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[229] enjoy the type of play he furnished. The story of the building of this play is an interesting one. It was written by Benjamin A. Baker, the prompter at the Olympic Theatre, who when Mitchell, the manager, had refused to produce it, insisted on its production at his own benefit and had the satisfaction of witnessing the tumultuous reception that Chanfrau received in the part of Mose, the New York fireman. Chanfrau had made a number of imitations of firemen before on the stage, and the play was, therefore, a growth. It is melodramatic, but there is a reality about the scenes in the dives and streets that points forward rather than backward. Baker continued in New York as it is (1848) to exploit Mose, and the interest in that form of play was capitalized immediately by other writers and actors. Philadelphia as it is appeared in 1849, and in Boston George Campbell produced in 1848 a local drama in which a scene in a police court was introduced.1

The vogue of these plays continued to the end of our period and beyond, and there is little distinction, so far as type is concerned, to be made between them and such a later play as Augustin Daly's Under the Gaslight. Such titles as The dry goods clerk of New York (1851), The Seamstress of New York (1851), New York by Gaslight (1856), The poor of New York (1857), Life in Brooklyn, its lights and Shades, its virtues and vices (1858) illustrate the nature of the species perhaps sufficiently, while Mose in California (1849) and Mose in China (1850) show how cosmopolitan that gentleman became.

Much more important from the artistic standpoint were the comedies proceeding by means of social satire. Here, too, we turn back to our first comedy, The contrast, for the beginning of the type, but while we note in 1841 the production of a “cutting satire upon fashionable life” 2 in the comedy of Saratoga springs, which was very successful, it was not until the production of Fashion by Anna Ogden Mowatt on 24 March, 1845, at the Park Theatre in New York that we can chronicle a social satire of any distinction. Fashion is a good-humoured satire upon the artificial qualities of society in New York, and introduces the snob who is taken in by a French barber, the merchant ruined by his wife's extravagance, the confidential clerk who blackmails his employer, and as contrasts to these,

1 >Clapp, p. 457.

2 Ireland, vol. II, p. 378.

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