant
because they were really tributes to a man who had
established his right to them by dint of dauntless
courage, incessant labor, intellectual power, and a
profound belief in the value of his art. Had they
been the product of the art of the professional adver-
tiser, they would have received no word of notice
here. It was on Oct. 29, 1883, that Mr. Irving with
his company, made his first professional appearance in
the Star Theatre, New York, in the character of Ma-
thias. In the new world, as in the old, his performance
excited great variance of critical opinion, but his in-
tellectual supremacy, his splendid management, his
artistic resources, his versatility and his originality
met with instant and permanent appreciation. He
was recognized instantly as a man of the rarest capaci-
ties and the size of his audiences was limited only by
the area of the theatres in which he played. The ' Bells '
was succeeded by ' Charles I.,' and then followed
MR. HENRY IRVING. 145
4 Louis XL,' the 'Merchant of Venice,' the 'Lyons
Mail,' the Belle's Stratagem,' an act of ' Richard III./
4 Hamlet/ ' Much Ado/ and ' Twelfth Night/ in which
he won another splendid success as Malvolio, a charac-
ter once played by Phelps and Compton, but which will
be associated hereafter with the name of Irving. It
is scarcely too much to say that the part never re-
ceived adequate interpretation until he brought his
patience and keen powers of insight into character
to bear upon it.
This is a theme upon which it would be pleasant to
dilate, but the present article has exceeded already
its prescribed limits. Mr. Irving played in most of
the principal cities of the United States, meeting
everywhere with enthusiastic welcome, elevating pub-
lic taste and setting a standard by which future stage
productions in that country will be judged, and
after a farewell visit to New York, ended even
more brilliantly than his first began, returned to Lon-
don and the Lyceum. His latest triumph is ' Faust.'
In Mephistopheles he has found a part exactly suited to
his peculiar abilities. In this, he is easily supreme
both as actor and manager. All the former glories of
Lyceum scenery have been transcended in this latest
production, which has demonstrated the possibility of
giving tangible form to the loftiest imaginations of
poetry. In the mocking fiend he has hit upon a
character in which all of the resources of his art, his
personal attributes, and his intellectual training can
find opportunity for the fullest expression, and his
performance of it will rank with the best work which
be has hitherto done.
In the final summing up of his dramatic powers the
1 46 MR. HENR Y IR VING.
verdict must be that his chief excellence lies in eccen-
tric comedy and that kind of romantic melodrama
which does not demand the expression of passionate
emotion. Nature has opposed an insuperable bar to
his progress in this direction. His frame is slight,
his voice is weak in volume and restricted in compass,
and his features, although they are most refined, intelli-
gent, and mobile, are cast in too delicate a mould to give
full expression to the higher passions. Garrick and
Edmund Kean were small men, to be sure, but their
voices were of great flexibility and power, and both
were filled with the might of genius. Of this most
precious gift Mr. Irving has shown no trace. His
career would not be half so interesting, instructive,
and honorable as it is, were it not for the courage and
resolution with which he has faced and overcome all
obstacles. Throughout all the best years of early
manhood, he acted in provincial theatres in every
variety of play known to the stage. It is a curious
reflection that, not very many years ago, the present
accepted representative of Hamlet, Lear, and Macbeth
was only known in London as a player of eccentric
light comedy and farce, who delighted by his gro-
tesque portrayal of such characters as Jeremy Diddler
and Alfred Jingle. All through these humble, labor-
ious, and unremunerative days he was gradually
acquiring that mastery of stage technique in which he
probably has no superior. There is nothing unnatural
in the supposition that he may have contracted some
of his most curious mannerisms in those old days when
he moved his audiences to uproarious laughter by the
agility of his contortions and his representation of
comic starvation. This sort of work could never
MR. HENRY IRVING. 147
have been congenial to so ambitious and intelligent a
man, but he performed it with all the earnestness and
care which he now expends upon his masterpieces of
stage production. Almost everything that he under-
took was marked by originality and purpose. His
execution was always bold, prompt, and precise, as
if each mechanical detail had been carefully arranged
beforehand, and nothing was left to chance or the
inspiration of the moment. This mechanical preci-
sion is one of the most noteworthy features of his
acting now, and is carried to such a pitch of perfec-
tion that it is almost impossible to detect any differ-
ence between two or more of his performances of the
same part. Premeditation of this kind is an infallible
safeguard against slovenly performances, but also tends
to act as a clog to inspiration, and may possibly have
had a bad effect in Mr. Irving's own case. Whether or
not his persistence in certain ungainly gestures during
this early period of his career, when he dealt largely
in burlesque exaggeration, is the cause of the curious
mannerisms which are such terrible disfigurements
now, is a question which it would be interesting to
settle. It is scarcely credible that any intelligent
actor, especially with that keen artistic sense which
Mr. Irving possesses, would ever deliberately adopt
them as appropriate to every stage character. Charity,
therefore, demands that his sins, in the way of walk
and gesture, should be ascribed to unconscious habit.
For his unaccountable system of elocution some other
explanation must be invented. That it is not physical
misfortune is happily demonstrated by the crisp and
simple method of delivery which he employs when he
chooses. Whatever his theory may be, it is a bad
148 t MR. HENRY IRVING.
one. Nothing could be much more distressing to the
ear than the gasping ejection of syllable by syllable
in a dolorous monotone, which he tries to pass current
for honest elocution, but which is fatal to rhythm,
melody, and often to sense itself. But, after all, this
is only one of the contradictions in which Mr. Irving's
work abounds. His scholarly taste does not prevent
him from violating the laws of proportion ; he is a
master of gesture, and yet descends to mere contor-
tion ; he is capable of creating the finest effects by
the strength of artistic repose, and yet sometimes
ruins a noble scene by inexcusable restlessness.
But it is ungracious to pursue this line of thought
further. It is more pleasant to reflect upon the noble
service which he has rendered to the contemporary
stage ; how he has elevated his profession to the place
which it ought to occupy among the arts, and taught
the great unthinking public the wondrous beauties of
masterpieces which, on account of maltreatment, were
sinking into contempt or oblivion. Henry Irving is
a benefactor of his race and his name will endure
when the theatre which he has raised to eminence has
" crumbled to ruins, and mouldered in dust away."
J. RANKEN TOWSE.
The desperate calm of mingled passion and fear in
the great scene of * Eugene Aram ' ; the controlled
pathos of the closing act of 4 Charles I. ' ; the sinister
comedy of ' Richard III.' ; Shylock's fixed and unal-
terable resolve of vengeance, subtly alternating in its
expression between the low cunning and husbanded
cruelty of a humiliated race, and the dignity that is
MR. HENRY IRVING. 149
the inalienable possession of suffering and wrong ;
the humor that plays upon the surface of logo's
passionless delight in human torture ; the chivalrous
sympathy with sorrow, and the manly tenderness of
heart, that break through the cynical armor of
Benedick ; these are, to my mind, memorable instances
of an actor's power over his art and over his audience
that will outlast the objections, however justly
grounded in themselves, that can be brought against
isolated passages in each or all of the performances in
which they are displayed.
J. COMYNS CARR, in the Fortnightly Review, Feb-
Mr. Henry Irving's visit to this country this year
and the last was not only profitable to him, but it was
very advantageous to us. Whatever rank may be
assigned to him as an actor, his service to the stage
is incontestable. His personal graces and modesty,
the ent.re freedom of the gentleman in private life
from the " staginess " which is commonly associated
with actors in retirement, his cultivation and simple
urbanity, have corrected the impression that an actor
cannot be a "common gentleman," but must be
always striking an attitude and rolling out his " deep-
mouthed ohs and ahs." This is an excellent service,
because it places the actor upon the same plane of
self-respecting propriety and courtesy with the men
of all other professions.
GEORGE WILLIAM CURTIS, in Harper's Magazine,
Irving, no doubt, owes much of his success his
MR. HENRY IRVING.
most deserved and legitimate success to his resem-
blance to Macready and Charles Kean. His " You
annoy me very much ! " in Digby Grant, was Mac-
ready over again ; and much of his " mannerism " is
intensely Macreadyish. His " intensity " (for want of
a better word, but it is not the one that quite ex-
presses my meaning) is essentially Charles Keany.
The combination is a happy one, and the public
HENRY J. BYRON, in the ' Green Room/ Christmas,
Furthermore, there never was an actor, that attained
to eminence, who was not as distinctly marked as Mr.
Irving is, with personal peculiarities. Garrick sput-
tered. Mossop inflated himself like the arrogant and
bellicose turkey. Edmund Kean croaked like a raven.
John Philip Kemble had chronic asthma and spoke in
a high falsetto. Macready stammered and grunted.
Holland snuffled. Burke twisted his spindle legs.
Forrest " chewed the cud," like an ox. Charlotte Cush-
man had a masculine figure, a gaunt face, and a broken
and quavering voice. These things have little or
nothing to do with the essential question. The art of
acting is a complex art, made up of many arts. It is
not an actor's business always to be graceful in his atti-
tudes and movements, or always to be regular and
polished in his periods and enunciation. Every artist
has a way of his own, by which he reaches his results.
Mr. Irving's way is not the best way for everybody,
because the only true, right and conclusive way of uni-
versal human nature ; but, undoubtedly, it is the best
way for him. He produces marvellously fine effects by
MR. HENRY IRVING. IS 1
it, and therefore he is right in using it. Within a cer-
tain field and up to a certain point, it is invincible and
triumphant. As far as he now stands disclosed upon
this stage Mr. Irving is a thorough and often a mag-
nificent artist, one who makes even his defects to help
him, and one who leaves nothing to blind and whirling
chance ; and if the light that shines through his
work be not the light of genius, by what name shall it
be called ?
WILLIAM WINTER : ' Henry Irving,'/. 31.
In proportion as a character calls for intellect rather
than purely histrionic qualities in its interpreter in
proportion as it addresses itself to the intellect rather
than the sympathy of the audience in precisely the
same proportion does Mr. Irving succeed in it. His
Hamlet is better than his Macbeth or Othello, his Shy-
lock than his Hamlet, his Richard than his Shylock ;
while his lago, who speaks direct from brain to brain,
comes as near perfection as anything he has done. By
intellect Mr. Irving enters " into the skin " of Charles
I. and Richelieu. By intellect he makes Dubosc a liv-
ing type, Mathias a haunting recollection. By intellect
he produces the effect of masterful decision of pur-
pose, which saves even his worst parts from the fatal
reproach of feebleness. By intellect he makes us for-
get his negative failings and forgive his positive faults.
By intellect, he forces us to respect where we cannot
admire him. By intellect he dominates the stage.
WILLIAM ARCHER : * Henry Irving, Actor and
152 MR. HENRY IRVING.
MR. IRVING'S MEPHISTOPHELES.
When the gray shapes of dread, adoring, fall
Before the Red One, towering o'er them all ;
The one whose voice and gesture, face and form,
Proclaim him Prince of the unhallowed storm,
Who stands unmoved amid the fiery tide
And rain of flame that sweep the mountain side ;
Then, as the ribald pageant fades from view,
We think the Fiend himself commands the crew.
But when the mask is down, and when a smile
Wreathes the dark face, and flattering words beguile ;
When, whimsical, half careless of deceiving,
He plays upon the student's fond believing ;
When from beneath the cavalier's disguise
The Snake unveils the menace of his eyes ;
When, with a far-off ring of his despair,
His scathing laughter splits the frighted air,
Then, more than in the Brocken's maddening revel,
We seem to see and hear the living Devil.
WALTER HERRIES POLLOCK, in Longman's Magazine,
MR. JOSEPH JEFFERSON.
No need to chronicle the triumphs won
By our incomparable Jefferson !
Long may the old-time sweetness of his speech
Dwell in our ears when he shall cease to teach ;
Long will the memory hold his witching art,
As imaged in each finely-ordered part,
Where laughing wit lay close to throbbing heart
The strut of Acres with his paper frills,
And Rip's deep slumber 'mid the storied hills.
WILLIAM L. KEESE.
MR. JOSEPH JEFFERSON.
Some fifty-four years ago, a man got up to repre-
sent a most eccentric and agile negro, walked upon
the stage of the Washington Theatre, carrying a large
bag. The contents of the bag he emptied upon the
stage, the contents being a little boy, who was dressed
in exact imitation of the man. This man was tall and
gawky ; but full of an odd humor. He faced the
audience and sang :
Ladies and gentlemen, I'd have yer for to know,
I'se got a little darkey here, to jump Jim Crow.
And then the boy and the man danced the dance and
santr the song that are remembered to this day. The
boy, however, could not pronounce the words aright.
He was only four years old.
The man was Thomas D. Rice, the original ' Jim
Crow.' The boy was Joseph Jefferson.
This little Jefferson belonged to the fourth genera-
tion of a family of actors. His great-grandfather had
gone on the stage under Garrick's patronage, or at
least with his help and advice. His grandfather, an
able and even brilliant actor, arrived in America in
1795 and made himself a notable name. His father
was a quiet and unambitious man ; better thought of
for his personal worth than for his talents. But all
these three were good men, honest, upright, intelligent ;
156 MR. JOSEPH JEFFERSON.
and the fourth of the direct line, the Joseph Jefferson
whom we know to-day, came into the world with the
best of inheritance the blood of a good and worthy
His performance with Rice was not his first appear-
ance on the stage. He was born Feb. 20, 1829, in
Philadelphia, of Joseph Jefferson and Cornelia Frances
Jefferson.* At three years of age he was the child of
Cora, in ' Pizarro,' at the Washington Theatre. Here
also he had already given infantile imitations of
Fletcher, the Statue Man.
When he was eight years old he was playing a
Pirate at the Franklin Theatre, in New York, and an
infant phenomenon named Titus was a virtuous Sailor,
and nightly overthrew him in a broad-sword combat.
Then his kindly, luckless father " took to the road,"
and the boy strolled, after the fashion of the Thespian
vagabonds of Elizabeth's day, through the West and
the South, playing in barns and tavern dining-rooms ;
and even tracking the army of the United States into
Mexico when the war broke out.
He was twenty years old when he came back to
New York and played at Chanfrau's National Theatre.
There, also, played Miss Margaret Clements Lockyer, a
bright English girl of eighteen, who became Mrs.
Joseph Jefferson on May 19, 1850. These young
people acted in the one company that Fall, at the
Olympic. The next year Jefferson was at Niblo's
Garden, in the same list with Lester Wallack, Blake,
Mrs. John Drew, and Charles Wheatleigh. Then he
* His mother was a Miss Thomas, daughter of a French refugee
from St. Domingo. She married Thomas Burke, the comedian^
and a year or two after his death became Mrs. Jefferson.
MR, JOSEPH JEFFERSON. l$7
turned manager and went through the South, ending
his tour with a stay in Philadelphia and another stay
in Baltimore. In 1856 he went to Europe, and saw
what London and Paris had to show in the way of
In that year Miss Laura Keene opened her theatre
in New York, and Jefferson was of the company. He
played Dr. Pangloss in 1857, and in the next year he
and Edward A. Sothern made two great hits as
Asa Trenchard and Lord Dundreary in ' Our American
Cousin.' Then he went to the Winter Garden, under
the management of William Stuart and Dion Bouci-
cault, and played Caleb Plummer^ and wrote the ver-
sion of ' Oliver Twist ' in which J. W. Wallack, Jr.
made Fagin famous.
It was in 1861 that his wife died, and he took to
wandering in his loneliness ; he was, moreover, sick of
But he was now a popular actor ; more, indeed, a
recognized artist. He had served a long and hard
apprenticeship, of which these few pages can give but
the slightest and most inadequate record. He had
played a wonderful range of parts ; he had shown
himself a comedian in the sense of being an interpreter
of human nature: He had proved that he possessed
comic force and pathetic force ; he had established
himself among the skilled and earnest exponents of
the dramatic art ; he had won the favor and the
respect of the people, as an actor, and as a man ; and
his public life lay before him, to be worked out ac-
cording to his best ambitions.
He appeared on the stage of San Francisco, and
stayed there from July to Nov., 1861. The next four
158 MR. JOSEPH JEFFERSON.
years he spent in Australia. In Tasmania he played
Bob Bricrly before an audience of ticket-of-leave-men ;
and he pleased them, fortunately for himself for
they had not meant to be pleased.
Mr. Dion Boucicault was in London in 1865, and
to him came Mr. Jefferson, just arrived in England,
by way of Panama, with an idea. There was a story
of Washington Irving's called ' Rip Van Winkle,'
which had furnished the basis for half-a-dozen or
maybe a dozen plays, more or less bad, most of them.
One of these was in Jefferson's possession. He had
acted in it years before, when Charles Burke, William
Chapman, J. H. (Falstaft} Hackett, William Isherwood
and others, had tried their fortunes as Rip. Jeffer-
son saw how the play could be -written ; Boucicault
saw still more in it, and re-wrote the drama. It was
produced at the London Adelphi, Sept. 4, 1865. It
was a success, and Mr. Jefferson found his best part
in Rip* The judgment of the English public was
confirmed in America, and ' Rip Van Winkle ' was
Jefferson's main-stay, and Rip the part with which
the people identified him to speak literally until
1880, when he appeared in Philadelphia as Bob Acres
in his own revision of the ' Rivals,' and scored a suc-
cess that has divided popular favor with his imper-
sonation of the character hinted at in Irving's story.
Mr. Jefferson married for the second time in 1867.
The second Mrs. Jefferson was a Miss Warren, a dis-
tant relative. He has had nine children six by his
first wife, three by his second. Two have been on
the stage, and are now in private life. One daughter
is the wife of Farjeon, the novelist. One boy is named
after William Winter, the brilliant dramatic critic, to
MR. JOSEPH JEFFERSON. 159
whom the present writer must acknowledge his in-
debtedness for biographical facts and figures. Mr.
Winter's ' Lives of the Jeffersons,' are models of con-
scientious record, and tell in a charming way the his-
tory of this famous family.
This is the simple story of a man who is an honor to
the stage, and who has done the stage great honor
the fourth of a line of good men and good actors. There
is, of course, much more to be said of him. It seems
unnecessary, however, to tell Americans that Joseph
Jefferson's private life has been as admirable as his
professional career : that he is a charming com-
panion and a good friend. It is known that he is a
man of intellect and accomplishments ; a skilful
painter, an* not unused to literary work.
But there is something more to be said of Mr.
Jefferson's permanent hold upon popular regard.
The American populace has a way of its own of giv-
ing affectionate nicknames to those whom it holds in
high esteem. It has re-christened Andy Jackson,
Dan'l (not Daniel) Webster and Abe Lincoln. It
has given the accolade of affectionate familiarity to
Phil Sheridan and Stonewall Jackson. In all this
there is nothing of disrespect or discourtesy. It
means simply friendly recognition and generous adop-
tion. And the people of this country long ago decreed
that Joseph Jefferson should be and remain Jo Jeffer-
This is mainly because, in playing Rip Van Winkle
he breathed the breath of his own life into a char-
acter so human, so true, so sweet and lovable in spite
of all his weakness that the people took him to their
heart as we take a dear, wilful child into our arms.
160 MR. JOSEPH JEFFERSON.
Humanity is the key-note of Jefferson's conception of
Rip Van Winkle. In the strange smacking of the
chops that hideous chuckle of incipient drunkenness
in the quavering pathos of the voice with which
the old outcast pleads for recognition from the
daughter to whom he is but a memory Jefferson's Rip
is intensely and sympathetically human. This is the
great thing that Jo Jefferson has done. He has put
before us, living in the flesh, a man who is lovable
even though he be a sot, an idler, a creature negligent
of every duty of a husband and a father ; and he has
not made us love any of these vile things, but only
the man whom we must love in spite of them.
We go to look at the very human being thus por-
trayed, and we come away, not too proud that we
have conformed in all things to the code of the Phari-
sees, wishing, perhaps, that we were even as this
Publican in the love and simplicity that brings the
little children about his knees ; wishing, certainly, that
our superiority were less of a reproach to him and
more a help to make him better.
H. C. BUNNER.
September 30, 1858.
Mr. Irving came in town to remain a few days. In
the evening went to Laura Keene's Theatre to see
young Jefferson as Goldfinch, in Holcroft's comedy of
the * Road to Ruin.' Thought Jefferson, the father,
one of the best actors he had ever seen ; and the son
reminded him, in look, gesture, size and make, of the
father. Had never seen the father in Goldfinch, but
was delighted with the son.
' Life and Letters of Washington Irving,' vol. iv.,
MR. JOSEPH JEFFERSON. 161
The opening of the third act [of ' Rip Van Winkle ']
shows him at his awaking with rotten clothes and
long white hair and beard an exaggeration not re-
quired. The story had said that his beard was gray
and gray would be, in the dramatic rendering, most
truly effective. The drama in this act is at its
poorest, but Mr. Jefferson is at his best. Retaining
his old Dutch English with a somewhat shrill pipe
of age in its tone, he quickly makes the most of every
opportunity of representing the old man's bewilder-
ment. His third approach to an understanding of the
change he finds, his faint touch of the sound of old
love in believing his wife dead, and in action with
humorous sense of relief, his trembling desire and
dread of news about his daughter, and, in a later scene
the pathos of his appeal to her for recognition are all
HENRY MORLEY : ' Journal of a London Playgoer,'
Sept. 23, 1886.
From the moment of Rip's entrance upon the scene
for it is Rip Van Winkle, and not Mr. Jefferson,
the audience has assurance that a worthy descendant
of the noblest of the old players is before them. He
leans lightly against a table, his disengaged hand
holding his gun. Standing there, he is in himself the
incarnation of the lazy, good-natured, dissipated, good-
for-nothing Dutchman that Irving drew. Preponder-
ance of humor is expressed in every feature, yea, in
every limb and motion of the light, supple figure.
The kindly, simple, insouciant face, ruddy, smiling,
lighted by the tender, humorous blue eyes, which look
down upon his dress, elaborately copied bit by bit
162 MR. JOSEPH JEFFERSON.
from the etchings of Darley ; the lounging, careless
grace of the figure ; the low, musical voice, whose
utterances are " far above singing " ; the sweet, rip-
pling laughter all combine to produce an effect
which is rare in its simplicity and excellence, and
The impersonation is full of what are technically
known as points j but the genius of Mr. Jefferson
divests them of all " staginess," and they are only
such points as the requirements of his art, its passion,
humor, or dignity, suggests. From the rising of the
curtain on the first scene, until its fall on the last,
nothing is forced, sensational, or unseemly. The
remarkable beauty of the performance arises from
nothing so much as its entire repose and equality.
The scene, however, in which the real greatness
of the player is shown in his " so potent art," is the
last scene of the first act. It is marvellously beautiful
in its human tenderness and dignity. Here the de-
bauched good-for-nothing, who has squandered life,
friends, and fortune, is driven from his home with a
scorn pitiless as the storm-filled night without. The
scene undoubtedly owes much to the art of the dram-
atist, who has combined the broadest humor in the
beginning with the deepest pathos at the close. Here
there is " room and verge enough " for the amplest
display of the comedian's power. And the opportuni-
ties are nobly used. His utterance of the memorable
words, " Would you drive me out like a dog ? " is an
unsurpassed expression of power and genius. His
sitting with his face turned from the audience during
his dame's tirade, his stunned, dazed look as he rises,
his blind groping from his chair to the table, are
MR. JOSEPH JEFFERSON. 163
ali actions conceived in the very noblest spirit of
In a moment the lazy drunkard, stung into a new
existence by the taunts of his vixenish wife, throws off
the shell which has encased his better self, and rises
to the full stature of his manhood a man sorely
stricken, but every inch a man. All tokens of de-
bauchery are gone ; vanished all traces of the old care-
less indolence and humor. His tones, vibrating with
the passion that consumes him, are clear and low and
sweet full of doubt that he has heard aright the words
of banishment full of an awful pain and pity and dis-
may. And so, with one parting farewell to his child,
full of a nameless agony, he goes out into the storm
The theatre does not " rise at him " : it does more
give finer appreciation of the actor's power ; it is
deadly silent for minutes after, or would be, but for
some sobbing women there.
After a scene so effective, in which the profoundest
feelings of his auditors are stirred, the task of the
comedian in maintaining the interest of the play
becomes exceedingly onerous ; but Mr. Jefferson
nowhere fails to create and absorb the attention of his
audience. One scene is enacted as well as another ;
and that he not always creates the same emotion is
not his fault, but that of the dramatist. The player is
always equal to the requirements of his art.
The versatility of Mr. Jefferson's powers is finely
shown in the scene of Rip's awaking from his sleep in
the Catskills, and in those scenes which immediately
follow. Here he has thrown off his youth, his hair
has whitened, his voice is broken to a childish tremble,
164 MR. JOSEPH JEFFERSON.
his very limbs are shrunken, tottering, palsied. This
maundering, almost imbecile old man, out of whose
talk come dimly rays of the old quaint humor, would
excite only ridicule and laughter in the hands of an
artist less gifted than Mr. Jefferson ; but his griefs,
his old affections, so rise up through the tones of that
marvellous voice, his loneliness and homelessness so
plead for him that old Lear, beaten by the winds,
deserted and houseless, is not more wrapped about
with honor than poor old Rip, wandering through the
streets of his native village.
Exactly wherein lies Mr. Jefferson's chief power it
is not easy to show. With the genius inherited from
" Old Joe " he possesses a mind richly stored, a
refined taste, and that rare knowledge of his art which
teaches the force of repression as well as expression.
Mr. Jefferson is also a close and conscientious student.
The words that flow from his tongue in such liquid
resonance seem the very simplest of utterances. And
so they are ; but it would be interesting to know how
many hours of study it cost him to arrive at that sim-
plicity which is the crowning charm and secret of suc-
cess. Why, in the very speaking of his daughter's
name in the last scene in that matchless appeal to
her for recognition " Meente, Meenie" there is a
depth of pathos, tenderness, and beauty that charms
like music, and attunes the heart to the finest sense of
'Among the Comedians ': Atlantic Monthly, June,
How delicately and with what exquisite tone, as the
painters would say, Mr. Jefferson plays the part,
MR. JOSEPH JEFFERSON. 165
everybody knows. People return again and again to
see him, as to see a lovely landscape or a favorite
picture. Indeed, it is the test of high art that it does
not pall in its impression. There is no acting, per-
haps, so little exaggerated as this of Rip Van Winkle,
but there is none so effective. It is wholly free from
declamation, and from every kind of fustian. It is ab-
solutely nature, but it is the nature of art. There is
something touching in the intentness of the audience,
which is seldom broken by ordinary applause, but which
responds sensitively to every emotion of the actor. And
the curious felicity of his naturalness is observable in
the slightest detail. No wholly imaginary object was
ever more palpably real than the dog Schneider. And
he is made so merely by a word or two from Rip.
GEORGE WILLIAM CURTIS, in Harper 's Monthly,
Mr. Jefferson is an actor of exquisite art. As a come-
dian, he would hold his own beside the finest comic
artist of France M. Regnier, M. Got, M. Coquelin.
The portrait he presents of Rip Van Winkle is a sin-
gularly felicitous example of the possible union of
great breadth and freedom of effect with the utmost
delicacy and refinement. Mr. Jefferson's Rip Van
Winkle has an ideal elevation, while at the same time
it is thoroughly human. It is saturated with kindly
and wholesome humor, and the spirit of gentleness
pervades it. Although Rip himself is an idle good-
for-nothing and ne'er-do-well, we accept Mr. Jeffer-
son's presentation of him as a personification of the
beautiful and the good.
BRANDER MATTHEWS, in Scribner* s Magazine, July,
1 66 MR. JOSEPH JEFFERSON.
A man of singularly sweet, gentle and sincere
nature, of strong likes and dislikes, full of imagination
colored by superstition, of profound religious convic-
tions which are his own, and upon which we shall lay
no coarse hand with an underflow of shrewd thought
that imperceptibly affects his art, and which shows it-
self therein to watchful eyes, especially in Rip and Asa
Trenchard, and even in Bob Acres. He is in fact, all
the better part of Rip, with all the baser part omitted.
" What are you teaching your boys ? " we once asked
him. " To fish and tell the truth," was his slow,
thoughtful reply in the words of Sir Walter Scott.
So might Rip in his shrewder moods have answered
the same query.
