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from .) />//"'". '''/>'' l>y Whit. 











Copyright 1921, 1922, by the Curtis Publishing Co. 

Printed in the United State* of America 

College - 





The publishers are doing all they possibly can to make 
a success of this book they call it a book and they have 
asked me for a dedication. 

After the manner of mid-Victorian poets, I could have 

made the dedication mysteriously to "Dear B 

M ," but I used to know a girl of those initials; my 

wife also knew her. Her name was Mary Brannigan. 
But nobody of intelligence is going to be deceived by a 
mere transposition of initials, so I thought I might win 
as much as I stood to lose by coming right out with it 
and saying Brander Matthews. 

I learned in the railroad yard that separate cars thrown 
in on the same track could subsequently be coupled up, 
then hitched to something with power enough to push 
or pull them out as a freight train; perhaps with hope- 
ful attention to the English market I should say, "goods 
train." Nobody knows better than yourself the differ- 
ence between push and pull, and having both you might 
be willing, I thought, to assist a fellow who has neither, 
especially as my cars when they are not empty contain 
stuff that is perishable. 

Then I had another idea. There is a story of General 
Custer at the head of a marching column on our American 
plains one day in the middle seventies. He suddenly 
threw up his hand after the manner of Western com- 
manders, gave a signal, and moved sharply "column 



right" over a rod or so, then resumed direction. Every 
pair of troopers reaching the first angle peered eagerly 
forward to see what had deflected the march. In the 
dried brush was the nest of a meadow-lark. The bird 
was frightened and had flown, but the nest had four 
eggs in it. 

At the head of the marching column of reviewers your 
gesture has all the authority that Custer's had with those 
troopers, and you have the same sympathetic apprehen- 
sion of possibilities. Many readers will immediately 
infer the low and defenseless character of my hopes and 
incubations when I simply say Dear Brander. 

And some critics are as gentle as cavalrymen. 
Affectionately yours, 








V. GROWING UP IN ST. Louis 64 













XVIII. THE EARLY go's 309 










INDEX 469 


Augustus Thomas Frontispiece 


Imogene Garrettson Thomas, mother of Augustus Thomas, at 

eighteen years of age 4 

Sarah Wilson Garrettson, Mr. Thomas's grandmother, in her 

fifties 10 

John W. Norton 90 

John Peck Colby, father of Mrs. Thomas. 1865 . . . . no 

E. B. Thomas, father of Augustus Thomas. 1865 . . . . no 

Cartoon drawn by Mr. Thomas for the St. Louis World in 1880 124 

Two scenes from "The Professor," in which William Gillette 

appeared. 1882 138 

Delia Fox and the curl she made famous 156 

The Dickson Sketch Club, at Minnehaha Falls, Minnesota. 

1884 162 

Edwin Booth as Hamlet 230 

Julia Marlowe as Juliet. 1889 248 

Maurice Barrymore in 1888 262 

Augustus Thomas in 1888 262 

Charles L. Harris and E. M. Holland as Squire Tucker and 

Colonel Moberly in "Alabama" 294 

Charles Frohman 302 

Caricatures from Mr. Thomas's Sketch Book. 1891-93 . . 326 
L. J. B. Lincoln, F. W. Ruckstull, Augustus Thomas, E. W. Kemble, 
Francis Wilson, Frederic Remington 

Caricatures from Mr. Thomas's Sketch book. 1891-93 . . 424 

Sydney Rosenfeld, General George Sheridan, William Marion Reedy j 
Cyril Scott, Henry Guy Carleton 



In the month of January, 1857, Abraham Lincoln was 
practising law in Springfield, Illinois. At Guernsey, 
Victor Hugo, in exile, was preparing the last volume 
of "Les Miserables," and was writing Shakespeare, the 
greatest of his single volumes. Germany was alarmed 
over the success of the French in Lombardy, and Bavaria 
was preparing for war. The Queen of England, then in 
the twentieth year of her reign, was planning to establish 
the Order of the Victoria Cross, and was having bronze 
medals cast from Russian cannon recently captured at 
Sebastopol. In the United States, President Franklin 
Pierce was getting ready to retire in March, and James 
Buchanan, his successor, was preparing his inaugural 

Ralph Waldo Emerson, then in his fifty-third year, 
was lecturing in Philadelphia, New York, Ohio, and 
Illinois, and John Brown, of Ossawatomie, Kansas, was 
making speeches in Eastern States, and stimulating the 
committees who were financially helping the people of 
Kansas to resist the raids of the Missouri Border Ruf- 
fians. U. S. Grant was living with his wife's folks on a 
farm near St. Louis, much distressed by fever and ague, 
and occasionally driving a load of cordwood to the city. 
The Supreme Court at Washington was considering for 


the second time the question of the liberty of the negro 
slave, Died Scott. Mr. Lincoln, at Springfield, was 
anxiously awaiting their decision before expressing him- 
self as he subsequently did in such immortal fashion. 

On the eighth day of that month, in that year, I was 
born in a little house in what was then the outskirts of 
St. Louis, Missouri. 

Of this important concurrent event none of the great 
personages above referred to knew anything at first hand, 
which must not fairly imply neglect on their part, 
because all of my own impressions of them were sub- 
sequently and slowly formed on hearsay and report. I 
mention these great personages principally to fix in the 
reader's mind some conditions and the time. But they 
are mentioned, also, because most of them began soon 
afterward to take place and shape somewhat distorted 
shape, perhaps in my first permanent memories. 

Buchanan took office under the handicap of our family 
disapproval, because responding to certain preelection 
pledges he permitted the recall from Falmouth, England, 
of my maternal grandmother's second husband, who had 
been sent there as United States consul by Franklin 
Pierce; and, without generalizing too hastily, I may say 
that a similar lack of judgment, according to my people, 
characterized nearly the whole of Buchanan's adminis- 
tration. Grandmother was there with this second hus- 
band. I don't know how the wife of a consul at Fal- 
mouth could do it, but in some way grandmother, while 
in England, arranged a presentation to the Queen, so 
that with us in North St. Louis, Victoria was a household 

I was two years old when John Brown was hanged, 
and, of course, understood nothing of it. Victor Hugo, 


in his exile for liberty, with his great sympathy for the 
oppressed in every land, was eloquent in his appeal to 
the American public to save itself from this moral stain 
and from a crime "odious as the first sad fratricide." 
He cried: "Let America be aware that more terrible 
than Cain slaying Abel would be Washington killing 

By the time I was four and able in childish fashion to 
carry a tune the land was alive with the music of brass 
bands. Of course, the spirit of John Brown was the im- 
portant element, but for many years after that time I 
was not so acutely conscious of anything else as that 
"John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the ground." 
If we recall the persistence of George Cohan's "Over 
There," during the two years of the war just passed, we 
will have some fractional measurement of the hold that 
tune of the sixties took upon the Northern heart. 

Concerning Grant, I had something to say in 1900. 
Because this something was spoken under excitement 
and with a distinctness of recollection twenty years 
clearer than my present impressions, I will print it here, 
notwithstanding its forensic taint: "To me Grant is 
not a personage. He is an epoch. There is a morning 
filled with the music of martial bands and the color of 
waving banners. I am just tall enough to reach the door- 
latch with my mother's help. A booted trooper at the 
door asks for Captain Thomas, while in the gutter stand 
two champing steeds with saddles of black and brass, 
deep as the baby's cradle. I see my father ride through 
the city park, and note with wonderment my mother's 
tears. The sound of * Grant Grant Grant' is through 
it all like some infiltrating and saturating echo that 


meaningless sound of * Grant/ which seems to have some 
trouble with another called 'Fort Donelson.' There are 
shouts and salvos, and mingling with the cheers there is 
the derisive song: 

" 'It was on the tenth of May, 
Captain Kelly was away, 
The Hessians surrounded Camp Jackson.' 

"Years afterward I learned that the Hessians were 
the loyal Germans of St. Louis, who under Francis P. 
Blair marched to her defence. 

"Another happening of that Homeric day is a fair 
where my mother holds me high in the crowd that I may 
see a child impersonating the old woman who lived in a 
shoe, and had so many children she didn't know what 
to do. That little girl with the cap and spectacles is 
Nellie Grant, selling her dolls to buy clothes for soldiers; 
and now there drifts into my ideas vaguely the concep- 
tion that this echo, this shibboleth, this Grant is a man, 
a father, not nearly so kind and low-voiced as my own 
father, not so tender, nor so full of laughter, nor so long 
away from home as my father, but still a father, tangible 
and human, and maybe good to that little girl at whom 
the men and women wave their handkerchiefs. 

"Then there is the illumination, when the night is 
come. The candles stuck in potatoes behind the tri- 
color tissue-paper in the windows; and the tar barrels 
are crackling in the street. Suddenly all is dark. I am 
frightened by an undefined menace. The young mother, 
in her night-robe, is kneeling with me at the open win- 
dow, one blanket above us both, the sky filled with the 
twinkle of the summer stars, and the air heavy with the 
weedy smell from the bottom-lands of Illinois. Yet it is 


From a daguerreotype taken in 1851. 


none of these, but rather a tump-tump-tump-like pulse, a 
rhythm that my mother whispers is the tramp of soldiers. 

" It was the heartbeat of a startled nation. I can re- 
call it now, with all the mystery and magic of the potent 
and unseen, and it is moving to some ghostlike place 
called Island Number 10 or Vicksburg, and Grant is 
there in whispers. 

"That is my Grant, a member of that Apocrypha of 
the nursery to which belong the Bluebeards and the 
Giant Killers. 

"I saw him once, in the winter of 1870, at Washing- 
ton, when the Senate and House had gathered in the 
Hall of Representatives, at the funeral of General George 
H. Thomas. The imperial Elaine was in the chair, and 
in a semicircle of seats in front of his desk were the 
cabinet and a short, high-shouldered, round-headed man 
with whiskers. Grant ! I felt the same shock that a 
little girl of to-day, full of 'Alice in Wonderland/ would 
feel if she were shown Lewis Carroll and told, ' That is 
your story.' ' 

Before the war my father was associated with Mr. 
W. N. Wells, among others, in the formation of the Re- 
publican Party in the St. Louis district. They were in 
occasional correspondence with Mr. Lincoln at Spring- 
field, not yet the great emancipator, but just a clever 
debater who was attracting attention in the West. One 
of those original letters, addressed to Mr. Wells, not to 
my father, is between two panes of glass in a frame and 
a folder in my library. It does not add much to the 
volume of Lincoln's product, but as it has been in print 
only in connection with my play, "The Copperhead," 
this extract may have for many a genuine interest: 


All dallying with Douglas by Republicans, who are such at heart, 
is at the very least, time and labor lost; and all such, who so dally 
with him, will yet bite their lips in vexation for their own folly. His 
policy which rigorously excludes all idea of there being any wrong 
in slavery, does lead inevitably to the denationalization of the Con- 
stitution; and all who deprecate that consummation and yet are 
seduced into his support, do but cut their own throats. True, Doug- 
las bos opposed the administration on one measure, and yet may 
on some other; but while he upholds the Dred Scott decision, de- 
clares that he cares not whether slavery be voted down or voted up; 
that it is simply a question of dollars and cents, and that the Al- 
mighty has drawn a line on one side of which labor must be performed 
by slaves, to support him or Buchanan is simply to reach the same 
goal by only slightly different roads. 

Very respectfully, 


I remember vividly incidents of the presidential cam- 
paign, when I was three years old, that preceded Lin- 
coln's first election. Father and the family were black 
Republicans, but in my private heart I was stoutly for 
Bell and Everett of the so-called Union Party. Their 
torchlight processions were the most picturesque, and at 
intervals in their lines animated men rang hand-bells, 
with now and then a larger one on a wagon. There may 
have been older spectators and auditors as deeply im- 

I remember the neighborhood rejoicing over the elec- 
tion and, very soon thereafter, everybody and the sol- 
diers singing, "We are coming, Father Abraham, a 
hundred thousand strong." St. Louis, except for the 
Germans, was predominantly a Southern city; the di- 
vided feeling ran high; neighborhood animosities were 
intense. There was a builder named McCormick on the 
other side of our street who had threatened to kill my 


father. The opportunity apparently never safely offered, 
but that and other hatred lasted. For example, the war 
had been over ten years when on a local election day 
McCormick, who was a powerful fellow, came behind 
a buggy in which I sat with my father and endeavored 
to overturn it by lifting the rear axle. I was big enough 
to engage in the contest that followed, but the police 
prevented a decision. 

These Civil War events and childish impressions from 
them have no historic value, but they are the stuff that 
focused and perhaps formed my tendencies; the stuff 
that influenced my mature associations and endeavors, 
and became the background and much of the material 
of my professional work. When I compare these early 
influences to determine which of them was the most po- 
tent in fixing whatever may be persistent in my course, 
I think I must give predominance to the influence of 
the grandmother already mentioned. She was so un- 
swerving in her intentions toward me, so positive in her 
assumptions, so constant that I remember her influence 
not only as personal and intimate but also as oracular 
and imperative. I have written her into three different 
plays quite intentionally, and perhaps into forty others 
by some indirection. I think, therefore, that a fuller 
statement of grandmother is pertinent. 

Her father's name was Wilson, her mother's name 
was Walker both names recently crowded from the 
advertisements, but they had spirited associations even 
in my childhood. William Walker, who led his filibusters 
into Nicaragua, was grandmother's cousin, and she was 
proud of him. Her only brother was killed on that ex- 
pedition. Grandmother's first husband was Daniel 
Garrettson, a boat-builder of Cincinnati. He was lost 


in a river accident while my mother was still a little 

The second husband was an actor turned editor when 
Pierce gave him the consulship at Falmouth. After 
Buchanan's inauguration this second husband made his 
home in Washington City, while grandmother lived in 
St. Louis to be near us and as far as possible from him. 
I remember his monthly remittances, which were regular 
and not large, but beautiful. They came during the 
early war period in newly printed paper shinplasters, 
in sheets measuring each about eighteen by twenty-four 
inches; each sheet having one hundred pieces of frac- 
tional currency and each piece with a value of three, 
five, ten, or twenty-five cents, according to the respective 
denomination of the sheet. 

When I grew big enough not to make the sport too 
expensive I was permitted to cut these sheets into their 
component units. Any one who has ever cut a coupon 
from a Liberty Bond that didn't belong to him can esti- 
mate my thrills over these small, crisp steel engravings 
of historic Americans serving as scenery for federal 
promises to pay on demand. A percentage of these re- 
mittances each month went into the war relief of the 
time. Recruits from Illinois and Iowa passed grand- 
mother's door and cheered it. The flag with its thirty- 
four stars hung from her window, and whenever a march- 
ing detachment swung into view a table draped with 
bunting in her little dooryard was quickly equipped with 
refreshments. Some of the fellows needed them. For 
any chap especially distressed a reviving nip could be 
unostentatiously produced. At that time whiskey, which 
had cost eighteen cents a gallon when Lincoln kept store 


in Sangamon County, had risen to thirty-five cents a 
gallon. You can't stop the profiteers. Between times 
grandmother did volunteer work on uniforms. 

On the mantel-shelf of the study in which I am writing 
in New Rochelle is a black wooden crucifix about six- 
teen inches high supported by a base. The brass figure 
of the Saviour is apparently a copy of Donatello. This 
was always a prominent object in grandmother's parlor. 
Archbishop Purcell, of Cincinnati, returning from a visit 
to Rome, had brought it to her when she was first mar- 
ried, with the blessing of Pius IX. Grandmother was 
then a Catholic, but some act or failure to act, some ut- 
terance or some silence by some Missouri churchman 
upon the question of secession sent grandmother over 
to the M. E. Church North. 

In Simpson Chapel, Union sentiments were vocal 
and extemporaneous, and there grandmother inhaled and 
exhaled an atmosphere of militant loyalty. Twice every 
Sunday and at least one night of the week she went there 
to meeting. With father at the front, I was the only 
male creature in our two households, and though mother 
thought a boy of six or seven shouldn't be up so late, I 
loved to act as the old lady's escort. The streets of North 
St. Louis at night were not lighted at that period; the 
chapel was four blocks away and the natives were not 
friendly. But grandmother had a square lantern such 
as Dogberry carries, with three sides of tin, perforated 
like a horseradish grater, and a fourth side of glass. It 
held a candle and swung by a tin ring larger than a muffin 
mold. With that candle lighted and the right wing of 
her Valley Forge circular thrown over her left shoulder, 
the handsome old lady, then about fifty, used to go forth 
with me. In that fashion I began to save the nation as 


vaguely then as we all of us still continue a few steps 
in the dark, each holding to some fallible hand in which 
we have great faith. 

At that time our home was still in my birthplace, the 
end house of a dozen called Bates' Row on Tenth Street; 
brick buildings of almost toy dimensions, having three 
rooms and a lean-to kitchen each, and little dooryards 
back and front. Grandmother occupied the house next 
to us with her widowed sister and a pretty niece named 
Alice Witham. As a youngster I thought she was the 
Sweet Alice discussed in the lyrical appeal to Ben Bolt, 
and I had Ben cast in the person of a sturdy soldier who 
called irregularly until a black-bordered envelope with 
crossed flags on it explained his absence. I remember 
Alice still disconsolate as a handsome youth, also living 
in the same row and not quite old enough for the war 
except as drummer-boy, which he was for a while sang 
under her window. The police then tolerated that noc- 
turnal custom. This singer was J. K. Emmett, about 
sixteen years old at that time. Grandmother forgave 
him when he sang, as everybody did, but at other times 
he was on her bad books. His sister Eliza had a con- 
tralto voice as fine as Jo's tenor. Eliza sang at Simp- 
son Chapel, and Jo, who came to take her home now and 
then, preferred to practise jig steps on the board walk 
in front rather than wait inside, where vociferously mine 
and grandmother's and the little congregation's "days 
were passing swiftly by." Eliza Emmett Wycoff became 
one of the notable singers of the city. With Jo Emmett, 
Our Fritz, the women of two continents fell in love, and 
true to precedent forgave completely his many missteps. 

Grandmother's opinion was the most decisive in our 
family. I had no way of knowing it wasn't so in the na- 



tion. Her impatience with McCIellan and Grant and 
even Lincoln seemed to have an effect. At any rate, 
things happened when she got mad enough. She per- 
manently affected my early admirations. After a sol- 
dier, an orator was the finest type. She had heard Web- 
ster in the Senate and Andrew Jackson elsewhere, and 
gauged my early diction by those standards. As I re- 
view it mentally, I think there may have been a little of 
the theatre about her, but it was good theatre; a sense 
of the effective, nothing of the insincere. In her prophecy 
I joined her strangely assorted gallery of the great, and 
always found her hope and her belief associating me with 
Jackson and Webster, Lincoln, Edwin Forrest, Char- 
lotte Cushman and Archbishop Purcell. It was a good 
deal to ask of a lad of seven, but I took a run at it. 

My father, as a bachelor aged nineteen, had gone to 
the Mexican War via Leavenworth on the historic Doni- 
phan Expedition and during the subsequent experience 
was an aide-de-camp on General Taylor's staff. He 
sustained there an injury that disqualified him somewhat 
from extended service when he raised a company of 
volunteers for the Civil War, and therefore as soon as 
the immediate menace to Missouri was past he resigned 
from the army, and was elected to the Missouri Legis- 
lature. When Farragut ran the blockade at the mouth 
of the Mississippi and took New Orleans there was a 
demand for entertainment by the Northern troops who 
occupied the city similar to the demand that came from 
the American Expeditionary Forces recently in France. 

Father thereupon resigned his seat in the legislature, 
and together with Ben de Bar, one of the foremost comic 
actors of America, the only great Falstaff I ever saw, 
and a manager named Tom Davey who subsequently 


married one of the Maddern sisters and became the father 
of Minnie Maddern, now Mrs. Harrison Grey Fiske 
reopened the St. Charles Theatre in New Orleans. This 
was in the fall of 1863. The party took with them the 
Revel family, dancers and acrobats, and among others 
a comedian named George Chapman. 

Although New Orleans had fallen a year before, the 
Mississippi for much of its length below St. Louis was 
sporadically commanded by Confederate guns, so that 
this little theatrical company had to run their blockades 
on a steamboat protected by piled-up cotton-bales. 
There was a long, successful season at the theatre, which 
those lessees closed at the end of March in 1865. I dis- 
tinctly remember my father's return, bringing with him 
a large cage holding two mocking-birds, which had to 
have boiled eggs, and also carrying several bunches of 
bananas protected by pink mosquito-netting. A third 
item in his baggage was a box of photographs of theatrical 
celebrities who had been visiting stars at the theatre. 
Among these were some pictures of the talented and 
eccentric Adah Isaacs Menken. According to my mother, 
these photographs did not warrant my father's estimate 
of Adah's beauty. I remember the pictures too imper- 
fectly at this date to umpire the difference of opinion. 

Another attractive photograph was that of a young 
woman in a pancake hat, a short smart basque and a 
wide expanse of crinoline. She was the gifted Mathilda 
Heron, mother of Bijou Heron, now Mrs. Henry Miller, 
and grandmother of Gilbert Miller, who has recently 
been announced as the manager to succeed the late Alt 
Hayman in charge of the Empire Theatre, New York. 

There were a half dozen photographs of a singularly 
handsome man, each of them inscribed "To my dear 


Tom" my father's friends called him intimately by his 
last name in preference to the given one of Elihu and 
signed John Wilkes Booth. Although my father was ten 
years Booth's senior, he and Booth had been rather boon 
companions in New Orleans, and coming from the same 
theatre, wearing the same kind of mustachios and the 
clubbed hair of the period, were so alike that each was 
sometimes mistaken for the other. 

Father had not been back long enough at our St. Louis 
home to lose the guestlike novelty of his presence, when 
on the morning of April fifteenth, something having gone 
wrong the day before with the family baking, I was sent 
from the breakfast-table to the corner grocery for an 
extra loaf of bread. The weather was unusually warm 
for that season, even in St. Louis. Saturday was a school 
holiday. I was barefoot in the first kid freedom of the 
year, and snail-like on this errand I travelled the short 
block over the unpaved road, which was ankle-deep with 
its cool bed of dust. 

At the grocery I was unable to get attention in the 
group that had gathered there and was increasing. As 
soon as I learned the cause of the excitement I ran home, 
burst into the little dining-room with a repetition of the 
cry "Lincoln's been shot!" 

I can see the family at that table now, each in his or 
her proper place, as definite as if the occurrence were 
to-day. My mother and father, my elder sister and a 
younger one, a baby brother, my grandmother, and a 
hired girl. It was the democratic custom in that section 
and time for the hired girl to serve the food in bulk and 
then sit with the family at the table. My father, 
refusing to accept my message, rushed to the street. I 


see the terror on my mother's face and the tragic in- 
tensity of grandmother. I am pressed with questions. 
I remember my inadequate replies, and then my father 
coming back, his face grown strangely older. As the 
women look at him he says, "Wilkes Booth " 

"Shot Lincoln?" 


As the women get this confirmation my mother sobs 
with her head upon the table; grandmother, erect, is 
making short dramatic denunciations, of which I have 
forgotten all except their vehemence. Not only that 
day but an ensuing period of dislocation and excitement 
followed; a period recalled as interminable compared 
to the swift actions that the records show. During that 
crowded time every word of the reports in every paper 
was read aloud and discussed; every rumor too. The 
subject occupied the talk and filled all minds through 
every silence. The apprehension and arrest of conspira- 
tors; the pursuit and killing of Booth; the arrangements 
for the dead President's funeral; the trial of persons 
charged with complicity in his assassination; bitter divi- 
sion on the question of the guilt of Mrs. Surratt, and 
upon the right at all to hang a woman; suspicions that 
arose and were increased concerning Vice-President John- 
son's possible knowledge of or blindness to the plot ban- 
ished all unrelated topics. Letters came, neighbors ran 
in and out to carry or to match their news. Persons here- 
tofore uncertain as to policies took a prompt stand in 
condemnation of the deed. Many Southern sympathizers 
honestly arranged themselves with the Northerners; 
some sullen ones closed their blinds and kept out of view. 
The excitement extended to the children; and picture 
papers were cut out, pasted into peep shows and reeled 
off in soap-boxes, back-lighted by bits of candles. 


The death of Lincoln came with crushing force to every 
household in the North. To these ours was an exception 
only in the added poignancy given by our familiarity 
with the assassin's name and looks and my father's rec- 
ollections of a recent playful companionship. Booth's 
photographs were brought out, discussed in horror and 
then put away and avoided. In the next year or two, 
through the willing agency of secesh playmates, I quietly 
gave these pictures to other parents who prized and kept 

When Lincoln's funeral was held at Springfield there 
was a ceremony in St. Louis, with a stately representative 
catafalque set in the rotunda of the classical courthouse, 
where thousands with bowed head and reverent step 
passed to express openly their sorrow. I was in that 
line, and though no doubt truthfully informed at the 
time, for years I retained the belief that Lincoln's body 
had been under those flowers and flags. There must 
have been many who thought the same. 



Soon after that time my father was planning and sur- 
veying what was called the St. Louis and Glencoe Rail- 
road. There was an onyx quarry at one end of it the 
other end, I think. Grandmother called it a mare's-nest, 
which seems to be bad rating for a new railroad, and 
father suffered in the enterprise in other ways. He had 
to go to New York about bonds and money, and took 
me with him to Brooklyn, where his sisters lived. On 
that visit I learned that father himself had a maternal 
grandmother, who before her marriage had been a Miss 
La Farge. It required half a day to get from Brooklyn 
by ferry-boat to New York and by Broadway stage to 
her house in a thinly settled district near Central Park 
in the East Sixties. She spoke with a French accent 
difficult for me to understand. The only topic on which 
we got earnestly together was the Civil War grand- 
mothers seemed to be unanimous on that but she was 
a dark and very old lady and in no wise comparable to 
my grandmother. I felt sorry for father, but was careful 
never to say anything about her that hurt his feelings. 

We went back to St. Louis. An older railroad man, 
the family said, named Colonel Tom McKissock, had 
euchered father out of the Glencoe Railroad, and in our 
historic apportionments McKissock joined Buchanan. 

There was in those days a touch of economical manage- 
ment by my mother that will appeal to two classes of 
readers. The first it will impress with mild astonishment; 
and the second, millions in number, if the statement 



should reach them, it will strike familiarly. The flour 
for the baking came in coarse cotton sacks. These sacks 
when empty and with their seams ripped open washed 
up into serviceable domestic cloth. For the five chil- 
dren in our household in 1868 this cloth was available 
as nightgowns. Sometimes the brand of the flour sten- 
ciled into the bag was indelible. One dealer, dyeing for 
immortality, identified his product by a pardonable pun 
which had for my parents a third application, gratifying 
though not prophetic, as they watched me bundle into 
bed with The Flower of the Family blazoned on the 
southern exposure of my gabardine. 

In similar ways and by like episodes my neighborhood 
horizon widened and took on state and national dimen- 
sions. Among father's optimistic friends was a man 
named Cavanaugh, with whiskers and blue eyes and a 
broad broken nose. Mr. Cavanaugh never put water in 
his whiskey, as General Frank P. Blair and father did 
while conversing at the Planter's House bar, but drank 
it with a nervous toss and considerable display of teeth 
under his wet mustache and then thoughtfully went 
"Ha" with a sandpaper exhaust. 

Then and again, years and other years afterward, 
standing at the same bar, I tried to dramatize for my 
own mind's eye the story of General Frank P. Blair, 
smiling and unarmed, saying, oh, so confidentially, to 
another man he had never met before: "Are you Billy 
Ryder? Well, I'm told you say you will kill me on sight. 
My name is Frank P. Blair, Mr. Ryder." 

"Right where we're standing," Cavanaugh explains, 
and Mr. Blair laughs it off and says something amusing 
about a bluff. 

Billy Ryder was a political Monk Eastman. As a 


boy and man I heard him make fiery speeches in Gaelic 
to his compatriots from the court-house steps, but I al- 
ways remembered Mr. Cavanaugh's story to my father 
as I stood listening, nine years of age. Even at sixty- 
four I like it. 

My father was a fine man with a great brain, and now 
that he is gone I would say nothing of him that could 
prejudice a reader against him, but he always treated 
me as an equal. I knew his friends man fashion. They 
were many and important, and such informing anecdotes 
as the one just related he always told me in order that 
I might rightly measure men. On all public questions 
there was always also grandmother, sometimes mistaken 
but never in doubt, and from the time I was eligible at 
six years of age until the time I was indigent at twelve, 
I had an almost uninterrupted attendance at regular 
sessions of the St. Louis grammar-schools, including at 
that period their compulsory study of German. When 
I finished I had a card publicly given me for my recita- 
tion of Marco Bozzaris. The scene is indelible. I had 
walked to the teacher's platform, as was then uniformly 
required, on tiptoe; we thought in order that our shoes 
should not squeak too much, but, as a matter of fact, 
to train us against falling arches. I see my teacher now, 
the bunch of lilacs on her desk and just behind her the 
Tropic of Capricorn. It had been there all winter, but 
never so plain as on that fragrant morning in the spring 
of 1868, with the girls in white and ribbons, and through 
the open windows trees and grass and cowbells, and be- 
yond the sky-line of a great round world turning upon 
its own axis once in every twenty-four hours, except in 
February, which has twenty-nine. The safety of our 
republic rests upon our public schools. 


During this early period we lived not always in the 
same house. Places were rented, and like many uneasy 
families of that time we occasionally removed. Amongst 
our plunder there were a few book-shelves well furnished 
and some other volumes with bindings too dilapidated 
to be shown. These cripples drifted to the garret, where 
I used to run across them on holidays. Three of these 
old books I studied with keen interest. One was Blair's 
"Rhetoric"; a second was Jefferson's "Manual on Parlia- 
mentary Law," which had evidently been useful to father 
at different times; a third was a small copy of Hardee's 
"Military Tactics." 

About this time the remittances of new money from 
Washington City began to get irregular and now and 
then to lack a few sheets of the stipulated limit, but to 
be accompanied by peace-offerings of useless merchandise, 
stuff that the sender had probably got at little cost from 
a War Department that was reforming. In one ship- 
ment of that kind there came a pasteboard box contain- 
ing a gross or more of officers' epaulets in gold and silver 
on different colored cloths, ready to be sewed on the 
shoulders of soldier coats. Nobody wanted these things 
apparently, not even grandmother, and they fell to me. 
Nothing would have been more acceptable except per- 
haps a consignment of Indian war bonnets. I distributed 
them among my comrades, and with the help of the Har- 
dee "Tactics" organized two or three squads, fairly pro- 
ficient in the manual, with wooden guns, but composed 
entirely of officers from brigadier-generals to captains. 
When manoeuvring in the streets and encouraged by vet- 
erans at the corner grocery we must have looked like a 
miniature and migratory general staff. 

This would be too trivial to record were it not for the 


fact that it was at a time when two national conventions 
had made their nominations. With the entire country 
still wrought up and resentful over the assassination of 
Lincoln, the Republican Party took no chances on the 
character of its candidate, and General Ulysses S. Grant 
was the nominee. His Democratic opponent, Governor 
Horatio Seymour, of New York, had smirched his record 
a little by addressing an audience of draft rioters in New 
York in a pacificatory speech as "My friends." 

To offset the doubts which that phrase inspired, the 
Democratic convention gave Seymour as his running 
mate that gallant Democrat of undoubted loyalty of 
whom I have already spoken, General Francis P. Blair. 
My father was so fond of Blair that, partisan as he was, 
it hurt him to oppose him in the local districts, but he 
vigorously did so. I was by this time taking a wider 
interest in politics and on higher grounds than those which 
I held in the Bell and Everett campaign. But still the 
theatrical features of the contest were the ones that in* 
terested me most. 

In the torchlight processions the marching voters, be- 
sides their soldier caps and capes, wore little aprons, be- 
cause their candidate, U. S. Grant, when a boy, had 
worked in his father's yards as a tanner. More than in 
any other district that I have ever observed, and more 
than in any other campaign, the juniors took an interest 
in this one, doubtless because of the contentious atmos- 
phere in which they had all been raised. The men en- 
couraged them and there were many marching clubs of 
boys. My organization of shoulder straps was active 
two or three nights in the week at the tail end of the tan- 
ners' procession. 

It is probable that neither Seymour nor Blair, experi- 


enced politicians as they were, had much hope of elec- 
tion. At any rate, upon many occasions in which I saw 
him soon after the decision, I could discover nothing 
crestfallen about our Missouri member in particular, nor 
did he carry any animosity against the comrades who 
had remained loyal to the commander in chief rather 
than support their local favorite. Blair and my father 
were warm friends as ever, and Blair himself was in- 
fluential in having me appointed a page in the Missouri 
legislature the following session, at which time I was 
eleven years old. 

There were five page boys in the Missouri House of 
Representatives at that time. They were appointed by 
the clerk, and there was considerable political compe- 
tition for the places. As the boys were paid ninety dol- 
lars a month, the appointments came under the head of 
patronage. There were plenty of competent lads in Jef- 
ferson City who would have been glad to get the work 
at twenty dollars a month, but under the spoils system 
the clerk endeavored to distribute the appointments 
through different sections of the State. The salary was 
fixed upon the knowledge that the boys would be under 
considerable expense away from their homes, and per- 
haps the committee on appropriations justified the 
amount also under the theory that the work was educa- 
tional and to a boy the opportunity would be a kind of 

Any man who can remember working as a page boy 
in any legislative body will approve this theory. Every 
session was punctuated by points of order from the mem- 
bers and rulings by the chair, and perhaps because their 
attention to these contests was not so divided as that 
of the members, the boys were better average parliamen- 


tarians than 90 per cent of the legislators themselves. 
Besides the ninety dollars, each boy got one hundred 
three-cent postage stamps every month, a bunch of lead- 
pencils, a supply of quill pens such as a theatre property 
man still provides for Richelieu, and a pocket-knife to 
keep these pens in order. The same allotment was made 
to every official employee and to every member. In 
excess of this the members received a supply of black 
sand, for which a box sat on each desk. Most of the 
members preferred blotting-paper to the use of the sand 
boxes, but as blotting-paper was a novelty some of the 
old men shook sand on to their wet letters and then shook 
most of it back again into the perforated lignum-vitae 
boxes. I remember the page boys laughing over an edi- 
torial comment of one of the St. Louis papers concern- 
ing the city's oldest representative then in the house, a 
certain erratic Doctor Smythe. The paragraph said: 

Doctor Smythe writes his letters with a lead-pencil and uses the 
blotting-paper, which he says is much superior to the old sand. 

Our duties as page boys were to carry a bill or a reso- 
lution from the member who introduced it to the desk 
of the clerk who was to read it aloud; to take messages 
from one member to another or to go to the other end 
of the building on some errand to the senate; or to one 
of the departments under the same roof. We were sel- 
dom sent outside of the capitol. We were not always 
busy and our leisure naturally fell when the members 
themselves were most engrossed; that is to say, when 
something of real interest was proceeding in the house. 

There were generally two sides to every question that 
came up, and it would be difficult to conceive of any 
method more instructive than that with which the boys 


constantly were in contact. The measures were not al- 
ways of equal importance; there were times of comedy 
and even of horse-play. Under each desk at that time 
there was a large individual cast-iron cuspidor with a 
hinged cover of a Renaissance pattern. If a man by 
accident slipped his toe under one of these heavy covers, 
allowing the cover to fall back on the basin, it made a 
noise as loud as a stove lid treated in the same way. 
Sometimes when a member strictly within his rights was 
speaking beyond the patience of his hearers these acci- 
dents occurred, and were repeated with increasing fre- 
quency, until the din reduced his oratory to pantomime. 
There were more than one editorial protest throughout 
the State against this system of cloture, and I remember 
reading these protests as late as the middle eighties; but 
I used the device as a comic episode in a play some 
twenty years ago and was roundly denounced by a Mis- 
souri statesman for misrepresentation. 

Another example of a kind of humorous relief was 
furnished when a desk neighbor of the Doctor Smythe 
above mentioned got from his optician duplicate pairs 
of Smythe's spectacles. In the heat of a debate the old 
doctor had a way of reading from some authority and 
then, as he spoke to the question, pushing his glasses to 
the top of his head. On the occasion in mind, as the 
doctor finished one reading, the member slipped his sec- 
ond pair on the desk in front of him. The doctor spoke 
a moment and, during his rest, again mechanically ad- 
justed this second pair of glasses, read his second quo- 
tation and pushed the second pair of spectacles up to 
the first. The effect and his own astonishment caused 
an uproar and made a serious contribution ridiculous 
and ineffective. 


That winter of '68 in the Missouri legislature, of 
which John D. Orrick was speaker, is notable for three 
events: The Fifteenth Amendment, giving the vote to 
the negro, was adopted; Miss Phoebe Couzins, a pretty 
girl, then in her twenties, just graduated as a lawyer, 
addressed a joint session upon the question of female 
suffrage; and Carl Schurz, at the end of a spirited joint 
debate, was elected to the United States Senate. 

Miss Couzins made a pretty picture as she finished 
her address to the legislators, and with a graceful wave 
of a white-gloved hand closed by saying, "Let it be 
flashed across the continent that Missouri leads the van, 
and the nation must follow." 

In Broadway parlance of to-day that would be called 
hokum, but at that time every listener, to use another 
phrase, ate it up. Opinion on the policy was divided, 
but nobody doubted Missouri's ability to lead the van. 

Phoebe Couzins, the first woman to hold a Federal 
executive appointment, served during President Arthur's 
administration as deputy for her father, who was United 
States marshal for the Missouri district, and upon 
Major Couzins' death the President appointed her to 
the office. She was an earnest suffrage advocate for 
years, and an ardent prohibitionist, but before her death 
in 1913 her accumulated experience, and it may be her 
wisdom, led her to oppose both measures. 

Carl Schurz electrified his hearers. He then had been 
only sixteen years in America, during which time he had 
rallied his German-American fellow citizens to the sup- 
port of abolition, had served with distinction through 
the Civil War, had acquired a perfect mastery of the 
English language, and as he said to his fiery little op- 
ponent in the debate, Senator C. D. Drake, who chal- 


lenged him on some point, "had gained a very danger- 
ous knowledge of the Constitution of the United States." 

The Schurz-Drake debates were held at night, with 
the members of the senate crowded into the larger house 
and the lobby holding on its full benches more than one 
distinguished man who thought the lightning might 
strike him. I remember first seeing at that time the 
romantic-looking David P. Dyer, the scholarly John F. 
Benjamin, and ex-Senator John B. Henderson, who be- 
cause of his vote in the United States Senate against the 
impeachment of Andrew Johnson was no longer accept- 
able to his Missouri constituency as United States sena- 
tor. Mr. Henderson was the author of the Thirteenth 
Amendment, which in regular form made Lincoln's pro- 
claimed emancipation part of the Constitution. At one 
stage of the proceedings in these joint debates, in re- 
sponse to many calls for an expression, Henderson, in- 
stead of taking the speaker's rostrum as Drake and 
Schurz had done, arose modestly from a chair well back 
in the chamber, and beginning to speak in playful fashion 
moved with much charm and persuasiveness to such 
dangerous ground that the partisans of the more promi- 
nent candidates broke in upon his address. 

The page boys* hours were about nine to four. We 
liked to sit up late occasionally but not repeatedly, and 
in front of the Wagner House, where I roomed with an- 
other boy, the local statesmen, when the weather per- 
mitted, had a convention fashion of holding group con- 
sultations on the sidewalk. My first active service as 
a member of the Vigilantes grew out of that. Our or- 
ganization was not extensive, containing, in fact, only 
this other boy of about my own age, Robert H. Cornell, 
now a prominent citizen of St. Louis, and myself. 


To break up the sidewalk meetings Cornell suggested 
an effective method. We brought home with us from 
the capitol newspapers which soon accumulated in bulk, 
and when soaked in our water-pitcher and reduced to 
mash we compressed moderately into missiles of the size 
of a football. Our rooms were on the top floor of this 
five-story hotel. At what seemed the proper hour for a 
curfew Bob would lean from one window and I from an- 
other and at a concerted signal intrust these heavy and 
mushy bundles to that power described in the Newtonian 
law. Under favorable conditions one of them would 
cover an entire committee meeting. We had to judge 
the effect of our attack only by what we heard, as by 
the time these things had travelled their distance we 
were back in bed. It was a disgraceful and lawless pro- 
cedure and we both deserved the house of correction at 
least, but now that I tell of it under the protection of 
the statute of limitations, and think of the frequent pro- 
tests against the destruction of our national forests, I 
am not sure that any other equal amount of paper pulp 
has finally performed more useful service. 

Another source of annoyance on these open-window 
nights was a card-room behind a saloon extending at 
right angles to the rear wall of the Wagner Hotel. We 
couldn't reach or appeal to these offenders with the lit- 
erary matter that was so useful in front of the house, but 
the Wagner Hotel dining-room was separated from its 
supply department only by a wooden partition eight 
feet high. As Cornell was the lighter of us boys, I used 
to boost him over this partition when the help had re- 
tired, and from the inside, standing on one of the shelves, 
he would procure and pass back a hatful of raw eggs. 
At the rear of the hotel on every story, there was a 
Southern gallery or porch. 


The one on our floor commanded the tables nearest 
the door of the card-room just mentioned. 

Oliver Herford once answered a lady who asked him 
if he had any one unsatisfied ambition in life by saying 
that he had always wanted to throw a raw egg into an 
electric fan. I have never seen that done, but I am sure 
that whatever would be lost in mechanical regularity 
from that reaction is fully compensated by the human 
interest that can be elicited by two raw eggs suddenly 
exploded in a pinochle foursome. Let me say to any 
immature readers that this was very reprehensible con- 
duct, and that on my part there has been complete ref- 

I cannot speak so hopefully of Cornell, because when 
I last saw him in 1917 he was trying to sell real estate. 

The year before this one at Jefferson City parts of 
Kansas and a part of Missouri had been seriously over- 
run by a plague of grasshoppers. The United States 
Government had sent a distinguished entomologist by 
the name of Riley to study the conditions. I don't know 
what Mr. Riley was recommending to the legislature, 
but at the Wagner House dinner-table, where for a few 
days he had a seat next to mine, he advocated eating the 
grasshoppers. He used to bring to the table a paper- 
bag, holding about a quart of them, roasted and but- 
tered. These he put on a platter and was just as un- 
selfish with them as a dog is with fleas. Very few of his 
neighbors joined him in their consumption. I ate two 
or three and found that they tasted not unlike peanuts. 

As I try now to recall the impelling motive of this 
courageous deed on my part I think it was a combination 
of curiosity, a wish to please Mr. Riley, a desire to re- 
port the occurrence at home, where it did make a sensa- 


tion, and also my recollection of the Sunday-school verses 
which I used to recite about John the Baptist's liking 
for them. Perhaps it was the absence of wild honey at 
our table that accounts for my lack of sustained enthu- 

The old capitol building of which I write was destroyed 
by fire in February, 191 1. It was of the dome-and-wings 
type, like the National Capitol, and stood a few hun- 
dred feet nearer to the river than its handsome successor, 
and on a bluff. The muddy Missouri rolled almost be- 
neath, and wild woods and bushes were on the opposite 
bank, where we looked for Indians and sometimes saw 
them, but disappointingly reconciled and orderly. On 
our bank one day my father, who paid us a visit that 
session and from whom until his death I was always get- 
ting some new glimpse of a varied experience, pointed 
out to me, on the Missouri Pacific track below, the spot 
where in 1861 an engine and baggage-car had stopped 
after a record run from St. Louis to unload some fifty 
self-organized patriots who came with revolvers and 
clambered up the bank Indian fashion just as Governor 
Claiborne Jackson and a majority of the legislators, who 
were trying to pass an ordinance of secession over a fili- 
buster of a loyal minority, took to their heels and Mis- 
souri stayed in the Union. Father was one of that car- 

My father introduced me to the Honorable Erastus 
Wells, then a congressman from a St. Louis district. Mr. 
Wells had some boys himself. One of them, RoIIa Wells, 
when he grew up, became mayor of St. Louis. 

If a man likes your dog heartily he probably owns one. 
A father of two boys is an easy acquaintance for some 
other's boy. I don't think I was especially forward, but 


after two or three talks with Erastus Wells he had prom- 
ised me to do what he could to get me a pageship at 
Washington. He sicked me onto D. P. Dyer and John F. 
Benjamin, who were also visiting Jefferson City, and told 
them I was Tom's boy. As a result all of the nine con- 
gressmen from Missouri signed my application for the 



A powerful publisher in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 
when he knew I planned to write these recollections, 
sent a word of caution to me by a friend. He didn't 
come himself. A rash or inexperienced or undiplomatic 
publisher, seeing a sign, "Angels Wanted," might have 
rushed in; but knowing that Napoleon even in his high- 
est power sent M. de Narbonne to represent him at 
Vienna, this prudent printer, moving by indirection, said 
to his ambassador, "Tell Thomas to raise a mustache in 
his story as soon as possible." By which he meant, get 
through with his boyish memories briefly. 

The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, one morning in 
1858, said to his fellow boarders: "My hand trembles 
when I offer you this. Many times I have come bearing 
flowers such as my garden grew; but now I offer you 
this poor, brown, homely growth; you may cast it away 
as worthless. And yet and yet it is something better 
than flowers; it is a seed-capsule. Many a gardener will 
cut you a bouquet of his choicest blossoms for small fee, 
but he does not love to let the seeds of his rarest varieties 
go out of his hands. You don't remember the rosy 
pudency of sensitive children. The first instinctive 
movement of the little creatures is to make a cache, and 
bury in it beliefs, doubts, dreams, hopes, and terrors. I 
am uncovering one of these caches" 

Some day when my Philadelphia friend outgrows his 
timidity he and I will meet, and not chiding him openly 



for this threatened surrender to the material rush of his 
generation and his calling, I shall say: "Is your great 
paper, founded by a great, unhurried American phi- 
losopher, read principally in subways and on commuta- 
tion trains or in simple households after nightfall, with 
mother and the children near the lamps? And what 
are the passwords to those family groups?" I shall show 
him those breakfast-table lines of Doctor Holmes and 
remind him also of some religionist who somewhere said 
to somebody in what must have been a mood and mo- 
ment of great intimacy, "Give us the children before 
they are seven and you may preach what you will to the 
adults." Give us the sensitive and malleable retentive 
soul tissue when it is tender and impressionable and later 
try what intellectual veneer and overlay you like. 

I shall remind him of weary little Dick Whittington 
day-dreaming on the wayside boulder and listening to 
the distant London bells; remind him of the German 
manikin Diogenes Teufelsdrockh in the sunset with his 
porringer on the coping of the orchard wall at Entepfuhl. 
I shall say: "Recall to your mind Sir John Millais' can- 
vas, famous by the personal question of those enter- 
prising soap-makers, showing the English boy on the 
cottage doorstep in rapt wonderment at his iridescent 
bubbles." I shall say: "Think of the face of Richter's 
Neapolitan Boy of the unutterable poetry in the eyes 
of the winged youth between the supporting knees of 
Dore's grim-sculptured Fate; think of Eli's little kneel- 
ing Hebrew protege listening to answer, * Speak, Lord, 
for thy servant heareth/ ' And I shall "say: "Except 
for your inhibiting honk about a mustache I would have 
opened my heart to that subscribing brood around the 
family lamp. I would have given the high sign of 


brotherhood to those boys and girls in the prairie states 
who know the pungent blend of dew and tomato-vines, 
and who understand better than the grown-ups the cry 
of Kipling's Australian in that South African fight: 

"And through the crack and the stink of the cordite, 

(Ah, Christ ! My country again !) 
The smell of the wattle by Lichtenberg, 
Riding in, in the rain!" 

I would have told them how my dad, who hadn't wept 
through two important wars, explained his wet eyes to 
me when for the first time after thirty years he inhaled 
the salty odor of low tide as we crossed the Hudson at 
dusk in a ferry-boat. But you can't explain a subtle 
thing like that to a man selling safety razors. He 
wouldn't believe that a boy four blocks from the Missis- 
sippi River on a roped bed with no mosquito bar in a 
gable attic could tell at midnight and just by the sound 
of her long melancholy whistle whether an upriver packet 
coming in was the Belle of Alton or the Red Wing or the 

But I wanted to tell those children about those float- 
ing side-wheeled palaces and other finer ones from the 
Southern river routes tied up to the levee so closely that 
only their bows could nose in with their gangplanks 
the Natchez, the Robert E. Lee, the Grand Republic and 
scores of others, all vanished now from that neglected 
shore, and living only in melodrama and romance; in 
such stories as Mark Twain's and George Cable's; in 
the hearts of grandmothers who can show you daguerreo- 
types of frills and flounces; and in the memories of tired 
business men voodooed by efficiency and the income 
tax. I wanted to tell them of my grandmother's story 


that is good enough for a play about Colonel Jim Bowie, 
who got a big steel file from the engineer on the boiler 
deck and ground it into a knife with which he killed the 
other man in a duel on an island where the boat stopped 
to let them fight it out; a bigger knife than Buffalo Bill 
had in his duel when he killed that Indian chief, while 
both their fighting crowds looked on A good friend 
of mine when I got to be a man. I hope I don't forget 
to speak of Buffalo Bill later. 

In the early winter of 1870 I left St. Louis for Wash- 
ington City, after getting a letter about it from Mr. 
Wells. I had a funny little sole-leather trunk of anti- 
quated pattern, of which I was told to take good care, 
as it had held father's luggage when he went from Chi- 
cago by the Fox, Illinois and Rock rivers with a group 
of pioneers who founded Winona, Minnesota. At the 
O. & M. depot in East St. Louis father gave me into the 
care of General Blair and his friend, Mr. Cavanaugh, 
who were going on the same train. I am not sure 
of Mr. Cavanaugh's business or his exact relation to 
General Blair, but I have recently seen something like 
the relationship in that of Mr. Steve Reardon to Georgie 
Cohan: unswerving admiration and solicitude, coupled 
with a capacity to give comfort in times of threatened 
depression. Along with General Blair and Mr. Cavanaugh 
were two others whose names I forget, but who owned 
the poker chips and parted with them only temporarily. 
I can't remember General Blair as playing. He was early 
pointed out on the train by some who knew him, and 
many passengers introduced themselves, so that his trip 
was a reception for most of the way. 

On our O. & M. and B. & O. trains there were no din- 
ing-cars, no automatic brakes, no system of heating ex- 


cept the stoves, one to each car. We stopped twenty 
minutes for breakfast, dinner, or supper, and with no 
uncertainty about dinner being the midday meal, and 
into the high-toned heater the porter fed anthracite coal, 
the first I had ever seen. 

The engineer whistled one short sharp call for brakes, 
with staccato repetitions in moments of emergency, and 
then blew two reassuring toots for their release. Five 
blasts then, as now, sent back the brakeman with his 
red flag and track torpedoes when we made unscheduled 
stops, and four whistles called him in. There was no 
auditor on the train and the conductor unprotestingly 
took money where the tickets had not been provided. 

The trim of our sleeper was of black walnut; the 
upper berths when closed had flat surfaces, angular cor- 
ners instead of the slightly convex mahogany boards 
that now furnish them; and when open they were not 
held down with the wire cables that now anchor upper 
berths. That security was introduced in the late seven- 
ties, after an upper berth in an overturned private car 
had shut up and smothered its occupant, Mr. Taussig, 
the treasurer of the old Kansas City and Northern Rail- 
road. In this old-style Pullman the rails for the curtains, 
stout horizontal bars, ran the full length of the car on 
each side, supported by uprights at each section. The 
water in the wash-rooms did not flow under pressure as 
now, but at each basin passengers worked a brass-and- 
ebony pump handle. Watches were to be set forward 
nearly an hour to adjust the difference between St. Louis 
and Washington City time. In our party there was un- 
certainty about this interval, and I recall the astonish- 
ment of the men when I calculated it for them mentally, 
as the dullest boy or girl in our Webster School class of 


fifty would have done, and in order to do so knew, of 
course, the meridians of the two cities in the problem. 
I couldn't do it now without complete quiet, a large atlas, 
and paper and pencil. Can any settled citizen do it, or 
has any the needed items of information except perhaps 
Mr. Edison? 

At Washington our B. & O. train on that earlier B. & 
O. Railroad was some hours late, and arrived in the col- 
lection of sheds that then did duty as a station a little 
north of the Capitol somewhere near midnight. My 
father had arranged for me to board with an army friend 
and printer companion of his, Major Stone, popularly 
known in St. Louis as Fighting Harry Stone because of 
his gallant conduct at the battle of Wilson's Creek, when 
General Nathaniel Lyon was killed. Harry Stone's wife, 
who was a friend of my mother's, had been Alice Buck, 
a celebrated soprano associate upon concert programmes 
with Eliza Emmett, the talented sister of the famous 
J. K. Emmett already mentioned. Mr. and Mrs. Stone 
had three children. One of the daughters, Patti Stone, 
became well known in light opera on Broadway in the 
early nineties; a son, Blair, became a star acrobat. 

In this winter of 1870 patriotism, rewarded by a job 
in the public printer's, took Mr. Stone to Washington, 
where he found for his family a house on F Street near 
Fifteenth, in what is now the Shoreham Hotel district. 
Before leaving St. Louis I had taken the precaution to 
find a map of Washington City in the public-school 
library and get a fair idea of the relative location of this 
address. A December rain was falling as General Blair 
and his group of politicians came from the station with 
me. I saw the looks of amusement on the faces of his 
friends as they considered the General and his embarrass- 


ing protege, and was quick to tell him I thought I could 
find my way if he would start me right as to the points 
of the compass. There was a little council between the 
men, and after further insistence on my part I was put 
alone into a bobtail car drawn by a mule and carrying 
a Slawson box for the passengers' fares, all reassuringly 
like our St. Louis horse-cars. 

Upon my arrival at the house I was a long time waking 
the family, and was finally admitted by Fighting Harry 
himself. He sleepily showed me to the room that was 
to be mine and said good-night. I don't think at any 
time in my life since has there been an equal feeling of 
loneliness to what I then had as I put down my bag and 
took off my wet clothes in an unheated room. The house 
had only open grates, and there was no fire for this be- 
lated guest. As I stood on the sagging mattress to reach 
the gas-jet when I turned it out for the night I found 
that I was still a little seasick from the oscillating beau- 
ties of the Susquehanna Valley. 

The next morning, one of those crisp sunshiny winter 
days that Washington can show in early December 
cheered me completely. Mrs. Stone I had known as a 
neighbor all my life. She gave me a hot breakfast passed 
from stove to table just as my own mother would have 
done it, and I set out for the Capitol in the best of spirits. 
I knew which was the House end if I could strike the 
familiar view shown on the two-dollar bill on which my 
father had indicated it. I soon found this, and the door- 
keeper, Mr. Buxton, was expecting my report for duty. 

In that handsome Hall of Representatives, at ten 
o'clock on that morning, there were besides myself 
twenty other page boys. The layout of the place and 
its relation to the larger building conformed with the 


understudied impressions I had from the State capitol 
at Jefferson City, but on a scale of true magnificence for 
which I was unprepared. I think the Capitol at Wash- 
ington is the only building I ever saw while a boy which 
after a lapse of years did not seem smaller on a second 
view. At that time it fully symbolized what I felt was 
the grandeur of the nation and the power of the Govern- 
ment with which I was officially connected. 

When the House assembled at noon in its semicircle 
of dignified desks and chairs, with aisles converging at 
the tables of administration, I felt more at home than 
I had thought I should. 

The statesmen of that day were the successful soldiers 
of the earlier part of the same decade. In that historic 
Congress of reconstruction there were more than a dozen 
faces with which I was already familiar by their por- 
traits in the heavy album that stood on the little oval 
marble-topped table in its place of honor in grand- 
mother's parlor. Among those whom I soon identified 
were Generals Banks, Logan, Butler, Schenck, Garfield, 
and Slocum. I do not name them alphabetically, but as 
I see them now in a mental picture of the chamber, read- 
ing from left to right as the modern group photograph 

That night as I sat at supper with Fighting Harry 
Stone, the grand army comrade of these heroes I had 
left in the Capitol, and felt myself the son of another 
soldier and prompt fighting man off there in Missouri 
so undeniably of their company, too, I refrained from 
all mention of the close association, but in my heart I 
longed for a confidential and glowing hour with grand- 
mother and her noble gallery. 

AH of these fellow page boys of mine were away from 

their homes proper and many of them without super- 
vision. It was a rule of the then superintendent that 
each boy should take two baths a week in one of the sev- 
eral large bathrooms provided for the House. An adult 
interpretation of Article VIII of the Constitutional 
Amendments made things easier for the statesmen them- 
selves. These bathrooms, of which there were four or 
five, were built of marble, with a tub cut from a solid 
block, the cavity of which must have been quite eight 
feet long and proportionately wide. A boy of twelve or 
thirteen could take a good swimming stroke in one of 
them. In the winter these baths had a touch of regimen 
about them. The tickets, two a week, were issued on 
certain days at the doorkeeper's desk and had to be re- 
turned by the attendant in the bathroom as used, but 
it wasn't always possible to make the lad to whom the 
ticket was given take the bath it called for. And so as 
the weather grew warmer and it can grow warmer in 
Washington and as the asphalt began to run and it 
does the boys with hotel tubs sold a government ticket 
now and then to a comrade not so well fixed. 

This is the time for me to state a fact heretofore with- 
held because its earlier telling would not have been an 
economy of attention. Grandmother's second husband, 
the Honorable Augustus Wallace Scharit, was the half- 
brother of my father, born of an earlier marriage of 
father's mother. A. W., as he was usually called by our 
family, was about fourteen years father's senior, and 
being at once his stepbrother and by marriage his step- 
father-in-law, bore to my father a complicated relation- 
ship that made father's qualified support of A. W.'s wife 
in the differences between that pair difficult for A. W. 
to tolerate. These two half-brothers were not hostile, 


but they had little correspondence. I had been in Wash- 
ington only a fortnight when a letter from father with- 
drew all implied restraint and gave me A. W.'s address. 
My short note to him I was his namesake was an- 
swered by a call at the Capitol, and A. W., of whose dis- 
tinguished bearing any boy could be proud, took me to 
his home and arranged for my stay there during the rest 
of my time in Washington. 

In appearance A. W. strongly reminded me of Carl 
Schurz, minus the whiskers; the same alert, wiry figure; 
the same brow; the same full shock of hair; the same 
tragic directness of glance and an actor-orator's de- 
veloped power in the mask. He lived apparently alone 
in his own house and took his meals at the table of an 
attractive widow whose house adjoined his in the one 
detached garden of some two hundred feet frontage next 
to Waugh Chapel, on North A Street, three blocks east 
of the Capitol. My meals were arranged for at this 
widow's, and as the widow had a son the prospect was 
agreeable. The experience did not disappoint the 
promise. This boy, then at the age of fourteen, was 
being trained for the stage. For some reason of her own 
his mother gave him the invented family name Palmoni. 

A. W. took a deep interest in him, and while I was 
there generally had me share his theatrical lessons. A. 
W. was encouraging to me in his early questionnaires, 
and was especially amused with my giving grandmother's 
version of Charlotte Cushman's reading of the lines, "In- 
fnm of purpose ! Give me the daggers." At unexpected 
and genial moments he would sometimes even ask for 
its repetition. Until then I had not suspected that 
Lady Macbeth was anything of a comedy part. 

In the rear of the acre garden was a stucco stable and 

carriage-house some three years old, finished perhaps 
about the time that the paper money remittances began 
to be irregular. It had evidently never been used as a 
stable, but was what the contractors call broom clean. 
A. W. helped the boy and me rig it as a little playhouse. 
There was a box of army things in it which came in use- 
fully and reminded me to tell A. W. of my having got 
the shipment of epaulets. He affected astonishment 
that grandmother had not wanted them at least wanted 
a pair of them. Among this army stuff were two sabers 
that A. W. had cut off to a proportionate length and with 
which he taught this boy and me such broadsword exer- 
cises as would be useful in the theatre. 

For that family playhouse I did my first dramatic 
writing. It must be truthfully told that it was largely 
in collaboration. Having seen two performances of Mr. 
Joseph Jefferson's "Rip Van Winkle" I made from 
memory a juvenile condensation of Mr. Boucicault's 
book. As author I cast myself for Rip and my boy friend 
played Nick Vedder. 

Few dramatists begin with more distinguished even 
though unwitting collaborators than Dion Boucicault 
and Washington Irving. With the insistence of A. W., 
I also tackled Sir Walter Scott, and made a workable 
dialogue of the principal conflicts in "The Lady of the 
Lake" in which I played Roderick Dbu, and Palmoni 
played Fitzjames. A. W. himself rehearsed us in the 
quarrel between Brutus and Cassius. 

At the widow's table, where he was A. W.'s guest, I 
met the senior E. L. Davenport. During that week I 
had seen Mr. Davenport play Macbeth, Hamlet, and Sir 
Giles Overreach. 

I watched him closely, but neither as himself nor in 


any of the three roles named could I trace an identifying 
resemblance between Mr. Davenport and the handsome 
steel engraving of him in the part of Benedick that was 
in the 1855 edition of Ballou's Pictorial. 

In that meeting Mr. Davenport said nothing that I 
remember about his son Edgar or his daughter Fannie. 
I had no way of foretelling that I should one day know 
and admire them both and be friendly with them, or 
that his younger son, Harry Davenport, probably not 
born at that time, would be a member in my company. 

Among other theatrical friends who came there was 
the actor James Murdock, whose recitation of "Sheri- 
dan's Ride" made the popularity of those verses by 
Thomas Buchanan Read. 

Another visitor at A. W.'s table, Margaret Meade, a 
distinguished spinster, aged perhaps fifty years, brought 
with her sometimes her two adopted daughters, who, 
however, retained the family names of their dead soldier 
fathers. One of these girls, two or three years my junior, 
was named Marie. I have forgotten the name of the 
other. Marie, not yet too old to slump on Miss Meade's 
lap and lean her blond head against her guardian's lace 
collar, had steady gray eyes, big as an Angora cat's. 
She almost made me forget the thirty-year-old Sunday- 
school teacher who had owned my heart since I was eight. 
Margaret Meade had two religions Catholicism and 
her distinguished brother, General George Meade, of 
Gettysburg fame. 

Margaret told us one day that while the Battle of 
Gettysburg was on, its uncertain tide in ebb and flow, 
she had gone to the White House and sent her card in 
to Abraham Lincoln. When admitted she asked the 
President if he had any word of the issue. He answered no. 


She said: "Neither have I; but I'm George Meade's 

sister, and I thought you might like to know that what- 
ever he undertakes he carries through." 

It was small assurance, but there are crises in which 
even a word from a courageous heart is of help. Lincoln 
thanked her for her call and said it had been of comfort. 
My own anxiety about Marie lasted longer than the 
Battle of Gettysburg, and nobody helped any. 

During all that season about twice a week A. W. took 
the other boy and me to the theatre, and was always 
particular when the curtain fell after an act to indicate 
what he thought had been excellent in the performance. 
At that time the street-cars from the National Theatre 
stopped at the west front of the Capitol. To reach home 
we had to circle its big hill on foot and walk three more 
blocks to the house. One jolly winter night, after a per- 
formance with a stiff north gale in our faces, A. W. took 
us boys both up this hill, one on each side, completely 
covered and protected under a great black broadcloth 
circular, with velvet collar and throat clasps of silver 
lion's heads linked together, a counterpart of the one 
that grandmother wore in St. Louis. Both were of Eng- 
lish make. 



I was in A. W.'s home with the advantage of his in- 
struction and the companionship of young Palmoni for 
a little over seven months, as the second session of the 
Forty-first Congress lasted well into July. Besides his 
interest in my education and his personal hospitality I 
am glad to record his help in other ways. At that period 
father's loss of time and other investments in the Glencoe 
enterprises, together with a general hard-luck story, all 
useful only in their bloc aspect, had made this work in 
Washington or some equal employment imperative on 
my part. In other words, the family needed the money. 
I was able to send home my entire salary every month. 
A. W. provided my clothes as they needed renewal, and 
a page boy's perquisites gave me a very liberal allowance 
for my personal needs. These perquisites, which at first 
I refused, were accepted later with a Western boy's real 
reluctance; reluctance not that the perquisites were at 
all unlawful in their character, but because of our inde- 
pendent training. Among all the barefoot boys with 
whom I played in St. Louis I cannot recall one to whom 
a stranger for any casual service could have given what 
is now called a tip. Not only would it have been refused, 
but the boy in declining it would have colored with in- 

The boys reported for duty in the Hall of Represen- 
tatives at nine in the morning. Two or three days in 



the week the work was there. It consisted in getting 
from the document room the House bills that had been 
ordered printed, sometimes four or five at a time, and 
adding them to the individual files, so that each member 
of the two hundred and twenty-six then there, as he came 
to the daily session, found under his desk the measures 
that would come up for consideration. On the busy days 
work was generally through in an hour, and on other 
days there was nothing to do, which gave us always two 
or three hours before the gavel fell at noon. 

The official guides now in the Capitol had not then 
been appointed; the page boys took visitors to the points 
of interest in the great building, from dome to crypt. 
We showed them the Chamber of the Supreme Court, 
which in the early days had been the Senate Chamber, a 
comparatively little room, but the one in which Webster, 
Clay, Calhoun, and others had spoken their great ora- 
tions. We showed them what had been in former days 
the House of Representatives, but now in 1 870 used only 
as a Hall of Statuary. The crypt, several floors lower 
than the rotunda, designed by the architects as a tomb 
for George Washington, and in 1865 unsuccessfully urged 
as a vault for Lincoln, was a chill, unlighted place con- 
taining at that time only a stately platform and somber 
pall that five years before had held the casket of the mur- 
dered Lincoln when his body lay in state at the White 

This pall was now a neglected object, tattered by the 
vandal mutilations of the relic-seekers. 

A second source of revenue was autographs. Nearly 
every visitor had one or more favorite statesmen whose 
signatures he coveted. If for no other reason than that 
it was a favor to the boys, the members without excep- 


tion were very glad to write their names, and perhaps 
publicity was valued even then. The only one who made 
any special fuss about his autograph was Mr. Clarkson 
N. Potter, of New York, who, being at the head of a large 
banking institution, had to be careful. His system was 
to write his name and then scratch a very positive cancel- 
lation of some kind on the back of it. 

A third source of income, which probably still exists, 
was getting orders for printed speeches. A speaking 
member had the right to designate the boy who should 
circulate a subscription paper for his speech. An order 
blank was furnished and as an oratorical effort stirred 
the listening colleagues the boy in charge of it slipped 
from desk to desk gathering his orders, because many a 
brilliant effort once cold and in the Congressional Record 
was unmarketable. This list turned in to the printing 
company was good for three cents a hundred on all orders 
obtained. I have known a boy to make as high as one 
hundred dollars on some misleading effort; more than 
once I made ten or twelve myself, which was perhaps 
the average. The boys were able to estimate the value 
of a measure as it was introduced, and by knowing the 
chairman of the committee to which it would be referred 
to get far in advance the promise of the speeches that 
would be forthcoming. There was a kind of real political 
sagacity about it. 

These visitors sometimes paid the pages to go on with 
a certain impromptu show. In order that the human 
faculty of speech should be acquired and grow Nature 
ordained that childhood should be imitative. And 
whether, as Max Miiller claims, the words "go" and 
"va" were instituted by the hungry and complaining 
cow, the child speech follows imitatively the sounds of 


the mother's voice. Much of juvenile fun is mimicry 
in all the wide range from polar bear to lady-come-to- 
see. Self-consciousness and chill criticism check this as 
we gather years until few old human dogs can learn new 
tricks; but the page boys were still responsive. 

It was great fun, with only some score of other pages 
as audience, for a boy in the otherwise empty House to 
get into the place of a prominent member and spout 
ridiculous fragments of that member's speech the day 
before. Often this example would organize all sections 
of the chamber. One boy would get Mr. Elaine's gavel 
and smartly call for order, and the rest would scamper 
each to the seat where he felt sure of making the greatest 
hit. One w r ould mouth and mush like General Butler; 
another would scold like Sunset Cox; a third, like Bing- 
ham, would wave the bloody shirt; and others would 
yell points of order and questions of privilege, with quite 
as much effect on legislation as any average night ses- 
sion. I've seen and heard as recognizable and as scream- 
ingly funny imitations of national legislators by those 
boys of thirteen to fifteen years of age as ever Nat Good- 
win, Elsie Janis, or Frank Fay gave of their selected celeb- 
rities. Once started, we were so intent on our mock 
session that visitors or early members sometimes caught 
us at it. I'm sure that I could now suggest any member 
more vividly by imitation than I can by description. 

My thoughts jump ahead in the years to the only imi- 
tation I ever heard attempted of Abraham Lincoln, and 
because it is so related to my present subject in char- 
acter and in time I hope I may be permitted to take it 
from its deferred date of later accident. The imitation 
was very respectfully made at the request of a number 
of men at a small dinner-party in 1914. The host was 


Mr. Charles R. Flint, the father of the trusts. Among 
the eight or ten guests were Mr. Charles Schwab, the 
Honorable Martin Littleton, Patrick Francis Murphy, 
Robert H. Davis, editor of Munsey's, and the late F. 
Hopkinson Smith, the distinguished novelist and artist, 
whom the country best remembers as author of "Colonel 
Carter of Cartersville." Senator Chauncey M. Depew 
was the raconteur for the moment. 

As Secretary of State of New York in 1 864 it had been 
Mr. Depew's duty to spend some months in Washington 
endeavoring to get the result of the soldier vote in the 
presidential election of that year. His duty as well as 
his inclination threw him into very frequent intercourse 
with President Lincoln. Mr. Depew had begun to tell 
the celebrated Longnecker story, which I do not think 
has been in print, but as it is part of the senator's reper- 
toire belongs in his recollections and not these. It was 
then that one of the men present asked him as to Lin- 
coln's manner. The senator answered that the voice 
was moderately pitched and pleasant, the speech very 
slow, having about it, as he indicated, somewhat of the 
Mark Twain drawl which is so generally the manner 
with men in whom humor predominates, and proceeding 
with his story for a few phrases gave what we thought 
a very characteristic suggestion of the Lincoln manner. 

I had been reading in "Emerson's Journal," just pub- 
lished, the account of his visit to President Lincoln on 
the morning of January 31, 1862, in which he says: "The 
President impressed me more favorably than I had 
hoped; a frank, sincere, well-meaning man, with a law- 
yer's habit of mind; good, clear statement of his fact; 
correct enough; not vulgar, as described, but with a 
sort of boyish cheerfulness, or that kind of sincerity and 


jolly good meaning that our class meetings on commence- 
ment days show in telling our old stories over. When he 
has made his remark he looks up at you with great satis- 
faction, and shows all his white teeth, and laughs/' 

Mr. Depew's imitation, coupled with the swift de- 
scription of the Lincoln manner by Mr. Emerson, has 
given me an impression of the great President that pro- 
tects me against the occasional attempts to portray him 
lugubriously. If, actor fashion, guided by Senator De- 
pew's suggestion, one tries to realize that description of 
Emerson's the quick, boyish, upward glance, the flash 
of the white teeth, followed by a laugh, the pathetic 
legend of Lincoln crumbles. One cannot convey in print 
Mr. Depew's pleasant imitation, and few writers have 
Emerson's genius for description; but the acceptability 
of impressions so attempted encourages me to think that 
descriptions of manner, especially as the manner fixes 
itself in the mind of an impressionable and as yet unpre- 
judiced boy, may not be unwelcome. May I fortify this 
belief by another example from Emerson, a description 
of Daniel Webster in the Senate, seeking for a word that 
does not come? 

"He pauses, puts his hand to his brow you would 
think then there was a mote in his eye. Still it comes 
not; then he puts his hands, American fashion, first into 
his breast under his waistcoat, deeper than I can then 
to the bottom of his fobs, bends forward then the word 
is bound to come; he throws back his head, and out it 
comes with a leap, and I promise you, it has its full effect 
on the Senate." 

Mr. Webster could hardly have been more pausy than 
General Benjamin F. Butler of our Congress under 
similar conditions. General Butler's way to search for 
the proper word, which when found came with a marks- 


man's precision to the bull's-eye, was to throw back his 
head until the undulating line from his nether lip to his 
collar button ran at the general angle of forty-five de- 
grees; to drop his heavy eyelids for a curtained intro- 
spection; issue two or three inaudible poof-poofs as the 
mask wore the misleading effect of a broad grin, the mood 
of which was no more in the general's mind than play- 
fulness was behind the permanent grimace of I'Homme 
qui rit, and then to blurt out his word with a rasping of 
the sibilants suggestive of artificial teeth. When indig- 
nant, as he often was, he spoke with this backward toss 
of the head and a pouting combination of flexible under- 
lip and mustache that made difficult work for the stenog- 

My sponsor, Mr. Erastus Wells, had been shown a 
pencil drawing of General Blair that I had made on the 
train, and now in the House encouraged me in making 
caricatures of the members. There was no great demand 
or market for these productions until one day, knowing 
the calumnies against General Butler by the Southerners, 
who charged him with appropriating silver when he was 
in command of the army of occupation in the South, I 
made a profile drawing of the general sitting in the bowl 
of a large soupspoon with his feet extended along the 
handle. Some critic, writing of the general at that time, 
said that his head was like an egg laid sideways and so 
smooth that a phrenologist must pronounce it uniformly 
bad or monotonously good. That bald egg-shaped crown 
with its heavy fringe of clubbed hair was easy to draw. 
On the Democratic side of the House these caricatures 
were in demand, and on more than one occasion their 
cunning circulation took attention from Mr. Butler as 
he was speaking. 

One of those afternoons the doorkeeper told me to 


stay after school. The members departed until only 
three or four were in the chamber finishing some belated 
correspondence. Among these was General Butler at 
his desk. The doorkeeper told me to follow him. 

When he reached the desk he said, "General, this is 
the boy who has been making those caricatures." 

The general laid down his pen, looked up either at me 
or the doorkeeper he was very cross-eyed and after 
an intimidating pause, rose to his feet. I watched both 
men. I won't pretend to interpret what passed between 

The silence was broken by General Butler saying, 
"Go to the cloakroom and bring me my hat and cloak." 

His cloak was a military cape, not so large as some I 
knew; the hat was of the kind subsequently called the 
Hancock because General Hancock wore it long after it 
had been abandoned by others: a high, soft crown, witb 
a stiff, sharp, uncurved brim of felt. The gentleman 
from Massachusetts took his hat, regarded me calmly 
for a moment, blew his soft cheeks with a sudden puff, 
as John Drew does when making a comedy point, and 
then dropped the hat over my head with the brim rest- 
ing on my shoulders. I can still revive the reeking berga- 
mot with which it was redolent. My mother had used 
bergamot on my curls, and grandmother's antimacassars 
smelled of it. After a time of penance beneath this 
snuffer, where I feared to move, I heard the general's 
mushy voice: 

"When you can fill that hat, young man, you make 
caricatures of General Butler." 

I was sent home for the day with a caution from the 
doorkeeper instead of the dismissal I had earned. I have 
always remembered this act of generosity to a fresh kid 


who had been ignorantly circulating graphic repetitions 
of a heinous slander against an earnest and able patriot. 
General Butler was a man of laconic and significant 
utterances. A speech of his, an example of these quali- 
ties, occurred in that session which was nation-wide in 
its report and consequent enjoyment. At that distance 
from the war many songs were sung with more or less 
popularity, taking a comedy view of the soldier, songs 
of the Captain Jinks order. Among these was an inane 
doggerel called "Shoo, Fly," of which the jingling chorus 

"Shoo, fly, don't bother me, 
Shoo, fly, don't bother me, 
Shoo, fly, don't bother me, 
For I belong to Company G." 

In one of the debates Mr. Butler had made some re- 
mark that enraged Mr. Samuel S. Cox, a member from 
New York. Mr. Cox was known as Sunset Cox, because 
of a description of a sunset written by him for the Ohio 
statesman, and his initials lent themselves to the name. 
He was a fiery, voluble little speaker, not more than five 
feet three inches tall, who apparently tried to overcome 
this defect of stature by a profusion of gesture. He had 
besides, in speaking, a cradling motion of the head com- 
bining emphasis with menace, very like the personal 
mannerism of our present talented State Senator J. J. 

Getting the chairman's recognition when General 
Butler offended him, Mr. Cox broke into one of the most 
vituperative and personal tirades ever heard in a par- 
liamentary body. The House and the gallery were all 
attention, and more than one member was endeavoring 


to interrupt in the cause of decorum, but the general 
disposition was to let Mr. Butler answer. Cox took his 
seat amid a buzz of expectancy. General Butler looked 
over at him with that ambiguous gaze I have referred 
to, paused for a moment while the silence fell, and then 
half turning away as though the whole episode were 
closed, and with a wave of his left hand in dismissal of 
the little member from New York, he said: "I would 
reply to the gentleman as any newsboy on the street 
would answer him, 'Shoo, fly, don't bother me/ ' Mr. 
Cox was on his feet in an instant, with a volleyed retort 
bitter and extended, but unheard by any except those 
nearest him as the House and the gallery rocked with 
laughter, and as the nation did the following day. 

On strictly party measures the Democrats were in- 
capable of any action other than to protect their record. 
The country paid more attention to the daily proceed- 
ings of Congress then than it seems to now, and on all 
important questions the votes were published. Demo- 
crats, unable to make a dent in the steam-roller progress 
of legislation and unwilling to listen to much of the de- 
bate upon a measure, frequently passed the time at draw 

General Robert C. Schenck, of Ohio, who codified the 
rules of this noble national game, was a member of that 
Congress, and his very presence was a constant reminder 
of the recreation. Just across from the Capitol, where 
the Business Building of the House now stands, was a 
small brick hotel, with restaurant and cafe, called the 
Casparis. The highest games of poker outside of Cham- 
berlin's were conducted there. When a measure reached 
a vote of record that is to say, reached a call of the 
ayes and nays it was my standing instruction to drop 


whatever was in hand and in the language of the spright- 
lier symbolists do a Paul Revere to the Casparis House, 
and the adjacent committee rooms in the Capitol itself; 
to dash without ceremony into the rooms where the men 
were handling the chips and pasteboards and cry, 
"Calling the roll on the admission of Virginia," or what- 
ever the measure happened to be. The players would 
then make the best time possible to their places in the 
House, where it was each member's privilege before the 
vote was announced to get the recognition of the chair 
and have his name, which in the case of his absence had 
been called twice by the clerk, again repeated and his 
answer registered. The roll call began with Adams, Al- 
lison, Ambler, and so on, and proceeded alphabetically. 
We could generally get our reserves into the House as 
the clerk was doing the Whitmans and Wilkinsons. The 
telegraph thereupon carried to his district this evidence 
of a member's vigilance which cost but slight interrup- 
tion to the game. 

On one of these Marathon round-ups I made my last 
call at the room of the Committee on Indian Affairs. 
This committee was not in session; but two or three 
members, including Mr. Cox, were sharing with some of 
the visiting Indians whose claims were before the com- 
mittee a bottle of fire-water. Mr. Cox, who was just 
my own height, but protected from page-boy calls by 
as many whiskers as Secretary Hughes, did not need 
support; but he threw his arm around my neck, partly 
as a result of the entertainment they had been sharing 
and ostensibly to show to the petitioning chiefs that 
even a little boy was safe with him. The other arm he 
threw around the waist of Red Cloud himself, who on 
that formal visit was in buckskins, blanket and feathers, 


and in that fashion we marched abreast, the gentleman 
from New York in the middle, the big chief on his right, 
and on his left the unsophisticated page boy from Mis- 
souri, down the multicolored corridor, past the statue 
of Jefferson and past Emanuel Leutze's mural painting, 
" Westward, Ho ! " We would have so appeared upon the 
floor if a doorkeeper in Grand Army uniform had not 
helped Red Cloud and me to get away. 

Night sessions were pretty hard on the boys. We had 
come from school and home life, where thoughtful 
mothers would shepherd us at bedtime, and the night 
session, with its droning monotony of soporific drivel 
intended only for print, would sometimes lag on until 
two in the morning. There was little for the page boys 
to do at such a time but sleep on the marble steps of the 
Speaker's stand, so we took turns at night duty in squads 
of seven. These sessions were always thinly attended. 
Sometimes the attendance was so slack that it was im- 
possible for a self-respecting orator to maintain the pre- 
tense that he was in any way persuading his colleagues. 
It was then within his right, if joined by a definite num- 
ber of others, to demand a call of the House. This call 
was made by a sergeant-at-arms and his deputies, which 
force was for the time increased by the use of the pages 
present and on duty. Each was given a list of absent 
members with their addresses, and while the night ses- 
sion took a short recess these process servers moved 
throughout the city, hunting the delinquents. 

On one of these calls my list contained the name of 
General Butler. He had a residence then somewhere in 
the neighborhood of the old Arlington. It was a snowy 
night. Although his house was brilliantly illuminated, 
I could make no impression with the front doorbell. 


Electric bells were then unknown, and servants were 
summoned to the front door by the old knob-and-wire 
bell-pull. Failing at this device, I went to the side of 
the building. The house was on the corner, a protruding 
bay window some eight feet from the ground was pro- 
tected by a stone balustrade. The Douglas Fairbanks 
scaling pictures had not at that time been run, but there 
were personal experiences in pantries and elsewhere that 
helped me to get to the top of this coping. Inside of the 
brilliantly lighted room stood General Butler at the head 
of a table surrounded by some fifteen or twenty mem- 
bers of Congress, many of whom I was surprised to see 
in such amiable relationship after their hostile attitude 
in the House. The food had disappeared. Coffee cups 
and crumpled napkins were on the cloth and a fine dis- 
play of glassware. Servants who should have answered 
the doorbell were standing against the wall; all were 
evidently entertained. 

It was a few minutes before my cold tapping on the 
window got attention above the words and laughter, 
and then like Poe's Raven I came in through the open 
window with my unwelcome message. One or two of 
the members got up as if to obey the call, but on the ad- 
vice of General Butler they resumed their seats and I 
was sent back to report progress. At that time the rule 
of the House imposed a fine of ten dollars for a failure 
to respond to a call. The next day, among other gentle- 
men, our friends of the Butler dinner-table passed in front 
of the Speaker briefly to render their different excuses. 

When it came to the turn of General Butler himself 
he smiled up at the presiding officer, and waving a new 
ten-dollar greenback said: "Mr. Speaker, there is my 



The method has been progressive. To-day, from 
Washington to Reno, few excuses go better. 

That Congress was overwhelmingly Republican. In 
those days of the spoils system I think that very few 
Democrats were upon the appointive list. Certainly 
among the pages not any besides myself was there at the 
request of a Democratic delegation. This fact humor- 
ously and mildly singled me out for as much attention 
from the Republican members as from any of the mi- 
nority. One Republican, who was at times inclined to 
wait until I could run his special errand for him, was 
Mr. Ebon C. IngersoII, of Illinois, familiarly known to 
his friends by his middle name, Clark, which is what his 
brother, Colonel Robert G. IngersoII, called him. 

Speaker Elaine was rather partial to Mr. IngersoII as 
a chairman when the House resolved itself into a com- 
mittee of the whole. As this temporary presiding officer 
it was his job to listen to the long talks often made only 
for purposes of publicity and requiring little activity on 
the part of the chairman. As the season advanced and 
the weather grew warmer Mr. IngersoII more than once 
intrusted to me the delicate mission of going to the 
restaurant in the basement, kept at that time by a mu- 
latto named Downing, and bringing back to him one of 
the tall mint juleps of which he was fond. One door to 
the Hall of Representatives is immediately to the right 
of the Speaker's desk. By reaching this through what 
was called the Speaker's lobby a boy could pass from the 
door up four or five marble steps to the Speaker, com- 
pletely hidden from two-thirds of the House, and, if he 
moved quietly, almost unnoticed by the rest. 

Following the chairman's careful instructions I used 
to wrap the glass of julep, its crown of green and its pro- 


trading straws in a folded newspaper and pass it to him 
below the level of the desk. Here was a shelf on which 
the chairman might lay a book of reference or a manu- 
script. It was sufficiently depressed from the top of the 
desk to admit our julep glass. 

With the beverage once there, Mr. IngersoII would 
make one or two disarming passes of his handkerchief 
across his face and then sit with his hand over his mus- 
tache as though listening to the flood of oratory while 
the handkerchief fell from his hand to the desk-top and 
masked the straws that he manipulated. 

Clark IngersoII had all the qualities that his brother 
attributed to him in that forever-memorable eulogy, 
and had besides a humor quite as keen as that of Colonel 
Bob himself. There was one stormy scene growing out 
of a clash between members, and with incidental unpar- 
liamentary language, which the magic of his humor trans- 
muted. Some of the terms were so violent that seem- 
ingly disinterested members were asking for a rebuke 
from the chair. 

Mr. IngersoII evaded one or two demands, but when 
another member insisted upon his ruling upon the char- 
acter of the remarks he answered, after a pause, "The 
chair decides that the language of the gentleman was 
certainly very" then, after a moment's reflection with 
a search for the word, he added "pungent." 

This amiable characterization made everybody laugh, 
and out of the uproar there grew a resumption of the 
business and a tacit dismissal of the incident. 

These men were then emerging from the bitterness of 
the Civil War. With many of them the intense emo- 
tional state thereby produced still existed to some de- 
gree. Their political problem was the reestablishment 


of national conditions, as all nations are now confronted 
with the reestablishment of order in the world. Some 
of the States that had seceded had been already read- 
mitted to the Union under provisional governments. In 
that session Virginia, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas 
were asking to come back. In certain sections of the 
South recognized government was under negro domina- 
tion, and testimony before committees was burdened 
with almost unbelievable stories of violence. 

A most bitter speaker against the South was Mr. John 
A. Bingham, of Ohio. He was a nervous man, with a 
pale face that resembled the current pictures of Lord 
Alfred Tennyson. His seat was in the front row of desks 
immediately facing the Speaker and near the steps on 
which the page boys rested. We were always in for an 
almost dime-novel description of horrors whenever Mr. 
Bingham began upon the subject of the unregenerate 
South or the outrageous Ku-KIux Klan. 

One of the most collected and methodical speakers in 
that Congress was Fernando Wood, of New York; sel- 
dom eloquent, never stirring that I can recall, but with 
an enamelled precision and accuracy, and with that al- 
most invariable note of regretful finality that accom- 
panies the public utterances of our own Elihu Root. 

Garfield's style was orotund, authoritative, Mid- West- 
ern and homely. He talked easily, often with one hand 
in his pocket, and generally with a kind of good humor 
in his manner that would have been completely winning 
except for the suspected presence of a condescension not 
easily separable from any genial reception of grave topics. 

One member who never spoke but was always pointed 
out to the visitors was the ex-champion prize-fighter, 
John Morrissey, of New York. 


Mr. John F. Farnsworth, of Illinois, who wore a long 
beard and had the prairie tone in his vowels, was a mix- 
ture of revivalist and barker. If he hadn't preferred to 
be a statesman he could have taken a couple of beaded 
squaws and a band wagon and made an equal success 
anywhere west of the Mississippi with patent medicine. 

And speakin' again of Injuns, it is interesting to note 
the debate pro and con on the measure passed at that 
session to send the Indians from Kansas to other reserva- 
tions and to remove the Osage Indians to a territory that 
is now Oklahoma. According to current reports, in the 
present year of 1921, each of these Indians, owing to the 
oil struck in their territory, is individually worth thirty 
thousand dollars. I have recently seen numbers of them 
riding about in their own automobiles. Another legis- 
lative landmark which will help measure the rate of our 
progress is the law passed at that session to put a tax 
on brandy made in this country from apples, peaches, or 

I heard Proctor Knott deliver his celebrated Duluth 
speech in January of that session. It was unquestion- 
ably the most famous speech of the Forty-first Congress. 
Mr. Knott had decidedly the Mark Twain manner of 
the conscious humorist. As he proceeded with his speech 
and gained the confidence that palpable success brings 
to a speaker, he grew even more at ease and his man- 
nerisms more pronounced. In appearance he had what 
might be called the Civil War make-up plenty of hair, 
worn fairly long, parted on the side, and a mustache. 
The Duluth speech ran about five thousand words, and 
punctuated as it was by the laughter of his great audi- 
ence, laughter growing more prolonged and hysterical 
as he progressed, must have in his slow manner easily 


consumed an hour. My sponsor, Mr. Wells, sat very 
near to Mr. Knott and the two were friendly. The men 
in that section of the House probably had some advance 
information on the effort, because shortly after Mr. 
Knott began to speak page boys were sent in various 
directions to call in absent members and even to notify 
the senators at the other end of the Capitol. 

