\u201cLIONS IN THEIR DENS.\u201d
III.\u2014GEORGE NEWNES AT PUTNEY.
by Raymond Blathwayt.
TOLD BY THE COLONEL.
by W. L. Alden.
EXPERIENCES OF A \ue001VARSITY OAR.
by an \ue002Old Blue.\ue003
(F. C. Drake.)
THE IDLERS CLUB.
IS CHILDHOOD THE HAPPIEST OR THE
MOST MISERABLE PERIOD OF ONE\ue004S EXISTENCE?
By G. B. Burgin.
Illustrations by J. Bernard Partridge.
(Photographs by Messrs. Barraud.)
One day a paragraph appears in the papers that a new piece will shortly be produced at such and such a
theatre. Paterfamilias lays down the paper and placidly observes that it may be worth while getting seats. Then
he goes down to the theatre, books seats, and troubles himself no more about the matter until the first night of
the play in question. The world behind the curtain is one with which he is totally unfamiliar. He knows naught
of its struggles, its hopes and fears, its arduous work, its magnificent prizes and sore disappointments. So
many thousands of pounds have been spent in preparing the play, so many reputations are at stake, so many
hearts will be gay and glad to-morrow, or aching with the bitter pain of defeat. But to Paterfamilias these are
all the joys or sorrows of another world. As he watches the smooth, easy performance, in which every actor
has his place, in which the whole pageant produces itself without apparent effort, he fails to imagine the
ceaseless work involved in its adequate realisation. He does not know that for weeks before the production of
a new play, say at the Lyceum for instance, Mr. [Pg 124] Irving and the wonderful company which he has
gathered round him labour over it often far into the night after the audience has left. The general idea of an
actor\ue005s life is that it is a delightful round of social pleasures tempered by a few hours\ue006 light, agreeable work in
the evening; to those who think this, a visit to the Lyceum rehearsals would reveal the other side of the shield.
Very few men in London labour so indefatigably as Mr. Irving. To watch him directing a rehearsal almost
makes one\ue007s head ache at the mere idea of such unceasing labour. Every motion, however insignificant, of
each individual on the stage, from himself down to the newest and rawest \ue008super,\ue009 has to be thought out and
planned in Mr. Irving\ue00as brain. Like an ideal general, he leaves nothing to chance, nothing to subordinates. The
turning up or down of every gas jet, the movement of every piece of furniture, the effect of every note of
music, has received his most careful thought. One watches him stand hour after hour on the Lyceum stage,
without weariness, without impatience, guiding the whole of the great production. And though Mr. Irving
never spares himself, he is very considerate to others. When, for instance, a young actor is unable to
comprehend the full meaning of an explanation, Mr. Irving walks up and down the stage, one arm on his
shoulder, and explains the whole conception of the part. He is not only a great actor, but a great teacher; and
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