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Title: Ellen Terry and Her Sisters
Author: Pemberton, T. Edgar
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Ellen Terry and Her Sisters" ***

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Internet Archive)



    ELLEN TERRY
    AND HER SISTERS

[Illustration:

    _Photographed by_       _Window & Grove._

ELLEN TERRY AS PORTIA.

_She first appeared in this part, one of the greatest of her
Shakespearean creations, at the old Prince of Wales's Theatre in 1875,
and resumed it at the Lyceum in 1879._

_Frontispiece._]



    ELLEN TERRY
    AND HER SISTERS

    BY

    T. EDGAR PEMBERTON

    AUTHOR OF

    "THE KENDALS;" "A MEMOIR OF E. A. SOTHERN;" "THE LIFE AND WRITINGS
    OF T. W. ROBERTSON;" "CHARLES DICKENS AND THE STAGE;"
    "JOHN HARE, COMEDIAN;" "BRET HARTE: A
    TREATISE AND A TRIBUTE;"
    ETC. ETC.

    _WITH TWENTY-FIVE ILLUSTRATIONS_

    LONDON
    C. ARTHUR PEARSON, LIMITED
    HENRIETTA STREET
    1902



_BY THE SAME AUTHOR_

"THE KENDALS"

Demy 8vo, with Portraits and numerous Illustrations.

Price 16s.


"One of the most interesting theatrical records that has been penned for
some time."--_Outlook._

"A charming work.... Pithy and well arranged. Turned out with infinite
credit to the publishers."--_Morning Advertiser._

"It leaves an impression like that of a piece in which the Kendals have
played, an impression of pleasure, refinement, refreshment, and of the
value of cherishing sweet and kindly feelings in art as in life. Few
books can do that, and so this work has every prospect of being widely
read."--_Scotsman._


LONDON: C. ARTHUR PEARSON, LIMITED



_April 11, 1901._


MY DEAR FRIEND,--

You tell me that if I give you leave you can weave a story about me that
will interest your readers. If that be so, you have my full permission
to tell it, and it will please me to do anything in my power to assist
you in your work. Whilst writing about me you will, I am sure, speak of
those with whom I have been closely associated in my acting life, and
make mention of the affectionate regard in which I hold them.

Your intimate knowledge of all that concerns the stage will at least
keep you right as to the facts of your pages.

I suppose I must leave the fancy of them in your hands.

    Yours cordially,

    ELLEN TERRY.

    _To_
    T. EDGAR PEMBERTON.

[Illustration: _Label designed for his sister by Gordon Craig_]



[Illustration: _Ellen Terry's book-label designed by Gordon Craig_]



CONTENTS


                                                    PAGE

    I. BEGINNINGS                                      1

    II. FIRST APPEARANCES                             29

    III. THE BRISTOL STOCK COMPANY                    57

    IV. AT THE HAYMARKET THEATRE                      74

    V. KATE TERRY                                     91

    VI. CHIEFLY AT THE QUEEN'S THEATRE               132

    VII. IN TOTTENHAM STREET                         142

    VIII. IN SLOANE SQUARE                           156

    IX. SOME SPLENDID STROLLING                      171

    X. MARION AND FLORENCE TERRY                     192

    XI. HENRY IRVING                                 208

    XII. AT THE LYCEUM THEATRE, 1878-1883            219

    XIII. AT THE LYCEUM THEATRE, 1884-1901           252

    XIV. ENDINGS                                     296

    INDEX                                            311



    VINE COTTAGE,
    KINGSTON VALE.

[Illustration: _Ellen Terry's "Kingston Vale" letter-card heading
designed by Gordon Craig_]



[Illustration: _Ellen Terry's Monogram. Ellen Terry fecit_]



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


    ELLEN TERRY AS "PORTIA"                        _Frontispiece_

    ELLEN TERRY WHEN EIGHT YEARS OF AGE            _To face page_   24

    TOWER COTTAGE, WINCHELSEA                                       48

    SMALLHYTHE FARM                                                 80

    BUST OF ELLEN TERRY BY W. BRODIE, R.S.A.                        88

    KATE TERRY                                                     102

    ELLEN TERRY'S COUNTRY HOME IN KINGSTON VALE                    112

    KATE TERRY AS "ARIEL"                                          120

    HENRY IRVING IN 1868                                           136

    ELLEN TERRY AS LORD TENNYSON'S "DORA"                          174

    MARION TERRY                                                   194

    ELLEN TERRY IN TRAGEDY AND COMEDY _circa_ 1878                 222

    ELLEN TERRY AS "OPHELIA"                                       224

    ELLEN TERRY, 1881                                              242

    ELLEN TERRY AS "BEATRICE"                                      250

    ELLEN TERRY AS "VIOLA"                                         254

    ELLEN TERRY AS "ELLALINE"                                      262

    SIR HENRY IRVING AS "CARDINAL WOLSEY"                          272

    ELLEN TERRY AS "QUEEN GUINEVERE"                               282

    ELLEN TERRY AS "VOLUMNIA"                                      292

[Illustration: _Ellen Terry's "Winchelsea" book-plate designed by Gordon
Craig_]



ELLEN TERRY

AND HER SISTERS



CHAPTER I

BEGINNINGS


I know that to the majority of people who merely regard the theatre as a
place for occasional recreation, it is a subject for amazement that
others can exist who, not belonging to the theatrical profession, take
an absorbing and lasting interest in the stage, and in those actors and
actresses who have made its past history glorious, as well as in the
artists who adorn and make it a delight in the present. I wonder how
many of us truly realise the weight of Charles Dickens's words: "If any
man were to tell me that he denied his acknowledgments to the stage, I
would simply put to him one question--whether he remembered his first
play?"

Not only freely, but with gratitude, I acknowledge my indebtedness to
the theatre, and it is certain that from that magic night when for the
first time I saw the glitter of the footlights and watched the rise of
the curtain, I entered upon a new and most fascinating life. Of course
I was called "stage struck," and those who controlled me shook their
heads, thought it a great pity, and did their best to thwart my
inclinations. Concerning the stage and its attractions the parents of
the "fifties" were less liberal-minded than those of to-day, and they
had an unhappy knack of talking over the tendencies of their children
with uncles and aunts who, without meaning to do the least kindly thing
for them, seemed to regard their nephews and nieces as so many
ready-made reprobates open to their interfering condemnation. Oh! those
terrible uncles and aunts! In his pages the grand old novelist,
Richardson, reflecting the manners of his time, made (apparently well
meaning) ogres of them; the good and ever interesting Jane Austen only
contrived to soften them down; and I hope my "fifties" saw the fag-end
of them, for to-day they prove themselves to be reasonable and generous
beings.

But, as I say, I was set down as "stage struck," and I had to grow
accustomed to the shoulder-shrug greeting of relatives, and the
admonition that my first duty was to consider my father and mother.
Never was anything so unfair. I was not in the ordinary sense of the
word "stage struck." I was not fool enough to think that I could shine
either as tragedian or comedian. I knew that a more prosaic life had
been planned out for me, and I was prepared to enter into it; but, for a
lurking fear that I should "take to the stage" (neither I nor my
parents, nor my uncles and aunts, knew how this was to be done), I found
myself compelled to read my beloved play-books and chronicles of great
actors in private. When it was accidentally discovered that I had
attempted to write a play there was real family trouble, and I am afraid
that some of those who pretended to take interest in me wrote me down as
"no good."

No! It never could be understood that I really wanted to make a study of
an art that appealed to me more strongly than its sisters, music and
painting. Yet the three are so closely allied that in devotedly
following my first love I learnt to appreciate her kith and kin. I pen
these lines because I am certain that many others must have felt as I
did, and do; and, while doing justice to other claims upon their life
energies, have taken their keenest delight in the story of the stage.

Yes; I am sure that to many of us the theatre has formed a little world
of its own--a little world that we can enjoy and grasp--while the great
world outside it is so apt to torture us with its perplexities, and half
kill us with its seeming cruelties.

And I think that the little world in which I and my brother enthusiasts
delight is all the more appreciated when we understand that it, too, is
beset with its anxieties and grievous disappointments, and is far from
the dazzling, soul-soothing elysium we pictured in the halcyon days of
our boyhood. Our hearts go out all the more freely to the actors and
actresses who warm them when we realise that they, too, have their
trials as well as their triumphs. Our admiration is redoubled when it is
leavened with sympathy. It is all the more important, then, that our
entertainers should know that this feeling exists among those for whom
they devote the work of their lives.

The artistic temperament is always more or less self-tormenting, and it
is to be feared that my "little world," which shines so brightly over
our great one, where sorrow has daily to be met and borne, is in itself
a sorely troubled one.

In that strange French play which has our great English tragedian,
Edmund Kean, for its central figure, Alexandre Dumas, who knew
everything that could be known about the theatre, caused his actor-hero
to respond bitterly to the woman who loved him, and who opined that all
his troubles must vanish when he reflects that he is recognised as the
King of the Stage. "King! Yes, three times a week! King with a tinselled
sceptre, paste diamonds, and a pinchbeck crown. I rule a kingdom of
thirty-five feet, and subjects who are jealous of my power." Then, when
she asks, "Why do you not give it up?" he replies with indignation,
"Give up the stage? Ah! you don't realise that he who has once donned
the robe of Nessus cannot take it off without lacerating his flesh. _I_
give up the stage?--renounce its excitement?--its glitter?--its
triumphs? _I_ give up my throne to another? Never! while I've health and
strength to walk the boards, and brains to interpret the poetry I love.
Remember, an actor cannot leave his work behind him. He lives only in
his own lifetime--his memory fades with the generation to which he
belongs, he must finish as he has begun, die as he has lived--die, if
fortune favours him, with the delicious sound of applause in his ears.
But those who have not set foot upon a dangerous path do well to avoid
it."

The actor's complaint that his fame, however great, cannot be
recollected many years beyond the time in which he lived is a very old
one, and it must have been with this mournful view in his mind that
David Garrick wrote:--

    "The painter dead, yet still he charms the eye;
    While England lives his fame can never die.
    But he who struts his hour upon the stage
    Can scarce extend his fame for half an age;
    Nor pen nor pencil can the actor save,
    The art and artist share one common grave."

The volumes of theatrical history and biography that have been written
and become popular since Garrick's day, prove that this is not wholly
true, that we are not ungrateful to those who have instructed and amused
us on the stage, and that we shall not willingly let their honoured
memories die. The fact that the depressing feeling that they and their
work will "soon be forgotten" still exists among members of the
theatrical profession is, I venture to believe, some excuse for records
such as this being issued during the lifetime of the artist, while
memory is green, and appreciation can be written at first hand. Even if
such works give little or no pleasure to their living subjects, it may
be borne in mind that they will probably be of service to those future
stage historians who will permanently inscribe their names on the
tablets of fame.

The passionate declaration of Dumas's Kean that, despite his troubles
and torments, he would never while life was in him leave the stage, is
an old tale. Actors, as a rule, love to die in harness, and it was in
the full knowledge of this that T. W. Robertson caused his stage David
Garrick to reply to Alderman Ingot, when he offered to double or treble
his income if he would abandon his profession, "Leave the stage?
Impossible!" Poor Sothern, who created the part, was staying with me
when his physician wrote saying that if he wished to prolong his life he
must give up all work. After a moment's depression the actor with a
sudden impulse snatched a portrait of himself as Garrick from my wall,
tore it from its frame, and in a large, firm hand, wrote beneath it:
"Leave the stage? Impossible!"

I have no doubt that Charles Wyndham, who, after Sothern's death, took
up the part, and made it one of the greatest successes of the modern
stage, feels the full import of the words every time he speaks them.

And if the actors suffer so do the dramatists, or at all events the
would-be dramatists. In an admirable little book called "Play Writing,"
the author gives sound advice to the ever-growing, ever-complaining army
of the unacted.

"Dramatic authorship," he says, "is to the profession of literature as
reversing is to waltzing--an agony within a misery. A man who means to
be a dramatist must be prepared for a life of never-ending strife and
fret--a brain and heart-exhausting struggle from the hour when, full of
hope, he starts off with his first farce in his pocket to the days when,
involuntarily taking the advice of one of the early masters of his own
craft--to wit, old rare Ben Jonson--he leaves 'the loathed stage and the
more loathsome age.'"

And again, this anonymous but evidently experienced writer (I quote from
him freely) declares that any dramatist could tales unfold of
disappointments and delays, of hopes deferred, of chances dashed from
the grasp at the very moment they seemed clutched, of weary waitings
rewarded by failure, of enterprise and effort leading only to defeat, of
hard work winning only loss. It has been suggested, too, in this
connection, that any one sufficiently interested in such matters should
make a list of the plays that in "preliminary paragraphs" are spoken of
as "about to be produced," and which are never heard of again,--and that
it should then be remembered that each of these unborn plays represents
a very heavy heart being carried about for many a long day under
somebody or other's waistcoat,--and means that somebody or other feels
very sick and hopeless as he moves about his little world, trying to
appear careless and to laugh it off,--that somebody or other grows very
tired and weary of the struggle, and almost wishes now and then that it
was over.

But to the young playgoer who sits in front these troubles are unknown,
and to him the theatre may well appear as the realisation of Fairyland,
and a veritable Palace of Fancy.

I believe there is another reason why men, if they would own it, have
come to be grateful to the stage. Has it not to many been the scene in
which they have first learned what it is to love? They may never have
spoken to the divinities who inspired their boyish ardour, but they have
been better and purer for it, and cherish the sweet recollection of it
to their old age.

Cannot we all enter into the feelings of young virgin-hearted Arthur
Pendennis when he first saw the lovely Miss Fotheringay on the boards?
Cannot we all understand how he followed the woman about and about, and
when she was off the stage the house became a blank? and how, when the
play was over, the curtain fell upon him like a pall? Poor Pendennis!
He hardly knew what he felt that night. "It was something overwhelming,
maddening, delicious; a fever of wild joy and undefined longing."

And then how he woke the next morning, when, at an early hour, the rooks
began to caw from the little wood beyond his bedroom windows; and at
that very instant, and as his eyes started open, the beloved image was
in his mind. "My dear boy," he heard her say, "you were in a sound
sleep, and I would not disturb you: but I have been close by your pillow
all this while; and I don't intend that you shall leave me. I am Love! I
bring with me fever and passion; wild longing, maddening desire;
restless craving and seeking. Many a long day ere this I heard you
calling out for me; and behold now I am come."

Yes, I am convinced that most of us have felt, rejoiced, and suffered as
Arthur Pendennis did, and that we first caught the fever from the
footlights. The attack may have been acute, and, in its apparent
hopelessness, painful. But recovery brought with it the sweet knowledge
that we had been permitted to understand the meaning of Heaven's
greatest gift to mankind--Love.

I know that there are many who only go to the theatre to carp and cavil,
and impotently point out that if the management of the playhouse and the
acting of all the parts had been placed in their hands a much better
performance would have been provided; but I believe that even these
would love to recall the dreamy illusions of their youth. Perhaps, in
the hours of their solitude (and silence!), they do so. Why, in their
soured maturity, these unhappy, self-imposed, and absolutely
unconvincing critics go to the theatre to be (on their own declaration)
bored and disgusted is to me a mystery. It is all the more a mystery
when I know that they can thoroughly enjoy a variety hall.

Of course, everything depends on the spirit in which we go to the
theatre.

Do you remember the difference of opinion expressed between Steerforth
and David Copperfield on the night when they renewed the acquaintance of
their boyhood at the Golden Cross Hotel? David had been to Covent Garden
Theatre, and had there seen "Julius Cæsar." "To have," he says, "all
those noble Romans alive before me, and walking in and out for my
entertainment, instead of being the stern task-masters they had been at
school, was a most novel and delightful effect. But the mingled reality
and mystery of the whole show, the influence upon me of the poetry, the
lights, the music, the company; the smooth, stupendous changes of
glittering and brilliant scenery were so dazzling, and opened up such
illimitable regions of delight, that when I came out into the rainy
street I felt as if I had come from the clouds, where I had been leading
a romantic life for ages, to a bawling, splashing, link-lighted,
umbrella-struggling, hackney-coach jostling, patten-clicking, muddy,
miserable world."

And when he told the superior Steerforth of his innocent enjoyment, he
had to listen to the laughing reply:--

"My dear young Davy--you are a very daisy. The daisy of the field, at
sunrise, is not fresher than you are! I have been at Covent Garden, too,
and there never was a more miserable business."

In my own mind I am convinced that if we will we can always, to our
great advantage and delight, keep up the enthusiasm of David
Copperfield;--that to some of us the theatre, even when we know all
about the fret and turmoil of the actor's life together with the tricks
of the stage, may from boyhood to old age remain a Palace of Fancy.

And have we not in the heroine of these pages--Ellen Terry--the very
embodiment of Fancy,--the true Princess of our Palace, one of the Queens
of our little stage world? Other great artists have delighted us with
the perfection of their impersonations, but there is in the method or
inspiration of Ellen Terry something so ethereal that in many of her
characters she stands alone.

If the drama is indeed the Cinderella of the arts, then Ellen Terry must
have been touched by the magic wand of a Fairy Godmother so that she
might dazzle the Prince's ballroom with her beauty, radiance, and ever
fragrant sweetness, and win the admiration of his guests.

But those who thoughtlessly and even contemptuously call the drama
"Cinderella" probably do not know the origin of the familiar
fairy-tale--how the little kitchen maid is Ushas, the Dawn Maiden of the
Aryans, and the Aurora of the Greeks; and how the Prince is the Sun,
ever seeking to make the Dawn his bride; and how the envious stepmother
and sisters are the Clouds and the Night, which vainly strive to keep
the Sun and the Dawn apart. It is pleasant to think of Cinderella as the
Dawn Maiden. Poor little lady! She has suffered considerably in her
transplantation to English soil.

To me the magic word "Fancy" has ever been associated with the pure art
of Ellen Terry, and whenever I see her on the stage the lines of John
Keats comes rippling through my mind:--

    "Oh! sweet Fancy! let her loose;
    Everything is spoilt by use;
    Where's the cheek that doth not fade,
    Too much gazed at? Where's the maid
    Whose lip mature is ever new?
    Where the eye, however blue,
    Doth not weary? Where's the face
    One would meet in every place?
    Where's the voice, however soft,
    One would hear so very oft?
    At a touch sweet pleasure melteth
    Like to bubbles when rain pelteth.
    Let, then, winged Fancy find
    Thee a mistress to her mind;
    Dulcet-eyed as Ceres' daughter
    Ere the god of Torment taught her
    How to frown and how to chide;
    With a waist and with a side
    White as Hebe's, when her zone
    Slipt its golden clasp, and down
    Fell her kirtle to her feet,
    While she held the goblet sweet,
    And Jove grew languid. Break the mesh
    Of the Fancy's silken leash;
    Quickly break her prison string,
    And such joys as these she'll bring--
    Let the winged Fancy roam,
    Pleasure never is at home."

But it must be recorded that Fancy, as let loose and impersonated by
Ellen Terry, is taken from the theatre in thousands of hearts, and that
it enters into many a home circle where the memory of it gives unbounded
and enduring pleasure. Into the simple homes of those who elbow each
other in the gallery, as well as into the luxurious mansions of the
wealthy folk who sit at their ease in the stalls. In many a workman's
dwelling I have come across a carefully framed photograph of Ellen
Terry, and a treasured play-bill kept in commemoration of a
never-to-be-forgotten evening enjoyed in her realms of Fancy.

But she did not drop from cloudland to delight us. Her great
achievements have been won--as all great achievements are won--by early
training, deep and constant study, hard work, and possibly, above all,
by family tradition.

In theatrical lore the name of Terry is, indeed, an old and honoured
one. In Lockhart's beautiful biography of Sir Walter Scott, and again in
the happily published Diary of the Magician of the North, we read much
of the energetic Daniel Terry who was for many years connected with the
Edinburgh stage, and who subsequently joined Yates in a memorable
management of the Adelphi Theatre. Daniel Terry, with the appreciative
eye of the true actor, set his heart upon making stage versions of the
Waverley Novels, and though at first Scott (in common with all great
novelists) objected to this process, it was subsequently allowed, and
adapter and author became friends. It was in the spring of 1816 that
Terry produced a dramatic piece entitled "Guy Mannering," which met with
great success, and is still from time to time seen. "What share," says
Lockhart, "the novelist had in this first specimen of what he used to
call the art of 'Terryfying,' I cannot exactly say; but his
correspondence shows that the pretty song of the Lullaby was not his
only contribution to it; and I infer that he had taken the trouble to
modify the plot, and rearrange, for stage purposes, a considerable part
of the original dialogue."

Of the intimacy that commenced and grew between the poet and the
playwright, Lockhart records:--

"It was at a rehearsal of 'The Family Legend of Joanna Baillie' that
Scott was first introduced to another theatrical performer, who ere long
acquired a large share of his regard and confidence--Mr. Daniel Terry.
He had received a good education, and been regularly trained as an
architect; but abandoned that profession at an early period of life, and
was now beginning to attract attention as a valuable actor in Henry
Siddons's company. Already he and the Ballantynes were constant
companions, and through his familiarity with them Scott had abundant
opportunities of appreciating his many excellent and agreeable
qualities. He had the manners and feelings of a gentleman. Like John
Kemble, he was deeply skilled in the old literature of the drama, and he
rivalled Scott's own enthusiasm for the antiquities of _vertu_. Their
epistolary correspondence in after days was frequent, and none so well
illustrates many of the poet's minor tastes and habits. As their letters
lie before me they appear as if they had all been penned by the same
hand. Terry's idolatry of his new friend induced him to imitate his
writing so zealously that Scott used to say, if he were called upon to
swear to any document, the utmost he could venture to attest would be,
that it was either in his own hand or Terry's. The actor, perhaps
unconsciously, mimicked him in other matters with hardly inferior
pertinacity. His small lively features had acquired, before I knew him,
a truly ludicrous cast of Scott's graver expression; he had taught his
tiny eyebrow the very trick of the poet's meditative frown; and, to
crown all, he so habitually affected his tone and accent that, though a
native of Bath, a stranger could hardly have doubted he must be a
Scotchman. These things afforded all their acquaintance much diversion;
but perhaps no Stoic could have helped being secretly gratified by
seeing a clever and sensible man convert himself into a living type and
symbol of admiration."

In the pages of his fascinating Diary (or "Journal") Scott records--

     "_October 20, 1826_ (London).--At breakfast, Crofton Croker, author
     of the 'Irish Fairy Tales.' Something like Tom Moore. There were
     also Terry, Allan Cunningham, Newton, and others."

      "_October 21, 1826._--We returned to a hasty dinner in Pall Mall,
      and then hurried away to see honest Dan Terry's house, called the
      Adelphi Theatre, where we saw 'The Pilot,' from the American novel
      of that name. It is extremely popular, the dramatist having seized
      on the whole story, and turned the odious and ridiculous parts,
      assigned by the original author to the British, against the
      Yankees themselves. There is a quiet effrontery in this that is of
      a rare and peculiar character. The Americans were so much
      displeased, that they attempted a row--which rendered the piece
      doubly attractive to the seamen at Wapping, who came up and
      crowded the house night after night to support the honour of the
      British flag.... I was, however, glad to see honest Dan's theatre
      as full seemingly as it could hold. The heat was dreadful, and
      Anne was so very unwell that she was obliged to be carried into
      Terry's house--a curious dwelling, no larger than a squirrel's
      cage, which he has contrived to squeeze out of the vacant spaces
      of the theatre, and which is accessible by a most complicated
      combination of staircases and small passages. Here we had rare
      good porter and oysters after the play, and found Anne much
      better. She had attempted too much; indeed, I myself was much
      fatigued."

Later comes a sadder note:--

     "_February 3, 1827._--Terry has been pressed by Gibson for my debt
     to him. That I may get managed."

And again--

     "_April 15, 1828._--Got the lamentable news that Terry is totally
     bankrupt. This is a most unexpected blow, though his carelessness
     about money matters was very great. God help the poor fellow! He
     has been ill-advised to go abroad, but now returns to stand the
     storm--old debts, it seems, with principal and interest
     accumulated, and all the items which load a falling man. And wife,
     such a good and kind creature, and children. Alack! alack! I sought
     out his solicitor. There are £7000 or more to pay, and the only
     fund his share in the Adelphi Theatre, worth £5000 and upwards, and
     then so fine a chance of independence lost. That comes of not
     being explicit with his affairs. The theatre was a most
     flourishing concern. I looked at the books, and since have seen
     Yates. The ruin is inevitable, but I think they will not keep him
     in prison, but let him earn his bread by his very considerable
     talents. I shall lose the whole or part of £5000, which I lent him,
     but that is the last of my concern."

And then follow these interesting and touching entries:--

     "_May 8, 1828._--I have been of material assistance to poor Terry
     in his affairs."

      "_June 18, 1829._--Poor Terry is totally prostrated by a paralytic
      affection. Continuance of existence not to be wished for."

      "_July 9, 1829._--Many recollections die with poor Terry."

Of his semi-partnership with his actor-friend, Sir Walter Scott, in a
humorous mood, wrote:--"I have been made a dramatist whether I would or
no. I believe my muse would be _Terry_fied into treading the stage even
if I should write a sermon."

Benjamin Terry, the father of the clever family who form the subject of
these pages, became in his time very popular in Edinburgh, and it was
there that he attracted the attention of Charles Kean, and obtained his
offer for the actor's Mecca--London. But his experience had no doubt
been earned in some of the old "circuits" that were the theatrical
schools of his early days, and turned out many a true artist. The
actors and actresses who thus served their apprenticeship to the stage
assuredly had rough times of it, but they had for the most part joined
the profession for the love of it--they adored Shakespeare and the
authors of the "legitimate drama,"--and, in spite of tedious journeys
from town to town, poor business, and bad theatrical accommodation at
the end of them, looked forward to and enjoyed the evening's
performance. Enthusiasm and hard work led to their reward, and many a
poor strolling-player became a shining light on the London stage.

When Ben Terry went on circuit, travelling actors were in better plight
than they were in the days of poor Roger Kemble and his devoted wife,
who travelled from town to town, and village to village, after the
manner and under the difficulties and disadvantages of the time,--at
some places being received with gracious favour, and at others treated
like lepers and threatened with the stocks and whipping at the cart's
tail, according as the great people were liberal minded or puritanical.
But this struggling, persecuted Roger Kemble lived to see his daughter,
Mrs. Siddons, and his son, John Philip, the stage idols of their day;
and if sometimes his perturbed spirit could revisit Hereford (one of the
cities of his early sorrows) he would realise the happy fact that the
portraits of his never-to-be-forgotten family hold the places of honour
on the Deanery walls.

Since to the often ridiculed circuits of a bygone day we can trace such
actors as the Kembles, the Robertsons, and the Terrys, surely we should
hold them in honoured memory?

Dickens turned them to comic account when he conceived the impossible
but immortal Crummles family; but he put the true ring into the
warm-hearted old manager's heart and voice when on bidding farewell to
Nicholas, he said, "We were a very happy little company. You and I never
had a word. I shall be very glad to-morrow morning to think that I saw
you again, but now I almost wish you hadn't come."

It is pleasant to think that in their own way the circuit players all
formed happy little companies. To enjoy the work of our choice is, in
spite of any drawbacks, one of the greatest sources of happiness.

My esteemed friend, John Coleman, whose memory carries him back to the
days of long ago, has told me that he met Mr. and Mrs. Ben Terry on the
Worcester Circuit. He remembers the former as a handsome, fine-looking
brown-haired man, and the wife as a tall, graceful creature, with an
abundance of fair hair, and with big blue eyes set in a charming face.
Years and years passed before he met his old-time friend again; but at
the memorable banquet given to Henry Irving on the eve of his departure
for his first tour in America, a grey-haired, dignified old gentleman,
who sat next to him, told him that he was the "Ben Terry" of the dead
and gone Worcester Circuit, and introduced him to his grandson, Gordon
Craig.

On that evening the old actor had good reason to be proud, for he could
boast of being the father of one of the most gifted and cultured of
histrionic families. "Think of it," writes Mr. Clement Scott, "Kate,
with her lovely figure and comely features; Ellen, with her quite
indescribable charm; Marion, with a something in her deeper, more
tender, and more feminine than either of them; Florence, who became
lovelier as a woman than as a girl; and the brothers Fred and Charles,
both splendid specimens of the athletic Englishman."

It was while the parent Terrys were fulfilling an engagement at
Coventry--the interesting City of the Three Tall Spires--that their
daughter Ellen was born. This was in the February of 1848, and quite a
little feud has taken place between some of the good people of Coventry
as to the precise house in which the important event took place. That it
was on the 27th day of the second month of the year, and that the street
was Market Street, one and all seem agreed, but several inhabitants of
that thoroughfare have laid claim to be the occupiers, if not the owners
of the shrine. No. 5 and No. 26 are the chief claimants of the honour
(and in all seriousness it is no small honour), but as an "old nurse,"
who should know something about such things, has declared for No. 5, it
stands first favourite; and a fact in its favour is that in the days of
1848 it was a popular lodging-house for actors. One can sympathise with
No. 26, but the general vote must be given to No. 5. After all, it does
not much matter, for who knows what changes have taken place in the old
street during the last fifty years? Perhaps (but for pious pilgrims this
is a dreadful thought!) _even the door numbers may have been changed_!
With a few exceptions the birthplaces of celebrities are apt to be
disappointing. My enthusiasm for famous artists once took me to Brecon
so that I might visit the "Shoulder of Mutton" Inn, in which Sarah
Kemble was born, but, though it was properly inscribed, it was not the
interesting old tavern of my imagination, and manifest modern
"improvements" made me content with a brief gaze at its exterior. It was
at the beautiful Trinity Church at Coventry, on the 26th November 1773,
that Sarah Kemble was married to Henry Siddons, the handsome young actor
from Birmingham; and this brings me back to "leafy Warwickshire"
(Warwickshire-men never forget that it is Shakespeare's county), and the
Coventry of Ellen Terry's birthday in 1848.

Now let me show how easily, by those who care about such things,
theatrical history may be traced.

Ellen Terry, as will soon be seen, was destined to make her earliest
(though childish) successes with Charles Kean. Charles Kean had acted
with his renowned father, Edmund Kean. Edmund Kean had in his childhood
figured as one of the imps who danced around the cauldron in John Philip
Kemble's revival of "Macbeth." Roger Kemble, the father of John Philip
and Sarah Siddons, was the son of a Kemble who had been engaged by and
was associated with Betterton. After "the King had got his own again"
Betterton was acknowledged to be the legitimate successor to Burbage.
Burbage was the first of our great tragic actors, and was the original
performer of the greater number of Shakespeare's heroes--of Coriolanus,
Brutus, Romeo, Hamlet, Othello, Lear, Shylock, Macbeth, Prince Hal,
Henry V., and Richard III. In "Hamlet" Shakespeare enacted the touching
character of the Ghost to the Prince created by Burbage; and so, in a
rough and somewhat "House that Jack Built" fashion, the connection of
such famous histrionic families as the Terrys can be traced back to the
Elizabethan days, to Shakespeare, and the actors of his period.

We may now follow the Ben Terrys and their pretty children to the London
Princess's Theatre, where the experienced actor not only played many
parts but became assistant stage-manager to Charles Kean. Considering
the magnitude of the productions aimed at, this must have been a post of
no small importance and responsibility. When the famous series of
Shakespearean revivals demanded the appearance of clever children, what
was more natural than a conference between Kean and his trusted
lieutenant, and the recommendation by the fond father of the engagement
of his gifted little daughters, Kate and Ellen? Their services were
secured, and at a very early period of their lives they began to make
stage history. Their achievements in the once famous Oxford Street
playhouse will be recorded in the next chapter. In the meantime it is
pleasant to touch upon some of Ellen Terry's impressions of her earliest
childhood.

In a charming series of papers entitled "Stray Memories," contributed by
her to the _New Review_ about ten years ago, she thus delightfully as
well as dutifully recalls memories of her father and mother. "It must be
remembered," she says, "that my sister and I had the advantage of
exceedingly clever and conscientious parents who spared no pains to
bring out and perfect any talents that we possessed. My father was a
very charming elocutionist, and my mother read Shakespeare beautifully,
and then both were very fond of us and saw our faults with eyes of love,
though they were unsparing in their corrections. And, indeed, they had
need of all their patience, for, for my own part, I know I was a most
troublesome, wayward pupil. However, 'the labour we delight in physics
pain,' and I hope, too, that my more staid sister 'made it up to them.'"

Can anything be prettier than this daintily recorded, and no doubt
uncalled for admission?

[Illustration: ELLEN TERRY WHEN EIGHT YEARS OF AGE.

_The autograph shows her signature of to-day._

    [_To face page 24._
]

With one more glimpse of her home-life in childhood I will bring this
chapter of "Beginnings" to a close. Some time ago it occurred to those
who are responsible for that always sprightly journal, _The Referee_, to
ask some stage celebrities to contribute to their Yule-tide number their
impressions of Christmas in their early days--of Christmas, the great
and never-to-be-forgotten holiday of little folk.

And this is what Ellen Terry conjured up:--

"Really," she said, "I have no Christmas experience worth recounting.
Ever since I can remember, Christmas Day has been for me at first a day
on which I received a good many keepsakes, and afterwards a day on which
I gave a good many little gifts.

"But well I remember one particular Christmas Day. I don't know that the
remembrance is worth the telling, but I'll tell it all the same, because
I was about seven years old, and went to 'a party.'

"I was much admired, and I in turn admired greatly a dark, thin boy of
about ten, who had recited 'The Burial of Sir John Moore' (so jolly on a
Christmas Day!). This thin boy was always going down to eat something,
and after the recitation he asked me to come down and have an ice.

"You will, of course, understand that this was a _real_ party--a
staying-up-late, low-necked dress, and fan sort of party. When we had
eaten the ices he suggested some lobster salad--which I thought would be
very nice. He went to fetch the salad and left me dreaming of him and of
his beautiful dark hair.

"Suddenly my dream was interrupted.

"A fat boy with stubbly light hair and freckles on his nose stood
grinning at me and asking me to have some lemonade. I didn't want any
lemonade, and told him so. Thereupon he produced a whole bough of
mistletoe from somewhere or another, and without more ado seized me by
my head and kissed me, and kissed me, and kissed me,--grinning all the
while.

"I was in a rage, and flew at him like a little cat. He fled out of the
room, up the stairs, I after him. I caught him on the landing, clawed
him by the hair, and banged him, and dared him to kiss me again.

"He cried, the coward, though he was eight or nine years old. Adding
insult to injury, he said, 'He didn't want to,' and I was 'horrid.'

"I thought he was horrid, for my pretty white frock was torn, and the
thin dark boy, the boy I had fallen in love with, said I should not have
spoken with such a cur, and that it 'served me right.'

"My heart was broken for the first time, and that is why I remember, and
always shall, that miserable Christmas Day."

No doubt the impressionable and impulsive little lady has since
delighted in as many joyous Christmas Days as, in year succeeding year,
she has given happiness to the thousands and thousands who have revelled
in, and been made the better for, the display of her genius. It is to be
feared that the greatest of our stage artists never realise the amount
of good that they do in the world. If they did they would not only have
their reward in applauding audiences, but their re-reward in the
knowledge that they have brought light, understanding, and lasting
pleasure into countless homes. Through simple and cheerful paths the
good Ben Terrys conducted their youthful daughters into the profession
that Mrs. Kendal has humorously summed up as follows:--

So many, she declares, have wrong impressions of the stage. Some think
they can jump into fame, and that there is no hard work; others think it
is all hard work, and there is no reward. But, of course, there are many
drawbacks, and people who only sit in the front of the theatre cannot
possibly comprehend what it is until they have been behind the scenes
and worked at it from childhood, as she has done. Every day, people
write to her and ask the qualifications of an actress. Well, she should
have the face of a goddess, the strength of a lion, the figure of a
Venus, the voice of a dove, the temper of an angel, the grace of a swan,
the agility of an antelope, and the skin of a rhinoceros; great
imagination, concentration, an exquisite enunciation, a generous spirit,
a loyal disposition, plenty of courage, a keen sense of humour, a high
ideal of morality, a sensitive mind, and an original treatment of
everything. She must be capable of being a kind sister, a good daughter,
and an excellent wife; a judicious mother, an encouraging friend, and
an enterprising grandmother! These, according to an undeniable
authority, are the only qualities that are required for the stage!

Mrs. Kendal's dictum reminds me of what her brother, T. W.
Robertson--one of the best and most popular dramatists of his age--who
had gone through a perfect torture of disappointment before the
production of "Society" by the Bancrofts made his name famous and his
path easy, caused one of his characters in a later play from his pen to
say--

"Yes, I want to write a comedy."

And when the answer came--"Well, write one; I should think it is easy
enough--you've only got to be amusing, spirited, bright, and life-like.
That's all!"

"Oh, _that's_ all, is it?" ruefully responded the would-be comedy
writer.



CHAPTER II

FIRST APPEARANCES


The first appearances on the stage of Kate and Ellen Terry were in every
respect triumphant, and in theatrical history will always be held worthy
of record. A time-worn adage tells us not to judge by first appearances,
but those experts who discerned the extraordinary promise of these
children in the opportunities afforded them under the memorable Charles
Kean _régime_, at the Princess's Theatre, proved themselves to be true
dramatic critics.

As to the very first public appearance of the heroine of these pages
there has been much discussion. When any one deserts an avocation to
"take to the stage," as the phrase goes, a first performance is a
milestone on the road of life and is never forgotten. With children who,
coming from a theatrical family, are, as it were, born to the stage, it
is almost a matter of indifference, and is apt to become nebulous. Mrs.
Kendal, for example, once frankly stated that she remembered little or
nothing of her initial professional efforts until she was reminded of
them by some of the mature actors who had appeared in the same pieces
on those destined to be interesting occasions.

There was a general feeling that Ellen Terry's first appearance was as
Mamillius, the little son of King Leontes of Sicilia, in Kean's
elaborate revival of "The Winter's Tale," until in the June of 1880 the
eminent dramatic critic and stage historian, Mr. Dutton Cook,
contributed an article to the unhappily defunct _Theatre Magazine_, in
which he said:--

"Some four-and-twenty years ago, when the Princess's Theatre was under
the direction of the late Charles Kean, there were included in his
company two little girls, who lent valuable support to the management,
and whose young efforts the playgoers of the time watched with kindly
and sympathetic interest. Shakespearean revivals, prodigiously
embellished, were much in vogue; and Shakespeare, it may be noted by the
way, has testified his regard for children by providing quite a
repertory of parts well suited to the means of juvenile performers. Lady
Macduff's son has appeared too seldom on the scene, perhaps, to be
counted; but Fleance, Mamillius, Prince Arthur, Falstaff's boy, Moth
(Don Armado's page), King Edward V., and his brother, the Duke of York,
Puck, and the other fairies of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' and even
Ariel--these are characters specially designed for infantile players;
and these, or the majority of these, were sustained at the Princess's
Theatre, now by Miss Kate, and now by Miss Ellen Terry, who were wont
to appear, moreover, in such other plays, serious or comic, poetic or
pantomimic, as needed the presence and assistance of the pretty,
sprightly, clever children. Out of Shakespeare, opportunities for Miss
Kate Terry were found in the melodramas of 'The Courier of Lyons' (Sir
Henry Irving's 'The Lyons Mail' of to-day), 'Faust and Marguerite,' and
the comedy of 'Every One has his Fault.' The sisters figured together as
the Princes murdered in the Tower, by Mr. Charles Kean as Richard III.
What miniature Hamlets they looked in their bugled black velvet trunks,
silken hose, and ostrich feathers! They were in mourning, of course, for
their departed father, King Edward IV. My recollection of Miss Ellen
Terry dates from her impersonation of the little Duke of York. She was a
child of six, or thereabout, slim and dainty of form, with profuse
flaxen curls, and delicately-featured face, curiously bright and arch of
expression; and she won, as I remember, her first applause when, in
clear resonant tones, she delivered the lines:--

    'Uncle, my brother mocks both you and me;
    Because that I am little, like an ape,
    He thinks that you should bear me on his shoulders.'

Richard's representative meanwhile scowling wickedly and tugging at his
gloves desperately, pursuant to paternal example and stage tradition. A
year or two later and the baby actress was representing now Mamillius,
and now Puck."

Now, when he arrived at this point, Mr. Dutton Cook raised a hornet's
nest about his ears. In the mind of playgoers it had been long decided
that this all-important first appearance had been in the character of
Mamillius. Where, then, did Mr. Dutton Cook's picturesquely described
Duke of York come in? Mr. George Tawse, who modestly described himself
as a "play-bill-worm," took great interest in the matter, and having
carefully consulted the happily preserved documents in the British
Museum, wrote many letters on the subject to Mr. Clement Scott, who was
then the erudite editor of _The Theatre_. These communications
attracting some notice (Mr. Tawse, be it noted, being all in favour of
Mamillius), Mr. Scott appealed to headquarters, and Ellen Terry
characteristically wrote to him:--"The very first time I ever appeared
on any stage was on the first night of 'The Winter's Tale,' at the
Princess's Theatre, with dear Charles Kean. As for the young Princes,
them unfortunate little men, I never played--not neither of them--there!
What a cry about a little wool! _P.S._--I was born in Coventry, 1848,
and was, I think, about seven when I played in 'The Winter's Tale.'"

Following up his careful researches, Mr. Tawse ultimately came to the
conclusion that on April 28, 1856, Ellen Terry appeared at the
Princess's as Mamillius in "The Winter's Tale"; on October 15, 1856, as
Puck in "A Midsummer Night's Dream"; on December 26, 1857, as the Fairy
"Golden Star" in "The White Cat" pantomime; on April 5, 1858, as Karl in
"Faust and Marguerite"; on October 18, as Prince Arthur in "King John";
on November 17, as Fleance in "Macbeth"; and on December 28, of the same
busy year, as "The Genius of the Jewels," in the pantomime of "The King
of the Castle."

As the lady has so strongly declared for Mamillius, and as Mr. Tawse
thus champions her, I suppose the verdict must be accepted; and yet it
seems very unlikely that such an accurate writer as Mr. Dutton Cook
could have been mistaken concerning that impersonation of the little
Duke of York. Can Ellen Terry have forgotten it? Knowing that she does
not set sufficient value on her work, or the impression it makes on
others, I think it very probable. Indeed, in all due deference to her
and Mr. Tawse (for even play-bills will sometimes unwittingly lie), I
like to give credit to Mr. Dutton Cook's miniature sister Hamlets in
their bugled black velvet trunks, their silken hose, and ostrich
feathers!

As poor little Mamillius, cursed with a jealous yet respected father,
and wondering what the troubles could be that existed between him and
his unhappy, deeply-wronged mother, she must have been very sweet, and
one can fancy what Charles Kean felt when he cried to his "boy"--

                "Come, Sir Page,
    Look on me with your welkin eye."

We have only to realise that in using the word "welkin" Shakespeare
meant "heavenly," to get the expression of the anxious but inspired
little Terry girl.

And if this was indeed her first appearance, her dismissal by Leontes
with the words, "Go play, Mamillius," was almost prophetic.

But if Mr. Dutton Cook chanced to err on the much discussed first
appearance question, he was certainly correct in his critical estimate
of the two remarkable child actresses.

"The public applauded these Terry sisters," he wrote, "not simply
because of their cleverness and prettiness, their graces of aspect, the
careful training they evidenced, and the pains they took to discharge
the histrionic duties entrusted to them, but because of the leaven of
genius discernible in all their performances--they were born actresses.

"Children educated to appear becomingly upon the scene have always been
obtainable, and upon easy terms; but here were little players who could
not merely repeat accurately the words they had learnt by rote, but
could impart sentiment to their speeches, could identify themselves with
the characters they played, could personate and portray, could weep
themselves that they might surely make others weep, could sway the
emotions of crowded audiences. They possessed in full that power of
abandonment to scenic excitement which is rare even among the most
consummate of mature performers. They were carried away by the force of
their own acting; there were tears not only in their voices but in their
eyes; their mobile faces were quick to reflect the significance of the
drama's events; they could listen, their looks the while annotating, as
it were, the discourse they heard; singular animation and alertness
distinguished all their movements, attitudes, and gestures. There was
special pathos in the involuntary trembling of their baby fingers, and
the unconscious wringing of their tiny hands; their voices were
particularly endowed with musically thrilling qualities. I have never
seen audiences so agitated and distressed, even to the point of anguish,
as were the patrons of the Princess's Theatre on those bygone nights
when little Prince Arthur, personated by either of the Terry sisters,
clung to Hubert's knees as the heated iron cooled in his hands, pleading
passionately for sight, touchingly eloquent of voice and action; a
childish simplicity attendant ever upon all the frenzy, the terror, the
vehemence, and the despair of the speeches and the situation.

"Assuredly Nature had been very kind to the young actresses, and without
certain natural graces, gifts, and qualifications, there can scarcely be
satisfactory acting. All Romeo's passion may pervade you, but unless you
can look like Romeo--or something like him--if your voice be weak or
cracked, your mouth awry or your legs askew--it is vain to feel like
him; you will not convince your audience of your sincerity, or induce
them to sympathise in the least with your actions or sufferings; still
less will you stir them to transports. Of course Genius makes laws unto
itself, and there have been actors who have triumphed over very serious
obstacles; but, as Mr. G. H. Lewes has observed, 'a harsh, inflexible
voice, a rigid or heavy face, would prevent even a Shakespeare from
being impressive and affecting on the stage.' The player is greatly
dependent upon his personality. At the same time, mental qualities must
accompany physical advantages. The constitutionally cold and torpid
cannot hope to represent successfully excitement or passion. The actor
must be _en rapport_ with the character he sustains, must sympathise
with the emotions he depicts. A peculiar dramatic sensitiveness and
susceptibility from the first characterised the sisters Terry; their
nervous organisation, their mental impressibility and vivaciousness, not
less than their personal charms and attractions, may be said to have
ordained and determined their success upon the stage."

Coming from this high source such trustworthy and carefully analysed
appreciation is invaluable; but the criticism that I love best to
preserve in connection with the early appearances of the little Terrys
at the Princess's Theatre is that of John William Cole, the biographer
of Charles Kean. Writing for a book (published in 1859), long before the
girls had established their names, he said:--

"Before quitting the subject of 'King John' (1852) at the Princess's
Theatre, it would be unjust not to name in a special sentence of
approval the impressive acting of Miss Kate Terry, then a child of ten
years of age, as Prince Arthur, and of Mr. Ryder as Hubert."

In the revival of "King John" in 1858, Ellen Terry was the Prince
Arthur, that sound actor, John Ryder (he had been one of the mainstays
of Macready), again playing Hubert.

Concerning the production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in 1856, Mr.
Cole says: "Another remarkable evidence of the excellent training of the
Princess's Theatre presented itself in the precocious talent of Miss
Ellen Terry, a child of eight years of age, who played the merry goblin
Puck, a part that requires an old head on young shoulders, with restless
elfish animation, and an evident enjoyment of her own mischievous
pranks."

It is because Mr. Cole wrote and published, as it were, "upon the spot,"
that I consider his criticism not only discerning, but beyond all price.
We all know how easy it is to prophesy after the event!

Ellen Terry's recollections of her appearance as the infant Mamillius in
"The Winter's Tale" are very vivid, as, indeed, they may be. In more
ways than one it was a notable first night for the little maid. Queen
Victoria, Prince Albert, and the Princess Royal were present, and the
next morning she woke to find herself with her foot on the first step
of the steep stairs that lead to fame. No less an authority than the
_Times_ declared that she had played her part with a vivacious precocity
that proved her a worthy relation of her sister. No doubt there were
that day rejoicings in the Terry family, and the sensitive child must
have been rewarded for her own passing tribulations. "My young heart
swelled with pride--I can recall the sensation now," she has declared,
"when I was told what I had to do,"--and then comes the sad confession
that she wept bitter and prolonged tears when the audience laughed when
she fell over the rather ridiculous toy-cart with which Mamillius was
ordered to "go play." She calls it her "first dramatic failure," and
felt at the moment that her "career as an actress was ruined for ever."