L. CLARK DAVIS, in Lippencotfs Magazine, July,
Jefferson has considered that a country squire need
not necessarily reek of the ale-house and the stables ;
that Acres is neither the noisy and vulgar Tony Lump-
kin, nor the " horsey " Goldfinch / that there is, in a
certain way, a little touch of the Wildrake in his com-
position ; that he is not less kindly because vain and
empty-headed ; that he has tender ties of home, and
a background of innocent, domestic life ; that his
head is completely turned by contact with town
fashions ; that there may be a kind of artlessness in
his ridiculous assumption of rakish airs ; that there is
something a little pitiable in his braggadocio ; that he
is a good fellow, at heart ; and that his sufferings in
the predicament of the duel are genuine, intense, and
quite as doleful as they are comic. All this appears
in the personation. You are struck at once by the
MR. JOSEPH JEFFERSON. 167
elegance of the figure, the grace of movement, the
winning appearance and temperament ; and Bob Acres
gets your friendship, and is a welcome presence,
laugh at him as you may. Jefferson has introduced a
comic blunder with which to take him out of the first
scene with Absolute, and also some characteristic
comic business for him, before a mirror, when Sir
Lucius, coming upon him unawares, finds him practis-
ing bows and studying deportment. He does not
seem contemptible in these situations ; he only seems,
as he ought to seem, absurdly comical. He communi-
cates to every spectator his joy in the success of his
curl-papers ; and no one, even amidst uncontrollable
laughter, thinks of his penning of his challenge as
otherwise than a proceeding of the most serious
importance. He is made a lovable human being, with
an experience of action and suffering, and our sym-
pathies with him, on his battle-field, would be really
painful but that we are in the secret, and know it will
turn out well. The interior spirit of Jefferson's im-
personation, then, is soft humanity and sweet good-
nature ; and the traits that he has especially empha-
sized are ludicrous vanity and comic trepidation. He
never leaves a moment unfilled with action, when he
is on the scene, and all his by-play is made tributary
to the expression of these traits. One of his fresh
and deft touches is the trifling with Captain Absolute's
gold-laced hat, and obviously to the eye consider-
ing whether it would be becoming to himself. The
acting is full of these, bits of felicitous embroidery.
Nothing could possibly be more humorous or more
full of nature than the mixture of assurance, uneasy
levity, and dubious apprehension, at the moment
268 MR. JOSEPH JEFFERSON.
when the challenge has at last and irrevocably found
its way into Captain Absolute's pocket. The rueful
face, then, is a study for a painter, and only a portrait
could do it justice. The mirth of the duel scene it is
impossible to convey. It must be supreme art indeed
which can arouse, at the same instant, as this does, an
almost tender solicitude and an extinguishable laugh-
ter. The little introductions of a word or two here
and there in the text, made at this point by the
comedian, are delightfully happy. To make Acres
say that he doesn't care " how little the risk is," was
an inspiration ; and his sudden and joyous greeting,
" How are you, Falkland ? " with the relief that it
implies, and the momentary return of the airy swagger,
is a stroke of genius. The performance, altogether,
is as exquisite a piece of comedy as ever has been
seen, in our time. You do not think, till you look
back upon it, how fine it is, so easy is its manner,
and so perfectly does it sustain the illusion of real
WM. WINTER, in the New York Tribune, September
1 6, 1880.
By the way, talking of Caleb Plummer, when I
opened the Winter Garden, in 1859, having engaged
Joe Jefferson as leading comedian, it struck me that
Caleb Plummer was a character he could grasp. He
was called to rehearsal, and the part was placed in
his hand. I shall never forget the expression on his
face. Approaching him, I said : " What's the matter,
Joe ? " " O h," he replied, " don't ask me to play this.
I have tried it in the old edition and failed in it con-
spicuously. You have brought me to New York. Is
MR. JOSEPH JEFFERSON. 169
this to be my opening part ? " I tried vainly to per-
suade him that he would make a hit in it. He would
not see it. However, I was obliged to insist, and he
went to his duty. He began to rehearse, and I saw
at once he had struck the wrong key. He mistook
the character. He made it a weary, dreary, senti-
mental old bore. Rising from my managerial chair,
I stopped the rehearsal. " Sit there, Joe," I said, plac-
ing him in my seat. I took his place on the stage ;
then, giving an imitation of himself, playing the char-
acter as I knew he could play it, in a comic, simple,
genial vein, I had not spoken three speeches before
he began to wriggle in his chair ; and then, leap-
ing up, he cried, " Stop ! I see ! I know ! that is
enough ; " and so it was. He struck the key.
Those who saw his performance can understand how
fine and delicate a piece of work his portraiture of the
old toy-maker was.
But this was in 1859. Let us return to 1865.
Jefferson was anxious to appear in London. All his
pieces had been played there. The managers would
not give him an appearance unless he could offer
them a new play. He had played a piece called ' Rip
Van Winkle/ but when submitted to their perusal, they
rejected it. Still he was so desirous of playing Rip
that I took down Washington Irving's story and read
it over. It was hopelessly undramatic. " Joe, " I said,
" this old sot is not a pleasant figure. He lacks
romance. I dare say you made a fine sketch of the
old beast, but there is no interest in him. He may be
picturesque, but he is not dramatic. I would prefer
to start him in a play as a young scamp thoughtless,
gay, just such a curly-headed, good-humored fellow as
170 MR. JOSEPH JEFFERSON.
all the village girls would love, and the children and
dogs would run after." Jefferson threw up his hands
in despair. It was totally opposed to his artistic pre-
conception. But I insisted, and he reluctantly con-
Well, I wrote the play as he plays it now. It was
not much of a literary production, and it was with
some apology it was handed to him. He read it, and
when he met me, I said : " It is a poor thing, Joe."
" Well," he replied, " it is good enough for me." It was
produced. Three or four weeks afterward he called
on me, and his first words were : " You were right
about making Rip a young man. Now I could not
conceive and play him in any other shape."
DION BOUCICAULT, in the Critic, April 7, 1883.
Over his Caleb in our reminiscences we like to
linger. We saw it often, never wearied of it, and were
willing to go to Winter Garden at least once a week
to sympathize with Caleb, to laugh at and rejoice with
him, and to shed over him tears which we could not
restrain, and of which we had no reason to be ashamed.
There were not many dry eyes in the house those
nights, when the old man in ' Chirp the Last ' began
to realize that his dear boy from the golden South
Americas was alive again and before him ; and when
he tried to tell his blind girl how for love of her he
had deceived her, how the eyes in which she had put
her trust had been false to her during all those years,
we have known eyes to fill and to run over on the
How plainly we can recall that scene in the toy-
maker's cottage ; the dolls, and Noah's arks, and small
MR. JOSEPH JEFFERSON. 171
fiddles, and barking dogs ; Bertha making the dolls'
dresses ; and Caleb in his sackcloth coat, which she, in
her blindness and her fondness, believed to be a garment
that the Lord Mayor might have been proud of, finish-
ing up a great toy horse. How plainly we can see the
thorough goodness of the old man, as he described to
Bertha the beautiful things by which they were sur-
rounded, and which existed only in his loving, doting
old heart ; that quaint, humorous look on Caleb's
face as he painted the numerous circles, and dots, and
stripes, which gave to his preposterous horse a likeness
to nothing known in natural history, and held it up
with the satisfied remark that he did not see how
he could outlay any more talent on the animal, at
the price. He was not Joseph Jefferson, but Caleb
Plummer himself ; this was not a play, but the story
LAURENCE HUTTON : Plays and Players/ chap.
., pp. 197-9.
If any one, after witnessing Mr. Jefferson's Caleb,
will take the trouble to read carefully Dickens's beau-
tiful little story of the ' Cricket on the Hearth,' he
will find a striking illustration of the truth of this
theory in the radical difference between the author's
conception of the old toy-maker and the actor's expo-
sition of it. There is not a trace in Mr. Jefferson's
Caleb of the dull, vacant, hopeless depression which
the novelist paints with so pathetic a touch. He has
not the dull eye and vacuous manner which tell of a
spirit crushed by perpetual and remediless misery,
because there is not in the comedian himself any sym-
pathy with this particular phase of human nature.
172 MR. JOSEPH JEFFERSON.
His own temperament is buoyant, hopeful, placid, and
sunny, and he naturally it might be said, necessarily
invests Caleb with some of his own brightness and
humor. He effects this, too, without robbing the part
of any of its exquisite pathos. He even heightens
the color of the picture by the artistic employment of
contrast. The scene with the blind Bertha and Tack-
leton would not be half so touching and suggestive as
it is, if the pitiful anxiety and wistful tenderness of
Caleb at this juncture were not emphasized by the
memory of the childlike mirth and simple gaiety of
his meeting with Peerybingle, in the preceding scene.
This old man, so ragged, cold, and timid, with his
grateful appreciation of a kind word, his bustling,
nervous efforts to be of some assistance, his beaming
smile, playing around the pinched and drawn old lips,
his bright eye, now beaming with merriment, now
eloquent with love or commiseration, is a creation so
absolutely human and real that, for the moment,
all sense of the wonderful skill which creates the illu-
sion is lost.
The full extent of that skill may be appreciated best
by comparing this study of Caleb with that of Rip, and
noting, not the occasional intonation, the curious little
gasp, and other trifling points common to both imper-
sonations, but the radical differences which exist
between them. These are to be found, not in the vari-
ety of costume only, the only pretense of versatility
afforded by the ordinary hack-actor of the day, but
in the man himself, in his walk, in his gestures, in his
carriage, in his address, in his voice, and in his laugh.
The only constant point of resemblance between the
two men is in the matter of age. In all other respects
MR. JOSEPH JEFFERSON. 173
they are as opposite as the poles. There is nothing
in common between the reckless and shameless, if
fascinating, jollity of Rip and the sweet, unselfish,
indomitable cheerfulness of Caleb, or between the
methods which throw a glamour of poetry and romance
about the forlorn and forgotten reveller and those
which are so infinitely pathetic in the case of the old
toy-maker. On the one hand, a detestable character
is endowed with irresistible charm by the sheer force
of poetic imagination ; and on the other, a nature of a
type at once the simplest and the highest is portrayed
with a truth which is as masterly as it is affecting.
There is nothing in * Rip Van Winkle ' more touch-
ing than those scenes where Caleb listens while Dot
reveals to Bertha the story of his noble deceit, and
where he recognizes the son whom he deemed lost in
" the golden South Americas." The play of emotion
on Mr. Jefferson's face at the moment of recognition,
as wonderment, doubt, and hope are succeeded by
certainty and rapturous joy, his deprecatory, spas-
modic action as he turns away from what he evidently
fears is a delusion of the senses, and his final rush
into the arms of his son, are triumphs of the highest
kind. Here the actor is lost in the fictitious character,
and the simulation becomes an actual impersonation,
which is the highest possible dramatic achievement.
J. RANKEN TOWSE, in the Century Magazine, Jan-
Jefferson's persistent adherence to the character of
Rip Van Winkle has often, and naturally, been made
the subject of inquiry and remark. The late Charles
Mathews once said to him : " Jefferson, I am glad to
174 MR. JOSEPH JEFFERSON.
see you making your fortune, but I hate to see you
doing it with one part and a carpet-bag." " It is cer-
tainly better," answered the comedian, "to play one
part and make it various, than to play a hundred parts
and make them all alike."
WILLIAM WINTER : 'The Jeffersons//. 209.
* * * But Joseph Jefferson is unlike them all,
as distinct, as unique, and also as exquisite as
Charles Lamb among essayists, or George Darley
among lyrical poets. No actor of the past prefigured
him, unless, perhaps, it was John Bannister, and no
name throughout the teeming annals of art in the nine-
teenth century has shone with a more genuine lustre,
or can be more proudly and confidently committed
to the remembrance and esteem of posterity.
Ibid, p. 229.
MR. AND MRS. KENDAL.
Mark you yon eager throng who gaze and glow,
All fired with keen delight as pastures fair,
Dowered with sunshine in the midday air,
Gleam in the presence of the god they know !
Each lip is tremulous with rapture : lo !
Round mouth of maid the laughing circles fare ;
Or break on whitened beards or boy-cheeks bare ;
By one soft smile all smiles are set in nV/v
Erewhile, perchance, sad sorrow had its place,
Revealing pensive brows, and fraught with fears.
This fair one to her magic hath no bound :
Sweet Rosalind enchants us by her grace,
Or proud Pauline our pity gains by tears
No dearer Queen of Art the whole world round !
W. DAVENPORT ADAMS.
MR. AND MRS. W. H. KENDAL.
MR. AND MRS. KENDAL
Margaret Shafto Robertson, better known as Miss
" Madge " Robertson, best known as Mrs. Kendal, was
born at Great Grimsby, March 15, 1849.* She was the
youngest of a family of twelve, all more or less con-
nected with the stage. Mr. T. W. Robertson, the
playwright, was her eldest brother, more than twenty
years her senior. At the age of three she appeared at
the Marylebone Theatre, London, as the Blind Child
in the ' Seven Poor Travellers ' ; and at six she.
played Eva in ' Uncle Tom's Cabin ' at the Bristol
Theatre, where she remained for several years. On
July 29, 1865, she made her first appearance in Lon-
don (since her childhood), playing Ophelia at the Hay-
market to the Hamlet of Mr. Walter Montgomery,
the lessee for the autumn season ; and a month later,
at the same theatre, she played Desdemona to the
Othello of the negro tragedian, Ira Aldridge. In the
autumn of 1865 she was a member of Mr. Montgom-
ery's company at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham,
and on Boxing Night of the same year she appeared as
Anne Carew in ' A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing,' at the
opening of the new Theatre Royal, Hull. Here she
remained as leading lady for nearly a year. In the
* 1848 is the date usually given. We have Mrs. Kendal's own
authority for the later year. W. A.
178 MR. AND MRS. KENDAL.
spring of 1867 she starred at Liverpool and Notting-
ham, playing Pauline, Juliet, Lady Teazle, Mrs. Haller,
Peg Woffington and other parts. Returning to Lon-
don, she appeared at Drury Lane on Easter Monday,
1867, as Edith Fairlam, the heroine of Halliday's
comedy-drama, the ' Great City,' and in the following
autumn (Oct. 28) she joined the regular Haymarket
Company under Buckstone's management. Here she
appeared with Sothern in ' Our American Cousin,'
' Brother Sam,' and * David Garrick,' created the part
of Blanche Dumont in ' A Hero of Romance,' Dr.
Westland Marston's adaptation of the ' Roman d'un
jeune homme pauvre,' and played Hypolita in ' She
Wou'd and She Wou'd Not ' to Buckstone's Trappanti.
After going on tour with the Haymarket Company in
the autumn of 1868, she left it for a short time and
appeared (Oct. 28) at the Theatre Royal, Hull, in
* Passion Flowers,' an adaptation of ' On ne badine
pas avec 1'amour,' made especially for her by T. W.
Robertson. At the opening of the Gaiety Theatre,
London (Dec. 21, 1868), she appeared with Alfred
Wigan in * On the Cards,' and at the same theatre in
the following spring (March 28) she played Lady
Clara Vere de Vere in T. W. Robertson's ' Dreams.'
Two months later she rejoined the Haymarket Com-
pany, then on tour, playing the leading parts in all
its stock comedies and adding to her repertory Miss
Hardeastle, Rosalind, and Viola. She now remained a
member of the Haymarket Company for five and a-half
years, during which her talent steadily ripened and
her popularity as steadily increased.
Mr. W. H. Kendal (William Hunter Grimston) had
joined the Haymarket Company three years earlier.
MR. AND MRS. KENDAL. 179
Born in London, Dec. 16, 1843, he made his first
appearance on the stage at the Royal Soho Theatre
(now the Royalty) in 1861, playing the juvenile lover
in a little piece called ' A Wonderful Woman.' After
a good deal of experience at the Soho Theatre, and a
short engagement at the Moor Street Theatre, Birm-
ingham, which was brought to an end by the insolv-
ency of the manager, he joined the stock company
at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow, in the autumn of 1862.
Here he was brought into contact with the leading
stars of the period, Miss Helen Faucit, Charles
Kean, G. V. Brooke, Phelps, Fechter, Anderson,
Boucicault, Sothern and Charles James Mathews.
Mr. Mathews interested himself greatly in Mr. Ken-
dal's career, and procured his engagement at the
Haymarket, where he appeared, Oct. 31, 1866, as
Augustus Mandeville in ' A Dangerous Friend.' He
was well received and was soon in possession of the
leading juvenile parts. He played Orlando and Romeo
to the Rosalind and Juliet of Mrs. Scott-Siddons,
Don Octavio in the before-mentioned revival of ' She
Wou'd and She Wou'd Not,' Manfred in Mosenthal's
4 Pietra ' and Bob Gassit in the first production of
* Mary Warner,' the two last-named parts during an
engagement of Miss Bateman in 1868-9. ^ was * n
the following summer, as we have seen, that Miss
Madge Robertson became a permanent member of the
Haymarket Company. Her marriage with Mr. Ken-
dal took place at St. Saviour's Church, Manchester,
Aug. 7, 1869.
Mrs. Kendal's first " creation " at the Haymarket
was Lilian Vavasour in New Men and Old Acres/
by Tom Taylor and A. W. Dubourg (Oct. 25, 1869).
lo MR. AND MRS. KENDAL.
This performance established her reputation, and Mr.
W. S. Gilbert was quick to avail himself of her com-
bined humor and pathos, dignity and tenderness, in
his series of fantastic comedies in blank verse, com-
mencing (Nov. 19, 1870) with the 'Palace of
Truth,' in which she played Zeolide to Mr. Kendal's
Philamine. ' Pygmalion and Galatea ' followed (Dec.
9, 1871) with Mr. and Mrs. Kendal in the two title-
parts ; and in the 'Wicked World' (Jan. 4, 1873)
Mrs. Kendal played Selene and her husband Ethais*
Mr. Gilbert's modern comedy ' Charity ' (Jan. 3,
1874) was not so successful, but the fault did not lie
either in Mrs. Kendal's performance of Mrs. Van
Brugh or in Mr. Kendal's Frederic Smailey. Mean-
while, both in London and on the provincial tours of
Mr. Buckstone's company, Mr. and Mrs. Kendal had
appeared at intervals with the greatest success in the
legitimate repertory of the Haymarket, playing
Orlando and Rosalind in ' As You Like It,' Captain
Absolute and Lydia Languish, in the * Rivals,' Charles
Surface and Lady Teazle in the ' School for Scandal,'
etc., etc. They had also produced with much applause
several bright little duologues, such as ' Uncle's Will,'
by Mr. S. Theyre Smith, and ' A Little Change,' by
Mr. Sydney Grundy, while Mr. Kendal was very
successful in such parts as Jeremy Diddler and Horatio
Craven in ' His First Champagne.'
On leaving the Haymarket Mr. and Mrs. Kendal
went for a short time (Jan. and Feb., 1875), to the
Opera Comique, then under the managment of Mr.
Hollingshead, appearing in the ' Lady of Lyons,' ' As
You Like It,' and ' She Stoops to Conquer.' In the
following spring (March 12) they joined the company
MR. AND MRS. KEN DAL. 181
with which Mr. Hare commenced management at the
Court Theatre, playing Harry Armitage and Lady Flora
in Mr. Coghlan's ' Lady Flora ' ; Christian Douglas
and Mrs. Fitzroy in ' A Nine Days' Wonder,' by Mr.
Hamilton Aid ; Prince Florian and the Lady Hilda
in Mr. Gilbert's 'Broken Hearts' ; and Colonel Blake
and Susan Hartley in Mr. Palgrave Simpson's adap-
tation of the ' Pattes de mouche ' entitled ' A Scrap of
Paper.' At the beginning of Oct., 1876, Mr. and Mrs.
Kendal migrated to the Prince of Wales's and appeared
in the productions of ' Peril,' ' London Assurance,' and
1 Diplomacy,' particulars of which will be found in the
memoir of Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft included in this
volume. They then returned to the Court Theatre,
appearing (Jan. 4, 1879) in 'A Scrap of Paper.'
This was followed (Feb. 15) by the ' Ladies' Battle,'
in which they played Gustave de Grignon and the
Comtesse a" Autreval, and by the 'Queen's Shilling'
(April 19), an adaptation by Mr. G. W. Godfrey of the
' Fils de famille,' in which their parts were Frank
Maitland and Kate Greville. The popularity of the
1 Queen's Shilling ' was not exhausted when, in the
following autumn, Mr. Kendal went into partnership
with Mr. Hare in the management o/ the St. James's
Theatre, converting this unluckiest of houses into one
of the most popular and fashionable theatres of Lon-
don. The following is a list of the productions at the
St. James's under the Hare-Kendal management :
1879 : Oct. 4, Val Prinsep's ' Monsieur le Due'
Mr. Hare, Richelieu ; and the ' Queen's Shilling 'Mr.
Hare, Colonel Daunt ; Dec. 18, Tennyson's ' Falcon '
Mr. and Mrs. Kendal, Count Federigo and the Lady
182 MR. AND MRS. KENDAL.
1880 : March 6, S. Theyre Smith's ' Old Cronies ' ;
March 13, revival of ' Still Waters Run Deep' Mr.
and Mrs. Kendal, John Mildmay and Mrs. Sternhold,
Mr. Hare, Mr. Potter ; the ' Queen's Shilling ' was
revived for a few weeks toward the end of May ;
June 17, a revival of the 'Ladies' Battle' and 'A
Regular Fix ' Mr. Kendal, Sir Hugh de Brass ;
Oct. 9, * William and Susan,' an adaptation by
W. G. Wills of Jerrold's ' Black Eye'd Susan 'Mr.
and Mrs. Kendal in the title parts, Mr. Hare, the
Admiral j Dec. 4, 'Good Fortune,' an adaptation by
Charles Coghlan of the ' Roman d' un jeune homme
pauvre ' Mr. and Mrs. Kendal, Charles Denis and
1881 : Jan. 8, Mr. Pinero's 'Money-Spinner' Mr.
and Mrs. Kendal, Lord Kengussie and Millicent Boycott,
Mr. Hare, Baron Croodle ; and 'A Sheep in Wolf's
Clothing ' Mr. and Mrs. Kendal, Jasper and Anne
Carew ; April 18, after Easter Monday, the ' Money-
Spinner ' was played alternately with the ' Lady of
Lyons ' Mr. and Mrs. Kendal, Claude Melnotte and
Pauline, Mr. Hare, Colonel Damas ; May 28, 'Coralie,'
an adaptation by G. W. Godfrey of Delpit's ' Fils de
Coralie ' Mr. and Mrs. Kendal, Captain Mainwaring
and Mrs. Trevor, Mr. Hare, Mr. Critchell ; Oct. 27,
revival of 'Home' Mr. and Mrs. Kendal, Colonel
White and Mrs. Pinchbeck, Mr. Hare, Captain Mount-
raffe, and the ' Cape Mail,' adapted by Clement Scott
from ' Jeanne qui pleure et Jeanne qui rit ' Mrs. Ken-
dal, Mrs. Frank Preston ; Dec. 29, Pinero's ' Squire '
Mr. and Mrs. Kendal, Lieutenant Thorndyke and Kate
Verity, Mr. Hare, the Rev. Paul Dormer; this produc-
tion was followed by a memorable controversy in which
MR. AND MRS. KENDAL. 183
Messrs. Hare, Kendal and Pinero were accused of
having made unfair use of a dramatic version by
Mr. Comyns Carr of Thomas Hardy's 4 Far from the
1882 : Dec. 9, ' Impulse,' an adaptation by B. C.
Stephenson of the Maison du mari ' by X. de
Montdpin and V. Kervany Mr. and Mrs. Kendal,
Captain Crichton and Mrs. Beresford.
1883: Oct. 20, ' Young Folks' Ways ' ('Esmeralda '),
a play by Mrs. F. H. Burnett and IVlr.W. H. Gillette,
known in America as * Esmeralda ' Mr. and Mrs. Ken-
dal, Estabrook and Nora Desmond, Mr. Hare, Old
Rogers ; Dec. 20, a revival of ' A Scrap of Paper,' and
S. Theyre Smith's ' A Case for Eviction.'
1884: April 17, the ' Ironmaster,' a translation by
A. W. Pinero of Ohnet's ' Maitre de forges ' Mr. and
Mrs. Kendal, Philippe Derblay and Claire de Beaupre.
1885 : Jan. 24, a revival of ' As You Like It ' Mr.
and Mrs. Kendal, Orlando and Rosalind, Mr. Hare,
Touchstone j April 6, a revival of the ' Queen's Shil-
ling,' and 'A Quiet Rubber' Mr. Hare, Lord Kil-
dare; June n, a revival of the * Money-Spinner,'
and S. Theyre Smith's Castaways 'Mr. and Mrs.
Kendal, Julian Larkspur and Lilian Selkirk ; Oct. 31,
' Mayfair,' adapted by A. W. Pinero from Sardou's
1 Maison neuve ' Mr and Mrs. Kendal, Geoffrey and
Agnes Roydant, Mr. Hare, Nicholas Bar r able.
1886 : Feb. 13, ' Antoinette Rigaud,' translated by
Ernest Warren from the French of Raymond Des-
landes Mr. and Mrs. Kendal, Henri de Tourvel and
Antoinette Rigaud, Mr. Hare, Ge'ne'ral de Pre'fond ;
May 25, the ' Wife's Sacrifice,' adapted by Sydney
Grundy and Sutherland Edwards from ' Martyre ! '
1 84 MR. AND MRS. KENDAL.
by D'Ennery and Tarb Mr. and Mrs. Kendal, the
Count and Countess de Moray > Mr. Hare, Mr. Drake.
Mrs. Kendal is an actress of rich endowment and rare
accomplishment. In face and figure she is the ideal
incarnation of generous English womanhood. Her
beauty is one of expression rather than of form. It is
the outward and visible sign of bodily and mental
health, with nothing of the hectic nervousness or
weird " intensity " which over-civilization has ren-
dered fashionable for the moment. She has at her
fingers' ends all the methods of modern comedy and
drama, and thousands of play-goers, especially in the
provinces, retain a grateful recollection of her per-
formances in Shaksperean and eighteenth century
comedy, with the old Haymarket Company. At the
Haymarket, no doubt, there lingered many of the
best traditions of the " palmy days " ; but it may be
doubted whether Mrs. Kendal ever fully acquired
the especial arts of diction essential to the perfect
delivery of Shaksperean poetry and even of Lytto-
nian rhetoric. It is a mistake to suppose that she is
not a poetical actress. She can on occasion make
poetry of commonplace modern prose, and the touch-
ing dignity of her Monna Giovanna in the ' Falcon '
was a poem in itself. It is, however, in the expres-
sion of unsophisticated, unidealized, every day emo-
tion that she chiefly excels. Her talent is so genuine
that it acts as a sort of touchstone to the matter she
is delivering, and fails her when brought into contact
with pinchbeck sentiment and mere convention. She
is never seen at her best in characters which afford no
scope for her fresh and delicate humor. Susan Hart-
ley in 4 A Scrap of Paper,' Kate Greville in the
MR. AND MRS. KEN DAL. ii>5
1 Queen's Shilling,' Susan in ' William and Susan,' and
Kate Verity in the ' Squire ' are among her best per-
formances the two first-mentioned characters, though
French in origin, having been thoroughly Anglicized.
She has of late been condemned, unfortunately, to
represent a number of the sickly sentimental heroines
of third-rate French drama characters in which she
often shows great power, passion and pathos, but which
afford no opportunity for the development of the
finer and more characteristic phases of her talent.
The preponderance of French drama in the St.
James's bills has also been to the disadvantage of
Mr. Kendal, whose pathos is apt to ring rather false,
while, as a light comedian, he has few rivals on the
stage. His Colonel Blake in * A Scrap of Paper ' is an
admirable piece of acting ; as is his Frank Maitland
in the ' Queen's Shilling,' where he rises in the last
act to genuine power and originality. These qualities,
indeed, are seldom absent from any of his perform-
ances, but in the self-sacrificing lovers and histrionic
husbands of French drama they are combined with a
throaty and sing-song utterance and an exaggerated
dignity of demeanor which shows that the actor is not
at his ease. Mr. Kendal is much applauded by the
public in the parts of brainless " swells " such as
Lord Xengussie in the ' Money-Spinner ' and Captain
Crichton in ' Impulse.' In these he no doubt displays
much comi power, but it is unjust to his talent to
place them among his best performances. A nincom-
poop can play a nincompoop, but it takes a man of
parts to play a man of parts, and this, when he ha?,
the chance, Mr. Kendal can do to admiration.
l86 MR. AND MRS. KENDAL.
