It happens to every actress who is moderately
pretty and successful. It's one of the oldest expedients in the world,
and we actresses are such conspicuous targets for it! There is scarcely
a man connected with the theater who doesn't make use of us in that way
some time or another--authors, composers, scene designers, lawyers, orchestra
leaders, even the managers themselves. To regain a wife or sweetheart's
affections all they need to do is invent a love affair with one of us.
The wife is always so ready to believe it. Usually we don't know a thing
about it. But even when it is brought to our notice we don't mind so much.
At least we have the consolation of knowing that we are the means of making
many a marriage happy which might otherwise have ended in the divorce
court. [With a gracious little laugh] There, dear, you mustn't
apologize. You couldn't know, of course. It seems so plausible. You fancy
your husband in an atmosphere of perpetual temptation, in a backstage
world full of beautiful sirens without scruples or morals. One actress,
you suppose, is more dangerous than a hundred ordinary women. You hate
us and fear us. None understands that better than your husband, who is
evidently a very cunning lawyer. And so he plays on your fear and jealousy
to regain the love you deny him. He writes a letter and leaves it behind
him on the desk. Trust a lawyer never to do that unintentionally. He orders
flowers for me by telephone in the morning and probably cancels the order
the moment he reaches his office. By the way, hasn't he a lock of my hair?
They bribe my hair-dresser to steal from me. It's a wonder I have any
hair left at all. And hasn't he left any of my love letters lying around?
Don't be alarmed. I haven't written him any. I might have if he had come
to me frankly and said: "I say, Sara, will you do something for me?
My wife and I aren't getting on so well. Would you write me a passionate
love letter that I can leave lying around at home where she may find it?"
I should certainly have done it for him. I'd have written a letter that
would have made you weep into your pillow for a fortnight. I wrote ten
like that for a very eminent playwright once. But he had no luck with
them. His wife was such a proper person she returned them all to him unread.
Credits: Reprinted from Ten Minute Plays. Pierre Loving. New York:
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