I wonder if that untoward episode of the toy-cart had anything to do
with the extreme nervousness that, according to her own confession, the
actress always suffers from on "first nights"? Probably not; for I
believe all true stage artists are continually nervous--nervous for
themselves, nervous for their audiences. She says to this day that she
is so "high strung" on a first night that if she realised that there was
an audience in front staring at her, she would fly away from the theatre
and be far off "in two-twos."

Yes, I fear that all of them, or, at all events, the best of them,
undergo the enduring agonies of nervousness. Once Sothern and Toole were
dining with me in Birmingham. In the evening the one had to play Lord
Dundreary at the Theatre Royal, and the other Caleb Plummer at the
Prince of Wales Theatre. They had acted these parts for many, many
hundreds of times, and I had imagined that their approaching work would
be mere pastime to them. But Sothern, speaking to his brother comedian,
said, "I don't know how you feel, John, but I'm as nervous to-night as I
was on my first appearance on the stage."

To my amazement, Toole, who always seemed so at home with his audiences
as to become one amongst them, confessed that he had the same feeling;
and they agreed in saying that when an aspiring young actor conceitedly
set forth as one of his qualifications for the profession the fact that
"he did not know what nervousness meant," he was certain to do no good.
"If you are not always anxious about your work," said Sothern, "always
painfully desirous to be doing your best, you will soon lose whatever
hold you may have on the public." And so said every one's friend--the
genial John Toole.

Surely this applies to other pursuits besides the art of acting?

Ellen Terry has happier recollections of Puck than of Mamillius, and no
wonder, for the part, although trying, is a delightful one. During the
two hundred and fifty nights of the performance of "A Midsummer Night's
Dream" at the Princess's (a marvellous run for those days) she
"revelled in the impish unreason of 'the sprite,'" and since then she
has ever felt the charm of parts "where imagination can have free play,
and there is no occasion to observe too closely the cold, hard rules of
conventionality, and the fetters of dry-as-dust realism."

Of her performances in the pantomimes, with which, at Christmas time,
Charles Kean found it necessary to supplement his elaborate productions,
we can only imagine (and that is easily done) that she was a very
fascinating little fairy; and it seems equally certain that when she was
called upon to appear in two lengthy entertainments on the same night,
she must often have been a very tired little fairy.

Concerning her representation of Prince Arthur in "King John," a
pathetic little story is extant. At the point where she left the stage
in the full and terrible knowledge that her eyes were to be burnt out,
she at first (presumably at rehearsal) made her exit with such composure
that she received a strong reprimand from Mrs. Kean, who told her that
she must give expression to the anguish of the situation. This little
scolding caused the easily affected child to shed such earnest tears
that her monitress cried out, "Oh, if you can only do that on the stage,
what a Prince Arthur you will be!" The hint was taken to heart and
adopted, and the success of the impersonation was assured.

The new Prince Arthur was honoured with a special call, and the critics
were loud and unanimous in their praises, freely acknowledging the
dramatic force of the performance, together with its delightful
simplicity, tenderness, and truth to nature.

No doubt her position in the theatre compelled Mrs. Kean to be from time
to time an apparently harsh task-mistress, but little Ellen learnt to
love her, and has always remembered with generously expressed gratitude
the benefit she derived from her suggestions and lessons. But in spite
of the hard work and childish troubles that she must have undergone, she
speaks brightly of every one she met in that very early engagement at
the Princess's. In his old age and infirmities she sympathetically
recalls Harley, the eminent comedian for whom Charles Dickens was
induced to write some of those ephemeral farces that in earlier days had
fitfully flourished at the St. James's Theatre; she remembers
affectionately her earnest but exacting dancing-master, Mr. Oscar Byrn,
and the tiring hours that she spent under his determined rule; she
conjures up with pride her first and only meeting with Macready, and
how, when she apologised for accidentally jostling him while running to
her dressing-room, he smiled, laughed, and then said, "Never mind, you
are a very polite little girl, and you act very earnestly and speak very
nicely;" and she is warm in the praises of Charles Kean, and lastingly
appreciative of the strong impression made upon her by his vivid
personality. But I fancy that the sunny nature of Ellen Terry has found
good in everything, and, throughout her stage career, has shed
brightness and warmth on the somewhat dingy world behind the scenes.

My friend, Geneviève Ward, who has taken part with her in several of her
memorable Lyceum triumphs, tells me that it is delightful to bear
witness to her sweet disposition--a cultivated charm that prompts her to
be generous, thoughtful, kind, and considerate to every one, and to make
her genuinely anxious that the humblest actresses in the company, as
well as the principals, should appear to the best advantage. Thus
lovingly thinking of others, Ellen Terry makes herself loved, and by her
radiant presence lightens many a weary heart.

In her own gossamer-like and gem-bespangled "Stray Memories," she has
written: "Why is it, I wonder, that pain is so deeply felt at the time,
and that its memory fades so quickly, while joy flits by almost
unperceived, and yet leaves such deep traces behind? At least, this is
my experience. It may not be so with most people. They may, perhaps,
suffer deeply and remember lightly; enjoy strongly and forget quickly.
If so, I pity them with all my heart. When I sit down to write it is not
the sad recollections that come crowding before me; it is the bright
joyous moments which shape themselves most distinctly in my mind. 'Oh,
what a light, frivolous nature you must have, then!' I hear some grave
and reverend signior remark, if any such person ever deigns to read
this flimsy chatter. Well, I am ready to plead guilty to the charge. I
was made like that, and so Nature is to blame, and not I."

Ours would be a gayer and happier world if Nature had cast more of us in
the same mould.

Another Princess's experience was her appearance as a diminutive "Tiger"
page-boy in a farce by Edmund Yates, entitled "If the Cap Fits," and she
confesses to the infinite pride she took in her pair of miniature and
rather tight-fitting top-boots. Here again, though in a different way to
her Shakespearean representations, genuine success was secured. In his
interesting volumes of "Reminiscences" Edmund Yates records the
production, saying, that "'If the Cap Fits' was admirably acted by,
amongst others, Mr. Frank Mathews, Mr. Walter Lacy, and Miss Ellen
Terry ... who played a juvenile groom, a 'tiger,' with great spirit and
vivacity." And, much later on, he says: "In the present days of genuine
heroine-worship, with recollections full upon us of Beatrice, Viola,
Olivia, and Camma, it seems odd to read, in connection with this slight
comedietta, that Miss Ellen Terry is worthy of praise for the spirit and
point with which she played the part of a youthful groom."

Evidently she believed in the same doctrine as, in his early days,
Colley Cibber did. Weary of being told that the parts he wanted to
attempt were "not in his way," he protested: "I think anything,
naturally written, ought to be in everybody's way that pretends to be
an actor."

Ellen Terry could not agree with those critics who declared that Charles
Kean went too far in the mounting of his plays. The theatre-goers of
those days had not been taught to expect beautiful and correct scenery,
and exact accuracy in costume; and some of them actually resented it,
leaning to the view held by Kean's contemporary and friend, Dr. Westland
Marston, who considered that in some of the spectacular revivals at the
Princess's, unnecessary pageantry was not only introduced but absolutely
obtruded. For example, he said that in the beautiful production of
Richard II. a display of too minute correctness in armorial bearings,
weapons and household vessels made the stage an auxiliary to the museum,
and forced it to combine lessons on archæology with the display of
character and passion.

Such were the thanks that Charles Kean received for his indefatigable
and scholarly research, and lavish expenditure! How he would have loved
to hear his little Mamillius and winsome Puck declare in the days of her
fame, and when hers had become a voice in the land greater than his own,
that with rare perception he had opened his eyes to the absurd
anachronisms in costume and accessories which prevailed at that period,
and that he established a system which has been perfected by Sir Henry
Irving and his contemporaries. To have been a pioneer in good work
eventually means fame, but pioneers are apt to be distrusted by those
who have not the courage to accompany them on their explorations.

She also draws an apt comparison between the remuneration and work of
the actors of the Charles Kean days and now.

"Very young actors," she says (I again venture to quote from her "Stray
Memories"), "sometimes complain of low salaries and long hours. I wish
they could see Mr. Kean's salary-list--they would soon cease to grumble.
Why, a young man to-day gets as much for carrying on a coal-box as an
experienced actor then received for playing an important part. Then, how
different the hours are! If a company now has to rehearse for four hours
in the day it is thought a great hardship. But when I was a child
rehearsals often used to last until four or five in the morning. What
weary work it was to be sure! My poor little legs used to ache, and
sometimes I could hardly keep my eyes open when I was on the stage.
Often I used to creep into the green-room, which every one acquainted
with the old Princess's will remember well; and there, curled up in the
deep recess of the window, forget myself, my troubles, and my art--if
you can talk of art in connection with a child of eight--in a delicious
sleep."

It is a pathetic little portrait, but the hard work, the early training
and the weary hours resulted in well won, nay almost unique success, and
an artistic career that has rejoiced the hearts of her fellow
creatures, and will for ever live in the history of the stage.

Charles Kean's memorable management of the Princess's Theatre came to an
end in 1859, and with it terminated the engagement of the Terry family.

In thinking of Charles Kean I always conjure up three pictures.

The first one represents the dingy lodging in the now demolished Cecil
Street, Strand, where his father, Edmund Kean, is staying with his
devoted wife and three-year-old boy. The struggling strolling player has
got his chance at last. He is to appear to-night as Shylock at Drury
Lane. It is the night of January 14, 1814, and in theatrical lore is for
ever memorable. "I must dine to-day," the nervous actor said--and for
the first time in many days he indulged in the luxury of meat. "My God!"
he exclaimed to his wife, "if I succeed I shall go mad!" As the church
clocks were striking six he sallied forth from his meagre apartment with
the parting words: "I wish I was going to be shot." In his hand he
carried a small bundle--containing shoes, stockings, wig, and other
trifles of costume, and so he trudged through the cold and foggy
streets, and the thick slush of thawing snow that penetrated his worn
boots and chilled him to the bone. And then the exultant return home
after the curtain had fallen upon the wild enthusiasm of an electrified
audience! Nearly mad with delight, and with half-frenzied incoherency
he poured forth the story of his triumph. "Mary!" he cried to his wife,
"you shall ride in your carriage yet! Charles," lifting the boy from his
bed, "shall go to Eton!"

Then followed his career of unexampled success and prosperity
continually marred and at last ruined by the dissipated habits to which
this giant among tragic actors allowed himself to become the unhappy
victim--habits that wrecked his home and well-nigh ruined his
reputation. Between 1814 and 1827 his earnings had amounted to £200,000,
and yet when he died in 1833 everything he left behind him, all his
presents and mementos, had to be sent to the hammer to pay his debts.

The 25th March 1833 (here is my second picture) saw the end of his stage
career. For the first and only time Edmund the father and Charles the
son (who had been sent to Eton, but who had taken to the stage as most
of the sons of true actors will) stood upon the London boards together,
the one playing Othello, the other Iago.

The event caused great excitement among playgoers, and the house was
crammed to suffocation. But Edmund Kean went through his part "dying as
he went," until he came to the "Farewell,"--and the strangely
appropriate words--"Othello's occupation's gone."

Then he gasped for breath, and, falling upon his son's shoulder, moaned,
"I am dying, speak to them for me." Within a few months the restless
spirit of Edmund Kean was at peace in the quiet churchyard at Richmond.

The third picture has been limned by Dr. Westland Marston, and shows a
sad little episode in the declining years of Charles Kean, a man who,
devoid of the genius of his erring father, had ever attempted to promote
the highest interests of his calling, and to do good in the world.

"In the autumn of 1866," says my vivid word painter, "I chanced to be at
Scarborough. The evening before leaving, when passing by one of the
hotels--I think the Prince of Wales's--there appeared, framed in one of
the windows, a worn, pallid face, with a look of deep melancholy
abstraction. 'Charles Kean!' I exclaimed to myself, and prepared to
retrace my way and call. But, having heard already that he had been
seriously unwell while playing a round of provincial engagements, I
thought it better not to disturb him or to bring home to him a grave
impression as to his health, even by a card of enquiry. In little more
than a year after this his death took place. It occurred in January
1868, when he had reached his fifty-seventh year.... His friends who are
still amongst us will cherish the recollection of a high-principled
gentleman, warm in his attachments, generous in extending to others the
appreciation he coveted for himself, and gifted with a charm of simple
candour that made even his weaknesses endearing."

[Illustration: TOWER COTTAGE, WINCHELSEA.

_Ellen Terry's country home._

    [_To face page 48._
]

It is to be feared that in the theatrical career on which he started
with so much energy and confidence Charles Kean met with lack of
appreciation and much disappointment.

I wonder what would have been the effect if the consoling words of
George William Curtis (one of the most beautiful of American writers)
had been wafted to him across the Atlantic?

"Success," says Curtis, "is a delusion. It is an attainment--but who
attains? It is the horizon, always bounding our path and therefore never
gained. The Pope, triple-crowned, and borne with flabella through St.
Peter's, is not successful--for he might be canonised into a saint.
Pygmalion, before his perfect statue, is not successful,--for it might
live. Raphael, finishing the Sistine Madonna, is not successful,--for
her beauty has revealed to him a finer and an unattainable beauty."

To the true artist such truths as these strike home, and I fear they
often throw their cloud over the apparently ever sunny-minded Ellen
Terry. It is a fact that she often feels she has failed where
enthusiastic audiences, and even the most captious critics, testify to
the fact that she has triumphed. But she knows that any seeming victory
in human life is not final achievement, but a spur (often a cruel one)
to endless endeavour. The artistic temperament must be more or less
self-tormenting, and those who desire mere personal comfort should never
attempt to cultivate it. Devoid of it they can smugly criticise, and
with intense self-satisfaction condemn, the life work of those who well
nigh exhaust their energies in order to provide them with entertainment.

At the conclusion of the Princess's engagement Mr. Ben Terry seems to
have been inspired by a happy thought. Probably he knew that in 1859
there were thousands of goody-goody people who did not like to be seen
in a real theatre, but who would flock to see theatricals under the
guise of "A Drawing-Room Entertainment." Possibly he was aware that the
congregations of goody-goodies, who still had an idea that Mawworm was
right when he declared that the playhouse was the devil's hot-bed, took
an eager interest in reading anything that appeared concerning the
stage. The youthful fame of Kate and Ellen Terry was well established.
Their stars were in the ascendant, everybody (including the useful army
of goody-goodies) wanted to see them;--why not let them appear in a
"Drawing-Room Entertainment"?

Perhaps I am wrong in hinting at such things as these in connection with
the business arrangements of Mr. Ben Terry. Anyway, a "Drawing-Room
Entertainment" was devised for the attractive sisters, and it became
exceedingly popular.

It was first brought out at the Royal Colosseum, Regent's Park, in those
days a favourite place for amusements of this description. It proved so
attractive that it ran for thirty consecutive nights, during which more
than thirty thousand people paid for admission, and expressed their
delight in the entertainment. Thus encouraged, it was taken on tour to
the leading as well as the smaller provincial towns.

Those who, like myself, remember the Colosseum as it used to be, and
were in their juvenile days taken there as to one of the "Sights of
London," will remember the weird, imitation stalactite caverns. Ellen
Terry has confessed that it was amid the artificial gloom of these shams
that she first studied Juliet. At least they served one good purpose! By
the courtesy of Mr. Percy Fitzgerald I am able to give the following
copy of the Terry programme.

    LECTURE HALL, CROYDON


    For One Night Only
    _Tuesday Evening, March 13th, 1860_


    MISS KATE TERRY
    AND
    MISS ELLEN TERRY

     The original representatives of Ariel, Cordelia, Arthur, Puck, etc.
     (which characters were acted by them upwards of one hundred
     consecutive nights, and also before Her Most Gracious Majesty the
     Queen), at the Royal Princess's Theatre, when under the management
     of Mr. Charles Kean, will present their new and successful

    ILLUSTRATIVE AND MUSICAL
    DRAWING-ROOM ENTERTAINMENT

    In Two Parts, entitled
    "DISTANT RELATIONS" AND "HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS"

    In which they will sustain several
    _CHARACTERS IN FULL COSTUME_

The second item on the modest little play-bill appears to have been the
strong attraction. In this Kate Terry played the part of a charming
young lady who is discovered eagerly expecting her younger brother's
arrival home for his first holidays. She pictures to herself the
innocent, tender-hearted, shy little fellow who only a few months ago
was sent away "unwillingly to school," and she longs to kiss him, and
once more pour out upon him her sweet sisterly sympathy. But to her
astonishment, when Harry--(impersonated by Ellen Terry)--appears, she
finds that in a very short period he has degenerated, and acquired the
habits of a precocious, over-dressed, cigar-smoking, horsey little cad.
After some amusing scenes, in which the shocked sister endeavours to
appeal to the better senses of the irrepressible little monkey, she goes
out, and returning disguised as a determined old gentlewoman, endeavours
to replace gentle persuasion by superior force. In a way she succeeds,
and then a cleverly brought about little episode shows her that beneath
the shoddy veneer of her brother's silly would-be-manly habits his true
heart beats and yearns towards her; and so they kiss and are friends
again, and at curtain-fall the audience know that both for sister and
brother the holidays will be happy ones.

Kate Terry was admirable both as the dismayed girl and the elderly lady,
and Ellen Terry caused abundant amusement as the impish schoolboy.
"Distant Relations" was also a clever little sketch, and the
entertainment was at once merry and interesting.

Ellen Terry speaks with fond recollection of that little touring party
of five, the odd number being made up by Mr. Sydney Naylor, who, in the
capacity of pianist (he subsequently made for himself a well-known
name), accompanied the father and mother and their two young daughters.
For more than two years they gaily travelled from town to town,
supremely happy in each other's society, always drawing large and
appreciative audiences, and having every reason to be satisfied with the
financial results of their experiment. No doubt it was a "good time,"
and probably all concerned in it were sorry when it came to an end; but
even two years make a great difference in young ladies of tender
age--all entertainments run their course--and more serious work had to
be approached.

London was naturally their goal, and Ellen Terry soon found an
engagement at the Royalty Theatre. The little Soho playhouse--the scene
of varying fortunes and many strange theatrical experiments--had just
passed into the hands of a Madame Albina de Rhona, an attractive
Parisian actress and _danseuse_. Having made her name in Paris and St.
Petersburg, this ambitious lady had resolved to captivate London, and,
as her appearances at the St. James's and Drury Lane Theatres had met
with encouragement, she boldly resolved to try her luck as an English
manageress. One of her first attractions at the Royalty (by the way, it
was originally called the Royal Soho Theatre, and Madame de Rhona is
credited with having given it its new and brighter name) was an
adaptation of Eugene Sue's romance, "Atar-Gull."

On the stage it was the grimmest and wildest of productions, and of all
the strange pranks played on the boards of the Royalty, this must surely
have been the strangest. It set forth a ghastly story of a negro who
(the scene was laid in Jamaica), in order to avenge the death of his
father, made it his life's business to murder every member of his
master's family. The piece was replete with horrors and wholly unsuited
to the little bandbox of a house, which, in later years, when the
Broughs, Burnand, and other humorous writers were at their brightest,
and when burlesque was true burlesque--witty, coherent, and cohesive, we
associated with all that is exhilarating and mirth-provoking. Those who,
with me, can conjure up the days of the "Patty" Oliver _régime_ will
know what I mean.

But all I have to do with the gruesome "Atar-Gull" is to make brief note
of the part in it that Ellen Terry was called upon to play. It was that
of a fair young girl named Clementine who (not unnaturally) has an
aversion to the snakes that infest her environment. In order to cure her
of this reprehensible prejudice, it occurs to some idiot (possibly an
interfering aunt) to order a dead snake to be put in her room. This is
an opportunity for the revengeful negro, and he contrives to give her a
live and deadly reptile for her companion. With the living venomous
creature coiled about her neck and body, and ever tightening its scaly,
slimy hug, the terrified girl appears screaming on the stage. Into this
horrible situation, and the opportunity it afforded her, the still
childish Ellen Terry put her whole heart, and outscreamed all actresses,
whether young or old. It was not one prolonged scream and then collapse.
As her terror and agony seemed to increase, shriek succeeded shriek--a
shriek for deliverance--a shriek of bodily anguish--and a shriek of
hopeless despair. No doubt the effect was startling, and unquestionably
it thrilled her audiences. It was all wonderfully done, and the fear of
the wretched girl was depicted with almost painful fidelity. But the
ridiculous, misplaced, and sensational play made the situation an absurd
one.

If it were repeated to-day we should think of the nonsense rhyme--

    "There was a young lady of Russia,
    Who screamed so, that no one could hush her."

As it was, it made many people laugh; but on the critics, who could
"read between the lines," it left its impression, and gave hope of
wondrous things to come. Happily, most of them lived to see them come.
It was all a question of training. According to Ellen Terry's own
account, Madame Albina de Rhona must have been a very difficult lady to
work under, and yet her warm heart prompts her to speak to-day in
affectionate terms of her second manageress. In the case of this gifted
child the quality of mercy was never strained. Her tasks had to be
endured, but she schooled herself to enjoy them, and she tried to love
those with whom she worked.



CHAPTER III

THE BRISTOL STOCK COMPANY


The engagement at the Royalty was only a stopgap, and at its termination
the wise Mr. Ben Terry took his daughter "to school," in one of the
famous stock companies that then most happily existed in all the large
provincial towns. They were indeed "schools"--schools of a very
practical order--and in them most of the leading actors of our
generation graduated.

Now that they have vanished, the great question among the would-be
actors and actresses of to-day (or I should say among those who are in
earnest) is "where can we find a true dramatic school?" Alas! too many
of them abjure school, and, with the awkwardness (though very little of
the timidity) of half-fledged birds, flutter blindly on to the stage,
and blunder under the unwonted glare of footlights, to the bewilderment
of the theatrical _habitués_ and the despair of critics, but apparently
to the great satisfaction of themselves and their foolishly admiring
friends.

I am inclined to think that theatre-lovers who never lived in a large
town in the good old stock company days missed one of the joys of life.
The actors and actresses in those companies (I speak from personal
experience) were our pride and our delight. Their names were familiar in
our mouths and homes as household words. Eagerly we scanned the
ever-changing play-bills to see what this or that favourite would do
next; anxiously we turned to the newspaper to see if the privileged
critic did full justice to them. They were, both on and off the stage,
our local heroes, heroines, soul-inspirers, and mirth-provokers. They
were familiar figures in our streets, and we loved to meet them. When,
according to the custom of those days, the "stars" from London came down
to be supported by the stock company, we were so loyal to the friends
who delighted us all the year round that we pretended to think little or
nothing of the stars. When, in due course, some of them moved on to
London, we watched their careers with the deepest interest. In short,
between the players and their patrons there existed a personal
affection. If they did not know each other "off the stage," the magnetic
touch was there, and it meant everything to those on both sides of the
curtain. The result was painstaking and sound (if not always great)
acting, and well-judged applause from fond and encouraging audiences.
Under such conditions, actors who already had their hearts in their
vocation, did not care how hard they worked, and constant experience,
coupled with true endeavour, perfected them in their art.

But it _was_ hard work! Edward Compton has told me that at the shortest
notice he was called upon to study and play within one week important
parts in "The Octoroon," "The Old Toll House," "Thirty Years of a
Gambler's Life," and "Raby Rattler," and I believe Sir Henry Irving
could record even harder experiences.

But the firing of the clay brought out the colours on the porcelain, and
the colours lasted. At the time when Ellen Terry was taken to one of
these important schools, there was no better stock company in England
than that brought together by Mr. J. H. Chute, the enterprising and
far-seeing manager of the Theatre Royal, Bristol. Mr. Chute seemed to
have a knack of gathering about him most of the promising young artists
of the day, and certainly those who learnt their lessons under the roof
of his academy did justice to his name.

It is tantalising to think of a West of England stock company (Mr. Chute
at that time was responsible for the Bath as well as the Bristol
theatre) that, within a very short period, could boast of such a
constellation of names as Madge Robertson (Mrs. Kendal), Marie Wilton
(Lady Bancroft), Henrietta Hodson (Mrs. Labouchere), Kate Bishop, Kate
and Ellen Terry, George Melville, Arthur Stirling, George and William
Rignold, W. H. Vernon, David James, Charles Coghlan, Arthur Wood, John
Rouse, and J. F. Cathcart.

No wonder that in such a school, and with such schoolmates, Ellen Terry
learnt very useful lessons. There was an abundance of work. One-act
farces and genuine burlesques were then in vogue, and these, with
tragedy or comedy, formed the day's rehearsal and the evening's bill.
Every one took part in them, and both for brains and body it was sharp
and onerous work. But they were enthusiasts; they were aware of their
local popularity; they were ready to tackle anything that came in their
way, and so their names were made.

For example, Ellen Terry was cast for a part in a burlesque. She told
the stage manager that she could neither sing nor dance. The reply was
laconic and decisive: "_You've got to do it!_" "And I did, in a way,"
she says; "but it was the best thing that could happen to me, for it
took the self-consciousness out of me--and, after a while, I thought it
was capital fun, for the Bath and Bristol people were very kind."

But it was not all burlesque. Relief to clever William Brough's
"Endymion"--"Perseus and Andromeda; or the Maid and the Monster," and so
forth, was found in serious drama, and sometimes in Shakespeare. Kate
Terry had preceded her younger sister to Bristol, and speedily
established herself as a favourite. Her Portia and Beatrice were already
popular performances, and renewed zest was added to them when "Pretty
Miss Ellen" was at hand to play Nerissa and Hero.

During this useful engagement Ellen Terry formed an intense admiration
for some of her co-mates. She fell in love with the beautiful singing
voice of Madge Robertson (it was an open question then whether our Mrs.
Kendal of to-day would devote herself to opera or drama), and she is
especially warm in her praises of the finished acting of Charles
Coghlan. How some of these budding artists crossed each other's paths in
later and famous days we shall see in the course of these pages.

From an old friend, who in the days of his youth aspired to be an actor,
but, after a short trial, quitted the stage to make his name as
journalist and author, I have received the following interesting
notes:--

"You ask me, my dear Pemberton," he writes, "to give you my
recollections of Ellen Terry in those now, alas! far-off days of my
youth, when I was for a brief time connected in a very humble capacity
with the Theatre Royal, Bristol. It was in the early sixties (1862, I
think) that Ellen and her elder sister, Kate (now Mrs. Arthur Lewis),
were engaged by the late James Henry Chute as members of his stock
company, Kate playing the juvenile lead and the principal ladies in the
classical burlesques, which were then the vogue and quite as attractive
as the legitimate drama. The company also included Miss Henrietta Hodson
(now Mrs. Labouchere), soubrette and principal boy, the late Charles
Coghlan, light comedian, William and George Rignold, John Rouse, Mr. and
Mrs. Robertson, and their daughter Madge, the latter only in her early
'teens, and Arthur Wood, 'first low comedian.'

"Ellen Terry was then a girl of about fourteen, of tall figure, with a
round, dimpled, laughing, mischievous face, a pair of merry, saucy grey
eyes, and an aureole of golden hair, which she wore, in the words of a
modern ditty, 'hanging down her back.' Although dwarfed, in a measure,
as an actress, by the more experienced skill and the superior _rôles_ of
her fascinating sister, Ellen soon became a great favourite in Bristol.
Her popularity was largely due to her performances in two of the Brough
brothers' burlesques--'Endymion' and 'Perseus and Andromeda.' In the
former Miss Hodson played Endymion, Kate Terry was Diana, and Ellen,
Cupid, and a very arch, piquant sprite, full of movement and laughter,
Miss Ellen was.

"She wore a loose short-skirted sort of tunic with a pair of miniature
wings, and of course carried the conventional bow and quiver. Some of
the more prudish of the Bristol theatre-goers--the same people who had
been wont to roar over the vulgar comicalities of Johnny Rouse--were
half inclined to be shocked at a scantiness of attire that even Mr.
Chute himself was disposed to think (_i.e._ for the modest early
sixties: to-day a Cupid _with a_ '_skirted_ tunic' would be considered
sadly over-dressed) a 'little daring.'

"But Ellen Terry's charm, her delightful grace and innate refinement,
quite disarmed the prudes, and Cupid triumphed in front of the curtain
as well as behind it, and lightly shot his darts in all directions. Miss
Hodson was at that time a deservedly great favourite, but the Terry
sisters unconsciously became the founders of a new cult among local
playgoers, and set up an empire of their own; in fact, I am hardly
exaggerating if I say that there were among the gilded youth of Bristol
two rival factions--the Hodson faction and the Terry faction, whose
friendly antagonism was as keen, if not as fatal, as that of the
Montagues and the Capulets.

"If my memory serves me right, Ellen was the Dictys of the other
burlesque, Miss Hodson and Miss Kate Terry playing the two _rôles_ of
the title. In one of these pieces Arthur Wood had to speak a line in
which occurs the phrase, "such a mystery here." He made much nightly
capital--for these burlesques had long runs considering they were played
by a stock company in a provincial theatre--by emphasising the syllables
of 'mystery,' so as to make the sentence sound 'such a Miss Terry here.'

"I was only a general utility actor in that company, and I had to play
one of the crowd in 'Perseus and Andromeda,' whose duty it was to be
suddenly turned to stone, after the fashion of Lot's wife--only with a
more studied artistic pose--at the sight of Medusa's head. In order to
give _vraisemblance_ to the illusion, we of the populace were costumed
in a parti-coloured fashion, one half white, the other half of some
strong colour, and our faces were made up on one side only with a sort
of whitewash. When, at the given signal, we turned round our white sides
with the precision of soldiers at drill to the full stream of the
limelight, striking simultaneously more or less statuesque attitudes,
the situation was, for those days, effective, and nightly brought down
the house and evoked a call for the manager. I recollect that before the
production, in order to ascertain the effect of the whitewash, one or
two of us, true to our profession of 'general utility,' had to put it on
at a midnight rehearsal, after we had resumed our ordinary dress. Many
years have elapsed since the incident, yet I can still hear the peals of
musical laughter with which Ellen Terry greeted our intensely comical
appearance, and I can still see the mischief and good-natured ridicule
sparkling in her merry eyes.

"If I had to describe her acting in those days, I should say its chief
characteristic was a vivacious sauciness. Her voice already had some of
the rich sympathetic quality which has since been one of her most
distinctive charms. Although only in the first flush of a joyous
girlhood, she was yet familiar enough with the stage to be absolutely at
home on it, and in such complete touch with her audiences that she could
afford to discard the serious spirit altogether, even when the situation
demanded a less frivolous mood. That she made these little subordinate
parts in the burlesques not only dominate the stage at the time, but
also caused them to live in the memory all these years, is evidence
enough of the compelling force and infection of her irrepressible
mirthfulness. At rehearsals, even more than when acting, she was brimful
of merriment, taking nothing gravely;--a gay, mercurial child, flitting
about hither and thither with ever the same exuberant _insouciance_, the
same defiant spirit of laughter, as if life and all its possibilities of
tangle and tragedy had only a holiday meeting for her. As I look back on
those bright and too brief 'salad' days, it seems to me that Ellen Terry
might have been regarded as the epitome of that 'golden age' in which
people 'fleeted the time carelessly.'

"Mrs. Terry always accompanied her daughters to and from the theatre
every night, and watched them from the wings during the whole time they
were on the stage. They lodged during the season in Queen Square, then
the recognised quarter for theatrical folks. The theatre itself was
situated in King Street; I believe it still exists, but its glory, like
that of Ichabod, has long since departed. A theatre in Park Row has
superseded the famous old house where so many great actors and actresses
were trained; and the whole neighbourhood round that building, once
throbbing with artistic interest, has become sordid and neglected, and
redolent of ship chandlery. But in the old times, outside the little
narrow stage-door, crowds of dazzled Lotharios and stage-struck
worshippers used to throng to see the 'Terrys' go home after the
performance. Mrs. Terry played her part of duenna with uncommon
vigilance, and it was little more than a snap-shot vision of three
hurrying and well-wrapped up figures that rewarded the admirers for
their patience.

"I recollect one poor lad who was an assistant in a large drapery
establishment in Wine Street, Bristol. He was infatuated with the
beautiful Kate Terry, though he had never spoken to her, and probably he
never even saw her off the stage. But he left bouquets and other gifts
addressed to her at the stage-door, and as there was nothing to indicate
who the donor was, or where he lived, she could not send them back.
Sometime after this young fellow was arrested for embezzlement. He had
taken his employer's money, partly in order to gratify a passion for the
theatre, and partly to enable him to buy presents for the divinity whom
he worshipped from afar. It was a painful little drama of real life; and
I know that no one was more distressed than Miss Terry herself when she
read the account of the magisterial proceedings in the paper.

"I could tell you a lot about the 'Old Duke' tavern, the famous
theatrical rendezvous of those days; but the 'Terrys,' of course, did
not come on in that convivial scene. I am reminded, however, that one
of its regular _habitués_ was Charley Adams, the theatre prompter, about
whom many diverting stories might be told. Whenever there was a stage
wait or anything went wrong, Charley lost his head entirely, and rushed
about with 'language' on his lips and tears streaming down his cheeks.
On one occasion the stage was kept waiting for George Rignold, the
audience began to be impatient, and Charley was distracted. Ellen Terry
happened to be standing in the prompt wing, and, rendered desperate by
the growing delay, Charley, with forcible if florid eloquence, expressed
in the true Bristol vernacular, pushed her on to the stage. 'Go on! go
on!' he screamed, making the objective of his imperative mood fairly
totter with adjectives. Miss Terry was, however, by no means
embarrassed. She quietly took in the situation: her always welcome
presence elicited a hearty cheer, and by the time she had crossed the
stage and disappeared on the O.P. side, the missing actor had turned up
and proceeded to 'smooth out the creases.'

"Poor old Charley was often a butt for Ellen Terry's pleasant banter. He
was a rather illiterate man, and made mistakes of speech which were an
irresistible theme of ridicule with this mirthful maiden. How she
laughed when he spoke of the 'Jorgon's' head, and called the statues
'statties,' and performed other amazing feats of verbal metamorphosis.

"Charley was always at his best in the 'Old Duke' smoking-room with his
long clay pipe, after his sixth 'small jug' of eleemosynary beer. Then
he was confidential, impressive, sententious, and 'dear boy'd' every one
with a friendship which was none the less sincere because its fount was
somewhat alcoholic. It is many a year since the earth closed over thee,
thou poor, excitable, and sometimes self-indulgent disciple of Thespis,
but none who knew thee can ever have any but kindly memories of thy
simple undisguised obsequiousness to the 'star,' and thy majestically
patronising mien to the super.

"I have used the name Ellen Terry throughout the above notes, but at
that time she was always and to every one, 'Nelly.' She was announced as
'Miss Nelly Terry' in the play-bills, and I have an old friendly letter
from her, written only a few months after she left Bristol, in which she
signs herself 'Nelly.' The handwriting is angular and 'school-missish,'
with no indication of the soundness and flexible strength which have
since become its characteristics.

"Perhaps I have laid too much stress on the two burlesque parts which
have the deepest roots in my memory. 'Miss Nelly' played other parts;
she was the 'walking lady' of the company, and I have (rather hazy)
recollections of her in a crinolined dress in that fine old melodrama
'The Angel of Midnight; or, The Duel in the Snow'; as a fashionable dame
in the glittering but immoral coterie which forms the personal
background in 'The Marble Heart'; and as the _ingenue_ in a once popular
comedietta entitled 'The Little Treasure.'

"To say that she then showed unmistakable promise of the pre-eminent
position to which she has since attained in English dramatic art would
be to exhibit that 'after-the-event' wisdom which is so common a feature
of modern prophecy. I will only say that we, the young fellows of that
day, thought she was perfection; we toasted her in our necessarily
frugal measures; we would gladly have been her hewers of wood and
drawers of water. She had personal charm as well as histrionic skill.
Her smiles were very sweet, but, alack for all of us, they were
mathematically impartial."

These jottings are not only interesting as regards the early career of
Kate and Ellen Terry, but they prove my views as to the affection in
which the famous old stock companies were held by their devoted
provincial patrons. In these days of ephemeral touring troupes such a
condition of things is impossible, and really earnest students of the
drama starve for lack of nourishment.

On April 2, 1862, the old Bath Theatre of many glorious memories was
destroyed by fire; but James Henry Chute was not the man to be dismayed
by disaster. Within a year it was rebuilt, and on March 4, 1863, was
again ready for its faithful audiences.

As the opening programme is now historic, it is well to reproduce it
here:--


NEW THEATRE ROYAL, BATH.

FIRST NIGHT.

    _Lessee and Manager_,      JAMES HENRY CHUTE.

     _Prices_--The following scale of prices has been adopted for the
     opening night--Dress Circle, 5/-; Upper Circle, 3/-; Pit and
     Amphitheatre (entrance in Beaufort Square), 2/-; Gallery (entrance
     in St. John's Place), 1/-. No second price.

      _Prices of Admission after the first night_ will be as
      follows--Dress Circle, 4/-; second price, 2/6. Upper Boxes, 2/-;
      second price, 1/6. Pit, 1/6; second price, 1/-. Amphitheatre
      (entrance in St. John's Place), 1/-. Gallery, 6d. Private Boxes,
      20/-, 25/-, 30/-.

      _Box Office_--The Box Office, under the direction of Mr. Gifford,
      for a few days will be at Mr H. N. King's Photographic
      Establishment, 42 Milsom Street, the proprietor having kindly
      placed his view-room at the service of the manager.

    _Leader of the Band_       Mr T. H. Salmon
    _Stage Manager_            Mr Marshall
    _Scenic Artist_            Mr G. Gordon


DRAMATIC PROLOGUE--

_Written expressly for the occasion by_ G. F. Powell, Esq.

    The Spirit of the Past                   by Miss Henrietta Hodson
    The Spirit of the Future                 by Miss Ellen Terry (her first
                                                appearance here)
    The Spirit of the Hour (Lord Dundreary)  by Mr W. Rignold
    The Spirit of the Times (Sensation)      by Mr A. Wood
    The Spirit of Fashion                    by Miss Desborough (first
                                                appearance here)
    Fortune                                  by Miss Elizabeth Burton
    Comedy                                   by Mr Charles Coghlan (his
                                                first appearance)
    Tragedy                                  by Mr George Yates (his first
                                                appearance)
    Mr Chute (Lessee and Manager)            by Himself.

    "God save the Queen."
    _Verse and Chorus by the Company._


To be followed by Shakespeare's

MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

     As arranged for representation by Mr Charles Kean, and performed
     150 times at the Royal Princess's Theatre. With entirely new
     Scenery, Costumes, Decorations, Appointments, Mechanical
     Appliances, and Mendelssohn's music.

     The Scenery by Mr W. Gordon, Mr George Gordon, Mr Geo. Philips, Mr
     Horne & Assistants. The Machinery by Mr Harwell. The Costumes by
     Miss Jarrett and Assistants. The Appointments by Mr Pritchard. The
     Action and Dances by Miss Powell.

Music arranged by Mr J. L. Hatton & Mr Salmon.

    Theseus (Prince of Athens)               Mr George Rignold
    Egeus (father to Hermia)                 Mr Robertson
    Lysander (in love with Hermia)           Mr William Rignold
    Demetrius (    "       "    )            Mr Charles Coghlan
    Philostrate (Master of Revels            Mr Brunel
      to Theseus)
    Quince (the Carpenter)                   Mr Marshall (first appearance
                                               these two years)
    Snug (the Joiner)                        Mr Douglas Gray
    Bottom (the Weaver)                      Mr A. Wood
    Flute (the bellows-mender)               Mr H. Andrews
    Snout (the Tinker)                       Mr Marchant
    Starveling (the Tailor)                  Mr Gibson
    Hippolyta (Queen of the Amazons)         Miss Louisa Thorne (first
      (betrothed to Theseus)                   appearance in Bath)
    Hermia (daughter to Egeus, in love       Miss Elizabeth Burton
      with Lysander)
    Helena (in love with Demetrius)          Miss Desborough
    Oberon (King of the Fairies)             Miss Henrietta Hodson
    Titania (Queen of the Fairies)           Miss Ellen Terry
    Puck, or Robin Goodfellow (a Fairy)      Master Edmund Marshall
    First Singing Fairy                      Miss M. Cruse
    Second Singing Fairy                     Miss Madge Robertson
    Third Singing Fairy                      Miss F. Douglas
    Fairies who join in a shadow dance       Miss Powell & her pupils
    Peablossom                               Miss Ellen Seymour
    Moth                                     Miss E. Frailly
    Cobweb                                   Master F. Marshall
    Mustard-seed                             Miss I. Marshall

_Fairies_--

     Demoiselles Margarets, Montague, Owen, Fanny Marshall, Bullock,
     Vaughan, Clarke, A. Clarke, Gibson, Marchant, Holmes, Wootton, etc.


      _Other Fairies attending their King and Queen_--

      Misses Seymour, C. Wootten, Goodyer, Frailly, E. Frailly, C.
      Marchant, F. Marchant, Watts, etc.


      _Characters in Interlude performed by the Clowns_--

      Pyramus, by Bottom; Wall, by Snout; Thisbe, by Flute; Moonshine,
      by Starveling; Lion, by Snug.


      _Attendants on_ Theseus & Hippolyta--Huntsman, Esquire, etc.

      The new Act-Drop by Messrs Grieve and Telbin.


      To conclude with the new and laughable Farce, by J. Wooler, Esq.,
      called:


MARRIAGE AT ANY PRICE

    Brownjohn Brown                Mr Marshall
                   (Of the Laburnums)
    Simon Gushington               Mr William Rignold
    Tubs                           Mr Gibson
    Alick                          Mr Wilson

    Peter Peppercorn }
    Jemima Ann       }             Mr A. Wood
    Charley Bitt     }

    Kate Gushington     }
    Bob, Tiger          }          Miss Henrietta Hodson
    Jemima, a Housemaid }

    Alice, Niece to Brown          Miss Madge Robertson.
    Matilda Peppercorn             Miss Louisa Thorne

Speaking by the light of to-day, this was indeed a rich cast, and it is
interesting to note how Madge Robertson and Ellen Terry--destined to
become the two greatest actresses of their generation--thus played
together in their "'prentice days." No doubt the "singing fairy" of the
evening inspired Titania with her admiration for Mrs. Kendal's exquisite
voice.

Long after their stock company days, the Terry Sisters held their
well-merited and remarkable popularity in Bristol. That distinguished
actor, W. H. Vernon, who, as we have seen, graduated as one of Mr.
Chute's "young people," has told me how enthusiastically they were
received when, with London honours thick upon them, they came to "star"
in their old "school," in a piece called "A Sister's Penance," which had
been a great success at the Adelphi Theatre. Vernon, who was "Miss
Nelly's" lover on that occasion, was immensely struck by her merriment
and high spirits at the rehearsal in the morning and (in contrast) her
wonderful display of true emotion in the performance of the evening.

In connection with Ellen Terry's next appearance in London, it is
curious to note that in the famous Bath programme that preceded it,
William Rignold should figure as "Lord Dundreary"--the "Spirit of the
Hour"; and that she should be so aptly chosen for "The Spirit of the
Future."



CHAPTER IV

AT THE HAYMARKET THEATRE


The compiler of the Bath programme was right when he spoke of Lord
Dundreary as the "Spirit of the Hour." The phenomenal success of the
late E. A. Sothern in this eccentric and most original character, at the
Haymarket Theatre, had taken all London (nay, all England) by storm. At
the time of which I am writing the name of Dundreary was upon the lips
of every one. Men cultivated Dundreary whiskers, and affected Dundreary
coats, waistcoats, and trousers; indeed, Sothern had become such a good
friend to the tailors that, if he would have accepted them, he might
have been furnished, without any mention of payment, with clothes
sufficient for a dozen lifetimes. His dressing-room at the Haymarket was
crowded with parcels sent by energetic haberdashers, who knew that if by
wearing it upon the stage he would set the fashion for a certain sort of
necktie, or a particular pattern of shirt-cuff or collar, their fortunes
would be half made; and hatters and boot-makers followed in the
haberdashers' wake. Dundreary photographs were seen everywhere.
"Dundrearyisms," as they came to be called, were the fashionable _mots_
of the day; and little books (generally very badly done) dealing with
the imaginary doings of Dundreary under every possible condition, and in
every quarter of the globe, were in their thousands sold at the street
corners. Concerning Dundreary quite three parts of England went more
than half mad, and not to know all about him and his deliciously quaint
sayings and doings was to argue yourself unknown.

The actor who not only caused but sustained all this excitement must
have achieved something far greater than the mere creation of a new type
of "stage swell." Dundreary was a study for the philosopher as well as a
laughing-stock for the idler, and he thus became popular with all
classes of the community.

But in 1863 Sothern was growing tired of _toujours_ Dundreary. He was a
restless as well as an ambitious actor, and he longed for a change. An
Englishman by birth and training, all his great successes (including
Dundreary) had been won in America, and he wished to show the Haymarket
audiences what he could do in other characters. For the time being that
fine old actor-manager, J. B. Buckstone, could not hear of his
"Lordship" being out of the bill, so Sothern had to content himself with
occasional afterpieces.

Among the characters that he fancied was that of Captain Walter
Maydenblush in that pretty little adaptation from the French, "La Joie
de la Maison," entitled "The Little Treasure." It is a very effective
light comedy part, but the mainstay of the piece is the "joy of the
house," the sweet young girl, Gertrude. When the piece was first
produced at the Haymarket this part had been played by Blanche Fane, the
idol of her day, and it had also been made familiar to playgoers by the
ever-fascinating Marie Wilton, now Lady Bancroft. Sothern knew very well
that without an attractive Gertrude his Walter Maydenblush would go for
nothing. Where was she to be found? Well, as we have seen, Ellen Terry
had played the part in Bristol. Her growing fame had reached London, and
she was engaged to re-create it at the Haymarket.

Although the piece was a subordinate one, her ordeal was formidable, for
she had to challenge comparison with her popular and gifted predecessors
in a character that required an abundance of delicacy and finesse.

Her success was instantaneous. In writing of it that outspoken critic
and encyclopædia of dramatic lore, Edward Leman Blanchard, said:--

"She is very young, but shows no trace of immaturity either in her style
or figure. Tall for her age, of prepossessing appearance, and with
expressive features full of vivacity and intelligence, she secured at
once the sympathies of her audience, and retained them by the joyous
spirit and deep feeling with which she imbued the personation. In the
girlish playfulness exhibited through the first act Miss Ellen Terry was
especially happy, and in characters illustrative of a frank and
impulsive temperament the young actress will prove a most desirable
addition to the feminine strength of the stage."

And so it was with all the leading critics, they, and delighted
audiences, telling her that in a moment her permanent popularity in
London was a thing assured.

Of course she had in due course to support Lord Dundreary in "Our
American Cousin," a play which, not very good to begin with, had, for
the sake of Sothern's superbly droll performance, been whittled down to
a mere nothing. With the exception of the characters of Asa Trenchard
(and he had been converted into an absurd caricature of an American) and
Mary Meredith, the one sympathetic woman of the piece, the other parts
were indeed thankless ones, and it seems impossible to think that Ellen
Terry, our greatest living Shakespearean actress, was once wasted on the
insipid _role_ of Georgina, the affected girl on whom Dundreary was
"spoony." Georgina was simply a foil for the ridiculous fop's
unconscious and wonderfully uttered witticisms, and she had little more
to do than to keep her countenance while the audiences roared with
laughter at Sothern's wild but always coherent absurdities of speech and
manner. Under this trying ordeal I have seen many Georginas break down
and laugh heartily with their "kind friends in front," and I have reason
to know that the mischief-loving Sothern, at the risk of missing his own
points, often tried to make them do so.

Of the sweet "Spirit of the Future," as this stage lay figure playing
with the restless "Spirit of the Hour," Clement Scott has said:--

"When Ellen Terry played Georgina she was a young girl of enchanting
loveliness. She was the ideal of every pre-Raphaelite painter, and had
hair, as De Musset says, '_comme le blé_.' I always sympathised with
Dundreary when he, within whispering distance of Ellen Terry's
harvest-coloured hair, said: 'It makes a fellow feel awkward when he's
talking to the back of a person's head.'"

In the same inexhaustible play she was called upon, a little later on,
to enact the prettily limned Mary Meredith. She says she did it
"vilely"; but neither critics nor audiences agreed with her.

Sothern, both on and off the stage, and both with men and women, was one
of the most popular beings of his day, and it is therefore all the more
surprising to hear Ellen Terry say that she could never like him. She
admired him, but she could not understand his mania for practical
joking. By some this has been thought odd, for it is known that she
herself dearly loves a joke. I think I can explain her prejudice. Having
begun one of his "sells," as he called them, Sothern did not know when
to leave off, and he never seemed to reflect that it was unkind to
practise his pleasantries on nervous young actors.

That he did not mean to be unkind, and that if he felt he had made a
mistake or had gone too far he was deeply penitent and anxious to make
any atonement in his power, I, who knew him so intimately, can
asseverate. But if he saw the chance of a "sell" he could hardly resist
temptation, and many of those associated with him on the stage, and who
did not understand his bewildering sense of humour, suffered in silence,
and were secretly tortured by his odd and incessant pranks. I have no
doubt this was poor Ellen Terry's position when she complains that he
teased her--made her forget her part, and "look like an idiot." The
following anecdote concerning the way in which he treated me (his
personal friend!) and a little company of actors and actresses, working
their hardest to gain a word of approbation from the great star of the
period, will illustrate my meaning.

In the days of many years ago he accepted a comedietta from my pen
wildly called (Sothern gave it its title) "My Wife's Father's Sister,"
and the little piece was produced at the Theatre Royal, Brighton. He was
anxious that I should be present at its first night, but I was unable to
join him until its second representation. I was to be his guest, but
when I entered his room at the Grand Hotel he seemed amazed and
discomforted to see me.

"What on earth brings _you_ here?" he exclaimed. "Why, to see you and
my piece," I replied. "Then you didn't get my telegram last night?" he
inquired. I told him that I had received no telegram and should be glad
to know its purport. "Well," he said, in a vexed tone of voice, "I wired
to beg you as a personal favour to me not to come to Brighton, but as
you _are_ here, we'll say no more about it."

Of course this did not satisfy me, and on being very hard pressed, he
reluctantly told me that my poor little play had been a dead failure,
and that he had telegraphed to me to stay away because he wanted to
spare me humiliation.

"But," I said, in an agony of disappointment, "the newspapers speak well
of it!"

"Yes," replied Sothern, "the critics here are good friends of mine, and
I persuaded them that it was a sorry task to break a butterfly on a
wheel. It was impossible for me at a moment's notice to get another
after-piece ready to put in its place, but to-night 'My Wife's Father's
Sister' will be played for the second and last time. Don't shirk seeing
it, it will be a useful, if painful, lesson to you, and at supper
to-night we'll try and find out where the fatal kink in it lies, for, as
you know, I felt certain that it was going to be a hit."

In spite of my friend's kindness, sympathy, and unbounded hospitality,
I, crushed with mortification, spent a wretched afternoon, and in the
early evening (Sothern, who was to play Dundreary, had preceded me) I
wended my sad way to the theatre. On my walk I met a mutual friend.

[Illustration: SMALLHYTHE FARM.

_Ellen Terry's country retreat at Tenterden, Kent._

    [_To face page 80._
]

"Well, how did the piece go last night?" he asked. "I was sorry I
couldn't be there to see."

Miserably I told him my bitter news, and how the play had failed.

"Then I believe it was Sothern's fault," he said. "He was half mad on
practical jokes last night, and one of the actors has told me how he
declared that _you_ were in front, that you are a most exacting and
irritable author, and that you were intensely annoyed at the grossly
vulgar way in which, according to your reported views, your work was
interpreted. One by one the actors and actresses had from his lips their
dose of what they supposed, and _still_ suppose, to be _your_ harsh
criticism. 'Abominable!' 'Atrocious!' and 'Actionable' were among the
mildest expressions you were said to have used, and the poor people
became so nervous that they hardly knew what they were doing. At the end
of the performance Sothern told them collectively that you had left the
theatre 'a shattered and prematurely old man.'"

When I crept into an obscure corner of a private box that night,
expecting to witness the complete failure of a number of nerveless
artists to galvanise a dead play into life, I was very angry with
Sothern. I felt that I had been "butchered" to make a "Roman Holiday,"
and I did not like the sensation. But, to my bewilderment, the
comedietta went capitally, and applause of the right sort followed the
fall of the curtain. At supper, Sothern, with that marvellous
diamond-like sparkle in his speaking blue-grey eye which his friends so
well remember, "gave away" the greater part of the story. That delighted
and delightful familiar twinkle was sufficient to tell me the truth.
"Oh!" I cried, "you have 'sold' me! I believe the piece went as well
_last_ night as it did _to-night_!"

"Much better," he replied calmly. "I sent you no telegram, but I could
not resist the sell. Now light a cigar and be happy."

And I was happy until, in the early hours of the morning, Sothern said,
"By the way, I wonder how your supper party is getting on?"

"My supper party?" I asked. "What do you mean?"

"Oh," he replied, as he lighted another cigar, "now I think of it, I
forgot to tell you that I mentioned to the performers in 'My Wife's
Father's Sister' that you were so delighted with their marked
improvement on the second night of the production that you wished to
welcome them at a little supper you had ordered at the 'Old Ship.'"

And I heard the next day that the poor "sold" people went and waited and
came supperless away. And then I sneaked out of Brighton, leaving "My
Wife's Father's Sister" behind me.

I have never seen her since. This is only an example of Sothern's
constant and, it must be owned, often exasperating practices. It was
wonderful that some of his escapades were so easily forgiven, but those
who narrowly watched his marvellous dexterity in keeping up the
deceptions of his rapid invention, causing one practical joke to
overtake another like sea waves; those who could understand his
infectious vitality and quick sense of humour, were, even when they
chanced to be the wrathful objects of his extravagancies, lost in
admiration for his peculiar genius.

In some way his temperament must have resembled that of the great David
Garrick, whom he so often impersonated on the stage.

Of the English Roscius it has been said that he was always acting,
whether upon the stage, in his own house, in the houses of his friends,
and even in the streets.

He would suddenly stop in the middle of a public thoroughfare, and look
up at the sky as if he saw something remarkable, until a crowd gathered
about him, and then he would turn away with the wild stare of insanity.
He could not sit down to have his hair dressed without terrifying the
barber by making his face assume every shade of expression, from the
deepest tragic gloom to the vacancy of idiotcy.

His enemies ascribed these feats to a restless egotism that must always
be conspicuous, but might they not rather have arisen from the
over-exuberant animal spirits of "the cheerfulest man of his age"?

Such, in a great measure, was Sothern's nature, and it is not to be
wondered at if it sometimes jarred upon those who had to act with him,
and who were desirous to do justice to themselves. I cannot suppose that
his "My Wife's Father's Sister's" victims loved him any more than they
did the innocent writer of these lines, or than Ellen Terry seems to
have done.

Such things are to be understood, but I cannot mention Edward Askew
Sothern without recording the fact that to his intimate friends he was
ever the most consistent, affectionate, and generous of men. At the
hospitable table of Henry Irving I once met the famous American
tragedian, the late John M'Cullough. Turning to me in the course of the
evening, he said: "I am told you are a close friend of Ned Sothern's;"
and when I answered "Yes," he said, as if it were a matter of course,
"Then you love him."

And that of all men who really knew him well was true.

But if in Sothern Ellen Terry chanced to find an uncongenial
fellow-actor, in another member of the Haymarket Company she made a
friend, destined to play with her in some of her greatest subsequent
triumphs. This was that grand old actor, Henry Howe, "dear old Mr.
Howe," as she calls him, who was a staunch member of the once celebrated
band of Haymarket comedians for forty years.

Howe played the part of father to "the little treasure"; his kindly,
winsome ways at once won her sympathy, and in the now forgotten play no
scene was more successful than that in which the supposed parent and
child, moved by the pathos of each other's acting, united in genuine
tears.

Macready aptly described Charles Kemble as a first-rate actor of
second-rate parts, and the same somewhat lukewarm praise may be
attributed to Henry Howe; but he was an actor who lent distinction to
his profession, and his honoured memory should surely be kept green.

It is odd to think of an actor being a Quaker, and yet throughout his
long life Howe was a loyal member of the Society of Friends. It was the
impression made upon him, when he was a mere boy, by the soul-inspiring
acting of Edmund Kean as King Lear, that gave him a passion for the
stage. With a cousin of his own age he contrived to take stolen pleasure
in the gallery of Drury Lane Theatre, and on his way home, half-choked
with enthusiasm and emotion, he said to his comrade, "I am going to be
an actor." His family and friends did their utmost to dissuade him from
this rash step, but fate willed that it should be taken, and the
stage-struck lad became one of the most accomplished and self-respecting
of the actors of his day.

Although he never paraded it, I think he was always influenced by his
simple religious faith. I well remember how, in the kindest of ways, he
would warn the young fellows of those Sothern-Haymarket days against
keeping late (and possibly loose) hours in London after curtain-fall. I
can hear him now telling us of his long midnight walks to his beloved
country home at Isleworth (beyond Brentford!), and of his active
morning work in his garden on those days on which rehearsals did not
call him to town. "And at such times," he would say, with a
good-humoured shake of his head, "some of you are lying in bed trying to
cure carefully manufactured head-aches."

Years afterwards he became a notable member of the Lyceum Company, and
served until his death under the banner of Henry Irving. During this
period, and when with his chief and comrades he was fulfilling a
fortnight's engagement in Birmingham, my good old friend, when on a
visit to my house, made me his confidant in a little personal trouble.
It was this. During the two weeks of his stay in the city he had only
been called upon to act twice, and then only in small parts.

I naturally thought that he felt hurt at apparent neglect, and I tried
to say a few consolatory words to him. "Oh, it isn't _that_!" said the
fine old gentleman, "I've no feeling on _that_ score; but the fact is, I
am being paid a very handsome salary, and doing next to nothing for it.
As things are, I know I am not earning it. I must speak to Irving about
it, and tell him either my stipend must be reduced, or I must go."
Shortly afterwards I saw him again. His fine face was radiant with
smiles and his spirits were buoyant. He had had his interview with
Irving, and the upshot of it was that no alteration could be made in his
emolument, that he would be called upon to act whenever the repertory
contained a part that could be suitably allotted to him, and that his
"chief" would regard it as a great personal sorrow if his distinguished
name did not figure as a member of his company.

Thus did the most tactful and generous of managers make a time-honoured
servant of the public easy in his pocket, and supremely happy in the
retention of his _amour propre_.

Frequenters of the Lyceum will remember how, even in the smallest of
parts, Henry Howe was always sure of a hearty reception.

This is only one amongst a thousand of the acts of tender consideration
and unstinted liberality shown by Henry Irving towards those who have
acted for and with him.

But besides "little treasures," Georginas, and Mary Merediths, there
were other opportunities for Ellen Terry at the Haymarket. She had the
sympathy and encouragement of such sterling actors as Henry Compton and
William Farren, the Chippendales, and the always kindly and attentive
Walter Gordon, a gentleman who, on his retirement from the stage,
resumed his own name, and was well known as William Aylmer Gowing.

She played Julia in "The Rivals" to the Faulkland of Howe, the Sir
Anthony Absolute of Chippendale, the Captain Absolute of William Farren,
the Bob Acres of Buckstone, and the Mrs. Malaprop of Mrs. Chippendale.
In "Much Ado about Nothing" she appeared as Hero to the Beatrice of
Louisa Angell, and when that lady appeared as Letitia Hardy in "The
Belle's Stratagem," Ellen Terry was the Lady Touchwood. Let it not be
forgotten that her own bewitching Letitia was destined to be one of the
most attractive of her comedy impersonations at the Lyceum.

Thanks to Sothern, I was in those days quite at home at the Haymarket
Theatre, and in "Walter Gordon" I found a true friend and adviser when,
later on, I tried to write on things theatrical. He did much admirable
work with his own pen, and was full of good stories of famous actors and
actresses with whom he had played. I remember how he told me of an
ephemeral entertainment by Sterling Coyne, entitled "Buckstone at Home,"
in which Ellen Terry, being then in a frolicsome mood, made an
unexpected effect and sensation. In this wild production she had to
appear as Britannia, and she was surrounded by the Knights of the Round
Table. These stalwarts were supposed to be unable to remove a certain
"property" stone, concerning which there was much superstition to the
effect that it was so heavy that mortal could not stir it. The
situation was meant to be taken seriously, but the light-hearted
Britannia--possibly annoyed with the absurdity of the production and the
poverty of her part in it, came forward, took the mock boulder in her
hands, "played ball" with the flimsy thing, at the same time gleefully
crying out--"Why, a child could toss it!"

[Illustration: BUST OF ELLEN TERRY, BY W. BRODIE, R.S.A.

_Presented to The Shakespeare Memorial, Stratford-on-Avon, by Sir Henry
Irving._

    [_To face page 88._
]

I wonder what she would have said if the recreant Sothern had thus
committed himself! But in spite of occasional fits of joyousness this
Haymarket engagement seems to have been a disappointment to her. She
regarded it as one of her "lost opportunities,"--and in later days she
would have given much to "find it again." By her own wish, however, it
came to an early end. No doubt the ordeal was a severe one. She was
exceedingly young, and she was called upon to vie with the picked
comedians of her day. She acquitted herself not only bravely but with
distinction, but no doubt her ever supersensitive nature (the inevitable
if undesirable nature of the true artist) often whispered to her that
she had blundered where she had really made a marked impression. Mrs.
Siddons was wont to say that the player's nerves must be "made of cart
ropes." Ellen Terry's highly-strung organisation seems to move on the
slenderest of silken threads, and no doubt in those early days the
strain of her public appearances were often a torment to her. In the
June of 1863 Edward Leman Blanchard records her appearance at the
Princess's Theatre, and her performance of Desdemona to the Othello of
Walter Montgomery. This was an interesting event, for it witnessed the
return of the little Mamillius and Prince Arthur of former days to the
scene of her early successes, and this in a Shakespearean part in which
she subsequently won great renown at the Lyceum.

Not long after this, and to the intense regret of those who were
carefully watching the rapid progress of her artistic career, she
temporarily left the stage. Probably she found its duties too irksome to
one of her restless, self-doubting nature. Men and women endowed with
unusual talents are generally prone to have their own way, and it is
perhaps well for the full fruition of those great gifts, that are to be
a present boon and future memory to mankind, that they should follow it.
Who would wantonly put Pegasus in the Pound?

Even in those (to her) unpromising "Georgina" days Ellen Terry had shown
real genius. Genius, as William Winter has beautifully put it, is the
petrel, and like the petrel it loves the freedom of the winds and the
waves.

Just as the petrel of the ocean appears during its flight sometimes to
touch the surface of the waves with its feet, so she had daintily
fluttered across the boards which were for a time to lose her.



CHAPTER V

KATE TERRY


Now that Ellen Terry has for a time said good-bye to the stage that so
sorely missed her, I may pause to glance at the brilliant career of her
elder sister Kate, who had been, as we have seen, the constant comrade
of her 'prentice days. Apart from her conspicuous successes in the
youthful Shakespearean characters at the Princess's, she had, before her
engagement at that house came to an end, made a profound impression by
the purity and pathos of her acting as Cordelia (she was a very young
Cordelia) to the King Lear of Charles Kean. This was in the April of
1858. Even at that early age she had, as the saying goes, "arrived," and
would no doubt have been promptly secured by any of the then existing
London managers. But, wise in his generation, and conscious of his
daughter's conspicuous talents, her father decided that she must have
more practice before taking that place on the boards to which she should
become entitled.

It is interesting to show here one of the Charles Kean play-bills in
which Kate Terry figured. To-day it reads curiously as the programme of
a fashionable West End theatre.

    PRINCESS'S THEATRE,
    OXFORD STREET.

    Under the Management of
    Mr CHARLES KEAN,
    No. 3 Torrington Square.

    _This Evening, Saturday, January 3rd, 1852_,
    Will be presented Colman's play of the


    IRON CHEST

    Sir Edward Mortimer      Mr Charles Kean
    Captain Fitzharding      Mr Addison
    Wilford                  Mr J. F. Cathcart
    Adam Winterton           Mr Meadows
    Rawbold                  Mr Ryder
    Samson                   Mr Harley
    Orson                    Mr C. Fisher
    Gregory                  Mr Rolleston
    Helen                    Miss Frankland
    Blanch                   Miss Murray
    Barbara                  Miss Mary Keeley


    After which (8th Time), a Grand Operatico, Tragico, Serio-Pastoralic,
    Nautico, Demoniaco, Cabalistico,

    ORIGINAL CHRISTMAS PANTOMIME, entitled,

    HARLEQUIN
    BILLY   TAYLOR

    OR

    THE FLYING DUTCHMAN
    AND THE
    KING OF RARITONGO

    "Billy Taylor was a gay young fellow
    Full of mirth and full of glee,
    And his mind he did diskiver
    To a maiden fair and free."

    Scenery by Messrs Gordon, F. Lloyds, Dayes, etc.
    Decorations & Properties by Mr Moon.
    Dances arranged by Mr Flexmore.
    Machinery by Mr G. Hodson.
    Costumes by Mr Sefton and Miss Hoggins.
    Overture & Music composed & arranged by Mr R. Hughes.


    _The Pantomime by the brothers Sala and Mr George Ellis, by whom
    it has been produced._

    BILLY TAYLOR     (the "gay young fellow"--first         Mr F. Cooke
                     Schneider of his day & Knight          afterwards
                     of the Shears--frequently hot          Harlequin,
                     pressing, then pressed himself)        Mr Cormack.

    ADMIRAL SIR LEE  (FIELD MARSHAL OF THE HORSE-MARINES    AFTERWARDS
    SCUPPER BLUE     & TESTAMENTARY GUARDIAN                PANTALOON,
    BLAZES              of the Buoy at the Nore,               Mr Paulo.
                     hoisting his flag on board the
                     _Thundererbomb_, 999 Guns)

    CALIMANCO the    (King of Raritongo, the largest      Mr Rolleston.
    xxxiiird         of the Cannibal Islands--a
                     slightly cracked sovereign, who,       Mr Flexmore.
                     wishing for change, is transformed
                     into                                   Clown.

    VANDERDECKEN     (The Flying Dutchman, a decided        Mr Collis.
                     Voltigeur in pursuit of
                     his prey)

    QUASHYHUBABOO    (Prime Minister of Raritongo--Original Mr Edmonds.
                     "Bones" but rather
                     fleshy in appearance)

    MASTER REEFER    (MIDSHIPMAN AND POWDER MONKEY          MR LLOYD.
    RATTLIN             in Ordinary on board the
                     _Thundererbomb_)

    BACCYCHAW PIPES  (Boatswain of the "gallant          Mr J. Collins.
                     _Thundererbomb_," ever ready
                     with a quid for a quo)

    HORROSAMBO       (Aide-de-Camp & Black Stick in         Mr Stoakes.
                     waiting to King of Raritongo)

    SIGNOR             (First Violin Extraordinary at      Mr F. Hartland.
    SIVORIENSTSAINTON  the Nobility's Concerts)
    BOTTESERINI

    The PRINCESS       (King of Raritongo's daughter,      Mr Stacey.
    SACCASUTTAKONKA    black, sweet and beautiful)

    PAULINA DI PANTO   (popularly known as Pretty Poll     Mr Daley.
                       of Portsmouth Point, sojourning
                       pro tem. in Tooley St.,--young,     afterwards
                       lovely, & attached to Billy         Miss Carlotta
                       Taylor--afterwards Columbine)       Leclercq.

    BRITANNIA          (Tutelary Genius of "Old Albion"    Miss Kate
                       continually ruling the              Terry.
                       waves)

    THE FAIRY          (very well re(a)d in all branches,  Miss Vivash.
    CORALIA             particularly in corollaries)

    THE FAIRY          (kept very close but determined     Miss Desborough.
    NAUTILA            to shell out & be a naughty-lass
                       no more)

        DATE--ONCE UPON A TIME

                SCENE--NO WHERE PARTICULAR.

_Coral Grottoes of the Genii of the Ocean._

Affectionate meeting of Coralia and Nautila--Various propositions for a
"Fast" Fairy Spree, interrupted by the unexpected appearance of--

_Britannia enthroned on one of her "wooden walls."_

And attended by her trusty guard of Blue Jackets--Anger of Ocean
Queen--Billy Taylor's destiny determined on, and hasty summons of
dreaded Vanderdecken--Britannia issues her mandate, and Vanderdecken
proceeds to seize the luckless Taylor of Tooley Street.

_ROCKY PANORAMA OF INTERMINABLE GLOOM._


MONARCH MART OF FASHION

Otherwise _Billy Taylor's shop in Tooley Street_.

"Four and twenty tailors all of a row" (vide Old Song).

Entrance of the fascinating Paulina di Panto Portsmoutho.

"The course of true love never did run smooth." Preparations for the
Nuptials, interrupted by press-ure from without.

    "Four and twenty stout young fellows,
      Clad they were in blue array,
    Came and pressed poor Billy Taylor,
      And straightway took him off to sea."


TERRIFIC AND SANGUINARY COMBAT

Between Billy Taylor and the Bold British Boatswain. Billy
hors-de-combat.

    "Soon his true love followed arter,
      Under the name of Richard Carr;
    And her lily-white hands were daubed all over,
      With the nasty pitch and tar."


_QUARTER-DECK OF THE "GALLANT THUNDERERBOMB."_

Quarter-deck festivities, of which Paulina (disguised as Richard Carr)
partakes.


GRAND NAUTICAL DOUBLE SHUFFLE GROG & BACCY HORNPIPE BY ALL THE
CHARACTERS.

"The _Flying Dutchman_ on the weather-bow"--Decks cleared for
action--Bombarding, Boarding and General Blow-up!--and "Off we go to
Turkey."


_OEIL DE BOEUF IN KING CALIMANCO'S PALACE_

A Black King in a bad way--Glorious news--The White Man's come--Lombardy
and Raritongo united.


_JAMSETTJEEJEESETYERJIBBAHOY_. THE MARINE RESIDENCE of his MAJESTY OF
RARITONGO.

Sea Coast in the Distance.

Billy cast ashore on the Island--Proposition for the hand of Princess--A
crown of independence or a hard crust--and Portsmouth hard; the Crown
wins--A Revolving Denouement:

    "When the Captain come for to hear on it,
      He werry much applauded what she'd done;
    And he quickly made her first lieutenant
      Of the gallant _Thundererbomb_."


_REGAL AND FLORAL OVATION TO BRITANNIA._

MAGICAL METAMORPHOSIS.

    Harlequin, Mr Cormack.      Pantaloon, Mr Paulo.
    Clown, Mr Flexmore.         Columbine, Miss C. Leclerq.


_EXTERIOR OF THE PUNCH OFFICE AND PICTURE FRAME MAKER'S SHOP._

How to take a portrait--Drawing taught in one Lesson.

Light weights _v._ heavy weights--What d'ye take?--Port or sherry?--"A
Blot in the Scutcheon"--A "Punch" for Two--Polkamania Extraordinary, and
off we go to


_A MODEL FARM YARD._

How should you like some apples?--The real unmistakable Cat's-head
Codlin--Here's the Farmer--"An old man found a rude boy in one of his
trees stealing apples" (vide Dr Dilworth) etc. etc. A headless
tale--Eggs, and Young ones--Mr Cantelo outdone--Fowl robberies and foul
blows--When is a horse not a horse?--When it's a Mare--That Mare's a
hunter--No, that hunter's a Mayor--The Clown's introduction to the City
Dignitaries--Stocks is down.


    _BRAHAM'S LOCK MANUFACTORY_
    AND GENERAL OUTFITTER'S WAREHOUSE
    MYRIOTERPSICHOREORAMA.

The meaning of which Mr Flexmore will take steps to explain.

Tables and stools in any given quantity--Prize dahlias & new blooms.


EXTERIOR OF THE COMFORTABLE CATCH'EM & KEEP'EM HOTEL

    Here's the Policeman--"Hullo! what are you doing here?"
    Love in the Kitchen _versus_ Cupboard Love.


PAS DE PARAPLUIE, by Mr Flexmore.


BIRD'S-EYE VIEW OF _LONDON BY MOONLIGHT_

We haven't "got home" till morning; Don't, please don't--I'm so
sleepy--Why, the sheets are damp--Never mind, the warming-pan's
hot--"Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast." Yes, but not after
two in the morning when you want to go to sleep, and have the
tic-toorallo--"The Light of other days is Faded"--A Squall from Don
Pasquale--Come gentil, anything but genteel--Mol-row! Mol-row! Puss!
Puss! Puss!--Bang! Fire!--Affairs take a rapid turn--Hush! Let's go to
bed! What a smell of fire! Smoke! fire! blazes! firemen! policemen! old
men! young men! boys! kids! row! rattles! riot! rumpus & revolution.


_INTERIOR OF A CONFECTIONER'S SHOP._

Love & Pastry--Send for a policeman--When 'em waters I sees, an' I
screems--Below zero--Up to fever heat.

A Christmas Polka Cake and a Trifle for Children, Old & Young.


_THE FLORAL REALMS OF LIGHT_

_THE NEW PANTOMIME_ Every Evening.

    MONDAY     .  .  THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR.
    TUESDAY    .  .  THE IRON CHEST AND BETSY BAKER.
    WEDNESDAY  .  .  HAMLET.
    THURSDAY   .  .  THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR.

    Acting Manager, Mr Emden.
    Musical Director, Mr R. Hughes.
    Stage Manager, Mr G. Ellis.
    Ballet Master, Mr Flexmore.

    Dress Circle 5/. Boxes 4/. Pit 2/. Gallery 1/.
    Second price: Dress Circle 2/6. Boxes 2/. Pit 1/. Gallery 6d.
    Orchestra stalls 6/, which may be retained entire evening.
    Private Boxes £2. 12s. 6d.; £2. 2s. 0d.; & £1. 11s. 6d.
    Box Office open from 11 to 5 o'clock. Doors open at 6.30.

Performance to commence at 7.0. Half price will commence as near 9.0 as
is consistent with the non-interruption of the performance. Gallery door
in Castle Street. Children in arms cannot possibly be admitted. Private
boxes & stalls may be obtained at the libraries; & of Mr Massingham at
Box Office of the Theatre, Oxford St., where places for Dress Circle and
Boxes may be secured.

Applications respecting the bills to be addressed to Mr Treadaway, Stage
Door.

_VIVANT REGINA ET PRINCEPS._

       *       *       *       *       *

The result of her father's wise policy was that Kate Terry was fully
equipped when, in 1860, she commenced her engagement at the St. James's
Theatre, under the management of Mr. Alfred Wigan, whose company
included Miss Herbert (who soon became the manageress of the house),
Mrs. Alfred Wigan, Miss Nelly Moore, Mr. Terry, Mr. Dewar, and Mr.
Emery. Young, beautiful, gifted, well practised in the art that she
evidently loved, Kate Terry was well calculated to secure the praise of
the critics and the heart of the public. At first the characters
entrusted to her were comparatively small, but she industriously tended
the firmly planted sapling that was destined to grow, flourish, and
yield glorious as well as abundant fruit.

Even the greatest of histrionic geniuses have to wait for their chances,
and Kate Terry's first real opportunity did not come until 1862.

A version, by Mr. Horace Wigan, of Victorien Sardou's fine comedy, "Nos
Intimes," entitled "Friends or Foes," was in course of presentation, and
Miss Herbert's company then included the honoured names of George
Vining, Frank and Mrs. Frank Mathews, W. H. Stephens, and F. Charles.
This play has been made familiar to later and present-day playgoers as
"Peril," the clever adaptation by Clement Scott and B. C. Stephenson,
which seems likely to hold the stage for many a long year to come. It
proved one of the trump cards of the Bancrofts at the old Prince of
Wales's Theatre, and its subsequent revivals have always been attended
by success. The Lady Ormonde of "Friends or Foes" was, of course, played
by Miss Herbert, and Kate Terry had to content herself with quite a
minor part; but she was the conscientious understudy of her manageress,
and, when that delightful artiste suddenly fell ill, the burden of the
piece--at a moment's notice--had to be borne upon the shoulders of the
younger actress.

Her triumph was instantaneous and complete. Bravely, and with consummate
skill, she went through her trying ordeal, and when the curtain fell it
was evident that her permanent popularity on the London stage was
secure.

It is ridiculous to depend upon that "will-o'-the-wisp" called "luck";
but there is no doubt that if we are ready for it, and promptly avail
ourselves of it, _chance_ will sometimes do us a good turn.

But no one can afford to neglect the truth of the old warning reminding
us that opportunities are very sensitive things, and that if you slight
them on their first visit you seldom see them again. Of that memorable
performance at the St. James's, Clement Scott says:--

"On that never-to-be-forgotten night this young girl, Kate Terry, made
an astounding success. Her name was scarcely known; no one knew that we
had amongst us a young actress of so much beauty, talent, and, what was
more wonderful still, true dramatic power, for the temptation scene
wants acting, and not the kind of trifling that we see in these modern
and amateurish days."

The next morning, Tom Taylor in the _Times_ let himself go, and blew the
trumpet in praise of the new actress, Kate Terry. Her fame was made
from that minute. She never turned back.

Quickly she became the stage divinity of her day, and she remained the
idol of London playgoers until, on her early marriage, she retired into
private life. Those who saw her will never forget either her personal
charm or the perfection of her art, and they will, I think, like to take
a glimpse with me into a cherished past. We are told that times of
special happiness should be regarded as a sort of reserve fund, to be
drawn upon in dark or cloudy days, and the evenings of long ago, when we
delighted in the acting of Kate Terry, were times of exceeding
happiness. The little world of the theatre in which we have revelled is
still open to us, and it is always pleasant to turn over the brightest
pages of its history.

Many of us know how old fox-hunters are never so happy as when they are
recalling the glorious "runs" of the past. How they met at Quinton Cross
Roads; found "one of the right sort" in Bamkin's Gorse; ran him at a
rattling pace over Lickford Common; had a check in Bowler's Wood; lost
him in Messer's Osier Beds; found him again, and followed him over that
dangerous water jump, Priddis Brook, low lying, as it broadly flows
between thick quick-set hedges; and finally ran him to earth in Linnecor
Coppice.

So are old playgoers supremely content when with congenial souls they
discuss the famous and favourite actors and actresses they have seen and
admired in bygone days. So they will follow them from their initial
efforts in the provinces, through their series of triumphs in this or
that London theatre. To such theatrical enthusiasts as these their
collections of old play-bills are as precious and replete with
pleasurable reminiscences as are the "pads" of many defunct reynards
nailed to the stable doors of the fox-hunter.

At about the time when Kate Terry made her unmistakable mark at the St.
James's, Charles Albert Fechter was the actor-hero of the hour.

He came to fulfil his trying ordeal in London with great credentials.
Charles Dickens had described seeing him first, quite by accident, in
Paris, having strolled in to a little theatre there one night. "He was
making love to a woman," Dickens wrote, "and he so elevated her as well
as himself by the sentiment in which he enveloped her, that they trod in
a purer ether, and in another sphere, quite lifted out of the present.
'By heavens!' I said to myself, 'a man who can do this can do anything.
I never saw two people more purely and instantly elevated by the power
of love. The man has genius in him which is unmistakable.'"

[Illustration: _Photograph by_] [_London Stereoscopic Co._

KATE TERRY.

_Taken when she was acting with Fechter at the Lyceum, and won the
admiration of Charles Dickens._

[_To face page 102._]

In due course Fechter, having made his triumph on English boards, became
the manager of the Lyceum Theatre. It was a great undertaking for a
French actor, for he had to contend against the conservatism of not
only our audiences, but of English actors and critics. That he was the
best "love-maker" our stage had seen was readily admitted, and the
fascination of his love-scenes was certain to be an attraction. But no
actor can make the success of a love-scene unless he is assisted by a
perfectly accomplished and responsive actress. Who was to be the heroine
of Fechter's reign at the Lyceum? She was found in Kate Terry, and she
right worthily shared in his notable victories.

One of the earliest productions was the first English version of the
French play that (in spite of many other and differently named versions)
has been made familiar to us as "The Duke's Motto." In this Kate Terry
appeared as Blanche de Nevers, and in speaking of the impersonation
Charles Dickens, who, for the sake of his friend Fechter, was inclined
to be very critical, said that it was "perfectly charming,"--"the very
best piece of womanly tenderness he had ever seen on the stage."

No doubt Kate Terry contributed largely to Fechter's Lyceum successes.
She could not only act, but she so threw herself into her characters
that she could _listen_ to those who acted with her, and let her
audiences not only see, but believe that she was listening with all her
heart and soul. The exercise of this rarely displayed histrionic gift
was invaluable in the beautiful love-scenes of Fechter.

But in her girlish days Kate Terry had shown that she understood the
value of action on the stage, and knew that when deftly handled it could
make an even deeper impression than words.

Speaking of Charles Kean's great production of "Henry the Fifth" at the
Princess's in 1859 the notoriously keen critic of the _Athenæum_
said:--"The union of England and France in one kingdom is the ambitious
sentiment of the play, and the heroism of the English character the
spirit that pervades the scenes. This is exemplified in the small as
well as the great incidents, and in none, in acting, did it come out
more significantly than in the little part of the boy belonging to the
Pistol group of characters at the end of the first act. Miss Kate Terry,
as the impersonator of the brave youth, in the heroic and pleasing
attitude with which he listened to the sound of the drum, and the
measured march with which he followed delightedly the spirit-stirring
music, showed us at once the sympathetic gallantry of the English lad
going to the wars. There was in it an intelligible indication of the
wonderful daring by which the battle of Agincourt was won. To men who
were once such lads as he nothing was impossible. The trait was well
brought out; and that little bit of acting, in regard to its
completeness, was the gem of the performance."

And so Kate Terry shared in Fechter's Lyceum conquests, and in "Bel
Demonio, a Love Story," adapted by John Brougham from the French drama
"L'Abbaye de Castro," she played Lena to his Angelo. A little later she
was the "pretty Ophelia" to the much discussed Hamlet of Fechter, and
again honours were divided.

How critics differed concerning the new Hamlet!

Writing long after the glamour of the impersonation has passed away,
Clement Scott has told us how Hamlet was represented "in a new way, in a
fresh style, with carefully considered new business; with a sweetly
pathetic face showing 'the fruitful river of the eye,' and in a long
flaxen Danish wig.

"'A Frenchman play Hamlet!'" he says. "There was a yell of execration in
the camp of the old school of playgoers, and the feathers began to fly.
Hamlet in a fair wig indeed! Hamlet in broken English! Oh! you should
have heard the shouts of indignation, the babble of prejudice! The
upholders of the mouthing, moaning, gurgling Hamlets--the Hamlets who
obeyed every precept in his advice to the players, and 'imitated nature
so abominably,' the Hamlets who strutted and stormed--held indignation
meetings at their clubs, and metaphorically threw their 'scratch wigs'
into the air with rage and indignation.

"I, of course, became the easiest convert to the new Fechter school, and
elected to serve under his brilliant banner. In fact, I will candidly
own that I never quite understood Hamlet until I saw Fechter play the
Prince of Denmark. Phelps and Charles Kean impressed me with the play;
but with Fechter I loved the play, and was charmed as well as
fascinated by the player."

I am among the many who yielded to that charm, and wish that the
delightful experience of seeing Fechter's Hamlet and Kate Terry's
Ophelia might be repeated.

When, early in 1870, Fechter left England for America, Charles Dickens
contributed to the _Atlantic Monthly_ an article in his praise. "I
cannot," said the great novelist, "wish my friend a better audience than
he will find in the American people, and I cannot wish them a better
actor than they will find in my friend." Charles Dickens, it will be
remembered, was one of the keenest of all dramatic critics.

His admiration for Fechter's much discussed rendering of Hamlet is
expressed in the following words:--

"Perhaps no innovation in art was ever accepted with so much favour by
so many intelligent persons, pre-committed to, and pre-occupied by,
another system, as Fechter's Hamlet. I take this to have been the case
(as it unquestionably was in London), not because of its
picturesqueness, not because of its novelty, not because of its many
scattered beauties, but because of its perfect consistency with itself.
Its great and satisfying originality was in its possessing the merit of
a distinctly conceived and executed idea. Fechter's Hamlet, a pale
woe-begone Norseman, with long flaxen hair, wearing a strange garb,
never associated with the part upon the English stage (if ever seen
there at all), and making a piratical sweep upon the whole fleet of
little theatrical prescriptions without meaning, or like Dr. Johnson's
celebrated friend, with only one idea in them, and that a wrong one,
never could have achieved its extraordinary success but for its
animation by one pervading purpose, to which all changes were made
intelligently "sub-servient."

And yet of Fechter's Hamlet in America, William Winter, that greatest
and most deservedly honoured of transatlantic critics and authorities on
things theatrical, has said:--

"About 1861 Charles Fechter appeared upon the English stage and gave an
extraordinary performance of Hamlet. It subsequently (1869-70) reached
America. It was 'the rage' on both sides of the sea. In a technical
sense it was a performance of ability, but it was chiefly remarkable for
light hair and bad English. Fanny Kemble tells a story of a lady who, at
a dinner in London, was asked by a neighbouring guest whether she had
seen Mr. Fechter as Hamlet. 'No,' she said, 'I have not; and I think I
should not care to hear the English blank verse spoken by a foreigner.'
The inquirer gazed meditatively upon his plate for some time, and then
said, 'But, Hamlet _was_ a foreigner, wasn't he?'

"That is the gist of the whole matter. We were to have the manner of
'nature' in blank verse. We were to have Hamlet in light hair, because
Danes are sometimes blonde. We were to have the great soliloquy on life
and death omitted, because it stops the action of the play.[1] We were
to have the blank verse turned into a foreigner's English prose. We were
to have Hamlet crossing his legs upon the gravestone, as if he were Sir
Charles Coldstream; and this was to be 'nature.' Mr. Fechter's plan may
have been finely executed, but it was radically wrong, and it could not
be rightly accepted. Some courage was required to oppose it, because Mr.
Fechter had come to us (to me among others) personally commended by no
less a man than the great Charles Dickens."

But if critics differed with regard to the merits of Fechter's Hamlet,
there was a perfect chorus of praise for the exquisitely portrayed
Ophelia of Kate Terry. It is interesting to note that this victory was
won on the same stage on which, in the same part, Ellen Terry was to
commence her stage history-making engagement with Henry Irving.

When Fechter's brief reign at the Lyceum came to an end, Kate Terry went
to support Henry Neville at the Olympic Theatre. This admirable actor
was then at the height of his still well sustained popularity.

Handsome, graceful, endowed with a beautiful voice, and a master of his
art, Henry Neville was an ideal hero of romance, and though to-day he
elects to play quieter parts, and to delight his audiences with his rich
appreciation of comedy, he looks as young and dashing as he did in the
days of 1864.

Kate Terry's first appearance at the little Wych Street playhouse was in
a piece entitled "The Hidden Hand," an adaptation by Tom Taylor, from
the French drama by MM. D'Ennery and Edmond, called "L'Aieule." She and
Henry Neville distinguished themselves in the characters of Lord and
Lady Penarvon, and the company included Miss Louisa Moore, Miss Lydia
Foote, Miss Nelly Farren, and Charles Coghlan. Later came Sterling
Coyne's comedy called "Everybody's Friend," which, under the title of
"The Widow Hunt," was destined in later years to be made famous by that
admirable American comedian, John Sleeper Clarke. Who, having seen it,
will ever forget the delicious drollery of his Major Wellington de
Boots? The Major of the Olympic days was Mr. Walcot, who, although
announced as an American actor, was an Englishman by birth. Kate Terry
was the Mrs. Swansdown, Henry Neville the Felix Featherley, and Mrs.
Leigh Murray Mrs. Major de Boots.

Other successes were made in Tom Taylor's five-act drama "Settling Day,"
and the same playwright's "The Serf." The production of the latter piece
being the "benefit" night of the gifted actress, she delivered an
address written for her by the grateful author.

In "Twelfth Night" Kate Terry doubled the parts of Viola and Sebastian;
and a notable hit was made in Tom Taylor's stage version of Miss
Braddon's novel "Henry Dunbar." In Leicester Buckingham's "Love's
Martyrdom" she again distinguished herself.

On June 20, 1866, she again took a benefit at the theatre she had served
so well, and on this occasion appeared for the first time as Julia in
"The Hunchback" of Sheridan Knowles, and once more delivered an address
specially written for her by Tom Taylor. But the great event of the
evening was the appearance (also for the first time) of Ellen Terry as
the sprightly Helen. In order that she might serve her sister she made
this brief departure from her retirement, and acted with great spirit
and animation.

A little later on she appeared at the Prince's Theatre at Manchester in
the first performance of a new play by Dion Boucicault originally called
"The Two Lives of Mary Leigh" but subsequently renamed "Hunted Down."
This proved to be a memorable evening. Not only did Kate Terry add to
her laurels as the heroine, but Henry Irving, in the character of Rawdon
Scudamore, made his first great impression. Hitherto he had only been
known as a very earnest actor in the provincial stock companies--but in
this play he found his chance, seized it, and made his mark.

Irving, who was then most anxious to get to London, made a stipulation
with Boucicault before he accepted the part to the effect that if he
succeeded he should have the opportunity of appearing in it in the
production of the play in the metropolis. This was acceded to, and on
the opening night the dramatist was so struck with his splendid
performance that he induced his friend and brother playwright, Charles
Reade, to travel to Manchester in order that he might see this
remarkable impersonation. It was then that these two experts decided
that in Henry Irving they saw the coming leading actor of his day.

On November 5, 1866, "Hunted Down" was produced at the St. James's
Theatre, with Miss Herbert in the character created by Kate Terry;
Rawdon Scudamore at once "took the town" and excited the admiration of
the critics, and so the name and fame of Henry Irving were made out of
material that has never faded. It is curious to remember that our famous
actor's first great success was made with Kate Terry, and that most of
his later triumphs have been shared with Ellen Terry.

Kate Terry's next London home was the Adelphi Theatre. There she created
the character of Anne Carew in Tom Taylor's evergreen play "A Wolf in
Sheep's Clothing" (a part that was in after years most beautifully
played by Mrs. Kendal at the St. James's), and won great favour in "A
Sister's Penance," by Tom Taylor and A. W. Dubourg. In the latter
production she was associated with Miss Fanny Hughes, John Billington,
and Hermann Vezin. "Good acting by Kate Terry" is the verdict
pronounced upon the piece in the pages of Edward Leman Blanchard's
happily preserved diary.

Probably Kate Terry's sojourn at the Adelphi will be best remembered by
her exquisitely tender rendering of the sweet character of Dora in
Charles Reade's happy stage version of Tennyson's poem bearing that
name.

We all know the touching story telling that--

    "With farmer Allan at the farm abode
    William and Dora; William was his son,
    And she his niece--"

We remember how the stern old man desired that the cousins should marry,
and we know that while Dora would willingly give her heart to William,
he is cold to her. We recall his scene with his father and how he said--

    "I cannot marry Dora; by my life
    I will not marry Dora." Then the old man
    Was wroth, and doubled up his hands, and said:--
    "You will not, boy! you dare to answer thus!
    But in my father's time a father's word was law,
    And so it shall be now for me."

[Illustration: ELLEN TERRY'S COUNTRY HOME IN KINGSTON VALE.

_Its mistress is at the gate of her charming "Vine Cottage."_

    [_To face page 112._
]

Then we follow William out of the house whose doors are mercilessly
closed behind him, see him marry his sweetheart Mary, know that all
things fail with him until despair brings him to his death-bed. Now
we realise the depth and unselfishness of Dora's love. She goes to
the aid of the woman who has really spoilt her life's dream of
happiness, and through her dead darling's child endeavours to secure
poor stricken Mary's prosperity by a reconciliation with the still angry
and always stubborn farmer Allan. Her simple, loving plan succeeds. The
child softens the obdurate heart--

    "And all at once the old man burst in sobs:--
    'I have been to blame, to blame. I have killed my son.
    I have killed him--but I loved him, my dear son.
    May God forgive me! I have been to blame.
    Kiss me, my children.'
                            Then they clung about
    The old man's neck, and kissed him many times.
    And all the man was broken with remorse;
    And all his love came back a hundredfold;
    And for three hours he sobb'd o'er William's child,
    Thinking of William.
                          So those four abode
    Within one house together; and as years
    Went forward, Mary took another mate;
    But Dora lived unmarried to her death."

Yes, we all know the finely conceived and tenderly told story of love,
anger, self-effacement, and forgiveness, but I do not think that any of
us realised the manifold beauties of Dora's character until it was
interpreted to us by Kate Terry. The portrait was painted in the most
delicate tints, but beneath the surface of it the pure mind and devoted
heart were ever apparent. The impersonation must have been truly
satisfying to the poet who always had a longing to see the children of
his fancy on the stage.

The critic of the _Examiner_ was right when he spoke of Kate Terry's
Dora as "still a thoroughly country girl, simple, yet shrewd, with
depths of womanly feeling, and little feminine piquancies; meek as a
mouse, but with something in her of the power of angels, she trips on
her way of quiet loving-kindness in a shabby hat and cotton gloves, and
morsel of silk cape over a dress with a narrow skirt. Her uncle gives
her money for fine dress; but of that, and of all that she can call hers
to give, the utmost toll is taken for the sustenance of the unhappy
outcasts. How touching it all is, and true with the real poetry of life,
we feel throughout; the interest in the character rises steadily as the
play goes on, and culminates as it should in the last scene."

It would be very wrong to take leave of Dora without saying a word of
praise with regard to the Farmer Allan of Henry Neville. It was a
virile, as well as a pathetic, embodiment of a firmly drawn but not too
sympathetic, and, consequently, very difficult character.

Soon after this, the rumour reached envious playgoers that Kate Terry
was about to become the wife of Mr. Arthur Lewis--a gentleman very well
known in literary and artistic circles--and that her marriage would
involve her retirement from the stage.

Crowded were the houses that then assembled to see their favourite as
Juliet, Beatrice, Julia, Pauline, and in other great characters. On the
2nd September, 1867, she gave her farewell performance, and the occasion
was thus recorded in the _Times_:--

"It is seldom that the theatrical chronicler has to describe a scene
like that at the Adelphi on Saturday, when Miss Kate Terry took her
farewell of the stage as Juliet. Successes, demonstrations, and ovations
of a kind may be made to order; but the scene of Saturday was one of
those genuine, spontaneous, and irrepressible outbursts of public
recognition which carry their credentials of sincerity along with them.
The widespread feeling that the stage is losing one of its chosen
ornaments had been manifested by the full houses, more and more crowded
on each successive night, which, even at this deadest of the dead
season, have been attracted to the Adelphi by Miss Terry's farewell
performances. Their attraction came to its climax and its close on
Saturday, when the theatre was crammed from the orchestra to the
remotest nook in the gallery where a spectator could press or perch,
with such an audience as we have never before seen gathered within its
walls.

