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Rose Eytinge.

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THE

MEMORIES' OF
ROSE EYTNGE




THE MEMORIES



OF



ROSE EYTINGE



The MEMORIES of
ROSE EYTINGE

Being RECOLLECTIONS & OB-
SERVATIONS of Men, Women,
and Events, during half a century



BY ROSE EYTINGE




OF . /

v r;, 4| ,-ro!^&^



NEW YORK - FREDERICK A.
STOKES COMPANY PUBLISHERS



Copyright, 1905 ^
BY ROSE EYTINGE

All rights reserved
PUBLISHED IN NOVEMBER, 1905



PRESS-WORK BY
THE UNIVERSITY PRESS, CAMBRIDGE, U. S. A.



CONTENTS



CHAPTER I

PAGE

The Stage and Its Influences My First Engagement
The Installment System -A Sabbatarian
Boarding-House "Bread Eaten in Secret"
My First "Heavy" Part, and My First Train.. 3

CHAPTER II

The Green Street Theatre, Albany The Dignity of
Leading Woman Dressmaking An Acrid but
Kindly Landlady 12

CHAPTER III

Old-Time Stars Julia Dean Charlotte Crampton
Ada Clare Bohemia 17

CHAPTER IV

Abraham Lincoln The Prince of Wales Fernando
Wood Thurlow Weed Hugh Hastings Daniel
S. Dickinson and Mrs. Dickinson 23

CHAPTER V

Edwin Booth The Crime of John Wilkes Booth and

the Disposition of His Remains 28



214419



CONTENTS

CHAPTER VI

PAGE

Glimpses of Royalty The Prince of Wales Chinese
Diplomats The Boston Theatre Old-Time
Theatrical Salaries 36

CHAPTER VII

My First " Row " with a Manager E. L. Davenport
and J. W. Wallack A Realistic Desdemona 41

CHAPTER VIII

Mrs. Davenport Edward House Poetry at Short
Notice "Enoch Arden" "The Man in the
Iron Mask" 49

CHAPTER IX

Fanny Davenport The Old House in Bulfmch Place,
Boston An Assemblage of Notables 56

CHAPTER X

The New England Circuit A Put-Up Job Misad-
ventures in New Bedford 61

CHAPTER XI

Washington in War-Time "Contrabands" Defined
Uncle Sam's Soldiers Patriotic Songs Tom
Placide Wallack and Davenport Distinguished

Guests 69

vi



CONTENTS

CHAPTER XII

PAGE

Abraham Lincoln William Henry Seward Pla-
cide's Humour "Still Waters Run Deep"
Assassination of the President A Night of
Terror 76

CHAPTER XIII

New York Wallack's Theatres-Nancy Sykes Lead-
ing Woman with Lester Wallack Perfect The-
atrical Management Mary Gannon Charles
Dickens Love for the Stage 85

CHAPTER XIV

My First Sea Voyage Captain Judkins and the
" Scotia " Sea-Sickness Goodwood Races The
Prince of Wales Again In the Queen's Box
at the Opera Smuggling Rochester, N. Y.
A Leading Woman in a Sad Predicament 94



CHAPTER XV

Toronto "The Heart of Midlothian" A Minister-
ing Angel Jeanie Deans A Converted Presby-
terian "She Stoops to Conquer" George Hol-
land as Tony Lumpkin 103

vii



CONTENTS

CHAPTER XVI

PAGE

Augustin Daly and the New York Theatre " Under
the Gaslight" Davenport in Mischief "Caste"
W. J. Florence Mrs. Gilbert Starring
Newark, N. J. Washington in

CHAPTER XVII

London Paris Longchamps and the Grand Prix
Napoleon III and the Empress Eugenie Prin-
cess Metternich Prince Pierre Napoleon Dr.
Evans Nubar Pasha Auber and Verdi
Americans in Paris Cora Pearl 121

CHAPTER XVIII

Royalty and Rank Fontainebleau and "The Black
Eagle" Across the Alps Italy Alexandria
The American Traveller Ramleh Cleopatra
The Bawaub A Masculine Chambermaid 1 30