A trip to the Senate was among my assignments, and 
I made it in great haste in order to miss as little as pos- 
sible of the speech. Ten minutes after the speech began 
more than half the senators were in the Representative 
chamber; clerks, and employees had left the committee 
rooms and supply departments and crowded into the 
cloakroom. The galleries were full. 

Mr. Knott pronounced the name "Duluth" with a 
caressing coo that was funny the first time and grew 
irresistible with the repetitions, of which there were some 
forty-two. The Speaker interrupted him when his time 
had expired, but there were loud calls from all parts of 
the House for him to go on, and in the absence of objec- 
tion he did so. 

His ridicule defeated the measure against which he 
spoke, which was to construct a St. Croix and Bayfield 
railroad, but his ironical references to the future of the 
city in a territory of wonderful resources, its beauty and 
future greatness, read now like prophecy instead of ridi- 

There was also a touch of antiquity for present-day 
readers when in his reference to possible future amend- 
ments to the Constitution that should cover the growing 
greatness of this Duluth he enumerated supposititious 
Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth Articles, but 
said of a Sixteenth: "It is, of course, understood that 


it is to be appropriated to those blushing damsels who 
are day by day beseeching us to let them vote, hold office, 
drink cocktails, ride a-straddle, and do everything else 
the men do." 

None of these privileges is longer in debate. 

James G. Elaine was a greater man at that end of the 
Capitol Building than he ever became in the Senate. 
The active work of the larger body gave finer opportunity 
for his extraordinary power. I have seen many presid- 
ing officers, but not any who was his equal for prompt- 
ness of decision, clarity of its statement or vigor of its 
defense, if needed. On two or three occasions, when a 
legislative measure was before the House on which he 
wished to express himself more fully than would have 
been becoming to a presiding officer, he called a mem- 
ber to the chair and went upon the floor himself. I don't 
recall his equal in that body for swift and forceful state- 
ment of his views and aggressive attack upon the op- 

Of all the orators in that brilliant galaxy, however, the 
idol of the page boys was John A. Logan, whose speeches 
did not read so well as those of more than one other, but 
he was personally so picturesque, and the fact that he 
was descended from Black Hawk and showed it in his 
tawny skin and jet-black hair, gave him a romantic in- 
terest that no other had. He had a fine voice and an 
earnest intensity we liked to believe characteristic of the 
Indian, with the added fire of a Spaniard or an Italian. 
And then we knew of him as Fighting John Logan too. 

How many of those men were to us colossal from the 
nation's use of them as symbols of power ! General 
Thomas was the Rock of Chickamauga; when Blair 
joined somebody it meant that food for an army had 


arrived; when Banks was to move against Mobile it 
was thirty thousand men that were moving, not alone 
that tall, scholarly-looking man in the second row to the 
Speaker's left; when Logan joined somebody near Cham- 
pion's Hill, a division thereby arrived; the enemy's re- 
treat was cut off. There were giants in those days; men 
more interested in the conformation of the continent 
and in the majesty of the Constitution than in the dis- 
tribution of garden-seeds. 

When I left Washington at the end of that July and 
started back for Missouri I said good-by to my uncle- 
grandfather, A. W., never to see him again. I have al- 
ways been curious to know what prompted his parting 
gift to me. It was made with considerable impressment 
a plate of copper about eight by ten inches in size, 
holding in bas-relief in the smallest agate type the full 
text of the Declaration of Independence set around a 
miniature circular medallion reproduction of TrumbuII's 
picture of the signing of the document, and holding in 
an open margin of about an inch below the text almost 
microscopic but most accurate bas-reliefs of the auto- 
graphic signatures to the document. A delicate raised 
moulding of the same copper framed the entire plate. 
This work of art must have been the combination of 
several mechanical and manual processes, and is evi- 
dently one of several copies. Perhaps there are elsewhere 
in the United States other men who possess this pass- 
port and by its virtue belong to my lodge. 

When I got home I found that my father estimated 
more highly than could any boy of my age the events 
with which I had had such modest association. The 
more bitter rancor of the Civil War was gone; I had 
witnessed the long session of the Reconstruction Con- 


gress; the seceding states had come again into the 

I wonder if there is really a world spirit brooding over 
all, and if the seemingly disconnected events are more 
wisely associated than we surmise. A mystic that au- 
tumn walking through his quiet path at Concord, from 
which a specific fruit takes its name, wrote in his private 
diary not meant for publication but for his own refresh- 
ment only, "The grape is fruitful this year that men 
may be genial and gentle and make better laws." 


In October of 1871, three months after my return from 
Washington, the St. Louis papers were filled with mount- 
ing reports of the Chicago fire. Extras issued; the people 
of our older and larger sister city, moving leisurely in 
their dominantly Southern fashion, slowed down a little 
further to discuss the alarming news of destruction in 
the lake-shore town, and then waked up to a rescue as 
characteristic in its impulsive generosity and dash as a 
cavalry charge by Early. My interest was local and my 
contributions of curiosity principally obstructive. 

One idol of our St. Louis boys was H. Clay Sexton, 
the head of the fire department. Sexton was the typical 
fire chief of that time: red leather helmet with white- 
and-gold escutcheon; flannel shirt; broad belt and 
buckle; trousers in high boots. He carried a silver 
speaking-trumpet presented by admiring citizens and 
insurance companies. But behind the picturesque make- 
up and inside the burly body there was a real man with 
a brain. Ahead of the newspapers the telegraph brought 
to this chief constant news of the fire's progress and the 
work of the fighters; and then suddenly the alarming 
report that the flames in the acres of wooden houses that 
made the Chicago of that period had got beyond con- 
trol by the local department. The water system was 
unequal to the drain upon it. Engines able to work and 
men eager to do so were without hose enough or water. 

6 4 


Somewhere over a St. Louis engine-house Clay Sexton 
was working like a co-ordinating marshal, anticipating 
the ultimate call his firemen, his material, his machines 
and hose reels, the broad-breasted, long-legged horses, 
the stock cars ready for them at the chutes, the flat cars 
with skids and blocks and ties for the machines, the fast- 
est passenger engines, the ablest engineers all at readi- 
ness and attention. Then the call. 

Daily express-train time from St. Louis to Chicago 
was nine hours. Clay Sexton, with his train of stock 
cars and flats, with nine fire-engines, reels, horses, and 
firemen, went up there in a fraction over five hours. The 
gallant feature was the readiness and the run. The work 
after arrival was prosaic enough, though vital. The visit- 
ing engines dipped their suckers into Lake Michigan and 
fed water by constant relay to the local men more 
familiar with the ground. The fact that two hundred 
and fifty persons met death in that fire and ninety-eight 
thousand were rendered destitute I heard many times. 
The oral message was tame, however, and fleeting in 
effect compared with the picture of the old General Lyon 
Number 4, our neighborhood engine, swinging out for 
her part in that enterprise of relief. 

Another outstanding feature of those days is a noon- 
hour book of weekly newspaper illustrations of the 
Franco-Prussian War, none now definite but all making 
a vague mental frame and background somehow insepara- 
bly tied to an otherwise unconnected statement of General 
Phil Sheridan's. The general had seen somewhat of the 
French and German conduct in that war. As the result 
of his observations he thought that the German soldiers 
could, on equal terms, conquer those of any other nation 
except the American ; that the American's superiority lay 


in initiative. Other soldiers seemed to act only upon 
command; the American also obeyed, but added to his 
obedience the individual activity of starting frontier 
fashion every night to intrench or to build or to do other 
essential things for himself without waiting for the word. 
In Sheridan's belief, political freedom and its respon- 
sibility had produced a better unit. Phil should have 
been at Chateau-Thierry. Perhaps he was. At any 
rate, his commendation of individual initiative gave it 
lasting importance in my small decisions. 

I hope I may tell of another trifle that will amuse a 
million boys, perhaps mar a thousand jackknives and 
determine one or two embryo James McNeil Whistlers. 
Halfway up the steps to the Capitol dome in Washington 
there used to be a door, sometimes ajar, letting to a room 
wherein were the batteries of the simple electric system 
of 1870. If a boy dipped his knife-blade into one of the 
many jars of copperas solution that stood on the low 
shelves, and let the blade dry without wiping it, the steel 
in appearance turned to copper. When I philanthropi- 
cally tried that on father's knife at a neighborhood bat- 
tery in St. Louis my pride was tempered by his explaining 
that the color was acquired, not unlike many a later 
luster, by the copper's eating into the steel and to that 
slight degree dulling its edge. 

With a tolerant wisdom that untiringly tried to steer 
my destructive impulses into productive channels, he 
took a clean blade on my knife, patiently rubbed it in 
different directions with a piece of lithograph crayon 
until it had a full coating of dense black grease over it; 
then with one point of a broken steel pen he had me write 
my name through the black field. 

To this writing he had me apply a few drops of the 


fluid and let it stand till the shining letters of steel bub- 
bled into crusty copper. When, after two or three min- 
utes, both crayon field and copper ashes were washed 
off the written name was there, etched into the blade of 
the owner's knife. 

That year in the high school I bit a score of autographs 
on schoolmates' knives. Among the beneficiaries in the 
senior grade was a boy named Will Harlow. Harlow 
had literary ambitions, a hand-printing press with a six- 
by-eight chase, and possessed a curling, back-blown 
pompadour that should have had an Eton collar with 
it. He was a typical RoIIo. Aware of my ability to do 
outline drawings, such as they were, and seeing in this 
litho-crayon-and-copperas combination a way to simple 
etching, Harlow proposed the publication of a magazine. 
Together we undertook it. The magazine was named 
Scratches and Sketches. We issued five numbers, I think, 
at irregular intervals, approximately a fortnight, with 
some paid ads eight pages of short stories, verse and 
local comment, all furnished by Harlow, and three or 
four pages of alleged etchings made by me. 

These etchings were done on zinc plates bought at the 
tinsmith's, laboriously burnished with a hand burnisher 
by me, coated with lithograph crayon, drawn with a 
pen and bitten with a saturated solution of copperas. 
The prints were made on superior paper as inserted etch- 
ings should be, at a professional shop, and then pasted 
into the letter-press stuff. 

Subscriptions were few despite our courageous procla- 
mations, but enough copies were issued to embroil Har- 
low and me. His playful comment upon our ac- 
quaintances in North St. Louis met with several demands 
for retractions and apologies. Some real enmities were 


One bellicose warning delivered to me to transmit to 
Harlow, who was keeping out of sight, as grown-up edi- 
tors are said sometimes to do, carried a descriptive word 
for our magazine that stuck. The complainant was one 
William F. Putnam, a fine youngster, who became in 
early manhood an influential miller in Cleveland, where 
he had as a side line a stable of trotters, one of which in 
fraternal recollection he called Gus Thomas. Billy in 
our St. Louis days was a handy boy with his fists; a good, 
clean, upstanding, handsome lad, looking the world in 
the eye as I am sure he still does. 

Holding my lapel after our second or third issue he 
said, "You tell Mr. Harlow that if he ever mentions my 
name in his damned almanac again," and so on. 

I never recovered from "almanac." Nine years later 
in the playlet of "Editha's Burglar" I had the burglar 
refer by that term to the paper of Editha's papa, and I 
spoke the burglar's line myself some four hundred con- 
secutive times, but with no ultimate relief. 

The rector of Grace Church in our district also found 
some ethical flaws in our unripened policy. These and 
similar incidents, and the expense account, decided Har- 
low's mother, who was a widow in modest circumstances, 
to withhold further financial support. Some years later, 
when for a partner's guaranty to a theatrical manager 
the sheriff took our printing office in Kansas City and the 
ill will of a weekly paper that languished therein, the 
funeral wasn't nearly so depressing as our farewell to the 

In writing one's recollections for publication the ex- 
perienced advise cautious utterance concerning living 
persons, and a news sense that shall choose as subjects 
men already in the public notice. I am unaware of any 


notorious interest in Frederick W. RuckstuII, though I 
am not ignorant of his claim upon Fame herself. Mr. 
RuckstuII, who to-day is still young and a few years my 
senior, is the author of that Victory monument in Ja- 
maica, Long Island, against which from four directions 
sober motorists used to drive on foggy nights until the 
city authorities, after the manner of ruling minds in nor- 
mal democracies, concluded that four iron lamp-posts 
were cheaper than numerous rosewood coffins, and there- 
upon set up a cordon of strong lights. 

That Victory identifies Mr. RuckstuII for the sporting 
New Yorker. The tourists will recall his beautiful fe- 
male nude of Evening in the American Hall of Sculpture 
in the New York Metropolitan Museum. Pennsylvania 
has his equestrian Hartranft in front of her capitol; St. 
Louis his decorative Mercury and eagle in Portland 
Place; and the Southland his cavalier, General Wade 
Hampton, and four or five Confederate monuments. 
Washington and other cities have from his studio other 
mature and classical performances. 

RuckstuII, an Alsatian by birth, was brought to St. 
Louis by his parents at the age of two. Fifteen years 
later he attracted the attention of my father. Into the 
profound talk of this wise man of forty-three and that 
positive philosopher of seventeen I gradually won my 
way. My father respected me either already or still; 
I had to prove it to Ruck. I wish to mark the boy Ruck- 
stuII now in this year 1871, when he first comes into 
my ken, because he still is there in 1921, the least deviat- 
ing note in this revolving rug of life. Whenever after 
any sentimental vertigo I can first get my feet on the 
floor and partly retard the vibrating patterns in the car- 
pet and on the wall-paper, as soon as I can locate Ruck 


amongst them the rest begin to orient and grow less 

In appearance he is now as gray as Senator Lodge and 
as bald as Sir Oliver. When I first saw him he was black- 
haired, black-eyed, athletic. It may be that some slight 
changes have also taken place in my make-up. In 1894, 
when the caricature of him facing p. 326 was drawn in 
our guest-book at New Rochelle by lamplight, he was 
still dark-haired, but had lost some locks, as indicated. 

Dear old Frederic Remington, who sat by on that 
Christmas night and looked on and laughed all through 
the execution, said: "'You're not only getting a portrait 
of Ruck but of Ruck's opinion of Ruck." 

Father had heard young RuckstuII speak in what now 
would be a Boy Scout debating society, but was then 
an Episcopal attempt to divert the gang spirit of our 
North St. Louis incorrigibles. Concurrently with this 
Grace Church Debating Society there was organized a 
Marion Place Dramatic Club, for which I wrote my first 
full evening's play, named "Alone." Our leading lady was 
Mittens Willet, who subsequently became the juvenile 
lead for John McCuIIough and the wife of Henry Aveling, 
a leading man of the late seventies. While Mittens was 
with us her leading man was Robert Cornell, earlier men- 
tioned as a Jefferson City page boy. Cornell did not 
become the greatest real-estate agent in St. Louis, but 
he would have been an ornament to the American stage. 

That year to the old Olympic Theatre in St. Louis 
not the present spacious house on the same site, but a 
Douglas Jerrold type of playhouse, with pit, elevated 
horseshoe dress circle, family circle and gallery there 
came a fine old character actor named John Dillon, hus- 
band of Louise Dillon of later fame. Dillon played O'Cal- 


lahan in Bernard's play, "On His Last Legs," manifestly 
adapted from Moliere's " Le Medecin Malgre Lui." Dil- 
lon's performance was a masterpiece of finish in technic, 
rich in byplay and pause, and as liberal an education in 
what added expression can give to mere lines as is Frank 
Bacon's "Lightnin'." 

Both Cornell and Mittens, superior in serious work as 
they were, insisted that this comedy part of O'Callahan 
was for me. The play was even then a fifteen-cent 
yellow-back, available to any buyer. We gave it many 
times in parlors, in the parsonage, in the hall over Stur- 
geon Meat Market, and on the road. I shall recur to 
that compact little two-act farce; once when it pays a 
company out of Canada and once again when in ample 
disguise it rescues Mr. De Wolf Hopper from a temporary 
lapse and restores him to Broadway and opulence and 
matrimony. And when I do so perhaps such of my 
youngish readers as continue to trail may note a con- 
nection between those grown-up enterprises, running in 
the Hopper instance into a fortune, and these small be- 
ginnings, like learning in amateur days a good play well. 
They may infer that the money side of the return is of 
the lesser worth; that the big value is the self-expression 
obtained; that the debating society, the dramatic club, 
the singing school, the art class, the pursuits that invite 
brain to the finger-tips, and to become articulate, are 
the interests that make life eloquent. They may even 
come to have opinions and to believe that the amount 
of self-expression encouraged and protected in any coun- 
try is the measure of liberty in that country. 

I shall tell stories of these adolescent years only when 
the incidents are influential in later results, not simply 
important to me privately, but with some color of general 


interest or possibility of serviceable application. AH 
children of parents in modest circumstances have their 
trials. It is only the little rich who have the right to say 
with a great American: 

"Am I not too protected a person? Am I not de- 
frauded of my best culture in the loss of those gymnastics 
which manual labor and the emergencies of poverty con- 

Therefore, that I took a job to write and deliver freight 
notices to St. Louis consignees for the Vandalia office, 
and had to be in East St. Louis to receive waybills from 
an incoming train at 7 A. M., is not important. Many 
another boy of fourteen years, three miles from work, 
to which he must go on foot, is called an hour and a half 
before the shop time. If the call is 5.30 and the season 
winter, he will dress by candle-light; the kitchen will 
glow with the genial presence of the stove; and the smell 
will be domestic and stimulating, to the capacity of the 
family purse. 

But not every boy will have a frozen Mississippi to 
walk over, with the Great Dipper half upside down in 
the sparkled sky, holding its long pointers to the North 
Star on his left, and underneath on the massive ice an 
endless train of coal-wagons with four horses to each, 
crunching its way to the Illinois side, while off to the 
right of his path the piers of the Eads Bridge, then to 
be the eighth wonder of the world, are as yet only a few 
feet above the river's level, their great dam breakwaters 
prowed like battleships against the frozen current, whose 
first flying charges of winter have piled like sculptured 
foam, deck high, against these defenders. Half-way out 
on that mile-wide ice was a barroom with a red-hot can- 
non stove, where a cold driver could run ahead of his 


team, which would keep its place in the plodding train, 
and get a drink and a thaw and pick up his wagon as it 
went by. 

To see the chance for that squatter barroom, to fore- 
see that endless train of wagon traffic, and a day after 
the ice quit moving to be out there with boards and nails ; 
with that degree of skill and attack and the sporting 
willingness to wager this lumber and labor and a stock 
of whiskey against the changing elements, indicated a 
vanguard imagination quite kindred to that which 
planned and set up the cantilever double span at St. 
Louis or devised and drove the jetties at the Delta below 
New Orleans. The difference was the trained engineer's 
mathematics that Eads possessed and that Kelly had 
never had the chance to get. 

James Buchanan Eads, who died in the Bahamas in 
his sixty-seventh year, was born on the Indiana prairie 
in 1820. When he was forty-one he designed and built 
that Mississippi fleet of ironclads and monitors without 
which Grant's western campaign might not have been 
so successful. I met him when I was a young man and 
he about sixty. I remember his modest and gentle bear- 
ing, and the deference that the important men of that 
occasion instinctively paid him. 

The years between that date and the earlier winter 
when I trudged twice each day past the looming piers 
of the Eads Bridge had been wonderfully filled with in- 
cident for me. To relate those incidents would be un- 
pardonable trespass upon type and eyesight. An earlier 
writer recording his landlady's appeal to sympathy by a 
recital of her history says, " It was as though a grain of 
wheat that had been ground and bolted had tried to in- 
dividualize itself." 


But flour that grades up to the market sample might 
quite properly, if it could, say whether the way of grind- 
ing had been of the old upper-and-nether millstones kind 
or the roller system, and might with equal propriety 
claim the nutritive percentage obtained by the process. 

I recently heard a Yale professor refer to newspapers 
as destructive of thought. He had in mind the gossipy 
hours spent in their reading, and the dissipation of nearly 
all serious attention on the part of those addicted to 
them. Some day an equal censor may attack the week- 
lies, and if we guilty contributors and readers can here 
and there point to a paragraph of right intent and per- 
haps helpful issue, we may quit the field retreating in 
good order and not in panic rout. 

Will it not be an orderly method if, reporting myself 
a man at nineteen and omitting the hurtful things, I 
tell those physical experiences that built a margin of 
muscular gain; and if, eliminating the wasteful lures 
and attractions, I recount the better mental interests 
that won out for such equipment as has served in a pro- 
fession that is without curriculum or diploma; and if I 
can find the skill to do so without offending, may I not 
imply or hint the developing factors in that third ele- 
ment of human tissue which we call spiritual? 

Somebody said that the military victories of England 
were won on the cricket field. I believe a right American 
soldier is as much better than a similar English soldier of 
equal training and experience as baseball is better than 
cricket. I wish some alchemy could give us the percent- 
age of baseball that was in the Argonne victories. I 
think the training that equips a boy on the diamond, 
with all the bases filled, to pick up a batted grounder 
and without a fraction of a second's wait to put it to the 


right spot is as fine a preparation for the market, the 
bar, the pulpit, the forum, the surgical clinic especially 
the surgical clinic and the battle-field as any physical 
exercise in the world; and yet if I had to choose as one 
who knew both between baseball and boxing I'd tell my 
boy to box and I'm writing these recollections for boys. 
I hope the girls, too, will like them, but I know a good 
deal less about girls. With the fellows past forty yes, 
say past thirty I don't expect to change a vote. Mr. 
Franklin Haven Sargent, president of the American 
Academy of Dramatic Arts, asked me some years ago to 
suggest any additional course for his pupils. 

I said, "Teach them to box." 

Mr. Sargent was then past thirty. Before I offered 
that advice I had found in several years of professional 
rehearsals that men and women, self-conscious on the 
stage, were so principally on account of their hands. 
There is the same embarrassment in some public 
speakers. The boxer is free from that; to see his hand 
in front of him in an instinctive gesture does not fill him 
with sudden fear, and if the hand as placed stands for 
some mental attitude he is at ease in leaving it there as 
long as he asks attention to that fact. The most grace- 
ful man in the use of his hands on the stage thirty years 
ago was Maurice Barry more, who had been the champion 
amateur boxer of England. One of the most graceful 
to-day is Eddie Foy, another boxer. I have never in 
many talks with William Faversham mentioned the 
subject, but I am confident that he was a skilful boxer 
in his younger days. 

My father was a boxer, and despite mother's most 
feminine protests he began to teach me the art when he 
had to sit on a low chair to make my level. After I was 


fourteen there was never a time when I was not at least 
part owner of a set of boxing gloves. Father's persis- 
tence in teaching me may seem trivial, but will it take 
on value if I can show a valid connection between it and 
the important diplomatic communications of others? I 
fancy I shall do that a little later. 

There were two youngsters with whom I learned much 
in sparring. The first and most constant one was Charles 
A. Beamer, now a merchant in St. Louis and a man ac- 
tive in high Masonic circles. Charley had a very effec- 
tive right, and two or three times a week used to leave 
my face looking like an August sunset. But better than 
his right was his great good humor, and I learned from 
him as much as from all others that the control of one's 
temper, a prevailing good-nature, was one object of every 

From the Vandalia office when I was fourteen and the 
St. Louis Transfer Company when I was fifteen years of 
age, I went to the old St. Louis, Kansas City, and North- 
ern Railroad at sixteen. The work was principally on 
the freight platforms and in the freight-yard as a clerk. 
The platform men, the switchmen, the engineers and 
firemen of that period were almost exclusively Irish. 
The play of our resting intervals was boxing. As I de- 
veloped and grew in the exercise my opponents were 
truckmen, trainmen, coal-shovellers, and mechanics 
none of them spoiled by pampering. In that K. C. & N. 
yard was the second lad I refer to, one OIlie Crockett, as 
handsome and as continually smiling as a lithograph of 
Douglas Fairbanks. 

Once in the switch shanty in my nineteenth year this 
debonair youngster, half a head shorter than myself, 
knocked me out with an eight-ounce glove. A report 


of it can be defended as a reply to the gentlefolk who 
decry the brutality of the sport. On that occasion no- 
thing described my own sensation so accurately as a line 
in the George Ade pugilistic Fable in Slang, that "some- 
body turned off the daylight." When I came to I was 
looking into Crockett's smiling face and wondering only 
what had interrupted our fun. 

In later years and fuller manhood I had some pro- 
fessional mates. I never got any medals, but I received 
consoling compliments. Bob Farrell, a lightweight who 
had fought a couple of good old-time bare-knuckle 
matches with Billy Edwards, the champion whom the 
old Hoffman House patrons will remember, was among 
the number. Let me join these references pertinently. 
One night after he had lost the championship to Fitz- 
simmons, Jim Corbett was one of fifty guests at a dinner 
to Mr. Otis Skinner in a Chicago hotel. Both he and I 
had been called upon and had spoken and Corbett had 
temporarily taken a seat next to Otis for a laughing ex- 
change with him. 

Seeing the intimacy of the two men, I took the same 
chair when Corbett left it and expressed to Otis my ad- 
miration for Corbett's talk. I finished my comment by 
saying with stage-manager bumptiousness, "I could 
make a speaker of that fellow." 

Mr. Skinner laughed more immoderately at this than 
either its conceit or its improbability called for, and then 
explained that Corbett had come there the moment be- 
fore to say of me, " I could make a fighter of that fellow." 

Mr. Corbett was unaware both of my stale years and 
my timidity; but that my estimate of him was right his 
finished and artistic ability as a public speaker to-day 
is proof. 


Professional baseball of the middle seventies differed 
materially from that of to-day. It was not less rigorous 
or less athletic; in some respects it was more so. The 
old-fashioned pitched ball, which had more speed than 
would be believed by one who had not seen the profes- 
sional pitcher deliver it, was giving way to the under- 
hand throw, which was probably quite as fast as the 
best delivery now. No catcher, however, wore a padded 
glove or mask. Little red-haired Miller, the first catcher 
of the St. Louis Browns, wore on his left hand an ordi- 
nary buckskin glove with the fingers cut off; his right 
hand was bare. His face had no protection; there was 
no padding over his body or guards over his shins. Dur- 
ing the second season, facing Bradley, he introduced the 
use of a rubber wedge about the size of a domino, which 
he held between his teeth and let protrude slightly from 
his lips. This was suggested by a catcher on another 
nine having had the dental processes broken by a foul 
tip, and taken by the Harvard College catcher, Horatio 
S. White, later dean of the university. 

In those days a batter had the right to call for a high 
or a low ball, and the pitcher was required to put it above 
or below his waist, according to his demand. Moreover, 
a pitcher once in the box went through the nine innings, 
or if changed was changed for some other member of the 
nine whom he replaced in his position from the in or out 
field. Generally a third baseman or a fielder was en- 
gaged for his ability as a change-pitcher. One or two 
substitutes attended the game, but they went in only 
when a man was put out by a physical injury, as they 
come in now in a football game. 

We were very proud of our St. Louis Browns, and 
equally jealous of the Chicago White Sox. One never 


gets this partisanship out of the blood. Only last Sun- 
day the sculptor, RuckstuII, now sixty-eight, and sunk 
deep in the hollow of a library leather chair from which 
he was freely reading Montaigne's archaic French, paused 
at some mention of memory and said: "What a heaven- 
sent gift a good memory is I" And then, with an accus- 
ing challenge, "Can you name the whole nine of the first 
St. Louis league team when they won that first series 
from Chicago in 1874?" 

And trying to beat each other to it, we alternated and 
interfered and reached a flushed crescendo in a run of 
competing explosions, telling: "Bradley, pitch; Miller, 
catch; Dehlman, Bannon, Hogue on bases; Dickey 
Pierce at short; and in the field? Cuthbert, Chapman, 
and and Haight." 

But we couldn't remember Chicago. We remembered 
the whiskers on some of those Lake Front athletes, as 
luxuriant as those now worn only by the Cough Drop 
Brothers. And all the time the sculptor was command- 
ing attention with a hand on which the hypnotic feature 
was an ossified contusion of the first phalange of the 
little finger, pitched to him on our old railroad nine of 
that epoch. 

A third gymnastic field is one to be noted but not 
recommended. In the seven years amidst the freight- 
cars and switch engines one acquires the average brake- 
man's ability to get on and off a moving train. Twenty 
years after I had left the service I was still annoyed if a 
street-car stopped or even checked its speed to let me 
either board or leave it, and then one day in New York 
as a Broadway car passed the Empire Theatre, which 
was my destination, I stepped from its platform onto 
the wet asphalt as gracefully as the president of the con- 


doctors' brotherhood could do it, slipped to a sitting 
posture, ruined a pair of fifteen-dollar trousers, and broke 
my record. After thirty-four it's a good plan to watch 
your step. Right here I could possibly say something 
analogous about political platforms, but the times are 
hard enough as it is. 



My interests and ambitions were threefold poetry, 
painting, and the theatre. Let us try to agree about 
poetry. Poetry is the feeling that there is soul behind 
all form; such feeling is not religion, but it is the source 
of religion. The difference between poetry and fact is 
like a sailor's difference between the North Star and 
lighthouses. The lighthouse marks the irregular and 
charted coast. The North Star fixes a permanent di- 
rection. Now wait a minute ! You boy in Cheyenne or 
Manistee or Talladega, and you men with blue pencils, I'm 
trying to tell something; nothing too highbrow for a 
boy that is allowed to sit up after supper and the some- 
thing is useful. 

A capacity for poetic feeling is the receiving end for 
all those messages throughout life that the recurring 
seasons, the grass and leaves, the winds and clouds, the 
stars, the nostril-dilating odors of the fields, the hum of 
insects and the sound of ocean waves are trying to get 
through to us. The fogs of the rough surfaces on which 
we ride obscure and hide the polar direction of the poetic 
call, and we move along the prudent shore line and sound- 
ings of supply and demand and cent per cent, but the 
refreshing reaches are when the star is now and then in 

This occasional glimpse through the clouds, which is 
poetry, has been appraised by William James, our de- 



lightful philosopher. It is worth getting a little closer 
to the lamp; reading very carefully; pausing to look up 
at the framed photograph of mother and father when 
they were first married; and then slowly reading again. 
It is from his chapter on the "Mystical Faculty'*: 

"Most of us can remember the strangely moving power 
of passages in certain poems read when we were young, 
irrational doorways as they were through which the mys- 
tery of fact, the wildness and the pang of life, stole into 
our hearts and thrilled them. The words have now per- 
haps become mere polished surfaces for us; but lyric 
poetry and music are alive and significant only in propor- 
tion as they fetch these vague vistas of a life continuous 
with our own, beckoning and inviting, yet ever eluding 
our pursuit. We are alive or dead to the eternal inner 
message of the arts according as we have kept or lost 
this mystical susceptibility." 

During the years leading to and including my nine- 
teenth I not only read poetry; I learned it by rote when 
it appealed to me, and I recited it. There is no wish to 
compete with Jean Jacques Rousseau in self-abasement, 
but I did recite it, in public, at church festivals and the 
like. I don't defend the term "festivals," but the his- 
toric fact is that they were so called. Once when my 
friend James Whitcomb Riley and Bill Nye were jointly 
lecturing, Riley, who was nervous at the game, peeped 
through the curtain before beginning in a little Minnesota 
town, and then hurried to Nye, who was still adjusting 
his white tie in the dressing-room. 

"Bill!" he exclaimed. "There are only about twenty 
people in the house!" 

"I can't understand that," Nye answered. "We've 
never been here before." 


And now with the confession that I recited on these 
church occasions I want to plead that I was paid to do 
so, and that sometimes I got return dates. 

Noting this disposition to memorize verses, my father 
said to me, "What you fill your head with in that fashion 
now will stay with you for a long while. It is a good 
plan to select the best." 

I tried to keep his advice in view. The old McGuffey 
School Readers, it seems to me, were well-chosen selec- 
tions. They ranged from Shakespeare to Patrick Henry 
and Webster, and included such sonorous stuff as 
Macaulay's and such gentleness as Whittier's. In the 
full editions of the poets I devoured Tom Moore, Scott, 
Burns, Longfellow, Bryant, Tennyson, Keats, and others. 
The inference might be that this crowded out the trash, 
but it didn't. Nothing is so omnivorous as the mind of 
a growing boy bitten with the theatre and romance. 

Before we quit the subject of poetry I want to say to 
those who admired "Ivanhoe" and "Marmion," and 
other thrilling things by their author that Sir Walter 
Scott once said nothing had so influenced him through- 
out his life as four lines of verse in a poem called "Cum- 
nor Hall," by William Julius Mickle, a Scot, who died 
when Walter was seventeen years old. 

"The dews of summer night did fall, 

The moon (sweet regent of the sky) 
Silver'd the walls of Cumnor Hall, 

And many an oak that grew thereby." 

For Walter Scott those words never became mere 
polished surfaces, but remained always alive and held 
their strangely moving and beckoning power. "And 
many an oak that grew thereby." Change that line to 


"And twenty oaks that grew thereby," and see how the 
fact of the definite numeral clips the wings of your in- 
vited fancy. That suggestion is to the boy and girl. 
Dear papa, whom the angels must excuse because he is 
so busy that he cannot leave the store, is asked to remem- 
ber the regretful words of that successful scientist, 
Charles Darwin, who, looking back in his seventieth 
year, said 

If I had my life to live again I would have made a rule to read 
some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week; for 
perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied would thus have been 
kept alive through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness 
and may possibly be injurious to the intellect and more probably 
to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our na- 

Some great editors have read those lines of Darwin, 
and grown thoughtful about them. 

In my wish to write for the theatre, my father thought 
I would meet with fewer obstacles in the degree that I 
knew the theatre itself behind the curtain. I saw no 
betraying twinkle in his eye as he talked to me about 
it, but he was a person of cultivated self-control. He 
reminded me quite seriously how Shakespeare had been 
an actor, and had begun to write his plays from that 
standpoint. He told me of Moliere and of others that I 
have forgotten, but particularly of Boucicault, so that 
he built up a fair determination in my mind to get all 
the experience I could. In the absence of a professional 
association he approved of the amateur work, always 
cautioning me that it would have some features that 
would have to be unlearned. 

Our St. Louis amateur theatricals soon took on a semi- 


professional tone. Those were the days of the Jay Gould 
ownership of railroads. The enginemen were already 
organized in discontent; the trainmen were following 
their example. The managements were anxious and con- 
ciliatory. So whenever the conductors, looking for ways 
and means, invited our club to play for their "benefits" 
at Moberly, the headquarters of our division, the super- 
intendent promptly passed our little company; some 
other influence fixed us with the Pullman people. Great 
occasions, those, with all expenses paid; a full house 
secured by the tickets the trainmen sold weeks ahead; 
the local volunteer band at the depot when we arrived; 
the big posters on the opera-house walls; the selected 
orchestra that had just doubled in brass; and in front 
every shopkeeper, barber, saloonist, hotelkeeper, attor- 
ney, and family doctor who wanted to hold his railroad 
clientele, each with his lady. Add to that a brave repre- 
sentation from the local fire department in uniforms; 
two policemen and the waitresses from the hotel, all 
crowded into that second-story uncushioned auditorium, 
impatient for the curtain to ring up, and you have a com- 
bination equalled only when the state standards mass 
round a national nomination to make it unanimous. 

The freight agent at St. Louis, Captain P. Flanigan, 
who had to deplete his force of some twenty clerks for 
the day by excusing Matt Cooper, Fred Naylor, and me 
for each of these rural assaults, was an able transporta- 
tion man who had learned his business on the Mississippi. 
He was of quite the better class of river captain, con- 
siderably travelled and by no means unread. 

Matt Cooper had a tracing department shut off from 
the main office. The captain unfailingly visited him the 
day after such a trip and heard every detail of it. I found 


Cooper in a gale of laughter after one such visit. He 
closed the door to impart the joke to me in confidence. 
The cue had been Cooper's narrative of the play of which 
I was the author. 

The proud captain had taken it seriously and his side- 
splitting line from Cooper's view-point, not from mine 
was "Why, if Gus can write that he may some day 
be as big a dramatist as Boucicault." Cooper had con- 
trolled his mirth till the captain left the room, and now 
he was pounding me on the back to force me to see it. 

The first steady job I got in New York was twelve 
years later, when A. M. Palmer at the Madison Square 
Theatre engaged me to take the place of Mr. Dion Bouci- 
cault, who wished to retire. I tell it now in no prideful 
flush whatever, but mainly in a gentle retrospect of dear 
old P. F., and partly for its associative value: in the be- 
ginning, my first boyish writing, a frank forage on Bouci- 
cault's Rip; in the middle field that ridicule that Cooper, 
of course, passed out for me to our little company; and 
the finish Boucicault's desk. 

It was during this period that I got my first long coat. 
There is nothing now extant by which with one indica- 
tion it can be pictured. It was not so long as a Prince 
Albert, nor so closely joined below the waist; not so cut- 
away as the English morning coat of recent years, but 
something between the two. Fashion dictated that it 
should be made of what then was known as basket-cloth, 
a prominent weave looking like a diminutive checker- 
board with squares of one-half-inch. The material was 
black, and when made-up was bound with the broadest 
possible braid. With its arrival the women of the house- 
hold thought I was entitled to an evening at a theatre 
in company with some nice girl. My preference was for 


a piquant young person of about fourteen years of age 

named Dickey B . It had been an unexpressed fear 

of my mother's that I would so choose. Dickey was a 
bit the neighborhood soubrette in her way. She had an 
elder sister, neither so good-looking nor so lively, whose 
name I think was Louise. I don't remember inviting 
Louise to go with me. That was arranged through some 
conferences between the families; all now confused in 
my memory perhaps because I wasn't aware of them. 
No ladies went into the parquet of those days; I bought 
two seats for a dollar each to the old Olympic dress circle, 
which was sufficiently lifted at centre to allow patrons 
of the parquet to pass through the gangway beneath it. 
There was only one opposition theatre so the choice was 
not wide, and the other attraction was a burlesque of 
some kind to which a very young man with his girl 
couldn't go. I can remember no occasion on which my 
embarrassment was so great as when I sat in that thin 
audience, the only man in the front row of a dinky dress 
circle, and saw a performance of the serious history of 
"King John." The poor girl and I tried to make con- 
versation. I think she was depressed by the fact that 
she had been wished onto me. I was depressed by the 
same belief, and the much more overshadowing tragedy 
of my basket-cloth coat which looked well in front of 
the tailor's mirror but came up unpleasantly behind the 
collar when I sat down; and persons looked at us in the 
street-cars on the trips both ways. It was many years 
before I was able properly to assess the memory of that 
evening. It gradually turned from bitterness to indiffer- 
ence and then to a comic recital, and as time went on to 
a veritable treasure, as I found I was one of the very 
few Americans who had seen a performance of "King 


John," by Junfus Brutus Booth, the elder brother of 
Edwin, with his new wife Agnes Booth playing Constance, 
and that sterling young actor of those days, Joseph 
Wheelock, playing Faulconridge. I never met Junius 
Brutus Booth, but his son, Sydney, and I are friends. 
Mrs. Agnes Booth and I worked in more than one play, 
and on her last appearance in Boston, in 1892, in a one- 
act sketch called "After Thoughts" which I had written 
for her and Ed Bell of the Madison Square Theatre, I 
was her leading man. Joseph Wheelock I came to know 
very well and rehearsed both him and later his son, 
Joseph Wheelock, Jr., now both dead. 

Those were the transition days in the professional 
theatre. The local stock company engaged to support 
the visiting stars was gradually making place for the 
visits of entire organizations. A local company might 
work three or four weeks with as many different stars, 
and then be laid off a week while Shook and Palmer or 
Augustin Daly came in with a full cast for some success- 
ful play from New York; or Tony Pastor brought a full 
variety company. Some stars came with one or two 
supporting actors for the second roles and filled the re- 
maining parts from the resident stock. The uncertainty 
of such a broken season quickly weakened the local com- 
panies in both ability and number, so that at times in 
St. Louis the house manager had to wire a hurry call to 
Chicago or Cincinnati or in an extremity use even some 
available amateur. 

My first professional calls were of that origin, and 
were soul-stirring occasions. I have in later years, as 
have other authors for themselves gone on in some 
New York emergency in some play of my own to replace 
Maurice Barrymore or other actor of note in a stellar 


role with less feeling of importance than I had in those 
salad days as Mr. Fawnsgaines or C. F. Loon cream- 
faced loon on the handbill, carrying a spear or serving 
a letter on a salver. After a year or so this furtive asso- 
ciation with the business put a fellow on the free list; I 
began to desert the gallery and to nod familiarly to the 
front doorkeeper as I went into the playhouse, leaving 
him to convince the visiting manager that I was entitled 
to the privilege. 

As I look back to the wonderful characterizations of 
those days by the great men and women, Booth, McCuI- 
lough, Barrett, Fechter, Davenport, Edwin Adams, Ben 
De Bar, Barry Sullivan, the elder Sothern, Salvini, Kean, 
Adelaide Neilson, Charlotte Thompson, Mrs. D. P. 
Bowers, Janauschek, and a host of others in the legiti- 
mate and romantic plays, I find that I remember vividly 
the stage position of each of them at all times throughout 
any performance. Not only was the reading of every line 
impressive; the composition of the picture and the ways 
of its acquirement were equally so. After the last days 
of the resident stock, John W. Norton, a fine actor-mana- 
ger, excellent as Othello, I ago, and Master Walter in the 
"Hunchback," and to my mind the equal of any I ever 
saw in Don Cesar de Bazan, St. Pierre, and the cloak- 
and-sword heroes, continued a kind of paper organiza- 
tion capable of quick mobilization for any chance week 
that threatened to leave a theatre dark in Louisville or 
other near-by city. Of that Norton company I became 
the juvenile lead, playing the seconds to Norton's first 
parts; and although the hurried calls were few, one or 
two only in a season, the hope for them colored and 
buoyed every day, and filled many night hours with soli- 
tary recitations of the possible roles. 


The sure-fire comic character of the stage in those 
days was German. His delineators were called Dutch 
comedians. Their prince was the gifted, magnetic, 
adored, and regretted Jo Emmett. The vaudeville or, 
as we said then, variety representative was Gus Wil- 
liams; later ones were Frank Bush and my next door 
neighbor, Clark Fogel, known on the bills as Bert Clark. 
Each of them struck twelve in a kind of " Lieber Augus- 
tine" song, broken and emphasized by a rough danct, in 
wooden shoes. The German revolution of 1 848 had filled 
America with a lovable immigrant of the Carl Schurz 
frame of mind and longing for liberty, made still more 
popular by their stalwart service as soldiers in the Union 

This type gave way in the theatre to the stage Irish- 
man, irresistible in Handy Andy blunder and volatile 
humor. The greatest Irish comedian that I ever saw, 
not excepting Mr. Boucicault, was Hugh Fay, of the old 
firm of Barry and Fay. Mr. Fay was a tall, intellectual- 
looking person with deep-set eyes and very scholarly 
gentleness and repression. Perhaps these effects were 
heightened by the contrast to his partner, Barry, who 
was a short, roly-poly, rather rough-and-tumble per- 
sonality. They made a great contrast in their several 
vehicles, especially "Muldoon's Picnic," which had been 
gradually elaborated from a vaudeville sketch to a three- 
act comedy. This play is coupled in my mind with 
"Florence's Mighty Dollar" for ability to rock its audi- 
ence with laughter until persons here and there left the 
auditorium for momentary escape from the side-ache of 
it. The Irish impersonator was applauded and undis- 
turbed until he forfeited support by his exaggerations; 
until Irish- Americans revolted at the extravagance of 

From a photograph by Strauss, St. Louis. 



green whiskers and egg-sized lumps raised on bald heads 
by cave-man shillalahs; after which the Irishman in 
turn gave way to the stage Jew. 

The most popular Jewish character actor of those days 
was M. B. Curtis, who sprang into sudden popularity 
in a drummer-salesman character called Samuel of Posen. 
This play had the same progressive history of commer- 
cial struggle that one gets glimpses of in "The Auc- 
tioneer" and "Potash and Perlmutter," which play and 
dramatization were both made by that talented Jewish 
author, the late Charles Klein, and in which respectively 
appeared David Warfield, Barney Bernard, and Alex- 
ander Carr. The rise of Curtis financially was a phe- 
nomenon of that time. The play had been done in the 
East, and when it came to St. Louis its arrival was her- 
alded by lithographs which showed Curtis as Samuel oj 
Posen mounted on a racing horse taking hurdles over 
the field. These hurdles grew in the number of bars as 
the horse progressed. Each hurdle had on it the name 
of the city, with the bars carrying the advertisement of 
the gross receipts of the play. We had often had in plays 
the Jewish character, both sinister and comic, but aside 
from the classical Jews, as Shylock and the Jew oj Malta, 
I do not recall the Jew as being a dominating character 
of a play before that. Following Samuel of Posen, there 
was an invasion of Jewish impersonations. This char- 
acter bids fair to continue his comic tenure, because his 
present exponent, engaged by a Jewish manager, is him- 
self Jewish, and has his material furnished by observant 
male and female writers of his race. 

To go back just a little farther in the period we are 
considering: The first time I ever sat in a dress circle 
without my father was when my boy pal, Charley 


Beamer, bought the tickets. The attraction was Lydia 
Thompson's "British Blondes.*' We were in the front 
row of that horseshoe as one would be to-day if on a de- 
pressed balcony. The burning, the unforgetable feature 
of that Christmas matinee was the appearance of six 
girls in tights. To-day I should know it was a bum- 
front scene with two baby spots arranged to let the car- 
penters set the stage behind. Then it was an intoxicat- 
ing illusion with calcium lights that never were on land 
or sea. Three of those robust ladies I have forgotten, 
but Lydia Thompson, Pauline Markham, and Eliza 
Weathersby I remember. 

In the matter of stage effect that sextet of substantial 
femininity in a double cross current of prismatic splen- 
dor is my lost chord. Now and then at Easthampton, 
with the motor headlight making a profiled tunnel 
through a lane of pines at 2A.M., there has been a heart- 
throb of a former incarnation that I have been able to 
connote as that Christmas matinee, but it was ephemeral, 
tantalizing, fugitive, and mocking. The perfect ecstasy 
of that holiday disclosure will never come again. Lydia 
Thompson was playing Robinson Crusoe in a ballet skirt 
and shako of snow-white goatskin, the rest of her cos- 
tume, skin-white tights of silk. 

The man Friday was the wonderful Harry Becket, 
whose picture as one of its first officers now hangs in the 
Lambs Club, New York. Friday was in brown. He 
carried a large flappy valise and a dictionary, which, at 
every moment of linguistic doubt, he threw himself on 
his stomach and consulted violently. Each coveted 
stage prop was picked up, and with a repeated "put it 
in de bag" dropped into that insatiable receptacle. 
The climax came with the arrival of the rescue ship, a 


stately frigate quite satisfying in stage perspective as it 
rode into view on the third set water cut in profile. Cru- 
soe was lyrically happy at the arrived relief; Friday stud- 
ied the distant, full-rigged boat a moment and then, 
striding by easy hurdles over the interposing waves, 
said " Put it in de bag," and did so. Is there such whole- 
some stage fun anywhere? 

It will be impressive and perhaps valuable to set the 
stage of that earlier amateur and professional environ- 
ment. Let us rapid-living, swiftly going, flying people 
of to-day try to realize that then there was not in all the 
world a telephone or electric light or trolley-car or auto- 
mobile; not even a bicycle had yet been evolved or in- 
vented. There had been the velocipede, a tandem two- 
wheel device with a saddle on which one wearing side- 
whiskers could sit in a high silk hat and other singular 
garments and propel himself by pushing along the ground 
with his feet and then lifting them for a glide of a rod or 
two; but nothing speedier or more automatic. There 
were no typewriters. The newest illumination was coal- 
gas; the quickest local communication was a longhand 
letter sent by a boy. All watches wound with a key; 
the stem-winder was not yet offered or introduced in 
our section. But goldsmiths were not idle; each proper 
shop tempted the ultra-fashionable by a tray of gold 

These fascinating implements, in a variety of decora- 
tions, some even jewelled, were composed of a thin cylin- 
der of precious metal three-quarters the length of a mod- 
ern cigarette and half the diameter, from which by 
turning the base of the tube one could cause to emerge 
a piston fitted with a thin spearhead of gold, designed 
to dislodge stubborn remnants of food from dental inter- 


vals. After such an interesting service the harpoon, on 
its disappearing gun carriage, moved into the cylinder 
again and the implement was replaced in the right-hand 
vest pocket. And for that meal, as they say in diplo- 
macy, the incident was closed. 

Occasionally a young man in some older and more 
established family inherited one of these toilet acces- 

At the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876 
the Bell telephone was regarded as a toy. Visitors per- 
mitted to listen to the voice of a friend speaking from 
the next room examined the legs of the table to find the 
tube which they were sure Mr. Bell had concealed to 
convey the sound. The first arc light in St. Louis was 
a few years later. This was a spitting and sparking 
and blinding globe suspended outside of a Budweiser 
beer bottler's on Sixth Street near Locust, and pedes- 
trians were astonished at the magic silhouettes of them- 
selves that it cast on the pavement. Street-car parties 
were organized like the rubberneck auto deputations of 
to-day to ride down-town and view this wonder. In- 
candescent lamps came later still. 

All that was but five and forty years ago. Statesmen, 
ministers of the gospel, bankers, and boys all wore boots, 
the leather legs of which reached halfway to the knees, 
either under or outside the trousers. Lincoln, Johnson, 
Grant, Hayes, and Oom Paul were inaugurated in such 
gun-cases. Before sending trousers home, the tailor or 
merchant of the ready-made faithfully obligated himself 
to press out the creases down the front now regarded as 
so desirable by the well-dressed. The well-to-do river- 
men, the romantic survivals from the Jack Hamlin 
period of Bret Harte, had soft-bosom shirts with wide 


plaits fastened by gold or jewelled buttons held in a set 
by a threadlike chain of gold, festooning from stud to 
stud outside the shirt-bosom. The average man, how- 
ever, had his shirt buttoning down the back to permit 
an unbroken expanse of impenetrable front, garnished 
by one large diamond mounted on a substantial crown 
of gold, and anchored to this linoleum breastplate by a 
tight-wormed spiral of the same metal. Tom Nast's old 
cartoons of Bill Tweed show that Tammany chieftain 
wearing one of these sparklers. Hotel clerks and negro 
minstrels competed and specialized in this single shirt- 
stud adornment. That the fashion had some intellectual 
approval is indicated by a comment of Colonel Robert 
IngersoII when in 1880 our city went Republican while 
the State had gone Democratic. 

He said, "St. Louis is a diamond stud on a dirty shirt." 
Let me make now one inclusive declaration of inde- 
pendence in belief. I wish to write through these 
memoirs now and then of spiritism, clairvoyance, telep- 
athy, and other psychic phenomena; and in order to 
forestall any apprehension on the part of those at all 
gun-shy on these subjects, to say that I am not a spiritist, 
although possessed of a very avid curiosity on all that 
authoritatively relates to spiritism. I am not a hypno- 
tist, but am intensely interested in the phenomena of 
hypnotism. I have no second sight, no clairvoyance, no 
abnormal or supernormal powers of any nature; and yet 
I think that perhaps more than the average man I have 
been in contact with soi-disant possessors of such powers. 
My father was one of the sanest and best-balanced 
men I ever saw. He had had many chances to observe 
the table tippings, rappings, levitations, and the like of 
spiritists. He was reluctant to characterize all of it as 

fraud and equally unwilling to accept it as any demon- 
stration from the so-called dead. The most experienced 
investigator of this class of phenomena that I personally 
know, outside of those actively interested in the work for 
psychical-research societies, is my present friend, Ham- 
lin Garland. Mr. Garland conducted a series of investi- 
gations some years ago for Everybody's Magazine, and 
wrote one book upon the subject, masquerading as a 
novel, under the title of "The Tyranny of the Dark." 
Garland has seen and experimented with the so-called 
materializations of spiritism. If I remember rightly, he 
thinks the power may be but an undeveloped psychical 
attribute of the race; that the so-called materializations 
are psychically induced emanations from the operator's 
own body, and that it is all a part of what we might call 
unexplored biology. 

Between the years of my father's cautious dictum 
and the equally conservative conclusions of Mr. Garland 
I have read publications of the psychical-research socie- 
ties of both England and America, talked extensively 
with the late Doctor Hyslop, and had been asked by him 
to write of some personal observations. That I never 
did so was due to a congenital disposition to procrasti- 
nate. My mother shared my father's agnostic attitude, 
although surrounded by an atmosphere of the belief. 
My dear old grandmother, of whom I have written some- 
what playfully but with great reverence, had no doubts 
on the subject. As a young woman she had been rebuked 
for her opinions by her friend, Archbishop Purcell, who 
took the safe and wholesome attitude of the Catholic 
Church that the whole subject was an excellent thing 
for the simple layman to avoid. Personally, grandmother 
overrode this advice; she firmly believed that she was 


in communication with a spirit world. This was not an 
obtrusive or offensive or disquieting position with her, 
because she seldom talked of it. But there were occa- 
sions at home, some half-dozen notable instances, when, 
with sickness somewhere in the brood of children and 
the puzzled doctors in conference disagreeing, the old 
lady had not hesitated to give a definitive diagnosis of 
the trouble and prescribe a remedy. This she did with 
all the solemnity of a traditional oracle, quietly seated 
in her chair, but with none of the described theatricality 
of the cult except that she closed her eyes. 

On those remembered occasions there are no data for 
verifying her diagnoses; but her recommended remedies 
were completely curative, and although these were re- 
sorted to as a rule without my father's consent, and some- 
times against his opposition, their unbroken record of 
successes gradually won his silence and apparently his 
respect. This therapeutic assumption of grandmother's 
was her only spiritistic claim. She had no visions or pre- 
tended auditions; she told no fortunes; she attended no 
church or circle of spiritists; nor had she with their pro- 
fessed believers any relations whatever of which I ever 
knew. Years after the last of A. W.'s letters she an- 
nounced one day that he was dead. To use her own 
words, she "just received a feeling of it." We had then 
no acceptable way to verify her conviction. On my last 
visit to St. Louis during her life, when in her eighty- 
fourth year, she was but a shadow of the substantial and 
militant grandmother of the Civil War period, she held 
my hands as I bade her good-by for my return trip to 
New York, and she talked of her approaching departure 
to another world with the serenity of Socrates. 

I know how one's prudent friends advise against any 


discrediting admissions of this kind. Our greatest men 
are not free from fear of the ridicule it risks. Colonel 
Henry Watterson once told me that, taking Joseph Jef- 
ferson to a dinner in Washington City which he was giv- 
ing to John G. Carlisle, then Speaker of the House, and 
Chief Justice Fuller of the Supreme Court, and knowing 
as he did Jefferson's predilection for all things spiritistic, 
he had felt it wise to caution Joe against showing that 
side of his credulity in the company that evening. He 
had explained that Carlisle was a hard-headed lawyer, 
trained in the presentation of evidence and not given to 
any vagaries unsupported by material testimony; and 
Chief Justice Fuller, of the Supreme Court of the United 
States, was eminently of the type of mind that his posi- 
tion required, and that any spiritistic statements would 
probably be prejudicial. 

The dinner had hardly started; the rain outside in- 
duced a serious atmosphere. Something was said that 
made an easy approach to the subject, when Carlisle 
himself introduced the question of spiritism, supporting 
it by a most extravagant story of his own experience. 
When Carlisle finished, Chief Justice Fuller followed 
with something from his recollections that topped the 
Carlisle story. 

Colonel Watterson relates, " I then threw up my hands 
and said, 'Joe, the bars are down/ ' 

On the day that I was dictating my recollections of 
this story, in September, 1921, I had a telephone com- 
munication from a mutual friend telling me that Colonel 
Watterson was confined to his room with a slight attack 
of bronchitis in the Prince George Hotel in New York. 
I went to see him. Our friendship has existed since 1888. 
I am happy to say that I found Colonel Watterson's 


confinement to his room more cautionary than impera- 
tive. In our rambling talk I reverted to this story of 
Jefferson, and Colonel Watterson verified my recollec- 
tions of it. 

I told him that I was writing it in a contribution to a 
paper, and said, "Why wasn't that in your own fine 

He said: "There was so much to tell that most of that 
kind of stuff was crowded out; and besides, my dignity 
sat on my pen." 

Perhaps by this implication, stimulating or restrain- 
ing, according to one's interpretation, dignity should 
drag a little here. But I feel the need, which Colonel 
Watterson did not have, of laying a foundation for some 
fuller expressions on the subject later on, all of them 
relating to experiences that culminated as far as I be- 
lieved the theatre then permitted an intelligent sum- 
mary in my play "The Witching Hour." Besides, a 
very wise counsellor once said: "We should be generous 
even of our dignity." And so, with what I hope was a 
cautious approach to the subject, and this explanation 
serving as a rear-guard, I leave my psychical preparations 
temporarily between them. 

My interest and practice in drawing were advanced 
by some experience nearly every day. Almost mechani- 
cally I filled the margins of car reports and chance news- 
papers with pencil sketches. During some winter nights, 
as late as two or three in the morning, huddled in the 
switch shanty in the railroad yard, waiting for the 
double-decked hog trains that were arriving at half- 
hour intervals, we used to get fun out of chalk or char- 
coal caricatures of some member of the crew, drawn on 
the walls of the dismantled box-car that served as our 


refuge. Now and then a switchman of undeveloped 
taste would intrust to me a photograph to be enlarged 
in crayon. 

It may be because we young men were so much in the 
midst of it that I got the idea that there was a consider- 
able art interest in St. Louis at that period. Pictures of 
three painters whose reputations led and which in later 
years I had a chance to see again bear out the estimate 
in which they then were held. James M. Tracy, a 
painter of landscapes and animals, came afterward to 
New York, and made a considerable stir with his pic- 
tures of hunting dogs in the field. There was a time when 
the important magazines were glad to reproduce these 
canvases. J. R. Meeker, a man of heroic mould physi- 
cally, had made a study of Southern landscape with its 
hazy atmosphere, hanging moss, and brooding cranes. 
Few men before or since have been so able to get the 
spirit of the hazy regions of Pontchartrain. W. S. Mar- 
pie handled landscape bits with the affection and delicacy 
if not the superlative skill that mark the gentlewomen 
that our present Thomas Dewing paints. About these 
three men were a score of lesser popularity, with here 
and there in the number men of equal craftsmanship. 
Carl Gutherz was a Munich graduate, as was also Paul 

At the Washington University there was a completely 
equipped and well-organized art school, founded by that 
administrator of international fame, Professor Halsey C. 
Ives, who later directed the art exhibit of the World's 
Fair in Chicago. In one of the university departments 
was the usual life class, and for the benefit of young men 
who were obliged to work in the day some of the sessions 
were held at night. In North St. Louis a little nucleus 


met in the rooms of the brothers, George and Edward 
Snell. A third companion there was the late Sylvester 
Rawling, who subsequently became an important mem- 
ber of the editorial staff of the New York World and an 
authority upon music. 

Four or five of us used to come together once or twice 
a week immediately after supper at George Snell's rooms, 
and start for our walk of two miles to the Washington 
University for the night class, and when that was over 
foot it home. We came back through the streets of sleep- 
ing and shuttered houses toward midnight, laughing and 
singing, as we knew from the stories of our elders the 
students laughed and sang in the Latin Quarter. 

Gutherz, one of the teachers in the life class, was a 
master draftsman. Howard Kretchmar, the sculptor, 
lectured on the skeleton and the muscular structures, 
and made them vastly interesting. I recall the astonish- 
ment with which I learned that a piece of sculpture in 
the making was built up and not chiselled out of some 
solid mass. This fact, so familiar to us older ones, now 
comes as a helpful surprise to most beginners in art. I 
recently saw a friend's wife who has considerable talent 
for modelling struggling to obtain a form by cutting clay 
from a sufficiently inclusive mass. She is a lady of thirty- 
two and fair general information, yet she came with as- 
tonishment to know that the sculptor in making a draped 
figure sets up first the frame that somewhat simulates 
the skeleton, and adds a sufficient outline to approximate 
a nude before he puts over the final drapery. 

About that time, encouraged by the three old artists 
first mentioned, we organized a sketch club in St. Louis 
with some thirty active members. I have been in many 
organizations since then, from labor-unions to academies; 


but none for sheer good fun, for emulation, for real 
progress, for general education, and for generosity has 
equalled that old St. Louis Sketch Club. We met twice 
a month, each member bringing in a sketch upon a sub- 
ject announced at the preceding meeting. The host of 
the night obligated himself to furnish some sandwiches 
and a keg of beer, and became the owner of the sketches. 

The principal art firm of the city gave us a rear gal- 
lery in which to have our fortnightly gathering, where 
the sketches were tacked up on the wall or placed upon 
proper pedestals, seriously discussed by all, constructively 
criticised by the men competent to judge them, and al- 
ways applauded when at all deserving. When we had 
talked ourselves out about the exhibition, sandwiches 
were opened up, the beer keg was tapped. Kretchmar, 
Meeker, or some other positive personality presided, 
with the beer mallet as a gavel, and there was such im- 
promptu entertainment as the vivacious spirits of our 
little artistic membership could give. The next day our 
commercial house had the place cleaned up; the art men 
on the local newspapers came in and wrote helpfully of 
the exhibition and for a week following it was open to 
the public. 

The entertaining character of our meetings gradually 
drew privileged citizens, and after a while it was our 
custom to have as special guests, who came in after the 
play was over, visiting actors of distinction. I made at 
such meetings my first acquaintance with Robson, Crane, 
Raymond, Wyndham, Florence, and other men. On her 
first visit to St. Louis, when she brought with her own 
art works, her little canvases and bronzes, the reception 
to Sarah Bernhardt was under our auspices, and her 
works were exhibited in connection with our own. We 


had a special meeting in the afternnon for the divine 
Sarah. She stood in the salon of our little club to receive 
three or four hundred honored with invitations. I re- 
member her little flat but jaunty and beplumed hat of 
that period, set high on her shapely head, and her tight- 
fitting gown of purple velvet, more like a riding-habit 
than any other style that would in a word describe it. 

Local interest in this little organization grew. Philan- 
thropic and discriminating men picked from our mem- 
bership the boys they thought capable of a career. 
George Snell went as the protege of a syndicate to Paris. 
A year or two later RuckstuII followed. About the same 
time Will H. Howe, the eminent cattle-painter, who now 
lives at Bronxville, where he may show his three medals 
that make him hors concours in the National Salon of 
France, and who wears in his lapel the red ribbon of the 
Legion of Honor, was another. 

George Snell and Rawlings both are gone; a younger 
brother, Henry Bayley Snell, with medals from Phila- 
delphia and Paris, the Buffalo and St. Louis expositions, 
and from Panama, is now president of the New York 
Water Color Club. One distinguished patron of art 
and an honorary member of this sketch club was Mr. 
John P. Colby, father of Bainbridge Colby, Secretary of 
State during the last year of the Wilson Administration. 
When our little gang in St. Louis said good-by to George 
Snell the night before he started for Paris, with a real 
sense of loss and more emotion in the Godspeed than 
one finds anywhere outside of a college commencement 
break-up, the parting ceremony was at John Colby's 
beautiful home, with the future cabinet officer and his 
younger sister tucked safely away in their beds. 

These gentlemen who financed the Paris studies of 


some of these boys made me a similar offer, but affairs 
at home were not in a condition that permitted my leav- 
ing. I had had some training for the disappointment 
three years before, when, after a competitive examina- 
tion, and by the help of the local Methodist minister, 
who upon grandmother's appeal tutored and brushed me 
up for the contest, I had won an appointment to West 
Point. This had been declined for the same domestic 
reasons. I write of both seeming deprivations to record 
an unmanly self-pity, although I hope I didn't openly 
confess it at the time. 

There were no appointed Spartan preceptors in the 
railroad yard to teach us to be calm above the aggression 
of our hidden foxes, but there were stoical traditions. In 
those days we used to injure in some degree or other an 
average of a man a month, and it was the sporty thing, 
with a foot that had just been mashed in a frog or a hand 
that had been caught between the bumpers, to sit tight, 
and while admitting it was tough luck to smile as gamely 
as one could. A sturdy freight conductor, Alex Beecher, 
with both legs run over and crushed at a siding some 
fifty miles out, had rallied his demoralized crew, made 
tourniquets of a couple of belts to stop the hemorrhage, 
cut out all but his engine and caboose, telegraphed for 
a clear track, sent a call to the St. Louis surgeons, and 
when he pulled into the terminal to meet the ambulance 
was sitting stoutly upright in his rude bunk calculating 
his run. Heroic examples of that kind shamed the spirit 
that could repine even to oneself over a disappointed 
dream. But art and Paris could not have had for me 
the varied experience that a catch-as-catch-can grapple 
with the world enforced for the work I was ultimately so 
glad to do. 


I referred in the last chapter to the number of men 
injured in the railroad yards before mechanical protec- 
tions had been invented. The absence of safety devices 
on the crude railroads of that day that made possible 
these frequent physical accidents, the keenness of the 
railroads to get the injured men to sign waivers of 
damages or to take mere settlement of surgical and hos- 
pital fees were among the many things of which the men 
complained. They had just passed through a period of 
payment by scrip; that is to say, paper promises by the 
railroad instead of the paper currency of the United 
States. This company scrip was discounted at the neigh- 
borhood groceries, which further reduced the compensa- 
tion of the men. Discontent was not local but nation- 

Terence V. Powderly, the labor leader, visited each 
section of the industry and organized assemblies of the 
Knights of Labor. I was not yet of age, but men in the 
freight-yard closed their eyes to my disqualification. I 
became a member of the Missouri Assembly No. 9 and 
a subscriber to its oath. This assembly had about two 
hundred members recruited from the trainmen and the 
freight platforms. 

Their attempts at conducting business in parliamen- 
tary fashion were frequently confused, and after I had 
been called upon a number of times because of my page- 



boy information to decide some point, one of those prac- 
tical foremen whose object was not office or decoration, 
but to get the work done, said: "Why do we waste time 
asking this kid what to do when we know that if we put 
him into the chair we can get through with our business 
and get home to bed?" 

There was no dissent even from the incumbent officer, 
and with no outspoken opposition I was elected to the 
place of master workman. As a man, according to the 
laws of the organization, had to be twenty-one years of 
age, and I was two years shy of that, it is probably a 
fair assumption that I was the youngest master workman 
in the order. I went through a protracted local strike 
at that time with our men, and sat in councils that de- 
cided rather fateful questions. 

In any secret organization an oath with the accom- 
panying ceremonies and surrounding paraphernalia is an 
impressing thing. Although not a joiner, I have seen 
two or three kinds of initiation; but never an equal so- 
lemnity to that of those men, who felt they were uniting 
in a life-or-death class struggle. 

At that time it was not the avowed policy of organized 
labor to keep clear of politics. I think the leaders among 
them felt that to influence legislation was the way out 
of their difficulties. At any rate, in my twentieth year 
the Labor Party of St. Louis determined to make an 
organized protest, and although moving to an unques- 
tionable and thoroughly foreseen defeat in the elections, 
they decided upon the count of noses. In that forlorn 
hope, as an ineligible candidate for clerk of the circuit 
court, I made my first out-of-door, cart-tail speeches. 
The atmosphere was pretty thoroughly surcharged. The 
great railroad strike had swept the country. In Pitts- 


burgh the strikers had been victorious over the local 
militia. They had driven the Philadelphia Grays into 
a roundhouse upon which they trained their captured 
cannon, and into which they ran a car of burning oil. 
The Grays were many of them trampled to death. Mil- 
lions of dollars' worth of property was destroyed, and 
order was restored only when General Phil Sheridan, 
with United States troops, took charge of the situation. 

John Scott, the first Earl of Eldon, Lord Chancellor 
of England in 1821, is quoted as saying, when he was 
eighty years of age, and protesting against the rapid 
disposition of anybody in the possession of three acres 
and a cow to become conservative, "If I were to begin 
life again, I am damned but I would begin as agitator." 
I had not read Lord Eldon, but I began as agitator. 

Through all this perilous time I had at my elbow my 
dear old father, wise in political and military fashion; 
and it may be that much of our organized activity was 
tempered by thoughtful things I was able to say to my 
men and of which father had in serious discussions in- 
formed me. 

We talk now of persisting forces that work at the foun- 
dation of our civilization either for its upbuilding and 
its support or its renovation or its decline; it is proper 
to be briefly serious concerning them. Associated as I 
was with men who were working with their hands and 
were constantly risking their lives, I have no apology 
for a sympathetic alignment with them in what was de- 
cided class feeling. In my immature and impulsive 
measurement of the field it seemed that money was heart- 
lessly exploiting the people. My father didn't believe 
that to be so desperately the case. Working as a printer 
at that time, he joined an assembly of Knights of Labor 


with whom the printers were affiliated; then had a trans- 
fer card to the lodge over which I presided. I took this 
to be a paternal desire to augment our roll. But since 
then I have had a boy of my own, and I know it was the 
supervision of an affectionate parent who felt that he 
must move somewhat cautiously to influence a rather 
impulsive son. 

Somewhere in his reading father had picked up the 
statement that when Arkwright invented the spinning- 
jenny there had been six thousand hand spinners in Eng- 
land, and that fifty years after the machinery was in 
fair operation the man-power of the machines represented 
the work of six hundred million spinners. He had a state- 
ment, probably gathered from the same source, or one 
similar, that when the hand spinners were undisturbed 
in their work the land of England had been under two 
hundred and fifty thousand separate owners; that after 
machinery had been in use fifty years the land of Eng- 
land had been concentrated into the possession of thirty- 
two thousand individual and corporate ownerships. I 
wasn't able to make any profound deduction from these 
two facts, but I remember my father saying to me: 

"Suppose we both were hand spinners competing, and 
that I suddenly came into the possession of a machine 
that could do the work of two hundred and fifty men, 
where would you be? Suppose I made money enough 
to buy a second machine, and I had five hundred man- 
power to oppose against the output of your two hands." 

Somehow he felt that the dominance of the machine 
was a factor in its present status that threatened civili- 
zation. He wasn't sufficiently Chinese to wish to destroy 
the machine, nor was he statesman enough or political 
economist enough to know the proper answer; perhaps 


there isn't anybody at Washington or Westminster that 
can give it now; but he thought he saw a gleam of 
promise in an income tax that could be wisely used. I 
had a groping apprehension of what he was trying to 
work out, and in my cart-tail speeches advocated an in- 
come tax. 

I talked it in every political campaign thereafter to 
which I was admitted or tolerated. America could not 
have played her part in the recent World War without 
an income tax which enabled her to take excess profits. 

To jump ahead chronologically, I remember meeting 
Mr. Charles Schwab in the foyer of a theatre when at 
his wife's solicitation he was taking a half-day off from 
his strenuous work in the war. 

With the utmost cheerfulness, he said to me, apropos 
of the government assessments, "I have to make one 
hundred dollars for every eleven I want to use for my- 

There was no color of complaint in this, but rather a 
pride in the resourcefulness of his country. But leaving 
the question of income tax aside, I wonder now if the 
insensate machine, still encroaching where it has not yet 
subdued, isn't largely responsible for part of the inter- 
national industrial mess. I wonder if our trouble is alto- 
gether a friction between capital and labor a matter 
only of production and markets; or if there is not more 
obliquely and obscurely some trouble still in that old 
menace that my father thought he sighted. 

One clause at that time in the constitution of the 
Knights of Labor provided that no lawyer should be a 
member of the order. The constitution was an emana- 
tion of Mr. Powderly's council, and I shall leave to him 
or others equally wise the reason for this precaution. 


But by the automatic action of that clause, when I en- 
tered the law office of John Colby to study law I had 
my Washington's Farewell to that assembly. 

John Peck Colby was born in Nunda, New York. He 
was the son of Luke Colby, a Baptist clergyman, promi- 
nent in educational movements of the day and identified 
with several institutes of learning which had their origin 
at that time. 

Young John, enlisting in the Union Army in the Civil 
War, attained the rank of captain. At the close of the 
war he married an Elmira girl, Frances Bainbridge, re- 
lated to Commodore Bainbridge, of Mediterranean fame, 
and became instructor of Latin and Greek in the local 
academy. After he was admitted to the bar he came 
to St. Louis with his bride to establish a home. 

My acquaintance with him had begun, as I have said 
before, in the circle of artists and his first interest in me 
had been along those lines. At that time his son, Bain- 
bridge, was not quite ten years of age; his little daughter, 
Lisle, was younger. Mrs. Frances Bainbridge Colby's 
father also was a clergyman the Reverend Doctor Bain- 
bridge, then of Elmira. 

As John used to say, "It was seldom that one saw such 
eminent piety concentrated in one family." 

In the law office I found the books unattractive, but 
I read Blackstone's "Commentaries," "Parsons on Con- 
tracts," and the other ponderous furniture of that sombre 

If, after my grandmother and my own parents, I 
named the most definite personal influence I had known, 
I should say it was probably that of Mr. John Colby. 
With the habit of his scholarly precision, he was very 
much more interested in the style of anything I had to 


compose in or out of business hours than he was in its 
legal accuracy. In both art and letters he was a patient 
advocate of standards, and he had a sensibility natural 
and cultivated that made him aware of any influence 
having a tendency to depress them. He had a love of 
simple Anglo-Saxon and a sense of fitness in its use or 
propriety in its elaboration. His reading was wide and 
selectively renewed, and he had that capacity for quick 
association or analogy that the psychologists note as a 
prime element of genius. In writing of his influence upon 
me I feel that I may claim as an effect of it only an "at- 
tention" on my part, and not a "forward march." 

His son, Bainbridge, was a sturdy boy with a well- 
balanced interest in books and play, and in the first days 
of our association intensely interested in my railroad 
activities and his occasional chance thereby to get among 
the cars and locomotives. A characteristic quality of 
the boy was his interest in affairs and his capacity for 
sustained attention. The shipping cards on the side 
doors of the cars indicating destinations and contents 
interested him. He had to know the reasons for these 
supplies going to certain places; the original shipping 
points of their production; the interrelation of the sec- 
tions of the country; and he took such information as I 
was able to give and made such pat application of it and 
such thoughtful associations of its parts that it was a 
source of constant astonishment to me. His father, who 
was a wise educator, had in the library of their home a 
large-sized terrestrial globe, so that the children had no 
distorted ideas of the relative extents of the different 
countries such as most of us get in school from the inade- 
quate systems of maps. Another characteristic of the 
boy was in the kind of questions he used to put to his 


father. I remember Colby, Sr., showing a good-natured 
generalization of these attacks by replying to the first 
of an expected bunch of volleyed questions by a prompt 
resort to the established stencil. 

He said, "The gentleman of whom you ask is in the 
woodenware and cooperage business; he makes barrels 
and buckets; he sends them to all sections of the coun- 
try; he is at the head of a very reputable firm; I think 
they do a large business." And the father finished with 
a hearty laugh at the boy's reception of this short circuit 
on his intent. 

All that delicate culture could give to him Bainbridge 
was getting from that household and its atmosphere; 
personally I was anxious to make him familiar with the 
rougher edges of life. My attempts at this often ran 
counter to the family's ideas. The Fourth of July was 
not then safe or sane, but their careful mother kept ex- 
plosives from the Colby children. There can never be 
any world conflagration in which Bainbridge Colby, 
however active politically, will create such a sensation 
as he did on our first Fourth together when we came 
back from the corner grocery, young Bainbridge astride 
of my shoulders and holding in each hand, by the tail 
of its plaited fuses, a package of exploding firecrackers, 
which of course very safely released themselves from 
the string before they fell and went off at our feet. 

At that time in Kansas City there were two girls to 
whom George Snell and I used to write from St. Louis. 
One Sunday we planned a visit to them, and by some 
relaxation of the rules I had persuaded the Colby parents 
to let us take Bainbridge along. He was then a kid of 
ten, and roughed it quite manfully with us overnight in 
the chair car. The nearest station to our destination in 


Kansas City was a stop that as we neared it we learned 
had, for our train, been cut out; but we felt that we 
would not go by at a speed that would prevent our 
getting off. Snell took his place on the steps of the car 
in front of us; we Bainbridge and I were on the plat- 
form immediately after. Following instructions, he had 
his arms wrapped around my neck and his legs around 
my waist I had a waist in those days. I dropped on to 
the platform all right with the boy in the greatest glee; 
but the speed was too fast for Snell, who prudently stuck 
to the train as he blew us a kiss and went a mile farther 
on. My excuse for this foolhardy act is that I was as 
ignorant as Caesar's boatman of the freight I carried. 
Bainbridge's recital of this experience didn't make the 
hit at home we had looked for. 

My father had taught me boxing while he sat on a 
chair. I began in like manner to teach young Bainbridge 
the art. This was as contrary to the church precepts 
ruling that house as can be imagined; but at irregular 
intervals we persisted. When Bainbridge at sixteen left 
for his freshman year at college he had pretty well out- 
grown his tutor. I don't remember whether reports 
were satisfactory as to studies, but on the freshman field- 
day my pupil with soft gloves knocked out two men. 
I have seen him since in legal and political contests, and 
have had no difficulty in persuading myself that the 
stamina there invariably shown had in it some element 
of our earlier work together. In 1916, when Mr. Roose- 
velt tried to lead the Progressive Party back into the 
Republican fold, it was the fighter Colby who resisted 
that unattractive persuasion; and in the ensuing cam- 
paign, when Colby, as the principal unterrified Progres- 
sive, canvassed the West for Wilson, I think the three 


deciding votes from California were more a response to 
the pugilistic antecedents of the oratory than to any 
theological recollection. Also in the smoothly lucid and 
unmistakable diction of his diplomatic communications 
I thought there was the firmness of the lad who knew 
how to keep his balance and to put up his hands. 

Colby, Sr., was very sympathetic with my scattering 
interests, and especially with my play-writing ambitions. 
Before I went into his office, and as a sequence to my 
experience in our North St. Louis dramatic club, I joined 
the larger McCuIIough Club. This organization of ama- 
teurs, while resembling the present Comedy Club of 
New York and the Mask and Wig of Philadelphia, had 
certain distinctive features that are worth considering. 
The old McCuIIough Club had about five hundred mem- 
bers, of which fifty or more were on the active list. Each 
member paid ten dollars a winter, and for that received 
two admissions to each of the five performances in a 
season. The plays for these were carefully chosen, and 
were as thoroughly rehearsed as amateurs can rehearse, 
taking two or three nights a week for a month. A regular 
theatre was rented for the single performance. The 
mechanical force back of the curtain was of professional 
hands from the regular houses. 

Shortly after joining the club, because of my semi- 
professional and considerable amateur experience, too, I 
became the stage-manager of the organization. Any one 
who has sympathized with my allusions to financial em- 
barrassment hitherto will feel a sense of relief at learning 
that I received fifty dollars a performance for rehearsing 
and presenting each play. As this work was done out- 
side the hours of other employment, it was what was 
then and may still be called velvet. 


A number of actors who achieved fair prominence, 
though not stellar distinction, were graduated from that 
club. William Beaumont Smith, son of General A. J. 
Smith, of Vicksburg and Red River fame, was one of our 
members. He later went on the professional stage and 
was for many years a popular leading man. Guy Linds- 
ley, who has been Mr. Robert Mantell's leading man, was 
another McCuIIough Club boy; Mr. Edgar Smith, for 
many years librettist for Weber and Fields, and now 
still successful as dramatic author, was another; the late 
W. G. Smythe, who was the first manager for William 
Collier, and thereafter for many years, up to the date 
of his death in September, 1921, the booking manager 
for the Belasco attractions, was a McCuIIough Club actor; 
A. G. Robyn, the composer, had his first musical work 
presented by members of this company. 

In those days there was an old play called "Mrs. Wal- 
dron's Bachelors," a fifteen-cent book available to any 
amateur and without copyright. From it Mr. Joseph 
Bradford had made the play called "Our Bachelors," in 
which Robson and Crane were starring. There is an 
anecdote of this author, Joseph Bradford, who was a 
very able Boston journalist, that should not be lost. 
There will be no better place for it than this. 

Bradford, who wrote of and for the theatre, had a 
wish to play, and when Adelaide Neilson came to that 
city in repertoire the management arranged for Brad- 
ford to go on in the small part of Paris in "Romeo and 
Juliet." In the abridged version his only appearance 
was as the bereaved bridegroom at the tomb of Juliet, 
where he encounters Romeo forcing the door to the vault. 
Romeo, interfered with, kills Paris, who falls and speaks 
the line, "O, I am slain!" 


Bradford was so occupied with the technic of being 
stabbed and falling that he forgot his line. He not only 
forgot to speak it, but he forgot what it was, until some 
minutes later, when Romeo has taken the poison and is 
dead, and Juliet, kneeling over his body, is bewailing 

At this point the interested audience was astonished 
to see the corpse of Paris rise to its elbow and, as if re- 
senting the sympathy that was being showered upon the 
unhappy Juliet, exclaim, "O, I am slain!" 

The house, which had utterly forgotten the unimpor- 
tant man up stage, burst into a chorus of laughter which 
brought down the curtain on the unhappy Adelaide. 

When the McCuIIough Club announced "Mrs. Wal- 
dron's Bachelors'* the attorneys for the Robson and 
Crane enterprise endeavored to enjoin the performance 
legally, but the amateurs won out. Another attempted 
injunction was when the club put on " Esmeralda," by 
Mrs. Burnett and William Gillette. This they had re- 
hearsed from the published text of the play in the Cen- 
tury Magazine. Our present copyright law was not in 
existence then. Legal action taken to protect a play was 
based upon property right under the common law, but 
the courts were reluctant to say that plays printed in 
magazines had not been printed subject to any use that 
any buyer might care to make of them. In both of these 
unauthorized performances I had the leading part. 

"Esmeralda" was played by the club only a few weeks 
before the regular Madison Square Company came to 
St. Louis with the drama. One of the local papers, the 
Spectator, in criticising the professional company, said 
that the performance of old man Rogers by Mr. John E. 
Owens had not been so good as that of the same part by 


Mr. Thomas of the amateurs. John E. Owens, the fa- 
mous Solon Shingle, was one of the foremost comedians 
of the country, and this treatment of him was not to be 
tolerated by the management. A controversy ensued 
which lasted while the company was there, and was then 
forgotten. I rather egotistically make a note of it be- 
cause years later it was the basis of a pretty act of gen- 
erosity on the part of Mr. Owens. 

A moving spirit in the McCuIIough Club in its or- 
ganization, its management, and in its active expression 
was Wayman McCreery, now dead. I am sure that 
ten thousand of his surviving contemporaries in the city 
of St. Louis will remember Wayman McCreery. Few 
men are so physically and intellectually equipped as he 
was. There was nothing that an athlete could do with 
his body that in a notable degree Wayman McCreery 
could not do. He was boxer, wrestler, fencer, runner, 
and swimmer, and all-round athlete. In addition to these 
he was a graceful step dancer. Intellectually he was 
equipped with a college training and had an interest in 
everything that interested the intelligent people of his 
day. He sang well enough to be a leading tenor in a 
fashionable choir. He wrote music of good quality. He 
was the author of the opera "L'Afrique," which was 
first done by amateurs in St. Louis and subsequently 
produced in New York, although with not very great 
success, by Jesse Williams. McCreery will be remem- 
bered by the sporting world as the inventor of the three- 
cushion game of billiards, of which he was at one time 
the national champion. As Hugh Chalcot in Robertson's 
comedy "Ours" it would have taken a professional to 
equal him. Another part of McCreery 's was Captain 
Hawtree in "Caste," by the same author. 


The Colby children, like all youngsters, were attracted 
by such knowledge of the world behind the curtain as 
our home talk developed and as an occasional peep be- 
hind scenes would emphasize. As is commonly the case 
also, the little girl's interest was the greater. One day 
she brought to me a copy of St. Nicholas with Mrs. Bur- 
nett's story of "Editha's Burglar." 

"Don't you think," she asked, "that would make a 
pretty play?" 

With the addition of the dramatic element by having 
the burglar be the child's father, it did make a pretty 
play, the first of mine to be done professionally and to 
be produced in New York. 

Theatricals, amateur and semiprofessional, gradually 
claimed more and more attention, so that when I finally 
told Mr. Colby that I thought the cast in the law-books 
was too short, that nothing could be done with John 
Doe and Richard Roe, and that the love interest was 
entirely lacking, he made no objection to my accepting 
the offer of Mr. Charles R. Pope to go into the box-office 
of his new theatre. 

Charles R. Pope had been a partner with Mr. Charles 
Spalding in the ownership of the old Olympic. The men 
had separated for some reason, and Mr. Pope had built 
Pope's Theatre on the site of the late Century Theatre 
in St. Louis. Pope's Theatre was rather economically 
constructed by making a playhouse out of a church that 
stood there. Mr. Pope was without capital; he financed 
his enterprise by the issuance of a number of subscribers' 
tickets which admitted the holders to two performances 
a week at a reduced rate. These tickets were not un- 
like the old-time commutation tickets on a railroad, with 
margins of serial numbers to be punched as the tickets 


were used. Visiting companies objected to this bargain- 
counter finance, and these tickets were the occasion of 
endless trouble. 

Before managing the Olympic with Spalding, Charles 
Pope had been a tragedian of considerable prominence, 
especially in the West. He was a man of heroic figure, 
stentorian voice, and a method plainly founded on Edwin 
Forrest's. At both the Olympic and Pope's Theatre he 
continued to appear when the opportunity offered or the 
emergency required. His wife was Margaret Macauley, 
a member of the well-known Kentucky family of that 
name. Her brother, Daniel Macauley, the senior of the 
family, had been a general in the Union Army and won 
distinction. A second brother, Barney Macauley, was 
one of the foremost actors of his day. A still younger 
brother was John, who ultimately became the sole owner 
of Macauley's Theatre in Louisville, in which all the 
brothers had been jointly interested. 

Mr. Pope's financial troubles in St. Louis were not 
confined to the commutation reductions which he was 
occasionally required to make up, and the men in his 
box-office had an intimate acquaintance with the amus- 
ing financial finesse then customary in theatrical circles. 
Then, as now, among bills paid by the resident manager 
were those of the bill-poster. Our St. Louis bill-poster 
was a rough, truculent, good-hearted person named Cot- 
trell, who might have stepped out of that group of pirates 
in "Treasure Island" as far as his appearance was con- 
cerned, and very often Pope wished he would go back. 
Besides his bristling mustache and black beard, he had 
a gin-and-fog voice that would have frightened any nur- 
sery. It was the duty of us men at the window, when 
we saw Cottrell coming to collect his bills, to flag the 


owner, who would then flatten himself against the inner 
wall and stay out of sight. 

On one occasion, however, Cottrell was too quick for 
the manoeuvre, and caught Mr. Pope on an early after- 
noon when as we knew there was no money in the 
bank, none in the box-office, and no prospect for the eve- 
ning. Cottrell wanted his bill. Pope's histrionic train- 
ing stood him in stead. 

Pushing the treasurer aside, he leaned on the box- 
office window-sill and said: "Where are those stands 
and three sheets, Mr. Cottrell, for whose posting you 
are demanding payment?" 

Cottrell made the expected reply that they were on 
the billboards throughout the city. 

"Well," said Mr. Pope, "I want my paper to be put 
on the walls where the people are and where the car lines 

This metrical diction into which Pope in his blank- 
verse training always drifted in his moments of dignity 
elicited from Cottrell the reply that the bills were there 
in the places Pope had described. 

"I want to see them." 

"Well, how can you see them?" 

"I can see them by your getting a horse and buggy 
and driving me over the route." 

Cottrell belligerently agreed to do this, and the trip 
was made. When the two men came back it was past 
banking hours. Pope proudly gave him a check that 
could not be offered for payment until an evening had 
intervened, in which he could scout among his friends 
for cash. 

