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Title: Curiosities of the American Stage
Author: Hutton, Laurence, 1843-1904
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: JUNIUS BRUTUS BOOTH.]


CURIOSITIES OF THE AMERICAN STAGE

by

LAURENCE HUTTON

Author of "Plays and Players" etc., etc.

Illustrated



New York
Harper & Brothers, Franklin Square
1891

Copyright, 1890, by Harper & Brothers.
All rights reserved.



  TO
  BRANDER MATTHEWS
  _THESE_



_THE ARGUMENT._


This book, as its name implies, is a series of chapters from the annals of
the American Theatre; and it considers Plays and Players more particularly
in their less familiar aspects. It does not pretend to be critical; and
the greatest care has been taken to verify all the facts it contains (many
of them here presented for the first time), in order that it may appeal to
the small but select band of specialists known as Dramatic Collectors, as
well as to those influential members of the community who are glad to call
themselves Old Play-goers.

The chapters upon "The American Stage Negro," upon "The American
Burlesque," and upon a "A Century of American Hamlets," appeared
originally in HARPER'S MAGAZINE; the others have been printed, in part, in
other periodicals, but as now published they have all been rewritten,
elaborated, and extended.

The portraits with which the volume is enriched are in many instances
very rare, and some of them, never engraved before, have been prepared
especially for this work. They are from the collections of Mr. J. H. V.
Arnold, Dr. B. E. Martin, Mr. Thomas J. McKee, Mr. C. C. Moreau, Mr. Evart
Jansen Wendell, and The Players, to all of whom the author here expresses
his sincere thanks.

A double Index--personal as well as local--makes the book easily available
for reference; and it will lend itself readily to extra illustration. It
is intended to instruct as well as to entertain.

LAURENCE HUTTON.

THE PLAYERS, 1890.



_DRAMATIS PERSONÆ._


                                                                PAGE

  Junius Brutus Booth                                 _Frontispiece_

  G. W. P. Custis                                                  9

  Edwin Forrest                                                   11

  John McCullough                                                 15

  Major André                                                     21

  J. H. Hackett                                                   27

  Frank Mayo as Davy Crockett                                     33

  William J. Florence as Bardwell Slote                           37

  John T. Raymond                                                 41

  Neil Burgess as the Widow Bedott                                45

  F. S. Chanfrau as Mose                                          49

  Epes Sargent                                                    55

  Anna Cora Mowatt Ritchie                                        61

  Edgar Fawcett                                                   73

  Brander Matthews                                                77

  Bronson Howard                                                  81

  Charles Dibdin as Mungo                                         91

  Ira Aldridge as Othello                                         95

  Old Play-bill                                                   97

  Andrew Jackson Allen                                           103

  Barney Williams in _Dandy Jim_                                 105

  Ralph Keeler                                                   107

  P. T. Barnum                                                   109

  John B. Gough                                                  113

  Thomas D. Rice as Jim Crow                                     116

  Thomas D. Rice                                                 118

  James Roberts                                                  120

  George Washington Dixon                                        121

  Mr. Dixon as Zip Coon                                          123

  Daniel Emmett                                                  125

  Charles White                                                  127

  Edwin P. Christy                                               131

  George Christy                                                 133

  George Swayne Buckley                                          137

  Eph Horn                                                       139

  Jerry Bryant                                                   140

  Nelse Seymour                                                  140

  Dan Bryant                                                     141

  Stephen C. Foster                                              143

  Mrs. Hallam (Mrs. Douglas)                                     156

  Mark Smith as Mrs. Normer                                      159

  William Mitchell as Richard Number Three                       161

  John Brougham and Georgiana Hodson in _Pocahontas_             163

  Harry Beckett as the Widow Twankey, in _Aladdin_               167

  James Lewis as Syntax, in _Cinderella at School_               171

  George L. Fox as Hamlet                                        175

  Lydia Thompson as Sindbad                                      179

  William H. Crane as Le Blanc, in _Evangeline_                  183

  Stuart Robson as Captain Crosstree                             186

  Harry Hunter as the Lone Fisherman                             189

  Francis Wilson in the _Oolah_                                  193

  Mr. Jefferson and Mrs. Wood in _Ivanhoe_                       196

  James T. Powers as Briolet, in _The Marquis_                   197

  Charles Burke as Kazrac, in _Aladdin_                          200

  N. C. Goodwin in _Little Jack Sheppard_                        201

  De Wolf Hopper as Juliet, and Marshall P. Wilder as Romeo      203

  Henry E. Dixey as the Country Girl in _Adonis_                 205

  Munrico Dengremont                                             211

  Josef Hofman                                                   215

  Otto Hegner                                                    219

  Elsie Leslie                                                   223

  Charles Stratton ("Tom Thumb")                                 227

  Lavinia Warren                                                 231

  John Howard Payne                                              233

  Blind Tom                                                      235

  Master Burke as Hamlet                                         237

  May Haines and Isa Bowman as the two Princes in _King
  Richard III._                                                  239

  Edmund Kean                                                    259

  William Augustus Conway                                        263

  James William Wallack                                          267

  William C. Macready                                            271

  Charles Kemble                                                 275

  Charles Kean                                                   279

  Edwin Forrest                                                  283

  Edward L. Davenport                                            287

  James Stark                                                    291

  Edwin Booth                                                    295

  Lawrence Barrett                                               299

  James E. Murdoch                                               303

  Charles Fechter                                                307

  Henry E. Johnstone                                             311

  John Vandenhoff                                                315

  George Jones                                                   319

  Augustus A. Addams                                             323

  William Pelby                                                  327



ACT I.

THE NATIVE AMERICAN DRAMA.



SCENE I.

THE INDIAN DRAMA.

    "Do you put tricks upon 's with savages and men of Inde?"

                              _The Tempest_, Act ii. Sc. 2.


The American play is yet to be written. Such is the unanimous verdict of
the guild of dramatic critics of America, the gentlemen whom Mr. Phoebus,
in _Lothair_, would describe as having failed to write the American play
themselves. Unanimity of any kind among critics is remarkable, but in this
instance the critics are probably right. In all of its forms, except the
dramatic form, we have a literature which is American, distinctive, and a
credit to us. The histories of Motley and of Parkman are standard works
throughout the literary world. Washington Irving and Hawthorne are as well
known to all English readers, and as dearly loved, as are Thackeray and
Charles Lamb. Poems like Longfellow's _Hiawatha_, Whittier's _Snow-Bound_,
Lowell's _The Courtin'_, and Bret Harte's _Cicely_ belong as decidedly to
America as do Gray's _Elegy_ to England, _The Cotter's Saturday Night_ to
Scotland, or the songs of the Minnesingers to the German Fatherland, and
they are perhaps to be as enduring as any of these. Mr. Emerson, Mr.
Lowell, and Professor John Fiske are essayists and philosophers who reason
as well and as clearly, and with as much originality, as do any of the
sages of other lands. In our negro melodies we have a national music that
has charms to soothe the savage and the civilized breast in both
hemispheres. American humor and American humorists are so peculiarly
American that they are _sui generis_, and belong to a distinct school of
their own; while in fiction Cooper's Indian novels, Holmes's _Elsie
Venner_, Mrs. Stowe's _Oldtown Folk_, Howells's _Silas Lapham_, and
Cable's _Old Creole Days_ are purely characteristic of the land in which
they were written, and of the people and manners and customs of which they
treat, and are as charming in their way as are any of the romances of the
Old World. Freely acknowledging all this, the dramatic critics are still
unable to explain the absence of anything like a standard American drama
and the non-existence of a single immortal American play.

The Americans are a theatre-going people. More journals devoted to
dramatic affairs are published in New York than in any European capital.
Our native actors in many instances are unexcelled on any stage of the
world; we have sent to England, to meet with unqualified favor from
English audiences, J. H. Hackett, Miss Charlotte Cushman, Joseph
Jefferson, Edwin Booth, John S. Clarke, Lawrence Barrett, Edwin Forrest,
Miss Mary Anderson, Miss Kate Bateman, Augustin Daly's entire company of
comedians, Mr. and Mrs. Florence, Richard Mansfield, and many more; while,
with the exception of certain of Bronson Howard's comedies, "localized"
and renamed, how many original American plays are known favorably, or at
all, to our British cousins? _Rip Van Winkle_, although its scenes are
American, is not an original American play by any means; it is an
adaptation of Irving's familiar legend; its central figure is a Dutchman
whose English is broken, and its adapter is an Irishman. Yet _Rip Van
Winkle_, Joseph K. Emmett's _Fritz_, and _The Danites_ are the most
popular of the American plays in England, and are considered, no doubt,
correct pictures of American life.

That the American dramatists are trying very hard to produce American
dramas all theatrical managers on this side of the Atlantic know too well,
for shelves and waste-paper baskets are full of them to overflowing.
Frequent rejection and evident want of demand have no effect whatever
upon the continuous supply. How few of these are successful, or are likely
to live beyond one week or one season, all habitual theatre-goers can say.
During the single century of the American stage not twoscore plays of any
description have appeared which have been truly American, and which at the
same time are of any value to dramatic literature or of any credit to the
American name.

By an original American play is here meant one which is the original work
of an American author, the incidents and scenes and characters of which
are purely and entirely American. In this category cannot be included
dramas like Mr. Daly's _Pique_, or _The Big Bonanza_, for the one is from
an English novel and the other from a German play; nor Mr. Boucicault's
_Belle Lamar_, or _The Octoroon_, which are native here, but from the pen
of an alien; nor plays like _Uncle Tom's Cabin_, which are not original,
but are drawn largely, if not wholly, from American tales; nor plays like
_A Brass Monkey_ or _A Bunch of Keys_, which are not plays at all.

The first purely American play ever put upon a regular stage by a
professional company of actors was _The Contrast_, performed at the
theatre in John Street, New York, on the 16th of April, 1787. It was, as
recorded by William Dunlap in his _History of the American Theatre_, a
comedy in five acts, by Royall Tyler, Esq., a Boston gentleman of no great
literary pretensions, but in his later life prominent in the history of
Vermont, to which State he moved shortly after its admission into the
Federal Union in 1791. Mr. Ireland and Mr. Seilhamer preserve the original
cast of _The Contrast_, which, however, as containing no names prominent
in histrionic history, is of no particular interest here. Not a very
brilliant comedy--it was weak in plot, incident, and dialogue--it is
worthy of notice not only because of its distinction as the first-born of
American plays, but because of its creation and introduction of the now so
familiar stage-Yankee, Jonathan, played by Thomas Wignell, an Englishman
who came to this country the preceding year. He was a clever actor, and
later, a successful manager in Philadelphia, dying in 1803. Jonathan, no
doubt, wore a long tailed blue coat, striped trousers, and short
waistcoats, or the costume of the period that nearest approached this;
certainly he whittled sticks, and said "Tarnation!" and "I vum," and
called himself "a true-born son of liberty" through his nose, as have the
hundreds of stage-Yankees, from Asa Trenchard down, who have come after
him, and for whom he and Mr. Wignell and Royall Tyler, Esq., were
originally responsible. Jonathan was the chief character in the piece,
which was almost a one-part play. Its representations were few.

This Jonathan is not to be confounded with another and a better Jonathan,
who figured in _The Forest Rose_, a domestic opera, by Samuel Woodworth,
music by John Davies, produced in 1825, when Tyler's Jonathan had been
dead and buried for many years. Woodworth's Jonathan was originally played
by Alexander Simpson, and later by Henry Placide. It was long a favorite
part of the gentleman known as "Yankee Hill."

The American Drama--such as it is--may be divided into several classes,
including the Indian Drama, and the plays of Frontier Life, which are
often identical; the Revolutionary and war plays; the Yankee, or character
plays, like _The Gilded Age_, or _The Old Homestead_; the plays of local
life and character, like _Mose_, or _Squatter Sovereignty_; and the
society plays, of which Mrs. Mowatt's _Fashion_, and Bronson Howard's
_Saratoga_ are fair examples. Of these the Indian drama, as aboriginal,
should receive, perhaps, the first attention here.

The earliest Indian play of which there is any record on the American
stage was from the pen of an Englishwoman, Anne Kemble (Mrs. Hatton), a
member of the great Kemble family, and a sister of John Kemble and of Mrs.
Siddons. It is described as an operatic spectacle, and was entitled
_Tammany_. Dedicated to, and brought out under the patronage of, the
Tammany Society, it was first presented at the John Street Theatre, New
York, on the 3d of March, 1794. Columbus and St. Tammany himself were
among the characters represented. The Indians who figured upon the stage
were not very favorably received by the braves of that day, a large party
of whom witnessed the initial performance of the piece; and _Tammany_ was
not a success, notwithstanding the power of the Kemble name, the good-will
of the sachems of the Society, and the additional attraction of the
stage-settings, which were the first attempts at anything like correct and
elaborate scenic effects in this country.

[Illustration: G. W. P. CUSTIS.]

At the Park Theatre, June 14, 1808, was presented the next Indian play of
any importance, and, as written by a native American, James N. Barker, of
Philadelphia, it should take precedence of _Tammany_, perhaps, in the
history of the Indian drama. It was entitled _The Indian Princess_, was
founded on the story of Pocahontas, and, like _Tammany_, was musical in
its character. It was printed in 1808 or 1809; the versification is smooth
and clear, the dialogue bright, and the plot well sustained throughout.

Pocahontas has ever been a favorite character in our Indian plays. George
Washington Parke Custis wrote a drama of that name, presented at the Park
Theatre, New York, December 28, 1830, Mrs. Barnes playing the titular
part. James Thorne, an English singer, who died a few years later, was
Captain John Smith; Thomas Placide was Lieutenant Percy; Peter Richings,
Powhatan; and Edmund Simpson, the manager of the Park for so many years,
played Master Rolf. Robert Dale Owen's _Pocahontas_ was produced at the
same house seven years later (February 8, 1838), with Miss Emma Wheatley
as Pocahontas; John H. Clarke, the father of Constantia Clarke, the
Olympic favorite in later years, as Powhatan; Peter Richings, an Indian
character, Maccomac; John A. Fisher, Hans Krabbins; his sister, Jane M.
Fisher (Mrs. Vernon), Ann; and Miss Charlotte Cushman, at that time
fond of appearing in male parts, Rolf. As these several versions of the
story of the Indian maiden are preserved to us, that of Mr. Owen is
decidedly the best in a literary point of view. It has not been seen upon
the stage in many years. The _Pocahontas_ of John Brougham cannot be
claimed as a purely American production, and it must be reserved for
future discussion and under a very different head.

[Illustration: EDWIN FORREST.]

Unquestionably, Mr. Forrest's great success with _Metamora_, a prize drama
for which he paid its author, John Augustus Stone, five hundred dollars--a
large sum of money for such an effort half a century ago--was the secret
of the remarkable run upon Indian plays from which theatre-goers
throughout the country suffered between the years 1830 and 1840. Forrest,
even at that early period in his career, was the recognized leader of the
American stage, the founder of a peculiar school of acting, with a host of
imitators and followers. Metamora was one of his strongest and most
popular parts; its great effect upon his admirers is still vividly
remembered, and, naturally, other actors sought like glory and profit in
similar roles.

_Metamora; or, The Last of the Wampanoags_, was produced for the first
time on any stage at the Park Theatre, New York, December 15, 1829. Mr.
Forrest, Peter Richings, Thomas Placide, John Povey, Thomas Barry, Mrs.
Hilson (Ellen Augusta Johnson), and Mrs. Sharpe were in the original cast.
As Metamora Mr. Forrest appeared many hundreds of nights, and in almost
every city of the American Union. Wemyss, at the time of the first
production of the play in Philadelphia (January 22, 1830), wrote of him
and of _Metamora_ as follows: "The anxiety to see him crowded the theatre
[Arch Street] on each night of the performance, adding to his reputation
as an actor as well as to his private fortune as a man. It is a very
indifferent play, devoid of interest; but the character of Metamora is
beautifully conceived, and will continue to attract so long as Mr. E.
Forrest is its representative. It was written for him, and will in all
probability die with him." Mr. Wemyss's prophecy was certainly fulfilled.
No one after Mr. Forrest's death, with the single exception of John
McCullough, and he but seldom, had the hardihood to risk his reputation in
a part so well known as one of the best performances of the greatest of
American actors; and Metamora and Mr. Forrest have passed away together.

[Illustration: JOHN McCULOUGH.]

_Metamora_ owed everything to the playing of Forrest; if it had fallen
into the hands of any other actor it would no doubt have been as
short-lived as the rest of the Indian dramas generally--a night or two,
or a week or two at most, and then oblivion. As a literary production it
was inferior to others of its class; not equal to _The Ancient Briton_,
for which Mr. Forrest is said to have paid the same author one thousand
dollars; or to _Fauntleroy_ or _Tancred_, dramas of Mr. Stone's, which met
with but indifferent success. John Augustus Stone's history is a very sad
one; in a fit of insanity he threw himself into the Schuykill, in the
summer of 1834, when barely thirty years of age; after life's fitful fever
sleeping quietly now under a neat monument containing the simple
inscription that it was "Erected to the Memory of the Author of _Metamora_
by his friend, Edwin Forrest." With all of his faults and failings, the
great tragedian was ever faithful to the men he called his friends.

The Indian of Fenimore Cooper is the father of the stage Indian; and both
have been described by Mr. Mark Twain as belonging to "an extinct tribe
which never existed." A full list of the Indian plays more or less
successful, known in other days and now quite forgotten, would be one of
the curiosities of American dramatic literature. A few of them are here
preserved:

_Sassacus; or, The Indian Wife_, said to have been written by William
Wheatley, then a leading young man at the Park Theatre, New York, where
_Sassacus_ was produced on the 8th of July, 1836, Wheatley playing an
Indian part, Pokota; his sister, Miss Emma Wheatley, then at the height of
her popularity, playing Unca, and John R. Scott _Sassacus_. This latter
gentleman, as a "red man of the woods," was always a great favorite with
the gallery, and he created the titular roles in _Kairrissah_, _Oroloosa_,
_Outalassie_, and other aboriginal dramas with decided credit to himself.
In the course of a few years, while the stage-Indian was still the
fashion, were seen in different American theatres _The Pawnee Chief_;
_Onylda; or, The Pequot Maid_; _Ontiata; or, The Indian Heroine_;
_Osceola_; _Oroonoka_; _Tuscalomba_; _Carabasset_; _Hiawatha_;
_Narramattah_; _Miautoumah_; _Outalissi_; _Wacousta_; _Tutoona_;
_Yemassie_; _Wissahickon_; _Lamorah_; _The Wigwam_; _The Manhattoes_;
_Eagle Eye_; and many more, not one of which lives to tell its own tale
to-day.

The reaction against the Indian drama began to become apparent as early as
1846, when James Rees, a dramatist, author of _Charlotte Temple_, _The
Invisible Man_, _Washington at Valley Forge_, but of no Indian plays,
wrote that the Indian drama, in his opinion, "had of late become a
_perfect nuisance_," the italics being his own.



SCENE II.

THE REVOLUTIONARY AND WAR DRAMA.

    "List him discourse of War, and you shall hear
    A fearful battle rendered you in music."
                                    _Henry V._, Act i. Sc. 1.


The first of the purely Revolutionary plays presented in New York was,
probably, _Bunker Hill; or, the Death of General Warren_, and the work of
an Irishman, John D. Burke. It was played at the John Street Theatre in
1797; and it was followed the next year by William Dunlap's _André_, at
the Park. Mr. Brander Matthews, in his introduction to a reprint of
_André_, published by "The Dunlap Society," for private circulation among
its members, enumerates a number of plays written shortly after the
Revolution upon the subject of the capture and death of the British spy,
many of which, however, were never put upon the stage. André had been dead
less than twenty years when Dunlap's _André_ was first produced, in 1798,
and Arnold was still living; and, curiously enough, _The Glory of
Columbia_, also by Dunlap, in which Arnold and André both figured, was
played at the old South Street Theatre, Philadelphia, in 1807, with scenes
painted by André himself, who had superintended amateur theatricals at
that house, and had played upon that very stage.

After _Bunker Hill_ and _André_ came at different periods in New York _The
Battle of Lake Erie_; _The Battle of Eutaw Springs_; _A Tale of
Lexington_; _The Siege of Boston_; _The Siege of Yorktown_; _The
Seventy-Sixer_; _The Soldier of '76_; _Marion; or, The Hero of Lake
George_; _Washington at Valley Forge_; and many more of the same
stamp--all of which were popular enough during the first half-century of
our history, but during the last half they have entirely disappeared.

[Illustration: MAJOR ANDRÉ.--From a pen-and-ink sketch by himself.]

A play of Revolutionary times which deserves more than passing notice here
was _Love in '76_, by Oliver B. Bunce, produced at Laura Keene's Theatre
in New York in September, 1857; Miss Keene playing Rose Elsworth, the
heroine; Tom Johnstone Apollo Metcalf, a Yankee school-teacher--a part
that suited his eccentric comedy genius to perfection; and J. G. Burnett
Colonel Cleveland of the British Army, a wicked old soldier, in love with
Rose, and completely foiled by the other two in the last act. _Love in
'76_ was unique in its way, being the only "parlor play" of the
Revolution, the only play of that period which is entirely social in
its character; and a charming contrast it was to its blood-and-thunder
associates on that account--a pretty, healthy little story of woman's love
and woman's devotion in the times that tried men's hearts as well as
souls. It was not put upon the stage with the care it deserved, and was
too pure in tone to suit a public who craved burlesque and extravaganza.
It has not been played in some years. Mr. Bunce was the author of other
plays, notably the _Morning of Life_, written for the Denin Sisters, then
clever little girls, which they produced at the Chatham Theatre, New York,
in the summer of 1848. George Jordan and John Winans, the latter a very
popular low-comedian on the east side of the town, were in the cast. At
the same house, two years later, was played _Marco Bozzaris_, a melodrama
in blank verse, with very effective scenes and situations, written by Mr.
Bunce, and founded not on Halleck's poem, but on the story of Bozzaris as
related in the histories. James W. Wallack, Jr. (then known as "Young
Wallack"), was the hero; Susan Denin was his martyred son; John Gilbert
was the villain of the piece; and Mrs. Wallack the hero's wife. _Marco
Bozzaris_ was very popular, and was not withdrawn until the end of the
Bowery season.

But to return to the drama particularly devoted to war. _The Battle of
Tippecanoe_ related to the Indian wars, as _The Battle of New Orleans_ was
founded on the War of 1812, and _The Battle of Mexico_ on our Mexican
difficulties some years later. The contemporaneous literature of the stage
inspired by the War of the Rebellion was not extensive or worthy of
particular notice. It was confined generally to productions like _The
Federal Spy; or, Pauline of the Potomac_, at the New Bowery Theatre, New
York, and _The Union Prisoners; or, The Patriot's Daughter_, at Barnum's
Museum. During the struggle for national existence war on both sides of
the Potomac was too serious a business, and too near home, to attract
people to its mimic representations on the stage, and it was not until
_Held by the Enemy_ and _Shenandoah_ were produced, a quarter of a century
after the establishment of peace, that American play-goers began to find
any pleasure in theatrical representations of a subject which had
previously been so full of unpleasantness. These later war dramas,
however, are so much superior in plot, dialogue, and construction to any
of the plays founded upon our earlier wars, so far as these earlier plays
have come down to us, that they may encourage the optimist in theatrical
novelties to believe that there is some hope for the future of that branch
of dramatic literature at least.



SCENE III.

THE FRONTIER DRAMA.

    "Here in the skirts of the forest."
                              _As You Like It_, Act iii. Sc. 2.


The drama of frontier life in this country may be described as the Indian
drama which is not all Indian; and even this variety of stage play is fast
disappearing with the scalp-hunter, and with the Indian himself, going
farther and farther to the westward every year. It may be said to have
been inaugurated by James K. Paulding, a native of the State of New York,
who wrote the part of Colonel Nimrod Wildfire, in _The Lion of the West_,
for J. H. Hackett, in 1831. Wildfire, afterwards put into a drama called
_The Kentuckian_, by Bayle Bernard, wore buckskin clothes, deer-skin
shoes, and a coon-skin hat; and he had many contemporary imitators, who
copied his dress, his speech, and his gait, and stalked through the deep
tangled wild woods of east-side stages for many years; to the delight of
city-bred pits and galleries, who were perfectly assured that _Kit, the
Arkansas Traveller_--and one of the best of his class--was the real thing,
until they saw Buffalo Bill with actual cowboys and _bona fide_ Indians in
his train, and lost all further interest in _The Scouts of the Prairies_,
or in _Nick of the Woods_, which hitherto had filled their idea of a life
on the plains.

[Illustration: J. H. HACKETT.]

Only two modern plays of this character are worthy of serious attention
here--Augustin Daly's _Horizon_ and the _Davy Crockett_ of Frank E.
Murdoch. _Horizon_, one of Mr. Daly's earliest works, was produced at the
Olympic Theatre, March 22, 1871, and ran for two months. In the
advertisements it was called "a totally original drama, in five acts,
illustrative of a significant phase of New York society, and embodying the
varied scenes peculiar to American frontier life of the present day." It
was certainly an American play. In no other part of the world are its
characters and its incidents to be met with. Complications of plot and
scenery and certain surprises in the action were evidently aimed at by the
author rather than literary excellence. A panorama of a Western river and
a night surprise of an Indian band upon a company of United States troops
were well managed and very effective. The play was suggestive of Bret
Harte's sketches and of dime novels, with its gambler, its Heathen Chinee,
its roughs of "Rogues' Rest" its vigilance committee, its abandoned
wife, and its prairie princess. The Indian element did not predominate in
_Horizon_, and was not offensive. The part of Wannamucka, the
semi-civilized redskin, very well played by Charles Wheatleigh, was quite
an original conception of the traditional untutored savage; he was wild,
romantic, treacherous, but with a touch of dry humor about him that made
him attractive in the drama, if not according to the nature of his kind.
Panther Loder might have stepped out of the story of _The Outcasts of
Poker Flat_--one of those cool, desperate, utterly depraved, but
gentlemanly rascals whom Mr. Harte has painted so graphically, and whom
John K. Mortimer could represent so perfectly upon the stage. Mortimer,
during his long career, never did more artistic work than in this _rôle_.
The stars in _Horizon_ whose names on the bills appeared in the largest
type were Miss Agnes Ethel, the White Flower of the Plains, and George L.
Fox. The lady was gentle, charming, and very pretty in a part evidently
written to fit her; not so great as in _Frou Frou_, in which she made her
first hit, or as Agnes, which was to follow; but it was a pleasant,
creditable performance throughout. Poor Fox, as Sundown Bowse, the
Territorial Congressman, furnished the comic element in the piece; he was
humorous and not impossible--the first of the Bardwell Slotes and Colonel
Sellerses and Silas K. Woolcotts who are now the accepted stage-Yankees,
and who furnish most of the amusement in the modern American drama. Mr.
Fox has not been greatly surpassed by any of his successors in this line.
Miss Ada Harland as his daughter, Miss Lulu Prior as the royal Indian
maiden, Mrs. Yeamans as the Widow Mullins, and little Jennie Yeamans as
the captured pappoose all added to the popularity of the play. Taken as a
whole, _Horizon_ is the best native production of its kind seen here in
many years, with the single exception of _Davy Crockett_.

Mr. Frank Murdoch called his _Davy Crockett_ a "backwoods idyl." It is
almost the best American play ever written. A pure sylvan love-story, told
in a healthful, dramatic way, it is a poem in four acts; not perfect in
form, open to criticism, with faults of construction, failings of plot,
slight improbabilities, sensational situations, and literary shortcomings,
but so simple and so touching and so pure that it is worthy to rank with
any of the creations of the modern stage in any language. The character of
Davy Crockett, the central figure, is beautifully and artistically drawn:
a strong, brave young hunter of the Far West; bold but unassuming; gentle
but with a strong will; skilled in woodcraft but wholly ignorant of the
ways of the civilized world he had never seen; capable of great love and
of great sacrifices for his love's sake; shy, sensitive, and proud; unable
to read or to write; utterly unconscious of his own physical beauty and of
his own heroism; faithful, honest, truthful--in short, a natural
gentleman. The story is hardly a new one. Davy seems to be the son of the
famous Davy Crockett whose reputation was so great that his very name
became a terror to the 'coons of the wild woods, and who left to his
children and to posterity the wholesome advice that it is only safe to go
ahead when one is sure one is right in going. On this motto the Davy
Crockett of the play always acts. He is in love with a young lady who is
his superior in station and education. Of his admiration he is not
ashamed, but in his simple, honest modesty he never dreams of winning the
belle of the county, or that there is anything in him that can attract a
refined woman. It is his good fortune to save her life from Indians and
from wolves at some risk of his own scalp, and with some damage to his own
person. In a forest hut, while she nurses his wounds, she recites to him
the story of Young Lochinvar, upholding the course of the borderer of
other lands and other days, so faithful in love, so dauntless in war,
telling of her own approaching marriage to a laggard in love and a
dastard in battle, into which her father would force her. On this hint he
speaks, sure he is right at last, and going ahead, like the young hero in
Marmion, to win this old man's daughter. He carries her away from the arms
of the man she hates; one touch of her hand and one word in her ear is
enough; through all the wide border his steed is the best; there is racing
and chasing through Cannobie Lee, behind the footlights and in the wings,
but Lochinvar Crockett wins his bride, the curtain falls on proud gallant
and happy maiden, and the band plays "Home, Sweet Home."

All this, of course, is the old, old story so often told on the stage
before, and to last forever; but Mr. Murdoch seems to have told it better
than any of his fellow-countrymen.

There is no doubt, however, that _Davy Crockett_, like _Metamora_, owes
much of its success to the actor who plays its titular part. Mr. Frank
Mayo's performance of this backwoods hero is a gem in its way. He is quiet
and subdued, he looks and walks and talks the trapper to the life, never
overacts, and never forgets the character he represents. He first played
_Davy Crockett_ in Rochester in November, 1873, producing it in New York
at Niblo's Garden on the 9th of March, 1874, when he had the support of
Miss Rosa Rand as Eleanor Vaughn, the heroine who looked down to blush
and who looked up to sigh, with a smile on her lip and a tear in her eye,
and who made in the part a very favorable impression. The play has never
been properly appreciated by metropolitan audiences. Free from tomahawking
and gun-firing, it does not attract the lovers of the sensational; utterly
devoid of emotional and harrowing elements, it does not appeal to the
admirers of the morbid on the stage; and, giving no scope for richness of
toilet, it has no charms for the habitual attendants upon matinée
entertainments.

[Illustration: Frank Mayo, as "Davy Crockett."]

Its reception by the press was not cordial or kindly, and the severe
things written about it had, it is said, such an effect upon its sensitive
author that he literally died of criticism in Philadelphia, November 13,
1872. Frank H. Murdoch was a nephew of James E. Murdoch, the old
tragedian, and was himself an actor of some promise. His single play was
of so much promise that if there were an American Academy to crown such
productions it might have won for him at least one leaf of the laurel.



SCENE IV.

THE STAGE AMERICAN IN THE CHARACTER PLAY.

    "What hempen homespuns have we swaggering here?"
                              _A Midsummer-Night's Dream_, Act iii. Sc. 1.


The typical and accepted American of the stage, the most familiar figure
in our dramatic literature, is a Jonathan, an Asa Trenchard, a Rip Van
Winkle, a Solon Shingle, a Bardwell Slote, a Mulberry Sellers, and a
Joshua Whitcomb; and even he does not always figure in the American play
as it is here defined.

[Illustration: WILLIAM J. FLORENCE AS BARDWELL SLOTE.]

Jonathan, of whom something has already been said, is now extinct and
defunct. Asa Trenchard is the creation of an Englishman (Tom Taylor),
brought to perfection by the genius of Mr. Jefferson. Rip Van Winkle, as
has been said before, is a Dutchman taken from the pages of Irving's
familiar tale, and so accentuated by the genius of this same Jefferson in
the present generation, that the fact that he had distinguished
predecessors in the same character, but in other dramatizations of the
story, is almost forgotten now. Hackett was the original Rip in 1830.
Of his performance Sol Smith wrote then: "I should despair of finding a
man or a woman in an audience of five hundred who could hear Hackett's
utterance of five words in the second act, 'But she vas mine vrow,'
without experiencing some moisture in the eyes." The second Rip Van Winkle
was Charles Burke, a half-brother of Mr. Jefferson who considers Burke's
the best Rip Van Winkle of the trio. He was the author of his own version
of the play. Concerning his "_Are we so soon forgot?_" L. Clarke Davis
quotes John S. Clarke as saying: "It fell upon the senses like the
culmination of all mortal despair, and the actor's figure, as the low
sweet tones died away, symbolized more the ruin of a representative of a
race than the sufferings of an individual. His awful loss and loneliness
seemed to clothe him with a supernatural dignity and grandeur which
commanded the sympathy and awe of his audience." Mr. Clarke adds that in
supporting Mr. Burke in this part night after night, and while perfectly
aware of what was coming, and even watching for it, when these lines were
spoken his heart seemed to rise in his throat, and his eyes were wet with
tears. The _Rip Van Winkle_ which Mr. Jefferson has played so often on
both sides of the Atlantic is his own version of the story, somewhat
elaborated by Mr. Boucicault; and Mr. Jefferson's Rip Van Winkle is Rip
Van Winkle himself.

