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Full text of "Maude Adams"

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MAUDE ADAMS 



MAUDE 
ADAMS 



By 
ACTON DAVIES 




NEW YORK FREDERICK A. 
STOKES COMPANY Publishers 



Copyright, 1901, by 
FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY 

Published September, 



Tht Uni-virsttj Prtss 
Cambridge, U. S. A. 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



Miss Maude Adams (Photogravure) Frontispiece 

As Adrienne in " The Celebrated p age 

Case" 4 

With Flora Walsh in " The Wan- 
dering Boys " 10 

As Dot Bradbery in " The Midnight 

Bell" 14 

As Dot Bradbery in " The Midnight 

Bell" 20 

As Dora in " Men and Women " . 24 

As Nell in " The Lost Paradise " . 30 

As Suzanne in " The Masked Ball " 34 

As Miriam in " Butterflies " . . . 40 

As Dora in " Christopher, Jr." . . 44 
With John Drew as Mrs. Dennant 
and Mr. Kilroy in " The Squire of 

Dames " 50 

As Jessie Keber in " The Bauble 

Shop" 54 



; '-< 



ILL U S? RA ? IONS 

Miss Maude Adams with John Drew as p age 
Dolly and Sir Jasper in " Rosemary " 60 
As Lady Babbie in "The Little 

Minister " Act 1 64 

As Lady Babbie in "The Little 

Minister " Act II 70 

As Lady Babbie in "The Little 

Minister " Act IIJ 74 

As Juliet in " Romeo and Juliet " . 80 
As Juliet in " Romeo and Juliet " 

Act 1 84 

As Duke of Reichstadt in 

" L'Aiglon " Act 1 90 

As Duke of Reichstadt in 

" L'Aiglon " Act 1 94 

As Duke of Reichstadt in 
"L'Aiglon" Act IV 100 



MAUDE 



Part First 



SOMEWHERE out in Salt 
Lake City there exists to 
this day if it has n't 
been broken an old-fashioned 
china meat platter which nowa- 
days could be sold for its weight 
in gold. It was on this platter, 
about twenty-nine years ago, that 
Maude Adams made her first ap- 
pearance on any stage. Far from 
being a pikce de resistance in those 
days, Miss Adams' debut was con- 
sidered of such slight importance 
that even her name did not figure 



MA U D E ADAMS 

on the programme. Indeed, had 
it not been for the fact that a rival 
infantile artist, who when not en- 
gaged on the stage was immersed 
in the interesting occupation of 
cutting her first tooth, succumbed 
at a crucial moment to a com- 
bined attack of temper and colic, 
Miss Adams' debut would in all 
probability have been postponed 
indefinitely, or at all events until 
she had attained to the dignity of 
short skirts or possibly a pigtail. 
At the time of Miss Adams* debut 
she was nine months old to a day. 
Her father, Mr. Kiscadden, was 
engaged in business in Salt Lake 
City, and his wife, the actress 



MA U D E ADAMS 

Annie Adams, was at that time 
the principal character actress of 
the stock company in Salt Lake. 
Miss Maude was an obstreperous 
sort of an infant with a marked 
partiality for her mother's society, 
so in order that the baby might be 
as near her as possible Mrs. Adams 
used to carry her to her dressing- 
room at the theatre every night. 
The other members of the com- 
pany, men and women alike, were 
her impromptu nurses, and as the 
bills were changed very frequently 
and rehearsals were almost inces- 
sant, little Miss Maudie spent more 
of the first year of her life in the 
theatre than she did in her own 



MA U D E ADAMS 

home. In the dressing-room 
which her mother shared with 
one of the other actresses, Maudie 
lay in a stage cradle watching in 
mute amazement while her mother 
metamorphosed herself with the 
aid of wigs and grease paint into 
a series of characters which during 
the course of a season would vary 
all the way from the "Queen" in 
Hamlet to "Sairey Gamp." 
It was the fashion in those days to 
end the night's performance with 
a roaring farce. On the night of 
her impromptu debut the manager 
had announced a comic piece in 
two scenes called The Lost Child. 
Mrs. Adams was cast for one of 




MISS MAUDE ADAMS 
as Adrieime in "The Celebrated Case.' 



MA U D E ADAMS 

the leading roles in it. The first 
scene had passed off very success- 
fully, and the baby a salaried 
member of the company who 
played all the roles, both masculine 
and feminine, which were under a 
year old had scored quite a hit. 
But no sooner was the infant re- 
moved from the stage than it set 
up a most unearthly yell. It was 
one of those weird consecutive 
wails which, to a mother's ear, 
mean either a pin or a wakeful 
night. After investigation had 
proven that a pin had nothing to 
do with it, the mother, turning to 
the stage manager in sheer despair, 
exclaimed : 



MA U D E ADAMS 

" The play is done for. When she 
once gets started crying like that 
she never thinks of stopping under 
two hours." 

" But, good Heavens ! We '11 have 
to gag her. The play must go on 
somehow," cried the stage mana- 
ger. " The audience knows what 's 
coming. They 've seen the play 
before, and if we don't bring that 
youngster in on a platter, why, 
they '11 pull down the house." 
" Why not try Maudie ? " said Mrs. 
Adams, coming to the rescue. 
" She 's down in my dressing-room, 
and as I am on the stage with her 
I 'm sure she '11 be good." 
And she was good so good, in 



MA U D E ADAMS 

fact, that her rival that very night 
received her two weeks' notice, and 
for the remainder of that season 
all the infant roles were played by 
little Miss Kiscadden. 
The principal cause of the hit 
which Miss Maudie made with 
the audience that night was the 
fact that the original baby who 
had appeared in the first scene was 
only six weeks old, while Maude, 
with her additional seven and a 
half months' growth, on her ap- 
pearance disclosed the startling phe- 
nomenon that the youngster had 
increased a good twenty pounds in 
weight inside of fifteen minutes. 
At the age of two Miss Adams 



MA UP E ADAMS 

closed the first epoch of her stage 
career. Too large to play baby 
roles effectively any longer, there 
was nothing for the young actress 
to do except rest on her laurels 
and wait until she was able to talk 
distinctly. During the following 
three years the child travelled with 
her mother to several of the West- 
ern cities where the company 
appeared. The greater part of her 
time was spent behind the scenes of 
the theatre, indeed, it was there 
that she learnt her letters, but no 
opportunity to act offered itself 
until the little girl had attained 
her fifth birthday. 
Mr. and Mrs. Kiscadden had set- 



M A UP E ADAMS 

tied in San Francisco at that time, 
and Mrs. Adams as Mrs. Kiscad- 
den was always known upon the 
stage was playing in the support 
of J. K. Emmett. The child in 
the play had proved unsatisfac- 
tory, and one night as the Kis- 
caddens sat at dinner Mrs. Adams 
threw a small thunderbolt into the 
family circle by remarking to her 
husband, 

" Look here, dear, Mr. Emmett 
wants to know if you won't let 
Maudie go on and play that child's 
part." 

" Most certainly not/' replied Mr. 
Kiscadden. " She 's my only daugh- 
ter, and I 've no intention of letting 



MA U D E ADAMS 

her go on the stage and make a 
fool of herself." 

Maude, who had listened with all 
her ears to this conversation, sud- 
denly threw down her knife and 
fork and exclaimed, 
" Father, I would like to go on 
the stage, and Maudie will not 
make a fool of herself." 
That settled the matter. Mr. Kis- 
cadden finally gave his consent, and 
the following week, in a pair of 
tiny knickerbockers, Miss Maude 
Adams made her second stage ap- 
pearance. She played the small 
boy, Little Schneider. She had 
nearly a hundred lines to speak in 
the play, but she memorised them 

10 




MISS MAUDE ADAMS WITH MISS FLORA WALSH 
in "The Wandering Buys." 



