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Title: William E. Burton: Actor, Author, and Manager - A Sketch of his Career with Recollections of his Performances
Author: Keese, William L.
Language: English
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    [Illustration: WILLIAM E. BURTON.]





    The Knickerbocker Press


    Press of
    New York



The present volume was prompted by the thought that no adequate account
of the late William E. Burton had been given to the public. During his
life no man was better known, and his death called forth a universal
expression of admiration for his genius and regret for his loss. In the
many obituary notices by the press some brief details of his career were
given; but the narrative was necessarily confined to the narrow limits
of a newspaper article. An actor so eminent--one of the greatest in his
line the stage has known,--whose name is identified with certain
delineations of character that died with him; whose renown stamped his
theatre with a celebrity distinct and remarkable; a Shakespearian
scholar, whose devotion to the poet, attested by the incomparable
library he amassed, was only equalled by his interpretation of the
master's spirit, surely is entitled to a more painstaking and a more
extended record. An endeavor is here made to supply such need; and in
the view taken of Burton as Actor, Author, and Manager, the relation is
from birth to death.

In the preparation of this volume, the author owns his indebtedness to
Ireland's "Records of the New York Stage," Wood's "Personal
Recollections," Wemyss's "Theatrical Biography," Hutton's "Plays and
Players," Phelps's "Players of a Century," Clapp's "Record of the Boston
Stage," and Stone's "Theatrical Reminiscences." The writer also
gratefully acknowledges the assistance given him by members of Mr.
Burton's family, and their loan to him of old play-bills, engravings,
letters, etc. Mr. Matteson, of New York, may also be mentioned in
acknowledgment of friendly aid.

The illustrations accompanying the memoir will be viewed with interest.
The frontispiece is from a daguerreotype, and has been chosen as a
faithful likeness of the comedian. The _Bob Acres_ is from a painting by
T. Sully, Jr.; the _Dr. Ollapod_ from a portrait by Henry Inman; the
_Captain Cuttle_ and _Aminadab Sleek_ from daguerreotypes; the _Timothy
Toodles_ from a photograph. All the above were family possessions. The
picture of the Chambers Street Theatre is from a water-color drawing in
the collection of Thomas J. McKee, Esq.

Many shortcomings will doubtless be found in this book, and readers of
it who are old play-goers may think of many things the author has
missed. But we are told by Ruskin that there is "no purpose so great but
that slight actions may help it," and by Wordsworth that

"Small service is true service while it lasts."

DECEMBER, 1884.                    W. L. K.


    WILLIAM E. BURTON            _Frontispiece_

    MR. BURTON AS BOB ACRES               10

    MR. BURTON AS DR. OLLAPOD             24

        BURTON'S THEATRE                  34






    WILLIAM E. BURTON, 1804-1834         3

    WILLIAM E. BURTON, 1834-1848         8

    BURTON IN NEW YORK, 1848-1856       33

    BURTON IN NEW YORK, 1856-1860      100

    LIST OF CHARACTERS                 111

    RECOLLECTIONS                      121
        MR. BURTON IN FARCE            128
             SPECIALLY FAMOUS          141
             SHAKESPEARE               158

    MR. BURTON'S LIBRARY               179

    CONCLUSION                         207

    INDEX                              213



    "_He was famous, sir, in his profession, and it was his great
    right to be so._"--SHAKESPEARE.



WILLIAM EVANS BURTON, the son of William George Burton, an author of
some repute, was born in London, September 24, 1804, and died in New
York, February 10, 1860. His father was a printer, with a bent of mind
toward theology, and gave expression to his views in a work entitled
"Biblical Researches," published in the close of the last century. The
son was classically educated in St. Paul's School in London, an
institution where, before his day, Elliston and the elder Mathews were
instructed; and the father's design was to prepare him for the ministry.
The parent's death, however, summoned him from his studies, and, at the
age of eighteen, he assumed the direction of the printing-office, which
he managed for the maintenance of his mother. It may be observed that
one of the specialties of the elder Burton's business was the printing
of classical works, and the son's knowledge had often been of service in
the matter of proof-reading. From the printing-office he was led to the
experiment of editing a monthly magazine, thus early revealing an
inclination toward the profession of letters which never wholly deserted
him; fostered by sundry efforts of authorship in his native land, and
appearing subsequently, in this country, in his conduct of "The
Gentleman's Magazine" and "Literary Souvenir," and in the compilation
known as "Burton's Cyclopædia of Wit and Humor."

The youthful experiment was not a substantial success, and did not long
continue; but his editorship brought him into connection with certain
members of the dramatic profession, and he was persuaded (we wonder if
persuasion were really needed!) to make a trial of his stage ability by
playing with a company of amateurs. His success in this venture
foreshadowed his destiny, and we find him in 1825 performing with a
provincial company on the Norwich, Sussex, and Kent circuits.

We cannot help the indulgence, at this moment, of a playful fancy
regarding Burton's early efforts. Did he, in the exemplification of
tragedy, which he then aspired to, reveal by a single facial example the
dawning of a future _Toodle?_ Could imagination discover in the dagger
of _Macbeth_ the hook, and in the Thane himself the features, of _Ed'ard
Cuttle, Mariner of England?_ Did the thoughtful countenance of _Hamlet_
suggest in any possible way the lugubriousness of an incipient _Sleek?_
Did he make his Majesty George IV. laugh at Windsor, where, as tradition
has it, he played before the king at this stage of his career? We know
not; but the mask of Melpomene had been thrown aside when, after another
round of the provinces, with varying success, but gaining celebrity
through an unusually wide range of parts, he made his first appearance
in London in 1831, as _Wormwood_, in "The Lottery Ticket," a character
that became famous in his hands. This engagement was at the Pavilion
Theatre, and was a highly successful one. The great Liston, just twice
Burton's age, was then at the Haymarket, and we can imagine with what
emulous admiration the young comedian regarded the veteran actor. He
little dreamed that many of Liston's renowned characters would descend
to him by right of ability and comic power! In the following year (1832)
Liston retired from the Haymarket, "through a pique," as they say, and
Burton succeeded him; but the audiences retained too vivid a
recollection of Liston's performances, and the engagement was only
moderately successful. Recovering suddenly from his disaffection, Liston
returned to the Haymarket, and Burton in his turn retired, to once more
make the rounds of the provinces. But he bore with him one remembrance
in connection with the Haymarket that consoled him for many a
disappointment; and that was the thought of having played _Marall_ to
Edmund Kean's _Sir Giles Overreach_. The story runs that Mrs.
Glover,[1] a leading actress of the company, objected for some reason to
the _Marall_, and declared that she or Burton should be omitted in the
cast. Kean, despite irregularities, still retained a remnant of his old
sway, and he insisted on being supported by Burton. The result was that
Mrs. Glover was compelled to yield, and in due course _Marall_ appeared
before a full house, containing many celebrities of the day. It was at
this time, too, that a production of his pen--the play of "Ellen
Wareham,"[2]--enjoyed the unusual distinction of being performed at five
London theatres on the same evening. A year and a half went by in
efforts to enhance his reputation, and it may be said that his career
was not free from the vicissitudes that frequently attend dramatic
itineracy. But through it all he gained ground and advanced steadily in
his profession. He played almost every thing; his industry was
indefatigable, his will indomitable. The lamp of experience never waned;
and that knowledge gained from contact with the world and human nature,
was a preparation for events and emergencies in another scene and
another land. For now his thoughts were turned toward the United States,
and in 1834 he determined to cross the ocean, and to take the chance of
fortune and of fame.

    [1] Dr. Doran, in his "Annals of the Stage," referring to Kean in
    various parts, says: "Among these, _Sir Giles_ stands pre-eminent for
    its perfectness, from the first words, 'Still cloistered up,' to the
    last convulsive breath drawn by him in that famous _one_ scene of the
    fifth act, in which, through his terrible intensity, he once made so
    experienced an actress as Mrs. Glover faint away,--not at all out of
    flattery, but from emotion."

    [2] First produced, May, 1833.


Burton landed on our shores unheralded, to begin the twenty-five years
of the artistic career which holds so conspicuous a place in the annals
of dramatic achievement. He was not "brought over," and he came at his
own expense. He came, indeed, with the prestige of having written "Ellen
Wareham," and of having made a comic character[3] famous by fifty
consecutive representations; but he was simply announced as coming "from
the Pavilion Theatre, London," and he made his first appearance in
America at the Arch Street Theatre, Philadelphia, under the management
of Maywood & Co., on September 3, 1824, playing _Dr. Ollapod_, in
Colman's "Poor Gentleman," and _Wormwood_, in "The Lottery Ticket."
_Ollapod_ always remained one of Burton's most effective parts. The
portrait, on another page, of the comedian in that character is from an
engraving by J. Sartain of a picture painted from life by Henry Inman,
in 1840.

    [3] _Wormwood_, in "The Lottery Ticket."

There lies before us a bill (elsewhere reproduced) of the above theatre,
dated Wednesday, September 10, 1834, being the fourth night of Burton's
first engagement in this country. The plays on the occasion were
Sheridan's comedy of "The Rivals" and the farce of "The Lottery
Ticket,"--which last seems to have met with great favor, as the bill
states it to be a repetition, owing to "numerous enquiries having been
made at the box-office"; thus beginning the train of similar "numerous
enquiries" with which, in the years to come, his own box-office became
familiar. Burton was the _Bob Acres_ of the comedy and _Wormwood_ in the
farce. Then at the age of thirty, we can believe that the comedian's
unfolding genius gave full promise of the delightful humor which clothed
his _Acres_ at a later day; and that in the _Wormwood_ of the farce he
afforded glimpses of that wealth of comic power which thereafter, and
for so long, he lavished for the amusement of the public. Miss Pelham
was the _Lydia Languish_ and Miss Elphinstone the _Julia_, English
actresses of no special distinction; but it is interesting to note that
Miss Elphinstone became the second wife of Sheridan Knowles, the author
of a celebrated and far more popular _Julia_ than the lady of "The
Rivals," and who appeared on the Philadelphia stage of that year.

Something akin to his reception by the audiences at the Haymarket in
London, was for a time Burton's experience in Philadelphia.

    [Illustration: MR. BURTON AS BOB ACRES.]

As the recollection of Liston by the London audience dwarfed the efforts
of the youthful aspirant, so the memory of Joseph Jefferson, senior,
(who played in the city as late as 1830,[4]) diluted the interest felt
in the new actor by the Philadelphia benches.[5] But the native force
and humorous capability of the comedian were destined to conquer
indifference; and, although the creative genius which informed his
subsequent delineations was yet to be made clearly manifest, he soon had
a secure footing; and a belief was strengthening in the public mind that
an actor of rare endowments and promise had come from the land of
Munden, Elliston, and Liston, and one who might, it was not too much to
say, worthily perpetuate the traditions of Jefferson.

    [4] He died in 1832.

    [5] So the memory of Burton in New York to-day may still be a warning
        ofthe danger of inviting comparison.

On the fifth night of his engagement (September 12, 1834) he played
_Timothy Quaint_, in "The Soldier's Daughter," and _Tristam Sappy_, in
the afterpiece of "Deaf as a Post," and so on through a round of
characters in comedy and farce--_Daffodil Twod_, among the latter, in
"The Ladies' Man"--written by himself--was a great favorite. And it may
here be said, in passing, that the farce, which previous to Burton's
advent had sunk into lethargy, revived under his touch and became a
vital point of attraction. He made a great hit as _Guy Goodluck_, in
"John Jones," in which part he sang a comic song--"A Chapter of
Accidents"--and the fact leads us to remark that very few of those who
saw the comedian in his ripe prime were aware of the musical talent he
exhibited in earlier years, and that he made a specialty of introducing
humorous ballads in his pieces, and sang them with marked effect. A
collection of such songs, entitled "Burton's Comic Songster," was
published in Philadelphia in 1850; and we were surprised, on looking it
over, at the quantity of mirthful verse he had written and sung. The
well-known ditty of "The Cork Leg," it may be mentioned, was written
expressly for him.

    [Illustration: Arch Street Theatre Poster]

The engagement of Burton with Maywood & Co. lasted two years, and was
renewed for two more, during which period the comedian's powers greatly
developed, and displayed remarkable versatility and dramatic resource.
He widely extended his repertory, and was seen at the Arch and Chestnut
Street theatres in a variety of comedy rôles and in innumerable farces.
Among the many noted parts performed by him at various times we may
name: _Ollapod_, in "The Poor Gentleman"; _Doctor Pangloss_, in "The
Heir at Law"; _Farmer Ashfield_, in "Speed the Plough"; _Goldfinch_, in
"The Road to Ruin"; _Billy Lackaday_, in "Sweethearts and Wives"; _Tony
Lumpkin_, in "She Stoops to Conquer"; _Maw-worm_, in "The Hypocrite";
_Sir Peter Teazle_ and _Sir Oliver Surface_, in "The School for
Scandal"; _Mr. Dove_ and _Mr. Coddle_, in "Married Life"; _Dogberry_ and
_Verges_, in "Much Ado About Nothing"; _Launcelot Gobbo_, in "The
Merchant of Venice"; _Bob Acres_, in "The Rivals";--the last-named
character he played on one occasion with the conjunction of the elder
Wallack as _Capt. Absolute_, Tyrone Power as _Sir Lucius O'Trigger_, and
Mr. Abbot (an actor celebrated in his day) as _Falkland_; truly a
striking distribution. A few of the farces out of the many were "The
Lottery Ticket," "Sketches in India," "The Mummy" (so famous in Chambers
Street), "No Song No Supper," "John Jones," "Deaf as a Post," "The
Ladies' Man," and a piece called "Cupid," which had won renown in
England through the acting of the famous John Reeve.

Burton's growing popularity was substantially shown in the attendance at
his regular benefits. They were always bumpers, and occasions of warm
demonstrations of regard. He was always ready, too, with his sympathy
and support where the claims of a professional brother were in question.
William B. Wood, in his "Personal Recollections of the Stage," to which
work we are indebted for much useful information, refers to an
occurrence of the kind as follows: "I must apologize for the mention
here of a circumstance purely personal, which proved one of the most
gratifying events of my life. During the month of December, 1835, while
acting in Chestnut Street, Burton called me aside between the acts, and
with an expression of great pleasure, informed me that a meeting for the
purpose of giving me a grand benefit had just adjourned, after
completing the necessary arrangements. This was the first hint I ever
had of this intention. The object was at once carried into effect, and
on the 11th of January, 1836, I was honored by the presence of one of
the most brilliant audiences ever assembled.... The following
entertainment was offered: 'Three and Deuce,' two acts of 'Venice
Preserved,' 'John of Paris,' 'Antony's Orations,' and a new song, and
'How to die for Love.' I was favored in these pieces with the valuable
aid of Mr. Balls, Mr. J. Wallack, Mr. Abbot, Mrs. and Miss Watson, Mr.
Wemyss, and Mr. Burton."

In the years while the comedian was advancing in his profession, and
acquiring that knowledge of the stage which distinguished his
subsequent management, his pen was not idle. He wrote several farces,
and contributed stories and sketches to the periodicals of the day.
These articles were widely read, and a collection of them was published
by Peterson at a later date, with the title, "Waggeries and Vagaries"--a
volume that has afforded entertainment to many readers of light
literature. The literary taste referred to at the beginning of this
narrative now sought indulgence, and in 1837 he started "The Gentleman's
Magazine," a monthly publication of original miscellany. Articles of his
own appeared in it from time to time, among others a graceful and
appreciative sketch of his friend, James Wallack. He continued the
editorship until July, 1839, when he associated Edgar A. Poe with him in
the control.

To those who have paid any attention to the career of the gifted author
of "The Raven," as depicted by various pens in recent years, it need
scarcely be said that, though a man of genius, he was not without
frailties; and his warmest defenders will not deny that his life was
marred by many irregularities of conduct. He was appointed editor of the
magazine at a fixed salary, and the arrangement was such as to give him
leisure to contribute to other periodicals and to produce many of his
famous tales. "Happier now," says one of his biographers,[6] "than he
had been for years past, for his prospects seemed assured, his work
regular, interesting, and appreciated, his fame increasing, he writes to
one friend that he 'has quite overcome the dangerous besetment,' and to
another that he is 'a model of temperance and other virtues.'" For
nearly a year he remained with Burton; "but," continues the same
biographer, "so liable was he still to sudden relapses that the actor
was never with confidence able to leave the city. Returning on one
occasion after the regular day of publication, he found the number
unfinished, and his editor incapable of duty. He left remonstrances to
the morrow, prepared the 'copy' himself, and issued the magazine, and
then to his astonishment received a letter from his assistant, the tone
of which may be inferred from Burton's answer: 'I am sorry you have
thought it necessary to send me such a letter. Your troubles have given
a morbid tone to your feelings which it is your duty to discourage. I
myself have been as severely handled by the world as you can possibly
have been, but my sufferings have not tinged my mind with melancholy,
nor jaundiced my views of society. You must rouse your energies, and if
care assail you, conquer it. I will gladly overlook the past. I hope you
will as easily fulfil your pledges for the future. We shall agree very
well, though I cannot permit the magazine to be made a vehicle for that
sort of severity which you think is so "successful with the mob." I am
truly much less anxious about making a monthly "sensation" than I am
upon the point of fairness. You must, my dear sir, get rid of your
avowed ill-feelings toward your brother authors. You see I speak
plainly; I cannot do otherwise upon such a subject. You say the people
love havoc. I think they love justice.... But I wander from my
design. I accept your proposition to re-commence your interrupted
avocations upon the _Maga_. Let us meet as if we had not exchanged
letters. Use more exercise, write when feelings prompt, and be assured
of my friendship. You will soon regain a healthy activity of mind, and
laugh at your past vagaries,'" We think nothing can be clearer than that
Burton had good cause for fault-finding, and that he was more than
considerate and just in his frank expression of feeling.

    [6] Henry Curwen, "Sorrow and Song." London, 1875.

We do not intend to pursue the ill-starred connection further. A more
glaring offence on Poe's part severed the relationship, and not long
thereafter the magazine was sold out to Graham and merged in his
"Casket," the consolidation ultimately to become "Graham's Magazine."

"The Literary Souvenir," an annual published by Carey & Hart, was
edited by Burton in 1838 and 1840, and its pages contained many of his
entertaining sketches. He also contributed to the "Knickerbocker
Magazine" a series of theatrical papers styled "The Actor's Alloquy."
Occasional starring tours belong to the chronicle of these years, and
there lies before us a bill of the American Theatre, Walnut Street,
dated October 14, 1839, announcing "First night of the re-engagement of
Mr. Burton," and also that "His Excellency Martin Van Buren, President
of the United States, will honor the theatre with his presence." The
President must have been greatly amused, for not only did he see the
comedian as _Tom Tape_ and _Peeping Tom_, but he also saw him "dance
with Mrs. Hunt the Minuet de la Cour and Gavotte de Vestris." Burton was
fairly well known now throughout the Union--except in the town of
Napoleon, on the Mississippi River, where, if we may believe Mr.
Davidge, he found his Waterloo. The engagement had not been profitable,
and his only hope was by personally drumming for his benefit. So he
deposited a goodly number of tickets with the bartender at the hotel
where he was staying, with a polite request that he would use his best
endeavor to get rid of them. The benefit came off, and the attendance
was very flattering. After the play the comedian invited several friends
up to the bar, and there had the satisfaction of learning that the man
had managed to dispose of all the tickets entrusted to him. This was
very gratifying; but no offer of settlement being made, he ventured to
suggest that, as he was on the point of quitting the town, he would like
to have the pleasure of receiving the insignificant amount of
seventy-five cents for each piece of pasteboard deposited. Mr. Davidge
says it takes a great deal to astonish a barkeeper in Napoleon; but this
one was distanced. He surveyed Burton for a quarter of a minute, and
seeing not a muscle move in the comedian's expressive countenance, he
said: "Look here, Mr. Billy Burton, none of your infernal Northern
tricks here; it won't do, no way! You told me to get rid of them
tickets, and as I had promised I was bound to go straight through with
it--_and by thunder, I was obliged to stand drinks to every man to take
one!_" An audience may be uncultured if not lukewarm; and the
unimpressible community of Napoleon reminds us that the "Antigone" of
Sophocles was once produced under Burton's management, and, on loud and
repeated calls for the _author_, the comedian presented himself before
the foot-lights and said: "Ladies and gentlemen, it would give me the
greatest pleasure to introduce the author of the play; but,
unfortunately, he has been dead for more than twenty centuries, and I
shall have to throw myself upon your indulgence."

Burton made his first appearance in New York October 31, 1837, at the
old National Theatre in Leonard Street--then under the management of the
elder Wallack--for the benefit of Samuel Woodworth, the poet, playing
_Guy Goodluck_, in "John Jones"; and his first appearance as a star was
made at the same theatre February 4, 1839, when he played _Billy
Lackaday_, in "Sweethearts and Wives," and _Guy Goodluck_. A
complimentary benefit was given to Mr. Wallack in the same year, when
Burton played _Sir Simon Slack_, in "Spring and Autumn." The opera of
"Amilie; or, The Love Test" was produced on the same occasion. If we
mistake not, he was connected with the management when the theatre was
destroyed by fire not long after. He also appeared at Niblo's Garden as
a star in this year, opening June 25th, and was seen in a round of
parts, including _Gregory Thimblewell_, _Euclid Facile_, _Ignatius
Polyglott_, and _Tobias Munns_, in his own farce of "Forty Winks." He
first appeared on the Park stage June 2, 1840, playing _Sir Timothy
Stilton_, in "Patrician and Parvenu," the occasion being a complimentary
benefit to Peter Richings; and in the same month acted at Niblo's
Garden. At his benefit (July 6th) he played _Brown_, in "Kill and Cure,"
and _Fluid_ in "The Water Party." The participation of the Cushman
sisters in this entertainment greatly enhanced its interest and
attractiveness. In this year he fitted up Cooke's circus-building in
Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, calling it the National Theatre. He
gathered a fine company and was very prosperous. Charlotte and Susan
Cushman appeared there, and the sterling comedians Henry and Thomas
Placide were among the force. The fairy piece, "The Naiad Queen," was
there presented for the first time in the United States, and brought
wealth to the manager's coffers. A large amount of his earnings by this
enterprise he invested in Nick Biddle's United States Bank, and in the
downfall of that institution suffered severely.

    [Illustration: MR. BURTON AS DR. OLLAPOD.]

In 1841, after a brief engagement at the Providence theatre, he returned
to New York, and leased the rebuilt theatre corner of Leonard and Church
streets, where his first appearance in New York had been made; brought
on his Philadelphia company, and there established himself. This was
April 13, 1841, and his first essay as manager in New York. He
transported all the beautiful scenery of "The Naiad Queen," and
reproduced the piece with gratifying success. But a dread fatality
seemed to attend this temple of the drama. As, while under Wallack's
management, it was destroyed by fire, so the same doom befell it under
Burton. In the height of prosperity the building was again consumed, and
with it the elaborate and splendid scenery of "The Naiad Queen." Of this
calamity, F. C. Wemyss, in his "Theatrical Biography," remarks: "On this
occasion a magnificent and extensive wardrobe, the property of Mr.
Burton, was consumed, together with his private wardrobe, manuscripts,
books, and other articles of considerable value. He was not insured to
the amount of a dollar. The citizens of New York expressed their
sympathy with the manager; and a complimentary benefit at the Park
placed a handsome sum at his disposal." Undaunted by a disaster which
would have utterly discouraged most men, Burton again sought
Philadelphia, and after starring for a brief season leased the Chestnut
Street Theatre for a fresh essay. There for a while he continued with
good fortune, until better prospects invited him to Arch Street, where
at last he located with a view to permanency. Meeting now with rich
success, he determined to extend his sphere of operation, and added in
turn to his lesseeship the Front Street Theatre, Baltimore, and the
theatre in Washington; so that in 1845-6 he was guiding the destinies of
three dramatic houses, distinguished for well-chosen companies and for
the admirable manner in which the plays were mounted and cast. But again
the fiat of destiny was written in words of flame. The Washington
theatre, for the first time in many years, was handsomely rewarding its
manager, when one night, during the performance, the scenery caught
fire, and the building was burnt to the ground. The Baltimore theatre
was continued; but the lion's share of attention was given to Arch
Street, and there for several years Burton enjoyed a flow of
prosperity; his fame increasing in public estimation; surprising and
delighting all by his wonderful acting, and by the knowledge, taste, and
liberality, with which he catered for his patrons. But New York was in
the manager's thoughts and seemed to beckon him Northward. Perhaps
Burton's prophetic gaze discerned in the great city a field that would
respond to careful tillage, and that the rapid growth of the metropolis
could not fail to give momentum to enterprise. Whatever the motive
spring, the step was taken, and in 1848 the building known as Palmo's
Opera-House became Burton's Theatre.

In this brief survey of fourteen years, the absence of detail in many
instances will be pardoned, we hope, on a reflection of what it may
suggest. We are aware of the interest attaching to strength of
companies, citations of casts, and notes of special performance; and in
all theatrical histories such details should evoke the most careful
consideration. The Philadelphia record, however, is not always full and
clear on those points, as respects individual careers, even in one so
active and fruitful as our subject's; for, so far as we know, there is
no history of the stage of that city which pretends to do for its
dramatic life what Ireland has done for the New York stage--regarding
which monument of painstaking fidelity, William Winter, in the preface
to his recent admirable volume on "The Jeffersons," truly says: "Every
writer who touches upon the history of the drama in America must
acknowledge his obligation for guidance and aid to the thorough,
faithful and suggestive records made by the veteran historian, Joseph N.
Ireland. "Yet, in depicting the career of a great actor, many things are
rendered subordinate which in a history of the drama of any given period
would receive due prominence. That the career of Burton in Philadelphia
from 1834 to 1848 embraced much of its stage history during those years,
will, of course, be understood; and we shall be sorry if our readers, at
the same time, fail to discern the industry, sagacity, courage, and
varied powers--with which the actor, author, and manager, illustrated
those years--suggested by this recital.