It was Charles Burke who first discovered the possibilities lying dormant
in the character of Solon Shingle, a sort of Yankee juvenile Paul Pry, in
a two-act drama called _The People's Lawyer_, by Dr. J. S. Jones. "Yankee"
Hill and Joshua Silsbee--both admirable representatives of Yankee
character parts--played Solon Shingle as a young man, with all of the
"Down-East" characteristics which distinguish stage Down-Easters; and it
was not until he fell into the hands of Burke that he became the
simple-minded, phenomenally shrewd old man from New England, with a soul
which soared no higher than the financial value of a bar'l of apple-sass.
Until Mr. Owens, the last of the Solon Shingles, died and took Solon
Shingle with him, the drivelling old farmer from Massachusetts was as
perfect a specimen of his peculiar species as our stage has ever seen.

Judge Bardwell Slote may be called with justice "a humorous satire," which
is the subtitle given by Benjamin Woolf to the play of _The Mighty
Dollar_, in which he is found. He is a politician of the worst stamp, with
many amiable and commendable qualities. He is vulgar to an almost
impossible degree, personally offensive, and yet entirely delightful to
meet--on the stage, where Mr. Florence kept him for many hundreds of
successive nights. If he never existed in real life--and it is to be hoped
for the sake of our national credit that he did not--Mr. Florence made him
not only possible but probable.

[Illustration: JOHN T. RAYMOND.]

_The Senator_, written by David Lloyd, and retouched by Sydney Rosenfeld
for Wm. H. Crane, is a native legislator of a somewhat different type. He
is an honest politician, who may perhaps be found in the Senate of one of
the States of the nation, and even in the Upper House of the nation
itself. He is a man of energy and of what is called "snap"; he is full of
engagements which he has no time to keep; he is loquacious, of course, for
loquacity is part of his business capital; he is loud, self-made,
self-educated, self-reliant, and not always refined. His humor is
peculiarly American, and in Mr. Crane's hands he is very human.

Mr. Warner and Mr. Clemens, jointly with John T. Raymond, are responsible
for the character of Colonel Mulberry Sellers, a stage American from the
Southern States. He is quite as much exaggerated as Slote, and quite as
amusing. He can be found in part in all sections of the country, perhaps,
but as a whole, happily for the country, he does not exist at all, except
upon the stage.

The great charm of Joshua Whitcomb is that he is a real man of real New
England flesh and blood, so true to the life that when Mr. Thompson took
him to Keene, New Hampshire, not very far from Swanzey, his audiences
wanted their money back, on the ground that they got nothing for it but
what they saw, free of charge, all about them every day. "It warn't no
actin'; it was jest a lot of fellers goin' around and doin' things." The
manner in which Mr. Thompson goes about in _The Old Homestead_, and does
things, is the perfection of art; and if he is not the best of his class,
it is not because he is the least natural and the least lovable.

It is a curious commentary upon the rarity of typical stage Americans of
the gentler sex that only two of any prominence have appeared of late
years, and that these are everything but gentle, and are both played by a
man. Mrs. Barney Williams and Mrs. Florence were very popular as "Yankee
gals" with a previous generation; but to Neil Burgess must we turn now for
the only correct picture of the women who are fit to mate (upon the stage)
with those heroes of the stage who fill our rural homesteads and our
legislative lobbies. The Widow Bedott, and her friend of _The County
Fair_, most assuredly are worthy of equal rights with Joshua Whitcomb and
Bardwell Slote.

[Illustration: NEIL BURGESS AS THE WIDOW BEDOTT.

Drawn by Arthur Jule Goodman, after a photograph by Falk.--From the
collection of Evert Jansen Wendell.]



SCENE V.

THE LOCAL NEW YORK DRAMA.

    "Like boys unto a muss."
                        _Antony and Cleopatra_, Act iii. Sc. 13.


The number of plays based upon life in New York, all of which are
strangely similar in title and in plot, or what must pass for plot, and
all of which have been seen upon the New York stage since the first
appearance of _Mose_, will surprise even those most familiar with our
theatrical literature. Taken almost at random from various files of old
play-bills, and from Mr. Ireland's _Records_, there were _A Glance at New
York;_ or _New York in 1848_; _New York As it Is_; _First of May in New
York_; _The Mysteries and Miseries of New York_; _Burton's New York
Directory_; _The New York Fireman_; _Fast Young Men of New York_; _Young
New York_; _The Poor of New York_; _New York by Gaslight_; _New York in
Slices_; _The Streets of New York_; _The New York Merchant and his
Clerks_; _The Ship-carpenter of New York_; _The Seamstress of New York_;
_The New York Printer_; _The Drygoods Clerk of New York_, and many more,
including _Adelle, the New York Saleslady_, which last was seen on the
Bowery side of the town as late as 1879.

These were nearly all spectacular plays, and they were usually realistic
to a degree in their representation of men and things in the lower walks
of life. Rich merchants, lovely daughters, wealthy but designing villains,
comic waiter-men, and pert chamber-maids with song and dance
accompaniment, were placed in impossible uptown parlors; but the poor but
honest printer set actual type from actual cases, and cruelly wronged but
humble maidens met disinterested detectives by real lamp-posts and real
ash-barrels, in front of what really looked like real saloons.

[Illustration: F. S. CHANFRAU AS MOSE.]

The original of all these local dramas was _New York in 1848_, or, as it
was called during its long run of twelve weeks at the Olympic in that
year, _A Glance at New York_. It was a play of shreds and patches,
hurriedly and carelessly stitched together by Mr. Baker, the prompter of
Mitchell's famous little theatre, in order to cover the nakedness of the
programme on the night of his own annual benefit. It had no literary
merit, and no pretensions thereto; and it would never have attracted
public attention but for the wonderful "B'hoy" of the period, played by F.
S. Chanfrau--one of those accidental but complete successes upon the
stage which are never anticipated, and which cannot always be explained.
He wore the "soap locks" of the period, the "plug hat," with a narrow
black band, the red shirt, the trousers turned up--without which the genus
was never seen--and he had a peculiarly sardonic curve of the lip,
expressive of more impudence, self-satisfaction, suppressed profanity, and
"general cussedness" than Delsarte ever dared to put into any single
facial gesture. Mr. Chanfrau's Mose hit the popular fancy at once, and
retained it until the Volunteer Fire Department was disbanded; and _A
Glance at New York_ was fol-lowed by _Mose in California_, _Mose in a
Muss_, and even _Mose in China_. Mr. Matthews, in an article contributed
to one of the magazines a few years ago, records the fact that during one
season Mr. Chanfrau played Mose at two New York theatres and in one
theatre in Newark on the same night.

_The Mulligan Guards_, _The Skidmores_, and their followers were the
legitimate descendants of _Mose_, and they came in with the steam-engines
and the salaried firemen, who took away the occupation and the
opportunities of Sykesy and Jake. Harrigan and Hart began their theatrical
management at the Theatre Comique, opposite the St. Nicholas Hotel, in
1876, and introduced what may be called the Irish-German-Negro-American
play, illustrating phases of tenement-house life in New York, and amusing
everybody who ever saw them, from the Babies on our Block to Muldoon
himself, the Solid Man. Mr. Harrigan wrote his own plays; both he and Mr.
Hart were inimitable in their peculiar line as actors, and they were wise
and fortunate in their selection of their company, which included Mrs.
Annie Yeamans, "Johnny" Wild, and other equally talented artists, for whom
"Dave" Braham, the leader of the orchestra, wrote original and catching
music, which was sung and whistled and ground out from one end of the
country to the other. Mr. Harrigan is a close observer and a born manager,
and his productions have been masterpieces in their way. He puts living
men and women upon the stage. He has done for a certain phase of city life
what Denman Thompson has done for life upon a farm; and he is more to be
envied than Mr. Thompson, because no class of theatre-goers enjoy his
productions more than do the living men and women whom his company, with
real art, represent. But, alas! his plays are not the _great_ American
plays for which the American dramatic critic is pining; although, like
_The Old Homestead_, and _Shenandoah_, and _Horizon_, and _Metamora_, and
_Fashion_ they approach greatness, if only in the fact that they have
introduced, and preserved, a series of purely American types which are as
great in their way as are the dramatic characters of other lands, and
greater and more enduring than many of the Americans to be found in other
branches of American literature.



SCENE VI.

THE SOCIETY DRAMA.

    "Full of most excellent differences, of very soft society, and great
    showing."--_Hamlet_, Act v. Sc. 2.


A few extracts from the prologue which Mr. Epes Sargent wrote for Mrs.
Mowatt's _Fashion_, in 1845, will give a comparatively correct picture of
the feeling which existed between native playwrights and the dramatic
critics of this country towards the end of the first half of the present
century, and will show how strong was the prejudice then existing against
dramatic works of home manufacture. The comedy was purely original; its
writer was an American, and a woman; its scenes were laid in the city of
New York; and _Fashion_ was emphatically an American play.

At the rising of the curtain on the opening night Mr. Crisp was discovered
reading a newspaper; and he spoke as follows, the italics being Mr.
Sargent's own:

    "_Fashion_, a Comedy! I'll go--but stay--
    Now I read farther, 'tis a _native_ play!
    Bah! home-made calicoes are well enough,
    But home-made dramas _must_ be stupid stuff.
    Had it the _London_ stamp 'twould do; but then
    For plays we lack the manners and the men!
      Thus speaks _one_ critic--hear _another's_ creed:
    _Fashion!_ What's here? [_Reads._] It never can succeed!
    What! from a _woman's_ pen? It takes a _man_
    To write a comedy--no woman can!

      *       *       *       *       *

    But, sir--but, gentlemen--you, sir, who think
    No comedy can flow from _native_ ink--
    Are we such _perfect_ monsters, or such _dull_,
    That wit no traits for ridicule can cull?
    Have we no follies here to be redressed?
    No vices gibbeted? No crimes confessed?

      *       *       *       *       *

    Friends, from these scoffers we appeal to you!
    Condemn the _false_, but, oh, applaud the _true_!
    Grant that _some_ wit may grow on native soil,
    And Art's fair fabric rise from _woman's_ toil!
    While we exhibit but to _reprehend_
    The social vices, 'tis for _you_ to mend!"

The audience was long and loud in its applause of the prologue, but the
play was so well written, so well represented, and so deserving of success
that Mrs. Mowatt and Mr. Sargent might have spared themselves their
appeal to the sympathy of the general public. The critics, as a rule, were
well disposed, although Edgar Allan Poe, one of the sternest of them, said
that _Fashion_ resembled _The School for Scandal_, to which some of its
admirers had likened it, as the shell resembles the living locust; a
stricture which was hardly just. _Fashion_ created an excitement in the
theatrical world that had not been known for years before, and has hardly
been equalled since. It was said, and with some truth, to have revived the
drama in this country, and to have reawakened a declining taste for
dramatic representations of the higher and purer kind. It was almost the
first attempt made to exhibit on our stage a correct picture of American
society and manners, and although it was a satire on a certain _parvenu_
class, conspicuous then as now in the metropolis, and always likely to
exist here, it was a kindly, good-natured satire that did not intend to
wound even when it was most pointed. Several familiar New York types were
faithfully and cleverly represented: the millionaire merchant, vulgar,
self-made, proud of his maker; and his wife, uneducated, pretentious,
devoted to dress and display, seeking to marry her daughter to the
adventurous foreigner who is not yet obsolete in the "upper circles" of
metropolitan society. There were besides these, in the underplot, a rich
old Cattaraugus farmer, his granddaughter (a dependant in the merchant's
family), a prying old maid, a black servant, a poet, and a fashionable
selfish man of the world. All of these were well drawn and natural. The
situations were probable, and had existed and do exist in real life, while
the language was bright and pure. The dramatic critic of the _Albion_,
then a leading and influential journal, pronounced _Fashion_ to be "the
best American comedy in existence, and one that sufficiently indicated
Mrs. Mowatt's ability to write a play that would rank among the first of
the age." Mrs. Mowatt, however, was the author of but one other successful
drama, _Armand, the Child of the People_. It was first played at the Park
Theatre on September 27, 1847; while _Fashion_ itself has not been put
upon the stage here in many years, and is almost forgotten, although its
influence is still felt. Its popularity endured longer, perhaps, than that
of any of its contemporaries; it was played throughout the United States,
and was well received by London and English provincial audiences. The
oblivion into which it has fallen now should by no means be ascribed to
its want of merit, the fashion of the time having changed.

[Illustration: EPES SARGENT.]

The comedy was produced at the Park Theatre on the 24th of March, 1845.
The _Herald_ of the next day said it had one of the best houses ever seen
in New York; boxes, pit, and gallery were crowded; all of the _literati_
of the city were present, with a tolerable sprinkling of the _élite_--the
_Herald's_ distinction between the _élite_ and _literati_ might have
suggested another satirical play--and the comedy was enthusiastically
received. Its initial cast was a very strong one and worthy of
preservation. William Chippendale played Adam Trueman, the farmer; William
H. Crisp, the elder, was Count Jolimaitre, the fraudulent nobleman; John
Dyott was Colonel Howard, of the United States Army, in love with
Gertrude; Thomas Barry was Tiffany, the wealthy merchant; T. B. De Walden,
author of _Sam_, _The Baroness_, and other plays, was T. Tennyson Twinkle,
a modern poet; John Fisher played Snobson, the confidential clerk, and Mr.
Skerrett Zeke, a colored servant. None of these gentlemen are known to our
stage to-day, but without exception they were as great in the various
lines in which they were cast as could then be found in America. In the
ladies of its first representations _Fashion_ was equally fortunate, and
Mrs. Mowatt herself, in her _Autobiography_, writes that she felt much of
the great success of the play to be justly due to the cleverness of the
players. Mrs. Barry--the first Mrs. Barry, who died in 1854--represented
the would-be lady of fashion; Miss Kate Horn (Mrs. Buckland), Seraphina
Tiffany, her daughter; Miss Clara Ellis, a young Englishwoman, who
remained but a few years in this country, was the Gertrude; Mrs. Dyott was
Millinette, the French maid; and Mrs. Edward Knight (Mary Ann Povey)
played Prudence, the maiden lady of a certain age. The part of Adam
Trueman, the blunt, old-fashioned, warm-hearted farmer, with his
unfashionable energy and sturdy common-sense, pointing homely morals and
bursting social bubbles--"Seventy-two last August, man! Strong as a
hickory, and every whit as sound"--was for many years a favorite with the
representatives of "character old men" on our stage. Mr. Blake, the
original Adam in Philadelphia, was particularly happy in the _rôle_,
playing it many times in New York; and E. L. Davenport made a decided hit
as Adam at the Olympic in London, in January, 1850, when the comedy was
first produced in England. Mr. Davenport on this occasion had the support
of his wife, who played Gertrude, and who was then still billed as Miss
Fanny Vining.

There is no record of Mrs. Mowatt's appearance in _Fashion_, except on one
evening in Philadelphia, when she played Gertrude for the benefit of Mr.
Blake, and once in New York--at the Park, May 15, 1846. She felt that the
character gave her no great opportunity, and she never attempted it again.

[Illustration: ANNA CORA MOWATT RITCHIE.]

Mrs. Mowatt's career as an actress was very remarkable. She was one of
the few persons of adult years who, going upon the stage without the
severe training and long apprenticeship so necessary even to indifferent
dramatic success, display anything like brilliant dramatic qualities. She
was an actress and a "star" born, not made. Her reasons for adopting the
profession were as remarkable as the triumphs she won; her success as a
playwright encouraging her, she said, to attempt to achieve like favor as
a player. Every one familiar with the history of the theatre since it has
had a history knows well how great is the distinction between producer and
performer, and how few are the actors who have written clever plays, how
few the authors who have become distinguished as actors upon the stage.
The popularity of Miss Elizabeth Thompson's battle pictures would not
encourage her to attempt to lead armies in the field; gun-makers are
proverbially poor marksmen; and Von Bülow would never succeed were he to
attempt the construction of a grand-piano.

Mrs. Mowatt, however, had stronger inducements than those given in her
_Autobiography_ for the step she took. In looking back upon her life, she
felt that all of her tastes, studies, and pursuits from childhood had
combined to make her an actress. She had exhibited a passion for
theatrical entertainments when she was little more than an infant; she
had written plays, such as they were, before she had seen the inside of a
theatre, and she had played in an amateur way before she had ever seen a
professional performance. Above and beyond all of these things she was a
woman of uncommon intelligence and grace, almost a genius. She had, with
some success, given public readings. She felt the stage to be her destiny.
She determined that her destiny should be fulfilled, and she became a good
actress if not absolutely a great one, and seemingly with little effort
and few rebuffs. The pleasant account she has given of her own theatrical
experiences, and her touching and beautiful defence of those women who
make their living on the stage, have encouraged many ladies who have felt
themselves gifted with similar talents, and possessed of like ambitions
and aspirations, to make the same attempts, and generally to fail.

There have been _débutantes_ enough in New York since the _début_ of Mrs.
Mowatt to fill to overflowing the auditorium of any single city theatre,
could they be gathered under one roof to witness the first effort of the
next aspirant, whoever she may be. During the season of 1876-77 alone, not
less than seven ladies--Mrs. Louise M. Pomeroy, Miss Bessie Darling, Miss
Anna Dickinson, Mrs. J. H. Hackett, Miss Minnie Cummings, Miss Marie
Wainwright, and Miss Adelaide Lennox--in leading parts made their first
bows to metropolitan audiences, without training or experience; and the
season was not considered a particularly strong one in _débutantes_ at
that. For much of this Mrs. Mowatt, unconsciously and unwittingly, was
responsible. Her sudden success turned many heads, while the equally
sudden failures, not recorded, but very many in number, have been quite
forgotten, and will be still ignored as long as there are new Camilles and
new Juliets to achieve greatness at one fell swoop, and as long as there
are unwise friends and speculative managers to encourage them. The careers
of these candidates for dramatic fame, as they are familiar to the world,
are certainly not inspiring to their foolish sisters who would follow
them. A few still in the profession are filling, creditably but
ingloriously, humble positions; a very small proportion have by the
hardest of work become prominent and popular; but the great majority,
dispirited and disheartened, have gone back to the private life from which
they sprung, without song, without honor, and without tears, except the
many tears they have shed themselves.

Mrs. Mowatt was never behind the scenes of a theatre until she was taken
to witness a rehearsal of _Fashion_ the day before its first production.
Her second passage through a "stage door" was when she had her single
rehearsal of _The Lady of Lyons_, in which she made her _début_, and she
became an actress, and a triumphant one, three weeks after her
determination to go upon the stage was formed. Her house was crowded, the
applause was genuine and discriminating, and one gentleman, wholly
unprejudiced and of great experience, publicly pronounced it "the best
first appearance" he ever saw.

The performance took place at the Park Theatre, New York, on the 13th of
June, 1845, less than three months after the production of her comedy. The
occasion was the benefit of Mr. Crisp, who had given her the little
instruction her limited time permitted her to receive, and who played
Claude to her Pauline, Mrs. Vernon representing Madame Deschapelles. While
she writes candidly in her _Autobiography_ of her hopes, her experiences,
and her trials, she modestly says but little of the decided praise from
all quarters which she certainly received, the account of her success here
given being taken from current journals and from the recollections of old
theatre-goers, not from her own story of her theatrical life.

On the 13th of July of the same year (1845) Mrs. Mowatt appeared at
Niblo's Garden, playing a very successful engagement of two weeks,
supported by Messrs. Crisp, Chippendale, E. L. Davenport, Thomas Placide,
Nickinson, John Sefton, and Mrs. Watts, afterwards Mrs. Sefton. Here she
assumed her second _rôle_, that of Juliana in the _Honeymoon_, and more
than strengthened the favorable impression she had made as Pauline.

During the first year she was upon the stage she acted more than two
hundred nights, and in almost every important city in the United States,
playing Lady Teazle, Mrs. Haller in _The Stranger_, Lucy Ashton in the
_Bride of Lammermoor_, Katherine in the _Taming of the Shrew_, Julia,
Juliet, and all of the then most popular characters in the line of
juvenile tragedy and comedy. The amount of labor, physical and mental, she
endured during this period must have been enormous; and the intellectual
strain alone was enough to have destroyed the strongest mental
constitution. In the history of the stage in all countries there is no
single instance of a mere novice playing so many important parts so many
nights, before so many different audiences, and winning so much and such
merited praise, as did this lady during the first twelve months of her
career as an actress.

Mrs. Mowatt went to England in the autumn of 1847, where her success was
as marked as in her own country, and more, perhaps, to her professional
credit. She had to contend with a certain prejudice against her
nationality, which still existed in Britain; she was compared with the
leading English actresses of long experience in their own familiar
_rôles_, and she could not depend upon the social popularity and personal
good-will which were so strongly in her favor at home. Her English _début_
was made in Manchester a few weeks after her arrival. Her first appearance
in London was at the Princess's Theatre on the 5th of January, 1848; Mr.
Davenport, who had played opposite characters to her during her American
tours, giving her excellent support during her English engagements. She
returned to America in the summer of 1851, greatly improved in her
personal appearance and in her art. Her subsequent career here, as long as
she remained upon the stage, was marked with uniform success, the
reputation she had acquired on the other side of the water establishing
even more strongly her claims on this.

Mrs. Mowatt, after nine years of experience as an actress, took her
farewell of the stage at Niblo's Garden on the evening of the 3d of June,
1854. As her _Autobiography_ was published during the preceding year her
reason for this step is not given, unless it was her marriage to Mr.
Ritchie a few days later. The occasion was very interesting. A
testimonial signed by many of the leading citizens, and highly
eulogistic, was presented to her, and her last appearance created as great
an excitement in the dramatic and social world as did her first. The play
selected was _The Lady of Lyons_, the same in which she made her _dêbut_.
Old play-goers who still remember her consider her one of the most
satisfactory Paulines who have been seen in this country, and the part was
always a favorite of her own. On the last play-bill which contains her
name are found as her support the names of Walter G. Keeble, who played
Claude; of George H. Andrews, then a favorite "old man," who played
Colonel Damas; of T. B. De Walden, who played Glavis; and of Mrs. Mann,
who played Madame Deschapelles. Mrs. Mowatt never again appeared here, or
elsewhere, in any public capacity.

Anna Cora Ogden was born in Bordeaux, France, during a visit of her
parents to that country in 1819. She married James Mowatt, a young lawyer
of New York, when she was only fifteen years of age. Her first appearance
as a public reader was made in Boston in 1841--Mr. Mowatt's financial
troubles leading her to seek that means of contributing to her own
support. During this same year she gave readings in the hall of the old
Stuyvesant Institute in New York. In 1845, as has been shown above, she
became an actress. Mr. Mowatt died in London in the spring of 1851. On the
7th of June, 1854, she was married (on Staten Island) to William F.
Ritchie, of the Richmond _Enquirer_, and she died in the little English
village of Henley-on-the-Thames in the month of July, 1870, Mr. Ritchie
surviving her some years, and dying in Lower Brandon, Virginia, on the
24th of April, 1877.

Mrs. Mowatt is described, by those who remember her in the first flush of
her youth and her success, as "a fascinating actress and accomplished
lady; in person fragile and exquisitely delicate, with a face in whose
calm depths the beautiful and pure alone were mirrored, a voice ever soft,
gentle, and low, a subdued earnestness of manner, a winning witchery of
enunciation, and a grace and refinement in every action"; and it was felt
by her admirers that she would have become, had she remained longer in the
profession, a consummate artist--one of the greatest this country has ever
produced.

After her retirement, and until the breaking out of the civil war, her
home in Richmond, Virginia, was the centre of all that was refined and
cultured in the Southern capital. She devoted herself to literature and to
her social and family cares, writing during this period her _Mimic Life;
or, Before and Behind the Curtain_, in which she spoke so many kind and
encouraging words of her sisters in the profession, particularly of the
ballet girls and the representatives of small and thankless parts, who
contribute in their quiet way so much to the public amusement, and who too
often, by authors and public, are entirely ignored. Among her more
important works, other than those already mentioned here, written in her
youth and later life, was _Gulzara; or, The Persian Slave_, a play without
heroes, the scenes of which were laid within the walls of a Turkish harem,
and which was chiefly remarkable from the fact that the only male
character in the _dramatis personæ_ was a boy of ten years.

Marion Harland, in her _Recollections of a Christian Actress_, printed a
few years ago, has paid the highest tribute to the personal worth of Mrs.
Mowatt. What she accomplished during her professional life has, in a
manner, been shown here. She was a representative American woman of whom
American women have every reason to be proud; and as the writer of the
first absolutely American society play, she must be forgiven the harm her
brilliant and easy success as an actress has, by its example, since done
to the American stage.

Very few of our earlier native dramatists followed the fashion set by Mrs.
Mowatt in writing original plays of American social life. "Plays of
contemporaneous society," as they were called, were popular and fairly
successful here; but they were the charming home comedies of men like
Byron or Robertson, thoroughly English in character and tone, or they were
taken from the French and the German, with purely foreign incidents and
scenes. Some of these were "localized," and thus became cruel libels upon
American men and manners, except upon such Americans as are influenced by
the worship of _The Mighty Dollar_, or such as are to be found only in
_Our Boarding-houses_, and _Under the Gas-light_. The New York play-goer
of thirty years since looked in vain upon the stage for the domestic
stories of American city and country life which he found in the then new
novels of Theodore Winthrop, or in the then familiar poems of Dr. Holland.
Until Joshua Whitcomb appeared we saw no American Peter Probity in an
American _Chimney Corner_; and until Bronson Howard and David Lloyd and
Brander Matthews and Edgar Fawcett began to write American plays we saw no
American Haversack in an American _Old Guard_--not even an American Peter
Teazle or an American John Mildmay; while we could not help feeling that
_Still Waters Run as Deep_ in this country as they run in the old, and
that the _School for Scandal_ in real life has as many graduates and
undergraduates in the United States as it has anywhere else.

[Illustration: EDGAR FAWCETT.]

If an American character was drawn at all, he was too apt to be a Solon
Shingle or a Mose; if an American play was written at all, its scenes were
laid on _Sandy Bars_, or in the false and unhealthful atmosphere of
_Saratoga_ or _Long Branch_. While London managers presented _Orange
Blossoms_ and _Two Roses_, the managers of New York and Boston set
_Diamonds_ and _Pearls_. The English flowers were fresh and fragrant; the
American jewels, although they had a certain sparkle, were too often
paste. The exotics flourished and bloomed on our soil for a time, it is
true; but if they had been native buds they would have withered in a week,
or else, like so many other indigenous plants, have been left to waste
their sweetness in the pigeon-holes of managers' desks. So strong was this
unnatural prejudice against the production of an American picture of
American home-life upon the American stage, that in one of the brightest
American comedies ever taken from the French Mr. Hurlburt was forced to go
abroad with his characters, and to place his _Americans in Paris_.

All this is not so true of the stage of to-day as it was at the beginning
of the second century of our national drama. Scores of native writers,
during the past decade or two, have presented American plays which have
been clean and clever, even if they have not yet become classic. But it
is a striking fact that the first three original "society plays" which
were in any way successful upon the American stage were from the pens of
women--Mrs. Mowatt's _Fashion_, Mrs. Bateman's _Self_, and Miss Heron's
_The Belle of the Season_--and that since their production the name of a
woman has very rarely appeared upon the bills as the author of a play.

During the ten years which followed the first performance of _Fashion_ it
had a few rivals--comedies and dramas, satirical or otherwise--which
treated, or pretended to treat, of that which asserts itself to be "the
higher stratum of American society." Among the longer lived of these were
_Extremes_, a local New York play, which ran for three weeks at the
Broadway Theatre in 1850; a dramatization of Mr. Curtis's _Potiphar
Papers_, brought out at Burton's Theatre in 1854, in which Charles Fisher
made a great hit as Creamcheese; and Mr. De Walden's _Upper Ten and Lower
Twenty_, also at Burton's, in 1854, in which Mr. Burton himself, as
Christopher Crookpath, a serious part, was a genuine surprise to his
audience, and created a profound impression. _Extremes_, by a Baltimore
gentleman, was never repeated here; the version of Mr. Curtis's
work--happily called _Our Best Society_--was merely an adaptation; Mr. De
Walden was not a native writer; and only one of these productions, and
that one the least successful, was an original American play.

[Illustration: BRANDER MATTHEWS.]

"_Self_, an original New York comedy in three acts," by Mrs. H. L.
Bateman, was seen for the first time in New York at Mr. Burton's Chambers
Street house on the 27th of October, 1856. The plot was slight, and the
play was long and a trifle dull. It was the story of a young girl (Mrs. E.
L. Davenport) with a few thousands of dollars of her own, which both of
her parents were determined to possess. She gave the money to her father
(Charles Fisher); the mother (Mrs. Amelia Parker) instigated the son (A.
Morton) to forge a check for the amount; the forgery was discovered; the
girl, to save her mother and her brother, confessed the crime which she
did not commit, and was turned out-of-doors in ignominy and disgrace, Mr.
Burton, the traditional stage uncle, rescuing and righting her in the end.
All of this was not new, was not cheerful, and, it is to be hoped, was not
"society"; but it was received with great praise, and it took its place in
popular favor by the side of Mrs. Mowatt's comedy. _Self_ was frequently
repeated in New York, notably at Wallack's Theatre, now the Star, in the
Summer of 1869, when it introduced John E. Owens as Unit, and where it ran
for three weeks, Miss Effie Germon playing the heroine, and playing it
well. Mr. Owens made of Unit what is called a "star part." It gave him an
opportunity for the display of his peculiar comedy powers, and he
presented it with a variety and force of expression which was not always
to be seen in his acting. In it he appealed more to the hearts of his
audiences than in Solon Shingle; and, next to his Caleb Plummer, his Unit
is the pleasantest and most perfect picture he has left in the memory of
his friends.

Mrs. Bateman was the daughter of Joseph Cowell, a well-known theatrical
manager in the South and West, who came to this country from England in
1821, and whose _Thirty Years Among the Players_ is known to all
collectors of dramatic books. She went upon the stage at New Orleans in
1837 or 1838, but did not long remain an actress. She was successful as a
manager; and she was the author of _Geraldine_, a tragedy, and of a
dramatization of Longfellow's _Evangeline_. For many years she was known
only as the mother of the Bateman Children.

At Winter Garden, on the evening of March 12, 1862, Miss Matilda Heron
produced for the first time _The Belle of the Season_, advertised as "a
new and original home play," and as written by Miss Heron herself. Its
scenes were laid in the parks of Niagara and in Fifth Avenue
drawing-rooms, but it suggested too many familiar plays of _The Lady of
Lyons_ school to be altogether free from the suspicion of imitation. That
it came from Miss Heron's own brain and pen, however, there could be
little doubt; it had, as a literary effort, many of the faults and virtues
and strong characteristics so curiously blended in the acting of its
author. The production, as a whole, was what is termed "emotional," the
part of the heroine being peculiarly so. Unquestionably Miss Heron wrote
it to fit herself, and unquestionably it did not fit her so well as did
Camille, upon which so much of her fame as an actress now rests. She had
all of an author's fondness for the part and for the play. She considered
both her greatest works. She produced the comedy many times in many cities
of the Union, not always to the benefit of her purse or of her
professional reputation, and when urged by her business manager to
withdraw it altogether, she is said to have replied, with characteristic
determination, that _The Belle of the Season_ she wanted to play, _The
Belle of the Season_ she would play, and that when she died she wished
nothing placed over her grave but the epitaph, "Here lies _The Belle of
the Season_!"

[Illustration: BRONSON HOWARD.]

Matilda Heron was one of the most remarkable actresses our stage has ever
produced. With an intensity and passion in her performances which, at
times, were magnificent and carried everything before them, she displayed
professional shortcomings and infirmities which were often glaring and
unpardonable; but she made and held, by the force of her own genius--and
genius she certainly possessed--a position which few modern actresses have
ever reached. Her personal faults were of the head rather than of the
heart, and may they now rest lightly on her!