"At the conclusion of the tragedy, in the course of which Miss Terry was
called for at the end of each act, except the fourth, when the good
taste of the more intelligent part of the audience suppressed the
demand, Miss Terry came on before the curtain in obedience to a
thundering summons from every part of the house, and almost overcome
with the combined excitement of the part and the occasion, stood for
some moments curtseying and smiling under the showers of bouquets and
the storm of kindly greeting. Nor when she had retired with her armful
of flowers--looking in the white robe and dishevelled hair of Juliet's
death scene, as she used to look in Ophelia--was the audience satisfied.
Again Miss Terry was recalled, and again she appeared to receive the
loud and long-continued plaudits of the crowd. Then the stalls began to
clear. But the storm of voices and clapping of hands continued from pit,
boxes, and gallery, through the overture of the farce, swelling till it
threatened to grow into a tempest. The curtain rose for the farce; still
the thunder roared. One of the actors, quite inaudible in the clamour,
began the performance, but the roar grew louder and louder, till at last
Mr. Phillips came on, in the dress of Friar Lawrence, and with a
stolidity so well assumed that it seemed perfectly natural, asked, in
the stereo-typed phrase of the theatre, the pleasure of the audience.
'_Kate Terry!_' was the reply from a chorus of a thousand stentorian
voices; and then the fair favourite of the night appeared once more,
pale, and dressed to leave the theatre, and when the renewed roar of
recognition had subsided, in answer to her appealing dumb show, spoke,
with pathetic effort, a few hesitating words, evidently the inspiration
of the moment, but more telling than any set speech, to this
effect:--'How I wish from my heart I could tell you how I feel your
kindness, not to-night only, but through the many years of my
professional life. What can I say to you but thanks, thanks and
good-bye!' After this short and simple farewell, under a still louder
salvo of acclamation, unmistakably proving itself popular by its hearty
uproariousness, the young actress, almost overpowered by the feelings of
the moment, retired with faltering steps, and the crowded audience
poured out of the house, their sudden exit _en masse_ being in itself
one of the most flattering tributes to the actress whose last appearance
had drawn them together.

"We have to turn over the pages of theatrical history in order to find a
parallel to this demonstration of affection coupled to gratitude. And
after the excitement of it was over, we, who had learnt to love her
perfectly portrayed art and sweet presence, sighed to think that she
would no longer grace the stage." Continuing, the _Times_ critic said:--

"This remarkable manifestation of popular favour and regard is worth
recording, not only as a striking theatrical incident, which those who
were present can never forget, but because it proves that the
frequenters of even the pit and gallery of a theatre where, till Miss
Terry came, the finer springs of dramatic effect have very rarely been
drawn on, can rapidly be brought to recognise and value acting of a
singularly refined and delicate kind--so refined and delicate indeed
that some of those who profess to guide the public taste have been apt
to insist on its wanting physical power. On Saturday night it was made
evident to demonstration, if other evidence had been wanting, that Miss
Terry had wrought her spells over the frequenters of pit and gallery as
well as of boxes and stalls. In the interests of refined dramatic art
this is a cheering set-off to many indications that seem to make the
other way. It shows that if the theatrical masses--those who are roughly
lumped up as the 'British Public'--are unable to discriminate nicely
between diamonds and paste, and so take a good deal of coarse glassware
for real stones, they are nevertheless susceptible to the influence of
refined, earnest, intelligent, and conscientious acting when they have
the rare opportunity of seeing it. How well Miss Terry's acting merits
all these epithets has been abundantly proved, not only through her
recent course of farewell performances, in which she has filled a range
of parts so widely different as to show a variety of power in itself as
rare as the grace, refinement, intelligence, and feeling she has put
into her acting from four years old to four-and-twenty."

Surely few actresses have won such heartfelt and well-merited words of
praise as these? No wonder that the thousands to whom she had given
endless delight grudged her her early won freedom from the perpetual
anxieties of stage life.

The Romeo of that eventful evening was her long-time stage comrade,
Henry Neville. For more than thirty years Kate Terry was absent from the
stage, but her name lived as a sweet memory in the minds of those who
had been fortunate enough to appreciate her rare and perfectly cultured
gifts. In the spring of 1898 she was induced to emerge from her
retirement to support her old friend, John Hare, in Mr. Stuart Ogilvie's
comedy, "The Master," at the Globe Theatre. Unluckily, the part that she
had consented to play afforded her few opportunities, the lady she
represented being simply a sweet and gentle wife and mother, with a
pleasant presence, a delightful smile, and a voice (the sweet voice of
days gone by) characterised by very winning tenderness. In itself a
charming part, but not one that gave scope for acting. But in this piece
she had the intense satisfaction of seeing her clever and beautiful
daughter, Miss Mabel Terry Lewis, make a marked impression on critical
West End audiences. Indeed, this charming young lady was one of the
chief attractions of "The Master."

In the autumn of the same year it was my privilege to sit by Mrs. Arthur
Lewis (and to hear the ever-to-be-remembered Kate Terry voice) while her
daughter was playing with John Hare and his company at the Theatre
Royal, Birmingham.

The piece was T. W. Robertson's "Ours." John Hare was in his original
character of the Russian Prince Perovsky, and the Blanche Haye was Miss
Mabel Terry Lewis. The young artiste played the part with an unaffected
girlishness, imbued with true tenderness, that touched all hearts, and
it was evident that this latest recruit from the famous Terry family was
worthy to bear her honoured name.

It was pretty to watch the mother, the former heroine of a hundred stage
victories, as with the skill of an expert she noted how her sweet young
daughter won her way into the marked sympathy of her audience.

By way of interesting records of the early appearances of these famous
Terry sisters, I am able to produce here some matter that I hope my
readers will like to have brought under their notice.

The bills of the "Royal Entertainments" given "By Command" in 1852 and
1853 at Windsor Castle are now historic. It will be seen that in them
both Kate Terry and her father took part. The bill of "The Winter's
Tale" at the Princess's in which both of the sisters appeared was given
to me by Ellen Terry. It dates (after one hundred and two nights) her
first appearance as the baby boy Mamillius.

[Illustration: KATE TERRY AS "ARIEL."

_In Charles Kean's revival of "The Tempest" at the Princess's Theatre,
1856. The young actress was then twelve years old._

    [_To face page 120._
]

I am permitted to produce _in extenso_ the letter in which Charles
Dickens, writing to his friend Macready, referred to the impression
made upon him by Kate Terry's acting with Fechter. There is a pleasant
little history attached to this letter of which, when he wrote it,
Dickens never dreamt. In due course, and in common, alas! with too many
household gods, it came under the hammer of the auctioneer. Henry
Irving, with that delicate tact and taste which distinguish his every
action (and which must mean much preceding thought in the life of an
over busy man), bought it, and, on a Christmas Day, sent it as the most
delightful of Christmas cards to the Kate Terry of those bygone times.

The letter from Tom Taylor to Ben Terry, in which he signifies his warm
approval of his daughter's acting in his greatest stage success, "The
Ticket-of-Leave Man," is very noteworthy.

The Manchester bill (October 4th and 5th, 1867) shows that Kate Terry
after her London farewell felt bound to say good-bye to her loyal
friends and admirers in Lancashire; that Charles Wyndham was among her
supporters; and that her sister Ellen (although she had declared that
she had retired from the stage) came to the fore in honour of her
sister.

The picture of Kate Terry as Ariel was taken in 1856 when she was only
twelve years old!


    ROYAL ENTERTAINMENT--BY COMMAND.

    Her Majesty's servants will perform at Windsor Castle,
    _On Friday, February 6th_, 1852,
    Shakespeare's Historical Play, in five acts, of

    KING JOHN.

    King John                                         Mr Charles Kean
    Prince Henry (his son, afterwards King            Miss Robertson
      Henry III.)
    Arthur (son of Geoffrey, late Duke of Bretagne,   Miss Kate Terry
      elder son of King John)
    William Longsword, Earl of Salisbury              Mr James Vining
    Robert Bigot, Earl of Norfolk                     Mr G. Everett
    William Mareshall, Earl of Pembroke               Mr Wynn
    Geoffrey Fitzpiers, Earl of Essex (chief Justiciary   Mr Stacey
      of England)
    Hubert de Burgh (Chamberlain to the King)         Mr Phelps
    Robert Falconbridge (son of Sir Robert Falconbridge)  Mr Meadows
    Philip Falconbridge (his half-brother, bastard    Mr Alfred Wigan
      son to King Richard I.)
    Philip, King of France                            Mr C. Fisher
    Lewis, the Dauphin                                Mr Stanton
    Archduke of Austria                               Mr Ryder
    Cardinal Pandulph (the Pope's Legate)             Mr Graham
    Chatillon, Comte de Nevers (ambassador from       Mr C. Wheatleigh
      France to King John)
    Giles (Vicomte de Melun)                          Mr J. F. Cathcart
    Peter of Pomfret (a Prophet)                      Mr Parsloe
    Citizen of Angiers                                Mr Addison
    English Knight                                    Mr Paulo
    English Herald                                    Mr Rolleson
    French Herald                                     Mr F. Cooke
    Attendants on Hubert                              Mr Daly & Mr Stoakes
    Elinor (widow of King Henry II. & Mother          Miss Phillips
      of King John)
    Constance (mother to Arthur)                      Mrs Charles Kean
    Blanch (daughter to Alphonso, King of Castile     Miss Murray
      & Niece to King John)
    King John's Pages                       Miss J. Lovell & Miss Hastings
    Attendants on Constance                   Miss Maurice & Miss Clifford
    Director                                          Mr Charles Kean
    Assistant Director                                Mr George Ellis

Theatre arranged & Scenery painted by Mr Thomas Grieve.


    ROYAL ENTERTAINMENT--BY COMMAND.

    Her Majesty's servants will perform at Windsor Castle,

    _On Friday, January 7th, 1853_,

    Shakespeare's Historical Play of

    KING HENRY THE FOURTH.

    (Part Second)

    King Henry IV.                           Mr Phelps
    Henry, Prince of Wales                   Mr A. Wigan
    Thomas, Duke of Clarence                 Mr Stirling
    Prince John of Lancaster                 Mr G. Everett
    Prince Humphrey of Gloster               Miss J. Lovell
    Earl of Westmoreland                     Mr F. Vining
    Lord Chief Justice                       Mr Cooper
    Scroop, Archbishop of York               Mr Diddear
    Lord Mowbray                             Mr H. Mellon
    Lord Hastings                            Mr H. Vining
    Sir John Falstaff                        Mr Bartley
    Poins                                    Mr H. Marston
    Pistol                                   Mr Ryder
    Bardolph                                 Mr Wilkinson
    Robin                                    Miss Kate Terry
    Justice Shallow                          Mr Meadows
    Justice Silence                          Mr Harley
    Gower                                    Mr Graham
    Davy                                     Mr Clarke
    Mouldy                                   Mr Stacey
    Shadow                                   Mr J. Chester
    Wart                                     Mr Terry
    Feeble                                   Mr S. Cowell
    Bull Calf                                Mr R. Romer
    Fang                                     Mr Worrell
    Snare                                    Mr H. Vezin
    The King's Pages                         Mr Brazier and Mr Tomlinson
    Dame Quickly                             Mrs W. Daly

    Director                                 Mr Charles Kean
    Assistant Director                       Mr George Ellis

Theatre arranged & Scenery painted by Mr Thomas Grieve.


    ROYAL ENTERTAINMENT--BY COMMAND.

    Her Majesty's servants will perform at Windsor Castle,

    _On Thursday, November 10th, 1853_,

    Shakespeare's Historical play, in five acts, of

    KING HENRY THE FIFTH.

    The Chorus                                     Mr Bartley
    King Henry the Fifth                           Mr Phelps
    Duke of Glo'ster       (brothers to            Miss Young
    Duke of Bedford          the King)             Mr Rousby
    Duke of Exeter        (uncle to King)          Mr Cooper
    Earl of Salisbury                              Mr F. Cooke
    Earl of Westmoreland                           Mr Belford
    Archbishop of Canterbury                       Mr Henry Marston
    Bishop of Ely                                  Mr Lacy
    Earl of Cambridge      (conspirators           Mr F. Vining
    Lord Scroop           against the King)        Mr Meagerson
    Sir Thomas Grey                                Mr Harris
    Sir Thomas Erpingham  (officers in King        Mr Addison
    Captain Gower           Henry's army)          Mr J. F. Cathcart
    Captain Fluellen                               Mr Lewis Ball
    Bates                  (soldiers in            Mr J. W. Ray
    Williams                 the same)             Mr Howe
    Nym                                            Mr C. Fenton
    Bardolf             (formerly servants         Mr Wilkinson
    Pistol                  to Falstaff)           Mr Harley
                        (now soldiers in same)
    Boy                   (servant to them)        Miss Kate Terry
    Charles the Sixth, King of France.             Mr Lunt
    Lewis, the Dauphin                             Mr Leigh Murray
    Duke of Burgundy                               Mr G. Bassil
    The Constable of France                        Mr Graham
    Governor of Harfleur                           Mr Josephs
    Montjoy (a French Herald)                      Mr Mortimer
    Isabel (Queen of France)                       Mrs Ternan
    Katherine (daughter of Charles & Isabel)       Miss T. Bassano
    Quickly (Pistol's wife, an Hostess)            Mrs H. Marston

Scene at the beginning of the play lies in England, but afterwards
wholly in France.

    Director                         Mr Charles Kean
    Assistant Director               Mr George Ellis

Theatre arranged & Scenery painted by Mr Thomas Grieve.


    PRINCESS'S THEATRE

    LAST FIVE NIGHTS
    OF THE SEASON

    Which will terminate on Friday next, the 22nd Instant, when


    THE WINTER'S TALE

    Will have completed an Uninterrupted Series of
    ONE HUNDRED AND TWO
    Representations

    _On Monday, August 18th; Tuesday, 19th; Wednesday, 20th;
    Thursday, 21st; and Friday, 22nd, 1856_

    The Performance will commence with (37th, 38th, 39th, 40th, and
    41st times) a New Farce


    MUSIC HATH CHARMS

    Mr Alfred Poppleton Pertinax                 Mr David Fisher
      (an Englishman, residing in Paris)
    Captain Bremont                              Mr Raymond
    Madame Mathilde de La Roche                  Miss Carlotta Leclercq
    M. Rabinel                                   Mr Brazier
    Adrien de Beauval                            Mr Barsby
    Lucille                                      Miss M. Ternan
    Victoire                                     Miss Clifford

    Guests--Mr Collis, Mr Warren, Miss Hunt, & Miss E. Lovell

       *       *       *       *       *

    After which (98th, 99th, 100th, 101st, & 102nd Times)
    Shakespeare's Play of The


    WINTER'S TALE

     The Scenery under the direction of Mr Grieve, and painted by Mr
     Grieve, Mr W. Gordon, Mr F. Lloyds, Mr Cuthbert, Mr Dayes, Mr
     Morgan, Mr G. Gordon, and numerous assistants.

     Music and Overture composed for the occasion by Mr J. L. Hatton.

     Dances and Action by Mr Oscar Byrn.

     Decorations and Appointments by Mr E. W. Bradwell.

     Dresses by Mrs & Miss Hoggins.

     Machinery by Mr G. Hodsdon. Peruquier, Mr Asplin (of No. 13 New
     Bond Street).

     For authorities of Costumes, see End of Book, Published and sold
     in the Theatre.

     Performance terminates by a quarter past eleven.

    Leontes (King of Sicilia)                 Mr Charles Kean
    Mamillius (his son)                       Miss Ellen Terry
    Camillo   }                             { Mr Graham
    Antigonus } (Sicilian Lords)            { Mr Cooper
    Cleomenes }                             { Mr J. F. Cathcart
    Dion      }                             { Mr G. Everett
    Two other Sicilian Lords                  Mr Barsby & Mr Raymond
    Elder of the Council                      Mr Rolleston
    Officer of the Court of Judicature        Mr Terry
    An Attendant on young Prince Mamillius    Mr Brazier
    Polixenes (King of Bithynia)              Mr Ryder
    Florizel (his son)                        Miss Heath
    Archidamus (a Bithynian lord)             Mr H. Mellon
    A Mariner                                 Mr Paulo
    Keeper of the Prison                      Mr Collett
    An old Shepherd (reputed father of Perdita)  Mr Meadows
    Clown (his son)                           Mr H. Saker
    Servant to the old Shepherd               Miss Kate Terry
    Autolycus (a rogue)                       Mr Harley
    Time, as Chorus                           Mr F. Cooke
    Hermione (Queen to Leontes)               Mrs Charles Kean
    Perdita (daughter to Leontes & Hermione)  Miss Carlotta Leclercq
    Pauline, (wife to Antigonus)              Mrs Ternan
    Emilia (a Lady)                           Miss Clifford
    Two other ladies attending on the Queen   Miss Eglinton & Miss
                                                   M. Ternan
    Mopsa  }                                { Miss J. Brougham
      &    } (Shepherdesses)                {
    Dorcas }                                { Miss E. Brougham

    Lords, Ladies & Attendants; Satyrs for a Dance; Shepherds,
    Shepherdesses, Guards, &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

    SCENE:--_Sometimes in Sicilia. Sometimes in Bithynia._


    _Thursday, 19th February 1863._

"MY DEAREST MACREADY,--I have just come back from Paris, where the
Readings--Copperfield, Dombey and Trial, and Carol and Trial, have made
a sensation which modesty (my natural modesty) renders it impossible for
me to describe. You know what a noble audience the Paris audience is!
They were at their very noblest with me.

"I was very much concerned by hearing hurriedly from Georgey that you
were ill. But when I came home at night she showed me Kate's letter, and
that set me up again. Ah! you have the best of companions and nurses,
and can afford to be ill now and then, for the happiness of being so
brought through it. But don't do it again, yet awhile, for all that.

"Legouvé (whom you remember in Paris as writing for the Ristori) was
anxious that I should bring you the enclosed. A manly and generous
effort, I think? Regnier desired to be warmly remembered to you. He has
been losing money in speculation, but looks just as of yore.

"Paris generally is about as wicked and extravagant as in the days of
the Regency. Madame Viardot in the Orphée, most splendid. An opera of
'Faust,' a very sad and noble rendering of that sad and noble story.
Stage management remarkable for some admirable, and really poetical
effects of light. In the more striking situations, Mephistopheles
surrounded by an infernal red atmosphere of his own. Marguerite by a
pale blue mournful light. The two never blending. After Marguerite has
taken the jewels placed in her way in the garden, a weird waning draws
on, and the bloom fades from the flowers, and the leaves of the trees
droop and lose their fresh green, and mournful shadows overhang her
chamber window, which was innocently bright and gay at first. I couldn't
bear it, and gave in completely.

"Fechter doing wonders over the way here with a picturesque French
drama. Miss Kate Terry in a small part in it, perfectly charming. You
may remember her making a noise years ago, doing a boy at an Inn in the
'Courier of Lyons'? She has a tender love-scene in this piece, which is
a really beautiful and artistic thing. I saw her do it at about three in
the morning of the day when the theatre opened, surrounded by shavings
and carpenters, and (of course) with that inevitable hammer going; and I
told Fechter 'that is the very best piece of womanly tenderness I have
ever seen on the stage, and you will find no Audience can miss it.' It
is a comfort to add that it was instantly seized upon, and is much
talked of.

"Stanfield was very ill for some months; then suddenly picked up, and is
really rosy and jovial again. Going to see him when he was very
despondent, I told him the story of Fechter's piece (then in rehearsal)
with appropriate action; fighting a duel with the washing-stand, defying
the bedstead, and saving the life of the sofa-cushion. This so kindled
his old theatrical ardour, that I think he turned the corner on the
spot.

"With love to Mrs. Macready and Katie, and (be still, my heart!)
Benvenuta, and the exiled Johnny (not too attentive at school, I hope?),
and the personally-unknown young Parr,--Ever, my dearest Macready, your
most affectionate

    "CHARLES DICKENS."


    "CANTERBURY, FOUNTAIN HOTEL,
      _Saturday, 15th August 1868._

"DEAR MR. TERRY,--I am desirous of letting you know my opinion of Kate's
acting of May Edwards in 'The Ticket-of-Leave Man,' here.

"My impression, in the most general form I can state it, is simply this,
that I have never had any one character in any piece I have written,
from first to last, impersonated so entirely to my satisfaction. She
played with a grace, intelligence, and delicacy and truth of feeling
which completely carried away the audience, and what is more--the
author. If she had played the part in town I should think it would have
doubled the success of the piece.

"You are quite at liberty to make this opinion of mine known in any
quarter where you may think it useful to your daughter that it should be
known.-- Yours very truly,

    TOM TAYLOR.

    "Mr. B. TERRY."


PRINCE'S THEATRE, MANCHESTER.

    _Proprietors_ The Manchester Public Entertainments Company Limited.
                       Beddoes Peacock, Thorncliffe Grove,
                         Chorlton-upon-Medlock.

    _Friday and Saturday, October 4th and 5th, 1867_,

    FOR THE

    BENEFIT

    OF MISS

    KATE TERRY

    And her last two appearances on any stage.

    The Performance will commence with an Original Drama,
    in Three Acts, called--


PLOT AND PASSION

    Fouché (Duke of Otranto, Minister of Police)       Mr J. G. Warde
    M. Desmarets (Head of Secret Department of Police) Mr F. J. Cathcart
      (first time)
    The Marquis de Cevennes (a Legitimist)            Mr R. Soutar
    Berthier (Prince of Neuchatel, Grand Chamberlain) Mr J. G. Nicholson
    De Neuville (Secretary to de Cevennes)            Mr Charles Wyndham
      (first time)
    Jabot (House Steward to Madame de Fontanges)      Mr P. Rae
    Grisbouille (a Subordinate of Desmarets)          Mr William Mortimer
    Madame de Fontanges                               Miss Kate Terry
    Cecile (her maid)                                 Miss Ellen Leigh

SCENE.--_Acts 1st & 3rd, in Paris. Act 2nd, near Prague._

Between the First and Second Acts of the Drama The Band will play the
"Kate Terry Valse" (published by Hopwood & Crew)

Performed by command before the Sultan, Viceroy, & His Royal Highness
the Prince of Wales, by the Band of the 1st Life Guards.

Dedicated by the composer, Mr Henry King of Bath, to Miss Kate Terry.

       *       *       *       *       *

On Friday to conclude with & on Saturday to commence with the


LITTLE SAVAGE

    Major Choker                     Mr Shephard
    Mr John Parker                   Mr Charles Wyndham
    Mr Lionel Larkins                Mr J. Robins
    Jonathan                         Mr R. Soutar
    Lady Barbara Choker              Mrs Chas. Jones
    Kate Dalrymple                   Miss Ellen Terry

    Musical Director                 Mr Williams

Doors open at seven o'clock. Performance to commence at half-past.

    Private Boxes £3. 3s. and £1. 11s. 6d.
    Prices:--Stalls 6/. Lower Circle 5/. Upper Circle 2/.
    Pit 1/. Gallery 6d.

Box Office open from eleven to two.



CHAPTER VI

CHIEFLY AT THE QUEEN'S THEATRE


As the carrier-dove invariably, and often after a period of long
absence, wings its way back to its first home, so in due time Ellen
Terry, bringing with her her long-desired message, fluttered back to the
stage. We have seen how in 1866 she appeared at the Olympic, playing
Helen to her sister's Julia, in "The Hunchback." This was a special
occasion, but in the following year she, to the great delight of the
public, entered once more on a regular engagement. This was at the
Queen's Theatre in Longacre, and it came at the right time. In the
August of 1867 playgoers had mourned for the loss of their beloved Kate
Terry. In the following October Ellen Terry was at hand to take her
place in their hearts. In the previous June she had acted at the Holborn
Theatre in a short-lived play by Tom Taylor, entitled "The Antipodes, or
Ups and Downs of Life." In it she had the support of a good company,
which included that wonderful actress Charlotte Saunders; but though the
drama dealt more or less effectively with the racing element in England
and the digging element in Australia, it gave little or no chance to
the performers, and is only mentioned here for purposes of record.

It was at the Queen's that the new laurels were to be won.

To the playgoers of to-day, who are accustomed to the theatres of
Shaftesbury Avenue and the Charing Cross Road, and who are even inclined
to regard the historic Strand as a decaying home for the players, it may
seem strange to think of houses in Holborn and Longacre, but the Queen's
was in its brief day very popular, and to mention it conjures up many
happy memories. It was there that John L. Toole appeared in some of his
best domestic comedy parts, with such actors as Henry Irving, Lionel
Brough, Charles Wyndham, John Clayton, and Henrietta Hodson for his
comrades; it was there that all London flocked to see Hermann Vezin in
F. C. Burnand's convincing drama, "The Turn of the Tide" (founded upon
the then deservedly popular novel, "The Morals of Mayfair"), and in W.
G. Wills's first ambitious play, "Hinko"; and it was there that
Shakespearean students revelled in Samuel Phelps's perfect impersonation
of Bottom the Weaver, and George Rignold's striking, nay, almost
startling, rendering of Caliban. Alas! for its many memories, the
Queen's Theatre is no more, and, instead of stage, footlights, and
auditorium, its walls encase the works of a Longacre carriage-building
firm.

When, on its opening night, Ellen Terry joined this now defunct
playhouse, its fortunes were controlled by Alfred Wigan, with Charles
Reade--who, as we all know, was one of the greatest literary geniuses of
his time--for an ally. I meet young people to-day who tell me they have
never read this fine novelist's glorious romance, "The Cloister and the
Hearth," and say they "don't think they should like it." I am truly
sorry for them.

Charles Reade, although his works were greedily snapped up by the
publishers, loved the stage, had great faith in his own plays, and took
endless trouble over their production.

His drama, "The Double Marriage," was taken from his novel, "White Lies"
(which had been suggested by a French play from the pen of Auguste
Maquet, entitled "Le Chateau de Grantier"), and it was produced at the
Queen's on October 24th, 1867.

It is said that when a quick critic found out the source of the plot,
Charles Reade was very angry, and it seems difficult to believe that so
great a man should annex another writer's story without acknowledgment.

The cast of "The Double Marriage" was not only a strong but a very
interesting one. Ellen Terry and Fanny Addison played the heroines;
Alfred Wigan was the hero, Charles Wyndham had an effective part, and in
a smaller one Lionel Brough made his _début_ on the London stage.

Contrary to all expectation, and in spite of excellent acting, "The
Double Marriage" did not attract the public. I shall always think that
the play deserved a better fate. Years afterwards, on a provincial tour,
it was revived by Arthur Dacre and his wife, the well-remembered Amy
Roselle. Poor things! They had great faith in their venture, and had
expended much money on special scenery and costumes. It was effective
enough, and ought to have been attractive, but "bad luck" once more
attended it, and I fear it was one of the many disappointments that led
to the unfortunate Dacres' tragic end.

At the Queen's "The Double Marriage" soon gave way to a revival of Tom
Taylor's perennial "Still Waters Run Deep." In this Ellen Terry played
to admiration the by no means easy character of Mrs. Mildmay. Alfred
Wigan resumed his original character of the self-contained John Mildmay;
Mrs. Wigan was the Mrs. Sternhold; and Charles Wyndham (destined to
become the best of all John Mildmays) the Captain Hawkesley. On December
26th a very interesting event took place. Garrick's one-act excision
from "The Taming of the Shrew," dubbed "Katherine and Petruchio," was
revived, and in it Ellen Terry played for the first time with Henry
Irving. Critics very much differed as to the merits of the new "shrew"
and her "tamer," and, indeed, they had not much chance in this abridged
version of the comedy of displaying their ability, but in face of later
theatrical history the meeting is noteworthy. It is a matter for regret
that these distinguished artists have not included "The Taming of the
Shrew" in their noble Shakespearean repertory at the Lyceum. Possibly
they have been deterred by the perfect success made in the leading
characters by their American contemporaries, Ada Rehan and John Drew. It
has remained for them to show Shakespeare's comedy in all its glory. In
her "Stray Memories," Ellen Terry has thus recorded the impression made
upon her by Henry Irving in those early days:--

"From the first," she says, "I noticed that Mr. Irving worked more
concentratedly than all the other actors put together, and the most
important lesson of my working life I learnt from him, that to do one's
work well one must _work continually_, live a life of constant
self-denial for that purpose, and, in short, keep one's nose upon the
grindstone. It is a lesson one had better learn early in stage life, I
think, for the bright, glorious, healthy career of an actor is but brief
at the best."

A very pleasant recollection of these days is Ellen Terry's appearance
with John Clayton in Francis Talfourd's pretty comedietta, "A Household
Fairy," which, with Mr. H. T. Craven and Miss Wyndham in the two parts
that form the cast was first produced at the St. James's Theatre on
December 24th, 1859. In later years it was admirably performed at the
Globe Theatre, Henry Neville playing Julian de Clifford, and Lydia
Foote, Catherine. But the sprightly, warm-hearted, and at the same time
serious, "Kitty" of the Queen's added lustre to the author's meaning,
and was, as he intended her to be, a veritable fairy of the fireside.

[Illustration: HENRY IRVING IN 1868.

_It was at this period of his career that he first played with Ellen
Terry at the Queen's Theatre. Long Acre._

    [_To face page 136._
]

But at the close of this brief engagement Ellen Terry again said _au
revoir_ (luckily it was not _adieu_) to the stage, and for seven years
her gracious presence was withdrawn from us.

During this period she became the wife of Mr. Charles Wardell, a
gentleman well known to playgoers as Charles Kelly, the name he adopted
when, retiring from his position as an officer in a first-class cavalry
regiment, he followed his inclinations and took to the stage. In parts
of what may be called a stolid type Charles Kelly had, in his day, no
rival, and his successes were many. The character of Richard Arkwright
in Tom Taylor's interesting drama, "Arkwright's Wife," was, probably,
his greatest original achievement; but, as we shall presently see, he
did admirable work in Shakespearean drama as well as in the modern plays
in which his services were highly esteemed, and always in request. He
was also an excellent comedian. When John Hare first gave his inimitable
performance of Lord Kilclare in "A Quiet Rubber" at the Court Theatre,
the honours were pretty equally divided between him and Charles Kelly,
who, as the hasty-tempered but high-minded Irish gentleman, Mr.
Sullivan, gave a masterly sketch of Hibernian character.

     We were all sorry when our well-beloved petrel once more betook
     herself to the freedom of the winds and the waves; but we waited
     patiently in the certain hope that she would again return to the
     shore fringed by the footlights.

In the earliest days of 1874 London theatre lovers who were not behind
the scenes were puzzled as to who an "eminent actress" could be who,
"after a long period of retirement," was announced to appear at the
Queen's Theatre as the heroine of Charles Reade's drama, "The Wandering
Heir." With Mrs. John Wood in the character the piece had already made
its mark, but that talented actress was under contract to appear
elsewhere, and horses had to be swopped in the middle of a stream. Until
almost the last moment the secret of the vague announcement was well
kept, and then to the general joy it was discovered that the "dark lady"
was Ellen Terry.

Of course her admirers rallied round her to a man--and woman--and her
difficult task of succeeding an eminent artiste in a newly created part
was not only fulfilled to perfection but crowned with well won
approbation. There was no false note about the praise. The "wanderer"
was not extolled because she was Ellen Terry, but because of the true
excellence of her acting.

The enthusiasm of her reception and the appreciation of her critics must
have warmed her heart and encouraged her, for she has said that from
that time until the present she has never lost zest for her work.

Of this notable impersonation of Charles Reade's Philippa Chester (by
the way, the play was no doubt suggested by the famous Tichborne case,
which was then the talk of the hour), the critic of the _Daily
Telegraph_ said:--

"Miss Ellen Terry possesses exactly the qualifications demanded by such
a character as Philippa, and the undiminished brightness and buoyancy of
her style became at once apparent in the scene when the hoyden dwells
with such delight on her love of boyish pastimes, yet shows how much she
retains of girlish modesty and simplicity. Hardly less effective when
the action is transferred to America, and Philippa appears in male
attire, was her generous devotion to the interests of James
Annesley--while the struggle under masculine garb to veil repeated signs
of strong womanly devotion was most artistically indicated. Mr. Charles
Reade's drama of 'The Wandering Heir,' which possesses a
highly-interesting story wrought out with remarkable ingenuity, has thus
become endowed with an additional element of attraction, and the
prosperous career of a piece having a peculiar significance at the
present time promises to be prolonged far beyond the hundred nights it
has already nearly attained."

When his tenancy of the Queen's Theatre came to an end, the energetic
Charles Reade took his plays and his loyal little company over
Westminster Bridge to "Astley's," of immortal memory, and there Ellen
Terry distinguished herself not only as Philippa Chester, but as Susan
Merton in the famous "Never Too Late to Mend," which, admirable as it
was in its volume form, became even more popular when transferred by its
masterly author to the stage. Even after this lapse of time the stirring
drama, teaching as it does the most useful of lessons, is a good one to
conjure with, and in the provinces, at least, is always sure to attract
its faithful pit and gallery.

Ellen Terry speaks very affectionately of clever and determined Charles
Reade, and cherishes the memory of the time when she served under his
somewhat formidably waved banner. "Dear, lovable, aggravating,
childlike, crafty, gentle, obstinate, and entirely delightful and
interesting Charles Reade," she calls him--and we may be quite sure that
while she, despite his foibles, understood his great genius and noble
heart, he, in his turn, appreciated her sweet nature and unlimited
talents. Before taking leave of "The Wandering Heir" I must make mention
of Edmund Leathes, who was the original James Annesley of the cast. He
was a gifted as well as a graceful actor, he made his name as an
author, and he vanished from us all too soon.

From the days of 1874 to these of 1901 Ellen Terry has always been with
us. The carrier-dove had this time come home for good, and the message
that she has constantly repeated has been ever a sweet one to those many
thousands who, all unknown to her, not only admire but love her.



CHAPTER VII

IN TOTTENHAM STREET


In 1875 Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft decided to make a bold experiment at the
old Prince of Wales' Theatre in Tottenham Street. In that little
playhouse which, thanks to their taste and admirable management, had
become the favourite resort of playgoers far and near; in the birthplace
and home of the sweet and memorable series of T. W. Robertson's
comedies, they would soar to Shakespeare, and give an elaborate as well
as an artistic production of "The Merchant of Venice."

As far as the company was concerned the cast presented few difficulties.
Charles F. Coghlan, who was deservedly regarded as one of the finest and
most powerful actors of his day, was to have his chance as Shylock, and,
since Mrs. Kendal, who was playing with John Hare at the Court Theatre,
was not available, all that was wanted was an ideal Portia.

She was found in Ellen Terry, and in some ways the engagement was the
most eventful episode in her artistic career. April 17th was the night
of the revival, and even those who had illimitable faith in the
Bancrofts were amazed at the scenic treat that had been prepared for
them. It seemed incredible that such perfect pictures of Venice, exact
in every detail, and painted and modelled from drawings specially taken
from the beautiful city of the sea, could be displayed on the small
stage. They charmed the eye and satisfied the mind. Venice in all its
beauty seemed to have transported some of its loveliest spots to dingy
Tottenham Street, and a convincing colour was given to the performance
such as had not hitherto been seen.

The costumes were equally artistic and appropriate,--the parts had been
well and very carefully distributed, the success of the production
seemed assured,--but in spite of its undeniable, and in many respects
unequalled, excellences, it proved unattractive, and had to be speedily
withdrawn.

The disappointment centred itself, where it had been least expected, in
Charles Coghlan's Shylock, and "The Merchant of Venice," without a
strongly appreciative and audience satisfying Jew of Venice is doomed to
collapse. It was in this way that the beautifully painted and firmly
built house of cards tumbled down. It was, and is, inexplicable. Charles
Coghlan had over and over again proved himself to be the best of actors.
Critics, aware of his latent power, had thought him thrown away on the
comparatively trivial parts he had been called upon to play, and felt
certain that when he could "let himself go," he would electrify. The
power was there--in after years it made itself manifest; but, for some
strange reason, it lay dormant in his Shylock--or at any rate in his
Shylock of 1875. There was no lapse of memory on the actor's part--no
physical breakdown. The character had evidently been most carefully
studied, and the delivery of Shakespeare's lines left little or nothing
to be desired. Apparently the actor had made the fatal mistake of
thinking that Shylock was one of those strong parts that would--in
theatrical parlance--"play itself." He was utterly wrong. If Shylock
does not reveal himself in his distinctly true colours, not even the
ideal Portia can prevent his fading from the picture, and leaving
Shakespeare's canvas a blank.

David Garrick's contemporary, Charles Macklin, whose name will ever live
as the first appreciative impersonator of this superbly drawn
character--as full of light as it is of shade--said of his first
appearance in it, and when he had from the outset found his audience in
sympathy with him:--

"These encomiums warmed but did not overset me. I knew where I should
have the pull, which was in the third act, and reserved myself
accordingly. At this period I threw out all my fire; and as the
contrasted passions of joy for the merchant's losses and grief for the
elopement of Jessica, open a fine field for an actor's powers, I had the
good fortune to please beyond my wildest expectations.

"The whole house was in an uproar of applause. The trial scene wound up
the fulness of my reputation; here I was well listened to; and here I
made such a silent yet forcible impression upon the audience that I
retired from this great attempt well satisfied.

"On my return to the green-room after the play was over, it was crowded
with nobility and critics, who all complimented me in the warmest and
most unbounded manner; and the situation I found myself in, I must
confess, was one of the most flattering and intoxicating in my whole
life.

"No money, no title, could purchase what I felt. And let no man tell me
after this what fame will not inspire a man to do, and how far the
attainment of it will not remunerate his greatest labours. By Heaven,
sir, though I was not worth fifty pounds in the world at the time, yet
let me tell you that I was Charles the Great for that night."

Soon after this success Macklin received an invitation to dine with
Bolingbroke and Pope at Battersea. The latter's couplet on his
performance--

    "This is the Jew
    That Shakespeare drew,"

is well known, and the nineteenth night of the run being his benefit,
Bolingbroke sent him a purse containing twenty guineas, such a present
being then considered a compliment.

On April 17, 1875, poor Charles Coghlan was anything but Charles the
Great. Always careful in the details of his make-up, he was a
picturesque figure, but his expectant audience waited in vain for the
effect that should have been made by the "pull" in the third act--for
the fire that was never thrown out--and for the forcible impression of
the trial scene. The "nobility and critics" were in front, but they
could not compliment the new Shylock, and had sadly to admit that he was
anything but the Jew that Shakespeare drew.

Charles Coghlan seemed for the moment to have forgotten that Shakespeare
meant his matchless text to be illuminated by the actor. He ought to
have borne in mind Mrs. Micawber's adage: "Things cannot turn up of
themselves. We must in a measure assist them to turn up."

No doubt his grave and unaccountable mistake killed the production, and
from it the Bancrofts must have suffered not only bitter disappointment,
but heavy pecuniary loss. It is pleasant to remember how in their
published records they very lightly touch upon the shortcomings of their
stage comrade. But the Bancrofts were ever kindly and generous, and in
every way merit the honours that have been conferred upon them. Were
they not the pioneers of a new, tasteful, and pure departure in English
dramatic art? Is it not to them that we owe the evergreen comedies of
Robertson and the refined theatrical school that he founded?

It is wonderful that thus heavily handicapped with an insipid Shylock
the Portia of the evening made a never-to-be-forgotten triumph. But
triumph she did, and all along the line. It at once became apparent that
we had amongst us an actress who could play the heroines of Shakespeare
in a manner that would vie with her great predecessors in the parts, and
that she would endow them with new graces and sweet fancies of her own.
Such an actress was sorely needed, and we were grateful for her timely
advent.

Well did Joseph Knight say of Ellen Terry and that famous night at the
pleasant little theatre in Tottenham Street, "She had revealed the gifts
which are the rarest on the English stage."

Continuing, he wrote: "More adequate expression has seldom been given to
the light-heartedness of maidenhood, the perplexities and hesitations of
love, and the inevitable content of gratified aspirations and ambitions.
Not less successful were the scenes of badinage. Portia's address before
the court was excellent, and the famous speech on mercy assumed new
beauties from a correct and exquisite delivery. A very noteworthy point
in the performance was the womanly interest in Shylock--the endeavour to
win him, for his own sake, from the pursuit of his grim resolve. The
delivery of the lines--

    "'Shylock, there's thrice thy money offered thee,'

and

    "'Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your charge
    To stop his wounds, lest he do bleed to death,'

were dictated by sublime compassion."

In accord with this was the opinion of Dutton Cook, who wrote:--

"With all the charms of aspect and graces of manner indispensable to the
impersonation of the heiress of Belmont, Miss Terry is gifted with a
voice of silvery and sympathetic tone, while her elocutionary method
should be prized by her fellow actors. Portia has been presented now
with tragedy queen airs, and now with vivacity of the soubrette sort--as
when in Garrick's time Mrs. Clive played the part, and made a point of
mimicking the more famous barristers of her time; indeed, a nice
combination of stateliness, animation, sentiment, archness, poetry,
tenderness, and humour is required of the actress entrusted with the
character. Miss Terry's Portia leaves little to be desired; she is
singularly skilled in the business of the scene, and assists the action
of the drama by great care and inventiveness with regard to details.
There is something of passion in the anxiety with which she watches
Bassanio's choice of the leaden casket; while the confession of her love
which follows upon that incident is delivered with a depth of feeling
such as only a mistress of her art could accomplish."

And so it was with all the critics. Probably there never was an occasion
on which they were so unanimous. In the presence of true genius we must
all agree.

How difficult it is to define the word "genius." To my mind it has
never been so well done as by George William Curtis, who said--

"The secret of the rose's sweetness, of the bird's ecstasy, of the
sunset's glory, that is the secret of genius."

Certainly this seems to sum up the genius of Ellen Terry.

Since that night when she first played Portia, it has never lost its
hold upon the public, or its influence upon our stage. With an equally
magnetic Shylock the Bancrofts' brave venture with "The Merchant of
Venice" would surely have run for many months, and in view of the deep
impression she has made, it must have been a great disappointment to
Ellen Terry that this was not to be. She did not know then that both in
England and America her Portia would prove an ever-recurring joy. It was
ordained that as Ophelia she should commence her long and brilliant
series of Shakespearean impersonations with Henry Irving at the Lyceum,
but it was as Portia at the Bancrofts' Prince of Wales' Theatre that she
first won all our hearts, from the scholarly critic of our greatest
poet, to those who only regard "The Merchant of Venice" as an
interesting play that they pay their money to see. Portia will, I think,
ever sparkle as the brightest gem in her well bejewelled crown.

Being human, Ellen Terry must have felt somewhat chagrined that the
fiasco of Charles Coghlan's Shylock should, for a time, banish her
Portia, and it is characteristic of her generous nature that a few
months later she should be playing, for a single performance, Pauline
Deschappelles to his Claude Melnotte at the Princess's Theatre. It was
one of those ephemeral stage experiments that could lead to no immediate
good. It involved much study, great anxiety, and hard work. Probably in
undertaking the task Ellen Terry was actuated by the unselfish desire to
help to reinstate her old comrade of the Bristol days in the public
estimation. I know that in the long period of her unalterably
established fame she has ever been the first to help a fellow actor
fallen by the way. If this was her desire she succeeded beyond her
expectations. As Claude Melnotte Coghlan did much to redeem his recent
unfortunate venture, and as Pauline she evoked pæans of praise. Writing
of this performance Joseph Knight said that its effect was to set the
seal upon a growing reputation, and to make evident the fact that an
actress of a high, if not the highest, order had arisen in our midst. He
felt, as every one felt, that in Ellen Terry an artist had developed in
whom there was that perception of analogies, that insight into
mysteries, and that power of interpretation on which the world has
bestowed the name of genius. "Circumstances," he truly remarked, "took
Miss Terry from the stage at a time when men dimly perceived in her the
promise which has since been realised. It is probable that some delay in
that maturity of style indispensable to perfection in histrionic art
has resulted from this break in her career. The interval can scarcely
have been misspent, however, since Miss Terry reappeared on the stage
with ripened powers and with improved methods."

In saying that her presentation of Pauline "comprised a series of
pictures each more graceful than the preceding," he echoed the general
opinion; but I do not think that the great mass of enthusiastic
playgoers could be with him when he added that they were "all too good
for the lackadaisical play in which she appeared."

Poor "Lady of Lyons"! There are still a little band of your faithful
admirers who hate to hear you condemned as you are to-day, as tawdry,
cheap, and artificial. They look back fondly on happy and soul-stirring
hours spent with you in the past; they know that you can still hold
intelligent, if somewhat sentimentally inclined, audiences spellbound;
and they believe that if any later-day dramatist could write a play
containing as good a character for a stage heroine, he would reap a
fortune. But among the superfine, my sweet "Lady of Lyons," you are
condemned as "old-fashioned," and your loyal followers, if they open
their lips in your praise, must be content to share the same ridicule
and fate. It is very terrible to be old-fashioned; but I, for one, shall
be true to you as long as I live. In the course of his criticism the
writer said, "It is too early yet to gauge fully the talent which has
revealed itself. It seems probable that Miss Terry's powers will be
restrained to depicting the grace, tenderness, and passion of love. In
the short scene in the third act, in which Pauline chides her lover for
treachery, the actress scarcely rose to the requisite indignation.
Limiting, however, what is to be hoped for her within the bounds
indicated, what chance is there not afforded? Juliet, in the stronger
scenes, would be, we should fancy, outside the physical resources of the
artist. Beatrice, Rosalind, Viola, Imogen, Miranda, and a score of other
characters of the most delicate and fragrant beauty, are, however, all
within what appears to be her range. In the present state of public
feeling respecting the Shakespearean drama, it will be strange indeed if
some manager does not take the opportunity of mounting some of those
plays for which her talent is so eminently adapted. The period during
which an actress can play such parts with effect is brief; and a portion
of Miss Terry's career has already been lost so far as the stage is
concerned. There will be regrettable waste if talent, so specially
suited to the Shakespearean drama, is confined to Lord Lytton's facile
sentiment and sparkling rhetoric."

Do not heed these final words, dear "Lady of Lyons." Believe me, there
are still many hundreds of gardeners' sons, Princes of Coma, and Colonel
Moiriers, ready to be your lovers, and worship at your feet.

Twenty-six fruitful years have elapsed since the foregoing criticism was
written, and we can be wise after the event. Joseph Knight has proved
himself to be a good prophet, but by the light of to-day we know that he
might have added to his list of Shakespearean characters within Ellen
Terry's range. To the regret of all, we have not yet seen her Rosalind
and Miranda, but she has triumphed as Viola and Imogen, and (though she
did not satisfy every one in the part) has proved that her physical and
artistic resources were equal to the portrayal of the passion and sorrow
of Juliet. She has shone as Beatrice, Cordelia, Desdemona, Lady Anne,
and Ophelia; she has astonished us and excited our admiration as Queen
Katherine and Lady Macbeth, and has even made a great personal success
as the determined Volumnia. Add to these the Mamillius, Puck, Prince
Arthur, Katherine, and other parts of earlier days, and we see what a
Shakespearean record has been made.

During her engagement at the Prince of Wales' Theatre, she also appeared
as Clara Douglas in Lord Lytton's comedy, "Money"; as Mabel Vane in
Charles Reade's and Tom Taylor's "Masks and Faces"; and as Blanche Haye
in one of the many revivals of T. W. Robertson's "Ours." In each of
these characters her peculiar grace and distinction, coupled with
tenderness, were apparent, but none of them offered her a chance worthy
of her now fully recognised power. In H. J. Byron's comedy, "Wrinkles;
or, A Tale of Time," she was doomed to disappointment. Byron, as a
writer for the stage, was then in the zenith of his fame. Everywhere his
comedies and burlesques were in demand, and it was only natural that he
should receive a commission for a play from his old friends the
Bancrofts. Writing for the best comedy company in London, and with Ellen
Terry, the idol of the hour, designed for his heroine, he no doubt
intended to produce his masterpiece; but, somehow, "Wrinkles" failed.
Indeed, on the first night, failure was in the air. Not only did the
piece prove unattractive in itself, but (a most unusual thing for any
play directed by the Bancrofts) it seemed hardly ready for production.
Hereby hangs a characteristic story of poor Byron. At the end of the
third act ("Wrinkles" possessed four), though no open hostility had been
displayed, his dramatic instinct told him that his work was doomed.
Inwardly suffering the torments of the defeated playwright, but
outwardly putting on a brave show of _nonchalance_, he lounged about the
front of the house. The long waits between the acts had already been a
source of dissatisfaction, and now had come the weariest interval of
all. Added to this, sounds were heard behind the act-drop as of a
carpenter sawing wood, suggesting--ominously suggesting--that the
scenery was defective. "What on earth are they doing, Byron?" asked a
friend. The poor author was gloomy and dejected, but, even at his own
expense, he could never resist a joke. "I don't know," he said, "but _I
hope they're cutting out the last act_!"

