Text: Hervey Allen, “Chapter 01,” Israfel: The Life and Times of Edgar Allan Poe (1934), pp. 3-13


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[page 3:]

ISRAFEL

CHAPTER ONE
 
A DRAMATIC PROLOGUE

MRS. PHILLIPS was a milliner who lived on Main Street in Richmond, Virginia, near that part of the town known as the “Bird in Hand.” In the year 1811, in addition to her usual summer creations of silk, lavender-ribbon and lace, — which were said to have occasionally attained the distinction of good taste, — she was also doing a more than usually thriving trade in perfumes and cosmetics, owing to the gathering next door at the Indian Queen Tavern(1) of Mr. Placide’s Company of Richmond Players about to open the local theatrical season.

Sometime in August the personnel of Mr. Placide’s troupe was further augmented by the arrival from Norfolk, where she had lately been playing, of a young actress then twenty-six years of age, Mrs. Elizabeth Arnold Poe, whose beauty, voice and terpsichorean accomplishments had made it worth while for Mr. Placide to pay her way from Norfolk to Richmond, since her failing health, the presence of two young children, and the death or absence of her husband seems to have left her stranded in the former place, despite the fact of a performance having ‘been lately advertised there for her benefit.(2)

Mrs. David Poe, for such had been her second husband’s name, was accompanied by her two children, Edgar and Rosalie, and was then, or later, given rooms in Mrs. Phillips’ establishment, probably owing to the fact that the inn next door was already crowded, and that the nature of the entertainment provided there was at times too Bohemian and convival to suit the needs of a young actress in delicate health, the mother of a family. [page 4:]

Of the two children, Edgar was the older, then going on to three years of age. He had been born in Boston on January 19, 1809,(3) while his mother and father were playing in that city at the old Federal Street Theater, At the time of his arrival in Richmond, Edgar was a handsome, sturdy little boy with large, dark gray eyes, long, dark brown hair, and an engaging countenance. His sister Rosalie was then a child in arms, having been born most probably in December, 1810, in Norfolk, Virginia.(4) A third and eldest child, William Henry Leonard Poe, had been left shortly after his birth, in the Summer of 1807, in the care of his paternal grandfather, “General” David Poe, at 19 Camden Street, Baltimore.

Edgar Allan Poe, for that was the full name which the son of the young actress was later to receive, was the child of strolling actors, if so leisurely a word as “strolling” can be applied to the painful and varied peregrinations of his parents, David and Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Arnold (Poe), the poet’s mother, was the daughter of an actor, Henry Arnold, and an actress, Elizabeth Smith, both of the Covent Garden Theater, London. The marriage bans of the couple were published at St. George’s Church in London in 1784, and the couple were married in June of that year. Elizabeth, their daughter, was born in the Spring of 1787, Henry Arnold, Poe’s maternal grandfather, appears to have died in the early Winter of 1790, as his name disappears from the play bills about then. His widow continued to play at Covent Garden for the next six years, but left London at the beginning of November, 1795, for the United States, taking her daughter Elizabeth along with her. They landed in Boston from the ship “Outram” on January 3, 1796, as a shipping notice two days later in the Massachusetts Mercury shows. Miss Arnold was then nine years old. The passenger list of the “Outram” included a number of emigrating English actors among whom was one Charley Tubbs.

In February, 1796, with considerable success,(5) Mrs. Arnold made her American debut at Boston. A little later she and her daughter, accompanied by Mr. Tubbs, after a brief tour through part of New England, arrived at Portland, Maine; where the young Miss Arnold made her [page 5:] first appearance (sic) at a vocal concert on June 1, 1796, singing some songs, suited to her childish age and part. It was about this time, if not earlier, that the attractive widow Mrs. Arnold became the spouse of the genial but superficial Mr. Tubbs.(6) He accompanied her upon the piano-forte and supported her in minor parts. During the Fall and Summer of 1796 they attempted to organize at Portland, Maine, what may be quaintly regarded as the first “little theater” in America.