Whether Mr. Tennyson's ' Falcon,' which resembles
an ordinary drama as a bas-relief resembles a boldly-
sculptured group, keep the stage or not, it has at least
been the occasion of displaying with singular clearness
the delicate as well as forcible talent of Mrs. Madge
Robertson Kendal. There was the more need for an
actress skilled in rendering the softer emotions, since
Monna Giovanna, magnificent in her queenly robes, is
an all too stately dame to move ordinary human hearts
to their innermost depth. It is very doubtful whether
in less skilful hands the Italian lady would inspire
sympathy. She is too remote in her icy grandeur for
common folk to care for, were it not that Mrs. Kendal
invests the anxious mother with a tenderness pecu-
liarly her own. Not for the first time has this admir-
able artist delineated a womanly woman ; for it is her
special faculty to give sweetness to her impersona-
tions. It is perhaps not altogether surprising that a
nature so highly gifted with sensibility should at the
same time be keenly appreciative of every shade of
humor. As great wit is said to be the near ally of
madness, so is the soul accessible to pathos equally
perceptive of fun. Much of the charm of Mrs. Ken-
dal's acting in characters more suited to her talent
than Monna Giovanna is due to the archness
with which she contrives to invest them. Without
sacrificing for an instant the serious interest of the
situation, she contrives to indicate by a sparkle of the
eye or the slightest movement of the lip that she sees
what fools Colonel Daunt and Doras unspeakable
mother are making of themselves. This power of
subfle indication, one of the most valuable of his-
trionic gifts, is in the case of Mrs. Kendal strength
MR. AND MRS. KENDAL. I$7
ened by a perfect expression of simplicity. The
faculty of delineating that simplicity which reveals
itself in tones, looks and gestures indicating surprise,
is one of the highest accomplishments of an actress.
Mrs. Kendal has both of these powers in perfection
the archness arising from a sort of astonished amuse-
ment at what is going on, and the equally telling air
of absolute unconsciousness which characterizes such
a personation as Galatea. It is true that an actress
who makes her first appearance at the age of four
has an advantage over those who commence their art
at the mature age of eighteen or twenty, but neither
critics nor public care for means. They look only at
results, and see in Mrs. Kendal an actress who can
make the pathetic and humorous chords vibrate in
many keys. Her rendering of Lilian Vavasour is an
excellent instance of this variable faculty of inter-
weaving the serious fabric with bright threads of
genuine comedy. In a minor degree her acting in the
1 Queen's Shilling ' exhibits her large emotional com-
pass, but yet without betraying the fund of real
dramatic power hidden behind the conventional quiet
manner now in vogue. In Dora she is, however, quite
another person, the ingtnuc of sad experience. Few will
forget the exquisite naivete" of her astonishment when
a legitimate proposal is made by the man she loves, or
the sustained force of her acting in the later scenes.
By no means so well known as her Lilian Vavasour,
Dora, Galatea and Selene, is Mrs. Kendal's surpris-
ing performance in ' Black- Eyed Susan.' As Susan
she has no reason for toning down emotion to
tameness ; but seizing the attention of her audi-
ence, holds them spell-bound, until with moist eyes
1 88 MR. AND MRS. KEN DAL.
and husky throats they own the power of a perfect
BERNARD HENRY BECKER, in the Theatre, February,
Mrs. Kendal (to return to the ladies whom we have
left) is a thoroughly accomplished, business-like, lady-
like actress, with a great deal of intelligence, a great
deal of practice and a great deal of charm. She is
not, we should say, highly imaginative, but she has
always the manner of reality, and her reality is always
graceful. At the St. James's she carries the weight
of the whole feminine side of the house she reigns
alone ; and it is a proof of the great value which in
London attaches to a competent actress, once she is
secured, that Mrs. Kendal does all sorts of business.
Yesterday she was a young girl, of the period of white
muslin and blushes ; to-day she plays Mrs. Sternhold,
in a revival of Tom Taylor's ' Still Waters.'
The Century Magazine, January, 1881.
Mrs. Kendal's position is unique. She has set her
mark deep and broad on the contemporary stage a
mistress of sunny humor, and one whose pathetic ex-
pression comes from " out of the depths " indeed ; the
single actress of our time in England who, having
done with a part all that critical shrewdness can
desire, or popular fancy expect, knows at the right
moment how to do that indescribable something more
which makes critical shrewdness lose itself, and carries
an audience off its feet.
FREDERICK WEDMORE, in the Nineteenth Century,
MR. AND MRS KENDAL. 189
There is an inevitable tendency, even on the part of
the admirers of a gifted actress, to dwell upon the past
to the disadvantage of the present : to recall the
youthful charm of earlier performances, and to under-
value the higher accomplishment of maturity. But
those who would have us so judge of the art of Mrs.
Kendal do her a wrong, for she was never so great as
she is to-day. And never, it maybe said, has the suc-
cess of an actress been more amply deserved. Her
whole career has been signalized by constant and
earnest study, and by a steady and continuous ad-
vance. She has shown an unrivalled ability to learn
all that can be taught, and an unfailing power to
re-produce all that she has learnt. Her art is perhaps
the highest expression of educated talent that is to be
found upon our stage. If it has not the charm of
genius, it is at least free from the anxieties and un-
certainties of genius : our enjoyment of her acting is
never harassed by any fear of failure, for her effects
are always carefully planned and confidently exe-
cuted ; and in a weak play, or a weak company, she
can sometimes take upon her own shoulders the whole
weight and responsibility of a performance without
flinching and without any evidence of fatigue. It
must be confessed, however, that the actress's powers
of endurance are sometimes sorely tried. There is a
sort of superstition amongst dramatic authors, which
I do not think is shared by the public, that Mrs. Ken-
dal, like some modern Niobe, must be always in tears,
and accordingly these gentlemen are apt to supply her
with a fund of pathos, such as even the keenest appe-
tite for sorrow could scarcely digest in a lifetime. As a
matter of fact it is not under these conditions that the
190 MR. AND MRS. KENDAL.
finer qualities of her art are displayed to the highest
advantage. She is at her best where strong feeling is
kept in check by the need of action, and where the
devotion of a loyal nature quickens a woman's wit and
grants her courage and resource. She is at her best,
in short, in such plays as the ' Ladies' Battle,' or the
' Sheep in Wolf's Clothing.' And yet in passion that
belongs of right to the situation and to the character,
and is not merely imported for the sake of effect in
the passion, for instance, of the great scene in the
' Money Spinner' Mrs. Kendal can strike every note
of feeling with power and conviction. She can give
reality to the pathos that is true, and it is not altogether
the fault of the actress if she fails to grant the same
sense of illusion to a sickly sentimentalism that spends
itself in tears.
J. COMYNS CARR, in the Fortnightly Review y Feb.,
Mrs. Stirling and Mrs. Kendal are probably the
only living English actresses who would not be out of
place on the stage of the House of Moliere are, in
other words, the only two in whose work the quality
of art, as opposed to the quality of temperament, is
abundant and complete enough to make them the fit-
ting associates of players so consummate as Coquelin
and Delaunay and Got, the not unworthy successors
of artists so finished and so rare as Arnould Plessy
and the sisters Brohan. The elder lady, as we know,
is even now almost a tradition ; she survives as an
exemplar of culture and style ; her influence must
soon, by the very nature of things, become inactive and
unpractical. Mrs. Kendal, however, is at the prime of
MR. AND MRS. KENDAL. 19*
life and the top of authority ; is in the plenitude of
her gifts and at the acme of her accomplishment. For
some years to come she must remain, as she is now,
not merely a central figure of the English theatre,
but, to those who are interested in acting pure and
simple, not certainly the most natural and engaging,
but assuredly the most finished and commanding rep-
resentative of the art we have.
It is not that her endowment is faultless nor her
practice altogether perfect. She has limitations, and
outside these she is only interesting ; in her composi-
tion there is an artificial strain which, masterly as her
technical acquirements are, she has never succeeded
in wholly dissembling for any considerable length of
time. There are those, we believe, to whom her per-
sonality is, to say the least, not sympathetic ; and
there are those who can neither tolerate her intention
nor admire her effect. She has mannerisms, of course ;
but they are habits rather of thought than of expres-
sion, they are the outcome, not so much of profes-
sional habits, as of a peculiar morality and a certain
But within her limits which, it must never be for-
gotten, are self-invented and self-imposed what an
artist she is ! How carefully she constructs a part,
and how consummately she executes ! Voice, face,
presence, habit, disposition everything is turned to
account ; the personage is incarnate in the actress, is
inseparable from the peculiar and special qualities of
her peculiar and special individuality. And, then,
what an accomplishment is hers ! what sagacity in
invention and composition, what a feeling for gesture,
what variety in intonation ! You hear and see ; and
192 MR. AND MRS. KENDAL.
Mr. Irving's mystery becomes uninteresting, and Miss
Terry gets to be no more than an inspired schoolgirl.
Here is the artist ; here the incarnation of histrionics,
the very genius of the boards. When Mrs. Kendal is at
her best as in the ' Squire,' and the ' Money-Spinner,'
and * Mayfair ' she commands, not merely emotion,
but an enthusiasm of respect. Her technique is so
sober, yet so sufficient ; her intonation so abundant,
yet so chastened ; her capacity so rich (within certain
limits), yet so quick, so apprehensive, vigorous and
persuasive, that you have no choice but surrender at
discretion. Art is art, and Mrs. Kendal is an artist :
there is no more to be said than that. You may wish
that withal she might have touches of Rachel, hints of
Ellen Terry, notes (e"ven) of Sarah Bernhardt. But
you end by admitting that Mrs. Kendal is herself, and
that, being one of the faithful, you could spare her
less than any luminary of the English stage.
W. E. HENLEY, in the State, April 17, 1886.
There are four sisters known to mortals well,
Whose names are Joy and Sorrow, Death, and
This last it was who did my footsteps move
To where the other deep-eyed sisters dwell.
To-night, or ere yon painted curtain fell,
These, one by one, before my eyes did rove
Through the brave mimic world that Shakspere
Lady ! thy art, thy passion were the spell
That held me, and still holds ; for thou dost show,
With those most high each in his sovereign art,
Shakspere supreme, and mighty Angelo,
Great art and passion are one. Thine too the part
To prove, that still for him the laurels grow
Who reaches through the mind to pluck the heart-
RICHARD WATSON GILDER.
The life of Mme. Modjeska is quite as romantic
and certainly as interesting as many of the plays in
which she has appeared. There have been innumer-
able stories circulated about her early history that are
not true, one being that she is the daughter of a
Polish prince who cut her off with a shilling, or its
Polish equivalent, because she chose the stage as a
profession. No one laughs at these stories more heart-
ily, or sooner corrects them, than Mme. Modjeska.
Her father, Michael Opid, or Opido, was born among
the mountains, but came to live at Cracow, in Austrian
Poland, where Helena, or Helcia as she was called as
a child, was born. Opido was a man of fine musical
culture, and he taught music in Cracow, where his
modest home was the rendezvous of all musicians and
artists who came to the old capital. Helena was the
last child born in a large family, and her father gave
her a Greek name on account of her small Greek head,
which pleased his artistic sense. Her father died
when she was quite a child.
Mme. Modjeska took from her mother her great
activity and energy, as well as her domestic quality, and
from her father the profound devotion to art, and the
abundant imagination, as well as the innate refine-
ment, which are both such strong characteristics of the
I9 6 MME. MODJESKA.
Polish mountaineers of the Tatra mountains. The
intense nature of the woman showed itself in the
child. She was intelligent, imaginative, and indus-
trious, and while she enjoyed above all things hearing
the poems of Homer read aloud she was interested
in domestic pursuits, and she attributes her physical
strength at this day to the exercise she took as a child,
breaking the loaf sugar for the family consumption, and
polishing the mahogany furniture until it reflected her
fair young face in its blood-red surface. Helena was
seven years of age when she was taken, for the first
time, to see a tragedy. One can imagine the effect of
this enchanting moment upon a susceptible nature such
as hers. Her excitement was so intense that her
mother declared that it should be many a long year
before Helena saw the inside of a theatre again,
and seven years passed by before Helena again had
the pleasure she coveted. In the meantime, however,
she had not been without theatrical consolation. The
children in the house rigged up a theatre of their own ;
but in the midst of their play they were recalled to
the stern reality of life by a terrible fire which swept
through Cracow, destroyed every vestige of their
home, and reduced them to dire poverty, for the
houses upon whose rental they depended for their in-
come went with the rest. Half of the town was burned
down. After sleeping about in cellars, clad with scanty
raiment and fed with insufficient food, her mother,
Mme. Benda, at last found a house that they might live
out of the cold, but all who were able had to lend a help-
ing hand, for there was a large family to clothe and
feed. The youngest boy went to work with a mason
and finally arose to the dignity of a professor of archi-
MME. MODJESKA. 197
lecture. The oldest brother, Josef Benda, went on the
stage and acted with success. The second brother, Felix
Benda, did the same and became one of the foremost
of Polish actors. A third son, Simon, went to study
music at the conservatory in Vienna and has proved a
successful professor of his art. Helena envied her actor
brothers their profession, but before she was allowed
to lend her aid toward the family support Mme. Benda
insisted that she should get as good an education as
their circumstances would permit, so she went to a
convent every day. She learned little there but to
recite, the good nuns remarking her talent and encour-
aging it by their words of praise. All Helena's
thoughts were turned towards the stage and her read-
ing, which was extensive, was in that direction. She
determined that she would be an actress or a nun, the
latter, however, only because the prospect of being
the former was so remote. The play that had the
greatest effect upon her subsequent career was ' Ham-
let/ which she saw acted by a German company. Here-
after Shakspere was the god of her idolatry, and
Schiller and Gcethe, whom she had worshipped up to
this time, were cast aside. Through the intervention
of her brother Felix, Helena finally succeeded in
her effort to go upon the stage. It was such a long
and tedious struggle that she almost gave it up ; for
years passed by without any success. During one of
these years her mother told her that she must marry
her guardian, a friend of the family, and a man much
older than herself. She had always understood that
this was to be her fate, so she accepted it uncomplain-
ingly. The name of this man was Modrzejewski/the
I9 8 MME. MODJESKA.
substitution of the letter A makes it feminine, and Mod-
rzejewska is really the spelling of the name we have
abbreviated to Modjeska. They were married quietly
and Mme. Modjeska had one son, whose wedding a
short time since in New York was a much more
auspicious one than that of his mother to Modrze-
jewski. After her marriage Mme. Modjeska went to
live at Bochnia, and there she made her first appear-
ance on the stage with a company of amateurs. She
at once attracted attention, and her husband, seeing
her value to him as an actress, organized a small
company and put her at the head of it. This little
band met with great discouragements, and their strug-
gles and hardships were enough to have nipped their
ardor in the bud, but there were good actors in it,
and they saw signs of fame, if not of fortune, before
them, and they toiled on. Two of Mme. Modjeska's
brothers were among its members, and a younger
sister played small parts. The parts that Mme. Mod-
jeska was called upon to play were as many and varied
as those enumerated by the Player King in ' Hamlet ';
but she was happy in their performance, for she was
following the profession of her choice, and its priva-
tions and hardships seemed as nothing to her. She
even had the discouragements of war to fight against,
for the whole country was in mourning, and the
unhappy Poles did not feel in the humor for enjoy-
ing theatrical performances. In 1863, her husband
accepted for her a proposal to play German tragedy
in Austrian Bukozina, but her patriotism got the
better of her ambition, and she gave up the idea of
playing in Germany on hearing a band play Polish
national airs the day before the first performance.
MME. MODJESKA. 199
It was at the time when the Polish insurrection broke
out, and this music made her feel as if deserting the
Polish stage for the German at such a moment, would
be equal to betraying the national cause.
In 1865 Mme. Modjeska returned to Cracow, where
her family lived and where her brother, Felix Benda,
was acting. She got an engagement there to play
ingenue parts, but the stage manager of the thea-
tre, an old experienced actor, promoted Modjeska
to play the leading parts. This artistic director,
named I. S. lasinski, was to Modjeska what Michonnet
was to Adrienne Lecouveur her only teacher and
best friend on the stage. Her progress was remark-
able ; in a few months she was recognized as the
queen of the Cracow theatre, and her fame spread
over all Poland. While there she received from Ger-
many and France several proposals to act. In 1867
M. Dumas fils, hearing such wonderful accounts of her
performance, invited her to come to Paris and play
Marguerite Gautier in his * Dame aux Came'lias,' as
well as the leading parts in his other plays. She
refused, determined, as she was then, to remain true
to the national stage. She probably also did not con-
sider her French sufficiently perfect for the undertak-
ing, and furthermore she was deterred from going on
the French stage by what she heard of stage life in
Mme. Modjeska's whole life then as now was in her
art, and she studied and worked with the enthusiasm
which is the accompaniment of genius. In June,
1866, she was playing in Posen, the capital of Prussian
Poland, and there she was seen for the first time by
Charles Bozenta Chlapowski, a young Polish patriot
200 MME. MODJESKA.
and journalist, whose family had won distinction in its
country's cause, and who were people of high social
position. Mr. Chlapowski fell desperately in love
with Mme. Modjeska the first time he saw her, and
she with him, and that he pressed his suit with energy
and determination those who know him best can best
understand. Although in love with the young Pole,
she declined his proposal of marriage at first and
refused to consider it, until his family not only gave
their consent to the alliance, but until they formally
asked her if she would not marry Charles, who was
breaking his young heart for her. She consented,
and they were married, and a happier marriage it
would be hard to find.
In September, 1868, on the day of her marriage,
Madame Modjeska went to Warsaw, where she was
invited by the president of the Imperial Theatre for
a series of performances. This was the culminating
point in her dramatic career, for the Imperial Theatre
in Warsaw is a kind of Comedie-Fran9aise, and in
fact the leading theatre not only of Poland but of
Eastern Europe. Notwithstanding many obstacles
put in her way, Modjeska took Warsaw by storm.
Her triumph was the greatest ever known in the
annals of the theatre, and henceforth she was ac-
cepted as the foremost representative of Polish dra-
matic art. After two months of continual ovations
in Warsaw she returned to Cracow, where her hus-
band was then the chief editor of a daily paper.
At the end of 1869 Mme. Modjeska and her hus-
band left Cracow for good, and established them-
selves in Warsaw. She was engaged for life at the
Imperial Theatre as the leading lady, and he in
MME. MODJESKA. 20 1
a financial institution, as his political precedents
excluded him from the possibilities of continuing
his journalistic career under the Russian govern-
ment. They remained in Warsaw until 1876 seven
years. It was during that time that Mme. Modjeska
advanced most in her art. The Warsaw Theatre is
not a theatre of runs, but the bills change continu-
ally. So Mme. Modjeska played, besides her old
parts, seven or eight new ones every year. It has
been her ambition and her merit to introduce on the
Warsaw stage the standard pieces of Shakspere,
Goethe, Schiller, Moliere, and in the same time to
bring on new plays of her native (Polish) literature.
She was the soul of the theatre and the idol of the
public, but, at the same time, the object of a great
deal of envy. She had to sustain a continual struggle
with the Russian Censorship, which claims authority
over the selection of plays, and which always wants
to exclude all plays in which there might be discov-
ered any allusion to freedom and independence.
It was in Warsaw that she became the friend of
a most distinguished woman, the wife of the presi-
dent, General Muskanoff, herself best known in
the European world as Mme. Calergi, who had a
great affection for Mme. Modjeska and exerted a
great influence upon her artistic development. It
might be said that as lasenski was her first guide
into the dramatic realm, Mme. Calergi's hand led
her up to those heights of art where poetry, thea
tre, music, and the plastic arts appear all as one.
There is no question that continual association with
the highest minds of her country, poets, artists,
political and society people as well as the foremost
202 MME. MODJESKA.
foreign artists who passed through Warsaw, helped
Mme. Modjeska a great deal, and that the seeds of such
a refining process did not fall on an ungrateful ground
might be seen in the results which she attained.
However, such a life of continual excitement, pro-
fessional work, studies in all directions, and the
turmoil of society, produced necessarily great ex-
haustion, and Mme. Modjeska paid for all mental
gains by physical decline of health and strength. In
1870-1 she was prostrated by four months of an ill-
ness, which threatened to terminate fatally. This
exhaustion on one side, and on the other the worry
over several unpleasant attacks, caused by the
envy of her colleagues and others, worry which,
thanks to her excitability, troubled her more than it
ought to have done, decided her, in 1876, to leave
The death of her favorite brother Felix and of
Mme. Calergi, had a great deal to do with this
decision, so she concluded to act upon her doctor's
advice and take a sea voyage. Her eyes were turned
toward America, the land of the free, and so, with her
husband and a party of friends, she sailed for the Uni-
ted States in 1876. After visiting the Centennial exhi-
bition they went to California, where they thought to
found a Polish community. One should hear the his-
tory of this experience as related by Mme. Modjeska,
to appreciate fully its many phases. They bought
land, built a house, purchased cattle, hens and chickens
and other necessities, and then swung hammocks
under the trees, laid in a stock of cigarettes and waited
for the crops to grow and for the cattle to multiply.
As long as the money held out they lived a delightful
MME. MODJESKA. 203
life. Unfortunately there is a limit to money, and
before very long it was all gone and the little
colony had to turn to and work. This was too pro-
saic entirely for some of its members, and they con-
tinued to swing in the hammocks and smoke cigarettes
while the others worked and waited upon them. One
of the hardest workers was Mme. Modjeska. She
not only cooked and scrubbed, but she milked the
cows and made the butter, her husband and son doing
all the hard work of the farm while their companions
looked on and chaffed and sneered by turns. Even
with the strictest economy they could not live, and
Mme. Modjeska determined to learn English and act at
a San Francisco theatre. She went to San Francisco,
and in six months she spoke the English language well
enough to act in it. The story of her first appearance
on the English speaking stage has been often told.
The late John McCullough gave her an opportunity
at the California Theatre. Her first appearance there,
in 1877, as in Warsaw, nine years before, was as
Adrienne Lccouvrcur. Her success was immediate.
Henry Sargent, the manager, saw her and made a
two years' contract with her, and since that time
Mme. Modjeska has been claimed as an American
actress. After her triumphs in the United States,
Mme. Modjeska returned to Poland, where she was
received with the characteristic enthusiasm of her
countrymen. They forgave her for having left them
in their joy at her return. The United States is,
however, the country of Mme. Modjeska's adoption,
and her husband and son are both naturalized citi-
zens of the republic. Mr. Chlapowski has bought a
ranch in the far west, and her son Ralph is married
204 MME. MODJESKA.
and settled in Omaha, where he follows the profes-
sion of a civil-engineer.
Of Mme. Modjeska's acting I may say at once
that I place it above that of any of her contempor-
aries in the same line, whom I have seen. It may
not reach the tragic height of some, nor the comic
depths of others, but there is an evenness in her
performance that is very satisfying. Her art is the
art of genius genius that has not shirked work.
It is a diamond that its owner has polished with
infinite care, and it sparkles as brilliantly in the lurid
light of tragedy as in the rainbow light of comedy.
Intellectual, womanly, sympathetic no wonder that
Mme. Modjeska has as many admirers in America as
in her native country, notwithstanding the fact that
she is handicapped with a language not her own. Her
art is so great, her charm so subtle, that we find
nothing to criticise.
JEANNETTE LEONARD GILDER.
Madame Modjeska's first appearance as an English
speaking actress, which took place in San Francisco,
toward the close of 1877, was a remarkable event and
one which made a deep impression on those who
assisted at the occasion. It was memorable in itself,
considered wholly apart from the results to which it
led ; it was in the nature of a surprise, so little was
expected and so much was given.
We had had no dearth of ambitious foreign stars
on the San Francisco boards, and by consequence, the
title of Countess, which was used to give eclat to
Modjeska's name on the bills, impressed us but little.
Why, it was but shortly before that we had been called
MME. MODJESKA. 205
on to pronounce judgment upon a princess the
Princess Racovitza, whose name scandal associated
with the famous duel in which the socialist Lasalle
lost his life and our judgment, save as to the physi-
cal charms of the lady, had been far from favorable.
I do not think I have heard anything of La Racovitza
since. But Modjeska, who has not heard of her, and
who can hear of her too often ?
Mr. Barton Hill was at that time manager of the
California Theatre, acting for John McCullough, then
absent on a starring tour in the Eastern States. We
saw a very modest number of posters distributed about
the city announcing that on such a date " Helena
Modjeska, Countess Bozenta," would make her bow
as Adrienne Lccouvrcur. Hill could add little to the
information afforded by the posters. She was a Polish
countess and a distinguished European artist ; we
had heard all that before, and we thought of the
Princess Racovitza and politely changed the subject.
It was emphatically an off week at the California
Theatre, sandwiched in between the engagement of I
have forgotten what star, and Rose Eytinge. There
was no interest excited by the Modjeska engagement; it
attracted no attention whatever. Toward nine o'clock
I strolled down to the California with a few friends
like myself, critics of the San Francisco press and
brought thither rather by a sense of duty than by any
anticipation of pleasure. The curtain fell on the first
act just as we entered. There was not a hand. A
colder, more unsympathetic audience I have never
seen. To be sure there was very little of it and its
members were scattered through the large auditorium
like the plums in a charity pudding within hailing
206 MME. MODJESKA.
distance of each other. Modjeska, of course, had not
yet appeared ; Adrienne is not seen in the first act.
She appears, however, early in the second, and a few
minutes later a new star as far as the English speak-
ing stage is concerned burst on the theatrical firma-
She had a reception, such as it was. The usher-
claque did its duty, and there was a grace in acknowl-
edgment of the perfunctory applause which insensibly
interested the audience. Then the play proceeded. As
the first lines fell from her lips, tinged as they were by
a strangely-marked foreign accent, the knowing ones
shook their heads. But not for long. We soon saw
that no ordinary artist was before us. We recognized
and bowed to the charm that has swayed so many
thousands since. The diminutive audience felt the
spell, and a warm round of applause as the curtain
fell attested the interest that the fair foreigner had
To be brief, each succeeding act was a culminating
triumph, and I could not have believed that so small
an audience could have manifested so great a volume
of enthusiasm. And when the curtain fell for the last
time the people remained in their seats a rare com-
pliment, indeed, for an American audience to pay
and summoned their new favorite again and again to
receive their thanks and approval. The future of
Modjeska on the Anglo-Saxon stage was assured.
Henry J. Sargent, at that time at San Francisco in
charge of Heller, the magician, was one of those who
came, saw, and was conquered that night, and his
visit to the theatre resulted that same week in a
contract under which Modjeska was introduced a
MME. MODJESKA. 207
little later to eastern audiences we all know with
The California Theatre was crowded nightly the re-
mainder of the engagement. The press,'perhaps a little
carried away by the contagious enthusiasm, could not
find adjectives superlative enough to praise the new
star. Miss Eytinge sacrificed the first week of her
engagement that that of Mod jeska might be prolonged
beyond its original modest limits ; and finally the new
foreign star, no longer a stranger, departed for New
York amidst the brightest auguries, which have been
most happily fulfilled.
GEO. H. JESSOP, in a private letter to the Editors of
" Thus Fate knocks at the door," said Beethoven
of the opening chords of the Fifth Symphony. It is
the imminence of Fate that gives solemnity to Mod-
jeska's Camille. In the hands of such an actor the
modern French play has the grace, the power, the
impression of one of the old Greek tragedies.
R. W. GILDER, in Scribners Monthly, May, 1878.
Her Viola, a part to which she is yet new, promises
to become a fit companion picture to her Rosalind.
The distinction between the two characters is cleverly
marked, and will, of course, grow more clear with
future study and rehearsal. The sentimental side of
Viola is projected into strong relief, and is treated
with exquisite tenderness and grace. The key-note
of the impersonation is given at the first entrance from
the boat. At Booth's Theatre, this coast scene was a
marvel of shabbiness and grotesque unfitness ; yet the
actress, by her power of pantomime, created a vivid
208 MME. MODJESKA.
impression of cold and storm, of suffering, fatigue, and
fear. The natural timidity of woman was substituted
for the high courage of Rosalind, and this phase of
the character was emphasized throughout the play,
and was made manifest even in the love scenes with
Olivia, which were treated most picturesquely, in
varying moods of bewilderment, incredulity, and rail-
lery, but with a constant suggestion of the pain inflict-
ed for love's sake by a loving heart upon itself. The
performance, as has been intimated, is not yet a fin-
ished work. There are rough spots in it here and
there, and there are traces of labor and uncertainty
which only time will remove. But these flaws are only
discernible at intervals, and never at important crises.