The last act was not cut out, but it did not save the already foundering
play, and the part in which Ellen Terry had been intended to shine (she
did not appear in it) flickered out.

But her engagement in Tottenham Street will ever be remembered by her
first appearance as Portia, and to the Bancrofts we owe her introduction
to one of her greatest parts.

"How I loved playing Portia," she has said. "I have tried five or six
different ways of treating her. Unfortunately, the way I think the
_best_ way does not find response with my audiences."

Be that as it may, she continues to play Portia in a way that her
critics as well as friends deem the best, and assuredly it requires no
alteration. May she thus go on playing it for many a year to come!



CHAPTER VIII

IN SLOANE SQUARE


At this time the Bancrofts' old and well loved comrade, John Hare, was
acting and managing in friendly rivalry with them at the original Court
Theatre in Sloane Square. In 1876, the Kendals, having concluded a most
prosperous season with him, left to fulfil an engagement in Tottenham
Street, and he secured the services of Ellen Terry, whose husband,
Charles Kelly, was already serving under his banner.

Before he went to fulfil his first engagement in America, John Hare
entrusted me with the task of writing his biography, and, apart from my
own observations of them, I became very well acquainted with the history
of the series of plays in which Ellen Terry appeared in the dainty
Chelsea playhouse.

Her first venture in her new home was as Kate Hungerford, in an original
comedy by Charles Coghlan, entitled "Brothers," of which great things
were expected. The cast included John Hare, Charles Kelly, H. B. Conway
(one of the handsomest young actors of his day), G. W. Anson (a born
comedian), Miss Bessie Hollingshead (the pretty and gifted daughter of
the valiant and erudite John Hollingshead), and the always delightful
Mrs. Gaston Murray. It was a cleverly written play, and the acting had
the _ensemble_ that John Hare had striven so hard and so successfully to
impart, but it did not "draw the town," and it was very speedily
succeeded by a revival of Tom Taylor and A. W. Dubourg's charming
comedy, "New Men and Old Acres," in which Ellen Terry played the part
created by Mrs. Kendal on the original production of the piece at the
Haymarket Theatre, and Hare followed Chippendale as Vavasour. By all
concerned this was so beautifully performed, and by the indefatigable
actor-manager so perfectly stage-managed, that solid and lasting success
was assured. The good work that was being done was generously as well as
generally recognised, and the critical _Athenæum_ spoke for the public
when it said:--

"Without going to the best Parisian theatres, it is not easy to rival
the performance now given, and there even the majority of the
impersonations would call for notice. The result is highly gratifying to
the public, unused to spectacles such as are now presented to it, and is
most honourable to the management.... We may congratulate accordingly
Mr. Hare and his company upon a performance that lifts off a portion of
the reproach under which we have lain, and that is the more noteworthy
inasmuch as of the dozen actors concerned in the performance, there is
no one that does not deserve praise."

The character of Lilian Vavasour had been so inseparably associated with
the name of Mrs. Kendal, who when she first appeared in it was still
using her maiden name (well loved by the public) of Madge Robertson,
that it must have been difficult for Ellen Terry to take it up, as it
were, at second-hand. That she succeeded in it to admiration, and once
more secured a long run for the pretty comedy, speaks volumes for her
talent and personal charm. I suppose nowadays "New Men and Old Acres"
would be called "old-fashioned." Many of us would like to see it again
as played by those dozen actors who all "deserved praise."

Early in 1877 it was apparent that Henry Compton, the veteran Haymarket
comedian, whose name will ever rank with the greatest of his art, would
be unable to return to the active work of the stage. By his professional
brothers and sisters he was both loved and respected, and they resolved
to give evidence to their sympathy by organising a history-making
benefit performance.

This was given at Drury Lane Theatre on March 1. The substantial item on
the bill of fare was Lord Lytton's "Money," with a cast that included
the well-known names of Henry Neville, John Hare, W. H. Kendal, Benjamin
Webster (he emerged from his retirement to play his original character
of Graves, and it was his last appearance on the stage), David James,
and Squire Bancroft. Mrs. Bancroft played Lady Franklin; Mrs. Kendal,
Clara Douglas; and Ellen Terry, Georgina Vesey.

All concerned in this undertaking were anxious to do honour to the name
of Henry Compton, and the happy thought was conceived of inviting his
son, Edward Compton, then a young fellow "serving his time" with the
provincial stock companies, to play the central part of Alfred Evelyn.
It was a nervous first appearance in London for so youthful and
inexperienced an actor, but he performed his task bravely, and delighted
his worthy father as well as his audience. He has often told me of the
kindly encouragement he received from the great artists by whom he so
unexpectedly found himself surrounded. Since then, as the founder and
indefatigable manager of the Compton Comedy Company, he has helped many
excellent actors and actresses to reach the coveted London boards.

As a motto to "Money," the following cynical lines are often used--

    "It's a very good world that we live in,
    To lend, or to spend, or to give in,
    But to beg, or to borrow, or get what's your own,
    It's the very worst world that ever was known."

In the little world of the theatre lending and giving ungrudgingly goes
on; the worthy, unfortunate, and unasking beggar is (to put him in that
light) charitably treated; and one will cheerily help another to obtain
his own.

Until October 1877, "New Men and Old Acres" pursued its prosperous
course, and by that time John Hare was ready with one of his most
ambitious efforts.

This was the production of Lord Lytton's posthumous work, "The House of
Darnley," and concerning it I cannot do better than quote Dutton Cook,
when he said: "A critic wrote concisely of the late Lord Lytton's play
of 'Not so Bad as we Seem' that it was 'not so good as we expected.'
Perhaps a like judgment might fairly be passed upon the noble author's
posthumous comedy, 'The House of Darnley.' It was inevitable, however,
that Lord Lytton's fame should stimulate hope unduly. The author of 'The
Lady of Lyons' and 'Money' may reasonably be reckoned the most
successful dramatist" (let it be remembered that this was written in
1877) "of the nineteenth century. It may be said at once that with those
established works the new comedy cannot afford comparison. But in
estimating the worth of 'The House of Darnley' it is very necessary to
bear in mind the peculiar conditions under which it is submitted to the
public. The play was left in an unfinished state; the whole of the last
act has been furnished by Mr. Coghlan, who was without other clue than
his fancy could suggest as to the original design of the dramatist. More
than any other literary work, a drama must benefit by revision and
reconsideration on the part of the author; in such wise weak points in
construction may be strengthened, gaps in the story supplied, the
dialogue braced, and the action quickened."

That in the face of all these very properly pointed out difficulties
success should have been won, speaks volumes for the tact of the
courageous manager, and the skill of his fellow-workers.

Let me again quote my authority:--

"With all its defects," he says, "'The House of Darnley' secures the
attention and the respect of the audience, and succeeds in right of its
own good qualities, and not merely because of the esteem in which the
performances of its departed author are generally held. If the theme be
weak, it is yet strongly handled, and demonstrates sufficiently the wit
and the humour and the literary accomplishments of the late Lord Lytton.
The comedy has been provided for with the good taste and liberality
which have so laudably distinguished Mr. Hare's management."

Ellen Terry acted with great distinction as Lady Juliet, and excellent
work was done by John Hare, Charles Kelly, Alfred Bishop, Amy Roselle,
and others, but, interesting though it was, the play did not long hold
the stage.

There was another performance in 1877 that must not be forgotten. This
was on June 20th, at the Gaiety Theatre, for the benefit of Charles Lamb
Kenney, who had through illness lasting over a considerable time been
unable to ply his facile pen. "The School for Scandal" was the _pièce de
résistance_, and it was then that Ellen Terry appeared for the first
time as Lady Teazle. Charles Kelly was the Sir Peter; Henry Neville,
Charles Surface; and John Clayton, Joseph Surface. By those who remember
the prodigiously long run of Sheridan's masterpiece at the Vaudeville
Theatre, the last mentioned performances of the admirably contrasted
brothers will ever be borne in appreciative memory. Mrs. Arthur Stirling
was the Mrs. Candour; and Mrs. Alfred Mellon the Lady Sneerwell. As may
be imagined Ellen Terry played Lady Teazle with winsome high spirits in
the earlier acts, and plaintive remorse in the great screen scene.

John Hare's next venture at the Court Theatre was not successful. In
spite of the care lavished upon its production, and of much clever
acting on the part of the company, Tom Taylor's comedy "Victims,"
originally presented at the Haymarket in 1857, failed to attract
audiences in 1878, and was speedily withdrawn. Withdrawn, it may be
unhesitatingly said, in favour of his greatest managerial success--the
stage version by W. G. Wills of Oliver Goldsmith's immortal story "The
Vicar of Wakefield," entitled "Olivia." John Hare suggested the subject
to Wills, and it was at once seized with the characteristic avidity of a
prolific and graceful writer. No one who knew that unquestionable, but
all too kindly and erratic, genius will be surprised to hear that the
first draft of the play was for stage purposes impossible. It was made
up of scenes of great beauty hopelessly choked with vast quantities of
irrelevant matter. It was not consecutively written, but was jotted down
at random in untidy copy-books, on the backs of used envelopes, chance
scraps of paper, and even on the eager but unmethodical author's
wristbands. At one time the task of bringing all this heterogeneous
matter into workmanlike form seemed to be a hopeless one, but with full
faith in his project and his author, John Hare was not to be baffled.

Night after night the two sat up together, and the play was
re-constructed and re-written in accordance with the practical
managerial views. When it was at last completed the dramatist prudently
withdrew from the scene. W. G. Wills had no interest in or talent for
stage management, and he wisely left the production in the experienced
hands of John Hare, only attending the perfected rehearsal on the eve of
the first performance.

John Hare can rarely be induced to talk about himself or his work, but
in connection with this production he is inclined to be somewhat
enthusiastic. "The beauty of the subject," he told me, "made the stage
management of this play profoundly interesting to me, and stimulated my
imagination and inventive powers to a greater height than I had ever
reached. By working out the whole scheme of the play in my home study I
planned all the movements and minute stage directions, so that at the
very first rehearsal it practically was the same as when it was
presented to the public. The part of the Vicar I offered in the first
instance to Alfred Wigan, making every effort to induce him to return to
the stage in order that he might create this beautiful character. I
could not induce him, however, to face the footlights again. So Hermann
Vezin became the 'Court' Vicar, and how admirably he played the part we
all know."

No one grudges Hermann Vezin his well-won success in the part, but some
of us who ponder over things theatrical, sometimes wonder whether, if
the Court Theatre had had another manager, and the services of John Hare
had been available, he might not have been induced to impersonate Dr.
Primrose.

The part of Olivia had of course been designed for Ellen Terry, and how
much she was pleased with it is proved by the following little note
impulsively dashed off to the author:--

    "COURT THEATRE,
    _Monday, March 5, 1878_.

    "DEAR MR. WILLS,--I can't tell you how _much_ I was delighted with
    the play, and with my part, but I _was_ delighted!

    "I only hope I shall be able to please you in my part of the
    work.--Believe me to be, very sincerely yours,

    ELLEN TERRY."

Indeed, she always liked to study the words of this author. At the
Lyceum, in addition to the repetition of Olivia, she played his Queen
Henrietta Maria in the revivals of "Charles I."; his Ruth Meadows in
"The Fate of Eugene Aram," and his Margaret in "Faust."

Concerning "Charles I.," she wrote to him (this letter was published by
Mr. Freeman Wills in his highly interesting memoir of his brother):--

"I'm just returned from our last rehearsal of 'Charles I.,' and, coming
home in my carriage, have been reading the last act, and I can't help
writing to thank you and bless you for having written those _five last
pages_. Never, _never_ has anything more beautiful been written in
English--I know no other language. They are perfection; and I--often as
I've acted with Henry Irving in the play--am _all melted_ at reading it
again. An immortality for you for this alone."

She greatly grieved over her well-loved author's death, and concerning
it wrote to her friend, Alfred C. Calmour:--

    "22 BARKSTON GARDENS, EARL'S COURT, S.W.,
    _December 15, 1891_.

    "Thank you for writing. Wretched news, is it not? A genius and a
    dear fellow. I know how much you will miss him, and I'm very sorry
    for you and for myself too.

    "I hope he was conscious and had folk he cared for by him.--Yours
    ever,

    ELLEN TERRY."

She is indeed the most charming of letter writers, and, if it were
permissible, it would be pleasant to fill a chapter with her lively, as
well as sympathetic, correspondence with the famous men and women of her
day; but she very strongly, as well as very rightly, holds the opinion
that to publish private letters intended for one person only is like
asking an audience to put their ears to a keyhole and listen to a
private conversation.

But to return to "Olivia." The beautiful play was produced at the Court
Theatre on 30th March 1878, and at once won its well deserved victory.
The first-night audience having watched the course of the story with
that breathless silence which is the highest form of applause, having
been over and over again moved to tears, became, at the fall of the
curtain, a demonstrative one, and the unrestrained enthusiasm of the
plaudits could be heard without Sloane Square. The critics were in their
appreciation and praises as loud as the audience, and Ellen Terry's
triumph was complete. She was the idolised heroine of a memorable
evening.

"Mr. Wills," said Dutton Cook, "has been fortunate not merely in his
performers, but also in his manager. Mr. Hare demonstrated anew that he
has elevated theatrical decoration to the rank of a fine art; indeed,
his painstaking and outlay in placing the play upon the stage justify
suspicion that it was produced almost as much for its pictorial as for
its dramatic merits. In either case, advantage has been taken of the
opportunity to present a special reflection of the artistic aspects of
the last century with regard to furniture and costumes, china and glass,
&c. A sort of devout care has been expended upon the veriest minutiæ of
upholstery and ironmongery; a fond ingenuity is apparent in every
direction of the scene; and the foibles and fancies of those who love,
or imagine that they love, cuckoo clocks, brass fenders, carved oak,
blue and white crockery, and such matters, have been very liberally
considered and catered for. Prettier pictures have not, indeed, been
seen upon the stage than are afforded by the Primrose family, their
friends and neighbours, goods and chattels, and general surroundings in
this play of 'Olivia.'

"But a higher claim to distinction arises from the method of its
representation. In the hands of Miss Ellen Terry, Olivia becomes a
character of rare dramatic value, more nearly allied, perhaps, to the
Clarissa of Richardson than to the heroine of Goldsmith. The actress's
singular command of pathetic expression obtains further manifestation.
The scene of Olivia's farewell to her family, all unconscious of the
impending blow her flight is to inflict upon them, is curiously
affecting in its subtle and subdued tenderness; while her indignation
and remorse upon discovering the perfidy of Thornhill are rendered with
a vehemence of emotion and tragic passion, such as the modern theatre
has seldom exhibited.

"Only an artist of distinct genius could have ventured upon the
impulsive abrupt movement by means of which she thrusts from her the
villain who has betrayed her, and denotes the intensity of her scorn of
him, the completeness of her change from loving to loathing.

"Miss Terry is not less successful in the quieter passages of the drama,
while her graces of aspect and manner enable her to appear as Olivia
even to the full satisfaction of those most prepossessed concerning the
personal charms of that heroine--so beloved of painters and
illustrators--to whom have been dedicated so many acres of canvas, so
many square feet of boxwood."

This criticism well sums up the general opinion. Joseph Knight was
equally full of praise, and said: "Miss Terry was altogether life-like
as Olivia, and much of her business was extremely natural and touching.
It was full of suggestion, and, in one point at least, when she repelled
the further advances of the man who had wronged her, it touched absolute
greatness."

Clement Scott pays his tribute as follows:--"'Olivia,' as I first saw it
at the Court Theatre, is a memory that will never die while life lasts.
It is one of the most precious souvenirs in my collection.... Words fail
to convey an adequate impression of the original Olivia--the spoiled
child and darling of the English home as portrayed by Ellen Terry. I see
the idol of her old father's heart. Vividly and clearly is presented to
my memory the scene where Olivia, under the hypnotic influence of love,
bids farewell to her loved ones, scattering around her little treasures,
and that 'white face at the window,' when 'Livy' is on the high road to
destruction. All that was pathetic enough; but the dramatic effect was
bound to follow, and it came with vivid truth in the great scene between
Ellen Terry and William Terriss. At that time, both actor and actress
were perfect specimens of manly beauty and feminine grace. Terriss was
just the dare-devil, defiant creature, handsome to a fault, that women
like Olivia love. He looked superb in his fine clothes, and his very
insolence was fascinating and attractive.

"When Olivia struck Squire Thornhill in her distraction and impotent
rage, an audible shudder went through the audience. It was all so
unexpected. But the truth of it was shown by the prolonged and audible
'Oh!' that accompanied it. When we talk of the Ellen Terry manner, and
her indescribable charm, may I ask, were they ever better shown than in
the scene where Olivia kisses the holly from the hedge at home, and then
hangs it on a chair and dances round it with childish delight? And so it
went on from perfection to perfection. For me there will only be one
Olivia--Ellen Terry."

No wonder that this fascinating Olivia became the rage of the day. Her
photographs went like wildfire; the milliners' windows were full of
Olivia hats, caps, 'kerchiefs, and other items of feminine adornment;
everywhere such dainty trifles were in evidence; and how many little
"Olivias" were christened in 1878 it would be hard to say.

Among the pretty schoolgirls who figured in the play a young aspirant
for dramatic honours made her first appearance on the stage. This was
Kate Rorke. How highly Ellen Terry thought of her sister artist's
talents will be seen in the course of these pages. She has ever been
ready to recognise merit in her fellow-workers--ever willing to render
them a helping hand.

Ellen Terry has modestly declared that it was because of her popularity
as Olivia that Henry Irving invited her to be his helpmate in his great
projects for his management of the Lyceum Theatre. It was not only this:
many things pointed to the fact that she was destined to be the greatest
Shakespearean actress of the latter years of the nineteenth century.



CHAPTER IX

SOME SPLENDID STROLLING


In the early autumn of 1878, before entering upon her all-important
Lyceum engagement, Ellen Terry, accompanied by her husband, appeared in
some of our leading provincial cities. Everywhere they were most warmly
welcomed, and the experiment proved so successful that, even after her
Lyceum duties seemed sufficient to engross all her time and attention,
it was, during a period extending over two years, repeated.

That was a splendid time for the so-called "country" playgoer. I well
recall how within one week at the Theatre Royal, Birmingham (this was in
1879), I saw Ellen Terry in her matchless rendering of Portia in "The
Merchant of Venice," as Ophelia in "Hamlet," as Lady Teazle in the
"School for Scandal," and as Lilian in "New Men and Old Acres." I would
gladly live that week over again. In Shakespearean characters Charles
Kelly was not, I think, seen at his best, but in his comedy parts he was
admirable, and there is always an interest in seeing husband and wife
act together. Actors and actresses love playing to ardent and
sympathetic provincial audiences. Their absolutely unrestrained
appreciation and applause delight them. The intent faces and eager ears,
bent on losing neither a movement of the expression nor an inflection of
the voice, act as a tonic to them; there is magnetism between the stage
and the house, and under such conditions acting is sure to be at its
best. There is nothing _blasé_ about the provincial playgoer. He pays
for a play that he wants to see, and if he is pleased he expresses his
gratitude in no uncertain terms. If he is disappointed he goes sadly and
quietly away, but he is never rude to those who have done their best to
entertain him. "Boos" and author-baiting are happily unknown in the
provinces, and no doubt this is why actors of eminence are fond of
exploiting new plays in the country before exposing them to the
exasperating risks of a London first night. It seems astounding that
people should exist who can wantonly deride the failure of anxious
authors and actors, who, having honestly sought to conquer, are
miserably conscious of their own defeat. No play can be depended upon
until it has gone through the ordeal of a public performance. If the
piece that has read well and rehearsed well fails to grip the public,
the sensitive actors and author are the first to feel it, and surely in
their keen disappointment they should be spared the humiliation of
rowdyism.

Not long ago there was a discussion as to the "rights" of first-night
audiences to "boo" a new play and the performers in it. The views of
leading actors and dramatists were sought, and Ellen Terry replied as
follows:--

     "I so entirely believe in the verdict of the great public that I
     long to have the first night of a new play over and done with, for
     it is, to my mind, the second night which tells me of the future
     good or bad fortune of the play and of our efforts. On the first
     night there are one's friends, so many so prejudiced; and one's
     enemies--not so many, but equally prejudiced, and so it seems to me
     that the first night scarcely counts. Then comes the second night,
     and all the nights. I can't tell how much it affects me--moves
     me--the enthusiasm, the attention, the encouragement. I just adore
     the public, and the public loves me back again. I know it, feel it,
     and am grateful for it. It refreshes my heart."

    "ELLEN TERRY."

This is very prettily put, and it is all very true, but such a universal
favourite is hardly a judge with regard to the feelings of her less
loved sisters who are subject to the baseness and vulgarity of a
detestable faction of first-nighters.

I may be told that provincial audiences can be very noisy, and even
unruly, and it must be admitted that the gallery "gods," when packed
together like dried figs in a wooden drum, are apt to be unpleasantly
emphatic concerning their discomfort; but their objections are raised
against each other, and rarely refer to the stage. Moreover, when
anything really good or impressive is offered to them they will at once
forget their grievances and become as quiet as mice.

As an instance of this, I recall an evening at the Prince of Wales'
Theatre, Birmingham, when Henry Irving was announced to appear as
Shylock. It had been raining hard all day, and the streets were filthy
with hopeless slush. As the evening drew in the torrents descended
pitilessly, but in spite of them great crowds of the faithful had
assembled before the doors of the pit and gallery hours earlier than
they would be opened to them. Long before curtain-rise the house was
uncomfortably crowded. Outside it was wet and muggy. Inside it was
oppressively close, and the hot atmosphere was redolent with the odour
of saturated clothing and sodden shoe leather. Ill-temper was in the
air, and at the commencement of the play the actors were greatly
troubled by the noisy quarrels that arose among playgoers ill bestowed.
Then Henry Irving made his striking entrance, and, instantaneously, all
was silent. As if by magic, he, aided by Ellen Terry as Portia, held his
audience as in a vice, and continued to do so until the end of the
performance. The only sounds heard in the theatre were those of
boisterous applause and ejaculations of half suppressed gratification
and emotion. It was a great tribute to the power exercised by the
true acting of a masterpiece.

[Illustration: ELLEN TERRY AS LORD TENNYSON'S "DORA."

_Played in the Provinces in 1879. In London the part was created by Kate
Terry._

    [_To face page 174._
]

Ellen Terry must ever bear in fond memory those splendid strolling days
when the hearts of her sturdy audiences went out to her, and she,
bewitchingly, responded to them. On the 1878 tour she relied chiefly on
her former success as Lilian in "New Men and Old Acres," and her
appearance in her sister Kate's original character of Dora, in the
Tennyson-Reade play of that name. This not only conjured up happy
reminiscences, but was in itself a sweetly tender and sympathetic
impersonation. Charles Kelly, too, was very well placed in Henry
Neville's old part of Farmer Allan, and in his make-up looked a perfect
picture.

I often maintain that, if they only knew it, provincial theatre lovers
have certain advantages over Londoners. Here is a case in point. They
saw Ellen Terry as Dora.

In 1878 they also had the opportunity of seeing her as Iris, in an
adaptation by Alfred Thompson of "La Revanche d'Iris," called "All is
Vanity." In it were the elements of popularity, but it was short-lived.
She and her husband subsequently appeared in it at a benefit performance
given at the Lyceum on behalf of that sound actor of the old school,
Henry Marston, and then it was forgotten.

In 1879 the Terry-Kelly programme was augmented by the production of an
ephemeral version by Mrs. Comyns Carr of the everlasting "Frou Frou,"
entitled "Butterfly." Guided as it has been, and happily still is, by
that great authority on dramatic art, Sir Edward Russell, the _Liverpool
Daily Post_ has always been famous for its theatrical criticisms, and in
dealing with these days it is interesting to cull the following lines
from its columns:--

"We cannot find words to express the charm with which Miss Terry, than
whom there is no more tender and graceful actress on the British stage,
invests the character of Butterfly, but those who can appreciate
versatility of acting should see her play the part, and then ask
themselves the question--'Could any one do it better?' She was most ably
supported by Mr. Charles Kelly and Miss Fanny Pitt, whose acting greatly
contributed to the success of the piece."

Of "New Men and Old Acres" the same authority rightly said:--

"It is seldom that such a piece is rendered with such perfection as that
which the leading members of the cast succeeded in achieving. There is
only one word which can adequately describe Miss Terry's personation of
Lilian Vavasour, and that word is perfection. Natural and graceful in
expression, with an inexhaustible vivacity, she maintains an unbroken
spell, which is only deepened by each fresh stroke of humour and girlish
outburst of sentiment, accompanied by a bewitching artillery of attitude
and expression. The acting of Mr. Charles Kelly as Mr. Brown, the
quiet, self-possessed man of business, was excellent in the extreme."

Of her reading of Lady Teazle in the screen scene of "The School for
Scandal," it was recorded that her tenderly, tremulous, and broken
accents touchingly conveyed the womanly contrition which so pathetically
points the moral of a dramatic incident in which human infirmity,
passion, perfidy, generosity of sentiment, and youthful gaiety and
frivolity are so wonderfully and skilfully blended. And of her Dora, it
was "something more than a mere stage-picture--a living, breathing
reality, a perfect embodiment of Tennyson's conception."

In the September of 1880 a very interesting event took place, and as it
foreshadowed one of my heroine's greatest subsequent triumphs I shall
speak of it at length--or rather, I shall take the liberty of letting
that eminent critic, Mr. Davenport Adams, speak for me.

"On Friday, September 3rd, Miss Ellen Terry will play Beatrice _for the
first time on any stage_ at the Grand Theatre, Leeds."

That was his text for an article from his pen that appeared in that
unhappily defunct periodical, _The Theatre_ magazine.

"I forget," he continues, "when and where I first cast eyes on this
delectable announcement. It may have been here, it may have been there.
I only know that when I saw it I came to an immediate and irrevocable
resolution. Miss Terry as Beatrice! Why, it was one of the dreams of my
existence! I say 'one of the dreams,' because I had hoped, and still
hope, to see Miss Terry not only as Beatrice, but as Viola, and Imogen,
and Rosalind, and perchance as Juliet, if the gods but prove propitious.
But Miss Terry as Beatrice! To me it was an 'opening paradise.' My
dreams were coming true. Here was the first instalment, and who should
say when the remainder might not be realised? Assuredly there might be
some who would resist such an attraction as the above; but I was not
among them. Friday, September 3rd, saw me duly speeding northwards as
fast as the Midland Railway Company could be induced to carry me. I had
never been in Leeds before, and I do not hesitate to say that, save
under similar provocation, I have no anxiety to go there again. Yet what
cannot the imagination do for one? For me, on this occasion, Leeds was
'apparelled in celestial light.' Boar Lane and Briggate became for the
nonce the primrose path which led me to the halcyon doors of the Grand
Theatre. And fine doors they are! Everything is a little new, perhaps;
there is nothing of the venerable temple of the drama about this
brand-new building, with its imposing frontage and evident
commodiousness. Clearly, you say to yourself, this is a specimen of
recent handiwork, and requires time in which to mellow; but once get
through the delightfully cool passages, which lead from the vestibule to
the stalls--once put your foot within the auditorium--and you are
charmed with everything you see. It may be all very fresh, but it is all
very magnificent and impressive. _O si sic omnes!_ If every theatre roof
were but so high--if every pit were but so spacious and well-lighted--if
every circle, upper circle, and gallery were but so gracefully
superimposed one above the other--and, especially, if everywhere there
were such a rich profusion of decoration as one sees around one!
Evidently there could be no more gorgeous frame for the picture which
Miss Terry was about to paint for us.

"It was Miss Terry's benefit night, and every stall was taken. This
seemed to be the case, too, with the circle, and may have been so with
other portions of the house. It seemed as if the pit were crammed, and
in the stalls standing room was diligently sought for. It was obvious
that Leeds playgoers had understood the nature of the treat that was
before them. Whether it was that Miss Terry was personally the
attraction of the evening, or whether Miss Terry as Beatrice had drawn
the crowd, I cannot say. Suffice it that the crowd was, and that the
crowd soon showed itself to be delighted."

I cannot refrain from quoting this at length, because it supports my
contention as to the privileges and appreciation of provincial
audiences.

"In the meantime," my authority goes on to say, "one did not occupy much
time in looking round. It was not a London _première_, and certainly I
did not hope to see a single face I knew. Yet, what was this? I could
not be mistaken. There at any rate were two faces which I could not fail
to recognise. At least, if that winsome countenance were not that of
Miss Marion Terry, and if that not less winsome countenance beyond were
not that of Miss Florence Terry--twin roses on one stalk--then did mine
eyes deceive me. For myself, I opine that I was not deceived, and that
Miss Terry's first appearance as Beatrice was witnessed not only by the
art-lovers of the wood and iron metropolis, but by two of her sisters,
both in art and by blood.

"It was not long before the curtain rose, and disclosed to us the
entrance of 'Leonato, Hero, Beatrice, and others.' The Beatrice was
immediately singled out, and loud and long was the applause with which
she was received--applause which she insisted, first, upon sharing with
the Hero (not the heroine) of the evening (Miss Ruth Francis),[2] but
which she was compelled afterwards to acknowledge for herself. The
opening scene, as everybody knows, plunges us at once _in medias res_.
Beatrice shows by her first utterance what way her thoughts are
tending, and this strikes the key-note of the comedy. Her first
expression is a gibe at Benedick, and when, shortly afterwards, the
'Signior Montano' himself appears upon the scene, the war of wits
immediately begins. Let it be said _in limine_ that Miss Terry at once
asserted herself as the very Beatrice that Shakespeare drew. That she
would do so as far as personal presence was concerned was to be
expected. Never was any one so well fitted to represent the 'pleasant
spirited' lady, whose charms of face and figure are as irresistible as
her verbal daggers. Somehow or other Miss Terry always is a perfect
vision of the picturesque. Others may surpass her in special and
particular marks of beauty or of manner, but no lady on the modern stage
is so much of a picture in herself, or falls so readily into the
composition of the larger picture formed by the combinations of a drama.

"In this case Beatrice seemed to be bodily before us. Ere she had opened
her mouth she had already begun to fill the imagination. We do not have
many opportunities nowadays of seeing the heroine of 'Much Ado,' but
here was the only Beatrice who had hitherto completely fulfilled the
requirements of the part, so far as the outward and visible person is
concerned. I cannot describe the vision. I admit my incompetency so to
do without a blush. A pen is useless. It is the brush of a Millais that
is wanted. The picture is in my mind, but not even a Ruskin could put
it on paper. For, to the mere details of face and figure and attire,
have to be added all the indescribable charm of facial expression and of
bodily movement--of tone, of laugh, of gesture, and of bearing--which
neither the penman nor the painter can successfully reproduce.

"For such a character as that of Beatrice Miss Terry is, in fact, by
nature indicated. Characteristics, which elsewhere might be out of
place, are here in keeping. Miss Terry is tall, and Beatrice should be
tall; a little woman could hardly have said and done such things as she
says and does. Miss Terry has high spirits, and so has Beatrice; they
are of the essence of her character, and without them she cannot be
reproduced. Miss Terry has charm of manner as well as incisiveness of
speech, and so has Beatrice, with whom the 'poniards' of her tongue are
half blunted by the fascination of her smile. You would think that her
eyes pierced as keenly as her words, but it is not so; the words may
wound, but the eyes mitigate or charm away pain. So with Miss Terry.
Speeches which in any other mouth would grate upon us are in hers but so
many incitements to admiration and regard.

"And if Miss Terry is thus personally fitted for the character, it need
hardly be said that it is quite within the range of her artistic
capability. Indeed, it is well within the range of many less admirable
artists. It is a straightforward character. There is no mystery about
it. Two different notions of Beatrice are, I should say, scarcely
possible--her nature is so entirely on the surface. She tells us herself
that she was 'born to speak all mirth and no matter.' 'She was born,'
says Don Pedro, 'in a merry hour.' Benedick calls her 'My Lady Disdain'
and 'Lady Tongue.' 'Shrewd of tongue,' according to her uncle, she also
'apprehends passing shrewdly.' In a word, she is clever, she is
high-spirited, she is witty; but she is more. She can feel keen
indignation, and for all her 'mocking at her suitors,' she can look
tenderly upon one at least. For obviously she loves Benedick, more or
less, from the beginning. Her first inquiry is for him, and she thinks
him worthy of her most unsparing raillery. She sneers at him so
pointedly that all the world marks the fact and smiles at it. Nothing
seems more natural to the bystanders than that they should make a match.

"And so, it seems to me, Miss Terry sees the character. In the very
first scene she pursues Benedick with her flouts and quips, and
evidently takes pleasure in the encounter. Though she hits so hard there
is evidently an _arrière pensée_ of respect for the gallant cavalier
whose 'approved valour' cannot but impress her, whilst his 'quick wit'
not unmingled with self-satisfaction spurs her on to action. One can see
that when she scoffs at marriage it is with no more real sincerity than
Benedick displays on the same subject. Her wit must have its way;
conscious of possessing it, she is fain to exercise it. She revels in
the contempt she pours upon the 'sons of Adam.' And so in the scene in
which she taunts the masked Benedick to desperation. It is all done in
pure _diablerie_. It is simple mischief, inspired by keen delight at
finding her butt so agreeably vulnerable. That she is no mere
shrill-tongued termagant is shown in the passage where she so gracefully
turns off the Don's gallant offer of his heart and hand. And as for her
deeper nature--the real Beatrice, hidden underneath the everyday veneer
of wit and raillery--what could be more truly descriptive of it than the
scene in which, led into the belief that Benedick is really fond of her,
she says farewell to maiden pride and to contempt, and prepares to
'tame' her 'wild heart' to his 'loving hand'? The accusation brought
against her cousin is not less effective in arousing the latent forces
of her character; and the church scene, in its combination of passionate
anger against Hero's slanderers, and charming half-confession of
affection felt, is conclusive in its testimony to the open naturalness
of the character which Miss Terry has so aptly and admirably conceived.
As for the _technique_ of the performance, it must be remembered that it
was a first assumption. Miss Terry _may_ have played the part somewhere
before September 3rd, but the fact is not recorded, and there is no
reason to believe that the announcement of 'first time' was anything but
literally true. And that being the case, it would be unfair to expect
the impersonation to be _totus teres atque rotundus_. Miss Terry has all
the ultra-sensitiveness of the true artist, and it is not improper to
suggest that, on the occasion in question, she was not entirely mistress
of her powerful resources. The most experienced players are the most
nervous on first nights. And assuredly there are points in which Miss
Terry will improve upon her first assumption of this latest part of
hers. Some artists grow into their _rôles_, and Miss Terry is one of
them. Her Portia nowadays is very much superior to what it was when
played originally at the Prince of Wales'. And no doubt Miss Terry, who
has since played Beatrice at Manchester and elsewhere, during her
provincial tour, has already added the touches necessary to make the
representation as near perfection as art and aptitude can make it. No
doubt every word, every phrase, every sentence now has its due weight
and effect communicated to it; no doubt details of 'business' have been
arranged until there is now no room for further elaboration; no doubt
the character, thoroughly grasped in the study, has by this time been
thoroughly grasped upon the stage. On the first night it was hardly
possible not to notice the nervousness indicated in the opening scene,
and throughout there were slight slips in the words, and occasional
misplacements of due emphasis, together with a lack of perfect
roundness in the general form of the assumption. The artist was
obviously to a great extent feeling her way.

"And yet how enjoyable and admirable was the assumption! In spite of
these minor blemishes of execution, it was yet Shakespeare's Beatrice, I
repeat, who stood and moved and spoke before us. The impression made at
the beginning was continued to the close, gathering in force and
effectiveness as it went. The raillery against marriage, and the wit
combats with Benedick, were carried off with exhilarating vivacity, so
that applause and laughter followed inevitably upon both. The former was
accompanied by a running fire of cachinnation from the delighted
audience. The next point was made when Benedick was charmingly chaffed
as the 'Prince's jester,' and the short but exquisite _rencontre_ with
Don Pedro was evidently very much relished. The first 'call' was made
when Beatrice came to summon her knight to dinner. The curtain fell on
this, and Miss Terry and Mr. Kelly had both to bow their
acknowledgments. Then came the scene in which Beatrice listens in the
arbour to the delusive tale of Ursula and Hero. The short speech which
follows was very agreeably declaimed; and when, declaring her belief in
Benedick's deserts, Beatrice sank upon the seat in one of those
attitudes possible only to Miss Terry, the impression made was
naturally very great indeed. The chief scene for Beatrice is, however,
in the church after the bridal party has dispersed, all save herself and
Benedick. Up to that point she has little to do but contribute her share
of byplay to the situation (always appropriately done by Miss Terry), to
comfort her cousin with all sorts of feminine attention, and
incidentally to make that vehement declaration--

     'Oh, on my soul, my cousin is belied!'

which gives the earliest indication of the characteristic outburst that
is to follow. In that outburst itself, Miss Terry was hardly
sufficiently varied in her representation of the feeling which is
supposed to consume her. It was very impressive, especially in the
sudden violence of her 'Kill Claudio!' but it wanted that absolute
adaptability of means to end which has no doubt been communicated to it
since. Best of all, perhaps, was the brief exchange of love vows with
Benedick; a very brief but charming and beautifully-indicated episode in
a scene which, as a whole, pleased the audience mightily, and secured
for both the artists a persistent 'call.' After this, as we all know,
Beatrice has but two short appearances on the stage, which serve chiefly
to complete the picture, but, on this occasion, served further to
consummate the triumph which, anything or everything notwithstanding,
was unquestionably and deservedly accorded to Miss Terry. The curtain
fell, in fact, upon an unmistakable popular success which it wanted only
practice and experience to convert into a permanent artistic victory.

"It should be recorded that Miss Terry was effectively seconded
throughout by Mr. Kelly. That able and accomplished actor was the
Benedick of the occasion, and a very acceptable performance did he give.
I confess I was not altogether prepared for the excellence of the effect
created by Mr. Kelly in this _rôle_. His very make-up was a surprise.
Could this gallant cavalier--bearded, whiskered, and moustached, with
the bronze of battle on his cheeks, and just the faintest _soupçon_ of
the dandy and the lady-killer in his manner--be the quiet,
serious-minded Brown of 'New Men and Old Acres' in another guise? It was
a revelation. And if the appearance of Mr. Kelly was a revelation, so,
to some extent, was his enjoyable and largely satisfying rendering of
the _rôle_ itself. Mr. Kelly's conception of Benedick is that of a man
who has passed the first flush of youth, has seen many men and cities,
has had his experience of 'the fair,' and is inclined to think somewhat
lightly of them, save, indeed, of this 'Lady Disdain,' who so stabs him
with her words. It is easy to see that he is not indifferent to her
charms, else why is he so affected by her quips and cranks? else why is
he so readily converted from his vaunted woman-hatred? It is easy, too,
to see that this stalwart knight, of 'noble strain' and of 'quick wit,'
is the very man on whom such a woman as Beatrice would naturally bestow
her thoughts. He, too, has his deeper nature as well as she. And Mr.
Kelly brought out the various differentia of the character very
artistically. The woman-hatred was soon seen to be skin deep. The
irritation at the 'chaff' of Beatrice was skilfully indicated without
being over-done. The soliloquy in reference to his 'not impossible she'
was spoken with excellent abandon, whilst the speech after his supposed
discovery of Beatrice's love for him was admirable in its delineation of
delighted surprise. Equally successful was Mr. Kelly in the scene where
Benedick is badgered by Claudio and Don Pedro, and that other passage in
which he conveys his challenge to the former. The unconscious comedy of
the one was as well considered as the serious dignity of the other....
For the rest, I have but one regret in reference to this performance,
and that is, that the exigencies of the play do not permit Beatrice to
be upon the stage throughout the whole of the comedy. Dogberry and
Verges are inimitable, and Benedick is everywhere acceptable; but still
if Shakespeare had only given us a little more of this not least
charming of his charming heroines! Could he have foreseen the Beatrice
of Miss Ellen Terry, he would, perhaps, have done so. And yet, I do not
know. Too much exhilaration is not good for us, and it is perhaps the
truest mercy that Beatrice should not be for ever scattering about her
verbal diamonds, and that Miss Ellen Terry should not for ever make the
stage brilliant and enchanting by her delightful presence."

The cast of this memorable Leeds production was in many ways an
interesting one. Mr. Philip Beck was Don Pedro; Mr. C. Brookfield, Don
John; Mr. Norman Forbes, Claudio; Mr. Arthur Mood, Dogberry; Mr. Lin
Rayne, Verges; and Miss Elinor Aickin, Ursula.

How, in accordance with Davenport Adams' prediction, Ellen Terry's
Beatrice developed into a "permanent artistic victory" we all know
to-day. Undoubtedly, and as we shall presently see, it was one of the
finest, and in some respects (for her comedy is so winsome) one of the
most attractive of her long series of Shakespearean triumphs at the
Lyceum.

What a series it has been! It is not surprising that she should say--"I
seem to have made the acquaintance and to _know_ quite intimately some
noble people--Hamlet and Ophelia, Portia, Benedick, and Beatrice, Romeo
and Juliet, Viola, the Macbeths. All this makes me rejoice and wonder
how it is that I'm not a superior person! I have dwelt with such very
good company. It has been all sunshine, with a wee cloud here and there
to give zest to life; and my lines have been laid in pleasant places.
How terrible it must be to have to do the work one abhors!"

It is because she has done the work that she loves, and has made the
sweet tenderness of her love for it so manifest, that she has
continually stirred the imagination, and lastingly won the hearts of her
audiences.



CHAPTER X

MARION AND FLORENCE TERRY


While Ellen Terry was firmly cementing her popularity and ever adding to
her fame, two of the younger members of her gifted family had come to
the front to add to the honour of the name they bore. These were her
sisters, Marion and Florence. It is generally understood that the
_début_ of Florence Terry was made in 1870, while the first appearance
of Marion Terry was delayed until 1873, but I think there may have been
a good many previous tentative performances. The Terrys always believed
in groundwork, and we may be sure that these young ladies were carefully
taught the art of acting.

My old friend, W. H. Vernon, has told me how, when he was fulfilling his
long engagement under Henry Neville's management at the Olympic Theatre,
the two young sisters played with him in an old-fashioned one-act drama
by John Howard Payne, entitled "Love in Humble Life." Their mother was
constantly with them, and Kate Terry used to "coach" her sisters at
rehearsal. They were quite unaccustomed to the stage, but, says my
friend, "the Terry charm was there, crude, and unformed as it all was."

"Love in Humble Life" does not offer much scope for acting, and the
girls had to content themselves with playing on alternate nights the one
feminine character of Christine.

In 1870 Florence Terry was certainly ripe for a public appearance in a
piece of importance. On June 15th, at the Adelphi--the theatre in which,
it will be remembered, her sister Kate had said her farewell--she went
through the ordeal and acquitted herself right worthily. The piece was
an English version of Molière's "Le Malade Imaginaire," entitled "The
Robust Invalid," and her part was that of Louison. Although his name did
not appear in the bills, it was generally understood that the adaptation
was from the pen of the Terrys' old and well-tried friend, Charles
Reade, and the chance was a good one for the young artiste. Vining and
Mrs. Seymour were in the cast and all went well.

In connection with "Le Malade Imaginaire," it can never be forgotten
that Molière was playing his own creation in it when he broke a
blood-vessel. Gallantly he struggled on to the hour of curtain fall, and
then, in a dying state, was taken to his home.

In the November of 1870 Florence Terry was engaged to play Little Nell
at the Olympic Theatre in Andrew Halliday's stage version of "The Old
Curiosity Shop"; probably one of the best adaptations from Dickens (how
unsatisfactory they all are!) that has been seen in the theatre.

No one who saw it will forget the exquisite pathos and tenderness with
which she endowed the character of the sorely tried, yet always
gentle-souled and trusting child. She made us think, as Bret Harte has
sweetly put it, that we

    "Read aloud the book wherein the Master
      Had writ of 'Little Nell,'"

and she took us by the hand until, "on English meadows," her audiences

    "Wandered and lost their way."

No doubt she was greatly helped by the deeply impressive and affecting
portrayal by George Belmore of the weak-minded but affectionate old
grandfather. The two made a perfect picture. The Quilp of the cast, in
the person of clever John Clarke, is a thing that, in its effective,
savage, grotesque, and always true realism, haunts the memory.

Marion Terry made her first bold, histrionic plunge in 1873. This was at
the Crystal Palace, when she played Ophelia to the Hamlet of Steele
Mackaye. Mackaye was the _protégé_ of Tom Taylor, and the then leading
English dramatist made a new acting version of Shakespeare's masterpiece
for his behoof. Great things were expected of it, but the production
merely excited passing curiosity, and though it was taken to the
Shakespeare-loving provinces it soon flickered out. Thus did Marion and
Florence Terry--"twin roses on one stalk," as Davenport Adams called
them--take the rank of Princesses in Stage Land.

[Illustration: _Photograph by_

    [_Lallie Charles._

MARION TERRY.

_Showing her autograph, 1901._

    [_To face page 194._
]

The career of Florence Terry was destined to be a brief one, but,
happily, Marion Terry is still with us, still charming us; and every one
will agree with Clement Scott's words--"She is one of the very few
actresses I have known who has never gone back from her gentle career of
continued success. On and on she has wended her way, improving and
improving. With her gifted sisters, some characters have suited her
better than others; but from the old Olympic days down to the present
time I never remember to have been disappointed with Marion Terry, or
wished she had not appeared in such and such a character."

In 1874 she became a prominent member of Henry Neville's company at the
Olympic, appearing (_inter alia_) in an English version of "Le Mariage
de Figaro," by James Mortimer, entitled "A School for Intrigue." Henry
Neville was the Almaviva, Edward Righton the Figaro, and Emily Fowler
the Suzanne. Later, in a revival of "Much Ado about Nothing," she made a
very winsome Hero to the Beatrice of Emily Fowler, the Benedick of Henry
Neville (this was a delightful reproduction of Shakespeare's spirited
picture), the Don Pedro of W. H. Vernon, the Dogberry of Edward
Righton, and the Verges of G. W. Anson. Then she migrated to the Strand
Theatre, to play in some of H. J. Byron's pleasant comedies, such as
"Old Sailors" and "Weak Woman." Of the last-named play, Edward Leman
Blanchard (never inclined to be enthusiastic) said that it was "a
brightly written and most ingeniously constructed piece; excellently
acted, and having a well-deserved success." As its heroine, Marion Terry
became very popular, and successes were also made by Ada Swanborough, W.
H. Vernon, J. G. Grahame, Harry Cox, and Edward Terry. In the hands of
the last-named admirable comedian--and thanks to the excellence of his
acting in the eccentric character of Captain Ginger--"Weak Woman" still
holds the stage. On September 11th, 1876, came the young actress's first
great chance, and right worthily she availed herself of it. On that
evening W. S. Gilbert's three-act drama, "Dan'l Druce, Blacksmith," was
produced at the Haymarket Theatre, and to her was allotted the one
feminine, but all-important, part of Dorothy. The dramatist had avowedly
taken the episode of the first act--the finding by the saturnine
blacksmith of a wee but winning girl-baby in his lonely hermitage--a
mere hut by the sea-shore--from George Eliot's beautiful story, "Silas
Marner," but that was all the better, for it formed the prelude to a
most interesting play. In it Marion Terry made an instantaneous success
by the absolute simplicity of her acting. With a grip rare in so young
an artiste, she had realised her author's meaning; her love-scenes (with
Forbes Robertson) were finely presented, and, throughout the two acts in
which she appeared, her quietly won victory was from the first apparent,
and ultimately complete. With such actors as Hermann Vezin, Henry Howe,
Odell, and Forbes Robertson, she easily held her own, and shared in the
honours of a notable artistic success.

In the October of 1877 there was a greater and even a unique triumph.
This was in W. S. Gilbert's whimsically conceived and wittily written
farcical comedy "Engaged,"--in its way a gem of the first water, with
its every facet cut and polished to the point of resplendency. Good as
was the acting of George Honey as Cheviot Hill, Fred Dewar as Angus
Macalister, Harold Kyrle (Kyrle Bellew) as Belvawney, Henry Howe as Mr.
Symperson, Lucy Buckstone as Miss Symperson, Emily Thorne as Mrs.
Macfarlane, and Julia Stewart as the "Lowland Lassie," Maggie
Macfarlane, the Belinda Treherne of Marion Terry capped them one and
all. It was, indeed, an impersonation as humorous as it was original. If
it had not been interpreted as she interpreted it, the very fabric of
the work might have fallen; but the extreme cleverness of her acting in
a most difficult part held it up, and she became a joy to all endowed
with a true sense of fun. It will be remembered that the character is
that of a young lady who, apparently steeped in romantic notions,
possesses a remarkably matter-of-fact mind. She manifestly believes in
herself, but, under the surface of her honeyed rhodomontade, she has to
let the audience see the under-current of her secret and worldly
aspirations. Badly done, the character would have been impossible.
Handled as it was by Marion Terry it became not only delicious in its
humour, but strangely convincing. Let us listen to the ring of one or
two of the sentences with which she was called upon to deal.

In the first act she meets the susceptible Cheviot Hill; he immediately
falls in love with her, and in reply to his words of gushing admiration
she says--

"I cannot deny that there is much truth in the sentiments you so
beautifully express, but I am, unhappily, too well aware that, whatever
advantages I may possess, personal beauty is not among the number."

And when he has replied--

"How exquisitely modest is this chaste insensibility to your own
singular loveliness! How infinitely more winning than the bold-faced
self-appreciation of underbred country girls!"

She answers--

"I am glad, sir, that you are pleased with my modesty. It has often
been admired." The whole house rocked with laughter, and there, on the
stage, stood the graceful, pretty, and impassive girl, who, in a very
remarkable way, had given meaning to the writer's every word. Her lines
were so ridiculous, yet so telling, that we all felt it a wonder that
she did not laugh with us. No! Like the perfect, well-graced actress she
has ever been, she lived in her part, and seemed absolutely to forget
that she was playing to a crowded audience.

One more instance.

In the third act the amorous Cheviot returns from his mission to
Scotland to find that during his absence his two English lady-loves,
Belinda Treherne and Minnie Symperson, have (at least) been amusing
themselves with the dangerous Belvawney. Prompted by absurd jealousy,
the ridiculous man expostulates; he cannot bear to hear that the girls,
who ought to have been pining for him, have been amused by the
impostor's conjuring tricks, that they have, in short, to use his own
words, been "Belvawneying." The following conversation ensues:--

     MINNIE. Have you seen him (Belvawney) bring a live hen, two
     hair-brushes, and a pound and a half of fresh butter out of his
     pocket-handkerchief?

     CHEVIOT. No, I have not had that advantage.

     BELINDA. It is a thrilling sight.

     CHEVIOT. So I should be disposed to imagine. Pretty goings on in
     my absence. You seem to forget that you two girls are engaged to
     be married to _me_!

     BELINDA. Ah, Cheviot, do not judge us harshly. We love you with a
     reckless fervour that thrills us to the very marrow--(_to_ MINNIE)
     don't we, darling? But the hours crept heavily without you, and
     when, to lighten the gloom in which we were plunged, the kindly
     creature swallowed a live rabbit, and brought it out, smothered
     with onions, from his left boot, we could not choose but smile.
     The good soul has promised to teach _me_ the trick.

Could anything be more superlatively or irresistibly ludicrous than
this? And yet Marion Terry, with an unmoved and quietly angelic face,
spoke the words as if she absolutely believed in them, and scored a
success for the author that he could hardly have anticipated.

Again, when with all her own carefully planned motives in full play,
Belinda comes dressed in funereal and stately black to the home of her
rival, Minnie Symperson, on the day of that outwardly artless young
lady's strictly "quiet" wedding with the fickle and faithless Cheviot
Hill, she serenely says: "At last I am in my darling's home, the home of
the bright, blythe, carolling thing that lit, as with a ray of heaven's
sunlight, the murky gloom of my miserable schooldays. But what do I see?
Tarts? Ginger wine? There are rejoicings of some kind afoot. Alas! I am
out of place here. What have I in common with tarts? Oh, I am ill
attuned to scenes of revelry," and then takes a tart, and, with calm
appreciation, eats it. Once more the house shook with merriment, but she
remained as composed as if she were taking part in some solemn and
sacred rite.

Many very clever actresses have since played the part, but they have
perforce acted on the lines originally laid down by its creatress. They
have all been popular, but there has been only one and incomparable
Belinda Treherne, and she was Marion Terry. To those who could
appreciate its extreme cleverness, "Engaged" made a delightful and even
fascinating entertainment, though it has truly been said that the play
afforded a picture of humanity more cynical than had been painted since
the days of Swift.

In March 1879, Marion Terry earned another debt of gratitude from W. S.
Gilbert. This was at the Olympic Theatre in "Gretchen," a play in four
acts. The author stated that the leading idea of this work was suggested
by Goethe's "Faust," but that, with the exception of a scene between
Mephisto and Martha, the dialogue was original. It was not only original
but brilliant, and if the piece failed to draw the multitude it was
through no fault of its author.

Joseph Knight said of it:--

"Never, perhaps, in the history of letters has an experiment been tried
bolder or more startling than that of Mr. Gilbert in the production of
'Gretchen.' When Dryden and Davenant and their successors undertook to
remove the crude work of Shakespeare to suit their own more cultivated
tastes, there was nothing especially courageous in the action. The fame
of Shakespeare did not then stand on the pinnacle in the sight of all
men it has subsequently occupied. From its first appearance, however,
the 'Faust' of Goethe took intellectual Europe by storm. So sensible is
Mr. Gilbert of the worth of the work with which he deals, he justifies
his own effort on the one ground that the play he alters is not suited
to dramatic exposition, and he fortifies his opinion on this point by
quoting the assertion of Schlegel, in his lecture on German drama, that
'Faust' runs out in all directions beyond the limits of the theatre." To
the thoughtful, "Gretchen" was a most interesting production, and no
doubt much of its charm was due to the gentle and maidenly style, and
quiet earnestness of Marion Terry as its deeply sinned against heroine.

We have only to take these three important and original
characters--Dorothy, Belinda Treherne, and Gretchen--to prove that she
is not only a consummate, but a curiously versatile actress.

But the three striking triumphs did not follow each other in succession.
In 1877 she had, at the Haymarket, followed Mrs. Kendal (this, seeing
what a matchless performance that had been was a formidable ordeal) as
Galatea, and won much and well-merited praise--and in the following year
she supported Sothern as the heroine of that ill-fated production, "The
Crushed Tragedian," by H. J. Byron.

That was poor Sothern's last bid for popularity in an original
character, and its failure in London (it had been a great success in
America) was a disappointment from which he never quite recovered.

Concerning it he had written:--

"It appeared to me that if I could good-naturedly satirise the old
school of acting, contrasting it through the several characters with the
present school, I should arrive at the same effects in another manner
which were produced in Dundreary; that is to say, that though
stigmatised by everybody as a very bad tragedian, I should gain the
sympathy of the audience in the satire, however much they might laugh at
my peculiarities. The character is not an imitation of any one actor I
have ever seen. I have simply boiled down all the old school tragedians
as I boiled down all the fops I had met before I played Dundreary. I
tested the piece in Philadelphia, and its success was immediate. In my
judgment, 'The Crushed Tragedian,' if not the best part in my repertory,
is likely to command popular favour at once wherever it is performed,
and to retain its hold upon the stage for many years."

Before producing the piece in London he had, according to his custom,
"tried" it in the provinces, and in Birmingham it was most
enthusiastically received. Sothern was in high spirits that night. "I
have got my second Dundreary success," he declared to me; "I didn't know
how my 'Fitz' would go in England, but I see it's all right, and, mark
me, this means five hundred nights at the Haymarket!" Full of assurance
he left the next day for London. In the evening "The Crushed Tragedian"
was produced at the Haymarket, and--well, the sad fate of that version
of Byron's play is a matter of theatrical history. The next day he
wrote: "An organised system to d--n the piece. Rows of hissers. We'll
see who'll win!" We know now who won--and I fear that the loss of that
game told heavily on Sothern's heart. It is not for me to defend, in the
face of abler critics, "The Crushed Tragedian," but I think that all who
saw the impersonation will allow that it contained many touches by no
means unworthy of the creator of Dundreary. It was, however, _caviare_
to the general, and in London failed to attract.

In the midst of his disappointment Sothern told me how delighted he was
with the acting of Marion Terry in the character of Florence Bristowe.
As the old prompter Henry Howe was excellent.

Her next engagement was with the Bancrofts at the old Prince of Wales'
Theatre, and her first important part there was that of Mabel Holne in
James Albery's adaptation of Victorien Sardou's "Les Bourgeois de
Pont-Arcy," entitled "Duty." In all these impersonations it was aptly
said (in the words of Ruskin)--she possessed "a serenity of effortless
grace."

Of course within the limits of these pages it is impossible to follow
her throughout her distinguished career. On several occasions she has
followed her sister Ellen in some of her most famous parts, playing
Olivia, Clara Douglas, and Margaret in the famous Lyceum version of
"Faust." Her blind girl in "The Two Orphans," and her sweetly tender
Mrs. Errol in "Little Lord Fauntleroy," will never be forgotten.

Her successes with George Alexander at the St. James's Theatre in
"Sunlight and Shadow," "The Idler," "Lady Windermere's Fan," "Liberty
Hall," and other plays, are fresh in the memory; and so is her
appearance at the Criterion Theatre with Charles Wyndham in "The
Physician." Her acting as Lady Valerie in this play by Henry Arthur
Jones was indeed charming.

In the same author's "Michael and his Lost Angel," produced by Forbes
Robertson at the Lyceum, her acting of a most difficult character was
summed up by that sternest of critics, William Archer, as "perfect." And
so, indeed, it was. She also did good work with the Bancrofts in some of
their revivals of the Robertson comedies, especially distinguishing
herself as Blanche Haye in "Ours," and Bella in "School."

The comparatively brief stage career of Florence Terry is necessarily
less noteworthy, but she is gratefully remembered in the provinces as
Olivia, as Lady Betty Noel in Tom Taylor's stirring historical play
"Lady Clancarty," as Dorothy in W. S. Gilbert's "Dan'l Druce," and as
Jenny Northcote in the same brilliant author's evergreen "Sweethearts."
She also figured in some of the great Lyceum productions. In "The
Merchant of Venice" she was a very pretty and engaging Nerissa, and she
was entrusted with the character of the unfortunate Lady Ellen in the
revival of the younger Colman's drama "The Iron Chest," in which Henry
Irving took John Philip Kemble's original character of Sir Edward
Mortimer. In all these parts she evinced the almost unique persuasive
charm possessed by her sisters.

On June 21, 1882, in view of her forthcoming marriage and retirement
from the stage, a singularly interesting event took place at the Savoy
Theatre. In W. S. Gilbert's dainty fairy play "Broken Hearts," Marion
Terry appeared as the Lady Hilda and Florence Terry as the Lady Vavir,
parts originally taken at the Court Theatre by Mrs. Kendal and Miss
Hollingshead. This was followed by the trial scene from "The Merchant of
Venice," in which Henry Irving was the Shylock, Ellen Terry the Portia,
Marion Terry the Clerk, and Florence Terry the Nerissa.

Thus, and for the first and last time, the three gifted sisters appeared
on the stage together.

Florence Terry (Mrs. William Morris) died in 1896.

It is surely good for the old playgoer to conjure up such recollections
as these. Some of us already live more in the past than in the present,
and one's pleasure is the sum of happy memories of other times and faces
gone.



CHAPTER XI

HENRY IRVING


Before Ellen Terry gratefully and gracefully acknowledges the great roar
of welcome that greeted her on her first appearance on the Lyceum stage,
it seems right to say a few words concerning Henry Irving and his
position in the theatrical world at the time when (not far short of
twenty-five years ago) he made this all-important engagement. He had
already achieved far greater things than he could have dreamt of in his
toilsome 'prentice days, and for some time had deservedly been
recognised as the head and leader of his profession, as an actor whose
name will live with those of Burbage, Betterton, David Garrick, Edmund
Kean, and the other histrionic giants of the past, whose memories we
cherish. Not suddenly, but by dint of sheer hard work, the victory had
been won, and those who had in his earlier days detected his genius were
very proud of him.

I had seen him in the days when he acted as a more or less obscure
member of the good old provincial stock companies, when he was often
called upon to appear in three plays on one night, and earned little or
no money for his services. He has told me of an engagement when with his
poor salary in hopeless arrear he was compelled (armed with a
well-studied appeal) to thrust himself into the managerial presence, and
to be rewarded with--a _cigar_!

Never had a young actor so many formidable conditions to face. His first
appearance on any stage was at Sunderland, in the September of 1856,
and, in representing the small part of the Duke of Orleans in Lord
Lytton's "Richelieu," the first words he uttered, behind the footlights,
were (surely there was something prophetic about them!), "Here's to our
enterprise!" How little did those who acted with him that night, and
looked down upon him as a novice, think that as Richelieu himself he
would ultimately win that chorus of applause which forms the world's
tribute to genius.

But poor young Irving's "enterprise" at first appeared to be a forlorn
hope.

While at Sunderland he suffered terribly from nervousness, and, being
cast for the subordinate part of Cleomenes in "A Winter's Tale," he
broke down. He had been called upon at very short notice to take the
character, and, through no fault of his own, had inadequately studied
it. He got through the first four acts well enough, but when in the
fifth act he had to speak alone, his presence of mind, and his memory,
entirely left him. He could not remember a word of his part; he merely
muttered, "Come on to the market-place, and I'll tell you further," and
rushed off the stage in despair.

Then the local critics were down upon him, and his friends warned him to
abandon an effort that was evidently beyond his powers. But young though
he was, and disheartened though he must have been, Henry Irving had
faith in himself, and determined to overcome all obstacles. He had to
work hard, and he had to live hard, but his career, though often crossed
by the forbidding stream of discouragement, was one of steady progress,
and his comrades of these struggling days have told me that whatever he
had to endure (and the endurance must have been as bitter as it was
long), he never forgot to be that thing so impossible of definition, and
so capable of recognition--a gentleman. Indeed, having from the very
outset keenly watched his public career, while I have for many years
been privileged to enjoy his personal friendship, I have often thought
that Henry Irving might have taken for his motto the well-known lines:--

    "The World has battle-room for all,
      Go! fight, and conquer if ye can;
    But if ye rise, or if ye fall,
      Be each, pray God, a gentleman."

One of his most charming characteristics is that he has never forgotten
an old friend. _Videlicet_: in the troubled days of 1856 there was
playing at the Sunderland theatre a comedian named Sam Johnson. He never
achieved great things, but he encouraged the anxious aspirant with
kindly words, and in the after years he found himself an honoured member
of the famous Lyceum company.

In these early days I did not see any performance by Henry Irving that
could strictly be called impressive, and yet, to me, and to many others,
there was something in his appearance and manner that was singularly
attractive. We did not realise it then, but no doubt it was that subtle
charm that, for want of a better name or definition, we call, in an
actor, "magnetism." Added to this was his wonderful capacity for
painstaking, which, according to Thomas Carlyle, is the very essence of
genius. For some time he was a member of the well-conducted stock
company of the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh. The late Robert Wyndham, the
genial and highly-esteemed proprietor of that historic playhouse, once
told me that though in those early days he did not look upon Henry
Irving as a particularly promising actor, he was always struck with the
intense care that he took over any part entrusted to him, however small
and insignificant it might be. "I am certain," he said, "that Henry
Irving, without being in the least degree a fop, would have gone without
his dinner in order to buy a 'button-hole,' or any such trivial
adornment that he thought might add, even in the minutest degree, to
the effect of the part in which he had to appear."

But for a long time the critics were painfully and, as I think,
perversely against him. They either did not understand or waywardly
resented the crack of the new whip. In 1865, at the Prince of Wales'
Theatre, Birmingham, I saw him play Laertes to the Hamlet of Fechter. It
was an original Laertes, and not modelled on the perfunctory reading of
the part generally adopted by the ordinary provincial stock-actor of
those days. To me, and I am sure to the large majority of the audience,
it was a very interesting and entirely satisfying performance, but it
was recorded by a local critic as "as bad as could be."

This is only one example of many little stabs that must have wounded him
at the time. But I noticed that he never altered his methods, and in due
season he convinced his would-be censors that he knew more than they
did. From the time when he played Rawdon Scudamore at the St. James'
Theatre, to the day when he made his first great triumph as Mathias at
the Lyceum, it was my good fortune to see him in nearly all his London
impersonations--as Harry Dornton in "The Road to Ruin," as Bob Gassitt
in H. J. Byron's "Dearer than Life" (in which at the Queen's Theatre he
shared honours with J. L. Toole and Lionel Brough), as Compton Kerr in
Dion Boucicault's much discussed "Formosa" at Drury Lane, as Mr.
Chevenix in H. J. Byron's "Uncle Dick's Darling" at the Gaiety, and in
many other parts (one and all played with the touch of a master); until
at the Vaudeville Theatre, as Digby Grant in James Albery's "Two Roses,"
he put the seal to his reputation. How some of us, who had faithfully
followed him about from theatre to theatre, carefully watching and
delighting in his growing reputation, rejoiced when we knew that he had
conquered his opponents and become a king of the stage. How excited we
were when in "The Bells" at the Lyceum he made the world ring with his
praises.

It was when he was playing the part of Redburn in H. J. Byron's
"Lancashire Lass" at the Queen's Theatre that he excited the admiration
of Charles Dickens. Some years later the eldest son of the great
novelist said in the course of a speech that his father had spoken with
enthusiasm of "a young fellow in the play who sits at the table and is
bullied by Sam Emery; his name is Henry Irving, and if that young man
does not one day come out as a great actor, I know nothing of art."

Charles Dickens might have seen Henry Irving's graphic impersonation of
Bill Sikes in a poor stage version of "Oliver Twist," in which Toole
used to revel in the character of "The Artful Dodger," but he did not
live to appreciate his life-like impersonation of Jingle. Sensitive as
the author always was with regard to the interpretation of his creations
in the theatre, that inimitable and realistic stage-portrait would
surely have satisfied him.

Never, it may safely be said, has any actor been more popular than Henry
Irving, not only with the public but with members of his own profession.
That he deserves his popularity no one who has studied his remarkable
career will deny; that he has won it "facing fearful odds" his most
intimate friends and ardent admirers must candidly admit. Even to-day,
when his fame is so firmly established, that he could, if it troubled
him at all, laugh at adverse and hostile criticism, we find any number
of self-constituted and ridiculously complacent censors ready to tell us
that he won his spurs by a fluke, and that he cannot be regarded as a
great actor. Men existed who said the same of Betterton, Garrick, and
Kean. But how absurd it is to hear such opinions when we know that,
thanks to him, the Lyceum Theatre has for years and years been the
cherished resort of all that is intellectual in modern life.

When he first began to make his successes, and had the jealousy that he
has long since vanquished to fight, his so-called "mannerisms" (and is
it not a truism that there never was an actor, or, for the matter of
that, author, yet without some mannerism or speciality that made him a
man of mark and so attracted the public to his piping?) were mercilessly
caricatured and lampooned, and a weaker man might well have been crushed
under the heaps of ill-natured ridicule that were, mud-like, hurled at
him. But an indomitable worker as well as a brave and generous man he
rose superior to it all, and in a few busy, and no doubt very anxious,
years the difficult sum was done in order that it might be incontestably
proved, and to the satisfaction and advantage of all except the
croakers, who even less than any one else understand their own
croakings, our great English actor of to-day holds his throne.

"What a blessed thing it is," said wise Oliver Wendell Holmes, "that
Nature, when she invented, manufactured, and patented her authors" (and
original actors take rank amongst the best of authors), "contrived to
make critics out of the chips that were left."

No actor more conclusively proves the rightly held theory that the
perfection of dramatic art can only be achieved by early apprenticeship
and many years devoted to earnest study and incessant hard work than
Henry Irving. In a period of three and a half years he had played no
fewer than four hundred and twenty-eight parts before his claim to be
regarded as one of the most promising actors of his day was even
considered. Well might the actor ponder over Chaucer's beautiful lines--

    "The lyfe so short,
    The crafte so long to lerne,
    The essay so hard,
    So sharpe the conquering."

If he cared to make one, Henry Irving's reply to his detractors might
well be that he has stood the inexorable test of time. Since he first
wore his laurels a new and very critical generation has sprung up--a
generation that has little or no respect for tradition, that has
abundant choice of entertainment, and only cares to pay for what it
chooses to see.

Face to face with this somewhat intractable tribe, Henry Irving has for
more than a quarter of a century held his own, and America has united
with England in hailing him as the living master of dramatic art in its
purest and highest form. From the first he was wise enough to know that
even the best and greatest of men, to say nothing of the greatest and
best of actors, cannot afford to stand alone. As a matter of consequence
he surrounds himself with a company composed of the best dramatic talent
of the day, and his productions are mounted with a general and generous
richness, and a minute attention to detail never, until his time,
attempted on the stage.

Then take the quality of the plays produced at the Lyceum, as compared
with those morbid and unsavoury ones that during recent years we have
seen in too many leading playhouses. Somebody wondered the other day why
Adam had never been made the hero of a play, and a cynic suggested that
it is because it is not possible to mix up his name with that of some
married woman. If Adam is to have his stage chance it must be under the
unsullied banner of Henry Irving.

Great as a leader of men as he has proved himself to be, modesty and
unselfishness are prominent among his characteristics. Although Queen
Victoria, in recognition of his personal worth and public services,
created him a Knight (let it be remembered this was the first time that
such a distinction had been conferred upon an actor), he still loves to
be called plain Henry Irving. Proud as he was--and is--of the honour
that, through him, has been bestowed upon his profession, on the day
when he was privileged to call himself "Sir Henry" in the play-bills, he
merely put his pen through the prefix "Mr.," so that he might remain to
the public, as well as to his friends, "Henry Irving." When Ellen Terry
was asked, "Have you got used to Sir Henry's title?" she prettily
replied, "Oh yes! He has been a Prince in my eyes for many years;" and
in doing so she unconsciously spoke for all his associates. Well, in
1878, Irving, having completed his brilliant engagements with the
renowned Bateman family, found himself not only the chief actor and
attraction, but manager of the Lyceum Theatre.

"His first effort," says Percy Fitzgerald, "was to gather round him an
efficient and attractive company. It became presently known that Ellen
Terry was to be his partner and supporter on the stage, and it was
instantly, and almost electrically, felt that triumph had been already
secured. People could see in advance, in their mind's eye, the gifted
pair performing together in a series of romantic plays; they could hear
the voices blending, and feel the glow of dramatic enjoyment. This
important step was heartily acclaimed. No manager ever started on his
course cheered by such tokens of goodwill and encouragement, though much
of this was owing to a natural and selfish anticipation of coming
enjoyment."

To-day we know how that dream of enjoyment has been realised, and how,
under the reign of Henry Irving and Ellen Terry at the Lyceum, we have
found, in the words of the poet Campbell--

             "The spell o'er hearts
    Which only acting lends,
    The youngest of the Sister Arts
    Where all their beauty blends.

    For ill can Poetry express
    Full many a tone of thought sublime,
    And Painting, mute and motionless,
    Steals but a glance of time.

    But by the mighty Actor brought
    Illusion's perfect triumphs come,
    Verse ceases to be airy thought
    And Sculpture to be dumb."



CHAPTER XII

AT THE LYCEUM THEATRE, 1878-1883


Those who are truly interested in the stage must be more or less
familiar with a Lyceum first-night under the reign of Henry Irving. He
has made the long series of them prominent among the events of the day,
and rich and poor alike are eager to be present. We know how the
frequenters of the cheaper parts of the house will, in order to obtain
good seats, assemble and wait patiently in the Strand from sunrise to
sundown; we know how difficult it is to obtain seats at the besieged
box-office; we know how from the front row of the pit to the back seats
of the gallery the house is densely packed with an audience assembled to
hear and see all that is noblest in English dramatic art. It is more
than impressive to watch the faces of the patient and expectant pit; and
to listen to the sounds in the eager and impulsive gallery; while as to
the stalls and boxes, in them you see the cream of those who are
distinguished in the paths of art, science, and literature. It is
magnificent to be able to command such an audience; on the other hand it
must be formidable to face it.

It was to such an assemblage as this that Ellen Terry had to make her
bow when on the evening of December 30, 1878, she first appeared at the
Lyceum, playing Ophelia to the Hamlet of Henry Irving. No doubt it was a
trying and anxious moment for her, but the true ring in the long and
loud welcome which greeted her on the threshold of the home in which she
was destined to do so much noble work must have gone to her heart, and
assured her that all would be well.

It was indeed a momentous evening in the history of our stage. Of it
Dutton Cook said:--

"Mr. Irving's managerial career has commenced most auspiciously. The
opening representation was, indeed, from first to last, triumphant. A
distinguished audience filled to overflowing the re-decorated Lyceum
Theatre, and the new _impresario_ was received with unbounded
enthusiasm. These gratifying evidences of goodwill were scarcely
required, however, to convince Mr. Irving that his enterprise carried
with it very genial sympathy. His proved devotion to his art, his
determination to uphold the national drama to its utmost, have secured
for him the suffrages of all classes of society. And it is recognised
that he has become a manager, not to enhance his position as an
actor--for already he stands in the front rank of his profession--but
the better to promote the interests of the whole stage, and to serve
more fully, to gratify more absolutely, the public and his patrons. Let
it be added, as a minor matter, that he has followed the good examples
set by Mr. Hollingshead and Mr. Bancroft, and has been careful of the
comfort of his audience, neither permitting them to be pinched for room,
nor subjecting them to those petty imposts which, like so many turnpike
dues, have so persistently impeded the visitor on his passage from the
street to his seat within the theatre.

"The tragedy of 'Hamlet' was well chosen for the first performance under
the new management--as Hamlet Mr. Irving has obtained his greatest
success. It has been said that no actor has ever been known to fail as
Hamlet; it may be added that no actor has ever as Hamlet completely
satisfied critical opinion. To many the play is a metaphysical study
wholly unsuited for theatrical exhibition; 'an enigmatic work,' as
Schlegel says, 'resembling those irrational equations in which a
fraction of unknown magnitude always remains that will in no way admit
of solution.' To many Hamlet is a mysterious and complex character,
beyond the power of histrionic art adequately to interpret. Mr. Irving
can, at any rate, point to the fact that, four years ago, for two
hundred nights in succession, he played Hamlet to delighted crowds at
the Lyceum. Weighed against popular success so consummate and
prodigious, objections of any kind are as but feathers in the scale; and
even those least disposed to accept this latest stage portraiture of
Hamlet can afford to admit that the picture is in itself consistent and
harmonious, the work of an ingenious and intellectual artist."

Yes, there were some who (in a hopeless minority) were still indisposed
to accept the new Prince of Denmark, but by the sensible and
appreciative his impersonation by Henry Irving will ever be honoured as
one of the most complete, harmonious, profound, and artistic seen on the
stage. Never was more thought given to the study and representation of
very small phases of Hamlet's character. The result was a powerful,
refined, graceful, intelligent interpretation in every detail, and as
such it was applauded by the public.

Of Ellen Terry's acting on that memorable evening my authority says:--

"An Ophelia so tender, so graceful, so picturesque, and so pathetic, has
not been seen in the theatre since Macready's Hamlet, many years ago,
found his Ophelia in the person of Miss Priscilla Horton. In characters
of this class, the heroines of genuine poetry, Miss Terry is now without
a rival, is indeed unapproached by any other actress upon our stage. Her
personal graces and endowments, her elocutionary skill, her musical
speech, and, above all, her singular power of depicting intensity of
feeling, are most happily combined, as the audience was quick to
discover and applaud in this very exquisite presentment of Ophelia."

[Illustration: _Photograph by_

    [_Window & Grove._

ELLEN TERRY IN TRAGEDY AND COMEDY, _CIRCA_ 1878.

    [_To face page 222._
]

In summing up the performance, Joseph Knight said:--

"Of Mr. Irving's Hamlet we have already spoken. It is not greatly
changed. The outline is distinctly the same as before, though much pains
have been bestowed on the filling up. We do not accept as new readings
the delivery while sitting of speeches formerly spoken standing, or
other like alterations in arrangement. Nor do we feel that changes of
method as regards matters of detail call for special comment. The one
vital alteration of conception appears to consist in presenting Hamlet
as under the influence of an overmastering love for Ophelia. A knowledge
of his own weakness seems to inspire him when, subsequently addressing
Horatio, he says--

                          "Give me that man
    That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him
    In my heart's core, ay, in my heart of hearts."

The chief grace in the new representation consisted in the delivery of
the speeches to Ophelia in the third act. In this the mocking tone did
not for a moment hide the profound emotion under which Hamlet laboured,
and the hands which repulsed her petitioning hands trembled with
passionate longing. That this view of Hamlet is correct will scarcely be
disputed. That he loved Ophelia he declared over her grave; that he felt
it his duty, under the influence of a task such as that enjoined him, to
erase from the table of his memory all 'trivial fond records,' he also
states. The indications of the pain it costs a nature such as this,
quick in resolution and shrinking and incapable in action, to inflict on
the woman he loves the grief it is yet necessary she should sustain, are
well conceived. That they were effective in action was ascribable to a
great extent to the admirable acting of Miss Terry. Picturesque, tender,
and womanly throughout, Miss Terry on one or two occasions gave an
inspired rendering of Ophelia. The support she afforded Mr. Irving was
of the utmost importance, and the scene before the play has probably
never been so well rendered."

I think it well to quote these undoubted authorities, lest readers might
think that in my palpable admiration for these artists my personal
judgment would be biassed.

I cannot end my little record of the auspicious evening of December 30,
1878, without noting that then Bram Stoker assumed his position as chief
in the front of the house. How much he has done to make the Lyceum
Theatre popular its frequenters fully recognise. Always genial and
courteous, he plays the important part of host right well, cheerily
attending to the comforts of one and all. Probably he would prefer to
devote the whole of his time to writing his tenderly conceived and well
loved romances (do we not owe to him "Under the Sunset," "The Snake's
Pass," "The Shoulder of Shasta," and many other graceful fancies?);
but happily for us, though we want more of his charming books, he
remains true to his post, and has made himself as well liked in the
provinces as he is in London.

[Illustration: ELLEN TERRY AS "OPHELIA."

_From a portrait by Charles Campbell in the possession of Sir Henry
Irving, and kindly lent by him for reproduction in these pages. Charles
Campbell was a fellow-worker with Sir Edward Burne Jones. His premature
death cut short a most promising career._

    [_To face page 224._
]

Speaking of Ellen Terry's triumph as Ophelia, Percy Fitzgerald tells us
that "on this momentous night of trial she thought she had completely
failed, and, without waiting for the fifth act, she flung herself into
the arms of a friend, repeating, 'I have failed, I have failed!' She
drove up and down the Thames Embankment half-a-dozen times before she
found courage to go home."

The newspapers of the next morning must have given her assurance that
for her was no such word as fail!

The next production at the Lyceum was "The Lady of Lyons." Of Ellen
Terry's appreciative rendering of the character of Pauline I have
already spoken. It need only be said now that it exercised its former
charm. Henry Irving had evidently given great thought to the study of
Claude Melnotte, and at times he was deeply impressive; but the part
cannot take rank amongst his greatest successes.

Then came a revival of the stage version by W. G. Wills of Thomas Hood's
"The Dream of Eugene Aram," which had, of course, been suggested by the
impression made through Henry Irving's graphic recitation of that
thrilling poem. In this Ellen Terry succeeded Isabel Bateman as Ruth
Meadows, but "Eugene Aram" is a one-part play, and affords few chances
for an actress.

Again she followed Isabel Bateman in the revival of W. G. Wills'
beautiful play, "Charles I.," which was given on June 27, 1879. As the
pathetically-drawn Queen Henrietta Maria, Ellen Terry once more had her
opportunity, and she grasped it. The hapless Queen ranks as one of her
most sympathetic and womanly impersonations, and she played it with even
more than her wonted sweetness when the play was reproduced at the
Lyceum as recently as June 23, 1901.

As Charles Stuart, Henry Irving unquestionably finds at once one of his
most dignified and pathetic creations.

For nearly thirty years the play has held the stage, and in view of that
very rare fact it is interesting to recall its original production. This
was in the September of 1872, under Colonel Bateman's Lyceum management,
when Henry Irving had made his notable success in "The Bells," and was
the talk of the town. Both by manager and actor much anxiety was felt as
to the next play to be produced, and they were both delighted when W. G.
Wills suggested the story of the unhappy Charles I. as a subject.

In common with most successful plays it had its tribulations before it
faced the footlights. Though possessed of true feeling and inspiration,
the author was carried away by his ardour into a neglect of the canons
of the stage, writing masses of poetry of inordinate length, which he
brought to his friends at the theatre, until at last they began to
despair. Many changes had to be made before the poem could be brought
into satisfactory shape. Originally, the piece opened with the second
act, but the practical Colonel Bateman exclaimed: "Oh, bother politics!
Give us some domestic business." This led to the introduction of the
tranquil, pastoral scene at Hampton Court. The closing scene, as desired
by the author, represented the capture of the King on the field of
battle. "Won't do," said the Colonel bluntly; "must wind up with another
domestic act." Sorely perplexed by this requirement, which they felt was
necessary, both author and actor tried many expedients without success,
until one evening the manager suddenly called out, "Look at the last act
of 'Black-Eyed Susan!'" And so it came about that the affecting farewell
between the doomed Charles and his weeping Queen was due to Douglas
Jerrold's time-honoured nautical play.

That "Charles I." was an immediate stage success is a matter of ancient
history, and in an odd way it had bold advertisement. One of those
vehement and amusing discussions which occasionally arise out of a play,
and furnish prodigious excitement for the public, was aroused by the
conception taken of Cromwell, which was, in truth, opposed to tradition;
for the Protector was exhibited as willing to condone the King's
offences, and to desert his party, for the considerations of a marriage
designed to gratify his own social ambition. This ludicrous view, based
on some loose gossip, was, reasonably enough, thought to degrade
Cromwell's character, and the point was debated with much fierceness. It
was also argued that the dramatist had made Charles not only a hero and
a martyr, but also a modern gentleman with superior manners and a
melancholy smile. But the public forgave the slanders for the sake of
the prettiness and the pathos of the domestic scenes.

The play was not only revived in 1879 but in 1883, and again in 1893. In
1901 it exercised all its old charm. The best advice to those who go to
see it is not to expect historical accuracy, but, without criticism of
the dramatist's portraits of the King and Cromwell, to heartily enjoy a
delightful and soul-stirring drama. It is only the other day that Ellen
Terry said, "There is nothing more beautifully pathetic in the world
than Sir Henry Irving's Charles." And she is right.

At the end of this busy season, in the last days of hot July, Ellen
Terry, on the occasion of her manager's benefit, played Lady Anne to his
Gloucester in the first act of "Richard III.," and then, as we have seen
in a former chapter, she started on her provincial tour.

She did not return to London until the late autumn. On November 1, 1879,
we first saw that beautiful revival of "The Merchant of Venice," which,
thanks to Ellen Terry's Portia and Henry Irving's Shylock, became one of
the greatest of the long series of Lyceum triumphs, and remains to this
day one of the most attractive items in the Irving repertory.

His impersonation of the "Jew that Shakespeare drew" is as instinct with
purpose to-day as it was in 1879. I know that there are some critics who
declare that he imparts so much dignity to the character that he dwarfs
the other portraits in the play. That is true of the actor, but surely
these critics are wrong? Most students of Shakespeare realise that
Shylock never became actively malignant until the Christians, who on the
Rialto had insulted him, who had called him misbeliever and cut-throat
dog, and spat upon his Jewish gaberdine, had robbed him of his daughter
and his ducats. Then the sufferance that he declared to be the badge of
all his tribe broke down. Then, being a man as well as a Jew, he
became, not unrighteously, savage, showed his teeth, and, living in a
cruel age (when human torture was a thing of every day), viciously
resolved to have his "pound of flesh." It is hardly likely that he
thought it would come in his way when, in "a merry sport," he signed the
bond with Antonio. That is the filled-in picture that Henry Irving gives
us of this wonderfully outlined character. We may be horrified at the
vindictive moods of his Shylock, but we understand him, and realise the
cruel wrongs that have worked him up to a frenzied hatred of his
bantering tormentors. He makes us see the patient endurance and personal
dignity of the man, and, if at the end of the grandly wrought story we
cannot quite sympathise with him, we are called upon to acknowledge the
infinite patience of his punishment. To thousands and thousands of
playgoers, and to those who dearly love their Shakespeare, Henry Irving
has illumined the superbly limned design of Shylock.

Of Ellen Terry's Portia, in the days of the Bancrofts at the old Prince
of Wales' Theatre, I have already spoken. In 1879 it was found to be as
good as ever--nay, better than ever--for not only had time ripened her
talent, but brought her into contact with a virile Shylock. She has
indeed made the character her own, and this fact has been long
acknowledged not only in England but in America. It remains to-day
exactly what it has ever been, a perfectly executed realisation of one
of Shakespeare's most beautiful feminine creations. And, indeed, whether
it be in her handsome Italian gowns, or disguised as the "young and
learned doctor" from Padua, she makes a lovely and most fascinating
picture. Her illustration of the wonderful text leaves nothing to be
desired. It carries with it the inspiration of genius, and yet it is all
so sweetly natural. "As the gentle rain from heaven," it "drops upon the
place beneath," and in the hearts of her hearers sets new, bright, and
fragrant thoughts upspringing; while throughout it all runs the refined
essence of dainty humour. Whenever I see such perfectly soul-satisfying
Shakespearean portraits as these, I think of the matchless stained-glass
windows in our grand churches and old cathedrals. Beautiful in
themselves, as they are now, their designs must have at one time been
crude and cold in the hands of their originators. But filled in with
softly, yet richly-coloured and exquisitely blended glass (not with the
hot reds, violent blues, and gaudy ambers that hopelessly disfigure so
many modern efforts in this direction), they seem to soothe while they
illuminate, and ineffaceably fulfil their earnest, bright, and inspiring
intention.

On December 10, 1879, a benefit performance was given at the Lyceum, on
behalf of William Belford, an actor who had done splendid service under
Samuel Phelps at Sadler's Wells, and who in later years had been prime
favourite as principal comedian at the Strand Theatre. He was not only a
fine actor, but a prince among good fellows, and pre-eminent in the
London Bohemia of those days, the happy home of the literary men,
artists, and actors, of which Geoffrey Prowse wrote:--

    "The longitude's rather uncertain,
    The latitude's equally vague;
    But that person I pity who knows not the city,
    The beautiful city of Prague."

In 1879 poor Belford's health broke down. Like many of his kind in the
good-natured, easy-going, and absolutely unselfish circles to which he
belonged, he had made little or no provision for such a disaster, and
right cheerfully his friends came to his aid, just as in stage-land
friends invariably do. Henry Irving played his famous character of Digby
Grant in "The Two Roses," and this was supplemented by a performance of
the "Trial" scene from "Pickwick," in which many prominent actors
appeared. Ellen Terry, who had met William Belford in the Charles Kean
days at the Princess's, very appropriately, as well as very
beautifully, delivered an address from the deft pen of Clement Scott,
which ran as follows:--

    "To one and all a welcome! That's the way
    To point a prologue, or to start a play;
    But something tells me that your thoughts are tending
    Towards one who starts no more--whose play is ending.

    Nay, look not sad; no suppliant appears
    To chase your smiles and undermine your tears;
    I ask your sympathy, but it were folly
    To join dear Belford's name with melancholy.

    On such a merry heart rare friendship waits;
    To him Bohemia threw wide her gates!
    Up started he the first at laughter's call,
    Had found at clubs best welcome of them all.

    Full of rare anecdote and riper wit,
    Favoured by stalls and idolised by pit;
    An airy butterfly, who held in hand
    The mirth of Sadler's Wells, the fun of Strand,
    Varied and versatile, but ever cheery;
    Now Gratiano, mocking, now Dundreary,
    He was the sunshine that existence mellows--
    Friend, guide, comedian, and best of fellows!

    Why do I say 'he was,' and seem to cast
    A present favourite into the past?
    He's with us yet, and could he but address you,
    I'd say for you, 'Shake hands, old friend, God bless you!'
    There ran a rumour lately through the town,'
    'O have you heard! poor Belford's breaking down!'
    A gentleman, and Spartan like the rest,
    Too proud to show the fox that gnawed his breast,
    He murmured not, sat waiting, did not shirk,
    And to the last hoped against hope for work,
    Till those who loved him saw in eyes grown dim
    The pain he'd saved from others, clung to him.

    I'd have you know--tell it from south to north,
    Our friend hung back--_his_ friends have led him forth,
    And we were right--the public heart we knew,
    The stage's favourites belong to you!

    Behind the curtain, one and all rejoice,
    To join their work to your responsive voice;
    We've done no more to-day for our sick friend
    Than we shall keep on doing to the end;
    In our freemasonry there's this relief,
    We share life's triumphs--but we share its grief.
    Nor for ourselves in thanks we stretch our hand,
    But for the stricken soldier of our band;
    You found him sorrowing, and gave him ease,
    A sight of home and country, waving trees,
    And all the blest retirement, deep and wild,
    That soothes the body, helpless as a child!
    Through me our absent friend would like to say
    You've done a noble charity to-day;
    For after years of uncomplaining strife,
    You've saved anxiety and promised life;
    But, best of all, as antidote to pain,
    Back to his face you've brought the smiles again.
    So promise me, before you all depart,
    To wear 'Sweet William' ever next your heart!"

Triumphantly the "Merchant of Venice" pursued its course until, in May
1880, its last act was omitted, and it was succeeded by "Iolanthe," a
version by W. G. Wills of Henrik Hertz's Danish play, "King René's
Daughter." The chief character in this had been a favourite one with
that consummate artiste, Helen Faucit (Lady Theodore Martin). The piece
was exquisitely staged, and finely played by Ellen Terry and Henry
Irving; it was very tender, and very touching, but it has not taken a
permanent place in the Lyceum repertory. On January 3, 1881, Lord
Tennyson's two-act drama, "The Cup," the "great little play," as Ellen
Terry called it, was produced, and another great victory was gained.
Clement Scott considers her acting in this to have been one of the
finest of her many inspirations, and says:--

"Ellen Terry as Camma, aptly realised the poet's lines--

    'The lark first takes the sunlight on his wing,
    But you, twin sister of the morning sun,
    Forelead the Sun!'

Who that ever heard it can forget the pathos of Ellen Terry as she
parted from Sinnatus, and delivered these lovely lines--

                          'He is gone already;
    Oh, look! yon grove upon the mountain--white
    In the sweet moon, as with a lovelier snow!
    But what a blotch of blackness underneath!
    Sinnatus, you remember,--yea you must--
    That there three years ago, the vast vine-bowers
    Ran to the summit of the trees and dropt
    Their streamers earthward, which a breeze of May
    Took ever and anon and opened out,
    The purple zone of hill and heaven; there
    You told your love; and like the swaying vines--
    Yea, with our eyes, our hearts, our prophet hopes,
    Let in the happy distance, and that all
    But cloudless heaven which we have found together
    In our three married years! You kissed me there
    For the first time. Sinnatus, kiss me now.'

I for one" (and here Clement Scott speaks for many of us) "shall never
forget the end of the play, with the libations poured in honour of
Artemis, and amidst music and flowers and processions, faultless in
colour, and of classic pomp, making the dull mind live in another age,
we hear intoned with strophe and antistrophe of chanting chorus, the
double appeal by Camma and Synorix, containing as it does the most
impassioned poetry of the play.

"I said at the time, 'If there ever was a play that from its intrinsic
merits demanded a second, if not a third visit, it is "The Cup." At
present the landscape of Mr. W. Telbin, and the decorative splendour of
Mr. Hawes Craven's Temple of Artemis, absorb all attention. We seem to
see before us the concentrated essence of such fascinating art as that
of Sir Frederick Leighton and Mr. Alma Tadema in a breathing and
tangible form. Not only do the grapes grow before us, and the myrtles
blossom, the snow-mountains change from silver-white at daytime to
roseate hues at dawn, not only are the Pagan ceremonies acted before us
with a reality and fidelity that almost baffles description, but in the
midst of all this scenic allurement glide the classical draperies of
Miss Ellen Terry, who is the exact representative of the period she
enacts, while following her we find the eager glances of the
fate-haunted Mr. Irving. The pictures that dwell on the memory are
countless, and not to be effaced in spell or witchery by any of the most
vaunted productions of the stage, even in an era devoted to archæology.
We see, as we travel back through the enchanting vista, the first
meeting of Synorix and Camma--he with his long red hair and haunting
eyes, his weird pale face and swathes of leopard skins; she with her
grace of movement, unmatched in our time, clad in a drapery sea-weed
tinted, with complexion as clear as in one of Sir Frederick Leighton's
classical pictures, and with every pose studied but still natural.

"We remember Camma as she reclined on the low couch with her harp,
moaning about her husband's late-coming, and can recall the hungry eyes
of Synorix, as he drank in the magic of her presence. All was good here,
the tenderness of the woman, the wicked eagerness of her lover, the
quick impulsive energy of the husband. Difficult as it was to study the
acting, when so much had to be seen, still it was felt that Mr. Irving,
Mr. Terriss, and Miss Ellen Terry had well opened the tragedy long
before the first curtain fell.

"There were time and opportunity, at any rate, to comprehend the
subtlety of Mr. Irving's expression in that long soliloquy--how well it
was broken up, and how face accorded with action when Sinnatus lay dead,
and the frightened Camma had fled to the sanctuary of the Temple. With
the first act but little fault could be found. The fastidious among the
audience who complained of dulness and want of action, possibly forgot
that whilst their eyes were feasting on the scenery, their ears were
closed to the poetry, and on another visit will confess how much meaning
and study were at the first blush lost to them. With the aid of the
text, the beauties hidden for the moment will reappear. As for the
second act, with its groupings, its grace, its centre figures and
surroundings, its hymns to Artemis, its chants and processions, we are
inclined to doubt if the stage has ever given to educated tastes so rare
a treat. In the old days, such pictures might have been caviare to the
general public, but the public at the Lyceum is one of culture and a
very high order of intelligence. Such poems are necessarily for the
fastidious and the elegant in mind and scholarship; but granted the
right of the stage to demand such poetic studies, it would be impossible
for modern scenic art to give them more splendour and completeness.
Æsthetic tastes have had their necessary ridicule and banter, for
everything that is affected is hateful to the ordinary English nature;
but here, in this Temple of Artemis, when Miss Ellen Terry, veiled as
the Galatian priestess, stands by the incense-bearing tripod, and Mr.
Henry Irving, robed in the scarlet of Rome's tributary King, comes to
demand his anxiously expected bride, there is an aiming at the beautiful
and thorough, most creditable in itself and distinctly worthy of
respect."

No doubt the production of "The Cup" was a bright feather in the
managerial cap of Henry Irving, and Ellen Terry took her full share in
its colours.

