VIII.
ON JEFFERSON'S ACTING.

FIFTY years from now the historian of the American stage, if he should be asked to name the actor of this period who was most beloved by the people of this generation, will answer that it was Joseph Jefferson. Other actors of our time are famous, and they possess in various degrees the affection of the public. Jefferson is not only renowed but universally beloved. To state the cause of this effect is at once to explain his acting and to do it the honour to which it is entitled. That cause can be stated in a single sentence. Jefferson is at once a poetic and a human actor, and he is thus able to charm all minds and to win all hearts. His success, therefore, is especially important not to himself alone but to the people.

Public taste is twofold. It has a surface liking, and it has a deep, instinctive, natural preference. The former is alert, capricious,

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