As theatre manager, the old tragedian, not always in 
the best of health, made a gallant fight, not only against 


the burden of the cut-rate tickets he had discounted but 
against Spalding and Norton of the two competing 
houses, who combined against him. He finally won out 
and sold his theatre at a profit on his time and trouble. 
When Harrison was elected to the presidency, Mr. Pope 
became our United States consul at Toronto, where his 
fine presence, his dignified bearing, his knowledge of 
modern languages, and the bonhomie of the old trouper 
made him as fine a national representative as we had 
at any European court. 

There was not always good business at Pope's Theatre. 
As in other playhouses, we had idle times, when a man 
in the box-office had little to do. In those days there 
was not in St. Louis any rapid-fire photo-engraving es- 
tablishment. Any pictures wanted quickly for a news- 
paper could be turned out more promptly by the local 
wood-engravers, of whom there were several. Many 
otherwise idle hours in the box-office I was able to occupy 
profitably on such occasional illustrations. 

There are few occupations more fascinating than to 
draw upon boxwood. This material, which comes in 
blocks type high and varying from the width of the news- 
paper column to four or five, as desired, is made of little 
sections, each not more than a square-inch in size, 
dowelled together more tightly than marquetry in furni- 
ture is joined. The surface of this assembled block is 
pumiced to a delightful smoothness, having enough grain, 
however, while imperceptible to the touch, to take a 
pencil-point without slipping. As it comes to the drafts- 
man, it has the natural-wood color not unlike the tint 
of freshly planed pine. Over this one throws a light wash 
of water-color white. The surface then is good for either 
pencil or brush. 


When one has finished his drawing by either of these 
methods, the wood-engraver cuts out all the portions of 
the block that are meant to be white in the reproduction 
that is to say, meant not to print at all and leaves 
the rest. If he left the rest unchanged, however, it would 
print a solid black silhouette. The engraver's skill lies 
in so breaking this surface as to get by the use of alter- 
nating black and white lines the various shades the artist 
intended. The simplest understanding of this will be by 
considering an outline drawing only, but done in pencil, 
which of course is gray and not black. If the engraver 
left this line unbroken it would print black, however, 
and resemble a pen stroke and not the mark of a pencil. 
But wishing to give the pencil effect, he traverses the line 
on his block with a sufficient number of tiny cut-out 
spaces to get resemblance to the pencil mark. 

As an example of a pencil drawing upon a piece of box- 
wood so treated that the gray reproduction resembles 
the pencil, there is given here an outline cut that has a 
story. At the time of which I am talking there was a 
young man in New York named Freddie Gebhard, who 
came into sudden prominence through his admiration 
for and attentions to a world-renowned actress then 
visiting America. As I remember, Mr. Gebhard's enthu- 
siasm did not have the approval of his father, and nearly 
all the newspapers felt distressed about it. Despite these 
solicitudes Mr. Gebhard joined the lady in her various 
professional engagements throughout the country. The 
people called him a dude. 

Few of us now remember what were the distinguish- 
ing characteristics of a dude forty years ago, when the 
name was adopted. The principal ones were that he 
should wear very tight trousers, a black cutaway coat, 


the beetle tails of which protruded some six inches below 
a short tan-colored box-cloth overcoat of very easy di- 
mensions. Besides these sartorial marks, a dude was 
supposed to be somewhat of a sapling and lacking in 
manly fibre. 

A morning paper in St. Louis had on its editorial staff 
at that time a man named Cunningham, reputed to be 
a person of physical courage and a dangerous man to 
provoke. Some of the things that Mr. Cunningham 
wrote about Mr. Gebhard's St. Louis visit displeased 
that gentleman. Gebhard inquired concerning the writer, 
learned his name and reputation, and then, before a con- 
siderable group of spectators one evening just after din- 
ner in the corridor of the Southern Hotel, walked up to 
Mr. Cunningham and very soundly slapped his face. 
Something in the way in which he did this convinced 
the observers that it had been intentional and premedi- 
tated, and had respectable force of character behind it. 
Nothing was done about it except some extended reports 
by the rival papers. 

Mr. Gebhard stepped into a kind of public respect. 
It was not possible to get pictures of him. He didn't 
want notoriety. As the story above would indicate, he 
rather resented it. A weekly paper in the city asked me 
to get a drawing of him from memory. It wasn't a good 
plan to ask him to pose. It was learned that Mr. Geb- 
hard had for the week a certain seat three rows from the 
orchestra rail which he occupied every night his friend 
the actress played. This seat was on the right aisle of 
the parquet near the trap drummer. By an arrange- 
ment with that member of the orchestra I got a chair 
in his corner from which I could see Mr. Gebhard, and 
in that manner the pencil drawing was made. It is of- 


fered now as a point d'appui for this story, and as an 
example of a wood-engraver's line that looks like lead- 

A really fine wood-engraver is an artist of a very su- 
perior type, excelling in real technical knowledge his 
brothers of the brush or chisel; but he is becoming in- 
creasingly rare, as the photographic and autographic 
processes of illustration drive his work from the maga- 
zines and papers. Fifty years ago, when Blanchard Jer- 
rold, son of Douglas Jerrold, wrote his "London Pil- 
grimage," in 1872, and Gustave Dore illustrated it so 
splendidly, there were three or four wood-engravers work- 
ing upon the illustrations, whose production deserved and 
gained as much if not more praise than the work of Dore 

The last of the great American wood-engravers is the 
veteran Timothy Cole, now living at Poughkeepsie, New 
York, and in his seventieth year still working impor- 
tantly at his profession. The superlative skill of Timothy 
Cole won for him membership in the American Academy 
of Arts and Letters. The best collected records we have 
of the old masters of Italy, Holland, England, Spain, 
and France are his wood-engravings, for which he has 
had gold medals at the Paris, Chicago, and St. Louis 
expositions. It would be impossible on the printing- 
presses that run off our great weekly and daily editions, 
going into the hundred thousands in one issue, to show 
the finest example of a wood-engraver's art. Such pic- 
tures, delicately printed on Japanese paper, and properly 
mounted, enrich the collection of connoisseurs. 

The most simplified process of reproduction available 
to draftsmen of St. Louis became common about this 
time. It employed paper overlaid with starch in solu- 



tfon. The paper was toothed or pebbled to take the 
mark of the greasy lithographic crayon. A drawing made 
upon it was turned face downward upon a lithographic 
stone and passed beneath a hot roller under considerable 
pressure. The heat and pressure transferred the greasy 
crayon to the lithographic stone, which was then used 
as if the drawing had been made directly upon it, and 
produced the ordinary lithograph with but a slight loss 
of value from the drawing made upon the paper. This 
process was used in the production of the cartoon of 
which a reduction is shown. 

There are two or three interesting facts connected 
with this cartoon. To the best of my belief it was the 
first political cartoon printed in St. Louis of Mr. Joseph 
Pulitzer, the eminent publisher and organizer of the 
present New York World. Pulitzer, in 1880, the date 
of this cartoon, had not yet purchased the old New York 
World, and had but recently acquired the St. Louis Post- 
Dispatch, of which he was proprietor and editor. 

He and others in St. Louis were joining in an attack 
begun by Major Emery S. Foster, editor and proprietor 
of the St. Louis World, against a political conspiracy 
known as the Dark-Lantern Ring, engaged in the sale 
of political nominations. 

The directing mind of this conspiracy was said to be 
a politician named Lancaster. He was assisted by an 
aggressive little attorney named Frank Turner and a 
blacksmith named Edward Butler, who was at the head 
of the political machine. Lancaster, Turner, and Butler 
are in the front row of the cartoon in the order named, 
and Butler is pictured as knocking out of the ring State 
Senator Cable, one of the beneficiaries of their combina- 
tion, who had indiscreetly talked too much about it. 


Outside of the ring and looking in are depicted Colonel 
William Hyde, then editor of the Missouri Republican; 
and Mr. Joseph Pulitzer, who with Colonel Hyde was 
endeavoring to correct the corrupt conditions. 

Major Emery S. Foster, who had won distinction in 
the Northern Army, was a modest but very notable figure 
in St. Louis. In the Civil War he had been captured by 
Quantrell's Guerillas and was said to be the only Union 
prisoner released by this band, who made a practice of 
giving no quarter. 

His escape was due to one of those border romances 
which the public are apt to think inventions of the 
novelist and the playwright, and a fine example of which 
was interwoven in Mr. William Gillette's war play, " Held 
by the Enemy." 

In the Quantrell group of James boys and Younger 
brothers was one man who knew the captured Foster, 
as he and Foster were rivals for the hand of the same 
girl. With her in mind, this Quantrell guerilla had asked 
for the life of Foster, and being granted this by Quantrell 
had conducted Major Foster outside the lines and given 
him his liberty. This particular Southerner still lives; 
and the lady in question, now his wife, is also living. 

Major Foster, at the close of the war, became the editor 
of the St. Louis Journal. A very personal editorial at- 
tacking him appeared one morning in the St. Louis 
Times, of which ex-Confederate Major John Edwards 
was the editor. Foster immediately challenged Edwards, 
and the two men met upon the Illinois side of the Missis- 
sippi, some few miles above St. Louis. At the first shot 
Edwards' bullet went wild; Foster's bullet went through 
Edwards' hat, grazing his scalp. 

While the seconds were reloading the pistols Foster 


walked over to Edwards and put out his hand, saying, 
"Edwards, you and I are a pair of damn fools." 

Edwards conducted Foster to a log near by, sat down 
with him, and then told Foster that he had nothing what- 
ever to do with the editorial; that he had gone home 
and was in his bed when Stilson Hutchins, the proprietor, 
himself had come into the office and written the objec- 
tionable publication. Edwards, however, true to the 
ethics of the time, had accepted the responsibility of his 

Another group of readers will remember Major Foster 
as the man who in that same St. Louis Journal first made 
and repeated the charges that led to the expose of what 
was known as the Whiskey Ring, in Grant's Adminis- 
tration. That was not a band of bootleggers engaged as 
now in supplying a thirsty community, but was a com- 
bination contriving the evasion of the internal revenue 
tax upon spirits. In the prosecution of that ring General 
Grant appointed as attorney ex-Senator John B. Hender- 
son, previously referred to in connection with incidents 
at Jefferson City. As the investigation in court pro- 
ceeded and involved General Orville E. Babcock, who 
was the President's private secretary, Henderson, boast- 
ing indifference to where the investigation led, said that 
he was not among those "to bend the pregnant hinges of 
the knee that thrift may follow fawning." Over his im- 
plied defiance Grant had promptly removed Mr. Hender- 
son from his position, and General Babcock, on a de- 
position from President Grant, was acquitted. 

At the time I was making these drawings for Major 
Foster in that campaign he was a soldierly-looking figure 
in his early fifties. He had a fine face, good brow, clear- 
cut, aquiline nose, fine open eyes, perhaps accentuated 


in their gaze, and sharpened slightly in appearance be- 
cause of the gold-rimmed spectacles which he always 
wore. The lower part of his face indicated a substantial 
modelling beneath his short beard and mustache. He 
looked in every turn and expression the thoughtful, culti- 
vated, amiable gentleman that he was, with an ever- 
present suggestion of proper determination. 


It is difficult for a reader to measure the happiness of 
a young man for whom the theatre has been the objec- 
tive when he finds himself ensconced in a quasi-adminis- 
trative position in a genuine playhouse. As assistant 
treasurer it was my duty to open up the box-office in the 
morning, to see that the bill-poster and his assistants re- 
ceived the paper which the advance man brought in his 
bill trunk; that the boys connected with the theatre 
had their supply of hangers, lithographs and half sheets 
that were to go into the windows of saloons, barber shops, 
and hotels; to see that the scrub-women reported on 
time and were at work; to sort the mail for the visiting 
company and send that of the players to the stage door. 

These duties carried one all over the building after the 
treasurer arrived to relieve the assistant, and excuses 
might even be made for visiting and looking over the 
paint frame. Every theatre at that time had its resi- 
dent artist. His shop was in the fly gallery; his studio 
was a bridge at the back wall of the building, against 
which a movable frame carried his colossal canvases up 
and down. This artist was expected to get up each week 
the scenes for the coming attraction. It must not be 
supposed that he made a complete production in that 
time. He had at his command a more or less sufficient 
stock of scenery always stored away in a room adjoining 
and accessible to the stage, with an opening between, 
high enough to admit the flat scenes riding upright; this 



storeroom was called the dock. It properly contained 
the more usual scenes of the mid- Victorian drama; the 
parlor or centre-door fancy, kitchen, baronial chamber, 
castle interior and exterior, pents flat, a street, a gar- 
den, cut-wood, forest, and horizon drops. To hold and 
change these scenes the stage was arranged with runs 
and grooves. These were sets of wooden guide tracks 
on the stage and adjustable grooves corresponding some 
eighteen feet above, arranged in groups about four feet 
apart, beginning at the curtain line and numerically 
designated. Their terminology still governs in the 
theatre. An actor entered or made his exit in One, Two, 
Three, or Four, right or left, as the case might be, or up 
centre. He still does so, although the grooves with their 
old sliding scenes that were pushed on to meet in the 
middle, and separated to be quickly drawn off for a 
change of scene, have disappeared. 

It was upon this customary stock of scenery that the 
scenic artist depended, supplementing it from time to 
time with some new scene, of which sufficient warning 
would generally be given, painted upon new canvas and 
construction, or painted over one of the old scenes that 
was seldom called for. 

At the time of which Pm talking the old runs and 
grooves existed in Pope's Theatre, but were beginning 
to disappear from other houses projected at about that 
time. They gave way to the clear stage with boxed 
scenes now so common and which are supported in panels 
by stage braces set behind each panel, with the panels 
held together by lashings hung from the top and falling 
over alternating cleats on the two joining edges. 

Our paint frame at Pope's Theatre was presided over 
by Ernest Albert, an artist to-day, both in the theatre 

and in the gallery, of international reputation. His as- 
sistant was a blond and gentle lad named Frank E. Gates, 
son of the old Si Gates who for many years was in charge 
of the stage at the old Olympic. Frank Gates is now at 
the head of one of the largest scenic studios of New York. 

The brilliant artist, Ernest Albert, was not much, if 
any, older than myself. He was a member of our St. 
Louis Sketch Club, and there was always between us a 
real artistic sympathy. It is probably because I knew 
what Albert was trying to do and what he succeeded in 
doing when physical conditions permitted that many of 
the hours during which I was relieved from my watch 
in the box-office I was allowed to put in on the paint 
frame, where with an eagerness that equalled any pro- 
tege of Tom Sawyer's I found delight in spreading flat 
colors on the immense canvases. 

Before the speculators and the agencies intervened, 
and when the patrons of the theatre got their seats at 
the box-office by a diagram on which they were permitted 
to make their choice, there were few places of business 
so interesting to the occupant as was the old box-office. 
In ordinary times, from the hour that it opened up until 
the window was pulled down for the day, there was no 
such clearing-house for gossip, not even excepting the 
celebrated rural sewing circle. 

Pope's Theatre at Ninth and Olive streets was outside 
the important business district, although upon a street 
of the smaller and more exclusive shops. Also the most 
fashionable car-line of the city was double-tracked past 
its doors. Across Ninth Street to its left were a post- 
office and custom-house, in their fine new granite struc- 
ture, grand for that time. Facing the theatre immediately 
across Olive Street was Pierre Lambert's three-story 


French Restaurant Porcher, with its iron balconies along 
the front in Southern fashion and its wide stairway with 
ornamental railings of cast-iron grape-vines leading to 
the first porch. 

Hancock the Superb had just been defeated for the 
presidency, and sought a semi-retirement in one of the 
two or three apartments run in connection with this 
Restaurant Porcher. At the hour of nine, when we were 
to open up in the morning, the picturesque general, wear- 
ing his Ben Butler hat, was often coming in leisurely 
fashion to the sidewalk from this building. Men who 
remember the Hancock campaign will recall Tom Nast's 
cartoon of Hancock seated on a platform with a placard 
on the wall behind him A Tariff for Revenue Only. 
Hancock was depicted as leaning over to his neighbor 
and privately asking, "Who is Tariff and why is he for 
revenue only?" 

The country was then laughing at Hancock's declara- 
tion that the tariff was a local issue. The subsequent 
alignment on the tariff question of widely separated com- 
munities as soon as they became interested in some local 
manufacture indicated that Hancock was more nearly 
right than were his critics. Perhaps it was his courage 
that inspired Andrew Carnegie, one of the tariff's greatest 
beneficiaries, to say, somewhat later, that "the tariff 
was the mother of the trusts." 

At the theatre business men of some degree of leisure 
and independence walking down from the residence dis- 
tricts in the morning would stop in for their reservations. 
Others would hurriedly drop off a car for the same pur- 
pose. After the first run of buyers for the ordinary at- 
traction, and when the lobby had then quieted down 
to the occasional straggler, the early afternoon news- 


paper men came by. They were followed by the bill 
collectors and local advertisers. About eleven the fash- 
ionable women, married and unmarried, made their calls. 
It may be that the visiting actors showing up at about 
that time had some determining influence. During the 
lunch-hour there would be a run of the clerks and book- 
keepers who tucked a call at the theatre into the noon 
recess. After 2:30 big boys and girls from the high school 
came into the lobby to look at the pictures. Later the 
brokers walking home and the ladies combining a call 
with their other shopping would drop in. Then there 
were always members of the half-idle contingent who 
found the lobby an excellent place to waste some portion 
of every day. 

I don't know why it is, but there has always seemed 
to be a strong affinity between the young men in the box- 
office and the snare drummer in the orchestra. There 
were two drummers of considerable reputation in Pope's 
orchestra during my time. One was Le Grand White, 
the first husband of Minnie Maddern Fiske, married 
romantically in St. Louis during her first starring en- 
gagement. Miss Maddern had met Mr. White through 
her uncle, Dick Maddern, who was then the conductor 
in Pope's Theatre orchestra. The other drummer, who 
succeeded White, was Frank David, who came to the 
lobby every afternoon to give comic imitations and prac- 
tise dance steps on the tiled pavement. A few years 
later Frank was for a short time the most prominent 
comedian on Broadway, having made a phenomenal hit 
in the comic opera "The Pyramids." Another orchestra 
leader at Pope's was William Witthers, who had been the 
conductor of the orchestra at Ford's Theatre in Wash- 
ington on the night Lincoln was shot. 


Opposite the theatre, a little farther up the same block 
with the Restaurant Porcher, was the photograph gal- 
lery of Mr. Fox. Mr. Fox was the father of two daugh- 
ters. Lily Fox, the elder, then about sixteen years old, 
was one of the prize beauties of the city. She had a face 
that would have delighted Neysa McMein as a model 
for a magazine cover, and I am sure still delights her 
husband, Nat Roth, the general business manager in 
New York for the Shuberts. Lily came to the theatre 
in the daytime chaperoning her little sister, Delia, then 
about ten years of age, and available to the visiting or 
local attractions as a child actress. Delia's first ap- 
pearance on the stage, I think, was at Pope's Theatre 
in "A Celebrated Case," with James O'Neill. After 
Charles Thorne, James O'Neill was then perhaps Amer- 
ica's favorite romantic actor, but as modest and lovable 
at the height of his popularity as he continued to the 
day of his recent death. His son, Eugene, author of 
"Emperor Jones" and "Beyond the Horizon," promises 
to surpass his noble father in enduring fame. 

John Raymond was a great box-office visitor. He 
would patiently stand through five minutes of ticket- 
selling or longer to get a half minute in which to match 
silver dollars with the treasurer. This form of gambling 
was a passion with him. Frederick Warde brought with 
him as leading man Henry Aveling, who married our 
amateur heroine, Mittens Willett, and brought also a 
juvenile man calling himself Hallet Murray, who turned 
out to be my old boy friend, Palmoni, of Washington 

Palmoni on that visit told me of the death a year or 
two before of A. W., our old actor preceptor, as grand- 
mother had intuitively reported it. Palmoni himself 


was a disappointed man. He had an ability that in legit- 
imate parts could have overcome his lack of stature, 
but he had a tendency to be stout enough to make him 
undesirable in the roles. 

Two years after the time of which I am writing he 
died in New York City. With this confirmation of A. 
W.'s death and the news of Palmoni's end a sustaining 
interest passed from grandmother's horizon, and the 
dear old lady began to fail more perceptibly than was 
warranted by her advancing years alone. 

In the box-office one made a fairly extensive acquain- 
tance with the men employed in the local departments of 
the newspapers, and now and then with some of the edi- 
tors. Most prominent among the reporters who used 
to visit the front of the house, and certainly the one best 
known thereafter to the American reader, was young 
William Marion Reedy, who later became the editor 
and owner of the St. Louis Mirror, which for so many 
years he conducted with such distinction. In the early 
'8o's Reedy was a slight lad with a face noticeable for 
its intelligence. He was interested, as most young men 
on newspapers are, in the playhouse; and there began 
then a friendship which was cemented when I went on 
the newspapers myself a few years later, and which con- 
tinued to the time of his death. 

Among the men in the editorial department with whom 
I enjoyed an intimate friendship was the gifted Colonel 
John Cockerill, then acting as managing editor of the 
Post-Dispatch. Colonel Cockerill was also president of 
the Elks' Club, another member of which was his fairly 
intimate friend, Alonzo W. Slayback. In a political 
campaign of that time it became necessary for the paper 
to speak critically of Slayback, and Slayback, who was 


a Southerner, served threatening notice upon Cockerill 
in the event of any further publication. The next after- 
noon the Post-Dispatch followed its first article with a 
second reference. 

The paper was hardly upon the street when Slayback, 
accompanied by a mutual friend by the name of W. H. 
Clopton, passed through the Post-Dispatch's local rooms, 
and entered CockerilPs private office. As he advanced 
he drew a revolver, but before he had time to use it 
Cockerill had taken his own weapon from the table in 
front of him and fired. Slayback was instantly killed. 
Cockerill drove to the police court, surrendered himself 
and was locked up. 

The news of the shooting was telephoned to the 
theatre. I was on duty at the time. Mr. Pope consid- 
erately took my place at the window and I went across 
the town to the jail. I was the first man in Cockerill's 
cell, and remained with him until Johnny Norton, who 
was his boon companion, came there. In the few min- 
utes that we were alone together Colonel Cockerill was 
self-controlled, but plainly alive to the tragic character 
of his act and the seriousness of his own situation. His 
only reference to it all was when in commonplace I had 
said: "Sorry, Colonel/' 

He nodded slowly as he answered, "Too bad, but it 
couldn't be helped." 

Colonel Cockerill was released on bail and the case 
was dismissed without being brought to trial. Whether 
the tragedy terminated his usefulness in St. Louis or not, 
it made continuation of his work there unpleasant to 
him. He removed to New York, where he took charge 
of the editorial page of the World. I saw him frequently 
after 1889, when I came to make my home in the East. 


He became the president of the New York Press Club, 
and gathered about him a small circle of agreeable and 
influential friends, but it was my opinion that the Slay- 
back killing clouded the rest of his brilliant life. 

One outstanding recollection of that time at Pope's is 
of William Gillette's first visit as a star. He came in his 
own play, "The Professor," to my mind the most charm- 
ing of the long list from his pen. Gillette was then under 
the management of the Madison Square Theatre, his tour 
directed by Gustave and Charles Frohman. An indica- 
tion of the dignity with which affairs theatrical were 
treated is in the advance illustrations by Kelly printed 
in the newspapers and the programmes of the day. 
These drawings, designed for clearness on rapid printing 
presses, had as much artistic merit as the process per- 
mitted. The two facing p. 138 show the character of the 
work; give an idea of the costumes of 1880 and fairly 
epitomize the story of "The Professor," an attractive 
but mature person beleaguered by lovelorn applicants 
and challenged by younger and envious rivals. The 
garments of the young men in the picture, especially 
the lad with the short jacket buttoned tightly to the 
neck, are worth a glance; the entangling trains of the 
women, the Watteau pleats, their stays and bustles will 
make the modern girl thank heaven for her freedom. 

Another welcome visitor at the box-office was W. J. 
Florence, familiarly known as Billy Florence, who with 
his wife was jointly starring in the phenomenally suc- 
cessful comedy, "The Mighty Dollar." Florence was the 
projector and organizer of the Mystic Shriners, that 
post-graduate playground of the thirty-second-degree 
Masons. He and the elder Sothern, Lord Dundreary, 
were boon companions. 


One week when Sothern was playing at the Olympic 
Theatre and Florence was at Pope's, Florence took a 
carriage at the first intermission in his play, drove rapidly 
to the stage door of the Olympic, which was half a mile 
away, passed the doorkeeper and went onto the stage, 
where Lord Dundreary was in the midst of a scene. 
Waddling down from the centre door with his unctuous 
laugh he grasped the hand of the astonished Dundreary, 
and wished him health "by a large majority." The 
crowded house, watching "Our American Cousin," im- 
mediately recognized the star from the other theatre. 
This prank occasioned a good deal of merriment at Pope's 
when Florence got back and reported it. Its perpetration 
had extended the intermission but slightly. 

Florence and his wife were in the middle of their big 
scene in the succeeding act when, to their great astonish- 
ment, but to the equal delight of this second audience, 
the lisping Dundreary minced in through the centre to 
announce that he "had just had a letter from Sam." 
He greeted both Florences effusively and departed. This 
good-natured interchange has had many imitations since 
that day, but I believe it was original with Florence. 

One story of Florence concerned his first endeavor on 
any stage. When as a lad engaged to keep out of sight 
behind the scenes and on a given cue to bark like a dog, 
which he could do, an actor asked: "What will you do, 
Billy, if you get stage fright and can't bark?" 

The boy answered, "I'll wag my tail," which showed 
a ready sense of character. 

Perhaps more than any other man in the theatre, with 
maybe the exception of Joseph Jefferson, Florence num- 
bered among his friends the important politicians of the 
country. This may have been the consequence of his 


APPEARED. 1882. 


admirable burlesque of a congressman as the Honorable 
Bardwell Slote and he had political ambitions himself. 
After Cleveland's first election the belief was general 
that Mr. Florence would be appointed ambassador to 
France. Colonel Henry Watterson was the man who 
brought the question to the attention of Cleveland. Al- 
though Cleveland was numbered among the personal 
friends of the actor, he was obliged to explain to Watter- 
son that the church members of the country would not 
forgive him if he appointed to an office of such promi- 
nence a member of the theatrical profession. 

James H. Hackett, the father of our present James K. 
Hackett, lately made chevalier of the Legion of Honor 
for his performance of "Macbeth" in Paris, was consid- 
ered by playgoers the greatest American Falstaff. But 
I have heard men who saw both claim the supremacy for 
Ben De Bar. This old actor required very little padding 
to realize the rotund knight, a favorite character with 
him. De Bar also excelled in most of the low-comedy 
parts of that repertoire. He was unsurpassed as Toodles, 
and was the best Dogberry I ever knew. I saw him walk 
away with the honors in an all-star performance of "Lon- 
don Assurance" that was given for some charity in which 
the brilliant Edwin Adams played Charles Courtly. A 
good leading man of that time, one Metcalf, played Sir 
Harcourt; Charles R. Pope was the Dazzle, and Ben De 
Bar the Mark Meddle. I doubt if the play had had an 
equal presentation in its first production in England 
when the then young Dion Boucicault, its author, 
wrote to his mother in Ireland, " I have London by the 

Adams was then starring in "Enoch Arden" and some 
Shakespearian parts. I saw his "Hamlet" that week. 


Many men of judgment ;n the theatre preferred it to all 

I have seen some thirty Hamlets, including Booth and 
Barry Sullivan, but I think Adams the most thrilling of 
them all in the scenes with the ghost, probably because 
of his more melodramatic methods. 

The boys in the box-office were always happy to have 
C. W. Couldock come along, as he did in "Hazel Kirke" 
and "The Willow Copse." We went with the old gentle- 
man one night after the play to the Elks' rooms for sup- 
per. The order had been given when the uneasy veteran 
asked if there was not some place to which we could take 
him where there would be sawdust on the floor, and he 
could get an order of finnan haddie. There were just such 
conditions in a room at Tony Faust's, two blocks away, 
where we spent the rest of the evening with the coveted 
smoked fish and some bumpers of beer. 

Couldock at that time divided popular support as the 
first old man of the country with James H. Stoddart. 
He had spent his life in the theatre, been one of the most 
prominent exponents of Louis XI and similar legitimate 
parts, and could fill all the evenings of a week with stories 
of the old days before we had fallen upon the degenerate 
times, as he then measured the one in which we were. 

Another very agreeable acquisition that came to one 
in a box-office was the fraternity which it established 
with the men in the other box-offices, and the informa- 
tion that came through them concerning all current 
theatrical happenings. At the Olympic Theatre the 
treasurer was Mr. Dunn, who is still called Eddie, though 
he must be within a few years of my own age, and has 
had now the responsible position of general-manager for 
Mr. George M. Cohan. I don't think I ever saw a more 


uniformly courteous and even-tempered person than 
Mr. Dunn has been in a number of trying occupations. 
In the old days the only railroad in the country that 
advertised a four-track roadbed was the New York Cen- 
tral. Eddie, who has always been a careful dresser, was 
then the leader if not the misleader of fashion. He used 
to wear in the box-office what he called his New York 
Central shirt, which had four very decided stripes down 
the bosom. 

I think that both Mr. Dunn and I, as well as all others 
that were ever in the theatre offices of St. Louis, will 
accord to old George McManus credit of greatest pop- 
ularity. There is scarcely any man who came into the 
profession as early as twenty-five years ago who will not 
remember him as a pleasant acquaintance and delightful 
friend. After saying that he was the father of the pres- 
ent George McManus, the talented artist who runs the 
comic stories of "Bringing Up Father" and similar hu- 
morous drawings in certain syndicate papers, it will be 
interesting to the members of the Eugenics Congress to 
note that this humor that has blossomed out in young 
George through his illustrations found expression in the 
father in an unbroken series of harmless practical jokes 
of legitimate kinship to the absurdities depicted by young 
George. A few of these are worth telling, because of 
their character and the light they throw upon the mind 
that got entertainment out of the disproportion between 
common expectation and events. 

On the wall of George McManus' box-office at the 
Grand Opera House there was a strip of wood equipped 
with what appeared to be four tenpenny nails on which 
some coats and hats might be hung. Two of these nails 
were usually occupied by garments. One of the remain- 


ing two, although a tenpenny nail in appearance, was 
a very artful imitation made of black car-spring rubber. 
A regular nail had first been driven into the wood, then 
withdrawn, and this rubber counterfeit substituted. Mc- 
Manus got an average of one laugh a week out of this 
by hanging his own coat on the good nail when it came 
time to count up, and then watching the business man- 
ager of the visiting company try to make his coat stay 
in midair by passing the collar over this rubber nail. 
It seemed to be a law of the human mind to assume that 
the overcoat's fall to the floor was the result of a failure 
to encompass the nail, and it sometimes took two or 
three repeated attempts for the victim to discover the 

Just over the office table, and affixed to the wall, was 
an ordinary electric push button in its hard wooden plate. 
When the laugh was over about the overcoat and the 
two men were going to count up George would say, 
"We'll have a drink on that," or a cigar, and osten- 
tatiously push this electric button. A moment or two 
after an aproned waiter from the adjoining barroom 
would enter and inquire the pleasure of the gentlemen 
who had summoned him. He really came because Mc- 
Manus had arranged with an usher to go after him. The 
button on the wall had no connection with anything ex- 
cept the plaster. 

Twenty-four hours would go by before McManus 
could realize anything on this investment, and then upon 
the second night the visiting agent would in his turn 
say, "Shall we have a drink now?" 

George would assent, and the next half-hour would 
witness the mounting irritation of the visitor as he inter- 
mittently punched this dummy call-bell. There were 


many of these devices, and some were being constantly 
replaced. Just inside the box-office window was a gi- 
gantic thermometer of the kind sometimes displayed 
for advertising purposes outside the corner drug-store. 
It was about three feet in length. When an agent of a 
coming attraction arrived and began his preliminary 
talk through the box-office window with McManus he 
would be puzzled by George's turning to his assistant 
and saying "Forty," or "Sixty," or some other number; 
the explanation for which the agent would find a few 
days later when he got the run of the office and saw the 
decimal degrees on the thermometer variously marked 
with the customary phrases of boastful advance men, 
such as "Capacity in Cincinnati"; and "When I was 
with Booth"; and so on. It was a salutary shock for 
a pompous individual to find that he had fallen into a 
tiresome category. 

In the early '8o's there was an impression still current 
in our sober city that economy is wealth. McManus 
used to be annoyed by that section of the opera-house 
patrons who, moved by this precept, lighted cigars dur- 
ing the first intermission and then carefully left their 
half-smoked butts resting on the wainscoting of the lobby 
when the curtain went up and they were called inside. 
McManus would then come from the box-office with a 
squirt bottle of tabasco sauce, from which he carefully 
shot two or three charges upon the chewed end of each 
cigar. In the second intermission the man first to re- 
cover his cigar was generally sport enough to try to con- 
trol his sensation. But a dozen frugal patrons looking 
their mutual confessions to each other made an amusing 

In the contraband literature of our kid days Ned Bunt- 


line or some equal author used to write of Buffalo Bill. 
One day an advance agent arrived at Pope's and the 
paper went up for this hero in his romantic play "The 
Prairie Waif/' The next Sunday night I had the great 
happiness of meeting the Honorable William F. Cody. 
I found that my admiration was shared by the preceding 
generation. He and Pope were already great pals. Dur- 
ing that engagement, in a buckskin suit which Buffalo 
Bill lent him, Pope and the famous scout boys grown 
tall were photographed together seated over a stuffed 
deer which the property man carried over his shoulder 
to the gallery across the street. 

This hero-worship is a great tendency. One of Cody's 
engagements overlapped that of Nate Salisbury, who 
had his little company of five sprightly people John 
Webster, Nellie McHenry, John Gourlay, Rae Samuels, 
and Salisbury himself known as Salisbury's Troubadours. 
Nate Salisbury came to be a figure of international repu- 
tation. At that time he was fixed in my mind principally 
by a story that John Norton used to tell of one Charles 
Salisbury, with whom I had confused him. 

This Charles Salisbury as a young man had written 
from Chicago to Cincinnati asking an engagement for 
utility business in the stock company of Bob Miles, who 
ran a theatre in that city. Miles had sent a negative 
answer. Salisbury replied with an offer to go for forty 
dollars a week. Miles refused this. Salisbury then tele- 
graphed him, the situation being urgent, that he would 
accept the place at thirty dollars a week. 

Miles, thoroughly annoyed, wired back: "Mr. Salis- 
bury, I don't want you at any price." 

Salisbury answered: "Terms accepted. Will be on in 
the morning." And he came. 


An equal push and energy, which manifested itself in 
everything that Nate Salisbury did, was in harmony 
with much that Cody had. Shortly after the two men 
got together their great enterprise of the "Wild West," 
which ran for many years, was organized and launched. 
Salisbury, knowing my railroad experiences, wished me 
to take charge of its transportation department, moving 
its large collection of animals and men. At that time, 
however, I was filled with the project of a theatrical com- 
pany of my own, and, wisely or unwisely, declined. 

Toward the end of our second season in Pope's Barney 
Macauley came to play a week in "The Messenger From 
Jarvis Section." He had with him a little girl named 
Lizzie Evans playing the part of Chip, of which I believe 
the child, Minnie Maddern, had been the original. His 
leading man, Mr. Charles Mason, a very sterling actor, 
still in the profession, was leaving him, and at Mr. Pope's 
suggestion I went in on short notice to play the part of 
Sandy Mitchell. The character of Keppler, a German 
barkeeper in the play, was being played by the stage 
manager, a young fellow about twenty years of age, with 
remarkable eyes. They had most soulful and pathetic 
appeal. This actor was a good comedian and a most 
excellent stage manager. His name was Charles Klein. 
He was even then interested in the subject of writing 
plays, and was acting to get the experience so helpful 
to a playwright. Before he went down on the ill-fated 
Lusitania, Charles Klein had won his way to the fore- 
most rank in his profession. Readers will remember his 
"Music Master," "The Lion and the Mouse," "The 
Third Degree," and other plays. 

In an earlier chapter of this record I referred to the 
discreet treatment of living persons by one writing that 


is advised by men of experience. A decent respect for 
this advice and such conferences as it has made desirable 
have invited a few time-to-time advisers. One of these 
is an attorney, old enough to serve upon any pardon 
board, experienced, grave, dignified, and scholarly, and 
not so much my senior in years as to be out of touch with 
all my impulses. He frowns discouragingly at such 
glimpses as he has had of my doings thus far. He wishes 
that I would write with the restraint and gravity of John 
Morley or Sir George Trevelyan, though of course not 
curbing my genius to the mediocrity of either; that there 
should be no audible laugh in the sessions, and that the 
greatest relaxation should be only a genial glow indica- 
tive of good-nature. He tells me that I am not on a wit- 
ness stand; not under any compulsion to make a reve- 
lation that will not read always to my advantage; and 
moves further, upon my silent reception of this, by an 
alarm for the interest of the helpless sensitive persons 
whom I may involve. 

That my father, who at the age of fifty, having met 
with an accident that for a time prevented further pur- 
suit of business, resumed the study of medicine inter- 
rupted in his youth, and won his degree in an established 
medical college, my counsellor submits is an unnecessary 
statement, even though father's course in the college 
required my co-operation at home, and to that extent 
attached itself to my activities. Well, my adviser is 
right; that is an unnecessary statement; but so is any 
other statement in this whole performance. My own 
present needs are not such nor is the financial return for 
the promised output large enough to furnish me with 
even the sordid excuse of Romeo's apothecary when part- 
ing with the poison that "my poverty but not my will 


consents." It is only fair to the publishers, however, 
in this connection to say that a middleman, previously 
indicated, has assured me that "they will come across 
stronger next time." 

But I think I could resist that inducement, too, if it 
were not my belief that my father if living would himself 
take pleasure in the recital. He lived to practise his 
profession thirty years; to know his colleagues and his 
clientele in that helpful, expanding, increasingly interest- 
ing way that a physician's calling opens and the agree- 
able atmosphere that it provides. He radiated what he 
so acquired, and the studio in which I write and the sum- 
mer places of which our domestics so fully approve would 
lose much that makes them magnetized and restful if 
the repeated visits of the sweetly aging doctor were un- 

When father was compelled to quit his work we had 
as neighbor a Doctor Kent, member of the faculty of 
the Homeopathic College, who approved of the sugges- 
tion for father to resume the study of medicine. There 
were some serious family discussions which narrowed 
down to a talk between father and me. I found an in- 
crease of income by undertaking to do more drawings 
on boxwood for the engravers, and with this in sight 
father consented to start in on his four-year course. 
Looking back at that time over an interval of more than 
forty years, I don't believe that I am exaggerating the 
human interest of it. The positions of father and son 
were in one respect completely reversed. He started off 
to school with his books in the morning and came home 
after his day's session and devoted his nights to study. 
About him were the domestic problems. The important 
thing was to meet these with the least call upon him, and 


at the same time to keep up his spirits to the heroic thing 
he had undertaken. I won't attempt the proper tribute 
that belongs to the women of the family for their part 
of this; they were unwavering in the brave front they 
presented to father and the atmosphere of content that 
they created. 

My job in addition to that already indicated was to 
establish a comedy view of the thing; to call the medical 
student to account for implied truancy and theatrically 
to assume the role of a grouchy stage father bringing up 
an incorrigible son. About once a week I pretended to 
get favorable reports from the teachers, and would re- 
ward their pupil with a visit to the theatre, on which I 
accompanied him during the time I was in the law-office 
and in which I joined him when we had counted up at 
Pope's after I had gone there. As a matter of both eco- 
nomy and companionship he and I used to walk home 
two miles. My interests were theatrical; father's ex- 
periences were largely so; and the talks that started as 
far as I was concerned in a deliberate intent to divert 
his thoughts always finished in a real abandonment to 
the subject, with both of us in the happiest earnestness. 

The last attraction at Pope's Theatre during my em- 
ployment there was the celebrated Vokes family. At 
the end of their week they separated; the girls, Victoria, 
Rosina, and Jessie, and the brother, Fawdon, going back 
to England. Fred Vokes, however, the principal mem- 
ber and manager of the enterprise, had a play in mind 
which he wished to try in America during the summer; 
a farcical contrivance which he called "In Camp." He 
engaged me to undertake the part that had been origi- 
nally intended for Fawdon Vokes. When the new com- 
pany, which immediately assembled, found itself together 


in Buffalo, all rooming at the old Mansion House, the 
principal members were Pauline Hall, later the comic- 
opera star; Minnie Schultz, a soprano, at that time the 
wife of the talented Louis Harrison; and Miss Helen 
Dingeon, a soprano of power and reputation. The prin- 
cipal men were Owen Westford, a very excellent come- 
dian, and a young man named Byron Douglas, who later 
became an established leading man. 

When rehearsals should have begun we discovered that 
Yokes had no script whatever, but only an idea for a 
play. All of us boys thereupon sat down with pen, ink, 
and paper to help him. Together we finally ground out 
a hodgepodge not unlike a modern musical play. All 
that is important to note of that engagement is that in 
one of the off hours, in a wrestling bout, Westford had 
the misfortune to break an ankle, so that his Buffalo 
engagement was played on crutches. 

Our next important stand after Buffalo was Chicago, 
where we arrived on a rainy Sunday, none of us with 
any money. Westford, Pauline Hall, and I, forming one 
little coterie, went on foot in the rain in search of a hotel. 
The old Matteson House, later the Wellington Hotel, was 
situated on Wabash Avenue. The desk was approached 
by a corridor some sixty feet in length and twenty wide. 
A pompous clerk glared at our party as we came in from 
the drizzle and stood at the front door. Westford being 
on crutches, I went up to the desk to negotiate for quar- 
ters. The hotel was on the American plan. 

I said, "What is the rate for board and room?" 
The clerk answered, "Three dollars." 
"What is your professional rate for actors?" 
Looking over my head into vacancy, the clerk an- 
swered, "Three-fifty." 


We went a few blocks farther on to a little rooming- 
house called the Windsor, with a second-floor office, 
where one could get a comfortable room at a dollar a 
day. When the Chicago engagement was fairly launched 
my colleagues in St. Louis were far enough advanced 
with their plans for a company of our own for me to quit 
the Yokes enterprise and go home. 

In the early days of his popularity as a singing tramp, 
Walter Jones, our prominent farceur of to-day, used to 
recite some verses written by Ben King of the old W 7 hite- 
chapel Club of Chicago, expressing the tyranny of the 
preposition. As I remember, the first lines ran: 

"Nowhere to go but out, 
Nowhere to come but back, 
No place to stand but on, 
Nowhere to fall but off." 

In my few essays at a career up to the time of which 
I am telling there had uniformly been no place to come 
but back. I never came back, however, with more eager- 
ness than from my experience in that summer season 
with Fred Vokes; or with more welcome or greater hap- 
piness upon my arrival. My father, who had got his 
diploma from the college, was now set up as doctor and 
building a little practice that made it possible for me 
without excessive selfishness to try somewhat for myself. 
In our leisurely review and stock taking as I sat with 
him that midsummer, he now the breadwinner and I 
the adventurer, we talked over the period covering 
slightly more than a decade since I had come back from 
Washington. How full the time had been ! What pros- 
perity the country had had ! What a growth in its activ- 
ities ! What a reaching out of its markets ! What a 
turmoil in its political agitations ! 


A syndicate of newspapers, the Scripps-McRae League, 
had established a penny paper in our city, among others; 
copper coins were really beginning to circulate west of 
the Mississippi and south of the Ohio; merchants were 
marking down goods from five dollars to four-ninety- 
eight; newsboys were making change for less than a 
nickel; my old friend, General Benjamin Butler, by 
some turn of the whirligig found himself politically asso- 
ciated with the sand-lot agitator, Dennis Kearney, of 
California, who originated the slogan, "The Chinese 
Must Go!" with whose blatherskite ambitions I felt a 
perhaps reprehensible but not inexplicable sympathy; 
what was called the National Party had been organized 
with strength enough to pass the Greenback Bill for fiat 
money; the bill had gone through both Houses of Con- 
gress and been stopped only by the stubbornness of 
Grant, who vetoed it; our own corn-tassel statesman of 
Missouri, Richard Bland, far outrunning the subsequent 
vision of the peerless leader of Nebraska, had put through 
a bill making silver the sole basis of our national cur- 
rency; Grant had vetoed this also; and then for the 
first time since 1862 gold, gradually dropping, had 
reached par and the country was again on a bi-metallic 
basis with specie payment resumed. The negroes had 
achieved civil rights; probable war had been averted by 
the patriotism of Tilden, who counselled patience and 
the submission to arbitration of the contested election 
between himself and Hayes, which put the latter in the 
presidential chair by a vote of eight to seven in the com- 
mission organized for that hearing; Garfield had come 
into the presidency and been assassinated by a madman, 
Charles Jules Guiteau, of Chicago; Guiteau had been 
tried, convicted, executed; the great Eads Bridge had 


been opened; the Father of Waters was no longer the 
barrier to the railroad communication of the two great 
longitudinal sections of the country. 

In my own little personal world there had been an 
almost commensurate exfoliation of events and hopes; 
far beyond my most vivid expectations I had been given 
an inside knowledge of the theatre in all its departments 
as much as any city in the Union other than New York 
could provide such initiation. Besides the actors I have 
mentioned, I had been permitted to witness repeated 
performances by the beautiful Mrs. Scott Siddons; I 
had seen the incomparable Marie Geistinger, equally ex- 
cellent in opera, drama, and comedy; had seen and be- 
come acquainted with the famous Bostonians, with Tom 
Karl, Henry Barnabee, Will McDonald; had seen Salvini 
in his heroic work with such splendid support as Lewis 
Morrison and Marie Prescott gave. I had studied the 
perfect work of the well-balanced New York companies, 
from the Union Square, Palmer's, and the Madison Square 
theatres; had become personally acquainted with Steele 
Mackaye, with whom I was to have a profitable friend- 
ship until his death, when the acquaintance would be 
carried on with his gifted and poetic son, Percy Mackaye, 
also a playwright; had made and begun a lifelong friend- 
ship with the matchless Robert G. IngersoII; had made 
friendships that lasted till their death with many others 
that have gone, and friendships that still continue with 
many who remain. Among the departed are Digby Bell, 
Joseph Arthur, George R. Edeson, father of our present 
Robert Edeson; Stuart Robson, McKee Rankin, Frank 
Mayo, Charles Wyndham, Harry Pitt, Dan McGinnis, 
and a host of others. Of those still playing I had come 
to know William Gillette, Francis Wilson, the sturdy 


William Muldoon, De Wolf Hopper, William Crane, 
Forrest Robinson, Henry Miller, the veteran Charles 
Stevenson, who along with John Drew is one of the few 
survivors of the older and classic school, now flexibly 
adapting himself to the later methods. I had met nearly 
all the responsible and irresponsible players who still 
play and were then travelling. I had come to know the 
ablest managers of the time, and the younger men that 
were to succeed them. One particular friendship to 
which I owe so much was with the late Charles Frohman, 
who dominated the American theatre until he was lost 
on the torpedoed Lusitania. 



In the summer of 1883, when I had come back from 
the Yokes Company hoping to start organizing what 
ultimately proved to be the little theatrical company 
called the Dickson Sketch Club, I had a fair knowledge 
of the kind of material of which actors were made, and 
some measure of audiences too; but I felt that the ex- 
perience to be had in a tour would give a knowledge of 
audiences in general most desirable to a playwriter. He 
would learn the kind of line and business that would 
please not only the people with whom he had been 
brought up but all kinds to whom he would be fortunate 
enough to play and ultimately to write for the alto- 
gether American audience and the one that would be a 
mixture of many nationalities. 

With this in mind I began my last season in Pope's 
box-office, having several months ahead for preparation 
of material and enlistment of help. The task in detail 
of getting material, organizing a company, playing in it 
and going with it in a trial through small towns was a 
varied experience, of which an intimate telling will prob- 
ably interest others besides equally ambitious amateurs. 

Looking for some one who could play the child in 
"Editha's Burglar," our attention naturally went to 
Delia Fox, who was the professional infant around the 
theatre, and who a few years later became the light- 
opera prima donna with the Comley Barton Opera Com- 



pany, and still later the featured lead with De Wolf Hop- 
per in "Wang" and other Broadway successes. She also 
introduced the Delia Fox curl in the middle of the fore- 
head, which became the fashion from Maine to the Pa- 

Edgar Smith, now the prominent playwright, was at 
that time working very rebelliously in a gas-fixture es- 
tablishment in St. Louis, a branch of a New York house 
in which his father was a partner. Edgar had been 
launched upon this attempt at a commercial career by 
his father in order to get him away from Daly's Theatre, 
where he had been a minor member of the resident com- 
pany and a fairly important one of a company that went 
on the road. With us amateurs of his own age this gave 
him authority. At that time he was a slight and dis- 
tinguished-looking person about five feet eleven inches 
tall, and as fine a young man physically and facially and 
in deportment as one would wish to see. His profile was 
regular, and his expression had the high, open-eyed, self- 
confident quality of a French marquis. He sang ac- 
ceptably; he spoke with well-bred pronunciation and 
tone. The idea of a little company that we could call our 
own appealed to him thoroughly. He became a third 
owner in the enterprise. His choice as the exponent of 
anything romantic that we might play was conceded 
and fixed. 

Frank David, the drummer I have referred to as often 
dancing in the lobby of the theatre during the hours he 
was off duty, was naturally mimetic. His work in the 
orchestra had required that his attention should at least 
be synchronized with the slap-stick and knockabout ele- 
ment of the performance in which his drum and cymbals 
assisted. Mr. Wilton Lackaye once remarked that rep- 


artee was largely a matter of repertoire. It may be that 
many entertaining personal properties have the same 
origin. David, as drummer student, had a repertoire; 
he was our principal comic. 

Another possible member of our company, a product 
of the business, was William Sullivan, whom we dis- 
cussed as a second comedian. He had been brought up 
around the theatre, being successively errand boy, usher, 
and bill-poster. Memory, when at all associated with 
genius, is selective. Sullivan's memory had fixed for 
him every trick of every Irish player that had made a 
week's stand in the city of St. Louis during his time. 
His particular model had been that fine Irish actor, Hugh 
Fay. Sullivan could give an imitation of Fay, not only 
in the things he had seen Fay do, but in any new ma- 
terial that he imagined Fay undertaking. These men 
Smith, Dickson, David, Sullivan, and myself had many 
conferences over our plans. We felt that "Editha's 
Burglar" was a sufficient pidce de resistance. But this 
playlet represented only twenty-five minutes. With a 
ten-minute intermission added, it still left two hours of 
entertainment to be devised. 

Smith and I set about together to devise a comedy 
that would contain songs and dances and an equal op- 
portunity to put into the show-window what we thought 
we and our associates individually and collectively pos- 
sessed or could develop. We turned out a two-act con- 
coction which we called "Combustion," and which we 
all thought up to our dress rehearsal was a very funny 
and sufficient vehicle to carry the last half of our eve- 
ning; but it was neither. To this rehearsal, which was 
held in Pope's Theatre on the Sunday evening before 
our opening, which was to be in the little town of Mexico, 



Missouri, we invited enough of our acquaintances com- 
fortably to fill the parquet. 

"Editha's Burglar" did all that we had expected of it. 
The audience was enthusiastic. Our two acts of "Com- 
bustion," with an ample intermission, went less than an 
hour and a half. Our comedy wasn't very good, and it 
was thirty minutes too short. After the play we knew 
enough of the theatre to call the company for a rehearsal 
at noon next day. Edgar Smith and I met in the morn- 
ing for heroic work. While merely trifling and waiting 
about at moments during the weeks of preparation it 
had been the occasional practice of David, Smith, Sulli- 
van, and myself to get together and sing what were known 
in those days as barber shops quatrains from the pop- 
ular songs, with very close harmony at effective points, 
all marked out and rehearsed by David. We would do 
one or two of those. In one of the Vokes comedies Fred 
had a table scene in which he endeavored to carve a tough 
fowl. This was an old stunt with him, thoroughly elab- 
orated and filled with all manner of tricks, from shooting 
the resisting bird into a lady's lap to pursuing it with his 
knife up and down the legs of the table, where he led it 
with his fork. As there was a dinner scene in our piece, 
we resolved to introduce that foolery, with which I was 
perfectly familiar. Three or four other interpolations 
convinced us that we could pad up the evening to some- 
thing like the required length. We cued in these few 
turns and got ready to leave town, a very apprehensive 
bunch of inexperienced barnstormers. 

On the day of our departure from St. Louis we were 
in a higher degree of excitement than even young people 
can attain for the ordinary embarkation. We had spent 
a morning patching equipment, and it was therefore 


only by crowding appointments that I was able to re- 
spond to a call from George McManus to be sure and 
see him at the Grand Opera House before leaving town. 
I had only five minutes at his window, but he said he 
could deliver his message in even less time. A great 
many companies were coming to grief at that time in 
the West organizations with New York records and 
indorsements and here we were, a little band with not 
even a St. Louis pronouncement of our complete product, 
with no reputation as an organization, and not any as 
individual members, almost asking for disaster. 

With the most serious face in the world, and of course 
with all these facts in mind, McManus said to me, "What 
is your first big stand?'* 

I told him Minneapolis. He took pad and pencil, put 
down relatively two dots, one marked St. Louis and one 
marked Minneapolis. He then drew an arrow between 
them, indicating general direction. "You see," he said, 
"going up you are going northwest." He drew a parallel 
arrow, but reversed, and then added, "Coming home 
you will be going southeast; just remember that." 

With this pessimistic implication to be shaken off, I 
joined my friends and made the train. 

Our first stand, Mexico, Missouri, was then a railroad 
town with probably three thousand inhabitants, but 
enough surrounding population to justify its little wooden 
opera-house. The audience was not critical. We were 
delightfully surprised, as theatrical people often are, to 
discover that the material added hurriedly as after- 
thoughts was of the most effective. Our little barber- 
shop quatrains went so well that we had to repeat them. 
The next day, moving to the next town, we added two 
or three encores. In a week we were giving a smooth 


performance of what simple people of the Middle West 
called a good show. 

The little playhouses of that time were more inade- 
quately equipped behind the scenes than they were in 
front. Sometimes, not often, a curtain had to separate 
the dressing-room of the men from that of the women. 
In one little town whose name and locality I have for- 
gotten there was no dressing-room at all, nor room for 
one. We were expected to do what every company that 
visited the town did: We dressed in a shop that was 
occupied by a cobbler in the daytime and lent to the 
theatre at night. It was some forty feet from the stage 
door, and on the night I have in mind we all of us men, 
women, and the little girl covered the distance between 
these two places in the rain. 

In Muscatine, Iowa, a pretty little town on the west 
bank of the Mississippi, the theatre was a second-story 
room, built over some stores on the main street. It was 
lighted by coal-oil lamps, three or four of them behind 
tins for footlights, and a large one, a circular burner, 
hanging permanently above the middle of the stage. 
The machinery of these lamps was not in the best con- 
dition, but the audience felt perfect confidence in the 
watchfulness of the janitor, who sat in the front row, 
with his attention divided between the play and these 
coal-oil burners. 

Smith and I had reached the most effective and dra- 
matic part of the Burglar sketch when this tall figure 
rose from the front row of kitchen chairs and said with 
irresistible authority, "Wait a minute! Wait a min- 

We stopped. There was no laugh in the audience, no 
protest. The man climbed onto the stage, which was 


only about three feet high from the floor, pulled his 
kitchen chair after him, set it in the middle of the scene, 
stood on it, turned down the lamp overhead, very care- 
fully regarded it a moment with the eye of an expert, 
got down, took the chair, retired to the floor of the audi- 
torium, turned and waved to us with a peremptory "Go 

We went on. The audience was evidently used to this 
as a regular feature of the visiting entertainments. It 
was, however, pretty hard for Smith and me to look each 
other in the eye and proceed with the lines, especially 
with the wheezy laughter of the company half smoth- 
ered in the wings. 

Our various stays, measured by hours, in these little 
towns differed of course, being governed as they were 
by the time of the arriving and departing trains and the 
distance to the next stand. Often we got in comfort- 
ably late in the forenoon, had time to see that our scenery 
and baggage reached the theatre and was properly placed, 
and then found ourselves with an entire afternoon at our 
disposal in some picturesque little place, full of interest 
for the visitor. There might be a lake or a little stream 
with rowboats; there was always a stable with accept- 
able saddle-horses, and if one were a walker two or three 
minutes took him into the lanes and fields outside. 

My own interest in every part of America had been 
stimulated by early political associations. The men I 
remembered with admiration had come from little dis- 
tricts such as these all over the country. The features 
that characterized these districts, to some of which we 
now were going; the products that made them valuable 
in contributing to the welfare of the commonwealth; the 
relation of the plain, wise, sturdy people to the tasks 


upon which these products depended; the human ca- 
pacity of the individual to be interested in the work at 
hand, and kindred things, were always as entertaining 
as a storybook. 

After we had been out a short while we were joined by 
Will Smythe, who came to us in the capacity of business- 
manager. The late William G. Smythe or as we knew 
him familiarly, Billy Smythe remained in the theatrical 
business as manager or producer until he died in Sep- 
tember, 1921, while occupying a position as David Bel- 
asco's booking-agent. 

They treated us rather well in Minneapolis. The 
papers, morning and evening, were complimentary. But 
I have always attributed much of this to the influence 
of W. C. Edgar, editor of the Northwestern Miller, pub- 
lished in Minneapolis and at that time owned by Charles 
Palmer, who subsequently became business-manager of 
the New York American. 

One night after the play Smith, Smythe, David, and 
I went to Edgar's and played poker. I think some one 
in our party must have won a little, because we were 
coming back in excellent good-nature. As we neared 
the Hennepin House, the hotel at which we were stay- 
ing, we became aware of some excitement about the 
place, and a gathering of fire-engines, one of which was 
still working, indicating that we had come in at the finish 
of a fire. This proved to have been in a small building 
to the rear of the hotel. The crowd that still remained 
was intensely interested in an excited individual who 
was looking from one of the small windows under the 
eaves on the topmost floor of the hotel, which was about 
six stories high. This person was calling in a most com- 
plicated German dialect, asking if he should throw his 


trunk from the window; calling for somebody to put up 
a ladder; making all kinds of appeals to the crowd that 
was hooting at him from below. It didn't take our party 
long to recognize this excited roomer as our Irish come- 
dian, Billy Sullivan, who had not been invited to the 
poker party, but had met much more entertainment at 

In the hotel corridor we found one of the clerks com- 
plaining of this performance and that the door was locked 
and he couldn't get into the room. Sullivan, answering 
our calls over the transom, admitted us. He was highly 
elated over the attention he had attracted, and was a 
perfect hero in the eyes of little Delia, who had come 
across the hall in her wrapper to prompt him in this 
escapade. Papers reporting the fire the next morning 
carried a serious account of this frightened German, who 
was saved from jumping only by the cries of citizens 

On this first trip it was a great happiness for us to 
meet such able men writing for the theatre as George 
Goodale of Detroit, Elwyn Barren, Teddy McFeelam, 
and Biff Hall of Chicago, and the men of equal serious- 
ness in the other cities, all of whom without exception 
spoke of the comedy, "Combustion," as being enter- 
taining, clean, full of fun; commending it more or less 
in the vein of one writer who said: "The only wonder 
is how and where so small a party collected such a budget 
of amusing nonsense." These criticisms were valuable 
not only in addressing the public when we were again on 
tour the following season, but they were influential with 
theatrical owners everywhere in getting time. It must 
be remembered that in 1884 there were no theatrical 
syndicates. Men who owned theatres had not delegated 


Standing: Edgar Smith, William G. Smythe, Pearl Dudley, Augustus Thomas, Delia Fox. 
Seated: Sydney Haven, Frank David, Nellie Page. 


to any central authority in New York or elsewhere the 
task of putting attractions in their theatres. They were 
not linked in a chain. Each manager selected his own 
attractions and each company corresponded by letter 
and by wire voluminously to organize suitable tours. 

The regular bill of our company was "Editha's Bur- 
glar" and "Combustion." We had, however, two or 
three other little things, such as Gilbert's "Sweethearts" 
and Bernard's "His Last Legs." "His Last Legs" had 
a longer cast than we were well prepared for. We met 
this by having Smythe come from the front of the house 
and play old Mr. Rivers, and by changing the footman 
to a housemaid and giving that part -fed little Delia; and 
she was very cute in it too. Our second comedian, Sulli- 
van, had to be cast as a walking gentleman, one Doctor 
Banks. This was a role quite within the capacity of any 
utility man in the world, but as he had to wear a high 
hat and gloves and present O'Callahan with a card in 
the front scene and speak a serious line or two about 
looking, for a long-lost daughter, the pfetense of it was 
so far afield of anything Sullivan had ever imagined 
himself doing that he was almost panic-stricken with the 
assignment. This was in no wise relieved by the con- 
duct of Delia, who considered it her business on the tour 

. / 

to regard Sullivan as her particular play boy of the West- 
ern world. In and out of the theatre these two were given 
to guying each other and to practical jokes. 

Delia had a little sand jig to do in "Combustion." It 
was quite good enough and up to the standard of that 
time, and I am sure Sullivan thought well of it; but he 
made it very difficult for the little girl by standing in the 
wing when nobody in authority was around and dra- 
matizing the insufferable torture that it gave him to wit- 


ness her pretended skill. Delia's turn to get even came 
when Sullivan had to walk on as a gentleman in the part 
of Doctor Banks. Her scenes followed closely upon his 
own, and during all his time on the stage Delia was in 
the prompt entrance with clinched fists and agonized 
looks to heaven. 

After his first performance of the part Sullivan de- 
clared that he would never go on for it again; but there 
was no choice between doing so and leaving the com- 
pany. With each added performance his distress 
mounted, until by the time we had finished the season 
Doctor Banks was a nightmare with him. He studied 
the route ahead in his effort to figure out where we might 
possibly want to put up that bill. Will Smythe, a good 
deal of the joker himself, would occasionally invade the 
smoking-car with a forged telegram from some manager 
ahead asking for this comedy of "His Last Legs," and 
read it to me or to Smith loudly enough for scraps of it 
to reach Sullivan across the aisle. 

The name of the character, Doctor Banks, finally passed 
into Sullivan's vocabulary as descriptive of any inade- 
quate person in life. Occasionally when he lost his tem- 
per about something else and had exhausted the polite 
and impolite expletives at the command of the average 
tough he would finish by adding that the party under 
condemnation was a regular Doctor Banks. Language 
could convey no more. 

The theatre all over the country at that time was suf- 
fering from the competition of roller skating, which was 
then a craze. The rinks throughout the country made 
as much of a bid for persons who would otherwise have 
gone to the theatre as the motion pictures now make. 
Though as actors we disapproved of this fad, we were 


not superior to it, and many an hour in the afternoons 
was used up by visits to the rink. Mr. Smythe was gen- 
erally busy during these times with his books or his other 
business duties. Sullivan inferred from this that Smythe 
was afraid of the roller skates, and he thought it would 
be fine fun to lure him to a rink and then laugh at his 
mishaps when he had been equipped with a pair of skates. 
Smythe evaded these attempts for a time, but finally 

I must confess that all of us had more or less indirectly 
assisted Sullivan in his plan. We were all present on the 
afternoon in mind; we stood about while Sullivan care- 
fully strapped the skates onto Smythe. We restrained 
our laughter as Sullivan and David with difficulty helped 
him from his seat to a prominent place on the smooth 
floor of the rink, and then left him alone and unsup- 
ported. To the surprise of all, however, Smythe's first 
move was to go into what is called the spread-eagle, a 
difficult figure, with the heels together and the toes point- 
ing in opposite directions. From this he passed on to 
cutting a few figure eights, and finished with a pirouette 
on his toes that would have done credit to any profes- 
sional. We had all coaxed an expert with medals into 
this intended exhibition of a tyro ! 

Little Delia Fox was a pupil of Nellie Page, who was 
our leading woman. The Fox and Page families were 
neighbors and friends, and Delia was placed in the care 
of Miss Page during her tour with us. One of the con- 
ditions of her being permitted to go with us was that 
she was to carry her schoolbooks, and her studies were 
not to be abandoned. The role of pedagogue was mine. 
As we weren't paying salaries with any regularity, and 
as her money went home anyway, the usual theatre fine 


for a breach of discipline meant nothing, but to fine her 
one extra lesson was effective. 

Outside her studies she had a child's curiosity in all 
questions raised by the features of our shifting environ- 
ment. This was generally satisfied by some member of 
the company, but not in the spirit of seriousness that 
should guide an education. There was a disposition, 
especially on the part of the men, to tease rather than to 
inform. For example, meeting the word frequently on 
the bills of fare, Delia wanted to know, "What is a 
veal?" Everybody tried to describe it to her in terms 
of elimination; it wasn't as large as a cow; didn't have 
wings like a chicken, and so on; and all so seriously that 
Delia went through the season, hurrying now and then 
to the car window, but always too late to see a veal that 
we had just passed. In the beautiful little city of Madi- 
son, Wisconsin, business was bad because there was a 
meeting of the alumni that competed. Delia wanted to 
know what an alumni was. Smythe was trying to tell 
her in the usual way, eliminating colors, wings, and the 
like. Delia, hoping to make better progress by com- 
bining ideas, asked if it was anything like a veal. Smythe 
told her it was very much like a veal, only it didn't know 
so much. 

It was not always possible to get first-class trains. 
On more than one trip we had to be content for a short 
jump with the company huddled in with the trainmen 
in their caboose. One awkward booking forced us 
into that kind of travel overnight. We reached our 
hotel early in the morning. Delia walked to the hotel 

The clerk, noticing her dishevelled appearance, said: 
"What's the matter, kid?" 


Delia answered: "I've been in a calaboose all night." 

She looked it. 

I think I should tell of our advance man, Frank Hamil- 
ton, because in some other important business ventures 
and episodes growing out of them Hamilton and I were 
intimately associated. He was not quite thirty years 
old, but looked a bit older. You could safely call him 
colonel or judge in any group without risking doubt of 
your seriousness. For a short time he had been an ac- 
tor; for a shorter time an unsuccessful star. He had 
the most unbounded confidence in himself and his ca- 
pacity to carry out anything that he undertook; but 
as soon as Hamilton filled in all the outlines of any sud- 
den conception, and was able fairly to communicate the 
figure to one or two other minds, he was ready to abandon 
it for some newer and more inviting dream. Sometimes 
where there was a gap in the route the duty to get a date 
for us fell to him. His optimism concerning the business 
we would do at any place he selected and thought about 
was sufficient for him to feel guaranteed in the required 
railroad journey, however long. My only venture as the 
owner of a newspaper was following one of Hamilton's 
will-o'-the-wisps. The only time I felt I was sharing the 
lease of a theatre was when we went arm in arm after 
another prospect. 

Getting home from this try-out trip of ours as we did 
late in June, with the intention of beginning a regular 
season toward the end of August, left us players with not 
much more than six weeks' vacation, which we employed 
leisurely improving material we had as to text and in 
getting new songs, and the like. The trip had been vastly 
interesting and educational, but there was salary owing 
to the company, and unpaid paper bills at the local 


printers', the Springer Lithograph Company. What- 
ever our trip had proved besides, it had certainly shown 
that we were not a paying enterprise in a spring season 
over small time in the Middle West. 



Those were sad vacation days, divided as were our 
hopes and our actual prospects. Mr. Dickson bravely 
argued that we had done all that we had any reason to 
expect in the way of business. We had a perfected enter- 
tainment and a scrap-book of notices that many a New 
York manager would have given thousands of dollars 
rightly to own. Furthermore, the offers for return dates 
in the regular season were most reassuring. One menace 
lay in the fact that nearly every member of the com- 
pany had received some flattering offer from other man- 
agers who had seen our work in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, 
or Chicago. 

My first meeting with A. L. Erlanger, for so many 
years the head of the syndicate that later controlled the 
business of the American theatres, and still in that posi- 
tion, was at the end of this summer. Mr. Erlanger, then 
a young man, probably younger than I was, as he is now 
younger than I am, was managing the first financial ven- 
ture of magnitude on his own account. This was a play 
called "Dagmar," of which the star was Louise Balfe. 
I had been in to see it on Tuesday night of its early week 
at Pope's, and was in the lobby of the theatre during an 
intermission when Dickson called me and introduced 
us. The young manager said that he would like me to 
replace his leading man, an actor by the name of William 
Harris, not related to either of those prominent managers 
of New York, the late William Harris or the present 



William Harris, his son, and that he would pay me 
seventy-five dollars a week, a large salary for a road lead- 
ing man at that time. I declined the offer and went on 
my errand to the near-by cafe. He met me again during 
the following intermission and raised the offer to one 
hundred dollars, which I also declined. 

During the last year of the World War, 1918, I was at 
Mr. Erlanger's dinner-table in New York with a number 
of men who were discussing some war aid in which the 
theatres were interested. To my astonishment he re- 
ferred to that first meeting at Pope's thirty-four years 
before. He asked me if I remembered my reasons for 
refusing to go with the company, and told, to the amuse- 
ment of the company, that I had said: "I won't go, be- 
cause I think you have a bad play which should be in 
the storehouse." And the Napoleon of managers laughed 
heartily at this freshness. 

"But Thomas was right," he added, "and I should 
have saved money by taking his advice at the time." 

I then told him of a reinforcement that had been given 
to my estimate of the play. Before I had gone into the 
theatre on that Tuesday night I had met our Dickson 
Sketch Club comedian, Billy Sullivan, whose anguish at 
having to play a straight part I have related. The week 
before Mr. Erlanger's engagement in the theatre the at- 
traction had been one Ada Richmond, a rather indifferent 
type of burlesque woman in as bad a performance as 
could be imagined. 

I said to Sullivan, "How is the 'Dagmar* piece?" 

With a seriousness that intensified the unconscious 
humor of his remark, he answered: "Why, Gus, it's 
a case of Ada Richmond with a whole cast of Doctor 


My refusal to go with "Dagmar" at a hundred dollars 
showed me how truly at heart I preferred our little home 
company. My own wavering was over, and the other 
boys fell into line for a big try at a real tour. As I looked 
over Dickson's route sheets for the coming season, fairly 
filled as they were for the early months, and for later 
ones marked out with indicated points of importance 
between which we should manoeuvre the tissue of con- 
necting engagements, I had a great eagerness, inspired 
by the prospect of such a season in a little commonwealth 
company wherein were no stars, where the proprietors 
were comrades and where baby-girl and impecunious 
owner and accomplished manager got each the demo- 
cratic salary of forty dollars a week, with no guaranty 
and infrequent realization. You can't go far wrong on 
forty dollars a week; but if you are willing to waive its 
collection and transmute the debt into railroad tickets 
with an intermittently encouraging patronage you can 
cover a lot of ground. 

Starting on this regular season, we naturally recovered 
the territory of our try-out. The people remembered 
us and we did not do badly. One of those filling-in jumps 
referred to as sometimes made by our advance man 
carried us from Stillwater, Minnesota, to Winnipeg, 
Manitoba, broken only by a stop at St. Cloud, about 
seventy-five miles north of St. Paul. The round trip 
was all based on Hamilton's hopes of Winnipeg, inspired 
by some glowing description by a local manager. Still- 
water is a beautiful little town on the St. Croix River, 
almost due east of Minneapolis. We were playing there 
Friday night, and made St. Cloud for Saturday, and then 
had Sunday to get into Winnipeg and prepare for the 
week. To do this we were to make a very early start 


from Stillwater and change cars at St. Paul. We left a 
night call with the hotel proprietor and went to bed. 
I waked in the morning about fifteen minutes before 
train time, ran along the hall where we were quartered, 
roused the company and without breakfast made a dash 
for the station, but too late. The next train would get 
us into St. Cloud at about the time we should ring up 
for the play, with no margin for getting the scenery to 
the theatre or making ourselves up for the characters. 
The hotel proprietor thought that we might drive across 
country in time to get the train scheduled to take us out 
of St. Paul. But after consulting with the livery-stable 
man this was found to be impracticable. The scenery 
and baggage had gone on the train. 

On a quick decision it was agreed that Sullivan and I 
should try the cross-country drive. The stable keeper 
sent us a double surrey, with two ordinary-looking horses, 
and a boy of fourteen to drive. We started. The boy 
handled his team with the knowledge and composure of 
a veteran. Sullivan and I complained of the slow pace 
we were taking. The boy figured that the drive could 
be made in time to give us a margin of ten minutes on 
the train, somewhat over two hours, as I remember; that 
to rush the horses would be to tire them out and not 
make the connection. We thought that more speed 
could be safely tried; but the lad insisted that he was 
in charge of the expedition and that he would conduct 
it to suit himself. 

At last on a little lift in the rise of the landscape the 
boy, pointing to a distant cloud of smoke, collection of 
chimneys and roofs, said: '"That is St. Paul." 

The horses had increased their speed little if any, but 
were now moving with great regularity, and under the 


guidance of this little tow-headed North American we 
went up to the proper station in St. Paul fifteen minutes 
ahead of the time. We were able to get sandwiches and 
some coffee at a stand in the terminal and make our train, 
on which we had the satisfaction of seeing the car with 
our scenery and baggage already hooked. This put Sul- 
livan and me into the town of St. Cloud early in the after- 
noon. We had the scenes set and the baggage distributed 
for the company that arrived at eight. We also had time 
to get out some hand-bills and explain to the little com- 
munity, who had seen no company arrive upon the morn- 
ing train, the situation as it stood, and promise them the 
plays as advertised in the evening. 

When we got into Winnipeg we were astonished to 
find that it was winter. It was late autumn in the States. 
But in this city of Manitoba the ground was covered with 
snow. All vehicles had been taken from their wheels 
and were upon runners; the roads were already packed. 
The hotel at which we stopped was fitted with storm 
sashes outside the working windows, closed in for the 
winter siege. 

Despite the optimism of Hamilton and the genial hopes 
of the local manager, we didn't open to much business. 
There is always an excuse in a little town for bad busi- 
ness; the local manager has alibis. They begin about 
a quarter of eight, when the house is not promising, by 
his assertion that the people come late; and finish by his 
suddenly remembering that there is a church sociable or 
gathering of equal importance, or some local political 
excitement that explains the lack of patronage. The 
saddest excuse that you can get is that the people are 
saving their money for the attraction that is to follow. 

In Winnipeg a local malefactor had broken jail a day 


or two before our arrival and made his escape. He had 
been recaptured and brought back. The lieutenant- 
governor of Manitoba, resenting this criminal's failure 
to respect the iron bars, had caused him to be flogged; 
and the free Englishmen of that fine little city were dis- 
cussing this punishment. They had finally come to the 
conclusion that a man in jail was justified in dismissing 
any moral restraint that bars were supposed to imply. 
His right to escape was by implication just as inalienable 
as his measure of beer by the London quarter guaranteed 
by Article XXXV of Magna Carta. The debate of this 
flogging order had slowly mounted into indignation, and 
finally into something very like rebellion. 

As we were ringing up on our first performance the 
lieutenant-governor was in the midst of a banquet at 
the Windsor Hotel. The after-dinner speeches were in- 
terrupted by a crowd of Englishmen that was rapidly 
gathering outside, looking for his excellency. The hotel 
proprietor had been forced to lock his doors, guard his 
windows, and finally the lieutenant-governor, after an 
hour or two of this menace, was covertly conducted out 
the back way, in disguise, and spirited off in a sleigh in 
order to save his skin. When we came home from the 
theatre the police had to help us to get through the mob, 
and we had to be identified before we could be admitted 
to the hotel. The women were frightened ; all of us men 
were impressed. But one thing about which we agreed 
was that that was the largest audience out there we had 
seen for some weeks. Somehow this suggestion caught 
in the tinder of my political recollections and prepara- 
tions. When we reached the second story I went out 
on a little iron balcony, while Will Smythe and Edgar 
Smith stood behind me in the doorway. 


It was impossible for the people below to distinguish 
this figure silhouetted against the lighted but curtained 
windows. To them it seemed to be some messenger from 
the fugitive official they were hunting. With the fool- 
hardiness of twenty-seven I addressed them as fellow 
citizens, lifted my hands for silence, which came quickly, 
then leaned on the rail and spoke as I fancied Elaine or 
Logan would have addressed them. 

The night was cold and clear; the houses opposite 
made a fine background; it was as good a place for a 
political address as a man could ask for. I began with 
a paragraph or two about the rights of Englishmen, the 
guaranties of their great unwritten constitution, the 
elaboration of that in tradition and practices; spoke of 
the reason for their coming to the hotel doors; told them 
that among the rights of every Englishman were those of 
self-expression and the pursuit of happiness; and then 
mentioned the Dickson Sketch Club playing at the opera- 
house, where the most pleasure for the least money 

Bang ! A shower of snowballs caught me and my 
friends standing behind and broke a number of windows. 
I was dragged inside and some man, speaking more di- 
rectly to the facts from the door below, finally got them 
to believe that the lieutenant-governor had escaped. 

The next day the agitation in the community kept up. 
The people didn't know the man who had been whipped; 
they didn't care anything about that. Their rights had 
been invaded by an appointed official. The thing that 
impressed me in their behavior was the way they went 
about their self-assertion. Instead of being perfectly 
satisfied with getting something on the editorial page in 
the public forum signed by a Lover of Liberty, they had 
moved promptly to direct action. I am not even at this 


date prepared to advocate their methods where there is 
a judicial machine capable to redress, but there is fine 
value in tradition and in its authority with an unmixed 

Despite this advertising, our business on the second 
night was no better. The local manager thought our 
entertainment was not so hilarious as his patrons ex- 
pected. He advised a change of bill. We were ready 
with "His Last Legs," and in order to present a full eve- 
ning of new offering we decided to try "Muldoon's Pic- 
nic," which we had been discussing for some time. Sul- 
livan was thoroughly familiar with the play from watch- 
ing two or three engagements in which Barry and Fay 
did it for a week each time. David also had watched 
it from the orchestra, and little Delia had played the 
child for Barry and Fay when they were in St. Louis. 
I had some familiarity with it from having got in occa- 
sionally from the box-office. 

The plan was to put this on Thursday night. In the 
old days, twenty years before the time of which I am 
writing, it was not unusual to pitchfork pieces into a 
production in that hurried way, and experienced variety 
people even as late as 1900 would get together and put 
on an afterpiece with very few rehearsals and relying 
more upon tradition than upon script. It was necessary, 
however, for us to have a prompt copy, or we thought 
it was. Edgar Smith and I sat down to tables with pens 
and paper, while Sullivan, David, and Delia dictated to 
us the play as they remembered it. Smythe, the third 
of our scriveners' department, set to work copying parts 
for the women. Delia required no part. She was herself 
an authority. Smith and I preferred to copy our own, 
because that was an excellent method of study. David 
and Sullivan knew the play. 


A principal member of any "Muldoon's Picnic" com- 
pany is the donkey. We found one on a farm, guaran- 
teed his full value to his owner, and hired him for the 
last half of the week. Our auditorium was reached by a 
winding staircase, making an ascent of some thirty feet. 
The donkey refused to follow or drive up this, so we 
carried him to the parquet and down the side aisle and 
up five steps more to the stage. We played "Muldoon's 
Picnic" on Thursday evening. All the work I have in- 
dicated writing the play, writing some parts, holding 
the rehearsals implied, getting the donkey, getting our 
own costumes was accomplished in thirty-six hours, 
during which we had also given one performance of our 
original bill. "Muldoon's Picnic," with Bernard's farce, 
"His Last Legs," drew enough money for us to get our 
railroad fares back to the States and resume our tour 
in northern Wisconsin. Sullivan's agony at having to 
play Doctor Banks the first half of the evening was as- 
suaged and almost compensated by his chance to do 
Muldoon, which was really a star part. 

There is a comic episode connected with another pres- 
entation of "Muldoon's Picnic" by this company. It 
occurred in New Orleans. We weren't in the best theatre. 
The only piece of local scenery that would serve as the 
required picnic-ground was a back drop representing the 
Lakes of Killarney. This was very old and wrinkled 
and was suspended from the gridiron. To take out the 
wrinkles, the carpenters pulled the canvas taut and nailed 
its lower batten, or wooden rail, to the stage. David as 
Mulcaby had to mount the donkey at the usual moment 
in the second act. The New Orleans donkey was not 
only sulky but reactionary. He backed up against the 
Lakes of Killarney, and cheered rather than deterred 


by this opposition backed through the rotten canvas 
and disappeared in the waters. Nothing during the week 
had pleased our audience so much as that vanishing act, 
and nothing that could be said condemnatory of theatres 
in general and donkeys in particular was omitted by 
David, whose voice from behind the Killarney Lakes 
was fortunately muffled by the canvas of a reunited Ire- 
land and drowned by the screams of the house in front. 

One day soon after our return to the States I found 
our boys in the smoking-car roaring with delight over a 
little comedy in Harper's Magazine. I joined them and 
listened to the smart dialogue of "The Elevator," by 
William Dean Howells. That was my first knowledge 
of him as a dramatist. The effects that he achieved in 
that little play, "The Elevator," and in the others that 
followed soon after were very educational suggestions to 
a young writer as to what could be done in the theatre 
with restraint joined to precision. 

There was a tidy little opera-house in Fort Wayne, 
Indiana, fixed in my memory by the clatter of tinware 
that began in front of the curtain some time before the 
overture and grew to a deafening charivari in a few min- 
utes. This noise was a result of the gallery rule in that 
house that every boy had to carry with him to his seat 
a tin spittoon from a stock piled at the doorway where 
he entered. 

The effect is associated in my mind with election night. 
It was from the stage of that little opera-house that we 
announced the returns of the presidential election in 
1884, as was then the custom in the theatres, and of 
course still is. These returns were read during inter- 
missions, but as the excitement mounted the interest in 
them more than equalled that in the play, until as each 


fresh telegram came an actor stepped down in character 
and read its contents to the audience such and such a 
vote for Blaine, or this or that State indicated for Cleve- 

At one point in the burlesque that closed our show 
Ned Smith appeared as a spinster of the Directoire 
period, poke bonnet and curls. In this costume, toward 
10.30 in the evening, he got the laugh of the night by 
reading this telegram: 

"Us girls seem to have got left at the post. Belva." 

This revives the fact which many, even those rather 
well informed politically, never fixed in their minds 
that in that year a woman, Belva A. Lockwood, ran for 
the presidency of the United States as the candidate of 
a regular accredited political organization, the Equal 
Rights Party. 

We had a half-day in the city of Washington in the 
early winter of 1885; not playing there, but changing 
cars on a jump from Pennsylvania to a Southern town. 
It was my first return to the city of magnificent distances 
since my term as page-boy fifteen years before. Pennsyl- 
vania Avenue looked impressively broad but depressingly 
shabby, with its little four-story houses, five-story hotels, 
and dingy shops, all even smaller than I had remem- 
bered. But the fine old Capitol stood at the head of the 
avenue, inspiring in its grandeur and symmetry, its form 
and color and satisfying balance. Neither House of 
Congress was in session. I roamed the corridors and 
rotundas, renewing youthful impressions, and on the 
ramble drifted into the Supreme Court room. I found 
that I had insufficiently estimated the impression of the 
General Butler rebuke for my boyish caricatures of him, 
as I felt a nervous tingling up the spine at sight of the 

old warrior seated at the table, his chin resting on his 
hands and his eyes closed, while the solicitor-general or 
some representative from his office addressed the court. 
As near as one could gather, sitting with the three or 
four spectators listening to the uninteresting case, the 
issue was a claim against the United States for certain 
cotton owned by a loyal citizen and destroyed as a tac- 
tical necessity by some Northern general during the war. 
The solicitor for the government, indulging in forensic 
elaboration and effects, tired his listeners in the lobby, 
who were evidently waiting for Benjamin F. Butler to 
speak. When the solicitor finished Butler slowly opened 
his eyes, turned his head with an inquiring jerk, lifted 
his chin as he directed his gaze to the members of the 
court, rose with deliberation, and said: 

"If it please the court, I have but one point to submit: 
If the court overrules me I have nothing further to offer; 
if the court sustains me I have won my case." 

And then he submitted his point, a very brief one, too 
technical to make an impression on my mind; but the 
thing that did strike me was the old gentleman's running 
true to form brief, direct, condensed, significant. 

When I was first drawing, my father who taught me 
to sharpen a lead-pencil with a penknife and, by the 
way, that is an art I should like to describe if space per- 
mitted inculcated the habit of filling in odd moments, 
even those of some preoccupation if one's hand were 
free, by making short parallel strokes upon any con- 
venient piece of paper, and then later by equal and simi- 
lar strokes crossing them at angles. Each new layer of 
pencil marks deepened with definite degree the effect of 
shadow that the earlier marks produced. As we left 
Pennsylvania and later left Washington, and then moved 

south upon our route the increase of the percentage of 
colored population had very much the effect of a cosmic 
draftsman recrossing his crayon marks on his continental 

As we got deeper into the black belt I was puzzled to 
understand the authority that our comedian Sullivan 
had over the boys whom he engaged to help him handle 
baggage and do other work behind the scenes. Even 
when the work was done, one often saw him in control 
of three or four full-grown negroes who were dancing in 
violent contest, all the while watching him in terror. 

He was playing upon their superstitions in this way: 
No full-blooded African south of the Ohio River is free 
from the fear of a rabbit's foot. To wave one across his 
face with malign intent is to put over him a black spell 
that only a strong voodoo practitioner or the possessor 
of the rabbit's foot himself can remove. In the theatre 
rouge is applied to an actor's face by a hare's foot, upon 
the ball of which the long soft fur is like a short camel's- 
hair brush impossibly broad. There was such a hare's 
foot in Sullivan's make-up box. Having discovered the 
darky's susceptibility, he carried this thing in his pocket 
as an object of authority and a magic wand; but ignorant 
of the negro psychology beyond this first experimental 
stage, Sullivan was in the habit of going away with the 
company and leaving those poor fellows under their de- 
pressing delusion. 

Nothing that I could say to the black boys when I 
found this out altered their obsession. But I was able 
to devise a white spell that they believed curative and 
magically potent. 

As far as they knew the power was entirely in the caba- 
listic words with which I accompanied the gesture of 


rubbing them slightly under each eye with a white silk 
handkerchief. But as the spell worked and the tears 
ran involuntarily from their eyes, they never doubted 
its efficacy, and I never told them that I had concealed 
in the silk handkerchief the white button of a menthol 
pencil. Perhaps I should be ashamed to confess it, but 
in the interest of efficiency, as well as occasional enter- 
tainment, Sullivan and I finally came into a working 
agreement by which he covered our local assistants with 
the black spell during the time of their required services 
and I released them by the white spell before we went 

In 1885 every local community in the South had its 
military organization of whites, trained to the utmost 
efficiency of militia. We met the members of one such 
company in the jointly incorporated community of Wins- 
ton-Salem, North Carolina. Salem was an old Moravian 
settlement of simple dwellings, flanked by its cemetery, 
in which this religious sect, consistently with its belief 
that death was a democracy in which all were equal, 
permits above the graves of its dead only the little uni- 
form cubes of stone. Winston, in contrast, is the new 
town, with everything therein apparently erected since 
the Civil War, and a graveyard in which the most os- 
tentatious are welcome. 

Our engagement was for one night. The house was 
very thin, but, as the favorable notices say, most ap- 
preciative. When the curtain fell two or three young 
gentlemen came behind, introduced themselves, expressed 
their approval of the plays and apologized for their 
townspeople who had not patronized the entertainment; 
and then, with a refreshing ignorance of theatrical ar- 
rangements, suggested that we stay another night. It 


obviously never occurred to them that theatrical ar- 
rangements were made in advance, and that we could 
not prolong a visit anywhere simply because our hosts 
were agreeable. 

The sequel, however, almost bore out their innocent 
assumption. The Winston militia, the local name of 
which I forget, overrode our excuses and explanations 
with a disarming hospitality that one doesn't meet north 
of that latitude. We were to play the next night in the 
town of Salisbury. We couldn't ask the manager there 
to release us. We would be under pecuniary obligation 
and liability. All of this these young men quickly ac- 
cepted, assimilated and transmuted into energy. With 
our consent, they got hold of the Salisbury manager; 
they arranged, in what manner I do not know they 
hadn't had time to send our next morning's notices for 
his consent to our cutting out his town, and they gave 
us, as they had promised, a fine house and a jolly audi- 
ence on the second night. They also gave us a supper 
and a dance in their armory. 