Let me hark back a little to recall an evening in the previous Lyceum
season when I was fortunate enough to hear Ellen Terry's thrilling
rendering of the one character in Monk Lewis's dramatic poem, "The
Captive." This strange writer, with his skulls and his crossbones, his
coffins and shrouds, his ghosts and his goblins, is rarely read now; but
for the sake of the actress's performance in it this weird piece of work
was well worth revival. In the memoirs of Lewis we come across a letter
written to his mother in 1803, just before the first performance of "The
Captive." "The 'monodrama' (as he called it) 'comes out,' he says, on
Tuesday. I have not yet been at a single rehearsal. It cannot possibly
succeed." In one way it did succeed. At Covent Garden Mrs. Litchfield (a
famous actress in her day) recited the fearsome lines allotted to the
wretched maniac prisoner. The character is that of a mad-woman, and Mrs.
Litchfield's embodiment of the author's horrible imaginings, combined
with the scenic effects and other startling appearances which, with his
usual skill, he introduced into the piece, threw a portion of the
audience--whose nerves were unable to withstand the dreadful truth of
the language--into hysterics, and the whole theatre into confusion and
horror. Never, it is said, did Covent Garden present such an appearance
of agitation and dismay. Ladies bathed in tears, others fainting, and
some shrieking with terror--while such of the audience who were able to
avoid demonstrations like these sat aghast with pale horror painted on
their countenances.

In another letter to his mother, Lewis says: "The papers will have
already informed you that the monodrama has failed. It proved much too
terrible for representation, and two people went into hysterics during
the performance, and two more after the curtain dropped. It was given
out again with a mixture of applause and disapprobation, but I
immediately withdrew the piece. In fact, the subject (which was merely a
picture of madness) was so uniformly distressing to the feelings that at
last I felt my own a little painfully, and as to Mrs. Litchfield she
almost fainted away. I did not expect that it would succeed, and of
course am not disappointed at its failure. The only chance was whether
pity would make the audience weep, but instead of that terror threw them
into fits, and of course there was an end of my monodrama."

At the Lyceum Ellen Terry brought about no such scene as that created
by Mrs. Litchfield at Covent Garden. It is true that she harrowed as
well as held her audience, and that the memory of her acting must haunt
all who witnessed this bold venture; but her art was delicate as well as
intense, and she was able to draw those tears so desired by the author.
It is a pity that he could not see his "monodrama" at the Lyceum in
1880.

On April 16, 1881, "The Cup" was preceded by Mrs. Cowley's comedy, "The
Belle's Stratagem," with Ellen Terry as Letitia Hardy. She played the
part with invincible vivacity and perfect grace, and in the picturesque
costumes of a bygone period, looked like a portrait by an old master
come to life. But what a thing to do! Camma and Letitia Hardy--tragedy
and comedy--in one evening! It was a proof alike of her marvellous
versatility and her great power of physical endurance. To the delight of
his admirers, Henry Irving resumed his old part of Doricourt, and played
it brilliantly. By the way, in connection with this impersonation, there
is another instance of an actor thinking he has failed where he has
really succeeded.

Of his first appearance at the St. James' Theatre in the character, he
has said:--"I was cast for Doricourt, a part which I had never played
before, and which I thought did not suit me. I felt that this was the
opinion of the audience soon after the play began. The house appeared
to be indifferent, and I believed that failure was conclusively stamped
upon my work, when suddenly, upon my exit after the mad scene, I was
startled by a burst of applause, and so great was the enthusiasm of the
audience that I was compelled to reappear upon the scene, a somewhat
unusual thing except upon the operatic stage." Despite his doubts the
part has remained one of the best and one of the most popular of his
comedy incarnations. Of the new Letitia Hardy, Clement Scott truly
said:--"She is as Georgian in her comedy graces as before she was Pagan
in her rites as the priestess Camma. Entering heart and soul into the
spirit of the play, she attacks it with a wilfulness and an abandon that
are indescribable. She trips and floats through the scenes. There is no
effort in anything that she does; and when she assumes the character of
the hoyden it is in the finest spirit of refined and disciplined fun.
With every chance for exaggeration, the rein is never relaxed, and so
captivating is the spirit of the artiste that she makes the audience
hold its breath to the point of tension, and is rewarded with the quick
response of unrestrained applause. Equally charming is the temptation
scene at the minuet; and when Miss Terry, mask in hand, floats, glides,
and coquets around the bewildered Doricourt, one's mind recalls the
records of fascination in varied romance, and understands, possibly
for the first time, what Circe might have done to Ulysses--how the
fair-haired German nymphs of the Lorelei turned the heads of dreamy
knights--how Undine weaved her spells--and how old Merlin collapsed
under the influence of the wily Vivien. Unknowingly, Miss Ellen Terry is
a poem."

[Illustration: ELLEN TERRY.

_On tour. Birmingham, 1881._

    [_To face page 242._
]

In the autumn of 1880 the great American tragedian, Edwin Booth, came to
England to fulfil an engagement at the Princess's Theatre, and his
reception had not been one to make those who take loving interest in the
dramatic art of this country proud. How well I remember poor Sothern (he
was then in his dying days) waxing wroth over the neglect with which the
man whom he declared to be the "finest and most graceful actor in the
world" was treated. I think many others felt the same, and Henry Irving,
at least, was determined that his great rival should not recross the
Atlantic until he had had a fair hearing in London. With characteristic
generosity and delightful courage, he invited Booth to appear with him
at the Lyceum in Othello, so that the leaders of English and American
dramatic art might be seen on the stage together, and in all courtesy
cross swords, alternating the finely-balanced yet splendidly contrasted
parts of the Moor and Iago. The invitation was cordially accepted, and
in both countries the event is regarded as one of the most interesting
in modern theatrical history.

The general consensus of opinion was that Booth triumphed as Othello,
and that Irving eclipsed him as Iago. No doubt Othello is by far the
most difficult part to play, and it was better suited to the classical
style of Booth than to the methods of Irving, who, while he has
reverence for tradition, delights in taking a path of his own making. In
some characters this is a distinct advantage, and his Iago was supreme.
It will be remembered that Ellen Terry was already familiar with the
character of the gentle Desdemona, and she played it with infinite charm
and inexpressible pathos. Hers must have been a difficult task, for both
Booth and Irving took different readings of Othello and Iago, and she
had to adapt herself to both. Hazlitt said:--"All circumstances
considered, and platonics out of the question, if we were to cast the
complexion of Desdemona physiognomically, we should say that she had a
very fair skin and very light auburn hair, inclining to yellow." In
Ellen Terry Hazlitt would have found his ideal, not only in appearance
but in art.

For Henry Irving's benefit at the end of the season she played Helen to
his Modus in those happily conceived comedy scenes from "The Hunchback"
of Sheridan Knowles in which the two figure. She once more proved
herself to be the most piquant of comediennes, and the Modus was
delightfully sketched.

In the opening attraction of the next Lyceum season, which commenced in
the January of 1882, Ellen Terry did not appear. This was a revival of
"The Two Roses," for by this time playgoers were anxious to resume
acquaintance with Henry Irving in his first great original character,
that of Digby Grant. In Lyceum history the occasion is noteworthy, for
it introduced to its boards--as the blind Caleb Deecie--George
Alexander. Alexander had been touring in the country under the
management of the younger Robertson, and those who took the trouble to
watch him with discriminating eye had predicted for him a brilliant
future. So admirable was he in a character part in a humorous piece
called "The Guv'nor," that his name, extolled by discerning provincial
critics, reached Irving's ears, and thus he won his first engagement in
London. His admirable work at the Lyceum Theatre, before he went into
management on his own account, and by his tact, taste, and personality
once more made the St. James's (a playhouse which since the departure of
John Hare and the Kendals had been allowed to droop) the resort of
intellectual as well as fashionable London, is well remembered. It is a
grand thing for a young and then comparatively unknown actor to reflect
that, with infinite credit to himself, and to the great satisfaction of
the public, he played such vitally important parts as Faust to the
Margaret of Ellen Terry, and Macduff to the Macbeth of Henry Irving.

But the great production of this season was "Romeo and Juliet." Never,
probably, was a Shakespearean play so superbly mounted. All the
resources of art were lavished upon it, and cost was apparently outside
consideration. The result was a series of stage pictures that were
absolutely entrancing. If I were writing a history of the Lyceum under
the management of Henry Irving I should gladly dwell on these things,
and on the work that he, both as manager and actor, put into them, but I
must remember that my text is Ellen Terry, and, save for the
all-important part which she took in them, pass them briefly by. Other
writers have vividly described these matchless representations in their
entirety, and I must content myself with a fragment here and there. My
canvas is a small one, and my picture must be that of my heroine. If my
accounts of the Lyceum revivals are brief it is not from lack of
appreciation of them, and happily the memory of them is green. So it is
with the later impersonations of Ellen Terry, and they will require no
lengthy record at my hands.

Her Juliet did not quite satisfy all the critics, but she played the
part for one hundred and thirty nights to crowded and enthusiastic
audiences, and surely there could be no better criterion of success?
If, when compared with other Juliets, the extremely exacting part did
not seem to suit her as well as others she had played, if it was held to
be inferior to her Ophelia, and below her Portia, the impersonation won
its way to the hearts of the people, and in the public mind it increased
rather than lessened her reputation. Sarah Bernhardt, who was loud in
her praises of the performance, said to her sister artiste--"How _can_
you act in this way every night?" "It is the audience," said Ellen
Terry. "They inspire me!" She might have added that she inspired her
audiences.

After the first performance she once more thought, nay, even insisted,
that she had failed. She wrote to a friend--"A thousand thanks for your
letter. The fact remains that Juliet was a horrid failure. _And I meant
so well!_ I am very sad, but I thank you. _It is not the critics._ I
knew it all on Wednesday night."

She knew far more, and had no reason to be sad, when, at the close of
the season, after an extraordinary run, "Romeo and Juliet" was
withdrawn.

On October 11, 1882, Shakespearean tragedy gave way to Shakespearean
comedy, and "Much Ado about Nothing" was staged. We have seen how, at
Leeds, Ellen Terry had tried herself as Beatrice. She had proved that
the character suited her to perfection, and confidence in herself no
doubt helped her to make one of the most striking of her many triumphs.

Clement Scott has such delightful ideas of Ellen Terry in connection
with the character of Beatrice, that I must be permitted to quote him:--

"Two passages from 'Much Ado about Nothing,'" he says, "have always
seemed to me to convey exactly the idea of Ellen Terry, both in youth
and womanhood; they suggest that extraordinary 'charm' that the actress
recently in America was unable to define, though I, for one, could have
embodied it in two words, 'Ellen Terry.' The passages from Shakespeare
to which I allude are these--

     "DON PEDRO. Will you have me, lady?

     "BEATRICE. No, my lord, unless I might have another for working
     days; your grace is too costly to wear every day. But I beseech
     your grace pardon me; I was born to speak all mirth and no matter.

     "DON PEDRO. Your silence most offends me, and to be merry best
     becomes you; for, out of the question, you were born in a merry
     hour.

     "BEATRICE. No sure, my lord, my mother cried; but then there was a
     star danced, and under that I was born! Cousins, God give you joy!

"Now, if William Shakespeare had had the model before him, he could not
have drawn a more perfect picture of Ellen Terry than this. She was
indeed 'born to speak all mirth and no matter.' If ever lovely woman
was 'born in a merry hour' it was Ellen Terry, for she can scarcely be
serious for an hour together, and is never happier than when she is
playing some practical joke on her more serious companions.

"And who, whilst life lasts, can ever forget how the actress in the
character of Beatrice, one of the most enchanting personations of my
time, one of the most exquisite realisations of a Shakespearean heroine
that any of us have ever seen, spoke those words, 'No sure, my lord, my
mother cried; but then there was a star danced, and under that I was
born.' Why, it was not Beatrice, but Ellen Terry, personated by Ellen
Terry. It was a revelation. The other quotation from the same play,
'Much Ado about Nothing,' is Hero's description of her cousin Beatrice,
which is simply Ellen Terry in action.

    'For look where Beatrice, like a lapwing, runs
    Close by the ground, to hear our conference.'

"Is not this an exact description of the Ellen Terry movement which
others so ludicrously attempt to imitate? She does not run off the
stage, or skip up the steps of an Italian garden. She simply floats
seemingly on the air. A more exquisitely graceful movement has never
been seen from any other actress. But Shakespeare has hit it. She like
'a lapwing runs close by the ground.' It is the skimming of a bird in
the air. Ellen Terry did that lapwing run to perfection when she was
sent to invite Benedick to dinner, and left him with the famous chaffing
rejoinder--

    'You have no stomach, signior; fare you well.'

"And up the marble steps ran the lapwing."

How true this is, all who have been fortunate enough to witness Ellen
Terry's bewitching impersonation of Beatrice, will acknowledge. It was a
faultless performance, and, as we all know, Henry Irving was equally
happy as Benedick. I need not say more. "Much Ado about Nothing" was
acted two hundred and twelve times, and might have continued to run, but
the day came when the Lyceum company had to think seriously of their
departure on their first American tour. With this in view the piece was
withdrawn, and all the plays in the now rich repertory were carefully
revived. On July 15, 1883, at a benefit performance, Ellen Terry played
the small part of Clementine in "Robert Macaire," to the Macaire of
Henry Irving, and the Jacques Strop of J. L. Toole. The part was, of
course, beneath her notice, but she undertook it in a good cause, and
her performance must be recorded in these pages. Irving has always
regarded the character of Macaire with affection, and certainly he
depicts the devil-may-care and by no means unamusing robber in
effectively lurid tints. The piece, however, belongs to a bygone age,
and is only interesting to those who, while seeing it, can conjure up
the past.

[Illustration: _Photograph by_

    [_Window & Grove._

ELLEN TERRY AS "BEATRICE."

_Lyceum, 1882_: "_There was a star danced, and under that I was born._"

    [_To face page 250._
]

In October 1883 the whole company sailed for New York, leaving a great
gap in the English theatrical world. I wonder if they quite realised how
much they would be missed? I have always found it difficult to make
popular actors understand how fervently they are loved, and of what
value their presence is to those who love them.



CHAPTER XIII

AT THE LYCEUM THEATRE--1884-1901


In 1884, flushed with their triumphant American victories, Henry Irving,
Ellen Terry, and their faithful followers returned to the Lyceum. They
commenced operations with a reproduction of "Much Ado about Nothing,"
but this soon gave way to a long promised revival of "Twelfth Night."
This had given rise to many pleasant expectations. It was confidently
thought that the character of Malvolio would fit Irving like a glove,
and it was certain that in Ellen Terry we should find the sweetest of
Violas.

In the usual beautiful, tasteful, and costly style attendant upon a
Lyceum production, the piece was staged on July 8, and why it failed to
please the audience is a mystery that remains unsolved. It is ridiculous
to plead that it was a very hot night, and that the packed house,
through being uncomfortably warm, became unruly and offensive. We expect
hot weather in July, and those who object to the interior of a theatre
under such conditions generally stay away. Probably, if there is any
explanation of the matter beyond the blatant vulgarity of a
disreputable gang of foul first-nighters, it is that "Twelfth Night,"
not having been played for a long time in London, was as Greek to the
ignorant in the house, and was not understood. Be all this as it may, so
much low behaviour greeted the actor-manager on the fall of the curtain
that he sharply rebuked the coarse-minded malcontents, saying, "I can't
understand how a company of earnest comedians and admirable actors,
having these three cardinal virtues of actors--being sober, clean, and
perfect--and having exercised their abilities on one of the most
difficult of plays, can have given any cause for dissatisfaction."

Opinions differ as to these after-curtain-fall demonstrations on the
part of disappointed actors. Probably they had better be omitted, but we
all understand that human nature has its limits of endurance. The
annoyed actor is provoked in the heat of a miserable moment to reprove
insulting audiences, and one cannot wholly wonder at it. A writer who,
in cold blood, challenges his adverse critics is very foolish indeed,
for he not only advertises the fact that he has had a whipping, but has
smarted under it. Those who in any way choose to come before the public
challenge criticism. It cannot be all honey, and if an occasional dose
of vinegar is unpalatable to them they had better retire into their
shells. But there was little or no excuse for the rowdies who ridiculed
the Lyceum production of "Twelfth Night."

No doubt the play was in some respects unfortunately cast. The Sir Toby
Belch, the Sir Andrew Aguecheek, the Clown, and the Maria, missed the
humour of their practical joking, and this greatly handicapped Henry
Irving, who had elected to play Malvolio from a somewhat serious point
of view.

After putting the question "Is it a good part?" _Mr. Punch_ said of his
performance: "Good enough in its proper place in the piece, no doubt,
but when emphasised, developed, and elevated by an eminent tragedian
holding such a position as does the manager of the Lyceum, to a height
of tragic melodrama, then Malvolio is no longer the middle-aged,
conceited, puritanical donkey who is a fair butt for the malicious
waiting-maid, two stupid sots, and a professional fool, but he becomes
at once a grave and reverend signior, a Grand Duchess's trusted
major-domo, faithfully discharging the duties of which he has an
exaggerated opinion, and the very last person to be the subject of an
idiotic practical joke, the stupidity of which is intensified by its
wanton cruelty. And in the end he gains the public sympathy for his
sufferings, just as Shylock does."

Whether Henry Irving meant his audiences to sympathise with Malvolio
is more than I can say. It was certainly very instructive, as well as
very enjoyable, to see the part played from that point of view.

[Illustration: _Photograph by_

    [_Window & Grove._

ELLEN TERRY AS "VIOLA."

_First played by her at the Lyceum, July 8, 1884._

    [_To face page 254._
]

But however critics might differ with regard to individual performances
in this unappreciated production, concerning Ellen Terry's Viola there
was but one opinion. It was simply charming, being at once full of fun
and vivacity, and clothed with modesty. The performance ranked with her
best Shakespearean impersonations, and it is a thousand pities that it
was not seen oftener. It is interesting to note that the part of Viola's
brother and counterpart, Sebastian, was played by Ellen Terry's brother,
Fred Terry, who was then in the early days of his successful career. The
likeness, both in face, expression, and manner between the two was
remarkable, and the episode of their thus acting together was very
pleasing.

In 1885, after another prosperous tour in America, W. G. Wills' stage
version of "The Vicar of Wakefield" was revived, Ellen Terry now playing
her famous character of Olivia to the Dr. Primrose of Henry Irving. She
repeated her former triumph, and, as the dear old country parson, he was
most happily placed. Since then, the delightful play has taken a
permanent and honoured place in the Lyceum repertory.

In the December of this year, W. G. Wills' adaptation of "Faust" was
staged. Of course I cannot dwell on the splendours of this production.
At the time some of the professed students of Goethe were prone to run
it down, declaring (generally without seeing a representation of it)
that the poem had been turned into a pantomime. These quidnuncs did not
know the necessities of the three hours' traffic of the stage. In spite
of them the striking and artistic acting version of a Titanic work drew
the public, and, as a matter of fact, Henry Irving's enterprise induced
more people to read Goethe than had ever been known. To thousands a
closed book had been opened.

"Faust" had a prolonged run, and how much this was due to the
captivating Margaret of Ellen Terry, Henry Irving (who seemed to revel
in the part of Mephistopheles) would be the first to admit. It was
indeed a performance replete with pathos and poetry, and she alone gave
the indispensable feminine interest to a great work destined to hold its
place upon the stage, and in the minds of all earnest playgoers and
students of the drama.

It was in 1885 that Charles Kelly died, leaving his widow with her two
children, who, under the names of Ailsa Craig and Gordon Craig, have
already done excellent work upon the stage and in other branches of
art.

With such a lasting success as this on hand, with a rich repertory to
fall back upon, and American tours to interfere with London work, new
productions at the Lyceum now become few and far between.

In 1886, Irving revived one of his favourite old farces, "Raising the
Wind." It was a treat to see him once more enjoying his ingeniously and
comically conceived interpretation of Jeremy Diddler, but the character
of Peggy offered no real opportunity to Ellen Terry. She made a sweet
picture, and it was good-natured of her to act in such a piece, and that
is all that can be said. But it gives an opportunity of noting how truly
great artists are always willing to play small parts. It is only the
self-sufficient semi-amateur who must be Hamlet or nothing. "I love to
be a _useful_ actress," is Ellen Terry's constant cry.

On July I, 1887, at a benefit performance generously given on behalf of
Dr. Westland Marston, Byron's "Werner" was performed, Henry Irving
playing the gloomy hero to the Josephine of Ellen Terry. It was an
interesting experiment, but, although immense pains were taken over the
production, it was not repeated.

Werner had been a favourite part with Macready, and I can never think of
the piece without recalling an anecdote that was told me by another
veteran actor of the old school--Henry Loraine. Loraine and a brother
tragedian had had a difference of opinion concerning the "gouts" of
blood mentioned in "Macbeth"--in the famous dagger soliloquy--

                          "I see thee still;
    And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood,
    Which was not so before."

Was the correct pronunciation of "gout" as here used the same as the
dread malady "gout" from which so many of us suffer? That was the
dispute--concerning it a small wager was made--and it was determined
that the great Macready should be the referee. In his declining days,
and a ripe old age, Macready was then living in peaceful retirement at
Cheltenham, and Loraine, who had been an old comrade of his, called upon
him. He was admitted, but he found the once vigorous man sadly ill and
weak. He was lying back in an arm-chair wistfully gazing at the virile
portrait of himself as Werner that has been made familiar to the public
by the print-sellers. On hearing this friend's name, the old actor
endeavoured to rouse himself, and, being asked the momentous question as
to the "gouts," said with animation: "Of course it is as _I_ always
pronounced it,'goots'--it rhymes with 'roots,'--it rhymes with 'roots.'"
And then he seemed to forget his friend's presence, and, as it were,
fading away, fell back in his chair, and, with a deep sigh, resumed his
contemplation of the once active Werner.

In 1887 the opportunity for a new "creation" occurred, and it is
interesting to see how Ellen Terry availed herself of it. To my friend
Alfred C. Calmour I am indebted for the history of his graceful poetical
play "The Amber Heart."

In common with all plays "The Amber Heart" had its vicissitudes. Indeed,
it would be an interesting thing to write a history of successful plays,
and the anxieties of their authors before they were safely landed for
gratifying production. How many pieces have lain neglected for years
until some chance coming in their way disclosed their merit!

But the troubles of "The Amber Heart" were neither many nor keen.
Written in 1886, the piece was read first of all to Mary Anderson, who,
then in the zenith of her invincible popularity, was playing at the
Lyceum. It was at the suggestion of the ill-fated William Terriss that
the author submitted it to this charming and accomplished lady. Having
heard the play, she was most enthusiastic about it. "Lovely! lovely!"
she repeated after the author had read it; "if it can only be produced I
am sure we shall have a success." But that season's arrangements having
already been fixed gave no chance for it. It was then suggested to
Ellen Terry, for whom, indeed, it had originally been written, but who
so far had been unable to consider it because of her existing
engagements. However, in reply to the author's final question as to
whether she could seriously entertain it, she telegraphed, "Yes, with
pleasure, to-day at twelve." This was January 6, 1887. The author read
the play to her, and she, too, was most enthusiastic. "I'll do it, I'll
do it!" she exclaimed; "I've longed for such a part." The difficulty, of
course, was how to get it done. Ellen Terry was then playing Margaret in
"Faust," and rehearsing other plays besides, and, of course, she was
pledged to the arrangements of Henry Irving. At length it was decided
that it should be produced at the Haymarket Theatre on May 7th for a
matinee. The theatre was arranged for, and the date advertised, when the
already too busy actress found that she could not fulfil her promise
until a month later. This, of course (and naturally to the intense
disappointment of the author), unsettled everything. The following month
the Haymarket passed into new managerial hands, and so the piece could
not be done there. Then, following his invariable custom, Henry Irving
generously stepped into the breach, and offered his friend, the
dramatist, the free use of the Lyceum for the production. That
difficulty was, at length, satisfactorily settled, but the casting of
the piece was not easily effected. The casting of plays for tentative
performances seldom is. Ultimately, and after an infinity of trouble, he
had good cause to congratulate himself. Ellen Terry, E. S. Willard, and
Beerbohm Tree! Never before, and never since, have this talented trio
appeared together, and the minor parts were played by excellent actors
and actresses. "If I were to write volumes," says my friend, "I could
not say how hard Miss Terry worked to make the piece a success. Her
whole soul was thrown into it." At the rehearsals her enthusiasm fired
her companions. Everything was done most lovingly, and on the eventful
afternoon, June 7, 1887, an audience assembled at the Lyceum which was
almost as unique as the cast of the play. Mrs. Keeley represented the
older generation of actresses, and Miss Mary Moore the younger, and
many, like Ada Cavendish, David James, and William Terriss, who have
since passed away, were present.

Before the curtain went up his heroine wrote to the dramatist:--

"You will have a great success, I hope and pray. I believe in this, and
nobody will be so glad then as your sincere friend, Ellen Terry."

After the first act (which had gone splendidly) he went behind the
scenes. "Oh, dear, dear! how bad I am!" she said, suffering (quite
unnecessarily) from her usual "first performance" misgivings. "My
tongue is parched, and I can't get a smile out of the part." She was
terribly anxious to make a great success for her author.

At the end of the second act, which was received with rare enthusiasm,
he again saw her. She was crying, for she was still "Ellaline"--the
heart-broken maiden, whose lover had tired of her. After a while she
smiled through her tears, and said, "I think I was a little better in
that act." Her modest appreciation of what was acknowledged to be a
noble dramatic achievement showed the true nature of the woman. The
effect on the audience in the parting scene at the end of this act was
greater than written description can convey. Mrs. Keeley declared that,
with all her experience, she had never witnessed anything so fine, and
she afterwards wrote to the author: "I am glad to have lived to see such
grand acting as Miss Terry's was yesterday afternoon."

Then Ellen Terry wrote to him: "I hope you are pleased. I am so sorry
about one thing yesterday. From nervousness my acting of the first act
was strained and artificial, and I confess that I entirely ruined and
_missed_ your first beautiful soliloquy in the second act! I am _truly_
sorry! I know that you are a good creature, and view all my efforts from
the point of view of my _intentions_ since I succeeded better in some
bits. Although I may never play the part again, I never will cease to
love the play for its own sake, and to regard and esteem my friend who
wrote it--_for me_--I do believe."

[Illustration: _Photography by_

    [_Window & Grove._

ELLEN TERRY AS "ELLALINE."

_In Alfred C. Calmont's Poetical Fancy, "The Amber Heart." Lyceum, June
7, 1887._

    [_To face page 262._
]

Poor self-tormenting lady! From first to last she had played the part to
perfection--and every one but herself knew it. However, in that charming
letter, so characteristic of her modesty, she unwittingly endowed the
author with one of his most esteemed possessions.

He was indeed to be envied! Henry Irving wrote to him: "Yesterday was a
veritable triumph for you and Miss Terry. Her performance was a lovely,
never-to-be-forgotten thing--beautiful in conception and perfect in
execution." So delighted was he with her success in this original
character that he purchased the play and made her a present of it. When
it is remembered that he took no part in the victory it will be
understood that he is not a selfish actor.

This was doubly proved when in the following year (1888) the piece was
staged for a run in the evening bill, with Hermann Vezin and George
Alexander in the cast. It was again well received, and ran through a
season. Sir Edward Burne-Jones wrote of it:--

"I went to the Lyceum Theatre yesterday for the third time to see your
beautiful poetic fairy play. It is a most inspiring work to a
painter--and Miss Terry's performance a revelation of loveliness. It is
not acting--it is a glimpse into Nature itself. Is there any one like
her? I think not. I had not been in a theatre for twenty years before I
went to see 'The Amber Heart.'"

Lord Leighton wrote--"Beautiful!--beautiful! Acting and play beautiful!
A sweet and abiding memory."

In America the play was received with the same enthusiasm. Miss Terry
wrote as follows after its production in New York: "'The Amber Heart'
went splendidly. It made a distinct sensation, and I wish you had been
there. The people simply love it--just as they did at home."

Ellen Terry's next task was in some ways the most difficult she has been
called upon to undertake. When it was known that she was to appear as
Lady Macbeth, those (and they were in an overwhelming majority) who
associated the character with the majestic, awe-inspiring methods of
Mrs. Siddons, and who, going back to the Garrick period, recalled a
formidable-looking picture of Mrs. Yates as the Thane's wife with
forbidding hooped skirts and a dagger remorselessly clutched in each
determined hand, shook their heads, and anticipated failure. How could
the graceful, gracious, tender-eyed, sweet-voiced, gentle Ellen Terry
grasp such a part as this? Stage tradition had claimed Lady Macbeth for
its own, and very few playgoers reflected that, as a matter of fact, it
would be more likely that Macbeth would be persuaded by a beautiful and
fascinating wife than he would be commanded by a cold and imperious one.
To fight against these firmly fixed ideas was a most formidable
undertaking, but, anxious though she must have been, Ellen Terry went to
work with a brave heart.

On November 6, 1888, she wrote (from Margate) to her friend, Alfred C.
Calmour:--

"My holiday is nearly over, and somehow I wish it was just going to
begin! However, I feel pretty content. Since I last saw you I have been
N., S., E., and W. I have seen _very few_ people, and I have been
absorbed by Lady Mac, who is _quite unlike_ her portrait by Mrs.
Siddons! She is _most feminine_, and altogether, now that I have come to
_know the lady well_, I think the _portrait is much the grander of the
two_! But I mean to try at a true _likeness_, as it is more within my
means. Like a good friend, send on the notes you spoke of--the notes on
Macbeth. I'm staying here to get away from people and to be quiet, but I
shall come up for your play, 'Widow Winsome,' if you do it on the 15th.
I'm _so_ glad you'll have a good cast. Katie Rorke is _quite_ the best
of our young ones."

Kate Rorke, it will be remembered, commenced her stage career at the
Court Theatre when Ellen Terry was in the first flush of her success as
Olivia.

This clearly shows that she was intent on giving her own original
reading of Lady Macbeth.

Clement Scott has recorded a very interesting conversation that took
place between them after the production. In the course of it she said:--

"Although I know I cannot do what I want to do in this part, I don't
even _want_ to be a 'fiend,' and I _can't_ believe for a moment that
Lady Macbeth did _conceive_ that murder--that _one_ murder. Most women
break the law during their lives; few women realise the consequences of
what they do to-day.... I do believe that at the end of that banquet,
that poor wretched creature was brought through agony and sin to
repentance, and was forgiven. Surely she called the spirits to be made
bad, because she knew she was not so very bad?"

And in response to the inquiry--"But was Lady Macbeth good?" she said:--

"No, she was not good, but not so much worse than many women you
know.... Was it not nice of an actress--she sent me Mrs. Siddons' shoes!
not to wear, but to keep. I wish I could have stood in 'em! She played
Lady Macbeth--_her_ Lady Macbeth, not Shakespeare's; and if I _could_ I
would have done hers, for Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth was a fool to it.
But, at the same time, I don't think I'd even care to try to imitate her
imitators.... I wish I could have seen Helen Faucit in the part. I do
believe she was the rightest, although not to be looked at by the side
of the Siddons portrait as a single effective figure."

Now all this goes to prove that though Ellen Terry believed that the
"Siddons" view of the character was the most effective from the
theatrical point of view, she was not what Shakespeare meant, and that
she had resolutely determined to give it her own reading.

On the 29th of December 1888, the tragedy was performed before a
crowded, distinguished, and excited audience. What a picture Ellen Terry
looked in her queenly and exquisitely-designed robes and her long plaits
of squirrel-coloured hair! One could understand a man doing anything at
the bidding of such a lovely, commanding, yet withal winsome creature.
This made her influence over Macbeth very easy of comprehension, and, so
far, a great point was gained; but I remember thinking that night that
the new Lady Macbeth seemed, as the play advanced, to become an
encumbrance rather than a support to her husband, and that she left him
to fight his losing battle alone. She seemed to content herself with
presenting an attractive, affectionate, and devoted wife, who could rule
her husband at will, and encouraged him in his crimes because she
thought they would advance his ambition. Despite her collusion in the
series of cruel murders that were designed to clear the Thane of
Cawdor's way to the throne, she was always feminine, and far sooner
than he, she collapsed under the weight of their mutual guilt.

That the impersonation proved singularly attractive is beyond all doubt,
and it was well summed up in the words:--

"Miss Terry's Lady Macbeth filled every one with wonder and admiration.
As in the case of her Queen Katherine, it seemed a miracle of energy and
dramatic inspiration triumphing over physical difficulties and habitual
associations. The task was herculean, and even those who objected could
not restrain their admiration."

Indeed, we were all heart and soul with Henry Irving, when, at the fall
of the curtain, and in response to ringing cheers, he said:--

"Our dear friend, Ellen Terry, in appearing as Lady Macbeth for the
first time, has undertaken, as you may suppose, a desperate task, but I
think no true lover of art could have witnessed it without being deeply
interested, and without a desire to witness it again."

He was right: his and her admirers came over and over again, and
"Macbeth" was not withdrawn until June 29, 1889.

In the April of 1889 a very interesting event took place. Having
received the royal command, Henry Irving, Ellen Terry, and the Lyceum
Company appeared before Her Majesty Queen Victoria, the Prince and
Princess of Wales, and many other members of the Royal Family, at what
was for the nonce dubbed the "Theatre Royal, Sandringham." For the
occasion the ballroom had been converted into a miniature Lyceum, the
proscenium and act-drop of the theatre having been produced on a smaller
scale. The following was the programme:--

     V.R.

     THEATRE ROYAL, SANDRINGHAM.

     Royal Entertainment. By command of their Royal Highnesses the
     Prince and Princess of Wales, before Her Majesty the Queen.

    _On Friday Evening, April 26th, 1889._


    "THE BELLS."

    A drama in three acts from the "Juif Polonais" of MM.
    Erckmann--Chatrian.

    Mathias                  Mr Henry Irving
    Walter                   Mr Howe
    Hans                     Mr Johnson
    Christian                Mr Alexander
    Dr Zimmer                Mr Haviland
    Notary                   Mr Coveney
    President of the Court   Mr Tyars
    Mesmerist                Mr Archer

    Catherine          Mrs Pauncefort
    Sozel              Miss Linden
    Annette            Miss Coleridge

    ALSACE, 1833.

    After which the Trial Scene from


    "THE MERCHANT OF VENICE."

    Shylock          Mr Henry Irving
    Duke of Venice   Mr Howe
    Antonio          Mr Wenman
    Bassanio         Mr Alexander
    Salarino         Mr Harvey
    Gratiano         Mr Tyars
    Clerk of Court   Mr Coveney

    Nerissa       Miss Linden
    Portia        Miss Ellen Terry

    Director, Mr Irving; Assistant Director, Mr Loveday; Musical
    Director, Mr Ball.

    The Scenery painted by Mr Hawes Craven; the Act-drop painted by Mr
    Hann.

    GOD SAVE THE QUEEN.

After the performance, Henry Irving and Ellen Terry had the honour of
being presented to Queen Victoria, who expressed herself with enthusiasm
as to their respective impersonations. Subsequently, through the Prince
of Wales, her Majesty presented the great actor with a pair of handsome
diamond and gold sleeve-links, and the reigning Portia with a brooch, as
beautiful as it was costly.

In her next Lyceum part, that of Catherine Duval, in the revival of
Watts Phillips's stirring French Revolution drama, "The Dead Heart"
(Sept. 28, 1889), Ellen Terry did all she had to do with her usual
taste, and evinced much pathos; but the character afforded her no really
great chance. The occasion was, however, a very interesting one, for
Gordon Craig (Edward Wardell, who had made his first appearance on the
stage in America as the boy Joey, in "The Fate of Eugene Aram") played
with great skill the part of Arthur, the handsome son of Catherine,
after she had become the wife of the Count de St. Valery. It was
pleasant to see the mother and son thus playing together, though looking
at her it seemed almost impossible that the relationship could exist.
Indeed, one writer was induced to predict that the situation would in
due course be reversed, and that Ellen Terry, "blessed with perennial
youth and undecaying beauty, will successfully portray a character, in
some happily-chosen drama, in which she will pose as the daughter of her
own son."

On the 20th September 1890, Henry Irving produced Hermann Merivale's
stage-version of Scott's great story, "The Bride of Lammermoor,"
entitled "Ravenswood," in which he played the ill-fated Edgar, and she
was the Lucy Ashton. Here again, it seemed to me, that her opportunities
were few and far between, though, of course, she seized and made the
most of them whenever they came in her way, and thus wove wonders out of
rather scant material. In her picturesque costumes she looked most
charming, and she has told me that she "dearly loved" the part.

In the next production, the famous revival of "Henry VIII.," in which as
far as scenery, costumes, and general splendour were concerned, the
Lyceum manager excelled himself, the actress made a veritable _tour de
force_. Her Queen Katherine was, as Percy Fitzgerald truly said, an
_astonishing_ performance, and took even her greatest admirers by
surprise. She made the same gigantic effort as she did with Lady Macbeth
to interpret a vast character, and one that might well have seemed
beyond her strength. It did not aim at being the _great_ Queen Katherine
of Sarah Siddons. As in the former instance, Ellen Terry founded her
conception on different lines, and acted up to her own ideas with
marvellous truth and effect. We believed in, and sympathised with, this
earnest and tender-hearted woman, and hated those who persecuted her and
hunted her down. She could, and did show irritation, indignation, and
hot anger, but beneath it all she let us see the woman's heart, and we
knew that it was wrongly and cruelly lacerated. Her victory over those
who had pinned their faith on the Siddons reading of the character was
complete, and, considering the great difficulties that lay in her path,
it was a great one. The pathetic resignation of her death-scene was a
piece of beautiful acting ever to be remembered.

Among the dainty gentlewomen attendant upon this heart-touching Queen
Katherine was a charming young lady, who figured in the play-bills as
Ailsa Craig. This was Ellen Terry's daughter and inseparable companion,
Edith Wardell.

From Queen Katherine to Cordelia is a very far cry, and yet when she
felt it to be her duty to undertake the difficult task Ellen Terry did
not shirk her responsibility to her manager. It is true, that with the
modesty that always goes hand in hand with true genius, she said that
she would like to resign the character of King Lear's favourite child to
a younger actress, and volunteered to appear in the character of the
Fool. That would have been such a bewitching interpretation of one of
Shakespeare's most carefully etched characters that it seems a pity it
was lost to us; but Henry Irving was right in his judgment. He had
determined that his audiences should see Ellen Terry as Cordelia; they
saw her, and rejoiced in a new and striking triumph.

[Illustration: _Photography by_

    _W. & D. Downey._

SIR HENRY IRVING AS "CARDINAL WOLSEY."

_In "Henry VIII." in the Lyceum revival of 1892._

    [_To face page 272._
]

How vividly I recall that anxious first night of November 10, 1892.
First impressions are generally the best, and therefore I do not
hesitate to repeat what I wrote in the early hours of the succeeding
November 11:--

"In penning these lines it is not so much my intention to enter into
critical judgment on our leading actor's rendering of the most noble and
exacting of Shakespearean characters, but rather to give my readers some
description of one of the most notable 'first nights' of the modern
stage. Under the Irving sway all first nights are important, but this
one was especially so, for to the present generation of theatre-goers
'King Lear' is, from an acting point of view, practically an unknown
play. There can be few amongst us now who can recall Macready's revival
of 1838, that of Phelps in 1845, or Charles Kean's elaborate production
of 1858--of which it was said that 'he had equalled his Hamlet and Louis
the Eleventh.' That is exactly what every one hoped Henry Irving would
do. More he could not do. Edwin Booth played Lear for a few nights at
the Princess's in 1881--and it has, fitfully, been seen in the
provinces, but to all intents and purposes the tragedy has for many
years been laid on the shelf. What was Irving going to do with it? That
was the question asked by every one in the house last night, and if his
performance is to be judged by the tumultuous applause that greeted his
first entrance, that followed him throughout the play, and that called
and recalled him at the end of each act, he had done well indeed. And
what a house it was! My comfortable and easily arrived at seat happened
to be in the last row of the stalls, and consequently I overheard the
conversation of the front rows of the pit--which has been rightly called
the mouth through which the final verdict of the house is given. Here
were any number of ladies who, bringing books, refreshments, and
camp-stools with them, had patiently waited for five hours in the pit
entrance of the theatre during a foggy and comfortless November
afternoon in order to obtain good seats, and who spoke not only
cheerfully, but even boastfully, of their experiences! Such a tribute to
the popularity of the actor is surely noteworthy. It mattered nothing to
them that the fog got into the theatre and set them coughing, that their
camp-stools were sadly in their way, that the play was a long one, and
some of the 'waits' were tedious. Eleven o'clock arrived, and there was
still an act to be played, but their allegiance was as unshaken as their
applause was undiminished. With such a loyal following as this, Henry
Irving has no cause to fear a rival. The upper parts of the house were
packed. Every available seat in circles and gallery was occupied, and
the private boxes can only be described as 'boiling over.' But the
fifteen rows of densely thronged stalls formed the centre of attraction.
From the first it was noticeable that the house was almost as much
interested in the house as in the play. Men stood up to see and be seen,
and opera-glasses were as plentiful as blackberries in October. The
eager pittites exchanged surmises and certainties with regard to
celebrities--and, probably unconscious of the interest they were
arousing, celebrities displayed themselves to the best possible
advantage, and exchanged greetings with brother and sister celebrities.
To give the names of those present would be to quote the very pick of
the literary, artistic, scientific, and aristocratic world. That the
critics, reporters, and artists were there in full force, goes without
saying, and most of them seemed busy, some taking notes of the
performance on the stage, others jotting down the names of the lions
among the audience, and many making lightning-like sketches of those
present, both on the stage and in the auditorium. But, after all, 'the
play's the thing,' and it may be briefly said that this was followed
with unflagging interest, and listened to with breathless silence. By
the time this appears in print[3] those who are interested in things
theatrical will have had an opportunity of reading the critical verdict
of our leading dramatic censors on Henry Irving's Lear, and Ellen
Terry's Cordelia. Whatever the ultimate popularity of these
impersonations may be, there was but one opinion in the crowded and
brilliant audience of last night. The people seemed never tired of
cheering, and late though the hour was when the curtain fell, no one
moved until Henry Irving, who throughout the evening looked 'every inch
a king,' was compelled to give utterance to a few well-chosen words of
heartfelt thanks. His first night of 'Lear,' he said, would be one of
the happiest of his memories. A pleasant feature of the evening was the
right loyal welcome given to Henry Howe, who, now playing the old man,
tenant to Gloster, was the King of France in the Macready revival of
fifty-five years ago."

Ellen Terry has told me that it was one of the most nervous and anxious
first nights she had experienced, and it might well be so, for the
task of all concerned in this great production was a heavy one.
But though critical opinion differed as to some points in the
representation--though sapient playgoers shook their heads, and,
quoting Charles Lamb, declared that "King Lear" should never be acted,
there was no argument as to the merits of the new Cordelia. Her maidenly
simplicity and delicately expressed, though manifestly intense, love for
her father touched the right chord, and once more she won all our
hearts. Her initial popularity in the character continued throughout the
long and, I believe, unprecedented run of the play.

No wonder that Ellen Terry is fond of saying that she is a "useful"
actress to her manager. That, she declares, has always been her desire,
and while under an engagement she considers it her duty to play any part
that is offered to her and to do her best with it. Though she will not
say so, I believe I am right in feeling that she is justifiably proud of
having, in quick succession, succeeded in such widely divergent
Shakespearean characters as the imperious Queen Katherine (a part in
which I am inclined to think she actually satisfied that fastidious
critic--_herself_) and the gentle Cordelia.

And here let me emphasise the fact that she repudiates the suggestion
that it was her ambition to play Lady Macbeth. She had no desire for the
part, but when called upon to take it she did not shirk the task.

Her next original impersonation was that of Fair Rosamund in Lord
Tennyson's beautiful play, "Becket," which was brought out at the Lyceum
on February 6, 1893. It did not tax her strength very much, but no one
who witnessed the impersonation will forget its exquisite tenderness or
her perfect delivery of such lines as--

    "Rainbow, stay,
    Gleam upon gloom,
    Bright as my dream,
    Rainbow, stay!
    But it passes away,
    Gloom upon gleam,
    Dark as my doom--
    O rainbow, stay."

It is a delightful thing to read Tennyson. To hear his words interpreted
by Ellen Terry is a revelation.

In connection with "Becket," I have another little story to tell
indicative of my heroine's never-ending unselfishness. Geneviève Ward,
who, it will be remembered, played most magnificently as Queen Eleanor,
has told me how, in that strong and stormy scene between the jealous
Queen and the luckless Rosamund, the stage moon was wont to show a
little undue favouritism towards the fair denizen of the bower, flooding
her with radiance and leaving her vindictive visitor in comparative
obscurity. "This," to quote my friend's own words, "hurt Ellen Terry's
sense of justice, and more than once she has turned her back upon the
audience, and gently rebuked the too partial moon by a tragic line
thrown into the wings--'Take it off me and turn it on Miss Ward.'" Such
anecdotes could be told by all the artists who have appeared with her,
but this one will suffice.

Against this I may tell a counter story. Amongst Ellen Terry's treasures
there is a ring that was given to her by Geneviève Ward. When she shows
it to her friends, she says, "Queen Eleanor, you see, is not at all
vindictive to Rosamund off the stage."

When "Becket" had run its course, and pending another great production,
some revivals were given. Amongst them was Charles Reade's one-act
play--"Nance Oldfield." Most of us know the pretty, imaginative story as
related by Ellen Terry's early friend and mentor, Charles Reade.
Mistress Nance Oldfield, it will be remembered, was one of the earliest
and most popular of English actresses. She made her first appearance in
1699, and was the darling of the stage until she died in 1730, and, with
nobles supporting her pall, was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey.
History records of her that she was not only an admirable actress, but a
good and charitable woman, and it is from this pleasant point of view
that Charles Reade has limned her in his dainty little cabinet picture.
In his play her mission is to cure the love that a romantic young man
has conceived for her through seeing her on the stage. How, in order to
do this, she converts herself from the most charming of women into a
veritable "tom-boyish" hoyden, is known to all who delight in the
graceful and consummate art of Ellen Terry. When she is playing this
part, her vivacity and high spirits seem to know no bounds, but her
winsomeness always fascinates her audiences. The little piece is ever
followed with intense interest mingled with much laughter, and the only
regret is that it comes to an all too early end. It lives and will live
as long as Ellen Terry chooses to play it. By the way, it is on record
that a descendant of the original Mistress Oldfield has said, "Anne
Oldfield herself could not have played the character better." The part
has also been admirably handled by Geneviève Ward.

Later on, at a special performance at Daly's Theatre, Ellen Terry
appeared in a short piece by George Moore and "John Oliver Hobbes,"
entitled "Journeys End in Lovers Meeting." It was very interesting; but
the little candle soon flickered out, and the experiment only calls for
passing record.

No doubt, before, and certainly ever since, the days of Sir Thomas
Malory and the printing by Caxton of "Morte d'Arthur," the Arthurian
legends have had a fascination for English-thinking folk. The
publication of Tennyson's immortal "Idylls of the King" added a new zest
to the glorious old romances, and great delight was expressed when it
was announced that Henry Irving and Ellen Terry were to appear as the
blameless King and his beautiful Queen in a stage version of the
familiar, pathetic, and very human legend of Arthur, Guinevere, and
Lancelot. The project had often been mooted, and several leading
dramatists had been named as likely to be entrusted with the important
and difficult work, but at last the choice fell on Comyns Carr, and
right well he performed his task, writing in fluent blank verse, and
telling his story in the true dramatic way.

The play was produced on January 12, 1895, and made a profound
impression. The beauty of the scenery designed by Sir Edward
Burne-Jones, and the melody of the music that had been composed by Sir
Arthur Sullivan, added much to the reality of a presentment which, in
its way, was one of the most captivating things ever seen on the stage.
No doubt the production surpassed everything that had gone before it in
the splendour of its setting, and its effect upon critical audiences. In
this connection it was truly pointed out that it said much for the power
of the principal performers that their art was not overwhelmed by the
magnificence of its surroundings. Their triumph as artists was only the
greater because it was won under circumstances that were really adverse
to the actor. The tendency of these magnificently staged plays is
undoubtedly to make the individual performer wither, as the composition
in its entirety of scenery, grouping, and accessories grows more and
more.