We now approach a period within the memory of many persons now living.
Some few octogenarians may survive who can recall Burton's performances
of over forty years ago; but they must be few indeed; and their
recollections cannot be otherwise than dim and uncertain. But the
achievements of Burton in Chambers Street; the unexampled popularity of
his theatre; the unequalled company he gathered there; the indisputable
creations of character that there originated; the birth of a revival of
Shakespeare, with a felicity of conception that revealed the
appreciative student, and with a beauty and minuteness of appointment
unprecedented at the time;--all this, through a decade of years, forms
an enchanting reminiscence vivid still in the retrospect of numberless
New Yorkers. It is not surprising that we of the city of New York forget
that the comedian so long belonged to Philadelphia. So brilliant was
his success in Chambers Street that all other theatres where he
flourished seem to be viewed by the reflected light of that; and we
think there will be no question that there were clustered his rarest
triumphs and there blossomed the flower of his fame.


    _"There is the playhouse now, there must you sit."_


Palmo's Opera-House was built in 1842, and, according to Wemyss'
Chronology, was the sixteenth theatre erected in New York. It was built
by Ferdinand Palmo, and designed for the presentation of Italian opera.
To Palmo, it is said, belongs the honor of having first introduced that
department of music in the city. In 1844 he opened with "Lucia di
Lammermoor"; but the support given to his venture was not generous,
notwithstanding the fact that wealth and fashion still resided in
Warren, Murray, and Beekman streets. The time apparently was not ripe;
the experiment ended in financial ruin to Palmo, and the unfortunate man
never wholly recovered from the blow. The house passed into divers
hands, and was the scene of a variety of entertainments for two or
three years afterward. The writer remembers distinctly going there of an
afternoon, when a boy, to a circus entertainment. The place was at a low
ebb in point of popularity and attraction when the comedian fixed upon
it as his future professional home. He rearranged, fitted it up, and
adorned it, and called it BURTON'S THEATRE.

    [Illustration: Palmo's Opera-House, afterward Burton's Theatre.
    (After a water-color drawing in the collection of Thomas J.
    McKee, Esq.)]

It had no doubt long been a dream of the manager to attain as nearly as
possible to perfection in the organization and direction of a
first-class theatre. His varied experience in Philadelphia and elsewhere
constantly suggested an administration composed of members equally
valuable in their respective lines, and forming an harmonious whole
under an efficient executive, as the best system of government for the
growth and development of dramatic art; and perhaps during his reign in
Chambers Street he came as near the realization of that dream as is
permitted to human aspiration. In confirmation of the foregoing, we
quote a passage from William B. Wood's Recollections, where, writing
in 1854 of the evils of the star system, he says: "Let me here remark,
that I am happy to see of late times--I mean within the last few
years--that the pernicious system of which I speak, by carrying itself
fairly out, and by so breaking up all sound stock companies, has finally
destroyed itself.... To that intelligent manager, Mr. Burton, the
first credit is due. He has been striving for a number of years in New
York, as he had been doing here in Philadelphia, to bring his theatre to
a proper system, based on the principles of common sense and experience.
With talents of his own equalled by few stars, he has preferred to
ascertain whether the public could not be better attracted by a good
stock company of combined talent, and every New Yorker knows with what
excellent effect he has labored. His success, I am happy to learn, has
amply confirmed his reputation for dramatic judgment."

We may supplement this by a paragraph taken from Laurence Hutton's
entertaining volume of "Plays and Players." Describing in glowing terms
the production of Buckstone's comedy of "Leap Year," at Burton's, March
1, 1850, Mr. Hutton says: "That our readers may fully comprehend the
subject and period of which we write, it will be well to remind them,
perhaps, that the art of acting had arrived at such a point in Burton's
Theatre, that, to play a comedy well, was not enough. Every thing was so
well done, so perfect in every respect, mere excellence was so much a
matter of course, was so positive, on the Chambers Street boards, that
there was but little room for the comparative, and the superlative
itself was necessary to create a sensation."

The Chambers Street Theatre opened July 10, 1848, with "Maidens,
Beware"; "Raising the Wind," and "The Irish Dragoon." These were
succeeded by "New York in Slices," "Dan Keyser de Bassoon," and "Lucy
Did Sham Amour." The work was slow at first, but the disappearance of
money was rapid. We have seen, however, that there was no limit to
Burton's energy and perseverance. He played in New York, Philadelphia,
and Baltimore, week after week; managed, in conjunction with John
Brougham, an engagement with Mr. W. C. Macready at Ford's Theatre,
Boston, October, 1848; was announced, on Macready's departure, to appear
himself; but the intention was unfulfilled, and so it chanced that he
never acted there until the last years of his life. He played for the
benefit of the widow and family of Edmund Simpson, at the Park Theatre,
December 7, 1848, in referring to which event Mr. Ireland says: "We
insert the entire bill to show the forgetfulness of self evinced by the
volunteers, and their willingness to assume any character to insure the
best result, there being no less than five gentlemen in the cast who had
played, and might justly have laid claim to the principal character of
the play." The play was "The School for Scandal," cast principally as

  CRABTREE                 "   W. R. BLAKE.
  CARELESS                 "   C. M. WALCOT.
  SIR HARRY                "   H. HUNT.
  MOSES                    "   JOHN POVEY.
  TRIP                     "   DAWSON.
  LADY TEAZLE             Mrs. SHAW.
  MRS. CANDOUR             "   WINSTANLEY.
  MARIA                   Miss MARY TAYLOR.

This deed of charity was followed by others for the same object on the
part of New York managers, and among them Burton contributed a night at
his own theatre, on the 5th of March ensuing, in which the full strength
of his company appeared.

The burning of the Park Theatre in 1848 left Burton without a rival. The
Olympic was of the past; Forrest thundered at the Broadway; Wallack's
and Daly's were yet to be. It was not long before the public discovered
the genius that presided in Chambers Street, and recognized the unusual
excellence which characterized the performances. The location was
favorable for Brooklyn people, and from first to last the theatre
enjoyed a monopoly of their patronage. "For several years," says
Ireland, "Burton's Theatre was the resort of the most intelligent class
of pleasure-seekers, and there beauty, wit, and fashion, loved to
congregate, without the formality or etiquette of attire once deemed
necessary at the Park." Its fame was really phenomenal. Leaping
metropolitan bounds, it spread to distant states and neighborhoods, and
became, one might almost say, a familiar and welcome contribution to the
social and intellectual communion of the time. For a stranger to come to
New York in those days and omit to visit Burton's, would imply an
obtuseness so forlorn, or an indifference so stolid, that in the one
case he would be an object of compassion, and in the other a grave
offender of public sentiment. But in all probability he looked forward
during his journey city-ward to his evening in those halls of Momus; and
we may be certain that the

      "Quips, and cranks, and wanton wiles,
       Nods, and becks, and wreathèd smiles"

of that night lived in his memory for many a long day.

It is not too much to say that this attraction was almost wholly due to
the extraordinary powers of Burton himself. True, his company embraced
the finest artists in their several lines of any stage in the country;
and it was well known to all lovers of refined drama that the Chambers
Street Theatre was the home of English comedy, and that any given play
could be there produced with a cast entirely adequate, and with a
perfection of detail ensuring to the auditor an artistic delight and a
representation of the highest class. But there are many who, while
appreciating the delineation of manners and character, seek amusement
pure and simple, and who believe that good digestion waits on hearty
laughter. To this large constituency Burton was the objective point, for
his humor and comic power were a perennial fountain of mirth. His
appearance, either discovered when the curtain rose, or entering from
the wing, was the signal for a ripple of merriment all over the house.
Every countenance brightened, the dullest face glowed with gleeful
expectancy. No actor, we believe--unless possibly Liston,--ever excelled
Burton in humorous facial expression. Tom Hood, in referring to certain
pastimes of a London evening, says in his felicitous rhyme:

      "Or in the small Olympic pit sit, split,
       Laughing at Liston, while you quiz his phiz."

Read the couplet thus:

      "Or in the _Chambers Street_ snug pit sit, split,
       Laughing at _Burton_, while you quiz his phiz,"

and we have the nightly situation. It was a common circumstance for the
theatre to receive accessions toward the close of the performance, the
new-comers standing in line along the walls, drawn thither by the potent
magnet of the manager in the farce. Thus it was that, though the theatre
furnished constantly a rich feast of comedy, and was more widely known
than any other, still more celebrated was the great actor whose name it
bore; and it was the magic of that name that drew the people, and it was
he whom the people went to see. It seemed to make little difference what
the bills announced; Burton would play,--and that was enough.

It was the privilege of the writer of these pages to have free access to
the Chambers Street Theatre, and to know personally its manager, and his
recollections are such as to induce him to believe that in no better way
can he perform his task of completing Mr. Burton's career than by
employing his own knowledge and recording the impressions he received.
In so doing, the opportunity afforded for special reference to members
of his company will be improved; and perhaps our retrospection may
arouse in other breasts a remembrance of past delight.

Alluding to the comedian's first appearance in New York, October 31,
1837, Joseph N. Ireland, so often quoted, remarks: "The advent of Mr.
W. E. Burton, the most renowned comedian of recent days, demands more
than a passing notice. For nearly twenty years no other actor
monopolized so much of the public applause, and popular sentiment
universally assigned him a position in broad low comedy entirely
unrivalled on the American stage." It was a little over three years
between his arrival in America and his New York débût; about eleven
between that appearance and his lesseeship in Chambers Street; and
eleven more remain to be taken note of. Of these, eight belong to
Chambers Street, two to the uptown theatre, and one to starring
engagements in various cities--the last being in Hamilton, Canada, and
abruptly terminated by the malady of which he died.

                   *       *       *       *       *

The company at Chambers Street now demands our attention; and the wish
to suitably recognize the talents, and to chronicle, however simply, the
triumphs of that famous array, has constrained us to widen the scope of
our original design, and to extend somewhat our notices of certain
individual actors. We shall in nowise regret this; for in recalling past
delight it is a pleasure to dwell on those who caused it; and we may,
perchance, awaken thereby a happy thought of them in other hearts. The
departed years are full of memories, and the turning of a leaf may lay
bare a volume of reminiscence. It forms no part of our purpose, however,
to follow individual careers, and to trace their course on other boards
than those of the Chambers Street Theatre. Many of them, indeed, after
Burton removed uptown, and after his death, continued their successes
and won renown in other scenes and under other management; and our
readers may feel that but scant justice is done many meritorious names
familiar to the present generation, in confining mention of them to a
period when their talents and capabilities had not ripened to that
excellence which afterward gave them fame. But we are concerned with
them only as they figured as members of Burton's company, and as such
contributed richly to our fund of memory. They stand in the dramatic
Pantheon with their great chief; and in approaching that central and
dominant figure we pause to bend delighted gaze upon the admirable group
surrounding it.

From 1848 to 1856 the following names were numbered on the muster-roll:
Henry Placide, Blake, Brougham, Lester, T. B. Johnston, Bland, Jordan,
Barrett, Dyott, Fisher, Thompson, Holland, C. W. Clarke, Norton,
Parsloe, Jr., Holman, Charles Mathews, Setchell, Mrs. Hughes, Mrs.
Russell (now Mrs. Hoey), Mrs. Skerrett, Mrs. Rea, Miss Raymond, Mrs.
Hough, Mrs. Buckland, Miss Weston, Miss Devlin, Miss Malvina, Miss Agnes
Robertson, Fanny Wallack, Mary Taylor, Miss Chapman. This is by no means
intended as a complete enumeration--"but 't is enough, 't will serve."
Many names have been forgotten, and some remembered but omitted. It may
be of interest to note at this point the fortunes that awaited at least
five of the actresses above named--viz.: Mrs. Russell, Miss Weston,
Miss Devlin, Miss Malvina, Miss Agnes Robertson.

Mrs. Russell, while at Burton's in 1849, and a great favorite, was
married to John Hoey of express fame, and shortly thereafter retired
from the stage, the manager doing the honors at her farewell, and
presenting her on the occasion with a valuable testimonial of his
regard. Long afterward Mrs. Hoey was induced by the elder Wallack to
forsake her retirement, and for many years was the leading lady at his
theatre, her refined manners, correct taste, and exquisite toilets,
exciting anew public esteem and admiration. She quitted the stage and
returned to private life in 1865.

Miss Lizzie Weston, whose beauty, dramatic aptitude, and versatility,
won nightly plaudits, and whose performance was not without much that
was highly meritorious, signalized a career more or less checkered by
uniting her fortunes with those of the late Charles Mathews, during his
starring tour in 1858, and is now the widow of that famous actor.

Miss Malvina, a sister of Mrs. Barney Williams, was a _danseuse_ at
Burton's,--for it was the fashion in the old days to beguile the lazy
time between the pieces with a Terpsichorean interlude; and we remember
but one instance of her appearance in any other character, and that was
a minor part in the farce of "A School for Tigers." She became Mrs. Wm.
J. Florence in 1853, and has since shared her husband's fortunes and
honors. Miss Agnes Robertson made her débût in New York at the Chambers
Street Theatre, October 22, 1853, as _Milly_ in "The Young Actress," and
has since been well known as the wife of Dion Boucicault.

A more illustrious alliance--so soon to end in piteous sorrow--was the
portion of Mary Devlin. She was a minor actress at Burton's, but a woman
of rare and lovely character. So much so, that she won the heart of
Edwin Booth, and became his wife, and the idol of his home, till death
early called her from his side. It was in memory of this sweet and
gentle lady, that the poet Thomas William Parsons penned the following
exquisite stanzas:

    "What shall we do now, Mary being dead,
      Or say, or write, that shall express the half?
    What can we do but pillow that fair head
      And let the spring-time write her epitaph?

    "As it will soon in snow-drop, violet,
      Wind-flower, and columbine, and maiden's tear,--
    Each letter of that pretty alphabet
      That spells in flowers the pageant of the year.

    "She was a maiden for a man to love,
      She was a woman for a husband's life,
    One that had learned to value far above
      The name of Love the sacred name of Wife.

    "Her little life-dream, rounded so with sleep,
      Had all there is of life--except gray hairs:
    Hope, love, trust, passion, and devotion deep,
      And that mysterious tie a Mother bears.

    "She hath fulfilled her promise and hath past:
      Set her down gently at the iron door!
    Eyes! look on that loved image for the last:
      Now cover it in earth--her earth no more!"

Let us now summon, as first in order, the name that heads the list of
the actors above given. Henry Placide enjoyed in public estimation
a fame worthy and well deserved. He was an actor of the old school,
and his conceptions were the fruit of appreciative and careful
study; his acting was a lucid and harmonious interpretation of his
author; and his elocution, clear and resonant, was the speech of a
scholar and a gentleman. The artistic sense was never forgotten in his
delineations, and his name on the bills was a guaranty of intellectual
pleasure. He was not broadly funny like Burton, or Holland; but those
who remember his _Sir Harcourt Courtley_, his _Jean Jacques François
Antoine Hypolite de Frisac_, in "Paris and London," and his _Clown_,
in Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night," will not deny that he was the owner
of a rich vein of eccentric humor, and that he worked his possession
effectually. He was an expert in the Gallic parts where the speech is a
struggle between French and English, and, indeed, since his departure
they, too, have vanished from the stage. But those who saw him as
_Haversac_, in "The Old Guard"; as _The Tutor_, in "To Parents and
Guardians"; or as _Monsieur Dufard_, in "The First Night," will bear
witness to his inimitable manner, and to his facile blending of the
grave and gay. We shall never forget how, in the last-named character
(_Mons. Dufard_), having engaged his daughter for a "first appearance,"
and having declared his own ability to manage the drum in the orchestra
on the occasion, he, suddenly, during the mimic rehearsal, at an
allusion in the text to sunrise, stamped violently on the stage; and to
the startled manager's exclamation of "What's that!" serenely replied:
"Zat ees ze cannon vich announce ze brek of day--I play him on ze
big drum in ze night." In choleric old men Placide was unsurpassed.
All the touches that go toward the creation of a grim, irascible,
thwarted, bluff old gentleman, he commanded at will. His _Colonel
Hardy_, in "Paul Pry," for instance, what an example was that! I hear
him, now, at the close of the comedy, when things had drifted to a
happy anchorage--hear him saying in reply to the soothing remark: "Why,
Colonel, you've every thing your own way,"--"Yes, I know I have every
thing my own way; but ---- it, I hav'n't _my own way_ of having it!"
His repertory covered a wide range; and we retain vivid recollections
of his _Sir Peter Teazle_, his _Doctor Ollapod_, and his _Silky_; the
last in "The Road to Ruin," in which comedy, by the way, we remember
seeing Placide, Blake, Burton, Lester, Bland, and Mrs. Hughes; truly a
phenomenal cast.

Such, briefly sketched, was the actor who constituted one of Burton's
strongest pillars. For some years he played at no other theatre in New
York. He gave enjoyment to thousands, and in dramatic annals his name
and achievements have distinguished and honorable record. As one of the
many who remain to own their debt of pleasure and instruction, the
present writer pays this tribute to the genius and memory of Henry

[7] "When Edwin Forrest was in Europe on a visit, he was asked whom he
deemed the best American actor; he promptly and unequivocally replied:
'Henry Placide is unquestionably the best general actor on the American
boards, and I doubt whether his equal can be found in England.'"--HENRY
DICKINSON STONE'S "Theatrical Reminiscences."

We now summon another name from the famous corps, for the purpose of
analysis, since we should be ill content with the cold respect of a
passing glance at an artist so celebrated as was William Rufus Blake. We
can recall no actor of the past, and we know of but one in the present,
comparable with Blake in certain lines of old men--certainly in the rôle
of tender pathos like _Old Dornton_, and in the portrayal of a sweetly
noble nature framed in venerable simplicity, as in _Jesse Rural_, he had
no equal; and it is simply truth to say that with him departed from the
stage that unique, all-affecting, wondrous embodiment of _Geoffrey
Dale_, in "The Last Man."

The characteristics of Blake's power were a broad heartiness, suggestive
sentiment, and eloquent idealization. These traits informed respectively
the parts he essayed, and gave to each in turn rare flow of spirit,
richness of color, and poetic fervor. For the verbal expression of these
salient elements, he possessed a tuneful voice, which rose or fell as
the sway of feeling dictated, and his delivery was singularly felicitous
in tone and emphasis. Nor was he lacking in a humor at once subtle and
delicate, happily evinced in his acting of _Mr. Primrose_, in the
comedietta of "Bachelors' Torments."

Those who saw Blake at the period of which we are writing, found it hard
to believe that the _Sir Anthony Absolute_ of aldermanic proportions
before them was once a slender young man and played light comedy! Yet so
it was. Very old play-goers will recollect the Chatham Garden theatre,
and perhaps some tenacious memory bears record of having seen Blake
there in the long ago; for there he first appeared to a New York
audience, in 1824, playing _Frederick_, in Colman's "Poor Gentleman." We
never saw him earlier than at Burton's, and then with added years had
come a rotundity of person which, however unobjectionable in the famous
impersonations of his prime, was not, it must be confessed, the ideal
physique of light comedy; so his _Frederick_ had long departed and his
_Sir Robert Bramble_ had appeared.

The first time we saw Blake was in "The Road to Ruin," and the
impression he made has never been effaced. We were young, it is true,
and sentimental, and easily moved; but our heart tells us that the
effect would be the same could we see the actor in the play to-morrow.
We have read since of the extraordinary sensation produced by the great
Munden in the part of _Old Dornton_; but we have an abiding faith that
the acting of the famous Englishman would have been no revelation to
Blake; and we cannot, indeed, conceive of any added touch that would not
have impaired, rather than heightened, the latter's superb delineation.
But Blake's portrayal of the outraged, doting, fond, tender father, is,
like his _Jesse Rural_, so fresh in the memory of living persons, that
we feel it to be needless to descant upon its beauties. Few will forget
the years of his last and long engagement at Wallack's--a fitting crown
for a great artistic career. Blake played many parts and rarely touched
but to adorn. Even his _Malvolio_, had it not been for the advent of
Charles Fisher (who was born in yellow stockings and cross-gartered),
would have passed into history as a carefully conceived and highly
finished performance. Whenever we see Mr. John Gilbert we are reminded
of Blake. There is a grace of action, a courtliness of manner,
inseparable from Gilbert, which lends to all his efforts an elevating
charm, a feature Blake did not possess in like degree. But the two
actors belonged to the same school; their traditions will be much akin;
and neither loses in being spoken of in the same breath, and with the
same accent of admiration.

Following Placide and Blake is the name of an actor better remembered
than either, and whose death is of comparatively recent date. We refer
to John Brougham, who for thirty years and more was one of New York's
prime favorites, and his name is associated with many of the drama's
brightest and worthiest triumphs. His inexhaustible flow of spirits, in
his best days, pervaded all his acting, and invested the most
unattractive part with an alluring charm, as many a prosaic spot in
nature becomes enchanted land by the music of falling waters. Add to
this exuberant vitality a rich endowment of mother wit; a bright
intelligence; keen sympathy and appreciation, and rare personal
magnetism, and you have before you "glorious John," whose hearty voice
it was always a pleasure to hear, and whose face, beaming with humor,
was always welcomed with delight.

    [Illustration: MR. BURTON AS CAPTAIN CUTTLE.]

Brougham was Burton's stage manager in 1848, and his dramatization of
"Dombey and Son" was first produced in that year. The representation of
this play established the Chambers Street Theatre, drew attention to the
talents of the stock company, and put money into Burton's purse. If
theatres, like other things, succeed either by hook or crook, as the
saying is, surely it was by hook that the manager won fame and fortune,
for the digit of _Captain Cuttle_ held sway like a wizard's wand. The
temptation to dwell here on this renowned Burtonian impersonation is
hard to resist; but we must be patient and bide our time.

Brougham played _Bunsby_ and _Bagstock_, investing the oracular
utterances of the tar, and the roughness and toughness and "devilish"
slyness of the _Major_, with a humor and spirit all his own. We laugh
outright as we think of that scene where _Cuttle_ is being rapidly
reduced to agony and despair by _Mrs. MacStinger_, and is rescued
therefrom by _Bunsby_, who, with a hoarse "Avast, my lass; avast!"
advances solemnly on the redoubtable female, and with a soothing gravity
ejects the entire _MacStinger_ family, following in the rear
himself--_Cuttle_ meanwhile gazing in speechless astonishment at the
unexpected succor, until the door is closed; and then, drawing an
immense breath, and turning toward the audience his inimitable face,
exclaims in a tone of profound respect and admiration: "There's wisdom!"

It was a great treat to see Burton and Brougham together. The two actors
were so ready, so full of wit, so alive to each other's points and
by-play, that any fanciful interpolation of the text, or humorous
impromptu, by the one, was instantly responded to by the other; and the
house was often thrown into convulsions of merriment by these purely
unpremeditated sallies. This was notably the case in the afterpiece of
"An Unwarrantable Intrusion"--committed by Mr. Brougham upon Mr.
Burton--when in the tag the comedians suddenly assumed their own
persons, and, addressing each other by their proper names, engaged in a
droll colloquy respecting the dilemma of having nothing to say to
conclude the piece; and each suggesting in turn something that ought to
or might be said to an audience under such peculiar and distressing
circumstances,--the audience meanwhile in a state of hilarious
excitement, drinking in every sparkling jest and repartee, and wishing
the flow of humor would last forever.

And here we are reminded of an incident not down in the bills, which
furnished an audience with an unlooked-for and affecting episode. It
occurred during the performance of Colman's comedy of "John Bull,"
produced for the benefit of a favorite actor; Burton playing _Job
Thornberry_, and Brougham, who had volunteered for the occasion,
appearing in his capital rôle of _Dennis Brulgruddery_. Brougham was no
longer with Burton--an estrangement existed between them of which the
public was aware--and the conjunction of the two actors naturally
awakened a lively interest. It chances in the comedy that _Mary
Thornberry_ finds a refuge in her distress at the "Red Cow," and is
greatly befriended by _Dennis_. Her father, discovering her there, and
grateful for the service rendered, exclaims: "You have behaved like an
emperor to her. Give me your hand, landlord!" Now, in the play, the
reply of _Dennis_ is: "Behaved!--(_refusing his hand_)--Arrah, now, get
away with your blarney,"--but Brougham paused for a moment before
Burton's outstretched hand, and then, as if yielding to an impulse,
stretched forth his, and the two actors stood with clasped hands amidst
an outburst of applause that fairly shook the building. Of course they
were "called out" at the close, and Brougham, in the course of a
felicitous little speech, remarked--alluding, perhaps, to the success of
his Lyceum not being all he could wish--that he had "lately run off the
track"; to which Burton, in his turn, responded by saying: "Mr. Brougham
says he has 'run off the track.' Well, he _has_ run off the track; but
he hasn't burst his boiler yet!" At this speech the enthusiasm of the
audience knew no bounds; and indeed, with the exception of Mary Taylor's
farewell benefit, we can recall no theatrical occasion where more
genuine feeling was manifested.

But to return to "Dombey and Son." Mrs. Brougham was the original
_Susan Nipper_, and played the part acceptably; but all previous
_Nippers_ suffered eclipse when Caroline Chapman appeared at a later
date, giving us a _Susan_ that seemed to have sprung full-_Nippered_
from the head of Boz himself. Her inimitable acting and ring of
delivery were like a new light turned on the scene. Her flow of
spirit and alert movement, her independent air and saucy glance, her
not-to-be-put-down-under-any-circumstances manner,--all was freshness
and sparkle, and her presence was as welcome to the audience as a
summer shower to drooping wayside flowers. Miss Chapman was a great
acquisition to Burton's, and her bright individuality shone in all her
assumptions. Her line was the stage soubrette, a specialty which she
lifted entirely out of the commonplace and informed it with force and
distinction. It is a pleasure to place on record the memory of happy
hours that we owe to the performances of Caroline Chapman.

