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Title: Exits and Entrances
Author: Moore, Eva
Language: English
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                          EXITS AND ENTRANCES


[Illustration:

  _Photograph by Claude Harris, London, W._ Frontispiece
]



                          EXITS AND ENTRANCES


                                   BY
                               EVA MOORE

                      _WITH TWENTY ILLUSTRATIONS_

                         “All the world’s a stage,
             And all the men and women merely players:
             They have their exits and their entrances;
             And one man in his time plays many parts.”

                                         —_As You Like It._


                                 LONDON
                          CHAPMAN & HALL, LTD
                                  1923



                      PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY
                  THE DUNEDIN PRESS LIMITED, EDINBURGH



                                TO HARRY

  _Whose words head each chapter of what is really his book and mine_

                                                                     EVA


  21 Whiteheads Grove, Chelsea.
  “Apple Porch”, Maidenhead.

                                                             July, 1923.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                CONTENTS


 CHAPTER                                                            PAGE
      I. HOME                                                          1

     II. THE START                                                    16

    III. WEDDING BELLS                                                29

     IV. PLAYS AND PLAYERS                                            43

      V. MORE PLAYS AND PLAYERS                                       60

     VI. FOR THE DURATION OF THE WAR                                  74

    VII. THE SUFFRAGE                                                 89

   VIII. PEOPLE I HAVE MET                                           101

     IX. PERSONALITIES                                               116

      X. STORIES I REMEMBER                                          131

     XI. ROUND AND ABOUT                                             143

    XII. A BUNDLE OF OLD LETTERS                                     172

   XIII. HARRY, THE MAN                                              187

    XIV. HARRY, THE PLAYWRIGHT                                       200

     XV. HARRY, THE ACTOR                                            215

    XVI. AND LAST                                                    228

         APPENDICES                                                  241



                             ILLUSTRATIONS


 EVA MOORE                                                  Frontispiece

                                                             FACING PAGE
 Dora in “The Don”                                                    21

 Harry, November 19th, 1891                                           24

 Wedding Bells, November 19th, 1891                                   28

 Harry as Howard Bompas in “The Times”, 1891                          30

 Pepita in “Little Christopher Columbus”                              37

 Madame de Cocheforet in “Under the Red Robe”                         48

 Kathie in “Old Heidelberg”                                           61

 Lady Mary Carlyle in “Monsieur Beaucaire”                            66

 “Mumsie”                                                             71

 Miss Van Gorder in “The Bat”                                         72

 Eliza in “Eliza Comes to Stay”                                      102

 Harry as Lord Leadenhall in “The Rocket”                            124

 Harry as Major-General Sir R. Chichele in “The Princess
   and the Butterfly”                                                142

 Harry as Little Billee in “Trilby”                                  187

 Jill and her Mother                                                 194

 Harry as Widgery Blake in “Palace of Puck”                          199

 Harry as Major Blencoe in “The Tree of Knowledge”                   218

 Harry as Touchstone in “As You Like It”                             222

 Apple Porch                                                         237



                               CHAPTER I
                                  HOME

              “And I’ll go away and fight for myself.”
                                  —_Eliza Comes to Stay._


As Mr. Wickfield said to Miss Trotwood—the old question, you know—“What
is your motive in this?”

I am sure it is excellent to have a motive, and if possible a good
motive, for doing everything; and so before I begin I want to give my
motive for attempting to write my memoirs of things and people, past and
present—and here it is.

Jack, my son, was on tour with his own company of _Eliza Comes to Stay_;
and Jill, my little daughter, was playing at the St. James’s Theatre,
her first engagement—and, incidentally, earning more each week than I
did when I first played “lead” (and I found my own dresses). I thought
that some day they might like to know how different things were in the
“old days”; like to read how one worked, and studied, and tried to save;
might like to know something of the road over which their father and
mother had travelled; and perhaps gain some idea of the men and women
who were our contemporaries. Perhaps, if they, my own boy and girl,
would like to read this, other people’s boys and girls might like to
read it also: it might at least interest and amuse them.

To me, to try and write it all would be a joy, to “call spirits from the
vasty deep,” to ring up again the curtain on the small dramas in which I
had played—and the small comedies too—and to pay some tribute to the
great men and women I have known. It may all seem to be “my story,” but
very often I shall only be the string on which are hung the bravery,
kindness, and goodness of the really great people; not always the most
successful, but the really great, who have helped to make life what it
should be, and luckily sometimes really is!

So I determined to begin, and begin at the beginning.

Brighton! when it was Brighton; still retaining some of the glories of
the long past Regency; with its gay seasons, its mounted police, and—no
Metropole Hotel; when the only two hotels of any importance were the
“Bedford” and the still-existing “Old Ship.” The old chain pier,
standing when we went to bed one evening, and swept away when we got up
the next morning by a terrific gale. The Aquarium, then a place which
people really visited and regarded as something of a “sight worth
seeing”—does anyone go there now, except on a very wet day? The Dome in
the Pavilion, with its grand orchestral concerts, conducted by the
famous Mr. Kuhe, whose son is now a musical critic in London. All these
things belonged to Brighton of the—well, the exact date does not
matter—but of the time when women did not ride bicycles or drive motor
cars, because certainly the one, and certainly the other so far as women
were concerned, did not exist. In those days men rode a high “single
wheel” bicycle: the higher the wheel, the greater the Knut—only the word
“Knut” was unknown then!

Those are some of the memories I have of Brighton at the time when we
were a happy, noisy, large family living in Regency Square; a really
large family, even as Victorian families went—nine girls and one boy. We
had no money, but unlimited health and spirits.

My mother!—well, everyone says “Mine was the sweetest mother in the
world,” but my mother really _was_. She had a most amazing amount of
character hidden under a most gentle exterior. As pretty as a picture,
adorable—just “Mother.”

And father—an austere, very good-looking man of uncertain temper; one of
those tempers which periodically sweep through the house like a tornado.
Absolutely upright, and deeply respected, but with a stern sense of his
duties as a parent which we, his children, hardly appreciated.

My first recollection is of trying to climb into my mother’s bed, and
finding the place that should have been mine occupied by a “new baby.” I
heard years afterwards that when my mother was told that her tenth child
and ninth daughter had arrived in the world, she exclaimed: “Thank God
it’s a girl!” Such a nice feminine thing to say, bless her!

Six of the girls lived to grow up, and we each, as we grew sufficiently
advanced in years, took turns at the “housekeeping”. I know I did double
duty, as my sister Jessie distinguished herself by fainting one morning
when preparing the breakfast, and so was not allowed to do it any more.
I remember creeping down the stairs in the dark early mornings (when I
think of “getting breakfast”, it seems to me that we must have lived in
perpetual winter, the mornings seem to have always been cold and dark,
never bright and sunny: I suppose the memory of the unpleasant things
remains longer), going very softly past my father’s room, and putting
the loathsome porridge—partially cooked the night before—on the gas
ring, and, having stirred it, creeping upstairs again to dress.

I remember, too, at breakfast how I would watch my father’s face, to see
by his expression if it was “all right”; the awful moment when, eyeing
it with disfavour, he would give his verdict: “Lumpy!” The cook for the
day, after such a verdict, generally left the table in tears.

It must have been before I was old enough to make porridge that I had my
first sweetheart. His name was Johnnie; he was a small Jew, and we met
in Regency Square; together we turned somersaults all round the Square,
and it must have been all very idealistic and pleasant. I remember
nothing more about him, so apparently our love was short-lived.

Up to the time that my sister Decima was six, my father kept a stick in
the dining-room; the moral effect of that stick was enormous; should any
member of the family become unruly (or what my father considered
unruly), the stick was produced and a sharp rap on the head
administered.

One day Decima was the culprit, and as my father leant back to reach the
stick, she exclaimed cheerfully: “You won’t find the old stick, cos I’ve
hided it.”

She had, too; it was not found for years, when it was discovered in a
large chest, right at the bottom. It is still a mystery how Decima, who
was really only a baby at the time, put it there. Looking back, I
applaud her wisdom, and see the promise of the aptitude for “looking
ahead” which has made her so successful in the ventures on which she has
embarked; for the “stick” certainly affected her most. She was a naughty
child, but very, very pretty. We called her “The Champion”, because she
would take up the cudgels on behalf of anyone who was “underdog”. I
loved her devotedly; and, when she was being punished for any special
piece of naughtiness by being interned in her bedroom, I used to sit
outside, whispering at intervals, “I’m here, darling”, “It’s all right,
dear”, and so on.

Yet it was to Decima that I caused a tragedy, and, incidentally, to
myself as well. She was the proud possessor of a very beautiful wax
doll; a really beautiful and aristocratic person she was. We always said
“Grace” before meals (I think everyone did in those days), and one
morning I was nursing the doll. In an excess of religious fervour, I
insisted that the wax beauty should say “grace” too. Her body, not being
adapted to religious exercises, refused to bend with the reverence I
felt necessary; I pushed her, and cracked off her head on the edge of
the table. Now, mark how this tragedy recoiled on me! I had a gold
piece—half a sovereign, I suppose—given to me by some god-parent. It
lived in a box, wrapped in cotton wool, and I occasionally gazed at it;
I never dreamt of spending it; it was merely regarded as an emblem of
untold wealth. Justice, in the person of my father, demanded that, as I
had broken the doll, my gold piece must be sacrificed to buy her a new
head. If the incident taught me nothing else, it taught me to extend
religious tolerance even to wax dolls!

Not only did we hate preparing breakfast, we hated doing the shopping,
and called it “Sticking up to Reeves, and poking down to Daws”—Reeves
and Daws being the grocer and laundryman respectively. It was in the
process of “Sticking up to Reeves”, whose shop was in Kemptown, one
morning, that Decima stopped to speak to a goat, who immediately ate the
shopping list out of her hand.

Decima was the only member of the family who succeeded in wearing a
fringe—openly—before my father. We all _did_ wear fringes, but they were
pushed back in his presence; Decima never pushed hers back! In those
days so to adorn one’s forehead was to declare oneself “fast”—an elastic
term, which was applied to many things which were frowned on by one’s
elders. That was the “final word”—“_fast!_”

Our great excitement was bathing in the sea, and singing in the church
choir. We bathed three times a week; it cost 4d. each. Clad in heavy
serge, with ample skirts, very rough and “scratchy”, we used to emerge
from the bathing machines. All except Ada, who swam beautifully, and
made herself a bathing suit of blue bunting with knickers and tunic. My
father used to row round to the “ladies’ bathing place” in his dinghy,
and teach us how to swim. As there was no “mixed bathing” then, this
caused much comment, and was, indeed, considered “hardly nice”. My
brother Henry was the champion swimmer of the South Coast, and he and
Ada used to swim together all round the West Pier—this, again, was
thought to be “going rather far” in more senses than one!

Though I loved Decima so devotedly, we apparently had “scraps”, for I
can remember once in the bathing machine she flicked me several times
with a wet towel—I remember, too, how it hurt.

We all sang in the church choir; not all at once; as the elder ones
left, the younger ones took their places. Boys from the boarding school
in Montpelier Square used to be brought to church: we exchanged glances,
and felt desperately wicked. Once (before she sang in the choir) Decima
took 3d. out of the plate instead of putting 1d. into it.

At that time our pocket-money was 1d. a week, so I presume we were given
“collection money” for Sunday; this was later increased to 2s. a month,
when we had to buy our own gloves. Thus my mother’s birthday
present—always the same: a pot of primulas (on the receipt of which she
always expressed the greatest surprise)—represented the savings of three
weeks on the part of Decima and me. It was due to parental interference
in a love affair that I once, in a burst of reckless extravagance,
induced Decima to add her savings to mine and spend 5d. in sweets, all
at one fell swoop.

I was 14, and in love! In love with a boy who came to church, and whose
name I cannot remember. We met in the street, and stopped to speak.
Fate, in the person of my father (who always seems to have been casting
himself for the parts of “Fate”, “Justice”, “Law”, or “Order”) saw us; I
was ordered into the house, and, seizing my umbrella, my father
threatened to administer the chastisement which he felt I richly
deserved for the awful crime of “speaking to a boy”. I escaped the
chastisement by flying to my room; and it was there, realising that
“love’s young dream was o’er”, I incited Decima to the aforementioned
act of criminal extravagance. I know one of the packets she brought back
contained “hundreds and thousands”; we liked them, you seemed to get
such a lot for your money!

My life was generally rather blighted at that time, for, in addition to
this unfortunate love affair, I had to wear black spectacles, owing to
weak eyes, the result of measles. “A girl” told me, at school, that “a
boy” had told her I “should be quite pretty if I hadn’t to wear those
awful glasses.” The tragedy of that “_if_”!

I was then at Miss Pringle’s school, where I don’t think any of us
learnt very much; not that girls were encouraged to learn much at any
school in those days. I certainly didn’t. My eyes made reading
difficult. Then the opportunity for me to earn my own living offered; it
was seized; and I went to Liverpool. I was to teach gymnastics and
dancing under Madame Michau.

The original Madame Michau, mother of the lady for whom I was to work,
had been a celebrity in her day. Years before—many, many years
before—she had taught dancing in Brighton, where she had been considered
_the_ person to coach debutantes in the deportment necessary for a
drawing-room. Her daughter was very energetic, and worked from morning
to night. She had a very handsome husband, who ostensibly “kept the
books”, which really meant that he lounged at home while his wife went
out to work. Not only did she work herself, but she made me work
too—from eight in the morning until eleven at night; in fact, so far as
my memory serves me, there was a greater abundance of work than of food.
I don’t regret any of it in the least; the dancing and gymnastics taught
me how to “move” in a way that nothing else could have done. It taught
me, also, how to keep my temper!

Only one thing I really resented; that was, among other duties, I had to
mend Madame’s husband’s underwear. Even then I am overstating the case;
I did not mind the mending collectively; what I minded was the mending
individually—that is, I hated mending his (what are technically known, I
think, as) _pants_. At the end of a year I “crocked up”—personally I
wonder that I lasted so long—and came home for a holiday. I was then
about 15, and I fell in love. Not, this time, with a small boy in the
Square; not with a big boy; this was a real affair. “He” was at least
twelve years older than I, very good to look at, and apparently he had
excellent prospects on the Stock Exchange. My family, so far as I can
remember, approved, and I was very happy. I forget how long the
engagement lasted—about a year, I think—and for part of that time I was
back in Liverpool. I know the engagement ring was pearl and coral. One
day a stone fell out—so did the engagement. The picture “he” had drawn
of us living in domestic and suburban bliss at West Norwood—me clad in
brown velvet and a sealskin coat (apparently irrespective of times or
seasons) vanished. He “went broke” on the Stock Exchange, and broke off
the engagement—perhaps so that his love affairs might be in keeping with
the general wreckage; I don’t know. I remember that I sat in the bedroom
writing a farewell letter, damp with tears, when the sight of a black
beetle effectively dried my tears and ended the letter.

I don’t know that this love affair influenced me at all, but I decided I
was utterly weary of Liverpool. I came back to Brighton, and taught
dancing there, partly on my own and partly in conjunction with an
already established dancing class. It was there that I taught a small,
red-headed boy to do “One, two, three—right; one, two, three—left.” He
was the naughtiest small boy in the class; I used to think sometimes he
must be the naughtiest small boy in the world. His name was Winston
Churchill.

It was not a thrilling life—this teaching children to dance—on the
contrary, it was remarkably dull, and once your work becomes dull to you
it is time you found something else to do. I decided that I would. I
would make a bid for the Stage.

We, or at least my elder sisters, gave theatrical performances at
home—comedies and operettas—and it was during the production of one of
these that I met Miss Harriet Young, the well-known amateur pianist, in
Brighton.

The production was called _Little Golden Hope_, the one and only amateur
production in which I ever took part. It was written by my
brother-in-law, Ernest Pertwee, and the music by Madame Guerini, who had
been a Miss Wilberforce, daughter of Canon Wilberforce. Miss Young used
to come and play the piano at these productions, and I heard that she
knew Mrs. Kendal! Mrs. Kendal was staying at Brighton at the time. A
letter of introduction was given to me by Miss Young, and, accompanied
by my sister Bertha, I went to see Mrs. Kendal.

No very clear memory of it remains. She was charming; I was paralysed
with fright. If she gave me any advice about the advisability of taking
up the stage as a profession, it was “don’t”—so I went back to my
dancing class.

But hope was not dead! Florrie Toole, who was a pupil of my sister
Emily, promised me an introduction to her father, and not only to him
but to Tom Thorne of the Vaudeville Theatre as well. I made up my mind
to go up to London and see them both. All this was arranged with the
greatest secrecy, for I knew that my father would set his face sternly
against “the Stage”. Though we might be allowed to have amateur
theatricals at home, though we might teach dancing, singing, elocution,
or indeed anything else, the Stage was something unthought of in the
minds of parents. However, Fate was on my side. I was out teaching all
day, and, once the front door had closed behind me in the morning, I was
not actually expected back until the evening, so I slipped up to London.
There, at the Vaudeville Theatre, I saw both Tom and Fred Thorne.

In those days there were no play-producing societies—no Play Actors,
Interlude Players, or Repertory Players—and so new plays were “tried
out” at matinées. One was then looming on the horizon of the
Vaudeville—_Partners_—and it was in connection with a possible part in
this play that my name and address were taken; I was told that I might
hear from Mr. Thorne “in about a week”, and so, full of hope, I returned
to Brighton. About a week later I received a letter which told me that I
had been given a small part in _Partners_, and stating the days on which
I should have to rehearse in London.

It was then that the question arose, “Should I tell father?” I thought
it over, long and earnestly, and decided not to. I did not have to
rehearse every day, and, as I had slipped up to London before, “all
unbeknownst”, why not again? So, entering on my career of crime, and
unheeding the words of—I think—the good Doctor Watts, who says “Oh, what
a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive”, I used to
come up to rehearsal, leaving my family happy in the belief that I was
teaching dancing in Brighton!

During rehearsals I heard from Florrie Toole that she had arranged an
interview for me with her father, who would see me on a certain day, at
his house at Lowdnes Square. That was a real “red letter day”. For some
reason, which I forget, I had taken Decima with me, and after the
rehearsal I was asked if I would like to see the matinée performance of
_Hearts is Hearts_, which was then playing at the Vaudeville. Would I
like! I was given a box—a stage box at that—and there Decima and I sat,
thrilled to the depths of our small souls.

Before this auspicious occasion I had seen three theatrical
performances, and three only. One had been at the Adelphi, when I saw
_Harbour Lights_, and the other two at the Brighton Theatre-Royal; from
the upper circle, or the gallery, I had seen _Faust_, when a really very
stout lady played “Marguerite”; and the other a pantomime, _Cinderella_,
when Florence St. John played “Cinders” (and played it most
delightfully, too) and Charles Rock played “Baron Hardup”. Even these
two delightful events had been somewhat marred by the fact that father
insisted that we should “come out before the end, to avoid the crush”—as
though anyone minded a crush after a theatre, when you went only twice a
year, and were only 14!

But to return to our stage box at the Vaudeville Theatre. The interview
with Mr. Toole was fixed for 5.30, but rather than miss a moment of the
play, we stayed until the very end, and were thus forced to be
recklessly extravagant and take a hansom to Lowdnes Square. It cost
eighteen-pence, but we both felt that it was worth it, felt that this
was indeed _Life_—with a very large capital letter.

I do not think that the interview with the great comedian was
impressive. Florrie took me in to her father, and said “This is Eva.” He
said “How are you?” and murmured vague things about “seeing what we can
do” and—that was all.

The matinée came, I played a little chambermaid. As “Herbert” says in
_Eliza Comes to Stay_: “The characters bear no relation to life, sir.
The play opens with the butler and the housemaid dusting the
drawing-room chairs”—I was the “housemaid”.

I remember the fateful afternoon we first played _Partners_. I was in
the Green Room—there were such things then—Maud Millet was learning her
part between all her exits and entrances. During one of my waits, Mr.
Scot Buest offered me a glass of champagne; I thought that I had plumbed
the depths of depravity! It was Mr. Buest who later asked me to have
dinner with him. I did, but felt sure that all London would ring with my
immorality. What a little prude I must have been!

That afternoon Mr. Toole was in front, and so saw me play. A few days
later I heard from him; he offered me a part in _The Cricket on the
Hearth_, which he was going to produce at his own theatre. I was to
receive “£1 a week, and find your own dresses”. Naturally, I accepted,
and was then faced with the necessity of telling my father. I took my
courage in both hands, and broke the news.

The expected tornado swept the house, the storm broke and the thunder of
my father’s wrath rolled over our heads. My mother was held responsible
for my wickedness; she was asked to consider what “_her_ child” had
done; for, be it said, when any of us did anything which met with my
father’s disapproval, we were always “my mother’s children”; when we met
with his approval, we were _his_, and apparently his only.

So my mother wept, and my father washed his hands with much invisible
soap, ordering me never to darken his doors again—“To think that any
daughter of _his_”, and much more—oh! very much more—to the same effect.

I remained firm; here was my chance waiting for me in the greatest city
in the world, and I was determined to take it. I left Brighton for
London—“the world was mine oyster”.



                               CHAPTER II
                               THE START

  “We ... never stopped in the old days to turn things over in our
  minds, and grow grey over counting the chances of what would or what
  wouldn’t happen. We went slap for everything like the healthy young
  devils we were.”

                                           —_When We Were Twenty-One._


And so at Christmas I began to play “The Spirit of Home” in _The Cricket
on the Hearth_ at Toole’s Theatre, which was a small place, mostly
underground, beside the Charing Cross Hospital. I was very happy; it was
all new and exciting, and everyone was very kind to me. Kate Phillips,
who played “Dot”, had been ill, and her dressing-room—the dressing-room
provided for the leading lady—was underground; she couldn’t stand it,
and, as mine was on the roof—or as nearly on the roof as possible—she
came up to dress with me. It was in Kate Phillips’s (and my)
dressing-room that I first saw Winifred Emery, who came on to Toole’s
for tea from the Vaudeville. She was perfectly beautiful, with most
lovely hands, and oh, so attractive!

In those days, after a matinée, there were only two things to do—either
stay in the theatre or go out and walk about in the streets. Your rooms
were generally a long way from the theatre, which meant ’bus riding (and
every penny had to be considered), and there were no girls’ clubs then.
No Three Arts Club, Theatrical Girls’ Club, no A.B.C.’s, no Lyons,
nothing of that kind, so you stayed in the theatre.

Another person who was in the cast was George Shelton, the same George
Shelton who was in _Peter Pan_ this year—1922—when Jill made her first
appearance. I can see no difference in him; after all these years he
looks, and is, just the same. The children who went to see _Peter
Pan_—so Mr. Lyn Harding assured us—“found Smee lovable”, as I found him
so many years ago. Only then he wasn’t playing Smee!

The run ended, and I was engaged to play in a first piece by Justin
Huntly Macarthy, called _The Red Rag_. I have no very clear recollection
of the part, except that I played the girl who made love to a man “over
the garden wall,” standing on a flowerpot. It was in this play, _The Red
Rag_, that Decima asked, after noting that only the “top half” of the
gentleman appeared over the wall, “As his legs don’t show, does he have
to wear trousers? Because, if he doesn’t, it must be such a very cheap
costume.” I had a new dress for the part, which is not really so
impressive as it sounds, for in those days “Nun’s veiling” (thanks be to
Heaven!) was 6½d. a yard, and, as in _The Cricket on the Hearth_ I had
been clad in white Nun’s veiling, so now for _The Red Rag_ I wore a blue
dress of the same useful material. Of course, I made both of them
myself.

However, this play marked a “point in my career”—I began to have
“notices” in the Press. The _Punch_ critic of that date said: “If names
signify anything, there is a young lady who is likely to remain on the
stage a very long time—‘Quoth the Raven, _Eva Moore_’.” She has, too—a
very long time. _The People_ said he should keep his “critical eye on
me, in fact _both_ his critical eyes.”

At the end of the spring season, Mr. Toole asked me to go on tour for
the summer and autumn, to play “leading lady”—this was a real leap up
the ladder—appearing in fifteen plays. I was to receive £3 a week. I
accepted (of course I accepted!), and took with me twenty-three dresses.
I remember the number, because in order to buy the necessary materials I
had to borrow £10 from my brother.

By this time the attitude of my father had changed; he no longer
regarded me as “lost”, and no longer looked upon the Stage as the last
step in an immoral life; he was, I think, rather proud of what I had
done. So far had he relented that, when my sister Jessie decided that
she too would go on the Stage, there was no opposition. She left home
without any dramatic scenes, and went into the chorus of _Dorothy_,
where she understudied Marie Tempest and Ben Davis’s sister-in-law,
Florence Terry, afterwards playing the latter’s part.

I was staying then off the Strand, near the Old Globe Theatre, sharing
rooms with the sister of a man—his name does not matter, he has since
left the Stage for the Church—to whom I later was engaged. When Jessie
came to London we arranged to have rooms together. One day we mounted a
’bus at Piccadilly, and found we could go all the way to Hammersmith for
a penny. We were so struck by the cheapness of the journey that we rode
the whole length of the pennyworth.

Eventually we found rooms in Abingdon Villas, two furnished rooms for
18s. a week; we took them and “moved in”.

I must go back here to record what might really have been a very tragic
business for me. After I had been playing in _The Red Rag_ for about
five weeks, Mr. Toole was taken ill, and the theatre was closed for over
a month—“no play, no pay”. Providence had ordained that I should have
been given the money for a new winter coat; I had the money, and was
waiting to buy the garment. The coat had to wait; I had to keep a roof
over my head. I paid it over—in a lump—to the landlady, and knew I was
safe to have at least a bed in which to sleep until the theatre
re-opened.

The tour began; we went to Plymouth, Bath, Scarborough, Dublin,
Edinburgh (where, for the first time, I slept in a “concealed bed”), and
many other places I have forgotten; but, wherever we went, the audience
was the same: Toole had only to walk on the stage and they howled with
laughter. I very seldom spoke to him; in those days I was far too
frightened to address the “Olympians”; I could only congratulate myself
on being in the company at all.

Funnily enough, the position I held was originally offered by Toole to
Violet Vanbrugh; I fancy—in fact, I am pretty sure—that I eventually was
given it because she wanted “too much money”. She probably asked for £5,
or even perhaps rose to the dizzy height of demanding £8, while I “went
for £3” (it sounds like little David Copperfield selling his
waistcoat!).

I think I enjoyed the tour; it was all new and strange to me. The sea
journey to Ireland was distinctly an experience. I remember that a
critic in Cork, a true son of Ireland, said of me in his paper, “Critics
have been known to become dizzy before such beauty.” How I laughed at
and enjoyed that notice! It was at Cork that poor dear Florrie Toole was
taken ill. She had joined us some weeks before, to my great delight, for
she had always been so very kind to me. It was from Florrie that I
received a velvet dress, which was one of the most useful articles in my
wardrobe; it was altered and re-altered, and finally retired from active
service after having been my “stand-by” in many parts.

During the week we were at Cork, Florrie was ill—not very ill, or so it
seemed; at any rate, she was able to travel with us to Edinburgh on the
Sunday. There she became rapidly worse, and it was found that she had
typhoid fever. We left her in Edinburgh, and heard the following week
that she was dead. Such a beautiful life cut short! She was so
brilliant, and so very, very lovable.

[Illustration:

  _Photograph by C. Hawkins, Brighton._ To face p. 21

  DORA

  “The Don”
]

I shared rooms with Eliza Johnson, a capable but somewhat unrelenting
elderly lady. She “dragooned” me effectively; young men who showed any
tendency to gather round stage doors, or gaze at one in the street, were
sternly discouraged. At Cambridge, I remember, I had a passionate love
letter from some “undergrad.”, who said he refrained from signing his
name, as his “trust had been broken before”, but, if I returned his
affection, would I reply in the “agony” column of the _Times_ to “Fido”!
I did nothing of the kind, naturally; but so definite were the feelings
of Eliza Johnson on “things of that kind” that she told me she could
“not help feeling that I was, in some measure, to blame.”

At Birmingham, on the Friday night, after “treasury,” I left my money in
my dressing-room, went on the stage, and returned to find the money
gone! I went to the manager and told him, but he protested that he could
do nothing. I managed to borrow money to pay for my rooms, and went on
to the next town very downcast indeed. Three pounds was a lot of money.
The following week I had a letter from Birmingham, telling how the
writer, who was employed at the theatre, had stolen the money, but that
the sight of my distress had so melted his heart that he had decided to
return it to me intact. The £3 was enclosed. I concluded that it was one
of the stage hands; it wasn’t, it was Mr. Toole. He had heard of my
loss, and, in giving me the money, could not resist playing one of those
practical jokes which he loved!

The tour ended and we came back to London, where Toole was going to put
on a first piece called _The Broken Sixpence_ before _The Don_. The cast
included Mary Brough, Charles Lowne, the authoress (Mrs. Thompson)—who
was a very beautiful woman, but not a strikingly good actress—and, among
the “wines and spirits,” me.

My dress was the same that I had worn in _The Butler_ (a play we had
done on tour), or, rather, it was _part_ of the dress, for, as I was
playing a young girl, with short skirts, I only used the _skirt_ of the
dress, merely adding a yoke; in addition, I wore a fair wig.

I have it on good authority that I looked “perfectly adorable”, for it
was in this play, though I did not know it for a long time, that Harry
Esmond first saw me, and, apparently, approved of me!

Then I began to be ill; too much work, and, looking back, I fancy not
too much food, and that probably of the wrong kind for a girl who, after
all, was only about 17, and who had been playing in a different play
every night for weeks.

I didn’t stop working, though I did feel very ill for some weeks, but
finally an incident occurred which took the matter out of my hands and
forced me to take a rest.

I was walking home from the theatre, with my salary and my savings
(seven pounds, which I had gathered together to pay back to my brother
for the loan I mentioned before) in my bag. In those days the streets
were in the state of semi-darkness to which London grew accustomed in
the war—at any rate, in all but the largest streets; some one, who must
have known who I was, or at any rate known that I was an actress and
that Friday night was “pay night”, sprang out of the darkness, struck me
a heavy blow on the head, snatched my bag, and left me lying senseless.

After that, I gave in—I went home, and was very ill for a long time with
low fever; not only was I ill, I was hideously depressed. However, I
went back to Mr. Toole as soon as I was better, and he told me he was
going to Australia, and asked me to go too. The salary was to be £4 a
week, and “provide your own clothes”. I declined, though how I had the
pluck to decline an engagement in those days passes my comprehension.
However, I did, and Irene Vanbrugh went to Australia in my place—though
not at my salary; she was more fortunate.

I began to haunt agents’ offices, looking for work, and a dreary
business it was! At last I was engaged to go to the Shaftesbury to play
in _The Middleman_ with E. S. Willard, and it was here that I first
actually met my husband. He was very young, very slim, and looked as
young as he was; he was, as is the manner of “the powers that be”, cast
for a villain, and, in order to “look the part”, he had his shoulders
padded to such an extent that he looked perfectly square. His first
words in the play were “More brandy!” I don’t think he was a great
success in the part, though, looking through some old press cuttings, I
find the following extract from _The Musical World_: “But a Mr. Esmond
shows, I think, very high promise, together with faults that need to be
corrected. His attitudes are abominable; his voice and the heart in it
could hardly be bettered”—and that in spite of the padding!

I think we were at once great friends—at any rate, I know he had to use
a ring in the play, and I lent him mine. In particular I remember one
evening, when I was walking down Shaftesbury Avenue with the man to whom
I was engaged, and we met Harry wearing my ring; I was most disturbed,
lest my own “young man” should notice. However, we broke the engagement
soon after—at least I did—and after that it didn’t matter who wore or
who did not wear my ring. Then Harry, who lived at Empress Gate, used to
take me home after the theatre; and if he didn’t take me home, he took
somebody else home, for at that time I think he loved most pretty girls.
It was a little later that he wrote in his diary: “Had tea with Agnes
(Agnes Verity); took Eva home; she gave me two tomatoes; nice girl. How
happy could I be with either!”—which, I think, gives a very fair idea of
his general attitude at the time.

_The Middleman_ ran well; it was a good play, with a good cast—E. S.
Willard, Annie Hughes, Maude Millet, and William Mackintosh—the latter a
really great actor. I understudied Annie Hughes—and played for her. In
_The Middleman_, Willard wore his hair powdered, to give him the
necessary look of age, and in one scene I had to comb it. I was most
anxious to do well in Annie Hughes’s part, and was so zealous that I
combed all the powder out of his hair at the back, to my own confusion
and his great dismay.

[Illustration:

  _Photograph by Elliott & Fry, London, W._ To face p. 24


  HARRY

  November 19th. 1891
]

At the end of the run of _The Middleman_, I wrote to Mr. (now Sir) A. W.
Pinero, and asked for an interview. His play, _The Cabinet Minister_,
was shortly to be produced at the Court Theatre, and I hoped he might
give me a part. He granted me the interview, and I remember how
frightened I was. I met him some time ago, and he reminded me of it. He
told me I struck him as being “such a little thing”. Anyway, he gave me
a part. This was the first production in which I had played where the
dresses were provided by the management, and very wonderful dresses they
were.

It was a great cast—Mrs. John Wood (whose daughter and granddaughter
were both with us in Canada in 1920), Allen Aynesworth (a very typical
young “man about town”), Rosina Philippi, Weedon Grossmith, and Arthur
Cecil.

Mrs. John Wood was a wonderful actress; she got the last ounce out of
every part she played. Fred Grove says: “When she had finished with a
part, it was like a well-sucked orange; not a bit of good left in it for
anyone else.” The first act of _The Cabinet Minister_ was a reception
after a drawing-room. We all wore trains of “regulation” length; at
rehearsals Mrs. Wood insisted that we should all have long curtains
pinned round us, to accustom us to the trains.

Arthur Cecil, who had been in partnership with Mrs. Wood, was a kindly
old gentleman who always carried a small black bag; it contained a
supply of sandwiches, in case he should suddenly feel the pangs of
hunger. “Spy,” of _Vanity Fair_, did a wonderful drawing of him,
complete with bag.

I remember Rosina Philippi, then as thin as a lamp-post, having a
terrific row one day with Weedon Grossmith—what about, I cannot
remember. He was playing “Mr. Lebanon”, a Jew, and “built up” his nose
to meet the requirements of the part. In the heat of the argument,
Rosina knocked off his nose; he _was_ so angry. The more angry he got,
the more she laughed!

I think it was before the run of _The Cabinet Minister_ that I became
engaged to Harry. I know that during the run Harry was playing at the
Royalty in _Sweet Nancy_, and was apparently rather vague and casual
about the duties of an engaged young man. I remember he used often to
send his best friend to call for me and bring me home from the theatre.
If he had not been such a very attractive young man himself, one might
have thought this habit showed a lack of wisdom. He was very attractive,
but very thin; I found out, to my horror, that he wore nothing under his
stiff white shirts! Imagine how cold, riding on the top of
’buses—anyway, it struck me as dreadful, and my first gift to him was a
complete set of underwear. He protested that it would “tickle”, but I
know he wore them, with apparently no grave discomfort.

I went to Terry’s to play in _Culprits_—a tragic play so far as I was
concerned. I really, for the first time, “let myself go” over my
dresses. I spent £40. (Imagine the months of savings represented by that
sum!) We rehearsed for five weeks, and the play ran three.

By this time my sister Jessie had gone on tour, first with _Dr. Dee_, by
Cotsford Dick, later with D’Oyley Carte’s Company. Decima and I were
sharing rooms which Jessie had taken with me. Decima had been at
Blackheath at the College of Music, where she had gained a scholarship.
On her own initiative she came up to the Savoy Theatre, for a voice
trial, and was promptly engaged for the part of “Casilda” in the
forthcoming production of _The Gondoliers_. I remember the first night
of the opera occurred when I was still playing in _The Middleman_. Not
being in the last act, I was able to go down to the Savoy. I was
fearfully excited, and filled with pride and joy; it was a great night.
After the performance, Decima cried bitterly all the way home, so
convinced was she that her performance could not have been successful.
It was not until the following morning, when she was able to read the
notices in the morning papers, that she was reassured and finally
comforted. Far from ruining her performance, she had made a big success.

During the time we shared rooms we were both taken ill with Russian
influenza—and very ill we both were. Geraldine Ulmar came to see us, and
brought, later, Dr. Mayer Collier, who proved “a very present help in
trouble”. He rose high in his profession, and never ceased to be our
very good friend, nor failed in his goodness to us all.

On October 31st, 1891, I find the following Press cutting appeared: “Mr.
Esmond will shortly marry Miss Eva Moore, the younger sister (this, I
may say, was, and still is, incorrect) of pretty Miss Decima Moore of
the Savoy”. I was then playing in _The Late Lamented_, a play in which
Mr. Ackerman May, the well-known agent, played a part. Herbert Standing
was in the cast, though I remember very little about what he—or, for the
matter of that, anyone else—played, except that he was supposed to be
recovering from fever, and appeared with a copper blancmange mould on
his head, wrapped in a blanket. It would seem that the humour was not of
a subtle order.

We were married on November 19th, 1891, on the winnings of Harry and
myself on a race. _We_ backed a horse called “Common,” which ran, I
imagine, in either the Liverpool Cup or the Manchester November
Handicap. Where we got the tip from, I don’t know; anyway, it won at 40
to 1, and we were rich! Adding £50, borrowed from my sister Ada, to our
winnings, we felt we could face the world, and we did.

The wedding was to be very quiet, but somehow ever so many people
drifted into the Savoy Chapel on the morning of November 19th, among
them Edward Terry, who signed the register.

As Harry was “on his way to the altar”, as the Victorian novelists would
say, his best man, Patrick Rose, discovered that the buttons of his
morning coat had—to say the least of it—seen better days. The material
had worn away, leaving the metal foundation showing. He rushed into
Terry’s Theatre, and covered each button with _black grease paint_!

We both played at our respective theatres in the evening, and certainly
the best laugh—for that night, at least—was when Harry, in _The Times_,
said: “I’m sick of ’umbug and deception. I’m a married gentleman! Let
the world know it; I’m a young married English gentleman”.

[Illustration:

  _Photograph by Gabell & Co., London, W._ To face p. 28

  WEDDING BELLS

  November 19th. 1891
]



                              CHAPTER III
                             WEDDING BELLS

  “A wedding doesn’t change things much, except that the bride’s
  nearest relations can shut their eyes in peace.”

                                                —_Birds of a Feather._


And so we were married.... We had a funny wedding day. Harry, being an
Irishman, and, like all Irishmen, subject to queer, sudden ways of
sentiment, insisted that in the afternoon we should call on his eldest
sister! I cannot remember that he had, up to then, shown any
overwhelming affection for her, but that afternoon the “Irishman” came
to the top, and we called on “herself”. We then dined at Simpson’s, and
went off to our respective theatres to work.

I was rehearsing at the time for a musical play—_The Mountebanks_, by W.
S. Gilbert. I went to him, rather nervous, and asked if I “might be
excused the afternoon rehearsal”. He naturally asked “why?”; and
blushingly, I don’t doubt, I told him “to get married”. He was most
intrigued at the idea, and said I might be “excused rehearsals” for a
week.

Three weeks after we were married, Edward Terry sent for Harry to come
to his dressing-room—and I may say here that Terry’s Theatre only
possessed three dressing-rooms: one, under the stage, for Edward Terry,
one for the men of the company, and another for the women—the reason for
this scarcity being that, when the theatre was built, the dressing-rooms
were forgotten! I believe the same thing happened when the theatre was
built at Brixton; if anyone has played at the theatre in question, and
will remember the extraordinary shapes of the rooms, they will readily
believe it! But to go back to Terry’s—Harry was sent for, and Edward
Terry presented him with two books, which he said would be of the
greatest use to him and me. They were _Dr. Chavasse’s Advice to a
Mother_ and _Dr. Chavasse’s Advice to a Wife_. I do not know if anyone
reads _Dr. Chavasse_ in these days, but then he was _the_ authority on
how to bring up children. Fred Grove assured me that he brought up a
family on _Dr. Chavasse_.

Anyone who has seen my husband’s “evergreen play,” _Eliza Comes to
Stay_, may remember the extract from the book—the very book that Edward
Terry gave to us—which he uses in the play. I give it here; I think it
is worth quoting:

“Question: Is there any objection, when it is cutting its teeth, to the
child sucking its thumb?

“Answer: None at all. The thumb is the best gum-stick in the world. It
is ‘handy’; it is neither too hard nor too soft; there is no danger of
it being swallowed and thus choking the child.”

[Illustration:

  _Photograph by Alfred Ellis, London, W._ To face p. 30

  HARRY AS HOWARD BOMPAS

  “The Times” 1891
]

It was during the run of _The Late Lamented_ that I first met Fanny
Brough, President and one of the founders of the Theatrical Ladies’
Guild, which has done so much splendid work. She worked with Mrs. Carson
(wife of the then Editor of _The Stage_), who was the originator of the
Guild. When the Music Hall Ladies’ Guild began, some years later, they
ran their organisation on the same lines. Two of the founders, I think I
am right in saying, of the Musical Hall Ladies’ Guild, were the
unfortunate Belle Elmore (the Wife of Crippen, who killed her) and Edie
Karno, the wife of Mr. Fred Karno, of _Mumming Birds_ fame.

Speaking of Fanny Brough reminds me of others of that famous family. Lal
Brough, who held a kind of informal gathering at his house, with its
pleasant garden, each Sunday morning. It was a recognised thing to “go
along to Lal Brough’s” about 10.30 to 11 on Sunday. About 1 everyone
left for their respective homes, in time for the lunch which was waiting
there. Looking back, thinking of those Sunday morning gatherings, it
seems to me that we have become less simple, less easily contented; who
now wants a party, even of the least formal kind, to begin in the
morning? We have all turned our days “upside down”—we begin our
enjoyment when the night is half over, we dance until the (not very)
small hours, and certainly very very few of us want to meet our friends
at 11 a.m. They were happy Sundays at Lal Brough’s, but they belong to a
side of stage social life which is now, unhappily, over and done. They
belong, as did the host, to “the old order”.

Sydney Brough, Lal Brough’s son, was a person of marvellous coolness and
resource. I was once playing with him in a special matinée of _A Scrap
of Paper_, in which he had a big duel scene. While the curtain was down,
some thoughtful person had cleared the stage of all “unnecessary
impedimenta”, including the daggers needed for the fight. When Brough
should have seized them, they were nowhere in sight. Most people would
have “dried up”—not Sydney Brough. He composed a long speech while he
looked all over the stage for the missing daggers; he looked
everywhere—talking all the time—and finally found them—on the top of a
large cupboard, on the stage!