MAUDE ADAMS 

in a couple of days, and on the first 
night was so completely letter per- 
fect that Mr. Emmett congratu- 
lated her. There was one scene 
which worried her very much, 
however. In one act she had to 
be tied on a water-wheel, and" un- 
less she screamed at a certain in- 
stant the whole effect of the act 
would have been ruined. This 
fact was duly impressed on Maude 
by her mother at rehearsal, and 
Mrs. Adams in telling the story of 
that first performance says : 
" I wish you could have seen 
Maudie that night. She was sim- 
ply wriggling with excitement. It 
was all I could do to keep her in 



MA U D E ADAMS 

my dressing-room until the cue 
came for her to go on. She was 
most critical about her make-up, 
and after I had darkened her eye- 
lashes and rouged her cheeks she 
turned to me very seriously and 
said, < Muffer, are you sure I 've got 
louge enough on ? ' Just before 
the curtain went up I made her 
repeat her first-act lines to me. 
She had learned them like a parrot, 
to be sure, but she spoke them 
like a true little actress. I had 
explained the story of the play to 
her very carefully, and she seemed 
to grasp perfectly the important 
part which she was to play in the 
plot. The one thing that we were 

12 



MA UP E ADAMS 

all nervous about was that mill- 
wheel scene. I stood in the wings 
and watched her all through the 
first act. She really did splendidly. 
When the mill-wheel scene came 
I was on the stage too, and as the 
critical moment came nearer and 
nearer Maudie would whisper to 
me every other moment, * Muffer 9 
must I scweam now ? ' 
"Maude made a genuine success in 
Fritz, so big a one, in fact, that 
Mr. Emmett began to bill her on 
the programme as ' Little Maudie/ 
and it was by that name that 
she was known out West through- 
out her career as a child actress. 
After her engagement with Mr. 

13 



MAUDE ADAMS 

Emmett Maudie was engaged to 
play a child's part in A Celebrated 
Case. Most of her scenes in that 
production were played with Miss 
Belle Douglass, who was cast for 
a very important part. In order 
to be prepared for any emer- 
gency, Miss Douglass memorised 
Maudie's lines as well as her own. 
When Maudie discovered this she 
was highly indignant, and ex- 
claimed, ' You need n't fret about 
me ; I 'm all right/ And later, 
when she was on the stage, Miss 
Douglass afterwards told me that 
the child kept pinching her ears and 
whispering, ( Don't boffer about me. 
If you get stuck I '11 help you' 

H 







I 




MISS MAUDE ADAMS 
as Dot Bniflbery in "The .Mi.lni.rlit Hell.' 



MA U D E ADAMS 

" During the following season - 
Maudie was six then she ap- 
peared with B. J. Murphy in a 
play called Out to Nurse. By this 
time the young lady had become 
quite a stickler in stage affairs. 
Like any other youngster with a 
healthy appetite, she cordially de- 
spised those Barmecide feasts 
known as stage banquets. Fre- 
quently, when from the wings she 
used to watch me acting in some 
play in which there was an elaborate 
dinner or supper scene, she used to 
say to me when I came off the 
stage, * Yes, muffer, but they didn't 
give you nuffin real to eat.' Of 
course stage banquets in those days 



MA U D E ADAMS 

had not reached their present state 
of realism, so you could n't blame 
Maudie for feeling a trifle disap- 
pointed. But her first opportunity 
to express her sentiments on this 
matter came during the run of Out 
to Nurse. Mr. Murphy was tre- 
mendously fond of the child, and 
used to pet and indulge her in 
loads of ways. In one scene 
Maudie had to bring on a pitcher 
of beer to Mr. Murphy and some 
other members of the company, 
and it was part of her stage busi- 
ness to drink with them to the 
toast of * 'Ere 's to yer.' Now, be- 
fore Maudie joined the company 
the pitcher had always been filled 
16 



MA UP E ADAMS 

with cold tea, that dreadful dose 
which passes muster on the stage 
for anything in the liquid line 
from sparkling champagne to 
deadly poison, but with the little 
girl's advent there began a new 
regime. Maudie would not stand 
for that cold-tea business at all. 
She went to Mr. Murphy and told 
him solemnly but most emphati- 
cally that unless she could bring 
in real beer in the pitcher she 
would n't play the part at all. I 
can almost hear Mr. Murphy 
laughing at her yet ! He was 
immensely tickled at the serious 
way in which she had made her 
complaint. 



MA U D E AD A M S 

" < Now that 's the sort of a lead- 
ing lady I like to have ! ' he ex- 
claimed. ' She wants real beer 
and she shall have real beer/ 
" And real beer they did have at 
every performance after that. 
Although/' laughingly added Mrs. 
Adams in telling this story, " for the 
benefit of the many W. C. T. U. 
admirers that my daughter has 
to-day I want to state quite clearly 
that she did not drink any of the 
beer. I saw to that. But the 
others did, and enjoyed it mightily 
after their long cold-tea drought ; 
and every night when they came 
to the toast one or another of the 
actors would wink at Maudie and 

18 



MA U D E ADAMS 

repeat, < 'Ere 's to yer,' under their 
breath/' 

While "Little Maudie" was about 
seven and the reigning child actress 
of the Pacific Slope, she fell by 
chance under the management of 
that greatest of all American stage 
managers, David Belasco. Prob- 
ably no one with the exception of 
Mrs. Adams is in a position to 
speak with so much authority on 
the actress's baby career. 
"I can remember the first time I 
ever saw Maudie," said Mr. Be- 
lasco. " I was the stage manager 
of the Baldwin then : James A. 
Herne and I were playing there 
together, and in most of our plays 

'9 



MA U D E ADAMS 

there was usually a child's part. 
Annie Adams I had known for 
some years then as one of the best 
character actresses of the West, 
but my first remembrance of 
the present Maude Adams is of a 
spindle-legged little girl, unusually 
thin and tall for her age, with a 
funny little pigtail and one of the 
quaintest little faces you ever saw. 
In those days I don't think even 
her mother, who doted on that 
child as I have never known a 
mother to dote before, I don't 
think even she considered Maudie 
pretty in those days. But even in 
her babyhood there was a magne- 
tism about the child, some traces 



20 




MISS MAUDE ADAMS 
as Dot Bradbury in "The Midnight Bell." 



MA U D E ADAMS 

even then of that wonderfully sweet 
and charming personality which 
was to prove such a tremendous 
advantage to her in the later years. 
The child, in short, was a born 
artist : she had temperament. She 
could act and grasp the meaning 
of a part long before she was able 
to read. When we were begin- 
ning rehearsals of a new play at 
the Baldwin I would take Maudie 
on my knee and bit by bit would 
explain to her the meaning of the 
part she had to play. I can see 
her now, with her little spindle 
legs almost touching the floor, her 
tiny face, none too clean, perhaps, 
peering up into mine, and those 

21 



MA U D E ADAMS 

wise eyes of hers drinking in every 
word. I soon learned to know 
that it was no use to confine myself 
to a description of her own work : 
until I had told the whole story 
of the play to Maudie, and treated 
her almost as seriously as if she 
were our leading star, she would 
pay no attention. She was serious- 
minded in her own childish way 
even in those days, and once she 
realised that you were treating her 
seriously there was nothing that 
that child would not try to do. 
But first, mind you, she had to 
know the story of the play and all 
about it. When the parts were 
given out to the company, Mrs. 



22 



MA U D E ADAMS 

Adams was always letter perfect in 
Maudie's lines long before she 
attempted to learn her own. Then 
bit by bit, while they were together 
in the dressing-room, on the street 
cars, or at their home, Mrs. Adams 
would teach the child her part. 
She had a good memory, and made 
what we of the stage call ' a won- 
derfully quick study/ But to-day 
I never see Maude Adams on the 
stage without a picture rising up 
before me of that patient, hard- 
working, self-sacrificing mother of 
hers drilling the child in one of 
her parts. Stage people, with all 
their faults, are probably the warm- 
est-hearted in the world, but never 

23 



MA U D E ADAMS 

in all my long experience have I 
seen an instance of such unselfish, 
idolising devotion as Mrs. Adams 
displayed for her little girl. Of 
course it's the most natural thing 
in the world for any mother to 
love her child, but Mrs. Adams' 
love was something quite out of 
the common. We were all mighty 
poor in those times, and there was 
many a week in those San Fran- 
cisco days when the ghost refused 
to walk, and a good many of us 
went hungry in consequence. But 
in spite of the hardships and priva- 
tions which we all faced together, 
there never was a millionaire's 
daughter more zealously guarded, 
24 




MISS MAUDE ADAMS 
as Dora in "Men and Women. 



MA UP E ADAMS 

more tenderly nurtured, than 
Maudie Adams was by her mother. 
No sacrifice was too great for her 
to make. Many and many a night, 
after the long performances and 
perhaps a whole morning's rehear- 
sals, I have seen Mrs. Adams sitting 
up till daylight working over some 
new little gown for Maudie. I 
mean it in all seriousness when I 
say that whatever Maude Adams 
has become to-day she owes entirely 
to her mother. 

