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Ellen Terry
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 355 pages of information about The Story of My Life.

THE REPORTER’S EYE.

“You know, at all events, that you have charm?” I said.

“What do you think, you idiot!  I exercise absolute power over my audiences—­I cast over them an irresistible spell—­I do with them what I will....  I am omnipotent, enthralling—­and no wonder!”

I looked at her across the table, wondering at so much simple modesty.

“But feeling your power, you must often be tempted to experiment with it,” I ventured.

“Yes, now and then I am,” replied Miss Terry.  “Once, I remember, when I was to appear as Ophelia, on making my entrance and seeing the audience waiting breathlessly—­as they always do—­for what I was going to do next, I said to myself, ’You silly fools, you shall have a treat to-night—­I will give you something you will appreciate more than Shakespeare!’ Hastily slipping on a

FALSE NOSE

which I always carry in my pocket, I struck an attitude, and then turned

A SOMERSAULT.

“Ah! the applause, the delirious, intoxicating applause!  That night I felt my power, that night I knew that I had wished I could have held them indefinitely!  But I am only one of several gifted beings on the stage who are blessed with this mysterious quality.  Dan Leno, Herbert Campbell, and Little Tich all have it.  Dan Leno, in particular, rivets the attention of his audience by his entrancing by-play, even when he doesn’t speak.  And yet it is

NOT HIS BEAUTY

precisely that does it.”

At that moment Miss Terry’s little grandchild, who was playing about the room,

BEGAN TO HOWL

most dismally.

“Here is a little maid who was a charmer from her cradle,” said the delightful actress, picking up the child and

PLAYFULLY TOSSING

it out of the third-floor window.  Seeing me look relieved, though somewhat surprised, she said merrily:  “I have plenty more of them at home, and they are

ALL CHARMING,

every one of them!  If you want to be charming you must be natural—­I always am.  Even in my cradle I was

QUITE NATURAL.

And now, please go.  Your conversation bores me inexpressibly, and your countenance, which is at once vacuous and singularly plain, disagrees with me thoroughly.  Go! or I shall

BE SICK!”

So saying the great actress gave me a

VIGOROUS KICK

which landed me outside her room, considerably shaken, and entirely under the spell of her matchless charm.

* * * * *

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