‘Readiana: Comments on Current Events’ (1882). On 2 June 1879 there was produced at the Princess's Theatre a play called ‘Drink,’ which he had dramatised from Zola's ‘L'Assommoir,’ and in 1882 he joined Henry Pettitt [q. v.] in writing a sensational drama called ‘Love and Money,’ which was brought out at the Adelphi on 18 Nov. 1882. On it Reade based his novel ‘The Perilous Secret,’ which was issued in 1884, in 3 vols., after his death. Another play by him, ‘Single Heart and Double Face,’ was produced at the Edinburgh Theatre in November 1883, and a novel based on it was issued under the same title next year. Shorter tales were collected in two posthumous volumes in 1884, called respectively ‘The Jilt and other Tales,’ and ‘Good Stories of Man and other Animals.’
In middle life Reade's London house was at 6 Bolton Row, Mayfair, whence he subsequently removed to No. 2 (now No. 19) Albert Terrace, Knightsbridge, immediately opposite Sloane Street. This residence he described in ‘A Terrible Temptation.’ There he found room for a whole menagerie of dogs, hares, and gazelles. His studies of social problems were largely prompted by the instincts of philanthropy, and he was accessible at all hours when in town to the poor and unfortunate, to any one with a grievance, and especially to any waif or stray who had escaped from a lunatic asylum. He was always especially anxious to relieve cases of distress in the middle class, and frequently supplied necessitous persons with surgical attendance at his own cost. In a large room on the ground floor, looking into Hyde Park, which he called his workshop, he laboured until the end of his life for at least one hour every afternoon at ponderous ledgers, which he filled with notes or cuttings from books or newspapers on topics that appealed to his interest.
On 27 Sept. 1879 Reade's friend Laura Seymour died. He never recovered the blow. His health gradually failed, and he died on 11 April 1884 at 3 Blomfield Villas, Shepherd's Bush. On 15 April he was buried in Willesden churchyard, beside the remains of Mrs. Seymour. He caused to be engraved on his tombstone some sentences entitled ‘His Last Words to Mankind,’ in which he declared an ardent faith in Christianity.
At his best Reade was an admirable storyteller, full of resource and capacity to excite terror and pity; but his ambition to excel as a dramatist militated against his success as a novelist, and nearly all his work is disfigured by a striving after theatrical effect. This tendency is very apparent even in ‘Griffith Gaunt,’ which in intensity of interest stands first among his books. ‘The Cloister and the Hearth’ is most free from the defect, and the ripe scholarship and keen invention which are there blended with artistic delicacy and reserve constitute his best title to rank with the great novelists. Mr. Swinburne (who associates Reade with Victor Hugo as an abhorrer of cruelty and foul play) is disposed to place Reade's novels between those of Eugène Sue and the elder Dumas; the former he resembles by his power of sensational description, the latter in his instinct for dramatic narration. His systematic dependence on documentary information, and his ability to vivify the results of his researches, also closely connect him with the category of realistic novelists, of whom Defoe and M. Zola are familiar types.
Reade's personal appearance was striking; he was over six feet in height, and was of athletic and vigorous build. His genial countenance, boisterous manner, impatience of criticism, and impulsive generosity, all helped to make his personality attractive. A lifelike portrait is in the possession of his namesake, godson, executor, and residuary legatee, Mr. C. L. Reade, of Oakfield in Sussex. The best photograph of the novelist is that taken by Lombardi of Pall Mall. A reproduction is in the Dublin ‘University Magazine’ for June 1878, accompanied by a sketch of his career. Another portrait is prefixed to ‘Readiana’ (1882).
Besides the dramas mentioned, Reade was responsible for the ‘First Printer,’ three acts, Princess's, 3 March 1856, with Tom Taylor; ‘Poverty and Pride,’ five acts, Surrey, and also at Victoria, at both houses piratically performed; ‘The Robust Invalid,’ from Molière's ‘Malade Imaginaire,’ three acts, Adelphi, 15 June 1870; and ‘Shilly Shally,’ three acts, Gaiety, 1 April 1872. In addition to the miscellaneous works already noticed, Reade wrote: 1. ‘A Lost Art Revived: Cremona Violins and Varnish,’ 1873. 2. ‘A Hero and Martyr,’ 1874. 3. ‘Trade Malice,’ 1875. 4. ‘Bible Characters—namely, Nehemiah, Jonah, David, and Paul,’ 1888.
[Personal recollections; Compton Reade's Memoir of his Uncle, Charles Reade, 2 vols. 1887 (a very inefficient biography); Bloxam's Magdalen College Register, vol. vii.; Mr. A. C. Swinburne's Miscellanies (1886), pp. 271–302; Times, 12 and 16 April 1884; Athenæum, 19 April 1884; Illustrated London News, 26 April 1884; Fortnightly Review, October 1884; Encycl. Brit. 9th edit.]
READE, EDWARD ANDERDON (1807–1886), Anglo-Indian official, born at Ipsden, Oxfordshire, on 15 March 1807, was fifth son of John Reade of Ipsden, a pro-