" One of the biggest successes the 
child scored under my manage- 
ment was as little Chrystal in a 
play called Chums, which I had 
adapted from an old English play 



MA U D E ADAMS 

called "The Mariner's Compass." 
James A. Herne played the leading 
role in it, and later on, when we 
parted company, he played in 
another version of the play called 
Hearts of Oak. But the char- 
acter of Chrystal figured in both 
versions ; in fact, from the time 
Maude Adams created the role it 
became one of the most vital parts 
of the play. Chums, in short, 
scored an immense success, and 
4 Little Maudie' for the time 
being was the heroine of the town. 
But those spindle legs of the child 
had a most unholy way of grow- 
ing, and at last there came a bitter, 
never-to-be-forgotten day when 
26 



MA U D E ADAMS 

'Little Maudie' literally kittle 3 
no longer was too big to play 
children's parts any more. Her 
mother sent her to school, and I 
never laid eyes on * Little Maudie ' 
again until some six or seven years 
later. I had started on my career 
in New York then, and dropped 
into a theatre one night to see 
Duncan B. Harrison in The Pay- 
master. And there, sure enough, 
was ' Little Maudie/ now devel- 
oped into a charming young girl 
and billed as * Miss Maude Adams/ 
Her part in the play was rather an 
important one, and I saw at once 
that there was the making of a 
charming actress in her. If I re- 
27 



MA U D E ADAMS 

member right, Charles Frohman 
saw her in this same performance 
and felt as I did. At all events, 
some time later, when he was 
organising a stock company to 
play Men and Women, we both 
thought of her for one of the in- 
genues. But then, that wasn't so 
much credit to us either, for by 
that time Miss Adams had already 
been discovered and engaged by 
Charles Hoyt, and had played with 
great success at the Bijou in A 
Midnight Bell. 

" But to return for just one moment 
to that performance of The Pay- 
master. There was one scene in 
the play where Miss Adams was 
28 



MA U D E ADAMS 

thrown into a tank of real water 
and had to be rescued by the hero. 
I should explain that Maude was 
now quite as tall as her mother, and 
that they looked remarkably alike. 
When I saw that tank scene com- 
ing along I said to myself, ' I '11 
bet you Annie Adams will never 
let Maudie jump into that tank/ 
And sure enough, when the climax 
came, I, being up to all the tricks 
of the stage, saw that it was Mrs. 
Adams who took the plunge, not 
Maude. ' Ah ! ' said I to myself, 
' that 's the same old Annie Adams ; 
and afterwards, when I went behind 
to say < how de do ' to them both, 
Mrs. Adams exclaimed at once, 
29 



MA U D E ADAMS 

'Why, of course it was me that 
jumped in the tank ; do you think 
for an instant that I would allow 
Maudie to run the risk of catching 
her death of cold?" 



30 




Miss MAUDE ADAMS 
as Nell in " The Lost Paradise.' 



MA U D E ADAMS 



Part Second 



MAUDE ADAMS fin- 
ished her career as a 
child actress at the age 
of ten, and for four years she studied 
in the Presbyterian Collegiate Insti- 
tute at Salt Lake City, her old 
home. Her stage training as a 
child had made her not only a 
"quick study" in the matter of 
theatrical roles, but in her lessons as 
well. At fourteen she had accom- 
plished so much that she was within 
a year of graduating, but one day, 
succumbing to a fit of combined 
home, stage, and mother sickness, 

31 



MA UP E ADAMS 

she wrote to her mother begging 
her to let her return to her old 
work. Mrs, Adams has that letter 
to-day. 

" It 's no use my studying any more, 
mother," she wrote. " In fact, it 's 
all nonsense unless I 'm to go into 
literature or am to be a teacher. 
But I want to go on the stage 
again, so that I may be with 
you." 

That letter was too much for Mrs. 
Adams ; she succumbed to its en- 
treaties : the girl left school and 
returned to her mother. But the 
stage life she was so anxious to 
begin again she found to be quite 
another story from what it had been 
32 



MA U D E ADAMS 

in the old days. " Little Maudie " 
had been a popular idol in her 
small way ; Maude Adams now 
found herself a mere nonentity, to 
her professional friends merely 
"Annie Adams' daughter/' a 
nonentity very young and very 
crude, with all her work lying 
before her. And it was hard and 
bitter work at that. The mother's 
standing as an actress could do little 
more for her at first than to secure 
for her some temporary engage- 
ments as an extra girl. But the 
girl's mind, always of a serious 
trend, set to work in earnest. She 
studied, she watched, she learned 
many parts. All that her mother 

3 33 



MA U D E ADAMS 

knew of the art of acting had been 
taught to the girl already, and in 
the meantime there was nothing to 
be done but bide her chance, and 
gain meanwhile that bitterest of all 
fruits experience. Mrs. Adams' 
faith in her girl's future never 
wavered for an instant. Theatrical 
affairs in the West had reached a 
very low ebb : the eyes of every 
Western actor and actress were then 
turned, as always, towards the Thes- 
pian's Mecca New York. 
Finally, mother and daughter 
reached there, and Maude Adams 
secured her first Eastern engage- 
ment in The Paymaster a melo- 
drama which was put on for a run 

34 




MISS MAI T DE ADAMS 
as Suzanne in "The Masked Ball." 



MA U D E ADAMS 

at the Star. After that for a very 
short time she played small parts 
in E. H. Sothern's company, and 
then came her first real metropoli- 
tan opportunity, Charles Hoyt 
engaged her to create the role of 
the young schoolmistress in A 
Midnight Bell. The play was a 
great success at the Bijou and en- 
joyed a long run, but in looking 
through the newspaper reviews 
of the performance the fact is 
apparent that the public found out 
and appreciated Maude Adams as 
an artist long before the critics did. 
A number of the reviewers made 
no mention of her performance; 
others dismissed her with a compli- 

35 



MA U D E ADAMS 



mentary line. Her role in the play, 
after all, was a subordinate one ; 
but somehow or other that indefin- 
able charm of personality that has 
done more to make Maude Adams 
the popular idol that she is to-day 
than all her technique and grace 
and cleverness, began to exert its 
spell over her audiences. In a few 
days, in all parts of the town, at the 
clubs, in the bar-rooms, on the street 
cars, people began to ask each other, 
" Have you seen that new little girl 
in Hoyt's play at the Bijou? 
She's sweet." 

A Midnight Bell was the most 

tender and one of the cleverest 

plays which the late Charles Hoyt 

36 



MA U D E ADAMS 

ever turned out, but it is no injus- 
tice, either to its author or the 
other members of the cast, to 
say that to hundreds of playgoers 
the one memory of that perform- 
ance is Maude Adams' portrayal 
of the young New England girl. 
She had hit the theatrical bull's- 
eye squarely, and scored One. 
At the end of the run of A Mid- 
night Bell, or rather, at the 
conclusion of its New York en- 
gagement, for, as a matter of fact, 
the piece is running yet, Miss 
Adams found herself face to face 
with a very serious proposition. 
She had to choose between two 
offers. Her success in his farce 

37 



M A U D E ADAMS 

comedy had so delighted Mr. Hoyt 
that he was practically willing to 
let her name her own terms if she 
would sign a five years' contract 
with him. It was a fascinating 
offer from one point of view : it 
meant lots of money; but farce 
comedy held little charm for the 
girl who had set her heart and fixed 
her ambition on far more serious 
work. On the other hand, there 
was a more moderate offer from 
Charles Frohman, who was then 
getting ready to found his stock 
company at the Twenty-Third 
Street Theatre. The first piece 
was to be Men and Women, a 
play by De Mille and her old 

38 



MA U D E ADAMS 

friend, David Belasco. There was 
a small part in it for her, Mr. Froh- 
man said, and later on there would 
be others. The girl never hesitated 
for a moment : then and there she 
turned her back upon farce comedy 
for ever, and she and Charles Froh- 
man that morning signed a con- 
tract that has extended to this day. 
Charles Frohman, although at that 
time he had not acquired one-tenth 
of the immense power and influence 
in theatrical affairs which he exerts 
to-day, was already known as a 
manager of remarkable astuteness ; 
but it is safe to say that neither he 
nor Miss Adams, in their wildest 
and most ambitious dreams, realised 

39 



MA U D E ADAMS 

what a huge amount of fame and 
fortune the signing of that piece of 
paper meant to both of them : for 
waiving Miss Adams' claims as an 
artist entirely aside, it is an accepted 
fact to-day that, regarded merely as 
a business proposition, a drawing 
card, no American star, however 
much greater her histrionic powers 
might be, has ever had so tremen- 
dous and widespread a popularity as 
Maude Adams enjoys in the United 
States to-day. In many communi- 
ties this popularity has amounted 
almost to a mania, which blinds her 
audiences absolutely to her faults 
and grossly exaggerates even her 
greatest charms. In fact, it is 
4 o 




MISS MAUDE ADAMS 
as Miriam in "Butterflies." 



