The Melodrama

FOR the purposes of profitable investigation we must be dispassionate, open-minded, judicial. This is often discouragingly hard; our inherited or conventional prejudices cling to us with the awkward tenacity of wet bathing-suits. When a younger sister asks us candidly for an opinion upon her newest gentleman acquaintance,— “Don’t you think he’s perfectly great ? ” — she touches an inveterate perversity of mankind,and it is not to be charged against us if we speak disappointingly. In like manner, when a confidential office boy advises us to go to “ How Hearts are Broken ” at the Thalia, if we want to see “a corker of a show,” we may indulgently remark that we ’d like to; but inwardly we chuckle over his unsophisticated enthusiasm.

To sit in the seat of the scorner is all very well, and no doubt rather gratifying to one’s self-esteem; only it should first be found out whether the seat is firmly planted on all its four legs. The majority of us scoff at the popular melodrama as a matter of course, and, as a matter of course, we know nothing about it, except perhaps what we may have inferred from certain lurid bill-boards. It seems to occupy precisely the same place in the dramatic world that the hurdy-gurdy occupies in the world of music, and the oldfashioned camp-meeting in the world of religion.

For my own part, I should like to see the hurdy-gurdy defended. Its champion would not maintain that it was a musical instrument, or that its volleying scales and arpeggios had æsthetic value: he would simply point out that in the vast and complex economy of nature the hurdy-gurdy had a certain function — perhaps only an humble one — to perform, and that it performed it acceptably. Observe — he would say — the crowd of excited youngsters that go dancing after it, oblivious of all else. Observe the groups of delighted servant girls and nursemaids in the areas, and the benevo lently smiling policeman on the corner. The hurdy-gurdy is a significant product of social evolution; with marvelous skill and ingenuity it has been developed to fulfill a certain demand of our human nature; it illustrates the scientific principle of adaptation.

Among my friends I am proud to number a pædopsychologist. His favorite manner of passing a vacation is to attend as many camp-meetings as the time limits permit. From one seething centre of spiritual exaltation to another he hastens, all eyes and notebook.

“The majority of people,” he said to me one day, “ — I refer to those who call themselves cultivated — have turned their backs on all that. So much the worse for society. Hyper-refinement! Nothing healthy, primitive, or spontaneous, — imagination gone, simple emotions obsolete. That’s social decline.”

“Do you recommend,” I asked, “ a return to the camp-meeting stage ?”

“That is n’t what I said, is it ?” he retorted, with needless irritation. “But as a phenomenon it is most instructive. One may learn an infinite number of things from it.”

Such an observation, I conclude, applies equally well to the popular melodrama. Is it not a curious fact that, undismayed, “The Queen of the White Slaves” and “No Mother to Guide Her” still open nightly doors of enchantment to many thousands of our species ? Here should be a good field for the study of some aspects of human nature, on one side of the footlights, and of nature of an anomalous variety on the other. It is too easy to assume that the appeal of the melodrama is to a degenerate taste. An inquiry may prove instructive.

More than that, it may turn out very entertaining. But it must be made without prejudice and in a receptive temper. The carping critic would be bored. He would come away pessimistic, disgusted with the hundreds of his fellow-men whom he had seen applauding and hissing and (possibly) throwing peanutshucks.

The lady in the purple gown shakes her clenched fist vindictively and gives a final laugh, blood-curdling and malignant. “Ha! You shall not escape so easily another time, — we shall see ! ” she taunts brazenly, and glides from the scene.

The crowd behind the footlights hisses. There is an undeniable fascination about her; but she is very wicked, and the wicked are to be held in derision. That is to say, in melodrama. In real life it is often difficult to distinguish between the wicked and the elect; but here, — why her very name is Zidella St. Mar. Can any good come out of Zidella ?

The heroine’s name is Grace, — or it may be Gladys or Rose; that does not matter. “I swear to you that I am innocent,”she declares, molto tremoloso, and with an appealing look that wings its way beyond the uttermost gallery-god.

No one but an habitué of the Thalia or some other shrine of the popular melodrama knows the authoritative pronunciation of that word in-no-cent. It should be dwelt on syllable by syllable, and a certain long-drawn prominence should be given to the n’s. For gesture, one hand may be slightly extended and upraised, the other pressed timidly upon the breast; and at the close of the word the eyes should fall, the head droop forward with sweet submission. This position may be retained for several seconds. Then the gallery will clap, — tumultuously, sealing the truth of Grace’s assertion. This is as much a foregone conclusion as the sentiment that calls it forth.

