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Full text of "A few memories"

214-                             A FEW MEMORIES
that night was a short one, I arrived before either of the great tragedians. Booth, fresh from his performance of Hamlet, entered soon after. Society, he had confessed to me years before, was a torture to him. In a crowd, he said, he felt conscious of wearing a gloomy scowl, which, being forced into a smile, changed to what he knew to be a fixed grin. He admitted that among many people he could never listen to the person with whom he was talking, but was always attracted by the remarks of some one standing near by, which left him in blank and hopeless ignorance of his companion's conversation (a predicament that no doubt most of us have experienced). Sal-vim, who was greatly excited at having lost his way, came in very late. He joined us at once. Sitting between the two artists, I was enabled to observe the great difference between them: Booth, small, lithe of figure, his dark, lustrous eyes flashing with nervous vitality and intellect, his pale face calm and supremely melancholy in expression, was (though neither fat nor scant of breath), even in his modern evening dress, an ideal Hamlet. Salvini was massive, almost corpulent, with a lion-like head, a personality full of power, enthusiasm, and capable of the greatest passion, but en-