Mark Twain: April Fool, 1884
Edited by Leslie Myrick and Christopher Ohge
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Henry Irving to
Samuel L. Clemens
31 March 1884 • New York, N.Y.
(MS: CU-MARK, UCLC 41956)
fifth avenue, near washington square,
new york, 31 March 188 4
My dear Mark Twain
I have just got back from a very late rehearsal—5 o’clock—very tired—but there will be no rest till I get your autograph
This morning I am told it is a matter of life & death—so don’t disappoint
▮ Copy-text: MS, Mark Twain Papers, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley (CU-MARK).
Sir Henry Irving (1838–1905)
English stage actor Henry Irving was born John Henry Broadribb, the son of a traveling salesman in Somerset. His first professional appearance was as the Duke of Orleans in Bulwer-Lytton's Richelieu in September 1856 at the New Royal Lyceum Theatre, Sunderland. In 1871 he joined the Lyceum Theatre in London under the management of Hezekiah Bateman, where he won acclaim for his performance in The Bells, an adaptation of Erckmann-Chatrian's Le Juif Polonais. He took over the management of the Lyceum Theatre from Bateman in 1878, the beginning of his long stage and personal partnership with Ellen Terry. In 1895 he became the first actor to receive a knighthood. During a provincial farewell tour in Bradford he was taken ill and died of a stroke hours later.