The versatility of the actress is displayed in the con-
trast between the delicate pathos and unsurpassable
grace of the famous scene between Viola and Orsino
and the admirable humor of the duel scene with Sir
Andrew, which excites the heartiest merriment without
recourse to any methods except those which belong
legitimately to comedy. These scenes contain the
promise of the completed work.
J. RANKEN TOWSE, in the Century, November, 1883
The return of Mme. Modjeska is a welcome event.
This distinguished actress came forth last evening at
the Star Theatre, in the character of Camille, and she
was welcomed with affectionate interest by a numerous
and sympathetic audience. Upon the sad and deplo-
rable subject of this play there would seem to be no
especial need for particular reflection. The topic as
originally presented to the dramatic world was openly
offensive ; but in the lapse of years it has been sub-
MME. MODJESKA. 209
jected to such ingenious intellectual manipulation that
at last its essential character seems to have undergone
a total change. This sorrowful heroine, at any rate, as
presented by Mme. Modjeska is a good woman in
her essential innate fibre whom malignant fate and
wayward impulse have precipitated into a sinful life,
and who is shown as vainly but pathetically striving,
under the influence of a true love, to free herself from
the inexorable consequences of her sin. When consid-
ered from this point of view the spectacle that is pre-
sented allures the attention of thoughtful observers to
that great and sacred mystery, a woman's heart suffer-
ing under the blight of thwarted and baffled affection.
In other words, the woman presented by Mme. Mod-
jeska is not a courtesan struggling to reinstate herself
in a domestic position and giving forth sonorous plat-
itudes about the " charmed circle of Society." This
actress from the first of her career upon the American
stage has been remarkable for her power to express
the passionate rapture with which true love looks
upon the object of its adoration. With this power
her performance, last night, was vital and beautiful.
The outburst of despair, in the agonizing scene of the
third act when the tortured Camille^ driven from her
last refuge, cries out " Why do I live ? " remains, as
it has ever been, one of the finest strokes of dramatic
art that have been accomplished within the memory of
the present generation. Mme. Modjeska, like Sarah
Bernhardt, portrays the death of Camille without the
taint of physical decay, and without the least associa-
tion of the sick-room and the medicine-chest.
WILLIAM WINTER, in the New York Tribune, Janu-
ary 23, 1886.
210 MME. MODJESKA.
Madame Modjeska proposed to give Shakspere
translated from the original English into good Polish.
The President agreed to this innovation, and Madame
Modjeska arranged to play Juliet on her first benefit
night. When she went to the assistant manager about
it, he exclaimed : " Oh, my dear madame, it is impos-
sible ; it will not succeed. Plays that are adapted from
operas never answer, I assure you ! "
MABEL COLLINS : The ' Story of Helena Modjeska,'
Deft hands called Chopin's music from the keys.
Silent she sat, her slender figure's poise
Flower-like and fine and full of lofty ease ;
She heard her Poland's most consummate voice
From power to pathos falter, sink and change ;
The music of her land, the wond'rous, high,
Utmost expression of its genius strange,
Incarnate sadness breathed in melody.
Silent and thrilled she sat, her lovely face
Flushing and paling like a delicate rose
Shaken by summer winds from its repose
Softly this way and that, with tender grace,
Now touched by sun, now into shadow turned,
While bright with kindred fire her deep eyes burned !
CELIA THAXTER, in Scribner's Monthly -, May, 1878.
MISS CLARA MORRIS.
Touched by the fervor of her art,
No flaws to-night discover !
Her judge shall be the people's heart,
This western world her lover.
The secret given to her alone
No frigid schoolman taught her :
Once more returning,' dearer grown,
We greet thee, Passion's daughter !
EDMUND CLARENCE STEDMAN.
MISS CLARA MORRIS.
Though I think Clara Morris'scareer virtually dates
from that September [i3th] evening in 1870 when,
an utterly unknown actress from "somewhere out
West," she took the New York public by storm as the
heroine of Wilkie Collins's ' Man and Wife,' it is,
nevertheless, a fact that she had been for some years
a recognized Leading Woman in such cities as
Cleveland, Louisville, and Cincinnati, and had pre-
viously played every line of business, from smart
soubrettes to tragedy queens, as occasion demanded.
Reared in the hard school of a western theatre (the
house managed by Mr. John Ellsler in Cleveland),
Miss Morris, like Claude Melnotte, " rose from the
ranks; " only the battalion where she graduated was the
corps du ballet, which consisted of a limited number
of western maidens, addicted to giggling, and to un-
limited indulgence in chewing gum a delicacy which
figures largely in the now celebrated actress's viva-
cious imitations of herself as a newly-fledged cory-
phee" in crudely colored tights and shoes much too
big for her, shouldering a spear and, painfully
rigid, keeping time to the inspiring strains of the 'Ama-
zon's March.' Miss Morris's fund of personal anecdote
embraces, likewise, a graphic description of her subse-
quent appearance as the Queen Mother to I
214 MISS CLARA MORRIS.
Booth's Hamlet, at an emergency, and of her bud-
ding efforts during the engagements of such stars
as Joseph Jefferson, Joseph Proctor ( ' Nick of the
Woods ') and Mr. Couldock, who was at that period
accustomed to appear in the 'Willow Copse.' Now
and then she went " barn-storming," and her vaga-
bondage furnishes material for many an anecdote to
which she gives the spice of her essentially individ-
ual style. Her description of this nomadic existence
in " one-night towns," and of the types of charac-
ter, from a gormandizing old woman to a shiftless
comedian, she was associated with in the company,
might have enlisted the pencil of a Hogarth, or the
pen of a George Sand. The poor young girl, always
an invalid, endowed with a passionate love of nature,
a keen appreciation of the beautiful, a sense of the
ridiculous rarely united to such a sensitive organ-
ization, devoured every romance that she could lay
her hands upon, made an idol of Charles Dickens,
and lived in daily companionship with the creations
of his fancy. A poor untutored young girl, growing
up like a neglected weed, a strange mixture of senti-
ment and humor ; such was Clara Morris in her
Though her early days are associated with Cleve-
land, the town in which she made her dttut, she
was born in Ontario, Canada. The fact that she came
into the world in the Queen's Dominions does not
make her any the less, in the more restricted sense of
the word, an American actress. She is American to
the finger-tips and, in spite of years of metropol-
itan life, retains the refreshing simplicity of a Western
woman. Should she attempt to be anything else she
MISS CLARA MORRIS. 215
would half destroy an interesting individuality. It is,
however, scarcely likely that she will ever yield to the
pernicious influence of a fashion of the hour, since
one of Miss Morris's chief merits as a woman is that
she is not ashamed of her humble origin and formerly
limited education ; and it is her crowning virtue that
she has never failed practically to remember the
benefactors of her youthful days. Visitors to her
home on the Hudson River, " The Pines," at River-
dale, have often met a pleasant-mannered, well-spoken
woman of middle age, attired in deep mourning, who
is in the habit of paying periodical visits to her former
protegee, who calls her by a familiar household name,
and lavishes every attention upon her. " When I
was a little girl, a kid, she always used to give us
a home when mamma was out of work ; we used to
descend upon her, bag and baggage, at intervals, and
I can see mamma dragging me and my bundle along
as we came into 's front yard. I was a sensi-
tive child, and always uncertain of my reception,
though I had no reason to be, for we always met with a
warm welcome." Clara Morris had attained compara-
tive independence, however, long before she faced a
New York audience, and not a few of the stars with
whom she had acted brought word of her achievements
to the metropolis. " There is a woman in Cleveland,"
said McKee Rankin to D. H. Harkins, on the eve of
the production of the drama of ' Foul Play ' at a
house then k nown as the Broadway Theatre ; " she's
the greatest actress in this country ; telegraph for her ;
she is sure to make a hit." The dispatch was sent,
but an answer came back that it was impossible for
Miss Morris to accept, as she had already signed
2i6 MISS CLARA MORRIS.
for Cincinnati. Finally, however, Mr. Augustin Daly,
who was then managing the theatre first known
as the Fifth Avenue, acted on a suggestion of Mr.
James Lewis's and engaged Clara Morris, not as
leading lady, but to play such characters as Mrs.
Glenarm in ' Man and Wife,' then on the eve of pro-
duction. Chance favored Miss Morris, however ;
Miss Agnes Ethel, then Mr. Daly's representative
of sentimental heroines, declined to appear as Anne
Sylvester, and Miss lone Burke, who was the next
actress in rank, had gone for her holiday and omitted
to leave her address. In this emergency, Mr. Daly
concluded to confide the character to " the raw West-
ern recruit," whose physiognomy and bearing had
impressed him as significant of force of character, and
to cast Miss Linda Dietz for Mrs. Glenarm. Accus-
tomed to quick study, Clara Morris did not delay the
production an hour ; she was in an agony of nervous
apprehension, but steeled herself for an occasion
which she felt would be momentous. Such indeed it
proved, for her success established her in the historic
" one bound " as leading lady of a metropolitan
theatre : in spite of the fact that the critics and the
public found her " crude " and full of " provincial-
isms," they were quick to acknowledge her rare gifts
of temperament. Little by little this complaint was
modified as she appeared in a round of characters
with a success that fluctuated with her opportunities
and the character of the parts assigned her. The
fiery, impassioned nature of the heroine of ' Jezebel '
[March 28, 1871] found a strong exposition ; and, if
she lacked something of the elegance, she had all the
gift of tears, for Fanny in Mr. Daly's popular play of
MISS CLARA MORRIS. 217
'Divorce' [Sept. 5, 1871]. In certain old comedies
she was less happy, but Bronson Howard's play of
'Diamonds' [Sept. 3, 1872] was remarkable not only
as the medium for Miss Sara Jewett's first appearance
on the stage in the character of the sentimental heroine,
but for the fact that Clara Morris united with Miss
Fanny Davenport in playing a brace of comedy romps,
madcap girls bent on frolic. It is a strange fact that
Miss Morris, whose disposition off the stage would
seem to favor fun and mirth, excels before the foot-
lights in depicting the heroines of domestic tragedy.
It was at the old Fifth Avenue Theatre that Clara
Morris made her first great hit in a part which remains
one of her greatest assumptions, Cora in L'Article
47 ' [April 2, 1872]. The impression which she
produced in the mad scene on the first night is a
memorable one. The actress had made a study of
insanity both in asylums and medical books. She
had practised falls such as had never been accom-
plished before, and she had thoroughly thought out
what she should do c Jring a long period while she
was required to ccupy the stage with very little to
say but a great deal to suggest. She has since mar-
vellously elaborated this episode, but the remembrance
of her acting on that first night years ago, acting that
made the blood run cold, remains uneffaced. She
was dressed in a Spanish-looking gown of yellow
satin, with red roses at the corsage, and had put on
jet black tresses over her brown hair ; a black lace
veil concealed the wound supposed to have been in-
flicted on Cora's face by Georges Dithamd, her lover.
She paced the floor like a caged animal, then sat and
chattered half-incoherent sentences. The approach
2i8 MISS CLARA MORRIS.
of delirious madness was indicated with exceeding
subtlety, and the scream and final fall electrified the
house. When Augustin Daly, who had watched her
from the wings, the most nervous of managers, his
face colorless, his coat collar turned up, rushed for-
ward to raise her to her fee t and overwhelm her with
praises, he found her half-insensible, and discovered
that she had flung herself with such abandon to the
ground that her bracelets had cut into her wrists and
made them bleed. Her Cora was the sensation of the
day, and she was acknowledged a great actress of the
school termed emotional. There was, however, a
hue and cry raised over " the adulterous drama from
the French," and it was asserted in some quarters
that it was strange and regrettable, not that she did
Cora so well, but that she should do it at all.
No such objection could be made, however, to her
Alixe [Jan. 21, 1873], following an interim in
which her talents were devoted to the portrayal of the
to her ungrateful character of Magdalen in ' False
Shame ; or New Year's Eve ' [Dec. 21, 1872], the run
of which was interrupted by the destruction of the
Fifth Avenue Theatre by fire, on New Year's Day,
1873. Mr. Daly reassembled his company at the
Broadway Theatre (opposite the New York Hotel, on
the site of what was afterward Messrs. Harrigan &
Hart's Theatre Comique), and preceded the first
performance of ' Alixe ' by a prologue prepared for
the occasion by the late John Brougham. As each
favorite advanced to the footlights to speak his or
her share the audience gave cordial greeting ; but
when Clara Morris, very simply dressed, stepped for-
ward, the house came down. She was, indeed, the
MISS CLARA MORRIS, 219
particular star of a famous company, and there was
but little exaggeration in the statement, made not
long after, that she held the heart of the New York
public in her hand. On the same night her assump-
tion of the simple trusting girl, A/ixc, with the rose
at her throat, in Mr. Daly's adaptation of the ' Comtesse
de Somerive,' created a furore, and, as the character
was unfolded and its impassioned depths of jealousy
and despair were touched, the whole audience was in
tears and raptures. The next day's newspapers com-
plimented the actress on her triumph as so pure a
personage. While at this theatre Clara Morris made
a powerful impression in an unhealthy drama known
as ' Madelein Morel' [May 20, 1873]. The curse
scene, wherein a nun who is pictured as a repentant
Magdalen, calls down the wrath of heaven upon her
false lover, was treated with her wonted magnetism.
Miss Morris had now virtually become a star, and
few persons were surprised to hear that she had
severed her connection with Mr. Daly's company dur-
ing a tour of the country, or to see her announced to
play a special engagement at the Union Square
Theatre, where, in November [i7th, 1873], she came
forward as the heroine of Mr. W. S. Gilbert's fairy
comedy of the * Wicked World.' Her reception was
most enthusiastic, but the play did not hold the
boards for any length of time, and Miss Morris de-
parted on her first starring tour. She returned, how-
ever, to this house in the spring, when the long run of
1 Led Astray ' was succeeded by an engagement dur-
ing which she appeared with extraordinary success as
Camillc [May 14, 1874], a part which she had only
acted on one occasion before [March 16, 1874], /. e. t
220 MISS CLARA MORRIS.
at a benefit performance given at the house in Four-
The Union Square Theatre has since proved a con-
sistently lucky house for her. There it was [Nov. 20,
1876] that she embarked upon an assumption which
she subsequently chose for her introduction to the
Boston public, and which she would probably always
select for a first appearance in any important town,
Miss Multon in the drama of that name, adapted from
the French. It was in this character that she fully
re-established her metropolitan prestige after quasi-
failures at other houses than at the Union Square
Theatre, viz., Booth's Theatre, where she had the
unhappy idea of essaying Evadne [May 10, 1875],
Lady Macbeth [May 15, 1875], and Jane Shore [May
22], and Daly's New Fifth Avenue Theatre, where she
appeared as Leah the Forsaken [Nov. 22, 1875] in the
drama associated with the name of Miss Bateman.
Indeed, Miss Morris's repeated reappearances under
Mr. Daly's management have not been fortunate, for
Denise was no more of a triumph, save for the act-
ress's power of making an essentially French situ-
ation almost acceptable, than was the new Leah.
At various periods Miss Morris has played engage-
ments at most of the leading New York theatres, yet
her name will always be chiefly associated with Mr.
Daly's old Fifth Avenue Theatre in Twenty-Fourth
Street, and with the Union Square Theatre, where,
besides Miss Multon and Camille, she re-created for
New York play-goers the heroine of Messrs. Magnus
and Lancaster's play of ' Conscience ' [March, 1881]
and Mercy Merrick in the * New Magdalen ' [Janu-
ary, 1882], The only other part with which she has
MISS CLARA MORRIS. 221
succeeded in identifying herself is Jane Eyre [Febru-
ary, n, 1878], in passages of which she is extremely
fine, notably the young girl's impassioned outburst in
the prologue. Though for some years Clara Morris
was little known, save as a great name, outside of a
few cities, she is now a familiar figure to the audi-
ences of San Francisco and New Orleans, and has
journeyed from Wisconsin to Texas, from Maine to
the Golden Gate.
Great and deserved as is her reputation, she is no
more exempt than are those two other representative
actresses, Sarah Bernhardt in Paris and Mrs. Kendal
! n London one so essentially French, the other so
radically English, from belittling criticism : like the
lamented Aimee Descl^e, who, too, was a high priestess
of nature in art, Clara Morris's fame, after death, will
doubless transcend her reputation with her own coun-
try people while living. It will then be realized with
what inimitable truth and power she has pictured
for us certain phases of human nature, and what
unequalled feeling and passion she has brought to
bear upon the characters into which she breathes the
breath of life. It is a sure proof of an actress's
supremacy when she succeeds in making certain
personages so peculiarly her own that the spectator
would not care to see them essayed by any one else ;
who, for instance, would accept another Miss Multon^
another Cora, another Alixe, or, in certain scenes, such
a s the fourth act, even another Camille ? During
the period of Clara Morris's earlier triumphs slu>
unknowingly founded a school yclept " the emo-
tional " ; the sincere flattery of the budding dtbu-
tantes extended so far as to excite the risibilities of
222 MISS CLARA MORRIS.
audiences on more than one occasion. The model's
faults were copied as though they had been virtues,
and because Clara Morris said " Parus " the newly-
fledged " emotionals " said " Parus " too, forgetting
that they had not the sacred fire which shone so bright
in her assumption as to make provincialisms of west-
ern speech but poor flickering flames scarcely worthy
of regard. Of late years, Clara Morris has made a
great advance in refinement, though she does not ape
the manners of a grande dame. She has studied hard,
observed much, mixed in polite society, and recogniz-
ing deficiencies that are as spots on the sun, has
endeavored to correct them. Her features recall those
of Rose Cheri to students of the stage who remember
that celebrity of the Gymnase Theatre ; the mobility
of the face is extraordinary, and the clear, full eye is
employed with a significance in which few actors can
equal her. Her voice is capable of tones that go
straight to the heart, and is used with a skill which only
those who have studied her acting closely can detect.
Clara Morris is eminently a natural actress, and this
ever-apparent spontaneity has more than once been
taken by people who jump to conclusions as a proof
that she trusts to the inspiration of the moment and
improvises her effects ; such, however, is not the case
and I venture to say that though Clara Morris seldom
acts at rehearsals " Only foreigners can do that," she
says, " the garish light of day in a theatre makes me
ashamed ! " no actress more carefully prepares every
inflection of the voice and every stage and climax of
the character. Hers is the art that conceals art, and
has prompted a poet-critic, Mr. George Edgar Mont,
gomery, to write :
MISS CLARA MORRIS. 223
The actress and the woman ! I have sought
To draw the line between them, but in vain,
For, like two loves, they burn and throb as one ;
Her thought is but the essence of all thought,
Her anguish is the echo of our pain,
Her heart and ours beat in deep unison.
These lines admirably express the universality of Clara
Morris's genius and, what may be called, with due reser-
vation, the familiarity of her style. She seems, in depict-
ing one of those women who have sinned and suffered,
to appeal to each one of the audience that she holds
under the spell of her intense sympathy with the loves
and griefs of her heroine. Her acting seems to
embody little unremembered acts of kindness and of
love ; as Camille, parting, with the weight of self-
sacrifice at her heart, from the man who " shone upon
her like a star," as Miss Multon, fondling her unsus-
pecting children, Clara Morris touches with infinite
tenderness a chord in the heart of every woman who
has ever loved, of every mother who has dreamed of
separation from her little ones, and even affects with
her strange spell critics who rail against her deficien-
cies. The voice of nature speaks through this strange
woman, and those who refuse to listen to it must
indeed be insensible. Clara Morris has herself given
an interesting account of the process of acting, and
throws some light upon a question discussed again
and again from the days of Diderot, and, notably, in
our own time by Henry Irving and Coquelin the
elder. " The same words, of course, become mechani-
cal, so far as mere speech goes. I open my mouth
and they naturally troop forth ; yet I feel the part,
and, if I did not, my audience would not, either.
MISS CLARA MORRIS.
There must seem to be tears not only in my eyes but
in my voice. In order to obtain the right mood, after
the part has become so familiar that the woes of the
personage cease to affect me, I am obliged to resort to
outside influences ; that is, I indulge in the luxury of
grief by thinking over somebody else's woes, and>
when everything else fails, I think that I am dead,
and then I cry for myself ! There are, when I am on
the stage, three separate currents of thought in my
mind; one in which I am keenly alive to Clara Morris*
to all the details of the play, to the other actors and
how they act and to the audience ; another about the
play and the character I represent ; and, finally, the
thought that really gives me stimulus for acting.
For instance, when I repeat such and such a line
it fits like words to music to this under thought
which may be of some dead friend, of a story of
Bret Harte's, of a poem, or may be even some pathetic
scrap from a newspaper. As to really losing one's
self in a part, that will not do : it is worse to be too
sympathetic than to have too much art. I must cry
in my emotional rdles and feel enough to cry, but I
must not allow myself to become so affected as to
mumble my words, to redden my nose, or to become
This singularly graphic personal statement will
help us to understand how it is that Clara Morris is
essentially a modern actress and why it is that, despite
her abundant power, she has deprived certain char-
acters, such as Lady Macbeth, of what may be called
tragic elevation and given them a contemporaneous
coloring which has brought upon her head the re-
proach of " unshaksperean." Even Evadne and Jane
MISS CLARA MORRIS. 2*5
Shore were converted into incongruous women of the
present day ; it was as though these personages had
been suddenly projected into a modern street amongst
the men and women of the hour. But it is no re-
proach to an actress to say that her genre is restricted
to one school when, as in the case of Clara Morris,
she stands incomparable and alone. Though Miss
Morris's creative period is probably over, she will
always be able to find harmonious types of character ;
and play-goers who saw her as the heroine of the
4 Morte Civile ' with Salvini at Booth's Theatre will
recall with what a sense of symmetry she embodied a
personage which, while affording her no opportunity for
the stormy scenes of passion in which she excels, moves
in those grooves happily fitted to her sympathetic
talent. Inspired by the presence of the great trage-
dian, she played with unfailing care throughout, and
left a highly memorable impression. In certain collo-
quial passages of her great characters, Clara Morris
is apt, except on extraordinary occasions, to save
herself with a view to the more important scenes,
such as the mad episode of ' L'Article 47,' or the
last acts of 'Miss Multon ' and 'Camille.' While
it may be said of her performance of the Anglicized
Marguerite Gauthier that it lacks some of the sig-
nificant details with which one or two other famous
representatives of the part have embellished the earlier
scenes, there can be no question that in point of elec-
tric power and this is particularly the case in the
fourth act it remains incomparably eloquent. Most
'// are overshadowed here by the Armand> not
so hers ; the spectator cannot help fixing his atten-
tion upon that pale face, over which one emotion
226 MISS CLARA MORRIS.
chases another as swift and changing as the winds.
The frail figure in a dress which is worn with signifi-
cant carelessness sways like a reed in the agony of
endurance and no tones were ever more poignant than
those that cry : " I would give a whole eternity of
life for one short hour of such bliss as you have pic-
tured now ; but it cannot be, it cannot be ! "
In view of Clara Morris's peculiar success in mak-
ing the personages of the French drama her own, and
the keen sympathy of her impressionable temperament
with the works of Alexandre Dumas and other crea-
tive authors, it has often impressed her admirers with
regret that some one of the masters of the Paris stage
has not been influenced by her work as was Dumas^/r
by that of Desclee and confided to her types which
no one could realize so well. Unfortunately for her
art, however, Clara Morris is not a Parisienne, nor is
the American dramatist sufficiently developed and
individualized to found a national school with this
strange actress as its priestess. There has recently
arisen in Paris a star, Jane Harding by name, whose
physiognomy strikingly recalls that of Clara Morris,
but who lacks our country-woman's originality and is,
if one may judge by her performances thus far, totally
destitute of that quality, freely translated from feu
sacrJ'mto " magnetism," which distinguishes the work
of the American actress.
MISS CLARA MORRIS. 7
The hero of the new play produced at the Fifth
Avenue Theatre last night has been convicted for a
crime of which he was innocent, has been sentenced
to eight years' imprisonment, has served out his term
and has returned to Paris, where he again enters
society and marries. His secret is kept faithfully by
his mother and a few devoted friends ; but it is known
to a fearful woman whom he formerly loved, whom he
attempted to kill, but only disfigured for life. She
obliges him on threats of disclosure, to visit her house
and to gamble. This character is a strong one, and
Miss Clara Morris shows in its personation a superb
power such as none of her warmest admirers had given
her credit for. In the mad-scene the terrible inten-
sity of her acting completely carries away the audience ;
and she won last night the most enthusiastic recogni-
tion of her ability from those present. Indeed, this
performance places Miss Morris on a higher plane as
an emotional actress than she has ever occupied
New York Evening Post, April 3, 1872.
The heroine of the drama is Alixe, which was acted
by Miss Clara Morris. Fresh in its beauty, intense in
its emotion, and gradually built up from the first timid
consciousness of love to the full-orbed passion, and
that in trial, suffering, and convulsive struggle with itself
and with circumstances, this personation was one of
the best pieces of nature, interpreted by art, that we
have seen. The panther-like gleams with which Miss
Morris likes to fleck her performances are not always
to be approved ; but they were in perfect keeping with
the emotion of this character ; and what we saw was
228 MISS CLARA MORRIS.
what we have not hitherto seen upon the stage an
adequate and superb revelation of woman's passionate
WILLIAM WINTER, in the New York Tribune, Jan.
The pathos of Miss Morris, unlike the pathos of
Salvini, is supremely true. It is not tearfulness : it
is heart-break. It is something which comes from
the temperament of the woman, which cannot be simu-
lated, and which is seldom felt in acting. Miss Mor-
ris's peculiar and profound power profound within
its limitations, is not approached to-day in acting.
To call her acting hysterical and sensational, as it is
called by some sage persons, is mere fatuity. Her
acting is human, human in its representation of
emotional and extreme nature. Miss Morris per-
formed the character of Rosalie [' La Morte Civile ']
with strong vibratory earnestness, and her pathos
moved the audience deeply.
GEORGE EDGAR MONTGOMERY, in the New York
Times, April 17, 1883.
MR. JOHN T. RAYMOND.
There's millions in it ! " words devoid of wit ;
But loud the laugh from gallery and pit
When Raymond gives them speculative tone,
And clothes them with a humor all his own.
Sellers gleams faintly on the printed page,
As drawn by Clemens in the ' Gilded Age,'
But dominates, in Raymond, all the stage.
Long may we live to see before us stand
That humorous figure with uplifted hand !
WILLIAM L. KEESE.
MR. JOHN T. RAYMOND.
A man who, in the eighth decade of the nineteenth
century, has succeeded in treating the play-going
world to something new, may be regarded as a public
benefactor. Yet it is by no means on his Colonel
Sellers that Raymond should rest his highest claims
to distinction. As Sellers, it is true, he reaped the
richest reward of his labors and attained the greatest
vogue that any comedian of his day has known ; but
long before the visionary colonel had been evolved
by Mark Twain's sketch, Raymond had done good,
telling work in many lines and had made a fairly deep
impression on the stage of his day.
John T. Raymond was born at Buffalo, N. Y.,
April 5, 1836. He was intended for mercantile pur-
suits, and at quite an early age might have been
found at his desk in a produce commission house,
where we may suppose him to have become more or
less conversant with the fluctuations of the corn
market and the value of potatoes. As time went on,
the desk saw him less and less frequently, and after
June 27, 1853 a memorable date in Mr. Raymond's
career it never saw him again. The Rochester
Theatre, on that night, billed the ' Honeymoon ' as
the attraction, and John T. Raymond made his first
appearance on any stage as Lopez. He speaks of his
232 MR. JOHN T. RA VMOND.
dtbut as the most pitiable instance of stage-fright
imaginable. He lost his lines, his position, his pres-
ence of mind, and floundered through his part as
gracefully, to quote his own words, "as a pig on
stilts." The audience, however, would seem to have
been kind to the young aspirant ; perhaps the vis
comica was apparent through all the awkwardness of
a first appearance ; be that as it may, the house,
which would have laughed at another, laughed with
him, and, in spite of his nervousness, he made a
distinctly favorable impression. A season at the
Rochester Theatre, with a constant succession of new
parts, cured him of his stage-fright and gave him
some little experience. Equipped with this he left
" the provinces," and appeared at Niblo's Garden,
New York, in the support of Anna Cora Mowatt, who
was playing a farewell engagement as Parthenia.
