“No, Francesca marries Giovanni.”
“Ah, it is too sad, poor thing,” answered the Indian gentleman, apparently much grieved. He turned to his neighbour, who did not speak English, and retailed the information. Their distress was really amusing. Evidently the lovely white lady (Miss Millard) deserved[Pg 127] a better fate according to their ideas, for he repeatedly expressed his distress as the play proceeded. Before he left the theatre that night he crossed the stage, and making a profound bow, thanked me for helping him to understand the play. His gratitude and Oriental politeness were charming.
The St. James’s presented a gay scene. The Indian dresses, the diamonds, and extra floral decorations rendered it a regular gala performance. At the usual hour the curtain descended. The general public left; but invited guests remained. We rose from our seats and conversed with friends, while a perfect army of stage carpenters and strange women, after moving out the front row of stalls, brought flights of steps and made delightfully carpeted staircases lead up to either side of the stage. Huge palms and lovely flowers banked the banisters and hid the orchestra. Within a few moments the whole place resembled a conservatory fitted up as for a rout. It was all done as if by magic. Methinks Mr. Alexander must have had several “stage rehearsals” to accomplish results so admirable with such rapidity.
The curtain rose, the stage had been cleared, and there at the head of the staircase stood the handsome actor-manager in plain dress clothes, washed and cleaned from his heavy make-up, and with his smiling wife ready to receive their guests.
At the back of the stage the scenery had been arranged to form a second room, wherein supper was served at a buffet.
It was all admirably done. Most of the Colonial[Pg 128] Premiers were there, many of the Indian Princes, and a plentiful sprinkling of the leading lights of London. Of course a stage is not very big and the numbers had to be limited; but about a couple of hundred persons thoroughly enjoyed that supper behind the footlights at the St. James’s Theatre. Many of the people had never been on a stage before, and it was rather amusing to see them peeping behind the flies, and asking weird questions from the scene-shifters. Some were surprised to find the floor was not level, but a gentle incline, for all audiences do not know the necessity of raising the back figures, so that those in front of the house may see all the performers.
A party on the stage is always interesting, and generally of rare occurrence, although Sir Henry Irving and Mr. Beerbohm Tree both gave suppers in honour of the Coronation, so England’s distinguished visitors had 佛山桑拿部长电话 several opportunities of enjoying these unique receptions. At the supper at His Majesty’s Theatre a few nights later the chief attractions besides the Beerbohm Trees were Mrs. Kendal and Miss Ellen Terry, the latter still wearing her dress as Mistress Page. Every one wanted to shake hands with her, and not a few were saddened to see her using those grey smoked glasses she always dons when not actually before the footlights.
Photo by Langfier, 23a, Old Bond Street, London, W.
MR. GEORGE ALEXANDER.
George Alexander has had a most successful career, but he was not cradled on the stage. His father was an Ayrshire man and the boy was brought up for business. Not liking that he turned to [Pg 129]medicine, and still being dissatisfied he abandoned the doctor’s art at an early stage and took a post in a silk merchant’s office. This 佛山桑拿按摩一条龙那里好 brought him to London. From that moment he was a constant theatre-goer, and in September, 1879, made his first bow behind the footlights. He owes much of his success to the training he received in Sir Henry Irving’s Company at the Lyceum. There is no doubt much of the business learned in early youth has stood him in good stead in his theatrical ventures, and much of the artistic taste and desire for perfection in stage-mounting so noticeable at the St. James’s was imbibed in the early days at the Lyceum. It takes a great deal to make a successful actor-manager; he must have literary and artistic taste, business capacity, and withal knowledge of his craft.
In 1891 he took the St. James’s Theatre and began a long series of successes. He has gone through the mill, worked his way from the bottom to the top, and being possessed of 佛山桑拿妈咪电话 an exceptionally clear business head, has made fewer mistakes than many others in his profession.
Mr. Alexander tells a good story about himself:
“For many months I continually received very long letters from a lady giving me her opinion not only on current stage matters, but on the topics of the hour, with graphic descriptions of herself—her doings—her likes and dislikes. She gave no address, but her letters usually bore the postmark of a country town not a hundred miles from London. She confided in me that she was a spinster, and that she did not[Pg 130] consider her relations sympathetic. She was obviously well-to-do—I gathered this from her account of her home and her daily life as she described them. Suddenly her letters ceased, and I wondered what had happened. Almost two months after I received her last letter, I had 佛山桑拿女电话qq a communication from a firm of lawyers asking for an appointment. I met them—two very serious-looking gentlemen they were too! After a good deal of preliminary talk they came to their point.