The spirit of entertainment spread through the little 
town. The hotel keeper, with a couple of two-horse rigs, 
showed us the surrounding country. When, in the glow 
of this give and take and quite family intimacy, Mr. 
Smythe felt called upon to speak some farewell words 
of thanks before the curtain, his enthusiasm outran his 
information, and he spoke in most glowing terms of their 
wonderful little hotel. A roar of mocking laughter an- 
swered him; even local pride knew this hotel to be rotten; 
and the next morning the hotel proprietor, who also 
knowing his own hotel could not be convinced that 
Smythe's compliments had been sincere, forced an 
apology from him by threats of personal violence. We 


left, unanimously admitting that the hotel was bad, 
but that we thought the home folk didn't know it. 

My travelling bag with its contents was a standing 
joke in our company. It weighed about fifteen pounds. 
One side of it was filled with a tightly rolled steamer rug 
and a pair of five-pound iron dumb-bells. The other side 
held the usual toilet articles for a night away from one's 
trunk. Although we had plenty of exercise on the stage 
in our rough dances, I was fearful at that time of losing 
the strength I had acquired in the railroad yard. In my 
anxiety to avoid that I packed this pair of dumb-bells, 
weighing together ten pounds, and I conscientiously used 
them every day in the bedroom. The steamer rug, which 
somebody had given me, I continued to carry because of 
its value now and then as protection to little Delia. 
There used to be a blacksmith in St. Louis who sold 
somebody's horseshoes. His attractive advertisement 

"No frog, no hoof; no hoof, no horse." 

That could have been paraphrased in our organization 
by writing: 

"No Delia, no 'Editha's Burglar'; no 'Editha's Bur- 
glar,' no show." 

Except to those acquainted with the country at that 
time, it will be a surprise to learn that the most pene- 
trating cold was sometimes in the Middle South. The 
people there had not yet recovered from the impoverish- 
ment of the Civil War. Many hotels were poorly heated. 
Railroad cars were often cold. Some junctions at which 
we had to wait had only a frame house, with no fire in 
the stove. At such times we rolled Delia up in the 
steamer rug. There was one hotel to which we returned 
from the cold theatre in what the local people called a 


norther, which corresponds to a Western blizzard. At 
the late hour nobody in authority could be found about 
the hotel. The two or three half-frozen negro servants 
we were able to arouse brought us a small armful of wet 
wood. The women members of our company were really 
suffering. Miss Page had a singer's sensitiveness to at- 
mospheric and temperature changes. We had come to 
a pass where it meant not Only a temporary incapacity 
of these more delicate ones, Miss Page and Delia, but it 
might be a question of serious illness; and a company 
stranded a thousand miles from home. 

Assigned to rooms according to the apparent impor- 
tance of our members, Edgar Smith had been given a 
room with an open fireplace. Miss Page and Delia, wear- 
ing their street wraps, got into the bed in that room; Ed- 
gar and I sat up fully dressed and wearing our caps and 
overcoats. But the blasts of this norther came through 
the badly joined windows until the water on the wash- 
stand was freezing. The hard wet wood fetched up by 
the shivering darky wouldn't ignite. Heroic measures 
were necessary. We men took the pine sides and backs 
from the drawers of the washstand and the bureau and 
the shelves of the wardrobe, broke them up with a dumb- 
bell, and kept the fire going. We left the hotel before 
dawn, according to railroad requirements, after having 
some thin coffee and corn muffins given us in the chill 
dining-room. We told the man who came on duty about 
our necessity to use the cheap furniture as fuel. We had 
probably caused a damage of ten or fifteen dollars. 
Whether from indifference or from belief in the justifica- 
tion of our emergency measures, the hotel proprietor 
never communicated with us about the matter. 

We had a wonderful week in the city of Charleston. 


The owner of the theatre where we played was the fine 
old actor, John E. Owens, whom I have already men- 
tioned, celebrated for his Solon Shingle, Caleb Plummer, 
and Doctor Pangloss. He came in to see our performance 
on the first night, and every night after that came in to 
see only our Burglar sketch; but after the play each night 
when we got home to the hotel we found Mr. Owens wait- 
ing for us at a table reserved by the chimney corner in 
the bar. About the middle of the week Mrs. Owens, who 
was an austere lady I have the impression that she had 
been a player too sent for us. Although she was some- 
where near the age of her husband, who was then sixty- 
two, her hair was jet black and combed in a heavy fold 
on each side, completely hiding her ears after the manner 
later popularized by Cleo de Merode. This grande dame 
asked for Mr. Smith, for some reason considering him the 
chief offender, and while Smythe and I stood by she told 
us we should be ashamed of ourselves to keep an old 
gentleman like Mr. Owens up at the bar to the small hours 
every morning. 

She was right. But what eager youngsters in their 
middle twenties would have lost the opportunity to sit 
with this convivial veteran as he filled the hours with 
an uninterrupted series of anecdotes and recollections 
of the theatrical experiences so attractive to their fan- 

Toward the end of the week, in one of these sessions, 
he asked me, "Are you the Thomas that the St. Louis 
papers said played old man Rogers better than I did?" 

I told him that I was, but that I had had no part in 
the controversy. 

He answered: "Neither had I, and I haven't spoken 
of it since, But now that I've watched you play the 


Burglar this week, I think the St. Louis papers were prob- 
ably right." 

The hour was late, there had been some alcohol, but 
the tears sprang to my eyes as they would come now to 
the eyes of RoIIo Peters if John Singer Sargent were to 
say to him, "I think the portrait you painted is better 
than the one I did." 

On our way from Atlanta, which still bitterly remem- 
bered Sherman, we passed through Talladega to the 
busy little city of Birmingham. A story that Mr. Owens 
had told us of a night in Talladega, the beauty of the 
town as we saw it, and especially the sight of a razed 
gateway to one old estate, impressed me. I laid there 
the scenes of the first play that I wrote some six years 
later for Mr. A. M. Palmer. Also, I named the play 
"Talladega," but Mr. Palmer thought that too exclusive 
for the theme, and we agreed upon the title "Alabama." 

New Orleans ! Every member of the company had 
been looking forward to the visit for different reasons. 
To walk around the old town after we had been there a 
day or two and located its points of interest was like 
hearing my father talk about it as he had talked when 
he came back to St. Louis bringing the bananas and 
mocking-birds in 1865. The same quaint personages; 
the same French market with its early coffee; the ex- 
cellent restaurants; the wide-open gambling-houses; the 
walled gardens; the graves built above the ground be- 
cause excavations of a foot or two developed water; the 
beautiful women; the men in broad hats and linen suits; 
the descendants of the proud old aristocracy all were 

Our little company put up at Victor's on Bourbon 
Street. We ate on the westerly side of the street, where 


Victor officiated in his own restaurant and brought us 
the stuff hot from the grill; we lived in a Madame Del- 
phine garden on the easterly side, in rooms each letting 
to a common gallery reached by a stairway; each room 
furnished with a window fitted with Venetian blinds and 
a swinging door of fixed slats like the summer doors of 
an old-time Missouri barroom. The darkies brought us 
our black coffee in the morning; for le petit dejeuner at 
table across the street the coffee was served from a pot 
with a straight ebony handle projecting on one side and 
an equal spout from a right-angle face. 

Two blocks away on Royal Street one when passing 
could locate the gambling rooms by the rattle of the keno 
balls in their wooden roller. I liked keno. It took only 
ten minutes to wait through a turn, and even in an after- 
noon of scattered attendance one stood a chance of win- 
ning some four or five dollars by an investment of ten 

In our New Orleans week we were all of us so short of 
funds that to risk even ten cents seemed dissipation. 
But partly for the reviving passion, partly for the sake 
of local color, partly wishing to try everything once, I 
went from the theatre one night into the crowded keno 
room on Royal Street with thirty cents as my limit, 
picked what looked like a good card, and on the second 
roll won eighteen dollars. This was too much of a wind- 
fall to be risked at a game of chance, so I cashed in and 
carried my winnings back to the company. We stocked 
up on a number of needed articles that eighteen dollars 
could provide. 

During this engagement in New Orleans, Charles Froh- 
man, then an advance agent ahead of some Madison 
Square company, came in to see the performance, and 


later arranged for the production of "Editha's Burglar" 
by Eddie Sothern in New York at the old Lyceum 
Theatre on Fourth Avenue. This chance for the one- 
act play in New York and something Mr. Frohman said 
made me begin to think of its value as a full evening's 
entertainment if elaborated. My leisure time during the 
rest of the season was devoted to that work, and before 
we closed I had written a four-act drama which was sub- 
sequently called "The Burglar/' 

Among the towns on our way home was Louisville, 
where I had a week again with John Macauley, whose 
acquaintance I had made so favorably while with the 
Norton company. We had many pleasant hours together 
and John was complimentarily anxious to have me meet 
Colonel Henry Watterson, the editor of the Louisville 
Courier- Journal. We called at the editorial room one 
afternoon together, and were told that Colonel Watter- 
son was at the Pendennis Club. We followed there. As 
we entered the large living-room on the ground floor a 
handsome, black-haired, soldierly person, apparently in 
his middle thirties, was seated at the piano, his shirt 
collar unbuttoned and thrown open as by a hero of ro- 
mance. He wore a seersucker coat, the sleeves of which 
were pushed well up from his turned back shirt-cuffs, 
and he was absorbed in playing a medley of operatic arias, 
Foster folk-songs, and improvisations. 

Macauley stopped me in the doorway. The condi- 
tions were not unknown to him. It was Watterson's 
frequent practice at that epoch to repair to that room 
and that piano and play himself out of some overshadow- 
ing perplexity. After Macauley had led me outside of 
the clubhouse he explained this and his unwillingness to 
intrude upon the mood and its expression. It was not 


until four years later that I met my good friend Marse 
Henry. But that room in the Pendennis and that ability 
to improvise were to witness and to mark for me a very 
memorable moment some years later. 

We reached St. Louis deeper than ever in debt, to 
players and printer. Smythe went East to be a manager; 
Ed Smith went to New York, where as a writer he was 
to win reputation and comfort; Delia became a star, 
David a Broadway hit; I was stranded in a St. Louis 



When younger men have asked me what to do to fit 
themselves to write plays I have advised three pursuits: 
The study of good modern plays, both on the stage and 
printed; acting professionally for a while; reporting on 
a metropolitan newspaper. The first two occupations 
explain their own relation to the business of playmaking. 
The reason for reporting is not so obvious; but the re- 
porter learns news values, and the climactic situation 
for a play would be almost always a first-page story in 
a newspaper office. He also learns dialogue from his 
interviews, and he learns character-drawing in his daily 

None of these considerations, however, influenced me 
in the summer of 1885, when I found myself out of a job 
and in debt and in St. Louis. I was looking for work, 
and I looked for it amongst the men I knew. M. A. Fan- 
ning, a running mate of William Marion Reedy, and 
later secretary and adviser of fighting Tom Johnson of 
Cleveland, was for a few weeks in that summer acting 
as city editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Mike and 
I were theatre-lobby and summer-garden acquaintances. 
He thought I could write; he knew I could draw a little. 

His word to Henry Moore, the managing editor of the 
paper, got me a job at twenty-five dollars a week, which 
was five better than I could have done by going back to 

Pope's box-office. I took it as a stop-gap and went to 


1 92 

work hoping from day to day that "The Burglar," a four- 
act play I had written, would find a producer. I had a 
second play on the stocks which I called "Pittsburgh," 
dealing with the big Pennsylvania strike. It contained 
the Philadelphia Grays, a burning roundhouse, a cannon 
fired on the stage, a fire-engine and four horses, a burn- 
ing tank car of oil, a runaway hansom cab, the interior 
of a rolling mill with a red-hot steel rail made in full view, 
an attic, an abduction, a bank robbery, a fight with bowie 
knives, a picnic by a flowing stream, a strike of mill 
hands, a man on horseback with rattling chains like the 
fellow in the "Barnaby Rudge" Gordon riots, a rusty, 
ruined mill-wheel that turned over and drowned an es- 
caping villain, plenty of sentiment, political economy 
and several light-comedy touches. I still have it; and 
some day, when the Hippodrome becomes a dramatic 
house and the United Steel Trust goes into the theatrical 
business, I mean to produce it. Charles Pope seriously 
considered it that summer. 

Years later Joseph Brooks, after some interest in " Ben 
Hur," also read it, and said: " I'd like to do it, but, thank 
God, I can't!" 

But in the summer of 1885 my hopes were pinned to 
"The Burglar." Will Smythe had a copy of "The Bur- 
glar" with him in New York trying to place it, and E. 
H. So them, who had another copy, wrote that he would 
be in St. Louis soon and discuss it with me. The job on 
the Post-Dispatch therefore seemed the most temporary 
assignment imaginable. But even at that there were 
daily duties, and there were editors. 

I was not a stranger in newspaper offices. As an ama- 
teur actor looking for show publicity, as a man from the 
box-office going with visiting advance men to the editors 


for two years, and also in the theatrical travel earlier de- 
scribed, I had become familiar with the local rooms. It 
was another matter, however, to report in the early morn- 
ing as one of the force. 

My first duty on my first day and for that matter 
my first duty every day for many weeks was to con- 
dense items from the morning papers to paragraphs of 
proper relation for our afternoon issue. At that time in 
St. Louis the newspaper practice was to cover by refer- 
ence or by full report everything that happened in the 
city, from a drunk and disorderly to a burning barn in 
the suburbs. There was not the selective system now 
followed in metropolitan journalism, and there was no 
central news agency or flimsy. Each paper was expected 
to get its own information, and if possible to get it ex- 
clusively. The scoop, as a beat was then called, was 
evidence of a journal's efficiency and enterprise. 

As the cub reporter in service, not in youth, I drew 
the simplest and most tail-end assignments. My first 
morning, after condensations were over, was devoted to 
a chicken show; not such a chicken show as would now 
fill Madison Square Garden, but a very unpretentious 
collection of coops and cages put into a twenty-five-foot 
vacant store. There were perhaps two hundred and fifty 
birds in this collection, ranging through the various 
breeds from Bantams to Cochin Chinas, and through 
the various specimens from new-hatched chickens to 
roosters with criminal records. 

On this first day of the poultry show no awards had 
yet been made. As far as I could see, there was nothing 
to write about but just chickens and farmers with gosh- 
ding-it whiskers. Quite disgusted with the assignment, 
and seriously revolving in my mind an impulse to quit 


the business, and feeling strange at any kind of writing 
except dialogue, I hit upon what I thought was the out- 
rageous notion of interviewing a young cockerel from 
Belleville, and letting him talk of the exhibition. I 
turned in several pages of this kind of copy with a feel- 
ing of defiance. My astonishment can be imagined when 
I found that the report was considered a hit. The acting 
city editor read it aloud to men at the near-by desks, 
who laughed at it in chorus and regarded me esti- 

I was conducted into the art department and intro- 
duced to a German draftsman by the name of Steitz, 
who was instructed to make illustrations for the chicken 
interview under my direction. Irvin Cobb just back 
from Flanders with a portfolio of special stuff probably 
didn't make any relatively greater sensation than this 
first article of mine turned in at the Post-Dispatch; and 
to my mind there was a distinction about the issue of 
the paper that afternoon that I had never seen before. 
I carried extra copies home to my family. I reread the 
article with detached astonishment. The only reaction 
I didn't include was a lecture tour. 

There is an introductory line in a book called "The 
New Hyperion," written in the early 'yo's by a Phila- 
delphia newspaper man, I think named Strahan. It was 
his second book, and it began with this phrase that has 
stuck in my memory: "The man who hits one success 
by accident is always trying to hit another by prepara- 
tion." That fully expresses my condition thereafter. I 
wanted with careful intent to repeat a performance which 
was the outcome of a rebellious explosion. Other as- 
signments on subsequent days, however, did not lend 
themselves to dramatic dialogue, and from a candidate 


for the magazines I dropped suddenly back into the rou- 
tine of hotels, real estate, justices of the peace, a school 
board on its vacation, architecture, and weekly art 

It was a depressing experience to have the paper come 
out day after day with only one's condensations of the 
unimportant morning articles; depressing to see the other 
fellows with fatter departments grab the first copies that 
the office boy distributed as they left the roaring presses, 
and scan their stuff ostensibly for errors but really for that 
authority which formal type seems to lend to gelatinous 
contributions, giving a satisfaction not unlike the sculp- 
tor's joy as the disappearing piece-mould reveals his per- 
manent bronze. 

The first important assignment alone grew out of a 
morning paragraph relating an inquiry at police head- 
quarters concerning a young girl who had been absent 
from her mother's home for forty-eight hours. Was it 
to be rewritten or to be reprinted as it was, a simple 
emanation from police headquarters? It was impossible 
to condense it. City Editor Magner said: 

"Colonel Thomas, the reason that item is so brief is 
that it came into that morning newspaper office too late 
to be expanded or inquired into. It is now your pleasant 
duty to discover that young lady and her family and 
write an extended report of the case." 

I went immediately to the girl's home, a rear apart- 
ment well out on Cass Avenue, one of the poorer quar- 
ters of the city, where I found the anxious mother, her 
eyes red from weeping, confined to the little apartment 
by her domestic duties. She confirmed the item, an- 
swered my questions, gave me a photograph of the girl. 
Beyond this there was nothing upon which to proceed. 


The girl's intimate friends were near at hand and had 
all been seen. There was no young man in the case, so 
far as mother or friends knew. There was at home no 
particular disappointment further than the daily grind 
of poverty. 

I started walking down Cass Avenue in the direction of 
the nearest police station, which was to be my next call. 
It was about ten o'clock of a summer morning. A dingy 
street-car with two lazy horses jingled past me, going in 
the same direction, the conductor lolling on the back 
rail. Seated in the car were two laughing girls, the only 
passengers. As I caught their expression I smiled in the 
involuntary human response that is perhaps still a trick 
with youngish people. Then something familiar in the 
face of one of the girls fixed my attention and hooked up 
with the photograph I had in my pocket. 

I ran after the car and boarded it. The girls grew 
serious with resentment of this procedure, which seemed 
more than they had invited. I addressed the one in par- 
ticular: "Is your name Mamie Kelly?" and saw at once 
by the expression of both girls that I had found the mis- 
sing daughter. I sat down, told Mamie of her mother's 
unhappiness, of the police hunt for her, the item in the 
morning paper. The girl was contrite for her truancy 
and immediately ready to go home. 

The car was stopped, we took one in the opposite di- 
rection, and a few minutes later I turned Mamie Kelly 
over to her mother, who wrung my hand and patted my 
shoulders with the inarticulate gratitude of a rescued 
animal. I stayed long enough to get the girl's story, 
which was one of a simple temporary revolt against the 
hard conditions of a monotonous life. I returned to the 
office, a fortunate full-fledged detective journalist, to 


make my report. There were only two or three of the 
ten or twelve local men still in the rooms. 

"Well?" said Magner. 

"I found her." 

He called into the next room, "Hey, Moore, Thomas 
has found that Kelly girl !" The managing editor joined 

"Where did you find her?" 

"On a Cass Avenue street-car." 

"Where is she now?" 

"At home." 

"How did she get there?" 

"I took her there." 

With a look of disgust, Magner turned back to his 

Moore went into his room. 

"What shall I write about it?" I asked. 

Magner said: "Not a damn thing! But who ever 
told you that you belonged in the newspaper busi- 

Out on the deserted route between the justices of the 
peace I met Bicycle Hicks, one of our reporters, who had 
rather taken me under his wing in the office. Bicycle 
Hicks was so called because he was one of the few men 
in the city and the only one on a newspaper who pos- 
sessed a bicycle, which at that time was a machine with 
a front wheel sixty inches in diameter and a Hogarthian 
spine that ran from the saddle above the big wheel to 
a little trailer wheel behind, perhaps a foot high. His 
department was churches and the sterilized edges of 
athletics. Among my male acquaintances he was the 
original woman suffragist, prohibitionist, and anti-cigar- 
ette advocate; a staring, ingenuous enthusiast. When 


I last heard from him he was editing the Army and Navy 

At the street meeting I speak of I asked Bicycle Hicks 
what had been wrong with my report; what it was that 
the newspaper had expected me to do with that lost girl. 
He said he didn't know, but thought it was something 
extraordinary that would have furnished the paper with 
exclusive and worth-while news. He then told me, as 
an indicative incident, of a reporter who had been highly 
commended for having carried the body of a dead man 
which he found on a deserted street into a near-by empty 
building, so that after writing understandingly concerning 
the inquiry which the disappearance of this man occa- 
sioned he was able as a representative of his paper wisely 
to reason out and discover the hiding-place of the body, 
and to clear up the mystery which he had created. 

Hicks told me also of another enterprising reporter, 
who had obtained indirectly the stolen rninute-books of 
a St. Louis grand jury that was investigating some polit- 
ical bribery cases and had then carried these books to 
a near-by town in the State of Illinois outside the juris- 
diction of the court to which they appertained, and from 
this safe retreat had sent in daily installments transcribed 
from their records, to the great embarrassment of the 
machinery of justice, but to the renown of the paper to 
which the reporter was attached. 

Thomas Jefferson, writing from Paris to Mr. Edward 
Carrington in 1787, said: "Were it left to me to decide 
whether we should have a government without news- 
papers, or newspapers without a government, I should 
not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter." 

It seemed to me that to take the stolen records of a 
grand jury and print them defiantly was a practice which 


if persisted in would soon reduce a country to the alter- 
native that Mr. Jefferson had preferred. I felt also that 
the desirability to have something to print scarcely justi- 
fied its manufacture at this excessive cost to the subjects; 
but as I went on in the business observation convinced 
me that newspaper men who go to unethical extremes 
in the manufacture of news are in a very decided 
minority, and that many of the enterprises which they 
inaugurate in order to have something to print make 
the newspapers not only organs of publicity but fre- 
quently great constructive factors. 

One rule on that early Pulitzer paper, the parent of 
the present New York World, was that nothing was to 
be printed reflecting or commenting upon any man's 
nationality or religion, whether for comic purposes or 
otherwise. It would be difficult successfully to deny 
the wisdom of this requirement or the justice of it. 

One day a despondent German in the northern district 
of the city, self-persuaded that the future life held 
nothing hotter for him than that St. Louis August, killed 
his wife and four children and then shot himself. The 
scene was three miles away, and the hour was nearly 
three in the afternoon. In the rickety hack that billowed 
us over that distance of rutted macadam dust and oblique 
hurdles of street-car tracks, Johnny Jennings, the senior 
of our group, assigned to each man his proper depart- 
ment, such as cause of the crime, description of scene, 
neighbors and comment, police and coroner. I drew 
neighbors and comment. Each reporter, as he got his 
information, hunted a near-by telephone and talked his 
stuff" to a relay man in the office. It was exciting at the 
time, but my collaborator on the office end was a matter- 
of-fact person with a passion for extracts. And when 


I read the finished and assembled and printed product 
an hour later the whole tragedy, as far as I was con- 
cerned, was a disappointment and a waste of material. 

That incident relates immediately to the lesson one 
learns early on a newspaper that all material must 
adapt itself to the hourly changes in the paper's require- 
ments. Oscar Wilde, being asked slightly to shorten 
"Lady Windermere's Fan," sighed as he took his blue 
crayon to comply, "Who am I to trifle with a classic?'* 
But for the newspaper, classic, epic, and chef-d'oeuvre 
watch their step, move up in front or change cars at com- 
mand of city editor and make-up man. 

One other thing I learned was that material good else- 
where might never be of value on the paper. In addi- 
tion to the daily work expected of each man certain of us 
were supposed to turn in what was called a special for 
the weekly edition, an elaborated and extended write- 
up of some department, or now and then a more frank 
attempt at fiction. One such contribution of mine was 
a little dramatic sketch called "A Man of the World." 
Magner laughed at the form, and the sketch did not ap- 
pear in the paper. Months afterward, when George 
Johns, during Magner's vacation, was again acting city 
editor, he dug this sketch from a drawer of dusty dis- 
cards and returned it to me, saying he thought it too good 
to be lost. 

In 1890 Mr. A. M. Palmer, at the Madison Square 
Theatre, produced a short comedy called "Aunt Jack," 
in which the principal members of his company, includ- 
ing Agnes Booth and James H. Stoddart, were appear- 
ing. Maurice Barrymore, on the salary list, was, how- 
ever, out of this bill. After two or three curtain-raisers 
had been submitted to him and found unsatisfactory, he 


carried this sketch to Mr. Palmer, and it was put on 
ahead of "Aunt Jack." I received a royalty of fifty dol- 
lars a week for it the rest of that season, and when "Aunt 
Jack" went on the road the following year Mr. Joe Ha- 
worth played Mr. Barrymore's part in my curtain-raiser. 
Mr. Barrymore also played it in vaudeville, where suc- 
cessively his sons, Lionel and Jack, each made his first 
appearance in the theatre in one of its minor parts. I 
should roughly estimate my receipts from it at three 
thousand dollars. Of course the adaptability of the ma- 
terials to their respective demands must be taken into 
consideration, but the incident is an example of the dis- 
parity between the early pecuniary rewards in the two 

If forced to choose, however, between the royalties for 
"A Man of the World " and the things I learned as a 
reporter I'd promptly take the training. To write of 
the events of interest in that training would fill a book. 
This article may not even identify them. An obligation 
exists, however, to tell clearly such experiences as put 
permanent dents into my articulating mentality. These 
experiences fall broadly into two departments: The 
technic of the game and the incidents it dealt with the 
first central, the second environmental. I don't think 
the Post-Dispatch made that ostentatious claim to good 
English that the Sun under Charles Dana was supposed 
to make, but its editors were educated and exacting men. 
A reporter soon quit writing "those kind," and his ob- 
jective cases gradually made fewer and less ambitious 
tries at the active; but I don't remember so much fuss 
over split infinitives as some nouveaux purists make. 
Maybe our editors had somewhat of that deeper culture 
which made the late Thomas R. Lounsbury of Yale and 


the American Academy defend the divided infinitive not 
only as scholarly and time honored, but as often the more 
expressive form. 

We reporters also learned a concentration of attention 
which gradually calmed down from frenzied resistance to 
a self-respecting exclusion. The typewriters that make 
such a bedlam of modern offices were not then installed. 
But as the hour approached the make-up the rush in 
the office was the same as the modern rush: boys calling 
for copy; men from the current sensations arriving with 
their verbal condensations to the city editor; shouted 
consultations; and perhaps another element in that 
smaller city that may not be present now the invasion 
of the room by men who might be affected by the news 
calling to secure its modification or suppression; these 
and the dozen other confusions all were there, surging 
around the reporter who was to have them accelerate 
rather than retard his part of some report that he was 
scratching on the cheap print paper. More than once 
since then at a dress rehearsal and its attendant hubbub 
I have been thankful for such of that control as was then 
acquired, which has helped me to sit at a music-stand 
in the orchestra pit and patch up some limping scene. 

Let me tell of certain influencing contemporaries on 
the Post-Dispatch. Although it is preferable to deduce 
character from revealing incidents, just as it is amusing 
to infer the outline of the lady on the barn door from the 
scars made by the knife-thrower, some facts concerning 
our regular city editor, John Magner, cannot possibly 
be inferred and should therefore be told, because a city 
editor more than any other man on a paper determines 
the relation of a new reporter to his business. 

Some congenital or youthful calamity had seriously 


crippled one side of him, arm and leg. This affliction, 
as is not infrequently the case, had produced a compen- 
sating, and therefore gratifying accompaniment of in- 
creased intellectual acuteness, a mental scalpel and bis- 
toury attack of every problem, and carrying a touch of 
acid. But the dissecting and cauterizing qualities were 
salved by a never-failing emollitive humor. 

I can see Magner now sitting at his desk in that second- 
story room, from which three windows looked on Market 
Street and across to the facade of the Grand Opera 
House, turning in his swivel chair for some pointed in- 
struction or corrosive inquiry, his blue pencil in the left 
hand, by which he had to operate it, and his swift gesture 
as with the same hand he agitated a reddish pompadour 
that looked like a brush of rusty iron. 

The desk that I used for a year or more was imme- 
diately behind this swivel chair, and faced the middle 
window for neither reason a coveted location. To 
Magner's left on the right-angled wall was Mike Lane, 
our sporting reporter. Lane was an able person not in- 
sensible to approval and with a great respect for Mag- 
ner's opinions. I recall a colloquy which gives a touch 
of both men. Lane had just put a bunch of copy on Mag- 
ner's desk. 

He said: "There's that stuff, John. I don't think 
much of it myself, and I don't believe that I am writing 
as well as I did two years ago." 

Magner made an unnecessary display of the excisions 
that he immediately began as he loudly answered: "Oh, 
yes, Mike, you do ! You write just as well as you ever 
did. But your taste is improving," and then the blue 
pencil slashed out another half-page before he quickly 
swung to me. 


I was bending over my own work, naturally amused, 
but I had not laughed aloud. His attention had been 
prompted solely by accurate suspicion, and here is his 
speech to me I give it because it contains an expression 
which has multiplied more prolifically than the Biblical 
grain of mustard-seed: 

"Colonel Thomas" Magner always conferred a mili- 
tary title on a prospective target "Colonel Thomas, 
you have a very sensitive dial. Sometimes you smile, 
sometimes you lift your eyebrows, sometimes you only 
shift your wrinkles. But you always register." 

The chorus in that quadrangle of desks gave him the 
response he had played for. But his dial illustration im- 
pressed me, and the word "register" was indelible. 

In 1891 at the rehearsals of "Alabama" at the Madi- 
son Square Theatre, and with Magner vaguely in mind, 
I found myself using "register" to the members of Mr. 
Palmer's company, whom Mr. Eugene Prestrey, the stage 
manager, was rehearsing, with occasional conferences 
with me. Presbrey consciously or unconsciously adopted 
and worked the word until it became a matter of play- 
ful comment with the people he rehearsed then and after- 
ward. It was repeated by him and others more and more 
frequently through the years, until now that it has en- 
tirely saturated the nomenclature of the movies both 
seriously and in burlesque I am wondering if its inundat- 
ing start was not back at that rivulet from the corner desk 
in the old Post-Dispatch rooms on Market Street 

Except for the anodyne of intervening years it would 
be depressing to go on recording one's repeated failures 
to measure up to editorial expectations. But at the ex- 
pense of my vanity I must tell of my first political con- 
vention and therein of two ineptitudes, or, in modern 


parlance, of two bones that I pulled. This nominating 
convention was held in Jefferson City. I attended as 
one of the Post-Dispatch corps of reporters, some three 
or four altogether. The permanent chairman of the con- 
vention, a clean-shaven man named James Hagerman, 
was elected about noon of the opening day. His resem- 
blance to an amateur theatrical friend of mine in St. 
Louis was so striking that a person knowing both might 
address either as the other one. I persuaded Jennings 
of this fact and got him to wire Magner at the St. Louis 
office to get a photograph of Dan Bordley, of a well- 
known wholesale tobacco company on Vine Street, and 
print it as a portrait of Hagerman. This was enterpris- 
ing, and should have been scored to my credit; but when 
the newspaper of that afternoon reached Jefferson City, 
and circulated in the convention next morning with its 
alleged portrait of Hagerman, it was ridiculous, because 
Bordley, not understanding the requirement, had fur- 
nished the paper with a character portrait of himself 
wearing a huge mustache. It was hopeless to try to point 
out the resemblance in the uncovered features of the 

This said convention was meeting in the Represen- 
tatives' Hall, where I had been a page. In the big room 
nothing seemed to have been changed; the colossal por- 
traits flanking the speaker's dai's were there; the run 
at the back way to the document room; the large, re- 
sounding cuspidors under the individual desks. I felt 
disarmingly at home. The nominations had progressed 
to a vote upon the candidate for attorney-general. Our 
choice was a bon vivant by the name of Nat Dryden, 
whose free-handed fellowship had made him a favorite 
in nearly every newspaper office in the State. Represen- 

tatives of these newspapers sat about the tables, where 
we were some thirty in number. Our private tally of 
the roll call in strokes of five like little garden gates told 
us the ballot before the clerk was ready officially to an- 
nounce it. It was undecisive. The newspaper men were 
anxious for the outcome. 

In the interim occasioned by the count I was conscious 
of no impropriety in getting up and saying to the con- 
vention that they would be called upon to vote again in 
a few minutes, and that the entire press of the State was 
in favor of Nat Dry den. As the entire press of the State 
had been somewhat critical of all of these small politicians 
now convened, my statement was not helpful, nor was it 
in order, as the pounding gavel of the smooth-faced Mr. 
Hagerman informed me. 

This oratorical ebullition, coupled with the substituted 
picture, decided the man in control of our staff. When 
the next bundle of longhand copy went east to St. Louis 
I carried it, and resumed my patrol among the real-estate 
offices, the school board, the empty studios, and tired 
hopes of a call from the New York play market. 


In all these times and amidst these duties I never quite 
lost sight of the theatrical objective. Any mail might 
bring word of the sale of "The Burglar" in New York. 
Any week might bring Eddie Sothern and his company 
to St. Louis, where there would be a possible consulta- 
tion about it; and always just across the street were 
the inviting doors of the Grand Opera House, with 
George McManus in its box-office and John Norton on 
its stage. How cool its classic shade ! How respectable 
and dignified its purpose ! 

One week Mary Anderson came there after her trium- 
phant visit to England. She brought with her a company 
of Englishmen headed by the present Sir J. Forbes-Rob- 
ertson. Mary's earliest triumphs had been in St. Louis, 
and her first supporting company had been that of 
Johnny Norton, though before my time as his leading 
juvenile. There were still thousands of people in the 
city who were her admirers, and hundreds who were her 
personal friends. The paper decided to make a spread 
on her opening performance. I was detailed to get be- 
hind the curtain and report the first night from that 

As the order came late, the best way was to go to the 
super captain, pay the fee already agreed upon to a super 
who would let me take his place, and also pass a small 
tip to the captain himself. At the proper time I found 


myself in a hauberk, a pair of dirty woollen tights, and 
otherwise arrayed as one of the retainers in "The Win- 
ter's Tale." 

Miss Anderson's stage-manager was an Englishman 
named Montgomery, to whom I had often given his letters 
at Pope's box-office, and who I feared would recognize 
me; but he did not. I was herded with his fifty-cent 
roughnecks, some of them making their first appear- 
ance; and once when told to stand "dowser," and I 
had not moved fast enough to suit Mr. Montgomery he 
had given me an admonitory touch with his toe on the 
fuller side of my trunks. 

This was a good deal of an indignity for the represen- 
tative of a great daily paper, parent of the New York 
World, said representative an American leading man and 
ex-star in disguise, and author of two unproduced dramas 
a great indignity to take from a visiting Englishman, 
forty years of age and out of condition; but remember- 
ing what was expected of me in the newspaper office and 
the dying Nelson's statement of England's general ex- 
pectation from every man, I stood "dowser," and got 
ready for the second act. 

Just then General William Tecumseh Sherman, who 
was an old friend of the tragedienne, came from the side 
door toward Mary's dressing-room with both hands out- 
stretched. The star met him on the stage and took his 
hands, and the general kissed her in good round fashion. 
This kind of greeting was not new to General Sherman, 
who was then arriving at that privileged epoch in which 
the French describe a man as gaga. Montgomery, in 
the centre of the stage, with us super men lined up and 
waiting, whispered to little Napier Lothian of Boston, 
travelling with the company in some advisory capacity, 


"Who is the old gentleman in uniform who just kissed 
the star?" 

Lothian answered in a whisper, "General Sherman." 


"No! Sherman great general." 

"Ow!" Montgomery looked critically at Sherman, 
turned back to Lothian and asked, "As great a general 
as Wolseley?" 

"Wolseley!" said Lothian with disdain. "Why, 
Wolseley isn't a patch on this fellow's trousers!" 

"Now down't you say that, my boy! Down't you 
say that!" And Montgomery extended his hand in 
a gesture of caution which meant, "Go no further." 

This incident was the tenderloin of my written ac- 
count next day, and was especially acceptable to Mag- 
ner. Frequently after that, during my stay on the paper, 
when we had a new spectator or auditor in the room Mag- 
ner would demand a verbal report of this colloquy, and 
insist upon a dramatical imitation of both men. Magner 
was as anti-British as Judge Dan Cohalan. 

During the dull spells in local news the paper increased 
the number of its illustrations. This was partly because 
it would occupy some of my time, as I was put to helping 
the artist, Steitz. I have described in earlier papers the 
method of making pictures on boxwood by cutting out 
the white parts of the wooden field, and have referred 
to photo-engravings which were made by washing out 
the white parts from a gelatin field affected by the chem- 
ical action of light. The pictures in the Post-Dispatch 
were made by a third process, in its kind a reversal of 
these two methods. This was called the chalk process. 
The artist drew his lines with a sharp point through a 
deposit of specially prepared chalk precipitated upon zinc 


plates, which were then used as moulds upon which 
stereotype metal, poured hot, hardened into plates that 
printed exactly as the ordinary letter type. The method 
was hard on the draftsman, because the chalk, which 
turned to dust under his strokes, had to be blown away 
after each mark in order to let him see the shining metal 
of the exposed plate, which after all made a poor con- 
trast to the white field. 

Both Steitz and I used to look with envy and covetous- 
ness at the daily copy of the younger paper owned by 
the Pulitzer company, the New York World, which came 
to us fresh' each morning and was spread on our care- 
fully guarded files, generously supplied as each edition 
was with illustrations made by photographing the artist's 
unimpeded pen work, and having the further advantage 
of reduction from large originals, whereas our chalk plates 
had to be drawn to the exact size and limits of our 

It was the custom of the New York paper at that time 
to illustrate its current news with little run-in cuts made 
by its admirable autographic process; little outline illus- 
trations sometimes taking less than half the width of 
the column, but so pat and referable to the text carrying 
them that they were a pleasure to the reader. Some- 
thing in policy or process has now banished these little 

In that winter of 1885-1886 there was going on in the 
city of New York the trial of General Alexander Shaler, 
charged with accepting bribes while a member of the 
militia board of New York from the owner of certain 
parcels of ground selected as sites for armories. The 
New York papers were treating him and his defense with 
a levity that made amusing reading even in the Middle 


West, where there was no other interest in the trial. Ex- 
perts in our St. Louis office were divided in their guesses 
at the writer of these excellent reports, the weight of 
opinion being for Joseph Howard, Jr., a writer then fre- 
quently signing exclusive and syndicated stuff, and held 
up by all editors as an example to the local men. 

Referring to these reports years afterward, to Joe How- 
ard himself, he disclaimed their credit and pointed to 
Henry Guy Carleton, who was sitting with us. Carleton 
was then receiving congratulations for his play "Ambi- 
tion," which Nat Goodwin was doing at the Fifth Avenue 
Theatre, a block above Valkenburg's Cafe, in which we 
were. Thus prompted, Carleton told of Shaler's in- 
dignation one morning at the descriptive phrase, "His 
eyes looked as though they had just been taken from 
the oven and buttered." With the paper in his hand, 
Shaler had left his place in the court-room and, shaking 
his finger in the face of the World's routine man at the 
reporters' table, denounced the whole reportorial tribe, 
while Carleton, the guilty writer, was safely seated among 
the spectators. 

But the New York World of that time held for me 
each day an interest transcending those comic reports. 
Robert Man tell was winning praise in "The Marble 
Heart" at the Fifth Avenue Theatre, and a letter to me 
from Will Smythe said that he was considering the ad- 
visability of following that drama with "The Burglar." 
Pauline Hall, who had been in the Yokes company three 
summers before when we played "In Camp," and had 
been refused the transient hotel rates along with West- 
ford and myself at the Matteson House in Chicago, 
was now starring jointly with Francis Wilson at the 
Casino in "Erminie," which had reached its three-hun- 
dredth performance on Broadway. 


Rosina Vokes, who had left Fred before his tryout of 
that same piece while she went to England, was back 
with her own excellent little company, playing "The 
School Mistress" at the Standard Theatre. "Muldoon's 
Picnic," the comedy our company had appropriated for 
performances in Canada and New Orleans, was crowding 
Tony Pastor's Theatre, with Barry and Fay in their 
proper roles. Salsbury's Troubadours, after which we 
had modelled our now disbanded company, was playing 
"The Humming Bird" at the Star Theatre. 

James O'Neil, with whom Delia Fox had made her 
first appearance in "The Celebrated Case," was begin- 
ning at Booth's Theatre in New York his run of "Monte 
Cristo," which was to serve him as a vehicle for some 
twenty years thereafter. Sarah Bernhardt, who had 
been our Sketch Club guest at the picture gallery in St. 
Louis, was giving for the first time a farewell tour which 
was to be repeated at intervals for the next thirty years. 
Minnie Maddern, in whom I felt more than a passing 
interest because she had been such a favorite at Pope's 
Theatre, and because Tom Davy, who had been in part- 
nership with my father in New Orleans when I was a lad, 
had subsequently become her father, was playing "Ca- 
price," by Howard Taylor, at the Bijou Opera House. 

Robson and Crane, friendship with whom I had formed 
in the old art-gallery days, and who had done much to 
inspire me and my companions in our theatrical ven- 
tures, were playing Bronson Howard's record-breaking 
comedy, "The Henrietta," at the Union Square Theatre. 
Will Gillette had quit his amusing play, "The Professor," 
and with "Held by the Enemy," the first and best of 
the war plays, was rivalling the concurrent success of 
Bronson Howard. 


But the most interesting item of all if I had had the 
gift of prophecy would have been the fact that Edwin 
Booth and Lawrence Barrett were beginning their joint 
starring venture under the management of Arthur B. 
Chase in the tour that was to have as one of its incidents, 
as already hinted, my own elimination as a budding news- 
paper proprietor. 

These theatrical events in New York, distracting as 
they were to a would-be dramatist in St. Louis, were 
helped in their irritating insistence by their summary 
that our then theatrical man, George Sibley Johns, now 
managing editor, made every week for the Saturday 

Many big newspaper stories broke that year, carrying 
valuable material for a would-be playwright. I got the 
backbone of "In Mizzoura," in which Nat Goodwin 
starred in 1893, from the Jim Cummings express rob- 
bery. Cummings, whose right name was Whitlock, had 
forged an order upon a Missouri Pacific express mes- 
senger to carry him deadhead from St. Louis to Vinita, 
and had climbed with this authority into the express car 
as the train was leaving the Union Station. He had 
helped the messenger sort his packages until a good 
chance came to poke a gun into his cheek and tell him to 
be quiet while being tied. Then Cummings had stepped 
off in the dark at a water-tank with a suitcase packed 
with one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars in 

When Cummings was finally arrested, and in the same 
cell in the Fourcourts where I had gone to visit John 
Cockerill after the shooting of Slayback, he and I became 
well acquainted. Two features of his exploit that I ad- 
mired were his motive for it and his rehearsal of the per- 


formance. The motive was to get four thousand dollars 
to lift a mortgage his mother had put on her home to 
start him in the coal business. 

Knowing that he would reach this water-tank and 
drop off in the night, his rehearsal was to go over the 
route of his escape, about twelve miles of rough country 
to the Missouri River, twice once in the daylight to 
determine it, and once at night to master its difficulties 
under that condition. It was only when later he got to 
extemporizing that he fell into difficulty and was cap- 
tured. For a successful run full rehearsals are necessary. 

Another celebrated case was the murder of an Eng- 
lishman named Preller by a fellow Englishman, Maxwell, 
who needed the money, and who left a trunk containing 
Preller's body with the hotel as security for his board- 
bill. I made an incidental use of this in the "Earl of 
Pawtucket" for Lawrence D'Orsay in 1903. 

Other incidents, character bits, and situations in that 
newspaper work, too numerous and detached for pres- 
ent description, helped pack a mental record upon which 
I drew more or less for some sixty plays, big and little. 

Along in this first Post-Dispatcb winter came what 
was called the Great Southwestern Railroad strike, 
handled from the labor end by the consequently notori- 
ous Martin Irons. This started over the discharge of 
one union man. When manifestations at the Missouri 
Pacific yards between Grand and Summit Avenues in 
St. Louis required a second reporter to help cover them 
I was sent to the scene. Among the captains handling 
the labor forces I met two of the old K. C. & N. Railroad 
men who had served as junior officers in the Knights of 
Labor assembly over which I had presided as master 
workman some ten years before. By them I was enabled 


to sit in the back room of a little cake and ice-cream shop 
on Chouteau Avenue and write up all the big events of 
a physical nature in that district some hours before their 
occurrence; to send these reports to the newspaper and 
have them on the galleys ready to put into the forms and 
print upon the telephonic release. Some sensations hap- 
pening as late as four o'clock in the afternoon, with the 
paper held for their promised performance, and then 
able immediately to go upon the street with a detailed 
account of them, took place two or three miles away 
from the quiet crossing patrolled by the police and fel- 
low reporters. 

I was never at liberty to tell my sources of informa- 
tion, but the paper, after the first confirming result, gave 
me its confidence. The only concession I had to make 
for this exclusive information was not to give the strikers 
the worst of it. For two weeks the Post-Dispatch led in 
this privileged fashion; and then one morning, getting 
off the train, which usually slowed down at Summit 
Avenue, but on this particular occasion, avoiding an 
expected assault, pumped up a speed of some thirty miles, 
I stepped onto a crossing covered with oak planking worn 
to bristling splinters. One of these ran through a break 
in the defective half sole and lining of a shoe and pinned 
me long enough to retard my technic. It also sent me 
to the hospital. Another man took my job at the crossing, 
and there was a turnover in the paper's treatment of that 
local situation. When I came back to work, these ex- 
clusive reports, bunched along with the good work of 
the staff, had taken me a little out of the awkward squad. 

I wish that what I have next to record could be written 
in the third person; wish that I were writing of somebody 
else or that the yarn didn't sound so like the small-boy 


stories of the despised bush-league pitcher called from 
the big-team bench to save the deciding game of the 
championship series. And, as it is, I'm going to ham- 
string every dramatic trick in the telling of it. I'm go- 
ing to draw all the climactic fizz from it now by saying 
to start with that one Saturday afternoon I was the low- 
score man on the local staff of the Post-Dispatch, and 
that twelve days later, because a talented and honest 
and earnest woman happened also to be vain enough to 
pretend to a knowledge of elementary Latin which she 
didn't have, a committee of politicians and bankers and 
otherwise sane citizens were trying to give me in fee 
simple a going newspaper and fifty thousand dollars in 
cash under the misapprehension that I was responsible 
for nearly all the business success of Joseph Pulitzer, to 
whom I had never spoken. 

I have referred to the prominence in the journalistic 
world at that time of Mr. Joseph Howard, Jr., the New 
York feuilletonist. Either Johns or Jennings had in a 
generous moment of attempted encouragement men- 
tioned Howard's name in connection with my own, ob- 
serving of course the proper interval between the two. 
This mention had been seized upon by Magner as ma- 
terial for pleasantry, but there may be some truth in the 
maxim that every knock is a boost, because his ridicule 
fixed it in the mind of the managing editor, Moore, even 
though in distorted form. One morning about the latter 
part of March, 1887, Moore came into the local rooms 
with a telegram which he slowly handed to Magner. 
Magner read the telegram and looked at Moore, who 
waited expectantly. All of us reporters were watching 
both men covertly. Moore cautiously indicated me. 
Magner threw up his hands with an incredulous laugh, 


went to his swivel chair and again swung into the con- 
sultation. Moore laid the telegram in front of me. It 
was from Mr. Ballard Smith, managing editor of the 
New York World. It read: 

On Tuesday, April 5th, the women of Kansas will for the first time 
vote in the local elections. Send your best humorous writer and 
an artist at once to make a tour of the State to describe and illus- 
trate conditions in principal cities. Have them arrange with local 
men in each city to report by telegraph to a central point, say To- 
peka, on election day, from which place your reporter will telegraph 
us summaries of the results. 

When I had read it I looked over at Magner, who was 
grinning derisively, and then up to Moore, who stood 
beside me with a quite uncertain expression. 

I said: "Were you thinking of sending me?" 

Moore nodded. 

"In what capacity humorous writer or artist?" 

Moore answered, "Both." 

When I didn't faint at his reply he told me to follow 
him into his private office, where the arrangements were 
completed. It must be told in partial explanation that, 
as far as affairs on the paper were concerned, Moore was 
noted for his extreme economy. The chance to save the 
expenses and salary of one man on this proposed trip 
for two must have been a consideration. 

On the daylight run from St. Louis in the parlor-car, 
which had few passengers, a lady came from a chair at 
the other end to take away her little daughter of five or 
six, who she thought was annoying me. On the con- 
trary, I was much interested, as the child had said her 
home was in Leavenworth. The lady herself was a sister 
of Mayor S. F. Neely of that city, who was a candidate 
for reelection. She was going home to vote for him. 


During the afternoon I got from her a better insight into 
the politics in the State from a woman's point of view 
than I could have got perhaps by two or three days' un- 
aided reportorial inquiry. Getting to Leavenworth that 
night, I made Mayor Neely's acquaintance under these 
favorable conditions also, and after a day there started 
over the State. I made the prescribed tour, sent in 
stories and drawings to the New York World, and it was 
fun to be able to draw freely with a pen for publication 
for the first time without an interfering medium. 

On Saturday, April 2, I returned to Leavenworth, and 
called at the house of D. R. Anthony, brother of Susan 
B., to see Mrs. Helen M. Gouger, the militant suffragist 
who had organized the Republican women of Kansas. 
Mrs. Gouger was in good spirits, because it was felt by 
her party associates that they would carry the State and 
that Mayor Neely, the Democratic candidate in the city 
of Leavenworth, would be defeated by three thousand 
majority. The mayor himself privately conceded an ex- 
pected defeat by twenty-five hundred. 

I had chosen Leavenworth as my headquarters for 
election day because of its nearness to Kansas City for 
one reason, and largely because of my new friendship 
for Mayor Neely and the comfortable quarters at the 
Hotel Delmonico, kept at that time by two Italian 
brothers named Giacomini. 

For herself, Mrs. Gouger said that she was there be- 
cause Leavenworth was the Sodom of America. I called 
her attention to the significance and the gravity of this 
characterization, both of which she said she knew and 
stood for; told her the statement was to be printed in 
the New York World. As it would not appear before 
Tuesday morning, she gave her full permission for its 


publication. Answering further questions, she said 
Leavenworth deserved that characterization because the 
upper strata of its female population had been corrupted 
by the proximity of the military post of Fort Leaven- 
worth, with its officers. I knew that both these state- 
ments, the Sodom characterization and the charge against 
the military, were loaded, and hesitated to repeat them 
even with her permission. Back at the hotel I inquired 
of Neely if there was ground for the statement, and, in 
the slang of the day, he hit the ceiling. 

My room that night was invaded by consecutive com- 
mittees of citizens asking me to confirm this report which 
Neely had rather liberally passed on. In one of these 
committees, unknown to me, was a reporter for the Kan- 
sas City Times. That paper appeared on Sunday morn- 
ing with a vivid article calling upon the citizens of 
Leavenworth to defend their homes against this slander, 
and a free copy was laid at every door in the city. As 
I was comfortably taking a late breakfast in the hotel 
dining-room Monday morning a square-toed visitor 
touched me on the shoulder and told me he had a war- 
rant for my arrest. 

Remembering Don Cesar de Bazan, Elliott Gray, Sir 
Francis Levison, and other theatrical leading gentlemen 
of self-control, I tried to emulate them. Not allowing 
this startling news to seem to interrupt my breakfast, I 
asked why I was to be taken, and was shown a warrant 
for my arrest upon the charge of criminal libel. The 
constable consented to wait in the doorway and watch 
me finish my meal. While I Fletcherized everything 
and ordered more, I sent for a proprietor of the hotel, 
and he and his brother despatched messengers to find 
Mayor Neely. 


As the constable and I approached Judge Plowman's 
court policemen had to make way for us through a crowd 
which was threatening. One tough individual with an 
unshaven jaw close to my face asked if the World had 
sent me to Kansas to fight the Knights of Labor. With- 
out speaking, I gave what had been the secret signs of 
membership when I was a master workman of the 
Knights of Labor. It seemed these signs had been super- 
seded, and my use of them rather increased his anger 
and that of his gang. I got into the court and in front 
of the judge, however, unpunched. It was a serious situa- 
tion for the artist and the humorous writer for the World 
and Post-Dispatch. To paraphrase Mansfield's Prince 
Karl, "I was two men, and she arrests me both." 

I looked about for Mayor Neely. No friend was in 
sight. I began to write a telegram reporting the situa- 
tion as briefly as possible to the St. Louis office. As I 
wrote, the prosecuting attorney addressed the court. 
He was asking for an adjournment of the case until 
Wednesday. The judge asked if that was agreeable to 
me. I answered that it was, but as I spoke a card was 
put on the telegram I was framing. 

The man holding it said: "I am your attorney." 

The judge announced, "Then this case is adjourned 
until " 

My new friend of the card interrupted him. 

"Pardon, Your Honor, we demand immediate hear- 

"But your client has asked for an adjournment to 

I, too, begged His Honor's pardon and said I had not 
made any request. Personally I wanted to be agreeable; 
but my attorney, Mr. Thomas P. Fenlon, would conduct 


my case with no interference on my part. After another 
interchange by the lawyers a recess was taken by the 

Except for its mere outline, this was all rather mean- 
ingless to me until I was again through the threatening 
crowd and safe in the office of ex-United States Senator 
Lucian Baker, associated with the Honorable Thomas 
P. Fenlon. Then I learned that the prosecution hoped 
only to get the case over and beyond election day, and 
that the town was already being covered with hand- 
bills containing an account of the criminal proceedings 
against me and announcing that the slanderer was in 

The news of the World man's arrest had followed the 
morning papers to Fort Leavenworth, where Mrs. 
Gouger's published charges against the army officers of 
that post had released a hornet's nest. Those officers 
could take no immediate action in defense of their own 
good repute and the reputations of the Leavenworth 
ladies who had received them socially, but they were 
not unable to show their colors. When Judge Plowman's 
court came to order after recess the equal crowd that 
packed it was of another complexion than that of the 
morning rabble of political strikers. Closely around its 
sides stood a row of commissioned officers, every one in 
his best dress uniform of the old army blue and gold; 
and they were grim of face, those fighting fellows. 

The case opened. Mrs. Gouger, on the stand, didn't 
wish to deny her statement that the upper strata of 
Leavenworth's female society was corrupted by the 
Leavenworth post. She had been decided upon her 
charge against me by my exaggeration in changing 
"strata" to "stratum." When she found under the 


ironic cross-examination of Baker that "stratum" was 
the singular not the plural, of her Latin noun, the poor 
lady burst into tears. 

The case was dismissed and in a little while Leaven- 
worth was again covered with handbills issued by the 
Neely camp, saying, "Mrs. Gouger repeats her slanders 
in court." 

It is difficult at this distance of time and territory to 
appreciate the agitation that this charge of immorality 
and corruption made upon that social section. That 
afternoon and again next morning, election day, both 
the Leavenworth and the Kansas City papers dwelt 
sensationally upon the gravity of Mrs. Gouger's accusa- 
tions, with the result that when the 'lines formed at the 
polls there was the unusual sight of the finest women in 
the city pleading with their humbler sisters who worked 
for them as laundresses, maids, or in other domestic 
relations to come to their rescue and resent this slan- 

It was an exciting day, and when the polls closed 
everybody knew that Neely had not lost by any twenty- 
five hundred. At 7.30 the report came in that he had 
lost by only thirty-one votes, and then, a half hour later, 
after some intense scrutiny, the final result was an- 

Neely winner by a majority of sixteen ! 

Neely had represented the liberal tendencies of the 
community and of course the municipal organizations, 
and when the sixteen majority was a settled fact at about 
8:30 that night fire bells rang, engine companies turned 
out, their red-shirted crews came to the Delmonico Hotel 
and in a kind of Mardigras excitement ran their hose 
through all the building. I don't know just what that 


symbolized, but along with their yelling and the brass 
bands and the military on leave it was one more variety 
of emotional outlet. As the excitement mounted there 
was a call for the representative of the New York World, 
and despite protests I was carried by those firemen and 
Mayor Neely's managers to the balcony of the hotel, 
from which I was refused egress until I had made some 
sort of speech to the crowd. 

This whole thing has a Munchausen ring to it; but it 
is in the musty files of those old papers, and I can't escape 
it if I am going to tell truthfully the things that have 
seemed to affect my course, guided as it was, like that of 
the beetle, principally by collisions. Wednesday was 
another large day, and on Thursday evening there was 
a victor's banquet organized by the local banker, Mr. 
M. H. Insley, who with Mayor Neely owned a majority 
of the stock of the afternoon paper, the Leavenworth 
Standard. There were about forty of the principal busi- 
ness men of the city at the table. In their speeches they 
explained the secret of the great Pulitzer successes. It 
was having priceless men like me beside him and mak- 
ing it worth-while for them to stay there. The next day 
Mayor Neely and Mr. Insley and two others who made 
up the big four came to the hotel and offered me The 
Evening Standard and fifty thousand dollars with which 
to get additional equipment if I would stay in Leaven- 
worth and edit the paper in the same vigorous way in 
which I had just won the recent campaign. As we talked 
about it a telegram came from Ballard Smith of the 

"Go at once to Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, where 
James G. Elaine is seriously ill at the home of his son- 
in-law, Colonel Coppinger. Send full reports." 


My good friend, Mayor Neely, and his banker partner 
said they would hold their offer open for me until my re- 
turn, and they did. I gave the banker a draft for rail- 
road fares to Gibson. 


In the spring of 1887 James G. Elaine was an impor- 
tant figure in the field of national politics. Less than 
three years before he had been defeated by Mr. Cleve- 
land by a very narrow margin. The State of New York 
had been lost to Elaine by a little more than one thou- 
sand votes. Shortly preceding the election the Rev- 
erend Doctor Burchard, a member of a committee of 
visiting ministers, had made an address in which he spoke 
of the opposition to Blaine as a party of Rum, Romanism, 
and Rebellion. This phrase, unnoticed by Blaine at the 
time, and unchallenged or uncorrected until it reached 
the public, had undoubtedly alienated at least the five 
hundred and odd votes in the State of New York upon 
which the election turned. 

But the tw"o years and more between that time and 
May of 1887 had in the public mind relieved Blaine of 
any responsibility for this utterance, and in a spirit of 
fairness there was a disposition over the country to give 
another chance to this gallant candidate. That he should 
be dangerously ill at an out-of-the-way military post in 
the southwest territory was of interest. 

Fort Gibson is nine miles from the little railroad sid- 
ing and telegraph office of Gibson. Instructed by the 
World to go to this place from Kansas, where I had been 
reporting the State elections, I found it necessary to 

make two round trips between the station and the fort 



each day, a total of thirty-six miles, on a little cow pony 
hired for the service. Along the trail the grass and spring 
flowers were showing profusely. The ride was pleasant, 
and during the week's stay in the quiet place it was agree- 
able in the saddle to think over the offer by the generous 
citizens of Leavenworth, under a total misapprehension 
on their part, to give me an afternoon newspaper. The 
prospect offered immeasurable possibilities to a man of 
thirty, not unfamiliar with politics and in thorough sym- 
pathy with the people of the section. But to accept the 
offer would mean the abandonment of a long-desired 
association with the theatre. It was a difficult choice. 
On one side was a property established and in the hand; 
on the other, a dream. 

In Gibson town, besides the station house, a dinky 
shed, at once passenger and freight depot, there were 
exactly two houses. One of them was occupied on its 
first floor by a small general grocery store and post-office, 
with two family rooms above. The second red frame of 
four rooms sheltered a squaw man and his full-blooded 
Cherokee wife, besides three or four small children and 
his handsome half-breed daughter, aged eighteen. There 
was no hotel, no boarding-house. In the squaw-man's 
house I shared one ground floor room with a great Dane 
watchdog. Before my coming he had had the bed to 
himself. He was a particular dog, and during my week 
there never grew fully reconciled to my using half of the 
bed. If I turned over in the night too vigorously he 
growled, but perhaps because I stopped promptly each 
time at his first growl he never bit me. 

The window was open. There was no lock on the door. 
Two or three times each night at irregular intervals the 
dog suddenly bounded through the window with terrify- 


ing barks, and, as I judged by their diminuendo, regu- 
lated some distant intrusion into what he held to be the 
home district of that wide prairie. After a while he would 
come grumbling back and resume his place on our bed, 
and like an English tourist turn around and over as much 
as he liked. Each morning I washed my face and hands 
in a tin basin on a bench outside the kitchen and combed 
my hair by the help of what reflection I could get in the 
window glass of the open door, while the Cherokee half- 
breed daughter asked me how I liked my eggs. 

That half-breed girl was one of the prettiest, best- 
mannered, best-educated girls I had seen anywhere. 
She was home at that season because the female seminary 
at Tahlequah had temporarily been put out of commis- 
sion by a fire. She had a senior high-school knowledge 
of English literature and its accompanying studies of 
that grade, and she specialized in French. Of the Indian 
mother I had only an occasional glimpse. The white 
father was busy with his planting. I was the only person 
at table for twenty-one meals, and this dusky beauty 
stood opposite me at each meal and talked down at me 
on all subjects wherein my dependence was upon books. 
About Wednesday she started in to improve my mind. 
There was a phrase in the Cherokee tongue that she 
wanted me to learn. I got it perfectly, although I for- 
got it years ago; but I shall never forget her roguish eyes, 
or the perfect teeth as she smiled in its repetitions. 

Women unchaperoned are the same the world over. 
She wasn't bold and she wasn't timid, but she wouldn't 
tell me the English of it. I did all I could with it 
in Cherokee, however, careful of course to let nobody 
else overhear me. I gave it all the insinuation a man 
could give any phrase of whose meaning he was still a 


bit uncertain. I repeated it while on the little buckskin 
pony so as not to forget it. An old Indian fighter at the 
post with whom I got friendly couldn't translate it. Fri- 
day night I resolved to take a chance. Two squaws were 
buying sugar at the grocery. The big storekeeper was 
speaking Cherokee to them. After they left I got near 
the door, because there are things a pretty girl can say 
to a stranger with more propriety than the stranger can 
claim in saying them to a general grocer with whiskers 
and a flannel shirt and a gun. 

I said, "Mr. Brown, will you translate a sentence in 
Cherokee for me?" 


I can see him now tidily wiping out the big sugar scoop 
on the scales with a soiled towel. The sun had gone 
down. Outside it was dark. He waited. I repeated the 
speech just as the girl had pronounced it to me, but with- 
out the teeth-and-eye business or any coquettishness, of 
course. I didn't want him to plead my impertinent man- 
ner as an additional excuse for violence. 

As I finished and he shook the sugar crumbs from the 
towel he said: "Oh, yes, that means, 'The Lord is my 
shepherd; I shall not want.' ' 

The next day Mr. Blaine was sufficiently recovered 
for me to leave him to local reports. Getting back to 
Kansas City I met by appointment our old advance 
man, Frank Hamilton. Hamilton was the owner of a 
weekly paper recently started, called the Kansas City 
Mirror. He was also the owner of a lease of a proposed 
theatre to be called the Warder Grand Opera House. 
He offered to give me one-half interest in both if I would 
help him in their management and would decline the 
Leavenworth offer. I returned to St. Louis, closed my 


relations with the Post-Dispatch, left it flat, and con- 
trary to the advice of my father, who thought the 
Leavenworth opportunity was the greater, joined Hamil- 
ton in his enterprises. 

As editor and half owner of his paper I had a drawing 
account of thirty dollars a week, partly commuted into 
a room and dinners at Hamilton's home. Breakfast and 
lunch I got outside. By Hamilton's advice, and follow- 
ing his sturdy example, my breakfast was uniformly a 
cup of coffee and a quarter section of pie. I had heard 
that certain real intellectuals in parts of New England 
had pie for breakfast apple pie, I thought but Hamil- 
ton explained that with its crust, its fruit, and its meat, 
mince pie had all that the human system required. I 
often recalled the story of the dyspeptic gentleman who 
to the maxim, "You can't eat your cake and have it 
too," replied that he could do just that; and to my own 
feeling of possession the generous alcoholic content of 
the mince pie in that locality and time added the vague 
feeling of a banquet the night before and a surviving 
aroma of popularity. 

The Kansas City Mirror was an eight-page paper of a 
somewhat larger sheet than the Saturday Evening Post. 
Four pages of what is called patent inside came to us 
already printed with matter about equally divided be- 
tween inferior fiction and national advertisements not 
entirely devoid of that element. The four outside pages 
I filled each week with original and selected matter, and 
some illustrations. I had an editorial column and a dra- 
matic department. I was more interested in the latter. 
The local news, wherever possible, was manipulated to 
forward the opera-house enterprise. The dramatic notes 
and gossip gave preference to the attractions that we had 
arranged for and others that we hoped to get. 


As the editor of the paper I met many old theatrical 
friends who came as members of the companies that 
visited Kansas City while the Warder Grand Opera 
House was being built. I also made new acquaintances. 
Among those the most lasting and agreeable was that 
with Edwin Milton Royle, since author of "The Squaw 
Man" and other dramas, but then playing juveniles 
with Booth and Barrett. Royle's play-writing inclina- 
tion was a strong bond between him and me. 

Kansas City was organizing a great exposition. Presi- 
dent Cleveland came to the town with his bride for a 
visit of two days, during which municipal activities 
public reception, a grand ball and the like made such 
demand upon the local papers that I was called in to 
help the reporters of the Kansas City Times, and began 
in that two-day engagement a valued acquaintance with 
the author, Roswell M. Field, brother of Eugene Field. 

The opening attraction of the Warder Grand was to be 
a week's repertoire by Booth and Barrett under the man- 
agement of Arthur B. Chase. They were to play six 
nights and two matinees, and were to receive a guaran- 
teed share of three thousand dollars a performance, a 
minimum total of twenty-four thousand dollars. Each 
man was a favorite in Kansas City; Booth was a popular 
idol. The Warder Grand was to be a good-sized house. 
We had plenty of publicity. Prices were more than 
doubled. There was no reason to doubt returns far in 
excess of the twenty-four thousand on the week, and 
Mr. Hamilton had no difficulty in giving the bond that 
Manager Chase required. Things looked fine. 

As the summer waxed and waned, and as the theatrical 
season came upon us, it grew painfully evident that the 
opera-house was not going to be completed in time for 



the Booth and Barrett opening in November. L. M. 
Crawford, who had a chain of theatres through Kansas 
towns, offered to take the contract off Hamilton's hands, 
as its terms permitted it to be assigned. But in his mind 
Hamilton saw a completed opera-house, and no logic 
availed against that vision. A week before the date the 
sale opened at the down-town library, and every seat 
was promptly subscribed. But the opera-house itself 
was a shell. There wasn't a chair in it. The stage was 
not completed; it had no roof. There wasn't a stitch of 
scenery. The carpenter in charge of the stage was a 
youngster then, but one of the best stage mechanics in 
the world, Claude Hagen. He promised to be ready 
with the stage, but foretold the impossibility of opening 
without scenery or equipment. Hamilton had felt sure 
of being able to rent sufficient scenery from the opposi- 
tion houses, but it was impossible to get any. 

On the Thursday before the opening I went to St. 
Louis and explained the dire distress of our enterprise 
to Mr. Pope. Pope knew Hamilton and liked both him 
and me. I started back Saturday morning with a bag- 
gage-car full of scenery attached to a freight train. We 
reached Kansas City Sunday afternoon and had the 
scenery on the stage Monday morning. But there was 
still no roof. One stubborn beam that swung from the 
overhanging derricks was still to be put in place. The 
Booth-Barrett company called for rehearsal, walked 
about the cold stage in their fur coats and looked through 
to the threatening sky that showed above the entire 

This auditorium was empty except for some men who 
were filling it with temporary camp stools in rows. The 
rehearsal was dismissed, and as a matter of form the 


company reported in the evening; but during the after- 
noon a snow-storm had fallen, and at night there was 
an inch of snow on the streets and much inside the 
theatre; no roof on the Warder Grand Opera House, 
and no heat. Hamilton and I, two Craig brothers who 
were interested in the enterprise, a stenographer, and 
two men from the Mirror office met the arriving patrons 
and explained the postponement of the performance 
until the following night. 

There was a good deal of grumbling then and a great 
deal of confusion at the ticket-office the next day. Dur- 
ing that Tuesday, however, Hamilton got some tarpaulins 
put over the roof and brought four large cannon stoves 
into the theatre. These stoves were set up in the private 
boxes with pipes leading to the nearest outlets and kept 
red-hot during the day. At noon Mr. Booth and Mr. 
Barrett, with their fur collars turned up, were on the 
stage again looking at the still-forbidding conditions. 
As there was no other assistant who knew anything about 
moving scenery, I was in a suit of overalls to help Hagen 
on the stage. 

One green hand trying to take a wing across the back 
of the stage got it wabbling on its forefoot and then let 
go of it as it started to fall. If it were to drop flat-sided 
it would come down easily as a kite falls, and without 
much damage; but edgewise, and dropping as a knife- 
blade, it had lethal possibilities. There was no time to 
talk. I jumped at the two stars whose backs were toward 
this menace, pushed them violently apart, just as the 
scene fell between them, striking the stage where they 
had been standing, splitting the wood of its two-inch stiles. 

Mr. Barrett, in real tragedian fashion, said indignantly, 
"Don't put your hands on me, fellow!" 


Mr. Booth lifted his gaze from the broken scene and 
said, "Thank you/' 

I was pretty hot at the Barrett rebuke, and told Ha- 
gen, who was also cross about it, that it would make a 
fair story for the Saturday Mirror. That night during 
one of the intermissions Mr. Barrett thanked me for 
pushing him out of the way, explained that he was very 
nervous and his irritable remark involuntary. I had 
no difficulty in believing this. The whole plexus of events 
was trying on everybody. 

During the day there had been a conference between 
the stars, their manager and attorneys on one hand, and 
on the other hand Hamilton, his bondsmen and their 
attorneys. This conference resulted in a decision to 
stand by the guaranty and to open with "Macbeth." 
There was no dressing-room in which anybody could 
have with safety disrobed, and no ordinary theatrical 
costume would have kept out the freezing temperature 
of the building. To shut out drafts, the stage was boxed 
as a baronial hall with a set ceiling. Mr. Booth wore 
his heaviest costume, a robe in which ordinarily he played 
Richelieu. Barrett as Macduff wore a long quilted gown 
which had served in "Francesca da Rimini." Minna 
Gale as Lady Macbeth had some equally warm and 
equally incongruous attire. After the first act of the 
play the audience, that had been freezing in their wraps 
the men retaining not only overcoats but hats began 
to move toward the boxes where the cannon stoves were. 
Those already near these furnaces made way and perish- 
ing ladies row by row approached the heat. Men stood 
in the outer circle stamping their feet. After two or 
three minutes of this there was a general readjustment 
of camp chairs, moving from their alignments toward 


these thermal centres that suggested Birnam Wood on 
its road to Dunsinane. 

Some prudent or habitual gentlemen had brought 
flasks with them. Others went to the nearest places of 
supply, and the close of the intermission took on a con- 
vivial even if precautionary color. The greatest enthu- 
siasm of the night not excepting Mr. Booth's reception 
was for a line which perhaps in all the previous history 
of "Macbeth" had never called for more than a giggle. 

In the third scene of Act Two the Porter, roused from 
his slumber by the knocking at the gate, says, "But this 
place is too cold for hell." This was greeted with a laugh 
and successive rounds of applause, and then recurrent 
ripples as the audience waited and congealed. The har- 
dier ones stood through the whole play, but the house 
was half empty when the play was half over. 

Through the balance of the week conditions were im- 
proved, but it was weeks before the house was a finished 
theatre. The total receipts on the week were eleven 
thousand dollars short of the company's promised share. 
The manager of Booth and Barrett properly called upon 
Hamilton's bondsmen for their guaranty, and our weekly 
Mirror, with its editorial and dramatic department, went 
into the general liquidation. 

One happening during that editorial incumbency that 
closed in such summary fashion is worth telling as a coin- 
cidence. The business men of Leavenworth had wished 
to have something written about their section that would 
call attention to it and yet not look like an advertise- 
ment. I wrote a story which they approved and which 
carried the facts, and yet which seemed to be a bit of 
romantic fiction. Under an arrangement at regular space 
rates it had been printed in the New York World, and 
that paper had sent me a generous commission of some- 


thing over a hundred dollars. One October day a young 
man brought to me a pen manuscript which he wished 
to sell. I promised to read it, although I told him the 
Kansas City Mirror was not buying fiction. After a 
fortnight he came again. Ashamed of my neglect, I read 
the story as he sat there. I was prepossessed by what 
I thought was its easy introduction. 

As I read on I said to myself, "If I had to state that 
case that's the way I should like to write it." 

Another paragraph and I said: "Well, that's the way 
I did write it." 

I looked hurriedly through the script and asked the 
young man if he was the author of the story. He said 
he was. He was not a large person, and behind my desk 
were two compositors standing at their cases and another 
working on the stone. 

So I felt courageous enough to say to the young man, 
"You're a liar!" 

He sprang to his feet with fine indignation. I repeated 
my characterization and added: "That story 'was printed 
on Sunday, May i, 1887, in the New York World, under 
the title of *A Leaven worth Romance.' ' 

The fellow was so astonished that he could only gasp 
an assent. 

I said: "If you will go home to the paper from which 
you copied this you'll find my initials, G. T., at the bot- 
tom of that story." 

He said "Yes" and went out, dazed at the mischance 
which had made him bring to an obscure person sitting 
in a Western office a yarn he had copied verbatim from 
an Eastern daily, only to discover that he had placed 
the stolen article in the hands of its author. There were 
ninety million other citizens of the United States. 

Of course the lines of communication on this little 


planet of eight thousand miles diameter must occasionally 
intersect at points that seem supremely significant; and 
it may be that we should wonder at the absence rather 
than the occasional presence of a coincidence. But as 
they have their interest, I would like to jump ahead and 
tell the only other remarkable one that is in my own 
experience. I rehearsed and produced a play called "The 
Other Girl" in 1903 with Lionel Barrymore at the Cri- 
terion Theatre in New York. It was in three acts. Ef- 
fective ending of the second act depended upon the in- 
voluntary laughter of a parson, prompted by a wink 
from a prize-fighter who was in the room with him. On 
the opening night the effect fell short. I had to leave 
the next day on the steamer Kroonland for Paris. Walk- 
ing the deck of this boat four or five days later I still tried 
to analyze my failure at that point. It occurred to me 
that certain business between members of a group on 
the opposite side of the stage had made a stronger ap- 
peal to the attention of the audience than the quiet minis- 
ter and prize-fighter on their side had made, and I men- 
tally kicked myself for my stupidity in not discovering 
this. I went at once to the wireless room and sent the 
following telegram to Mr. Charles Frohman: 

"Have the kid touch the parson before the wink." 
Mr. Frohman rehearsed this business. The action at- 
tracted the attention of the audience, who thereupon 
saw the wink which was the provocation for the laugh- 
ter, and all that I had hoped for was secured. 

About a month later Mr. Bainbridge Colby was dining 
with the Thomases in their apartment in the Latin Quar- 
ter. He said: "This strange thing happened: On the 
steamer Cedric, when I was crossing last month on my 
way to London, I was in the wireless room. We were 


a day out from New York. A message was relayed from 
the Kroonland. The operator was Italian and a little 
uncertain with English, and he asked me if I thought the 
message could be correct. It was from you to Mr. Froh- 
man, and read: 'Have the kid touch the parson before 
the wink.' I told the operator it was all right and he 
transmitted it to New York." 

Aside from Mr. Frohman and the members of the 
company, Mr. Colby was the only person on earth who 
could have given that answer to that operator out on 
the Atlantic. 

With our failure to get the company's guaranty on the 
opening of the Warder Grand, the lease of the opera- 
house in which I had been promised a share was forfeited, 
and with a winter fairly set in I was in a city where I 
was almost a stranger, and again without a job. 

Friends have asked why in this emergent situation I 
did not try to recover and pick up the offer of Mayor 
Nealy and his banker associates to install me in owner- 
ship and direction of the Leavenworth Standard. But 
as I remember it the thought did not once occur to me, 
my ideas were so definitely turned to the East and to 
the theatre. Except for the fact that I was subsequently 
successful in that field, one might with apparent justice 
make some animadversions upon being stage-struck. 
But stage-struck I was not; neither then nor afterward 
have I felt any insistent wish to act. Playing was a means 
to the ultimate acquirement of play-writing, and I think 
it worth while now, with whatever weight anything I 
write may carry, to say a heartening word to the per- 
sistent young man in the neighborhood of thirty years 
who, despite the wishes of his prudent friends, feels a 
call to follow his private bent. 


In 1863, at sixty years of age, Emerson wrote in his 
journal: "Tremendous force of the spring which we call 
native bias . . . whose impulsion reaches through all 
the days, through all the years and keeps the old man 
constant to the same pursuits as in youth!" Nearly 
twenty years before, in a similar mood, he had written 
in the same journal: "Men go through the world, each 
musing on a great fable, dramatically pictured and re- 
hearsed before him. If you speak to the man he turns 
his eyes from his own scene and slower or faster en- 
deavors to comprehend what you say. When you have 
done speaking he returns to his private music." 

And his private music is his self-expression, the most 
important function in this personal hypnosis that we 
call life. 

After a few days of uncertainty I began work for a 
couple of weeks as the artist on Willis Abbott's after- 
noon paper, the Kansas City News, and from there went 
as the resident artist to the Missouri Republican in St. 

Mr. Sothern came along about this time with the 
promised interview concerning "The Burglar." No 
fledgling author could ask for a more complimentary 
opinion than Mr. Sothern had of the play. But as a 
star he felt that it would be prejudicial to his hopes to 
undertake a drama from which he was absent during the 
entire second act. He wanted me to rewrite it so that he 
might appear in that section. But though the burglar 
was out of the second act physically he was very much 
in it as problem and menace. In my stubborn insist- 
ence upon the script as written at that time I left my- 
self, as far as theatrical prospects were concerned, still 
stranded in St. Louis. 


One other notable incident for me during that time 
is that I then made my first acquaintance with Colonel 
Henry Watterson. The paper wanted a picture of him. 
Marse Henry didn't care to sit for a sketch, but when 
I saw him two days later he was very complimentary 
about the one I had made from memory after my talk 
with him. As a stunt that caused our mutual acquaint- 
ance I have more than once repeated it since that time. 

I worked steadily on the Republican from the end of 
1887 until August of 1888. The time was filled with in- 
teresting experiences; few of them, however, pertinent 
to my career as a playwright, although my duties as 
artist threw me now and then into touch with events 
that were dramatic. In the mind of a playwright it made 
a grisly front scene to be called out of bed at two o'clock 
in the morning and driven hastily to the levee, and with 
the light from one lamp taken from the side of the hack 
that had conveyed him there to sit astride the body of 
some murdered roustabout and get a memorandum sketch 
that would transfer to a chalk plate in time for the morn- 
ing edition. 

I suppose it was my exaggerated enjoyment of the 
dramatic element in any happening that lent zest to my 
good-by to the Republican and to the newspaper busi- 
ness. Charles Knapp, the proprietor of the paper, was 
a man liked by all the employees. Frank O'Neill, the 
editor, was a promoted reporter who had deserved his 
advancement. A new proprietor who came to us that 
summer with revolutionary ideas, none of which I recall 
as subsequently justified, was Mr. Charles H. Jones, a 
small, emphatic, laconic person, with extraordinary side- 
whiskers and an entire absence of the personality that 
appeals to the Western product. He changed the honored 


name of the Missouri Republican to the St. Louis Republic 
and started in upon his campaign of economy and re- 
trenchment. When he reached the art department he 
instructed the city editor to tell me that my thirty dol- 
lars a week had been cut to twenty-five. 

The information came the afternoon of a day which 
brought a letter from Will Smythe stating that Ariel 
Barney offered me the position of business manager in 
the season soon to begin, with a young actress whom he 
hoped to establish as a star. The name of this young 
person was Julia Marlowe, and Barney and others who 
had seen her had a high opinion of her ability and a firm 
belief in her future. I was therefore able to say to the 
city editor that instead of submitting to a cut of five 
dollars I would demand a raise of fifteen if I stayed on 
the paper. 

This did not indicate a wish to remain, but as the work 
on the paper had grown the management had engaged 
as assistant in the art department a young draftsman 
from the Washington University by the name of Paul 
Connoyer, and I felt that a Parthian demand for an in- 
crease of salary would operate as a defense against any 
assault upon Paul. Connoyer took over the department 
when I left and they got some man to help him. He 
later came to New York, where as a painter of landscapes 
and street scenes he took high rank among artists. 

At that time the St. Louis Baseball Club, owned by 
Chris Von der Ahe, was under the personal management 
of AI Spink, the present dean of sporting writers assisted 
by George Munson. Munson was a free lance, ready to 
try almost anything, and in his experience, which ran from 
newspaper work to management of a swimming school, 
we had met and were friends. AI Spink had a Pullman 


car with twenty-four berths in it which was leaving in 
two days for New York with the ball club. Three of 
these berths were unoccupied. He gave me my choice 
of them, and I left St. Louis the ostensible historian of 
that party. Railroad fare and Pullman to New York in 
those days totalled about thirty dollars. It exactly 
bridged the gap from journalism to management, as 
my duties began when rehearsals did. 

In that old ball club I had several friends. One still 
in the public eye was Charles A. Comiskey, or as he was 
called then, Commy. He was playing first base and 
acting as captain of the team. Arlie Latham, probably 
the greatest fun maker in the history of professional 
baseball, was on third. Years after Latham had ceased 
to play ball he was engaged as a coach because of his 
ability to entertain grand stand and bleachers. This 
was a natural gift with Latham, and its exercise was irre- 
sistibly spontaneous. The Harrisburg station on the 
Pennsylvania Railroad is inclosed at its west end by an 
iron fence about nine feet high, separating its tracks and 
platforms from the streets. That same fence, or one 
similar, was there in the summer of 1888. Our train 
made the usual five minutes' stop. Men were stretching 
their legs under the sheds of the station. Outside this 
iron fence a citizen of Harrisburg, with an old-fashioned 
set of whiskers, was passing. Latham screamed at him, 
and then as nearly as he could vocally reproduce the 
noise he dramatized a tornado, theatrically implying in 
the slang of the day that the wind was blowing. 

The owner of the whiskers was of Celtic origin. He 
turned upon Latham and looked helplessly along the 
fence for some gateway by which he could reach him. 
None was there. Latham, thus protected, grabbed the 


iron bars of the fence, went along a section of it like a 
caged chimpanzee, violently shaking the bars and re- 
peating all the time the whizzing noise that had so an- 
gered this inoffensive citizen. Through the man's anger 
there shot a more intelligent gleam and he started to run 
for the brick station house itself. Latham made a dash 
for the train, which fortunately pulled out as the bel- 
ligerent citizen burst past the ticket taker and into the 
inclosure. A witness of the whole performance might 
have called Latham's attack unwarranted hoodlumism, 
but it wasn't that; it was simple exuberance of animal 
spirits, and very much the kind of vitality that when 
the offering is more a matter of personality than of in- 
tellect finds a market in the theatre. Latham himself 
had a successful engagement later in vaudeville, after 
which he came back to the ball field as a coach. 

For men who are trying to write for the theatre and 
are impatient at the unavoidable delays it is worth while 
to take stock of my first arrival as a man in New York. 
I had in my trunk two long plays and five or six short 
ones. I was thirty-one years of age and had had an inti- 
mate acquaintance and relationship with the theatre 
nearly all my life. I had played many years as an ama- 
teur, three or four years as the occasional member of a 
repertoire company in the legitimate, and had more than 
a year of consecutive travelling with a company in which 
I had an interest. I had produced four plays that I had 
written, had had two years in a box-office and had shared 
for a few full minutes the lease of a theatre, while never 
losing sight of dramatic authorship as objective. I had 
refused to rewrite a play for so promising an exponent 
as Mr. Sothern. And yet, in order to keep in touch with 
the business and do something that would occasionally 


put me at the producing centre, I found myself in a forty- 
dollar job to count tickets for a young actress upon her 
first trip as a star. 

In the thirty-three years that have passed since that 
date my observation has built up the opinion that the 
American playwright does not generally make better 
headway. There have been one or two brilliant excep- 
tions; but as a rule the public is not interested in a man 
who has written from books, and to write from life re- 
quires that some time should be spent in living it. If 
there is somewhat in that statement that is depressing 
it is more than offset by the fact that hardly anything 
happens to a man or woman during this probationary 
wait that is not directly or indirectly serviceable in the 
playhouse. Everything is fish that comes to that pond. 


Julia Marlowe, our young star, had played as a child. 
As a young lady she had been carefully coached in a num- 
ber of parts by Ada Dow, who shortly after the season 
of which I write became the wife of the present veteran 
actor, Frank Currier. Miss Marlowe called Miss Dow 
Aunt Ada. Of the several parts in which she was pre- 
pared Miss Marlowe had been seen only in "Parthenia," 
in which she unquestionably excelled any actress that 
her generation remembered. Colonel Robert G. Inger- 
soll had seen her performance in this part, and had been 
moved to write a letter of such high praise that Mr. Bar- 
ney had sought and obtained his permission to have it 
reproduced on his large printing. Barney as advance 
agent had visited St. Louis twice while I was at Pope's. 
My engagement was the outcome partly of the acquaint- 
ance then made. He had with him as adviser an ad- 
vance man, Fred Stinson, who had conducted more than 
one tour for Mme. Helena Modjeska. 

Stinson was very wise in the matter of arranging legiti- 
mate repertoire and in getting public attention for a 
female star. Barney had been a newspaper man; Stin- 
son was himself a writer with an ambition to do plays. 
So the association of us three men was at the start an 
agreeable one. Except to get the names of the company 
and be told the salary that each was to receive, it wasn't 
necessary for either Barney or Stinson to lose any time 



on my theatrical education. With all the duties of this 
position I was familiar. 

In St. Louis I had gone with Barney to the critics and 
more than once helped him on his publicity. Notwith- 
standing that fact, and knowing my job, I was compli- 
mented when Barney asked me to participate in the 
councils of policy with him and Stinson. There was a 
hitch about the matter to go upon the first three-sheet. 
Barney and Stinson were comparing adjectives to de- 
scribe the supporting company, and for one reason or 
another hesitating over all the trite descriptions. "Splen- 
did," "excellent," "distinguished," "adequate," had 
each some recommending and some objectionable fea- 

Happening to know that in certain sections of the 
country there had been some regret over Mary Ander- 
son's revisiting her old territory with a company that 
was exclusively English, I suggested dismissing all their 
adjectives by using the word "American." This so 
caught the fancy of both men that they used it not only 
to describe their company but to describe their star. 
There was an implication of rivalry about it; but fine 
as Mary Anderson had been, Barney had a star who 
would stand comparison, however invited. All the parts 
that Miss Marlowe played that year I had seen played 
by other actresses. In nearly all the plays I had played 
some part myself. I felt qualified to form an opinion 
not only of Miss Marlowe's work but of the business 
which Miss Dow had devised for the other members of 
the company, and to which she held them with an in- 
flexibility relaxed only when the opinion of some equally 
experienced person, such as Charles Barron or Mary 
Shaw, convinced her of its value. 


Julia Marlowe had every requisite for success in star 
parts on the stage that a girl could need youth and 
health, with their attractiveness; facial and physical 
beauty; stature, poise, carriage, voice, diction, proper 
pronunciation, mobile expression, definite and graceful 
gesture and competent, well-shaped, responsive hands. 
Her mental equipment included gayety, hospitality for 
humor, self-reliance, ready emotions under fair control, 
a capacity for attention. One great value was that her 
beauty of face was of the kind that the stage enhances. 
It is not unusual for a parlor beauty to be lost in a stage 
frame; but Marlowe's features were of a scale that fitted 
that larger canvas. This harmonious ampleness of fea- 
ture, the bone structure underlying it, was one founda- 
tion of her voice, then as now the best woman's speaking 
voice on the American or English stage. I had heard 
Charlotte Thompson and others in "The Hunchback," 
but none who by sheer variety and charm of tone lifted 
from mediocrity and made memorable such lines as " I've 
seen the snow upon a level with the hedge, yet there was 
Master Walter." 

