Each of us has two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, sixteen great-great-grandparents. In every receding generation the number doubles, from thirty-two to sixty-four, then to one hundred and twenty-eight, and so on; so that at the twentieth remove, omitting the factor of intermarriages, one has over a million ancestors! So many threads of nerve thrilling into him out of the dark past! So many invisible rivulets of blood tributary to the ocean of his heart, the collective experiences of all of them latently reported in his structure! His physiological mould and type, his mental biases and passional drifts, his longevity, and other prospective experiences and fate, are the resultant of these combined contributions modified by his own choice and new circumstances. What can be conceived more solemnly impressive, or to us morally more sublime and momentous, than this picture of an immortal personality, isolated in his own responsible thought amidst the universe, but surrounded by the mys
Thou wouldst tear off this sycophantic robe,
tors down. The chosen literary tool of a great tragedian, the newspaper critic who arrogates to represent his interests, very often volunteers services with which his principal has nothing to do. It was so in London while Forrest played in Drury Lane. Macready, Vandenhoff, Charles Kemble, Charles Kean, and Booth all had rival engagements. Three different newspapers were the respective organs of three of these actors. All three agreed in depreciating and abusing the stranger, while each one at the same time spoke with detraction and sneers of the favorites of the other two. While the general press spoke fairly of each performer, and gave Forrest such notices as more than satisfied him and his friends, these special papers indulged in fulsome eulogy of their chosen idol and assailed the others with satire and insult. For example, one writer says of Kean, "He stars in country theatres, where his power of exaggerating the faults of his father's acting gives delight to the unwashed of the gallery, who like handsome dresses, noise, stamping, bustle, and splutter." A second says of Booth, "Bunn, in his drowning desperation, catches at straws. He has put forward Booth, the shadow and foil of Kean in bygone days. His Richard seems to have been a wretched failure." A third says of Macready in Othello, in the scene with Iago and Brabantio, "He comes on the stage with the air of a sentimental negro rehearsing the part of Hamlet." And a fourth characterizes the voice of Macready "as a combination of grunt, guttural, and spasm." After such specimens of "criticism" on their own countrymen, one need not feel surprised to read notices of a foreigner, inspired by the same spirit, like the following from the "Examiner": "Mr. Forrest has appeared in Mr. Howard Payne's foolish compilation called Brutus. This is an American tragedy, and not ill-suited, on the whole, to Mr. Forrest's style. The result was amazingly disagreeable." The animus of such writing is so obvious to every person of insight that it falls short of its mark, and does no injury to the artist ridiculed. The writer shows himself, as one of his contemporaries said, not a critic, but a caviller,â€”a gad-fly of the drama.
Jas. T. Brady,
Finally, they pass the fatal vote, and cry,â€”