Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 5: No 1) >> Tom Horsey and Simms's New Orleans Visits >> Page 7

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Page 7

Secondary Scholarship | 1997
Transcription had fallen.... He rolled and writhed about the stage, keeping up the fight....
It was then that the thought seized suddenly upon me to avail myself of the
particular predicament.... to bring him to an accommodation--to compel him
to my own terms.... how do you think I fixed him?... it was simply to
forbear killing him.... You may imagine the predicament of Richard, half-
dead, and inviting the fatal blow.... He called to me in a hoarse whisper....
`Why the devil don't you play, Horsey?'....
`Look you, Richard,' said I `it was only to-day I asked you for a
matter of seventy dollars to pay off a d--d tailor....'
`Strike on, you d--d fool,' said he.... `What are you talking about?
`Never till you consent to let me have the money. You sha'n't die
by my hands to-night, Richard. I'll leave you half-dead upon the stage....
Will you let me have the money?' `Yes, yes, anything,' was his answer;
`but strike on, the pit is getting impatient.' (BB, 44-45)
Of course Caldwell not only did not let Horsey have the money, but also "added to
the enormity of his conduct by giving [Horsey his] walking ticket."
Simms made a third Southwest trip six years later in 1831, publishing a
series of letters, "Notes of a Small Tourist," one of which comments extensively o
New Orleans. This time he attended both the French and the American theatres,
"with the order, neatness and elegance of the former, so different from the
confusion, bungling and noise, which so interfere with the scene, in ours [the
American]--not to speak of the general respectability and ease of the acting, I wa
highly delighted" (Letters, I, 36). Refreshing his memory of 1826, again he
attended Caldwell's American Theatre, which he declared "very respectable--but the
fact is, [Simms wrote] we Americans, are rather too indifferent to genuine
politeness, properly to appreciate this most elevated among the Fine Arts."
At Caldwell's he saw two of the major actors of his century, Clara Fisher
on 23 March (whom he called "clever and fascinating") and Charles Kean on 22
and 24 March (or 26). Simms described Kean thus: "His person is small and well
made--his features amiable, and, in conversation, rather intelligent." However,
Simms wrote, "As an actor, I do not estimate his pretensions highly." Simms saw
Kean as Reuben Glenroy (which he called "excellent") and Othello, and concluded
that Kean was "better calculated to succeed in melodramatic heroes and in genteel
comedy generally, than in the more arduous and absorbing labors of the tragic
muse. He is respectable however, and does not blunder.""His voice is low,