Mr. and Mrs. Tubbs and the young Elizabeth Arnold were the stars of the company, the other members appear to have been recruited mainly from the local amateur talent. One winter’s experience of the coldness of the climate and the frigid dramatic enthusiasm of the Puritans appears, however, to have been blighting, and in January, 1797, Mr. and Mrs. Tubbs together with the ten-year-old girl, “the beautiful Miss Arnold whose powers as an actress command attention,”(7) attached themselves to Mr. Solee’s Company of Boston and Charleston Comedians and started for South Carolina. On the way down the coast, they stopped in New York to give two performances at the John Street Theater, when an epidemic of yellow fever intervened and the company was scattered to reunite again in Charleston, S. C. The Tubbses arrived on the sloop “Maria” and went to board with Colonel Maybery on Bay Street.

In Charleston, performances were given all winter. The season opened November 9th, 1797, and Mr. Solee engaged both Mr. and Mrs. Tubbs for light comedy parts and songs, and the young Miss Arnold in childish rôles such as “Cupid,” and “a nymph.”(8)

In the Spring of 1798, just before the season was over, Mr. Tubbs, together with two other actors of the company, Edgar and Whitelock, caused such disaffection in the troupe as to result in a dissension in its ranks. Some of the actors, among whom were Mr. and Mrs. Tubbs and the young Miss Arnold, were forced to leave the city temporarily. Mr. Tubbs was described by the manager, Mr. Solee, as the “least member of the company and a vermin.” These disgruntled players were later gathered together again in Charleston by Mr. Edgar, and for a month after the close of the season by the Charleston Company, continued to give performances under the name of the Charleston Comedians. [page 6:]

It was in this troupe that Poe’s mother, Elizabeth Arnold, ceased to take only juvenile parts and found herself described as an actress.(9) Mr. Edgar, the pseudo-manager of the new troupe, appears to have been a drunkard with a disputatious disposition. Owing to this, and the fact that the secession of his cast from the ranks of the Charleston Players had been viewed unfavorably by the public and press, the notices which he and his people received were by no means favorable. To this, however, both Mrs. Tubbs and Miss Arnold were notable exceptions.

It is about this time that all references to Mr. and Mrs. Tubbs cease. They disappear from the scene; and it is quite possible that the grandmother of Edgar Allan Poe rests in some unmarked grave in Charleston, S. C., the victim of “Yellow Jack,” the terrible fever, which for years haunted the old port epidemically and perennially, claiming, even a half century later, the brother of the English poet, Hugh Clough, and many another.(10) There is some tradition of Poe’s grandmother having appeared later in Baltimore but it rests on a shadowy foundation. That she accompanied Mrs. Poe and the children to Richmond in 1811 has no basis of fact.

In the late Spring or early Summer of 1798, apparently without her mother or stepfather, Elizabeth Arnold in the care of a Mr. Usher(11) and a Mrs. Snoden came north to Philadelphia where they joined the dramatic company then playing in that city, and acted for the next four seasons, until 1802, with occasional appearances in Washington, Southwark, and other places.

In March, 1800, the company with which the future Mrs. Poe was then playing was joined by a Mr. C. D. Hopkins, comedian. On July 4, 1802, Miss Arnold was given a benefit performance in Baltimore, and it may have been at that time that she was first seen by young David Poe, then about twenty-five years old and engaged in studying law(12) [page 7:] with Henry Didier and others. This meeting, however, is only a possibility. David Poe went south to an uncle in Augusta, Ga., and in July, 1802, Elizabeth Arnold was married to Mr. Hopkins whose principal comic rôle was that of “Tony Lumpkin.” The couple continued to play in Alexandria, Norfolk, Petersburg, and Richmond(13) as members of the Virginia Players. Of this union there were no children.

In the meantime, young David Poe, who seems to have had more interest in amateur theatricals — where his appearance had met some encouragement — than in “Blackstone,” left his uncle’s house in Augusta and went to Charleston, S. C., where he made his “second appearance on any stage” December 8th, 1803.(14) Despite his desire for theatrical fame, David Poe seems to have been of a retiring and even bashful disposition. In addition, he was delicate and tubercularly inclined, which probably partly accounts for the fact of an awkwardness and self-consciousness that precluded him from success in any but the most minor rôles.(15) His amateur manner remained, and whatever his talents, it may be definitely stated that they were always far below those of the young actress whom he afterward married.(14) Nevertheless, the young actor’s first press notices(16) were not unfavorable, and he seems to have met with considerable encouragement in Charleston, then one of the principal theatrical centers, where he appeared during the entire Winter of 1803(17) under the management of Mr. Placide of the Charleston Players, who had succeeded Mr. Solee. [page 8:]

