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at a little watering-place near Christiania. One day I remarked:

his writings in this way. Incidentally, Ibsen learned that one night, after several bottles of port with some friends, Holm had lost a manuscript he had been working on. This, too, was transferred to "Hedda Gabler."

Some time afterward, Ibsen again received a parcel from Holm. This time it was his will. Ibsen was named as sole beneficiary. The will contained not a few codicils, however, in regard to sums which Ibsen was to distribute to girls with whom Holm had been on terms of intimacy. The sums were considerable.

Being a practical man, Ibsen added up. the amounts bequeathed to the ladies, and found that the total was greater than the entire sum left by the will. He therefore politely declined to accept the honor. It is quite possible that Red Diana in "Hedda Gabler" was one of these ladies.

It is also probable that at about this time Ibsen heard that the wife of a celebrated Norwegian composer burned a symphony her husband had just composed because he came home later than she thought he ought. Hedda, for other reasons, burned Lövborg's manuscript.

So from many small and insignificant details was wrought a well-linked and profound whole.

Essays on Ibsen and his works may be had everywhere, but rarely has he been described as he was in daily life. In his younger days he was animated, brilliant, and observing, cordial and at the same time caustic, but never what one might call good natured even when most cordial. If alone with one or two friends, he was spontaneous, communicative, and frank, an excellent listener as well as a remarkable talker; but at social functions or among many people, he was silent, easily embarrassed, and slightly peevish.

It did not take much to put him out of humor or to arouse his suspicion. If he thought any one was trying to force his way to see him, he would draw himself quite into his shell, as it were.

In 1891 I was spending the summer with some friends-artists and writers

"Poor Ibsen! He must be lonely, all alone at his hotel. Let's have him for dinner."

"But who would dare ask him?" I was asked.

"I will," I replied. "I often see him; I'm lunching with him to-morrow."

"Some friends of mine, mostly artists and writers, would like to invite you to a little dinner any day convenient to you," I said the next day.

"How many, and who are they?" asked Ibsen.

I gave the names, and said there were


"I never go to dinners," he replied. "It is one of my rules. I never do it."

I reminded him that it was not very long since he had attended a huge banquet held in his honor in Budapest, and I managed to surmount his objections, and was allowed to arrange the little party. In order to inconvenience him as little as possible, I arranged to have the dinner served in a private dining-room at Ibsen's hotel. and had him set the hour himself.

But as the rumor spread that I was ar ranging a dinner for Ibsen, who had long been away from Norway, I was besieged on all sides by people who wished to join the party. It was very hard for me to draw the line, especially to turn away many who had been courteous to me. I therefore tried to break the news gradually, and confessed to Ibsen that a lady had asked to be allowed to join.

"Don't allow it," he answered. "Most certainly not."

"But she's such a nice stout, jolly little married woman."

"I dislike stout and jolly little married women."

"I am told, however, that you were once interested in her aunt." I gave the name. He became suddenly interested. "In that case, let her come," he said. This lady, however, made the number of guests only ten, and in the meantime we had grown to twenty-two. I had reason to fear an explosion.

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have caught the half-revealed meaning of that scene between Rebecca and Kroll. It is one of the inexplicable stenches that do rise occasionally from Ibsen's play, like another in the otherwise beautiful 'Lady from the Sea.' It assailed me so directly that for a long time I hesitated to produce 'Rosmersholm' at all.

"But if the actress has not searched Rebecca's past, the key to the scene is missing. The actress must know, and, knowing, her performance will take care of itself."

And it occurred to me that probably that delightful confession of Erstwhile Susan's in her present play-that harrowing return to the closed chapter back in the op'ry-house at Cedar Centre, when the

faithless Bert Budsaw had deserted her at the altar-had probably crept into the comedy during Mrs. Fiske's own quest of a background for the lady elocutionist. I tried to find out, but she gave only an inscrutable smile.

"If it is a real part in a real play." she said, "that is the way to study it."

"And that," I said, "is the method you would recommend to young players?"

"Indeed, indeed it is," said Mrs. Fiske, with great conviction. "I should urge, I should inspire, my students to follow it if ever I had a dramatic school."

A dramatic school, Mrs. Fiske's dramatic school. But that is another storythe next, in fact.

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Henrik Ibsen

Personal Reminiscences and Remarks on his Plays


Author of "Principal Tendencies in the Literature of the Nineteenth Century," etc.

IS name was the greatest of the literature of the three Scandinavian countries. The intellectual life of three centuries culminated in him. And he was, during the last years of his life, the dominating personality of the literature of both Europe and America.

It is, as a rule, a curse for an author to be born in a small country. It is easier for a third-rate talent who commands a world language to win general renown than it is for a mind of the highest type dependent upon translations. And this does not apply to poetry only.

Besides, when a man's works are translated, it is often found that while admirably adapted to his own community, they are out of harmony with the great world. His works have been molded to suit his surroundings; they abound in references, allusions, mannerisms which the outside world does not appreciate or understand.

If Ibsen surmounted all such obstacles, and despite everything set his stamp on the literature and thought of the world, it is first of all because his plays are written in prose, in sharp, crisp, meaty dialogue, of which not too much is lost in translation. And secondly, because as Ibsen developed and unfolded his art, he ceased writing for the North alone, but worked with the public of the world in mind. At times this brought him in conflict with actual facts: to enforce the dramatic effect of "Rosmersholm," for instance, he sets Rosmersholm Castle on the stage, although there is no such edifice in Norway.

And lastly, his renown sprang from the way in which he rendered and crystallized the modern spirit in his works. The most

highly reputed German authors, as Friedrich Hebbel, for instance, appear like mere forerunners compared with him. French dramatists like Alexandre Dumas and Emile Augier, who ruled in Ibsen's youth, grew old, and their methods seemed theatrical in comparison with his art.

Compare a French intrigue play, even the most recent ones, with a play by Ibsen, and notice how much that is artificial there is in the intrigue play. Virtually all are built on the same principle: the author sets out with a formula, and the characters are created to live up to it, and react accordingly. They have no life.

How different is Ibsen's method! He lays bare the character's very soul. The curtain rises, and the character's personality is displayed. Another cover is lifted, as it were, and we get a view of his past. Another, and we see his environment, the factors which have made him what he is. All Ibsen's main characters have a depth of perspective which is greater than that shown by any other modern poet, and it is portrayed naturally, without effort. And Ibsen's technic is new. He uses no asides, no monologues,-Dumas and Augier have both,-the spectator must make an effort to understand, just as in life.

According to the dramatic ideal of Ibsen's time, the hero was supposed to be a man of one purpose, even if this meant artificiality and one-sidedness. Compare this idea with Ibsen's. Take Solness, for instance. What a powerful type he is, and yet how decidedly individual! Solness is both a symbol-that of genius growing old and afraid of the strength of youth— and a person with innumerable facets to his character.

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