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'Shade of Vitruvius!" cries Mathews, "was this architecture?" And there was for him obviously but one answer, to be returned sooner or later.

It was returned the sooner that financial difficulties had begun to gather round the elder Mathews. Unfortunate speculations in which the old man had embarked, together with a course of bad seasons, had brought him to the verge of bankruptcy, and the younger Mathews found the money question affecting him in new shapes. It became necessary that he should at once earn something more respectable than the forty pounds a year collected in "fees." The stage, so long loved and coquetted with, was the most obvious resource, and after a short preliminary campaign as joint manager of the Adelphi with his father's old partner, Frederick Yates, he enrolled himself as a member of the Olympic Company under Madame Vestris, and made his first appearance as a recognized "professional" on the evening of the 6th of November, 1835. It is to be remembered that he was now thirtytwo years of age.

"I come now," says Mathews, "to the second part of my career, and I must confess I feel no small difficulty respecting it. I am aware that it is delicate ground I am entering on, and whether it can be made interesting or not is still to be ascertained. The poetry of my life is over, and I commence the prose; and, if I can not make it amusing, I will at least try and make it instructive by offering an illustration of the old quotation, Facilis descensus Averni,' and showing how easy are the stages by which a man may descend from the airy empyrean of poetry, music, and painting to the heavy slough of pounds, shillings, and pence." How heavy this slough proved, and for how long it was to be borne, is shown by the ominous heading of chapter three of the second volume-" Difficulties 18351858"-twenty-three years, that is to say, of incessant labor and struggle. The precise defects in Mathews's character or ability as an administrator, which led to these difficulties, are not, of course, set forth in these volumes. Probably he was himself unaware of them, and in any case it is not likely he would have discussed them with the public.

Theatrical management is one of the uncertain things of the world besides demanding a special aptitude on the part of those who embark in it. Mathews and his wife (for he married Madame Vestris in 1838) were certainly successful at the outset, and this success may have encouraged a policy of laisser-aller. They visited America, leaving the Olympic to shift for itself, and Madame Vestris on her return was obliged to admit, in addressing her audience, that the


degree of patronage accorded to her theatre during her absence was more flattering to her vanity than calculated to fill her treasury. This temporary drawback led to the managers taking a step, by way of recouping their losses, which plunged them into further difficulties, extending over all the rest of Mathews's managerial life. They migrated from the Olympic to Covent Garden, a house with a bad name for tempting on and then wrecking theatrical argosies. They opened with " Love's Labor's Lost," a play which his company had never acted or seen acted, and which proved a complete failure. And now began the struggle against pecuniary difficulty. Money had to be procured at all hazards, and by every means, to prop up the concern till this new mine could be worked, and I was initiated for the first time in my life into all the mysteries of the money-lending art, and the concoction of those fatal instruments of destruction called bills of exchange. Duns, brokers, and sheriff's officers soon entered upon the scene, and I, who had never known what pecuniary difficulty meant, and had never had a debt in my life before, was gradually drawn into the inextricable vortex of involvement-a web which once thrown over a man can seldom be thrown off again." One of the most interesting portions of these reminiscences-because the most real and unaffectedconsists of a record of the struggles of this unfortunate time, and the shifts and appliances to which Mathews had to have recourse. The following account of an interview with a moneylender is only, Mathews declares, a fair sample of many others, and is in no respect over-colored:

Even the borrowing money at sixty per cent. is not so easy an operation as some people may think, not unattended with risk and worry, worse even than the frightful percentage. When not compelled to take a portion of it in wine or paving-stones, the getting the money when you want it is by no means so simple. I remember after a week or two of very hot weather, and consequent empty benches, I had occasion to borrow a couple of hundred pounds to patch up the Saturday's treasury. I applied to a professional discounter on the Wednesday.

"Ah, Mr. Mathews! How d'ye do, Mr. Mathews? Glad to see you. Have a glass of sherry?" "No, thank you. I want a couple of hundred pounds to-morrow."

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Look in at twelve
Do have a glass

"All right, Mr. Mathews. to-morrow and I'll have it ready. of sherry."

Without the slightest belief in any such promptitude, I looked in at twelve-one of his great points being to have my carriage drive up to his door as often as possible, that his neighbors might see his importance.