The best portrait of Edgar Allan Poe’s father that remains is to be found in the dramatic criticism of a contemporary Charleston newspaper describing his first speaking appearance:(16)

Of the Young Gentleman who made his first appearance on any stage, it would be hazardous to take an opinion from his performance this evening. For some time he was overwhelmed with the fears incident on such occasions to an excess that almost deprived him of speech. A first appearance is a circumstance of novelty, and the audience therefore did not, as the European audiences do, on such occasions, greet the newcomer with encouraging plaudits; nor did the young gentleman receive one token of welcome or approbation till it was earned by him. Though he could not, even to the last, divest himself of his fears, we thought he disclosed powers well fitted for the stage. His voice seems to be clear, melodious and variable; what its compass may be can only be shown when he acts unrestrained by timidity. His enunciation seemed to be very distinct and articulate; and his face and person are much in his favor. His size is of that pitch well fitted for general action if his talents should be suited to sock and buskin. On the whole, we think that if the young gentleman has a passion for histrionic fame he may promise himself much gratification. What he did disclose was greatly in his favor; and extreme modesty though it may operate as a temporary impediment, will be considered by every judicious person, as a strong prognostic of merit, and earnest of future excellence!

That neither the professional performance nor the type of plays in which David Poe acted entitled him to any claim upon “histrionic fame,” both the criticism of the time and the play bills with the small parts in which he appeared confirm.(17)

In the Fall of 1804 David Poe had evidently come North, for we find him joining the Virginia Players in company with his future wife, and playing in Petersburg and throughout the entire circuit of that company. The season of 1805 was opened in Washington under the management of Mr. Green. It was unfortunate in several ways; financially, and from the loss of the company’s star comedian, Mr. Hopkins, who died after a very brief period of illness on October the 26th. His widow, the former Miss Arnold, did not remain long unconsoled, for in a surprisingly short time afterward she was married to young David Poe, who borrowed money from a friend for the expenses of the occasion. Whether the young widow’s haste was due to the natural ardor of her temperament or the failure of the deceased to engage her affections, must remain in those realms of speculation sacred to theologians.

The Poes remained with the Virginia Players until May, 1806, when [page 9:] they went North to Boston, stopping on the way for summer engagements at Philadelphia and New York. By October they had rejoined their old friends the Ushers of the Boston and Charleston Players, whose influence may have been responsible, together with the Poes’ former appearance with the company, for their engagement at the Federal Theater in Boston.

The Poes remained in Boston for three years. Mrs. Poe played several major Shakespearean rôles from time to time, “Blanche,” “Ophelia,” “Cordelia,” “Juliet,” and occasionally “Ariel.” She appeared frequently as a dancing partner with her husband, dancing the Polish Minuet or singing between his clogs, reels, hornpipes, and Scotch flings.

A digest of the criticisms which Mrs. Poe received shows her to have been more gifted with diligence in her art than by native talent, and deserving of praise rather than of admiration. David Poe found his natural level in minor parts, or in appearing as an entertainer and dancer, supported by the acceptable voice of his wife. Together they managed to make a bare living.

It was during this Boston sojourn that the two boys were born: William Henry Leonard probably sometime in the early Winter, or during the Summer of 1807,(18) as the records of Mrs. Poe’s unbroken appearances preclude any other time; and Edgar in January, 1809, when Mrs. Poe was again absent from the theater from January 13 to February 8th.(19) At this time the family was living at 33 Hollis Street.

As a great deal has been made in some quarters of the fact that Poe was born in Boston and of his later brief association with the place, it must always be kept in mind that he was born there and nothing more. Even a genius can scarcely be expected to have memories of the first six months of his life, even though they be passed in New England. “Because kittens may be born in an oven, that does not make them loaves of bread.” Edgar Allan Poe was not a Bostonian, despite the claim, largely one of sentiment and convenience, on the title page of his first book. By education, association, preference, and prejudice, Poe was a Virginian,(20) and throughout all of his wanderings Richmond was his home.

