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Heron, Bijou

Yesterday we promised our younger readers to tell them something about Bijou Heron. They can see her at the National this afternoon and in the evening too. Bijou was born in New York about twelve years ago, and is the only daughter of Matilda Heron, one of the most famous actresses of modern times. Her mother has retired from the stage for the present, and is engaged in New York as a teacher for elocution and in fitting young ladies for the stage. Gertie Norwood was cast for the play last spring—May, we think it was—at Mr. Daly’s Fifth avenue theatre. She was suddenly taken ill with the scarletina, and someone had to be substituted in her place. Bijou was then attending one of the public schools in New York city for little girls, but a member of Mr. Daly’s company had heard her recite passages from plays, and with great effect the poison scene from Romeo and Juliet. He saw Bijou’s mother, and obtained her consent for him to go to the school and take her out. She was delighted with the idea, and by 10 o’clock that morning she had seen Mr. Daly at the theatre. She then ran home and told her mother, and returning to the theatre went on the stage at 11 o’clock for her first rehearsal as Adrienne, and although she had given but thirty minutes to its study she was nearly perfect in the first act, such is her wonderful gift of committing anything to memory. On her second rehearsal she was what actors call “dead letter perfect” in the entire part, and her memory has never failed her once since then. In a few days the piece was played before the public. She met, of course, with a warm reception because she was Matilda Heron’s daughter, but on her very first exit she received a call to come before the curtain, and the theatre fairly shook with applause. The public at once took hold of her, and she is now its youngest and most favored idol. All feel, in witnessing the play, that the part of Adrienne is too mature for a mere child. The dramatist calls for efforts that would tax the best endeavors of advanced actresses, but she proves herself fully equal to the trying situations and requirements. She has played the role of Oliver Twist, but without the success of her Adrienne. This fact has greatly pleased those most interested in her future. She is a true woman; all her instincts are entirely feminine, hence she cannot assume a boy’s part. She is not a precocity, but a live, beautiful genius, and since the days of the great Julia Dean she has the sweetest, purest and most sympathetic voice. It is a voice of tears. Her action is gentle, and with a single attitude or word or wave of her hand she can thrill an audience and evoke its tears. We shall, no doubt, some day witness her Evadne, Pauline and Juliet, and then perhaps she will rise into the grander regions of tragedy. She is a true daughter of God, and all her wonderful gifts come from Heaven. She is getting too large to play child’s parts, or will be soon, and it is mere than probable that she will retire from the stage until she is seventeen or eighteen. She will then come again before the public with her spirit unbroken, her voice unimpaired, her strength established, her education perfected, and fully prepared to march up the royal road to the summit of fame. Her mother to-day is the best living teacher of the art of acting, and Bijou will have that benefit. Twenty years hence she will be thirty-two, and with her ambition industry and genius what may she not become?

[B]ijou Heron’s mother is now poor, but in less than twenty years she may be living in a place, for Bijou is as good and affectionate and filial as she is beautiful and great.

The National Republican 11/28/1874. Print.

Heron, The National Republican, 11/28/1874