Pages That Need Review
History of the Philadelphia Stage, Between the Years 1749 and 1855. By Charles Durang. Volume 1. 1749 to 1818. Arranged and illustrated by Thompson Westcott, 1868
History of the Philadelphia Stage, Between the Years 1749 and 1855. By Charles Durang. Volume 2. Arranged and illustrated by Thompson Westcott, 1868
Female Patriotism or The Siege of Orleans. A play. Chesnut street theatre. 1794. Mrs. C. Rowson.
The Fatal Deception or The Progress of Guilt. A tragedy. South street theatre. October 29, 1794.
The Old and New Houses. A burletta. South street theatre. September 1794 John Hodgkinson.
Tammany or America Discovered. An opera. South street theatre. October 18, 1794. By Mrs. Hatton.
The Chimera. A farce. South street theatre. November 17, 1794. By Mrs. Marriott.
Harlequin Shipwreck. A pantomime. Chesnut street theatre January 2, 1795. By Mrs. De Marque.
The Volunteers. A comedy. Chesnut street theatre January 21, 1795 By Mrs Charlotte Rowson.
The Triumph of Love or The Happy Reconciliation. A comedy. Chesnut street theatre. May 22, 1795. By a citizen of Philadelphia.
The Female Patriot or Nature's Rights A play Chesnut street theatre June 21 1795 By Mrs Rowson
The Elopement or Harlequin's Tour. A pantomime. Chesnut street theatre. July 29 1795. By C. Milbourne
The Triumph of Virtue or Harlequin in Philadelphia. A pantomime Rickett's amphitheatre. 1796 By Mr Rowson.
The Patriot or Liberty Obtained. A play. Chesnut street theatre 1796 By Peter Markoe.
The Disbanded Officer. A play Chesnut street theatre. 1796. By Mrs. C. Rowson.
The Contrast A comedy Chesnut street theatre 1797 By Royal Tyler.
The Enchanted Flute. A farce. Chesnut strteet theatre. 1797.
The Abbey of St Augustine A tragedy Chesnut street theatre 1797 By Robert Merry.
Alonzo and Imogene A pantomime Chesnut street theatre 1797 By Byrne.
The Ransomed Slave. A tragedy Chesnut street theatre. 1797. By Robert Merry.
An Ancient Day A play Chesnut street theatre 1797 By a citizen of Philadelphia.
The Advertisement or A New Way to Get Married. A farce. Chesnut street theatre. 1798 By James Fennell.
The Rival Harlequin A pantomime Chesnut street theatre. 1798 By William Francis.
The Origin of Harlequin A pantomime Chesnut street theatre. September 14 1798. By Byrne.
The Adventures of A Wi[?] A comedletta Chesnut street theatre 1798
The Tablature or Just In Time. An interlude South street theatre. May 1798 By Chalmers.
The Capture of L'Insurgente A sketch Chesnut street theatre 1799 By William Francis
The American True Blue or The Naval Volunter A sketch Chesnut street theatre 1790 By Thos Stock
The Stranger A play Chesnut street theatre April 21, 1799 By William Dunlap.
A Wedding in Wales A farce Chesnut street theatre. 1799.
Blunders Repaired A farce Chesnut street theatre 1799 By a citizen of Philadelphia.
Lover's Vows A comedy Chesnut street theatre 1799 By William Dunlap.
The Naval Pillar A sketch Chesnut street theatre. 1800 An English piece altered.
False Shame A drama Chesnut street theatre 1800 Translated by William Dunlap.
The Wild Goose Chase An opera Chesnut street theatre 1800 Translated by William Dunlap.
The Death of Miss McCrea. A sketch South street theatre. 1800 By John Durang and Rowson.
The Country Frolic or The Merry Haymakers. A pantomime. Rickett's amphiteatre 1796 By John Durang.
The Provencal Sailors or The Broken Pipe. A ballet. lailson's amphitheatre 1798 By Mons. Francisquy.
The Death of Major Andre A pantomime Lailson's amphitheatre. 1798 By a citizen of Philadelphia.
The Sufferings of The Madison Family or The Generous Indian. A pantomime. Lailson's amphitheatre. 1798. By Mons. Francisquy.
The Battle of Trenton. A drama Rickett's amphitheare. 1798.
The Battle of The Kegs. A pantomime. Rickett's amphitheatre 1799 By John Durang.
Edwy and Elgiva. A tragedy. Chesnut street theatre. April 2, 1801. By Charles J. Ingersoll.
The Battle of Bunker Hill. A tragedy. South street theatre. 1801. By John Burk.
The Way To Keep Him or Virtue. Love and Friendship A comedy. South street theatre. 1801.
The Election or the Theatrical Candidates. A musical piece. Chesnut street theatre. October 14, 1801. By Robert W. Ewing.
The Federal Oath. A sketch. South street theatre. July 5, 1802.
Abaelino. A melo-drama. Chesnut street theatre. Jan. 1803. By William Dunlap.
The Enterprize or A Wreath For American Tars. A melo-drama. Chesnut street theatre. 1803. By William Francis.
Abaelino. A targedy. Chesnut street theatre. 1803. By William Dunlap.
The Tripolitan Prize or The Veteran Tar. A drama. Chesnut street theatre. 1804.
Blackbeard. A pantomime. Chesnut street theatre. 1804.
The Wheel of Truth or The Trial of Character. A farce. Chestnut street theatre. 1804. By James Fennell.
Count Benyowsky. A tragi-comedy. Chestnut street theatre. 1804.
Two Per Cent. A Farce. Chesnut street theatre. 1804. By William Dunlap.
The Voice of Nature. A drama. Chesnut street theatre. 1804. By William Dunlap.
Liberty in Louisiana. A play. Chesnut street theatre. July 4, 1804. By James Workman.
American Tars in Tripoli. A play. Chesnut street theatre. 1805.
The Fox Chase. A comedy. Chesnut street theatre. 1806. By Charloes Breck.
