Review Barnum's Museum - P.T. Barnum Speech New York Daily Tribune

  • The Drama At Barnum's 

    Barnum's Lecture-Room opened for the season yesterday.  The story of "Great Expectations,"  dramatized, was the theme, and was followed attentively by a crowd of persons uncritical except on the single point of morality.  The lecturers selected with care, and discoursed with fluency and considerable grace.


    to those who have read Dickens's wonderful novel, this drama will bring much very pleasant reminiscence.  It is safe for families, of course, because Dickens is the great preacher of affection, which has to do directly with religion. The scenes

    are cut clearly out of his pages, and fresh memory supplies cohesion.  Much of the spirit of the work has been caught by the actors.  A distinguishable flavor of Boz pervades the whole performance.  Witness the Pip of the first act, which is acted by a most clever little girl named Addie Le Brun, whose face has the sad interest of pressing precocity; also Pumblechook, by Mr. Bridgman; and gentle Joe Gargery moves about almost naturally enough at times to have sprung, animate, from the pages of the book itself; even that grotesque creature, Miss Havisham, is not a burlesque of the author's idea.  Somebody must be objectionable in every well-regulated cast, and here it is the representative of Mrs. Joe, who really ought to abate herself.  The walls of the museum trembled under her voice, and the people in the audience viewed each other with heartfelt commiseration.


    Every thing moves like clockwork at the museum, a fact due, perhaps, to Mr. Barnum's connection with the Jerome company, and is the performance of careful preparation.  The scenery is new and often natural.  It is certainly a notable fact that the acting should on the whole come as nearly up to the critical standard as much of that one undergoes at the regular theaters.  Barnum claims no special merit for his actors; they are really more interesting than his bones of animals, languishing fish, and indescribable creatures.  The amusement gets the better of the instruction.  The greatest natural curiosities soon pass away, but the mimetic genius of man is immortal.


    Dickens is so cordially indorsed by the clergy and the most respectable families that it might be in the interest of Mr. Barnum to present a series of dramas founded on his luminous works.  Such a contribution to the literature of the stage would redound to the honor of the great showman, and his patrons, judging by the applause given the "Great Expectations," would and given pleasing pleasure in the lecture room.  With the state reception of the Holy Scriptures were is better source of inspiration of the museum dramatist than Dickens's novels.  Only the Chadbands of the day would refuse to recommend their congregations to see plays of this kind.


    Before the drama Mr. Barnum presented himself, and delivered the following choice address:



    Ladies and Gentlemen:


    "That Prince of Humbugs, Barnum," so it appears

    Some folks have designated me for several years.

    Well I don't murmur; indeed, when they embellish it,

    Tis the truth, my friends, I rather relish it.

    Since your true humbugs he, who as a host,

    For the least money entertains you most.

    In this sense I'm a "Humbug." I succumb!

    Who as a "General" thing brought out Tom Thumb?

    The Swedish Nightgale, sweet Jenny Lind?

    Who brought you Living Whales from Labrador?

    The Hippopotamus from Nilus's shore,

    The Bearded Lady with her (h)airs and graces,

    The Aztec Children with their normal faces,

    The Twins of Siam - rarest of dainties-

    Two ever separate, no'er apart realities?

    The Family of Albinos? the Giraffe"

    The famous Baby Show that made you laugh?

    The Happy Family - cats, rats, doves, hawks, harmonious?

    Their voices blend in tones euphonious,

    The great Sea Lion from the Pacific's coast,

    The "Monarch of the Ocean," no empty boast;

    Old Adams' Bears, cutest of brute performers,

    In modern "peace meetings" models for reformers,

    That living miracle, the Lightning Calculator,

    Those figures confound Hermann the "Prestidigitator."

    The Grand Aquaria, an official story

    Of life beneath the waves in all its glory;

    The curios "What is It?" which you, though spunky,

    Won't call a man and cannot call a monkey.

    These things and many more time forbids to state,

    I first introduced, if I did not originate;

    "The World's Seven Wonders," pooh! let them invite you,

    Here :seven: saloons all wonder-full delight you.

    To call this "humbug" admits of no defense,

    For all is shown for five and twenty cents.

    And now, good friends, to use less rhyme than reason,

    To0day re-opens our dramatic season'

    Therefore I welcome you ! And though we're certain

    To raise "Great Expectations" with the curtain,

    And "play the Dickens" afternoon and nightly.

    I did you welcome none the less politely,

    To these my "Quarters," merry and reliable,

    That yours are always welcome 'tis undeniable!

    And Patrick Henry like I say, I boast of it,

    If that be "humbug." gentlemen, "make the most of it."



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