MA U D E ADAMS 

no exaggeration to say that there 
are hundreds of playgoers in New 
York and all the other American 
cities to-day who would accept 
little Miss Adams seriously aye, 
and enthusiastically, too if she 
attempted to play Lady Macbeth. 
This much is certain, however, that 
when he signed that contract Mr. 
Frohman realised that in Maude 
Adams he had gained an uncom- 
monly clever actress. He said so 
at the time, and later on when he 
picked her out to be his new star, 
John Drew's leading woman, and 
still later when he chose that she 
should be sent out as a star on her 
own account, he persisted in the 

4 1 



MA UP E ADAMS 

face of the most active opposition 
from all his would-be counsellors 
and real friends that he knew what 
he was about and was going to 
make her the most popular star 
in the theatrical firmament. 
He was wise enough not to push 
her to the front too soon. He 
placed her in the stock company, 
where the training of Belasco did 
worlds for her artistic develop- 
ment. In his first play, Men and 
Women, she had a small part, which 
counted for very little against the 
superior roles which fell to the 
share of Miss Sydney Armstrong 
and Miss Odette Tyler. In the 
next, Belasco and De Mille play, 
42 



MA U D E ADAMS 

however, she had better luck. Be- 
lasco had taken her measure, and 
Frohman had been particular in ask- 
ing that the new play should contain 
a role which would give her an op- 
portunity. The result was Nell, the 
lame girl, in The Lost Paradise, 
a charming role, which showed for 
the first time what Miss Adams 
could do in the way of pathos. 
Meanwhile, Charles Frohman had 
been reaching out in other direc- 
tions, and one fine morning the 
town awoke to read the announce- 
ment that John Drew had at last 
forsworn his eighteen years' alle- 
giance to the Daly standard, and 
had gone over to the enemy 

43 



MA U D E ADAMS 

which, in Daly's Theatre, meant 
Charles Frohman with a large C 
and a capital F. Then came the 
almost equally important question, 
Who would be John Drew's lead- 
ing woman ? To the playgoers of 
ten years ago who had seen Mr. 
Drew making perpetual stage love 
to Miss Ada Rehan for twelve full 
seasons it was almost impossible to 
imagine another woman attempting 
to usurp her place, and quite pre- 
posterous to conceive of any actress 
equalling her in that capacity. So, 
finally, when the announcement 
came that Mr. Frohman had se- 
lected Maude Adams to support 
Drew, there was an almost universal 

44 




MISS MAUDE ADAMS 
as Dora in "Christopher, Jr." 



M A U D E ADAMS 

cry of: "What, that little thing! 
Oh, how absurd ! What tommy 
rot ! " 

Finally, the first night came Oc- 
tober 3, 1892, a night which, as 
Trilby would say, ought to be 
marked with a white stone. It 
probably is in Miss Adams* memory. 
The theatre was Palmer's, the play 
The Masked Ball, an adaptation 
from the French by Clyde Fitch ; 
the house was jammed to the doors 
by all the old Daly clientele who 
had come to stand or fall with 
Drew in this his first venture out- 
side the Daly fold. John Drew 
was a success, and so was the play, 
but tell it not in Gath ! a hit 

45 



MA UP E ADAMS 

was scored that night which was 
greater than both of theirs rolled 
together. Maude Adams scored 
that hit. Mr. Drew had a good 
part, and he played it admirably. 
In fact, his performance that night 
established conclusively his right to 
be a star. But it was not to John 
Drew that the biggest opportunity 
came that night. The following 
paragraph, clipped from one of the 
criticisms of The Masked Ball the 
following day, fully explains the 
situation. This article said : 
" But the great situation of the play 
does not fall to Mr. Drew's share. 
Miss Maude Adams, a young actress 
who until last evening had only 

46 



MA UP E ADAMS 

been seen in minor roles, fairly 
shared the honours with Mr. Drew. 
" Her performance was a revelation. 
There is one scene in the second 
act where in order to punish her 
husband for some antenuptial re- 
marks of his she has to pretend 
that she is drunk. It was just 
touch and go whether this scene 
ruined the play or not. It would 
have been hard to devise a more 
crucial test for an actress of even the 
widest experience and the greatest 
skill. In order to carry off this 
scene successfully it was necessary 
for the wife to appear to be drunk 
and yet be a gentlewoman at the 
same time. 

47 



MA U D E ADAMS 

" Miss Adams achieved this feat, 
achieved it so successfully that the 
applause lasted for a full two min- 
utes after she made her exit. If 
Miss Adams had done nothing else 
throughout the entire play than that 
one scene it would have stamped 
her as a comedienne of the first 
water. But her scenes of tender- 
ness were equally good, and her 
alternate raillery and contrition for 
her artifice in the final scene were 
rendered with a delightfully deli- 
cate touch/' 

Maude Adams' drunken scene was 
as great a topic of conversation in 
'92 as Irene Van Brugh's sen- 
sational performance of Sophie 



MA UP E ADAMS 



Fulgarney " in The Gay Lord 
has been in 1901. The almost 
insurmountable difficulties which 
the part offered only served to 
make Miss Adams' triumph all 
the greater. 

To sum the matter up, Maude 
Adams found herself enjoying the 
double distinction of being the 
youngest leading lady on the boards 
and the only actress who had been 
promoted to the galaxy of theatri- 
cal celebrities because she did n't 
keep sober. 

The tipsy act, which excited the 
admiration of the critics on the 
first night of the performance, 
with its dainty and ludicrous mim- 
4 49 



MA UP E ADAMS 

icry, its delicate but irresistible 
drollery, was a more dangerous 
and difficult thing to do than is 
apparent to the careless observer. 
The spectacle of a drunken woman 
on the stage is revolting and coarse 
to a degree, and offensive to the 
good taste of a cultured audience. 
But this woman is a lady of grace 
and refinement, young and beauti- 
ful, and in reality not tipsy at all, 
but acting the part to punish her 
husband, who, previous to their 
marriage, to intercept the advances 
of another aspirant to her hand, 
had in his anxiety warned off the 
other suitor by declaring that the 
lady had inherited an appetite for 

5 




MISS MAUDE ADAMS WITH JOHN DREW 
as Mrs. Demiant ami Mr. Kilroy iu "The Squire of Dames." 



MA U D E ADAMS 

intoxicants from her father, a most 
worthy and temperate man. 
The kindly fate which caters to 
the farce dramatist brings the old 
suitor and the wife together at a 
masked ball to which she has gone 
without her husband's knowledge, 
and in company with a respectable 
but easily influenced old party, - 
her husband's partner, whose 
wife, too, is in ignorance of his at- 
tendance at the masked revel, but 
suspicious from finding his pockets 
filled with confetti, and jealous of 
the young wife. To add to the 
comical predicament and perplex- 
ity of the play, of course the old 
suitor tells the wife of her hus- 



MA U D E ADAMS 

band's accusation, and she resolves 
to revenge herself by appearing to 
be the victim of the vice of which 
he has accused her. 
It is upon the scene following the 
revelation of the suitor to the hus- 
band that he has met the wife, the 
pretty " Susanne," at the ball, and 
when the older woman, Madame 
Poulet, is endeavouring to obtain 
satisfactory explanation of her 
husband's conduct, which he is 
endeavouring not to give, that the 
tipsy wife comes reeling out of her 
dressing-room with her salubrious : 
" Good-morning, Paul ! Hello, 
Paulie ! ' and, with a little lurch 
and uncertain and dizzy steps, ap- 



M A UP E ADAMS 

proaches the irate Madame Poulet 
with the deliciously funny : 
" Ah, Madame Foulet ! Your hus- 
band is a nice man, is n't he ? A 
very n-nice man ; but he can't 
d-dance very well. I think he 
has too many f-feet." Then, 
turning to her horrified husband 
with a maudlin and vacant smile, 
she adds, " Ah ! but he holds you 
so well ! " 

" Where were you last night ? " 
demands the furious husband. 
" Why, really," with a careless 
little laugh, "I I don't know ! " 
It is a risky question, and .she real- 
ises it, and, slurring her answer, 
she reels, sways, and sinks into a 

53 



MA U D E ADAMS 

chair with a funny and puzzled 
" I think I '11 have to sit down a 
minute." 

The delicate and slight physique 
of the actress, the small and spirit- 
uelle face framed in fair hair, the 
low, sweet voice and pretty Eng- 
lish accent, above all the tacit 
understanding which the actress 
establishes between herself and her 
audience that she is n't really in- 
toxicated, the mischievous delight 
she manages to convey to them at 
the despair of her husband, and 
the success of her scheme of re- 
venge all unite in saving the comi- 
cal mimicry of inebriety from the 
slightest approach to coarseness. 