CHAPTER XIX

Love, the Great Leveller The Servant Problem in
Egypt How the Grocer Imported His Bride
Women in the East The Harems An Oriental
Lady's Call Upon an American Woman The

Man in the Case Human Nature 140

viii



CONTENTS

CHAPTER XX

PAGE

American Patriotism Woman's Status in America
and the East Contrasted Eunuchs European
Wives of Mohammedan Magnates 150

CHAPTER XXI

Egyptian Dancing-Girls The Viceroy's Mother
Oriental Splendour A Nobleman with an' Hallu-
cination 156

CHAPTER XXII

Tragedies of the Harems Sulyman Pasha From a
French Cloister to an Egyptian Prison Cherif
Pasha and His Unhappy Wife 163

CHAPTER XXIII

Verdi's "Aida" in the Cairo Opera House A Blaze
of Jewels A Cosmopolitan Audience 177

CHAPTER XXIV

Egyptian Antiquities A Remarkable Coincidence
A Greek Dog A Present of Mutton "On the
Hoof" A Berber Prince The Restoration of a

Long-Lost Child 182

ix



CONTENTS

CHAPTER XXV

PAGE

Sir Henry Bulwer American Officers in the Khe-
dive's Service Stone Pasha Colonel Thomas W.
Rhett General Sherman Patriotism Mollified
by Old Associations A Meeting of One-Time
Enemies 195

CHAPTER XXVI

The Fellaheen of Egypt Taxation "How the Other
Half Lives" in the East A Bedouin Family at
Ramleh An Arab Mother-in-Law Marriage a la
Mode 206

CHAPTER XXVII

Back to the Stage Shook & Palmer and the Union
Square Theatre, New York Charles Thome
Dion Boucicault "Led Astray" "Blow for
Blow" Marie Wilkins 214

CHAPTER XXVIII

"The Two Orphans" "The Lady of Lyons"
George Rignold " Rose Michel " Steele Mack-
aye John Parselle and Charles Thorne Tom
Taylor 230

CHAPTER XXIX

Starring Buying Experience The West Ben De
Bar "Bob" Miles Mrs. John Drew The Lith-
ograph Question A Sandwich Man 241



CONTENTS

CHAPTER XXX

PAGE

The California Theatre, San Francisco John Mc-
Cullough Julia Lady Macbeth Camille
Mary Anderson " East Lynne" 249

CHAPTER XXXI

Virginia City An Audience of Miners A Midnight
Ride with a Guard of Honour Down in a Silver
Mine 255

CHAPTER XXXII

Reno A Western Hotel The Reno Theatre Puri-
fication 263

CHAPTER XXXIII

Seeking Rest and Finding None "Why Don't You
go into Some Decent Business?" New-Mown
Hay The Properties of the Reno Theatre 270

CHAPTER XXXIV

Salt Lake City The Guest of Brigham Young
The King of Utah Polygamy 276

CHAPTER XXXV

Playing a Boy's Part for the Only Time Cleopatra

Henry Bergh's Eulogy 281

xi



CONTENTS

CHAPTER XXXVI

PAGE

London and Its Notables Tom Taylor The Olym-
pic Theatre Beerbohm Tree The Effect of
Too Realistic Acting A Noble Lord's Criticism
"Annie Thomas" 288

CHAPTER XXXVII

Wilkie Collins Charles Reade The Influence of
Charles Dickens Nancy Sykes Converts a Bap-
tist 296

CHAPTER XXXVIII

Edmund Yates Robert Buchanan Mrs. W. E.
Gladstone Professor Blackie Palgrave Simp-
son 301

CHAPTER XXXIX

Changes in the Profession Lucille Western Louis

Aldrich James A. Herne Adah Isaacs Menken.. 307



xii



THE MEMORIES

OF

ROSE EYTINGE




THE MEMORIES OF

ROSE EYTINGE



CHAPTER I

THE STAGE AND ITS INFLUENCES MY FIRST ENGAGE-
MENT THE INSTALLMENT SYSTEM A SABBATARIAN
BOARDING-HOUSE "BREAD EATEN IN SECRET"
MY FIRST "HEAVY" PART, AND MY FIRST TRAIN

I WONDER why it is that stage-folk, both men
and women, always think it a fine thing to decry
stage-life to the young man or woman who
thinks of entering that life. They must know
that their attempt at depreciation is not just;
that the life which they decry is a good one.
The stage brings pleasure and brightness to
many whose lives would be without any in-
fluences more elevating than workaday inter-
ests. It brings quick returns in recognition of
talent, and, in a thousand ways makes apparent
its superiority as a vocation. And for kindli-



ROSE EYTINGE

ness, good-fellowship, a willing heart, and a
ready hand to help each other, where will
these virtues be found developed as they are
among the players?

