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Full text of "The life and art of Edwin Booth and his contemporaries. By Brander Matthews and Laurence Hutton"

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Presented to the 
LIBRARY of the 







As Hamlet. 

Ktfr ani Art 
nf lEbrow 



Brander Matthews 


Laurence Hutton 



-: Copyright, 1886 

: 11 T ' 

All rights reserved 


Fifth Impression, June, 1907 


EltCtrotyptd and Printed by C. H. Simondt & Co. 
Boston, U.S.A. 



William L. Keeu 




William Archer . 



William M. La/an . 



Lawrence Barrett 



Benjamin Ellis Martin 


M*. J. S. CLARKE . 

Edw. Hamilton Bell . 



Laurence Hut ton . 



J. Ranken Towse 



H. C. Bunner 



William Archer . 



Jeannette Leonard Gilder 



Clinton Stuart . 



George H. Jessop . 

22 9 


Ceo. Edgar Montgomery 


MR. J. L. TOOLR . 

Walter Henies Pollock 



William Winter . 






EDWIN BOOTH AS HAMLET .... Frontispiece 














HENRY IV." 285 


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 ! 



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 



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- 


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- 


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 
theatre-going public. 

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 
chosen parts. 

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 


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 


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 
shall rest. 

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.' 



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- 


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- 
ing ardor. 

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 


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 


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- 


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- 


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 

M \; 


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 


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- 


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 


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. 



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/ 



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. 



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- 


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. 


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. 


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 
burlesque part. 

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. 


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. 


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 


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. 


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 


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- 


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- 


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 


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 


"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 


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 


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. 



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 ! 



infai in luiiu- 


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 



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 
unthinking self-denial. 

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- 


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 


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 


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. 


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 


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. 


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 
special honor. 

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 


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. 

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 


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, 


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 


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 


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 


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. 
29, 1885. 

This sense of the dignity of his calling is doubtless 


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- 
putable success. 

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, 


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. 
3, 1886. 


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. 


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 ! 




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 



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 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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 
irreparable loss. 

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- 


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- 


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 
Edwin Booth. 

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.' 



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 
assume : 

"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 


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 


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 
of enthusiasm. 

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 


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 


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 

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 


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 
thunder storm. 

M. E. W. SHERWOOD, in the New York Times, Jan. 
20, 1875. 

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 


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 


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 


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 


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. 



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. 




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 



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 


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 


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 


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, 


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, 


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 


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. 


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 



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 
4, 1875- 

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- 


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. 
20, 1875. 

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- 


eated. These things place Mr. Boucicault in the 
front rank as an artist of versatile abilities and a com- 
prehensive mind. 

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 


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, 
September, 1877. 

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, 


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, 


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- 


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 


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, 
July, 1875- 


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. 



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 : 



Saturday, Aug. 2. 
In compliance with the request of several gentlemen, 


respectfully informs the inhabitants of Belair and vicinity, that 

he will give one entertainment as above, in 

conjunction with 


The performance will consist of 

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 
India Company. 

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 


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 
an Oliver.' 

" 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- 
fast, etc. 

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. 


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 


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 
Scenes,'//. 118-9. 

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. 


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 
than either. 

WILLIAM WINTER: The ' Jeff ersons,' /. 226. 


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. 


\V. J. 


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 



* 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 


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 
hundred coats-of-arms. 

' 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 


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. 



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 


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 


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- 


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- 


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. 
22, 1875. 

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. . . . 


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 


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. 


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 


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. 
4, 1880. 

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 


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 
second nature. 

WILLIAM WINTER, in the New York Tribune, Oct. 
24, 1882. 

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 


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 


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. 


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. 



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 



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. 


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 


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 ... 


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 


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. 


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 


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- 


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 


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 


'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 
than ever. 

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- 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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." 


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 


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- 
ruary, 1883. 

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 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, 
June, 1885. 

