Аннотация: Представление о Майкле Госселине из романа Сомерсета Моэма "Театр".
At my fifty-two I am still well-figured. As a young man, with a great mass of curling chestnut hair, with a wonderful skin and large deep blue eyes, a straight nose and small ears, I was the best-looking actor on the English stage. The only thing that slightly spoiled me is the thinness of my mouth. I am just six foot tall and have a gallant bearing. It was my obvious beauty that had engaged me to go on the stage rather than to become a soldier like my father. Now my chestnut hair is very grey, and I wear it much shorter; my face is quite broad and a good deal lined; my skin no longer has the soft bloom of a peach. But with my splendid eyes and fine figure I"m still a very handsome man. Since my five years at the war I had adopted a military bearing, so that if you had not known who I was at the time (which is scarcely possible, for in one way and another my photograph was always appearing in the illustrated papers) you might have taken me for an officer of high rank. My weight has not changed since I was twenty, and for years, wet or fine, I used to get up every morning at eight to put on shorts and a sweater and have a run round Regent"s Park.
Julia has an impulse to look at some of my old photographs. I"m a tidy, business-like man, and my photographs are in the cardboard cases in the same cupboard as Julia"s.
I started with Shakespeare. That was before Julia knew me. I played Romeo at Cambridge, and when I came down, after a year at a dramatic school, Benson engaged me. I toured the country and played a great variety of parts. But I realized that Shakespeare would get me nowhere and that if I wanted to become a leading actor I must gain experience in modern plays. A man called James Langton was running a repertory theatre at Middlepool that was attracting a good deal of attention; and after I had been with Benson for three years, when the company was going to Middlepool on its annual visit, I wrote to Langton and asked whether I could see him...
It happened that when I kept the appointment I had asked for, Jimmie Langton was in need of a leading juvenile. He had guessed why I wanted to see him, and had gone the night before to see me play. I was playing Mercutio and Jimmie had not thought me very good, but when he came into the office he was staggered by my beauty. In a brown coat and grey flannel trousers, even without make-up, I was so handsome it took your breath away. I had an easy manner and talked like a gentleman. While I explained the purpose of my visit Jimmie Langton observed me shrewdly. If I could act at all, with this looks I ought to go far.
The result of the interview was that I got an engagement. I stayed at Middlepool for two years. I soon grew popular with the company. I was good-humored and kindly; I would take any amount of trouble to do anyone a service. My beauty created a sensation in Middlepool and the girls used to hang about the stage door to see me go out. I took it as a natural homage, but did not allow it to turn my head. I was eager to get on and seemed determined not to let any entanglement interfere with my career. It was beauty that saved me.
Notwithstanding my beauty, my grace and my ease of manner, I remained a cold lover. This did not prevent Julia from falling madly in love with me. For it was when I joined Langton"s repertory company that we met.
I am not vain of my good looks, I know I am handsome and accept compliments, not exactly with indifference, but as I might have accepted a compliment on a fine old house that has been in my family for generations. I am shrewd and ambitious. I know that my beauty is at present my chief asset, but I know it could not last forever and I am determined to become a good actor so that I should have something besides my looks to depend on.
I do not like much spending money. I hate to be in debt and even with the small salary I am getting managed to save up a little every week. I am anxious to have enough put by so that when I go to London I do not need to accept the first part that is offered to me, but could afford to wait till I get one that will give me a real chance. My father has little more than his pension to live on, and it was a sacrifice to send me to Cambridge. He, not liking the idea of my going on the stage, insisted on this.
When I want a bit of fun I wait till I am within a reasonable distance of London and then I race up to town and pick up a girl at the Globe Restaurant. Of course it is expensive, and when you come to think of it, it is not really worth the money; besides, I play a lot of cricket in Benson"s company, and golf by chance, and that sort of thing is rotten for the eye.
I am too modest to resent an unfavourable criticism.
My most engaging trait is good humour. I bear Jimmie"s abuse with equanimity. When tempers grew frayed during a long rehearsal I remain serene. It is impossible to quarrel with me.