54 




MISS MAUDE ADAMS 
as Jessie Kt-W in "The Kuible Sh 



MA U D E ADAMS 

The daintiness of her roguishness 
was emphasised, too, by a soft and 
simple gown of pink brocade, over- 
hung with floating draperies of 
chiffon and girdled beneath the 
bust in Directoire fashion. 
She carried a single long-stemmed 
flower in her hand, waving it about 
with aimless grace, and when at 
the close of the scene she ex- 
claimed, " You don't know how 
I want a d-drink of water," with a 
last little sick and dizzy glide and a 
desperate effort to right herself, the 
storm of applause breaks out. 
"It wasn't easy to do," said Miss 
Adams in an interview at the 
time. 

55 



MA U D E ADAMS 

" You see, I could n't get tipsy my- 
self to make my conception of the 
part, for when you are really in- 
toxicated you don't know how you 
do feel, and can't remember what 
you do at all afterward, at least, so 
the gentlemen say. And I did n't 
dare to study the part from really 
tipsy women, because I would 
overdo it then and shock people. 
" Besides, I am not really drunken 
in the piece. No, I must study it 
as a sober woman trying to act in- 
toxicated, and yet never deceiving 
my audience for a minute as to 
the truth. So I thought over it, 
dreamed over it, acted it out before 
the mirror over and over for weeks 

56 



MA U D E ADAMS 

entirely through my imagination. 
Indeed, you might call the whole 
business a flight of tipsy imagina- 
tion. 

" For really, you know, it is not at 
all like me, though I am fond of 
comedy. My old friends wonder 
at it. One of the ladies of the 
Sothern company said to me, 
'Why, whatever has gotten into 
you ? You never used to touch a 
drop with us ! ' and I told her I 
had gone to the demnition bow- 
wows and was tipsy every night 



now." 



In the same interview Miss Adams, 

in speaking of herself, said : 

" I made my first appearance on 

57 



MA U D E ADAMS 

the stage at nine months old. 
Was I sober? Yes, exceedingly 
sober and dignified, they say. I 
can't quite remember. A little 
later, before I was five, I played 
child parts with Emmett, and then 
they put me at school in a Presby- 
terian college. I stayed until I 
was fourteen ; then I came back 
to the stage again, to have my 
dreams cruelly disturbed, my hopes 
dashed. 

" The stage I loved would have 
nothing to do with me. I was too 
old for child parts, too young for 
mature parts. I was tall and small 
and thin, have n't quite gotten 
over that yet, and I was hopelessly 
58 



MA UP E ADAMS 

bashful. Mrs. Sothern, who played 
child parts with me, interested 
Mr. Sothern in me after a while. 
He invited me out to dinner with 
them once, I remember. I couldn't 
speak a word, I was so diffident. I 
think he was disgusted, but after- 
ward he helped me. 
" Really, the first lines I had given 
to me were written in for me, and 
when my cue came I could n't 
make a sound, so the rest went on 
without me. But I believe the 
only way to study for the stage is 
on the stage. If I had gone to 
school as they wanted me to until 
now, I could n't bend myself to the 
life as I do now. I would have 

59 



MA UP E ADAMS 

been formed, you see. There are 
no schools of acting here to study 
in like those of France. 
" You don't get the practical work 
in our schools, and it is very hard 
now to get a dramatic education 
on the stage. Opportunities are 
accidents, and even when they come, 
runs are so long that versatility is 
not easy to attain. We need a 
school of acting here very much, 
but it must be a theatre, not a col- 
lege. You see, with the practical 
work of the stage for a foundation 
you can study those other things 
yourself. I am working like an 
undergraduate at French, and learn- 
ing to play on the harp. I mean 
60 




MISS MAl'DK ADAMS WITH JOHN DREW 
as Dolly and Sir Jasper in " Rosemary." 



MA U D E ADAMS 

to introduce it in a play sometime. 
Mr. De Mille said when I could 
play the harp he would write the 
scene. Ah, but I had a beautiful 
scene all dreamed out ! a young 
man looking love at me over that 
hollow place in the top, the slope, 
you know. But when my teacher 
came he told me I was sitting at 
the wrong end of the harp, and 
away went my scene. 
" I study plays all the time, too, 
Shakespeare first, not that I ever 
intend to play tragedy, but he's 
the standard, and other plays I 
read and study, too, make scenes, 
and put myself in situations." 
So great was the success of The 
61 



MA UP E ADAMS 

Masked Ball that nearly eighteen 
months elapsed before Mr. Drew 
found it necessary to produce 
another play. This time it was a 
light comedy by Henry Guy 
Carleton called Butterflies. Miss 
Adams nominally played the lead- 
ing part in it, but it was a dread- 
fully conventional part, which 
offered her no real opportunity, and 
the play had been so constructed 
that the soubrette role, played most 
excellently by Miss Olive May, 
carried off all the honours. During 
the next season Miss Adams scored 
heavily by her exquisite perform- 
ance of Jessie in Henry Arthur 
Jones' play, The Bauble Shop. 
62 



MAUDE ADAMS 

In The Bauble Shop Lord Clive- 
brooke, the young leader of the 
House of Commons, meets Jessie 
Keber, a toy maker's daughter. At 
the outset his intentions towards 
her are not honourable. He visits 
her at night in her father's shop, 
but as the purity of the girl's nature 
reveals itself to him it shames him. 
He decides to leave her alone. On 
the night of their last meeting they 
are discovered by Stoach, the leader 
of the opposition. A bill with 
regard to public morality is to be 
introduced into the House by Clive- 
brooke on the following day. 
Stoach declares that he will brand 
Clivebrooke as a libertine before all 

63 



MA U D E ADAMS 

the House unless he agrees to with- 
draw the bill. Clivebrooke refuses. 
The next act takes place in the 
lobby of the House. Stoach circu- 
lates the report with regard to 
Clivebrooke. Clivebrooke's father 
and his constituents hurry to the 
room to hear his denial. Clive- 
brooke is unable to deny that he 
was in the toy shop, but declares 
his intention of making the girl 
his wife. 

There was one scene in this play 
where Jessie described to her father 
the beautiful home that her lover, 
Clivebrooke, is making for her in 
which Miss Adams fairly excelled. 
From the mad raillery of Suzanne 




MISS MAUDE ADAMS 
as I^dy Bnbbie in " The Little Minister.' 



MA U D E ADAMS 

in The Masked Ball to the sim- 
plicity and pathos of Jessie Keber 
was a wide artistic leap, but Miss 
Adams accomplished it most suc- 
cessfully. 

The following season John Drew 
produced another play by Henry 
Guy Carleton, That Imprudent 
Young Couple. It was a failure, 
but it gave Miss Adams another 
chance to do clever work in a new 
role. Indeed, Miss Adams had 
good reason to congratulate her- 
self on this occasion, for she and 
Mr. Frank Lamb, who played the 
butler, were the only members of 
the company who escaped from 
the critics with whole skins. One 
~7~ 65 



MA U D E ADAMS 

t 

New York reviewer wrote on the 
following day: 
" The story is old, the plot is un- 
interesting, and the part of the 
hero is an exceptionally fine speci- 
men of the genus Cad. The char- 
acter of the young wife is scarcely 
a degree better than that of the 
husband, and that Miss Adams was 
able to interest her audience at all 
last night was due entirely to the 
charm of her own personality. It 
is good to see that the remark- 
able success which has come to this 
young actress in the last three 
years has not turned her head. 
Her work is still exceptional in its 
daintiness and its simplicity. 
66 



MA U D E ADAMS 

" Her work has grown in many 
ways during the past year. At 
present Miss Adams is easily the 
most accomplished and womanly 
artist of all the younger actresses. 
She has found the short cut which 
leads from laughter into tears, and 
although last night she had only 
one chance to show her power in 
this respect in a neatly worded lit- 
tle homily on the poverty of the 
genteel poor, she availed herself 
of it. 