"Well, Mr. Mathews, I find I can't manage the two hundred pounds. I can only let you have one hundred and fifty. I had no idea I was so short at my banker's-account actually overdrawn. But I've got a friend to do it for you-it's all the same." Sheridan's "unconscionable dog" of a friend was always sure to figure in. "He'll be here directly. Bless me! How long he is! Have a glass of sherry? Are you going back to the theatre? I'll bring him with me in half an hour."

The day passes, of course, and no sign of either my friend or my friend's friend. This is Thursday. On Friday the same scene.

"Didn't come till too late-but all right. You don't want it till to-morrow, you know. What's your treasury hour?"


"Yes; but I only get seven pounds odd." "Never mind-keeps all square. Now the hundred pounds. Here's a check of Gribble and Company on Lloyd's for twenty-five pounds ten shillings."

"Oh, what's the use of a check at this time of night?"

"Good as the bank-same as money-you can pay it as money. Fifty sovereigns makes seventyfive pounds ten shillings, and a ten-pound note makes eighty-five pounds ten shillings. Stay, it ought to be ninety-five pounds ten shillings. Oh, here's another ten-pound note, I'd forgot. There you are, ninety-five pounds ten shillings. Only wants four pounds ten shillings to make up the hundred.-You haven't got four pounds ten shillings about you, have you, Mr. Mathews, you could lend me till the morning, just to get it straight, you know?"

"I believe I have. There are four sovereigns and ten shillings in silver."

"That's all right; four pounds makes ninetynine pounds ten shillings, and ten shillings-stop, let's count them-count after your own father, as the saying is-five and four's nine, and the three fourpenny pieces: all right. Stop, one's a threepenny. Got a penny? or a post-office stamp? Never mind, I There you

"Be here at twelve and it shall be ready." Saturday at twelve. "Here I am according to won't be hard upon you for the penny. appointment." are, all comfortable. Good evening."

"All right, Mr. Mathews. Have a glass of sherry? My nephew Dick has gone to the City for the check."

I paid away the check "as money." Two days afterward I got an indignant note to say the check had been dishonored. In high dudgeon I sent for my friend the discounter. To my surprise he apI'll be with you as the clock peared with the greatest alacrity.

"But it is past one now." "You go on. strikes two."

Two, three, four o'clock, and no signs of the money, the salaries remaining unpaid to the amount promised. Then a note to say he will be with me at six to the moment. At seven, just as I am going on the stage, in he comes breathless.

"Such a job Dick's had for you, Mr. Mathews! However, here I am with the money. My friend disappointed me, but I managed without him. My nephew will read over the warrant of attorney."

"But I'm just going on the stage; there's no time now."

“Won't take five minutes.—Dick, read the warrant.-Now here is the money. Now, let's see fifteen pounds left off the old account."

"Oh, pray, don't deduct that now!"

Better, Mr. Mathews, better-keeps all square, you know that fifteen pounds. Then the interest, three months, seventeen pounds ten shillings and fifteen pounds-thirty-two pounds ten shillings. Warrant of attorney, seven pounds ten shillings-that's forty pounds. Then my nephew's fee, one pound one shilling, and my trouble, say one pound-forty

two pounds one shilling. Here's fifteen shillings

-that's forty-two pounds sixteen shillings.-Dick, have you got four shillings?"

"I've got three shillings and sixpence." "That will do. I've got sixpence-that's fortythree pounds; and seven pounds cash makes the fifty pounds."

"Not paid! Gribble's check not paid! Some mistake-it's as good as the bank. Here, give it me. I'll get it for you in five minutes. How long shall you be here?" "An hour."

"I'll be back in twenty minutes."

Need I say that I never saw anything more of my friend or the check? He had totally disappeared, with the only proof against him safe in his pocket.

The difficulties pursued him to the smaller theatre, the Lyceum, which was his next venture; and in spite of his own unfailing popularity, both as an actor and a man-in spite of such great hits as the "Game of Speculation," and the famous extravaganzas of M. Planché, with Mr. Beverley's scenery-he never succeeded in getting into smooth water. The Lyceum season of 1854-55 came to an untimely end in March, and, in a farewell address to the public, Charles Mathews, announcing his inability to face any longer the difficulties of his position, took leave

for ever of the cares of management. The measure of his distress was not, however, yet full. In the following year, while fulfilling an engagement at Preston, in Lancashire, he was arrested by a sheriff's officer on a debt of four hundred pounds. With curious malignity the creditor had instruct

ed the officer to make the arrest at the exact moment when the large audience had actually assembled, and the curtain was waiting to rise. The account of the arrest, and the imprisonment of Mathews in Lancaster Castle, is one of the most graphic passages in his autobiography, and shows the writer to have had literary gifts which would have served him in excellent stead in other walks of life. For this we must be content to refer the reader to the volumes themselves.