Miss Heron's immediate successors as native playwrights of society dramas
were Miss Olive Logan, with _Surf; or, Summer Scenes at Long Branch_, at
Daly's Theatre in 1870; Bronson Howard, with _Saratoga_ in 1870-71, with
_Diamonds_ in 1873, and with _Moorcroft_ in 1874; James Steele Mackaye,
with _Marriage_ in 1873; and Andrew C. Wheeler, with _Twins_, and Mr.
Marsden, with _Clouds_, in 1876.

Anything like an enumeration of the original American society plays
written and produced here during the last ten or fifteen years is not
possible within the limits of a single chapter. They have been very many,
and of all degrees of merit, the best and most creditable perhaps being
_Young Mrs. Winthrop_, _Old Love Letters_, _A Gold Mine_, _Esmeralda_,
_Conscience_, and _The Charity Ball_; but how long these are to live, and
how they are to be regarded by the next generation--if the next
generation has ever a chance to regard them at all--of course remains to
be seen. _Fashion_, the first of the lot, survives only in its printed
form, and the shell of the locust gives but a faint dry rattle, while the
locust itself is as much alive as when _The School for Scandal_ was first
seen in America over a century ago. Have we a Sheridan among us? or is he
still twenty years away?



ACT II.

THE AMERICAN STAGE NEGRO.



THE AMERICAN STAGE NEGRO.

    _Bottom_: "I have a reasonable good ear in music: let's have the tongs
    and the bones."--_Midsummer Night's Dream_, Act iv. Sc. 1.


Shakspere's Moor of Venice was one of the earliest of the stage negroes,
as he is one of the best. If the _Account of the Revels_ be not a forgery,
he appeared before the court of the first English James in 1604, and he
certainly was seen at the Globe Theatre, on the Bankside, on the 30th of
April, 1610. Othello is hardly the typical African of the modern drama,
although Roderigo speaks of him as having thick lips, and notwithstanding
the fact that he himself is made to regret, in the third act of the
tragedy, that he is "black, and has not those soft parts of conversation
that chamberers have." Shakspere unquestionably believed that the Moors
were negroes; and as he made Verges and Dogberry cockney watchmen, and
altered history, geography, and chronology to suit himself and the
requirements of the stage, so he meant to invest his Moorish hero with all
of the personal attributes, as well as with all of the moral
characteristics, of the negroes as they were known to Englishmen in
Shakspere's day.

_Othello_ was followed, in 1696, by _Oroonoko_, a tragedy in five acts, by
Thomas Southerne. The real Oroonoko was an African prince stolen from his
native kingdom of Angola during the reign of Charles the Second, and sold
as a slave in an English settlement in the West Indies. Aphra Behn saw and
became intimate with him at Surinam, when her father was
Lieutenant-General of the islands, and made him the hero of the tale upon
which the dramatist based his once famous play. With the more humble
slaves by whom he was surrounded, the stage Oroonoko spoke in the stilted
blank-verse of the dramatic literature of that period, and without any of
the accent or phraseology of the original West Indian blacks. Mr. Pope was
the creator of Oroonoko; and the part was a favorite one of the elder Kean
in England and of the elder Booth in this country. It has not been seen
upon either stage in many years. Oroonoko, of course, had a black skin and
woolly hair. When Jack Bannister, who began his career as a tragic actor,
said to Garrick that he proposed to attempt the hero of Southerne's drama,
he was told by the great little man that, in view of his extraordinarily
thin person, he would "look as much like the character as a chimney-sweep
in consumption!" It was to Bannister, on this same occasion, that
Garrick uttered the well-known aphorism, "Comedy is a very serious thing!"

[Illustration: CHARLES DIBDIN AS MUNGO.]

Mungo was a stage negro of a very different stamp, and the first of his
race. He figured in _The Padlock_, a comic opera, words by Isaac
Bickerstaffe, music by Charles Dibdin, first presented at Drury Lane in
1768. Mungo was the slave of Don Diego, a West Indian planter. It was
written for and at the suggestion of John Moody, who had been in
Barbadoes, where he had studied the dialect and the manners of the blacks.
He never played the part, however, which was originally assumed by Dibdin
himself. Mungo sang:

    "Dear heart, what a terrible life I am led!
    A dog has a better that's sheltered and fed.
        Night and day 'tis the same;
        My pain is deir game;
    Me wish to de Lord me was dead!
        Whate'er's to be done
        Poor black must run.
        Mungo here, Mungo dere,
        Mungo everywhere;
        Above and below,
        Sirrah, come, sirrah, go;
        Do so, and do so.
        Oh! oh!
    Me wish to de Lord me was dead!"

This is a style of ballad which has been very popular with Mungo's
descendants ever since. It may be added that Mungo got drunk in the second
act, and was very profane throughout.

The great and original Mungo in America was Lewis Hallam, the younger, who
first played the part in New York, and for his own benefit, on the 29th of
May, 1769, at the theatre in John Street. Dunlap says, "In _The Padlock_
Mr. Hallam was unrivalled to his death, giving Mungo with a truth derived
from the study of the negro slave character which Dibdin, the writer,
could not have conceived." Mungo is never seen in the present time. Ira
Aldridge, the negro tragedian, played Othello and Mungo occasionally on
the same night in his natural skin; but Mungo may be said to have
virtually died with Hallam, and to have gone to meet Oroonoko in that land
of total oblivion to which Othello is destined to be a stranger for many
years to come.

[Illustration: IRA ALDRIDGE AS OTHELLO.]

In 1781 a pantomime entitled _Robinson Crusoe_ was presented at Drury
Lane. It was believed by the editor of the _Biographia Dramatica_ to have
been "contrived by Mr. Sheridan, whose powers, if it really be his
performance, do not seem adapted to the production of such kind of
entertainments. The scenery, by Loutherbourg, has a very pleasing effect,
but, considered in every other light, it is a truly insipid exhibition."
Friday, in coffee-colored tights and blackened face, was naturally a
prominent figure. The pantomime was produced at the Theatre Royal, Bath,
during the next year, when Mr. Henry Siddons appeared as one of the
savages. This gentleman, who played Othello on the same boards a few
seasons later, is only remembered now as having given his name to the
greatest actress who ever spoke the English tongue. This same _Robinson
Crusoe and Harlequin Friday_ was seen at the John Street Theatre, New
York, on the 11th of January, 1786; while at the Park Theatre on the 11th
of September, 1817, Mr. Bancker played Friday in _The Bold Buccaneers; or,
The Discovery of Robinson Crusoe_, a melodrama which was very popular in
its day.

Charles C. Moreau, of New York, possesses a very curious and almost unique
bill of "The African Company," at "The Theatre in Mercer Street, in the
rear of the 1 Mile Stone, Broadway." _Tom and Jerry_ was presented by a
number of gentlemen and ladies entirely unknown to dramatic fame, and the
performance concluded with the pantomime of _Obi: or, Three Finger'd
Jack_. Unfortunately the bill is not dated. Mr. Ireland believes this to
have been a company of negro amateurs who played in New York about 1820 or
1821, but who have left no other mark upon the history of the stage; and
the historians know nothing of the "theatre" they occupied. Broadway at
Prince Street is one mile from the City Hall, although the stone recording
this fact has long since disappeared.

A number of stage negroes will be remembered by habitual theatre-goers,
and students of the drama--two very different things, by-the-way, for the
man who sees plays rarely reads them, and _vice versa_: Zeke, in Mrs.
Mowatt's _Fashion_; Pete, in _The Octoroon_; Uncle Tom; Topsy, whom
Charles Reade called "idiopathic"; a cleverly conceived character in
Bronson Howard's _Moorcraft_; and the delightful band of "Full Moons," led
for many seasons by "Johnny" Wild at Harrigan and Hart's Theatre, who were
so absolutely true to the life of Thompson Street and South Fifth Avenue.

[Illustration]

In the absence of anything like a complete and satisfactory history of
negro minstrelsy, it is not possible to discover its genesis, although it
is the only branch of the dramatic art, if properly it can claim to be an
art at all, which has had its origin in this country, while the melody it
has inspired is certainly our only approach to a national music. Scattered
throughout the theatrical literature of the early part of the century are
to be found many different accounts of the rise and progress of the
African on the stage, each author having his own particular "father of
negro song." Charles White, an old Ethiopian comedian and manager, gives
the credit to Gottlieb Graupner, who appeared in Boston in 1799, basing
his statement upon a copy of Russell's _Boston Gazette_ of the 30th of
December of that year, which contains an advertisement of a performance to
be given on the date of publication at the Federal Street Theatre. At the
end of the second act of _Oroonoko_, according to Mr. White, Mr.
Graupner, in character, sang "The Gay Negro Boy," accompanying the air
with the banjo; and although the house was draped in mourning for General
Washington, such was the enthusiasm of the audience that the performer had
to bring his little bench from the wings again and again to sing his song.
W. W. Clapp, Jr., in his _History of the Boston Stage_, says that the news
of the death of Washington was received in that city on the 24th of
December, and that the theatre remained "closed for a week;" and was
reopened with "A Monody," in which "Mrs. Barrett, in the character of the
Genius of America, appeared weeping over the Tomb of her Beloved Hero";
but there is no mention, then or later, of Mr. Graupner or of "The Gay
Negro Boy."

Mr. White says further that "the next popular negro song was 'The Battle
of Plattsburg,' sung by an actor vulgarly known as 'Pig-Pie Herbert,' at a
theatre in Albany, in 1815"; but H. D. Stone, in a volume called _The
Drama_, published in Albany in 1873, credits "a member of the theatrical
company of the name of Hop Robinson" as the singer of the song; while
"Sol" Smith, an eye-witness of this performance, gives still another and
very different account of it. According to Smith's _Autobiography_
published by Messrs. Harper and Brothers in 1868, Andrew Jackson Allen
produced at the Green Street Theatre in Albany, in 1815, a drama called
_The Battle of Lake Champlain_, the action taking place on real ships
floating in real water. "In this piece," says Smith, "Allen played the
character of a negro, and sang a song of many verses (being the first
negro song, I verily believe, ever heard on the American stage)." Two
verses of this ballad, quoted by Smith "from memory," will give a very
fair idea of its claims to popularity:

    "Backside Albany stan' Lake Champlain--
      Little pond half full of water;
    Plat-te-burg dar too, close 'pon de main:
      Town small; he grow big, dough, herea'ter.

    "On Lake Champlain Uncle Sam set he boat,
      An' Massa Macdonough he sail 'em;
    While General Macomb make Plat-te-burg he home,
      Wid de army whose courage nebber fail 'em."

Andrew Allen was a very quaint character, and he deserves a paragraph to
himself. Born in the city of New York in 1776, he appeared, according to
his own statement, as a page in _Romeo and Juliet_ at the theatre in John
Street in 1786, on the strength of which, as the oldest living actor, he
assumed for years before his death the title of "Father of the American
Stage." He was more famous as a cook than as a player, however, and he is
the subject of innumerable theatrical anecdotes, none of which are greatly
to his credit. He was called "Dummy Allen" because he was very deaf and
exceedingly loquacious; he adored the hero of New Orleans, whose name he
appropriated when Jackson was elected President of the United States; and
he was devoted to Edwin Forrest, whose costumer, dresser, and personal
slave he was for many years. He invented and patented a silver leather
much used in the decoration of stage dresses; and he kept a restaurant in
Dean Street, Albany, and later a similar establishment near the Bowery
Theatre, New York, being a very familiar figure in the streets of both
cities. Mr. Phelps, in his _Players of a Century_ (Albany, New York,
1880), describes him in his later years as tall and erect in person, with
firmly compressed features, an eye like a hawk's, nose slightly
Romanesque, and hair mottled gray. He wore a fuzzy white hat, a coat of
blue with bright brass buttons, and carried a knobby cane. He spoke in a
sharp, decisive manner, often giving wrong answers, and invariably
mistaking the drift of the person with whom he was conversing. He died in
New York in 1853, and Mr. Phelps preserves the inscription upon his
monument at Cypress Hills Cemetery, which was evidently his own
composition: "From his cradle he was a scholar; exceedingly wise,
fair-spoken, and persuading; lofty and sour to them that loved him not,
but to those men that sought him sweet as summer."

[Illustration: ANDREW JACKSON ALLEN.]

Apropos of Allen's association with Edwin Forrest, and of Smith's
assertion that Allen sang the first negro song ever sung on the American
stage, it may not be out of place here to quote W. R. Alger's _Life of
Forrest_. Speaking of Forrest's early and checkered experiences as a
strolling player in the far West, Mr. Alger says that perhaps the most
surprising fact connected with this portion of his career is "that he was
the first actor who ever represented on the stage the Southern plantation
negro with all his peculiarities of dress, gait, accent, dialect, and
manner." In 1823, at the Globe Theatre, Cincinnati, Ohio, under the
management of "Sol" Smith, Forrest did play a negro in a farce by Smith,
called _The Tailor in Distress_, singing and dancing, and winning the
compliment from a veritable black in his audience that he was "nigger all
ober!" Lawrence Barrett, in his _Life of Forrest_, quotes the bill of this
evening, which shows Forrest as a modern dandy in the first play, as
Cuffee, a Kentucky negro, in the second, and as Sancho Panza in the
pantomime of _Don Quixote_, which closed the evening's entertainment.

Forrest was by no means the only eminent American actor who hid his light
behind a black mask. "Sol" Smith himself relates how he became a
supernumerary at the Green Street Theatre, in Albany, in his fourteenth
year, playing one of the blood-thirsty associates of _Three-fingered Jack_
with a preternaturally smutty face, which he forgot to wash one eventful
night, to the astonishment of his own family, who forced him to retire for
a time to private life.

At Vauxhall Garden, in the Bowery, a little south of and nearly opposite
the site of Cooper Institute, a young lad named Bernard Flaherty, born in
Cork, Ireland, is said to have sung negro songs and to have danced negro
dances in 1838 to help support a widowed mother, who lived to see him
carried to an honored grave in 1876, mourned by the theatre-going
population of the whole country. In 1840, as Barney Williams, he made a
palpable hit in the character of Pat Rooney, in _The Omnibus_, at the
Franklin Theatre, New York. He certainly played "darky parts," such as
they were, for a number of years before and after that date; and he is
perhaps the one man upon the American stage with whom anything like negro
minstrelsy will never be associated, not so much because of his high rank
in his profession as on account of the Hibernian style of his later-day
performances, and of the strong accent which always clung to him, and
which suggested his native city rather than the cork he used to burn to
color his face.

[Illustration: BARNEY WILLIAMS IN DANDY JIM.]

In 1850, when Edwin Booth was seventeen, and a year after his _début_ as
Tressel at the Boston Museum, he gave an entertainment with John S.
Clarke, a youth of the same age, at the court-house in Belair, Maryland.
They read selections from _Richelieu_ and _The Stranger_, as well as the
quarrel scene from _Julius Cæsar_, singing during the evening (with
blackened faces) a number of negro melodies, "using appropriate
dialogue"--as Mrs. Asia Booth Clarke records in the memoir of her
brother--"and accompanying their vocal attempts with the somewhat
inharmonious banjo and bones." Mrs. Clarke reprints the programme of this
performance, and pictures the distress of the young tragedians when they
discovered, on arriving in the town, that the simon-pure negro they had
employed as an advance agent had in every instance posted their bills
upsidedown.

Mr. Booth, during his first San Francisco engagement, appeared more than
once in the character of what was then termed a "Dandy Nigger;" and he
remembers that his father, "some time in the forties," played Sam Johnson
in _Bone Squash_ at the Front Street Theatre, Baltimore, for the benefit
of an old theatrical acquaintance, and played it with great applause.
Lawrence Barrett's negro parts, in the beginning of his career, were
George Harris and Uncle Tom himself, in a dramatization of Mrs. Stowe's
famous tale.

[Illustration: RALPH KEELER.]

Among the stage negroes of later years, whom the world is not accustomed
to associate with that profession, Ralph Keeler is one of the most
prominent. His "Three Years a Negro Minstrel," first published in the
_Atlantic Monthly_ for July, 1869, and afterwards elaborated in his
_Vagabond Adventures_, is very entertaining and instructive reading, and
gives an excellent idea of the wandering minstrel life of that period. He
began his career at Toledo, Ohio, when he was not more than eleven years
of age; and under the management of the celebrated Mr. Booker, the subject
of the once famous song, "Meet Johnny Booker on the Bowling-green," he
"danced 'Juba'" in small canton-flannel knee-breeches (familiarly known as
pants) cheap lace, tarnished gold tinsel, a corked face, and a woolly wig,
to the great gratification of the Toledans, who for several months, with
pardonable pride, hailed him as their own particular infant phenomenon. At
the close of his first engagement he received what was termed a "rousing
benefit," the entire proceeds of which, as was the custom of the time,
going into the pockets of his enterprising managers. During his short
although distinguished professional life he was associated with such
artists as "Frank" Lynch, "Mike" Mitchell, "Dave" Reed, and "Professor"
Lowe, the balloonist, and he was even offered a position in E. P.
Christy's company in New York--the highest compliment which could then be
paid to budding talent. Keeler, a brilliant but eccentric writer, whose
_Vagabond Adventures_ is too good, in its way, to be forgotten so soon,
was a man of decided mark as a journalist. He went to Cuba in 1873 as
special correspondent of the New York _Tribune_, and suddenly and
absolutely disappeared. He is supposed to have been murdered and thrown
into the sea.

[Illustration: P. T. BARNUM.]

Lynch, when Keeler first knew him, had declined into the fat and slippered
end man, too gross to dance, who ordinarily played the tambourine and
the banjo, but who could, and not infrequently did, perform everything in
the orchestra, from a solo on the penny trumpet to an obligato on the
double-bass. He had been associated as a boy, in 1839 or 1840, under
Barnum's management, with "Jack" Diamond, who was "the best representative
of Ethiopian break-downs" in his day, and, according to P. T. Barnum, the
prototype of the many performers of that sort who have entertained the
public ever since. Lynch asserted that he and Barnum had appeared together
in black faces; and Mr. Barnum, in his _Autobiography_, called Mr. Lynch
"an orphan vagabond" whom he had picked up on the road; neither statement
seeming to be entirely true. Lynch was his own worst enemy, and, like so
many of his kind, he died in poverty and obscurity, his most perfect
"break-down" being his own!

It is a melancholy fact that George Holland joined Christy and Wood's
minstrels in 1857, playing female characters in a blackened face, and
dividing with George Christy the honors of a short season. He returned to
Wallack's Theatre in 1858. This is a page in dramatic history which old
play-goers do not like to read.

The name of John B. Gough, the temperance orator, occurs occasionally in
the reminiscences of old minstrels. He certainly did appear upon the
stage as a comic singer in New York and elsewhere during his early and
dissipated youth, and even gave exhibitions of ventriloquism and the like
in low bar-rooms for the sake of the few pennies he could gather to keep
himself in liquor, as he himself describes; but there is no hint in his
_Autobiography_ of his ever having appeared in a blackened face, and his
theatrical life, if it may be so called, was very short.

Joseph Jefferson, the third and present bearer of that honored name, was
unquestionably the youngest actor who ever made his mark with a piece of
burnt cork. The story of his first appearance is told by William Winter in
his volume entitled _The Jeffersons_. Coming from a family of actors, the
boy, as was natural, was reared amid theatrical surroundings, and when
only four years of age--in 1833--he was brought upon the stage by Thomas
D. Rice himself, on a benefit occasion at the Washington Theatre. Little
Joe, blackened and arrayed precisely like his senior, was carried onto the
stage in a bag upon the shoulders of the shambling Ethiopian, and emptied
from it with the appropriate couplet,

    "Ladies and gentlemen, I'd have you for to know
    I's got a little darky here to jump Jim Crow."

Mrs. John Drew, who was present, says that the boy instantly assumed
the exact attitude of Jim Crow Rice, and sang and danced in imitation of
his sable companion, a perfect miniature likeness of that long, ungainly,
grotesque, and exceedingly droll comedian.

[Illustration: JOHN B. GOUGH.]

Thomas D. Rice is generally conceded to have been the founder of Ethiopian
minstrelsy. Although, as has been seen, it did not originate with him, he
made it popular on both sides of the Atlantic, and his image deserves an
honored niche in its cathedral. The history of "Jim Crow" Rice, as he was
affectionately called for many years, has been written by many scribes and
in many different ways, the most complete and most truthful account,
perhaps, being that of Edmon S. Conner, who described in the columns of
the New York _Times_, June 5, 1881, what he saw and remembered of the
birth of Jim Crow. Mr. Conner was a member of the company at the Columbia
Street Theatre, Cincinnati, in 1828-29, when he first met Rice, "doing
little negro bits" between the acts at that house, notably a sketch he had
studied from life in Louisville the preceding summer. Back of the
Louisville theatre was a livery-stable kept by a man named Crow. The
actors could look into the stable-yard from the windows of their
dressing-rooms, and were fond of watching the movements of an old and
decrepit slave who was employed by the proprietor to do all sorts of odd
jobs. As was the custom among the negroes, he had assumed his master's
name, and called himself Jim Crow. He was very much deformed--the right
shoulder was drawn up high, and the left leg was stiff and crooked at the
knee, which gave him a painful but at the same time ludicrous limp. He
was in the habit of crooning a queer old tune, to which he had applied
words of his own. At the end of each verse he gave a peculiar step,
"rocking de heel" in the manner since so general among the many
generations of his imitators; and these were the words of his refrain:

    "Wheel about, turn about,
      Do jis so,
    An' ebery time I wheel about
      I jump Jim Crow."

[Illustration: RICE AS JIM CROW.]

Rice closely watched this unconscious performer, and recognized in him a
character entirely new to the stage. He wrote a number of verses,
quickened and slightly changed the air, made up exactly like the original,
and appeared before a Louisville audience, which, as Mr. Conner says,
"went mad with delight," recalling him on the first night at least twenty
times. And so Jim Crow jumped into fame and something that looks almost
like immortality. "Sol" Smith says that the character was first seen in a
piece by Solon Robinson, called _The Rifle_, and that he, Smith, "helped
Rice a little in fixing the tune."

Other cities besides Louisville claim Jim Crow. Francis Courtney Wemyss,
in his _Autobiography_, says he was a native of Pittsburg, whose name was
Jim Cuff; while Robert P. Nevin, in the _Atlantic Monthly_ for November,
1867, declares that the original was a negro stage-driver of Cincinnati,
and that Pittsburg was the scene of Rice's first appearance in the part--a
local negro there, whose professional career was confined to holding his
mouth open for pennies thrown to him on the docks and the streets,
furnishing the wardrobe for the initial performance.

[Illustration: THOMAS D. RICE.]

Rice was born in the Seventh Ward of New York in 1808. He was a
supernumerary at the Park Theatre, where "Sam" Cowell remembered him in
_Bombastes Furioso_ attracting so much attention by his eccentricities
that Hilson and Barnes, the leading characters in the cast, made a formal
complaint, and had him dismissed from the company Cowell; adding that this
man, whose name did not even appear in the bills, was the only actor on
the stage whom the audience seemed to notice. Cowell also describes him in
Cincinnati, in 1829, as a very unassuming modest young man, who wore "a
very queer hat, very much pointed down before and behind, and very much
cocked on one side." He went to England in 1836, where he met with great
success, laid the foundation of a very comfortable fortune, and
professionally he was the Buffalo Bill of the London of half a century
ago. Mr. Ireland, speaking of his popularity in this country, says that he
drew more money to the Bowery Theatre than any other performer in the same
period of time.

Rice was the author of many of his own farces, notably _Bone Squash_ and
_The Virginia Mummy_, and he was the veritable originator of the _genus_
known to the stage as the "dandy darky," represented particularly in his
creations of "Dandy Jim of Caroline" and "Spruce Pink." He died in 1860,
never having forfeited the respect of the public or the good-will of his
fellow-men.

[Illustration: JAMES ROBERTS.]

There were many lithographed and a few engraved portraits of Rice made
during the years of his great popularity, a number of which are still
preserved. In Mr. McKee's collection he is to be seen dancing "Jim Crow"
in English as well as in American prints--as "Gumbo Chaff," on a
flat-boat, and, in character, singing the songs "A Long Time Ago" and
"Such a Gettin' Up-stairs." In the same collection, among prints of George
Dimond and other half-remembered clog-dancers and singers, is a portrait
of John N. Smith as "Jim Along Josey," on a sheet of music published by
Firth & Hall in 1840; and, more curious and rare than any of these, upon
a musical composition, "on which copyright was secured according to law
October 7, 1824," is a picture of Mr. Roberts singing "Massa George
Washington and Massa Lafayette" in a Continental uniform and with a
blackened face. This would make James Roberts, a Scottish vocalist, who
died in 1833, the senior of Jim Crow by a number of years.

[Illustration: GEORGE WASHINGTON DIXON.]

George Washington Dixon, whose very name is now almost forgotten, also
preceded Rice in this class of entertainment, but without Rice's talent,
and with nothing like Rice's success. He sang "Coal Black Rose" and "The
Long-tailed Blue" at the old amphitheatre in North Pearl Street, Albany,
as early as 1827, and he claimed to have been the author of "Old Zip
Coon," which he sang for Allen's benefit in Philadelphia in 1834. He
became notorious as a "filibuster" at the time of the troubles in Yucatan,
and he made himself particularly offensive to a large portion of the
community as the editor of a scurrilous paper called the _Polyanthus_,
published in New York. He was caned, shot at, imprisoned for libel, and
finally forced to leave the city. He died in the Charity Hospital, New
Orleans, in 1861.

Mr. White says that in early days negro songs were sung from the backs of
horses in the sawdust ring; that Robert Farrell, "a circus actor," was the
original "Zip Coon," and that the first colored gentleman to wear "The
Long-tailed Blue" was Barney Burns, who broke his neck on a vaulting board
in Cincinnati in 1838. When the historians disagree in this confusing way,
who can possibly decide?

[Illustration: MR. DIXON AS ZIP COON.]

Rice very naturally had many imitators, and Jim Crow wheeled about the
country with considerable success, particularly when the original was in
other lands. In the collection of Mr. Moreau is a bill of "The Theatre"
(the Park), dated May 4, 1833, in which Mr. Blakeley was announced to sing
the "Comic Extravaganza of Jim Crow" between the comedy of _Laugh When You
Can_, in which he played Costly, and the melodrama of _The Floating
Beacon_, and preceded by "Signora Adelaide Ferrero in a new ballet dance
entitled 'The Festival of Bacchus';" the entertainments in those days
being varied and long. Thomas H. Blakeley was a popular representative of
what are called "second old men," Mr. Ireland pronouncing him the best
Sulky, Rowley, and Humphrey Dobbin ever seen on the New York stage: and
the fact that such a man should have appeared at a leading theatre,
between the acts, in plantation dress and with blackened face, shows
better than anything else, perhaps, the respectable position held by the
negro minstrel half a century ago.

Mr. White, so frequently quoted here, is an old minstrel who was part and
parcel of what he has more than once described in the public press, and
upon his authority the following account of the first _band_ of negro
minstrels is given. It was organized in the boarding-house of a Mrs.
Brooks, in Catherine Street, New York, late in the winter of 1842, and it
consisted of "Dan" Emmett, "Frank" Brower, "Billy" Whitlock, and "Dick"
Pelham--the name of the really great negro minstrel being always shortened
in this familiar way. According to Mr. White, they made their first
appearance in public, for Pelham's benefit, at the Chatham Theatre, New
York, on the 17th of February, 1843; later they went to other cities, and
even to Europe. This statement was verified by a fragment of autobiography
of William Whitlock, given to the New York _Clipper_ by his daughter, Mrs.
Edwin Adams, at the time of Whitlock's death. It is worth quoting here in
full, although it contains no dates: "The organization of the minstrels I
claim to be my own idea, and it cannot be blotted out. One day I asked Dan
Emmett, who was in New York at the time, to practise the fiddle and the
banjo with me at his boarding-house in Catherine Street. We went down
there, and when we had practised Frank Brower called in by accident. He
listened to our music, charmed to his soul[!]. I told him to join with the
bones, which he did. Presently Dick Pelham came in, also by accident, and
looked amazed. I asked him to procure a tambourine, and make one of the
party, and he went out and got one. After practising for a while we went
to the old resort of the circus crowd--the 'Branch,' in the Bowery--with
our instruments, and in Bartlett's billiard-room performed for the first
time as the Virginia Minstrels. A programme was made out, and the first
time we appeared upon the stage before an audience was for the benefit of
Pelham at the Chatham Theatre. The house was crammed and jammed with our
friends; and Dick, of course, put ducats in his purse."

[Illustration: DANIEL EMMETT.]

Emmett, describing this scene, places the time "in the spring of 1843,"
and says that they were all of them "end men, and all interlocutors." They
sang songs, played their instruments, danced jigs, singly and doubly, and
"did 'The Essence of Old Virginia' and the 'Lucy Long Walk Around.'"
Emmett remained upon the minstrel stage for many years; he was a member of
the Bryant troupe from 1858 to 1865, and he was the composer of many
popular songs, including "Old Dan Tucker," "Boatman's Dance," "Walk Along,
John," "Early in the Mornin'," and, according to some authorities, he was
the author of "Dixie," which afterwards became the war-song of the South.

[Illustration: CHARLES WHITE.]

Mr. White, according to a biographical sketch published in the New York
_Clipper_, was born in 1821. He played the accordion--when he was too
young to be held responsible for the offence--at Thalian Hall, in Grand
Street, New York, as long ago as 1843, and the next year organized what he
called "'The Kitchen Minstrels' on the second floor of the corner of
Broadway and Chambers Street. The first floor was occupied by Tiffany,
Young & Ellis, jewellers; the third by the renowned Ottignon as a
gymnasium. Here, where the venerable Palmo had introduced to delighted
audiences the Italian opera, and regaled them with fragrant Mocha coffee
handed around by obsequious waiters, he first came most prominently before
the public.... In 1846 he opened the Melodeon at 53 Bowery." Here, as
usual, there is a decided confusion of dates and of facts. _Valentine's
Manual_ for 1865 says, "Palmo's café, on the corner of Reade Street and
Broadway, was a popular resort from 1835 to 1840, at which later period he
abandoned his former occupation and erected the opera-house in Chambers
Street, afterwards Burton's Theatre." Joseph N. Ireland, in his _Records
of the New York Stage_, published in 1867, says--and Mr. Ireland is
usually correct--"The fourth attempt to introduce the Italian opera in New
York, and the second to give it an individual local habitation, was this
season [1843-44], made by Ferdinand Palmo, on the site long previously
occupied by Stoppani's Arcade Baths, in Chambers Street (Nos. 39 and 41),
and nearly opposite the centre of the building on the north end of the
Park originally erected for the city almshouse, and afterwards used for
various public offices.... Signor Palmo had been a popular and successful
_restaurateur_ in Broadway between the hospital and Duane Street....
Palmo's Opera-house was first opened by its proprietor on the 3d of
February, 1844"; while Charles T. Cook, of Tiffany & Co., who has been
connected with that house for over forty years, shows by its records that
Tiffany, Young & Ellis did not move to 271 Broadway, on the southwest
corner of Chambers Street, until 1847, when they occupied the second floor
as well as the first. That Sir Walter Raleigh, losing all confidence in
the infallibility of human testimony, should have thrown the second part
of his _History of the World_ into the flames is not to be wondered at!

Mr. White, nevertheless, was prominently before the public for many years
as manager and performer; he was associated with the "Virginia
Serenaders," with "The Ethiopian Operatic Brothers" (Operatic Brother
Barney Williams playing the tambourine at one end of the line); with "The
Sable Sisters and Ethiopian Minstrels;" with "The New York Minstrels,"
etc. He introduced "Dan" Bryant to the public, and has done other good
services in contributing to the healthful, harmless amusement of his
fellow-men.

[Illustration: EDWIN P. CHRISTY.]

"Christy's Minstrels, organized in 1842," was the legend for a number of
years upon the bills and advertisements of the company of E. P. Christy.
This would give it precedence of the "Virginia Minstrels" by a few months
at least. When the matter was called to the attention of Mr. Emmett, many
years later, he wrote from Chicago on the 1st of May, 1877, that after
his own band had gone to Europe a number of similar entertainments were
given in all parts of the country, and that Enam Dickinson, who had had
some experience in that line in other companies, had trained Christy's
troupe in Buffalo in all the business of the scenes, Mr. Emmett believing
that Mr. Christy simply claimed, and with truth, that he was "the first to
harmonize and originate the present style of negro minstrelsy," meaning
the singing in concert and the introduction of the various acts, which
were universally followed by other bands on both sides of the Atlantic,
and which have led our English brethren to give to all Ethiopian
entertainments the generic name of "Christy Minstrels," as they call all
top-boots "Wellingtons" and all policemen "Bobbies."