David and Elizabeth Poe continued to play in Boston after the birth of Edgar until the end of the theatrical season. How poor these actors [page 10:] were, is shown by the fact that three weeks after Edgar’s birth his little sylph-like mother was back on the boards dancing and singing, her first appearance after the arrival of her son having taken place on February 8th, 1809, and not two days later as the newspaper notices indicate.(21) The sudden popularity of the boy actor, John Howard Payne, who made his first appearance in Boston in 1809, seems for a time to have threatened the Poes’ livelihood. “Master Payne,” however, evidently had his heart in the right place, for on April 19, the following notice appeared in a Boston newspaper:

BOSTON THEATRE

For the Benefit of Mrs. Poe

MRS. POE RESPECTFULLY INFORMS THE PUBLIC, THAT IN CONSEQUENCE OF REPEATED DISAPPOINTMENTS IN OBTAINING PLACES DURING,

Master Payne’s

ENGAGEMENT, HE HAS CONSENTED TO PLAY ONE NIGHT LONGER — AT HER Benefit

THIS EVENING, APRIL 10TH (1809) WILL BE PRESENTED, FOR THIS NIGHT ONLY, THE CELEBRATED PLAY CALLED Pizzaro:

ROLLO (First Time) . . . Master PAYNE

Two nights before, Mrs. Poe had played “Ophelia” to Payne’s “Hamlet.” Such a concession as the benefit must have been necessary to keep the wolf away from “Ophelia’s” door.

Mrs. Poe’s last appearance in Boston took place at the Exchange Coffee House where she sang on May 16, 1809. September found the family in New York at the Park Theater, where both she and her husband played, mostly in light comedy, until July 4th, 1810, Her husband’s press notices were now often unfavorable, and it is about this time that David Poe apparently disappears. He either died or deserted his wife, and there is no further authentic mention of him. The tradition is that he died of consumption. If so, the sound of the small applause which had occasionally been his must have been effectually muffled by the clods of the potters’ field.

The “disappearance” of David Poe in July, 1810, dates the beginning of a Poe family mystery about which there has been a good deal of futile speculation. It gave rise to suspicions that later on played an [page 11:] important part in the life of the poor actor’s famous son. According to one legend, with little basis of fact, David Poe deserted his wife for a Scotch woman and went to live with her abroad. By her he is reputed to have had a son with whom Poe is supposed to have gone to school at Irvine, Scotland, a circumstance that laid the basis for the plot of William Wilson. This can all be safely dismissed as imagination not to be described as pure. A more credible Richmond tradition supposes that David Poe died in Norfolk, Virginia, which one detached and untraced newspaper clipping tends to confirm, giving the date as October 19, 1810. This tradition is all very nebulous, however, and the historical record of the poet’s father ends with July, 1810, in New York.

Whatever may have been the cause of David Poe’s final disappearance, there was something about it that afterward caused great uneasiness to the son of the little actress. She treasured some unfortunate correspondence, almost her sole legacy to her son, Edgar, which he too cherished while he lived, but left directions that at his death it should be burned. The request was carried out by his mother-in-law and aunt, Maria Clemm. What part David Poe, the poet’s father, played in this, if any, it is therefore impossible to say and useless to guess. The position of Mrs. Poe, however, is considerably clearer.

Deprived of her husband either by death or conjugal misfortune, probably the former, she left New York in the Summer of 1810 and went south to Richmond. There she was once more engaged to play on the Southern circuit, where she was already well and favorably knownShe was accompanied from place to place by the child Edgar, now only two years old, but even then involved in the maze of tragedy. Edgar was already separated from his older brother by the poverty of his parents, who had been forced to leave Henry in Baltimore. Mrs. Poe had now lost her husband and was striving to support herself and her child. She must already have been far gone in tuberculosis, of which she died only a year later, yet she was forced to appear by the dire necessity of her poverty, dancing and singing in motley, night after night. To cap the climax she was pregnant with a posthumous child. For an actress ill and without resources, a helpless woman without a husband, engaged in a profession at which the age was only too prone to point the finger of scorn, it was a dreadful and precarious plight. There can be no doubt, that even while he was learning to talk, the little Edgar was clasped, with many a dark foreboding of natural terror, to his mother’s heart.

Keeping Edgar with her, Mrs. Poe continued to play in Richmond and Norfolk, although her time was approaching. While in Norfolk (at the Forrest House on December 20, 1810) according to the Mackenzie family Bible, Mrs. Poe gave birth to a daughter, Rosalie. [page 12:]

That David Poe was not with Mrs. Poe in Norfolk at this time, is shown by the fact that Rosalie’s birth took place so long after the death or disappearance of her husband that doubt was afterwards thrown on the paternity of the child.(22) It is an ungrateful task thus even to touch upon the reputation of this unfortunate young actress who gave to the world what art she had, and bequeathed to her adopted country one of its greatest geniuses in the person of her son. But the facts of the situation should no longer be suppressed as they undoubtedly affected the relations of Edgar Poe with his guardian, and his own family later on. It was this story, or the echoes of it, which long afterwards caused Poe to put the deaths of his father and mother “within a few weeks” of each other.(23)

All the authentic dates and the known facts show that the suspicion which was thus afterward thrown upon the memory of Mrs. Poe was not only cruel but untrue. That it was thrown upon her, however, there is no doubt. With the use that was made of it, and its effect upon the character of her son Edgar, it will be necessary to deal.

Soon after the birth of Rosalie, Mrs. Poe was again appearing in various parts, continuing a now hopeless struggle to support herself and her two “infants” despite her now fast-failing health The earnings of a minor actress on the early American stage were at best pitiable, and all the incidents of the life were ignoble, squalid, and precarious. The hardships of travel were great, and the places of entertainment rarely comfortable and not always respectable. For a sensitive woman with two babies to care for, it was a difficult and exhausting mode of life. Mrs. Poe’s misfortunes and condition were evidently the cause of solicitude to her fellow actors, as frequent appeals for herself and her fatherless children in the columns of old newspapers stil meet the curious eye. In Charleston, Norfolk, and Richmond, she was accorded frequent benefits at which the charitable public was urged to assist.

From Norfolk Mrs. Poe went to Charleston, S. C., where she played in the Winter and Spring of 1810 and 1811. In April of the latter year her health was evidently failing, for she was given a special benefit performance. In the notice of this, which appeared in the Charleston papers, her ill health was specifically mentioned. From Charleston the [page 13:] young actress and her family returned to Norfolk, where she was apparently in failing health and destitute.(24) The article about her there is lengthy and appealing, and stresses the point that she “has been left alone, the support of herself and several children.” Evidently the response was not great, and in August we find her again returning to Richmond, where she was always most popular, in time for the opening of the season.

It was to be the last of her many weary journeys with her young and doubtless often fretful family. Her little space of comedy was about to end in a tragedy, one of many which pursued her son Edgar through the remainder of his astonishing life. As she drove through the brick arch(25) into the wagon yard of the old Indian Queen Tavern and ensconced herself in the rooms behind and over the milliner shop of the good Mrs. Phillips, she had entered upon the last scene of the last act. Perhaps in her heart she knew it, for she had already been very ill and must have been, from the nature of the events which were soon to follow, in a consumptive condition and a low state of health.

For an account of Mrs. Poe in the heyday of her fame, we nave the description of one who had seen her as a care-free girl.(26) Although the description is evidently taken from the miniature of Mrs. Poe which Edgar long cherished, a copy of which was sent to Ingram, Poe’s first competent biographer after Poe’s death;(27) it, and the miniature itself, are the best memorials of the poet’s mother which exist. This description shows Mrs. Poe to have had

the childish figure, the great, wide open, mysterious eyes, the abundant curling hair confined in the quaint bonnet of a hundred years ago and shadowing the brow in raven masses, the high waist and attenuated arms clasped in an Empire robe of faint, flowered design, the tiny but rounded neck and shoulders, the head proudly erect. It is the face of an elf, a sprite, an Undine who was to be the mother of the most elfish, the most unearthly of poets, whose luminous dark gray eyes had a glint of the supernatural in them and reflected as he says in one of his earlier poems, “the wilder ‘d” nature of the man.