If this was the crowning disaster of Mathews's life, it was also the final one. Once more freed, and now wholly, from the burden of the past, and having renounced management for ever, the remainder of his life is a continuous record of professional success, and the content that belongs to easy circumstances. He had in the mean time married again, and the new alliance was as helpful to him, by his own cordial acknowledgment, in the business part of his career, as in other ways. "With his second marriage Mathews brings his autobiography to an end, and there are no signs among his papers of any intention of resuming it. Probably he felt that the story of the rest of his life—at all events as to its private side—would have but little general interest. The romance of youth and of adventure was finished. The interesting and curious train of circumstances which gradually transformed the clever, versatile, eager young man into the accomplished actor and the self-possessed man of the world, had been developed to its end. There was no longer any excuse for associating Mathews himself with the Puffs, the Affable Hawks, or any of the host of reckless characters he personated so admirably. Sir Charles Coldstream was un homme rangé." So writes Mr. Dickens, and with chapter four of the second volume romance and adventure are at an end. But the remainder of the volume is by no means without interest. It contains a record, peculiarly instructive at the present moment, when the visit of the Comédie Française is fresh in our memories, of the foolish and malignant opposition to the similar visit of a French company-the Théâtre Historique-in 1848. The story was worth telling, if only to remind us of the more cordial understanding between artists of different nations that thirty years have brought about. It has for its pleasant sequel in Mr. Dickens's narrative the account of Mathews's professional engagement in Paris in the year 1863, when he appeared with undisputed success at the Théâtre des Variétés, in a French version of Mr. Blanchard Jerrold's farce, "Cool as a Cucumber." The triumph was so unequivocal that in the following year he made the still bolder attempt of playing a character originally created by a French comedian, Arnal, that of the hero of "L'Homme blasé "—the original of the

English "Used up." Mathews's long tour in Australia and America-another series of successes-in 1870 and 1871, fills another interesting chapter, and the concluding five years of his life is the simple record of unvarying professional success in all parts of his native country. Mathews had been from the first day he went on the stage the most hard-working of artists. It had always been his wish that he should die in harness, and the wish was granted. It was while fulfilling an engagement in Lancashire that an attack of bronchitis-he was now seventy-five years of age-at last overcame the stubborn resistance of a naturally splendid constitution. He died at Manchester on the 24th of June, 1878.

To the second volume Mr. Dickens has most judiciously appended a series of Mathews's most characteristic speeches. He was an excellent speaker-bright, humorous, and effective. Perhaps the one that will be read with most pleasure and surprise is that delivered at a dinner given in Montreal in celebration of the Walter Scott Centenary in 1871. Mathews was on his AustralianAmerican tour just referred to, and was playing at Montreal at the time. It was remembered that when a boy he had enjoyed the personal friendship of Sir Walter, and he was accordingly invited to preside at the dinner, and propose the toast of the evening. He accomplished the task with admirable tact and skill. Every side of Mathews's unique versatility comes out in it in turn. The enthusiasm for Scott as a writer which he exhibits is unquestionably real, but he does not forget to bind up with it the element, personal to himself and to his fellow actors, of Scott's intimate love for the stage and all connected with it; and he found a happy climax to the speech in the circumstance that it was on an occasion of special interest to that profession that Scott first publicly divulged the authorship of the Waverley novels.

The incident just recorded seems to us to be connected, by no means remotely, with the higher qualities of Mathews as an actor, and the position he occupied for so many years on the English stage. That position was an exceptional one, and arose out of exceptional circumstances. The short summary of his life just given may serve to show that his actual advantages of mind and person, and his many and varied natural accomplishments, were not more remarkable than the preliminary training which he undesignedly received from the circumstances of his early manhood. It must never be overlooked, in trying to estimate the groove within which his artistic powers so easily learned to move, that Mathews did not adopt the stage as a profession till he was over thirty years of age, a time when most actors have been ten years in the arduous pursuit of its

earlier phases. He came to the profession, that is to say, without having served the usual apprenticeship. For him there was no probationary period of two years in the provinces at two guineas a week. But he had served another apprenticeship of a most valuable kind. He had had a gentleman's education; he had mixed with men of all classes, including the leading fashionable society of the day. He had been the favored friend and companion of aristocratic circles. His accomplishments had had full play as an amateur. He could write, and sing, and draw, and act better than most amateurs. He had studied one art at least with zeal, if not with much chance of attaining ultimate excellence. It was natural therefore that after a few experiments he should settle down into that line of character which circumstances had best prepared him for. His natural advantages were quite remarkable. He had, in his prime, the pleasantest face, the most agreeable voice, the most attractive figure, of any actor of his day. It was a distinct and undeniable pleasure even to look at Charles Mathews. And even before he was seen, when his voice was heard behind the scenes rattling off some introductory phrases before entering on the stage, the spectator was aware of an actual feeling of exhilaration. He was too much of an artist, and too well acquainted with the manners that please, to play at the audience. He never "mugged at the pit" as we once heard him warn Whiskerandos against doing, in the second act of "The Critic." But he had a way of letting the audience "catch his eye" every now and then, in a good-humored, apologetic sort of way that was irresistibly captivating. It was not strange that, being a delightful figure in a drawing-room, he should prefer to remain such, and to present for the rest of his life innumerable phases of the same thing. A disparaging remark of one of his Australian auditors is preserved for us in the memoir. The critic, who had seen other performers in Mathews's favorite parts, did not at all take to the original representative when he appeared. "He is not half as good as the old man," said this worthy citizen; "he does not act a bit. It is only like a gentleman walking about a drawing-room." This is in substance only a repetition of the famous criticism of Partridge upon Garrick's "Hamlet." The performance was so true to life, that the critic could not allow that it deserved the name of acting at all. The proper reply to the Melbourne gentleman's criticism would have been to ask him in turn whether he had ever in his life seen any other actor who did look like “a gentleman walking about a drawing-room." It was the rarity, quite as much as the perfection, of this gift in Mathews which accounted for his popularity.

His very

But, again, he was popular as a man. "difficulties" won him sympathy, and that pity which is akin to personal affection. It was known for years that he was entangled in money troubles, and all the time he was seen to be the most industrious of contributors to the public amusement, acting often in two or three pieces the same evening-acting audiences "in," and acting them "out"—and with the most imperturbable good humor and unflagging spirit. Like Falstaff, "he turned diseases to commodity." His very circumstances were taken advantage of by cunning play-writers and adapters to give a piquant interest to his representation of different characters upon the stage. The character of Mr. Affable Hawk in "The Game of Speculation "—one of the finest of his impersonations—owed unquestionably some of its attractiveness to the coincidences, actual or at least generally accepted, between the circumstances of the character and those of its representative. Mathews himself came to make humorous capital out of his own embarrassments. When he addressed the audience at his farewell benefit, before leaving England on his Australian tour, he called attention to the fact that the performance had been announced without the aid of any advertising; not a single bill or placard had been employed. "Now, this," he said, “ladies and gentlemen, is a step in the right direction. Time was when my bills were flying all over the town," and we well remember with what an instantaneous burst of appreciation the allusion was received by the entire house. Twenty years before this he was making the same kind of allusion, and taking the public into the same kind of friendly confidence. In a letter to the newspapers (not reproduced in Mr. Dickens's volumes), he once had to defend himself against a criticism that had been passed on his spelling of the name "Methuselah" in one of his own comedies, we believe “The Ringdoves." After gravely maintaining his position on philological grounds, he added words to this effect, "and I think my opinion on the point is entitled to some respect from the long and intimate connection I have had with the Jews." There were times, however, when the flavor of insolvency that had gathered about his name could not have been altogether pleasant to him. When he was returning to London after his week in Lancaster Castle, he overheard a conversation between two passengers in the same carriage, who did not recognize their traveling companion. "That is where Charley Mathews is confined," said one of them, pointing to the castle-walls. "Really!" said a sympathizing lady; "poor fellow!" "Poor fellow!" rejoined the jolly gentleman, with a gingerbread-nut in his mouth, "not at all. He revels in it. Lord bless you,

he has been in every prison in England!" "I need not say," adds Mathews, who tells the story, "that I did not immediately introduce myself." There was thus a kind of foregone sympathy, not perhaps of the most elevating kind, between Mathews and his public, and this must have contributed to the long and uninterrupted course of his popularity.

