The dramatization of Mark Twain's interesting story of "Pudd'nhead Wilson," a dramatization which preserves in its denouement the pathetic, the novel and the quaintly humorous features of the original, was enjoyed by a large audience at the opera house last evening for the first time in this city. The delightful originality and individuality of "Pudd'nhead;" the picturesqueness of the scenes and manners in the early times in Missouri; the refreshing peculiarities of the citizens of Dawson; the but half intentional deception practiced by the slave mother, of almost straight white blood, in substituting her child for that of the master at the "christening," and the curious study and philosophy of "Pudd'nhead" with reference to thumb marks, by which the wronged were righted at last, are all clearly and dramatically developed and portrayed in the drama and constitute a genuine theatrical treat when presented by a competent company.
And it was a thoroughly capable company heard last evening. The staging of the play was also faithful and striking and added to the pleasant impressions and artistic effects of the performance.
Mr. Theodore Hamilton is a worthy successor of Frank Mayo as Dave (Pudd'nhead) Wilson. His person, voice and manner were admirably suited to the popular conception of the character, and his work throughout testified to both his intelligence and skill as an actor. There was a smoothness and yet strength to his interpretation that won repeated manifestations of approval from his audience. In the male roles of the cast Mr. Hamilton was excellently supported, particularly by Mr. Joseph Jefferson, Jr., as Chambers, by Mr. E. A. Locke as the typical sheriff of the early "settlements," and by Messrs. Halbach and Tucker as York Driscoll and Tom Driscoll, respectively.
The character of Roxy, the slave who practiced the deception upon the Driscolls, is a difficult one to portray effectively, but Miss Margaret Hayward was fully equal to the task and gave a most acceptable interpretation of the role. There was just a suggestion of repugnance to Southerners in the too fond regard of Rowy, a white girl, for Chambers, the boy whom she thought was a negro slave, but that is the fault of the story. Miss Stokes admirably personated the character.
The play is a charming one, the company satisfactory, and the attraction, therefore, will be remembered as one of the most enjoyable we have had at the opera house this season.
HOUSTON.--SWEENEY AND COOMBS' OPERA HOUSE (E. Bergman, manager): . . . Pudd'nhead Wilson, Theodore Hamilton and a good co. 19; satisfactory business.