Lewis of Mont Blauco. A play. Chesnut street theatre. March 1806. By William Dunlap.
Tears and Smiles. A comedy. Chesnut street theatre. March 1807. By James N. Barker.
La Perouse. A pantomime. Chesnut street theatre. March 1807. By William Dunlap.
The Generous Farmers. A play. Chesnut street theatre. March, 1807. By Mrs. Melmoth.
The Travelers. An operatic play. Chesnut street theatre. March 1807. By James N. Barker.
The Glory of Columbia. An operatic play. Chesnut street theatre. March, 1807. By William Dunlap.
The Embargo, or What News. A comedy. Chesnut street theatre. March 16, 1808. By James N. Barker.
The Indian Princess. A play. Chesnut street theatre. April 6, 1808. By James N. Barker.
The School for Prodigals. A comedy. Chesnut street theatre. 1809. By Joseph Hutton.
The Wounded Hussar. A play. Chesnut street theater. 1809. By Joseph Hutton.
Who Pays the Piper? A comedy. Chesnut street theatre. 1809. By John Bray.
[For the Sunday Dispatch.]
THE PHILADELPHIA STAGE FROM 1740 TO 1855.
BY CHARLES DURANG.
Embracing the period between the opening of the Chesnut street Theatre, December 2, 1822, to its demolition, April 1855.
INTRODUCTORY - The Chesnut street company at the Walnut street theatre during the season of 1821-'2 - Miss Seymour, afterward Mrs. Rowe - Nichols - John Greene - Mrs. Alexander Drake, formerly Miss Denny - The Wests - Capt. Turnbull - Master George Frederick Smith - Serious accident to James Wallack - Anecdotes of Pelby, &c.
We have, in the first series of these sketches, noticed the proceedings of the old Chesnut street company, after they were deprived by fire of the use of their ancient temple. During the winter of 1820-'21, they were at the Walnut street theatre, at which house we have stated Mr. Forrest and other dramatic celebrities made their first appearance. After the destruction of the Chesnut street theatre, the stockholders paused for a while for consultation and thought. It was finally determined to rebuild the house, but, before that measure was perfected, the usual months of the winter season had arrived. The company again went to the Walnut street house, where they performed during the usual period in 1821-'22.
The theatre opened with Cumberland's admirable comedy of "The West Indian," thus cast: Mr. Stockwellm Mr. Warren; Belcour, Mr. Wood; Major O'Flaherty, Mr. Burke, (his first appearance in two years;) Captain dudley, Mr. Wheatly; Charles Dudley, Mr. Darley; Varland, Mr. Francis; Fulmer, Mr. Blissett; Stukely, Mr. Hathwell; Sailors, Messers. Scrivener and Martin, Servants, Messrs. Parker and Murry; Lady Rusport, Mrs. Simpson; Charlotte Rusport, Mrs. Wood; Louisa Dudley, Mrs. Darley; Mrs. Fulmer, Mrs. Francis; Lucy, Mrs. Bloxton. This last lady was known for many years as Mrs. Seymour, and was a favorite covalist in ballads. She had a fine soprano voice, but had the benefir of no cultivation, except the practice in the profession. She had been a very pretty little English woman, and was a member of the old Park company for many seasons. Miss Seymour, a member of the Philadelphia comany this season, was let an orphan at a very early age, in Baltimore. She was generously adopted by Mrs. Bloxton, who gave her all the care which an affectionate parent would have given. She brought her up to the stage, where the oung lady became a very useful member to the company as an actress of respectable attainments. After this season Mrs. B., with Miss Seymour, (the latter having taken the name of her foster mother,) accepted an engagement with Mr. James H. Caldwell for the New Orleans circuit. Miss. S. became a great favorite with her audience. Possessing personal attraction and talent, she sustained a line of leading business with propriety and entire satisfaction to all. Miss Seymour married Mr. James Rowe, the theatrical treasurer of Mr. J. H. Caldwell. Mrs. Rowe died at New Orleans, and Mr. Rowe, in a fit of insanity, committed suicide in Tennessee, in 1835.
The new engagements this season at the Walnut were Mr. and Mrs. Burke, Mr. and Mrs. H. Wallack, and Mr. Nichols, from the Charleston theatre.
On the 15th of November, Mr. Nichols made his first appearance here as Count Belina, in "The Devil's Bridge." And ou old friend, Mr. John Greene, who subsequently became celebrated in the Irish role, made his first appearance in this corps in Antonio, in the same piece. Mrs. Burke sustained the Countess Rosalvina, her first appearance in two years.
Mr. Nichols was a musician. He possessed a fine tenor voice, and, for a singer, was a fair actor. He was bought out to the Charleston theatre from London in 1817, by Mr. Holman, to sustain Miss Latimer in English opera. This lady made, at that period, a great sensation, as a vocalist, throughout the country. She was afterwards known as Mrs. Holman, and is now as Mrs. Sandford. She resides in New York, having lonf since retired to private life, which she adorns with as much grace and deserved respect as she did her sphere on the stage. Mr. Nichols did not remain in the company after this season.
On November 16, 1821, the tragedy of "wallace, or The Hero of Scotland," was produced for the first time. The casy was thus: Wallace, Mr. Wood; Comyn, Mr. Warren; Stuart, Mr. Johnson; Douglas, Mr. H. Wallack; Monteith, Mr. Darley; Ramsey, Mr. Greene; Angus, Mr. Parker; Kierly, Mr. Burke; Fergus Mr. J. Jefferson; Allen, Mr. Jones; Athols, Mr. Murry. English - Clare, (Earl of Gloster,) Mr. Hathwell; Lord De Clifford, Mr. Wheatly; Sir R. Fitz Eustace, Mr. Scrivener; Bracy, Mr. Martin; Helen, wife of Wallace, Mrs. Wood.
This drama must not be confounded with the melodrama so popular in our theatres, and which eclised, in after years, the above tragedy.
