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Good Old Gaiety

Excerpt from Good Old Gaiety: An Historiette and Remembrance The site of the Gaiety Theatre - a playhouse that I can take liberties with and will therefore call the dear departed - was not the Offspring of a uke. The uke enters very largely into theatrical affairs, but not in this case. A capitalist, taking his Johnsonian walk up or down Fleet street, was not inspired to say, Halloo! Here's a site; let us build a theatre! The dear departed, whatever its faults and merits may have been, was the be-all and end-all of a deep design. It was an aggregation of properties quietly acquired by a gentleman with brains and money, who was quite able to manage his own affairs, without seeking wisdom (and not Often finding it) in a multitude of counsels. He was supposed to have an ambition to pose as a music-hall proprietor, the fact having leaked out - (the tank that holds facts is always very leaky), - that he had purchased the Strand Iklusick Hall, as it was rather affectedly called. This hall, the only one so far east on the road to Temple Bar, was started by Mr. Syers, a gentleman of education and enterprise, who had been a merchant in the City in a large way of business. The hall gave itself superior airs. It was inoculated with a disease known at that time - about forty years ago - as the March of Intellect. Its architecture was a museum of samples; its decoration was scrofulous its programmes had an educational taint, and it came to the Strand-end of Catherine street, just as that once riotous thoroughfare began to lose its popularity as the Haymarket Of Central London. Still it was the heart of a theatrical market, which hardly exists at present. It was surrounded by Old taverns like the Edinburgh Castle, and the Albion - the latter the homely dining-place Of Charles Dickens, vvilkie Collins, and half the blend Of literature and journalism in the 'fifties and 'sixties. The Caves of Harmony - the Coal Hole, the Cyder Cellars, and Paddy Green's (better known as Evans's were near; the Lyceum was struggling under many lessee ships, some of them distinguished and all of them interesting; the Strand Theatre, having given up its position of jackal to the Insolvent Debtors Court, was nourishing the genius of Marie Wilton, under the Swanboroughs the Olympic was still the little Olympic - a house with a history. Drury Lane was playing Milton's Camus to twelve pounds a night, as it afterwards played Hamlet (in Italian) to ten pounds (the wrong thing in the right place) the manager trying to make a round peg fill a square hole. The Adelphi was revelling in Toole, old farce (writ large) and melodrama, soon to be housing Colleen Bawns and Jefferson and Covent Garden was doing nearly everything it was not intended to do under the Davenant Patent Of Charles II. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works."
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