Portion I. 1. Michael Gosselyn’s office was furnished in good taste. Everyone who came there realized at once that it was an office of the manager of a first class theatre. The walls had been panelled and on them hung engravings of theatrical pictures by Zoffany and de Wilde. The carved furniture was solid. Only a specialist could guess that it was not the real Chippendale. Everybody knew that Michael was very thrifty and ran the theatre on business-like lines. The decorator had to accept the client’s terms and made the most of what he had. The room was designed to make an impression of prosperity at the least possible expense. Michael was extremely proud of his office and Julia, who saw through him, couldn’t help smiling at the complacency on his face. 2. Julia realized what a treat it would be for a young accountant to have breakfast at her place, she was just not sure if it would be proper to invite him. Julia gave him a doubtful look. His confusion was so touching, he blushed scarlet. It was clear that the sight of the famous actress took his breath away. He admired her so frankly that Julia couldn’t but feel flattered. His attitude made her feel larger than life-size, made her the greatest actress. And a great actress must be generous. It’s generosity that distinguishes a great actress. Julia thought that she could make an exception for him. The young man was invited. 3. Jimmie Langton was running a repertory theatre at Middlepool. He was a talented director. At first sight it seemed strange that actors agreed to work in his theatre. He worked his cast hard. He screamed at them, he bullied them, he underpaid them, he mocked them and drove them like slaves. He had such a passion for the theatre, that the actors felt that they couldn’t afford to let him down. It gave them a sort of satisfaction to comply with his outrageous demands to please him. Jimmie had wanted to be an actor himself, but his physique practically prevented him from going on the stage. He was fat, bald-headed and looked like one of Rubens’ prosperous burghers. Besides, he was a bad actor. 4. Julia was a born actress and she had no doubt that she would go on the stage. Her career was singularly lacking in hardship. Her first teacher was an old French actress, who taught her all necessary things : how to walk and how to hold herself on the stage, how to articulate distinctly and how to use her sense of timing, which Julia had by instinct. She was quick-studied. A certain number of tricks that Julia had learned from her, later turned to be out of date and Julia had to get rid of them. She had to acquire a more conversational style to be able to act in modern plays. But she always thought of Jane Taitbout with gratitude. 5. Michael’s father was a Colonel. Neither he nor Michael’s mother approved of the idea of Michael’s going on the stage. Though they had to submit to that, they insisted that Michael should be educated like a gentleman. Old Mr. Gosselyn was a pensioner, but still, he managed to send Michael to Cambridge and dreamt that Michael would excel there. Michael was proud of his ancestry. He wore the signet ring with the family stamp — a boar’s head — and a Latin motto : “Nemo me impune lacessit”. On the whole, he wasn’t a snob, but he was shocked to learn that Julia’s father was a vet. 6. Michael was determined to go into management and make a career. He thought that there was only one way of becoming well- off — that is to be one’s own master. They could start on the minimum of five thousand pounds. He had no idea how to raise a sum like that. He could hardly expect to borrow money as he didn’t know anyone who could lend him that sum. However, Michael hoped that an old rich lady would support him. Michael knew that one couldn’t hope to make a success in London, unless he was unknown. One had got to know the ropes. If one made a good reputation in London, it would be easier to find backers. Portion II. 1. Though Michael told Julia a lot about his family, she wasn’t aware that they knew about her existence. That is why she couldn’t but be surprised to receive a letter from Michael’s mother who invited her to Cheltenham for Holy Week. The prospect of spending a whole week with Michael was enchanting. It took her breath away to think of it and she look forward to the holidays. It didn’t take her long to discover that Michael had brought her down to Cheltenham for his parents to inspect her. The thought flashed through her mind that there was only one possible reason for it. When she thought of it, her heart leaped. 2. Michael was anxious for Julia to make a good impression on his parents. Julia realized soon that she would be able to enchant them. As a matter of fact, she was aware that she was able to enchant anybody. It was clear that Michael’s parents were not fond of the idea that their son was going to marry an actress. Julia instinctively felt that she had to conceal the actress and play the part of a modest ingenious girl. Michael’s mother was happy to learn that Julia wasn’t made-up or loud. No one would dream that Julia was on the stage. Besides, she was head over ears in love with her son and it flattered her motherly pride. Julia gave a perfect performance of the village maiden. 