Mrs. Drake, of the Kentuky theatres, made her debut for one night only, this season, (Nov. 22,) as Juliana, in "The Honey Moon." Stars, at this time, either from the East, West, North, or South, were not abundant in the theatrical sky. The astrologicacl dramatic theory, so transcendentally developed at the present day, was in embryo, if we except a few of the London stock actors, who graciously came to throw the silver mantles of their art over our senses; but few, if any, then enlightened our native boards. Their absence made our stage the more perfect, as their progressive introduction has served to banish good stock actors to "Lethe's Wharf," or has turned decent performers into these glittering rovers. The business at the Walnut at this time was not good, and the smiles of the play-going public were reserved for the opening of the new house in Chesnut street. But the managerial efforts this season to produce novelty, illustrated by a strong company, were most indefatigable.
Mrs. Drake's maiden name was Denny. She was a native of Albany. As this lady was for many years a leading actress in the West, and a protoge of the people in the early days of trans-Ohio dramatic annals, therefore a few remarks may not be inappropriate here. Miss D. became enamored of theatricals in her native State, where little was to be seen of the stage but the crudest material. Having witnessed a performance at the Park theatre, during an occasional visit to New York, she resolved to become initiated in Melomene's Eleusinian mysteries. Albany had no respectable temple of worship at that time which "young ambition" could court, and novitiate entrance into one of our principal theatres was of as difficult arrangement as a negotiation of the English provincial aspirant for admittance to the boards of one of the national theatres of Londod. After a successful first appearance she was advised to try her fortune at the West. Thither she went, and became a member of old Mr. Saml. Drake's company, soon taking the place as his leading actress, and subsequently becoming his daughter-in-law, She married his son, Alexander Drake, who was a low comedian, and had the misfortune to be deaf, a calamity to any player. The patriarchal manager (for the corps then consisted nearly of his own family) was a man of integrity, possessing good sense, dramatic business tact, besides being a musician. He therefore won and deserved the cognomen of the "Father of the Western Stage." Our heroine was a large and fine-figured woman. Her face was vividly expressive, but rather of ther hearty Hebe caste than of classical contour. Indeed her form and powers were Amazonian, and full of fire and energy, which made her more suitable to the business of "heavy tragedy" than to tragic juvenile illustration. In after days we saw her play Elvira, and parts of that nature, with excellent effect, bu we cannot say that she possessed genius. Mrs. Drake had then improved her readings and orthoepy with a more chastened style. Her manner was impulsive, without that refinement which critics then and now claim for the English school. But, acting, after all, is a matter of taste, of opinion, to be made to conform to educated prejudices as nationally impressed. The polished mode of the so-called London school, imbued with a measured energy, as if alarmed at nature, and also the classical, cold declamation of French tragedy, seem not congenial with the native impulsiveness of the American feeling and conception. That vigor of speech and action so suggestive, or indicative of "Young America," is worthy of serious consideration, and if it could be discreetly modified and softened, may yet be productive of models, and a bright school, however it may now prove obnoxious to foreign criticism.
In 1819, Miss Denny performed quite an equestrian feat. She felt a desire to visit the East again, and her home and friends at Albany, New York and Philadelphia. She had now been absent for some time in Kentucky. At that period there were no comfortable and regular lines of stages or coaches running for public accommodation between the western and Atlantic towns. Journeys were often performed on horseback, which consumed some two or three weeks from Ohio or "old Kentuck." We have
and Simpson, he sold out, and returned to En-gland, with his wife, to spend his last days. The attraction of West's troupe had not subsided, but the Park theatre had begun to feel its force in the public patronage extended to it. It made deep havoc in the Park's pit auditory, and among those who usually patro-nized the upper tiers. The city, about this time, was rapidly extending itself above Canal street, and the circus was located in Broadway, just above that street. Price and Simpson very wisely purchased West's establishment, and, placing Mr. Joseph Cowell (who was a leading comedian in the Park theatre) at the head of the company, they for many years made a great deal of money in the various cities of the United States, which helped the Park treasury, and gave Mr. Stephen Price a sufficiency of ready funds for his English theatrical specu-lations. Price may be sketched thus: He was im-mensely large and stalwart in figure. He was always fashionably attired. There was a good deal of the animal propensity in his aspect, which was mellowed, in a measure, through a reflective face of intellectual points. When required, he was polished in manners. He wore the full curled wig, with lappets, of Queen Anne's reign--such as we have seen the Duke of Marlborough and Dean Swift enveloped in. This style was indicative of high dignity, aris-tocratic pride, voluptuous idiosyncracies, good feedling and good living--the animal points en-deavoring to triumph over the mental. In such a blending of nature and culitvation, you may imagine the subject of our description. Charley Irish, a noted, exquisite restaurateur, in Park Row, who used to provide his dinners, often landed Stephen's exalted taste in all sym-posium matters. Price was laconic and abrupt in converse, yet free and communicative with his convives, and unbounded in his hospitalities. Of a chivalric nature, he sought no medium to give offence, yet never feared to resent the least assault upon his fame or person. On his last return to his home from England, he proved his couage in the field, when he felt that his honor had been assailed in the most tender point. Thus, after a variety of For-tune's freaks, of "ups and downs," we believe that he died poor, but left a memory to be honored by all who knew him. Price adventured to the great British me-tropolis, and there lived like a prince. Fur-nished with ample means from his American treasuries, he became fashionaly domicilied, and was lionized. Events favored his views. Abiding his time, Drury Lane Theatre was thrown into the market, begging a tenant, and the Yankee manager of the New York theatre and traveling circus became the les-see of the time-honored great national! A few years before this event, a suggestion of this fact, in one of our green-rooms, would have been received with a laugh. Things dramatic in London (for when we speak of the arts in European capital, as to their appreciation, we speak, of course, the senti-ment of the nation) have progressively modi-fied, with all things else. It is no less true than strange that, recently, at Drury Lane, after the play of "The Lady of Lyons," a bedizen's fat lady exhibited herself in the cages of the lions and tigers, feeding them with raw beef.