The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

of Lionel, Ethel, and John Barrymore, all accounts recorded that
she was an incomparable Mrs. Malaprop.
In its appraisal of the play, the Post found the support fairly
strong. Rose Wood was charming as Lydia Languish; Lillian Lee
"piquant" as Lucy; Charles Waverly, although good as Sir Lucius
O'Trigger, was not enough of an Irishman to satisfy the demands
of the role; Harry Taylor was splendid as Captain Absolute; and
Frederick Robinson as Sir Anthony did "as fine a piece of comic
old man's acting as our two eyes ever rested on." Jefferson closed
his visit with a performance of Rip Van Winkle, a character
which he had at that time portrayed upwards of four thousand
times.
James O'Neill made his Houston debut in Charles Fechter's
version of The Count of Monte Cristo on December 28, 1885.
The company carried its own accessories, including scenery and
calcium lights, and staged the play with great elaborateness.
O'Neill was seen as a graceful, polished, and picturesque delinea-
tor of the great romantic creation of Dumas pdre. The talented
actor was surprisingly natural, too, considering the excess of
sentiment his role demanded. It was perhaps the prison scene
of the Chateau d'If, beautiful in its mechanical effect, and the
bewildering fashion in which Dantes escaped from prison that
made the greatest impression on the audience. "The whole play,"
declared the Post, "is presented with a regard to detail in costume,
properties, and scenery rarely seen in a travelling company." It
was remarkable also that O'Neill's stage manager found no dif-
ficulty in setting up his mechanical wonders and elaborate sets
on the small Pillot stage. Houstonians were gratified to feel that
the actor was letting them see him in the same setting in which he
appeared in the larger cities of the country.
Almost a year later O'Neill was back in the city to give another
splendidly staged version of Monte Cristo.
Bear witness, Nortier, that I grant the honor of a duel to this viper,
whom I have a right to crush beneath my heels. It is he, the serpent
who has embittered all these lives, all these honors. Dangler, your
time has come. You're going to die.
"The cruder mind," observed the Post of this latter presenta-

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed November 24, 2014.