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Nebraska State Journal


2 December 1894
page 13

AS YOU LIKE IT.

Apropos of football, it seems to be one of the very few thoroughly reputable and manly games left in the nineteenth century. It is one of the few games which offer no particular inducement to betting and which are not conducive to strained or unnatural excitement. It arouses only the most simple and normal emotions. It requires strength and skill and courage, attributes which no young man can afford to be without. In answer to the old objection that many young men of leisure go to Yale only to play football, it is certainly true that football is the most wholesome and reputable of all the many diversions of young men of leisure. The extreme popularity of the game and the ambition to be on the "first eleven" has done more to purify the living of young men in the larger colleges than all the precepts of their instructors. The average public can hardly appreciate the value of keeping gentlemen of leisure under rigid training for four months in the year. The necessity of eating plain food, of sleeping eight hours, of abstaining absolutely from tobacco and stimulants and other things more or less harmful for four months is a novel experience to most young men of the "fast set," an and experience which cannot be other than beneficial. There is another thing. Athletics are the one resisting force that curbs the growing tendencies toward effeminacy so prevalent in the eastern colleges. Football is the deadliest foe that chappieism has. It is a game of blood and muscle and fresh air. It renders distasteful the maudlin, trivial dissipations that sap the energies of the youth of the wealthier classes. It is all very well for old grandmothers over their tea to sigh at the cruelties of the game. But it is not half so dangerous as many other things. It doesn't do Cholly or Fweddy any harm to have his collar bone smashed occasionally. He is better off than his soft handed, soft-headed friend who, for reasons not very creditable to himself, could not play on the eleven if he wanted too. Anything is worthy that encourages a young man to keep his physical manhood perfect. The field is the only place that some young men ever know anything of the rough and tumble of life. Like the fagging system at Eton it is good because it lays the mighty low and brings down them which were exalted. Neither his bank book nor his visiting list can help a man on the eleven, he has nothing to back him but his arm and his head, and his life is no better than any other man's. It is well for the gilded youth to be placed in that position occasionally.

          

Taken as a game, it is a royal one. It is one of the few survivals of the heroic. It is as strictly Anglo-Saxon as fencing is Latin. It is founded on the bulldog strength which is the bulwrak of the English people. It has in it something of the old stubborn strength that goes clear back to the day of the Norman conquest. The descendants of King Harold can never be entirely gentlemen; there must always be a little of the barbarian lurking in them somewhere. When the last trace of that vital spark, that exultation of physical powers, that preference of strength to dexterity, that fury of animal courage dies out of the race, then providence will be done with us and will have some new barbarian people ready to come and conquer.

          

News comes from Davenport, Ia., that Mr. Joseph K. Emmet has married his leading lady. We wish Mr. Emmet every possible happiness, and would say in the words that another Joseph has made immortal: "Here's to your good health und your families, may you live and prosper." However, not at all apropos of Mr. Emmett, but of actors in general, it is a fact that very few stage marriages are happy. Indeed, very few artists of any kind ever find much happines in Hymen. Poets usually marry some nice little lady who will see that their linen is clean and that their hair is combed, and poetesses pick up some worthy young man who will look after the children and that does very well. But on the stage actors marry leading ladies and actresses marry managers, and both sides of the family have personal aims and ambitions and careers of their own. For the first few years things go very well, but it is a sad fact that except in very exceptional cases that first infatuation does not last forever. The old desire to "have and to hold" gradually cools into a mild species of affection and respect. In the everyday world that is a very good substitute, for the woman in the question has her children and her social life. But in the life behind the scenes it is different. The woman's work comes first: if it did not she would not be fit to be upon the stage at all. Professional differences and difficulties arise, even business quarrels. There is a serious as well as a flippant explanation for the fact that half the best actresses in America are divorced women. In the first place it is natural that they should marry. No woman so needs a friend and protector as an actress who is enduring all the business cares of her work, all the stinging sneers of the press and pulpit, the advances of unprincipled managers, and the physical strain and exposure that every woman on the stage has to endure to some extent. They frequently become attached to men who are greatly their inferior. It is a law of nature apparently that artists marry their inferiors. After the romance and glamor of the thing has worn off, and things wear quickly behind the footlights, whether complexions or affections, they find that their husbands have married them to live on them and to fare sumptuously upon the money they endure every fatigue to make. The actress resents this, trims her husband down to an allowance; the husband refuses to be trimmed med, and the actress files an application for divorce. To an actress a divorce is unfortunately a simple matter. To a woman in society it is almost impossible: even if she has the courage to face the gossip and c mment it entails she will endure anything rather than face the prospect of being "dropped." But an actress is always moving, Her old friends drop out of her life because they have so little in common; she hesitates to form new ones for it would be a continual goodbye. He life is made up of her work, that becomes all in all. She has no friends to shock, no family to grieve. She has only her work to do. If her hnsband impedes her she bids him go his own way, and she goes hers. That is all there is to it. Stage divorces seldom result from estranged or outraged affections. The affection has made its exit before the divorce gets its cue.