For three years the young actor steadily pursued his
profession, principally in New England and the
Southern States, playing as a rule subordinate parts,
but steadily extending his experience and gaining
recognition in the ranks of the profession.
In 1858 Raymond associated himself with E. A.
Sothern, and in the following season made his first
emphatic and distinctive hit as Asa Trenchard, in
' Our American Cousin.' He fairly divided the
honors with Dundreary himself, and when Laura
Keene revived the piece in New York in 1861, Ray-
mond was specially engaged for the part. There are
many theatre-goers of those ante-bellum days left
who recall with pleasure that performance. As a
matter of fact, the portrayal of American humor
nay more, American character, has always been Ray-
MR. JOHN T. RA YMOND. 233
mond's strong point, and Asa Trcnchard is, artis-
tically speaking, one of the best pieces of work this
gifted comedian has ever done. This part was the
first which raised him at once, in the estimation of
both native and foreign critics, to the position which
he still holds, of the most distinctively American
comedian on the stage to-day. In 1867 he crossed
the Atlantic and joined Sothern, who was then play-
ing Lord Dundreary at the Haymarket. Raymond's
performance of Asa Trenchardvjzs a revelation to the
London critics, but they were not slow to recognize
its merit and its truthfulness to nature. Buckstone
had already made quite a hit in the part, dressing it
like the Yankee of the comic caricatures, and playing
it with all the " tall talkativeness " which old England
has, from time immemorial, accepted as the most
salient characteristic of New England. London now
saw, almost for the first time, a genuine American char-
acter, represented by a competent American actor ;
and Raymond's success was assured. The piece was
susbequently produced at the Theatre des Italiens,
Paris where Raymond duplicated his London triumph.
After a return engagement at the Haymarket and a
starring tour in the British provinces, Raymond
returned to the United States and he soon after-
wards joined the stock company of the California
Theatre, San Francisco, under the management of
Messrs. Barrett and McCullough, where he appeared
as Graves in ' Money,' Jan. 1869, when that famous
theatre was first opened to the public. It was in
San Francisco, though not on this occasion, that
Mr. Raymond was fortunate enough to secure the
1 (iilded Age,' a play which has made a fortune for
234 MR. JOHN T. RAYMOND.
both actor and author. However, before that lucky
find, he had many vicissitudes to go through, both as
stock actor and as moderately successful star. It was
on the occasion of his second visit to San Francisco
that an adaptation of Mark Twain's ' Gilded Age '
was submitted to him by Mr. George Dinsmore of the
San Francisco Evening bulletin. The character of
Colonel Sellers caught the comedian's fancy at once ;
he felt that there were " millions in it," and after some
correspondence with Mark Twain he succeeded in
arranging terms, and the Gilded Age ' was pre-
sented for the first time on any stage at the California
Theatre late in the season of 1873. Its success was
instantaneous, and has proved wonderfully enduring.
In Colonel Mulberry Sellers he has a character after
his own heart, a character so closely resembling his
own frank, buoyant, sanguine disposition that it is
difficult to tell where art ceases and where nature
commences. Anyone who is acquainted with John
T. Raymond in private life cannot have failed to
detect in him the sanguine, glowing enthusiasm, the
boundless faith in the future, the intense, vivid, boyish
hopefulness which, enlarged and caricatured for stage
effect, amuse us in Colonel Sellers. Those who have
only formed the actor's acquaintance since the date
of his great success are apt to think that he has
caught the infection from the part he has played so
long ; those who knew him in his earlier days know
that Colonel Sellers existed before Mark Twain had
left the Mississippi, and that the author had only
created a shell into which Raymond infused his vig-
orous and glowing individuality, animating it into
bustling, scheming life.
MR. JOHN T. RA YMOND. 235
But, like many a greater actor and many a lesser
one, Raymond's foible has been " to cast himself out
of his line." Was there ever a Gravedigger who did
not aspire to play Hamlet ? Was there ever a Poor
Tom who did not fancy himself as King Lear ? Ray-
mond, while the most popular comedian on the Ameri-
can stage, was always consumed with a desire to play
pathetic parts, and when the popularity of Sellers
began to wane which was not till many seasons' use
blunted the edge of the novelty of this most original
character John T. Raymond attempted to find suc-
cessors to the genial Colonel in such parts as the
Schoolmaster, in the ' Sleepy Hollow ' legend, and as a
lachrymose father in a piece called ' My Son.' Both
these attempts were short-lived, and he returned to
the field in which he had won his earlier successes.
As Major Bob Belter, of ' In Paradise,' a play written
for him by Jessop and Gill, and first produced in Louis-
ville in November, 1882, he measurably renewed his
earlier triumphs ; and later still, Lloyd's ' For Con-
gress ' proved a profitable vehicle for the comedian's
talents. But Colonel Sellers is not dead yet, and from
time to time a revival of the ' Gilded Age ' can fill a
There is no one but wishes Raymond well, and
hopes he may soon secure a worthy successor to his
famous visionary colonel. He is one of the most pop-
ular men in the profession, and even off the stage,
one of the most amusing. A peculiarity of his for
surely we may reckon it a peculiarity in an actor of
the present day is, that he never uses tobacco in any
form. As Major Bob Belter, the part demanded at one
time that he should light a cigar. Here was a serious
236 MR. JOHN T. RA YMOND.
difficulty. Raymond suggested : "Well, if I can't
smoke I can spit, and they'll think I'm chewing."
However, that would not answer, and the dilemma
had to be evaded in some other way. Raymond
is a warm friend, which is a merit that but few
have an opportunity to appreciate. He is an exces-
sively amusing companion, as all who have ever met
him can testify. He has a fund of amusing anecdotes,
mostly connected with his profession, and is an excel-
lent raconteur. He enjoys a joke keenly, the more
practical the better. He is, emphatically, a general
favorite. He will live in the history of the stage prin-
cipally as an exponent of the broader phases of Ameri-
can humor. His Colonel Sellers was a creation, and a
creation more original in conception and more perfect
in detail is not given more than a few times in each
century. The names of Raymond and Sellers will be
convertible terms for many a year to come, and it is
to be regretted that so admirable a picture as the old
colonel was not relieved by a better background than
is supplied by the play of the ' Gilded Age,' which has
only lived so long through and because of Sellers.
GEO. H. JESSOP.
Whoever failed to see Mr. Raymond in Mr. Clem-
ens's (Mark Twain's) play of the ' Gilded Age,' dur-
ing the recent season at the Globe Theatre, missed
a great pleasure. In this drama a player last year
almost unknown takes rank at once with the masters
of his art, and adds another to the group of realistic
actors whom we shall be slow to believe less fine than
MR. JOHN T. RA YMOND. 237
the finest who have charmed the theatre-going world.
One must hereafter name Mr. John T. Raymond in
Colonel Sellers with Sothern in Lord Dundreary, with
Jefferson in Rip Van Winkle, with Salvini in the
' Morte Civile,' or with Fechter as Hamlet. Like
them he does not merely represent ; he becomes, he
impersonates, the character he plays. The effect is
instant ; he is almost never Raymond from the mo-
ment he steps upon the stage till he leaves it. His
assumption of Sellers is so perfect that at some
regrettable points where Colonel Sellers pushes mat-
ters a little beyond (as where he comments to Laura
Hawkins on the beauty of the speech her attorney is
making in her defense), we found ourselves wishing
that Sellers not Mr. Raymond would not overdo it
in that way Mr. Raymond nicely indi-
cates the shades of the author's intention in his Sel-
lers, and so delicately distinguishes between him and
the vulgar, selfish speculator, that it is with a sort of
remorse one laughs at his dire poverty in the scene
where the door drops from the stove and betrays the
lighted candle which had imparted a ruddy glow and
an apparent warmth from within ; or again where he
makes his friend stay to dine on turnips and water,
having first assured himself from his dismayed wife
that the water is good. The warm, caressing, affec-
tionate nature of the man charms you in Mr. Ray-
mond's performance, and any one who felt the worth
of his worthlessness in the novel will feel it the more
in the play. It is a personality rarely imagined by
the author and interpreted without loss by the actor.
W. D. HOWELLS, in the Atlantic Monthly, June,
23 8 MR. JOHN T. RA YMOND.
Colonel Mulberry Sellers had taken part in the
recent unpleasantness ; he was on the defeated side,
but magnanimously resolving to let by-gones be
by-gones, he soon determined " to go in for the OLD
FLAG ! and an appropriation." Colonel Sellers is a gentle-
man of magnificent vistas. He sees vast avenues of
wealth opened to him on all sides by his ever alert
invention, and, in the meantime, is as poor as a church
mouse. But no poverty can dull the edge of his
quick-set intellect. If his steamboat scheme fails, he
takes up a corn speculation ; he sees " millions in it " ;
and if that flags he can fall back on hogs and feed
the corn to them. He has an unbounded faith in
himself, a faith which most of his associates needs
must share, despite his frequent mishaps and miscal-
culations. Now there was in this character something
which exactly fell in with the times, and it was small
wonder as soon as the novel of Messrs. Clemens and
Warner was issued, that an enterprising play-maker
sought to set the sanguine Sellers at once upon the
stage. This first adaptation had the good luck to be
bought by the one actor who, by temperament and
training, was capable of doing it justice. In the
hands of Mr. John T. Raymond, the careless, reckless,
airy brag and boundless anticipations of the character
were rounded into a harmonious whole, and the
character itself was shown to be simple and strong
behind all its eccentricities. And there was something
in it that all Americans, in those days when the gilding
was first washed from the age most of us had taken
for solid gold, there was something in it we all could
recognize ; in fact, there was scarce one of us who
had not Colonel Sellers or some blood-relative of his
MR. JOHN T. RA YMOND. 239
for a friend ; there was scarce one of us who had not
put money in schemes hardly more fantastic than the
visionary Kentuckian's Oriental Eye-water. Indeed,
this general recognition of the truth of the character
was pushed so far as to point out not one, but many
originals, from whom the portrait had been drawn.
Mr. Raymond has told me that he rarely acts the
character for a week, in any part of the country,
without having at least one inhabitant of the place
say to him confidentially : " I suppose you know I am
the original Sellers. Didn't Mark ever tell you?
Well, he copied me straight through. Why, all my
friends knew me first time they saw you ! "
BRANDER MATTHEWS, in Scribner's Monthly, July,
Ichabod Crane pervades the piece, and lights it up
with his humor and good nature. He is ungainly,
agile, pertinacious, fantastic, absurd and ludicrous ;
yet tender, delicate and lovable a compound of
awkward gallantry, Quixotic philanthropy, scarecrow
drollery, shrewd sense, and homespun refinement.
This part in the action requires a keen sense of comic
perplexity, a touch of wistful tenderness here and
there his condition is so forlorn and, in one scene,
an emotion quite closely akin to pathos. Mr. Ray-
mond has found in this a thoroughly congenial part,
and he infused into it a sweet spirit, and treated it
with a delicacy of touch that must have surprised
many who knew him only in the vociferous Sellers.
It was seen, however, that to some extent, the part is
extraneous to the main action of the drama. It
hovers around the current of what is done and
^ 4 MR. JOHAT T. RA YMOND.
suffered, but is not interpenetrated with these expe-
riences. Moreover, in the enforced transfer of his
love, wrought by the coquettish Katrina, Ichabod
is trifled with, and this limits the scope of the
character, in serious acting. Mr. Raymond, all the
same, embodied a winning identity, and made as
gracious with inherent gentleness as it was droll with
WILLIAM WINTER, in the New York Tribune, Au-
gust 19, 1879.
If, however, the play was a wearisome one, the
Colonel himself, as represented by the American actor,
made amends for its shortcomings. Mr. Raymond is
an eccentric comedian of very genuine power, con-
siderable command of facial expression (without
which, indeed, no man could play such parts), and
untiring energy. He works hard all through the
piece, and gives his hearers the impression that he
really believes in the extraordinary speculations which
he advocates. His humor, it must be said, is a little
hard at times, but the character, as drawn by the
author, admits of very little light and shade, and
certainly Mr. Raymond makes the most of it. But
many of his auditors the other night must have wished
to see so capable a comedian in a better piece, and it
is to be hoped we shall have an opportunity of doing
so. The American actor was somewhat inadequately
supported ; but, in justice to the artists engaged,
it must be said that they had uphill work to per-
H. SAVILE CLARKE, in the Examiner , London, July,
MR. JOHN T. RA YMOND. 241
Mr. Raymond carries off all this tomfoolery with
his well-known dash and bounce. His proper domain
is extravaganza, and he revels in airy absurdities. He
belongs to the class of actors whose personality
interests the public vastly more than the characters
they pretend to represent. When this play has run
its course he should disdain all subterfuge on the
programmes, and come out plainly in his next farce
as * Raymond at the North Pole,' or ' Raymond on
the Yang-tse-Kiang,' or where not. Buckstone
adopted this plan for years in England, and was
never so successful. Grassot and Ravel of the Palais
Royal gained half their fame in pieces that carried
them through extraordinary adventures under their
own names. Sellers was indisputably a bit of charac-
ter ; but it is no depreciation of Mr. Raymond to say
that he will not again find a part of that sort until
American writers of true humor are enlisted into the
service of the stage, and are content to spend long
years of apprenticeship in learning its practice. In
the writing of * Fresh the American ' there is no humor
at all. It furnishes the principal actor with a good
supply of Wall Street slang, and trusts to his admirable
fooling to bring it safely through. This he does. In
pursuit of his wife, the Egyptian Princess aforesaid,
who has been taken from him and restored to the
harem of her father, Achmet Pacha, he unfolds the
rich assortment of qualities which are supposed to
characterize the American stockbroker. He matches
pennies with Lucrezia Borgia, and, having won her,
sells her as a slave to Achmet Pacha. He chaffs the
chief eunuch, kisses the odalisques, and hails his
father-in-law familiarly as ' Ach.' He climbs rope-
242 MR. JOHN T. RA YMOND.
ladders with the agility of a Venetian lover, and
travels in a box as comfortably as the inventor of
the Flying Trunk in Hans Christian Andersen's fairy
tale. It is of very little consequence that the piece is
badly written and worse than badly constructed. Its
central idea is good and its central figure is better.
What more can the most exacting spectator demand ?
In New York the play may run till the spring, and a
year from now it may still be continuing its triumph-
ant progress round the country.
The Critic, New York, February 12, 1881.
In default of American comedy, a symmetrically
rounded whole adequately interpreted in all its parts,
lovers of the drama must needs content themselves
with the capable presentation of individual charac-
ters. Col. Sellers owed much of his success to the
personal qualifications of Mr. Raymond for the part ;
to his expansiveness, to his sanguine imagination, to
his boundless views, the actor gave due expression
and emphasis. In spite of a few points of superficial
resemblance Mr. Raymond succeeds in keeping the
insurance agent [in * Risks '] altogether distinct from
his predecessor, the visionary Southerner, and even
in showing the radical difference between the two.
The part of the insurance agent is cheaply written,
and is largely made up of odds and ends from Paul
Pry and Mark Meddle and their kin. The actor com-
bines these heterogeneous elements into a harmonious
whole, and conceals by his art their random origin. In
* Risks ' Mr. Raymond shows himself more of an artist
than whftn he was first seen here in the ' Gilded Age ' :
his execution is surer and stronger ; he gives full
MR. JOHN T. RA YMOND. 243
effect to the volubility, the assurance, the impossible
impudence of the part, while he reveals beneath these
characteristics the true character of the man, his sin-
cere good feeling, capable of self-sacrifice, if need be,
and accomplishing it with the same unconscious hu-
mor with which he has just before seized an unsus-
pecting victim to insist on the advantages of life
BRANDER MATTHEWS, in the Library Table, Febru-
ary 2, 1878.
1 For Congress ' certainly fulfills its chief object in
providing Mr. Raymond with a character which fits
him like a glove. This is General Josiah Limber, an
Illinois carpet-bagger, well versed in all the minor arts
of corruption, with a plentiful lack of modesty and an
abundance of lung power. This personage packs con-
ventions, disburses campaign funds, runs elections,
unmasks everybody's villany except his own, and
lightens the labors of statesmanship by paying court
to two women at once, thus involving himself in com-
plications of a particularly embarrassing nature. Mr.
Raymond is a very funny man, and he plays this part
with unflagging spirits. While he is upon the stage
and he is fortunately seldom off it the merriment is
constantly maintained, and his performance is not only
amusing, but possesses the additional merit of great
technical skill. His by-play in the third act, where he
is endeavoring to secure a written offer of marriage
which has fallen into the hands of the wrong woman,
may be mentioned as a very neat and effective bit of
low comedy. His mannerisms of course are as marked
as ever, but he does some genuine acting nevertheless,
and his Limber is likely to become more popular than
244 MR. JOHN T. RA YMOND.
any thing he has done since his first great success in
J. RANKEN TOWSE, in the Evening Post y New York,
Jan. n, 1884.
I think that one of the most amusing incidents
during our stay in Paris was that in which occurred
the performance of Dundreary. You are, perhaps,
aware that at the subsidy theatres in France, no
fire, not even a lighted match, is permitted on the
stage. You will also recall the fact that in one part
of the play, Asa Trenchard has to burn a will. In
order to comply with the law and at the same time get
rid of this document, I was compelled to tear the will
instead of applying the match in the usual way. The
result was that the part was not at all a success, much
of its point being lost by the tameness of the incident.
At last I said to Sothern, ' I have a great mind to burn
the thing anyhow and take the chances.' My misfor-
tune was in confiding my intention to Sothern, for he
instantly gave instruction to one of the gendarmes who
was hovering about the wings, to arrest me in the act.
When the scene came on, anticipating no trouble, but
expecting on the contrary to receive a recall, as I
always did at this juncture, I struck the match and
lighted the paper. Before I knew anything else I
was seized from behind by a big gendarme and carried
bodily off the stage. Of course the audience did not
know what was to pay, and I was equally in the dark.
Not speaking French I could not make any explana-
tion, and the more I struggled the. tighter the gendarme
held me in his grip. It was only when Mr. Sefton,
the agent of Mr. Sothern, made his appearance and
MR. JOHN T. RA YMOND. 245
explained matters that I was released. You should
have then seen how those two French soldiers went
for Sothern, mad as hornets at being imposed upon,
and the manner in which he disappeared down the
back stairs into a convenient hiding-place. Fortu-
nately Sefton was enabled to appease the indignation
of the irate Frenchmen, and in a few minutes Dun-
dreary was permitted to come out of his retirement, and
the play went on happily without the discomfiture of
JOHN T. RAYMOND, in * Birds of a Feather/ //.
Fond of a practical joke, Mr. Raymond is as often
the victim as the perpetrator of this kind of wit. For
his farewell benefit at the Park Theatre, he invited a
number of his comrades from the Lotos Club to appear
as Jurors, promising them that their names should be
suppressed. It is hardly necessary to say that the full
list was promptly furnished to the papers, and that the
lotos-eaters found themselves unexpectedly famous.
But they had their revenge. The entire point of
the final scene of the play depends upon the
verdict of " Not Guilty," promptly rendered by the
jury, to whom Colonel Sellers has appealed. But
the keen sense of humor of Juror Hiltman saw
an opening for fun through his blue goggles, and
Foreman Shaw answered " Guilty " to the demand of
the Court. There was a pause a dead silence, and
then a roar of laughter from the audience, who took
in the situation. For a moment Raymond lost his
grip and ejaculated, " Oh, 'Shaw ! They don't mean
it they mean just the other way." " Guilty ! "
246 MR. JOHN T. RA YMOND.
repeated Foreman Shaw, grimly ; and the action of
the play stopped as completely as grandfather's clock.
But by this time Raymond had recovered his self-pos-
session. He saw from the laughing eyes that glit-
tered under the disguises of the clubites that it would
be of no use to poll that jury. " I move, your Honor,
that the jury be allowed to retire for consultation ! "
he shouted ; and then in a passionate whisper, ap-
pealed to the boys to " let up, for Heaven's sake."
The appeal was too real to be resisted, the surrender
of the practical joker too humble to be refused, and
the foreman gravely stated that he desired to change
the verdict to " Not Guilty." Then came the hurrahs
of the supernumeraries, the delight of Colonel Sellers,
the vindication of the heroine and the curtain.
The Musical Times, New York, October u, 1879.
MISS ELLEN TERRY.
A wind of spring that whirls the feigned snows
Of blossom-petals in the face, and flees :
Elusive, made of mirthful mockeries,
Yet tender with the prescience of the rose ;
A strain desired, that through the memory goes,
Too subtle-slender for the voice to seize ;
A flame dissembled, only lit to tease,
Whose touch were half a kiss, if one but knows.
She shows by Leonatos dove-like daughter
A falcon, by a prince to be possessed,
Gay graced with bells that ever chiming are ;
In azure of the bright Sicilian water.
A billow that has rapt into its breast
The swayed reflection of a dancing star !
HELEN GRAY CONE.
I I |.| N ,, |<KV
Henrietta Maria in ( h.trK I "
MISS ELLEN TERRY.
The admirers of Miss Ellen Terry and those who
observe her acting with sympathy and insight can
hardly fail to admire this gifted and charming woman
have been disposed to apply to her a quotation from
1 Much Ado About Nothing* : " A star danced and
under that I was born." The application of this bit
of fancy is not, in the circumstances, unpleasantly
extravagant. It is quite probable that Miss Terry
was born under a dancing star. Stars appear to dance
occasionally in certain latitudes, and Miss Terry was
not born in the tropics, where star-light is quiescent.
Her temperament is chiefly that of restless sparkle.
When it does not sparkle, it is singularly sweet and
plaintive. And the brightest buoyant stars seem often
sweet and plaintive.
Miss Terry occupies a somewhat peculiar place
upon the stage. She is the leading actress in the
leading theatre of England. She is the honored and
equal associate of the most distinguished and distinct-
ive actor in England. Her triumphs have been won
in a perfectly simple and natural manner, without
special effort or commercial enterprise. There has
been no attempt made by her to attain success at the
expense of good method and good theatrical morals.
She has not pushed herself into a superficial and
*$0 MISS ELLEN TERRY.
glaring prominence. When one stops to contrast her
unobtrusive, substantial career, with the career of
several actresses, her contemporaries, who have con-
quered brilliant achievements, the impression left upon
the mind by this contrast is altogether in her favor.
There are, it may be said without the least fear of
contradiction, many accomplished actresses upon the
stage whom one regards with esteem and sincere favor,
without feeling the need of discussing their qualities
of talent, temperament, and character, too seriously.
They are the actresses who are praised as a matter of
course. Not because they happen to be great since
greatness involves perpetual argument and criticism
but because they are entirely respectable, evenly intel-
ligent, and never by any chance shocking or surprising.
Miss Terry is not one of these actresses. She does
some things very well and other things very poorly.
She is an artistic and aesthetic see-saw. She is uneven,
erratic. It is impossible to count upon her. But
there is always the possibility that her acting will
reveal the impulses of an original mind, the emotions
of a spontaneous and sympathetic nature, the mild and
free beauty of a copious, affluent talent.
Miss Terry has not been subjected at any time to
methodical training in the art of acting. Yet she has
enjoyed exceptional experience, practical schooling in
the provincial theatres of Great Britain, and the coun-
sel of older and wiser heads. She belongs, moreover,
to a family that has added distinction and authority
to the stage. It was her good fortune to join Mr.
Irving's company at the turning-point of her career.
This was more than good for her : it was a kind of
fortunate destiny. It is pretended that certain men
MISS ELLEN TERRY. 251
are undoubtedly created for certain women. Why,
then, should not certain actors be created for certain
actresses. Mr. Irving and Miss Terry fit each other
so perfectly, so phenomenally, in acting, that it is
difficult to think of him without thinking of her. And
I may add that, without Mr. Irving's potent and
beneficent influence, Miss Terry would be a less
appreciated actress than she is. The conditions and
influences of the Lyceum Theatre are as skilfully
adjusted to her talent as to Mr. Irving's. The atmos-
phere of the place stimulates her, its brilliant traditions
surround and absorb her. She is a commanding,
beautiful, luminous figure in the popular temple.
Miss Terry's peculiar talent was discovered long
before she was invited by Mr. Irving to succeed Mi ,s
Bateman at the Lyceum Theatre ; or, rather for I
desire to be quite just to Mr. Irving's acute perceptk n
of merit this actor was one of the first persons that
discovered it, nearly twenty years ago. In 1867 MUs
Terry and Mr. Irving acted together, at London, in
1 Katherine and Petruchio.' Miss Terry was then only
nineteen years old. Mr. Irving was deeply impressed
by her performance and it is even said that, at this
early period of his artistic life, he promised himself the
pleasure of choosing Miss Terry as his leading actress
when he should become the manager of a theatre.
Mr. Irving fulfilled his promise, but he was in a fair
way of being disappointed by Miss Terry herself.
In 1867 Miss Kate Terry, after a long and honorable
career, retired permanently from the stage. Miss
Ellen Terry was disposed to follow her elder sister's
example, in spite of the fact that she had been greeted
with enthusiasm and acclaimed as an actress oi
S 2 MISS ELLEN TERRY.
extraordinary gifts by critical observers and by the
public. Nevertheless, Miss Terry did retire tempo-
rarily in 1868. Her reappearance, six years later, at
the Queen's Theatre, was unexpected and all the more
delightful for that reason. One of the most compe-
tent of the English critics wrote at the time : " The
reappearance of this young actress was welcomed
with a cordiality fairly expressive of the value attached
to those pleasant remembrances ; and the position
vacated by Mrs. John Wood, through the claims of
other engagements, could not have been more satis-
The record of Miss Terry's career may be briefly
summarized. She was born at Coventry, Feb. 27, 1847,
(Mr. Pascoe, in his ' Dramatic List,' gives the date
as 1848, but that appears to be incorrect.) When she
was hardly more than an infant, she was exhibited in
a pantomime, at Hull ; but her first appearance was
effected, practically, as the child Mamilius in the
' Winter's Tale/ produced by Charles Kean towards
the end of his remarkable period of management at
the Princess's Theatre. In 1858, she was seen as
Arthur in Mr. Kean's second revival of ' King John.'
These two performances revealed Miss Terry as an
actress of marked precocity. After Mr. Kean gave
up the Princess's Theatre, Miss Terry drifted out of
public sight and was soon forgotten. Meanwhile, she
was preparing herself for serious undertakings. It is
believed that she acted at Bath and Bristol, serving
an arduous apprenticeship in those places. In March,
1863, she reappeared in London, at the Haymarket
Theatre ; her part was Gertrude, in the ' Little Treas-
ure' (an adaptation of ' La Joie de la Maison'). Ger
MISS ELLEN TERRY. 253
trude is an impulsive, gentle, lovable little creature f
audacious in her innocence and unhampered by con-
ventional training. Miss Terry achieved noteworthy
success in this character, and was accepted at once as
an actress of high spirit and enchanting simplicity.
Her next performance was that QiHcro in ' Much Ado
About Nothing.' She acted also Mary Meredith in
' Our American Cousin,' and other secondary parts.
There was another period of retirement between 1863
and 1867 ; during the latter year, she appeared at the
New Queen's Theatre, in Charles Reade's adaptation
from the French, the ' Double Marriage,' a stagnant
play which has been produced in New York by Miss
Kate Claxton. Miss Terry performed subsequently
the familiar character of Mrs. Mildmay in ' Still Waters
Run Deep," and Katherint to the Petruchio of Mr.
At her third re-entrance in London, during 1874,
Miss Terry gave a spirited and clever performance of
Philippa Chester, in a revival of Charles Reade's
ingenious drama, the 'Wandering Heir.' Later
on she played Susan Merton in ' It's Never too
Late to Mend.' At the Prince of Wales's Theatre, in
1875, she appeared for the first time as Portia, in the
'Merchant of Venice.' Mr. Coghlan was the Shylock.
