The Story of My Life eBook

Ellen Terry
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 455 pages of information about The Story of My Life.

Henry never cared much for society, as the saying is—­but as host in the Beefsteak Room he thoroughly enjoyed himself, and every one who came to his suppers seemed happy!  Every conceivable type of person used to be present—­and there, if one had the mind[1] one could study the world in little.

[Footnote 1:  “Wordsworth says he could write like Shakespeare if he had the mind.  Obviously it is only the mind that is lacking.”—­Charles Lamb’s Letters.]

One of the liveliest guests was Sir Francis Burnand—­who entirely contradicted the theory that professional comedians are always the most gloomy of men in company.

A Sunday evening with the Burnand family at their home in The Bottoms was a treat Henry Irving and I often looked forward to—­a particularly restful, lively evening.  I think a big family—­a “party” in itself—­is the only “party” I like.  Some of the younger Burnands have greatly distinguished themselves, and they are all perfect dears, so unaffected, kind, and genial.

Sir Francis never jealously guarded his fun for Punch.  He was always generous with it.  Once when my son had an exhibition of his pictures, I asked Mr. Burnand, as he was then, to go and see it or send some one on Mr. Punch’s staff.  He answered characteristically!

“London, E.C.

“My dear Ellen Terry,—­

“Delighted to see your hand—­’wish your face were with it’ (Shakespeare).

“Remember me (Shakespeare again—­’Hamlet’) to our Sir Henry.  May you both live long and prosper!


    He opens his show
    A day I can’t go. 
    Any Friday
    Is never my day.

    But I’ll see his pictures
    (Praise and no strictures)
    ’Ere this day week;
    Yet I can’t speak
    Of them in print
    (I might give a hint)
    Till each on its shelf
    I’ve seen for myself. 
    I’ve no one to send. 
    Now I must end. 
    None I can trust,
    So go I must. 
    Yours most trul_ee_
    V’la F.C.B. 
    All well here,
    All send love. 
    Likewise misses
    Lots of kisses. 
    From all in this ’ere shanty
    To you who don’t play in Dante!

    What a pity! 


What is a diary as a rule?  A document useful to the person who keeps it, dull to the contemporary who reads it, invaluable to the student, centuries afterwards, who treasures it!

Whatever interest the few diaries of mine that I have preserved may have for future psychologists and historians, they are for my present purpose almost worthless.  Yet because things written at the time are considered by some people to be more reliable than those written years afterwards when memory calls in imagination to her help, I have hunted up a few passages from my diaries between 1887 and 1901; and now I give them in the raw for what they are worth—­in my opinion nothing!

Project Gutenberg
The Story of My Life from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook