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of expressing certain passages in which she had "failed at the night's performance" that performance which had so thrilled. those who witnessed it, marking an epoch. in their lives.

Leconte de Lisle told me much of Rachel's technic in speaking verse, and of her personality. He recalled an occasion at table when she had said half playfully to the person next her, "If I forbid you to lift your glass and drink from it, you will be unable to do so." The gentleman accepted the challenge, and clasped his fingers about his wine-glass; but, in obedience to a gesture from her long, taper finger and her spoken, "I forbid you," he was totally unable to budge it from its place, much to his embarrassment and chagrin. He said that she never shook hands with any one, and explained to him once that she felt her strength leave her whenever she found herself obliged to take the hand of another person.

Sardou also gave me his impressions of Rachel. Like others, he found her sublime in the great tragedies. I asked him if he did not regret not having had her interpret his own works. "Not at all. She could n't have played them any better than Sarah does," he replied. He further told me, as did every other person who had seen her, that Rachel played modern. pieces with only moderate success; indeed, that some of her attempts outside of the great classical rôles might be called fail


Mme. Marie Laurent was cast to play with me in Racine's "Andromaque" the same part she had acted with the great Rachel at the Odéon and the Français many years before, when her magnificent mass of snowy hair had been black, to match her great black eyes, which even in youth could hardly have been more lustrous. The dignified life and character of this lady are well known, her deeds on the battle-field in 1870-71 having won for her the Legion of Honor. She was kind and sympathetic toward me during my rehearsals of Hermione in "Andromaque," and continually gave me reminiscences, both personal and artistic, of Rachel.

This takes me back to a little reminiscence which Marie Laurent gave me of Rachel. She said that once when she was rehearsing the suivante in "Les Horaces," Rachel was distressed because she could not put sufficient expression into the curse that Camille pronounced on her brother after he had slaughtered her lover. While she was laboring in that attempt, “getting dryer every moment," as she herself expressed it, an iron vice that was being turned at rapid pace by a large screw caught a finger of one of the stage mechanics and crushed it till the blood ran down. Every one screamed; Rachel fainted. On recovering consciousness, she said, "Some drops from the mangled finger of a stranger made me faint, yet I could look at a sword covered with the life-blood of my dearest and only rant!" She then hurled forth the famous imprécation de Camille in a way that brought every hammer on the stage to a standstill and "struck terror to us all."

I had not progressed very far with my French studies in Paris when I became keenly aware of one or two facts that might dampen the ardor of even a beginner, which I was not exactly, as within a comparatively short period of time I had already won some distinction on the London stage, and understood very well the value of continuity and concentration of effort in the accomplishment of any serious achievement. But it became clear to me that it would be necessary to devote far more time than I had reckoned upon, or than M. Coquelin had supposed to be necessary, to the study of French diction, pronunciation, and intonation, before I could qualify to act on the French stage. The difficulty lay chiefly in the intonations, which in the French tongue are the underlying means of all expression.

M. Coquelin left Paris on a long European and African tour, which changed my outlook somewhat. I took counsel with M. Sardou and others. His advice to me was to test the exact status of my qualifications at the time by rehearsing and acting at one of the theaters some play at a private morning audition, where the au


"One of them was also present in the drawing-room
during any visits I received"

dience would consist, in addition to my
French family, solely of himself, one or
two actors of the national theater, and
perhaps one or two other persons of se-
vere critical judgment. I chose his
"Dora," and he offered to secure for me
the actors and theater, which he did, giv-
ing me collaborators from among the finest
actors in Paris, none of whom would re-
fuse anything to M. Sardou. The ex-
periment passed off satisfactorily.

For purposes of art connected with my rehearsals of Sardou's "Fédora," I desired to have some exact knowledge concerning the actions of a person dying of prussic acid, and was taken to call on a doctor in the municipal employ, connected with the police service, whose lot it had been to see death from that and other poisons. He was a man who had made important scientific research in criminology. As we ascended several long flights of stairs, we met numbers of very ragged and poor people, going up or coming down. At the top, the ante-room, the corridor and another opening into it, were full of "the maimed, the halt, and the blind."