Christy's Minstrels proper began their metropolitan career at the hall of
the Mechanics' Society, 472 Broadway, near Grand Street, early in 1846,
and remained there until the summer of 1854, when Edwin P. Christy, the
leader and founder of the company, retired from business. George Christy,
who the year before had joined forces with Henry Wood at 444 Broadway,
formerly Mitchell's Olympic, took both halls after the abdication of the
elder Christy, and rattled the bones at one establishment, "Billy"
Birch, afterwards so popular in San Francisco and New York, cutting
similar capers at the other, and each performer appearing at both houses
on the same evening.

[Illustration: GEORGE CHRISTY.]

Edwin P. Christy died in May, 1862. George Harrington, known to the stage
as George Christy, died in May, 1868; while in April of the latter year
Mechanics' Hall, with which in the minds of so many old New-Yorkers they
are both so pleasantly associated, was entirely destroyed by fire, never
to be rebuilt for minstrel uses.

The contemporaries and successors of the Christys were numerous and
various. The air was full of their music, and dozens of halls in the city
of New York alone echoed the patter of their clogged feet for years. Among
the more famous of them the following may briefly be mentioned: Buckley's
"New Orleans Serenaders" were organized in 1843; they consisted of George
Swayne, Frederick, and R. Bishop Buckley, and were very popular throughout
the country. "White's Serenaders" were at the Melodeon, 53 Bowery, perhaps
as early as 1846, and certainly at White's Athenæum, 585 Broadway,
opposite the Metropolitan Hotel, as late as 1872. The Harrington Minstrels
were at Palmo's Opera-house in 1847 or 1848. Bryant's Minstrels, as their
old play-bills show, were organized in 1857, when they occupied
Mechanics' Hall; they went to the Tammany Building on Fourteenth Street in
1868, were at 730 Broadway the next year, and opened the hall on
Twenty-third Street near Sixth Avenue in 1870, where they remained until
Dan Bryant, the last of his race, died in 1875. Wood's Minstrels were at
514 Broadway, opposite the St. Nicholas Hotel, in 1862 and later. "Sam"
Sharpley's Minstrels were at 201 Bowery in 1864. "Tony" Pastor's troupe
were in the same building in 1865, where they remained two years; they
were upon the site of the Metropolitan Theatre--later Winter Garden--for a
few seasons, and until they removed to their present cosey home near
Tammany Hall. The San Francisco Minstrels were at 585 Broadway in 1865,
and in 1874 went to the more familiar hall on Broadway, opposite the
Sturtevant House, Budworth's Minstrels opened the Fifth Avenue Hall, where
the Madison Square Theatre now stands, in 1866. Kelly and Leon, who were
on Broadway on the site of Hope Chapel in 1867, where they were credited
with having "Africanized opéra bouffe," followed Budworth to the
Twenty-fourth Street house. Besides these were the companies of Morris
Brothers, of Cotton and Murphy and Cotton and Reed, of Hooley, of Haverly,
of Dockstader, of Pelham, of Pierce, of Campbell, of Pell and Trowbridge,
of Thatcher, Primrose and West, of Huntley, and of very many more, to say
nothing of the bands of veritable negroes who have endeavored to imitate
themselves in imitation of their white brethren in all parts of the land.
Brander Matthews, in an article on "Negro Minstrelsy," printed in the
London _Saturday Review_ in 1884, and afterwards published as one of the
chapters of a volume of _Saturday Review_ essays, entitled _The New Book
of Sports_ (London, 1885), describes a "minstrel show" given by the negro
waiters of one of the large summer hotels in Saratoga a few summers
before, in which, "when the curtains were drawn aside, discovering a row
of sable performers, it was perceived, to the great and abiding joy of the
spectators, that the musicians were all of a uniform darkness of hue, and
that they, genuine negroes as they were, had 'blackened up,' the more
closely to resemble the professional negro minstrel."

[Illustration: GEORGE SWAYNE BUCKLEY.]

The dignified and imposing Mr. Johnston has sat during all these years in
the centre of a long line of black comedians, which includes such artists
as "Eph" Horn, "Dan" Neil, and "Jerry" Bryant--whose real name was
O'Brien--Charles H. Fox, "Charley" White, George Christy, "Nelse"
Seymour--Thomas Nelson Sanderson--the Buckleys, J. W. Raynor, Birch,
Bernard, Wambold, Backus, "Pony" Moore, "Dan" Cotton, "Bob" Hart, "Cool"
White, "Dan" Emmett, "Dave" Reed, "Matt" Peel, "Ben" Gardner, Luke
Schoolcraft, James H. Budworth, Kelly, Leon, "Frank" Brower, S. C.
Campbell, "Gus" Howard, "Billy" Newcomb, "Billy" Gray, Aynsley Cooke,
"Hughey" Dougherty, "Tony" Hart, Unsworth, W. H. Delehanty, "Sam" Devere,
"Add" Ryman, George Thatcher, "Master Eugene," "Ricardo," "Andy" Leavitt,
"Sam" Sanford, "Lew" Benedict, "Harry" Bloodgood, "Cal" Wagner, "Ben"
Collins, and "Little Mac."

[Illustration: EPH. HORN.]

Nothing like a personal history of any of these men, who have been so
prominent upon the negro minstrel stage during the half-century of its
existence, can be given here. They have all done much to make the world
happier and brighter for a time by their public careers, and they have
left a pleasant and a cheerful memory behind them. Their gibes, their
gambols, their songs, their flashes of merriment, still linger in our eyes
and in our ears; and before many readers scores of quaint figures with
blackened faces will no doubt dance to half-forgotten tunes all over these
pages, which are too crowded to contain more than the mere mention of
their names.

[Illustration: JERRY BRYANT.]

[Illustration: NELSE SEYMOUR.]

How much of the wonderful success and popularity of the negro minstrel is
due to the minstrel, how much to the negro melody he introduced, and how
much to the characteristic bones, banjo, and tambourine upon which he
accompanied himself, is an open question. It was certainly the song, not
the singer, which moved Thackeray to write years ago: "I heard a humorous
balladist not long since, a minstrel with wool on his head, and an ultra
Ethiopian complexion, who performed a negro ballad that I confess
moistened these spectacles in a most unexpected manner. I have gazed at
thousands of tragedy queens dying on the stage and expiring in appropriate
blank-verse, and I never wanted to wipe them. They have looked up, be it
said, at many scores of clergymen without being dimmed, and behold! a
vagabond with a corked face and a banjo sings a little song, strikes a
wild note, which sets the heart thrilling with happy pity."

[Illustration: DAN. BRYANT.]

This ballad perhaps was "Nelly Bly," or "Nelly was a Lady," or "Lucy
Long," or "Oh, Susanna," or "Nancy Till," or, better than any of these,
Stephen Foster's "Way Down upon the Swanee River," a song that has touched
more hearts than "Annie Laurie" itself; for, after all, "The Girl We Left
Behind Us" is not more precious in our eyes than "The Old Folks at Home;"
and the American has sunk very low indeed of whom it cannot be said that
"he never shook his mother." Foster is utterly unappreciated by his
fellow-countrymen, who erect all their monuments to the men who make their
laws. He was the author of "Massa's in the Cold, Cold Ground," "Old Dog
Tray," "Old Uncle Ned," "Old Folks at Home," "Old Kentucky Home," "Willie,
We have Missed You," and "Come where My Love lies Dreaming." He died as he
had lived, in 1864, when he was but thirty-seven years of age, and his
"Hard Times Will Come Again No More."

Joel Chandler Harris, who is one of the best friends the plantation negro
ever had, and who certainly knows him thoroughly, startled the whole
community by writing to the _Critic_, in the autumn of 1883, that he had
never seen a banjo or a tambourine or a pair of bones in the hands of the
negroes on any of the plantations of middle Georgia with which he is
familiar; that they made sweet music with the quills, as Pan did; that
they played passably well on the fiddle, the fife, the flute, and the
bugle; that they beat enthusiastically on the triangle; but that they knew
not at all the instruments tradition had given them. That Uncle Remus,
cannot "pick" the banjo, and never even heard it "picked," seems hardly
credible; but Mr. Harris knows. Uncle Remus, however, is not a travelled
darky, and the existence of the banjo in other parts of the South has been
clearly proved. Mr. Cable quotes a creole negro ditty of before the war
in which "Musieu Bainjo" is mentioned on every line. Maurice Thompson says
the banjo is a common instrument among the field hands in North Georgia,
Alabama, and Tennessee; and he describes a rude banjo manufactured by its
dusky performer out of a flat gourd, strung with horse-hair; while we
find in Thomas Jefferson's _Notes on Virginia_, printed in 1784, the
following statement: "In music they [the blacks] are more generally gifted
than the whites with accurate ears for tune and time, and they have been
found capable of imagining a small catch." In a foot-note Jefferson adds,
"The instrument proper to them is the banjar, which they brought hither
from Africa."

[Illustration: STEPHEN C. FOSTER.]

The negro minstrel will give up his tambourine, for it is as old as the
days of the Exodus, when Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took
a timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels
and with dances; and he will give up the bones, for Miss Olive Logan, in
_Harper's Magazine_ for April, 1879, traces them back to the reign of Fou
Hi, Emperor of China, 3468 B.C., while Shakspere's King of the Fairies,
who made an ass of the hard-handed man of Athens, also treated Bottom to
the melody of the bones. He will hang up his fiddle and his bow when the
time comes, cheerfully enough, for Nero, according to tradition, fiddled
for the dancing of the flames that consumed Rome nineteen hundred years
ago. None of these are exclusively his own; but it would be very cruel to
take from him his banjo, which he evolved if he did not invent, and
without which he can be and can do nothing.



ACT III.

THE AMERICAN BURLESQUE.



THE AMERICAN BURLESQUE.

    "The best in this kind are but shadows, and the worst are no worse, if
    imagination amend them."
                              _A Midsummer-Night's Dream_, Act v. Sc. 1.


The burlesque among serious writers has a bad reputation. George Eliot, in
_Theophrastus Such_, says that it debases the moral currency; and George
Crabb, in his _English Synonymes_, thus dismisses it: "Satire and irony
are the most ill-natured kinds of wit; burlesque stands in the lowest
rank."

Burlesque, from the Italian _burlare_, "to joke," "to banter," "to play,"
has been defined as "an expression of language, a display of gesture, an
impression of countenance, the intention being to excite laughter." In art
caricature is burlesque, in literature parody is burlesque, in the drama
comic pantomime, comic opera, travesty, and extravaganza are burlesque.
All dramatic burlesque ranges under the head of farce, although all farce
is not burlesque. Burlesque is the farce of portraiture on the stage;
farce on the stage is the burlesque of events. Bret Harte's _Condensed
Novels_ and George Arnold's _McArone Papers_ are representative specimens
of burlesque in American letters; Arthur B. Frost's famous domestic cat,
who supped inadvertently upon rat poison, is an excellent example of
burlesque in American art. What America has done for burlesque on the
stage it is the aim of the following pages to show.

Hipponax, of Ephesus, who lived in the latter half of the sixth century
before Christ, is credited with having been "The Father of Burlesque
Poetry." He was small and ill-favored physically, and his natural personal
defects were the indirect cause of the development of his satirical powers
and of his posthumous fame. Two sculptors of Chios caricatured him grossly
in a statue publicly exhibited, and he, in return, fired his muse with the
torch of hatred, and burned them in effigy with terrible but clever
ridicule. He parodied the _Iliad_, in which he made Achilles an Ionian
glutton; he did not spare his own parents; he poked fun at the gods
themselves; he impaled Mrs. Hipponax with a couplet upon which she is
still exhibited to the scoffers, and he is only to be distinguished from
his long line of successors by the curious fact that he does not seem to
have spoken with derision of his mother-in-law! His tribute to matrimony
is still preserved in choice iambics, roughly translated as follows:
"There are but two happy days in the life of a married man--the day of his
marriage, and the day of the burial of his wife." From this it will be
seen that twenty-five centuries or more look down upon the Benedict of the
modern burlesque, who leaves his wife at home when he travels for
pleasure!

Aristophanes, the comic poet of Athens, who wrote fifty-four comedies
between the years 427 and 388 B.C., may be termed "The Father of the
Burlesque Play." He satirized people more than things, or than other men's
tragedies, and to his school belong Brougham's _Pocahontas_ and
_Columbus_, rather than the same author's _Dan Keyser de Bassoon_, or
_Much Ado About a Merchant of Venice_. The plots of Aristophanes are as
original as his wit. In _The Wasps_ he caricatured the fondness of the
Athenians for litigation; in _The Birds_ his object was to convince the
Athenians of the advantages of a clean political sweep; in _The Female
Orators_ he satirized the Sorosis and the women suffragists of his time;
in _The Feast of Ceres_ he pointed out how useful and ornamental woman is
in her own sphere; and in _Peace_, written to urge the close of the
Peloponnesian war, he reached the sublimity of burlesque in creating a
stage heroine who never utters a word. The argument of _The Knights_ will
give a very fair idea of the plots of his plays. Athens is represented as
a private house, whose master, Demos (the people), has more servants and
more servants' relations than he can comfortably wait upon or decently
support. Nicias and Demosthenes are his slaves, and Cleon, a political
boss of the period, is his butler and confidential valet. Demos is
irritable, superstitious, inconstant in his pursuits, and dull in
character. Agoracritus, a sausage-seller, subverts the plots and the plans
of the demagogue Cleon--originally played by Aristophanes himself--shows
the householder that his favorite servant is utterly unworthy of the
public trust, and brings the entertainment to a close with the
discomfiture of the Ring and the relief of the taxpayers. Demos is said to
have been the prototype of "John Bull," the personification of the
Englishman, as he was first exhibited by Dr. Arbuthnot in the early part
of the eighteenth century, and _The Knights_ is regarded as "an historical
piece of great value, because it furnishes a faithful picture of the
nation and of its customs." What curious ideas of American life and
manners will posterity gather from _Adonis_ and _Evangeline_!

Classical critics credit Aristophanes with being distinguished for the
exuberance of his wit, for his inexhaustible fund of comic humor, and for
the Attic purity and great simplicity of his language; while at the same
time he is accused of introducing, when it suits his purpose, every
variety of dialect, of coining new words and expressions as occasion
offers, and of making bad puns, whether occasion offers or not; in all of
which his disciples persistently and consistently follow him.

Samuel Foote, who lived in an age of epithets, was called "The British
Aristophanes." He respected no person and no thing. He satirized every
subject, sacred or profane, which struck his fancy, from Chesterfield's
Letters to the Stratford Jubilee; and he caricatured everybody, from
Whitfield to the Duchess of Kingston. His serious attempt at Othello, in
the beginning of his career as an actor, was considered a master-piece of
unconscious burlesque, only inferior, in its extravagance and nonsense, to
his Hamlet, and he failed in every legitimate part he undertook to play.
As a mimic, however, in dramatic productions of his own writing, he met
with immense success; and as a writer of stage burlesque he ranks very
high. He made Italian opera ridiculous in his _Cat Concert_; he gave
serious offence to a hard-working, respectable trade in _The Tailors, a
Tragedy for Warm Weather_; he attacked the medical profession in _The
Devil on Two Sticks_; he parodied sentimental romance of the _Pamela_
school in his _Piety in Pattens_; and he offended all right-thinking
persons, heterodox as well as orthodox, in _The Minor_, a travesty upon
the methods of Wesley and his Church.

_The Most Lamentable Comedy and Most Cruell Death of Pyramus and Thisbie_,
originally published in the year 1600, if not the earliest burlesque in
the English language, is certainly the model upon which are based all
subsequent productions of the same class which have been written for the
British or American theatre. Stevens believes the title to have been
suggested to Shakspere by Dr. Thomas Preston's _Lamentable Tragedy Mixed
Ful of Pleasant Mirth--Conteyning the Life of Cambises, King of Percia_.
The story of Pyramus and Thisbe is to be found in the fourth book of
Ovid's _Metamorphoses_; and a volume called _Perymus and Thesbye_ was
entered on the Stationers' Register in 1562-63. Arthur Golding's
translation of Ovid was published in 1567, and several other versions of
the tale were extant before the birth of Snout or Bottom, the incidents,
of course, being the same in all. Shaksperean scholars find traces of
other works in the different speeches of the hard-handed men of Athens,
but the general impression is that the author's purpose was to travesty
the verse of Golding. Limander and Helen are intended for Leander and
Hero; Shafalus and Procrus for Cephalus and Procris, and Ninny for Ninus;
a form of verbal contortion displayed by the modern burlesquer in _Sam
Parr_ for _Zampa_, and _The Roof Scrambler_ for _Sonnambula_; while the
lines--

    "Whereat, with blade, with bloody, blamefull blade,
    He brauely broacht his boiling bloody breast,"

read like the blank-verse mouthed by the deep tragedians of the negro
minstrel stage of to-day.

_The Midsummer-Night's Dream_, with Mr. Hilson as Snout and Mr. Placide as
Bottom, was performed, "for the first time in America," at the Park
Theatre, New York, on the 9th of November, 1826, when the stage in this
country was upwards of three-quarters of a century old, and had a
literature of its own, comparatively rich in comedy and tragedy, and when
its burlesque, such as it was, undoubtedly felt the influence of _Pyramus
and Thisbe_.

The second great burlesque upon the British stage was _The Rehearsal_, by
George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, in the reign of the Second Charles,
first acted in 1672. It was original in design and brilliant in execution.
It introduced a popular author, John Dryden, engaged in superintendence of
a rehearsal of one of his own tragedies--the tragedy in this instance
consisting of clever parodies of portions of all the dramas then in vogue.
_The Rehearsal_ does not seem to have been produced in this country,
although _The Critic_ of Sheridan, obviously based upon it, was performed
at the John Street Theatre, New York, November 24th, 1788, when President
Washington honored the entertainment with his presence. The cast has not
been preserved, although William Winter believes Mr. Wignell to have
played Puff, Mr. Ryan Whiskerandos, and Mrs. Morris (the second wife of
Owen Morris) Tilberina. _The Critic_ still survives, as Mr. Daly's
audiences well remember.

Burlesque upon the American stage, although not yet American burlesque,
dates back to the very beginning of the history of the theatre in this
country, when _The Beggar's Opera_, by John Gay, "written in ridicule of
the musical Italian drama," was presented at the theatre in Nassau Street,
New York, on the 3d of December, 1750, with Thomas Kean as Captain
Macheath. _The Beggar's Opera_ was first acted at Lincoln's Inn Fields in
1727, and took the town by storm. The Archbishop of Canterbury preached a
sermon against it; Sir John Fielding, the police-justice, officially
begged the manager not to present it on _Saturday evenings_, as it
inspired the idle apprentices of London, who saw it on their night off,
to imitate its hero's thieving deeds; and a certain critic condemned it as
"the parent of that most monstrous of all absurdities, the comic opera."
Nevertheless it was immensely popular, and enjoyed an unusually long run.
As a literary production it is distinguished for its combination of
nature, pathos, satire, and burlesque. It brought fame to its author, and,
indirectly, something like wealth; and it made a duchess of Lavinia
Fenton, who was the original Polly. As that monstrous absurdity the comic
opera is without question the parent of that still more monstrous
absurdity the burlesque proper, Polly Peachum and Captain Macheath may be
considered the very Pilgrim Parents of burlesque in the New World. They
were followed almost immediately (February 25, 1751) by _Damon and
Phillada, a Ballad Farce_, by Colley Cibber. Their Plymouth Rock very soon
became too small to hold them; their descendants have taken possession of
the whole land, and every _Mayflower_ that crosses the Atlantic to-day
brings consignments of British blondes to swell their number. Before the
Revolution Fielding's _Tom Thumb; or, The Tragedy of Tragedies_, a clever
travesty, with Mrs. Hallam (Mrs. Douglas) as Queen Dollalolla, and Kane
O'Hara's _Midas_, "a burlesque turning upon heathen deities, ridiculous
enough in themselves, and too absurd for burlesque," had taken out their
naturalization papers. _The Critic_, as has been shown, declared his
intentions very shortly after the establishment of peace; and _Bombastes
Furioso_ became a citizen of New York as early as 1816.

[Illustration: MRS. HALLAM (MRS. DOUGLAS).]

As Satan in the proverb builds invariably a chapel hard by the house of
prayer, so does the demon of burlesque as surely erect his hovel next door
to the palace of the legitimate tragedian. He spoils by his absurd
architecture every neighborhood he enters; he even cuts off the views from
the Castle of Elsinore, and disfigures the approaches to the royal tombs
of the ancient Danish kings. John Poole's celebrated travesty of _Hamlet_,
one of the earliest of its kind, was first published in London in 1811.
George Holland, afterwards so popular upon the American stage for many
years, presented Poole's play on the occasion of his first benefit in this
country, March 22, 1828, appearing himself as the First Grave-digger and
as Ophelia. This was about the beginning of what, for want of a better
term, may be styled "legitimate burlesque" in the United States. It
inspired our managers to import, and our native authors to write,
travesties upon everything in the standard drama which was serious and
ought to have been respected; and it led to burlesques of _Antony and
Cleopatra_, _Douglas_, _Macbeth_, _Othello_, _Romeo and Juliet_,
_Manfred_, _The Tempest_, _Valentine and Orson_, _Richard the Third_, _The
Hunchback_, and many more; and between the years 1839, when William
Mitchell opened the Olympic, and 1859, when William E. Burton made his
last bow to the New York public, was laid out and built between Chambers
Street and the site of Brougham's Lyceum, on Broadway, corner of Broome
Street, that metropolis of burlesque upon the ruins of which the dramatic
antiquary, whose name is Palmy Days, now loves to sit and ponder.

The titles of its half-forgotten streets and buildings, collected at
random from its old directories, then known as the bills of the play, will
recall pleasant memories and excite gentle wonder. There were, among
others, _A Lad in a Wonderful Lamp_, _The Bohea Man's Girl_, _Fried Shots_
[_Freischütz_], _Her Nanny_, _Lucy Did Sham Her Moor_, and _Lucy Did Lamm
Her Moor_, _Man Fred_, _Cinder Nelly_, _Wench Spy_, _Spook Wood_, _Buy It
Dear_, _'Tis Made of Cashmere_ [_Bayadere; or, The Maid of Cashmere_],
_The Cat's in the Larder, or, The Maid with the Parasol_ [_La Gazza Ladra;
or, The Maiden of Paillaisseau_], _The Humpback_, _Mrs. Normer_, and
_Richard Number Three_.

[Illustration: MARK SMITH AS MRS. NORMER.]

Of this metropolis William Mitchell was the first Lord Mayor. He was the
inaugurator, if not the creator, of an entirely new school of dramatic
architecture, which was as general, and sometimes as absurd, as the style
which has since spread over the country at the expense of the reputation
of good Queen Anne; and he led the popular taste for a number of years, to
the great enjoyment of his clients, if not to their mental profit. William
Horncastle, a good singer and a fair actor, and Dr. William K. Northall
were his assistants in dramatic construction, and the authors of many of
his extravagant productions. One of his earliest and most popular
burlesques was entitled _La Mosquito_. It was based upon _The Tarantula_
of Fanny Elssler, and was presented at the close of his first season. An
extract from the bill will give a fair idea of the quality of the fooling:

"First time in this or any other country, a new comic burlesque ballet,
entitled _La Mosquito_, in which Monsieur Mitchell will make his
first appearance as _une Première Danseuse_, and show his agility
in a variety of terpsichorean efforts of all sorts in the genuine
Bolerocachucacacavonienne style.... The ballet is founded on the
well-known properties of the mosquito, whose bites render the patient
exceedingly impatient, and throws him into a fit of slapping and
scratching and swearing delirium, commonly termed the '_Cacoethes
Scratchendi_,' causing the unfortunate being to cut capers enough for a
considerable number of legs of mutton. The scene lies in Hoboken," etc.

Concerning Mitchell's performance, Dr. Northall writes, in _Before and
Behind the Curtain_: "We shall long remember the comic humor with which he
burlesqued the charming and graceful Fanny. The manner of his exit from
the stage at the conclusion of the dance was irresistibly comic, and the
serious care with which he guided himself to the side scenes, to secure a
passage for his tremendous bustle, was very funny."

Mr. Mitchell's other famous burlesque parts were Man Fred, Hamlet, Willy
Walters (in _The Humpback_), Sam Parr, Jap (in _Loves of the Angels_),
Antony, and Richard Number Three. Very few portraits of this old actor,
either in character or otherwise, are known to the collectors. The
accompanying print is from a drawing made by Charles Parsons while seated
in the pit of the old Olympic half a century ago, when the draughtsman--a
mere lad--was beginning his professional career. The original sketch was
given to Mr. Mitchell by the young artist, who received in return a pass
to the theatre--the highest ambition of the boys of that period.

[Illustration: WILLIAM MITCHELL AS RICHARD NUMBER THREE.]

Mitchell was forced to retire from the mayoralty before the close of his
last season at the Olympic, in 1849-50, having been deposed the previous
year by William E. Burton at the Chambers Street house. As Lester Wallack
said in his _Memories_, Burton did everything that Mitchell did, and did
it in a better way, with better players and better plays. His first
burlesque was a cruel treatment of the opera of _Lucia_, followed
immediately by a heartless travesty of Dibdin's _Valentine and Orson_.
These were succeeded by _The Tempest_, in which Mrs. Brougham (Miss
Nelson), a lady of enormous physical size, played Ariel. A little while
later Mr. Brougham played Macbeth to the Macduff of Thomas B. Johnstone,
the Banquo of Oliver B. Raymond, and the Lady Macbeth of Burton himself.
Mark Smith made a fascinating Norma, Leffingwell played the Stern Parient
in _Villikens and his Dinah_, and Charles Fisher, in white tights, a
tunic, gauze wings, and a flowing wig, pirouetted with Mrs. Skerrett in a
production called _St. Cupid_, in which Mr. Burton appeared as Queen Bee,
a Gypsy Woman.

[Illustration: JOHN BROUGHAM AND GEORGINA HODSON IN "POCAHONTAS."]

It would be an easy matter to fill many of these pages with stories of the
humorous productions and the laughable performances of Burton and Brougham
on the Chambers Street boards. The literature of the American theatre
overflows with anecdotes of their quarrels and their reconciliations upon
the stage, their jokes upon each other, their impromptu wit, their
unexpected "gags"--which were always looked for--the liberties they took
with their authors, their audiences, and themselves, and, above all, with
their incomparable acting in every part, whether it was serious or
frivolous.

The last, and in many respects the greatest, of the trio of actors,
authors, and managers who may be considered the founders of American
burlesque, began his brilliant but brief reign at the Lyceum, at Broome
Street, late in 1850, about the time of the retirement of Mitchell, and
long before his later rival, Burton, was ready to lay down his sceptre. If
America has ever had an Aristophanes, John Brougham was his name. His
_Pocahontas_ and _Columbus_ are almost classics. They rank among the best,
if they are not the very best, burlesques in any living language. Their
wit is never coarse, they ridicule nothing which is not a fit subject for
ridicule, they outrage no serious sentiment, they hurt no feelings, they
offend no portion of the community, they shock no modesty, they never
blaspheme; and, as Dr. Benjamin Ellis Martin has happily expressed it,
their author was "the first to give to burlesque its crowning comic
conceit of utter earnestness, of solemn seriousness."

The Lyceum was opened on the 23d of December, 1850, with "an occasional
rigmarole entitled _Brougham, and Co._," which introduced the entire
company to the public. The next absurdity was _A Row at the Lyceum_, with
Mr. Florence in the gallery, Mr. Brougham himself in the pit, and the rest
of the _dramatis personæ_ upon the stage; and shortly before the abrupt
close of Mr. Brougham's management he presented _What Shall We Do for
Something New?_ in which Mrs. Brougham appeared as Rudolpho, Mrs. Skerrett
as Elvino, and Mr. Johnstone as Amina, in a travesty upon _La Sonnambula_.

Upon the same stage, on Christmas Eve, 1855, but under the management of
the elder Wallack, Brougham produced his "Original, Aboriginal, Erratic,
Operatic, Semi-civilized, and Demi-savage Extravaganza of _Pocahontas_."
The scenery, as announced, was painted from daguerreotypes and other
authentic documents, the costumes were cut from original plates, and the
music was dislocated and reset, by the heads of the different departments
of the theatre. Charles Walcot played John Smith, "according to this
story, but somewhat in variance with his story"; Miss Hodson played the
titular part, and Mr. Brougham represented "Pow-Ha-Tan I., King of the
Tuscaroras--a Crotchety Monarch, in fact a Semi-Brave." At the close of
the opening song (to the air of "Hoky-poky-winky-wum") he thus addressed
his people:

    "Well roared, indeed, my jolly Tuscaroras.
    Most loyal corps, your King encores your chorus;"

and until the fall of the curtain, at the end of the second and last act,
the scintillations of wit and the thunder of puns were incessant and
startling. "May I ask," says Col-o-gog (J. H. Stoddart), "in the word
_lie_, what vowel do you use, sir, _i_ or _y_?"

    "Y, sir, or I, sir, search the vowels through,
    And find the one most consonant to you."

Later the King cries:

    "Sergeant-at-arms, say, what alarms the crowd;
    Loud noise annoys us; why is it allowed?"

And Captain Smith, describing his first introduction at the royal court,
says:

    "I visited his Majesty's abode,
    A portly savage, plump and pigeon-toed;
    Like Metamora, both in feet and feature,
    I never met-a-more-a-musing creature."

[Illustration: HARRY BECKETT AS THE WIDOW TWANKEY, IN "ALADDIN."]

In a more serious but not less happy vein is the apostrophe to tobacco,
by the smoking, joking Powhatan, as follows:

    "While other joys one sense alone can measure,
    This to all senses gives ecstatic pleasure.
    You _feel_ the radiance of the glowing bowl,
    _Hear_ the soft murmurs of the kindling coal,
    _Smell_ the sweet fragrance of the honey-dew,
    _Taste_ its strong pungency the palate through,
    _See_ the blue cloudlets circling to the dome,
    Imprisoned skies up-floating to their home--
    I like a dhudeen myself!"

And so he joked and smoked his way into a popularity which no stage
monarch has enjoyed before or since. _Pocahontas_ ran for many weeks, and
was frequently repeated for many years. The story of the sudden departure
of the original Pocahontas one night without a word of warning, and the
successful performance of the piece by Brougham and Walcot, with no one to
play the titular part at all, is as familiar in the theatrical annals as
the sadder stories of Woffington's last appearance, and the death of
Palmer on the stage; and no doubt it will be remembered long after
_Pocahontas_ itself, despite its cleverness, is quite forgotten.

"_Columbus el Filibustero_, a New and Audaciously Original,
Historico-plagiaristic, Ante-national, Pre-patriotic, and Omni-local
Confusion of Circumstances. Running through Two Acts and Four Centuries,"
was first performed at Burton's Theatre (Broadway, opposite Bond Street,
afterwards the Winter Garden) on the 31st of December, 1857; Mark Smith
playing Ferdinand, Lawrence Barrett Talavera, Miss Lizzie Weston Davenport
Columbia, and Mr. Brougham himself Columbus. It is a more serious
production than _Pocahontas_; the satire is more subtle, and the thought
more delicate. It contains no play upon words, is not filled with
startling absurdities, and is pathetic rather than uproariously funny.
While _Pocahontas_ inspires nothing but laughter, _Columbus_ excites
sympathy, and oftentimes he has moved his audiences to the verge of tears.
He is a much-abused, simple, honest old man, full of sublime ideas, and
long ahead of his times. He dreams prophetic dreams, and in his visions he

                                "sees a land
    Where Nature seems to frame with practised hand
    Her last most wondrous work. Before him rise
    Mountains of solid rock that rift the skies,
    Imperial valleys with rich verdure crowned
    For leagues illimitable smile around,
    While through them subject seas for rivers run
    From ice-bound tracks to where the tropic sun
    Breeds in the teeming ooze strange monstrous things.
    He sees, upswelling from exhaustless springs,
    Great lakes appear, upon whose surface wide
    The banded navies of the earth may ride.
    He sees tremendous cataracts emerge
    From cloud-aspiring heights, whose slippery verge
    Tremendous oceans momently roll o'er,
    Assaulting with unmitigated roar
    The stunned and shattered ear of trembling day,
    That, wounded, weeps in glistening tears of spray."

[Illustration: JAMES LEWIS AS SYNTAX, IN "CINDERELLA AT SCHOOL."]

In short, he sees so much that is beyond the comprehension of the ordinary
play-goer, that for thirty years he has been left in absolute retirement
in that Forrest Home for good old plays which is styled _French's Minor
Drama_.

