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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2021-02-28 09:23:40
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[Pg 257]

In his basic build, his informing temperament, the habitual sway of his being, Forrest was a marked specimen of this dominating class of men. The circumstances of his life and the training

"Yours, affectionately,

The beachy girdle of the ocean

of his mind were unfavorable to the full development of his power, in the highest directions; and it never came in him to a refined and free consciousness. Had it done so, as it did in Daniel Webster, he would have been a man entirely great. Webster was scarcely better known by his proper name than by his popular sobriquet of the godlike. He and Forrest were fashioned and equipped on the same scale, and closely resembled each other in many respects. The atlantean majesty of Webster seemed so self-commanded in its immense stability that the spectator imagined it would require a thousand men planting their levers at the distance of a mile to tip him from his poise. When he drew his hand from his bosom and stretched it forth in emphatic gesture, the movement suggested the weight of a ton. It was so with Forrest. The slowness of his action was sometimes wonderfully impressive, suggesting to the consciousness an imaginative apprehension of immense spaces and magnitudes with a corresponding dilation of passion and power. His attitudes and gestures cast angles whose lines appeared, as the imagination followed them, to reach to elemental distances. And it is the perception or the vague feeling of such things as these that magnetizes a spell-bound auditory as they gaze. The organic foundation for this exceptional power is the unification of the nervous system by the exact correlation and open communication of all its scattered batteries. This heightens the force of each point by its sympathetic reinforcement with all points. The focal equilibrium that results is the condition of an immovable self-possession. This is an attainment much more common once than it is in our day of external absorption and frittering anxieties. Its signs, the pathetic and sublime indications of this transfused unity, are visible in the immortal masterpieces of antique art, in the statues of the gods, kings, sages, heroes, and great men of India, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. It is now excessively rare. Most of us are but as collections of fragments pieced together, so full of strictures and contractions that no vibratory impact or undulation can circulate freely in us. But Forrest had this open and poised unity in such a degree that when at ease he swayed on his centre like a mountain on a pivot, and when volition put rigidity into his muscles the centre was solidaire with the periphery. And he was thus differenced from his average fellow-men just as those two or three matchless thorough

exemplary good conduct and uniform respectability of private character must have on the profession. I trust that the honor conferred on Mr. Forrest on that day will induce many of our brethren to follow his example, and serve to convince them that the profession of an actor will never disgrace the professor if the professor does not disgrace the profession.

William, the second son, expired under a sudden attack of bilious colic, at the age of thirty-four. He was a printer, and worked at this trade for several years, buffeted by fortune from place to place. The mechanical drudgery, however, irked him. The lack of opportunity and ability to rise and to better his condition also disheartened and repelled him; and before he was twenty-one he abandoned the business of type-setting for an employment more suited to his tastes. He adopted the theatrical profession and entered on the stage, of which he had been an

Or with polluted finger tarnish it."


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