In 1892 I played in _Our Boys_ with William Farren, who was “a darling”,
and Davy James—he was very ill at the time, I remember, and very
“nervy”. May Whitty (now Dame May Webster) and I used to dress above his
room. We used to laugh immoderately at everything; poor David James used
to hate the noise we made, and used to send up word to us, “Will you
young women not laugh so much!” Speaking of May Whitty reminds me that
one paper said of our respective performances in the play: “If these two
young ladies _must_ be in the play, they should change parts.”

Cicely Richards was in the cast too; she later played Nerissa in _The
Merchant of Venice_, with Irving, at Drury Lane, and I took Decima—who,
be it said, had never read or seen the play—to see it. Her comment,
looking at Shakespeare’s masterpiece strictly from a “Musical Comedy”
point of view, was “I don’t think much of the Rosina Brandram part”—the
said part being “Nerissa,” and Rosina Brandram at that time the heavy
contralto in the Gilbert and Sullivan operas.

It was in _A Pantomime Rehearsal_ that I first met Ellaline Terriss; we
were the “two gifted amateurs” who sing a duet. She was as pretty as a
picture, and as nice as she was pretty. I also sang a song, called “Poor
Little Fay”, and at the revival “Ma Cherie”, by Paul Rubens, which, I
think, Edna May sang later on in the music halls. I know she came one
evening to hear the song, and sat in a box, which made me very nervous.
She was very quiet and rather shy—at least so I found her when we met.

Charlie Brookfield was in the _Pantomime Rehearsal_, playing the part
created by Brandon Thomas. He was a most perfectly groomed man, and
always wore magnificent and huge button-holes, as really smart young men
did at that time. The bills for these button-holes used to come in, and
also bills for many other things as well, for he was always in debt; it
used to cause great excitement as to whether “Charlie” would get safely
in and out of the theatre without having a writ served on him.

There are hundreds of good stories about Charles Brookfield, some of
them—well, not to be told here—but I can venture on two, at least. When
Frank Curzon was engaged to Isabel Jay, someone—one of the pests who
think the fact that a woman is on the stage gives them a right to insult
her—sent her a series of insulting letters, or postcards—I forget which.
Curzon was, naturally, very angry, and stated in the Press that he would
give £100 reward to find the writer. Brookfield walked into the club one
day and said, “Frank Curzon in a new rôle, I see.” Someone asked, “What
rôle?” “Jay’s disinfectant,” replied Brookfield. He was walking down
Maiden Lane one morning with a friend, and then Maiden Lane was by no
means the most reputable street in London. “I wonder why they call it
Maiden Lane?” said his friend. “Oh,” responded Brookfield, “just a piece
of damned sarcasm on the part of the L.C.C.” At the time when Wyndham
was playing _David Garrick_, he was sitting one day in the Garrick Club
under the portrait of the “great little man”. Brookfield came up. “’Pon
my word,” he began, “it’s perfectly wonderful; you get more like Garrick
every day.” Wyndham smiled. “Yes,” went on Brookfield, “and less like
him every night.” When Tree built His Majesty’s, he was very proud of
the building, and used to love to escort people past the place and hear
their flattering comments on the beauty of the building. One day he took
Brookfield. They stopped to gaze on “my beautiful theatre”, and Tree
waited for the usual praise. After a long pause, Brookfield said:
“Damned lot of windows to clean.” He could, and did, say very witty, but
bitter and cutting, things, which sometimes wounded people badly; yet he
said pathetically to a friend once: “Can’t think why some people dislike
me so!”

About this time, or perhaps rather earlier (as a matter of fact, I think
it was in _Culprits_), I met Walter Everard, who, though quite an
elderly man, did such good work with the Army of Occupation in Cologne;
he is still, I think, doing work in Germany for the British Army.

In _Man and Woman_ I met the ill-fated couple, Arthur Dacre and Amy
Roselle. She was the first well-known actress to appear on the music
halls. She went to the Empire to do recitations. She was much
interviewed, and much nonsense was talked and written about the moral
“uplift” such an act would give to the “wicked Empire”—which was just
what the directors of the Empire, which was not in very good odour at
the time, wanted. She was a queer, rather aloof woman, who took little
notice of anyone. He, too, was moody, and always struck me as rather
unbalanced. They went to Australia later, taking with them a bag of
English earth. There they found that their popularity had gone, poor
things! He shot her and then killed himself, leaving the request that
the English earth might be scattered over them.

Lena Ashwell was in the cast. She was not very happy; for some reason,
Amy Roselle did not like her, and did nothing to make things smooth for
her. Lena Ashwell, in those days, was a vague person, which was rather
extraordinary, as she was a very fine athlete, and the two qualities did
not seem to go together. She also played in a first piece with Charles
Fulton. One day her voice gave out, and I offered to “read the part for
her” (otherwise there could have been no curtain-raiser)—a nasty,
nerve-racking business; but, funnily enough, I was not nearly so nervous
as poor Charles Fulton, who literally got “dithery”.

Henry Neville was also in _Man and Woman_. A delightful actor, he is one
of the Stage’s most courtly gentlemen, one of those rare people whose
manners are as perfect at ten in the morning as they are at ten at
night. Writing of Henry Neville reminds me that later he was going to
appear at a very big matinée for Ellen Terry at Drury Lane, in which
“all stars” were to appear in the dance in _Much Ado_. Everybody who was
anybody was to appear—Fred Terry, Neville, my husband, Ben Webster, and
many more whose names I cannot remember at the moment. At ten each
morning down they went to rehearse. Edith Craig was producing the dance,
and put them through their paces. Apparently they were not very
“bright”, and Edie was very cross. Finally she burst out: “No, _no_,
_no_—and if you can’t do it any better than that, you shan’t be allowed
to do it at all!” Evidently after that they really “tried hard”, for
they certainly were allowed to “do it”, as the programme bears witness.

In a special matinée at the old Gaiety I met Robert Sevier. He had
written a play called _The Younger Son_, which I heard was his own life
when he was in Australia. I don’t think it was a great success—at
anyrate, it was not played again—but Sevier enjoyed the rehearsals
enormously. After the matinée he asked all the company to dinner at his
house in Lowdnes Square. His wife, Lady Violet Sevier, was present.
Sevier enjoyed the dinner, as he had done the rehearsals, but she—well,
she “bore with us”; there was a frigid kindness about her which made one
feel that—to put it mildly—she “suffered” our presence, and regarded the
whole thing as an eccentricity of “Robert’s” (I cannot imagine that she
ever called him “Bob”, as did the rest of the world).

[Illustration:

  _Photograph by Alfred Ellis, London, W._ To face p. 37

  PEPITA

  “Little Christopher Columbus”
]

The same year, 1893, I played in _Little Christopher Columbus_. Teddie
Lonnen was the comedian. May Yohe played “Christopher”, and played it
very well too; I impersonated her, in the action of the play. We had to
change clothes, for reasons which were part of the plot. She was not an
easy person to work with, and she certainly—at that time, at all
events—did not like me. This play was the only one in which I ever
rehearsed “foxy”—that is, did not put in the business I was going to
play eventually. The reason was this: as I gradually “built up” the
part, putting in bits of “business” during the rehearsals, I used to
find the next morning that they were “cut”: “That line is ‘out’, Miss
Moore,” or “Perhaps you’d better not do that, Miss Moore.” So “Miss
Moore” simply walked through the rehearsals, to the horror of the
producer. I used to go home and rehearse there. But on the first night I
“let myself go”, and put into the part all I had rehearsed at home. The
producer was less unhappy about me after that first night! However, it
still went on after we had produced. Almost every night the stage
manager would come to my room: “Miss Moore, a message for you—would you
run across the stage less noisily, you shake the theatre”; would I stand
further “up stage”; or would I do this, or that, or the other. Oh! May
Yohe, you really _were_ rather trying in those days; still, things did
improve, and eventually she really was very nice to me. It was in
_Little Christopher Columbus_ that I wore “boy’s clothes”. I thought
they suited me—in fact, I still think they did—a ballet shirt, coat (and
not a particularly short coat either) and—breeches. But, behold the
_Deus ex machina_, in the person of my husband! He came to the dress
rehearsal, and later we rode home to our little flat in Chelsea on the
top of a bus, discussing the play. Suddenly, as if struck by a bright
thought, he turned to me and said: “Don’t you think you’d look awfully
well in a cloak?” I felt dubious, and said so, but that did not shake
him. “I do,” he said, and added: “Your legs are much too pretty to show!
I’ll see about it in the morning.” He did! Early next morning he went up
and saw Monsieur Alias, the cloak was made and delivered to me at the
theatre that very evening, and I wore it too. It covered me from head to
foot; with great difficulty, I managed to show one ankle. But Harry
approved of it, very warmly indeed.

There is a sequel to that story. Twenty years after, I appeared at a big
charity matinée at the Chelsea Palace as “Eve”—not Eve of the Garden of
Eden, but “Eve” of _The Tatler_. I wore a very abbreviated skirt, which
allowed the display of a good deal of long black boots and silk
stocking. Ellen Terry had been appearing as the “Spirit of Chelsea”.
After the performance she stood chatting to Harry and me. “Your legs are
perfectly charming; why haven’t we seen them before?” I pointed to Harry
as explanation. She turned to him. “Disgraceful,” she said, adding: “You
ought to be shot.”

I was engaged to follow Miss Ada Reeve in _The Shop Girl_ at the Gaiety
Theatre. It was a ghastly experience, as I had, for the few rehearsals
that were given me, only a piano to supply the music, and my first
appearance on the stage was my introduction to the band. I had to sing a
duet with Mr. Seymour Hicks—I think it was “Oh listen to the band”—at
anyrate, I know a perambulator was used in the song. Mr. Hicks’s one
idea was to “get pace”, and as I sang he kept up a running commentary of
remarks to spur me on to fresh efforts. Under his breath—and not always
under his breath either—he urged me to “keep it up”, to “get on with
it”, until I felt more like a mental collapse than being bright or
amusing. This was continued at most of the performances which followed;
I sang, or tried to sing, accompanied by the band—_and_ Mr. Hicks. Then,
suddenly—quite suddenly—he changed. The theatre barometer swung from
“Stormy” to “Set fair”. Even then, I think, I had learnt that such a
sudden change—either in the barometer or human beings—means that a storm
is brewing. It was!

I remember saying to Harry, when I got home one evening after this
change, “I shall be out of the theatre in a fortnight; Seymour Hicks has
been so extraordinarily pleasant to me—no faults, nothing but praise.”
What a prophet I was!

As I was going to the dressing-room the next evening, I met Mr. George
Edwardes on the stairs. He called to me, very loudly, so that everyone
else could hear, “Oh! I shan’t want you after next Friday!” I protested
that I had signed for the “run”. I was told that, though I might have
done so, he had not, and so ... well!

It was before the days when Sydney Valentine fought and died for the
standard contract, before the days when he had laboured to make the
Actors’ Association a thing of real use to artists—a _real_ Trades
Union; so I did not claim my salary “for the run”, but the fact that I
received a cheque from the management “in settlement of all claims” is
significant.

Another rather “trying time” was many years later when I appeared “on
the halls”. Let me say here that I have played the halls since, and
found everyone—staff, manager, and other artists—very kind; but at that
time “sketches had been doing badly”, and when the date approached on
which I was to play at the—no, on second thoughts I won’t give the name
of the hall—the management asked me either to cancel or postpone the
date. I refused. I had engaged my company, which included Ernest
Thesiger, Bassett Roe, and several other excellent artists, for a month,
and the production had been costly, so I protested that they must either
“play me or pay me”. They did the latter, in two ways—one in cash, the
other in rudeness. How I hated that engagement! But even that had its
bright spot, and I look back and remember the kindness of the “Prime
Minister of Mirth”, Mr. George Robey, who was appearing at that
particular hall at the time. He did everything that could be done to
smooth the way for me.

I seem to have been unlucky with “sketches” at that time. I had a
one-act comedy—and a very amusing comedy too; my son later used it as a
curtain-raiser, and I played it at several of the big halls: as the
Americans say, “It went big.”

I thought I would strike out on my own and see an agent myself, without
saying anything to anybody. This is what happened. (I should say that
this is only a few years ago, when I had thought for some time that as
an actress I was fairly well known.)

I called on the agent in question; he was established in large and most
comfortable offices in the West End. I was ushered into the Presence! He
was a very elegant gentleman, rather too stout perhaps. He sat at a
perfectly enormous desk, swinging about in a swivel chair, and, without
rising or asking me to sit down (which I promptly did), he opened the
interview:

“Who are you?” I supplied the information.

“Don’t know you,” he replied. “What d’you want?” I told him, as briefly
as possible. At the word “sketch” he stopped me, and with a plump hand
he pounded some letters that lay on his desk. “Sketches,” he repeated
solemnly, “I can get sketches three-a-penny, and _good_ people to play
’em. Nothing doing.”

I stood up and walked to the door, then perhaps he remembered that he
had seen me in a play or something—I don’t know; anyway, he called after
me, “Here, who did you say you were?” “Still Eva Moore,” I said calmly,
and made my exit.

All agents may not be like that; I hope they are not; but I fancy he is
one of the really successful ones. Perhaps their manners are in inverse
ratio to their bank balances.

Talking of agents, I heard of one who was listening to a patriotic
ballad being sung at the Empire during the war. A man who was with him
did not like it, and said, “You know, that kind of stuff doesn’t do any
good to the Empire”—meaning the British Empire. “No,” was the reply;
“they don’t go well at the Alhambra, for that matter, either.”



                               CHAPTER IV
                           PLAYS AND PLAYERS

  “A good deal more work for all of us, my lord.”

                                                  —_Love and the Man._


The year 1894 found me playing in _The Gay Widow_, the first play in
which I ever worked with Charles (now, of course, Sir Charles) Hawtrey.
I do not remember very much about the play except that I wore most
lovely clothes, and that Lottie Venne played “my mother”.

This year does, however, mark a very important milestone in our
lives—Harry’s and mine; it was the first time we attempted management on
our own, and also his first play was produced. We, Harry and I, with G.
W. Elliott, greatly daring, formed a small syndicate. We took the St.
James’s Theatre for eight weeks while George Alexander was on tour, and
presented Harry’s play _Bogey_. (In those days all big London managers
went on tour for a few months, taking their London company and
production.)

First, let me say that, whatever the merits or demerits of the play, we
were unlucky. We struck the greatest heat wave that London had known for
years; and that, as everyone knows, is not the best recipe in the world
for sending up the takings at the box office. As for the play, George
Alexander said—and, I think, perhaps rightly—the “play was killed by its
title.” It was a play dealing with “spiritualism,” in a limited sense. I
mean that it was not in any sense a propaganda play; it had, naturally,
not the finish, or perhaps the charm, of his later work—he would have
been a poor craftsman if it had been, and a less great artist if the
years which came after had taught him nothing—but _Bogey_ certainly did
not deserve the hard things which one critic, Mr. Clement Scott, said of
it. He wrote one of the most cruel notices which I have ever read, a
notice beginning “Vaulting Ambition”—which, in itself, is one of the
bundle of “clichés” which may be used with almost equal justice about
anything. To say, as Mr. Scott did, that I saved the play again and
again “by supreme tact” was frankly nonsense. No actress can save a play
“again and again by supreme tact”; she may, and probably will, do her
best when she is on the stage, but if she “saves the play” it is due to
her acting capacity, and not to “tact”—which seems to me to be the
dealing gracefully with an unexpected situation in a way that is
essentially “not in the script”.

However, the fact remains that Mr. Clement Scott unmasked the whole of
his battery of heavy guns against the play and the author, for daring to
produce it while he was still under fifty years of age; and, after all,
it was rather “setting out to kill a butterfly with a double-barrelled
gun”. Still....

The following night another play was produced, at another theatre, and
on this play (not at all a brilliant achievement) Mr. Clement Scott
lavished unstinted praise. On the first night of a third play, as he
went to his stall, the gallery—which was, as usual, filled largely by
the members of the Gallery First Night Club—greeted him with shouts of
“_Bogey_”, and continued to do so until, in disgust, he left the stalls.
After that night, Clement Scott always occupied a box! But the sequel!
Some days after the production of _Bogey_, the President of the Gallery
First Night Club called at our little house in Chelsea. I remember his
call distinctly: our maid was “out”, and I opened the door to him. He
came to ask Harry to be the guest at the first dinner of the club. It
was, I think, when that club held its twenty-fifth birthday, that we
were both asked to be the guests of the club—a compliment we much
appreciated.

The play _Bogey_ was not a success, but I should like to quote the
remarks of the dramatic critic of the _Sporting Times_, which seemed,
and still seem, to me kind and—what is of infinitely greater
importance—just: “Ambition is not necessarily vaulting, and it is a
thing to be encouraged and not mercilessly crushed in either a young
author or a young actor. Nor when the youngster figures in the double
capacity of author and actor is the crime unpardonable.... This is all
_apropos_ of an ungenerous attack in a quarter from which generosity
would have been as graceful as the reverse is graceless.... It was
remarked to me by a London manager: ‘I don’t know any actor on our stage
who could play the part better than Esmond does’, and, upon my word! I
am inclined to agree with him.... _Bogey_ is not a good play ... but it
has a freshness about it, an originality of idea which is not unlikely
to prove unattractive to a great many.”

However, Harry Esmond tried again; and the row of plays on a shelf in my
study is proof that he was only “baffled to fight better”.

In _Bogey_ we had a stage manager, I remember, who should, had the gods
taken sufficient interest in the destinies of men, have been a maker of
“props” and a property master. He played a small part, of a “typical
city man”, and his one ambitious effort towards characterisation was to
ask if he “might be allowed to carry a fish basket”. He evidently
thought _all_ city men call at Sweetings before catching their train
home!

In _The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown_, which was my next engagement,
I played with Fred Kerr, who wore a toupée. I remember at one place in
the play, where I had to “embrace him impulsively”, he always said in a
loud whisper, “_Mind_ my toupée.”

Both Harry and I were in _The Blind Marriage_, at the Criterion. He and
Arnold Lucy played “twins”, and Harry had to add a large false nose to
the one with which nature had already very generously provided him. They
wore dreadful clothes—knickerbockers which were neither breeches nor
“plus fours” but more like what used to be known as “bloomers”. Herbert
Waring and Herbert Standing were both in the cast, and on the first
night the latter was very excited. Waring went on and had a huge
ovation, while Herbert Standing, in the wings, whispered excitedly,
“They think it’s me! they think it’s me!”

Herbert Standing was a fine actor, with more than a fair share of good
looks. He was very popular at Brighton, where he used to appear at
concerts. I remember he was talking one day to Harry, and told him how
he had “filled the Dome at Brighton” (which was a vast concert hall).
Harry murmured, “Wonderful; how did you do it?” “Oh,” said Standing,
“recited, you know. There were a few other people there—Ben Davis,
Albani, Sims Reeves,” and so on.

Mr. Standing came to see Harry one day, and was shown into his study,
which was a small room almost entirely filled with a huge desk. Standing
began to rail against the fate which ordained that at that moment he had
no work. “I can do anything, play anything,” he explained, which was
perfectly true—he was a fine actor! “Listen to this,” and he began to
recite a most dramatic piece of work, full of emotion and gesture. As he
spoke, he advanced upon “H. V.”, who kept moving further and further
away from him. I came into the study, to find Harry cowering against the
wall, which effectually stopped him “getting away” any further, and
Standing, now “well away”, brandishing his arms perilously near Harry’s
nose.

Standing was devoted to his wife, and immensely proud of his family.
When she died, he was heartbroken. He met some friends one day, who
expressed their sympathy with him in his loss. “Yes,” said Standing,
“and what do you think we found under her pillow? _This_”—and he
produced a photograph of himself, adding mournfully, “but it doesn’t do
me justice!”

It was in _Under the Red Robe_ that I first actually played with
Winifred Emery (who used to give most lovely tea parties in her
dressing-room). Cyril Maude, Holman Clark, Granville Barker, and Annie
Saker (who were later to make such a number of big successes at the
Lyceum, under the Brothers Melville’s management) were also in the cast.
I only met the author, Stanley Weyman, once, but he was very generous to
all the company and gave us beautiful souvenirs; I still use a silver
cigarette box, engraved with a cardinal’s hat, which he gave to me. He
was not one’s preconceived idea of a writer of romantic plays and books;
as a matter of fact, he was rather like Mr. Bonar Law.

After this run, I went on tour for a short time with J. L. Shine, with
_An Irish Gentleman_, and at one town—Swansea, I think—he gave a Press
lunch. All kinds of local pressmen were invited, and, in comparison to
the one who fell to my lot, the “silent tomb” is “talkative”. Soup,
fish, joint, all passed, and he never spoke a single word. He was a
distinctly noticeable person, wearing a cricket cap, morning coat, and
white flannel trousers. I tried every subject under the sun, with no
result, until—at last—he spoke. “I ’ave a sort of claim on you
perfessionals,” he said. I expressed my delight and surprise, and asked
for details. “Well,” he said, “in the winter I’m an animal impersonator,
but in the summer I take up literature.” I have always wondered if he
played the front or hind legs of the “elephant”!

[Illustration:

  _Photograph by Gabell & Co., London, S.W._ To face p. 48.

  MADAME DE COCHEFORET

  “Under the Red Robe”
]

Soon after I returned to London, my husband’s second play was produced
by Charles Hawtrey, _One Summer’s Day_—and thereby hangs a tale! Harry
had sent the play to Hawtrey and, calling a month later, saw it still
lying—unopened—on his desk. He determined that Hawtrey should hear the
play, even if he wouldn’t read it himself; Harry would read it to him.

“I’ll call to-morrow and read my play to you,” he said. Hawtrey
protested he was very busy, “hadn’t a minute”, had scores of plays to
read, etc. But Harry only added, “To-morrow, at ten, then,” and went.
The next morning he arrived, and after some difficulty obtained entrance
to Hawtrey’s room. Again Hawtrey protested—he really had not time to
hear, he would read the play himself, and so on; but by that time Harry
had sat down, opened the book, and began to read. At the end of the
first act, Hawtrey made another valiant effort to escape; he liked it
very much, and would read the rest that same evening. “You’ll like the
second act even better,” H. V. said calmly, and went on reading. When
the third act was finished, Hawtrey really _did_ like it, and promised
to “put it on” as soon as possible.

“In a fortnight,” suggested the author. Oh! Hawtrey wasn’t sure that he
could do it as soon as that, and the “summer was coming”, and Harry had
had one lesson of what a heat wave could do to a play. So he said
firmly, “The autumn then.” Hawtrey gave up the struggle, and the play
was put into rehearsal and produced in the autumn. _One Summer’s Day_
was a great success; it was in this play that Constance Collier played
her first real part. She had been at the Gaiety in musical comedy,
where, I remember, she entered carrying a very, very small parcel, about
the size of a small handkerchief box, and announced “This contains my
costume for the fancy dress ball!”

Mrs. Calvert played in this production, which reminds me that in the
picnic scene we used to have “real pie”, which she rather enjoyed. After
we had been running for some time, the management thought, in the
interests of economy, they would have a “property pie”—that is, stuffed
not with meat, but with cotton wool. Mrs. Calvert, all unknowing, took a
large mouthful, and was nearly choked!

In _One Summer’s Day_ we had a huge tank filled with real water, sunk at
the back of the stage, and Ernest Hendrie, Henry Kemble, and Mrs.
Calvert used to make an entrance in a punt—a real punt. One day they all
sat at one end, with most disastrous consequences; after that, they
“spread themselves” better.

Henry Kemble was a delightful, dignified person, who spoke in a
“rolling” and very “rich” voice. He used, occasionally, to dine
well—perhaps more well than wisely. One night, in the picnic scene, he
was distinctly “distrait”, and forgot his line. As I knew the play
backwards, I gave his line. He was very angry. We were all sitting on
the ground at a picnic. He leant over the cloth and said in a loud
voice, “You are not everybody, although you are the author’s wife.”

In this play a small boy was needed, and we sought high and low for a
child to play the “urchin”. A friend told us one day he knew of the
“very boy”, and promised to send him up for inspection. The following
morning the “ideal urchin” arrived at the Comedy Theatre. He was a very
undersized Jew, whose age was, I suppose, anything from 30 to 40, and
who had not grown since he was about twelve. This rather pathetic little
man walked on to the stage, and looked round the theatre, his hands in
his pockets; then he spoke. “Tidy little ’all,” was his verdict—he was
not engaged!

My next engagement was in _The Sea Flower_. I remember very little about
it except that I wore a bunch of curls, beautiful curls which Willie
Clarkson made for me. On the first night, Cosmo Stuart embraced me with
such fervour that they fell off, and lay on the stage in full view of
the audience.

Then followed _The Three Musketeers_, a splendid version of that
wonderful book, by Harry Hamilton, with a magnificent cast. Lewis Waller
was to have played “D’Artagnan”, which he was already playing on tour;
Harry was to go to the touring company and play Waller’s part. Then
there came some hitch. I am not very clear on the point, but I think
Tree had arranged for a production of the same play, in which Waller was
engaged to play “Buckingham”, and that Tree or the managers in the
country would not release him. Anyway, Harry rehearsed the part in
London. Then Waller managed to get released for a week to come to London
and play for the first week of the production, while Harry went to the
provinces. Waller came up to rehearse on the Friday with the London
company, ready for the opening on Monday. I had lost my voice, and was
not allowed to speak or leave my room until the Monday, and therefore
the first time I met D’Artagnan was on the stage at the first night. If
you will try and imagine how differently Lewis Waller and Harry Esmond
played the part, you will realise what a nerve-racking business it was.
For example, in the great “ride speech,” where Harry used to come in
absolutely weary, speaking as an exhausted man, flinging himself into a
chair, worn out with his ride and the anxiety attached to it, Waller
rushed on to the stage, full of vitality, uplifted with the glory of a
great adventure, and full of victory, leading _me_ to the chair before
he began to speak. You may imagine that on the first night I felt almost
lost. I am not trying to imply that one reading was “better” than the
other; both were quite justified; only, to me, the experience was
staggering.

Waller was always vigorous, and particularly as D’Artagnan. One night
when he entered and “bumped” into Porthos, he “bumped” so hard that he
fell into the orchestra and on to the top of the big drum! Nothing
daunted, Waller climbed out of the orchestra, by way of the stage box,
back on to the stage!

The first time I played with Tree was in a special performance of _The
Dancing Girl_. I played the lame girl, and I remember my chief worry was
how, being lame, to get down a long flight of stairs in time to stop
Tree, who played the Duke, from drinking the “fatal draught” of poison.

I was then engaged by Tree to play in _Carnac Sahib_, a play by Henry
Arthur Jones. It dealt with military life in India. The rehearsals were
endless, and not without some strain between the author and Tree. Henry
Arthur Jones used to come to rehearsals straight from his morning ride,
dressed in riding kit, complete with top boots and whip; Tree didn’t
like it at all!

The day before the production there was a “call” for “words” at 11 in
the morning. The only person who did not know their “words” was Tree; he
never arrived! The dress rehearsal was fixed for 3; we began it at 5,
and at 6 in the morning were “still at it”.

After the end of one of the acts—the second, I think—there was a long
wait. This was at 2.30 a.m.! The band played, and for an hour we sang
and danced on the stage. Then someone suggested that it might be as well
to find out what had happened to Tree. They went to his dressing-room
and found him; he had been asleep for an hour! At last we began the
final act. Tree reclined on a bed of straw, and I fanned him with a palm
leaf. There was a wait, perhaps three or four seconds, before the
curtain rose. “Oh God!” said Tree, in the tone of one who has waited for
years and is weary of everything: “Oh sweet God! I am ready to begin!”

It was soon after, in _Marsac of Gascony_, at Drury Lane Theatre, I made
my entrance on a horse—a real stage horse; the same one, I think, that
Irving had used. I may say this is the only time that I had—as you might
say—known a horse at all intimately. It was a dreadful play: the
audience rocked with laughter at all the dramatic situations. It was
short-lived, and I went soon after to Harry’s play, _The Wilderness_,
which George Alexander produced at the St. James’s Theatre. Aubrey Smith
appeared in this play, looking very much as he does now, except that his
moustache was rather longer. Phyllis Dare played one of the children—and
a very dear child she was; so, too, was her sister Zena, who used to
call at the theatre to take her home.

There were two children in this play, who had a “fairy ring” in a wood.
(If anyone does not know what a fairy ring is, they should go into the
nearest field and find one, for their education has been seriously
neglected.) To this “ring” the two children used to bring food for the
fairies, which they used to steal from the family “dustbin”. One of the
“dainties” was a haddock, and this—a real fish—was carefully prepared by
the famous Rowland Ward, so that it would be preserved and at the same
time retain its “real” appearance. A party of people sitting in the
third row of the stalls wrote a letter of protest to Alexander, saying
that the “smell from the haddock was unbearable”, and it was high time
he got a new one!

I remember that during rehearsals George Alexander was very anxious that
Harry should “cut” one of the lines which he had to speak. In the scene
in the wood, Sir Harry Milanor (which was the character he played), in
talking to his elderly uncle, has to exclaim, “Uncle Jo! Look, a
lizard!” George Alexander protested that the line was unreal, that no
man would suddenly break off to make such a remark, and therefore he
wished Harry would either “cut” or alter it. One day, shortly before the
production, Alexander was walking in Chorley Woods with his wife, who
was “hearing his lines”. When they reached a bridge, he leant over the
parapet, still repeating his words. Suddenly he broke off in the middle
of a sentence to exclaim, “_Look!_ A trout!” “Lizard, Alex.,” his wife
corrected quietly; and henceforth he never made any objection to the
line which had previously caused such discussion.

It was when he took _The Wilderness_ on tour that I had what I always
say was “the best week of my life”. We were not only playing _The
Wilderness_, but several other plays in which I did not appear, which
meant that I sometimes had nights on which I was free. There was at that
time a bad smallpox scare, and when we were in Manchester the whole
company was vaccinated.

Harry was then going to America to produce a play, and I was taking my
baby, Jack (from whom I had never been parted before), to stay with his
grandmother in Brighton, while I went to Ireland. I left Manchester,
took Jack to Brighton, feeling when I left him (as, I suppose, most
young mothers feel when they leave their babies for the first time in
someone else’s care) that I might never see him again, and on the
Saturday morning I saw Harry off to the States.

I spent the evening with Julia Neilson and Fred Terry, who were playing
_Sweet Nell of Old Drury_ in Liverpool. They did all they could to cheer
me—and I needed it! I left them to join the company on the
landing-stage, to cross to Ireland. And what a crossing it was, too! The
cargo boat which carried our luggage gave up the attempt to cross, and
put into the Isle of Man, and the captain of our passenger boat
seriously thought of doing the same thing. Finally we arrived at
Belfast, to find the main drain of the town had burst, the town was
flooded, and the stalls and orchestra at the theatre were several feet
deep in most unsavoury water! There was no performance that evening—I
remember we all went to the music hall, by way of a holiday—but the next
evening we opened at the Dockers’ Theatre, the company which was playing
there having been “bought out”. So the successes of the St. James’s
Theatre—light, witty comedies—were played at the _Dockers’ Theatre_,
where the usual fare was very typical melodrama.

The next day we all began to feel very ill—the vaccination was beginning
to make itself felt—also I had developed a rash, and, in addition, I
thought I must have hurt my side, it was so painful. I remember, at the
hotel, George Alexander came to my door, knocked, and, when I opened it,
said:

“Are you covered in spots?”

“Yes,” I told him.

“Don’t worry,” he begged; and, tearing open the front of his shirt,
added: “Look at me!”

He, too, had come out “all of a rash”—due, I suppose, to the
vaccination. My side got worse, and I had to see a doctor, who said I
had shingles—a most painful business, which prevented me from sleeping
and made me feel desperately ill. The climax came on the Saturday night.
Alexander was not playing, his rash had been too much for him, and his
doctor advised him not to appear. The understudy played in his stead,
and, however good an understudy may be—and they are often very good—it
is always trying to play with someone who is playing the part for the
first time. At the end of the play, _The Wilderness_, I had a scene with
my first lover, in which I referred to “my husband”. Some wit in the
gallery yelled “And where’s the baby, Miss?”. I was ill, I hadn’t slept
for nights, my husband was on his way to America, I was parted from my
baby, my sister was in the midst of divorcing her husband—which had
added to my worries—and this was the last straw! When the play ended, I
walked off the stage, after the final curtain, blind with tears—so
blind, indeed, that I fell over a piece of scenery, and hurt myself
badly. This made me cry more than ever, up to my dressing-room, in my
dressing-room, and all the way back to the hotel, and, as far as I
remember, most of the night.

When we reached Dublin, fate smiled upon me. I met Mr. W. H. Bailey
(afterwards the “Right Hon.”, who did such good work on the Land
Commission), and he took me to his own doctor—Dr. Little, of Merrion
Square (may his name be for ever blessed!), who gave me lotions and,
above all, a sleeping draught, and gradually life became bearable again.

One dreadful day (only twenty-four hours this time, not weeks) was while
I was playing at the St. James’s in _The Wilderness_. I was driving in a
dog-cart (this is before the days of motor cars) in Covent Garden, when
the horse slipped and fell, throwing me out. I picked myself up, saw
that the horse’s knees were not broken, and walked into the bank at the
corner of Henrietta Street to ask for a glass of water. I found that,
not only had I a large bump on my head, but that my skirt was covered
with blood. Round I went to the Websters’ flat in Bedford Street and
climbed up five flights of stairs. May Webster found that I had a huge
gash on my hip, and said the only thing to do was to go to the hospital.
Down five flights I went, and drove to Charing Cross Hospital. There a
young doctor decided he would put in “a stitch or two”, and also put a
bandage on my head. He was a particularly unpleasant young man, I
remember, and finally I said to him: “Do you know your manners are
_most_ unpleasant? You don’t suppose people come in here for fun, do
you?” He was astonished; I don’t think it had ever dawned on him that he
was “unpleasant”, and I suppose no one had dared to tell him. I only
hope it did him good, and that he is now a most successful surgeon with
a beautiful “bedside manner”.

I drove to the theatre, where there was a matinée, with my hat, or
rather toque, perched on the top of a large bandage, plus a leg that was
rapidly beginning to stiffen. I got through the performance, and decided
to stay in the theatre and rest “between the performances”. I was to
have dinner sent to my dressing-room. Harry thought I had said “someone”
would see about it; I thought that _he_ said he would see about it; the
“someone else” thought that we were both seeing about it, and so,
between them all, I had no dinner at all.

By the end of the evening performance I was really feeling distinctly
sorry for myself, with my head “opening and shutting” and my leg hurting
badly. When, at the end of the play, I fell into Alexander’s arms in a
fond embrace, I just stayed there. He was just helping me to a chair,
and I had begun to cry weakly, when H. H. Vincent came up, patted me
firmly—very firmly—on the back, and said: “Come, come, now; don’t give
way, don’t give way!” This made me angry, so angry that I forgot to go
on crying.



                               CHAPTER V
                         MORE PLAYS AND PLAYERS

               “Going to wander—into the past.”
                                     —_Fools of Nature._


When Anthony Hope’s play, _Pilkerton’s Peerage_, was produced, the scene
was—or so we were told—an exact representation of the Prime Minister’s
room at 10 Downing Street. One Saturday matinée the King and Queen, then
Prince and Princess of Wales, came to see the play, and on that
particular afternoon we, the company, had arranged to celebrate the
birth of Arthur Bourchier’s daughter—in our own way.

He was playing the Prime Minister, and we had been at considerable pains
to prepare the stage, so that at every turn he should be confronted with
articles connected with very young children. For instance, he opened a
drawer—to find a pair of socks; a dispatch box—to find a baby’s bottle;
and so on. The King and Queen could see a great deal of the joke from
the Royal box, and were most interested. In the second act, a tea-time
scene, Bourchier, on having his cup handed to him, discovered seated in
his cup a diminutive china doll, and the thing began to get on his
nerves. He hardly dare touch anything on the stage, for fear of what
might fall out. In the last act, a most important paper was handed to
him in the action of the play. He eyed it distrustfully, and you could
see him decide _not_ to take it, if he could avoid doing so, for fear of
what might happen. He did everything in his power not to take that
paper; he avoided it with an ingenuity worthy of a better cause, but
“the play” was too strong for him, and he finally had to “grasp the
nettle”. He took it as if he feared it might explode—a pair of small
pink woollen socks fell out! It was a disgraceful business, but oh! so
amusing, and we all enjoyed it.

[Illustration:

  _Photograph by The Biograph Studio, London, W._ To face p. 61

  KATHIE

  “Old Heidelberg”
]

In 1903 Alexander put on that great success, _Old Heidelberg_, at the
St. James’s. We were rehearsed by a German, who had one idea which he
always kept well in the foreground of his mind—to make us all shout; and
the louder we shouted, the better he was satisfied. He was blessed with
an enormous voice himself—as all Germans, male and female, are—and saw
no difficulty in “roaring” lines. The whole of the rehearsals were
punctuated with shouts of “_Louder-r-r-r!_”

In this play Henry Ainley played one of the students—quite a small part.
I have a picture of him, wearing a student’s cap, and looking so
delightful! I remember nothing particular which happened during the run,
except that one evening, when I was hoisted on to the shoulders of the
“boys”, one of them nearly dropped me into the footlights; and another
evening, when someone had recommended me to use some special new “make
up” for my eyes, and I did so, the result being that the stuff ran into
my eyes and hurt so badly that I had to play practically all the last
act with my eyes shut! “Kattie”, in this play, has always been one of my
favourite parts.

Then my husband’s play, _Billy’s Little Love Affair_, was produced, and
proved very satisfactory from every point of view. Allen Aynesworth,
Charles Groves, and Florence St. John were in the cast. She was a most
delightful comedienne, of the “broad comedy school”. A most popular
woman, always known to all her friends as “Jack”; she died a few years
ago, very greatly regretted by everyone.

One evening during the run of this play, Allen Aynesworth made an
entrance, and Charles Groves, who was on the stage, noticed that his
face was decorated with a large black smudge. Funnily enough, Aynesworth
noticed that the same “accident” had happened to Groves. Each kept
saying to the other, “Rub that smudge off your face”, and each thought
the other was repeating what he said. Thus, when Aynesworth whispered
“Rub the smudge off your face”, Groves apparently repeated “Rub the
smudge off your face”! Both became gradually annoyed with the other, and
when they came off they faced each other, to ask indignantly, in one
breath, “Why didn’t you do as I told you?”—then discovering the truth
that they both had smudges.

When this play was to be produced in America, an amusing thing happened.
The man who was playing the leading part (his Christian name was
William, but he was usually known as “Billy” by most people), his wife
was just at that time bringing a divorce suit against him. A wire
arrived one day for Harry, saying “Title of _Billy’s Little Love Affair_
must be altered; impossible to use under circumstances”. It was altered
and called _Imprudence_ instead, thanks to the courtesy of Sir Arthur
Pinero, who had already used that title.

Then came _Duke of Killiecrankie_, with Grahame Browne, Weedon
Grossmith, and Marie Illington. She was a dignified lady; a very
excellent actress, as she is still. Grossmith, who loved to have “little
jokes” on the stage (and, let me say, _not_ the kind of jokes which
reduce all the artistes on the stage to a state of helpless imbecility,
and leave the audience wondering what “Mr. So-and-so has said _now_”),
one evening at the supper scene held a plate in front of Marie
Illington, whispering in ecstatic tones, “Pretty pattern, isn’t it?
Lovely colouring”, and so on—not, perhaps, a very good joke, but quite
funny at the time. She was furious, and on leaving the stage, said to
him in freezing tones, “Kindly don’t cover up my face. You’re not the
_only_ ornament on the stage, you know!”

Then followed a Barrie play—or, rather, two Barrie plays—one,
_Josephine_, a political satire; the other, _Mrs. Punch_. I recollect
working like a Trojan to learn an Irish jig, and that is about the
extent of my memories of the play.

It seems rather remarkable how easily one does forget plays. For the
time being, they are a very actual part of one’s life; but, once over,
they are very quickly forgotten, with all the hopes and fears, the
worries and uncertainties, attached to them. For example, I once played
the leading part in _The Importance of Being Earnest_, learnt the part
in twelve hours, and played without a rehearsal. I only “dried up” once
during the play; I worked at top pressure to learn the part, and now
(though I will admit it is some years ago) not a single line of the play
remains in my mind.

In _Lights Out_, one incident certainly does remain very vividly in my
memory. Charles Fulton had to shoot me at the end of the play. I wasn’t
too happy about the pistol, and Harry was frankly nervous. He besought
Fulton to “shoot wide”, so that there might be no danger of the “wad”
(which was, or should have been, made of tissue paper) hitting me. At
the dress rehearsal, the wad (which was made of wash-leather), flew out
and hit me on the arm. I had a bad bruise, but that was all; and I
remember saying happily to Charles Fulton, “That’s all right; now it
will never happen again!” However, on the second night, the property
man, who loaded the pistol, put in, for some reason best known to
himself, another wad made of wash-leather. The fatal shot was fired: I
felt a stinging pain in my lip as I fell. When I got up, I found my
mouth was pouring with blood; the wad had hit me on the mouth and split
my lip. Fulton turned to me on the stage, preparing to “take his call”,
saying brightly and happily, “All right to-night, eh, Eva?”

Then he saw what had happened. The curtain went up for the “call” with
poor Fulton standing with his back to the audience, staring at me. My
old dresser, Kate, had a cloth wrung out in warm water ready, and I sat
on the stage mopping my lip. Everyone seemed to forget all about me, the
entire company gathered round the pistol, and I sat watching H. B.
Irving and Charles Fulton alternately squinting down the barrel, as if
some dark secret was contained in it. They went so far as to stick a bit
of white paper on the fireproof curtain and shoot at it, to see how far
either way the pistol “threw”. It all struck me as so intensely funny
that I roared with laughing, which recalled my existence to their
memory. A doctor was sent for, and I was taken to my dressing-room.
Meanwhile the car was sent to the Green Room Club to call for Harry, who
finished early in the play. The chauffeur (who was a very fat youth) met
Charles Hallard coming out of the club; very nervously he stopped him
and said, “Oh, sir, will you tell the master the mistress has been
shot!” Hallard, trying to be very tactful, went into the cardroom, where
Harry was playing, leant over him, and said in a dignified whisper,
“It’s all right, don’t worry, Eva’s not _badly_ hurt.” Harry rushed
round to the theatre, to find poor Fulton walking up and down in great
distress. He tried to stop Harry to explain “how it happened”; all he
got was a furious “_Curse_ you, _curse_ you!” from Harry, who was nearly
beside himself; no doubt picturing me dead.