One of Brougham's last burlesque productions was his _Much Ado About a
Merchant of Venice_, presented March 8, 1869, at the little theatre on
Twenty-fourth Street, New York, which has since borne so many names, and
now, rebuilt, is known as the Madison Square. He played Shylock, Miss
Effie Germon Lorenzo, and Mrs. J. J. Prior Portia. This was his final
effort at theatrical management. He appeared in _Pocahontas_ as late as
1876, but Shylock was his last original burlesque part which is worthy of
serious mention.

Francis Talfourd's _Shylock; or, The Merchant of Venice Preserved, a
Jerusalem Hearty Joke_, is a much older production than Brougham's
travesty of the same play, with which it should not be confounded.
Frederic Robson was the original Shylock in London, Tom Johnstone in New
York (at Burton's, October 9, 1853). M. W. Leffingwell gave an admirable
performance of Talfourd's _Shylock_ in September, 1867, on the stage of
this same little Twenty-fourth Street theatre, assisted by Miss Lina Edwin
as Jessica. Mr. Leffingwell was a very versatile actor although he
excelled in burlesque and broadly extravagant parts. He will be remembered
as Romeo Jaffier Jenkins, in _Too Much for Good Nature_, and in travesties
of _Cinderella_ and _Fra Diavolo_. In the last absurdity, as Beppo, made
up in very clever imitation of Forrest as the Gladiator, and enormously
padded, he strutted about the stage for many moments, entirely unconscious
of a large carving-fork stuck into the sawdust which formed the calf of
his gladiatorial leg. His look of agony and his roar of anguish--perfect
reflections of Forrest's voice and action--when his attention was called
to his physical suffering, made one of the most ludicrous scenes in the
whole history of American burlesque. Mr. Forrest is said to have remarked
of a lithograph of Leffingwell in this part, that while the portrait of
himself was not so bad, the characteristics were somewhat exaggerated!
Leffingwell was, no doubt, the original of the full length, life-sized
effigy of Forrest which serves as the sign for a cigar store on one of
the leading thoroughfares of New York to-day.

[Illustration: GEORGE L. FOX AS HAMLET.]

Madame Tostée, in 1867, with the _Grand Duchess_, and Miss Lydia Thompson,
the next season, with _Ixion_--although neither of these can be considered
American burlesques--gave new life to burlesque in America; and for a
number of years burlesque was rampant upon the American stage; many
leading comedians of later days, who will hardly be associated with that
style of performance by the theatre-goers of the present generation,
devoting themselves to travestie and extravaganza. Among the most
successful of these may be mentioned William J. Florence, Stuart Robson,
James Lewis, and Harry Beckett. The last gentleman was exceedingly comic,
and at the same time always refined and artistic in such parts as Minerva
in _Ixion_, Hassarac in _The Forty Thieves_, the Widow Twankey in
_Aladdin_, Maid Marian in _Robin Hood_, and Queen Elizabeth in
_Kenilworth_ long before he became the established low comedian of Mr.
Lester Wallack's company, and won such well-merited popularity by his
clever representations of characters as divergent as Tony Lumpkin, Harvey
Duff, in _The Shaughraun_, and Mark Meddle.

In January, 1869, Mr. and Mrs. Florence played an engagement of
extravaganza at Wood's Museum--now Daly's Theatre--on Broadway, near
Thirtieth Street, presenting _The Field of the Cloth of Gold_, in which
Mr. Florence assumed the character of Francis First, Louis Mestayer Henry
Eighth, Mrs. Florence Lady Constance, Miss Lillie Eldridge La Sieur de
Boissy, and Miss Rose Massey (her first appearance in America) Lord
Darnley. The feature of this performance, naturally, was the grand
tournament upon the plain between Ardres and Guisnes, in which the rival
monarchs fought for the international championship with boxing gloves in
the roped arena, and according to the rules of the prize-ring, the police
finally breaking up the match and carrying both combatants into the
ignominious lockup. Older play-goers will remember Mr. Florence years
before this as Eily O'Conner, in a burlesque of _The Colleen Bawn_, and as
Beppo "a very Heavy Villain of the Bowery Drama in Kirby's days," in _Fra
Diavolo_, Mrs. Florence making a marvellous Danny Mann in the former
piece.

While Mr. Florence was taking gross liberties with the personality of
Francis First at Wood's, Mr. Lewis was doing cruel injustice to the
character of Lucretia Borgia at the Waverley Theatre, 720 Broadway, under
the management of Miss Elise Holt, who played Gennaro. The palace of the
Borgias was "set" as a modern apothecary's shop, where poison was sold
in large or small quantities, and Mr. Lewis excited roars of laughter as a
quack doctress, with great capabilities of advertising herself and her
nostrums. During the same engagement Mr. Lewis played Rebecca in
_Ivanhoe_, and Oenone in _Paris_; but he joined Mr. Daly's company a few
months later, and the legitimate has since marked him for its own.

[Illustration: LYDIA THOMPSON AS SINDBAD.]

At the Fifth Avenue Theatre, and afterwards at Wallack's, in this same
summer of 1869, Stuart Robson made a great hit as Captain Crosstree, in F.
C. Burnand's travesty of _Black-eyed Susan_, a part originally played in
this country during the previous season by Mark Smith. Mr. Robson had the
support of Harry Pearson as Doggrass, of Miss Kitty Blanchard as William,
and of Miss Mary Cary as Susan. The entertainment, as a whole, was
unusually good, full of exquisite drollery and grotesque fancy, although
Captain Crosstree eclipsed every other feature. His "make up" was a marvel
of absurdity, his naturally slight figure was literally blown to an
enormous size, the contrast between his immense physical rotundity and his
thin, inimitably squeaky little voice being exceedingly ludicrous.

During this season the Lydia Thompson troupe was in the full tide of its
success; William Horace Lingard and Miss Alice Dunning were playing
_Pluto_ and _Orpheus in New York_; every negro minstrel and variety
performer was burlesquing some person or some thing every night in the
week, and opera-bouffe had taken possession of half of the theatres in the
land.

[Illustration: WILLIAM H. CRANE AS LE BLANC, IN EVANGELINE.]

The most successful burlesque of those times, and the entertainment which
is most fresh in the memory, was "The New Version of Shakspere's
Masterpiece of _Hamlet_, as arranged by T. C. De Leon, of Mobile, for
George L. Fox," and first presented in New York at the Olympic (formerly
Laura Keene's) Theatre, on Broadway, February 14, 1870. Although not an
improvement upon the original acting version of the tragedy, it was an
improvement upon the general run of burlesques of its generation; it did
not depend upon lime-lights or upon anatomical display, and it did not
harrow up the young blood of its auditors by its horrible plays upon
unoffending words. It followed the text of Shakspere closely enough to
preserve the plot of the story; it contained, as well, a great deal that
was ludicrous and bright, and it never sank into imbecility or indelicacy,
which is saying much for a burlesque. Mr. Fox, one of the few really funny
men of his day upon the American stage, was at his best in this travesty
of _Hamlet_. Quite out of the line of the pantomimic clown by which he is
now remembered, it was as supremely absurd, as expressed upon his face
and in his action, as was his _Humpty Dumpty_. It was perhaps more a
burlesque of Edwin Booth--after whom in the character he played and
dressed--than of Hamlet, and probably no one enjoyed this more thoroughly,
or laughed at it more heartily, than did Mr. Booth himself. While Fox at
times was wonderfully like Booth in attitude, look, and voice, he would
suddenly assume the accent and expression of Fechter, whom he
counterfeited admirably, and again give a most intense passage in the
wonderfully deep tones of Studley, at the Bowery. To see Mr. Fox pacing
the platform before the Castle of Elsinore, protected against the eager
and the nipping air of the night by a fur cap and collar, and with mittens
and arctic overshoes, over the traditional costume of Hamlet; to see the
woful melancholy of his face as he spoke the most absurd of lines; to
watch the horror expressed upon his countenance when the Ghost appeared;
to hear his familiar conversation with that Ghost, and his untraditional
profanity when commanded by the Ghost to "swear"--all expressed, now in
the style of Fechter, now of Studley, now of Booth--was as thoroughly and
ridiculously enjoyable as any piece of acting our stage has seen since
Burton and Mitchell were at their funniest, so many years before. He was
startling in his recommendation of a brewery as a place of refuge for
Ophelia, and in the church-yard his "business" was new and quite original,
particularly the apostrophe to the skull of Yorick, who, he seemed to
think, was laughing now on the wrong side of his face. Fox was one of the
earliest Hamlets to realize that the skull even of a jester, when it has
lain in the earth three-and-twenty years, is not a pleasant object to
touch or smell, although very interesting in itself to point a moral, or
for its association's sake; and the expression of his face, as he threw
the skull of the dead jester at the quick head of the First Grave-digger,
was more suggestive to the close observer of the base uses to which we may
all return than any "Alas, poor Yorick!" ever uttered.

[Illustration: STUART ROBSON AS CAPTAIN CROSSTREE.]

_Hamlet_ at the Olympic was played for ten consecutive weeks. The general
cast was not particularly strong or remarkable, except in the Ophelia of
Miss Belle Howett. She was serious, and surprisingly effective in the mad
scene, and often the superior of many of the representatives of Ophelia in
the original tragedy, who unwittingly have burlesqued what the burlesque
actress, perhaps as unwittingly, played conscientiously and well.

The travesty of _Hamlet_ by Mr. Fox is dwelt upon particularly here as
being in many respects one of the best the American stage has ever seen,
and as giving the present writer an opportunity of paying just tribute to
the memory of an actor who, like so many of his professional brethren, was
never properly appreciated during his life, and who never before--not
even in William Winter's usually complete _Brief Chronicles_--has received
more than a passing notice in the long records of the stage he did so much
to adorn.

George L. Fox was not always the clown and pantomimist of the _Humpty
Dumpty_ absurdity in which he is now remembered. He excelled in burlesque,
as his Hamlet and Richelieu and Macbeth have shown. As a Shaksperean
comedian his Bottom ranks among the best within the memory of men still
living, while in standard low comedy, melodramatic, and even in tragedy
parts, he had no little experience and some decided success. He made his
first appearance in 1830 at the Tremont Street Theatre, in Boston, when he
was but five years of age. The play was _The Children of the Alps_, and
the occasion a benefit to Charles Kean. He played Phineas Fletcher, in the
drama of _Uncle Tom's Cabin_, during its famous run of so many nights at
the National Theatre, New York, in 1853-54. He excelled as Mark Meddle, as
Trip, as Jacques Strop, in _Robert Macaire_, as Tom Tape, in _Sketches in
India_, as Box, as Cox, and as Sundown Bowse, in _Horizon_.

[Illustration: HARRY HUNTER AS THE LONE FISHERMAN.]

Bottom was his most finished and artistic assumption, Hamlet probably his
most amusing, and Humpty Dumpty his most successful. He played the latter
part some fifteen hundred times in New York and elsewhere. It was the
last part he ever attempted to play, and only as a clown does he exist in
the minds of the men of to-day who think of him at all. He first appeared
in New York at the National Theatre, in 1850; he was last seen at Booth's
Theatre on the 25th of November, 1875--the saddest clown who ever chalked
his face. After twenty years of constant, faithful service as public
jester--shattered in health, broken in spirit, shaken in mind--he
disappeared forever from public view. Alas, poor Yorick!

One of the most popular as well as the longest lived of the contemporary
burlesques is _Evangeline_, in the construction or reconstruction of which
Mr. Brougham is known to have had a share. As a travesty upon a purely
American subject, originally treated, of course, in all seriousness by an
illustrious American, Mr. Longfellow, and at the suggestion of an American
equally illustrious, Mr. Hawthorne, _Evangeline_ may surely claim to be an
aboriginal production; it merits its success, and with a certain degree of
national pride it may be recorded here that it has been repeated upon the
American stage over five thousand times. In it, at the Fifth Avenue
Theatre, in Twenty-eighth Street, New York, during the summer of 1877,
Miss Eliza Weathersby, as Gabrielle, made a pleasant impression, William
H. Crane appeared as Le Blanc, George H. Knight gave a series of wonderful
imitations of the Hero of New Orleans, N. C. Goodwin came prominently
before the public, and Harry Hunter, although not the original in the
part, created a decided sensation as the Lone Fisherman, one of the
drollest dramatic conceptions of modern times. He had no connection
whatever with the play, had not a word to say, was entirely unnoticed by
his fellow-players, paid no attention to anybody, but was always
present--the first to enter, the last to leave every scene. With his
ridiculous costume, his palm-leaf fan, his fishing-rod, his camp-stool, he
pervaded everything, was ever prominent, never obtrusive, and exceedingly
mirth-provoking. It may be added that Henry Dixey, whose Adonis is one of
the best of modern burlesque performances, made, during the long run of
_Evangeline_, his New York _début_ as the fore-legs of the heifer!

Amusement seekers in the metropolis will remember with pleasure Willie
Edouin, Mrs. James Oates, and scores of other burlesque actors, excellent
in many ways, whom it will not be possible even to mention here. N. C.
Goodwin burlesqued a burlesque at Harrigan and Hart's first theatre, when
he played Captain Stuart Robson-Crosstree to the Dame Hadley of Mr.
Harrigan and the Black-eyed Susan of Mr. Hart; at the same house G. K.
Fortescue played Lousqueeze to Mr. Hart's Hungry-Yet and Mr. Harrigan's
Pierre, in a play styled _The Two Awfuls_. The San Francisco Minstrels at
the same time presented _The Four Orphans and the Big Banana_, a burlesque
upon two dramas of great popularity and no little merit.

[Illustration: FRANCIS WILSON IN THE "OOLAH."]

The subject of American burlesque can hardly be dismissed here without
some brief allusion to a number of very clever parodies seen of late years
upon the amateur stage. The poets of the various college associations have
turned their muse in the direction of travesty, and with considerable
success; one of the best and most popular of the entertainments of the
Hasty Pudding Club, the _Dido and Æneas_ of Owen Wister, the grandson of
Fanny Kemble, being a production worthy of professional talent. John K.
Bangs has written for amateur companies _Katherine_, _The Story of the
Shrew_, and _Mephistopheles, a Profanation_. In the first the tamer of
Shakspere finds the tables turned, and is himself tamed; while in the
latter Faust's mother-in-law, the good fairy of the piece, outwits the
evil genius and frustrates his designs; a power of invention on the part
of Mr. Bangs which proves him to be, perhaps, the only true son of the
Father of Burlesque, Hipponax himself.

[Illustration: MR. JEFFERSON AND MRS. WOOD IN "IVANHOE."]

But to return to the "palmy days of burlesque," before the period of
opera-bouffe, and the coming of the English blondes. When stock companies
were the rule, and Mitchell and Burton controlled the stock, singing and
dancing were as much a part of every actor's education as elocution and
gesture; and it was not considered beneath the dignity of the Rip Van
Winkle or the Hamlet of one night to travesty parts equally serious the
next. Mr. Booth, early in his career, appeared in such entertainments as
_Blue Beard_; and Mr. Jefferson was enormously popular as Beppo, Hiawatha,
Pan (in _Midas_), the Tycoon, and Mazeppa--old play-bills recording his
appearance as Granby Gag to the Jenny Lind of Mrs. John Wood, "with his
original grape-vine twist and burlesque break-down." His performance of
Mazeppa at the Winter Garden in 1861 is still a pleasant memory in many
minds. In it he sang "his celebrated aria, 'The Victim of Despair'"; and
his daring act upon the bare back of the wild rocking-horse of the
toy-shops was, perhaps, the most remarkable performance of its kind ever
witnessed by a danger-loving public. During his several engagements at the
Winter Garden Mr. Jefferson was supported by Mrs. John Wood (particularly
as Ivanhoe to his Sir Brian), one of the best burlesque actresses our
stage has known. Her Pocahontas was never excelled. She played it at
Niblo's to the Powhatan of Mark Smith in March, 1872; and almost her last
appearance upon the New York stage was made at the Grand Opera-house in
November of the same year, in John Brougham's burlesque _King Carrot_,
when that humorist remarked, although not of Mrs. Wood, that he was
supported by vegetable "supes."

[Illustration: JAMES T. POWERS AS BRIOLET, IN "THE MARQUIS."]

That burlesque "came natural" to Mr. Jefferson is shown in the wonderful
successes of his half-brother, Charles Burke, in burlesque parts. Mr.
Burke's admirers, even at the end of thirty-five years, still speak
enthusiastically of his comic Iago, of his Clod Meddlenot (in _The Lady of
the Lions_), of his Mr. MacGreedy (Mr. Macready), of his Kazrac (in
_Aladdin_), and of his Met-a-roarer, in which he gave absurd imitations of
Mr. Forrest as the Last of the Wampanoags.

[Illustration: CHARLES BURKE AS KAZRAC, IN "ALADDIN."]

No history of American burlesque could be complete without some mention of
the name of Daniel Setchell. His Leah the Forsook, and Mark Smith's
Madeline are remembered as pleasantly in New York as his Macbeth and Edwin
Adams's Macduff are remembered in Boston. William H. Crane places the
Macduff of Adams--he dressed in the volunteer uniform of the first year of
the war, and read lines ridiculous beyond measure with all of the
magnificent effect his wonderful voice and perfect elocution could give
them--as the finest piece of burlesque acting it has ever been his
good-fortune to see. But the stories told by the old comedians of the
extravagant comedy performances of their contemporaries in other days, if
they could be collected here, would extend this chapter far beyond the
limits of becoming space.

[Illustration: N. C. GOODWIN IN "LITTLE JACK SHEPPARD."]

[Illustration: DE WOLF HOPPER AS JULIET, AND MARSHALL P. WILDER AS ROMEO.]

Whether the burlesque of the present is comparable with the burlesque of
the past is an open question, much debated. Mr. Wilson in the _Oolah_, Mr.
Hopper as Juliet, Mr. Powers in _The Marquis_, Mr. Goodwin in _Little Jack
Sheppard_, Mr. Burgess as the Widow Bedott--if she can be considered a
burlesque part--and other men and women who burlesque women and men and
things to-day, are, without question, very clever performers; the laughs
they raise are as hearty and prolonged as any which paid tribute to the
talents of the comedians who went before them; and it is unjust, perhaps,
to judge them by high standards which live only in the memory, and grow
higher as distance lends enchantment to their view. As Lawrence Barrett
has said, "the actor is a sculptor who carves his image in snow." The
burlesque which has melted from our sight seems to us, as we look back at
it, to be purer and cleaner than the frozen burlesque upon which the sun
as yet has made no impression; and the figure of Pocahontas, gone with the
lost arts, seems more beautiful than the Evangeline of the modern school.
When the Adonis of the present counterfeits the deep tragedian he is
guilty of imitation, and of clever imitation, but nothing more; when he
represents the clerk in the country store he gives an admirable piece of
comedy acting; but he never rises to the sublime heights of Columbus, as
Columbus is remembered by those who saw him before Hoolah Goolah was born.

If American burlesque did not die with John Brougham, it has hardly yet
recovered from the shock of his death; and he certainly deserves a
colossal statue in its Pantheon.


[Illustration: HENRY E. DIXEY AS THE COUNTRY GIRL, IN "ADONIS."]



ACT IV.

INFANT PHENOMENA OF AMERICA.



INFANT PHENOMENA OF AMERICA.

    "So cunning, and so young, is wonderful."
                              _Richard III._, Act iii. Sc. 1.


While the "Grand Spectacle of the _Black Crook_" was enjoying its fourth
successful run at Niblo's Garden, New York, in the season of 1873, a
precociously bright little musician of some six or seven years of age, so
advertised in the bills, and to all appearances no older, preternaturally
large in head and small in person, won the affection and the sympathy of
all those who witnessed his performances. During his very short career he
was one of the chief attractions of that attractive variety show, for the
_Black Crook_ in its later years was nothing more than a variety
entertainment; and when, so soon after the close of his engagement here,
the news of his death came from Boston, few of the established favorites
of many years have been so sincerely mourned as was this unfortunate
little James G. Speaight.

Scarcely larger than the violin he carried, dressed in a bright court
suit of blue satin, with powdered wig and silken hose and buckled shoes,
like a prince in a fairy tale, he seemed the slightest mite of a performer
who ever stood behind the foot-lights. His hands were scarcely big enough
to grasp his instrument; his arms and his legs were not so thick as his
bow; a bit of rosin thrown at him would have knocked him down; and he
could have been packed away comfortably in the case of his own fiddle. As
a musician he certainly was phenomenal. It was said of him that when only
four years of age, and after a single hearing, he could play by ear the
most difficult and complicated of musical compositions, and that he could
remember an air as soon as he could utter an articulate sound. Before he
was five years old he was sole performer at concerts given under his
father's management in some of the provincial towns of England; and when
he first appeared in this country he not only played solos upon his
violin, displaying decided genius and technical skill, but he conducted
the large orchestra standing on a pile of music-books in the chair of the
leader, that he might be seen of the musicians he led.

[Illustration: MUNRICO DENGREMONT.]

The grace and ease of the little artist, his enthusiasm and vivacity,
could not fail to interest and amuse his audiences, while at the same time
it saddened the most thoughtful of them, who realized how unnatural and
how cruel to the child the whole proceeding must of necessity be. That he
was passionately fond of his art there could be no doubt, or that he lived
only in and for it, and in the excitement and applause his public
appearances brought him; but that his indulgence of his passion without
proper restraint was the cause of the snapping of the strings of his
little life, and of the wreck of what might have been a brilliant
professional career, was plainly manifest to every physician, and to every
mother who saw and heard and pitied him.

Until within a very few months of his death he played only by ear. When he
began to learn his notes, and to comprehend the immensity of music as a
science, and the magnificent future it promised him, his devotion to
study, his ambition, and his own active mind were more than his feeble
frame could endure, and his brief candle was suddenly extinguished. At the
close of this run of the _Black Crook_, December 6, 1873, he was taken to
Boston, where he played in the _Naiad Queen_, and led the orchestra of the
Boston Theatre until the night of the 11th of January, 1874. After the
_matinée_ and evening performance of that date he was heard by his father
to murmur in his troubled sleep, "O God, can you make room for a little
fellow like me?" and he was found dead by his father at daybreak. With no
sins of his own to answer for, surely the prayer was heard; and the coming
of that little child was not forbidden.

The few musical prodigies who have succeeded Master Speaight in this
country have been blessed, happily, with stronger constitutions or with
wiser guardians; and Munrico Dengremont, Josef Hofman, and Otto Hegner, so
far at least, have found the rest they need before it is too late. The
little Dengremont, a violinist, began his professional life at the age of
eight, and in 1875. He came of musical people, he had studied hard, and as
a phenomenon he was very successful. He first appeared in New York in
1881, when he was fourteen years of age, but he seems to have produced
nothing, and to have done nothing since he went back to Europe some years
ago.

The infant musician who of late years attracted the greatest attention in
this country, next to the "Child Violinist" noticed in the opening of this
chapter, was unquestionably Josef Hofman; and he appealed particularly to
a class of the community so high in the social scale, according to its own
ideas, that it repudiated Niblo's Garden and the _Black Crook_ as vulgar.
It never heard of little Speaight until it heard of his death, and it
knows nothing of him now, perhaps, except as the mythical hero of
charming and sympathetic poems written in his memory by Thomas Bailey
Aldrich and Austin Dobson.

[Illustration: JOSEF HOFMAN.]

Hofman was born in Cracow, in 1877. His mother was an opera-singer, his
father a teacher of music. The child had a piano of his own before he was
five years of age, and in six months he had acquired the principles of
musical composition, and had written an original mazourka. He made his
first public appearance at a charity concert when he was six; at eight he
played at a public concert at Berlin; and at ten he was drawing enormous
crowds to the largest theatre in New York. He was the subject of more
attention and of more newspaper notice, perhaps, than any musical child
who ever lived. Saint-Saëns, the French composer, is said to have declared
that he had nothing more to learn in music, that everything in him was
music; and Rubinstein is said to have pronounced him the greatest wonder
of the present age. All of this would have turned a bigger head than his;
but notwithstanding his remarkable genius he was always a boy, who found
relief in toy steamers and in tin soldiers; and his parents were sensible
enough and humane enough to shut up his piano, and to sacrifice their
ambition for the good of their son. He is devoting his youth to natural
study, and his public career is still before him.

The little Hegner, the latest prodigy, made his first appearance in
America in 1889, when he was twelve years of age; and he, too, came of a
musical family. Like the Hofman infant, the piano is his instrument, and
those who know music speak enthusiastically of his "phrasing," of his
"interpretations," of his "striking perceptions of musical form," and the
like. All of these children have been compared with Mozart and Liszt, who
are, no doubt, innocently responsible for most of the infant musical
wonders who have been born since they themselves began, as babies, to
perform marvels. There has been but one Mozart, and but one Liszt; and the
yet unwritten history of their lives will show whether these lads of the
present would not have grown up to be greater artists and happier men if
they had in their youth played foot-ball instead of fiddles, and had paid
more attention to muscle than to music.

Between the musical wonder and the theatrical wonder there is this
distinction: the baby musician never plays baby tunes, the infant actor
almost always plays child's parts. Little Cordelia Howard, as Eva, many
years ago, and Elsie Leslie and Thomas Russell, alternating in the
character of Little Lord Fauntleroy last season, were doing very
remarkable things in a charmingly natural way; but if they had
attempted to play Macbeth and Lady Macbeth they would only have done what
the musical prodigies are doing when they attempt Mendelssohn's D Minor
Concerto or a mazourka by Chopin. The little actors are certainly the more
rational, the more tolerable, and the more patiently to be endured.

[Illustration: OTTO HEGNER.]

Of the class of prodigies represented by Mr. and Mrs. Stratton ("Tom
Thumb" and Lavinia Warren), "Major" Stevens, "Commodore" Nutt, "Blind
Tom," "Japanese Tommy," and the "Two-headed Nightingale," all of whom were
publicly exhibited in their childhood here, it is hardly necessary to
speak. They were certainly Infant Phenomena, but neither as infants nor as
phenomena do they come within the proper scope of the present chapter; and
they occupy the same position in regard to the drama that the armless
youth who cuts paper pictures with his toes occupies in regard to
pictorial art.

In no case is the Infant Phenomenon upon the stage--thespian,
terpsichorean, harmonical, gymnastic, or abnormal--to be encouraged or
admired. How much of a nuisance the average prodigy is to his audiences
all habitual theatre-goers can tell; how much of a nuisance he is to his
fellow-players _Nicholas Nickleby_ has effectively shown; and what a
bitter burden he is likely to become to himself, his own experience--if
he lives to have experience--will certainly prove. Loved by the gods--of
the gallery--the Phenomenon (happily for the Phenomenon, perhaps,
certainly happily for his profession) dies, as a rule, young.

He does not educate the masses; he does not advance art; he does nothing
which it is the high aim of the legitimate actor to do; he does not even
amuse. He merely displays precocity that is likely to sap his very life;
he probably supports a family at an age when he needs all of the
protection and support that can be given him; and, if he does not meet a
premature death, he rarely, very rarely, fulfils anything like the promise
of his youth.

The career of Master Betty, the "Infant Roscius," of the early part of
this century, and unquestionably the most remarkable and successful
Phenomenon in the whole history of the stage, is ample proof of this. Born
in England, in 1791, he made his theatrical _début_ in Dublin in 1803, and
he at once sprang into a popularity, there and wherever he appeared, which
seemed to know no limits.

The excitement he created was marvellous. People were crushed in their
efforts to enter the theatres in which he played. The receipts at the
box-offices were considered fabulous in those days. His own fortune was
made in a single season. Lords and ladies, and peers of the realm, were
among his enthusiastic admirers. Royal dukes were proud to call him
friend, and the Prince of Wales entertained him regally at Carlton House.
He was pronounced greater than Garrick himself in Garrick's own parts; he
was petted and praised, and almost idolized, by an entire country; and
even Parliament itself, on a motion made by Mr. Pitt, adjourned to see the
"Infant Roscius" play Hamlet at Drury Lane; than which no higher
compliment could have been paid by England to mortal man!

[Illustration: ELSIE LESLIE.]

This mania over the boy actor continued for two or three seasons, when his
popularity by degrees decreased, and he retired from the stage to enter
the University of Cambridge. In 1812, however, he returned to the
profession a young man of twenty-one, but his prestige was gone. He did
not draw in London; in the provinces he was regarded as nothing but a fair
stock actor; and when he was a little more than thirty years of age he
retired entirely into private life. He died in London, August 24, 1874, a
man of eighty-three, having outlived his glory by at least fifty years. If
such was the lot of the most marvellous of prodigies, what better fate can
the managers of the lesser juvenile stars expect for their child wonders?

The career of Macready, a contemporary of Master Betty's during his later
efforts, as compared with that of the Phenomenon, shows in a marked degree
the difference between the natural and the forced systems of dramatic
education. Macready, after years of careful, conscientious study and
training, went upon the stage a young man, but one mature in experience.
By hard work he made his way up to the top of the ladder of professional
fame, and he died full of years, honored as the most finished actor of his
day in his own land. Betty, at whom as a child he had wondered, and whom
as a young man he had supported, surviving him a month or two, was carried
to his grave by a few personal friends, almost unnoticed by the world who
at one time had worshipped his genius, but to whom for half a century he
had been absolutely dead. Macready, a fixed star, shining brightly and
bravely, gave a lasting, steady, truthful light. Betty, streaming like a
meteor in the troubled air, eclipsing for a moment all of the planets in
his course, plunged into a sea of oblivion and left only a ripple behind.

Two precocious youths, whose careers upon the American stage were not
unlike that of Master Betty in England, were Master Payne and Master
Burke. John Howard Payne is remembered now as the author of "Home Sweet
Home"; he is almost forgotten as the writer of the tragedy of _Brutus_
and some sixty other plays; and he is forgotten entirely as a very
successful child actor in the highest range of parts. He made his _début_
as Young Norval in _Douglas_ at the Park Theatre, New York, in 1809, when
he was but seventeen years of age. He was called "the favorite child of
Thespis," and his performance was declared to be exquisite, one
enthusiastic gentleman giving fifty dollars for a single ticket at his
benefit in Baltimore. He supported Miss O'Neill in the British provinces,
and Mrs. Duff in New York; but as soon as he was billed as _Mister_ Payne,
not _Master_ Payne, his popularity ceased, and, except as a playwright,
the stage knew him no more.

[Illustration: CHARLES STRATTON ("TOM THUMB").]

Master Burke was a more unusual wonder, for he was a musical as well as a
theatrical Phenomenon. Born in Ireland, Thomas Burke made his _début_ in
Cork as Tom Thumb, when he was five years of age. He made his first
appearance in America at the Park Theatre, New York, in 1830, before he
was twelve. Mr. Ireland preserves a list of characters he played, which
includes Richard III., Shylock, Norval, Sir Abel Handy, Sir Giles
Overreach, and Doctor Pangloss. He also led the orchestra in operatic
overtures, played violin solos, and sung humorous songs; and "as a
prodigy, both in music and the drama," Mr. Ireland believes that "he has
been unapproached by any child who has trodden the American stage." As a
man, he was considered one of the most perfect violinists of his time, and
he was last heard here in public at the concerts of Jenny Lind, Jullien,
and Thalberg, many years ago.

[Illustration: LAVINIA WARREN.]

The cynical remark of Richard to the young Prince of Wales that "so wise
so young, they say, do ne'er live long," does not always apply to stage
children. The Batemans, Miss Mary McVicker, Miss Matilda Heron, Miss Clara
Fisher, Miss Jean Margaret Davenport (from whose early career Dickens is
believed to have drawn the character of Miss Crummles), and other juvenile
wonders, lived to achieve more enduring greatness as men and women than
was ever thrust upon them in their childish days--while many of the
present veterans in the profession were on the stage as actors before they
were old enough to read or write. Miss Fanny Davenport and Miss Susan
Denin made their dramatic _débuts_ as children in _The Stranger_,
_Pizarro_, _Metamora_, or other of the standard plays of their youth; Mr.
Jefferson, at the age of six, engaged in a stage combat with broadswords
with one Master Titus, at the Park Theatre, for the benefit of the latter
young gentleman; and Madame Ristori, carried upon the stage in a basket at
the age of two months, was at the age of four years playing children's
parts in her native Italy. Miss Lotta began her professional career a
Phenomenon when eight years old; but Lotta, to be measured by no known
dramatic rules, is an Infant Phenomenon still. Miss Mary Taylor, than whom
no lady in her maturity enjoyed greater popularity in New York, sang as a
child in concerts, and even before she reached her teens was a great
favorite in the choruses of the National Theatre on Church Street, New
York; and there are to-day, among collectors of such things, rare prints,
highly prized, of Miss Adelaide Phillips and of Miss Mary Gannon as child
wonders; the latter young lady having been an actress before she was three
years old.

[Illustration: JOHN HOWARD PAYNE.]