Not one member of my so-called French family could have been more tenderly devoted to me in every circumstance of my existence during that whole time if we had been related to one another by the closest of blood-ties. They sympathized with me and helped me in all my endeavors, rejoiced at every successful step, encouraged me when I was discouraged or tired or sad. There were times when instead of those last three words my state of mind could have been more exactly described by "despairing." Many friends urged me to give up my attempt. Managers of London theaters came to see me more than once in order to persuade me to renounce my French work and return to England. "If singing were to be your task," they said, "that would be comparatively easy; but never in the world will the French allow you to act here in their own tongue on the speaking stage. Or if by any chance they should, remember the fate of that lovely and talented Russian girl who played at the Français one night and committed suicide the next day."

Once when I did go across to London

to play for five or six weeks, I encountered the same pressure on all sides. One day during that flying trip to London I attended a matinée given there by M. Antoine's players of "La mort du Duc d'Enghien." Henry James, the novelist, came to speak to me and said:

"Do you know who that is in the stall in front of you? Fanny Kemble that was; shall I introduce you to her? But I must warn you she is rather alarming."

The old woman appeared big and strong, and every line of her back and shoulders, her neck, and even the back of her hat expressed anger, in some way suggested suppressed rage. The friend at my right laughed at Mr. James and said:

"I have heard that she gnashes with her false teeth, and under her voluminous skirts has a long, heavy tail like a lion's, with which she pounds and lashes the floor when she sees things she can't endure."

She was

I was in happy humor that day, and felt that I could bear anybody's tantrums,. so I acquiesced in Mr. James's suggestion. The old lady was civil, though expressive of acerbity in all her person. good enough to offer to drive me home in her brougham. Mr. James conducted her to the carriage. She took me beside her, then pointed to the little seat facing us, and said with sharp command, "Henry, sit there!" He submissively got in. The moment the carriage was moving, she began a perfect hail, or, rather, sleet, of sarcastic questions and comment on my temerity and presumption in thinking I could ever act in French, or be allowed to open my mouth on the French boards.

"Even I," she sneered, "could not do it; for I went to Paris before you were ever born, and studied with the gr-r-r-reat R-R-R-Régnier, and he told me to go back to England-me! And you imagine that you-" With irony of voice and word, emphasized to the point of caricature, as if measured to get over the footlights of Covent Garden in the "good old days," she pelted me unmercifully, and, as it were, torrentially washed me out of existence. Mr. James was like a good lamb,

but the few short sentences she addressed to him were vocal slaps. I never spent such a comic half-hour. When next I saw Mr. James I said, "I am sure you must have some secret sin, and take her as selfimposed penance." He smiled, and answered that she was not really so very terrible at heart.

While speaking of these landmarks of a past age on the stage, I recall the charm and kindness of manner and the impressive dignity of the Shaksperian actress, Lady Martin (Helen Faucit), who entertained me at her house in London. Her distinguished husband, the historian, Sir Theodore Martin, looked upon her, I think, as a kind of poetical goddess, and it was easy to understand how it was that Queen Victoria so much cherished her friendship.

Sometime after Coquelin had returned to Paris, and I had rehearsed with him in Molière's comedies and several other plays of the Théâtre Français repertory, and had made a special study of a French translation of Shakspere's "Taming of the Shrew,"-"Shaming of the True," as I called it, he asked me to play Katherine to his Petruchio at Orléans, where he was booked in that play, with the other actors of the Comédie Française. "La mégère apprivoisée," as the French version is called, is a rousing and delightful comedy, and is, I believe, the one exception where a translation of one of Shakspere's works equals, and even surpasses, the original. This play was translated and adapted by a young writer who was gifted with style. as well as wit, and whose early death unfortunately blighted the brilliant promise of really high achievement that his work showed.

The English comedy of Italian life, being thus Latinized, gained wonderfully in both its amusing and picturesque qualities. Losing every tinge of artificiality, it was a living page from the Italian Renaissance, with a light touch that was peculiarly Italian, making it fresh and full of fun. Yet when all was over, the psychological and physical traits which it good humoredly satirized remained in no

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"I chose his 'Dora,' and he offered to secure for me the actors and theater"
quelin himself had said at the last re-
hearsal, "All we can say now is, à la
grâce de Dieu."

way impaired. Notwithstanding its naïve and rank realism in parts, it still had easy room for true romance, even touches of poetry, as at the end of the play, in the great disciplining act. Here, after leading the poor girl such a race and putting her through such paces that she is thoroughly worn out physically and confused in spirits, and finally falls asleep in the great arm-chair before the big fireplace, Coquelin, as Petruchio, touched by her piteous plight and half relenting, tenderly placed her weary feet on a cushion, carefully drew a silken cover over her from her chin to the floor, and then tiptoed softly to a seat opposite her and sat there, while the storm raged without, watching her sleep in the firelight, half smiling, and yet at heart thrilled with admiration of that very spirit and nature in her which was to be educated, not broken. That appearance as Katherine to the Petruchio of Coquelin and other actors of the Comédie Française was the very first occasion when I set foot in public on the French stage. At Orléans, though not afterward, I played under the name of Mme. de Beauregard, as I thought it possible my effort might prove a complete fiasco. Co