When I was a slip of a girl I went upon
the stage.

At that time (a happy time!) there was in
New York and, I believe, in the whole United
States but one dramatic agent. This was
Charles Parsloe (father of the late Charles Pars-
loe, better known as The Heathen Chinee),
who had an office in Chambers Street. To
him I went and asked for an engagement.
Evidently I impressed him favourably, for with-
out any difficulty and with very little delay he
found me a chance to go to Syracuse, N. Y.,
there to join a dramatic stock company under
the management of Mr. Geary Hough.

On my arrival the question of wardrobe
promptly presented itself, and at first it seemed
a very serious and troublesome problem; but
Mr. Hough speedily found a solution of the diffi-
culty. He was a widower of recent date, and
his late wife had been his leading woman. As

4



THE INSTALLMENT SYSTEM

he still had her stage wardrobe intact, and as
tailor-made gowns and wrinkleless robes were
not then the vogue, I had very little difficulty
in adapting this wardrobe to my needs. Ac-
cordingly I bought the garments and paid for
them "on the installment plan," Mr. Hough
deducting from my salary a small weekly sum.
I have often wondered since if Mr. Hough and
I were the pioneers of the installment system.
If so, may we be forgiven!

In this, my first engagement, I was drawing
a salary of seven dollars a week, and it might be
considered that my life was one of hardship and
privation. Not at all. Money was worth much
more then than it is now, and on this apparently
small salary I could live in modest comfort. I
lived in a boarding-house, in which also dwelt
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Humphreys, the leading
man and leading woman of the company, to-
gether with several others of its members. I had
a pleasant, comfortable little room, with board,
fire, and light, for which I paid three dollars
a week, and, while I do not pretend to say that
abundance in any form was within my means,

5



ROSE EYTfNGE

I suffered no privations. The table was fur-
nished with the ordinary boarding-house fare,
and naturally was neither so abundant nor so
luxurious as to make any of us fear gout.

Our only really hard experience was on Sun-
clay. The landlady was a strict Sabbatarian
and would have no food cooked on that day,
and so, from Saturday night until Monday
morning, we, her helpless prisoners, virtuously
and virtually starved until, in a blessed hour,
I discovered that food galore was stored in the
cellar. I at once laid my discovery before Mr.
Humphreys, and hope dawned upon us.

The first Sunday after our discovery, Mr.
Humphreys, armed with a villainous-looking
scimitar (one with which I have no doubt, many
a stage murder had been committed), and I,
armed with a lighted candle (a juvenile Lady
Macbeth}, stole at midnight in the stealthy
silence of stockinged feet, down to the cellar.
There, surrounded by the bodies of our des-
tined victims, which were suspended against
the walls upon huge hooks, by apples which
blushed a rosy red for our shame, by potatoes
with their eyes fixed upon us, and by butter

6



BREAD EATEN IN SECRET

which was trying to smooth away our iniqui-
ties, we committed our burglary.

From - a side of beef Mr. Humphreys cut a
nice, tender steak (not at all the sort we usually
got) and from the loins of an innocent sheep
some sweet, succulent chops, while I secured
the " trimmings," bread and butter, condi-
ments, fruit; in fact any " unconsidered trifle"
I could lay hands upon.

Then, in fear and trembling, we crept up-
stairs, laden with our "loot," to find Mrs.
Humphreys paralysed with fear and filled with
reproaches and reprimands, but also with a
nice, clear fire.

The reader may picture our delight, when,
after carefully securing the door, and taking
every precaution against surprise, we broiled
our booty upon a gridiron improvised from
two crossed swords.