Such was the charming young actress who, with her attractive little boy Edgar, and her baby daughter Rosalie, took up her abode with Mrs. Phillips, the milliner at Richmond, sometime in August, 1811, “above that part of the town known as the ‘Bird in Hand.’ ” For the mother of Israfel it was the next to the last remove.

 


[[Footnotes]]

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 3:]

1.  Mrs. Phillips’ shop, which Is still standing in an altered shape, was next door to a hostelry famous as the haunt of actors in a part of town where there were a number of inns. Among others near by, and one of the oldest, was the Bird in Hand, from which that portion of town took its name. Mrs. Phillips has been called “Mrs. Fipps” heretofore, but in the Richmond directories of the time she appears as “Mrs. Phillips.” Fipps was evidently the Scotch equivalent adopted by tradition.

2.  Norfolk, Virginia, Herald for July 26, 1811. “Misfortunes have pressed heavily upon Mrs. Poe, who has been left alone, the support of herself and several young children.”

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 4:]

3.  This date has been agreed upon after the careful investigations of Prof. Woodberry. All other dates, whether given by Poe himself, or the members of the Poe family, can be confidently disregarded. Poe’s autobiographic notes given to Griswold on the back of an old envelope are particularly misleading. See note on Poe’s parentage and heredity in Appendix I.

4.  Accounts of Rosalie Poe upon her adoption by the Mackenzie a few months later speak of her as much older and as “running about” even at the time of Mrs. Poe’s arrival in Richmond.

5.  Massachusetts Mercury for February 16, 1796: “We have had the pleasure of a complete fruition in the anticipation of the satisfaction a Boston audience would receive from the dramatic abilities of Mrs. Arnold. The theater never shook with such bursts of applause, as on her first appearance, on Friday last,” etc.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 5:]

6.  Mr. Tubbs may have married Mrs. Arnold before they left England. The actress naturally retained her old name on theater bills and the matter is therefore difficult to trace. Woodberry is followed here. The story that Poe’s mother was born at sea is a legend with no basis of fact, it may be noted.

7.  The Eastern Herald and Gazette of Maine, December 12, 1706.

8.  Elizabeth Arnold made her debut on the Charleston boards November 18, singing The Market Lass, and her first “important” theatrical appearance December 26, as the “Duke of York” in Richard III. The family continual playing’ in Charleston through the Spring of 1798.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 6:]

9.  South Carolina State Gazette for April and May, 1798: Miss Arnold’s new parts at this time were: “Anna” in the Death of Major André; “Miss Biddy Bellair in Miss in Her Teens; “Nancy” in Three Weeks after Marriage; “Pink” in The Young Quaker; “Sophia in The Road to Ruin; and “Phoebe” in The Reapers.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 7:]

10.  Epitaph in St. Michael’s Churchyard, Charleston, S. C.

GEORGE AUGUSTUS CLOUGH

A NATIVE OF LIVERPOOL,

DIED SUDDENLY OF “STRANGERS FEVER”

NOV’R 5TH 1843

AGED 22

A careful search of available records in Charleston, S. C., made by the author in 1923-4, failed, however, to reveal any trace of cither Mr. or Mrs. Tubbs being interred there.

11.  The name “Usher” thus appears early in the history of Poe.

12.  He was born “certainly not later than 1780.” John Poe, Esq., to Prof. Woodberry, June 10, 1883. The statement that David Poe eloped with Miss Arnold about this time as related by Ingram is not true. He was misinformed.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 7:]

13.  The plays and the rôles in which Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins appeared can be found in the contemporary newspaper files of the towns mentioned.

14.  The Charleston City Gazette for December 1, 1803, advertises David Poe’s first appearance in a pantomime, La Perouse — as “An Officer.” For a full discussion of the relative dramatic abilities of both of Poe’s parents, see Woodberry’s Life, 1909, vol. I, chap. I. I have somewhat curtailed it here as being of minor importance in connection with Poe himself and have contented myself by introducing some new material not given by or accessible to former biographers.

15.  George Barnwell — “Young Poe begins to emerge from the abyss of embarrassment in which natural diffidence, from his first appearance until two or three of his last performances had plunged him so deep as to deprive him of all power of exertion. But he must have not only courage but patience: ‘slow rises the Actor.’” Information from a contemporary dramatic criticism in a Charleston newspaper supplied by Eola Willis of Charleston, S, C.