As a beginner, meeting admiring callers in her hotel 
parlor or behind the scenes, and even on the railway 
trains with the company, there was about the girl a slight 
self-consciousness, a willingness to look to Aunt Ada for 
moral support, that was altogether girlish; but on the 
stage that near-timidity was transmuted into an arch- 
ness quite devoid of embarrassment. This archness 
hovered over every playful line and inhalation per- 
haps inhalation especially, as inhalation is the tide of 
what the Scot called the come-hither influence. 

In those early days, watched by her studious support, 
it was a question how much of her effect was the girl 


herself and how much the imprint of her instructress. 
Some there were who thought that a servile imitation 
and obedience were the full depth of the possession. And 
in that first year this belief was encouraged somewhat 
by Miss Dow's watchfulness in the wings and frequent 
critical comment right after a scene. For myself, how- 
ever, not unpractised in estimating such work, and with 
the better vantage of seeing all from the front, there was 
evident an exuberant personality of Marlowe's own, a 
personality thinking and implying and conveying a most 
bewitching overlay around all the set and studied busi- 
ness of the teacher. Nobody I ever saw on or off the 
stage could put into two words the challenge and the 
retreat, the winsomeness, the temptation, and the clean 
innocence that Marlowe, as she sat on the log near Or- 
lando, put into the words: "Woo me." 

During that period Miss Julia was most jealously 
guarded. No senorita had ever a sharper-eyed duenna, 
and I thought then that the balcony and the Forest of 
Arden were both gainers because of that background of 

What a national possession a generation has in such 
a woman as Marlowe ! What a change could be wrought 
on our national speech if one such exponent might be in 
every great centre where the girls of America could come 
under her repeated spell. 

Besides Stinson, as playwright, there were in that first 
Marlowe company Mary Shaw, Edward McWade, Albert 
Bruning, and Dodson Mitchell, all interested in play- 
writing, and all still prominently before the public. Miss 
Shaw and Bruning were wise in the maxims of the art. 
McWade and Mitchell subsequently became skilled and 
successful. Mary Shaw was easily the intellectual centre 


of that theatrical family, not only concerning things of 
the theatre but literature in general. Miss Shaw had 
been a school-teacher before she became an actress, but 
had not served at it so long that she in any way tired of 
giving information. She had also been the leading sup- 
port for Modjeska, which equipped her with many of 
the traditions of her chosen profession, but better yet, 
as far as her companions in the Marlowe company were 
concerned, gave her a fund of anecdote that made that 
season a joy. Mary's particular hero as a racontense was 
Maurice Barrymore. I had not met Barrymore at that 
time did not meet him until nearly a year later; but 
when we did meet I felt pretty intimately informed of his 
professional and private career through the stories of 
this generous biographer. 

Albert Bruning is among the prominent players of 
New York at the present time. Previous to that Mar- 
lowe engagement Bruning had played Shakespeare in 
German, winning considerable praise in the part of Ham- 
let, and in that excellent and American company he was 
a notable actor. In "Romeo and Juliet" he played the 
part of Tybalt. As attractive as Juliet was, and as mag- 
netic as Taber was in Romeo, and as Barron was in the 
part of Mercutio, when Bruning was on the stage as Ty- 
balt he carried such a quiet and intense air of menace 
that he was the centre of attention. Theatregoers of 
the last year or two will remember the fine impression 
he made as Polonius to Walter Hampden's Hamlet. 

The first time we put up "Romeo and Juliet," I think 
in Washington City, the company was short one mem- 
ber for its long cast. An actor who was expected from 
New York to play Benvolio missed the train that would 
have let him arrive in time for the performance. It was 



too late to change the bill, and at Miss Dow's suggestion 
I agreed to go on for the part if we could find a costume. 
One member lent me a pair of tights, another a pair of 
shoes, and so on. I definitely remember that Frank 
Currier furnished the doublet. He was a slighter man 
than I, but by dint of compression I got into his gar- 

Benvolio's most important office is to catch Mercutio 
when he falls wounded by Tybalt in their duel. The 
scene went remarkably well up to this point, but when 
sturdy Charley Barron, wounded, dropped into my arms, 
this tight doublet of Currier's split up the back like a 
roasted chestnut, and with a ripping noise that defied 
neglect by anybody in the audience. I doubt if the death 
of Mercutio ever got so good a laugh. 

Charles Barron had supported the greatest actors in 
the American theatre. He was a product of the old Bos- 
ton Museum stock and had been at times a star himself. 
He was an acceptable /ngomar, a good Mercutio, a fine 
Master Walter, and an excellent Malvolio. Few actors 
of his day, and none of the present, had better diction 
on the stage; but in private discourse he was singularly 
uneven, at times almost inaudible. It amused the other 
men in the company to compare notes and see which of 
them had Understood most of some speech of Barren's 
as he stood with a group on the street corner or at the 
stage door, mumbling as he mouthed his tobacco pipe 
and emitting now and then some staccato explosive that 
served as a stepping-stone through the maze of his unin- 
telligible recital. 

Stout Billy Owen, another Modjeska favorite, was at 
that time a tower of strength in any legitimate company. 
When he played Sir Toby and Frank Currier was Sir 


Andrew Ague-Cheek, with Barren's Malvolio, Taber's 
Duke, and young Ed McWade the best double Miss 
Marlowe ever had to her Viola playing Sebastian, with 
Mary Shaw and Emma Hinckley in her other women 
roles, the public was offered about as good a cast of ac- 
tors as America gets at any time. 

Robert Taber, our leading man, had been a Sargent 
pupil and had learned his business with Modjeska and 
Charles Coghlan. When he had been with Modjeska the 
leading man had been Maurice Barrymore, and con- 
sciously or unconsciously Taber's leads with Marlowe 
strongly followed Barrymore. It must be said that he 
could not have found a better model. Taber came of 
fine family. His sister, who survives him, is the wife 
of Henry Holt, the publisher. He had had a good edu- 
cation and fine associates. While I was with the Mar- 
lowe company he was my nearest friend among its mem- 
bers. Taber liked a good laugh, but his bent was essen- 
tially serious. His happiest hours were after the play, 
when Miss Shaw would let him and me have supper in 
her room, while Rob persuaded himself and me per- 
haps rightly that he was really discussing philosophy. 
I would not doubt it now but for memory of Mary's 

When Rob and I were alone he talked much of the 
star for whom in that first season he protested positive 
dislike and fortified his feeling by many minute fault- 
findings. I was some fourteen years older than the girl 
and a good half dozen older than Rob. The phrase "pro- 
tective coloring" was then not yet invented, but I was 
not astonished some two years later to read of the Taber- 
Marlowe marriage. 

We were to leave Trenton one morning for some place 


farther south where we had a guaranty and needed it. 
The only train that would make our connection left at 
ten o'clock in the morning. Miss Marlowe, Miss Dow, 
their maid, Frank Currier, and myself, who were to go 
to the station in the carriage, met in the hotel lobby at 
the proper time. After a wait of a minute or two, when 
the carriage didn't appear, we telephoned the liveryman, 
who said that the order had been for the same hour in 
the evening, which was absurd. His rig wasn't ready 
and there wasn't time to get it. 

Currier and I gathered up the baggage and our mixed 
quintet went to the street. No passenger conveyance 
was in sight anywhere. To miss the guaranty in that 
next town meant disaster. I stopped a man who was 
driving a covered milk wagon. After loss of much 
precious time he declined to consider the proposition 
that I made. We moved on to the corner, hoping to 
find one more willing. On the side street at the inter- 
section stood two large furniture vans with pictures of 
George Washington on their sides and large letters an- 
nouncing their ability for long or short hauls with furni- 
ture. No drivers were in sight, but a shout into the 
saloon on the corner produced one. I asked him what 
he would charge to take the five of us to the station, 
about a mile away. He said two dollars. I promised 
him five if he got there in four minutes. 

He got onto his box. Currier and I threw the luggage 
in over the lowered tail gate, helped the two ladies and 
the maid in after and climbed in ourselves. It was al- 
most a straight run to the station. Certain obstacles in 
the street necessitated our crossing the car tracks once 
or twice, in which manoeuvres the greatest living Juliet 
ricocheted between the thin mattresses that lined the 
two sides of the van. 


As we neared the station we saw one of our company 
pleading with a nervous conductor who was running his 
left thumb over the heavy crystal of his watch after the 
manner of railroad men. Currier and I whistled shrilly, 
the actor saw us and explained to the conductor. A min- 
ute later we swung tail end to the railroad track like an 
emergency ambulance and the day was saved as Currier 
cried, "Out, you baggage !" The train was rocking under 
way as we went down the aisle to our seats, the sym- 
pathetic company full of questions to the agitated ladies. 

Currier, the first man coming after, explained, still in 
mock heroics, "We had to drag her on a hurdle thither." 

How often the human mind accepts intellectually a 
fact long before ever dramatically or emotionally ac- 
quiring it. Thereafter for the much-amused Marlowe 
the angry Capulet had a magnified reality when he 
scolded the cringing Juliet: 

"Thank me no thankings, nor proud me no prouds, 
But fettle your fine joints 'gainst Thursday next, 
To go with Paris to Saint Peter's church, 
Or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither. 
Out, you green-sickness carrion 1 Out you baggage ! " 

In the theatre, as far back as I remember, when 
salaries were paid the old actors called it the ghost walk- 
ing. Our first old man was a youngish actor named 
Jimmy Cooper. At that time it was customary to pay 
salaries Tuesday night. One Tuesday, however, the 
money had to be conserved to move the company. As 
I neared the door of Cooper's dressing-room on my way 
back-stage he watched with hopeful eyes my coming. 
When on the return trip I again passed him without 


leaving the pay envelope I heard him quote in melan- 
choly tone Horatio's line: 

"But, even then, the morning cock crew loud; 
And at the sound it shrunk in haste away, 
And vanish'd from our sight." 

The average man must always envy the well-stocked 
memory of the cultivated player. What a delightful 
element in the bright talk of John Drew, for example, 
are the pat quotations that sparkle through it from its 
remembered backing. 

Ariel Barney, proclaimed on the bills as presenting 
Julia Marlowe, had business ability. Marlowe had 
genius. There came a time in the association of these 
two factors when success impaired Barney's sense of 
proportion. The persons who felt the consequence of 
this misconception most were Stinson and myself, who 
had been on intimate and friendly relations with him. 
I think, however, that I would have gone through the 
other two months needed to finish the season if it hadn't 
been for a trick hat. 

The American theatre was less a business and more 
of an institution thirty-three years ago, and Marlowe's 
audiences in the cities were the nearest in formality to 
those of the grand opera. Therefore in the cities her 
business staff dressed. I had a fur collar and this accor- 
dion hat as I stood at the door. One form of Barney's 
solicitude for the star was to carry to her dressing-room 
door a bottle of Guinness's stout. This ministration didn't 
occur often, and when it did Miss Marlowe didn't like 
the tonic. On the first night of our second engagement 
in Philadelphia the lobby was filled with Marlowe's local 


In one group were Colonel McCIure, the publisher, 
and two of his friends. Barney, who was tossing a silver 
quarter in his hand, at a break in their conference called 
to me at the door, "Thomas, Thomas!" Ordinarily we 
spoke to each other by our first names. In the surround- 
ings referred to and under my silk hat the peremptory 
"Thomas!" had an office-boy sound. I joined him. 
With some display and without leaving his friends, Bar- 
ney extended the quarter and said, " I want to get a bot- 
tle of stout for Miss Marlowe." 

I heard myself answering, "I'm a stranger in Phila- 
delphia, Mr. Barney, but if I were you I'd try a saloon." 

Colonel McCIure and his friends laughed. 

The day I got back to St. Louis out of a job again I 
called on John Norton at the Grand. He was talking 
to John Ritchie, who had formerly managed Mrs. D. 
P. Bowers, and was then handling the thought reader, 
Washington Irving Bishop. 

Norton said to Ritchie, "Why, here's your man!" 

It was Tuesday. Bishop, who was having a week's 
engagement in St. Louis at Exposition Hall, had to open 
the following Monday in Minneapolis, and his advance 
agent had left him without notice. I went that eve- 
ning to see Bishop's work. It was astonishing, and as I 
came to be more and more familiar with it afterward 
it made upon me a profound impression. It deserves 
to be described at length; but as I am trying to write 
here only that which affected my ultimate vocation, I 
shall tell but two stories indicative of his peculiar power. 
In other articles not included in these remembrances I 
hope to write special and extended accounts of psychic 
phenomena. But I explain my wish for brevity if not 
my achievement of it here. 


The Bishop experiment that impressed me most that 
first night was his finding while blindfolded an article 
carried from the stage and hidden somewhere in that 
vast audience. To do this the volunteer who had hid- 
den the article down a side aisle was making his second 
trip from the stage behind Bishop, who was eagerly drag- 
ging him. The volunteer, determined to give no help 
to the blindfolded telepathist, was not only hanging 
back but was looking at the ceiling of framed glass in 
a refusal to indicate in any manner the location sought. 

Near the hiding-place Bishop halted, and after a fret- 
ful waver turned to the audience and cried: "This man 
is not complying with conditions. He is not thinking 
of the place where this article is hidden. All that I get 
from his mind is a picture of skylights." In a spirit of 
fairness the audience burst into a round of applause, 
regarding that reading by Bishop as more revealing than 
the finding of the article, which immediately followed. 

On Wednesday Bishop was ill. Ritchie and I sat by 
his bed for our interview. I engaged to leave town that 
day as his advance man. I took with me nothing but 
some newspaper clippings. There wasn't a sheet of paper 
or a single lithograph or anything of the usual equip- 
ment of the man ahead. Ordinarily for a visiting attrac- 
tion in a city like Minneapolis the advertising paper is 
on the walls on Thursday morning. The advertisements 
are in the newspapers, and such space as the dramatic 
men are willing to accord the agent has already been 
partly used. None of these favorable conditions was 

I have had occasion to say before that I wish I might 
write some of these stories without letting everybody 
know what a devil of a fellow I am. But the experience 


I am about to tell would lose whatever value it has if I 
depressed it below the level of simple statement. I told 
it once in New York in the middle '90*8, when as a more 
or less arriving playwright I was the guest of an organiza- 
tion of theatrical business men, predominantly advance 
agents, numbering about two hundred. Their taking it 
as qualifying for honorary membership is the most ex- 
pert rating I can quote to justify my belief that it is 
worth telling. 

At St. Paul, a half hour before my arrival at Minne- 
apolis, about eleven o'clock on Thursday morning, I got 
a Minneapolis paper in order to see what opposition 
Bishop would have in that city. The front page was 
covered with sensational accounts of preparations for a 
double hanging to occur the next day, and extended re- 
prints of stories of the crime, the trial, and futile efforts 
for rehearing and for executive clemency. Two boys 
named Barrett, employed by a street railway, had been 
convicted of the murder of a passenger at a terminus of 
the line. One claimed to be innocent; the testimony of 
his brother supported him. It was plain that in regular 
course Friday's paper would be filled with this same kind 
of news, and that it would be Saturday or Sunday before 
the papers would print anything about Bishop with a 
chance of attention. The biggest possible distraction 
was the sensational hanging. To be noticed at all we 
would have to get on the band wagon; have to go with 
the hanging and not against it. 

Arriving in Minneapolis, I had a cab driver take me 
to the principal evening paper. I asked the city editor 
if there was anything new in the matter of the Barrett 

He said, "Nothing." 


Would he print any news concerning them? If it was 
news, yes. I said I had a letter to the governor of the 
State from Washington Irving Bishop, the thought- 
reader, asking him to postpone the execution of the boy 
claiming to be innocent until Bishop could reach Minne- 
apolis on Sunday, when he would agree to read the mind 
of the young man, reenact the crime, and define the boy's 
association with it. The editor asked for the letter. 
Searching through my pockets, I was unable to find it. 
Search through my bag also failing to produce it, I told 
him that it must be in my trunk, but that having origin- 
ally written it I could accurately reword it. 

When the afternoon paper appeared its first page car- 
ried a ten-line scare-head beginning, "Hope for the Bar- 
rett Boys ! Thought -Reader Washington Irving Bishop 
Asks a Stay of Execution." And then followed more 
descriptive lines, scaling down to the written introduc- 
tion and a copy of the letter I had composed; also the 
important fact that Bishop was to arrive Sunday and 
that his arrival was preparatory to his week's engage- 
ment at the theatre. That afternoon all Minneapolis 
had the information. I went to the jail, explained my 
call to the captain of the police, was permitted to see 
the two boys, and convinced them they had little to lose 
in permitting this experiment by Bishop. 

I wish to say here that my confidence was based upon 
the fact that Bishop in Portland had made a similar visit 
to a criminal's cell and dramatized his crime. Both boys 
were glad to sign what I set down for them, which for 
purposes of brevity and dramatic value read simply: 
"We are willing to wait." 

When I reached the office after leaving their cell in 
the jail I was confronted by a dignified, martial-looking 


man who as soon as the captain indicated me opened 
fire. He knew the object of my call; thought I should 
be ashamed of myself for trying to play upon the hopes 
of these two boys in order to get publicity for a show- 
man. I was able quite truthfully to deny this as my 
sole purpose, because I had then and still have a belief 
that Bishop would have made good on a test. But the 
attorney interrupted with a loud "Rot! Remember 
that you are not talking now to two poor, ignorant boys, 
but to an attorney-at-Iaw." 

I said: "General, my knowledge of you as an attorney 
is confined to the records of this case. As both your 
clients are condemned to death, you must excuse me 
for not being impressed." 

The two or three reporters followed me to the door 
in order to get the line right for the morning papers. 

From the jail I went to the Capitol in St. Paul and 
handed a copy of the letter to the governor, told him of 
the Portland experiment, and dilated upon Bishop's 
ability. He was considerate and non-committal. 

The regular edition of the morning papers carried full 
reports of all I have told, and when the Barrett boys were 
hanged some two hours after these early editions extras 
issued beginning with the statement that the drop had 
fallen at eight minutes after six. In these extra editions 
the proposal and appeal of Bishop, the scenes at the jail, 
and the governor's declination were included. The mat- 
ter had been telegraphed to St. Louis also, because I 
received a wire from Ritchie: 

"Good work. Your salary is one hundred dollars." 

This was a lift of twenty-five. 

Bishop arrived on time and we had a sensational open- 


The other example that I wish to report of Bishop's 
work is worth while, as an attempt to repeat it that 
spring in New York resulted in his death. We played 
one night in Jefferson City, Missouri. Honorable David 
R. Francis, recently United States ambassador to Russia, 
was then governor. Mike Fanning, already referred to, 
was his secretary. The governor, who was unable to 
come to the theatre, sent an invitation to Bishop, Ritchie, 
and me to take supper at the mansion. Besides the five 
men named, there was present only the governor's sister, 
Miss Francis. After supper, when the governor wished 
to see a demonstration, Bishop asked him to go alone 
to his library and select a word from any book. When 
the governor returned we all followed him again into the 
library. Bishop went in an ordinary walk to the proper 
bookcase, took down without hesitation the proper book 
there were perhaps two thousand in the room opened 
this heavy law volume, turned without hesitation to the 
proper page, went down the page, put his finger upon a 
certain word. 

Governor Francis said, "That's it! That's it!" 

The whole proceeding occupied but little more time 
than I have taken in its dictation. 

A few days thereafter Ritchie, Bishop, and I went to 
New York. Bishop and J. Levy, the great cornetist, 
had met and agreed upon a joint tour for the following 
season. Ritchie and I were to be equally interested. It 
looked like a good business proposition. The Sunday 
night after our arrival in New York Bishop was a guest 
at a Lambs Club Gambol. He repeated this exhibition 
that I have described. Doctor J. A. Irwin, a member, 
came in after midnight, was sceptical about what he had 
heard, urged Bishop to repeat that test or perform one 


similar, and although Bishop had been cautioned against 
overwork of this kind by his physicians, he repeated it 
successfully and fell into a cataleptic fit. 

On Broadway the next day a man said, "Your star 
is sick at the Lambs." 

I found Bishop in a little hall bedroom on an iron cot, 
where he had been for twelve hours, a tiny electric bat- 
tery buzzing away with one wet electrode over his heart 
and the other in his right hand. He was unconscious. 
Two doctors sat smoking in the adjoining room, tired 
with their watch of the night. I looked at the hand- 
some face of Bishop and sat beside him for some min- 
utes. Although he was to every appearance dead, a 
deeper solemnity suddenly came over his face. I stepped 
to the doorway. 

" I think there's a change in your patient, doctors." 

They came into the room and said at once, "He's 

In half an hour I was on the way to Philadelphia to 
break the news to his wife. Five hours later I was back 
in New York with Mrs. Bishop. 

With Bishop dead, I was again out of work, this time 
in New York. Will Smythe was also there and our meet- 
ing, together with the fact that Maurice Barrymore, 
who had just closed a highly successful engagement in 
"Captain Swift" at the Madison Square Theatre, was 
willing to undertake a summer performance of "The 
Burglar," embarked us all upon the production of my 
first four-act play in the East. 



In the early summer of 1889, finding myself in New 
York and unemployed, I was glad to accept the offer 
of Mr. William G. Smythe, who had associated himself 
with another young manager named Charles Matthews, 
to produce a four-act play, "The Burglar," which I had 
built up from the sketch "Editha's Burglar." Maurice 
Barry more had just closed his engagement at the Madi- 
son Square Theatre in a successful run of Haddon Cham- 
bers' Australian play, "Captain Swift." 

Barrymore at that time was not only the matinee idol 
but was the favorite leading man of most of the theatre- 
going men of New York. My first meeting with him 
in fact, my first identifying sight of him was in an office 
on the second floor of a converted dwelling on Broadway 
near Thirty-first Street, where Smythe and Matthews 
had desk-room. Will Smythe introduced us. 

As this smiling, keen-eyed, handsome, athletic fellow 
shook hands with me and looked me over as critically 
as I was regarding him, he said: "Somewhat of a husky, 
eh?" and, still holding my right hand, jabbed in playful 
burlesque ponderousness at my ribs with his left. As I 
instinctively stopped him he added: "Know something 
about that, do you?" I have seen boys of ten begin 

acquaintance in similar pretense. 



That meeting characterized the intercourse between 
us that covered the next twelve years or more the last 
of his active life. He had an army of friends, but that 
during that final period I was the nearest to him I believe 
none informed will dispute. During that time he played 
in six pieces of mine, "The Burglar," "A Man of the 
World," "Reckless Temple," "Alabama," "Colonel Car- 
ter," and "New Blood," his parts in all but the first two 
being written for him. 

I never saw Harry Montague, but I have seen numer- 
ous portraits of him. All the other popular idols of the 
American theatre from 1880 to 1900 I saw in person. 
Barrymore was easily the finest-looking and best-carried 
man of them all. His features were in drawing almost 
identical with those of his son Jack, with the difference 
that for Jack's poetical expression and fibre the father 
had the challenge and the sturdiness of a Greek gladiator. 
Physically he was five feet eleven inches tall, with a shoul- 
der breadth accentuated by the smallness of his head, 
and weighed about one hundred and seventy pounds. 
In romantic costume or in evening dress on the stage he 
had the grace of a panther. On the street or in the club 
or coffee-house he was negligent and loungy and deplor- 
ably indifferent to his attire. In the theatre a queen 
could be proud of his graceful attention. Outside, a prize- 
fighter or a safe-blower was of absorbing interest to him 
unless some savant was about to discuss classical litera- 
ture or French romance. 

At that time the stationers' and jewellers' windows 
displayed silver frames containing photographs of him 
as "Captain Swift" in a dress suit, standing in a con- 
servatory, holding in his hands a saucer and demi-tasse 
from which his attention had just been sharply distracted. 


Some observer, Wilton Lackaye, I think, said not long 
ago that Barrymore in transmitting his traits had defi- 
nitely separated two personal and principal character- 
istics. The teacup quality he had bequeathed to Jack 
and the prize-fighting excellence had gone to Lionel. 
There is enough truth in the comment to justify it, al- 
though both the boys are much more protean than it 

Mentally Barrymore was capable of interest in the 
most abstruse questions, but as far as I was qualified 
to judge he did not care to seem profound. He was vastly 
more amused in surfaces, but to the depth that facts 
and theories, forces, events and expression in all forms 
did interest him his was the quickest, most alert, the 
most articulate, the wittiest, and most graceful intel- 
ligence that I ever knew. 

Once, describing to me a fight between a pet mongoose 
that he owned and a cat, he said: "All you saw was an 
acrobatic cat and a halo of mongoose." 

The line could have been paraphrased to describe any 
tilt in repartee in which I ever heard Barry himself take 
part. And yet I never heard him speak a line that left 
a scar. It is hard to quote some of them and convey 
this conviction, but his smile and manner, true declara- 
tions of his intent, made the most acid speeches amiable. 

I was delighted, of course, to have him chosen for the 
lead in my first big play in the East. These young man- 
agers were considerate of my wishes in getting the entire 
cast. Other prominent artists engaged were Emma V. 
Sheridan, who had been playing leading business for 
Richard Mansfield; Sydney Drew, then in his early 
twenties, but already a favorite as a comedian he had 
been featured in a play of Gillette's and was regarded as 


starring material by more than one manager; John T. 
Sullivan, a prominent leading man for second business; 
and Gladys Rankin, the beautiful daughter of McKee 
Rankin. I went into the company to play the old man 
and to understudy Barrymore in the part of the burglar. 
Willie Seymour, later the general stage-manager for 
Charles Frohman, was engaged to rehearse the play. 
Mr. Seymour was an experienced producer as a matter 
of fact, had been in the theatre all his life, having gone 
on as a child with Edwin Forrest in "Metamora." 

The managers had little money and were staking all 
on our trial in Boston. As a matter of economy the or- 
ganization was taken there by the Fall River boat. No- 
body in the company had any important money. Salaries 
at that time were not what they are to-day. The largest 
on that list was Barrymore's at two hundred dollars. 

On the palatial Plymouth at the dinner-table we sat 
down somewhat a family group. Barrymore took the 
head of the table, with Miss Sheridan to his left. The 
rest of the company strung along on the sides. There 
arose somehow a pretended dispute over the honor of 
ordering dinner for Miss Sheridan. 

Drew said: "We'll toss for it." 

A cube of sugar was marked on its six sides like an 
ordinary die and given to Sydney for the first throw. 
It was an anxious moment, the comedy of it irrepressible 
to his temperament, and as he shook the cube in his hand 
and looked at the other derisive men before throwing 
he said, "High man out." Barrymore had to remind 
him that the stake was the honor of ordering dinner for 
a lady, but Sydney's line had revealed the situation. 
Before all had finished throwing, Joe Holland, who was 
with another company on the same boat, noticing the 


hilarity of our party, joined us and wanted to know what 
the gambling was for. Sydney, who had lost, told him 
it was dinner for the entire party. Barry added, "A 
large stake." 

Joe threw and lost, and after the order was given, being 
also in an actor's summer, made a tour among the mem- 
bers of his own company, borrowing for the prospective 
bill. When the checks came Barrymore paid for all the 
dinners. But Sydney's line of "High man out" passed 
into the company's quotations, and on all occasions was 
used to exclude anybody from polite or generous enter- 

Our rehearsals were in Boston. Knowing how much 
depended upon the result of the venture, I was especially 
watchful, trying to detach myself and look at the presen- 
tation objectively, as a critic in the theatre. I could see 
nothing but success. As a touchstone for my estimate 
I had of course the rather full record of the little play 
which was now the third act of the big one. Naturally 
the story mounted to that, and the fourth act, which 
was a logical sequence, did not seem to drop. 

Our first night was not more short of its endeavored 
effects than most first nights are. The nervousness of 
men and women in a new play is such that at a first per- 
formance they never give their best interpretation. At 
this opening the calls were sufficient, the applause and 
laughter were great. Behind the curtain we thought 
we had a success. The thing that chilled us was the fail- 
ure of the inexperienced management to say so. They 
had been in touch with the men from the papers, and we 
felt that they reflected the opinion of those men. 

Most actors have a light dinner around six o'clock 
and a supper when the work is over. That night in Bos- 


ton we men were all too excited to think of going to bed 
even at the actor's hour. Four of us, Barrymore, Drew, 
John Sullivan, and I, decided to sit up for the morning 
papers. We were joined by dear old General George 
Sheridan, the silver-tongued Republican spellbinder, 
father of our leading lady. He had been with us during 
our four weeks' preparation. 

The impression upon a sensitive author may mislead 
me, but as I remember the morning papers they had 
very little to comfort any one. Barrymore's indignation 
and revolt were magnificent. He consigned all the critics 
to the bowwows, and was disposed to send the audience 
with them. 

His finishing line as he slapped me encouragingly on 
the shoulder as daylight was breaking through the win- 
dow was: "Boston, my boy I Why pay any attention 
to it? What is it? A city of Malvolios." 

Sharing my first faith in the piece, trying to analyze 
and weigh the elements of success against everything in 
the other scale, he was sympathetically bracing me up. 

Sydney Drew, who lacked Barrymore's ability to do 
this, but who had an equal good-will, broke in by say- 
ing: "Now, Gus, I've been in too many first nights " 

His brother-in-law said playfully, "You have, Mr. 
Drew, you have," and pushed him out of the conference. 

Sydney, with his comedy smile and a gesture of re- 
covery, added: "Well, I'm a wonder." 

"You do yourself an injustice you're a freak," Barry 
said, and returned to lifting my soggy spirit. 

Two or three managers had come down to Boston to 
see our opening, among them Joseph Grismer, at that 
time a favorite actor on the Pacific Coast, where he was 
starring jointly with his beautiful and talented wife, 


Phoebe Davies. Grismer had an option on the Western 
rights to the play. That he had disappeared at the end 
of the performance was an unhappy augury in the mind 
of the management. I was staying in the old Clark's 
Hotel, a place for men only. At six A. M., I turned into 
bed in a room on an upper floor with a door at right angle 
to a room occupied by Smythe. The weather was warm, 
the transoms were open. I was waked about nine o'clock 
by Matthews calling upon Smythe. Through the open 
transoms I could hear the dejected conference between 
the two managers. 

A bell-boy knocked at the door. Matthews took the 

From Grismer! Each man tried to pass to the other 
the painful duty of going below to interview him. Mat- 
thews finally went. 

After a considerable interval I heard his steps come 
quickly to Smythe's door, a sharp rap, an entrance, and 
his excited tone as he reported to his partner: "Why, he 
still wants it ! " 

Further sleep was impossible to me. I dressed quickly, 
and as soon as I could do so diplomatically confirmed 
the meaning of the report. Later I saw Grismer himself. 
With the ease of the veteran he had dismissed the un- 
favorable notices. He had seen the play; he had watched 
its effect upon the audience. He saw himself in the part. 

I shall never forget his hearty laugh or the strong, sol- 
dierly face as he said: "Why, my boy, it'll make a for- 
tune for everybody!" 

That was a hard Tuesday for me. The day before I 
would have bet upon my ability to brace up under any 
conditions. But when I found Smythe and Matthews 
discounting also Grismer's optimistic opinion and ac- 


ceptance, and regarding both as peculiar to his isolated 
territory and his personal needs, I was a demoralized 
author. One thing that hurt me much was what I 
thought injustice in important press comments. In the 
first act of the play my burglar was a man in refined sur- 
roundings, speaking good English; in the third act he 
was talking thief jargon. I had believed that subtilely 
effective, because in my railroad experience I had seen 
educated men quickly adopt the ungrammatical and 
slangy speech of the man on a box car. Mr. Clapp, then 
the principal critic of Boston, cited this departure as a 
mark of my immaturity. The opinion marked only his 
own inexperience with actual life in that stratum and 
environment. Two or three days later some other paper 
took issue with him upon the point, but on that Tuesday 
I was submerged by that and other objections equally 

During a walk alone in the afternoon I found myself 
looking into a shop-window with no accurate conscious- 
ness of my surroundings or recollection of how I had 
acquired them. It was only a dazed minute or two before 
objects fell into their proper categories and I was able 
to get my bearings, but the lapse alarmed me. A half 
block farther I met Mary Shaw, whose home was Bos- 
ton. Mary had seen the play and was enthusiastic in 
her approval of it and of the work of the company. This, 
however, was to me unimportant in the presence of the 
lapse of consciousness I had just been through. In fright- 
ened fashion I told her of it. 

Mary put back her head and with her contagious laugh 
of those early days, said: "Good old-fashioned bilious- 
ness, my boy, nothing more." Mary's diagnosis was 


Our Boston engagement was for two weeks. The busi- 
ness showed such healthy signs that we were regretful 
that it was not for a longer period. 

On Wednesday after the matinee Wesley Rosenquest, 
managing the Madison Square Theatre for A. M. Palmer, 
proposed to Smythe and Matthews that the piece be 
brought to New York for as long a time as it would hold 
up in the summer. His terms were for the theatre to 
take each week the first two thousand dollars. It was 
of course possible to play to much less than this on the 
gross, and for the management also to be stuck for 
salaries and advertising. 

As they hesitated Barrymore said: "Take it! If the 
money doesn't come in you'll owe me nothing, and I 
think I can answer for most of the company." 

This decided the managers. As they started to thank 
Barrymore he interrupted them: "I'm not doing it on 
your account. This is for Thomas." 

The New York opening was a night of almost equal 
anxiety to that of Boston. As one of the cast I had only 
the actor's biased opinion as to how the play was going. 
I was heartened during the first intermission by a visit 
of the comedian, Louis Harrison, who came to my dress- 
ing-room with a message from Bronson Howard, com- 
mending the workmanship of the act just finished; and 
when the play was over Harrison came again to Barry- 
more's room and mine to bring us good news and to give 
his own opinion by no means an unskilled one that 
we had the best melodrama offered in New York since 
"The Two Orphans." 

Bronson Howard was then in New York with his pro- 
duction of "Shenandoah" at the Star Theatre, where its 
great success was so substantially the beginning of Charles 


Frohman's fortunes. Other attractions running at that 
time were Rosina Yokes with her little company at Daly's 
in repertoire, including "My Milliner's Bill," "The 
Rough Diamond," and the song "His 'Art Was True to 
Poll." Maude Adams was making her first hit at the 
old Bijou Theatre in Hoyt's "A Midnight Bell"; Francis 
Wilson was playing "The Oolah" at the Broadway; 
Sothern was rehearsing "Lord Chumley" by Belasco 
and De Mille to go on at the Lyceum on Fourth Avenue, 
the beautiful little second-story theatre managed at that 
time by Daniel Frohman and supported by a clientele 
second only to Daly's. The McCauII Opera Company, 
with Digby Bell as principal comedian, was in the midst 
of a run at Palmer's; Lillian Russell was playing "The 
Brigands" at the Casino; "FerncIifFe," by William Ha- 
worth, was at the Union Square, and Helen Barry had 
in rehearsal "Love and Liberty" to follow. Denman 
Thompson was in the midst of his popularity with "The 
Old Homestead" at the Academy. 

"The Burglar" was a success in New York, and after 
its first year on the road played with two and sometimes 
three companies throughout the country almost con- 
tinuously for the next ten years. I report this to record 
a fact which may be useful to other writers. When I 
was in St. Louis Will Smythe had written to say that 
forty dollars a week was a fair royalty for a four-act play 
by a beginner. In his own inexperience he had consulted 
Howard P. Taylor, then somewhat in the public eye as 
a dramatist. That royalty was agreed upon. I was 
sure that Smythe had been misinformed, but the terms 
were adhered to. The lowest royalty that a beginner 
of a play worthy of production should have received 
would have been 5 per cent of the gross receipts, amount- 


ing on "The Burglar's" average business to more than 
ten times forty dollars. Smarting under what I felt to 
be the injustice of the arrangement, and yet declining 
to ask anything not in the contract, after the first few 
weeks I sold my rights for twenty-five hundred dollars. 
The piece did, as Grismer had prophesied, make small 
fortunes for all owners associated with it. 

When "The Burglar" went away for its first season, 
however, its royalty of forty dollars a week was my total 
income. I don't know what decree of fate led to such a 
general agreement upon this figure as my value, but with 
certain obligations in the West economy was essential. 
Smythe relinquished a second-story front room at 205 
West Twenty-fifth Street, over a parlor that was occu- 
pied by an Italian who gave a table d'hote dinner for 
thirty-five cents with a pint of red wine thrown in. That 
was the dinner to which I treated Barrymore and asked 
him if it wasn't a fine offering for the money. 

Barrymore said: "Great! Let's have another!" 
This second-story room was let for three dollars a week. 
I engaged it when Smythe left toward the end of Sep- 
tember. It was a fine room for the money, being nearly 
twenty-five feet square and having three windows at 
the front. Among its few drawbacks were the simplicity 
of its furnishing and a rich, permeating odor of Italian 
cooking, never absent and especially high at the flood of 
the gastronomic tides. Barrymore thought that any- 
body ought to be able to write in such rich and redolent 
quarters, away from all distractions and calls, and when 
the rear room on the same floor, separated from the front 
room only by the customary wardrobes and marble wash- 
stands of that period, was vacant he rented it at the same 


On his first day as a tenant he brought in two reams 
of soft printing paper, typewriter size, and two dozen 
plain wood pencils already sharpened and made of a 
grade of plumbago suggesting stove polish. They had 
retailed at ten cents a dozen. He declared his intention 
of starting in the next morning to write a play. But he 
didn't come that morning or any other morning. His 
wife predicted that such would be the case. She said 
their own apartment, wherever it happened to be, was 
strewn with stray leaves on each of which was written, 
"Act One, Scene One. A Ruined Garden." 

Some five or six years later, when I had built a home 
and was living at New Rochelle, Barrymore came out 
one night to read a play he had completed. We had to 
explain the burst of laughter that greeted him from my 
wife and me as he began to read, "Act One, Scene One: 
A Ruined Garden." Not only did Barrymore never 
work in that Twenty-fifth Street room, but as far as I 
know he never came to it but once. 

This failure to use the room is not astonishing when 
we remember Barrymore's way of living then. Rather 
than store his four or five trunks of valuable costumes 
which he was apt to need at a moment's notice, he kept 
them in a little hall bedroom on Twenty-eighth Street 
in a house managed by a Mrs. Higgins. The room also 
contained a little iron bedstead and washstand. Barry- 
more never occupied it, but to disagreeable persons he 
gave it as his address. Mrs. Higgins was instructed to 
say always that Barrymore had just gone out, and occa- 
sionally some wastrel transient, on an order from Barry, 
slept there. In conjunction with one or two actor friends 
he had a flat on Fourth Avenue. I think this was really 
the place where he preferred to sleep and to get his break- 


fasts. Mrs. Barrymore was travelling with the Crane 
company at that time, and when she came to the city 
Barrymore took an apartment with her at some hotel. 
During one of these engagements their joint address 
was the old Sturtevant House, so that with the room 
back of mine Barrymore quite honestly had four private 

One blizzard night, walking away from The Lambs 
Club on Twenty-sixth Street, I was stopped by a shiver- 
ing boy of twenty who asked for a dime to get a bed. I 
took him with me, showed him into this back room. The 
boy looked at the sofa. 


I said "No," pointed to the roomy and well-furnished 
bed and left him stammering his thanks. About three 
o'clock in the morning I was waked by somebody strik- 
ing a match and turning on the gas. Barrymore, drip- 
ping from the storm, stood in the middle of the floor. 

He nodded to the back room and said: "What's all 
this in there?" 

After collecting my thoughts a moment I said: 
"That's a little philanthropy of mine." 

"Well, where am I to sleep?" 

"What's the matter with the Fourth Avenue flat?" 
There was some friend there. "What about the Sturte- 
vant House and Georgie?" 

Barrymore said: "Ethel is over from Philadelphia to 
visit her mother, and I've been turned out." 

"What about the room at Mrs. Higgins'?" 

"King Hall has that this week." 

I couldn't help laughing at the picture of America's 
favorite and best-paid actor, with four apartments for 
which he was paying rent and no place to sleep. 

I said: "I don't know what you're going to do, old 


"I do." 

He shed his outside clothes and got into bed with me. 

Barrymore at that time was playing my one-act piece, 
"A Man of the World," previously referred to as the 
contribution refused for publication when offered during 
my reportorial duty on the Post-Despatch. Somewhat 
dissatisfied with his opportunities at the Madison Square 
Theatre, he was considering an engagement to star under 
the management of J. M. Hill. I was casting about in 
an effort to devise for him a play that would show to best 
advantages the Barrymore qualities. My association 
with him and the little circle about him at this time put 
a decidedly new twist into my way of thinking of the 

Barrymore had written and produced for Helena Mod- 
jeska a story of Russian life called "Nadjesda," which 
in the opinion of many had been handicapped by the 
intensity of its dramatic incidents. It was drama of that 
kind that he wanted from me. Somewhere from the 
South there was a newspaper item of two men who had 
fought a duel by drawing lots from a hat with the under- 
standing that the man who got the marked card was to 
suicide. This and other incidents coming to our atten- 
tion at that time, all equally unusual or bizarre, com- 
bined to make a story which, under the title of "Reck- 
less Temple," I submitted to Barrymore and Hill, and, 
urged by their enthusiasm, wrote in that Twenty-fifth 
Street room. 


I had now become a member of The Lambs. At the 
clubhouse I passed more than half the time I permitted 
myself away from my writing. The Lambs was then in 
its fifteenth year, and contained the best element in the 
profession. It was a great honor, privilege, and education 
to be received on equal terms by its then membership, a 
total professional number of one hundred, which included 
such men as Lester Wallack, Dion Boucicault, Steele 
Mackaye, Mark Smith, Robert G. IngersoII, Otis Skinner, 
the Holland brothers, George, Edmund, and Joseph, and 
others worthy of the standard that these names indicate. 

A table d'hote dinner was served for fifty cents at the 
large club table, where the men were like members of a 
family. There was a notable musical contingent and 
often between courses the popular songs of the time. 
The gayety of such youngsters as Harry Woodruff, Cyril 
Scott, Fritz Williams, Francis Carlyle, and Ned Bell was 
as memorable as the wise talk of such elders as Steele 
Mackaye and Frank Mayo. Fun was spontaneous and 
unconstrained. At one of these small dinners I began 
my real acquaintance with Otis Skinner. He had come 
in from a trip on the road, was greeted with shouts and 
lifted glasses, and because the place on the impromptu 
programme fitted it he stood in the doorway, and an- 
swering the men's demand recited Beranger's "When 
We Were Twenty-One." I shall always remember the 



romantic picture of that virile, Moorish-looking young- 
ster, and the sentiment with which he read "Flo, my 
Flo, was a coryphee." 

The Lambs was then at 34 West Twenty-sixth Street, 
between Broadway and Sixth Avenue; the house an 
old-fashioned five-story, twenty-five-foot-front brown- 
stone dwelling with high stoop, under which was a base- 
ment entrance. It was like its adjoining houses in ex- 
ternal looks and faced similar buildings on the north side 
of the street. Those respectable neighbors eyed it with 
distrust. Leaving The Lambs and walking east to Broad- 
way you passed the St. James Hotel on the corner. On 
the other side of Broadway was Delmonico's, running 
through the short block to Fifth Avenue. The block was 
and still is short, because these two great thoroughfares 
wedge sharply three blocks farther south. East of the 
long plaza made by their intersection is the park called 
Madison Square, a plunger fountain in the centre and 
the Saint-Gaudens bronze of Farragut on the northwest 

Facing this square on all four sides in 1889 were beau- 
tiful and impressive buildings, each with its history fairly 
mellow and all with their uniform sky-line that could 
be enjoyed without suggesting curvature of the spine. 

To have eyes and never to see the sky is to be slowly 
and unconsciously immersed in matter. Where no vision 
is the people perish, and the vision of this nation is born 
and nourished and reinforced and sustained from modest 
houses that are detached and which face four ways to 
the weather and from which men and women look in 
easy angle at the sky. Some one has gone further than 
this and said that a view of the horizon is necessary to 
the sanity of the eye. In thirty-three years Industry 


with a capital I has torn down the old Delmonico's, the 
old St. James, the Worth and Hoffman houses, the Fifth 
Avenue Hotel, and the handsome homes of modest height, 
and replaced them with cubes of the towering kind that 
make central New York City a gridiron of box canons. 

In 1889 Madison Square had just won from Union 
Square, nine streets farther south, its claim to be the 
theatrical centre. It was the smart and modern spot, 
although many of the actors of the comic-page, fur- 
trimmed intensity still haunted the older Rialto. And 
at Fourteenth Street there was still considerable theatri- 
cal power and vibration. Under the old Morton House 
J. M. Hill still managed the Union Square Theatre. One 
street farther south was the Star, where Crane's long 
run in David Lloyd's and Sydney Rosenfeld's "Senator" 
and other plays was to occur before the passing of that 
historic house. North of Union Square, where now stands 
the lofty Century Building, was the stately, hospitable 
Everett House; while to the east was Riccadonna's, 
famous for spaghetti and the patronage of the Salvinis, 
father and son. These, with the Academy of Music, 
then run by E. G. Gilmore, and Tony Pastor's own 
theatre just behind it, put up their ancient claim for 
attention. But the fashionable town was moving north. 

At Twenty-fifth Street two tides of easy promenaders 
joined in their down-town drift, and returning there 
divided for the northerly walks. Every fine afternoon 
other than matinee days members of the stock companies 
of Daly's, Palmer's, and the Lyceum theatres, and mem- 
bers of other combinations of nearly equal importance, 
moved in leisurely manner and almost small-town neigh- 
borliness through the comfortable throngs of well-dressed 
and fairly intelligent Americans, to whom all of them 


were known by sight. Fashionable New York was out 
in private rigs with liveried coachmen and tigers; there 
were no trolley-cars, no motors. The busses on Fifth 
Avenue were drawn by slow-plodding horses. 

Life itself had a gentle pace, social intercourse a more 
genial temperature. Friends, meeting, stopped to ex- 
change a word; men in groups told stories, laughed; 
policemen did not ask them to move on. The moulds 
of form, the glasses of fashion were John Drew and Her- 
bert Kelcey, Robert Hilliard and Berry Wall. Equal 
centres of interest and prompters of good-nature were 
Barrymore, Coghlan, Goodwin, Hopper, Digby Bell, 
Dixey, Charles Stevenson, and Frank Carlyle. A cer- 
tain challenge went with Ted Henley or Lackaye. 

Some day it will be as respectable to write historically 
of the fine barrooms of that time as it was for Dickens 
in his day to write of the tap-room; and even now I must 
venture something, because to leave them out is to at- 
tempt a portrait with half the face concealed. Any one 
of those important men just named could be stopped 
in that parade, and under the pretense of business or 
pressing communication enticed for a moment's mis- 
leading conference into one of those convenient snares. 

In the St. James Hotel, behind and above the glass- 
ware, was a picture of three dashing cavaliers, plumed 
hats, flowing cloaks, swords, and all; portraits in costume 
of Billy Connor, hotel proprietor and erstwhile manager 
of John McCuIIough; of Charles W. Brooke, distin- 
guished lawyer, orator, and bon vivant of the day; of Louis 
N. Megargee, newspaper writer of Philadelphia and New 
York, all initmate friends of the talented Moses P. Handy 
of Clover Club celebrity. This picture had the kind of 
draft and influence of Maxfield Parrish's Old King Cole, 


painted in after years for the late Knickerbocker Hotel 
cafe, with the difference that King Cole came from the 
nursery with the reputation of having quite shamelessly 
and in haute voix expressed his preferences, whereas the 
St. James trio depended entirely upon the law of asso- 
ciative suggestion. 

One habitue was Jerry Dunn, a handsome fellow 
strongly suggesting in appearance former United States 
Senator J. Hamilton Lewis, though Dunn was rather a 
silent person. He had, however, killed a man with a 
revolver. Another sport was Pat Sheedy, who managed 
John L. Sullivan. It was in that saloon, the story ran, 
that when Sullivan proposed to beat up Sheedy with his 
fists, Sheedy, not unprepared for the attention, had 
pushed a derringer against Sullivan's body and asked him 
not to do it. 

Some politicians came there. General Sheridan 
Silver-tongued George, as his Republican friends called 
him lived in the hotel. 

On the next block south from the St. James was the 
Hoffman House cafe, perhaps the finest in the world. 
The proprietor was the handsome, melancholy, gray- 
haired Ned Stokes, who had killed Colonel Jim Fisk on 
account of the notorious Josie Mansfield. It was said 
Stokes always slept thereafter with the light burning in 
his bedroom. In this cafe, guarded by brass rails and 
plush ropes, hung an heroic canvas by the great Bou- 
guereau, a painting of several nymphs trying to throw 
a fighting satyr into the water. This prophetic symbol 
was years before the general adoption of woman suffrage. 

In the theatre the prizes are to magnetism quite as 
much as to ideas or antics. Of the three factors, mag- 
netism is the hardest to define. To call it attraction is 


but to change the substantive. To call it personality 
is only to befog it. To recite the reasons for my own 
explanation of it or to support my case adequately in the 
controversy those reasons would provoke would take half 
a volume. I therefore omit reasons, and avoiding con- 
troversy issue only my belief that the force is electrical; 
that its possessor is not its generator but its medium, 
and that the voluntary transmission of it is exhausting. 
The truly effective actor cannot simply wipe off his grease 
paint and turn in to slumber. 

Our Favershams, our Hacketts, our Marlowes, our 
Cohans, our Drews of three actor generations, our Barry- 
mores of two, with the admixture of the Drew strain, 
our like artists of repute, as well as those yet undiscov- 
ered and uncelebrated, cannot after a night's play set 
the psychical brakes and come to a dead centre. Like 
a machine before the stop, the human organism before 
the normal nerve rate must slow down. For this retar- 
dation the ample apartment with trained butler or equally 
trained maid and the presence of understanding com- 
rades who quit at the first suppressed yawn is ideal. 

For an income unequal to such provision the proper 
restaurant, the club, the cafe of the Hoffman kind, is 
invaluable. Let us not chide that immortal coterie at 
the Mermaid Inn, nor Chris Marlowe, nor Ben Jonson, 
nor Will Shakespeare, nor criticise too severely that other 
at the Cheshire Cheese of which Garrick was so often 
the centre and Doctor Johnson the mentor. 

Into that old Hoffman House cafe from the Madison 
Square, the Fifth Avenue, the Lyceum, three theatres 
within a radius of two blocks, actors easily drifted. Those 
of Palmer's, Daly's, and the Bijou had but little farther 
to come. The writers met them. For some obscure 


reason as slightly higher price or the watchful eye of 
the house man, Billy Edwards, ex-champion prize-fighter 
only the better element of the men about town fre- 
quented the place. A group of players and playwrights 
at a table were uninterrupted. Men nodded to them, 
or joined them if invited, but they did not intrude. 

What wise conferences were many of those expert 
discussions of current or projected plays; what con- 
densed experience; what discovered and tested rules; 
what classifyings of situations; what precedents and 
likenesses; what traditions, conventions, experiments, 
suggestions; what a winnowing of ideas by what vigor- 
ous, original, challenging, prolific fellows; and in what 
free interchange in an atmosphere and temper stimu- 
lated to just that degree of exaltation that can bridge 
and blend and give an overtone and group consensus ! 
Truly, "Wisdom is justified of her children." 

For more private and smaller conferences, among 
other places, there was also Browne's famous old chop- 
house on Twenty-seventh Street just off the Broadway 
corner; one stone step to the hallway and a turn to the 
right for the parlor dining-room with its little tables, to 
which a third chair could be drawn; the hot-water dishes 
for the mealy Welsh rabbit and the pewter mugs for the 
musty ale. 

I first saw Paul Potter there, rewriter of French 
comedy at the time, but afterward author of "The Con- 
querors," "Trilby," "Under Two Flags," and adapter 
of a half score of farces. He looked an oldish young man 
then as, thirty years later, after the unmanageable 
cropped hair turned white, he looked a youngish old one. 
Barrymore made him join us, and then rallied him on 
his theories until daylight. Paul Potter was always a 


bookworm. Why study life when it is all so thoroughly 
written and pigeonholed and catalogued by men so su- 
perior to any of us? And Paul knew all the indexes, 
including the Expurgatorius. Diderot was his guide, and 
his laws were immutable. Paul remade plays as an Ital- 
ian worked in mosaic, or he thought he did. 

After that first meeting he met me at long intervals 
in America, in London, in Paris, and without astonish- 
ment in a seemingly uninterrupted intimacy, with both 
hands out in greeting and with perplexed eyes; but 
whether in luck or in trouble, always with the self-de- 
precating, boyish, white-toothed smile. At Foyot's on 
the Rue Vaugirard, the French senators from the palais 
opposite, equally with the bowing waiters, saluted him 
as Monsieur I'Americain. 

I saw him last in New York in the early spring of 1921, 
one afternoon in a Turkish bath on Forty-second Street. 
I first inquired quietly of the attendant, and having made 
sure of the solitary sleeper talked loudly enough to rouse 
him. The grave, emaciated face, simple as one of Shake- 
speare's forest rustics, took on its waking smile as he 
asked "Gus? Gus?" and sat up in his sheet, as sunny 
as a boy at a swimmin' hole. 

"How are you, Paul?" 

He chuckled with the merriment of it. 

"Why, Gus, old friend, I'm dying!" And then he 
laughingly told me how desirable diabetes was as a way 
to finish. One had to go some time. The doctors gave 
him only a few weeks longer. "See? It's the swelling 
of feet and ankles that keeps me in here most of the time, 
but the boys all know me and don't mind me lying 
around. Soon after this stage one goes into coma and 
it's all over." And he laughed again, his forehead wrin- 


kling under his thick white hair. The next day they 
couldn't wake him. 

I hate to jam old friends into their coffins this way, 
but with only twelve of these articles one has to do it 
or hurt some of their feelings by leaving them out. But 
back in Browne's in 1889 Paul told me that, as Diderot 
had printed for him, our plays are written backwards; 
that is, constructed like a mystery story, from the solu- 
tion backward to the enigma. Of course, it was helpful 
to know that, and I've told it to dozens of youngsters. 
Who was it said the unpardonable thing, the one base 
thing in life, is to receive benefits and to confer none? 

There came into New York that winter a typical 
Southerner in speech and appearance named Colonel 
Edward Alfriend. His home had been Richmond, Vir- 
ginia. Other citizens of that place reported that because 
of his courtly manner he had been called Count Alfriend. 
The colonel was about sixty years of age, tall, suddenly 
portly at the meridian, with prominent features, and 
a walruslike white mustache, which with the important 
consciousness of an English guardsman he stroked to 
hold the floor in the pauses of his discourse. His am- 
bition was dramatic authorship. His most prominent 
friend in the theatre was A. M. Palmer, above whom in 
physical stature he towered some seven inches. He spent 
many hours in Mr. Palmer's office when it was evident 
to other callers that Mr. Palmer was not insisting on it. 

Reporting these interviews outside, the colonel fre- 
quently said: "I am very close to A. M. Palmer." 

After a couple of years, with the assistance of Mr. 
Augustus Pitou, who signed as joint author, he produced 
a play under the title of "Across the Potomac." His 
second play, the only other from his pen as I remember 


that was produced, was "The Louisianian," played by 
Mantel. In Palmer's office Alfriend met Barrymore; and 
Barry, amused by the old gentleman's punctilious manner, 
his pomposity, and a mediocrity that warranted predic- 
tion, carried Alfriend about with him in many leisure 
hours. One of Barry's gentle friends wishing to embroider 
a sofa pillow, a Penelope activity then not fallen into neg- 
lect, asked me to draw in outline on a square of silk a 
profile of herself and one of Barrymore. After I had 
drawn her own profile I said: "How close to that do you 
want the profile of Barry?" 

The lady said: "About as close as Alfriend is to Pal- 

Barrymore introduced the colonel to me and insisted 
on my sharing for the new acquaintance his own enthu- 
siasm. Later Barry found a furnished flat, fourth floor, 
on Thirty-fourth Street between Seventh and Eighth 
avenues, with three bedrooms, a little parlor, dining- 
room, and kitchen. The tenant wanted to sublet it 
furnished for forty dollars a month. Barrymore thought 
it would be an ideal arrangement if we three he, the 
colonel, and I should take this flat and live there. We 
entered upon its occupation. A rotund, matronly ne- 
gress, the janitress for the building, did the housework 
and prepared our breakfasts. Other meals we took out- 
side. I don't remember a happier period. 

When the spring came and the fish were running so 
thick in the North River that one could buy a five-pound 
shad with roe for thirty-five cents, General George Sheri- 
dan, having sent old Sarah word the night before, would 
appear in time with such a fish in a brown paper; and 
as Sarah, under his instructions, prepared it and put it 
on the breakfast table he would discourse upon it and 


the expert way to separate the fibre from the bones with 
all the savory interest of a Colonel Carter. 

During those five months in the Thirty-fourth Street 
flat I wrote two plays, both under arrangements with 
Manager J. M. Hill; one for Sydney Drew, which was 
never produced; another adapted from the German, 
which was produced more than a year later under the 
title of "A Night's Frolic," with Helen Barry, an Eng- 
lish actress of more than masculine stature, in the prin- 
cipal role, which fortunately required that most of her 
scenes be played in the uniform of an officer of the chas- 
seurs. That event lives principally by the association 
of one of its least important members at that time, a 
singularly active, optimistic, dark-haired lad of some 
nineteen or twenty years named John L. Golden. It is 
difficult to avoid his name now among the Broadway 
white lights with his presentations of "Turn to the 
Right," "Lightnin'," "Thank You," and so on. 

After a while Barrymore's enthusiasm for the flat sub- 
sided noticeably, and with the coming of the summer 
we abandoned our arrangement. We were the only the- 
atrical menage in the building, so I doubt if we could 
have maintained our occupation much longer, because 
during our last month there I heard the colonel, whose 
point of view old Sarah understood perfectly, tell her 
to ask the lady on the floor above what the devil she 
meant by moving furniture around at eleven o'clock in 
the morning. The colonel seldom slept more than six 
hours, at that. He wrote his plays from books of the 
vintage of the " Deserted Village." They were pitiably 
short, but filled with long soliloquies, and all of them 
written for Barrymore. Barrymore listening to one of 
these, and looking to me for help would have been an 


inspiring subject for "When a Feller Needs a Friend*'; 
but with his diplomatic skill he always protested himself 
an unworthy exponent. One spring day on Broadway 
Barry and I, walking together, saw Wilton Lackaye ap- 
proaching us with menace in every lineament. 

When we met him he said: "See here, what do you 
fellows mean by sicking the colonel onto me?" 

After leaving the Thirty-fourth Street flat which we 
three men had leased I roomed at The Lambs Club until 
I left it to take an apartment with my wife at a hotel. 
The sojourn at The Lambs was rich in experiences which 
would fill a volume of small talk, smaller even than this. 
One item that, notwithstanding its diminutive propor- 
tions, I feel justified in describing, was of a parrot. Par- 
rot stories do not amuse me, because as a rule so palpably 
invented; but as Maeterlinck has written some asso- 
ciation between happiness and the bluebird, I will tell 
of this green one's occasional power. 

The club at this period was not prosperous; in fact 
quite the contrary, and the newly organized Players had 
begun to draw from it many of its best members. The 
only other permanent lodger in the house in that fall of 
1890 was the owner of this parrot, John B. Miley, a 
graduate of Dublin University. Mr. Miley 's business 
was to sell wholesale, on commission, fine liquors handled 
at that time by the old-established house of Roosevelt 
& Schuyler. Miley was proud of his business and of his 
wares, and as self-respecting as if a discerning monarch 
had just given him the knighthood recently conferred 
upon an eminent English distiller. The parrot had been 
with him in many years of convivial associations that 
may be inferred, but it had learned nothing demoral- 
izing no profanity, no greetings, no call for biscuits; but 


laughter of every variety, from a complimentary chuckle 
to the hysteric and pained abandonment that needs help. 

Miley occupied the little hall bedroom, second floor 
front, in which Bishop had died. He was an industrious 
person, and went early to his business. Alone in the 
club, down-hearted for important personal reasons that 
must not take attention here, each morning as I reached 
Miley's room I was greeted by a formal, complimentary 
little laugh from the parrot. It was my custom to push 
the door farther open, speak to the bird, and sometimes 
sit on the bed and invite his specialty. That little formal 
laugh of his, encouraged by my echo, voluntary only at 
first, would grow in volume and expand in character 
until it revived somewhat of all the merry and maybe 
dissolute hours of exhilarated companionship that Miley's 
trade and temperament had won; laughs of a superior 
clientele, but punctuated occasionally by guffaws of 
chance and cheaper acquaintances, and by concerted 
crescendo effects spraying into broken vocables as some 
falsetto, tearful enthusiast regurgled the point of the 
story. I was a poor amateur compared to Polly, but 
together we could fill all the windows on both sides of 
Twenty-sixth Street with matrons and housemaids, sym- 
pathetically agrin and curious as to the disorderly con- 
vocation at The Lambs. It was a great way to start 
the forenoon, and required several unpleasant letters of 
efficiency experts to dissipate Polly's fiat sunshine. 

In the spring of that year the reputation of "The Bur- 
glar" on the road and "A Man of the World" at the 
Madison Square Theatre had influenced Mr. Palmer to 
ask me to become connected with that fine playhouse. 
Dion Boucicault was then under a regular retainer to 
patch or adapt for Mr. Palmer any imported play that 


might need it, and also to give him first option on any 
original work, subject, of course, to usual royalty terms. 
Boucicault wished to retire. After a study of the rather 
limited field, still more limited in approachable material, 
Mr. Palmer offered me the Boucicault desk at a salary 
of fifty dollars a week the year round. He had been pay- 
ing Boucicault one hundred, and told me I could follow 
the theatrical custom and say outside I was getting the 
same; but that never became necessary. It was stipu- 
lated that I was at liberty to produce "Reckless Temple" 
and "The Correspondent," which J. M. Hill had respec- 
tively for Barrymore and Sidney Drew. This Madison 
Square engagement was a substantial addition to income, 
was good publicity, and a fine business address. I was 
then thirty-three years old. 

I wrote at Mr. Palmer's request "A Constitutional 
Point" for Mrs. Booth, who needed a one-act play. Mr. 
Palmer thought the public wouldn't understand it. 
Eighteen years later I expanded it to four acts and called 
it "The Witching Hour." For Mrs. Booth's immediate 
need I wrote another one-act play called "After- 
thoughts," which she did successfully. 

"Reckless Temple" did not succeed in New York, and 
after sixteen weeks on the road Barrymore came back 
to Palmer's Madison Square Theatre, where, anticipat- 
ing both those events, I was at work upon a play with 
parts in it for all the company, including Barrymore. 
About making that play there is in my opinion a story 
of some psychological as well as pathological interest. 

Men differ in degree, perhaps in kind, in their capacity 
mentally to see forms. My ability to draw faces from 
memory leads me to think that I have at least the aver- 
age faculty. Sometimes in the dark, with no external 


claim upon the optic nerve, these mental pictures seem 
faintly objective. Their definition is not perfect. Against 
the reddish-gray background that closed eyelids bring 
there will appear in contrast lines of a lighter gray. These 
lines are not fixed. They move. At times, when they 
take on resemblance to a face, imagination running just 
a little ahead of the vision will muster them into propor- 
tions of perfect drawing, and memory can manage them 
into portraits. It is a fact in pathology that under fever 
nearly everybody sees these shapes. In drowsy daylight 
figures of the wall-paper grow fantastic, move, and have 
expression. In his most excited moments, Martin Luther, 
it will be remembered, could not banish the image of the 
devil from the wall of his cell, and there used to be shown 
a spot where he had thrown his inkwell at this negative 
invocation, become objective. 

After the production of "Reckless Temple," and some 
attendant dissipations and demands upon me physically, 
and when I was in a run-down condition, this faculty 
of such seeing was feverishly augmented. Under the 
doctor's orders I had resumed strictly regular hours, not 
the easiest recovery in The Lambs. One night before 
the club was completely quiet I was trying to go to 
sleep in the dark. At the piano down-stairs E. M. Hol- 
land was playing a melody, then popular, called "Down 
on the Farm." These lines in the dark of which I have 
written assembled into definite shape, and I could see 
before me more plainly than many a stage set shows in 
theatrical light two posts of a ruined gateway, one stand- 
ing, the other fallen, crumbled. I recognized the picture 
as of a gateway I had seen in Talladega some six years 
before, but had not consciously thought of since. As I 
looked at it with some amusement an old man walked 


through it, stood a moment, and was joined by a young 
girl who took him by the arm and led him obliquely out 
of the picture. Two or three times this little action was 
repeated so definitely that it was impossible for me in 
any way to connect it with imagination, although the 
association between Holland's tune, with its rural, senti- 
mental color, and this picture is fairly evident. 

There was nothing unpleasant about this visional in- 
trusion, nor was there such persistence that I felt driven 
to Luther's protest. This little gateway and its two 
figures played somehow through my dreams. In the 
morning I found myself interested in the relationship of 
the two people, partly trying to divine, but rather drift- 
ing with, their story. After a day or two the result was 
a one-act sketch. This I had typed, and carried it to 
Mr. Eugene Presbrey, stage-manager for Mr. Palmer. 
Presbrey was enthusiastic about the little piece, but told 
me it was a mistake to play it in that form. He reminded 
me that "The Burglar" had some of its New York effect 
dulled by having first been done as a one-act play, and 
insisted that I had in my possession the nucleus of a fine 
big story. He saw at once in the characters a part for 
Stoddart and another for little Miss Agnes Miller, who 
was the ingenue of the company at that time. There 
were other parts for Barrymore, Ned Bell, and Harry 

Under Presbrey's encouragement, using the sketch as 
a third act, I wrote the four-act play "Alabama." I had 
fun with the Southern colonel in the piece, whom I called 
Colonel Moberly and whom I endowed with all the for- 
mality and pomposity of our Colonel Alfriend. There 
was a boy's part for Harry Woodruff, and a fat squire 
for Charles L. Harris, the splendid comedian who had 


been with us in "Reckless Temple." At my suggestion, 
after hearing the scenario, Mr. Palmer added Harris to 
his company and used him in two or three plays that 
were produced before we finally reached "Alabama." 

Ed Holland liked the idea of the colonel written for 
him, and as he and Woodruff already had some hint con- 
cerning certain scenes in which they were together they 
soon began to greet each other in Southern dialect and 
manner. The membership of The Lambs, ignorant of 
the reason for this assumption, but amused by it, caught 
its contagion, and in a little while the club was apparently 
an organization of two hundred Southern colonels all 
shooting cuffs and stroking phantom but magnificent 

The play was finished under pressure in January and 
read to the company on the stage. Presbrey, familiar 
with it, was not of that group, but in his little office near 
the entrance to the dressing-rooms. 

As Mrs. Booth left the theatre she leaned over the 
closed lower half of Presbrey 's Dutch door and whis- 
pered to him, "Rotten, thank you!" 

When we reached rehearsals she declined to play the 
part written for her and it was given to May Brookyn, 
from whom she reclaimed it shortly after the piece was 
produced. After rehearsing "Alabama" a week Mr. 
Palmer lost faith in it and replaced it with one of his 
English plays. This attack and retreat were repeated 
twice. But after there had been three English failures 
the rehearsals of "Alabama" in a spirit of desperation 
went on to its production on Wednesday, April i, 1891. 

In these varying moods Mr. Palmer lost faith not only 
in the play but in its author, and one dark day told me 
that when the year of our contract ended, which would 


be in May, my engagement as dramatist extraordinary 
that was my title; I don't know why would cease. 
But he added that he was sending on a first tour through 
the country Mr. E. S. Willard in "The Middleman," 
and that if I liked I could go ahead of him as publicity 
man. He would pay the salary I had earned with Bishop, 
one hundred dollars. It felt like a slip backward, but 
as a newly married man I took it. The plan was for me 
to leave New York Sunday, March 29, and have two 
weeks in Chicago before Willard opened. 

By earnestly protesting that I didn't need all that 
time I got Mr. Palmer's permission to wait until early 
Thursday morning, and thereby on Wednesday night 
see "Alabama" open. 

Shortly after his installation as Vice-President of the 
United States Theodore Roosevelt was one of six men 
who came to the home of Brander Matthews to meet at 
lunch Mark Twain, recently returned from a trip abroad. 
Colonel Roosevelt was most entertaining throughout the 
luncheon with reminiscences of Cuba. 

Pertinent to one of these he turned to Mark Twain 
and said: "As an old Confederate soldier, Mr. Clemens, 
you must have noticed the nervousness of the bravest 
men upon going into battle." 

Mark took his cigar from under his white mustache, 
and with a dreamy squint replied: "Oh, yes, I know that 
nervousness of brave men going into battle, and I had 
the quality of maintaining it all through the engage- 

The playwright never gets so experienced that a pro- 
duction is not an occasion of nervousness. An inexperi- 
enced one whose play has been set aside three times be- 
cause of the manager's distrust has more nervousness 


than the brave man going into battle. On the first night 
of "Alabama" mine was augmented by an almost panic 
condition of Mr. Palmer. Although quite unknown to 
anybody that mattered, I sought a further obscurity by 
standing behind a post in the gallery. A similar timid 
figure in the shadows across the aisle attracted my at- 
tention. It was Mr. Palmer. When the first curtain 
fell with mingled laughter and applause, the most de- 
sirable response a company can ask for, Mr. Palmer 
looked at me, his eyebrows lifted in an inquiry mixed 
with astonishment. 

Friends of Mr. Palmer will remember his regular fea- 
tures and intellectual and distinguished expression; also 
his large, pale eyes. He also had rather full gray side 
whiskers, decorations not so uncommon then as since 
the introduction of the safety razor. 

These facial forms and effects, his white lawn tie, and 
his look of shocked surprise carried the uncomfortable 
suggestion of some interrupted mortuary function. Four 
or five curtain calls and the mood in which the audience 
had taken this blandest of our four acts gave me courage 
to go to the balcony for the second one. 

With similar but more pronounced responses after 
that, and finding that Mr. Palmer had also ventured 
down to my level, I threw all caution to the wind and 
said: "I'm going to see the rest of this performance from 
the ground floor." 

When the play was over it seemed to me we had been 
in the presence of a success, but Mr. Palmer was not 
able to lift his spirits from the depression of the disas- 
trous season, so that despite the congratulations of many 
friends I went to bed uncertain. 

My wife and I at that time were in our first apartment 


in the old Oriental Hotel, opposite the Casino. As we 
had to take an early train for Chicago, we agreed not 
to look at any of the papers until we should have had an 
undisturbed breakfast and were alone together on the 
train, speeding from police detention. I gave her the 
paper in which I felt I would get the most considerate 
treatment, and took myself the one I believed most hos- 
tile. Its very head-lines disarmed me. I looked up and 
met an enthusiastic glow imparted by the notice she had 
read. We hurriedly went at the other papers. The press 
was unanimous. "Alabama'* seemed the surprise of the 
season, and was characterized in terms almost too lauda- 
tory to refer to except by proxy. 

In Chicago, as Willard's advance man, my calls at 
the newspaper offices were exciting, owing to telegraphic 
reports about the New York first night, and the dramatic 
men were kind. But that day an ailment that had been 
threatening became acute, and I had to submit to an 
operation under ether that put me in bed for the next 
ten days. During that time the men on the Chicago 
papers gave me all the help I could take. I was told that 
whatever I got to them concerning Willard would find 
space. Thus encouraged, I dictated to my wife long 
specials for each paper, which she carried to the offices, 
and I doubt if any theatrical attraction ever went into 
Chicago or any other American city with better publicity 
than those generous fellows handed us. 

Presbrey kept me informed of the play in New York, 
where it was doing capacity business, and the royalty 
checks made me think of the first time I had ever sat 
in an overstuffed chair. We got the New York papers 
every day; the ads and paragraphs were fine, and some 
of the papers carried editorials about the play, inquiring 



if New York managers had not made mistakes in leaning 
on the imported article when native subjects seemed so 
acceptable. And then in the midst of all of it came a 
long telegram from Nat Goodwin asking me to write a 
serious play for him, to choose my own subject, and offer- 
ing a royalty of i o per cent of the gross receipts, with an 
advance of twenty-five hundred dollars. I agreed to do it. 

With the Willard company Mr. Palmer came into the 
city, delighted with conditions in New York and heartily 
approving all those he found in Chicago. I passed the 
credit for the display to the men to whom it belonged, 
especially to a young writer named Kirke La Shelle, 
whom Mr. Palmer engaged that week to take the place 
with the Willard company, which for sufficient reasons I 
was giving up. La Shelle later became a theatrical cap- 
tain, and produced for me "Arizona," "The Earl of Paw- 
tucket," "The Bonnie Briar Bush," and "The Education 
of Mr. Pipp." Mr. Palmer asked me to forget his ter- 
minating our contract and to go on under the old ar- 
rangements for another year. He consented to my writ- 
ing the play for Goodwin, which he expected from the 
optional claims of our Madison Square agreement. 

There were more checks from New York, and this 
twenty-five hundred dollars from Goodwin. I was able, 
with a cane, to get about comfortably. I had been away 
from St. Louis for twenty months. We went home to 
see the folks. Crossing the Eads Bridge in the morning 
I got to thinking of Whitlock, alias Jim Cummings, who 
robbed the Missouri-Pacific express-car to cancel the 
mortgage on his mother's home, and I felt ashamed of 
myself. My mother then lived in a rented place. I didn't 
tell her my inspiration, but we went together and picked 
out a house. 


In the middle of April, 1891, after Mr. E. S. Willard, 
for whom I was serving as publicity man, opened his 
mid- Western tour in Chicago as Cyrus Blenkarn in Henry 
Arthur Jones' play "The Middleman/' with Marie Bur- 
roughs as his featured support, my wife and I went to 
St. Louis, and afterward to the Minnesota lakes and the 
Northwest. We returned to Chicago in the middle of 
May to see the Western opening of my play, "Alabama," 
which had been forced out of New York by a summer 
sublease of the Madison Square Theatre. My father 
and mother came from St. Louis to see that first night 
and visit us a few days in Chicago, where I tramped over 
the crowded down-town streets with father hunting land- 
marks of the small town he had known as a printer and 
medical student in his youth. The first week in June 
the parents went back to St. Louis and my wife and I 
returned to New York. 

Under my arrangements with Mr. Palmer I had re- 
written parts of "John Needham's Double," a play by 
the English author, Mr. Joseph Hatton, produced Feb- 
ruary 4, 1891, by Willard at Palmer's Theatre. This re- 
write was after I had completed "Alabama," but before 
that play was produced. An account of it in this place 
is a little out of such time order as I have attempted, 
but not enough to make the dislocation jar. Hatton had 

put into his play a supposedly Southern colonel whom he 



called Silas Higgins, or something of that kind, and who 
talked about nutmegs and apple-sauce. Mr. Palmer 
asked me to make this character proper to its section 
not only in name and in speech, but in view-point and 
relation to the story. I wrote a character which I called 
Colonel Calboun Booker. Mr. Palmer, at my sugges- 
tion, engaged for the part Burr Mclntosh, at that time 
about thirty years of age, fairly prominent in the Bo- 
hemian life of New York, celebrated for his good nature 
and his willingness to take chances, and for a pronounced 
mimetic faculty. Palmer knew nothing of Mclntosh, 
but I had heard him tell stories at the clubs and was sure 
he had the foundation for the part. With Palmer's per- 
mission I stressed Colonel Calboun Booker's importance 
in the play, feeling that its presentation would be a ballon 
d'essai for "Alabama," which was to follow; and I be- 
lieve that the success of Mclntosh helped determine 
Mr. Palmer to go through with it. 

"Needham's Double" was one of those plays of dual 
personality, resembling in kind "The Lyons Mail." It 
was invented and unlikely, and on the first night in New 
York Mclntosh, with his breezy manner and his welcome 
Southern geniality, would have walked away with the 
honors if the opposition had not been a star in large type. 
He played the part during its short run and left it to 
do Colonel Moberly in the second company of "Alabama." 

After the original "Alabama" company played its 
New York and Chicago engagements, and before it re- 
opened at Palmer's in the fall of 1892, it went to Louis- 
ville. Mr. Palmer asked me to go there and look over 
the performance. The Louisville engagement was in the 
fine old playhouse belonging to the Macauleys, so dear 
to me in memory of Johnny Norton and the more recent 


visit of Marlowe. Henry Watterson saw to it that our 
first night was a gala occasion, and the men of the com- 
pany were invited to a midnight reception at the Pen- 
dennis Club. Marse Henry was in his element, ably 
aided by those Kentuckians who have the Southern in- 
stinct amounting to genius for hospitality and enter- 
tainment. At an effective moment in the evening he got 
the attention of the party close on to a hundred men, 
I should say and with his arm through mine in the 
centre of the floor explained the circumstances under 
which our acquaintance had been made, and claimed to 
be proud that I was a product of a newspaper office. 

Then shifting his arm over my shoulder, a habit he 
had with any younger fellow he thought it would help, 
and reverting to the play, the subject of which was the 
reconciliation of the two great political sections of the 
country, he said: 'This boy has done in one night in 
the theatre what I endeavored to do in twenty years of 
editorial writing." 

No half-way measures about wonderful Henry Watter- 
son, gone since I last wrote of him in these chapters. 

With the opening of Palmer's at this time, the little 
Madison Square Theatre passed into the control of 
Messrs. Hoyt and Thomas. Charles Hoyt was the au- 
thor of a line of comedies as distinct in their kind and 
for their day as the George Cohan plays are three decades 

There was in the business department of the theatre 
of America at that time a relationship of forces worthy 
of comment here. Those forces were then functioning 
principally in New York. Although perhaps traceable 
to more remote origins, they focussed and funneled 
through the chanels of publicity. 


The principal managers, like Wallack, Daly, Palmer, 
Daniel Frohman, had been accustomed to get their plays 
from the other side of the water. American playwrights, 
compared with to-day's number, were few, their triumphs 
not numerous; but in the '8o's there had been some not- 
able successes with American subjects: Florence had 
played Woolfs "The Mighty Dollar" to extraordinary 
business; Curtis had had success with "Samuel of 
Posen"; Raymond had made a fortune with Colonel 
Sellers in Mark Twain's "Gilded Age"; Denman Thomp- 
son, under the encouragement of his manager, J. M. 
Hill, had elaborated a vaudeville sketch into "The Old 
Homestead." Concurrently with these American plays 
on the road was a cycle of big productions of English 
melodrama like "Romany Rye," "The Silver King," 
"The World," "Hoodman Blind," "Lights o' London," 
and the like, the exploitation of which throughout the 
country had developed a school of publicity men who 
knew accurately what part skilful press work played in 
all these successes. They also had a thorough knowledge 
of the respective values of the patronage to be obtained 
in the various cities. This experience and this knowledge 
had come along together with the rapid growth of the 
country upon which both depended, and while the older 
managers, content with their local triumphs in New York 
and Boston, gave their attention to those centres, these 
lesser agents and the publicity men referred to were wide- 
awake to the value of the road. 

Just back of Palmer's Theatre, both formerly and 
later Wallack's, on Thirtieth Street, in the basement of 
what had been a dwelling-house, was the office of Jeffer- 
son, Klaw, and Erlanger. The Jefferson of this firm was 
Charles Jefferson, eldest son of Joseph Jefferson. Klaw 


and Erlanger need no identification now; but even at 
that time A. L. Erlanger was one of the best informed 
of the men of whom I am writing. 

At 1115 Broadway, near Twenty-fifth Street, in a 
rear room, Charles Frohman had his first office under his 
own name. He was another of these men. 

Erlanger's genius was of the synthetic kind; he had 
the faculty of combination. Very rapidly, under his 
activity, there was built up the first big syndicate of 
American theatres controlling the best time on the road. 
Charles Frohman's vision was the supplementing one of 
producer. He also knew the country, the tastes of the 
people, and had an uncanny flair for what would be ac- 
ceptable. But both men, and lesser ones with whom 
they^were associated, approached the whole theatrical 
question along the lines of availability and salesman- 
ship. What were the things for which there was a mar- 
ket, and how rapidly could the public interest in them 
be created, stimulated, and expanded? These two sets 
of managers, the Palmer-Daly-Daniel Frohman group 
on one side, and the Charles Frohman-Hayman-Erlanger 
group on the other, approached the business from entirely 
different points and with entirely different methods. An 
example of approach and method is furnished by "Ala- 
bama." When that play was produced in April, 1891, 
there was ahead of it in the Madison Square Theatre 
but four weeks. After that time Mr. Palmer had rented 
his theatre for Martha Morton's play, "The Merchant," 
and although "Alabama" immediately played to ca- 
pacity and would have rapidly restored the failing for- 
tunes of Mr. Palmer, it never occurred to him to depart 
from the arrangement made to sublet his theatre. To 
get ready money, he was therefore obliged to sell a half 


interest in the play to Charles Frohman and AI Hayman. 
Both these men urged him to continue its run at the 
Madison Square. They argued that Miss Morton's 
play was as yet untried; that other theatres as suitable 
as the Madison Square could be got for it in the city, and 
that Miss Morton had no right other than the most tech- 
nical one, and none whatever in justice, to impair Mr. 
Palmer's property by forcing it out of a theatre where 
it had such momentum. As a matter of fact, the new 
partners were right. Miss Morton's manager would 
have benefited rather than have lost by some financial 
accommodation that would have deferred their premiere. 
"The Merchant" was produced in warm weather and 
was not successful. 

Charles Frohman knew nearly all the men then play- 
ing in the American theatre. He had travelled with 
Haverly's and Callender's Minstrels, with modest ven- 
tures of his own; he was a most approachable and hu- 
man person, and with his little office just one flight of 
stairs up from the Broadway sidewalk, where anybody 
entered without knocking in those days, his acquaintance 
and his popularity rapidly grew. After "Shenandoah" 
he acquired a lease of the Twenty-third Street Theatre, 
between Sixth and Seventh avenues, and produced "Men 
and Women," by Belasco and De Mille, on the model of 
the plays they were then supplying the Lyceum. This 
was followed by other dramas and a string of farces pro- 
vided by the skilfully original as well as adapting pen of 
William Gillette. This success built for him the still 
beautiful Empire Theatre at Broadway and Fortieth 
Street, which he opened with Belasco's fine melodrama, 
"The Girl I Left Behind Me," in which Frank Mordaunt, 
William Morris, Theodore Roberts, and others appeared 
with the boy actor, Wallie Eddinger, as Dick. 


Clay M. Greene, in a burlesque of that play, had the 
colonel in agony, reading news of an injury to little Dick, 
hand the telegraph tape to the major and say: "Take 
it. I must get back." 

"Back where?" 

"To the centre of the stage." 

PII talk about me. 

We were friends, Charles Frohman and I, from our 
first meeting in 1882 until he was lost on the Lusitania 
in 1915 thirty-three years. After 1892 he produced 
nine plays of mine "Surrender/* "Colorado," "The 
Man Upstairs," "The Other Girl," "Mrs. LeffingweH's 
Boots," "De Lancey," "On the Quiet," "The Harvest 
Moon," and "Indian Summer," and five others which 
I had rewritten but did not sign. I don't remember that 
we ever signed a contract, and I am sure that we never 
had a difference. He was among the first men upon whom 
I called when I first came to New York to go with the 
Marlowe company, and when I returned with the thought- 
reader Bishop. He was the first manager to ask me for a 
play after my coming to the city. I wrote for him many 
bits not mentioned above. These little things were often 
written in his presence as he pushed a piece of paper 
across the desk when a subject came up in some related 
talk. He had a fashion of doing that with other play- 
wrights Gillette, or Fitch, or Carleton and it was great 
fun to give him some bit for one of his girl stars and hear 
him say, "That will go in to-night." 

There was never any talk of remuneration for these 
little things, as the burden of obligation, if obligation 
existed, was always so heavily on the other side for the 
hundreds of little courtesies that he found one way or 
another of extending. Charles Frohman had a fine dra- 

From a photograph by Underwood and Underwood. Copyright by Daniel Frohman. 


matic sense, and without attempting exactly imitation 
had the mimetic faculty that suggested the object of 
his protrait quite as definitely. Men amused him much, 
and when he told of his last visitor the interview was 
likely to be vividly dramatized. I remember a report 
of a visit of Colonel Alfriend, the Southern author of 
whom I have written. 

C. F., with his irresistible twinkle, said, "The colonel 
was here to see me," and then without another word 
there was the pantomime of the high hat laid carefully 
on the table, one finger after another of one glove care- 
fully withdrawn, then the entire glove straightened out 
and laid across the hat; the same treatment for the other 
hand; the silk-faced overcoat carefully taken off, shaken 
out at the collar, folded, laid over the back of the chair; 
the button of the surtout carefully adjusted at the waist; 
mustaches stroked, and the victim transfixed with a 
steady and piercing gaze. The scenario of a play was 
drawn from one inside breast-pocket. 

But C. F., in propria, interrupted "I am going to 
do a play by J. M. Barrie for Miss Adams. If you had 
brought me in something for Miller " 

Then C. F. was stopped; another scenario came from 
the other inside pocket. This was not exactly the kind 
of story that was wanted. Then, still as the colonel, 
C. F. put one hand over his head like the legendary Wes- 
terner getting a bowie knife, and drew a third phantom 
scenario from the back of his coat collar, this last gesture 
burlesque, but so in character that it was impossible to 
find the line dividing it from preceding comedy. 

Charles Frohman had a bit of philosophy that he car- 
ried through life. He had learned that existence was 
supportable if he had one real laugh in the day. Among 


men interested in art and the theatre as connoisseurs and 
patrons the wisest that I know is Mr. Thomas B. Clarke. 
I was at a loss to comprehend his standard of excellence 
in the drama until I heard him say one time that any 
play which for two consecutive seconds made him for- 
get himself, made the playhouse disappear and him to 
feel that he was in the presence of a real event, was for 
him a notable play. He said: 

"One seldom gets from a studio a canvas of uniform 
excellence throughout. There will be one feature of it 
better than the others. I can prize it for that feature. 
And if I get a play with the scene I have indicated, I go 
three or four times when the scene is on to get the same 
pleasure from it that I get from the excellent note in a 

C. F. seemed to apply an equal theory to relaxation 
and the day's conduct. The thing that amused him he 
would write upon a blotting-pad, and recover somewhat 
of its joy by telling it to many a subsequent visitor. Dur- 
ing the rehearsals of "The Other Girl" referred to in 
previous chapters we had on our third or fourth day 
reached the first repetition of the second act. I was on 
the stage with manuscript and a blue pencil, the com- 
pany standing about, slowly marking positions on the 
parts, when C. F.'s office-boy came with an envelope 
carrying across its back the well-known blue display of 
Maude Adams' name. As the boy waited for an answer 
the rehearsal stopped long enough for me to read the 
sheet inside. 

It carried in large and hurried handwriting, in colored 
crayon, "How are you getting along at rehearsals with- 
out me?" 

Taking the inquiry at its face value from a busy man, 


I wrote across the note one word, "Great," handed ft 
to the boy, and forgot it. Two days later I stopped in 
at the office for some necessary conference. His letter 
with my comment was pinned on the wall. 

He said: "That furnished me laughs for two days. 
I showed it to everybody." 

He was also a practical joker, and would go to con- 
siderable lengths, but never with any of the cruelty or 
lack of consideration that practical jokes sometimes 
breed. When "Alabama" went on its second visit to 
Chicago he was interested in the management. 

He said: "I'll bet you that it'll do a bigger business 
than it did the first time." 

As it was to be in the same house and we had played 
to capacity the first time, I didn't see how that could 
be, and said so. He wanted to bet, nevertheless, and 
rejecting cigars and hats as stakes he fixed upon a suit 
of clothes. I demurred, feeling that it was unsportsman- 
like to bet on a sure thing. He generously gave me that 
advantage, however. The business on the second trip 
was nearly double, because of the fact, of which C. F. 
was aware, and I not when he made the bet, that the 
play had been chosen for the local police benefit and all 
patrolmen of Chicago were selling tickets. The increased 
royalties reconciled me to the loss of the bet. The bill 
for the suit of clothes came in with C. F.'s indorsement. 
The price, one hundred dollars, amused him greatly. 
We must remember that back in 1892 fifty or sixty dol- 
lars was a fair sum for a suit of clothes. C. F. was fond 
of telling all this when he had me and some other man 
in his office. 