          

"Ah," pleaded the little German manager, "be merciful, do this once an act of charity. We are almost stranded; we haf not fife dollars in dat company alltogedder. A bad notice will ruin us."

"But, sir." expostulated the hard-hearted critic, "your show is unspeakable; it is beyond the pale."

"Gott in himmel!" groaned the manager; "man, my soubrettes are starving, my leading man cannot got his shirt out of de laundry."

          

Some of the funniest mispronunciations in the world are heard about the theatre and sometimes even on the stage. Of course "Kameel" is chief and most laughable among them. Then there is the new Madam Sans Gene which is frequently pronounced "Sanz Geen," and Mercedes , which Mr. James O'Neil's leading lady used to invariably twist into "Mursedees," Ruy Blas which is called "Ruie Blass," Hernani "Hernanny," monsieur either "monseer" or "musher" and mademoiselle which is always "madamasell."

          

Occasionally the stage affords a moral object lesson and on such occasions the people who write about the stage generally take occasion to preach a little. One can't blame them. They have to write so much that is very other than sermonizing that they ought not to be denied the privilege of a sermon now and then, just by the way of a change. The latest occasion for moralizing is Mr. Robert Mantell's failure as Romeo , and it is a pretty plausible hook to hang a sermon on. The public has no particular right to criticise an actor's private life until it affects their work; then it has a right to speak. It has been demonstrated a hundred times that a mediocre actor cannot play the son of the Montagues. An actor must have grace, abandon and the inward fire to even attempt the role. There was a time when Mr. Mantell could play Romeo, imperfectly, but with a promise which he has never fulfilled, which now he never will fulfill. Now, by a peculiar little touch of irony which the gods are rather fond of giving human life, Miss Behrens can play a better Jul et than Mr. Mantell's Romeo. That must make Mr. Mantell smart a little if he remembers the time when his managers and friends besought him to drop Charlotte Behrens at least professionally, and to get a leading lady who could properly support him. Mr. Mantell's friends knew well enough that she must either rise to his level or he must sink to hers. And they knew she could not rise. What is that old line that we used to read before Locksley Hall grew trite? "Yet it shall be; thou shalt lower to his level day by day, What is fine within thee growing coarse to sympathize with clay."

In this case it was the man who lowered. It is difficult to say just what point evil effects and weakens art. Some artists have been able to stand a good deal of it. Most great artists have had rather imprudent flames, but they outgrew them. Mr. Mantell has not outgrown his. Schiller and Goethe aud the rest of them had their temporary weakness, but they were more faithful to their work than to the woman in the case. That was rather heartless, but in keeping with the unwritten laws of art. Faithlessness to art is only fatal when it becomes habitual. Mr. Mantell allowed his to become so. There is a certain servitude which no soul can give to another and live. A book much more frequently quoted than followed remarks: "The soul that sinneth shall die." There is something in it. The Hebrews knew a thing or two. They had Solomon's glaring example before them. A more modern way to put it would be "the soul that abases itself shall die." It does not matter much in what way. whether it is through whisky or frivolity, the yoke of social bondage, general indolence of Charlotte Behren , it all amounts to the same thing. This peculiar balance of the vital forces, this unison of all one's powers into one lambent flame which men call genius is such an exceedingly delicate thing. When the fire is out once only God Himself could relight it. No one can say just how or when the chhnge comes, any more than they can say how the light fades from an opal. In some undiscernable way the elusive quality of value goes and what was precious becomes common clay.