--Churchill, in his Rosciad, thus writes of Tom King, the comedian of Drury Lane-- "Mongst Drury's sons he came and shines in brass," Alluding to his performance of Brass in "The Confederarcy." We might say of this lady, 'Mongst Drury's sylphs she comes and shines in beef. Here is a sample of dramatic literature and legitimate drama, in the grande national thea-tre of enlightened England. Yankee curiousity [could?] go no further! Thus single-handed, Stephen Price sustained himself in London, with great credit, for a season at least, against all opposing attrac-tions. He failed, but he went down with his [colors?] nailed to the mast, having fully satisfied all his creditors. Such qualifications of rare and eminent character as were exhibited in Price's managerial and private life, deserved a richer and more honorable record than his countrymen have yet accorred to his memory. It was during Stephen Price's reign at Drury Lane, in 1828, that he invited Thomas Cooper, the tragedian, to once again try his fortunes on the boards of his early glory. Cooper went, and we all must regret the untoward events which brought about his most wanton and cruel reception. Cooper should not have gone; he was on the professional wane, and 52 years of age. Price was sincere to his old partner, and used his best influences to sustain the old American actor. But the secret was obvious. Kean was playing at Covent Garden; he had left his old friend Stephen. Kean's American difficulties arose in all their rancorous fresh-ness, and poor Cooper was the first victim of repute from Yankee land that fell in the way, and he was sacrificed sans grace. There were excellent managers before Price, and he has been followed by very clever and bold tacticians; but we venture to aver that none felt a greater devotedness to the legiti-mate views of the drama than he. Although his feelings were of an anti-American tenden-cy--a prejudice almost inmate in those days--yet we have a right to draw a conclusion from his antecedents that, had American talent more clearly and forcibly developed itself earlier here, he would have manfully fostered it. He, however, always sustained himself, and in doing that he sustained himself, and in doing that he sustained others. We will pre-mise that we were no friends to the Price and Simpson dynasty, but think that Stephen Price was an extraordinary man--that his name and career are inseperably connected with a por-tion of our most interesting theatrical records--that he attempted to elevate the drama in this country, and, although a monopolizer and an exclusive, he only failed through sheer misfor-tune. We have thus been rather prolix, or te-dious, if you please, in our sketch of this once celebrated manager. It is useless to specualte on the nature of things in the future; we gene-rally have to trust to the chapter of accidents for coming events. Philadelphia had been deemed, from the earliest theatric period, the metropolis of the American stage; and her excellent stock of comedians, wardrobe, the-atre, and all the discipline and wise regula-tions which made it a Drury Lane of minor grade par excellence, gave it that appellation and authority nearly up to the year 1822. But a change came over theatres with the very radical revolutions that transpired in all our commercial and social relations. Eu-rope and New York were brought together, so that one might go from one to the other in twenty-five or thirty days, through the im-proved sailing qualities of splendid packet ships. Then came the ocean steamboat, that which lessened the communication to twelve days; ad interim, intercommunication through river steamers and railroads, like magic, con-verted nearly the whole American population into travelers, either for pleasure or business. Our whole tenor of former habits and isolate life became changed, and the world, through these agencies and rapid means of locomotion, has positively been turned topsy-turvy. The antipodes are shaking hands! The very convenient location of the harbor of New York to the sea, easy of access at all times, brought all foreigners, etc., at once to that city. The ships which bring all theatrical novelties to this country first arrive there. It is, of course, natural to suppose, that, with splendid theatres, which have hitherto sur-passed ours both in number and size, with a floating population far beyond ours in good times, indeed at all times, and a resident one equal to ours, with many other advan-tages which might be named, the theatri-cal patronage would be greater there than in any city of the Union. The fact is undeniable that New York may truly be called the thea-trical metropolis of our country, although equal judgment and critical knowledge in the drama and the lyrical drama may be found here, and perhaps to a greater extent. Each city insists upon and entertains its own taste and judg-ment in these things. It is simply a matter of opinion, after all. But, it is also certain that the patronage and name belong to New York. All stars, of whatever nature, coming from Europe, with or without reputation, make their debut at New York. The New York papers enter every recess of our land; they are co-extensive with its length and breadth. Go north, south, east or west, even to the great Pacific, there will you find the several leading New York papers. Hence all the stars are re-gularly heralded, puffed and advertised in them, for ulterior purposes, and hence they always make their first appearance in Gotham. This was emeplified in the cases of Mrs. Sloman and Mrs. Ternan, which we shall en-large upon when we come to speak of those talented ladied in their appropriate place. Mrs. Ternan, in a conversation with us at the