As Portia is considered to-day one of Miss Terry's
most fascinating and eloquent impersonations, the
reader may be curious to know how it was regarded
at the outset. One commentator wrote of it . " The
bold innocence, the lively wit and quick intelligence,
the grace and elegance of manner, and all the youth
and freshness of this exquisite creation, can rarely
have been depicted in such harmonious propor-
254 MISS ELLEN TERRY.
tion." During the same year Miss Terry appeared as
Clara Douglas in * Money,' and was found exceedingly
impressive in this character. She was placed above
Mrs. Bancroft for natural expression, and was com-
pared to Descl^e. It was not a long step from Clara
Douglas to Pauline in the ' Lady of Lyons,' and Miss
Terry took the step easily. She was admired subse-
quently, at the Prince of Wales's Theatre as Mabel Vane
in ' Masks and Faces,' and as Blanche Haye in Rob-
ertson's * Ours.' In 1876, she joined the company at
the Court Theatre, a small house at the south-west end
of London. There she acted in a revival of ' New Men
and Old Acres,' and as Olivia in Mr. W. G. Wills's
pathetic play, arranged from the ' Vicar of Wakefield.'
Miss Terry's performance of Olivia defined accu-
rately her place upon the stage. It was the crown of
many triumphs, and it won for her the affection, the
adulation of a public which is not disposed to accept
new faces and new methods lightly. Miss Terry's
extraordinary success in Mr. Wills's play led to her
engagement, by Mr. Irving, for the Lyceum Theatre,
and on the evening of Dec. 30, 1878, Miss Terry was
welcomed for the first time on that stage. Miss
Isabel Bateman had acted Ophelia to Mr. Irving's
Hamlet. Miss Terry took her place and surpassed
her. The event was momentous for the stage, as it
was momentous for Mr. Irving and Miss Terry.
Nothing could have been more perfect in its way than
the Ophelia of Miss Terry a distinctly intellectual
and poetic conception, interpreted and illuminated by
action radiant in its grace and loveliness and softened
with irrisistible pathos.
The record of Miss Terry's performances at the
MISS ELLEN TERRY. 255
Lyceum Theatre has been almost unbroken by failure.
As Ophelia, Beatrice, Letitia Hardy, Portia, Ruth in
' Eugene Aram,' Jeannette in the ' Lyons Mail," Hen-
rietta Maria in ' Charles I. 1 in all these characters and
in many others, she has sustained her reputation as an
actress of large accomplishment, delicate sensibility,
and independent mind.
Miss Terry was introduced to the American public
in New York, at the Star Theatre, on the evening of
Oct. 31, 1883. This was the second night of Mr.
Irving's first engagement there. On the preceding
night, Mr. Irving had made an auspicious opening as
Mathias in the ' Bells.' Miss Terry has no part in
this strange and thrilling play thrilling, it must be
admitted, chiefly because Mr. Irving dominates
it with his quaint, picturesque, and vivid per-
sonality. The ' Bells ' was followed by ' Charles
I.,' a drama of persuasive and tender interest,
and an unjustifiable contortion of history. In
1 Charles I.' Miss Terry gave an impersonation of
Queen Henrietta, and interpreted this capricious,
impetuous, devoted wife with spontaneous aptitude
and unaffected dignity. Afterward she became suc-
cessively Portia in the ' Merchant of Venice,' Jeannette
in the ' Lyons Mail,' Letitia Hardy in the ' Belle's
Stratagem,' Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing,'
Viola in Twelfth Night/ and Ophelia in Ham-
let.' Mr. Irving and Miss Terry made their second
tour through the United States during the season of
1884-85. Since then they have not acted in America,
although they visited New York in the summer of
It does not seem to be necessary, in an impartial
S MISS ELLEN TERRY.
consideration of Miss Terry's acting, to speak of this
as something better than it is in order that one may
praise it effectively. The tendency to describe
Miss Terry in hyperbole has been rather marked,
whereas it ought not to be a difficult task to describe
her in accurate and, at the same time, sympathetic
language. Some judicious observer will undoubtedly
attempt this task in the future, and he will find the
business full of cheerful inspiration. It is impossible
to think of Miss Terry without piquant pleasure and a
certain indefinable good humor. The highest acting
is tragic, and she is not tragic. The highest actresses
are women of broad intellectual power and fervid pas-
sion the Medeas and Lady Macbeths of the stage :
Miss Terry does not belong to their rank and fails to
suggest even vaguely the scope and splendor of their
genius. But, on the other hand, one may say of Miss
Terry that she remains in the memory, as some ravish-
ing dream of youth, beauty, and sweetness remains
there ; at moments she has a frolicsome and bewitch-
ing spirit, the spirit of Beatrice j and at other mo-
ments her eyes are languid with grief and pity, and
her face is pallid with the plaintive hopelessness of
Ophelia. The exquisite images of womanhood that are
recalled, when one recalls the acting of Miss Terry,
after a brief lapse of years, are almost invariably dis-
tinct and picturesque. That is because Miss Terry
reveals, in each of her performances, the life, the spir-
itual nature, of a woman, rather than the mechanism of
a character. There is more soul than art in her act-
ing. Occasionally, there appears to be too little art,
the absence of it resulting in restless and aimless
action, superfluity of gesture, and monotony of speech.
MISS ELLEN TERRY. 257
But these are slight faults in the sum of rich and noble
acting. The limits of Miss Terry's power are indi-
cated by her Beatrice and Ophelia. These characters
are the extremes of feminine individuality. Beatrice
is audacious, quick in wit and invention, self-contained,
bold, and brilliant ; Ophelia is fragile, tender, unim-
passioned, feeble in brain and impulse, a pitiful and
pathetic figure. The Beatrice of Miss Terry has all
the dash, all the fascination and fearlessness, all the
elasticity, of scornful youth ; and her Ophelia is gen-
tle, winsome, and heartbreaking. Miss Terry is
entirely original, and her originality lies both in feel-
ing and manner. She sees things as others might not
see them, and she does things as others would not do
them. With her bright, fresh mind, her fluent vitality,
her strong personality, her striking presence, her soft
and musical voice, and her expressive, picturesque,
uncommon face she is, perhaps, one of the few
actresses who could hold a lofty place successfully in
association with Mr. Irving.
GEORGE EDGAR MONTGOMERY.
My recollection of Miss Ellen Terry dates from her
impersonation of the little Duke of York. She was a
child of six, or thereabout, slim and dainty of form,
with profuse flaxen curls, and delicately-featured
face curiously bright and arch of expression ; and she
won, as I remember, her first applause when, in clear
resonant tones she delivered the lines :
Uncle, my brother mocks both you and me ;
Because that I am little, like an ape,
He thinks that you should bear me on your shoulder*.
258 MISS ELLEN TERRY.
Richard 's representative meantime scowling wickedly
and tugging at his gloves desperately, pursuant to
paternal example and stage tradition. A year or two
later and the baby-actress was representing now
Mamilius and now Puck, her precocious talent obtain-
ing, I observe, the favorable mention of Mr. Charles
Kean's biographer, who comments, too, upon " the
restless elfish animation and evident enjoyment of
her own mischievous pranks " she displayed as the
merry goblin, Robin Goodfellow. Upon the second
revival of 'King John,' in 1858, Miss Ellen Terry
succeeded to the part of Prince Arthur, which her
sister was now deemed to have outgrown.
The public applauded these Terry sisters, not
simply because of their prettiness and cleverness,
their graces of aspect, the careful training they
evidenced, and the pains they took to discharge the
histrionic duties entrusted to them, but because of the
leaven of genius discernible in all their performances
they were born actresses. Children educated to
appear becomingly upon the scene have always been
obtainable, and upon easy terms ; but here were little
players who could not merely repeat accurately the
words they had learned by rote, but could impart
sentiment to their speeches, could identify themselves
with the characters they played, could personate and
portray, could weep themselves that they might surely
make others weep, could sway the emotions of
crowded audiences. They possessed in full that
power of abandonment to scenic excitement which is
rare even among the most consummate of mature per-
formers. They were carried away by the force of
their own acting ; there were tears not only in their
Af/SS ELLEN TERRY. 259
voices, but in their eyes ; their mobile faces were
quick to reflect the significance of the drama's events ;
they could listen, their looks the while annotating, as
it were, the discourse they heard ; singular animation
and alertness distinguished all their movements, atti-
tudes, and gestures. There was special pathos in the
involuntary trembling of their baby fingers, and the
unconscious wringing of their tiny hands ; their voices
were particularly endowed with musically thrilling
qualities. I have never seen audiences so agitated
and distressed, even to the point of anguish, as were
the patrons of the Princess's Theatre on those bygone
nights when little Prince Arthur, personated by
either of the Terry sisters, clung to Hubert's knees as
the heated irons cooled in his hands, pleading pas-
sionately for sight, touchingly eloquent of voice and
action : a childish simplicity attendant ever upon all
the frenzy, the terror, the vehemence, and the despair
of the speeches and the situation.
DUTTON COOK, in the Theatre, June, 1880.
I have yet to allude to Mr. Irving's masterstroke as
a manager the creation of a tragedienne in Miss
Ellen Terry. The British public has accepted her
with acclamation in that character, thus justifying Mr.
Irving's choice, which is all I am here concerned
with. To those who, in tragic parts, demand more
than graceful attitudes and a sing-song recitation, it
must seem a pity that this most charming of all our
actresses of comedy should have been translated into
a sphere in which she is so far from at home. Even
at the Lyceum she has not been without chances of
showing her true gifts. How exquisite is her Letitia
260 JffSS ELLEN TERRY.
Hardy, her lolanthe (in Mr. Wills's play), her^wM in
' Eugene Aram,' even her Desdemona ! As for her
Ophelia, her Pauline, her Juliet, even her Portia and
her Beatrice, * non ragioniam di lor' The public and
the critics are pleased with them, and to give the
reasons for my dissent would lead me far from my
subject, which is not Miss Terry, but is Mr. Irving.
Suffice it to note his penetration in discerning in Miss
Terry the almost necessary complement to his own
talent. Whatever her absolute merits in a part, she
always harmonizes as perhaps she alone could with
the whole tone of the picture. She gives their crown-
ing charm to the fabrics of South Kensington. She
has all the outward and visible signs of the inward
and spiritual grace which covers a multitude of his-
trionic sins I mean, of course, intensity.
WILLIAM ARCHER : ' Henry Irving, Actor and Man-
The most surprising and absorbing performance of
the night was that of Miss Ellen Terry, who came
forward as Queen Henrietta Maria, making her first
appearance in America. She was welcomed with
enthusiasm and was called before the curtain again
and again as the night wore on. Her dazzling beauty
as the Queen, and her strange personal fascination
in which a voice of copious and touching sweetness is
conspicuous, would partly explain this result. But,
" there's more in't than fair visage." The Queen
has to exhibit impetuosity and caprice. She has to
express conjugal tenderness and to illustrate a
woman's fidelity to the man whom she loves, when
that man is in trouble and danger. She has to ask a
MISS ELLEN TERRY. 261
from a tyrant, and turn upon him in scorn and
uooie pride when repulsed. The situations are all
conventional, and even hackneyed. What shall be
said of the personality that can make them fresh and
new f Miss Terry is spontaneous, unconventional
and positively individual, and will use all characters
in the drama as vehicles for the expression of her
own. This, in Queen Henrietta Afaria, was a very great
excellence. Miss Terry's acting has less mind in it
tnan that of Mr. Irving, though not deficient here,
but it proceeds essentially from the nervous system
ftom the soul. There were indications that her special
vein is high comedy ; but she was all the woman in
the desolate farewell scene that ends the piece, and
she melted every heart with her distress, even as she
had charmed every eye with her uncommon loveliness.
WILLIAM WINTER : ' Henry Irving,'//. 23-4.
The striking excellences of Ellen Terry's Portia are,
if any thing, bettered by being transferred to a larger
stage than that on which they were first presented to
a London audience. Every changing phase of the
part is rendered with the highest instinct and art, and
every change seems natural and easy. The tender-
ness ; the love so fine that it finds no check to open
acknowledgment ; the wit, the dignity ; and in the
last scene the desire to be merciful and to inspire
mercy, giving way to a just and overwhelming wrath.
and followed again by the natural playfulness of the
laay who is not the less a great lady because she
indulges it, are alike rendered with a skill that one
call perfect. As feats of acting the assumption
f*eritsa of a bragging youth's manner, and the exit
262 MISS ELLEN TERRY.
n the trial scene are specially remarkable ; but It is
needless to point out in detail the patent beauties of a
performance with which we can find no fault.
WALTER HERRIES POLLOCK, in the Saturday Review^
Nov. 8, 1879.
The most fortunate moments of her acting come so
near to the magic of nature, the charm that she exerts
at such times seems to be so completely the outcome
of sudden inspiration, that there is a danger of alto-
gether ignoring the presence of an artistic faculty
which is exercised with so much subtlety and finesse.
This unrivalled simplicity in touching the finer chords
of feeling is associated with a personality that enters
naturally into the abstract creations of poetical drama.
She can cast aside without effort all those little points
of dress and manner and bearing by which we are wont
to identify the social life and habits of our time, and
she can pass with equal ease and assurance into the
freer and larger air of the world of fancy and imagina-
tion. The inherent limitation of her art lies on the
side of passion ; the stronger moods of feeling that
spring out of a complex character deeply touched by
suffering and experience, lie clearly beyond the range
of her power ; but, on the other hand, there is no
actress of our time who can express with equal force
or refinement the tenderness of a simple nature, the
pathos that belong to suffering that is past, or the
playful gaiety of a sensitive temperament where
laughter may quickly change to tears. The grief of
Ubhelia, half remembered and half forgotten in her
madness, and with every painful suggestion subdued
to the service of ideal grace and beauty, gave Miss
AffSS ELLEN TERRY. 263
Terry an admirable opportunity for the display of her
powers. The delicate realism of the impersonation
enforced but did not injure the imaginative complete-
ness of the original : it left intact all that is ideal and
fanciful in the finer structure of a poet's work. Side
by side with the ineffaceable recollection of such a
performance as this was may be set the remembrance
of Miss Terry's Olivia, a creation of faultless taste and
charm, so simple in its method, and so convincing in its
reality, that even the most accomplished of those who
played with her seemed to expose themselves to the
reproach of artifice and convention. We may recall
also the heart-broken utterances of Desdemona confid-
ing to lago the loss of her husband's love ; and with
any of these souvenirs of the past we may compare
without danger of disappointment the gaiety and rail-
lery of Beatrice, falling like a veil at the sudden stroke
of wrong to one she loved, and exposing the depth
and tenderness of a true woman's heart.
J. COMYNS CARR, in the Fortnightly Review, Febru-
The Portia of Miss Ellen Terry was the best seen
here for many years. The actress caught the exact
spirit of the part, and played it in the most brilliant
manner. It is tolerably evident now that her strength
lies almost entirely in the direction of comedy. In
the trial scene she read the famous " mercy " speech
with exquisite emphasis and feeling, and her assump-
tion of manhood was conceived in the truest vein of
comedy. It may almost be said that she presented
the actual Portin whom Shakspere drew a most win-
ning figure of elegant womanhood, full of spirit, ten-
964 MISS ELLEN TERRY.
derness, and grace. Her success with the audience
was immediate, and her reputation in England was
no longer a matter for wonderment. Her delightful
performance of this character will largely increase the
curiosity to see her as Beatrice.
J. RANKEN TOWSE, in the New York Evening Post^
Nov. 7, 1883.
And of all the parts which Miss Terry has acted 1*1
her brilliant career, there is none in which her infinite
powers of pathos, and her imaginative and creative
faculty are more shown than in her Ophelia. Miss
Terry is one of those rare artists who need for their
dramatic effects no elaborate dialogue, and for whom
the simplest words are sufficient. " I loved you not,"
says Hamlet, and all that Ophelia answers is, " I was
the more deceived." These are not very grand words
to read, but as Miss Terry gave them in acting they
seemed to be the highest possible expression of Ophe-
lia's character. Beautiful too was the quick remorse
she conveyed by her face and gesture the moment she
had lied to Hamlet and told him her father was at
home. This I thought a masterpiece of good acting,
and her mad scene was wonderful beyond all descrip-
tion. The secrets of Melpomene are known to Miss
Terry as well as the secrets of Thalia.
OSCAR WILDE, in the Dramatic Review, May 9,
MR J. L TOOLE
By England's fireside altar-stone,
His name is prized, his virtue known ;
To England's heart his fame is dear ;
To him she gives her smile, her tear ;
She loves him for his rosy mirt^
She loves him for his manly worth :
She knows him bright as morning dew j
She knows him faithful, tender, true.
MR. J. L TOOLE.
John Lawrence Toole, a son of the well-known
Toastmaster to the Corporation of London, was born
in 1832. He began his business career as clerk in a
wine-merchant's counting-house, and while there dis-
played in amateur theatricals a talent which gained
for him the serious encouragement of very competent
judges, and which has since won him a place in the
first rank of English comedians. His first appearance
on the public stage was made at Ipswich ; but it was
at the Queen's Theatre, Dublin, in 1852, that he prac-
tically began his thence uninterrupted professional
career. On July 22 of the same year he appeared for
the first time on the London stage at the Haymarket
as Simmons in the ' Spitalfields Weaver.' After fur-
ther provincial experience, he appeared at the St.
James's Theatre, London, on Oct. 2, 1854, as Pepys,
the diarist, in Messrs. Reade and Taylor's ' King's
Rival.' In September, 1856, he appeared as Fanfar-
ronadf in * Belphegor ' at the Lyceum, and also as
Autolycus in a burlesque of William Brough's. In
1859 he joined Mr. Webster's company at the Adelphi,
where he was the original Spriggins in T. H. Wil-
liams's ' Ici on Parle Francais.' In 1860 he played
at Drury Lane, and in 1862 he appeared at the
Adelphi as Caleb Plummer, in Mr. Boucicault's version
of the Cricket on the Hearth.' This is one of the
268 MR. J. L. TOOLE.
parts in which Mr. Toole has shown a quality rare
and invaluable in an actor much devoted to low
comedy, eccentric comedy, and burlesque that of a
true and unforced pathos naturally and artfully com-
mingled with the grotesque points of a character.
The performance is remarkable both in broadness and
in fineness of touch, and, without going into detailed
criticism, an idea of it may be conveyed to those who
have not seen it by saying that it is Dickens's Caleb
Plummer come alive upon the stage. Another suc-
cess of a not dissimilar kind was made by the actor at
the Adelphi as Stephen Digges, in a play founded by
Oxenford on the ' Pere Goriot ' ; and at the same
theatre, in 1865, Mr. Toole again showed a capacity
for playing on the most varied emotions in a part
now better known than Stephen Digges, Mr. Walter
Gordon's ' Through Fire and Water,' in which he
played the principal character, Joe Bright. In 1868,
at the Queen's Theatre, Long Acre, Mr. Toole made
a great success as Michael Garner, a part written to
exhibit his powers in comic, passionate and pathetic
passages, in H. J. Byron's * Dearer Than Life.' At
the same theatre he played admirably a purely comic
part in Messrs. Palgrave Simpson's and Herman
Merivale's ' Time and the Hour,' a play in which the
late Mr. Alfred Wigan had a part less well suited than
some others to his exceptionally fine, quiet and inci-
sive style. The conjunction of the two actors was
remarkable, in that each in his way represented a
school which has been done away with by the changed
condition of theatrical affairs, by long runs, by en-
gagements for the run of a piece, by the dearth of
stock companies, by the comparatively slight training
MR. J. L. TOOLE. 269
and study now thought needful to equip an actor, and
by the growing habit of considering that a given
player is to stick immovably to a given line of busi-
ness. Mr. Alfred Wigan was at this time manager of
the Queen's Theatre. It was, I believe, due to Mrs.
Alfred Wigan, who helped her husband by her keen
discernment and business capacity, as well as by her
genius for it was no less and art in acting, that
Mr. Toole was asked to join the company then play-
ing at the Queen's. Mr. Toole has always been in
the true, not the merely technical, sense of the word
a character actor, and so, within limits less narrowly
defined than is generally supposed, was Mr. Alfred
Wigan. Both always thought out a part as a whole,
and not in respect of its effective snippets.
Among Mr. Alfred Wigan's characteristics were the
extraordinary semblance of meaning, repose, and
spontaneity that he could give to dialogue often worth-
less and jerky in itself, and in certain parts one may
mention such widely differing ones as AchilU Dufard
in the ' First Night ' and/^ Mildmay in ' Still Waters
Run Deep ' he has remained as unapproachable as
in parts of another kind Mr. Toole still is. In one
sense no two styles could be more unlike than those of
Mr. Alfred Wigan and Mr. Toole ; but they had this
important thing in common, that both were formed by
a method of learning and experience now too seldom
seen by its fruits. In H. J. Byron's 4 Uncle Dick's Dar-
ling,' at the Queen's, in 1869, Mr. Toole repeated the
same kind of success he had won in Michael Garner. It
was at the same theatre, by the by, that he was of a pair
as noteworthy in its way as the one already referred to
when he appeared as the Artful Dodger and Mr. Henry
27 MR. J. L. TOOLE.
Irving as Bill Sikes in a version of ' Oliver Twist '
in which, also, Mr. Clayton gave a singular reality and
impressiveness to the part of Monks which might have
been thought impossible. Mr. Irving's performance
was full of power and activity ; and the type was
studied both from Dickens and from the life. Mr.
Toole's Dodger was not very like anything except Mr.
Toole in an odd dress, but it was very funny. From
the Queen's Mr. Toole went to the provinces on tour,
and re-appeared in London at the Gaiety in 1871.
Here he played many parts with unvarying success,
among them Paul Pry in Poole's play, a part to which
he gives the old-fashioned exaggeration of farce with-
out overstepping the artistic limit. In 1874 he played
in Mr. Albery's ' Wig and Gown/ at the Globe. In
1875 he sailed for America ; and in 1879 he re-appeared
at the Folly Theatre, London (which he managed
himself, and which he still manages under the changed
name of Toole's Theatre), as Chawles, in H. J. Byron's
* A Fool and his Money.' Since then his career has
been as familiar as it has been deservedly popular.
Mr. Burnand's ' Artful Cards ' and Mr. Hollingshead's
* Birthplace of Podgers ' have been among his most
successful reproductions ; he has produced some inim-
itable burlesques by Mr. Burnand, and has given to the
stage a very funny play, ' Going It,' by the veteran Mr.
Maddison Morton and a younger collaborator. He
has given an imitation of Mr. Sims Reeves Cm Mr.
Burnand's ' Faust and Loose ') absolutely astonishing
in its personal and vocal likeness ; and in other bur-
lesques from the same hand he has given imitations less
close and less artistic, but very amusing, of Mr. Wilson
Barrett. Mr. Coghlan, and M. Marais, of ' Theodora '
MR. /. L. TOOLE. 271
fame. He has made the town laugh with the song of
the ' Speaker's Eye ' in ' Mr. Guffin's Elopement,' and
he has introduced and kept on his stage some excel-
lent actors, of whom, among those still with him at
the date of writing, one may mention especially Miss
Emily Thome, Mr. E. D. Ward, of < Theodora ' fame,
Miss Eliza Johnston, and Mr. Shelton. He has not
perhaps given in enough to a changed taste in the
matter of cUcors for drawing-room plays ; but his misc-
en-sctnc is always excellent in the end, if sometimes
insufficiently rehearsed before a first night, and in the
matter of trick scenes for burlesques he has done won-
ders with the small space at his disposal. Trick
scenes suggest what is loosely called jugglery, be-
cause mechanical contrivance is frequently, though in
strict wrongness, associated with that word, and in
slight-of-hand Mr. Toole has considerable skill which
he has several times utilized in burlesque parts.
As an actor, Mr. Toole, at his best, has no rival, in
his own way ; and his range, as has been shown, is very
far from being limited. When he chooses to person-
ate a part which falls within this range, one recognizes
in him both art and genius. When, in the ordinary
use of the word, he acts a part, without making a con-
sistent impersonation of it from first to last, one ad-
mires a very unusual, natural aptitude, backed by a
thorough knowledge of the stage and its ways ; and
when it pleases him to be simply Mr. Toole in this or
that make-up or dress, bent on amusing, who can help
being amused ? He gags freely, but only in his
lighter efforts, and never without effect. His posi-
tion on the stage is unique, and admirably well earned.
WALTER HERRIES POLLOCK.
272 MR. J. L. TOOLS.
Towards the close of an autumnal day in 1838, Mr.
E. L. Blanchard, happening to pass through Shorne, a
village about four miles from Gravesend, came upon the
oddest group imaginable. " A little boy, scarcely six
years of age, was the centre," we are told, " of an ad-
miring throng of urchins, who seemed to be in the
most exuberant state of delight at each fresh comi-
cality of the entertainment, which seemed to consist
of an imitation of a farm-yard, with a few voices dex-
terously thrown in. It was over before I could dis-
cover the reason for the merry peals of childish
laughter which had reached me ; but in a few moments
the extremely juvenile monologist recommenced his
performance without becoming aware of another being
added to the audience. A dexterous re-arrangement
of his pinafore, a twist of his child's cap, and a small
stick snatched from the hedge, and there was the minia-
ture figure of an old man tottering rather than tod-
dling about the garden ; the few words uttered in
simulated tones serving to identify a resemblance
which evidently left the diminutive spectators in no
doubt as to the fidelity of the likeness. Then came a
change of face, another readjustment of the pinafore,
and an altered tone, with a word and a whistle given
by turns. This was quickly accepted as a faithful
portraiture of a comic countryman well-known to the
highly appreciative little assembly, and tiny hands
were clasped gleefully as the voice of the rustic, simu-
lated in childish treble, was heard to proclaim the
necessity of giving something to an old gray mare.
In answer to my inquiry as to the name of the amus-
ingly precocious young gentleman, a giggling damsel,
scarcely ten, lisped out, ' It's only a little London boy
MR. J. L. TOOLE. 273
down for his health, sir.' " That little London boy
was John Lawrence Toole. Mr. Toole's natural tal-
ents as a humorous and pathetic actor have been de-
veloped as much by study of books and of men as by
practical experience. He is to the stage what Hogarth
was in painting, and Dickens in the literature of fiction.
He draws his inspiration from the life of persons about
him, mentally taking notes of anything that may aid
him in the delineation of special types of character.
He often approaches and sometimes oversteps the
verge of caricature, but is in no sense a caricaturist.
"There is a geniality about his performances," Lord
Rosebery once said, " which spreads an electric chain
about his audiences, and makes them forget the actor
in the friend. He possesses the magic and irresistible
power of creative sympathy. No young man of my
age has spent more money in stalls than I have to see
him." In all the relations of private life, it should be
added, Mr. Toole has never incurred reproach, and no
member of his profession has given away more in
public and private charity than he. " I may say,"
wrote the manager of an asylum for the insane in an
annual report, " that the considerate kindness which
compelled Mr. Toole to step aside from his pressing
engagements, and request the privilege of again enter-
taining our people and pouring oil into their mental
wounds, entitles him to a place in our hearts as the
' good Samaritan ' of the stage."
The Theatre, London, Oct. i, 1879.
That Mr. J. L. Toole, as Joe Bright, would repre-
sent to perfection the honest plebeian, good at heart,
and thick of head, might easily be foreseen ; but there
274 MR. J. L. TOOLE.
is novelty in the drunken outburst that brings the first
act to its close. Droll inebriety is common enough
upon the stage, and Mr. B. Webster in * Janet Pride'
gives an admirable picture of the habitual drunken-
ness by which a man endeavors to silence the voice
of an evil conscience. But the effect of ardent spirits
rapidly imbibed by a man who is already distressed in
mind, and who is suddenly converted from a compar-
atively rational being into an ungovernable savage,
ready to commit any deed of violence, has been sel-
dom, if ever, represented, and Mr. Toole has never
more forcibly displayed his faculty for profitable obser-
vation than in his terrific exhibition of this peculiar
phase of human frailty.
The Times, London, July 3, 1868.