          

Sometimes there are lights that have failed in their attempt to burn again. Mr. Mantell is not the only one. Only a few weeks ago Mr. Maurice Barrymore gave New York a shock, For a single night he seemed regenerated and the press and public that had hoped so long in vain were loud in their praises of this coming genius who had been "coming" now for almost twenty years. By some haphazard inspiration, by the exhilaration of the role, the influence of the wonderful woman who played Camille on that memorable Monday night, he was Armand Duval of Paris , loving not wisely. but too well. The next night he was Mr. Maurice Barrymore of the Rialto, forgetting his lines and drinking more brandy than was good for him between the acts. In stories painters and musicians who have wasted their lives die painting or playing divinely, but in life things don't go that way. No, there are no deathbed repentances in art. It takes a whole long life not only of faith, but of works to give an artist salvation and immortality among his kind. For the prodigal in art there is no return. A man cannot spend his life or even a few years of it among the husks and the swine and then go back clean and upright to his father's house. Neither can he call on a dozen young ladies and the wine houses in the same afternoon or reach the temple of fame by walking the Rialto in creased trousers.

          

Manager Frank Zehrung seems to have a talent for advertising. Just before Pauline Hall came to town he persuaded a Sioux City minister to give her several thousand dollars worth of advertising free, and a few days ago prevailed upon Mr. Nat Goodwin to conveniently get a jag on and go into Chicago and make himself exceedingly famous. What Mr. Zehrung can do next in the way of unique advertising is hard to conjecture. Nothing is left for him but to hire some one to elope with Black Patti , who appears at his house next month.

          

` A good story is told apropos of Mr. Barron's recent verbous explosion in the Inter Ocean in which he accuses Mr. Goodwin of possibilities of becoming a great emotional actor and a great tragedian and heaven knows what not, all of which Mr. Goodwin never dreamed of being. Well, the story goes that two of Mr. Goodwin's old friends met on the Rialto one day with the following dialogue:

First Thespian: "Have you heard the news? The Chicago papers say Goodwin's got aspirations."

Second Thespian: "Aspirations! Good God, man; I thought it was only the tremens. Aspirations? Poor Nat, and all alone out west there!"



Notes

Go back As You Like It: Cather's column title is taken from that of Shakespeare's play, As You Like It (1600).

Go back football: Modern American football began in 1879 when Walter Camp (1859-1925), then a student at Yale, developed a set of rules based on the British game of rugby; he was the athletic director at Yale from 1888 to 1914, remaining influential in the development of the game. Camp limited the number of players to eleven, introducing the center and quarterback positions; he introduced the scrimmage system and the requirement that the ball be advanced five yards in three downs (changed to the modern ten yards in four downs in 1912), which necessitated marking the yard lines on the field. Points were scored by either running the ball past the goal line (such touchdown were worth four points) or by kicking it between the goal posts, set at the goal line (such field goals were worth five points); the forward pass was not legalized until 1906. Tackling below the waist and above the knee was allowed by 1888. The players wore little in the way of protective gear, although leather helmets came into use in the 1890s, and injuries were common. Substitutions were allowed only in the case of injured or disqualified players, so players were expected to play both offence and defense. In 1894 the flying wedge formation, considered responsible for many of these injuries and even some deaths, was outlawed. By 1894 a referee, umpire, and linesman supervised the game, which was divided into two forty-five minute halves.

Go back Yale: In 1701 a charter was granted to a college in New Haven, Connecticut; it was named Yale College in 1718 after a Welsh benefactor who also donated books and a portrait of King George I. It grew rapidly, always rivaling Harvard. Yale's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (founded 1847) awarded the first Ph.D. in the United States in 1861.

Go back the chappies: The 'chappies' is a slangy diminutive for the chaps, fatuous upper-class young men.

Go back the cruelties of the game: The 1894 Harvard-Yale game, which became known as the "Hampden Park bloodbath," crippled four players and the Harvard-Yale game was suspended until 1897. Similarly, the violence of the Army-Navy game of 1894 led to its suspension until 1898.

Go back Cholly or Fweddy: Cholly and Fweddy were the pronunciations of Charley and Freddy in the stereotypical lisping speech of "chappies."

Go back fagging system: Fagging, a system in which the senior boys at a school were given authority over younger boys, to discipline them and to exact various services, was well established at British schools such as Eton and Winchester in the sixteenth century and widely imitated at most other British boarding schools by the mid-nineteenth century. The system was believed to develop character by instilling obedience and self-discipline in the younger boys and leadership and the ability to command in the older ones.