The original _Toots_ was Oliver B. Raymond, whom we never saw. T. B.
Johnston was his successor, and as that admirable comedian never did any
thing unacceptably, his _Toots_ was a memorable effort; and had _Uriah
Heep_ not followed we should have been satisfied with his _Toots_; but
when "Copperfield" was produced and Johnston appeared as _Heep_, it
seemed as if he was born for that and nothing else. Now that we think of
it, it seems to us, as we recall Johnston, that nature had peculiarly
fitted him for the delineation of many of Dickens's characters.
Something in his spare figure, his grotesqueness of demeanor, his
whimsical aspect, his odd manner of speech, continually suggested a
flavor of Boz; and whether as _Toots_, or _Heep_, or _Newman Noggs_, he
seemed to have glided into his element, and was _en rapport_ with the
great novelist.

We must not forget, in writing of "Dombey and Son," to note how much its
attraction was enhanced by the assumption, in 1849, of the part of
_Edith_ by Mrs. Josephine Russell (the present Mrs. Hoey). Laurence
Hutton, referring to the event in his volume of "Plays and Players,"
says: "Up to the time of her assumption of the rôle, _Edith_, in
Brougham's version of the story, was comparatively a secondary part, and
one to which but little attention had been paid either by performer or
audience. Mrs. Russell, however, by her refined and elegant manner,
brought _Edith_ and herself into favor and prominence. She made of
_Edith_ more than Brougham himself ever imagined could be made; and
_Edith_ made her a reputation and a success on the New York stage,
which, until her honorable and much-to-be-regretted retirement, she ever

[8] The first appearance of Mrs. Russell (whose maiden name was Shaw)
in Chambers Street was made September 3, 1849.

We have dwelt thus on "Dombey and Son," because, in the first place, it
gained for the Chambers Street Theatre an enduring public regard, and
was no doubt the incentive to the after-production of dramatizations of
Dickens, which gave us Burton in _Micawber_, _Squeers_, _Mr. Bumble_,
and _Sam Weller_; and because in so celebrating it we pay a deserved
tribute to Brougham, from whose fertile brain and ready pen it came. We
may say, in this connection, that not only as actor, but as playwright
also, Brougham achieved fame and honor. Many of his comedies are well
known to the stage, and are included in the published drama; and as a
writer of burlesque we question whether any thing better or funnier than
his "Po-ca-hon-tas or the Gentle Savage" has ever been composed. Of one
thing we are certain: an incarnate pun-fiend presided over its creation.
This extravaganza, first acted at Wallack's Lyceum, took the town by
storm, and its bons-mots, local hits, and trenchant witticisms, were on
the lips of everybody. In structure, idea, and treatment of theme, it
was ludicrous to a degree. Who does not remember Brougham and the late
Charles Walcot in their respective parts of _Powhattan_ and _Captain

It goes without saying that Brougham's Hibernian delineations were
perfect and to the manner born. Many an Irish farce we recall, during
his stay at Burton's, to which he gave a new lease of life; and we
congratulate ourselves that our memory holds record of having once seen
him as _Sir Lucius O'Trigger_, the only cast in our experience wherein
Sheridan's creation found a fitting representative.

We now pause before an actor of illustrious lineage; of a name honored
in dramatic annals by encomiums bestowed only upon abilities of the
highest order; an actor who, conscious of his inheritance of genius,
worthily perpetuates the traditions of his house; and who is now,
despite the flight of time, the most engaging and accomplished comedian
known to the American stage. Our readers will need no further
introduction to Lester Wallack, the "Mr. Lester" of Burton's, where
first we saw him so many years ago. We recall the evening when we sat in
the cosy parquette, awaiting with eager interest the rising of the
curtain on Charles Dance's comic drama of "Delicate Ground," in which
Mr. Lester would make his "first appearance since his return from
England" (so the bill ran), in the character of _Citizen Sangfroid_. We
say eager interest, for we had heard much of Mr. Lester: that he was
graceful, handsome, _distingué_,--in fact, splendid generally; and our
expectancy was akin to that of the watching astronomer--

      "When a new planet swims into his ken."

At last the tinkle of the bell; the curtain rose, and enter Miss Mary
Taylor, the universal favorite, as _Pauline_. Her soliloquy closes with
the cue for _Sangfroid's_ entrance, and at the words, "Hush! my
husband!" a pause succeeded--and then from "door left" was protruded an
elegantly booted foot, and a moment later Lester stood before us, bowing
with characteristic ease and grace to the demonstrations of welcome. We
confess to an unconditional surrender on that occasion. The actual fact
was far beyond any expectation or hope. We thought we had never seen any
one quite so splendid; and _Sangfroid_ was forthwith invested with the
best and noblest elements that combine to elevate mankind. We endeavored
for many days afterward to conform our daily life to the general
teachings of _Sangfroid_; we imitated the gait and manner, the calm
aplomb of _Sangfroid_; the accent of _Sangfroid_ was impressed on all
our ordinary forms of speech; our conversation on whatever topic was
plentifully sprinkled with _Sangfroidisms_; in short, the whole tenor
of our existence was shaped and directed by _Sangfroid_ in the person of
Mr. Lester. We recovered in due course from our abject submission to the
spell of _Sangfroid_; but Lester continued to stretch forth the "sceptre
of fascination," and to his matchless grace and finish we owe many a
delightful recollection.

Then in early manhood,[9] the unrestrained alertness and vivacity of
youth were his in bounteous measure. He was in the _Percy Ardent_ and
_Young Rapid_ period, and had not yet entered the corridor of years at
the far end of which lurked the _blasé_ figure of "My Awful Dad." We
remember him in so many parts which in all likelihood he never will play
again! There was _Rover_, in "Wild Oats," that buskined hero, with his
captivating nonchalance dashed with tragic fire; his tender conversion
of _Lady Amaranth_--played, be it said, with all proper demureness by
Miss Lizzie Weston; his triumph over _Ephraim Smooth_--one of Blake's
instances of versatility--in a scene rich with the spirit of frolic
abandon; and his humorous tilt with _Sir George Thunder_--a belligerent
sea-dog, played by Burton as he alone could play it--an episode replete
with comic power;--all these contributed to a performance which we
revelled in many and many a night; and the memory of it, now as we
write, draws near in a succession of vivid pictures. There was
_Tangent_, in "The Way to Get Married," a capital part in Lester's
hands, blending manly action and debonair grace with that easy
transition to airy farcical expression, a favorite and effective
dramatic habit of this actor, and given full play in that memorable
prison scene in the comedy, when, a victim to adverse circumstances, and
actually fettered, he makes felicitous use of his handkerchief to hide
his mortification and his chains from the eyes of the heroine during her
visit of sympathy. _Percy Ardent_, in "The West End," was another of
his characteristic assumptions in those days; so also were _Young
Rapid_, in "A Cure for the Heartache," and the _Hon. Tom Shuffleton_, in
"John Bull"; and, indeed, Burton's frequent revivals of the old comedies
would have been a difficult matter without Lester; for in every one of
them a light comedy part is distinctly drawn, and unquestionably the
rarest among all dramatic artists is the first-class light comedian.

    [9] Lester Wallack's first appearance in New York was made at the
    Broadway Theatre, Sept. 27, 1847, as _Sir Charles Coldstream_ in "Used

Let any one who thinks otherwise endeavor to recall the names of those
who have been or are famous in that special line, and he will be
surprised to find how few he can enumerate. One might suppose that all
young actors would naturally incline toward light comedy, and be
ambitious in that direction, since in that sphere are found the charm of
youth, the expression of lofty sentiment, the impulse to chivalrous
action, the opportunity for the display of graceful and manly
bearing,--not to mention the lover, whom, as Emerson declares, all the
world loves; and why then, one may ask, should there not be always a
plentiful crop of ripening light comedians? Alas, it is not enough to be
young, good-looking, intelligent, and of virtuous impulse, or even a
lover. Something more is needed, and we conceive it to be that gift of
nature, which study and practice develop into seeming perfect art, but
which neither study nor practice can create; the gift, let us say, of
perceiving instinctively the salient points of a character, and going
beyond the author in felicitous and suggestive expression of them. It is
easier, we think, to compass tragedy; easier to simulate age; easier to
be funny; than to be at once airy and gay, delicately humorous, and
engagingly manly. There are fewer light comedians born,--that is the
whole story; and where we find one actor like Lester Wallack, we meet
with plenty of every other specialty. This was made strikingly evident
by Burton's experiments in supplying Lester's place, when the latter
joined his father in the establishment of Wallack's Lyceum. Charles
Fisher was imported, and he for a season essayed to succeed Lester; but

      "The expectancy and rose of the fair state"

he was not, and it was not long before the fiddle of _Triplet_ and the
yellow stockings of _Malvolio_ emancipated him from the bondage of light
comedy, revealed his true powers, and made us grateful to Burton for
introducing to New York one of the best eccentric comedians of the day.
Dyott, Norton, and even Holman, were severally thrown into the breach,
such was the strait in which the manager found himself; and it was not
until he secured George Jordan that equilibrium was restored to the

But to return. The versatility of Lester, so conspicuous throughout his
career, was early made apparent. We remember him as _Steerforth_, as
_Sir Andrew Aguecheek_, and _Captain Murphy Maguire_; and though in the
last he acted under the shadow of Brougham's rich impersonation, still
he was a delightful _Captain_. We saw him as the young lover, in "Paul
Pry"; as _Frederick_, in "The Poor Gentleman," and many more; besides
those parts, such as _Young Marlow_, _Charles Surface_, and _Captain
Absolute_, which need no reference, since they remain ripe and finished
conceptions in his present repertory. But of all his delineations of the
past, that which we linger on with the greatest pleasure, and which
affected us most, was his _Harry Dornton_, in "The Road to Ruin." From
the moment he appears beneath his father's window, importunate for
admittance, he awakens an interest and sympathy that follow him to the
end. The part abounds in touches of Lesterian hue and flavor: the scene
just mentioned; that wherein _Milford_ makes careless and heartless
allusion to _Old Dornton_, and is met by _Harry's_ eloquent and electric
rebuke; the scene with the _Widow Warren_, and with _Sophia_;--all are
charming; and we feel it to be no small tribute to hold in memory
Lester's _Harry_ side by side with the _Old Dornton_ of Blake.

We have spoken of T. B. Johnston, and referred to famous parts of his,
particularly to the conception and execution of certain characters in
Dickens which undeniably he made his own; but we remember this actor in
other and sundry enjoyable delineations, of which brief mention may be
made. The odd aspect of Johnston, joined to his whimsical method, so in
keeping, as before remarked, with the creations of Boz, peculiarly
fitted him for the apt portrayal of those idiosyncrasies of nature and
temperament shadowed forth by characters in many of the old farces, in
which he often appeared, those pieces being quite the fashion in the
days of which we are writing. We may instance _Panels_, in "A School for
Tigers," as one of these; his part in "A Blighted Being" (the name quite
forgotten), was another; _Humphrey Dobbins_, in "The Poor Gentleman"
(that not a farce, however), was a capital portraiture, and an amusing
foil to Burton's _Sir Robert Bramble_; his _Miss Swithers_, in "A
Thousand Milliners," where he almost divided the honors with Burton as
_Madam Vandepants_;--these are a few of the many that come floating
back on the tide of recollection.

Bland was a useful member of Burton's company, though we think his stay
was brief, and he contributes less to memory, as it chances, than many
others. We never regarded him as a great actor, though we have read of
his being thought the best _Jacques_ of his day, and very fine as _Sir
Thomas Clifford_. We never saw him in either, and have no recollection
of "The Hunchback" being produced at the Chambers Street Theatre. In
"The Honeymoon" Burton himself was the _Jacques_. We remember Bland very
well as _Sulky_, in "The Road to Ruin," and as _Ham_, in "David
Copperfield," and both efforts were creditable and contributed to the
general success--his share in the exciting and touching scenes between
_Old Dornton_ and himself, as _Sulky_, being admirably done.

We are surprised that we remember so little interesting to record of
Jordan. Succeeding Lester, and deemed by many the peer of that
comedian, one might naturally suppose that his achievements would figure
largely in these reminiscences; but we can recall very few
impersonations of which we retain a vivid impression. We cannot concur
with that estimate of his powers which ranked him with Lester, yet we
cordially admit that he came nearer than any actor we know of. He was
very handsome, had a fine stage presence, and was agreeable in all that
he did. We recall his spirited performance of _Rover_; his _Kitely_, in
Ben Jonson's "Every Man in His Humor"; his _Ferdinand_, in "The
Tempest"; his _Lysander_, in "Midsummer Night's Dream"; and his _Captain
Hawksley_, in "Still Waters Run Deep," was superb and unequalled. It was
always a pleasure to see Jordan, and we owe to his acting many an hour
of enjoyment.

George Barrett--or, "Gentleman George," as he was quite as well
known--was one of Burton's company for a short period, and with his name
are associated many pleasant memories. Among them we may mention with
delight his performance of _Sir Andrew Aguecheek_, a companion picture
to Fisher's _Malvolio_. His long body and attenuated "make up," his
piping voice, his fantastic manner, and absurd assumption of
acumen,--all contributed to an embodiment artistic and entertaining in
the highest degree. He also played _Flute_, the Bellows-Mender, in the
revival of "Midsummer Night's Dream"; and it seems but yesterday, so
vivid is the remembrance, that we saw him stalking about the stage, in
the guise of Ben Jonson's bombastic hero, _Captain Bobadil_.

Old play-goers, if they remember nothing else of John Dyott, will
recollect his admirable reading--his distinct utterance--his fine
emphasis,--qualities specially noticeable in his Shakespearian
assumptions and in characters of a didactic cast; and which made
acceptable many a part he undertook, half redeeming it from deficiencies
consequent upon natural unfitness. It was such a pleasure to listen to
his delivery of the text, that you overlooked or pardoned inadequacy of
treatment in other respects. Necessarily his impersonations were of very
unequal merit. Certain phases of the character assumed might be justly
conceived and well executed; others manifestly lacking in the expression
of what was naturally suggested, or sufficiently obvious. We might cite
instances of this--_Claude Melnotte_ or _Alfred Evelyn_, for example;
but we prefer to think of him in his most agreeable aspects, which were
not conspicuous in light comedy, though that rôle, under the stress of
exigency, often fell to his lot.

We pleasantly recall him as _Lieut. Worthington_, in "The Poor
Gentleman"; as _Peregrine_, in "John Bull"; as _Penruddoch_, in "The
Wheel of Fortune"; as _Duke Orsino_, in "Twelfth Night"; as _Master
Ford_, in "The Merry Wives of Windsor"; and others that might be
mentioned. He was a useful member of the Chambers Street company, acted
always with intelligence and spirit, and, though leaving no great name,
deserves remembrance as a finished reader and conscientious artist.

Charles Fisher, well known to the present generation of play-goers as a
sterling comedian, came to Burton's after Lester's withdrawal, and, as
previously remarked, succeeded that actor as the exponent of light
comedy. We saw him in several characters of that order; but it must be
confessed that his efforts, however praiseworthy, were not such as to
induce a condition of complacency on the part of the management, with
regard to his capacity in that direction. But the whirligig of time, as
Shakespeare tells us, brings on its revenges; and in due course Mr.
Fisher had his, and a truly artistic one it was.

It came about on the second revival of "Twelfth Night," and was achieved
in the part of _Malvolio_. In referring to Blake's assumption of this
character, we observed, in passing, that Fisher was born in yellow
stockings and cross-gartered--meaning to express the natural affinity
for Shakespeare's creation existing in the actor; and we believe there
will be no question among those who remember the impersonation, as to
the subtlety of conception, the felicity of portrayal, and fidelity to
detail, that so eminently distinguished it. From first to last it was a
masterpiece. His manner when he interrupts the orgies of _Sir Toby_, the
_Clown_, and _Aguecheek_, and during their maudlin mockery, was full of
rare suggestiveness; the great scene in the garden, where he falls into
the trap set by _Maria_, was one of the finest pieces of acting known to
our stage. The audience were as intent during its progress as if their
own lives and fortunes hung upon that enigmatic letter. When it comes
home to him at last that he indeed is the favored of _Olivia_, and he
gives full rein to his fancy respecting his future exaltation--how he
must bear himself, the lofty air he will assume, the consideration he
will extort,--he was inimitable. Already he is clothed in yellow
stockings and cross-gartered; and he smiles, as he struts, the smile
that his deceiver declares so becomes him. In the ensuing scene before
_Olivia_, where the stockings and smiles play so important a part, he
was equally fine; and if Fisher had played nothing else, his _Malvolio_
would remain an interpretation of the highest class, and a glory of
dramatic art. The press, with one accord, united in its praise; and Mr.
Richard Grant White, whose ability to judge of Shakespearian
delineations was well known, confessed, in the columns of the _Courier
and Inquirer_ that he did not know where Mr. Fisher learned to play
_Malvolio_ so well. To say that we enjoyed what we have here endeavored
to recall, is to say but little. It is one of our most valued
memories--and we could not help thinking, when the lovely _Viola_ of the
late Miss Neilson was captivating all hearts, what a revelation it would
have been to her admiring audience had Fisher presented his picture of

In Burton's revival of the "Midsummer Night's Dream," Fisher was cast as
_Duke Theseus_; and in thinking of the part, that glorious passage
descriptive of the _Duke's_ hounds rings in our ears, as spoken with
glowing enthusiasm by the actor:

  "My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,
  So flew'd, so sanded; and their heads are hung
  With ears that sweep away the morning dew;
  Crook-kneed, and dew-lapp'd like Thessalian bulls;
  Slow in pursuit, but match'd in mouth like bells,
  Each under each. A cry more tunable
  Was never holloa'd to, nor cheered with horn,
  In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly:
  Judge when you hear."

In "The Tempest" also, as _Prospero_, Mr. Fisher appeared to advantage,
and swayed the destinies of the Enchanted Isle with dignity and effect.
_Triplet_, in "Masks and Faces," was another performance of Fisher's
that we might linger over in pleasant memory of its humor and pathos; a
performance, too, by the way, which brought to public view a new
accomplishment of the actor; namely, his acquaintance with the
violin,--an advantage that lent unusual force and brilliancy to the
capital scene where _Woffington_, having played Lady Bountiful to the
forlorn family, completes her conquest by calling for the fiddle and
dancing "Cover the Buckle." And with the tune in our ears, and a vision
of Fisher's elbow in deft movement, we take leave of the actor who gave
us in the past so many happy hours.

An artist of quite another sort was Lysander Steele Thompson. He was an
importation of Burton's; and his specialty was the Yorkshireman of the
stage, a line in which he stood alone and unapproachable. Actors there
have been who played the same parts, and with a sufficient mastery of
the dialect to pass muster; but, compared with Thompson's, their
assumptions were like artificial flowers in a painted vase beside a
clump of spring violets in the dew of morning. The semblance was there;
but the delicious fragrance of nature's breath it was not theirs to
give. The native freshness and out-of-door breezy spirit were Thompson's
own and born with him. His engagement was followed by the production of
all the known plays in which there was a _Zekiel Homespun_, or a _Robin
Roughhead_. We saw him in them all: _Bob Tyke_, in "The School of
Reform"; _Zekiel Homespun_, in "The Heir-at-Law"; _Stephen Harrowby_, in
"The Poor Gentleman,"--and until the advent of Thompson, the _Harrowby_
family had been omitted in Burton's version of the comedy;--_Robin
Roughhead_, in "A Ploughman Turned Lord"; _John Browdie_, in "Nicholas
Nickleby"; and _Giles_, in "The Miller's Maid"; in which last, indeed,
he acted under an inspiration that almost laid claim to genius itself;
and we see him now, in that high-wrought scene, where, as the defender
of virtue and innocence, he towers in superb wrath above the villain
_Gamekeeper_, who would tear from her home the person of _Susan

It goes without saying that his dialect was perfect, and all the
humorous phases--the touches of bewilderment and arch simplicity, the
quaint retort, the rollicking drollery, the innocence blent with
audacity,--all these traits and characteristics were so many gifts of
expression summoned and employed at will. We have seen many tragedians
and artists in melodrama; many "old men" and light comedians; many
funny men and eccentric actors, but we have seen one Yorkshireman
only--Lysander Thompson.

He was not without vanity, however, and possibly aspired to other
dramatic walks than his famous specialty, if we may judge from a little
episode in his career at Burton's, which really makes too good a story
to be lost. Burton had in view the production of "The Merry Wives," in
order to act _Falstaff_; and in the distribution Thompson was asked to
make choice of a part. The story runs that, after due reflection, Mr.
Thompson answered that on the whole he would prefer to play _Sir John_.
The manager regarded him for a moment with a glance of wonder, and then:
"I'm ---- if you do; one _Falstaff_ is enough; you must choose again,
Thompson." And he chose the _Host of the Garter Inn_, and made a
palpable hit.

The late Charles Mathews played a short engagement at Burton's; and we
remember his capital acting in "Little Toddlekins" and as _Young
Rapid_; but we need not dwell upon an actor whose stay was so fleeting,
whose celebrity was so extended, and whose Memoirs have so recently been
given to the public.

George Holland, also departed, was for a brief period at the Chambers
Street Theatre, and we recall our enjoyment of his broad fun and facial
extravagance. We always felt, however, that--as his line was somewhat
akin to Burton's--he underwent a perilous ordeal in appearing on the
same stage with the great actor whose genius was so overshadowing.

Messrs. Norton,[10] Holman, and Parsloe, Jr., were useful members of
the stock company, limited in range and ability; and we mention them as
painstaking actors, who always did their best, and aided materially in
the general success of the theatre. The name of young Parsloe is
included on account of his performance of _Puck_, which, owing to
natural cleverness and acrobatic aptitude, he succeeded, under Burton's
training, in making exceedingly effective and full of goblin action.

[10] An amusing experience may be related apropos of Mr. Norton. Not
liking a part in which he was cast, he addressed the following letter
to the manager:

     "MR. BURTON, My Dear Sir:--It was not necessity which drove me to
     America. I wished to travel, to see the country, and, after having
     satisfied myself as to whether it pleased me, professionally or
     otherwise, to arrange either to remain in it or return to England.
     I consider myself greatly insulted by being cast for the part of
     Scaley in 'Nicholas Nickleby.' To offer such an indignity to a
     gentleman who has held a good position in the Olympic Theatre,
     London, under the management of so great an actor as Mr. W. Farren,
     where he has played Sir John Melville, Sir Lucius O'Trigger, Sir
     Arthur Lascelles, etc., I consider a great insult, and positively
     request you to take me out of the objectionable cast, and in future
     to keep to the promise you made on engaging

                    "Yours, W. H. NORTON."

Shortly he received the following reply:

     "MY DEAR MR. NORTON:--When I engaged you I thought you were merely
     an actor. I find that you are a gentleman on your travels, and I
     have to apologize for detaining you. If you proceed, let me advise
     you to visit Niagara about this time. Take a tour through Canada.
     After that take your way through the country generally, not
     forgetting the caves of Kentucky, and in mid-winter return to
     Niagara, a splendid sight. But should you feel inclined to defer
     your travels, W. E. Burton will be happy to retain your services
     until the close of the season."

"What could I do or say?" said Norton, relating the incident. "I
literally roared with laughter. He had beaten me completely. We adjusted
the difference, and I remained with him for two seasons."

And now let us fancy ourselves sitting, as of old, in the parquette, the
curtain having risen on "The Serious Family." _Sleek_ reads his appeal,
and we hear a voice saying: "Those words give comfort to every fainting
and world-worn spirit, good Mr. Aminadab Sleek"--and we know that _Lady
Sowerby Creamly_ has spoken, and that Mrs. Hughes is before us. Of this
estimable lady and admirable actress, much more might be said than
present space will allow. Almost as familiar a figure as the manager
himself, for years she enacted those characters which were peculiarly
her forte, and was identified with all the success and shared all the
fame of the renowned theatre. We can recall no instance of her having
disappointed an audience; and though, in the course of her long service,
she may have assumed uncongenial parts, yet so intelligent was she, so
thorough, so conscientious, that, in spite of unsuitableness, her
performance was always acceptable and meritorious. _Lady Duberly_, in
"The Heir-at-Law," _Mrs. Malaprop_, in "The Rivals," _Lucretia McTab_,
in "The Poor Gentleman," were her accustomed line, and well indeed she
played them. _Widow Warren_, in "The Road to Ruin," _Mrs. Skewton_, in
"Dombey and Son," _Betsy Trotwood_, in "David Copperfied," were kindred
felicitous portraitures; and no one can think of Burton as _Sleek_ and
_Toodle_ without instantly associating Mrs. Hughes as _Lady Creamly_ and
_Mrs. Toodle_. How many times did they play those parts together! In all
those lighter pieces and farces Burton made so popular and famous, she
was his ally and strong support; and no history of the drama of that
period can be written without conspicuous mention of her name; nor can
the professional career and triumphs of Burton be recounted without
suggestion and remembrance of Mrs. Hughes. Their professional relation
was perfectly harmonious, and she was with him to the last. She went
with him from Chambers Street to the New Theatre, and when that was
given up accompanied him on all his starring tours, acting with him when
he appeared for the last time in New York, and when he acted for the
last time in his life at Hamilton, Canada. In a speech Burton once
made, he thus referred to their theatrical relations: "I have been her
father, her son, her uncle, her first husband, her second husband, and
her third husband, her friend, and her disconsolate widower, and I have
liked her better and better in each relation!"

Even as far back as 1826 Mrs. Hughes was a great favorite. H. B. Phelps,
in his valuable work known as "Players of a Century," gives a notice of
the press she received for a benefit night at that period, which he says
is worth preserving as a model: "Mrs. Hughes takes her benefit at the
theatre to-night. It would be an insult to the generous enthusiasm of
her numerous admirers, to say another word on the subject."