Considerably later he was to open with a new play, 
the name of which did not please him. On his blotter 


he had a half-dozen alternative titles suggested by per- 
sons who had called during the day. The man who gave 
the winning title was to get a suit of clothes. He told 
me the story. I suggested "Never Again," which C. F. 
wrote on the blotter and said would be taken under con- 
sideration. My wife and I dined down town that night 
and went to a play. As we were coming up town to the 
Grand Central Station all of the exposed ash-barrels, 
boxes, and temporary scaffolds were being covered with 
snipe advertising of "Never Again." I went to an ex- 
pensive firm and ordered their best suit; the price was 
one hundred dollars. I asked them if there wasn't some 
way to increase it, and after fastidious additions induced 
them to boost it to one hundred and fifteen. C. F. added 
that to his story. 

With the success of "Alabama" the continued avidity 
of the public for the Southern type drew Mr. Palmer's at- 
tention to " Colonel Carter," by Francis Hopkinson Smith. 
The story, which had appeared in one of the magazines, 
was already in book form and was probably a best seller; 
one heard of it everywhere. I had carte blanche as to 
material, but felt a little overawed by the popularity of 
the book and the authority of its author. The play was 
only mildly successful, but it marked a very notable 
date in my own affairs, a friendship with that man of 
such extraordinary versatility, Hop Smith, as his friends 
called him, that lasted until his death in 1915. I have at 
hand no scrap-book to spring upon the defenseless reader, 
but I think it an act of simple justice to the author of 
the book to quote from "The Wallet of Time," by Wil- 
liam Winter, America's greatest critic of the theatre: 

"Coming as it did at a time when the stage was being 
freely used for the dissection of turpitude and disease, 


that play came like a breeze from the pine-woods in a 
morning of spring." And of the wonderful artist, dear 
Ned Holland, he writes: "His success was decisive. The 
Colonel with his remarkable black coat that could be 
adjusted for all occasions by a judicious manipulation 
of the buttons, his frayed wristbands, his shining trou- 
sers, his unconsciously forlorn poverty, and his unquench- 
able spirit of hope, Jove, and honor was, in that remark- 
able performance, a picturesque, lovable reality." 

With the production of "Carter" completed, and with 
plays for Goodwin, Crane, and Charles Frohman to write, 
I ended my connection with Mr. Palmer and turned to 
the wider field. Mr. Palmer had about decided to aban- 
don management anyway, although, with his caution 
over any considered step, he did not do so for two years. 

During those two years he produced "Trilby" at the 
Garden Theatre and one or two plays at his own house, 
in which the beautiful Maxine Elliott made her first ap- 
pearance. Mr. Palmer, who had been a public librarian 
in his youth, was the most cultivated manager I knew 
personally I never met Augustin Daly. But Mr. Pal- 
mer's culture made him timid in a business that was fast 
offering premiums for adventure. I remember the melan- 
choly of the man in his gradual retirement, as during 
that period he said to me: "I'm an old man" he was 
considerably under sixty at the time "and I cannot 
compete with these younger men who are coming into 
the field." He named particularly Charles Frohman and 
Mr. Erlanger. 

It would be of interest to remember the kind of world 
in which we then were living in that period beginning in 
1892 and covering the next five years of which I now 
write. The President of the United States was Grover 


Cleveland. William McKinley was Governor of Ohio. 
Roswell P. Flower was Governor of New York. The 
State of Massachusetts had just elected to the United 
States Senate, to succeed the veteran Senator Dawes, a 
person comparatively young and described as a man of 
letters, named Henry Cabot Lodge. The national legis- 
lature was considering the favorable report of a Senate 
committee upon a proposed Nicaragua Canal. We had 
reached a decision that it was essential to have our Navy 
doubled. Gold had been discovered in quantities in 
Colorado, and there was an excited movement to that 
State. Andrew Carnegie and Henry Frick, declining to 
consult with their men, with whom they were having 
some labor disputes, had been responsible for the pre- 
cipitation of the Homestead trouble. 

On the other side of the water Charles Stewart Parnell 
had just died under something of a cloud. In England 
Gladstone was preparing to retire from the premiership 
after explaining his home-rule bill. Bismarck was being 
charged by the Socialists of Germany with corrupting 
the press with money improperly collected. There was 
a famine in Russia. In France Ferdinand de Lesseps 
had been indicted because of irregularity in the conduct 
of the Panama Canal enterprise; five deputies and five 
senators were under arrest charged with complicity there- 
in. Deputies Clemenceau and Deroulede had fought a 
duel, firing three shots at each other, and concluded by 
shaking hands. 


Thomas F. Gilroy was mayor of New York City; the 
community was busy discussing rapid transit and the 
prospect for a first subway, for which it seemed impos- 
sible to borrow money. There was a great stir in mu- 
nicipal consciousness all over the country. L. S. Ellert 
had just been elected mayor of San Francisco on an inde- 
pendent ticket and a promise to give clean business as 
opposed to the sand-lot variety of politics. Mayor Pin- 
gree, of Detroit, had won on a campaign for city lighting. 
Mayor William Henry Eustace of Minneapolis was clos- 
ing a business administration, and although contracts 
with the lighting companies had five years to run, Min- 
neapolis was resolving at the termination of that time to 
have her own electric plants. Chicago was hoping to 
elect Mayor Harrison in order to have his direction dur- 
ing the period of the World's Fair. And Nathan Mat- 
thews, mayor of Boston, had been elected on a ticket 
for municipal lighting and an extension of the transit. 

For the season of '9 1-^92 my wife and I had resumed 
possession of our apartment on the upper floor of the 
Oriental Hotel on the Thirty-ninth Street side, overlook- 
ing the roof of the Casino. In the summer and early 
autumn evenings we could sit at the window or on the 
little fire-escape balcony thereby and see the operatic 
performance on the Casino roof as comfortably as if from 
a private box, though a bit remote. Part of our royal- 



ties that were coming in I devoted under competent ad- 
vice to the collection of a small library, good for work- 
ing purposes, and occasionally getting here and there a 
little picture that was worth having. Somebody has 
said that when you have once thoroughly seen a picture 
you may safely take leave of it; it will never again have 
for you its first effect. 

For some reason that is not the truth for me. A pic- 
ture that I have really chosen and that I like grows more 
and more to be a part of my environment, and I feel 
with Doctor Henry van Dyke, who wrote that his pic- 
tures were for him windows through which he looked 
out from his study on to the world. 

In that apartment, thus agreeably situated and sur- 
rounded, I began to think about the story for Goodwin. 
He had been so successful in a sentimental bit in "A 
Gold Mine," written for him by Brander Matthews and 
George Jessop, that though he was willing to have his 
new play largely comedy, he hoped that it would have a 
serious backbone. At that time Goodwin was slight, 
graceful, and with a face capable of conveying the sub- 
tlest shades of feeling; his voice was rich and modulated. 
My problem was to find a story for a blond hero five 
feet seven inches tall, weighing under one hundred and 
fifty pounds, with a Roman nose and a steady, steel- 
blue gaze. I stood the Goodwin photograph on my table 
and looked at it until it talked to me. The slight phy- 
sique couldn't explain the solid confidence of that look 
except there was behind it a gun. I clarified my problem 
a little by deciding that the gun should be carried law- 
fully, and as there was nothing suggesting the soldier in 
Goodwin, nothing of the setting-up type about him, I 
was urged to the idea of sheriff. 

THE EARLY 90'S 311 

Persons interested in play-writing and I am per- 
suaded they are not few in number will see how that 
clears the atmosphere. When you must or may write 
for a star it is a big start to have the character agreeably 
and definitely chosen. To secure the love interest, I 
thought of a girl who would be of a little finer strain than 
the sheriff type indicated, and the necessity for conflict 
suggested a rival. The rival should be attractive but 
unworthy, and to make him doubly opposed to Good- 
win, I decided to have him an outlaw, some one it would 
be the sheriff's duty and business business used in the 
stage sense to arrest. 

I have told in earlier chapters of my experience with 
Jim Cummings, the express robber, who had given a 
messenger on the Missouri-Pacific road a forged order to 
carry him in his car, and then after some friendly inter- 
course had tied the messenger and got off the train with 
a suitcase full of greenbacks. The need for a drama 
criminal decided me to make use of Cummings as Good- 
win's rival, a glorified and beautiful matinee Cummings, 
but substantially him. This adoption rescued the sheriff 
and the girl from the hazy geography of the mining- 
camps in which my mind had been groping and fixed 
the trio in Mizzoura. 

Newspaper experience in those days before the flimsy 
and the rewrite emphasized the value of going to the place 
in order to report an occurrence, and I knew that, aside 
from these three characters and their official and senti- 
mental relationship, the rest of my people and my play 
were waiting for me in Bowling Green, Mizzoura. I 
told Goodwin of the character and the locality, got his 
approval of the idea that far, and took a train for Pike 


In those days Mrs. Thomas and I used to hold hands 
on our evening promenades; but I think it was really 
our foolish New York clothes that made the blacksmith 
smile. At any rate, we stopped at his door and talked 
with him. He knew Champ Clark and Dave Ball, an- 
other Missouri statesman, and had the keenest interest 
in the coming convention for the legislative nomination. 
It was fine to hear him pronounce the State name Miz- 
zoura, as it was originally spelled on many territorial 
charts, and as we were permitted to call it in the public 
schools until we reached the grades where imported cul- 
ture ruled. The blacksmith's helper, who was finishing 
a wagon shaft with a draw-knife, was younger and less 
intelligent, and preferred to talk to Mrs. Thomas. A 
driver brought in a two-horse, side-seated depot wagon 
on three wheels and a fence rail. The fourth wheel and 
its broken tire were in the wagon, and the blacksmith 
said he'd weld the tire at 5:30 the next morning. 

We went without breakfast to see him do it. He was 
my heroine's father by that time a candidate for the 
legislature and I was devising for him a second comedy 
daughter to play opposite to the boy with a draw-knife. 
That day I also found the drug-store window and the 
"lickerish" boxes that Cummings should break through 
in his attempted escape; and I recovered the niggers, 
the "dog fannell," the linen dusters, and the paper col- 
lars which in my recent prosperity I'd forgotten. I also 
nominated Goodwin for the legislature, which increased 
his importance and gave him something to sacrifice for 
the girl's father. 

I was very happy over what I felt was the backbone 
of a play as I started from Bowling Green to St. Louis 
on the return trip. In the day coach my wife and I were 

THE EARLY 90'S 313 

the only passengers except a man who sat well forward 
by the heater and seemed in trouble. When the con- 
ductor, whom I knew, came along I asked him about 
the man. He said: "That's Nat Dryden. You must 
know him." 

I did. I went forward to Dryden's seat. He was weep- 
ing and muttering to himself, though slightly consoled 
by liquor. 

When I spoke to him he turned to me for sympathy 
and said: "Oh, Gus, Gus, Nancy died last night." 

Nancy was his wife, and was known as one of the hand- 
somest women in Missouri. 

"Yes, last night ! And, oh, Gus, how she loved you !" 

"Why, I don't think I ever met your wife." 

"I know it. But you remember that convention at 
Jefferson City when I was a candidate for attorney-gen- 
eral " 

I nodded. 

"The fourth ballot was a tie between me and that 
blankety-blank-blank from Galloway County. You were 
at the reporters' table. At a pause in the proceedings 
you rose from your impotent and inopportune seat, and 
addressing that convention in which you had no rights 
whatever you said in a loud voice: 'I want it distinctly 
understood that the press of this State is for Nat Dry- 
den/ " 

I nodded. 

"Dear boy, it beat me. But I went home and told it 
to Nancy, and we've loved you ever since." 

My wife and I stopped only a day in St. Louis, and 
then we started back for New York. There are few better 
places than a railroad train for building stories. The 
rhythmic click of the wheels past the fishplates makes 


your thoughts march as a drum urges a column of sol- 
diers. By the time our train pulled into New York I 
was impatient to make a running transcript of speeches 
of my contending people. But that is a relief that must 
be deferred. Like overanxious litigants, the characters 
are disposed to talk too much and must be controlled 
and kept in bounds by a proportioned scenario, assign- 
ing order and respective and progressive values to them. 

Before beginning to write I submitted the story to 
Goodwin. He was playing at the Fifth Avenue Theatre 
at the time, I think, in Henry Guy Carleton's "Ambi- 
tion," but I am positive about his rooms at the Worth 
House annex of the Hoffman House just across Twenty- 
fifth Street. I called by appointment at twelve o'clock. 
Nat had been a little wild the night before, and was now 
propped repentantly against his pillows. As I entered 
the room a German waiter was standing at the foot of 
the bed with an order blank in his hand. Nat was study- 
ing the menu with a most regretful discrimination. 
Faintly assuming my permission, he gave his order, the 
obsequious German responding and writing down. 

"Bring me a wine-glass of orange juice." 

"Vine-glass, oranch juice." 

"Dry toast." 

"Jez-sir, try doast." 

" Piece of salt mackerel." 

The waiter answered and wrote. Long pause by Nat. 

"Cup of coffee." 

"Coffee, jez-sir." 


Following Nat's appealing look, I explained to the 
puzzled waiter the significance of the last instruction. 

Goodwin was so enthusiastic about the story that it 

THE EARLY 90'S 315 

was an added stimulation to the writing of it. I got a 
little inside room near our apartment in the Oriental 
and began work on the play, which as far as dialogue 
went almost wrote itself. One night in particular, after 
talking in minute detail the third act to Goodwin, really 
playing it with him, I went to my table after an early 
and light dinner, but with some coffee that I had the 
bell-boy bring at irregular times, and other reinforce- 
ments not so deadly, and wrote the entire third act of 
the play before the daylight came through the windows. 
I was a good deal of a wreck when it was finished, and 
the handwriting was difficult to read; but when finally 
transcribed it was never altered, and the play could be 
prompted from that script to-day. 

Early in the World's Fair time there came a chance 
to do the play at Hooley's. Goodwin had a fine com- 
pany, somewhat miscast in some particulars, but all of 
ability, with handsome Frank Carlyle as the villain and 
a tower of strength in Mclntosh, whom I persuaded 
Goodwin to take when he had been rather set on getting 
McKee Rankin, a much more expensive and older actor. 
We had exactly eleven days in which to produce the 
piece. It was one of Goodwin's greatest first nights. I 
had frequently been behind the curtain with Nat in other 
plays, but never saw him begin one. That night in Chi- 
cago he had a perfect case of seasickness, and with diffi- 
culty controlled his nausea during the acts. He told 
me then that his nervousness always affected him that 
way with a new play. 

I shall never forget his pale face nor his descriptive 
line as during one of the intermissions he looked up at 
me and said: "My boy, a first night is a hoss race that 
lasts three hours." 


After the Goodwin contract I had engaged to do plays 
for William Crane and for Charles Frohman. The most 
imperative of these was for Crane, then playing in "The 
Senator," and looking about for a play to follow it. 
Crane some years before had had a play by Clay M. 
Greene called " Sharps and Flats," in which he and Rob- 
son had jointly starred, and Greene had rewritten for 
Robson and Crane some other script. Joseph Brooks, 
Crane's manager, wished Greene and me to write to- 
gether. It was arranged that Greene and I meet Crane 
at his summer home, Cohasset. Greene was to be in that 
neighborhood with a yachting party. My wife and I 
planned to stop on our way to Ocean Point, Boothbay 
Harbor, Maine, where Mr. Eugene Presbrey and his 
wife, Annie Russell, had a bungalow, to which they had 
invited us for part of the summer. 

At Mr. Crane's home I found a request from Greene 
for Crane and me to come to Boston, where a yacht on 
which Greene was a guest was anchored. This was agree- 
able, as Crane had his own steam yacht, the Senator, 
and was in the habit of running up to Boston once or 
twice a week on excuses not nearly so good. Greene's 
host was Harry M. Gillig, owner of the schooner yacht 
Ramona. The Senator anchored near by and our party 
went aboard the Ramona, where, with Harry Gillig play- 
ing a taropatch and Frank Unger strumming a banjo, 
the distinguished comedian showed the boys that he 
could still shake a foot. Crane began professional life 
as a basso in a comic opera company, and went from 
that into Rice's burlesque, " Evangeline," in which as Le 
Blanc he had not only to sing and act, but to dance. Be- 
sides the jollity of it there was an amusing incongruity 
in the sight of the sedate Senator in yachtsman's fa- 

THE EARLY 90'S 317 

tigue doing a rattling jig on the deck of the schooner. 
After a jovial afternoon Crane went home alone to Co- 
hasset, and my wife and I joined the cabin party of the 
schooner yacht under Gillig's promise to sail us up to 
Presbrey 's, an easy cruise of two or three days. 

Harry Gillig, Californian, had recently married a 
daughter of a California multi-millionaire. This young 
couple were on their honeymoon. The Gilligs had with 
them a Western party, including, besides Mr. and Mrs. 
Greene, Frank Unger, father of Gladys Unger, the young 
playwright of to-day; Theodore Worres, painter; Charles 
Warren Stoddard, poet, author of "South Sea Idyls"; 
Harry Woodruff, actor; and Charles Thomas, partner of 
Charles Hoyt, of the younger group of managers. Gillig 
and Unger, as members of the Bohemian Club, San Fran- 
cisco, were also members of The Lambs, where I had met 
them and begun an intimate friendship that lasted as long 
as both men lived. 

By the time the Ramona reached Boothbay Harbor, 
Gillig and his cabin party were opposed to my wife and 
me leaving for the visit to Presbrey. The amiable con- 
test was adjusted by our spending a few days ashore 
while the boat cruised near by, and our then rejoining 
for a run to Bar Harbor and back, when our host took 
Presbrey aboard, too, for a sail back to New York. Any 
cruise so composed and dowered can fill pages with its 
record. I shall not write a line, but will leave all to sym- 
pathetic understanding under the embracing words of 
youth and fellowship, sail and song and sea and summer. 

It would be with the greatest regret that I would elimi- 
nate from my experiences that summer and parts of two 
subsequent ones on the Ramona, and yet I think that 
nearly all the embarrassment that comes from having 


one's expenditures exceed his income I could trace to 
standards accepted at that time. 

Eugene Field was wise when he refused the winter 
strawberries, as Mr. Melville Stone relates, because he 
feared they would spoil his taste for prunes; and then 
we people of the theatre are so easily misled by appear- 
ance, and also by a creative wish to realize a fancy. Only 
three or four years ago I met Henry Miller in San Fran- 
cisco, where, like myself, he had come to put on some 
plays in that summer. 

"Hello, Henry! Why aren't you on a vacation after 
your busy season at your New York theatre?" 

"Because I was not content with a place in the coun- 
try good enough for any man to live in, but being a damn 
fool theatrical person had to build stone walls around 
it, and terraces, and make a production. Now I'm still 
working to pay for it." 

On the Ramona, Greene and I hammered out a story 
we thought would do for Crane's play. It wasn't easy, 
because Crane, like all the comedians at that time, 
wanted a comedy-drama, something that would give 
him a chance for the untried substantial powers he was 
sure he possessed. With this story in hand we had a 
season ahead of us in which to write the dialogue. 

Although again getting a little out of the order of 
events, for the sake of cohesion I will jump ahead to the 
production of the Crane play which we called "For 
Money." It was a four-act construction, and with a 
dominant serious note. Crane played a man who had 
been embittered by finding in his dead wife's locket, 
which he had thought contained his own portrait, the 
picture of another man. This unhappy discovery had 
been made many years before the opening of our story, 

THE EARLY 90'S 319 

and the ingenue of the play, who had come under his 
protection, speaking in pride of her antecedents, showed 
to Crane a portrait of her father. The unhappy star 
was to regard it and say in a quiet undertone to himself, 
"The man whose picture I found on my dead wife's 

Charles Thome or John Mason or Lucien Guitry might 
have got away with that line, but when Crane spoke it, 
registering a startled surprise, and spreading his hands 
in a manner that had been irresistible in the old-time 
comedy of "Forbidden Fruit," the house rocked with 

Greene said: "Some of 'em wanted to cheer for the 
man in the picture." 

The performance was in Cleveland, where Greene and 
I had a few friends. Sympathetic people tried to restore 
the equilibrium of the play by appreciating its other 
serious values, but as Greene said at our little post-mor- 
tem when the evening was over: "Yes, people came to 
me in the lobby and said they liked it, but they didn't 
slap me on the back." 

By the end of the week Brooks and I took blame for 
our fall-down in equal shares. The play wasn't as good 
as it might have been, and Crane didn't handle serious 
stuff as well as he hoped he would. 

I once made a caricature in my guest book of Francis 
Wilson, under which Frank wrote, "Du sublime au ridi- 
cule il n'y a quun pas, which some years later I was able 
to translate. But the fact of the easy step from the sub- 
lime to the ridculous I knew by experience. Two weeks 
ahead Crane's time for his New York season at the Star 
Theatre was waiting for him. 

I said: "Joe, I think I can save the printing, the 


scenery, and most of the company and make a farce of 
this thing in time for New York." 

Brooks said: "For God's sake, do it!" 

My wife and I went back to the Oriental Hotel. With 
close application to the work, with the brave use of scis- 
sors and paste-pot, I rejoined the company in four days 
with a new script and parts for a broad farce. We re- 
hearsed it in Baltimore, tried it in Washington, came 
to our dress rehearsal at the Star in New York with a 
good company and everybody in high spirits. There 
occurred at that dress rehearsal a commonplace inquiry 
of mine which I have seen quoted in newspapers as an 
example of my brilliant repartee, when it was only the 
most honest-to-God inquiry a man could make. In the 
middle of our second act at the Sunday-night rehearsal 
Brooks loudly clapped his hands after the fashion of the 
interrupting manager, came down the aisle of the theatre, 
calling my name. I came into the prompt entrance, from 
where I had been readjusting a light. 

Brooks said: "Gus, there are a whole lot of funny 
things that could be said right there." 

Having written myself out on the rush work with the 
script and worked myself out at rehearsals, and willing 
to take help from any quarter, I simply answered: "What 
are they, Joe?" 

When I heard the peal from the company that had 
been interrupted and from the few people in the other- 
wise empty parquet, I let the answer go as an example 
of agility. 

"For Money" played a fine eight weeks in New York, 
but, as I remember, Crane never did it on the road. 

My first play for Charles Frohman was called "Sur- 
render." I believed that we were far enough from the 

THE EARLY 90'S 321 

Civil War to take a comedy view of some of its episodes, 
and that after the many serious plays that had handled 
it the public would be glad to have the subject treated 
humorously. C. F. thought so too. He liked the script 
as I gave it to him, and it was turned over to Eugene 
Presbrey to rehearse in Boston. Presbrey was so ap- 
preciative of its values that he thought it a mistake to 
make a farce of it, and after a conference with C. F., 
who went over to look at the rehearsals, they decided 
to play it seriously, stressing melodramatically every pos- 
sible point and introducing a horse. When I arrived at 
about the dress rehearsal the enthusiasm of those two 
men overbore my first conception of the story, and we 
went to the public with it as a serious play. It lasted 
on the road only some sixteen weeks. 

Maude Banks, the daughter of General Banks, was 
playing in the piece the part of the only Northern girl. 
A requirement of the script and of the part was a blue 
silk sash on her white dress, as I remembered the young 
women of war days declaring their loyalty. At the dress 
rehearsal Miss Banks declined to destroy the effect of 
her white dress by putting any color on it, preferring to 
leave the company rather than be disloyal to her dress- 
maker. C. F. said it was too late to do anything about 
it, and the young lady's whim prevailed. I don't think 
she ever played under Mr. Frohman's management again. 

Louis Aldrich, a stalwart actor who as a star had won 
great reputation in Bartley Campbell's "My Partner" 
and other dramas, played a Southern general with a line 
that I had taken verbatim from an assertion by Colonel 
Alfriend that the South had whipped the North on a 
thousand fields and had never lost except when over- 
come by superior numbers. Aldrich declined to deliver 


this speech, because personally he was a Northern man, 
so that altogether we had considerable trouble with our 
temperamental actors. There came a time in C. F/s 
experience and development, however, when he was 
somewhat more insistent on the effects that he wanted, 
and when actors were not so ready to oppose him. 

In the spring of 1892 we built at New Rochelle the 
house which is still our home. The versatile, volatile 
Sydney Rosenfeld at that time was among the first if 
not actually the principal librettist of America, and a 
writer of comedies. He had one or two successes on 
Broadway, and he and I were very closely associated hi 
The Lambs. At his suggestion we went to New Rochelle 
to find land on which to drive our stakes. For some 
reason or other Sydney postponed his building and finally 
abandoned the intention. I recall our first day's nego- 
tiation with Sydney's friend from whom we hoped to 
buy the land. Mr. Leo Bergholz, ever since that time 
in the United States consular service, was showing us a 
little pine thicket on his own land, densely grown, the 
ground covered with fallen needles. He had a pretty 
wit, but stood somewhat in awe of the great Rosenfeld, 
who wrote smart dialogue for the Francis Wilson operas 
and had also been an editor of Puck. 

Commenting on the seclusion of this copse, Bergholz 
said: "No ray of sunshine ever penetrates this gloomy 

When neither of us smiled at this mediaeval utterance, 
Bergholz repeated it. With some difficulty we continued 
serious. As Bergholz approached it for the third time 
he lifted his hands after the manner of a coryphee, and 
dancing in most amateurish fashion a feeble jig, he said 
again: "No ray of sunshine ever penetrates this gloomy 

THE EARLY 90'S 323 

Sydney, looking solemnly at Leo's feet, remarked: 
"That's the gloomiest fastness I ever saw." 

It was great fun to plan a house. In the old days on 
the St. Louis Post-Dispatch architecture and real estate 
had been one of my departments. William S. Eames, 
one of the youngest and most talented architects of St. 
Louis, associated with Thomas Young, a pupil of Richard- 
son of Boston, had been a member of our old life class 
at Washington University. He tried to tell me some- 
thing each week about the beauties of his art, and I came 
to believe that an essential feature of domestic archi- 
tecture was a roof that could be seen. According to 
Eames, the house should droop its wings and hover its 
sheltered brood like a mother hen. A memorandum 
sketch that I turned over to our New York architect, 
and which my wife still has in her scrap-book, was drawn 
on the back of an envelope after many conferences as 
to our joint needs. When we began to build we went 
to New Rochelle to board in order to be near the enter- 
prise. There was no hotel. The best boarding-house 
in the place was kept by two elderly ladies, one of them 
a Mrs. David, whose husband had been the principal 
merchant of that little city, and after whose family 
David's Island, now occupied by Fort Slocum, had been 
named. We were satisfied with their references, and they 
inquired for ours. With his permission, I gave them the 
name of Bronson Howard. They had never heard of 
him, and asked his business. I told them and named his 
prominent plays, "The Banker's Daughter," "The Hen- 
rietta," and "Shenandoah." They had never heard of 
any one of these. 

I said: "He is your neighbor and owns the house just 
around the corner," giving them street and number. 
They had never heard of that. 


This story of Howard's obscurity was a favorite one 
of mine for many years to illustrate the indifference of 
the general public to the men who write plays, until it 
was superseded by an experience of my own. In 1909 
Mr. Shubert asked me to go to Chicago to overlook the 
performance that the John Mason company were giving 
in my play, "The Witching Hour," at the Garrick Thea- 
tre. I purposely stood in the lobby until the curtain had 
gone up, and then in my most humorous manner asked 
the man in the box-office if he passed the profession. The 
lobby was filled with posters bearing Shubert's and 
Mason's names, and my own, in that order of impor- 
tance and display. The treasurer asked my name, the 
branch of the profession in which I was. I told him. 
He asked me the names of some plays I had written. I 
named four or five, omitting "The Witching Hour." 
He said he would have to ask the manager. The man- 
ager came to the box-office window, put me through the 
same questionnaire, and shook his head; and it was only 
when I told him how he would disappoint Mr. Shubert, 
and pointed to the three-sheet bearing the name I had 
given him, that he in any way associated the sound with 
the type. 

At New Rochelle I became intimately acquainted with 
Frederic Remington and E. W. Kemble. These two 
illustrators had been friends for some time elsewhere, 
and were great companions; but the most beautiful side 
of their friendship needed a third for its precipitation. 
Kemble is universally amusing when he cares to be. Few 
men are his equal in putting the spirit of caricature into 
ordinary verbal report or comment; even his famous 
"Kemble Koons" do not show such sure fun. Reming- 
ton responded promptly to Kemble's comedy, however 

THE EARLY 90'S 325 

expressed. Most men who know it do the same, but 
Remington went further. When Kemble had left him 
after any interview, all of Kemble's woes of which Rem- 
ington had been the repository were suddenly dwarfed 
in the larger horizon of Remington's experiences and 
transmuted into side-splitting jokes. In his mind, Kem- 
ble was never grown up; and Kemble reciprocated. 

Remington's throes, viewed through Kemble's prism, 
were just as amusing. They took even each other's art 
as playfellows take each other's games. There were 
years when much of their leisure was passed in company. 
Their understanding was mutual and immediate. One 
night after the theatre, on the train home from New 
York, sitting together, Remington was by the car win- 
dow, Kemble next to the aisle. An obstreperous com- 
muter was disturbing the passengers, men and women. 
The busy conductor's admonition had been ineffective, 
the brakeman's repeated expostulations useless. The 
men passengers seemed cowed; the rowdy was gaining 
confidence. On his third blatant parade through the 
car, and as he passed Kemble's side, Remington's two 
hundred and fifty pounds of bone and muscle reached 
out into the aisle, and with the precision of a snapping 
turtle lifted him from his feet like a naughty boy and 
laid him face downward over Kemble's interposing lap. 
With the spirit of perfect team-work, as Remington held 
the ruffian, Kemble spanked him, while the legs in the 
aisle wriggled frantically for a foothold. The correction, 
prolonged and ample, was accompanied by roars of laugh- 
ter from fifty other passengers. Being done, Remington 
stood the offender on his feet. The man began a threat- 
ening; tirade. Before half a sentence was uttered Rem- 
ington had him again exposed to Kemble's rhythmic 


tattoo. This was enough, and when again released the 
fellow promptly left the car for the seclusion of the 

In those early 90*3 my sculptor friend RuckstuII's 
relation to life was not unlike my own. He was working 
in a department of art where there was no regularity of 
income, and where his opportunities were the result of 
competition. Next to getting an order for a play and 
finding a story satisfactory to a star or manager was 
seeing RuckstuII win a commission in a competition 
where his sketch had been approved. When he got the 
order for the Hartranft equestrian statue to go up in 
front of the Capitol at Harrisburg it made quite a little 
stir in our colony. Besides myself, both Remington and 
Kemble were artistically interested. 

After one has submitted a sculptured model sketch 
which is perhaps eighteen or twenty inches high, the 
procedure toward the heroic group that is finally to be 
in bronze is through what is called a fourth-sized model 
say, for horse and man perhaps four feet high. Ruck- 
stuII decided to make his final clay model of the finished 
group in France. Studio rent, plaster-casting, and the 
final bronze, together with one's own living for the year 
that the work would require, would all be so much 
cheaper that such a foreign residence, with somewhat 
of a holiday color to it, would about pay for itself. His 
fourth-sized model, however, he would make in this coun- 
try, and for the fun that it would be for all of us I per- 
suaded him to put up a half shade on some open ground 
back of our house at New Rochelle and do the work 

Remington, a very methodic worker himself, despite 
his ability to play in off hours, got up early, put in an 


i. L. J. B. Lincoln. 2. F. W. Ruckstull. 3. Augustus Thomas. 4. E. W. Kemble. 

5. Francis Wilson. 6. Frederic Remington. 
Nos. 3 and 4 are by Frederic Remington. Nos. i, 2, 5, and 6 are by Augustus Thomas. 

THE EARLY 90'S 327 

entire forenoon, and with the interruption of a light lunch 
worked until nearly three o'clock. Then every day dur- 
ing this stay of RuckstuIPs Remington came over to look 
at the progress of the model. He once said that when 
he died he wanted to have written on his tomb: "He 
knew the horse." And that could be said of Remington 
about as truthfully as of any other artist that has ever 
lived in America. RuckstuII also knew the horse, but 
from another angle. It was interesting to hear the dis- 
putes of these two experts as RuckstuII's horse pro- 
gressed in its modelling, Remington always arguing for 
the wire-drawn Western specimen and RuckstuII stand- 
ing for the more monumental, picturesque horse of the 
Eastern breeders. 

During that time I went to Remington's studio one 
day, where he was drawing a Westerner shooting up a 
barroom. That hulking figure in the foreground, how- 
ever, obstructed other detail that he wished to show. 
Remington immediately dusted off the charcoal outline, 
and instead drew his gunman in the background shooting 
down the room. 

I said: "Fred, you're not a draftsman; you're a sculp- 
tor. You saw all round that fellow, and could have put 
him anywhere you wanted him. They call that the sculp- 
tor's degree of vision." 

Remington laughed, but later RuckstuII sent him 
some tools and a supply of modeler's wax, and he began 
his " Bronco Buster." It was characteristic of the man 
that his first attempt should be a subject difficult enough 
as a technical problem to have daunted a sculptor of 
experience and a master of technic. His love of the work 
when he got at it, his marvellous aptitude for an art in 
which he had never had a single lesson, are some evidence 


that it was possibly his metier. His few bronze groups 
and figures that rapidly followed the " Bronco Buster " 
and his heroic equestrian monument of " The Pioneer " 
in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, are the work of one 
who surely would have excelled in sculpture if he had 
lived to follow it. 

Back in those days there was a wish to improve the 
theatre, not unlike the general desire so prevalent now, 
and which has never been entirely absent; a feeling that 
the box-office should not so largely dominate in the selec- 
tion of a play, and that its verdict should not be the final 
one on a dramatic offering. Prominent in this opinion 
was Mr. Henry B. McDowell, a young man of enthusiasm 
and high purpose, and, what was equally valuable at 
that time, with somewhat of a fortune. Mr. McDowell 
decided upon a winter's series of plays which should be 
produced under the repertoire idea and be shown in both 
New York and Boston. To launch his enterprise, he 
began in the spring of 1892 with a dinner of fifty men, 
about thirty-five of whom were novelists, magazine- 
writers, and poets, the remainder being already engaged 
in the business of writing plays. I remember among the 
literary men Mr. William Dean Howells, Charles Dud- 
ley Warner, George W. Cable, Frederic J. Stimson, of 
Boston; Richard Hovey, the poet; Richard Harding 
Davis, Edmund Clarence Stedman, Frank R. Stockton, 
and others. 

I sat to the left of Mr. Bronson Howard, who during 
the meal said to me: "These literary gentlemen believe 
that they constitute the lost tribe of American drama- 
tists, and that the theatre will be elevated, if not saved, 
as soon as they turn their attention to it." 

This critical attitude startled me somewhat, as I re- 

THE EARLY 90'S 329 

membered so pleasantly Mr. Howells' little comedies, 
"The Elevator," "The Garroters," "Register," and the 
like, printed in 1884 and 1885 in Harper's. Slightly op- 
posing Mr. Howard, I took the liberty of suggesting that 
that might be the case. 

Very definitely this veteran then asked me: "Thomas, 
what is a dramatist?" 

I answered: "A man who writes plays." 

"Exactly! What plays have these men written?" 
Then reinforcing his position he told me that the capacity 
to write plays invariably evinced itself in a disposition 
to do so before middle life. When called upon to speak, 
however, Mr. Howard took a sympathetic attitude to- 
ward the venture and talked encouragingly. One other 
speech that I remember in a general way is that of Mr. 
Henry C. De Mille, father of the present De Mille boys 
of dramatic and motion-picture fame. One line par- 
ticularly had a considerable influence on my way of think- 
ing. De Mille reported a proposition by Harper Brothers 
that he should write for them a set of rules for play- 

He said: "I at first accepted the commission, but 
later declined for the reason that I feared that if I once 
formulated a set of rules for writing a play I might some 
time be tempted to follow them." 

It was about that time that Frederic Remington, 
speaking of his own art, as illustrator and painter, said 
to me: "Tommy, if I felt cocksure of anything about my 
business I would begin to be afraid of myself." 

The resolution of each of these experts to keep a per- 
fectly open mind about the things they were doing went 
far toward retarding my own ossification. 

Mr. McDowell established his Theatre of Arts and 


Letters and gave the five performances. Plays by Mr. 
Stimson, Richard Harding Davis, Frank Stockton, Clyde 
Fitch, Brander Matthews, and some other author were 
produced under the stage direction of Eugene Presbrey. 
Mr. Howard took a definite pleasure when the enter- 
prise had closed in calling to my attention the fact that 
the only plays that had made any worth-while impression 
were one offered by a professional dramatist, Clyde Fitch, 
a little thing called "The Harvest," which he subse- 
quently elaborated into "The Moth and the Flame," 
and Brander Matthews's one act-play entitled "The 
Decision of the Court." Besides a very generous sub- 
scription fund, McDowell lost a substantial sum of his 
own as I remember it, thirty-odd thousand dollars. 

I saw these performances, and after a lapse of thirty 
years I remember three distinct features: The small talk 
of a fashionable company waiting for the bridal couple 
in a church, which made up the background of Fitch's 
little play; a line from Frank Stockton's "Squirrel Inn" 
spoken by Mary Shaw, who played the part of a trained 
nurse applying for a position, and who when the anxious 
mother asked her if she understood babies answered, " I 
ought to, I dissected one"; a third incident wherein 
Joseph Wheelock, Sr., played the part of a harassed hus- 
band, whose wife was a drug-fiend. Each sympathetic 
friend that came upon the stage took the husband's hand 
and gripped it in silent sympathy. As the audience be- 
gan to titter over the repetition of this business Wheelock 
became sensitive. He put his hand behind him when 
Nelson Wheatcroft, the next member of the company, 
came near him in a succeeding scene. Feeling that some- 
thing depended on the gesture, Wheatcroft took Wheelock 
by the elbow, recovered the hidden hand and shook it 

THE EARLY 90'S 331 

to general laughter that almost closed the performance. 
It is interesting, at least to me, that out of this expensive 
essay these somewhat technical points should be the 
lasting impressions, and that all the fine literary offer- 
ings intended for the reformation of the theatre should 
have so vanished. 

In these early 90*5 Joseph Brooks conceived the idea 
of having a play written with George Washington as the 
central character. This was suggested by the resem- 
blance between the portrait of Washington and that of 
Joseph Holland, then at the height of his popularity as 
an actor. Brooks's idea was to associate Joe and his older 
brother Edmund. I undertook to write the play, and 
made a fairly thorough study of Washington's life and 
times. Avoiding the error of the biographical play which 
tries to cover too much, I confined my story to the period 
when Washington was a colonel of the Virginia militia, 
and before he had married Martha Custis. I found a 
character for Ed Holland in Virginia's Scotch governor, 
Dinwiddie. When the play was done the professional 
engagements of the two men did not allow them to under- 
take it immediately, and before both were at liberty one 
had fallen ill. The joint project was abandoned. Having 
faith in the play, I wanted to see it tried, and for that 
purpose went to Boston, where the Castle Square Stock 
Company at that time had as leading man Jack Gilmour, 
bearing considerable resemblance in face and figure to 
the traditional Washington. This stock company played 
a new play every week, having only five rehearsals in 
which to prepare. 

On our first night a young actor who was playing 
Bryan Fairfax, with two scenes in the first act, was not 
at hand when we reached his second one. The usual 


efforts to hold the stage were made, but we finally had 
to ring down. The young man when found was in his 
dressing-room in his underclothing, having forgotten his 
second scene and begun to dress for his second act. This 
was explained to the audience, but when we rang up 
again the whole thing had taken on such an air of un- 
reality that two or three other mistakes, which have a 
fashion of running in groups on hard-luck nights in the 
theatre, destroyed any impression we might have hoped 
for. Later performances convinced me that I had a good 
play, but it was never done after that week. 

Brooks went to the production of a new play for Crane 
called "The Governor of Kentucky," written by Franklin 
Fyles. At the end of rehearsals, star, manager, and di- 
rector felt they were in bad shape as to story. At their 
dress rehearsal, at the request of the author, I indicated 
what I thought were the weaknesses, suggested the reme- 
dies, and told them what I thought the Tuesday morning 
papers would say. Remembering our quick revision of 
"For Money," Brooks hoped something of the same 
kind could be done with "The Governor/' On Tuesday 
I was waked by telephone at daylight, and at his request 
came at once from New Rochelle. By arrangement we 
met Presbrey and Fyles. Fyles approved of all the pro- 
posed changes, but not being in good health left the work 
with Presbrey and me. Between us we had a revised 
script that evening, and the version went on before the 
end of the week. Brooks insisted on paying for the day's 
work. When I hesitated to name a figure he suggested 
the cancelling of a thousand-dollar note of mine which 
he held. I agreed. 

A little later than this Harry Woodruff came to see 
me at New Rochelle. He had then left the stage and 

THE EARLY 90'S 333 

been two years at Harvard College under romantic con- 
ditions. Harry had won the affections of a daughter of 
a wealthy family whose members objected to an actor 
as a husband for the young woman. They agreed, how- 
ever, that if Woodruff would go through Harvard and 
equip himself for another profession the objections would 
be withdrawn. They also agreed to pay his way. While 
Woodruff was at his studies the family took the young 
girl abroad and, with a change of scene and her wider 
opportunities, succeeded in arranging for her an alliance 
with one of the nobility. With this accomplished, the 
family had notified Woodruff that the financial support 
they were giving him at the university would be with- 
drawn. Harry was courageously making arrangements 
to pay his own way through the remaining two years, 
and regretting that he had not secretly married the girl, 
as he had an opportunity to do. 

This possible set of relations a young man in college 
secretly married and the family trying to marry his wife 
to a foreign nobleman struck me as a pretty complica- 
tion for a comedy. Having a contract with Goodwin 
for something to follow "In Mizzoura," I developed that 
story into a three-act play which I called "Treadway of 
Yale." Goodwin accepted both the scenario and the 
finished script, but before the time came for production 
he married Maxine Elliott, of whose dramatic ability he 
had such high opinion that he thought the comedy gave 
her insufficient chance. He therefore forfeited his ad- 
vance payments on it and returned the script. It was 
produced some time later under the title of "On the 
Quiet" by William Collier under the management of 
Will Smythe, and later revived by Charles Frohman 
when Collier passed under his direction. Collier went to 


London with the piece. During his successful run with 
it there Willie had occasion to be measured for a suit of 
clothes. An English tailor, amused with his American 
manner, endeavored to spoof him, a risk that no Amer- 
ican tailor would have taken. 

As he ran his tape over him he said in his blandest 
manner: "I saw you last night, sir, in your very amus- 
ing comedy. Have you played that before the King?" 

Collier said: "I played it before anybody. I'm the 

Along in this epoch that I am so informally trying to 
describe I was one day in a dark theatre listening to a 
rehearsal of a song intended for Marie Cahill, at that 
time, I think, still with Daly, or maybe with Duff. In 
the syncopated accompaniment there was a hesitation 
not unlike that intermitting heart jump that so frightens 
one until the family doctor with his fingers on one's wrist 
says: "Too much coffee." The radiant composer-piano- 
player bawled above his racket to Miss Cahill: "Hear 
that ragtime?" She did. I was at some loss to distin- 
guish it, but that was my introduction to the term and 
to the manner. Soon thereafter, a year or two, "rag- 
time" was a stock word. Some more years and it divided 
space and attention with jazz. Both are negroid. On the 
border-line of the back belt I had been brought up on 
darky music. While the melancholy of slavery was upon 
them the negroes, intensely responsive to and expressive 
in music, had found a solace in the Stephen Foster " Ken- 
tucky Home" kind of melody and a racial cadence woven 
into the tunes of the Baptist hymnal. Their lighter out- 
put just after abolition was of the rap-tap-a-tap-tap 
school of sand dance, the McNish silence-and-fun variety. 
When full equality got onto Sixth Avenue, ragtime, the 

THE EARLY 90'S 335 

African tom-tom in a red vest, made its appearance. 
Jazz was its offspring. Jazz is ragtime triumphant and 
transfigured, the Congo arrived at kingdom come. 

The nation's feet kept time. The two-step gave way to 
the fox-trot and the shimmy came along with jazz. Cen- 
tral Africa saw ghosts. Some moralist speaks of a cer- 
tain ferocity in nature which, "as it had its inlet by 
human crime, must have its outlet by human suffering." 
Why may not jazz be the cutaneous eruption of the virus 
of black slavery? If Davies and Vaughan are accurate 
in their translation of Plato's " Republic " the idea is not 
so novel as the inquiry, for therein Plato says: 

"The introduction of a new kind of music must be 
shunned as imperilling the whole state, since styles of 
music are never disturbed without affecting the most 
important political institutions. The new style," he 
goes on, "gradually gaining a lodgment, quietly insinu- 
ates itself into manners and customs; and from these it 
issues in greater force, and makes its way into mutual 
compacts; and from compacts it goes on to attack laws 
and constitutions, displaying the utmost impudence, un- 
til it ends by overturning everything, both in public and 
in private." 

It might no doubt amuse Plato to take fifty years of 
musical progression in America and check its changes 
against our changing compacts, laws, and constitutions. 

"But, say, this guy Plato where does he get that 
compax-and-constatution stuff? Who wised him to any- 
thing about show business? An' lissun ! This Davus 
and Vaughan words by, music by I never ketch them 
on no big time neither." 

Frederic Remington, with a natural social philosopher's 
view of them as they worked not only in the theatre but 


in life, refused to believe that the overflowing tide of 
ignorance was destined to inherit the fruits of the earth. 
He disliked the growing influence of the unassimilated 
immigrants. He hated the political herding of them. 
He loathed all politicians because they talked. He loved 
the soldiers because the military acted promptly and 
without debate. In his day in the West the local advent 
of troopers meant sudden and inflexible order. He saw 
humanity's future safe only under military discipline. 
We differed, but I liked his mettle and his impatience 
with conditions. At Remington's I met several of his 
soldier friends, among them General Nelson A. Miles, 
then the commanding major-general; also Captain Fran- 
cis Michler, decorated for gallant service against Indians 
in Arizona in 1872 and 1873. 

When finally confused with the rewrites and inven- 
tions for the theatre in which I was then becoming in- 
volved, I resolved again to go for a subject to the plain 
and primitive things as far as one could find them. En- 
couraged by Remington, and definitely interested by his 
enthusiasm, I took a mandatory letter that Remington 
got from General Miles to all commandants in the West 
instructing them to give me information and assistance, 
and with no preconceptions as to story went to Arizona 
in 1897 to get a play. It was an important turning-point 
in my career. 


In preceding chapters, in trying to tell how I came 
to go at the business of writing plays, to tell how my 
attention was led in that direction and how information, 
experience, and material for the work were gathered, I 
have tried to use discrimination. This is probably not 
apparent, but as I mentally review what I have con- 
sidered the high lights of this irregular report I am con- 
scious of much that has been omitted. 

For example, there were the facts and happenings 
connected with making a play which was called "New 
Blood,'* and was produced by Mr. Joseph Brooks late in 
the summer of 1894. If this publication were political 
in its character I might slam ahead and call a lot of people 
a lot of names, because, fair-minded and unprejudiced 
as I have tried to be, I fear that I am a good deal par- 
tisan. I have frankly told that as a young man I was a 
Master Workman in the Knights of Labor. I deeply 
sympathized with the working classes of the country, 
to which I thought I belonged, and their problems be- 
came my own as far as study and investigation went, 
and also as far as I could express myself and be tolerated 
as a member of one of the principal political parties. I 
made speeches in all the presidential campaigns after I 
became of age, and occasionally talked in local cam- 
paigns in the congressional years. 

It will] be remembered that in the early po's two ab- 
sorbing considerations in the country were the trusts 



and the money question. The Populists and strongly 
influenced by them the Democrats were urging the 
free and unlimited coinage of silver; the Republicans 
were also urging the coinage of silver, but after an in- 
ternational agreement. The most outspoken of their 
party at that time, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, was 
for the unlimited coinage of silver and a discriminating 
tariff that should force England from her gold standard 
into bimetallism. Senator William V. Allen, of Nebraska, 
a man who had much of the physical appearance, the 
habit of thought, and the oratorical power of our present 
Senator Borah, characterized this advice by Senator 
Lodge as "simply a piece of Yankee ingenuity." Mr. 
Allen's party, the Populist, was at one with the Demo- 
cratic Party in its fight against the trusts, and the Re- 
publican Party was not far behind in a wish to regulate 
those combinations. 

With the trusts as a sustaining theme, I had written a 
play in which a manufacturing company was divided 
against itself. A son, impersonated by Mr. Wilton Lack- 
aye, in sympathy with the new spirit of regulation, was 
at war in the board of directors with his father, played 
by Mr. E. M. Holland, who adhered to the older ideas 
of a man managing his own business in his own way. 
When the play was ready Mr. Brooks engaged one of 
the best companies that could be got together at that 
time. Besides the two excellent actors named, the cast 
included also Maurice Barrymore, C. W. Couldock, J. H. 
Stoddart, George Nash, Jack Barnes, FfoIIiet Paget, and 
Anne O'Neill, a prominent ingenue of that time who soon 
afterward married and left the stage. 

Shortly before we got ready for our production some 
of the forces that I had been endeavoring to estimate 


and depict came into collision. The most outstanding 
figure on the labor side was Mr. Eugene Debs, now, in 
1922, in the public eye because of his attitude during 
the World War and his consequent incarceration at At- 
lanta and his subsequent pardon from that place by 
President Harding. In 1894 Mr. Debs had asked that 
a difference of opinion between the Pullman Company 
and the men working in the Pullman car shops at the 
town of Pullman, near Chicago, should be submitted 
to arbitration. Mr. George M. Pullman, the president, 
who had been a great benefactor, in that he had built 
a model city for his employees, was deeply hurt at what 
he considered their ingratitude, and declined to discuss 
arbitration. Writing in a magazine of his attitude at 
that time, and the various patents the Government had 
granted him, Doctor Albert Shaw said: 

Mr. Pullman should certainly feel very good-natured, indeed, 
toward a nation that has afforded him such unparalleled opportuni- 
ties and has rewarded his talent and energy with such colossal trib- 
utes of wealth. ... To very many people it seemed clear that he 
ought not to have allowed his local quarrel to go on unsettled and 
unappeased until it had assumed continental proportions. 

The same impartial writer condemned Mr. Debs for 
extending the strike to the American railroad unions 
and through them obstructing trains that carried Mr. 
Pullman's cars. When Mr. Debs did this he also stopped 
trains on which there were the United States mails, with 
the result that President Cleveland stepped into the situ- 
ation, and when our "New Blood" company approached 
Chicago toward the end of July the train on which it 
was ran through a district with miles of burning freight- 
cars on either side and arrived in Chicago to find that 


city under martial rule, with field artillery strung along 
the lake front and commanding the approaching streets. 
The people who came at night to see our Chicago per- 
formance were obliged to show tickets to soldiers at inter- 
secting corners and establish the peaceable character of 
their errands. 

Of course, in that milieu, with that subject and that 
excellent company, the management thought we had 
the greatest American play that could be written. Mr. 
Palmer came on to see it, and immediately offered Mr. 
Brooks time at his Broadway theatre. He even suggested 
strengthening the already strong cast by substituting 
Elita Proctor Otis and Katherine Grey for the ladies al- 
ready named. Mr. Charles Richman was engaged in 
the place of Mr. Barnes. This desire for betterment 
went through every department of the production. At 
a little tete-a-tete between Barrymore and Lackaye in 
the piece, followed by a love scene between Barrymore 
and Miss Grey, the men in Chicago had lighted their 
cigarettes with a match, but for New York we had a 
fine double-decked copper outfit that stood on the table 
and burned alcohol. 

On the first night in New York, at the most critical 
moment, this alcohol became superheated, overflowed 
its lamp, made a flare on the copper tray. People in the 
audience began to gather up their wraps; Reuben Fax, 
who was playing a butler, came on and backed off with 
this flaming exhibition, but too late to recover attention, 
and a most essential part of the exposition of the story 
was lost. Miss Otis had procured a new silk dress for 
the new engagement, very snugly fitting a week before 
the play. That interval of hope and maybe enter- 
tainment, however, contributed enough added outline to 


burst the new dress in a hurried adjustment, and a second 
act was held several minutes while the modiste put in 
a gore. The whole night took on a tone of unreality. 
In a dispute between Mr. Palmer and Mr. Brooks over 
stage hands, extra ones, though needed, were not en- 
gaged, and altogether it was one o'clock before our first 
performance ended. Our New York press was as bad 
as Chicago's had been favorable. Charley Frohman saw 
the play in the middle of the week and liked it. But in 
his characteristic way he touched at once upon what he 
thought made it fail. 

A strike-leader who has been shown into his employer's 
breakfast-room, after stating his claim and the condition 
of his people, points to the table and says, "What you 
have left there on your plate," and so on. 

Charley said: "That workman saying, 'Those bones 
are as much as one of our families gets for a day,' was 
speaking to a parquet full of people that leave bones. 
You can't say those things on the Atlantic seaboard, 
although you may in Chicago." 

My own belief is that the play came when papers and 
magazines were so full of the stuff that the public looking 
for entertainment didn't want any more of it. But it 
had been written under conditions less hectic. 

As a playwright I was depressed and needed encour- 
agement. I thought I had been writing from my knowl- 
edge of the Middle West and from my experiences as a 
young man, and that those were all I had that was val- 
uable to tell. I was forgetting that a man's education 
may constantly go forward, and if he is a writer or a 
painter or sculptor people would still be interested in 
seeing things through his temperament. An older man 
at that time, L. J. B. Lincoln, said encouraging things. 


He was not a writer himself, but he had been a lecturer, 
and was more particularly a handler of literary men. 
He had a paper organization of audiences in Boston, 
New York, and Chicago to which he gave what he called 
uncut leaves, papers yet unpublished, that their respec- 
tive authors read aloud. 

Lincoln was walking with me up Fifth Avenue to the 
Grand Central Station, on his way to spend the night 
at our home in New Rochelle, and I said: "Line, I think 
I'm written out." 

He laughed the jolliest, most reassuring laugh that a 
man making that speech could ask to hear, and then 
told me of the number of men he had heard say the same 
thing at about the same period in experience. His ob- 
servation was that this fear came to them in a fallow time, 
and frequently preceded the best of their work. Sup- 
porting his belief, he said much more in the same direc- 
tion. The first play I wrote after this encouragement 
of Lincoln's was "Arizona." Among other plays written 
after that time, also, were "The Earl of Pawtucket," 
"The Other Girl," "Mrs. Leffingwell's Boots," "The 
Witching Hour," "As a Man Thinks," and "The Cop- 

That night at New Rochelle, as Lincoln sat reading, 
I endeavored to make in the guest book a caricature of 
him; but as I look at it now it is less caricature than 
portrait. I have said Lincoln was not a writer, by which 
I mean writing was not a source of income to him; but 
he was skilful and entertaining when he tried it. A year 
or two later he had to furnish an introduction to some 
"Annals" of The Lambs, at that time the most powerful 
and most interesting theatrical club in America. Because 
the opening paragraph of his paper leads attractively to 


its subject, and because it is a fairly condensed expression 
upon masculine club life in general, and because it is a 
good indication of Lincoln's style as well as a good ex- 
ample of impromptu performances, I wish to quote it. 
He said : 

The evolution of Bohemia as a factor in civilization may be written 
from the annals of clubdom. From the day when neolithic man 
emerged from his cave and discovered that the grape-juice which 
he had squeezed into a cocoanut shell the day before had become a 
beverage whose ruddy glow tingled his heartstrings and made him 
forget his troubles, he became convivial. Becoming convivial, he 
called his friends about him and established a club. Since, an un- 
broken line of care-dispelling, self-forgetting, self-despising good 
fellows; Arcadians, Corinthians, Bohemians. So the Anglo-Saxon, 
in his gradual absorption of the best things in civilization, has de- 
veloped to its greatest value the essence of club life the dining club. 
Literature in English rings with that especial institution. From the 
imagination of Chaucer in his Canterbury Pilgrimage to the realities 
of Ben Jonson's Apollo and the Mermaid Inn; from the Kit-Kat 
Club, Will's CofFee-House, and the still extant Cheshire Cheese 
with its hallowed chair of Doctor Johnson to the countless groups 
which now meet in and out of Alsatia to engender the flow of wisdom 
which a hospitable round-table can alone induce, there is one long 
and brilliant procession of Bohemians of every rank and class, with- 
out whom language becomes tame, art pedantic, and life, as Mr. Man- 
talini so succinctly put it, "one demnition grind." 

Having been thus respectful to Luther Lincoln's 
memory, and after stating further that he was one of 
the most vital influences of an artistic and literary kind 
that ever came into The Lambs, I hope I shall be for- 
given for talking of him in lighter vein. With all his 
ability to encourage other men, there was a touch of 
fatalistic despondency in him concerning himself. Not 
any of his male forbears of whom he had information 


had lived beyond fifty years. Lincoln had a premonition 
that fifty would be his limit, and it was. This death- 
sentence feeling made him take the pleasures of life as 
they came. Like the preceding members of his family, 
he lost some ten years before his death the sight of one 
eye. To save the other it became necessary to remove 
this useless member, and it was replaced by an artificial 
eye. Both eyes were overhung with fairly heavy brows 
and were behind spectacles. Lincoln during the last 
hours of some all-night sessions sometimes closed the 
good eye and slept, while the artificial eye remained on 
duty, and looked steadily at the detaining monologist. 
In one of these slumbering moments he was leaning on 
the little bar of the old Thirty-sixth Street clubhouse, 
seemingly listening to a club bore considerably intoxi- 
cated. It was a warm night, and this talker was 
gradually fascinated by the unwinking attention of Lin- 
coln's glass eye. When he saw this steady gaze still main- 
tained, although a fly alighted upon the pupil of the eye 
and twiddled its hind legs, he felt that he was the victim 
of alcoholic hallucinations. The few to whom he con- 
fided his experience said nothing of the eye's being arti- 
ficial. Lincoln died soon afterward, and the man never 
drank alcohol again. 

When I started West to get "Arizona," Frederic Rem- 
ington superintended the organization of my kit just as 
he would have arranged his own. It was very much on 
the camping-out order, with a shift to something that 
would be presentable on formal occasions. I carried, as 
I have said before, a letter from General Miles to the 
officers commanding the Western posts. I started at 
Lincoln's encouragement and counsel, with Frederic 
Remington's good wishes, and the color that I had ab- 


sorbed from his talk and stories in the preceding eight 
or nine years, and added to this equipment a most useful 
admonition from Captain Jack Summerhayes, whom I 
met in St. Louis, where I stopped a day or two to see 
my people. Summerhayes was attending to some war 
preparations at Jefferson Barracks and happened in the 
city for that day only. Our meeting was accidental. 
His contribution was this: 

That department letter you carry will command anything those 
men can give you; but they'll feel happier if their contributions seem 
voluntary and come only under the head of General Miles's permis- 
sion. Also you will find that they are marooned out there, and that 
they will be mighty glad to see you; that about the only thing they 
have worth while to them is their rank, and at all times, especially in 
the presence of their junior officers, the more respect you pay to that, 
the more you do to preserve its traditions, the happier you will make 
those old fellows feel. 

When, after several weeks in the territory, I came to 
say good-by to Colonel Edwin V. Sumner, who had given 
up to me the best room and private bath in his quarters, 
he said: 

Thomas, although you've been a member of my family here, I 
never came into a room or went onto the porch where you were or 
left a group of which you were a member but that you stood up at 
my going and coming just as one of these lieutenants would, and I 
want to say to you it made me feel damned fine. 

I don't think I would have done anything to hurt that 
brave officer, but I am sure I would not have been so 
punctiliously attentive to that little ceremony if it hadn't 
been for the friendly counsel of Jack Summerhayes. 

On the way to Fort Grant one leaves the railroad at 


Willcox, at that time a little one-street row of one-story 
shops and barrooms. The hotel proprietor told me as I 
came off the train for my first night in Arizona that 
an ambulance with four mules was there to carry over 
to the fort a captain who was expected on the train ar- 
riving at five in the morning. I saw the driver of this 
outfit that night. He promised to tell the captain of my 
presence, and in the morning I was standing around 
ready to be invited. But again, under the remembered 
advice of Summerhayes, I didn't spring my headquarters 
paper on the captain or try to address anybody except 
the commandants to whom the letter was directed; and 
as it meant very little to this captain to learn that a 
stranger wanted to go to the fort, his four mules and his 
ambulance ambled off without me. I went some hours 
later on a little two-horse depot wagon that made a daily 
trip, and was again fortunate in that fact, as the driver 
on that twenty-mile jog told me many useful things. I 
was directed from the colonel's quarters to the officers' 
club. There was no attendant. The single room con- 
tained four or five officers playing cards around the table. 
After a pause one of them casually looked up. I asked 
for Colonel Sumner. He nodded toward that officer. 
Sumner, with his cards, paid no attention. 

I said, " Letter from Washington," and handed it to 
him; and then, exactly as I had seen messengers re- 
hearsed in "Held by the Enemy" and "Shenandoah," 
I stepped back and stood still. The colonel opened his 
letter, glanced at it quickly, struck the table a blow. 


AH the poker-players stood promptly. I was welcomed 
and introduced to the group, with which I spent the 
great part of one of the most enjoyable sojourns of my 


life. The poker game was immediately broken up and 
adjourned, and a half-hour afterward I came from a 
refreshing bath and in my store clothes to a fine midday 
dinner in the colonel's home with his amiable wife and 
wholesome and attractive daughter. 

That was on March 17, 1897. I don't have to refer 
to any records to recover the date, because from the 
lunch we went to the parade-grounds, where a big tent 
had been set up with a telegraph wire leading into it, 
and the men of three troops of cavalry, and I think two 
infantry companies, gathered to hear the report by rounds 
of the championship prize-fight between Jim Corbett and 
Bob Fitzsimmons, then beginning in Carson City, 
Nevada. Among the officers I saw one or two faces that 
struck me as familiar, and then one of the few civilians 
there, limping a bit on a cane, I recognized as my Leaven- 
worth attorney, Hon. Thomas P. Fenlon. He introduced 
me to his son-in-law, Captain Nicholson, also at the post 
and in whose quarters he was staying. Nicholson had 
been one of the officers in Plowman's court-room that 
busy afternoon eleven years before when they had ridden 
over from Fort Leavenworth in full dress to protest the 
foolish slander of the talented Helen M. Gouger. 

I am working now between the need to economize 
space and a wish to talk freely enough about my experi- 
ence to fix whatever significance it may have to other 
men trying to make plays. And when I say significance 
I mean only that. I don't mean a rule or a way of doing. 
Each man writing plays makes his own rules, and one 
man at different times will have different ways. If I 
seem occasionally minute it will not be because I regard 
any act of mine in epic fashion, but only because I re- 
member it as an articulating part of what subsequently 


became machinery in a play. I had been writing plays 
too long to be entirely free from habit. I suppose that a 
man sent out to write a comic opera would at least begin 
by thinking in terms of a quartet. All those fine soldiers, 
every sturdy private, the smart officers, the forceful old 
colonel, each of them began to be in my mind a possible 
factor if not centre of romance. 

The officers' quarters there in Fort Grant are doby, 
and face the parade-ground. To the western end of the 
row the first two or three are two-story buildings, sub- 
stantial as any brick or brownstone residences of the 
city. They then tail off into bungalows, with fine shady 
porches, and all, because of their doby walls, with cool 
window and door recesses from eighteen inches to two 
feet deep. I don't remember how many ladies were in 
the fort; I should say half a dozen. The majority of 
these, of course, were married; and when we have 
checked off their husbands it left a fine circle of unat- 
tached officers, attentive, complimentary, respectful. I 
heard no breath of scandal or even of gossip that in any 
way involved this compact little community, but it was 
impossible to view them with an imagination bent by 
the theatre without beginning to play chess with their 
reputations. Nothing could be further from fact than 
any hint of discordance in the household of Colonel Win 
Sumner and his wife, almost his own age; but as I wanted 
to use him as a principal character, I had no compunction 
in mentally hooking him up with a much younger woman, 
somewhat regretful of the disparity in their years. Of 
course this discontent of the wife would be evident to 
more than one of the young officers, if not actually shared 
in or promoted by one or another. Besides domestic 
life at the quarters, there were a few wives down at the 


barracks, and one or two daughters of enlisted men. My 
difficulty on the first day or two was to keep an open 
mind and not have these characters form associations in 
my fancy that would by repetition of the concept begin 
to take on the authority of fact. 

As I listened to Colonel Sumner talk at his dinner- 
table of cattlemen, Indians, and soldiers; as I heard 
Mrs. Sumner tell of Tony, the doby messenger that came 
down the valley with social notes, I felt that the field 
was too rich to make immediate commitments of selec- 

Some dispenser of mental tonic has said that thoughts 
are things. I offer no opinion on that, but if they are 
they're curious things, and it is hard for one who trades 
in them to keep clear of superstition. I have seldom 
begun to work earnestly upon any line of reflection but 
what that line has been frequently twanged by cross- 
currents that the overcredulous would misread. I wrote 
earlier in these chapters of coincidences, naming two that 
were noteworthy in my own experience. Personally, I 
am willing to accept the explanation of somebody whose 
words, but not whose name, I remember, to the effect 
that a line of thought is like a magnetized wire, and that 
particles from all the waves and currents that cross it 
adhere when there is sufficient affinity. If that is true, 
a man thinking along certain lines would mistake the 
selection made by his attention for fateful response. 

I wonder if this is an approach too clumsy to another 
one of these points. I was slowly dictating the stuff 
above about the military post and was thinking as I 
had been thinking for a day or two about Hooker's ranch, 
some ten or twelve miles away from it, and how I could 
be accurate about certain items, when Robert Bruce, 


of Clinton, Oneida County, New York, came to the 
door. Mr. Bruce has written historically of incidents 
in the Civil and Revolutionary wars. He and I had an 
exchange of letters about the first two or three install- 
ments of these reminiscences which at this writing have 
appeared in this publication, and he had promised to 
stop in and see me sometime when he was in the city. 
His call just now interrupting my dictation about the 
army post was prompted by that invitation, and was 
determined by the fact that he had two leaves of the 
Erie Railroad Magazine of December with an article in 
it about Mrs. Forrestine Hooker, author of "The Long 
Dim Trail" and other stories. 

He brought it to me because near the finish of the ar- 
ticle the writer said of Mrs. Hooker: "She married E. R. 
Hooker, son of Henry C. Hooker, the cattle king of Ari- 
zona, and lived at the Sierra Bonita ranch near Fort 
Grant and Willcox, where the famous play, 'Arizona/ 
was written around her as Bonita by Augustus Thomas." 

Thanks to Mr. Bruce's call, I don't have to cudgel 
my brain to remember Mr. Hooker's first name, or the 
name of his beautiful daughter-in-law, who away out in 
the wilds played the piano with such delightful skill. 

To distinguish him from his brother, Colonel Sam Sum- 
ner, of Fort Myer fame, my Colonel Sumner was called 
by his army friends Bull. This was an appellation af- 
fectionate and descriptive, but not critical. He told me 
of the several elements in the life of that section of Ari- 
zona, particularly of the wild station of San Carlos on the 
Gila River, where so many times a year a troop of cavalry 
on guard was relieved by one from the post in its mo- 
notonous duty of guarding that end of the Apache reser- 
vation and dealing out beef and flour to the poor Indians 


who came periodically to get their supplies from the 
government. He told me also of the ranchers who were 
his neighbors at intervals of ten and fifteen miles. 

After a few days at the post I was taken over to 
Hooker's ranch. The administrative centre of this was 
also the residence of Mr. Hooker, his daughter-in-law 
and grandson. This doby hacienda was a quadrangle 
about one hundred feet square, with blank walls some 
eighteen feet high outside. Three sides of the inner court 
were made up of little rooms one-story high, with roofs 
sloping to the centre and rising to somewhat less than 
the height of the outer walls, whose superior margin 
served as parapet in case of attack. A fourth side of the 
quadrangle, besides having a room or two and a shed for 
vehicles, had a large reinforced double gate that could 
be thrown to and fastened with heavy bars and staples. 
In the centre of the court thus formed there was a well, 
so that the colony might have water to withstand a 

Henry C. Hooker was a quiet little man who had been 
some twenty-five or thirty years in that locality selling 
beef to "government and Apaches"; at times on the 
defensive, and at other times on friendly terms with his 
savage neighbors. He had known the old Apache chief, 
Cochise, the predecessor of Geronimo, and had a hun- 
dred interesting tales of his experiences with Indians, 
and cowboys, and soldiers. He was under the average 
height of the American, was slight and quiet, and while 
adopting him I took the liberty of replacing him in my 
mind with a more robust and typical frontiersman; but 
hundreds of the lines I finally gave to Henry Canby, 
the rancher in the play of "Arizona," were Hooker's own 
words, which I remembered, and as soon as I was alone 


set down because of their picturesque quality and their 
great simplicity and directness. 

One speech that all the Canbys some ten or four- 
teen that finally played it used to like, and which Doug- 
las Fairbanks, an aspiring youngster of the theatre long 
before he went into the movies, learned to recite, although 
there was never the remotest chance of his playing that 
part, was Hooker's description of his method in selecting 
a cowboy. Before I had any situation to justify it or 
any theme to which it was pertinent, I had this speech 
from that remarkable man. Think what a helpful nug- 
get this is to be picked up by a writer looking for ma- 
terial : 

"We take a man on here and ask no questions. We 
know when he throws his saddle on his horse whether 
he understands his business or not. He may be a minister 
backsliding or a banker savin* his last lung, or a train- 
robber on his vacation we don't care. A good many 
of our most useful men have made their mistakes. All 
we care about now is, will they stand the gaff? Will 
they set sixty hours in the saddle, holdin' a herd that's 
tryin' to stampede all the time?" 

At Hooker's ranch I decided his daughter-in-law should 
be the heroine of my story. It would take me out of the 
too closely knitted life of the army post, and while giving 
a heroine who would appeal to a young cavalryman, as 
the girls on the ranch rode as well as the men did, 
it would be a truthful and breezy touch of character, 
especially as this self-reliant and athletic side was asso- 
ciated with the most feminine characteristics and accom- 
plishments. Colonel Sumner thought I should see life 
at San Carlos. That had been my wish when planning 
the play, as I expected to get the element of stir and 


bustle for it in an Indian uprising. This had the disad- 
vantage of harking back to several other American plays, 
and to something of the color of Jessie Brown and the 
relief of Lucknow. But there was nothing else in sight. 
To reach San Carlos from Fort Grant was a day's cavalry 
march up the valley to Dunlop's, and another day's ride 
over the mountains. The first half of this journey was 
made in an ambulance with mules drawing it, while a 
small detachment of cavalry, a telegraph construction 
outfit, two Indian guides, and five or six pack-mules 
with supplies were in the escort. Dunlop's was another 
doby house, with ornamental steel ceilings on the ground 
floor, and an upright piano. 

We had an early start the second morning, with every- 
body in the saddle. Captain Myer, in charge of our de- 
tachment, lent me a handsome pacing stallion, gentle 
and a weight-carrier. The features of our second day's 
trip, none of which 1 used in the play and which there- 
fore have little place in this recital except as they con- 
tribute to a sense of hardship and the stamina needed 
to meet it, were narrow trails on the hogback of the moun- 
tains, where the aneroid barometer showed five thousand 
feet, and where the path was so narrow that everything 
was intrusted to the animals, which carefully picked 
their way one foot in absolute line before the other, some- 
times all four set for a short slide and often each stone 
gingerly tested to make sure of footing, climbing grades 
on which no horse could have carried any rider, and where 
no tenderfoot, no matter how stout of lung, could have 
climbed in that thin air unaided. 

The procedure was to take with one hand a tight grip 
on the long tail of your horse, and let him pull you as 
you walked behind him and led the horse for the man 


that followed. When the height was reached where a 
modification of the grade made it possible to get again 
into the saddle, all the company, troopers and Indians 
alike, were glad to pause and recover breath before at- 
tempting to mount. 

Across these ridges the wind, which is always blowing 
at that season, came at a pace of forty miles. Shoulder 
high on our left was a wall that occasionally grazed a 
stirrup; nearer, on the other side, a declivity dropping 
at an angle of eighty degrees for three thousand feet. 

Myer called back: "Look out for your hat! Can't 
go down there for a hat !" 

I said: "I wouldn't go down there for a suit of 

If I had to write of a man under sentence of death I 
believe I could do it with something resembling insight. 
Dickens had Fagin, the night before his execution, count- 
ing the nail-heads on his cell door. As our horses gingerly 
crept over that trail I dramatized the roll or two down 
the sidehill before a fellow's breath would be out of him, 
and found myself computing the protective value of a 
ten-thousand-dollar insurance policy in a Massachusetts 
company and another accident policy somewhere else, 
and just what provision a widow could make of that 
money and of a fairly new house after the mortgage was 

There were long stretches through the little brooks 
between these mountains where the chaparral dragged 
at your bootlegs and the higher switches slapped you 
on the head so that you kept it tucked into the shoulders, 
with the campaign hat pulled down to fend them from 
drawing blood. From the perspiration gathered in one 
of these levels we went again to other heights so cold 


that last week in March that we turned up the collars 
of our leather jackets lined with sheepskin; yet we rode 
through bright air so clear that the sun burned our cheeks 
more swiftly than August in the Mississippi Valley. 

At noon we stopped a half hour for dinner and to rest 
the horses. It was astonishing to see an Indian put a 
coffee-pot on two or three little stones the size of a hen's 
egg, slip under it a bunch of burning grass not larger 
than a shaving brush, feed it with a few splinters, and 
boil two quarts of coffee quicker than I have ever seen 
it heated upon a stove. 

The Gila River is filled with quicksand. Here and 
there is a ford. As we approached the river a trooper 
rode from the fort a mile away, took his station on the 
opposite bank to guide our string, which made the ford 
in Indian fashion. 

Captain Myer called back: "Lift your feet out of the 
water ! Hold up your horse's head or he'll lie down and 
roll! Follow your leader closely !" 

At that hour of sundown, after a day in the saddle, I 
could do everything commanded except hold up my feet; 
they dragged inertly alongside the stallion and the river 
flowed into them over the boot-tops. When we pulled 
up at the little bungalows which were our destination 
two troopers helped me get my right leg over the back of 
the saddle and kept me from falling when it reached the 

A kindly fat old doctor who was there looked me over 
and without the formality of an introduction said : " Put 
this man in a hot bath." As he did so I put him into my 
play. ^ 

While in the tub a striker brought me a telegram from 
Colonel Sumner: 


"How's the patient?" 

I dictated the answer: "Not so beautiful as he was, 
but knows more." 

When I came down the four steps of the little shack 
to go to the mess-room the next morning I took each 
degree slowly and hung onto the banisters like a man 
half paralyzed. There is nothing like a good case of horse 
rheumatism to put a tenderfoot out of commission. 

A week at San Carlos was interesting. One had the 
Apache at first hand; but as all that color was revised 
from the play before production, space for it here would 
only emphasize the fact that there are a good many chips 
and much rejected material in every workshop. But 
such discarded stuff is still valuable to have in the lum- 
ber-room. I sha'n't talk of deceptive distances or tell 
any stories of men starting to walk a seeming three miles 
and learning that their visible objective is fifteen miles 

Besides, one isn't always credited. On the trip home, 
an hour or two out of El Paso, is the station Alamogordo. 

A shrewd New Englander asked: "What are those 
mount'ins to the northeast there?" 

"Those are the Sierra Blanca White Mountains." 

A real Pinkerton, penetrating, unwavering look; a 
self-possessed stroke of the chin whiskers and then cold 

"Young man, the White Mount'ins air in New Hamp- 

In the territories on the way back and at home I was 
busy on the play, with an Indian uprising as my prin- 
cipal machinery. And in its first draft the play was so 

Early in the morning of February 16, 1898, James 


Waterbury, the agent of the Western Union Company 
at New Rochelle, telephoned me that the Maine had 
been blown up and sunk in the harbor of Havana. Know- 
ing the interest the report would have for my neighbor, 
Frederic Remington, I immediately called him on the 
telephone and repeated the information. His only thanks 
or comment was to shout "Ring off!" In the process of 
doing so I could hear him calling the private telephone 
number of his publishers in New York. In his mind 
his own campaign was already actively under way. 

One incident of that campaign illustrates the primitive 
man in Remington. He and Richard Harding Davis 
were engaged to go into Cuba by the back way and send 
material to an evening newspaper. The two men were 
to cross in the night from Key West to Cuba on a 
mackerel-shaped speed boat of sheet-iron and shallow 
draft. Three times the boat put out from Key West 
and three times turned back, unable to stand the weather. 
The last time even the crew lost hope of regaining port. 
Davis and Remington were lying in the scuppers and 
clinging to the shallow rail to keep from being washed 
overboard. The Chinaman cook, between lurches, was 
lashing together a door and some boxes to serve as a 
raft. Davis suggested to Remington the advisability of 
trying something of the kind for themselves. 

"Lie still!" Remington commanded. "You and I 
don't know how to do that. Let him make his raft. If 
we capsize I'll throttle him and take it from him." 

Some months later, on learning of the incident, I tried 
to discuss the moral phase of it with him. 

But he brushed my hypocrisy aside with the remark: 
"Why, Davis alone was worth a dozen sea cooks! I 
don't have to talk of myself." 


It wasn't a difficult task to take out all the Indian 
stuff in my manuscript and to make the motive the get- 
ting together of a troop of cowboys. My impulse was 
prophetic of the Rough Riders. I wrote Denton's cow- 
boy troop and the khaki jacket into the play at once, and 
changed such few speeches of the script as this introduc- 
tion made necessary. On July 8, President McKinley 
nominated Colonel Leonard Wood to be brigadier-gen- 
eral, and Lieutentant-Colonel Theodore Roosevelt to be 
colonel of the First Volunteer Cavalry. 

A few years ago I wrote some prefaces to precede cer- 
tain printed plays of mine. If it wasn't for fear that 
watchful editors would strike out the statement I would 
quote the Boston Transcript to the effect that when 
Thomas is dead these prefaces will be put together in 
limp leather and printed as little classics. Perhaps if 
I don't tell the names of the plays or their publisher this 
statement will get by. In one of them I said: 

"This play was salvage; that is to say, it was a mar- 
keting of odds and ends and remnants utterly useless 
for any other purpose." And elsewhere in these remem- 
brances I've said that all is fish that comes to a play- 
wright's pond. 

Late in the winter of 1896, when the other guests had 
gone home after dinner, Mr. Joseph D. Redding, of the 
Bohemian Club, San Francisco, was at the piano in our 
living-room at New Rochelle; listening to him were 
Mr. Will Gillette, my wife, and I. Redding was running 
over the keys and talking through the music in that enter- 
taining way which as musician and talker he has in such 
eminent degree. 

Over one haunting melody he said: "Here's something 


I heard a little girl singing alone, hidden from the rain in 
a doby doorway in Santa Barbara." 

There was a moment's silence when he finished the 
melody, and my wife said: "A little girl that could sing 
like that wouldn't be alone." 

Gillette, in his metallic tenor, added, " Besides, it never 
rains in Santa Barbara." / 

Each of these lines was worth a smile to our firelight 
party; and just as I am telling the story to you I told 
it at a banquet-table at the Santa Barbara Club in 1901. 
I hoped only for good-natured reception and was at utter 
loss to understand why men slapped each other on the 
back and roared with glee and rocked on their unsteady 
chairs. The toastmaster felt I was entitled to an explana- 
tion. A real-estate man present explained the laugh by 
telling that Gillette some years before had bought a con- 
siderable country estate at Montecito, a suburb of Santa 
Barbara. He had bought it on blue-prints and photo- 
graphs shown by the agent. One of these photographs 
showed a bounding, purling brook, snapped immediately 
after one of the infrequent rainstorms of that section. 
On the other three hundred and sixty-four Jays in the 
year this watercourse was dry. 

That kind of thing amuses real-estate men. 

On that winter evening, however, Gillette told us 
nothing of this dusty brook, but asked Redding to repeat 
his rainy music. 

Those were the firelight times before the introduction 
of auction bridge and when people of sensibility some- 
times sat about and played or listened to little inter- 
pretations of that Redding kind. I have more than once 
solved some knotty problem in play-building by a mood 


invited by such musical half-hours. That night as Red- 
ding repeated his melody I slowly hammered out these 

"Her smile is of pearl and of coral, 

Her eyes hold the dusk and the dew, 
Her sigh has the breath of the laurel, 
Her heart but the poisonous rue. 

The heavenly star far above her, 

The breeze of the infinite sea, 
Who know all her perfidy, love her, 

Then why call it madness in me?" 

And so on. 

As much as the character of the music, the fact that 
Redding's romantic waif was or was not standing in an 
adobe doorway made the subject doby to me. So that 
when Colonel Sumner's daughter, Nan, told me that 
Tony, the vaquero, who brought the letters from her 
friends and who had such white teeth, played the man- 
dolin and sang, and I saw him, I began weaving him 
into my story, and I gave him that song of Redding's. 
Later Vincent Serrano's mother put the words into Span- 
ish. I never thought of Tony without humming its mel- 
ody, and when the play was done, it being a melodrama 
and having the powerful old-fashioned advantage of the 
right to use identifying musical themes, "Adios Amor," 
as the song was called when published, accompanied 
Tony through the play. By having it accompany also 
Lena, the unhappy German girl with whom he was in 
love, it knitted these two together more firmly in the 
minds of the audience than any dialogue could do. Nan 
Sumner called my attention also to Tony's naive indiffer- 
ence to English profanity. He had learned good-bad 


all together, and was unable to make and untroubled 
by any distinction, so that when I got him into the play 
I was able to have him finish his lover's declaration after 
the song with "and damn to hell my soul, I love you!" 



In its revised shape I submitted my completed manu- 
script to Charles Frohman. Although his influence had 
procured the railroad transportation that I had used in 
getting to Arizona, and he had been looking forward to 
the completion of the play, something in the script or 
in my reading of it, because he listened to the four acts 
as I read them, decided him against this production. 
With the war on, managers were timid and my melo- 
drama seemed unlikely of early production. I amused 
myself with the conduct of The Lambs' first all-star gam- 

There are few social clubs to whose functions one can 
with propriety ask attention. But The Lambs, because 
of its theatrical membership and prominence, is among 
that few. For many years an occasional night had been 
taken in the club when members free from professional 
calls got together in an entertainment the backbone of 
which was some burlesque by some skilled man upon 
some current success. Programmes from several of these 
intimate performances had occasionally been given to 
the public of New York. In 1898 it was decided to make 
a much more pretentious appeal by players, all of whom 
should be stars. Contracts for the exclusive services at 
one dollar per week for the last week in May were drawn 
between the club on one side and on the other Nat Good- 
win, De Wolf Hopper, Stuart Robson, William Crane, 



Willie Collier, Jefferson D'Angelis, Chauncey Olcott, 
Digby Bell, Francis Carlyle, Wilton Lackaye, Harry 
Woodruff, Charles Klein, Eugene Cowles, Joseph Hol- 
land, Harry Conor, Fritz Williams, Burr Mclntosh, 
Joseph Grismer, Jesse Williams, Victor Herbert, Ignatio 
Martinetti, Victor Harris, and some forty other men of 
almost equal prominence; a half dozen playwrights and 
as many musicians; also Victor Herbert's band and 
orchestra of fifty pieces. 

The company, all told, included over one hundred 
men. It was computed that their joint salaries, accord- 
ing to what they were then getting upon the road, would 
for that week have amounted to one hundred and twenty- 
five thousand dollars. Theatres were leased for one night 
only in New York, Brooklyn, Washington, Philadelphia, 
Boston, Springfield, Pittsburgh, and Chicago. Advance 
work for publicity was done in all these cities. Contracts 
existed for a special train of four sleepers, three dining- 
cars, and two baggage-cars. Rehearsals were well under 
way when war was declared. Matters of equal importance 
from the amusement point of view were crowded from 
the papers by the war news. It would have been possible 
to cancel the tour and contracts and pay all claims in- 
curred for some fifteen thousand dollars, and such a course 
was advised by Joseph Brooks, the manager at the head 
of the business group. As general amusement director 
of this gambol, which was to lift the debt from a new 
clubhouse recently built, the necessity of additional in- 
debtedness if we gave up the trip decided me to go on 
with it. When Brooks quit I put the business manage- 
ment up to Kirke La Shelle, then handling the Bostonians. 
The club gave the week of gambols in the cities named 
and took in sixty-two thousand dollars. 


This businesslike resume of that venture is impressive, 
but the sentimental side of it will appeal to those ac- 
quainted with the players. I shall tell only of the first 
feature of the programme: an old-style-minstrel first 
part, pyramided on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera 
House, in which, with Herbert's band, there were one 
hundred men. The interlocutor, end men, and vocalists, 
all in the regulation evening dress, at the end of the 
opening chorus were on their feet. The great audi- 
torium of the Metropolitan Opera House was crowded 
from parquet to dome with one of the most select audi- 
ences ever assembled within its walls. When we remem- 
ber that we were only in the first month of our war with 
Spain we can form some conception of the enthusiasm 
as this audience rose when the medley finished with the 
"Star-Spangled Banner," and then the burst as every 
nigger singer at cue drew from the inside of his white 
vest, instead of a pocket handkerchief, an American flag 
of silk. 

We had been under pressure to start promptly in order 
to make train connections for the next town, and I am 
not sure that anybody has ever explained just why the 
curtain was held. The facts are, however, that it was 
difficult for my wife to get to the Metropolitan at 8.15 
owing to certain attention that our baby had to have 
at that time before it got to bed. She had promised to 
make haste, and I had promised to stand in the prompt 
entrance and if possible to hold the curtain until I saw 
her take her seat in the front row of the dress circle. Men 
on the stage were fretting, and the audience there was 
twenty-seven thousand dollars in the house was getting 
impatient, but the baby delayed them only four minutes. 

In June of that year, 1898, I made my first crossing 


of the Atlantic Ocean. With us on that boat were seven 
members of The Lambs Club Chauncey Olcott, Wal- 
ter Hale, Vincent Serrano, Rowland Buckstone, Joe 
Wheelock, Jr., RuckstuII, and one other. First-class 
fare was fifty dollars; the lowest quotation now is two 
hundred and fifty. The old Victoria was a cattle-boat 
with bilge-keels that is, an additional keel on each side, 
somewhat below the water-line, to prevent her rolling. 
The cattle were where the steerage ordinarily is, and we 
never knew of them. The usual organizing person was 
among the passengers, bent upon getting up a concert 
for the benefit of disabled seamen. And the captain 
thought it would take the passengers' minds from the 
constant fear of Spanish gunboats submarines were 
not yet in use. Our American actors couldn't recite, but 
they could play if they had a manuscript; so with their 
urging and advice and occasional assistance I wrote a 
comedy about twenty-five minutes long dealing entirely 
with the ship's company, which we called "Three Days 
Out." In it Chauncey Olcott played an old Irishwoman, 
Hale a romantic tenor, Buckstone an English financier, 
and young Wheelock, who looked like the bathroom 
steward, impersonated that official, borrowing and wear- 
ing his clothes for the performance; Serrano played a 
Spanish cattle-raiser, RuckstuII was a walking gentle- 
man, I was an American business man. We went aft 
near the steering-gear to rehearse it in the open sunshine. 
Three days before we got into port we gave a performance 
which netted a handsome purse for the beneficiaries. 

Charles Frohman was in London at that time laying 
his first plans for his extensive theatrical control that 
developed later. We had our card filled with all kinds 
of agreeable appointments, and I met then for the first 


time J. M. Barrie, Bernard Shaw, Alfred Sutro, Beer- 
bohm Tree, George Alexander, Arthur Bourchier, and 
Max Beerbohm. 