Go back Eton: Eton College was founded as a school for boys by Henry VI in 1440 in the town of Eton near Windsor Castle. Students live in organized Houses, each with a House Master. Eton and its rival Harrow educated many of the sons of the aristocracy over the centuries; the Duke of Wellington supposedly said that "the battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton."

Go back visiting list: The people one called upon, or visited, and thus were visited by, determined one's social circle; the more distinguished names on one's visiting list, the higher the social status one could claim.

Go back Gilded youth: The expression "gilded youth" came to mean merely well-to-do young men of some leisure; originally, the jeunesse dorée were groups of wealthy anti-jacobins in the period of the Directory during the French Revolution.

Go back Norman conquest: After King Edward the Confessor died childless in 1066, Harold Godwinson was elected king of Anglo-Saxon England. However, the throne was also claimed by Harald III of Norway, who invaded northern England in September 1066. Harold defeated him at the battle of Stamford Bridge on September 25, but another claimant, William, Duke of Normandy, invaded southern England on September 28. Harold rushed south with his depleted forces, but he was defeated at the battle of Hastings on October 14, 1066.

Go back King Harold: Harold Godwinson (c.1022-1066), the Earl of Wessex, had gained renown by subduing the Welsh and bringing peace to Northumbria even though it meant exiling his younger brother Tostig Godwinson, who had been ruling unjustly. Harold's sister, Gytha, was the queen consort of King Edward the Confessor, who named Harold his successor. After Edward's death in January 1066, Harold was elected King Harold II by the Witenagemot, or council, of England. He defeated one invading force, the Norwegians, in September 1066, but was defeated by another invader, William of Normandy, at the battle of Hastings in October 1066. Tradition, inspired by the Bayeux tapestry, says Harold was killed by an arrow in the eye; a medieval legend held that he survived, wandering as a pilgrim in Germany before returning to England to die.

In the nineteenth century interest in the Anglo Saxons and in Harold revived, fueled by Edward Bulwer-Lytton's novel, The Last of the Saxon Kings (1848) and Tennyson's play, Harold (1876).

Go back Davenport, Ia.: The town of Davenport, in eastern Iowa on the Mississippi River, was founded in 1836 by Antoine Leclaire, and named for Colonel George Davenport (d. 1845) of the nearby army post. The first railroad bridge across the Mississippi was built there in 1854.

Go back Joseph K. Emmett: American actor J. K. Emmett took over the roles of his father, actor and singer Joseph K. Emmett (1841-1891) who was famous for his portrayal of Fritz von Vonderblinkenstoffen in Charles Gayler's Fritz, Our German Cousin (1869), a role he played for many years after in various sequels. The younger J. K. Emmett married actress Emily Lytton, from whom he was divorced, and then actress and singer Lottie Gilson (1867-1912).

Go back his leading lady: Possibly actress Emily Lytton (née May Barchus) of San Francisco, who was married previously to actor John A. Stevens. Emmett and Lytton were divorced in October 1896.

Go back another Joseph: Joseph Jefferson, who played Rip van Winkle.

Go back "Here's to your good health und your families, may you live and prosper": At the end of Act III, scene ii, of Jospeh Jefferson's production of Rip van Winkle, the ghostly dwarves offer Rip a drink and he offers them a toast which became familiar to late nineteenth century audiences: "I drink to your good health, and to your families, and may they live long and prosper." He then falls into the faint which lasts for twenty years. The scene was filmed as Rip's Toast c. 1895.

Go back Hymen: In classical mythology, Hymen, or Hymenaeus, was the god of marriage; Pindar spoke of him as a beautiful youth, the son of Apollo and one of the Muses. The name appears in an ancient marriage song.

Go back to "have and to hold": The marriage service in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer has both bride and groom vow to take the other "to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part."

Go back the little German manager: The German manager of this unnamed play has not been identified.

Go back "Gott in himmel": German, "God in heaven."

Go back Camille: The English play Camille is based on the play La Dame aux camélias (1852), based on the novel (1848) by Alexandre Dumas the younger (1824-1895). In the play, Armand Duval, a poor young man of a good family, falls in love with a famous courtesan, Camille (named Marguerite Gautier in the original). Skeptical of his love at first, she comes to return it and the two retire to an idyllic life in the country. However, Armand's father comes to her and begs her to set Armand free for the sake of his reputation and for the marriage chances of Armand's young sister. Camille pretends to be tired of Armand and returns to Paris and her old life. She is, however, dying of tuberculosis, and the two are reunited before her death. The role of Camille was also a favorite of Sarah Bernhardt and many other tragic actresses.