I asked the doctor to give me “the same thing as he gave the
prize-fighters”, to stop my lip swelling; and he did; but when I played
the following night, which I had to do, as my understudy did not know
the part, I felt that I had enough superfluous face easily to “make
another”.

I used to do a “fall” in _Lights Out_—which, by the way, I never
rehearsed—which used to take the make-up off the end of my nose every
night.

I have played in many costume parts—Powder-and-Patch—which I loved.
There was “Lady Mary” (the “Lady of the Rose”, as she was called) in the
famous play, _Monsieur Beaucaire_, when Lewis Waller revived that play.
“Lady Mary” was not a very sympathetic part, but picturesque; and to
play with Will (as he was lovingly called by all who knew him) was a
joy. I had a lovely doll, dressed as “Lady Mary”, presented to me, and I
have her still.

_Sweet Kitty Bellaires_, by Egerton Castle, was another Powder-and-Patch
part; she was a delight to play, but, alas! that play was not one of
those that ran as long as it deserved. In one scene, a large four-poster
bed was required, in which Kitty in her huge crinoline and flowing train
had to hide herself when she heard the arrival of unwelcome visitors;
but it was not considered “nice” for a bed to be used, at anyrate in
that theatre, so after the dress rehearsal the bed was removed, and
Kitty had to hide behind window curtains.

Shortly after this play, Miss Jill Esmond made her first bow to the
world; a wee but most amiable baby, all laughter and happiness; in fact,
during one holiday at Puise, near Dieppe, where we spent a lovely family
holiday, Jack used to make her laugh so much I quite feared for her.

[Illustration:

  _Photograph by Alfred Ellis, London, W._ To face p. 66

  LADY MARY CARLYLE

  “Monsieur Beaucaire”
]

When I played in Alfred Sutro’s play, _John Glayde’s Honour_, with
George Alexander, Matheson Lang was playing, what I think I am right in
saying was his first “lover” part in London, in the same play. My mother
came to the first night, and watched me play the part of a wife who
leaves her husband, going away with her lover. Her comment was: “I’m
sure you were very clever, darling,” as she kissed me; “but I never want
to see you play that part again.” “Muriel Glayde”, though not really a
sympathetic character, was intensely interesting, and I loved playing
her.

Which reminds me of another story of my mother, that I can tell here.
After my father died, she came to live in London. She was then 73 years
old. She had been up to town to see the flat which we had taken for her,
and to make certain arrangements. She was going back to Brighton, and I
was driving with her to the station, when she said, seriously: “Of
course, darling, when I come to live in London, I shall not expect to go
to a theatre every night.” To go to the theatre every night had been her
custom during her brief visits to me when my father had been alive.

When I played in Mr. Somerset Maugham’s play, _The Explorer_, in 1908, I
had a narrow escape from what might have been a nasty accident. Mr. A.
E. George was playing my lover, and in the love scene he used to take
from me the parasol which I carried and practise “golf strokes” with it
to cover his (“stage”, not real, be it said) nervousness. One evening
the parasol and its handle parted company; the handle remained in his
hand, and the other half flew past my cheek, so near that I could hardly
believe it had left me untouched, and buried itself in the scenery
behind me. There was a gasp from the audience, then I laughed, and they
laughed, and all was well.

That winter I played “Dearest” in Mrs. Hodgson Burnett’s _Little Lord
Fauntleroy_. “Dearest” is a young widow, and I remember after Harry had
seen the play his comment was: “Well, it is not given to every man to
see his wife a widow!”

Earlier in that year I went to Drury Lane to play in _The Marriages of
Mayfair_, one of those spectacular dramas for which the Lane was so
famous. Lyn Harding and that delightful actor, Mr. Chevalier, who, alas!
has lately died, were both in the play. There was one very dangerous—or,
anyhow, very dangerous-looking—scene. Mr. Chevalier and I had to appear
in a sledge which was supposed to be coming down the mountain-side. The
platform—or, rather, the two platforms—on which Mr. Chevalier, myself,
driver, horse, and sledge had to wait before appearing, was built up as
high as the upper circle of the theatre. The horse, after a few
performances, learned to know his cue for appearing, got very excited,
and took to dancing, much to our alarm. The two platforms used slowly to
divide, and we could see down to the depths of the theatre, right below
the stage. Mr. Chevalier and I used to sit with one leg outside the
sledge, in case it became necessary for us to make a hasty leap. Later,
a horse that was a less vivid actor was given the rôle, much to our
comfort. I remember it was suggested that Miss Marie Lloyd should appear
and play herself, but Miss Lloyd did not fall in with the idea.

I have heard that she did not care for either pantomime, revue, or the
drama, and did not consider herself suited to it. Which reminds me of a
story which was told to me about an occasion when Marie Lloyd appeared
in pantomime. Her great friend, Mrs. Edie Karno, came round after the
performance, and was asked by the comedienne: “Well, dear, what do you
think of me in pantomime?”

Edie Karno, who was nothing if not truthful, and who had herself been
one of the greatest “mime” actresses of the last generation, replied: “I
don’t think it suits you like your own work.”

“You don’t think I’m very good?” pursued Marie Lloyd.

“Not very, dear,” admitted the other.

“Not very good?” repeated Marie Lloyd. “You’re wrong; as a matter of
fact, I’m damned rotten in it!”

Speaking of criticism reminds me of a story of the French authoress who
went to see Sir John Hare rehearse “Napoleon” in her play, _La Belle
Marseilles_. He did not look as she had expected, and she said, in
broken English, “Oh! he is too old, he is too little, he is too sick,
and besides he cannot act.” She had not seen him play in _A Pair of
Spectacles_.

And again, when I was playing in _The Dangerous Age_, at the beginning
of the war, a woman sent round a note to me, saying: “I have enjoyed the
play so much. I can’t see at all, I’ve cried so much.”

When _Looking for Trouble_ was produced in 1910, at the Aldwych, there
was some litigation over it, and the case came up for arbitration. The
judge’s decision is (I think I am right in saying) in these cases placed
in a sealed box. The contesting parties have to pay a fee of (again I
can only say “I think”) of £100 for the box to be opened. In this case
neither of them was willing to do this, so the box remained unopened;
and, as far as I know, the decision remains unknown to this day.

It was while I was rehearsing in _Looking for Trouble_ that the news of
the loss of the “Titanic” came through. I shall always remember that
afternoon. I came out, with no idea what had happened, to find the whole
Strand hushed. There is no other word for it; people quite unknown to
each other stood talking quietly, and everyone seemed stunned by the
news of the frightful disaster, which seemed an impossibility.

Then came our first short American tour, and the War. I did a short
tour, and then “War Work” kept me busy until 1918, when, under the
management of Mr. J. E. Vedrenne, I went to the Royalty to play in
Arnold Bennett’s delightful play, _The Title_, with Aubrey Smith. The
whole ten months I was at the Royalty in this play were sheer happiness.
I had a management who were considerate in every way; I liked the whole
company enormously; I had a wonderfully charming part—what could anyone
want more? _Cæsar’s Wife_ followed at the Royalty, and I stayed there to
play in it. I remember I had to knit on the stage, and the work I
managed to get through, in the way of silk sports stockings, etc., was
very considerable.

[Illustration:

  _Photograph by Foulsham & Banfield, Ltd., London, W._ To face p. 71

  “MUMSIE”
]

Again under Mr. Vedrenne’s management, I played “Mumsie” in Mr.
Knoblauch’s play of the same name. _Mumsie_ was a great play. Some day
it will be revived; some day, when the scars left by the war are
somewhat healed, we shall be able to watch it without pain; but then the
war was too near, we still felt it too acutely, the whole play was too
real, too vivid for the audience to be able to watch it with any degree
of comfort. _Mumsie_ was short-lived, but I look back on the play with
great affection. My part was wonderful, and I say, without any undue
conceit or pride in my own powers, it was my _tour de force_. I worked
at the part very hard, for I had to acquire a French accent, and, as I
do not speak French, it was difficult. I had my reward for all my work
in the satisfaction of knowing that the author liked my work. Perhaps
the greatest compliment that was paid to my accent was one evening when
the Baron Emile d’Erlanger came to see me. He poured out what was, I am
told, a stream of praise in French; and when I explained, as best I
could, that I had not understood one word, he refused to believe me.

Then came _The Ruined Lady_; again Aubrey Smith and I were together. It
was during the run of this play that I first met Sir Ernest Shackleton.
I found him, as I think I have said elsewhere, delightfully unaffected
and modest. He had a plan that Harry should turn his book, _South_, into
a film, but the scheme never materialised. Our Canadian tour followed,
and when I came back I found Mr. Norman McKinnel waiting for me to play
in Sir Ernest Cochran’s play, _A Matter of Fact_, at the Comedy Theatre,
a strong part of emotion which I thoroughly enjoyed. This was followed
by my first white-haired part at the St. James’s, in _The Bat_, the play
that made everybody who saw it thrill with excitement. This play had a
long run, and during that time I played in a film, _Flames of Passion_,
which led to my recent visit to Berlin to play in _Chu Chin Chow_ for
the same firm.

There, then, is the account of my life, as truthfully as I can record
it. For I have never kept diaries, and have had to rely on what, I find,
is not always as reliable as I could wish—my memory. And yet sometimes
it is too fertile, too ready to remind me, to prompt me to remember
fresh stories. Now, when I feel that I have finished and made an end,
other recollections come to me, and I am tempted to begin all over
again.

I have at least two in my mind now, which I must give you, though they
have no bearing on what I have been writing. Still, after all, I am not
attempting to give an accredited autobiography; I am only trying to tell
things that happened. So here are the stories which refuse to be left
out, or be put in their proper place in another chapter:

[Illustration:

  _Camera Study by Florence Vandamon, London._ To face p. 72

  MISS VAN GORDER

  “The Bat”
]


SIR HERBERT TREE.—One night, during a performance at His Majesty’s, he
walked on to the stage just as the curtain was going up. Suddenly he
saw, standing at the far side of the stage, a new member of his company;
he crossed over to him and asked, “Is it true that you were once with
Granville Barker?” “Yes,” replied the man, nervously, “it is true.” “Oh,
my God!” said Tree; then, turning to the stage manager, said, “Ring up.”


Again: The day he was to receive his knighthood, a rehearsal was called
in the afternoon. Everyone knew that Tree was being knighted on that
day, and much astonishment was expressed. The company assembled on the
stage, and after a short time Tree appeared in the full glory of his
ceremonial dress. He looked round at the company, slowly, then said:
“Thank you, ladies and gentlemen; I don’t think I need detain you any
longer. Good-bye,” and left the theatre.



                               CHAPTER VI
                      FOR THE DURATION OF THE WAR

     “Oh, well, I shall explain to ’em that the country’s at war.”
                                             —_The Law Divine._


On August 3rd or 4th, 1914, when war was declared, we were at Apple
Porch. My sister Decima was with us, and I can remember her sitting in
the garden drawing up on a piece of paper, headed “H. V. Esmond’s and
Eva Moore’s Tour,” the details of her scheme for organising women’s
work, so that it might be used to the best advantage in the coming
struggle.

We went to London, and by the Saturday following the offices of the
Women’s Emergency Corps were opened. Gertrude Kingston lent the Little
Theatre, and it was there the work began. I was playing at the
Vaudeville Theatre each evening, and working at the Little Theatre all
day. Women enrolled in thousands; trained women were grouped into their
proper classes, and untrained women were questioned as to what they
“could do”. Weekly lists were sent to the War Office, containing full
particulars as to the numbers of women we could supply for transport,
cooks, interpreters, and so forth; and each week a letter was received
in acknowledgment, saying that women “were not needed”. That was in
1914. Eighteen months later the Corps was found to be the “front door”,
the place where women could be found to meet any emergency. It would be
impossible to give one-tenth of the names of the women who worked for
and with the Corps, women who gave time and money, brain and endurance,
to the work. The Emergency Corps was the first body of women in this
country regularly to meet the refugees from Belgium, find them
hospitality, clothes, and food. It was the first organisation to make a
definite attempt to supply British toys; it sent women, capable of
teaching French, to most of the large training camps throughout the
country. I remember we issued a small book, called _French for Tommies_,
which was remarkably useful. The Corps sent thousands of blankets to
Serbia, ran the first ambulances, organised canteens for the troops in
France, provided cheap meals for workers, and a hundred other things
which I cannot remember. When the cry for respirators was first raised,
the Corps took a disused laundry, and supplied them in thousands; they
were a pattern which was soon superseded, but that was the pattern
supplied to us at the time.

When I went on tour, I undertook to enrol members in the provinces, and
met with considerable success; and it was a year later, 1915, at
Bournemouth, that I met Miss Marie Chisholm and Mrs. Knocker, who had
been in Belgium with Dr. Munro, and who had the first Ambulance Corps
out in Belgium and did such fine work in the early days of 1914. They
were home on leave, to return when it was ended to their
dressing-station on the Belgian front line. I was very interested in
their work, and promised to do what I could to help. Through the
kindness and generosity of the British public, I was able to send them
money and many useful things. I should like to quote one instance—one of
many—which shows how the public responded to any appeal. At Birmingham I
heard from Miss Chisholm that the Belgian “Tommies” were suffering very
badly from frost-bitten ears; the wind, coming over the inundated fields
in front of the trenches, cut like a knife. “I would give anything,” she
wrote, “for a thousand Balaclava helmets.” On the Thursday night, at the
Birmingham theatre, I made my appeal, and in a week 500 had been sent to
me, and 1000 followed in less than three weeks’ time. Sandbags, too, I
was able to send out in thousands, through the interest and kindness of
those who heard my appeals. It was through the Emergency Corps that I
really first met them. Miss Chisholm had been my messenger in the very
early days of the war, and, before I pass on to other matters, I want to
say a last word about that organisation. It was the parent of
practically all the other war societies. The Needlework Guilds formed
their societies on the lines we had used; the various workrooms, in
which women’s work was carried on, came to us to hear how it was done;
the W.A.F. and W.A.A.C., and other semi-military organisations, were
formed long after we had started the Women’s Volunteer Reserve. Much
concern had been expressed at the bare idea of Women Volunteers; but
Decima and Mrs. Haverfield stuck to their point, and Mrs. Haverfield
carried on that branch finely. Nothing but a national necessity could
have brought women together in such numbers, or spurred them on to work
in the splendid way they did. The Corps was a “clearing house” for
women’s work, and when women settled down into their proper spheres of
usefulness, the Corps, having met the emergency, ceased as an active
body to exist; but, before it did so, it had justified its existence a
dozen times over.

Major A. Gordon, who was King’s Messenger to the King of the Belgians,
proved himself a great friend to the “Women of Pervyse” and myself. It
was through his efforts that I was able to pay my memorable visit to the
Belgian trenches in 1918, and later I had the honour of receiving the
Order de la Reine Elizabeth. All we five sisters worked for the war in
all different branches at home and abroad, and we all received
decorations: Decima, the Commander of the British Empire, Medallion de
Reconnaissance, and Overseas Medals; Bertha, the O.B.E. for home
service; Emily (Mrs. Pertwee), Le Palm d’Or, for Belgian work; Ada, the
Allied and Overseas Medals for services with the French and British, in
both France and Germany, also, through her efforts in endowing a room in
the British Women’s Hospital for the totally disabled soldier, Star and
Garter. Speaking of this brings back the memory of the wonderful day at
Buckingham Palace, when the Committee of the British Women’s Hospital,
founded by the Actresses’ Franchise League in 1914, were commanded by
the Queen to present personally to her the £50,000 they had raised for
that hospital. If I remember rightly, about 23 of us were there. The
Queen, after the presentation, walked down the line and spoke to each
one of us with her wonderful gracious manner, and to many referred to
the pleasure she had received from seeing our various theatrical
performances. Before the Queen entered the room, we were asked by Sir
Derek Keppel to form ourselves in alphabetical order, and Lady Wyndham
(Miss Mary Moore), my sister Decima, Lady Guggisberg, and myself (Mrs.
H. V. Esmond) all promptly grouped ourselves under the M’s as Moores.

In the spring of 1918, when the Germans were making their last big
advance, I was able to arrange to pay a flying visit to Belgium, to see
the dressing-station at Pervyse. We had to pass Fumes, and found it in
flames. The sight of that town being steadily bombarded, with the houses
flaming against a brilliant sunset, was one of the most terrible but
wonderful coloured things I have ever seen. We arrived at the H.Q. of
the 2nd Division of the Belgian Army, to find the evening strafe in full
swing. I can see now the Belgian Tommy as I saw him then, quite
unconcerned by the guns, planting little flowers, Bachelor’s Buttons,
outside the General’s hut. I wished that I could have shared his
unconcern; I found the noise simply ear-splitting, and when a
particularly noisy shell burst, and I asked the General if “it was going
or coming”, he roared with laughter. I have never felt less amused than
I did at that moment!

He sent us over to Pervyse in his car, to collect some papers which Mrs.
Knocker, who was returning to England in a few days, needed. The
dressing-station was a small and much-shelled house, on the very edge of
the flooded land which lay between the Belgian trenches and the
enemy—from the little house you could actually see the German sandbags.
The dressing-station itself was anything but a “health resort”, and
there is no question that these two women faced great danger with
enormous fortitude.

Afterwards we motored to G.H.Q., where the staff were at dinner—or,
rather tragically for us, where the staff had just _finished_ dinner. I
have the Menu still, signed by all who were present. It consisted of
“Poached Eggs and Water Cress”, with Coffee to follow. We did not like
to say we were “starving for want of food”, and so said we had dined. I
was very glad to remember that in our car reposed a cooked chicken,
which had been bought in Dunkirk. We—that is, Miss Chisholm, Mrs.
Knocker (who had become by then Baroness T’Scerelles), her husband, and
I—slept at a farmhouse some distance from H.Q. The only tolerably
pleasant part of the night, which was noisy with the sound of shells,
was the eating (with our fingers) of the cooked chicken. I do not think
I have ever been so hungry in my life!

The following day I was taken to the trenches at Ramskeppelle. The men
were very much astonished to see a woman in mufti. What struck me most
was the beauty of the day, for the sun was shining, and birds singing,
yet from behind us came the noise of the 15–inch guns, firing on the
Germans, and back came the thunder of their replies. The sunshine, the
birds, the beauty of the day—and war!

I stayed at Boulogne, on the way back, for the night, as the guest of
Lady Hatfield at the Red Cross Hospital, and then returned home,
bringing with me the Baroness, who was suffering from shock and the
awful effects of gas. If it has seemed, or did seem at the time, that
these two women had perhaps overmuch praise for what they did, I would
ask you to remember that they worked in that exposed position,
continually running grave risks, for three and a half years. It was the
sustained effort that was so wonderful, which demanded our admiration,
as well as the work which received the grateful thanks of the whole of
the 2nd and 3rd Divisions of the Belgian Army.

To go back to the theatrical side of things. In 1914, the first week of
the war, some 200 touring companies were taken “off the road”, and we—my
husband and I—were advised to cancel our provincial dates at once. This
we decided not to do, but to “carry on” as we had already arranged. The
financial side was not very satisfactory, but I must say that the
managers in the country appreciated our efforts; and, apart from that,
we had the satisfaction of knowing that we were providing work for, at
anyrate, a few artists and the staffs in the provincial theatres, at a
time when work was very, very difficult to obtain.

I look back on those years of the war as a rather confused series of
emotions and pictures, when one worked, spoke at meetings, played in the
evening, read the casualty lists, and always “wondered why”; when each
day seemed to bring the news that some friend had made the supreme
sacrifice, when each day brought the knowledge that the world was the
poorer for the loss of many gallant gentlemen. Pictures that
remain—tragic, humorous, and soul-stirring. The first detachment of men
I saw leaving for the front! It was about a quarter to twelve; I had
been playing at Kennington Theatre, and stood waiting for a ’bus at the
end of Westminster Bridge. As I stood, I heard the sound of marching
men, “the men who joined in ’14”. Out of the darkness they came, still
in their civilian clothes, not marching with the precision of trained
men, but walking as they would have done to their work. Not alone, for
beside almost each man walked a woman, and often she carried his bundle,
and he carried—perhaps for the last time—a baby. I wondered if King
Charles, riding his horse in Trafalgar Square, had seen them pass and
realised that in them was the same spirit as lived in the Englishmen who
sent him to the scaffold—that England and the English people might be
free? Nelson, watching from the top of his column, must have known that
the spirit that lived in his men at Copenhagen, the Nile, and Trafalgar
was still there, burning brightly; and His Grace of Cambridge, once
Commander-in-Chief of the British Army, did he too watch the sons and
grandsons of the men who fought in the Crimea, going out to face the
same dangers, the same horrors, as the men he had known? So they passed,
in silence, for at such times one cannot find words to cry “Good luck”
or “God bless you”. Out of the darkness they came, and into the darkness
again they went, in silence—“the men who joined up in ’14”.

And Southampton in the early days! One night men began to march past the
Star Hotel at six in the evening, and at six the next morning men were
still marching past, and all the time the sound of singing went with
them, all night long—“Tipperary”. I wonder what “Tipperary” meant to
them all; did it mean home, the trenches, or Berlin? Who knows! but they
never seemed to tire of singing it.

In May, 1915, we went to Ireland, and in Dublin we heard of the loss of
the “Lusitania”. No one believed it was true. It seemed impossible that
England’s super-passenger ship could have been sunk almost in sight of
land.

We reached Cork on the Sunday evening. Charles Frohman was one of the
missing passengers. Early on the Monday, Harry and I went to Queenstown,
to try and find his body. The sight we saw in the shed on the Cunard
quay is beyond description. Lying on the concrete floor, their hands all
tied with thick pieces of rope, lay nearly a hundred victims of war and
German civilisation! Men, women, children, and little babies. I shall
never forget the pathos of the dead children and babies! Dragged into
the awful machinery of war, the Holy Innocents of the Twentieth Century,
butchered by the order of a Modern Herod. In one corner lay a little
girl, about nine years old; her face was covered with a cloth; the
terrible pathos of her poor little legs, wearing rather bright blue
stockings, the limp stillness of her! We found poor Mr. Frohman—the man
who made theatrical destinies, launched great theatrical ventures, who
had been sought after, made much of, and was loved by all those who knew
him—lying there alone, although he was surrounded by silent men and
women. We took him flowers, the only flowers in all that dreadful shed.
They went with him to America, and later his sister told us they were
buried with him. Outside in the streets and in the Cunard office were
men and women, white-faced and dry-eyed: it was all too big for tears:
tears were dried up by horror. Later in the week the streets from the
station to quay had on each side of the road a wall of coffins.

I read in the papers accounts of the disaster, of the “wonderful peace
which was on the faces of the dead”. That peace can only have existed in
the minds of the writers—I know I did not see it. Horror, fear,
amazement, and, I think, resentment at being hurled into eternity; but
peace existed no more in the faces of the dead than it did in my heart.
I came away from that shed and cursed the German nation. Yet even little
children had done great things. Lady Allen, from Montreal, was on board
with her two little girls. I was told by their sister, who was over
doing Red Cross work, that they stood all three hand in hand, wearing
life-belts, when a woman friend came up to them; she was without a belt.
One of the little girls took off her belt, saying as she did so, “You
take mine, because I have learnt to swim”. Lady Allen and the two
children, holding hands, jumped into the sea; neither of the children
was ever seen again alive.

I met an Australian soldier, in a tiny hotel (for every place was full
to overflowing), who had been on board. He told me that in his boat
there was a woman who sang steadily for hours to keep up the spirits of
her companions; she was, he said, “perfectly wonderful”. After they had
been on the water for five hours, they saw a man on a small raft; they
had no oars, and neither had he. The Australian jumped overboard, swam
to him, and towed the raft back to the boat. He did this with three ribs
broken! The thing which he told me he regretted most was the loss of his
concertina, which he had saved up for years to buy!

I do not mind admitting that I hated the sea trip back to England; apart
from my own feelings, I felt that I was in a great measure responsible
for the rest of our company. We left Dublin with all lights out, and
went full steam ahead all the time. It was the quickest passage the boat
had ever made. Immediately on going on board, I collected enough
life-belts for every woman of the company to have one, piled them on the
deck, and sat on them!

So the war dragged on, and one did what was possible. It is of no
interest to record the visits to hospitals, the work, and so forth;
everyone worked, and worked hard. My feeling was always, when some
wounded man gave me thanks out of all proportion to what I had been able
to do, that I should have liked to quote to him words from my husband’s
play, _Love and the Man_: “I have done so little, and you have done so
much”. Only the Tommy, being British, would have been very uncomfortable
if I had said anything of the kind.

Then, at last, came that wonderful morning in November, when, riding on
the top of a ’bus in Piccadilly, I heard the “maroons”, and saw all the
pent-up emotion of the British people break loose. They had heard of
disasters, lost hopes, the death of those they loved best in the world,
almost in silence, but now—“it was over”, and a people thanked God that
“England might be Merrie England once again”. I went on to my Committee
meeting, a meeting for the organisation of a scheme to raise funds for
St. Dunstan’s Blind Soldiers, and I remember, when it was ended, walking
up the Haymarket with Forbes Robertson, and noticing the change that had
come over everything. If we lost our heads a little that day, who can
blame us? For four years we had, as it were, lived in dark cellars, and
now, when we came out into the light, it blinded us—we were so
unaccustomed to “being happy”.

That night Harry was playing at Wyndham’s Theatre in _The Law Divine_.
He told me that the audience certainly only heard about half of the
play, owing to the noise in the street outside.

My sister Decima, after having been attached to the French Army in
January, 1915, ran the Leave Club in Paris, which did such fine work and
made a home for thousands of British soldiers in 1917; it continued
there after the Armistice, till 1920. I shall not attempt to describe
it, as I hope she may one day do so herself. When the Armistice was
signed, she went at once to Cologne. She was one of the first women to
get to the city, and began at once to organise a club for the Army of
Occupation, on the same lines as the one in Paris. Before she left, the
work of the club had come to an end, owing to the large reduction of the
Army of Occupation. I went over, and together we did a tour of the
battlefields. With my sister were her Commandant, Miss Cornwallis, Mrs.
Carter, whose husband did fine work with the submarines and went down in
the one he commanded, and Miss Fisher, who was my sister’s chauffeuse in
Cologne. We took the same route as the Germans had taken into Belgium in
1914, and travelled over a thousand miles of devastated land. From Ypres
to Verdun, everywhere the Graves Commission were busy. We saw cemetery
after cemetery full of little wooden crosses, which Rupert Brooke said
made “some corner in a foreign field ... forever England”. We saw the
parties of Annamites who collected the dead from the battlefields; they
were most repulsive looking, and I was told that they were the only
people who could be persuaded to do the work. From Fort Fleure, in the
valley, we saw the little village of wooden huts where they lived, under
the direction of one British soldier, who lived there with his wife.
Through all the battle area were dwarfed, distorted trees, twisted into
almost sinister shapes; and among them moved the blue figures of the
Annamites from Tonkin, looking for the dead.

It was spring-time, and on Vimy Ridge the cowslips were growing, and at
Verdun the ground was thick with violets. I gathered bunches and placed
them on lonely graves. Looking in my note-book, I see under “Verdun” the
words, “miles of utter desolation”. I shall never forget those miles and
miles of wasted land, torn and churned up by the guns, the ground still
scarred by trenches and pitted with shell-holes, here and there a grave
with a wooden cross, and often a steel helmet on it—a pathetic
loneliness. I thought what England had escaped: we still had our green
fields, our wonderful trees; our villages were still standing, and our
factories still held machinery that was useful and might be worked:

              “This fortress built by Nature for herself,
              Against infection and the hand of war;

                     ·       ·       ·       ·       ·

              This precious stone set in a silver sea.”

England was unchanged. The memory of what I saw there in France made me
understand why the French people demand reparations from the nation that
wasted France.

Outside Arras we met an R.A.C. man and asked him to tell us of an hotel
where we might stay for the night. He told us of one, and we went on our
way. When we got to the town we could not find the hotel, and asked a
Tommy near the ruined Cathedral if he could direct us. He offered to
show us the way, and got on to the step of the car beside Miss
Cornwallis, who was riding outside. She asked him what part of England
he came from, and found he came from the same small place in Kent that
she had lived in all her life. He gave her the additional information:
“I know you quite well; I’ve driven your father’s cows scores of times!”
We reached the hotel, which was a kind of large bungalow, with canvas
walls, run by an Australian—and very well run, too. I went to my room,
which I was sharing with my sister, and realised that every word which
was said in the next room could be heard. The next room was occupied by
the R.A.C. soldier who had directed us to come to the hotel. He was not
alone, but was saying “Good-bye” to his French sweetheart. Poor girl, he
was leaving for England the next day, and she wanted very much to come
with him. It was rather pathetic, and I wished so much the walls had not
been so thin.

When one thinks now of the “Lights out”, the marching men, the
ambulances at the stations, the men in khaki, and the air raids, it all
seems like something that happened hundreds of years ago! Talking of air
raids reminds me that some time ago I was rehearsing with an American
producer for an American play. Everyone on the stage had to be in a
great state of tension, and, to convey his meaning, he said to me:
“You’re all as if you were waiting for a bomb to drop. Do you understand
what I mean? Have you ever heard a bomb drop?” I assured him that I had,
and knew exactly what “it was like”. I thought, too, “What do some of
you know of England, and England in war time!”



                              CHAPTER VII
                              THE SUFFRAGE

                 “The sex is learning sense.”
                                     —_Grierson’s Way._


I am not going to embark upon a long discussion as to the wrongs and
rights of the question, I am not going to attempt to write a history of
the movement; I am only going to try to tell you of some of the
incidents, the thoughts, and personalities that remain with me.

Why did I become a Suffragist? Because all my life I had been a working
woman; I had, and still have, a passionate love for England; I believed
that I ought to be able to have a voice in the government of that
country; and believed, too, that simply because I was a woman, there
were certain very vital questions on which my opinion, and the opinion
of my sister-women, might be of value—questions which affected “us” as
women, and “us” as mothers.

I did not go to prison; but I had, and have, the deepest respect for the
women who did. When you look back on the ordeals which women endured,
and what they suffered, as suffer they did, remember that _no woman_ who
faced those ordeals or endured those sufferings did it for either
notoriety, enjoyment, or bravado!

As for the “damage” they did, well, I am content to leave the wisdom of
such methods to be justified by wiser heads than mine, and to believe,
as I do firmly, that those methods were only resorted to when the
leaders believed that all other means had failed. Were we not advised by
Mr. Hobhouse to abandon a policy of “pinpricks”, and “do as the men had
done”?

There were many funny incidents connected with the Suffrage Movement,
and not the least funny was Mr. Austen Chamberlain’s reason why women
ought not to have the vote: “Because women are women, and men are men.”
It was Mr. Chamberlain who said that women ought not to mix at all in
political affairs. My sister Decima wrote to him at once, to ask if by
that statement he meant that he wished women to discontinue working for
the Tariff Reform League, and she received a prompt answer “in the
negative”.

My first public speech was made at the Queen’s Hall. They rang up at
very short notice to ask if I would “say a few words”. Rather fearful as
to my powers of oratory, I went. I remember Christabel Pankhurst was in
the chair. I began to speak, and a small blood vessel broke in my lip. I
stood there speaking, and between sentences mopping up the small but
persistent stream of blood. When my own handkerchief was no longer of
any use, Christabel passed me another. By the time I finished my speech
a small pile of “gory” looking handkerchiefs lay at my feet, and not a
woman on the platform had a handkerchief left. It was a horrible
experience for a “raw hand”.

What a fighter Christabel Pankhurst was! The hall might be in an uproar,
but it did not daunt Christabel; she spoke, and, if no one listened, she
went on speaking until they did! She was a brilliant speaker, who never
let her brilliance get above the heads of her audience, and never let
them feel she was “talking down to them”. I have never known any woman,
who was so ready-witted; no one ever “caught her out”.

A man once got up and asked, “Now, Miss Pankhurst, putting all the fun
of talking in public on one side, don’t you really wish you were a man?”
Miss Pankhurst gave the question a second’s consideration, looked
carefully at the speaker, then gave her head that queer little jerk
which always heralded some unexpected answer—the crowds knew it, and
used to watch for it. “Don’t you?” was all she said. Another occasion a
man got up and commenced a long, rambling question as to what would
happen to “the home” if he got into Parliament and his wife got into
Parliament too. It took him a long time to say it all, and he drew a
really very touching picture. “I don’t know your wife, sir,” said
Christabel; “I’ve never seen her; she might, of course, be returned for
Parliament; but you—oh! (very soothingly) I don’t think _you_ need
worry!” Taking the audiences on the whole, they liked her. If there was
a row that even she could not talk down, it was an extraordinary thing.
They liked her humour, they liked her doggedness, her pugnacity, and her
youthful enjoyment of any and every joke, even if one was turned against
her. The famous Pantechnicon was Christabel’s idea. Everyone has heard
of it, and it is exactly the same story as the “Wooden Horse of Troy”,
only “the horse” was a furniture van, the occupants were Suffragists,
and “Troy” was the sacred precincts of the House of Commons.

Mrs. Pankhurst had all the fighting spirit, but she lacked the quick
humour of her daughter. She was a wonderful woman, who had worked all
her life “for women”, and worn herself out bodily—not mentally—in doing
so. I have seen and heard her often, but never without a sense of deep
admiration for her brain and her endurance. Those of us who remember
will recall the placards in those days: “Arrest of Mrs. Pankhurst”,
followed a fortnight later by “Mrs. Pankhurst Released”—that was after
hunger striking—then, “Illness of Mrs. Pankhurst”. About three weeks
later, when she had regained a little of her strength, you saw, “Arrest
of Mrs. Pankhurst”. (That was under “the Cat and Mouse Act”.) That weary
round used to go on, until you wondered how human brain, let alone human
body, could stand it. But stand it she did, and came back again and
again. I wonder now if all that she suffered, and all that she gained,
ever enters the minds of the women voters who go to the polling-booths
on election days?

Not only may they remember Mrs. Pankhurst, there are other figures “that
remain”—Flora Drummond, Annie Kenny, Mrs. Howe Martin, Lady Constance
Lytton, and Mrs. Despard. The last was, as Mrs. Nevinson once said, “not
a woman, but an inspiration”. She was born fifty years too soon; she was
an old lady when the Suffrage Movement first began to be a real “thing”
in practical politics. It was a living example of mind over matter that
made it possible for her to work as she did. She was, I suppose, the
most picturesque figure in the movement; she looked what she is—an
aristocrat. You will find her type in the Spanish pictures of Tiapolo. I
can think of one at the moment which hangs in the Scottish National
Gallery; Mrs. Despard might have sat for the court lady on the left. Now
she has become an Irish citizen, and lives outside Dublin, devoting her
time to trying to alleviate the sufferings of her adopted countrymen.
That I do not see eye to eye with her aims and methods does not shake my
belief that those aims and methods are actuated from nothing but rooted
beliefs. It was Mrs. Despard who said once, during the most strenuous
part of the Suffrage campaign, “Oh! then ’twas good to be alive, but to
be young was very heaven!” An idealist, even something of a fanatic, but
with her eyes fixed on the stars and her heart full of high purpose and
great faith in her cause—that is Mrs. Despard as I saw, and still see,
her.

Of the sufferings (and I use the word advisedly) of the women who “dared
greatly”, I will not write, and for two reasons—first, the fight is
over, we gained our objective, and removed from the Statute Book the
clause which classed women with “lunatics”; and, secondly, because if I
did write, and write truly of the things I know, no one would believe
me, and I even doubt if anyone could print what I could write, and write
in all truth. So I leave that side, and ask you to believe that, even if
we admit (and I reserve my own opinion) that many of the things which
the Suffragists did were foolish, unnecessary, destructive, even wicked,
they had punishment meted out to them in not only full measure, but
“pressed down and running over”; and I can tell you only that the
courage with which they met that punishment was worthy of the great
cause for which they fought, whatever their methods—the Emancipation of
Women.

The Actresses’ Franchise League was formed after the Women’s Social and
Political Union, and after the Women’s Freedom League. It was “non-party
and non-political”. Though it did not advocate the extreme measures, it
did not condemn; its policy was “The aim is everything”. I remember our
first meeting at the Criterion; Sir Johnston Forbes Robertson took the
chair and spoke for us. He, like his mother before him, has been a warm
supporter of anything which will lead to better conditions for women.
The meeting was a great success, and from that time we, the Actresses’
Franchise League, took its place with the other franchise societies. I
remember, in one of the processions which were organised from time to
time, the Actresses sent a contingent. Cissy Loftus, May Whitty, Lena
Ashwell, and I were marching four abreast. We all wore white dresses,
with sprays of pink roses, except Lena Ashwell, who was in mourning. At
the end of Northumberland Avenue there was a long wait; we were held up
for some time. A man who was passing looked at us and recognised Lena
Ashwell. He turned to his friend and said, “See ’er, that third one in
that line? I’ll tell you ’oo she is; she’s the ‘Bad Girl of the
Family’!”

I think in most of us the work cultivated a sense of humour, but it was
certainly due to a lack of that valuable commodity in someone that I was
asked to hand in my resignation to the A.F.L. My husband wrote a one-act
play, called _Her Vote_, the story of a “fluffy” young woman who, after
persuading everyone she meets that it is “their duty” to attend a big
Suffrage meeting, does not go herself, because her “young man” has taken
tickets for a fashionable ball. That, roughly, was the story. I played
the sketch, and it really was very funny. Two days later, at a meeting
of the League, “someone” got up and stated that they had seen the
sketch, and that evidently “Eva Moore preferred Kisses to Votes”, and
suggested that I should be told not to play the sketch again, or resign.
I resigned; I felt that one could work as well for a cause outside a
society as in one. I may say that I was asked to go back, which I did,
still reserving the right to myself to play in _any_ play, without the
assumption that I was working anti-Suffrage propaganda. That line,
“Prefers Kisses to Votes”, has always struck me as so very excellent, it
should be used in a play.

I did, however, call down upon my head a terrible storm, and quite
innocently. At a time when “forcible feeding” was being resorted to very
much, two girls, who were Suffragists, were presented at Court. They
were both of very good social position, and very charming. One of them,
on being presented to the King, said “Your Majesty, won’t you stop
forcible feeding?” She was promptly hustled out of the presence, and the
Press the following day was full of “the insult offered to the King”. It
may have been, probably was, the wrong time to do it; it was probably
the wrong way to attempt to do it; but I did feel, and still feel, that
the girl must have called up every ounce of courage she possessed to say
what she did. At a meeting next day I ventured to say just what I have
written here, ending with: “Whatever one may feel about the wisdom or
the propriety of her action, you must take off your hat to the girl for
her courage.” Then the storm burst. That evening I found headlines in
the papers: “Eva Moore takes off her hat to the woman who insulted the
King”, and so on; it was astonishing. The result was rather dreadful;
men I had never seen wrote to me, wrote the most abusive, indecent
letters I have ever read or even dreamed could be written, letters which
left me gasping that people who could write at all should descend to
using such epithets and expressions. Had I not already been a
Suffragist, those letters would have made me one! However, it came to an
end and I survived, though I admit at the time it distressed me very
much indeed.

A disagreeable experience was when I was called to give evidence in the
case of “Pankhurst and Pethick Lawrence _v._ the Crown”. Mrs. Pankhurst
was alleged to have spoken against the Crown and His Majesty’s
Government at the Albert Hall meeting, and the Pethick Lawrences, as
chief organisers of the meeting, were involved. That, so far as my
memory serves me, was the case. I was to give evidence for Mrs.
Pankhurst. I was instructed not to answer too quickly, not to answer too
slowly, and no first night has ever brought such a torture of nerves as
did that cross-examination at the Old Bailey. I remember very little
about it all, except the grim air which seemed to brood over everything,
and the fear that I might “say something wrong”. Sir Rufus Isaacs was
“for the Crown”, and I was in the witness-box. I remember after some
time he said, “—and so you suggest so-and-so, Miss Moore?” It was a
question very like the old story, “Do you still beat your
wife?”—whichever way you answered, you were wrong. I admit frankly I was
paralysed with fright; I tried to collect my wits, tried to think of
some “really telling” answer; no inspiration came. At last I said, with
what dignity I could muster, “I suggest nothing”, and heard him say the
most welcome words which, I think, have ever struck my ears, “You may
stand down!”

And we were told we went through that kind of ordeal because we liked it
and loved the notoriety! What imagination some people have!

Some day, when we look back from a distance of years, the things will
fall into their right perspective, and we shall be able to tell stories
which will fire the imagination of those who hear them; such stories
will be the Pantechnicon; the story of “Charlie” Marsh, lying hidden on
the roof of Birmingham Town Hall, followed by three months’
imprisonment, during the whole of which time she was forcibly fed; the
story of Lilian Lenton, who hid for two days in the organ loft in Leeds
Town Hall; the story of Theresa Billington and the Dog Whip, and many
others. We are still too near them as actual happenings, we still let
our political opinions, on either side, colour our feelings; but in the
future we shall see them for what they were: as brave attempts to fight
whole-heartedly for a great cause.

I think of the great public funeral accorded to Emily Davidson, and
remember that a martyr is “one who suffers death or grievous loss in
defence or on behalf _of any belief or cause_”; the worthiness or
unworthiness of the cause is a question which only the martyr can answer
to his or her own soul. Emerson says: “A man does not come the length of
the spirit of martyrdom without some flaming love”, and I believe that
it was a “flaming love” for their sister-women which was the
driving-force behind all they did.

I look back, no longer “dreaming dreams”, but seeing “visions”—and the
visions I see are of women coming from all parts of England, from the
factories of Lancashire, from Yorkshire, from the hunting-fields, from
offices, schools, and from every place where women might be found, who
wanted to see the dawn of the new era, giving up much which made life
pleasant and easy, braving scorn, ridicule, and often bodily danger, to
do what they might to “right a wrong”. I like to remember that “I did
what I could” and was, at anyrate, one of the rank and file in that
great army.

I go back to August, 1914, and think how all those women put aside their
political ambitions, even their demand for recognition, and declared a
truce, so that they might concentrate against a common enemy which
threatened their country. “I hated war,” one of them said to me,
speaking of ’14, “I was and always had called myself a pacifist, but,
when the war came, well, I worked with the rest of us, to help to win
it.”