As it cannot fail to be of interest to readers of this volume, we copy
from Mr. Phelps's book a reply to a letter addressed by him to the Hon.
Charles Hughes, State Senator, asking information respecting Mrs.
Hughes's subsequent history.

     "DEAR SIR:--Mrs. Esther Hughes, formerly Mrs. Young, was my mother.
     She died upon her farm, three miles from this village (Sandy Hill,
     N. Y.), on the 15th of April, 1867, at the age of seventy-five,
     from the effects of an accident (falling down stairs, caused by
     vertigo). She had left the stage before the war, her last
     engagement being a travelling tour with W. E. Burton, in the South
     and North. She was acting in Albany as Mrs. Young when the war of
     1812 was declared, and I have often heard her speak of Solomon
     Southwick and of John O. Cole, who was a boy in Southwick's office.
     Her many years of theatrical life speak for themselves."

We have heretofore alluded to the Miss Agnes Robertson of long ago; and
now a memory steals in upon us of her débût at Burton's, and of her
enchanting performance in the protean play of "The Young Actress." Of
the half dozen parts assumed, the Scotch lassie and the Irish lad still
haunt us. The highland fling of the one and the "Widow Machree" of the
other were charming to see and hear; and, indeed, Miss Robertson was
charming altogether.

We could give a long list of actors and actresses who from year to year
were enrolled in the Chambers Street company, and whose efforts are
pleasantly remembered. We do not mean to slight them; but we must hasten
toward our appointed goal. One actress, however, a recognized favorite
in New York long before her engagement with Burton, which terminated
with her farewell to the stage, deserves more than a passing notice, for
the pleasure she gave was as pure and healthful as it was winsome and
bright. We refer to Miss Mary Taylor--"Our Mary,"--better known and
esteemed than any actress of her day, except Charlotte Cushman, that we
can recall.

We shall not dwell upon any part of her career, nor examine her dramatic
capabilities. She never appeared without eliciting the warmest of
welcomes; and when we try to think of the many characters we saw her in,
we find ourselves remembering only how sweet and good she was. We were
present at her farewell benefit, and during the speech Mr. Burton made
for her the emotion throughout the house, at the thought of parting,
was as sincere as it was deep. She stood, visibly affected, in the midst
of her companions, and when the curtain fell there was a sigh, as if the
audience had lost a friend.

We have endeavored in the foregoing to indicate the strength of the
Chambers Street company, and we think the reader cannot fail to be
impressed by the exhibit. The fact of such dramatic portraiture being
easy, seems to us a striking proof of its supreme excellence. The
majority of them were they living now might be comedy stars. When we
have Jefferson, Raymond, Fawcett Rowe, Stuart Robson, and Florence,
starring about the country, playing their one part hundreds of nights,
what shall we think of Burton, Placide, Blake, Brougham, Lester,
Johnston, and the rest, appearing together nightly in characters of
varied but equal dramatic power? There has been a great change since
then. The name of the places of amusement now is legion, and one bright
star in the heaven of scenic splendor consoles the public for the loss
of a concentration of wit and genius. As we recall for a moment all that
bright array, we are taken back through the maze of distance, and old
familiar forms arise; we see the glimmer of accustomed footlights; the
scene is alive with well-known faces; we even hear voices that we know;
we join in the old-time plaudits--and forget how many years have rolled
between! There is no retrospection without its tinge of sadness. "Never
to return" is the refrain of human memory. How beautifully Holmes
expresses it in "The Last Leaf":

    "The mossy marbles rest
    On the lips that he has pressed,
        In their bloom;
    And the names he loved to hear,
    Have been carved for many a year
        On the tomb."

The years of the Chambers Street Theatre were fruitful in dramatic
events. We have already mentioned "Dombey and Son," in 1848; and that
signal triumph was followed by "David Copperfield," "Oliver Twist,"
"Nicholas Nickleby," and "The Pickwickians." The immortal _Toodles_ was
first seen October 2, 1848, and an account of that performance will be
found in our Recollections. It became later the custom of the management
to present "The Serious Family" and "The Toodles" every Tuesday and
Friday in each week, so great was the popularity of those pieces. People
came from all parts of the country to see them; parents brought their
families and relatives; and one middle-aged couple, a husband and wife,
never failed, for successive seasons, to occupy the same seats at every
representation. All the old comedies were given in due course, with that
perfection of cast to which we have alluded, and those pieces made
famous by Burton's acting--such as "The Breach of Promise," "Charles
XII.," "Happiest Day of my Life," "Paul Pry," "Family Jars," "Soldier's
Daughter," "Charles II.," "How to Make Home Happy," etc., (and which now
seem for ever lost,)--were a constant source of joyous pleasure. The
wisdom and good judgment of the manager were conspicuous in the nightly
programmes, and it may here be said that no theatrical caterer ever
excelled Burton in an acute perception of what was needful to meet the
public taste, and in providing the requisite entertainment. To wide
experience he added intuitive appreciation of stage effect, and his
extensive knowledge of the drama was seen in the disciplining of his
forces and in his sagacious distributions. It must not be forgotten that
as manager as well as actor Burton shone in the prosperity and fame of
his theatre; and it will not be when now we touch on the Shakespearian
revivals that lent such beauty, grace, and dignity to his stage, and
revealed the manager in the gracious aspect of a profound and reverent
student of the mighty dramatist. These revivals were the crowning
triumphs of Burton's management. The production of "A Midsummer Night's
Dream," "Twelfth Night," "The Tempest," "Winter's Tale," "The Merry
Wives of Windsor," marked an era in theatrical representation, for up
to that time no attempt had been made so ambitious; and the success that
attended the enterprise was in all respects richly deserved. "A
Midsummer Night's Dream," in particular, won universal admiration. The
fairy portion was so beautiful; the play before the duke so capital;
that Shakespeare's creation acted upon the public like a revelation, and
heart and mind felt the glow of a new sensation. The notices of the
press were so unqualified in their praise of "A Midsummer Night's
Dream," that they were gathered and issued in a pamphlet as a tribute to
the achievement. The effect of the succeeding revivals was similar in
kind, and the people marvelled at the resources of a management that on
so limited a stage could produce such wonderful results. And with these
plays of Shakespeare came the impersonations of _Nick Bottom_, _Sir Toby
Belch_, _Caliban_, _Autolycus_, and _Falstaff_--never to be forgotten by
those who witnessed them, and of which a more extended review is given
in our Recollections. It only needed Shakespeare to round the glory of
Chambers Street; after that there were no more worlds to conquer.

    [Illustration: MR. BURTON AS TIMOTHY TOODLE.]

Following the years, we find a record of "As You Like It," produced for
the benefit of the American Dramatic Fund at the Astor Place
Opera-House, January 8, 1850, in which Burton appeared as _Touchstone_,
with a cast including Hamblin, Bland, Jordan, Chippendale, Chapman, Miss
Cushman, Mrs. Abbott, Mrs. Walcott, and Mrs. J. Gilbert. In the same
year he played a short engagement at the Chatham Theatre, and also
essayed to revive the old Olympic; but the division of attraction was of
brief duration. His home was in Chambers Street, and there, to borrow
from Lord Tennyson, the banner of Burton blew. The usual even tenor of
the theatre was varied by new accessions to the company, and by first
appearances, and other interesting events. The present Miss Maggie
Mitchell appeared June 2, 1851, as _Julia_, in "The Soldier's Daughter";
but we cannot say positively that the occasion was her stage débût. May
3, 1852, was the farewell benefit of Mary Taylor, to which reference has
already been made. September 6th of the same year was the date of the
"Centenary Festival of the Introduction of the Drama into America," at
Castle Garden, and we find Burton figuring in the elaborate and
attractive programme as _Launcelot Gobbo_, in "The Merchant of Venice."
Miss Agnes Robertson made her New York débût October 22, 1853, and
November 23d of the same year witnessed the production of "The Fox
Hunt," an original comedy by Dion Boucicault, in which Burton appeared
as _William Link_. In 1854, that long baronet, Sir William Don, entered
upon the scene, and in the same year (December 18th) a benefit to Morris
Barnett occurred, on which occasion "The Serious Family" was given with
all the honors. Mr. H. A. Perry made his débût in 1856, playing
_Gossamer_, in "Laugh When You Can," and that actor was also seen as
_Leontes_, in "Winter's Tale."

Every summer for several years, during the recess at Chambers Street,
Burton played engagements at Niblo's with a selection from his company,
and was seen at that resort in a round of his favorite characters. This
was a great boon to strangers visiting the city, and to those whose
circumstances kept them in town. It was some consolation to be moved to
mirth, and there never was any disaffection in Burton's summer
constituency. But the theatrical tide was setting uptown, and the rapid
growth of the city counselled a removal to more available neighborhoods;
and so, following the current, the manager bid farewell to the scene of
so many triumphs, and leased the building originally known as Tripler
Hall, calling it the Metropolitan, or, as stated by Ireland, "Burton's
New Theatre," where he opened September 8, 1856, with "The Rivals."

The Chambers Street Theatre was opened July 10, 1848, and was closed
September 6, 1856. The eight years of its existence are replete with
fascinating dramatic history, and are a copious and important
contribution to the annals of the stage. It was the school of many an
actor who rose to fame, and the most famous actors of the time were seen
upon its boards. It was the birthplace of plays and characters never
excelled in their effect upon an audience, and its record is graced by a
noble and poetic celebration of Shakespeare's immortal works. And who
shall say how many hearts were lightened, and spirits cheered, by the
good genius of mirth that presided there?


It goes without saying that the New Theatre, to those who had been
accustomed to the cosiness of Chambers Street, was not _Burton's_. The
home feeling so peculiar to the other house could not readily be
reproduced in the spacious auditorium of the Metropolitan. The
far-reaching stage seemed alien and unreal, and the lofty walls were
cold and unfamiliar. There were changes in the company, too; old
favorites were missing, and a kindred interest was not awakened by
new-comers. But the manager was there, and with wonted energy began the
campaign. The first season was prosperous, and many of the well-known
Chambers Street pieces were revived and given with effect. Daniel
Setchell made his appearance September 25, 1856, and grew rapidly in
public favor. This comedian at a later date essayed the part of
_Aminadab Sleek_; but, as Ireland observes, "Burton's _Sleek_ alone
filled the public mind," and the effort was not encouraged. The Irish
comedian, John Collins, was seen about this time, and in November Dion
Boucicault and wife opened an engagement. January 13, 1857, Burton
played _Dogberry_ for the first time in New York, and the same year (May
14th) Edwin Booth appeared at the New Theatre as _Richard III_. It was
in this year (October) that Burton was seen in Albany for the first
time, playing a round of his famous parts; and it is interesting to note
that the present Joe Jefferson, then at Laura Keene's, "during the
absence of Burton," to quote Ireland again, "was recognized as the best
low comedian in town." Burton also appeared in Boston for the first time
in 1857, opening in _Captain Cuttle_. His reception was so extraordinary
in warmth and enthusiasm that he lost control of himself and could not
speak for several minutes. This engagement was at the Boston Theatre,
and every night the house was crammed. He visited Boston again in 1858,
and with the same gratifying success.

It is not impossible that these starring tours suggested to Burton a new
and prosperous field of activity, and perhaps some physical symptom
dictated relief from the strain and responsibility of management. From
whatever cause, after another season of varying fortune, the
Metropolitan was given up (1858), and he commenced a starring tour with
the highest success, "his name and fame," says Ireland, "being familiar
in every quarter of the Union, and more surely attractive than any other
theatrical magnet that could be presented."

    [Illustration: Mechanics Hall Poster]

In conjunction with Mrs. Hughes and a few members of his former
company, he opened an engagement at Niblo's, July 4, 1859, playing to
crowded houses. His last appearance in New York was at the same theatre,
on the occasion of his benefit, October 15, 1859, playing _Toodle_ in
the afternoon, and _Mr. Sudden_, _Toby Tramp_, and _Micawber_ in the
evening, supported by Mrs. Hughes as _Mrs. Toodle_, _Mrs. Trapper_, and
_Betsy Trotwood_. "On the day and evening of his benefit," says Ireland,
"more than six hundred persons who had paid for tickets received their
money back from the box-office, not being able to obtain admission."

On Saturday, December 3, 1859, Mr. Burton started for Hamilton, Canada,
to fulfil an engagement there and at Toronto. A terrible snow-storm was
met on the way; the train was blocked; and the delay and discomfort
consequent were almost unendurable. While recovering from the exposure
and fatigue, Mr. Burton wrote the following letter to his children, and
we are kindly permitted to make use of it in this volume. It will be
read with interest, not only for its feeling, but for its graphic vigor
of narration and humorous spirit. And we believe it was the last letter
he ever wrote.

    _Sunday, December_ 4, 1859.


Here I am, in this provincial city of the Western wilderness, snowed up,
500 miles away from my dear home and my precious treasures. Such a day
and night as we had yesterday I hope never to go through again. You
remember how warm it was on Friday? positively hot; and on the next
morning the weather was cold as New Year's, but clear and brisk, and the
icy tone of the atmosphere seemed to agree with me. We reached Albany in
good order, and started at twelve on the long trip to the Suspension
Bridge, over 300 miles, with a light fall of snow, blown about in every
direction by a very low sort of a high wind. As we got on our way we
found the snow getting deeper, and the flats of the Mohawk River covered
with ice. We dined at Utica--a pretty fair meal, with cold plates and
Dutch waiters, who looked cold too. When we changed cars at Rochester
the wind blew ferociously, and the snow fell heavily, so much so that
some fears were expressed that a drift might form on some part of the
road and prevent our progress for a while. At the Suspension Bridge, at
half-past twelve in the night, I had to get out of the car and wade
ankle deep in snow to the open road beside the baggage-car, and pick out
and give checks for our wagon-load of trunks, seeing them safely
deposited in another car for transportation into Canada. I thought this
was a hard job, but it was nothing to what I had to do in Canada, and
really a pleasant little episode compared with my doings hereafter. We
crossed the Suspension Bridge within sight of the Falls of Niagara, but
we saw them not. The wind howled as we passed over that fearful gulf,
and drowned the roaring of the Falls and the rumbling of the rapids as
they boiled along some 170 feet below us. I confess that I rejoiced in
reaching _terra firma_, even on the cold, inhospitable land of Canada.
Well, we thought we were snugly housed for the balance of our journey,
some forty-four miles to Hamilton, where we intended to rest for the
night (at two in the morning) and pass a cheerful Canadian Sunday in our
own rooms looking at the snow, when we were roused from our seats:
"Change cars and re-check your baggage." Out we turned, bundles, bags,
shawls, top-coat, brandy bottle, cough mixture, papers, books, and
growls, leaving behind my old travelling cap, which I have had for
years, and is now gone for ever. When I got out I had to jump into a bed
of snow up to my knees, wade a quarter of a mile through the unbroken
whiteness to a stand of cars inhumanly situated far from the shelter of
the dépôt or the lee of any building whatever. There, in that snow,
without any feeling in my feet, the wild wind whistling no end of Verdi
overtures with ophicleide accompaniment in the snort of various engines,
I had to select my nine packages, see them weighed, have them checked,
wait while the numbers of the checks were written down, copied off for
me, and a receipt written for the payment imposed on me for extra
baggage. If I had not been so miserably perished with cold, I could have
felt some pity for the poor officials who had to do all this, not only
for me, but for some twenty others, and in the open air too. But it
seemed that I had all the baggage in the car. "Who owns 57,467?" "I do."
"Why, you have baggage enough for a dozen." And it was so. The nine
boxes looked like ninety in the confused atmosphere of steam and
drifting snow. "That's all right, sir." "Then why don't you put the
trunks in the baggage car?" "So we will when they have passed the

Yes, my darlings, at that hour, past midnight, in the open snow-storm,
with a wind that killed old _Cuttle's_ "What blew each indiwiddiwal hair
from off yer 'ed," in a blinding drift of frozen crystals biting each
feature and driving their minute but piercing angles into every pore, I
had to wait the presence and the pleasure of Victoria's excisemen, to
say whether my baggage might or might not pass duty free into her
infernal dominions. I had one cheerful and pleasant thought that filled
my bosom with religious delight while I waited. I remembered playing
_Harrop_ in the drama of "The Innkeeper's Daughter,"--he is an old
smuggler, and _shoots the exciseman_. I remembered that when I fired the
pistol and the victim dropped, I exclaimed "He's done for!" and the
audience laughed and applauded! Yes, the discriminating public applauded
me for killing that exciseman! Oh, was it to do again! How well I could
kill that Canadian gauger here, in the snow-storm, at midnight, on the
banks of the mad Niagara! Don't be alarmed, darlings. I didn't kill him.
He came at last, booted up to his middle, with a Canadian capote and
hood, and a leather belt buckled tightly around his waist. But, despite
his Canadian costume, the Cockney stuck out boldly all over him. He had
a roast-beef-and-porter look, red cheeks, and big English whiskers.
Again I had to go over my list, "great box, little box, bandbox,
bundle," to the potentate of the tariff. I gave him my honor as a
gentleman, etc., and then told him my profession, and, oh! my
loves--oh! my darling children--what is fame? _he had never heard of Mr.
Burton, the comedian!_ Of course, after that, you agree with me that he
ought to be killed at once, "without remorse or dread." And he had such
an aggravating smell of hot steak and brandy-and-water. Now, I suppose
you think that my _Ledger_ story of intense interest, describing the
agonies of a middle-aged (or more so) individual, is over. Not a bit of
it. The fifth act is to come. We were jogging along in the cars, slowly
crunching the hard snow on the rails, when we came gradually to a full
stop. Presently whisperings were heard, occasional and inquisitive male
passengers braved even the fury of the storm, and went abroad to see
what was the matter, and in a few minutes we learned that there was a
"break in the road." You will ask the meaning of the phrase--so did I,
without avail. Gradually the passengers withdrew from the car (we had
but one) and I was compelled to look for myself. There had been a
collision, or rather an overtaking, for a fast passenger train ran into
a freight train, and fearful work they made of it. I went back for Mrs.
Hughes and the bags, coats, and books. Heaven knows how we got along, in
such a fearful storm, knee-deep in snow and the track full of holes,
with a yawning gulf on each side. When at last we reached our place of
refuge, we found the car so high off the rail that it seemed impossible
to mount it. Some gentlemen helped Mrs. Hughes in, with such exertions
that I expected to see my dear old friend pulled into bits. Then your
poor father was left to his fate. I got up--don't ask me how, but when I
get home I'll climb into my bedroom window from the street, to show you
how I did it. We had with us in the car an admiring friend from Detroit,
who claimed relationship with me because his son married Niblo's niece.
Well, we mustered in the car, wet, weary, excited, and chilled to the
centre. Oh! my precious ones, didn't that brandy bottle come in well in
that scene? How I let them smell it, and only smell it! How I took a
drink and smacked my lips, and drank again, and didn't I win the heart
of old Niblo's brother's daughter's husband's father by giving him a big
drink? At last we started, slowly, backed into Hamilton at half-past
four in the morning, with snow two feet deep in the streets. Half an
hour's ride in a dilapidated article of the omnibus genus, and we were
dumped at a place a cad called the "Hanglo-American 'Otel," recommended
me by Miss Niblo's marital ancestor. A fire in my room, a quiet night's
rest, a good breakfast (first-class venison steak), and I feel quite
well. My feet were wet. My boots could hardly be pulled off, and in
revenge to-day they won't be pulled on. Now am I not a brave old papa
to carry a heart disease and a nervous cough through such scenes?

We are now forty miles from Toronto, whither we proceed at nine in the
morning. I hear melancholy doings are prevalent at the place we are
bound to, and this deep snow will not make it any better. If business is
bad, I shall stay but one week, and go to Rochester for the second week.

I am afraid our plants at Glen Cove were badly hurt by the cold spell
coming on so suddenly. I hope this weather has not increased your
coughs. My cough is still troublesome, but I am every way better.

May the great God of goodness keep His blessing on all my children; may
they keep in health, and in the spirit of love with each other, is the
nightly prayer of

                Their affectionate father,
                                      W. E. BURTON.

The last appearance of the comedian on any stage was at Mechanics' Hall,
Hamilton, Canada, December 16, 1859. He played _Aminadab Sleek_ and
_Goodluck_ in "John Jones." He returned from the trip in an almost
exhausted condition, and, after lingering for nearly two months,
suffering greatly, died of enlargement of the heart, February 10, 1860.
Mr. Burton left a wife and three daughters, all of whom are living. His
remains were interred in Greenwood Cemetery.

                   *       *       *       *       *

The following is a list of parts acted by Mr. Burton, and though
probably there are many omissions, it fully justifies Ireland's
observation that his repertory was extended almost indefinitely, and
"carried into a range, where, if he was sometimes excelled by Placide
and Blake, his rivalry was such as to demand every effort on their part
to retain their generally acknowledged superiority." It may be mentioned
that the parts of _Aminadab Sleek_ and _Timothy Toodle_ were acted by
Burton respectively six hundred and six hundred and forty times.


    CHARACTERS.                PLAYS.