There is no gift of the actor of low comedy which
Mr. Toole does not possess in a high degree. His
individuality is as comic as that of the best of his pre-
decessors ; his vitality is as unflagging as theirs ; his
method as irregular and as effective. Like them, he
is exuberant, untiring, irrepressible ; an actor off the
stage as much as upon it ; drawing from a species of
imagination rules fitted only for guidance upon an
occasion, and wholly unsuited for codification in any
manual of art ; holding of a part, as lawyers maintain
of a case, that each carries its own law. Like them,
too, he has won a purely personal affection and
regard that extends far beyond the range of those to
whom he is known, and embraces most lovers of
laughter and innocent enjoyment.
It is, however, as a broadly comic actor his chief
reputation has been made, and it is in connection with
MR. J. L. TOOLE. 275
low comedy his name will descend to future genera-
tions. Mr. Toole is unequalled in the expression of
comic bewilderment. Unlike some of the best remem-
bered of his predecessors who assumed, in face of
difficulty, a stolidity against which fate itself seemed
powerless, he contrives to add to his comic perplexities
by his own apparent quickness of invention. He is
always ready with an explanation which is invariably
wrong, and thus, like Chaos in ' Paradise Lost,' he
By decision more embroils the fray.
His vulgarity upon the stage is like his perplexity in
the total absence of stupidity. In Chawles he
presents a footman who has inherited wealth and
made a bid for position. No type of vulgarity can be
more familiar than this. In watching, however, the
difficulties and entanglements brought upon the
would-be aristocrat by his ignorance of the manners
and modes of speech of those with and among whom
he seeks to live, we are more impressed by the
ingenuity of the interpretation he fixes upon what is
unfamiliar, than tickled by its absurdity. A certain
element of manliness, so to speak, enters into his
farce. Paul Pry even, the most contemptible of
busybodies, and the most incurable of sneaks, is not
in his hands wholly despicable. If nobody else
believes in him, he believes in himself, and he acts up
to his own code, such as it is. In CAawfes, in
Spriggins, and in the Spitalficlds Weaver, the manliness
forms a distinct feature. A conscience is preserved
through the wildest extravagances, and in the expo-
sition of a preposterous vanity, and in the pursuit
of an unsanctified gain, he still retains a measure of
2 76 MR. J. L. TOOLE.
Mr. Toole's position as an actor of low comedy and
as a humorist is now secure. He is not free from the
faults of his craft ; and the means he adopts to force
a laugh are not always artistic. There is, however,
behind these things, a rich, ripe, overflowing nature,
which is sure to tell in the end, and the memory of
extravagance in method is blotted out as soon as the
" touch of nature " is felt. Geniality, joyousness,
emotion, are Mr. Toole's own in an enviable degree.
His heart is in his work, and he is badly fitted indeed
with a part if the note of sympathy is not struck in
JOSEPH KNIGHT, in the Theatre, January, 1880.
When I was playing in Byron's drama, ' Uncle
Dick's Darling,' at the Gaiety Theatre, my dear old
friend, J. L. Toole, was the bright, particular star of
that entertainment, and Adelaide Neilson was the
Darling. Now my friend Toole, among many brilliant
qualities, has a notable faculty for business, and in the
invention of captivating posters and insinuating hand-
bills he had at that time no equal. Pray don't think
that he cares for such arts now, for he long ago dis-
covered their vanity when after playing for a week in
a certain place, he met the local bill printer to whom
he had paid a lot of money and who greeted him
with " Hello Mr. Toole ! how long have you been
here ? " Still, before this awakening, his activity in
advertising was extreme. One of his rivals an emi-
nent tragedian was once much moved, when leaving
a town, to find his posters covered with the announce-
ment, " Toole is coming ! " and the climax of torment
was reached when, going to bed that night, he found
MR. J. L. TO OLE. *^^
this stimulating legend pinned on his pillow. Well,
my indefatigable friend was not content with playing
superbly in * Uncle Dick's Darling.' He busied him-
self with all manner of devices to popularize the
performance. He never went anywhere without a
bundle of labels in his pocket, and, if he happened to
be in church, or a police court, or any other place of
fashionable resort, he was sure to leave behind him a
touching memento, sticking in some prominent place,
to the effect that J. L. Toole was to be seen at the
Gaiety Theatre in ' Uncle Dick's Darling ' every
evening. And I have lately been credibly informed
that one of these labels pleasantly adorns the tombs of
About this time died William Brough, one of the
well-known brothers who did so much good work for
the stage and periodical literature. No doubt you have
read the genial recollections of them in Edmund
Yates's ' Reminiscences.' To poor William Brough's
funeral, in a cemetery a little way out of London,
Toole and I repaired one cold and drizzly afternoon
just the kind of day when the gloomy reminder that
we are all mortal becomes most oppressive. We saw
our dear, dead friend laid in the earth and as we
turned away, wondering whose scene with the grave-
digger would come next, the prosaic suggestion was
made that perhaps some degree of physical comfort
might be got out of a little hot brandy and water.
This idea was embraced with alacrity, and while we
were thus consoling ourselves in a neighboring inn,
our attention was attracted by a crowd surrounding
an object lying in the gutter. My friend's fertile
brain was awake at once, so we quickly made our way
2?8 MR. J. L. TOOLE.
to the spot, and found that some too-thirsty soul,
tempted by a barrel of spirits which had burst in the
street, had drunk not wisely, but too well.
The crowd stood gazing at the body in a helpless
way, but my companion knew his cue at once. Push-
ing his way through the throng followed by me, his
admiring assistant and suggesting that he was a
doctor, he knelt beside the fallen reveller, whose shirt-
collar he unbuttoned, felt his pulse, laid a hand on his
heart, and performed with impressive accuracy the
whole professional routine. The people watched the
process with sympathy and confidence, and, when my
friend said, " It's not very serious ; I can soon put
him right again," there was a hum of approval and ad-
miration. Feeling in one of his pockets, the " doctor "
took out something, which he applied to the patient's
forehead. From another pocket he produced some-
thing else, and applied to one cheek, while a third
pocket yielded a further medicament for the other
cheek. Then, looking round with a thoughtful and
abstracted air, one hand covering the face of the
patient, with the other he removed a cap from the
head of a gaping and bewildered boy, and dexterously
placed it on the beplastered visage of the prostrate
Briton. " Now," said he, triumphantly, " leave him
alone for five minutes, and Richard's himself again ! "
We then withdrew and with some celerity jumped into
a cab, followed by a suppressed cheer. But we had
not proceeded far when a yell of execration broke
upon our ears, for the impatient crowd had found that
the object of their commiseration was no less a per-
son than " ' Uncle Dick's Darling,' Gaiety Theatre
every evening ! "
HENRY IRVING, in the 'Clover Leaves/
MR. J. L. TOOLE. 279
One night, after 1 2 o'clock, Toole and Sothern took
possession of the porter's room at Humman's Hotel
and sent the porter to the top of the house to find Billy
Florence, who was supposed to be a guest there.
Meanwhile the pair undertook to attend personally to
the wants of the strangers who were stopping at the
hotel, and came to the wicket to demand admittance.
It must be understood that the wicket was only large
enough to expose a single face. The first to present
himself was a clergyman, who was very gravely in-
formed by Toole that his " attentions to the chamber-
maid had been discovered, and that he would find
his trunk in the morning at Covent Garden Market
opposite ; that this was a respectable house and he
didn't wish any thing more to do with such a man."
While the clergyman in his indignation was absent in
Bow Street to hunt up a police officer and make his
troubles known, the proprietor of the hotel appeared
and was promptly notified by Sothern, who now
appeared at the wicket, that they had " already missed
enough spoons during his visit and that his valise
would be thrown down to him in a few minutes, from
the top story, and if he wished to avoid Newgate he
had better reform his practices or try them upon some
other hotel." This joke would have had rather a
serious termination if the proprietor had not entered
by a side door and discovered Toole and Sothern at
their pranks, from the rear ; but as soon as he found
out who they were, he was so overjoyed at the pres-
ence of two such worthies in his house and the oddity
of the jokes they had played that he ordered one of
the best of hot suppers, sent for Billy Florence, and
kept things going on in a lively way until morning.
STEPHEN FISKE, in 'Birds of a Feather///. 132-4.
28o MR. /. L. TOOLS.
Johnny, as he is affectionately denominated by high
and low, has a hand-shake, an appropriate jest, or a
"shove in the mouth" for prince "or costermonger.
And so, in a popular pursuit of thirty years, he has
won a welcome in the palace as warm as he gets in the
slums. Won ? Yes, and he has achieved this end by
indefatigable labor inside and outside the theatre, and
by the never-tiring aid of the good genius in the shape
of a lanky, slab-sided elder brother, known as " the
Yes ! " The long one and the short," some thirty
years ago, began their theatrical prospecting for gold
at a small amateur theatre in North London, where
various sums were paid to a knowing old bird manager
by the aspirants for the privilege of disporting them-
selves, under his tutelage, for the diversion of their
acquaintance. The plays were generally ambitious
and blood-curdling, and the characters distributed
more in accordance with the funds of the parties than
their histrionic capacities. The Duke of Gloster was
always worth " one pound ten " ; Buckingham went for
five shillings, and such parts as Catesby or Ratcliffe
might have been had as low as eighteen pence. From
such dramatic incubators many of our best actors have
issued, and the "elder Toole," discovering that all
the talent of the family lay in " the younger," wisely
abandoned the boards personally and set himself
thenceforth the task of booming Brother John into
During a second season at the Lyceum, Toole was
fortunate enough to catch a terrible cold. It caused
him much anxiety, as he had speedily to assume a new
character in another extravaganza by Brough. At the
MR. J. L. TOOLE.
last rehearsal, his voice was so raucous and rugged
that, in despair, he anticipated inevitable failure. The
part of Birbanto, in ' Conrad and Medora,' was sup-
posed to be a satire on the ruffians of transpontine
drama, and it so fell out, through the wily " Long
One," that the critics, one and all, supposed the
hoarse, croaking voice an assumption, and one of
them (Albert Smith) pronounced it a " real stroke of
genius." So that his attack of catarrh lifted him to
the top of prosperity.
When Wright died, Toole was engaged to fill his
place at the Adelphi, and then he had the luck to
meet a clever tailor who cut his clothes to fit him to a
nicety. H. J. Byron was the histrionic Poole and
while he lived Toole always had a dramatic outfit
which suited him to perfection.
* Uncle Dick's Darling ' and similar plays, with
which Adelaide Neilson, Irving, Lionel Brough, and
other eminent artists were associated, were the suc-
cessful pieces which successively added to his reputa-
tion and his bank account, until now he owns his own
theatre, playing there every season, yet never forget-
ful of his first country friends, but duly and every year
paying them a flying visit. I must not forget a pretty
incident that occurred at the Adelphi. It was in a
version of the ' Christmas Carol,' and on the table was
a supper a veritable supper with a genuine roast
goose. It was remarked that the little girl who acted
Tiny Tim possessed powers of demolition out of all
proportion to her avoirdupois, and she was curiously
observed. With a dexterity equal to Kellar's, she was
seen to transfer a leg, a wing, and other tidbits to the
pockets of her pants ; but when she confessed they
282 MR. J. L. TOOLE.
were secreted for a half-starved and bedridden little
sister, deep sympathy went along with the goose and
stuffing. When Toole told Dickens the story " Bless
her," he said, " she deserved the whole bird ! "
GEORGE FAWCETT ROWE, in the New York World,
March 7, 1886.
MR. LESTER WALLACK.
The " Mr. Lester " of the long ago
Is prince of light comedians even now.
Albeit years will do what they are bid,
" Time writes no wrinkle " that may not be hid.
And so there still survive the handsome face,
.The voice of music and the step of grace,
The play of wit ; the gesture eloquent,
The charm of blended mirth and sentiment ;
The speech refined, the easy elegance,
The fine resource, the swift intelligence,
All these remain, as salient as of old,
And long in stage tradition will be told.
Though Percy Ardent now is lost to sight,
And Harry Dornton is forgotten quite,
Those youthful heroes live and breathe to-day
In Captain Absolute and Elliott Gray.
Never can lag superfluous on the stage
This famous son of honored lineage.
Long be the day when Time his debt shall claim,
And Lester Wallack leave to tasting fame.
WILLIAM L. KEESE.
IK \V.\I i
A* the Prince of \\ '.]< - in
MR. LESTER WALLACK.
It is seldom that an actor can look back to such a
dramatic lineage as that of John Lester Wallack.
On the maternal side he would naturally inherit the
sensitive, sprightly temperament, the romantic fancy,
the tender heart and the personal elegance and dash
that are characteristic of the Celtic nature at its best.
In the grandson of " Irish Johnston " these qualities
would be expected ; and those who know Mr. Wal-
lack, whether as actor or man, are aware that he
possesses them. On the paternal side his inheritance
was even richer in the attributes that constitute a
sturdy and brilliant character, a commanding mind,
and a noble person. His father was, assuredly, a
great actor, in both comedy and tragedy, but espe-
cially in comedy. His paternal grandfather, Wil-
liam Wallack, was distinguished on the stage, both
as a singer and a comedian (his impersonation of the
English sailor was famous, and the popular nautical
song entitled, ' Bound 'Prentice to a Waterman "
was written expressly for him to sing) ; while his
paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Field, was so good
an actress that she had played in association with
<:k. John Lester Wallack, eldest child of James
William Wallack, the celebrated founder of Wallack's
Theatre, was born in New York, on Jan. i, 1820, but
in his infancy was taken to the home of his parents,
286 MR. LESTER WALLACK.
in London for the elder Wallack had not yet settled
in America and there he was reared, and there he
passed his youth and received his education. The
profession chosen for him was the army ; but, after
fitting himself for entrance on a military career, and
after receiving a commission, he became discouraged
in viewing the crowded state of the service, and at
length yielded to the earnest request of his mother
that he would relinquish this pursuit. He had been
about to join the army in India ; but instead of this
he crossed over to Dublin and went upon the stage.
His early ambition as an actor was to emulate Tyrone
Power and enact Irish gentlemen in comedy and also
in the rattling Irish farces which then were popular.
His first regular professional appearance was made at
Dublin, as Don Pedro in ' Much Ado About Nothing,'
and in that city he remained for two seasons. He was
about twenty-four years old when he first appeared,
and he was accounted one of the handsomest young
fellows of the day. From Dublin he drifted to Edin-
burgh, and at length, on Nov. 26, 1846, he came out
in London. His appearance was made at the Hay-
market, under Benjamin Webster's management.
There he was seen by an American manager's agent,
who had come over to London to engage actors for
the Broadway Theatre, New York, and by him he
was engaged and brought back to America in 1847.
It was in the old Broadway Theatre, and on the
opening night of its first season, that Mr. Wallack
made his first appearance in America. That theatre
stood in Broadway, on the East Side, between Pearl
Street and Anthony Street, the latter being now called
Worth Street. The proprietor was Alvah Mann.
MR. LESTER WALLACK. 287
The acting manager was George H. Barrett. This
house was opened on Sept. 27, 1847, with the ' School
for Scandal ' and * Used Up.' [It had a career of ten
years and a half, closing on April 2, 1858, with Shak-
spere's ' Antony and Cleopatra/ in which the two
great parts were acted by Edward Eddy and Mme.
Ponisi.] In the first company were Henry Wallack
(Lester's uncle, the father of James \V. Wallack, jr.),
George Barrett, Rose Telbin, Fanny Wallack, Mrs.
Winstanley, Mrs. Watts, Mr. Vache, Mr. H. Lynne
and Mr. J. M. Dawson, together with others of
excellence and worthy distinction. W. R. Blake
joined it later, and was the stage manager. It was a
remarkable company. Mr. Wallack then, and for a
long time afterward, acted under the name of " Mr.
Lester." The first character that he represented
here was Sir Charles Coldstream in * Used Up.' The
second was the Viscount de Ligny in the ' Captain of
the Watch.' They never have had a better repre-
sentative. Mr. Wallack is pre-eminent, beyond
rivalry, in precisely the field of polished elegance of
manner, cool repose of temperament, and easy and
incessant brilliancy of style denoted in these parts.
The career of Lester Wallack on the American
stage has (1886) extended over a period of thirty,
nine years. When he made his first appearance in
New York he was in his twenty-eighth year. Prior to
the establishment of " Wallack's Theatre," he acted
in the Broadway Theatre, the Bowery Theatre. Bur-
ton's Theatre, Niblo's Garden and Brougham's
Lyceum. His first appearance in the old Bowery
Theatre, with which house his name is associated
in the memory of many old residents of New York,
288 MR. LESTER WALLACE.
was made as Don Ccesar de Bazan, on Sept. 17, 1849 '
and there he participated, with great success, in
various melodramas. His first performance of
D'Artagnan was given at the Bowery, in a play that
he himself had made, upon the basis of Dumas'
romance. In 1850 he joined Burton's Theatre, which
then had taken the lead in New York theatrical life
with a company that included Burton, Blake, George
Jordan, Humphrey Bland, Tom Johnston, Mrs.
Russell (now Mrs. Hoey), Mrs. Skerrett, Mrs.
Hughes, Miss Hill (afterwards Mrs. W. E. Burton),
Julia Daly, and Lizzie Weston (afterwards the wife of
A. H. Davenport, and now the widow of Charles
Mathews). Burton's Theatre in Chambers Street a
famous place had been " Palmo's Opera House."
Burton opened it, under the name of "Burton's
Theatre," on July 10, 1848. Lester was, during that
season, at the Broadway, where he appeared Nov. 6,
1848. In 1849 ne acted at the Bowery. On Sept. 2,
1850, he played in Burton's Theatre, and on May 3,
1851, he was at Niblo's, under Burton's management,
that actor having come up from Chambers Street with
his famous company, and augmented it ; so that now
it consisted of Burton, Henry Placide, W. R. Blake,
John Lester, John Sefton, Humphrey Bland, J. D.
Grace, Holman, Skerrett, Moore, J. Dunn, Mrs. J. W.
Wallack, Mrs. Hughes, Mrs. Skerrett, Mrs. Sefton,
Mrs. Holman and Miss Hill (who was soon announced
as Burton's wife). In the summer of 1851 Lester
visited Europe, but he returned in the fall, and on
Oct. 20 re-appeared at Burton's Theatre, acting
When the elder Wallack had founded Wallack's
MR. LESTER WALLACK. 289
Theatre, Lester, of course, associated his fortunes,
finally and for life, with that house. Wallack's
Theatre, at Broome Street and Broadway, was opened
with Morton's comedy of the * Way to Get Married.'
Lester played Tangent, and he was stage manager of
the new theatre. The company included, besides his
father and himself, Blake, John Brougham, Charles
Walcot, Charles Kemble Mason, Charles Hale, F.
Chippendale, Malvina Pray (now Mrs. W. J. Florence),
Miss J. Gould, Mrs. Stephens, Mrs. C. Hale, Mrs.
Brougham, Mrs. Cramer, and, at first, Laura Keene,
who, unfortunately for herself, soon seceded. The
Broadway and Broome Street Wallack's lasted from
Sept. 8, 1852, till Sept. 25, 1861, when Wallack's was
opened (with Tom Taylor's play of the * New Presi-
dent,' in which Lester acted De la Rampc), at the
northeast corner of Broadway and Thirteenth Street.
On Christmas Day, 1864, the elder Wallack died, and
Lester Wallack inherited the theatre. Years passed
away, and borne along upon the tide which has been
so steadily advancing northward in Manhattan Island
Wallack's Theatre was opened on Jan. 4, 1882,
where it now stands, at the northeast corner of Broad-
way and Thirtieth Street. At each of these places
Mr. Wallack's brilliant powers have been exerted, not
less to the public delight than to noble illustration of
the actor's art. Down to 1861 he maintained in the
play-bills the style of " Mr. Lester " ; but when the
theatre was opened at Thirteenth Street he was
announced for the first time as Lester Wallack.
Mr. Wallack is the author of several plays, each of
which, when first presented, met with unequivocal suc-
cess, and three of which have several times been pros-
290 MR. LESTER WALLACK.
perously revived. The following is a list of his dra-
matic productions :
1. The ' Three Guardsmen.' Produced at the
Bowery Theatre, Nov. 12, 1849.
2. The ' Four Musketeers.' Produced at the
Bowery Theatre, Dec. 24, 1849.
3. The * Fortune of War.' Produced at Brougham's
Lyceum, May 14, 1851.
4. ' Two to One ; or, The King's Visit.' Produced
at Wallack's Theatre, Dec. 6, 1854.
5. ' First Impressions.' Produced at Wallack's
Theatre, Sep. 17, 1856.
6. The ' Veteran.' Produced at Wallack's Theatre,
Jan. 17, 1859.
7. ' Central Park.' Produced at Wallack's Theatre,
1861. Revived, Nov., 1862.
8. ' Rosedale.' Produced at Wallack's Theatre,
Sept. 30, 1863.
The * Guardsmen ' and the * Musketeers ' are melo-
dramas, based on the well-known romances of Alex-
andre Dumas. A story by James Grant, entitled
' Frank Hilton, or the Queen's Own,' furnished the
basis of the ' Veteran ' (in which old Delmar was the
last part ever studied by the elder Wallack). ' Rose-
dale ' was suggested by Captain Hamley's novel, in
Blackwood? s Magazine, of 'Lady Lee's Widowhood.'
Something of the same skill that makes this come-
dian's art so clear, crisp, and glittering so sharp
in outline, so delicate in spirit, and so emphatic in
effect is needful to the writer who would do even
approximate justice to his brilliant delineations.
Ordinary descriptive phrases are inadequate to con-
vey a just impression of the quality that makes his
MR. LESTER WALLACK. 291
acting pre-eminently the best of its kind. What Mr.
Wallack preserves in comedy is that indescribable
beauty which as sometimes in the odor of a flower,
or in the glint of the autumn sunshine on the fading
woods, or the sad murmur of waves on a summer
beach touches the heart and charms the mind with a
sense of pleasure neither to be analyzed nor explained.
Many causes contribute to this effect. His precision,
his mastery of light and shade, his fine use of inflec-
tion, his rippling humor, his undertone of earnest
sentiment, his grace of manner, his polished method
of dealing with situations and with language all
combine to give his portraitures the certainty of life.
But, over that reality, an interior grace casts a
glamour of refinement that for no assignable reason
makes the mind content, serene, and happy in a
sense of absolute and finished grace. Within this
peculiar realm of light comedy and dealing with the
evanescent, the fanciful, the romantic, the vivacious
things symbolized in a butterfly's wing or the scent of
a spring breeze Mr. Wallack is an absolute master.
My first memory of New York life, from a theatrical
point of view, dates back to the year 1848. The late
George Barrett, an American manager, was sent over
to London by a Colonel Mann to engage artists for
what was to be known as the " New Broadway Thea-
tre," then in course of construction on the corner of
Broadway and Anthony Street, I think but never
mind the locality. It is now occupied by stores. I
was one of the number of actors who were secured,
292 MR. LESTER WALLACK.
and opened here as Sir Charles Coldstrcam in ' Used
Up,' subsequently playing all the light comedy parts
and occasionally supporting Mr. Forrest, Mr. Ander-
son and other famous stars of the day. For reasons
of my own at that time I assumed the name of " Mr.
John Lester." During our second season I think it
was our second season William Rufus Blake was the
manager, and the pecuniary results were not altogether
profitable. One morning he came to me with the
play adapted from Dumas' novel, now known as
' Monte Cristo,' written, I believe, by a Mr. Andrews,
and said, " Here, John, this is a new departure, but
you must undertake it. The success of the theatre
depends on the success of this piece." I argued, but
he insisted and won. The play ran for more than a
hundred nights, became the town talk, saved the
theatre, helped my reputation wonderfully, and for
the time being was, to use a vulgarism, "the rage."
After this, receiving a tempting offer from Mr. Ham-
blin, of the Bowery Theatre, whose aim it then was
to attract the fashionable people to that portion of
the city, I made an engagement with him. Besides
myself, the company embraced my cousin, James
Wallack, Jr., his wife, our present John Gilbert, and
others who have since become more or less prominent
in the profession. There I again happened to be
lucky, and made a hit with my adaptation of the
' Three Guardsmen,' following it at the request of
Mr. Hamblin with the sequel, the ' Four Musketeers.'
The major part of the season was absorbed by the
performance of these plays, and the purpose of the
management was in a great measure subserved. Soon
after these successes Mr. William E. Burton, who was
MR. LESTER WALLACfC. 293
running the Chambers Street Theatre, which adjoined
the present downtown wholesale branch of A. T.
Stewart's establishment, sent for me and offered the
most flattering terms for an engagement. I accepted,
and there laid the foundation of the good fortune that
has since waited upon me in the presentation of the
old English comedies. Among the company were
William Rufus Blake, Mrs. John Hoey (then Mrs.
Russell), Mary Taylor, the present Mrs. Charles
Mathews (then Miss Weston), Henry Placide and
LESTER WALLACK, reported in New York Herald,
November 21, 1880.
Mr. Burton was very fond of Lester Wallack in
those days. He admired him very much. " That
young man is full of dramatic instinct, he has the
talent of the family," he would say ; " but he is going
to be ruined by his beauty." " Why ? " said his inter-
locutor, " do you think he is vain ? " " No," said
Burton, " but the women go wild about him, and he
will think beauty is enough."
He lived long enough to see Mr. Wallack conquer
the disadvantage of his beauty and become a first-
rate artist. I remember when he put the handsome
young Lester into blonde wig and made him play
Slender. I think the way he did it gave Burton great
Mr. Lester's Claude Melnotte filled the town with
sighs. No successes of the English actors of this last
winter have been more complete. Young ladies wore
the tricolor in their bonnets, hid his picture in their
choicest caskets, and treasured his image in their
294 MR LESTER WALLACE.
hearts. I remember nothing more gallant, more per-
fect, than this piece of acting. His attitude, as he
is discovered in the morning, lying at the foot of the
stairs, watching the door of his beloved, was the very
embodiment of the lover's ardor. It was a devotee
watching at the shrine of his patron saint ; it was the
man's despair, the poet's dream. Young ladies went
home with new requirements in the way of devotion.
Lovers had to go to Wallack's Theatre and study up.
Laura Keene's Pauline was very justly admired ; she
gave the gardener's son an excuse for his dishonest
folly. Lester, in his subsequent dress as the prince
and the officer was pronounced " too handsome to
live," but fortunately he survived it.
It seems absurd, after the subsequent successes of
this favorite actor, to go back to this youthful perform-
ance, but it has left an indelible impression on my
memory. It was very full of the ardor of youth.
The early morning gilded it with its beams. It was
love in its choicest moment ; it was like the first kiss.
M. E. W. SHERWOOD, in the New York Times,
January 20, 1875.
Then  in early manhood the unrestrained
alertness and vivacity of youth were his in bounteous
measure. He was in the Percy Ardent and Young
Rapid period, and had not yet entered the corridor of
years, at the far end of which lurked the blas figure
of ' My Awful Dad.' We remember him in so many
parts which in all likelihood he will never play again.
There was Rover in ' Wild Oats ' that buskined
hero with his captivating nonchalance dashed with
tragic fire ; his tender conversion of Lady Amaranth,
MR. LESTER WALLACK. 295
played, be it said, with all proper demureness by Miss
Lizzie Weston ; his triumph over Ephraim Smooth
one of Blake's instances of versatility in a scene rich
with the spirit of frolic abandon ; and his humorous
tilt with Sir George Thunder a belligerent sea-dog,
played by Burton as he alone could play it an episode
replete with comic power ; all these contributed to a
performance which we revelled in many and many a
night, and the memory of it now as we write draws
near in a succession of vivid pictures. There was
Tangent in the * Way to Get Married,' a capital part
in Lester's hands, blending manly action and debonair
grace with that easy transition to any farcical expres-
sion, a favorite and effective dramatic habit of this
actor and given full play in that memorable prison
scene in the comedy, when, a victim to adverse cir-
cumstances, and actually fettered, he makes felicitous
use of his pocket handkerchief to hide his mortifica-
tion and his chains from the eyes of the heroine dur-
ing her visit of sympathy. Percy Ardent in the
' West End ' was another of his characteristic assump-
tions in those days ; so also were Young Rapid in
* A Cure for the Headache,' and the Hon. Tom Shuffle-
ton in ' John Bull,' and indeed Burton's frequent
revivals of the old comedies would have been a diffi-
cult matter without Lester, for in every one of them a
light comedy part is distinctly drawn, and unquestion-
ably the rarest among all dramatic artists is the first-
class light comedian
The versatility of Lester, so conspicuous through-
out his career, was early made apparent. We remem-
ber him as Steer forth, as Sir Andrew Aguechtek and
Captain Murphy Maguire ; and though in the last he
296 MR. LESTER WALLACK.
acted under the shadow of Brougham's rich imper-
sonation, still he was a delightful Captain. We saw
him as the young lover in ' Paul Pry ' ; as Frederick
in the ' Poor Gentleman,' and many more ; besides
those parts, such as Young Marlow, Charles Surface
and Captain Absolute, which need no reference, since
they remain ripe and finished conceptions in his pres-
ent repertory. But of all his delineations of the past,
that which we linger on with the greatest pleasure, and
which affected us most, was his Harry Dornton in
the 'Road to Ruin/ From the moment he appears
beneath his father's window, importunate for admit-
tance, he awakens an interest and sympathy that fol-
low him to the end. The part abounds in touches of
Lesterian hue and flavor.
