i82 A FEW MEMORIES
and the workmen under the stage. During the interview with which the royal party afterwards honored me they were kind enough not to mention the embarrassing mishap, though it had ruined the act in which it occurred.
Seldom during my stage-life have I ever been able to say of any performance, " That is my best work." In all my years before the public I have only once been satisfied with my acting of Bianca, once in Ion, never in Perdita, and only once in Hermione. On that occasion—my last season in London—I remember the late judge Baron Huddleston, who seemed to be able to read one's inner feelings, came back and said to me, "You are pleased to-day. You may possibly never act the part like that again. Had you pleaded before me as you did before the king, I should have wept as I have just done, and decided in your favor."
My disappointment at my own efforts on the first night of "Romeo and Juliet" was more painful than any I had ever felt.
An actor is conscious that his work is always judged apart from circumstance; that nervousness, illness, weariness, and the many troubles that beset life, and for a time leave their shadows, are not taken into consideration while his efforts are being