Let me say here that I never suffered any of
those perils and temptations which, we are told,
beset the paths of girls who adopt the stage
as their profession. At this time I was little
more than a child, but the company of which

7



ROSE EYTINGE

I found myself a member was made up of
good, kind, decent folk. Every man Jack and
woman Jill of it was good and kind, though
they did not fail to "pitch into" me when I
deserved such treatment, which doubtless was
pretty often. Yet never, either during work-
ing hours in the theatre, or in hours of rest and
relaxation at home, did I hear an unseemly
word or witness an unseemly act.

When I first joined the company an accident
fixed my position in it most agreeably. The
leading man wanted to play "The Old Guard,"
and I was cast for Melanie, and from this cir-
cumstance my "hall-mark" of leading juvenile
woman was established.

With especial affection I remember Mrs.
Frank Humphreys, the leading woman of our
company. After her husband's death she mar-
ried William Jamieson, a son of William Jam-
ieson of "Consuelo" fame.

I played my first "heavy" part in this com-
pany. A lurid drama called "The Wandering



BORROWED PLUMES

Boys" was put up. Susan Denim was the
star; some actors whom I cannot remember
played the boys; and I was cast for the blood-
thirsty Baroness who persecuted them. It must
be remembered that this Baroness was sup-
posed to be a person whose age might run
from fifty years up (and I was scarcely fifteen)
and that the part imperatively demanded a
black- velvet train.

It is needless to say I did not possess any
such splendid equipment. My limited salary did
not permit the possibility of its purchase, and
the wardrobe of the late Mrs. Hough did not
contain one. What was to be done? Mrs.
Humphreys came to my rescue. She offered
me hers, a new one, purchased for this en-
gagement, the star of her stage wardrobe, the
apple of her eye, her fetich, and she lent it
to me. Could friendship go further?

The fateful night of the first performance of
"The Wandering Boys" arrived that is, so
far as the public was concerned. But the real
performance that night was making me up and
dressing me for the part of the Baroness. This
called for the full feminine force of the com-



ROSE EYTINGE

pany, and they all filed promptly into my dress-
ing-room and the work began.

My hair was parted in a straight line over my
nose, plastered down over my ears, and spat-
tered down my cheeks, and then my face was
"lined." Looking back upon my face as it
was then, I have no doubt that those same,
carefully drawn and shaded lines, instead of
producing the desired effect of giving me an
appearance of age, only served to accentuate
its youthfulness.

The ceremony of making-up being concluded,
my corps of attendants proceeded to put me
into the black- velvet train; but as fast as they
put me into it I slipped out of it, there was
so much of the train, and so little of me! In
memory I can still see those dear, kindly folk,
as they stood around me; the various expres-
sions of hopelessness with which I was re-
garded in the matter of the waist, such a
waste of waist and such a dearth of Baroness.
But, pinned in here and taken in there, and,
as a last resort, draped in black lace to cover
discrepancies, I was finally hustled on the stage.

Up to this moment I had been an interested



10



MY FIRST TRAIN

spectator rather than an active participant in
the robing act, and was secretly feeling the
keenest delight at having attained the dignity
of this, my first train. But when I found myself
standing on the stage, and saw behind me that
long, black, trailing something that moved
whenever I moved, that insisted upon following
me, that would be dragged after me wherever
I went, I conceived a sort of horror of it. It
seemed to my overwrought mind that it was
some sort of a hideous dragon, and that I was
its victim, condemned to drag it after me for
the rest of my life. I dissolved in fears and
tears, tears which of course must have removed
from my face all those carefully traced lines
which were to have given it weight and age.

Oh! what a performance I must have given of
that blood-thirsty Baroness!



ii



CHAPTER II

THE GREEN STREET THEATRE, ALBANY THE DIGNITY OF
LEADING WOMAN DRESSMAKING AN ACRID BUT
KINDLY LANDLADY

THE second engagement in my career as an
actress (which I also obtained through the good
offices of Mr. Parsloe) was at the Green Street
Theatre, Albany, and by this time my status
in the company was assured. I was now the
" leading woman,' 1 or perhaps I ought rather
to say that I played the leading business. Crude
no doubt, a good deal of my work was, for I
was not a woman at all, but just a saucy girl.
Everybody in and about the theatre conspired
to spoil me, and vied with each other in being
kind to me and helping me.

