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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-01-14 21:41:08
Typefacelarge in Small
[Pg 312]

Concluding his London engagement, Forrest proceeded to the principal cities of the United Kingdom and appeared in his leading rôles, and was uniformly greeted with full houses and unstinted applause. The tone of the press towards him was everywhere highly flattering. At Sheffield in particular his success was great. The dramatic company were as much pleased with him as the audiences were, and took occasion on his closing night to express their sentiment in a manner which gratified him deeply. After the tragedy of Othello, Mr. G. V. Brooke, who had sustained the part of Iago, invited Forrest to meet the theatrical company in the green-room, and, entirely to his surprise, addressed him thus:

"When we are awakened from the dreams of mimic life, so vividly portrayed by histrionic skill, to the fatal realities of life itself, the blow falls with double severity. Such was the effect on Monday evening, when, on the falling of the curtain at the Arch Street Theatre, after the first piece, Mr. Thayer stepped forward, announced the sudden death of Mr. William Forrest, the Manager, and requested the indulgent sympathy of the audience for the postponement of the remaining entertainments. A shock so sudden and so profound it has seldom been our lot to record. Engaged in his duties all the morning, it appeared but a moment since he had been among us, in the full enjoyment of health, when the hand of the unsparing destroyer struck him down. Mr. Forrest was a great and general favorite among his associates, to whom he was endeared by every feeling of kindness and affection. Few possessed a more placid or even disposition, and few won friends so fast and firmly. In his private relations he was equally estimable, and the loss of him as a son and as a brother will be long and severely felt."


[Pg 65]

Another chosen part of Forrest, in which he was received with extraordinary favor, was that of William Tell. This play, like the former, had a basis of untutored love and magnanimity; but the romantic heroism of the character was less remote to the American mind, less strained in ideality, than that of Rolla. The plot was simpler, the language more eloquent, domestic love more prominent, and patriotic enthusiasm more emphatic. In fact, the three constant keys of the action are parental affection, ardent attachment to native land, and the burning passion for liberty, corresponding with three central elements of strength in the personality of the actor now drawn to the part with a hungry instinct.

Himself hath not the manhood to begin.

The wind came roaring,—I have sat and eyed


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