16.  “The Charleston Courier at this time had an official critic, ‘Thespis’ — (Mr. C. C. Carpenter), a cultivated Englishman, who not only wrote dramatic criticisms of a peculiarly honest and helpful nature, but took a keen fatherly interest in the advancing careers of the young members of the company. His sympathy and understanding must have been very comforting to the tyros who were trying to prove their worth to the Manager’s satisfaction,” Eola Willis in the Bookman.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 7, running to the bottom of page 8:]

17.  The characters acted by David Poe at the Charleston Theater in 1803 were: “Belmore” in Jane Shore; “Laertes” in Gustavus Vasa; “Harry Thunder” in Wild Oates; “Donalbain” in Macbeth; “Grimm” in The Robbers; “Fallicro” in Abaellinor or the Great Bandit; “Stepheno” in The Tale of Mystery; “Young Woodland” in Cheap Living; “Williams” in John Bull; “Don Pedro” in Much Ado About Nothing; “An Officer” in La Perouse; “Tressel” in Richard III; “Pedro” in The Voice of Nature; “Allan-a-Dale” in Robin Hood; “Thomas” in The Marriage Promise; “Trueman” in George Barnwell; “Carmillo” in Julia or the Italian Lover; “Trifle” in The East Indian; “Dennis Crackskull” in The Scheming Lieutenant; “Don Garcia” in A Bold Stroke for a Husband; “Mezetin” (Pantomime) in The Touchstone of Truth; “Don Antonio Gaspard” in Liberty in Louisiana; “Hunter” in The Fatherless Children; “Hortensio” in Catherine and Petruchio; “Sebastian” in Charlotte and Werter; and “Lover” in The Old Soldier. Eola Willis in the Bookman, from files of contemporary Charleston newspapers.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 9:]

18.  Almost certainly during the early Winter of 1807 as this child, William Henry Leonard Poe, was left with his grandparents in Baltimore during the summer of 1807, the theatrical vacation. If he were born there, this might account for the story in the Poe family that Edgar had been born in Baltimore.

19.  Mrs. Poe is advertised to appear in January, 1809, on the 6, 9, 13, 20 as the “Peasant” in The Brazen Mask, a pantomime. Her next appearance was on February 8th. Her confinement probably took place between January 13th and February 8th, the notice for the 20th having probably been inserted some days before the event,

20.  By “Virginian” I do not mean an “American”; the distinction, which was once a real one, has since become blurred.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 10:]

21.  Original playbill of the Boston Theater. False Alarms, Brazen Mask, Mr. and Mrs. Poe in the cast of the latter, February 8, 1800. This bill is of peculiar interest because it shows that Mrs. Poe appeared two days earlier, after Edgar’s birth, than the date which Prof. Woodberry records. A pathetic sidelight is that the rôle chosen for Mrs. Poe was “little more than a walking part.” See note in the Catalogue of the American Art Association Inc., for Poe items in sale of April 28, 29, 1924, No. 932.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 12:]

22.  See the letter from John Allan to William Henry Leonard Poe in Baltimore, dated Richmond, November 1, 1824, in which among other things he says: . . . “At least she is half your sister and God forbid, my dear Henry, that we should visit upon the living the errors and frailties of the dead.” This letter is to be found in the Ellis & Allan Papers in the Library of Congress, photostat in the possession of the author. For a full discussion of this see page 103.

23.  Poe’s own statement (Poe to William Poe, Richmond, August 20, 1835) that “my father David died when I was in the second year of my age . . . my mother died a few weeks before him,” is of a piece with the rest of his muddled autobiographical data and shows that he was either ignorant of the facts (sic), or rightly anxious to shield the reputation of his mother and sister.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 13:]

24.  Norfolk, Virginia, Herald for July 26, 1811.

25.  Since bricked up but still visible.

26.  Beverly Tucker, a contributor to the Southern Literary Messenger, and the author of The Partisan Leader. The description was written in 1835.

27.  The Ingram Papers and Manuscript in possession of the University of Virginia Library.

 


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Notes:

None.


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[S:0 - HAV34, 1934] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - Israfel: The Life and Times of Edgar Allan Poe (H. Allen) (Chapter 01)