Sometimes a girl experiences great difficulty in finding a suitable temporary abode, for, although in large towns a list of lodgings can be procured, in smaller
places no such help is available, and she may have to trudge from street to street to obtain a decent room at a cheap rate. By the time what is wanted is found, she generally feels so weary she is only too thankful to share whatever the landlady may[Pg 307] chance to have in the way of food, instead of going out and procuring the same for herself.
On a “Theatre Tour” the members of a company nearly always engage their rooms beforehand and order dinner in advance, because they can go to recognised theatrical lodgings, a list of which may be procured by applying to the Actors’ Association, an excellent institution which helps and protects theatrical folk in many ways. When rooms can be arranged beforehand, life becomes easier; but this is not always possible, and then poor wandering mummers meet with disagreeable experiences, such as finding themselves in undesirable lodgings, or at the tender mercy of a landlady who is too fond of intoxicants. A liberal use of insect powder is necessary in smaller towns.
A girl friend who decided to go on the stage has given me some valuable information gathered during six or seven years’ experience of provincial theatrical life. Hers are the experiences of the novice, and bear out Mrs. Kendal’s advice in an earlier chapter. She was not quite dependent on her profession, having small means, but for which she says she must have starved many a time during her noviciate.
“One comes across various types of landladies,” she explained, “but they are nearly always good-natured, otherwise they would never put up with the erratic hours for meals, and the late return of their lodgers. Some of them have been actresses themselves in the olden days, but, having married, they desire to ‘lead a respectable life,’ by which remark they wish one to understand that the would-be lodger is not considered[Pg 308] ‘respectable’ so long as she remains in the theatrical profession.
“They are sometimes very amusing, at others the reminiscences of their own experiences prove 杭州水疗会所哪家好 a little trying; but after all, even such folk are better than the type of lodging-house-keeper who has come down in the world, and is always referring to her ‘better days.’ A great many of these people do not appear ever to have had better days. Now and then, however, one finds a genuine case and receives every possible attention, being made happy with flowers—a real luxury when on tour—nice table linen, fresh towels, all things done in a civilised manner, and oh dear! what a joy it is to come across such a home.”
“Are the rooms, then, generally very bare?” I asked.
“One never finds any luxuries. As a rule one has to be content with horsehair-covered chairs and sofas, woollen antimacassars, wax or bead flowers under glass cases, often with the addition of a stuffed parrot brought home by some favourite sailor son. But simplicity does not matter at all so long as the lodgings 杭州养生spa馆 do not smell stuffy. The bedroom furniture generally consists of the barest necessaries, and if one’s couch have springs or a soft mattress it proves indeed a delightful surprise.
“There is a terrible type of landlady who rushes one for a large bill just at the last moment. As a rule the account should be brought up on Saturday night and settled, but this sort of woman generally manages to put off producing hers until the last[Pg 309] moment on Sunday morning, when one’s luggage is probably on its way to the station. Then she brings forth a document which takes all the joy out of life, and sends the unhappy lodger off without a penny in her pocket. Arguing is not of the slightest use, and if one happens to be a woman, as in my case, she has to pay what is demanded rather than risk a scene.”
My friend’s experiences were so practical I asked her many questions, in reply to some 杭州水磨服务会所 of which she continued:
“I have always managed to share expenses with some one I knew, which arrangement, besides being less lonely, reduced the cost considerably; but even then there is a terrible sameness about one’s food. An egg for breakfast is very general, as some ‘ladies’ even object to cooking a rasher of bacon. Jam and other delicacies are beyond our means. Everlasting chop or steak with potatoes for dinner. One never sees a joint; it is not possible unless a slice can be begged from the landlady, in which case one often has to pay dearly for the luxury.
“We generally have supper after we return from the theatre, from which we often have to walk home a mile or more after changing. Many landladies refuse to cook anything hot at night, in which case tinned tongue or potted meat suffice; but a hot meal, though consisting only of a little piece of fish or poached eggs, is such a joy when one comes home tired and worn out, 杭州足浴价格 that it is worth a struggle to try to obtain.
“The least a bill ever comes to in a week is fifteen[Pg 310] shillings, and that after studying economy in every way possible. Even though two of us lived together I never succeeded in reducing my share below that.”
“What is the usual day?”
“One has breakfast as a rule between ten and eleven—earlier, of course, if a rehearsal has been called for eleven, in which case ten minutes’ grace is given for the difference in local clocks; any one late after that time gets sharply reprimanded by the management. After rehearsal on tour a walk till two or three, a little shopping, dinner 4.30, a rest, a cup of tea at 6.30, after which meal one again proceeds to the theatre, home about 11.30, supper and bed. Week in, week out it is pretty much the same.
“For the first four years I only earned a guinea a week, and as it was necessary for me to find all my own costumes for the different parts in the companies in which I played, I had to visit second-hand shops and buy ladies’ cast-off ball dresses 杭州龙凤论坛Vip and things of that sort, although cheap materials and my sewing machine managed to supply me with day garments. It is extraordinary what wonderful effects one can get over the footlights with a dress which by daylight looks absolutely filthy and tawdry, provided it be well cut; that is why it is advisable to buy good second-hand clothes when possible.
“In my own theatre basket I have fourteen complete costumes, and with these I can go on any ordinary tour. I travelled for some time with a girl who, though well-born, had out of her miserable guinea[Pg 311] a week to help members of her family at home. She was an excellent needlewoman, and used to send her sewing-machine with her basket to the theatre, where she sat nearly all day making clothes or cutting them out for other members of the company. By these means she earned a few extra shillings a week, which helped towards the expenses of her kinsfolk. She was a nice girl, but delicate, and I always felt she ought to have had all the fresh air possible instead of bending over a sewing-machine in a stuffy little dressing-room.