Our first night in Paris was the evening of July 14, 
the anniversary of the fall of the Bastille. Instead of 
the firecrackers and pinwheels of America, Paris expressed 
itself in street festivals and dances. In every arrondisse- 
ment, or ward, there was a central gathering where music 
was furnished by a municipal band and where the neigh- 
borhood people danced on the clean asphalt of the street. 
It was into one of these circles only a few years before 
that Charley Evans and Bill (Old Hoss) Hoey walked, 
and catching the time of the music began an impromptu 
dance of the American model. To visualize this fully 
one must remember Hoey, with his full black beard and 
eccentric manner; and remember the natty, smooth- 
shaven Charley Evans of those days in his flat-brimmed 
straw hat; and then the pair of them surrounded by the 
gradually widening circle of astonished Paris tradesmen 
as those two American boys competed with each other 
in remembered and invented steps of vaudeville assort- 
ment. That would be a rare treat to-day for an American 
audience familiar with that character of dancing and 
gathered at Longacre Square. But at that time, for 
that simple pirouetting bourgeoisie, it was electrically 

I shall offer no tourist's impression of Paris, but there 
is a notable remembrance of Jean Jaures, the great so- 
cialist, pleading for evolution, not revolution. He was 
assassinated a few years later, but Ruck and I went to 
hear him then. He talked upon the theme I have fur- 
tively referred to in earlier chapters, and which in the 
past hard winter of unemployment more than one pub- 


licist advanced. Jaures was sure that the trouble with 
capital and labor was not one of class warfare, but that 
both classes in some fashion were troubled by the ma- 
chine in industry; by competition between owners of 
competing machinery, but principally by competition of 
the human creature against the insensate Frankenstein 
creation. His remedy was an ownership by the state of 
all the mechanical facilities of production. 

Some day we shall discriminately tax them according 
to wise conferences between all nations. 

When we came to recross the Atlantic, in August, 
there was still some fear of the Spanish gunboats. 

As our trouble with Spain subsided I carried the play, 
"Arizona," to Kirke La Shelle. There was no theatre 
available in New York; he arranged for the production of 
the play at Hamlin's Grand Opera House in Chicago the 
following summer, 1899. I have said earlier that Kirke 
La Shelle had the quality of the captain, and I am sure 
that had he lived he would have been one of the most 
dominant influences in the American theatre. Only to 
the theatrical reader will the following be significant, 
but the original cast of "Arizona" included Theodore 
Roberts, Edwin Holt, Mattie Earle, Mabel Burt, Robert 
Edeson, Olive May, Sam Edwards, Arthur Byron, Vin- 
cent Serrano, Franklin Garland, Walter Hale, Lionel 
Barry more, and Menifee Johnstone; and the four or five 
other characters were by people of less repute but of 
equal earnestness and ability. Few authors doing a 
melodrama have had better co-operation than that. 

There was an incident of the first night that seems to 
me worth telling. I had rehearsed the piece myself, and 
in that work been busy. Having need for a squad of 
soldiers to bring on two men under arrest, a few days 


before our opening, I spoke to a group of supers that 
had been called. 

"Any of you had military experience?" 

Two or three replied affirmatively. To the most likely 
of these I said: "Where?" 

"In Cuba." 

"Can you train four men in the manual and the drill?" 

He said, "Yes, sir." 

"Pick your four and report when you have done it." 

In a little while he was ready. At our dress rehearsal 
La Shelle and I sat apart in the parquet. Things had 
gone well. We were on the last act. Two sympathetic 
characters were to come on in the custody of the noncom 
and the squad. They did so, the seven of them marching 
to their proper places on the stage, with a smart "halt" 
and "carry arms." 

I stopped the rehearsal and said to the young man, 
"Go back and make that entrance again." 

While they were going out to do this La Shelle came 
across the parquet in the greatest earnestness. 

"I thought that was splendidly done." 

"So did I." 

"Why did you send them back?" 

" I want to see them do it again." 

In a curtain speech the next night I told this incident, 
then reverted to a rehearsal of "In Mizzoura" some five 
or six years before in Chicago, when from a similar group 
of supers I had asked for a man who could heat and weld 
and put a tire on a wheel, and found exactly the proper 
helper for Burr Mclntosh, the blacksmith. I ventured 
the belief that if I were to write a play about the stars 
and called upon a bunch of Chicago supers I could find 
among them a volunteer astronomer. I told the audience 


that this young man who had responded so promptly 
as a soldier and had drilled his squad so effectively would 
be on in the next act; he didn't know I was speaking of 
him, but if the audience thought as much of his perform- 
ance as La Shelle and I had thought they would under- 
stand why I emphasized it. When the two prisoners 
and the squad came on a few minutes later they got the 
biggest round of the play. That young super was a lad 
named Sydney Ainsworth, who the following year was 
playing a responsible part in the play, and the next year 
with one of the road companies was playing the hero. 
He became a favorite leading man. 

On August 1 8, in that summer of 1899, Kid McCoy 
was to meet Jack McCormack. McCoy had many ad- 
mirers in our company, and, as I remember, the general 
odds were some four to one on him. The dressing-rooms, 
which were under the stage of the Grand Opera House 
at that time, were buzzing with interest in the approach- 
ing battle as our men were making up for the night. 
Harry Hamlin and I had tickets for the fight, but de- 
clined to take any of the attractive odds that were of- 
fered at the theatre. 

The meeting was only three or four blocks away. As 
the two men faced each other in the first round Hamlin 
was searching his pockets for some matches. A sound from 
the ring and a startled response from the audience re- 
claimed his attention. While McCoy had been gaily 
guying with some of the press men at the ringside, 
McCormack had knocked him out with the first punch. 
Hamlin and I were soon back in the theatre. We seemed 
to have been only wandering from one dressing-roonTto 
another. Lionel Barrymore, Arthur Byron, Robert 
Edeson, and Walter Hale had not yet gone on. Theodore 


Roberts, Edwin Holt, and Vincent Serrano came off in 
a minute or two from the first act, and we were able 
quickly to take all the bets offered on McCoy at the ex- 
cessive odds. We disappeared. Later news came duly 
to the theatre and found a sad family. At Rector's, 
after the performance, Hamlin and I confessed to having 
seen the fight before the betting and disgorged our ill- 
gotten gains. 

One notable engagement made that summer takes my 
mind back a few years further to a set of incidents that 
seem amusing. In writing these reminiscences I have 
hit only the high spots. To give even a paragraph to 
each of some sixty-four plays produced would be an item- 
ized bill of grief, unpardonable in any recollections. A 
couple of years before my trip to Arizona I had done 
a play for Mr. Daniel Frohman which I read to his scenic 
artist and stage-manager and him, and which at that 
time was acceptable. Something prevented the produc- 
tion and I revamped it from a serious four-act play to a 
three-act comedy called "Don't Tell Her Husband." 
T. D. Frawley had a stock company at the Columbia 
Theatre, San Francisco, under the management of Gott- 
lob and Friedlander. They wanted to produce the play 
under my direction and sent me in advance money for 
railroad fares, sleeper, and expenses across the continent. 

At the railroad office I met Crane's manager, Joseph 
Brooks, who, learning my destination, linked his arm 
with mine and said: "Just starting for California with 
the Crane company. There's an empty section in our 
car and glad to have you." He declined to take my 
money, saying it would vitiate his railroad contract if he 
made any subsales, but he added: "The boys play poker 
and they will be glad to win that from you." 


We were four days crossing the continent. The poker 
players in Mr. Crane's company were himself, Brooks, 
and my good friends Walter Hale and Vincent Serrano. 
Under a moral obligation to lose those one hundred and 
twenty-five dollars to them, I came in on every little 
pair only to call up that protecting fate that is said to 
hover over the weak-minded and the infantile. I landed 
at the old Baldwin Hotel with the hundred and twenty- 
five intact and some more contributed by the four gentle- 
men named. In the delightful grill of that old hotel, 
long since destroyed by fire, I saw Gottlob and Fried- 
lander having dinner. Gottlob came over to my table. 
I told him the arrangement under which I had travelled 
and that had I lost the money I should have considered 
it a legitimate although circuitous application of the 
expense fund. Not having lost it, I returned it to him. 
It was worth one hundred and twenty-five dollars to see 
that new sensation in his business experience. He carried 
the money back to Friedlander. They held an excited 
consultation, regarded me curiously; later both joined 
me, and after many tentatives as to the kind of enter- 
tainment I would find most agreeable carried me off to 
a private box at a prize-fight that was occurring that 

In Mr. Frawley's company, which contained such ex- 
cellent players as Frank Worthing, Frank Carlyle, Fraw- 
ley himself, and Maxine Elliott, there was also the more 
experienced actress, Madge Carr Cook. Her little daugh- 
ter was just beginning her stage experience, and as I 
remember took the part of a maid to carry on a card in 
our play. The girl's stage name was Eleanor Robson. 
She did so well with Frawley that a short time thereafter 
she was playing leads in Denver, and when Olive May 


had to leave the "Arizona" company during our summer 
in Chicago Eleanor Robson came to take her place. Not 
since the early days with Mar owe had I seen a young 
woman who had come on the stage with so many fine 
natural qualities, and before she opened in the part of 
Bonita I told La Shelle that she would be a star in a short 
while, and it would be wise to make an immediate ar- 
rangement with her. He agreed with me; but, deferring 
his negotiations until after the New York opening of the 
company, found that Eleanor Robson was then under 
a starring contract with Mr. George Tyler. New York 
will remember its artistic disappointment when after a 
few brilliant characterizations Eleanor Robson became 
Mrs. August Belmont and society and charitable enter- 
prises gained what the stage lost. 

My little play, "Don't Tell Her Husband," was taken 
by Stuart Robson, who changed the title to "The Med- 
dler," and played it for two years. The increased friend- 
ship between Hale, Serrano, and myself at the poker table 
in the Crane car, together with our transatlantic trip, 
deepened my wish to have them in the "Arizona" com- 
pany, where their grip upon the public was the result 
of their own merits. 

There is a series of happenings in the relationship of 
those two friends that carries an interesting psychological 
study. After a time in the original company Hale quit 
the German-character part and played the heavy man 
opposite Serrano, now advanced to hero. Near the end 
of the third act it was Serrano's business to walk over to 
Hale, who stood well down left, and after looking him in 
the eye a minute slap him over the side of the face with 
a sombrero; a trick slap with the force of the blow falling 
more on Hale's shoulder than upon his face. In one of 


the early performances, however, a leather band around 
the sombrero had struck Hale's face and hurt him slightly, 
but enough to make him apprehensive thereafter; and 
one day on the street he fell unconscious. The doctor 
traced his difficulty to this fear of the blow. Hale left 
the engagement and returned to his earlier work as etcher 
and illustrator. He travelled with his talented wife, 
Louise Closser, for some time in Europe, came back to 
the theatre, and played several parts with distinction. 
After a total interval of some ten years he was playing 
in my piece, "As a Man Thinks," in which John Mason 
was the star and Vincent Serrano was the hero. 

On our opening night in Hartford, near the end of the 
third act, Hale forgot his lines and couldn't take them 
from the prompter. He was all right at the next day's 
rehearsal. But again at night the same lapse occurred. 
He was a conscientious artist, and in great depression 
came to me and wanted to surrender his part. I asked 
him to try another performance and let me look at it 
from the front. For the third time his lines escaped him. 
When the play was over Hale was positive in his decision 
to quit. I said: 

"Walter, I think the trouble is that it is Serrano who 
comes down left and confronts you. Your position on 
the stage and your personal relations in the story are 
just what they were in that old cowboy play; but if you 
will remember that Serrano doesn't wear a sombrero 
and is not going to strike you with one, and that you 
are playing Mr. De Lota in a parlor story of New York, 
the difficulty will disappear." 

He played perfectly that night and was never troubled 
in that manner again. 

Since these papers began to appear in serial form 


many men have written me and more have spoken to 
me concerning the wonderful memory that I must have 
"Or have you kept records of all that?" 

I have not kept records and I have not more than the 
ordinary memory. But here are two sides of that in- 
teresting subject: In the previous chapter I have written 
of Mr. Robert Bruce bringing me some information that 
I needed about Henry C. Hooker, the Arizona ranch- 
man. Until Mr. Bruce came in at that opportune mo- 
ment I had never seen him. 

Now on the other side: I wished to write about a 
cornet-player and his performance on a memorable night 
in 1901. It would be all right to refer to him imperson- 
ally, but my effort to get his name is a fair example of 
rr.uch of the work that has been incident to all that I 
have written. This cornetist was in a company support- 
ing Mr. Peter Dailey in a musical play called "Cham- 
pagne Charlie," which I wrote for him and which was 
produced late in August in that year. Last October, 
1921, I tried to get Dailey's manager, Mr. Frank McKee. 
He was out of the city, address unknown. After two later 
attempts to locate him, the question of the cornetist 
came up again just now as I reached the end of this chap- 

I stopped dictation and for thirty minutes my secre- 
tary and I pursued the following process: Walter Jordan, 
a play agent and sometime friend of McKee, is called; 
he gives McKee's residence; information gives his tele- 
phone; we talk to McKee; he remembers the cornetist 
very well, but the enterprise was twenty years ago and 
he forgets his name. Peter Dailey is dead. The next 
important member of the company is that excellent come- 
dian Eddie Garvey; Garvey would probably remember 


the musician. We try to locate Garvey. Miss Hum- 
bert, of the Packard Theatrical Agency, thinks Garvey 
is with Charlotte Greenwood's company on the road 
under the management of Oliver Morosco. Morosco's 
office is called in order to locate the company. They tell 
us that Garvey left the company two or three weeks 
ago; they haven't his address, but the engagement was 
made through an agent named Leslie Morosco. 

Leslie Morosco, when called, knows Mr. Garvey's 
address and his telephone number, but is reluctant to 
give them to persons inquiring over the phone. Our 
identity is established, the nature of the business ex- 
plained, and the Saturday Evening Post referred to; then 
Garvey's number is given; fortunately Garvey is at 
home; he remembers the name of the cornetist and the 
man himself very well. He says that the cornetist was 
William Disston, of Philadelphia, where his father was 
a skilled maker of cornets. William Disston and Garvey 
were together in many of the Charles Hoyt productions, 
notably "The Milk White Flag," and Disston's singular 
skill as a cornetist, almost equalling that of the famous 
Jules Levy, got him his engagement along with Garvey 
in the Peter Dailey company referred to in which he was 
featured on the programme and gave a cornet solo. Gar- 
vey remembers the night in question, although he doesn't 
remember the exact date. He and Disston left the theatre 
together. Disston was a convivial person, and the com- 
pany being that week in Providence, Rhode Island, Diss- 
ton and Garvey went to the rooms of the Musicians' 
Union, where there were some beer and songs and music 
until a late hour. They then started to go home, but 
in order to do so were obliged to pass the office of the 
Providence Journal. In front of this building about a 


thousand men were gathered, watching the bulletins in 
the windows. As the last one appeared Disston took 
his cornet from its case. 

My own relation to that occasion was this: I was in 
bed in the stately old Narragansett Hotel. The night 
was warm. Two windows of the room were open. At 
about three o'clock in the morning I was wakened by 
the sound of the cornet. It came over the night air, carry- 
ing the strains of that impressive old hymn, "Nearer, 
My God, to Thee." It took a moment to recognize this, 
and then the expertness of the playing convinced me that 
the player was Disston. I got out of bed and leaned 
on the window-sill. As the cornet began a repetition of 
the hymn it was joined by a male chorus of some thou- 
sand voices, and there plainly came the words: "E'en 
though it be a cross that raiseth me." I knew then that 
President William McKinley, who had Iain wounded for 
a week in Buffalo, was dead. I was surprised as I listened 
to the finish of the hymn to find that my cheeks were 
wet with tears. "Nearer, My God, to Thee" had been 
a favorite hymn with my grandmother. My mind went 
back to her and the death of President Lincoln to the 
tears, the solemnity of that tragic time and, in the mid- 
dle distance, Garfield. 

Walter Wellman, famous journalist, wrote of that 
night in Buffalo, where in the Milburn residence President 
McKinley died: "In his last period of consciousness 
. . . the surgeons bent down to hear his words. He 
chanted the first lines of his favorite hymn, ' Nearer, 
My God, to Thee/ A little later he spoke again; Doc- 
tor Mann wrote the words down at the bedside, and the 
last conscious utterance of William McKinley was: 

'Good-by, all; good-by. It is God's way. His will 
be done.' 


"The President soon afterward lapsed into uncon- 
sciousness, and did not rally again. The end came at 
2. 15 A. M., Saturday, September 14." 

Three Presidents of the United States had been killed 
by madmen. The reverberations of those three shots I 


I have written of a visit to and sojourn in Arizona in 
order to get material for the play of that name. I wrote 
earlier of going back to Missouri, where I was perfectly 
familiar with the country, in order to refresh my ideas 
of its local color. In my opinion it would be difficult 
to overstate the value of this plan of getting information 
at first hand. It was Fred Remington's way of keeping 
himself fresh on his own subjects both for writing and 
illustrating. Richard Harding Davis made it his prac- 
tice, visiting nearly every country in the temperate zone 
in his search for his varied and attractive material. So 
when Charles Frohman, frankly regretting his failure to 
produce "Arizona," wanted something with similar color 
I was glad to go to Colorado to look for it. 

The result of that trip is not very heartening to write 
about. I got a play that was heavy and overcumbered 
with material and dramatic machinery. It opened with 
a string of burros bringing ore down a mountain trail 
as I had seen them do it in New Mexico. It seemed a 
fine touch on paper and very excellent at rehearsals, 
but when the burros got temperamental on our first night 
and drew attention from the dialogue they weren't so 
valuable. The greatest fault with the play was its scat- 
tered interest. I fancy that some time or other every 
playwright fails because of the very things that he has 
considered his strength; that is, fails from an excessive 
use of such things. About 1902 that facile and versatile 



dramatist, Mr. Clyde Fitch, produced a play called "Her 
OwrijWay," in which Maxine Elliott was the heroine, but 
in which a little hairdresser girl who talked East Side 
slang made the most pronounced impression. 

Nothing had been easier for Fitch than to write this 
character bit, and when he found it was so acceptable 
he said: "Well, if you like that kind of thing I'll give you 
twenty such characters," and immediately wrote a play 
in which he did. This was a piece called "Glad of It," 
in which he multiplied his East Side hairdresser till she 
was a blemish. 

I had been successful with "Alabama," with "In Miz- 
zoura," and with "Arizona" in carrying forward a simul- 
taneous interest in two or three different couples, being 
careful, of course, to have them contribute to what was 
the climax of each story. In " Colorado " I had practi- 
cally five such interests, and though the material in the 
main was good, it failed to focus. 

The gathering of this material, however, may have 
an interest. My intention had been to write a play about 
the Colorado mines. To get the material I had meant 
to go to work in one of them. I didn't believe that any 
practical miner would mistake me for an expert. I 
planned to get something in a clerical way on the sur- 
face of one of the properties or in the sheds. To do this 
I went, by the advice of my Rocky Mountain friend, 
John C. Montgomery, to the law offices of ex-Governor 
Charles Thomas and Harry Lee. Harry Lee, who was 
a man of about my own age, advised against my project. 
There had just been a strike in the mines, and there were 
still a number of secret-service men working under vari- 
ous guises. 

"In the way you propose," Lee said, "you won't be 


in any danger, but the men will promptly put you down 
as a private detective, and though they wouldn't molest 
you, you would never get near them, and the intimate 
stuff you are trying for would elude you." 

There was an experienced, practical miner, tough man 
and strike leader, on their books by the name of Phil 
Flynn. He was a good deal of a free-lance, constantly 
moving about on new prospects. If they could locate 
Flynn and put me under his care I'd be in the way of 
getting the desired information. A long-distance tele- 
phone caught Flynn at Colorado City on his way to a 
copper district in Northern New Mexico. He waited 
over a train for my coming. I had had a rather romantic 
account given me of Flynn before joining him. Accord- 
ing to the men in Lee's office he had been educated for 
the priesthood and had abandoned it. At any rate, he 
had a fashion of quoting Latin. To my mind, after a 
few minutes with him, he suggested neither the priest 
nor the scholar, but rather the railroad foreman. He 
already knew my business from his long-distance tele- 
phone talk, and as we went along on the railroad gath- 
ered my purpose in detail. It was decided that I was 
not to pose as a practical miner but as a mine-owner in- 
vesting in properties. He gave me a few stock phrases 
that would partly carry out this impression, and when 
in doubt I was to be silent. We stopped at a junction 
called Trinidad, where the yard foreman knew Flynn. 
Flynn told him I was from Leadville. The foreman asked 
how things were up there. I could answer only in the 
general way that they were pretty good, but a main dif- 
ficulty was the lack of cars. He knew this, and was try- 
ing to forward empties. 

"Where did you get that car stuff?" Flynn said as 


our own train moved on. I told him I had seen it in the 
morning paper. 

"Well, you'll do, Tom." 

In the evening we left our railroad at a town called 
Springer, from which we had a few miles' ride in a stage 
to the driver's home, where we passed the night. Next 
morning we started with a two-horse wagon for the foot 
of the Little Cimarron pronounced Simmaroon. A 
prospector was camped there with a tent and a few cattle. 
Flynn made his acquaintance and left our wagon in his 
care. We went up the trail on horseback. At the end 
of the afternoon we had got as far as the animals could 
comfortably go. They were headed down the trail again 
and started with a spank. Flynn explained that there 
wasn't any way that they could get lost. They had to 
follow the little stream by which ran our trail. No 
matter how long it took them, they would bring up at 
the camper's outfit where the wagon was. 

The kit I started with we had left at the stage-driver's 
home in the valley, and each carried only a blanket, be- 
sides such toilet articles as one could put in the pockets 
of his reefer. Leaving Colorado City, Flynn had asked 
me if I had a gun. I showed him a .38 hammerless which 
he thought would do. Before reaching the mining-camp 
he suggested shifting it to the right-hand pocket of my 
reefer instead of the hip, where I had it. He didn't think 
there would be any trouble, but though my pose was 
buying certain copper mines, he was really going back 
to recover these claims, which he had learned had been 
jumped by the employees of the big mining company 
operating in that district. I learned this with a creepy 
feeling in certain peripheral nerves, but have reason to 
think it was not betrayed. 


The camp which was our destination consisted of a 
bunk-house and a cook-house, some fifty feet apart, both 
log cabins. The bunk-house had accommodations, such 
as they were, for eight men. Its interior was divided by 
a little gangway, say three feet wide, into two parts, each 
about nine by six. Each part contained two rough sap- 
ling bunks, one above the other, each bunk a little larger 
than the ordinary double bed, and all with bedding of 
pine boughs. On these boughs the miners at night lay 
rolled up in their army blankets, two to a bunk. 

In the cook-house, besides a stove, a shelf for dishes 
and utensils, there was a wooden table about ten feet 
long, flanked on each side by a rough wooden bench. 
In one corner of this room were two single bunks, one 
over the other, for the cook and his helper. There was 
no accommodation in sight for Flynn and me, and when 
the miners came in from their work, which they did about 
half an hour after our arrival, there was no welcome. 
One of the party was a romantic-looking boy in his early 
twenties, with corduroy suit and camping boots, as pic- 
turesque a figure as one now sees in the movies. There 
was one other American, a third miner apparently of 
Latin origin, and five Irishmen. The boy in corduroys 
was good-natured and genial. He seemed to be operat- 
ing for himself. The other men worked for the com- 
pany that owned the buildings, the adjacent territory, 
and the few burros that carried the ore down the trail. 
We were at a considerable elevation. 

The place grew suddenly cold at nightfall, although 
the days were warm. After supper the men smoked 
plug tobacco and played cards. The cook let his fire go 
out in order to get rid of them. When they got too cold 
they went to bed in the bunk-house. The cook said that 


Flynn and I couldn't stay in the cook-house. Flynn told 
him he was wrong about that; his friend Thomas would 
sleep on the table; himself he was going to stretch out 
on one of the benches and some boxes that he put along- 

Without removing boots or any garments, with a folded 
gunny-sack for a pillow, and covered by the blanket, I 
slept four nights on the kitchen-table. The foreman of 
the outfit would have had authority to oust us, but he 
made no attempt to exert it. The first morning, after a 
solemn breakfast, during which nobody but the boy in 
corduroy spoke to us, Flynn and I went a mile down the 
trail to borrow a couple of picks. The company had 
plenty in their blacksmith shop, but refused to lend them. 
The blacksmith, when alone, seemed a little more com- 
municative and more willing to be friendly with Flynn. 

When, after getting our picks and an hour's walk, we 
got to the ground where Flynn had located we found that 
his identifying stakes and signs had been replaced by 
newer claimants. These evidences Flynn promptly de- 
stroyed, and set up again stakes with his own name on 
them. This done, we put in the rest of our time digging 
what in mining parlance was called an assessment. This 
is the removal of enough cubic material to meet the re- 
quirement of the mining laws, and we were just within 
the expiration of the time-limit to do it. 

We were in a singular social atmosphere and set of 
circumstances. The cooks turned us out the same rough 
meals that they provided the company miners, without 
any discussion as to the propriety of doing so. The 
miners ignored us during the meals, although Phil swore 
roundly at the unidentified thieves who had tried to steal 
his claims. The cook and his helper were rather poor 


stuff, and even if they had been friendly, which they 
were not, Flynn and I and the boy in corduroys, who 
diplomatically affected an ignorance, all together would 
have been in the minority against the remaining mem- 
bers of the group. 

Alone each day on the claims, Flynn said he didn't 
think any of the men had nerve enough to begin shoot- 
ing, and in his opinion the claim-jumping had been in- 
spired by the company, and the men were not to get 
much out of it, anyway; so that his fears, if he had any, 
were considerably less than my own, which were numer- 
ous. On the fourth morning after our arrival we started 
on foot down the trail, and to my eyes the landscape 
grew more beautiful with every rod we covered. We 
found our horses and wagon with the camping outfit in 
the little valley, where we arrived in the afternoon. Late 
that night we were again in the stage-driver's highly 
civilized quarters, which when quitting I had thought 
so rude. 

On the way north for Cripple Creek we stopped off at 
the little town, at that time the central office of the Max- 
well Land Grant, where Flynn had to make certification 
of his assessment work, and where much to my astonish- 
ment he filed one of his claims as the Little Luke, naming 
it after my boy and turning over to me the certificate of 
ownership. The adjoining property belonging to the big 
copper company was paying heavily, and Phil hoped 
there might be a fortune in this claim. To hold it re- 
quired an occasional return to the property and some 
work with the pick in that unfriendly altitude of the 
foe and the stranger. So, though I still have the certif- 
icate, the claim of the Little Luke is like the grave of 
Sir John Moore. 


At Cripple Creek I met interesting characters and 
learned much about Flynn. There had been a fire a 
couple of years before while Flynn was absent that 
swept the side hills and left men, women, and children 
without shelter. Flynn returned when the conflagration 
was over, and to his astonishment his little cabin was 
the only one left in that district. 

He looked over the surrounding misery a moment and 
quietly went over to his own cabin and set it on fire. 
When he rejoined the sufferers he said, "Now I'm with 


As we went through the little mining city on that first 
night of our visit we gradually accumulated a crowd of 
admirers. I was in a fair way to make a mistake about 
Flynn's popularity until I discovered that the interest 
was in me. I got Flynn in a corner and made him con- 
fess. Some one had asked the name of his companion. 
As a great secret he had whispered, "Jim Jeffries." Some 
two years before Jeffries had won the championship from 
Bob Fitzsimmons, had later won from Sharkey, and some 
months preceding the time of which I write had knocked 
out James J. Corbett. On the sidewalks and in the bar- 
rooms, much to Flynn's amusement, men jostled us a 
little unpleasantly. I feared that as enthusiasm mounted 
some local celebrity would take a wallop at me in the 
belief that he was measuring his capacity against the 
world champion. Under a pretense of important letters 
I got back to our hotel. 

The stuff I got from Cripple Creek was principally 
character studies. By the time we reached Leadville, 
Flynn was thoroughly enjoying the fiction in which we 
were mutually interested. In that city I was introduced 
to a man anxious to get rid of a gold mine. It became 


necessary to inspect ft, and I wanted the information 
that such an inspection would give. To reach its most 
significant level we had to make a descent of eight hun- 
dred feet in the shaft. Our vehicle was what was called 
a bucket. This was a vessel made of boiler iron, about 
four feet high, with a diameter of two feet at its rim, 
used for lifting ore. It was held by a strong iron bale 
suspended by a steel cable. The rim of this bucket 
stopped at the ground level. We three men, the mine 
foreman, Flynn, and myself, took hold of the steel cable 
and stepped on the rim, distributing our weight so that 
the thing rode level. Upon a signal to the engineer the 
bucket began to descend. The shaft through which we 
were going was about four feet square. From one hun- 
dred feet down its opening, as one looked up, seemed 
about the size of a window-pane. When we stopped at 
eight hundred feet it was a pinhole in a sheet of black 
paper. Our illumination was the three candles that we 
carried, each set in a miner's candlestick, which was 
somewhat like an ornamental skewer or steel dagger 
holding a candle at right angles, and devised to scrape 
dirt out of crevices or a candle-holder to stick point first 
into a wall. The alley through which we travelled was 
about as wide as a private hallway in a cheap flat, and 
not high enough to permit of standing erect. 

One trouble with this particular gold mine was that 
some two hundred feet along this drift the roof had caved 
in. The owners had dug through this heap a kind of 
rat hole big enough to permit the passage of a man's 
body, if he got flat on his stomach and pulled himself 
along like a lizard. The foreman went first; urged by 
Flynn, I followed, second. There was no retreat except 
confession, and the dark shaft from which we had just 


escaped. After a cold crawl of twelve or fifteen feet we 
emerged into the unobstructed gallery again. There was 
no guaranty that the material through which we crawled 
wouldn't shift once more and imprison us, or even catch 
us in transit. But it didn't, and after a terrifying hour 
we were again on the surface in God's free air. I didn't 
buy the gold mine; the best I could do was to take the 
matter under advisement. But I was so overloaded with 
sensations that when 1 came to write my play 1 had my 
villain and his guilty partner eight hundred feet under 
ground, in a cage on a cable controlled by the hero, who 
was on the surface with the damning evidence in his 

When we got back to Denver, Flynn refused to leave 
me until I had been given safely into the hands of our 
friend, Harry Lee. As he said good-by for the time being 
he turned to Lee: 

"What I like about your friend Tom here is we took 
this two weeks' trip together, and we were in some tough 
places. But he never said once, 'When are we going to 
get out of here?' or 'How long does this last?' He's all 

I confessed to Lee that Fd often thought those ques- 
tions, but had refrained from asking them because they 
would in nowise hasten our departure or terminate 
our difficulties; and, furthermore, I didn't want Phil 
Flynn to think I was a quitter, which in my heart I 

Flynn was much interested in stories of the theatre, 
and also the things about Fred Remington, and a year 
later showed up unexpectedly, but not without welcome, 
at New Rochelle. 

Remington thought him a veritable nugget, and spent 


all the time with him he could in Flynn's two or three 
days in the East. 

The twenty years that have gone by have probably 
retired Phil from very active service, but there are hun- 
dreds in Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico who remem- 
ber him and I hope still meet him. 

Ex-Governor Charles Thomas' law partner, Harry Lee, 
now dead, was one of the most gifted men of the Middle 
West. I will quote two examples of his wit if I can set 
the stage for them without too much delay: A dinner 
to me in the Denver Club at which were toastmaster 
and speeches and one orator, who, I had been led to be- 
lieve, was the most eloquent in the State. When this 
speaker began to talk he made three separate starts at 
his subject. His friends regretted the indulgence that 
left him a little scattered, and as for the third time he 
said, "Fremont came through here in '48," Harry Lee 
remarked, "The record's been lowered since then." The 
orator joined in the laugh, and under its cover gave 
way to the next speaker. On one of Lee's visits to New 
York a club tete-a-tete with Lackaye was interrupted 
by an English actor, who like the oratorical friend at 
Denver was not in full possession of his faculties. Each 
attempt to score off Lackaye proved more of a cue than 
a hit. His continued failure and the triumph of Lackaye 
growing a little monotonous, Lee interposed: 

"I don't know what the game laws are in New York, 
Mr. Lackaye, but in Colorado it's considered very un- 
sportsmanlike to shoot mackerel in a barrel." 

"Mackerel in a barrel" is now a Lambs Club stencil. 

Human nature is so constituted that the wish to escape 
from boredom is one of its strongest motives. Nearly 
every playwright is driven into new kinds of endeavor 


by his wish for change. Bronson Howard, after his come- 
dies of "Saratoga'* and "Green Room Fun," wrote 
"The Banker's Daughter," "Young Mrs. Winthrop," 
and after another comedy, "The Henrietta," returned to 
serious work in "Shenandoah" and "Aristocracy." Gil- 
lette wrote his comedies, "The Professor," "The Legal 
Wreck," then his serious play, "Held by the Enemy," 
and, after a string of comedies which included "Mr. Wil- 
kinson's Widows," "Too Much Johnson," and "Because 
She Loved Him So," returned to serious work in "Secret 
Service" and "Sherlock Holmes." Henry Arthur Jones 
had even a wider range through outright melodrama and 
farce, ranging from "The Silver King" to "Whitewashing 
of Julia." Clyde Fitch, after his lighter social portraiture, 
wrote his big play, "The City." One will not be accused 
of claiming a professional kinship to these masters if like 
them he confesses the human side which craves variety. 
My own attempts ranged all the way from melodrama to 
musical comedies and broad farce. After the experience 
with "Colorado," the reaction was naturally to the 
lighter moods. 

Before "Colorado" was produced, and while it was in 
rehearsals, I went one night to the Empire Theatre to 
see H. V. Esmond's comedy, "The Wilderness." That 
excellent company of Charles Frohman's contained such 
actors, since stars, as Margaret Anglin, William Courte- 
nay, Charles Richman, Mrs. Whiffen, Margaret Dale, 
and in a quite minor role, Lawrence D'Orsay. My wife 
and I were watching the play from a box, and when D'Or- 
say left the stage I noticed a movement in the parquet 
like a receding wave as the audience settled back in their 
seats. They had moved forward in their attention in 
less concerted action; but as they heard D'Orsay ap- 


preaching for his second scene their interest was imme- 
diate and the forward inclination was in unison. I called 
my wife's attention to the fact, and when D'Orsay came 
on for the third time we both noticed the peculiar re- 
sponse. I felt that the player so welcome in such neg- 
ligible material as his slight role offered was of stellar 

I knew D'Orsay as an actor who had attracted atten- 
tion in Captain Marshall's play, "The Royal Family," 
and as an interesting personal figure about the clubs. 
To describe him in a line, one would have to use the 
phrase so often applied to him by his critics: "The Ouida 
type of heavy guardsman." His expression is the domi- 
nant one of distinguished, opaque, English toleration, 
alternated with bland astonishment, not unmixed with 
good nature, but always self-confident, self-sufficient, and 
aristocratic. I began thinking about him as the central 
figure for a comedy that I had agreed to write for Mr. 

On the American stage, to get the greatest value from 
such a man as a kind of comic-paper Englishman of breed- 
ing, it was imperative to surround him with Americans 
and give him an American background. In doing this 
I naturally saw the Americans amused with his speech 
and manner as I had seen them amused by him in private 
life; but as I thought more intimately of him I remem- 
bered that his funniest moments were his attempts to 
be ultra-American. This phase seemed only incidentally 
valuable until, through dwelling on it, the idea came 
to me to put him in a situation where he would be seri- 
ously obliged to assume it altogether, and with the in- 
ception of that idea I had the bent and the impelling 
factor of my story. The construction would be along 


the line of establishing an Englishman who would have 
to pretend to be an American, and his experiences after 
he began to do so. 

If I were permitted to say to a dozen English and 
American playwrights of to-day Pinero, Jones, Gil- 
lette, Pollock, AI Thomas, Forbes, Winchell Smith, 
Davis, Maugham, and so on, "What made an ultra- 
Englishman in America pretend to be an American? 
Answer promptly," they would reply in chorus, "A 
woman." That is the dramatist's formula, and it was 
mine. And the dramatists would be agreed on the next 
step: Find the woman. 

I felt that it would be piquant for the woman to be a 
grass-widow who had resumed her maiden name. Under 
the proverb this would make her twice shy, while at the 
same time it would remove her from the ingenue class, 
then being badly overworked. After considerable study, 
which must not be minimized by any ready relation of 
it, I hit upon the idea of having my Englishman mas- 
querading as an American unwittingly take for sufficient 
reason the name of the girl's divorced husband. This 
was a great find, as any one interested in playmaking 
will readily agree. I decided that my Englishman should 
have seen and been attracted by this young woman while 
she was travelling on the Continent, and that instead of 
coming to America in search of an heiress his trip should 
be one definitely in search of the woman. 

I have more than once in these pages spoken of the 
value of material which seemed to have no significance 
at the time of its acquisition. Here's another example: 
I didn't go up in the Ferris wheel at the Chicago World's 
Fair in 1893 because I dramatized the wheel sticking 
when my car should reach the top of the turn. In 1899 


I said so to Maurice Barrymore as we stood looking at 
the same wheel transported to and set up at EarPs Court, 

"Well, since it's been here the thing has stuck twice," 
said Barry; "one time for twenty-four hours." 

A policeman standing by took up the story and told 
us how a sailorman climbed to the cars with coffee and 
sandwiches for the imprisoned patrons. 

"A lot of good stories," he added, smiling, "fellows 
with other fellows' wives, and all that sort of thing." 

I expressed my yokel astonishment as to how the sailor- 
man could have managed it up to the topmost cars. The 
bobby's tolerant answer set the story in my mind for all 

"Well, you see, sir, 'is mother'd taught 'im to 'old on 
good and 'ard, and 'e did." 

The idea of putting two romantic people together for 
twenty-four hours in the same car at the top of the Ferris 
wheel seemed to me excellent preparation for a comedy. 
I adopted it. 

When my story was well in hand, newspaper training 
impelled me to familiarize myself with the proposed 
scenes of it, the three locations in the Waldorf-Astoria 
Hotel. I stated my project to the business manager of 
the hotel, and met a chilling and discouraging reception. 
The house could lend itself to no enterprise of that kind. 
So two days later I drove to the hotel in a cab with my 
wife, and with a trunk and valises. The room clerk had 
us shown several rooms and suites. I chose a suite I 
thought suited to the earl. The rate, without meals, was 
forty dollars a day. We stopped only one day, but the 
forty dollars put into my hands many valuable physical 
suggestions, as well as the truthful color which is so valu- 


able in a well-known district. It also enabled me to make 
sketches for the scenic artist and get suggestions helpful 
in the general construction of the story. 

After I had begun to write the play Mr. Frohman had 
gone to London. I cabled him, asking if I might have 
D'Orsay for the piece. 

With characteristic brevity he answered "Yes." 
My comedy, "The Earl of Pawtucket," was done by 
the time Mr. Frohman came back, but the cable for D'Or- 
say had meant to him only the engagement of a minor 
character. He was warm in his approval of the play, 
but declined to risk D'Orsay as the star. I could see no 
other exponent. Frohman generously released D'Orsay. 
Two hours after he had done so I had completed an ar- 
rangement with Kirke La Shelle, who took the play solely 
upon my description of it, and because he had to move 
promptly in order to get time at the Madison Square 
Theatre, where Elizabeth Tyree was starring under her 
own management in a play not very successful. Miss 
Tyree was exactly the type of girl that we wanted for the 
heroine, and she had the additional attraction of being 
the owner of this lease for the Madison Square Theatre. 
While I was still in La Shelle's office, La Shelle arranged 
for Miss Tyree to hear the play, and before she went to 
the theatre that night I had read it to her, she had ac- 
cepted it, and after giving the following day to the selec- 
tion of the company we started on the second morning 
to rehearse the piece, with only eleven days between us 
and the Monday on which we proposed to open. Among 
the company assembled on the stage of the Madison 
Square Theatre for rehearsal was an actor of experience 
and ability, Mr. Ernest Elton, engaged for the part of 
the valet. He and D'Orsay had been together in an 


English company some fifteen years before in the prov- 
inces, and met now for the first time since. 

"Oh," said Elton to D'Orsay, "are you in this piece?" 

D'Orsay said, "I hope to be." 

Elton gradually realized he had been speaking to the 
star. The reported episode amused C. F. 

We had one of our best first nights, and next morning 
a fine press; but our performance had been with insuffi- 
cient preparation. Being familiar with the script from 
both writing and rehearsing it, I had at the first per- 
formance undertaken the office of prompter, and, in order 
that I might not be more audible than the players, stood 
in the first entrance with a small megaphone through 
which I whispered when they seemed to hesitate. 

In the second intermission a prominent critic said, "I 
like everything about the play except the wretch with 
the megaphone." 

But feeling that much more depended upon main- 
tenance of our tempo than absence of the occasional 
note from the megaphone, I stuck to the method. Our 
stage-manager's time-card registered our last curtain at 
an hour that was not improved upon during the long run 
of the piece. D'Orsay starred in the play under La 
Shelle's management for three years, and at the end of 
that time returned to Mr. Frohman to star in another 

Altogether I read or proposed many plays to Charles 
Frohman. Some were accepted, many were refused, 
both in script and in projected story. Charley one day 
said to me: "It's always a great pleasure to refuse a 
play of yours, because it seems to get the thing off your 
mind, and then we have an interesting conversation." 

For my own part, as I look back, I can add that the 


pleasure was not altogether one-sided, because Charley 
never refused a play or a story without proposing some 
project for another one. 

When he turned back the script of "Pawtucket" and 
released D'Orsay from his company in order that I might 
do the play elsewhere he said: "As soon as this is off your 
mind start in and write me a comedy for John Drew, and 
if you can I'd like you to put a part in it for Lionel." 

Drew had recently had great success in a play called 
"The Mummy and the Humming-Bird," in which his 
nephew, Lionel Barry more, had the part of an Italian 
who had no English words and ventured on few Italian 
phrases, but trusted to convey most of his meaning by 
eloquent pantomime. 


I think Lionel Barrymore's fundamental ambition in 
life was not so much to be player as to be artist. Every- 
thing in black and white or on canvas or in stone interests 
him intensely, and for two or three years he left the stage 
to devote himself to the study of color in Paris. In the 
theatre his happiness is delineating character, and he 
goes at each new subject with the technical interest of 
an artist interested in surfaces and in the force behind 
them. He made his first big impression in New York by 
playing an old Boer general in a melodrama done at the 
Academy of Music. The part was a prophecy of his 
gallery of old-men portraits made notable in "The Cop- 
perhead" and again in "The Claw." For his Italian 
with John Drew he had taken lessons from a master in 
order to be right in the few phrases he had to ejaculate, 
and he had gone into the Italian colony to study the 
manners of its people. It may be that C. F/s commis- 
sion to put in a part also for Lionel centred my attention 
more than the obvious commission to get a story for 
Drew. At that time, to see Kid McCoy, champion mid- 
dleweight fighter of the world, and Lionel Barrymore 
together no acquaintance of either would mistake one 
for the other. But the mistake could easily be made if 
either was seen alone half a block away. I began to think 
of a prize-fighter. In order to get a thoroughly contrast- 
ing part, I chose a minister of the gospel. I was indebted 



to the current newspapers for that idea, as there was 
some young clergyman at the time in the public eye 
through his advocacy of athletics. 

There was no haste for the play. My friend RuckstuII 
was settled in a little town called St.-Leu, some fifteen 
miles out of Paris, working on his heroic equestrian statue 
of Wade Hampton. Letters from him carried the allur- 
ing post-cards of the city beautiful. I was a little track- 
sore with New York, and mentally a little weary with 
the vociferous self-approval of the National Administra- 
tion. My boy and baby girl were beginning to lisp 
French, perhaps wrongly, from their uncertain bonne. 
My wife wanted to pursue her musical studies. I thought 
it would be fine to have an occasional half day in some 
Parisian atelier. "Arizona'* was doing well. D'Orsay 
was making money. Letters of credit seemed possible I 
Paris ! 

There are too many guide-books of Paris, too many 
accurate pictures of its beauties, too many interesting 
and romantic descriptions of it from Dumas to Du 
Maurier, for an American playwright fatuously to at- 
tempt further to encumber the field. But for a man 
momentarily escaping from America, and especially from 
New York, there are some attractions that have not 
been enumerated. 

An editor of a Western paper, recently writing of a 
local improvement society and of the conditions of in- 
dividual premises, says of one citizen: "There is no hy- 
pocrisy about Brown. He is not one of those men who 
beautify their front yards and leave the back yards filled 
with ash-cans, rusty tin, and disorder. No hypocrisy. 
Brown's front yard is just as dirty as the back one." 

New York has that kind of candor. When a visitor 


debarks from a steamship and comes through our water- 
front streets, whether from Hoboken or the North River 
side of Manhattan, he has a ride through a front yard 
that prepares him for all the dump-heaps of the rear, 
broken pavements, dirty gutters, tumbled tenements, 
ragged hoardings; and then through our necessitated but 
oppressive canyons, where the sky-scrapers shut out the 
sun for all but a few minutes of the day. And if he hap- 
pens to be a home-coming American from Paris he groans 
inwardly with a despair that he knows no effort of his 
own lifetime can lift. Having made one such round trip, 
I looked on Paris for a second time with a knowledge of 
these American features and a wish to find the elements 
that made the great contrast. 

One principal item is sky-line. The building laws of 
Paris fix the limit of houses definitely at six stories, or 
twenty metres, sixty-five feet. The mansard roof is an 
intelligent effort to observe the letter of this law and yet 
steal a few additional vertical feet under the allowance 
of roof. As property is valuable, the legal limit is uni- 
formly reached; but monotony is avoided because the 
race of architects turned out by the Beaux-Arts, where 
we send our Americans to learn the rudiments of their 
profession, has found a variety in the unity that makes 
for restful beauty. Again, the poverty of Paris in its 
water-supply seems to result in another blessing. The 
water in some of the mains is not potable, as they say, 
pas de la source, and the Parisian is as lavish with it in 
the streets and fountains as he is economical of its use 
in his bathtubs. 

Every morning, in every block, a street-cleaner turns a 
little rivulet through the gutter, dams it into a little lake 
with a bunch of burlap, and with his long and homely 


broom of osiers sweeps it over the wooden pavement 
levels, washing back the debris to the run and gradually 
extending rivulet and lake until he has accomplished his 
block. The morning gutter and the sky-line call atten- 
tion newly to each new day. 

And then this third item: Intelligent Paris recognizes 
and admits the eye as an organ. It is not to be more 
lawlessly assailed than is the ear. No man for commer- 
cial purposes shall without restriction assault the passers' 
attention with his blatant demand. The twenty-four- 
sheet stand, the barbaric three-sheet poster do not exist, 
because the municipality puts a tax upon every sheet of 
paper that solicits its attention. Advertising space is 
relatively as valuable on the walls as it is in the news- 
papers, and so posters are artistic, of more than ephemeral 
value, and are in the main confined to handsome little 
kiosks set up at intervals for their accommodation. 

When will America learn this value of public right? 
When will all the unsightly boards that confine our rail- 
way journeys to hideous alleys of proclamatory and man- 
datory attacks be regulated by proper assessment under 
state domain to things of tolerable sightliness and sources 
of revenue to the poor public whom they afflict? When 
will unoffending citizens be permitted to travel and look 
from their car windows on refreshing landscapes without 
being commanded to use Startum's Alarm Clock or 
Sokum's Condensed Milk? Why must there always be 
interposed between the ruminative individual and the 
stenography of his Maker the commercial persuasion of 
his fellow man, money mad? 

To one writing for the theatre Paris is always rich in 
suggestion. Little plays that have not the importance 
to get into L' Illustration, or even into the printed 


brochure, dramatic bits that never make their way to 
America, are at the small theatres on the boulevards and 
the back streets and in the Qu artier and in Montmartre, 
more than half of them containing each some little sug- 
gestive, facile scene that educates and urges. When I 
had my Drew-Barrymore play finished I sent it over to 
C. F. by mail under the title of "The Pug and the Par- 
son," and under that title it was announced. But before 
I could get over to rehearse it Mr. Frohman had received 
a couple of letters from Protestant ministers protesting 
against the association. He had a racial reluctance to 
risk their displeasure, and although I stoutly stood for 
the title, feeling that the word "parson" was not so 
sacrosanct that one might not use it, his wish of course 
prevailed. We called the play "The Other Girl." 

C. F. felt that it wouldn't do to put Drew into the 
part of the preacher, however, because the character, 
although an equal part in the play's value and in the 
writing, could not from its very kind compete with the 
character of the pugilist. He believed that Barrymore, 
again associated with his uncle, Mr. Drew, would lead 
those who judged superficially to proclaim the younger 
man the better actor, when the facts would be that in 
this play, as in "The Mummy and the Humming-Bird" 
he had only the more showy part. It was therefore de- 
cided to keep Lionel as the pugilist and put some avail- 
able leading man in the part that had been meant for 
Mr. Drew. Frank Worthing was engaged for this, and I 
have never seen a manager move with more enthusiasm 
to get an adequate company. 

I am sorry to forget the name of the play in which a 
very beautiful girl of that time had made an impression. 
This girl was Drina De Wolfe, the wife of Elsie De 


Wolfe's brother. There was some slight domestic-in- 
law difference that made these ladies not agreeable to 
each other, and the wish to see them both in the same 
cast piqued Frohman's sense of humor so much that he 
set about the seemingly impossible task of persuading 
the two ladies, with the result that the valuable co-opera- 
tion of both actresses was obtained. Selina Fetter, who 
had been a favorite New York leading woman when she 
married Edwin Milton Royle, was induced to take a part 
somewhat more mature than those she had previously 
shown in. For a young reporter, Richard Bennett was 
engaged; and such excellent actors as Joseph Wheelock, 
Jr., Ralph Delmore, and Joseph Whiting, together with 
Jessie Busley and Maggie Fielding, then one of the great- 
est favorites of the vaudeville theatres, were also engaged. 
The Criterion Theatre, in which we were ultimately to 
play, was given to us for all our rehearsals. That one 
should mention this may puzzle the layman, but such 
conditions are not always provided. I think the rule is 
to the contrary; that the majority of plays are moved 
about in their rehearsals from one theatre to another, 
and occasionally into some hired hall. There is a great 
advantage in rehearsing in the playhouse in which you 
are to open, and getting always the proper tonal values 
and the physical relations that are to be undisturbed 
and unrevised. 

As soon as Lionel knew he was cast for the pugilist 
he hunted up Kid McCoy and passed much of his time 
outside the theatre with the champion. This admiration 
was reciprocated, and when the play opened McCoy 
came often to see his counterfeit presentment. One dif- 
ference between Barrymore and McCoy was that the 
Kid's hair was as curly as Lionel's was straight. For a 


period in the early run of the piece, and for all I know 
during all the while he was in it, Lionel had his hair arti- 
ficially curled each evening in order properly to present 
this international favorite. 

I have reason to believe that an ether jag indicated 
by Mr. Wheelock, who impersonated a character just 
released from the table where he had undergone an opera- 
tion under the influence of ether, was the first time that 
phenomenon was presented in the theatre. The use of 
sulphuric ether as an anaesthetic dates from some time 
since the Civil War, and we are familiar with most of 
the plays produced since that time. In the rehearsals 
of this scene Wheelock more than once offered to sur- 
render his part, believing that the demonstrations I was 
asking of him were exaggerated and unreal; but he had 
never taken ether, and I'd had two jumps at it, so with 
the help of Mr. Frohman he was finally persuaded. 

In Paris, Alfred Sutro had brought to our delighted 
attention the novels of Leonard Merrick, who is related 
to Sutro. One of these stories is called "The Position of 
Peggy Harper." It relates an author's patient training 
of Miss Peggy, even to the saucy lifting of her chin and 
other apparently unconscious personal tricks; the great 
hit of the young lady in London in the author's play, 
and then the unanimous comment of the press upon those 
delightful characteristics, chin-tipping and the like, and 
the author's great good fortune in finding an exponent 
who possessed them and thereby saved his piece from 
failure. I fancy this is not an unusual experience with 
playwrights who have positive ideas and who direct their 
own plays. 

As I have written in earlier pages, I was obliged to go 
back to Paris a day or two after we opened at the Cri- 


terion; but before I left Barrymore's success was so 
pronounced and his identification with the part seemed 
so permanent that Frohman asked me what I thought 
of featuring him in the play. Of course, with my ad- 
miration for the boy and my older friendship with his 
parents, as well as a sense of justice, I was delighted with 
it. "The Other Girl" was produced late in December, 
1903. Ethel Barrymore was at that time playing at the 
Hudson Theatre in "Cousin Kate." I saw her the fol- 
lowing summer at her Uncle John Drew's house at East 
Hampton. The first vivid experience she had to report 
to me was of a night in midwinter when leaving the Hud- 
son Theatre to go home she had encountered on Broad- 
way a billboard on which was a great stand starring 
Lionel Barrymore, her brother. Ethel said she was so 
pleased that tears sprang to her eyes. I was able to tell 
her then of her own first night in "Captain Jinks" at 
the Garrick, when her father and I leaned on the bulk- 
head of the filled theatre. 

Then Barry's eyes were full of tears as he turned to 
me and said: "My God, isn't she sweet?" And she was. 

In my first saunter through my recollections, and 
through the contemporary suggestions that were about 
me for the search of a subject for the Drew play, my 
attention not for the first time went back to the little 
"Constitutional Point" that I had written for Mr. Palmer. 
It was unsuited to my needs, but its ultimate usefulness 
was not to be overlooked. After leaving my engagement 
with Bishop, which had been the inspiration for the little 
piece, I had been more and more intrigued with the sub- 
ject. The basis for my information was in the series of 
books written by Doctor Thomas Hudson, of which his 
"Law of Psychic Phenomena" was the first. I was there- 


by led to a considerable interest in the experiments and 
findings of Doctor Baird, the Englishman, and Charcot 
and Janet, the Frenchmen, and occasionally when a kin- 
dred subject was on the calendar during my stay in Paris 
I would go into the indicated salle of the Sorbonne and 
hear some lecture on psychology. 

There was a double purpose in this. To one learning 
French the philosophic and scientific vocabularies are 
much more easily followed than the vernacular of the 
modern theatre or that of the street and shops. I became 
convinced of telepathy as a fact and as a force, but 
adopted only the sense of the responsibility that it im- 
plied, and never in any wise felt the slightest call for any 
experiment on what might be called the aggressive or 
therapeutic side of it. 

While we were rehearsing "The Other Girl," Lionel 
spent many evenings with me in my temporary quarters 
at the hotel and elsewhere, and often his brother Jack, 
not yet thoroughly launched upon his career, was with 
us. There is in both the boys a deep hospitality for every- 
thing approaching mysticism, and the forceful side of 
telepathy had for them a profound attraction. 

There was a little incident in which we three were en- 
gaged, so isolated as to have no value in any scientific 
aspect, but nevertheless amusing. In the old Cafe Boule- 
vard, on Second Avenue near Tenth Street, there was to 
the rear a section of the floor, evidently the level of some 
acquired addition, reached by the ascent of three or four 
steps. We were on that little mezzanine. I was referring 
to somebody's statement and demonstration of the pos- 
sibility of making a person in front of one in an audience 
conscious of the gaze of another at a distance behind 
him. The boys proposed the experiment. To make it 


difficult they selected a woman in the fore part of the 
restaurant parquet who sat with back squarely toward 
us. We agreed upon her by hat and furs, and the like, 
and then conforming to instructions instead of merely 
mentally commanding the lady to look around, we in 
our minds definitely dramatized her doing so and focused 
thought and attention on her. In the time in which one 
can perhaps count ten, with a gesture of great annoyance 
the lady faced squarely about and glared at us. 

I have referred in earlier chapters to a patron of the 
theatre whose theories were so reassuring, Mr. Thomas 
B. Clarke, a connoisseur and art collector. Men who 
know Mr. Clarke, and know him intimately enough to 
call him Tom, will understand my taking any excuse, 
however risky, to have an hour in his company. For 
some reason during this winter, 1903, in New York he 
wanted me to meet his friend, Mr. Frederick Gebhard. 
As I remember, Mr. Gebhard had requested the meet- 
ing, which was to be at a very small dinner at his home 
then on the eastern side of Park Avenue at about Thirty- 
ninth Street. I went with a fairly keen interest, wonder- 
ing somewhat fatuously if Mr. Gebhard knew anything 
of my St. Louis newspaper reports of his visits there. 
As I recalled them, they were rather complimentary 
than otherwise, except for a hideous woodcut issued as 
a portrait. But a man about town would hardly invite 
a person to a small dinner party in order to assault him 
for that offense after so many years had intervened. It 
was a fine little dinner, arranged by an excellent chef 
and accompanied by good wine. 

I had last seen Mr. Gebhard in 1884, twenty years 
before, then wearing the title of the King of Dudes. He 
was now a middle-aged, reserved, and serious gentleman, 


talking entertainingly and modestly on questions of art 
and literature. He was gray at the temples, decidedly 
modelled as to face, a little heavier as to figure, but ath- 
letic still. Over the mantel of his living-room was the 
picture of a beautiful woman set in a large oval frame. 
The men of the small party regarded it with admiration. 

"Where did you get it?" Clarke asked. 

"You've seen that before. That's Lulu." 

"Not the Eastman Johnson?" 

"Yes," Gebhard answered. "I had Jones go over it 
for me, change the color of the hair and the eyes." 

"But why?" 

"Well, one doesn't go on living with a portrait of a 
divorced wife. I'm so damn poor I can't afford another 
picture for that space. I had the coloring changed, and 
it makes a decoration." 

I knew nothing of the divorced wife, have learned 
nothing since, nor of the circumstances. But the atti- 
tude of the lonely man, the cynical philosophy that made 
that use of the canvas and gave that frank explanation 
impressed me. I was looking for the as-yet-undiscovered 
idea for a play for John Drew. I had kept the contract 
with Mr. Frohman when I had furnished him "The Other 
Girl," but the Drew project to my delight was still be- 
fore me. A divorce, and such a definite divorce as Mr. 
Gebhard, for a hero, with the intriguing idea of the re- 
painted portrait, made a good starting-point. The cause 
of the divorce must of course be a woman. The outcome 
of the play would be a return to the wife or a marriage 
with the other woman. Of those alternatives I chose 
the woman. My problem was to have her the more de- 
sirable of the two; to have her innocent of any trans- 
gression and unconscious of any charge. The wife would 


have to be mistaken in her suspicions; the matter would 
have to be settled out of court. And then again my recol- 
lection of the lonely Gebhard suggested having obstacles 
to the second marriage. I found those obstacles in a 
disparity of years, in a perfunctory suitor for the girl, 
in an angered and belligerent father, who, unlike the girl, 
was not in ignorance of the charges, and so on. As one 
may surmise, with story both ways from the portrait, I 
had material enough. 

When the play, which we called "De Lancey," was 
finished I was in France again. John Drew had come 
over to visit Frohman in London, and together the two 
came to Paris to have lunch with me and listen to the 
manuscript. Our apartment at 108 Boulevard Mont- 
parnasse was over the Cafe du Dome. John felt that he 
should have a cocktail before he climbed the four flights 
to the luncheon, and Frohman, who didn't take cock- 
tails, stood with him in the little cafe against the bar of 
zinc, while John in a long French dialogue got such pos- 
sible substitutes for the right materials as the small stock 
of French supplies afforded. The cocktail, made in a 
glass and stirred with a spoon, was warm and long and 
unpalatable, but after a hard day in London, a night 
crossing of the Channel, and a morning ride up from Bou- 
logne, it was needed. When they reached our apartment 
Frohman sat down on the wooden chair by the hat-rack 
and had a real characteristic, abandoned laugh because 
I met them in the hallway agitating a large cocktail- 
shaker in which was a first-class Martini, cold and proper, 
and the best materials for the sceptical but not disquali- 
fied Drew. 

When I was in Pope's Theatre, and later when I was 
working on the Post-Dispatch, there was at the Wash- 


ington University in St. Louis a young man principally 
engaged in teaching French, which was his native tongue. 
He spoke English correctly, but with the unmistakable 
accent of the Frenchman. He was friend of many of the 
men on the Post-Dispatch, some of whom took private 
lessons from him. Occasionally he wrote for the paper. 
The name of this Frenchman was Henri Dumay. He 
later for a while went into the service of Mr. Joseph Pulit- 
zer, Sr., I think as private secretary. He added to his 
knowledge of journalism, and later in his home city en- 
gaged on the Parisian press. He held a position of au- 
thority on Le Journal. Dumay also wrote for the theatre. 
I don't know how many of his pieces were done, but "La 
Petite Milliardaire" was one of them. In Paris, Dumay 
and I renewed the friendship that had begun in St. Louis 
years before and been occasionally reinforced in New 
York. I think he was a few years my junior. He was an 
enthusiastic militarist and an officer of the reserves. I 
find myself speaking of him in the past tense because I 
have heard nothing of him since the early years of the 

During our three and a half years* residence in Paris 
my wife and I found it convenient and agreeable to leave 
France after the Salon and the spring artistic activities 
were over, go to London for a few minutes, or to Ant- 
werp, and take a boat for America when the tide of travel 
was running altogether in the other direction. The sum- 
mers at East Hampton, near the end of Long Island, 
where the water comes rolling from Brazil to break upon 
the sand dunes of that coast, have for me the most en- 
joyable summer climate in America. On one of these 
trips Dumay came with us. 

Talking of dinner-parties one evening, I told him and 


some other listeners at East Hampton of a dinner at- 
tempted some ten years before at our house in New Ro- 
chelle. At that earlier dinner ten guests were expected, 
making a total party of twelve. All but one were 
coming from New York City. There was a blizzard on 
the day set, and the only guest to arrive was a lady living 
in New Rochelle. She did not reach the house until 
nearly nine o'clock in the evening, and was then in the 
arms of her coachman. The coupe in which she had 
passed nearly an hour trying to cover a quarter of a mile 
was stalled in the snow-drift on our lawn. 

When the lady was thawed out and revived, and as 
we faced the flowers and the salted almonds, this solitary 
guest on my right said to my wife on my left, "If you 
were to put this on the stage nobody would believe it." 

There was a feature of our table that became an ef- 
fective property in a first act. This was a hole some 
eighteen inches square, which, contrary to the expostula- 
tions of our local carpenter, I had cut in the centre of the 
table. In this opening was fitted a copper pan that 
caught the drift from a tiny fountain that could play 
over stones and ferns when we had visitors or felt senti- 
mental ourselves. It was a perfect little fountain, regu- 
lated under the table by a key which no man ought to 
expect a woman to reach, and it worked satisfactorily 
nine times out of ten, or until a bit of dirt or some aquatic 
insect got into its pinhole nozzle. Then it spurted eccen- 
trically and was a regular fool thing. 

One night Francis Wilson had the attention of the 
company and was telling a good story when the fountain 
took one of these fits. The stream struck fair and square 
on the stiff bosom of his dress shirt and made a noise 
like rain on a roof. Company tablecloths are long, and 


before I could get under and find the key a good deal 
of water went Mr. Wilson's way, but it didn't interrupt 
his story. He turned up his lapels like a sailorman on 
the bridge and held his place. We abandoned the foun- 
tain soon after that, but the Francis Wilson episode al- 
ways impressed persons humorously when we told it 
to explain the patch on the table where the copper pan 
had been, and one gentle visitor said: "Mr. Thomas, 
you ought to put that in a play." 

When I presented this material to Dumay he said that 
no playwright could make more than one act of it, and 
it was upon his banter that I started out to show him that 
the material was sufficient, with its suggestion, to furnish 
forth a three-act comedy. 

There was at East Hampton an empty box stall in the 
stable, with windows set so high that one couldn't look 
out of them. I put in only a kitchen chair and a small 
pine table from the village general store not even a 
calendar to distract attention. My play material to 
start with was a suburban house, isolated by a storm on 
the evening of a prepared dinner. Persons once there 
couldn't easily leave, and only the sturdy and the heroic 
could arrive. Question: What is the best use to make 
of that set of conditions? Answer: The exploitation of 
a person or persons who would like to get away and can't 
do so. What person would be the most effective figure 
under such constraint? A girl ! 

I took the proposed-and-interrupted dinner-party in- 
dicated, made it in honor of the girl, a guest in the house; 
made the lady neighbor who was carried into the house 
by the coachman the girl's unidentified rival in the af- 
fections of a young man who had been temporarily cast 
off by the girl because of a scandal of which both he and 


the married lady were innocent, but which was suffi- 
ciently distorted in its first presentation. Then I drove 
the young man, an architect, into the house from a near- 
by job to telephone, unaware of the girl's presence or of 
the projected dinner until he arrives. With the people 
living in the house and the father and mother of the 
hostess and the jealous husband of the married lady I 
had people enough for a story. I cannot repeat a play, 
not even a plot, in these pages, but believe I have here- 
with given enough to indicate the sprightliness of the sub- 
ject and the sufficiency of the material. 

When the comedy was done, after some six weeks of 
rather intensive writing, we called it "Mrs. LeffingwelPs 
Boots." Frohman immediately accepted it and told me 
he would wire me to Paris when time and a place in the 
theatres were ripe for it. I came over the next midwinter, 
when I found the radiant C. F. with another one of his 
extraordinary casts. It was a way with Mr. Frohman 
to see unrecognized ability in a young woman and quickly 
give her opportunities to prove her worth to the public. 
Though these opportunities could be devised, it wasn't 
always possible to make the public accept the lady at 
his estimate of her. My recollection is that when the 
public had failed, however, C. F. was more nearly right 
than the general jury. 

Such a girl had come under his attention at that time 
in the person of Fay Davis, a most intelligent actress, 
with a method perhaps a little too delicate if anything. 
It had more the quality of the miniature painter's atten- 
tion to subtleties and to details than is effective in the 
playhouse, which responds more readily to the broader 
touches. Mr. Frohman had starred her in "Lady Rose's 
Daughter," featured her in "The Whitewashing of Julia" 


and in "The Rich Mrs. Repton." To my great profit 
and delight he found for her in the young girl I have re- 
ferred to in this story of mine what he thought was a 
role worthy of her attention. And then, in order to give 
Miss Davis a perfect support and companionship, he 
assembled a cast that included these excellent players: 
Margaret Illington, then prominently in the public affec- 
tion; Jessie Busley, one of the best of the comediennes; 
Dorothy Hammond, a very pretty leading woman; and 
that excellent actress, Annie Adams, mother of Maude. 
Among the men he had two leading men then as now of 
equal rank William Courtenay and Vincent Serrano; 
also the popular Jack Barnes, English actor; Ernest 
Lawford, who had been featured in some Frohman pro- 
ductions; that excellent American comedian, Louis 
Payne; and that almost last of the fine old American 
gentleman type, the late John G. Saville. The remain- 
ing members of the company in the minor roles were 
more than adequate. C. F. turned this cast over to me, 
with the Savoy Theatre, where rehearsals would be un- 
interrupted. There was nobody to replace in the com- 
pany, no revisions or corrections to be made in the text, 
and C. F. never came near us until the night of our dress 

It will be interesting to record a typical Frohman dress 
rehearsal. He sometimes departed from his rule, but his 
custom was to have such a rehearsal with nobody in 
front but the author and himself. Even an assistant 
director or a man who had held a book and was supposed 
to have some interest in the setting was not allowed to 
come in front of the curtain. I remember such an in- 
trusion by a perfectly justified stage-manager who came 
into a box of the Criterion Theatre when we were doing 
"The Other Girl." 


C. F. said to him, "What are you doing there?" 

"I want to look at the scene, Mr. Frohman." 

"We'll tell you about that," and the functionary dis- 

Our dress rehearsal for "Mrs. Leffingweirs Boots" 
was at the Savoy. C. F. and I were alone. The presen- 
tation proceeded exactly as a first night, with every for- 
mality observed. 

When the first act was over he said to me, "These 
people aren't acting." 

"They're not?" 

"No, they're living!" 

It was a pretty compliment to the company, and I 
tried to steal some of it for the author; but that was 
entirely a mental process. When our last curtain fell, 
C. F. had it taken up again; the company was called 
on the stage and in a few heartening and sincere phrases 
he told them how highly he estimated their work. There 
was no need at our first performance to reverse his opin- 
ion. I like to recur in my thoughts to that engagement 
and to that happy family of players, and I like to write 
about it. Those ideal conditions are what every player 
dreams of when he comes into the theatre and what every 
playwright has in mind when he sets down a line. Noth- 
ing is so health-giving and beneficial as this full, unim- 
peded expression and interpretation. 

In "The Earl of Pawtucket," of which I have written 
above, D'Orsay's success was marked. When he had 
played it well into the third year and there was only what 
was called the small time open to him he grew anxious 
for another vehicle, and felt that he could make better 
monetary arrangements elsewhere than he then had 
with La Shelle. Mr. Frohman had revised his measure 


of D'Orsay and now regarded him as of stellar magnitude. 
I was commissioned to write him a successor to "Paw- 
tucket." D'Orsay's ambition made him ask also for a 
more substantial purpose in the play. The first version 
of "The Embassy Ball" was, in consequence, a four-act 
play, mainly attempting comedy, but with a quite serious 
note at the end of its third act. Our first night was in 
New Haven. Mr. Frohman could not attend. He said 
he would base his opinion of the play entirely upon my 
telegraphic report of its reception, and not upon the 
notices or opinions he would get from others. 

I wired him, "A dignified frost." 

There is little value in going into the reasons for this 
result. One of them, however, has interest. The end of 
the third act was a well-defined conflict between a sinister 
interest in the play and D'Orsay, who had the heroic 
element. The climax of this conflict was dramatized by 
D'Orsay's tearing from some diplomatic record the leaf 
that was the vital issue. This he did under the rhetorical 
encouragement of the character played by that excellent 
comedian, Harry Harwood. D'Orsay complained that 
his support at the serious moment was not sufficient. 
There was some justice in his claim. Harwood contended 
that there wasn't material in his lines to evoke the ap- 
plause that we expected. In my own opinion the fate 
of the piece was so well settled that whether Harwood 
was right or we were right could not affect the ultimate 
result. And Mr. Harwood's effectiveness along the lines 
of his own work as a comedian is too well known to re- 
quire anybody's reinforcement. 

At Hartford one night I tried on Harwood's wig, and 
he generously consented to my going on for his character 
in that performance. With the different treatment of 


the stump-speech material the act got the calls that it 
potentially held. The value of this was only my own 
assay of the stuff, because Harwood's association with 
the enterprise was worth much more than the material 
in question. 

Frohman saw the piece in Philadelphia and was de- 
pressed. The lay reader should understand the interests 
at stake. To fail then was to throw an entire company 
out of employment in November; to give in a measure 
a black eye to the reputation of the star and to leave on 
the hands of the management an expensive production, 
including scenery and costumes and a fair stock of print- 
ing. Despite its feebleness as theatrical text the play 
had shown us that D'Orsay was more acceptable in his 
proper comedy work than he was as a pseudo-leading 

As C. F. and I leaned over the bulkhead of the Chest- 
nut Street Theatre I recalled my experiences in rewriting 
the Crane plays "For Money" and "The Governor of 
Kentucky," and lesser work on the unsigned scripts that 
C. F. himself had called me in to patch or carpenter. 
I thought I saw my way to make a three-act comedy of 
what we had. I told him so. My family was in Paris. 
I was a bit uneasy about them. I said if he would lay 
off the company for four weeks that I would jump over 
to Paris and back, and I thought we could salvage all 
the investment enumerated, with the exception of the 
four weeks' time held in the theatres. C. F. was delighted 
with the proposal. D'Orsay and I took the same steamer 
for the other side, he going ostensibly to see some member 
of his family supposed to be ill. I wrote on the boat and 
worked rapidly in Paris. 

In three weeks after leaving New York, D'Orsay and 


I again took a same steamer for America, where we 
were two in a total of five first-cabin passengers. On the 
boat I finished the revision. Two days after we landed 
we had script and parts typed and began rehearsals, with 
that delightful actor, Forrest Robinson, added to the 
cast and associated with Harwood. The three-act ver- 
sion of "The Embassy Ball," a purely farcical attempt, 
was successful. We played it two years. 

Paris lacks the ocean, but with this exception it has 
as many suburban enticements as New York, and the 
Parisian is as accustomed to running away from the city 
for a little one or two day vacation as any metropolitan 
that we know. To change the ideas changer les idees, 
as they say is with them a frequent act of mental sani- 
tation. We made a party of some twelve or fifteen Amer- 
icans, children included, who were at the pretty hamlet 
of Montigny-sur-Loing in the middle of April in 1906 
on one of these adopted vacances. The terrace of the 
Hotel Vanne Rouge has its retaining wall of stone, washed 
by the slow waters of the River Loing that meanders by, 
held almost in lakelike retardation by the vanne, or water- 
gate, that accumulates them for the near-by mill. This 
little terrace, some fifty by fifty feet of gravelled level, 
with its circular tables of sheet-iron and weatherproof 
chairs, sets like a stage to the low and theatrical facade 
of the toy hotel, where by a fair jump from the ground 
one can almost catch the sill of the second-story window. 

On Wednesday the trippers had gone home and our 
American colony had the place to ourselves. A very 
obvious bridal couple came that evening; the young man 
with the French whiskers of the period, the bride in the 
attractive and now antiquated costume of the date, both 
oblivious to the strangers who were speaking English. 


After a little rowboat trip in the twilight the couple dis- 
appeared. We were at cafe au lait on the terrace on 
Thursday morning. The children at the balustrade were 
feeding the swans when the small diamond-paned comic- 
opera windows of the upper room opened and there 
appeared the bridegroom in a suit of lavender pajamas 
whose newly laundered and utterly unruffled condition 
invited attention. 

Doctor Tom Robbins at our table said: "See those 
immaculate pajamas on the new groom!" 

All looked and some one remarked, "Yes, a new groom 
sleeps clean"; an amusing line, but not so tenacious as 
alone to fix the Thursday morning of that nineteenth 
day of April. The event that did that was the arrival 
of the morning paper relating the catastrophe in San 
Francisco, then called an earthquake, but by common 
consent since referred to as the fire. 

One of our laughing party was Mrs. Chase, who had 
been a Miss Mizner, sister of Wilson and Addison Miz- 
ner, Californians. Mr. Chase was still in the States, and 
the reports of the devastation included territory in which 
the family had important financial and sentimental in- 
terests. Other Californians were in our party, with par- 
ents, brothers, and sisters in the stricken city. The blow 
made everything else forgotten; not only those directly 
and personally affected but all the Americans knew their 
vacation was over and their stations were at the lines of 
quickest communication. 

It is rather fine to remember the promptness with 
which the Americans in Paris acted at that time. The 
American Chamber of Commerce assembled the next 
morning upon a call from its president printed in the 
Paris New York Herald. It was a crowded meeting, at- 


tended not only by the members but by many sojourners 
and transients. There was some little personal informa- 
tion, not much; the cables were blocked. Men of promi- 
nence and power addressed the company, and running 
true to form after the American manner the first definite 
action by the chamber was an appropriation and a vol- 
unteer subscription. Thousands of dollars were im- 
mediately pledged. The mayor of San Francisco was 
telegraphed. When, after a period of two or three days, 
the rather proud but fairly self-reliant reply was received 
that outside subscriptions were not needed, the American 
chamber met again and the money was diverted to a loan 
fund available to such Californians as found themselves 
in Paris with their communications cut or their sources 
of supply destroyed. These were principally students in 
the art schools, the Sorbonne, the Beaux-Arts, and the 
musical institutions. But how fine the spirit, how ad- 
mirable that highly cultivated ethical capacity to re- 
spond ! How thrilling its demonstration ! It was, of 
course, a comparatively small reaction, but it was very 
like the stir that went over all America that sixth day 
in April, 1917, when the resolution of Congress decided 
that we were in the war. 


One of the delightful conditions in the home life in 
Paris, at least from the view-point of an American, is 
the attitude of the domestic servants to the enterprise. 
Paris is divided into arrondissements, or, as we would 
call them, wards, each with its own mayor and police 
and domestic courts and administration. In somewhat 
similar division, each neighborhood has its little four 
corners of shops that supply the neighborhood. There 
are the cafe, the baker, the grocer, and the butcher. To 
these shops each morning the cook, after the breakfast 
hour, goes for her purchases of the day. The shopkeepers 
very frankly allow her 10 per cent on the day's order and 
pay it to her then in cash. There is no attempt to con- 
ceal this and there is no way to get around it. If the 
mistress of the house thinks to get the supplies at a lower 
price or get them at the same price and to receive the 
commission that is paid to the cook she finds herself go- 
ing contrary to established custom and badly mistaken. 
The cook's commissions run on all supplies bought that 
pass through her department and are in any way affected 
by her art. All other supplies, such as wines, candies, 
cakes, and candles, bought outside, pay a percentage to 
the waitress. 

The receipt of this commission of 10 per cent to each 
of these functionaries results in the production of a per- 
ennial amiability. In America, in a modest family, the 



announcement of a projected dinner-party is apt to create 
some resentment. It is never the basis of increased hap- 
piness, and too frequently repeated is likely to call forth 
a demand for an increase in wages or a maid's notice of 
intention to quit. Either of these reactions is more apt 
to be brought about in Paris by a failure to have parties 
or a practice of having even too few of them. 

Another feature of this buying by the domestics is its 
real economy. The French cuisiniere who needs a bit of 
onion to flavor a soup will buy one spring onion, and the 
greengrocer makes no objection to selling it. Or she may 
buy one button from a bulb of garlic, or get a sprig of 
parsley the size of a teaspoon. These intimate ingredients 
in America are bought by the bunch, or ten cents' worth 
in the minimum, a small portion of them used and the 
remainder permitted to get stale and be thrown out. 

Perhaps it was an appreciation of these economies 
that induced us to bring with us from France, when we 
finally came back, our waitress, Cecile. Perhaps it was 
because the children had taken a liking to her matronly 
attentions. At any rate, we found ourselves installed 
with Cecile in the middle distance of our domestic field 
at East Hampton in our first summer after our return. 
The cook was an Irishwoman, between whose tempera- 
ment and Cecile's there seemed to be no friction what- 
ever. The up-stairs maid was a German girl whom we 
had brought down from New Rochelle. She spoke no 
French and her English was fragmentary. Cecile spoke 
and understood only French. 

The collision between these representatives from the 
opposite sides of the distant Rhine occurred in our pan- 
try on a busy day when there was a house-party and 
some additional guests from the East Hampton colony. 


I never got all the merits of the discussion, but I remem- 
ber vividly it ended by Lizzie hitting Cecile on the fore- 
head almost between the eyes with a raw egg. Cecile 
understood the raw egg and declined to remove any of 
the evidence until she had showed herself in her con- 
sequent plight to my wife and me. 

Our previous experience with the two girls was suf- 
ficient to tell us that this was the culmination, and after 
a brisk but earnest talk on the back porch Lizzie got her 
valise and the chauffeur took her to the 2.13 train. When 
Cecile learned that Lizzie had gone she came into the 
dining-room and demanded to know if madame had per- 
mitted rallemande to depart "sans que je sois soulagee" 
"without me being soothed." 

This end of the hostilities, with no treaty as to repara- 
tions, wore on Cecile's mind and she soon left for France. 
I escorted her from East Hampton one hundred and one 
miles to New York, and then through the city to the 
steamer Savoie. On the way I interpreted for her at 
four or five shoe-stores, in each of which she indulged 
her hope to find a pair of shoes for herself with la nuance 
de la coupe de ceux de madame the shade of the cut of 
those of madame. We might ultimately have found 
them but that the French steamship line had a way of 
refusing to hold a departing boat for anybody. 

Disappointed but gaie, Cecile went up the gangplank, 
which trembled like the drawbridge under the famed 
flight of Marmion, and into an agitated group of sailors 
whose voluble though informal but competing welcome 
promised spirited and articulate entertainment for the 
homeward trip. Perhaps that East Hampton egg started 
Cecile upon discoveries relatively as important as those 
following the one Columbus discussed with Isabella. 


Down at East Hampton for the summer, one of our 
first callers in the woods was Mr. John Drew, who 
motored over from his summer home near the dunes. 
The talk of the San Francisco earthquake reminded him 
of a letter he had recently received from his nephew, 
Jack Barrymore. Jack had been in San Francisco the 
night of those shocks and that fire. He wrote of his ex- 
periences briefly but dramatically. Uncle John had the 
letter. At the first shock Jack had risen from his bed 
at the Palace Hotel. Another violent lurch had thrown 
him against a door, which had given way and let him 
fall upon the rim of the bathtub, hurting his side. He 
soon found himself in the street with an ill-assorted col- 
lection of apparel. The next day he met the other mem- 
bers of the Willie Collier Company, with which at that 
time he was playing. He and the other men of the com- 
pany were taken in charge by the military and forced 
to help clear the streets by piling bricks. 

I was entirely taken up with the dramatic side of the 
description; but Uncle John, who has always persisted 
in a comic view of his avuncular possessions, smiled some- 
what sardonically as he said: "Yes, it took a convulsion 
of Nature to get him into a bathtub and the United 
States Army to make him work." 

The thought of John Barrymore as a supporting mem- 
ber of the company of Willie Collier, then, and his present 
stellar position in the public esteem is indicative of the 
rapid changes always at work and perhaps more evident 
in the theatre than elsewhere. Among the successes of 
that year was Fritzi Scheff in "Mile. Modiste," the book 
by Henry Blossom and music by Victor Herbert. Fritzi 
Scheff had just married my good and gentle friend, John 
Fox, Jr., the author of "A Mountain Europa," "The 


Kentuckians," "The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come," 
and other books. At the Lyceum Theatre "The Lion 
and the Mouse" was in its second year. "The Music 
Master," with David Warfield, was playing at the Bijou. 
Both of these plays were written by Charles Klein, who 
sank with Charles Frohman on the Lusitania. Klein 
was notably a dramatizer of popular themes. His art 
was largely the newspaper transferred to the stage. 
"The Lion and the Mouse" and "The Gamblers" were 
each a theatrical view of big business, and "The Third 
Degree" was a presentation of the police methods of the 
time. A young writer claiming attention with his second 
play, "The Chorus Lady," in which Rose Stahl was 
appearing at the Garrick Theatre, was James Forbes, now 
in the front rank of his profession and having to his 
credit "The Famous Mrs. Fair," in many respects the 
best of all the post-war plays. Henry Miller and Mar- 
garet Anglin were having a gratifying success in William 
Vaughan Moody's play, "The Great Divide," at the Prin- 
cess Theatre. Henry Arthur Jones' "Hypocrites" was at 
the Hudson. Eleanor Robson was at the Liberty Theatre 
in "Nurse Marjorie" by Israel Zangwill, who had had a 
respectful hearing with his "Children of the Ghetto," 
played a year or two earlier. John Drew was playing 
Pinero's sombre, rectangular, but well-made "His House 
in Order." Marie Cahill was starring in "Marrying 
Mary" at Daly's, with the tuneful score by Silvio Hein. 
Alice Hegan Rice's "Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage 
Patch," later to be accepted in London as the typical 
American picture, was at the New York Theatre. 
Among the lighter pieces were Hattie Williams' produc- 
tion of "The Little Cherub," with Ivan Caryll's music. 
Lillian Russell at the Savoy in "Barbara's Millions," and 


Thomas W. Ross at Wallack's in George Cohan's " Popu- 
larity." These, with two or three other offerings, were 
the theatrical presentations of that year. 

Writing of Klein and Blossom and Ivan Caryll, all of 
whom are gone, takes my mind to one of our most usual 
meeting-places, the anteroom of Charles Frohman. 
Other dramatists whom one might encounter there and 
who are now with the majority were Henry Guy Carle- 
ton, Harry P. Mawson, the gifted Clyde Fitch, Paul 
Potter, of whom I have written, and Haddon Chambers, 
among the most likable of all the English dramatists. 
To-day, in trying to get the name of Mr. Owen Hall, 
who had written the book of "The Little Cherub," for 
which Ivan Caryll furnished the music, I telephoned 
the Empire Theatre. Peter Mason, the colored boy 
there in charge of the manuscripts, would be the one most 
likely to know. I couldn't remember the Empire Theatre 
when I hadn't seen Peter there. Peter told me to-day 
that he has been in this playhouse twenty-five years. 
He came first as a water boy, working down-stairs. Mr. 
Alf Hayman had promoted him to the anteroom on the 
office floor, where Charles Frohman, seeing him, had 
taken him on his personal staff. Frohman always had a 
great affection for him. Everybody's sympathy for Peter 
was because he had come with only one lung from a hos- 
pital and continued to have occasional hemorrhages. 
Everybody around the theatre spoke of him with pity. 
It was only a question of days when Peter would be worn 
out. He might drop off at any minute. But those men 
who took such an apprehensive interest in him, stout 
Alf Hayman and his stouter brother, AI, have both gone; 
Tommy Shea, the energetic young Irishman, for so many 
years in the box-office, is dead; Sam Meyers, ruddy and 


i. Sydney Rosenfeld. 2. General George Sheridan. 3. William Marion Reedy. 4. Cyril Scott. 5. Henry Guy Carleton. 
No. 3 is by Frederic Remington. Nos. I, 2. 4, and 5 are by Augustus Thomas. 


genial publicity man and fixture about the place, one 
of Peter's patrons and sympathizers, is dead; Frohman 
went down with the Lusitania; none of the old force 
survives. But the colored boy, Peter Mason, with his 
one lung, is still, in 1922, the factotum of the theatre. 

Soon after our return from France I had an experi- 
ence which was important to me and which may have 
significance for people engaged in writing for the theatre. 
At least it will have if I can tell it in a way that will con- 
vey my own attitude toward the question it contains. 
Mr. Belasco had, at the theatre that then bore his name 
and is now the Republic, a drama of the California min- 
ing days called "The Girl of the Golden West," in which 
Miss Blanche Bates was featured. The story of this 
play, if I may indicate it by simply touching its struc- 
tural features, is of a Western sheriff somewhat older 
than a girl with whom he is in love. The girl is his su- 
perior in social quality. Her fancy is taken by a more 
modern and modish man, a newcomer in the locality, 
who turns out to be a criminal. It is the sheriff's duty 
to arrest him. The man takes refuge in the house of the 
girl. She hides him and when the sheriff comes denies 
any knowledge of him. The sheriff is about to leave 
when a bit of evidence attracts his attention to the hid- 
ing-place; the man is forced to come forth; the sheriff, 
out of consideration for the girl and contrary to his duty, 
permits him to escape. 

This is an excellent play, full of color of the epoch that 
it presents. Some of my friends on the press had written 
to me that it was manifestly a reproduction of my play 
of "In Mizzoura," written some thirteen years before. 
The story of "In Mizzoura," again telling by high lights 
in its construction, is of a Western sheriff somewhat older 


than a girl with whom he is in love. The girl is his su- 
perior in social quality. Her fancy is taken by a more 
modern and modish man, a newcomer in the locality, who 
turns out to be a criminal. It is the sheriff's duty to 
arrest him. The man takes refuge in the house of the 
girl. She hides him and when the sheriff comes denies 
any knowledge of him. The sheriff is about to leave 
when a bit of evidence attracts his attention to the hid- 
ing-place; the man is forced to come forth. The sheriff, 
out of consideration for the girl and contrary to his duty, 
permits him to escape. 

These identical situations in that perfect sequence 
could easily have been cited and in a reasonable court 
made to have in my own case a proprietary claim. But 
there had been a similar experience, somewhat earlier 
and with an equal resemblance, which had taught me 
consideration. My play of "Arizona" dealt with a young 
army officer who, trying to shield a woman, placed him- 
self liable to a charge of theft. He resigned from the 
army, went West, became a cowboy, later met his old 
enemy of the earlier days, and in a quarrel with him the 
enemy was shot. That the hero had not killed him was 
proved by the fatal bullet being of another caliber than 
that of the hero's gun, and he was acquitted. Mr. Edwin 
Milton Royle some time later wrote a play with those 
relationships and that sequence of events which he called 
"The Squaw Man." One agent and one manager told 
me that upon the reading of it they had declined to con- 
sider it, feeling that it too closely resembled "Arizona." 