Evidences of such early dramatic experiences might readily be multiplied;
but a decided distinction should be made between the phenomenal young
actor or actress who walks upon the stage in leading parts, a child
Richard or an infant Richmond, and the youthful artist, born of dramatic
parents, who, never attempting what is beyond his years or his station,
plays Young York or Young Clarence to support his father, says his few
lines, gets his little bit of applause, is not noticed by the critics, and
goes home like a good child to his mother and to his bed. It is as natural
for the child of an actor to go upon the stage as it is for the son of a
sailor to follow the sea; but while the young mariner before the mast is
taught the rudiments of his profession by the roughest of experiences and
the hardest of knocks, the young Roscius too frequently is given command
of his dramatic ship before he can box the dramatic compass, or can tell
the difference in the nautical drama between _Black-eyed Susan_ and _The
Tempest_.

[Illustration: BLIND TOM.]

Miss Clara Fisher (Mrs. James G. Maeder) was regarded in her youth as a
prodigy second only to Master Betty; but, unlike Master Betty, she more
than realized the best hopes of her early admirers, and lived to be
considered one of the most perfect and finished actresses ever known to
our stage. Born in England in 1811, she appeared in Drury Lane, London,
the scene of Master Betty's earliest successes, when she was only six
years of age, and at once she won the most decided triumphs. It was
said of her that she clearly understood, even at that early age, her
author and his meaning, entered thoroughly and enthusiastically into all
of her parts, and displayed in every scene not only acuteness of
intellect, but a temperament fully in unison with the profession of her
choice. Cast in plays with actors of the regulation age and size, instead
of being dwarfed by the contrast with them, she made the rest of the
_dramatis personæ_ appear entirely out of proportion, and carried away all
of the honors. Her American _début_ was made September 12, 1827, at the
Park Theatre, New York. In the seventeenth year of her age she could
scarcely rank among the Infant Phenomena, however, and she is only known
in this country, where the rest of her professional life has been spent,
as a leading lady, justly celebrated, but not wonderful, out of all
whooping, as an Infant Roscia.

[Illustration: MASTER BURKE AS HAMLET.]

Mrs. Maeder comes of a theatrical race, and one which seems to mature
early. Her sister, Jane Marchant Fisher, the good old Mrs. Vernon of
Wallack's, went upon the stage in London a child of ten; Frederick G.
Maeder, her son, made his first appearance at the age of eighteen; and
Alexina Fisher (Mrs. A. F. Baker) and Oceana Fisher, daughters of Palmer
Fisher, and members of the same family, played here as children half a
century ago.

[Illustration: MAY HAINES AND ISA BOWMAN AS THE TWO PRINCES IN KING
RICHARD III.]

The most remarkable and most successful of the Infant Phenomena of modern
times in America have been the Bateman Children, the Marsh Juvenile
Troupe, and the Boone and the Holman Children. On the 10th of December,
1849, E. A. Marshall, manager of the Broadway Theatre, introduced on the
boards of that house, for the first time to New York audiences, Kate and
Ellen Bateman, whose united ages were not ten years. Kate made her _début_
as Richmond, and Ellen, the younger, as Richard, in scenes from
Shakspere's _Richard III._ The announcement of the coming of the
infantile Thespians was not favorably received by the regular attendants
of the Broadway; the appearance of prodigies of any kind being a departure
from the ways of that traditional home of the legitimate drama, and there
was a prejudice formed against these young stars which nothing but the
absolute cleverness of their performances was able to overcome. After Mr.
Hackett as Falstaff, and Miss Cushman as Lady Macbeth, it was scarcely
natural that unknown children in the same and kindred parts should satisfy
the critical audiences of the Old Broadway. The popularity of the
Batemans, however, was quickly established; those who came to scoff on the
first night returned to praise; the whole town, young and old, petted and
applauded the children; while still the wonder grew, during the single
week of their engagement, how the two small heads could carry all they
knew. It seemed incredible that an infant of four years like Ellen Bateman
could present anything approaching an embodiment of such characters as
Shylock, Richard, or Lady Macbeth; or that a child of six, as was Kate at
that time, should be able to play Richmond, Portia, or the Thane with the
correctness of elocution, the spirit, and the proper comprehension of the
language and the business which she displayed. The simple task of
committing to memory the text of so many parts was in itself a marvellous
effort for children of their tender age, but to be able to speak these
lines as set down for them with correct emphasis and gesture, and with
every appearance of a thorough conception of the character sustained, as
the little Batemans are said to have done, certainly warranted all the
praise that was bestowed upon them. Every fresh character they undertook
was a surprise, and was considered more clever than any that had preceded
it. Lady Macbeth was, perhaps, the most successful of Ellen's assumptions,
while Kate read Portia with amazing skill and propriety; her delivery of
the familiar lines was finished, and her carriage throughout was that of
an experienced artist.

After appearing in Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and other American
cities, the Bateman Children were taken to England by P. T. Barnum, in the
summer of 1851, making their first appearance there at the St. James's
Theatre, London, on the 23d August, as _The Young Couple_, and meeting
with decided success. They returned to the Old Broadway November 15, 1852,
and opened in a comedietta entitled _Her Royal Highness_, written
expressly for them. They were quite as popular here as when they first
appeared, and before they left New York Mayor Kingsland, "on behalf of a
committee of leading citizens," presented to each of the children a tiny
gold watch.

In 1856, no longer juveniles, though still most acute, voluble, and full
of grace, they retired from the stage. Miss Kate Bateman returned to it,
however, in a few years, a young lady, and an actress of more than
ordinary merit. Even if she had not since then made for herself, both in
this country and in England, a reputation as one of the strongest tragic
and melodramatic artists on the English-speaking stage, the story of her
early career as told here is worthy of a place in dramatic history because
of the precocious excellence of her acting as a child, and of the
wonderful success which she everywhere won. She was a Phenomenon among
Phenomena in this respect, that she grew and advanced in her profession as
she grew in stature and advanced in years--one of the very few of the
infant prodigies who, in later life, became an ornament to the stage.

On the 10th of December, 1855, precisely six years after the first
appearance of the Bateman Children at the Broadway Theatre, the Marsh
Juvenile Troupe made their first appearance here at the same house, and
made, also, a very favorable impression even upon critics not predisposed
to be attracted by any exhibition of prodigies. In their acting was a
perceptible absence of that familiar, parrot-like, mechanical repetition
of unfamiliar words, and of those studied and artificial attitudes so
painfully marked in juvenile players generally. Their impersonations were
spirited and exact, and evinced unusual mental aptitude and training,
their audiences being sometimes startled by the extraordinary precocity
with which some of the leading parts were filled. Their initial
performance consisted of _Beauty and the Beast_, Miss Louisa Marsh
representing the Beast, while little Mary Marsh, as Beauty, pleasantly
filled all of the personal and mental requirements of that _rôle_. _Beauty
and the Beast_ was followed by _The Wandering Minstrel_, Master George H.
Marsh playing Jem Baggs, "with the popular, doleful, pathetic,
sympathetic, lamentable history of 'Villikins and his Dinah.'" These were
supplemented later, during the Marshes' engagement, with _The Rivals_--Mr.
Blake as Sir Anthony, Madame Ponisi as Julia--or with _A Morning Call_,
Madame Ponisi playing Mrs. Chillington, and Augustus A. Fenno Sir Edward;
the Juveniles, although attractive, being scarcely successful in filling
the house by their sole exertions.

The Marsh Children, although generally announced by that name on the
bills, were not members of one family, nor were they Marshes. George and
Mary, brother and sister, and both of them said to have been less than
eight years of age when they came here first, were in private life Master
and Miss Guerineau--while the other leading lady, Louisa Marsh, was
properly Miss McLaughlin. The entire company was composed of children. As
they died--and the mortality among them was remarkable--or as they grew
too large for the troupe, their places were filled by other precocious
infants, engaged by their clever manager in his strollings from town to
town. Among the members of the company at different times were Miss Ada
Webb, Miss Fanny Berkley, Miss Ada and Miss Minnie Monk, and Louis
Aldrich, all of whom, if not great, subsequently, in their profession, are
still not unknown to fame. Unlike the Batemans, however, none of the Marsh
Juveniles ever became stars of more than common magnitude, and none of
them are shining very brilliantly on the stage to-day. George Marsh, the
low comedian, was very clever in his way, although not original in his
impersonations. His powers of imitation were marvellous, and his Toodles,
a miniature copy of Burton's Toodles, in which all of the business and
many of the gags--even to the profanity at the mention of Thompson--were
retained, was almost as funny in its uproariousness as was Burton's
Toodles itself, and certainly better than many of the imitations that have
been seen since Burton's day. Little Mary Marsh was an uncommonly
attractive child, bright-eyed, graceful, fresh, and fair. The boy between
eight and fifteen in her audiences who did not succumb to her loveliness
was only fit for treason, stratagem, and spoils. Her name was to be found
written in some copy-book, her face sketched in some drawing-book in the
male department of every school in New York, and in the average
schoolboy's mind she was associated in some romantic way with all of the
good and beautiful women of his history or his mythology; she inhabited
all the salubrious and balmy isles in his geography; she was dreamed of in
his philosophy; and one particular lad, who is now more than old enough to
pay the school bills of boys of his own, when asked, in a chemistry class,
by the master, "What is the symbol and equivalent of potassium?" answered,
absently, but without hesitation, "Mary Marsh!"

The passion the child inspired in the breasts of her adorers was a pure
one, and, except in the neglect of a prosy lesson or two, it did no harm.
Her memory is still kept green in the hearts of many practical men of
to-day, who unblushingly confess to a filling of their boyish eyes and a
quivering of their boyish lips when the sad story of her untimely and
dreadful death was told here. While playing in one of the Southern cities,
her dress took fire from the footlights and she was fatally burned,
living but an hour or two after the accident occurred.

On the 3d of August, 1857, the Marshes played _Black-eyed Susan_ at Laura
Keene's Theatre here, followed by _The Toodles_. From the bill of this,
their opening night, the following casts are copied:

    BLACK-EYED SUSAN.

    William              Miss Louisa Marsh.
    Gnatbrain            Master George H. Marsh.
    Tom Bowling          Master Alfred (Stewart).
    Admiral              Master Waldo (Todd).
    Dolly Mayflower      Miss Carrie (Todd).
    Black-eyed Susan     Miss Mary Marsh.


    TOODLES.

    Timothy Toodles      Master George H. Marsh.
    George Acorn         Miss Louisa Marsh.
    Tabitha Toodles      Miss Mary Marsh.

This was probably the last season of the Marsh Juveniles in New York, and
since their exit no startling troupe of Phenomena have appeared here. The
Boone and the Holman Children were clever, but not so successful as the
Marshes. The Worrell Sisters were popular, but, although young girls, they
were in their teens, and scarcely came under the head of infant players.
They made their New York _début_ at Wood's Theatre, 514 Broadway,
afterwards the Theatre Comique, under the management of George Wood, in a
burletta called _The Elves_, April 30, 1866, Miss Sophie Worrell, the
eldest of the three sisters, being at that time fully eighteen years of
age.

Among the occasional companies of children who have appeared in New York
were "The Mexican Juvenile Troupe." They occupied Mr. Daly's Fifth Avenue
Theatre during the summer season of 1875, remaining two weeks, and
appearing at the Lyceum Theatre, on Fourteenth Street, from the 1st to the
13th of November in the same year. Their performances were conducted in
the Spanish language, and their specialty was opera-bouffe. They were well
trained in voice and action, but the music in their childish treble was
weak; and, personally, the troupe ran to legs and arms and hands and feet,
and the general angular and awkward undevelopment characteristic of their
age and size. The bit of a _prima donna_ who sang La Grand Duchesse and La
Belle Hélène in the titular parts, and who was known to fame as Signorina
Carmen Unda y Moron, was made up carefully after Tostée, whom, in certain
actions and gestures and expression of face, she much resembled. She
displayed all of the vim and _abandon_ and _chic_ of the veteran actress,
and tossed her head, and switched her train, and ogled and leered, and
capered like the very Tostée herself, as seen through the reverse of an
opera-glass. The child acted with spirit, or something that was like it,
and seemed to have a morbid enjoyment and comprehension of the indelicate
parts she played. The spectacle was far from being a pleasant one, and
probably shocked more persons than it amused. Little Carmen was certainly
not more than eight years old, and barely as tall as the table in her
stage parlor, while none of the company reached in height the backs of the
chairs of ordinary size with which, in strange incongruity, the stage of
the Lyceum was always set.

During the past fifteen or twenty years there have appeared upon the New
York stage, generally unheralded, several little actors and actresses who
have shown decided ability for the profession, while claiming no
phenomenal talent, and in whom certainly there seemed to be fair promise
of a brilliant future. Among these have been little Minnie Maddern, who
appeared at the French Theatre on Fourteenth Street, May 30, 1870, as
Sibyl Carew, in Tom Taylor's _Sheep in Wolf's Clothing_, supporting Miss
Carlotta Leclercq as Anne. Her knowledge of stage business, her general
carriage, and the careful delivery of her lines throughout the play were
remarkable for a child of her years; and hers was considered one of the
most satisfactory representations in the piece. The pleasant reputation
she made there was sustained at Booth's Theatre in the month of May, 1874,
when she played Arthur in _King John_, with Junius Brutus Booth, Jr., in
the titular part, Mrs. Agnes Booth as Constance, and John McCullough as
the Bastard--a good cast. A more pretentious Arthur--an older, not a
better one--was that of Master Percy Roselle, who played it in one act of
_King John_ at a _matinée_ benefit given to Miss Matilda Heron, January
17, 1872.

Miss Jennie Yeamans was _almost_ a Phenomenon, although, fortunately for
herself, she was never subjected by her managers to the forcing process.
As Joseph in a burlesque of _Richelieu_, at the Olympic, in February,
1871, she was very good, second only to George Fox as the Cardinal-Duke,
whom, with a piece of chalk, she assisted in drawing the awful circle of
the Tammany Ring around the form of Miss Lillie Eldridge as Julie. The
solemnity of the entire performance on the child's part, her wonderful
command of her features, and her display of a dry, apparently unconscious
humor, all in the true spirit of burlesque, were delightful to
contemplate. She was equally good and amusing in a part of an entirely
different nature, Notah, the Little Pappoose, in Augustin Daly's
_Horizon_, a little later in the same season at the same house.
Representing an Indian child who had no knowledge of the English tongue,
and who united to the natural mischievousness of childhood all of the
untamed viciousness of the Indian nature, she was captured on the plains
by the Hon. Sundown Bowse (G. L. Fox), and she made that gentleman's stage
existence more than a burden to him through several acts. When Charles
Fisher played Falstaff at the Fifth Avenue Theatre she was an excellent
William Page.

Miss Mabel Leonard, apparently some five years old, supported H. J.
Montague at Wallack's Theatre in the month of October, 1874, when the
_Romance of a Poor Young Man_ was produced, playing with a good deal of
skill a little Breton peasant girl. The same young lady and Bijou Heron
were the children in Miss Morris's version of _East Lynne_, called _Miss
Multon_, at the Union Square Theatre in November, 1876. Their judicious
training, and the careful acting of their not unimportant parts, added
much to the general completeness of the drama, and will be still vividly
remembered by all now living who were play-goers years ago.

Of all the children who have appeared upon the stage during the past
twenty years, Bijou Heron was one of the brightest and most promising. In
face refined, intelligent, and attractive, in voice pleasant and
sympathetic, in figure neat, graceful, and _petite_ even for her years,
she had all the personal requirements of success in her profession,
combined with careful training, quick comprehension, tact, intelligence,
and love for her art. As the only child, and as the hope and idol of a
once favorite actress, whose popularity was of so comparatively recent a
date that she had not passed out of the memory of the theatre-goers of her
daughter's time, she was kindly and affectionately received in New York
for Matilda Heron's sake, even before she had won for herself, and by her
own exertions, so many friends here.

After long preparation she made her first appearance on any stage at
Daly's Fifth Avenue Theatre, Twenty-eighth Street, on April 14, 1874, in a
play entitled _Monsieur Alphonse_, from the French of the younger Dumas,
by Mr. Daly, and first presented that evening in this country. It was
probably one of the most thoroughly successful _débuts_ witnessed here in
many years. Aside from the shyness and constraint so natural to the
_débutante_, and without which no true actor ever stepped for the first
time before a critical public, she bore herself naturally, simply, and
with charming grace. The part is long and difficult, not one of the
commonplace, childish _rôles_ usually intrusted to infant players, nor one
of the high tragedy star _rôles_ sometimes inflicted upon juvenile
prodigies, but a bit of leading juvenile business requiring more than
ordinary intelligence and skill upon the part of its representative. Many
actresses who have been years upon the stage, and who are considered
beyond the average in their playing, would have played it with less
appreciation and success.

Of the juvenile actors of the present time something has already been
said. As a rule they belong to the legitimate branches of the profession,
and they are as rational, perhaps, as is the drummer-boy of the army, the
elevator-boy of society, or the cash-boy of trade. Alice in Wonderland
adorns a charming tale, Prince and Pauper and Little Lord Fauntleroy point
a pretty moral, even Editha's Burglar may have his uses; but, take them as
a whole, it is a difficult matter to determine the exact position of the
Infant Phenomena upon the stage. They occupy, perhaps, the neutral ground
between the amateurs and the monstrosities, without belonging to either
class, or to art. As professional performers, although in embryo, they
cannot share exemption from the severe tests of criticism with those who
only play at being players; and as human beings, although undeveloped,
they cannot be judged as leniently as are the learnèd pigs and the
trained monkeys from whom some of Mr. Darwin's disciples might believe
them to be evolved. The public demands them, however, and dramatists make
them; therefore let them pass for stars!



ACT V.

A CENTURY OF AMERICAN HAMLETS.



A CENTURY OF AMERICAN HAMLETS.

    "So please you, something touching the Lord Hamlet."
                              _Hamlet_, Act i. Sc. 3.


Hamlet, in his wholesome advice to the players, in his command to the
garrulous old gentleman who would have been his father-in-law had Hamlet
been a low comedy instead of a high tragedy part, that the players be well
bestowed, and in his bold assertion that the play's the thing, showed
plainly how great was his interest in the drama, and how keen his
appreciation of what the Profession ought to be. Hamlet has done much for
the players, but the players have cruelly wronged Hamlet. They have
mouthed him, and strutted him, and bellowed him, have sawn him in the air
with their hands, and have torn his passions to tatters, till it were
better for Hamlet often that the town-crier himself had spoken his lines.
A very few of our tragedians of the city have had enough respect for the
character of Hamlet to let him alone. Others have done full justice to
Hamlet, and as Hamlet have reflected credit upon Hamlet and upon
themselves; but there have been players that I have seen play, and heard
others praise, and that highly, who, not to speak it profanely, having
neither the accent of Christians nor the gait of Christian, pagan, or man,
have made nights and _matinées_ hideous with the part, and have done
murder most foul to Hamlet.

There can be no question that New York is the dramatic metropolis of the
United States--and despite the absence of anything like State aid--as
certainly as Paris is the capital of France, and as surely as London is
the centre of Great Britain. A New York success is of as much importance
to the new play and to the young player as is the crown of the Academy to
the new book, or the degree to the young doctor; and a history of _Hamlet_
in New York, therefore, is virtually a history of _Hamlet_ in America.

The tragedy has been played here during the last century and a quarter in
many languages, by actors of all ages and of both sexes, in blond wigs and
in natural black hair, with elaborate scenery and with no scenery at all,
by almost every tragedian in the country, and on the stage of almost every
theatre in the city with the exception of Wallack's last theatre, now
Palmer's. It has been burlesqued, and sung as an opera; and its
representatives have been good, bad, and very, very indifferent. So
much is there to be said about _Hamlet_ in New York that the great
difficulty in preparing this sketch of its career is the proper and
natural selection of what not to say.

[Illustration: EDMUND KEAN.]

_Hamlet_ was first presented in the city of New York on the evening of the
26th of November, 1761, and at the "New Theatre in Chappel Street"--now
Beekman Street--near Nassau, the younger Lewis Hallam, the original Hamlet
in America (at Philadelphia, in the autumn of 1759), playing the titular
part. Hallam was a versatile actor, who was on the stage in this country
for over fifty years, and always popular. Concerning his Hamlet very
little is now known, except the curious statement in the _Memoirs of
Alexander Graydon_, published in 1811, that Hallam once ventured to appear
as Hamlet in London--"and was endured!" He was the acknowledged leading
tragedian of the New York stage until his retirement in 1806, and he is
known to have played Hamlet as late as 1797, when he must have been close
upon sixty years of age. Mr. Ireland is of the impression that John
Hodgkinson, a contemporary of Hallam's, who appeared as Hamlet in
Charleston, South Carolina, early in the present century, conceded
Hallam's rights to the character in the metropolis, and never attempted it
here.

The first Hamlet in New York in point of quality, and perhaps the second
in point of time, was that of Thomas Abthorpe Cooper, who played the part
at the John Street Theatre on the 22d of November, 1797, although Mr.
Ireland believes that he was preceded by Mr. Moreton at the theatre on
Greenwich Street, in the summer of the same year, as he had played the
Ghost to Moreton's Hamlet in Baltimore a short time before. William Dunlap
speaks in the highest terms of Cooper's Hamlet, and John Bernard ranks it
with the Hamlet of John Philip Kemble himself.

James Fennell, a brilliant but uncertain English actor, who came to
America in 1794, was the next Hamlet worthy of note to appear in New York.
He was at the John Street Theatre as early as 1797, but he does not seem
to have undertaken the character of the Dane until 1806, when he was at
the Park for a few nights. He was an eccentric person, who figures in all
of the dramatic memoirs of his time, and who published in 1841 a very
remarkable book, called an _Apology_ for his own life. Educated for the
Church, he became in turn--and nothing long--an actor in the provinces of
England, a teacher of declamation in Paris, a writer for the press in
London, and a salt-maker, a bridge-builder, a lecturer, an editor, a
school-master, and again and again an actor in America. John Bernard
speaks of him as that "whirligig-weathercock-fellow Fennell," and as "the
maddest madman I ever knew." He was excellent as Othello and Iago, and,
according to Mr. Ireland, "beyond all competition as Zanga," but
concerning his Hamlet history is silent.

[Illustration: WILLIAM AUGUSTUS CONWAY.]

John Howard Payne enjoys the distinction of being the first American
Hamlet who was born in America, and he had been born but seventeen years
when he played Hamlet at the Park Theatre in May, 1809. Two years later,
on the 5th of April, 1811, he introduced the tragedy to Albany audiences,
and his Hamlet, naturally, was as immature and as amateur as it was
premature.

Other juvenile tragedians followed Master Payne upon the stage when they
should have been in bed, notably Master George F. Smith, who played Hamlet
at the Park Theatre on the 28th of March, 1822, and, very notably, Master
Joseph Burke, who played in Dublin in 1824, when he was five years old,
and who was recognized as a star in _Hamlet_ in the United States when he
was twelve.

But to leave the pygmies and return to the giants. Play-goers in New York
between the years 1810 and 1821 were blessed, as play-goers have never
been blessed before, in being able to enjoy and to compare the
performances of three of the greatest actors it has ever been the lot of
any single pair of eyes to see or of any single pair of ears to hear: to
wit, Cooke, Kean, and Booth. George Frederick Cooke arrived in America in
1810, and remained here until his death in 1812. Setting at defiance all
the laws of nature, society, and art, he was in nothing more remarkable
than in the fact that in the whole history of the drama in this country he
is the only really great tragedian, old or young, who never attempted to
play Hamlet here. His diary records his failure in the part in London
years before; and Leigh Hunt, who praises him highly in other lines, says
that he could willingly spare the recollection of his Hamlet, and that
"the most accomplished character on the stage he converted into an
unpolished, obstinate, sarcastic madman."

[Illustration: JAMES WILLIAM WALLACK.]

Edmund Kean first played Hamlet in New York in the month of December,
1820, Junius Brutus Booth in the October of the following year. Concerning
these men and their rivalry volumes have been written; each had his
enthusiastic admirers, and the Hamlet of each has become a matter of
history. That Kean believed in his own Hamlet in his younger days there
can be no question now, and he gave to it the closest study until the
widow of Garrick induced him to alter his reading of the "closet scene,"
and to adopt the manner of her band; an innovation which left him ever
after dissatisfied with himself in that part of the tragedy. Hazlitt
considered Kean's kissing of Ophelia's hand, in the famous scene between
them in Act III., "the finest commentary that was ever made on
Shakspere.... The manner in which Mr. Kean acted in the scene of the play
before the King and Queen," he adds, "was the most daring of any, and the
force and animation which he gave it cannot be too highly applauded. Its
extreme boldness bordered 'on the verge of all we hate,' and the effect it
produced was a test of the extraordinary powers of this extraordinary
actor." The younger Booth, writing of the elder Kean, defends his father's
foe in the following noble words: "The fact that Kean disliked to act
Hamlet, and failed to satisfy his critics in that character, is no proof
that his personation was false. If it was consistent with his conception,
and that conception was intelligible, as it must have been, it was true.
What right have I, whose temperament and mode of thinking are dissimilar
to yours, to denounce your exposition of such a puzzle as Hamlet? He is
the epitome of mankind, not an individual: a sort of magic mirror in which
all men and all women see the reflex of themselves, and therefore has his
story always been, is still, and will ever be the most popular of stage
tragedies."

That Edwin Booth should not have written concerning the Hamlet of his
father in the same charming vein is greatly to be regretted. There are men
still living who recollect the elder Booth in the part--he played it for
the last time in New York in 1843--and to these it is one of the most
delightful of memories. Thomas R. Gould, writing in 1868, sums up as
follows his own ideas of the Hamlet of this great man: "The total
impression left by his impersonation at the time of its occurrence, and
which still abides, was that of a spiritual melancholy, at once acute and
profound. This quality colored his tenderest feeling and his airiest
fancy. You felt its presence even when he was off the stage."

This famous decade of the New York stage saw other great actors and other
great Hamlets, some of whom in point of time preceded Kean and Booth.
Joseph George Holman played Hamlet at the Park Theatre in September, 1812,
James William Wallack, on the same stage, in September, 1818, Robert
Campbell Maywood in 1819, John Jay Adams in 1822, William Augustus Conway
in 1824, Thomas Hamblin in 1825, and last, but not least, William Charles
Macready in October, 1826.

[Illustration: WILLIAM C. MACREADY.]

Of the Hamlet of John R. Duff there is, strange to say, no record in New
York, although he played here occasionally between the years 1814 and
1827. He was very popular in Boston and Philadelphia, and a writer in the
Boston _Centinel_, in the autumn of 1810, does "not hesitate to say, that
in some of the scenes [of _Hamlet_], and those of no ordinary grade of
difficulty, he has never been excelled on the Boston boards." His wife is
still considered by certain old play-goers to have been the best Ophelia
ever seen in the United States, and no account of the tragedy in this
country can be complete without mention of her name. As Ophelia, in New
York and elsewhere, she supported the elder Booth, the elder Kean, the
elder Conway, Cooper, Payne, Wallack, and other stars; and Mr. Booth wrote
to George Holland in 1836 that he considered her "the greatest actress in
the world."

Mr. Macready was the first of a trio of remarkable Hamlets who came to
this country from England at about the same period. Charles Kean was the
second, in 1830, Charles Kemble the third, in 1832. Of Macready's Hamlet
he says himself, in his _Reminiscences_: "The thought and practice I have
through my professional career devoted to it, made it in my own judgment
and in those [_sic_] of critics whom I had most reason to fear and
respect, one of the most finished, though not the most popular, in my
_repertoire_."

In Cole's _Biography of Charles Kean_, inspired by its subject and written
under his direction, if not at his dictation, is the following account of
his first attempt at Hamlet: "The new Hamlet was received with enthusiasm.
From his entrance to the close of the performance the applause was
unanimous and incessant. The celebrated 'Is it the King?' in the third
act, produced an electrical effect. To use a favorite expression of his
father's, 'The pit rose at him.'"

Concerning the Hamlet of Charles Kemble, his daughter wrote, in 1832: "I
have acted Ophelia three times with my father, and each time in that
beautiful scene where his madness and his love gush forth together, like a
torrent swollen with storms that bears a thousand blossoms on its turbid
waters, I have experienced such deep emotion as hardly to be able to
speak.... Now the great beauty of all my father's performances, but
particularly of Hamlet, is a wonderful accuracy in the detail of the
character which he represents," etc.

All of this would seem to be _ex parte_ evidence, but it is interesting
nevertheless; and neither Mr. Macready, Mr. Kean, nor Miss Kemble,
perhaps, was very far astray. On the other hand, George Henry Lewes (_On
Actors and the Art of Acting_) says that "Macready's Hamlet was, in his
opinion, bad, due allowance being made for the intelligence it
displayed. He was lachrymose and fretful; too fond of a cambric
pocket-handkerchief to be really effective.... It was 'a thing of shreds
and patches,' not a whole." The flourishing of this handkerchief just
before the play scene gave great offence to Forrest, who had the bad taste
to hiss it in Edinburgh; and thus began the wretched feud which nearly
convulsed two continents, and ended in bloodshed at Astor Place, New York.

[Illustration: CHARLES KEMBLE.]

Confessing that the elder Kean could not have surpassed the younger in
certain melodramatic parts, Lewes adds that it was never an intellectual
treat to see him (Charles Kean) play any of Shakspere's heroes; and the
author of _The Actor_ says: "Charles Kean's Hamlet has many beauties, but
he is physically disqualified to do justice to any character in
tragedy.... Nature has given him a most unmelodious voice, the sound of
which seems to flow rather through his nose than its appropriate organ, a
face altogether unsuited to the character he attempts, and we doubt if she
ever intended him for an actor." Apropos of Kean's difficulties in the
utterance of certain of the consonants, particularly _m_ and _n_, the
London _Punch_ acknowledged his antiquarian researches, and thanked him
for having proved Shylock to be a vegetarian by his reading of the
following lines:

                      "You take my life
    When you do take the _beans_ whereby I live!"

Macready described Charles Kemble as a first-rate actor in second-rate
parts, and said that "in Hamlet he was Charles Kemble at his heaviest,"
while other critics dismiss his Hamlet as "passable." Thus do the doctors
of criticism disagree.

It was said of Forrest, many years ago, that "his Hamlet seemed like some
philosophical Hercules rather than the sad, unhappy youth of Denmark." If
this was true of him when first spoken, it was much more true of him in
his representation of the part during the later years of his life, and as
he is only remembered by the large majority of the play-goers of the
present. Forrest was too great an artist to play badly any part he ever
undertook, but his Hamlet certainly was the least pleasing of all his
Shaksperian _rôles_. Physically, he was altogether too robust. His too,
too solid flesh was bone and muscle. The soul of Hamlet, as drawn by his
creator, and as conceived by every thorough Shaksperian student since
Shakspere's day, could hardly have existed in a frame so magnificent as
that which nature had given Edwin Forrest. No subtle mind, wily as was
Hamlet's, whether it were sound or unsound, was ever found in so sound a
body. Forrest, when he was young enough to play Hamlet, never knew what
nerves or indigestion were. He gave to the part no little thought, and no
doubt he understood it thoroughly; but that it did not suit him
physically, and that he realized the fact, seemed often manifest when he
was playing it. He presented the tragedy at Niblo's Garden in 1860, Edwin
Booth--at the Winter Garden--appearing in the same part at the same time;
and the contrast between the powerful robustious figure, deep chest tones,
and somewhat ponderous action of the elder actor, and the lithe, poetic,
romantic, melancholy rendition of the younger, was very marked.

[Illustration: CHARLES KEAN.]

Forrest first played Hamlet in New York at the Park Theatre, in the month
of October, 1829, when he was but twenty-three years of age; and at his
last public appearance here, November 22, 1872, he read portions of the
tragedy at Steinway Hall. Mr. Eddy, Mr. Studley, and other tragedians of
Mr. Forrest's "school of acting" were not more satisfactory in the part of
Hamlet than was Mr. Forrest himself. John McCullough, however, a pupil of
Forrest's, and his leading man for a number of years, met with more
success. Although a native of Ireland, his professional life was begun and
almost entirely spent in America, and he may be considered a native
Hamlet, to this manor born. His voice and action in certain scenes where
loud declamation is demanded by the text were quite after the manner of
Forrest, but as a whole he excelled his master in the part. He was free
from mannerisms, his figure was manly and striking, he was neither too
puny nor too burly, his sentiment was not mawkish, nor was his honesty
brutal.

