Behind the Scenes with Edwin Booth

By Katherine Molony Goodale | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXVI
WE DINE AT THE CLIFF HOUSE

IT was a far cry from the gossamer threads of the dainty Caprice idyll floating airily and inconsequentially on gentle breezes to the storm-tossed rocky coast of the tragedy, A New Way to Pay Old Debts. Almost from one to the other I went. The chasm between them separated two worlds. Sir Giles Overreach was embodied evil. Mr. Booth revealed that, through his mind the horrid could express itself in completeness.

A New Way to Pay Old Debts had no part for me, so I was able to see from the audience Mr. Booth act a monster. He played Sir Giles but once this season. Mrs. Foster shone as Lady Allworth. I was impressed by the sweetness of her far-reaching voice and truly amazed by her appearance. At close range she was oldish and fat, but from the front as Lady Allworth she was in her prime and most attractive to look at. I liked her voice better than any on the stage except Mr. Booth's -- always except Mr. Booth's -- always!

He did not give the impression of making the least effort to speak loud, yet his lowest tones carried to the limits of the theatre. In his bursts of passion each syllable was distinct. Not anger nor emotion marred his perfect elocution. About me people were saying, as the curtain fell, that his speaking voice gave as much pleasure as a great singer's. One marvelled at its beauty and his diction.

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