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considerable significance. Both of the drawings which we present appeared in the pages of Life. The one entitled "Trouble with the Sparker" was the choice of the majority of feminine judges, while "The Harvard Football Eleven of 1909-under President Roosevelt" was pronounced by most of the men consulted to be the best comic pictorial hit of the year. In connection with the last-named picture, reference should be made to the tradition that coloured men have been a considerable factor in football at Cambridge, and to the old story that once when the teams came on the field before a Yale-Harvard game, Carter, a famous Yale pitcher, refused to believe that the team wearing the crimson was the real Harvard eleven because the players were all white. It may be of interest to add that a good many of those whose opinions influenced the selection were Harvard men and that the Harvard verdict in favour of this picture was positively
The remarkable tribute which has been paid throughout Great Britain to the memory of Sir Henry Irving would be difficult of explanation if one. were to think of him solely as an actor. We might be obliged to fall back upon the general theory that Britons have an instinctive admiration for mediocrity, especially in the arts. A nation that regards Händel as a great musician and Lord Leighton as a great painter might naturally be expected to acclaim Sir Henry Irving as an actor of the first rank, worthy of a place beside Garrick and Mrs. Siddons. But it is not necessary to suppose that it was to Irving the player that burial in Westminster Abbey was accorded. Few serious dramatic critics will claim for him the honours given to unquestioned genius. He had, to be sure, both temperament and personality, and with these he went far; but there were causes over which he had no control that prevented him from achieving supreme success. His peculiarities of manner, verging in later life upon the grotesque, were among these causes, while his faulty and often bizarre reading of his lines must be re
Sir Henry Irving.
garded as another. Mr. Dixey's once famous burlesque of him in Adonis was really not so much a burlesque as it was an extremely clever imitation-not, of course, of Irving at his best, but of Irving at his worst-and the imitation was so faithful that whoever saw it even once could never again find Irving emotionally impressive.
Perhaps the surest test of Irving's place as an actor lies in an honest answer to the question, "In what plays did he make himself best remembered?" And the reply must be "In The Bells, in Louis XI., and in The Lyons Mail." But no one of these plays is a great play. They are really melodramas, and the rôles which Irving sustained in them were character rôles. He was, in fact, a character actor, and was at his best only when his own personality was most completely disguised. So, out of all the Shakespearean parts which he enacted, he was greatest as Shylock, which again is a character part, and is thought by some to have been intended by Shakespeare to be partly comic, thereby following the traditions of the earlier plays from which The Merchant of Venice was derived. It was difficult indeed to take Irving seriously when he endeavoured to rise to the level of the heroic or the philosophic; and neither in Macbeth, on the one hand, nor in its antithetical complement, Hamlet, did he ever win more than a succès d'estime.
It is, then, not as an actor that he deserved the exceptional admiration which was given him. And though he was a really wonderful stage-manager, this fact could hardly be a sufficient title to the honour paid him. Rather must we ascribe them to the single-mindedness with which he laboured for a serious recognition of the actor's art as being in reality an art, to be studied and respected as any other form of art might be. This was a task of stupendous difficulty among the English-the least artistic of all the Western peoples; yet Irving succeeded in a large measure, and he won the sincere applause both of his own profession and of liberal-minded men and women throughout the English-speaking world.
The November number of the North American Review contains an article on Irving written by Mr. L. F. Austin, whose death preceded Irving's by only a few months. Mr. Austin's association with the actor led to an odd incident. When Irving agreed to deliver an address before the students of Harvard University some years ago, he made use of the literary assistance of Mr. Austin in preparing the discourse. Irving was an uneducated man; and though he had plenty of ideas, his ability to give them definite and coherent form on paper was very limited. So he talked over with Mr. Austin the
subject of his address, and the substance of it was written out and polished by the latter. In a very real sense, however, the address was Sir Henry's own. Afterwards, on returning to England, Mr. Austin had the singular disloyalty and bad taste to send a copy of the address to a friend, writing across the title-page the words, "With the compliments of the author."
Twenty years ago, when Professor Brander Matthews was preparing his illustrated edition of Sheridan's comedies,
The Rivals and The School for Scandal, now long out of print, he was able to include portraits of Mrs. G. H. Gilbert as Mrs. Candour, of Jefferson as Bob Acres, of John Brougham as Sir Lucius O'Trigger, of John Gilbert as Sir Peter Teazle, and of Charles Coghlan as Charles Surface, all of them the work either of Mr. E. A. Abbey or of the late C. S. Reinhart. But he had no satisfactory illustration of Lady Teazle or of Joseph Surface; so he engaged the late Fred Barnard to combine these two characters in a single drawing, for which Irving and Miss Terry kindly consented to sit, putting on the costumes which they had worn in the parts. Mr. Irving told Professor Brander Matthews that he and Miss Terry had never played these two parts together, although they had acted the characters with other performers; and he added that they never would play these two parts together, since he would undertake Sir Peter if he ever revived the comedy for Miss Terry.