There is still more to be said, however, on the side of his Australian critic. "Actor"-in the sense of one who is able to merge his own individuality in very different types of existence Charles Mathews certainly was not. Within their range his powers were consummate, but that range was, when all is said, exceedingly narrow. It certainly was an extreme case of the triumph of "quality" over "amount." He had, as Sarcey said of him when he played in Paris, "un naturel exquis, et une incroyable finesse," and this carried him triumphantly through a long series of characters for the most part identical in their features. Mathews himself thoroughly understood within what boundaries his capacity lay, and he was seldom tempted to stray beyond them. He certainly knew as well as his best critics in what qualities he was wholly deficient. "No good actor I have ever seen," says Mr. G. H. Lewes," was so utterly powerless in the manifestation of all the powerful emotions: rage, scorn, pathos, dignity, vindictiveness, tenderness, and wild mirth are all beyond his means. He can not even laugh with animal heartiness. He sparkles, he never explodes." Many of these emotions, we may add, if he did not possess the power of expressing, were hardly necessary for any form of high comedy; but some of them, notably pathos and tenderness, were terribly conspicuous by their absence, and more than any other of Mathews's natural deficiencies served to keep his range narrow. Pathos, in particular, he so little understood, that he evidently shrank from its portrayal with something of pain. We remember, for example, his performance of the bachelorfriend, the roaming man of the world who brings such disquiet to the old couple in their country home, in "A Cozy Couple," the Lyceum version of Octave Feuillet's "Le Village." As long as he was chattering about the delightful independence of foreign travel, and rallying his friends upon their Darby and Joan existence, he was excellent as usual; but when at the end he had to relate how he was once laid by with fever, in a lonely foreign village, and what different feelings coursed through his mind at that time, we remember how he slurred over what might have been the most charming situation in the comedy, leaving an impression of being utterly uncomfortable, and thankful when the episode was at an end. It is this defect in particular which pre

vents our instituting any comparison between Mathews and some renowned comedians of the present day upon the French stage, especially that delightful artist, M. Delaunay, with whom we have lately been enabled to renew our acquaintance. In many natural gifts of face, figure, and the graces of movement, these two actors were well matched, but the points of likeness are soon exhausted. Of intensity, Charles Mathews knew nothing: nor can it be fairly said that he was a poetical actor in any real sense. If his acting was akin to any form of poetry, it was to that which the French call "vers de société "; but even here we can hardly admit the comparison, for at least since Praed and Thackeray have written we can not think of this form of lyric verse apart from tenderness and the charm of sadness.

But, after all, a great actor is to be judged by his strong and not by his weak points, and Mathews's contributions to the advance of his art are tangible enough. He owed it to his early training amid beautiful sights and sounds, amid the landscapes of Italy and the undying forms of beauty which he went there to study, that he was able to be the first to bring artistic considerations to bear on the acting and the mounting of the modern drama. "When I first came upon the stage," he said in one of his many after-dinner speeches, "I found everything conventional. I don't presume to say that I reformed it, but in my own particular, limited line I, for the first time, broke through the old conventionalities, and have lived to see my example followed till they are all nearly, if not quite, exploded." It should never be forgotten what Mathews accomplished in the way of artistic innovation. In costume, scenery, and general appointments, the régime of Mathews and Madame Vestris at the Olympic, Covent Garden, and the Lyceum was memorable, although to Macready belongs the credit of earlier reforms in the same direction. To these two manager-actors we indeed owe it that the acted drama was first made a "thing of beauty" in other respects than those of histrionic excellence, and in this change was involved more than that of the pleasure actually afforded to the audience. It enlarged the scope of the stage's sympathies. It brought into connection with it the other arts, and with this brought artists of all kinds into a new relation with one another—a relation fraught with advantage to all concerned. Side by side with the present memoir of Charles Mathews should certainly be read by those who would properly understand the advance of the acted drama during the last forty years, the memoir and journals of Macready. If only to the student of human nature, Macready's "confessions" are among the most profoundly interest

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