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on image to get enlarged view.)
Booth at centre holds sword in right hand, hilt uppermost, to form cross. Title:
'How Edwin Booth Hit Upon the Present Mode of Carrying his Sword in the Ghost
Scene of Hamlet.' A clipping, probably from the same newspaper, is pasted in below:
'Edwin Booth says that his manner of holding the sword in the celebrated Ghost
Scene, was the result of one of those accidental suggestions common enough on
the stage. He was instructing a subordinate one evening, just previous to the
act, how to use his weapon, and in pulling if from the sheath for this purpose,
it slipped from his hand, and he caught it in the air with the hilt uppermost.
While he held it in this manner, the cross before his eyes, it occurred to him
for the first time that this was the proper thing to do when following the ghost.
This is not at all remarkable.' Another source in Booth's hand gives other versions
of the explanation. The first (FSL. Art File B725.4 no. 42 pt. 2) gives explanation
similar to above. However, FSL. Art File B725.4 no. 42 pt. 1 says: 'Many years
ago my sword, as I knelt heavily with it in my hand, stuck so firmly in the stage
that I could not easily withdraw it, and I left it there upright, forming the
cross. Since when others have adopted this mode of using the sword at this point.'
This latter placed below illustration of 'swearing' scene by Meadows/ Smith.
Folger Act/Sc/L: n/a
Arden Act/Sc/L: n/a
Artist (Original work): Anonymous
Date (Original work):
Size: 23 x 16.6 cms; 9 x 6 1/2 in
Actor: Booth, Edwin
Location: FSL. Art Vol. b67 (unnumbered). From extra-illustrated copy of
MR EDWIN BOOTH IN HIS VARIOUS DRAMATIC CHARACTERS (Boston: Osgood, 1872).