Verdi's opera La Traviata (1853) is based on the story of Camille, and the play has been made into films as well, notably one starring Greta Garbo (1936).

Go back Mme. Sans Gene: Madame Sans-Gêne (1893), a play by Victorien Sardou, opened at the Vaudeville Theatre in Paris, starring Gabrielle Réjane as Catherine. Set during the French Revolution, the play concerns an outspoken laundress, one of whose soldier-clients is Napoleon. Eventually her sergeant-husband becomes a marshal of France, but Catherine's outspoken ways get her into trouble, and Napoleon suggests a divorce. Catherine's courage and wit confound the emperor, and solve the problems of her friends as well.

Go back Mercedes: Mercedes, Dantès' fiancée, gives up hope of ever seeing him again, and marries his friend (and betrayer). They become the wealthy Count and Countess de Morcerf. She is the only one who recognizes Dantès when he returns to Paris. When her son challenges Monte Cristo to a duel for destroying his father's reputation, she pleads with him to spare her son's life. They renounce Morcerf's name and fortune, and Mercedes retires to a convent.

Go back James O'Neill: James O'Neill (1849-1920 was born in Ireland and came to the U.S. as a child. He first appeared on the stage in Cincinnati in 1867, and soon was playing in stock companies in Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. In 1882 he played Dantès in a stage version of The Count of Monte Cristo to immense popular success. Although he was also successful in Shakespearean and other historical roles, his public wanted to see him as Monte Cristo, and he played the role over 6,000 times over thirty years. Cather remembered him as one of the best Monte Cristos she had seen ("Willa Cather Mourns Old Opera House"). O'Neill was the father of playwright Eugene O'Neill, who portrayed his father as James Tyrone in A Long Day's Journey Into Night. James O'Neill James O'Neill as Hamlet James O'Neill

Go back Ruy Blas: Victor Hugo's tragic verse drama (1839) concerns Ruy Blas, a valet to a corrupt Spanish nobleman, Don Salluste, and a double for Salluste's cousin, Don Cesar. Salluste introduces Ruy Blas to the court of Charles II of Spain in a plot against the queen. Ruy Blas exposes the corruption of the court and saves the honor of the queen, dying just after she confesses her love for him. Hugo's play became acclaimed as one of his greatest. Felix Mendelssohn wrote an overture for a German production of Ruy Blas in 1839 (op. 95). Filippo Marchetti (1831-1902) wrote an opera based on the play in 1869. The play was made into a silent movie starring Maurice Costello and Julia Arthur in 1909. Jean Cocteau wrote the screenplay for a black-and-white French film (1948) starring Jean Marais and Danielle Darrieux.

Go back Hernani: Victor Hugo's verse play, Hernani (1830), was one of the first Romantic plays, written in rebellion against the classical dramatic conventions, such as the strict unity of time and place. Although it ran for a hundred performances, there were struggles every night between Hugo's supporters, led by Gautier, and supporters of the classic French drama. In the play, Hernani, a Spanish bandit, falls into the power of Ruy Gomez, and gives Gomez his hunting horn with the promise that when Hernani hears the horn, he will take his own life. When finally Hernani, revealed as a Spanish nobleman, marries his love, Gomez's niece, Doňa Sol, he hears the hunting horn. True to his pledge, he takes poison, but Doňa Sol takes it also in order to die with him. Verdi's opera, Ernani (1844), with a libretto by Piave, is based on Hugo's play.

Go back Robert Mantell: Robert Bruce Mantell (1854-1928) was born in Scotland and educated in Belfast, Ireland, where he apparently got his first training for the stage. He came to the U.S. about 1878, and joined Modjeska's company for a time, before starting his own company. He was a popular exponent of Shakespearean roles, as well as the standard romantic dramas, but never achieved much critical success in New York or London. He was popular elsewhere, however (his portrait appeared on cigar bands), and he toured with considerable success well into the twentieth century; he appeared also in some silent films before his death.

Mantell was married five times, the last three to his leading ladies, one of whom (Charlotte Behrens) is said to have died in suspicious circumstances in 1898. By his last wife, Genevieve Hamper, he had a son, Robert B. Mantell, Jr. (1912-1933), who was apparently married briefly to 1930s film star Marian Marsh.

