Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature: An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891. Vol. IV: Literature of the Republic, Part I., Constitutional period, 17881820
Mr. Cooke Gives Mr. Treat Paine the Snub Direct
By William Dunlap (17661839)
[From The Life of George Fred. Cooke. 1812.]
SOON after Mr. Cooke had played Richard, when sitting after dinner with Mr. Price and his friend B, the waiter came up to announce that Mr. Robert Treat Paine and Mr. White had called on him. Cooke knew them not, and looked to his companions. They knew them, and did not want their company. But, while hesitating as to the mode of getting rid of them, the gentlemen marched up and made their appearance. Mr. Robert Treat Paine, with that confident ease which arises from a consciousness of superior worth, or superior talents, ormany other causes, introduced himself and his friend White, and apologized for the visit, by signifying his impatience to see a gentleman whose acting had given him such superlative delight. Cooke was not pleased with this trowel-plastering, and, besides, was put upon his guard by the looks and behavior of his companions. He therefore received the orator with cold civility, pointed to chairs, and called:
Ha, ha, ha! very well, Sir, a fair hitbut, Sir, the first beauty I shall mention was, when the attendant informed you of your brothers deaththe manner in which you received the intelligenceand the way in which you gave the passage
Very well, Sir! Thats very well.Mr. Cooper is your friend, Mr. Cooke. When he first played here, I wrote a good deal for the theatre then; I gave him a lift; my opinion was of some consequencebut Mr. Coopers playingwhyato be surebut you know, Mr. Cooke, what playing isand I must say, Mr. Coopers attempting to represent such characters as
Good-night, Sirgood-night!Theres the door!Good-night, I say!theres the door, theres the door, Sir!theres the door! and continued repeating theres the door, till the visiting gentlemen were fairly out of the room. Then returning and putting down the candle, he joined in the laugh with his former companions.