Prince of Players: Edwin Booth

Prince of Players: Edwin Booth

Prince of Players: Edwin Booth

Prince of Players: Edwin Booth


My father, in his habit as he liv'd .

Hamlet, Act III, scene 4

LATE IN the 1840's a middle-aged man and a boy, the one obviously in the care of the other, could be seen occasionally weaving through the streets of one of the eastern cities, New York or Philadelphia or Richmond. It was the boy who led; the lurching, grizzled man who followed. This, combined with the man's look of being somebody and the exceptional beauty of the dark-haired, anxious-eyed child, made passers-by stare. One would ask another : "Who's that?"

"Don't you recognize him? It's Mr. Booth. Junius Brutus Booth. He's drunk again."

"And the boy?"

"That's his son Edwin."

More than twenty years earlier Junius Brutus Booth had made his home in the wooded country north of Baltimore. He was in pursuit of solitude. First he bought his land, or rather, leased it for a thousand years (which would last his time!), having made sure that it included a spring of sweet water. Then he . . .

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