Go back Romeo: The name of the hero of Shakespeare's early romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, written c. 1594-95.

Go back Charlotte Behrens: American actress Charlotte Behrens (1866-1898) was born in New York but grew up in San Francisco, where she made her theatrical debut at the age of sixteen. By 1882 she was a leading lady with Frank Mayo's touring troupe; at about the same time she married theater manager Edwin E. Hume. She made a success in Zitka and toured in that with Gustave Levick, and also toured with William Gillette in his Civil War drama, Held by the Enemy in 1888. She became a part of Robert Mantell's company soon after; by December 1891 her husband was threatening to kill Mantell for alienating her affections. Behrens and Mantell were named as co-respondents in divorce suits brought by Mantell's first wife, actress Marie Sheldon, and by Hume in 1893. They were married in March 1894, the day after the divorces were finalized. Behrens continued in Mantell's company until an undiagnosed illness led to her death in 1898.

Go back Juliet: The heroine of Shakespeare's early romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet (c. 1594-95), the part was considered one of the great roles for an actress. Romeo and Juliet come from families feuding with each other, the Montagues and Capulets, but fall immediately in love. They are forced to meet in secret—the balcony scene being the most famous in all of Shakespeare—and try to marry in secret. The friar gives Juliet a potion that simulates death, and Romeo, in despair, kills himself. When Juliet awakes to find Romeo dead, she kills herself.

Go back Locksley Hall: In Alfred Tennyson's poem, "Locksley Hall" (1835, published 1842), a soldier pauses near Locksley Hall, where he had spent much of his youth. He reflects on the woman he loved and her marriage to another, on his frustration with the present condition of the world, and he envisions a possible Utopian future.

Go back "Yet it shall be; . . . to sympathize with clay.": The speaker in Tennyson's "Locksley Hall," as he reflects on his love for his cousin Amy, who was forced by her parents to marry another man, says in lines 43-47: Is it well to wish thee happy? having known me—to decline On a range of lower feelings and a narrower heart than mine! Yet it shall be: thou shalt lower to his level day by day, What is fine within thee growing coarse to sympathize with clay. As the husband is, the wife is: thou art mated with a clown, And the grossness of his nature will have weight to drag thee down.

Go back Schiller: Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805), German poet, playwright, and philosopher, was trained in law and medicine on the orders of his father's patron, Duke Karl of Wurttemberg. The use and abuse of power and the struggle for freedom became central themes in his work. His study of Kant led him to formulate his own philosophy of aesthetics; through the influence of Goethe he was appointed professor of history at the University of Jena. His first play was The Robber (1781); his greatest plays were the Wallenstein trilogy (1800-1801), Mary Stuart (1801), and Wilhelm Tell (1804).

Go back Goethe: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) is one of the greatest German writers, influential as a novelist, playwright, poet, and critic; his interests extended to scientific and political thought as well. He was the son of a well-to-do German family, and was sent to study law in 1765 at the University of Leipzig, and later in Straussberg, where he was influenced by many elements of French, British, and Greek classical and pre-Romantic thought and art. Convalescence after an illness in 1768 brought an interest in medievalism and religious mysticism (elements brought into play in his great play Faust.) His 1774 novel The Sorrows of Young Werther became immensely popular, expressing as it did the spirit of the age. Goethe went to Weimar, his home for the rest of his life, in 1775, serving as one of the duke's most indispensable ministers as well as continuing his astounding literary output. A trip to Italy and Greece in 1786 increased his devotion to classical ideals, culminating in his Iphigenia in Taurus (1787). About 1794 he met Schiller, whose death in 1805 ended a fruitful intellectual camaraderie. The first part of Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship was published in 1795-96; the verse-drama Faust in 1808 (the less-famous second part in 1832), and the second part of Wilhelm Meister (the Travels), in 1821-29. Goethe was generally acknowledged as one of the greatest writers in Europe long before his death.

Go back A book much more frequently quoted than followed: The Bible.

Go back "The soul that sinneth shall die.": In the Bible, Ezekiel 18: 4, the Lord says, "Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die."