The war was over, and at a luncheon given at the Savoy I met Mr. Lloyd
George. I told him that I had not seen him for a long time, and reminded
him that the last time was when I came, as a member of a deputation on
behalf of Women’s Suffrage, to see him at 10 Downing Street. “Yes,” he
said, “I remember. Well, I always told Christabel Pankhurst you should
all have the vote, and I kept my word!” After nearly forty years of
“constitutional methods”, of spade-work and propaganda, and after nearly
a decade of active work—nearly ten years during which constitutional
methods were flung to the winds, and the women fought for the franchise
as “the men had fought”—they won that which they demanded: their
political freedom—obtained, as all freedom has been obtained, “with a
great price”, and that “great price” was years of self-sacrifice,
culminating in the European War.

So political swords were turned to ploughshares, for, as Mrs. Pankhurst
used to say, “Remember when you have gained the vote your work is only
beginning”; and the women of England were at last able to say, each one,
“I am a citizen of no mean city.”



                              CHAPTER VIII
                           PEOPLE I HAVE MET

            “There is so much in Nature—so many sides.”
                                        —_Love and the Man._


If all these “impressions that remain” seem—what, indeed, they are—very
disjointed, remember that Life as one lives it is, after all, a “patchy”
and disjointed business.


MRS. JOHN WOOD.—I have spoken elsewhere of Mrs. John Wood, and the
following incident happened when I was playing under her management at
the Court Theatre. I came to the theatre by Underground, and one night
the train stopped and was held up between Kensington and Sloane Square
Stations. I looked nervously at my watch, and saw the time was rapidly
approaching when I ought to be in my dressing-room. Still the train
remained stationary. I began to feel rather desperate, so decided to do
all I could to “get ready” in the train. I was wearing buttoned boots—I
undid the buttons; I was wearing a dress with many small buttons down
the front—I undid them all, keeping my coat buttoned tight to hide the
state of “undress”. (I remember an unfortunate man who was in the same
carriage, gazing at me, evidently thinking I was a dangerous lunatic and
wondering what I should do next.) At last the train moved, and I got out
and rushed into the theatre, gained my dressing-room, and began to tear
off my clothes. I did not attempt to “make up”—there was no time; I
directed all my energies to getting into my stage frock—which, by the
way, was a dress for a “drawing-room”, with train and feathers all
complete. The stage manager, who was not blessed with the capacity for
doing the right thing at the right moment, chose the moment when I was
struggling into this very elaborate costume to come to the door and to
begin to expostulate with me for being late. “What has made you so late,
Miss Moore?”, “Do you know you should have been in the theatre half an
hour ago?”, “Do you know you’ll be off?”, and so on, until in sheer
exasperation I called to him (and I do not regret it), “Oh! for Heaven’s
sake, _go away_, you fool!” He did. He went and told Mrs. John Wood that
I had been very rude to him, and she sent for me, after the performance,
to “know why”. I told her the whole story, and as it was unfolded to her
I saw her lips begin to quiver and her eyes dance with amused
understanding. When I finished, she gave her verdict. I know she felt
the discipline of the theatre _must_ be upheld at all costs, but she saw
the humour of it. “I understand,” she said. “We will say no more about
it, this time—_but_ it must not happen again!”

[Illustration:

  _Photograph by The Dover Street Studios, Ltd., London, W._ To face p.
    102

  ELIZA

  “Eliza Comes to Stay”
]


A MANAGER IN THE SUBURBS.—I had been playing “Eliza”. We had played to
capacity all the week, at a certain suburban theatre which shall be
nameless. On the Saturday night the local manager came to me; he was
very delighted at the “business”, and said so with great enthusiasm. The
play was “great”, I was “great”, the business was equally “great”. “And
now,” he concluded “you will have a little something _with me_, to drink
to your return to this theatre.” I said it was very kind of him, but
that I really didn’t want the “little something”; but he seemed rather
hurt, and so I consented. I do not know exactly what nectar I expected
him to send into my room, but I certainly did not expect a small bottle
of Guinness’s stout, which was what he _did_ send.


SIMONE LE BARGE.—She was playing in London with George Alexander, and
was present at a very representative theatrical lunch. The thing which
struck her most, so she told me, was that everyone was married or going
to be married. There was George Alexander and his wife; Fred Terry and
his wife; Cyril Maude and his wife; H. B. Irving and his wife; Martin
Harvey and his wife; Oscar Asche and Sir Herbert Tree, both with their
wives; Harry and I, and so on. It astonished her! She said, in the tone
of one who sees “strange things and great mystries”: “Dans la
France—c’est impossible!”


A SCOTCH LANDLADY.—I arrived in Glasgow one Sunday, and I feel rather
about Glasgow as poor Dan Leno did. “They tell me this is the second
city of our Empire; when I find a real ‘outsider’, I’m going to back it
for a place!” However, when I arrived by the night train from the South,
I found the landlady cleaning the house with the vigour of twenty women.
I had to sit in her room until my own were cleaned. When finally this
was accomplished to her satisfaction, I was allowed to take possession.
I unpacked and took out some sewing, which was a series of small flannel
garments I was making for Jack, then a baby. She walked into my room,
and saw what I was doing; she fixed me with a “cold eye”. “Sewin’!” she
ejaculated. I explained they were for my baby, etc., but the cold eye
still remained cold. “On the Sawbath!” she said. “Weel, Ah ca’ it
naething but _impious_,” and with that she walked out and left me alone
with my “impiety”.


DAN LENO.—I have no real right to include Dan Leno. I never met him, but
my sister Decima did, and someone else who did told me this story, which
I think is worth repeating. Leno lived at Brixton (I am told that, as
all good Americans go to Paris when they die, so all good music hall
artists go to Brixton when they die), and he used on Sunday mornings to
potter round his garden wearing carpet slippers, an old pair of
trousers, his waistcoat open, and no collar; quite happy, and enjoying
it immensely. He went round, on one of these Sunday mornings, to a
“hostelry” for liquid refreshment, and met there a “swell comedian” who
knew him. This gentleman, who appeared on the halls dressed rather in
the manner of Mr. George Lashwood, was faultlessly dressed in a frock
coat, the regulation dark grey trousers, and looked rather “stagily”
immaculate. He looked at Dan with disapproval, and proceeded to
expostulate with him. “Danny, boy, you shouldn’t come out dressed like
that. After all, you _are_ England’s leading comedian, and—well—you
ought to make yourself look smart. Let people know _who you are_!” Then,
with pride, he added: “Look at me, boy; why don’t you do like I do?”
Leno looked at him gravely. “Like you?” he repeated. “Look like you?—I
_never_ come out in my ‘props’, old boy.”


Mr. Henry Arthur Jones years ago said a thing to Harry that has ever
lived in my memory. They were discussing acting and plays, and Mr. Jones
said “A play is as good as it is acted.” That remark sums up the whole
question. A play can only be seen and valued through the acting; it’s
the only art that has to be judged through the medium of other
personalities, and not by the creator. When I once saw a revival of one
of Harry’s plays, that had not the advantage of his personal
supervision, I realised how completely true Mr. Jones’s remark was.


A SCOTTISH SOLDIER.—It was during the war. I was walking up Regent
Street, and there I saw him, fresh from France, hung round like a
Christmas tree, obviously knowing nothing of London, and, being a Scot,
far too proud to ask his way. I ventured to speak to him, for, as in the
old days girls suffered from “scarlet” fever, during the war I suffered
from “khaki” fever. “Do you want to get to a railway station?” I asked.
“Aye; Paddington.” As it happened, I too was going to Paddington, and I
said so. “I am going there myself; if you will come with me, I can tell
you where to find the platform. We will get on the ’bus that comes
along; I’ll show you the way.” He looked at me, not unkindly, but with
the scorn of a true Scot for the simplicity of a Southerner who
underrates the intelligence of the men from “over the Border”. “Ye wull,
wull ye?” he said. “Aye—well—ye wull _not_. Ah’ve been warrrrned aboot
lassies like you!” And he walked away with great dignity and
self-possession.


ELLEN TERRY.—I have seen her, as you have seen her—and if by chance you
have not done so, you have missed one of the things that might well be
counted “pearls of great price”—on the stage, looking perfectly
beautiful, with the beauty which did not owe its existence to wonderful
features or glorious colouring, but to that elusive “something” that the
limitations of the English language force me to describe as “magnetism”;
but the most lovely picture I carry in my mental gallery is of her in
her own house at Chelsea. A letter, signed by all the actresses of Great
Britain, was to be sent to the Queen concerning a big charity matinée.
It had been most carefully worded, and a most wonderful copy made. Mrs.
Kendal had signed it, and I was deputed to take it to Ellen Terry for
her signature. When I got to her house, she was ill in bed, neuralgia in
her head, and I was shown into her bedroom. I don’t know if you could
look beautiful with your head swathed in flannel, suffering tortures
from neuralgia; I know I couldn’t; but Ellen Terry did. She looked
rather as she did in _The Merry Wives of Windsor_. If you can imagine
“Mistress Ford” sitting up in an old four-poster bed, still wearing her
“wimple”, and looking sufficiently lovely to turn Ford’s head, and
Falstaff’s head, and everybody else’s head a dozen times—that was Ellen
Terry as I saw her then. I gave her the letter, this carefully made
“fair copy”, for her to sign. She read the letter, slowly, pen in hand.
Some phrase failed to please her, and saying “No, I don’t think that
will do”, she took her pen, scored through some words, and substituted
others, handing the letter back to me, with “I think that is better,
don’t you?” Have you seen her writing? It is rather large, very black,
very distinct, and very pretty; I did not dare to say that no letter
could be given to the Queen with corrections—a Queen had made them, and
it was not for me to remark on what she did. I said I was sure it was an
improvement, and took my precious letter away for other signatures. What
happened to the letter eventually, whether another copy was made or
not—that has all vanished from my mind; but the picture of lovely
“Mistress Ford” remains.


A ’BUS DRIVER.—In the old days I used to walk from the Strand to
Piccadilly and catch my ’bus there. It saved a penny. One old ’bus
driver—there were horse ’buses then, of course—used to wait for me. I
used to climb on to the top of the ’bus, and he used to talk to me, and
take an enormous interest in “how I was getting on”. Years afterwards I
was at Paddington, and as I came out of the station I saw, seated on the
box of a cab, my old friend of the ’bus. He told me he had “got on”, and
had bought a cab, a four-wheeler; that he had never “lost sight of me”;
and that he still thought of me, and always should think of me, as “his
Miss Moore”. Bless his red face! I wonder what he is driving now. Taxis
and motor ’buses may be very good things in their way, but they lost us
the “real” ’bus driver and the “real” cab driver.


A “TOMMY” FROM THE SECOND LONDON GENERAL HOSPITAL.—I was playing “Eliza”
at the Brixton Theatre, and on the Saturday the manager, the late Newman
Maurice, asked a party of wounded boys from the London General Hospital
to come, as our guests, to the matinée. I, in my turn, asked if they
would come round to my dressing-room, at the end of the play, for tea
and cigarettes; they came, and in a terrific state of excitement, too.
All talking at once, they tried to tell me the reason, and after some
time I began to understand. One of their number had been
“shell-shocked”, and so badly that he had lost his speech; he had been
watching the play that afternoon and suddenly began to laugh, and, a
second later, to the delight Of his companions, to speak! I have never
seen such congratulations, such hand-shakings, such genuine delight, as
was expressed by those boys over their comrade’s recovery. One of the
boys that afternoon was a mass of bandages; you could not see anything
of his face and head but two bright eyes, so badly had he been wounded.
When I went to Canada, two years ago, this man was waiting for me at the
hotel at Vancouver. He was no longer wrapped in bandages, but he had
been so certain that I should not know him again that he had brought
photographs of himself, taken while still in hospital, “complete with
bandages”, to prove his identity! As a matter of fact—how or why, I
cannot say—I did remember him at once.


GEORGE BERNARD SHAW.—I once rehearsed for a play of his at the Haymarket
Theatre. I remember he used to sit at rehearsals with his back to the
footlights, tilting his chair so far on its hind legs that it was only
by the intervention of heaven that he did not fall into the orchestra.
There he sat, always wearing kid gloves, firing off short, terse
comments on the acting, and rousing everybody’s ire to such an extent
that the fat was in the fire, and finally the production was abandoned,
after five weeks’ rehearsal! It was produced later, and was a very great
success, Henry Ainley playing the lead. When Bernard Shaw and Granville
Barker went into management at the Court Theatre, Harry and I met Shaw
one day, and Harry asked how the season “had gone”. “Well,” said Bernard
Shaw, “I’ve lost £7000, and Barker’s lost his other shirt.”


MRS. KENDAL.—She came to a reception the other day at Sir Ernest and
Lady Wilde’s, to which I had taken my little daughter, Jill. “Look,
Jill,” I said, as she entered the room, “that is Mrs. Kendal.” She
looked, and her comment is valuable, as showing the impression which
“The Old General” made on the “new recruit”: “How perfectly beautiful
she looks.” I lunched with her, not long ago, at her house in Portland
Place, and I remarked how charming her maids looked. She nodded. “When
anyone is coming to see me, I always say to my servants, ‘A clean cap, a
clean apron, look as nice as you can; it is a compliment we owe to the
visitors who honour this house’.” We sat talking of many things, and
Mrs. Kendal said reflectively: “Think of all the things we have missed,
people like you and me, through leading—er—shall we say, ‘well-conducted
lives’! And, make no mistake, we _have_ missed them!” What an unexpected
comment on life from Mrs. Kendal! and yet, I suppose, true enough. I
suppose, as “Eliza” says, one “can be too safe”, and perhaps it might
be, at all events, an experience to “be in danger for once”.


ELLA SHIELDS.—I met her again in Canada. She had come from the States,
where, in common with many other artists who are assured successes in
England, she had not had the kindest reception. Canada, on the other
hand, delighted in her work, and gave her a wonderful ovation wherever
she went. One day we went out walking together, and she gave me the best
lesson in “walking” I have ever had. I have never seen anyone who moved
so well, so easily, and so gracefully. I told her that I wished I could
walk with her every day, to really learn “how she did it”.


ARTHUR BOURCHIER.—When both Harry and I were playing in _Pilkerton’s
Peerage_, Arthur Bourchier suddenly made a rule that no one was to leave
their dressing-room until called by the call-boy, immediately before
their entrance on to the stage. One night the call-boy forgot, and Harry
was not called, as he should have been. Bourchier came off, and there
was a bad “wait”. He turned to me and whispered, in an agonised voice,
“Go on and say _something_”, which I declined to do. At that moment
Harry rushed on to the stage, and, as he tore past Bourchier, very, very
angry at missing his “cue”, shook his fist in Bourchier’s face, saying
fiercely “Damn you!” After his scene he came off, still very angry, and
went up to Bourchier. The storm burst. “There you are!” Harry said; “you
see the result of your damned, idiotic rules——”, and much more in the
same strain. Bourchier, in a soothing voice, said: “It’s all right, it’s
all right, Harry—_I’ve sacked the call-boy!_”


THE GERMAN PRODUCTION OF “OLD HEIDELBERG.”—Before George Alexander
produced this play, it was done at the old Novelty Theatre by a German
company, under the direction of Herr Andresson and Herr Berhens.
Alexander asked me to go and see it, with Mrs. Alexander, which we did.
I have rarely seen such a badly “dressed” play. The one real attempt to
show the “glory” of the reigning house of “Sachsen-Karlsburg” was to
make the footmen wear red plush breeches. The “State apartments” were
tastefully furnished in the very best period of “Tottenham Court Road”
mid-Victorian furniture. After the performance was over, Herr Berhens
came to see us in the box. I did not know quite what to say about the
production, so I murmured something rather vague about the “back cloth
looking very fine.” Herr Berhens bowed. “So it should do,” he said, “the
production cost £25!”


RUDGE HARDING.—He is a “bird enthusiast”, and will sit and watch them
all day long, and half the night too, if they didn’t get tired and go to
roost. Rudge Harding was coming to stay with us at “Apple Porch”—our
house in the country, near Maidenhead. Harry met him at the station,
saying breathlessly, “Thank God you’ve come! We have a _bottle-throated
windjar_ in the garden; I was so afraid it might get away before you saw
it!” Harding said he had never heard of the bird (neither, for that
matter, had anyone else, for Harry had evolved it on his way to the
station). Needless to say, on arriving at “Apple Porch”, the
“bottle-throated windjar” could not be located, but Harry had
“recollected” many quaint and curious habits of the bird. He possessed a
large three-volume edition of a book on birds—without an index—and for
three days Rudge Harding searched that book for the valuable additional
information on the bird which Harry swore it must contain. He might have
gone on looking for the rest of his visit, if Harry had not tired of the
game and told him the awful truth!


MORLEY HORDER.—He is now a very, very successful architect, and is, I
believe, doing much of the planning for the re-building of North London.
He designed “Apple Porch” for us, and when it was in process of being
built we drove over one day with him to see it. We had then a very early
type of car, a Clement Talbot, with a tonneau which was really built to
hold two, but on this occasion held three—and very uncomfortable it
was—Morley Horder, Phillip Cunningham, and I. Horder, a very quiet,
rather retiring man, with dark eyes and very straight black hair, said
not a word the whole journey. Cunningham chatted away, full of vitality
and good humour. When we finally reached “Apple Porch”, Cunningham got
out and turned to Morley Horder. “Now then,” he said, “jump out,
_Chatterbox_!”


ERIC LEWIS.—There is no need to speak of his work, for everyone knows
it, and appreciates the finish and thought which it conveys. He played
“Montague Jordon” in _Eliza_ for us, for a long time, and has been the
“only Monty” who ever really fulfilled the author’s idea. Others have
been funny, clever, amusing, eccentric, and even rather pathetic; Eric
Lewis was all that, and much more. He is, and always has been, one of
the kindest of friends, as time has made him one of the oldest.


FRED GROVE.—Another of the “ideals” of the evergreen play, _Eliza_. He
has played “Uncle Alexander” a thousand times and more, each time with
the same care and attention to detail. He has evolved a “bit of
business” with a piece of string, which he places carefully on the stage
before the curtain goes up; never a week has passed, when he has been
playing the part, but some careful person has picked up that piece of
string and taken it away, under the impression that they were making the
stage “tidy”. What a wonderful memory Fred Grove has, too! Ask him for
any information about stage matters—any date, any cast—and the facts are
at his finger-tips at once. He has made a very large collection of books
on the stage, and among them a copy of the poems written by Adah Isaacs
Menken, the “first female Mazeppa”, who married the famous Benicia Boy,
a great prize-fighter of his day. The poems were considered so beautiful
that some of them were attributed to Swinburne, who declared he had
nothing to do with them beyond giving them his deep admiration. Fred
Grove is one of the people who never forget my birthday; Sydney Paxton
is another.


CLEMENCE DANE.—My sister Ada knew her first, and it was at her
suggestion that I went down to see “Diana Courtis” (the name she used
for the stage) play at Hastings. We were about to produce _Sandy and His
Eliza_, the title of which was changed later to _Eliza Comes to Stay_. I
decided she was exactly the type I wanted to play “Vera Lawrence”, the
actress, and engaged her at once. It was not until she began to write
that she changed her name from “Diana Courtis” to “Clemence Dane”. I
remember we were doing a flying matinée, to Southend, and I took Jill,
then a very tiny girl, with me. All the way there she sat on “Diana
Courtis’s” knee and listened to wonderful stories, Kipling’s _Just So
Stories_. When they came to an end, Jill drew a deep breath and said,
“What wouldn’t I give to be able to tell stories like that!” “Yes,”
responded the teller of the stories, “and what wouldn’t I give to be
able to write them!” She designed and drew our poster, which we still
use, for _Eliza_—Cupid standing outside the green-door, waiting to
enter. I have a wonderful book, which “Clemence Dane” made for me; all
the characters in _Eliza_, everyone mentioned, whether they appear or
not, are drawn as she imagined them. To be naturally as versatile as
this—actress, artist, and writer—seems to me a dangerous gift from the
gods, and one which needs strength of character to resist the temptation
to do many things “too easily” and accomplish nothing great. Clemence
Dane has three books, and what I shall always regard as a great poem in
blank verse, to prove that she has resisted the temptation.



                               CHAPTER IX
                             PERSONALITIES

          “You are surprised that I know such nice people?”
                                          —_Fools of Nature._


The Pageantry of Great People! If I could only make that pageant live
for you as it does for me! I know it is impossible; it needs greater
skill than mine to make the men and women live on paper. It is only
possible for me to recall some small incident which seems typical of the
individual. In itself, that may be a poor way of drawing mental
pictures; but it is the only way I can attempt with the smallest hope of
success. Great people, whether great in art, wit, or greatness of heart,
demand great skill to depict them, so, having excused myself for my
inevitable shortcomings, I will set to work. If I fail utterly, I ask
you to remember it is due to lack of skill, and not lack of
appreciation. If I seem to recall these “big” people chiefly through
incidents that seem humorous, it is because I like to remember the
things which have made me, and others with me, laugh. If the stories do
not appear very laughable, then you must make allowances again, and
believe that they “were funny at the time”, perhaps because when they
happened I was young. We all were young, and the world was a place where
we laughed easily—because we were happy.


SIR HERBERT TREE.—I begin my Pageant with Herbert Tree because he was a
great figure; he stood for a very definite “something”. You might like
or dislike him, but you had to admit he was a personality. He certainly
posed, he undoubtedly postured; but how much was natural and how much
assumed, I should not like to attempt to decide. There was something
wonderfully childlike about him; he would suddenly propound most
extraordinary ideas in the middle of a rehearsal—ideas which we knew,
and for all I know Tree knew too, were utterly impossible. I remember
during the rehearsals of _Carnac Sahib_, when we were rehearsing the
scene in the Nabob’s palace, Tree suddenly struck an attitude in the
middle of the stage and called for Wigley (who, by the way, he always
addressed as “Wiggerley”), who was “on the list” as either stage manager
or assistant stage manager, but whose real work was to listen to Tree
and to prompt him when necessary—which was very often. Tree called
“Wiggerley”, and “Wiggerley” duly came. “I’ve got an idea,” said Tree.
“Wiggerley” expressed delight and pleasure, and waited expectant. “Those
windows” (pointing to the open windows of the “palace”); “we’ll have a
pair of large, flopping vultures fly in through those windows. Good, I
think; very good.” The faithful “Wiggerley” agreed that the idea was
brilliant, and stated that “it should be seen to at once”. Tree was
perfectly satisfied. The vultures never appeared, and I have not the
slightest belief that “Wiggerley” ever looked for any, or indeed ever
had the smallest intention of doing so.

Tree was very fond of Harry, and used often to ask him to go back to
supper, after the theatre, when Tree lived in Sloane Street. One evening
he asked him to “come back to supper”, and Harry, for some reason,
wanted to come straight home; probably he had a very nice supper of his
own waiting. Tree persisted. “Oh, come back with me; there’s stewed
mutton; you know you like stewed mutton”, and finally Harry gave way.
They drove to Sloane Street, and walked into the dining-room. There was
on the table a large lace cloth, and—a bunch of violets! That was all.
Tree went up to the table, lifted the violets and smelt them, an
expression of heavenly rapture, as of one who hears the songs of angels,
on his face. He held them out to Harry (who smelt them), saying “Aren’t
they wonderful?”, then, taking his hand and leading him to the door, he
added “_Good_-night, good-night.” Harry found himself in the street,
Tree presumably having gone back either to eat or smell the violets in
lieu of supper.

When he produced _Much Ado_, playing “Benedick”, he introduced a scene
between “Dogberry” and “Verges”, and also some extraordinary business
when Sir Herbert sat under a tree and had oranges dropped on him from
above. Harry and I went to the first night, and he resented each
“introduction” more fiercely than the last. He sank lower and lower in
his stall, plunged in gloom, and praying that Tree would not send for
him at the end of the play and ask “what he thought of it all”. However,
Tree _did_, and we found ourselves in the “Royal Room”, which was packed
with people, Tree holding a reception. I begged Harry to be tactful, and
Harry had made up his mind not to give Tree the opportunity of speaking
to him at all, if it could be avoided. Tree saw him and came towards us;
Harry backed away round the room, Tree following. Round they went, until
Harry was caught in the corner by the stair. Tree put the fateful
question, “What do you think of it?” By this time Harry’s “tact” had
taken wings, and he answered frankly, if rather harshly, “Perfectly
dreadful!” I fancy Tree must have thought the world had fallen round
him; he couldn’t believe he was “hearing right”. He persisted, “But my
scene under the tree?” Back came Harry’s answer, “Awful!” “And the scene
between Dogberry and Verges?” Again, “Perfectly appalling!” Tree stared
at him, then there was a long pause. At last Tree spoke: “Yes, perhaps
you’re right.”

Here is a picture of Tree at a dress rehearsal of, I think, _Nero_.
Tree, attired in a flowing gold robe, moving about the stage, with what
was apparently a crown of dahlias on his head. The crown was rather too
big, and, in the excitement of some discussion about a “lighting
effect”, it had slipped down over one eye, giving Tree a dissipated
appearance, not altogether in keeping with his regal character. Lady
Tree (I don’t think she was “Lady” Tree then) called from the stall:
“Herbert, may I say one word?” Tree turned and struck an “Aubrey
Beardsley” attitude; with great dignity he replied, “_No_, you may not”,
and turned again to his discussion.

A wonderful mixture of innocence and guile, of affectations and genuine
kindness, of ignorance and knowledge, of limitations and possibilities,
that was Herbert Tree as I read him. But a great artist, a great
producer, and a very great figure.


WILLIAM TERRISS.—“Breezy Bill Terriss”, the hero of the Adelphi dramas.
Handsome, lovable, with a tremendous breadth of style in his acting that
we see too seldom in these days of “restraint”. His “Henry VIII.” to
Irving’s “Wolsey” was a magnificent piece of acting. There is a story
told of him, when Irving was rehearsing a play in which there was a
duel—_The Corsican Brothers_, I think. At the dress rehearsal (“with
lights” to represent the moon, which lit the fight), Irving called to
“the man in the moon”: “Keep it on me, on me!” Terriss dropped his
sword: “Let the moon shine on me a little,” he begged; “Nature is at
least impartial.” Everyone knows of his tragic death, and his funeral
was a proof of the affection in which he was held—it was practically a
“Royal” funeral. When, a few months ago, Marie Lloyd was buried, the
crowds, the marks of affection, the very real and very deep regret shown
everywhere, reminded me of another funeral—that of “Breezy Bill
Terriss”.


MARIE LOFTUS.—One of the names which recall the time when there were
still “giants” on the music hall stage. I don’t mean to imply that
Variety does not still possess great artists, but there seems to be no
longer that “personal” feeling, the affection, admiration—I might almost
say adoration—which was given to the “giants”; and Marie Loftus was “of
them”. I saw her years ago at the Tivoli, when she came on with a “baby”
in her arms, playing a “comic-melodrama”. I remember she “threw snow
over herself”, and finally committed suicide by allowing a small toy
train to run over her. Perhaps it does not sound amusing, perhaps we
have all grown too sophisticated; if so, we are losing something—and
something very well worth keeping. The Second time I saw Marie Loftus
was at the Chelsea Palace, about two years ago. I saw her do a “Man and
Woman” act, one half of her dressed as a woman, the other half as a man.
These “two” people fought together—it was a masterpiece. I shall never
forget the unstinted praise which it called forth from Harry, who was
with me. I saw her not long ago, not on the stage; she was then looking
forward to an operation on her eyes, which she hoped would make it
possible for her to “work” again. Whether she does so or not, I shall
always look back on those two evenings—one at the Tivoli, the other many
years later at Chelsea—as occasions when I saw a very brilliant artist
at work.


SIR HENRY IRVING.—I saw him first when I stayed with Florrie Toole, when
I first went on the stage, and Irving came to see her father. I do not
remember anything he said or anything he did, but I do remember the
impression which the appearance of the two men (and, after all, it was
more truly an indication of their character than it is of most people)
made upon me. Toole, short and eminently cheerful—you could not imagine
him anything but what he was, a natural comedian, with all a comedian’s
tricks of speech; and Irving, tall, thin, with something of the monastic
appearance, which stood him in such good stead in “Becket”, dignified,
and to all but his friends rather aloof. And the one attracted the other
so that they were unchangeable friends. I have heard that Irving could
be very bitter, very cruelly sarcastic: I know he could be the most
truly courteous gentleman who ever stepped, and I will give an instance
which was one of the finest illustrations of “fine manners” that I ever
witnessed. A most wonderful luncheon was given at the Savoy to Mr. Joe
Knight, a critic, on his retirement. The whole of the theatrical
profession was there, and Irving was in the chair. Harry and I were
present. He was rather unhappy at the time, because he had been “pilled”
for the Garrick Club; he felt it very much—much more then than he would
have done a few years later. He was quite young then, and took it rather
to heart. After the lunch we went up to speak to Sir Henry, who, as he
shook hands with Harry, said in a tone half humorous, half sardonic, and
wholly kindly, “I understand you have been honoured by the Garrick Club
as I have been”; adding, still more kindly, “only to me it happened
twice.” If anything could have salved the smart in Harry’s mind it was
to know he shared the treatment which had been given to Sir Henry
Irving; that is why I cite this incident as an example of real courtesy.


H. B. IRVING.—Often so detached that his very detachment was mistaken
for rudeness or unkindness; with mannerisms which, to those who did not
know him, almost blotted out the very genuine goodness of heart which
lay underneath them. Yet again with a queer lack of knowledge of “who
people were” and what went on around him, as the following story will
show. This was told me by a man who knew him well and witnessed the
incident. “Harry” Irving was playing _Waterloo_ on the variety stage,
and on the same “bill”, on this particular week, were George Chirgwin
(the White-Eyed Kaffir) and Marie Lloyd. One evening there was a knock
at the door of Irving’s dressing-room, and a dresser told him “Miss
Lloyd would like to speak to you in her dressing-room, please, sir!” “H.
B.” turned to James Lindsay, who was in the room, and asked blandly,
“Who is Miss Lloyd, Jimmy? Ought I to answer the summons? I don’t know
her, do I?” Jimmy explained that Miss Lloyd was certainly accustomed to
people coming when she sent for them, and that “anyway she was
distinctly a lady to meet, if the opportunity arose”. Irving went, and
was away for over half an hour; when he returned he sat down and said
earnestly, “You were quite right. She _is_ distinctly a lady to know.
Most amusing. I must meet her again. Her humour is worth hearing,
perhaps a little—er—but still most amusing.” “But why did she want you
at all?” Jimmy asked. “Ah!” said Irving, “that is the really amusing
thing! She didn’t want me! She really wanted a man called _George
Chirgwin_, who is apparently a friend of hers. The dresser mixed the
names, poor fool.” The sequel is from Marie Lloyd herself. Someone asked
her about the incident. “I remember,” she said, “I remember it quite
well. I sent for Chirgwin, to have a chat, and in walks this other
fellow. I didn’t know who he was, and he didn’t say who he was; and I’m
certain he didn’t know me. He sat down and chatted; at least, I chatted;
he seemed quite happy, so I went on, and presently he wandered out
again. He seemed a nice, quiet fellow.” Try and read under all that the
simplicity of two great artists, and you will realise that it is not
only an amusing incident, but a light on the character of both.


LAWRENCE IRVING.—_I think_—no, I am sure—that he would, had he lived,
have been a very great actor; his performance in _Typhoon_ was one of
the finest things I have ever seen. He was a man full of enthusiasms. I
can remember him talking to Harry of Tolstoi, for whom he had a great
admiration, and being full of excitement about his work. Once he was at
our house, and Harry and he were arguing about some writer as if the
fate of the whole world depended upon the decision they came to. Harry
offered Lawrence a cigar, and had at once poured upon his head a torrent
of reasoned invective against “smoking” in general and cigars in
particular. It was “a disgusting and filthy habit”, men who smoked were
“turning themselves into chimneys”, and so on. The next morning Harry
was going by the Underground to town, and on the opposite platform saw
Lawrence Irving _smoking_ a perfectly enormous cigar. Harry, delighted,
called out, “What about ‘filthy habits’ and ‘chimney pots’ now!” in
great glee. Lawrence took the cigar from his lips and looked at it
seriously, as if he wondered how it got there at all. _Then_ he climbed
down from the platform, over the rails to the other side, where Harry
stood, simply to give him an explanation, which, he said, he “felt was
due”. He was smoking “to see how it tasted”!

[Illustration:

  _Photograph by Bassano, London, W._ To face p. 124

  HARRY AS LORD LEADENHALL

  “The Rocket”
]


W. S. GILBERT.—He was Jill’s God-father, and I have a photograph of him,
which he signed “To Eva, the mother of my (God) child.” And that was
typical of Gilbert; he could make jokes from early morning to set of
sun—and did. Once, many years ago, when Decima was playing at the Savoy,
I had hurt my knee, and for some reason she told Gilbert. I think it was
because she wanted to be excused a rehearsal so that she might come back
to be with me “when the doctor came”. Gilbert insisted that I should be
taken to his own doctor, Walton Hood, and that at once. So, without
waiting for my own doctor to arrive, off we went to Walton Hood. He
looked at my knee, tugged at it, something clicked, and he said “Walk
home”, which I did, putting my foot to the ground for the first time for
a month. I am sure it is due to W. S. Gilbert that I am not now a
cripple.


SIR CHARLES HAWTREY.—Once upon a time (which is the very best way of
beginning a story) Charles Hawtrey owed Harry some money—a question of
royalties, as far as I remember. Harry was “hard up”—in those days we
were all often “hard up”, and didn’t mind owning it, though I don’t
suppose we really liked it any better then than we do now—so away went
“H. V.” to see Charles Hawtrey at the Haymarket. He was shown into his
room, and the question was discussed. Mr. Hawtrey decided that “of
course you must have it at once”. He took Harry into an adjoining
office, where upon a table were numbers of piles of money, all with a
small label on the top of the pile, each label bearing a name. Hawtrey’s
hand hovered above the piles of money, and alighted on one. “You shall
have this one,” he said, and prepared to hand it over to Harry, when a
voice called from an inner office, “You can’t take that one, sir; that
belongs to So-and-so.” Again the actor-manager’s hand went wandering
over the table, and he had just announced “You shall have this one”,
when the same voice called out the same warning. This went on for
several minutes, until at last Hawtrey turned to Harry. “They all seem
to belong to _somebody_,” he said; “but never mind, I’ll go out now and
_borrow it for you_!” This story might be called “A New Way to Pay Old
Debts.”


ANTHONY HOPE.—I might call him Sir Anthony Hope Hawkins, but I knew him
first (and shall always think of him) as Anthony Hope. I have met a good
many brilliant authors, but very few who were as brilliant “out of their
books” as in them. Anthony Hope is the exception. He used to give the
most delightful supper parties at his flat in Savoy Mansions, supper
parties where everyone seemed to shine with the brilliance inspired by
their host. He—well, he talked as he wrote—polished, clever witticisms.
Speaking of him reminds me of a holiday Harry and I spent at
Hazleborough one summer, years ago. We were staying at a bungalow there,
and soon after we arrived a note was delivered to Harry. It was from
“The Mayor of Hazleborough”, and stated that he had heard of the arrival
of the “well-known dramatist, Mr. H. V. Esmond”, and begged that the
said “Mr. H. V. Esmond” would open the local bazaar, which was to be
held in a few days’ time. I thought Harry ought to say “Yes”; Harry was
equally certain that he should say “No”, and added that he had brought
no suitable clothes with him. A note was finally dispatched to the Royal
Castle Hotel, from which “the Mayor” had written, to say that “Mr.
Esmond regretted, etc.” Later we were sitting in the garden. I was still
maintaining that it had been a mistake to refuse, and Harry equally
certain that he had done the best thing in refusing, when three heads
appeared over the fence and three voices chanted in unison, “Ever been
had?”—Anthony Hope, May and Ben Webster, who had sent the letter, and
were indeed, combined, “The Mayor of Hazleborough”.


MRS. PATRICK CAMPBELL.—Harry knew her much better than I did. They had
been at the same theatre for a long time, in different plays, and he
admired her tremendously. He used to say that one of the most beautiful
pictures he had ever seen was one evening when he went home to her flat,
somewhere in Victoria, with her husband, Patrick Campbell. It was very
late, and she had gone to bed, but she got up and came into the
dining-room in her nightdress. She curled herself up in a large
armchair, wrapped a skin rug round her, and, with her hair falling loose
on her shoulders, Harry said she was one of the most lovely things he
had ever seen in his life. He even railed at Kipling, after this
incident, for daring to describe any woman as “a rag, and a bone, and a
hank of hair”. The meeting with Mrs. Campbell that I remember was this:
A matinée was to be given, Royalty was to be present, and I was asked to
approach Mrs. Campbell if she would consent to appear. She was then
playing, I think, at the Haymarket. I went, and Harry went with me. We
were shown into her dressing-room. For some reason, which neither he nor
I could ever quite fathom, she did not wish to remember who he was. She
repeated his name in a vague, rather bored voice: “Mr. Esmond? Esmond?”;
then, as if struck with a sudden thought, “You write plays, don’t you?”
Harry, entering into the spirit of it all, said very modestly that he
“tried to do so”. More inspiration seemed to come to her: “Of
course—_yes_! _Sisters_—you have had an enormous success with _Sisters_
in America, haven’t you?” (I should say here that he never wrote a play
called _Sisters_ in his life.) He smiled and agreed: “Tremendous!” “It
is _so_ interesting to meet clever people—who write successful plays,”
she added. The conversation went on along these lines for some time.
When we left, she said “Good-bye” to me, and turned to Harry with
“Good-night, Mr.—er—Esmond.” An extraordinary incident, possibly an
extraordinary woman, but a very great actress.


MARIE LLOYD.—I can give two “flashlights” of Marie Lloyd. One, when I
saw her at the Tivoli, when she wore a striped satin bathing-costume,
and carried a most diminutive towel; the other, when I saw her at the
Palladium, and spent one of the most enjoyable thirty minutes of my
life. Was she vulgar? I suppose so; but it was a “clean” vulgarity,
which left no nasty taste behind it; it was a happy, healthy vulgarity,
and when it was over you came home and remembered the artistry which was
the essential quality of all she said and did. I met her at a charity
concert I arranged at the Alhambra during the war; I know she came all
the way from Sheffield to appear. We had an auction sale of butter,
eggs, pheasants, and so forth. Poor Laurie de Freece was the auctioneer,
and he was suffering from a very bad throat; his voice was dreadfully
hoarse. He stuck bravely to his work, and when he got to the pheasants
Marie Lloyd could bear it no longer. She put her head round the side of
the “back cloth” and said, “Five pounds, me—Marie Lloyd. I can’t bear to
hear you going on with that voice; it’s awful.” When Harry died, she
said to a woman who knew both Marie Lloyd and me, “I did think of
sending her a wire, and then I thought of writing a letter (Marie Lloyd,
who never wrote letters if she could avoid doing so!), then somehow—I
didn’t do either. Will you just say to Eva Moore that you’ve seen me,
and say, ‘Marie’s very sorry’?” Already she is becoming almost a
legendary figure; men and women will tell stories of Marie Lloyd long
after the songs she sang are forgotten. Personally, to me she will
always rank as one of the world’s great artists, and I like to remember
that, when I was given the sympathy of so many loving men and women,
Marie Lloyd too was “very sorry”.



                               CHAPTER X
                           STORIES I REMEMBER

  “When you know as much of life as I do, you will see a jest in
  everything.”—_Bad Hats._


“Tell me a story”—that was what we used to ask, wasn’t it? And when the
story was told it was of knights, and lovely ladies, and giants who were
defeated in their wickedness by the prince, and the story ended—as all
good stories should end—“and they lived happy ever after”.

As we grew older we still wanted stories, but, because we found life
lacked a good deal of the laughter we had expected to find, we wanted
stories to make us laugh. I am going to try and tell you “true stories
that will make you laugh”. If they are new, so much the better; but if
they are old—well, are you too old yourself to laugh again?


Frank Curzon objected, and very rightly, to ladies wearing large hats at
matinées. He objected so strongly that everyone heard of the fight to
the death between Frank Curzon and the matinée hat, “The Lady and the
Law Case”. One day, at a meeting of West End managers, when arrangements
were being made for some big matinée, Frank Curzon proposed something
which Herbert Tree opposed. There was some argument on the matter, and
at last Tree launched his final bolt: “My friend, Frank Curzon,” he
said, “is evidently talking through his matinée hat.”


George Edwardes had a servant who stuttered very badly. He had been with
Edwardes, “man and boy”, for many years, and at last attended his
master’s funeral. He was telling the glories of the ceremony to someone,
and said: “It was a l-l-lovely funeral! S-s-some b-boy sang a s-s-solo;
he s-ang it b-b-beautifully; I expected any m-m-minute to see the
G-guvenor sit up and say, ‘G-give him a c-c-contract!’”


George Edwardes was once interviewing a lady for the chorus at the
Gaiety; he asked her, “Do you run straight?” “Yes, Mr. Edwardes,” was
the reply, “but not very far, or very fast.”


He once gave a supper party at the old Waldorf Hotel, which at that time
was literally overrun with mice. G. P. Huntly was present, and, among
others, Mr. Blackman, one of George Edwardes’s managers. All dined
well—and many not wisely. Presently G. P. Huntly saw a mouse on the
curtain, and the dreadful fear assailed him that perhaps “it wasn’t
really a mouse—not a real mouse, anyway”. He turned to Mr. Blackman and
said, “Did you see that?” “See what?” asked the other. Huntly pointed to
the curtain. “That mouse on the curtain.” By that time the mouse had
moved, and Blackman replied in the negative. In a minute Huntly asked
the same question again: “See that mouse?” Blackman (who by this time
had seen it), to “rag” him, said “No.” Poor Huntly turned very white,
rose from his seat, and said, “Ah!—Good-night!” and went home.


Alfred Lester and Mr. W. H. Berry—at one time, at least—did not “get
on”. One morning Lester was going to interview Edwardes about something,
and Edwardes, knowing about this “rift in the theatrical lute”, warned
Blackman before Lester came, “Now, on no account mention Berry! Let’s
have a nice, quiet, pleasant interview; keep Berry out of it,” and so
on. When Alfred Lester came into the room, Edwardes stretched out his
hand and said cordially, “Well, _Berry_, how are you, my boy? Sit down.”