3. Michael had affection and admiration for Julia, he felt at ease with her. But he took her love for granted and it was obvious that he wasn’t in love with her. It was no good deceiving herself. At first this made Julia unhappy. Now and then she lost control of herself and made him frantic scenes. But then she began to doubt if he was capable of loving anybody. It didn’t seem worth while to suffer from it. Soon Julia was content to love Michael whereas he allowed her to love him. 4. When Julia found out that an American manager had offered Michael a part, her heart sank. She had to exercise all her self- control to pretend that she was as excited as he was. But when Julia remained alone, she lost control of herself and began to cry in earnest. In America Michael was going to save every cent he could, so, in two years he expected to have the best part of four thousand pounds. 5. When Julia realized that she had fallen out of love with Michael, she fell into despair. She felt that she had lost something that was infinitely precious to her. Her heart sank. She was displayed. She was inclined to cry, because her fortune had failed her. But when she had thought it over, her grief made a way to relief. Now she was her own mistress and not a slave of her love. Now she looked at Michael not with the eyes of a woman in love but with shrewd penetrating eyes. Yes, it was great to be free and she would be able to make the most of her freedom. Portion III. 1. As soon as the war ended Michael began to work as an actor and soon gained a reputation in London. He spared no effort to force managers to pay him the salary he thought he was worth, but if he couldn’t get it, he was prepared to take less. He still thought of going into management, but though they had saved seven thousand pounds, the sum was inadequate. Mrs. de Vries came to their rescue. She agreed to put up money and become their partner. 2. As time went on, Michael took to directing. He still acted occasionally, but less frequently than earlier. When he said he was going to direct their next play, Julia was doubtful. She suspected that nothing good would come of it. Michael had no fantasy and his ideas were commonplace. But he made a much better job of it, than Julia expected. As he knew perfectly well what Julia was capable, he was able to get more out of her than any other director. With the cast he was friendly, but exacting. When tempers grew frayed, his good humour, his real kindness smoothed things over. 3. Michael’s complacency exasperated Julia. He beamed with pleasure when he managed to beat an opponent at golf or get the better of someone in a business deal. Besides, he was a crashing bore. He liked to tell Julia everything he did and every scheme that passed through his mind. It had been charming to listen to Michael, when she was head over ears in love with him, but after she had fallen out of love with him, Julia had to exercise all her tact not to show him he was bored to death. More over, he was outrageously vain of his appearance. As a youth, he had taken his beauty for granted, but with advancing years, he began to pay more attention to it and spared no pains to keep what was left of it. It became an obsession. 4. Evie was Julia’s maid and dresser. She had been in Julia’s employment for a long time. Evie was a cockney. One could get it at once by listening to her speech. She was thin, angular and her red hair always looked as if it needed washing. Two of her front teeth were missing. No matter how hard Julia tried to provide her with new ones, all her efforts were in vain. Michael thought that Evie’s appearance wasn’t suitable to their position and tried to persuade Julia to have another maid. But Julia paid no attention to his dissatisfaction. She was content to have Evie as her maid and dresser, she only wanted Evie to break herself of the habit of sniffing all the time. Evie was a skilful maid, she had never let Julia down. She had the courage to say to Julia’s face what she thought of her. It amused Julia greatly. Portion IV. 1. Julia had a lot of acquaintances among aristocrats. As she was such a famous actress, they made much of her and went out of their way to be nice to her. She could boast of the fact that she could call some duchesses by their first names. The papers often put pictures where Julia was photographed at week-end parties among a number of aristocratic persons. It was good publicity. But at the bottom of her heart, Julia had a profound contempt for the great ladies and noble lords, because they lived in idleness and she was an artist. When she had a chance, she was glad to put them in their place. She laughed at these smart women up her sleeve, because they were dazzled by her glamour and had no idea of how unromantic the life of a successful actress was and the hard work it entailed. 2. Charles Tamerley was Julia’s best friend. He had such exquisite manners, that one could see at once, how well-bred he was. He was an amateur of the arts and well-read. Before meeting Charles, Julia had been completely ignorant. He took her to museums, imparted information to her. Julia had a good memory and soon she could pass for a cultured woman as she was able to talk about literature and art. Julia couldn’t help but be conscious of how much she owed to him. Yet, his love of art filled her with a faint derision. After all, she was a creator and he was only a spectator. 