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A Singular "hamlet"
by [?]

Mr. O’Connor introduced into his Hamlet a set of gestures evidently intended for another play. People who are going to act out on the stage can not be too careful in getting a good assortment of gestures that will fit the play itself. James had provided himself with a set of gestures which might do for Little Eva, or “Ten Nights in a Bar-room,” but they did not fit Hamlet. There is where he makes a mistake. Hamlet is a man whose victuals don’t agree with him. He feels depressed and talks about sticking a bodkin into himself, but Mr. O’Connor gives him a light, elastic step, and an air of persiflage, bonhomie, and frisk, which do not match the character.

Mr. O’Connor sought in his conception and interpretation of Hamlet to give it a free and jaunty Kokomo flavor–a nameless twang of tansy and dried apples, which Shakespeare himself failed to sock into his great drama.

James did this, and more. He took the wild-eyed and morbid Blackwell’s Island Hamlet, and made him a $2 parlor humorist who could be the life of the party, or give lessons in elocution, and take applause or crackers and cheese in return for the same.

There is really a good lesson to be learned from the pitiful and pathetic tale of James Owen O’Connor. Injudicious friends, doubtless, overestimated his value, and unduly praised his Smart Aleckutionary powers. Loving himself unwisely but too extensively, he was led away into the great, untried purgatory of public scrutiny, and the general indictment followed.

The truth stands out brighter and stronger than ever that there is no cut across lots to fame or success. He who seeks to jump from mediocrity to a glittering triumph over the heads of the patient student, and the earnest, industrious candidate who is willing to bide his time, gets what James Owen O’Connor received–the just condemnation of those who are abundantly able to judge.

In seeking to combine the melancholy beauty of Hamlet’s deep and earnest pathos with the gentle humor of “A Hole in the Ground,” Mr. O’Connor evidently corked himself, as we say at the Browning Club, and it was but justice after all. Before we curse the condemnation of the people and the press, let us carefully and prayerfully look ourselves over, and see if we have not overestimated ourselves.

There are many men alive to-day who do not dare say anything without first thinking how it will read in their memoirs–men whom we can not, therefore, thoroughly enjoy until they are dead, and yet whose graves will be kept green only so long as the appropriation lasts.