Go back Solomon: In the Bible, Solomon (c. 1000-931 B.C.) was the son of King David and his wife, Bathsheba. He prayed for wisdom, which was granted him, and ruled over the united kingdom of Israel, a golden age of Israel's wealth and power. Solomon is said to have built the first temple in Jerusalem to house the Ark of the Covenant. The Biblical books Proverbs and Ecclesiastes are attributed to him because of his reputation for great wisdom; the poems of the Song of Songs are attributed to him also. Solomon married the Pharaoh's daughter, and 700 other wives besides.

Go back Mr. Maurice Barrymore: Anglo-American actor Maurice Barrymore (1847-1905) was born Herbert Blythe in India. He was educated at Harrow and Oxford; at Oxford he developed his boxing skills, becoming an amateur champion of England. He made his acting debut in Scarborough, England, then came to the U.S. in 1875, where he joined Louisa Drew's theater company in Philadelphia. He married actress Georgiana Drew in 1876. Barrymore had a brilliant career as a leading man in the companies of Augustin Daly and A.M. Palmer, as well as playing with Modjeska, Lily Langtry, and many others. His powers began to fail in the late 1890s, and in 1901 he was declared insane and taken to a sanatorium where he died four years later.

Maurice Barrymore and Georgie Drew had three even more famous acting children: Lionel, Ethel, and John Barrymore. After Georgie Drew's death, Barrymore married actress Grace Henderson, by whom he had one son.

Go back the role: Maurice Barrymore played in Olga Nethersole's company on her first American tour, earning praise for his Armand Duval in Camille, a role he had played in the 1880s with Modjeska.

Go back Armand: Armand Duval, Camille's idealistic lover. When he believes that Camille has tired of him and has returned to her old life, he denounces her at a ball, causing her collapse into her final illness. When he learns why she left him, he returns to her and she dies in his arms.

Go back Rialto: The area around the Rialto theater in Union Square became New York's first theatrical district, with boardinghouses and cafes catering to stage people. Derived from the famous Rialto bridge in Venice, Rialto became a popular name for theaters and, later, movie houses.

Go back not only of faith, but of works: The Protestant Reformation insisted that salvation was by faith alone, through God's grace, in reaction to the perceived emphasis by the Roman Catholic church on works—acts of piety such as penances and having masses said.

In One of Ours, the devout Mrs. Wheeler accuses her skeptical son Claude of trying to embroil her in the old faith and works controversy.

Go back the prodigal: In the Bible, Jesus tells the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15: 11-32; a young man demands his inheritance from his living father and goes far away, spending all he had on riotous living. He dares not expect forgiveness from his father, so he takes a menial job as a swineherd. But when his father sees his lost son coming home, he welcomes him with open arms and kills a fatted calf in celebration.

Go back among the husks and the swine: In the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15, the starving son takes work as a swineherd; as pigs are considered unclean animals in Jewish law, he has sunk to the bottom of his society: "And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him" (v. 16).

Go back Mr. Frank C. Zehrung: Frank Connell Zehrung (1858-1942) was born in Cedar Rapids, IA, the son of John and Mary Connell Zehrung. According to Who's Who in Nebraska, he was educated at Lincoln High School and at the University of Nebraska. He was in the drug store business from 1879 to 1897, and managed the Funke Opera House from 1894 to 1900. In partnership with L. M. Crawford he managed the Oliver Theatre (formerly the Lansing Theatre) from 1899 to 1917. He married Jessie L. Voris (d. 1944) in 1911. He was active in civic affairs, as a member of the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary club, and the Order of Elks, and he served as five terms as mayor of Lincoln: 1913-15, 1921-27, and 1931-33.

Zehrung's drug store was at 1213 O St. until 1894.

Go back Pauline Hall: Singer, dancer, and actress Pauline Hall (1860-1919) was born Pauline Schmidgall in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she made her stage debut in 1876 as a ballet dancer. She played in Mary Anderson's company for a time before joining Edward Rice's company. She created the role of Erminie in the 800-performance run at the Casino Theatre in New York in 1885; later (c. 1892) she organized her own company. She married and divorced both Edward White and George B. McClellan, jr.

Cather refers to a picture of Pauline Hall in tights in book II, ch. 11 in The Song of the Lark, and the Moonstone Orchestra plays selections from Erminie (book I, ch. 8) at a town concert.

Images at Google Books and University of Washington Digital Library.

Go back Sioux City: Sioux City, in northwest Iowa, lies along the Missouri River, about ninety miles north of Omaha, Nebraska. The town was platted in 1854, and named for the Sioux River, which flows into the Missouri nearby; it soon became an important commercial center—its stockyards were important into the latter half of the twentieth century. Two adjacent towns are South Sioux City, Nebraska, and North Sioux City, South Dakota.