3. Julia took Charles fancy twenty years ago and he had been madly in love with her ever since. When finally he plucked up the courage to make a declaration of love, Julia got into his head that there was nothing doing. Exercising all her tact, Julia managed to convince Charles that they should remain friends. Charles was her adviser, her confidant. She could count upon him coming to her rescue in any case. He never let her down. 4. Julia realized that Tom could hardly afford to entertain her and she was taken by his desire to please her. He said he had forgotten to put his watch on because he had dressed in a hurry. But one look at him was enough to realize that he had taken a lot of trouble to look smart. When it dawned on her that he must have pawned his watch to take her out to supper, she was inclined to cry. She might have offered to pay the bill, but checked herself in time. It was out of the question. It would have hurt his pride. Portion V. 1. When Julia realized that she had fallen in love with Tom, she was shocked. She was determined to keep her head. She couldn’t afford to open her true feelings because she knew very well that Tom wasn’t in love with her. She had to admit that an affair with her flattered Tom’s vanity. Julia did her best to make it plain to him that she laid no claims on him and he was free to do whatever he wanted. She pretended that she was a good actress. She promised to herself that she wouldn’t be jealous, she wouldn’t make him any scenes, she would be tolerant and would take things as they came. She did everything she could to bind him to her. 2. Tom had a passion for titles. He read about grand people in newspapers and now and then saw them in a restaurant or a theatre in the flesh. He was dazzled by grand people. Tom was a snob. But that was to the good. Julia hoped to make the most of Tom’s failing to bind him to her. On one excuse and another, she invited him to grand parties she gave, persuaded Dolly and Charles to invite him to lunch, got invitations for him to balls. Poor lamb ! He looked forward to every opportunity of getting acquainted with eminent people. Luckily, Michael took a fancy to him. He even thought Tom could have a good influence on Roger. Tom made a great hit with Julia’s friends too. He was a good listener and could give a piece of useful advice on finance. 3. Something was bothering Tom. He looked gloomy and nervous. When Julia found out that he had got into debt, she immediately offered to pay all his debts. But sometimes Tom was so out of date. He couldn’t sponge on women. Julia blamed herself that she had led Tom into the life that he couldn’t afford. She tried to convince him that he shouldn’t drudge her the pleasure of coming to his rescue, when he was at a loose end. Using all her arts of persuasion, she was able to convince Tom to borrow money from her. 4. Julia and Michael were rich enough to send their son to Eton and then to Cambridge. Roger was seventeen years old. He didn’t look like his mother or father. He had no inclination for the world of the theatre. He held himself in some serious way aloof from his parents and their friends, though he was always very polite to everybody, Julia suspected, that he took none of them seriously. He never bothered Julia and he seemed quite capable of amusing himself. Though Julia loved him very much, he puzzled her. She thought him dull and not very intelligent. When she was alone with him, time dragged on. When Roger was a child, Julia would often be photographed with him and these photos made a great hit. She wished he could always remain the sweet pretty little boy he used to be. Portion VI. 1. It was no good deceiving herself : Tom didn’t love her. He was her lover only because it flattered his vanity and gave him confidence in himself. Besides, he got acquainted with many distinguished persons through her. It turned his head to realize that he was on familiar terms with some of them. Julia tried to do her best to bind him. She encouraged him to be extravagant to make him realize that he couldn’t do without her. Tom was anxious to join a good club and she was preparing the ground. She understood perfectly that their affair couldn’t last, but she wasn’t able to give up Tom. 2. Julia wasn’t happy at all to find out that Tom was becoming more and more popular with her grand friends. They were glad to make the most of his financial knowledge and in their turn they told their friends about him. It was through Julia, that Tom used to be asked to parties before. Then he began to receive invitations from people, whom Julia didn’t know. It seemed that he could do without her. He was busy nearly all the time. His casualness hurt Julia. Now she was ready to cut any date to see him. Julia was jealous of those distinguished ladies, whom he met in society. She had a law opinion of their virtue and was sure that they could do everything. Those thoughts rankled her. The only comfort was that all of them were very greedy and without Julia’s money Tom wouldn’t be able to lead a life, he had got used to. Or he would have to break himself of the habit of throwing his money about. 