When we were married, W. S. Gilbert gave us a silver tea-set, and later
a day came when we pooled our worldly wealth and found we had eighteen
shillings in the whole world—and Gilbert’s tea-set. We debated as to
whether the tea-set should find a temporary home with “uncle”, but
decided to wait as long as we could before taking this step. Harry heard
that a tour was going out from the Gaiety, and thought he would try for
the “Arthur Roberts” part on tour. (Could anything have been more
absurd!) He learnt a song, and set out, calling at the Websters’ flat to
practise the song again. He arrived at the Gaiety, full of hope and—the
song; was told to begin, opened his mouth, and found he had forgotten
every note; and so—Arthur Roberts lost a rival, and he came home. Soon
afterwards George Alexander gave him a contract, and Gilbert’s tea-set
was saved!


A well-known producer of sketches and revues, who is noted more for his
energy than his education, was once rehearsing a company in which a
number of young men, chiefly from the Whitechapel High Street, were
enacting the parts of aristocrats at a garden party. One of them
advanced to a young woman to “greet her”, which he did like this:
Raising his hat, he exclaimed: “’Ello, H’Ethel!” A voice came from the
stalls—the producer: “Good Lord! _That_ isn’t the way that a h’earl
talks. Let me show you.” He rushed up on to the stage and advanced to
the young lady, raising his hat and holding his arm at an angle of 45
degrees. “Ello! H’Ethel!” he began; “what are you a-doin’ ’ere?”; then
turning to the actor, he said, “There you are! that’s the way to do it!”


H. B. Irving was manager at the Savoy Theatre during the air raids. One
evening, when the news of an air raid came through, he went to warn his
leading lady. He walked straight into her dressing-room, and found the
lady absolutely—well, she had reached the _final_ stage of undressing.
Irving, quite absent-minded as usual, never even saw _how_ she was
dressed. “Take cover!” he said, and walked out again.


During the war I sat on many Committees—we all did, for that matter.
This particular one was concerned with arranging work for women, work
which needed “pushing through” quickly, and the secretary was reading
the suggested scheme. It read something as follows: “It is suggested
that the women shall work in shifts, etc., etc.” A well-known Peeress,
who was in the chair, leant forward. “Quite good,” she said, “quite
good, but I should like some other word substituted for ‘shifts’; it
really sounds—not _quite_ nice, I think.”


Another Committee—this time for providing work for women who had been
connected either with art, music, or the drama—all of which, I may say,
became elastic terms. It was a large Committee—much too large—and it
consisted of many very well-known and charitably inclined ladies. There
were—but no, I had better not give you names! The secretary was
reporting on the case of a woman who had just been admitted to the
workrooms—an elderly, self-respecting, very good-looking woman, who had
years before played—and played, I believe, very admirably—in “sketches”,
but in the days when £3 was considered a very good salary. The report
finished, the secretary waited for comments. From the end of the table
came a voice—a very full, rich, deep voice—which belonged to a lady
swathed in sables, and wearing pearls which would have kept a dozen
women in comfort for a year.

“And you say this lady has been working for many years?” The secretary
replied that she had—many years.

“And she was receiving a salary all the time?” The secretary again
explained that “in those days salaries were very small”.

“And now she wants work in our workrooms?”. A pause, the speaker pulled
her sables round her, the pearls rattled with her righteous indignation.
“_Another_ improvident actress!” she said, in the tone of one who has
plumbed the enormity of human depravity to its very depths.


During the war I used sometimes to go to a munition factory and, during
the dinner-hour, to entertain the “boys and girls”. Such nice “boys and
girls”, too, who apparently liked me as much as I liked them. I heard a
story there about their “works motto”, which struck me as rather
amusing. The owner of the works chose it—“Play for the side”—and had it
put up in the canteen. When the workers were assembled for dinner, he
took the opportunity to say a few words on the subject of the motto.
“Play for the side,” he began, when a voice from the back of the canteen
was heard: “That’s all right, Guv’nor, but _whose_ side—ours or yours?”


Here is a story of Martin Harvey. He was playing _The Breed of the
Treshams_ in the provinces, and had in the company an actor who played a
very small part, and who loved to talk in what is known as “rhyming
slang”. It is a stupid kind of slang which designates “whisky” as “gay
and frisky”, “gloves” as “turtle doves”. Martin Harvey was going on to
the stage one evening, and met this actor rushing back to his
dressing-room. Knowing that he should have been on the stage when the
curtain went up, Harvey asked “Where are you going?” “It’s all right,”
replied the man, “I’m just going back to my dressing-room for a second;
I’ve forgotten my turtle doves.” “Well, be quick about it,” Harvey told
him; “and please remember in future I don’t like you to keep birds in
the dressing-rooms!”


After the war, a well-known “play-going” society gave a dinner to a
representative section of the legitimate and variety stages who had done
work for the soldiers in the war. Mr. George Robey was to respond for
Variety. I sat opposite to him, with Mr. Harry Tate on my left, and
almost opposite me, quite close to George Robey, sat Marie Lloyd. She
was wonderfully dressed, with a marvellous ermine cloak; and it was
quite evident, from the moment she arrived (which was very late), that
she was in a very bad temper. (As a matter of fact, I heard later that
she was upset at the death of an old friend, Mr. Dick Burge.) Mr. Robey
got up to “respond for Variety”, and really I must admit that his speech
was very much on the lines of “_I_ have been very glad—er—er—that is,
_we_ have been very glad”, and so on. I watched Marie Lloyd’s face; it
got more and more “black” as his speech went on. When he finished, she
rose and said in that attractive, rather hoarse voice—which was at that
moment a remarkably cross voice too—“I’m Marie Lloyd; I’ve done my bit
for the “boys”; I haven’t had _my_ photo in the papers for years; and
what I want to know is—touching this speech we have just listened
to—_what’s Marie Lloyd_ and poor old _Ellen Terry_ done?” She leant
across to Harry Tate, said “Come on, Harry”, and walked from the room.
Everyone gasped. It was all over in a few seconds, but it left its mark
on the dinner.


When Brookfield took a company to America he lost a good deal of money
over the venture. On his return he walked into the Green Room Club, and
met Grossmith (“Old G. G.”), and began to tell him of his losses. “Can’t
understand it,” said G. G., “you people take thousands of pounds of
scenery, trainloads of artists, spend money like water, and come back
and say ‘It hasn’t paid!’ Look at me: I take nothing to America with me
but a dress suit, come back having made ten thousand pounds!” “Very
likely,” said Brookfield; “remember everyone doesn’t look as damned
funny in a dress suit as you do!”


Lionel Monckton was in the Green Room Club one evening, having supper.
Mr. Thomas Weiglin, a well-developed gentleman, walked in, faultlessly
attired in full evening dress; everyone applauded his entrance. Mr.
Monckton looked up, and said in a voice of protest, “I have been coming
to the club in evening dress for forty years, and no one has ever done
that to me.”


Winifred Emery told me this. She and Cyril Maude were on their
honeymoon. She was lying in bed, wearing a most engaging nightdress, and
she thought that she was looking very nice. He stood at the end of the
bed, watching her, and presently walked to her, took a small piece of
the nightdress in his fingers, saying as he did so, “Don’t you think it
would be better if it was made of _stronger calico_?”


Herbert Tree met Fred Terry in the Garrick Club one day, and said to
him: “My new production—er—what do you think about my having your
beautiful daughter, Phyllis, to play the leading lady’s part?”

Fred Terry said he thought it would be very admirable for all concerned,
and that he approved entirely.

“What handsome remuneration should I have to offer her?” Tree asked. Mr.
Terry named a sum, which he thought “about right”.

“What;” said Tree; “_what!_” Then came a long pause, and at last Tree
said in a dreamy voice, “Do you know I can get Marie Lloyd for that?”


I was once playing a sketch at a hall in the provinces, where the
population apparently come to the performance so that they may read
their evening papers to the accompaniment of music. At the end of the
week, the manager asked me how “I liked the audience”, and I told him.
“You’re quite right,” he replied, “but I’ve got a turn coming next week
that they _will_ appreciate, that they _will_ understand.” I asked what
the turn was. “Roscoe’s Performing _Pigs_,” he told me.


A certain actor tells a story about himself when he first went on the
stage. He had just sold out of the Army, and felt he was rather
conferring a favour upon Henry Irving by joining his company at the
Lyceum. They were rehearsing _Coriolanus_, and someone was wanted to
“walk on” as a messenger. Irving looked round, and his eye lit upon our
friend, who was wearing—as smart young men did in those days—a large
white fluffy tie. “Here you, young man in the white tie,” he said. The
product of the Army took not the slightest notice. “Here you,” Irving
repeated; “come here, I want you.” Our friend, with offended dignity on
every line of his face, advanced and asked, “Did you want _me_?” “Yes,”
said Irving, “I did.” “Then,” said the budding Thespian, “_my_ name is
Gordon!” “Oh, is it?” Irving said, affably. “Mine is Irving; how are
you?” Then, changing his tone, “Now I want you to come on here,
carrying,” etc., etc.


When Barrie’s _Twelve Pound Look_ was at the Coliseum, two “comedy
sketch artists” were in the stalls. The play went very well—very well
indeed. One of the comedians turned to the other: “Who wrote this?”
“Fellow called ‘Barrie’,” was the reply. “Ah!” said the first, “he
writes our next; he’s good!”


While rehearsing a scene in a film production, the producer described to
the two artistes the Eastern atmosphere he wanted—the warmth, the
amorous love conveyed in the love scenes. He read the scene, with all
the usual Eastern language, such as “Rose of Persia”, “O, Light of My
Desire”, “Look at me with your lovely eyes”, and other such remarks
which might convey the “kind of acting” which he was trying to get. The
actor listened to what the producer said in silence, then remarked
cheerfully, “Yes, yes, I know—‘Shrimps for Tea’.”


Decima’s son was very young when the war broke out. He was a “Snotty” at
Dartmouth, and saw a great deal of active service. After the Battle of
Jutland he wrote home to us a short description of the fight, saying
briefly that he had seen this or that ship sunk, adding: “And now to
turn to something really serious; I owe my laundry thirty shillings, and
until the bill is paid the blighter refuses to let me have my shirts.
Could you loan me a couple of quid?”


When _Flames of Passion_, the film in which I appeared, was showing at
the Oxford, a woman I knew went to see it, and was sitting in the
gallery. Next to her was a flower-woman—one of the real old type,
complete with shawl and small sailor hat. After a time they began to
talk to each other. This is the conversation as it was reported to me
later:

“It’s a good picture, dearie, ain’t it?” asked the “flower-girl”. “Very
good.”

“I think Eva Moore’s good, don’t you?” “Very good.”

“She’s lorst ’er ’usband lately, pore thing; very ’ard for ’er. Though,
mind yer, it’s a pleasant change, in one way: most of these ’ere
actresses only _mislay_ theirs.”


Which reminds me of another story. Some time after Harry died, a man I
knew slightly called to see me. He came in, and began to say how grieved
he was to hear of Harry’s death, and how much he sympathised with me in
my loss. This went on for some time, then he said: “But the real thing I
came to ask was—do you know of a good ‘jobbing’ gardener?”


An author once engaged an actor for a part, simply on account of his
very ugly face and his exceeding bad complexion. At the dress rehearsal
the author met the actor at the side of the stage, “made up”. “Who are
you?” he asked. The actor gave his name. “Go and wash all the make-up
off at once,” said the author; “I only engaged you for your ugly face.”


At Henley Regatta, years ago, Jack (about six years old, very fair and
attractive) was watching the races from a balcony over Hobbs’ boathouse,
which belonged to kind friends of ours, Mr. and Mrs. Pidgeon, who yearly
invited us to see the wonderful view. After watching several races, Jack
turned to our hostess and said, “Please, does the steamer never win?”

It was from their balcony, too, that I saw Mr. Graham White, when he
flew right down the racecourse in his aeroplane, dipping and touching
the water like a swallow, to the alarm of the crowds in their boats on
either side of the course—a never-to-be-forgotten sight.

[Illustration:

  _Photograph by Alfred Ellis, London, W._ To face p. 142

  HARRY AS MAJOR-GENERAL SIR R. CHICHELE

  “The Princess and the Butterfly”
]



                               CHAPTER XI
                            ROUND AND ABOUT

  “We’ve been to a good many places in the last few months, but we’ve
  had a very pleasant time.”

                                                    —_Grierson’s Way._


When we first went out to America together, Harry and I, in 1914, it was
my first visit, though not his; he had been over before to produce
several of his own plays. We took with us _The Dear Fool_, which was
played in this country in 1914, and _Eliza Comes to Stay_. Personally, I
did not enjoy the visit very much; and, to be quite candid, it was not
the success we could have wished. The critics were not too kind, and,
though American theatrical criticism may have changed since then, I
found their articles such an extraordinary mixture of journalese, slang,
and poker terms as to be almost unintelligible—at all events to my
British intelligence. These articles may have been very amusing; perhaps
if I could have read them “on this side”, I might have found them so,
but in New York I admit the kind of writing—of which I give an example
here—merely irritated me, as I imagine it must have irritated many other
English artists: “After the first act there was a universal call for the
water-boy, yet we all stayed; nobody raised the ante, so we all
cheerfully drew cards for the second act. Alas, when it was too late, we
discovered it was a bum deck. I don’t believe there was anything higher
than a seven spot.” That may be very clever. I can almost believe it is
very witty; but I still hold that it is not “criticism”.

I give one more example, and also the comment of another American
newspaper upon the extract from the first journal. The extract concerns
_The Dear Fool_, and is as follows:—“A pretty severe strain on one’s
critical hospitality. Betty at best a cackling marionette made of
sawdust. It is but a meaningless jumble of stock phrases and stock
situations. Anything more feeble it would be hard to imagine. The ‘Dear
Fool’ is one of the worst.” Now mark the pæan of thanksgiving which this
criticism calls forth from another New York journal:—“Not only is this
(referring to the extract given above) an accurate and intelligent
account of last night’s play—healthy fearlessness which rarely gets into
the New York criticisms. Let us have more of this honest and
straightforward writing about the current drama.”

That is only the worst—may I say “the worst”, not only from “our” point
of view, but also from the point of view of “criticism”—which I still
maintain it was not, in any sense of the word. Some weeks ago I read a
very admirable series of essays by Mr. Agate, and in writing of critics
he says (and he is one of them) that every critic should be a “Jim
Hawkins”, looking for treasure. Too often, I can believe, it is a weary
search; but surely in every play there is something which calls for
approbation, and which may point to possibilities in the author’s work.
To find that streak of gold, to incite the author to follow it, and to
perhaps point out in what manner he may best do so, coupled with a fair
review of his play as a whole, giving faults as they appear and merits
where they can be found—that seems to me the justification of criticism.

Another critic wrote with perhaps a less racy pen, but with more
understanding:—“There was a literary quality in the writing and a
neatness in the construction which were inviting, and there was a
mellowness to the story of its middle-aged lovers which had real appeal.
Over it all was the unmistakable atmosphere of English life. All these
qualities and the fact that the play was extremely well acted, counted
strongly in its favour.”

Alan Dale, the critic who was regarded as _the critic_ of America, under
whose pen actors and managers quaked in their shoes, wrote:—“It has the
gentle, reluctant English atmosphere of other plays by this
actor-author, and it is interesting by reason of its lines and its
characterisation. After all the ‘shockers’ of to-day, with their red and
lurid types, after the insensate struggle for garish effects and
horrors, this play gives us a whiff of repose; it is unstagy, its
characters are real human beings who talk like human beings; if they
haven’t anything startling to say from the theatrical point of view,
they are at least human.”

What a good thing it is we don’t all see things through one pair of
glasses!

But I am wandering from my story of the visit to America. I look back on
it all now, and remember the series of untoward events and mishaps which
occurred before our journey began. The week before we left England, a
cable came from “C. F.” (Charles Frohman) to say that he had altered the
theatre which was to be the scene of our production. Our theatre had
been let to a big film company, and we were to be sent to the Garrick. A
wretched little place it was, too; as the stage manager there said
frankly: “Only fit for a garage.” As a matter of fact, I believe it now
is one. Even before we left Liverpool a wave of depression came over me,
when our ship met with an accident as she was leaving port. The sun—a
wintry, pale sun—was sinking as we began to move, towed out of the
river. The order to release was, I suppose, given too soon; on board we
felt nothing—the only sign that anything was wrong was that we saw
everyone on the landing-stage running for dear life, like frightened
rabbits. Then we realised that our big ship was crashing into the
landing-stage, crushing like matchwood a big dredger which was lying
alongside, and also the iron gangway. All we felt on board was a slight
shiver which seemed to run through the ship. We were delayed seven hours
while the screws were examined. I am not a superstitious mortal, but the
feeling that all this was a bad omen clung to me—and, be it said, proved
true.

On board we were a happy party; many of the company had been with us
before, and so were old friends. Jack and Jill (who was nearing her
fifth birthday) loved their first experience of travelling a long
distance; the Esmond family were out to enjoy the trip—and succeeded.
The entrance to New York harbour filled me with interest. I still
remember and wonder at those eight or nine tiny tugs, veritable
cockle-shells they looked, which “nosed” our huge liner into dock. I
remember, too, the ghastly business of the Customs! I am not a good
sailor, and the moment I stood on solid earth again it seemed to heave
up and down, and continued to do so for several days. The hours which we
spent, waiting for our baggage to be examined, were absolute torture to
me. Socially, we had a perfect time, kindness and hospitality were shown
to us in every possible way; but our poor _Eliza_ was abused up hill and
down dale.

The first night was the most horrible I can remember. The theatre was
boiling hot, and the hot-water pipes continually went off like great
guns. I was as cold as ice. After playing _Eliza_ everywhere in England
to the accompaniment of roars of laughter, the coldness of the reception
at the Garrick in New York was hard to bear.

For some reason, it was said that _Eliza_ was copied from a play then in
New York—_Peg o’ My Heart_—and which was an enormous success. It was
stated, with almost unnecessary frankness, that for us to have presented
_Eliza_ in New York was an impertinence. Naturally there was not a word
of truth in the statement; as a matter of fact, _Eliza_ had been written
some years before _Peg_, and there had been a suggestion (which had not
materialised) that it should have been produced in America soon after it
was written. We made no reply to these unjust and utterly untrue
statements and suggestions; it would have been useless; but I am glad
now to take this opportunity of referring to them. _Eliza_ had been the
cause of trouble before: it is a long story, but one which I think is
worth recording here, and at this particular point.

When we produced _Eliza_ at the Criterion, Miss Mabel Hackney came to
see it, bringing with her Miss Simmons, the authoress of a play called
_Clothes and The Woman_. This play had been sent to me to read some time
before, and, having been very busy, I had not done so at once. Miss
Simmons wrote to me, asking if I would return it, to which I replied
that I should be glad to keep it for a little longer, so that I might
read it. In all, I suppose the play was in my house for three months. At
the end of that time the MS. was returned to Miss Simmons, with a letter
in which I stated that I liked the play very much, “up to a point”, but
that at the moment I was not producing anything. I read dozens of plays
in the course of a year, and, having returned it, dismissed the matter
from my mind. _Eliza_, as I have said, was produced, and a performance
witnessed by Miss Simmons, who at once, without approaching Harry or
myself, sent a letter to the Authors’ Society, demanding that they
should apply for the immediate withdrawal of Harry’s play, on the
grounds that it was plagiarism of her comedy, _Clothes and The Woman_.
Harry, on receipt of the letter from the Authors’ Society, at once
communicated with Miss Dickens, that efficient lady who has typed so
many of his plays. Miss Dickens was able to prove conclusively to the
Authors’ Society that _Eliza Comes to Stay_ had been typed by her at
least two and a half years before _Clothes and The Woman_ had been sent
to me by Miss Simmons. The Society was satisfied, and laid the facts
before Miss Simmons, who, I regret to say, did not feel it necessary to
offer an apology to Harry for the injustice she had done him.

To use an old joke, which I find the critics are still willing to use
whenever _Eliza_ is performed, “she” did _not_ come to stay in New York,
and we put on _The Dear Fool_. This play was as warmly praised as
_Eliza_ had been slated, and we both scored a great personal success. We
later renamed the play, as Harry discovered that the title, _The Dear
Fool_, means in America a kind of “silly ass”, which was not at all what
he intended to convey. In consequence, he called it _The Dangerous Age_,
and under that title it was produced in London.

I am reminded here of a story which Harry told me once when he came home
after a trip to America. He had been to see Maud Adams and William
Feversham playing _Romeo and Juliet_. Miss Adams, so he was told,
believed that the love between Romeo and Juliet was strictly platonic,
and would therefore have no bed in the famous bedroom scene. The two
lovers were discovered, as the curtain rose, seated on a sofa reading a
book of poems. Harry, in telling me of the play, said he was certain
that the book was _Dr. Chavasse’s Advice to a Wife_, a book which is
well known in this country to all families—at least those of the last
generation.

Our visit to America ended, and we went for three weeks to Canada before
returning home to begin our own season at the Vaudeville Theatre in
London.

Our next visit to Canada was in 1920, when we took with us _Eliza_—be it
said, “by special request”—and _The Law Divine_. To tell one half of the
kindness we received at the hands of the Canadian people would fill a
huge book alone, and I must content myself with saying that it was
nothing short of “wonderful”—quite, quite wonderful. Everywhere we went,
people were anxious to do everything possible to make our visit
pleasant, and how well they succeeded!

The Trans-Canada Company, with which we went, had formed a splendid
idea, and one which I hope will meet with the success it deserves; this
is, to bring from London, British plays with British players, and to
visit, as far as is possible, every town in Canada, so that the people
of Canada may be in touch with the Mother Country in her ideas and
ideals, and so cement the affection between the two countries which has
been so splendidly aroused by the Great War. We were delighted to be
pioneers, or one of the sections of the pioneers, of the scheme; but in
the smaller towns we found that the inhabitants had so long been
accustomed to American farces (and “bedroom” farces at that) or the
lightest of musical comedies, that an English comedy, spoken by English
people with English voices, was almost Greek to them. As someone said to
me one day, “Your accent is so difficult to understand”, and one could
see that was true, for in the opening scene of _The Law Divine_, which
should be played quickly, we had to decrease the pace to let the
audiences get used to our voices. This only applied to the smaller
places; in the larger towns the audiences loved the plays; the English
home setting, the sailor and the Tommy, in _The Law Divine_, won all
hearts, and the simplicity and directness of the acting astonished those
of the audiences who had never seen a London production.

On arriving at Quebec, we were rushed off by a night train to Montreal,
in order that we might be present at a big luncheon party, given by Lord
and Lady Shaughnessy, to welcome us to Canada. There we met many people
who became our warm friends, Sir Frederick and Lady Taylor, Mrs.
Drummond (who is so well known in the amateur dramatic world), Mrs.
Henry Joseph—to mention only a few of the friends we made in Canada.

That week we started our tour at Halifax (Nova Scotia), and visited 48
towns in four months, travelling right through Canada to Victoria, B.C.
It was all tremendously interesting, and the hospitality we received was
boundless—luncheons, dinners, suppers, given both by private friends and
numerous clubs, such as the Canadian Women’s Club, The Daughters of the
Empire, the Men’s Canadian Club, the Rotary, the Kyannias, and the
various dramatic clubs.

At Toronto we were asked to speak in the new theatre at Hart Hall, the
beautiful college that has been built on the lines of an Oxford College,
and given by Deane Massey, Esq. This was the first time that a woman had
been asked to speak there, and I believe some little anxiety was felt as
to “what I should say”, but my subject was a safe one. I dealt with
“Women’s Work during the War, and the Work for Her to do in the Future”.
Harry, on this occasion, spoke of “The Drama”. It was an effort—a very
real effort—as he hated and was really frightened of public speaking. On
such occasions he usually recited, and used to make a tremendous effect
with that great poem, _The Defence of Lucknow_. When I say “a tremendous
effect”, I do not mean only from a dramatic point of view, but from the
point of view that it was “Empire work”.

I remember at Edmonton, Alberta—the city that is built farthest north of
Canada—we were invited to lunch at the big college. There in the big
hall we met the students, and sat down with some four hundred men of all
ages from 18 to 40—students who, I was interested to learn, were all
learning Spanish as well as German in their course. In the middle of the
hall hung a huge Union Jack, and under it Harry stood reciting _The
Defence of Lucknow_ to four hundred spellbound men and boys. I shall
never forget the rousing cheers which went up from those who had
listened to him when he ceased speaking. Professor Carr was the head of
the College, and both he and his wife were charming to us. There we met
Mr. Evans, who has done so much for the city. He and his wife gave a
hockey match for us and the members of our company, which resulted in
Harry “coming down” very hard on his gold cigarette case and squashing
it quite flat.

At Winnipeg—“The Golden Gate to the West”, I believe it is called—we met
more delightful people, among them the Hon. “Bob” Rogers, as he is
called. At the Barracks, where “Princess Pat.’s Own” were quartered, I
met many men who had been friends of Decima’s in France during the war.
It was here that I saw what, up to that time, I had only read of—a real
dog-sledge. It was a bitter day, with a howling wind off the prairies,
and at least 29 degrees below zero. Suddenly I saw dashing up the main
street nine dogs, dragging what looked to me like a small boat.
Forgetting the biting wind, I stopped to watch. “The boat” stopped, and
all the dogs lay down instantly in the snow, all looking as if they were
grinning, and wagging their tails with vigour. Then a man got out of
“the boat”, and lifted out a dog with a strap attached to it; this he
harnessed to the rest of the team, stopping only to cuff one of the
resting dogs, which had taken the opportunity to eat some snow. The man
got back into the sledge, and they were off again at full tilt. I loved
the sight, so strange and picturesque—so strange to English eyes, and
yet enacted for me by some unknown man, who was yet “part and parcel” of
the Empire, even as I was.

I never got over my feeling of depression when I looked at the prairies.
Perhaps I saw them at a bad time, covered with snow—endless flat snow,
which seemed limitless, seemed to stretch away to infinity. The only
time I ever saw any beauty which brought joy in them, was one day when
we had to leave Moose Jaw. We had a long journey to our next town, and
left at three in the morning. I remember that through the night some of
the company played bridge, the ever-cheerful Florrie Lumley, of course,
being one of the players. I went to bed, to snatch what sleep I could
after two performances. The morning was the most amazing sunrise I have
ever seen; the sky full of rich mauves and pinks, melting into blues and
yellows, over the vast expanse of flat ground, is something which I
could never hope to describe. I only know that I felt more than repaid
for my early rising by the joy, the wonderful colour, the beauty, and
the happiness which that sunrise gave to me.

Again I seem to see Calgary, with its crowd of men of all nationalities;
here a cowboy in full kit, with rattlesnake stirrups; there an Indian,
incongruous with his hair in plaits and yet wearing European clothes,
his squaw with him; a Japanese; even an Indian wearing a turban—all
making a wonderful picture of East and West. And then, in the midst of
all this cosmopolitan crowd, the huge hotel with all the most modern
comforts—for all the C.P.R. Hotels are wonderful. It was from the roof
garden of this hotel at Calgary that I had my first sight of the
Rockies—and, oh! the joy of the Rockies. To me all those days of long
journeys, the fatigues, the distress were nothing, were forgotten, in
the joy of the sight of the mountains, the delight of feeling that one
was actually “in” such beauty, and that the joy of looking at them would
go on for days.

We stayed to play at two little towns in the mountains. Kamloops, one of
them, made us laugh—as, indeed, did many of our experiences. Fortunately
our company was a happy one, all being ready to make light of
difficulties. On this occasion we had to dress for the performance under
most uncomfortable conditions, for the theatre at Kamloops is just a
“frame” or wood hall. Rooms—of sorts—are provided for the artists; for
instance, Harry’s room was built on the ground, no floor boarding, just
bare earth—and the temperature at 40 degrees below zero; no heating was
provided except in one room. The lighting, too, left much to be desired;
we all had about two very tiny electric lights to dress by, and, just
before the curtain went up, a knock came to the door, and the request
was made for “the electric-light globes, as they were wanted for the
footlights”. When we did ring up, the seven or eight globes which were
to assist the public to see us clearly were all backed by yellow
posters, on which was printed “Cyril Maude as ‘Grumpy’”. If we had not
all laughed so immoderately, I think the sight, facing us all through
our performance, might have made us “Grumpy”.

At Vancouver we were very gay. Our visit was all too short, and
accordingly many different societies joined forces, and by this means we
succeeded in meeting as many people as possible in the short time we
were able to spend in the city. I think I have never felt more nervous
in my life than I did at the luncheon given to us by the Canadian Men’s
Club at the vast Vancouver Hotel, the largest hotel I have ever seen.
About five hundred men were present, and I was the only woman. My
entrance was almost a royal one; I was led by the President of the Club
down a big flight of stairs into the hall; all the men rose to their
feet and gave us a tremendous reception; I found myself, half tearfully,
saying, “Oh, thank you, thank you so much.” It was a wonderful feeling,
to be so far away from home, and yet to find such a lovely welcome from
people who were not only glad to see you, but told you so. Miss M.
Stewart, the daughter of Mrs. and General Stewart, who did such great
work in France, laughingly constituted herself my chauffeuse, and drove
me everywhere. I look forward to seeing Vancouver again one day.

At Medicine Hat we played only one night, and, as I was walking down the
main street, a frail little woman came up to me and asked, “Are you Eva
Moore?” When I answered her, she said “I’m your cousin.” She had come
countless miles from her prairie farm, which she ran with her son, to
see me play. I had never seen her before; had not known, even, that I
had a cousin in that part of the world!

It was at Revelstoke, again in the Rockies—a place that had once been
very flourishing, but owing to vast forest fires had almost ceased to be
a working town—that I had an amusing experience. At every theatre _God
Save the King_ had always been played at the end of each performance.
Here, to my astonishment, not a note was played. I asked the reason, and
was told that the gentleman who played the piano—the only instrument in
the orchestra—was a German. I was furious, and, knowing that the
following week the famous “Dumbells” were coming with their latest
revue, _Biff Bang_, I wrote to the Major who was their manager, telling
him what had happened, and asking him to see that the matter was put
right. I knew I was safe in making the request, as the “Dumbells”, who
had won all hearts on their tour through Canada, were all ex-Service
men, all men who had served in the trenches. I also wrote to the
Canadian Women’s Club, who had presented me with a bouquet, and to the
manager of the theatre. All this had to be done very quickly, as we were
only a few hours in the place. I never heard anything in reply until, by
good fortune, the week we said “Good-bye” to Canada the “Dumbells” came
to Montreal and I went to see them play, and after the performance went
round to speak to the actors. It was then that their manager told me
that, on receiving my letter, which was awaiting him, he had at once
sent round to the stage to tell “the boys” that _God Save the King_
would be sung twice before the play started and twice after the
performance. He said, “Of course, the boys thought I was mad, but they
did as I asked.” He went on to tell me that after the performance he
went on to the stage and read them my letter, which was greeted with
cheers. The next morning he went out and met the chief townsman, the
butcher, who remarked how disgraceful it was that, though we called
ourselves British, we had not had the Anthem played at the end of our
performance. The Major again produced my letter and read it to him,
asking that he would make its contents known in the town, which he
promised to do. I hope he did, for it impressed me very much everywhere
to see the staff of the theatres standing, hat in hand, while the Anthem
was played, and I should hate any Canadian to think that we were less
loyal than they.

Going west through the Rockies, we missed seeing the first part, as the
train went through that section at night; but coming back, by staying
one night at a town, we were able to do the whole of the journey by
day—and this Harry and I determined to do. During the night more snow
had fallen, and we woke to a spotless, glistening world of white; the
eighteen inches of snow which had fallen during the night, on the top of
what had already fallen during the long winter, made the country look
beautiful. As we sledged to the wee station, right in the midst of vast
white mountains, under a sky of sapphire blue, the ground seemed to be
set with millions of diamonds. I shall never forget that day; it gave me
the most wonderful joy. Later I sat on a chair outside the observation
car, drinking in the beauty, until my feet became so cold that the pain
was real agony, and I could bear it no longer. I went inside to thaw
them on the hot-water pipes, sitting even then with my face glued to the
window, so that nothing of the beauty might escape me. I did this all
day. Harry did at last persuade me to lunch, but the moment it was over
I went back to my chair. Later, as the sun went down, a huge moon, like
a harvest moon, rose with its cold, clear light, picking out fresh
peaks, showing up snow-covered mountains in a new light. I refused to
move, and Harry had to dine alone, while I froze outwardly, but inwardly
was all glowing with excitement at the beauty and joy of what I saw. Now
I can close my eyes and think that I see it all again: the canvas tents
where the men working on the C.P.R. live; the pathetic, lonely little
graves; the Indians; the squaws on the frozen rivers, sitting by holes
in the ice, fishing; then Kicking Horse Valley, the climb from Field,
that marvellous engineering feat when the train goes twice through the
mountain in a figure-eight to enable it to mount the height. You lose
all sense of direction as you go up and up, for one moment you see the
moon on one side of the train, a moment later you see her on the other.
I am not sure that this part of the journey is not the best, and yet I
don’t know; it is hard to say.

The Great Divide! All my life I had read and heard of it, and now at
last I saw it. We got out at Banff and sledged to the hotel, where we
stayed the night; next morning we wandered about until it was time to
get the train. Perhaps we had seen too much beauty, seen too many
wonders, and had become capricious, but I found Banff disappointing; the
ice-run and the ice-castle seemed poor and out of place in their vast
surroundings. The last stage of our journey was through the Park, where
we saw herds of buffaloes, peacefully browsing in the snow, and an elk,
too. We saw also the “Three Sisters” Canmore, and bade adieu to the snow
mountains. I hope it’s only adieu. I have books of photographs which
were taken there; one photograph is of the inveterate “punster”, Fred
Grove, who was in Canada at the time, with Sir John Martin Harvey’s
Company. He had it taken standing under a poster of _Eliza_, in which he
had played “Uncle Alexander” so many times. On the back of it he wrote
“Fred Grove at Regina—how he wishes he could re-jine ’er.”

Another picture illustrates what was a curious coincidence. Harry and I
were taken standing under a poster of _The Law Divine_. There had been a
heavy snowstorm, and the whole of the poster was obliterated except the
two letters, “D ... V”. Soon after, Harry was taken ill at Saskatoon
with pneumonia. I had to go on with the company, and play every evening
a comedy! knowing that any moment might bring me the news I dreaded.
But, “D.V.”—and I say it with all reverence—Harry pulled through, and
joined us in time to return to England.

He was an amazing patient. Left there alone, very, very ill, his
wonderful sense of humour never failed him. I remember one evening a
wire came through for me, from Harry. It was a quotation over which we
had often laughed, written by the late Poet Laureate, Alfred Austin, at
the time when King Edward lay ill with appendicitis. It ran:

              “Across the wires the hurried message came—
                He is no better, he is much the same.”

With us in the company was Nigel Bruce, who regards a Test Match as one
of the really important things of life, and who would, I believe,
infinitely rather “play for England” in one of the Test Matches than be
Prime Minister. One evening Harry wired to me:

“England lost both Test Matches. Get Willie (Nigel Bruce) oxygen.”

Both these wires were sent when he was very, very ill, when the majority
of us would have been too much concerned over the probability of leaving
the world to wish in the least to be amusing. I have, too, a packet of
letters which he wrote to me. Written in pencil, and often the writing
indicating great physical weakness, but still the fun is there in every
one of them. Here are some extracts from his letters at that time:

“Holy Pigs, I am getting so fed up with this business.... Mrs. —— sent a
note that if I wanted some cheery society would I ring her up, and the
doctor would let her see me. I shall tell her my back is too sore!
Cheerio to everybody. There’s a lot of fun to be got out of life.”

“... This goes to Toronto. I shall not do much there, I’m afraid.
However, it might have been worse (his illness), and it’s given me a
nice pair of mutton-chop whiskers anyhow. There is a wonderful monotony
about these white walls, day in, day out; one needs the patience of Job
not to throw the soap-dish at the Crucifix sometimes.... I daresay I may
write a fairy play, and, as Jowett says in one of his letters to Mrs.
Asquith, ‘the pursuit of literature requires boundless leisure’.... I
don’t think I am a very good patient; there are moments when I seethe
with impotent rage against everything and everybody, which is all very
foolish; so I have a cup of orange-water, and try and keep my nails
clean.... Play all the bridge you can, that you may be the expert at our
week-end parties, and support the family at the gaming-table.”

The following is written when he was very ill, for he writes at the
bottom, as a kind of postscript, “This took ages to write.” In this
letter he enclosed a small tract, which I gave to “Florrie Lumley”, as
he suggests. This is the letter:

“Another night and day wiped off—they all count. Love to everybody.
Nobody is allowed to see me yet, but, to-day being Sunday, a nice old
man pushed the latest news of Jesus through a crack in the door while he
thought I was asleep. Perhaps it will do that worldly Florrie Lumley a
bit of good.”

In another letter he says: “There is a devil in the next room that has
done nothing but groan at the top of his voice all day; if I could get
at him with a hat-pin, I’d give him something to groan for.”

The following must have been the first letter he wrote after the worst
time was over, for he begins: “No more death-struggles, my dear. But I
am still on my back, and it takes two of the nurses to move me. I can
see telegraph poles out of the corner of my eye, if I squint; and the
dawn rolls up each morning. People are very kind, and my room is full of
daffodils—they remind me of little children playing. Bless you!”

So the tour which began so brightly, with us both speaking at huge
meetings of the Empire League, with us both enjoying the wonderful new
scenes, the trip through the Rockies (for which alone it would have been
worth visiting Canada), with us both laughing at the discomforts of the
theatres and some of the queer little hotels at which we had to stay,
ended with Harry just able to join us before we sailed. Still, he did
sail back to England with us.

I was full of thanksgiving, not only for his recovery, but for the care
and love that Dr. Lynch, who had had charge of his case, had given him.
It was his care that had pulled Harry out of danger; both he and Mrs.
Lynch had been so wonderful to him, and treated him as though he were an
old friend and not as a chance visitor to their town; no one could have
done more than they had done for Harry. Curiously enough, I found out
later that Dr. Walker, who had been called in to give a second opinion
on Harry’s case, had lived, during the war, close to “Apple Porch”, our
house at Maidenhead. He had been at Lady Astor’s, and had attended the
Canadian soldiers who were so badly gassed.

I am reminded of so many holidays and small travels we took together—to
the sea, to Switzerland, to Ireland, Scotland: holidays which stand out
as lovely pictures, as days which were crowded with laughter and
sunshine. Were there days when the rain poured down, and the skies were
not blue?... I have forgotten them.

I remember one holiday in Scotland, when every evening we used to play
bridge, the minister—who, as he expressed it, “just loved a game o’
cairds”—joining us. One Saturday evening he came, and declined to play
because the next day was the “Sawbath”, and he did not think it right.
He explained this at some length, and then turned to me with a smile:
“I’ll just sit by your side, Mrs. Esmond,” he said, “and advise ye.”
During that same visit we had with us two dogs—one a real Scotch
terrier, the other—just a dog. As a matter of fact, he was the famous
“Australian Linger” to which Harry was so devoted, and which has been
mentioned elsewhere. One Sunday we all set out for the Kirk, to hear our
“minister” friend preach, first locking both dogs in a shed near the
hotel. We arrived at the Kirk—Ada (my sister, who has always been with
Harry and myself in our joys, helping us in our troubles and often with
heavy work, just a tower of strength and understanding); Charles
Maitland Hallard, in the full glory of the kilt; and Harry and I. During
the service we heard a noise at the door, and one of the party went to
investigate. There were our two dogs, guarded by the minister’s own
Aberdeen, lying with their three noses pressed against the crack of the
door, waiting for the service to end. The Aberdeen, with a proper
knowledge of what is right and proper during divine service, had
evidently prevented our two dogs from entering. We found, on returning
to the hotel, that they had gnawed a large hole in the door of the shed
in which they had been locked, thus making their escape. It was on that
particular Sunday that poor Charles Hallard had his knees so badly
bitten by a horse-fly—or, from their appearance, a host of
horse-flies—that the kilt could not be worn again during the holiday.

As I write this, my boxes are still standing waiting to be unpacked, for
I have just returned from Berlin, where I have spent the past ten weeks.
Berlin! What a city! Wonderful, wonderful trees everywhere; a city which
one feels is almost too big, too vast! The enormous buildings, the
colossal statues, it seems a city built not for men and women but for
giants. Gradually you realise that the wide streets, sometimes with four
avenues of trees, have a definite purpose; that the city was so planned
that the air might reach all who lived within its boundaries. The
Tiergarten, which is a joy to behold, until you reach the Sesarsalle,
which ruins the beauty with its endless and often ugly statues. Houses,
big and beautifully kept, with real lace curtains, spotlessly clean, in
almost every window; the whole city planted out with a wealth of
flowers, roses by the million, cactus plants, lilac and syringa. Every
spare piece of ground planted and laid out to perfection. When I came
back to England, and on my way home passed Buckingham Palace, I was
struck with the beds laid out there. The three or four hundred geraniums
seemed so poor and inadequate after the streets of Berlin! I wondered
why some of the money spent on street decoration could not have been
paid in “reparation”; for the Germans it would mean fewer flowers, less
beauty in their streets, but something towards the payment of their just
debts.

Numberless theatres, some very beautiful, others glaringly hideous both
in design and colouring. All places of amusement—theatres, picture
palaces, concerts, and dance-rooms—are literally packed out at every
performance. The interest in music is wonderful, no matter if the
performance is operetta, opera, or concert; it is an amazing sight to
see the audience surge up to the platform at the end of a performance
and storm it, offering applause and congratulation to the artist or
artists. After Act 1 at the theatre, the audience rise as one man, and
pour out into the vestibule, where they walk round and round, eating
heartily of dark-brown bread sandwiches, drinking beer or wine which
they buy from the buffet. To one unaccustomed to the country, it is an
amusing sight and rather astonishing, but it is a wise practice, as most
entertainments begin as early as 7 p.m., and the latest hour for a
performance to begin is 7.30.

I, personally, saw no lack of anything. The hotels are full, not only
with people who are staying in them, but with casual visitors who come
in for 5 o’clock tea; this begins at 3, and continues until about 8
o’clock. The dining-rooms are never closed, and meals seem to go on all
day long. “Men with corrugated backs to their necks”, as Sir Philip
Gibbs so aptly describes them, sit for hours partaking of sugar cakes,
ices, and liquors.

Only once during my stay did I see the slightest hint of poverty, and
that was where some wooden houses had been built outside the city during
the war for poor people with families. Here the children were of the
real gypsy type, played round us as we worked (for I was playing in a
film), rolling and tumbling in the sand.