My opening part was that of Virginia, in sup-
port of J. A. Neafie's Virginius. I knew noth-
ing about Virginius, and still less about Vir-
ginia, and the more I learned about her the
more frightened I became. Besides, I had no

12



DRESSMAKING

costumes for the part. All my surplus capital
was invested in unbleached muslin that val-
uable fabric, cheese-cloth, was not then in-
vented and I sat up all night for a couple of
nights engaged in the manufacture of Miss
Virginia's costumes. When the day of the last
rehearsal and the performance arrived, what
with loss of sleep, fatigue, and nervousness, I
was in rather a pitiful plight. I could not
even pull myself together and read Virginia's
lines, much less speak them. Management,
star and company were all in a panic. I after-
ward learned that a member of the company
was safe in a dressing-room at night, up in the
lines, and ready to go on and finish the per-
formance when I should, as seemed inevitable,
fail.

But I did not fail, and the lady did not go
on.

I boarded with a little old lady who made up
in temper what she lacked in proportions. She
certainly could not have weighed more than
eighty pounds, but it was enough! And she,
too, was good to me. To be sure, it was in

'3



ROSE EYTINGE

rather a severe and disapproving way, espe-
cially at first, but she thawed in time.

She never would have taken me in at all if I
had not gone to her highly recommended, for
she, like most good folk who know nothing
about them, disapproved of actresses, and when
she first saw me she snipped acrimoniously,
and said: " Humph! you ought to be at home
and going to school." And when I replied,
with more tact than truth, that I hoped to be
at home with her, and added that I also hoped
to make the theatre my school, she did not
seem to be greatly impressed; but she said,
grudgingly, that I might come, and she would try
me. And she did, often and severely!

She gave me a little garret room, which con-
tained, among other comforts, a tiny wood
stove, and for this and my board I paid her
$3.50 a week, this being about the ordinary
price for board at that time.

At first she was very severe with me. If I did
not get down for breakfast by eight o'clock I
got it cold, or not at all. When I reached home
at night the house was dark, save for the dim
light from a tiny lamp of japanned tin I can

'4



AN ACRID LANDLADY

see it now which contained about a gill of
oil. My instructions were to bolt the front
door, and, with the aid of this lamp, light my-
self up to my room. If I lingered in my prep-
arations for bed my light went out.

But I soon changed that. I provided myself
with sperm candles, and, after carefully lock-
ing the door, I produced them from their hiding-
place and lighted up. If my old chatelaine had
ever discovered this, my tenure would have
been brief, for she would have expected to be
burned in her bed.

Many a night did I light my fire and candles,
draw my little table up beside my bed, and
ensconce myself therein and study, and I was
never burned.

Slowly my tiny tyrant softened toward me.
Once, when I had a severe cold, she sent my
breakfast up to me. I could not have been
more astonished if it had rained larks! Grad-
ually this delightful innovation became a habit.
Then there began to appear a tiny tray con-
taining a little luncheon, flanking the little
japanned tin lamp.

Gradually I found myself admitted to the
15



ROSE EYTINGE

kitchen on baking-days, and when Christmas
goodies were in course of preparation I was
permitted to help prepare the fruit and beat
the eggs.

Then there came a tremendous proposal. I
was to give up acting and come and live with
my old friend indeed she had proved her-
self a true friend and be her foster-daughter
and help her conduct the boarding-house,
and when she died it, and all else she was pos-
sessed of, should be mine. When I declined
this offer she did not resent my decision, but to
the last was my dear, kind, if somewhat sharp
and acrid friend.



16



CHAPTER III

OLD-TIME STARS JULIA DEAN CHARLOTTE CRAMPTON
ADA CLARE BOHEMIA

VERY hard I had to work to support the stars
that came in a steady procession to the Green
Street Theatre. Among them I remember
Julia Dean, surely one of "the sweetest women
e'er drew breath." It seemed to be a sort of
benediction when she leaned over and fixed
her soft, gentle eyes upon one.

