Anecdotage of Glasgow
"Alexander the Great" of the Glasgow
some rustication, the chagrin and
mortification caused by the sorry failure of the "First Appearance of a
Stage-Struck Hero," if not entirely got over, became greatly abated; and
as it ebbed, the tide of the former ruling passion again rose. The result
was an application for employment to the theatrical magnate and star,
styled above "Alexander the Great," and whose actual name was John Henry
Alexander, proprietor and manager for a series of years of theatres, not
only in Glasgow, where he erected his temple of entertainment in the year
1822, in Dunlop Street, but also of others in Carlisle, Dumfries, and
Edinburgh. The applicant, whose theatrical name was Frederick George
Capelton, in reply received an offer of fourteen shillings a week to
begin. He describes his first
appearance there as follows:-
"In due time my arrival was
announced at the temple of the drama in Dunlop Street, and I was ushered
into the sanctum of the great man.
whats your name? How do you do? and what is your business with me? said
"My name is Capelton, and this is a
note I received from you to join your company, was my reply.
"Yes, young man, I recollect; and no
doubt you think, like other young stagers, that you are fit for all the
great parts of the dramaeh?
"'Once I thought
but I have been tamed down a little.
"Oh, well, you seem to have some
modesty, which is commendable in a young man; but no doubt you have
already done great things. Did you ever try Hamlet?
"I saw at once that he had heard of
my adventure at Threadyton, so I laughingly replied:
"That I did at one time attempt that
Failed in it, and served you right,
sir, said he, and added: Do as I did; work your way from before the
mast, and get on by degreesthat is the certain way to successand you may
consider yourself fortunate in having me to help you. Look at me, sir; I
have created this great establishmentthis theatureout of nothing,
and I am proud of the fact, sir. Its the finest theature out of London.
You must work hard, Mr. Capelton, and you will get on. Dont be above
doing anything you can get to do ; that is the road to success, sir, in
"I could not do less than thank him
for his advice; and calling upon his stage-manager, he said
This is Mr. Capelton, for the second
utility. You can give him the Second Actor, Bernardo, and the
Second Gravedigger for to-morrow night, and he can come on in the
mobs. Sir, I am not above doing that myself, although I am manager here,
and proprietor as well. Good-morning, sir.
"And stroking his long chin, the
great man booed me out of his presence."
Such (says Mr. Capelton) was my introduction to
Alexander the Great, as some of his friends called him, from the fact of
his having fought and gained so many theatrical campaigns.
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