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Copyright, 1913, in the United States of America by McBride, Nast & Co.
Το the memory of that gallant gentleman, loyal friend and splendid actor,
LOUIS JAMES, in close association with whom were spent the happiest years of my professional life, is dedicated all that may be found worthy in the following pages.
Foolery, sir, does walk about the orb like the sun; it shines everywhere.
How far the above epigram may apply to the compiler of this work, may be a matter of opinion.
Among the legion of books dealing with the characters of Shakespeare, I have found the majority to be devoted to his tragic and serious creations, a few to his humorous types, but none to his fools.
In the course of a lengthy career upon the stage, which has been chiefly devoted to the plays of Shakespeare, I have witnessed the performance of these fools by accomplished actors whose skill has illuminated the text, and whose abilities have vitalized the poet's creations till they lived in my mind, not as imaginary beings, but as real men who walked, talked, and gamboled before me. I have listened to their words, laughed at their wit, pondered on their wisdom, and have marveled