Behind the Scenes with Edwin Booth

By Katherine Molony Goodale | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXVIII
MR. BOOTH BURLESQUES A PART

ON the closing night, Mr. Booth sprang a surprise. He named his impromptu a little wind-up for the Chickens. For once the usually guilty ones were innocent if one discounts their proper appreciation of this unlooked-for good fortune. It was the house that was to blame.

Mr. Booth said he played that night to the coldest audience of his career. I said they sat out there like bumps on a log. Mr. Chase said it was all because they wanted Hamlet. He was rather special about the change of bill being responsible (for my ear alone); so I sniffed that this was not reasonable, for the other towns had hankered after Hamlet, too, but in spite of their disappointment had accepted Richelieu enthusiastically. Far from me to resent that audience for what it did or did not. I blessed those arctic ones out there. Did not Edwin Booth because of them release his genius for cometflights in strange skies -- the very strangest his versatile talents were ever permitted to illuminate?

When Amo came down from her scene with Richelieu, Ido asked why she was 'laughing.'

'Oh, Kitto -- Ido -- his faces! He turned his back to the audience and -- made faces at me! I thought I should die.' She could tell no more; she had to change.

As I mounted the stairs, my hopes ran high. I, too, might have Mr. Booth making faces at me. Then came a damper -- suppose that audience had warmed up by

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