Letter from Edward Marsh to R. C. Trevelyan
- [Mar or Apr 1895]
Part of Papers of Robert Calverley Trevelyan and Elizabeth Trevelyan
Grimsby Farm, Long Lane, Coldash, Newbury. - Hopes Trevy has received the letter he wrote to Naples, otherwise he will think Marsh 'rather a beast'. Glad Corpo di Cava was not snowed under, since it has turned out to be 'so delightful'; he himself would have 'preferred Capri for the sake of Tiberius' [see 15/318]. Has just got away from London and finished his first day of work here; his 'flesh crept to such a degree' when he woke on Monday night and started to think about his tripos [examinations] that it 'must have moved on about an inch all round'. Stayed in London a little longer than he should have done because of a 'superior French company' who performed [Ibsen's] "Rosmersholm" and "Master Builder" and a play by Maeterlinck under the direction of M. [Aurélien-François-Marie] Lugné -Poé who 'seems to be a descendant of Edgar Poe'. He is 'a very beautiful man with a pale face & black hair', and reminds Marsh of a 'portrait of some poet', perhaps Poe himself; he 'acts very respectably' and played the Master Builder as 'an American with a straggling beard & a drunken complexion' and 'quite revolutionized' Marsh's idea of the part, since 'the rather vulgar arrogant manner he put on in certain parts' made the character seem more consistent than 'the suavity of Lewis Waller'. Asks if Trevy has ever read Maeterlinck, as it is 'useless to try and explain what he's like' if not; in the 'mixture of great simplicity with an entire rejection of realism' he thinks it goes back to 'the Burne Jones & Morris kind of thing'. Sat next to William Archer, who was 'very nice' to him. Saw many friends at the Ibsen plays: [Erskine] Childers, Crompton [Llewelyn Davies], Gerald Duckworth, J[ohn] Waldegrave, 'the Babe' [William Haynes Smith?] etc. Thinks the Independent Theatre must be 'the worst managed concern in the world': the performances usually begin late 'after the curtain has gone up two or three times, to encourage the audience. You're never safe from the irruption of a cat in the most moving scenes', the actors miss their cues, or the curtain does not go down at the end of the act. The man who is called the Acting Manager [Charles Hoppe] is 'the greatest crook [he] ever met with in a responsible position', who seems unable to sell tickets without asking for assistance and did not even know how many acts there were in "Rosmersholm". Marsh took the Verralls to that play; comments on Arthur Verrall's reaction to theatre: 'he never is, or lays himself out to be, in the least moved by a play' but responds to 'the cleverness or stupidity with which it is written'.
Very glad that George [Trevelyan] got his scholarship, though there was no doubt he and Buxton would; 'very hard luck on [Ralph] Wedgwood. Went to see [Charles] Sanger yesterday in his new rooms at Hare Court. No-one has heard 'anything of [Bertrand] Russell for some time'. Only saw Oswald [Sickert], who had influenza, not serious, once; he has just got 'free from the Werner Company, which has used up the Beauties of Britain, & gone on to Paris [ie, finished publishing "Beautiful Britain]'; hopes he will have time for his novel now. [Maurice] Baring took Marsh to supper with Edmund Gosse on Sunday: a 'most amusing man', whose conversation is 'described in Stevenson's essay on conversation ["Talk and Talkers"] under the name of Purcell. He was in the teakettle mood'. Met [Henry] Harland, the editor of the "Yellow Book" there; thought him 'an awful little man', but 'on getting accustomed to his manner' next day he thought him 'like-able on the whole'. Hopes to go to supper next Sunday with 'the even more distinguished [Robert] Bridges', though he has not read his recent works so 'feels rather ill-equipped'. Met John Davidson briefly recently; he 'seemed a genial and light hearted little man, with a nice Scotch accent'.