Portion I.

1. Michael Gosselyn’s office was furnished in good taste. Everyone who came there realized at once that it was an office of the manager of a first class theatre. The walls had been panelled and on them hung engravings of theatrical pictures by Zoffany and de Wilde. The carved furniture was solid. Only a specialist could guess that it was not the real Chippendale.

Everybody knew that Michael was very thrifty and ran the theatre on business-like lines. The decorator had to accept the client’s terms and made the most of what he had. The room was designed to make an impression of prosperity at the least possible expense.

Michael was extremely proud of his office and Julia, who saw through him, couldn’t help smiling at the complacency on his face.

2. Julia realized what a treat it would be for a young accountant to have breakfast at her place, she was just not sure if it would be proper to invite him. Julia gave him a doubtful look. His confusion was so touching, he blushed scarlet. It was clear that the sight of the famous actress took his breath away. He admired her so frankly that Julia couldn’t but feel flattered. His attitude made her feel larger than life-size, made her the greatest actress. And a great actress must be generous. It’s generosity that distinguishes a great actress. Julia thought that she could make an exception for him. The young man was invited.

3. Jimmie Langton was running a repertory theatre at Middlepool. He was a talented director. At first sight it seemed strange that actors agreed to work in his theatre. He worked his cast hard. He screamed at them, he bullied them, he underpaid them, he mocked them and drove them like slaves.

He had such a passion for the theatre, that the actors felt that they couldn’t afford to let him down. It gave them a sort of satisfaction to comply with his outrageous demands to please him.

Jimmie had wanted to be an actor himself, but his physique practically prevented him from going on the stage. He was fat, bald-headed and looked like one of Rubens’ prosperous burghers. Besides, he was a bad actor.

4. Julia was a born actress and she had no doubt that she would go on the stage. Her career was singularly lacking in hardship.

Her first teacher was an old French actress, who taught her all necessary things : how to walk and how to hold herself on the stage, how to articulate distinctly and how to use her sense of timing, which Julia had by instinct. She was quick-studied.

A certain number of tricks that Julia had learned from her, later turned to be out of date and Julia had to get rid of them. She had to acquire a more conversational style to be able to act in modern plays. But she always thought of Jane Taitbout with gratitude.

5. Michael’s father was a Colonel. Neither he nor Michael’s mother approved of the idea of Michael’s going on the stage. Though they had to submit to that, they insisted that Michael should be educated like a gentleman. Old Mr. Gosselyn was a pensioner, but still, he managed to send Michael to Cambridge and dreamt that Michael would excel there.

Michael was proud of his ancestry. He wore the signet ring with the family stamp — a boar’s head — and a Latin motto : “Nemo me impune lacessit”. On the whole, he wasn’t a snob, but he was shocked to learn that Julia’s father was a vet.

6. Michael was determined to go into management and make a career. He thought that there was only one way of becoming well-off — that is to be one’s own master.

They could start on the minimum of five thousand pounds. He had no idea how to raise a sum like that. He could hardly expect to borrow money as he didn’t know anyone who could lend him that sum. However, Michael hoped that an old rich lady would support him.

Michael knew that one couldn’t hope to make a success in London, unless he was unknown. One had got to know the ropes. If one made a good reputation in London, it would be easier to find backers.


Portion II.

1. Though Michael told Julia a lot about his family, she wasn’t aware that they knew about her existence. That is why she couldn’t but be surprised to receive a letter from Michael’s mother who invited her to Cheltenham for Holy Week. The prospect of spending a whole week with Michael was enchanting. It took her breath away to think of it and she look forward to the holidays.

It didn’t take her long to discover that Michael had brought her down to Cheltenham for his parents to inspect her. The thought flashed through her mind that there was only one possible reason for it. When she thought of it, her heart leaped.

2. Michael was anxious for Julia to make a good impression on his parents. Julia realized soon that she would be able to enchant them. As a matter of fact, she was aware that she was able to enchant anybody. It was clear that Michael’s parents were not fond of the idea that their son was going to marry an actress. Julia instinctively felt that she had to conceal the actress and play the part of a modest ingenious girl.

Michael’s mother was happy to learn that Julia wasn’t made-up or loud. No one would dream that Julia was on the stage. Besides, she was head over ears in love with her son and it flattered her motherly pride.

Julia gave a perfect performance of the village maiden.

3. Michael had affection and admiration for Julia, he felt at ease with her. But he took her love for granted and it was obvious that he wasn’t in love with her. It was no good deceiving herself.

At first this made Julia unhappy. Now and then she lost control of herself and made him frantic scenes.

But then she began to doubt if he was capable of loving anybody. It didn’t seem worth while to suffer from it. Soon Julia was content to love Michael whereas he allowed her to love him.

4. When Julia found out that an American manager had offered Michael a part, her heart sank. She had to exercise all her self-control to pretend that she was as excited as he was. But when Julia remained alone, she lost control of herself and began to cry in earnest.

In America Michael was going to save every cent he could, so, in two years he expected to have the best part of four thousand pounds.

5. When Julia realized that she had fallen out of love with Michael, she fell into despair. She felt that she had lost something that was infinitely precious to her. Her heart sank. She was displayed. She was inclined to cry, because her fortune had failed her.

But when she had thought it over, her grief made a way to relief. Now she was her own mistress and not a slave of her love. Now she looked at Michael not with the eyes of a woman in love but with shrewd penetrating eyes. Yes, it was great to be free and she would be able to make the most of her freedom.


Portion III.

1. As soon as the war ended Michael began to work as an actor and soon gained a reputation in London.

He spared no effort to force managers to pay him the salary he thought he was worth, but if he couldn’t get it, he was prepared to take less.

He still thought of going into management, but though they had saved seven thousand pounds, the sum was inadequate.

Mrs. de Vries came to their rescue. She agreed to put up money and become their partner.

2. As time went on, Michael took to directing. He still acted occasionally, but less frequently than earlier. When he said he was going to direct their next play, Julia was doubtful. She suspected that nothing good would come of it. Michael had no fantasy and his ideas were commonplace. But he made a much better job of it, than Julia expected. As he knew perfectly well what Julia was capable, he was able to get more out of her than any other director.

With the cast he was friendly, but exacting. When tempers grew frayed, his good humour, his real kindness smoothed things over.

3. Michael’s complacency exasperated Julia. He beamed with pleasure when he managed to beat an opponent at golf or get the better of someone in a business deal.

Besides, he was a crashing bore. He liked to tell Julia everything he did and every scheme that passed through his mind. It had been charming to listen to Michael, when she was head over ears in love with him, but after she had fallen out of love with him, Julia had to exercise all her tact not to show him he was bored to death.


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1846-1.rtf
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