7 JULY 1883, Page 3

The banquet to Mr. Irving at St. James's Hall, on

Wednes- day, was a very enthusiastic one. Five hundred sat down to table, and some 400 ladies assembled in the galleries before the speaking began. Lord Coleridge presided, and showed con- siderable art in giving a sort of colloquial familiarity to the eloquence of his usually stately, though silver tongue. He declared that every after-dinner speech should have its joke, its platitude, and its quotation,—the American Minister subse- quently remarking that the platitude was the real difficulty, and that a successful platitude requires "a very high order of genius," —but Lord Coleridge was equal to the emergency, for he combined all three in one by quoting "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players," as a passage absolutely new. In enumerating some of the great actors and actresses, Lord Coleridge might, we think, have remembered, when he compli- mented Miss Ellen Terry, that a sister of hers had once as great a popularity, and had reached, as a tragic actress, a far higher standard of genius. But the conclusion of Lord Coleridge's speech was the happiest. He described Mr. Irving in Cicero's words,—"Summns artifex, et, mehercule ! solver partium, in republica tanquam in scene, optiniarum." "1 venture," he said, "to translate these words roughly, for the benefit of one or two people who, perhaps, do not understand them,—' He is a con- summate artist, by Jove ! and capable of the best parts, both on the stage and off it.'"