Walnut street theatre, just before that lady sailed for England, 1837, said that she made a great mistake in not having made her first appearance in this country at the Park thea-tre instead of at the Chesnut street, under May-wood & Co. And Mrs. Sloman expressed the same regret, maugre the efforts of Mr. Wemyss and Mr. Maywood to establish their star system upon independent grounds. And Mr. Wemyss, in his stage history, tacityly, at least, admits it. The family of the Prices were peculiarly un-fortunate. The brothers, from position, con-nections and education, were highly respected. They were all, we believe, bred to the profes-sion of the law. They were high-toned, finished gentlemen, full of chivaltry, benevolence and enlightened notions. William Price, the laywer, was a man of ex-tensive practive at the New York bar, and was deemed a leading and talented member of it. He was universally liked as an upright and un-sophisticated man, amiable in private life, and of excellent social qualities. We remmeber him well. and have been in his society. His sudden death in New York gave regreat through-out the city. Edward Price was destined, many years since, to fall in a duel with a Major Greene, of the British army. Major Greene had been stationed in the En-glish army in Canada. He was returning home by the way of New York, where he had taken passage in one of our then new and splendid packet ships in the London trade. During his sojourn in New York, waiting for the day of sailing, Major Greene risited the Park theatre. He had taken no seat--the house being full, he found it difficult to obtain one. He inadver-tently opened a box door to seek one, wherein were seated a number of ladies, who were at-tended, we believe, by Mr. E. Price. The Major saw that it was full, and withdrew, but it would seem that he repeated the intrusion, when Price followed him into the lobby and demanded some explanation of conduct so rude and unbecoming a gentleman. After some ex-postulation, recrimination and harshness of words, and, of course, insulting terms on either side, cards were exchanged, and the following day a challenge resulted. The terms of the combat were arranged, the meeting to take place at Hoboken, and on the very morning of the day the packet was to sail. Major Greene made an arrangement with the Captain to await the result of the conflict in the lower harbor. If he survived the encoun-ter he would immediately join the ship having a Whitehall boat in attendance; and if he fell, he would cause the ship to be signaled to that effect. The parties met at Hoboken, on the very ground where General Hamilton fell, in 1804, in a duel with Aaaron Burr. They took their positions at ten paces, and poor Ned Price fell positions at ten paces, and poor Ned Price fell dead at the first fire, being shot through the body. Major Greene instantly gained the ship and sailed for London, and Price was brone to his sad home by his friends. This even cre-ated great excitement in New York, and eli-cited universal sympathies for the family of the deceased. We have seen in our "travel's history" somevery melancholy scenes resulting from this cruel, mistaken and senseless code of honor, which barbarous custom is happily diminishing in our land. A writer somewhere say, and very truly, "The duellist values his honor above the life of his antagonist, his own life, and the happiness of his friends." -- CHAPTER FOURTH. Alexander Wilson--Mrs. Anderson, nee Euphe-mia Jefferson--Romantic story of Miss Jeffer-son and Captain Hook--His duel with Lieut. B...........--Mrs. Entwisle, subsequently Mrs. Crooke--Her death. On the second night of the season at the Chesnut, Wednesday, December 4th, 1822, the popular new play of " Damon and Pythias" was presented, and the farce " Where Shall I Dine?" The performances were given at this time on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. On Thursday evening, December 5th, "Venice Preserved" was played, which introduced Mr. Wilson as Pierre. The piece was thus cast: Duke of Venice, Mr. Wheatly; Priuli, Mr. Warren; Jaffier, Mr. Wood; Pierre, Mr. Wilson; Bedamar, Mr. Darley; Renult, Mr. Hathwell; Spinosa, Mr. Greene; Belvidera, Mrs. Wood. The afterpiece, "Of Age To-morrow," was per-formed, in which Mrs. H. Wallack danced a pas seul. Mr. Alexander Wilson we have mentioned in our first sketches. He never rose above the secondary sphere of characters, although he as-pired higher. His figure was manly and tall, bating a stoop in the shoulders, and his features strongly marked. His elocution was not good. Wilson bad been a most zealous and persever-ing man, and quite an artizan in the design and manipulation of stage decorations, properties and costumes, and, as such, had rendered Pepin and Breschard essential service when they ad-ded dramatic performances to their hippodrome amusements. He had been a sea captain, a merchant, a speculator in lands, goods and tene-ments, actor, manager, and finally retired to a farm in the vicinity of New York. About the year 1833 he visited London, and played Othello at the Haymarket theatre, with what success we never heard. He became manager of the se-cond National theatre, at the corner of Leonard and Church streets, New York. Mr. Wilson had acted in all the theatres throughout the Union. His final exit from the profession was after the destruction of the National theatre, at the above location, when it was under the reign of Mr. Burton. He married a very charming Philadelphia girl by the name of Brobston, who played eucceesfully at the Olympic theatre here in 1812. We mentioned her in our first thea-trical sketches. Mrs. Wilson died about a year ago at her husband's farm on the banks of the Hudson. He died some time before. Mr. Cooper was engaged for a great portion of the season, and made his first appearance in two years, as Virginius, on the 6th of Decem-ber. The following was the cast :--Virginius, Cooper; Appius Claudius, Wood; Vibulanus, Hathwell; Caius Claudius, Wheatly; Sicinius Dentatus, Warren; Icilius, H. Wallack; Lucius, Greene; Decius, Parker; Titus, Burk; Servius, Johnston; Cneius, Bignall; Publius, John Jef-ferson; Plebeian, Murry; Lictors, Andes and Scrivener; Virginia, Mrs. Anderson, (from the Charleston and New Orleans theatres, her first appearance in two years;) Servia, Mrs. La Folle; Female Slave, Mrs. Greene. The after-piece was " The Spoiled Child.? The house was excellent; probably $800 were received. It would prove supererogatory to dilate in this place upon the great excel-lence of Mr. Cooper in this Roman father and hero, as in our first series of stage pencillings we have enlarged upon those merits in a most lengtbened manner. In 1822 Cooper was yet vigorous, although obviously on the wane; but still he remained " the noblest Roman of them all." Mrs. Anderson, who was the Virginia of the night, was Mise Emphemia Jefferson, the eldest daughter of Mr. Joseph Jefferson, Sr., and the wife of Mr. William Anderson, originally of Placide's company of Charleston, S. C. Mrs. Anderson was tall and well shaped. A pleas-ing sensibility of expression pervaded her fea-tures. Her voice was musical in intonation, and her action was ever chaste and graceful. She evinced that sound judgment and discre-tion in all things in her role that usually cha-racterized her father's conceptions and execu-tion. Thus she " never o'erst pped the modesty of nature." Mrs. A. never soared to the sub-lime, nor could she pertray the sterner or more lofty passions ; yet she was not without force of the gentle kind, and played some juvenile parts with touching pathos and feeling effects. Her forte was the higher range of comedy. Her Lady Teazle