  HOST,    }
  FALSTAFF,}            in "The Merry Wives of Windsor."
  DROMIO,               in "The Comedy of Errors."
  DR. OLLAPOD,       }
  SIR ROBERT BRAMBLE,}  in "The Poor Gentleman."
  MUNNS,                in "Forty Winks."
  JOB THORNBERRY,       in "John Bull."
  LAUNCELOT GOBBO,      in "The Merchant of Venice."
  HARROP,               in "The Innkeeper's Daughter."
  BOTTOM,               in "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
  CALIBAN,              in "The Tempest."
  SIR TOBY BELCH,       in "Twelfth Night."
  CAPT. CUTTLE,         in "Dombey and Son."
  TIMOTHY TOODLE,       in "The Toodles."
  AMINADAB SLEEK,       in "The Serious Family."
  VAN DUNDER,           in "The Dutch Governor."
  TRIPLET,              in "Masks and Faces."
  BOB ACRES,            in "The Rivals."
  LORD DUBERLY,}        in "The Heir-at-Law."
  BILLY LACKADAY,       in "Sweethearts and Wives."
  PILLICODDY,           in "Poor Pillicoddy."
  TOBY TRAMP,           in "The Mummy."
  TONY LUMPKIN,         in "She Stoops to Conquer."
  CHAS. GOLDFINCH,      in "The Road to Ruin."
  JACQUES STROP,        in "Robert Macaire."
  SEPTIMUS PODDLE,      in "Take That Girl Away."
  JEM BAGGS,            in "The Wandering Minstrel."
  SLASHER,              in "Slasher and Crasher."
  JOHN UNIT,            in "Self."
  GREGORY THIMBERWELL,  in "State Secrets."
  BONNYCASTLE,          in "The Two Bonnycastles."
  JEREMIAH CLIP,        in "The Widow's Victim."
  DIMPLE,               in "Leap Year."
  MEGRIM,               in "Blue Devils."
  FELIX FUMER,          in "The Laughing Hyena."
  LA FLEUR,             in "Animal Magnetism."
  TOM RIPSTONE,         in "Evil Genius."
  TOM NODDY,            in "Tom Noddy's Secret."
  SNOBBINGTON,          in "A Good Night's Rest."
  PETTIBONE,            in "A Kiss in the Dark."
  PAUL PRY,             in "Paul Pry."
  JOE BAGS,             in "Wanted 1000 Milliners."
  SIR PETER TEAZLE,  }  in "The School for Scandal."
  MEDDLE,               in "London Assurance."
  THOMAS TROT,          in "Paris and London."
  WORMWOOD,             in "The Lottery Ticket."
  WADDILOVE,            in "To Parents and Guardians."
  SQUEERS,              in "Nicholas Nickleby."
  MICAWBER,             in "David Copperfield."
  JOHN MILDMAY,         in "Still Waters Run Deep."
  SUDDEN,               in "The Breach of Promise."
  CALEB QUOTEM,         in "The Review."
  PEDRO,                in "Cinderella."
  SCHNAPPS,             in "The Naiad Queen."
  MR. BUMBLE,           in "Oliver Twist."
  PETER SPYK,           in "The Loan of a Lover."
  MOCK DUKE,            in "The Honeymoon."
  SIR WM. FONDLOVE,     in "The Love Chase."
  DOVE,  }              in "Married Life."
  DOMINIE SAMPSON,      in "Guy Mannering."
  PETER,                in "The Stranger."
  MR. GILMAN,           in "Happiest Day of My Life."
  GRAVES,               in "Money."
  DUKE'S SERVANT,       in "High Life Below Stairs."
  SAM WELLER,           in "Pickwick."
  DON WHISKERANDOS,     in "The Critic."
  SIMPSON,              in "Simpson & Co."
  TOUCHSTONE,           in "As You Like It."
  TOM TAPE,             in "Sketches in India."
  TONY BAVARD,          in "The French Spy."
  SCRUB,                in "Now-a-Days."
  BROWN,                in "Kill or Cure."
  FLUID,                in "The Water Party."
  NICHOLAS RUE,         in "Secrets Worth Knowing."
  MR. FLARE,            in "Such As It Is."
  FREDERICK STORK,      in "The Prince's Frolic."
  MR. TWEEDLE,          in "The Broken Heart."
  GALOCHARD,            in "The King's Gardener."
  SNOWBALL,             in "The Catspaw."
  WAGGLES,              in "Friend Waggles."
  EUCLID FACILE,        in "Twice Killed."
  JENKINS,              in "Gretna Green."
  BULLFROG,             in "The Rent Day."
  BOX,                  in "Box and Cox."
  MRS. MACBETH,         in "Macbeth Travestie."
  CHRISTOPHER STRAP,    in "Pleasant Neighbors."
  OLD RAPID,            in "A Cure For the Heartache."
  COL. DAMAS,           in "The Lady of Lyons."
  VERGES,  }
  DOGBERRY,}            in "Much Ado About Nothing."
  JOHN SMITH,           in "Nature's Nobleman."
  EPHRAIM JENKINSON,    in "The Vicar of Wakefield."
  MICHAEL,              in "Love in Humble Life."
  TETTERBY,             in "The Haunted Man."
  MR. MENNY,            in "Socialism."
  PIERRE DE LA ROCHE,   in "The Midnight Watch."
  SPHINX,               in "The Sphinx."
  TOM BOBOLINK,         in "Temptation."
  PICADILLY,            in "Burton's New York Directory."
  JUSTICE WOODCOCK,     in "Love in a Village."
  BILL,                 in "Peep From the Parlor Windows."
  HARESFOOT,            in "Life Among the Players."
  NOGGS,                in "The Mormons."
  MARC ANTONY BAROWN,   in "A Great Tragic Revival."
  SIGNOR TOPAZ,         in "Fascination."
  VANDAM,               in "Wall Street."
  COL. ROCKET,          in "Old Heads and Young Hearts."
  VON FIEZENSPAN,       in "The Slave Actress."
  JONAS BLOT,           in "The Poor Scholar."
  EPAMINONDAS,          in "Genevieve."
  ANTHONY GAB,          in "The Witch Wife."
  BONUS,                in "Laugh When You Can."
  WILLIAM RUFUS,        in "Helping Hands."
  COL. GOLDIE,          in "'Tis Ill Playing with Edged Tools."
  BERRYMAN,             in "False Pretences."
  DICK,                 in "Ellen Wareham."
  SUCKLING,             in "Education."
  SPATTERDASH,          in "The Young Quaker."
  BOB CLOVER,           in "Married an Actress."
  OLD REVEL,            in "School for Grown Children."
  GILES GRIZZLE,        in "Stag Hall."
  BALTHAZAR,            in "Player's Plot."
  WILLIAM LINK,         in "The Fox-Hunt."
  BLANQUET,             in "The Lancers."
  BRAINWORM,            in "Every Man in His Humor."
  MANUEL COGGS,         in "Married by Force."
  RATTAN,               in "The Beehive."
  GREGORY GRIZZLE,      in "My Wife and Umbrella."
  DELPH,                in "Family Jars."
  TEWBERRY,             in "A Heart of Gold."
  JUPITER,              in "Apollo in New York."
  COUNT VENTOSO,        in "Pride Must Have a Fall."
  DR. LACQUER,          in "Our Set."
  DE BONHOMME,          in "A Nice Young Man."
  SIR HIPPINGTON MIFF,  in "Comfortable Lodgings."
  MAXIMUS HOGSFLESH,    in "Barbers at Court."
  FRIGHT,               in "Crimson Crimes."
  INFANTE FURIBOND,     in "Invisible Prince."
  MR. GREENFINCH,       in "Duel in the Dark."
  TIMOTHY QUAINT,       in "Soldier's Daughter."
  SIR SIMON SLACK,      in "Spring and Autumn."
  PEEPING TOM,          in "All at Coventry."
  TRISTAM SAPPY,        in "Deaf as a Post."
  CODGER,               in "You're Another."
  TACTIC,               in "My Fellow Clerk."
  TONY NETTLETOP,       in "Love in a Maze."
  TOBIAS SHORTCUT,      in "The Spitfire."
  BOB TICKET,           in "An Alarming Sacrifice."
  JEREMY DIDDLER,       in "Raising the Wind."
  JACK HUMPHREYS,       in "Turning the Tables."
  MAW-WORM,             in "The Hypocrite."
  DAFFODIL TWOD,        in "The Ladies' Man."
  GOLIGHTLY,            in "Lend Me Five Shillings."
  CHRISTOPHER CROOKPATH, in "Upper Ten and Lower Twenty."
  GHOST,                in "Hamlet Travestie."
  DIGGORY,              in "The Spectre Bridegroom."
  BENJAMIN BUZZARD,     in "The Two Buzzards."
  MARMADUKE MOUSER,     in "Betsey Baker."
  CRACK,                in "The Turnpike Gate."
  BILLY BLACK,          in "100-Pound Note."
  CAPT. COPP,           in "Charles the Second."
  MARALL,               in "New Way to Pay Old Debts."
  TOBIAS SHORTCUT,      in "The Cockney."
  PETER POPPLES,        in "Man of Many Friends."
  ADAM BROCK,           in "Charles the Twelfth."
  RICHARD PRIDE,        in "Janet Pride."
  POLONIUS,           }
  FIRST GRAVE-DIGGER, } in "Hamlet."
  FIRST WITCH,          in "Macbeth."
  SIR GEORGE THUNDER,   in "Wild Oats."
  GUY GOODLUCK,         in "John Jones."
  MARPLOT,              in "The Busybody."
  JOE SEDLEY,           in "Vanity Fair."
  GIL,                  in "Giralda."
  QUEEN BEE,            in "St. Cupid."
  DABCHICK,             in "How to Make Home Happy."
  SHADOWLY SOFTHEAD,    in "Not So Bad As We Seem."
  SMYTH,                in "Mind Your Own Business."
  SIR TIMOTHY STILTON,  in "Patrician and Parvenu."
  CARDINAL MAZARIN,     in "Youthful Days of Louis XIV."
  TWINKS,               in "Mrs. Bunbury's Spoons."


    "_And now what rests but that we spend the time
    With stately triumphs, mirthful comic shows._"


When Burton opened in Chambers Street, he was forty-four years old, in
the prime of life, his powers mature and approaching culmination. Let us
endeavor to give a portrait of the comedian as he appeared at this time.
Above the medium height; rotund in form, yet not cumbersome; limbs well
proportioned; deep-chested, with harmonious breadth of shoulder; neck
short and robust; large and well-balanced head; the hair worn short
behind, longer in front, and brushed smartly toward the temples; face
clean-shaven; complexion bordering on the florid; full chin and cheeks;
eyes seemingly blue or gray, beneath brows not over heavy, and capable
of every conceivable expression; nose straight, and somewhat sharply
inclined; mouth large, the lips thin, and wearing in repose a smile
half playful, half trenchant. Such is the picture memory draws, the
likeness in some degree confirmed by engravings in our possession.
Outlined thus, and in his proper person, he seemed in general aspect to
blend the suave respectability of a bank president with the easy-going
air of an English country squire. We shall have occasion to refer in due
course to the marvellous changes that were possible to that face and
form, when the man became the actor and walked the stage with Momus,
with Dickens, and with Shakespeare. Prominent among his physical
attributes was a clear, strong voice, capable of a great variety of
intonations, and his delivery was such that no words of his were ever
lost in any part of the house.

Before entering the wide field of our memories, we wish to offer some
observations respecting the comedian's mental equipment, and to consider
briefly the features of his unrivalled powers. We have no doubt but
that the classical education of his youth had much to do with his early
preference for the tragic muse. His mind, imbued with admiration for
classic form and color, was fed with divine images, which, while replete
with grace and beauty, bore still the impress of Greek austerity. He
inclined naturally, therefore, toward the conception of that which was
the predominating influence in his mental training. At the same time,
after eschewing his predilections for tragedy, he found that the classic
discipline had created a receptivity of mind in the highest degree
important to his future study; and that quickened apprehension proved of
inestimable value in his subsequent introduction to Shakespeare, the old
dramatists, and in all his intellectual excursions.

Yielding to him, then, this vantage-ground of culture, let us glance at
the attributes of his genius, which entitle him, as we think, to the
claim made for him--namely, one of the greatest actors in his line the
stage has known. We need not specify that line further than to say that
it passes with the title of "low comedy"; but Burton's versatility was
so extraordinary, his repertory so extended, his conceptions so
forcible, that the theatric nomenclature seems insufficient to define
and measure the scope and range of his abilities. His impersonations,
especially those Shakespearian, were often of too high an order to be
classed under the accepted notion of low comedy. Let us style him an
expounder and representative of the Humor of the Drama in all its
aspects, and we shall come nearer to what he really was. For an
all-embracing perception of humor revealed itself perpetually in his
acting. As the imagination of Longfellow transformed to organ pipes the
musketry of the Springfield Arsenal, so would Burton change dull
inanities into vital and joyous images. This informing power, this
native faculty of rising superior to the part assumed, and investing it
with undreamed-of humorous interest, was an instinct of his genius, and
gave to all his embodiments an originality and a flavor peculiarly his
own. The character mattered not. It might be _Nick Bottom_ or _Paul
Pry_, _Cuttle_ or _Micawber_, _Doctor Ollapod_ or _Charles Goldfinch_,
_Sleek_ or _Toodle_. There was the complete identification, the
superlative realization of the author's meaning; but the felicitous
interpretation, the by-play, the way of saying a thing, the facial
expression--his own and no other man's,--the Burtonian touch and
treatment. In the extravagance of farcical abandon no one ever was funny
as he. In comic portraits like _Toby Tramp_ or _Jem Baggs_, he
absolutely exhaled mirth; and we cannot help thinking how perfectly
Hazlitt describes him in writing of Liston: "His farce is not
caricature; his drollery oozes out of his features, and trickles down
his face; his voice is a pitch-pipe for laughter." "We have seen
Burton," says Wemyss, "keep an audience in roars of inextinguishable
laughter, for minutes in succession, while an expression of ludicrous
bewilderment, of blank confusion, or pompous inflation, settled upon his
countenance." And this was penned by Wemyss at a time when _Cuttle_,
_Micawber_, _Sleek_, and _Toodle_ were yet to be.

In thus indicating Burton's natural gifts, we must not lose sight of the
study and knowledge necessary to their development and to the
achievement of his fame. Let it not be supposed that his famous
delineations were so many intuitions, easily shaped and clothed by him
into substantial dramatic form. Easy, indeed, they might appear in the
handling--for it was characteristic of the great comedian never to seem
to entirely expend himself,--he always suggested a reserved force;--but
this facile rendering was attained at the expense of as much
intellectual attrition as Moore declared the melodious numbers of his
verse often cost him.

The late Dr. John W. Francis relates a conversation with the famous
George Frederick Cooke, respecting the actor's impersonation of _Sir
Pertinax Macsycophant_, and in reply to the question, how he acquired so
profound a knowledge of the Scotch accentuation, Cooke said: "I studied
more than two and a half years in my own room, with repeated intercourse
with Scotch society, in order to master the Scottish dialect, before I
ventured to appear on the boards in Edinburgh, as _Sir Pertinax_, and
when I did, Sawney took me for a native. It was the hardest task I ever
undertook." How do we know how many years of thoughtful application the
comedian's masterpieces expressed?

Mr. Burton was a student and man of the world as well as actor, and the
supremacy of his performances was due to his close and comprehensive
study of his author, his acquaintance with dramatic composition, his
artistic sense, his thorough knowledge of the stage, his varied
experience, his human insight,--the rest, like Dogberry's reading and
writing, came by nature.

It is a habit with old play-goers, when over their cakes and ale, to
recall the "palmy days" of the drama, and to say: "Ah, you should have
seen ----; he was a great artist--none equal to him nowadays. Ah, the
stage has declined since the old time." We do not wholly believe in the
drama's decadence, but as we enter upon our Recollections we feel that
_there_ were our palmy days, and the years seem long between.
Twenty-four have passed since the comedian died, and there has been no
sign of a successor to the mask and mantle. And it may be twice--nay,
thrice twenty before the actor shall arise who will compel us to recall
the triumphs of Burton for the sake of comparison.


A man like Mr. Burton, endowed with keen humorous perception and the
mimetic faculty, competent to express easily and with unction every
phase of mirthful extravagance suggested by fancy and flow of spirit,
must occasionally yield to the imperious demands of his nature, and,
perforce, when so pressed, he opens the safety-valve of play and gives
escape to his excess of humor.

In this connection, we are reminded of Sydney Smith, as an example of
humorous irrepressibility. Restraint seldom fettered the expression of
the witty suggestions of his fancy. It was as natural in him to be gay
and mirthful as it was to breathe. His humor welled from a perpetual
spring. It was like the profanity of the Scotchman who didn't swear at
any thing particular, but just stood in the middle of the road and
"swore at large." There is a story that the divine, arriving first at a
gathering of notables, was ushered into the drawing-room, which was hung
with mirrors on all sides. Seeing himself reflected at all points, he
looked around and observed: "Ah, a very respectable collection of
clergymen!" Now his only auditor was the servant; but the thought came
and was at once expressed. Of course, Sydney Smith could be serious when
he wished, as all know who are familiar with his life and works; but he
had his play-ground at Holland House and in kindred coteries, where his
buoyant spirit worked its own sweet will. When the clergyman of
lugubrious aspect called upon poor Tom Hood, the story goes that the
humorist could not help remarking: "My dear Sir, I'm afraid your
religion doesn't agree with you!"--and we are quite willing to believe
the story to be one of "Hood's Own," for it has all the flavor of the
author who gave us "Laughter from Year to Year." Instances might be
multiplied of this humorous self-abandonment; but we are growing
digressive. The train of reflection, however, leads us to the belief
that Burton's merry-making powers needed occasionally an avenue of
escape; and the safety-valve, in his case, was often found in the farces
his acting made so popular--those exhibitions of fun and drollery in
which, through the lens of memory, we now intend to view him.

The farce, by the way, is a thing of the past. It may almost be said
that as a form of the acting drama, at least in America, it has been
passed to the limbo of disuse. Rarely, if ever, do our programmes
nowadays bear the old, familiar formula: "To conclude with the
laughable Farce of ----." We are no longer invited to laugh at the droll
situations and funny dialogues contained in the many pieces of
Buckstone, Mathews, and Morton; yet all will admit their efficacy to
beguile a lagging hour, and to smooth away the obtrusive wrinkle from
the proverbial brow of care. Such, certainly, was the power they exerted
in other days; and perhaps it is to be lamented that the frolic
atmosphere diffused by those comic productions is ours no more to make
merry and revel in. "Custom exacts, and who denies her sway?" remarks
Colman, the younger; and for many years the design of our managers, in
catering for the public, has comprehended the representation of one play
only for the performance of an evening; setting it elaborately,
bestowing upon it a wealth of scenic embellishment, and presenting it
generally with a due regard to strength and fitness of cast. Many of the
standard comedies have been thus illustrated--notably "The School for
Scandal" and "She Stoops to Conquer"; the comedies of Robertson--"Home,"
"Caste," "School," "Ours,"--have been so rendered at Wallack's, and at
the same theatre that play of charming improbabilities, "Rosedale," has
enjoyed a periodic return. "Led Astray," acted so long at the Union
Square Theatre; Mr. Daly's many successful adaptations, and the Irish
dramas of Mr. Boucicault; "The Two Orphans"; "The Banker's Daughter";
"Hazel Kirke";--all these, and more, are like examples. Mr. Jefferson's
"Rip Van Winkle" suffices for an evening; so also does Mr. Raymond's
_Col. Sellers_, and so also did Mr. Sothern's _Dundreary_. This new
departure may be a very good departure, for it gives us perfection in
the details of scenery and costume, and concentrates the managerial
resources in one splendid whole; and we may add, that a theatrical
system is to be commended when it permits the audience to get
comfortably home and to bed before midnight. But, all the same, if
Burton were living and acting, the farce would hold its own; and every
auditor would remain to the fall of the curtain, for the last glimpse of
that face, the last word and action of that comedian who held such sway
over the risibilities of mankind.

If among our readers there should be any old play-goers, they cannot
fail to remember how often they dropped in for an hour's hilarity with
"The Wandering Minstrel," or "Poor Pillicoddy." For, as previously
stated, it was a circumstance by no means unusual to see fresh arrivals
lining the walls of the theatre, drawn thither by the potent magnet of
Burton in the farce. It was a matter of almost as much consequence to
know what afterpiece was on the bill as what comedy. Often, indeed, the
effect produced by Burton in some exceptionally droll part had become so
widely known, that to see him in it was the prime object of a visit to
the theatre; and if to the question--"What does Burton play to-night?"
the answer named _Toby Tramp_, _Madame Vanderpants_, or the like, it
was enough: "Let us go!" was the eager exclamation.

What a piece of fun was _Toby Tramp_, in "The Mummy"! How many who are
living now will laugh as they recall the appearance of Burton in that
close-fitting garment, covered with hieroglyphics! The plot is simple
and easily told. _Toby_ is an itinerant player, needy and shabby, out at
elbow and out of money; and agrees for a cash consideration to personate
a mummy, already sold and promised to an old antiquarian. As we think of
the scene in which the bargain is concluded we remember how full of
stage strut and quotation Burton was, and how he embraced the
opportunity to present a specimen of _Toby's_ histrionic quality,
selecting the familiar soliloquy of _Richard_, and giving it as he
(_Toby_) declared Shakespeare ought always to be interpreted. He

      "Now is the winter of our discontent"--

and with the words turned up his coat-collar, blew his fingers,
shivered, and was frozen generally. Continuing then:

      "Made glorious summer by this sun of York"--

he instantly thawed, threw open his coat, puffed, and from his brow
wiped the perspiration. And so he went through the whole. At the words
"Grim-visag'd war," a gloomy and malignant frown darkened his features,
which changed, as he pronounced "hath smooth'd his wrinkled front," to a
bland expression of peace;--and the climax was reached when at the

      "He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber,
       To the lascivious pleasing of a lute"--

he executed a fantastic dance, thrumming the while an imaginary guitar.

This burlesque, for aught we know, may have been an interpolation, a
contribution of Burton himself to the fund of merriment--one of the
instances, in fact, where he dropped the rein and let Momus have his
way. But however it came, the travesty created unbounded amusement, and
put the audience in the best possible humor; yet we feel how pointless
is our sketch to even suggest the facial power, the comic attitudes, the
air, the touches of drollery, born of the whole scene; and our readers
must summon their imagination to help our failure.

The next scene is the antiquarian's museum, and the mummy is brought
in. After the necessary raptures consequent upon such a unique
possession, the professor withdraws and the stage is left alone. There
lies the mummy in his case, and a pause succeeds. The intent audience
observe a slight movement in the box. Slowly the head of Burton is
raised, and he glances warily around the room. Raising himself to
a sitting posture in the case, he turns toward the audience his
marvellous face, on which rests an expression of doleful humiliation.
We shall never forget how, finally, he rose to his feet, stepped out
of the case, walked abjectly to the foot-lights, looked his disguise
all over with intense concern, and then turned to the house--by this
time scarcely able to contain itself--and said, with the accent of
self-reproach and mortification--"I'm ---- if I'm not ashamed of myself!"

Situations follow, affording full opportunity for the display of
Burton's humorous characteristics; but we need not pursue them in
detail. He frightens everybody as a mummy; makes love as a mummy;
devours the antiquarian's dinner; has his tragic bursts;-- in short,
leaves nothing to be desired on the part of those who paid their money
to laugh and be jolly with him.

_Mad. Vanderpants_ was another uproarious creation, more laughable even,
in some ways, than "The Mummy." _Joe Baggs_ (Burton) is a lawyer's
clerk, and during the absence of his employer on a journey, arranges a
programme of deviltry for himself and comrade (T. B. Johnston). _Baggs_
becomes _Mad. Vanderpants_, and his companion _Miss Smithers_, her
assistant, and they advertise for "A Thousand Milliners." Burton's
"make-up" was one of the most astonishing things we ever saw, and
Johnston's was by no means lacking in artistic finish. The milliners
arrive (that is a representation), and then ensues an hour of
unparalleled fun and frolic. The manner of Burton in sustaining the
character and in replying with complacent air to the numerous questions
asked by the deluded damsels, was so supremely ludicrous that we pause
in writing to laugh at the remembrance. Some work is wanted, and the
window shades are unceremoniously torn down and given to the milliners.
"What shall we do with it?" ask they. "Do?" replied Burton, with
imperturbable gravity, "Why, you can hemstitch it up one side, and
back-stitch it down the other--and then gusset it all around!" The fun
waxes fast and furious, when suddenly the employer returns. The
_dénouement_ can be imagined; we cannot describe it;--but those who
remember Burton's mimetic power, and his faculty to express abject
terror and kindred emotions, can well understand what a scene of
indescribable riotous humor it was. And we cannot omit, in referring to
this farce, to mention the admirable support given by the lamented Mrs.
Hughes, who, as one of the milliners, contributed largely to the general
success by her conscientious acting.

How can we, in this allotted space, deal justly with our crowding
memories? What shall we say of _Jem Baggs_, in "The Wandering
Minstrel"?--that minstrel whose entrance on the stage was heralded by a
sounding strain certainly never before heard on sea or land, and whose
appearance, as he emerged from the wing, continuing still the dirge-like
air, was a signal for a gleeful burst all over the house. How paint his
introduction, under a mistaken identity, into musical society; the
situation that follows; his song of "All Around My Hat"; the comic
incidents that strew the too-fleeting hour of his career?

How view him as _Pillicoddy_, awaiting with supreme anguish the "turning
up" of his wife's "first," through all the phases of ludicrous bravado
and comic despair?

How depict him in "Turning the Tables"? or in "The Siamese Twins"? or in
"That Blessed Baby"? How see him as _Mr. Dabchick_, in "The Happiest Day
of My Life"? or as _Megrim_, in "Blue Devils," and ever so many more?

And yet we ought to linger on each one; for we have never seen them
since, and it may be we may never see them again--certain is it that we
shall never see them so performed. And only for the sake of refreshing a
memory of something greater would we wish to behold them now.

In concluding this imperfect tracing of recollection, we are conscious
of many deficiencies; one of these a few final words may supply.

We have said nothing of the individualization of Burton's many
characters in farce. It is true that the native hue and flavor of the
comedian's humor were so strong, and his physique so pronounced, that he
himself was always more or less apparent in whatever guise; but it
would be a great mistake to suppose that in the parts above named there
was no essential difference, with respect to portraiture. There was a
difference, and it was clearly marked. Each was a picture by
itself--each a distinct characterization; and in the development the
author was often left so far behind that the actor became the creator.
But this loyalty to ideal perception denotes, as it seem to us, that
even in farcical abandon his delineations were shaped and governed by
his artistic sense.


The familiar picture of John Philip Kemble in the character of _Hamlet_,
standing at _Ophelia's_ grave, in sad retrospection over the skull of
Yorick, always impressed us as a revelation of the fact that an actor's
fame is bequeathed to posterity in the traditions of effect produced by
a few celebrated embodiments, and is forever associated with those
special triumphs. That Kemble was a supreme representative of the
impressive school, that he merited the glowing eulogium contained in
Campbell's eloquent verses, there will be no question; but when we think
of him or read of him, the figure of the Dane looms up in sombre
majesty, and we are haunted by the avenging spirit of Elsinore.

The picture of Edmund Kean, as _Richard_, kneeling at the feet of _Lady
Anne_, with the words, "Take up the sword again, or take up me," upon
his lips, impresses us in the same way; and any thought of that great
tragedian conjures an attendant vision of the dark and aspiring

When, in the years to come, the name of Jefferson is spoken, will not
imagination linger on _Rip Van Winkle's_ long slumber amid the
everlasting hills? and will not Sothern and Raymond appeal to a future
generation as _Dundreary_ of the glaring eye, and _Sellers_ of the
uplifted arm? And we have no doubt that Mr. Burton is, in the memory of
those now living who saw him, and will be to those who shall know him
from tradition and dramatic annals, the actor who was so inimitable as
_Captain Cuttle_, _Aminadab Sleek_, and _Timothy Toodles_. And no
wonder. The mere mention of them opens the flood-gate of recollection,
and we seem to hear far down the aisles of time the free, glad laughter
of delighted audiences. If, haply, in our memories hitherto we have
struck in some heart the chord of reminiscence, surely now we may hope
to prolong the strain. For, among the many who are still here to tell of
their nights at Burton's, few, perchance, will revert to _Bob Acres_ or
_Goldfinch_, _Nick Bottom_ or _Autolycus_; while all, at the comedian's
name, will at once summon the images of _Cuttle_, _Sleek_, and

In view of the extraordinary popularity of these performances, we shall
treat now of certain parts made specially famous by Mr. Burton, and
present in another group a view of other and various characters in his
comedy repertory.

A favorite part, and one which always delighted us, was that prince of
stage busybodies, _Paul Pry_. The character as Poole drew it affords
unusual scope for the exhibition of comic power, and in Burton's hands
its humorous possibilities were made the most of. The play was
frequently on the bills, and always drew a house that followed the
comedian through all his mirth-moving entanglements in a state of
hilarious enjoyment. The more we think of it, the more we are disposed
to class _Paul Pry_ as one of Burton's masterpieces, so rich was it in
certain phases of humor and so replete with droll suggestiveness. It may
not, perhaps, be generally known that Mr. Burton was the second comedian
who played the part in England, and it was a favorite of the renowned
Liston, whose impersonation of it won him fame and fortune. There is a
story to the effect that at the last rehearsal of the comedy, previous
to its presentation at the Haymarket, Liston was undecided as to his
costume; and while on the stage, still doubtful and uncertain, a
workman entered on some errand, wearing a large pair of Cossack
trousers, which, it being a wet day, he had tucked into his wellingtons.
The appearance of the trousers struck Liston, who adopted the idea; and
hence the origin of the dress peculiar to _Pry_. We remember very well
the general effect of Burton's "make-up"; can recall various details;
but the point of the trousers is not clear; so a better memory than ours
must determine whether or no Liston's notion was perpetuated by his

We see Burton now, as he entered upon the scene at _Doubledot's_ inn
with: "Ha! how d' ye do, Doubledot?" and we hear him asking with
ingratiating audacity question after question, pausing for an answer
after each one, and in no wise put out at getting none,--"never miss any
thing for the want of asking, you know." Then his lingering departure,
and _Doubledot's_ fervent: "I've got rid of him at last, thank heaven!"
No, he returns. "I dropped one of my gloves" (looking about).
_Doubledot_ waxes impatient and speaks his mind. "Mr. Doubledot," said
Burton, swelling with insulted dignity, "I want my property; I want my
property, sir. When I came in here I had two gloves, and now--ah--that's
very odd; I've got it in my hand all this time!" (hasty exit). How
little it seems in the telling. The air of anxiety on returning, and the
eye-glass brought into play; the look of injured innocence, the
indignant assertion, and then the sudden collapse--cannot be reproduced
in words.