Wm. L. Keese : 'Life of Burton/ pp. 67-9, 71-2.
It has frequently been remarked that one of the
chief charms of Lester Wallack's acting is the exceed-
ingly cool manner which he is able to assume. Those
who know him in private life need not be told that it
costs him no effort to assume that which is inborn.
As an evidence of his natural coolness the following
is of interest :
A year or two ago, while he was playing in the
drama of ' Home/ and just after appearing in the
disguise of Colonel White, and being ordered from
the house by his father, who does not know him, and
even while he was engaged in repeating the lines of
his part expressing disgust at this treatment, a number
of persons in the audience shouted excitedly :
" Look behind you ! Look behind you ! "
Mr. Wallack turned quietly and noticed that on the
MR. LESTER WALLACK. 297
stage mantel-piece the candle had burned down
almost to the socket, and had ignited the paper which
was wrapped around it. This was in a blaze, and a
curtain, which hung above it, was on the point of
taking fire. The danger was imminent, but the actor
was equal to the occasion. Without the least show of
excitement, he drew the candlestick away from the
curtain, and held it while the burning wax fell fast
upon his unprotected hand, and all the time continued
to repeat the lines of his part, thus reassuring the
alarmed audience. When the danger was past, to
loud applause, he said simply, of course interlining
the words :
" Well, the ' Governor ' has turned me out of his
house, for which I am exceedingly sorry, but I at
least have the satisfaction of knowing that I have
been instrumental in saving the establishment from
destruction by fire."
HOWARD CARROLL : ' Twelve Famous Americans.'
Now, the artist who really effected this great work
for the stage was, as his father was ever happy and
proud to acknowledge, Mr. Lester Wallack. If he
did not lay the granite block, he wielded the silver
trowel. His father's health was at the time much
broken, and, though his experience and taste lent
direction, and his unflagging spirit confidence and
strength, the work was done by Mr. Lester Wallack,
and it may be useful for the young and rising mem-
bers of the profession to know that those honors
which Mr. Lester Wallack wears now with such a
graceful ease were earned by hard and unremitting
298 MR. LESTER WALLACE.
toil. The popular error, which has attracted too
many idle young men to the profession, that actors
earn their money easily, and that no labor attends
their vocation, is one of the gayest delusions of the
day, from which not a few have found unpleasant
Mr. Lester Wallack has often, when receiving but
a small salary, after playing two parts in Southamp-
ton one night, at the close of the performance had to
study a new part travelling in the stage at night, and
be at rehearsal at Winchester next morning ; and we
have known him for a considerable portion of his
career to rise at four and five in the morning and
devote several hours, the only ones he could snatch,
to study, for he really studied. Later in the day,
four hours were occupied at rehearsal ; and, after a
hasty dinner, the hours from six to eleven were occu-
pied in the severest mental and bodily strain. The
career of D'Israeli, perhaps the most brilliant actor of
our time, can furnish no more vigorous proof of long
and well-sustained labor
Mr. Lester Wallack's greatest characteristic as an
artist is, perhaps, his versatility. For the art of
entering into the peculiarities of a variety of charac-
ters he is without a rival. What general expression
is large enough to take in such a round of characters,
in each of which he is without a rival, as Mercutio,
Benedick, Orlando, Cassia, Harry Dornton, the Stran-
g&r, St. Pierre, the Brigand, Evelyn, Don Felix,
Horace De Beauval, Claude Melnotte (which he has
played a greater number of successive nights than
any actor but Macready), the Rover, Wildrake, in the
* Love Chase,' and a hundred others, in light farce
MR. LESTER WALLACK. 299
and vaudeville, which he has made peculiarly his
own. Most other actors have a fixed routine, or, if
the routine be not so fixed in itself, their peculiarities
produce a resemblance between the characters they
represent. But in a new part Mr. Wallack is a new
individual ; the outer and inner man are completely
changed, and the transmigration of souls could not
convey more forcibly the putting on of a new soul
and body. He has been the original and has made
the characters of Monte Chris to, Elliott Grey, Captain
of the Watch, Badger, in the ' Poor of New York '
[Randal], McGregor, in * Jessie Brown,' Horace De
Beauval, in the ' Poor Young Man,' Chalcotte, in
' Ours,' besides a multitude of others
As an artist, Mr. Wallack possesses the advantage
of a singularly handsome presence, which, if not
absolutely essential to success, contributes certainly
largely to it. Lord Byron predicted early his father's
success on account of his natural style of acting, and
Mr. Wallack belongs to his father's school. It is a
great mistake to suppose that the dolce far niente, do-
nothing, drawly style of acting, which is at present
called ' natural acting,' is really so. It may be a
copy of the modern style, but the style itself is arti-
ficial, and not natural. ' Natural acting ' has been
justly defined as the depicting of character and
emotion by gesture and expression the result of an
impulse of the feeling controlled by the judgment,
and directed into the right channel by previous study.
Conventional acting is an artificial substitution of
mannerism for the spontaneous prompting of momen-
The present race of actors may be divided into
300 MR. LESTER WALLACK.
two classes, such of them, at least, as deserve the
name, and they are not many, who attempt any thing
more than to learn the words set down for them to
speak : those who study with what tone, look, and
action to accompany their part, and those who study
the whole play, and know what to do when they are
not speaking. To these latter few Mr. Wallack
belongs. Acting is an art requiring imaginative
powers as well as mimetic skill ; lively sympathy with
the character, which Mr. Wallack has, is far more
essential to a fine performance than mimicry of indi-
vidual peculiarities, which Mr. Sothern possesses.
Mr. Wallack really enters into the part, and some of
his charming bits of business in comedy do not even
seem to be tricks of trade, but things to which he is
propelled by an instinctive propensity the innatus
amor habendi of Virgil's bees.
The Galaxy, October, 1868.
Adams, Edwin. 65,118.
Adams, W. Davenport. Quoted, 176.
Aide*, Hamilton. 181.
Albery, James. 28, 270.
Aldridge, Ira. 177.
Anderson, James. 179, 292.
ANDERSON, MARY, Biographical Sketch of. i-8.
Angelo, Michael. 194.
Archer, William, Biographical Sketches by. 2i-33t
" Quoted, 16-18, 151, 259-60.
Astley, Philip. 82.
Badeau, Adam. Quoted, 68.
BANCROFT, SQUIRE BANCROFT, Biographical Sketch
Mentioned, 181, 254.
BANCROFT, MRS. (Miss Marie Wilson), Biographi-
cal Sketch of. 19-36.
" Mentioned, 181.
Barrett, George H. 286, 288, 291.
BARRETT, LAWRENCE, Biographical Sketch of. 37-54.
" " Biographical Sketch by. 67-76.
Mentioned, 62, 118, 233.
Barrett, Wilson. 270.
Bateman, H. L. 135.
Bateman, Isabel. 254.
Bateman, Kate. 179, 220.
Beaconsfield, Lord. 298.
Becker, Bernard Henry. 186-8.
Beere, Mrs. Bernard. 29.
Hell, Edw. Hamilton, Biographical Sketch by. 96-
Benda, Felix. 197, 199, 202.
Benda, Josef. 197.
Benda, Mme. 195, 196, 197.
Benda, Simon. 197.
Bennoch, Francis. Quoted, 2.
Bernhardt, Sarah. 12, 192,209, 221.
Blake, Wm. Rufus. 156, 287, 288, 289, 292, 293.
Blanchard, E. L. 272.
Bland, Humphrey. 288.
Boker, Geo. H. 43.
BOOTH EDWIN, Biographical Sketch of. 55-76.
" " Mentioned, 5, 39, 40, 41, 45, 46,
96-7, 100, 101, 102, 142-3, 213-14.
Booth, Mrs. Edwin (Mary Devlin). 61-63.
Booth, Mrs. Edwin (Mary McVicker). 65.
Booth, Junius Brutus. 57-61, 67, 68, 99, 100, 118.
Booth, Mrs. Junius Brutus. 57, 69.
Booth, J. B. Jr. 60-1, 68.
Booth, John Wilkes. 69.
BOUCICAULT, DION, Biographical Sketch of. 77-94.
" " Mentioned, 26, 102, 119, 134,
157, i5 8 . 179, 167.
" " Quoted, 168-70.
BOUCICAULT, MRS DION (Agnes Robertson). Bio-
graphical Sketch of. 77-94.
Bozenta, Count. 199-200, 2001, 203-4.
BOZENTA, COUNTESS (See Mme. Modjeska).
BRODRIBB, JOHN HENRY (See Henry Irving).
Brohan, Augustine. 190.
Brohan, Suzanne. 190.
Brooke, G. V. 23, 179.
Brough, Wm. 21, 22, 26, 267, 277, 280.
Brougham, John. 115, 118-22, 218, 287, 289, 290, 296.
Brougham, Mrs. John (Miss Nelson). 119-22, 289.
Browning, Robert. 50.
Buckstone, J. B. 178, 180, 233.
Bulwer-Lytton. 47, 70, 89.
Bunner, H. C, Biographical Sketch by. 154-160.
Burbage, Richard. 38.
Burke, Chas. 150, 158.
Burke, lone. 216.
Burke, Thos. 156, note.
Burnand, F. C. 29, 106, 270.
Burnett, Mrs. F. H. 183.
Burton, Wm. E. 41, 87, 115, 118, 287, 288, 292, 293,
' 2 95-
Burton, Mrs. Wm. E. (Jane Hill). 288.
Byron, Henry J. 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 105, i49-5
268, 269, 270, 276, 281.
Byron, Lord. 299.
Calegi, Mme. 201, 202.
Carlyle, Thos. 119.
Carr, J. Comyns. 183.
Quoted, 148-9, 189-90, 262-3.
Carroll, Howard. Quoted, 296-7.
Cecil, Arthur. 28, 29.
Celeste, Mme. 22.
Centlivre, Mrs. 50.
Chanfrau, F. S. 156.
Chapman, Wm. 158.
Che'ri, Rose. 222.
Chippendale, F. 289.
Chippendale, Wm. 115.
Chlapowski, Charles Bozenta. 199-200, 200-1, 203-4.
Gibber, Colley. 100, 139.
Clarke, Asia Booth. Quoted. 67-8, 68-9, 69-70, 100.
Clarke, H. Saville. Quoted. 127, 240.
Clarke, John. 109.
CLARKE, JOHN S., Biographical Sketch of. 95-112.
" " Mentioned, 63.
Clarke, Stephen. 99.
Claxton, Kate. 253.
Clayton, John. 270.
Clemens, Samuel L. (" Mark Twain"). 231, 234,
Coghlan, Charles F. 27, 181, 182, 253, 270.
Collins, Mabel. Quoted, 210.
Collins, Wilkie. Quoted, 27, 213.
Compton, Henry. 145.
Cone, Helen Gray. Quoted, 248.
Conway, F. B. 116.
Cook, Button. Quoted, 257-9
Coquelin, B. C. 165, 190, 223.
Couldock, C. W. 214.
Crabbe, George. 82.
Crabtree, Charlotte (" Lotta"). 118.
Cramer, Mrs. 289.
Curtis, George Wm. Quoted, 91-4, 101, 149, 164-5.
Cushman, Charlotte. 3, 4, 5, 10-1 1, 41, 50, 115, 134, 150.
Daly, Augustin. 216, 218, 219, 220.
Daly, Julia. 288.
Darley, Felix O'C. 162.
Davenport, A. H. 288.
Davenport, Edwin L. 41, 63.
Davenport, Fanny. 217.
Davenport, Lizzie Weston (Mrs. Chas. J. Mathews).
288, 293, 295.
Davis, L. Clark. Quoted, 166.
Dawson, J. M. 287.
Dean, Julia. 116.
Delaunay, L. A. 190.
Delpit, Albert. 182.
D'Ennery, Adolph. 184.
Descle"e, Aimee. 221, 226, 254.
Deslandes, Raymond. 183.
DeWalden, T. B. 4.
Devlin, Mary (Mrs. Edwin Booth). 61, 63.
Dickens, Charles. 30, 102, 122, 127, 172, 214, 268,
270, 273, 282.
" " Quoted, 22.
Diderot, Denis. 223.
Dietz, Linda. 216.
Dillon, Charles. 21.
Dinsmore, George. 234.
Disraeli, Benj. 298.
Dobson, Austin. Quoted, 38.
Drew, John (Elder). 100.
Drew, Mrs. John. 118, 156.
Dubourg, A. W. 179.
Dumas, Alexandra (Younger). 199, 226, 288, 290,
Dunn, James. 119, 288.
Eddy, Edward. 287.
Edwards, Sutherland. 183.
Elizabeth, Queen. 156.
Ellsler, John. 213.
Emery, John. 112.
Ethel, Agnes. 216.
Eytinge, Rose. 205, 206.
Farjeon, B. L. 158.
Farjeon, Mrs. B. L. (Margaret Jane Jefferson). 158.
Farnie, H. B. 105.
Farrar, J. M. Quoted, io-n.
Faucit, Helen (Lady Martin). 134, 179.
" " Quoted, 17.
Fawcett, Edgar. Quoted, 56.
Fechter, Charles. 107, 137, 179, 237.
Feuillet, Octave. 134.
Field, Elizabeth. 285.
Fisher, Charles. 9.
Fisk, James. 242.
Fiske, Stephen. Quoted, 279.
Fitzgerald, Percy. Quoted, 109.
Fletcher, John. 156.
FLORENCE, WM. J., Biographical Sketch of. 113-130.
" " Mentioned, 279.
FLORENCE, MRS. WM. J. (Malvina Pray). Biograph-
ical Sketch of. 113-130.
" " " Mentioned, 289.
Forrest, Edwin. 45, 62, 116, 118, 150, 292.
Forrest, Mrs. Edwin (Catherine Sinclair). 118.
Forster, John. 22.
Garrett, Thomas E. Quoted, 114.
Garrick, David. 146, 150, 155, 285.
"George Sand." 214.
Gilbert, John. 292.
Gilbert, VV. S. 14-15, 27, 180, 181, 182, 219.
Gilder, Jeanncttc Z., Biographical Sketch by. 195-
Gilder, Richard Watson. Quoted, 194, 207.
Gill, Wm. 235.
Gillette, W. H. 183.
Godfrey, G. W. 181, 182.
Goethe. 197, 201.
Gordon, Walter. 268.
Got, F. J. E. 165, 190.
Gould, Jay. 242.
Gould, Miss J. 289.
Grace, J. D. 288.
Grant, James. 290.
Griffin, Gerald. 81.
GRIMSTON, WM. HUNTER (See W. H. Kendal).
Grundy, Sydney. 180, 183.
Hackett, J. H. 41, 158.
Hale, Charles. 289.
Hale, Mrs. Charles. 289.
Halevy, Ludovic. 29.
Halliday, Andrew. 23, 178.
Hamblin, Thos. 292.
Hamley, E. B. 290.
Hading, Jane. 226.
Hardy, Thos. 183.
Hare, John. 26, 30, 181, 182, 183, 184.
Harkins, I). H. 215.
Harrigan, Edward. 218.
Hart, Tony. 218.
Harte, Bret. 224.
Heller, Robert. 206.
Henley, W. E. Quoted, 190-2.
Hill, Barton. 205.
Hill, Jane (Mrs. Wm. E. Burton). 288.
Hoey, Mrs. John (Josephine Shaw, Mrs. Russell). 288.
Hogarth, Wm. 214, 270.
Holcroft, Thomas. 160.
Holland, George. 150.
Hollingshead, John. 180, 270.
Holman, George. 288.
Holman, Mrs. George. 288.
Honey, George. 26.
Horton, Priscilla. 22.
Howard, Bronson. 217.
Howe, Henry. 143.
Howells, W. D. 43, 49-50, 236-7.
Hughes, Mrs. 288.
Hugo, Victor. 51, 52.
Hutton, Laurence, Biographical Sketch by. 115-18.
" " Quoted, 90-1, 119-22, 170-1.
lasinski, J. S. 199, 201.
Ireland, Joseph N. Quoted, 101.
IRVING, HENRY, Biographical Sketch of. 131-152.
" " Mentioned, 30, 42, 46, 118, 127, 192,
225, 251-2, 253, 254, 255, 259,260,
" " Quoted, 276-8.
Irving, Washington. 158, 161.
" " Quoted, 1 60.
Isherwood, William. 158.
Jackson, Gen. Andrew. 159.
Jackson, T. J. (" Stonewall Jackson "). 159.
James, C. J. 24.
Jefferson, Joseph [1774-1832]. 155.
Jefferson, Joseph [1804-1842]. 155, 156, 160.
JEFFERSON, JOSEPH [1829 ], Biographical Sketch
" " Mentioned, 81, 91, 214.
Jefferson, Mrs. Joseph (Margaret C. Lockyer). 156,
Jefferson, Mrs. Joseph (Miss Warren). 158.
Jefferson, Thomas (Actor). 155.
Jefferson, Wm. Winter. 158.
Jerrold, Douglas. 182.
Jessop, George //"., Biographical Sketch by. 231-236.
" Mentioned, 118, 235.
" " " Quoted, 204-7.
Jewett, Sara. 217.
Johnston, Eliza. 271.
Johnston, Henry Erskine. 285.
Johnston, T. B. 288.
Jordan, George. 288.
Kean, Charles. 23, 64, 80, 141, 150, 179, 252, 258.
Kean, Mrs. Charles. 79, 80.
Kean, Edmund. 55, 68, 146, 150.
Kearney, Mr. 99.
Keene, Laura. 157, 160, 232, 289, 294.
Keese, Wm. L. Biographical Sketch by. 3-8.
Quoted, 78, 87, 96, 154, 229, 284, 294-6.
Kemble, Charles. 21.
Kemble, J. P. 150.
KENDAL, W. H., Biographical Sketch of. 175-192.
" " Mentioned, 28, 30.
KENDAL, MRS. W. H. (Miss Madge Robertson),
Biographical Sketch of. 175-192.
" " Mentioned, 28, 36, 33, 221.
Kervany, V. 183.
King, John. 99.
Knight, Joseph. Quoted, 274-6.
Knowles, J. Sheridan. 45, 89.
Kotzebue, Augustus Von. 97.
Laffan, Wm. M., Biographical Sketch by. 38-43.
Lamb, Charles. 174.
Lancaster, E. A. 220.
Langtry, Mrs. 29.
Lee, Sidney. Quoted, 16.
Lemaitre, Frederick. 107.
LESTER, MR. (See Lester Wallack).
Lewis, James. 216.
Lincoln, Abram. 68, 159.
Lincoln, Claire. Quoted, 34-6.
Lind, Jenny, 101.
Liston, John. no.
Lloyd, D. D. 235.
Lockyer, Margaret Clements (Mrs. Joseph Jefferson).
Lodge, Thomas. 15.
44 Lotta," (Charlotte Crabtree). 118.
Lynne, Henry. 287.
Macaulay, Bernard. 5.
Macready, Wm. C. 51, 55, 137, 150, 298.
Magnus, Julian. 220.
Mann, Alvah. 286-7, 2 9 l -
Marais, M. 270.
" Mark Twain " (S. L. Clemens). 231, 234, 236, 238.
Marston, Dr. Westland. 178.
Afar fin, Benjamin Ellis, Biographical Sketch by.
Martin, Lady (See Helen Faucit).
Mason, Charles Kemble. 289.
Mathews, C. J. 33, 41, 134, 173-4, 179.
Mathews, Mrs. C. J. (Lizzie Weston, Mrs. A. H.
Davenport). 288, 293, 295.
Matthews, Brander. Quoted, 165, 238-9.
McCullough, John. 39, 41, 45, 46, 118, 203, 205,
McVicker, Mary (Mrs. Edwin Booth). 65.
Meilhac, Henri. 29.
Merrivale, Herman. 29, 268.
MODJESKA, HELENA, Biographical Sketch of. 193-
" " Mentioned, 29.
Modjeska, Ralph. 198, 203-4.
Modrzegeroski. 197-8, 199.
Moliere. 190, 201.
Montepin, X. de. 183.
Montgomery, George Edgar, Biographical Sketch by,
Quoted, 45-6, 228.
Montgomery, Walter. 177.
Moore, John. 288.
Morley, Henry. Quoted, 161.
MORRIS, CLARA, Biographical Sketch of. 211-228.
Morton, J. Maddison. 270.
Mosenthal, S.H. 179.
Mossop, Henry. 150.
Mowatt, Anna Cora. 116, 232.
Murdoch, James E. 41.
Muskanoff, Gen. 201.
Neilson, Adelaide. 276.
Nisbet, J. F. 106.
Ohnet, Georges. 183.
Opida, Michael. 195-6.
Otway, Thos. 97.
Oxenford, John. 268.
Palmo, Ferdinand. 288.
Pascoe, Charles Eyre. 252.
" " " Quoted, 89, 109-u.
Paulton, Henry. 105-6.
Payne, John Howard. 45.
Pelby, Wm. 118.
Phelps, Samuel. 23, 133, 137, 145, 179.
Pinches, Dr. 133.
Pinero, A. W. 29, 182, 183.
Placide, Henry. 288, 293.
Placide, Thomas. 115.
Plessy, Arnould. 190.
Pollock, Walter Hcrries, Biographical Sketch by. 267-
" " " Quoted, 13-15, 73-5, 126, 152,
Ponisi, Mme. 287.
Poole, John. 109, 270.
Power, Tyrone. 286.
PRAY, MALVINA (See Mrs. Wm. J. Florence).
Pray, Samuel. 118.
Prinsep, Val. 181.
Proctor, Joseph. 214.
Rachel. 88, 192.
Racovitza, Countess. 205.
Rae, C. Masham. 106.
Ranken, McKee. 215.
RAYMOND JOHN T., Biographical Sketch of. 229-246.
" Mentioned, 118.
Reade, Charles. 253, 267.
Reeves, Sims. 270.
Regnier, F. J. 165.
Rice, Thomas. D. 154, 156.
Richelieu, Cardinal. 47.
ROBERTSON, AGNES (See Mrs. Dion Boucicault).
ROBERTSON, MADGE (See Mrs. W. H. Kendal).
Robertson, T. W. 20, 25, 26, 27, 30, 31, 117, 177, 178,
Robson, Frederick. 134.
Rosebery, Lord. Quoted, 273.
Rowe, George Fawcett. Quoted, 280-1.
Russell, Mrs. W. H. (See Mrs. Hoey).
Sala, George Augustus. Quoted, 46-7, 125-6.
Salvini. 225, 228.
Sand, George. 214.
Sardou, V. 28, 29, 34, 183.
Sargent, Henry J. 203, 206.
Schiller. 197, 201.
Scott, Clement. 28, 30, 182.
Scott-Siddons, Mrs. Mary F. 179.
Scott, Sir Walter. 81, 140.
Sefton, John. 288.
Sefton, Mrs. John (Mrs. Watts). 115, 287.
Sefton, Mrs. (Ann Waring, Mrs. J. W. Wallack Jr.).
Shakspere. 5, 7, 23, note, 45, 50, 64, 65, 71, 75, 96,
132, 139, 194, 197, 210, 263, 287.
Shaw, Josephine (See Mrs. Hoey).
Shelton, G. 271.
Sheridan, Gen. Philip. 159.
Sheridan, R. B. 119.
Sherwood, Mrs. M. E. W. Quoted, 71-2, 86-7, 87-8,
Simpson, Palgrave. 72-3, 181, 268.
Sinclair, Catherine (Mrs. Edwin Forrest). 118.
Skerrett, George. 288.
Skerrett, Mrs. George. 288.
Smith, Albert. 281.
Smith, E. Thayer. 180, 183.
Sothern, E. A. 24, 104, 118, 157, 178. 179, 232, 244-5,
Sprague, Elisha B. 99.
Stedman, Edmund Clarence. Quoted, 70-1, 212.
Stephens, Mrs. 289.
Stephenson, B. C. 28, 183.
Sterling, Mrs. 143, 190.
Stewart, A. T. 293.
Stuart, Clinton, Biographical Sketch by. 2i3~>*7.
Stuart, Wm. 63, 101, 107-8, 157.
Swanborough, Ada. 23, note.
Talfourd, T. N. 22, 23, 89.
Tarb, Edmond, 184.
Taylor, Mary. 115, 293.
Taylor, Tom. 83, 188, 267.
Telbin, Rose. 287.
Tennyson. 139, 142, 181, 186.
Terriss, William. 143.
TERRY, ELLEN, Biographical Sketch of. 24V-*64.
" " Mentioned, 27, 143, 192.
Terry, Kate. 258-9.
Thackeray, W. M. 34.
Thaxter, Celia. Quoted, 210.
Thoman, Jacob. 67.
Thomas, Miss C. F. (Mrs. Burke, Mrs. Jefferson).
Thompson, Lydia. 25.
Thorne, Emily (Mrs. Cavendish). 271.
Titus, Master. 156.
TOOLE, JOHN L., Biographical Sketch of. 265-282.
" " Mentioned, 21, note, 30, 118, 134.
Towsc, J. Ranken, Biographical Sketch by. 132-148.
" " Quoted, 128, 171-3, 207-8, 243-4.
Troughton, R. Z. S. 24.
Tuckerman, Henry. 69.
Tyars, F. 143.
Vache, Mr. 287.
Vandenhoff, George. 5, n.
Vernon, Mrs. 115, 119.
Walcot, Charles. 289.
Wallack, Fanny. 112, 287.
Wallack, Henry. 287.
Wallack, J \\ ( Klder). 62, 285-6, 288-9, *97-
Wallack, J. W. (Younger). 157, 287, 292.
Wallack, Mrs. J. W., Jr. (Ann Waring, MBS. Sefton).
WALLACK, LESTER, Biographical Sketch of. 283-300.
" " Mentioned, 156.
WaJUck, Wm. 285.
Ward, E. D. 271.
Waring, Ann (Mrs. Sefton, Mrs. J. W. Wallack, Jr.)
Warner, Charles Dudley. 238.
Warren, Ernest. 183.
Watts, Mrs. (See Mrs. John Sefton).
Webster, Benjamin. 22, 34-5, 134, 159, 267, 274, 286.
Wedmore, Frederick. Quoted, 188.
Weston, Lizzie (Mrs. A. H. Davenport, Mrs. C. J.
Mathews). 288, 293, 295.
Wheatleigh, Charles. 156.
Wheatley, Wm. 100.
Wigan, Alfred. 178, 268-9.
Wigan, Mrs. Alfred (Miss Pincott). 269.
Wilde, Oscar. Quoted, 264.
Williams, Barney. 101, 116.
Williams, Mrs. Barney. 101, 116.
Williams, T. H. 267.
Wills, W. G. 46, 182, 254, 260.
WILTON, MARIE (See Mrs. Bancroft).
Winstanley, Mrs. 287.
Winter, Wm. Biographical Sketch by. 285-91.
" " Mentioned, 158-9.
" " Quoted, 11-12,49-51,52-3,64, 75-6,
112, 122-3, i 2 7-8, i3 2 IS " 1 * 1 66-8, 173-4, 208-9,
227-8, 239-40, 260-1, 265.
Wood, Mrs. John. 34, 252.
Woodward, Henry. 112.
Woolcr, J. P. 24.
Woolf, B. E. 117, 124.
Wright, Edward. 281.
Yates, Edmund. 26, 277.
Young, Wm. 43, 50.
Matthews, Brander (ed.)
The life and art of
PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE
CARDS OR SLIPS FROM THIS POCKET
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO LIBRARY
Matthews, Brander, 1852-1929
The life and art of