I was taken over The Schloss by a soldier who had served under
Hindenburg, and done much fighting in the infantry and later as a
gunner. He described vividly to me the Riots, when the Palace was
stormed by the sailors, who took possession and lived a life of riotous
enjoyment there for a short time, dancing each evening on the wonderful
floor of the ballroom where so many crowned heads had gathered in other
days. The sailors were finally turned out after forty-eight hours’ heavy
fighting. The man who was my guide told me that the rioters managed
their firing badly, as they fired from both sides of the Palace, thus
wounding many of their own men. He told me also that many soldiers held
the belief that the riots had been permitted by the authorities in order
to draw attention from the Staff, as the feeling at the time against the
Army was so strong. I can only give this as his own opinion, and cannot
vouch for its correctness.

One drenching day I visited Potsdam, which seemed to me a perfectly
hideous place, both inside and out, so ornate that it hurt. The
much-vaunted Mussel Hall, a large room entirely covered with shells,
seemed to me ghastly and a place in which no one could bear to remain
for long. The one perfect room was the Kabinet, delightful in
colour-scheme and construction. The Theatre, a small, beautifully
designed place with a delightful stage, seats about four hundred people,
and it was here that the Kaiser witnessed the performance of his own
works.

On an April day in June, with sunshine, heavy rain, and lovely clouds, I
took a long motor drive down the famous track, which is twenty miles
long, with fir trees on either side, past a great lake and many big
houses with perfectly kept gardens, to Sans Souci. Perfect, with its
lovely Kolonade in a semi-circle, and the Palace which looks down and up
a grassy slope to a ruin on the summit, surrounded by trees. The ruin is
an artificial one, copied from one in Rome, but the effect is quite
charming. I saw the narrow Gallerie, the cedar-and-gold writing-room,
which is round in formation, its door concealed by a bookcase, where
Fredrick Rex used to sit and write, looking out on to a pergola which is
French in design. The reception-room with its perfect green walls and
rose-covered furniture—each room seemed more delightful than the last.
Lovelier still, the garden, with its six wonderful terraces leading down
to the large pond filled with goldfish, many of which are so old that
they have become quite white; in the centre of the pond a fountain,
which when playing throws a jet as high as the flagstaff, six terraces
up. The whole place gave me a feeling of poetry and romance, quite
different to anything I had experienced in Berlin. I visited the church
where the two coffins of Fredrick the Great and Fredrick Rex lie side by
side, covered with flags. The church is a small but impressive building,
but spoilt by a huge Iron Cross on one wall, which is made of wood and
almost entirely covered with nails: a similar idea to the Hindenburg
statue (no longer to be seen) into which people knocked nails, paying
money to be allowed to do so.

My guide on this occasion was an ex-soldier who was decorated with the
Iron Cross. He told me many interesting facts. He had been in the Crown
Prince’s regiment—the King’s Hussars—first on the Western Front, and
later at Verdun. He told me that the Crown Prince never left
headquarters, nor led his regiment; that this was always done by General
Gneiseuan, who refused to allow his name to appear as having led the
troops, as he considered it an insult to the Prince. He said that at
Verdun in 1917 no less than 366 men were shot dead on the field for
refusing to advance.

I listened often to remarks made about the Kaiser by the men who had
been his subjects, and never once did I hear one word of pity for him,
one word of regret at his downfall. The fact that so many valuable
articles, plate, jewels, pictures, were sent by him to Holland is a
bitter pill to his people. So valuable were many of the articles that,
had he allowed them to be sold, the proceeds might have paid off a
considerable amount of the reparation debt. It seemed to me that any
love which his people once had for William Hohenzollern was dead.

My mind went back to the time when my own country mourned the loss of a
King, a King who had enjoyed as much lifetime as is given to many men,
and who was deposed only by that strongest of all monarchs—Death. I saw
the picture of the Great Hall at Westminster, with the crowds waiting to
pay their last tribute to King Edward VII. I remembered how I stood,
with many others, on the steps at the entrance, and, looking down into
the hall, saw a solid, slowly moving mass of people, the representatives
of a mourning nation. There in the centre stood the coffin, with the
signs of temporal power laid upon it, and at each corner a soldier with
bowed head, each representing one of Britain’s Colonies. Above the
coffin, showing in the pale light of the candles, was a canopy, a cloud
which floated over it. The breath of all the hundreds who had passed had
gathered and hung there: the very life of his people had gone to make a
canopy for the King. I thought how in the hall where the English people
had won so much of their liberty, Edward the Seventh had held a last
audience with his subjects; how he had lain there that everyone who
wished might find him, for the last time, waiting for his people. For
“the deposing of a rightful King” I had seen a nation mourn, mourning
with a personal sorrow; and here in Germany I listened to the men who
had been subjects of “The Peacock of the World”, and who for his
passing, his degradation, his loss, had not one word of pity or regret.

The German people? I left Germany wondering, and even hoping. The
breaking of the military party, the downfall of the house of
Hohenzollern, with its brood of decadent, idle, pleasure-loving princes
and the “Tinsel and Cardboard King” may mean ultimate salvation for the
German people. Not perhaps in my lifetime, but in the wonderful
“someday” when all the world will be wiser and happier than it is now. A
country where the very waiters can discuss music, literature, and
poetry; a country of beautiful towns, green trees, and great
manufactures; a country where, because of the heights to which one
realises it _might_ have climbed, its fall is all the greater and more
dreadful.

Not the least interesting feature of my visit has been the closer
contact with the director of the film, and his wife—Mr. Herbert Wilcox,
a short man with a great dignity and immense charm. He was one of the
gallant youngsters of 1914, who joined up as a Tommy and later did great
work in the Flying Corps. Through Mr. Wilcox I have had my first
intimate knowledge of film direction, and it has filled me with great
respect for that branch of the theatrical profession, which, because it
is still comparatively new, is less well-known and understood.



                              CHAPTER XII
                        A BUNDLE OF OLD LETTERS

              “Wait till you read the letter.”
                                  —_Eliza Comes to Stay._


To explain why I include this chapter at all, I want to give you the
scene as it happened in my study in Whiteheads Grove. I think that will
be a better explanation than if I were to tell you my ideas on letters
and letter-writing, however fully and completely I might do so.

It was one of those days when the desire to explore drawers and boxes,
the top shelves of cupboards, and brown paper parcels, comes over one;
that desire came over me, and I began. I did not get on very fast—one
never does—and the first obstacle was a parcel marked “Letters,
Private”. I untied the string, and began to read them; that was the end
of my exploring for the day, for as I read I went back to the times when
those letters were written and turned over in my mind the happenings
which had caused them ever to be written. I saw the writers, and heard
their voices. So the afternoon went past very quickly, for when ghosts
come to visit you they demand your whole attention, and will not be
dismissed quickly, will not be told, as one can tell ordinary people, “I
am so busy to-day, will you come and see me some other time?”; they
demand attention, and you find most of them too dear to deny it to them.

Besides, does anyone ever really lose their fondness for letters? I
write, I think, more than most people; sometimes I seem to spend my life
writing letters, but—I still look forward to “to-morrow morning’s post”,
and I think I always shall.

As I read these old letters, written to me and to Harry during the past
twenty years, I found myself laying aside first this one, and then that
one, because they seemed amusing, or very kind, or especially indicative
of the character of the writer. When the afternoon was over, my heap of
letters had grown, and I had determined to make them into a parcel again
and give them to whoever cared to read them as “A Bundle of Old
Letters”.

Listen to this one: I do not know why it was written, or when, except
that it is headed “February 1st”—but it takes me back to the days of
“The Gent., the Genius, and the Young Greek God”—the days when Harry
Esmond, Charles Hallard, and Gerald du Maurier went holiday-making
together:

  MY DEAR HARRY,

  Expressing one’s thoughts in any way is a form of conceit, surely,
  isn’t it? If you speak them, or write them, you expect others to
  listen—therefore you must consider what _you_ think of importance.
  Authors must all be of a conceit that is abnormal, and preachers,
  and—Good God—Poets!

  Some people would rather not listen to the commonplace thoughts of
  others—for these there should just be a “news sheet”, giving
  generally what is taking place, with no garnishings and comments and
  “what we think”, etc.—for silent men like “Tug” Wilson, engineers,
  scientists, and equilibrists. Nowadays (do you agree with me?) too
  much expression is given to “feelings”, and little feeble feelings
  at that. There is no loud roar of a lion, no sweet song of a
  nightingale, and no great hush either—it is all sparrows, and a
  banging door. Everything is “tuppence”. You never read: “Death of
  A——”; it is always “Tragic Death”, “Splendid Death”, “Comic Death”;
  why not “Death”?

  Love to you all.

                                                               GERALD.

Here is a letter dated “June 30th, 1898”; it is headed New York, and
begins:

  MY DEAR ESMOND,

  I accept your play. I suppose even a manager may give way to his
  feelings sometimes, and I am going to do it now. I cannot express to
  you sufficiently how much I like the play. If it meets with the same
  impressions on an audience as it has with me, we will both have a
  fine thing. However, independent of all that, in these times when a
  manager is compelled, regretfully, to refuse so many plays, it is a
  gratification to be able to say “I will accept and am glad of it”.

                                              Yours truly,
                                                      CHARLES FROHMAN.

That was a glimpse of the Charles Frohman (“C.F.”, as he was always
called), whom Harry knew and loved.


This is a letter that Harry must have written out as a rough draft, for
there are alterations and “cuts” in it. I cannot remember why or to whom
it was written, but I am sure he wrote it very seriously, and chuckled
over it after it was finished:

  “If authors in engaging artists for plays allowed themselves to be
  biassed by the private life of each artist, I fear many theatres
  would close and many deserving people would starve. If Miss Smith,
  Jones, or Robinson suits the requirements of a play, it is not my
  business, or the manager’s, to enquire whether or no she murdered
  her mother. Is she the right person for the play?—that’s all one can
  consider.” There the letter—or, rather, the draft—ends; I do not
  know who the lady was—but I hope she made a great success.

I wonder why I have this next letter? Someone sent it to me, I suppose,
with that great kindness some people show in “passing on” the really
nice things that are sometimes said of one. And why not? If only
everyone would forget the unkind things they hear, and only treasure and
repeat the kind ones—well, the world would be a happier place for
everyone. This letter is dated “May 19th, 1901”, so I feel I may be
allowed to quote from it without being accused of undue conceit, because
it is “so many years ago”:

  “You are right, and I think it is only fair to the ‘new lead’ to say
  so—Eva Moore is a revelation—and that delicious natural laugh, which
  is of all Nature’s inventions about the hardest to reproduce at
  will. I suspect that Alexander has discovered what we all want so
  much—the new ‘Madge Kendal’.” If there is one thing for which I have
  always striven, it is a natural laugh, and I like to think that I
  had attained it twenty-two years ago; I like to think I still retain
  it!

Here is a letter, in large, black writing, but such charming writing it
is! Full of vigour, full of humour too. I do not know when it was
written; the only date is “June 22”. It runs:

                       Let there be no mistake about this little matter.

                       We _do_ want to come, and we _are_ coming,
                       _To You_
                       on
                       Thursday, 1 July, 4 o’clock.
                       _Question_: Until ——?
                       _Answer_: We go away.

                                                            ELLEN TERRY.

That letter brings another memory with it. Perhaps it was the time when
she stayed “until she went away”, but I remember Ellen Terry in my
garden, going up to my mother, who was seated there, and saying, “How
are you, Mrs. Moore? My name is Ellen Terry.” The simplicity and beauty
of that Great Lady is something to remember always.

The next letter in my packet is very short, and its brevity and the fact
that it is “very much to the point” appeals to me. It was written after
seeing _The Law Divine_:

  MY DEAR HARRY ESMOND,

  Do you mind my saying your Play will live long after you—or I? That
  is the one thought I brought away with me.

                                      Yours with his Hat off,
                                                          FRED WRIGHT.

  28/3/19.

Here is another, and again undated, except for “Feb. 19th”:

  DEAR MR. ESMOND,

  Only a line to say how tremendously I enjoyed the play this
  afternoon. Why won’t you write me a play like that? I want to play
  “a mother”!!

             Kindest regards,
                             Yours sincerely,
                                             GLADYS COOPER.

What a contrast to another letter, from one of the worst actors I have
ever seen, who begins by telling “My Dear Esmond” that he wants a play
written for him, and proceeds to describe for six sheets of notepaper
_how_ the play is to be written and how the climax is to be reached; he
ends with the words, “remember I want at least _one great moment of
passion_”. I cannot remember that Harry ever embarked on this play,
which, with its one “great moment” only insisted on, might not have held
an audience for two and a half hours! Harry’s answer was, “My Dear X.,
God is in His Heaven.”

This letter interests me for many reasons; the writer herself had an
arresting personality, and this letter, with its clarity of style, its
beautifully clear and artistic writing, writing which never ceases for a
single word to depict character and sensitive feeling, the sentiment
bravely speaking what the writer felt, and yet never deteriorating into
nothing but carping criticism; all these things go to give a very true
idea of the writer:

  DEAR MR. ESMOND,

  I followed every word and scene of your play with the deepest
  interest. I found it quite terrible. It would be absurd to say that
  such stories ought not to receive illustration on the stage. But I
  do say that, when they are presented, they should be told in the
  Shakespearean and not in the Ibsen manner. One requires poetry and
  music and every softening aid for tragedies so dismal, otherwise the
  whole thing is a nightmare. I am not older than you are, but I have
  had a great deal of sorrow, and I have been forced to see the
  squalid side of every ideal. Yet I thought you were unjust even to
  the worst in human nature. I know you won’t mind my saying this,
  because I have such an admiration for your great talents. There are
  so few dramatists in Europe that, where one recognises unusual
  ability, one may be pardoned for wishing to see it displayed to the
  highest advantage. Life, as it is, is quite “strong” enough; if you
  show it as it is _not_, it becomes inartistically weak from excess
  of horrors.—Then follows some criticism of the acting, ending with
  the words, “Its (the play’s) balance was so good, and it never
  halted or drooped. You have got the real gift.” The letter is signed
  “Yours sincerely, Pearl Mary-Teresa Craigie” (whom the world knew
  better as “John Oliver Hobbes”).

On a large sheet of very excellent paper, and somewhere near the bottom
of the sheet, is written:

  DEAR ESMOND,

  Thanks very much for Grierson. I am devouring him—gloom and all—with
  great gusto.

                                         Sincerely yours,
                                                         MAX BEERBOHM.

This next letter must have been written concerning _Grierson’s Way_, and
is in the queer irregular handwriting of William Archer, the great
critic. He says: “Of course Messieurs of the Old Guard in criticism die,
but never surrender. Never mind! You have scored a big victory, and I
congratulate you with all my heart. The mantle of ‘Clemmy’ (Clement
Scott) has certainly descended upon the _Telegraph_ gentleman.”

The next item in my bundle is a photograph of the “Weekly Box Office
Statement” of the Knickerbocker Theatre, New York, and at the bottom is
printed “This theatre’s largest week’s business at regular prices”. The
“attraction” was “Mr. N. C. Goodwin and Miss Maxine Elliott”, and the
play was _When We Were Twenty-One_.

Letters here from Maxine Elliott! Black, rather wild writing, straggling
over the pages, written with a soft, thick pen, and very “decided” ink.
This one was written soon after Jill was born. Maxine Elliott is her
godmother, hence the enquiries:

  DEAR HARRY ESMOND,

  What is Miss Esmond’s Christian name? You didn’t tell me, and I have
  a little souvenir for her that I want to get marked. How proud you
  and Eva must be, and how secret you were! I almost believe you
  bought her at the Lowther Arcade! (once the Home of dolls).

Another letter from her begins: “Dear Harry Esmond,—Philadelphia the
_frigid_, Philadelphia the _unappreciative_, has received us well, even
at this inauspicious time to open, and I am full of hope and confidence
in New York.”

Here is a third from the same source; this, I think, was written when
Harry first agreed to write a play for her, which when completed was
called _Under the Greenwood Tree_:

  I am longing to hear the new play, and full of excitement over it,
  and what an _angel_ you are to write it for me! I sail April 4th,
  and that means London—Blessed London—about the 11th.... I am doing
  the biggest business of my life this year, which is the only
  satisfaction to be derived from this laborious, monotonous,
  treadmill sort of grind that it is in this country of vast distances
  (America). I shall retire (ha! ha!) after we finish with the big
  play you are writing for me, you nice Harry Esmond!

  My best love to you all.

                                         Yours very sincerely,
                                               MAXINE ELLIOTT GOODWIN.

Letters from busy men and women, how much they mean! Not the formal
typewritten affair, but written with their own hands, and meaning
moments snatched from the rush of work that they always have before
them. This one from Mr. Robert Courtneidge, for instance, written from
his office to Harry after _The Law Divine_ was produced. And the
sidelight that it gives to the character of the man who wrote it!
Listen:

  MY DEAR ESMOND,

  I saw _The Law Divine_ yesterday, and enjoyed it more than I can
  express. It is a delightful play—admirably acted. It was quite a
  treat to me, who am not given to the theatre spirit nowadays. I
  didn’t go round to see you, for I’m as backward as a novice, and I
  tremble at “going behind” where I have no business.

  Kindest regards,

                                             Yours truly,
                                                   ROBERT COURTNEIDGE.

  P.S.—And I remember Miss Illington playing juvenile parts in
  Edinburgh—dear, dear! She was a braw young lassie then, but a
  delightful actress.

That is the Robert Courtneidge I have met; with a twinkle in his shrewd,
kindly eyes, and that more than a touch of his country’s humour always
ready to appear—when rehearsals are over. He is one of the people who
remain young, despite the fact that at a rehearsal he has been known to
put on his hat and, shaking his head, say sadly, “I’m an old man, I
can’t stand it”, and so walk away. Underneath it all, though actors may
turn pale and actresses may shed tears in the dark recesses of the
prompt corner, there is always the twinkle in Robert Courtneidge’s
eye—if you look for it!


I should not wish to praise myself; I should never wish to be an
egotist, even though this is an account of “My Life”; and that is why I
have included in my bundle of letters only a few that have been written
to me, but mostly those which were written to Harry. Here is one,
however, which appealed to me then, and does still, as “high praise”. It
is from a Frenchwoman—and is, therefore, “praise from Sir Hubert
Stanley”—for it refers to the performance of _Mumsie_, by Edward
Knoblauch—that dear, human, though unsuccessful play for which I had so
much love:

  I could see working in you all the feelings of a Frenchwoman. You
  are a great artist. You give me intense pleasure. I wish to thank
  you very much.

                                          Very sincerely yours,
                                            MARGUERITE ARNOLD BENNETT.

This letter was written after Harry played “Touchstone”, when he was so
severely criticised by some for his conception of the part:

  MY DEAR ESMOND,

  Touchstone, Touchstone, Touchstone at last! A creation, a triumph, a
  delight; wit, fantasy, irony—that hint of the Great God Pan behind
  the motley—all unite to make the Touchstone I have always longed for
  but have only now seen for the first time.

                                             Sincerely yours,
                                               JUSTIN HUNTLY MCCARTHY.

Here is a letter which Harry wrote to me. He was arranging for a theatre
at the time, though what theatre I cannot remember. He evidently feels
that he has been successful in an absolutely business-like way—probably
because he never was, and if he had made a fair “deal” over anything it
was due entirely to the honesty of his associates and not to his own
capacity, for, as I have said elsewhere, he was never “one of the
children of this world”:

“Your poor husband,” he writes, “has been having a devil of a time. The
evolving, the planning, the diplomacy, the craft!—but we rehearse
Monday, and open in ten days. Jill had a lovely time in the garden
to-day, as happy as a bumble bee. I think I’ve had the dreariest week
I’ve ever had in my life, but all’s well that ends well.” Evidently all
the “craft” had been taking all the colour out of life for him!

When he died, I had so many wonderful letters from all our friends, and
not only friends who were personally known to me, but dear people who
wrote to me from all over the world, offering their sympathy and love;
offerings of sympathy from their Majesties the King and Queen—one of
those signal proofs of their kindly thought in and for their subjects
which have helped to make them so dearly loved by the Empire; from men
and women who had worked with us, who had known Harry as an actor, as a
man, or as both; from people who had never known him, but loved him for
his written and spoken word; from people who had known me, and wished to
send me their loving help at such a time. Among these many letters there
is one from Sir Johnston Forbes Robertson, a letter full of regret at
Harry’s death, and of kind and cheering thoughts for me; it gives a
picture of Harry, riding a bicycle past Buckingham Palace one morning.
The night before Forbes Robertson had played in a new production, and
the critics in some of the papers had not been too kind. The letter
recalls how Harry, riding past Forbes Robertson that morning, called out
cheerily, “Never mind what they say, _you were fine_.” The writer adds,
“Wasn’t it just like him?” One of those happy pictures of Harry which
did so much to bring rays of happiness to me at that time.

Not the least beautiful was one which consisted only of a single line,
the letter of the best type of Englishman, the man who “cannot talk”,
but whose very affection renders him dumb. It was just this: “Eva, dear,
I am so sorry for you”—and so said everything that a kind heart could
say.


The pleasant memories that many of those letters recalled! As Charles
Hawtrey wrote, “I look back on _One Summer’s Day_ as nearly the
happiest, if not quite the happiest, of my stage life, and it is one of
the ‘memories’ that seem to dwell in the minds of many of my audiences.”


The gift that some people have of putting so much into a few lines, all
the tragedy of a lifetime in a few words! One dear woman wrote to me,
she having lost her much-loved husband about a year previously: “I have
such pleasant memories of him (Harry); always so kind and charming to me
in the early days; and, since then, both of us with both of you—and now
only you and me.”


And they gave me a great deal, those letters; and here is one which
expresses all I want to say—a letter from Miss Sybil Thorndike—and so I
give you her words, as an expression of what I feel and what I felt
then: “Doesn’t it seem strange that out of a big personal grief comes
sometimes a wonderful recognition of warmth that’s in the hearts of
outsiders?”


So I finish my “Bundle of Letters”, tie up the parcel, and put them
away—for I cannot bring myself to destroy them. They are part of one’s
life; they came as an unexpected joy, or as something looked for
anxiously; they came, bringing praise, good news, sympathy, and kindly
thoughts. Letter-writing as an art may be lost; but I still say, with a
feeling which has always something of a child’s expectancy and hope:
“There is always to-morrow morning’s post.”

[Illustration:

  _Photograph by Turner & Drinkwater, Hull._ To face p. 187

  HARRY AS LITTLE BILLEE

  “Trilby”
]



                              CHAPTER XIII
                             HARRY, THE MAN

  “The dearest, bravest, truest chap that ever stepped in shoe
  leather.”—_When We Were Twenty-One._

  “He’s such an odd sort of chap, always doing such rum things.”—_The
  Wilderness._


If I was asked to describe Harry in one word, the one I should
instinctively use would be “_Youth_”; youth with its happy joy in the
simple things of life, youth with its hope and ambition, youth with its
intolerance, feeling disappointment and unkindness so deeply, and yet
with its tears so quickly dried by the laughter that was never very far
away. That was Harry Esmond, who found the world a giant playroom full
of toys of which he never tired.

An Irishman, with the true Irishman’s imagination, living so much in
dreams that dreams became more real than reality. He saw everything in
pictures, vividly and full of life. It would seem that the ideas, which
were born in dreams, became the living things of reality. Once, I
remember, when he told Charles Hallard, very excitedly, that something
he said or did was “foul”, poor Charles protested, “My God! and in the
morning he’ll believe it’s true!” We all laughed, Harry with the rest,
but I realise how very truly he had judged Harry’s character. Not that
he believed it in this particular instance, but, through life, what he
said on impulse to-day became conviction to-morrow.

And with all his imagination his love of the fantastic went hand in
hand. As little children love to play games in which there is a certain
element of “fear”, so Harry loved the fantastic which bordered on
terror.

I can see him, seated at dinner at Whiteheads Grove, arguing on the
comparative merits of William Morris and Tennyson—he, and those who
listened to him, utterly oblivious of the fact that the dinner was
rapidly growing cold. To point his argument, he began to quote the
_Idylls of the King_—Arthur’s return:

  “And as he climbed the castle stair, _a thing_ fell at his feet,
  And cried ‘I am thy fool, and I shall never make thee smile again’.”

I shall never forget the horror he put into the words “a thing fell at
his feet”, and how the whole tragedy was unrolled in two lines of verse.

Once, too, someone asked him to tell some spiritualistic experience, or
some story he had heard from someone who had “seen a spirit”. “Tell us
about it,” they asked. Harry, loving the terror which he felt the story
would bring, answered in almost a whisper, “No, no, I daren’t; it
_terrifies_ me!”, and promptly went on to tell the whole story, enjoying
the horror of it all, as children love a ghost story.

The very people he knew were either, in his eyes, wonderful compounds of
every virtue or there was “no health in them”. He would meet some
individual who, in the first five minutes of their acquaintance, would
say or do something which appealed to him: that person became for ever
“a splendid chap”; while, on the other hand, some harmless individual
who struck a “wrong note” (probably quite unwittingly) was referred to
for months as “a terrible fellow”.

The name he took for the stage—Harry Vernon Esmond—was a tribute to
romance and imagination. He was young—young in years, I mean—and he
loved a wonderful lady, to whom he never addressed a single word. She
was Harriet Vernon, who, attired as Gainsborough’s “Duchess of
Devonshire”, used to thrill the hearts of the young men of the day every
evening at the Tivoli, the Old Oxford, and other Temples of Variety.
Harry, with others, worshipped at the shrine of Harriet Vernon. He never
spoke to her; I doubt if he ever wanted to: it was simply the adoration
of a very young man for a beautiful woman, whose life to him was wrapped
in wonderful mystery. Night after night he watched her, and, when he
took up the stage as a career, he, being a nineteenth century knight and
so unable to “bind her gage about his helm”, openly avowed his
admiration and allegiance by taking her name, and so became Harry Vernon
Esmond.

Foolish? Ridiculous? I don’t think so; and it was rather typical of
Harry’s feelings with regard to women all his life. He loved beautiful
women as he loved the beautiful pictures, the beautiful books, and
beautiful places of the world. Women, individually, he might—and often
did—dislike; but women as women, _en masse_, he idealised. In all his
plays he never drew a woman who was wholly unkind or entirely worthless.
He might set out to draw a vampire, a heartless creature without any
moral sense; but before the end of the play, the fact that she was a
woman would be too strong for him, and in one sentence—perhaps only half
a dozen words—he would make you feel that “she so easily might have been
different, had fate been kinder”.

Perhaps you remember “Vera Lawrence” in _Eliza Comes to Stay_. She is
mercenary, heartless, and throws over Sandy so that she may marry his
rich uncle; but Harry Esmond could not give her to the world as nothing
more than that—she was a woman, and a beautiful woman. Listen to the
extenuating clause. She is showing Sandy a new umbrella, and says, “It
isn’t meant for rain; once it was opened to the rain it would never go
back and be slim and elegant again. Oh! Sandy, they opened me to the
rain too soon!” That is the echo of some half-forgotten tragedy which
had made Vera Lawrence what she was, instead of the woman “she might
have been”.

He began to write when he was very young, and I have a manuscript at
home of his first play, entitled _Geraldine, or Victor Cupid_. It is a
rather highly coloured work, which has never been inflicted on the
public, written in an exercise-book when he was fourteen.

He used to recite, too, when he was a very small boy, and a man who knew
him then described him as “a tiresome little boy who _would_ recite long
poems to which no one wanted to listen”. The tragedy of the prophet
without honour!

We were very young when we married, and it was perhaps due to that fact
that Harry was really a very casual lover. I have told elsewhere how his
friend was sent to escort me home from the theatre, and there were many
other instances which I could quote. After our marriage he changed
entirely; he was the most perfect lover any woman ever had, and his
letters to me, written when he was on tour and in America, are as
beautiful, as full of tenderness and imagery, as anything he ever wrote.

We married with Hope as a banking account, and lived in a little studio
flat in Chelsea. In the flat below us (and this is “by the way”, and has
nothing to do with Harry as I am trying to depict him to you) lived
another young married couple, Mr. and Mrs. Shortt. He became, as all the
world knows, the “Right Hon.”, and I wonder if he held as harsh views on
the subject of Women’s Suffrage then as he did later.

It was not for some time that Harry realised that he could write. He
loved acting passionately, and in his plays you will find all the fire
and life which he put into his spoken work. It was perhaps to him, as it
has been to many, something of a disadvantage that he could do two
things well, for it divided his powers, and he was torn between his
desire to act and his desire to create characters which others should
portray. Acting was his first love, and the knowledge that he had the
power to write, and write well, came to him slowly; I think perhaps he
almost distrusted it, as a possible menace to his career as an actor.

They were good days in the little flat, they were indeed “the brave days
when we were twenty-one”. Troubles came and we shouldered them, hardly
feeling their weight. The small happenings, which then were almost
tragedies we were able soon after to look back upon as comedies, because
we were young, and happy, and very much in love with each other. The
dreadful day came when Harry, who wanted a new bicycle very badly, went
to the bank and asked for an advance of eight pounds, which was refused
by the manager—the day when our worldly wealth was represented by
eighteen shillings, and two pounds in the bank (which we dare not touch,
for it would have “closed our account”). Then Cissie Graham (now Mrs.
Allen) played the part of the Good Fairy and saved us, though she does
not know it. She offered me a special week at Bristol. In the nick of
time I was engaged to play in Justin Huntly McCarthy’s _Highwayman_, and
soon after Harry went to George Alexander on contract; and so fate
smiled on us again!

Then came his _first play_—a one-act curtain-raiser called _Rest_. I
suppose all young authors are excited when the first child of their
brain is given to the world. I have never seen Harry so excited over any
play as he was over _Rest_. It was played at a matinée for Mr. Henry
Dana, who was with Sir Herbert Tree for so long, and died not long ago,
to the deep regret of all who knew him.

When I speak of Harry’s excitement over this play, I do not want you to
think that excitement was unusual with him. He was often roused to a
great pitch of excitement by the small, pleasant things of life, because
he loved them. He was the embodiment of Rupert Brooke’s “Great Lover”:
for him “books and his food and summer rain” never ceased to bring joy
and delight. To be blasé or bored were things unknown to him. No man
ever needed less the Celestial Surgeon to “stab his spirit wide awake”!
His joy in the lovely, small things of life was as keen at fifty as it
had been at fifteen.

Once, after great difficulty, I persuaded him to go for a holiday on the
Continent—for he hated to go far away from his own roof-tree. I always
remember the effect the first sight of the Swiss mountains had on him.
Do you remember the story of the great Victorian poet who, travelling to
Switzerland with his friend, was reading _The Channings_?—how, when his
friend touched him on the arm and said, “Look, the Alps”, he replied,
without raising his eyes from his book, “Hush, Harry is going to be
confirmed”! This is how differently the sight affected Harry: He had
been sitting in the corner of the carriage, dreaming dreams; at last I
saw the snow-covered Alps. “Look, Harry,” I said, “the mountains!” He
woke from his dreams and looked out; there was a long silence, which I
broke to ask if they impressed him very much. All his reply was, “Hush!
don’t speak!”

Three things never ceased to make an appeal to him—old people, young
children, and animals. I shall never forget his beautiful courtesy to my
mother, and in fact to anyone who was old and needed care. Children all
loved him, and his relations with his own children were wonderful. Our
first baby, Lynette, died when she was only a few days old, and Harry’s
first experience of having a child was really when Decima’s little boy
Bill came to live with us. When later Jack, and still later Jill, were
born, the three were to all intents and purposes one family. Harry was
never too busy or too tired to tell them wonderful stories—stories which
were continued from night to night, year by year. He used to tell the
most exciting adventures of imaginary people, always leaving them in the
very middle of some terrible predicament, from which he would extricate
them the next evening. I can remember him coming down one evening, after
telling one of these adventures to Jill, with a frown of very real worry
on his forehead, and rumpling his hair in distress, saying, as he did
so, “I’ve left them on the edge of a precipice, and God only knows how
I’m going to save them to-morrow night!”—“them” being the characters in
the story.

His dogs! In Harry’s eyes, none of them could really do wrong. One I
remember, a great Harlequin china-eyed Dane. She was a huge beast, and
suffered from the delusion that she was a “lap dog”, and as Harry was
the only person who existed in the world, so far as she was concerned,
so his was the only lap on which she ever wished to sit. At those
moments he was totally extinguished under the mass of dog.

[Illustration:

  _Photograph by Miss Compton Collier, London, N.W.6._ To face p. 194

  JILL AND HER MOTHER
]

But his best-loved dog was “Buggins”, who was an animal of doubtful
ancestry, called out of courtesy by Harry an “Australian Linger”. He
originally belonged to the Philip Cunninghams, and Harry, calling there
one day and finding Buggins in deep disgrace for some misdemeanour,
decided that our flat would be the ideal home for the dog. From that
moment, until he died from eating another dog’s meal as well as his own
(for, be it said frankly, Buggins was greedy), his life was as gorgeous
as Harry could make it. He had a state funeral and lies at “Apple
Porch”—the place which he, as well as his master, loved so dearly.

I wish I could tell you adequately of Harry’s humour, but the things he
said were funny because he said them and because of the way in which he
said them. Put down in black and white, they seem nothing, they might
even seem rather pointless; but the memory of Bill sitting with his
mouth open, ready to laugh at “Pop’s” jokes, and never waiting in vain,
the memory of the roars of laughter which were the accompaniment of
every meal—that has lasted while the jokes themselves are forgotten.

The jokes are forgotten, and the laughter remains! That is how Harry
lives always for us, who knew and loved him; that is how he lives for
Bill, and Jack, and Jill: as the finest playmate they ever had; the man
who, though he might treat life as a jest, was desperately serious over
games and the things of “make-believe”; who might laugh at the faults
which the world thinks grave, and was grave over the faults at which the
world too often laughs.

And the sound of his laughter, and of the children laughing with him,
brings me to the last picture; brings me to a scene in which Harry,
though he did not appear, was the most actual personality in the memory.
It was in the restaurant of the Gare du Nord in Paris, in the April of
1922. It was a perfect spring day, the sun was shining, birds were
singing, all the trees were full of budding leaf and flowers. We had
given his “body to the pleasant earth”; not, I felt, sleeping there
alone, for France had become the resting-place of so many Englishmen who
had been young, and brave, and beautiful. We had come back to Paris from
St. Germain, the children and I. The restaurant was empty, and anyone
entering would never have imagined from where we had come and what had
been our errand that morning. The children spoke all the time of Harry,
and spoke of him with laughter and smiles. It was “Do you remember what
Pops said?”, and “What a joke it was that day when Pops did this, that,
or the other”, until I realised that, though he had finished his work
here, he would always live for the children and for me in the “laughter
that remained”.

Graves are kept as green with laughter as with tears; but in our minds
there is no feeling of “graves” or death, only the joy of looking back
on the sunny days, which had been more full of sunshine because the
figure which stood in the midst of the sunlight had been Harry.

Harry would have hated, almost resented, another illness, with all the
attendant weariness; would have dreaded a repetition of all he went
through in Canada. He, who loved to live every moment of his life to the
full, always felt that “to pass out quickly” was the only way to hope to
die. His wish was fulfilled when he died so suddenly in Paris. And yet,
though he had loved his friends, loved his work, and loved, too, the
public life which was the outcome of it, he loved best of all the quiet
of his home; there, within its four walls, he would have, had it been
possible, done all his work, and had all his friends gather round him.

A last token of the love which those friends bore him is being made to
him now by “His Fellow-Craftsmen”; it is a bronze medallion, made by the
sculptor, Mr. Albert Toft, and will be placed where Harry’s body lies,
at the Cemetery at St. Germain-en-Laye. The beautiful thought originated
with Mr. Cyril Harcourt and Mr. Dion Clayton Calthrop, and many who
loved Harry have joined hands with them. As I write, a letter has just
come to me from Mr. Harcourt, saying: “It is done, and we think
beautifully. The face and hand, with the cigarette smoke curling up, are
wonderful.” I can fancy that Harry sees it too, and says in that
beautiful voice of his, full of all the tones and music I know so well:

              “And I, in some far planet, past the skies,
              I shall look down and smile;
              Knowing in death I have not lost my friends,
              But only found in death their lasting love.”

Of his wonderful charm it is almost impossible to write, and yet it was
essentially part of him, and a feature of his personality. Whatever his
faults may have been—and he had them, as have all of us—it was his
wonderful charm which made them so easy to forgive. As Fred Grove used
to say of him:

             “Though to the faults of mortals he may fall,
             Look in his eyes, and you forget them all.”

His friends know, as I do, his generosity; that keen anxiety to help,
either by money or kindness, anyone who was unfortunate. Harry never
waited to wonder if his help was wise or judicious; a man or woman was
poor, underfed, or unhappy, that was enough for him, and any help he
could give was at once forthcoming, and given with such unfeigned
pleasure at being able to help that I am convinced many of those who
asked him for money went away feeling they had conferred a favour on
Harry Esmond by borrowing his money.

On his work, both as a writer and an actor, I shall try to touch later.
I have tried here to give you the man as I knew him: A boy with the soul
of a poet; a man who always in his heart of hearts believed that most
men were brave, and, unless life had been unkind, all women good; who
evolved a philosophy which, though it may not have been very deep, was
always gay; to whom life was full of small excitements, wonderful
adventures, and splendid friends; who remained, after thirty years of
married life, still a very perfect lover; and who understood his
children and was their most loved playmate, because he never ceased
himself to be a child; complex, as all artistic natures must be, and
sometimes, if he seemed too ready to sacrifice the real to the
imaginary, it was because the imaginary to him seemed so much more
“worth while”.

[Illustration:

  _Photograph by The Dover Street Studios, London, W._ To face p. 199

  HARRY AS WIDGERY BLAKE

  “Palace of Puck”
]

Perhaps the best summing-up of Harry that can be given is to quote
Henley’s lines on Robert Louis Stevenson:

                “A streak of Ariel, a hint of Puck,
                Of Hamlet most of all, and something of
                The Shorter Catechist.”

There, then, is the picture I have tried to make for you: Harry elated
over the success of a play; Harry cast down over some unkind cut, grave
for a moment, with his gravity turned to smiles at some happy thought
which suddenly struck him; our hopes and fears; our good and bad times
together; and over all, drowning all other sounds, comes the noise of
Harry’s laughter and that of three happy children laughing with him.



                              CHAPTER XIV
                         HARRY, THE PLAYWRIGHT

           “He used to write of life as it ought to be.”
                                           —_The Law Divine._


The last thing I wish to give you is a list of his plays, with the
comment that they were a success or the reverse, adding what eminent
critics said of them. I want only to tell you how he wrote his plays,
and try to make you understand why he wrote as he did. If I quote what
critics said of his work, it will not be because in this or that extract
I find undiluted praise, but because that critic has—or, at least, so it
seems to me—found truth.

Harry’s first play I have still; it is written in an exercise-book, and
is called _Geraldine, or Victor Cupid, or Love’s Victory_. It is a
highly coloured piece of work, which has never been inflicted upon the
public; written, I imagine, when he was about twelve years old.

Not until we had been married for some years did Harry realise that he
could write plays; he was passionately fond of acting, and wished to
take up nothing that might interfere with his profession, but gradually
the knowledge came to him that he could create characters on paper as
well as on the stage.

He made his plays long before he wrote them; I mean he thought the whole
play out in its entirety, lived for weeks with the characters in his
mind, came to know them intimately and to be absolutely at home with
them, before he began actually to write the play in black and white.

I have known him to write the last act first, simply because he had
planned the play so entirely before he put pen to paper. Often when at
“Apple Porch” he would write for an hour, then go out on the golf
course, knock a ball about for two or three holes, then return to his
desk, and pick up the scene just where he had left it.

_Grierson’s Way_ he wrote straight off in three weeks; there is hardly
an alteration in the manuscript. He was intensely happy when writing;
talked very little about his work, as a rule, but lived in two
worlds—his friends in the play, and his family. He thought sad and
gloomy plays were a mistake, and should not be written, or, if written,
whatever the subject, the author “should be able to let in the sunshine
somewhere”. He never wrote another _Grierson’s Way_.

_The Wilderness_ was written under most difficult circumstances. Jack
was three months old, he was frightfully ill for weeks, and I was up
night after night nursing him. Harry used to sit in the study at the end
of the passage, writing, writing, coming in now and again to see how we
were getting on. Later, when Jack was better, Harry took a table and put
it up in the loft over a wee stable we had, where the car was kept;
there, daily, he and his big dog Diana, which George Alexander had given
him, used to climb up the ladder that was flat up against the wall, and
do his writing. The going up was all right, but the coming down was the
difficulty. Harry put a heap of straw on the ground, and, after he had
got half-way down the ladder, Diana used to put her fore paws on his
shoulders, then Harry would drag her till her hind legs got to the edge
of the trap-door, when she would drop on Harry, and together they would
fall on to the straw; this went on for weeks.

His first play to be produced in London, with the exception of a one-act
play called _Rest_, was _Bogey_; and here I must quote the _Standard_
critic, who wrote of the play: “A fairy tale, if you will, but a fairy
tale which deals with the passions of men and women.” That was so very
true of so many of Harry’s plays; they were “fairy tales”, because that
was how he saw life—as a wonderful fairy tale, with an ending that was
intended to be happy, and, if it failed to be, was so because mortals
had meddled with the story and spoiled it. A playwright should “hold the
mirror up to Nature”, but the result must depend upon what he sees in
the mirror; if he sees stories which have the gold and glitter of
romance, then, in writing his play, which contains both, he is only
depicting truly what he has seen.

_Bogey_ was not the success that it might have been, but it was
sufficient to prove finally to its writer that he had the power to
write, a power which only needed developing. It lacked the concise
beauty of his later work; he had not then learnt his craft; but, as many
of the critics testified, it was the work of “a dramatist, a writer of
plays, born, if as yet not fully made”.

He began to write other plays, and gradually, if you read them, you will
find how he advances in his knowledge of words. He would seek for hours
for the right word. He used to say that a word which was not exactly the
one he wanted, and for which he was seeking, hurt him like a discord on
the piano. From the actor’s point of view, Harry was generous; that is
to say, every part he wrote was “worth playing”, and every part had a
line which would appeal to the audience and stamp the actor on their
minds, no matter how small the part might be. For example, in the first
act of _Eliza_ (a play for which Harry had no very great affection), the
carman who brings in the rocking-horse has two lines to say, and two
only, but one of them will gain a laugh from the audience, and lifts the
part from being nothing but a “one-line part”.

Another point of his writing is that almost all the characters, where it
is possible, have to depict a full range of emotions. Fun and pathos are
in almost every part, every part is worthy of study, for by giving the
time and thought to it the actor can come to realise the character in
full, because behind the actual written word lies so much that may be
found if it is sought for. That is due, I think, to the fact that Harry
could, if necessary, have written the whole life of every character,
because before he began to write he lived with them, as it were, for
weeks.

