[Boston—Monday, 21 February 1876]

Monday Evening Feb. 21. Went as chaperone to Miss Lucy Derby my neighbor and her friend Miss Ida Cushman of Philadelphia to see Sotheran in David Garrick. His part and that of the young lady with whom he played, Miss Linda Dietz, were beautifully played. He’s as a man of great talent, perhaps genius would play such a part, her as a girl of taste, refinement and sensibility should play her. We sat in the stage box which he had sent us and we were able to catch his glance which was directed to the box not infrequently. His love-making was a refined and beautiful piece of dramatic art. I sympathised with him however, when he told us afterward at supper, in speaking of vagaries of the mind, that he was always tempted when he came to that quiet passage in the play, to astonish the audience by turning a somersault or two on the stage. It must be a difficult thing to hold an audience and oneself at the right point through such an episode.

Sothern was delightful at supper. He reminded me of Dickens as he always has done. The flashing glance, the clear-cut speech, the love of affects, the keen unobserved study of his companions, the very sound of his laugh, but of course, the measureless tenderness and the unselfish regard of which Dickens was capable and which made him the master that he was can only be known once in a life-time. Sothern amused us infinitely with telling us of his hatreds—“musical boxes and photographs.” These seem to be his red rags.

He gave us a queer tale of his own love of a practical joke. He had invited a friend who was going up to London to some entertainment to go to his Chambers and sleep as he himself had planned just at that moment to be away. He changed his plans however for some good reason and forgetting all about his invitation went to his Chambers to sleep on that particular night when his friend was to take possession. He had gone quietly in at a late hour as was his wont and had just thrown off his coat and collar when he heard a snoring in the inner room. For a moment he was startled, but soon the ludicrousness of the whole thing burst upon him. Putting on his coat once more, he took a huge music box which some misguided friend had given him, wound it up and put it under the bed. It was one of the kind that has hammers and bells and all kinds of noisey accompaniments and soon the thing “went off”. His dramatic representation of the horror of the inhabitant of the bed and his own enjoyment of the joke from behind the door was very queer.

While we were in the hall putting on hats and just as we were ready to leave he said now let us all shout “Good night” in Chorus. So we raised the roof by a simultaneous bang like a midnight gun.

In the morning I had been to the funeral of Charlotte Cushman. A very impressive scene. A vast crowd and a small group of sincere mourners. The music was beautiful and the flowers gorgeous.


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