“‘You know Miss ——’ said the elder of the men.
“‘No,’ I replied.
“‘But you do,’ he said. ‘She has written to you continually.’
“This was very puzzling, but following up the slight clue, I asked:
“‘Is her Christian name Mary?’
“‘Yes,’ he replied.
“‘And she lives at——?’
“Then I knew whom they meant. Their mission, it seemed, was to tell me that the lady had been very ill, and fearing she was going to die, had expressed a wish to alter her will in my favour. As the lawyers had acted for her family for many years, and were friends of her relations, they had taken her instructions quietly, but after much discussion in private had 佛山桑拿按摩感受 decided to call on me and inform me of the facts, and they asked me to write a letter to them stating that such a course would be distasteful to me and unfair to her relations. I did so in strong terms, and so I lost a little fortune[Pg 131].”
When Mr. Alexander learns a new part he and his wife retire to their cottage at Chorley Wood to study. I bicycled thither one day from Chalfont St. Peter’s, when to my disappointment the servant informed me they were “out.”
“Oh dear, how sad!” I said, “for it is so hot, and I’m tired and wanted some tea.”
Evidently this wrung her heart, for she said she would “go and see.” She went, and immediately Mr. Alexander appeared to bid me welcome.
“I’m working,” he said, “and the maid has orders not to admit any one without special permission.”
What a pretty scene. Lying in a hammock in the 佛山桑拿网论坛 orchard on that hot summer’s day was the actor-manager of the St. James’s Theatre. Seated on a garden chair was his wife, simply dressed in white serge and straw hat. On her lap lay the new typewritten play in its brown paper covers, and at her feet was Boris, the famous hound. The Alexanders had been a fortnight at the cottage working hard at the play, and at the moment of my arrival Mrs. Alexander was hearing her husband his part. Not only does she do this, but she makes excellent suggestions. She studies the plays, too, and her taste is of the greatest value as regards dresses, stage decorations, or the arrangement of crowds. Although she has never played professionally, Mrs. Alexander knows all the ins and outs of theatrical life, and is of the greatest help to her husband in the productions.
Had a stranger entered a compartment of a train between Chorley Wood and London a few days later,[Pg 132] he might have thought George Alexander and I were about to commit murder, suicide, or both.
“What have you got there?” asked the actor when we met on the platform.
“A gun,” was my reply.
“Yes, a gun. I’m taking it to London to be mended.”
“Ha ha! I can beat that,” he laughed. “See what I have here,” and opening a little box he disclosed half a dozen razors.
“Razors!” I exclaimed.
“Yes, razors; so be wary with your sanguinary weapon, for mine mean worse mischief.”
He was taking the razors to London to be sharpened.
It was fortunate no accident happened to that train, or a gun and six razors might have formed food for “public inquiry.”
It is a curious thing how many actors and actresses like to shake the dust of the stage from their feet on leaving the theatre. They seem to become satiated with publicity, to long for the country and an outdoor, freer life, and in many instances they not only long for it, but actually succeed in obtaining it, and the last trains on Saturday night are often full of theatrical folk seeking repose far from theatres till Monday afternoon.
Recreation and entire change of occupation are absolutely necessary to the brain-worker, and the man is wise who realises this. If he does, and seeks complete[Pg 133] rest from mental strain, he will probably have a long and successful career; otherwise the breakdown is sure to come, and may come with such force as to leave the victim afflicted for life, so it is far wiser for the brain-worker of whatever profession or business to realise this at an early stage. In this respect actors are as a rule wiser than their fellow-workers, and seek and enjoy recreation on Sunday and Monday, which is more than can be said of many lawyers, doctors, painters, or literary men.
The strain of theatrical life is great. No one should attempt to go upon the stage who is not strong. If there be any constitutional weakness, theatrical life
will find it out. Extremes of heat and cold have to be borne. Low dresses or thick furs have to be worn in succeeding acts. The atmosphere of gas and sulphur is often bad, but must be endured.
A heavy part exhausts an actor in a few minutes as much as carrying a hod of bricks all day does a labourer. He may have to change his underclothing two or three times in an evening, in spite of all his dresser’s rubbing down. The mental and physical strain affects the pores of the skin and exhausts the body, that is why one hardly ever finds an actor fat. He takes too much physical exercise, takes too much out of himself, ever to let superfluous flesh accumulate upon his bones.