Page images
PDF
EPUB

80

LOGAN AND THE HIGHWAYMEN.

on the stage was due to the invention of the costumer. It represented—by dresses worn by a number of young men and women-a whole pack of cards; with the four queens, the four kings, the jacks, all the different suits, spades, clubs, diamonds, and finally the large spade ace. It was very curious; the costumes being peculiarly quaint. The effect was heightened by these people dancing in such a manner as to represent shufiling the whole pack together, then suddenly breaking into groups of all one suit -clubs in one, spades in another, hearts in another, and diamonds in another.

The idea which many people entertain, that the "jewels” worn on the stage are of great value, has led to many unpleasant results for actors. It seems absurd that any one should imagine an actor's costumes and jewels to be of the fabulous value of the kings' and queens' who are represented as wearing them; but my father used to tell the story of an attack which was once made upon him, brought op by this delusion.

He was traveling about the country giving theatrical performances in various towns, and journeying of course by stage coach.

A band of highwaymen, seeing his large chests, his numberless trunks, boxes and baskets, conceived the idea that any body traveling with such an amount of baggage must be loaded down with wealth, and the trunks crmamed full of silver ware.

So in one of the lonely mountain gorges of Pennsylvania, and just as the night was falling, five ruffians with clubs attacked the coach.

My father and mother were alone, the rest of the company having gone ahead.

The driver seemed inclined to side with the ruffians, hoping of course to share the booty; but my father had no mind that things should take this turn.

THE CROWN ROBBERS.

81

Quick as thought he drew a stage sword from its scabbard, and being an admirable fencer, attacked his assailants in earnest.

The old sword was dirty and rusty ; but my father's determined air, his dexterity in the handling of what seemed to them a dangerous weapon, soon scattered the vagabonds, and prevented no doubt, robbery if not murder.

It would have been an amusing scene to witness the consternation of the robbers if they had succeeded in capturing the trunks. Instead of finding silver ware or other valuables they would have been amazed at the sight of a lot of musty wardrobe, old stage traps, some faded scenery -the whole utterly valueless except to a party of traveling actors.

Many years ago, while a theatrical company were playing at a State Fair, in a certain town in New York State, the leading actress in the company was awakened at dead of night by the sound of some one breaking into her room.

She awoke and gave the alarm, and two fellows, who confessed their felonious intentions, were captured.

They said they had seen the actress wear a sparkling crown on her head during the performance at the theatre, and believing it to be set with jewels of untold value, they resolved to steal it, and become as rich as princes by its sale.

The crown was made of bits of burnished lead and glass beads, and was worth about half a dollar !

These fellows were as stupid as a brace of robbers whose exploit was the town-talk while I was in London a few years ago.

An English lady of rank, returning from the Continent, had her trunk placed on top of a cab, got inside, and was driven home.

When she arrived there she found the trunk which contained the family jewels had been stolen.

82

PLAY-ACTOR'S TRASH.

In vain the London detectives searched every jewelry shop, and questioned every jewel merchant, not in England alone but in all Europe—the missing valuables were not to be found.

At length, one day, jewels which corresponded to the description, were found at an old clo' shop in one of the most miserable streets in London.

They were seized, and the thieves detected and brought to justice—a man and a woman. They confessed to have stolen the trunk, and said they had sold the "jewelry" for a pound-five dollars—to the old clothes dealer aforesaid.

When asked how they could have been so foolish as to sell nearly a hundred thousand dollars' worth of diamonds for five dollars—they opened their eyes in sorrowful wonder.

“Why, yer honor," answered the man, "we never thought for a minute as how they were real jewels; just thought the lady was some play actor woman, and that the whole lot wasn't worth but a few shillings."

Strange to say the old clo' man never suspected his fortune either, but bought and offered for sale some of the most celebrated jewels in Europe, under the belief that they were “play actors' trash.”

When I was fulfilling a round of theatrical engagements in the Southwest, during the war, I was compelled by “military necessity” to pack up my jewels and send them to Cincinnati.

Of course there were a number of stage trinkets in the bag, as well as some little jewelry of real value, but as it happened a fabulous idea had got afloat of the value of my little trinkets, and I was offered large sums for the carpet sack “just as it stood,” after I had packed it to send it to Cincinnati.

“I'll give you ten thousand dollars for it without opening it,” said one gentleman. “I want those ear-rings for

good

my wife.”

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

“No," I answered, “no; those things were given me in France, and I shouldn't like to part with them.”

"Are the ear-rings in here?"
“ Yes," I answered.
"And the bracelet ?"
“Yes.”
“Fifteen thousand—will you ?"

“No, no," I answered; and the matter ended. I couldn't help laughing, for truly I might have made a sharp bargain if I had wished. Somebody would have been sold, and that somebody not myself.

I returned to Cincinnati after my trip to Nashville, and there found my effects awaiting me, in good order. One day, in the Burnet House, I was accosted by a pleasantlooking gentleman, who informed me that he had taken charge of the bag from Louisville to Cincinnati.

“Did not Mr. — send it by express ?” I asked. .

“No. I was coming up, and he thought it best to entrust it to me.”

“I am very much obliged to you,” I said.

“Indeed, you have cause to be," he replied goodnaturedly. “I give you my word, it's the last time I'll have on my mind the charge of fifty thousand dollars’ worth of diamonds."

I thought of the story of the three black crows. How many crows was this?

84

MAKING UP THE FACE.

CHAPTER IX.

Making up the Face.—Ristori's Skill in this Subtle Art.-Painting Age

and Youth on the Same Face.-Easier to Paint Old than to Paint Young.–Tracing the Lines of Sorrow, Suffering and Despair.—Daubing with Chalk and Rouge.-A Lover's Disappointment.—How the Artist Rothermel Changed Me from a Young Woman into an Old One in Five Minutes.-Instructions in the art of Making Up.—Coloring for Indians, Negroes, etc.—Magic Effects of Actors by Removing Color while Playing a Part.—Making Up the Figure.-Old-fashioned Ideas on the Subject.—The Modern Triumphs of the Padmaker.—How Bandy Legs are Made Shapely, Thin Legs Plump, and Ugly Forms Beautiful.

To “make up the face" is one of the subtlest arts of the actor.

Who that has witnessed the acting of Ristori in Queen Elizabeth, but will remember how from act to act she visibly grew older and older before our eyes! Not only by voice and manner and gait was this change effected; but her face, bright and joyous at the beginning of the play, became gradually wrinkled, pale and careworn; her hair grew grayer and grayer; until, at last, as she lay on the couch representing the dying Queen, she seemed reduced to a skeleton, and livid as a corpse.

This was brought about solely by her perfect knowledge of how to make up the face.

I was behind the scenes of the French Theatre in New York one night when Ristori was playing Elizabeth, and when I came to look closely at her face it seemed a meaningless mass of white and black marks, with deep dashes of red under the eyes; but at one step off the effect was wonderful.

It is easier to make up the face to look old than to look young; nevertheless a careful mingling of pink for the cheek, white for the forehead, black for the eyebrows, and

« PreviousContinue »