was a very plessing piece of act-ing. We hare seen worse Lady Teazles, with much greater pretensions and previous herald-ing. Mrs. Anderson had a very pleasing sing-ing voice, and, take the tout ensemble of her merits, she was a valuable acquisition to any company, as her talents were very versatile. Her marriage was a most unhappy one; and, being early afflicted with an insidious disease, that gradually destroyed her constitution ere she reached the prime of womanhood, after much physical and mental suffering she re-signed her spirit to Him who gave it. She lived with her two daughters in her last days, estranged from her husband. Captain Hook, of the United States army, so early as 1814 solicited her hand in marriage. On dit, that they were betrothed. This report the lady subsequently denied. Her father and mother favored the union with all their parental authority and infuence. But her heart was not so bent; and in the summer of 1815, while the company was playing at Washington, Miss E. Jefferson eloped with Mr. William Ander-son, and they were privately married. The family repudiated Anderson, and would never afterward hold any communication with him. Mrs. Anderson and husband lived fitfully together, and some time before her death she
returned to the Chesnut street theatre, finally separating from Anderson. Her wrongs seemed to justify the act. But in domestic matters we give no opinion. This untoward event to Captain Hook bore upon his feelings with peculiar hardship. He felt that he was affianced in good faith to the object of his love by all moral law and hono-rable principles of civilized society. To him the blow was keenly severe. Mr. Jefferson, in giving his consent to his daughter's union with the Captain, coupled it with an earnest request, that, as the Captain had been bred to mercantile business, the father thought it would best consult his daughter's future hap-piness if he would retire from the army and establish himself again in his original voca-tion. To this request the Captain acceded and the nuptials were postponed for one year, so that preliminary steps could be taken to resign his commission and to establish himself in business. He had received his appointment in the new regiments, raised in 1812, for the war, and served through that period with cre-dit, and, of course, was in the line of ready promotion, being retained in the peace army establishment. He was on the point of re-signing, when the astounding news broke upon the parties interested of the "Clandestine Mar-riage" having been enacted. Here was a ca-tastrophe to the family and the Captain. Thequestion of veracity was here at fault, or mooted. One affirmed and the other denied that there was an engagement. But the deed was done, and, as Shakspere says, "past pray-ing for." The lady denied the major and mi-nor, and, being married, was pleased with theconsequence, we opine, and thus solved the syllogism. Hook's fancy dreams of domestic felicity, of proftable mercantile speculations, and the delicieus comforts of the family fire-side, in exchange for the barracks, the garrison in the wilderness, or the tented field, vanished like Prospero's spell in the "Tempest." He had to remain in the army, as a soother to his disappointments, wherein he realized all the discomforts of the martial avocation; as he was doomed thereby to receive a wound that maimed him to the wretched condition of a cripple in his nether limbs, destroying his lo-comotive powers for any duration or valuable purpose. In 1816, Hook's regiment (the 4th infantry) was ordered to Fort Moultrie, Charles-ton harbor, where it was quartered during the winter of 1816 and 17. It was then ordered to one of the posts in the Creek nation. Dur-ing the time the troops were quartered there, the officer of the day, Lieut. B., (the precise name forgotten,) ordered a private of Captain Hook's company, who was then on duty at the guard-house, to go and get a horse of his and take him to the regimental blacksmith shop and have him shod. The soldier replied that he was on duty, and could not, dare not, leave the guard. This reply the Lieutenant took as gross insolence, and aimed a blow with his cane at the head of the soldier which the lat-ter dodged. At this moment Lieut. Sands, of Hook's company, came out from the guard-house, and inquired of the Lieutenant the na-ture of the difficulty. He replied that the sol-dier had refused to obey his orders, briefly re-lating the affair. To which Sands said: "Why, sir, he dare not quit his post on any account, except in the line of his duty." After a few ve-hement ejaculations the officer retired to his quarters. Capt. Hook soon became apprised of the event, and waited on Lieut. B. to learn the particulars of the case. After inquiring the nature of the transaction, he received a cavalier answer, the Lieutenant demand-ing to know "what business it was" to Capt. Hook? Hook instantly replied that the man belonged to his company, and he should not allow him to be abused when he was truly innocent. Capt. Hook then withdrew to his quarers, and shortly after received a note from Lient. B., couched in something like the fol-lowing terms: SIR:-If you do not apologize to me for an anwarrant-able liberty taken with my official duties, I shall demand that reparation which is due to the feelings of an in-sulted gentleman and an officer of the service. Yours respectfully, LIEUT, B******. On the reception of this note, Hook consulted his brother officer and friend, Lieut. Sands, on the course to be pursued. Sands replied, "You must fight or apologise!" " I'll fight!" said Hook; "Sands, you must be my friend." ["Certainly."?] Capt. Hook immediately answered the note, which settled the matter at once. Hook was instantly challenged, which defiance he promptly accepted, and the seconds soon drew up the articles and rules in regular duello form. The parties met forth with in a secluded wooded vale, about a mile from the post. We will here premise that Lieut. B. was one of the best shots in the regiment, so said, and, as such; plumed himself as ready to pop at friend or foe for honor's rights and its ghostly laurels. He was always provided with splendid pistols. Captain Hook did not pretend to be an adept in this illustricus chivalric murdering accomplishment. However, Hook had taken "time by the fore-lock," and was not without some practice, or wholly verdant in the pistol's use. It would seem that the service allowed to the officers a brace of Harper Ferry manufeclured pistols, for use in their line of duties. These pistols, in quality, were excellent, and true in shooting. Capt. Hook and Lieut. Sands (the latter, by-the-by, had lost his left arm, but was a capital shot) had been in a great deal of practice with Harper Ferry arms, and had made themselves good shots. Thus "circumstanced," as Sir Patrick O'Plenipo would say, they met down in the " pine vale." They tossed up for the choice of ground, and Hook won