A fault that some playgoers found with "King Arthur" was that it
afforded few acting opportunities to Henry Irving. The character of the
spotless consort of Guinevere, who stands out so nobly in the legends
and idylls, somehow seemed unsympathetic when seen upon the stage. Is
it, I wonder, that mixed audiences follow the all-seeing Shakespeare
when he said, "They say best men are moulded out of faults, and, for the
most, become much more the better for being a little bad?" In one of his
clever plays Sydney Grundy goes so far as to suggest that such a very
good man as King Arthur might be to an ordinary human being "a little
difficult to live with." If such be the case, abundant pardon should be
meted out to the erring Guinevere. As for Ellen Terry as Guinevere she
not only looked a perfect picture, but made the most of every line
allotted to her in one of the most touching and pathetic characters that
(outside Shakespeare) she has been called upon to play. Mention of
this production would not be complete without record of the splendid
acting of Johnston Forbes Robertson as Lancelot--and the striking effect
made by Geneviève Ward as Morgan le Fay.

[Illustration: _Photograph by_

    [_Window & Grove._

ELLEN TERRY AS "QUEEN GUINEVERE."

_In Comyns Carr's drama "King Arthur," Lyceum, 1895._

    [_To face page 282._
]

I cannot think that "King Arthur" lived as long as it should have done,
but I fear it came at a time when frivolous playgoers were so absorbed
in the dresses and doings of the Giggling Girl--the Gurgling Girl--the
Gargling Girl--or whatever that volatile and versatile young lady was
for the moment presenting, that they could not do much homage to Sir
Thomas Malory, Lord Tennyson, Sir Edward Burne-Jones, Sir Arthur
Sullivan, and Sir Henry Irving--for it was at this period that our great
actor-manager was honoured with his well-won knighthood.

In the early autumn of 1896 a new Shakespearean prize was offered to
Ellen Terry, and she eagerly seized upon and materially profited by it.
Contenting himself with the unsympathetic part of Iachimo (how admirably
he played it!), Henry Irving resolved to revive the far too seldom seen
"Cymbeline," and of course the ideal Imogen was at hand. "I love the
part!" says Ellen Terry with her infectious enthusiasm, and, loving it,
she brought it out in all its beauty and fragrance just as the
beneficent sun unfolds the petals and extracts the sweet scent of the
rose.

Agreeing as I do with every word he says on the subject, I must here
once more quote my good friend, Clement Scott:--

"Ellen Terry," he writes, "astonished dramatic students with her Imogen
on September 22, 1896. Ellen Terry's Imogen was not only a surprise--it
was a revelation. It may not satisfy the old school, but it will
certainly delight the new. It is not the reading of Helen Faucit, the
best of the Imogens remembered; it may be picked to pieces by schoolmen
and students; it was of course un-Shakespearean; but Ellen Terry's
Imogen is Ellen Terry with twenty years or more off her merry shoulders.
I can only describe Ellen Terry's Imogen as her Beatrice mingled with
her Rosalind that might have been.

"No, it was not that; it was Ellen Terry, that peculiar amalgam of
witchery, charm, and wilfulness which has baffled every critic of her
work. I shall be told that this is not Imogen; but it is Ellen Terry's
Imogen, and she held her audience in the palm of her hand. Imogen was
never played in like fashion before. The scene in which Imogen was
summoned by her dear milord to Milford Haven may not be Shakespearean,
but it was pure Ellen Terry at her best.

"She bounds about the stage like a young fawn, she kisses her hand, she
kisses her dear lord's letter, she is a wilful madcap and a romp. Is
this Imogen, the King's daughter, the serious, thoughtful Imogen of
Shakespeare? Who cares? What does it matter to the audience? It is the
Imogen of Ellen Terry, and she has undoubtedly made out a good case.

"It may be heresy to the old school to hear an actress interpolating
asides and adding remarks and breaking in upon the text with charming
gestures, but Ellen Terry does it, and every one loves her for doing it.

"So far so good for the earlier and middle scenes. There was a
hesitating period, and an Ellen Terry period; but when we got to the
Fidèle scenes then came the revelation, the touching of the heart, the
true tears. There was only one remark in the house, 'Oh, what a Rosalind
she would have made!' And many added, 'and ought to make.' Here in these
scenes we had comedy of the finest flavour, and pathos exquisitely true.
Few will forget the eminently Rosalind-like incident of the sword at the
entrance to the cave--it was the bloody 'kerchief over again--and few
indeed will fail to admire the nervous passion, the really eloquent
grief, over the supposed body of the headless Posthumus.

"The success of the Fidèle scenes nerved the actress to a fresh attack,
and in the grand reconciliation scene she played with the romance and
activity of a girl of eighteen. It was a surprising effort from first to
last; and of all the Shakespearean essays of this delightful artist,
from her own stand-point, this was assuredly the best.

"Hitherto I should have said Beatrice; but here we have Beatrice with
the pathetic touches of Rosalind superadded. Miss Terry is a model
Shakespearean boy; there is no doubt about that, and has both laughter
and tears at her winsome command.

"The loss of such a Rosalind to the stage as Ellen Terry would, and must
have been, has ever formed a subject for regret with her warmest and
most enthusiastic admirers. If ever woman lived who displayed in advance
the temperament of Rosalind, it was Ellen Terry. What affection she
would have shown for Celia; what tears would have been shed, and what
anxiety displayed for Orlando at the wrestling bout; with what
incomparable humour such a Rosalind would have started on her romantic
journey; and oh! the scenes with Orlando in the forest, the love, the
sport, the joyousness, the masquerading, and the tears, it makes one
almost sad to know and feel what we have lost in this incomparable
Rosalind."

Ellen Terry's performance in "Cymbeline" also excited the admiration of
the French critic, Augustin Filon, who, in an article in the _Débâts_,
headed "Une Grande Tragédienne," said that her Imogen prevented him from
seeing the "absurdities" of the play! Much more than that, she compelled
him to accept them. He had only to open his eyes and his ears and
Imogen was before him. Her style is marked by a simplicity which, to
inexperienced spectators, may seem the absence of art, but which, as a
matter of fact, is the perfection of art. She entirely forgets that two
thousand persons are following her movements and listening to her words.
No glance at the audience, no intonation bearing traces of study, no
obvious effort to delight! Désiré Nisand, referring to the _débuts_ of
Rachel, remarked, "This girl showed me that I had never understood
Corneille or Racine." The same might be said of Ellen Terry, that "noble
artist," in regard to Shakespeare.

Augustin Filon, it will be seen from this, has little or no patience
with those who say that Shakespeare should be read instead of seen on
the stage. He quotes the lines between Imogen and the attendant in the
bedchamber scene--

    "What hour is it?"
                        "Almost midnight, madam."
    "If thou canst wake by four o' the clock,
    I prithee call me."

The French censor had not hitherto seen the significance of these words.
Ellen Terry's performance served to enlighten him. "She seemed to say,"
he records, "'Poor girl, it is not your fault if your mistress has
sorrows which deprive her of sleep. Unhappy princesses are not the only
people in the world. You need rest; get thee to bed, and if you
oversleep yourself you are already forgiven.' All this," continues the
writer, "is suggested by Ellen Terry's delivery of this simple speech."

In his interesting book on the English stage the same critic says:
"Ellen Terry has not only been an incarnation, delicate, moving,
impassioned, of Shakespeare's heroines, but has in her pure and sweet
elocution set the poet's dream to music."

Ellen Terry has, indeed, always found favour, not only with French
critics, but with her sisters and brothers of the Parisian stage.

Sarah Bernhardt has said of her: "She is perfectly delightful, and is
one of my best friends. The greatest treat I can give myself, and a
pleasure to which I can look forward for months, is to see her act. She
is as near absolute perfection as any one can be. In her, English
dramatic art has a splendid exponent."

Again she declared: "Ellen Terry and Henry Irving are perfect! I adore
them!--particularly the former. What grace, what ease! It is not acting
at all, but the real character before one's eyes. In comedy she is
unequalled, at any rate in English-speaking countries, while Henry
Irving, in certain emotional parts, it would be hard to surpass."

Coquelin aîné loves her acting--"Angélique, très sympathétique, très
tendre!" he once cried, after a glance at her through an opera-glass.
"Mais c'est charmant! Elle a des vraies larmes dans ses yeux!"

By the way, the _Saturday Review_ once instituted an interesting
comparison between Sarah Bernhardt and Ellen Terry. "The latter," the
writer said, "is to the English stage what the other is to the French.
The two actresses are superficially about as unlike as may be, and yet
their method is radically the same; or, in other words, they are both
true actresses. It must, of course, be admitted that Ellen Terry has not
yet had such opportunities of displaying her powers as have fallen to
the lot of Sarah Bernhardt; nor has she yet attained the perfection of
art which Sarah Bernhardt can, when she chooses to take the trouble,
display; but to her, as to Sarah Bernhardt, one may safely apply the
much-misused term of genius. Like Sarah Bernhardt, Ellen Terry has the
semblance of spontaneousness; and, like her, she is always identified
with every thought and habit of every character that she represents.
There is further likeness between the two, in that both are excellent
both in tragedy and comedy. It is, however, as Ophelia that Ellen Terry
has won for herself a place in the first rank of actresses."

It should be noted that this was written in 1879, long before Ellen
Terry had made her subsequent triumphs in that long list of great
characters chronicled in these pages. On April 10, 1897, Ellen Terry
was called upon to pit herself against another famous French
actress--Réjane. This was as Madame Sans-Gêne in Comyns Carr's excellent
English adaptation of Victorien Sardou and Emile Moreau's play bearing
that name. The ordeal was a trying one. It had been freely suggested and
honestly thought that the broad comedy of the character would not be
suitable to the methods of our sweet English actress. She soon put all
doubts to rest, and, in spite of great difficulties, achieved a success
that was in its way unique. Writing after the performance, William
Archer, who always weighs his words and never unduly praises, said that
Ellen Terry was "a born comedian, and throws herself with immense gusto
into this sympathetic part."

Coquelin, who was present at the first performance, and who naturally
might have been somewhat biassed in favour of his famous compatriot, was
enthusiastic. Without for a moment undervaluing the splendid performance
of Réjane, he declared that Ellen Terry had "won his heart." "She is
full of gaiety," he said, "and enters fully into the spirit of the
_rôle_. Her exquisite freshness in the laundry scene, when she
discomfits that shy conspirator, Fouché, by putting a hot hissing iron
near his cheek, and her movements in the scene of the Emperor's study,
twenty years later, when she astonishes the same Fouché, who has become
Duke of Otranto, by the brilliant schemes which she explains to him, and
which he successfully adopts, stand unsurpassed. She is natural, bright,
impulsive, and embodies the character from first to last. Sir Henry
Irving's realisation of Napoleon is--even to a professional actor--an
astonishing performance. His incarnation of the great Emperor is superb
all through the two important final acts of the play."

Coming from such a source this is indeed high praise, and really it
seems needless to add to it. Happily Ellen Terry is still playing the
part, and playing it to perfection. Truly has it been said that her
laughter is as infectious as her sympathy. The ready tear which springs
to the eye at the misfortunes of the Count de Neipperg is as spontaneous
and as moving as the victorious smile with which she drives home her
sallies against Caroline, Queen of Naples. If she misses some of that
wily petulance which belongs to Parisian gaminerie, she more than makes
amends by the downright straightforwardness, the rich flow of humour,
and the disinterested kindness which enter so largely into the
composition of Lefebvre's plebeian and lovable wife. Madame Sans-Gêne is
undoubtedly one of Ellen Terry's happiest creations.

On the first of January 1898, Laurence Irving's ambitious, interesting,
and in many respects powerful play, "Peter the Great," was produced at
the Lyceum. It was essentially "a man's play," and as the Empress
Catherine, Ellen Terry had few chances. Nevertheless she acted very
finely, and the portrait worthily fills a place in her well-stocked
gallery. She had already appeared with much success in America in a
short piece by the same author, entitled "Godefroi and Yolande." This
had a magnificent first-night reception, and she has told me how, when
the curtain fell, Henry Irving stepped forward, and in a few graceful
words thanked the applauding audience for the approval with which his
son's work had been greeted.

"The Medicine Man," the joint work of H. D. Traill and Robert Hichens,
which succeeded "Peter the Great," proved a great disappointment, and
Ellen Terry's appearance as Sylvia Wynford need only be mentioned for
purposes of record.

In the April of 1899 Laurence Irving was again to the fore with his
excellent English version of Victorien Sardou's striking play,
"Robespierre." In the character of Clarice de Malucon, Ellen Terry had
not one of her greatest opportunities, but she acted with her unvarying
and invincible charm, and at once arrested and held the sympathy of her
audiences. It was a sweet and womanly performance. Her one great scene
came with Henry Irving, and superbly they both played it. It is,
indeed, intensely dramatic. Robespierre discovers the terrible fact that
Clarice's boy, Olivier, whom he has condemned to the guillotine, is his
own son; and then his one frenzied idea is to save his life. But,
Dictator though he is, he is surrounded by traitors and suspects; he
already knows that his own life trembles in the balance; the task is a
difficult one, and Olivier obstinately refuses to accept any favour at
his hated hands. Then follows a scene in which the distracted father and
mother (for after long years of separation and silence they are now
together again) watch the ghastly tumbrils as they drag their victims to
the guillotine, trembling lest in one of them they should see their
doomed child. During these heartrending moments of suspense Ellen Terry
was assuredly seen at her best. Henry Irving's triumph as Robespierre
was emphatic.

[Illustration: _Photograph by_

    [_Window & Grove._

ELLEN TERRY AS "VOLUMNIA."

_In the Lyceum revival of "Coriolanus," 1901._

    [_To face page 292._
]

On April 15, 1901, the long promised production of "Coriolanus" was
staged at the Lyceum. As long ago as 1879 Henry Irving had announced his
intention of appearing as the noble Roman in company with Ellen Terry as
Volumnia.

At that time a writer said:--

"Some surprise may, perhaps, be felt at the circumstance that it is in
contemplation to assign the character of Volumnia to Ellen Terry; but
the part is by tradition, and by reason of its intrinsic importance,
the lawful inheritance of the leading tragic actress of the company. It
was one of Mrs. Siddons' famous impersonations, though it was complained
she had not the good sense to follow Mrs. Woffington's example as to her
face, and consequently was on the stage as off, Kemble's sister, not his
mother. No doubt a resolute conscientious employment of the arts which
suggest the autumn of life will be needed to enable Ellen Terry to enact
Henry Irving's mother, but the part is a very fine one, and there can be
no question that in the hands of this actress the great scene of the
fifth act, in which the Roman mother's eloquent and impassioned pleading
finally moves the proud heart of her son, would, in her hands, produce a
powerful impression."

Now time has dealt so tenderly with our charming actress that there was
as much need of this suggested "making up" in 1901 as there had been in
1879; but she had the good sense not to overdo it. There was no more
reason why the mother of Coriolanus should be a very old woman than
there was for Mr. Vincent Crummles to convert himself into a decrepit
octogenarian when he was called upon _in loco parentis_ to bestow the
fair hand of Miss Henrietta Petowker in marriage to Mr. Lillyvick. The
consequence was that, acting the part with impressive composure, save
where intense vigour was demanded, she made such a stately figure as
the handsome Roman matron that she became a treat to the eye as well as
to the ear.

For the rest she completely fulfilled the predictions of the writer of
1879, being admirable throughout, and especially so in that grand scene
to which he alluded. She played in a more womanly and gentle vein than
was the custom with her distinguished predecessors in the part, but the
performance was none the less welcome or telling on that account.

What a wonderful list of impersonations--from the prattling Mamillius to
the dignified Volumnia! Has any other actress achieved so much?



CHAPTER XIV

ENDINGS


I cannot conclude this volume before recording the personal impressions
that Ellen Terry has made upon me. It will be feebly done, for what
writer could pen a true word picture of such a beneficently radiant
creature? I am, from my friendship with her, fully justified in saying
(she would call this one of the fancies of my book, but I know that it
is a fact!) that her chief delights in life are, in the first place, her
power of making her friends and her associates happy; in the second
place, her own joy in existence. When with her even the most depressed
spirit is buoyed up. Her quick sympathy and ready interest in the
concerns of all with whom she comes into contact brings sunshine into
their lives. In common with us all she has had her troubles and
anxieties, and upon her the effect has been to create a keen and ever
active desire to alleviate the distresses and difficulties of others.
Hand in hand with her go encouragement and consolation. A word of
sympathy from her, coupled with a look from those earnest, eloquent
eyes, is the best tonic in the world. And while she can weep with those
who weep, she can rejoice with those who rejoice--and she loves to
rejoice. It may very safely be said that she never uttered an
ill-natured word concerning a fellow-creature. "Why should I?" she says,
when taxed with this somewhat unusual trait in her character. "All the
world seems to say kind things about me. I am happy in knowing it, and
thus I love the world and all who live upon it. Why shouldn't I?" There
certainly is no reason for it, and she may be convinced that those who
have seen her in the world love her.

Apart from this general, generous, and genial affection for humankind,
her devotion is centred in her son and daughter. Very pretty it is to
see her motherly pride in their successes, whether histrionic or
artistic. Happily, her tender solicitude is well rewarded. Both Gordon
and Ailsa Craig are making names for themselves, and doing work of which
any parent might well be proud.

Very vividly she recalls her childish days, and, with a sympathetic
friend, she is by no means averse to talking of them. It is as pleasant
as it is touching to hear her conjure up memories of her own parents and
to note the true respect, added to the heartfelt affection, with which
she talks of them. I use the word "respect" advisedly, because, in these
days (and more's the pity), filial "respect" seems to belong to the
past. Possibly, it is as much the fault of parents as of children, but
in any case it is a thing to be deplored.

Of course, Ellen Terry's first stage recollection is her appearance as
the infant Mamillius, when she saw "the Queen Victoria, the Prince
Consort, the Princess Royal, and the Prince of Wales" in the royal box,
and was, as a matter of consequence, so awestruck that she could hardly
articulate her words. She played this part for one hundred and two
nights without a break--a marvellous record for so young a child. This
long run of "The Winter's Tale" showed that even in the "fifties," when
long runs were almost unknown, a Shakespearean play, faultlessly staged,
and admirably acted, could attract a prolonged succession of audiences.

During their engagement with the Charles Keans, she tells me (by the
way, she is never tired of singing the praises of Mrs. Kean), she and
her sister Kate studied--ay, and carefully studied--all the feminine
characters of each play they acted in. This fact she tries to impress on
the countless young ladies who want to adopt acting as a profession, and
who apply to her for advice. "What do you know?--what have you studied?"
she asks them. "Could you, for example, undertake to play Hero to a
Beatrice; Nerissa to a Portia; or Celia to a Rosalind?" Their almost
invariable reply is that they have studied nothing--that they have only
an ambition to "go on the stage." Then she will advise them to devote
themselves to learning and understanding such parts in case an
opportunity should come in their way.

Poor young ladies! I don't suppose they like such advice, for assuredly
they all want to begin as Beatrice, Portia, or Rosalind. Neither, I am
sure, are they aware that they lacerate the tender heart of the great
actress because she feels she can do nothing for them.

No one knows better than Ellen Terry that life-long devotion to her art
is the only way by which a true actress can reach the goal of her
ambition, and there maintain her place. She maintains, moreover, that
she should be taught to turn her hand to anything. "When I played
Titania at Bath," she says with a laugh, "I made my own dress. It was
long, and of transparent, clinging white, all 'crinkled' by washing and
wringing."

She limns a pretty little sketch of herself as she set forth with her
father to seek her engagement with Mademoiselle Albina di Rhona at the
Royalty Theatre. "I borrowed Kate's new bonnet--pink silk, trimmed with
black lace--and was engaged _at once_. I thought I looked nice in that
bonnet, and father said pink was my colour."

Evidently she thought that her bonnet rather than herself had found
favour with the manageress.

Speaking of her Haymarket engagement she declares that she had no
_real_ reason to dislike poor Sothern, and regrets that she ever
publicly expressed a feeling with which we are all familiar, and which
is best described in the words, "I do not like thee, Dr. Fell." She
admits that at this time she was very good as poor, maliciously maligned
Hero, but she qualifies this little bit of self-commendation by avowing
that she played Lady Touchwood vilely.

Merrily she recalls her appearance as Britannia, making her entrance up
a trap in a huge pearl which opened to allow her egress. On this
occasion King Edward VII. and Queen Alexandra, then, of course, the
Prince and Princess of Wales, came to the theatre for the first time
since their marriage, and modestly sat in the shadow of a large
stage-box. Louise Keeley (afterwards Mrs. Montague Williams) had to sing
a song concerning the "Invisible Prince," and by deftly introducing a
few improvised lines contrived to let the audience know the state of
affairs. Accordingly the uproarious applause of a loyal house stopped
the performance until the Royal bride and bridegroom emerged from their
obscurity, came to the front of their box, and gracefully and gratefully
bowed their thanks.

It was an exciting moment for Ellen Terry when, in 1878, Henry Irving
asked her to accept an engagement at the Lyceum, to play Ophelia. So
far, she had not seen his Hamlet, and to do so she travelled to
Birmingham. His beautiful, thoughtful, and always human impersonation at
once captivated her. "No other Hamlet," she enthusiastically exclaims,
"have I _seen_!--_Not in the same hemisphere!_ And yet I have seen
Charles Kean, Fechter, Salvini, and Rossi play the part."

Concerning her own successes she is very reticent, but I think I speak
the truth when I say that she very properly plumes herself on her
immediate triumph as Ophelia, and that she cherishes the lines of the
writer who said:--

"Ophelia, then, is an image or personification of innocent, delicious,
feminine youth and beauty, and she passes before us in the two phases of
sanity and delirium. Ellen Terry presented her in this way. The
embodiment is fully within her reach, and it is one of the few
unmistakably perfect creations with which dramatic art has illumined
literature and adorned the stage. Ellen Terry was born to play such a
part, and she is perfect in it. There is no other word for such an
achievement."

In speaking of her sister artistes she is always generous, and often
enthusiastic. She holds that as a pathetic actress there is no one equal
to Mrs. Kendal, and she declares that in purely poetic characters her
sister Marion is not to be excelled.

Indeed, her sympathy with her fellow-workers is unbounded. In this
connection a pretty little story has been told by the Baroness von
Zedlitz concerning a conversation she had with Ellen Terry with regard
to Signora Duse. "Although," said the eager English actress of the great
Italian actress, "we cannot talk fluently to each other, we became fast
friends on the evening of our first meeting. I had seen her in the 'Dame
aux Camélias,' and was so overpowered that I sobbed aloud. She heard
that I was present, and asked me after the performance to come and see
her on the stage. Our meeting was in accordance with our emotional
temperaments. She rushed to me across the stage, and I fell weeping into
her arms. The tears were a great relief. I could not have expressed my
admiration better than by my tears. Later on we spent many a pleasant
hour together, and I came to love her as a sister." But much as she
loves her art, and her companions in art, I believe her chief delight
exists in the quiet of the country. Every one must have a hobby, and her
pleasant pastime is to possess picturesque rural homes that she can call
her own. Thus she is the happy proprietress of Tower Cottage,
Winchelsea; of Smallhythe Farm, Tenterden; and of Vine Cottage, Kingston
Vale. To one or other of these sweet spots, surrounded by fragrant
country gardens, she loves to hie herself as often as may be from her
beautiful London home in more prosaic Barkston Gardens, and in all her
houses her chief aim is to make her friends happy.

For what most people would call the luxuries of life she seems to care
little, but with regard to its niceties she is pleasingly fastidious.
Her furniture must be in the best of taste, her pictures must be truly
good, and the books that she cherishes must not only be delicately
bound, but "extra illustrated" by her own hand, and adorned with quaint
book-plates, for which her clever son Gordon Craig is responsible.
Indeed, and as might have been anticipated, refinement is the essence of
her existence.

So far I have said little of Ellen Terry's successes in America, and,
indeed, they have been a repetition of her triumphs in England, but,
anxious to be certain of the impression she really created there, I
asked my kind friend, William Winter, the distinguished _doyen_ of
American critics, to give me his frank opinion. He replies as follows:--

     "MY DEAR MR. PEMBERTON,--Your story of Miss Ellen Terry's life, and
     your estimate of her acting, have not left anything for any one
     else to say, and yet your kind wish for a tribute from the present
     writer must not be denied. Observation on this subject has extended
     over a period of twenty-five years, and first impressions have only
     been deepened in the lapse of time. The actress is great, but the
     woman is greater than the actress, and in the final analysis of
     Miss Terry's acting, it will be found that her enchantment is that
     of a unique personality. Only to name the characters that she has
     made her own--the characters in which she is not only unrivalled
     but unapproachable--is to point directly to this conclusion. Those
     characters are Ophelia, Portia, Beatrice, Wills' Olivia, and
     Goethe's Margaret. She has played many other parts, and given great
     pleasure by the playing of them, and revealed rare qualities of
     nature and fine faculties of art: in each and every one of these,
     and in others of slighter fabric and narrower import, her acting
     has often afforded, if not invariably the ground for unqualified
     applause, at least the means of enjoyment and always the occasion
     of thoughtful study; but her revelation of personality, in a
     natural embodiment of ideal womanhood, has never been so ample as
     in those five characters just mentioned. She possesses a
     marvellously blithe spirit, and, in some of her moods, she revels
     in the exuberance of frivolous humour. With persons of extreme
     sensibility that trait--an almost hysterical propensity for mirth,
     as a relief to the strain of serious feeling--is not unusual; but
     ultimately, she is a woman of passionate heart, of profound
     tenderness, and of a most ardently poetic imagination. Nature has
     been more kind to her--more profuse in the liberality of good
     gifts--than to any other woman on the stage in our time; for it has
     endowed her with a commanding yet winsome figure; a stately head,
     mantled with golden hair; a countenance of piquant charm and
     exquisite mobility; the grey eyes of genius, through which a brave,
     pure and noble soul looks frankly into the face of all the world;
     vocal organs of exceptional power; a voice of delicious cadences
     and melting sweetness; symmetry of person and natural grace of
     action; and, within the external equipment it has placed a woman's
     heart to feel; a woman's unerring intuition to perceive; the
     gipsy's freedom of spirit, that breaks away from all convention;
     and the poet's kinship with nature, in everything that is grand and
     beautiful. Her acting has revealed her as more a spirit than a
     mind; as one who reaches conclusions instantly, by divination and
     not by analysis; as a wonderful, complex creature of nerves and
     impulses; wayward in fancy, strange and erratic, yet lovely with
     simplicity; and always, at last--surviving every vicissitude--the
     authentic image of goodness and truth. Not improbably the actress
     believes that she has carefully and deftly reasoned her way to
     every effect of inspiration that she produced in the mad scene of
     Ophelia, in Margaret's ecstasy of love, and in Olivia's unspeakably
     pathetic surrender; but such effects as those are not planned, they
     happen; like some of Shakespeare's own happiest lines, they rise
     out of 'Thought's interior sphere' (as Emerson calls it), and they
     leap, full-statured, into an immortality of beauty. Her embodiments
     of Beatrice and Portia were more the creatures of design, yet into
     them also the unpremeditated allurement of her enchanting womanhood
     found its way, and the wild heart of Beatrice evoked a tender
     sympathy, and the moral grandeur of Portia--warmed with human
     passion--entranced the feelings as much as it impressed the mind.
     Portia, on the stage, had always been didactic and oratorical until
     Miss Ellen Terry played the part, liberating all its piquant
     sweetness, alluring loveliness, and passionate ardour; since which
     time it has been acted as a lover, not as a preacher. More to her
     than to any one else the stage of to-day owes the benefits accruing
     from the growth of a natural style in acting--a style which yet
     does not sacrifice the ideal, nor degrade poetry to the level of
     prose. This style has been caught up and imitated in every
     direction--a thing, however intrinsically desirable, that never
     would have happened but for the magical achievement of her
     personality, affecting actors no less than auditors, and making
     her--to use a line from an old poet--'Mistress of Arts, and Hearts,
     and Everything.' This view might be enforced by particular
     examination of each of Miss Terry's representative embodiments, but
     that process--which would require a volume--is impracticable here.
     Her acting is, of course, irregular and uneven--the under-woods,
     full of bramble-roses, not the trim garden, with its rows of tulips
     and beds of moss, but it is all the more potent for that reason.
     Her first performance in America (October 30, 1883) was that of
     Queen Henrietta Maria, in Wills' beautiful play of 'Charles I.,'
     and the dominion that she then established over the public mind in
     this country has ever since remained unbroken. Her later visits to
     America were made in 1884, 1886--when she came as a traveller, not
     to act-1887, 1893, 1895, and 1899; and now, as these words are
     written--in fervent admiration of rare genius consistently and
     continually devoted to great subjects and the welfare of society as
     affected by the arts--she is once more speeding to these shores,
     where her presence will always be honoured and her memory always
     cherished.--Faithfully yours,

    "WILLIAM WINTER.

    "NEW BRIGHTON,
    STATEN ISLAND, NEW YORK,
    _October 11, 1901_."


To this it is my great privilege to add a letter from that charming lady
who, coming to us from America, fascinated us all under her maiden name
of Mary Anderson.


     "THE COURT FARM,
      BROADWAY, WORCESTERSHIRE,
     _September 11, 1901_.

     "DEAR MR. PEMBERTON,--It is delightful to hear you are writing a
     life of Ellen Terry. I congratulate you upon having such a subject
     for your next book, and I congratulate her on having you to tell
     her story, so replete with success--more, with triumph.

     "My first meeting with her was about eighteen years ago; I had
     come to England to act, and I was very young and retiring, and I
     felt strange and very home sick. I went to the Lyceum one night
     when Sir Henry Irving, then Mr. Irving, was acting in 'The
     Merchant of Venice.' I thought the Lyceum, like most of the London
     theatres, did not compare favourably with those of America, either
     in size, decoration, or comfort; but when the curtain arose on
     that performance, it was a revelation to me, not only in perfect
     acting, but in showing me how a play could be staged. I had seen
     photographs of Ellen Terry (none of which really do her justice),
     but when she came upon the stage--floating rather than walking--I
     was enslaved by her grace, her beauty, and her magnetic influence.
     She seemed to me like a radiant creature from some other sphere;
     but even she, like everything and everybody during those few weeks
     in England, seemed far away and very strange. There was a knock at
     the box door, and there stood the lovely lady herself, with her
     graceful white hands held out in cordial welcome. Many and dear
     were her phrases; and her good wishes for my success when I should
     take possession of the stage upon which she was then acting, rang
     true, and came from a really generous good will.

     "In an instant I felt she had drawn aside that sad veil of
     strangeness. She was indeed the ideal _sister_ artist. I mention
     this act of hers as it illustrates the kind of kind acts she is
     ever doing. Her heart is of gold. She has, on the stage as well as
     off, a fascination for men; but she has more--a power of
     enkindling real affection and enthusiasm in the hearts of women.
     No woman has perhaps more loyal and devoted women friends, and
     this, as far as character and disposition are concerned, is in my
     estimation the longest and finest feather in her beautifully
     plumed cap.

     "Warm greetings to all your home circle from us both. Ever
     sincerely yours,

     "MARY ANDERSON DE NAVARRO."

Can I add anything to this? I think not. I know that in dealing with
books of this description conscientious censors sometimes say they are
replete with eulogy, and offer little or no criticism. If I extol Ellen
Terry I do so with a clear conscience and a full heart. I can never
forget the happy hours and enlightenment she has given me, and I believe
that all my fellow-playgoers will think that I have treated my subject
from the right point of view. Why should not our great geniuses of art
and literature know, whilst they are amongst us, that we appreciate
their work, and love them for the sweet lessons that they teach us?

Shakespeare, who never went amiss, caused his Hermione to say--

    "Our praises are our wages."

Happily Ellen Terry is still in the full ripeness of her great and
constantly maturing gifts, and no thought of her retirement has yet
troubled the lovers and students of the stage. If, in the course of
years to come (and may they be far off), she deserts us for her dear
country cottages, we might well, in grand chorus, repeat those lovely
lines that occur in "Cymbeline"--and, in repeating them, recall the
bitter and trembling anxieties that, in order to give us pleasure, she
has undergone--

    "Fear no more the heat o' the sun,
      Nor the furious winter's rages;
    Thou thy worldly task hast done,
      Home art gone and ta'en thy wages."


FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: Fechter did not discard that soliloquy, but expressed to
Lester Wallack, who mentioned it to William Winter, his opinion that the
omission of that passage would be advantageous to the movement of the
play; and he always spoke it as if it were prose.]

[Footnote 2: Here is another proof of a fact I have already emphasised,
_i.e._ Ellen Terry's invariable and sweet unselfishness.]

[Footnote 3: This was written for, and appeared in, an evening paper.]



INDEX


    Actors, and first nights, 172;
      fleeting fame of, 5;
      generosity of, 159;
      love to die in harness, 6;
      nervousness of great, 39

    Adams, Mr. Davenport, criticism by, 177

    Alexander, George, at the Lyceum, 245

    Anderson, Mary (Madame de Navarro), letter of, about Ellen Terry, 307

    Archer, William, 290


    Bancrofts, the, as managers, 146

    Belford Benefit at the Lyceum, the, 232

    Bernhardt, Sarah, on Irving and Ellen Terry, 288

    Betterton, facts about, 23

    Blanchard, Edward Leman, criticism of Ellen Terry by, 76

    Booth, Edwin, at the Lyceum, 243

    Bristol Stock Company, famous members of the, 59, 61

    "Broken Hearts," the three Terry sisters in, 206

    Buckstone, J. B., and E. A. Sothern, 75

    Burbage, facts about, 23

    Burne-Jones, Sir Edward, designer of the scenery of "King Arthur," 281;
      on the "Amber Heart," 259

    Byron, H. J., plays by, 154, 202, 212, 213


    Calmour, Alfred C., history of his play, "The Amber Heart," 259;
      letter from Ellen Terry to, 265

    "Charles I.," the writing of the play, 227

    Chute, Mr. J. H., theatrical company under, 59

    "Cinderella," the origin of the tale of, 12

    Circuit players in the olden days, 20

    Clayton, John, in "A Household Fairy," 136

    Coghlan, Charles, as Claude Melnotte, 150;
      as Shylock, 143

    Cole, John William, tribute by, 36

    Coleman, John, a memory by, 20

    Command performance of "The Bells," &c., 269

    Compton, Edward, experiences of, 59;
      plays in his father's benefit, 159

    Compton, Henry, encourages Ellen Terry, 87;
      benefit for, 153

    Conway, H. B., at the Court Theatre, 156

    Cook, Mr. Dutton, criticisms by, 32, 148, 161, 166, 220

    Coquelin, criticisms of the Lyceum "Madame Sans-Gêne" by, 291;
      on Ellen Terry, 288, 290

    Craig, Gordon, 256, 270, 303

    Craig, Miss Ailsa, 256, 272


    De Rhona, Madame Albina, at the Royalty Theatre, 53

    Dickens, Charles, admiration of, for Fechter, 106;
      letter of, to Macready, 120, 127

    Dramatists, hints to, 7;
      what they have to aim at, 28

    Duse, Signora, and Ellen Terry, 302


    Farren, William, at the Haymarket, 87

    Fechter, Charles, as Hamlet, 105;
      facts about, 102;
      leading lady of, 103

    Filon, Augustin, criticism of Ellen Terry by, 286

    First nights at the Lyceum, 219

    Fitzgerald, Percy, criticisms by, 217, 225.


    Garrick, David, idiosyncrasies of, 83

    Gordon, Walter, facts about, 87

    Hare, John, production of "Old Men and New Acres" by, 157;
      production of "Olivia" by, 163;
      production of "The House of Darnley" by, 163

    Howe, Henry, a memory of, 85;
      in "King Lear," 276


    Irving, Laurence, plays by, 292

    Irving, Sir Henry, adverse criticisms of, 212;
      as Charles I., 226;
      as Napoleon, 291;
      as Shylock, 147, 229;
      attracts the notice of Charles Dickens, 213;
      criticism of his first night at the Lyceum, 220;
      criticism of his Hamlet, 223;
      engages Ellen Terry as leading lady, 217;
      his first appearance, 209;
      his first night as King Lear, 273-276;
      his first success, 3;
      in his great rôles, 212;
      in "Werner," 257;
      modesty of, 217;
      never forgets old friends, 210;
      on his rôle of Doricourt, 241;
      popularity of, 214;
      Sarah Bernhardt on, 288;
      the good taste of, 216;
      twenty-five years ago, 208


    Kean, Charles, at the Princess's Theatre, 30, 40;
      Ben Terry, assistant-manager to, 23;
      early days of, 22;
      latter days of, 48;
      the mounting of his plays, 44;
      three memories of, 46

    Kean, Edmund, facts about, 22;
      last act of, 47;
      his appearance as Shylock, 46;
      the end of his career, 47

    Kean, Mrs., as stage-mistress to Ellen Terry, 40, 41

    Kelly (Wardell), Charles, as an actor, 137;
      as Benedick, 188;
      death of, 256

    Kemble, John Philip, facts about, 23

    Kemble, Roger, facts about, 19

    Kemble, Sarah, marriage of, 22

    Kendal, Mrs., on her profession, 27

    Kenney, Charles Lamb, benefit for, 161

    Knight, Joseph, criticisms by, 147, 168, 201, 223


    Lacy, Walter, in "If the Cap Fits," 43

    Leathes, Edmund, facts about, 140

    Litchfield, Mrs., as "The Captive," 239

    Lyceum Company sail for New York, 251


    Mackaye, Steele, as Hamlet, 194

    Macklin, Charles, on Shylock, 144

    M'Cullough, John, a meeting with, 84

    Marston, Dr. Westland, views of, on spectacular revivals, 44, 48

    Mathews, Frank, in "If the Cap Fits," 43

    Molière, the death of, 193


    Neville, Henry, as Farmer Allan, 114;
      his company at the Olympic, 195;
      supported by Kate Terry, 108


    Olympic Theatre, famous cast at the, 109


    Queen Victoria's acknowledgments to Irving and Ellen Terry, 270

    Queen's Theatre, Longacre, the past of, 133


    Reade, Charles, as a playwright, 134

    Rignold, William, as Lord Dundreary, 73

    Robertson, Forbes, as Lancelot, 283

    Robertson, T. W., story of, 28

    Rorke, Kate, Ellen Terry's opinion of, 265;
      first appearance of, 170

    Royal entertainments, bills of, 122-126

    Ryder, John, as Hubert, 37


    Scott, Clement, address written by, 233;
      criticisms by, 21, 78, 100, 105, 168, 235, 242, 248, 284

    Siddons, Henry, facts about, 22

    Siddons, Sarah, facts about, 22, 23

    Sothern, E. A., as Dundreary, 74;
      in "The Crushed Tragedian," 203;
      practical jokes of, 79-82;
      story of, 39;
      tribute to, 84

    St. James' Theatre, cast under the management of Mr.
       Alfred Wigan at, 98

    Stage, the, according to Mrs. Kendal, 27;
      fascination of, 1-8;
      our first enthusiasm for, 10

    Stoker, Bram, at the Lyceum, 224

    Success, definition of, 49


    Tawse, Mr. George, on Ellen Terry's first appearance, 32

    Taylor, Tom, letter from, to Mr. Ben Terry, 129

    Terriss, William, Ellen Terry and, 169

    Terry, Ben, at the Princess's Theatre, 23;
      career of, 18;
      family of, the, 21;
      pen-portrait of, 20

    Terry, Daniel, a contemporary of Sir Walter Scott, 14, 15;
      extracts from Scott's diary about, 16-18

    Terry, Ellen, a queen of actresses, 11;
      and Harley, 41;
      and her son in "The Dead Heart," 270;
      and Kate Terry at the Royal Colosseum, Regent's Park, 50;
      and Macready, 41;
      and Miss Geneviève Ward in "Becket," 278;
      and Mrs. Kendal, 61;
      and Oscar Byrn, 41;
      appears at the Haymarket, 76;
      as a pantomime fairy, 40;
      as Cordelia, 272;
      as Gertrude in "The Little Treasure," 76;
      as Irving's Ophelia, 222;
      as Juliet, 246;
      as Lady Macbeth, 267;
      as Lady Teazle, 162;
      as Letitia Hardy, 241;
      as Madame Sans-Gêne, 290;
      as Mamillius, 37;
      as Margaret in "Faust," 256;
      as Nance Oldfield, 279;
      as Olivia, 166;
      as Philippa Chester, 139;
      as Portia at the old Prince of Wales', 142,
        at the Lyceum, 229-231;
      as Prince Arthur, 40;
      as Puck, 39;
      as Viola, 255;
      as Volumnia, 293;
      at six years old, 31;
      at the Court Theatre, 156;
      at the Queen's Theatre, 132;
      at the Royalty, 54;
      Augustin Filon's tribute to, 286;
      billed for the opening night of the New Theatre Royal, Bath, 70;
      birth of, 21;
      Christmas Day, experiences of, 25;
      Clement Scott on her Beatrice, 248-250;
      compares the work and pay of past and present actors, 45;
      comparison between her and Sarah Bernhardt, 289;
      Coquelin's opinion of, 288;
      criticism of her Imogen, by Clement Scott, 284-286;
      criticism of her Olivia, 167;
      criticism of her Portia, 147-148;
      dates of her earliest performances, 32;
      Davenport Adams on Ellen Terry as Beatrice, 177-190;
      earliest impression of Irving, 136;
      early criticism of, 37;
      experiences of, in the Bristol Stock Company, 60;
      extract from her "Stray Memories," 42;
      first appearance of, 30,
        at the Lyceum, 220;
      first performance with Sir Henry Irving, 135;
      her criticism of Mrs. Kendal, 301;
      her criticism of Signora Duse, 302;
      her first success with Charles Kean, 22;
      her rôles at the Court Theatre, 156;
      her rôles at the Haymarket, 88;
      her touring rôles in 1878, 175;
      impression created by, in America, 303-307;
      impressions of her earliest childhood, 24;
      in "Charles I.," 226;
      in "Cymbeline," 283;
      in "Eugene Aram," 226;
      in "A Household Fairy," 136;
      in "Godefroi and Yolande," 292;
      in "Henry VIII.," 271;
      in "If the Cap Fits," 43;
      in "Iolanthe," 234;
      in "King Arthur," 281;
      in "Masks and Faces," 153;
      in "Money," 153;
      in "Our American Cousin," 77-79;
      in "Ours," 153;
      in "Peter the Great," 292;
      in "Ravenswood," 271;
      in "Robespierre," 292;
      in "Still Waters Run Deep," 145;
      in "The Amber Heart," 261-263;
      in the Bristol Stock Company, 57;
      in "The Cup," 235;
      in "The Lady of Lyons," 151;
      Joseph Knight's tribute to, 147;
      letter to Mr. Wills, 164;
      life-long devotion to her art, 299;
      lovableness of, 42;
      marriage of, to Mr. Charles Wardell (Charles Kelly), 137;
      marvellous powers as a child, 34-36;
      Miss Geneviève Ward's tribute, 42;
      on nervousness of, on first nights, 38;
      audiences, 173;
      on her rôle as Portia, 155;
      on her Shakespearean triumphs, 190;
      personal impressions made by, 296-303;
      plays to Claude Melnotte, 150;
      preparing for Lady Macbeth, 264;
      programme of, in 1860, 51;
      reappears in "The Wandering Heir," 138;
      reminiscences by, 24. 299-303;
      reminiscences of, by an actor in the Bristol Company, 61-69;
      rendering of "The Captive" by, 239;
      returns to star at Bristol, 73;
      Sarah Bernhardt on, 288;
      Shakespearean record of, 153;
      still with us, 310;
      time-honoured theatrical name, a, 13;
      touring with her husband, 171;
      tribute of, to Charles Reade, 140

    Terry, Florence, as Little Nell, 193;
      brief stage career of, 205-206;
      death of, 206;
      in "The Robust Invalid," 193

    Terry, Fred, as Sebastian, 255

    Terry, Kate, as Dora, 112;
      as Fechter's leading lady, 103;
      as Ophelia, 106;
      at the Adelphi, 111;
      at the St. James's, 98;
      bids farewell to the stage as Juliet, 115;
      demonstration provoked by, 116-118;
      early criticism of, 37;
      farewell speech on her retirement, 117;
      first appearance of, 31;
      in "Friends or Foes," 99;
      in "Home for the Holidays," 52;
      in "Hunted Down," 110;
      in the Bristol Stock Company, 60;
      marvellous powers as a child, 34-36;
      play-bill with her name, under Charles Kean's management, 92-98;
      plays with Henry Neville, 109;
      reminiscences of, 66;
      rôles played by her at the Olympic, 109;
      the idol of playgoers, 101

    Terry, Marion, as Gretchen, 201;
      Clement Scott on, 195;
      criticism of her Gretchen, 202;
      first appearance of, in 1873, 194;
      her rôles at the Olympic, 195;
      in "Dan'l Druce, Blacksmith," 196;
      in "Engaged," 197-200;
      with Forbes Robertson, 205;
      with George Alexander, 205;
      with the Bancrofts, 204

    Terry-Lewis, Miss Mabel, in "Ours," 119-120

    "The Amber Heart," cast of, 261

    Theatrical stock companies, 57

    Toole, John L., in "Robert Macaire," 250

    Tree, Beerbohm, in "The Amber Heart," 261

    "Twelfth Night" at the Lyceum, 252


    Vernon, W. H., on the Terry sisters, 73

    Vezin, Hermann, as the Vicar of Wakefield, 164


    Ward, Miss Geneviève, at the Lyceum, 278, 282;
      tribute of, to Ellen Terry, 42

    Willard, E. S., in "The Amber Heart," 261

    Wills, W. G., as a playwright, 162;
      Ellen Terry's affection for his plays, 164

    Winter, William, letter of, about Ellen Terry, 303

    Wyndham, Charles, acts with Ellen Terry at the Queen's Theatre, 134;
      acts with Kate Terry at Manchester, 121

    Wyndham, Robert, criticism of Henry Irving by, 211


    Yates, Edmund, farce by, 43

     THE END

      Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & CO. Edinburgh & London



"The Kendals"

BY

T. EDGAR PEMBERTON

AUTHOR OF "THE LIFE OF SOTHERN," "JOHN HARE," ETC.

Demy 8vo, with Portraits and numerous Illustrations.

=Price 16s.=


EXTRACTS FROM PRESS REVIEWS

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"One of the most interesting theatrical records that has been penned for
some time."


_MORNING ADVERTISER_

"A charming work.... Pithy and well arranged. Turned out with infinite
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"It leaves an impression like that of a piece in which the Kendals have
played, an impression of pleasure, refinement, refreshment, and of the
value of cherishing sweet and kindly feelings in art as in life. Few
books can do that, and so this work has every prospect of being widely
read."


_DRAMATIC WORLD_

"Full of interesting information, delightfully told, and illustrated by
a succession of charming photographs."


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LONDON: C. ARTHUR PEARSON, LIMITED

EXTRACTS FROM PRESS REVIEWS--continued.


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"A highly interesting volume.... Mr. Pemberton has done his task well."


_MORNING POST_

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and grouped his facts with considerable skill, and his story reads
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LONDON: C. ARTHUR PEARSON, LIMITED

       *       *       *       *       *

  +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
  |                        Transcriber Notes:                            |
  |                                                                      |
  | P.68. 'alchoholic' changed to 'alcoholic' in 'somewhat alcoholic'.   |
  | P.86' 'Ilseworth' changed to 'Isleworth' according to map referenced |
  |   of the area.                                                       |
  | P.109. 'callid' changed to 'called' in 'called  "L'Aieule."'.        |
  | P.268. 'beeing' changed to 'being' in 'being deeply interested'.     |
  | Fixed various punctuation.                                           |
  | Note: underscores to surround _italic text_, and = around            |
  |   =bold text=.                                                       |
  |                                                                      |
  +----------------------------------------------------------------------+





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