"You know Mrs. Kelly?... You know Mrs. Kelly?... don't you know Mrs. Kelly? Her husband's that little stout man, always at the corner of the street in a greasy waistcoat... good life, don't look so stupid, don't - you must know Mrs. Kelly!... Don't you know Mrs. Kelly?... Well of course, if you don't, you don't - but I thought you did, because I thought everybody knew Mrs. Kelly. Oh, and what a woman - perhaps it's just as well you don't know her... oh, she's a mean woman. Greedy. I know for a fact - her little boy, who's got the sore eyes, he came over and told me - she had half a dozen oysters, and she ate them in front of the looking-glass, to make them look a dozen. Now that'll give you an idea what she is."
Here are two recordings of Leno. Inevitably they are only a shadow of what he was really like, but something of his skill in projecting a character comes over the years. In the first one he is an incompetent huntsman. I have two recordings of this, and although the later one is more complete and better quality I thought it would be more interesting to have the earlier (particularly as on the later one he is beginning to sound less effective - he suffered a mental breakdown only a couple of months later). Don't expect too much of the quality - note the recording date.
'The Huntsman' (Gramophone and Typewriter
rec. London, c. November 19, 1901.
The second recording was made just before his mental breakdown, and there are a few audible signs of strain: even so the character comes over well. His humour is gentler than we expect from music hall, but still fairly effective. Here he is a common music-hall type - the innocent in a strange situation, in this case the race-track.
'Going To The Races' (HMV C-545
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