" All the honors such as they were 
of last night's performance be- 
longed to Miss Adams." 
It was found necessary to make a 
change of bill at once, and Chris- 
67 



MA U D E ADAMS 

topher, Jr., a rollicking little com- 
edy by Madeleine Lucette Ryley, 
which Mr. Drew had produced on 
the road during the previous season, 
but which he had feared was not 
quite strong enough to endure a 
New York run, was substituted for 
The Imprudent Young Couple. The 
change was a great success, and 
the little comedy set the whole 
town laughing. There was one 
scene in this play which I have 
always thought the most beautiful 
piece of acting that Maude Adams 
had ever done. I saw the play for 
the first time the season previous to 
its run at the Empire over . in that 
gaunt old mausoleum of a theatre, 

68 



MAUDE ADAMS 

the Columbia, in Brooklyn, where 
Mr. Drew was quietly, to quote 
the vernacular, " trying it on the 
dog." The details of the plot 
have escaped my memory, but that 
one little episode stands out as clear 
as day. In this scene, Miss Adams, 
broken-hearted at the prospect of a 
long parting from her lover, sits 
down at the piano and sings for 
him at his request. The song was 
Torti's " Good-bye/' She struggled 
through those first lines, 

" Falling leaf on fading tree, 
Lines of white on a sullen sea, 
Shadows rising " 

and then gradually, note by note, 
her voice began to fail a little ; a 

69 



MA U D E ADAMS 

lump crept into one's own throat 
from sheer sympathy, and then with 
a sudden crash and a sob down went 
her head upon the music rack, 
and actress and audience wept 
metaphorically on each other's 
shoulders. 

That huge theatre was almost 
empty that night, but for all that 
the small audience fairly got up on 
its hind legs and fired salvoes after 
salvoes of applause at the actress. 
The run of Christopher, Jr., at the 
Empire lasted until the following 
February, when Mr. Drew moved 
to the Garrick and presented an 
adaptation by R. C. Carton of Du- 
mas fils' " L'Ami des Femmes." 

70 




MISS MAUDE ADAMS 
as Ladv B.ibbie in " T!u> Little Minister.' 



MA U D E ADAMS 

In its English dress it was known 
as The Squire of Dames. There 
was a very effective part for Mr. 
Drew in it, but Miss Adams, cast 
for the role of a rather flippant and 
heartless young society matron, 
came as close to scoring a failure 
as she ever did in her life. It was 
not her fault ; she was miscast, that 
was all, and all the women theatre- 
goers, with whom Maude Adams 
had already become a mania of the 
first water, laid the entire blame for 
the tiny fiasco upon a dress which 
Miss Adams wore in the principal 
scene. Poor luckless frock ! How 
the fashion writers and women's 
departments did tear that unfor- 

7 1 



MA U D E ADAMS 

tunate garment to pieces ! Miss 
Adams has since laughingly ex- 
plained that she never could under- 
stand what there was about the 
gown to call forth such a volley 
of onslaughts, but, as a matter of 
fact, the women who went there to 
dote and gloat over their favourite 
actress were disappointed at not find- 
ing her in as good a role as usual, 
and, consequently, their sense of jus- 
tice and loyalty not permitting them 
to "roast " the actress, they had re- 
lieved their feelings by taking away 
the character of her frock. 
Early in the following September 
Mr. Drew produced Rosemary, and 
Maude Adams' popularity grew 
72 



MA UP E ADAMS 

suddenly from a fad into a furore. 
Mr. Drew scored a notable success 
as Sir Jasper, but it was Maude 
Adams' Dorothy Cruickshank that 
made the great success. 
As for the play, it was charming. 
As sweet and wholesome as the 
little plant whose name it bears, 
Rosemary triumphed uncondition- 
ally. Messrs. Louis N. Parker and 
Murray Carson had turned out a 
remarkable piece of stagecraft. It 
was a love story pure and simple, 
and yet it was more than that. In 
dialogue and action it was high 
comedy of the first water. There 
was not a superfluous phrase nor a 
strained situation in it, and children 

73 



MA U D E ADAMS 

might take their grandmothers to 
see it without fear of arousing the 
slightest blush. The play opens in 
the wet. 

Miss Dorothy Cruickshank and 
Master William Westwood, an 
eloping couple, aged eighteen and 
twenty, have come to grief in the 
mud. Their chaise has broken 
down. Sir Jasper Thorndyke, out- 
side of whose gate the accident has 
occurred, comes to their rescue. 
He puts them up for the night 
the boy in the Pink room, the girl 
in the Blue. Later a blustering 
sea captain and his wife also take 
refuge from the storm, and it isn't 
until they are also safely installed 

74 




MISS MAUDE ADAMS 
as Ixi.lv Babble in "The Little Minister.' 



MA U D E ADAMS 

for the night that Sir Jasper real- 
ises that they are the parents of the 
would-be bride. His first real 
glimpse of the little girl comes 
early in the morning, when she 
comes skipping into the breakfast 
room with her arms full of flowers 
just plucked from the garden. She 
flits about the room, looping up 
the curtains, placing a flower here 
and there, and before he is aware 
of it the middle-aged bachelor 
finds himself head over ears in 
love. The girl tells him all about 
her great love for William, and 
then asks him to please call her 
Dolly. The irate parents, to whom 
William is an unknown quantity, 

75 



M A U D E ADAMS 

meet the lad in the garden and 
take a great fancy to him, suppos- 
ing, of course, that he is Sir Jasper's 
son. Sir Jasper, by the exercise of 
a little diplomacy at the breakfast 
table, induces the old people to 
consent to the marriage of the 
youngsters, and the act ends by the 
whole party starting for London 
on Sir Jasper's coach, where they 
intend to kill two birds with one 
stone, see the young Queen's 
coronation and get the children 
spliced in proper form. But in 
London Sir Jasper meets his Wat- 
erloo. Dolly, all unconsciously, 
has wound herself about his heart. 
A word from him and William's 
76 



MA UP E ADAMS 

chances of matrimony would be 
blown sky-high. 

The boy is furious with jealousy. 
He reproaches Dolly and demands 
possession of her diary, in which 
the girl has written her impressions 
of her coaching trip. Dolly refuses 
indignantly. William decamps, and 
the little girl in despair appeals to 
Sir Jasper. She reads him an ex- 
tract about the beautiful day and 
the beautiful time and the beautiful 
things which Sir Jasper has said to 
her. 

"There!" she exclaims, trium- 
phantly. "William has no cause 
to be angry. There's nothing 
about him in that." 

77 



MA U D E ADAMS 

It is all that Sir Jasper can do to 
keep from taking the little girl in 
his arms. She tears the leaves out of 
her diary and hands them to him. 
" I don't mind showing them to 
you," she tells him naively, "be- 
cause you don't care." 
Sir Jasper finds the boy and a 
reconciliation is effected, but in 
the meantime the Queen's proces- 
sion has passed their windows and 
not one of them has seen it. As 
the girl and her boy lover start 
away, Dolly places a sprig of rose- 
mary in Sir Jasper's hand. " This 
is for remembrance." 
A moment later the landlord of the 
house comes rushing in, and Sir 

78 



MA UP E ADA MS 

Jasper buys the house from him on 
the spot. " This house henceforth 
shall be a shrine to me, a holy 
place." 

The last act shows the same room 
on the day of the Queen's Jubilee. 
Sir Jasper, lame and toothless, hob- 
bles in. As he rings for his ser- 
vant a piece of the old wainscotting 
falls down, and from the ruins he 
picks up a leaf of yellow paper. 
Through his glasses Sir Jasper 
recognises that the word beautiful 
is written on it several times. 
Then he remembers the little girl 
who wrote it. What was her 
name ? Ah ! yes, he remembers 
now. It was Dolly. 

79 



MA U D E ADAMS 

In spite of the effectiveness of this 
final scene Rosemary would be a 
better play if it ended with the 
third act. As it stands at present, 
it seems to signify merely " a dream 
and a forgetting." This scene 
must always remain an open ques- 
tion. Some liked it, many others 
did not. If Miss Maude Adams 
had played Dolly five years before, 
when she first became Mr. Drew's 
leading woman, she would have 
been credited with giving a life- 
like impersonation of an ingenuous 
little girl. But coming at this 
stage of Miss Adams' career, this 
impersonation of hers meant far 
more. 

80 




MISS MAUDE ADAMS 
as Juliet in " Romeo and Juliet.' 



MA U D E ADAMS 

It. meant that she had become a 
consummate artist. Never for one 
instant did Miss Adams forget that 
she was playing the part of an abso- 
lutely ingenuous girl. Exquisite 
is the only word which properly 
describes her work. 
So great was Miss Adams' success 
in Rosemary that her manager, Mr. 
Charles Frohman, decided that the 
time was now ripe for Miss Adams 
to come out as a star. J. M. 
Barrie, author of "The Little 
Minister," was on a visit to this 
country that winter, and he, Miss 
Adams, and Mr. Frohman had many 
consultations with regard to the 
advisability of turning his novel 

6 81 



M A UP E ADAMS 

into a play. The contract was 
signed, and early in the following 
summer the manuscript of his 
new play was delivered to Mr. 
Frohman. Both he and Miss 
Adams were so charmed with it 
that they immediately selected 
it to be the play in which Miss 
Adams should make her stellar 
debut. After a week of pre- 
liminary performances in Wash- 
ington, Miss Adams made her first 
metropolitan appearance as a star 
at the Empire Theatre, September 
28, 1897. 