The eventful day came to take the train for Orléans. After Mme. Le Mulier and I had settled ourselves in our rooms at the hotel in Orléans, we went for a walk to look at the old town, then drove back and, after a delicious dinner served in my room, I went to sleep for an hour, according to my usual custom on days when I was to act at night. The theater was filled to overflowing by an audience composed of the notabilities of the place, who came to welcome the great Coquelin and the other actors of the national theater. They knew nothing about me whatever, probably hardly noticed that Katherine was being played by a "Mme. de Beauregard."

The performance went forward without hitch or falter except for two small contretemps, unnoticed by the audience, but which created something of a flutter on our side of the curtain. The first affected me only. It proceeded from the prompter's-box, a large wooden hood at the front edge of the stage, in the very middle of it. I had not been warned that it would be used, and had no experience


of such a contrivance. The man inside of it had a book of the play before him, and in rasping, fierce whispers spoke every sentence just as the actor was about to pronounce it. If the actor paused before it, he pronounced it twice, and went on repeating it until the actor began to speak it, when he hissed out the next phrase, made sharper and magnified by the wooden hood. To my ears the sounds made a horrible confusion and scuffle. With my first utterance and his, I turned dizzy and felt I should faint. Then I rushed ahead with my words, to show him that I knew them like A B C; but he hurried on ahead of me and got there first, never letting me catch up. The faster I went, the faster he chattered. It was comic beyond words. I nearly laughed right out in the middle of my scene. fact, I did put in a lot of "ha! ha's!" that had not been planned. The other unrehearsed effect was that in the great act, when Katherine sits asleep in the armchair in the firelight, the man at the back of the chimney, who was to have thrown over the scene a red glow from the flames, used by mistake a pale bluish green, a lovely moonlight. My eyes were closed; I knew nothing about the matter. The audience under the spell of the scene was not aware of anything unusual, but but cheered the scene enthusiastically. However, when the curtain had finally fallen after the act, M. Coquelin came to me with voice trembling and said, as he offered me his hand, "Mademoiselle, permit me to conduct you to your loge." Mme. Le Mulier was at my side, as he led me quite formally with old-fashioned politeness to the foot of the little staircase leading to my dressing-room. There he said, "Have the kindness to close your door when you enter," and stood motionless until my door was shut. Then he turned like a hurricane toward the stage with such language as a storm might use if it came to the point where it could no longer bear heaven and earth and undertook to rip up the universe. The terms were not such as persons who use the word "choice" would care to record, but

he never knew to his dying day that the thin boards of my loge, in which there was an open window for ventilation, caused me to hear in full what he, with the delicacy of a gentleman, had undertaken to shield me from.

On my return to Paris I was engaged to act the chief part in a new play at the Odéon Theater. Apart from the fact that the Odéon is the second of the arms of the national theater of France, there is a somber grandeur about this classical old building. In its great pillared porch Rachel had stood, as had also Mme. Ristori, when she acted at the Odéon in Italian. In that porch, too, Napoleon walked at the hour when his destiny turned and mounted toward an empire.

When preliminary rehearsals had already begun, the managers of the Odéon invited me to confer with them on the question of salary. They sealed a contract with me, giving me the highest salary which the state paid at the Odéon.

Every part of my experience at the Odéon was deeply interesting. The other players and I were introduced to one another, and they at once entered into sympathetic comradeship with me. At the beginning of rehearsals a little cabin, roof and all, with the wall next the stage omitted, was erected over the orchestrastalls bordering the stage. At a table within it sat the author and often the managers, and at different times any other persons whose connection with the production made it useful for them to study from the front the effects to be obtained on the stage.

In all the plays I acted or rehearsed, or saw rehearsed by others, in Paris, including the new ones, the main scheme of presentation was in the hands of the actor or actress, or both, who played the chief parts in the play under consideration.

In this stage-work, as elsewhere in Paris, my observations led me to conclude that, though with the French there is always an atmosphere of compliment and courtesy, doubtless expressive of their sense of elegant form as applied to social intercourse, still, when any art work is

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