In his plays—or, rather, in every act of his plays—you will find a great
sense of completeness, not only in the actual “curtains” themselves, but
in the construction of the act. As he says in _The Wilderness_, which
George Alexander produced at the St. James’s Theatre, “the wheel has
come full circle”. Take the second act of that particular play, which
begins with Sir Harry Milanor bringing his uncle to the place in the
woods where he, Sir Harry, played as a child. He begins to create an
atmosphere of fairyland; he tells of how he stormed the pass, fought the
elephants, killed the giants, and so won his kingdom. Then come the two
children, who bring with them food for the fairies, and Sir Harry and
his old uncle creep away. As the act goes on, mundane things come into
the scene, but the curtain falls with the children again in the fairy
ring, looking for the food which they brought the “good people”; it has
gone, and the curtain falls with the children stating firmly, “I knowed
they was hungry”. So, perhaps subconsciously, you wait for the next act
with the spirit of fairyland and all that it means still with you. You
have your belief in the good, simple, unquestioned things of life
established, which is the author’s way of setting for his next scene.

Again, in the second act of _Eliza_, Monty Jordan sits reading plays for
Vera Lawrence, whom Sandy is going to marry, and find her a theatre and
a play to make her name, for she is an actress. You see Vera Lawrence as
the centre of Sandy’s world; even his best friend is dragged in to work
for her. So at the end of the act you find Vera Lawrence, her hair
falling round her shoulders, to prove to Eliza that it is not a wig,
while the latter stands nonplussed and dismayed. Vera is the “top note”
all through the act, at the end as at the beginning; so your mind,
holding the picture of the triumphant Vera, feels the same surprise as
does Lady Pennybroke when in Act 3 Eliza enters, looking no longer a
“sight, sticking in at the front and out at the back”, but quite
charming, ready to conquer not only Monty Jordan, but Sandy Verrall. Act
2 has made the audience not only laugh at Eliza for what she is, but
makes them contrast her with Vera, and realise how unlikely it is that
she can ever enter successfully into the lists for Sandy’s affections,
as she does eventually.

I suppose all playwrights have their favourite methods of gaining mental
effects, and the “full circle” was one of Harry’s. He loved to have what
are known as “good curtains”—that is, he loved a scene or act to end on
a very high, strong note. Time after time you will find the act ends
with some short sentence, but which is really the concentration of a
long speech, so written that in a few words you get all the energy and
determination, or all the pathos and tragedy, that a speech of many
lines might have made less vivid.

For example, take the last act of _Love and the Man_ (played by Forbes
Robertson and Miss Kate Rorke), when Wagoneur comes to ask Lord
Gaudminster if he may see his wife (who lies dead upstairs) and whom
Wagoneur has loved.

“You won’t let me see her?” he asks, and Gaudminster answer simply “No.”
Wagoneur turns and, half-blind with grief, gropes his way from the room.
That is all! But could a speech of many pages be more eloquent?

Again, the last lines of the second act of _The Dangerous Age_ (played
by Harry and myself). Jack lies hurt, perhaps dying, after an accident;
Bill, his brother, sits with Egbert Inglefield waiting for news. His
mother, Betty Dunbar, has gone to London to say good-bye to her lover.
Egbert Inglefield, who also loves her, knows this, though of course
Bill, her son, does not. Bill comes to Egbert and says, “Oh, Eggy, I
feel rotten”; Egbert, knowing that all his hopes are falling in ruins,
says “So do I, old man!” Very simple, but the tragedy of his answer
touches you far more than a noble speech would do at that particular
juncture.

With regard to the plays themselves, and again I do not want to give a
long list of them, but only to touch one or two which seems to me
particularly typical of the writer’s philosophy. I remember that after
his death one paper spoke of him as the “gay philosopher”, and I should
seek long before I found a better phrase in which to express his
outlook. His own attitude was “valiant in velvet, light in ragged luck”,
and so he drew his men and women. They may suffer, and you suffer with
them; but it is healthy pain, which looks towards the east for the
sunshine of to-morrow which will bring alleviation. There is no feeling
in your mind, as you watch them, that “things can never be better”, that
misfortune is inevitable; except in _Grierson’s Way_, which was one of
his earlier works, when the critics were still waiting for “him to grow
old, and sensible, and happy”, as one of them said after the production
of _My Lady Virtue_, which Arthur Bourchier, Violet Vanbrugh, and myself
played at the Garrick.

He calls certainly 75 per cent. of his plays “Comedies”, but they are
comedies which touch very often on tragedy. And in a sense he was right
in so calling them, for comedy, properly speaking, is a comment on the
imperfections of human nature, which causes amusement to those who
understand men and manners. So most of his plays are comedies, though
some of them rely on tragic incidents for their story.

I have spoken before of Harry’s fondness for the “redeeming feature” in
even his worst characters, and how few really bad people he ever tried
to draw! I think as he wrote, or earlier still, when he began to think
about his characters, he acquired a certain affection for them, which
made him wish to make them something less than the villains he had at
first intended. Added to that, his dislike of unpleasant things, and you
get some idea of why he wrote the type of plays he did. Even Mr. Clement
Scott, who disliked his first play, _Bogey_, so intensely, wrote of him
later: “Believe me, his two last plays, _When We Were Twenty-One_ and
_The Wilderness_, will be English classics when all the mock Ibsenism
and sham exercise in society salacity are buried in the dust of
oblivion.” So he gave the world what I think are not only beautiful
plays, but essentially kindly plays.

_Eliza Comes to Stay_ he never liked very much; he thought it below the
level of the rest of his work; and though this evergreen play has
certainly been a very valuable property, yet I think Harry would have
been better pleased by the same success of one of his other plays. Yet
Eliza is lovable, even before she becomes “the new me”, even when she is
still dressed to look “dreadfully respectable”. And what a part it is,
too! what is called “an actress-proof” part—which means, in the
vernacular of the stage, “it will play itself”; so it may, but what a
difference when it is played—well, as it can be played by anyone who
will take the trouble to study Eliza, and then, by the grace of God, is
able to give her to the audience as, not a freak, but a very human,
affectionate girl, standing rather breathless on the threshold of a
world she does not know.

Perhaps his favourite play was _The Dangerous Age_, which we first
played in America, where the audiences liked it enormously, and which,
when we brought it to London, was not a great success. There is no
character to which Harry has been more kind than to Betty Dunbar; she
does ugly things, but you are never allowed to feel they have really
touched her; she remains, after her indiscretions, still the same
delightful and charming person; you are made to feel that the agony
which she suffers, when she waits to hear if her little son will live or
die, has wiped out all her foolishness—to give it no harsher name.

It was during a performance of this play that a young man turned to a
friend who sat with him, and said “I can’t watch it; it’s terrible to
see a woman’s soul stripped naked”; and a story he told later is of
value here, because I think it gauges so correctly Harry’s attitude
towards women. This man had been a sailor, and, talking over the play
with a friend later, he took exception to his remark that “Betty Dunbar
was a pretty worthless woman”, and to account for his defence of the
character he told this story:—“I was once doing a Western Ocean trip, on
a tramp steamer, in November. We struck a bad gale, and the Atlantic
rollers stripped her of everything. Next morning I stood with the
skipper on deck. There she was, rolling about, not rising to the
rollers, but just lying there—down and out. I said to the skipper, ‘She
looks what she is—a slut.’ He turned on me sharply and said, ‘Don’t you
ever say that about a ship or a woman. If some man hadn’t scamped his
job, and not done his best, she wouldn’t be looking as she does this
morning’.” I think that was Harry’s feeling about women like his heroine
in _The Dangerous Age_—that it was probably the fault of a very definite
“someone” that they had not made a greater success of life.

He loved to write of children, and wrote of them with almost singular
understanding and reality. The children in _The Wilderness_, the two
boys in _The Dangerous Age_, the “Tommy” and the Midshipman in _The Law
Divine_, the small caddie in _A Kiss or Two_, are all real children,
full of humour and wonderful high spirits, who never—as do so many
“stage children”—become tedious or boring.

_A Kiss or Two_ was produced at the London Pavilion—a legitimate venture
which followed years of variety. It was a charming play, and one speech
from it—the legend—is one of the most delightful things Harry ever
wrote. The character was an Irish soldier, Captain Patrick Delaney, and
was played by Harry. I give part of it here:

“It’s a legend I’m tellin’ ye, an’ all true legends begin with ‘My Dear
and My Judy.’ Well, My Dear and My Judy, one fine day Mother Nature,
havin’ nothin’ better to do, she made a man. You know what a man is?
That’s all right then—well, she made a man, and this mighty fine piece
of work tickled her to death, it did, and so she went to bed devilish
pleased with herself, had a beautiful dream, woke up next morning, went
one better than the day before—she made a woman. Ye can’t say you know
what a woman is, for she’s a mystery to the lot of us. Well, she made a
woman, and then she sat down and looked at the pair of them, and the
pair of them looked at each other, and mighty uneasy they felt,
wondering what the devil it was all about. At last, after them two had
been looking at each other till the perspiration was breaking out upon
their foreheads, Mother Nature breaks the awful silence, and pointing to
the woman, who was standing all of a quiver, with her eyes lookin’
anywhere except at the man, yet seein’ him all the time, Mother Nature
pointin’ to the woman, say to the man, ‘That sweet lookin’ thing’s all
yours,’ says she. ‘I can’t believe it,’ says the man with a gulp. Then
Mother Nature, pointing to the man, who was looking at the woman as if
there was nothin’ else in the wide, wide world worth looking at which
there wasn’t—Mother Nature, pointing to the man, says to the woman, ‘An’
that fine looking thing’s all yours,’ says she. ‘Sure I know it,’ says
the woman, bold as brass, and the fat was in the fire. But that’s only
the beginning: it’s now that the trouble comes. At last, when everything
had settled into its proper place between these two, the man came home
one day and couldn’t find his collar stud. ‘Where’s that woman?’ says
he. ‘Out walkin’ with another man,’ says they. ‘That won’t do at all,’
says he. ‘How’ll you stop it?’ says they. ‘I’ll make a law,’ says he,
and that’s where the trouble began.... He sent for all the stuffy old
men of his acquaintance, and they had a meeting by candle-light in the
Old Town Hall. And he up an’ spoke to them: ‘Now all you gentlemen,’
says he, ‘have been casting sheep’s eyes at the girls. I’ve been
watchin’ you at it the times I haven’t been busy doin’ it myself,’ says
he. ‘Them girls have been casting them same sheep’s eyes back at you
with interest,’ says he. ‘Can’t help it,’ says the old men. ‘It’s
Nature,’ says they. ‘Nature is it?’ says he, ‘then there’s too much of
this Nature about,’ says he, ‘and I’m goin’ to stop it.’ With that his
eloquence carried the meeting, and they started in to make laws. Oh,
them laws that they made, sure they forgot all about the days of their
youth, when their blood was warm, and the sunshine was singin’ in their
hearts. They just sat there on them cold stones in that old Town Hall,
chilled to the marrow, and made them laws to stop love-making. And while
they were at it, there came a tap at the door, and they all gave a jump
which showed you they were doin’ something they were ashamed of. ‘What’s
that?’ says they, and they all looked round and then there came another
little tap, and the door slowly opened, and there in the sunlight stood
a beautiful young woman, lookin’ in at them, her eyes all agog with
wonder. ‘What the divil are you doin’?’ says she. ‘None of your
business,’ says they. ‘True for you,’ says she. An’ she took them at
their word, and slammed the door, an’ she’s been slamming the door on
them same laws ever since!”

I have given that speech fully, because it seems to me to be so very
much the spirit in which Harry wrote and to show so well his attitude
towards life—fantastic, ideal, almost but not quite a fairy tale.

You will find it, too, in _The Law Divine_ (which Harry played at
Wyndham’s Theatre for so long with Miss Jessie Winter), when Edie tells
her son about her honeymoon, when she says: “Ordinary people! We were
the children of the moon, we were the spirits of sea mist and soft night
air—Dads said we were.” The whole scene is full of that imagery which
was so much part of the writer’s mental composition.

In _Bad Hats_, which play he renamed, having first called it _The Rotten
Brigade_, and which at the production was called _Birds of a Feather_,
he wrote another of those plays which, though called by the author “a
comedy”, had all the elements of a tragedy. Harry intended to write
another First Act, making the First Act the Second, in order that the
existing circumstances would be more easy for the audience to grasp. It
was, and is, a great play, and Jacob Ussher is one of the finest
character-studies he ever created.

I should have liked to have dealt more fully with many of his
less-well-known plays; with _One Summer’s Day_, which Charles Hawtrey
produced, and which was the first emotional part he had ever played, and
of which I am asked so often, “When are you going to revive it?”; with
_Grierson’s Way_, which caused so much comment when it was produced;
with _The Sentimentalist_, with its wonderful first act, the play being
the story of a man’s life, which was praised for its beauty and
imagination by some, while others asked, “What’s it all about?”

Harry was accused of writing “sugary” plays, sentimental plays, plays
which were thin, and the like; but, in answer to these accusations, I
can only quote two critics and give my own opinion afterwards. One of
them says: “This is what they call pinchbeck sentiment. I don’t know. It
convinced me, and that was quite enough. This is the kind of human story
that has elicited the art of a Frederic Robson, a Johnnie Toole, and a
Henry Irving in England.” And the other: “Do you know what personal
charm is? It is the effect produced by a man or a woman who enters a
room, makes a few graceful remarks, says a few words very much to the
point in an agreeable voice, and suddenly creates an atmosphere which
wins everybody around. Mr. Esmond as a playwright possesses it.” And my
own opinion, which is that, if Harry wrote of charming, simple, loving,
and lovable people, it was because that was how he found his fellow-men;
that his characters who go through three acts lightly, bravely, and
gallantly, are just as real as the characters in those rather depressing
plays which are hailed as “slices of life”—and much more entertaining.

He filled his plays with beautiful things about life, because he
honestly thought life itself was beautiful; he made his men and women
“straight” and with decent impulses, because he was convinced that was
how God made real people; and he gave his plays, or nearly all of them,
“happy endings”, because he thought that “those who were good shall be
happy”. That was how Harry “held the mirror up to Nature”, and how he
tried to do what no artist can do more than succeed in doing:

                    “Draw the thing as he sees it.”



                               CHAPTER XV
                            HARRY, THE ACTOR

  “There comes a time in every man’s life when his own judgment is of
  greater use to him than other people’s.”

                                           —_When We Were Twenty-One._

  “I have been lectured a good deal during my career.”

                                                   —_Fools of Nature._


No man in his time played more parts than Harry. To begin with, he
started very young, started off from the bosom of a family which had no
knowledge of the stage. So innocent were they of the life on which he
was embarking, that his mother, hearing that he had joined a company of
touring actors, asked, in all seriousness, “What time is the caravan
calling for you, my dear?”

He started his career with a salary of ten shillings a week, and played
anything and everything that was offered. He used to tell the story of
“how he played a wave”—lying underneath a very dusty floor cloth,
“billowing up and down”—and a nasty, stuffy business it must have been,
too! Imagine the horror of the modern young actor, touring the
provinces, if he were asked to lie on the stage and give an
impersonation of that element which Britain is popularly reputed to
rule!

One of his first real parts—and I doubt if it was even a speaking
part—was that of a waiter who had to carry on a basket of refreshments
for the guests at a picnic. Harry was determined to make the part “stand
out”. He took the script back to his rooms—rooms, did I say? Room, a
combined room, at probably eight shillings a week—and thought over it
very earnestly. Inspiration came to him—he would make the waiter a very
lame man with an elaborate limp; and at rehearsal next day he entered
limping. Mr. Fernandez, the producer, shouted from the stalls, “Here,
here, my boy, what _are_ you doing?”, and added very seriously, “never
fool with a part, take your work seriously. Take it from him, give it to
somebody else!” That was the result of Harry’s first attempt at
characterisation. You must remember that at this time he was about 15 or
16, very slight and boyish-looking, and he went round the provinces
playing heavy villains in _The Stranglers of Paris_, _The Corsican
Brothers_, _Uriah Heep_, _Oliver Twist_, etc. Think of a boy of that age
portraying “Bill Sykes”! However, he stuck to the provinces for some
time, like many another actor who won his spurs in London after a long
and perhaps rather dreary apprenticeship; though I cannot believe that
Harry ever found any acting dreary, he loved it too well.

When at last he came to London it was to appear in _The Panel Picture_,
in which he made an amazing success in the part of a boy who was shot on
the stage and had a big death scene; and then the round of playing old
men began. I have told how, when I first met him, he was playing the
part of a villain, and so padded as to be almost unrecognisable. When,
many years later, he went to George Alexander, it was to play “Cayley
Drummle”, the old man in _The Second Mrs. Tanqueray_, and it took George
Alexander a long time to believe that Harry could make a success of a
part which was suited to his years. This, in spite of the fact that he
had already played the boy in _Sweet Nancy_, when Clement Scott (who
disliked his first play so heartily) lifted his hands to the skies and
“thanked Heaven for this perfect actor!” When George Alexander produced
_Much Ado_, I remember he sent for Harry and asked him tentatively if he
thought he could play “Claudio”. Harry was delighted at the prospect,
and I remember, too, his disappointment when he was finally cast for
“Verges”. Later came Henry Arthur Jones’s _Masqueraders_, when at last
his chance came; he played a young man, and won not only the heart of
George Alexander, but the heart of the public, by his performance.

I hesitate to use the word “genius”; but my excuse, if one is needed,
must be that others used it before in referring to Harry. In the old
days, when we all used to go holiday-making together, when Harry, Gerald
du Maurier, and Charles Hallard were almost inseparable companions, they
were known as “The Gent., The Genius, and The Young Greek God”—one of
those happy phrases, coined under sunny skies, which, under all the fun
that prompts them, have a sub-stratum of truth. The phrase has lived,
for only a year ago Gerald du Maurier wrote to me, saying, “And when we
meet, I will be the Young Greek God again, and we will talk of the
Genius—bless him!” So I use the word in connection with Harry as an
actor, and will only modify it by adding that he had one handicap—he was
too versatile. As a young man he could play old men, and play them well,
even brilliantly. As an older man he could still play young men, who
were indeed young, not creatures born of grease paint and wigs, whose
only attempt at being young came from affected movements and smart
clothes.

His character-studies were real people, not bundles of eccentricities,
with amazing and repulsive tricks; they were real old people, treated,
where it was demanded, with humour, but a humour which was from the
heart and spoke to the heart, and not only apparent to the eye of the
beholder. His young men were charming, virile, and obviously enjoying
life. He could play devout lovers, rakes (and what delightful rakes,
too, they were!), old men, and mad men, and play them all with more than
a touch of genius. There you had his handicap: from the very fact of the
excellence of all he did, he was never allowed to specialise. He never
became definitely associated with any special type of part. It never
became a case of “No one can play that except Harry Esmond”, for there
was probably a part in almost every play which Harry Esmond could have
played, and played with charm and distinction.

[Illustration:

  _Photograph by Alfred Ellis, London, W._ To face p. 218

  HARRY AS MAJOR BLENCOE

  “The Tree of Knowledge”
]

Consider for a moment some of the parts which he played, and consider
the variety of them. There is “Little Billee”, a part which I find many
people remember best; “Kean”, the mad musician, in _Grierson’s Way_;
“D’Artagnan” in _The Three Musketeers_; “Sir Benjamin Backbite” in _The
School for Scandal_; “Touchstone” in _As You Like It_; old “Jacob
Ussher” in _Birds of a Feather_; and various characters in _Dear
Brutus_, _The Times_, _Lights Out_, _Chance_, _The Idol_. They were all
parts which were as different as could well be imagined, and every one
worthy of notice, and played with sympathy and great understanding.

When the Royal Performance of _Trilby_ was given, as far as possible it
was attempted to present the original cast. Harry was asked to play the
“young and tender Little Billee”. At first he refused, saying that he
was too old, but finally he was persuaded to appear. Phyllis Neilson
Terry was to play “Trilby”, and I remember hearing of her dismay when
she was told who was to be “Billee”. She remembered seeing Harry in the
part when she “was a little girl”! At the dress rehearsal her fears
vanished. She came up to me and told me what she had feared. “But now,”
she said, “well, just look at him; he’s straight from the nursery; my
husband says I’m baby-snatching.”

Swing the pendulum to the other side, and recall his “Jacob Ussher” in
his own play, _Birds of a Feather_—the old Jew, the modern Shylock, who
sees himself bereft of the only thing he loves in life, his daughter.
Ussher is no more ashamed of the way in which he has made his money than
Shylock was, but he, with all his pride of race, is very definitely
ashamed that his daughter should wish to marry such a poor “aristocratic
fish” as “Rupert Herringham”. How the part includes every note in the
scale of the emotions; how Ussher alternates between the over-indulgent
father and the martinet who rules his women exactly as his forefathers
did; how he bullies and cajoles; how he uses persuasion and force; how
he raves, rails, and finally weeps; and who, when Harry played him, wept
not as an Englishman, but as a Jew who sees, in the ruin of his
daughter, the destruction of the Temple and the Holy City by those who
“know not the Law and the Prophets”. After seeing the play, a Jew told
him that the only disappointment, the only thing which seemed “unreal”,
was to find Harry seated in his dressing-room “talking English and not
Hebrew”; and yet a critic said of this performance that “as far as
characterisation is concerned, Ussher might have been a Gentile”. Let
that critic see to it that he knows well the sons of Jacob, and then let
him recall the performance at the Globe Theatre, with Harry Esmond as
“one of them”.

I have told you how he came to play “D’Artagnan” in the _Musketeers_, in
the place of Lewis Waller, and I remember the doubts which were
expressed everywhere as to whether Harry was sufficiently robust and
virile to play the part of the Gascon soldier of fortune. How Harry,
realising that so far as personal appearance went he was as unlike the
traditional hero of Dumas’ romance as well could be imagined, set to
work to give such a reading that his slimness, his boyishness, his
delicate air of romance, might be changed from handicaps to assets.
Lewis Waller was probably more the man Dumas had in his mind; he was
outwardly the typical mercenary fire-eater with a love of adventure, and
a great-hearted courage behind it all; Harry Esmond was more like the
conventional “Athos”, but he made you feel that here was the “soldier in
spite of himself”; here was the son of Gascony who might so easily have
been made a courtier or even a priest, but for the love of adventure,
the romance, the high-spirited courage, which had driven him out to join
the King’s Musketeers at any cost. Speaking of this part reminds me that
during the run of the play Harry allowed his hair to grow, so that he
did not need to wear a full wig. He was riding down the King’s Road one
morning on his bicycle, when two small boys caught sight of him. “’Ere,
Bill,” shouted one, “’ere’s a poet.” The other gazed at Harry, and
returned with scorn, “Garn wiv yer, that ain’t a poet, that’s a bloomin’
b——dy _poem_.”

When Lewis Waller produced _Romeo and Juliet_, Harry was cast for
“Mercutio”, a part which called for all the gaiety, all the youth, all
the gallantry which he knew so well how to portray. I find that one
critic said of his performance that “it had that touch of mystery which
Mr. Esmond has given before, a touch of aloofness, indefinably appealing
and tragic”, which seems to me to sum up the performance admirably. I
find, too, another critic who says “he cannot interpret that
youthfulness which springs from the joy of living”—“the joy of living”,
which was an integral part of the man all his life!

Speaking of “Mercutio” brings me to another Shakespearean part which
Harry played—that of “Touchstone”. And here again he committed the crime
of playing “Touchstone” as he felt he should be played, not as custom,
convention, and tradition dictated. The first intimation that he was
outraging the feelings of these three old gods came at rehearsal, when
on the exit “bag and baggage, scrip and scrippage” the producer told him
“Here you exit, dancing. You know what I mean: ‘the light fantastic
toe’.” Harry did know, and he did not see why the exit demanded that
particular method. He asked “Why?” “Why?” repeated the producer, Mr. H.
H. Vernon; “why? Well, because it is always made like that.” Again Harry
asked “Yes, but why? what’s the reason?” “_Reason_,” repeated Mr.
Vernon, “I don’t know any _reason_; it’s _always done like that_.” “Give
me a reason,” Harry begged, “and if it’s a good one, I’ll think it
over”; but no reason was forthcoming, except the reiteration that “it
had always been done so, etc.” Now, to Harry, “Touchstone” was a
“jester”, not a “clown”, and he believed that when Shakespeare so
designated him it was used in the sense of “one who clowns or jests”; he
saw no reason to make “Touchstone” anything but a “clown” in name, for
he held that his words prove him to be the cleverest man in the play,
and that he is the forerunner of “Jack Point”, “Grimaldi”, and even poor
dear pathetic Dan Leno and Charlie Chaplin—the great comedians who make
you laugh with the tears never very far from your eyes, because they are
so tragically funny; the comedians whose comedy is ever very nearly
tragedy, and who, when they cease to convulse their audiences, look out
at the world with eyes that have in them no mirth, but a great sadness,
which springs from knowledge that they “are paid to be funny”; that
feeling which makes W. S. Gilbert’s “Point” sing:

[Illustration:

  _Photograph by Gabell & Co., London, W._ To face p. 222

  HARRY AS TOUCHSTONE

  “As You Like It”
]

                 “Though your wife ran away
                 With a soldier that day,
             And took with her your trifle of money—
                 Bless your heart, they don’t mind,
                 They’re exceedingly kind;
             They don’t blame you so long as you’re funny.”

That is the cry of your jester all the world over, and that was the
feeling which existed in Harry’s mind when he depicted “Touchstone” as a
rather sardonic, melancholy person, with a great brain, the only use for
which he can find is to make people laugh.

I will take only two instances to justify his idea of “Touchstone”. The
first: Are the words

 “The more pity, that fools may not speak wisely what wise men do
    foolishly”

those of a “clown” or “a fool” in the ordinary sense?

Take also “Corin’s” words:

            “You have too courtly a wit for me, I’ll rest.”

He is frankly puzzled by the Jester’s humour. Yet “Corin” is a typical
shepherd of the times, and an English shepherd (for all we meet him in
the Forest of Arden): as such, he was used to the jokes and witticisms
of the ordinary clown; he had “roared his ribs out” at them at the
village fairs. This “Touchstone” is no ordinary clown, and “Corin” finds
his humour makes a demand upon the head; he is more than “funny”, he is
the Court wit. Read the conversation which has gone before, and you will
find that this is indeed “The Court Jester”, and a courtier before he
was a jester—a man accustomed to sharpen his wits upon those of the men
he met at Courts. And so Harry gave him—a wise man, a disappointed,
cynical man, but a man who could afford to value the wit of those around
him at its proper worth—less than his own.

When Sir Herbert Tree revived _The School for Scandal_, Harry played
“Sir Benjamin Backbite”. Harry, Who loved sincerity, and truth, and
simplicity, played the affected fop of the period, with his cane, his
lace handkerchief, his fur muff, his bouquet, and his general air of
affectation, and played him so that to watch and listen to it was a
sheer delight.

These are but a few of his parts—the parts which, when he played them,
were both praised and blamed. I want to touch on his method of playing,
and call to your memory some of the features which characterised it. He
was always sincere; he might, and did (as in _Eliza_), get bored with a
part, but he was too good an actor, too proud of his work, ever to let
it appear to an audience.

His voice was wonderful; he could put more tenderness, without the least
touch of sentimentality, into his words than anyone I ever heard. To
hear Harry say “My dear”, as he did in _The Dangerous Age_ and again in
_The Law Divine_, was to hear all the essence of love-making, with all
the love in the world behind it, put into two words.

His gesture was superb; he was not, as so many actors are, apparently
afraid of using a big sweeping movement; he (perhaps it was the Irishman
in him) was never afraid that a big gesture would look ridiculous. He
knew that anything, whether tone of voice or gesture or movement is very
rarely ridiculous if it is prompted by real feeling. He knew that the
real justification for anything an actor may do on the stage is “because
I _feel_ it”, not “because I think it will look effective”. As a
producer—and he was one of the best producers I have ever seen—he got
the very last ounce out of his company because he always, when asked
“What do you want me to do here?”, answered “What do you feel you _want_
to do?” He “nursed” his company, and watched them grow strong under his
care.

All his movements were good. He could use his feet in a way that, if
anyone had tried to copy, would have looked ridiculous. He had a little
rapid trick of shifting from one foot to the other, when he was worried
or uncertain, which I have never seen attempted by anyone else. He did
it in the last act of _Twenty-One_, when the girl he loves is trying to
get him to propose to her; he used it again in _A Kiss or Two_, and it
gave you the keynote to the man’s mental attitude as much as his spoken
words. In this latter play, during his telling of the “Legend”, which I
have quoted in another chapter, he used that sweeping gesture of his arm
of which I have spoken. Seated in a chair, leaning forward, carried away
by the story he tells, he comes to the words, “and there in the sunlight
stood a beautiful young woman”. Out went his arm, his eyes following it,
the fingers outspread to take in the whole of the picture, until, when
he looked behind him, looked to where his arm and hand pointed, you
might almost have seen her, “her eyes all agog with laughter”.

He was curiously affected by the parts he played; I mean he actually
became very much the man he depicted on the stage. When he played old
men, he would come home in the evening still very much “in the part”,
inclined to walk slowly and move rather stiffly. When he played young
men—such as “Captain Pat Delaney”, for example—he was gallant, walked
buoyantly, and very evidently was thoroughly in love with life. I have
known him at such times, when we were out together, raise his hat to any
girl we met who was young and pretty—not because he wanted to speak to
her, certainly not because he knew her, but simply because he loved
pretty girls, and wanted an excuse to smile at them, all from the pure
joy of being alive.

So there is Harry Esmond, the actor, as I knew him—enjoying his work,
never letting it sink to anything less than a profession of which he was
very proud. He chose the Stage because he loved it, and he loved it as
long as he lived. He studied each part with a kind of concentrated
interest, and played them as he believed them to be meant to be played.
I think for everything he did he could have given a definite and
sufficient reason, and so believed in what he did. “He hath the letter,
observe his construction of it”; and if his construction was new or
strange, unconventional or untraditional, it was so because that was how
Harry Esmond was convinced it should be.

His position as an actor was something of the attitude of “How happy I
could be with either, were t’other dear charmer away”. He loved all his
work, whether character-studies, gallant soldiers, or tender lovers;
they all claimed the best that was in him, and, as the best was “very
good”, it became not what he could play, but what he could _not_ play.
So I review them mentally, the parts that Harry played, and wonder if he
had been less gifted, if he had not had in his composition that very big
streak of genius, whether he might not perhaps have been one of the
names which will be handed down to posterity as “the world’s greatest
actors”. Then I ask myself in which direction should he have
concentrated, and which of the big parts that he played would I have
been willing to have missed. Which? I cannot decide. “D’Artagnan”,
“Touchstone”, “Sandy”, “Kean”, “Jacob Ussher”, “Mercutio”, even that
really poor part “Little Billee”, were all so good that I am glad he
played them. I think, too, that the success of them all came from a
great understanding as well as great observation, and that was why “one
man in his time” played so many parts, and played them all with more
than ordinary distinction and feeling.



                              CHAPTER XVI
                                AND LAST

               “Hush! Come away!”—_The Wilderness._.sp 2


So I come to the end, so far as one can come to the end of recollections
and memories, for each one brings with it many others; they crowd in
upon me as I write, and I have to be very firm with myself and shut the
door in the face of many.

I have tried to tell you some of the incidents which have amused and
interested me; I have tried to make you see men and women as I have seen
them; and have tried to make you walk with me down “life’s busy street”.
I have tried to pay the tribute of affection and regard to the various
“Cæsars” I have known, and if in this book any names are missing—names
of men and women who have been, and are, my very dear and good friends—I
can only tell them that they are not missing in my heart.

I look back over the years that are past, look back to the time when I
first came to London, and looked on “leading ladies” and “leading men”
as giants who walked the earth, when I used to wonder if I could ever
hope to be one of them; and then, it seemed with wonderful swiftness,
the years flew past and, behold! I was a leading lady myself. That is
one of the wonderful tricks life plays for our mystification: the
far-off hope of “some day” becomes the realisation of “to-day”.

To-day, as I sit writing this, I can look out on the garden of “Apple
Porch”—the house that Harry and I almost built together; the garden
which we turned, and changed, and planted, to make it what it has
become, “our ideal garden”. And in that garden ghosts walk for me—not
“bogeys”, but kindly spirits of men and women who lived and laughed with
us as friends; not that in life all of them walked in this garden of
ours, but because now they come to join the procession which moves
there. With them are many who are still with me, and whose companionship
still helps to make life very happy. They join the others, and walk in
my garden, to remind me of the times we have laughed together, and to
assure me that life in the future still has good things for me.

For, make no mistake, youth is very wonderful, youth is very beautiful,
but it passes and leaves behind, if you will only try to cultivate it,
something which can never pass away: that is the youth that is not a
question of years, but of humanity and a young heart. If you can still
feel the delight of the first primrose, if you can still feel your heart
leap at the sight of the leaves throwing off their winter coats and
showing the first vivid green of the spring; if you can stand in the
glory of a sunny day in March and thank God for His annual proof of the
Resurrection, the re-birth of what all through the winter had seemed
dead and is “now alive again”—then you are one of those whom the gods
love; you will die young, for you can never grow old.

So, in my garden, the procession of ever-young people passes.

Over in that far corner is Herbert Lindon, sitting at an easel, painting
a picture of the house. “A plain man, my masters”, but the kindliest of
friends, with the most helpful nature in the world. Behind him stands
Forbes Robertson, with his beautiful face, his wonderful voice, and his
courtly manners. Had he lived five hundred years ago, he would have
ridden out, dressed in shining armour, to fight for the Right against
the Wrongs of the World; but, dressed in the clothes of 1923, he is
still a knight, the instinctive supporter of the weak against the
strong, the good against the evil.

Lawrence Kellie passes my window, a cigar in his mouth, and pauses a
moment to tell me that he is going in to play some of his own
compositions, to my great delight. On the golf links, outside the
garden, I can see Charles Frohman, looking like a kindly “brownie”; he
is flying a huge kite, so big that he might be in danger of flying after
the kite, were it not for two small boys, Jack and Bill, who are holding
fast to his legs.

Arthur Collins, very spruce and dapper, passes with E. S. Willard; they
tell me they are going to persuade Frohman to leave his kite-flying and
come in to play poker with them and Fred Terry.

Fred Terry stops outside the window for a talk with me, and reminds me
of the winter he came to stay with us here, when Harry would insist upon
his going out, in a biting east wind, to see “the beauty of the night”!
I ask him if he remembers the Bank Holiday when he was with us, when
Harry had to go back to a rehearsal of some approaching production? How
he (Fred) was taken ill with a bad heart attack, and that, rather than
let me see how he was suffering, for fear the sight should frighten me,
he shut himself up in a room and refused to let me enter. Fred Terry,
large and genial, wearing eye-glasses, moves away, and I see him stop to
speak to Lottie Venne, who on very high heels, looking like a very
alert, very “wide awake” bird, is coming towards us, her heels tapping
on the stones of the path.

That gentle-looking woman over there is Marion Terry, and with her Lena
Ashwell, talking, I am certain, of some plan or scheme which she is
preparing to “carry through” with her extraordinary capacity and
originality.

You see that squarely built man yonder, who looks—what he is—a sailor?
That is Ernest Shackleton. He comes over to me, bringing his book with
him. He shows me the title—one word, _South_—and asks if I think Harry
will consider making it into a film-play. I tell him that the day
England publicly mourned his loss in St. Paul’s Cathedral, during the
service a sudden ray of sunlight came through one of the painted windows
and struck the wall, just under the dome; how I followed it with my
eyes, and saw that it fell on the words “The glory of his works endureth
forever”. I think he smiles a little, and says, as Englishmen do when
praised for what they have done, “Oh, I didn’t do anything very great or
glorious.”

Here is a man who, too, has done great things. An explorer also, but he
has explored the depths of humanity; he has seen just how far his
fellow-men and women can fall, and yet he still retains his faith in
“the good that is in the worst of us”. It is W. T. Waddy, the
Metropolitan magistrate. Burns’s prayer that we should “deal gently with
your brother man, still gentler sister woman” has no application to Mr.
Waddy; he “keeps the faith” that believes that fundamentally humanity is
good, and each day in his work he testifies to it. I remind him that it
was his father, Judge Waddy, who first escorted me to the House of
Commons.

Over there is “Billy” Congreave, who gained the Victoria Cross and made
the Great Sacrifice in the war. With him, telling his battles over
again, is Dr. Leahy. He left his leg at the Marne, but that did not
prevent him enjoying, as he does still, a round or two with the gloves.
I should think he “enjoys” it more than his opponent, for “Micky” Leahy
is an enormous man. He appears to be the last man in the world likely to
possess, as he does, wonderful gifts of healing.

Who is that woman laughing at some joke made by the man walking with
her? She is Dame May Whitty, and the man is Sir Alfred Fripp. You see
him at his very best when surrounded by his wife and ’a large family of
very healthy children. She, Dame Whitty, is a friend of thirty years,
and her affection and goodness to me have never altered.

The woman who has just joined them is Susanne Sheldon. I parody the
saying, “better twenty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay” when
speaking of Suzanne, and say “better one day of Susanne than a month of
the people who lack her understanding and great heart.” Some day go to
the Children’s Hospital in Great Ormond Street, and hear of the work she
has done there; they will tell you more than I can, for she does not
talk of all she does.

The lame man, who looks so fierce, is Sydney Valentine. He looks fierce,
and rather as though he had more brain than heart. His looks belie his
nature. He leans on his stick by my window, and we talk of the early
days of the Actors’ Association. I remind him of the splendid fight he
made to gain the Standard Contract for the acting profession. I ask him,
“Do you remember the Lyric Theatre meeting?”, and I add some hard things
about the people who attacked him there. He smiles, and reminds me of
our own Suffrage motto (and how he used to hate the Suffrage Movement,
too!), “The aim is everything”, and adds “After all, we won our battle,
didn’t we?”

J. L. Toole, coming up, hears the last sentence, and asks, “Battle, what
battle?” Just as I am about to answer, he pops a “bullseye” into my
mouth, as he used to years ago when I was playing with him on the stage.
Toole laughs, and I laugh with him; but our laughter is checked by a
tall man, with a heavy moustache, who, with a melancholy face, is
filling a pipe from a tobacco-pouch like a sack—and not a very small
sack, either! He brings an air of tragedy with him, and I ask, “What is
the matter, Aubrey?”

It is Aubrey Smith, the “Round the Corner Smith” who took the first
English cricket eleven to South Africa, and still, when his work on the
stage allows him, will rush away to Lords or the Oval to watch a match.
“Haven’t you heard?” he asks; and adds, “Dreadful, dreadful; I don’t
know what England’s coming to.” “What _has_ happened?” I ask again. He
looks at me sadly and tells me—“England has lost the _Test Match_!” He
wanders away, and a few minutes later I hear him laughing—a laugh which
matches him for size. He is probably telling the woman he is talking to
(Elizabeth Fagan) of the new pig-styes he has built at West Drayton.

There is Marie Tempest, and how fascinating she is! She has the
cleverest tongue and the most sparkling humour of any woman I know. The
woman near her is Julia Neilson, a dream of loveliness, and with a
nature as lovely as her face. There, too, are Lady Martin Harvey and
Lady Tree—Lady Tree, whom I first understood when I met her under
circumstances which were very difficult for us both; and who showed me
then what “manner of woman” she is, so that ever since I have loved and
admired her. And Nell Harvey, who can face the rough patches of life
with equanimity, and who can “walk with kings” without losing that
“common touch” which gives her the breadth of vision, the tolerance, and
kindness which have made her ever ready to give help to those who need
it.

This man coming towards me, his hands clasped behind him, who looks as
if he were meditating deeply, is Sir Charles Wyndham. When he was
playing in London, and Harry was a very young actor in the provinces,
and had heard of but had never seen Charles Wyndham, one paper said it
was “a pity that Mr. Esmond has tried to give such a slavish imitation
of the great actor”. He stands for a moment to ask me if I remember the
evening he came to see _The Dangerous Age_, and repeats again his
admiration and praise of the play. I tell him that I remember, also, how
after the play he sat in Harry’s dressing-room for an hour and a half,
delighting both of us with his stories of the stage, “past and present”.

He passes on, and you see him stop to speak to Anthony Hope, that
delightful man who possesses a manner of joyous cynicism of which one
never tires. George Alexander has joined them, perhaps speaking of the
success of _The Prisoner of Zenda_. You notice his beautiful white hair.
Once, in _The Wilderness_, he had to darken it, and as in the play he
had to lay his head on my shoulder, my dress was gradually marked with
the stain he used for his hair.

I stand and reach out to shake the hand of Lewis Waller, and ask him if
he is still “putting square pegs into round holes”. He asks, in his
beautiful voice that was the salvation of so many really poor plays,
what I mean. I remind him of a play, many years ago, when Harry
remonstrated with him and said that some of the parts in the production
were played so badly, adding “Why _do_ you engage such people? they are
not, and never will be, actors”; and how Lewis Waller replied, “I know,
I know, Harry, but I would sooner have round pegs in square holes than
not have people round me who love me.” Dear Will! He moves away,
speaking to this person and that person, and giving to each one
something of his very gentle and infinitely lovable personality.

That beautiful woman, surely “God’s most wonderful handiwork”, to whom
Will is speaking now, is Maxine Elliott; she is Jill’s God-mother,
another of the lovely women whose faces are only the mirrors of the
natures which lie beneath.

The sound of the piano reaches me, and I look to see if Lawrence Kellie
is still playing, and have to look twice before I can believe that it is
not he who sits playing, but Raymond Rose, who is so wonderfully like
him. Perhaps he is at work composing, not this time for His Majesty’s
Theatre, but, like Henry Purcell, for “that blessed place where only his
music can be excelled”.

Then the gate at the end of the garden opens, and, carrying a bag of
golf clubs, and clad in an old coat and equally old trousers which seem
to be “draped” round his ankles, comes Harry. He comes up to the window,
full of the joy of life and never-ending youth; leaning his arms on the
window-sill, he looks at the men and women in the garden, and smiles.

“Our friends,” I tell him.

And he repeats after me, “Yes, our friends.” After a moment he goes on,
thoughtfully: “I used to tell you that ‘Friendship was a question of
streets’; I think I was wrong: it’s something more than that.” And, as
if to prove his words, we both see Malcolm Watson walking in the garden,
the kindly Scot, who never fails anyone, a real friend of countless
years.