There has been so much comment upon Mr. Bernard Shaw's alleged attack upon Sir Henry Irving in the Neue Freie Presse of Vienna, that we reprint a translation of the passages complained of:
"The great event in his life, which crowned it, was his being knighted. He was the first English actor whose social rank was, until then, thus officially stamped, and, what is still more characteristic, he himself had appealed to the Court to be knighted, by demanding, publicly and unmistakably, that he, as head of the London stage, should not be treated otherwise than the president of the Royal Academy, who in England is in the habit of being knighted. The appeal took place in a lecture given by Irving at the Royal Institution, nominally on a dramatic subject, but in reality on the claim of his profession and of himself to the official recognition of their work. Any other actor would have made himself a laughing-stock. Irving was knighted and apologies were even made for the omission hitherto, and delight was expressed at his willingness to accept a title which, later on, he did not so much as cause to be printed on the play-bills.
"His learning and knowledge in matters of art and literature were imaginary. He took care to have a following of authors, with Lord
Tennyson, the Poet Laureate, at their head, and the journalists who helped him to write his lectures and speeches behind, but he had no literary taste, and not the very slightest relations with the intellectual life of his time. "Imagine a young man, his head full of venturesome schemes, shut up in a city office, who after leaving it, begins his career on the stage as a member of a company of players in a provincial town where the theatre, for the majority of the worthy citizens, is regarded as the gate to hell and where playing the piano on a Sunday is looked upon as blasphemy, and then let him, after he has technically made his profession his own in this manner, go for a few years from town to town and finally buy the "Burgtheater" and become its absolute and only manager and proprietor, with romantically inclined millionairesses placing large sums at his disposal for particularly costly representations, and you will have an idea of Irving's position in London."
Mrs. Marie Hansen Taylor (Mrs. Bayard Taylor), whose memoirs, On Two Continents, was among the autumn books, is the daughter of Hansen, the noted mathematician and astronomer. As wife of the translator of Faust and United States Minister to Germany, and one of the foremost literary figures of his day, she enjoyed for many years a contact with leading men and women of the hour. Among her friends were the Brownings, Thackeray, George William Curtis, Horace Greeley, William Cullen Bryant, Swinburne, Bismarck and Grant. She is now nearly eighty years old and is living quietly at her old home in Gotha, Germany, where she first met Bayard Taylor.
Mrs. Bayard Taylor.
extract the following anecdote relating to the first publication of Les Contemplations, in 1856. Napoleon III. was then emperor and Victor Hugo an exile at Guernsey. His last volume of verse, Les Châtiments, had been published abroad, and its sale in France was forbidden. Would the government allow Les Contemplations, a collection of lyrics without any political bias, to appear? The question was doubtful. Suddenly Paul Meurice remembered that the official at the head of the Public Safety Department in the Ministry of the Interior, Collet-Meygret by name, had been a few years before, under the second Republic, a protégé of the Hugo family, and had been indebted to its influence for his first official position. So he went straight to him and asked for permission to have the book published. The reception was as cordial as could be desired and ColletMeygret at once expressed a wish to be able to show to his former friends that he was not ungrateful. "The book has nothing to which the government may take exception?" he asked. "Nothing," was the answer. "Well, let me see the manuscript." To this Meurice demurred. To show his manuscript to an imperial "fonctionnaire" was more than Hugo could be asked to do. "Then I can do nothing," retorted Collet-Mey
gret. But as Meurice was about to step out of the room the Director of Public Safety ran after him: "No," he exclaimed; "it shall not be said that the Hugo family was refused by me in the first request that they had to proffer. You give me your word of honour that there is absolutely nothing about politics in the book?" "Yes," Meurice answered. "Well, go on and print it!" And to this interview was due the fact that the Contemplations was printed in France and not abroad. Later no difficulties were encountered for the publication of La Légende des Siècles and Les Misérables, but not until 1867 was the Théâtre Français allowed to revive one of Hugo's dramas. As for the new edition, it will be complete in forty volumes, and its publication will occupy four years. It is printed by the Imprimerie Nationale. When will the Public Printer at Washington give us anything to compare with it in literary interest?