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tion with great skill and fine effect. The play is wonderful for its eloquence, and it requires not only poetic acting but perfect declamation. It was a luxury merely to listen, with closed eyes, to the voice of Edwin Booth, when he spoke the soliloquies in Richard II,for his tones were music, and his clear articulation and delicate shading of the words enchanted the ear, while his complete conveyance of the thought and the feeling of the character and the language impressed and filled the mind.

In Gloster, Booth followed the tradition of his illustrious father and that of Edmund Kean, but, probably, he "bettered the instruction" by refinement of method. I remember the elder Booth as Pescara, in The Apostate," a performance of hideous wickedness and tremendous power, but not in Richard III. The testimony of old actors is to the effect that he was comparatively indifferent in the earlier portions of the tragedy, but became colossal in the tempestuous and terrible scenes of remorse aud delirious rage that ensue upon the murder of the Princes and the rising of Richmond's rebellion. Edwin Booth's impersonation of Richard III was essentially symmetrical, being all of one piece, and it was marvellous for its bland and silky duplicity, its implacable, refined cruelty, its innate aristocracy, its intellectual predominance, and its panther-like suppleness and ferocity. The student is particularly referred to the postscript which is attached to the Appendix of the Prompt-book of this tragedy. A just estimate of the character of Richard III will probably never be reached, but it is well that the subject should be carefully examined. To my mind Shakespeare's play of " Richard III," reasonably condensed, is better for the purposes of the stage than any adaptation of it that has ever been made, but the fact ought to be recorded that Edwin Booth and Henry Irving, both of whom, in acting Gloster, reverted to the original text, and presented the tragedy according to Shakespeare, subsequently expressed a decided preference for the Cibber arrangement of it, as being far more direct and decisive than the original, in its effect upon the popular mind.

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Edwin Booth did not often act Cardinal Wolsey, but when he did, he divested the part of its obvious craft, presenting the image of a thoroughly noble churchman, and laying the chief emphasis on the pathos of a thwarted ambition, a ruined grandeur, and a broken spirit. His version of Henry VIIIis rather a ruthless condensation of the original play, but it seemed satisfactory in those distant days when he produced it. The play had not then been presented, as it has since, by Henry Irving, in the form of an elaborate and superb spectacle, and the fact had not been realized that, when presented in that way, more as an antique masque than as a tragedy, the entire work, christening and all, can be made exceptionally resplendent, effective, and entertaining. The part of Cardinal Wolsey was made prominent on the American stage by Charles Kean, in 1865. Charlotte Cushman often presented "Henry VIII,and she gave a great embodiment of Queen Catharine, worthily preserving the traditions of Mrs. Porter, Mrs. Pritchard, and Mrs. Siddons, and probably augmenting their lustre. Lawrence Barrett was associated with Charlotte Cushman, in this play, and his embodiment of Cardinal Wolsey was impressive with ecclesiastical dignity and stately with intellectual power.

Edwin Booth's version of Much Ado About Nothing" condenses the comedy into three acts. The part of Benedick afforded him artistic recreation and relief ; he was trenchant and formidable in the scene of the challenge, and he was humorous and amusing in his off-hand banter; but he viewed the part as a trifle, and he never tried to create much effect with it. His performance of Petruchio was greatly liked and admired, because of its exuberant

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animal spirits, its manly beauty, its buoyant demeanor, and its happy combination of vigor, merriment, and sparkle. He seemed to rejoice in these light moods, and, certainly, his performances of these comedy parts revealed a most agreeable side of his character; but it was in tragedy that his genius became conspicuously manifest and his decisive victories were gained. His most characteristic comedy performance was that of Don Cæsar de Bazan : from that part there is surely a wide range to Hamlet.

WILLIAM WINTER. New York, May 27th, 1899.

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