George Vandenhoff made his first appearance in America at the Park
Theatre, New York, on the 21st of September, 1842, in the character of
Hamlet, when Miss Sarah Hildreth, afterwards the wife of Gen. Benjamin F.
Butler, was the Ophelia. The Polonius was Henry Placide, whom Mr.
Vandenhoff, in his _Leaves from an Actor's Note-Book_, called "the best
Polonius and the best actor in his varied line in this country"; the Ghost
was William Abbott, a superior actor in the higher range of parts; the
Grave-digger was John Fisher, very popular and very able; the Horatio was
Thomas Barry, who won for himself in later years no little distinction in
New York and in Boston in the highest tragedy _rôles_; and the first Mrs.
Thomas Barry, an actress of some ability, was Mr. Vandenhoff's Player
Queen.

[Illustration: EDWIN FORREST.]

The Hamlet of Edward L. Davenport was never so popular as it should have
been, nor was Mr. Davenport himself properly appreciated as an actor
during the last years of his life. He was out of the fashion so long
that until a far-sighted management engaged him to play the part of
Brutus, during the famous run of _Julius Cæsar_ at Booth's Theatre in
1875-76, he was only known to the younger generation of theatre-goers,
when he was known at all, as Miss Fanny Davenport's father! That Mr.
Davenport, at the close of his long career, should have been banished to
the Grand Opera-house, and to Wood's Museum, in upper Broadway, is a
stronger argument in favor of the alleged degeneracy of the drama in this
country than is the unhealthy popularity of the current variety shows, and
the emotional plays from the French.

The faithful band of Mr. Davenport's friends who followed him to the west
side of the town, during his occasional visits to the metropolis, found
nothing in his acting to wean them from their allegiance, while he made
many new and enthusiastic friends among the gods of the gallery, those
keen and appreciative critics whose verdict, although not always the
general verdict, is ever, in an artistic way, the most valuable and
pleasing to the actor. But galleries, alas! do not fill managers' pockets,
nor do they lead the popular taste; and Mr. Davenport, at one time a
universal favorite in New York with galleries, boxes, and pits, lived to
find himself, through no fault of his own, and to the lasting discredit
of metropolitan audiences, neglected and ignored.

Hamlet was not Mr. Davenport's greatest part, as it is not the greatest
part of many of the popular Hamlets of the present; his Sir Giles
Overreach, his Bill Sikes, his Brutus, and his William, in _Black-eyed
Susan_, were as fine as his Hamlet, if not finer; nevertheless it was a
singularly complete conception of the character--scholarly, finished, and
profound. In his younger days he played the part many times, and with some
of the "finest combinations of talent" which the records of the stage can
show. On the 16th of October, 1856, at Burton's Theatre, New York, Mark
Smith was the Polonius, Burton and Placide the Grave-diggers, Charles
Fisher the Ghost, and Mrs. Davenport the Ophelia to his Hamlet--a
combination of strength in male parts almost unequalled. At Niblo's
Garden, in 1861, Mrs. Barrow was his Ophelia, William Wheatley his
Laertes, Thomas Placide his First Grave-digger, James William Wallack,
Jr., his Ghost, and Mrs. Wallack the Queen; and at the Academy of Music,
on the 21st of January, 1871, he played one act of _Hamlet_ to the Ophelia
of Miss Agnes Ethel, on the occasion of the famous Holland Benefit, when
the audience, as large as the great house would hold, was the only
audience to which Mr. Davenport played Hamlet in many years that was at
all worthy of the actor or his part. Miss Ethel was a perfect picture of
the most beautiful Ophelia. It was her first attempt at anything like a
legitimate tragedy part, and was decidedly successful.

[Illustration: EDWARD L. DAVENPORT.]

The several engagements of Mr. and Mrs. Davenport after this were in no
way remarkable, except sadly remarkable that so great an actor should have
been forced, in the greatest city of the Union, to play Hamlet to such
poor houses and with such uncongenial surroundings.

On the evening of August 30, 1875, Mr. Davenport appeared as Hamlet in the
Grand Opera-house, New York. On the same evening Barry Sullivan, under the
management of Jarrett & Palmer, made his appearance at Booth's Theatre in
the same part. The comparison invited by the presentation of these rival
Hamlets was not favorable to the Irish tragedian. He was extensively
advertised, and his reception by his own countrymen was affectionate and
sincere. The Irish regiment, the famous Sixty-ninth, was present on the
opening night, and the house was crowded with our Irish citizens. The
performance was superior to the general run of Hamlets, but it was not
superlative. Mr. Sullivan had had great experience on the British stage,
and was skilled in his profession, but his Hamlet was melodramatic, harsh
at times, occasionally overacted, and in all respects totally different
from the quiet, tender Hamlet of Mr. Davenport. Much of his business was
believed to be new, and some of his novelties were effective, if not
altogether according to the text of the tragedy. It was a Hamlet that
appealed to the taste of the audiences of the Bowery rather than to those
of the west side of the town. It is only just to say that Hamlet was not
Mr. Sullivan's strongest part in America. As Richard III., as Beverly, in
_The Gamester_, and as Richelieu, he appeared to advantage, although his
success in this country was not as great as his reputation at home would
have warranted. This was his second appearance in America. His first was
made at the Broadway Theatre, New York, and in the character of Hamlet, on
the 22d of November, 1858.

The student of dramatic history in America must have been struck with the
irregularity of the appearance of Hamlet upon our boards during the last
hundred years. In Joseph Norton Ireland's _Records of the New York Stage_,
published in 1866-67, and the best and most complete work of its kind in
this country, and perhaps in any country, there are seasons and
successions of seasons in which there is to be found no hint of its
production; in other seasons some domestic or imported star was seen in
the tragedy, for a night or two at most, on its meteoric flight from
horizon to horizon, while, on the other hand, for months together _Hamlet_
was of weekly if not of nightly occurrence at some of the theatres of the
metropolis.

[Illustration: JAMES STARK.]

Probably at no period in the history of _Hamlet_, since the early days
when Shakspere himself, according to tradition, played havoc with the
Ghost, has any town witnessed such an epidemic of _Hamlet_ as passed over
the city of New York in the years 1857 and 1858. McKean Buchanan and Barry
Sullivan appeared as Hamlet at the Broadway, James Stark and the elder
Wallack at Wallack's, Edward Eddy at the Bowery, and John Milton Hengler,
a rope-dancer, played Hamlet, "for one night only," at Burton's, followed
at that house by Charles Carroll Hicks, James E. Murdoch, Edward L.
Davenport, and Edwin Booth.

The Hamlet of Edwin Booth, without doubt, is the most familiar and the
most popular in America to-day. He has played the part in every important
town in the Union, many hundreds of nights in New York alone, and to
hundreds of thousands of persons, the warmest of his admirers and most
constant attendants at his performances being men and women who are
emphatically non-theatre-goers, and who never enter a play-house except
to see Mr. Booth, and Mr. Booth in a Shaksperian part. He has done very
much more than any other actor to educate the popular taste to a proper
understanding of Hamlet, and to a proper appreciation of the beauties of
the tragedy. He is the ideal Hamlet of half the people of the country who
have any idea of Hamlet whatever.

In many minds Booth _is_ Hamlet, and Hamlet is Booth; any conception of
Hamlet that is not Booth's, any picture of Hamlet which does not resemble
the familiar features of Booth, any representation of Hamlet on the stage
which is not an imitation of Booth's Hamlet, is considered no Hamlet at
all. If the very Hamlet of tradition himself--the Amleth of the old Danish
legend from which Shakspere drew, no doubt, the facts and fancies of his
play--were to return to earth and walk the boards of an American theatre,
he would find no followers if he walked not, looked not, spoke not after
the manner of Edwin Booth.

Mr. Booth's Hamlet is original in many respects; it is intellectual,
intelligent, carefully studied, complete to the smallest details, and
greatly to be admired. Nature has given him the melancholy, romantic face,
the magnetic eye, the graceful person, the stately carriage, the poetic
temperament, which are in so marked a degree characteristic of Hamlet,
while his genius in many scenes of the tragedy carries him far above any
of the Hamlets this country has seen in many generations of plays.

[Illustration: EDWIN BOOTH.]

He first assumed the part in New York, and under Mr. Burton's management,
at the Metropolitan Theatre, in the month of May, 1857. The engagement was
short, and _Hamlet_ was presented two or three times. Even then, however,
it created no little excitement, and was considered a very remarkable and
finished representation in a young man but twenty-four years of age. In
Mr. Burton's company that season were Charles Fisher, Mark Smith, Thomas
Placide, Sarah Stevens, Mrs. Hughes, and Mr. Burton himself, by whom the
young tragedian was ably supported.

Mr. Booth next appeared in New York on the 26th of November, 1860, at the
same theatre--then called the Winter Garden--under the management of
William Stuart. He opened as Hamlet, and had the support of Miss Ada
Clifton as Ophelia, of Mrs. Duffield as the Queen, and of Mr. Davidge and
J. H. Stoddart as the Grave-diggers. This was his first genuine
metropolitan success in the part, although it was presented but five times
during an engagement of four weeks. A year or two later he played Hamlet
to the Ophelia of Mrs. Barrow; in 1863 he was supported by Lawrence
Barrett, Humphrey Bland, "Dolly" Davenport, Vining Bowers, and Miss
Clifton; and still at the Winter Garden he appeared as Hamlet from the
26th of November, 1864, until the 24th of March, 1865, one hundred
consecutive nights! This was an event entirely unprecedented in the
history of _Hamlet_ in any country, and probably the longest run that any
_tragedy_ whatever had at that time enjoyed. It was before the days of
_Rosedale_ and _Led Astray_--before managers dared to present a single
play during an entire season, when changes of bill were of weekly if not
of nightly occurrence, and when Mr. Booth himself, during an engagement of
fifteen or eighteen nights, had played twelve or fifteen parts. "One
hundred nights" of any production is no novelty now, since _Adonis_ and
_Erminie_ have, with such little merit, drawn such full houses for so many
months; but that one man should have played but this one part, and that
too in a drama so decidedly a one-man play that _Hamlet_ with Hamlet left
out has become a proverb wherever English is known, was a quarter of a
century ago certainly a magnificent achievement. It moved Mr. Booth's many
friends in New York to present to him on the 22d of January, 1867, the
celebrated "Hamlet Medal," the most complimentary and well-merited
testimonial that any young actor, no matter how brilliant his career,
has ever received from the American public in the history of its stage.
During this famous engagement he was associated with Thomas Placide as
Grave-digger; with Charles Kemble Mason, an admirable Ghost; with Charles
Walcot, Jr., as Horatio; with Owen Fawcett as Osric; with Mrs. James W.
Wallack, Jr., as the Queen; and with Mrs. Frank Chanfrau as Ophelia--as
strong a combination of talent as the tragedy has often seen.

[Illustration: LAWRENCE BARRETT.]

It is not possible to tell here the story of Mr. Booth's many productions
of _Hamlet_ in New York, nor to do more than barely enumerate the ladies
and gentlemen who have supported him. Among his Ophelias, not mentioned
above, have been Miss Effie Germon (in 1866), Mme. Scheller, Miss Blanche
De Bar, Miss Bella Pateman, Miss Jeffreys-Lewis, Miss Eleanor Carey, Mrs.
Alexina Fisher Baker, Miss Clara Jennings, Miss Minna Gale, and Mme.
Helena Modjeska. He has snubbed and stabbed John Dyott, David C. Anderson,
Charles Fisher, and George Andrews, as Polonius. His Grave-diggers have
been Robert Pateman, Charles Peters, and Owen Fawcett. Newton Gothold, J.
H. Taylor, David W. Waller, H. A. Weaver, Charles Barron, Charles Kemble
Mason, and Lawrence Barrett have been his Ghosts, and Mrs. Marie Wilkins,
Miss Mary Wells, Mrs. Fanny Morant, and Miss Ida Vernon, in their turn,
have been the mothers who his father had much offended.

Lawrence Barrett, now so intimately associated with Mr. Booth throughout
the United States, has played every male part in _Hamlet_ with the
exception of Polonius and the First Grave-digger. His earliest appearance
in the tragedy was in Newcastle, Pennsylvania, in 1855, when he
represented the leading character in a version of the play announced on
the bills as "The Grave Burst; or, The Ghost's Piteous Tale of Horror, by
W. Shakspere, Esqr." The elaborate title was supposed to be more taking
with the theatre-going population of that particular town than the simple
name by which it is usually known to Shaksperian students; but it is not
recorded that the representation was popular, or that box receipts were in
proportion to the outlay. Mr. Barrett played Laertes to the Hamlet of Miss
Cushman, in Boston, some years later; he has been the Ghost to the Hamlet
of Edwin Booth and Edward L. Davenport; and he has supported Barry
Sullivan, Mr. Murdoch, and other leading tragedians at different seasons,
taking the part of Horatio to Mr. Murdoch's Hamlet, John McCullough's
Ghost, and Miss Clara Morris's Queen, at the famous festival at Cincinnati
a few years ago. The fact that Mr. Barrett rarely plays Hamlet in New
York is much to be regretted. In other cities, where he is better known in
the part, he is greatly liked, and next to his Cassius it is perhaps the
best thing he does. That it is a highly intellectual performance goes
without saying, but it has other merits as well. It is vigorous,
consistent, and unfailingly tender.

[Illustration: JAMES E. MURDOCH.]

Mr. Bandmann played Hamlet in German, and of course with a German company,
at the Stadt Theatre in the Bowery, just at the close of the first century
of _Hamlet_ in New York. He attracted a great deal of attention among the
German population of the city, and was so successful in it that it tempted
him to study for the English-speaking stage. He presented considerable
business that was new here, but well known in his father-land, bringing
his Ghost from beneath the stage, introducing a manuscript copy of the
speeches of the actors in the play scene, and turning its leaves back and
forth in a restless way to hide the nervousness of Hamlet. This was
subsequently noticed here in the performances of Mr. Fechter. Mr. Bandmann
also drew from his pouch tablets upon which he set down the some dozen or
sixteen lines to be introduced by the First Actor in the incident of the
murder of Gonzago; and at the end of the scene he fell back into the arms
of Horatio in a state of complete collapse. His acting throughout was
effective and powerful.

The Hamlet of Salvini is powerful but not effective. It is not the Hamlet
of tradition, nor does it overtop the traditional Hamlet in novelty and
originality. If Salvini had played nothing but Hamlet here he never could
have sustained the magnificent reputation he brought from foreign
countries, and which he more than fulfilled in other parts. The man who
excels as Ingomar, is superb as Samson, supreme in Othello, and, in the
entirely opposite character of Sullivan (David Garrick), displays such
marked comedy powers, can hardly be expected to shine as the melancholy
Dane.

Rossi's Hamlet is effective if not powerful. In his first interview with
the Ghost he betrays no fear, because he sees in it only the image of a
lamented and beloved father, while in the scene with the Queen, when the
Ghost appears, he crouches behind his mother's chair in abject terror,
because, as he explains it, the phantom is then an embodiment of
conscience, the Ghost of a father whose mandate he has disobeyed.

[Illustration: CHARLES FECHTER.]

Unquestionably the imported Hamlet that has excited the greatest interest
in New York in very many seasons is the Hamlet of Charles Fechter. The
acting of no man, native or foreign, in the whole history of the
American stage has been the subject of so much or of such varied criticism
as his. There was no medium whatever concerning him in public opinion.
Those who were his admirers were wildly enthusiastic in his praise; those
who did not like him did not like him at all, and were unsparing in their
condemnation and their ridicule; but no one was wholly indifferent to his
acting. He came to this country endorsed by the strongest of letters from
Charles Dickens, who was his friend, and weighted by the wholesale and
impolitic puffery of his managers; the result was that, in the judgment of
the majority of those who saw him, he did not and could not sustain the
magnificent reputation claimed for him in his advance advertisements. On
the other hand, while he was in a manner snubbed by New York, he was
hailed in Boston as the Roscius of the nineteenth century. His Hamlet,
although very uneven and unequal, was certainly a marvellous performance,
and while by reason of date it does not come within the scope of the
present chapter, it is too important in many ways to be omitted. It was
thoroughly untraditional. He gave to the Prince of Denmark the fair Saxon
face and the light flowing hair of the Danes of to-day; in his own portly
form he made the too, too solid flesh of Hamlet a real rather than an
ideal feature of Hamlet's person: and much of his business, if not
original with him, was at least unfamiliar to American play-goers. He was
peculiarly "intense" in everything he did, while in what are called the
intense scenes of the tragedy he was often more subdued and natural even
than Mr. Davenport, who was remarkably free from emotional acting. His
"rest, perturbèd spirit," was excellent and effective by reason of its
very quietness, and during all of the scene with the Ghost his acting was
conspicuous by the absence of the conventional quivering, trembling,
teeth-chattering agony which is so apt to be the result of the coming of
the apparition. In the "rat-trap" and closet scenes, in which Mr. Booth is
so good, so very excellent good, Mr. Fechter lacked dignity and repose;
and in his advice to the players, while his reading was less distinct and
intelligent than Mr. Booth's, his facial expression was wonderful and
beyond all praise. He was inferior to Booth in the soliloquies, although
charmingly tender in his intercourse with Ophelia. With the Queen in "the
closet scene" he was almost brutal in his conduct, seeming to forget
entirely--what Mr. Booth never overlooks--that Gertrude, although sinning,
is still a woman and his own mother. He stabbed poor Polonius with a
ferocity that destroyed all sympathy for Hamlet. His reading, apart from
the accentuations and inflections which were natural to him at all
times, was peculiar; his enunciation was frequently so rapid that it
became unintelligible; he hurried through some of the finest passages at a
gallop, and lost some of the finest points; but his Hamlet as a whole was
impressive and magnetic, the oftener seen the better liked. Mr. Fechter
made his first appearance in America as Ruy Blas at Niblo's Garden, New
York, on the 10th of January, 1870, under the management of Jarrett &
Palmer; and he played Hamlet for the first time on the 15th of February
the same year.

[Illustration: HENRY E. JOHNSTONE.]

Among the purely exotic Hamlets of the New York stage Salvini, Bandmann,
Bogumil-Dawison, Rossi, Barnay, and Hasse have been the most prominent.
But while the performance of each was excellent in its own fashion, each
labored under the great disadvantage of playing a most familiar part (and
in a play decidedly an English classic) in a foreign tongue.

It is not possible, of course, in the limits of a single chapter to speak
at any length of all the hundreds of Hamlets who have appeared upon the
New York stage between the years 1761 and 1861, or to refer to the scores
of men who have played the part in other cities. The following
alphabetical list of those who have been seen upon the metropolitan stage
is compiled from Mr. Ireland's _Records_, and from many files of old
play-bills in various collections, and is felt to be fairly complete. It
does not include the tragedians whose performances have been noticed
elsewhere in the text of the present chapter, or those who have played
Hamlet in other cities of the Union but not in New York; and the date
appended is that of the player's first recorded appearance in the part
here:

William Abbott, April 9, 1836; Augustus A. Addams, November 13, 1835; J.
R. Anderson, September 3, 1844; George J. Arnold, 1854; Mr. Barton, March
9, 1831; Mr. Bartow, May 26, 1815; John Wilkes Booth, March, 1861;
Frederick Brown, March 9, 1819; McKean Buchanan, June 10, 1850; Samuel
Butler, November 4, 1841; John H. Clarke, November 8, 1822; Mr. Clason,
November 10, 1824; G. F. Cooke (not the great George Frederick), October
4, 1839; Mr. Dunbar, December, 1813; Edward Eddy, August 27, 1852; Henry
I. Finn, September 12, 1820; W. C. Forbes, May 29, 1833; Richard Graham,
October 29, 1850; H. P. Grattan, May 11, 1843; James H. Hackett, October
21, 1840; Charles Carroll Hicks, December 13, 1858; Henry Erskine
Johnstone, December, 1837; William Horace Keppell, November 17, 1831; H.
Loraine, December 23, 1856; W. Marshall, February 3, 1848; J. A. J.
Neafie, 1856; John R. Oxley, August 16, 1836; William Pelby, January 6,
1827; Charles Dibdin Pitt, November 8, 1847; J. B. Roberts, May 17, 1847;
John R. Scott, March, 1836; James Stark, September, 1852; John Vandenhoff,
October 2, 1837; Henry Wallack, September 4, 1824; James William Wallack,
Jr., July, 1844; Wilmarth Waller, June 30, 1851.

[Illustration: JOHN VANDENHOFF.]

As the limits of space here prevent more than the enumeration of the names
of many men who were excellent Hamlets during the first century of its
history in New York, so does the very nature of the article preclude any
mention of the excellent Hamlets who have appeared in the part since the
century closed in 1862, and who may be still alive. These no doubt will
receive the attention of some later historian, who will do full justice to
the Hamlets of the present and the future, from Henry Irving to N. S.
Wood.

When George Henry Lewes, in "An Epistle to Anthony Trollope," made the
bold assertion that "no actor has been known utterly to fail as Hamlet,"
he forgot four classes of actors whom perhaps he did not consider actors
at all. These are, first, the infant prodigies; second, the ladies who
attempt the part; third, the men who burlesque it; and fourth, the men who
fail not only as Hamlet but as everything else. Of the first, something
has already been said; of the second, something is yet to be said; of the
third, William Mitchell, William E. Burton, and George L. Fox knew no such
word as fail; and of the fourth, George the Count Johannes, in his later
days, was a brilliant example. His occasional productions of _Hamlet_ for
his own benefit, a few years ago, were the source of much silly amusement
and rude horse-play upon the part of audiences not wise enough to
appreciate the mental condition of the unfortunate star, or their own want
of taste in encouraging his buffoonery even by their ridicule. His
support, composed entirely of amateurs, was without question the worst
that any Hamlet has ever known in this country; but his own performance
was neither good enough to be worthy of any notice whatever, nor bad
enough to be funny.

The connection of George Jones with the American stage as a professional
actor dates back to the early days of the Bowery Theatre. He made his
American _début_ there as the Prince of Wales in _Henry IV._, on the 4th
of March, 1831. He played Hamlet at the National Theatre in December,
1836, and he repeated the part (before he became too mad to portray even
the mad prince) many times, not only in this country but in England. The
last occasion which merits even a passing word being at the Academy of
Music, New York, on the 30th of April, 1864, when he was associated with
Mrs. Brougham (Robertson) as Ophelia, and Mrs. Melinda Jones as the Queen.

[Illustration: GEORGE JONES.]

The first record of any attempt to burlesque Hamlet in New York is
contained in the advertisements of the Anthony (Worth) Street Theatre,
June 13, 1821, when Mr. Spiler was announced to play the Dane and Mrs.
Alsop Ophelia, "in the original travestie." Mrs. Alsop's sudden death
before the opening night postponed the performance indefinitely, and it is
not known now when the travesty was produced, or if it was produced at all
that season. Mr. William Mitchell presented Poole's absurd burlesque of
the tragedy at the Olympic Theatre on the 13th of February, 1840, playing
Hamlet himself. This, by the graybeards who prate of the palmy days of the
drama--palmy meaning anything that is past--was said to have been a finer
performance than the burlesque Hamlet of George L. Fox thirty years later.
At the New National Theatre--formerly the Chatham--Mr. Frank Chanfrau
played Hamlet after the manner of Mr. Macready, October, 1848, in an
entertainment called _Mr. McGreedy_. But the burlesque _Hamlet_ which was
most complete in all its parts, unquestionably, was that produced at
Burton's Theatre in the season of 1857-58, when John Brougham played
Hamlet with a brogue; Burton the Ghost; Dan Setchell Laertes; Lawrence
Barrett Horatio; and Mark Smith Ophelia. Brougham had played the part
previously at his own Lyceum in 1851, and at the Bowery in 1856, but never
with such phenomenal support.

On the long file of the bills of _Hamlet_ upon the New York stage the name
of a lady is occasionally found in the titular part. The most daring and
successful of these mongrel Hamlets was unquestionably Miss Charlotte
Cushman--but even the genius of a Cushman was not great enough to crown
the effort with success. In the early days of her career Miss Cushman had
played the Queen in the tragedy to the Hamlet of James William Wallack the
younger, at the National Theatre, New York, in April, 1837, and in the
autumn of the same year to the Hamlet of Forrest at the Park. There is no
record of her appearance as Ophelia. She played Hamlet for the first time
in New York at Brougham's Lyceum, November 24, 1851, and she trod in the
footsteps of Mrs. Bartley, who was seen as Hamlet at the Park, March 29,
1819; of Mrs. Barnes, who was seen in the same part on the same stage in
June of the same year; of Mrs. Battersby, who played it May 22, 1822; and
of Mrs. Shaw--whose Ghost was Mr. Hamblin--in April, 1839. Mrs.
Brougham (Robertson) played Hamlet for her benefit in 1843, and so did
Miss Fanny Wallack in 1849. This last lady frequently attempted the part,
and at the Astor Place Opera-house, June 8, 1850, she had the support of
Charles Kemble Mason as the Ghost and Miss Lizzie Weston as Ophelia. Other
lady Hamlets have been Miss Marriott, Miss Clara Fisher, Mrs. Emma Waller,
Miss Anna Dickinson, Mrs. Louise Pomeroy, Miss Rachel Denvil, Miss Susan
Denin, Mrs. F. B. Conway, Miss Adele Belgarde, and finally Miss Julia
Seaman, an English actress of fine figure, who played the Devil in the
spectacle of _The White Fawn_ at Niblo's Garden, and who succeeded in
doing as much with Hamlet at Booth's Theatre in 1874.

[Illustration: AUGUSTUS A. ADDAMS.]

The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy, history,
pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, scene individable, or
poem unlimited, have been in Hamlet's train upon the New York stage since
"first from England he was here arrived," so many years ago; but so much
has been said of Hamlet that even the names of his most beautiful
Ophelias, his honest Ghosts, his gentle Guildensterns, his aunt-mothers,
his uncle-fathers, his wretched, rash, intruding Polonii, or the absolute
knaves who have digged his Ophelia's grave--and lied in it--for a hundred
years, cannot be enumerated here, except when they have played Hamlet
himself, or have done as somebody else some wonderful things to Hamlet.

William Davidge related in his _Footlight Flashes_ that during his
strolling days in England, when companies were small, he had on the same
evening done duty for Polonius, the Ghost, Osric, and the First
Grave-digger; and Edwin Booth remembers Thomas Ward dying in sight of the
audience as the Player King, and being dragged from the mimic stage by the
heels to enter immediately at another wing as Polonius, with a cry of
"Lights! lights! lights!" Hamlet, in a "one-night town," swearing that he
loved Ophelia better than forty thousand brothers, has watched her through
an open grave packing her trunk in the place beneath, while the Ghost, her
husband, waited to strap it up! There are more things in Hamlet's
existence--behind the scenes--than are dreamed of in the philosophy of all
his commentators and all his critics.

One of the most notable instances of a great actor assuming a small part
was on the occasion of Charles Kean's first appearance as Hamlet in
Baltimore, when at the Holiday Street Theatre, in 1831, the elder Booth,
at that time at the very height of his fame and prosperity, for some
reason now unknown, volunteered to play the Second Actor, the most
insignificant character in the tragedy. John Duff was the Ghost; Mrs. Duff
Queen Gertrude; John Sefton Osric; Thomas Flynn First Grave-digger; and
William Warren, father of the William Warren for whom Boston mourns
to-day, was Polonius. This was an exceedingly strong cast of the tragedy,
and the Second Actor most certainly was never in better hands on any
stage.

[Illustration: WILLIAM PELBY.]

The strongest cast of _Hamlet_, in all its parts, ever presented in
America, was that at the famous Wallack Testimonial in New York, on the
21st of May, 1888, when Lawrence Barrett played the Ghost; Frank Mayo the
King; John Gilbert Polonius; Eben Plympton Laertes; John A. Lane Horatio;
Joseph Wheelock the First Actor; Milnes Levick the Second Actor; Henry
Edwards the Priest; Joseph Jefferson and William J. Florence the
Grave-diggers; Miss Kellogg Gertrude; Miss Coghlan the Player Queen; and
Madame Modjeska Ophelia to the Hamlet of Edwin Booth.

The first record of any performance of _Hamlet_ in New York, as has been
shown, was at the theatre in Chappel Street, November 26, 1761. On the
26th of November, 1861, Mr. Booth played the same part at the Winter
Garden, on Broadway. The coincidence was not noticed at the time, and no
doubt was purely accidental. It was a very pleasant coincidence,
nevertheless, and it is certainly a happy fact that Edwin Booth should
have been selected by chance to celebrate upon the New York stage the
centenary of _Hamlet_ in New York.


CURTAIN.



THE CAST OF CHARACTERS.



_THE CAST OF CHARACTERS._


  Abbott, William, 282, 314.

  Adams, Edwin, 200.

  Adams, Mrs. Edwin, 124.

  Adams, J. J., 270.

  Addams, Augustus A., 314.

  Aldrich, Louis, 245.

  Aldrich, Thomas Bailey, 217.

  Aldridge, Ira, 94.

  Alger, Wm. R., 103.

  Allen, Andrew J., 101-3, 122.

  Alsop, Mrs., 321.

  Anderson, David C., 301.

  Anderson, J. R., 314.

  Anderson, Mary, 5.

  André, John, 19-20.

  Andrews, George H., 69, 301.

  Anne, Queen, 158.

  Arbuthnot, John, 150.

  Aristophanes, 149-51, 164.

  Arnold, Benedict, 19.

  Arnold, George, 148.

  Arnold, George J., 314.

  Arnold, John H. V., xii.


  Backus, Charles, 138.

  Baker, Mrs. (Alexina Fisher), 238, 301.

  Baker, Thomas, 48.

  Bancker, Mr., 96.

  Bandmann, Daniel, 305-6, 313.

  Bangs, John Kendrick, 195.

  Bannister, John, 90-3.

  Barker, Jas. N., 10.

  Barnay, Ludwig, 313.

  Barnes, John, 119.

  Barnes, Mrs. John, 10, 322.

  Barnum, P. T., 111, 242.

  Barrett, Lawrence, 5, 104, 107, 170, 204, 298, 301, 302-5, 322, 329.

  Barrett, Mrs. Giles L., 100.

  Barron, Charles, 301.

  Barrow, Mrs. (Julia Bennett), 286, 297.

  Barry, Thomas, 14, 59, 282.

  Barry, Mrs. Thomas (First), 282.

  Barry, Mrs. Thomas (Clara S. Biddles), 59.

  Bartley, Mrs. George, 322.

  Barton, Mr., 314.

  Bartow, Mr., 314.

  Bateman, Ellen, 80, 230, 238-43.

  Bateman, Kate, 5, 80, 230, 238-43.

  Bateman, Mrs. H. L., 76, 79, 80.

  Battersby, Mrs. (Mrs. Stickney), 322.

  Beckett, Harry, 177.

  Behn, Aphra, 90.

  Belgarde, Adele, 325.

  Benedict, Lew, 139.

  Bennett, Julia (Mrs. Barrow), 286, 297.

  Berkley, Fanny, 245.

  Bernard, Bayle, 25.

  Bernard, John, 262, 265.

  Bernard, Wm. H., 138.

  Betty, W. H. W. ("Master" Betty), 222-6, 234.

  Bickerstaffe, Isaac, 93.

  Birch, William, 132-5, 138.

  Blake, Wm. R., 60, 244.

  Blakeley, Thos. H., 123-4.

  Blanchard, Kitty (Mrs. McKee Rankin), 181.

  Bland, Humphrey, 298.

  "Blind Tom," 221.

  Bloodgood, Harry, 139.

  Bogumil-Dawison, 313.

  Booker, John, 107-8.

  Boone Children, 247.

  Booth, Agnes, 250.

  Booth, Edwin, 5, 106, 185, 196, 269, 270, 281, 293-302, 310, 326, 329-30.

  Booth, Mrs. Edwin (Mary McVicker), 230.

  Booth, John Wilkes, 314.

  Booth, Junius Brutus, 90, 106-7, 266, 270, 273, 326.

  Booth, J. B., Jr., 250.

  Boucicault, Dion, 6, 40.

  Bowers, Vining, 298.

  Bowman, Isa, 239.

  Bozzaris, Marco, 23.

  Braham, David, 52.

  Brougham, John, 13, 149, 162-3, 164-73, 191, 199, 204, 322.

  Brougham, Mrs. John (Miss Nelson), 162, 165.

  Brougham, Mrs. John (Mrs. Robertson), 321, 325.

  Brower, Frank, 124-6, 138.

  Brown, Frederick, 314.

  Bryant, Daniel, 131, 136, 138.

  Bryant, Jerry, 138.

  Bryant, Neil, 138.

  Bryant's Minstrels, 126, 135-6.

  Buchanan, McKean, 293, 314.

  Buckingham, Duke of, 153.

  Buckland, Mrs. (Kate Horn), 59.

  Buckley, Frederick, 135.

  Buckley, George Swayne, 135.

  Buckley, R. Bishop, 135.

  Buckley's Minstrels, 138.

  Budworth, J. H., 136, 138.

