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1. Sarah Siddons.
N the history of no art are there more instances of the transmitting of great
ability from father to son, and from son to grandson, than in the history of the art of acting. In political life and in literature it is not uncommon to see a son follow in his father's footsteps; but on the stage it is far more frequent. Instances abound, and there is no need to do more here than to set down the names of Edmund and Charles Kean, of Junius Brutus and Edwin Booth, and of Charles and Charles James Mathews; of the Jeffersons there have been five generations on the stage. This is perhaps because there is no profession in which inherited faculty and early training count more for success than they do in the histrionic. In no family has this inherited faculty and this early training given to the world more and greater artists than in the family of the Kembles; and there is no more glorious name in histrionic annals than that of Sarah Siddons. As Henderson, the actor, said of her when
she was on the threshold of her career, she :was an actress who had never had an equal, : nor would she ever have a superior.
Sarah Kemble was born July 5, 1755, at . Brecknock, in South Wales. Her father was Roger Kemble, a strolling manager and actor; he was a man of high character and good breeding. His wife once said to Boaden, “there sits, unconscious of our remarks, the only gentleman Falstaff that I have ever seen.” Mrs. Kemble was a daughter of Ward, the actor and manager, who, in 1746, gave a benefit in the Town Hall of Stratford for the purpose of restoring Shakspere's monument. It was from her mother, apparently, that Mrs. Siddons inherited her beauty. As a child she appeared on the stage with the other members of the family. Her father sought to give all his children the advantage of a good education; and Sarah Kemble was as carefully instructed as their circumstances would allow; she was more especially trained in music. “When she was about seventeen,” Campbell records, “Mr. Siddons, who was still an actor in her father's company, paid his first