The Little Minister proved more 
than a success. It was a double- 
barrelled hit, a two-ply triumph, in 
82 



MA U D E ADAMS 

which Maude Adams as an artist 
and J. M. Barrie as a playwright 
shared almost equally. 
If Miss Adams lives to be one hun- 
dred, and if in time to come her 
repertory extends from Little Eva 
to Lady Macbeth, she will never 
forget the rousing New York wel- 
come which was given her at the 
Empire that night. As for the 
star well, if Miss Adams had 
appeared in the worst play that was 
ever penned in the American 
Dramatists' Club she would have 
been royally welcomed. That wel- 
come was in fact a case of " That's 
for remembrance." The cropper 
which a bad play might have 

83 



MA U D E ADAMS 

brought her would have been post- 
poned. But The Little Minister 
was not a bad play ; that 's the 
beauty of it. Technically, it defies 
almost every stage tradition, but 
when a man like Barrie handles 
the reins, that is more a relief than 
otherwise, and there is a freshness 
and a wit and spontaneity to it 
that made it to every class of play- 
goers an unmitigated delight. 
Whether his work be a novel or a 
play, Barrie possesses the God-given 
knack of touching things with 
spirit light. This little play has a 
plot scarcely wider than your little 
finger, and yet it teems with ro- 
mance, and there is more real 

84 




MISS MAUDE ADAMS 
as Juliet in " Romeo and Juliet." 



MA UP E ADAMS 

comedy in it than has been shown 
in all the comic productions in a 
year. The most ardent admirer 
of the novel can not find fault 
with Mr. Barrie for the manner in 
which he has turned it into a play, 
nor could Mr. Frohman be criti- 
cised for the manner in which he 
had cast it. The plot of the play 
wanders far afield from the novel, 
but the characters are all there, 
Lady Babbie, Gavin Dishart, 
and all the prominent citizens of 
Thrums. 

Rarely had a star been born under 
more auspicious circumstances. 
Miss Adams threw her whole soul 
into her work in this role. And 

85 



MA U D E ADAMS 

well she might, for Lady Babbie 
was a part after her own heart. 
She is simply a little devil who 
loves a joke even more than she 
loves her lover, but Barrie had 
contrived two or three serious little 
scenes in the midst of the fun, 
which shows that after all the 
Lady Babbie is deeper than she 
seems. It is a pity, though, that 
Mr. Barrie chose to end his play 
so flippantly. There is no neces- 
sity for it. After collecting all the 
ingredients for a charmingly senti- 
mental ending he brings in a splash 
of broad comedy which almost 
robs the finale of its charm. 
But there is no use in analysing 
86 



MA U D E ADAMS 

The Little Minister. One likes it 
almost as much for its faults as for 
its virtues. All that it is neces- 
sary to state is that between them 
Maude Adams, J. M. Barrie, and 
Charles Frohman had formed a 
solid syndicate of success. 
With that performance at the Em- 
pire began one of the most remark- 
able successes in theatrical history. 
North, South, East, and West Miss 
Adams played Lady Babbie after 
she had concluded her extraor- 
dinarily successful New York run. 
Sunday-schools cried for her, and 
clergymen of all denominations 
flocked to see her play. The fact 
that in Rosemary and The Bauble 

87 



MAUDE ADAMS 

Shop she had done far more artistic 
and difficult work than anything 
she did in Barrie's pretty play went 
for nothing. From the four cor- 
ners of the United States of Amer- 
ica the verdict of the playgoers 
seemed universal : there was only 
one thing greater than The Little 
Minister, and that was little Maude 
Adams. Children, corsets, and 
cigars were named after her, as 
a matter of fact I know a ten-year- 
old child in Bridgeport, Con- 
necticut, who has thirteen dolls, and 
every one of them bears the same 
identical name, Maude Adams, and 
how their owner ever identifies 
them Heaven alone knows. In- 

88 



MA U D E ADAMS 

stead of letting her success turn 
her head completely, Miss Adams, 
realising that she was in for a very 
long siege of the Barrie play, as 
the public would not permit her 
to act anything else, began to study 
Shakespeare in earnest. By the 
end of the second season of The 
Little Minister she had mastered 
the role of Juliet, and Mr. Froh- 
man decided to engage a special 
company and produce Romeo and 
Juliet in all the leading cities dur- 
ing the month of May. 
Mr. William Faversham played 
Romeo, Mr. J. K. Hackett Mer- 
cutio, while that sterling old-time 
actress, Mrs. D. G. Jones, gave a 

89 



M A UP E ADAMS 

superb performance of the Nurse. 
The opening performance took 
place at the Empire early in May. 
The house was crowded, the en- 
thusiasm intense, and, all things 
considered, Miss Adams emerged 
from the ordeal far more success- 
fully than any of her best friends 
imagined that she would. She was 
wise enough to realise that for her 
to attempt to play Juliet in the 
traditional manner would be abso- 
lutely suicidal, so she threw tradi- 
tions to the winds and made Juliet 
a simple, girlish creature of infinite 
charm. It was the master-stroke 
of a very clever woman, an act- 
ress who knew her own artistic 
90 




MISS MAUDE ADAMS 
as Duke of Reichstadt in " L'Aiglon/ 



MA U D E A D A M S 

shortcomings too well to expose 
them. As a literal matter of fact, 
her personation of Juliet made 
some of the love scenes take on a 
new significance, for many, that 
they had never had before ; it was 
a treat in itself to see a genuinely 
young Juliet, in- the first place; as 
a general rule the average actress 
never attempts the role until she 
has arrived at those years of pro- 
fessional experience where she is 
transiently forty, or at least per- 
manently twenty-nine. The youth- 
ful charm of Miss Adams' Juliet, in 
short, made many champions for 
her, but her lack of elocutionary 
training damned her with the more 



MA UP E ADAMS 

punctilious of the old-school critics. 
In New York she was treated with 
far more consideration than in 
other cities. The experiment was 
a great financial success, however, 
and the following September Miss 
Adams returned to the treadmill 
with all the more zest for her tem- 
porary excursion into Shakespeare. 
But the following season Miss 
Adams soared even higher yet, and 
in UAiglon, although this great 
role shows her limitations as no 
other part has ever done, it must 
be honestly admitted that she has 
added greatly to her artistic fame. 
To say that she has grasped the 
possibilities of this part even now, 
92 



MA U D E ADAMS 

when she has been playing it for 
several months, would be absurd ; 
her physical powers could not reach 
them, although her readings show 
clearly that she has fully grasped 
the meaning of the part. When, 
six weeks after Miss Adams' ap- 
pearance at the Knickerbocker, 
Sarah Bernhardt appeared in 
L! Aiglon at the Garden, it was 
inevitable that comparisons would 
be made. They were but it is 
unnecessary to enter into that sub- 
ject here. Miss Adams is still 
playing L' Aiglon to crowded 
houses. Madame Bernhardt has 
had a disastrous season through the 
West. 

93 



MA U D E ADAMS 

At the Academy of Music in Balti- 
more Maude Adams made her first 
appearance in L! Aiglon. She scored 
an honest and legitimate success ; a 
success, however, which, in the very 
nature of things, was subordinate 
to the success of the play itself. For 
somehow the reports from Paris, 
enthusiastic as they had been with 
regard to Bernhardt's performance 
of the play, seem scarcely to have 
done Edmond Rostand's work jus- 
tice. Even Parisians themselves 
admitted that as played in Paris it 
was too drawn out, too talky-talky, 
as it were. In the adaptation 
which Louis Parker, supplemented 
by Edward Rose, had made, the 

94 




MISS MAUDE ADAMS 
as Duke of Reichstadt in "L'Aiglon.' 



MA U D E ADAMS 

pathos of the play has been pre- 
served, while its action has been 
strengthened so successfully that 
the interest never lags. With all 
its superfluities of verbage cut away, 
this play in its English version 
stands out clean-cut, tremendous, 
like a star. It is no exaggeration 
to say that one has to look back to 
Hamlet to find its peer in the mat- 
ter of histrionic possibilities. There 
are scenes which are so great in 
themselves that while only one, or 
perhaps two, actresses in the world 
could realise their possibilities, still 
from the very strength of the scenes 
no actress of fair ability could fail 
in them. 

