Monday, March 15, 2010

No great surprise as the rain, a nice gentle rain, hasn’t stopped all day. I wanted it for the garden but what I didn’t want was the cold that has come with it. It really is a wintry day and the central heating has been turned on again after days without, and I guess the fires will have to be lit as well. It’s been threatening to rain for well nigh a fortnight but at the end of each day what clouds there have been have cleared, that is until today. Yesterday I asked if anyone thought it was going to rain and the answer was no, so I decided the pots had to be watered: ‘but’, I said, ‘if I do, I bet you it will rain’, and so it came to pass. There’s coincidence for you. Maybe I should be called the rainmaker. Which beings me somehow, don’t ask me how or why? to that horny old question of fate – is it in our stars or is it not? I have been thinking of it quite a bit lately. After all, unless you believe in reincarnation, you don’t have any choice of to whom, where, or when you are going to be born. Maybe in the seventh age of man one tends to these kind of thoughts, but what really caused the recent bout was reading of the death of Henry Irving’s younger son, Laurence. He had been touring the United States with his theatre company and was due to sail back to England on a ship that went by the name of “Teutonic”! (Doesn’t sound too good, does it?) but he was in a hurry to get home where he was working on and wanted to finish a play so exchanged his and his wife’s tickets for a ship called “The Empress of Ireland” sailing three days earlier. In thick fog it was rammed amidships by a loaded Norwegian coal ship and sank with the loss of a great many lives including Laurence and his wife. The rest of the company sailed home on the Teutonic. His older brother, Harry, died a few years later of leukaemia. I know what made me put coincidence and fate together, it was reading about Laurence Irving in “A Strange Eventful History”, the dramatic lives of Henry Irving and Ellen Terry, by Michael Holroyd. It has been my bedside reading for quite a while now, a few pages at a time before sleep, and it is quite a hefty tome, I still have some way to go but it is fascinating, quite a cast of characters, as I suppose only theatricals can be. And back to coincidence. Isn’t it weird how you can say play a piece of music you haven’t listened to for years and immediately you start hearing it again all over the place? I am reading all about the Irving/Terry ménage when two publications by the Society for Theatre Research land on the doorstep, the one about an actress I knew not off by the name of Meggie Albinoni and when was her period and who was she sometimes mixed up? Ellie Irving and Christopher St.John who was by the way actually Cristobel, a very plain lady who evidently hated men and who was in love with Ellie, though whether that love was consummated who knows? I have no doubt the Irvings will pop up again soon in another publication. Oh, it already has – I have a biography of the two Irving brothers ready and waiting for when I finish “A Strange And Eventful History.”

No comments: