KEATS-SHELLY MEETING PLEASES
Much Money Obtained for the Purchase of the Memorial in Rome.
A NOTABLE PROGRAMME
Mark Twain, E. C. Stedman, the Rev. Dr. Van Dyke, and Others Heard--Hall Thronged.
The literary and musical matinee in aid of the Keats-Shelley Memorial in Rome, held yesterday afternoon in the main ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria, was a great success. It brought in, so far as could be estimated, between two and three thousand dollars. T he room was thronged by persons prominent in society, literature, and art.
The three centre boxes in the first tier facing the stage were draped with American, English, and Italian flags. In the centre box sat Mrs. Grover Cleveland, wearing a brown street suit and pink blouse, and on either side in the adjoining boxes were representatives of the English and Italian Embassies.
On the stage, the decorations of which were arranged by Carroll Beckwith, the artist, were Edmund Clarence Stedman, who presided; Mrs. Ruth McEnery Stuart, Miss Julia Marlow, Miss Beatrice Herford, S. L. Clemens, (Mark Twain,) the Rev. Dr. Henry Van Dyke, F. Hopkinson Smith, and Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, all of who took part in the exercise. They are on the Honorary Committee of the memorial.
Every one scheduled to appear was present with the exception of Miss Ellen Terry, another member of the committee, who was to have sold programmes in the intermission. She was unable to be present. The programmes sold well in spite of this. They had beautifully decorated covers in colors, and contained portraits of the two poets, a picture showing the Keats house in Rome, which is to be turned into a memorial building, and pictures of the graves of the poets in the Protestant cemetery in the same city, with facsimiles of manuscript, &c. Selling these at $1 each, Miss Marguerite Merrington, Miss Laura Stedman, Miss Kitty Cheatham, Miss Mary Easton, and Mrs. Julia A. H. Worthington added several hundred dollars to the treasury.
In his opening remarks Mr. Stedman, Chairman of the Memorial Committee, said in part:
"Concerning the inception of this design, I will say that four years ago, on Keats's birthday, the 23d of this month, seven American writers then in Rome set on foot the project to buy and preserve for all time the house at the foot of the beautiful Spanish stairs, where lived and died at the outset of his twenty-sixth year, the marvelous boy John Keats. These seven Americans invited to preside over the first meeting the English poet, Sir Rennell Rood, who, as Secretary of the British Embassy, had defended the grave of Keats against removal and against the effort to cut a road through the cemetery where are the graves of Keats, and of his artist friend, Severn, side by side, that of Shelley is not far away.
"On the 30th of last December, the funds collected in Rome, England, and America were sufficient to justify us in taking title to the house, subject to a moderate mortgage which this benefit will greatly help to extinguish. Next month there will be a benefit concert in London at Stafford House, the residence of the Duke and Duchess of Sutherland, under the best social and professional auspices, toward the same end. In the spirit of Anglo-Saxon unity and sympathy, we welcome here an official representative of Great Britain, and the Ambassador of the King of Italy--that enlightened and progressive sovereign, who in the most cordial words has given approval to the enterprises to which already our President and his Majesty, King Edward, had given theirs"
Mr. Stedman made special reference to Robert Underwood Johnson, Secretary of the committee, who has made two journeys to Rome and done much hard work in the interest of the memorial.
The programme was one of much interest. Mark Twain read Shelley's "Ode to a Skylark." The poem, he said, was associated with the happiest period of his life, when he read it more than any other to his wife. He also read Browning's "Ah, did you once see Shelley plain?" Dr. Van Dyke read poems from both Keats and Shelley, and Mrs. Francis L. Wellman sang, accompanied by Victor Harris.
"Colonel Carter's Christmas," read by F. Hopkinson Smith, opened the second half of the programme. This was followed by two delightful sketches and a lullaby by Mrs. Stuart. Miss Herford was obliged to give an encore to the monologue "The Only Child," Dr. Mitchell read two original poems, on "Keats's Grave" and "The Quaker Lady," and there were three readings for Keats by Miss Julia Marlowe.
One of the features of the afternoon was the exhibit of a recently discovered portrait of Shelley, which the members of the Memorial Committee would like to have some one give to them for the house in Rome. It was painted by William Edward West about two months before the death of the poet. West was an American artist living in Florence. He was painting a portrait of Byron. At one of the sittings Shelley visited the studio. West stopped his work to make a sketch of t his other poet, from which he later made the painting. He returned to his Kentucky home with it in his possession, one of the examples of his work abroad of which no special mention was made.
Later it came into the possession of Dr. John Dunn of Richmond, Va., to whom it now belongs. He has promised that it shall go to the Memorial House if it is ever sold. Another portrait, an enlarged photograph of Keats, was exhibited. The original is in the possession of Sir Charles Dilke, who, it is thought, will present it to the Keats Memorial House. This is the picture painted of Keats by his friend Severn; the picture he gave to Fanny Brawne. The Shelley portrait will be on exhibition at the Century Magazine office until the end of the week, and the souvenir programmes will also be there for sale.
Mrs. Frederick Vanderbilt bought a box for the memorial, though she is now
in Europe. Mrs. Cadwalader Jones, Mrs. Bayard Cutting, Mrs. Griswold Bourne,
Mrs. Edward Harkness, and Mrs. J. W. Haslehurst were other boxholders. Mrs.
Whitelaw Reid, Mrs. Douglas Robinson, Mrs. Donald McLean, Mrs. Laurence Hutton,
Mrs. Howard Mansfield, Mrs. Thompson-Seton, Mr. and Mrs. Ordway-Partridge, Mrs.
Henry Harland, Mme. G. D. Bianchi, Hamilton Mabie, Harrison Morris, Philadelphia;
George Foster Peabody, Nikola Tesla, Curtis Hidden Page, and Christian Brinton
were among those present. A bust of Shelley by Parbridge, the sculptor, and
one of Keats belonging to Miss Anne Mitney were among the decorations of the
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