The piece is full of diverting situations, but nothing was more natural
than that Burton should improve on and add to them. His bright instinct
kindled the dry fagots of a scene till they fairly crackled with
merriment. Certain "business," humorous amplification of dialogue, a
diffusion of comic incident, that we vividly recall, are not to be found
in the printed "Paul Pry"; and the conclusion of the second act,
especially, where the pistols are used with such ludicrous effect, all
that was Burton's own. The pistols lay on the table, left there by
_Col. Hardy_, and _Pry_ is alone. Burton took them up, one in each hand.
He regarded the weapons fixedly. Then, with solemn enunciation: "I never
fought a duel; but if I was called out," extending an arm, "I say if I
was called out"--bang! went one of the pistols, and down dropped Burton,
the picture of fright, when bang! went the other, and the curtain fell
on the comedian sitting in abject terror, a smoking pistol in each hand,
gazing in every direction for succor, and wildly ejaculating "Murder!"
Then, at the close of the play, when _Pry_ reminds _Col. Hardy_ that,
thanks to him (_Pry_), things, after all, have resulted to the
satisfaction of everybody, the _Colonel_ relaxes his sternness somewhat
and says: "Well, I will tolerate you; you shall dine with me to-day."
"Colonel," replied Burton, with airy condescension, "I'll dine with you
every day."

It was a rare pleasure to see Placide and Burton in their respective
parts; and as once again we think of them the Chambers Street stage is
before us, and the garden scene; and we see _Col. Hardy_ place the
ladder against the wall, mount it and peer cautiously over, and then
hastily descend, saying: "I have him; there he is, crouching on the
ground with his eye at the key-hole"; see him quietly approach the gate,
suddenly open it, and once again as of old, Burton tumbles in, umbrella
and all, with "How are you, Colonel! I've just dropped in!"

He will never more drop in for us, nor does it seem likely that in our
day another _Paul Pry_ will appear. The play may have been performed in
New York since the comedian's death, and we seem dimly to remember that
it was; but we have no recollection beyond the simple circumstance. We
feel sure, however, that public interest in it ceased with the departure
of its last great representative; and equally sure that in the memory of
those who saw it, Burton's _Paul Pry_ remains a famous creation of
delightful humor.

What shall we say of _Captain Cuttle_? How many readers and lovers of
Dickens thronged the theatre in the old days to witness that wonderful
reproduction? and how many to whom Dickens was but a name were led by
the impersonation to study the pages of the great novelist? It is
certain that Burton by his sympathetic and admirable portrayal awakened
a fresh interest in the enchanting story, so potent to excite
intellectual pursuit is fine and sagacious interpretation. "Dombey and
Son" was one of the great triumphs of the Chambers Street Theatre, and
not to have seen it constituted an offence against public sentiment
utterly without palliation. That it was Charles Dickens dramatized by
John Brougham was enough of itself to claim respectful attention; and
when Burton added the crowning effect of his acting of _Cuttle_, then
indeed was the dramatic feast complete. Nothing could be clearer than
that the comedian had made careful and conscientious study of his
author, and nothing surer than that the portrait was conceived in an
appreciative and loving spirit. If those familiar with the character as
depicted by Dickens discerned at times certain felicitous touches in
Burton's delineation which suggested an originality of method and
treatment, the points were due, we think, to the genius of the novelist
acting upon the actor's imagination, and kindling it to the expression
of cognate verisimilitude.

What a memory it is to linger on! How the form comes back, clad in the
white suit; the high collar, like a small sail, and the black silk
handkerchief with flaring ends loosely encircling it; the head bald at
top, a shining pathway between the bristling hair on each side; the
bushy eyebrows arching the reverential eyes; the knob-environed nose;
the waist-coat with buttons innumerable; the glazed hat under his left
arm; the hook gravely extended at the end of his right. "May we never
want a friend in need, or a bottle to give him! Overhaul the Proverbs of
Solomon, and when found make a note of," we hear him saying; and then we
follow him through those inimitable scenes which cannot be easily
forgotten by those who witnessed them. The scene where he cheers up
_Florence_, and makes such dexterous play with his hook, adjusting her
bonnet and manipulating the tea--and yet exhibiting a simple and natural
pathos with it all; where he sits in admiring contemplation of _Bunsby_,
while that oracular tar delivers his celebrated opinion respecting the
fate of the vessel, with the memorable addendum: "The bearings of this
observation lays in the application on it"; the scene with the
_MacStingers_, and the _Captain's_ despair; the timely intervention of
_Bunsby_; the despair changed to wondering awe; and then all the
suggestive by-play consequent upon his delivery by _Bunsby_ from the
impending _MacStinger_ vengeance;--all this, and much more than we can
describe, passes by like a panorama in memory. Burton's _Captain Cuttle_
occupies a conspicuous place in the gallery of famous dramatic pictures,
and there it will long remain.[11] As we think of it in all the details
which made it so perfect an embodiment, it seems a pity that Dickens
himself never saw it. We can fancy that had he chanced to be in New York
when "Dombey and Son" was the theatrical sensation, and had dropped in
at Chambers Street, an auditor all unknown, he would have made his way
behind the scenes, and to Burton's dressing-room, and with both hands
would have grasped the comedian's hook and enthusiastically shaken it.

[11] Ireland, in referring to certain qualities of Burton's acting,
says: "While in homely pathos, and the earnest expression of blunt,
uncultivated feeling, he has rarely been excelled. His grief at the
supposed death of Walter Gay, or poor Wally, as Captain Cuttle
affectionately called him, was one of the most touching bits of acting
ever witnessed, and has wrung tears from many an unwilling eye."

"The Serious Family" and "The Toodles"! What memories of joyous,
laughing hours the names awaken! Never, we venture to say, were
playhouse audiences regaled with so surpassing a feast of mirth
as that spread by Burton in his performance of those renowned
specialities--_Aminadab Sleek_ and _Timothy Toodles_. No comedian, we
believe, of whom we have any record, excelled those efforts in variety
of mimetic effect, facial expression, and display of comic power. That
in them the extreme limit of humorous demonstration was reached, the
public generally acknowledged. The two plays had their regular nights,
and thousands flocked, week after week, to the banquet of jollity,
all unsatisfied, though again and again they had revelled there. No
greater contrast could be offered an audience than that presented by
the two pieces of acting. The sanctimonious and lugubrious _Sleek_; the
effusive and rubicund _Toodles_! Coming one after the other, in every
way so different, the instance of versatility made a deep impression,
and prompted a thought on the flexibility of human genius. We are
reminded at this moment of an incident which occurred one evening in
connection with "The Serious Family," which added an unexpected feature
to the entertainment. Burton did not appear in the first piece, and the
audience, eager for _Aminadab_, were glad when the orchestra ceased.
But the prompter's bell did not tinkle. After a pause the orchestra
played again, and again finished. Still no bell. Signs of impatience
began, and as the delay continued the hubbub increased. An attempt on
the part of the musicians to fill the gap was received with evident
displeasure. At last, when nearly half an hour had elapsed, the bell
sounded, and the curtain rose on the familiar group of _Sleek_, _Lady
Creamly_, and _Mrs. Torrens_. Applause broke out all over the house;
but with it were mingled a few ill-humored hisses. Burton left his
place at the table and came forward to the foot-lights. There he stood
in the well-known suit of pepper and salt, the straight gray hair
framing the solemn visage of _Sleek_. Then, in his own proper voice,
he explained the cause of the delay--a mishap of travel,--expressed
his regret, and begged the indulgence of the audience. A storm of
approval followed his speech, in the midst of which he resumed his
place, instantly assuming his character; and as the applause died
away another voice succeeded, the voice of _Sleek_, in nasal tone,
saying: "We appeal to the disciples of true benevolence, and the doers
of good deeds, without distinction of politics or party," etc. The
effect of the transition was irresistible; and the loss of time was
forgotten in the gain of a new delight. And now another story of "The
Serious Family" comes to mind, and it is too good to be lost. Playing
in Atlanta, Georgia, he found a wretched theatre, without appointments
or properties. At the conclusion of the overture the prompter ran to
Burton with the announcement that there was no bell to ring up the
curtain. "Good gracious, what a place! Here, my lad," he said to a
little fellow who acted as call-boy, "run out and get us a bell--any
thing will do--a cow bell, if you can't get any thing better." Away
went the boy, the orchestra vainly endeavoring to quiet the audience
with popular airs. Back came the boy, pale and breathless, gasping out:
"There ain't a bell in the whole town, sir!"

"What's to be done now?" asked the prompter.

"Shake the thunder!" No sooner said than done. Up went the curtain, and
"The Serious Family" commenced amidst the most terrific peal heard in
that theatre for many a year.

    [Illustration: MR. BURTON AS AMINADAB SLEEK.]

It goes without saying that Burton's _Sleek_ and _Toodles_, especially
the latter, though founded on another's outlines, were so built upon and
humorously amplified, that in diverting dramatic effect they were
clearly his own creations, and owed their importance to the impress of
the actor's transforming power. When we read "The Serious Family" as
written by Morris Barnett, clever though it be, we see at once where the
author ends and the actor begins; and as for "The Toodles," it is
sufficient to say that the _Timothy Toodles_ of Burton was never dreamed
of by the playwright.

How shall we describe to those who were born too late to witness them,
these famous performances of the great comedian? We feel that all
description must fail in giving any idea of the infinite variety and
scope of comic humor they exhibited. We might, indeed, for they are
vivid in remembrance, take our readers through the many scenes, and show
them _Sleek_, from the entrance of _Captain Maguire_, in the first act,
to Burton's enraged exit in the last; picturing, as we go, the
situations without parallel in droll device and mirth-moving
complication; show them _Toodles_, from his arraignment of _Mrs.
Toodles_ for her multifarious and preposterous bargains, not forgetting
the _door-plate_ of _Thompson_--_Thompson_ with a _p_--nor "he had a
brother,"--to his inimitable tipsy scene and the memorable soliloquy,
"That man reminds me";--but, however exhaustive the relation in words,
after all was said, we should still hopelessly leave the effect to be
guessed at with the help of imagination.

We have thus endeavored to give impressions from memory of certain parts
in which Burton was specially famous; and they seem to us, on account of
their versatility and range of humorous spirit, to be conspicuous
examples of that varied power which led us to style the comedian an
expounder of the Humor of the Drama in all its aspects. If the sojourn
on earth of old Robert Burton was intended to give the world an "Anatomy
of Melancholy," surely the mission of the later Burton was to lay bare
the whole body of mirth.


As we think of the many parts in which it was our good fortune to
see Mr. Burton, we are led into a reflection on the surprising
versatility displayed by them; and we question whether the record
of any comedian embraces a repertory so extensive, so varied, and
so distinguished for general ability. The performances we are about
to recall, though exhibiting many humorous features in common, were
each a distinct conception; and the execution of each was a dramatic
portrait by itself, artistic in measure, faithful in delineation, and
felicitous in the expression of points of character. The Burtonian
element--in the shape of by-play, gesture, accent, facial device,
mimetic effect--was visible in the composition, as a matter of course,
contributing to the picture's expansion, deepening its tints and
emphasizing its characteristics,--added touches that were the actor's
stamp and sign-manual. We have cited _Sleek_ and _Toodles_ as strongly
contrasting parts, and so indeed they were; but we might easily adduce
instances of versatility quite as striking, and would do so were it not
more than likely that they will appear to our readers as our memories
progress. It is said that the celebrated William Farren used to style
himself a "cock salmon," the only fish of his kind in the market; and
if unique dramatic distinction lies in that piscatorial image, most
assuredly Mr. Burton was a cock salmon of the first water.

We cannot hope to remember every thing we saw Mr. Burton play, yet we
think our recollection will embrace a fair array of those characters in
comedy and divers pieces which he alone in his generation seemed
adequately to fill, and which were such a boon of delight to the
audiences of long ago.

There was his _Micawber_, in the dramatization of "David Copperfield,"
which succeeded "Dombey and Son,"--equal to if not surpassing his
_Cuttle_; an inimitable reproduction of the novelist's creation, full of
humorous point, and sustained with an indescribable airy complacence and
bland assumption of resource, that made it a perfect treat to lovers of
Dickens; and those who saw "David Copperfield" may well rejoice, for
they hold in memory Burton's _Micawber_, Johnston's _Uriah Heep_, and
Mrs. Hughes' _Betsy Trotwood_!

There was _Bumble_, the beadle, in "Oliver Twist," a very funny piece of
acting, and especially so in the well-known scene with _Mrs. Corney_,
where, in excess of tenderness, he tells her that "any cat, or kitten,
that could live with you ma'am, and _not_ be fond of its home, must be a
ass ma'am." And then when the matron is called away and the beadle
remains, his proceedings are described by Dickens thus: "Mr. Bumble's
conduct on being left to himself was rather inexplicable. He opened the
closet, counted the teaspoons, weighed the sugar-tongs, closely
inspected the silver milk-pot to ascertain that it was of the genuine
metal, and, having satisfied his curiosity on these points, put on his
cocked hat cornerwise, and danced with much gravity four distinct times
round the table. Having gone through this very extraordinary
performance, he took off the cocked hat again, and spreading himself
before the fire with his back toward it, seemed to be mentally engaged
in taking an exact inventory of the furniture." We deem it enough to say
that Mr. Burton's management of the foregoing "business" left nothing to
be desired.

We may note, in the mention of "Oliver Twist," that _Nancy Sykes_ was
played by the late Fanny Wallack, with a fidelity of purpose and a
pathetic abandon that made it painful to witness.

To continue with Dickens: there were _Squeers_ and _Sam Weller_, both
capital in their way--the last, however, lacking, as it seemed to us, in
true Wellerian flavor; but the _Squeers_ was marked by an appreciative
recognition of the schoolmaster's grim traits; and the scene at
_Dotheboys Hall_ was admirably given; Mrs. Hughes, as _Mrs. Squeers_,
"made up" to the life, and irresistible in her distribution of the

All these portraits from the pages of Dickens were so many meritorious
presentments of the novelist's creations, and would have won enduring
fame for an actor of smaller calibre; the truth is, in Mr. Burton's
case, that his _Bumble_, _Squeers_, and _Weller_ were but dimly seen,
owing to the greater glory of his _Cuttle_ and _Micawber_.

We saw Mr. Burton as _Bob Acres_, in "The Rivals"; as _Tony Lumpkin_, in
"She Stoops to Conquer"; as _Goldfinch_, in "The Road to Ruin"; as
_Doctor Ollapod_, in "The Poor Gentleman"; as _Sir George Thunder_, in
"Wild Oats"; as _Job Thornberry_, in "John Bull"; as _Sir Oliver
Surface_, in "The School for Scandal"; as _Graves_, in Bulwer's "Money";
as the _Mock Duke_, in "The Honeymoon"; as _Adam Brock_, in "Charles
XII."; as _Van Dunder_, in "The Dutch Governor"; as _John Smith_, in
"Nature's Nobleman"; as _Mr. Sudden_, in "The Breach of Promise"; as
_Thomas Trot_, in "Paris and London"; as _Don Ferolo Whiskerandos_, in
"The Critic" of Sheridan; as _Triplet_, in "Masks and Faces";--certainly
a gallery of dramatic portraits that would put to the test the highest
order of ability; and we feel bound to say that Burton passed the ordeal
well deserving the encomiums that were bestowed upon his efforts. It
would be too much to expect that all these delineations were even in
points of conception and execution; yet all were entitled to respectful
consideration, and many were masterpieces. We will endeavor to go
through them briefly, in remembrance of the happy hours we owe to their
joyous influence.

The recent appearance of Jefferson as _Bob Acres_ has aroused a new
interest in the character, and from all accounts the performance was
more than equal to expectation, and has enhanced the reputation of the
comedian. We hope to have the pleasure of seeing Mr. Jefferson in due
time, and we fancy that his acting of _Acres_ would refresh somewhat our
recollection of Burton in the part. As it is, however, we cannot vouch
for a clear memory of Burton's _Acres_. We saw it but once, and then
early in life, when we were new to the theatre; and all we seem to
remember is that he was very funny with his curl papers, and his
"referential or allegorical swearing," and that the duel scene was very
amusing. It was the opinion of Hazlitt that Sheridan overdid the part,
and accordingly he goes on to say: "It calls for a greater effort of
animal spirits and a peculiar aptitude of genius in the actor to go
through with it, to humor the extravagance, and to seem to take a real
and cordial delight in caricaturing himself." This criticism is not
without force; but whatever may have been Burton's conception, we are
certain that a bright intelligence informed it, and that in the
portrayal a requisite display of "animal spirits" was not lacking. If,
among the audience that greeted Jefferson, there chanced to be any old
play-goers of tenacious memory who had seen Burton, let us hope that
they improved the occasion by pleasant reminiscence.

_Tony Lumpkin_ was a very comic piece of acting, and made the people
laugh immoderately; but we confess that the character has little charm
for us. Burton used to sing the song of "The Three Jolly Pigeons" (in
the ale-house scene) with more expression than melody; but he threw into
it a great deal of frolic spirit and made it quite a feature.

In our youthful days, when witnessing "The Road to Ruin," we knew very
well the moment when we should hear the voice of _Goldfinch_ outside;
and we remember his bustling entrance, in sporting frock, buff waiscoat,
and top boots, whip in hand, and his rattling flow of horse-talk; his
strut and his "that's your sort!" It is said that Lewis, of Covent
Garden, (the original _Goldfinch_,) "gave to that catch-phrase a variety
of intonation which made it always new and effective"; and Burton
certainly played upon it adroitly. His delivery of the text was full of
point and animation, and his articulation admirable. "Why, you are a
high fellow, Charles," says _Harry Dornton_. "To be sure!" replies
_Goldfinch_, "know the odds--hold four-in-hand--turn a corner in
style--reins in form--elbows square--wrist pliant--hayait!--drive the
Coventry stage twice a week all summer--pay for an inside place--mount
the box--tip the coachy a crown--beat the mail--come in full
speed--rattle down the gateway--take care of your heads!--never killed
but one woman and a child in all my life--that's your sort!" We hear
Burton's voice, we see his face and his gestures now!

We were always fond of Colman's "Poor Gentleman," and we took great
delight in seeing Burton as _Doctor Ollapod_. As all know, the
character affords wide scope for diverting treatment. The incidents are
many and droll--and we think Burton turned every thing to the best
account. Henry Placide played the part more artistically; but it was not
possible for him to expound its humorous nature with the richness that
came easily to Burton. We never think of Colman's comedy without a
feeling of grateful pleasure; for its representation at various times
gave us Burton and Placide as _Ollapod_; Burton as _Sir Robert Bramble_;
Dyott, as _Worthington_; Mrs. Hughes as _Lucretia McTab_; and Johnston
as _Humphrey Dobbins_.

We have referred in another place to _Sir George Thunder_ and _Job
Thornberry_; and we need not dwell upon them further than to say that
both gave glimpses of that versatile power to which we have alluded, and
both were full of the comedian's characteristic ability.

We suppose that _Sir Oliver Surface_ would not be deemed a part exactly
in Mr. Burton's "line"; and yet, as we remember it, he invested the
character with a simple dignity, and played it with manly directness and

Our memory of _Mr. Graves_ and the _Mock Duke_ is dim and distant; but
if our readers desire another example of versatility, we commend the two
parts as furnishing a most conspicuous instance.

We have never seen "Charles XII." and "The Dutch Governor" since we saw
Burton as _Adam Brock_ and _Van Dunder_; but we assure the play-goers of
to-day that the dramas were well worth seeing long ago when Liston
played in them, and equally so when his great successor appeared in them
at a later period. Burton rarely played _Adam Brock_, and we cannot
remember seeing it more than once, when it impressed us greatly. "The
Dutch Governor," on the contrary, was a favorite attraction at the
Chambers Street Theatre, and Burton's _Van Dunder_ was a rich feast of
mirthful enjoyment.

Pardey's "Nature's Nobleman," purporting to be an American comedy, was
first produced at Burton's in 1851. The prologue, which was spoken by
the manager, contained these lines:

      "The drama languishes. Let us detect--
      Polonius-like--the cause of this defect!
      'Tis certain that the sprightliest tongue must fail
      To win attention to an 'oft-told tale.'
      We cannot, ever, with 'crook'd Richard' fight,
      Or weep with Desdemona every night;
      And even cloying is the luscious sack,
      If we too often sip with 'burly Jack';
      Nor, every week, will people take the trouble
      To witness Hecate's cauldron hiss and bubble;
      Nor can we, as we have done, hope to draw
      Still on the Rivals or the Heir-at-Law.
      We've seen shy 'Jack' his father's anger rouse;
      We've heard Lord Dowlas 'tutored' by his spouse.
      Old English comedy should now give way;
      It has, like Acres' 'dammes,' had its day.
      Hang up bag wigs--our study now should be
      The men and the moustachios that we see.
      Let us some pictures of the time provide;
      Let the pen practically be applied."

Whether or no the comedy gave us "the men and the moustachios that we
see," or provided "some pictures of the time," we shall not pretend to
say;--one would think so, since Blake, Burton, Bland, Dyott, Mrs.
Hughes, Mary Taylor, Miss Weston, and Caroline Chapman were in the
cast,--but, at all events, it gave us Burton's _John Smith_, which was
well worth a journey to see. _John Smith_ is "gentleman" to the _Earl of
Leamington_ (Dyott), who is making an American tour. The _Earl_ gives
his attendant a two-months' holiday to enjoy himself; and _Smith_,
having dressed within an inch of his life, is taken for the _Earl_, and
yields to the temptation to pass himself off as such. Out of this
complication arise situations ludicrous in the extreme, through which
Burton moved, the dispenser of mirth without end. His "make-up," his
air, his self-sufficiency, his ignorance,--of which he is grotesquely
unconscious,--his blundering malapropos speeches, his frequent social
collapses and absurd attempts at recovery, his facial expression at
mental mishap and irresistible by-play consequent, his constant display
of mimetic power, his voice, look, manner,--all together made a picture
of varied humor, which kept the house in hearty laughter from his
entrance to the curtain's fall.

_Mr. Sudden_, in Buckstone's "Breach of Promise," was still another of
those peculiar parts upon which Burton lavished his supreme gift of
humor; and we owe to its diverting exposition many a gladsome hour.

Funny, too, beyond measure, were _Thomas Trot_ and _Don Whiskerandos_;
we see the first in the many comic incidents during the voyage from
Paris to London; and we see _Don Whiskerandos_ "quit this bustling
scene" by rolling himself with marvellous celerity out of sight in the
folds of the stage carpet.

We have reached the end of our string, with the exception of _Triplet_,
and should love to linger in description on the blended humor and pathos
of the impersonation. Let it suffice that not even Mr. Fisher's
admirable presentment can dim the recollection of Burton's masterly

And now let us in our remaining space recall our memories of the
Shakespearian parts in which we saw the great actor.

"A Midsummer-Night's Dream" was produced at Burton's in 1854, and the
manager played _Bottom_. We well remember with what delight the play was
received, and what a marked sensation was created by the scenery and
stage effect. The public wondered how so much could be presented on so
small a stage, and its accomplishment was a theme of general admiration.
The fairy element was made a beautiful feature, and the spirit of poetry
brooded over the whole production. The unanimity of the press in its
encomiums on the revival was remarkable; and no more emphatic
recognition of Burton's appreciation and knowledge of Shakespeare could
be given than was expressed in that approving accord.

As we think of it now, it seems to us that Burton's idea of _Bottom_ was
the true one, and we enjoyed the performance immensely. It is very easy
to make the character a sort of buffoon; but nothing, of course, was
further than that notion from Burton's conception. Mr. Richard Grant
White gives, in his "Shakespeare's Scholar," an admirable analysis of
_Bottom's_ characteristics, and at the close remarks: "As Mr. Burton
renders the character, its traits are brought out with a delicate and
masterly hand; its humor is exquisite." We remember his acting in the
scene where the artisans meet for the distribution of parts in the play
to be given before the _Duke_;--how striking it was in sustained
individuality, and how finely exemplified was the potential vanity of
Bottom. With what ingrained assurance he exclaimed: "Let me play the
lion too; I will roar, that it will do any man's heart good to hear me;
I will roar, that I will make the duke say, _Let him roar again, let him
roar again!_" He was capital, too, in the scene of the rehearsal, and in
his translation; and the love scene with _Titania_ aroused lively
interest. What pleased us greatly was the vein of engaging raillery
which ran through his delivery of the speeches to the fairies, _Cobweb_,
_Peas-blossom_, and _Mustard-seed_. It goes without saying, that as
_Pyramus_ in the tragedy Burton created unbounded amusement, and
discharged the arduous part of the ill-starred lover with entire
satisfaction to everybody.

_Sir Toby Belch_, in "Twelfth Night," was one of Burton's richest
performances, and we remember it with the greatest pleasure. It was
characterized by true Shakespearian spirit, and was acted with an
animation and unctuous humor quite impossible to describe. The scene of
the carousal wherein _Sir Toby_ and _Aguecheek_ are discovered; the
arrival of the Clown with his "How, now, my hearts? Did you never see
the picture of we three?" and _Belch's_ greeting of "Welcome,
ass,"--inaugurated an episode of extraordinary mirth, in which Burton
moved the absolute monarch of merriment. The duel scene and the scene in
the garden, when _Malvolio_ reads the letter, were full of the
comedian's diverting power; and we can recall no single instance of
humorous execution which more perfectly fulfilled all conditions.