3. Julia was shocked to find out that people had been gossiping about her. Her reputation had been so good for many years, that she thought she could afford to do every thing she wanted. It was Michael, who first noticed that. He accused Tom jokingly of compromising Julia. At first Julia was taken aback, but at last she could keep her presence of mind. She was sure, that Michael wasn’t jealous of Tom. He was too self-satisfied and self- confident for that. He thought he knew Julia inside and out, but in fact, he knew nothing about her. He paid no attention to the gossip and he didn’t mind Julia having some fun. But Julia couldn’t forget his remark, it gave her no rest. She racked her brains to understand who could have told it to him. Then suddenly it occurred to her, that it was Dolly, no doubt. 4. Julia was furious with Dolly. She wouldn’t stand interference with her private life. That was none of her business. Julia was determined to have the matter out with Dolly. She rang her up to make an appointment. Dolly’s voice sounded cold and hostile. Julia had always been able to turn Dolly round her finger, but now she could hardly convince Dolly to come. When they met, they talked about indifferent things, and then Julia got down to the point. She never took her eyes off Dolly’s face while talking. She failed to convince Dolly that Tom wasn’t her lover. But Dolly pretended that she believed her and said Julia had taken a great weight off her mind. Portion VII. 1. Julia had already heard the name of Avice Crichton mentioned a few times. She knew, that there was some talk that this small- part actress would perhaps get a part in a play they were going to put on. So, when Michael once mentioned her, Julia wasn’t taken aback. Michael said that Tom had put in a word for Avice. Michael thought it was worth while to go and have a look at her, but as he was busy on Sunday, he asked Julia to go. Yielding to curiosity, Julia agreed. Tom was to go with her. But long before Julia had seen her, she made up her mind that Avice would never get a part in their theatre. 2. Julia was relieved to see that Avice Crichton couldn’t act to toffee. This fact took a great weight off her mind. When the curtain fell, Tom said that he wished Julia go behind and congratulate Avice. Julia was so amazed, that at first, she didn’t know if she should burst into laughter or get angry. But she got over her amazement. She was determined to go through with it. Though Avice didn’t seem to be nervous and was self-assured, Julia wasn’t taken in by her grand manners. It even amused her. Julia saw that Avice was anxious to get this part. 3. Tom was head over ears in love with Avice. As soon as he could, he brought the conversation to her. It irked him to see Julia home. Julia knew that she must put an end to their affair, she must get over it. The theatre was her only refuge. She felt relief, when it was time to go there. Merely to be inside a theatre rested her. In ordinary life she had to stifle her passion and her anguish, but on the stage she let herself go. She had never put more of herself into a part. 4. Although Michael himself might not be a good actor, but he knew good acting from bad. So he saw at once that Julia was acting like hell, she was exaggerating and over-acting. Her performance was rotten. Michael blamed only himself. Julia needed a good rest. He ought to have insisted on her taking holiday long ago. He said they would revive some play. He was even prepared to suffer losses. The only thing, that mattered, was Julia’s health. Once again Julia was struck by his magnanimity. Michael was the only man she could rely on. He would never let her down. 5. She decided to go and stay with her mother. Madame de Lambert, as Michael insisted on calling her, was an old lady well over seventy. Julia had a feeling that in the course of her brilliant career, she had a trifle neglected her mother. Now she could make up for it. Her mother and aunt led drab monotonous lives and it would be a great joy for them to have her on a long visit. And for Julia it was an opportunity to cut herself off completely for a time from her old life and regain serenity. Julia, to her great amazement, soon discovered that to them her celebrity was an embarrassment rather than an asset. They didn’t even offer to take her with them to pay calls. Julia was taken aback, when they said that it would be better if she didn’t tell anyone that she was an actress. But her sense of humour prevailed and she felt inclined to laugh. They made much fuss of her not because she was a great actress, but because she was in poor health and needed a rest. Portion VIII. 1. Julia often had to listen to women’s stories about how men followed them in the street, how they tried to catch their eye, and how it was difficult to get rid of them. It seemed very flattering to Julia. She often wondered why she’d never been followed. It wasn’t as if she had no sex appeal. And what if not ? Julia decided to put the matter to the test. She had to be sure. Julia took much pains to look neither too plain nor too respectable. A slight smile hovered her lips. Several times Julia caught her breath catching a man’s eye and expecting him to start following her, but they all passed by without paying any attention to her. It was humiliating. It flashed through her mind that she had chosen the wrong street. But there was nothing to do. 2. Julia almost lost all hope of being picked up. Suddenly she noticed a young man looking at her and never taking his eyes off her. She slandered her pace feeling him behind. It was beginning to look like an adventure. Julia looked forward to getting into conversation with the young man. It was interesting what he would offer. Julia looked at him doubtfully. Judging by his appearance, it was quite clear that he couldn’t afford to invite her to a restaurant. She looked him in the face encouraging him to start speaking. But then suddenly he called her by her name. She was so astonished, that she nearly jumped out of her skin. 3. Julia looked forward to the beginning of the rehearsals. Though Julia had been on the stage for many years, every time she tried a new part she didn’t feel like a leading lady, but as if she was a girl playing her first part. She was glad to meet with other members of the cast. Most of them she knew very well. Only with actors she felt at ease. She was one of them. This atmosphere of make-believe was the only one where she could breathe. Besides, the rehearsals distracted her mind from disturbing thoughts. She felt that soon she would be able to get over her sorrow. Now Tom was his own master. She didn’t care two straws for him. 4. Julia greeted Avice. They talked about indifferent things, but Julia watched her out of the corners of her eyes. Michael was disappointed after the first rehearsal. It seemed she wasn’t capable of taking directions. He was ready to dismiss her at once. But Julia couldn’t let it happen. Tom would think that Avice was dismissed because Julia was jealous of him. Julia had enough influence on Michael to make him keep Avice in the cast. She suggested that Michael should go through the part with Avice in private. In that case she’d be able to give a good performance. Besides, it was an iron cast part. It was impossible to spoil it. But at the bottom of her heart Julia always remembered that she would have to get even with Avice. She’d never make a success. She’d fail and Julia would see to it. And it would make up for her anguish. Portion IX. 1. Julia couldn’t dismiss from her mind the curious conversation she had had with Roger. She felt uneasy because he accused her of lacking in personality, he said that Julia didn’t exist apart from her roles. She had a talk with Charles about Roger. But he didn’t share her feelings. He seemed to sympathise more with Roger than with her. In some way he took Roger seriously. Charles told Julia that she had nothing to worry about, things would straighten out for Roger after a while. She should just leave him alone. Having heard it, Julia felt ill at ease. Roger was thankful to her, because she had always let him lead his own life. It seemed strange that such different people thought alike. 2. The first night was special in Julia’s life. In by-gone years she had been extremely nervous before it. Since early morning she began to feel slightly sick and towards evening she was so worked up, that she was about losing her presence of mind. But now, after having passed through that ordeal so many times, she had learnt to check her nervousness. But still, by the time the play was to be begun, she started feeling ill at ease, grew irritable. Those, who knew her well enough, took care to keep out of her way. The necessity to speak to people irritated her, she wished everyone would leave her alone. But at the bottom of her heart, Julia had a notion that their new play would be a hit. She looked forward to the moment she would face the hall, packed with people and would demonstrate again her power over the public. 3. Michael was the only one, who guessed that Julia had let Avice down. His eyes were shining with complacency. He thought that Julia had played such a trick because she was jealous of Avice to him. He couldn’t but feel flattered. As Julia knew her husband inside and out, she had a notion what he was thinking about. She laughed up her sleeve at his mistake. One couldn’t cure him of his complacency. It would be better to let him think what he wanted. She really was inclined to laugh, though she checked herself, she couldn’t conceal a slight smile. She had settled a score with Avice. She deserved it because she had a trial to stay in her way. 4. Now Julia was free from the bonds, which had burdened her so much. She had got over her pain and was relishing her freedom. She had been such a fool to take Tom and their affair seriously. But that had been amusing, and it could come in useful for a new part. Roger had said that her acting was a make-believe. But that make- believe was the only reality for her. She was an artist, who used people’s feelings and her own as a material for the art and beauty creation.