Go back Rev. D. Jenkins: The Rev. Dr. Hermon D. Jenkins (1840-c.1907) was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Sioux City from 1889 to 1894-95, when Pauline Hall's light opera company visited the town. According to the New York Times (6 January 1895, p. 1), he had published a letter associating Hall with the notorious "Black Crook" production; after Hall's husband threatened to file civil and criminal charges, Jenkins gave him a letter of retraction. According to a later report, Jenkins denied having written a letter attacking any particular member of the theatrical profession and denied ever having made an apology or retraction (New York Times, 16 January 1895, p. 9). Jenkins received his Doctor of Divinity degree from Beloit College in 1881; he served pastorates in Joliet and Freeport, Ill., before coming to Sioux City, and went on to serve in Kansas City (1895-1900) and Chicago (1901-1907).

Go back Nat Goodwin: American actor Nathaniel Carl Goodwin (1857-1919) was born in Boston; he discovered his ability to mimic as a boy and determined to go on the stage. After several false starts in the early 1870s, he was discovered by Stuart Robson and gave his imitations of serious actors on stage (though he refused to do Edwin Booth). He appeared successfully in several burlesques, such as Rice's Evangeline, and organized his own touring company in 1877. His roles in Henry Guy Carleton's A Gilded Fool (1889) and The Nominee (1890) were among the greatest hits of his long career. He appeared occasionally in classic comedy, such as Sheridan's The Rivals, and in Shakespeare, notably his elaborate productions of The Merchant of Venice (1901) and A Midsummer Night's Dream (1904). Late in his career Goodwin played in a few silent films, appearing as Fagin in Oliver Twist (1912) and in four films in 1915-16.

Goodwin was married five times. In 1877 he married actress Eliza Weatherby; after her death in 1887, he married Nellie Baker Pease (known as the Belle of Buffalo) in 1890; they were divorced in 1896. In 1898 he married Maxine Elliott, known as one of the most beautiful actresses of her day; they were divorced in 1908. A marriage to actress Edna Goodrich lasted from late in 1908 to 1910. He married Margaret Moreland in 1912 and they were divorced in 1918. Goodwin wrote an article in 1912, "Why Four Beautiful Women Married Me."

Images of Nat Goodwin are available at Shakespeare and the Players at Emory University.

Go back get a jag on: "Get a jag on" was slang for getting drunk, or going on a drunken spree

Go back Black Patti: African American soprano Matilda Sissieretta Joyner (1869-1933) was born in Virginia, the daughter of a minister; the family moved to Providence, Rhode Island, in search of better opportunities in 1876. She began singing in public as a child. At a benefit in Boston in 1887 she attracted the attention of concert managers, and by 1892 she had sung for both the president and the Prince of Wales; in 1893 she sang at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago. She toured in the West Indies, South America, Canada, England, and continental Europe; an 1889 poster of her which called her "The Black Patti, the Greatest Singer of Her Race," showed the bodice of her dress covered with medals and decorations. She married David Richard Jones in 1883, when she was fourteen; they were divorced in 1900. From 1896 to 1915 she toured with a vaudeville troupe called the Black Patti Troubadours (although she reportedly disliked the epithet); members of the troupe did acrobatics and minstrelsy, but Madame Jones, as she preferred to be called, appeared in costume in operatic selections. After the troupe broke up, Jones, in failing health, returned to Providence where she died in poverty.

Images can be found at the Library of Congress and also at the Global Performing Arts Database.

Go back Mr. Elwyn Alfred Barron: E. A. (Elwyn Alfred) Barron (1855-1929) became drama critic for the Chicago Inter-Ocean in 1879; he wrote plays such as A Moral Crime (1885), Lady Ashley (1886), When Bess Was Queen and Out of the Storm (both produced in 1894), and a dramatization of Romola (1896). After he retired from the Inter-Ocean in the mid-1890s he lived abroad for a time, and wrote several novels.

Go back the Inter Ocean: The Chicago Republican, a newspaper founded in 1865, was renamed the Chicago Inter Ocean in 1872. It had a wide circulation, not just in Chicago, but its influence declined in the mid 1890s, when it was owned by Charles T. Yerkes, who used it as a political tool.


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