the choice; and being rather a short man, and his adversary tall, he placed himself on rising ground, keeping, of course, out of the range of any tree that might serve to line their respective figures. . Ten paces was the measured distance. They both fired at the word. Hook shot Lieut. B. through the fleshy part of the right thigh, while the ball of Lieut. B. grazed Hook's breast. Lieut. B., on receiving his wound, whirled round and fell. He was raised by his second and the sur-geon, the wound examined, and not found se-rious. It, however, bled freely, and weakened the Lieutenant considerably. After being placed upright' against a tree, he demanded another fire. But the question arose how the antagonists could be placed, on being almost hors de combat. It was suggested that the par-ties might take a sitting posture. Lieut. B. was seated against an old stump of a tree, but Hook very imprudently seated himself at the side of a tree, which, of course, gave to his adversary a line to drop his aim upon. The counts, we believe, were "One, two, three hold!" making it obligatory to fire within the word "hold." Lieut. B., although wounded and bleeding freely, dropped his weapon from a perpendicular, lining the tree as it fell, which brought Hook's body point blank in the fatal range. He shot Capt. Hook just above the hip. The ball glanced around to the small of the back, cutting and injuring the sinews about the lower part of the spine. Hook's shot was good, hut he missed, and " a miss is as good us a mile," saye the old proverb. We heard Hook say that he felt too certain of his mark, and hence failed through carelessness, Captain Hook was disabled for life. His street [locomotion?] was confined to the back of a pony, and he could just walk about the house in short re-lays between chairs and sofas. He was appointed to a military supervisor-ship in the War Department at Washington, and rose through regular gradation to a major-ship in the army. He died a few years since at the Federal City, regretted by many friends. He was a native of Baltimore. His father was for many years chief of the night-watch police in that city. In our relation of these incidents, after the lapse of thirty-nine years, we may prove erroneous in some of our statements, but it will be the unfaithfulness of memory, not of design. Captain Hook was, of course, invalided, as it was obvious he could no longer render active service in the field. He left his regiment for the comforts of home, and hired a crazy, old-fashioned [phaeton?], of the ancient style of George the Second, from an Indian Creek planter, and was thus driven by a negro boy to Augusta, Georgia-three hundred and odd miles--which point was the first public stage-coach starting place for Sa-vannah or Charleston, where he could take shipping for the North. We were residing at Augusta at this time, and on his arrival helped him from his vehicle into the house. His an-tagonist was shortly after drowned in the pas-sage of a river. On December 7th, Saturday, "The Honey Moon" was performed--Duke Aranza, Mr. Cooper. It was well received. December 9th, Monday, "Soldier's Daugh-ter." Widow Cheerly, by Mrs. Entwisle, her first appearance in two years. We have spoken of this charming, nay, great comedy actress, in a desultory way in our first papers. She was not handsome in face, especially off the stage; at the first casual glance, her features seemed plain, with an unmeaning expression. But once strike the chords of Nature's harp--her heart, as attuned by her mind--lightning-quick her countenance would responsively echo to every emotion. Her peculiar vivacity and arch playfulness in very simplicity caught the taste and enchanted all at once. She electrified and soothed by the same stroke of nature and arl,
History of the Philadelphia Stage, Between the Years 1749 and 1855. By Charles Durang. Volume 5. Arranged and illustrated by Thompson Westcott, 1868
Fanny Elssler. It is a very complicated pantomime ballet, full of properties and changing machinery, which often give cues to the lealder of the orchestra to change the music to adagio or quick music, appropriate to the action. The following incident took place, which might have done for a rehearsal but not for a correc-tion before an audience. Monsieur Ambroise, the well-known tutor to Master Burke, a fine, rotund, fashionable looking man, with huge curly whiskers, was the leader on this night, and a very talented one he was; but he was a great stickler to receive the exact cues, which puts the band in motion at the right time. Miss Lee, in one scene, enters wheeling a fan-ciful barrow full of faggots to music expressive of this action. A fiend, in the shape of a Sala-mander, torments the Sylph. In this the music was to change. The Salamander gives the cue, (that is, the signal to change music,) but no music responded. The Sylph stands still. The Salamander repeated the words. No music. But he gave the wrong words. The fiend was not perfect. Ambroise, looking crotchets and demi-semi quavers at the fiend, did not go on. A pause in the action of the ballet--whispers-- hisses began to rumble forth in trembling, sub-dued tones. Ambroise, with uplifted bow and furious looks, muttered inaudible words in bass tones. At length the manager, from behind, cries out, in a thundering voice, "Why don't you play?" Ambroise--"I shall tank you for ze cue." Here the gentlemen of the orchestra became angry being thus insulted before the public. The great bass performer, Cassolani, who, with his fine figure, stood like a heathen music god over the double bass instrument, threw his bow away, and vanished under the stage. Jose Duggan, the musician par excellenece, follows the great basso to the nether regions, and the remainder of the band follow with similar in-dignation. But in this furious passage of mu-sical flight, the dignified Ambrois set in calm and quiet state, with upraised bow to strike the chords. The manager, then in rage, steps forth, and with the "whiff and wind" of his voluble tongue, addresses the leader, "What is the rea-son you do not proceed with the music?" Leader--"I have played him over tree time!", Manager--"Sir, your are wrong; and by Ju-piter! I will make you repend this! You have had the cue over and over again." Leader--"I have no hear him, sare, at all." Manager--"You have had the cuse, sir twenty times! Attend to your business, and perform your duty." Leader--"When I shall hear ze cue." Here the manager seized the MS. from the prompter, came down the stage--"Now, sir, take the cue from me!" And the manager gave the cue from the MS. for the first time correctly. Leader--(With bow ready, as the manager read off the cue)--"Ah! ah! dat is him; I hear him now for ze first time." On went Ambroise with his violin, solus, as all but the second fiddle had vamosed. The musicians, however, returned to their seats, somewhat ashamed, and gradually took up their parts as they resumed their instruments, when