**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


The Actor
by [?]

“Good,” said Mr Levinski. “Then that’s settled.” He waved Eustace away and took up the Directory again with a business-like air.

And so Eustace Merrowby came to London. It is a great thing for a young actor to come to London. As Mr Levinski had warned him, his new part was not so big as that of Othello; he had to say “Hofo tsetse!”–which was alleged to be Kaffir for “Down, sir!”–to the big ostrich. But to be at the St George’s Theatre at all was an honour which most men would envy him, and his association with a real ostrich was bound to bring him before the public in the pages of the illustrated papers.

Eustace, curiously enough, was not very nervous on the first night. He was fairly certain that he was word-perfect; and if only the ostrich didn’t kick him in the back of the neck–as it had tried to once at rehearsal–the evening seemed likely to be a triumph for him. And so it was with a feeling of pleasurable anticipation that, on the morning after, he gathered the papers round him at breakfast, and prepared to read what the critics had to say.

He had a remarkable Press. I give a few examples of the notices he obtained from the leading papers:

“Mr Eustace Merrowby was Tommy.”–Daily Telegraph.

“The cast included Mr Eustace Merrowby.”–Times.

“… Mr Eustace Merrowby…”–Daily Chronicle.

“We have no space in which to mention all the other performers.”–Morning Leader.

“This criticism only concerns the two actors we have mentioned, and does not apply to the rest of the cast.”–Sportsman.

“Where all were so good, it would be invidious to single out anybody for special praise.”–Daily Mail.

“The acting deserved a better play.”–Daily News.

“… Tommy…”–Morning Post.

As Eustace read the papers, he felt that his future was secure. True, The Era, careful never to miss a single performer, had yet to say, “Mr Eustace Merrowby was capital as Tommy,” and The Stage, “Tommy was capitally played by Mr Eustace Merrowby”; but even without this he had become one of the Men who Count–one whose private life was of more interest to the public than that of any scientist, general or diplomat in the country.

Into Eustace Merrowby’s subsequent career I cannot go at full length. It is perhaps as a member of the Garrick Club that he has attained his fullest development. All the good things of the Garrick which were not previously said by Sydney Smith may safely be put down to Eustace; and there is no doubt that he is the ringleader in all the subtler practical jokes which have made the club famous. It was he who pinned to the back of an unpopular member of the committee a sheet of paper bearing the words


–and the occasion on which he drew the chair from beneath a certain eminent author as the latter was about to sit down is still referred to hilariously by the older members.

Finally, as a convincing proof of his greatness, let it be said that everybody has at least heard the name “Eustace Merrowby”–even though some may be under the impression that it is the trade-mark of a sauce; and that half the young ladies of Wandsworth Common and Winchmore Hill are in love with him. If this be not success, what is?