Burton played _Touchstone_ and _Dogberry_, as has been mentioned; but it
was never our good fortune to see him in either. We saw him as
_Caliban_, in "The Tempest"; as _Autolycus_, in "Winter's Tale"; and as
_Falstaff_, in "The Merry Wives of Windsor." His _Caliban_ we have tried
to forget rather than remember; it terrified us and made us dream bad
dreams; but for all that, we know that it was a surprising
impersonation. His _Autolycus_ was a model of oily roguery, and another
instance of that wondrous versatility of genius with which the comedian
was endowed. Very dim in memory is Burton's _Sir John Falstaff_. We
remember the scene in the Garter Inn, and the letters to the merry
wives, and, of course, the _dénouement_ of the clothes-basket, and the
frolic at Herne's Oak,--but we cannot go into detail; and we always
thought we should like Burton so much better in the _Falstaff_ of "Henry
IV." The mention of "Henry IV." reminds us that it was once produced at
the Chambers Street Theatre, when Hackett played _Sir John_ to Lester
Wallack's _Prince Hal_; and in order that nothing might be lacking in
honor to Shakespeare, Burton and Blake played the two _Carriers_ in
Scene I. of Act II. Fancy those two comedians with about twenty-five
lines only between them in a play of five acts! But they must have
covered themselves with glory.

We have endeavored in this retrospect to furnish a view of the comedian
in a number of characters; and we think, however meagre our account, it
still forcibly indicates the scope and range of Burton's abilities, and
exhibits him in a wide scene of varied and striking dramatic power. We
have depicted him in farce, in comedy, and in Shakespearian
delineations; and it is not too much to say that generations will likely
pass ere his fellow shall appear. We have heard and read of attempts
being made by ambitious actors to revive his masterpieces, and that the
efforts were highly commendable. Perhaps they were--

      "A substitute shines brightly as a king
       Until a king be by."


    "My library was dukedom large enough."--SHAKESPEARE.


Mr. Burton resided at No. 174 Hudson Street, New York, and owned also a
beautiful country-seat at Glen Cove, Long Island, now the property of
Mr. S. L. M. Barlow. In a building adjoining his Hudson Street
residence, and connected therewith by a conservatory gallery, were
contained his magnificent library, treasures of art, and precious
relics. Scholars, actors, and men of art and letters were frequent
visitors there, and the owner took a laudable pride in displaying his
matchless collection.

A very interesting story of the painter Elliot may be told in this
connection. He was often a visitor, and the striking resemblance between
the artist's head and the accepted bust of Shakespeare was a matter of
common observation. On one occasion, on being shown by Burton a choice
Shakespearian acquisition, he became intensely interested, and quietly
seated himself in a study-chair the better to examine the prize.
"Meantime," says our narrator, "Burton and myself were engaged in other
parts of the house, and at last we came back to the library. Burton
looked through the door, and placing one hand on his mouth, he put the
other on my chest, and thus held me back. I shall never forget his
singular look at the moment. There sat Elliot at the table, dressed in a
suit of plain black, his hand supporting his cheek, and his eyes intent
upon the book. The evening light from the ceiling fell softly upon his
high and delicately formed forehead; just over him was an exact copy of
the effigy which marks the great dramatist's grave. The resemblance, or
the hallucination, for the moment was complete, and Burton, with eyes
fairly dilating with admiration and astonishment, said: 'Shakespeare
living again! Was there ever such a resemblance?'"

It has been thought appropriate to include in this volume a description
of the library, from the pen of James Wynne, M.D., who in 1860 published
an account of his visits to various private libraries in New York, and
Mr. Burton's was among the number. At the time of Mr. Burton's death the
collection was probably larger, Dr. Wynne's visit having been made at a
much earlier date than the publication of his volume. Every lover of
Shakespeare, we think, will thank us for enriching this book with a
description of that matchless library.


Mr. Burton's library contains nearly sixteen thousand volumes. Its
proprietor had constructed for its accommodation and preservation a
three-story fire-proof building, about thirty-five feet square, which is
isolated from all other buildings, and is connected with his residence
in Hudson Street by a conservatory gallery. The chief library room
occupies the upper floor of this building, and is about twenty-five
feet in height. Its ceiling presents a series of groined rafters, after
the old English style, in the centre of which rises a dome sky-light of
stained glass. The sides of the library are fitted up with thirty-six
oak bookcases of a Gothic pattern, which entirely surround it, and are
nine feet in height. The space between the ceiling and the bookcases is
filled with paintings, for the most part of large size, and said to be
of value. Specimens of armor and busts of distinguished authors decorate
appropriate compartments, and in a prominent niche at the head of the
apartment, stands a full-length statue of Shakespeare, executed by Thom,
in the same style as the Tam O'Shanter and Old Mortality groups of this
Scotch sculptor.

The great speciality of the library is its Shakespeare collection; but
although very extensive and valuable, it by no means engrosses the
entire library, which contains a large number of valuable works in
several departments of literature.

The number of lexicons and dictionaries is large, and among the latter
may be found all the rare old English works so valuable for reference.
Three bookcases are devoted to serials, which contain many of the
standard reviews and magazines. One case is appropriated to voyages and
travels, in which are found many valuable ones. In another are upward of
one hundred volumes of table-talk, and numerous works on the fine arts
and bibliography. One bookcase is devoted to choice works on America,
among which is Sebastian Munster's "Cosmographia Novum Orbis Regionum,"
published in folio at Basle in 1537, which contains full notes of
Columbus, Vespucci, and other early voyagers. Another department
contains a curious catalogue of authorities relating to _Crime and
Punishment_; a liberal space is devoted to _Facetiæ_ another to American
Poetry, and also one to Natural and Moral Philosophy. The standard works
of Fiction, Biography, Theology, and the Drama are all represented.

There is a fair collection of classical authors, many of which are of
Aldine and Elzevir editions. Among the rarities in this department is a
folio copy of _Plautus_, printed at Venice in 1518, and illustrated with
wood-cuts. The true name of this writer was T. Maccius Plautus. He was
of humble origin, and is supposed to have once been a slave. He lived at
Rome about one hundred and eighty years before the beginning of the
Christian era, and wrote a number of plays which obtained great
celebrity in the time of their author, and continued to be looked upon
as models of this species of composition for many centuries after his
decease. Twenty of his plays are extant, which are distinguished for the
purity of their style and the exquisite humor of their characters,
although Horace blames him for the coarseness of his wit. Gellius, who
held him in much esteem, says that he was distinguished for his poetry
upon the stage at the time that Cato was for his eloquence in the forum.
The first edition of his works was printed at Venice, in 1472, by
Merula. The edition of 1518, in this collection, is so rare as not to
be mentioned by Brunet, De Bure, or Michael Mattaire. There is also a
folio edition of Sallust, published at Venice in 1511, with wood-cuts;
an excellent copy of Statius, published at Venice in 1498; and a
translation from the Greek of Plutarch into Latin by Guarini, of Verona,
surnamed Veronese, who was the first of a family celebrated for their
literary attainments, and who is frequently confounded with Battista
Guarini, the author of "Il Pastor Fido." Guarini Veronese was the
grammarian of his day, and a strong advocate for the preservation of the
Greek language in its purity. He was an assiduous student, and spent
considerable time at Constantinople in copying the manuscripts of the
best models in Grecian literature. Accompanied by his precious freight,
he set sail for Italy, but was shipwrecked, and lost all of his
laboriously acquired treasure, which produced such an effect upon him as
to change his hair from a dark color to white in a single night. The
world is indebted to him for the first edition of the "Commentaries" of
Servius on Virgil, and likewise for the recovery of a number of
manuscript poems of Catullus, which he found mouldering and almost
obliterated in a garret. With the assistance of his father, he applied
himself to the task of deciphering them, and, with the exception of a
few verses, reproduced them entirely.

The collection is well supplied with editions of Virgil. In addition to
Ogilby's folio, with Hollar and Fairthorne's plates, is a choice copy of
the illustrated edition in three folio volumes, and the very rare
_fac-simile_ Florentine edition of 1741 (_Ex cod. Mediceo Laurentiano_).
This edition is now so scarce that a copy was recently sold in London
for fifty pounds sterling.

The collection also contains a copy of the Vatican edition of Terence,
in Latin and Italian, after the text of Heinsius, with numerous
illustrations of ancient masks, etc., published at Rome in two folio
volumes in 1767; an excellent copy of the best edition of Suetonius,
with commentaries by Baraldi, printed in Roman letter at Paris in 1512;
"Titi Livii," published at Nuremberg in folio, in 1514, in its original
wood binding; Livy's Roman History, published in 1600--the first English
edition; "Diogenes Laërtius de Vitis et Dogmatibus Philosophorum,"
published at Amsterdam in 1692; a vellum black-letter copy of Eusebius,
of the rare Venetian edition of 1483; Boëtius, published in 1570; the
two original editions of the eminent critic, Justus Lipsius; the Antwerp
edition of Seneca, published in 1570; the same work in folio, in 1613;
and Stephen's edition of Sophocles, published in 1518, which is an
admirable specimen of Greek typography.

Among the Italian poets is a copy of Dante, in folio, published in 1497,
with most remarkable cuts; and the "Commentaries" of Landino, the most
highly valued of all the old commentators upon this poet; also an
excellent large-paper copy of Tasso, in the original text, with
Morghen's exquisite line engravings, published in 1820, in two folio

Cervantes appears to have been quite a favorite with the possessor of
this library, who has the excellent Spanish edition of 1738, with Van
der Gucht's beautiful plates and many inserted illustrations, in four
volumes; the quarto edition, published at La Hayé, in 1746, containing
thirty-one plates from Coypel's designs; Smollett's quarto edition of
1755, in two volumes, with plates by Grignion after designs by Hayman; a
folio edition by Shelton, with many curious engravings, published in
1652, besides several modern editions.

In the historical department is a fine edition of Montfaucon's works in
twenty folio volumes, including the "Monarchie Française"; the original
edition of Dugdale's works, including the "Monasticon" with the old
designs; Boissardus's "Romanæ Urbis Antiquitates," in three volumes,
folio; and a large number of the old Chroniclers, in their earliest and
rarest editions. Among these latter are two copies of the very scarce
"Polychronicon," by Raulph Higden, the monk of Chester: the one in
black-letter folio, printed in 1495, by Wynkyn de Worde, is wanting in
the last page; the other, printed in 1527 by Peter Traveris, and
ornamented with wood-cuts, is in perfect order. Both of these volumes
have marginal notes, probably in the handwriting of the day.

The collection is particularly rich in copies of original editions of
old English poetry, among which are the works of Samuel Daniel, 1602;
Sandy's Ovid, published in 1626; Lucan, by Sir Arthur Gorges, published
in 1614, noticed in Colin Clout, and personified as Alcyon in Spenser's
"Daphnaida"; "Arte of Englysh Poesie," with a fine portrait of Queen
Elizabeth, published in 1589; Quarle's works; Harrington's translation
of "Orlando Furioso," folio, published in 1591, with plates in
compartments; Sir W. Davenant's poems, published in quarto in 1651, with
an original poem in the author's handwriting, never published; copies
of the editions of 1613 and 1648 of George Wither's poems, and Chapman's
"Seven Bookes of the Iliad of Homer," published in 1598.

This latter writer, who was born in Kent, in England, in 1559, was one
of the coterie formed by Daniel, Marlowe, Spenser, Shakespeare, and
others, and lived upon terms of great good-fellowship with England's
greatest bard. He had no mean reputation as a dramatic writer, and was,
besides, highly respected as a gentleman. His social position appears to
have been an excellent one, and his urbanity of manner such as to endear
him to all his friends. His intimate association with Shakespeare seems
to establish the fact that in his own day the great poet occupied a
prominent place in society, and was as duly appreciated in his own time,
as Johnson and Pope in theirs. A monument was planned and erected over
the remains of Chapman by his personal friend, Inigo Jones, on the south
side of St. George's in the Fields; but in the changes which have
disturbed the repose of those who were consigned to their last
resting-place in that burial-ground, the monument has been destroyed.

This department possesses the black-letter folios of Chaucer in 1542
(the first complete edition), that of 1561, and that of 1598, all of
which are now quite scarce; the folio editions of Milton of 1692 and
1695, possessing the old but characteristic engravings, as well as the
quarto edition in two volumes, published at the expense of the Earl of
Bath; Touson's edition of 1751, with plates; a large-paper copy of the
edition of 1802, which contains Westall's plates; and Martin's edition
of 1826, enriched by twenty-four original and beautiful engravings;
likewise the first folio edition of Spenser's "Fairy Queen," published
in 1609, and Fairfax's Tasso, published in 1624.

Besides the works already noticed, are Sylvester's "Du Bartus"; Warner's
"Albion and England," published in 1586; "all the works of John Taylor,
the water-poet, being sixty and three in number," published in folio in
1630. This is a very rare work, and is said to have been sold for eighty
guineas. A similar work to this is the "Shype of Fools of the Worlde,"
translated from Brandt, and published in black-letter folio, with many
wood-cuts, in 1509. A perfect copy of this work is very rare. The one in
the present collection is wanting in the title-page and two last
leaves.[12] Its price in the catalogue Anglo-Poetica, is one hundred
guineas. The copy of Taylor, in the collection, is a fine large one, and
handsomely bound. The real value of these two last volumes, in a
literary point of view, is perhaps not great, but still from their
peculiar associations they are highly prized by _bibliophiles_. Southey
says: "There is nothing in John Taylor which deserves preservation for
its intrinsic merit alone, but in the collection of his pieces which I
have perused there is a great deal to illustrate the manners of his age.
If the water-poet had been in a higher grade of society, and bred to
some regular profession, he would probably have been a much less
distinguished person in his generation. No spoon could have suited his
mouth so well as the wooden one to which he was born. Fortunately he
came into the world at the right time, and lived at an age when kings
and queens condescended to notice his verses, and archbishops admitted
him to their tables, and mayors and corporations received him with civic

    [12] In the British Museum, and the _Bibliothèque Impériale_ at Paris,
    are perfect copies of this work.

    [13] Southey's "Uneducated Poets," p. 87.

There is a department of curiosities in the shape of odd or rare books,
which is quite interesting: among the works are the singular history of
M. Ouflé; the "Encyclopædia of Man," printed in English after the manner
of Hebrew publications, beginning at the close of the volume and reading
to the left; "Anteros," by Baptista Fulgosius, in quarto, published in
1496. This work, "Contre l'Amour," is said to be of extraordinary
rarity. Likewise the "Zodiacke of Life," published in 1588; a curious
manuscript in not very good Latin, with illuminated letters, upon the
Lord's Prayer and the Creed, by Hen. Custas, dated 1614; Memorable
Accidents and Massacres in France, in folio, published in 1598; a
singular black-letter Edict of Emperor Charles V., published in 1521; a
very singular Siamese work on the laws of marriage; Petri Bembi, with a
frontispiece by Hans Holbein, published in 1518; "Libri Exemplorum," by
Ric Pafradius, published in 1481; the original edition of "The Rogue;
or, Life of De Alfarache Guzman," folio, published in 1634, translated
by James Mabbe, otherwise known as Don Diego Puedesur.

There is also a copy of the "Opera Hrosvite Illustris Virginis,"
published in Nuremberg in 1501, in folio, bound in old wooden covers
with brass clamps. This work, which contains some wood-engravings equal
to etchings, probably the work of Durer, is fully described by Mengerand
in his "Esprit des Journaux"; Pisoni's "Historia," with engravings of
birds, animals, and fishes, that would excite the surprise of the
naturalist of the present day; "Novus Marcellus Doctrina," published at
Venice in 1476, on large paper, with colored initials; a curious folio,
manuscript history of the "Starre Chamber"; and Lithgow's "Rare
Adventures and Painful Peregrinationes," published in 1632, interlined
with the author's manuscript emendations, and evidently intended for a
new edition. This work is rare--the copy owned by King Charles brought
£42 at Jadis's sale.

The collection has a large number of old Bibles, many thousand biblical
illustrations, a large number of other illustrated works, and many books
and prints especially devoted to the Cromwellian era of English life.

The Shakespeare department contains many separate editions of the works
of the immortal bard, each of which is distinguished by some
peculiarity. First among these stand the four folios published in 1623,
1632, 1664, and 1685, with a number of the original quartos of separate
plays, illustrated copies, some of which belonged to able scholars, and
are enriched by their manuscript notes.

Mr. Burton sought to possess every work that alludes to the early
editions of Shakespeare, or which serves in any way to illustrate the
text. Among these are to be found many of the original tracts, the
scarce romances, the old histories, and the rare ballads, upon which he
founded his wonderful plays, or which are alluded to in the text. The
collection contains the book alluded to by the quaint and facetious
_Touchstone_, in "As You Like It," by which the gallants were said to
quarrel with the various degrees of proof,--"the retort courteous, the
countercheck quarrelsome, and the lie direct"; the "Book of Good
Manners," the "Book of Sonnets" mentioned in the "Merry Wives of
Windsor," the "Book of Compliments," and the "Hundred Merry Tales"; and
Montaigne, translated by Florio, who is supposed by some to be the
Holofernes in "Love's Labor's Lost"; the edition of Holinshed, so
freely used by Shakespeare in his historical plays, with the lines
quoted by him underscored with red ink.

Among the collected editions of Shakespeare is the first quarto, in
seven volumes, edited by Pope, which, besides having the reputation of
being the least reliable of any edition of Shakespeare's works, is
defaced by an engraving of King James I. of England, which the
publishers sought to palm upon the public as the likeness of the great
dramatist. It is engraved by Vertue from an original painting in the
Harleian collection, and does not possess the slightest resemblance to
any of the various portraits of Shakespeare.

The collection contains a large-paper copy of Hanmer's beautiful quarto
edition, published in 1744, with Gravelot's etchings, which is now quite
rare; also, the reprint of the same work, made in 1770, and a fine copy
of the quarto edition, known as Heath's, in six volumes, with proof
plates after Stothard; a beautiful and undoubtedly unique copy of the
Atlas folio edition in nine volumes, published by Boydell in 1802,
elegantly bound and tooled with great richness of design. This copy was
selected by Boydell, with great care, for Miss Mary Nicol, sister of
George Nicol, printer to the king, and a relative of Boydell. It
contains proof impressions of the engravings, and an extra volume of
original etchings. This work was purchased at the sale of the Stowe
library. The certificates of Nicol and the librarian of the Duke of
Buckingham, testifying to the value and rarity of this picked specimen
of typography and engraving, are bound in the first volume of the work.
The collection contains Mr. Boydell's own private portfolio, with the
original etchings, artist's proof, and proof before letter, of every
engraving, with the portraits, now so difficult to meet with, of the
large elephant folio plates, upward of one hundred in number.

But the crowning glory is a folio copy of Shakespeare, illustrated by
the collector himself, with a prodigality of labor and expense that
places it far above any similar work ever attempted. The letter-press of
this great work is a choice specimen from Nicol's types, and each play
occupies a separate portfolio. These are accompanied by costly
engravings of landscapes, rare portraits, maps, elegantly colored plates
of costumes, and water-color drawings, executed by some of the best
artists of the day. Some of the plays have over two hundred folio
illustrations, each of which is beautifully inlaid or mounted, and many
of the engravings are very valuable. Some of the landscapes, selected
from the oldest cosmographies known, illustrating the various places
mentioned in the pages of Shakespeare, are exceedingly curious as well
as valuable.

In the historical plays, when possible, every character is portrayed
from authoritative sources, as old tapestries, monumental brasses, or
illuminated works of the age in well-executed drawings or recognized
engravings. There are in this work a vast number of illustrations, in
addition to a very numerous collection of water-color drawings. In
addition to the thirty-seven plays, are two volumes devoted to
Shakespeare's life and times, one volume of portraits, one volume
devoted to distinguished Shakespearians, one to poems, and two to
disputed plays,--the whole embracing a series of forty-two folio
volumes, and forming, perhaps, the most remarkable and costly monument
in this shape ever attempted by a devout worshipper of the Bard of Avon.

The volume devoted to Shakespeare's portraits was purchased by Mr.
Burton at the sale of a gentleman's library, who had spent many years in
making the collection, and includes various "effigies" unknown to many
laborious collectors. It contains upward of one hundred plates, for the
most part proofs. The value of this collection may be estimated by the
fact that a celebrated English collector recently offered its possessor
£60 for this single volume.

In the reading-room, directly beneath the main library, are a number of
portfolios of prints illustrative of the plays of Shakespeare, of a
size too large to be included in the illustrated collection just
noticed. There is likewise another copy of Shakespeare based upon
Knight's pictorial royal octavo, copiously illustrated by the owner; but
although the prints are numerous, they are neither as costly nor as rare
as those contained in the large folio copy.

Among the curiosities of the Shakespeare collection are a number of
copies of the disputed plays, printed during his lifetime, with the name
of Shakespeare as their author. It is remarkable, if these plays were
not at least revised by Shakespeare, that no record of a contradiction
of their authorship should be found. It is not improbable that many
plays written by others were given to Shakespeare to perform in his
capacity as a theatrical manager, requiring certain alterations in order
to adapt them to the use of the stage, which were arranged by his
cunning and skilful hand, and that these plays afterward found their way
into print with just sufficient of his emendations to allow his
authorship of them, in the carelessness in which he held his literary
fame, to pass uncontradicted by him.

There is a copy of an old play of the period, with manuscript
annotations, and the name of Shakespeare written on the title-page. It
is either the veritable signature of the poet or an admirably imitated
forgery. Mr. Burton inclined to the opinion that the work once belonged
to Shakespeare, and that the signature is genuine. If so, it is probably
the only scrap of his handwriting on this continent. This work is not
included in the list given of Ireland's library, the contents of which
were brought into disrepute by the remarkable literary forgeries of the
son, but stands forth peculiar and unique, and furnishes much room for
curious speculation.

These forgeries form a curious feature in the Shakespeare history of the
last century. They were executed by William Henry Ireland, the son of a
gentleman of much literary taste, and a devoted admirer of Shakespeare.
Young Ireland, who was apprenticed to an attorney, possessed the
dangerous faculty of imitating the handwriting of another person with
such perfection as to deceive the most careful critic. His occupation
led him much among old records, by which means he acquired a knowledge
of the phraseology used in them, and the general appearance imparted by
age to the paper and ink, all of which he was enabled to imitate very

His father's reverence for Shakespeare induced him to endeavor to palm
off upon himself and friends, probably at first as a good joke, some
originals of the great poet. One of these was a declaration of his faith
in the Protestant church, which, when shown to Dr. Parr, drew from this
great scholar the observation that, although there were many fine things
in the church service, here was a man who distanced them all.

Mr. Boaden, a gentleman of great taste, states that when he first saw
these papers he looked upon them with the purest delight, and touched
them with the greatest respect, as veritable and indisputable relics. A
number of gentlemen met at Mr. Ireland's house, and after carefully
inspecting the manuscripts, subscribed a paper vouching their
authenticity. Among these were Dr. Parr, Dr. Valpy, Pye, the
Poet-Laureate, Herbert Croft, and Boswell. It is said that when Boswell
approached to sign the paper he reverentially fell upon his knees,
thanked God that he had witnessed the discovery, and, in the language of
Simeon, exclaimed: "_Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, in pace_."

It was now too late for young Ireland to retreat, if he ever intended to
have done so, and the discovery of the imposture remained for Malone and
Chalmers fully to develop. The disclosure is said to have brought the
elder Mr. Ireland in sorrow to his grave, and to have bestowed upon the
young scapegrace, who, either thoughtlessly, or with malice
aforethought, had embittered the last years of the life of a tender
parent, the epithet (which clung to him ever afterward) of "Shakespeare

The contemporaries of Shakespeare are quite numerous. In the cases
devoted to the old English drama are the original and best editions of
Chapman, Marston, Heywood, Dekker, Greene, Rowley, Massinger, Ford,
Jonson, and Field. Besides the original quartos, the library contains
most of the collected editions of the old dramatists, and in this
department it is quite complete.

Three book-cases are devoted to works pertaining to the history of the
stage, in every country and language, from the commencement of the art
to the present time, and scarcely a work relating to the history,
progress, or criticism of the stage can be named which is not to be
found in the collection.

A full-length statue of Shakespeare in freestone, placed in a niche upon
the northern side of the room, and surrounded by carved tracery of a
Gothic design, has already been noticed. Upon the eastern side the
Stratford bust is placed on a bracket of the age of Elizabeth. The
celebrated antiquary, Cottingham, devoted his personal attention to this
work, and no other copy has been given to the world. This bust, the
bracket upon which it rests, a curious old drinking-vessel of stone with
a metal lid, all found in the garden of Shakespeare's house at New
Place, a well-carved head of a Nubian girl, and the key-stone of an
entrance arch of the theatre at Pompeii, were purchased by the owner of
the present collection at the extensive sale of the personal effects of
Mr. Cottingham.

There is also a beautifully carved tea-caddy, made from the wood of
Shakespeare's mulberry-tree, which formerly belonged to Garrick, and a
small copy of Roubilliac's statue of Shakespeare, which is the first
specimen of china-ware executed at Chelsea, in England. This likewise
belonged to Garrick. There are likewise two drinking-cups with silver
rims, said to be made of the wood of a crab-tree under which Shakespeare
slept during his celebrated frolic, formerly in the possession of


IN depicting the career of William E. Burton as Actor, Author, and
Manager, we are aware of the secondary value of his authorship, as
compared with his dramatic achievements. Nevertheless, his pen was a
ready and fertile one, and produced much that was meritorious, though
belonging to an ephemeral order. His plays, however, continue in the
list of present theatrical publications. Of his editorship it may be
affirmed that his conduct of "The Gentleman's Magazine" and "Literary
Souvenir" was marked by taste and discrimination; and nothing but
unqualified praise can be bestowed upon his superintendence of the
compilation of humorous literature known as Burton's "Cyclopædia of Wit
and Humor." It is by far the most complete repository of mirthful
composition ever published in this country--or elsewhere, so far as we
know,--and enjoys the peculiar advantage of being the only one in which
the productions of American humor have any thing approaching an adequate
representation. The selections throughout are indicative of great
critical sagacity, and a keen perception and sympathetic appreciation,
in the general arrangement, are everywhere suggested. As manager he
certainly fulfilled all conditions, as we believe the relation of his
successes in that sphere will sufficiently attest. But whatever his
capacity in the vocations named, all is dwarfed by his transcendent
powers as a comedian. He is remembered, and will be remembered, not as
the author or manager, but as the great actor who swayed mankind with
his supreme gift of humor. Many of the creations of his genius went away
with him in death; and the traditions of his triumphs will long be
distinguished in dramatic annals. Lastly, we have seen him a
Shakespearian student and the possessor of a library perfectly glorious
in its expression of devotion and homage to the great poet,--and linked
with that proud association we leave his memory and his name.