I have often wondered just what is the. real cause of this applause for sententious virtue, and of the equally spirited hisses that greet the agents and deeds of iniquity. The audience is an eternal enigma. Certainly it is not credulous to the degree one is at first inclined to imagine: it does not forget that it is witnessing a stage play. Yet it is never Gracie’s acting that wins the plaudits, but what Gracie essentially is and stands for, — dear familiar sentiments of primitive black-and-white morality.

“What, tell a lie? A thousand times no! ”

“Another word against my father, and I ’ll shoot you dead! ”

“Offer me what you will, I will never be false to a true friend!”

“You may tie me to the railroad track if you want to. Death sooner than be married to a wretch like you!”

Partly, I think, the applause comes as one of the accepted and authorized conventions of the popular stage; partly because a perfectly real and normal sympathy for virtue and hatred for vice wants to express itself, — a sympathy which in real life is often puzzled by circumstances, but which finds all lines sharply drawn, all actions clearly labeled, upon the stage of the Thalia. And then, too, the spirit of play is certainly active here, the wish to enjoy the thing to the full and to give yourself a real part in it; you want to shed tears, to laugh, to be excited. The audience meets the actor more than half way; there is no inertia here, no superciliousness or sycophancy to be overcome. With an admirable and single-minded abandon it throws itself into the spirit of the game.

If your theatrical experiences have been bounded by Broadway and the polite zone, there is a new delight for you in such eagerness and spontaneity. The happy giggles to left and right of you as during the entr’actes repartee and chocolate creams pass from one to another; the gayly-uniformed youngster who makes his way up the aisle shouting, “All the latest song hits o’ the season, only fifteen cents, with an artistic pitchur ’And She Answered, Sure Ma Honey ’ on the cover. Get it now for your lady frien’! Only fifteen cents to-night. Reg’lar price thirty-five;” the orchestra that plays “ Waiting at the Church” while the gallery whistles the chorus,— this is a world to which Art may be only the shade of a name, but which may after all possess another pearl of price quite as essential to the business of happy living.

For many of those present it is the single extravagance of the winter. You cannot help noticing the large number of shop girls who have come arrayed in their choicest finery, and accompanied by their “steadies.” Three brief hours of enchantment ahead of them, a time when their five or six dollars a week, and the long day behind the counter or at the machine, can be forgotten. Every one of the magic moments must be realized. There were never such hilarious jokes as Sammy Ikenstein’s; never was heroine so horribly persecuted, yet so often and so wonderfully rescued as Gracie.

Up there in the gallery, perhaps, criticism is a little more alert; the gallery is blasé as compared with the rest of the house. It knows all the tricks of the craft, it does not give itself with quite the same abandon to the emotional moment; but it knows when a thing is done to its liking, and it expresses opinions with unmistakable directness.

It was in “The Queen of the White Slaves,” I remember, that a scene occurred where the villain, in a climax of insolence, struck the unhappy brother of the heroine in the face with his gloves. You could hear the blow to the top seat of the top gallery, and the cruel laugh that accompanied it. The audience recoiled, caught its breath, and above the storm of hisses that ensued, you heard a shrill shout from amid the gods, “Biff him back, George!”

As George had been previously drugged with opium by Lionel, it was obviously impossible for him to take the hint; but the uproar continued until Lionel, with a leer and another fiendish laugh, left the stage.

As characters, the villain and his lady accomplice are sure to be the most striking in the play. I often wonder whether they can enjoy their parts. Do they accept the hisses of the audience as a tribute to their art ? Curious inversion of ambition! No floral tributes for Zidella, never the encores and curtain-calls, — only purple gowns, paste tiaras, and hisses. Yet she is indispensable. The audience would not part with her, and the play could not. Her raven-black hair, her dark reptilian eyes, — often provided with lorgnette, — her beautiful but wicked mouth, and those astonishing one-coloreffect gowns of hers with their sweeping trains and frou-frou of silk petticoats, — it is something to marvel at, to shudder at: it excites commingled admiration and dread.

Gracie is a much simpler character than Zidella. Malignant tongues might suggest that she was just a shade too simple. She wants to do right, and that is doubtless an admirable quality. Gracie’s career has rather more of shadow than of sunshine in it; but that is not her fault. She has no faults.