95 



MA U D E ADAMS 

This, mark you, is no slur upon 
Miss Adams' work, for she accom- 
plished marvels. The great scenes, 
to be sure, lay far, far beyond her, 
but she brought out the pathos of 
the life of this poor little eaglet of 
Napoleon's with so much delicacy 
and tenderness and, in some in- 
stances, power, that she carried her 
audience completely away with 
her. In the early scenes she so 
completely fascinated the audience 
by her own personality that when 
the great scenes came she had her 
hearers completely in her power. 
The strength of the situation swept 
her along, and it was n't until the 
next morning, over their ham and 

96 



MA U D E ADAMS 

eggs, in perfectly cold blood, that 
they began to realise how much 
greater the play was than the act- 
ress. At the same time it must be 
conceded that in this play Miss 
Adams scored the great success of 
her career. With all her short- 
comings, her work in U Aiglon 
was immeasurably superior to her 
work in either Barrie's Little Min- 
ister or as Shakespeare's Juliet. 
But at the same time neither all 
the king's horses nor all the king's 
men can ever make this clever little 
actress encompass the full possibili- 
ties of this great role. 
She was at her best in the open- 
ing act. Here, Bernhardt herself 

7 97 



MA U D E ADAMS 

did not surpass her. In the 
scene where the old tutor at- 
tempts to give her a history lesson 
not at all in accordance with the 
facts, but entirely in accordance 
with the orders of her Austrian 
guardian, Miss Adams was superb. 
She played this scene with a com- 
bination of raillery, wit, and satire 
which carried all before her. The 
black garment she wore in this act 
made her look ghastly exactly 
the poor, frail little consumptive 
she was intended to be. In some 
of her later scenes she overworked 
her cough so much that it re- 
minded one of a second-rate 
Camille. But in her performance 

98 



MA UP E ADAMS 

of that first act there was no flaw. 
Her first great test, however, came 
in the second act, where Prince 
Metternich drags the young Duke 
before the mirror and bids him 
look upon the puny, sickly, effemi- 
nate face of his father's son. 
L'Aiglon snatches the lamp from 
the Prince's hand and smashes the 
mirror into fragments. Miss Adams 
played this scene most cleverly, 
but the strength of the stage busi- 
ness made it seem almost great. 
In the third act Rostand, the play- 
wright, could not help her much. 
The fancy dress ball at Schonbrunn 
is at its height, and under the park 
trees the hapless lad learns for the 

99 



MA U D E ADAMS 

first time the depths of his mother's 
infamy. There was no well-man- 
aged climax to assist Miss Adams 
here. She had to rely entirely 
upon her facial byplay and her 
elocution. Both were unequal to 
this great task. It was in this 
scene that Miss Adams' perform- 
ance reached its lowest ebb. To 
be sure, the next act, on the battle- 
field of Wagram, where the voices 
of the thousands that Napoleon 
had slain arose to haunt him, 
UAiglon lay immeasurably beyond 
the little artist's reach, but at the 
same time the scene was so terrific 
in itself that it brought Miss Adams 
enthusiastic curtain calls. In the 



IOO 




MISS MAUDE ADAMS 
as Duke of Reirhstadt in " L'Aiglon.' 



MA UP E ADAMS 

closing act, the death scene, her 
acting was entirely conventional, 
and she lost a great deal of the 
grip which she had upon her audi- 
ence throughout the earlier part of 
the play. 

In short, to sum her performance 
up, Miss Adams accomplished a 
great many more wonders than 
any rational person dreamed she 
was capable of. But at -the same 
time she did not realise the possi- 
bilities of UAiglon. And after 
that first performance, when she 
finally got to bed, tired out after a 
great night's work finely done, 
Miss Adams must have easily found 
it in her heart to say, " God bless 



IOI 



MA U D E ADAMS 

M. Rostand, Mr. Frohman, and all 
my stage managers." For Mr. 
Charles Frohman had laid himself 
out upon the production, and all 
the intricacies of Rostand lines and 
stage business had been so admi- 
rably handled by Stage Manager 
Humphries that Miss Adams' task 
had been made easier for her a 
hundredfold. 

It was in his amours that Miss 
Adams' L'Aiglon was at its weak- 
est. The young Duke's passion 
for Fannie Elssler had all the ardour 
of water mixed with milk. After 
she shed the funeral garb of the 
first act Miss Adams looked un- 
commonly well. The white uni- 



IO2 



MA U D E ADAMS 

form became her, and her costumes 
were so neatly cut that they made 
her at times look almost sturdy. 
Mr. Parker's adaptation had been 
admirably done, but there was one 
great flaw in it. Indeed, this 
change deprived the play in one 
sense of a great deal of its natural 
strength : L'Aiglon from first to 
last was made an entirely sympa- 
thetic role. This is all wrong. 
In the French play, one of the 
strongest hits is scored when Ros- 
tand demonstrates that his poor 
little Eaglet, beating hopelessly 
against the bars of his physical 
cage, is not only an inflamed en- 
thusiast, but, when put to the cru- 
103 



MA U D E ADAMS 

cial test, is also an arrant coward. 
This little wing-clipped eaglet, this 
bird in a gilded cage which Miss 
Adams presents, is always pathetic, 
always thoroughly lovable, but one 
has to strain both his ear and his 
imagination to hear him passion- 
ately railing against both his fate 
and his cage. 

Miss Adams had attempted a dar- 
ing feat and carried it through, if 
not with the greatest honours, at 
least successfully. She had fairly 
earned every ounce of the applause. 



104 



MA U D E ADAMS 



%+Part Third 



While there is no actress on the 
stage whose personality appeals 
more directly to her audiences, 
Miss Adams throughout her 
grown-up stage career has drawn 
the line very distinctly between her 
stage career and her private life. 
She glories in the fact that there is 
scarcely a woman on the stage 
about whom less is known. After 
her great success in the The Little 
Minister Miss Adams invested part 
of her earnings in a charming old 
homestead and farm down on Long 
Island. Here the greater part of 
105 



MA U D E ADAMS 

her leisure time is spent. The 
place is just near enough to town 
to enable her to run down when- 
ever the spirit moves her during the 
week, and all her Sundays are spent 
there whenever she happens to be 
playing in or anywhere near New 
York. Another favourite resort 
of hers is Anteora, and during her 
holidays she is a well-known figure 
in the little literary colony there. 
But Miss Adams before all else is a 
working woman and a student. As 
a lioness she positively refuses to 
either growl or shine. She loves 
horses and rides uncommonly well ; 
she has a fine library, and spends a 
great deal of her time there. In 
1 06 



MA U D E ADAMS 

short, she lives the life of any other 
rational, hard-working artist who 
realises the demands which her pro- 
fession makes upon her, and is wise 
enough to husband her strength. 
Two or three times a year ridicu- 
lously exaggerated reports about her 
health are published, but they have 
become such an old and exploded 
story that neither she nor her man- 
ager ever take the trouble to deny 
them any more. 

Miss Adams probably is not nearly 
so robust as Mr. John L. Sullivan, 
but any woman who can play 
U Aiglon seven times a week cannot 
be very much of an invalid. Some 
years ago, after her success in The 
107 



MAUDE ADAMS 

Masked Ball, Miss Adams was inter- 
viewed. She expressed her opinion 
at that time upon the question of 
publicity, and from what I have 
seen of her work since then and, 
better still, by what I have not seen 
about her in the newspapers, I ven- 
ture to say that Miss Adams is still 
of the same opinion. At that time 
Miss Adams said : 
" Yes, I am very much interested in 
my work. It is a good profession 
for a woman. There is no limit to 
what she can do if she has talent and 
is willing to work and wait ; and as 
for the temptations well, are they 
not everywhere outside the protec- 
tion of the home circle ? 

108 



MA UP E ADAMS 

" I have n't had much experience. 
I have no theories and systems of 
exercise and dressing and bathing 
to interest people with, or rather I 
have beautiful theories, but I don't 
live up to them. I ride horseback 
and walk, and am ever so much 
stronger than I look. 
" I don't see, anyway, why an act- 
ress must give her personality to 
the world, though it seems to be 
expected, and those who curiously 
investigate her private life are not 
always careful how they use their in- 
formation. I have n't very decided 
opinions on the great questions of the 
day, but there's one thing I don't be- 
lieve in, and that is woman's rights. 
109 



MAUDE ADAMS 

" I think the men have taken 
pretty good care of us all these 
years, and I don't see what is the 
matter with letting them keep it 
up. Any woman half-way clever 
can make the men do just as she 
wants to have them, and at the 
same time keep them thinking they 
are having their own way, and 
what more would she have ? " 



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