  Abbot, Mr., 14, 15

  Abbott, Mrs., 97

  "A Chapter of Accidents," song, 12

  Albany, N. Y., 90, 101

  "All at Coventry," 116

  American Theatre, Phila., 20

  "Amilie; or, The Love Test," 23

  "An Alarming Sacrifice," 116

  "Animal Magnetism," 112

  "Antigone," 22

  "Antony's Orations," 15

  "An Unwarrantable Intrusion," 58

  "Apollo in New York," 115

  Arch Street Theatre, Phila., 9, 13, 26

  Astor Place Opera-House, 97

  "As You Like It," 97, 113

  Atlanta, Ga., 155

  "Bachelors' Torments," 53

  Balls, Mr., 15

  Baltimore, Md., 26, 37

  "Banker's Daughter," the, 132

  "Barbers at Court," 116

  Barlow, S. L. M., 179

  Barnett, Morris, 98, 156

  Barrett, Geo., 38, 45;
    extended mention, 75, 76

  Barry, Thos., 38

  "Beehive," the, 115

  "Betsey Baker," 116

  Biddle, Nicholas, 24

  Blake, W. R., 38, 45, 51;
    extended mention, 51-55;
    mention, 68, 72, 78, 92, 111, 169, 175

  Bland, Humphrey, 45, 51;
    extended mention, 74, 97, 169

  "Blighted Being," a, 73

  "Blue Devils," 112, 140

  Booth, Edwin, 47, 101

  Boston, Mass., 37, 102

  Boston Theatre, 102

  Boucicault, Dion, 47, 98, 101, 132

  "Box and Cox," 114

  "Breach of Promise," the, 94, 113, 163, 171

  Broadway Theatre, 38; 67, note

  "Broken Heart," the, 114

  Brooklyn, N. Y., 39

  Brougham, Jno., 37, 45;
    extended mention, 55-64, 71, 92, 149

  Brougham's Lyceum, 60

  Brougham, Mrs., 60

  Buckland, Mrs. Kate, 45

  Buckstone, J. B., 36, 131

  Burton's Company in Chambers Street;
    extended review of particular players, 45-92

  "Burton's N. Y. Directory," 114

  Burton's New Theatre, 88, 99, 100, 101, 102

  Burton, Robert, 158

  Burton's Theatre, Chambers Street, 27, 29, 34, 36, 39, 40, 42,
    44, 47, 56, 63, 74, 85, 88, 93, 97, 99, 149, 168, 169, 172, 175

  Burton, Wm. Evans, subject of memoir, mention, preface;
    birth and parentage, education, 3;
    edits a monthly magazine, amateur acting, 4;
    adopts the profession, first appearance in London, 5;
    succeeds Listen at Haymarket, plays with E. Kean, 6;
    his play of "Ellen Wareham," 7;
    progress and arrival in America, 8;
    first appearance in America, 9;
    portrait by Inman, 9;
    his success in Philadelphia, 9 _et seq._;
    his musical talent, 12;
    development and versatility, 13;
    popularity and benefits, 14;
    busy with pen, 16;
    starts "The Gentleman's Magazine," 16;
    connection with E. A. Poe, 16, 17;
    letter to Poe, 18;
    literary ventures, 19, 20;
    President Martin Van Buren an auditor, 20;
    amusing experience at Napoleon, 20 _et seq._;
    speech for the author of "Antigone," 22;
    first appearance in New York, 22;
    sundry appearances, 23;
    opens National Theatre, Phila.; produces "Naiad Queen";
      at Providence; manager in New York, 24;
    loss by fire, 25;
    returns to Philadelphia, 26;
    survey of career in Phila., 27 _et seq._;
    opens Chambers St. Theatre, 36;
    energy and perseverance, 37;
    charitable benefits, 38;
    popularity of theatre, 39;
    his power of attraction, 40, 41;
    encomium of Jos. N. Ireland, 42, 43;
    extended mention of members of company, 45-92;
    produces "Dombey and Son," 56;
    pleasantries with Brougham, 58;
    stage incident, 59;
    surprised by Thompson, 84;
    amusing correspondence with Norton, 85, note;
    relations with Mrs. Hughes, 88;
    his attributes as manager, 95;
    Shakesperian revivals, 95, 96;
    plays for Dramatic Fund and Centenary Festival, 97, 98;
    plays at Niblo's, 99;
    closes Chambers St. and opens New Theatre, 99;
    progress, 100;
    plays _Dogberry_, appears in Albany, 101;
    in Boston, 102;
    New Theatre closed, starring tour, 102;
    last appearance in New York, 103;
    engagement in Canada, and letter to his children, 103-110;
    last appearance on any stage, and death, 110;
    list of parts acted, 111-117;
    personal appearance, 121;
    mental equipment, 122, 123;
    an expounder and representative of the humor of the drama, 124, 125;
    his comic power mentioned by Wemyss, 125;
    his performances in farce, 123:
      "The Mummy," 134 _et seq._;
      _Madame Vanderpants_, 137 _et seq._;
      "The Wandering Minstrel," _Pillicoddy_, 139.
    His specially famous parts:
      _Paul Pry_, 144 _et seq._;
      _Captain Cuttle_, 148 _et seq._;
      Ireland's tribute to _Cuttle_ 151, note;
      Aminadab Sleek, 152 _et seq._;
      stage incident of "Serious Family," 153;
      ushered in with thunder, 155;
      _Timothy Toodles_, 156 _et seq._
    His performances in comedy, 158 _et seq._:
      _Micawber_, 160;
      _Mr. Bumble_, 161;
      _Squeers_, _Sam Weller_, 162;
      _Bob Acres_, 164;
      _Tony Lumpkin_, _Chas. Goldfinch_, 165;
      _Dr. Ollapod_, 166;
      _Sir. Geo. Thunder_, _Job Thornberry_ (see 59 and 68), 167;
      _Sir Oliver Surface_, 167;
      _Mr. Graves_, _Mock Duke_, _Adam Brock_, _Van Dunder_, 168;
      "Nature's Nobleman," 168;
      _John Smith_, 170;
      _Mr. Sudden_, _Thomas Trot_, _Don Whiskerandos_, _Triplet_, 171.
    His performances in Shakespeare:
      "A Midsummer-Night's Dream," 171;
      _Bottom_, 172 _et seq._;
      _Sir Toby Belch_, 174;
      _Caliban_, _Autolycus_, _Falstaff_, 175;
      one of the _Carriers_ in "Henry IV.," 176.
    His residence and library; story of the painter, Elliot, 179;
    description of library, 181 _et seq._

  Burton, Wm. Geo., father of subject, 3, 4

  "Busybody," the, 117

  Campbell, Thos., 142

  Carey & Hart, 20

  "Caste," 132

  Castle Garden, 98

  "Catspaw," the, 114

  Chambers Street Theatre (see Burton's Theatre, Chambers St.)

  Chapman, Caroline, 45;
    extended mention, 60, 61

  Chapman, Mr., 97

  "Charles II.," 94, 116

  "Charles XII.," 94, 116, 163, 168

  Chatham Garden Theatre, 53

  Chatham Theatre, 97

  Chestnut Street Theatre, 13, 15, 26

  Chippendale, Mr., 97

  "Cinderella," 113

  Clapp, W. W., preface.

  Clarke, C. W., 45

  "Cockney," the, 116

  Cole, John O., 90

  Collins, John, 101

  Colman, Geo. (the Younger), 9, 131, 167

  "Comedy of Errors," 111

  "Comfortable Lodgings," 116

  Cooke's Circus Building, Phila., 24

  Cooke, Geo. Fred., 126

  "Cork Leg," the, song, 12

  Covent Garden Theatre, 166

  "Crimson Crimes," 116

  "Critic," the, 113, 163

  "Cupid," 14

  "Cure for the Heartache," a, 69, 114

  Curwen, Henry, 17, note

  Cushman, Charlotte, 24, 91, 97

  Cushman, Susan, 24

  Daly, Augustin, 132

  Daly's Theatre, 38

  Dance, Chas., 65

  "Dan Keyser de Bassoon," 36

  "David Copperfield," 61, 62, 74, 88, 93, 113, 160

  Davidge, Wm., 20, 21

  Dawson, Mr., 38

  "Deaf as a Post," 11, 14, 116

  "Delicate Ground," 65

  Devlin, Mary, 45, 46, 47

  Dickens, Charles, 62, 63, 73, 122, 149, 152, 161, 162

  "Dombey and Son," extended mention, 56, 60, 62, 63,
    88, 93, 112, 149, 152, 160

  Don, Sir Wm., 98

  Doran, Dr., 7, note

  "Duel in the Dark," a, 116

  "Dutch Governor," the, 112, 163, 168

  Dyott, Jno., 45, 71;
    extended mention, 76, 77, 167, 169

  Edinburgh, Scotland, 127

  "Education," 115

  "Ellen Wareham," 7, 8, 115

  Elliot, C. L., painter, incident, 179, 180

  Elliston, R. W., 3, 11

  Elphinstone, Miss, 10

  Emerson, R. W., 69

  "Every Man in His Humor," 75, 115

  "Evil Genius," 112

  "False Pretences," 115

  "Family Jars," 94, 115

  Farren, Wm., 85, 159

  "Fascination," 115

  "First Night," the, 49

  Fisher, Chas., 45, 55, 70, 76;
    extended mention, 78-82, 171

  Florence, Mrs. W. J., 45, 46, 47

  Florence, W. J., 92

  Ford's Theatre, Boston, 37

  Forrest, Edwin, 38, 51, note

  "Forty Winks," 23, 111

  "Fox Hunt," the, 98, 115

  Francis, Jno. W., 126

  "French Spy," the, 114

  "Friend Waggles," 114

  Front Street Theatre, Baltimore, 26

  "Genevieve," 115

  George IV. (king), 5

  Gilbert, Mrs., 38, 97

  Gilbert, John, 55

  "Giralda," 117

  Glen Gove, L. I., 179

  Glover, Mrs., 7, note

  "Good Night's Rest," a, 113

  "Great Tragic Revival," a, 115

  "Gretna Green," 114

  "Guy Mannering," 113

  Hackett, James, 175

  Hamblin, Thos., 97

  Hamilton, Canada, 43, 88, 103

  "Hamlet," 117

  "Hamlet Travestie," 116

  "Happiest Day of my Life," the, 94, 113, 140

  "Haunted Man," the, 114

  Haymarket Theatre, London, 6, 10

  "Hazel Kirke," 132

  Hazlitt, Wm., 125, 164

  "Heart of Gold," 115

  "Heir-at-Law," 13, 82, 87, 112

  "Helping Hands," 115

  "Henry IV.," 175

  "High Life Below Stairs," 113

  Hoey, Mrs. (see Mrs. Russell)

  Hoey, John, 46

  Holland, Geo., 45, 49, 85

  Holland House, 129

  Holman, Geo., 45, 71, 85

  Holmes, O. W., 93

  "Home," 132

  "Honeymoon," the, 74, 113, 163

  Hood, Thos., 41, 130

  Hough, Mrs., 45

  "How to Die for Love," 15

  "How to Make Home Happy," 94, 117

  Hughes, Hon. Chas., 88

  Hughes, Mrs., 45, 51;
    extended mention, 87, 90, 102, 103, 139, 160, 162, 167, 169

  "Hunchback," the, 74

  Hunt, H., 38

  Hunt, Mrs., 20

  Hutton, Lawrence, preface;
    mention, 35, 36, 62

  "Hypocrite," the, 13, 116

  "Ill Playing with Edged Tools," 'Tis, 115

  "Innkeeper's Daughter," the, 112

  Inman, Henry, painter, 9

  "Invisible Prince," the, 116

  Ireland, Jos. N., preface;
    mention, 28, 37, 39, 42, 101, 102, 103, 111, 151, note

  "Irish Dragoon," the, 36

  "Janet Pride," 116

  Jefferson, Jos. (1st), 11

  Jefferson, Jos. (3d), 92, 101, 132, 142, 164

  "John Bull," 59, 69, 77, 112, 163

  "John Jones," 12, 14, 22, 110, 117

  "John of Paris," 15

  Johnston, T. B., 45;
    extended mention, 61, 73, 92, 160, 167

  Jonson, Ben, 75, 76

  Jordan, Geo., 45, 71;
    extended mention, 74, 75, 97

  Kean, Edmund, 6, 7, note, 142

  Kemble, J. P., 141

  Kent, England, 5

  "Kill and Cure," 23, 114

  "King's Gardener," the, 114

  "Kiss in the Dark," a, 113

  Knowles, J. Sheridan, 10

  "Ladies' Man," the, 12, 14, 116

  "Lady of Lyons," the, 114

  "Lancers," the, 115

  "Last Man," the, 52

  "Laughing Hyena," the, 112

  "Laugh When You Can," 98, 115

  Laura Keene's Theatre, 101

  "Leap Year," 36, 112

  "Led Astray," 132

  "Lend Me Five Shillings," 116

  Leonard and Church Sts. Theatre, 24

  Lester, J. W. (see Lester Wallack)

  Lewis, W. T., 166

  Library, Mr. Burton's, 181 _et seq._

  "Life Among the Players," 114

  List of Characters, 111-117

  Liston, J., 6, 11, 41, 125, 144, 168

  "Little Toddlekins," 84

  "Loan of a Lover," 113

  London, England, 3, 5, 9, 10, 11, 17, note, 41

  "London Assurance," 113

  Longfellow, H. W., 124

  "Lottery Ticket," the, 5, 8, note, 9, 14, 113

  "Love Chase," the, 113

  "Love in a Village," 114

  "Love in Humble Life," 114

  "Love in a Maze," 116

  "Lucia di Lammermoor," 33

  "Lucy Did Sham Amour," 36

  "Macbeth," 117

  "Macbeth Travestie," 114

  Macready, W. C., 37

  "Maidens, Beware," 36

  Malvina, Miss (see Mrs. W. J. Florence)

  "Man of Many Friends," 116

  "Married an Actress," 115

  "Married by Force," 115

  "Married Life," 13, 113

  "Masks and Faces," 81, 112, 163

  Mathews, Chas. (elder), 3

  Mathews, Chas. (younger), 45, 46, 84, 131

  Maywood & Co. (managers), 9, 13

  Mechanics Hall, Hamilton, Canada, 110

  "Merchant of Venice," the, 13, 98, 112

  "Merry Wives of Windsor," the, 77, 84, 95, 111, 175

  Metropolitan Theatre (see Burton's New Theatre)

  "Midnight Watch," the, 114

  "Midsummer-Night's Dream," a, 75, 76, 80, 95;
    extended mention, 96, 112, 171

  "Miller's Maid," the, 83

  "Mind Your Own Business," 117

  Mississippi River, 20

  Mitchell, Maggie, 97

  "Money," 113, 163

  "Mormons," the, 115

  Morton, J. M., 131

  "Mrs. Bunbury's Spoons," 117

  "Much Ado About Nothing," 13, 114

  "Mummy," the, 14, 112;
    extended mention, 134 _et seq._

  Munden, J. W., 11, 54

  "My Awful Dad," 67

  "My Fellow Clerk," 116

  "My Wife and Umbrella," 115

  "Naiad Queen," the, 24, 25, 113

  Napoleon, town, 20, 21, 22

  National Theatre, Leonard St., N. Y., 22, 23

  National Theatre, Phila. (formerly Cooke's Circus), 24

  "Nature's Nobleman," 114, 163;
    extended mention, 168 _et seq._

  Neilson, Adelaide, 80

  "New Way to Pay Old Debts," a, 116

  New York, 3, 11, note, 22, 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, 33, 35, 37, 38, 39,
    42, 43, 47, 53, 55, 63, 67, 71, 88, 91, 98, 101, 103, 148, 152, 179

  "New York in Slices," 36

  Niblo's Garden, 23, 99, 103

  "Nice Young Man," a, 115

  "Nicholas Nickleby," 83, 85, 93, 113

  Norton, W. H., 45, 71, 85;
    correspondence with Burton, 85, note

  Norwich, England, 5

  "No Song No Supper," 14

  "Not So Bad As We Seem," 117

  "Now-a-days," 114

  "Old Guard," the, 49

  "Old Heads and Young Hearts," 115

  "Oliver Twist" (play), 93, 113, 160, 161

  Olympic Theatre, London, 41, 85

  Olympic Theatre, N. Y., 38, 97

  "One-Hundred-Pound Note," 116

  "Ours," 132

  "Our Set," 115

  Palmo, Ferdinand, 33

  Palmo's Opera-House, 27, 33

  Pardey, H. O., 168

  "Paris and London," 49, 113, 163

  Park Theatre, 23, 25, 37, 38, 39

  Parsloe, C., Jr., 45, 85, 86

  Parsons, Thos. Wm., poem of, 47, 48

  "Patrician and Parvenu," 23, 117

  "Paul Pry," 50, 72, 94, 113;
    extended mention, 144 _et seq._

  Pavilion Theatre, London, 6, 9

  "Peep from the Parlor Windows," 114

  Pelham, Miss, 10

  Perry, H. A., 98

  Phelps, H. B., preface, 89

  Philadelphia, 9, 10, 11, 12, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 34, 35, 37

  "Pickwickians," the, 94, 113

  Placide, Henry, 24, 38, 45;
    extended mention, 48 _et seq._, 51, note, 92, 111, 147, 167

  Placide, Thomas, 24

  "Player's Plot," 115

  "Pleasant Neighbors," 114

  "Ploughman Turned Lord," a, 83

  "Pocahontas; or, The Gentle Savage," 64

  Poe, E. A., 16, 19

  Poole, John, 144

  "Poor Gentleman," the, 9, 13, 53, 72, 73, 77, 82, 87, 111, 162, 166

  "Poor Pillicoddy," 112

  "Poor Scholar," the, 115

  Povey, Jno., 38

  Power, Tyrone, 14

  "Pride Must Have a Fall," 115

  "Prince's Frolic," the, 114

  Providence Theatre, 24

  "Raising the Wind," 36, 116

  Raymond, J. T., 92, 132, 142

  Raymond, Miss, 45

  Raymond, O. B., 61

  Rea, Mrs., 45

  Recollections of Burton's acting, 121-176

  Reeve, John, 14

  "Rent Day," the, 114

  "Review," the, 113

  Richings, Peter, 23, 38

  "Rip Van Winkle," 132

  "Rivals," the, 9, 10, 13, 87, 99, 112, 162

  "Road to Ruin," the, 13, 51, 54, 72, 74, 88, 112, 162, 165

  "Robert Macaire," 112

  Robertson, Agnes, 45, 46, 47, 90, 98

  Robertson, T. W., 132

  Robson, Stuart, 92

  "Rosedale," 132

  Rowe, Fawcett, 92

  Russell, Mrs. (_née_ Shaw; Mrs. Hoey), 45, 46;
    extended mention, 62, 63, note

  Sandy Hill, N. Y., 90

  Sartain, J., engraver, 9

  "School," 132

  "School for Grown Children," 115

  "School for Scandal," the, 13;
    cast of, 37, 113, 132, 163

  "School for Tigers," a, 47, 73

  "School of Reform," the, 82

  "Secrets Worth Knowing," 114

  "Self," 112

  "Serious Family," the, 86, 94, 98, 112;
    extended mention, 152 _et seq._;
    incident, 153;
    story, 155, 156

  Setchell, D., 45, 101

  Shakespeare, 29, 78, 96, 97, 100, 122, 123, 134, 172, 179, 180, 181, 182

  Shaw, Miss (see Mrs. Russell)

  Shaw, Mrs., 38

  Sheridan, R. B., 9, 64, 164

  "She Stoops to Conquer," 13, 112, 132, 162

  "Siamese Twins," the, 140

  "Simpson & Co.," 113

  Simpson, Edmund, 37

  Skerrett, Mrs., 45

  "Sketches in India," 14, 113

  "Slasher and Crasher," 112

  "Slave Actress," the, 115

  Smith, Sydney, 129

  "Socialism," 114

  "Soldier's Daughter," the, 11, 94, 97, 116

  Sophocles, 22

  Sothern, E. A., 132, 142

  Southwick, S., 90

  "Spectre Bridegroom," the, 116

  "Speed the Plough," 13

  "Sphinx," the, 114

  "Spitfire," the, 116

  "Spring and Autumn," 23, 116

  "Stag Hall," 115

  "State Secrets," 112

  "St. Cupid," 117

  "Still Waters Run Deep," 75, 113

  Stone, H. D., preface, 51, note

  St. Paul's School, 3

  "Stranger," the, 113

  "Such As It Is," 114

  Sussex, England, 5

  "Sweethearts and Wives," 13, 23, 112

  "Take That Girl Away," 112

  Taylor, Mary, 38, 45, 60, 66;
    extended mention, 91, 98, 169

  "Tempest," the, 75, 81, 95, 112, 175

  "Temptation," 114

  Tennyson, Lord, 97

  "That Blessed Baby," 140

    American, Phila., 20
    Arch Street, Phila., 9, 13, 26
    Astor Place Opera-House, 97
    Boston, 102
    Broadway, 38, 67, note
    Brougham's Lyceum, N. Y., 60.
    Burton's, Chambers St., 27, 29, 34, 36, 39, 40, 42, 44, 47,
      56, 63, 74, 85, 88, 93, 97, 99, 149, 168, 169, 172, 175
    Burton's New (Metropolitan), 88, 99, 100, 101, 102
    Castle Garden, 98
    Chatham, N. Y., 97
    Chatham Garden, N. Y., 53
    Chestnut Street, Phila., 13, 15, 26
    Cooke's Circus, Phila., 24
    Covent Garden, London, 166
    Ford's, Boston, 37
    Front St., Baltimore, 26
    Haymarket, London, 6
    Laura Keene's, 101
    Leonard and Church Sts., N. Y., 24
    Mechanics' Hall, Hamilton, Canada, 110
    National, Leonard St., N. Y., 22, 23
    National, Phila., 24
    Niblo's Garden, 23, 99, 103
    Olympic, London, 85
    Olympic, N. Y., 38, 97
    Palmo's Opera-House, 27, 33
    Park, N. Y., 23, 25, 37, 38, 39
    Pavilion, London, 6
    Providence, 24
    Tripler Hall, N. Y., 99
    Union Square, N. Y., 132
    Wallack's Lyceum, 64, 70
    Wallack's, 54, 132
    Washington, 26

  "The Cork Leg," song, 12

  Thompson, L. S., 45;
    extended mention, 82-84

  "Three and Deuce," 15

  "Tom Noddy's Secret," 112

  "Toodles," the, 94, 112, 152;
    extended mention, 156

  "To Parents and Guardians," 49, 113

  Toronto, Canada, 103

  Tripler Hall, N. Y., 99

  "Turning the Tables," 116, 140

  "Turnpike Gate," the, 116

  "Twelfth Night," 49, 77, 78, 95, 112, 174

  "Twice Killed," 114

  "Two Bonnycastles," the, 112

  "Two Buzzards," the, 116

  "Two Orphans," the, 132

  Union Square Theatre, 132

  United States Bank, 24

  "Upper Ten and Lower Twenty," 116

  "Used Up," 67, note.

  Van Buren, Martin, President, 20

  "Vanity Fair," 117

  "Venice Preserved," 15

  "Vicar of Wakefield," the, 114

  Walcot, C. M., 38, 64

  Walcott, Mrs., 97

  Wallack, Fanny, 45, 161

  Wallack, J. W. (elder), 14, 15, 16, 22, 23, 25, 46

  Wallack, Lester, 45, 51;
    extended mention, 65 _et seq._, 67, note, 72, 74, 75, 78, 92, 175

  Wallack's Lyceum, 64, 70

  Wallack's Theatre, 54, 132

  "Wall Street," 115

  "Wandering Minstrel," the, 112, 133, 139

  "Wanted, 1,000 Milliners," 113;
    extended mention, 137 _et seq._

  Washington Theatre, 26

  "Water Party," the, 23, 114

  Watson, Miss, 15

  Watson, Mrs., 15

  "Way to Get Married," the, 68

  Wemyss, F. C., preface, 15, 25, 33, 125

  "West End," the, 68

  Weston, Lizzie, 45, 46, 68, 169

  "Wheel of Fortune," the, 77

  White, R. W., 80, 172

  "Widow Machree," song, 90

  "Widow's Victim," the, 112

  "Wild Oats," 67, 117, 162

  Williams, Mrs. Barney, 47

  Windsor, England, 5

  Winstanley, Mrs., 38

  "Winter's Tale," 95, 98, 175

  Winter, Wm., 28

  "Witch Wife," the, 115

  Wood, Wm. B., preface, 14, 34

  Woodworth, Sam'l, poet, 22

  Wynne, James, M.D., 181

  "Young Actress," the, 47, 90

  Young, Mrs. (see Mrs. Hughes)

  "Young Quaker," the, 115

  "You're Another," 116

  "Youthful Days of Louis XIV.," 117

Transcriber's Note

Variations in spelling, punctuation and hyphenation have been retained
except in obvious cases of typographical errors.

Italics are shown thus _italic_.

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