On a dozen or two occasions you are almost sure — I mean if you are following the play in the right spirit — that it is all over with her; but she has a wonderful host of friends. They smash windows to reach her, they break in doors, they climb down chimneys, they leap across abysses, they transform themselves into flights of human stairs that her escape may be made easy — and picturesque; fire, blood, and brass are helpless against the devotion of Gracie’s friends.

One of the pleasantest proofs I know of the compelling power of helpless innocence and beauty was given in the third act of “The Way of the Transgressor,” “apictorial comedy melodramatic sensation in four acts.” A lonely spot near the mouth of “the twin railroad tunnel!” The snow was falling, and the night was bitter cold, — so the flagman said, as he came out of the signal-tower. He set the switch, and with much creaking of pulleys adjusted the lanterns so that the yellow" light, “track clear,” would greet the night express; and then he went away upon some late-remembered errand, little dreaming of the events which were so soon to come crowding upon the stage. . . . Five minutes later Gracie, gagged and bound, lay helpless upon the railroad track.

“Well, she’s fixed all right this time,” hissed the burly villain, as he left her to her fate.

But (as so often) he was mistaken. He had not taken into account the fact that Gracie was mistress of two marvelous Landseer dogs, possessed of an intelligence almost human. The next moment you heard their eager barks as they came leaping upon the scene. Instantly they seemed to comprehend the situation, noble fellows that they were. Not a second was to be lost. The train was already overdue. While one of them skillfully unfastened the knots which bound the lady to the cruel rails, the other climbed the ladder to the top of the lantern-arm and—what, could it be ? Yes — with his teeth he tugged the rope over the pulley until the red light of danger confronted the swiftly-approaching train. And just in time, too! Ah, Grace is fortunate in her friends.

And the greatest of these is George. We like him best because he likes Gracie best; and we clap as hard as we can at each one of his brave speeches. Perhaps the finest opportunity that he gets individually is when her persecutors have contrived to make it appear that she has been unfaithful. Point after point, the damning evidence is brought in. George wrings his hands; he looks wildly about the room; his eyes wink rapidly; his breath comes in gasps. It looks as if there were no hope for Gracie. But love triumphs.

“No! — No!” he breaks out finally, pointing a quivering finger at the false witnesses. “Leave me! I will not believe you. She is not — she cannot be false. I love her still — still!”

The wrong-doers cower before that. The audience breaks into cheers that refuse to be silenced by the fall of the curtain. Then George comes before the footlights, leading Grace by the hand, and something tells you that things are going to turn out all right for them in the end. Lionel hurries brazenly across the stage before the curtain, his mouth distorted by a most horrible leer. He evidently has more business yet. And after him Zidella makes a hasty transit, holding up her purple train and smiling in spite of the jeers that greet her.

No Thalia melodrama could exist without this quartette of antiphonal light and darkness. Next in importance are the comedy figures, who bump into each other and everybody else whenever they make their entrance. The melodrama is full of comedy; it is sure to follow every scene of pathos or violence. The posters of a “reigning sensation” announce, “For every smile a tear, for every tear a smile.” That strikes the balance, you see. We cannot have Gracie wringing her hands forever: we could not endure the emotional strain. . . .

Maggie is usually a brave and clever little servant, who sings and dances specialties as she goes about her housework, or crosses the noon-day street; she is never hoodwinked by the wiles of the devil, and has a rather large fund of side-splitting humor.

Says she to the villain, “Say, mister, do you know what you look like?”

“No, what ?” (He is singularly unsuspicious.)

“An egg when the insides has been et up and the shell trun away.”

“Impudent girl,” mutters Lionel angrily; but Maggie does not care.

Indeed (in “A Marked Woman ”) she thinks nothing of walking up to the dowager Empress of China, the great Noa Lu herself, and asking her,“Say, ma’am, where’d ye buy that lid ? It ain’t the swell thing at all for a lady like you. Why, you ought to o’ wore a coal scuttle.”

“Do you know who you are addressing, hussey ?”

“ Sure I do. Why you ’re the big Chink’s mudder-in-law, ain’t ye?”

Every one likes Maggie. She is impudent, you cannot deny that, and often wears red stockings and pigtail hair; but she is true blue, and she sticks by Grace through thick and thin.

