Memories of a Hostess: A Chronicle of Eminent Friendships, Drawn Chiefly from the Diaries of Mrs. James T. Fields

By M. A. Dewolfe Howe | Go to book overview

VI
STAGE FOLK AND OTHERS

HAD anyone crossed the Charles Street threshold of the Fieldses with the expectation of encountering within none but the New England Augustans, he would soon have found himself happily disillusioned, even at a time when there was no Dickens in Boston. As it was in reality, so must it be in these pages, if they are to fulfill their purpose of restoring a vanished scene, the variety of which must indeed be counted among its most distinctive characteristics. The pages that follow will accordingly serve to illustrate the familiar fact that the pudding of a "family party" is often rendered the more acceptable by the introduction of a few plums not plucked from the domestic tree.

Mrs. Fields once noted in her diary the circumstance that, when her husband came to Boston from Portsmouth at the age of fourteen, and began to work as a "boy" in the bookshop of Carter & Hendee, the second of these employers had a box at the theatre and, to keep his young employees happy, used constantly to ask one or more of them to see a play in his company. Thus enabled in his youth to see such actors as the elder Booth, Fanny Kemble and her father, and many others of the best players to be seen in America at the time, Fields acquired a love of the theatre and of stage folk which stood him in good stead throughout his life. A

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Memories of a Hostess: A Chronicle of Eminent Friendships, Drawn Chiefly from the Diaries of Mrs. James T. Fields
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • I - Preliminary 3
  • II - The House and the Hostess 6
  • III - Dr. Holmes, the Friend and Neighbor 17
  • IV - Concord and Cambridge Visitors 53
  • V - With Dickens in America 135
  • VI - Stage Folk and Others 196
  • VII - Sarah Orne Jewett 281
  • Index 307
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