Greater than all the rest was Mrs. Shaw. She
was very beautiful, with a grand, stately sort
of beauty, and a voice like the rich tones of an
organ. Never shall I forget her, as she stood
like an empress, her exquisitely moulded arm
extended, and exclaimed: "On your lives, I
charge ye, bring Huon back to me!"

Then there were old Peter Richings, pompous
and puffy, and his "daughter Caroline," self-
contained and supercilious, but a sweet, highly-
cultivated woman, and, notwithstanding the

'7




ROSE EYTINGE

arduous nature of her profession, a most ac-
complished needlewoman.

Among others were William Goodall,who shone
upon the dramatic firmament like a meteor,
and died all too young; Edward Eddy, so many
years "the darling of the gods"; J. J. Proctor;
Mr. and Mrs. Edmund Connor; Maggie Mit-
chell, and many others whose names I cannot
now recall.

I kept up with this procession of stars, sup-
porting them; and the study and preparation
of my costumes, all of which I made myself,
made the work very hard ; but I was very happy
in it, and everybody praised me, and surely the
strongest incentive to work is praise.

Of course I had my troubles. I remember one
a fright anent Charlotte Crampton, a great
actress, and a brilliant, great-hearted woman,
but very excitable and apt to be carried to ex-
tremes in her acting by giving too full scope
to her emotions. In her repertory there was
a melodrama in which she played a wronged
and neglected wife, and I the siren who was the
occasion of her grief. The third act closed
with my death at her hands in a very realistic

18



CHARLOTTE CRAMPTON

fashion. I, in white, was awaiting her hus-
band. Enter to me Charlotte, in black, and in
a rage. A stormy scene followed, which cul-
minated in her producing a carving-knife and
cutting my throat, the blood spurting over my
white gown, and she standing over me in tri-
umph. When, at rehearsal, Miss Crampton
demanded a real carving-knife, there was a very
vigorous demur on the part of the stage-man-
ager, but the star insisted. I was not afraid.
But when at night Charlotte entered, her eyes
afire, and her frame trembling with emotion, I
confess to some tremors, and when, after being
flung to the floor, I saw this woman with blaz-
ing eyes, standing over me brandishing that
dreadful knife, I uttered a shriek and knew
no more.

I also met Ada Clare. How beautiful she was !
When she came I knew nothing of the circum-
stances, but I afterward learned that it was the
result of a proposition from her to join the com-
pany on trial. She selected for her appearance
a farce, "The Pet of the Petticoats," I think,
she playing Virginie. I believe she made this
selection because it was a French dialect part.

19



ROSE EYTINGE

She went to the theatre directly on the morning
of her arrival in the town, but as I did not
reach the theatre until after she had left it, I
missed seeing her for the present. However,
I found the company entire there, and they
amused themselves by proceeding to "take a
rise'' out of me. They told me, among many
other things of like sort, which I cannot now re-
member, that I had better go at once and ob-
tain a willow wreath to wear in place of the
crown which I had just lost. My reign was
over. The girl who had just arrived was a
much prettier girl than I ; was fair, with golden
hair; clever far more clever than I was; and
so amiable; not a bit saucy, etc.

I remember that I held my own fairly well
during this fusillade, and though in my heart
I felt many a qualm, I opposed a bold front to
their attacks. I perched upon a table that hap-
pened to have been left on the stage, and there
I sat and swung my legs, and, with a saucy
assumption of indifference, flung defiance at
them. But I am afraid it was very poor coun-
terfeiting. In my heart I was sadly frightened
and cast down. I loved those folk, and I be-

20



ADA CLARE

lieve that they loved me. I would have been
very sorry to have found myself supplanted in
their admiration or good will.

At night I saw Ada Clare, who was all and
more than they had said, and then, as through-
out my life, I have always done, I prostrated
myself before the altar of beauty. So far from
feeling envious of her, I gave her my warmest


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Online LibraryRose EytingeThe memories of Rose Eytinge : being recollections & observations of men, women, and events, during half a century → online text (page 1 of 14)