Messenger-boys, bootblacks, Hebrew peddlers, are all old favorites in the comedy parts. You can’t fool them. They’re thorough New Yorkers. They stick their hands into their pockets, shuffle through a step or two, and deliver. “Tek me word fer it, missy. That leddy’s a-tryin’ ter josh ye.” And they always hit it right.

The rest of the personages exist, simply to fill in gaps. They fall conveniently into two groups: the good and the bad. Among the tools and accomplices of Zidella and Lionel you will find included the following: —



Lady Overseers

English Lords

Rich Widows

Officers of the Gerry Society




Italian Peddlers, etc.

Policemen and ministers may be either good or bad; but they tend toward the former. Ministers when they have erred are hypocrites; policemen, brutes.

To attempt to give an account of the plot would be useless. The more you examine it, the less there is. There is an abundance, an inordinate abundance, of situation; but there lies the distinction. The play is made up of a succession of exciting scenes, punctuated by comic episodes; but when you try to work out interrelations you are doomed to failure. It would take a higher intelligence — perhaps even than the author’s — to answer all the hows and whys. In “The Queen of the White Slaves" the fourth act was laid in China, whither the unlucky heroine had been transported by her enemies. It was a garden scene, and very sad, for Gracie wished that she were at home again ’neath George’s sheltering care. As she left the stage, dissolved in tears, who should come in from the other side, already in a most pleasing altercation over Chinese customs, but Maggie and her steady. It was a relief to know that they were still on deck, and they cheered one up wonderfully; but the question would arise, how did it happen ? There were a few vague hints, — something about a special cruiser which came along just at the right time, something about fooling the guards at the gateway, — but if your mind was sophisticated enough to insist on logic, it was bound to be left in some confusion.

To feel the real spell of the play, you must slough off sophistication and let logic go, allowing yourself to be concerned exclusively in the situation of the moment. Then you will understand the short-drawn breath of the girl in the next seat to you; there will be an unlimited supply of thrills in store, and you will comprehend the eternal popularity of the Thalia type.

The last scene of “’Neath the Shadow of the Gallows ” illustrated this thrill-producing quality in its most masterly form. It was short, — all over in less than ten minutes; but they were very busy minutes. At the rise of the curtain (Lights down and minor strains from orchestra), the muffled form of the lady villain stole out from the shadow and said, “ Ha, ha! At last my designs are accomplished.

There is the jail,”—a door marked JAIL stood at one side of the stage, — “here is the gallows,” — the gallows held the centre, — “and when yonder clock-hand reaches the hour of five, he dies!”

She had neglected to mention that there was a railroad station at the right of the stage. It was an important oversight. In the background loomed a mountain chasm, bridged twice by trestles, and beyond that wild peaks cut the sky. The dawn was coming on apace, — by jerks. The lady retired.

(The girl in the next seat whispered, “I just hate that woman. I hope she’ll get all that’s comin’ to her!”)

The door of the jail opened, and a dismal cortège emerged. The hero was there, prepared for execution. They led him to the scaffold. It lacked five minutes of the hour. They blindfolded him.

“Has the condemned anything to say before his end?” inquired the savage warden with an insolent sneer.

(“Yes, but you would n’t believe him,” is the commentary.)

In the distance is heard a faint toottoot, and at the same time across the farthest trestle puffs a locomotive. It must be miles away, it looks so small; but you feel that there is a glimmer of hope for the hero, — if only the station can be reached in time. You know that Gracie has been harrying the governor for a pardon.

(“Gee, look at the train! Ain’t it the cutest ?”)

But it is the hero’s cue to speak. “ Only this,” he says, slowly and with awful distinctness; “I am in-no-cent.”

(“That’s right; he is. He never done it”)

After the applause has subsided Zidella comes forward once more and says,

— it seems rash somehow, — “Ha, ha! So they have got you at last where you deserve to be, you murderer!”

George starts violently. “That voice — ” he cries. “I have heard it before! — where ? Ah, it is she, — the fiend who has wrecked my happiness.” (“That’s right. ’T was all her doin’s from the start.”)

But at this juncture the locomotive appears again, now on its way across the second trestle. The toot is louder. They are making the miles fairly fly behind them, I guess.

The clock hand jumps forward. It lacks only two minutes of five. Already the finger of the blood-thirsty warden is on the controller. There is a wicked triumph already in the glittering eyes of Zidella.

