Open main menu

Page:Notes and Queries - Series 12 - Volume 10.djvu/168

This page needs to be proofread.


134 NOTES AND QUERIES. riss.x.n.i8,i.M. burg), La., near New Orleans, June 15, ! 1835, having a younger brother and sister. | McCord died in 1842, and the widow married | (n.d.) Dr. James Campbell, an Army sur- 1 eon at the barracks in Baton Rouge, the j tate capital, who died in 1855, leaving! the family in poverty. The brother was | or became a compositor in Cincinnati ; the ; sisters (already fine dancers) ballet girls ! at the French Opera House in New Orleans, j A year later, Adelaide, as " Bertha Theo- i dore," joined a troupe travelling in Cuba, ! Mexico, and Texas. At Galveston in 1856 | she met and married a Jewish musician, Alexander Isaacs Menken, turning and i remaining a nominal Jewess, adding " Adah " to her stage name for colour, and reverting i to his last two as her permanent one all which did not prevent her finding it j " tiresome " to " keep looking at " him. ' She was literary and ambitious (had trans- lated the Iliad), and now had a reputation as " Queen of the Plaza " and some money. She returned to New Orleans, wrote a volume of poems ( ' Memories ' ) as by j

  • ' Indigina," studied Spanish, French and i

German, and trained as a tragedienne, Her debut was at the Varieties in New j Orleans, as Bianca in ' Fazio,' in the spring ] of 1858. She then went to Cincinnati and] Louisville ; was divorced from Menken in Nashville ; as leading lady for W. H. Crisp toured the south ; again left the stage ; studied sculpture ; plunged ardently j into newspaper controversy and wrote in i Cincinnati for The Israelite, the chief American Jewish organ an article in support of Baron L. N. Rothschild's sitting I in Parliament being circulated through Europe. But she could never keep money, and publicity was her life ; she went on the stage again, came to New York in the winter of 1858-9, fell wildly in love with! John C. Heenan, the " Benicia Boy," and married him on April 3. (James incredibly j says she met Menken in 1858, married him in 1859, and Heenan April 3 !) Shortly j after the birth of a boy they quarrelled ! and parted ; the baby died and she had a serious illness. In June she had first gone on the New York stage, at the National. ' The same year, apparently, she did her first ! Mazeppa at the Albany (N.Y.) Theatre, j for J. B. Smith, a speculating bill-poster. ! It had always been played by men, with a j dummy for the steep runs, and Smith was ; unwilling to have her risk it ; but after one i bad crash and a narrow escape she did it ; regularly. Again, at New York, she played ! at the Old Bowery two engagements, March and April, 1860, as Mrs. John C. Heenan, to Heenan's great disgust : his fight with Sayers came off April 17. After this she starred in the south and west under that name, and made a sensation by putting Confederate flags in her room and talking hotly secessionist, for which she was arrested in Baltimore. Coming back to another engagement with the Bowery, her poems had attracted Robert H. Newell, at heart a romantic dreamer and hero -worshipper ; and he took her moods for solidities. She married him either in October, 1861, still undivorced (Brown and others), or in 1863 divorced (James) ; anyway, an Indiana court freed her in 1862. Newell stipulated that she keep off the stage : she sailed with him to California in July, 1863, and promptly broke the pledge the money offers from the stageless miners and her own cravings were too tempting, and she set them wild with ' Mazeppa ' and ' The French Spy.' In the spring of 1864 she and her husband sailed on a Liverpool boat via the Isthmus ; whence he returned to New York to brood for life, and she kept on ; a close companion was Capt. James Barclay, a rich Californian. In the fall of 1865 she returned to America, got another Indiana divorce, this time from Newell (I wrote carelessly on this), played in New York and the west, married Bar- clay in 1866, shortly quarrelled with him and went back to Europe, where she re- mained ; dying in Paris, Aug. 10, 1868, penniless and almost alone after earning and squandering a huge fortune and with her name on the lips of millions. She was buried as a Jewess in the strangers' quarter of Pere Lachaise ; the next year James, as agent for friends, removed her to Montparnasse and put up a monument to her. Where the " Dolores Teurtos " (evidently the same as the " Fuertes " and " Fuertos " elsewhere) came from is a mystery. I hazard the guess that the virtual strangers who saw to her burial and knew nothing of her antecedents found some poem in her effects whose signature they took to be her own name. The marriage and desertion at seventeen are pretty certainly fiction : they were nothing to lie about, and she would have told James and others. It would be unfair to close .this and not say that despite her craze for excitement and novelty and self-display, some of her closest companions held her a great-hearted and most generous woman ; lavish to