  "Buffalo Bill" (W. F. Cody), 26, 119.

  Bunce, Oliver B., 20-3.

  Burgess, Neil, 44, 203.

  Burke, Charles, 39, 40, 199, 200.

  Burke, John D., 19.

  Burke, Joseph ("Master" Burke), 226, 229-30, 265.

  Burnand, F. C., 181.

  Burnett, J. G., 20.

  Burns, Barney, 122.

  Burton, Wm. E., 76, 79, 157, 162-4, 185, 196, 245, 286, 297, 318, 322.

  Butler, Benjamin F., 192, 282.

  Butler, Samuel, 314.

  Byron, Henry J., 72.


  Cable, Geo. W., 4, 142.

  Campbell, S. C., 136, 138.

  Carey, Eleanor, 301.

  Cary, Mary, 181.

  Chanfrau, F. S., 48-51, 321.

  Chanfrau, Mrs. F. S., 301.

  Charles II., 90, 153.

  Chesterfield, Lord, 151.

  Chippendale, William, 59, 67.

  Christy, E. P., 108, 111, 131, 132, 135.

  Christy, George, 111, 132-3, 135, 138.

  Cibber, Colley, 155.

  Clapp, W. W., Jr., 100.

  Clarke, Constantia, 10.

  Clarke, John H., 10, 314.

  Clarke, John S., 5, 39, 106.

  Clarke, Mrs. John S. (Asia Booth), 106.

  Clason, Mr., 314.

  Clemens, Sam'l L. ("Mark Twain"), 17, 43.

  Clifton, Ada, 297, 298.

  Cody, W. F. ("Buffalo Bill"), 26, 119.

  Coghlan, Rose, 329.

  Cole, John William, 274.

  Collins, Benjamin, 139.

  Columbus, Christopher, 9.

  "Commodore Nutt," 221.

  Conner, E. S., 115-17.

  Conway, Mrs. F. B., 325.

  Conway, Wm. A., 270, 273.

  Cook, Charles T., 180.

  Cooke, Aynsley, 138.

  Cooke, George Frederick, 266.

  Cooke, G. F., 314.

  Cooper, Fenimore, 4, 17.

  Cooper, T. A., 262, 273.

  Cotton, Daniel, 138.

  Cotton & Murphy, 136.

  Cotton & Reed, 136.

  Cowell, Joseph, 80.

  Cowell, Samuel, 119.

  Crabb, George, 147.

  Crabtree, Charlotte ("Lotta"), 233.

  Crane, Wm. H., 43, 191-2, 200.

  Crisp, Wm. H. (Elder), 53-4, 59, 66, 67.

  Crockett, David, 31.

  Cummings, Minnie, 64-5.

  Curtis, George William, 76.

  Cushman, Charlotte, 5, 13, 241, 302, 322.

  Custis, G. W. P., 10.


  Daly, Augustin, 5, 6, 26, 84, 154, 181, 248, 250, 252.

  Darling, Bessie, 64.

  Darwin, Charles, 254.

  Davenport, Adolphus ("Dolly Davenport"), 298.

  Davenport, E. L., 60, 67, 68, 282-9, 290, 293, 302, 310.

  Davenport, Mrs. E. L. (Fanny Vining), 60, 79, 286, 289.

  Davenport, Fanny, 280, 285.

  Davenport, Jean M., 230.

  Davenport, Lizzie Weston (Mrs. Charles Mathews), 170, 325.

  Davidge, William, 297, 326.

  Davies, John, 8.

  Davis, L. Clarke, 39.

  Dawison, Bogumil, 313.

  De Bar, Blanche, 301.

  Delehanty, W. H., 139.

  De Leon, T. C., 182.

  Delsarte, M., 51.

  Dengremont, Munrico, 214.

  Denin, Kate, 23.

  Denin, Susan. 23, 230, 325.

  Denvil, Rachel, 325.

  Devere, Samuel, 139.

  De Walden, T. B., 59, 69, 76-9.

  Diamond, John, 111.

  Dibdin, Charles, 93, 94, 162.

  Dickens, Charles, 230, 309.

  Dickinson, Anna, 64, 325.

  Dickinson, Enam, 132.

  Dimond, George, 120.

  Dixey, Henry E., 192, 204.

  Dixon, G. W., 121-2.

  Dobson, Austin, 217.

  Dockstader, Lewis, 136.

  Dougherty, Hugh, 138-9.

  Douglas, Mrs. (Mrs. Hallam), 155.

  Drew, Mrs. John, 112-15.

  Dryden, John, 153-4.

  Duff, John R., 270-3, 329.

  Duff, Mrs. J. R., 229, 273, 329.

  Duffield, Mrs., 297.

  Dumas, Alexandre (Younger), 252.

  Dunbar, Mr., 314.

  Dunlap, William, 6, 19, 94, 262.

  Dunning, Alice, 181.

  Dyott, John, 59, 301.

  Dyott, Mrs. John, 60.


  Eddy, Edward, 281, 293, 314.

  Edouin, Willie, 192.

  Edwards, Henry, 329.

  Edwin, Lina, 174.

  Eldridge, Lillie, 178, 250.

  Eliot, George, 147.

  Ellis, Clara, 60.

  Elssler, Fanny, 159, 160.

  Emerson, R. W., 4.

  Emmett, Daniel, 124, 125-6, 131-2, 138.

  Emmett, J. K., 5.

  Ethel, Agnes, 29, 286-9.

  Eugene, "Master." 139.

  Evans, Mary Ann ("George Eliot"), 147.


  Farrell, Robert, 122.

  Fawcett, Edgar, 72.

  Fawcett, Owen, 301.

  Fechter, Charles, 185, 305, 306-13.

  Fennell, James, 262-5.

  Fenno, Augustus A., 244.

  Fenton, Lavinia (Duchess of Bolton), 155.

  Ferrero, Adelaide, 123.

  Fielding, Henry, 155.

  Fielding, Sir John, 154.

  Finn, Henry I., 314.

  Firth & Hall, 120.

  Fisher, Alexina (Mrs. Baker), 238, 301.

  Fisher, Charles, 76, 79, 162, 251, 286, 297, 301.

  Fisher, Clara (Mrs. J. G. Maeder), 230, 234-8, 325.

  Fisher, Jane M. (Mrs. Vernon), 10, 66, 238.

  Fisher, John A., 10, 59, 282.

  Fisher, Oceana, 238.

  Fisher, Palmer, 238.

  Fiske, John, 4.

  Flaherty, B. (see Williams, Barney).

  Florence, Wm. J., 5, 43, 165, 177-8, 329.

  Florence, Mrs. Wm. J., 5, 44, 177-8.

  Flynn, Thomas, 329.

  Foote, Samuel, 151-2.

  Forbes, W. C., 314.

  Forrest, Edwin, 13-17, 102, 103-4, 174, 200, 277, 278-81, 322.

  Fortescue, G. K., 195.

  Foster, Stephen, 141-2.

  Fox, Chas. H., 138.

  Fox, George L., 29-30, 182-91, 250, 251, 318, 321.

  French, Stephen, 173.

  Frost, Arthur B., 148.


  Gale, Minna, 301.

  Gannon, Mary, 233.

  Gardner, Benjamin, 138.

  Garrick, David, 93, 266-9.

  Garrick, Mrs. David, 266-9.

  Gay, John, 154.

  "George Eliot," 147.

  George IV., 225.

  Germon, Effie, 79-80, 173, 301.

  Gilbert, John, 23, 329.

  Golding, Arthur, 152, 153.

  Goodwin, N. C., 192-5, 203.

  Gothold, Newton, 301.

  Gough, John B., 111-12.

  Gould, Thos. R., 270.

  Graham, Richard, 314.

  Grattan, H. P., 314.

  Graupner, Gottlieb, 99-100.

  Gray, Thomas, 4.

  Gray, William, 138.

  Graydon, Alexander, 261.


  Hackett, J. H., 5, 25, 39, 241, 314.

  Hackett, Mrs. J. H. (Second), 64.

  Haines, May, 239.

  Hallam, Lewis (Younger), 94, 261.

  Hallam, Mrs. (Mrs. Douglas), 155.

  Halleck, Fitz-Greene, 23.

  Hamblin, Thomas, 270, 322.

  Hamblin, Mrs. Thos. (Mrs. Shaw), 322.

  Harland, Ada, 30.

  "Harland, Marion," 71.

  Harper & Brothers, 101.

  Harrigan, Edward, 51-2, 99, 192, 195.

  Harrigan and Hart, 51-2, 99, 192.

  Harrington, George (see Christy, George).

  Harrington's Minstrels, 135.

  Harris, Joel C., 142.

  Hart, Antonio, 51-2, 99, 139, 192, 195.

  Hart, Robert, 138.

  Harte, Bret, 3, 29, 148.

  Hasse, Herman, 313.

  Hatton, Mrs. (Anne Kemble), 8.

  Haverly, J. H., 136.

  Hawthorne, N., 3, 191.

  Hazlitt, William, 269.

  Hegner, Otto, 214, 218.

  Hengler, John M., 293.

  Herbert, Mr. ("Pig-Pie Herbert"), 100.

  Heron, Bijou, 251-3.

  Heron, Matilda, 76, 80-4, 230, 250, 252.

  Hicks, Chas. C., 293, 314.

  Hildreth, Sarah (Mrs. B. F. Butler), 282.

  Hill, Geo. H. ("Yankee Hill"), 8, 40.

  Hilson, Thomas, 119, 153.

  Hilson, Mrs. Thos. (Ellen Augusta Johnson), 14.

  Hipponax of Ephesus, 148-9, 195.

  Hodgkinson, John, 261.

  Hodson, Georgina, 163, 165.

  Hofman, Josef, 214-217.

  Holland, George, 111, 157, 273.

  Holland, J. G., 72.

  Holman Children, 247.

  Holman, J. G., 270.

  Holmes, Oliver W., 4.

  Holt, Elise, 178.

  Hooley, Richard M., 136.

  Hopper, De Wolf, 203.

  Horn, Eph, 138.

  Horn, Kate (Mrs. Buckland), 59.

  Horncastle, William, 158-9.

  Howard, Bronson, 5, 8, 72, 84, 99.

  Howard, Cordelia, 218.

  Howard, "Gus," 138.

  Howells, Wm. D., 4.

  Howett, Belle, 187.

  Hughes, Mrs. (Mrs. Young), 297.

  Hunt, Leigh, 266.

  Hunter, "Harry," 192.

  Huntley, Mr., 137.

  Hurlburt, Wm. H., 75.


  Ireland, Joseph N., 7, 47, 96, 119, 123, 129-30, 229-30, 261, 262, 265,
    290, 313.

  Irving, Henry, 317.

  Irving, Washington, 3, 5, 36.


  Jackson, Andrew, 102.

  James I., 89.

  "Japanese Tommy," 221.

  Jarrett, Henry C., 289, 313.

  Jefferson, Joseph, 5, 36, 39-40, 112, 196-9, 230, 329.

  Jefferson, Thomas, 144.

  Jeffreys-Lewis, Miss, 301.

  Jennings, Clara, 301.

  "Johannes, Count" (see Jones, George).

  Johnson, Ellen A. (Mrs. Hilson), 14.

  Johnstone, Henry Erskine, 314.

  Johnstone, Thos. B., 20, 162, 165, 174.

  Jones, George ("Count Johannes"), 318-21.

  Jones, Mrs. Geo. (Melinda Jones), 321.

  Jones, J. S., 40.

  Jordan, George, 23.

  Jullien, M., 230.


  Kean, Charles, 188, 273, 274, 277-8, 326.

  Kean, Edmund, 90, 266-9, 273, 274, 277.

  Kean, Thomas, 154.

  Keeble, Walter G., 69.

  Keeler, Ralph, 107-8.

  Keene, Laura, 20.

  Kellogg, Gertrude, 329.

  Kelly, Edwin, 136, 188.

  Kelly and Leon, 136.

  Kemble, Anne (Mrs. Hatton), 8.

  Kemble, Charles, 273, 274, 278.

  Kemble, Fanny, 195, 274.

  Kemble, J. P., 8, 262.

  Keppell, Wm. H., 314.

  Kingsland, A. C., 242-3.

  Kingston, Duchess of, 151.

  Kirby, J. H., 178.

  Knight, Mrs. Edward (Mary Anne Povey), 60.

  Knight, Geo. H., 192.


  Lafayette, Marquis of, 121.

  Lamb, Charles, 3.

  Lane, John A., 329.

  Leavitt, Andrew, 139.

  Leclercq, Carlotta, 249.

  Leffingwell, M. W., 162, 174.

  Lennox, Adelaide, 65.

  Leon, Francis, 136, 138.

  Leonard, Mabel, 251.

  Leslie, Elsie, 218.

  Levick, Milnes, 329.

  Lewes, Geo. H., 274, 317.

  Lewis, James, 177, 178-81.

  Lewis, Jeffreys, Miss, 301.

  Lind, Jenny, 230.

  Lingard, Wm. H., 181.

  "Little Mac" (Ebenezer Nicholson), 139.

  Liszt, 218.

  Lloyd, David D., 43, 72.

  Logan, Olive, 84, 144.

  Longfellow, H. W., 3, 80, 191.

  Loraine, H., 314.

  "Lotta" (Charlotte Crabtree), 233.

  Loutherbourg, Mr., 94.

  Lowe, Professor (Balloonist), 108.

  Lowell, James Russell, 3, 4.

  Lynch, Frank, 108-11.


  Macdonough, Thomas, 101.

  Mackaye, James Steele, 84.

  Macomb, Alexander, 101.

  Macready, Wm. C., 200, 225-6, 270, 273, 274, 278, 321.

  Maddern, Minnie, 249-50.

  Maeder, F. G., 238.

  Maeder, Mrs. J. G. (Clara Fisher), 230, 234-8, 325.

  Mann, Mrs. Sheridan (Alice Placide), 69.

  Mansfield, Richard, 5.

  "Marion Harland," 71.

  "Mark Twain," 17, 43.

  Marriott, Miss, 325.

  Marsden, Frederick, 84.

  Marsh, Geo. H., 244-7.

  Marsh, Louisa, 244-7.

  Marsh, Mary, 244-7.

  Marshall, E. A., 238.

  Marshall, W., 314.

  Martin, Benjamin Ellis, xii, 164.

  Mason, Charles Kemble, 301, 325.

  Massey, Rose, 178.

  "Master Eugene," 139.

  Mathews, Mrs. Charles J. (Lizzie Weston Davenport), 170, 325.

  Matthews, Brander, 19, 51, 72, 137-8.

  Mayo, Frank, 32-5, 329.

  Maywood, R. C., 270.

  McCullough, John, 14, 250, 281-2, 302.

  McKee, Thos. J., xii, 120.

  McVicker, Mary (Mrs. Edwin Booth), 230.

  Mendelssohn, F. B., 221.

  Mestayer, Louis, 178.

  Mexican Juvenile Troupe, 248-9.

  Mitchell, Mike, 108.

  Mitchell, William, 48, 132, 157, 158-62, 164, 185, 196, 318, 321.

  Modjeska, Helena, 301, 329.

  Monk, Ada, 245.

  Monk, Minnie, 245.

  Montague, Henry J., 251.

  Moody, John, 93.

  Moore, G. W. ("Pony Moore"), 138.

  Morant, Fanny, 302.

  Moreau, Chas. C., xii, 96, 122.

  Moreton, Jno. P., 262.

  Moron, Carmen, 248-9.

  Morris Bros., 136.

  Morris, Clara, 251, 302.

  Morris, Owen, 154.

  Morris, Mrs. Owen (Second), 154.

  Morris, Wm. E., 136.

  Mortimer, J. K., 29.

  Morton, A., 79.

  Motley, J. Lothrop, 3.

  Mowatt, Anna Cora, 8, 53-71, 76, 79, 99.

  Mowatt, James, 69.

  Mozart, 218.

  Murdoch, F. E., 26, 30-5.

  Murdoch, Jas. E., 35, 293, 302.

  Murphy, Mr. (of Cotton and Murphy), 136.


  Neafie, J. A. J., 314.

  Nelson, Miss (Mrs. Brougham), 162, 165.

  Nero, 144.

  Nevin, Robert P., 118.

  Newcomb, "Billy," 138.

  Nicholson, Ebenezer ("Little Mac"), 139.

  Nickinson, John, 67.

  Northall, W. K., 158-9, 160.

  Nutt, "Commodore," 221.


  Oates, Alice, 192.

  Ogden, Anna Cora (see Mowatt, Anna Cora).

  O'Hara, Kane, 155.

  O'Neill, Miss (Lady Beecher), 229.

  Ottignon, Charles, 129.

  Ovid, 152.

  Owen, Robert Dale, 10-13.

  Owens, John E., 40, 79-80.

  Oxley, J. R., 314.


  Palmer, A. M., 258.

  Palmer, Harry, 289, 313.

  Palmer, John, 160.

  Palmo, Ferdinand, 129-30, 135.

  Parker, Mrs. Amelia, 79.

  Parkman, Francis, 3.

  Parsons, Charles, 161-2.

  Pastor, Antonio, 136.

  Pateman, Bella, 301.

  Pateman, Robert, 301.

  Paulding, J. K., 25.

  Payne, John Howard, 226-9, 265, 273.

  Pearson, Henry, 181.

  Peel, Matt, 138.

  Pelby, William, 317.

  Pelham, Richard, 124-6, 136.

  Pell, John, 136.

  Peters, Charles, 301.

  Phelps, H. P., 102-3.

  Phillips, Adelaide, 288.

  Pierce, E. H., 186.

  Pitt, Chas. D., 317.

  Pitt, William, 225.

  Placide, Alice (Mrs. Sheridan Mann). 69.

  Placide, Henry, 8, 153, 282, 286.

  Placide, Thomas, 10, 14, 67, 286, 297, 301.

  Plympton, Eben, 329.

  Pocahontas, 10.

  Poe, Edgar Allan, 57.

  Pomeroy, Mrs. Louise M., 64, 325.

  Ponisi, Madame, 244.

  "Pony" Moore, 138.

  Poole, John, 157, 321.

  Pope, Mr. (1696), 90.

  Povey, John, 14.

  Povey, Mary Anne (Mrs. Knight), 60.

  Powers, Jas. T., 203.

  Preston, Thomas, 152.

  Primrose, Geo. H., 137.

  Prior, Mrs. J. J., 173.

  Prior, Lulu, 30.


  Raleigh, Sir Walter, 130.

  Rand, Rosa, 32-5.

  Rankin, Mrs. McKee (Kitty Blanchard), 181.

  Raymond, Jno. T., 43.

  Raymond, O. B., 162.

  Raynor, J. W., 138.

  Reade, Charles, 99.

  Reed, David, 108, 138.

  Rees, James, 18.

  "Ricardo," 139.

  Rice, Thos. D., 112-20, 122.

  Richings, Peter, 10, 14.

  Ristori, Adelaide, 230-3.

  Ritchie, Wm. F, 68.

  Ritchie, Mrs. Wm. F. (see Mowatt, Anna Cora).

  Roberts, James, 121.

  Roberts, J. B., 317.

  Robertson, Mrs. (see Brougham, Mrs. John).

  Robertson, Thos. W., 72.

  Robinson, Hopkins. 100.

  Robinson, Solon, 117.

  Robson, Frederic, 174.

  Robson, Stuart, 177, 181

  Roselle, Percy, 250.

  Rosenfield, Sydney W., 43.

  Rossi, Ernesto, 306, 313.

  Rubinstein, Anton, 217.

  Russell, Thomas, 218.

  Ryan, Mr. (1788), 154.

  Ryman, "Add," 139.


  Saint-Saëns, M., 217.

  Salvini, Tomaso, 306, 313.

  Sanford, Samuel, 139.

  San Francisco Minstrels, 136.

  Sargent, Epes, 53-4.

  Scheller, Marie, 301.

  Schoolcraft, Luke, 138.

  Scott, John R., 18, 317.

  Seaman, Julia, 325.

  Sefton, John, 67, 329.

  Sefton, Mrs. John (Mrs. Watts), 67.

  Seilhamer, Geo. O., 7.

  Setchell, Dan'l E., 200, 322.

  Seymour, "Nelse," 138.

  Shakspere, 89, 144, 152, 182, 195, 269, 278, 293, 302.

  Sharpe, Mrs. (Miss Leesugg), 14.

  Sharpley, Samuel, 136.

  Shaw, Mrs. (Mrs. Hamblin), 322.

  Sheridan, Richard B., 85, 94, 154.

  Siddons, Henry, 95.

  Siddons, Sarah, 8, 95.

  Silsbee, Joshua S., 40.

  Simpson, Alexander, 8.

  Simpson, Edmund, 10.

  Skerrett, George, 59.

  Skerrett, Mrs. Geo., 162, 165.

  Smith, Geo. F., 265.

  Smith, Jno. N., 120.

  Smith, Mark, 162, 170, 181, 199, 200, 286, 297, 322.

  Smith, Sol (Elder), 39, 100-1, 103, 104, 117.

  Southerne, Thomas, 90.

  Speaight, J. G., 209-17.

  Spiler, Mr., 321.

  Stark, James, 293, 317.

  Stevens, George, 152.

  Stevens, "Major," 221.

  Stevens, Sarah, 297.

  Stewart, Alfred, 247.

  Stickney, Mrs. (see Battersby, Mrs.).

  Stoddart, J. H., 166, 297.

  Stone, H. D., 100.

  Stone, Jno. A., 13-17.

  Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 4, 107.

  Stratton, Charles (see "Tom Thumb").

  Stuart, William, 297.

  Studley, J. B., 185, 281.

  Sullivan, Barry, 289-90, 293, 302.


  Talfourd, Francis, 173-4.

  Taylor, J. H., 301.

  Taylor, Mary, 233.

  Taylor, Tom, 36, 249.

  Thackeray, Wm. M., 3, 140.

  Thalberg, Sigismund, 230.

  Thatcher, George, 137, 139.

  Thatcher, Primrose & West, 137.

  Thompson, Denman, 43-4, 52.

  Thompson, Elizabeth (Lady Butler), 63.

  Thompson, Lydia, 177, 181.

  Thompson, Maurice, 143-4.

  Thorne, James, 10.

  Tiffany & Co., 130.

  Tiffany, Young & Ellis, 129-30.

  Titus, Master, 230.

  Todd, Carrie, 247.

  Todd, Waldo, 247.

  "Tom Thumb," 221.

  Tostée, Madame, 177, 248-9.

  Trollope, Anthony, 317.

  Trowbridge, Mr. (of Pell and Trowbridge), 136.

  "Two-headed Nightingale," 221.

  Tyler, Royall, 7, 8.


  Unsworth, James, 139.


  Valentine, David T., 129.

  Vandenhoff, George, 282.

  Vandenhoff, John, 317.

  Vernon, Ida, 302.

  Vernon, Mrs. (Jane M. Fisher), 10, 66, 238.

  Vining, Fanny (see Davenport, Mrs. E. L.).

  Von Bülow, Hans, 63.


  Wagner, "Cal," 139.

  Wainwright, Marie, 65.

  Walcot, Chas. M. (Elder), 165, 169.

  Walcot, Chas. M. (Younger), 301.

  Wallack, Fanny, 325.

  Wallack, Henry, 317.

  Wallack, Jas. Wm. (Elder), 165, 270, 273, 293.

  Wallack, J. W. (Younger), 23, 286, 317, 322.

  Wallack, Mrs. J. W., Jr., 23, 286, 301.

  Wallack, Lester, 162, 177, 329.

  Waller, D. W., 301.

  Waller, Mrs. D. W., 325.

  Waller, Wilmarth, 317.

  Wambold, David, 138.

  Ward, Thomas, 326.

  Warner, Chas. Dudley, 43.

  Warren, Lavinia, 221.

  Warren, William (Elder), 329.

  Warren, William (Younger), 329.

  Washington, George, 100, 121, 154.

  Watts, Mrs. (Mrs. Sefton), 67.

  Weathersby, Eliza, 191.

  Weaver, Henry A., 301.

  Webb, Ada, 245.

  Wells, Mary, 301-2.

  Wemyss, F. C., 14, 117.

  Wendell, Evart Jansen, xii.

  West, William, 137.

  Weston, Lizzie (Mrs. Davenport, Mrs. Mathews), 170, 325.

  Wheatleigh, Charles, 29.

  Wheatley, Emma, 10.

  Wheatley, William, 17-18, 286.

  Wheeler, Andrew C., 84.

  Wheelock, Joseph, 329.

  White, Charles, 99-100, 122, 124, 126-31, 135, 138.

  White, "Cool," 138.

  Whitfield, George, D.D., 151.

  Whitlock, William, 124.

  Whittier, Jno. G., 3.

  Wignell, Thomas, 7, 154.

  Wild, John, 52, 99.

  Wilder, Marshall P., 203.

  Wilkins, Marie, 301.

  Williams, Barney, 104-6, 130.

  Williams, Mrs. Barney, 44.

  Wilson, Francis, 203.

  Winans, John, 23.

  Winter, William, 112, 154, 188.

  Winthrop, Theodore, 72.

  Wister, Owen, 195.

  Woffington, Margaret, 169.

  Wood, George, 248.

  Wood, Henry, 111, 132, 136.

  Wood, Mrs. John, 199.

  Wood, N. S., 317.

  Wood's Minstrels, 136.

  Woodworth, Samuel, 8.

  Woolf, Benjamin, 40.

  Worrell, Irene, 247-8.

  Worrell, Jennie, 247-8.

  Worrell, Sophie, 247-8.


  "Yankee Hill" (George H. Hill), 8, 40.

  Yeamans, Mrs. Annie, 52.

  Yeamans, Jennie, 30, 250-1.



THE SYNOPSIS OF SCENERY.



_THE SYNOPSIS OF SCENERY._


  Academy of Music, 286, 321.

  Albany, N. Y., 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 122, 265.

  Anthony Street Theatre, 321.

  Arch Street Theatre, Philadelphia, 14.

  Ardres, France, 178.

  Astor Place Opera-house, 277, 325.

  Athens, Greece, 144, 149.


  Baltimore, Md., 76, 107, 229, 242, 262, 326.

  Barnum's Museum, 24.

  Bartlett's Billiard-room, 126.

  Bath, England, 95.

  Belair, Md., 106.

  Berlin, Germany, 217.

  Booth's Theatre, 191, 250, 285, 289, 325.

  Boston, Mass., 69, 75, 99, 106, 188, 200, 209, 213, 242, 273, 282, 302,
    309, 329.

  Boston Museum, 106.

  Boston Theatre, 213.

  Bowery Theatre, 102, 119, 185, 293, 305, 318.

  Branch, Bowery, 126.

  Broadway Theatre (Anthony St.), 76, 238-41, 242, 243, 290, 293.

  Brougham's Lyceum, 157, 164-9, 322.

  Brougham's Theatre (Twenty-fourth Street), 169, 170.

  Buffalo, N. Y., 132.

  Burton's Theatre (Chambers Street), 76, 79, 129, 162, 163-4, 170, 286,
    293, 321.

  Burton's Theatre (Metropolitan-Winter Garden), 136, 170, 199.


  Cambridge, England, 225.

  Carlton House, London, 225.

  Champlain, Lake, 101.

  Chappel Street Theatre, 261, 329.

  Charity Hospital, New Orleans, 122.

  Charleston, S. C., 261.

  Chatham Theatre, 23, 124, 126, 321.

  Chicago, Ill., 132.

  Chios, Greece, 148.

  Cincinnati, Ohio, 103, 115, 118, 119, 302.

  City Hall, New York, 96.

  Columbia Street Theatre, Cincinnati, 115.

  Cork, Ireland, 104, 106, 229.

  Cracow, 217.

  Cypress Hills Cemetery, 102-3.


  Daly's Theatre (Twenty-fourth Street), 84.

  Daly's Theatre (Twenty-eighth Street), 248, 252.

  Daly's Theatre (Broadway and Thirtieth Street), 178.

  Drury Lane Theatre, 93, 94, 226, 234.

  Dublin, Ireland, 222, 265.

  Duke's Theatre, Lincoln's Inn Fields, 154.


  Edinburgh, Scotland, 277.

  Ephesus, 148.


  Federal Street Theatre, Boston, 99-100.

  Fifth Avenue Hall, 136.

  Fifth Avenue Theatre (Twenty-fourth Street), 173, 174, 181.

  Fifth Avenue Theatre (Twenty-eighth Street), 191, 248, 251, 252.

  Forrest Home, 173.

  Franklin Theatre, 105.

  French Theatre (Fourteenth Street), 249.

  Front Street Theatre, Baltimore, 107.


  Globe Theatre, Bankside, 89.

  Globe Theatre, Cincinnati, 103.

  Grand Opera-house, 199, 285, 289.

  Green Street Theatre, Albany, N. Y., 101, 104.

  Greenwich Street Theatre, 262.

  Guisnes, France, 178.


  Harrigan & Hart's Theatre, 51-2, 99, 192.

  Henley-on-Thames, 70.

  Hoboken, N. J., 160.

  Holiday Street Theatre, Baltimore, 326.

  Hope Chapel (Broadway), 136.


  John Street Theatre, 6, 9, 19, 94, 96, 101, 154, 262.


  Keene, N. H., 44.


  Laura Keene's Theatre, 26, 182, 187, 247.

  Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre (Duke's), 154.

  London, England, 58, 60, 68, 70, 75, 119, 154, 157, 225, 234, 238, 242,
    258, 261, 262, 266.

  Louisville, Ky., 115, 117.

  Lower Brandon, Va., 70.

  Lyceum Theatre (Fourteenth Street), 248, 249.


  Madison Square Theatre, 136, 173, 174.

  Manchester, England, 68.

  Mechanics' Hall, 132, 135, 136.

  Melodeon (53 Bowery), 129, 135.

  Metropolitan Hotel, 135.

  Metropolitan Theatre (Winter Garden), 136, 170, 199, 297, 298.

  Mobile, Ala., 182.


  Nassau Street Theatre, 154.

  National Theatre (Chatham Street), 188, 191, 318, 321.

  National Theatre (Church Street), 233, 318, 322.

  Newark, N. J., 51.

  New Bowery Theatre, 24.

  Newcastle, Pa., 302.

  New Orleans, La., 102, 122, 192.

  New Theatre (Chappel Street), 261, 329.

  New York Hospital, 130.

  Niagara, 80.

  Niblo's Garden Theatre, 32, 66, 68, 209, 214, 281, 286, 313, 325.

  North Pearl Street Amphitheatre, Albany, N. Y., 122.


  Olympic Theatre, London, 60.

  Olympic Theatre, (Mitchell's), 10, 48, 132, 157, 161-2, 321.

  Olympic Theatre (Laura Keene's), 26, 182, 187, 247.


  Palmer's Theatre (Wallack's), 258.

  Palmo's Opera-house, 129-30, 135.

  Pantheon, 204.

  Paris, France, 258, 262.

  Park Theatre, 9, 10, 13, 17, 19, 58, 60, 66, 96, 118-19, 123, 153, 229,
    230, 237-8, 262, 265, 270, 281, 282, 322.

  Philadelphia, Pa., 7, 10, 14, 20, 35, 60, 122, 242, 261, 273.

  Pittsburg, Pa., 117-18.

  Plattsburg, N. Y., 100-1.

  Players, The, xii.

  Princess's Theatre, London, 68.


  Richmond, Va., 70.

  Rochester, N. Y. 32.

  Rome, Italy, 144.


  St. James's Theatre, London, 242.

  St. Nicholas Hotel, 51, 136.

  San Francisco, Cal., 135.

  Saratoga, N. Y., 138.

  South Street Theatre, Philadelphia, 20.

  Stadt Theatre, 305.

  Star Theatre (Wallack's), 79, 181, 238, 251.

  Steinway Hall, 281.

  Stoppani's Baths, 130.

  Stratford-on-Avon, 151.

  Sturtevant House, 136.

  Stuyvesant Institute, 69.

  Swanzey, N. H., 44.


  Tammany Hall (Fourteenth Street), 136.

  Thalian Hall, 129.

  Theatre Comique, 51, 247-8.

  Theatre Royal, Bath, 95.

  Toledo, Ohio, 107-8.

  Tremont Street Theatre, Boston, 188.


  Union Square Theatre, 251.


  Vauxhall Garden, 104.


  Wallack's Theatre (Broome Street), 111, 293.

  Wallack's Theatre (Star), 79, 181, 238, 251.

  Wallack's Theatre (Palmer's), 258.

  Washington, D. C., 112.

  Washington Theatre, 112.

  Waverley Theatre, 178.

  White's Athenæum, 135.

  Winter Garden Theatre, 80, 136, 170, 199, 281, 297, 298, 329.

  Wood's Museum, 177-8, 247-8, 285.





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