Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/40

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Clarke
Clarke
28

gloss in the ‘Heir at Law,’ and other parts. After reappearing in America he was again at the Strand as Dr. Ollapod in the ‘Poor Gentleman,’ following it up with Paul Pry and Robert Tyke in the ‘School of Reform.’ In November 1872 he opened the Charing Cross theatre, enacting Bob Acres in the ‘Rivals,’ and on 4 April 1874 he opened at the Holborn as Phineas Pettiephogge in Byron's ‘Thumbscrew.’ In the autumn of 1878 he assumed the management of the Haymarket, where he produced the ‘Crisis,’ Albery's adaptation of ‘Les Fourchambault.’ Wills's ‘Ellen, or Love's Cunning,’ 14 April 1879, was a failure, and enjoyed no better fortune when rewritten and produced on 12 June as ‘Brag.’ Clarke then transferred the theatre to the Bancrofts and appeared, 11 July 1885, at the Strand, which he purchased, as Cousin Johnny in a piece by Messrs. Rae and Nisbet so named. After acting in country theatres he retired eventually in 1887, and never made a reappearance, though he often discussed it. He died on 24 Sept. 1899 at his house in Surbiton-on-Tharnes, and was buried the Thursday following at Teddington. He married, in 1859, Asia Booth, daughter of Junius Brutus Booth and sister of Edwin Booth, and left two sons on the stage. A likeness appears in the ‘Era’ for 30 Sept. 1899.

Clarke was an excellent actor in old comedy, in which his principal successes were made. He was a ‘mugger’ of the Liston type, but had more intensity than his predecessor. His new creations were neither very successful nor very important. A portion of his method was due to American actors unknown in this country.

[Personal knowledge; Pascoe's Dramatic List; Scott and Howard's Blanchard; Jefferson's Autobiography; Sunday Times, various years; Cook's Nights at the Play.]

J. K.


CLARKE, MARY VICTORIA COWDEN- (1809–1898), miscellaneous writer and compiler of a concordance to Shakespeare, the eldest daughter of eleven children of Vincent Novello [q. v.] and his wife, Mary Sabilla Hehl, was born at 240 Oxford Street, London, on 22 June 1809. She was called Victoria after her father's friend the Rev. Victor Fryer. During her early years she made at her father's house the acquaintance of many men distinguished in art and letters. Varley, Copley Fielding, Havell, and Cristall among artists, and Charles and Mary Lamb, Leigh Hunt, and Keats among writers, were included in the circle of her father's most intimate friends, and she acquired much of her taste for literature from Mary Lamb, who gave her lessons in Latin and poetical reading. She is mentioned as ‘Victoria’ in several of Lamb's letters to Vincent Novello; and Leigh Hunt and the Lambs maintained throughout their lives most affectionate relations with her and her husband. Her education was entrusted subsequently to the care of a M. Bonnefoy, who kept a school at Boulogne. On her return to England she acted for a short time as governess in a family named Purcell residing at Cranford, but she was compelled to abandon this employment owing to ill-health. On 1 Nov. 1826 she was affianced to Charles Cowden Clarke [q. v.], who had been for many years a close friend of the Novellos, and two years later, on 5 July 1828, they were married, spending their honeymoon at the ‘Greyhound’ at Enfield. The marriage was celebrated by Lamb in a playful ‘Serenata, for two Voices,’ which he sent to Vincent Novello in a letter dated 6 Nov. 1828. Charles and Mary Cowden-Clarke continued to live with the Novello family.

Mrs. Cowden-Clarke had already published ‘My Arm Chair,’ under the initials M. H., in Hone's ‘Table Book’ in 1827. This contribution was followed by others of a similar nature and a paper on ‘The Assignats in currency at the time of the French Republic of 1792.’ In 1829 she began her most important work, ‘The Complete Concordance to Shakespeare, being a Verbal Index to all the Passages in the Dramatic Works of the Poet.’ The compilation occupied twelve years, a further four years being devoted to seeing it through the press. It originally appeared in eighteen monthly parts, 1844-5, and in the latter year was issued in one volume. Douglas Jerrold noticed it in ‘Punch,’ breaking the rule then observed against reviews there (Notes and Queries, 6th ser. viii. 479, 8th ser. xi. 313). It was by far the most complete work of its kind which had hitherto been produced, and was a remarkable advance on similar compilations by Samuel Ayscough [q. v.] in 1790 and by Francis Twiss [q. v.], 1805-7. It was, however, superseded in 1894 by John Bartlett's ‘New and Complete Concordance’ (Cambridge, Mass. U.S.A.)

In November 1847 and January 1848 Mrs. Cowden-Clarke played Mrs. Malaprop in three amateur productions of ‘The Rivals.’ These private theatricals led to an introduction through Leigh Hunt to Charles Dickens, who persuaded her to perform in the amateur company which, under his direction, gave representations in London and several provincial towns in aid of the establishment of a perpetual curatorship of Shakespeare's birthplace at Stratford-on-Avon (Recollections of