[Editorial note: Cather's review is preceded by another review of "Friends," signed "S.J.P."]
After the omnipotent public has spoken and spoken as loudly and enthusiastically as it did last night, very little is left to say. The work of the actors was so admirable that if much were said even a cynical critic would become as enthusiastic as did the audience, and enthusiasm is forbidden a critic. The play dealt with a situation that has been the temptation and tantalization of playwrights ever since Damon and Pythias and David and Jonathan set the idea going. "Friends" seems to be one of the strongest, perhaps the strongest drama that has ever been written on the subject. The only trouble with Mr. John Paden, jr. , and Mr. Adrian Karje is that they are too sweetly sentimental on each other. The great virtue of friendship is to keep itself to itself; if it imparts itself gratuitously to the unhappy object of affection it ceases to become friendship and becomes a bore. The delightful part about a sentimental friendship is that it can never have the pleasure of arresting its existence unless it wishes to be hopelessly and forever crushed. It is strange anyway that in this day of the world, when the individual is so loudly asserting his mightiness, any one should write a drama on one man's loving another man better than himself. It is a beautiful idea, perhaps, but it does not exist outside of girls' boarding schools. The advance notices state that Mr. Royle has planted his flower in the fresh soil of youth. We can agree that Mr. Royle has done an excellent job in his horticulture, but Mr. Royle's flowers are things of the past, like orange blossoms, and are so delicate that today even the "fresh soil of youth" cannot support them. The soil of youth today is careful as to its crop, and there is not money enough in flowery friendship. The fact is, we all love ourselves very much more than we do any other being on earth. We like other people as they administer to our vanity or amusement. If there is any deluded soul who does not believe he is the most charming and gifted man on earth, and who loves another man better than himself, I should like to see him; he is dangerous to society—or would be, only the other man never likes back.W. C.
This evening The Holdens will resume their engagement at the Lansing theatre by presenting for the first time in Lincoln, an adaptation from Dickens' famous novel, "David Copperfield," entitled "McCawber," by Henry Jackson. The piece abounds in many thrilling situations, intensely interesting climaxes and strong comedy. If you want pure unadulterated fun go where it is for sale at 10, 20 and 30 cents at the Lansing theater and have it served by the Holdens, positively the best repertory company enroute. Ladies will be admitted free again tonight when accompanied by an escort holding a paid 30 cent ticket.