the harmonies of the orchestra and the stage were once more restored, and the mistake of the salamander was apologised for by the manager, and Ambroise's wounded feelings were re-dressed for he was strictly in time. But he might as well have fiddles on like another Nero. F. C. Wemyes, now theatrically dethroned, sought a livelihood in another sphere of life, in the sale of pills, periodical journals and news-papers, in a cellar at the northeast corner of Fourth and Chesnut streets, where his lack of means to puff his pills and nostrums, medicinal and literary, caused another failure in his newly-adopted vocation. People won't swallow pills without they are are well puffed and sugared. Chapter Sixty-Sixth Season of 1842-'3 at the Chesnut Street Theatre--Miss M. E. Maywood, manager--Poor business--Dr. Lardner brought in--Engagement of Celeste--Celeste abandons her husband--First ap-ppearance of John Brougham and Mrs. Brougham--The Seguin English Opera Troupe-Shrivaland Archer--A long and successful run--Close of the theatre--Gen. Welsh's Olympic Theatre opened by Charles Thorne--Sudden close. We have now to record a new era in theatrical [Institutions?], the establishment of a precedent whereby females might reign supreme on the theatric throne as well as the lordly sex. We do not know a profession or business where fe-males have more autocratic sway and influential power than in the cabinet councils of theatrical management. They stand before the public as the enchanting representatives of the softer sex, whose influences rule one-half the world. Their incomes in the dramatic vocation average those of the best male actors. No important drama can be produced without their aid, while the charms of the actress crowns and enriches every play that the stage produces. The powers of the female stage artiste is co-extensive and co-ordinate with those of the male in every de-parment. Nor do we know one other profes-sion that so eminently assigns to women such high duties. The Chesnut Street Theatre was now without a tenant. It had bankrupted the managers. The stockholders had attributed the managers. "The stockholders had attributed the failures and reverses to Mr. Maywood's mismanagement and unpoplar course. But of this conclusion they seemed to have repented, and they returned to their first love by inviting Mayword to ranew his management over the future career of the theatre. This recantation of hostility towards him must have acted as a palliative to his wounded feelings. He however, wisely declined all responsibility, and proposed his daughter, Miss Mary E. Maywood, who had been in Lon-don with him, to be placed as its manageress and sole governess, he only assuming the "act-ing management," or the duty which is now called, we presume, the "business agent." What else this new official means we can not guess. Mr. Peter Richings was appointed the state manager. The Chesnut Street Theatre opened its season of 1842 and ' 43 on September 17th, under the lesseeship of Miss Mary Elizabeth Maywood, with Macklin's comedy, (not acted for seven years here,) called "The Man of the World." The heading of the bill was as follows: "Boxes 50 cents; pit 25 cents. There will be no free list--the Press excepted. Leader of Orchestra, F. Cline; Artist, Charles Lehr; Treasurer, Mr. James Toomer; Machinist, Cad. Griffiths." The corps consisted of the following names: Messrs. Maywood, W. B. Wood, Peter Richings, Geo. H. Andrews (from the Tremont Theatre, Boston,) Mr. Faulkner, Mr. T. Mathews, (from Drury Lane,) T. Placide, Charles, Kelly, Stanley, C. Watson, Eberle, Jervis, Bowers, Goddin, Honri, Harris, Perring, &c. Mesdames May-wood, J. G. Porter, (formerly Mary Duff,) Charles, Thoman, Rogers; Miss Ayres, Miss Mathews, Miss Steele, Miss Jones, Miss Thompson, Miss Norman, and a corps of regular supernumerary ladies. The cast of "The Man of the World" was thus--Sir Pertinax McSycophant, Mr. R. C. May-wood, (who recently acted the part at the Hay-market theatre, London, for a series of nights, with the most enthustiastic applause;) Egerton, Mr. Richings; Lord Lumbercourt, Mr. Geo. An-drews; Melville, Mr. W. B. Wood; Lady Mc-Sycophant, Mrs. Thoman; Betty Hint, Miss Ayres; Lady Rodolpho Lumbercourt, Mrs. May-wood. The orchestra played an overture, and the performances concluded with a new vaude-ville called "Borrowed Feathers"-- Sir Frank Millbank, Mr. Charles; Tom Tray, T. Placide; Lucy Lavendar, Mrs. Maywood. It was announced on the top of the bills that "the performances would close uniformly at eleven o'clovk precisely." A mest excellent regulation. Semptember 24th, a new piece was produced called " Belford Castle, or the Scottish Gold Mine." Mr. Muckle, Mr. Maywood; Earl Belford, W. B. Wood; Chevalier Murry, Mr. Rich-ings; Lady Grace Lorimer, Mrs. J. G. Porter; with the "New Footman." Bobby Breakwin-dow, T. Placide. Semptember 28th, "Peter and Paul." Paul Britton, G. H. Andrews; Peter Britton, Mr. May-wood; Mr. Schemer, Mr. Wood; Loord Dande-lion, Mr. Richings; Mrs. Emma Britton, Mrs. J. G. Porter. The houses were thin, neither the company nor the pieces seemed to make an excitement. The Maywood stock declined in the theatrical market very rapidly. Extremes be-get extremes, and resort had to be made to ex-traneous talent, or that which was not dramatic. The celebrated Dr. Lardner who, during the last season, had caused much excitement and curiousity to behold his philosophical apparatus, and to listen to his very instructive lectures thereupon, was again enlisted to adorn old Drury's boards' with his scientific discourses. If the public did not relish the drama, as served up here at this time, they clearly feasted in myriads at the Lardner larder. Monday, October 3d, first night of Dr. Lard-ner's historical sketches of the French revolution. The lectures were delivered on every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday evenings, and were to continue for a period of twelve nights. These lecture exhibitions were partly of a dramatic character, consisting of emblematical and historical tableauz vivant, which were exe-cuted by the entire theatrical corps. These ta-bleaux being well illustrated by the perform-ers in proper and exact costumes, with their well practised and professional knowledge of groupings, made the exhibition very interest-ing. The Doctor had arranged these things extremely well, nothing ludicrous or outre was introduced. They were beautiful pictures. These illustrations were given in parts. One part consisted of portraits of French character. These were effectively shown through the means of optical illusions. There were also scientific and astronomial illustrations given as--First, Halley's comet; Second, Espy's Theory of Storms; Third, the Eye, etc. The Doctor in these lectures went the entire round of the sciences, and really was very instructive and entertaining. Madame Celeste now again appeared as re-cently from London, where she had been very