Irving, no doubt, owes much of his success his 


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 
benefit therefrom. 

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 


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 
Manager,'//. 91-2. 



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, 
March, 1886. 


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. 



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 ; 



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. 


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 


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 


A- B 


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. 


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. 


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., 
/ 253- 


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 
delicately true. 

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 


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 
altogether satisfying. 

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 


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 
and darkness. 

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, 


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, 


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, 
March, 1871. 

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, 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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 
stage itself. 

How plainly we can recall that scene in the toy- 
maker's cottage ; the dolls, and Noah's arks, and small 


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. 


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 


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- 
uary, 1884. 

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 


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. 


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 ! 



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. 



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. 


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). 


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 


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 


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 


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 
Madding Crowd.' 

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 ! ' 


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 


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. 



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 


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 


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, 
February, 1883. 


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 


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 


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 
social position. 

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 


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 

Love : 
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- 



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 



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- 


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 


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. 


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 


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 


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 


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 stage. 

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 


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 


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. 


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 


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 


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 


little later to eastern audiences we all know with 
what result. 

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 
this book. 

" 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 


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- 


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. 


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,' 
/ 132- 

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. 


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 ! 




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 



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 


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 


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 


'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 


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 


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 


at a benefit performance given at the house in Four- 
teenth Street. 

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 


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 


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 : 


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. 


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 


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 


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. 



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 


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. 
22, 1873. 

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. 

Times, April 17, 1883. 


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 ! 



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 


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- 


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 


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. 


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 
theatre still. 

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 


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. 


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 


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, 


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 


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, 
July, 1879. 

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 


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 
eccentric humor. 

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. 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- 


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 


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 


any thing he has done since his first great success in 
Colonel Sellers. 

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 


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 
the audience. 

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 ! " 


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. 


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 ! 


I I |.| N ,, |<KV 

Henrietta Maria in ( h.trK I " 


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 



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 


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 


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- 
factorily filled." 

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 


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- 


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 


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 


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. 


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. 


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*. 


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 


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 


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- 
ager,'//. IOO-I. 

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 


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 


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 


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- 
ary, 1883. 

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- 


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, 


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. 



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. 

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 
our respect. 

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 
the audience. 

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 
the Pharaohs. 

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 
long Toole." 

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 



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. 


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. 


IK \V.\I i 

A* the Prince of \\ '.]< - in 


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, 



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. 


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, 


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 
Citizen Sangfroid. 

When the elder Wallack had founded Wallack's 


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- 


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 


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, 


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 


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 


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 [1851] 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, 


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 


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 


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.' 
Lester Wallack. 

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 


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 


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- 
tary feeling. 

The present race of actors may be divided into 


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. 


of. 19-36. 
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. 

Beethoven. 207. 

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. 

INDEX. 303 

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. 

304 INDEX. 

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. 

Chopin. 210. 

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, 

236, 238. 

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. 

INDEX. 35 

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. 

306 INDEX. 

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. 

INDEX. 37 

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. 

308 INDEX. 

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. 
Homer. 196. 
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, 
261, 26970. 

" " Quoted, 276-8. 

Irving, Washington. 158, 161. 

" " Quoted, 1 60. 

Isherwood, William. 158. 

INDEX. 309 

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 

of. 153-174. 

" " 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. 
Keller. 281. 
Kemble, Charles. 21. 
Kemble, J. P. 150. 

310 INDEX. 

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. 

INDEX. 311 

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. 

312 INDEX. 

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, Henry. 
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. 

314 INDEX. 

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, 
279, 299. 
Quoted, 31-33. 
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. 

INDEX. 315 

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. 

*l6 INDEX. 

Wallack, Mrs. J. W., Jr. (Ann Waring, MBS. Sefton). 

288, 292. 
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.) 

288, 292. 

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. 

INDEX. 317 

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 
Edwin Booth 




Matthews, Brander, 1852-1929 

The life and art of 
Edwin Booth