Behind the Scenes with Edwin Booth

By Katherine Molony Goodale | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
A PHOTOGRAPH AT MINNEHAHA FALLS

To break us in for the Chicago engagement, I suppose, we did for the first time the Merchant of Venice, Katherine and Petruchio, and The Fool's Revenge in the Twin Cities.

My dressing-room walls were now decorated with my lovely Jessica costumes, including the boy's dress for the elopement, and the rich costumes for Genevra, wife of Malatesta. But while I shook them out lovingly and gazed at their beauty, Mr. Booth took no notice of them when worn on the stage. He assumed they would be 'right,' with one exception -- my Jewish dress for Jessica.

I told him of digging into rare historical costume books; of Charlie Hawthorne, who had left the stage because of his very genius for designing costumes and was an authority. My Star replied mournfully that he had had all sorts of Jessica costumes foisted upon him, from the spangled gypsy -- tambourine only omitted -- to a complete Goddess of Liberty, wound in tri-color. This seemed a bit stiff, but he said it was so. The gypsy one was the favorite -- the more spangles the better -- for the daughter of Shylock's sober house. Mr. Booth, however, was far from amused. I tried to assure him that I wore neither spangles nor flags as the young Jewish girl. He dropped the subject with an expression that suggested once he had been hopeful, but -- no more.

-42-

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