But hark! the roar of the oncoming train! It whistles like mad. (“Go her, go her for yer life!” whispers the girl, clutching the back of the seat ahead.) The wheels rumble. There is a grinding of brakes, and a monster locomotive rolls impressively out from the wings and comes to a stop just at the foot of the gallows.

Gracie leaps from the cab waving a very official-looking envelope. “Hold!” she cries. “I have brought the pardon.”

The clock strikes five.

The warden gnashes his teeth. And Gracie cries, “Officer, arrest that woman. She is the guilty party.”

But the lady in the veil confronts them, game to the last. “You shall not lay your hands on Zidella St. Mar. Back, all of you! She has a better way.”

So she shoots herself and falls lifeless at the feet of the happily united pair, and with that down comes the curtain.

(“Say! but that was a swell show!” sighs the commentator, as she struggles into her thin jacket and prepares reluctantly to leave the house of a thousand wonders.)

You observe that, after all, right is sure to triumph: the melodrama never leaves you in any doubt upon that point. In this loyalty to an immemorial tradition there is something staunch and genuine which you cannot help respecting.

Yet it is clear that this should not be credited so much to the nominal author of the piece as to the people for whom it is produced. It is they who keep it to its standards. The individuality of the author counts for nothing. The popular melodrama is almost as exclusively the product of the society in which it has established itself as the old folk-ballad. From the nature of things there must be an author somewhere; but to hope to find him in the finished product would be futile.

The play is simply a new combination of various familiar and perfectly reliable situations drawn from a large common stock, a stock draughted with equal inveteracy into the service of the “Nick Carter Library,”of the “Buckskin Bess Series,” or of the editor of the New York Journal. Every melodrama that succeeds does so because it reblends with exceptional skill, and with enough disguise to give them an effect of novelty, a group of situations which the Bowery theatrepublic has proved itself perennially eager to see.

There is something engagingly primitive in such a state of affairs. What people have always come first to care for in drama is situation. Interest in character as such and in literary form and in ethical significance comes only at a much later stage of evolution. It was so in the origins of our great English drama. The curious crowds that pushed up to the gilded pageant-wagon in the market-place of York or Chester, on Corpus Christi day, did not care much about the exact Biblical details of Noah’s Flood or the Sacrifice of Isaac: they were eager to see something happen; they wanted to have their emotions stirred, their blood quickened.

There was not the least complexity in the characters of that open-air drama, — it would have made them harder to understand; but there was the same strong tendency toward a kind of realistic presentation that we have noted in the melodrama of to-day. The Judean shepherds were countrymen of Yorkshire and spoke its dialect; and they talked about the diseases of their sheep, and complained of the bitter winter, and played rough local jokes on one another, in a way that must have gone straight to the heart of the shrewd, illiterate, inquisitive peasant, as honestly unashamed of tears and noisy sobbing as of gales of contagious laughter; the mirror may have been only a homely kitchen pan, but it was held up to nature. Noah’s wife was an English termagant, her mouth full of round Anglo-Saxon oaths, and sadly addicted she was to the good ale of merry England; and as for Herod the Great, with his terrific assortment of crimes and not one mitigating virtue, surely there is an interesting prototype of the villain in “Fast Life in New York;” and that most startling culmination of his career, when a crew of red devils carried him off bodily to hell, resembles the end of Lionel in something more than an accidental degree.

The desire for vivid sensation was the same then as now, and put the ingenuity of the play-maker to much the same kind of test. Glance at some of the stage directions in the “ Sacrament Play,” an anonymous dramatic production of the late fifteenth century.

A company of blasphemous Jews have gained possession by guile and bribe of the holy wafer, and have set out to test whether or no it be indeed the veritable body. But they are terribly rebuked by Heaven.

Here shall the 1111 Jewys pryk ther
daggeris in 1111 quarters of the
Ost, thus sayng . . .
Here the Ost must blede. . . .

In an agony of fear, the Jews kindle a cauldron of oil, thinking to effect the utter destruction of the sacred thing.

Here shalle the cawdron boyle, appery-
ing to be as blood.

Next they cast it into an oven.

Here the ovyn must rive asunder, &
blede owt at the crannys, and an
image appere owt with woundis

This indeed is the climax of terror for the Jews. “Owt! Owt!” they cry, “here is great wonder! . . . Yea, the ovyn on peacys gynneth to ryve asunder!”