[Illustration:

  _Photograph by Miss Compton Collier, London, N.W.6._ To face p. 237

  APPLE PORCH
]

“I think it is—something more than that,” I answer.

As we talk, the sun suddenly blazes out, filling all the garden with
light; Harry stretches out his hand, smiling, and says: “Sunshine! Let’s
go out!”

                  *       *       *       *       *

So the dream ends, but the garden and the sunshine remain; and not only
the garden and the sunshine, but the knowledge that “these are my
friends”; that these men and women have known and, I think, loved me, as
I have known and loved them; and the fact that they have been and are,
many of them, still in my life, making the world a finer and cleaner
place in which to live.

That is how I should wish to look back on life: not always easy, or
smooth, or always happy, but with so much that has been worth while, so
much that has been gay and splendid.

Gradually everything falls into its right perspective; things which
seemed so important, so tragic, so difficult “at the time”—why, now one
can almost look back and laugh. Not everything: the things which were
rooted in beliefs and convictions do not shrink with the years; and I am
glad, and even a little proud, that I lived through the time which held
the Boer War, the Suffrage Campaign, and the Greatest World Struggle
that the world has ever seen—please God, the Last Great War of All!

My work, my own work, it has been hard—there have been difficult times,
when lack of understanding made work less of a joy than it should have
been—but, looking at it all as a whole, and not as a series of detached
memories, it has been very good to do, and I have been very happy in
doing it. It has kept my brain working, and, I think, kept my heart
young; and never once since the front door of my father’s house closed
behind me, and I left home in that storm of parental wrath, have I
regretted that I chose the Stage as a profession.

I have tried to tell you something of what the years have brought, with
no real thought except that it was a joy to me to remember it all. I
have not tried to “point a moral or adorn a tale”, but simply to tell my
story as it happened. Yet there is surely a moral—or, at least, some
lesson—which has been learnt in all the years of work and play. I think
it is this: Let God’s sunlight into your lives, live in the sunlight,
and let it keep you young. For youth is the thing which makes life
really worth living, youth which means the enjoyment of small things,
youth which means warm affections, and which means also the absence of
doubting and distrusting which, if you allow it, will take so much of
the glorious colour out of life’s pictures.

So, in Harry’s words, I would end all I have tried to tell you by
saying:

                       “Sunshine! Let’s go out!”


                                 FINIS



                               APPENDICES


                               APPENDIX I
                       PARTS PLAYED BY EVA MOORE

                                  1887

 “Varney”                            _Proposals_
 “Spirit of Home” (Dot)              _The Cricket on the Hearth_

                                  1888

 “Alice”                             _A Red Rag_
 “Alice Marshall”                    _The Butler_
 “Dora”                              _The Don_
 ——                                  _The Spittalfields Weaver_
 ——                                  _Toole in the Pig Skin_
 ——                                  _Ici on Parle Française_
 ——                                  _Birthplace of Podgers_
 ——                                  _Artful Cards_
 ——                                  _Paul Pry_

                                  1889

 “Kitty”                             _A Broken Sixpence_
 “Felicia Umfraville”                _The Middleman_
 “Alice Jolliffe”                    _The Home Feud_
 “Nancy”                             _The Middleman_
 “Diana”                             _Pedigree_

                                  1890

 “Countess of Drumdurris”            _The Cabinet Minister_

                                  1891

 “Gwendoline Fanlight”               _Culprits_
 “Mrs. Richard Webb”                 _The Late Lamented_
 “Nita”                              _The Mountebanks_

                                  1892

 “Matilde”                           _A Scrap of Paper_
 “Violet Melrose”                    _Our Boys_

                                  1893

 “Miss Violet”                       _A Pantomime Rehearsal_
 “Amanda P. Warren”                  _Allendale_
 “Mrs. Delafield”                    _Man and Woman_
 “Lettice”                           _Time will Tell_
 “Winifred Chester”                  _The Younger Son_
 “Pepita”                            _Little Christopher Columbus_

                                  1894

 “Nellie Dudley”                     _The Gay Widow_
 “Lead”                              _The Shop Girl_
 *†“Fairy Buttonshaw”                _Bogey_

                                  1895

 “Angela Brightwell”                 _The Strange Adventures of Miss
                                       Brown_
 “Nelly Jedbury”                     _Jedbury, Jun._
 “Dora”                              _The Wanderer from Venus_

                                  1896

 “Molly Dyson”                       _Major Raymond_
 *†“Margaret”                        _In and Out of a Punt_
 †“Miss Savile”                      _A Blind Marriage_
 “Madam de Cocheforet”               _Under the Red Robe_

                                  1897

 “Mistress Golding”                  _The Alchemist_
 “Elladeen Dunrayne”                 _An Irish Gentleman_
 *††“Maysie”                         _One Summer’s Day_

                                  1898

 “April”                             _The Sea Flower_
 “Angela Goodwin”                    _Tommy Dodd_
 †“Gabrielle de Chalius”             _The Three Musketeers_

                                  1899

 “Sybil Crake”                       _The Dancing Girl_
 “Ellice Ford”                       _Carnac Sahib_
 “Lucie Manette”                     _The Only Way_
 “Christina”                         _Ibb and Christina_
 “Louise”                            _Marsac of Gascony_

                                  1901

 “Kate Duewent”                      _A Fools’ Paradise_
 *“Mabel Vaughan”                    _The Wilderness_
 ——                                  _The Importance of Being Earnest_

                                  1902
 “Lady Hetty Wrey”                   _Pilkerton’s Peerage_
 *“Lady Ernstone”                    _My Lady Virtue_

                                  1903

 “Kathie”                            _Old Heidelberg_
 *“Miss Wilhelmina Marr”             _Billy’s Little Love Affair_
 “Lady Henrietta Addison”            _The Duke of Killiecrankie_

                                  1904

 “Lady Mary Carlyle”                 _Monsieur Beaucaire_

                                  1905

 †“Klara Volkhardt”                  _Lights Out_

                                  1906

 “Judy”                              _Punch_
 “Miss Blarney”                      _Josephine_

                                  1907

 “Muriel Glayde”                     _John Glayde’s Honour_
 “Sweet Kitty Bellaires”             _Sweet Kitty Bellaires_

                                  1908

 “Mrs. Crowley”                      _The Explorer_
 “Dorothy Gore”                      _The Marriages of Mayfair_
 “Mrs. Errol” (Dearest)              _Little Lord Fauntleroy_
 “Lady Joan Meredith”                _The House of Bondage_

                                  1909

 “Kathie” (revival)                  _Old Heidelberg_
 “Hon. Mrs. Bayle”                   _The Best People_
 “Hon. Mrs. Rivers”                  _The House Opposite_

                                  1910

 “Gay Birch”                         _Company for George_

                                  1911

 “Christine”                         _A Woman’s Wit_

                                  1912

 “Kate Bellingham”                   _Looking for Trouble_
 *†“Eliza”                           _Eliza Comes to Stay_
 *†“Betty”                           _The Dangerous Age_

                                  1913

 *†“Eliza”                           _Eliza Comes to Stay_
 *†“Betty”                           _The Dangerous Age_

                                  1914

 *†“Eliza”                           _Eliza Comes to Stay_
 *†“Betty”                           _The Dangerous Age_

                                  1915

 *†“Phyllis”                         _When We Were Twenty-One_

                                  1918

 “Mrs. Culver”                       _The Title_
 “Mrs. Etheridge”                    _Cæsar’s Wife_

                                  1920

 “Mumsie”                            _Mumsie_

                                  1921

 “Lady Marlow”                       _A Matter of Fact_
 *†“Edie La Bas”                     _The Law Divine_

                                  1922

 “Miss Van Gorder”                   _The Bat_

                                  1923

 “Mary Westlake”                     _Mary, Mary Quite Contrary_

          All those marked * were plays written by my husband.

                 All those marked † we played together.


                              APPENDIX II
                   SOME PARTS PLAYED BY H. V. ESMOND


 “Lord John”                         _The Scorpion_
 “Harold Lee”                        _Rachel_
 ——                                  _Frou Frou_
 “Gibson”                            _Ticket of Leave_
 “Horace Holmcroft”                  _New Magdalen_
 “Eglantine Roseleaf”                _Turn Him Out_
 “Feversham”                         _Take Back the Heart_
 “Theodore Lamb”                     _Glimpse of Paradise_
 “Capt. Damerel”                     _The Lord Harry_
 “Jack”                              _Ruth’s Romance_
 “The Marquis de Presles”            _The Two Orphans_
 “Megor”                             _Nana_
 “George Talboys”                    _Lady Audrey’s Secret_
 “Philip”                            _Eve’s Temptation_
 “Bill Sykes”                        _Oliver Twist_
 “Uriah Heep”                        _Little Emily_
 “Ishmael, the Wolf”                 _Flower of the Forest_
 “Tulkinghorn”                       _Poor Joe_
 “Charles Torrens”                   _Serious Family_
 “Mr. Lynx”                          _Happy Pair_
 “Mr. Debbles”                       _Good for Nothing_
 “Rafael de Mayal”                   _The Marquesa_
 “Capt. Kirby”                       _Dick Venables_
 “Fillipo”                           _Fennel_
 “Paddington Grun”                   _If I Had a Thousand a Year_
 “Harold Wingard”                    _Daughters_
 “Fred Fanshaw”                      _Weak Woman_
 “Harry Stanley”                     _Paul Pry_
 “John”                              _In Chancery_
 *“Pierre”                           _Rest_
 “Frank Bilton”                      _Churchwarden_
 “Weston Carr”                       _Flight_
 “Plantagent Watts”                  _Great Unpaid_
 “Phil Summers”                      _Dregs_
 “Eric”                              _Too Happy by Half_
 “Reggie”                            _The Rise of Dick Halward_
 * †“Hugh”                           _In and Out of a Punt_
 “Dolly”                             _A Blind Marriage_
 “Le Barrier”                        _The Storm_
 “Cayley Drummle”                    _The Second Mrs. Tanqueray_
 “Touchstone”                        _As You Like It_
 “Major-General Sir R. Chichele”     _The Princess and the Butterfly_
 “Verges”                            _Much Ado About Nothing_
 “Capt. Theobald Kerger”             _The Conquerors_
 “Vivian Seauvefere”                 _The Ambassador_
 “Fritz von Tarbenhelm”              _Rupert of Hentzau_
 “D’Artagnan”                        _The Three Musketeers_
 “Major Blencoe”                     _The Tree of Knowledge_
 ——                                  _The Debt of Honour_
 “Charles II.”                       _His Majesty’s Servant_
 “Mercutio”                          _Romeo and Juliet_
 “Augustus III.”                     _Hawthorne, U.S.A._
 “Corporal Helbig”                   _Lights Out_
 “Louis IV.”                         _Bond of Ninon_
 “Widgery Blake”                     _Palace of Puck_
 “Mr. Whitly”                        _The Education of Elizabeth_
 “Sir Benjamin Backbite”             _The School for Scandal_
 “Little Billee”                     _Trilby_
 “Viscount Bolingbroke”              _Mr. Jarvis_
 *“Philip Kean”                      _Grierson’s Way_
 “Sir Francis Leverson”              _East Lynne_
 “Alfred Meynard”                    _The Corsican Brothers_
 “Chaucer”                           _Vice Versa_
 “Robert de Belfort”                 _The Grip of Iron_
 “Adrian Fiore”                      _The Panel Picture_
 “Capt. Julian Chandler”             _The Middleman_
 “Algernon Grey”                     _Sweet Nancy_
 “Graham Maxwell”                    _The Pharisee_
 “Edward Pendlecoop”                 _Culprits_
 “Lord Leadenhall”                   _The Rocket_
 “Howard Bombas”                     _The Times_
 “Cis Farrington”                    _The Magistrate_
 “Eddie Remon”                       _The Masqueraders_
 “George Round”                      _Guy Domville_
 “Willie Hasselwood”                 _The Triumph of the Philistines_
 [1]“Uncle Archie Buttonshaw”        _Bogey_
 “Earl of Addisworth”                _Pilkerton’s Peerage_
 “Cyril Ryves”                       _Chance, The Idol_
 “Hon. Sandy Verrall”                _Eliza Comes to Stay_
 “Jack Le Bas”                       _The Law Divine_
 “Adam Haggarth”                     _In Days of Old_
 ——                                  _Barton Mystery_
 “Sir Egbert Ingelfield”             _The Dangerous Age_
 “Jacob Ussher”                      _Birds of a Feather_

Footnote 1:

  Parts in his own plays.


                              APPENDIX III
                     PLAYS WRITTEN BY H. V. ESMOND

 *_When We Were Twenty-One_
 *_Under the Greenwood Tree_
 *_Billy’s Little Love Affair_
 *_One Summer’s Day_
 *_Grierson’s Way_
 *_My Lady Virtue_
 *_The Divided Way_
 *_The Wilderness_
 *_Bogey_
 *_The Sentimentalist_
 *_Eliza Comes to Stay_
 *_The Dangerous Age_
 *_The O’Grindles_
 *_A Kiss or Two_
 _Clorinda’s Career_
 *_My Lady’s Lord_
 *_A Young Man’s Fancy_
 _The Tug of War_
 *_The Forelock of Time_
 *_Love and the Man_
 *_The Law Divine_
 *_Birds of a Feather_
 *_Leoni_
 *_Cupboard Love_


                              SHORT PLAYS

 *_In and Out of a Punt_
 *_Her Vote_
 *_Rest_
 _A Woman in Chains_
 *_Island of Dreams_

    Those marked * have been produced either in England or America.



                                 INDEX


 Actors’ Association, 40, 233.

 Actresses’ Franchise League, 77, 94, 95.

 Adams, Maude, 149.

 Adelphi Theatre, The, 13.

 Ainley, Henry, 61, 109.

 Albani, Madame, 47.

 Aldwych Theatre, The, 70.

 Alexander, Sir George, 43, 44, 54–57, 59, 61, 66, 103, 134, 192, 202,
    216, 235.

 Alexander, Lady, 111.

 Alhambra, The, 129.

 Allen, Lady, 83, 84.

 Ambulance Corps, The, 75.

 America, 55, 57, 62, 83, 138, 143, 145–147, 149, 150, 181.

 Andresson, Herr, 111.

 Apple Porch, 74, 112, 163, 201, 229.

 Archer, William, 179.

 Army of Occupation, The, 34, 86.

 Asche, Oscar, 103.

 Ashwell, Lena, 85, 94, 95, 231.

 Asquith, Mrs. H. H., 161.

 Astor, M.P., The Rt. Hon. Viscountess, 163.

 _As You Like It_, 219.

 Austin, Alfred, 160.

 Australia, 23, 35, 36, 84.

 Authors’ Society, The, 148, 149.

 Aynesworth, Allen, 25, 62.


 _Bad Hats_, 212.

 Bailey, Rt. Hon. W. H., 57.

 Barker, Granville, 48, 73, 109.

 Barrie, Bart., Sir James, 63, 140.

 _Bat, The_, 72.

 Beardsley, Aubrey, 120.

 Beerbohm, Max, 179.

 Belgium, 75.

 _Belle Marseille, La_, 69.

 Bennett, Arnold, 70.

 Bennett, Marguerite Arnold, 182.

 Berhens, Herr, 111, 112.

 Berlin, 164, 165.

 Berry, W. H., 133.

 _Biff Bang_, 156.

 Billington, Theresa, 98.

 _Billy’s Little Love Affair_, 62, 63.

 _Birds of a Feather_, 212, 219.

 _Blind Marriage, The_, 46.

 _Bogey_, 43–46, 202, 207.

 Bourchier, Arthur, 60, 110, 111, 206.

 Brandram, Rosina, 32.

 _Breed of the Treshams, The_, 136.

 Brighton, 2, 3, 9–12, 15, 17, 47, 55, 67.

 British Army, The, 34.

 _Broken Sixpence, The_, 21.

 Brooke, Rupert, 86, 193.

 Brookfield, Charles, 83, 34.

 Brough, Fanny, 30, 31.

 Brough, Lal, 31.

 Brough, Mary, 21.

 Brough, Sydney, 31, 32.

 Browne, Graham, 63.

 Bruce, Nigel, 160.

 Buest, Scot, 14.

 Burge, Dick, 137.

 Burnett, Mrs. Hodgson, 68.

 _Butler, The_, 22.


 _Cabinet Minister, The_, 24–26.

 _Cæsar’s Wife_, 70.

 Calthrop, Dion Clayton, 197.

 Calvert, Mrs., 50.

 Campbell, Mrs. Patrick, 128, 129.

 Canada, 150, 151.

 _Carnac Sahib_, 53, 117.

 Carr, Professor, 152.

 Carson, Mrs., 31.

 Carte D’Oyley, 26.

 Carter, Mrs., 86.

 Castle, Egerton, 66.

 Cecil, Arthur, 25.

 Chamberlain, Austen, 90.

 _Chance_, 219.

 _Channings, The_, 193.

 Chaplin, Charlie, 222.

 Chelsea Palace, The, 121.

 Chevalier, Albert, 68.

 Chirgwin, George, 123, 124.

 Chisholm, Miss Marie, 75, 76, 79.

 _Chu Chin Chow_, 72.

 Churchill, M.P., The Right Hon. Winston Spencer, 10.

 _Cinderella_, 13

 Clark, Holman, 48.

 Clarkson, Willie, 51.

 _Clothes and the Woman_, 148, 149.

 Cochrane, Sir Ernest, 72.

 Collier, Constance, 50.

 Collier, Dr. Mayer, 27.

 Collins, Sir Arthur, 230.

 Comedy Theatre, The, 51, 72.

 Cooper, Gladys, 177.

 Copperfield, David, 20.

 _Coriolanus_, 140.

 Cornwallis, Miss, 86, 87.

 _Corsican Brothers, The_, 120, 216.

 Courtneidge, Robert, 181, 182.

 Court Theatre, The, 24, 101, 109.

 Craig, Edith, 36.

 Craigie, Pearl Mary-Teresa, 179.

 _Cricket on the Hearth, The_, 14, 16, 17.

 Criterion Theatre, The, 46, 148.

 _Culprits_, The, 26, 34.

 Cunningham, Philip, 113, 195.

 Curzon, Frank, 33, 131.


 Dacre, Arthur, 35.

 Dale, Alan, 145.

 Dana, Henry, 192.

 _Dancing Girl, The_, 52.

 Dane, Clemence, 114, 115.

 _Dangerous Age, The_, 69, 149, 206, 208, 209, 224, 235.

 Dare, Phyllis, 54.

 Dare, Zena, 54.

 Daughters of the Empire, The, 151

 _David Garrick_, 34.

 Davidson, Emily, 98.

 Davis, Ben, 18, 47.

 _Dear Brutus_, 219.

 _Dear Fool, The_, 143, 144, 149.

 _Defence of Lucknow, The_, 152.

 d’Erlanger, Baron Emile, 71.

 de Freece, Sir Laurie, 129.

 Despard, Mrs., 93.

 Dick, Cotsford, 26.

 Dickens, Miss Ethel, 148.

 Dockers’ Theatre, The, 56.

 _Dr. Chavasse’s Advice to a Mother_, 30.

 _Dr. Chavasse’s Advice to a Wife_, 30, 149.

 _Dr. Dee_, 26.

 _Dorothy_, 18.

 Drummond, Mrs., 151.

 Drummond, Flora, 92.

 Drury Lane Theatre, The, 32, 36, 53, 68.

 Dublin, 19, 57, 82, 84, 93.

 _Duke of Killiecrankie, The_, 63.

 Dumas, Alexandre, 220, 221.

 du Maurier, Sir Gerald, 173, 174, 17, 218.

 “Dumbells, The,” 156, 157.


 Edinburgh, 19, 20, 181.

 Edward VII., 169, 170.

 Edwardes, George, 39, 132, 133.

 _Eliza Comes to Stay_, 1, 14, 30, 102, 108, 113–115, 143, 147–150, 159,
    190, 203–205, 207, 224.

 Elliott, G. W., 43.

 Elliott, Maxine, 180, 181, 236.

 Elmore, Belle (Mrs. Crippen), 31.

 Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 98.

 Emery, Winifred, 16, 48, 103, 138, 139.

 Empire League, The, 162.

 Empire Theatre, The, 35, 42.

 Esmond, H. V. _Passim_.

 Esmond, Jack, 1, 142, 146, 194, 201, 230.

 Esmond, Jill, 1, 17, 66, 109, 114, 125, 146, 180, 183, 195, 236.

 Evans of Edmonton, Mr., 152.

 Everard, Walter, 34.

 _Explorer, The_, 67.


 Fagan, Elizabeth, 234.

 Farren, William, 32.

 _Faust_, 13.

 Feversham, William, 149.

 Fisher, Miss, 86.

 _Flames of Passion_, 72, 141.

 Frederick the Great, 168.

 _French for Tommies_, 75.

 Fripp, Sir Alfred, 232.

 Frohman, Charles, 82, 83, 146, 174, 175, 230.

 Fulton, Charles, 85, 64, 65.


 Gaiety Theatre, The, 38, 50, 132, 133.

 Gainsborough, Thomas, 189.

 Gallery First Night Club, The, 45.

 Garrick Club, The, 34, 122, 139.

 Garrick Theatre, The, 146.

 _Gay Widow, The_, 43.

 George, A. E., 67.

 George, M.P., The Rt. Hon. David Lloyd, 99.

 _Geraldine, or Victor Cupid_, 190, 200.

 Germany 34.

 Gibbs, Sir Philip, 166.

 Gilbert, W. S., 29, 125, 133, 134, 223.

 Gilbert and Sullivan Operas, 32.

 Globe Theatre, The, 220.

 Gneiseuan, General, 168.

 _Gondoliers, The_, 27.

 Goodwin, Maxine Elliott, 180, 181, 236.

 Goodwin, N. C., 180.

 Gordon, Major A., 77.

 Graham, Cissie (Mrs. Allen), 192.

 Green Room Club, The, 65, 138.

 Grierson’s Way, 179, 201, 206, 213, 219.

 Grossmith, George, 138.

 Grossmith, Weedon, 25, 63.

 Grove, Fred, 25, 30, 113, 114, 159, 160, 198.

 Groves, Charles, 62.

 Guerini, Madame, 11.

 Guggisberg, Lady, 78.


 Hackney, Mabel, 148.

 Hallard, Charles Maitland, 65, 164, 173, 187, 217.

 Hamilton, Harry, 51.

 _Harbour Lights_, 13.

 Harcourt, Cyril, 197.

 Harding, Lyn, 17, 68.

 Harding, Rudge, 112.

 Hare, Sir John, 69.

 Harvey, Sir John Martin, 103, 136, 137, 159.

 Harvey, Lady Martin, 103, 234.

 Hatfield, Lady, 80.

 Haverfield, Mrs., 76, 77.

 Hawkins, Sir Anthony Hope, 60, 126, 127, 235.

 Hawtrey, Sir Charles, 43, 49, 126, 185, 213.

 Haymarket Theatre, The, 109, 126, 128.

 _Hearts is Hearts_, 13.

 Hendrie, Ernest, 50.

 Henley, W. E., 199.

 _Her Vote_, 95.

 Hicks, Seymour, 39.

 _Highwayman, The_, 192.

 Hindenburg, Field Marshal Von, 166, 168.

 His Majesty’s Theatre, 34, 72, 236.

 Hobbes, John Oliver, 179.

 Hobhouse, M.P., Rt. Hon. Henry, 90.

 Hood, Dr. Walton, 125.

 Horder, Morley, 112, 113.

 House of Commons, The, 92.

 Hughes, Annie, 24.

 Huntly, G. P., 132.


 _Idylls of the King_, 188.

 Illington, Marie, 63, 181.

 _Importance of Being Earnest, The_, 64.

 _Imprudence_, 63.

 India, 53.

 Interlude Players, The, 12.

 Ireland, 20, 55, 56, 82.

 _Irish Gentleman, An_, 48.

 Irving, Sir Henry, 32, 120, 122, 140, 213.

 Irving, H. B., 65, 103, 123, 124, 134.

 Irving, Lawrence, 124, 125.

 Isaacs, Sir Rufus, 97.

 Isle of Man, The, 56.


 James, David, 32.

 Jay, Isabel, 33.

 _John Glayde’s Honour_, 66.

 Johnson, Eliza, 20, 21.

 Jones, Henry Arthur, 53, 105, 217.

 Joseph, Mrs. Henry, 151.

 _Josephine_, 63.

 Jowett, Professor Benjamin, 161.

 _Just So Stories_, 114.


 Karno, Edie, 31, 69.

 Karno, Fred, 31.

 Kellie, Lawrence, 230, 236.

 Kemble, Henry, 50.

 Kendal, Mrs., 11, 106, 109, 110 176.

 Kennington Theatre, The, 81.

 Kenny, Annie, 92.

 Keppel, Sir David, 78.

 Kerr, Fred, 46.

 Kingston, Gertrude, 74.

 Kipling, Rudyard, 114, 128.

 _Kiss or Two, A_, 209, 225.

 Knight, Joe, 122.

 Knoblauch, Edward, 71, 182.

 Knocker, Mrs. (Baroness T’Scerelles), 75, 78, 79.


 Lang, Matheson, 67.

 Lashwood, George, 104.

 _Late Lamented, The_, 27, 30.

 Law, M.P., the Rt. Hon. Bonar, 48.

 _Law, Divine, The_, 85, 150, 151, 160, 177, 181, 209, 212, 224.

 Lawrence, Mr. and Mrs. Pethick, 97.

 Leahy, Dr. M., 232.

 Leave Club, The, 85.

 Le Barge, Simone, 103.

 Leno, Dan, 103–105, 222.

 Lenton, Lilian, 98.

 Lester, Alfred, 153.

 Lewis, Eric, 113.

 _Lights Out_, 64, 66, 219.

 Lindon, Herbert, 230.

 Lindsay, James, 123.

 Little, Dr., 57.

 _Little Christopher Columbus_, 36, 37.

 _Little Golden Hope_, 11.

 Little Theatre, The, 74.

 Liverpool, 8, 10, 56, 146.

 Lloyd, Marie, 69, 120, 123, 124, 129, 130, 139.

 Loftus, Cissy, 94.

 Loftus, Marie, 120, 121.

 London, 12, 14, 18, 22, 74, 151, 180.

 London County Council, The, 34.

 Lonnen, Teddie, 37.

 _Looking for Trouble_, 70.

 _Love and the Man_, 84, 205.

 Lowne, Charles M., 21.

 Lucy, Arnold, 46.

 Lumley, Florrie, 154, 162.

 Lyceum Theatre, The, 48, 140.

 Lynch, Dr. and Mrs., 163.

 Lyric Theatre, The, 233.

 Lytton, Lady Constance, 93.


 Macarthy, Justin Huntly, 17, 183, 192.

 McKinnel, Norman, 72.

 Mackintosh, William, 24.

 _Man and Woman_, 34, 35.

 _Marriages of Mayfair, The_, 68.

 _Marsac of Gascony_, 53.

 Marsh, “Charlie,” 98.

 Martin, Mrs. Howe, 92.

 _Masqueraders, The_, 217.

 Massey, Deane, 151.

 _Matter of Fact, A_, 72.

 Maude, Cyril, 48, 103, 138, 139, 155.

 Maugham, Somerset, 67.

 Maurice, Newman, 108.

 May, Ackerman, 27.

 May, Edna, 33.

 Melville Brothers, The, 48.

 Menken, Adah Isaacs, 114.

 _Merchant of Venice, The_, 32.

 _Merry Wines of Windsor, The_, 107.

 Michau, Madame, 8, 9.

 _Middleman, The_, 23, 24, 27.

 Millet, Maude, 14, 24.

 Monckton, Lionel, 138.

 _Monsieur Beaucaire_, 66.

 Moore, Ada, 6, 7, 28, 77, 114, 164.

 Moore, Bertha, 11, 77.

 Moore, Decima, 4–8, 13, 17, 26, 27, 32, 74–78, 85, 90, 104, 125, 141,
    153.

 Moore, Edward Henry, 3, 4:, 6–8, 11–13, 15, 67.

 Moore, Mrs. E. H., 3, 7, 14, 15, 67.

 Moore, Emily (Mrs. Pertwee), 11, 77.

 Moore, Eva, _Passim_.

 Moore, Henry, 7, 18, 22.

 Moore, Jessie, 3, 18, 26.

 Morris, William, 188.

 _Mountebanks, The_, 29.

 _Mrs. Punch_, 63.

 _Much Ado About Nothing_, 36, 118, 217.

 _Mumming Birds_, 31.

 _Mumsie_, 71, 182.

 Munro, Dr., 75.

 Music, The Royal College of, 26.

 Music Hall Ladies’ Guild, The, 31.

 _Musical World, The_, 23.

 _My Lady Virtue_, 206.


 Needlework Guild, The, 76.

 Neilson, Julia, 56, 234.

 Neilson-Terry, Phyllis, 56, 139, 219.

 _Nero_, 119.

 Neville, Henry, 35, 36.

 Nevinson, Mrs., 93.

 New York, 143, 144, 147, 149, 174, 179, 180.

 Novelty Theatre, The, 111.


 Old Bailey, The, 97.

 _Old Heidelberg_, 61, 111.

 Old Oxford, The, 109.

 _Oliver Twist_, 216.

 _One Summer’s Day_, 32.

 Oxford Theatre, The, 189.


 _Pair of Spectacles, A_, 69.

 Palladium, The, 129.

 _Panel Picture, The_, 216.

 Pankhurst, Mrs., 92, 97, 100.

 Pankhurst, Christabel, 90–92, 99.

 _Pantomime Rehearsal, A_, 83.

 _Partners_, 12, 14.

 Pavilion, The, 209.

 Paxton, Sydney, 114.

 _Peg o’ My Heart_, 147.

 _People, The_, 18.

 Pertwee, Ernest, 11.

 _Peter Pan_, 17.

 Philippi, Rosina, 25, 26.

 Phillips, Kate, 16.

 Pidgeon, Mr. and Mrs., 142.

 Pinero, Sir Arthur W., 24, 63.

 _Pilkerton’s Peerage_, 60, 110.

 Play Actors, The, 12.

 Press, The, 18, 33, 48, 96.

 Pringle, Miss, 8.

 _Prisoner of Zenda, The_, 235.

 _Punch_, 18.

 Purcell, Henry, 236.


 Queenstown, 82.


 _Red Rag, The_, 17, 19.

 Reeve, Ada, 38.

 Repertory Players, The, 12.

 _Rest_, 192, 202.

 Rex, Frederick, 168.

 Richards, Cicely, 32.

 Roberts, Arthur, 134.

 Robertson, Sir Johnston Forbes, 85, 94, 184, 205, 230.

 Robey, George, 40, 137.

 Robson, Frederick, 213.

 Rock, Charles, 13.

 Roe, Bassett, 40.

 Rogers, The Hon. “Bob”, 153.

 _Romeo and Juliet_, 149, 221.

 Rorke, Kate, 205.

 Roscoe’s Performing Pigs, 139.

 Rose, Patrick, 28.

 Rose, Raymond, 236.

 Roselle, Amy, 35.

 _Rotten Brigade, The_, 212.

 Royalty Theatre, The, 26, 70.

 Rubens, Paul, 33.

 _Ruined Lady, The_, 71.


 St. James’s Theatre, 1, 43, 54, 56, 58, 61, 72, 204.

 St. John, Florence, 13, 62.

 Saker, Annie, 48.

 Savoy Theatre, The, 27, 125, 134.

 _School for Scandal, The_, 219, 224.

 Scott, Clement, 44, 45, 179, 207, 217.

 Scottish National Gallery, 93.

 _Scrap of Paper, A_, 31.

 _Sea Flower, The_, 51.

 _Second Mrs. Tanqueray, The_, 217.

 _Sentimentalist, The_, 213.

 Serbia, 75.

 Sevier, Robert, 36.

 Sevier, Lady Violet, 36.

 Shackleton, Sir Ernest, 71, 231.

 Shaftesbury Theatre, The, 23.

 Shakespeare, William, 32, 222.

 Shaughnessy, Lord and Lady, 151.

 Shaw, George Bernard, 109.

 Sheldon, Susanne, 233.

 Shelton, George, 17.

 Shields, Ella, 110.

 Shine, J. L., 48.

 _Shop Girl, The_, 38.

 Shortt, The Rt. Hon. Edward and Mrs., 191.

 Simmons, Miss, 148, 149.

 Sims, George R., 47.

 _Sisters_, 128, 129.

 Smith, Aubrey, 54, 70, 71, 234.

 _South_, 71, 231.

 _Sporting Times, The_, 45.

 “Spy”, 25.

 _Stage, The_, 31.

 _Standard, The_, 202.

 Standing, Herbert, 27, 46–48.

 Stanley, Sir Hubert, 182.

 Stevenson, Robert Louis, 199.

 Steward, Miss M., 156.

 _Strange Adventures of Miss Brown, The_, 46.

 _Stranglers of Paris, The_, 216.

 Stuart, Cosmo, 51.

 Suffrage Movement, The, 90, 93, 233.

 Sutro, Alfred, 66.

 _Sweet Kitty Bellaires_, 66.

 _Sweet Nancy_, 26, 217.

 _Sweet Nell of Old Drury_, 56.

 Swinburne, Algernon Charles, 114.


 Tariff Reform League, The, 90.

 Tate, Harry, 137, 138.

 _Tatler, The_, 38.

 Taylor, Sir Frederick and Lady, 151.

 Tempest, Marie, 18, 234.

 Tennyson, Alfred, Lord, 188.

 Terriss, Ellaline, 33.

 Terriss, William, 120.

 Terry, Edward, 28, 29, 30.

 Terry, Ellen, 36, 38, 106, 107, 138, 176.

 Terry, Florence, 18.

 Terry, Fred, 36, 56, 103, 139, 230, 231.

 Terry, Marion, 231.

 Terry’s Theatre, 26, 28–30.

 Theatrical Girls’ Club, 17.

 Theatrical Ladies’ Guild, 30.

 Thesiger, Ernest, 40.

 Thomas, Brandon, 33.

 Thompson, Mrs., 22.

 Thorndike, Sybil, 185.

 Thorne, Fred, 12.

 Thorne, Tom, 11, 12.

 Three Arts Club, 17.

 _Three Musketeers, The_, 51, 219, 220.

 Tiapolo, 93.

 _Times, The_, 21, 28.

 _Times, The_ (Play), 219.

 _Title, The_, 70.

 Tivoli Theatre, The, 121, 129, 189.

 Toft, Albert, 197.

 Tolstoi, Count Leo, 124.

 Toole, Florrie, 11, 12, 14, 20, 121.

 Toole, J. L., 13, 14, 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, 121–123, 233.

 Trans-Canadian Company, The, 150.

 Tree, Sir Herbert Beerbohm, 34, 51–53, 72, 73, 103, 117–120, 132, 139,
    192, 224.

 Tree, Lady, 119, 234.

 _Trilby_, 219.

 _Twelve Pound Look_, 140.

 _Typhoon_, 124.


 Ulmar, Geraldine, 27.

 _Under the Greenwood Tree_, 180.

 _Under the Red Robe_, 48.

 _Uriah Heep_, 216.


 Valentine, Sydney, 39, 233.

 Vancouver, 109, 155.

 Vanbrugh, Irene, 23.

 Vanbrugh, Violet, 19, 207.

 _Vanity Fair_, 25.

 Vaudeville Theatre, The, 11–13, 16, 150.

 Vedrenne, J. E., 70, 71.

 Venne, Lottie, 43, 231.

 Verity, Agnes, 24.

 Vernon, Harriet, 189.

 Vernon, H. H., 222.

 Vincent, H. H., 59.


 Waddy, Judge, 232.

 Waddy, W. T., 232.

 Walker, Dr., 163.

 Waller, Lewis, 51, 52, 66, 220, 221, 235, 236.

 Ward, Rowland, 54.

 Waring, Herbert, 46.

 War Office, 74.

 _Waterloo_, 123.

 Watson, Malcolm, 237.

 Watts, Dr., 12.

 Webster, Ben, 36, 58, 127.

 Webster, Dame May (May Whitty), 32, 58, 94, 127, 232.

 Weiglin, Thomas, 138.

 Weyman, Stanley, 48.

 _When We Were Twenty-One_, 180, 207, 225.

 White, Claude Grahame, 142.

 Wilberforce, Canon, 11.

 Wilberforce, Miss, 11.

 Wilcox, Herbert, 170, 171.

 Wilde, Sir Ernest and Lady, 109.

 _Wilderness, The_, 54, 55, 57, 58, 201, 204, 207, 209, 235.

 Willard, E. S., 23, 24, 230.

 William Hohenzollern of Germany, 169, 170.

 Winter, Miss Jessie, 212.

 Women’s Air Force, 76.

 Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps., 76.

 Women’s Emergency Corps, 74–77.

 Women’s Freedom League, 94.

 Women’s Social and Political Union, 94.

 Women’s Volunteer Reserve, 76.

 Wood, Mrs. John, 25, 101, 102.

 Wright, Fred, 177.

 Wyndham, Sir Charles, 34, 235.

 Wyndham, Lady (Miss Mary Moore), 78.

 Wyndham’s Theatre, 85, 212.


 Yohe, May, 37.

 Young, Miss Harriet, 11.

 _Younger Son, The_, 36.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                  _From CHAPMAN & HALL’S AUTUMN LIST_


                           GENERAL LITERATURE


  BY INTERVENTION OF PROVIDENCE

By _STEPHEN McKENNA_. _7s. 6d. net._

  No one will be surprised that, when Mr. Stephen McKenna sets out to
  follow an old trail, he finds it a necessity of his artistic
  temperament to diverge into bye-paths. Last winter, finding London
  an uninspiring city of refuge, he set sail for the Bahamas. The
  result of his sojourn there is one of the most personal, the most
  individual books of this generation. It is not fiction though it
  contains stories; not a travel book though it talks of travel; not
  autobiography though written in the first person. It is a sort of
  literary confessional of a singularly attractive and communicative
  intellect.


  TOGETHER

By _NORMAN DOUGLAS_. _12s. 6d. net._ With a special hand-made paper
edition limited to 250 signed copies at £2 2s. net.

  It is difficult at this late day to say anything new of Norman
  Douglas. His reputation as one of the most original writers of this
  generation is solidly established. A vast number of travel books is
  published every year, but there is to be found in none of them that
  quality of personal flavour that is the chief charm and
  characteristic of Mr. Douglas’s writing. His new book, “Together,”
  is as delightful as “Alone,” and it has the added attraction of
  being a piece of continuous narrative.


  LANDSCAPE PAINTING. Vol. I. From Giotto to Turner.

By _C. LEWIS HIND_. _25s. net._

  Mr. Hind is the author of many volumes, but he has always looked
  forward to the writing of this particular book as one of the chief
  events of his career. Wherever he has gone, to the Shires of
  England, the States of America, to Italy or the provinces of France,
  he has always sought material for this volume. The book will be
  profusely illustrated.


  THE SECRET OF WOMAN

By _HELEN JEROME_. _7s. 6d. net._

  During the war men and women rushed recklessly into marriage. Now in
  the hour of post-war disillusion they are seeking to diagnose the
  symptoms of their troubles. Never before has there been such a
  demand for sane, clear-thinking books on the sex question; for books
  that are addressed not to the neurotic, nor the thin-blooded, nor
  the over-sexed; but to healthy-minded, healthy-bodied men and women
  who honestly desire to make each other happy. Such a book is Helen
  Jerome’s “The Secret of Woman.” It deals exhaustively, though
  lightly and wittily, with the relationships of men and women. Here
  are some of the chapter headings: “Wherein men are superior,”
  “Woman’s attitude to male beauty,” “Are women liars?” “Does woman
  know passion?”


  ROBERT BURNS: His Life and Genius.

By _ANDREW DAKERS_. _10s. 6d. net._

  In spite of the assumed lack of sympathy between their rival
  interests, there are a great many publishers who are also authors.
  But to the best of our knowledge, the first literary agent to write
  books as well as sell them is Andrew Dakers, one of the youngest and
  most enterprising members of his profession. His critical and
  biographical study of Burns develops a new and distinctly
  provocative interpretation of Burns’s private life.


  EXITS AND ENTRANCES

By _EVA MOORE_. _15s. net._

  A light, witty, merry volume of reminiscence by one of the most
  fascinating and popular actresses the stage has ever known.


  SPARKS FROM THE FIRE: a Volume of Essays.

By _GILBERT THOMAS_. _6s. net._

  The career of Gilbert Thomas as an essayist and a poet has been for
  a long time followed with attention by those who value taste and
  scholarship. His new book is certain of a warm welcome.

                      NEW FICTION AT 7S. 6D. NET.


  ONE OF THE GUILTY

By _W. L. GEORGE_, Author of “A Bed of Roses,” “The Stiff Lip,” “The
Confession of Ursula Trent.”

  “One of the Guilty” is a romantic story, a novel of action; it is a
  study of the primitive human instincts that underlie the veneer of
  education and environment. In “The Confession of Ursula Trent” Mr.
  George told how a well-bred girl of county family became, through
  circumstances and influence, a demi-mondaine. In “One of the Guilty”
  he shows how a public schoolboy can become a criminal. Never before
  has the life of a thief, of a successful thief, been presented so
  graphically, so dramatically, so intimately. Every detail of the
  methods and implements of modern burglary is described, and yet
  throughout one’s sympathies, one’s affections, are with the thief;
  one hopes, in spite of oneself, that he will win through.

  “One of the Guilty” is not, in the accepted sense of the word, a sex
  novel. But it is as much a love story as it is an adventure story,
  and in no other novel, perhaps, has W. L. George written more
  tender, more beautiful, more passionate love scenes that he has in
  this book.


  GOOD HUNTING

By _NORMAN DAVEY_.

  Norman Davey, the author of “The Pilgrim of a Smile,” is not one of
  those novelists who believe that it is necessary to produce a new
  book every autumn. Indeed, two years have passed since the
  successful appearance of “Guinea Girl,” his romance of Monte Carlo.
  His new novel, “Good Hunting,” is, as was “The Pilgrim of a Smile,”
  a series of stories grouped about one man; a fashionable and popular
  young man whom a number of girls endeavour to ensnare into marriage,
  and it is dedicated to the 1,337,208 superfluous women (last
  census)!


  SMOKE RINGS

By _G. B. STERN_, Author of “The Room,” “The Back Seat,” etc.

  A first collection of short stories by one of the most brilliant of
  our younger novelists.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES


 1. Silently corrected typographical errors and variations in spelling.
 2. Archaic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings retained as printed.
 3. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.





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