Now I happened to have seen Mr. Royle's play when, 
so to speak, it was in the cradle. He produced at the 
Lambs Club a little piece in which an Englishman living 
with a squaw wife in the West was called upon by a so- 


licitor from London who came for the purpose of telling 
him that he had inherited a title, and, although he cared 
nothing for it himself, it properly belonged to his little 
half-breed son, whose mother was the squaw wife. The 
squaw wife, overhearing and understanding enough of 
this to know that she was standing in the way of both 
the husband and the little half-breed boy for whom title 
and fortune were waiting in England, killed herself. It 
was a tragic one-act play, and Mr. Royle was advised 
by everybody to elaborate it into a four-act drama. He 
was obliged thereupon to think of his hero leaving Eng- 
land for sufficient reason, which, nevertheless, should be 
nothing against his character; and by the dramatist's 
formula he had him leaving for the sake of a woman, 
and had him leaving under a cloud. The simplest cloud 
for an army officer to quit under was a charge of mis- 
appropriation of funds, and in the Wild West relations 
that followed for the purpose of the play he had the fight 
and the exculpation of the hero by the swift and simple 
evidence of a bullet not fitting his gun. 

I had used that device some years before in "Arizona." 
But I didn't invent it. It was a bit of material evidence 
in more than one Western inquest, and the fact of fitting 
the bullet to the gun of a man accused of killing was one 
of the first steps in legal identification familiar to every 
reporter. And Mr. Royle was forced into the construc- 
tion of his drama by most natural and logical sequences. 

When Mr. Belasco wanted to write Blanche Bates 
into a mining-camp a sheriff was the most likely lover; 
and the most logical rival, in order to establish conflict, 
would be a man who was rival not only in the affections 
of the girl but an opponent in the line of the sheriff's 
duty; that would make him a criminal. And if the sheriff 


once got after that criminal any dramatist, in order to 
hold his people of interest together, would probably think 
of the criminal taking refuge in the home of the girl. If 
somebody had come along and pointed out the resem- 
blance of these situations to those in "In Mizzoura," it 
would, nevertheless, have been Mr. Belasco's duty to 
go ahead with his play in its new color and in the dialect 
of its epoch and write his story. I thought he had done 
this in such fine fashion that I regarded his play as a 
valuable exhibit of how the mind of a trained dramatist 
works when once given a strong and stimulating sugges- 
tion to start back from and build a sequence of events. 
I speak of these two examples because the theatre is 
filled with their like. So are the other arts. There are 
five notable pictures of the "Last Supper" by painters 
of the Renaissance, each valuable principally because it 
shows the temperament of the artist working with his 

The courts are sometimes burdened with questions of 
this kind, and it takes a wise judge to see where the in- 
dividual right ceases and the common right in an idea 
begins. I remember reading that some Chicago judge 
had decided upon apparently sufficient evidence that 
Francis Bacon had written the plays of William Shake- 
speare. A Chicago judge decided that a citizen of that 
place had given Edmond Rostand the idea for his ro- 
mantic poetical play, "Cyrano de Bergerac," apparently 
oblivious of the fact that Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac, 
born in 1620 at the chateau of that name in Perigord, 
was a French writer and duellist, had the personal idio- 
syncrasies that were the identifying marks of orginality 
in the work of the Chicago author; had himself written 
plays and poems and had already suggested by his life 


and writings "Micromegas," a philosophic romance by 
Voltaire, and "Gulliver's Travels" by Dean Swift. 

A year or two later than the time of which I am writing 
I was called as an expert witness in a suit at Washington, 
where a newspaper man somewhat new to the theatre 
was suing a dramatist who had never seen the newspaper 
man's libretto, charging that the second libretto was 
taken from it. One resemblance was that both books 
had two elderly couples and two juvenile couples in love. 
The judge thought this not so important when it was 
pointed out to him that a majority of operas, especially 
comic operas, were made up of double quartets. It was 
a musical rather than a literary requirement. 

At a risk of being tiresome on the subject, let me 
relate an instance of this year 1922. A few weeks ago 
at the request of their author I wrote an introduction 
to four little plays by Mr. Percy Knight that are to be 
printed in a single volume. One of those plays has for 
its subject the burial of the unknown soldier in London, 
and deals in poetic fashion with the meeting of a girl 
and an English veteran who come to the palings of the 
graveyard, both believing that they knew the man. 
The girl has brought some flowers for a dead sweetheart; 
the soldier is morally certain that the unknown was his 

This little scene had been played in one of the Lambs' 
gambols. At a more recent gambol Mr. Emmett Corrigan 
had a sketch which I did not see, but which was reported 
in committee as being a dialogue between a man and 
wife in America who have lost a son. The topic is the 
burial of the unknown soldier at Washington. For some 
reason the father feels that the unknown boy is theirs, 
and upon the breast of the mother whom he has en- 


deavored to console he pins a star. A very experienced 
and indignant dramatist was proposing that Mr. Corrigan 
should be disciplined for this appropriation of an idea. 
When asked to give an opinion upon the propriety of 
such a procedure my answer was that the unknown sol- 
dier's official burial in France and in England and in 
America was for the very purpose of honoring all un- 
identified and giving to everybody who had a loved one 
among the missing the faint comfort that might lie in 
the slight belief that the unknown was his or her missing 
boy. Poems had been written about it, and thousands 
of editorials and thousands of patriotic and memorial 
speeches had been made on the theme. The wonder 
was not that an English playwright and another Ameri- 
can playwright should have chosen the subject but that 
hundreds had not done so. 

There are so many starting-points for writing plays 
that if one were to name all of them it would be a real 
draft on attention. A good play is a completed thing, 
with a beginning, a middle, and an end, and should make 
some disposition of the considerations it raises and pre- 
sents. Along this trajectory, this line of travel which 
would be rather improperly but most effectively dia- 
gramed by a circle, one can take almost any of its three 
hundred and sixtv degrees as a starting-point. 

I have written in these chapters of beginning a play 
with only the actor, Mr. Nat Goodwin, in mind; getting 
a character that would fit him, a set of circumstances in 
which the character would be put, and a series of situa- 
tions through which he would pass in that environment. 
I have suggested somewhat of the same process in speak- 
ing of "Pawtucket" for D'Orsay. Earlier I wrote of 
"The Burglar," made from Mrs. Burnett's story, in 


which the burglar is confronted by the ingenuousness 
of a child. By making that child his own daughter the 
meeting itself became a situation, which is another way 
of starting a play. 

Sometimes one takes a theme, a question acceptable 
in the public mind, and by making it articulate, and 
selecting characters expressive of it and affected by it, 
uses the theme as his starting-point. Often the dram- 
atist takes a story ready-made but in narrative form, 
as was "The Soldiers of Fortune," by Richard Harding 
Davis, eliminates the descriptions, arranges its dramatic 
situations in proper sequence and crescendo, supplies 
what other situations are needed, puts the whole expres- 
sion into dialogue, and thereby achieves his play. 

There have been many pictures that have inspired 
plays. In one of the Paris salons of the early yo's there 
was a canvas showing a wrecked boudoir in a chateau 
in which a band of vandal German officers were carous- 
ing. Paul Potter took that as the inspiration for one of 
his acts in "The Conquerors." When Maurice Barry- 
more dramatized somebody's novel of "Roaring Dick" 
he made a stage setting and a situation from another 
salon picture called "The Wolf in the Sheep fold," which 
showed a bland and unsuspecting husband introducing 
to his wife a lady-killing officer in uniform. The group 
was on a portico shaded by a large Japanese umbrella. 

I have an impression that some of Hogarth's " Rake's 
Progress" got into plays. But I don't recall any com- 
plete series of pictures used as the skeleton for a full 
evening's play with the exception of Charles Dana Gib- 
son's "Education of Mr. Pipp." That was a set of two- 
page cartoons satirizing the little accidental, limited, un- 
assertive American nouveau millionaire and his large, 


aggressive, dominant, and overriding wife and the off- 
spring of this counterbalancing mixture, two lovely 
daughters. The daughters were the first of the famous 
Gibson girls of the middle 90*8, with the crowning puffed- 
and-pompadoured hair, long necks, the stately bearing, 
and the royally draped costumes. When Gibson had 
made one or two of these pictures their reception created 
a demand, and he was obliged to show his family of Pipps 
in various situations and with occasional new acquaint- 
ances. When he had exhausted the round of fashionable 
entertainments in America and the stories had still to go 
on he carried the Pipp family to England, where their 
money got them into the fringe of the nobility, and later 
took them to Paris, where they were most unmercifully 
fleeced and imposed upon. 

Without setting up to be the supreme court on mat- 
ters artistic in America, I will venture the opinion that 
Charles Dana Gibson is our most gifted and accomplished 
illustrator. There is a generation of young men that 
have followed and learned from him, and many of these 
have each an individual touch quite as agreeable in its 
way as the technic of Gibson. Some of them have his 
vigor of line and precision of execution; some have his 
understanding of character and his capacity to interpret 
it. But I know of none who has all these qualities, nor 
in Gibson's degree. Nor do I think of one that has his 
wide and deep understanding of the human family. 

In the old New Rochelle days there used to hang over 
Fred Remington's buffet in the dining-room of his home 
on Webster Avenue an original drawing of Gibson's on 
a card eighteen by twenty-four inches. This had served 
as the original for a reduction in an early number of Life. 
In it two men stand at a sideboard. The host is a white- 


haired, white-mustached, amiable, high-bred, cultured, 
sesthetical-appearing person, slightly less than at his best 
at his apparent age of sixty because of his concession to 
a convivial temperament. He is well nourished but not 
overfed, twinkling, tolerant, human. He still holds a 
decanter from which he has just filled his own glass, and 
is directing his attention to his guest, who holds a glass 
of port. The guest is a Protestant bishop in the black 
cloth and neckerchief of his kind, rotund, sleek, artificial, 
uncertain, dissembling, sanctimonious, gluttonous, ap- 
prehensive. One man is so manifestly the host radiating 
cheer and the other the occasional guest surreptitiously 
accepting a prohibited but habitual ration that it is a 
delight to look at the drawing and see these character- 
istics which the master draftsman has understood, de- 
duced, set down, and communicated with the magic of 
a few strokes of the pen. 

To Remington himself, endeavoring character por- 
trayal with no such subtlety, and to a man writing for 
the theatre who would have needed a scene of fifteen 
minutes, to communicate all that Gibson put into his 
single sketch, the drawing was a never-diminishing de- 
light. In Gibson's character sketches of the Pipp family, 
and the friends and satellites that they attracted, there 
were exponents of every fine and nearly every despicable 
emotion; not only the broader Hogarthian elemental 
passions but the very shades and nuances into which 
any psychological spectrum could dissolve them. 

It seemed to me that to translate these visible expres- 
sions into words, not the descriptive and narrative array 
that would make a novel but the etched and vital kind 
that would put them into a play, would be agreeable 
employment. Nothing that I remember writing was 


more fun to do. The three-act comedy followed closely 
the vicissitudes of the Pipp family as set down by Gibson. 
That experienced comedian, the late Digby Bell, gave a 
faithful and understanding interpretation of Pipp, and 
the other characters of Gibson were closely realized by 
the men and women that manager Kirke La Shelle was 
able to find in the profession. Of course, the strong char- 
acter parts more nearly realized the pictures. Two such 
goddesses as we needed to impersonate the Gibson girl 
and that long, rangy, athletic type of young man that 
Gibson popularized at that time were harder to find. 
The young men existed plentifully enough in America, 
but they were in the engineering camps and on the fron- 
tiers and directing great enterprises and not learning 
lines in the theatre. The Gibson girls were also other- 
wise employed, and not numerously in the theatre or 
the agencies. We were fortunate, however, in Janet 
Beecher, then an unknown ingenue, and Miss Marion 
Draughn for the girls. We had an ideal Mrs. Pipp, a 
sterling actress by the name of Mrs. Eugene Jepson. 
Gibson's heroic young men were well realized by Robert 
Warwick, then playing his first engagement in America 
after a fine tutelage in France, and by Mr. Frederick 
Courtenay, younger and taller than his talented brother, 
William Courtenay, still prominently in the public eye. 
The rest of the cast, though actors then and now less 
prominent than those named, were adequate. 

Mr. Nat Goodwin at that time was living with his 
third wife, Maxine Elliott, in a house on Riverside Drive. 
Miss Elliott, who had a sense of the artistic, had 're- 
modelled this little house by taking out the partition 
which divided its narrow drawing-room from the hall- 
way, throwing all into one apartment, with the staircase 


frankly mounting, English fashion, to the next story, 
and a corresponding staircase under this descending 
from the parlor level to the street. This, adopted for 
Pipp, made a most amusing set, the only one of its kind 
I ever saw in the theatre. 

I am tempted here to tell a little comicality of Nat's. 
We were alone in the parlor. I was admiring a pretty 
landscape on the wall, a canvas some fifteen by eighteen 
inches, then the property of the third Mrs. Goodwin, 
as it had formerly been the property of the second Mrs. 

As I expressed my admiration Nat said with the little 
stutter which he protectively assumed when he wanted 
to advertise a comic utterance: "Yes, that p-p-picture 
cost me thirty-five hundred dollars." 

"Really?" It looked good, but not worth all that. 

Nat continued, "Yes. Th-th-thirty-five hundred dol- 
lars two thousand the first time I bought it and fifteen 
hundred the second." 

In the part of Mr. Pipp, Bell, with his excellent sup- 
port, was a success. He played the piece that season 
and the better part of the two years that followed. 

In four years I had written in fairly close succession 
the comedies, "The Earl of Pawtucket," "The Educa- 
tion of Mr. Pipp," "The Other Girl," "Mrs. Leffingwell's 
Boots," "The Embassy Ball," and "De Lancey." I felt 
a real inclination to try something more serious. Among 
my papers was the little one-act play, "A Constitutional 
Point," made in 1890 for Mr. Palmer. Shortly after 
that year, perhaps in '92 or '93, my neighbor at New 
Rochelle, the late Henry Loomis Nelson, showed me a 
letter from Mark Twain refusing to write a short story 
for Harper's because Mark Twain had found "that a 

short story was a novel in the cradle, which, if taken out 
and occasionally fondled, would grow into a full-sized 
book." Partly on that hint, my one-act play was occa- 
sionally taken from its cradle and caressed. Mr. Palmer 
had refused the play because there is a maxim in the 
theatre that no material is useful there until it has served 
as subject-matter for all other literary forms and been 
made familiar to the public through poetry, fiction, lec- 
tures, and reportorial and editorial comment. 


During the years since 1890 there had been an increas- 
ing public interest in telepathy, and the public's informa- 
tion had grown. In my own mind my playlet had also 
grown and was now a four-act play. Before wasting 
time on its actual writing, however, I accepted a chance 
to have the one-act piece played to a private audience 
of some two hundred men in the Lambs Club; and as 
the little play contained what was most diaphanous and 
attenuated in the whole story, if such an audience, en- 
tirely lacking the feminine element, would accept the 
fable, the remainder of the venture would be up to the 
skill of the dramatist. In the club, with the late Edward 
Abeles playing the woman's part and Forrest Robinson 
playing the part of the old judge, the little piece made 
a decided impression. 

I have said earlier, I think when talking of Mr. Paul 
Potter, that plays are constructed backward. Paul 
Potter was the first person to bring that to my attention. 
The playwright doesn't take his pen in hand and begin 
placidly to write dialogue which develops without his 
intention into something dramatic. He starts with a 
dramatic situation which has a possibility in the theatre 
of some strong effect and tries to find for that the imme- 
diate cause, and for that cause one still further back in 
origin, and it is in that fashion that his construction 
grows. Very often this effect, which is the starting-point 



in the development of a story, can be expressed in one 
act, and it is not uncommon for a playwright to try out 
his idea in tabloid shape. If it has sufficient fibre and 
power to make a big scene of the play he may then de- 
velop it. Denman Thompson's "Old Homestead" be- 
gan in that shape. "Muldoon's Picnic" was once a one- 
act vaudeville skit. Mr. Royle's "The Squaw Man," 
as told earlier, was done at the Lambs as a sketch. So 
was John Willard's "The Cat and the Canary," one of 
the reigning successes of 1922. My own plays, "The 
Burglar," "Alabama," "The Harvest Moon," "As a 
Man Thinks," "Rio Grande," and "The Copperhead" 
were each at first one act. 

The one-act play, "A Constitutional Point," had grown 
out of my experiences with Bishop, the thought-reader, 
of whom I have written in an earlier chapter. Bishop 
was so constituted that by throwing himself into a re- 
ceptive condition, which he called autohypnotic, he was 
impressed by thoughts of other people. He didn't see 
these thoughts as words, but as pictures, unless the 
thought was about a word in a book, when his percept 
would, of course, be that particular typed word and the 
surrounding print on its page. This power had come 
to be called telepathy. Oliver Wendell Holmes had writ- 
ten concerning it in his "Autocrat of the Breakfast 
Table," except that he called it cerebricity. Somewhat 
later Mark Twain, writing of his personal experiences 
in association with its phenomena, had referred to it as 
mental telegraphy. Doctor Thomas Hudson, in 1893, 
published his "The Law of Psychic Phenomena," the 
first of a series of five books on telepathy and related 
subjects. In one of these, in making an argument for 
immortality, he raises the question whether telepathy 


might not be a means of communication between a dis- 
embodied entity, or spirit, as commonly called, and a 
person still living. I think it was this hint that brought 
to my mind "A Newport Legend," the poem by Bret 
Harte, about an old house at Newport, haunted. A 
young girl in the colonial days died of a broken heart 
in this house. It seems that her sweetheart sailed away 
and left her. Bret Harte tells of her coming back: 

"And ever since then when the clock strikes two, 

She walks unbidden from room to room, 
And the air is filled, that she passes through, 
With a subtle, sad perfume. 

The delicate odor of mignonette, 

The ghost of a dead-and-gone bouquet, 

Is all that tells of her story; yet 
Could she think of a sweeter way ? " 

The poet's way of suggesting the idea is so much more 
acceptable than a scientific one that I used those two 
verses, which an old judge reads to another, as my way 
to introduce the subject, and just after the reading had 
him say: 

"Beautiful to have a perfume suggest her. I suppose 
it appeals to me especially because I used to know a girl 
who was foolishly fond of mignonette." 

So that when the daughter of the judge's old sweet- 
heart comes to talk about her mother and brings a for- 
gotten letter of the judge's from among the time-stained 
papers that the mother left it seems to him somewhat 
more than coincidence; and when the daughter has gone, 
after a pathetic appeal for her son, who is under sentence 
of death, and the old judge, alone, gets from the old let- 
ter the remembered odor of mignonette, the Bret Harte 


lines come back to him, and he fancies there has been 
an influence upon him from the other side of the grave. 
This little act I decided to make the second and not 
the third act of a four-act play, because, moving as it 
had been to the audience when it was tried in its detached 
presentation, I felt there should be something more posi- 
tively dramatic as a climax for a play. Casting about 
for that, I encountered the subject of hypnotism. Telep- 
athy and hypnotism are not especially related, except 
that telepathic communication is clearer under hypnosis. 
While Hudson and others had been writing of telepathy 
and of the therapeutic value of suggestion to hypnotized 
patients, a religious and ethical opposition to the prac- 
tice had found expression in some notable protests. One 
of these, written in a tone of warning and with a claim 
to esoteric knowledge, called an act of hypnotism a great 
psychological crime. It implied that the hypnotist, once 
in control of the thought of his subject, was never freed 
of that connecting bond and that both individuals passed 
into eternity held together by it. This was a little deep 
and somewhat terrorizing for my use in the play, but I 
thought I'd be on safe ground in suggesting that the force 
was not a very good one for the layman to play with. 
In thinking also of telepathic influence, the control of 
the thought as well as the will of another presented an 
equal responsibility. I therefore made these two ethical 
considerations the theme and overtone of what I was 
projecting. The result of that, not to bore a lay reader 
with technical considerations of a playwright, was to 
give me a rather fine old character in sympathy with 
my contentions and a vigorous and indifferent one op- 
posed to him and to convince whom would be the busi- 
ness of the play. I therefore had theme, definite direc- 


tion and some situations. Despite the fact that I had 
been thinking and reading and having experiences in 
these subjects for something like eighteen years since 
my trip with Bishop, I spent another year getting help- 
ful information from professional hypnotists and clair- 
voyants. I speak of the time thus spent on this play in 
contrast to some of the hasty efforts like "Mrs. Leffing- 
well's Boots." -Perhaps there is a commensurate differ- 
ence in the calibers. 

When the play was done I read it to Charles Frohman. 
Nobody could have less scientific information on the 
subjects than he had, and his reception of it would be a 
fair indication of what an average audience might do. 
The reading was under rather test conditions too. The 
night was oppressively warm. C. F. was in his apart- 
ment, then on the top floor of Sherry's old building, 
Forty-fourth Street and Fifth Avenue, now remodelled 
into business offices. He had on a cotton shirt and a pair 
of trousers. He sat cross-legged in a big leather chair. 
As I finished each act his only comment was, "Go on." 
At the conclusion of the play there was a wait that filled 
me with apprehension. 

At length he said: "That's almost too beautiful to 

The language was so unlike C. F. in fact, the idea was 
so unlike him that I thought for a moment there was 
mockery about it. But he was in earnest. 

He added: "When shall we do it?" 

We discussed and decided upon the men and women 
we would like for the company, and I left in an elated 
mood. I saw him again the next day to talk production. 
His enthusiasm for the play had not subsided. A week 
later he sent for me, We met in his office, in the Empire 


Theatre Building. He was embarrassed and unhappy, 
as he had to tell me that he had changed his mind about 
the piece. He had given the script to his brother, Daniel 
Frohman, to read, and Daniel had told him that the 
author of the play was evidently crazy. It was as im- 
possible for me to argue the point with C. F. as it would 
have been for one to lift himself by his boot-straps. A 
crazy man can't act as both his own alienist and attorney 
without being an unattractive client. I met Daniel Froh- 
man a day later. In the friendliest way he answered: 

"Yes, I did say that. But I meant, of course, only 
in the treatment of that subject. Forget it, Gus; go out 
West and give us one of your wholesome 'Arizonas." 

I never blamed Daniel Frohman for this opinion or 
thought less of his general judgment. Except to one 
who has made a study of the subjects of telepathy or 
hypnotism, all that can be said about them sounds in- 
vented and unreal. That Charles Frohman accepted 
them I think grew out of hearing the play, and his judg- 
ment would have been the same as Daniel's if he had 
only read the text and not seen it partly dramatized, 
as every author unconsciously does dramatize his own 
work when reading it. 

Frohman was a most delightful manager to talk terms 
to. His method was simply to ask, "What do you 
want?" In my own experience I never heard him say, 
"We can't give it." It was after many years that I sug- 
gested terms which included an interest in the profits, 
and as he conceded these he smilingly added, "I have 
been wondering why you didn't ask for a share a long 
time ago." Somebody had told him something of space 
rates and the money that prominent authors had got 
per word for their product from publishers. With his 


keen sense of values, he was, of course, amused by the 
story that at one time Tennyson had received a pound 
a word on his poems. This may or may not be a fact, 
but Frohman took it seriously. 

"And what do you think," he asked, "was the first 
poem he wrote after he touched the five-dollar rate? 
Think of it, five dollars a word ! Well, here it is : 

"'What does little birdie say, 
Singing, singing all the day? 
Singing, singing all the day, 
What does little birdie say?'" 

Charley thought it was pretty shrewd of the laureate 
to go down the line with these little words one way; but 
to make a round trip, collecting five dollars every jump, 
was just too hilarious. This may not be an accurate 
quotation of the verse, but it was the C. F. version. 

My experience with Charles Frohman as an auditor 
made me believe that Mr. Lee Shubert, who perhaps 
had no more book knowledge of the subject or actual 
experience with it than C. F., might find in it a layman's 
equal interest. This proved to be the case. Before I 
read him the play I was careful to tell him its history 
Mr. Palmer's uneasiness about the subject, Mr. Froh- 
man's enthusiasm for it, and then the change of mind. 
To tell all about a play when one takes it to a manager 
is a good practice. It may be a little hard on a rejected 
manuscript at first, but when the managers come to 
understand that you are withholding nothing from them 
your statements acquire a value that outweighs the slight 
disadvantage in the history of any manuscript. If I 
were presuming to advise younger dramatists about the 
conduct of their business I think this is one of the points 


I would emphasize. The manager ultimately learns the 
history of the play. If it is a failure some other man 
tells him he had read it and thought it would fail, or if 
it is a success the other man boasts that he might have 
had it. Any attempt at secrecy gains for the author only 
the unenviable record of disingenuousness. Mr. Shubert 
had the same sympathetic reception for the play that 
C. F. had had, and acting upon his decision immediately 
turned over its production to me. I don't think he heard 
any of it again until it was up to its dress rehearsals. 

In discussing the cast, Charles Frohman and I had 
agreed upon John Mason as the central character for 
"The Witching Hour," and it was not difficult to per- 
suade Mr. Shubert to this when the play was carried to 
him. Mason at that time was under contract with Mr. 
Harrison Grey Fiske, who generously released him to us. 
To those who knew John Mason's work nothing need 
be said in description of his art. To those who know only 
his reputation and have never seen him play, one may 
say that he was one of the best actors that America ever 
produced. To begin with, he was a man of great intel- 
ligence, and in the field of mathematics he had a talent 
that amounted to genius. I never saw any work to justify 
that statement, but several men have told me of his 
ability mentally to calculate sums and fractions and 
other problems in arithmetic that the ordinary man could 
do only laboriously with pencil. 

As an actor his power lay in his great self-possession 
and a wonderful sense of time, which showed in his read- 
ing. He had the ability to put into a pause all the mean- 
ing that was carried in its context and somewhat more. 
His voice was deep and resonant, modulated and trained. 
He had that other great-actor quality of being able to 
listen on the stage and give his attention to another 


speaker; and in his dramatic work I speak of that in 
contradistinction to his performances in opera, for which 
he was well known he never showed a consciousness of 
his audience. Add to these qualities a fine sense of value 
of gesture, a wise restraint and very sparing use of which 
made every motion significant, then a physical relaxa- 
tion that robbed everything he did of any seeming pose, 
although to a person trained in the theatre it was evi- 
dent he knew the value of every position, and you have 
some considerations on which to base an understanding 
of his equipment as actor, and perhaps of some of his 
effects. The part of Jack Brookfield in the play was that 
of a gambler whose education was above the stratum 
into which his business threw him socially. Mason's 
speech and carriage secured that impression. To seem 
less than socially superior would have been an assump- 
tion. The gambler was supposed to be a dominant figure 
in personal affairs, will-power. Mason conveyed that 
idea also. 

I don't remember any consultation with Mr. Shubert 
about any players. They must have been sent to him 
on the question of their salaries, but otherwise the wishes 
of the author were unopposed. I think it was John Mason 
who suggested the engagement of Russ Whytal for the 
old justice in the play. I have an idea that Whytal is 
not so well known throughout the country as some other 
men of less ability and less real prominence. Mr. Whytal 
is himself a dramatic author. Some years ago his play, 
"For Fair Virginia," was a reigning success. I can't 
think of a man on either side of the Atlantic who would 
have filled more completely the part of Justice Prentiss 
than Mr. Whytal did with his fine, sympathetic under- 
standing of what the character stood for. 

For the heavy man, a district attorney, we were able 


to get George Nash. I had known Nash ever since he 
had been in the profession, some eighteen or twenty years 
before that time. He had played for me in "New Blood,'* 
"On the Quiet," "Arizona," and other pieces, and has 
about as sure a knowledge of effect as any man on the 

William Sampson, who played the comedy part, an 
almost dissolute and altogether unmoral old professional 
gambler, gray-haired and white-mustached, comes very 
near being our best American character comedian. He 
is as much like the late James Lewis, of Daly's, in method 
as one man can be like another. With him, Whytal, and 
Nash supporting Mason, we had a quartet that would 
have carried any reasonable material to success. 

I have written before once or twice in these pages of 
coincidences occurring during their writing. These have 
not been remarkable, but they have been arresting, and 
their accent has perhaps for a moment interrupted the 
monotony of our march. 

This above paragraph about William Sampson I dic- 
tated at the end of a session in the afternoon of April 5, 
1922, and then, as I try to do after a day's work, went 
for a walk. On the wall just inside the door of the Lambs 
Club, in the usual place for such communications, was 
pinned a usual subscription paper, with some fifty or 
sixty signatures to it under the caption, "Flowers for 
William Sampson." It was a shock to learn that he had 
passed away suddenly the night before. I can add to 
the paragraph only the record of my deep affection for 
him and my esteem as man and artist. 

In our first cast of "The Witching Hour" we were 
assisted also by the sterling actress, Jennie Eustace, and 
a very magnetic young woman no longer in the theatre, 


named Adelaide Nowak. I think it rather incumbent 
upon me, after having so frankly recorded Daniel Froh- 
man's opinion, to say that the play was the biggest dra- 
matic success of that year. It went through the season 
in New York, while a second company was playing it 
in Chicago, and John Mason continued to play in it until 
nearly three years later, when he went into another play 
in which I had written him an equally prominent but 
altogether different character. 

I have said earlier in these chapters that I hope at 
some other time to write an article on psychic phenomena 
as I have found them. In my wish to be thoroughly in- 
formed concerning the background against which in "The 
Witching Hour" I was outlining comparatively so little 
I got a fund of information that would have served for 
fifty plays. It is not strange then that the two next plays 
after "The Witching Hour" should have been on some- 
what related subjects. The older readers will remember 
that in the earlier stages of the cult of Christian Science 
there was a considerable public interest in the subject 
of mental science, so called, and therapeutical and meta- 
physical values of suggestion. 

My next play, "The Harvest Moon," was upon this 
theme. There is not enough novelty in the story or in- 
cident in the history of the play to make it worth a 
reader's attention. One item, however, has, I think, 
significance. That was the performance of Mr. George 
Nash, of whom I have already written as an excellent 
actor. There are a few men who take acting as an art, 
and when we find one of these we usually find a char- 
acter actor. I have written of Lionel Barrymore's quali- 
ties in this department, his willingness to put in study 
on the type he is to portray. George Nash, somewhat 


Lionel's senior, is the same kind of man. When George 
knew he was to play a French savant, a member of the 
Academy, a celebrated person from his own country, he 
went over to Paris, with which he was already familiar, 
to get an intimate contact with the type; to study de- 
portment, carriage, gesture, expression, and accent. He 
came back with all that and a complete wardrobe for the 
play made by a French tailor; his shirts and collars, 
linen and neckties and footwear were authentic. One 
might think that this attention would hardly be repaid; 
that only the most external showing would affect an audi- 
ence; and it may be the case. But there was another 
effect upon the man himself which bred an authority 
that mere assumption could not have secured. The play 
was only moderately successful, but that element of the 
public that approved it remained very loyal to Mr. Nash; 
and although twelve years have gone by, I get an occa- 
sional letter inquiring about him and the possible repro- 
duction of the play. It is the enthusiasm of such men as 
this in the theatre that keeps alive the interest of men 
writing for it. 

About this time there came over the taste of the public 
one of those changes imperceptible in its progress but 
definite in its results, concerning the form of the musical 
play. People began to lose interest to some extent in 
the formal, well-made comic opera and turned to what 
came to be known as the musical comedy. With this 
in mind, a manager came to me to help him get a story 
suitable to the personality and talents of De Wolf Hopper. 
He had a facile and rapid-working musician with most 
melodic faculty, Mr. Silvio Hein, who stood ready to 
furnish the music, and also one or two young men who 
wanted to write verses for such a piece. All that he 


needed was a comic story with some vivacity, and a cen- 
tral character that would carry Mr. Hopper; or, to put 
it more complimentarily and more truthfully to that 
artist, a character which Mr. Hopper could properly 

If the call had not been a hurry one I probably should 
have started to build something from the ground up; 
but with the feeling of haste in the enterprise my mind 
by association drifted to other occasions of theatrical 
need. I remembered the times we had put up "His Last 
Legs" as an emergency bill. One important fact in its 
favor as the groundwork for a musical play was that it 
was short; it required no trimming; it was almost in 
shape ready for added lyrics and music. It needed a 
little change that would allow for the introduction of a 
female chorus, but this was easily fixed by making its 
scenes those of a female seminary instead of a private 
house. To emphasize Mr. Hopper's importance to the 
eye we gave him a little horse-racing kind of a valet of 
devoted attachment. This wasn't particularly new. 
Mr. Hopper had in two or three of his earlier successes 
been so seconded by Alfred Klein, a talented brother 
of the dramatist, Charles Klein. I gave the manager a 
synopsis of the story; his verse- writer and his musician 
went to work; chorus was assembled for rehearsal; I 
took the book of "His Last Legs," and dictating from it 
made a free transcription with such changes as would 
accommodate the differences I have described. The com- 
pany was ready to play in four weeks, which is somewhat 
less than the time usually taken by musical rehearsals 
for a book that has already been completed. 

Feeling that the public would be slow to accept a 
musical play from me, the manager announced the au- 


thorship of the book as the joint work of Henri and 
Bernard. Henri was a supposititious person, guessed 
without any particular mental strain as the name indi- 
cates. Bernard was the English author of "His Last 
Legs." Mr. Hein's name went on the programme prop- 
erly as the composer. The play, called "The Matinee 
Idol," was, as I have implied in earlier chapters, an im- 
mediate success. Critics were a little at sea over the 
English and French collaborateurs on the book, but they 
were agreed upon its value to Mr. Hopper and were glad 
to see him once more on Broadway with something suited 
to his talents. 

When John Mason had about finished playing "The 
Witching Hour," I was trying to get for him a story of 
equal seriousness and value, and a character necessarily 
mature, that he could play, and follow his performance 
of Jack Brookfield. The doctor in "As a Man Thinks" 
was to my mind such a part, and his relationship to his 
patient in the last act I regarded as a key-note for his 
character, although the least dramatic of the things he 
might do. I therefore tried it out, as I have said one 
sometimes does, in a little one-act play. We gave this 
at the Lambs. Mr. Eugene Presbrey played the sick 
man, and I played the doctor myself. I felt that we had 
a character that would stand development and that would 
be acceptable. I knew a Jewish doctor who was giving 
a great deal of his time to the care of crippled children, 
and doing it with an unselfishness and a lack of adver- 
tising that made it admirable. I thought it would be 
acceptable to the public to see a Jew put in that position 
prominently instead of having him ridiculed as he gen- 
erally was in the theatre. I share none of the hostility 
that many do to the dominant management in the Ameri- 


can theatre because it is Jewish. I felt then, and have 
said more than once in public since, that the Jews were 
in control of the American theatre because they deserved 
to be. The theatre as a business is one that does not 
lend itself readily to union hours for the persons in con- 
trol. Its problems are constant from the moment one 
comes on duty to the time that the curtain drops and 
often later. There is something in the Anglo-Saxon tem- 
perament disposed to neglect these duties. The Jew 
will stick as close to the work as the work requires, just 
as he sticks to his work in the sweatshop, at the sewing- 
machine, or long hours in the second-hand clothing busi- 
ness. Starting out to do something, he persists. For 
that reason among others the theatre falls readily into 
his control. 

Having made my doctor a Hebrew, I began to think 
in terms of Hebrew philosophy. I moved naturally to 
the double standard of morality discussed in the play; 
the fact that in modern society for a breach of the con- 
jugal contract woman is more severely punished than is 
man. While with us the punishment is in the pillory 
of public opinion, in the old Jewish law the woman was 
stoned to death. The play tries to show that such 
punishment must persist so long as the family is the unit 
of our social structure. A woman knows or may know 
the father of her children. A father can be sure of his 
paternal relationship only in the degree of his faith in 
his wife. We can maintain a social structure, no matter 
how unworthy husbands and fathers may be; but as 
soon as mothers fail chaos has arrived. If womanhood 
becomes corrupt the only life-preserver that can keep 
even the heads of humanity above the waters is a paternal 
state, a strong socialistic government, in which the in- 


dividual and not the family is the unit, in which the ille- 
gitimate, or foundling, child is just as important as one 
born lawfully. 

The dramatization of that idea so clumsily stated in 
this dictated paragraph made a second theme in the 
play. These two ideas, one associated with mental science 
and the other associated with the Jewish idea of woman's 
greater responsibility, led to the construction of the story 
which is now in the book "As a Man Thinks." 

In this play Mason made an impression as profound 
as the one he had made in "The Witching Hour," and 
in a character almost diametrically opposed. This is 
not my own partial estimate alone. There was hardly a 
principal city in the United States in which some Jewish 
rabbi did not speak upon his performance in the part. 
Few authors are so fortunate in their supporting casts 
as I was in this company that was associated with Mr. 
Mason in that play. Walter Hale and Vincent Serrano, 
about both of whom I have written fairly intimately in 
earlier chapters, had parts that suited them. William 
Sampson, referred to only a few paragraphs above, played 
the comedy old man with fine discretion and excellent 
effect; and that convincing player of American business 
men, Mr. John Flood, had such a role. 

Some writer for the papers spoke of the flowerlike 
Chrystal Herne. I have no quarrel with that descrip- 
tion of the lady, but what impressed me about her work 
as Mrs. Clayton was the expression of mental alertness, 
the constantly emotional and thinking personality. The 
play was printed as a book. When an author inscribes 
a book it isn't always easy to find the most proper phrase, 
but in the copy that was given to this actress I had no 
difficulty in writing, "To Chrystal Herne, who was Mrs. 


Clayton." If in writing the part I had a conception that 
differed from her performance it was not sufficiently 
definite to hold its place against her lifelike and convinc- 
ing assumption of the role. In the more mature part it 
would be impossible to get a better actress than Amelia 
Gardner. So, as I have said, taking the cast altogether, 
it was such another organization as I had had only three 
or four times in some thirty years. The other casts asso- 
ciated in my mind were the ones that played "Alabama" 
and "Arizona"; "Mrs. Leffingwell's Boots" and "The 
Other Girl." 


This report carries me to March 13, 1911. I am 
tempted to write of subsequent events, but will wait. 
Early in these chapters I referred to the remarks of the 
Autocrat of the Breakfast Table, as he decided to offer 
the brown seed capsules, as he called them, the early 
simple memories from which sprouted such "flowers as 
his garden grew." In rather haphazard manner I have 
tumbled my planting and some of its resultant vegeta- 
tion into the notice of patient and hopeful readers, and 
now as I near the end of the hearing I fancy them saying, 
"Well?" and "What of it?" In one of Wilde's plays he 
has a speaker respond to the cue experience. "Ex- 
perience is the name Tuppy gives to his mistakes." As 
I remember, it was one of the best laughs in the scene. 
But experience is the name we all give to our mistakes. 

What, as a matter of fact, is so significant as our mis- 
takes? Certainly our successes are not so instructive. 
As I quickly review my own experience, more largely 
mistakes than I have felt at liberty to burden others 
with, and attempt the difficult feat of a summary, I find 
myself fronting the task with attention directed in such 
home-made method as mere habit has formed. 

What is it that a patient friend would like me to re- 
port a friend, let us say, like the poet stranger who has 
read some early chapters of this stuff and is moved to 
write to me this month of April, 1922, from beside his 



kerosene lamp in the town of Lost Cabin, Wyoming? 
Perhaps he would ask: "What have been the most po- 
tent influences you have known? Or to what opinions 
and beliefs have these influences and their consequent 
effects led you or inclined you?" That's what I'd like 
to ask any man whose book I've read. Perhaps that is 
what we all are practically asking every book. 

Among the influences important to me have been a 
few men, more fine reputations, and still more fine books, 
some fine women, some music, both rather simple and 
both quite old-fashioned. The books, after the nursery 
jumble was past, were, in order of discovery, the Bible, 
Shakespeare, some other poets already named, Wash- 
ington Irving, Holmes, Hawthorne, IngersoII, Plutarch, 
Emerson, Doctor Thomas Jay Hudson, William James, 
Thomas Jefferson, Hugo, Voltaire, Montaigne. I think 
the Bible, Shakespeare, Holmes, and Emerson influenced 
my vocabulary as far as it was permeable under the cal- 
lous of the railroad yard. 

I didn't select the reading by any superior resolve or 
instinct. The New Testament I learned by rote to re- 
cite in Sunday-school for tickets exchangeable for prizes. 
I have a recollection of reciting on one Sunday one hun- 
dred and forty-four verses, beginning with, "In those 
days came John the Baptist," and so on. This was not 
a religious exercise with us boys. It was a business prop- 
osition. I have since gone to the New Testament with 
various motives; once to study out and as far as pos- 
sible deduce from the speech and story the personal ap- 
pearance of the Man of Nazareth when there was a proj- 
ect to produce a passion play. The Old Testament I 
read for its entertaining stories, skipping, boy-fashion, 
the begats. 


Shakespeare, in his acting plays that is to say, those 
in the regular and possible repertoires I read and stud- 
ied as a matter of professional requirement. My read- 
ing of Holmes was prompted by John Colby's liking for 
him. Plutarch was an assignment on the Missouri Re- 
publican. One day in 1887 I brought in the "Life of 
Lycurgus," revamped and adapted to the space of two 
columns and a half of dialogue between two boys, one 
of whom had read the story and was telling it to the 
other. This voluntary selection so pleased Frank O'Neill, 
the editor, that I was assigned to do one or two of the 
lives every week. I think there are fifty altogether. I 
rewrote and illustrated forty of them. One may learn 
much in reading a history such as Plutarch's "Life of 
Caesar," but he learns it much more thoroughly when 
he is required to condense and rewrite it. 

Emerson's essays were first called vividly to my at- 
tention by a little actress named Dudley who was in our 
Dickson's Sketch Club. She seemed to get a good deal 
of poise and self-possession from them. The essays fasci- 
nated me, and my first purchase of books, when I had 
a house of my own, was the Concord edition of Emer- 
son's complete works in twelve volumes. In the year 
1909 the same publishers issued a ten- volume edition of 
Emerson's "Journals." These were edited from his 
entries in his private journals from the year 1820, when 
he was seventeen years of age, until 1881, when he was 
in his seventy-eighth year. No writing could be more 
revealing than these almost daily notes and comments 
upon his observations, and his thoughts about the things 
he saw and the books he read. They let a reader into the 
very springs or fountainheads of Emerson's utterances 
throughout his life, and permit a study of the form and 


color that he gave the same ideas clothed in the dialect 
of his day. 

For Voltaire I had the unreasoning abhorrence that is 
drilled into the consciousness of nearly all children raised 
under a church influence. Much as I admired IngersoII, 
his unstinted eulogy of Voltaire did not remove this prej- 
udice. In France I was astonished to see the life-sized 
seated figure of Voltaire by Houdon in the foyer of the 
Theatre Francais, and was again impressed by the stand- 
ing statue by Caille on the Quai Malaquais in front of 
the building of LTnstitut de France. I began to believe 
there must be something admirable in the man, when 
at the most prominent points on both sides of the Seine 
a nation so honored him in its capital. Under the arcade 
of the Theatre Odeon, in one of the rows of bookstalls 
there, I saw a large octavo edition of Voltaire, bound in 
leather, printed in 1829, on fine linen paper, no longer 
employed, so far as I know, in the manufacture of books. 
The edition consisted of fifty-four uniform volumes. The 
price was one franc each a total of ten dollars and 
eighty cents in American money. I bought them as a 
possibly foolish adventure in property book backs. The 
dramas, being principally in verse, had little interest for 
me; but the numerous essays and letters were the most 
delightful reading. 

To my astonishment, I found that the religious views 
of these great men, from Plutarch to Emerson, were not 
far enough apart to have the difference a matter of dis- 
cussion. They all thought alike and expressed themselves 
in similar terms. Then one day I read in Emerson's 
latest notes, written in his sixty-sixth year, this single 
detached line: "When I find in people narrow religion' 
I find narrow reading." My own reading is regrettably 


narrow, but it has been sufficient to make me wish not 
to disturb anybody's religious views or shake his creed. 
There is enough good in any one of the creeds to help 
its possessor through his life if he will permit it to guide 
him in his own conduct. But there is enough tyranny 
in any one of them to make its possessor intolerable when 
he attempts by force to impose his belief upon another. 

In 1890 Funk and Wagnalls, encouraged by eighteen 
hundred gentlemen connected with the enterprise under 
the designation of patrons, printed what was called the 
"Jeffersonian Cyclopedia." This volume, as large as a 
law-book, contains over a thousand pages, with alpha- 
betically arranged utterances of Mr. Jefferson, ranging 
from a line or two to paragraphs of half a column, and 
numerically listed to the number of nine thousand two 
hundred and twenty-eight quotations. In an appendix 
to these there is a document drawn by Mr. Jefferson in 
the year 1786 for the Assembly of Virginia, entitled, "A 
Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom." In the body 
of this bill, which is before me, is this sentence: "Our 
civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions 
any more than our opinions of physics and chemistry." 

This valuable book was a gift to me. The distinguished 
donor was Mr. William Jennings Bryan, and I am having 
a little difficulty in reconciling my idea of Mr. Bryan's 
admiration for the book and his recent earnest endeavor 
which failed only by a vote of forty-two to forty-one 
to persuade the Kentucky Legislature to forbid the 
discussion of the theory of evolution in the public schools 
because it didn't square with his deductions upon geology 
as set forth in the Book of Genesis. One glides so easily 
in these days from a discussion of religious beliefs into 
the consideration of questions political that I am impelled 


to take in lazy fashion this chance for digression and 
move on to a statement of my political views. 

As a page-boy in Congress I was made aware of the 
two theories of government in America: the one advanced 
and advocated by Alexander Hamilton, whose genius 
nobody seems to dispute, and which as a matter of simple 
reference may be called the system of centralization; 
the other the Jefferson idea or the system of local 
self-government. All through my life, between those 
page-boy days and now, I have heard discussions of these 
two theories and occasionally had glimpses of the ap- 
plication of one or the other theory in practice. In my 
own mind I have finally come to something like an ad- 
justment between them for America. I am not sure that 
my conclusions are right, but they have that consoling 
quality that sometimes comes with a decision namely, 
peace. There has also been economy of time and atten- 
tion through having some beliefs that were not dissolving 
views. One important contribution to this state of mind 
was made late in the year 1891, when I found at a book- 
stall a small octavo volume by John Fiske entitled "Civil 
Government in the United States." I read it carefully, 
and at times I studied it. In a bibliographical note on 
page 274, in a list of books valuable to the student of 
government, Mr. Fiske wrote the following: 

A book of great merit, which ought to be reprinted as it is now 
not easy to obtain, is Toulmin Smith's " Local Self-Government and 
Centralization," London, 1851. Its point of view is sufficiently in- 
dicated by the following admirable pair of maxims (p. 12): 

" Local self-government is that system of government under which 
the greatest number of minds, knowing the most, and having the 
fullest opportunities of knowing it, about the special matter in hand, 
and having the greatest interest in its well-working, have the man- 
agement of it, or control over it. 


"Centralization is that system of government under which the 
smallest number of minds, and those knowing the least, and having 
the fewest opportunities of knowing it, about the special matter in 
hand, and having the smallest interest in its well-working, have the 
management of it, or control over it." 

An immense amount of wretched misgovernment would be avoided 
if all legislators and all voters would engrave these wholesome defini- 
tions upon their minds. 

Later in a campaign, I quoted these two maxims at 
a meeting at which Mr. William Jennings Bryan was 
and I was "also." Mr. Bryan asked where I said I had 
got them, and then asked to have them typewritten for 
him. He subsequently used them, giving proper credit 
to their author. He told me they were the best defini- 
tions that he had ever heard for the purpose of showing 
the difference in the two systems of government. Cer- 
tain benevolent considerations have recently made Mr. 
Bryan swerve a little from his complete reliance on local 
self-government, but I am going to hang onto my ad- 
miration for the system. I have thought there might be 
found a workable interplay of the two systems in our 
government in all internal affairs; that is to say, in 
everything that affects our own well-being as a great 
commonwealth, the system of local self-government 
adopted and adhered to; in all questions that deal with 
our relations as a government to the governments of 
other countries, the system of centralization. 

Something of the kind seems to have been in the minds 
of the founders when they wrote in Section II, Article II, 
of the Constitution: "The President shall be commander 
in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States and 
of the militia of the several States when called into the 
actual service of the United States." 


This seems to apprehend national emergencies and 
something like centralization in meeting them. Also, 
all of those powers granted to Congress in Section VIII, 
Article I, under the heads of taxes, duties, imposts, coin- 
age of money, weights and measures, punishment of coun- 
terfeiting, piracies and felonies on the high seas, and 
offenses against the laws of nations are on the centraliza- 
tion system. In the field of local self-government seem 
to lie those rights listed in the first ten amendments which 
Mr. Jefferson advised adopting before all the States rati- 
fied the Constitution, so that there should be no doubt 
about what powers were surrendered by the local govern- 
ments to the central one, and what powers were by the 
central one definitely acquired. This may be saying 
"an undisputed thing in such a solemn way," but it has 
been a comforting possession. It has made me a Jeffer- 
sonian American. It has even enabled me to keep from 
meddling in family matters that seem to fall into similar 
but self-governing departments, such as those assumed 
by married children. And finally it has helped me to 
preserve a schoolboy respect for both those eminent and 
admirable characters, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas 
Jefferson, who were looking at the same shield from dif- 
ferent sides. 

Another department of life that I have thought a good 
deal about has been that of labor. As a lad I was with 
the working people; people with callous not only on their 
hands but well up the forearm where a brake-wheel 
caught it. I think every man should be capable of sus- 
taining himself by the labor of his hands. I was quite 
a middle-aged person, much pampered and self-indulged, 
when I saw James M. Barrie's play, "The Admirable 
Crichton," in which a submerged butler of the English 


social caste becomes the principally capable person and 
commander as soon as the family is stranded on a South 
Sea island. In France I saw a much finer democracy 
than our own, as far as I could judge without being a 
part of it; a finer intercourse between the different social 
stations; the politeness of a stone-mason on the top of 
a bus asking a duke for a match with which to light a 
cigarette, and the fraternal compliance without mockery 
or condescension. And after a while I came to learn that 
that relationship had been acquired by men of those 
classes working in fine equality in their military training. 

When the war was on and our American young men 
were enlisted and drafted I saw so many clerks and pro- 
fessional youngsters improved by the rough manual work 
that the army made them do that I became an advocate 
of universal military training, for the sole reason that it 
would give the government the power to call young men 
out of the mines, let us say, and send them elsewhere on 
other duties and to replace them by a lot of young fel- 
lows that are now selling neckties and watching stock 
tickers, who could be sent down into the mines as part 
of their training. One or two months of this transposing 
in their formative years, nineteen to twenty-one, would 
give them sympathetic understanding of the men who 
are performing the basic material and manual tasks. It 
might answer some other problems. Eight or ten years 
of such successive assignments would see the country 
equipped with a body of citizens not in those industries 
but yet partially educated in mining, railroading, and 
the like, which would be a great stabilizer. 

A few lines above I said that I was with the working 
people. Maybe it will be well to confess that I am a 
little partisan about it. I know that is so because I sel- 


dom read of a strike anywhere without the perhaps un- 
fair hope that the strikers will be successful; this quite 
outside of the merits of the dispute. When this partisan- 
ship appears I trace it as confirming a remembered prov- 
erb about training a child in the way he should go. In 
a rather poverty-stricken boyhood I grew committed to 
the side of the workers. I favor organized labor; but 
recently in our Society of American Dramatists, which 
after all is a kind of labor-union itself or at least a guild, 
when the proposition came up to join the American Fed- 
eration of Labor, I was opposed to it; and because of 
my opposition I felt hopeful. I remember reading some- 
where that an expert hatter had said there were only 
two professional classes whose heads didn't change in 
size between the years of adolescence and old age. These 
two professions were clergymen and actors. Having 
been an actor for a while, and having felt a good deal 
like a clergyman in other whiles, I thought maybe I fell 
within these restrictions; but if, despite my sympathy 
for organized labor, I was opposed to going into its fed- 
eration the chances were that I somehow had escaped 
the hatter's arrested development. 

I was aware of a new idea, although I found that it 
leaned upon my old preconceptions concerning machinery. 
Only to feed a machine seems to me a dreary thing; for 
example, to do what I am told men in certain automobile 
manufactories do put apparently the same nut upon 
apparently the same bolt hour after hour and day after 
day as the piecework on an endless belt passes for a mo- 
ment in front of them. That in its monotony must be 
as near hell as any work can be. I think all men so work- 
ing or similarly engaged, men whose work is not measured 
in man-power, should be not only in unions but in a fed- 


eration of unions to prevent too much speeding up of 
the endless belt. But that doesn't seem to be true of, 
let us say, a bricklayer, because his work is measured by 
the human unit, and after all he has some self-expression. 
There is a kind of artisanship in laying his courses to the 
plumb line and in finishing the surface seams. There is 
a measurable degree of self-expression in bricklaying; 
also, in other handicrafts. 

I am not persuaded that everybody who gets any wage 
for anything should be in a federation against everybody 
who pays any wage. It seems to me, in my untrained 
approach of the question, that such a division comes 
pretty near to being class warfare. And if this republic 
is what Mr. Jefferson and I hoped it would be it shouldn't 
harbor or inspire or cultivate class warfare. And whether 
I am right about the bricklayers or not, I thought that 
the dramatists and perhaps college professors and artists 
of all kinds, and any other men who deal more or less in 
ideas, and are not simply feeding raw material to ma- 
chines, and who because they deal in ideas may some 
day be called upon to arbitrate, or at least mediate in 
these industrial collisions, should stay outside of the fed- 
eration. In the long run it might be better for the fed- 
eration to have them do so. I feel that these are pretty 
big-league questions, and maybe far beyond my station 
in life; but they are products of experiences that have 
made me feel and perhaps made me think. 

Aside from these gems on religion and politics and la- 
bor, I have some impressions about art and literature, and 
especially about standards in each of those departments, 
which people must be anxious to learn; but as they are 
good subjects for special essays, I will reserve them. Men 
and women who now begin to feel deserted and alone as 


they draw to the end of these chapters should read over 
again the last four or five pages containing my opinions 
and beliefs. Men who write their recollections often 
forget to include these; and really a principal object of 
life is to furnish a person with opinions and beliefs I 



The following is a list of Thomas's plays, all with the 
dates of their production. Those marked with a single 
asterisk (*) are one-act plays. Those with dagger (f) 
were collaborations or dramatizations of books. 

Alone 1875 . . . Moberly, Mo. 

The Big Rise 1882 ... St. Louis, Mo. 

*f Editha's Burglar 1883 ... St. Louis, Mo. 

* A New Year's Call 1883 ... St. Louis, Mo. 

* A Man of the World 1883 ... St. Louis, Mo. 

* Leaf from the Woods 1883 . . . St. Louis, Mo. 

* A Studio Picture 1883 ... St. Louis, Mo. 

Combustion 1884 ... St. Louis, Mo. 

The Burglar 1889 . . . Boston, Mass. 

A Night's Frolic 1890 . . . New York City. 

* A Woman of the World 1890 . . . New York City. 

* After Thoughts 1890 . . . New York City. 

Reckless Temple 1890 . . . New York City. 

Alabama 1891 . . . New York City. 

f For Money 1892 . . . New York City. 

Surrender 1893 . . . Boston, Mass. 

f Colonel Carter of Cartersville . . 1893 . . . New York City. 

In Mizzoura 1893 . . . Chicago, III. 

* A Proper Impropriety 1893 . . . New York City. 

* The Music Box 1894 . . . New York City. 

The Capitol 1894 . . . New York City. 

New Blood 1894 . . . Chicago, III. 

* The Man Upstairs 1895 . . . New York City. 

Colonel George of Mt. Vernon . . 1895 . . . New York City. 

* That Overcoat 1896 . . . New York City. 

f The Jucklins 1896 . . . New York City. 



t Chimmie Fadden 1897 . . New York City. 

The Meddler 1898 .. New York City. 

*t Holly Tree Inn 1898 .. New York City. 

The Hoosier Doctor 1898 . . Washington, D. C. 

f The Bonnie Briar Bush 1898 . . New York City. 

Arizona 1898 . . Chicago, III. 

On the Quiet 1900 . . New York City. 

Oliver Goldsmith 1900 . . New York City. 

Champagne Charley 1901 .. New York City. 

Colorado 1901 . . New York City. 

f Soldiers of Fortune 1902 . . New York City. 

The Earl of Pawtucket . . . 1903 . . New York City. 

The Other Girl 1903 . . New York City. 

f The Education of Mr. Pipp . . . 1905 . . New York City. 

Mrs. Leffingwell's Boots 1905 . . New York City. 

De Lancey 1905 . . New York City. 

The Embassy Ball 1905 . . New York City. 

The Ranger 1907 . . New York City. 

The Member from Ozark .... 1907 . . Detroit, Mich. 

The Witching Hour 1907 . . New York City. 

The Harvest Moon 1909 . . New York City. 

The Matinee Idol 1909 . . New York City. 

As a Man Thinks 1911 .. New York City. 

The Model 1912 . . New York City. 

Mere Man 1912 . . New York City. 

t At Bay 1913 . . New York City. 

t Three of Hearts 1913 . . New York City. 

Indian Summer 1913 . . New York City. 

t The Battle Cry 1914 .. New York City. 

The Nightingale 1914.. New York City. 

Rio Grande 1916 . . Chicago, III. 

The Copperhead 1917 . . New York City. 

Palmy Days 1920 . . New York City. 

* Tent of Pompey 1920 . . New York City. 

Nemesis 1921 . . New York Gty. 


Abeles, Edward, 437 

Adams, Annie, 412 

Adams, Edwin, 139 ff. 

Adams, Maude, 270, 303 ff. 

"Admirable Crichton, The," 461 ff. 

"After Thoughts," 88 

"Alabama," 187, 204, 262, 291 ff., 296 

/., 300, 305 
Albert, Ernest, 130 ff. 
Aldrich, Louis, 321 

Alfriend, Colonel Edward, 283, 303, 323 
Allen, Senator William V., 338 
"Alone," 70 
"Ambition," 211, 314 
Anderson, Mary, 207 ff. 
Anglin, Margaret, 423 
"Arizona," 342, 344, 367 ff., 378 /., 426 
Arthur, President, 24 
"As a Man Thinks," 450 ff. 
"Auctioneer, The," 91 
"Aunt Jack," 200 /. 
Aveling, Henry, 70, 134 

Babcock, General Orville E., 127 
Bainbridge, Frances, no 
Bair, 20 ff. 
Baird, Doctor, 404 
Baker, Senator Lucian, 221 
Balfe, Louise, 169 
Banks, General, 37, 62 
Banks, Maude, 321 
Barnabee, Henry, 152 
Barnes, Jack, 412 
Barney, Ariel, 240, 244 /., 253 ff. 
Barrett boys, 256 ff. 
Barrett, Lawrence, 213, 230 ff. 
Barrie, James M., 461 
Barron, Charles, 249 ff. 
Barren, Elwyn, 162 
Barry, Helen, 270, 285 
Barrymore, Ethel, 304 
Barrymore, John, 201, 262, 404 ff., 422 
Barrymore, Lionel, 201, 236, 395 ff., 
400 ff., 403 /. 

Barrymore, Maurice, 75, 88, 200 ff., 
248, 250, 260, Chas.'JXV, passim, 284 

J-, 340, 392, 431 
Bates, Blanche, 425, 427 
Beamer, Charles A., 76, 92 
Becket, Harry, 92 
Beecher, Alex, 104 
Belasco, David, 425, 427 ff. 
Bell, 6 

Bell, Alexander Graham, 94 
Bell, Digby, 270, 434 
Benjamin, John F., 25, 29 
Bergholz, Leo, 322 ff. 
Bernard, Barney, 91 
Bernhardt, Sarah, 102 ff., 212 
Bible, 455 
Bingham, 46 
Bingham, John A., 58 
Bishop, Washington Irving, 254 ff., 438 
Bismarck, 308 
Elaine, Speaker James G., 46, 56, 61, 

223, 225 /. 

Blair, General Frank P., 4, 17, 20 ff. 
Blair, General Thomas, 33 
Bland, Richard, 151 
Booth, Agnes, 88, 200, 288, 291 
Booth, Edwin, 213, 230 ff. 
Booth, John Wilkes, 13 ff. 
Booth, Junius Brutus, 88 
Booth, Sydney, 88 
Bordley, Dan, 205 

Boucicault, Dion, 40, 84, 86, 90, 287 ff. 
Bowie, Colonel Jim, 33 
Bradford, Joseph, 115 ff. 
"Brigands, The," 270 
Brooke, Charles W., 278 
Brooks, Joseph, 192, 316, 319 ff., 331 ff., 

337 ff; 340 /., 363 
Brown, John, I ff. 
Bruce, Robert, 349 ff. 
Bruning, Albert, 247 ff. 
Bryan, William Jennings, 458, 460 
Buchanan, President James, I ff., 16 
Buckstone, Rowland, 365 




Burchard, Reverend Doctor, 225 
"Burglar, The," 189, 192, 211, 238, 260, 

Chap. XV, passim, 287, 290, 430 Jf. 
Burnett, Frances H., 116, 118 
Burroughs, Marie, 296 
Bush, Frank, 90 
Busley, Jessie, 413 
Butler, General Benjamin F., 37, 46, 

48 Jf., 54 JM 151, 179 Jf. 
Butler, Edward, 125 
Buxton, 36 

Cable, Senator, 125 

Cahill, Marie, 334, 423 

"Caprice," 212 

"Captain Swift," 260 jf. 

Carleton, Henry Guy, 211, 314, 424 

Carlisle, John G., 98 

Carlyle, Frank, 315 

Carnegie, Andrew, 132, 308 

Carr, Alexander, 91 

Carrington, Edward, 198 

Carroll, Lewis, 5 

"Cat and the Canary, The," 438 

Cavanaugh, 17 ff., 33 

Cecile, 420 Jf. 

"Celebrated Case, A," 134 

Chambers, Haddon, 424 

Chapman, George, 12 

Charcot, 404 

Chase, Arthur B., 213, 230 

Chase, Mrs. Mizner, 417 

"Chorus Lady, The," 423 

Clapp, 268 

Clarke, Thomas B., 405 Jf. 

Cleinenceau, 308 

Clemens, Samuel. See Twain, Mark 

Cleveland, President Grover, 139, 225, 

230, 308, 339 
Clopton, W. H., 136 
Cochise, 351 

Cockerill, Colonel John, 135 ff., 213 
Cody, Colonel William F. (Buffalo Bill), 

33, H4 Jf. 

Coghlan, Charles, 250 
Cohan, George, 3, 33 
Colby, Bainbridge, in ff., 236 ff. 
Colby, John Peck, 103, iiojf., 113 jf. 
Colby, Luke, no 
Cole, Timothy, 124 
Collier, William, 333 Jf., 422 

"Colonel Carter," 262, 306 Jf. 

"Colorado," 379 

"Combustion," 156 ff., 162 ff. 

Comiskey, Charles A., 241 

Connor, Billy, 278 

Connoyer, Paul, 240 

"Constitutional Point, A," 288, 304, 

435, 438 

Cook, Madge Carr, 371 
Cooper, Jimmy, 252 
Cooper, Matt, 8s/. 
Corbett, Jim, 77 
Cornell, Robert H., 25 Jf., 70 Jf. 
"Correspondent, The," 288 
Corrigan, Emmett, 429 Jf. 
Cottrell, iigjf. 
Couldock, C. W., 140 
Courtenay, Frederick, 434 
Courtenay, William, 412, 434 
Couzins, Major, 24 
Couzins, Phoebe, 24 
Cox, Samuel S. (Sunset), 46, 51 Jf. 
Crane, William, 115 jf., 212, 316 Jf., 332 
Crawford, L. M., 231 
Crockett, Ollie, 76 Jf. 
Cummings, Jim, 213, 295, 311 Jf. 
Cunningham, 123 
Currier, Frank, 244, 249 Jf. 
Curtis, M. B., 91, 299 
Cushman, Charlotte, II, 39 

"Dagmar," 169 ff. 

Dailey, Peter, 374 

Daly, Augustin, 88, 307 

Dana, Charles, 201 

Darwin, Charles, 84 

Davenport, E. L. (senior), 40 ff. 

Davenport, Harry, 41 

Davey, Tom, n 

David, Mrs., 323 

David, Frank, 133, 155 Jf., 161, 165, 

176, 178, 190 
Davies, Phoebe, 267 
Davis, Fay, 411 Jf. 

Davis, Richard Harding, 357, 378, 431 
Davis, Robert H., 47 
Davy, Tom, 212 
De Bar, Ben, n, 139 
Debs, Eugene V., 339 
de Lesseps, Ferdinand, 308 
De Mille, Henry C., 329 



Depew, Senator Chauncey M., 47 ff. 

DSroulede, 308 

De Wolfe, Drina, 400 ff. 

De Wolfe, Elsie, 400 ff. 

Dickson, 156 ff., 169 

Dickson Sketch Club, Chap. IX, Chap. 


Dillon, John, 70 ff. 
Dillon, Louise, 70 
Dingeon, Helen, 149 
Disston, William, 375 ff. 
"Don't Tell Her Husband," 370, 372 
Dore", Gustave, 124 
D'Orsay, Lawrence, 389 ff. 393 ff., 413 


Douglas, Byron, 149 

Dow, Ada, 244 ff., 251 

Drake, Senator C. D., 24 ff. 

Drew, John, 50, 153, 253, 395 ff., 400, 

406 /., 422 ff. 
Drew, Sydney, 263 ff., 266 
Dryden, Nat, 205 /., 313 
Dudley, actress, 456 
Dumay, Henri, 408 ff. 
Dunn, "Eddie," i4Ojf. 
Dunn, Jerry, 279 
Dyer, David P., 25, 29 

Eads, James Buchanan, 73 

Eames, William S., 323 

"Earl of Pawtucket," 214, 393 ff., 413 

Eastman, Monk, 17 

Edgar, W. C., 161 

"Editha's Burglar," 68, 118, 154, 156 

/., 163, 189 

"Education of Mr. Pipp," 431 ff. 
Edwards, Billy, 77, 281 
Edwards, Major John, 126 ff. 
Ellert, L. S., 309 
Elliott, Maxine, 307, 333, 434 ff. 
Elton, Ernest, 393 ff. 
"Embassy Ball, The," 414 ff. 
Emerson, Ralph Waldo, I, 238, 455 ff. 
Emerson's Journal, 47 ff. 
Emmett, Eliza, 10, 35 
Emmett, Jo. K., 10, 35, 90 
Erlanger, A. L., 169 ff., 299 ff., 307 
"Erminie," 211 
"Esmeralda," 116 
Eustace, Jennie, 446 
Eustace, Mayor William Henry, 309 

Evans, Charley, 366 
Evans, Lizzie, 145 
Everett, 6 

Fairbanks, Douglas, 352 

"Famous Mrs. Fair, The," 423 

Fanning, Mike A., 191, 259 

Farnsworth, John F., 59 

Farragut, n 

Farrell, Bob, 77 

Faversham, William, 75 

Fay, Frank, 46 

Fay, Hugh, 90 

Fenlon, Thomas P., 220 ff., 347 

"Ferncliffe," 270 

Fetter, Selina, 401 

Field, Roswell M., 230 

Fielding, Maggie, 401 

Fisk, Colonel Jim, 279 

Fiske, Harrison Grey, 444 

Fiske, Mrs. Harrison Grey. See Mad- 

dern, Minnie 
Fiske, John, 459 
Fitch, Clyde, 330, 379, 389, 424 
Flanigan, Captain P., 85 ff. 
Flint, Charles R., 47 
Flood, John, 452 
Florence, W. J. (Billy), 137 /. 
"Florence's Mighty Dollar," 90 
Flower, Roswell P., 308 
Flynn, Phil, 380 /. 
Fogel, Clark (Bert Clark), 90 
"For Money," 318 
Forbes, James, 423 
Forbes-Robertson, Sir Johnston, 207 
Forrest, Edwin, n, 264 
Foster, Major Emery S., 125 ff. 
Fox, Delia, 134, 154^"., 162^"., 176, 184 

ff-, 190 

Fox, John, Jr., 422 
Fox, Lily, 134 
Foy, Eddie, 75 

Francis, Honorable David R., 259 
Frawley, T. D., 370 ff. 
Frick, Henry, 308 
Friedlander, 371 
Frohman, Charles, 153, i88/., 236 ff., 

264, 300 ff., 316, 320/., 341, 362, 365, 

378, 393 /-, 407 ff; 4" ff-, 4H /, 
424, 441 ff. 
Frohman, Daniel, 270, 370, 442 



Fuller, Chief Justice, 98 
Fyles, Franklin, "The Governor of 
Kentucky," 332 

Gale, Minna, 233 
"Gamblers, The," 423 
Gardner, Amelia, 453 
Garfield, President, 37, 58, 151 
Garland, Hamlin, "The Tyranny of the 

Dark," 96 

Garrettson, Daniel, 7 
Garrettson, Sarah Wilson (grandmother 

of Augustus Thomas), 7Jf., 16, 18, 38, 

96 ff. 

Garvey, Eddie, 374 ff, 
Gates, Frank E., 131 
Gates, Si, 131 

Gebhard, Frederick, 122 ff., 405 ff. 
Geistinger, Marie, 152 
Gibson, Charles Dana, 431 ff. 
Gillette, William, 116, 126, 137 ff., 212, 

358 /., 389 

Gillig, Harry M., 316 ff. 
Gilmore, E. G., 277 
Gilmour, Jack, 331 
Gilroy, Thomas F., 309 
"Girl I Left Behind Me, The," 301 
"Girl of the Golden West, The," 425 
Gladstone, 308 
Golden, John L., 285 
Goodwin, Nat, 46, 211, 213, 295, siojf., 

333, 430, 434 ff- 
Gottlob, 371 

Gouger, Helen M., 218, 221 ff., 347 
Gould, Jay, 85 
Grant, Nellie, 4 
Grant, General Ulysses S., i, 3Jf., u, 

20, 127, 151 

"Great Divide, The," 423 
Greene, Clay M., 302, 316 ff. 
Grey, Katherine, 340 
Grismer, Joseph, 266 ff. 
Guiteau, Charles Jules, 151 
Gutherz, Carl, icojf. 

Hagen, Claude, 231 ff. 
Hagerman, James, 205 ff. 
Hale, Louise Closser, 373 
Hale, Walter, 365, 371 ff., 452 
Hall, Owen, 424 
Hall, Pauline, 149, 211 

Hamilton, Alexander, 459, 461 

Hamilton, Frank, 167, 228 ff. 

Hamlin, Harry, 369 ff. 

Hammond, Dorothy, 412 

Hampden, Walter, 248 

Hancock, General, 50, 132 

Handy, Moses P., 278 

Hardee's Military Tactics, 19 

Harlow, Will, 67 ff. 

Harney, Paul, 100 

Harris, Charles L., 290 

Harris, William, 169 

Harrison, Mayor, 309 

Harte, Bret, 439 ff. 

"Harvest Moon, The," 447 

Harwood, Harry, 414 ff. 

Hatton, Joseph, "John Needham's 

Double," 296 
Haworth, Joe, 201 
Hayes, President, 151 
Hayman, Alf., 12, 424 
Hein, Silvio, 448, 450 
"Held by the Enemy," 126, 212 
Henderson, Senator John B., 127 
"Henrietta, The," 212 
Herford, Oliver, 27 
Herne, Chrystal, 452 ff. 
Heron, Bijou, 12 
Heron, Matilda, 12 
Hicks, "Bicycle," 197 ff. 
Higgins, Mrs., 272 
Hill, J. M., 274, 277, 288, 299 
Hinckley, Emma, 250 
"His House in Order," 423 
"His Last Legs," 71, 163 ff., 176 /., 

449 ff- 

Hoey, Bill, 366 

Holland, E. M., 289, 291, 307, 331, 

Holland, Joseph, 264 ff., 331 

Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 30, 438, 454 ff. 

Hooker, E. R., 35ojf. 

Hooker, Forrestine, 350 

Hooker, Henry C, 350 ff. 

Hopper, De Wolf, 71, 448 ff. 

Howard, Bronson, 212, 269, 323 ff., 
328 ff., 389 

Howard, Joseph, Jr., 211, 216 

Howe, Will H., 103 

Howells, William Dean, "The Ele- 
vator," etc., 178, 329 



Hoyt, Charles, 298 

Hudson, Doctor Thomas, 403, 438 

Hugo, Victor, i /. 

Hutchens, Stilson, 127 

Hyde, Colonel William, 126 

Hyslop, Doctor, 96 

Illington, Margaret, 412 

"In Camp," 148 

"In Mizzoura," 213, 425 ff. 

Ingersoll, Ebon Clark, 56 /. 

Ingersoll, Colonel Robert G., 56 ff., 95, 

152, 224 

Insley, M. H., 223 
Irving, Washington, 40 
Irwin, Doctor J. A., 259 
Ives, Professor Halsey C., 100 

Jackson, Andrew, II 

Jackson, Governor Claiborne, 28 

James, William, Mystical Faculty, 


Janet, 404 
Janis, Elsie, 146 
Jaurds, Jean, 366 
Jefferson, Charles, 299 
Jefferson, Joseph, 40, 98 ff., 138 
Jefferson, Thomas, 198 ff., 458 ff. 
Jeffersonian Cyclopedia, 458 
Jeffries, Jim, 385 
Jennings, Johnny, 199, 205 
Jerrold, Blanchard, 124 
Jepson, Mrs. Eugene, 434 
Jessop, George, 310 
Johns, George Sibley, 200, 213 
Johnson, Vice-President, 14 
Johnson, Tom, 191 
Jones, Charles H., 239 ff. 
Jones, Henry Arthur, 296, 389, 423 
Jones, Walter, 150 

Kansas City Mirror, 228 ff. 
Karl, Tom, 152 
Kearney, Dennis, 151 
Kelly, 137 

Kelly, Mamie, 196^. 
Kemble, E. W., 324 ff. 
Kent, Doctor, 147 
"King John," 87 ff. 
Klaw, 299 
Klein, Alfred, 449 

Klein, Charles, 91, 145, 423 
Knapp, Charles, 239 
Knight, Percy, 429 
Knights of Labor, 105 ff. 
Knott, Proctor, 59 /. 
Kretchmar, Howard, 101 

Lackaye, Wilton, 155 ff., 263, 286, 338, 


"Lady of the Lake," 40 
La Farge, Miss, 16 
Lambs Club, 275 ff., 286 ff., 342 ff., 362 

/., 426, 429, 437 /., 446, 450 
Lancaster, 125 
Lane, Mike, 203 
La Shelle, Kirke, 295, 363, 367 /., 393 

/-, 434 

Latham, Arlie, 241 ff. 
Lawford, Ernest, 412 
Lee, Harry, 379 ff., 387 ff. 
Levy, J., 259 
"Lightnin'," 71 
Lincoln, Abraham, I ff., 5ff., n, 13 ff., 

41 /., 44, 46 /. 
Lincoln, Luther J. B., 341 ff. 
Lindsley, Guy, 115 
"Lion and the Mouse, The," 423 
Littleton, Honorable Martin, 47 
Lockwood, Belva A., 179 
Lodge, Henry Cabot, 308, 338 
Logan, General John A., 37, 61 ff. 
"London Assurance," 139 
"Lord Chumley," 270 
Lothian, Napier, 208 
"Love and Liberty," 270 
Luther, Martin, 289 

Macauley, Barney, 119, 145 

Macauley, Daniel, 119 

Macauley, John, 189 

Macauley, Margaret, 119 

"Macbeth," 40, 139 

Mackaye, Percy, 152 

Mackaye, Steele, 152 

Maddern, Dick, 133 

Maddern, Minnie, 12, 133, 145, 212 

Magner, John, 195, 197, 200, 202 ff., 

209, 216 
"Man of the World, A," 200, 262, 274, 

Mansfield, Josie, 279 



Mantell, Robert, 211 

Markham, Pauline, 92 

Marlowe, Julia, 240, Chap. XIV, passim 

Marple, W. S., 100 

Mason, John, 324, 373, 444 /., 450, 


Mason, Peter, 424^. 
"Matinee Idol, The," 449 /. 
Matthews, Brander, 292, 310, 330 
Matthews, Charles, 261, 267 
Matthews, Nathan, 309 
Mawson, Harry P., 424 
Maxwell, 214 
McClellan, 11 

McClure, Colonel S. S., 254 
McCormack, Jack, 369 
McCormick, 6 ff. 
McCoy, Kid, 369, 396, 401 
McCready, Way man, 117 
McCullough, John, 70 
McCullough Club, 114 ff. 
McDonald, Will, 152 
McDowell, Henry B., 328 ff. 
McFeelam, Teddy, 162 
Mclntosh, Burr, 297 
McKee, Frank, 374 
McKinley, President William, 308, 

376 ff. 

McKissock, Colonel Tom, 16 
McManus, George, 141 ff., 158 
McWade, Edward, 247 
Meade, General George, 41 ff. 
Meade, Margaret, 41 ff. 
Meeker, J. R., 100, 102 
Megargee, Louis N., 278 
"Men and Women," 301 
Menken, Adah Isaacs, 12 
"Merchant, The," 300 ff. 
Merrick, Leonard, 402 
"Messenger from Jarvis Station, The," 


Metcalf, 139 
Meyers, Sam, 424 ff. 
Michler, Captain Francis, 336 
Mickle, William Julius, 83 
"Middleman, The," 296 
"Midnight Bell, A," 270 
"Mighty Dollar, The," 137 
Miles, Bob, 144 
Miles, General Nelson A., 336 
Miley, John B., 286 /. 

Miller, of the St. Louis Browns, 78 

Miller, Agnes, 290 

Miller, Gilbert, 12 

Miller, Henry, 318, 423 

Miller, Mrs. Henry, 12 

Mitchell, Dodson, 247 

"Mile. Modiste," 422 

Modjeska, Mme. Helena, 244, 250, 274 

Moliere, 84 

"Monte Cristo," 212 

Montgomery, 208 ff. 

Moody, William Vaughan, 423 

Moore, managing editor, 216 ff. 

Moore, Henry, 191 

Morrison, Lewis, 152 

Morrissey, John, 58 

Morton, Martha, "The Merchant," 

300 /. 

"Mrs. Leffingwell's Boots," 411 ff., 441 
"Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch," 

"Muldoon's Picnic," 90, 176 ff., 212, 


Munson, George, 240 
Murphy, Patrick Francis, 47 
Murray, Hallett, see Palmoni 
"My Milliner's Bill," 270 
Myer, Captain, 353 /. 

"Nadjesda," 274 

Nash, George, 446 

Nast, Tom, 95, 132 

Naylor, Fred, 85 

Neely, Mayor S. F., 217 ff. 

Nelson, Henry Loomis, 435 

"Never Again," 306 

"New Blood," 262, 337 

New York Press Club, 137 

New York World, 125, Chap. XII, 


Nicholson, Captain, 347 
" Night's Frolic, A," 285 
Norton, John W., 89, 144, 207, 254 
Nowak, Adelaide, 447 
Nye, Bill, 82 

Olcott, Chauncey, 365 

"Old Homestead, The," 270, 299, 438 

Olympic Theatre, Chicago, 70 

"On the Quiet," 333 

O'Neil, James, 212 



O'Neill, Eugene, 134 

O'Neill, Frank, 239 

O'Neill, James, 134 

"Oolah, The," 270 

Orrick, John D., 24 

"Other Girl, The," 236, 304, 400 

Otis, Elita Proctor, 340 ff. 

"Our American Cousin," 138 

Owen, Billy, 249 

Owens, John E., n6ff., 186 ff. 

Page, Nellie, 165, 185 
Palmer, A. M., 86, 88, 200 /., 283, 287 
/., 291 ff., 295 /., 300, 306 ff., 340 

ff; 435 /. 

Palmer, Charles, 161 
Palmoni, 39/., 43, 134 /. 
Pastor, Tony, 88, 277 
Payne, Louis, 412 
Pierce, President Franklin, I ff. 
Pingree, Mayor, 309 
Pitou, Augustus, 283 
"Pittsburgh," 192 
Pius IX, Pope, 9 
Plato, Republic, 335 
Plutarch, 455 /. 

Pope, of Pope's Theatre, St. Louis, 231 
Pope, Charles R., ilSjf., 139, 192 
Pope's Theatre, l^off. 
" Potash and Perlmutter," 91 
Potter, Clarkson N., 45 
Potter, Paul, 281 /., 424, 431, 437 
Powderly, Terence V., 105, 109 
Preller, 214 
Presbrey, Eugene, 204, 290, 294, 316 

ff; 321, 330, 332, 450 

Prescott, Marie, 152 
"Professor, The," 137, 212 
Pulitzer, Joseph, 125 ff., 408 
Pullman, George M., 339 
Purcell, Archbishop, 9, n, 96 
Putnam, William F., 68 
"Pyramids, The," 133 

Quantrell's Guerillas, 126 

Rankin, Gladys, 264 
Rankin, McKee, 315 
Rawling, Sylvester, 101, 103 
Raymond, John, 134 

Reardon, Steve, 33 

"Reckless Temple," 262, 274, 288 ff. 

Red Cloud, 53 

Redding, Joseph D., 358 ff. 

Reedy, William Marion, 135, 191 

Remington, Frederic, 70, 324 ff., 329, 

335 /, 344, 357, 378, 432 ff. 
Revel family, 12 
Rice, Alice H., 423 
Riley (entomologist), 27 
Riley, James Whitcomb, 82 
"Rip Van Winkle," 40 
Ritchie, John, 254 /., 258 ff. 
Robbins, Doctor Tom, 417 
Robertson, 117 
"Robinson Crusoe," 92 ff. 
Robinson, Forrest, 416, 437 
Robson, Eleanor, 371 ff., 423 
Robson, Stuart, 115 ff., 212, 316, 372 
Robyn, A. G., 115 
Roosevelt, Theodore, 113, 292, 358 
Root, Elihu, 58 
Rosenfeld, Sydney, 322 ff. 
Rosenquest, Wesley, 269 
Rostand, Edmond, 428 
Roth, Nat, 134 
"Rough Diamond, The," 270 
Royle, Edwin Milton, 230, 401, 426, 438 
Ruckstull, Frederick W., 69, 79, 103, 

326 /., 365, 397 
Russell, Annie, 316 
Russell, Lillian, 270 
Ryder, Billy, 17 

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 135 ff., Chap. 

XI, passim 

St. Louis Sketch Club, 101 /., 131 
Salisbury, Charles, 144 
Salisbury, Nate, 144^". 
Salisbury's Troubadours, 144 
Salvini, 152 

Sampson, William, 446, 452 
"Samuel of Posen," 91 
Sargent, Franklin Haven, 75 
Saville, John G., 412 
Scharit, Honorable Augustus Wallace, 

38/., 42, 62, 97, 134 ff- 
Scheff, Fritzi, 422 

Schenck, General Robert C., 37, 52 
"School Mistress, The," 212 
Schultz, Minnie, 149 



Schurz, Carl, 24 /., 39 

Schwab, Charles, 47, 109 

Scott, Dred, 2, 6 

Scott, John, Earl of Eldon, 107 

Scott, Sir Walter, 40, 83 

Scratches and Sketches, 67 

Serrano, Vincent, 365, 371 ff., 412, 452 

Sexton, H. Clay, 64 /. 

Seymour, Governor Horatio, 20 

Seymour, Willie, 264 

Shakespeare, 456 

Shaler, General Alexander, 210 ff. 

Shaw, Doctor Albert, 339 

Shaw, Mary, 247 /., 250, 268, 330 

Shea, Tommy, 424 

Sheedy, Pat, 279 

"Shenandoah," 269 

Sheridan, Emma V., 263 ff. 

Sheridan, General George, 266, 279, 284 

Sheridan, General Phil, 65 ff., 107 

Sherman, General William Tecumsch, 

208 ff. 
Shook, 88 

Shubert, Lee, 324, 443 ff. 
Siddons, Mrs. Scott, 152 
"Sir Giles Overreach," 40 
Skinner, Otis, 77, 275 
Slayback, Alonzo W., 135 ff., 213 
Slocum, General, 37 
Smith, General A. J. 
Smith, Ballard, 217 
Smith, Edgar, 115, 155 /., 161, 174, 

176, 179, 185 /., 190 
Smith, Francis Hopkinson, 47, 306 
Smith, William Beaumont, 115 
Smythe, Doctor, 22^. 
Smythe, William G., 115, 161, 164 ff., 

174, 176, 183, 190, 192, 211, 240, 

260 /., 267, 270 /., 335 
Snell, Edward, 101 
Snell, George, 101, 103, 112 
Snell, Henry Bayley, 103 
Sothern (the elder), 137 ff. 
Sothern, Edward H., 189, 192, 238, 


Spaulding, Charles, nS ff. 
Spink, Al, 240 ff. 
"Squaw Man, The," 426 /., 438 
Stahl, Rose, 423 
Steitz , 194, 209 ff. 

Stevenson, Charles, 153 

Stinson, Fred, 244 /., 247, 253 

Stockton, Frank, "Squirrel Inn," 330 

Stoddart, James H., 140, 200, 210 

Stokes, Ned, 279 

Stone, Mrs. Alice Buck, 35 ff. 

Stone, Blair, 35 

Stone, Major (Fighting Harry), 35 ff. 

Stone, Patti, 35 

Strahan, "The New Hyperion," 194 

Sullivan, John L., 279 

Sullivan, John T. f 264, 266 

Sullivan, William, 156 ff., 162 ff., 170, 

172, 176 ff., iSiff. 
Summerhayes, Captain Jack, 345 ff. 
Sumner, Nan, 360 
Sumner, Colonel Sam, 350 
Sumner, Colonel Win, 345 ff., 348 ff., 


Surratt, Mrs. 14 
"Surrender," 320 
Sutro, Alfred, 402 
"Sweethearts," 163 

Taber, Robert, 250 

Taussig, 34 

Taylor, General, n 

Taylor, Howard P., 212, 270 

Tennyson, Alfred, Lord, 443 

"Third Degree, The," 423 

Thomas, Mrs. Augustus, 312 ff., 364 

Thomas, Governor Charles, 379, 388 

Thomas, Captain Elihu (father of 
Augustus Thomas), 3, n ff., 16, 18, 
28, 33, 38 /., 66 ff., 69 /., 75 /-, 95 
/., 146 ff., 150, 1 80 

Thomas, General George H., 5, 61 

Thompson, Denman, 270, 299, 438 

Thompson, Lydia, 92 

"Three Days Out, "365 

Tilden, 151 

Tracy, James M., 100 

"Tread way of Yale," 333 

"Trilby," 307 

Turner, Frank, 125 

Tweed, Bill, 95 

Twain, Mark, 32, 299, 435 ff., 438 

Tyree, Elizabeth, 393 

Unger, Frank, 3i6jf. 



Van Dyke, Doctor Henry, 310 
Victoria, Queen of England, I 
Vokes family, 148 ff. 
Vokes, Rosina, 148, 212, 270 
Voltaire, 457 

Walker, State Senator J. J., 51 

Walker, William, 7 

Warfield, David, 91, 423 

Waterbury, James, 357 

Watterson, Colonel Henry, 98 ff., 139, 

i89jf., 239, 298 
Weathersby, Eliza, 92 
Webster, Daniel, n, 48 
Well, Honorable Erastus, 28 ff., 33, 49, 


Wells, Rolla, 28 
Wells, W. N., 5 
Westford, Owen, 149 
Wheatcroft, Nelson, 330 ff. 
Wheelock, Joseph, 88, 330 
Wheelock, Joseph, Jr., 88, 365, 401 ff. 
White, Horatio S., 78 
White, Le Grand, 133 

Whytal, Russ, 445 ff. 

Wilde, Oscar, 220, 454 

Willard, E. S., 292, 296 

Willard, John, 438 

Willet, Mittens, 70 ff., 134 

Williams, Gus, 90 

Williams, Jesse, 117 

Wilson, Francis, 211, 270, 409 ff. 

Winter, William, The Wallet of Time, 

306 ff. 

"Winter's Tale," 208 
"Witching Hour, The," 288, 334, 

Chap. XXIV, passim 
Witham, Alice, 10 
Witthers, William, 133 
Wood, Fernando, 58 
Wood, Colonel Leonard, 358 
Woodruff, Harry, 290 ff., 332 ff. 
Worthing, Frank, 400 
Wycoff, Eliza Emmett, 10 

Young, Thomas, 323 
Zangwill, Israel, 423 



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