Then the wondrous image speaks to them (in Latin) and tells them the way of salvation; the Jews fall on their knees, turn convertites, and are received into Holy Church.

For sheer sensation — sincere, no doubt, in its purpose; but who shall say that Gracie’s rescue by the Landseer dogs is mere stage clap-trap ? — it would be hard, I think, to improve much on this oldtime “ Sacrament Play.” And the audience that thrilled to its crude violence was not so very unlike the audience of the Thalia, despite the passing of four centuries, and the coming and going of the spacious days of Shakespeare and his compeers in alchemy.

Indeed, as one comes to know more intimately the imaginative, eager, and in many respects childishly ingenuous public to whom the present-day melodrama makes its appeal, the more clearly the curiosities of its structure are accounted for. Its lack of a genuinely climactic plot, for example, is explained by the inability of the audience to remain long under the strain of suspense. Their attention soon flags, their interest becomes jaded. It is worth noting that the only other varieties of dramatic entertainment which are popular with them are the vaudeville (and could anything be more disjointed and scattering in its make-up?) and the penny-in-the-slot Arcades.

Whatever situation is proposed must come to its culmination rapidly, directly, and by means which require no thought in order to be fully grasped. There can be no real plot structure here: only episodes; the situations presented simply become more and more startling as the play nears its conclusion.

Then, too, since the appeal that it makes must be so largely through external means, the melodrama is led into that crude exaggeration which has brought it into its ill-repute. We ought to show some leniency in this matter. If it did not exaggerate it would run the risk of making no impression at all. Violence, blunderbuss-humor, and sledge-hammer pathos are its stock in trade. It deals with the people and scenes of every-day life, for that is the only kind of life that has much interest for the audience, — that seems to come near to them, to have relevancy ; but in order to make this life worth paying one’s hard-earned money to see (there’s a plenty of real life of a kind for each of us), it becomes necessary to color it up, to provide it with glamour, with mystery, with terror, and with comicality. Realism and wild romance are curiously wedded in the result.

After all there is youth and the promise of youth in it; there is the material for a virile and significant drama. It was on much this same substratum that the glorious and incomparable structure of our Elizabethan drama was raised. Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy was one step away, and Hamlet — one does not count the steps any longer; but the substratum is there still.

It might indeed be safely predicted that if we were ever again to have a drama of which we might boast, it would bear a nearer kinship to this ridiculed product of the democratic and cosmopolitan Bowery, childish and inchoate as it is, than to that tribe of narrow-chested and anæmic plays which depict with fatiguing perverseness the complications of a fashionable and wholly unrepresentative society.

The boldness of its design, the unconventional freedom in its choice of material, is a striking and not altogether unhealthful contrast. The whole of contemporary life is its province, — the life of the tenements, of the lodging-houses, the dance-halls, the railroads, the parsonage, the demi-monde, the four hundred, the department stores, the street corners, the Subway, the police station, the East-River wharves, — every condition of life which offers dramatic opportunities is freely and unhesitatingly laid under requisition. Life reaches so far beyond the drawing-room! Within the last few years our playwrights have begun to rediscover that fact — witness “Leah Kleschna,” “The Great Divide,” — even Mr. Belasco’s latest success; and it is a sign of promise. A great play, if one maybe pardoned the triteness of the observation, is a play which will not only spontaneously attract the large body of intelligent theatre-goers, thus proving itself to be related somehow to the main currents of popular thought and feeling, but will also reach out of the realities of the hour and join hands with permanent truth.

There are faults enough in the Thalia melodrama, blatant and ridiculous faults; but there is a soul of goodness there as well, which is not without a moral for skeptics. It is like some common, roughbarked root that creeps persistently along just beneath the surface of the soil: there is nothing here to arouse our admiration, unless it be the sheer persistence with which the creeping is done; but every now and then — please Heaven there may still be sap in it! — it puts up a green shoot: perhaps the world that so likes to wag its head may still find reason to pause before the wonder of a flower. A visit to the Thalia suggests that what our restless and dissatisfied dramatic public is waiting for is the coming of that man who will be able to utilize the material that lies at every man’s door; but that still lies waiting there, because no one has yet shown himself to possess the seeing eye and the understanding heart, and the broad democratic and poetic outlook upon life, which are the inner requirements of the master-workman.